My comment on the Streetfilms post.
First, Streetfilms’s Clarence Eckerson posts a video showing Mazda’s support for the movie “Lorax”, which is based on the Dr. Seuss book about destroying the environment.
Then, I commented on Bikes Belong’s partnership with Volkswagen that was announced almost a month ago but I had just found the news yesterday.
It’s about as crappy as Bikes Belong partnering with Volkswagen.
In January 2012 they announced a “two-year partnership to help develop biking-friendly communities, foster healthy lifestyles and create a cleaner environment.”
I thought Volkswagen’s job was to market its cars, but it seems now it will market its goodwill which must have a calculable impact on increased car sales.
Bike Portland and road.cc both wrote about it. One commenter, Hart Noecker, wrote on Bike Portland:
Agreed. They recognize their oncoming irrelevance and are trying to re-image their brand while still promoting unsustainable automobiles that incentivize McStripmall sprawl.
And “9watts” replied:
As someone who has long felt that VW offered some of the most fuel efficient cars available, and was therefore to be lauded, patronized, etc. I’m inclined to agree with Hart. VW is really good at selling cars, and their commitment to fuel economy (which is a far cry from what we need now: a phaseout of car-dom, which isn’t going to come from the car industry anymore than a phaseout of coal consumption is going to come from the electric utilities) is only skin deep.
Crumbs for bikes, and a slick PR move that might even help them sell more cars. Never underestimate the middle class’s eagerness to swallow feel-good nostrums.
Today it seems the pact is getting attention again, brought to the forefront by the Mazda + Lorax (Universal films) deal – at least among a few people I follow on Twitter. Hopefully for its inanity. Car manufacturers, the bull in the china shop as Mikael of Copenhagenize talks about it, have been shutting down bicycles as a mode of transportation for decades. They’ve even thrown support behind making jaywalking criminal.
The Volkswagen deal with Bikes Belong is nothing more than buying goodwill. If there was a store for companies looking to improve their environmentally friendly image, partnerships with cycling advocacy organizations would be in aisle one.
As they are a company interested in making money by selling cars, I’d like someone to help me understand if there are any other reasons they should promote cycling (which they admit reduces congestion and lowers a traveler’s impact on the environment). Maybe they want to start selling bikes?
Car culture is carnage culture. The way out is a balanced transportation system that focuses the highest investments into sustainable and efficient modes, and one that educates system users on the costs and benefits of each mode, for every trip. Photo by ATOMIC Hot Links.