around the world – part 42.3 (the two ton sled)

The two ton sled

 

Cars are getting too damn smart for their own good; unfortunately Junior is going in the opposite direction.  Thinking I might save a few shekels – because the car rental agencies gouge on everything – I declined snow tires at the hire car station at Munich airport.   

Being an experienced Canuck, I surveyed the piddling amount of snow in the fields nearby, noted the otherwise dry roads and calculated the odds of encountering more snow during this trip – which given past trends should have been low to non-existent.  As it turns out, rather the opposite has occurred, snowing about two inches every night since arriving last week.  Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, except for the following: 

  • The rental variant of this vehicle is not all wheel drive;
  • It does have a very clever traction control computer that denies power to any wheel which might encounter ice, thus for instance making it a little challenging to get moving from a stop.  Yes, one can turn off the traction control, but then you are faced with the option of spinning the tires.  Oh, and did I mention it is an automatic?  Don’t ask, I drive stick, but it was all they had left;
  • While the autobahn benefits from the snow clearing attentions of the highway authorities, local roads not so much;

So lets review: a slightly tired traveller thinking to save money declines snow tires on a  powerful saloon car without all wheel drive = 2 ton sled.

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friends of the twingo

renault_twingoIn the latest bit of panty waisted whingeing to appear from our betters on the other side of the pond, Friends of the Earth is in a snit over the latest antics of Top Gear*.   According to FoE, the show “appeared to have gone out of its way to be as crass and juvenile as possible“.**  FoE campaigner Mr Declan Allison said that “The wanton destruction of tens of thousands of pounds worth of machinery impresses no-one. It’s a wasteful extravagance and, in the middle of a global recession, in very poor taste“.

Poor Taste?  Mr Allison, the proles actually enjoy watching TG.  Shocking, yes, and very unenlightened of us, but for a few brief moments it allows us to escape our wretched lives and seek enjoyment in mindless humour.  I know, I know we simply don’t get it, but then that’s what you can expect from the grey mass of  drudges – we’re not like you.  Why we can barely get through a sitting of Waiting for Godot, or plough through a Margaret Atwood novel*** – we just want our Renaults destroyed in the most imaginative of fashions and if there is a tinge of humour about the whole thing, then so much the better.  Oh and a beer or two to chase it down with wouldn’t be out of place.

Maybe FoE didn’t get it;  TG fired a Renault Twingo into the ocean!  What can possibly be wrong with that?   Removing one C02 emitting, gasoline consuming Renault from the planet has got to rank quite high as one of the most unselfish and altruistic acts I’ve heard of in a long time.   Of course if FoE and their ilk had their way the western world would live in perpetual recession,  a sort of purgatory for having had the temerity to produce the most fantastic economic miracle known to mankind.  Instead FoE won’t rest until twingo’s aren’t produced at all (let alone flung into the ocean).  

Quit Whining!

—————

* Top Gear, for those of you most of unfortunate to have never heard of it, is quite possibly the best entertainment ever produced by the BBC.  Please note that I said entertainment.  It has no other redeeming qualities – but I love it.

** That’s sort of the point, really.

***Obscure and difficult Canadian author.   But there I go revealing my elitest tendancies again.

gubmint motors (your tax dollars at work)

Well, well.   I think that 16% ownership stake in General Motors is going to take a little while longer to ‘pay off’.    Sales volume at the General is off by 20% from the same period last year as folks continue to shun the ‘pelosi mobiles’, while sales volume at Ford (which in case you need reminding – didn’t require a bailout) are up by 16%.    Great pick Dalton and Stephen.  I, for one am happy I picked up FoMoCo at $1.22 in December 2008.

ht 

Brands and companies are both displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 26 selling days in August 2009 and 27 selling days in August 2008, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in the average daily sales rate for each brand/company.

Brand Volume % 8/09 8/08 DSR*% DSR 8/09 DSR 8/08
Kia 60.38 40,198 25,065 66.54 1,546 928
Subaru 51.51 28,683 18,932 57.33 1,103 701
Hyundai 47.01 60,467 41,130 52.67 2,326 1,523
Audi 25.77 8,057 6,406 30.61 310 237
Volvo 24.78 5,826 4,669 29.58 224 173
Pontiac 23.35 29,921 24,257 28.09 1,151 898
Ford 21.25 161,369 133,088 25.91 6,207 4,929
Honda 15.21 151,814 131,766 19.65 5,839 4,880
Mazda 12.09 26,542 23,680 16.40 1,021 877
Volkswagen 11.35 24,823 22,292 15.64 955 826
Toyota 10.94 202,196 182,252 15.21 7,777 6,750
Porsche 8.69 1,526 1,404 12.87 59 52
Mercury 8.19 9,080 8,393 12.35 349 311
Nissan 0.17 97,580 97,417 4.02 3,753 3,608
Suzuki -5.46 5,749 6,081 -1.82 221 225
Jeep -6.11 22,041 23,476 -2.50 848 869
Mini -6.55 5,111 5,469 -2.95 197 203
Mercedes-Benz -7.54 17,112 18,507 -3.98 658 685
Chevrolet -9.16 168,130 185,080 -5.66 6,467 6,855
Dodge -15.80 52,562 62,422 -12.56 2,022 2,312
BMW Group -21.30 24,343 30,931 -18.27 936 1,146
Lexus -21.82 22,892 29,281 -18.81 880 1,084
Chrysler -23.50 18,619 24,337 -20.55 716 901
BMW -24.47 19,232 25,462 -21.56 740 943
Mitsubishi -25.95 6,813 9,200 -23.10 262 341
Infiniti -30.19 7,732 11,076 -27.51 297 410
Acura -36.21 9,625 15,089 -33.76 370 559
Lincoln -38.43 5,874 9,540 -36.06 226 353
Smart -44.59 1,418 2,559 -42.46 55 95
GMC -45.15 23,145 42,194 -43.04 890 1,563
Buick -51.71 8,612 17,833 -49.85 331 660
Cadillac -55.01 6,931 15,405 -53.28 267 571
Saturn -58.41 8,479 20,385 -56.81 326 755
Hummer -64.03 777 2,160 -62.64 30 80
Saab -67.80 484 1,503 -66.56 19 56
             
COMPANIES
Ford Motor Company 16.99 182,149 155,690 21.49 7006 5766
American Honda 9.93 161,439 146,855 14.16 6209 5439
Toyota Mo Co 6.41 225,088 211,533 10.50 8657 7835
Nissan North America -2.93 105,312 108,493 0.80 4050 4018
Chrysler Group LLC -15.43 93,222 110,235 -12.18 3585 4083
General Motors -20.19 246,479 308,817 -17.12 9480 11438