Craigslist Posting Of The Day — School Failure Edition

July 30, 2010

Our Craigslist Posting Of The Day is a perfect example of the outright failure of our school system, as well as the keyboard industry’s ability to make shift and punctuation keys easier to reach.

pontic ferrio – $200
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Date: 2010-07-30, 12:29PM PDT
Reply to: sale-kdqyd-1872051979@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
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i have an 1984 pontic ferrio that i brought home for my little brother for a fixer up project car and after a year on it sitting he decieded that he didnt want it and i dont need it it does need some work done to it it needs to have the drivers seat replaced cus the padding is all ripped up it needs new weather stripping on the moon roof a park brake cable and it needs a battery other then that i dunno the guy i got it from said that it ran great and was completly awesome on gas im only asking 200 obo please i need the car gone asap i do have picz but my comp wont upload them if you wish to see them i will email them you

Wow, where do we start? Not knowing the car is a Fiero vs. “Ferrio”, lack of conventions, spelling mistakes, using “cus”!?!?! I think we should track down this poster’s parents and former teachers and ask why they were asleep at the wheel while this knucklehead was growing up.


Sammy’s Vehicle For Sale on Craigslist _ad Lib

July 27, 2010

In an attempt to make it easier for people to sell their vehicles, two years ago I wrote an article called “Sammy’s Unofficial Template For Listing A Car Or Truck For Sale On Craigslist”. Judging by the sheer number of ads I still see that appear to be written by an ADDHD-riddled fourth-grader after ten shots of high-fructose corn syrup, evidently the topic needs to be covered yet again.

So today I’m trying something a little different. I’ll call it “Sammy’s Vehicle For Sale On Craigslist (or eBay, For That Matter) _ad Lib”. Now all one needs to do is find the correct information regarding the vehicle for sale and plug it into the appropriate fields in this ready-to-go ad copy.

Offered for sale is a (YEAR) (MAKE) (MODEL) (OFFICIAL BODY STYLE– that means SEDAN/COUPE/CONVERTIBLE/HARDTOP COUPE/WAGON/TOWN SEDAN, etc…) (OFFICIAL TRIM LEVEL DESIGNATION) with (NUMBER) miles. The vehicle is optioned with (OPTIONS AND OPTION PACKAGES).

(TYPE OF ENGINE — and NUMBER OF CYLINDERS/HORSEPOWER/OPTION CODE if multiple engines or multiple states of tune were offered) is (CHOOSE “ORIGINAL” OR “NOT ORIGINAL”) and runs (ADVERB). The (TYPE OF TRANSMISSION) shifts (ADVERB). Vehicle was last serviced (DATE), at which time the (LIST MAJOR SERVICES PERFORMED). Vehicle will need (TYPE OF MAINTENANCE) within the next (TIME PERIOD).

The (COLOR) paint is (ADJECTIVE). There are (ADJECTIVE RELATED TO QUANTITY) areas of (RUST/DAMAGE/DENTS/SCRATCHES) the size of (OBJECT) around the following areas: (LIST AREAS). The (FABRIC TYPE) interior is (COLOR) and is in (ADJECTIVE) condition, as exemplified by the (THING) on the (OBJECT).

Vehicle is offered at (PRICE) and is located at (LOCATION — CITY, STATE). Please feel free to ask questions by emailing (EMAIL ADDRESS) or calling (NAME) at (TELEPHONE NUMBER) between (HOURS).

The following pictures were taken (MONTH/YEAR): (INSERT FOUR PICTURES: FRONT 1/4, REAR 1/4, ENGINE, INTERIOR)

And just one last thing: once you’re done using Sammy’s Vehicle For Sale on Craigslist _ad Lib…at the very least, please spell check. If I see another “Camero Convertable”, “Crysler”, “Alpha Romero”, or “Caddillac” for sale today, I’m going to blow a gasket.


The Depressing Reality Of Camaro Production Numbers

July 13, 2010

GM delivered 46,378 new Camaros to dealers between January and June 2010. A darling of automotive press since the announcement of its return, the Camaro has actually turned out to be another case example, along with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, of how going retro is a really bad business decision.

The Camaro is a good performer on the road, but it isn’t from a business standpoint — although you’d never know by reading the mainstream and enthusiast automotive publications. Analyze the production and sales reports and compare to historical figures, though, and it becomes very clear.

The last generation Camaro’s final year was 2002. That year 42,098 units were produced during the entire run. While it might initially seem like the current Camaro is twice as successful, readers must keep in mind that the elder Camaro had to compete against its F-body fraternal twin, the Pontiac Firebird, of which 30,690 units were produced. The whole F-body car program had been slated for the buzzsaw years before, so production and sales in 2002 was done with minimal marketing support.

The current Camaro team has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing and pr, plus additional hundreds of millions in product development…not to mention placement in seemingly every major automotive magazine each month for over a year. Still, the current Camaro is only 9,984 units ahead at the six-month point (on pace for 19,968 additional annual units) than the last gasp of the F-body car line killed for its poor sales. Even worse, in 1997 with a sagging coupe market (remember this is the era when the RX-7 and Supra left the American market?) and a four-year-old body style, the Camaro alone logged 95,812 delivery units, not to mention an additional 30,754 Firebirds over at Pontiac.

It is also safe to expect that four years into the new Camaro’s life, production figures will mostly likely amplify the failures of its product plan. Analysis of sales and production results from all manufacturers conclude that a retro car’s product lifecycle is much shorter, because the look appeals to fewer people as the novelty value wears quickly.

Meanwhile Honda logged 133,601 deliveries through June (on pace to 267K-plus annual units) of the real modern interpretation of the original low-buck, high-fun pony car for early-twentysomethings, the Civic. Hopefully Honda’s executive team in 2050 doesn’t pull a GM — or Ford, for that matter, and build cars that look like the 2010 Civic, because that’s what looks good to the 65-year-old executives, rather than the product’s actual target market.


Car and Light Truck Retail Sales Results For First Half Of 2010

July 6, 2010

The most recent data allows us to see just how well each of the manufacturers are doing this year selling vehicles. While it hasn’t been a great year so far for automotive manufacturers, it certainly could have been much worse, because the totals are outpacing 2009’s dismal results.

There are no surprises here. Toyota is still feeling the effects of its knuckleheaded problem response model. Volvo and Saab are both reeling from corporate ownership issues. Porsche finally is realizing that there’s a limited number of people interested in its Cayenne SUV. As for the revolutionary Smart car, it appears consumers have finally come to the same conclusion I did years ago: it’s an image vehicle rather than a serious automotive product for the American market.

Joe Isuzu is dead… and if Mitsubishi doesn’t pick things up pronto, they’ll be next!

Jan-June 2010 U.S. Retail Sales Scorecard
2010 YTD 2009 YTD %change

General Motors Corp. 1,076,993 942,132 14.3%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424,207 398,679 6.4%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 652,786 543,453 20.1%

Ford Motor Company 981,352 773,242 26.9%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .369,730 298,694 23.8%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 611,622 474,548 28.9%
Volvo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28,206 29,746 -5.2%

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. 846,542 770,449 9.9%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497,410 471,529 5.5%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349,132 298,920 16.8%

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. 593,909 530,778 11.9%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347,499 319,962 8.6%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246,410 210,816 16.9%

Chrysler LLC 527,219 471,197 11.9%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157,849 107,199 47.2%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 369,370 363,998 1.5%

Nissan North America Inc. 440,332 347,744 26.6%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299,909 224,992 33.3%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140,423 122,752 14.4%

Hyundai Motor America 255,782 204,686 25.0%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188,363 153,548 22.7%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 67,419 51,138 31.8%

Volkswagen Group of America Inc. 175,272 135,710 29.2%
Audi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48,440 37,845 28.0%
Volkswagen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126,012 97,008 29.9%
Bentley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 688 657 4.7%
Lamborghini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 200 -34.0%

Kia Motors America Inc. 170,070 147,404 15.4%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91,885 78,255 17.4%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78,185 69,149 13.1%

Subaru of America Inc. 125,960 93,306 35.0%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81,714 53,711 52.1%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44,246 39,595 11.7%

BMW of North America Inc. 121,777 114,633 6.2%
BMW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 100,632 93,563 7.6%
Mini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20,953 20,885 0.3%
Rolls Royce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 192 185 3.8%

Mazda Motor of America Inc. 115,719 100,381 15.3%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78,417 68,582 14.3%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,302 31,799 17.3%

Daimler AG 110,354 94,159 17.2%
Mercedes-Benz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106,972 85,565 25.0%
Maybach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 27 22.2%
Smart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,349 8,567 -60.9%

Mitsubishi Motors N. A., Inc. 26,490 26,467 0.1%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18,243 18,580 -1.8%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,247 7,887 4.6%

Jaguar Land Rover N.A. LLC 20,815 18,186 14.5%
Jaguar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,851 6,134 -4.6%
Land Rover. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14,964 12,052 24.2%

American Suzuki Motor Corp. 11,549 22,408 -48.5%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,420 3,524 -31.3%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,129 18,884 -51.7%

Porsche Cars N.A. Inc. 10,984 9,659 13.7%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,379 5,320 57.5%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,605 4,339 -40.0%

Saab Cars North America, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,346 5,386 -75.0%
Total Cars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,259 3,851 -67.3%
Total Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 1,535 -94.3%

Maserati of N.A. Inc. 912 594 53.5%

Ferrari of N.A. Inc. (estimated) 646 595 8.6%

Isuzu Motors America Inc. 0 165 -100.0%

PASSENGER CARS 2,887,961 2,483,627 16.3%
LIGHT TRUCKS 2,726,062 2,325,654 17.2%
TOTAL LIGHT VEHICLE SALES 5,614,023 4,809,281 16.7%


Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours Drifts Away For 2010

July 2, 2010

Doug and Genie Freedman, organizers of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours, just announced the event has been cancelled for 2010. The couple cited a lack of sponsorship dollars, making it financially impossible to continue.

And this is a shame, because the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours was actually one of my favorite events during the Pebble Beach week. It was elegant, yet as snooty as southern potluck BBQ. The free-to-the-public two-day event at the beginning of the week showcased cars that were just as interesting and rare as those of the high ticket price events held later in the week. Plus the setting in downtown Carmel offered great eating and interesting shopping opportunities. Quite honestly, it was everything good and right about the car hobby…

Which, of course, didn’t make it immune from everything that has been wrong about this same hobby: the cold business side. From day one, Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours was in the crosshairs of the Pebble Beach Concours organizing company. One of the world’s most respected judges, who has decades of experience scoring cars on the fairway at Pebble Beach, told me that he had been issued an ultimatum by Pebble Beach Concours Chair Sandra Kasky Button: judge at Carmel and never judge at Pebble again.

Many in the classic car community scratched their heads over Pebble Beach’s perceived paranoia. After all, Carmel was a newcomer. It also was a free show that invited cars that would never be potential invitees to Pebble. It wasn’t competition in the collector car show sense. Why such a crazy reaction that simply brought additional people and money to the area?

Some of us hit the nail on the head when we proposed that it was all about advertising dollars. Sandra Kasky Button isn’t a monster or greedy — she’s an extremely smart and savvy businessperson, and a nice one, at that. Sandra knew that a recession would seriously shrink advertising dollars, and with the constant growth of shows and auctions during the weekend, Pebble couldn’t afford to sit on its hands. All the same, we hoped the Pebble people wouldn’t have been so proactive at trying to damage the event’s future. There were symbiotic benefits to be nurtured, had there been some attempt to cultivate such relationships.

Those of us who have attended Carmel-by-the-Sea to witness the great cars and people all hope the Freedmans can rustle-up more sponsorships for 2011 and organize the event’s triumphant return. While other’s advertising revenues might suffer just a bit, the world is no doubt a better place with the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours in it.


Chevrolet Announces Volt Production And Market Availability Plan

July 1, 2010

Chevrolet announced today its long-awaited plan indicating when, where and how many Volt plug-in hybrids will be initially sold. Seeing that the Volt is the first true paradigm shift in automobiles since the electric self-starter, this is very important news to automobile enthusiasts and near-term car consumers alike.

Chevrolet Volt Marketing Director Tony DiSalle confirmed the company plans to produce 10,000 Volts by the end of the 2011 calendar year, and an additional 30,000 Volts during the 2012 calendar year. The first Volts available for retail sales will be sold in California, Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and the New York City metropolitan area later this year. During the first quarter of 2011, Volts should be available in Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, as well as the balance of Texas and New York.

Those living in other markets will either have to wait for second-year production or buy from out of state. 50-state delivery is expected by 18 months from initial dealership deliveries. These dealerships will be required to complete specialized sales and service training, and install 240-volt charging stations.

With oil still spilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Volt (and its projected 200-plus MPG EPA rating) is the perfect car for the times. Although some might consider the limited production and availability of the Volt a problem, it gives the national electrical grid and city planners time to ramp-up charging capabilities — for if GM dumped as many Volts on the market in 2011 as Ford did Mustangs in the 1965 model year, California powerplants would have more brownouts than the outhouses at Woodstock.