Back Seat Driving

An Open Letter to the Industry


BACK SEAT DRIVING—The ad that stunned us was a Mercedes-Benz commercial which shows a number of growling drag racing vehicles pulling up to race against a new model Mercedes. The machines line up curb-to-curb on what looks like a city street, a pedestrian runs across the screen, a bleeped sobriquet is uttered by the unseen announcer, traffic light goes green… Editor Stokes asks why car manufacturers seem to need to pimp their products by showing them street racing.

VW engineer gets three years

BACK SEAT DRIVING—This guy … what’s his name: Liang, was wrong, criminally complicit, misguided … what else? But, unless I’m way off base, he’s sure as sunrise not the guy (or guys) at the top who OKed this betrayal of the dealers that sold these cars as “Clean Diesel” and the customers who bought them in good faith … and paid extra for the privilege by the way … Editor Stokes (who is not a diesel car owner himself) is still seething about “Dieselgate” and where the buck (er… Deutschmark) finally stops on this one. Doug Stokes opines.

“The death of the internal combustion engine”

BACK SEAT DRIVING—The lead story in The Economist magazine says the internal combustion engine (ICE) had a good run and soon will be supplanted by electric vehicles (EVs). The article cites info and data that favor electric, including the rapidly falling cost of batteries, low cost of ownership, and environmental and health benefits. Many auto industry pundits, including members of the LA Car staff, scoff at the imminent demise of the ICE. But the facts are compelling. Chuck Dapoz comments.

from the LA Auto Show

BACK SEAT DRIVING— Every year I think the same thing: “Where are the classics?” In my head, the LA Auto Show should feature the great old cars of the past. Or maybe what I think is that the cars of today ought to somehow look like they’re all 1967 Pontiacs or 1955 Nashes. In truth, I don’t even know whether they made the Nash in 1955. Doesn’t matter. This isn’t about fact. Story by Brian Kennedy. Pictures by Gabriela Moya.

A Contrarian View of the Initial LA Auto Show Proceedings

BACK SEAT DRIVING—10.16.2016 … Somewhere along the line yesterday morning at the LA Auto Show, I narrowly escaped falling headfirst down a very deep and (this one anyway) brightly-lit, raucously sound tracked, rabbit hole. Actually, technically, I was at AutoMobility LA (sometime all caps, sometimes upper case A and M as above). “… a merger of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s Press and Trade Days and its award-winning Connected Car Expo”. Doug Stokes comments.

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