Saturday, May 12, 2007

A lil' honesty, please?

Honesty in Car ads

Once…just once…I’d like to see an honest, no bullshit car ad. I want someone, not a celebrity sitting in the back seat reminiscing about how they got into music and how great the stereo is, but some average schmuck who works at the manufacturer, without gimmicks like little kids and special effects and crashes and ripped-off pop tunes, just say “Hey, I’m Joe Schmuckatelli from CarCo. We make the new Deathtrap LX. We think it’s a well-made driving machine that will suit all your family’s transportation needs and provide a cost-effective value for your hard-earned dollar. Thank you.”

That’s not asking much, is it? I don’t think so. Instead, you have to be a fucking detective worthy of an episode of CSI and a translator from the CIA to wade through the car-ad doublespeak and disclaimers. I used to sell cars, many moons ago…so I’ve had to deal with it from both sides of the equation.

Gas mileage—Look, assholes, be honest. Why can’t you come up with a car bigger than a bread box that doesn’t eat gas like a fat man at the Golden Corral buffet? Last night I saw an ad for the “new” 2008 Ford Escape, and now things have gotten so bad that they’re phrasing the estimated mileage as “up to 28mpg”. I guess that really means is “On a full tank of gas, with no passengers or cargo, with a standard transmission, windows up, no A/C, on the highway with the cruise set at 70 mph, freshly washed & waxed against wind resistance, on a sunny day and with a slight breeze behind you, you might see 28 mpg. Otherwise, count on about 23, max.”

It is my firm belief that the car companies are in cahoots with the oil companies, otherwise it wouldn’t have taken 30 years for hybrids to show up, ethanol would be more available, more cars in big crowded cities would run on compressed natural gas, and SUV’s wouldn’t get 50 feet to the gallon. I’ve figured out that any foreign-made SUV seems only to be available with full-time 4WD, which eats gas a much higher rate than selectively going from 2WD to 4WD in inclement weather. This is so that gas-guzzling American fuel-whore SUV’s look no better than the, say, Japanese or Korean imports. Be honest, guys….Big Awl leans on you to make cars eat their products.

Starting at……pricing. This is all just a scam. Telling me that “Three V-dubs start under 17 thousand” just tells me that the BASELINE barebones models start at $16,999 and just go up from there. People, the prices they give you are simply there to get your asses in the door. Because in REALLLLY tiny lettering on TV, blowing by so fast you can’t really see it, is a disclaimer that says “Pricing on Model X. Model Y as shown, $$$$$”. So they get away with telling you that they start at $15,995.00, when the one they show in the commercial is $23,475.00. That delicious price they tease you with is for a base model vehicle with a standard stick shift, seldom more than an AM/FM radio, plastic hubcaps, seats covered with burlap, and regular rollup windows & manual door locks. If you want an automatic, a spoiler, a sunroof, nice seats, power locks and windows, a cd player, and shiny wheels, well, you just doubled the price.

Must Take From Dealer Stock means just that….you’re stuck choosing from whatever homie has left on the lot. This explains why people get great deals on cars that are Urine Green or Crayon Orange. Everyone else came in, saw them, and said no. So they did a dealer swap or a special order and paid boo-coo more.

My favorite crap is the asshole disclaimer that says “Professional Driver on a Closed Course. Do Not Attempt”. Well, no shit, genius. Most of us don’t do skids and donuts in the desert or jump their cars through rings of fire. It really irks me to see that disclaimer in an ad where the car is doing nothing more than sedately driving through a neighborhood or running along a quiet country road. You mean to tell me that my car shouldn’t do what I’m buying it to do? I saw that disclaimer on a Hummer ad that showed like 5 of them driving side by side in about 2 inches of snow. Granted, I seldom drive in formation with others, but if I’m gonna drop 50 grand on an overpriced Tonka Toy Penis Extender, it better be able to run through more than a light dusting of snow. I was especially irked when the Ford Edge commercial showing the vehicle driving along roof edges above the city ran the disclaimer “Do not attempt. Cars can not drive on roofs”. I hope like hell that this was done tongue-in-cheek.

Crossover Vehicles? WTF? This is the newest term to get tossed out. I guess when SUV sales started to tank when gas prices started to rise, they invented a new term for Oversized Soccer Mom Grocery-Getter and Yuppie Transport. How many people who claim to need an SUV actually ever take it off the road? Face it…you needed a station wagon or a mini-van but you wanted to look cool so you opted for a 10-ton monolith that has a higher payment than your mortgage.

Special rates for qualified buyers----yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve set the bar so high on the credit check that the Pope couldn’t qualify for the 0% financing. Just cut the bullshit Special Interest Rate crap and admit that we’re all stuck paying more than you’re advertising.

As with anything, you need to be able to read between the lines, because none of them will tell you the absolute truth unless forced to.

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