Vincent Farrell, Jr. is Chief Investment Officer of Soleil Securities, a New York based investment management company. Over his long career on Wall Street, he has worked for numerous distinguished firms. Mr. Farrell graduated from Princeton University in 1969 and received his M.B.A. from the Iona College Graduate School of Business in 1972.


I have never bought a car in my life. My wife has bought a lot of them. I’m just not that into cars. I have usually referred to the cars we own by their color. I’m taking the blue car or the gray car or whatever. I actually did lease a car once. Back in the heady days of Spears, Benzak, Salomon, and Farrell, we all leased fancy cars and took advantage of the tax code provisions. But I even faded on that one a bit by going to the dealership with one of my partners and leasing the same car he did.

My  most recent car was a Ford Escape (I had to ask — I thought of it as the dark gray car) with close to 100,000 miles on it. We swapped it and another we had no more need for since the kids are grown and gone, and I (we) got another SUV. It’s gray and American-made, and that’s as much as I know about it. The neat thing is it came loaded with XM satellite radio so I can now listen addictively to CNBC as well as addictively watch it. But only after Ken Prewitt and Tom Keene on Bloomberg radio. (They are the best.) I’m pretty sure we got XM for a year for free, as the dealer was desperate, or so my wife told me. If I get a bill though, XM is history.

We probably should have waited since my old car, which was fine by me, was a “clunker” and probably would have qualified for the “cash-for-clunkers” program soon to come out of Congress. Germany has registered a significant increase in new-car registrations since their program went into effect. Word from Britain is that, on the verge of their program being enacted, activity in showrooms is up substantially.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a plan and the Senate is likely to do the same this week. It looks like the plan would provide a $3500 subsidy to anyone trading in a car getting less than 18 miles per gallon as long as there is at least a 4-mpg improvement. (I think I got yardage on my old car, not mileage.) A 10-mpg improvement would get you another $1000.

So the car industry would be revitalized – at least a bit – and the environment would be aided. Here’s the hitch. Of the 9 or 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles being sold today – and presumably the
beneficiaries of such a program – four are built by Toyota, two by Volkswagen, one by Honda, one by Smart (never heard of that? it’s a Swiss-designed, Mercedes-owned, French produced mini-car) and one by a US-based company: Ford. Some of the others might be made on US soil, I don’t know. But is this really what we wanted to do?


Vincent Farrell, Chief Investment Officer
Soleil Securities Corporation
May 18, 2009
Vincent Farrell | 212-380-4909 |

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Category: Think Tank

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4 Responses to “He’s just not that into you”

  1. grumpyoldvet says:

    AH…Vince Farrell, he of the market is at a low during 2008 all the while sinking lower. Remember from CNBS & Kudlow’s show. Must have been between his last gig or his new one or perhaps just trying to keep visibilty. This guy’s comments aren’t worth the time or effort to read them.

  2. deanscamaro says:

    “But is this really what we wanted to do?”

    Oh, no, what we really wanted to do was pump unlimited money into mis-managed, U.S. auto companies to keep them alive. B.S. Forcing them to shed costs that were sinking them, under management that didn’t have the b_lls to do it on their own, was the right thing to do. If then they couldn’t make it, let them go into bankruptcy. Auto executives obviously weren’t thinking long-term, but just wanting quick profits. If these mis-managed, U.S. companies can’t provide the autos we need or SHOULD be driving (that starts another whole argument) in the U.S., then we buy from foreign companies. This country needs to be weaned off monster gas eaters and this is one way that will help. Besides, we already buy everything else from other countries!!!

  3. Brendan says:

    I hope they abandon this stupid idea. I thought we were going to simplify the tax code so that less people would get to take advantage of loopholes. Nothing says loophole like this. There’s no way that those people who bought 8000+ lb. Hummer’s and wrote them off as a business expense (because they’re considered a heavy work truck) will now go and take advantage of this too. No…

    On top of that, let’s reward the people who intentionally bought gas guzzlers (and paid more for the privilege). While I can at least partially sympathize with the people who thought they were doing the right thing by buying a house or condo, only to find out that the loan shark and appraiser screwed them, I can’t really sympathize with the person who bought a car with a big friggin’ sticker on the window that says “this gets terrible gas mileage.” I say invest the money in new battery manufacturing.

  4. [...] keeping track of that cash-for-clunkers program. It sounds like the Senate is close to approving a plan that provides a $3,500 subsidy for trading in an old gas guzzler for a more efficient [...]