Above: This Gem is owned by a collector, there’s a big three phase motor under the hood. This truck was owned by a carnival, and as the story goes, two Carni Maintenance Men designed the truck, they needed the big generator to run all the carnival rides, and light the grounds, so why not just replace the bad gas engine with an electric one they had on hand? No doubt they knew a lot more about vehicle design and mechanicals than any of the Politicians in Washington DC!
A great story!
I love it, I’m being forced to buy people cars far fancier than I’d ever buy for myself! I guess that’s the new American way..
The deal of a lifetime! There’s Folks out there who know the Car Business pretty well, I know many of them. In a way I woke to the Car Business six days a week, my Dad sold Fords at the time, it was just after the war, and people got jobs where they could. My Dad had Sundays off, but he didn’t pass up the opportunity to meet someone on a Sunday if it helped to make a sale.
From about six years old, I remember studying the culture of Sales people, the discussion at the dinner table about the new OHV engines. The very common practice of rolling back odometers in those days. It wasn’t breaking the law, and at the better Dealerships, it was only done to crème puff cars that came in on trade, they didn’t roll back an odometer on just any old car .
The decision to roll back an odometer normally started with a test drive, one or more of the Sales Staff would take the car out and drive it hard to reveal any flaws. Then the Salesmen would meet and huddle around the car, lift the hood, kick the tires, look at the rubber on the foot pedals, interior wear, and then the bidding would start. It was all about an appraisal and an agreement of how few miles the car could pass for, then the order went to the Speedo Man, he had tools to reach in the Speedo housing and roll back the miles. You needed a good man, not some hammer mechanic that left visible scratches, and the numbers had to look aligned all the way across , or they raised suspicion.
A car that had been garaged all of its life, and taken good care of, might get the odometer rolled from 60,000 miles to 30,000, as I say, in the more ethical shops, this practice was reserved for cars that begged to be younger than they were. In some of the smaller used car lots, there were all kinds of tricks used to hide major flaws in a car, that was seldom done at the more ethical dealerships.
There was a time in my young adult life when I knew I could meet a Salesmen and pretty much tell you how well they’d do in the business, the very best of them had a high likability factor, and instinctively knew it wasn’t always smart to show off their technical prowess, (if they had any, and most didn’t) when you were attempting to sell a car. The real good ones could read a man like a book, and this allowed them to size up their prey, and deploy a near lethal weapon in the arsenal of sales! Trust.
If the initial conversation bared out that the potential buyer was a regular Guy with the ability to make car payments, you might consider just giving him the keys to a demo car and telling him to go drive it, no you didn’t need to go with him… maybe he should stop by and pick up the wife, and take a drive together somewhere? The display of trust sold a LOT of cars.
Car Dealers normally have enormous overhead, and when I learned what some Dealers had to pay out just to keep the lights on, I was dumb founded, but now a days that figure is far more staggering. A big dealership really needs a compliance officer (an Attorney) just to assure you’re not in violation of handling one material or another in an illegal way according to law.
Just recently, there was a Man that decided to roll all his wealth into the purchase of a Car Dealership in Western Washington. In this case it was Government Motors, a Chevy Dealership. The Business was well established, with a good record of customer service. The name of the place rings like a bell in the minds of most people here. Shortly after the purchase, the new owner discovered some of the agreements he had bought along with the buildings, flooring, and lot. One of those expense items was lifetime free oil changes for past customers, and as he looked over the spread sheet, the staggering cost of labor hours and materials to provide this service was frightening! But.. then more bad news arrived, General Motors told him his buildings were looking a little too old to live up to the image of Government Motors, he would have only a certain amount to time to remodel, or lose his GM Franchise. Perhaps it’s all a big story, but I think not, the story comes from a Veteran of the business with 40 years of experience in the trade, and he’s worked for the dealership for many of those years.
There are a number of ways to make your books look good IF you are attempting to sell a business, and perhaps offering free oil changes for life IS a way of boosting sales and impressing the potential buyer. The cost of the program doesn’t show up right away.
It’s a lot like cost cutting in large Companies, and we older folks watched as some gutted whole departments of people to make that balance sheet look good for those who buy the company in either a friendly way, or by force. Along comes a potential Suitor, who might buy a watch making company only to learn later that all the watch makers left are apprentices, and the contracts between the company and parts suppliers have all expired.
So now, we look at Government Motors, and attempt to analyze what is going on there. Perhaps history helps, we can look at the so called success of the Toyota Prius, it’s no accident! Toyota did their homework, they held focus groups and discovered who wanted this type of car, and exactly what they could afford to pay. The car makes use of the more typical battery packs, nickel metal hydrate, not lithium, the car is not normally trimmed in leather, and designed to meet a price point people can afford. This is all done to keep the car affordable for the group that wants to buy it. Toyota knows they must build a car people want to own, and can afford to buy.
Now for the Chevy Volt, regardless of what you believe, the facts are that all the folks in the business know they must build cars people want to buy, and can afford in order to stay in business. The Volt is what those who hold the power in Government today demanded that GM build, I doubt there’s anyone in GM that doesn’t understand the VOLT is the Edsel of the day, but why lose your job saying so? Perhaps there’s a way to ‘cook the books’ and make this mistake look better than it is? How to do it?
Maybe we go back to the Prius, Toyota has been subsidizing the Prius, and doing all they can to get the cost down, they’ve made some progress, in the battery pack, not so much in the improvement in power density, but certainly in the reduction of cost to the consumer, and now there’s enough wrecked cars to provide good used parts from that market, a very big plus for those who would risk buying a used Prius without an extended warranty. The facts are, the Prius is NOT making the company money, and it’s a far better match between buyers and what they are actually willing to pay for.
The US Government’s approach to selling these cars that so few want to buy? Force all Americans to buy them whether they want to or not. Sure, there might be a few more Volt sales, but the real overall effect will be to help more Americans buy a car from a foreign owned company.
It’s interesting to compare what we are doing here to What the Germans did, we seem to learn nothing from them. Merkel is looking at her spread sheet and in shock at what it cost their Government to buy all those PV systems for the people who wanted them. The Government unwittingly locked in prices at well over $5 a watt for PV, and today’s price is as low as 75 cents a watt. A lot of this drop has to do with the end of the artificial demand the Germans created, and now we see those who invested in making panels to meet this false boom go bankrupt.
Of course the typical Greenie has never had to balance more than his check book, he will disagree, as most of them think it’s the responsibility of others to care for them in the first place, and they believe the source of money is the printing press, need more? Print more.
And now.. we force the people to buy what they think is a bad investment via an insane subsidy.. It will turn out very bad, same as the Gasohol subsidy has..
All the more reason to prepare..