If Car Companies Were Run Like Tech Companies

Lovely spoof by David Pogue.

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9 — Here at the annual Consumer Electronic Automotive Show, the largest trade show in the world, the carheads have again made their annual pilgrimage to see what new breakthrough vehicles will be finding their way into American garages in the new year.

Axxle, the Cupertino, Calif., automaker, is again notable by its absence. But even though its perfectionist founder, Steve Hubs, recently died, the company’s impact was everywhere at the show.

When Axxle announced its sleek, simple-to-drive iCar last year, automotive blogs like Gizmoto and Engearjet savaged it for its lack of a windshield, doors, roof and body. “Only the fanboys would want to drive a flat glass surfboard,” went a typical remark.

Once the iCar went on sale, however, it rapidly became the fastest-selling new vehicle in history. And at this year’s show, imitators are everywhere. Many are based on Andrive, a design offered by the mobile billboard giant Gogle (whose unofficial motto is, “Don’t be civil”). Andrive is regarded as a less polished but free chassis that closely resembles the iCar.