Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Car Talk Guys to GM: "Why Do You Make Such Shit?"

I was catching up on old podcasts of NPR's Car Talk and heard the Magliozzi brothers mention a recent appearance on PBS. The program NOVA sent Click and Clack in search of the Car of the Future. The whole show is worth checking out, especially if you're new to phenomenal concepts like plug-in hybrids and questionable concepts like biofuels and hydrogen cars.

But this exchange in segment 6 really sums up the program. A GM rep is walking the guys through a car show, trying to show off the Chevy Volt:

RAY MAGLIOZZI: It's right next to the Ford Mustang with 550 horsepower.

BETH LOWERY: Yes. And the Camaro convertible. Isn't that great?


BETH LOWERY: America is all about choice. If you want a Camaro, buy a Camaro.

RAY MAGLIOZZI: But if we're about hugging trees ...

TOM MAGLIOZZI: With 500 horsepower? Who the hell needs 500 horsepower?

BETH LOWERY: Obviously not you.

TOM MAGLIOZZI: Why do you make such shit? I mean it's ridiculous!

BETH LOWERY: You mean these popular vehicles that are on the floor?

TOM MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, these popular vehicles. Five hundred horsepower ... jeez!

BETH LOWERY: It creates a little excitement, doesn't it?

RAY MAGLIOZZI: You're good, Beth.

TOM MAGLIOZZI: Thanks a million.

RAY MAGLIOZZI: Thanks for your time.


RAY MAGLIOZZI: Sorry for giving you a hard time.

BETH LOWERY: That's okay. I'm used to it.

Despite all their commercials with green trees and blue skies and cheery kids, GM makes clear that all that good corporate citizenship stuff is just greenwashing. They have only one goal -- making as much money as possible.

So the Tappett Brothers come to the conclusion that if we want to cut our gas bills, increase our energy security, and curb the worst effects of global warming, we need government incentives. All the futuristic cars in the world won't matter unless we have the right carrots and sticks to prompt the car industry to make them and consumers to buy them.
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