American Auto (2021) s01e04 Episode Script

The $10k Car

1 She didn't even consult me.
She just hopped on the phone like, "Hey, world, we're gonna make a $10,000 car "that I haven't bothered discussing with my Head of Communications.
" Like, what is the point of my job? Don't start pulling that thread.
So is a $10,000 car even possible? Ah, if it is, it'd be a piece of crap.
We'll have to rename it the Payne Turd.
Well, it's my family's name who's gonna be forever tied to the turd? Pretty sure it's been tied to worse.
- Like what? - Blood diamonds.
- Nazis.
- Sex stuff.
Malcolm X assassination.
My question is, who is the market for this? I mean, who are the people that only have $10,000 to spend on a car, but refuse to buy pre-owned? Okay, so do we tell Katherine that we don't think the car is a good idea? - Oh - [chuckles.]
Or is everybody too scared? - Scared? Of Katherine? - When you say scared, - do you mean - I once looked at a rat right in its eye, like just Bom bom bom-bom-bom-bom-bom Buh buh bom-bom-bom buh bom-bom-bom-bom Then we can save another $74.
13 by getting rid of the passenger-side mirror? - Ooh, okay.
- Are we allowed to get rid - of a sideview mirror? - Legally, you only need one.
Mm-hmm, and safety-wise? Legally, you only need one.
So, if we take these extensive and, some might even say questionable, cuts, we'll be able to retail the Pika for roughly $11,500.
Well, I promised that we would sell the car for $10,000.
Yes, but $11,500 is the cheapest car on the market in decades.
Yeah, I know.
It's so exciting.
- Yeah.
- So I guess the question is, how do we get it down to 10 grand? Honestly, I've been through it a dozen times.
- There's nothing left to cut.
- I mean, I hear that, and you're the expert.
I respect you.
But what I'm asking is not can you do it, but how will you do it? You see the difference? Um, we can't.
Oh, oh.
Let's try not to use the C word.
- Oh, he said "can't," not - Yeah.
Can't, yeah.
Oh, I hate that word.
Can we ban that from the building? Hey, Dori.
Could you please write a memo? Yep, I can do that.
Nice internalizing.
Okay, it's just that I ca I do not currently see a way to reduce the price any more than we already have? Well, we're pitching to the board tomorrow.
So I look forward to seeing how you rise to meet the challenge.
Good for you.
Oh, man, giving up your dog? Yes.
I thought rescuing a dog from a shelter would give me some sense of purpose or fill some hole in my life, but turns out, nope.
Just a giant pain in the ass.
So what's the point? Unconditional love and companionship? Yeah, well, you can get an escort for half of what it costs to feed this thing.
You interested? No, no, no, no, no, I'm not in market for an aggressive dog that has biting issue? Well, you can drug it, you know.
Pop some Dramamine in its kibble in the morning.
It'll be like a big sleepy, furry rug all day.
- Think I'm good.
- Well, think about it.
You know, the two of you could really work well together.
I'm sensing a real connection.
She can't just say "figure it out" as if the problem is I'm just being stubborn.
Some things can't be done.
It'd be like saying, you know, "Go and invent time travel or a perpetual-motion machine.
" What's a perpetual-motion machine? It's a machine that runs forever - it's impossible.
- Doesn't seem that hard.
I think she's just trying to motivate you.
If it's really not possible, she'll understand.
She is a rational person.
Is she? I'm not so sure.
What if you used, like, a hand crank or something - to keep the machine going? - Nope.
Thanks for the backup in there, by the way.
- I appreciate it, friend.
- I didn't do anything.
You're the closest to her.
If you're not willing to speak truth to power, no one will.
Okay, why is it impossible? [sighs.]
It violates the laws of thermodynamics.
"The laws?" Okay, narc.
Shut up.
A, I'm not the closest to her.
Don't even think she likes me.
B, you're the engineer.
It's not like hearing it from me is gonna change her mind.
Imagine if someone on the "Titanic" told the captain, "I'm not an engineer.
But are we a little short on lifeboats?" Fine.
I'll talk to her.
- Thank you.
- Hey, guys.
I know you didn't mean to do this.
"Titanic"'s a bit of a sensitive topic for me, Ten Paynes were on it, all survived.
But two of their valets didn't, so not a nice comment.
Hey, is this your dog flyer? Yeah, yeah, I just sort of stuck them up.
Do I need a permit or something? No, I was thinking about taking him, but, you know, - a dog's a big commitment.
- Ooh.
No, not this one.
No, he's he's a he's a medium commitment.
Or, actually, he's more of a small-to-medium commitment.
I think you guys would get along.
Yeah, I've got a good sense of these things.
- Strong connection, I think.
- How does $800 sound? Oh, no, don't worry.
You can have him for free.
No, I mean, you give me $800.
No, you want me to pay you $800 for a dog that I had to pay the shelter to adopt.
Yes, there's expenses.
You got food, vet bills.
And if I'm gonna wake up every morning and walk him, I'm going to need to buy myself a nice watch.
I don't think that's really Or you can always send him back to the pound.
You know how they euthanize dogs nobody wants, right? They just grab them by the neck and throw them in the crusher and just like [imitates grinding.]
Just so you know what the stakes are.
[knocks on glass.]
Got a minute? Uh, yeah, sure.
Come on in.
Hey, um, which one do you like better - the gray or the blue? - The gray.
- Really? The gray? - Mm.
- Oh, I like the blue, too.
- I was leaning towards that, actually.
- Yeah.
- Yeah, it's a Bermuda blue.
So it's, you know, a little touch of island flair.
So just with this $10,000 car - that we're pitching tomorrow - Mm.
Just wondering how you're feeling about that.
I feel great.
How do you feel? I think it's a very interesting and ambitious idea.
- Okay.
- But some of us and this is not just me we're a little worried that it might be somewhat impossible to make.
Sadie, do you know what my job is as CEO? Your job? It's a lot of thing, isn't it? It's pushing people to do the impossible.
Steve Jobs didn't know how to program a computer.
Okay? But he had a vision.
And he never took no for an answer.
Kennedy said, "We would make it to the Moon within the decade.
" No one thought that was possible, but we did it because we had a leader that said we could.
I bet that was really inspiring for you.
Well, it was 1962, so I wasn't born yet.
- How old do you think I am? - You look young.
I thought maybe you'd had worked on.
Not that you look like you've had to have done - Do you want to bail out of this? - Yeah.
The point is that this is how innovation happens.
One person has an idea, everyone around them thinks it's a mistake, but without those mistakes, we would never reach the Moon.
Does that make sense? - Yeah.
- Yeah.
- Yeah, that actually does.
- Good.
- So you're on board? - I am.
I am actually on board.
Let's do this.
Should we do like a chant or something.
No, I'm just gonna go.
Good chat.
What are you doing here? - Katherine asked me to come.
- Oh, yeah.
I figured it would be good to get his opinion on the car, since he most closely represents our target buyer.
- 'Cause I'm poor? - Uh, oh, no.
- 'Cause I'm Black? - No.
'Cause you're poor your words.
Cyrus, proceed.
All right, I spent all night with my guys, but so far, we've managed to find another $800 in saving.
Really? But just yesterday you were saying you couldn't find one dollar to cut.
Guess you just needed to be pushed a little bit, huh? Yep.
Guess so.
At any rate, we took a prototype of the Pika and roughed in some of the sacrifices we'd have to make so you could get a sense of it.
- Perfect.
- But I have to warn you, it's not pretty.
Oh, it's not that bad.
I mean, it's ugly, but what do you expect for 10 grand, right? Oh, no, that's the Palermo C50.
It's a $90,000 car.
Voted best midsize luxury sedan.
- Huh.
- Yep.
That's the Pika.
That's interesting.
Interesting took the words right out of my mouth.
Yeah, it's you know, it's smaller than I expected.
But that would make it more fuel efficient, though, right? Actually, with the engine we were forced to use, it'll get maybe 18 MPG, like a Hummer.
Hummers sold well.
People love them.
If you hate it, Katherine, we can always go back to the original, still overwhelmingly affordable version.
I don't know.
What do you think, Jack? Is this something that you would buy? Well, you know I guess I'd say if I only had $10,000 to spend and I need to buy a car and I was not willing to buy used, then this right here would be an option that would be one of my options.
Okay, great.
Good, Good.
Well, that's encouraging.
I like that.
You want to take it for a test-drive, get the full Pika experience? Uh, is it sa uh, is it safe? Ish.
- [barking.]
- Okay.
Sorry, sorry.
He's just, uh he's just excited.
It's dog for "how you doing?" "Shall not be liable for any injury, death, or damage caused by dog, including loss of body parts.
" Like he gonna take off my titty or something? It's just a standard liability release.
If you just, uh if you could just initial on the bottom.
- So sorry.
- Okay, - I'm gonna - He just wants to give you a kiss with is teeth, so Great.
Okay, fantastic.
Thank you.
And, uh, here is your money.
- Thank you.
- Cash, as requested.
Uh, keep him away from children and tiny adults.
He's quite blind.
He can't tell the difference.
- All right.
- All right, Clarence, all right.
- [barking viciously.]
- Okay.
All right.
[engine rumbling loudly.]
- It's a little loud.
- What? Loud! It's a bit loud! We had to cheap out on the muffler, the suspension, too! That's why it's so bumpy! You can really feel the road, though! Yeah! How's the drive? Kind of feels like I'm driving through jelly! Is that a good thing? I guess, if you like jelly! [whispering.]
Hey, what happened to you? Yesterday you're gonna tell her how bad an idea this was.
Now you're its cheerleader.
She made some really good points.
What points? What if Steve Jobs had listened when people told him something was impossible.
Like when his doctor said you can't cure cancer with fruit juice? No.
Just Look, she was a very successful CEO of a very successful company.
So, if she thinks this is a good idea, maybe you should try and support her.
Okay, so nobody panic, but I've been trying to brake for, like, 20 seconds now! Okay, it's like when you crank a radio and it charges the battery.
So the tires rotate.
That generates energy, which powers the engine.
That propels the car, that rotates the tires, that generates more energy and on and on, in perpetuli lullity.
Goes on forever.
Wouldn't that work? - My God.
- What? You did it.
The brightest minds in history couldn't crack it, and Wesley Payne did it in a day? - [chuckles.]
- This will upend the industry.
Okay? No more petrol, no more no more fossil fuels.
I got the idea I saw one of those desk toys with the clacky balls and then [imitates explosion.]
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
But you know he's gonna hate this? - The Saudis.
- [gasps.]
The Saudis.
- Why "yikes, the Saudis"? - Well, think about it.
They're about to lose $200 billion worth of oil revenue every year, just down the toilet because of you.
Yeah, but what are they gonna do assassinate you? Oh, come on, we all came up with this together.
- This was a team effort.
- We had nothing to do with this, okay? We're not taking any of the rap for any of your your your genius.
Okay, real funny, dicks.
[laughs mockingly.]
You might you should hold on to those.
Your mum might want to put them on the fridge.
Well, what about alchemy? You know, lead into gold? I'm sure you could crack that one, Wes.
- Hey, you wanted to see me? - Oh, yeah.
Uh, what do you think of the slate? Better than the blue? - I really like the slate.
- Yeah, I'm leaning towards the blue.
- Blue would have my vote.
- Yeah, cool.
Thank you.
By the way, how are you feeling about the car? - The Pika? - Yeah.
Uh, great.
It's it's really exciting.
Good, yeah, because, you know, things are a little obviously a little rough at the moment.
- Yeah.
But that that's normal.
- Yes.
- Yeah, that is normal.
That is normal.
- Yeah.
I was gonna say that, actually, yeah.
So so just to confirm, you you have zero reservations, though? I mean, I do worry a bit if there's a market for it, especially with the low fuel economy, which means higher gas costs, plus, aesthetically - It's a disaster, isn't it? - What? [scoffs.]
I mean, I don't know I don't know anything about cars, but this this seems like a really big mistake.
But like you said, without mistakes, we would have never made it to the Moon.
Who the [bleep.]
wants to go to the Moon? You know what would be different if we didn't go to the Moon? Nothing.
Not one thing in this whole world would be any different than it is right now.
- Okay, well - Why didn't you tell me what an incredibly bad idea this was? I tried.
You told me to believe in you.
Believe in me within reason.
I thought that was implied.
You know what? I need to be able to trust you, even if that means telling me the hard truths.
Can you do that? Yes.
- I will try to be better.
- Thank you.
You know, I think the blue is tacky and that the gray carpet is way better.
Okay, I don't know if you're just lashing out because you are hurt that I just yelled at you or if that is what you really believe, but either way wow.
You've got anger issues.
So let's be honest, guys, the $10,000 version of the Pika - is terrible.
- Oof, harsh, dude.
I said we couldn't make one for that cheap, but I was told I wasn't allowed - to use the C word.
- You're right.
It's my fault.
From now on, we can all use the C word.
Seriously? Cool.
Do you guys know Janine in Logistics? Okay, here's the problem.
We have to pitch this thing to the board later.
If they greenlight this, we actually have to make this turd-mobile.
So we cancel the pitch.
No, I already announced it publicly.
I can't just turn around and be like, "Yeah, I changed my mind.
You know what? I'm an indecisive lady.
" Uh, yeah, I wouldn't say it like that.
Okay, here's what we got to do, guys we got to tank the pitch.
Okay, so you want to make the car look bad.
Yeah, but not so bad that I look stupid for having thought it was a good idea before.
- Mm-hmm.
- It's not your fault.
It was Cyrus's crappy design.
Is this just because I shot down your perpetual-motion car? [inhales sharply.]
So we need it to look good enough that they don't think it's bad, but bad enough that they don't think it's good.
That is the sweet spot.
Dinner at mine tonight? [chuckles.]
The dog? No, he he won't be there.
Yeah, hit by a car.
Obviously terrible.
So I, uh I won't be, um I won't be - Sorry, one second.
- What the [bleep.]
? You're selling my dog? No, I'm flipping your dog.
What? I'm flipping him you know, how they do with houses.
I took your ugly, broke-down dog, fixed it up, took some nice pictures, and relisted it on the market? Well well, you can't do that, because I paid you to take the dog, all right? And for you to then turn around and sell the dog and make more money, well, that's just - it's - Smart marketing.
Look, I could have sold the dog myself, okay? If I was comfortable lying about his many behavioral issues, all right? Which I notice you've not mentioned on here, yeah? Ever heard of a duty to disclose? It's illegal not to put that on the flyer? I mean, I-I will have to check the specific Michigan case law, but it's unethical.
Well, I'm feeling okay about it.
Hey, why doesn't it work? - Wesley, I'm busy.
- Just explain it to me.
The electricity produced by the tires will be less than it takes to push them an equivalent distance.
It's why we can't end global warming by running air conditioners outside.
The heat generated would outweigh the cooling effects.
Even if we use solar.
I mean, obviously, that would be better.
But think about how much electricity you'd have to generate.
But if it was solar, the hotter the day, the more electricity we'd have, right? Hey [chuckles.]
Becau See [chuckles.]
I There's a reason.
Oh, hey, Dori, which blazer says "I like her, but I don't want to buy what she's selling"? - On the left.
- Great, oh, perfect.
Uh, "Car and Driver" is running a story tomorrow about the 10k Pika.
They sent an advance copy if you want to take a look at it.
Oh, God.
Ask them to hold off.
With any luck, this whole thing will be dead by tomorrow.
Too bad.
It's pretty flattering.
Really? What picture are they using? So listen to this.
"In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T, "the first car affordable to the working class.
"114 years later, Katherine Hastings is poised to follow his lead.
" - Wow.
- Huh.
And then look at this section.
"The Pika will likely be the first car for many teens, "who, as they age, "they return to Payne for higher-end fare.
"If Payne can maintain that brand loyalty, Gen Z may have to be renamed Gen P.
" Gen P.
I mean, is it possible that we were too quick to turn on the Pika? I mean, if we pull this thing off, I-I think it may be good.
I-I Do you guys think it might be good? I mean, be honest.
Are we seriously gonna change our whole strategy, though, just based on one magazine article? I mean, they call me a visionary? No, of course, of course.
And it is a very respected publication.
All right, guys, let's sell the crap out of this car.
- [clears throat.]
- [groans.]
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
" Henry Ford.
Henry, who I've been compared to on occasion, understood the importance of affordability.
And that is why I am so excited to present to you the newly revised Pika 10k.
This car is a real beaut.
I mean, eh, not really on the outside.
I mean, on the outside, it's more of a more just sort of an average car.
But it's inside inside Inside is where the magic happens.
You know, it's, uh, unconventional-looking, uh, but I think it charms you.
It's just like, um, Steve "Buskemi" on wheels.
Is it "Buskemi"? Buscemi? I think he had it "Buskemi," like bruschetta.
Well, doesn't matter.
Anyway, uh, why don't you take a moment with these? And, Sadie, could I please have a word? - Yeah.
- Great.
Those graphics are horrible.
I thought we're gonna spiff them up.
We did.
Those are the airbrushed ones.
So those are better than the actual car? - How much better? - That's tough.
Um So subjective.
Four times better? See now I'm starting to think that I was right when I said we shouldn't do this.
Is the car good or bad? I-I do not know what you want me to say.
I want your honest opinion.
- Do you? Do you really? - Yes.
Okay, fine.
If I was being chased by wolves and my only means of escape was to drive that to safety, well, okay, I would take the car, but it would suck because that car sucks.
Thank you.
See? How hard was that? All right, let's go flush this turd down the toilet once and for all.
I want Clarence back.
I'll buy him back.
I'll go to the nearest ATM.
What was it, $600? No, so we actually ran into a competitive-bidding situation, and it's up to $725.
Now, you're more than welcome to bid $750 or $1,000.
That's our "Buy It Now" option.
I'll give him straight to you.
You are a terrible human being.
Come on, Elliot.
Okay, for an extra 50, I'll throw in the muzzle and the chew toys and stuff.
So you have the specs.
I wish the numbers were more impressive, but they are what they are, and this is how it looks.
So you either like it, or you don't.
Katherine, it sounds like you're underselling the car.
Is this a project you believe in or not? Oh, no, I mean, I could never pitch something that I don't believe in.
I-I just want to be up front about what you're getting, you know, so This is a big swing, and with big swings, you get big misses, like, nine times out of ten, so I'm a bit skeptical.
The numbers are poor, and, no offense, but it's ugly.
Oh, no, I respect that.
I mean, honestly, uh, but if this one doesn't work out, hey, we'll get them on the next one.
That's what I think.
Mark, we brought Katherine in for a fresh perspective.
If she believes in this, I say we back her up.
I have a right to an opinion, Helen.
Honestly, Helen, Mark does have the right to his opinion.
It just so happens that when an idea comes from a woman, - his opinion is that it's bad.
- Oh, God.
Here we go with the woman stuff.
- I'm sorry? - Can we talk about this in private? - I think private's better.
- Fine, let's do the stupid car - if it's that important to you.
- Mark, don't gaslight her.
- Bill, that's not what that means.
- I haven't done a lot of these.
Is this how it usually goes? Ah, some better, some worse.
- That's the problem.
- You need to check your privilege, Helen.
You check your privilege, Mark.
So then this idiot says, "Couldn't we stop global warming if we all just had solar-powered air conditioners?" And I was, like, trying to explain how dumb that was, because, like, why how what would you If you were explaining, what would you what would you say to [chuckles.]
Why wouldn't that work? Right? [knocks on glass.]
Oh, hey.
Hear the news? Greenlight.
Mm, I heard.
- So congratulations? - Yeah.
Maybe it'll be a good thing.
I mean, it's a risk, but it could be good.
- You think it'll be good? - Yeah.
- Yeah, good.
- Yeah, I do, yeah.
I'll walk you out.
Ooh final call - Slate, right? - That's what I'd do.
- Slate it is.
- Cool.
[both chuckle.]
Wait one second.

Previous EpisodeNext Episode