The ad which ran in Canada a few years ago was a more radical departure from the automotive industry’s usually more subtle attempt to make alternative transportation less appealing than throwing down tens of thousands of your dollars on their product. Since I was the founder of Austin CarShare, I’m often asked what I think of the new Car2Go program launched by Diamler last fall. The carsharing scheme using a large fleet of Diamler’s SmartCars seems to be a significant change in outlook for an auto company by embracing alternative transportation. However, given the auto industry’s past history participating in non-automotive transportation, I’m wary of stated commitments from the industry in supporting a departure from single occupancy motorized vehicles. It can sound a bit like “clean coal” or the ads from ExxonMobile or British Petroleum touting how they’re really just working towards green fuels (pay no attention to the billions we make off of oil.)
So, next time you hear a car company say they are committed to the environment (as if buying any car can be environmentally positive) or how they want to change how people get around, remember this ad and their true colors.