This CEO Is Worried Car Companies Might Try To Be Too Safe

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1st Gear: Oh Sergio, You Lovable Lunatic


Sergio Marchionne gives so few fucks. Like, none of the fucks. ZERO FUCKS.

Case in point, this article:

"On recall issues, you're going to see a heightened level of sensitivity. You may see excessive corrective actions," Marchionne said at a forum Tuesday in Auburn Hills.

"I think what we're going to see is that a lot of issues will be taken up to these vehicles recall committees — some of which have nothing to do with safety — but they'll do it just to make sure they aren't the ones that are held responsible for making that call," Marchionne said. "I can't intervene. I've got to allow the machine to adjust itself. It's going to take some time until this balance is found."

Here's the thing, he's right. While we've seen from GM what happens when people take minimal corrective actions, but for a while I think most car companies are going to just knee-jerk recall everything to cover their asses.

2nd Gear: Oh, And He's Moving The Company To London


We now officially know that Fiat Chrysler Automobile won't be based in Michigan. It also won't be based on Turin. The HQ is in jolly old England!



If he stays in Detroit he pisses of the Italians. If he stays in Turin he pisses off the Americans. If he goes to England, everyone is just slightly underwhelmed. Also, for tax purposes, the company's holding group is registered in the Netherlands.


3rd Gear: Americans Want Tiny Cars With Tiny Engines


Hallelujah, Americans are seeing the light and buying not just a lot of Fiestas, but way more Fiestas with the tiny three-liter EcoBoost than Ford originally expected.


Here it is per our friend Karl Henkel:

The percentage of Fiesta car buyers who choose the optional 1-liter is 4-8 percent, depending on the month. The 1-liter EcoBoost has only been available since late December, and is an option only with the Fiesta's SE trim. The engine is currently paired with a manual transmission; stick shifts make up only a small percentage of new car sales here in the U.S.


That's not a ton, yet, but it's right in line with where ST sales are and currently the demand for it is outpacing the supply of the little engine.

4th Gear: Americans Don't Want Big Stupid Hybrids


You know makes almost no sense? GIant mild-hybrids like the Chevy Suburban Hybrid and the Mercedes S-Class Hybrid. The improvements are sometimes relatively larger than their smaller counterparts, but the actual gains are minimal. Also, you're an asshole if you think a Chevy Suburban or Lexus LS hybrid are good for the environment?


Thankfully, Americans see this and almost none of them are buying these cars.

Per Chris Woodyard:

Lexus sold only nine hybrid models of its big LS sedan last month, only about 1% of the 706 LS sedans sold overall. The big issue is cost. The hybrid version can add $6,000 or more to the price of the LS, says Bill Kwong, a Lexus spokesman. By contrast, other Lexus models, where the added expense isn't as great, such as the ES midsize sedan, sell about one of four as hybrids.


I think Ford and GM are on the right track with more efficient gas V6s and V8s, although you know what would be really great in this space? A fuckin' diesel.

5th Gear: Toyota Is Fine But Good Be Finer


Toyota has made a lot of money lately. Sales have been good, costs have been low, they haven't had any major issues. Oh, yeah, and CREAM (Currency Rules Everything Around Me).


From the WSJ:

With the yen leveling off against the dollar and the euro, Toyota predicted net income would slip by 2% this year after surging 90% to ¥1.8 trillion ($17.9 billion) for its fiscal 2014, ended March 31. Operating profit jumped 74% to ¥2.3 trillion, breaking a record set six years ago, just before the global financial crisis took the bottom out of the global car market.


OH well.

Reverse: A Day That Will Live In Infamy

On this day in 2008, "Speed Racer," the big-budget live-action film version of the 1960s Japanese comic book and television series "MachGoGoGo," makes its debut in U.S. movie theaters.


Neutral: Is Sergio Right? Are We Getting Too Safe?

Sound off.

Photo Credit: AP Images

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