UNITED STATES—New Year’s Resolutions. Everybody’s got ’em. Nobody executes ’em. We tell ourselves we’re going to start eating healthy, we’re going to finish whatever project we’ve put on the back burner, we’re going to try to be a better person in the vaguest sense possible. Then, about a month and a half later, we’re hurrying through the McDonald’s drive through so we can get back to searching for that last minute Valentine’s gift we completely forgot about because our minds were so consumed with devising excuses for not finishing that project we’ve been putting off. C’est La Vie
The stakes are just not high enough to warrant any serious focus on following through. At least that’s my take. If you are a major automaker, on the other hand, accomplishing goals can mean the difference between life and death, so to speak. So, with that in mind, here are the New Year’s resolutions I’d like to see the automakers carry out in 2017 organized by region:
Tesla has to stop building generic to downright ugly vehicles. I get it. An electric motor precludes the need for a radiator and consequently a radiator grill. Unfortunately, most people associate the front of a car with the human face. And, I’m sorry, but as it is now, Tesla is Lord Voldemort of the car world. Next, Google has to outsource its design department. If you’ve seen the latest prototype of Google’s self-driving car, I need not say more.
As for the big three, or in this case two. Ford has to stop making four-cylinder Mustangs. I don’t care if they have Ecoboost. I don’t even care if they are fast. A muscle car cannot ever have a four cylinder engine. Six cylinders was already a crime. Finally, Chrysler has to finally accept that the minivan is dead and bury the Pacifica. Even Jim Gaffigan is questioning his life decisions after shooting a few Pacifica commercials.
Volkswagen has to stop cheating. Mind you, it isn’t the cheating itself that bothered me as much as the motivation behind it. Consider this analogy: A bulimic model visits the lady’s room halfway through her gourmet meal so she can come back and devour some more exquisite cuisine without destroying her figure. It’s cheating. Of course it is. But, in this case, the rewards might outway the risks. Who doesn’t desire a fancy meal every now and again?
Now, let’s plug the Volkswagen variables into this analogy. If this case, Volkswagen would be the model. Diesels would be the gourmet meal. And the US car buyers would be the model’s taste buds. Apparently, Volkswagen figured US car buyers wanted their diesels so badly the German carmaker had to find some way to provide them even if it meant doing something that could prove detrimental to its reputation? Even if someone “walked in on them” so to speak
Well, Volkswagen certainly misread the situation. Diesels are not and never have been desirable. They don’t sound or smell good. Hybrid technology, however, is actually becoming desirable thanks to cars like the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, Ferrari LaFerrari, and Acura NSX. I can’t imagine any of these cars with a diesel engine.
Moving to the premium brands. Mercedes-Benz has to never build another front-wheel-drive sedan (CLA), Ferrari has to never build another completely useless station wagon (Ferrari FF), and BMW has to stop building cars that are neither useful nor sporty (X-6).
Nissan has to can the Juke and replace it with a new Z car that can once again compete with the base Corvette Stingray. Toyota has to drop the Scion brand and bring back the Supra and MR-2. Mazda has to bring back the Rotary-powered RX-7. Mitsubishi has to do something, anything, or pull the plug already. A 3000GT VR-4 sequel would work for me. Lexus has to stop hiring star wars nerds to design their front ends. While everyone loves Darth Vader, no one would argue his mask is sexy. And, of course, the minivan comment applies here as well.
So, that is what I’m expecting for 2017. I will be utterly shocked if even one of these expectations actually happens.