Fresh off its public bailout, the General Motors Corporation is about to launch a massive marketing campaign titled “May the Best Car Win.” The intent of the campaign is to show prospective buyers how new and different the post-bailout GM will be. The spokesperson “face” of this coming blitzkrieg? I shit you not:
Script: “They tell me the young whipper-snappers are none too happy with our latest batch of horseless carriages…Well, by gum, this’ll learn ’em…”
Cash for Clunkers is a mega-clunker, as it (very unsurprisingly) turns out.
What kind of MPG leap is the free-money-for-cars gambit yielding? It must be wondrous, right?
Not so much:
Edmunds.com analysts have determined that in May and June, the average fuel efficiency of recently purchased new cars was 21.8 miles per gallon. Since the program launched, the average has jumped to 23.2 mpg, a 6.1 percent improvement.
And how about the widespread report that the Toyota Corolla is now the #1 seller? Turns out that’s false. The actual bestseller is the Ford Escape SUV, which comes in six sub-models, so gets counted as six different makes, rather than one, in the bogus reports you’re hearing. As Advertising Age explains:
Interestingly, the government’s list of top-10 vehicles sold showed that consumers bought mostly compact cars during the promotion, with the Toyota Corolla in the No. 1 slot. The discrepancy arises because Uncle Sam considers each of the six versions of the Escape (as well as different versions of the trucks) to be a separate model, while Edmunds tallied all Escape-model sales.
The actual top ten models people are choosing with their “Clunkers” trade-ins, according to edmunds.com?
The level of desperation in the automobile-industrial complex is now so extreme, they are touting products that are not real. Can you buy a Chevy Volt? No. Will you ever be able to? Perhaps. Will these hype vehicles ever be affordable, reliable, and practical? Doubtful. Are they an intelligent use of the Earth’s remaining non-renewable resources? No way.
None of this will enter into public discussion, of course. This is market totalitarianism, and cars are mandatory. No questions asked or allowed.
I recently mentioned how the nation’s car dealers are using the federal government’s new Car Allowance Rebate System, a.k.a. “C.A.R.S.,” a.k.a. “cash-for-guzzlers,” as the basis for bait-and-switch selling.
There could be no clearer proof of this flagrant criminality than the above photograph, which today’s online edition of The New York Times is running above a caption reading:
A car was displayed in a dumpster at a dealer in Springfield, Vt., as a promotion for the rebate program, which was said to have exhausted its funds within a week.
Now, that car in the dumpster is a 1990s Toyota Corolla. I can swear from long personal experience that a 1990s Toyota Corolla would take you around town at more than 30 MPG, and approach or exceed 40 MPG on the highway.
That means the car in the dumpster here is massively ineligible as a subsidized trade-in under C.A.R.S., which pays cash only to those trading in old cars getting lower than 18 combined MPG — or roughly 1/2 what that dumpstered Corolla gets. If you bring in a 1991 Corolla thinking you will be eligible for a $3,500 or $4,500 credit toward a new car, you are massively mis-informed.
Nonetheless, there it is, bigger than life, on that car lot, and probably also in its saturation advertising on local TV.
This shameless disinformation speaks triply to the runaway insanity of this market-totalitarian society. At this very late date, our system is:
1) Giving away free money for the purchase of still more iterations of the very commodity that is arguably the greatest single threat to continued human civilization.
2) Junking, not fixing and re-distributing, 1990s Toyota Corollas.
3) Doing less than zero to police the humongous, especially blatant marketing fraud being perpetrated by the nation’s car dealers vis-a-vis “cash-for-clunkers.” How many downward MPG car-swaps will be achieved, as the dealers lure and switch-sell owners of 1990s Corollas? That number, certainly, will not be zero…
The mouse that doesn’t even squeak, the Orwellian sop to Naderian special pleading, the organization that dares put “highway traffic” and “safety” not just together, but together in its very name…
So, let’s say the Congress wanted to find a way to give away some free money to help further bail out car capitalists by encouraging commoners to step up their anemic, Great Depression III automotive purchasing rates. Which governmental agency would one expect the money to be managed by? The Commerce Department, perhaps?
In reality, can you guess where the conduit lies for the federal government’s new Car Allowance Rebate System, a.k.a. “C.A.R.S.”, a.k.a. “cash-for-guzzlers” program?
Yep: In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration!
This fact speaks volumes in several directions, not least as proof that the NHTSA, both by design and established practice, does nothing serious to make personal mobility safer in this market-totalitarian society. It is a cover, a shield, a deflector for our massively deadly, dangerous, and irrational cars-first arrangement. Hence, in a nation where 35,000-55,000 people die in car crashes each and every year, the NHTSA in the year 2009 has the time and staff to administer a complex program for passing out free money for even more cars!
Footnote: If you watch any TV, you’ll have already noticed that, in local auto dealers’ aggressive come-on advertising, “cash-for-guzzlers” is most certainly not being explained in any substantial degree. Judging from these ads, which (at least in my “market” of Portland, Oregon) are blatantly mis-labeling the program “cash-for-clunkers,” any reasonable person would conclude there are no requirements for obtaining money other than owning a clunker.
In reality, there are narrow rules based on vehicle age and gas-mileage ratings.
Hence, the actual main effect of the “cash-for-guzzlers reimbursement system” is to serve as a publicly-sponsored marketing platform for a new round of bait-and-switch selling on the nation’s car lots. “Now that you’re here…”
It includes some excellent quick glimpses of the truth behind the scenes of this shameful mega-enterprise/IQ test. Thinking they’re talking to CNBC and hence other corporate overclassers, some corporate planners briefly tip their hand about their real motives.
For instance, this admission from Tom Murphy, VP of Media and Sponsorships at the Sprint telecom corporation:
This [NASCAR] is a superior marketing asset and we judge it in the ways any marketer would, no differently than when we buy TV advertising and airtime…newspaper or magazine advertisements. This is a giant, giant ad machine.
But, while watching, I also noticed that NASCAR’s major players go out of their way to call car racing “motorsports.”