It used to be the most wonderful time of the year
Edward Lapham is executive editor of Automotive News.
This is the time for a "Quantitative Easing" in the auto industry.
No, not for more money. That shouldn't be necessary because lenders already are buying just about every deal. And the Federal Reserve Board's QE3 plan is supposed to shovel even more money into the economy, boosting home sales, car and truck sales, etc., etc.
What the industry really needs is a serious infusion of new-product excitement.
Yeah, sure there's always an undercurrent of happy talk as sales executives try to out-exaggerate each other with projections of whopping sales gains and massive market share growth.
But this is the holiday season. It's just a couple of weeks until Oct. 1, considered by many to be New Model Year's Day -- the ancient, traditional and regulatory start of a new model year.
This was always the time of year for new-product hype and lots of it. Glossy sales brochures were everywhere. Searchlights seemed to tickle the nighttime sky from every dealership in America, summoning the faithful to behold the latest sheet metal.
But, alas, for decades automakers have brought new cars and trucks to market when they're ready rather than waiting for a major blowout unveiling on New Model's Year Day.
How sensible. How responsible. How dull.
Around-the-calendar introductions also have diminished the appeal of model year-end closeout incentives that manufacturers used to help dealerships move outdated metal: Out with the old, in with the new.
It's not that there aren't a lot of great new products coming to market; there are. The list of vehicles eligible for the 2013 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards has ballooned to include 32 cars and 15 truck/utility vehicles.
Think how special it would have been if all 47 of those vehicles could be launched on Oct. 1.
It won't happen
But some traditions are worth remembering, and Oct. 1 should be a national holiday.
If Jerry Seinfeld can celebrate Festivus, why can't the rest of us have New Model Year's Day.
You can reach Edward Lapham at email@example.com.