‘American Auto’ Creator Teases More ‘Complex Issues’ for Payne Motors in Season 2

Ana Gasteyer in 'American Auto'
Greg Gayne/NBC

It’s wheels up on Season 2 of the zippy comedy, American Auto, set at fictional car manufacturer Payne Motors, and the staff is anything but idle.

The opener picks up after Season 1’s finale landed new CEO Katherine Hastings (Ana Gasteyer) in hot water; she’s gasping for dignity following an ill-fated TV profile that exposed her role in hiding a defect of one of the company’s cars.

Jon Barinholtz and Ana Gasteyer in 'American Auto' Season 2

(Credit: Greg Gayne/NBC)

Now that the public knows of the wrongdoing, “it’s about how Katherine and the rest of the group react to the stress of a scandal that just keeps getting worse,” says creator Justin Spitzer. It doesn’t help that Katherine still has no idea how the automotive industry operates, having come from Big Pharma.

Thankfully, her previously peeved team — including CCO Sadie (Harriet Dyer), social-media-savvy assistant Dori (X Mayo), and vapid Payne heir Wesley (Jon Barinholtz) — has finally embraced the boss’ vehicular ineptitude and is invested in helping save the company.

That should also help with issues coming down the pike for Payne. “[A lot] of our episodes come from them trying to resurrect their image, while contending with complex issues of workplace discrimination, women’s rights, environmentalism, and geopolitics,” Spitzer explains. “There’s almost no topic that a corporation this big doesn’t have to deal with.”

Don’t even get us started on gas prices.

American Auto, Season Premiere, Tuesday, January 24, 8:30/7:30c, NBC