Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”
Hyundai has announced details of the facelifted 2013 Sonata, including a radically lower price and a long list of industry-first ameneties.
“We tried leading the mid-size segment in styling, but then the goddamned Kia Optima came along and hammered the shit out of us,” explained Hyundai’s foul-mouth spokesman Miles Trailer. “We tried the 35 MPG thing, but my grandmother can’t even get that kind of mileage out of the goddamned car, and she’s dead. And don’t even get me started on the hybrid. What a clusterfuck that was. So we said, ‘Fuck it, let’s go back and do the value thing.'”
The 2013 Sonata will include several new technologies as standard equipment, including active noise-cancelling leather seats, nineteen-zone climate control, and a magical horse named Phillip who can grant wishes. The optional Preferred Plus Package includes a personal valet, a solid gold lawn furniture set, and a pink helicopter that can fly to the sun, while the top-of-the-line Limited model adds a six-bedroom condo in Tahiti and a direct phone line to the White House.
In addition, Hyundai is expanding it’s warranty to cover the car for ten thousand years or one hundred billion miles, whichever comes first.
“Value has always been a core pillar of,” said Hyundai of America CEO John Hotchick, who then abruptly wandered off because he was distracted by something shiny.
“I think he was going to say that value has always been a core pillar of Hyundai, or some shit like that,” said Trailor. “Point is, our cars used to be dirt fucking cheap, now they aren’t, and people still don’t want to be seen in a piss-Christing Hyundai. So we’re going back to that whole shitloads-of-equipment thing, and… John! John! Put that lady down!”
Hyundai has not announced pricing, but Trailer says a nicely-equipped Sonata will retail for “about a dollar twenty five,” adding, “Let’s see you beat that, you Kiassholes!”
Concerned about media reaction to the performance of the upcoming Veloster Turbo, Hyundai has decided to fit a less-powerful engine to the base-model Veloster in order to widen the performance gap between the two cars.
The Veloster Turbo reportedly accelerates to 60 MPH in about 8 seconds, while the normally-aspirated Veloster has been tested in the low-to-mid 9-second range.
“In order to convince the media that we are competitive in this segment,” says Hyundai spokesman Miles Trailer, “we need a gap of at least three seconds.”
Asked if an 8 second 0-60 time was sufficient for a turbocharged performance car, Trailer said, “Of course it isn’t, but who does instrumented testing these days? Just the major magazines, and no one reads those anymore. We know the Veloster Turbo is slower to 60 than a Honda Odyssey minivan, but as long as it feels faster than a regular Veloster, that’s all they care about. More importantly, that’s all they’ll write about.”
Hyundai says they plan to have several competing performance cars available to journalists at the Veolster Turbo’s press preview, including a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a Fiat 850 Sport Coupe, and a Honda CRX HF with one of the spark plug wires disconnected.
Asked why Hyundai did not simply improve the performance of the Veloster Turbo, Trailer told Autoblopnik, “Because that would cost more money, and you know how the big wigs in Korea get when we spend money. Hell, they wouldn’t even let us spend the cash to put the same number of doors on both sides of the car.”
Last month, Hyundai’s Ulsan plant began producing Velosters with a de-stroked version of the 1.6 liter Gamma engine. A modified crankshaft reduces displacement to 1.3 liters, dropping horsepower from 138 to 96 and torque from 123 lb-ft to 89 lb-ft. In an exclusive interview with chief engineer Kyu Bong Kim, Autoblopnik asked about the effect on fuel economy, but Kim was unable to tell us because he does not speak English and Hyundai did not provide a translator.
Early tests show a 0-60 time for the modified Veloster of about 12.5 seconds, but if the car proves too quick in real-world driving, says Trailer, “We still have some carbureted 1.5s from the Excel back in the warehouse.”
Hyundai says that retroactively fitting the modified engines to Velosters already on the road would be cost prohibitive, but they have issued a manditory Technical Service Bulletin that consists of retarding the ignition timing and dropping a couple of balled-up gym socks into the air cleaner box.
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