Written by Andy Youtz

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The U.S. auto makers return to Congress with a plan.

Senate Interrogator: Hey guys, welcome back to the Senate's version of Gitmo. So how were your flights, wink, wink?

GM Honcho: Thank you senator. This time I figured it might be better to show some humility so I borrowed my son's Harley and drive down.

Ford Honcho: I hitchhiked and got a ride most of the way in a pickup truck with a very nice couple from Flint. When I told them who I was they made me ride in the back but I certainly understand.

Chrysler Honcho: I got a friend to take me to Toledo where I hopped a freight. The guys in the box car wondered about the suit but when I explained that I might soon be laid off from the auto industry they shared their booze and let me in on their card game. I only lost $50.

Interrogator: Fascinating stories. Anyway we're here today to listen to your proposal for why the people of the country should loan money to an industry that has driven itself to the brink of bankruptcy.

GM Honcho: We admit we've been a trifle shortsighted over the years but we can assure you, those days are over.

Interrogator: You betcha'!

GM Honcho: Speaking for General Motors, we believe the Chevy Volt has the potential to turn the company around.

Interrogator: When will it be available?

GM Honcho: We're shooting for November 2010.

Interrogator: So let me get this straight. You have staked the entire future of your company on a car that doesn't really exist yet, sort of automotive vaporware.

GM Honcho: That's one way of putting it.

Interrogator: And when it does you expect it to sell for--what did I read--$40,000 and only go 40 miles on a charge.

GM Honcho: Yes, but once it's in production for a few years the costs should come down.

Interrogator: What's going to get you through until the end of 2010?

GM Honcho: Well we're thinking $18 billion would be a big help.

Interrogator: You guys are notorious for banking your entire future on a single model. What if you can't come up with a new super battery? What if this in fact isn't the next Mustang or Taurus. What if it's another Edsel?

GM Honcho: That was a Ford.

Interrogator: Whatever, what's your fallback.

GM Honcho: We're reviewing several alternative technologies.

Interrogator: Like what?

GM Honcho: We have asked our chief advisor to the Volt development team, Professor Edison, to join us today on speakerphone. He should be able to shed light on our other opportunities.

Interrogator: It's a pleasure to meet you professor. Are you any relation to that great pioneer of electrification, Thomas Edison?

Professor: No sir, just concidence. My father was a meter reader for the electric company and I just wanted to know what made those little dials spin around. Call me Sparky.

Interrogator: Ok Sparky, what are GM's alternatives if the Volt technology fails to materialize?

Sparky: Well, we've considered cars powered by other renewable energy sources.

Interrogator: Like what?

Sparky: The Buick Bolt.

Interrogator: What's that?

Sparky: It's a crossover with a great big antenna that's designed to attract lightning. We're betting that a few good strikes would get you the from New York to LA.

Interrogator: What are the technological challenges?

Sparky: All we need to do is figure out how to absorb a terawatt plug of power.

Interrogator: This doesn't sound much more promising than the Volt. Do you have any other ideas?

Sparky: Yes, the GMC Peat.

Interrogator: Ok I give up, what's a Peat?

Sparky: It's an extended cab pickup that runs on coal. The bed acts like the tender on an old steam locomotive. We expect it will be particularly well received in places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia where you can just pull over to a strip mine and fill up.

Interrogator: Anything else?

Sparky: The project is still hush-hush but we are beginning design on the Cadillac Glow.

Interrogator: What's that?

Sparky: It's a nuclear powered SUV with a miniature reactor. We estimate that one or two standard plutonium fuel rods will take you around the world 12 times.

Interrogator: Is that feasible?

Sparky: Well, if you can believe in the Volt, why not.

Interrogator: Got me there. Thank you gentlemen, I think we've got everything we need to make a decision.

Chrysler Honcho: But wait you haven't heard about the wind powered Chrysler Quixote.

Ford Honcho: …or the horse-drawn F150 Clydesdale.

Interrogator: We'll be in touch.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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