“Late to the Party”

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A measure of just how divorced from reality the car industry is can be gleaned from a news story making the rounds about General Motors electing not to build a rival to the massively successful Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler 4x4s.

At least, not one with an engine.

GM’s president, Mark Reuss, stated the other day that “I’m not gonna do a Bronco” because he doesn’t want to be “late to the party.” This is logic akin to GM deciding not to build the Camaro back in 1967 because Ford had already built the Mustang – which was selling in the hundreds of thousands annually. GM, of course, ended up selling millions of Camaros (and sister car, Pontiac Firebird) over the next couple of decades – because there was a market for cars like the Mustang.

Just as, today, there is clearly a market for 4x4s with engines like the Bronco – which is the most successful vehicle Ford has launched in a decade, at least. Sales of this model were up 234 percent in 2022.

That’s not a typo.

117,057 were sold. That is a huge number in absolute terms but when put in context, it is even huger. The Bronco is not a mass-market vehicle. Unlike, say, the F-150 pickup – which is Ford’s best-selling vehicle.

Except for the electric version of it.

Ford sells about half-a-million non-electric F-150s every year, to people who need a practical vehicle. Ford has only sold about 15,000 electric F-150s, because they are not practical. 

The Bronco is not exactly practical, either. But it is extremely appealing, as measured by how many are selling. If Ford can sell more than 100,000 jacked-up 4x4s that get terrible gas mileage but deliver the compensatory fun and personality that people want – and are literally lining up to pay for – then why would GM not want to get a piece of that action?

Because GM no longer cares about the market. It is determined to build what there isn’t much, if any, market for. Like the electric Hummer, for instance. GM sold 854 of them during all of 2022, accounting for 0.2 percent of GMC division’s total sales. One can almost hear Dean Wormer form Animal House admonishing Mr. Blutarsky about his GPA.

Reuss says he doesn’t want to build a 4×4 like the Bronco because that would mean having to build vehicles to offset the effect of a vehicle like the Bronco upon the company’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) fleet average gas mileage numbers. He means that Ford must build hybrids and EVs – which use little or no gas – to make up for the gas used by vehicles like the Bronco.

This is chiefly why Ford builds the Lightning, even though it does not sell. Because it helps Ford comply. The Lightning’s EPA rating of 68 MPG “e” (your actual mileage will vary) is about three times higher than the non-electric F-150’s 21 MPG average and this has the same effect upon Ford’s overall CAFE score as getting an “A” in history has in terms of offsetting the “C” you got in history.

It’s a game every car company must play.

It is also the mechanism used by government to create “demand” for vehicles the market doesn’t want. Vehicles like the Hummer, for instance. And the Lightning. It is unlikely Ford would have ever committed the resources it took to build the latter if it weren’t for the need to offset what the government costs Ford to build the non-electric F-150 and other models that sell, such as the Bronco. Models that would be too expensive to sell, were it not for the losses incurred as a result of building models like the Lightning.

If Ford didn’t build Lightnings – and other EVs, like the Mach-e “Mustang” – to bump up (or at least, not lower) its CAFE fleet average MPG numbers, it would be socked with heavy fines for building what sells – models like the Bronco – which would then be passed on to buyers in the form of higher prices. Which would make it harder to sell models like the Bronco.

So Ford builds a handful of Lightnings and Mach-e “Mustangs” to make it cost-effective to sell 1117,057 Broncos. Which, by the way, would be much less expensive than they are if Ford didn’t have to waste millions building models like the Lightning. If there were no CAFE fines to pass on to customers.

GM builds 857 Hummers, which has probably cost GM several times the $108,700 each one doesn’t sell for.

Rather than build something that would sell – even if it cost them, in the form of building a few hundred electric Hummers to offset the CAFE fines for doing so – GM apparently plans to build more of what doesn’t, such as the 2024 Blazer EV. A “Camaro” electric crossover is also on deck.

These will meet with the approbation of the ESG crowd, even if it ends up costing GM everything.

Back in ’67, GM’s management understood that getting to the party late didn’t mean there wasn’t a party going on. Today, GM’s management doesn’t care about such things, which is a measure of how much has changed in the course of the 50-plus years since 1967.

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61 COMMENTS

  1. GM Pres stating he doesn’t want to be late to the party is an admission that some other car guy had the marketing foresight that he lacks. THAT’S A REAL VOTE OF SELF-CONFIDENCE.

  2. paging….William Crapo Durant….paging….William Crapo Durant. I think within four – five years all the majors will be broken up. The first to go will be Dodge, which will jettisoned by Stellantis as they retreat back to Europe. Up next GM, Buick, Cadillac will be bought by the Chinese and Chevrolet will be bought by a hedge fund. Ford will go back to being a one car company (model T) only it will be F-150s.

    • Hi David,

      I foresee something like that happening as well. I also think it’s precisely what they want: Fewer car companies, fewer choices, consolidation. The management of these companies does not care because it is paid obscenely to cooperate with the deconstruction of the car business. If you’re being paid $10-plus million annually who cares what happens? About anything?

  3. No cars, no problem.

    GM says we’re just tired of manufacturing millions of vehicles that will all be in a junkyard in 20 some odd years. A waste of energy and money so millions of drivers can drive from one gas station to the next.

    Somebody has to fix them, gets to be a nightmare.

    Then the cars are driven by idiots until they’re broke down again.

    It’s Groundhog Day every day for GM.

    We keep making the same cars day in and day out blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    If GM stops manufacturing internal combustion engines, what can you do about that?

    Too much of a bother, you gotta go electric, the way to go.

    It’s a new age, there are satellites and drones, the zeitgeist these days.

    What are you gonna do?

    Buy a Ford or a Toyota or a Mazda or a Honda or a Dodge. Isuzu, Suzuki, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, VW. Volvos are made in China.

    There are choices.

    Always something to buy until you can’t.

    No gas to buy, you won’t be going anywhere except home.

    Gonna be fun when Klaus is fed some bugs. The mealy-mouthed fool will be digging his tongue into the pile of stale bug food, he’ll be so hungry A few days with no food and he’ll eat anything to stay alive.

    What goes around comes around.

    Klaus and his motley crew bug me. Let them eat bugs.

    Make it a hashtag or something.

  4. GM sold 854 pieces of crap Hummer EeeVees in 2022?? I am shocked it was that many! Those things are having so many reliability issues that it’s like these “early adopters” are acting as GM’s test and development engineers!

  5. Has anyone done a study on the resale values of EVs vs ICE (or even hybrids) ? Once those batteries start wearing out they are essentially worthless pieces of high tech. It’s like your 8 year old Macbook that no longer holds a charge. I can’t believe the stupidity of so many who buy EVs.

    On another note, I recently bought a ’22 4Runner with 5K miles on the odo. Same bullet proof V6 they’ve been putting in for like 15 years. I love this truck. Crummy gas mileage, but I DON’T CARE. My goal now is to leave the largest carbon footprint possible as my legacy.

    • That’s exactly right. The marketing department has taken over, and they believe they’ll be able to sell anything, by promoting the sizzle. And they will, at least to the true believers. Heck, the East Germans sold 3 million Trabants to somebody. Maybe they were better than walking, but I doubt it.

      • Don’t forget, RK, the masses have long been pre-programmed now, via government schools and mass media…..so methinks modern marketing is nothing more than hewing to the metrics which those masses have been programmed to want/accept.

        I mean, the fact that even most (if not all) sports cars are automatics now….or that people actually WANT all of these “assistance” and “saaaaaafety” features and electronic trackers/concierges (OnStar, etc) says it all. (And if you talk to car salesmen, they will indeed actually confirm that that IS what people want). The corps and the goobermint are not only telling people what they can and can’t have, but actually makig it so that they desire the stuff that is decreed, and reject ‘the old primitive dirty dangerous’ things…ya know, like real cars, and liberty. Bernays must be salivating in his grave.

    • Yup, that is the plan. When the gas and diesel cars are no longer a problem to electric, they will go for the electric ones. It will be easier of course, since there will never be many of those.

    • sleep walking into this…..

      it is happening right now today in oxford in england…and other cities…….coming your way soon….

      cbdc 15 min city lockdown drones

      The final lockdown….

      @ 18:30 in video drones flying around as the new police, doing policing…. AI and tech will police the 15 min. city…

      digital Id the ticket to the digital prison…

      geofencing limiting moving around in the real world and the metaverse..

      ignoring reality is not a good stategy for survival

      smart city…no more rural living….off to the 15 min city……limited mobility, no cars…weaponized surveillance and control….water rationing…speech surveillance…..mobility tracking…rationing gas, heat, electricity…

      control of food supply…no more cooking/food ownership…..no hoarding/stocking up or growing/independent supply…..it will be a service delivered daily by the government…with your meds included……..if your social credit score/cbdc balance is too low or cut off…no food for awhile…till you comply….

      going from a debt slavery system to an identity slavery system

      AI is the beast….@ 59:05 in video….starve the beast…

      Who funded, approved, installed, the smart city surveillance infastructure?

      https://rumble.com/v1w1fcn-aman-jabbi-the-final-lockdown-street-lights-that-kill-in-smart-cities-cbdc-.html

  6. You point all all this stuff that happening to take away our freedom to travel, and reducing the affordability of cars, but now what? What can we do to resist this? The government has not been accountable to voters for decades, so voting isn’t going to do it. There isn’t enough will for an uprising, because people don’t want to die and the government will kill to protect itself, we have no influence on the cars that are manufactured. Europe is always a decade ahead of us in lunacy, and they’re banning gasoline cars from driving into urban areas at all, so this is coming to the US as well, so we don’t even have the Cuban approach of keeping old cars running available to us.

    • …”There isn’t enough will for an uprising, because people don’t want to die and the government will kill to protect itself…”

      There is not ‘will’ because we are still living pretty good compared to the many countries I’ve visited over the years. ‘Will’ comes when there is no food on the table and children go hungry. ‘Will’ comes when you can no longer afford the basics of life described by Maslow. ‘Will’ comes from necessity of survival. We, as a whole, will have to drop alot further in our quality of life for there to be ‘will’.

      However, similar to a slow moving train wreck, I can see it coming. Hopefully my wife and I will be on gone by then. Of course the current administration may hasten things if they don’t stop pushing for WWIII.

      • Excellent take.

        I’m guessing I’m at or near your age. More and moar I think I might get to see how this shit show of a story ends.

      • I see it too, and it frustrates me to be powerless to do anything about it. I was a political refugee from Poland, during communism, and I’ve seen how bad things can get.

        Look at North Korea. Those people are completely oppressed, poor and starving, and they outnumber the leaders a million to one, but still, they endure.

        I’m not as optimistic about ever overthrowing this giant beast.

      • “‘Will’ comes when there is no food on the table and children go hungry.”
        Indeed, no revolution was ever started by fat people. Perhaps why the FedGov diet guidelines are quite similar to their diet guidelines for fattening cattle?
        Hungry people, on the other hand…………….

  7. Right, because they’ve proven how successful they are at making EV offroaders /s
    https://s3mag.com/the-hummer-ev-is-a-9000lb-pile-of-shit/

    (Side note, ya gotta do a sitdown interview with them Eric, you’d hit it off with Mike and John over there)

    Ya do what we did in my Bronco here with an EV (https://www.youtube.com/shorts/C6lRIRHDzbc, friend asked to drive it, then next thing ya know, it’s a short on youtube), you’d not only go kaboom, but cause a forest fire and your families paying for the damages on top of trying to get the ashes from the rolling crematorium.

    All we need is a new Regime that kills off the EV mandates and madness, then all this crap comes to a grinding halt, and those who have fully submitted will be screwed while the others are fine

  8. I think GM is going to be toast as well. I agree that the Gov will want to bail them out, because they are useful extension to the government, but I don’t they will be able to indefinitely. Things that can’t go on don’t. It may take a while, but eventually this system will collapse. By the way, here is a great article on this topic; a must read, in my opinion.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2023/02/daniel-sterbuleac/electric-vehicles-are-anti-market-and-anti-environment/

    As a PS, I was really hopeful that Toyota was going to hold out, but they regime-changed their way out of that mind set, so no, they’ve chosen suicide as well.

  9. Saw a brand new Jeep Grand Wagoneer at church yesterday. Looks like Jeep is doing a one up on the Expidition XLT Max and the Suburban and the price shows it. 88k base but the ones on cars.com were like 107k plus. Nice.

  10. “GM’s president, Mark Reuss, stated the other day that “I’m not gonna do a Bronco” because he doesn’t want to be ‘late to the party.'”

    To the contrary, Reuss isn’t “divorced from reality” AT ALL. He understands full well that GM is not a car company, it is a de facto government agency, and it stays in “business” by staying on good terms with The Party in Washington. When GM went bankrupt in 2008 because it failed to sell autos to the public for a profit, it got $20 BILLION in taxpayer money.

    That’s all you need to know.

    The Bronco is not all that great of a vehicle, there have been some reliability problems with it. It is also expensive as hell, there year-long-plus waits if you order one, and if you don’t it is almost impossible to get one without paying stupid money over MSRP.

    Do you have $90k to just burn and fly across the country to the dealer who has one his lot for $20k over MSRP? Yeah, then you can probably get one. Personally I cannot grok that, but there are people doing it. Because it is not a bland, boring, front-drive SUV/crossover that looks exactly the same as ten million other SUVs.

    Reuss sees people who have stupendous amounts of money to burn doing this and yet he still refuses to build a competitive product because he knows that his paycheck ultimately comes from the government, not the auto consumer.

    • “When GM went bankrupt in 2008 because it failed to sell autos to the public for a profit, it got $20 BILLION in taxpayer money.”

      I’m beginning to wonder if the “recession” and subsequent “bailouts” were done deliberately, to seize control of these former American manufacturers.

    • It’s not all that bad with the Bronco, I got mildly burned with $2k and my 2.3 i4 is solid, no issues at all, and also tons of parts to add to her. Also, can’t count how many times I’ve been stopped to talk about her, never had that much attention prior to her.

      Other than defending my girl, rest I agree with

      • Never thought I’d see the day when people would be happy to pay “only” $2k over sticker.

        I don’t dislike the Bronco, in fact I like it a lot (the 2-door manual, anyway). I dislike the fact that you have to get a turbo on the base engine, though. And I dislike the price. In my mind a “utility” vehicle intended to go off-road should be cheap and simple. I am old enough to remember the 1970s era Jeep CJs and Broncos — not to mention seeing ads for surplus military Jeeps and mail Jeeps.

        I guess what I don’t like about contemporary Broncos and Jeeps — and this is not intended you insult you in any way — is that they are largely a boutique vehicle for wealthy people willing to spend a lot of money to make a fashion statement and/or engage in off-roading as a hobby or avocation. Consequently they tend to be pricey and have a lot of geegaws to appeal to the urban types. I like simple, basic and cheap. Nothing wrong with buying an expensive, optioned-up vehicle if that’s your preference, but the auto manufacturers are not really even offering basic, affordable, fix-it-yourself transportation any more to the people who actually want to buy it.

        • I’m not happy about it, but I also was a day one reservation, I was an OG 6g guy, so they kinda had my balls at that point since I ordered it to spec and waited over a year for it (7/13/20 reserve, 1/20/21 deposit)

          Yeah, I agree, the price is ridiculous and stuff, although I work hard for my money and figured then I’d get a brand new manual/beast. It’s a bit outdated, but you can see more of my car if you click on my name (Link to my blog), next car is gonna be cheaper and easier to diy, though manual.

          At least she’s not solely a pavement princess: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYJMnwdNE9w (2:25, also Baja mode isn’t always necessary I’ve learned), also while turbo’s are así así in terms of longevity, it can make power easily, so that’s a trade off, plus I’m from the NFS Underground/Midnight Club 3/Fast and Furious era where turbos were for sports cars, so by the time my turbo blows, I’ll upgrade it, and when the engine goes, swap in a Coyote or Cyclone.

          None taken, I know the crowd here, I’m more that friend who doesn’t completely fit in but is still welcomed

    • And like weeds in your garden, they are much less vigorous as your plants become robust, and choke out the weeds. Once people begin to realize that government is a liability, not an asset, perhaps people get more robust, and choke it out. Perhaps not. We shall see, if we are among the survivors.

  11. I remember several years ago when GM was blowing up the press about the return of the Chevy Blazer. When it was unveiled, laughter and disbelief was the reaction. Instead of a full frame 4×4, just another SUV (turd)!

  12. If car makers would have abandoned Kalifornia when they started putting out more stringent emissions standards, perhaps all this nonsense would have been avoided.

    • Hi Dan,

      Exactly! I said the same, decades ago – when the whole “California car” thing was getting going. For short-term/short-sighted gain, the industry truckled to California’s bureaucratic apparat, not grasping that by doing so, they empowered it. What they ought to have done – as you’ve said – is said, “We’re sorry, people of California. We can’t sell you cars because your government won’t allow us to.”

      • Second that Eric,
        Volkswagen should have done the same to the US market after they were pilloried for “cheating” on the emissions test.

    • Especially considering people are fleeing that beautiful disaster in droves, should tell the big 3 everything they need to know.

      I just hope Diesel makes a comeback

  13. ‘Because GM no longer cares about the market.’ — eric

    Which guarantees GM the same fate as non-market Soviet car maker ZiL:

    “ZiL (Russian: ЗиЛ), was a major Russian automobile, truck, military vehicle, and heavy equipment manufacturer that was based in Moscow, Russia.

    “The last ZiL vehicle was assembled in 2012. The company continues to exist only as real-estate development site.” — Wikipedia

    So bad, so sad. ZiL produced vehicles for the Soviet nomenklatura, under their orders. But it lacked any ability to serve market demand. Who were lowly citizens to give orders to a government-sponsored producer? The chutzpah!

    GM unwittingly apes ZiL by resurrecting an ungainly 1980s military vehicle, the Hummer, in EeeVee form.

    And talk about ‘late to the party’: a “Camaro” electric crossover simply pays homage to a “Mustang” Mach-E. What’s next — “Corvette” and “Thunderbird” EeeVees, harking back to Ike and Mamie and the high tide of hip-swiveling Elvis?

    Both Mustang and Camaro are aging mid-20th century brands — today’s automotive equivalent of Grateful Dead and Eagles tribute bands. They bang out familiar, canonized old hymns for gray-haired pensioners, jauntily tapping their canes to the beat. But nothing new will ever come of this.

    No tears, no fears
    No ruined years, no clocks
    She’s a twentieth century fox, oh yeah

    Got the world locked up
    Inside a plastic box
    She’s a twentieth century fox, oh yeah

    — The Doors, Twentieth Century Fox

    • Speaking of Russia, why don’t they start making LS or Gen 3 Hemi powered cars for their domestic market? They shouldn’t be worried about patent or IP infringement these days.

      • Russia is a poor country. They have huge natural wealth but not enough population density for that kind of product to succeed. It’s the same dynamic which keeps us from building cars in North Dakota.

    • “Both Mustang and Camaro are aging mid-20th century brands — today’s automotive equivalent of Grateful Dead and Eagles tribute bands.”

      Hi Jim H,

      Some cover bands are much better than others. Even Better than the originals.
      (Only exception would be Fleetwood Mac, back when Stevie still had “That Voice.” Nobody can equal that.)

      And keeping with your analogy, let’s remember that the Porsche 911 is also an “aging, mid-century brand. That doesn’t stop a lot of really rich people from lining up to buy one. 😉

  14. A very timely post Eric. Yesterday I got into a “discussion” with another poster on another site about GM and Chrysler. He kept banging on that GM and Chrysler were “well run companies” because they were still in business after the 2009 bankruptcies of both. Bailed out by us, the taxpayers.

    Yeah, GM. 52% of the US new car market at the dawn of the 1970s to approximately 17% of the US new car market in 2022. Is losing 2/3rds of your market share in your home market a sign of a “well run business”? Is making cars almost nobody wants to buy the sign of a “well run business”?

    But to this guy GM is A-OK because the lights are still on at the Ren-Cen.

        • Hi Horst,

          Yup!

          I think the high water mark was something on the order of 250,000 Firebirds in one year (1978 or ’79) if memory serves. And something like half of them were Trans Ams.

          This isn’t counting Camaros…

          • When you consider that the Camry is a practical car, and the Firebird never was, it’s amazing that it sold that many. People will buy impractical cars if they are the right kind of impractical. They don’t now because they can’t afford the insurance.

            • cars are an emotional sale…lots of people buy them because they like the look….they know nothing about the car other then that….they used to say GM and Toyota put their money on the outside of the car…….

  15. Never underestimate the ability of government to screw things up. First with their ineptitude, and then with their intent. Add them together, and screwed we are.

    • I think 20 years is pretty optimistic, except FedGov again won’t allow them to go belly up, if it takes every dime your great great grandchildren have. Unless FedGov goes belly up, which it actually already has, but being FedGov the world of real consequences doesn’t apply to them. Until it does.

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