The Return of the Edsel?

David Cavena10 Nov, 2023 3 Min Read
Canada hits the accelerator.

If the world is going to move to battery-powered cars, the major manufacturers supplying them will need to lead the change. Moving hundreds of millions of customers from something that has worked to move people and goods around inexpensively in dollars and time, for both work and pleasure, for many generations, to something brand-new that, at best, is problematic in driving any distance, refueling, and, most of all, buying, makes leading that change difficult. If leading that change means sacrificing the sustainability of your company and its thousands of employees, serious soul-searching results.

People are creatures of habit. We have become habituated over the past century-plus, to convenient, affordable personal transportation. Politicians and their apologists in the media and academy are attempting to force us to buy vehicles powered by expensive, inconvenient, exploding, environmentally toxic (before and after use) batteries, without providing any valid reason for us to do so.

Now governments and private companies all over the world are finally seeing the whole “climate change” narrative for what it is: a hoax, and a financially unsustainable one, at that. Telling us to make a large purchase justified only by the promise that it will save the world is dumb. Expecting us to do so is even dumber. It isn't easy to change something so fundamental to one's lifestyle as personal transport, especially when doing so is very expensive. When a young couple wants to start a family or buy a home, or an older couple wishes to fund their retirement – things these same politicians have made unaffordable – expecting them to buy a battery-powered car is, to say the least, unrealistic.

On the other side of the equation, car manufacturers must make a profit in order to stay in business. Political incursions into the marketplace undermine that. Motivated subsidies to manufacturers to build products their customers do not want only waste the resources necessary to succeed, as well as increasing the inflation making it yet more difficult to buy these contraptions – and everything else.

It seems that the CEOs of the biggest car companies in the world are belatedly recognizing this, and that the bloom is coming off the E.V. rose. The result bodes well for their future and our freedom, and poorly for politicians on Team Zero.

The dog won't eat the dog food.

Toyota has long been skeptical of cars running on batteries. Chairman Akio Toyoda is pleased the world is seeing what he has seen for years: “People are finally seeing reality.” Honda, who had been in a co-development venture with GM, is “ending development of an affordable E.V.” Ford has “abandoned a 2026 target to build two million EVs.” Mercedes is recognizing that, even with discounts of several thousand dollars, the EV space is “pretty brutal” and “can hardly imagine the current status quo [the EV push] is sustainable.” Volkswagen, by revenue the largest car manufacturer in the world, noted, “Based on market conditions, including the sluggish ramp up of the BEV [battery electric vehicles] market in Europe… there is for the time being no business rationale for deciding on further sites.”

The real problem for the politicians is the downstream effect of consumer rejection of EVs: As manufacturers give up on them, as consumers stop buying them, the parts and available resources needed to build and to repair those already purchased will not exist, accelerating the drop-off in purchases of EVs; this is an accelerating race to the bottom – and car manufacturers are seeing this. No one wants to buy something complex that cannot be repaired due to lack of parts, and for which resale value is low and dropping.

Once the bloom is off the rose, no one in our status-seeking world wants to be seen as dumb enough to buy cars no one else is buying.

David Cavena is a native southern Californian exfiltrated to Arizona. An IT professional for 40 years, he has pushed cows in California, dudes and horses in Wyoming, and programmers in Los Angeles and Phoenix. An avid outdoorsman – skier, backpacker, water skier and scuba diver – David writes from Arizona.

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3 comments on “The Return of the Edsel?”

  1. Spot on. The CEO’s allowed their “greed” for these subsidies to cloud their judgment at the expense of the consumer who determine the value and utility of an “investment.” Personally, I would not have any interest in a EV. The return on investment is lousy. The thought of replacing the battery after 8-10 years is not appealing at all.

  2. Top Notch article. This really hits things on the head. The only comment I would make is I don't think the car maker CEO's were clueless at all. They would have seen the EV fallacy from the start, but the appeal of millions in Government subsidies was more important than being a beacon of common sense.

  3. “…no one in our status-seeking world wants to be seen as dumb enough to buy cars no one else is buying.”
    .
    In other words, yesterday’s hip trendsetter has been demoted to to today’s conformity jackass. Not a good look in a culture that treats the automobile as an extension of one’s identity.

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