Strange and frankly inappropriate shit makes me laugh, so I got a chuckle out of this example of everything that has been wrong with the U.S. auto industry since about March of 1949 (via The Financial Times):
General Motors rolled out fresh incentives on Monday in an attempt to staunch plummeting sales of gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles, pick-up trucks and other slow-selling models.
The Detroit-based carmaker said it would offer interest-free financing for up to six years – an unusually long period for such promotions – on vehicles such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs, the big Hummer and the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up [This nifty tool provides a wee hint as to why sales are sluggish -ed].
Hey, yeah! Because if people don’t want something, the thing to do is sweeten the deal on the something they don’t want. Because … um. Well look, you don’t want to buy a foreign car, do ya? And uh … the price of gas can’t keep going up forever, can it?
I know there are people who need vehicles that are capable of hauling more than the week’s shopping and tackling conditions more hostile than a McDonald’s drive-thru. I know there are people who need the H2 so they don’t have to go around shouting “Lookit me! I’m a complete jackass who is insecure about the size of my dick!” However, now that the economy is in the shit the auto industry is finding out exactly how many people must have a vehicle like the Yukon and it isn’t enough to keep that profit margin nice and fat. Hell, it isn’t enough to keep the profit margin at MaryKate n’ Ashley Olsen proportions.
To make matters worse for the hapless peddler of heavy metal, a person who must have a heavy duty vehicle can get one for about 1/8th of the dealer’s asking price from one of the many assholes in my neck of the woods who have never been off asphalt (unless you count the time Thomas Alexander Fucknut, Esq. overcorrected on an exit ramp) and are now suffering some serious buyer’s remorse.
The reason I like to keep an eye on the U.S. auto industry (aside from the many opportunities to snark), is because BushCo seems to have stolen its modus operandi.
Did the U.S.A.I. react quickly when Japan started cranking out cheap cars? No, it laughed. OK, granted early on a Honda Civic turned into a pile of rust after a couple of years, but the engine would still be purring when it fell out.
Once it became painfully obvious that cars from Asian countries were going to stomp them but good, did the U.S.A.I. quickly adopt sensible solutions to counter the steady loss of sales? Nope, it began to scream about (wait for it) PATRIOTISM! No real Uhmuricun would be seen driving around in one of those “rice burners.” Be a real Uhmuricun, buy an Uhmuricun car. And then buy another and another because they’re crap. Whooo! Uhmuricu! Fuck! Yeah!
And they started exporting Uhmuricun jobs to other countries. But that was OK because. Uh, because … Detroit? What’s that?
And please don’t say anything about the practice of taking cars made somewhere in Asia, slapping a new medallion on the hood and pretending its never been anywhere near the far side of the Pacific. K? Thx.
By now it should be painfully clear that not only was there no planning for the worst, there was never any planning. You’d think they’d have a Plan B somewhere. You know: “In case the price of gas skyrockets, sales head for the bottom of the Marianas Trench and people start to wonder if spewing tons of CO into the air is a good idea, break glass.”
Nuh-uh. They had nothing, zilch. Not even a damn chart and now they stand there, dick in hand:
GM offered discounts and incentives worth $3,800 [About a year’s worth of gas for 2WD -ed.] last month on each Silverado, according to Edmunds.com, an online research service. Incentives on Chrysler’s Dodge Ram stood at almost $6,000 [A little less than two year’s worth of gas for 2WD -ed]. GM described the incentives, which apply to the end of the month, as “normal practice . . . to continue sales momentum”. But they undermine its efforts in recent years to wean consumers off incentives.
No. Do not want.
And like BushCo, they authors of this fine example of industrial fail will come out just fine.
You, however, might just be a bit fucked.
Even now there is a way to deal with all that excess metal that would allow them to recoup some of their money and get major brownie points for being environmentally responsible. Will the U.S.A.I. figure it out? Stay tuned.