• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    The Sunday Column - March 22, 2015


    • A Jam Packed Sunday Column - Top Gear, Brands Leaving, and other thoughts

    It has been a crazy couple weeks here at the Cheers & Gears Detroit bureau, hence why there wasn't a Sunday Column last week. Well for this week's column, I'll be doing a bunch of quick hits as there has been a bunch of news for the past couple of weeks.

    Thoughts from the past couple of weeks:

    • Possibly the big story of the past couple of weeks has been the suspension of Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson and subsequent canceling of the current series of Top Gear. This is due to a 'fracas' between Clarkson and a producer, which resulted in Clarkson punching a producer.
      • Fun fact: Fracas is worth 11 points on Scrabble.

      [*]Since this story broke last Monday, it has developed into a parody of itself with a number of supporters delivering a petition to the BBC in a tank to reinstate Clarkson, along with Clarkson delivering a profanity-ladened talk during an auction.

      [*]Whether or not Top Gear returns with Clarkson, or is given the boot, the BBC comes off worse - both in public perception and money. The BBC had to pay back a large amount of money to TV stations that broadcast Top Gear.

      [*]As for Clarkson, he is a bit of a loose cannon as history shows us. Whether he makes a return to Top Gear or moves to something else, you can bet there will be a legion of people that will follow him.

      [*]I want to give to give a quick plug to Blake Noble who has written two editorials on the whole Top Gear mess. One on whether its the end of Clarkson and Top Gear, and the other on how Top Gear saved and then messed up automotive journalism.

    This pas week also saw some brands bid farewell to some international markets:

    • First up was Chrysler, which will pull out of Great Britain at the end of year.
      • Not surprising since they only moved 1,982 vehicles in the past year.
      • I wonder if Chrysler would have been better off being a niche brand with importing a small number of vehicles like the 200 (the new one) and 300.
      • Also, rebadging Lancia vehicles as Chryslers may have been seen as a good idea in the beginning...
      • The plus side is this give a bit more breathing room for Jeep. The brand moved 3,909 units last year in the U.K. and expects that number to go up like it has in the United States. With the new Renegade, I would not be surprised if they double that number.

      [*]The other big leave was GM pulling Opel and most of Chevrolet from Russia.

      • "This decision avoids significant investment into a market that has very challenging long-term prospects,” said GM President Dan Ammann." Those challenges in question include economic conditions, volatile currency, and the mess in Ukraine.
      • Just how bad are car sales in Russia? The Association of European Business which tracks sales, state that 128,298 vehicles were sold in Russia last month - a drop of 38 percent when compared to the same time last year.
      • The head AEB's manufacturing division warns that this is only the beginning of a big sales decline.

    Other Bits and Pieces:

    0


      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    Clarkson assaults a subordinate because he's an entitled f@#kwit, treats the ordeal as a comedy and entertains multi-million dollar offers from competing media networks. 

     

    Fans consider him a martyr against a giant 'political correctness' conspiracy, chastise the BBC's human resources discipline policy as some sort of 'leftist agenda,' and sign a petition that's delivered by tank to the BBC.

     

    Meanwhile, the producer's facing death threats and is being castigated as some kind of pussy, who ought to have sucked things up and moved on. 

     

    All this proves is Top Gear perpetuates the notion that car fans are meatheaded neanderthals that don't belong in today's world. Clarkson embraces being a dinosaur, and people adopting his outlook are slowly killing the automotive hobby. 

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "…slowly killing the automotive hobby"

     

    Clarkson doesn't have anything close to that level of influence.

    He's a TV talking head with some comedic ability. Beyond that diversion, who cares about him? Modification, restoration, competition & collecting will go merrily right along with or without him.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "…slowly killing the automotive hobby"

     

    Clarkson doesn't have anything close to that level of influence.

    He's a TV talking head with some comedic ability. Beyond that diversion, who cares about him? Modification, restoration, competition & collecting will go merrily right along with or without him.

     

    I think Clarkson does.. but on younger views.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I guess I'm in the minority, I love Top Gear, I've been watching it for close to 7 years now.  There's nothing wrong with shows like Motorweek and other car shows that take a more fact based approach, but Top Gear is just fun.  The cinematography is top notch, the locations on the big challenges and road trips are all beautiful places that many of us would otherwise never get to see.  The trio of hosts have a genuine bond and friendship as evidenced by the fact both Hammond and May refused to complete the final episodes of this series without Clarkson.  Sure Clarkson can be insulting and obnoxious but thats what makes him fun to watch.  I'm an American and I get a kick out of him insulting American cars and us in general.  It's comedy folks, I'm so sick of everything having to be nice and sweet and approved for all audiences  Clearly I'm not the only one as Top Gear is a global powerhouse.  

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This Top Gear "debacle" is just 1 of many things that boggles my mind these days.  *shrugs*

     

     

    Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

    1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve
    "Pucker up & close your eyes" __ Aaron Tippin __ 'Kiss This'
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    Loading...



  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. BowTieFarmer
      BowTieFarmer
      (57 years old)
    2. will75
      will75
      (41 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      Being an automotive writer brings its own set of traps and obstacles that you deal with on a daily basis. Such items include 'What do you think of x car?' (good car) and 'What has been your favorite car you have driven?' (Chevrolet Impala or Lexus IS 350 F-Sport at the moment). But if there is on question that strikes fear into any writer, it's this - I'm thinking of buying 'x type of vehicle', what would you recommend?
      Why does this question strike fear into us? It could go one of two ways: a person could ignore or go a completely different direction from what was recommended, or the person could follow it to a T and end up disappointed. I think some of this comes down to writers and enthusiasts putting ourselves in a position of knowing what this person needs. That is truly bad idea because you can only know so much about the person. The person you're trying to help has the full picture of their wants and needs.
      So what do I do in this situation? Before, I would run away screaming. But this got old pretty quickly. Instead I follow this course of action:
      Ask a lot of questions: I begin with a question period with such things as, What do you during the week? How much are you wanting to spend? Is there a brand you want to avoid? It may seem like an interrogation, but the more information I have, the better I can help out.
      Make a set of recommendations that I think someone should check out.
      Wait and see what happens.

      Other thoughts from the week:
      New spy shots from this week show Chevrolet is giving the Silverado a refresh late next year.The report says the truck will boast some aluminum - fenders to be the mostly likely candidate. Wouldn't be surprised by this and if GM has any other tricks up its sleeve with fuel economy.

      [*]This week also saw a report come out that Sergio Marchionne wants to have one more big partner for FCA before he retires.
      Reportedly Marchionne has his eye on GM for this partnership, although a source has said GM is passing on it.
      My guess to who might be interested in a partnership with FCA - A Chinese automaker.



    • By William Maley
      I have a bad habit of going onto YouTube and falling the down the rabbit hole of other similar videos. If I'm trying to find a video for a news story or see if there is a new episode of a show, I will likely find myself wondering where that hour went because I went through the similar videos. Now while this sometimes affects my work, it has also brought forward some intriguing sights.
      For example, I have become a fan of Best Motoring. This was monthly video magazine that was released on VHS/DVD in Japan from 1987 to 2011. The show was unique as it brought in race drivers to evaluate and put different vehicles through different challenges. One of those challenges they did for a time was a production model endurance. This saw a group of vehicles doing either two heats of varying times or laps, or one continuous heat of many laps or 20 to 30 minutes. They would monitor oil and water temps in the vehicles, along with measurements of other components and driver impressions to pick a winner.
      This had me wondering if something like this could happen again. Someone in the U.S. or elsewhere getting a group of cars and racers and putting them to this sort of test on a track. It might not happen due to automakers being somewhat concerned what could happen, but it would provide a unique window into how these vehicles fared in extreme conditions.

      Other thoughts from the week:
      This month in Pandora's Box comes to us from Mercedes-Benz as they have announced plans to do a mid-size truck that will come out in the latter part of this decade. Also, the U.S. branch wants it as they see a potential marketplace. Umm, Lincoln Blackwood, Mark LT Redux?!
      Now Mercedes is getting some help with this project from Nissan. This is another addition to the two automaker's alliance which includes such items as the new Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo.
      All I'm hoping is that Mercedes' home office puts a kibosh on the U.S. getting this

      [*]Sticking with trucks for a moment, this week also saw Ram's brand president say there will not be a midsize truck from them due to the numbers not working.
      If he is talking about a truck that is something like the Ford Ranger or this prototype which has been reported as a new midsize from Fiat, then it makes some sense. Trucks like these would cost $30,000+ and be pretty close to a full-size model in terms of size and capability.
      Also if Ram was to bring a midsize over, it would take a lot of time and money to get it ready for North America. Consider GM's midsize trucks and how long it took them to get over here.
      If I was to take a guess at what Ram possibly has in the cards, I would put some money on a compact truck. Something like a Promaster City with a truck bed or something akin to the Fiat Strada.



    • By William Maley
      Sometimes, it's good to put things into perspective.
      Case in point: Last week I had the good fortune of riding in my friend Craig's 36 Ford sedan. This is a project that he has been working for the past few years and for the most part it's finish - just some slight paintwork and a few other odds and ends. Sitting in this car was a throwback. An example was the seats - they felt springy and cushy, not firm and supportive like modern cars. The dash is just painted metal with a set of dials and knobs. Your only source of ventilation? Opening the windows or lifting a latch behind the hood. If you want the access the trunk? Lift up the back seat.
      As for the ride itself, it felt like a normal car - somewhat at least. Power came from a flathead V8 and was able to keep up with traffic. A three-speed manual helped get the power to the road. But you had to careful with shifting as one wrong move and you'll end up with a crunch. (gear synchros were non-existent). Ride-wise? It was pretty comfortable, but you'll end up in another area code as body roll is very evident. Stabilizer bars were not a thing till the 40's.
      So why do I tell this story? Well for the reason as I stated above. Cars have improved so much since the 36 Ford. They are safer, have more equipment, and are better on fuel. But also some things haven't changes. Vehicles then and now still boast a engine that run on some form of fossil fuel, pack engines as large as eight-cylinders, have four tires, and much more. Its interesting to see how far we have come, but also how much has stayed the same.
      Other items from the week:
      This week saw Jeremy Clarkson get booted from the BBC from his kerfuffle. This was the right idea considering Clarkson's past incidents and what BBC learned in a investigation. Not surprisingly, Richard Hammond and James May are expected to leave as well.
      Rumors have begun flying of a number of networks and even Netflix about hiring Clarkson. (Oh boy..)
      The BBC itself announced that it would continue with Top Gear. However I think this will end being a flop for one reason. Top Gear = Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson = Top Gear.
      I'll leave the whole Jeremy Clarkson mess with this. Check out John Krewson's piece on Road & Track about Clarkson. Sums up my feelings in a way that is brilliant.

      [*]General Motors could be in huge trouble if a Bankruptcy judge reverses a decision on the clause of that no one could file lawsuit on vehicles built before 2009 due to the company's bankruptcy.
      This could open GM to $10 billion in potential liability over this ignition switch mess.
      Many are waiting for the judge to make a decision of whether or not a number lawsuits can be filled for lost value.

      [*]This week is the New York Auto Show, and the end of auto show season for another year.
      The lineup of debuts appears to be very solid with the likes of Cadillac, Chevrolet, Honda, and Scion showing off some important vehicles.



    • By William Maley
      This past week saw the Geneva Motor Show come and go. A lot of writers consider Geneva as their favorites and I can see why. Geneva is where a number of new sports and supercars debut. Consider the lineup from this year,
      Koenigsegg Agera RS Koenigsegg Regera Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept SCG 003 Aston Martin Vulcan Mercedes-AMG GT3 Morgan Aero 8 Porsche Cayman GT4 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Impressive to say in the least.However, Geneva isn't my favorite auto show to cover or to even see what's new. Part of this comes from the amount the amount of supercars that are shown. I get why automakers show them; it's eye candy and helps draw people into coming into visiting their exhibit. But for me, they don't evoke the feelings of excitement and want. Instead, its more of 'oh look, another supercar'. Maybe this feeling comes from the amount of sports and supercars that seem to make their way to Geneva. A debut doesn't seem as special as it once was.
      The other part comes from the vehicles that I'm interested in will only stay in Europe. For example the Kia Sportspace concept which is the brand's take of a midsize wagon and is quite sexy. The best part is Kia announcing that a production model will come out in 18 months, but it will not be coming to U.S. Not surprising to say in the least since wagons don't sell in the U.S. (aside from those who have a raised suspension to make them like crossovers). Another model which surprised me how much I liked was the Volkswagen Caddy. This small van competes with the likes of the Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City. It's a sharp looker and nicely appointed. Now we have heard talk about Volkswagen bringing this model to U.S., but that's all we know at this point.
      Geneva has the flash and spectacle many want, I just wish there was something else to it.
      Other Thoughts from the Week:
      I'm wondering if Mercedes-Benz is trying to be all things to all people considering the introduction of the Metris van this week - especially considering the starting price of $29,945, making it the cheapest Mercedes-Benz model you can buy.I still want to drive it though. I like the Sprinter and the Metris could be another one of my favorites. Also, needs a camper version. Glad to see some information come out on the upcoming spider from Fiat. I just wished we had a hint of when we'll be seeing it. Click here to view the article
    • By William Maley
      This past week saw the Geneva Motor Show come and go. A lot of writers consider Geneva as their favorites and I can see why. Geneva is where a number of new sports and supercars debut. Consider the lineup from this year,
      Koenigsegg Agera RS
      Koenigsegg Regera
      Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept
      SCG 003
      Aston Martin Vulcan
      Mercedes-AMG GT3
      Morgan Aero 8
      Porsche Cayman GT4
      Porsche 911 GT3 RS

      Impressive to say in the least.
      However, Geneva isn't my favorite auto show to cover or to even see what's new. Part of this comes from the amount the amount of supercars that are shown. I get why automakers show them; it's eye candy and helps draw people into coming into visiting their exhibit. But for me, they don't evoke the feelings of excitement and want. Instead, its more of 'oh look, another supercar'. Maybe this feeling comes from the amount of sports and supercars that seem to make their way to Geneva. A debut doesn't seem as special as it once was.
      The other part comes from the vehicles that I'm interested in will only stay in Europe. For example the Kia Sportspace concept which is the brand's take of a midsize wagon and is quite sexy. The best part is Kia announcing that a production model will come out in 18 months, but it will not be coming to U.S. Not surprising to say in the least since wagons don't sell in the U.S. (aside from those who have a raised suspension to make them like crossovers). Another model which surprised me how much I liked was the Volkswagen Caddy. This small van competes with the likes of the Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City. It's a sharp looker and nicely appointed. Now we have heard talk about Volkswagen bringing this model to U.S., but that's all we know at this point.
      Geneva has the flash and spectacle many want, I just wish there was something else to it.
      Other Thoughts from the Week:
      I'm wondering if Mercedes-Benz is trying to be all things to all people considering the introduction of the Metris van this week - especially considering the starting price of $29,945, making it the cheapest Mercedes-Benz model you can buy.I still want to drive it though. I like the Sprinter and the Metris could be another one of my favorites. Also, needs a camper version.

      [*]Glad to see some information come out on the upcoming spider from Fiat. I just wished we had a hint of when we'll be seeing it.


  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)