Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The War on Car Drivers--and Car Dealers

These two items are related.

The first is from Peter DeLorenzo, a genuine "car guy" with long experience in the industry (advertising-side) and a regular blogger on the topic of cars, Detroit, and the people in the Big Three.’s clear that this business is rushing headlong into the Abyss of The Unknown. Why? Because two decidedly different perspectives are about to square off and neither one of the factions involved knows where it’s all going. Well, that’s not exactly true. One faction is quite clear about ending the automobile business as we know it; the other is out to control the crash while getting a cut of the action.
It’s the Connected, Autonomous, Ride-Sharing Imperative Zealots vs. The Future of Transportation Realists.
On the one side are the Zealots of the anti-car intelligentsia, which consists of The Masters of All They Survey, aka the feverishly brilliant (just ask ‘em) hordes in Silicon Valley; the California government auto regulators, whose primary mission in life is to tell the rest of the country what’s good for us (even though with each new strident edict we could all care less), and of course the carpetbagging hordes in Washington, those usual stumble-bum suspects in the political ranks who continue their self-aggrandizng dance of egregious ineptitude.

The Zealots believe that we will all soon exist in a Shiny Happy World where cars will appear at our beckoning and then disappear to Some Other Place, which presumably will be out of sight and out of mind. Like Iowa. I can just imagine the rationale now: “Oh, I don’t know. Who cares? Ick. We’ll figure that out later!”

The Zealots are all about freedom from the “tyranny” of the automobile, the one (albeit popular) conveyance responsible for all of our problems, both real and imagined. The Zealots aren’t content with just snuffing the life out of the dirty, intransigent automobile business. Oh no, they want to gain control of it first of all because everyone associated with the auto business as we know it is just so relentlessly incompetent. (Didn’t you get that memo? It’s well documented.) Then they not only want to eradicate it from the face of the earth, they want to purge it from our history while they’re at it, dismissing the entire exercise as “The Regrettable Unpleasantness.”...

Self-driving cars?  "Cars-on-demand"?  Uhhmmmmnnnn....maybe.  But maybe not. 

Anyhow, closely related to that movement is Tesla which--as you should know--is living on its tax benefits, NOT on profits from building cars.  And Elon Musk/Tesla is fixated on demolishing car dealers.  (Hint:  That will give Tesla more profitability AND it will facilitate the ultimate triumph of the "dream car" which does not use hydrocarbons and is permanently wired to the internet (translate:  Somebody's-Watching-You-Net.))  Oh, yes, that "car-on-demand"?  The key is this:  you don't own it and you can't take it whenever/wherever you want to go.

Tesla, in its quest to eliminate dealers, testified before the FTC yesterday.  (We'll get back to "FTC" in a minute). an FTC workshop on those dealer laws, Tesla general counsel Todd Maron struck back.

Part of the reason that the dealer laws aren't changing in the US is because of GM's efforts (among other entities, like dealer networks), Maron said. He repeated Barra's quote to the assembled crowd and said, "This shows that [GM's] interest here is purely competitive," he said, instead of being concerned about their dealerships or GM customers. "They are actually touting their ability to block us from selling directly and the fact that our customers can't buy our cars as easy as theirs."

The FTC?  Why there?  Two reasons.  First, Musk/Tesla want to have the Feds declare that dealerships amount to a 'restraint of trade' construct. 

Second, because Obama and his cabal are part of the Zealots (above); the Intellectualoids who want to demolish the auto industry.  One of the routes to doing that is to drain the dealerships of profits--and a big piece of that puzzle will be to eliminate car-dealer indirect financing.  They want to eliminate thousands of risk-taking job-creating entities who, by and large, are conservative.

How to do that?  Simple.  Have the FTC declare that dealer/indirect financing is "discriminatory," just like Carter and Clinton did to the mortgage industry.  Whether that is true or not is irrelevant.  Whether it works or not is also irrelevant.  The point is to Federalize the whole thing.

Big ambitions, eh?  It might take 20-50 years.  But they'll keep working at it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If things go bad in China and they are acording to the link, the worm is gonna work extra hard at leaching even more off the US taxpayer.. It is this guys modus operandi after all.