Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zero Hedge Loves Cars

Zero Hedge loves cars. We’re avid fans. But aren’t we all? Most everything in life happens in and around cars. I mean, look at the economy- and how GM and Chrysler’s woes are, well… quite big! You’re either riding in them, buying them, selling them, fixing them or watching for them as you cross the street, and if you’re the US economy- you’re ailing broke with them. Cars are all around us- like them, profitable or not.

So while we’re trying to figure out the next downward trend in the market, and how to time it just right, Tyler and I decided to hit-up the 2009 New York International Auto Show.

It’s not my first time at “the car show;” as us NY natives refer to it- but it was Tyler’s first- and what a year he picked. If you read the papers or listen to the news, you’ll know that this year’s show really sucked- I mean it’s dimmer than I can recall. Maybe it’s the economy, the ailing markets, or maybe it’s just me- maybe you can’t ever really go home again, with visions of the 1989 show still dancing in my head but for some reason- the thrill is most certainly gone, at least this year. But as my father pointed out to me while marveling at the then all-new 1990 Mercedes 500 SL- “there will always be cars…”

And he’s right- there were cars, even twenty years on.

America’s Big Three displays were mixed. Ford was impressive, bright, trademarked blue with concepts and the new Mustang- basically a revised, melted and bloated version of the already retro-styled current car. I’m a fan of the current Mustang- basically a modern recreation of the 1967 fastback, however, the 2010 model, while “improved,” will eventually run the risk of emulating say, a mid-seventies Mustang- following a “retro evolution” of sorts. The thrill has faded a bit for the Mustang, sorry.

And the new Ford Taurus promises to be the best rental car yet. Just like every Taurus before it.

Lincoln unveiled the Concept C, a compact hybrid that, like anything from Detroit these days- is retro-styled with suicide doors- a la the Kennedy Era Continentals. (Yeah, that’s gonna happen.)

General Motors, bankrupt and all, had perhaps the most boring (though some would claim “intentionally understated”) displays. Chevrolet officially unveiled the next generation Camaro- a car discontinued ten years ago because it was oh so profitable and popular- but hey, they needed a car for the summer blockbuster Transformers- right? The new Camaro, a modern iteration of the 1969 model (of which you can buy a GM reproduction body of- for all your hot rodders out there) comes in flashback RS and SS trim- but Barrett Jackson viewers are eagerly awaiting the ultra rare, Yenko RS SS “numbers matching” version of which will only be sold if you agree to store it in a barn for thirty years. Hold your breath; collect $500,000 in 2050. For whatever that will be worth.

But if GM really wants to go retro, I’m personally awaiting the 2030 Camaro, a retro-styled 1989 IROC Z28, complete with removable t-tops, gold-fade trim, and painted louvers on the rear window. Whitesnake cassette deck included.

Chrysler, despite wishing they were still affiliated with Mercedes-Benz, unveiled the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee based-off the Mercedes ML platform. Seems Chrysler can’t get away from some decent German underpinnings though they may be partnering with the Italian giant FIAT.

In a few years, all Chrysler products will be available in hatchback forms with bad electrical wiring and zero corrosion resistance, so, lets enjoy the Mercedes on the cheap while we still can.

Speaking of Mercedes-Benz, they introduced the next generation E-Class. After a good 10 years of seemingly boring E-Class sedans, the E, the bread and butter of the brand, not to mention the cab livery darlings of the world, can finally be considered worthy competition for the venerable BMW 5-Series in style, poise and balance.

Mercedes is offering the 2010 E-Class with V6, V8 and venerable diesel versions, not to mention the E63 AMG.

Also returning this year, for the first time in fifteen years, the E-Class coupe and convertible. Gone is the CLK-Class, Long Islanders, Staten Islanders, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs everywhere will have to revise their gifting wish list. Or wait for their next good report cards to score the bigger, more expensive 2010 E-Class coupe and convertible offerings. Popular color combinations aim to be Alabaster White over Saddle Tan, Signal Red over Black and of course the “Triple Black” 040 Black. Chrome-lipped oversized rims will be available. Promise.

Ferrari was nowhere to be found. Then again, they’re on a three-year waiting list for their cars anyway. I hope to see them in 2012 if anything.

It seems that the Japanese are vying for an even bigger part of BMW 3-Series sales, now offering the Lexus IS and Infiniti G-Series in retractable hardtop versions. It’s nice to see cool cars like hardtop convertibles making a genuine comeback, refreshing from the crossover SUV rash in recent years.

Like everything else Japanese, performance will be on par, but not quite as spectacular at the very limits; but they will offer better leases, better Consumer Reports and JD Power ratings and the defiant will continue to think they’re just as good as the German counterpart.

Speaking of just as good, VW just may finally have something on Toyota and Honda with the 2010 Volkswagen Golf. Rabbit. I mean Golf. The once Rabbit, then Golf, then Rabbit (again) now Golf (once again) promises to not only confuse Americans everywhere enough to not remember its shoddy, Eurotrash past, but has already been lauded for its high-end interior and smart, revised design. Volkswagens have always been smart, but; details of reliability (at least in the States) has always been suspect. The 2010 Golf looks and feels great, inside and out. If in three years they’re seen with one headlight out and sans door trim, well, it will be just like the original Rabbit, or Golf before it!

All in all, the 2009 New York International Auto Show was still amusing, despite the absence of a little of the glitz, glam and magic of the past. Then again, with age, everything becomes less of a big deal. But for perhaps the first time in history, it’s not hard to see that some of the manufacturers were actually more broke than the attendees, taking pictures with their phone- texting the pictures to their people back home.

There will always be cars… And car shows. Promise. Sphere: Related Content
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