Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Emails to Phil Valentine

I was listening to the Phil Valentine show recently because he had an American car company representative on talking about gas mileage. As you might expect, this guy was giving all the normal nonsense about the car companies not being able to do what the government wants and only selling what the people want.

So I wrote Phil a letter. Here is the whole back and forth in it's entirety:

That guy you had on talking about gas mileage was lying through his
teeth, wow, what a load of crap.

Car makers can make what ever they want, or are told to. They just
don't want to make efficient cars. You think they can't make a pickup
that will get 35 mpg? Daimler Chrysler was advertising that they could
before the sale of the company went through. Why was there such a boom
in light trucks and SUV's? The car companies decided that's what
people SHOULD want, not what they did want. Advertising did that.
Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh both are now advertising Cadillacs while I
now have to listen to whiney commercials about gas mileage that the car
companies have made.

Why did Honda drop the Accord Hybrid? Because the Accord Hybrid SUCKS.
It gets 27 mpg while my non-hybrid Toyota Corolla gets 35. You don't
see Toyota complaining about the Prius, they are making money hand over
fist off that car, and as gas prices rise, they'll be making even more.
Toyota plans to offer the Hybrid Synergy Drive in all it's cars, and
people will buy them, because they work, and they work well. American
hybrids barely get 2-3 mpg better than their non hybrid brothers.

You think car manufacturers can't make a car that gets 52 mpg? The
Prius already does if you take it easy on the gas, and the third
generation Prius, out next year or the year after, is said to be able
to get 30% better than that.

Technology travels faster than B.S.

Bottom line, that guy was so full of crap his eyes were brown. And you
bought every minute of it.

Phil replied:

Bottom line: Auto makers make what they think people want.
If their research showed people wanted cars that get 52
miles to the gallon you don't think they'd make them?
What would be their motivation NOT to make them?


To which I replied:

Thanks for responding,

It's monetary motivation. It costs hefty amounts of money to retool to
make new cars. In fact, it costs more to create a new line of cars
than it does to launch an ad campaign to make people like the cars that
already exist. There was a significant amount of time, money, and
effort that went into making the Prius, as well as the EV1, and will
also into the Chevy Volt.

True, car companies make the cars people want. But if a car company
wants the people to want a car, it's a simple task of telling them what
car to want. Appeal to machismo, add some sex appeal, and slap the
word "new" on it. Not hard. It's been done for millenia, and it costs
less than actually making something new.

American car companies will continue to slide into the back seat in
sales and popularity as long as they continue to push the status quo.
I personally am an American, and proud of it, and I'd absolutely love
to buy and American car. But every American car I've owned has been a
piece of crap, and every Toyota I've owned, I still have. Right now,
there are no American cars beside the Chevy Volt that I would consider
buying, and the Volt is still years off.

American cars will also not win the car wars when they advertise "high"
mileage as 30 mpg while there are a great many Asian cars that get
above 40, and most European cars (not sold in America) get above 40.

If Toyota meets it's goal of producing the third generation Prius drive
train at 50% of current costs, there will be no way American cars will
ever catch up. And when gas gets to $7 a gallon, suddenly that ugly
little aerodynamic pod car starts to look mighty enticing.


Unfortunately with his show hosting duties to fulfill, Phil was not able to reply. I can only expect that he remains unconvinced and continues to tow the party line.

I shall try again another day,

No comments: