Temas Especiales

11 de Aug de 2020


Yes there is an honest car dealer

John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America said on February 12, 2009: "Let's face it: Our reputation as an industry is horrible. In the ...

John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America said on February 12, 2009: "Let's face it: Our reputation as an industry is horrible. In the U.S., we are viewed for the most part as a slow, dimwitted industry that is typically unresponsive to consumer and environmental needs.

“If that weren't bad enough, our executives are criticized for lavish compensation, abundant perks and unnecessary entitlements. We consistently damage our own brand reputations by resorting to costly discounts, rebates and desperate sales tactics to keep our plants running and to cover our fixed costs? It's time to say goodbye to the days of overindulgence in auto shows, media launches, gift-giving, employee and dealer rewards, and executive compensation."

OK, I’ll admit it. I like Hyundai. They are straight-talkers who have been to retail hell and back. Yes, I know they have built some real stinkers like their unreliable and biodegradable Pony, Stellar, and Excel, small cars sold decades ago. Yet, the company has turned itself around during the past four years by pirating Toyota’s top quality control people and filching the Japanese automaker’s secret quality control documents. Call it American ingenuity processed through a crafty South Korean mind.

Hyundai has used its talent for imitation to out-Japanese the Japanese and build some of the most durable cars and SUVs you can find — and sell them for $3,000 to $10,000 less than the Japanese and American competition. That’s why I drive a Hyundai Tucson SUV, instead of a more expensive Toyota RAV4 or Nissan X-Trail. And I’m not alone in giving preference to Hyundai. Panama car buyers are staying loyal to Hyundai models, despite an expected dip in new car sales in Panama of 10 percent for 2009.

Hyundai’s self-criticism is refreshing. The company’s CEO is essentially saying the auto industry needs to be restructured and given a ‘hand up’, rather than a ‘handout’. Contrast that attitude with the wimpy pleas of Chrysler and GM for more time and more government money to turn themselves around. Not even Ford is buying that line. Ford believes it can get through these hard times by restructuring on it own, without government money. Keep that in mind, when reading today’s ‘viability’ report.

Cheap thrills (fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming along the Chagres River). Last Saturday, I was one of three geriatric mountain goats accompanying Global Vision’s (Junior Team Canada) dozen or so young members up the Chagres River on a day trip in a dugout canoe ( piragua ). Out of respect for Panama’s calumia e injuria laws, I won’t name the other two goats. Suffice it to say they are fellow scribes working for this paper (one wears an old Panama hat).

Apart from a slow, dusty, and bumpy hour-long ride, this tour is worth every penny of the $99 charged for the eight-hour trip (www.gamboatours.com). The Embera natives dress (bare-breasted and loincloths) and act as they normally would, the light lunch of fresh fish (tilapia?) and patacones is tasty and filling, and the artisanal artifacts are authentic and reasonably-priced.

The mountain goat part of this tale relates to the 20-minute hike to a gorgeous waterfall along a narrow and winding river bed trail strewn with loose, slippery rocks. The waterfall empties into a clean deep pool that’s ideal for swimming and ass-grabbing.

But, if you want to get the most out of this tour, bring along a light spinning rod with 20 lb. test leader and 10 lb. test line. In a pinch, forget the rod and reel and troll a small feather tied to a leader, swivel and line attached to a spare spool. The waters are teeming with Tilapia, snook, and peacock bass ( sargento ), and I’m told a tarpon or two. Truth be told, after slow-trolling for an hour ($20), I only got two solid hits, although fish were jumping all around me. As Arnold would say, “I’ll be back”.