At least Detroit also hates Tom Friedman

Charlatan billionaire asshole. Anyway. Via the blog opit, (oldephartteintraining – I don’t know what it means, either), also via autoblog (actually quite an interesting read):

Toyota and GM fire back at NY Times’ Tom Friedman

The other day New York Times columnist Tom Friedman put himself squarely in the cross-hairs of Toyota and the rest of the auto industry. Friedman took aim at Toyota for riding the “green wave” with the Prius while at the same time producing ever larger trucks like the Tundra and the new Land Cruiser. He also slammed them for supporting the Hill-Terry fuel economy bill in Congress rather than the more stringent Senate bill that was passed a few months ago. The Michigan congressional delegation got hit in the fire fight as well for defending the interests of their hometown industry. After all, no politician from any other state would ever make short sighted moves to placate the voters in their district, so why should John Dingell (D-MI)?

Toyota and General Motors wasted no time in publicly responding on their respective corporate blogs. Toyota’s Communications VP Irv Miller was first up on the Open Road blog and was quickly followed up by Tom Wilkinson of GM on the FYI blog. Both repeated the mantra that even with high mileage vehicles like the Prius available, consumers still continue to demand big powerful cars and trucks. Just increasing the CAFE standards won’t do anything to influence demand for larger vehicles. They also responded to Friedman’s comments about higher mileage cars being available overseas by reminding him that there is demand driven by high fuel taxes in other countries. Without similar tax changes here to influence demand, CAFE standards will only frustrate buyers by ensuring the vehicles they want are not available.

Now, having established that I don’t like Friedman, I nevertheless agree with his ongoing argument that the US needs to do something about its being technologically behind (although one wonders how much his portfolios profit from the companies doing the holding-behind). I also agree with this.

Meanwhile, of the responses of Toyota and GM, I find these two points the most puzzling:

Toyota and GM want higher fuel taxes. Right? I mean, is there another way to interpret that? I don’t see it (meanwhile, the UK is in fact increasing fuel duties).

CAFE standards are bad because they don’t let motorists drive what they like. By which definition so are laws saying that you can’t drive a tank, or, say, a monster truck, on the road. Or that you can’t drive a vehicle that spews asbestos into the air around it. I mean, really. The whole point of intervention is when some consumers choose to do things that the rest of us thing are stupid and dangerous. It’s one of those decisions we make as a society.

Also, Toyota and GM want bans on underage smoking and drinking lifted. Also they want drugs decriminalised. Junkies are being unfairly frustrated by the lack of availability of the drugs and needles they want. Also gambling.

Sweet. I suppose, this time, I tip my hat to Thomas Friedman, for extracting from auto manufacturers such entertainment.


1 comment so far

  1. opit on

    HeHeHe. You don’t know what it means. Try to say it phonically : and have your coffee away from your nose !

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