Mercedes Reconsiders

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Mercedes – which recently took your libertarian car guy off the list of car journalists approved to get Mercedes vehicles to test drive because Mercedes was not happy with my coverage of the devices it’s trying to sell – just announced it will not be trying to sell as many devices as it had planned.

Because, of course, they are not selling.

Mercedes was among the car companies that bear-hugged the EV tar baby, promising just a couple of years ago that by 2030 – which is less than six years from now – it would offer only devices for sale. Now it says that maybe 50 percent of the vehicles it offers will be devices – and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for that to change. Because you can’t keep a company going when 50 percent of what you’re trying to sell doesn’t sell. Or you can’t make money selling it. (See in this respect Ford’s decision to halt further shipments of the 2024 Lightning because there are still fleets of brand-new 2023 Lightnings that have yet to be sold, sitting on dealer’s slots taking up space and costing Ford dealers money.)

I tried to make this point – privately – to Mercedes, after the company decided to try to keep a lid on what it’s like to live with one of their devices by no longer sending its devices for me to test drive. They said it was only because I was too far away (after 20 years of it not being too far away) for them to continue delivering them to me.

And in a sense, that was true.

The press pool for the area where I live is about 250 miles away. The problem is that’s about as far any of the devices currently made by Mercedes can go before they run out of charge. So – rather than a four-hour drive with a single five minute stop to fill up the vehicle before it gets dropped off at my house for me to test drive – so that it’s ready for me to test drive – the driver of the device must stop at least once along the way and spend at least 30-45 minutes to put enough charge (not a full charge; that’d take an hour-plus) back into the device so as to be able to make it to my house.

By which time the partially recharged device will be almost out of charge again and so not ready for me to drive.

That means the first thing I have to do when a device is dropped off is plug it in – and wait a long time for the device to recover some charge. This takes hours, even using what they call “Level II” (240 volt) charging. It takes much longer using “Level 1” (120 volt, ordinary household outlet) charging. And these are the only ways to charge a device at home. You could drive to a public “fast” charger, where there is “Level III” charging available. But the problem there is you need enough charge in the device to make it there. This is a problem – for me – because there usually isn’t when the device is left with me.

Also the time to waste there.

This is a problem for pretty much everyone else who can’t “fast” charge a device at home – and hasn’t got the time or the patience to wait for a charge at home. Or at the “fast” charger.

It is a bigger problem for Mercedes, which is a luxury brand – because there there is nothing luxurious about having to wait when you want to go. One of the reasons people who fly first class pay twice as much (or more) for their seats is because they don’t have to wait with the cattle to board the plane or deplane, when it lands. Yes, the seats and service are better in first class. But not having to wait in line with everyone else is a big part of the appeal of first class.

It is not dissimilar when it comes to luxury cars, which is why luxury-priced devices such as the ones Mercedes has been trying to sell haven’t been selling. People who pay twice as much for a vehicle don’t want to be waiting around all the time while everyone else is going. A huge plastic three-pointed star affixed to the front of a device does not make the owner of the device feel happy about slumming it for a half or or more at a “fast” charger located in the far corner of a Wal Mart or Sheetz.

I wrote about such non-luxurious experiences in Mercedes devices, including the EQS – which is the device Mercedes planned to sell in lieu of the S-Class luxury sedan by 2030. I got loaned one of these devices during the brutal cold snap back in December of 2022, when the daytime temps barely got out of the teens in my area of SW Virginia. I wrote about the way the device limited my ability to go places such as where my mom lives, which is about 50 miles down the road. That’s 100 there and back – and that proved to be too far for the device when it was cold out.

No more devices for me – because I wrote about that and what I wrote might have cost Mercedes a few device sales.

But Mercedes ought to be thanking me and every other car journalist who has told the truth about these devices. Us spilling the beans may have given Mercedes – and the rest – time to stand on the brakes and jerk the wheel hard right. Time to get off the road (to nowhere) they’re still headed down.

I don’t think anyone had ever thought that the once-in-a-century transformation of the auto industry will be a straight line,” a rueful-sounding Ola Källenius – who is currently CEO of Mercedes Benz – told Bloomberg the other day. Bloomberg said – and this is damned telling as regards the situation – “The German company’s plan to sell more top-end cars like the S-Class to bolster profits and fund the costly transition to battery technology is running into first roadblocks.”

Italics added.

In other words, Mercedes needs to sell cars like the S-Class to cover the losses of the devices they can’t sell. If they stop selling cars, they won’t be able to continue losing money on devices.

And that’s it, a nutshell.

. . .

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  1. They are still insane to think that even 50% will be electric in 2030.

    And people really don’t want hybrids either. They won’t be bring back the V6’s and V8’s either.

    • Perhaps the Moronic Bastards, formerly known as Mercedes-Benz, will be around in 2030, or not….

      I may eventually buy an older AMG version of the 8 or 12 cylinder machines, but certainly not a new model anything, whether GM (Giant Meatheads), or MB…

      Screw ’em both!!!

  2. I for one have no sympathy for any entity that buys into the climate change hoax & proceeds to castrate themselves. That goes for individuals, corporations, or states. Good riddance to stupid rubbish.

    • I tend to agree, although I lament the not so unrealistic thought that in the near future, if we want to buy new ICE-powered cars, then the only options we’ll have after European and American automakers have folded will be Toyotas and low quality Chinese cars.

  3. ‘Mercedes just announced it will not be trying to sell as many devices as it had planned.’ — eric

    Meanwhile, like a single file of cattle totally ignoring that the cow in front just got an electric bolt driven through its skull, another herd of dummkopf cucked Germans dutifully lines up for the kill shot:

    ‘Scout Motors celebrated the start of construction on its $2 billion electric SUV plant in South Carolina on Thursday.

    ‘Volkswagen-backed Scout thinks the market for its $50,000 electric SUV is something resembling how the vehicles once looked, but with all the environmental and driving benefits [sic] of an electric vehicle.

    ‘Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh promised a fun electric vehicle that won’t be like any other out there.’

    ‘First of all, if you learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a customer until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’ — Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird [slightly edited]

    • More from VW’s ground breaking:

      “People are leaving the Rust Belt and the snow and want to come here where there’s economic freedom,” said Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

      Heh heh … he said ‘economic freedom.’ *smirk*

      … at the launch of a plant that makes tax-credited, battery-subsidized EeeVee devices, that exist only to earn carbon credits under the Stalinist CAFE regime.

      Uniparty Republiclowns confabulating about economic freedom really should be led to the gallows first — even before DemonRats, who are at least honest about being communists.

  4. To quote Neil Young, perhaps out of context, “once you’re gone, you can’t come back.” I don’t know if these “legacy” automakers will ever recover from these self inflicted wounds and go back in time to being profitable at scale. I think it all ends with them being nostalgia driven 500 or less companies for the very wealthy like Revology and Chinese/Vietnamese communist made EV e-bikes and/or go-carts for everyone else that “work” at a survival type level and are “better” in a lot of ways than full size automobiles and trucks. This will be a diminishment, for sure. That’s the plan.

    • He’s so restrained; so polite.

      Whereas I would reshoot Eric’s lead photo with the foxy black-clad model standing in front of a mountain of dead rats spilling outta the Benz.

      ‘EeeVees — shun them like rat poison, my friends!’ I’d intone, then append an ear-splitting belch. Welcome to my video! 🙂

  5. The fact that these auto manufacturers are “waking up”, means that reality is starting to bite back. However, don’t think for one minute that these satanic elites are giving up THAT easily. These fools are on a suicide mission to ensure that WE are left with absolutely NOTHING, even if it means THEIR OWN demise.

  6. So basically they only loan out cars to C&D and Motortrend now? Motortrend is fully on the EV bandwagon and C&D generally is, although they still have a few writers with a brain.

    • It’s unreal that Car and Driver has stooped as low as it has. Several years ago, I noticed the periodical was chaning. Back when I was a kid, they were trailbazers for car enthusiasts during the smog and safety (later known as the malaise) era for drivers. I noticed them start to turn in the early to mid 2010s when they started reciting media narratives on saaaaaaafety and cliiimate change.

      I guarantee that the writers that have any brains are those were there during the 80’s and 90s.

      I was a subscriber from 1975 to 2012. Unfortunately much of my collection was destroyed in a house fire in 1999.

      • I remember in particular how Pat Bedard “transitioned” into the resident tech bro and electronics geek, with doses of smug hypermiling on top. Though initially somewhat interesting he became more and more strident. That, and trying to make me subscribe to a website instead of a magazine, destroyed C&D for me. RIP.

  7. Perhaps Mercedes is confusing luxury and novelty.

    A mature person welcomes constructive criticism in order to improve their performance. An adherent to dogma refuses criticism as an attack against their beliefs.

    I suspect Mercedes is well aware of the shortcomings of their version of the golf cart. This is really your fault for not proselytizing the religion in the proper way. Blasphemer.

    If there is a local Merc dealer, you could still get a weekend test drive if you felt so moved. That’d make them mad all over again.

  8. I’ve said it before, but everyone is betting on a breakthrough in batteries. So-called solid state batteries, which use a solid polymer electrolyte instead of liquid, are the current bet. They look promising in the lab, but there are big problems getting production to scale necessary to replace fleets. Until that’s resolved, there’s not much of a reason to push forward with all the infrastructure build out or much else either. And solid state is just the solution proposed by the government’s scientist, the ironically named “John Goodenough” -which sounds like a character in a James Bond novel. Toyota and people who actually have an interest in developing a successful product aren’t convinced that batteries are the way to go at all, but their ideas are being shoved aside by imperial decree before they ever get a proper hearing.

    And of course, the car companies have shown their hand. By admitting the current chemistry isn’t what they are planning for the final product, they pretty much get anyone who isn’t buying for image to wait it out. And that goes for engineers too. Why bother trying to design a great car that will work with LiPO and LiFePO when you know that these are bridge chemistries? With the power/weight ratio promised by solid state batteries, along with the ability to charge at extremely high current, EVs begin to look competitive, and even superior in some use cases. But today you can buy exactly 0 solid state battery driven vehicles. And as long as the solid state battery is a promise, not reality, there’s no reason at all to continue throwing money down the pit.

    • Hi RK,

      I don’t see this “breakthrough” ever occurring. Batteries are not efficient energy storage mediums at this scale. Even if the size and weight of a battery needed to store the electricity equivalent of a full tank of gas could be halved, it’d still weigh about five times as much as a gas tank. And that’s part of the reason why most EV batteries store the equivalent of about half a tank of gas (i.e., about 6 gallons).

      That weight imposes both an efficiency cost and a direct/financial cost. It is why EVs are so absurdly expensive.

      Then there is the time-to-charge problem. Even if this could be reduced to 10 minutes for a full charge, it’d still be more than twice as long as it takes to fill a typical gas tank. Imagine the scale-effect of a doubling of the time it takes to “fuel” a vehicle. Imagine people routinely sitting at charge stations for 10 minutes … imagine the lines forming and how everything would just slow down to accommodate this waiting.

      This assumes it is even technically possible to fully charge an EV battery in 10 minutes – as opposed to partially charging it, so as to reduce the fire risk and the risk of damaging the battery. So, if it’s not 100 percent but say 80 percent then the 10 minute waiting will have to happen more often, compounding the waiting…

      Then, where is the power for all of this going to come from? How will it be distributed outside of the cities, where there isn’t the physical infrastructure to distribute 400-plus volts of power to “fast” chargers?

      • Where the debate ends is “but the environment!” Going back to the NOx and CO2 “pollutants” not being captured and treating the atmosphere like an “open sewer” as high priest Al Gore puts it.

        If one truly convinces themselves that the world is a polluted hellscape because of the automobile and gasoline, then no other debate or convincing is necessary. And it does’t help that the roads and related infrastructure aren’t natural enough for some. The song ironically titled Big Yellow Taxi is one of their anthems. As if the world was eden prior to the invention of internal combustion. Never mind that the “paradise” Mitchell sang about would never have been witnessed by her if not for the modern world and all its blessings. In fact, she’d probably not even exist if not for the productivity gains and efficient buildout of society by the market forces unleashed by petroleum. And if her soul was born into this Earthly realm, her life would have been one of hard labor, her songs only sung to her children while she slaved away at a wood fire, maintaining a household for a few years until she died, from childbirth or actual lung disease from carcinogenic wood soot.

        • Where the debate ends is “but the environment!”

          We should not allow anyone to end the debate there. The “climate change” claptrap is getting old fast, especially as the repeated doomsday predictions don’t materialise, expect the masses to wake up to this eventually. In the meantime, the rest of us have a job to do.

        • ‘if Joni Mitchell’s soul was born into this Earthly realm, her life would have been one of hard labor, her songs only sung to her children while she slaved away at a wood fire, maintaining a household for a few years until she died, from childbirth or actual lung disease from carcinogenic wood soot.’ — RK

          What a gripping opening paragraph to a heart-wrenching novella!

          I assume there will be a chapter about laundry day, where a weary Joni wrings the family’s rough muslin clothing in harsh lye soap with red-chapped, scaly hands, as she mentally prepares herself to beat the filthy, flea-infested carpets with a fallen tree limb.

          Pure poetry. More, please, kind sir. 🙂

    • Amiga Forever. The EV and solid state battery believers seem to be the same crowd.

      Usable solid state batteries may solve the range issue, but none of the believers have an answer when I ask them about the charging time.

      And usable EV batteries wouldn’t begin to address the problem of the grid being inadequate in the US. Texas in particular has been playing on the margins of grid capacity for the last several years. This Summer may see rolling blackouts.

    • I have a DeWalt Powerstack solid state polymer battery. While it offers a tad more peak power and offers a small size reduction vs. regular lithium-ion batteries of the same capacity, it is by no means a game changer. That polymer battery came with a tool combo kit that I bought. I would never pay the absurdly high price(More than twice the price of a standard Lithium-ion) to actually go out and purchase that battery, especially considering that these batteries are even MORE prone to burst into flames spontaneously than the standard Lithiums, and they take just as long to charge.

      It’s actually hilarious too, how they are always touting the next “breakthrough” being just around the corner. Yet, in 100+ years since the debut of the electric car, we’ve never had that breakthrough (Lithium-ion batteries were hailed as one such breakthrough initially). It would be a colossal undertaking just to establish a viable infrastructure for the universal use of the current electric cars. Even if there were a “breakthrough”, it would likely require major changes to or a complete replacement of the (non)existing charging infrastructure. Either that, or they would have to gimp the new technology in order to make it compatible, if even possible.

      So of course, those expecting a “breakthrough” are like the little kid who’s endlessly optimistic that daddy will stop drinking and beating mommy, and come home sober every night and they will live happily ever after.

      • “the little kid who’s endlessly optimistic that daddy will stop drinking and beating mommy, and come home sober every night and they will live happily ever after.” -Arthur

        That’s a particular brand of denial known as Terminal Euphoria.

        • “That’s a particular brand of denial known as Terminal Euphoria.”

          Must be a prerequisite for buying an EV!

          “Maybe tomorrow this car will actually get it’s advertised range and I will be able to blast the heat! Maybe a couple of years from now she” still retain more than 40% of what I paid for her! And my battery will last forever, and my range won’t deteriorate!”

    • With the power/weight ratio promised by solid state batteries, along with the ability to charge at extremely high current, EVs begin to look competitive, and even superior in some use cases.

      The solid state batteries appear to be merely an incremental improvement that’s being hyped as a battery revolution (feels a bit like déjà vu, doesn’t it…). It might have been good enough for the late John Goodenough (he died last summer, aged 100), but there’s nothing that I’ve seen that suggests that they come nowhere near solving the charging time issue. This means that for the use case of powering EVs, solid state batteries are yet another dead end. The notion that EVs with solid state batteries would look “competitive” or “superior” without having fast charging is ludicrous.

      So now what? I say it’s time to send EVs back to the scrapheap of automotive history, where they belong – for good, this time.

      • Of course they’re still subpar. But the argument is that “we” have sinned against mother Gaia for being so short sighted. So having to wait for a recharge is a “small inconvenience” to be suffered in the short term to save the long term. A bizarro world marshmallow test foisted on all humanity (or those who can afford it).

        Imagine all the trades who use trucks to get to their job location. Now imagine them having to take an hour of their day to recharge the truck. Oh, maybe they can coordinate it with their lunch break, but even that means leaving the location and going to a charging station, and that assumes the union and HR will let management get away with it. So now every technician, plumber, HVAC guy, fire alarm installer, network tech, and anyone else who leaves the shop to work will lose an hour a day. What’s that going to cost the economy? Is that worth it too? Will fixed income grandma be able to afford to schedule the routine maintenance of the furnace before winter with a 1/8th increase in cost? Look at the knock on effect of the last few year’s inflation for an indicator.

        • Of course they’re still subpar. But the argument is that “we” have sinned against mother Gaia for being so short sighted. So having to wait for a recharge is a “small inconvenience” to be suffered in the short term to save the long term.

          Yes, they’ll try that argument, no doubt about it. It doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, though.

          For instance, let’s imagine that car manufacturers did in fact choose to fix the charging time problem, thereby making their EVs more competitive with ICE-powered vehicles, or maybe even superior in some buyers’ eyes. The result would have been that more people would have bought EVs and fewer people would have bought ICE-powered vehicles (at least in markets where people still had a choice).

          Anyone who really cares about mother Gaia will therefore recognise the urgent need to fix the charging time problem in order to allow EVs to gain the kind of market share their current limitations prevent, whereas those “anti-progress” people who somehow trivialise or even reject the charging time issue will be complicit in prolonging the reign of the internal combustion engine and thus be complicit in the alleged attack on poor Gaia itself. When they think about it more carefully and realise these implications, do they still have the conscience to dismiss the charging time issue? If they do, then they can’t possible care about the environment…

          • It is my humble opinion that us boomers are of the last generation who took science and technology seriously, with a hunger to know how and why things work as they do. Us boomers had electrical and mechanical systems that we could work on and improve on ourselves. Basic scientific principles were taught in school and reinforced with hands-on experimentation.
            In today’s climate (and the climate of two previous generations) experimentation on the level of the 1950s and 1960s is seen as “too dangerous”. I can remember the chemistry sets of the day being sold with toxic compounds which could be used for nefarious (and fun) purposes. Such sets are banned today.
            Today’s prime example of the public’s scientific stupidity being pushed by political considerations is that of electric vehicles, most people (even supposedly “educated” types) enthusiastically jumping on the bandwagon despite the major deficiencies and problems these vehicles have.
            Let’s look at the technical side of electric vehicles vs. ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Range is a large factor in the desirability of ICE vehicles vs. today’s electric vehicles. One can fuel up an ICE vehicle in approximately five minutes and be on his way. In many ICE vehicles a +300 mile range before refueling is the norm.
            Not so for electric vehicles. Quite often electric vehicle charging stations are few and far between, which contributes to “range anxiety”. For short hops and city driving, electric vehicles can be an ideal solution, but for extended “road trips” forget it.
            Electric vehicle batteries lose power even when the vehicle is not in use. (This is akin to a gasoline vehicle with a leaky gas tank). Add to that, cold weather and the use of accessories (air conditioning, heat, lights, etc) will reduce range considerably. Electric vehicles may be somewhat suitable for a California climate, but will fail in sub-zero Michigan winter snow and ice.
            Batteries can be charged only to 80% of full capacity as overcharging will reduce battery life considerably. “Fast charging” is also detrimental to battery life. It’s all about time and convenience vs. battery life.
            Gasoline and diesel fuel has an large energy content (density) in a small package, something that, in their present stages of development, electrical vehicles cannot achieve.
            Let’s make a comparison…gasoline contains approximately 33.7 kwh per gallon. A gallon of gasoline weighs approximately 6.1 lbs. The typical ICE vehicle can hold about 15 gallons of gasoline with a weight of approximately 90 lbs. total, with a total energy content of approximately 500 kwh.
            High-end electric vehicles have an energy capacity of approximately 120 kwh. This is equal to less than four gallons of gasoline. The typical electric vehicle has a 75 kwh battery pack, equivalent to approximately 2 ½ gallons of gasoline.
            Keep in mind that the battery pack weight is well over 2000 lbs (1 ton) and still has a limited energy capacity compared to gasoline. The typical electric vehicles weighs approximately 2 ½ tons (5000 lbs.), having to haul around a heavy battery pack. This also contributes to “wear and tear” on other automotive systems such as brakes and tires. (Yes, I am aware that regenerative braking exists and is a part of electric vehicle technology).
            From an environmental standpoint, lithium is nasty stuff, reacts with water violently and is much more volatile than gasoline. Electric vehicle accidents are much more hazardous than those of ICE vehicles. Water cannot be used to put out a lithium battery pack fire.
            Yes, gasoline is dangerous, but we have learned to control it and live with it successfully for over 100 years.
            Most of today’s generation do not understand scientific principles; hence the enthusiasm for electric vehicles which are “not yet ready for prime-time”. The inability of today’s generation to understand basic scientific engineering principles is responsible for their gullibility and ignorance.

            • Your logic and sound argument have no place in the climate debate! 🤡

              Next thing you’ll be claiming there are only two genders…

            • I get your point, anarchyst, but I sure did see a lot of boomers wearing masks and lining up to get the jab. Where was their adept use of the scientific method then? I think the problem transcends these “generations” they made-up for us.

    • Hi RK,
      I’ve said this before too, even if there is a breakthrough that allows a magical battery to be fully charged in five minutes there is no way to build out the grid for that level of power. You would need to be next to a substation to get enough power for multiple chargers on a dedicated circuit; as far as getting them installed in dense urban settings – fuggetaboutit.

    • Trying to bring back failed technology….ice engines beat out the electric motor, for powering vehicles a long time ago…

      The electric motor is 150 year old technology….the lithium battery is 20 year old technology….

  9. This assumes German manufacturing will still be a “thing” in 2030. Based on the Climate Cultists running their GovCo they might have to move to Chyna. Nordstream still has some functionality but, keeping people from freezing to death is more important than the production of S-class cars.

    In other news, not even the soy boi libs at Jalopnik can avoid the obvious. What they don’t say is that the Porsche Taycan is the first Porsche to ever lose over half its value in four years. Quite an achievement, I’d say.

    • Mark,
      Those in business don’t get the luxury of litigating their desires into reality that governments do, “So let it be written, so let it be done” doesn’t work as long as there are voluntary sales involved.

  10. According to Ola Källenius’ Wikipedia entry, this entire bad idea of turning MB all-electric may have been the result of his nagging (commie) wife.

  11. Kind of sad when a rusty Plymouth Volare makes a better winter/ cold weather car than a brand new Mercedes EQS. If you couldn’t get the car to function in the teens how would anyone have a practical use for it in Minnesota let alone Alaska? I suppose you could just put it up on blocks for the winter like they used to do in 1910 and drive an ICE car in the winter.

    Perhaps a better approach for selling them would be having a couple demo cars that you can test drive then order it optioned out like you did back in the 1960’s. That way you get more of what you want and less of what you don’t. Sort of a bespoke approach to ordering with the benefit of not having to cover a lot full of cars that aren’t selling.

    • Absolutely, Landru –

      In the case of the EQS device, what’s the appeal? Do they even think to ask this question? It has a big LCD touchscreen, nicely upholstered seats and power everything. So does a $30k Kia. The EQS is quicker, of course. But it’s also much slower – in terms of the time it takes to recover charge.

      Why am I wanting to spend $100k on this device, again?

      • Why would you want to pay $100K for it? Because virtual-signaling is expensive. If it weren’t it never would have become the new status symbol, replacing the Jag or the Range Rover. (That’s the new status symbol: Replacing the Jag or Range Rover with an expensive impractical EV).

  12. There really is no good reason for Mercedes-Benz to find itself in this predicament in the first place, because Mercedes-Benz should have ensured that its dEVices had price and performance parity with its real cars before they even hit the marketplace. In fact, the ability of Mercedes-Benz’s dEVices to compete with its real cars should have been the very reason these devices were made available to begin with. It doesn’t make sense to launch even a single dEVice until the range, charging time, fire risk and price issues have been fixed (which may perhaps never happen, in which case it will never make sense to launch dEVices onto the marketplace).

    Ironically, the only thing Mercedes-Benz has achieved, apart from a self-inflicted financial wound that could potentially be fatal if left unaddressed, is to create a disdain in the marketplace for the very type of vehicle on which it has bet the farm. People will potentially be more skeptical of future Mercedes-Benz dEVices because of their negative experiences with the current ones.

    • I think there’s a class of worker/manager who looks at everything as a challenge. They’re the top of their profession, and they want to prove it. Getting someone to buy a Mercedes instead of a Hyundai (Genesis) might be quite a feat of marketing, although branding and tradition is often important in the decision. When presented with an impossible task, they tear into it, either thinking that their usual playbook will be sufficient or that their ability will make them a success.

      We see this sort of marketing fiasco all the time. The Bud Light screw up comes to mind. In a hyper competitive market full of competition at all levels, where your only advantage is ubiquity and price, introduce a campaign to grow share into a new market without vetting it with your existing customer first. Big mistake, and I’m certain no one at Budweiser ever considered any of their regular customers would care, if they saw the Mulvaney TikTok feed at all. Switching to Miller Lite or pretty much any other of the hundreds of beers on the market involves moving three steps to the right.

      (Gay) pride goeth before the fall.

      In the case of EVs you also get the advantage of a scapegoat. “Well, we know they aren’t great, but the environment… And besides, the rulers are forcing us to sell these things.” In fact, in that light, maybe the manufacturers are just playing along to get along until someone in the ruling class figures out these things are a dud. They’re in for a long wait.

      • There is a limit to how long a thing will continue until it’s given up on. Like socialism, you eventually run out of other people’s money.

      • I think there’s a class of worker/manager who looks at everything as a challenge. They’re the top of their profession, and they want to prove it.

        But when they have repeated century-old mistakes, thereby potentially jeopardising the very viability of the businesses they are responsible for, it is odd that they’re still allowed to keep their jobs.

        The Bud Light screw up comes to mind.

        I’m not so sure that was a “screw up”, to me it always looked like a deliberate, controlled demolition. The problem with that thought, obviously, is what on earth would the motive be? To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe it was the philosophy of “punish one, teach a hundred”, in that companies needed to be taught a lesson that in this day and age of ESG and DEI, and with BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street owning nearly everything, companies need to be forced to align with the reality that their raison d’être is no longer to be profit-generating enterprises for their shareholders, but merely vehicles for the agendas of powers that be (cf. “stakeholder capitalism”), and that the willingness is there to run them into the ground if they do not follow instructions (thus the whole Bud Light debacle could have been payback time for some previous act of disobedience). Just thinking out loud, maybe it’s all too far-fetched.


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