The automotive community was in shock today after a well-known and well-respected journalist let it be known that he does not like diesel-powered cars.
“I’ve never cared for them, really,” said Jimmy “Jim” Hammer-James, a former syndicated automotive columnist for Knight-Rider News, who asked that he not be named for fear of reprisals.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with diesels,” Hammer-James the journalist told Autoblopnik. “I just don’t like them, and I don’t understand why my colleagues get so excited about them. Sure, they get great fuel economy if you drive five miles per hour under the speed limit on level ground in a perfectly straight line with the A/C off and the sunroof closed, but they’re noisy and the fuel sticks to your shoes and stinks up your car. When my readers tell me they need a car that gets great gas mileage, I tell them to buy a Prius.”
“This creates a serious credibility problem for our industry,” said Berton Bertonsmyth, president of Consolidated Reporters and Automotive Professionals, a trade group for auto writers. “An automotive reporter who doesn’t like diesels is like… is like…”
“Like a germaphobe who doesn’t like soap,” finished his colleague Bill Fannybatter, president of Consolidated Reporters for Awesomely Slick Similes.
Hammer-James the unnamed journalist says he’s surprised at the vitriol he’s received from his colleagues after voicing his opinions on diesels.
“It’s like there’s some sort of unwritten code,” he said. “If you don’t love diesels, you’re not a real auto critic. People say I must hate cars, or I must not be an enthusiast. I’ve owned three BMWs, I’ve got a showroom-condition ’64 GTO, and I’m helping a friend restore his Jaguar E-Type. I love cars. I just don’t like diesels.”
“He’s worse than a mommyblogger,” said Warry Lebster of Toad and Rrack, who asked that we change his name and his publication in order to ensure his anonymity. “He’s worse than a lifestyle journalist. He’s not one of us.”
UPDATE: Autoblopnik has learned that Hammer-James the subject of this story is unhurt after a failed attack by fellow journalists, who doused him with diesel fuel and attempted to set him alight before realizing that diesel fuel does not burn readily.
Jeep today revealed the 2015 Wrangler, which will be based on Fiat’s European-market Panda 4×4.
“The new Wrangler will make huge improvements in fuel economy and ride quality,” Jeep spokeschanger Tadd Gayer told Autoblopnik, “the trade-off being that it will give up some off-road ability. And by some, I mean pretty much all of it.”
Asked if such a radical change would alienate the existing Wrangler buyer base, Gayer said, “We certainly hope so.”
“Moving the Wrangler to a commuter-car platform will definitely be a huge disappointment for long-time Jeep fans,” Gayer said, unnecessarily starting a new paragraph. “Frankly, if we can get rid of these Moab-obsessed yahoos, we can get on with building SUVs and crossovers that the rest of the market actually wants. The CR-V can’t do jack shit off road, and Honda makes way more money than us.”
Jeep’s shift away from off-road-capable products includes ceasing use of the “Trail Rated” slogan.
“We’re thinking about changing it to ‘Tail Rated,’” Gayer told our reporter. “The implication is that Jeeps are pet friendly, but there’s also the subtext that it’ll help you get girls. We like subtle sexual innuendos like that. Why do you think we named the pickup trucks Ram?”
Gayer said there would be plenty of alternatives for fans of the brand who dislike the new Panda-based Wrangler.
“They can buy a used Wrangler. God knows there’s about a billion of them out there. They could get off their lazy asses and work hard enough to afford a Land Rover. Or better yet, they could just find a different hobby, one that doesn’t require us to rearrange our whole friggin’ product line to suit their whims. To tell you the truth, I really don’t give a shit. Come 2015, it’s no longer my problem.”
Ford Motor Company today announced EPA fuel economy estimates of 35 MPG city and 45 MPG highway for the 2014 Fiesta with the 1.0 liter EcoBoost turbo engine, adding that these figures will be “totally unreachable” for the average consumer.
“When and if it goes on sale, the EcoBoots-powered Ford Fiesta will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid non-diesel non-electric non-midsize non-premium non-car in America,” said Ford non-spokesman Say Deepthings. “We also hasten to add that we do not expect our buyers to actually achieve 45 MPG in the new 45 MPG Festiva.”
“The 45 MPG figure will be totally unreachable for the vast majority of our customers,” echoed Ford’s chief EcoBlouse engineer, Ima N. Jineer, “and by ‘vast majority’ I mean every last one of them. But at least they can truthfully tell their friends that they are driving the 45 MPG EcoBooze-powered Ford Fitesta.”
Deepthings pointed out that the three-cylinder turbocharged Fiesta has advantages that go well beyond fuel economy.
“The EcoSnooze Fistata has more torque per liter than a Corvette ZR-1,” he told our correspondent. “It also has more seat belts per fender than an Audi R8 and more transmission speeds per cylinder than a Jaguar F-Type. If you fill it with hats, it has more hats per cubic acre than a Bentley Mulsanne without any hats in it.”
Asked if Ford was manipulating their powertrain calibrations to deliver higher EPA figures than drivers could expect in real-world driving, Deepthings said, “Absolutely not. The EPA tests are a 100% accurate representation of the fuel economy buyers could expect to achieve from their own EcoBoobs-powered Fiestarossas if they were to recreate the EPA tests on their own using Ford’s specially-calibrated equipment. How else could we legally promote the 45 MPG Ford Fiesto as the 45 MPG Ford Festivo?”
© Autoblopnik — Hat tip to Scott Villeneuve
Following a rebuff by both General Motors and Ford of his expressed desire to head up either company, Renault COO Carlos Tavares tells Autoblopnik he would be willing to take over as the Easter Bunny if the job was offered to him.
“I have a wealth of experience that would serve me well as the Easter Bunny,” Tavares said. “Being the Easter Bunny is all about hiding things. I can hide things. Under my leadership, Renault has specialized in hiding things like style, refinement and quality.”
Tavares said he thinks he would actually be best suited to take the position of Santa Claus, but he did not think this position was likely to open up.
“St. Nick is only a few hundred years old,” he explained, “so the chances that he’s going to snuff it before I hit sixty is pretty damn slim. Not going to hold out hope for that one.”
Tavares said he hasn’t actually spoken to anyone involved in Easter management about his desire for the position, but he felt positive that putting the word out via a major news venue like Autoblopnik would do the trick.
“It can’t go any worse than telling Automotive Nudes that I wanted to run GM or Ford,” he said. “Man, what a clusterfuck that turned out to be.”
Jesus Christ, chairman and head of public relations for Christianity, said that Tavares had not reached out to the religion directly, and that they were not looking to replace the Easter Bunny any time in the near future.
“This is primarily a family business, and we prefer to promote from within,” He said.
The Russian government is considering new privacy legislation that would limit the right to publish dash cam videos, a move that poses a threat to thousands of automotive blogs and web sites.
“Obviously, this is a major concern for us,” said Jeremy Korzinieweshouldahiredsomeonewithashortername, Editor-of-Something-or-Other at Autoblop.com. “We don’t rely as heavily on dash cam footage as that other site that used to compete with us, but it still makes up a sizable percentage of our content.”
Russian dash-cam footage has been called “an Internet sensation,” “the ‘Wazzup’ videos of the 2010s,” and “fackin’ nails, brah!” The Russian government’s pubic affairs directorate estimates that 98% of Russian drivers have fitted their vehicles with onboard cameras, with the 2% who haven’t being rounded up and sent to re-education camps. Under the proposed legislation, posting dash cam footage to a public forum would be a felony punishable by life in Russia.
Internet search giant Google estimated that some 3,500 automotive-related blogs rely on Russian dash cam footage for at least 50% of their content, with Microsoft search provider Bing saying the exact same thing but on a slightly prettier screen. A spokesvideo for YouTube.com, where most Russian dash cam videos are posted, said the streaming video giant is concerned about the possible elimination of these videos, and that they are in negotiations with the Star Wars light saber kid and the What What In The Butt guy to make up for the forecasted drop in traffic.
Travis Osuki, Senior Citizen Correspondant for Jablopnik, called the situation “Horrific, our worst nightmare. Frankly, I don’t know what we’re going to do. We might have to go back to reporting news and reviews. Gawd, I don’t even want to think about that.”
An anonymous source at Acura, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Autoblopnik that the TSX Sport Wagon is likely to be discontinued as retribution for poor reviews of other Acura products.
“We’re going to tell the world there’s no business case for the TSX Sport Wagon,” our unnamed insider said anonymously, “but this is really a direct message to auto writers everywhere: Start treating us better, or we’re going to kill the things you love.”
The Acura TSX Sport Wagon was introduced in the 2011 model year to great critical acclaim, with journalists praising its combination of utility and excellent handling dynamics. Retail sales for the past two-and-a-half years have totaled twenty-seven units.
“There are only two types of people who buy the TSX Sport Wagon, both of which are automotive journalists,” said our anonymous source, who asked not to be named. “No one else in America wants a wagon, at least not since 1983. We brought this car here as a favor to these ingrates, and they’re crucifying us. We’re simply not going to stand for it any more.”
In years past, Acura has garnered praise from the auto press for vehicles like the RSX Type S, the Integra GSR, and the legendary NSX. But critics have been highly critical of recent products, with headlines such as “RLX Misses the Mark” and “ILX: WTF?”
Our source, who would only speak to us if we agreed not to publish his name, told Autoblopnik that the division feels its being unfairly singled out.
“Lexus puts some better springs in the GS and they act like it’s the second coming,” he (or she, it could be a she) said anonymously. “BMW turns the 3-series into a Buick Century and they get a pass. We bring back all-wheel-steering in the RLX, and all they can say is ‘Where’s the V8?’ We give them an RDX with a more powerful and fuel-efficient engine, and they say ‘Where’s the turbo?’ Well, fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em in the ear.”
Acura recently introduced an all-new version of the MDX crossover, with the first reviews just now appearing on the Internet and at news stands.
“They’d better fucking well be positive, or the TSX Sport Wagon is a goner,” our anonymous source said on the condition that we not name him (or her). “And that’s just the beginning. You know that Civic Si powertrain in the ILX that everyone loves? We can make that thing vanish like a fart in the wind. And I haven’t even mentioned those three little letters you all love so much: N, S and X. Don’t try us, my friends. Don’t even fucking try us.”
General Motors today issued what it called “a heartfelt apology to our customers, employees, shareholders, dealers and supporters throughout the country and around the world.”
“We wish to express our depest regrets,” said CEO Dan Ackerman in a written statement. “We understand the trust you put in our Corporation and our products, and we have violated that trust. We take full responsibility and are genuinely sorry for any harm or upset that has been caused.”
“The days of shying away from things like this are long past us,” Teddy Cardigan, GM’s VP of public relations, told Autoblopnik. “When a situation occurs, we need to stand up and say ‘We acknowledge this, we own this, and here’s what were going to do to remedy the situation.’”
In his statement, Ackerson said that the company was taking “a serious look at all levels of the company” to find “the root cause”.
We’re not looking for a scapegoat,” Ackerson wrote. “We need to change our culture, not just our personnel, to make sure this doesn’t happen ever again.”
Other Detroit automakers said they are carefully watching the reaction to General Motors’ apology. Ford spokesapologist Sid Deet said he thought General Motors was “doing the right thing,” and that his company was prepared to follow suit with an apology of their own if need be. Chrysler told Autoblopnik that they are also prepared to apologize, just not to NHTSA. Toyota, a company with a great deal of apology experience, said they were considering their own apology, while a Hyundai representative said “We’ll do whatever Toyota does, except for making floor mats that step on the accelerator by themselves.”
Autoblopnik made several inquiries to General Motors to find out what exactly they were apologizing for, but our calls and emails were not returned.
Toyota announced today that it has canceled plans to introduce a redesigned Corolla for the 2014 model year, and will instead continue to sell the current model indefinitely.
“We sold 290,000 Corollas in 2012, a 50,000 unit increase over model year 2011,” explained Toyota spokesmodel Moe Lester. “Clearly, the Corolla is still in demand. While we know this decision will disappoint a lot of people, especially Toyota employees and dealers, we have to go where the market takes us.”
Toyota has been showing a thinly disguised prototype of the next-generation Corolla, called the Corolla Furia concept, on this year’s auto show circuit. Automotive journalists, who have described the current Corolla as “dated,” “behind the times,” and “pathetic,” have lauded the Furia concept, calling it “not dated,” “not behind the times,” and “not pathetic.”
“No question, the Corolla Furia would have been a huge improvement over the current Corolla,” Lester told Autoblopnik. “Are we disappointed in our own decision? A bit, yes. Building a compact sedan with the personality of a house plant gets very old very quickly, especially when the rest of the industry has moved on and we’re still stuck in the year 2003. But there is still a large segment of sad, boring people who want a sad, boring car, and at the end of the day, we’re in business to make money.”
According to Lester, Toyota had established marketing deals for the redesigned Corolla with companies like Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, and Apple Computer.
“Unfortunately, we had to scrap those,” he explains. “But we do have some exciting co-branding opportunities with Jo-Ann Fabric Stores, Bayer Aspirin, and the Kansas Department of Tourism.”
Lester says that Toyota will continue to build the current-generation Corolla “until demand dries up or until every last Toyota employee commits suicide in order to escape the mind-numbing dreariness of our cars, whichever comes last.”
After a series of embarrassing breakdowns and mechanical problems, most recently a well-publicized “mis-fueling” incident in Israel, the White House announced that it is trading in the Cadillac presidential limo for a Hyundai Elantra.
“There’s a lot we like about the current Presidential limousine,” said White House press undersecretary Benjamin Disasterstein. “The control layout is uncluttered and it gets pretty good fuel economy for a twelve-ton armored vehicle. But getting it worked on anywhere outside of DC is a real nightmare, and now that it’s out of warranty, we have to think about these things. With Hyundai’s 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and world-wide dealer network, that won’t be an issue, at least not until well into Hilary’s second term. And if the Republicans are right about the President’s economic policies, the Hyundai Buyer Assurance program will allow us to return the car and walk away from the payments.”
Disasterstien said President Obama was directly involved in the selection of the new vehicle, a 2013 Hyundai Elantra Limited in Azure Blue Pearlcoat with alloy wheels, leather seats, and the optional Limited Technology package, which includes dual-zone climate control and a 7″ touch-screen navigation system.
“We really didn’t need nav,” says Disastersteen, “But that was the only blue Limited they had in stock, and if we custom-ordered the car, we wouldn’t be eligible for the $1,500 Competitive Trade-In cash-back bonus. Besides, the dual-zone climate thing will come in handy. The President and the First Lady are always arguing about the temperature in the car.”
President Obama immediately came under fire for not buying an American-made vehicle, but Dinerstean said that the White House did consider vehicles from the Big Three.
“Our first stop was a Chevy dealership to test-drive a Cruze Eco, but they kept trying to push us into an Equinox with much higher payments. The Focus was nice — the President loved that self-parking feature — but the First Lady didn’t care for the way the transmission shifted. And the President said no to the Dodge Dart, because he had a buddy in college who owned a Fiat X1/9 and it was always in the shop.”
The Secret Service refused to comment on what type of armament and protection will be fitted to the Presidential Elantra. However, an anonymous source inside the White House told Autoblopnik that the car will be driven in stock condition, because “no criminal in his right mind would think a guy driving a Hyundai Elantra is a valuable target.”
Ford today reported that sales of Certified Pre-Owned vehicles grew 29% in 2012 versus 2011, an increase that the company credits to a thorough overhaul of the CPO program.
Recent changes include a 12 month/12,000 mile comprehensive warranty and six years/100,000 miles of powertrain coverage for Ford-branded vehicles, while Lincoln vehicles get six years/100,000 miles of comprehensive coverage. Previously, CPO cars were covered for just three months or 3,000 miles. The CPO program now includes inspection of new technologies such as MyFord Touch and blind-spot monitoring. Despite the added costs of the additional inspection, Ford told Autoblopnik that both profits and dealer traffic are up.
“A robust CPO program keeps more vehicles in the dealer network,” says John Felice, general manager for Ford and Lincoln sales. “It improves residual values, enhances dealer profitability, brings more customers to Ford and Lincoln lots, and ultimately results in lower vehicle costs for consumers.”
Ford says that a strong CPO program is vital to increasing new-car sales as well, as these programs are often the first exposure to the brand for many buyers and could lead to a longer relationship.
“Fifty-five percent of these customers are new to the Ford and Lincoln brands,” explains Todd Fites, national CPO sales manager, for Ford, “and research shows that a new CPO customer is twice as likely to come back and buy a new Ford product in the future.”
Special correspondent Mark Wreckedem contributed to this story.