|Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
Within 24 hours of the official government announcement that our Treasury Department had divested itself of the last of its stock in General Motors (from its 2009 bankruptcy), GM CEO Dan Akerson made his own surprise announcement: He’s leaving early due to his wife’s advanced cancer diagnosis. And true to some informed media speculation for months, Akerson named Mary Barra as his replacement, the new CEO of the world’s largest car company.
Friday, Dec. 06, 2013
There’s one thing that I truly miss about reviewing new vehicles for Fox Four’s Good Day in the 1990s. That’s the fact that about one in every 15 vehicles given to me for review in those days was an absolute embarrassment for the car company that created it. Remember the Isuzu Amigo? It was so cheap and tinny, so inherently unstable during normal driving tests, that I told the audience that any parent who purchased one of these little Jeep-like vehicles for his or her kids should be indicted for attempted manslaughter.
|Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
This was not the typical caller to my radio show. Here was a woman crying, semi-hysterical and almost incoherent, because she owned a Ford Explorer with the infamous Firestone Wilderness tires on it. That call came in during a media frenzy more than a decade ago, a period when it seemed like every night the news was reporting another story showing how unstable the Ford Explorer was, and how its faulty Firestone tires’ tread could separate and cause drivers to completely lose control of their vehicle.
|Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
It was 40 years ago almost to this week that I first entered the automobile industry. As with most everything in my life, the circumstances equaled sheer luck just when I needed it most. Although I was only 20 years old, an insurance company I had been working for had transferred me to Houston, then promptly fired me. A few days later, while I was parking the 1973 Cutlass I had purchased six months earlier in my space at the apartment complex off the Katy Freeway, my neighbor pulled in next to me in a 1974 version of the same car. He couldn’t wait to jump out of it, run over and hand me his business card so he could sell me a new car.
|Friday, Nov. 08, 2013
“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” — Albert Einstein
|Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
He was born Signius Wilhelm Poul Knudsen on March 25, 1879, in Copenhagen, the first of his parents’ six children. His father also had three children from a previous marriage, so the nine of them struggled to survive on his $350 a year job as a Customs Inspector — and all crammed into four rooms of a small house. So, at the age of 6 Signius was put to work, pushing a cart for a window glazier after school each day. For this he earned 50 cents a week, but the family badly needed even that little money.
|Friday, Oct. 25, 2013
A week ago, stories flooding the media recalled the days of the First Energy Crisis, which began on October 16, 1973, because of the Arab Oil Embargo. These stories often enlarged upon the current positive belief that America is finally on its way to real energy independence. But, sadly for readers, far too many of those columns confused or omitted hard facts from that period. Others ignored the factual realities of today’s energy picture, thereby distorting where we really stand as a country critically dependent on refined fuels.
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
In 1969 the year started with Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine at the top of the Billboard music charts and ended with Peter, Paul and Mary’s Leaving on a Jet Plane in the top spot. That latter song was particularly appropriate for Texans; written by AHHS alumnus John Denver, it topped the charts just as construction started on DFW International Airport, six months after Houston Intercontinental had opened.
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013
For most humans, I believe, it is in our DNA to resist change. We often find change troublesome and upsetting to our natural order. At best change is only bothersome, an unnecessary sequence of events that adds zero functional improvement to our lives; but at worst it’s an ominous obstacle in the making.
|Friday, Oct. 04, 2013
In the late 90s Honda had arranged for quite a few automotive journalists to fly to Toronto. We would then drive ourselves, in the soon-to-be-released Honda Odyssey minivan, to Honda’s factory in Alliston, Ontario. I felt I’d gotten lucky when I met my assigned co-driver; he’d had a front-row seat for the creation and destruction of the DeLorean Motor Company. Moreover, since he had been the head of PR for DeLorean, the media had gotten their stories about that maverick firm’s rise and fall from him. I’d never met or even seen John DeLorean in person, as he had resigned abruptly from General Motors seven months before I ever entered the car business, but now I had a chance to ask something about him of someone who had worked with him closely for a few years. My question was simple: What was John DeLorean really like in person?