The Great Winnowing

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GM’s announcement the other day that it will no longer make cars – or rather, just a few – follows Ford’s previous announcement along the same lines.

Chevy will lose more than half of its currently available passenger car models, including the full-size Impala sedan, the mid-size Cruze and the compact Sonic. Plus the functionally viable Volt electric car, which gets the noose for probably just that reason (separate rant; see here for more about that).

Ford has already shed its entire Mercury division and GM its Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn divisions.

More will inevitably follow.

Because how many different ways can GM re-sell the same relative handful of closely related crossovers and trucks? And how long will GM (or anyone else) be able to sell trucks and SUVs at all, given the anvil descending of a mandatory minimum 50 MPG federal fatwa?

Cadillac, GM’s luxury division, is probably living on borrowed time.

Its cars were different from Chevy and Buick’s cars because Cadillac’s cars – models like the ATS and CT6 – were almost all based on a rear-drive layout, while almost everything sold by the lesser divisions – excepting specialty cars like the Camaro and Corvette, which survive, for now – was built on a FWD layout.

But GM is kiboshing the ATS and CT6 and possibly the not-yet-here (and may never get here) 2019 CT8 sedan.

If these go away, Cadillac is left with its re-badged and heavily upsold Chevy Tahoe – aka, the “Cadillac” Escalade –  and rebadged/upsold GMC Acadias (the “Cadillac” XT5) and rebadged/upsold GMC Terrains (“Cadillac” XT4) which are also rebadged Chevy Equinoxes.

Given the Chevy and GMC progenitors of these “Cadillacs” offer almost everything you can get in the Cadillac-badged versions – but for a lot less money – why bother with the Cadillac versions?

This is a general problem, not just Cadillac’s.

There is much less in the way of meaningful distinction between the “entry level” car and the “entry luxury” car and the “luxury car” than there once was. Try finding any car without AC and power windows – or even an LCD touchscreen, for that matter. The differences which used to exist between a Chevette and a Sedan deVille no longer do.

One of the few points of departure still extant is rear-drive vs. front-drive layouts, the latter being historically (and currently) associated with lower-tier cars while the former has long been the defining characteristic of something a cut-above.

And now Cadillac won’t have that, or not much of that.

Has Mary Barra thought about this? Or is it part of the plan?

To slow-motion euthanize Cadillac?

Ford is walking the same Green Mile. It will sell the same crossover-ish thing in three different sizes, small medium and large – but at least under the same label.

Chrysler has almost nothing left to sell. One minivan and one car, the venerable 300 sedan. Fiat – the owner of what remains of Chrysler – has not committed to new anything for Chrysler, which slowly twists in the wind.

Dodge – also owned by Fiat – hasn’t had a new model in years. It has had models  – trucks – ripped from its model lineup, to be “spun off” as a separate brand (Ram trucks) which is as ominous an indicator of Dodge’s future as black spots on an x-ray of your lungs.

Every car company, just about, has committed to building several electric cars, at the least. Some – like Volvo – to building only electrified cars. But without something different under the hood – electric motors and batteries being pretty much the same, other than some being larger, others smaller – why even bother with these brands?

Especially brands like Porsche – which is among the EV beguiled. A silent (and shiftless, electric motors are one speed) Porsche is like a 2×4 among the stacks of them at Home Depot. Would you pay four times as much for the 2×4 that has “Porsche” stamped on it?

A great winnowing – and consolidation – is under way.

Cars are becoming interchangeable modules – and one only needs so many versions of the same thing. Red or white or blue? A larger – or smaller – touchscreen?

This homogenization of transportation may not be deliberate – it’s mostly the result of decades of government mandates, which have had the effect of imposing a general sameness on vehicle design – but it serves a definite purpose:

It detaches people emotionally from cars – and from driving.

What does it matter if the bus you’re boarding is yellow or silver? Or has 30 seats rather than 40? Do you pay much attention to the taxi you just climbed into? Most people log onto Facebook or otherwise bury themselves in gadgetry as soon as they sit down.

Cars are becoming places where you sit for awhile.

And this is probably exactly what GM – and Ford – ultimately have in mind. This isn’t even a wild-eyed supposition. They have said so – openly. GM’s announcement earlier this week about the mass die-off of its passenger car lineup was accompanied by soothsaying about the company’s “transition(s) to self-driving electric” cars.

Which gives the lie to the odd prattle about “focusing on trucks and SUVs,” the fatuity eructed by Mary Barra and her amen chorus when the death knell tolled. How, exactly, will GM “focus” on such vehicles when the 50 MPG CAFE fatwa goes into effect come 2025? And what is Barra up to, given she has to know that not a single truck or SUV GM makes – or can make and still qualify as a truck or SUV – rates anything close to 50 MPG?

What was it Sherlock Holmes said?

The game’s afoot!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I am guessing the 50 MPG fatwa will have to be compromised in some way. The closest vehicle to a 1/2-ton pickup that can tow 10,000 lbs is a boutique 400-mile-range electric pickup that will cost over $100k and needs recharged every 400 miles for 2 1/2 hours. Imagine using that to tow your camping trailer and trying to find a charging station near Yellowstone or Glacier NPs let alone stopping for 2 1/2 hours every 50 miles or so.
    then again, depending who leads the nation and our congress, the eco-nazis might kill the RV and camping trailer businesses ignoring We The People. They’ve done it before.

    • I’d like to see things your way about the 50 MPG fatwa, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet that way.

      Government edicts focus on what the central planners want, not what is technologically possible. Enforcement of rules, no matter how poorly devised, is their only goal. Making things convenient for the mere mortals is not their concern, because they can always create another punishment.

  2. Very thought provoking article today. One thought I have is that while the existing American Bigs are starving themselves into a death spiral and a possible American monopoly producer, there may be an opening for new competition.
    While Tesla is the latest (and only) new auto manufacturer, they are subsidy/regulation dependent and even then their EV product seems to be faltering under Musk’s erratic leadership. So some group of capitalists might take Eric’s laments to heart. A new car company that produces basic “stripped down” decent vehicles at say 60% of the current prices for similar sized/HP vehicles. Standard transmissions, lacking now standard “extras.” This could also be partly funded by Chinese and Indian auto makers wanting to get a foothold into a true American domestic car maker. The newbie would have to deal with government CAFE standards but starting from scratch with basic models, as Eric discusses frequently, can produce good mileage and powerful vehicles, lighter, etc. which could comply with govt. fatwa rules. Just an optimistic thought.

  3. You know, everyone is sad about the demise of the American IC engine car, and with it the “great” automakers. Well, the automakers did it to themselves by sucking up to government & using their influence to buy protection from competition. Now, the snake has turned on them. What you sow is what you reap. Good bye GM. Goodbye Chrysler & Ford. You will not be missed much. I will keep my old school V-8s until spare parts are no longer available. I wrench on them myself. They will last the rest of my lifetime. And my kids and the kids colleagues are not even interested in cars. So, no great loss. Is it a sad loss to our culture? Maybe. But then again, so was the replacement of the horse.

  4. We drive a 2004 Deville that has 135,000 miles on it. It’s a great riding car that has needed little maintenance and we love the heated seats and heated steering wheel. I’ve been told that the transmission will go for ever but it might need $2000 worth of gaskets at around 165,000 miles. Our initial cost is now down to $2500 per year. From what I gather Cadillac doesn’t build anything that compares with the Deville since they eliminated it from their lineup. It is sad what is happening to our great automobile industry.

  5. Eric,
    Great to communicate with you again. Happy holidays. Just traded a loaded 2013 F-150 FX4 for a loaded 2018 F-150 XLT. Almost 12k off and 27k for my trade. Missed the BF one day 500 Amazon gift card offer. It’s debatable which truck is better. The ’18 is newer. The ’13 had better build quality. The ’18 cab assembly is off by 1/8″ between the left side and the right side on the upper cab to door reveal. No wind noise and no water leaks, so it looks like it’s cosmetic. Almost took it in to service until I looked at other new F-150s on the lot. There were many others that were much worse, with cab to door, hood to fender and tailgate misfits. Four years into the aluminum body and obviously Ford still doesn’t have the tolerances wired. I read there was a fire at a stamping plant. Maybe there’s a run of cabs, doors and hoods with poor tolerances. The improved 5.0 V-8 with 30 more horses and the 10 speed auto appears to be an improvement, and the aluminum body makes the truck lighter and quicker. The cloth seats are more comfortable than the 2013’s leather. The ’18 makes a “tuc tuc tuc tuc” sound from underneath every time you open the drivers door, supposedly the fuel pump. Same thing with the ’18 2.7 EB I rented this summer, which was pretty quick un-hitched, and a pretty good truck. Went with Ford again as I couldn’t get the equipment I wanted on Ram: Nav, Gas V-8 (diesels are too much trouble at this point), 36 gal fuel tank, trailer brake controller, tailgate step, 18s (20s ride too hard and risk curb rash), skid plates (FX4), 3.55 axle (3.31 is a dog, especially for towing) 302A, chrome, 7000 GVWR packages. We’ll see if this F-150 is as good as my ’13 with almost 30,000 miles of towing alone and never a problem, and never overheating, even in 120 degree heat towing in the Mojave desert, climbing hills to go surfing in San Diego in the summertime. It was pretty bullet proof. I almost went with the “new and improved” dual injection 3.5 EB, which is a torque monster. I thank God I didn’t, as my neighbor with 7,000 miles on his ’18 just had two injectors go out, experienced crankcase oil dilution, and then had the CEL go on again immediately after picking the truck up at the dealer, and is having 2 catalytic converters replaced. He says one more strike and he’s going dump it for a Ridgeline (which won’t tow, go figure). Wish me luck as I’m going fishing with him in Alaska next summer where he lived as a NP Ranger for 20 years. I could save 4k of driving by taking the inland ferry (2k dollars each way) vs the AlCan Hwy. He says the AlCan is a nice drive. 4k miles one way hehehe. Wish me luck. I’ll find out if the F-150s are at this point improving, or if the steel body F-150s ending in 2014 were better. The only other thing that irks me so far is the auto engine shutoff that i have to disable every time I start the truck, just like the 2.7 EB I rented this summer. Aggravating. Thank you for a very timely and to the point article questioning where auto manufacturing is going and how much more time we have regarding buying “for real” new trucks and autos.
    Aloha, Vic

  6. “Would you pay four times as much for the 2×4 that has ‘Porsche’ stamped on it?”

    The answer is that many people would. My opinion takes me back over 35 years to my then-profession as an advertising copywriter. At a marketing seminar I attended, the presenting guru talked about “the five-dollar shirt with the twenty-five dollar alligator on it.” So few words, so much consumer insight.

    • Yep, Markus!

      Look how much more people paid for a Chevy Cavalier when they slapped a Cadillac Cimmaron badge on it! (Should’ve called it “Cim-moron”).

      These people vote. Any wonder why “democracy” doesn’t work?

    • That’s a great illustration to a key concept in marketing. I’ll remember that one.

      In return, here’s another take on the same subject. I learned it as I was studying marketing when I was in photography. Ready?

      People do not buy that they are buying. They buy what they THINK they are buying”.
      I worked on VeeWees far too much back when all the hippies NEEDED one, and all had the Idiot Book so they could be “self sufficient”. Man o oan did I ever make bux sorting out their schemozzles!!! Far less often (with good reason) I also got to work on the product of the OTHER house in Wolfsburg, Porsche. Those engines were just getting nicely broken in at 120 to 150K. The VeeWees, on the other hand, were on their SECOND comolete overhaul, probably fourth pair of heads, and likely will need new casing halves when the next bottom end disaster struck, which was almost as certain as tomorrow’s tides. But they LOOKED so much alike…….. the smart van owners found and paid dearly for the Porsche 1600 engine, which will bolt right in. End of power and reliability issues. And, to the inexperienced eye (85% of those looking) they LOOKED the same as the VeeWees.
      Now, when people buy the cars from the “other” house in Wolfsburg, they fail to comprehend that there IS no “other house” i Wolfsburg, but the prancing wolf continues to fool them. I remember the howls of protest, boycots, etc, when the Porsche 914 came out. Someone figured out they had fitted the Volksvagen 1750 Typ 3 engine. Travesty!!! Shock!!! Horror!!! I wouldn’t even RIDE in one of those things. Deception!! Fraud!!! Some predicted the future sellout of Porsche. Hmmmm……

  7. Maybe we’re going to see the beginning of the end here where mis-guided policies will end up colliding. First sad thing is we are going to quickly figure out that EVs are going to be useless particularly in the north east winters. What happens to the grid when everyone plugs in their battery heater and then battery charger at 6pm eastern and then only get half charged. Of course the latitude is too high for solar and the wind stops or blows too hard. If you’re not charged before the blizzard you’re screwed. Then your experience with the test vehicle stopping for no reason on it’s own is going end up killing people in self driving vehicles. God help you if your life is in the hands of software engineers.

    • One of the first effects that will come down the pike, which EVERYONE will be affected by- EV-owner or not, is the rationing of electricity, which is inevitable. Whether they have frequent brown-outs/blackouts, or just use a peak-price scheme or some othjer scheme, I’m sure that this will be one of the very first effects….which inevitably prompt a public outcry for “more generating facilities”- and then as they pop up all over the countryside, Uncle can just say “We’re just giving the people what they want!”.

      In the small town where my sister lives, here in an area with some of the cheapest electric rates in the country, the city-owned utility has already implemented a peak-pricing scheme, which now has the residents of that town paying among the highest rates in the country.

      Just imagine when everyone starts plugging in EVs and heating garages!

      • isn’t it amazing that we are constantly told we will all die and the country collapse unless 500 million third world peasants come here to save us? there soon will be not enough of everything. when there was 200 million people here we had LOW land prices and HIGH wages add 120 million low IQ 3rd worlders and we now have high land prices and low wages. it is only the beginning. I want these suicidal genocidal demons to show me ONE country that has a lot of people that is doing good. can it be afreaka? india? Pakistan? philliphines? Haiti? jamacia? banledesh

        • Sad thing is, Mr. Meener, that the masses actually believe the BS! They just repeat the catch-phrases over and over, and the majority accept what ever is pedaled as truth.

          I live in a nice little rural area now, where it is still relatively free, and very cheap to live. The locals, having been thoroughly propagandized, constantlyu clamor for “growth”. You can warn them that that “growth” will just destroy their agricultural economy, which makes it possible for the little guy to thrive here; that it will raise taxes; impose regulations, like zoning and planning; that it will drastically increase the cost of living and reduce the quality of life; that it will bring crime; and the streets will not be paved with gold (except for the politicians), but rather that they will just have a reduced standard of living because wages will NOT increase, because for every new job, there will be three new people applying for it; and the money they get from farming will not increase…but their cost of living will, etc. etc.

          Give them first-hand examples from having lived through such in decades past in places that already experienced it…but they won’t listen, because they hear that word- “growth” bandied about on the TV, and by the four-eyes with that “high-paying” $30K-a-year job at the high school or communi[st]ty college

          Tell then that where I came from, ya pay >$10K a year in property taxes and the school districts have budgets that are bigger than those of many countries, and yet have to operate in austerity mode; and the roads are crumbling, and there’s trash everywhere; and the place is affected by every little ripple in the economy…whereas here, things stay amazingly stable….but they just won’t listen….’cause they seen[soc] it on TV! Yeah! More competition for jobs, so thus, lower wages; more people, thus more infrastructure; more people to house, so the price of real estate goes up; Price of RE goes up, so suddenly that cheap farm land is worth too much to farm…. But it falls on deaf ears… “Growth!”- it’ll pave the streets with gold ya know! (If San Francisco is any indication, gold must look and smell a lot like feces!)

          • Government is for those inside it is first and foremost a jobs program. After there salaries and pensions there just isn’t much left. Or maybe that’s just Illinois.

    • Hear of that ‘new’ Boing 737 Max plane that kept nose diving and wouldn’t yield control over to the pilots even when they shut off auto pilot and attempted to take control? The computer refused to yield to manual control and it flew the occupants into the ground. It was said to be ‘pilot error’ and their fault; that was before they retrieved the black box and learned the truth. Funny thing is, they didn’t ground the rest of the fleet until a fix could be made. That would have been an admission of guilt due to really bad (probably outsourced to India) computer programming. Who is at fault? They tried to blame the pilots and ‘human error’. Not the programmers and Boing. It’s the ‘not my fault’ syndrome.

  8. This is one area where Control is winning. What is needed is more KAOS!

    Yes, that statement was as old as “Get Smart” re-runs. But I think it’s what we need for these troubling times in the passenger transportation business.

    Maybe Fiat can do something smart and bring back the X1/9. Though I’ll bet they’ll find a way to make sure that it weighs in at about 2 tons, has super-wide tires, and struggles to get 30 MPG.

  9. The problem with “American” cars is “American” Fascism.
    Like so many other areas, the money mongers that run our economy only want more money and power. They have narrowed our options with their paid sycophants in government and excluded all sorts of automotive vehicles from the American market place.
    While this article decries the loss of various brands, the rest of the world is doing just fine. Of course, with the likes of the late George Bush and his New England yankee gang, efforts are underway to kill IC vehicular traffic for the rest of the globe. These people know no limit to their greed and criminality.
    If American car makers produced what we see in other countries, they would sell like hot cakes here. Ever seen the VW TDI Pick Up truck ? We want, but cannot have diesels with manual transmissions. We want cars and PU trucks without all the bling and complex, very expensive and profitable gimmicks. Who in hell needs back up cameras or power windows, or anti-collision protection ?
    Answer: the damn banksters and their Ponzi Scheme.
    If you don’t know it, the highly touted Capitalism we are supposed to worship is nothing more than government sponsored and protected USURY.
    The same “wring all the blood out of the turnip” philosophy that has killed NASCAR, professional sports, print newspapers, education and now YouTube content has killed Detroit and the automakers.
    And these same Shit Heads are going to let in that drove of invaders in Mexico and grant them citizenship !
    To quote Patrick Henry: “If not now, when will we be stronger ?”

    • I doubt Ammann and Barra would ride in these proletarian pieces of crap nor would they entrust their own kids or grand kids in them.

      • Just like the pricks who advocate and push ‘gun control’ would never be caught in public without their heavily-armed guards……

        “Do as I say, not as I do”.

      • Let ’em willow away, We will stick to our Kia’s. SUV’s are more practical than sedans, groceries hauled or luggage and other items put in back, are within easy reach.

    • BB,

      Oh, they’ll buy ’em- just as they buy the ridiculously expensive disposable pieces of crap with no trunks now- because there will be no alternative. All the good old cars are either gone or ‘collectible’ [i.e. worth too much] now; the current crop of crap are not viable as long-term used cars, because they are too complex and expensive to repair once out of warranty…so there simply will be no alternative.

      • Yup, sad we’ve gotten here with extremely complex engines and electronics, to get a little more mpg.
        And why I won’t own a current car without a factory warranty.
        I blame most of us for allowing Uncle to get away with this crap.

        • Chris, well over 80% of the people opposed the bankster bailout back in 2009 or so; yet all presidential candidates except for Ron Paul stood up alongside of the congressscritters and flipped us the bird! A violent reaction from us would have felt glorious and justified, but I suspect the masses feared the states armaments. I can understand that fear even as I realize that the bully must be put down before we can have peace!
          Sadly, humans are emotionally gullible, and the masses fall for the same government tricks over and over again! I am oftentimes ashamed to be a human being on this crazy planet!

          • Hey Brian!

            “Sadly, humans are emotionally gullible,”

            Yes, and even more so, now since the pooblik skools have turned most males into silly metrosexual girlymen, who are so much like women, even their body language has become that of a woman. So too have they become creatures ruled by emotion, rather logic.

            • Your right again Nunzio. I’m very proud of the son I raised. He’s becoming a man’s man. And so are his friends. Rare indeed from my viewpoint. While these few young men offer a glimmer of hope, I’m afraid the vast majority do not. An make no mistake, it was hard.
              He even has grown bold enough to challenge this crap to his peers and his teachers. It’s great to watch now as I don’t have to offer much input.
              There are other consequences of course, but for the most part they will stand heads above their peers in all aspects of life.
              My daughter is a different story, but she too is getting it, just a little slower.
              It is truly joyful to watch them now after so much of the worlds crap trying to propagandize them.

            • Hi Nunz,

              In re:

              “… pooblik skools have turned most males into silly metrosexual girlymen, who are so much like women, even their body language has become that of a woman.”

              I sit at a coffee shop almost every day to work for a few hours; I watch people out of the corner of my eye. I see exactly what you describe. The young guys are effeminate in manner and dress; the young women loud and bossy (and often obese/heavily tatted) … it’s striking.

          • The bankster bailout narrowly lost in the House (I watched the vote live on C-SPAN). It was instantly re-filed, with Bush threatening martial law if it failed again. Small wonder the Congresscritters meekly caved.

      • I won’t be buying the electric cars because (like with Eric) it probably wouldn’t make it from the dealership to my house without re-charging in the middle of nowhere.

        I wonder if the Morons-In-Charge thought of this when they shut down almost all small town dealerships in 2009 ???

        • Hi FM,

          I am certain they have thought of it. Again, the whole thing becomes very clear once you realize that it is not about “saving energy” or “the environment,” but about increasing control over us.

          EVs serve that agenda brilliantly.

          • Hence the big push for taking away our guns.

            So they can herd us off the land and into the big prisons that they call “cities.”

            It ain’t gonna go well. Just try to ban pickups in Montana – LOL

      • Nunzio: Tools can be hidden underneath the back cargo area. Storage space is hidden from view, no need to dig down into a trunk.

        • Trouble is, Laura Ann, with so many of these newer SUVs and crossdressers, the cargo area is so small, that the trunk of an old full-sized car, or back of a station wagon was HUGE by comparison….. (Well, not for me- I drive an Excursion…)

    • That is a great question Brazos Bend! You can be absolutely certain that the 14,000 laid off GM workers + probably 100,000 of their relatives and friends will not be in that line to make a GM pseudo car purchase!!!!

  10. Delayed reaction: Some pulled the handle and flushed Detroit about 30 years ago…now GM is finally getting sucked down the drain like a big brown floater.

    And the irony is, considering the crap that these Uncle-sucking snowflake bidnesses have been turning out, who can really say that they’d be sad to see GM or Chrysler go?

    I’m amazed they didn’t go sooner. They would have, had it not been for Uncle limiting competition and propping them up.

    • Hi Nunzio,
      Really think this is what its about, and why a lot of these western/establishment car companies are sucking up to uncle – protectionism. Forcing cars to be more and more complicated in all ways is making it harder for newer companies out in Asia to compete in these western markets, especially on a cost alone basis. Thats why they are embracing all sorts of regulation, be it safety, CAFE, etc etc…. Really felt this when I was out in Mumbai last month… the variety of cars you get out there, and the price was mind boggling…. (a small family sedan for USD6k, and that was a ford. Locals are cheaper)…. I dont know how car companies here can compete in a market like that. Fine these cars may not be as refined to drive or have all the bells and whistles, but if today in the west people were given a choice of cheap, fairly reliable personal transport, that too debt free….. i think a surprisingly large number would take it over the current offering…

    • Morning, Nunz!

      It it implodes and we can start over – new businesses, selling sane cars again – that will be great. However, I am betting we’re headed the way of every other nation that went authoritarian collectivist. Personal/private cars will be increasingly for the elite; the masses will ride share and take other forms of “public” transport.

      • I predict it will look like Russia is today, a clusterfuck of lawnmowers, tractors, 50 year old Ladas, mixed in with Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Infiniti and Lexus. With a larger number of Public Transit buses smashing their way through traffic as well. Uber and Lyft won’t survive, but I bet Yellow Cab will!

        • Yup. Crown VIc vs Prius and Leaf? A no brainer where to plop your nickel.

          I warmer places I suspect the venerable bicycle will find a new prominence. And gummit HATES them because they are unmontorable and cunontrollable. Except when the rider has his “device” aboaurd. Then he can/will be tracked everywhere.

          • Hi T,

            I agree with Brent – eventually, they will require licenses for bikes as well as some form of monitoring, too. Once one realizes all of this is about control, it all becomes immediately comprehensible.

            • Guise,

              Don’t forget the commie “bike share” programs(Gov’t sponsored; only one favored corp gets a franchise in any city) that have sprung-up in many cities now! Talk about monitoring!

              But of course, just like flying, those of us who care can opt out merely by not using the services, and by not carrying a tracking device ([not-so]Smart phone).

              Yet another example of why there will be no reprive from the ever-encroaching tyranny, though- ’cause the average person just doesn’t give a damn. (And I suspect a good many Libertarians don’t either, if it means giving up any convenience…)

              • Here’s my guess: Bike share gets us used to bicycles that are tracked from point to point, takes away street parking, and is designed to get more people to clamor for bike lanes that take more road space away from general traffic.

                • Absolutely Brent. I can’t get over what they’ve already done to NYC. Two-lane streets reduced to ONE lane, to accommodate bike lanes; Many streets have lost 50% of their already scarce parking spots…

                  Surface street speed limit reduced to 25MPH!!!!

                  And I guess if ya don’t have a smartphone, ya can’t use the commie bike share to rent the crappy 40 lb. Walmart bikes, because they have to track where you go, and have your financial info, etc.

                  And Oh! those bikes lanes are the new sacred cows of urbanites and cyclists….. I can’t stand to be around other cyclists- it seems almost everyone I’ve ever encountered is not only a full-fledged statist, but a freaking communist too.

                  • Toronto decided against the licensing of bicycles a couple years ago, but has considered it several times.


                    “His motion said the goal of any licensing system, which would have only applied to adult riders, would have been to gather ridership data, promote health, encourage use of the city’s smartphone cycling append, and generate revenue to pay for cycling infrastructure.

                    • Wow, Spaz! Those Canook pols are more honest (or more blatant?) that their American counterparts! They just essentially come right out and admit that it’s about spying (“Gather data”) and fleecing the sheep for more money (“Generate revenue”).

                      And how many will question why the mere act of riding a bicycle should obligate anyone to have to participate in those things?

      • Actually, this may work for me. I’m no elitist, but I do like the idea of lessening the disaster that is now metro area traffic. Almost 24hrs now around NY metro. i used to sit in my car/coffin for 3hrs plus a day to go 60 mile round trip (for 10 years). Then I started my own company and one of the big reasons was so I didn’t have to commute anymore and save 3 hrs a day of my life.
        And for those naysayers I made far less $ for a very long time, sucked. My wife and I used to enjoy our night out at the pizza joint with $10 in our pocket, no lie.
        20 years later, and the traffic is far worse. My commuting friends say it’s almost 4hrs now. I now won’t go to meetings unless it’s off ‘rush-3hr’.
        A lot of the trouble, still, is a lot of NorthernNJ people are still moving to PA to save $, and dealing with the crazy commute.
        Sooooo, if approx. 20-40% of cars go away, I would be pretty happy. I have the luxury now of spending more if I have to, to make my biz more efficient. And I know for sure, If me and my guys could save 3hrs/day in stop and go traffic , it would help my biz a lot.

        • Hey Ya’s, Nasir, Eric, GTC and Chris,

          They have used the excuse of “fuel efficiency” and “pollution” to neuter cars….but no one seemed to have noticed that the more fuel-efficient they make cars, the more people drive- thus negating any “environmental” benefits.

          People drive more now than they ever have- and even making outrageously expensive disposable cars for which people must indebt themselves, has not been much of a deterrent.

          I guess now, in their quest to relieve us of what is left of our independence/autonomy/right to travel, they have finally come up with a way to limit our ability to travel at will, by mandating these stoopit EVs, and making it so that the manufacture of IC cars is going the way of the 16 year-old virgin….and that the latest crop of IC cars will be nonviable as used vehicles.

          Instead of just outlawing real cars by decree (I was going to say ‘by fiat’- but Fiats should be outlawed! 😉 ) they just do it this way, so that it sounds benevolent to the general public….and few seem to notice. Infact, many are of the opinion that we who drive ‘big old nasty inefficient polluting’ vehicles are to be marginalized- totally unaware that the ones who are pushing the agenda which they tout, are the ones who are in fact marginalizing us all.

          It amazes me that the general public can be so oblivious to what has now become so blatant and obvious.

          • Hey, I resent that remark! I was a 16 year old virgin for a good solid 3 months! “The sadder, but wiser girl for me!” as the “Music Man” would say, lol!

          • I think you’re right Nunzio.
            Remember a few years ago, when gas was well over $4 for a while?
            Traffic problems went down a good amount around here.

            I learned something too, all my competition (bigger) put restrictions on their salesman’s travels. I told my guys to double down and it worked well, even though my fuel bill more than doubled.
            And just think, with how much more profit we made, uncle got a lot richer from me. Funny how that works.

            • You sound like me, Chris! Never follow the crowd! That was a great opportunity for you, and you caught it! Good job!

              Yeah, isn’t it funny- of every cent we earn, a good part of it comes right off the top and goes to someone else. They have a word for that. Slavery!

              And you know, the more I think about this CAFE/MPG/Enviro-EV BS, the more ridiculous it seems: Uncle took our money and our property to build all of these super highways all across the country- and then is ever expanding them to handle more and more traffic- which leads to more and more traffic. They created the problem…and now are proposing an equally unworkable “solution”- gimped cars/EVs/low speed limits (In many cities & suburbs…probably on the highways soon too) and other impediments to force us to give up the transportation which they have thrust upon us- and then, no doubt, after they’ve increased electrical generating facilities by 10 or 100 fold, they will no-doubt declare war on EVs……

              Given enough time, government will utterly destroy civilization and humanity….. and we are getting closer and closer to that time!

              But yeah, I remember that $4/Gal gas. Didn’t impact me too much, even though my vehicles only get 10MPG- I just went to town twice a month instead of every week (I’m a hermit!)- but it was actually nice seeing the reduction in traffic on my road, where some of the neighbors go to town every single day, or even multiple times per day- for all sorts of nonsense…take the kids to sports (Even though they live in the sticks where they have the space and freedom to do much better things than they could ever do in some field in town!) etc. etc. Even now, some of my neighbors spend close to $1000 a month on fuel….

              Sometimes prosperity can be a bad thing, when it comes to those who don’t have the sense to use it wisely. My parents, and many relatives grew up during the Great Depression- I truly think it was a blessing! (And probably a good part of the reason why so many of them are still alive and healthy in their late 80’s to mid 90’s!)

        • Traffic is bad because it is intentionally made bad.
          First building better morons behind the wheel. Some of today’s teachings are seemingly designed to cause traffic jams. The anti-destination league is in charge.
          Second is traffic calming which involves things like deliberately mistiming traffic signals.
          Third is that more and more people in the same space.

  11. Winnowing, as in, throwing it all up in the air and letting the wind blow away the chaff. Wasn’t that traditionally the woman’s job, after give the crop a healthy thrashing, ooopps, I mean, threshing? Looks like that’s all a female exec is good for, beating the shit out something a man provides, and then throwing it all to the wind, very interesting. For any who don’t already know me “Chaff ” is my middle name, sometimes my only name, lol!

  12. Mixed emotions on this story. On the one hand, GM cars have been completely uninspired for at least fifteen years. They’ve just been “phoning it in.” So it couldn’t have happened to a nicer car company. 😉

    On the other hand, these autonomous electro-pods are an industry wide blight. The worst just fell first.

    I hold no personal animosity toward Millennials. They simply have been conditioned not to value individually controlled mobility. But they are gonna miss it when it’s all gone. Hopefully, some of them will take the Red Pill, and resist. If not, they deserve what they get.

    • “They simply have been conditioned not to value individually controlled mobility. ”

      This is true, but there are some good reasons for them to eschew personal transportation as well.

      For example, police quotas/citations continue to go up and drive up the cost of driving. Also significantly driving up the costs of driving is the nation wide insurance mandates, not to mention the regs on the manufacture of cars themselves.

      Government has literally sucked most of the fun of driving by regulation and added cost. The Boomers had the muscle car era and after that it was a long, down hill slide where the cost and regulations outpaced the innovations that could be made to overcome them to make cars perform and be affordable.

      Not only do most families struggle to have a 1 parent earner today, the idea that a 20 something can go out and drop $35K on a new performance vehicle every 3 years(like back in the 60’s) is something out of an episode of fantasy island. Heck, the monthly insurance costs for them are almost as much as a 7 year car payment.

      This trend started a while back, maybe a couple of decades, when muscle cars were too expensive to buy anymore used and the “tuner” craze kicked in…because it was more affordable to hop up an import than try to land an old muscle car in decent shape and do the same. The trend has continued but there’s nothing left to fill the “affordable” category to speak of and so the millennials opt out. Even though I don’t like the trend, I think I understand it to some degree.

      • Hi Nobody,

        Very well-said.

        Especially in re the “tuner” crowd of the ’90s, which I remember well. That was the last time messing with cars with a common thing among teens and 20s. Brent – regular here – points out that there are still kids who mess with cars, which is true. But it’s not common anymore.

        For exactly the reasons you describe. The cars available today for a kid to fool with are generally either too complex or too expensive for kids on a budget to mess with or too far gone to be viable. Add in all the anti-car/driving bars to entry or which just make it unappealing – a hassle – and you see why we are where we are.

        My generation – Gen X, the one after the Boomers – was able to afford V8-powered/RWD cars because they were commonly available on the used car market and dirt cheap. They were simple, too. So easy to work on and easy to hop up. For very little money. A kid who was in high school in the ’80s (me) could buy a pre-computer/V8/RWD car from the ’60 or ’70s for $1,500 or so in today’s dollars. A running car that could be driven to school.

        Yes, it probably had rust and primered panels and probably needed new rings and so on. But all of that was very teenager doable.

        Today, it’s not.

        • Oh, I still mess with the cars, just it’s more order the parts and have someone else install them

          As nobody said, cops and government are sucking out the fun of driving and personally, closest drag strip closed and next closest is an hour and half away

          Hopefully Florida isn’t too strict, looking to move there someday, hopefully it’s lax and stuff

          • Hello Zane,
            Perhaps we are missing an important signal from Uncle Satansam. He/it keeps dumping sugar and other sweeteners and contaminants into our food an water. Perhaps we should finally show our appreciation by pouring sugar into the fuel tanks of state-owned (via robbery) vehicles…..

            • with today’s alcohol laced “fuel” and the electronic injectioin systems, sugar is a whole lot more damaging than when we had leaded fuel dribbling through huge jets and ports in the wide open spaces of carburetters.

    • Car ownership has become too expensive for young people. The fun, exciting cars are either too pricey to buy or too pricey to insure. Sometimes both.

      • At this rate, I’m looking at 15-20yo cars if I want something fun

        For the price of a Golf SE, I could get a 370z or e46 M3 or even a C5 Vette for example

  13. What I wonder most is what you say in your last para – they have all committed to 50+ mpg cars on one hand, and on the other, getting rid of the small sedans (the only things that can maybe go 50+mpg)…. Then they say they will make “only trucks and SUVs”… basically they will have to be electric…. but in the real world, wonder how long a charge it will take to get a beast like a Suburban to go a couple hundred miles on electric…. (provided you drive like a clover and dont floor it)…… then how much will it cost…. how they intend to square this circle is beyond me…… its like they have just given up and have no hope of every really actually “selling” cars…

  14. Cadillac hasn’t been the “Standard of the World” for at least 40 years. Riding on BMW’s coattails has not been a very successful strategy for them. People drooled over those Ciel and Elmiraj concepts. Why? Because they were quintessentially Cadillac. The only Cadillac that is somewhat familiar to the Cadillacs of yore is the Escalade – hence its popularity.

    It’s now too late to revamp the brand again considering where the industry is heading and how small of a brand it is. Sadly, their time is up.

  15. Once upon a time there was an adage: “As goes GM, so goes the Nation”. The dominoes may be beginning to fall with GM being the first.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. isn’t too big to fail.

    • “As goes GM, so goes the Nation”.

      Understand the concept. But it’s no longer necessarily true. People used to say the same thing about Kali. Now, NOBODY wants to be like Kali.

      While the others certainly are not without fault, no other car company has run itself into the ground as badly as GM. Hopefully their fate will serve as a wake up call to the rest of the industry.

  16. While watching some NFL games over the weekend (OK, old habits die hard. besides, the station I work at is the flagship station of an NFL team and the radio broadcast is absolute gold. It’s like 3 guys sitting on a sofa watching the game, drinking beer and riffing on the action…no other team has references to “snot bubbles” or Klondike Cornelius…so shoot me) when a Cadillac commercial came on. It showed three millennial chicks going out for a night on the town in their SUV. Really? Urban hipster babes driving an SUV? Puh-leeze. Mary Barra probably salivates “down there” at the prospect of being on a Sex In the City or Ally McBeal remake.

  17. Eric how’d you make it through this article and not mention Buick’s line of cars not surviving the decade. Can you imagine a millenial or anyone under 40 willingly buying a Buick?

    • Only Buicks I want are older than me (turning 30 on the 12th): GNX and GS

      I’d rather buy a beater with a stick than ever drive a modern day buick

  18. Youtube provides the entertaining last Hurrah for the ICE(internal combustion engine) and new devotees (the under 35 crowd) rule the Car Enthusiast space with Rebuilds…

    Names such as Tavish, Samcrac, and Goonzquad provide content for the young (and old) with some resources, tips, etc for those who still wish to wrench on cars. Lambos, Audi’s, and MBZ’s 8-15 years old from the car auction, or Hellcats, Vipers, and Corvette or Camarro(supercharged of course) of more recent vintage from the CoPart salvage auction show wrenching and rebuilding. Modern Hot Rod enthusiasts are not completely gone, just on their last legs…as they will have no source cars to rebuild, repair, and race in 5-15 years.

    With the plentiful supplies of fuel, and the current zenith of efficiency, performance, and relative safety, it’s too bad we are all headed for the Dystopia described in the 70’s song Red Barchetta by RUSH…

    • I’m hoping to get a crate LS to drop into my 11′ Xterra if it ever croaks*^

      *has 145k now, some guys driving them 300k up
      ^if V8’s are still legal.

  19. What a shame, what a shame.

    Of course, as the Joker once said, “It’s all part of the plan”, with the companies diminishing in size and such, since how else would these non-car people be in charge, I mean, who else would think that Mary Barra and others would be great CEO’s?

    Challenger used to be more unique and special, now if you don’t wanna Mommyvan or SUV, it’s that or the Cop Car Charger, and nothing aside from the ATS, Camaro and Corvette excite me on the Government side, while Ford at least made unique variations of the bland cars before decided to axe them.

    Well, always the used market for my next car, RIP new ones

    • I remember that miserable excuse for a Caddy, and the target buyers as well. Apparently you are not a “minority of color” who finds gold-plated shiny shit attractive, lol!

    • I remember one of my neighbors had a Cimarron and kept it for years. Each year it got uglier and uglier, the “shiny shit” flaked off and cracked. It had the longevity of a banana in 100 degree heat in the sun.

      My mother’s 1986 Coupe de Ville was what would keep me from ever buying a GM car, that car was so badly made that I was afraid to drive it anywhere. It would give no warning when something was wrong, it would just die. An ignition module failed just after I got off the highway, the oil pump failed, the radiator blew – the car didn’t even have 50,000 miles on it when we got rid of it in 1995.

      My father at 86-years-old still loves Cadillac, he has a 2017 now it has to be his 30th one. I can remember 18 of them. 1971, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2015 and 2017. The 2017 is so poorly ergonomically designed that I can’t figure out how to turn the radio on and these cars are meant for older generations. You have to press a button on the dashboard to open the glove compartment and the heated seats turn on whenever they feel like it.

      I went to Acura, then Lexus and would never buy an American made car.

      • I had an 84 coupe de Ville I picked up for $600. Loved it.

        It had a 4100 V8 with little girly man pistons that only delivered oil on one side. Always sounded like it was ready to throw a rod.

        But it had a real caddy ride, 27 mpg on the interstate, and a 40 channel Delco CB stereo.

        Plus you could adjust the air shocks for knockin boots.

        It was a piece of shit (not as bad as the V8-6-4) for anything other than highway. No balls and drank gas around town like a sailor on shore leave.

        • The 4100 motor was so bad that car dealers immediately replaced it with a 4500 whenever they got one on their lots as the failure rate was so high on them.
          Sometimes I miss the 86, it was comfortable like an big velour cushioned couch, other times I have nightmares that it is back in the garage under some boxes, lurking… U can still hear the air shocks filling on startup… ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

          We spent $10,000 on repair bills in two years on that car. My father wanted to give me his 1989 when he got a 1993. I was happy with the ’86, it had been my mother’s and it wasn’t too flashy for where I had to park in college. My father warned me that at 50,000 mile it was going to start having trouble. I had no idea he could have been so right about something.


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