Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Greg asks: What would the states of California and Arizona do if all the car makers just refused two make electric cars at a loss? What would they do? Whine, make threats, get their illiterate federal representatives to try to push through bills? The fact is they would change their laws or walk. I mean they already whine about everything. They already threaten to secede if they don’t get their way. The only thing I hate more than government is what makes up government – namely bullies and their allies, useful idiots. Please keep writing because you are one last voices for common sense left in this country.
My reply: I think the time for that was maybe the mid-late ’90s. Since that time – and I have been covering the car business since then, so I’ve had a front-row seat – the car industry made a conscious decision that it is better to join ’em than it is to fight ’em. Thus, GM and most of the others are in favor of the 50-plus MPG standard and all the EV folderol.
The why makes sense when you look at it from the point of view of the executive-management class, which runs the show. Most of these people are not car people, first of all. Look at, for example, Mary Barra (if you must). These people have no passion for cars or driving. They are bureaucrats, basically. And bureaucrats believe in getting along… with the government. They do not want to rock the boat; they want to ride out their tenure, strap on their golden parachute and bail out after a few short years.
Also, they have adopted the cynical view that it is profitable to endorse and even anticipate all these mandates… for example, they can charge more for a car with six air bags and so on than for a car with two or none… and then there is service on the back end.
Ultimately, it is all about money – and power. A bunch of chimps ripping each others’ arms out of their sockets in order to establish dominance and maintain place.
. . .
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I think the reason for the change has to do with how easy it is to buy and sell a stock. Back when it was all done on paper (and traded in fractions instead of pennies but that’s a subject by itself), it was much more difficult to move a stock price just through activity. Now just being a market follower is good enough to have an up day. Add in a few million chartists (which is all algorithmic trading is) and what the company does or builds is much less important than what the trend line says.
So what’s a board to do? Put some passionate “car guy” in the CEO chair? The investors would run the stock down to nothing. Better to stick with a logistics guy who knows how to move product (past experience with some other, not necessarily related widget is great). That way no one will do anything overly risky that might be a failure. Just add a little gingerbread and fiddle with the prices while driving down production costs.
Hey, it seems to be working great for Apple, right?
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, sooner or later you will be subject to “Californication”.
The average California Fruitbat (Liberalis Californis) will eventually get tired of paying the exorbitant taxes and suffering the erosion of freedoms that he/she/it imposed on him/her/itself. When this point is reached, the Fruitbat will go into migration mode and head east to start the cycle over again. Certain communities in Arizona are now overrun with this invasive species, and the native population cannot overcome their aggressive colonization.
There are certain strongholds in the state where significant colonization has not occurred. We have found that proximity to copper mines and undeveloped indian reservations will slow the tide, as well as local geography that is not amenable to construction of strip malls. We have also noticed that the Fruitbat has largely leapfrogged over New Mexico and West Texas, and have begun the colonization of the Austin metroplex.
Colorado’s front range has always been a strong attractor for them, but lately it has gotten out of hand. They’ve pretty much taken over state politics. Colorado has always had a strong independent voter block (the Libertarian party was started here), but lately it seems that all the ballot initiatives are about new spending and taxes. That has to be coming from the California migrants.
Same thing is playing out here – in SW Virginia. The Northern VA element – which ruined Northern VA – has been moving here, because it hasn’t been ruined…. yet.
But because they are moving here – long with their attitudes and values – that is changing. Sigh.
I had hoped I could live out my days here….
Not just the front range: they were moving into western Colorado more than 20 years ago.
I decided to bail out of Colo-fornia when drivers would speed up from a block or two away to try to run down kids in a cross-walk!