LOS ANGELES — All Henrik Fisker wants is to build his plug-in hybrid cars and deliver them to customers — some of whom have been waiting three years since plunking down $5,000 deposits.
Instead, he has been fending off criticisms aimed at his green-car company as shipments of his $103,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sedan have been delayed by cash flow troubles, regulatory snarls and a recall.
But when a startup such as Fisker Automotive accepts a Department of Energy loan in a down economy, having the company tossed around like a political football comes with the territory. Fisker describes launching his first car in this environment as “running over fire while people are whipping you.”
It clearly hasn’t been easy. Supplier relations are frayed, and Fisker Automotive’s image has taken some hits in Congress and the news media. But the company is forging ahead toward big goals: delivering about 2,500 ordered Finnish-built Karma sedans by the end of the second quarter. [Automotive News]
As Noam Chomsky observes, cars-first transportation in the United States “was not put to public judgment.” Nor will it ever be, barring a popular rebellion addressing its existence.
But does that mean the population is as brain-dead on the topic as our many capitalism excusers would have you conclude?
Consider the news today that the average age of light vehicles in the United States has now reached an all-time high: over 11 years for cars, and slightly under that for “light trucks.”
No doubt much of that is simply a result of economic hardship among the bottom 90 percent. But DbC would wager that some of it is also a sign of the rationality of the masses. Why would anybody be buying — not to mention marketing — more cars at this point in human history? Inquiring minds want to know.
That, of course, is a truly forbidden question.
The new Italian partners in the Chrysler corporation have obviously decided that doubling down on lunkheadedness is the key to selling their wares. We’ve already seen their efforts to paint muscle cars as patriotic. Now, they have the chutzpah to suggest that buying a minivan is “using the right tool for the job”:
Again, I wonder how my grandchildren will look at this amazing piece of in-your-face stupidity. It would be galling enough to talk of the fate of the species in the year 2012 while further peddling the absurd idea that extremely complex 4,000-pound objects are any kind of proper tool for everyday locomotion. But to do so on the thesis that the prospect of hauling mattresses in the proper manly (but not really) way ought to be a yardstick in one’s selection of car model?
This thing is getting pretty Freudian, folks.
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!