And not by intent.

First I got waylayed by politics, came back to Minnesota to fight the re-election of our democratic party “machine”. Put that in parenthesis because they’re amateurs by Chicago standards, but I was tiring of their financial success while losing elections. Lost that battle saturday, so was hoping for more time to get back to gearheadin’.

In the meantime GM, noting that France may be about to leave the EU along with Britain while the US is about to leave everybody, up and sold their Euro operations AKA Opel & Vauxhall to PSA, FKA Peugeot & Citroen. And here I was trying to get away from politics! I’m sure the decision wasn’t exactly political though, more so an admission that GM can’t compete for the favor of the world’s most critical drivers in Europe. And while GM claims it’s North American product line won’t be much affected, a lot of GM’s best cars and especially some of the Buicks and Cadillacs have Opel roots.

Then while waiting for that news to distill, GM’s telecom vendor AT&T drops the price of UNLIMITED data via OnStar to $20 a month! I’ve shopped the recent unlimited wireless price war and found AT&T wanting, best they’re offering me with union discount is $85 a month but no “tethering” with the cell phone as a “hotspot”. I ended up switching to T-Mobile and will be saving around a hundred bucks a month with my heavy usage, but the thought of living in a new 50+ MPG Cruze diesel with all you can eat data for $20 a month on top of it sounds irresistible.  And as a concerned Ford stockholder, $20 a month mobile communications could steal a lot of our sales…

But there had to be a dark side to this deal… GM would love to know where there cars are and whether you’re overloading or overspeeding or overdoing something or other with them, but that can’t be worth that deep data discount. Then I shopped AT&T’s site, wondering if any similar deal was available for Fords, etc.. Turns out that AT&T has a cell modem that fits other brands too, but no $20 a month deals. But the “hotspot” plugs not into the “cigarette lighter” plug, but the OBD plug! These hotspots are just dumbed down cellphones and about the only connection they need is 5 volts DC at a few milliamps for power. So why risk wrecking that expensive and legally mandated OBD plug that was never designed to have things hanging from it for long? Sure, maybe a few fleets want that data to track vehicles and drivers, but most mobile hotspot sales ain’t to fleets. But somebody must be willing to forego a lot of revenue for all that data and control… Hacking of GM and FCA vehicles via wireless has already been demonstrated.

Then the new Secretary of Transportation answered my question, or at least provided more queries. Unlike most of Trump’s picks, Elaine Chao was actually confirmed without much drama because she’s an old school republican and a straight shooter. And shoot off she did, ‘fessin’ up that Trump and the GOP’s infrastructure plan was pretty much privatization, which means toll roads. And how do you collect tolls with no toll booths on 99% of our highways? A little dumbed down cell phone with government mandated GPS that lives at the end of your OBD plug! It’s startin’ to make sense…

On a brighter note, after GM ‘fessed up that they can’t compete in Europe, Ford announced that the Mustang is outselling the Porsche 911 in Germany, and they have no plans to leave the world market!

 

 

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