Unwanted Exotics

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Let’s raise a glass to the Unwanted Exotic.

It is very low production – and very high cost – and thus, rarely seen. Like a Bugatti Veyron.

If we were talking Bugattis, there would waiting lists; people wrangling and wheedling to get their hands on one by any means – no matter the cost.

But there is no trouble finding the Unwanted Exotic – and (trust me) you won’t pay full sticker. In fact, some are downright bargains . . .  well, depending on your point of view.

There is the Honda Fit electric car. You can drive one (though not very far) for the low, low rate of $259 a month. It is very exotic. Honda has only found homes for about 83 of them so far this year. This is just a bit below the hoped-for target of just over 1,000 annually (2,100 over 24 months). No doubt it has something to do with the fact that you can drive the same vehicle – without the electric motor (and so, much farther) for about $100 less per month.

GM is having similar problems with its electrified exotic, the Chevy Volt. For some impenetrable reason, it languishes unloved – and unsold.

GM has had to to idle the plant where they’re made. Six-plus months worth of inventory has stacked up – and the end of the calendar year is only about fourmonths away. That means a lot of “new” 2013s are going to end up as last year’s leftovers before they’ve even taken the plastic covers off of the seats. GM keeps cutting the price – most recently by about $5,000 (transferring the balance to its other customers) but still, an insufficient number of rubes are sufficiently enthused.

Quit? Go back to the drawing board? Either option would seem to be a reasonablething to do. Nah.

Double down!

Make more of them. Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!

If the definition of insanity is, indeed, repeating the same action over and over and over – and expecting a different result – then the car industry is palpably insane. No, wait. I am not being fair. The car industry is not insane. It is merely being puppeteered – dancing on strings, the strings controlled by someone else.

It’s the government that’s crazy. Or perhaps, crazy like a fox. If the object of this exercise is not to find a way to reduce the cost of driving but rather to increase it. Check this out:

California – the biggest single market for cars in the U.S. – along with nine others – has set quotas for Unwanted Exotics. Fifteen percent of all cars sold in these states must be of the electrified variety by 2025. This a great deal more than the 80-odd electric Fits Honda has sold so far. And please, no eructations about the Great Success (cue Borat voice) of Tesla. With a base price of $70,000 – $100k-plus for the one the papers like to gabble about that can (in theory) go almost as far on a full charge  as a $15,000 economy car with a quarter-full tank of gas – volume production of the Tesla is as likely as volume production of BMW M5s. Teslas are expensive toys – but unlike BMW M5s, the expense is financed by you and I and millions of our fellow tax-cattle.

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