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Exhaust Note #37: Happy Thanksgiving

What are We Thankful for This Year?
From my chair in Detroit, things are bleak whether GM, Ford, or Chrysler get any loan money or not. I’ve returned from last week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, where grilling of the Detroit Three leaders by Congress was more discussed than the product on the ground in front of us, or so it seemed. Lots of opinions have been shared, some informed and some not. There are several elements of the debate that seem to be overlooked (sales decline a minimum of 2.5 MILLION units this year is not affecting only the Detroit makers, next year is going to be worse, business decisions that look unwise in the rearview have been severely compounded by a credit freeze and housing market crash, elements not in control of any automaker.), but that’s all I’m going to say about that today.


Instead, I want to think about good things that have happened this year. So, follow the jump to see what myself and my colleagues are grateful for having the opportunity to experience this year!

More Travels and Cool Cars
I’ve spent another year doing a job I love. I love cars, I love driving for fun, and I find this incredibly complex, dynamic, and amazing industry to be endlessly fascinating to watch, dissect, and discuss.
I’m glad for my colleagues and friends in this business. I’m lucky enough to have some good friends here, and you know who you are.
I’m thankful my road travels this year came with some terrific highlights, and without incident.


Best Drives: A few days in the Audi R8; out of Death Valley at triple-digit speeds, Columbia River Gorge area

Track Time: Infineon Speedway (Audi A4), Waterford Hills Raceway (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), Willow Springs (Challenger SRT-8), parade laps of Laguna Seca (Audi Q7).
Live Races: Final ALMS race of the season at Laguna Seca, IRL’s Detroit Grand Prix, and Detroit ALMS. Detroit Grand Prix weekend is always a blast for me, all the more special being able to bring my mom and husband each to a race.
No list is complete without saying I’m thankful for my husband, as he negotiates between supporting my workaholic ways and making me see when I need a break, even if I don’t. As corny as it is, his grounding force helps me fly further.
And from My Colleagues
Our President and Founder, George Peterson, gave me a practical but fun list. He’s thankful:
…that the industry has not dropped further than it has.
…that gas prices have come down from the stratosphere to where driving is more affordable even though this will mean achieving energy independence will be pushed further into the future because oil industry profits will be down from their stratospheric levels.
…that Hugo Chavez is feeling the pinch.
…for the dealers that are trying and succeeding to sell cars in a disastrous economy.
…that Barak Obama inherits this mess.
…that my bank is still in business.
…that I live where it is warm and the Indians are peaceful and their casinos are making them wealthy.

…that the football season is over for University of Michigan. Couldn’t take any more pain.
Our perpetually optimistic and forward-looking Ed Kim says he’s glad

… I discovered that in a poor economy, buying Certified Pre-Owned (MINI Cooper, to be exact) is a smart personal finance decision, as well as a way to get a cooler car for less cash. (Maybe Ed’s MINI is part of what keeps his spirits up, which in turn helps the rest of us!)
…there are tremendous new-car deals to be had, still.
…I’m not one of the Detroit Three leaders at the moment. They’re all likely to be crucified and demonized no matter how the loan issue shakes out.
Ed and George are both in sunny California. Another Californian and contributor Jim Hossack found these to be thankful for:
… to be in California rather than Michigan right now …and I’m thankful we didn’t burn up in the fires this year.
… the DJIA (specifically my 401K) hasn’t gone lower. Thankful I have one at all!
… for lower gasoline prices – even if it isn’t in the best interests of the nation long term. Might help us get out of the housing/financial crisis earlier.
… the elections are finally over – even though the “wrong” team won. In many respects they deserve to have lost.
… that the U.S. isn’t the only nation in financial trouble – might be tough here, but even worse in many other countries.
… for all those years of 16+ million units per year. Payback time?
… that we haven’t had any significant terrorist event here in the USA since 9/11.
… that the Middle East hasn’t exploded into World War.
Another of our Detroit-area staffers, Deb Grieb, found some things to appreciate as well. Deb says she is thankful…
…that my children will grow up knowing to stay away from the automotive business
…that my new kitchen paint color made me decide we didn’t need all-new appliances
…that my tank only costs $40 to fill now instead of $100
…for $1 bins at Target
And for Next Year
We hope we all weather this storm as completely as possible. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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