Kia Proudly And Unconscionably Evicts Adorable Hamsters In Favor Of Skeleton NFTs

Morning Dump Kia Nfts

Kia thinks NFTs are the future, the new Corvette Z06 is a six-figure car, dealers are mad at an FTC proposal. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Kia Goes All-In On NFTs

Are we seriously still doing this? Kia’s updated the Soul crossover and needed to put out a new commercial, so the South Korean brand has decided to go with NFTs on this one. Ugh. The new Kia Soul ad features characters from Dead Army Skeletons Klub, an unimaginative name with a horrid, played-out twist. I’ve found the commercial to be neither endearing nor memorable, especially considering how every hamster commercial was joyous and playful.

While Kia’s last NFT experiment at least produced some social good by aiming to raise funds for shelter animals, this latest drop just seems to be the product of aimlessly wandering around the metaverse. See, NFTs are mostly about manufactured scarcity, so there’s a certain degree of clout-chasing at play. This collection doesn’t seem terribly exclusive, so I’m not entirely sure about clout. Maybe Ben Purcell, chief creative officer of Kia’s ad agency David&Goliath, has an answer.

With Kia, we want the work to be as innovative as the vehicles. So we thought, what if we could be the first to take a few NFTs for a ride? Living, breathing and of course driving, like never before. And who better to capture the multi-hyphenate Soul driver than the DASK skeletons who embrace individuality. Because after all, whoever you are, or where you come from, all that matters is that you have a soul.

[Editor’s Note: I’m gonna funge those tokens, just out of contempt. – JT]

Well, that explains absolutely nothing. Honestly, where is the value add here? Is the Venn diagram overlap between people who like Kia and people who like NFTs big enough to hold 10,100 people? It seems like brands aren’t hopping on Web3 because it’s useful, brands are hopping on Web3 because it’s a buzzword. Do you work for Kia’s marketing team? If so, give me my hamsters back.

The “6” In Corvette Z06 Now Stands For Six Figures

2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Photo credit: Chevrolet

When the mid-engined Corvette Z06 debuted, we were awestruck. A 670 horsepower naturally-aspirated flat-plane crank V8, available carbon fiber wheels, a wider body that mostly fixes the standard Corvette’s dorkiness, and a redline of 8,600 rpm are all very good, but also very expensive. While speculated list prices for the new Z06 models were up in the air, Chevrolet’s brought everyone firmly back to earth by releasing actual pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06. Spoiler alert, it’s not cheap.

The new Z06 starts at $106,395 including a $1,395 freight charge. That’s roughly $40,000 or an entire Camaro SS more than a base Corvette Stingray. That’s encroaching on Porsche 911 territory, not bad but definitely not quite the bargain the old Z06 was. If more leather and gadgets are desired, the mid-range 2LZ trim level $115,595 and the 3LZ trim starts at $120,245. Want a cabriolet? Be prepared to pay $113,895 for the basic 1LZ cabriolet, $122,595 for the mid-range 2LZ cabriolet, and $127,245 for the top-level 3LZ cabriolet. Oh, and all of this is before we get into any big ticket options.

The high-performance Z07 package with Michelin Cup 2Rs, carbon ceramic brakes, and significant aero alterations starts at $8,995 and requires one of two aerodynamic packages – a dark gray painted package for $8,495 or a visible carbon fiber package for $10,495. Want carbon fiber wheels with that? Get ready to pay $9,995 for painted carbon fiber wheels or $11,995 for visible carbon fiber. Add in a litany of RPO options and available premium paints, and one could very likely option a Z06 up to $160,000. Ouch. Then again, what else is out there for this sort of money? A Porsche 911 GT3 is more money, and pricing on used Ferrari 458 Italias is still properly expensive. Can a six-figure car be a relative bargain? Quite possibly.

Car Dealerships Are Mad About FTC Proposal

Car Dealership
Photo credit: “Row of Cars at a Car Dealership” by everycar_listed_photos is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Hey, remember the new proposal the Federal Trade Commission has regarding dealership practices? Surprise surprise, it’s not going down so well in the dealership world. Automotive News reports that the National Automobile Dealers Association sat down last week to challenge this FTC proposal. NADA CEO Mike Stanton told Automotive News that “the FTC absolutely needs to go back to the drawing board on this.”

Key NADA complaints focus around complaint proportions, the use of qualitative research, and previous inaction from the FTC. Let’s start with complaint proportions. Not only do more than 100,000 complaints over 42 million vehicle sales last year seem to be too many, those are only complaints formally lodged with the FTC. As for qualitative research, it can be a key tool for gaining nuanced consumer sentiment and details of prior experiences. Speaking from experience, qualitative research is definitely not something to be brushed aside. As for previous inaction, prior behavior isn’t indicative of present behavior, so inaction isn’t a valid excuse.

The truth is that dealerships had a chance to not screw people over and some of them absolutely blew it. Moreover, dealer bodies have largely failed on the concept of accountability. A few bad apples spoil the bunch, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the FTC wants to clamp down on dealer practices. Better dealerships are already largely compliant, bad dealerships and those protecting bad dealerships can cry harder about it.

NHTSA Investigates Another Fatal Tesla Crash

0x0 Modely 04
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Little more than a week after announcing special investigations for two fatal Tesla crashes, NHTSA investigators are looking into another fatal crash involving a Tesla product. Reuters reports that this latest crash happened on July 7, when a motorcyclist was killed in a crash involving a 2021 Tesla Model Y. This crash reportedly happened on California’s Riverside Freeway, and investigators are looking into the possibility of Tesla’s Autopilot advanced driver assist system being involved.

It’s probably not a great sign when one manufacturer becomes the subject of so many special investigations in such a short time span, but here we are. While there’s currently no confirmation that this latest crash involved Autopilot, I can’t help but feel that almost all automation between Level 1 and Level 4 is fundamentally flawed technology. Humans are just plain bad at monitoring things, and removing too much control promotes complacency. Then there’s all the messaging around Level 2 driver assistance, from commercials that imply lane assistance will save your ass to flat-out lies that cars with Level 2 assist systems can drive themselves. Here’s to hoping that NHTSA regulators move swiftly and rationally to set proper standards governing driver assistance systems.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Monday again, which means it’s time to recap a weekend’s worth of automotive adventures. I did a bit of light painting outside of a vacant garage, picked up some detailing supplies, and went for a few night drives, so it was a solid no-wrenching weekend of fun. What sort of vehicular stuff did you get up to over the past few days?

Lead photo credit: Kia

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42 Responses

  1. I see a lot of NFT hate and I think the haters are as clueless as the people that made them too popular for their own good.
    Don’t think of an NFT as an overpriced ugly digital “art.”
    Think of it as a secure digital certificate of ownership verified independently by a complex math problem.

  2. But, wait, I thought auto dealers were there to protect us from abusive sales practices by automakers, which is why states need to continue to ban direct to consumer car sales? This feels like inconsistent messaging on the part of the dealers’ trade group

    1. Tbf, dealers excel at inconsistent messaging. The screwing consumers in the service of protecting consumers dichotomy is no different from how the same feature that prevents them from offering kbb or whatever for your trade because it’s not what the market likes is also why they won’t move on the sticker price because it’s rare

  3. I had a bottle of 20W50 spill in the trunk of my MG on Saturday so I spent time cleaning up that mess. Also determined that my speedometer cable is completely borked so it is time to go to Moss Motors.

  4. In in the states is was 104F, but didn’t stop me from doing a complete rebuild (lunch box locker, hubs, warn lockers, rotors, calipers, steering stabilizers, ball joints, Etc.) on my 85 K20 front end to install on my 1970 K20 Suburban. Huzzah disc brakes and plenty of fluids.

  5. Man ive always liked the souls. i was gonna buy one before i found the element im driving now. looked at a scion xb back in the day before i bought my cobalt. too bad they killed the manual soul last year. the z06 price is higher than the 90 people were thinking but its still a damn bargain.

  6. I’m not sure why but I always find it amusing seeing big companies still doing NFT stuff now, long after the hype has died down and the public opinion is firmly in the “NFTs are dumb and pointless” zone. I’d love to sit in on those meeting where they’re surely discussing how the fad has passed and everyone hates NFTs now but they’re too deep into the project to cancel it now so just release it and hope for the best.

    I guess that’s just what happens when you try to hop on every latest trend without doing any real research or waiting a sec to see how it plays out first.

    1. It’s interesting that they’re not doing what Reddit and GameStop did and insist that their NFT they started working on months ago when they were the Next Big Thing is somehow now totally not an NFT.

      1. Well billions are spent across every industry trying to produce the next big thing. Most get it wrong. The big thing is defined as what sells. So free spenders, the rich and young, decide what’s hot. Yhe reason they spend is too stand out so as soon as it becomes hot the trend setters move on so that time line is short. So 6 month lead then throw it everything away to hopefully get the new thing in before it goes cold. Well it just isn’t happening.

  7. I have zero trust in my painting skills, so I’ve sent a set of car parts to an auto paint shop on Saturday to be done up professionally.

    I mean, I’m sure I could coat the thing thoroughly so as to be considered to be “painted”, but no one will want to stare at the finished product…

    Then I bought a set of CV axles. So, no wrenching, but more preparation for some eventual wrenching.

  8. Disappointed in the Z06 pricing, as consensus seemed to think $90 something was the more likely starting price, especially given comments from GM that the spread between base and Z06 would be similar to previous generations.

    My silver lining/over-optimistic hope is that this pricing will discourage some of the markups and flippers and get more cars into customers hands at MSRP sooner. I think the idea of a $150-200K Corvette after markups is a bit too much to stomach for a lot of people, but I could be wrong.

  9. Vehicular stuff over the last few days? Hmm…thankfully nothing really.

    I did get a pack of new spray bottles, as my quick detailer bottle has been…violently leaking for about a year now.

    Well, I got them once my neighbor delivered them, since Amazon couldn’t be bothered to look at address numbers or anything (we got their package on the same day they got ours – our two addresses are not that similar).

  10. Oh, hey look, it’s Kia, that wants a $22k markup on a Telluride. Screw Kia, their skeletons, and whatever else they might have. From what I hear, some of those markups are being added on by corporate.. even employees have to pay some markup currently.

  11. Saturday was a long overdue oil change and insurancing-up the Z3 for the rest of the summer. Oil, cleaning, making a list of it’s ailments to fix (door closed sensors, antenna I broke off, glovebox reinforcement). I might just sell it, as I feel bad only putting 1k a year on it and I’m short on garage space. But then I drive it and…. yeah

    Sunday was boat day – new starter, fuel filter, and investigative work into why the oil injection system is leaking (it’s a ’00 2 stroke). Of course I can’t find the leak and I need specialty fuel zip ties not available locally, so it’s in pieces until those arrive.

    All in all a most productive wrenching weekend.

  12. I attended the Automezzi Italian car show in Wheat Ridge, CO yesterday. Good show in that it’s about the only place to see Lancia’s around here. But I can always count on the Pantera club to show up in force whenever there’s a show like this.

  13. “Dear” dealers: about that previous inaction, you either follow the code as written, or you’re playing chicken with enforcement. As a highly overqualified regulatory guy once explained to me, if the posted speed limit is 45, but the practice is to only write tickets at 55 so you drive 54 every day… you don’t have an out if they change the action level to 45 or 50. If they decide to only enforce 45 on you while not holding anyone else to it (and you can prove it) you may have a case. If all the LEO’s start enforcing at 45 on everyone, enjoy your fine.

  14. I gave my tow pig an oil change. I also drained/filled the coolant and flushed the brake fluid. This was a mix of routine maintenance and trip preparation. My daily needs its synchromesh fluid changed and brake fluid flushed. But that’s for another day.

    1. F…NFT’s… I second that as well as anything else related the crypto. Now I’m just waiting for the taxpayer funded bailout of those who lost their shirts in this ridiculous energy wasting scam (shakes fist at cloud).

      1. That’s the silver lining on NFTs for me. So far there’s no government bailouts at all, and the people losing money are mostly isolated to grifters and failed wannabe grifters who’d otherwise have spent their time scamming people outside the crypto ecosystem.

  15. Only car related thing I did was move the Mustang/D100 out of the way to mow and drop the wifes Forester at the dealer for some warranty work. It’s too damn hot to be out there actually working on anything.. damn D100 though started easy in the morning, straight up refused in the hot afternoon. It finally kicked over with a hell of a backfire when I let off the key so I think I may have some electrical gremlins up to no good..

  16. Last week I was visiting my Kaiser Jeepster, which I keep tucked away in a garage at a remote cabin. Mice are always a constant challenge, but luckily the Jeep isn’t of much of interest to them and my traps got four while I was there. Later this year I’m planning on storing the G35x Battle Car up there, so I spent the weekend adding stainless steel mesh to the passenger cabin vents (inlet and outlets), air box, and cowl drain holes. I also have peppermint oil ready to go. I keep having nightmares about DT’s rodent infested (but rust free) Geo Tracker and I just imagine stepping into that car is like opening a portal into the upsidedown (Stranger Things). I’m determined not to let that happen on my watch.

  17. Light painting as in painting with light or smallish normal painting job?

    Saturday I had a coil wire fall off on my Corvair while driving 80mph on the downtown connector construction zone in Atlanta with only Jersey barrier and no shoulder or runoff area. Despite heading uphill, I was able to coast far enough and wave my way across traffic to dive into a merge-in gore. Lacking a hazard switch in my ’64, I moved construction barrels enough to provide some advance warning to my fellow drivers.

    Then I opened the hood and quickly found the problem. My newly replaced coil has wider neck causing the silicone boot to ride up. I refashioned the coil wire, popped it back in place, and then launched myself back into the vehicular tracer fire. Nerves were wracked but no cars were whacked.

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