At year’s end, every would-be pundit who can get work published does an annual wrap-up. At AOL Autos, we see no need for you to suffer through twelve months before learning what happened in 2010. Accordingly, and with our astigmatic crystal ball at hand, we look back at some events that caught our eye during 2010. As you will see, a crystal ball does not always render perfect vision, though it does allow us to combine foresight with hindsight. Here then a look at the once and future year 2010.
Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, GM chief executive Ed Whitacre decries the industry’s dependence on discounts, cheap financing, and other incentives. Meanwhile, at the North American International Auto Show, GM marketing chief Susan Docherty announces that the January 2010 Millard Fillmore Birthday Tent Sale will be longer, lower, and wider than ever.
The 2011 Bugatti Veyron highlights the Chicago Auto Show. The now-legendary supercar’s latest iteration has a top speed of 420 mph and is powered by an all-titanium V-20 engine which runs on a mixture of nitroglycerin and Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The car was made available only to former World Driving Champions and holders of the American Express Centurion (Black) credit card. Of the two that were sold, Michael Schumacher returned his because it didn’t fit, and a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon stuffed the other into a Wilshire Boulevard Unocal station.
GM vice chairman Bob Lutz legally changes his name to Former Marine Fighter Pilot Bob Lutz. He was overheard saying at a Detroit cocktail party, “Just call me ‘Former.’” In Los Angeles, Egbert Hogback, a retired motoring journalist turned blogger, astounds the automotive press by writing seven consecutive posts using neither the noun “icon” nor the adjective “iconic.”
At a joint press conference, the heads of the Detroit Three automakers announce a cooperative effort to reduce energy consumption, increase fuel mileage, promote diesel powertrains, and assist the government in the development of a workable national energy policy. After the plan had been outlined in a nine-hour speech by Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne, the always cheery Alan Mulally sprang to his feet and shouted, “April fool!” In an unrelated incident, Egbert Hogback was fired for using the word “awesome” four times in a single posting.
Faced with flagging sales, one of Chrysler’s many new ad agencies announces plans to hire Chef Boyardee as a spokesperson. The scheme is scrapped when the agency creative department learns that the chef is fictitious. Also in May, Sergio Marchionne changes his first name to Beleaguered.
Susan Docherty, the blonde, stylish, attractive marketing boss at General Motors, announces that Tiger Woods is returning to the GM fold. “To promote the return of the Buick Rendezvous, of course,” Docherty tells journalists. Woods, now living in a Newell Coach somewhere in Minnesota, was available for comment but did not do so.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholds a lower court ruling allowing disgruntled car dealers to select one automaker each year and close it down to “improve efficiency and save money.” In a separate ruling, the court voted 5-1 to allow the “humane slaughter” of vinyls and naugas used in the manufacture of automobile and truck upholstery. A PETA spokeshuman called the decision “oxymoronic,” adding, “That’s also an old joke.”
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announces that tax revenue from improving sales, especially at Ford, will allow him to seek funding from St. Kitts and Nevis for his forthcoming bailout of the Treasury Department. Geithner graciously shared credit for the mild turnaround in auto sales with the Auto Czar, the Pickup Truck Czar, the Hybrid Czar, and the Biodiesel Czar.
In early September, the absolutely last Saab enthusiast left standing agrees to sit down and shut up if General Motors will pay to move his front door lock to a position on the threshold between the door jambs “where God meant it to be.”
Former General Motors CEO and ex-Duke hoopster Rick Wagoner’s debut with the Harlem Senior Globetrotters is canceled when management learns that he not only didn’t know the words to “Sweet Georgia Brown” but also had failed to keep current with changing trends in high fiving. Wagoner will use his newly found free time to seek other opportunities and to spend more time with his family.
The Vatican press office announces that Pope Benedict XVI has given the go-ahead for the canonization of the Toyota Prius, which will be rebadged as St. Prius. An unnamed Vatican functionary told AOL Autos, “There are no plans to sell the Holy See’s limousine fleet, and rumors that the Holy Father will change his name to Pope Prius I are unfounded.”
Chevrolet gets an early Christmas present when the Bowl Championship Series management announces that the Chevy Player of the Game in every BCS bowl will donate $1000 to General Motors. Over at Ford, CEO Alan Mulally announces that he will adopt a Native American name, Whopping Bonus. Out in the real world, taxpayers brace themselves for 2011.