Monday, May 19, 2014

Amusing: A False Story on Auto Inventory

by Calculated Risk on 5/19/2014 09:25:00 PM

For fun, an interesting story from Barry Ritholtz: The Truth About Auto Sales

This week, an e-mail landed in my inbox with the header “Unsold Cars.” ...

Normally, I would have deleted the e-mail without a second thought. But several things about it warranted further notice.

The first were aerial photos of thousands of cars. Wow, this really was a lot of cars.

The second was the phrase “Timestamp: Friday, May 16th, 2014,” which suggests that these photos were brand new.

What struck me was how familiar it all looked. Maybe that was because I posted those same photos on The Big Picture blog and Business Insider in February 2009.

The origin of the photos was a Jan. 16, 2009, article in the Guardian by Nick Mead. Note that this was smack in the middle of the financial crisis, when anything purchased on credit simply froze
From Snopes.com: Unsold Cars
Claim: Photographs show thousands and thousands of unsold cars deteriorating until they are scrapped.

FALSE
From Matt Hardigree at Jalopnik.com That Zero Hedge Article On Unsold Cars Is Bullshit
The visuals are strong, the headline is clear, and you almost don't have to read the article to viscerally understand the problem. I, more than anyone, get the appeal of this story because it seems to largely rip off an article I wrote — including the images and headline — more than five years ago (which itself was largely a rehash of a Guardian article)....

I would think that most intelligent people would read this and obviously see the flaws but, alas, I've had enough emails about it this morning that I feel the need to refute it. And since it's a (bad) copy of something I wrote, I have an extra responsibility to kill this misunderstanding before it has a chance to spread.
Glad to see people knock this down so quickly. Unfortunately stories like this never really die ... and the original story hasn't been corrected.