June 3, 2008

How Much Is That Kia In The Window?

Maybe it's because I spent the weekend a stone's throw from Detroit, but for some reason my brain has been in car-mode for days now. That would not be a surprising statement from an automotive journalist (that's what Mock Richardson, my editor, calls us - usually as he rolls his eyes), except car imagery just isn't where my mind goes of its own accord (see? car pun!).

Wheels section readers are a polarized lot, everyone stridently, violently committed to their beliefs. If I bitch about giant SUVs, the Right to Drive people come out with more force than any Right to Lifers I've ever met. That's part of what makes it fun - and it keeps the letters section hopping each Saturday as well.

Within the industry there are several writers who evoke much passion. Not many, but some. I prefer the funny, fearless ones myself. Read this piece from Jeremy Clarkson and tell me it's not only screamingly funny, but right on the money in its commentary on the state of the car industry at this moment, and the freefall of used car values (if you're thinking of a Kia Sedona, well, Clarkson suggests you think again...). People whine that he's too arrogant. Trust me; you have to get a little bullet proof to survive in this part of town. A lot, actually.


Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

A well written amusing "review".

As for Wheels, Kenzie was practically crucified last week by readers; all he offers is his opinion, folks -- nothing more, nothing less and certainly no sinister agenda. One of the reasons he's been at it so long.

Soon our dear scribe, Lorraine, will present herself with equally stunning credentials -- assuming she keeps this up and fame and fortune from the book do not distract!

June 04, 2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free falling used car values? They always were low. The minute you drive one off the lot, it's used and drops alarmingly in value. The smart way is you buy used and let someone else take the depreciation hit. Car manufacturers should one year reprieves from building until they clear their inventory out. Somehow I don't see that happening in an industry that builds cars to excess then stores them in "sales banks" to unload on unsuspecting dealers.

June 04, 2008 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My problem with Jim Kenzie is that he incites idiot drivers with his "opinions" to drive recklessly or at least too fast. He is definitely a respected auto journalist but I feel he has a duty not to encourage blowing off speed limits etc. While he may consider himself a good enough driver to manoeuvre a vehicle under high speed; not every driver out there who drives too fast has had the same training that Mr. Kenzie's job has afforded him. Let's think about the other people on the road too.

June 04, 2008 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim offers one point of view. As with TV, if we don't like it, change the channel. I find Jim quite humourous and other times not so. Buzzwhack sums it up. Buy a demo and let someone else take the hit for depreciation. I bought my last five vehicles this way and never been back to the dealer as all the bugs were gone and saved money in the bargain...

June 04, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to buzzwhack, if everyone bought used, who would be buying new?

June 04, 2008 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to anonymous, if we buy new, whose to say it'll save jobs? Gm certainly doesn't think so.

June 04, 2008 3:23 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

GM (and Ford and Chrysler) have dug themselves into a pit by firmly planting their heads up their butts. How on earth companies this big can hire leaders who have no vision - and reward them with millions - is beyond me.

Why is it auto manufacturers around the world, some who have been at it less than a decade, figured out little things, like the end of cheap oil, and planned accordingly, yet the Big Three, who have been at it for a century are still caught with their pants down?

The big car industry in the States is circling the drain, chasing the housing disaster in a swirl of ugly. Canadians were far more cautious about mortgages - aren't we happy now it's so tough to get one? - but until people stop defining themselves by what they drive, collapses like this are inevitable. The Big Three have built a tower of cards. A pretty one, mind you, but totally unstable.

But bashing aside, a great many communities depend on the auto industry, and our entire economies rely on oil. It's going to be an interesting, and painful, wake up call.

My Dad would never, ever borrow to buy a car. He almost always bought new and drove cars to their death, but he would be horrified at the nonchalance with which we borrow to buy or lease, and the amounts we pay.

June 04, 2008 3:34 PM  
Blogger DJW said...

What Book?
The book is out?
I didn't get the memo.

No I'm not dead, just reallllllly busy.

Tax dollars hard at work.


June 04, 2008 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine: where is this book everyone is talking about? You promised me an autographed copy before it hit the stores.

June 05, 2008 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to buzzwhack... if you build it they will buy.

The economy is built on supply and demand. Media, advertising, and the average everyday Joe, is what makes the world go around.

When we are sold the idea that a smaller car will in fact leave us flat as a pancake, then we are going to buy a big safe vehicle, if the media, advertising, and the present popular lobbying entity, tell us that the price of oil is going to go up and up and up...

then we believe and follow. Build a big car, we will follow and buy. Build a little car, and get the media, advertising, and present hollywood generation to go green, and we will buy.

It's supply and demand of the pocketbook.

We are fortunate to have this kind of power...

June 05, 2008 8:47 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Okay, everyone just shut up about a book. There is no publisher, there is no agent, and that means the book is the pretty girl's friend with a great personality.

I work like a dog; the book'll get there.

Oh, and DJ? Please tell me you're not insinuating that a nickel of your tax dollars find their way into my pocket....

June 05, 2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger DJW said...

Noooo its the other way round.

YOUR tax dollars hard at work.

My kids thank you for their pretty, straight teeth too. :-D


June 05, 2008 4:19 PM  

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