It’s difficult being a celebrity, even if you’re a celebrity involved in the automotive industry. Everyone’s listening to what you’re saying but not because they’re interested. No, they’re just waiting for your next slip up so that they can turn it into a meme and ‘tweet’ it on. I’m no different, I will admit, and here are the automotive quotes that amused/annoyed me in 2013.
1. Jeremy’s Basil Stunt
When I say ‘Basil Fawlty’, ‘red Austin Countryman’ and ‘a twig’ you shouldn’t really have any doubts as to what I’m talking about. Jeremy Clarkson has used the classic scene from Fawlty Towers to lash back at his opponents on Twitter:
“Oh no. I’ve just heard that the scene when Basil Fawlty beat his car with twigs was FAKED. It hadn’t broken down at all.”
This came as a response to Michael Bott’s (an actor whom nobody knows) attempt at outing Top Gear as fakers. They apparently staged a scene on the River Avon as they came in a homemade hovercraft past a group of diners enjoying a riparian picnic. It appears that the diners (who ended up totally wet in the process) were actors. In this case, BBC decided to back the naughty trio by reminding the critics that “Top Gear is an entertainment programme.”
2. James is Slow – That’s Official
I just had to include another one by Clarkson because his quotes, unlike the moronisms that come out of some CEOs’ cakeholes, are actually funny. What is especially funny is the grief he’s giving James May about the latter being too slow. He’s picked up on the fact on more than one occasion and here’s two that are bound to make you chuckle:
“It took less time to invent that car than it did for him to go around the track” (on James May doing a lap in Bugatti Veyron).
“Tonight, James goes fast for the first time in his life” (5 mph).
There are other resources collecting Clarksonisms if you want to pick up a pub gag or two.
3. Akerson Apparently Talks Himself into an Early Retirement
Ever since the bolshie telecoms man Dan Akerson was made a CEO of General Motors, it has seemed that his favourite pastime is trying to tarnish his own and GM’s image. Most of the times he talks as if he had no clue what he’s talking about; and his dissing of competitors is both annoying and pathetic. One of his most famous quotes is:
“They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It’s over.”
That’s what he said about Ford’s luxury division back in 2011. Now we all know that his prediction was untrue. Lincoln is going from strength to strength despite the fact that their new grille design is atrocious.
Akerson’s latest quote came as part of a sneak-peek into the development of what’s supposed to be the 2nd generation of Chevy Volt. He was quoted to say:
“We want it to be a moon shot so we can surprise the competition!”
as he made comment on the predicted driving range of the new vehicle. He said it would be a compact car capable of 200 miles on a single charge and indicated that this would be possible because of the agreement with a battery startup Envia Systems who’d promised to deliver a battery based on the latest technologic breakthroughs. As it turned out, this was a massive gaffe because the quote was made after GM had begun a cancellation process of its contract with Envia Systems citing “material misrepresentation”. The chaps behind the superbattery – Dr. Purnesh Seegopaul and Dr. Sujeet Kumar (don’t forget the “doctor” bit when addressing them) are now facing two lawsuits – for misrepresentation and for stealing intellectual property.
4. What Happened Between the Two Carloses?
The Chief Operations Officer of Renault Carlos Tavares made a bad mistake when interviewed by Bloomberg. He alluded that he’d like to see the CEO of Renault Carlos Ghosn retire so that he can take Ghosn’s place. Tavares was quoted to say:
“We have a big leader and he is here to stay. Anyone who is passionate about the auto industry comes to a conclusion that there is a point where you have the energy and appetite for a No. 1 position.”
No surprise that shortly after the interview, Mr Ghosn summoned an emergency meeting, even attended by French government officials. The Socialist French Government who owns 15% of Renault is always very touchy when it emerges somebody within the company is rocking the boat. It was an unanimous decision that Tavares has to go after more than 30 years with Renault. What is Tavares going to do now? Ghosn though he’d dispatched of the rebel and had had the upper hand, however, it was announced that Tavares had been appointed a CEO of Ghosn’s fiercest competitor – Peugeot Citroen PSA. Who’s got the last laugh now?
5. Why Clicking Fingers Has Never Solved Traffic Problems
Our current Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin knows the drill when it comes to dishing out funny quotes. If calling the new high-speed railway network an “essential heart bypass for Britain’s clogged train network” is not figurative enough for you, here’s what he said about the UK transport problems in general:
“We need better roads too, to keep cars, trucks and buses moving…” (thanks for stating the obvious) “…you can’t just click your fingers to solve it [transport problems]. You need to think big and hold your nerve for decades.”
6. Embrace Your Bodies for the Ecclestones
Some of the best quotes of 2013 have come from the Ecclestone family. It was certainly important news when one of the ‘heiresses’ – Tamara Ecclestone announced she’d do Playboy. Those who were brave enough to buy the said issue of the magazine were slightly disappointed because Tamara was covered in some weird white stuff. Not a proper nude picture if you ask me. When questioned about the moral aspects of posing for Playboy she said:
“I am so proud of this beautiful shoot. As a woman, I believe you have to embrace your body, and feel beautiful both inside and out.”
But we’ll finish with one of Bernie’s latest quotes. As you might have heard, he’s facing bribery charges. Here’s what he said regarding the prospects of spending next 10 years of his life in a cosy German prison cell:
“If I get sent to jail I will have to deal with it. But I don’t think I will like it very much.”
Nobody could’ve said it better!
Arvid Linde is an award-winning journalist and author of several motoring books including “Electric Cars – the Future is Now!” You can follow Arvid on Twitter: @kensingtongreen or Arvid Linde – Google +
Click here for more hilarious Clarksonism’s: www.creditplus.co.uk//jeremy-clarkson-the-man-of-many-words-6987766/