GM’s Trash-Talking CEO Bashes Toyota, Sort Of

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Chevy Volt: Good looking but still "geeky"

Maybe the auto industry should be a little more like the NFL or the UFC. While fierce hits by reckless linebackers and knockout punches by heavyweight champs might be a little extreme, I don’t see anything wrong with a little trash talking by confident car-company CEOs.

Egging on the competition more would probably be good for the entire industry. It would get fans fired up and stoke the fires of (mostly) friendly competition. Plus, seeing stodgy guys in suits insult the competition would be immensely entertaining.

General Motors’ CEO Daniel Akerson has thrown the first virtual punch at a popular Toyota product, and Toyota quickly responded. Do we have a good ‘ol war of words on our hands?

During a speech in Washington, D.C., where Akerson was lobbying for the government to loosen restrictions on executive pay, he shifted focus to the Toyota Prius and said,

We commonly refer to the geek-mobile as the Prius. And I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius.

He went on to say GM’s rival Chevrolet Volt electric car “actually looks good.”

How about them fightin’ words!?

While I can think of a lot of other words to describe the Prius, “geek-mobile” isn’t a bad trash-talkin’ effort by Old Man Akerson.

Toyota, not willing to sit aside and let the insults go unreturned, said through spokesman Wade Hoyt,

He’s new over there; he probably doesn’t remember the EV1. Toyota has sold more than 2 million Prius hybrids worldwide, and counting. Those buyers can’t all be geeks.

I love that he basically confirmed Akerson’s claim by admitting at least some Prius owners are geeks. Not that there’s anything wrong with geeks, though, especially if you’re Toyota and over 2 million of them have purchased your product.

In all truth, though, the Volt isn’t any less geeky. But I love that Akerson is willing to stand up for it and let the world know what he thinks.

Is the Prius a geek-mobile, or is Akerson just trying to sell some cars?


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