The New Number One

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Some may recall the excellent ’60s BBC TV series, The Prisoner – starring Patrick McGoohan as Number Six. Well, we now know who Number One is, after all these years.

It’s not GM.

Not anymore.

After a catastrophically bad December that saw sales crash 43 percent – 45 percent at Chevrolet, the automaker’s “volume” sales division – Toyota cruised past to become the world’s number-one car company, in terms of total sales.

An interesting thing about that is Toyota doesn’t sell any electric cars – while GM is trying hard not to sell cars that aren’t electric. Cars like the Chevy Bolt – an electric subcompact that costs more than twice as much as a Toyota Corolla and which has an alarming tendency to catch on fire without anything hitting it. And electric SUVs like the GMC Hummer, which costs twice as much as a Toyota 4Runner.

Toyota does sell a lot of partially electric cars.

There are hybrid iterations of almost every model of car Toyota sells. Even the Sienna minivan.

Some of these can be plugged in. But – unlike the electric cars GM is trying to sell – none of them have to be plugged in. You are free to drive on battery power but not constrained by the limitations of battery power.

A 2022 Prius Prime can travel about 25 miles on battery power alone. Not as far as the Chevy Bolt can travel (259 miles) but it’s actually much farther since you don’t have to stop after 25 miles . . . or 259 miles. The Prius can go more than 600 miles without stopping. And there’s almost no waiting – maybe five minutes – to get going, again. The Prius is also a family-sized car with twice as much cargo capacity as the subcompact-sized Bolt.

And Chevy wants to sell it to you for several thousand dollars more than Toyota will sell you a Prius for. Without having to worry about parking it far enough from your house to avoid it burning down your house. Because the Prius doesn’t catch on fire, just sitting there.

Toyota has been very reluctant to embrace the electric-only tar baby. And thus, Toyotas sell. Functionally useful vehicles – at affordable prices.

Is it any wonder that the only thing GM that seems to be selling well is nostalgia – for the kinds of cars GM used to make?

Like the ’66 Impala convertible featured in the recent commercial, Holiday Ride. GM meant it to be a heart-strings-tugger, which it was. But not for the reason GM intended. Viewers mourned the death of cars like that ’66 Impala as much as the old man who kept his in the barn as a memento of the past mourned the loss of his wife.

We see glimpses of other GM vehicles GM no longer makes. The unforgettable nose of a ’70 Camaro. A ’57 Bel Air. Even a ’70s pick-up (which didn’t come with a four cylinder engine, as GM installs in its current full-size pick-up).  The one forgettable vehicle in view is the new GM vehicle. The whatever-it-is crossover SUV owned by the old man’s daughter. Its presence among the greats only highlights the absence, today, of greats.

There’s the Corvette, of course.

But as great as it is – by the numbers, it’s the most powerful/quickest/fastest/best-handling Corvette ever built – can it summon the emotions one feels when a side-piped ’64 StingRay rumbles by? Will anyone hold onto a 2022 Corvette for half a century – like that old man held on to his ’66 Impala? Or is it just another flashy throw-away whose ephemeral appeal is based almost entirely on the numbers?

It is hard to see how GM increases the number – of sales – when it hasn’t got much to offer and what it does offer is too expensive and too homogenous. There are four GM divisions – Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Combined, they have a smaller market share (about 17 percent) than Chevy had by itself back in 1970 – when it was selling cars that sold on more than just the numbers.

Toyota has two – the former, plus its luxury division, Lexus.

This means Toyota doesn’t have to try to sell three or four iterations of the same vehicles, slightly altered, cosmetically, as GM continues to try to do.

But the core problem – for GM – is arguably the same-sameness of its appliances. The majority of what it sells – what it is trying to sell – being the same thing everyone else is also trying to sell.

Crossover SUVs.

Excepting Camaro and Corvette, that’s all Chevy sells – and Camaro is apparently about to be cancelled (again). There are trucks, of course. But everyone else is selling those, too – and the trucks GM is trying to sell are also losing the not-by-the-numbers intangible things that made people feel something for them, once.

This leaves GM struggling to sell appliances on the numbers, a sterile measure which is more easily matched and which is almost always ephemeral in that it is inevitable the next model year’s appliances will be more “efficient” or powerful or more “tech.”

And when they’re all electric, they’ll be even more the same.

Where does that leave yesterday?

The same place you won’t find tomorrow.

. . .

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  1. I think part of their problem is the badge engineering. They seem to have forgotten how that worked out last time. In the 2010s some Marques had some sizes of cuv. Now all of the Marques have all of the sizes. Chevy has too many of the same thing. Why would I buy a Trailblazer over a Trax? Or A Blazer over an Equinox? They need differentiation. Trailblazer could be a Bronco/Jeep fighter. Blazer could have been a performance car. Instead they’re all the same.

  2. I was born in Michigan, car country or at least it used to be. Still live in Flint. Cars are in my blood. Many of my relatives and friends have worked for GM, Ford, Chrysler(Jeep) and even AMC. The first new car I owned was an AMC Gremlin, 1977, I loved it, actually a horrible car but it was mine for $75.00 a month for three years.

    The first car I owned was used a AMC Rebel, a muscle car, I drove that thing fast between Detroit and Grand Rapids every weekend for a couple years (girlfriend).

    Prior to that my Dad let me drive a 1962 Buick with, I think a 454 engine. I was the oldest so I had to pick up the younger brothers and sisters at school and others . There was one long stretch of relatively untraveled road between home and the school. I got that Buick up to 120, several times.

    Then I got busted the parent of one of the youngsters I was going to pick up, Dr, Blank passed me going the other way. I about shit. Several days later as I was dropping off his kids he said “Glad you don’t do it with cargo” . I said no sir, only me. He said yeah, I like fast cars as well.

    All three cars meant freedom. I can not see how the morons in charge think this car thing is going to go well. The covid scam is coming apart. The climate scam the same. All the scum have left is force. Fortunately, unlike, Canada, Australia, UK, Europe all the rest of the world we have the right to keep and arm bears. All my bears are armed. Brandon beware of the bear.

    Sorry for the rant but it helps to deal with crap.

  3. I wonder if the car companies (well, maybe Toyota excepted since they won’t have to) are saving the plans for building real cars (i.e. – not electric turduckens)? They’ll need them after this electro-fad fails royally. And fail it will. There’s talk among the EU, of all places, of including nuclear and even natural gas as somehow “green” energy, more evidence that their plans aren’t working. I used to be a tech guy (computer programming), so I have a good idea of how technophiles think. They’re very good at overestimating their abilities and the capabilities of technology, but when the rubber hits the road, it doesn’t work out so well. And the plans of the powers-that-shouldn’t-be will fail, spectacularly. Well, except for Toyota.

  4. To succeed, you must have 2 things:
    1. A product with sufficient demand
    2. A perceived value of said product

    Toyota has both of these more than the other makers right now.

  5. I’m really amazed that GM sold that many vehicles and was pretty close to Toyota. I mean, who buys what they’re selling? Really? Malibus, impalas, Buicks and Cadillacs? People are really buying that many of those things? I guess it must be Chevy/GMC trucks that are the bulk of it. On another note, my buddy finally took delivery of his corvette that he ordered about a year and a half ago. I must say, I was …… underwhelmed. Yes, very impressive on paper, good looking car, but, just no personality. Seems like just another appliance, but with fancier wrapping. I really want to like it, but it just doesn’t do anything for me like the old ones.

    • Dito, Floriduh –

      As ferocious as the new Corvette is I’d far rather have even a ’78 L-82 four speed ‘Vette with all of 225 horsepower. I’ve driven one of those – and they’re much more fun, even if the new one would walk away from it without having to shift into third.

  6. I grew up in the 80s/90s. Too young to remember the cars that everyone seems to fondly remember from the 70s. (I think Jimmuh Cahtuh had something to do with that.)

    One of my first commercials about a vehicle that I still remember to this day was the old Toyota commercial showing trucks with 200,000 miles on them and that they were still going strong. That was a big deal back in the day. I remember that being a slap in the face to the Big 3.

    And now I think back to famous pickup trucks from tv/movies and I always remember the black 4×4 in BTTF. I always wanted that truck. I currently have a more modern version of it and love my truck.

    Then I thought of other famous trucks from my childhood that I thought were cool and I am coming up short. 1st up in cool was the GMC driven by The Fall Guy. 2nd runner up was Jed’s Chevy step side in Red Dawn.

    The flip side of that era was cool cars and car phones. When I was a kid, I liked Knight Rider. A Firebird that could talk, drive itself, do jumps (with turbo boost, lol), communicate with wireless video, etc. was the coolest thing. Short of doing jumps (they do other pony tricks these days like parallel park or put on a Tesla show) we now have these vehicles hitting the highways and they are the bane of human existence. I remember the episode Michael Knight fell asleep behind the wheel and KITT had to turn on “Cruise”. Now I remember not long ago an article from Eric about the sensors that watch for you to get drowsy and alerts you. I guess that is the good thing about sci-fi, one can believe that tech is our friend behind the wheel, seems the reality is a bit different.

  7. I sincerely hope that every single car manufacturer that didn’t do everything they could to avoid this bullshit gets clobbered. Especially ones that encouraged it, hyped it up, and/or were cheer leaders for it. Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to make money and that means that they are supposed to not go all-in on pipe dreams.

    I think many or most of ’em have brought this on themselves and I hope it stings.

  8. Lots of problems with EV’s

    Worldwide 80% of electricity is produced by oil, gas and coal. electric cars aren’t zero emission they are remote emission. In China most teslas are coal powered.

    The new gas powered cars run so clean they have very very low emissions, very close to zero like .00001% contaminants. The exhaust coming out of a modern diesel is cleaner then the air in a big city. ICE engines will be banned because they are not zero emission, .00001% contaminants is too high, this is leftist insanity.

    EV’s pollute more
    NOTE: The biggest pollutant emitted from new cars because they have so low emissions are from tires wearing out while driving, tire particles.
    ATTENTION: Electric cars weigh 50% more than gas powered cars so have higher tire wear, so EV’s pollute more.

    ATTENTION: Only 5% of electric car batteries are recycled, a huge pollution problem.

    In their entire life cycle including manufacturing, electric cars in total pollute far more than gas powered cars, people don’t seem to understand that the vast majority of a car’s carbon footprint is made during manufacture and scrapping. Running the car, not so much. EV’s pollute far more, the leftists lied to you.

    Most electric cars are designed as performance cars so they use far more energy and resources than they should. (the government regulations don’t allow the manufacture of small light electric cars which would make more sense, china does).

    Recharging costs:
    The grid can’t handle large numbers of electric cars recharging, if all cars are electric the grid capacity has to be increased 500%. There is already power shortages, blackouts in many countries with electricity costs rapidly rising, when electricity prices go up 400% your old ice vehicle will look cheap to run.

    Open pit lithium mining for battery manufacture, often done with child slave labour, is worse then tar sands mining.

    The biggest problem…….EV fires:
    Enormous amounts of water are required: tactically, this may mean using a master stream, 2½-inch or multiple 1¾-inch fire lines, to suppress and cool the fire. Vehicle fires don’t typically call for surround-and-drown tactics, but these are not typical vehicle fires. so you need multiple fire trucks to put out the fire, this is insanity.

    One example: the flames on the Tesla were extinguished, it reignited again. Firefighters began hosing it down with copious amounts of water, up to 200 gallons per minute, but “that did not extinguish the flames,” according to the NTSB. At approximately 9:13 p.m., nearly three hours after the first alarm was received, firefighters had to pour out more than 600 gallons of water per minute. In the end the agency used 20,000 gallons of water. these should be banned from the road…..

    Then the fire still isn’t put out……..Batteries can be expected to reignite after being put out because they still have stored energy. 15 hours later it catches fire again…
    “Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish”….. the vehicle must be parked under “quarantine” for 48 hours, so that no new fire can break out.
    Batteries are difficult to extinguish, and they can burst into flames again several hours later –ATTENTION: in some cases, right up to a week later
    ……… and they allow people to buy these abortions.

    ATTENTION: EV’s can’t replace ICV’s because………global capacity for the materials for EV batteries can’t replace even 3% of fossil fuel vehicles.

    Electric cars are expensive, they are only for the rich, but they are heavily subsidized by the government with taxpayer’s money, including taxes from the poor, the poor subsidizing the rich. the poor can walk. electric cars, toys for the rich.

    NOTE: The first people to buy electric cars were the most sold on the idea, the biggest believers, 20% of them are switching back to ice powered cars because of the inconvenience factor, the charging time hassle.

    Another problem EV shares with new ice powered vehicles: Electronic components have a limited life, even if you do not use them. It’s the nature of the P-N junction that forms a transistor.

    So the new electric vehicles like the new computerized ice vehicles will have a limited lifespan, when these electronics fail the car will be scrap, too expensive to fix, more recycling and waste. Only buy cars with no computers.

    A 1913 Bugatti type 22 is 108 years old and daily driven. A Tesla is scrap after 10 years.

    But mechanical systems, like Jay Leno’s 1832 steam engine can last for centuries, get a steam powered car, they run on wood.
    Steam powered cars have the same advantage as electric cars, instant torque.

  9. The super 7 was the ultimate anti nanny state car, (that is why the prisoner drove one in “The Prisoner” series), give the finger to the nanny state buy one.

    they are small, very light (1200 lb.), tube frame construction, the frame weighs 100 lb., no air bags, ABS, no safety features of any kind, mechanical art made for one purpose to go fast, the closest thing to an old F2 car for the street, very fast,

    (a super 7 clone a Donkervoort had the record lap time for street legal cars at the Nurburgring in 2003, 2004). 50/50 weight balance, some had engines with no computer, just points and condensor,

    no power steering or power brakes, some no heater, no doors, some had no windshield, no roof (some had a convertible top), the ultimate analog driving experience, buy one. You are the prisoner now.

    • A great reason to own: The ultimate anti nanny state car, no driver assists, air bags, etc., only has a computer to run the fuel injection. (the Prisoner drove one.)

      Forget about EV’s, build your own, save money

      Caterham 170
      85 hp, (other models available up to the 620R with 311 hp.)
      0 to 100 (62 mph) 6.9 seconds,
      1100 lb,
      58.3 mpg
      It is green: It’s compliant with both Euro 6 and London ULEZ rules, with a CO2 figure of just 109g/km, that is cleaner than a Toyota hybrid.
      1100 lb = uses only 20% of the earth’s resources to build compared to a tesla.

      The biggest cost in a car is depreciation (should be the main reason to not buy an EV), Caterham super 7’s hold their value far better then almost any other car (electric cars have horrible steep depreciation).
      Very little depreciation and 58.3 mpg = one of the lowest cost cars to drive.

      The most simple car, wrench on it yourself.

      The best feature: more fun to drive then any other car, at any price.
      A super 7 (a 1957 design by Lotus), is the ultimate driving experience, buy or test drive one, it is a completely different experience.

      The most direct, analog, raw, visceral, unfiltered driving experience, perfect for the hard core driver enthusiasts, they say you don’t drive it you feel it, this is how a car should be, small, light, agile, fast, no frills, mechanical art made to go fast only, no luxury, no doors or roof, some have no windshield, nothing extra, with a 4 cylinder engine about 1200 lb. the closest thing to an old F2 car for the street, very fast,

      You get two cars in one, use it to commute to work, drive it on the track on the weekend.

  10. GM sold 26 electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021. Yes really! Only 26 electric vehicles. 25 Bolts and 1 GMC Hummer.

    Musk roasted them on Twitter for it.

    The Bolt battery fire fiasco slowed and then stopped sales of it. It was unpopular even before the battery problems became public. Most 2020 and 2019 models are still on dealer lots, in spite of vehicle shortages.

    GM talks often about the “all electric future”. But it won’t have much of a future if they continue to handle crisis like the Bolt.

    Electric is far from being ready for prime time. And IMHO fully electric vehicles likely never will be due to the massive engineering problems with them. Coupled with the fact that they aren’t even necessary to begin with.

    • All the rebranding, virtue signaling, advertising, and pushing EVs, they only sold 26 EVs in a country of 330 million people? Excuse me for a one moment, while I laugh hysterically!!!

      Oh boy!!! All them Harvard and Yale smart boys at the Ren Center…oh wait…sorry….all them gender neutral smart persons at the Ren Center should be proud!!! Billions upon billions spent to sell exactly 26 EVs for the quarter!!! LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!

      GM…you are trash. Mary Barra…you are worse than trash. Shareholders should be up in arms, but my guess is they drink at the social responsibility and sustainable mobility (LOL) kook-aid stand as well. GM is going to not be around in 30 years…mark it.

        • In short…how communism destroyed an American icon. But its also much deeper than just that. Self-aggrandizing, resting on laurels, corporate nepotism, arrogance, politics, wokeism etc etc. I stand by my statement. In 30 years GM will be finished. They’ll be swallowed up by a Chinese EV maker.

          • A lot of the English cars are gone, bought out. Lotus is Chinese owned, so is MG. Jaguar and Landrover are owned by Tata which is East Indian owned. Caterham is now Japanese. Mclaren owners are in Bahrain. Morgan is Italian owned.

            Dutton an English car company (it still is), was the biggest kit car maker in the world in 1978, they made 8000 super 7 clones and a fiberglass body pickup truck and an suv, they also made an amphibious car, that is the only car they make now. It is the only profitable amphibious car maker in the world, it is the oldest car company in the world with the same original owner, Tim Dutton, he is an engineer.

  11. Can’t put much stock in the numbers right now, nor make speculations about consumer motivations, because there just aren’t many cars on dealer’s lots right now…and it’s kinda hard to sell cars that don’t exist……

    I don’t think it’s because the public suddenly woke up and realized that modern GM products are garbage, and that electric cars are untenable/impractical.

  12. The market has always defeated the tyrant in the past, eventually. Can it do so again? Or will Ford and Chevy become wards of the state?

  13. ‘Toyota has been very reluctant to embrace the electric-only tar baby.’ — eric

    If old Tom Wolfe were still around, maybe he’d pen a sequel titled The Electric Tar-Baby Acid Test, detailing the formative days of the EV religion with its hallucinatory notions of virtue-signaling, carbon-free living.

    All we can say to the feeble-minded Brer Biden is, “Whatever you do, don’t throw me into that briar patch!”

    • Toyota was more interested in hydrogen fuel cell/electric tech (the advantage…. refuel in 3 minutes just like an ice vehicle, also no 2000 lb batteries like in a tesla, so makes more sense, it is the only electric technology that will work on big trucks), the problem is very few refueling stations yet.
      Toyota had a lease for their Mirai for $600.00 per month which included all the fuel, a great deal.

      Their new offering includes free fuel for 6 years, when they ban gas and diesel and electricity costs go up 10 or 20 times current rates, this might be a good backup… fuel.

      this is better than a battery EV, 3 minute refueling, no 2000 lb of batteries, free fuel (a friend has a tesla who uses a super charger at a mall, it costs almost as much as fueling an ice vehicle), if you charge at home the cost will keep increasing with electrical grid issues, no long charging waits, won’t burn your house down when recharging, no $22,000 battery dead after 10 years so car is worth zero after 10 years like a tesla.

      At the core of Mirai, hydrogen from the fuel tank and air entering from the intake grille meet in the Fuel Cell Stack. There, a chemical reaction involving the oxygen in the air and hydrogen creates electricity—powering Mirai. (electricity made in the car) In the end, the only by-product is water. zero emission.

      With a tesla the electricity is made (burning coal in some places) then transmitted 1000’s of miles at times, then you wait for hours to recharge, battery EV’s don’t work, they knew that 100 years ago.

      Tesla battery after 9 years 135,000 miles? battery dead can’t be used. replacement cost $22,000. residual value of car = zero

      Fuel cell lasts 5000 hr. x 40 mph = 200,000 miles, even then has lost only 30% of efficiency, so still can be used, as a used car. car still has residual value, plus it is a toyota.

      At end of life Toyota takes the fuel cell and recycles it, the 2000 lb lithium fire bomb tesla battery goes into the landfill.

      Hydrogen fuel cells make more sense then battery EV’s, gas powered ice is way better, diesel powered ice is best.

      Hydrogen can be produced using a number of different processes. Thermochemical processes use heat and chemical reactions to release hydrogen from organic materials, such as fossil fuels and biomass, or from materials like water. Water (H2O) can also be split into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) using electrolysis or solar energy. Microorganisms such as bacteria and algae can produce hydrogen through biological processes.

      • Toyota’s first all electric BEV

        Global details for Toyota’s bZ4X all-electric SUV are finally available, and the automaker’s first nationally available electric vehicle promises to be an interesting experience, at least in some markets.

        As these are global details, we can’t yet be certain of what exactly the bZ4X will offer those of us in North America, but the SUV — a joint development with Subaru, similar to what occurred with the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 sports cars — should go on sale globally in the middle of 2022.

      • Toyota is into H₂ because the Japanese government is into H₂. They’re not worried about ROI from R&D because they’re not paying for it.

        The Basic Hydrogen Strategy shows future visions that Japan should achieve with an eye on 2050 and also serves as an action plan to accomplish the visions by 2030. The strategy sets a goal that Japan should reduce hydrogen costs to the same level of conventional energy(e.g., gasoline and LNG)and to achieve the goal, provides integrated policies across ministries ranging from hydrogen production to utilization under the common goals.

        • Well, *IF* (big if) controlled fusion ever becomes economically viable, then hydrogen production by electrolysis of H2O *might* become the most cost effective way of producing H2, in which case we humans would have achieved a truly zero emission energy source.

          The old joke is that fusion power is “only thirty years in the future, and always will be.” My hunch is that commercially viable fusion power *may* actually become reality by 2050, which means I, for one, will not live to see it.

          Hard-headed assessment:

      • Can’t exactly put li-ion batteries in a landfill. Imagine one with some charge being run over by one of those earth movers at a landfill. Shorts, thermal runaway. Now the landfill is on fire for the next century.

        Also the environmentalists will find reasons to find water bad too if needed. I can make up some convoluted nonsense they would believe. Then they can go after all ICE fuels.

        • in addition to fuel cell electric generation. Also hydrogen can be burned in an ICE as well so and H2 infrastructure could also power ICE vehicles.

          • You can make a small homemade fuel cell to install in your car right now, (powered with electricity from the alternator), you install it so the hydrogen is piped into the intake manifold, this supplements the gas going into engine, then if it is set up properly will allow you to reduce the amount of gas fed into the manifold, so you get more miles out of 1 gallon of gas.

            Somebody built a larger unit in the back of his pickup truck, he had to start it with gas but then it ran completely on hydrogen. Somebody made a fuel cell for $30 worth of scrap parts from a junk hard.
            This would be a fun project.

          • They want zero emissions so they will ban all ice vehicles……but hydrogen powered ice is zero emissions (they didn’t think of hydrogen powered ice?)…so should escape the ban, maybe.

        • Less then 5% of EV batteries are recycled (they should stop the sale of them today over that one issue), I wonder where they go?

          At end of life Toyota takes the fuel cell and recycles it. Don’t expect Musk to help dispose of his batteries.

  14. I believe they’ve made a deal with the devil. Go all in on EV’s, knowing that a back-room deal with Gov will start mandating ICE to their death. GM’s then in a pretty good spot with forced sales.
    Of course, then the prudent one’s, like Toyota get hammered. But aren’t a lot of Toyota’s assembled here now?
    All politics, which will just continue to numb us down to a nub.

    • Chris,
      I think you are 100% on the money! Either EVs will take over, or ICE be mandated out of existence, or GM will be “too big to fail” and will be saved. They win no matter what. Meanwhile they sell tons of trucks to finance their green ambitions; hypocrites.

  15. In the head shed of Toyota is Takeshi Uchiyamada. Background: degree in applied physics and worked his way up to chief engineer of Toyota before becoming its CEO. Claim to fame: father of the Prius.

    In the head shed of GM is Mary Barra. Background: degree in electrical engineering and MBA went from inspecting fenders to leading their global engineering group (ie outsourcing to India) and VP of HR. Claim to fame: first female CEO of a car company.

    Conclusion: MBAs and HR are drains to an entity whose main concern is engineering. See Boeing as another example.

    • Great analogy Mike. I represent many mega corps now (we are their sales Reps), and fight their bloated bureaucracy every day. Seems to continue to get worse by the month/year.
      Every decision I have fought for and voiced my opinion to the big brass, happened their way anyway, and they’ve been proven wrong every time over the past 10 years.
      Can’t take much more of it.
      The very sad part of it is the bottom line, which is all they care about. My way? Guaranteed 2-3x sales over the past 10 years. Their way? flat to a modest 10% growth (because we kill ourselves, and that’s the part I wonder about anymore, if it’s worth it).

      • Corporations are a creation of the state. Expecting them to act contrary to that state is somewhat delusional. No offense intended. Since the state can erase them with the stroke of a pen, they are bound to obey.

    • Corporations have a life, just like anything. Startup, growth, innovation, production, maturation, finance. They all seem to follow this path. Most companies can fail at any of these transitions, espcially the production to maturation phase. GM somehow has gone beyond finance with the demise of GMAC (once their most profitable “division”), and into some sort of zombie state. Propped up by government and with stock held by hedge funds, politicians and endowments. It doesn’t matter what they make, do or not do, as long as they keep doing it because the stock is what matters. It is their product.

  16. I loved the Lotus 7 McGoohan drove in the opening credits. He walks in, argues with his boss, quits, gets in his Lotus 7 and drives like hell. Until he gets home and is kidnapped and awakes in a strange village where they drive electric golf carts. He was in hell.

    The Marxists and GM is taking us to the village to drive golf carts the rest of our lives.

    • Ah Hansie old top, but those were not electric golf carts, but BMC Mini Mokes! A Mini with a surrey-fringed body on top. Same Mini that John Cooper breathed heavily upon, and caused the Mini Cooper to appear. To me, the Lotus Seven and Mini Moke, along with the architecture of Portmeirion sort of sum up the eccentric, quirky, anti-authoritarian ethos of that show. Patrick McGoohan was merely 53 years ahead of the rest of us.

      • The super 7 was the ultimate anti nanny state car, (that is why the prisoner drove one in “The Prisoner” series), give the finger to the nanny state buy one, while you still can.

        I bought a super 7, it is a fantastic car, a completely different driving experience, it was designed for one thing only, fun, the government through regulations has banned fun, they say because of safety, the cars now are all huge, overweight computerized, lifeless junk, for safety, the end.

          • Hi Eric
            Here is a link with super 7’s for sale


            I have seen just the tube frame for sale for about $1000., if you can weld, make your own, you can build your own car, you need a donor car for the engine, transmission (rear wheel drive), suspension, rear axle, brakes, steering, gas tank, etc., then you can try to find a body to go on it. after you finish it could be sold for anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, build one a year for extra income. Somebody put a replica body of a 1952 Ferrari 500 F2 car on his, it sold for $100,000.

              • Dutton Super 7 clone with SBC V8 434ci, 1600 lb, steel tube frame, fibreglass body, it has run a best 8.90 sec 1/4 mile, this is how a car should be, small, light, agile, fast, no frills, mechanical art made to go fast only, no luxury, no doors or roof, some have no windshield, nothing extra, it is quicker then all the hypercars and the tesla plaid.

                A super 7 (a 1957 design by Lotus), is the ultimate driving experience, buy or test drive one, it is a completely different experience. The most direct, analog, raw, visceral, unfiltered driving experience.

                A Donkervoort a Super 7 clone in 2003, 2004 had the world record lap time for any street legal car on the Nurburgring.

                A Super 7 the 2nd most copied car in history, 160 companies made copies, (Cobra was the most copied car), the Super 7 is a close copy of a 1913 Bugatti Type 22, the specs are close, one of the first small light cars (did Lotus copy it?).


                Somebody in England still makes the fibreglass body for these Dutton kit cars shown in video.

            • This is a damn fine idea. Anon!

              I’ve made notes and – if I can find some time and some extra dinero – intend to pursue this rather than the H2750 project I’ve been contemplating. Just finding a viable frame for one of those will set me back more than the tube frame for a super… so, thanks!

              • These things are great, you can use any kind off rear wheel drive, drive train you want in these, flexibility, build anything you want around the tube frame, even make your own body from aluminum or fiberglass, if you shop around donor cars can found at low prices, the main cost is labor, do it yourself, turn it into cash when you sell it, Jay Leno says the best cars are the homemade ones. Cost to build, doing it yourself is maybe $3,000 to $10,000, then sell for $15,000 to $40,000.

                Time to build, they say is 100 to 150 hours. If it takes you 100 hours and you make $10,000 for your labor (difference between cost to build and selling price), that is $100 per hour. That is better pay then a lot of jobs.

                • Hi Anon,

                  The H2 is a mechanical barracuda of a bike – and just as unpredictably dangerous… which is why I love it so! I already own an S1 250 – which is the same concept, just smaller. A piranha of a bike. But that Lotus/Super 7… it calls to me…

            • A new super 7 like a Caterham fully built, not the kit, costs between $50,000 for a base model to $80,000 for the top 620R model. A used Caterham might cost $30,000.
              A real authentic used Lotus super 7 (only 2500 built), production ended around 1975, costs between $40,000 and $90,000.
              A good used clone super 7 can be bought for between $15,000 and $45,000.

              Caterham super 7 history.

        • The super 7 was the ultimate anti nanny state car, for another reason too, it was originally sold as a tax dodge, if Lotus sold you the kit instead of a fully built car you dodged a 35% purchase tax. The government tried to push back by ruling an assembly manual couldn’t be included with the kit, Colin Chapman instead sold it with a disassembly manual (you just read it backwards), it worked.

          super 7 story

  17. American cars are too expensive. If they reduce their prices by 25% then I am sure sales will pick up. Ford I think is also in trouble.
    Maybe soon the American car manufacturers will find a new cheaper source of labor.
    Someone is making the big bucks.

    • Once in a while I look at “truck porn”. Build & price a new 3/4 ton truck and even bare bones becomes incredibly expensive. They’re pushing 7 year financing that still is more than my mortgage.

  18. The whole series is available free on youtube. The series ending felt a bit rushed though.

    As some one who owns older vehicles an electric car is a bad idea as battery’s do not last as long as an ICE. I guess they don’t want you to drive the same car for a couple or more decades and let’s not forget that 24 highway shut down in Virginia a couple days ago, I wonder how long a tesla would have stayed warm?

    • Hi Landru,

      Yup. But – overall- the series was very thought-provoking. Very alarming. As good sci-fi often is.

      As far as the fiasco on I-95… bear with!

    • Hi Landru,

      I don’t think the I95 shutdown was a success for EVs or ICEs. The EVs lost power and the ICEs ran out of gas. The temperature dropped to 14 degrees during the night. One may have been able to turn off the car for an hour or so, but it being so sold nobody could proclaim a win and both cars lined the shoulders of 95 while their drivers looked for a warm spot to rest.

      Personally, I don’t understand the argument for or against the gas vs battery powered engines. To each his own is my mantra. Both of them rely heavily on the power grid to charge and fuel up. No power = no fuel. No power = no charge. A bicycle, a horse, or one’s own feet is the only alternative to a grid down scenario. Everything else is a problem.

      • A properly maintained ICE’s drive train can outlast the body, where as the battery on an EV won’t. I generally fill my tank when it drops to a 3/4 tank. I also usually have chocolate bars in the console, a can of coke, booster cables and a winter survival kit. Even some tealights from dollar tree and a holder will help warm your interior (don’t forget a pack of matches and crack the windows a bit for oxygen). If driving in isolated terrain keep some winter boots and other cold weather gear inside of the passenger compartment in case the car goes off road into a ditch and you can’t open the doors. Oh yeah, and look out for moose.

        • People in my circle carry some sort of ‘get-home’ bag. Items you would need to get home. Water, food, wet weather gear, some way to shelter, fire making, dry clothes, boots that you can walk in, the list can be as big or as small as needed.

      • Aside from ICE vs EV, one should have a vehicle that has the capability of getting one out of a situation. One that can go off road quickly and not sit there like a sheep waiting for help that is not coming.

      • RG, the horse must be fed, kept warm, it poops big piles of poop that have to be removed, it needs a roof over its head in snowy and cold weather, it requires medical care, and it is a monster to get rid of if it dies on your property. The hose gets frightened easily, just let it see a snake and observe its reaction. Just make sure you are not sitting on the horse when it rises its front legs in panic. Imagine how many thousands of people each year died from being thrown from their horse. Then there is the horse piss………….
        Bicycles and feet I won’t go into after reading the above.

        • to5,

          Everything needs to be maintained from feet to horses to automobiles. Also, horse manure is some of the best fertilizer for gardening. As for the horse passing….it is much easier to bury a horse (especially when one owns a backhoe) then to get rid of a decrepit old car. Also, in desperate times one can eat the horse. The car offers no substance.

          I was just stating that a horse would not have been stuck in 27 hours of traffic on a major highway since it is easily maneuverable and is not dissuaded by a couple inches of snow or a median strip. 😉

    • A Tesla *might* be “smart” enough to calculate how much battery it needs to get to the nearest charger, and refuse to deplete itself past that point. Maybe.

      If I paid Tesla money for it, I would certainly expect that feature, although personally I would like to see a warning message and an override.

      It’s smart to have some candles, blankets, water, and a flashlight in the car anyway, if you are driving around in the winter time. Kitty litter and a shovel might be good, too, in case you get stuck. Won’t guarantee you can get out, but give you a fighting chance at getting some traction.

    • Imagine if 500 of those cars were electric, all with dead batteries, they would all have to be towed and where is there 500 charging stations? ICE cars gave people too much freedom, cut them off.

    • Hi Landru,
      The Prisoner was a great show, in fact I’m watching it again on one of those streaming services. Agree that the ending was disappointing, kind of a cop-out imho, an early version of “Groundhog Day”.


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