Journalists and Auto Workers

For probably perverse reasons, this was my favorite moment in Obama’s speech to the Radio and TV Correspondants Dinner.

Of course, most of my attention has been focused here back home.  As you know, we’ve been working around the clock to repair our major financial institutions and our auto companies.  But you probably wouldn’t understand the concept of troubled industries, working as you do in the radio and television. 

AUDIENCE:  Oooh!

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh — we don’t joke about that, huh?  (Laughter.)  That’s not funny.  (Laughter.)

The similarity between the failed American auto industry and the failing American newspaper and news entertainment industries is really apt. It’s a comparison I made–without getting booed–at a couple of panels a few weeks ago. But it’s a comparison that the elite in the journalism world are not yet ready to face.

The way I see it, both the auto and journalism industries are facing radical structural changes in their industry. For autos, it’s globalization and the need to compete against newer, partly subsidized transplant auto companies. For the journalism industry, it’s the challenge of digital culture, both the rise of Internet competitors and the ability to copy content with little cost.

And both industries want to pretend that’s all that’s going on in their industry–it’s all the fault of these radical changes, the industries themselves are not to blame for their declining fortunes.

Yet, as everyone outside of a few zip codes in MI taunts, it’s actually the really stupid management decisions that have sunk the auto industry. Those taunts are correct, in large part (though the taunters usually have no clue about the structural reasons for those crappy management decisions, and so have no idea how to fix them).

Whereas Athenae–and those of us who read her religiously–seem to be the only ones who want to talk about the chronic, predictable, greedy, absolutely boneheaded decisions of the news industry’s management.

There’s a lot more to be said about the parallels between the dying US auto industry and the dying news industry, not least the arrogance of refusing to listen to your customers’ expressed desire for a quality product.

But back to the President’s flopped joke.

There’s one big difference between the auto industry and the news industry right now.

Aside from some arrogant CEO’s before Congress–only the successful one of whom still has his job–we’re pretty ready to admit that the auto industry needs to change to stay viable. 

The news industry, though, is about where the auto industry was a decade ago, sucking the last bit of profitability out of the company rather than investing in the change that needs to come, all the while denying that its own choices and actions are hastening its decline.

This flopped joke is the sound a still too arrogant industry makes when confronted with the unpleasant reality of its own failures.

About the only difference is this arrogant industry dresses up a bit fancier.

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50 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    Fred Hiatt’s decision to let Froomkin go makes me think that if he were an auto executive instead of a newspaper guy, he’d have been the one in charge of the Edsel.

    • dakine01 says:

      I disagree as the Edsel was pretty much of a disaster from the jump.

      I see Fred as more of the person in charge of the HumVee. Superficially profitable for a few years but driving the company further away from good practices even while making the paper profit.

  2. Mary says:

    None of Obama’s material made me smile as much as learning below that Brian Bravo was supposed to be the real name for a real WH PR person.

    Scooter and Brian Bravo and the AEI comic book guy all running around in the WH. There’s not a word that captures it all, is there?

    The Journo’s response to the joke was telling. Guess that did hit a bit too close to home.

    I have to admit that my response to his “leave it to Uighurs” bit was about the same as my response to Bush’s “looking for WMDs under his desk” bit.

    Good to know that Dana Rohrbacher is to the left of the Bush admin on the Uighurs, but at least Obama and Steve King (R-Obamaville) can start sharing material.

    Oh well – happy retirement Mad Dog and Happy Fathers Day all and good luck to you techines sifting though the emails. And good luck to us all on the economic front

    • rosalind says:

      I have to admit that my response to his “leave it to Uighurs” bit was about the same as my response to Bush’s “looking for WMDs under his desk” bit.

      agreed, as does Casual Observer who has an Oxdown Diary up with the same sentiment.

      • Mary says:

        Thanks for that link – I went and left a comment. We really did have the same reaction, right down to channeling the same GWB moment out of it.

        EW is right at 12, that the audience didn’t really like it either, which got a giggly, “hey, I thought it was funny” reaction from Obama. I’m sure he did.

        Completely OT – on the IG front, I’m thinking that pictures are once again one of the (only one, but one) issues now. The IG report would probably spell out some of the “preliminaries” including the over and over mentioned practice of the CIA stripping their detainees and having women come in and snap pics and the intent of degredation behind that. While the destroyed videos get most of the attention, I’ve wondered for a long time why the CIA porn pics, taken for the purpose of demoralizing, degrading etc. don’t get much of a mention, esp since they seem to have been thought through as a part of a “program” approach.

        Lots of lawyers knew about pics as part of the “preliminaries” but no one seems to have felt they were all that compelled to comply with court orders regarding them or even produce acknowledgments or descriptions of their existence. I’m wondering with the delay on the Graham-Lieberman cover up, if there is going to be a CIA/WH initiative to include the CIA (and contractors) with the Armed Forces in the “Let’s Take Pictures of Our Crimes and Then Pretend They Never Happened” bill? It wouldn’t surprise me at all, nor would it surprise me to find out that Obama has classified the CIA pics (which have also probably been destroyed, but on the off chance that there are copies, digitized info, etc.).

        Give that el-Masri made specific allegations about the pictures and the anal assaults and drugging (more “prelminaries”) his case might get a jump start by revisiting the “states secrets” issues if there were publicized info on these elements of the program.

        /ramble

        • fatster says:

          Following y’all’s reaction, I decided to not even try and watch him make a joke about the Uighurs. And then, going further O/T here, and asking for forbearance for doing so, I ran across this update about another case which has got my NDN genes in an uproar:

          http://tinyurl.com/mb8xe3

    • skdadl says:

      I have to admit that my response to his “leave it to Uighurs” bit was about the same as my response to Bush’s “looking for WMDs under his desk” bit.

      No kidding. There were two Uighur jokes, actually, with a snerk at Palau thrown in as a freebie.

      For a moment, I couldn’t believe my ears.

      What was he doing — channelling his inner frat boy?

      • Petrocelli says:

        That was his self- deprecating humor bit, along with the “Date Night” joke … to offset the smacking he gave to everyone else.

        • rosalind says:

          (the spin i’ve seen on the audience not reacting is they didn’t understand the word “Uighurs” pronounced out loud)

          • Petrocelli says:

            That was my ( and Teddy’s ) guess as well, or that they didn’t know about Leave it to Beaver

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      More on BB, Brian Bravo, the Shadow?

      “About a month ago, Fleischer got TiVo in his office, letting him digitally record right off his TV. His tech-savvy 21-year-old aide Brian Bravo is also using ShadowTV, a video archive that’s searchable by key words.” Newsweek article, October 2002

        • emptywheel says:

          Actually, it was a shout out to bmaz (who made the document available) and all those commenters here who carried on such an interesting discussion on it–Froomkin was basically hat-tipping our comment thread, which I’m quite chuffed about.

          • bmaz says:

            Yep, I second that. Froomkin not only reads the posts, clearly he is reading the comments too. I bet a lot of people you might not expect are doing it too. You folks, the commenters here, are a dedicated and fantastic lot. There is simply nothing like it anywhere else in the blogosphere. And what you guys are doing on all the email threads the last two days is astounding.

  3. Professor Foland says:

    The newspaper problem shows up in academia as the journal subscription problem. Namely, as Paul Ginsparg observed about the journal industry (and the WaPo of Journal Publishing is Elsevier):

    It is premised on a paper medium that was difficult to produce, difficult to distribute, difficult to archive, and difficult to duplicate — a medium that hence required numerous local redistribution points in the form of research libraries. The electronic medium shares none of these features and thus naturally facilitates largescale disintermediation, with the resulting communication of research information both more efficient and more cost-effective.

    The parallel to newspapers is pretty clear, I think.

    For at least several physics disciplines, Ginsparg’s archive has completely overshadowed the paper journals, which are now purely for archival purposes.

  4. skdadl says:

    Petro, much as I love you (and little as I want to derail EW’s post), I fail to see any humour of any kind in illegal detention (ie: kidnapping), torture, or forced resettlement driven by political fear of paranoid xenophobia at home. I mean, just none of that is working for me, not in the first place and then not as a subject for humour either.

    ETA: Everyone here has worked so hard on this turf. I know that it hurts so many others as well.

    • Petrocelli says:

      *mwaah* … I agree with you, a Politician, esp. POTUS should not joke about torture and illegal detention.

      However, I defend the free speech that Comedians enjoy to lay bare every subject, no matter who it offends. In my meditation workshops, I use humor quite effectively to broach sensitive subjects, like abortion, stem cell research, drug addiction and cures for Alzheimer’s, MS, etc.

      EDIT: Just as I defended my darlings’ right to wake me this morning with several well placed Water Balloons, and overturned wifey’s endeavor to take away their Teevee rights for a week, for their little escapade …

  5. orionATL says:

    last year wapoop got a new #1 boss, katherine graham’s granddaughter no less, and a new #2 boss – a wsj alumnus named marcus brauccoli (hmmm).

    i hoped a new day might be dawning for what was, until a couple of decades ago, my favorite newspaper.

    not gonna happen.

    wapoop is a corporation first and a chronicler and distributors of news second, just as american auto manufacturers were corporations first and manufactures and distributors of autos second.

    its the corporate, actually institutional, social structure, the social structure of managing, that is so destructive – so widely destructive.

    as is the case with the fbi or cia to name two other american institutions repeatedly damaged by their management structures and which have repeatedly failed to met national needs they could reasonably be expected to have met.

  6. stsmytherie says:

    though the taunters usually have no clue about the structural reasons for those crappy management decisions, and so have no idea how to fix them

    Where could I get a competent summary? I’m sufficiently ignorant of the subject to not even guess at the right google search words.

    • emptywheel says:

      Short version is that most people criticize the managers for not embracing the hybrid and smaller cars when Toyota did, and instead focusing still on trucks. Is it true that the big 2.5 have focused so much on trucks in the last decade it was bound to catch up to them. But the underlying problem is that the US companies can’t make profits very easily off of smaller cars (largely bc of labor costs–labor is still a relatively small component of the cost, but on smaller cars it is more of the cost than on trucks). So the decision not to focus on these smaller cars was absolutely the right decision from a business standpoint, but obviously the wrong one for long term viability.

      FWIW they’re STILL surviving bc of the popularity of their trucks and the profit margins on them, so they have been rewarded (to a degree) for this behavior. Ford’s apparently having a tough time keeping up with unanticipated demand for the F150, for example.

      Also note, some of the same people who complain that GM didn’t embrace the hybrid (it actually was at least at the same level technologically as Toyota was on them in the 90s) are now saying that the focus on teh Volt is stupid, bc the Volt won’t be profitable any time soon. But then, neither was the Prius.

      • Mauimom says:

        FWIW they’re STILL surviving bc of the popularity of their trucks and the profit margins on them, so they have been rewarded (to a degree) for this behavior.

        Marcy is the “Cash for Clunkers” an attempt to help the truck portion of the 2.5?

        From what I’ve read, the requirements to get the benefits are so low — i.e., “improve” your gas mileage a tiny amount, and from the sort of really rotten mpg that a truck would have — that it occurred to me that this was a “throw a sop to Detroit’s crappy decisions” move.

        Just wonderin’

        • emptywheel says:

          Cash for clunkers was ALWAYS primarily about stimulus for the auto industry, and only partly about environmental benefit.

          And yes, I thikn the truck bene, in particular, is rigged to make sure Chrysler can qualify. Ford and GM I think could already do far better than that, but I’m not sure CHrysler can.

      • PJEvans says:

        Part of the problem with the smaller cars is that they never really focused on them to begin with.
        I have yet to meet an American car that was safely drivable by anyone under 5ft6: you are sitting with your chest against the steering wheel, in order to reach the pedals. The Japanese cars at least allow people down to 5ft to drive, although I have to admit that they’re not as good at the other end of the height range.

  7. bmaz says:

    Dodge truck division has always been a distant 3rd behind Ford and Chevy in the market segment, and was losing ground fast even before the economy took down the automakers. Cash for Clunkers isn’t going to be enough to bring them back I don’t think. Might help Jeep a little. I dunno, I just do not see the future for Chrysler….

  8. VideoHammer says:

    I have worked in the Television Industry for 30 years, I don’t see the President’s joke as a flop. I believe that what we saw was a jab from someone that fights from the intellectual high ground. The response from the audience reflects the fact that many of those present recognized a slight when they hear one.

    The ridiculous formatting of the arguments from the media, with regards to the auto industry and Obama’s financial plans, have been juvenile and misleading. Pointing the finger at blue collar worker’s, pensions, health care, everywhere except Management, a typical response from corporate lapdogs.

    However, when it comes to the Media Industry’s themselves, it’s still everyones fault but their own. I think the President place kicked them right where they live, but no damage, cause there probably where no huevos in the whole audience.

  9. orionATL says:

    [email protected]

    “… the decision not to focus on these smaller cars was absolutely the right decision from a business standpoint, but obviously the wrong one for long term viability.”

    in my view business decisions should be both short and long term and balancing the two is a critical part of competent business leadership.

    the auto industry knew of its labors costs problem for decades – pensions, medical costs, alternative cheap labor – korean, east european, chinese, indian workers, working happily for “less”.

    the industry’s leaders did not deal effectively with that problem.

    as i understand it, the pick-ups that have made detroit (and especially ford)so much money have done so in part because those vehicles received an exemption from safety and fuel-efficiency standards, and exemption that was both unwise from a public health and economic viewpoint and unwise for the industry.

    i don’t know if the same applies to suv’s, but if it did i would not be surprised.

    i doubt not going to hybrids explains much of the big 3 problem, who but an environmental ideologue would drive a small vehicle with no track record and safety questions related to size.

    on the other hand, i do think that the fact that auto execs failed for years to put long-term viability in front of them and solve that problem is an indication of seriously, and serially, faulty leadership. wm clay ford may have been a bit ahead of the others, i just don’t know enough to give him credit.

    the sudden rise in oil prices that brought the auto industry’s problems to a head (or a tail), was not merely an act of god

    (as expressed in dr. rice’s immortal words: “who could have foreseen…”);

    it was the earthquake that destroyed a jerry built and badly maintained bridge.

    as a post-script, i note that the auto industry fought every major public-interest safety initiative.

    from my viewpoint, these three american major companies do not have a history of enlightened leadership let alone wise business leadership.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think the whole premise of this post is that the US auto industry made boneheaded decisions for a long time. So I don’t disagree.

      Nor do I disagree that companies SHOULD strive for long term and short term success (again, I pointed out all the people naysaying the Volt).

      That said, one of the fundamental differences between American companies and Japanese ones is a culture of the market. The auto industry is no the only one tanking because of our market’s short term focus. Indeed–you could say the news industry has done the same.

      • bobschacht says:

        The auto industry is no the only one tanking because of our market’s short term focus. Indeed–you could say the news industry has done the same.

        You can add the banks and most major corporations to the auto industry and the news industry, can’t you? Aren’t “bonuses” based on rewarding short term success, annualized? We grade execs on an annual basis, rewarding success on this year’s bottom line, regardless of long-range results, don’t we?

        What if Wall Street required, on every annual report, the results of an independent auditor on the 5 and 10 year prospects? If the CBO can project Federal budgets, why can’t businesses do the same?

        Bob from HI, currently in IL

        • bmaz says:

          That was a rambling and mostly useless article by Leahy, and it contains more of his own biases and perceptions than it does objective facts and discussion. Bob Lutz is probably the single biggest reason there is a Chevy Volt program and a product view to the future.

          • FormerFed says:

            And you think the Volt is going to be a success??? You think Americans are going to run out and buy something that needs to be recharged every night??

            I have owned Toyotas since 1968 and they have all been wonderful cars. The Prius that I have now is marvelous. While Lutz and his compatriots were building bigger and bigger, Toyota was building better and better.

            Lutz’s “product view of the future” is more Corvettes and supercharged Camaros. The government should have let GM go bankrupt with no help from the government. Companies like GM do not deserve to survive.

    • PJEvans says:

      i doubt not going to hybrids explains much of the big 3 problem, who but an environmental ideologue would drive a small vehicle with no track record and safety questions related to size.

      Do you have anything to back up those claims?

      The hybrids I’ve seen are all bigger than VW Bugs, and they’re actually closer to mid-sized cars by current standards – they’ll just fit in most ‘compact’ spaces. They were available in Japan for several years before being sold in the US – that’s a track record. (Also, they don’t have fiberglass shells!)

  10. Sara says:

    Back in the late 60’s and into the 70’s, a local foundation supported in large part by several family owned national publishing (books, magazines and Newspapers) outfits, organized a long term panel comprised of some activists, Journalism Professors, and working reporters to quietly and privately review the coverage given to the Civil Rights Movement — we read vast amounts of coverage, and then had several kinds of panels to critique the collections we reviewed. It was not a public process — no reports were issued, but when I think back on the process I can see we actually identified many problems that lo these many years later, seem to me to be highly relevant to the corporate journalism failures.

    One of our strongest criticisms was the treatment of the movement more or less the way wars got covered — unique battles were reported in bloody detail, without much connecting tissue, and without reference to much history. In essence, we questioned the daily drip drip of news that never really engaged in synthesis either with a distant past, or even with related stories. The argument that Civil Rights was just a modern extension of post Civil War matters — or that Abolitionism was just an extension of an unsettled issue from the Constitution writing times, and that most newspaper readers could not be depended on to bring to an individual battle story any sort of reasonably complete ability to contextualize — just was unacceptable to those teaching young Journalists, or working reporters. Activists claimed (rightly so in my opinion) that day to day battles were just a small extension of something that had been going on for near 200 years — and should be reported that way.

    This is just another way to put “short term focus” — but I would put much more emphasis on it as a profound cultural characteristic. You can see the same thing today in the reporting about Iran — so few mentions of that all important 1953-54 US and British overthrow of an elected Iranian Government over the question of the nationalizing of Iran’s Oil assets. Assumption is everyone knows about this — even though CIA only released the key documents in the last ten years confirming much of what had been derived from other sources by historians. Not all that much recognition that 1979 and the Iranian Revolution happened 30 years ago — do a little math and most people under 45 have no memory of watching Nightline with Ted Koppel for 400 plus nights, following the Hostage Crisis, which was all most cared about (or was actually reported) with respect to the Iranian Revolution. It is all the same thing — the short focus, the hot button ethnocentric orientation of stories and reporting that given an alternative, people are rejecting left and right.

    • LabDancer says:

      It does seem a bit inconsistent that the side that claims there’s no way Iranians could possibly have any reference to the CIA’s involvement in 1953-4 — or the U.S.’s involvement with Britain in proactively taking down the Iranian parliamentary-checked monarchy early in WWII [to keep all that oil and gas from falling into Nazi hands] — or the U.S.’s involvement in propping up the Shahdome for a quarter century after Mossadeq was taken out — is the same that claims to be able to channel the Founders and delight in teabagging, with reference to events well over two centuries back. I guess I need Joe Scarborough to explain it all to me before work tomorrow.

  11. gmoke says:

    About 15 years of going to brown bag luncheons with big name journos at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy have taught me that reporters can’t see the forest for the trees but they also can’t see the trees for the leaves. For all that time, the handwriting has been on the wall about “new media” and journalism and they still don’t get it. Ken Auletta spoke in the past year, a very smart and hard-working guy, but even he didn’t have a clue, all while flogging his new book on Google.

    There’s a career path that goes from working journo to Shorenstein Fellowship (often in between jobs) and then back into the journo world. Sometimes the fellowship allows the journo to write a book that allows him (and mostly it’s still hims) to get a column or entry into the punditocracy.

    In many cases, these folks don’t do their homework and don’t know their history. They pay lip service to IF Stone but don’t know George Seldes let alone Upton Sinclair’s _The Brass Check_. Peter Hart, the pollster, was at one brownbag lunch and was talking about how people perceive the budget. When I pointed out that the majority of the US budget is defense, the next largest portion is Soc Sec and Medicare/Medicaid, and that discretionary spending, including foreign aid, is probably less than 10%, he made me stand up and repeat that statement. Everybody laughed even though they knew it was true. None of them seemed to be interested in perpetrating the facts. They only reinforce the false images of the budget.

    This happens on most if not all topics.

  12. freepatriot says:

    There’s a lot more to be said about the parallels between the dying US auto industry and the dying news industry, not least the arrogance of refusing to listen to your customers’ expressed desire for a quality product.

    if ya wanna continue the metaphore, check out modo’s latest column and the comments she gets in response

    Revolution in Iran, Healthcare being debated in America, and kim jong ill acting more batshit insane than usual

    and modo writes about Obama killing a fly

    the comments are about 9 to 1 against her, asking what is her fucking problem

    and modo just keeps writing the mindless drivel

    meanwhile, Froomkin is unemployeed

    an the ny times wouldn’t post my comment suggesting they fire modo and hire Froomkin

    then they wonder why nobody buys their shit any more …

  13. freepatriot says:

    consider it this way

    the side that claims there’s no way Iranians could possibly have any reference to the CIA’s involvement in 1953-4 — or the U.S.’s involvement with Britain in proactively taking down the Iranian parliamentary-checked monarchy early in WWII [to keep all that oil and gas from falling into Nazi hands] — or the U.S.’s involvement in propping up the Shahdome for a quarter century after Mossadeq was taken out

    is the same side that refuses to remove the confederate flag from south carolina’s statehouse

    so much for people forgetting the past …

  14. reader says:

    I bet Froomkin ends up somewhere *way* better than the WaPooo. And more power to him.

    Meanwhile, here in Canada, we were treated to part 1 of a short Sunday morning radio series on Citizen Journalism vs. the Pros. I’m still angry. Bloggers are conspiracy theorists. All journalism is principled and useful and objective except for one or two cases of individual fabricators. Oh, and it makes no difference if we like journalists or their views because it’s ”professional journalism” and therefore somehow the product is divorced from these subjective matters. {OH? HOW? Also.}

    Oh, and somehow activism and journalism are like oil and water: clearly, this shows a woeful lack of knowledge about the history of both activism and journalism in the 20th Century. Which is not what one should expect from a professional journalist of any stripe. Guess they never heard of John Reed.

    The paternalism of the arguments that journos make are so out of touch with democratic realities, basically, that it’s very dangerous for people to make their own choices and decisions about what topics and perspectives (blogs) they want to read. They simply do not *get* that it’s dangerous for the WaPo and the NYT to make those decisions for *all* of us EVEN if the level of journalism at these corporations was anything nearing professional. Spit.

    I don’t mean to impugn the rep of any true journalists. They do exist. Lew Koch is my current fav.

    Boy oh boy though everything sure does seem to be in a mess these days …

    • skdadl says:

      Was that on Enright’s show, reader? I’ll go see if I can find a recording. (Yes, I’m a masochist.)

      Such a shame — I often think they’re very good. I guess they’re insecure too, though. Well, CBC — they have reason.

  15. perris says:

    The way I see it, both the auto and journalism industries are facing radical structural changes in their industry. For autos, it’s globalization and the need to compete against newer, partly subsidized transplant auto companies.

    also the fact that sometimes we are comparing living wages to below living wages, which is a government subsidy that’s not documented.

    For the journalism industry, it’s the challenge of digital culture, both the rise of Internet competitors and the ability to copy content with little cost.

    and that is also the fact that they have consolidated their ownership and do not compete for facts anymore, they make their own facts and people are tired of them

    I would love to read a newspaper now but when I see on the front page how tiger might not make the cut I puke

    now that they are corporate tools they don’t give us what we want from them, there is the real problem, digital information isn’t the problem it was the solution to the problem they brought on themselves

  16. JohnnyTable70 says:

    One comparison between the two industries is the desire for mergers and acquisitions that failed to produce the desired effect except for a few shareholders who benefited in the short term. Newspapers until the digital age or shortly before, tended to be family owned operations like the Ochs Sulzberger family with the NYT and the Taylor family and the Boston Globe.

    Buying up other papers did not make the NYT stronger. If anything it has hastened the demise of the industry. The papers have been shedding workers for years but the massive debt service incurred from these mergers has made that seem like a band aid on an axe wound.

    For the auto industry the perverse desire to merge starting with Daimler Chrysler has done virtually the same thing. One would think the auto industry learned something when GM started buying aircraft companies and payroll processing firms in the 80-’s, but they didn’t.

    Another problem is the mindset of executives running both industries. Both think this is 1950 and they have no competition. By the time both realize how anachronistic they are, they will have gone the way of the dodo bird.

  17. orionATL says:

    pjevans at #35

    no – none what so ever.

    my comments are opinions only, and not necessarily well-informed ones, just opinions i hold.

    as for hybrids, i think the prius is a sweet little car. i rode six hours in one a couple of years ago with three other adults and it was a very comfortable car. i love the design and engineering, the concept of gas/electrical. according to a recent article in the federal times, the navy is considering a similar concept with its big ships using some of the energy from a ship’s turbines to generate electricity.

    my comment relates to the claim that the auto buying public (that’s never me; my wife and i have not bought a new car since our 1966 vw) wants suvs because they are big and big is “safe” – as long as you don’t turn or swerve too sharply.

    if i recall correctly, one of the vp’s of gm said, AFTER last years fall and in the face of presidential and congressional attention to the industry, that the american people wanted suv’s.

    i don’t know yeah or nay but but this guy seemed a believer.

  18. bmaz says:

    In the long run, I do think the Volt will be a success. I do think they should have marketed it as a Cadillac to start with because of the cost. It is a significant step ahead of anything Toyota has as far as technical sophistication across a platform, and it is a much more integrated platform than people understand. And, quite frankly, ‘in limited numbers, I think Lutz is exactly right about maintaining the Corvette and Camaro lines. Most of the Camaros that will be produced and sold will be with the extremely efficient V-6 that gets as good of mileage as a Camry. They sell every Corvette they make, it is profitable and it is important as an icon. so, yeah, I agree with all that.

    • FormerFed says:

      bmaz – I don’t know what they are putting in the water up there, but I am sure to drink San Pellegrino when ever I go to the Valley of the Sun in the future.

      Cheers – FF

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