Everyone can share stories about how they were talked down to by a salesperson in the showroom, treated rudely or like they were ignorant, bullied by salespeople and a slow selling process, overcharged compared to competitors for service, forced into unwanted service purchases under threat of losing warranty coverage – and a slew of other objectionable interactions. Most Americans think the act of negotiating the purchase of a new car is loathsome – and far worse than the proverbial trip to a dentist. It’s no wonder auto salespeople regularly top the list of least trusted occupations! ...
The trends all support Americans wanting to buy directly from manufacturers. At the very least this would force dealers to justify their existence, and profits, if they want to stay in business. But, better yet, it would create greater competition – as happened in the case of Apple’s re-emergence leading to its impact on personal technology for entertainment and productivity.
How is it that progressives, who otherwise favor all sorts of forms of economic regulation, occupational licensing schemes, and unnecessary barriers to entry, find this single cartel–taxi cabs–is unnecessary.
Well, many progressives have suddenly found another cartel they can’t stand. New Jersey, as well as Texas, and Arizona, only permit the sale of cars through in-state car dealerships. This renders the Tesla sales model–selling direct to consumers–illegal in many states.
The decision by workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to reject the United Auto Workers is the best news so far this year for the American economy. Even with Volkswagen management on its side, the union that combined with CEOs to nearly ruin U.S. car makers couldn't persuade a majority voting in a secret ballot to let it become their agent to bargain with the foreign-owned company.
This wasn't merely one more failed union organizing attempt. The UAW and its chief Bob King spent years working toward this vote as part of its strategy to organize plants in the American South, and all the stars were aligned in its favor. …
The UAW may be able to negotiate a near-term increase in pay and job security for current workers. But the price—in addition to the steep coerced dues—is usually a less competitive company that means less security and fewer jobs in the long run. The best proof is the UAW itself: It has lost 75% of its members in 35 years as its demands and work rules made their employers less competitive. …
Don't believe those who say this means the end of the UAW. It has too many friends in high political places, as the 2009 auto bailouts proved. Federal law is also stacked in favor of unions, and President Obama's NLRB is routinely stretching and breaking the law to make it even more so.
But the fact that unions must rely on brute government force shows how out of touch they are with modern economic reality.
When I was a kid I vacillated between two automotive loves: The Porsche 911 and the Jaguar E Type. I've owned one of the former and loved it. I've never owned one of the latter, mostly because they were hopelessly unreliable when new. But I'm increasingly thinking the new F Type might make a decent replacement:
Or maybe I'll just go back to the 911.
In any case, however, one question bugs me: Why is Mark Strong driving a LHD car in what is supposed to be England?
Hillary Clinton hasn't gotten behind the wheel in a long, long time.
The former first lady and potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, who has had drivers for much of her three decades in public life, said Monday that she hasn't driven a car since 1996. Clinton made the confession at the National Automobile Dealers Association meeting in New Orleans.
Remember that the next time she rails about the privileges of the 1%. (BTW, when was the last time Elizabeth Warren drove herself?)
U.S. automaker Chrysler, which was bailed out by taxpayers at a loss of $1.3 billion, will become fully owned by Italy’s Fiat.
The agreement comes more than 4-1/2 years after the Obama administration brought Fiat in to keep Chrysler in business as part of a packaged bankruptcy proceeding.
Fiat said it has agreed to pay $3.65 billion for the 41.46% of Chrysler it doesn’t already own from the UAW’s medical benefits trust for retirees.
Fiat shares gained nearly 13% in Milan early Thursday to trade at €6.70, their highest level since July 2011.
It's interesting that Fiat stock went up, since--at least in the USA--an acquirer's stock often drops on news of an impending acquisition. OTOH, as the LA Times reminds us:
The federal government led the effort to remake Chrysler as part of a $12.5-billion bailout that, along with the $51-billion rescue of General Motors Co., was designed to save the U.S. auto industry during the depths of the recession.
Fiat purchased the government's remaining stake in Chrysler in 2011, ending the bailout with a taxpayer loss of $1.3 billion.
So maybe Obama should be the one reimbursing US taxpayers. I'd be happy to settle for a cut of the money he'll inevitably make writing his memoirs and giving speeches.
I'm a car guy. But unlike a lot of car guys, I care much more about the interior design than the exterior design of my cars. So I was interested to learn that Audi has a new concept car showing its future design themes. After all, I think Audi has some of the nicest car interiors in the business. So take a look at this photo of the new concept:
Looks nice, right? Well, mostly. But what about that pop up navigation screen? I hate that style. They stick up like a sore thumb. Compare that Audi to the new Mercedes S class dashboard:
See how beautifully they integrated the infotainment screen into the dash? It flows organically instead of looking like an enormous pimple on an otherwise gorgeous face.
While we're on the subject, here's a few more pet peeves about infotainment screens:
Ford: Looks good, but the ones one the Ford's I've rented lately have been glitchy. clunky, and hard to use. As Consumer reports observes: "The controls are overly complicated, cumbersome to use, and potentially distracting." I couldn't agree more.
Tesla: Every time I peek into a Tesla, the touchcreen is covered with finger smudges. Every single time. That would get old.
Toyota: I couldn't figure out the system the last time I rented a Toyota.
If I pulled a stunt halfway this bad in my class, I'd have our liberal students complaining en masse to the Dean, Chancellor, and the Daily Bruin. No. Make that 10% as bad. But as long as you go off on Republicans, you're apparently safe. At least at Michigan State. (Story here.)
Pope Francis said on Saturday it pained him to see priests driving flashy cars, and told them to pick something more "humble". ...
"It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can't do this," he said.
At first this struck me as a rather silly thing for the Pontiff to be worried about, given the serious problems on his plate, but then I was reminded of the Biblical aphorism: "Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great." Maybe even priests need to start small.
I've been reading a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction lately and watching some of those zombie TV shows, so when I saw a Top Gear blurb on the nuew Mercedes unimog, I knew that what I wanted for Christmas is a Unimog-based customized and luxed out RV. With front and rear 50-caliber remotely operated weapon stations to deal with zombies and a MK19 Mod3 40mm grenade machine gun ROWS to service your larger mutants. Plus, of course, you'd want tear gas cannons to fend off the starving masses, solar panels, water purification, biodiesel generation capability, etc. In sum, something like this: