The Pontiac-Oldsmobile Lesson

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GM went from selling seven brands (Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Saturn) to selling just four (Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac) today. A similar winnowing happened at Ford, which used to sell Mercurys. And at Chrysler, which used to sell Plymouths – and maybe soon just Dodges, now that Chrysler hardly sells Chryslers, either.

Why the winnowing?

Because the brands that were winnowed were not selling anything meaningfully different. By the time Pontiac and Oldsmobile were retired, they were just selling badges. More finely, rebadged Chevys. A few cosmetic and pricing tweaks aside, they were all the same vehicles.

Just the same as a Plymouth Neon was also a Dodge Neon.

It doesn’t make much sense to sell the same thing as a different thing. It wastes resources trying to get potential buyers to believe they are buying something different. And most buyers won’t buy it, regardless. They knew a Plymouth Neon was the same thing as a Dodge Neon. Just as people knew the last “Pontiac” Firebird was a rebadged Camaro.

There is a lesson in here somewhere.

For all the badges that think they’ll be able to survive selling the same devices.

If Pontiac couldn’t sell rebadged Chevys, what makes GM think Buick and GMC can survive selling rebadged Chevy devices? There is already very little meaningful difference between the “GMCs” sold by that brand and the Chevys sold by . . . Chevy. A GMC Yukon is a Chevy Tahoe. Slightly different styling – and a higher price – but otherwise, it’s the same thing. And both of them are the same basic thing as a “Cadillac” Escalade. These still sell because there is some prestige attached to the badge. But that – and what it costs – are about all you’re getting for your money.

The luxury badges – such as Cadillac – are likely to find it harder to make a sale when they’re selling the same devices as everyone else, including the non-luxury brands. At least the “Cadillac” Escalade still comes standard with a V8, which makes it very different from a device such as the Rivian R1. But what will make the Cadillac something other than just a badge – and a price – when it is just another device?

I tried recently to explain this existential threat to luxury brands especially to a Mercedes-Benz media relations manager, after I got taken off the list of journalists accredited to have access to Mercedes vehicles for test-drives (in order to write reviews of them, something I’ve been doing weekly for about 30 years now). Mercedes was unhappy with the reviews I’d written about some of its latest devices, including the EQE – which I didn’t test-drive much because I couldn’t drive it very much, due to the the serial hassle and time-suck of trying to instill a charge into the device.

You can read what I wrote here and decide for yourself whether it was unfair.

The point, though, isn’t whether Mercedes is happy or unhappy with what I wrote about the devices it sells. The devices it is being effectively forced to sell, even though it (and the other luxury brands) pretend they’re just offering the very latest thing. Pretending there’s a market for what they’re being forced to try to sell.

The point – or rather, the question –  is: When all a luxury car manufacturer has to sell are devices, what would make people want to pay luxury-badged prices for them? Consider Mercedes’ devices. They have big touchscreens and a big plastic three-pointed star in the grill to let you know it’s a Mercedes device.

But other devices have the same things. Well, not the big plastic three-pointed star in the grill. That is still uniquely Mercedes. Everything else isn’t. There is no longer anything particularly luxurious about climate control, heated leather seats and very good stereos. They are practically expected standard features in cars that don’t cost luxury brand money.

What you used to get for luxury brand money were V8 and even V12 engines, which weren’t common or even available in other-brand models. Now those are all-but-gone from even the luxury-brand vehicles that remain (that aren’t yet devices) and the six has become the new exotic engine, since you can’t get them anymore in the Toyotas and Hondas and Chevys and Kias that used to commonly come standard with or offer them as options.

When the sixes are gone and everything’s a device ad they’re all pretty much the same – except for the big plastic three-pointed star in the grill (and so on) – what will be the point of spending “Mercedes” (or BMW or Audi or Lexus) money to get what amounts to the same device except it looks a little different from other devices and costs a lot more?

Pontiac and Olds (and Plymouth and Mercury) might be able to answer that question, if they were still around to answer it.

. . .

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59 COMMENTS

  1. First, I agree with the main premise of this article but I will be contraire in regard to Pontiac…..I work here at gm and Pontiac was sacrificed at the altar for political reasons. We bought Pontiacs a lot in my household. They looked better and most definitely had nicer interiors than the comparable Chevy at a modest price difference. Most times on par with Caddy in those 2 areas IMO. Barry and the gang were running gm (still are?) and Chinnna was familiar with the Olds name from the 50’s soooooo that put the kabosh on the indian. Plain and simple.

    • Rob A: I have posted on another thread how Pontiac was more quality conscious and returned more parts to my Ternstedt plant than Cadillac. You have to allow that Cadillac sometimes had slightly different specs for the similar parts. e.g. Cadillac often required triple plate where the other divisions required double. Sometimes inspection was more critical, too.

      But we got a more stuff back from Pontiac than from any other car division. When Bunky Knudsen put in his zero defect campaign, he meant it. Last car off the line went home with him and came back with stuff as small as a dropped stitich on a seat flagged the next morning.

  2. Mercedes Benz has one good quality….

    It is the only car manufacturer in the world that will supply parts for your Mercedes going back to it’s first car…..

    It is getting to be a huge problem finding parts for a lot of different cars now…..

    The real survivors are the Cuban’s….they have had no parts supply for a long time, so they just improvise or make their own parts….soon we will all be Cuban’s…..

  3. For as much has GM has been bought and paid for the EV stuff, they are the last one’s to still offer a v8 in the large suv’s, and still offer a insanely powerful v8 in a sedan of all things (CT5 blackwing), and a really powerfull V6TT (CT4 blackwing). Don’t understand? Just taking the money and running?

  4. Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet were first cousins. William Durant wanted to buy Ford for 8,000,000 USD, bankers didn’t approve and seized the company. Durant was removed.

    When I read the ‘Manuals Matter’ article, I first thought it was about auto mechanic’s manuals. Now it’s all on computers.

    I spotted a full-size Buick sedan yesterday, you can see that the size and shape make it for a killer styled automobile. One nice car, all clean, always better to have a clean exterior. Makes it shine.

    Ransom Eli Olds put together the REO Speedwagon. You can buy one at Bring a Trailer for 51 grand, a pickup truck.

    Ransom Olds has to be extremely unhappy with GM.

    18,500 dollars, the price of an old rusted out International pickup truck with no wheels and sinking into the ground. Might be able to find one buyer.

    A restored Studebaker Hawk is only 16,000 USD or somewhere in that price range. One at another location sold for 25,000 USD, a 1961 model year. Depends upon the condition and where you are. Other years sell in the 39,000 USD top dollar range.

    A rusted out International pickup has more value than a classic Studebaker Hawk in great condition? Doubtful there.

    Studebaker Hawk

    I’m not a well-heeled oil company CEO, so I won’t be buying much of anything more than 10 dollars at a rummage sale. Got my tractor, better than a Maybach.

    If you bought an EV, you own a white elephant.

    Don’t know what’s going on around here half the time, do ya, Joe?

    • drumphish: I was going to include that Ford disaster in my History of General Motors comment. I figured no one would believe how stupid that was. But then, the Crown Vics would have wound up with Chevy engines.

      Durant started out without a great deal of capital, was one of the richest men in the world at one time, and died stone broke. “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em!”

  5. GM should have and could have been split up at several points in the last 40-50 years (and still could be). Then the individual brands could have lived on independently. I know Penske tried to buy Saturn (why Saturn?) the last time GM went bust. But GM wouldn’t sell them any factories, so they had no way to build Saturns after the sale was completed so it failed.

    The car companies are going the wrong way on merging together, if anything they should be splitting up into smaller companies. It’s not like they have to be merged together to do joint projects or anything. The only thing that seems to happen with these mergers is the dysfunction is multiplied.

  6. The original BOP plants (c ’50s, early ’60s) were a common sense decision. They built lower volume GM cars by consolidating the assembly in common plants. They built real Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs. Some chassis components were the same, but the cars were still products of the individual divisions design and engineering staffs. All were built on the same line, mixed. (Talk about a problem when something forced a chassis to be pulled due to a defect someplace along the line. But it worked.) Most Buicks were still built in Flint, most Oldsmobiles in Lansing, most Pontiacs in….. But the BOP plants localized some of the delivery problems.

    They also precluded disasters like the Hydramatic fire caused. Cadillacs with Dynaflow weren’t a real problem. Who cared? But the only advantage to a Slushomattic in an Olds 98 was that you could rev the engine at the girls but not drive away from them when doing so.

    As indicated, Pontiac and Olds are long gone. Buick started in the garage of a plumber who had created an OHV engine in the late 1800s. When I was in Flint it was Buick Town. Production ended at the Flint plant in 2010. But the Chinese love them for some reason. I guess a few are still built here, maybe in GMAD plants.

  7. The whole point of luxury cars is now basically moot, except for the hood ornament that tells the world how much you paid.

    People traditionally bought luxury cars because they wanted to get more from their cars, and were willing and able to pay more.

    When you bought a Mercedes Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Lincoln, or Chrysler Imperial, you did indeed get more than you did in a Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Mini, or VW.

    You got more equipment, like automatic transmissions, power steering, brakes, seats, windows, door locks, and mirrors. You got more comfort with climate control, leather seats, and a smoother, quieter ride. You got a more powerful engine. You got better build quality, materials, and workmanship.

    That all has changed. Today’s entry level cars have all of those things—at a much lower price. So why bother?

    And with EVs, there’s even less of a case for a luxury car—I mean, there’s nothing luxurious about waiting for a charge when it’s 10 degrees below zero or 110 degrees in the shade with dozens ahead of you. The only thing luxury EVs might provide is extended range.

    But EVs do enable people to virtue signal—which is what they’re really about. Methinks it’s because rich (and pretend rich) people feel guilty about their good fortune and see EVs as a way to atone for their sins.

    • >Methinks it’s because rich (and pretend rich) people feel guilty about their good fortune
      There is also the MMTB (More Money Than Brains) aspect, characteristic of those who have gotten paid $$$ for “talents” which require very little intelligence, such as “movie stars.”

      As I have said for a long time, you can easily sell a gullible person a shit sandwich, provided you:
      a) charge him/her enough, so he/she perceives it as “valuable,”
      b) tell him/her there is very limited availability, so they better get theirs NOW, while they are still available.

        • That big star has been around since at least the 1950s. It was originally so the Mercedes winning the race could be easily spotted. I’ve never owned a fancy Mercedes, but it really did used to be of vastly better quality than other cars. The star hood ornament was heavy, well plated, and was a piece of jewelry. The grille shells on my diesels from the 50s and 60s are still beautifully chromed, not pitted, and take a collision with a truck bumper to dent.

          Fast forward to now, I won’t own a Benz newer than about 1988. They rust worse and faster than a Chevy. They are full of unrepairable and grossly overpriced electronics, and that lovely piece of jewelry is a piece of chrome plastic placed to scream,” look at me I spent a ton of money on this s#$t”.

    • “You got more comfort with climate control, leather seats, and a smoother, quieter ride“

      Well, it’s all homogenized in the middle mediocrity or worse now. About 5 years ago the local GM dealer had a used Escalade and used Suburban right next to it. Daughter and I sat in both, neither had seats that were particularly comfortable. So much for the lux brand providing better comfort. She just came right out and said it: “There is nothing about that Caddie making it worth a dime more than the Suburban!”

      I remember the Buick pillow top seats, even the wife’s little ‘87 Buick Century had the comfy seats compared to her dad’s ‘90 Chevy Celebrity wagon basic bench (which was still miles more comfortable than the slabs that pass for seats today).

      Noise & vibe control, nothing beats body on frame. GM had a flex coupler on the steering shaft too, isolation makes for a vibe free happy motorist!

    • Never mind big luxury cars, what ever happened to plain old non-luxury big cars like the Chevy Caprice or Ford Crown Vic? Used to be, if you wanted a spacious comfortable car, you could buy one even if you weren’t rich. Then they came for the big non-luxury cars and just luxury cars were left if you wanted a big car. Now they’ve come for the big luxury cars, so if you want a big car you have to buy a very overpriced truck, and “luxury cars” are just regular every day cars that just cost more and have a few more electromical doo-dads and are made to be disposable with tons of plastic everywhere even in the engine compartment.

      It’s like the only “luxury”: they convey is that their original buyers are wealthy enough to buy a car that’ll grenade in a few years and be worth nothing. And that strategy is backfiring on the manufacturers, as even Mercedes aren’t status symbols anymore, since they can be spotted in abundance in every inner city hood being that they are worth so little once they are a few years old, since companies like MB and BMW no longer make reliable cars that last.

      Those old MB 300D diesels from the 70’s and 80’s are still going strong and still used around the world in daily use (and are worth more than gold now) but an MB from 2010 is near worthless and would drive you straight to the poor house (Guess that’s why you see so many parked in the lots of housing projects).

  8. I used to get a perverse pleasure out of looking at the titles of Haynes manuals at the local auto parts store. Chevy/GMC/Pontiac/Buck this ‘n’ that. Ford/Mercury/Plymouth this ‘n’ that. Model years x through y.

    For the ol’ GMC Sierra, it’s “Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra 1500 1999-2006 2WD / 4WD.

    I find it comical and sad.

  9. [Mercedes was unhappy with the reviews I’d written about some of its latest devices, including the EQE ]–Eric

    Your mistake… You told the truth and truth these days truth doesn’t fly in any sector of our delusional ‘society’. Most will go along with the lies as it’s easier than swimming upstream. Our education, medical, political, military do nothing but lie. A society that lies and believes those lies is doomed.

  10. Eric: “When all a luxury car manufacturer has to sell are devices, what would make people want to pay luxury-badged prices for them?

    That’s a marketing problem. How to sell whatever engineering and accounting comes up with. “Not my department,” say the engineers over at GM Tech Center. Product doesn’t sell? Must be bad marketing.

    One thing that I believe is happening is the “new money” buying into luxury brands. The Middle Eastern, Asian and Eastern European nouveau riche are incredibly brand sensitive. It’s one reason why the counterfeit and knock-off market is so big. Most people in the know are far more invested in quality items that probably don’t have any branding at all. But showing off is fairly common amongst first generation wealth, especially when they’ve grown up in poverty or not had good mentors. The label is the product.

    Of course this is nothing new. I’m certain the architecture of gold rush towns like San Francisco and the Colorado mountain towns reflect the taste of the times and new rich. It’s been around long enough to become quaint, but places like the Wheeler Opera house and Hotel Jerome in Aspen were gaudy, run down wrecks not all that long ago.

    I saw what appeared to be an EU trophy wife sitting outside an Aspen cafe this week. She was loudly speaking into a phone in some language that sounded vaguely Slavic. Attractive, I guess, but her main feature was a pair of massive collagen-injected lips. Along with tattooed eye liner, died eyebrows and hair, and wearing what my friend called a dead muppet over her designer ski suit, she put on quite the show. No need for TikTok filters, she had ’em IRL. Nouveau riche indeed.

    Let the children have their EVs. We who know how to buy quality and keep it running will be just fine.

    • My Polish grandparents loved their Cadillacs…and my Polish aunt and uncle loved their Chrysler Imperials.

      And yes, they were one generation away from abject poverty.

  11. “There is already very little meaningful difference between the “GMCs” sold by that brand and the Chevys sold by . . . Chevy”

    The 2023 Chevy Traverse, the Buick Enclave and the Cadillac XT5(6) all have the same engine. They all have the 3.6 6 cylinder motor that produces 310 HP. They have slightly different outside and inside styling but essentially the same platform. Prices range from $35,000 Traverse to a fully outfitted XT6 topping out at $73,000. Who’s next on the cutting board?

    Sorry to see the car brands gone as I have owned a few of those.

  12. Of the many things about Ev’s that I hate are the grills, grills so ugly that they make the front end of a Corvair look good in comparison and I’ve hated that look since I seen my first one a long time ago.

    As for cookie cuttering killing off Oldsmobile and Pontiac it might have all worked out if they had stayed true to what each brand stood for. Start off with a Chevy and a young family and winding up with a Cadillac as a successful businessman in later life.

    This cookie cutter approach apparently started in the late 1960’s when the the head of GM required their division Presidents to drive their own products and voila the Caprice Classic was born, perhaps it might have worked out better if they were required to drive their non GM competition whether it be a Plymouth or a Mercedes?

    Even if Ev’s are the future might not a quality built car, that is reliable and affordable with good styling inside and out succeed? You start off with a small commuter run about and as you rise up the economic ladder you wind up with a luxury EV? Who knows; certainly not me.

    • Hi Landru,

      Pontiac’s most iconic – and successful – models, such as the original 1964-1974 GTO, the 1970-81 Firebird and other Pontiac models such as the Grand Prix and Bonneville and Catalina had Pontiac drivetrains uniquely their own. My ’76 Trans-Am, for instance, has a Pontiac V8. Not a Chevy V8. That makes my TA meaningfully different than the same-year Camaro, even though both share a common platform. GM destroyed this uniqueness when it “corporatized” engines, meaning almost all GM vehicles came with the same (Chevy-sourced) engines. Chevy makes a great V8, but that’s beside the point. When you remove the brand-specific engine from a vehicle and replace it with a homogenous powerplant, the result is a homogenous vehicle. While the ’82-up Firebirds are attractive cars, they are literally just Camaros with “Pontiac” makeup. I’d rather just have the Camaro.

      • That implied that whomever was running GM at the time figured engine technology was stable and not going to change. Same thing happened with Europe’s 2.0 L four mandate. Some German grad students decided to find the “ideal” engine size and came to the conclusion that the cylinder size that produces a 2.0 L four was it. Maybe they’re right, maybe they based their calculations on what is possible with current technology. Would a ceramic piston and titanium driveshaft produce the same result? Would running on a different fuel? We’ll probably never know, because “perfection” has already been achieved.

  13. I forgot that the Plymouth Neon was also a Dodge Neon. That was the epitome of low-effort badge engineering.

    Badge engineering seemed to have worked when there was a balance of obtaining economies of scale, so long as there was a significant amount of product differentiation. As you creep toward the Plymouth Neon-Dodge Neon situation it works less and less. I think Toyota and Lexus do a pretty good job of it, and to a lesser degree Honda/Acura and VW/Audi. GM and Ford/Lincoln appear to be the worst.

    • Hi Mister,

      In re Toyota (and Lexus): In Japan, it’s just one line (Toyota). Here, there is clear differentiation. With the exception of SUVs such as the Lexus GS460 (which is a Toyota 4Runner) and the LX650 (LandCruiser) Lexus cars are not the same as Toyota cars. That helps justify the Lexus price. But I cannot fathom paying “Cadillac” money for a rebadged Tahoe with a bigger touchscreen.

      • I think it extends to Rav4 to RX and NX, Camry to ES, and I think the Sequoia is a Lexus TX as well. They do such a good job of product differentiation it’s hard to tell which platforms are shared.

      • One of my bosses years ago had a Cadillac Cimmaron, which was basically a tarted up Chevy Cavalier; he just wanted everyone to know he could afford a “Cadillac”. I think a lot of people are willing to pay up for the luxury badge just to show off for the neighbors…..keeping ahead of the Joneses.

        • Mike: They also want the neighbors to know the Caddie is pricey.

          In my History of General Motors class (Really! Part of the semester of Business Law at GMI.) we were told that at one point (?late 40’s, early 50s?) Cadillac did market research to see if lowering the price to underbid Lincoln might increase sales. Turns out that sales would have dropped at the lower price. Double Whammy.

      • Funny thing is Cadillac’s are supposed to be oversized, ostentatious, vehicles, the Escalade is about the only Cadillac that actually exists. Most Cadillac branded vehicles are just BMW / Mercedes look alike’s like every other car out there.

        PS. I just bought a 2013 Audi because I wanted a V6 and like the ‘SUV’ type car that can actually have more horsepower for cheap, but I know it is not more “luxurious” than anything else on the road. It is not really cheaper or more expensive to run than anything else on the road as long as you stay away from the dealers on all.

        • In the 1990s the average age of a Cadillac owner shot into the high 60s. GM panicked and thought they needed to compete with the Europeans. Maybe that was a good idea… Or maybe just sell what a caddy is and know that if you hold out a few more years while the boomers age out of luxury performance you can keep that “grey market” and still thrive. Double down on luxury for a few years and stage the company as a US Bentley or Rolls, let the name marinate for a few years, then when the middle age man becomes the old man, sell on comfort and ease instead of 0-60 times. After all, the top speed of a Rolls Royce is “As fast as you wish, sir.”

          And along the way pick up a few ballers and ganstas too.

          Why is taking a long view such a difficult concept?

  14. To quote Barney of Mayberry, “Where did it all begin?”

    Perhaps it was in the early 80’s when the Boomers were starting to get their MBA’s to get a leg up on those that had merely a bachelor’s degree. They all learned from the same books. THESE were the ideas of the future. Let us show you how it’s done.

    They might not know how to sell dimes to a beggar but, they sure knew how to count beans and “market” a “brand”.

    It was the Dawn of Globo-Cap [h/t CJ Hopkins] The entire global marketing project would be financed by the likes of Blackrock, State Street and Vanguard. Remember the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy about a coke bottle that drops into a remote African village? Its release in 1980 could be the metaphor for what was about to arrive, One Planet One Marketing Program.

    We now have one giant, undifferentiated mass of Products. All alike except for the thin veneer of The Brand.

    Trying to sell something unique is too risky. Just keep pumping out the same crap as everyone else and you can’t go wrong because there is no other choice.

    All the manufacturers are getting in bed with GovCo hoping to be the last company standing when the inevitable collapse hits with EV’s leading the lemmings over the cliff. It will take the end of GovCo and its regulatory apparat to make change possible. Hopefully by then the pent up desire for truly unique offerings will bring about new options we cannot yet conceive. With the dead weight of GovCo off the scales we might have a bright future, yet.

  15. The funny thing is….EV’s have turned out to be far worse then even the biggest EV haters anticipated…

    We now found out they are the most unreliable, defective cars ever made…with their plug in EV brothers….

    EV’s cost way more and take a lot longer to fix then ice cars, have a far shorter life span, cost far more to buy, are far more boring to drive, are very dangerous because of the battery, are very inconvenient and useless because of long recharging needs and short range, don’t work in hot or cold climates, cause far more environmental damage, can’t be recycled, etc., etc.

    Sales are dropping because this info is leaking out…..soon EV bashing will be a criminal offence….there will be a total ban on any negative comments…it will be hate speech….total censorship….just like the bat germ narrative….insane leftists will say EV deniers should be done away with…just watch….

  16. ‘Mercedes’ devices … have big touchscreens and a big plastic three-pointed star in the grill to let you know it’s a Mercedes device.’ — eric

    You’re not gonna find many ‘big touchscreens and big plastic three-pointed stars’ at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction, are you? And you probably never will.

    Eric is right: the discerning customer which Mercedes once catered to does not want cheap and nasty schlock that every other lout has got. Mercedes seems to have hired its marketers from Adidas, which sells limited-edition sneakers to fashion-forward proles, for whom their flashy footwear represents a substantial chunk of their net worth.

    What is the future of manufacturing in Germany? After cutting off its cheap Russian gas supply in a petulant hunger strike against Bad Vlad, German industry is sucking wind as it pays astronomical prices for imported LNG and some of Europe’s costliest electric power. Here’s what that looks like, where the rock meets the stone:

    https://ibb.co/mhFRGwb

    Meanwhile Mercedes, exhibiting some of the same signs of dementia as ‘Joe Biden,’ doesn’t even remember its name:

    ‘On 28 January 2022, CEO Ola Källenius announced that Daimler will be rebranded as Mercedes-Benz to pursue a higher valuation for the company as it shifts deeper into high-tech electric vehicles.

    HA HA HA … how’s that electric phase shift workin’ out for ya, Crap-Ola?

    This morning the Lügenpresse confesses that the Ukie town of Avdiivka fell to a Russian cauldron. Readers of actual news (such as the Germany-based Moon of Alabama blog) knew this was coming a week ago. Naturally, Germany is all in on forking out billions to help the Ukies: the poison dwarf Zelensky just met with the pasty-faced eunuch Chancellor Scholz this week to collect more loot and promises.

    As its domestic market turns into a Looney Tunes Woke Paradise, Mercedes Benz faces a distinctly bleak future. I wouldn’t bet a plugged nickel on its surviving even ten years. All of its great achievements are visible only in the rearview mirror. But we’ll give it a grand funeral procession of plastic-starred electric hearses. 🙂

    • I had 2 Mercedes in 90s and early 2000 and I remember talking to a parts counter guy who told me that Mercedes prided itself on parts availability, back then you could order ANY part for post WW2 models …might cost you but you could get it. The newer models interiors are all garbage…like seeing an old girlfriend with 4 kinds and a drinking problem and remembering back in the day.

      • But, of course, down is up in today’s USA.
        Here is the latest from Jabba the Hutt, my very own CongressKriminal:
        >It simply doesn’t make sense to handcuff American energy producers and force our European allies to depend on Russia for their energy needs

        My reply:

        Reality:
        It is economic warfare to
        a) blow up the Nordstream pipelines
        b) attempt to force Germany to buy U.S. LNG at three times the price of gas piped from Russia or the Middle East.

        This is intended to bankrupt the Germany economy, de-industrialize Germany, and force Germans into destitution.
        THIS IS THE MORGENTHAU PLAN IN MODERN GUISE.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgenthau_Plan

        The Russians do not wish to be our enemies.
        Promoting, rather than hindering, free trade between Russia and western Europe can only strengthen the chance for long term peace in the region.
        ————————-
        But, of course, should peace inadvertently occur, that would be a yuge catastrophe for the members of the Big Club (the Club we ain’t in)
        Raytheon
        General Dynamics
        Grumman
        Lockheed-Martin
        Boeing
        et. al.

    • ‘Mercedes seems to have hired its marketers from Adidas.’

      And now, so has candidate Trump:

      ‘If anyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop in the upcoming presidential race, former President Donald Trump just did, launching his own line of tennis shoes on Saturday. The line, called Trump Sneakers, is available for preorder online.

      “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” Trump said when he announced the launch of a sneaker line at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia.

      ‘Trump indicated the line could be an effort to reach out to younger supporters, saying, “We’re going to turn this country around fast. We’re going to turn it around. And we’re going to remember the young people, and we’re going to remember Sneaker Con.”

      https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/trump-launches-sneaker-line-rcna139334

      From our lips to the president’s ear. And yeah … you can get them in shiny gold.

  17. Look at Lotus…it used to be a great, light weight, British sports car, with a very unique character…a real, exciting, analog driver’s car……soon it will be just another huge, over weight, dead, very expensive, electric appliance, with a lithium fire bomb battery….made in china….crappy quality, defective….china already owns the company/brand name…..

    MG….see above….exactly the same story as Lotus…

    When these are the only cars around….no more old ice cars….nobody will go to cars and coffee anymore…..an all EV cars and coffee would be like a grave yard…..no sound or emotion….silence….. the sound of death of the real cars….

    Lotus……soon it will be just another huge, over weight, dead, very expensive, electric appliance, with a lithium fire bomb battery….made in china….this will be the description of every car quite soon….car reviews could be real short….

    Someone said the new EV’s are robots….it does most of the driving and it is watching and listening to you, telling you what to do, collecting all your data, 24/7/365….it will and does rat you out…all the time…..just like your cell phone and your computer…..pure evil….

    • ….it is watching and listening to you, telling you what to do, collecting all your data, 24/7/365….it will and does rat you out…

      The cool part is you get to pay a huge amount of money for this abuse, torture, for something you don’t own….when you register it you don’t own it…..and you never get the certificate of origin…that is being traded somewhere else, by someone else….

      The people that used to buy old $300 beaters were on to something….why spend a lot of money on something you don’t own?……and leasing makes more sense…if you can write it off….

      Something that rats you out should be taken out back and shot….

      Is that why this Tesla owner strapped dynamite on his Tesla and blew it up?….that and the fact they are so defective…..

      Watch a Tesla owner blow up his Model S with 66 pounds of dynamite instead of paying $22,000 to repair it, replace the battery…lol

      https://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-owner-blows-up-car-instead-paying-repair-battery-video-2021-12?op=1

      that video has been seen 5 million + times….lol….someone said that would pay $41,000 from Utube, so he could afford to blow it up….

      This solves a recycling issue, for all EV’s… the lithium fire bomb batteries won’t be catching fire, over and over for a week…lol….they should all come with dynamite, so at end of life it can be disposed of……

    • The client-server model is to blame. Back when hard drive storage and laser printers were expensive, and computers were hard to manage, we got Novel and the fileserver. This had some benefit in that people could all work on the same document and keep track of one copy, but it also proved cheaper to maintain large numbers of identically configured computers, such as call center systems. Then came the “thin client” a PC that wasn’t a PC in the traditional sense. This was completely a cost saving device, and it was 100% dependent on a central fileserver to function. Basically the new terminal for the new mainframes.

      Personal computers were all about users running software on their desktop (or coffee shop table). Even networked devices have the ability to share files amongst each other. There’s little difference between server and client. But when iOS and Android came onto the market the network policies were already in place. NO file sharing, NO unauthorized servers! And because they were mobile phones first, no one thought of them as anything other than a handset/terminal.

      For a while gaming PCs were pushing against the tide, but with the rise of Twitch and streaming games, they’ve become terminals as well. Not hard to understand why, games cost a crap-ton to develop and investors want to see a good ROI. So now you have “in game” purchases to skip leveling up and get an edge with cash, something not easily controlled in a peer to peer model.

      Thing is, now most people are conditioned to believe they can’t use a PC. At least if it goes sideways they have no idea what to do. So they complain that Windows wants to update, or that their Mac won’t run the latest upgrade because Tim made a somewhat arbitrary decision to EOL the hardware. As if typing “sudo apt upgrade -y” once a week is so difficult. But apparently it is, so they toss out the old and buy new. And hope it will talk to their cloud (file server) account.

      What’s this got to do with cars? Well, most people can’t really do much maintenance on their automobiles these days. It’s not just that they don’t know how, there’s hours of YouTube content available for instruction. It’s that simple tools like jack stands and 10mm sockets and space to work in the cluttered up garage just aren’t available. And because cars are so reliable when something does fail many people just find an excuse to buy new. So of course manufacturers aren’t invested in building for repair. In fact I’m sure there are engineers who would love to eliminate the hood completely and add a warning “no user-serviceable parts inside.” We already have “lifetime” transmission fluid, and EVs in theory shouldn’t ever get hot enough to cook lubricating oils, so we’re most of the way there.

      • Hi RK.

        I’m one of those curmudgeons out there that keeps stuff going well past its natural expiry date.The laptop I’m clicking away on is over 12 years old but has been upgraded to more RAM and a SSD. All my software runs on said laptop and is backed up along with any license keys. I feel the term “Cloud” in regards to computing should mean dependent on some one else’s good intentions whether your data is still there next week or your software will even run.

        As for learning about car repair might I suggest people consider practicing at their local “U Pull It” yard that way if you screw up a couple times it’s a no harm/ no foul to your own car. Launch sells the Millennium 90 Pro which should cover your basic service needs for a reasonable price.

        Of course my own shop has everything from anvils to plasma cutters in it. 🙂

        “Lifetime” means different things, listening to lasts weeks podcast from “The Car Doctor” he mentioned two low mileage vehicles where the gear oil was finished, both with 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

  18. I think many car brands will eventually end up like consumer electronics brands, in that some retailer will ask a no-name Chinese OEM to build some dEVices and slap a logo on them for a well-known brand they’ve licensed for the occasion. So the “Chevrolet” you’re buying in the US might be the same as a “Peugeot” you’re buying in France, for instance, except the logos.

    Compare it to buying a TV today – it doesn’t really matter what brand it says on the packaging or the TV itself, because most likely it’s made by Vestel or a Chinese OEM, and the manufacturer whose brand logo is used may have gone out of business decades ago.

    • I agree, Stufo –

      The question is: How many brand logos can survive in this environment? And what of the “luxury” brands in particular? I’d feel like am imbecile paying $75k for a device with a big plastic three pointed star in its grill when the guy in the next lane paid $40k for the same device, sans the three pointed star.

      I’ve been test driving new cars a long time. When I got a V12 Benz to drive, that was a special occasion. The last several Benz devices I test drove were as anodyne as all the other devices. Yes, the Benz device had a really big LCD touchscreen. That was novel for about 30 seconds. Now all the devices have big screens, too.

      • Tommy Boy, the current CEO of Ford, will be around for a while, and we will continue to live a bad sequel to a surprisingly decent and even prescient film.

        If you’ve never seen the flick, find a copy and pay attention to whatever Dan Aykroyd says.

        Ford makes a new Fusion/Mondeo in China. They aren’t here … yet … but a Maverick is just a Fusion with a different body.

    • It’s very likely that will happen. Why bother with actually making something if it’s not different from the competition? It’s happened in other industries as well so why not for vehicle devices.

      For example, Whirlpool doesn’t make (or even sell) the water heaters with their name on it. They license the name out to another company, who really doesn’t care about the reputation Whirlpool once had (not that Whirlpool itself cares either). The other company builds junk water “heaters”, doesn’t support the junk they build, and when you call Whirlpool they say their hands are tied…..because all they did was cash the check from the license fee.

      Back in the 1980’s Whirlpool was a solid premium appliance builder. Not anymore! Even the stuff they build themselves now is junk too.

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