Toyota Hears Us Knocking – Craig Scott Responds To His “Barefaced Lie”

DEC 5 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 71

What Toyota Claims Doesn't Jive With Reality

What Toyota Claims Doesn’t Jive With Reality

Petitioning Toyota To Build Electric Cars

Petitioning Toyota To Build Electric Cars

When Craig Scott, Toyota’s national manager of advanced technologies, made this comment “no one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car” he knew there would be backlash.

Electric car advocate Chelsea Sexton was one of the first to spread Toyota’s bogus comment across social media.  InsideEVs contributor Mark Larsen is credited with calling Toyota’s comment a “barefaced lie.”

And Uri Bassilian started the petition to Toyota to build electric cars.

Craig Scott’s “no one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car” comment convinced Jeff Cobb of HybridCars.com to seek him out at the recent 2014 LA Auto Show.

Scott was willing to discuss the comment, as well as the reactions that stemmed from the single comment.

Basically, Scott says his comment shouldn’t have been taken literally:

“That’s hyperbole, right? And unfortunately hyperbole gets me into some trouble sometimes.”

By “no one” Scott actually meant that there are simply not enough people asking Toyota to build a new electric car:

“There does not appear to be a large amount of mass market intenders.”

Mass market in Toyota’s eyes is Prius level.

Scott continues:

“We’ve been very successful at selling the RAV EV, and I think that shows that people are very interested.”

“Obviously that’s crazy, that would be a foolish statement – not ‘one’ person – because we sell battery electric vehicles today.  That would be silly to say. That is not true.”

So, Scott’s word was either misunderstood, misinterpreted, or taken out of context.  Perhaps he should more carefully word his statements in the future and a flat-out apology would be swell too.

Source: Hybrid Cars

Categories: Toyota

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71 Comments on "Toyota Hears Us Knocking – Craig Scott Responds To His “Barefaced Lie”"

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Anton Wahlman

I continue to be amazed that people took the words “no one” literally.

It obviously meant: “Not nearly enough” people for us to make a car on their request.

They had a very hard time selling 2,600 RAV4 EV units even a huge loss, in California of all places. I mean, as a businessman, what kind of conclusion can one be expected to draw from that one?

…naturally, the perfect “businessman” conclusion is to devote all his company’s energies into making 3000 fuel-cell vehicles over 3 years…

#ToyotaFAIL

ps: you comments contains yet another barefaced lie on the RAV4EV. Toyota didn’t have a ‘hard time’ selling those RAV4EVs at all. In fact, many ppl from other states were willing to pay shipping from California just to get one, b/c Toyota couldn’t care to offer it anywhere else. With even minimal marketing they could easily have sold 4-figures per month across the US, this being the only non-Tesla EV over 100 miles, and the only plug-in SUV in the US.

Spec9

Oh, they did have a bit of a hard time selling the RAV4 EV. But for good reasons.
1) It is just a compliance car and everyone knows it. People are often not keen on buying a car that might be quite hard to get parts for and service in the future.
2) They were asking $50K for it. That is a bit pricey for a RAV4 EV with no fast-charging ability. It is nice in that it has a >100 mile range but that doesn’t seem to be enough to warrant a $20K price premium over the crop of 80-mile rant EVs available for around $30K (Fiat 500e, Spark EV, LEAF, etc.)

I think they have sold a fair number though at a price heavily discounted off the $50K MSRP.

benji888578

3) No Level 3 charging available at all. This is a really low selling point considering how long it takes to charge at level 2, and 2 days at level 1?

4) If they wanted to sell them, they would have committed to make much more than the less than 3000 they committed to making, and sell them in more states, not just CA.

Anything this guy says is just to try and calm us down, keep from having too much bad PR, nothing more.

If Toyota really WANTED to sell BEVs they would! They have the tech, look at their racing cars, besides the fact they’ve been making hybrids for a long time. Thing is, they are holding out as long as they can so they can keep making money off non-plug-in hybrids.

Miggy

And yet the Outlander PHEV sells well, 50,000 units to date.

Scott Franco

“what kind of conclusion can one be expected to draw from that one”

That they suck at sales? Especially when other companies are making a go of it?

Not the answer you were looking for i’ll bet…

krona2k

How come they struggle when Tesla don’t? The problem is obviously with them. They do NOT want to sell plug-in vehicles, that much is plainly clear by the FUD they spread.

Yes I *know* they have the PiP – but I almost think that’s them trying to set an example that says: “See how bad plug-in vehicles are? We only get 15 miles in our PiP and we are *Toyota* if that’s the best we can do it’s pointless”.

Toyota are a very arrogant company and I can tell you their processes and systems for designing cars are pretty antiquated.

Bill Howland

“Good Business” huh?

Hybrid Kingdom had an article today stating that the new H2 cars are going to be sold initially at a $62,000- $124,000 loss per vehicle.

Not that I have anything against COAL, which most of the ‘industry posters’ here do since they want H2 derived from either oil or natural gas.

But to me, taking Coal (or other fuels), steam reforming in to H2, then trucking it to filling stations (with extra energy expended to refrigerate it to get it in the tanker), then using it to make electricity to run an electric car, is much less efficient, than using Coal to run a power plant, to charge batteries to run an electric car.

Everything is cheaper the old way. Of course, you can convince everyone it is a GREEN FUEL by stating how many ‘zero emission’ credits you get and, in effect, be highly subsidized.

In other words, getting the general public to pay for your new vehicles, much more of a subsidy than electric cars ever got.

autobuddy

Oh boy, is really easy to explain why the industry is pushing for hydrogen vehicles, is just necessary to pertain attention to the Chevron or Shell logos in these hydrogen stations in every new announcement for fuel cell vehicles…

OppChg

Anton, you are off base; Toyota carefully controls its dealer supply and marketing of RAV4 EVs (as well as Prius a Plug Ins) to acheive the poor sales performance that aligns with their pro-hybrid and now pro-fuel cell mission. They could have easily been the plug in car sales leader; instead they weild their market power as obstructionists and propagandists.

autobuddy

If they can’t sell enough EVs, why would it be better with hydrogen ones as fueling stations for those are in much less number than charge stations? Let’s figure what these managers think – if they think….

QCO

A little public backpedaling by an individual to help wipe off the egg.

Regardless, Toyota’s intentions are clear by their actions. The RAV4 was a cynical ploy for CARB credits and their entire engineering focus is on an non-plug-in FCV. They have no intention of building or promoting BEVs.

Jouni Valkonen

That is untrue. Toyota is not using significant resources for Mirai Fuel cell vehicle. It is just there as marketing gadget. In real life Toyota is probably spending more on battery research than fuel cell tech research.

The key point is that Toyota wants to continue business as useal and keep selling their Lexuses. The Lexus brand brings about 50 % of all revenue that Toyota is generating.

This may be problematic because ICE Lexus is a direct competitor for Tesla S/3/X. Therefore Tesla is hitting especially hard on Lexus.

Scott Franco

Why do so many people care what Toyota does? They had one good EV, the RAV 4, which turned out to use somebody else’s technology, Tesla. They are a zero player in the market.

Spec9

Because they are the world’s first or second biggest car-makers. If they were to actually make a sincere effort to build a good electric car, most people don’t doubt that they could build a great EV that is reasonably priced.

The real problem is that their hybrids are now profitable and they are the kings of hybrids. So they are reluctant to ‘eat their own children’ by introducing a great (but not profitable) EV which would likely eat into their profitable hybrid sales.

Shop John

I work at a repair shop and worked at a Toyota dealer in 1998, the year Toyota made the choice to take everything out of a vehicle the customer couldn’t see, feel, or touch. This included many quality items. They wanted to be the top seller of vehicles worldwide and if they had to drop the quality to do it, they were ok with that. Still working on vehicles of all makes and models I believe Toyota will have to go through bankruptcy of some sort by 2025. Their quality is terrible compared with the competition and they are only in business because of their past reputation, which will change in the future.

Bill Howland

SHOP JOHN very very interesting!!

Please Elaborate….

The Rav4EV was not a stellar example of reliability so I don’t think its poor sales can be used as an indication of much.

People seem to really like the Mitsu PHEV

OppChg

When the plastic tailgate assembly broke off my ’08 Prius, I was shocked at what was underneath the surface, meaning almost nothing of structural substance. Cheap brittle plastic supports, plastic clips and grommets, very little metal, no bolts, screws, no even welds. Basically cheap, non-automotive grade junk not meant to take you much past the 3 yr/36k warranty. Versus my Volt’s tailgate assembly which is built like a tank in comparisons. Indeed your story makes a lot of sense, as Toyota continues to dupe the public into believing they are still “the value brand”.

autobuddy

No worries, let Nissan takes the crown from them 🙂

Mike I

Toyota created a self-fulfilling prophecy for themselves. There was little demand for the RAV4 EV because everyone who researched it knew it was a compliance play and Toyota’s heart wasn’t in it, so many avoided it. On top of that, Toyota was openly hostile to anyone outside California that actually wanted one. If they would have allowed any dealer nationwide to become “EV Certified”, there would have been enough demand that they would have been able to sell them much closer to MSRP. As it is, there was nearly $10,000 on the hood on top of the Federal tax credit for much of the time the RAV4 EV has been on sale. Now there are less than 50 new ones left on dealer lots in Northern California and they have over $18,000 of Lease Cap Reduction available as incentive from Toyota. In any case, we all know that they had to get CARB credits for all the cars they built, so they couldn’t let them go out of state too easily. Now, people out of state that really want one are buying them used. There’s nothing Toyota can do about that.

wraithnot

We test drove a RAV4-EV a few months ago and thought it was a really nice vehicle with plenty of cargo space and lots of power. We came very close to getting one, but the fact that Toyota would likely never improve the software or smartphone app was a negative. As was the trash talking by a salesman for a dealership that no longer carried the RAV4-EV.

In contrast, BMW actually seemed to care about their i3. So we sacrificed a little cargo space and paid a little more for BMW’s offering.

Alonso Perez

You made the right call. Toyota simply isn’t serious about EV’s. BMW is.

Toyota isn’t even serious about fuel cells. The giveaway are the planned production numbers for the Mirai. The company will make fewer Mirais in 2015 than Tesla builds cars every week. Under current plans of both automakers, this will be true in 2016 and 2017 as well (even without the Model 3).

And Toyota is the company that is 200 times larger by unit sales. The Mirai is just a marketing ploy to make Toyota look relevant in “new energy” vehicles.

It has been publicized way out of proportion to its significance. Toyota’s PR machine has made sure people know about the Mirai even in markets where it will never be available.

Regulus Black

I used to be a huge Toyota fan and still own a Prius. I think one reason Toyota hasn’t mass marketed an EV is that Nissan has done such a good job with the Leaf. It would be hard for Toyota to compete at the Leaf price point.

Anon

It is shocking to me, how easily Nissan took this market segment from Toyota, who hasn’t appeared to bother with BEVs. Instead, they’ve been chasing the mythical hydrogen unicorn, for the crazy CARB Credits.

I really respect Nissan for how many Leafs they’ve sold, and their wise choice to avoid hydrogen. I truely hope the redesigned, longer range Leaf 2.0 eats into Toyota’s ICE sales.

#ToyotaSucks

liberty

#ToyotaFail, when you are caught in a lie, it may be better to apologize than to keep digging the hole deeper. Toyota is selling more bevs than they project for fcv. How can fcv be put forth as ready when the better selling rav4 ev is being killed and not replaced. Sorry, your words were taken in context of the push for fuel cell subsidies, and toyota has been found dishonest again.

IDK

It’s all about the money with Toyota.

jzj

In my opinion, the Toyota RAV4 EV is the best EV available. Full size, all amenities, fast, minimum 125 mile range (I get 140 miles at 65mph cruise control), net cost of around $35,000. The only issue with it is that Toyota made very little effort to sell it.

Get Real

Its only good because it uses Tesla drivetrain. The fact that they left off DCFC is also telling.

Aaron

Shall we mention all the computer issues the RAV4 EV has, partially because it has a Toyota and a Tesla computer, and they don’t talk together well.

Many on the MyRAV4EV board have complete system failures at <6000 miles. Toyota blames Tesla, Tesla blames Toyota.

Spec9

$35K? Is at after the tax-credit?

It is a nice vehicle but it has had some bugs and there is no DC-fast charging.

Toyota reminds me of Kodak, thinking digital camera’s weren’t the future and sticking with what worked in the past….

Unplugged

NO. Toyota reminds me of Polaroid. They had a good concept but never improved on it and eventually failed as a result.

Polaroid is a good one….

Craig Scott, “There does not appear to be a large amount of mass market intenders.”

IEVS, “Mass market in Toyota’s eyes is Prius level.”

——–
Data:

Toyota Prius US Sales YTD = 113,977
Plug-in US Sales YTD = 106,834

+2!

But hey, don’t confuse Mr. Toyota Man with facts!

Robert Winfield

At IEEE conference on EV’s in dc before gm went bankrupt a few years back. GM vice president said they would not consider a vehicle if they could not make 1 million units.

Scramjett

Boom!

He very well could “think” that Plug-Ins are not at “Prius level” but that just shows his own ignorance.

Besides, there was no market for hybrids when Toyota brought us the Prius. Yet they brought it anyway.

I think, as several astute observers noted, Toyota just recently started making money on hybrids and they want to milk that for all its worth. They’re not willing to cannibalize their own hybrid market to make EVs but are perfectly willing to bleed customers to avoid it.

I think the problem for them is that it’s the early adopters that they are loosing customers from. Not a problem for them now, but it will be later. Why? Because it’s the early adopters that get asked for advice when more mainstream folks are looking to get something cleaner. And do you think early adopters like us are going to steer them to Toyota and their FCV? Some might, but not me!

MR L

The Honda Insight hybrid existed before the Prius and created the market segment.

Brian

Funny how an old school company like Toyota gets reamed by social media while a new tech-savvy company like Tesla uses it so well for essentially free advertisement.

Yet another sign this may be the beginning of the end for Toyota, if they don’t start adjusting to the times.

Foo

Oh. What a feeling.

Scramjett

LMAO! +10!

bro1999

Mr. Scott must have graduated from the same business school that the at-the-time Blockbuster CEO graduated from that said, “Renting DVDs through the mail? Netflix? What a waste of money that acquisition would be!!”

Foo

Most businesses have a really hard time entering into a new market that would cannibalize their current market in some way.

Unfortunately, many business leaders fail to realize that such moves are actually THE WAY their company can grow and survive over the long-term.

vdiv

It seems to me that so far fuel cell vehicles have not run on hydrogen, but rather on good old, organic, and renewable stinky horse manure. Lots of it is being slung around, it is hardly clean, but it is very much intended, planned, and targeted.

What really pisses me off is not that, but rather the use of the online media outlets, including this one, to amplify the effect of it.

liberty

Vidiv,

You mean the 3 BIllion of federal dollars for the dozens of fuel cell vehicles on the road. Yep I don’t think you could hype them much more. Now what california has 9zev credits, $5000 tax credit + is working to get the feds to renew the $8000 tax credit/vehicle + $220M in hydogen subsidies + $100M/year of federal r&D money. Let’s see if we get 10,000 fcv amd credits are worth $2000 then we have $53,000 in subsidies per imported fuel cell vehicle. Toyota sales people have been crying that a volt gets $5,000 more than a prius phv. When a company is this greedy at feeding on corporate welfare, it needs to be pointed out. That goes for GE and BP too.

Kevin

What a BS story. Not that I’m surprised. The only real lie I can recall in the past couple of weeks is Elon Musk claiming he was working out stuff with BMW. Then he gets put in his place by BMW who wants nothing to do with him or Tesla and suddenly they were “informal talks”. How about a little objectivity in your writing for once?

Bryan Whitton

Really? Musk never said that. He said that they had had some informal talks and that is all. The media took that statement and ran with it.
I have never seen anything from Musk or Tesla that said they were going onto a partnership or buying/selling stock or anything else other than low level informal talks about technology sharing.
I really wish that words and intent wouldn’t be put in the mouths of speakers, no matter who they are.

BraveLilToaster

“Mass market in Toyota’s eyes is Prius level.”

What was that Toyota? I couldn’t hear you over how much better the Nissan Leaf has been selling in its first four years than the Prius did in the same timeframe.

I think what Toyota really means is “Uh, we missed that boat”.

http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/full-year-sales-of-the-toyota-prius-chevrolet-volt-and-nissan-leaf-after-going-on-sale_100489696_l.jpg

And don’t forget the Prius had no competition. There are 20+ battery plug-in cars available today. A better chart is one that compares the Prius sales (and all hybrid sales) to plug-ins sales from their introductions.

Surya

So they won’t build one because it will sell less than the Prius. So instead they build a FC car that will cost twice what a BEV costs. Where are the masses asking Toyota to do so?

Toyota puts their trust into their version of a auto manufacturer’s profit model. There is a huge dependence on service and parts revenue. EV’s do not support that model well. FCV do, so they make more sense to Toyota. But, make no mistake, Toyota is in this to make money. As demand and acceptance of EV’s continue to grow Toyota will join in.
I predict that within 3 years Toyota will be selling and promoting an EV and telling us that they have supported EVs all along.
(EV) Resistance is futile…

Spec9

Yep. They are just dragging their feet because EVs are not profitable right now and there is some weird hydrogen obsession at Toyota. But they’ll come around eventually. The question will be whether they’ll be able to catch up to everyone else who has been learning from their current EV sales.

Thanh Lim
The thing is that there is not enough incentive for them to do so. They have, by far, the world’s share of electric hybrids in the Prius. Everyone else is an also ran. By creating a compelling EV, they would most likely cannibalize their current Prius market share. So they’re effectively putting money into a market just to take away from something that is their bread and butter. No chance they’ll do that with the current market. They’ve decided to pass on the EV due to chemistry and betting on FCVs, where not a lot of people have done, so that their cars will be _the_ novelty. They can’t be that in the EV world due to folks like Tesla and Nissan. They were THE car to get back in the early 2000s and they want to be that with FCVs. And worst comes to worst, they can wait it out and wait for everyone else to take the hit on producing cars with expensive batteries (prices will drop, and energy density will go up). SO for them, it’s an economic bet for the time being. If FCVs don’t go anywhere, by that time, battery tech will be much farther… Read more »
Spec9

Yeah, this is what I’ve been saying for years. The Prius only somewhat recently became profitable. So they still want to sell zillions of them and recoup all the investment they put into that line of cars before embarking on the unprofitable design & development of EVs.

But soon they will have no choice. They’ll either lose market share or fall behind in EVs.

danpatgal
I’ve been wondering why this is such a big deal, if Toyota has this strategy (and Honda too), they will live or die by that. That’s their choice. Most of us on a pro-EV site obviously think die (or DIE!!). Big deal. But, there’s a bit of history. What is probably irksome for EV proponents is that at one time (with the 1st Gen Rav 4 … and Prius after that) it appeared that Toyota would lead the charge to a BEV future. With good technology, market share, and overall quality they seemed poised to leap into the future and press BEVs into the future with less effort than any other automaker. The EV community, impatient with promises and seeing “good enough” technology already, wondered when will the epiphany come? When is the tipping point? Why such foot dragging? Of course, gasoline is the king of stored energy and automakers have vested interests in profiting from fixed assets developed around that. Toyota is no different; they’re a business, not an environmental cause. If not forced by CARB and Tesla (not sure which factor is more influential), we would probably have no BEV in the US now. In fact, Tesla (and… Read more »
sven

Every Toyota story generates a lot of page views for InsideEVs.com as its readers invariably gather their torches and pitchforks to attack the monster. 😉

ModernMarvelFan

Yes, Toyota doesn’t believe in EVs.

Yes, it believes in Prius and thinks next generation Prius should sell easily 2 million copies…

Once Toyota’s hybrid lines feel the sales pain of $60/barrel oil, they may decide EREVs and BEVs are more appealing.

benji888578

I have to say again, not offering Level 3 charging with the Rav4 EV is a really low selling point, and, I’m sure it was on-purpose, to keep it from being all it could be. Plus not offering it outside of CA and only making less than 3000 in it’s several year commitment…not a real attempt to sell BEVs.

By the way, for those of you who may not have seen it, there is (or was) a yt video showing the pre-production model, and in it, you find these prototypes/pre-production models had a Tesla charge port on them! …They could have kept with this charge port and made some kind of deal with Tesla to offer Supercharging with the vehicle. This could have sold many more of this EV.

I’m telling you, Toyota is not committed to BEVs, maybe only hydrogen because of Japanese government incentives. They want to continue to make money off conventional hybrids.

I think they could sell many a plug-in hybrid 4runner, if they gave it 20-30 mile range on battery alone.

The charge port on the early RAV4 EV prototypes was for the Tesla Roadster.

There are still some RAV4 EV’s at the Tesla factory using the Roadster plug.

This is NOT the Supercharger capable plug.

sven

Craig Scott has a point: not enough people are asking Toyota to build a new electric car. Uri Bassilian’s petition to Toyota to build electric cars, highlighted in the story above, received only 937 signatures. Not exactly a groundswell of support. That paltry number confirms that practically no one is coming to Toyota’s door asking them to build a new electric car.

JakeY

A lot of EV fans (at least from what I can tell over at Tesla Motors Club) purposefully refused to sign the petition in order to have Toyota continue their anti-EV path and then suffer the consequences. That doesn’t mean there is no demand for EVs or even that they previously didn’t want a Toyota EV, just that they have been put off by Toyota’s comments so far and the last company they would buy an EV from is Toyota. Plus I think a lot of people knew that the petition would be meaningless in getting Toyota to change anything (as proven by Scott’s response).

Wraithnot

I tried to drum up support for that petition on teslamotorsclub.com and this is one of the responses I got:

“I already signed a petition to tell all car makers to build EVs, though it looked a lot like a Tesla Purchase agreement.”

It was pretty hard to argue with that.

sven

Touché!

quartzav

I had an RAV4 EV. After over one and half years of daily living with their seemingly purposeful sabotages, it goes much deeper than simple glitches and lack of level 3… I won’t sign a petition that may help them in anyway.

JakeY
EV fans’ response to the comment has to be taken in context: “Today, Toyota actually favors fuel cells over other zero-emission vehicles, like pure battery electric vehicles. We would like to be still selling cars when there’s no more gas. And no one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car.” Basically what Scott’s statement boils down to is that the demand of FCVs is more than for BEVs. The reality is that the demand for BEVs is many times that of FCVs. Almost no one really wants to buy an FCV (and Toyota’s miserable results with their recent raffle shows that). Sure, in surveys they might they would be “interested” in one, but when it comes to spending actual money (even for subsidized leases) there’s practically no one. This is far from the case for BEVs. And as for the argument about Prius volume, it’s absolutely unrealistic to expect any new technology car to match that volume within the first couple of years. Even a new conventional gasoline car model can’t necessarily do that. However, the Leaf’s sales volume is growing at a rate that’s faster than the Prius did. And that’s with a… Read more »
Philip

If Toyota would have put 1/10 the energy into the RAV4 EV they did for the Pruis, they would have sold at full price and would have sold out in 2012. Toyota wanted the RAV4 EV to fail so they could say “nobody wants BEVs”. Toyota is the next GM, they have peaked and are on their way down.

milchgesicht

NO ONE is asking for hydrogen cars – and here is Toyota building hydrogen cars…

Bill Howland

The only way all the big companies, and unfortunately, this also includes Nissan, if the Charlie Rose interview with Ghosn is to be believed, risk hanging themselves on this (in my view) Hydrogen Nonsense.

IF they lobby gov’ts to get much superior preferential treatment, and free gov’t subsidized hydrogen, then they CAN FORCE it to work, since the general taxpayer will foot the bill, and its an order of magnitude more subsidy than electric cars ever got.

But then – the question is – Why? Other than to line Politician’s Pockets.

Oil Industry : be careful for what you wish for. Your LOW CRUDE PRICE, calculated to make the Russian Oil Industry go bankrupt, and hurt Vlad Puttin’s popularity, is instead bankrupting your PRECIOUS FRACKING industry which has ruinned so many fresh water wells in this country. Thankfully this will STOP this hideous practice.

Putin is preparing Russia for $40/ Barrel Crude. So all your Great Dreams (I can’t use the other term since this is a family show) are exploding in your face.

I’ll take solace in that this Horrible Fracking, which is ruining so many peoples’ lives, will finally be OVER.

Robert Winfield

42% of profit of cars with ice engines is maintenance and repairs. H2 cars also complex. Will keep full employment at repair shops. Save our jobs, kill EV’S (I really want a real eV like a tesla)

jeff

I would suspect him speaking like that given a strong dose of ignorance. That said, he should likely look for another career. To be so completely out of touch with the change in technology and future of transportation, is at best an embarassment.
He can join Jim Lutz, who made similar remarks a decade ago.