Our subject is an iconic American vehicle that does exactly what it’s designed to do and does it very well. It’s almost infinitely—and dangerously—customizable, and it will get you to practically any destination you can imagine. You’ll hate it if you have to drive it every day.
This week, we try to save the planet with Ford’s polar-bear-saving hybrid. It’s a pretty good hybrid, but, unlike the Prius, it isn’t designed to let everybody know it’s a hybrid, which makes it less than useful as a way to proclaim your smug sense of moral superiority.
There’s no easy way to break the news about this week’s review subject: It’s a Lexus. But it’s one of the F-Sport ones, not one of the boring ones. Oh, and it can reduce you to tears of impotent rage, so there’s that. As always, please “recommend” it.
This week, I present you with a $17,000 car that in a number of ways, drives exactly like a Ferrari 458 Speciale. It is, without a doubt, the car that Star Trek’s Mr. Spock would buy.
This time, the selection is a very special car. It costs less than a BMW, and it can provide you with one of the most fun and rewarding driving experiences imaginable. You would have to be a complete lunatic to even think about buying it. As always, please recommend the article if you like it.
For your reading pleasure, I have test driven a little city car that provokes huge grins when driving on city streets by allowing you to embarrass Miata pilots at stoplights. When not on city streets, at higher speeds…it’s slightly terrifying.
If you like the review, please click the “Recommend” button. It’s green and has a little white heart on it.
his week’s car review is the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo. Having driven the Juke Nismo, I am left with nothing but questions; fundamental questions, in fact, about the very reason for this monstrosity’s existence.
If you like my review, please be sure to click on the "Recommend" link.
Tim "Turbo Tax" Geithner has an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "Welcome to recovery".
Or perhaps I should say that it is a litany of liberal talking points and just plain old fantasy. He has a list of indicators which he’d like you to believe prove we’re just around the corner from full recovery.
I don’t have the time to go through all of them, as much as I’d like too, but a couple caught my eye. For instance, jobs:
Private job growth has returned — not as fast as we would like, but at an earlier stage of this recovery than in the last two recoveries. Manufacturing has generated 136,000 new jobs in the past six months.
That’s just nonsense on a stick. If your best example is a major economic sector which may be adding 23,000 jobs a month, you haven’t much to crow about. Not when you look at the jobs that are going away each month. The reports are not good and pretending they are doesn’t impress anyone and makes what little credibility you might still retain suspect.
The auto industry is coming back, and the Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and General Motors — are now leaner, generating profits despite lower annual sales.
That’s either a flat out lie or it’s from a second set of books.
e21 points out that if you analyze the auto industry, the news is not good:
The auto companies are certainly not out of the woods yet. There has been a massive rebuild of negative working capital balances at GM (and Ford). What does that mean? Well, working capital is current assets minus liabilities – and it’s a good way to measure whether a company has the liquid assets to grow or build the business (and add shareholder value). Positive working capital is also a useful measure for gauging a company’s financial resilience. Negative working capital, on the other hand, means that current liabilities exceed assets – and a firm in this situation can’t spend as aggressively.
How massive is the “rebuild of negative working capital?” Massive:
Those are monthly figures (GM’s only from Jul 09 when it emerged from bankruptcy). There’s nothing in those figures that makes any sort of case that the companies are turning a profit. In fact, if you look at what e21 says, it is clear that they’re still doing what got them into the shape they were in previous to the financial downturn.
Certainly their position hasn’t been helped by slow auto sales (even during the “recovery”), but what all of them could use is some investment help. Ford could possibly get it but it is also possible investors are not likely to risk their capital on an industry that has a government presence. Again e21 explains:
The roughshod methods that were used against bondholders in the bailout, the questionable methods used to pick winners and losers in the rush to close thousands of auto dealerships and the favorable treatment given to the unions (followed by the codification of this policy in the Orderly Liquidation Authority in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill) serve as the case study for why investors and lenders will be skittish about lending or investing in U.S. companies that have a big union presence and/or would be deemed Too Big To Fail by the government.
And then there’s all the money they owe under TARP.
Like I said, just two of the many examples which are pure fiction.
The rest of his article is an attempt to write a favorable history of the government’s effort – but those who watched it and assessed its results aren’t particularly impressed. Geithner ends his ramble with this:
And as the president said last week, no one should bet against the American worker, American business and American ingenuity.
No one should be at war against any of those either, yet this administration has been at war with the financial industry, the energy industry and business in general from it’s first day in office. Perhaps it is time for a little internal administration introspection – honest introspection – with the aim of determining whether they’re part of the problem of part of the solution. If they actually did that, they’d have to honestly assess themselves as part of the problem. Geithner’s fantasy piece is all the proof you’ll ever need to know that will never happen.