Hooniverse Asks- If You Could Run Any Car Company, Which One Would It Be, And What Would You Change?


Let’s say you’re walking done the beach, and you come across an old oil lamp. Picking it up, you rub the side to clear away the grime and seaweed and out puts a genie who awards you for freeing him from the lamp with one wish (it used to be three, but times are tough), and you decide that you’ve always wanted to be the big cheese at car company. Alakazam, you’re the one making the important product decisions at the car maker of your choice. Which company would be getting your considered attention, and what would you do differently there?
Some of you might be thinking Porsche and the banishment of anything with more that two doors or +2 seats. Others might jones for Toyota and the return of a small rear-drive sportster with INTENDED acceleration. Or maybe your inner tree-hugger is tightening your bun-huggers for the chance to champion that Lambo hybrid you’ve secretly been planning in your head.
So many car makers tease us with exotic hardware at car shows that never make it to the showroom. Maybe your first edict would be all cars sold have to be mind-meltingly advanced and Jessica Simpson hot! Or maybe you’d just say no to crazy-cool show cars. If that’s the case, maybe this isn’t the site for you.
So, if your beach genie, or your diaper genie, grants you a wish, and your wish is to run a car company, which would it be, and what would you change, big shot?
Image sources: [templeskatesupply, carmagazine.co.uk]

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57 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- If You Could Run Any Car Company, Which One Would It Be, And What Would You Change?”

  1. Alan Avatar
    Alan

    Mazda – all rotaries.
    or maybe
    BMW – all boxy, thin-pillared, light and no goddamn run flats.
    or maybe
    Porsche – no SUV's or sedans, no more front-engined cars
    or maybe
    Ferrari – return of the open gate, less techy garbage and no more horrible brand-diluting marketing knick knacks.
    I'd fully expect to run everyone of them into the ground.

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      Hey, at least you're honest about that last fact there. It's too bad that all carmakers who try to be different nowadays (the fewer and fewer who do, that is), almost inevitably end up failing and conforming.

  2. Al_Navarro Avatar

    Saab. I'd get the new 9-5 to market right quick, with a price tag in the low $40k range (with AWD, but less options like NAV and DVD entertainment).
    I'd pick some ass kicking ad agency and spend money re-establishing the cool quirk of the Saab brand.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      My choice, too.
      …although my first move would be initiating development of the Sonnet IV.

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Oldsmobile. Necromancer-style.

  4. discontinuuity Avatar

    Lotus. Wouldn't change a thing.

    1. Al_Navarro Avatar

      I would. I would take over the F1 currently parading around under the Lotus name and bring back "Team Lotus" with factory involvement.

      1. discontinuuity Avatar

        You can be head of the F1 team then : )

        1. Al_Navarro Avatar
          Al_Navarro

          You have yourself a deal.

      2. rikadyn Avatar

        Which would be pretty much the same now, as Lotus is owned by Proton, is one of the main companies involved with the F1 team

        1. Al_Navarro Avatar

          Of course I know that Proton owns Lotus.
          That doesn't change the fact that the current "Lotus Racing" team participating in F1 has about as much to do with "Team Lotus" and the actual Lotus factory/engineers as NASCAR vehicles do with their roadgoing counterparts. Less actually.

    2. discontinuuity Avatar

      Or maybe Subaru, and make them slightly less ugly.

  5. Feds_II Avatar

    I would become Sergio Marchionne, and run FiatsCo.
    Revitalization of eagle, return of the 4.0, Hemi Pandas, Alpha-V-6-powered grand cherokees, Free diesel J-8 with the purchase of a Fiat 500…
    It'll be a grand 6 months.

  6. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

    vw. it pains me to see so many well appointed cars fall apart after 60k

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      Same here. If they could improve reliability, rein in parts and service costs and (in my rather biased opinion) bring over more TDI models, they'd be a serious force in the U.S. market once more instead of the bit player (relative to the Yanks, Koreans and Japanese, anyway) they are now.

  7. joshuman Avatar

    The tooling for the Golf Mk II must still be around someplace. Let's start pumping out 2.0T powered GTIs.

    1. rovingardener Avatar

      And GLis.

  8. muthalovin Avatar

    Oldsmobile. Necromancer-style.
    I cannot get the 442 out of my head. Its spring fevah or something:
    <img src="http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/200511/1970-oldsmobile-442-w-30-_460x0w.jpg"&gt;

  9. scroggzilla Avatar

    Prepare the TARDIS, Mr. Robber! I'm going back in time to save Packard!

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      Among other things, yes.

      1. joshuman Avatar

        That is a beautify car but check out the crazy placement of those turn signals. Those would succumb to stroller damage inside a week at my house.

        1. scroggzilla Avatar

          Jean Daninos, of Facel Vega, made that with a Bentley chassis in the early 50's. Bentley stopped supplying Facel Metallian with chassis when they realized his car was a bit too much like their then forthcoming R-type Continental.
          Daninos later approached Packard about building the HK500 and Excellance for the US market and was rebuffed.
          In my mind, Packard should have been an American Mercedes-Benz meets Jaguar automaker…..and they definately shouldn't have done the Studebaker deal.

      2. Juliet C. Avatar
        Juliet C.

        Maxiumum Golf Clap.

  10. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    Without question, GM. I'd tell the unions to take a hike, and immediately drop all models that aren't competitive in their segment. Pontiac and Saturn would make a comeback, GMC would get dropped like a bad habit, and Buick would be Chinese market only. Cadillac would be slowly taken farther upmarket, to the point of truly competing against the likes of Mercedes on nearly every level. In other words no more DTS. No more STS. Luxury would be truly luxurious, and materials would be top notch. Plastic wood doesn't belong in a $50k car. Chevy's got a good start with the Malibu and the Equinox, and hopefully the Cruze will be world class. Saturn would be GM's import brand, where Opels and Holdens could be had in limited volume, at a reasonable no dicker price. Pontiac would go back to its roots, with nothing FWD. RWD Compact, Midsize, Full size, all performance oriented.

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      I like to think of the CTS-V as a cut-price ZR-1 with 4 doors and a much nicer interior. It would be awesome if it were a bit lighter, but it weighs the same as an M5 or E63. It's also $20k cheaper than the BMW and M-B, and it's the better car. It's proof that, when they want to, GM can build a car that kicks everyone else's ass. Put the performance guys in charge of GM.

    2. IronBallsMcG Avatar
      IronBallsMcG

      The only thing I would do different is keep GMC, but only as a seller of commercial vehicles. I'd have them sell all trucks over 1 ton rating, and a a "WT" version of those below, cargo vans, possibly a stripper versions of an econo box, and police cars. No traditional salesmen would be employed, instead there would be reps well versed in the world of RFQ's, purchase req's, and fleet sales. None of the other divisions would be allowed in this business line.

  11. SeanKHotay Avatar

    Holy crap! From an ex-insider's POV, where to start?
    Chrysler: Replace the entire suspension and electrical staff…and who ever designed the Sebring even if it was Ralph Gilles.
    Ford: Get rid of the PITA design staff who drag out styling exercises when steel should be cut (J Mays goes w/out saying…Gary (you know who you are), I'm looking at you!).
    GM: Turn the Flogging Sessions (i.e., supplier meetings) into mutually productive ones like Toyota does. Ditch the committees that design cars and the cars they designed.
    Toyota: Expunge (by seppuku, if necessary) the reputation-killing can-do-no-wrong arrogance, get some non-fatal excitement into their line up.
    VW: Eradicate the eternal global market domination arrogance ('cause they'll eternally fail) and the stupidity in their line up (Phaeton), put CC on notice. Get VW MX to lose their inferiority complex, put VW MX and VW DE on the same page (except for local market needs).
    Honda: Replace the entire Acura styling crew, bring back the NSX. Open up supplier market to the Occidental, FFS.
    That's a good start…

  12. KAH Avatar
    KAH

    I get 3 wishes right?
    (End smiley face grill work from Japan, Ford could lose the 007 Kiel JAWS look) (who ever VW thought to badge a Town & Country/Grand Caravan as a VW Routan sacked)
    (I'd take Saab and really let form follow function again )

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      When did form start trumping function in those little ugly things? Besides, the new 9-5 is simply sex.

  13. Cynicist Avatar
    Cynicist

    Ideally, I'd work for all of them, and refuse to manufacture anything with a mass of over 2.3 thousand kilograms. Car safety improves (light car + light car in an accident = ultra effective crumple zones), car efficiency improves (kinetic energy = MASS * (velocity squared) / 2. 'nuff said), car performance improves (refer to the previous kinetic energy equation).
    Oh, and then I'd do my best to bring back the automotive enthusiasm. Which shouldn't be as hard as it is now, now that everyone drives something that's actually FUN to drive.

  14. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    None. The problem with all currently existing companies is their baggage/legacy issues. Clean slate would be the way to go.
    Yes, I know that's a cop out.

  15. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Tesla. It'd all be over with a 30 minute press conference, apologizing for the vaporware and refunding everyone's deposit with my government bailout money. Chain the doors shut. Now there are "green" employees for the Big 3 to hire and get there stuff together.

    1. Bret Avatar

      I saw two Tesla Roadsters driving around in Seattle yesterday during my 10 minute .6 mile walk to carpool home with my wife. Not vaporware by any means. Roadster sitings have gotten to the point of being "hey cool!" instead of the jaw-dropped rubbernecking affair of a year or so ago.
      Probably helps that we have a dealership here. But they're out there silently running around.

      1. SSurfer321 Avatar

        I was alluding to the Model S and next gen roadster, since Tesla is being forced to kill the current model roadster due to Lotus re-designing the Elise for 2011.

        1. Bret Avatar

          Ah yes, the Model S… While I have no doubt it's coming, it will almost certainly be late. Hopefully the green haloed but not purely electric options that are likely to beat it to production (Karma and Volt in particular) don't leave it gathering dust in the showroom.
          Don't worry about the Roadster, they recently arranged to get an extra ~700 units from Lotus to hold the market until the next gen Roadster/Elise debuts.
          As long as Tesla can keep things moving, they'll last long enough to be eventually bought by Daimler.

  16. Reuven Avatar
    Reuven

    Saturn. I would love to mass produce small, inexpensive american cars that compete with honda and toyota and subaru.
    I would have brought back the SC/SL/SW lineup. I would have kept the vue going as it had been and not the final opel-dereitive. I would have scrapped the L and puchased Chinese-Buicks and shipped them over to rebadge as Ls.
    I would have made a box-on-wheels orgional xB clone, and made the sky not suck.
    Dealerships? exactly the same, but more flowerpots on the premsis.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      def. There is 0 domestic competition for little Euro boxes and small Asian imports. Ford seems to be the only one taking notice with their Fiesta entry.

  17. Alff Avatar

    Jaguar. I'd ban curry in the company cafeteria.

    1. Al_Navarro Avatar

      The Brits love themselves a good curry, you know. The sun never sets and all that…

      1. Alff Avatar

        Considering their traditional cuisine, can't say I blame them.

    2. Black Steelies Avatar

      I agree and disagree.
      Keep the curry for its decent marketing skill and automotive engineering.
      But bring back the classic Brit design / style / class of the old Jags. You know, the style that reeks of woolen tweed jackets and finely aged scotch.

  18. Froggmann_ Avatar

    Ford. Why?
    Bronco. Bring it back NOW.
    RWD sedans bring them back NOW.
    Falcon. Bring it to the states NOW. Don't forget the Ute version.
    Focus Groups. Kill them NOW.
    And that would be the first 2 hours 43 minutes…

  19. Black Steelies Avatar

    GM:
    -Now is our chance. Buick will once again be granted a personality. Regal GS: you've got the go-ahead.
    -Eliminate Chevy trucks. Sorry folks it's either this or eliminate GMC. I mean what is the point.
    -Introduce another Geo or Saturn-like company but this time offer really good small cars for America- Whats gonna compete with the Fiesta?
    -I would bring back real car designers and engineers: what once made them the auto powerhouse standard of the world.
    -Any Cadillac that isn't a CTS derivative will be required to actually take on foreign luxury competition. yes,like the old days.
    -There would be absolutely no question when it came to turning the G8 into the next Impala. Some auto mags called it a budget BMW
    Ford:
    -Either a. dissolve Mercury or b. stop brand stealing from Ford. What is this, GM? Make something unique!
    -Replace the panther platform with another rear wheel design. C'mon- Police Taurus, really?
    -Work to bring one of the Euro Focuses here, [RS/RS500]. we could have the market CORNERED
    Chrysler:
    -I would quit pussifying the Jeep brand and make another Wagoneer. [optional woodgrain??]
    -Sebring: GONE
    -OK, you guys get an A+ when it comes to offering rwd platforms but let's try to make a really good small car, eh?
    Hyundai / Acura:
    -STOP making ugly cars. other than that, the formula is near perfect.
    Honda:
    -You had a real winner with the first Insight. Only hybrid worth a dang imo.Improve on that car before offering stupid cars like the CRZ and 'new' Insight
    -the 'Fridge'line- beef it up or move it out
    -remake the Z600. that'd be hilarious
    -what, no S2000 replacement?
    Toyota:
    -Make something –anything– worth loking at for more than .43 seconds. Quality / reliability is [was] all you had before that went down the crapper. You're lucky most of us are dumb enough to still buy your vehicles. Make something fast and exciting but please put brakes on it too.
    -Scion: lets put rwd in the foreseeable future. Also- send the custom Five Axis Scion tC on the express line to production.
    Caterham:
    -$40000+ for a 4 banger that weighs <2000 lbs? I bet I could make more money selling this little wonder for at least $10k less

  20. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I would revitalize Hoons McMItty's passion for face-punching automatons…
    <img src="https://hooniverse.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/puncher.gif&quot; width="400">

  21. dragon951 Avatar

    You know where this is going…
    Porsche, gotta stop the buyout, only got 8 or so months to do it. Liquidate the ever so useless Porsche Design wing as well as the VW shares side of Porsche SE. Sure, it'd be a bath, but that would be enough capital to get out of this hairy situation. They are already axing the Panamera, and letting the 8 year cycle finish out is the only way not to take a total bath on that. Keep the Cayenne, it's still a cash cow, and let them keep going with the Cayenne Hybrid to keep it that way. Also consider a small production 2-door version (How do you say Bronco in German?).
    Instead of resurrecting the 356 name, this new smaller thing will be a 914, will be a mid-engined flat four w/ manual, and have zero sound deadening, no electronic gizmos, and be under 2500lbs (the closer to 2000 the better, but we have to include all the federally mandated safety stuff like airbags, bumpers, etc.). Maybe a radio (2 speakers is fine), and prolly better keep the PSM and ABS to fend off lawsuits, but the fancy adjustable dampening that goes with the PASM is toast (too much weight), just tried and true torsion bars and Bilsteins. Seats on the floor, A/C is for chumps, and roughly the same dimensions as the old one (though it will have to be longer and wider, but no taller!). Also possibly dupe VW into paying the design costs for a shared platform, then buy it back when they don't want it. Obviously the most direct competitor is the Lotus Elise, so undercut it's price by $5000 or so (what would that be? $35,000?).
    If any money is left after all this, bring the 918 to limited production as a non-hybrid superlight, essentially an RS Spyder for the street ($400-500k should be about right), and for the love of god, continue the RS Spyder program, it was doing so well.
    That's all I got off the top of my head. And sure it will work, I have a friggin' genie in my pocket!

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      I want them to bring back all the old nameplates, but that's not really feasible. Keep the Panamera, as it's an awesome luxury sedan (much more of a real Porsche than the Cayenne). As you said, make a cheap, light model. They could axe the Boxster and make a new 914 their mid-engined car. Bring back the front-engined 4 cylinder cars; a new 924 would be awesome. These entry-level models should be styled like modern versions of the original; Porsche has a lot of styling heritage to look back on. Keep these entry-level models under $40k. Make the 911 lighter and awesomer. As you said, produce the 918, as an über-expensive halo car.
      The greatest thing, though, would be if the lightweight, RS-style models were actually cheaper than the standard cars. Porsche can go on offering as many $6,245 leather covered air vent options as they like, but it would be great if you could get a basic, stripped-out version of all their cars. And, since these cars have less equipment, they should cost less. Add lightness!
      Unfortunately, Porsche will never do any of these things.

      1. dragon951 Avatar

        Wait a minute, we have a genie! Wish #2 would be a magical bottomless bank account. Now the engineers are given free reign to make what they want to make, not what they have to. I can safely resurrect the 914 line, the Front-Mid Engine RWD line (924/944/968) and have a 356 line with classic styling, just updated in the safety technology department. The 959 goes back into both rallying and production. Meanwhile Porsche can now enter a factory team in just about every racing series out there. Since I wouldn't dream of abusing the money sack, all production cars can be sold at cost.

  22. Raze1138 Avatar
    Raze1138

    General Motors- First thing, drop GMC, it's just rebadged chevys so no loss.
    Second, bring back the Chevy Nomad as a 2 door, 2+2 Corvette based wagon. (could it be anything else?)
    RWD Impala, a must.
    The Astra shall be RWD as well. And Global.
    Bring back Pontiac with A mid-sized RWD Tempest and a solstice-sized MR coupe called the Fiero.
    GXP trim shall be replaced with GTO trim
    Tempest GTO will have the LSA V8, Fiero GTO would get the Camaro's V6

  23. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    I'd run Honda.
    I'd start by offering the CR-Z with the 2.0 liter from the Civic Si, and one of the high-power Euro diesels to make it a legitimate performance car. You can mate that diesel engine with a hybrid system to have a super high-mileage 2-seater commuter. The Civic is a good car, so I'd offer it with a diesel, and make sure the next generation model doesn't get any heavier than the current. Also, I'd bring back the 4wd Civic wagon, just for kicks. I'd offer the Accord with a diesel and a 6-speed in a wagon bodystyle. The Fit is a great car, so I'd offer a diesel model, and a high-performance model. Put a 6-cylinder diesel in the Odyssey and the Pilot. The Accord Crosstour would die immediately, and all Acuras would lose the horrible chrome nose. Finally, bring back a rear-drive sports car, like the S2000 or NSX.
    Basically, diesels and stick shifts for all!

  24. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    IMO, the current Civic and Fit are really good cars. Please don't ruin the next generation models; keep the weight down and don't make them ugly like the Accord. Make the Accord lighter and less ugly, and bring back the wagon. Fire the whole Acura design team, and maybe even kill Acura, as it makes ugly, pointless, mediocre cars. Offer diesels and stick shifts in all cars. Our Fit is a seriously good car; all Hondas should be like this.

  25. Cruising Avatar
    Cruising

    Nissan – Give the Maxima optional AWD or RWD, then give it some NISMO treatment for some real 4DSC.
    Pontiac- Only performance sedans and coupes NO vans, suvs, crossovers etc…basically a small powerful four cylinder Fiero type coupe with a optional turbo, then step up to a larger Firebird type coupe with V6/V8 options then step up with a family of sports sedans compact to mid-size.

  26. toebitus Avatar
    toebitus

    Studebaker,Nuff said

  27. K5ING Avatar
    K5ING

    It would have to be GM. I'd realign the divisions as follows:
    Chevy — Entry level cars with very little in the way of frills. Small cars and a large sedan with no frills. People still have a need for a larger car, but these days large means lots of luxury stuff. Bring back the Biscayne. Also, drop all trucks.
    GMC — Would be the new truck division. GMC makes lots of large trucks, so have them handle the smaller ones (including SUVs) exclusively as well.
    Pontiac — Sports and GT class cars including the Corvette. Sorry Chevy.
    Buick — Would be where Cadillac is now.
    Cadillac — Upgrade to compete with MB and even a very high end car to go up against Bentley.
    Maybe bring back Oldsmobile to go between Pontiac and Buick….sort of where Buick is now.
    Company wide — Style and quality would make a comeback. Stop going for maximum aerodynamics and make cars that people will really love to look at and chasis design that people would love to drive. Also make routine maintenance free for the original owner up to 100,000 miles. No excuses.

  28. AlexG55 Avatar
    AlexG55

    FIAT, with or without Chrysler. Make Alfa the main marque, to compete with the lower end of BMW (1, 3, 5 and 6-series). All Alfas will be rear-wheel drive:
    Giulietta (replaces 147, competes with 1-series)
    Giulia (?) Replaces 159, 3-series fighter
    6S (?) 5-series fighter, possibly call 8-cylinder models the 8S
    Montreal- 2+2 to compete with 6-series
    "Sprint" as the performance nameplate (V-8s in all but the Giulietta), with Sprint Veloce or Super Sprint (SV or SS) as the completely insane balls-to-the-wall version, like the Autodelta 400-horsepower 147GTA. Perhaps combine them- SV is a stripped-out race version, Super Sprint is more powerful, SSV is both. I want the letters SSV to become as famous as CSL…
    Maserati move slightly upmarket, Ferrari make only race cars for the road. FIAT takes on the mass-market and possibly Mini. Lancia becomes an all-AWD nameplate like Subaru, with a mixture of AWD versions of Fiats and their own platform for a new Delta Integrale. No big SUVs.

  29. Genete Casey Avatar

    Sport’s for Real MEN http://espnnn.com

  30. Carroll B. Merriman Avatar

    Sport’s for Real MEN http://espnnn.com

  31. Bettyann Avatar

    I really want a Tesla, besides a cool name it looks like a sweet car!

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