Polaris Slingshot, Tesla cryptocurrency and an electric Jeep concept | Autoblog Podcast #664

In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski. They kick things off by talking about the 2020 Polaris Slingshot, which Jeremy got a chance to sample before the weather turned cold. Then, they pivot to news, starting with the fact that Peugeot's previously rumored return to American is very likely dead, but Stellantis plans to keep FCA's North American brands alive, at least for now. That's followed by Jeep's announcement that it will bring an all-electric model to its annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. They get into the idea of cryptocurrency transactions in car shopping, followed by some grim news at Harley-Davidson, which is attempting a new pivot.

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to The Autoblog Podcast. I'm Greg Migliore. Joining me today on the phones is Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski with the big glass of tea. That looks quite appetizing you've got. How are you doing, man?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I'm doing pretty good. Got to drink some hot stuff when it's, like, less than 20 degrees outside.

GREG MIGLIORE: Indeed, indeed. I'm on about my probably 10th cup of coffee. You can just feel that chill in your bones, you know? It's like you're always cold, even when it's like in the 30s. You know, the heater is going. You might even get hot. I'm just cold, like it literally was eight degrees this morning when I was going out to one of the press cars that we'll get to in a future podcast, the Mustang Mach-E. But I was like, it is so cold.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It is, and you can have your house at 70 degrees inside. And just like moving from room to room when it's 10 degrees outside, there's nothing you can do about it. You're just going to be cold.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very true, so what we're going to talk about this week is a vehicle you would not want to drive this time of year. This is a Slingshot. Which one did you have real quick?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I had the-- so it was the upgraded version that has the additional power. There's a standard version. There's the S version or R version-- I'm sorry. --that has a little bit more power from the engine. Polaris actually also offers two different transmissions, a manual transmission and a new automatic transmission, which is really more like an automated manual than what we think of as a traditional automatic with a torque converter.

Instead, it uses clutches to switch to gears. You just don't have to clutch yourself, so that's the one that I had. And fortunately, I actually had that at the tail end of fall. So I was only dealing with heavy rains and a little bit of cold. Not the bitingly cold winter conditions we have in the Midwest now, but you know, it's a fun little car. Have you ever-- you've never ridden in one or driven one, right, Greg?

GREG MIGLIORE: I have not. At this part of the podcast, I've going to, basically, just stop and listen to your impressions of Polaris Slingshot. It's always been on my list of things to operate if you will. I'm not sure if you say drive or ride to something with three wheels, but I'm excited to hear about that.

A couple other things real quick before we dive into the Slingshot. We are going to talk about an electric Wrangler coming to Moab. The fate of the Chrysler brand. Are they going to keep it, or are they going to close? It sounds like they're going to keep it, but we're going to talk about what potentially the Chrysler brand will mean for Stellantis going forward.

Tesla's getting into cryptocurrency, and Harley Davidson shipments are dropping dramatically. We're going to try and touch on all that during this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, but back to the Slingshot. We'll Slingshot back to this Polaris subject. I'm sorry that was so bad, but--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Oh, that was the best segue ever, Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, you know what? I do kind of enjoy that. OK, I'll try not to laugh at my own joke.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I'm going to crossbow into the Slingshot segment now.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very nice, even better.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, so it's an interesting vehicle. And your confusion about whether to say ride or drive, actually, it's perfect. Like, what is the right term when you've got this vehicle that is an odd mixture of motorcycle and car? I struggled with that myself, and to be honest, after spending a couple of weeks with it, it's really more car than motorcycle in operation. Looks wise, I would say, the opposite.

It looks more like a motorcycle, especially with that big, wide, single wheel in the back, no weather protection to speak of, nothing like heat or anything like that. So in that way, it's a lot like a motorcycle. In operation, it's more like a car. There's a steering wheel, not handlebars.

There's a gas pedal, a brake pedal. If you get the manual, there is a foot operated clutch, whereas, of course, on a motorcycle, you shift with one foot. You break the rear with the other foot, clutch on the left, brake on the right, break for your hands on the handlebars. So it is a really strange beast.

The good news is none of that really has to come into your mind in operation, just like driving the thing and using it. The strangest sensation when you're actually out on the road with it is just kind of how it reacts to bumps, and dips in the road, and grooves, that kind of thing. Because it hits every bump that's in the center of the road, and it hits every bump that's on the edges of a road. Whereas with a car, a lot of times, you'll see a big divot, or bump, or something in the middle of the road that you just drive over and don't even think about.

So with the Slingshot, it's a little bit of a mind game. You just have to remember the fact that there's two wide contact patches up front, one in the rear that runs right down the center of the road. That felt really strange for, like, the first day or two that I was driving the thing.

After that, it really became a non-issue. Your brain just learns to adapt. So as far as the actual vehicle goes, it's surprisingly sporty. With the upgraded model that I had, the more powerful four cylinder engine, it gets up and goes. It feels very much like a little, itty bitty, tiny sports car.

Everything about it is very direct. The steering is extremely quick, straight from the road to your fingertips speed back. It's a lot of fun to drive. Burnouts come unexpectedly sometimes. Because you got 200 something in horsepower and only, like, a one 12 inch wide contact patch in the back, especially when the tire is cold when you first get in it or if there's a hint of moisture on the road. You spin the tire right up.

Fortunately, there's traction control that works pretty well. In fact, it works so well, I had to fight to turn it off to attempt to have a little bit of smoky fun with it in the parking lot. But yeah, it's a weird thing. I didn't really know-- when I wrote the story, I was kind of racking my brain to come up with it. Because the vehicle makes zero sense.

There's no really good, solid reason for this to exist past a very few minimal use cases, like, let's say, you're a motorcyclist who, let's say, you've got an injury that prevents you from riding a regular two wheeled. You can't balance it. You've got low leg power, or feelings in your legs, or something.

And that's a legitimate use case. Probably not enough for an entire vehicle to exist, or let's say, you love the wind in your hair feeling. And you want to go out and ride with your buddies, but you've never learned to ride a motorcycle. Or because of family pressures, either from parents or significant others, they don't want you riding a two wheeled motorcycle.

Because let's face it. The statistics don't lie. They are more dangerous than a four wheeled car. And maybe the three wheel vehicle gives you the thrill you're looking for, the ability to go out and ride with the pack, but has a little bit more acceptability from your family members, or friends, or what have you.

Again, that just doesn't seem like a big enough segment or a large enough number of buyers to make this thing a reality. So as a reviewer, how do you deal with something like that? Yeah, this thing doesn't really make any sense, and I started thinking about it. And I realized that, I mean, the same argument can be made against a lot of vehicles out there.

You can have just as much fun in a Miata as you can on the road in a Corvette, but that doesn't make the Corvette useless. The average person would probably be better off with a Ridgeline than they would an F-350 dually. And yet, people buy F-350 dually's all the time. Because it's what they want, even if they're not towing trailers, or going mudding, or what have you.

So who are we to tell people what they shouldn't spend their disposable income on? So when you just get over the fact that it doesn't make a great deal of sense, it's easier to just remember that vehicles can be about fun and nothing else. And that's fine, you know? The practicality doesn't really have to become a thing.

The number of times a year that you'll use it don't really have-- I mean, that doesn't have to factor into the buying discussion if you're literally buying it just because it's fun. And people spend $30,000 on lots of crazy stuff. All kinds of questionable uses for $30,000, and I don't think the Slingshot's the craziest way to blow $30,000 on a new vehicle. Because over the two weeks that I had it, it was nothing if not fun.

When people found out that I had it, I got text messages. I got calls. The neighbors came over and knocked on the door. Hey, what is that thing? Hey, can we go for a ride? I'd like to-- can I sit in it? Can I get a picture? And that's enough. Like, if you've got the disposable income, and you want to add an interesting, fun, kind of offbeat, crazy vehicle to your fleet, you could do worse than a Slingshot.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think what you just said right there really sums up a lot of the Slingshot, and also, like what we do, which is you could buy a car, if for no other reason, that it's fun. You know, who knows how long we're all going to be on this earth? Like the vehicle purchase experience could be just because you want it, and that can be enough.

And if this is what you want, I mean, that's like the perfect line right there. I'm curious, so it's $30,000. And that is just, like, such the sweet spot, where it's like there's so many things you could get for that, new and used. You know, you've got to really want this. But if you want it, it's probably the right way to spend $30,000 for you, I guess.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, and, I mean, not to harp on this point too much, but I really did struggle with it. Like, who is the buyer for this, and why would you buy it? It occurred to me that people buy $30,000, even $40,000, superbikes, MV Agusta, Ducati, and there's many others. But those are two name brands that people know.

You can spend $30,000, even $40,000, on a carbon fiber dripped superbike, and your neighbors $10,000 two-year-old Kawasaki Ninja ZX10R is just as fast and probably just as much fun on the road. And the same thing applies to off-road vehicles. People buy side by sides, and they spend $20,000, $25,000 on them.

Some people buy crazy expensive tractors. I mean, whatever it is that you're into, boats. This is just another fun product. It's a transportation device. It does have some sort of practicality, but no one's buying it for that. People are buying it, because it's crazy.

And it's like strange, offbeat, and getting back to the one word that makes the most sense is it's just fun. And more power to you, like I'm happy that Polaris makes this thing that maybe 5,000 people or less per year are going to buy. Because why the heck not?

GREG MIGLIORE: I sort of put this in the same bucket as like Morgan three wheeler, which is very retro. I mean, if you look at that, it looks like a World War I plane with wheels. I mean, it really to me looks like that when you look at just what that is. I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Polaris Slingshot actually looks safer than a Morgan three wheeler.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Oh, totally.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, so there's that. But this falls in the same bucket as, like, the Ariel Atom, which I realize has four wheels. But it's that same kind of, like, very visceral, very raw experience. It's a toy is what it is.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It is a toy.

GREG MIGLIORE: And if you're like, hey, do I want to get a Miata? Will you get a Miata, and know that you could drive it to go get pizza, you know, like without thinking? This, you probably are like, well, how am I feeling today? Do I want to take this thing 15 minutes down the road, you know?

It's sort of like-- I don't know. I would almost compare it to maybe working out. Like if you don't feel right that day, maybe you don't work out, you know? I don't know. You want to be on your toes when you drive something like this. I don't know if this would be the thing for me. I'm not going to knock it, until I've tried it.

So it's like part of me, every now and then, I'll try something like this, and I'm like, that's the greatest thing ever. So I think it's easy to be a cop out and just be like, yeah, it's not what I would spend my money on. I'd rather get an old 3 Series or any number of things that are on my list of things to do. And for $30,000, you could get a lot of different things--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Totally.

GREG MIGLIORE: --both new and used. But it's very intriguing, very cool.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, and then to piggyback on what you just said, I am not going to go out and buy a Polaris Slingshot, you know? I'm sitting here, defending the fact that you should be able to, if you want to, and I think it's great that Polaris made it. I probably am the target customer for this. I ride motorcycles.

I'm a car guy. I love sports cars. I love motorcycles, like this would seem to fall right into my wheelhouse. I absolutely would not buy one. And that's not because I don't like it, and I don't think it's fun. I would rather have a Miata and a super bike for the same price, and that's a legitimate possibility if you buy each one, say, two years old, still current generation.

You could have a really fun two car garage. So yeah, don't get me wrong. It's crazy, and it's not for everybody. But it's still really cool. And I just don't think it's fair to knock something, because it doesn't make sense to you, like personally, individually. Because it makes sense to other people.

Being a motorcyclist, I'm also not going to buy a $40,000 Ducati superbike. I'm not going to buy a $30,000, $40,000 chromed out Harley Davidson CDO either, but those things exist. Because there's a market for it, and the same is true of the Slingshot.

You know, if nothing else, when I see one drive by on the road, which isn't going to happen often, I will give that person the salute that, I think, they deserve. More power to you. I bet you're having fun.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's definitely an aggressive, athletic, vehicle, three wheeler thing, if you will, that you really want to seek out that experience if this is your thing.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Right.

GREG MIGLIORE: So yeah, pretty cool. Any other thoughts on the Slingshot?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I mean, not really. I will say that, if you did buy a 2020 model, you definitely want to get into your nearest Polaris dealership and get it upgraded. They sent me a note shortly after I got the 2020 to let me know that there was a software update for the transmission.

One of my complaints about the vehicle was that the transmission is a little bit dim witted at times. All those dual clutch transmissions are only as good as the computer programming that they're running, and at times, the Slingshot was not great. When you're really driving it fast is when it's at its best when you put it in a Slingshot mode.

The default mode, which I guess you could call comfort or normal, whatever, it's a little bit slow. It gets tripped up a little bit in off throttle situations, like after a pass or something like that. It's not real quick to respond, and it's not real quick to fall back to, like, the normal running mode.

There is a software update for 2021 that is supposed to resolve those issues. I'm hoping to take a spin in the revised 2021 model this spring, so I'll know for sure if they've nailed the software or not. The good news is there's nothing wrong with the hardware. All of it is strong.

Polaris has their own two liter, four cylinder engine that they're running. They're using the old GM Ecotec that they used to, so they've got complete control over the entire powertrain. There's nothing wrong with the hardware at all. A few software glitches that, hopefully, have been resolved with the 2021, and again, hopefully, I'll find out soon enough for sure.

GREG MIGLIORE: Were there any-- what would you say the most normal experience driving the Slingshot would be? And by that, I mean, to me, this is the kind of vehicle you walk out to your garage or your barn, and you take it on maybe, like, a mile or two to go out of town. And then you're on like the open road, and it's a great time, which is to me where you would drive, like, your vintage car or your third car, where you're not really driving.

You're commuting. You're, like, having fun, like thinking about it. What is the most normal experience, like would you take this thing to go get a pizza? Or is this purely like an athletic workout, and then you put it back in the barn and don't drive it for a week?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I think you nailed it actually. Let's say that you had an old, vintage, British sports car. Where would you take it? You'd take it on pleasure drives. You'd find excuses to take it out, because it's a sunny day.

Hey, what are we going to do today? Well, it looks really nice out. Let's take-- you know, fill in the blank. --out for a spin. That's the use case for a Slingshot, I think.

I did take it to get to take out dinner. You know, if you're not too far away, and your dinner's not going to get cold, and it's not rainy, it's fine. It'll totally work. I picked up a few groceries with it too.

I also drove it 110 miles each direction on the freeway. I took it from Columbus, Ohio to Toledo, Ohio to see my parents, and it will totally work. It cruises at 75 miles an hour. I find it's got cruise control, and it's very much like taking a sporty motorcycle on the highway.

Neither one is what it's made for, and neither one is a particularly enjoyable experience. But, I mean, at least with the Slingshot, you're buckled into a nice, comfortable seat. You've got your legs out in front of you, and you're not getting cramped up, like you would on a sport bike. It's a little bit better than that.

But the wind buffeting, you know, slap on your helmet's the same. Having a helmet is probably a good idea, even though not all states require it. I always wore a helmet when I was driving it, just because you never know when a random chunk of rubber is going to fly up from a semi truck on the road or something.

The buffeting can get a little bit rough if you are a little bit taller than average. I'm about 6 foot 2. My helmet was up into the airflow over the little minimal windscreen that it came with, but again, no worse than your typical motorcycle.

I would say that, if you've got a couple of thousand miles of motorcycle experience under your belt, nothing about the Slingshot's going to be particularly irritating. If you've never ridden a two wheeler, then you're going to think it's, basically, like, what did I do wrong to deserve this punishment? Because it's not like you've got a roof over your head, and you can roll the windows up and down.

You're very much out in the open. You're exposed to not just the elements, but to oncoming traffic. So yeah, the act of driving is a lot like driving a car. The overall experience of where it puts you is more akin to riding a motorcycle.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting, OK, and I'll say this. You're a brave person to operate this in November. Granted, this November was pretty warm, if I recall, at least for a good chunk of it. But still, you know, not the ideal time perhaps to test this out, but it's doable.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, let me tell you. The drain plugs that are in the floor came in handy. We'll not plug's. There's drain, like, grooves made in the floor of the Slingshot, because I got rained on hard core when I was riding the thing. And I've got waterproof gear, because I ride motorcycles. So that wasn't a problem, but the whole floor, both sides, driver and passenger side, get just, like, drenched.

There was one point, where there was a really heavy downpour. And before you tell me, well, why were you driving in the rain? Well, this is our job to test these things. Like, if it's feasible that an owner might get stuck in the rain, then I'm not just going to park it in my garage and say, well, I'm not going to test it. It's raining out. I have to see what it's like to drive the thing.

There was a time when it was raining so hard that I remember hitting the brakes, and there was, like, a rush of water that sloshed from the back of the floor to the front of the floor. And I wasn't wearing-- I was wearing a waterproof jacket, and glove, and my helmet, and all that. But I wasn't wearing waterproof shoes, and my feet just got absolutely drenched.

And there's no heat in the thing, but again, that's the kind of thing that you would experience on a motorcycle too. Like, if you commuted or your daily, everyday transportation was a two wheeler, that's the kind of thing that is just part of the ownership experience. I mean, it's true of certain vehicles, like Wranglers, too. As an ex Wrangler owner, there were several times that I got caught in terrible weather driving a Wrangler with the top off.

Like, well, that's your choice. You chose to buy a Wrangler. You chose to take the top off. Same thing with a motorcycle. Same thing with the Slingshot. Yeah, it's not a blast in those kinds of conditions.

So getting back to what your initial question was, like, what is the use case? Like, what would you-- like I said, the same thing that you would do, like, a classic, vintage, sports car. If you think that you'd love an MGB, or an old Triumph, or something like that, and you could come up with enough excuses in your head to say, yeah, I'll buy that, well, it's the same with a Slingshot. It's not weatherproof. It's not a ton of fun in everyday driving, but it's the kind of person who makes excuses to take the car out on a nice day is going to like to drive the Slingshot.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well said. Well said. You actually took me back there to a couple of times I've been memorably caught in storms in convertibles. One time, it was like December, and I was driving totally across metro Detroit in a 370Z with the top down.

I was like, you know what? I'll wear a hat. I'll wear gloves, my winter coat. It was still pretty cold, and it started to snow.

Another time when we were actually doing-- this was Tech of the Year back in 2014, I think. I was driving a TT convertible, a Cabrero, and I had the top down. It started pouring in, like, late October. It was about low 40s, which is about raining in the 40s in Michigan in October. That's about as miserable as it gets.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: That's terrible.

GREG MIGLIORE: Anyways, so that's the Slingshot. Jeremy drove this last fall. I'm glad we had a chance to talk about it on the podcast. Check out the review. If you just Google it, you'll see it.

It comes up right away. Check it out. Of course, it's on the site, so that's the Slingshot. And we are going to talk some news here. Lots of stuff going on here.

Let's just jump right away into the Wrangler, the electric Wrangler that we're seeing coming to Moab. We think is coming to Moab. This was teased. It's on one of Chrysler's websites.

You wrote the story. Why don't you take us through what this is? This is not the 4xe. This is something else, perhaps, previewing what else may be coming, if I've got that right.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: No, yeah, you're absolutely right. So the 4xe is-- for those who aren't aware, that's the plug-in hybrid Wrangler. It's got a degree of electrification, but it's still got the full four cylinder gasoline engine that a lot of other Wranglers have.

It's really cool. I'm not saying anything negative about that, but a lot of people believe very strongly that electrification is the future. And the sooner we get into the future, the better, and why are you hauling around a gasoline engine when electricity is really the efficiency answer? Well, Jeep needs to get on board with that, just like every other automaker.

The question is, how do you take an iconic vehicle with the rabid fan base and off road necessity of a Jeep Wrangler and bring it into the modern requirements of electrification? The 4xe is an excellent step and one that I'm super excited to try out. But eventually, everything's going to be electric, and I don't know how long that's going to be.

But I think it's better to be on the cutting edge of the curve than to be drug, kicking and screaming, on the other side of it. What's especially interesting about this electric Wrangler concept is how traditional it is in Jeep terms, so this is speculation. But it's speculation that's based on what Jeep is showing us right now.

Greg mentioned the little website they've got about the road ahead, where they tease this vehicle and promise to bring it to Moab. Well, the little video that accompanies that little teaser shows a silhouette that's clearly Wrangler, and then it cuts away and shows you a Chassis. It's a Chassis that's got-- it's, obviously, electrified. It's got the orange wiring that we've come to associate with electric cars, running up and down the frame rails into the engine bay, and it's got a big square-- you know, I don't know. --metal, aluminum looking contraption, where you'd expect to find a traditional gasoline engine.

So I'm going to take a leap here and assume that they're showing us that, because that's what's really going to underpin this electric Wrangler concept. What's especially interesting about that is the easy way. Not that anything is easy when we're talking vehicle engineering and development. But the easy way of making an electric vehicle is to get rid of all their traditional gearing systems that we've come to require from a gasoline engine that always has to be, at least, idling and runs it, like a very specific RPM range out of necessity.

That's not required out of electric motors. So traditionally, electric vehicles ditch all those things, like transmissions, transfer cases, differentials even in a lot of cases. And they hook electric motors directly up to either the axles, or half shafts, or in some cases, directly to the wheels, or through hub motors.

If what Jeep is showing us here is really what they've built, it's completely different from that. It's a very traditional Jeep Wrangler, off-road style architecture. If you look at the image that they gave us, there's a perimeter frame, letter style frame, just like a Wrangler with traditional, heavy duty, straight axles, front and rear. And the real kicker to me is what looks like a transmission and a traditional transfer case with drive shafts going up to the front and rear axles.

That wouldn't technically be necessary on a four wheel drive off-road vehicle. They could have an axel unit up front with an electric motor built into it, an axle motor out back, same thing. If what they're showing us is really what they're doing, they ditch that idea entirely going with a traditional transfer case and drive shafts, front and rear. That's going to be really interesting to see, and I wonder what it's going to do to the efficiency of the vehicle.

Because every gear set that you run power through siphons off power from either your engine, or in this case, electric motor. You are definitely impacting the overall efficiency of the platform by doing it this way. However, you are building in know how and long standing, off-road tradition by keeping those things. So it's just going to be extremely interesting to understand how this all works, how it all plays out, and especially how Jeep fanboys respond to this, like, complete change over from gasoline to electricity, but not complete change over what makes a Wrangler, a Wrangler.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, it's interesting, and I will keep teasing this. Because we're going to do a green themed podcast next week. I've been in the Mach-E this week. Is the Mach-E a Mustang? Well, let's talk about that.

We can fill three podcasts just talking about that alone. What's interesting-- but the formula unmistakably has changed for the Mach-E as to the definition of a Mustang. The recipe for this Wrangler that we're kind of trying to solve this mystery, it literally sounds like an electrified Wrangler in the traditional sense, which when you talk about electric cars, a lot of times, you're talking about either changing or compromising, and in some cases, improving.

This is just like a straight, apples to apples change over. It's an electrified Wrangler. It's everything you'd want in a Wrangler, but now, it just runs electricity. So I find that very, very intriguing.

I really want to know more. I hope we're, like, sort of reading these tea leaves correctly. If anybody would know all this stuff, it's definitely you there, Jeremy, with the Jeep expertise. You know what this reminds me of? And I think you wrote this in your story, but it immediately sparked my memory, if you will.

Back in '09, when, like, Bob Nardelli was running then Chrysler, and they were going bankrupt, and General Motors rolled out the Volt, and Toyota had the Prius, and the Leaf was coming out, and they needed to sort of show the government, hey, we have these electric vehicles. You should probably save us, that sort of thing, and these vehicles appeared out of straight, thin air. We had never heard anything about them before or since if you actually think about it.

You know, skeptically, we were all like, this is vaporware. Like, I remember Chrysler's defense at the time was, well, we've been working on this all the time. We just didn't feel the need to tell anybody, which, sure, that's believable.

But, I mean, I think through the lens of history, the fact that we never heard about any of these things since shows you that these were, like, you know, whatever. They rolled out vehicles, said they were electric, and there was no practical implications there.

Obviously, in this day and age, you wouldn't even bother to do that. You've got to be serious, because everybody's going electric in some form or another. But that was my immediate just kind of flashback, because that was just a straight up Wrangler that was electrified. And there were a few other vehicles, too, that we never heard about again.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, they were going to do a minivan, but the one that, I think, captured the most attention way back when was the Wrangler. And I swear to you. If I had to guess-- I've never seen under the skin of that late 2000s electric Wrangler you're talking about. But if I had to guess, I bet you that they took a Wrangler, pulled the engine, put a forklift motor in it and some batteries, painted it green, and said, look, an electric Wrangler.

Like this is totally something that we're doing when in reality, it was totally not something that they were doing. And you hit the nail right on the head. This is when they were concerned about their very existence and future as a company. They didn't want to-- this was before Fiat came in. And it became Fiat Chrysler.

This was when they were, like, struggling and still trying to figure out their path to future existence and viability of the company. Like when you're talking about that kind of do or die scenario, yeah, if your alternative is death, strip apart the forklift that's sitting in your warehouse and make an electric Wrangler, if that's what it takes to draw the attention to your company and make it an ongoing concern. This is going to be, obviously, very different from that, but, I mean, sort of though.

That's the funny thing about it. If this is true-- and let's not discount the fact that what they're showing on their website isn't actually what they do. They could throw us a curveball, show us this vehicle, tease it, and then what they actually trot out to Moab is not that at all. I tend to doubt it.

I expect that what they're showing here is legitimately the layout, but they could throw us a curveball and be tricking us here. But what's really interesting about this is, if this is what they're doing and keeping the transmission, keeping the transfer case, keeping the solid axels, front and rear, driveshafts, perimeter frame, the goods, it's kind of like the same thing that an enthusiast might do in their garage, you know? This is, basically, if you had to electrify a Wrangler, that's how you'd do it.

You'd pull the gasoline engine out. You'd mill up a new bell housing to go from the output shaft of your electric motor to the input shaft of your transmission or transfer case, however, you're doing the build. And you'd figure out where to put batteries, and from the diagram, that's kind of what they've done here. And I'm not suggesting that their engineering isn't top notch.

I mean, my dad was an engineer at Jeep. I'm not going to say bad things about their engineering team. I don't mean to suggest they haven't figured this out, but they've taken the most straightforward-- if this is what they've done, then they've taken the most straightforward path to building an electric Jeep Wrangler that you could possibly take. The alternative, the much more complicated alternative, would be to completely start from scratch, and it doesn't look like that's what they've done.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think that sums it up pretty nicely. Let's do some quick trivia. Do you remember the other two EV's from 2008, September 2008?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: One of them was a minivan for sure, right?

GREG MIGLIORE: You are right. It was a Chrysler Town & Country. I think they just called it, like, a Chrysler EV. The other was a Dodge EV.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Was it a sports car?

GREG MIGLIORE: It was a Lotus Europa.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Lotus Europa.

GREG MIGLIORE: Everybody looked at that, and they were like, wait a minute. That's a Lotus? And they were like, oh, yeah, yeah, we're just going to have Lotus build this car, and then we're going to electrify it. Some people actually drove it. I actually was just doing some research. Motor Trend drove it. It looks like Autoweek drove it, which when you think about it, all they did was drop an EV conversion kit into a Lotus. I mean, that really actually is what Tesla did at the same time--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Totally.

GREG MIGLIORE: --when you think about it too. That is what Tesla did, so that is from the dusty bin of history. Speaking of history, is the Chrysler brand history? More on that after this commercial. Sorry, that's a terrible lead in, but--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: You are killing it in the segues, today, Greg. I have to say.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, sometimes, it's tough to do segues on a podcast. So if you're not at least being tongue in cheek, what are you being? Anyways, a lot of rumors and speculation going around with the Chrysler brand. We've actually talked about it on the podcast.

We had a story up earlier in the week, talking about how dealers are telling the new Stellantis, like leader council, no, you can't get rid of it. We got to have Chrysler. You can't get rid of it, and that's about where we left off on that story. Since then, Carlos Tavares, who is the new CEO of Stellantis, that is a fun, weird car company name to say. It just rolls off the tongue a lot different than GM, or Ford, or Toyota, or Honda, or anybody. Stellantis, yeah.

My point being is that it sounds like Carlos Tavares is in favor of keeping Chrysler and reinvigorating it along with Dodge. I believe he called Chrysler one of the pillar brands along with Fiat and Peugeot, which when you look at the historical, like the three pillars of what is now Stellantis, that's the brands. Those are the namesake brands for companies that, frankly, don't exactly have those big identities anymore.

I mean, I guess, as we look forward, what would a reborn Chrysler mean for Stellantis? And, I mean, what do you think it would mean just in the industry? What spot does it hold?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It's such an interesting conundrum. What is the Chrysler brand, even as it sits today? They've got-- what? --two vehicles, right? The 300 and the-- well, I mean, Pacifica Voyager. I mean, but let's not split hairs. That's two nameplates for all intents and purposes or at least two platforms.

They lost their way with the Chrysler brand a long time ago in the same way that General Motors got into trouble for having-- what was it that was their old kind of, like, adage of vehicle for every buyer or something else like that, where there was a stepladder arrangement, where it started at the very bottom? Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac. Each one was like an incremental step from entry level to opulence. That doesn't work anymore. It used to be a thing.

It's no longer a thing, and it can't be. Like nowadays, buyers are so well informed and always looking for the best deal. And you can't make a crappy entry level car anymore, because no one's going to buy it. Like your entry level has still got to be fully competitive with the best that everyone else is putting out right now. Chrysler is in this weird zone. Who are Chrysler's competitors? Buick?

GREG MIGLIORE: Do you want Buick to be your competitor right now? I mean, I'm not--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: No.

GREG MIGLIORE: You probably don't. That's not-- like you want your competitor to be somebody you measure yourself against. I mean, no offense to Buick, but they're not really doing anything that's blowing me away, you know? There's some nice vehicles, of course, but they're not on the cutting edge of anything. Let's put it that way.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Right. I mean, Buick's major push over the last two decades has been trying to lower the average age of their buyer, and that's not-- I mean, there's nothing wrong with that, or Buick, or even being the brand for old buyers if that's what you want to be. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but that's not what you want.

That's not what Chrysler wants to be. That's not what Stellantis wants Chrysler to be. So no matter what, they're going to have to figure out where the Chrysler brand fits in the overall American car buying segment. And once they do that, then they can start thinking about the products that will define what they want to be.

I tend to think that the way forward for Stellantis in the United States maybe is keeping Dodge the performance oriented brand, because really, there aren't any performance oriented brands in the United States left besides Dodge. Pontiac used to be GM's big performance push. That doesn't exist anymore. Ford never had a performance minded brand under the massive Mopar umbrella. It's always been Dodge, so let Dodge have that market.

Don't try to make vehicles under the Chrysler badge that are going to compete with what you're selling from Dodge, so stake out a claim for Chrysler. If you want to make it a pinnacle, aspirational brand, fine. That's OK. That makes sense. Go up against the Germans and the Japanese luxury brands.

If you want to make Chrysler the American Lexus, fine. If you want to make Chrysler the American BMW or Mercedes, again, fine, but stake that out. If you want to make it just the nicest Stellantis brand, also, fine. But if that's the case, it's got to be clearly differentiated from Dodge.

I don't think there's a way forward, where Stellantis is going to be selling a Chrysler 300 and a Dodge Charger built on the same platform and have enough differentiation to, like, have an actual market segment that they're competing for in buyers. So I think, I guess, that's a long way of saying, right now, the Chrysler brand is rudderless, just kind of floating around, unsure of what it even is. And I don't even think, if you were to ask Chrysler, right now, like the Stellantis management, like, what is Chrysler right now, that they would have a satisfying answer.

They'll come up with something, but it's not going to be a satisfying answer. So stake that out, first, and then you can build the products. I think Chrysler, if nothing else, could be an excellent way for Stellantis to get European design and developed platforms into the United States. I don't think that fits Dodge at all, if they're going to be the performance brand, so it could fit Chrysler if they can make it work.

GREG MIGLIORE: So of all of the-- I almost said FCA. Of all of the former FCA, like current, like overall Stellantis brands, I think Chrysler has the most work to do. But I think it also has the most room to grow, and perhaps, the most potential. Because I think the Chrysler brand itself, I don't believe, is tarnished.

I think people have forgotten about it, but I don't think people have necessarily bad thoughts or conceptions about it. Like you could argue Lincoln or Buick are sort of, like, cars for older people, and that's OK. You can make a lot of money selling cars to older people.

Is that a very cool car? Maybe not. Chrysler probably does start to go down that path, but I don't think it's, like, all the way down there. I think when people think of like, well, jeez, what does Chrysler make? Your average consumer probably doesn't even know. They might say minivans.

If you're a car person, you probably know the 300. You think to yourself, man, that was a good car, a good car 15 years ago, and that's literally where the thought exercise stops. So the way I would sketch out their lineup is I would look into every single-- I mean, first of all, you make the thing that we're keeping Chrysler. We're not going to close it.

It's a priority. We need it, and I've advocated for this. Because nobody knows what Stellantis is. People barely knew what FCA was in the United States. Chrysler is a household name. The Chrysler Building in New York.

In Michigan, Chrysler is, obviously, very iconic. But everybody, wherever coast you're on, wherever you are, everybody knows what Chrysler is. They don't know what those other two, like, corporate structures are. So if you say, you closed Chrysler, people are like, OK, Chrysler is out of business.

And the company that makes Chrysler's-- is it Jeep's and Dodge's? --is not out of business. It's something different, so I think you got to keep the name. What does that look like from a product planning perspective? I'm going to go different from you. I think the 300 has tremendous value, because I think for a premium brand, it's good to have a sedan.

Now, do you need to maybe make it your bread and butter? No, I think Cadillac probably from a business case tried too hard to force sedans for too long, and it wasn't the right way to go. Because it didn't, like, fortify them as a brand.

I think Genesis got their rollout wrong with sedans, which were awesome, then crossovers. When really, they needed crossovers to get the volume and get the brand out there. But Chrysler doesn't need to be a volume brand. They could just be Chrysler, and they already have one very good sedan that's got a lot of equity.

Just relaunch that. Make it as good as it can be, whether it's a performance car. I agree with you that having, like, a twin of the Charger maybe isn't the right play. It could be the right play, just because a great halo sedan that is differentiated could work. But maybe you just make the 300 all electric, or you make it something different and go there.

Then, I think, minivan, whatever. You've got to pay the rent. Keep it. Then, at that point, you need a third car. Find the nicest midsize crossover, and make it so desirable. Make it autonomous. I don't know.

But put another third product in there that's compelling, that's the best in segment, and stop there. That's what I think is where Chrysler gets, like, a luxury almost is it doesn't need to be truly like a mainstream brand anymore. Like no brand outside of Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Ford, like there's not that many mainstream brands anymore.

Find a niche, and win in it. And that's what I would do for them, you know? Whatever that third vehicle is, figure it out, and you're good to go. I mean, jeez, that's almost like a homily right there. But I would like a--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, I think you made a--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, go ahead.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I think you made a really good point in that the Chrysler brand is not damaged, and I think that's an extremely important fact not to overlook in this discussion. One of the reasons that automakers kill off brands is because they've ruined them. That could be said of Pontiac.

You know, they went chasing the performance minded consumer without legitimate performance credibility. And then they tried to rescue their credibility with good cars, like the G8, at the same time that they were selling hatchbacks, like the G5. Like the G6, it had nothing to do with performance.

The Oldsmobile, same thing. They lost their way. They didn't make vehicles that were targeted correctly at their buyer. Chrysler has not done that, and I think you really hit the nail on the head with that one. It's salvageable, and not just salvageable. I think it could even be desirable still, because no one thinks of Chrysler as, like, garbage for lack of a better word.

Like no one has taken it out to the dumpster yet and said-- like no one's saying-- no one's writing right now. Like the commentary in households are like, man, Chrysler has really lost its way. It just doesn't have much to offer right now, but it's fixable. They can continue keeping that brand.

And I don't think it's too many brands for them to have Dodge and Chrysler on the automobile side, RAM on the truck side, and Jeep on the SUV side. I think there's plenty of room for differentiation with just two American brands. And that's not to mention Alfa Romeo and Maserati, which are still kind of, again, rudderless for lack of a better term, and especially if they're talking about bringing in Peugeot, or Citroen, or something like that into the United States, which they've talked about wanting to bring Peugeot back.

Then you start getting into the we've got too many irons in the fire, but I think that's a really strong argument for keeping Chrysler around is that it's still got the name recognition. No one thinks of it as a damaged brand. It's fixable if they have a clear market segmentation and good product that fits. And I also agree with you on the 300, by the way.

I think we actually agree on that, that there's nothing wrong with the 300, and its positioning, and offering. I just don't think it should be a virtual clone on the same platform as the Charger, like maybe the 300 would be better off on a DS or Peugeot platform. But still, like a distinctly American take on an entry level premium, like the positioning is still good. The nameplate is still good. I just don't think the product right now is relevant.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think it depends, too, on what they want it to be. Is it going to still be a rear wheel drive luxury car that, yeah, maybe it's somewhat competitive with the Charger? But what it really is, is it's more like a BMW fighter sort of thing, rear wheel drive sedan, or like a Genesis competitor, you know? And how far do you want to look ahead?

Do you want to sort of skip to the ending, and like I said, make it all electric, and just forget about the rear wheel drive even ethos, and just let Dodge be that, until the dinosaurs return. And then that's Dodge's problem. I don't know.

One thing that, I think, could help Chrysler is that-- and this is where it's really tricky. Because I think, if they brought back, like, Citroen-- not brought back. Or if they brought Citroen or Peugeot over here, I guess they did sell Peugeot here for a little while. That's their problem. I don't really think anybody's going to cross shop a Citroen with a Chrysler 300.

I think somebody would buy a Citroen, or a DS, or something. Just because it's a cool, French, luxury good. That's why you would buy something like that, and you know, there might be room for that. It might be a niche market. It might not be.

I don't know. You know, the problem for Stellantis is that the checks are going to the same place. That's the problem. The problem for the brands is I don't think those two would be cross shopped, so that's kind of interesting.

I've long thought that they could bring one or two of those brands over and just make them really low volume. Because, like I said, it's the same argument as with Chrysler is you don't have to be something to everybody. You don't need to compete in every segment. You know, you have other brands on the corporate hierarchy that does do it, and so many consumers don't even know or care who owns their company, which I think is sort of like what Stellantis is betting on.

Yes, many do. Many people say, I'm buying a BMW, or a Ford, or a car from General Motors. I do. I certainly would. But I think when you're getting into a market that's so diluted, and stratified, and so-- I think we're going to see many mergers and acquisitions in the coming years. It's going to matter less.

So all this is to say, I think, Chrysler could be, like, a huge beneficiary of this. They were a beneficiary of the Daimler, the Daimler merger. They were like, here you go. Take this platform. It's an oldie class one.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Sort of.

GREG MIGLIORE: You get car of the year. But then, obviously, they withered and died.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Right. They got the good end of the stick in product platforms. They got the bad end of the stick in losing all the money that they had in the bank in the Daimler transition.

GREG MIGLIORE: Specifically, I was referring to the Chrysler brand, not the company. Yeah, you're right.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Gotcha.

GREG MIGLIORE: The Daimler essentially ran out of Auburn Hills with money bags with dollar signs on them. Yeah, that was not a merger of equals, obviously, in hindsight.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Right.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, one thing I'd say is to be really fair, though, Dieter Zetsche, I thought, was a great Chrysler CEO though. He did an excellent job running. And he really cared about Chrysler and about Michigan, like being around here at that time. He was really good at it, and then, obviously, global meltdown of the economy.

Things spun outside of his control, and obviously, like Daimler and Mercedes had to kind of pull back. They were like, look, we can't even have this American arm anymore. You know, Daimler's not even Daimler anymore, so that's like literally 25 years of American auto history. What were you going to say?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Oh, I was just going to say, like I don't-- I mean, we have to move on from this Chrysler topic eventually. But the other thing that we haven't really touched on and, I think, is a really important piece of this puzzle is that there's a dealer network that has to be situated. And they can't just shut it down without a huge outlay of money probably at least equal to what it would take them to invest in the product to try to turn the ship around.

It would cost them probably just as much to shut down Chrysler as it would to try to make a success out of it, at least with one initial wave of products. Like you have to be far thinking in this world, like you've got to have a 25 year plan, not a two and a half year plan. But yeah, let's not forget that there's dealerships out there. And also, reintroducing a brand, like Peugeot, or DS, or Citroen in the United States is also a huge outlay of money. Look at Alfa Romeo and Fiat in Fiat Chrysler's, which no longer exists, recent history to see how difficult it is to roll out a brand new brand when you've got to bring dealerships into the fold as well.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's a great point. Yeah, you're thinking practically here and logically. You know, you need the infrastructure. And one brand already has it in a pretty good network, or at least a very serviceable one. And then these other ones don't.

Where this would get mixed up-- and we can just end on this. --is I do not think you want to see Peugeot's, and Citroen's, and any other brands being sold out of the same stores as, say, Chrysler. Because that's when you really start to muddy the waters, and people get confused. You know, you've already got some of that confusion with, like, Maserati and Alfa.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Right.

GREG MIGLIORE: Which to me, Alfa, the products, ehh. But to me, they have the right image. Maserati, nobody knows what that is. Is that the poor man's Ferrari, like what is going on? I think I know some people are like, do they even make Maserati's anymore? You know, but let's run through a couple of quick other news items here.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yep. Yes, sir.

GREG MIGLIORE: Tesla is spending a lot of money on cryptocurrency. I mean, like, of course, Elon is like, hey, sweet. Let's take all this money we have laying around and put some of it in Bitcoin. It's worked out well for some people. Bitcoin is worth a lot of money right now.

As an automotive strategy, it's interesting. I read a story this week, where-- jeez. I forget where I read this. But the writer said something, like Tesla struggles with profitability. But they actually have a lot of money sort of sitting around. Jeez, I forget where I read that, but that's kind of a weird reality.

And we have cash on hand. Investing, it's not a terrible idea. I don't know. You know more about cryptocurrency than I do. You know, give us the thumbnail 30 second thought here, your opinion.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, I mean, I think one thing that we have to remember is there was a time when real, hard currency, like the American dollar, was based strongly on real, actual-- you could say, let's just make it simple and say gold. You know, it was based on something real, hard, legitimate that they could back up. That's not the case on the world stage with anyone's currency these days, and some level currency is-- it's like a-- I don't even know the best way to say it.

It's this concept of value and worth. The $100 bill in your back pocket in your wallet is worth something, because x person will give you blank for it. And in this case, it's got a denomination on it. It says $100. That's not the case with cryptocurrency.

They are digitally "mining," which is, again, kind of a weird term to use. Because they're drawing attention to the fact that you mine real things, like gold, and silver, and precious metals that have actual some sort of assigned value to them. So they've got these computers, and these people, and anyone with a computer can do it, "mine" for cryptocurrency. So Bitcoin is the one that everyone is talking about. It's the most well known. I don't know for sure that it's the most valuable right now, but of the main cryptocurrency's, it's the most valuable.

And Tesla, basically-- and this all came out in their SEC or Security and Exchange Commission filings. That's how we know about this, because they're legally required as a publicly, openly held company to make these SEC filings. So in their SEC filing, their most recent one, they revealed that they spent-- what was it, Greg? Was it a billion and a half dollars?

GREG MIGLIORE: $1.5 billion, I believe.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: $1.5 billion of their own real, hard earned cash, like money out of your wallet, in cryptocurrency. In this case, Bitcoin. It's dangerous to do. Because the whole idea of cryptocurrency is so new, and unknown, and not traditionally accepted by you, and me, Greg, and everyone listening. You can't just walk into a Walmart or grocery store and buy a bunch of food with Bitcoin, like you can with traditional US dollars.

And the fact that it's not mainstream, the fact that it is on the fringes of acceptability, these days, makes it volatile. That volatility currently is helping companies, like Tesla. Because it is ramping up extremely quickly in "value." So right now, you can take a single Bitcoin, and it's worth what? I don't have it in front of me. $32,000, $34,000, something like that, and that's what it's technically "worth" in cold, hard US dollars. And it's rising quickly.

And as long as it is rising in perceived value, companies, like Tesla, can make huge bets on it, $1.5 billion in this case. And even a 10% rise in the value of Bitcoin drastically outpaces what the value of cold, hard traditional currency, like the US dollar, is ever going to do in that time period. So they're taking a huge gamble, a huge bet, and saying, we think that this isn't going to slow down right now.

So we're going to buy all of this. We're going to hoard as much of it as we can. We're going to allow our customers to buy Tesla vehicles using Bitcoin, using this cryptocurrency, because we want to stash as much of it as we can. Because we think it's going to continue to go up in value. And by selling after we've taken in what you've paid us in it, by selling our stake in Bitcoin, we're betting that it's going to continue to rise, and we're going to make more money in Bitcoin than we could using cold, hard, traditional US dollars.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a very unconventional strategy. I think Chevy, or-- excuse me. --General Motors, or maybe Ford should invest in the silver certificates. They were legal tender. They still are. You could bring them in anywhere from, like, 1878, everything from Wikipedia, until the early 1960s when they went out of circulation. They're still out there valuable at face value if you will.

Back in the day, you could take it into a bank, and they would give you silver Bullion. So that's, I guess, my strategy for diversifying your investments. I would not do that actually. Although, I think I may have silver certificates somewhere. The kind of thing you get when you're a kid and the way it goes.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I'm going to invest in nothing, but $2 bills. Because I have a feeling that, if I just went out to random neighborhoods, and found a bunch of young teenagers, and showed them a $2 bill, and asked them if they'd give me $2.50 for it, they probably would. Because $2 bills are weird and rare, and people kind of sort of want to have them in their pocket.

That's kind of the same thing with, like, this perceived value of cryptocurrency, like it's worth what? Well, it's worth what someone will pay you for it, like there is some level of-- and I'm not an expert. Like all you cryptocurrency experts are listening to this and are saying, like, oh, gosh, that guy is an idiot. Realize that I'm talking about this as an automotive journalist, not a financial analyst.

But the weird thing about it is it's got this value that is extremely volatile, like let's not kid ourselves. The market for cryptocurrency could crash at any point, like the US dollar is-- or let's say, the $100 bill is so valuable. Because it's been on this kind of slightly upward trajectory in an overall value on the world stage for, basically, ever. It's got dips and increases, and depending on who's in office as president, and what the banks are doing, it changes.

But it's also reliable, whereas this is unreliable. It's a chance. My guess is that it's probably going to pay off for them.

Musk is a lot of things, but one of those things is extremely intelligent. And I don't think he's making a wrong bet. It's just like, only Tesla could do this right now. Like you mentioned General Motors. They should invest in silver Bullion or whatever, you know?

It's kind of tongue in cheek, but they have to. Because in the same way, like they are the US dollar of the automotive industry. Whereas Tesla is like the Bitcoin of the automotive industry, extremely volatile, but they've got a huge upside that people are buying into. And I think it's probably going to end up working for them.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. I think we can leave it there. We are almost out of time. 15 seconds on Harley production dropping. Give us the thumbnail version there.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, 2020 was a bad year for Harley Davidson. They dropped 17.4% in overall sales in 2020 versus 2019. Their numbers in the United States, which is like the bellwether for Harley Davidson, was similar. So it's not like, oh, well, the global markets are not doing particularly well, but the United States will continue propping them up.

That's not the case. The US sales were down a similar amount, and yes, the pandemic affected that. Yes, the job losses, the idea that you've got to save your money and not spend it, all those things negatively impacted Harley Davidson in the same way that they have negatively impacted everyone.

The big problem is that Harley Davidson has been headed in this direction for a really long time. They've had turnaround plan after turnaround plan in an attempt to right the ship for about the last decade, and none of them have worked. They have tried bringing in new, younger buyers into their segment, but they've done it with the wrong product.

Now, they're getting into electric vehicles, but the numbers are the important thing. And I don't have it in front of me, the exact numbers. But they sold less than 200,000 vehicles globally, just over 100,000 in the United States for the full year 2020, and that is extremely poor in Harley Davidson traditional numbers.

And they don't have a clear path of riding this ship, and that's the big problem is that everything they've tried up to this point has not worked. They're currently trying to launch a whole new line of electric bicycles and low end-- not low end, but lower cost, stepping stone models into their non-traditional buying segments. I haven't talked to a single analyst of the motorcycle kind of global marketplace that thinks it's going to work. So they're in a really tough place right now, and it's tough to see a historic, iconic brand, like Harley Davidson, continuously stumble forward without having a strong, clear, and likely, viable path to fixing their big problems.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, that kind of is a neat theme here for this podcast, motorcycles or three wheelers and American brands in transition. So we can leave it right there. Thanks for joining me this week, Jeremy.

Check out all of Jeremy's stuff, of course, on autoblog.com. He's our consumer editor. If you have a question for the Autoblog Podcast or you just want one of us to address it or a story idea, send it to our general email. That's podcast@autoblog.com. Be safe out there. We'll see you next time.