Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Toyota Prius, Geekmobile?

The Geekmobile
In case you haven't heard, hybrids are all the rage.  Everybody is trying to save the environment, and a few bucks, by trading in their gas guzzling SUVs and tricked out muscle cars for these champions of low fuel consumption. And if there is one car that has become the poster child of the hybrid craze, a shining beacon to those hoping to save a tree and a buck, it would have to be the Toyota Prius.  It's not a particularly attractive car, nor is it a bargain.  It starts at about $23K and fully loaded including every accessory and gadget I could add to the "Toyota Configurator" tops out at $35K.  Still, I think it's fair to say this car is The King of Hybrids.  Unless, of course, you're the new CEO at GM in which case you call this car a Geekmobile.  I'm sorry, what?

In a speech last Friday, Dan Akerson, the new CEO at GM slammed the Toyota Prius with the following statement.  "We commonly refer to the geek-mobile as the Prius. And I wouldn't be caught dead in a Prius."  This led to him extolling the wonders of the Chevy Volt which is their new electric car and, he claims, "actually looks good".  So, I checked out this amazing new automobile and not only is it's starting price $40K but I've got to say it's looks are entirely forgettable.  My biggest complaint, however is not that he said nasty things about the Prius, but that his way of making it seem like it was the lesser of the two cars was by using the word "Geek".

Although "Geek" once carried with it an air of social stigma it has long since been reclaimed by the very people it was once used to shame.  Being a Geek simply means you have a passionate interest in a particular subject and why be ashamed of you passions?  The guy who can fix your PC for the bargain price of a pizza and some beer, Computer Geek.  Your friend who has an encyclopedic knowledge of every CD released in the last 10 years, Music Geek.  That kid who can totally pwn his Dad at Halo, both of them are Gamer Geeks.  There is nothing wrong with being called a Geek.  I suspect there are more than a few Car Geeks out there who can rattle off torque, horsepower and top speeds for every supercar ever made that might take particular offense at this recent misuse of the term. The only shame this time, however, should rest squarely on Dan Akerson's shoulders.

8 comments:

  1. Comments like Akerson's will eventually make us militant. Soon we will be storming the streets flaunting our Geekness, insisting that society accept our alternative lifestyle. Wait, we already do that. #LetMyGeekFlagFly #idressforopeningnightsofmovies

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  2. I always thought that the Prius was a geek car because you can hack it. It being ugly has nothing to do with it.

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  3. @Sue London You're crazy...who would do that? #MayHaveDoneThat

    @Ryan Hackability would make it Geeky, but his thing was that it was ugly, which is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

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  4. It could cure cancer and bring world peace but he would still say nasty things about the Prius because he works for a rival firm and that's the free market way of doing things. He disses your car even if it is scientifically proven to be better than his because to do anything else negates his job, his company and his reason for pulling down a squillion dollars a year.

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  5. I agree that businesses say negative things about their competitors all the time. It's not that he slammed his competitor, fair or not, but that he chose the word "Geek" as the ultimate insult which saddens me. There are companies like Best Buy who use it positively, as with their Geek Squad which is wonderful. I'd like to see more companies embrace that idea.

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  6. At first I thought, "Yes, totally a geek car." Then I thought,"I'm a geek and I wouldn't be caught dead in one." So, no, not a geek gar. Just an over-priced, ugly, make-me-feel-like-I'm-actually-helping-the-environment-car.

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  7. They are packed full of technology but technology make the geek does not.

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  8. Toyota is a world leader in automotive technology, GM is a world leader in manufacturing junk! they shipped jobs to china to escape paying Americans and to escape OSHA laws both safety and polution! this guy is a moron to say the least! He dosn't deserve his job and GM dosn't deserve to stand. I wont buy a prius but I own an 85 celica supra,74 celica GT, and will buy the FT-86. PROUD TOYOTA GEEK!

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