Here is a dirty little secret: Larry David watches American Idol. In fact, it’s one of his favorite shows…well, maybe if he didn’t have two daughters to watch it with him, he wouldn’t be as interested, but nonetheless he is the first to plant himself in front of that TV come Tuesday night. Which brings me to the reason for this post: Detroit still doesn’t get it.
Headlines blare from every paper about Ford’s and GM’s record losses, that buyers are shunning gas thirsty SUV’s, that Toyota and Nissan are making record gains! And there in the middle of American Idol are ads for the Ford new hybrid Escape? No -- ads for the regular Ford Escape, with its puny gas mileage of 18 miles per gallon. Can you imagine?! Here they finally have the car (years after the Prius has taken off), Americans are crunched at the gas station, and there is Ford still pushing their low mileage SUV’s to the youth of America.
And they even paid (dearly I am sure) for the entire cast of the show to stand around the car and sing to it. Wake up, Detroit! How hard does a trend have to hit you in the face for you to get it -- and to stop endangering the economy and the jobs of all your employees? Two years ago Arianna and I along with the Detroit Project released commercials connecting the dots between the low mileage of SUV’s and our national security. It ignited a firestorm of criticism and debate… and today neocons like James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney are all over the talk shows saying the exact same thing...and American car buyers are finally rejecting the gazillion dollars of advertising spent convincing them they should drive cars that needlessly waste gas.
Soon there will be a hybrid in every garage. But, unfortunately, they won’t say Ford or GM on the hood.