In Orwell’s novel, 1984, the main character – Winston Smith – finds himself in the cellars of the Ministry of Truth, having committed ThoughtCrime by reading The Book – a manifesto produced by a supposed underground revolutionary movement. And for writing down his thoughts in a journal. The door of the cell opens and in walks O’Brien, the Inner Party member from whom Winston got The Book.
“They got me a long time ago,” replies O’Brien – who motions to the guard behind him. Winston is then taken to Room 101 – to be tortured by O’Brien.
Well, they just got Subaru, too.
It has committed the crime of not “electrifying” its lineup fast enough. Or even at all. Subaru is one of the few car manufacturers that does not have an EV in its U.S. model lineup. Instead, it has models that sell really well – like the Crosstrek, which just happens to be the only remaining small crossover you can still buy with a manual transmission. It is the antitheses of everything EV. It is affordable – $23,645 to start. Thousands less than the least-expensive EVs, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt – neither of which can travel almost 500 highway miles, as the little Soobie can.
It does not require doling out “incentives” to persuade people to buy it. They line up to buy it – especially with the manual transmission, which is a feature no EV offers but which many people want because it makes driving more involving. And because it gives them more control over how their vehicle drives.
Most fundamentally, it gives them something that isn’t an EV. It is precisely why they buy models like the Çrosstrek. And they have bought a lot of them.
How about 27,522 . . . over the past eight weeks.
That is about 10,000 more Crosstreks in two months than Ford has sold Lightnings – the electric Turducken version of the otherwise-appealing (and best-selling) non-electric F-150 pickup – last year. During the entirety of last year, Subaru sold 155,1142 Crosstreks, amounting to an increase of almost 22 percent over the previous year. It’s a lot of Crosstreks – of cars, period – for one of the smallest car companies doing business in the United States. Subaru having only about a 4.1 percent market share.
Ford’s share is about 13.3 percent.
But the more interesting number may be the EV’s market share. As in all of them. It is about 5 percent – and 2 percent of that is Tesla’s share. In other words, Subaru sells about as many cars – none of them electric – as electric cars are sold, in total. And about twice as many cars as Tesla sells.
Instead of building on that success, Subaru will be replacing cars like the Crosstrek with what has failed. Electric cars. It was announced last week that there will be “sweeping changes ahead” – the first of which is the replacement of current Subaru president and CEO Tomomo Nakamura, who joins Akio Toyoda in Room 101 for not loving electric Big Brother enough.
The new guy-in-charge, Atsushi Osaki, whom the board of directors tapped to replace Nakamura, will “accelerate the company’s efforts to address the automotive industry’s profound transformation.” According to news reports, this “profound transformation” will entail “… moving the current lineup of its top-selling Crosstrek subcompact SUV, Outback midsize SUV, and Forester compact SUV models to hybrid and all-electric powertrains sooner than was previously planned. In addition, more all-new battery-electric vehicles (BEV) models will also be produced in the next five years than previously announced.”
Back to that italicized couple of words above – about the board of directors.
This can be translated as ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance – the force behind these “transformations.” The same force that led Akio Toyota to Room 101 just a few weeks ago. Toyota – and Subaru – were among the few remaining car companies that had not “fully committed” to make the “transformation” to “the age of electrification.” Probably because the men running them – until just now – looked at the numbers and saw that it made no business sense to stop making cars hundreds of thousands want in favor of tens of thousands of electric cars that even the few who bought them probably wouldn’t have if they weren’t being bribed to buy them via extravagant tax-kickbacks. These latter operate the same as the huge discounts car companies used to offer as inducements to clear the lot of loss leaders – vehicles that weren’t selling.
But – under the tenets of ESG – cars that sell are bad. Because they aren’t “environmental.” Of course, that term really means political. If it were not so, electric vehicles wouldn’t be being pushed as their manufacture as well as their use entails more actual harm to the environment than cars with engines, which burn up fewer resources in the course of their manufacture and use. They do not require 1,000-plus pounds of toxic battery packs each. Batteries that – unlike lead acid batteries that can be recycled – use up non-renewable materials such as lithium, more of which must be mined (and leached) to make each new EV battery pack. Each EV requiring a new battery pack years before a non-EV would need a new engine.
Lifetime-use models also show that EVs end up causing the release of more “carbon” – the “environmental” bogeyman that serves the same purpose as “the cases” did as regards the “health” bogeyman used to further another but closely related “transformation” over the past three years.
But EVs serve a larger purpose. They are the vehicle for getting most of us out of vehicles. That is the metric of success these days, as regards cars. Not sales. Definitely not ownership.
ESG aims at our diminishment. You do the hokey pokey and discover that’s what it’s all about. ESG acolytes have taken operational control of the boards of major corporations, the apotheosis of the Left’s 100 year-old “long march” through the institutions. To sit on the board of a major corporation does not require knowledge of, interest in – or even liking of – the business. It takes shares. Which takes money. Those who have it can buy the direction of the company.
And so they have.
It is one more to their liking.
. . .
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