Episode 503 – Alfa’s Last Stand, Mazda’s Skyactiv Powertrain, Hyundai Equus Pricing

October 20th, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 7:31

Sergio Marchionne is making one big push to finally make Alfa-Romeo profitable and analysts say he needs to invest at least €2 billion to pull it off. Mazda just introduced what it calls its Skyactiv powertrain in the Demio and claims it can get over 70 miles per gallon. Hyundai announced pricing of its luxury sedan, the Equus, which will be introduced in the U.S. at the end of the year. All that and more, plus John answers your questions in the “You Said It!” segment.

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This is Autoline Daily for October 20, 2010. And now, the news.

ALFA’S LAST STAND
Sergio Marchionne is making one big push to finally make Alfa-Romeo profitable. Bloomberg reports that Alfa is losing €300 million a year, that’s over $400 million. Last year Alfa sold fewer than 120,000 cars worldwide. It needs to reach at least 300,000 units a year to make a profit, and Marchionne wants to see sales hit 500,000 vehicles in the next four years. Analysts say he needs to invest at least €2 billion to pull it off. By the way, did you know that the Alfa in Alfa-Romeo actually stands for Anonima Lombarda Fabrica Automobili? That translates roughly to Incorporated Automobile Factory from Lombardy. Lombardy is a region of Italy. I always thought that Alfa came from the Greek alphabet, like Alpha, Beta, Gamma. But it’s actually an abbreviation.

MAZDA’S SKYACTIV POWERTRAIN
Mazda seems to be telling the world, “who needs hybrids?” It just introduced what it calls its Skyactiv powertrain in the Demio. The engine features direct injection and a compression ratio of 14:1, which is incredibly high for a mass-production gasoline engine. The automatic transmission uses a more aggressive lock-up calibration. And the chassis is 100 kilograms lighter than before. Put it all together and Mazda claims the Demio will travel 30 kilometers on one liter of fuel as measured on the Japanese driving cycle. That converts to more than 70 miles per gallon, which by the way, is better than the Honda Fit hybrid, and for a lot less cost.

JEEP WRANGLER CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS
Fans of the video game “Call of Duty” are eagerly awaiting the next installment of the series, “Black Ops,” which comes out next month. So, what does that have to do with the auto industry? Well, Jeep was just named the exclusive automotive partner by Activision, the makers of the game. Not only will Jeep be featured in the game, the company will also release a special edition of the Wrangler. The name? “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” It’s based on the Wrangler Rubicon and is all black with “Call of Duty” logos on the roof and front quarter panels. It also features 32-inch off-road tires, live axles with locking differentials in the front and rear, and a two-speed transfer case. Look for the Black Ops edition next month at dealers with a starting price just over $30,500 for a two-door and $33,500 for a four-door version.

HYUNDAI EQUUS PRICING
Hyundai is getting set to roll out its luxury sedan, the Equus, at the end of the year in the U.S. and the company just announced how much it will cost. The base price is $58,900 and the better equipped Equus Ultimate starts at $65,400.

DISTRACTED DRIVING DEBATE (subscription required)
Automakers play a huge role in distracted driving, but Ward’s reports that Kia says preventing accidents caused by distracted driving should not just be the responsibility of the auto industry. What about the role government should play? And what about driver responsibility? What do you think about all of this? Whose responsibility is it to curb distracted driving? What should automakers be doing as they prepare their next-generation vehicle connectivity systems? We’d love to get your comments.

QUICK-LUBE SERVICE HELPS BUSINESS
According to an article on the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler dealers that setup quick-lube services can double – yes, double – their oil-change business in one year. This is part of a push by the company to improve its customer service and make its dealers more competitive with independent repair shops.

CHRYSLER CHOOSES U.S. FIAT DEALERS
In related news, Chrysler is starting to name its U.S. Fiat dealers. It announced today that it wants showrooms in 119 markets across the country – mostly in areas with high numbers of small-car registrations. The company will announce more dealer locations by the end of the year.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Dale Leonard in Lakewood, Ohio asks, “How many more auto plants have to close before the UAW workers get it through their heads that working for 40 percent less money is better then not working at all? When is the greed going to stop?”

Dale, it’s not a question of greed. Who wants to see their income cut in half? Nobody. But what the union members need to realize is that there are plenty of young people who will happily work for $14.50 an hour plus benefits. And if we don’t let them work at that level, then that production will go to China or Korea or some other place in the world.

tj Martin wrote in about our latest report on China’s overcapacity. “Didn’t you give this same report almost six months ago? If so has it gotten worse or is this just old news that bears repeating?”

tj, it has gotten worse and it absolutely deserves repeating. We’ve seen the car companies do this time and again throughout history. They get big dollar signs in their eyes when they come across a region that is booming. They all want a piece of the action and they end up building way too many assembly plants. Personally, when it comes to China, I think they’re in denial.

Len Simpson wants to know, “How many pedestrians are struck-down worldwide annually?”

Len, I wasn’t able to come up with precise numbers, but let’s go with this. About 1 million people are killed in motor-vehicle accidents worldwide every year. Another 25 million are injured in those accidents. In the U.S. roughly 10 to 15 percent of traffic fatalities involve pedestrians. So, it’s probably safe to say somewhere between 2.5 million and 4 million pedestrians get hit by a car every year.

Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow night live at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best inside information on what’s going on in the industry. Also joining us is Kevin McMahon from the Martec Group. One of our topics: looks like the California Air Resources Board overstated diesel emissions by more than 300 percent when it set its diesel emission standards. So what’s going to be done about that? Tune in tomorrow night to find out on Autoline After Hours.

And that’s is for today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

43 Comments to “Episode 503 – Alfa’s Last Stand, Mazda’s Skyactiv Powertrain, Hyundai Equus Pricing”

  1. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Ohio Says:

    Hi John, I think the statement from Chris Preuss should be the new national slogan for distracted driving.
    “Eyes on the Road,Hands on the Wheel and Mind on the Task”.

  2. HtG Says:

    Really John? You thought ALFA stood for the Greek A? What do you think FIAT stands for? I hope we don’t have to find out all over again.

    As for in car electronics, with smartphones becoming more widespread, would it be impossible to have the accelerometers in the screens go black when the car is moving? I don’t know how to distinguish between driver and passengers here. Or how about have the parking light of the car flash if the car is in motion when someone texts? Again, the problem of distinguishing between occupants.

    So here’s my killer app. If there is an accident, a record of electronic device usage should be ‘generated’ (don’t ask me how) which will allow the aggrieved to sue your shorts off. This will get the insurance cos interested, and scare people into being a bit more responsible.

    But hey, people still drink and drive, drive tired, turn and slap the kids, and drive too fast. That’s life.

  3. DanM Says:

    Alfa from the greek alphabet? Seriously, knowing Alfa is an acrynom is kind of Auto knowledge 101.

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    First off,anybody who texts while driving is nothing short of being a complete moron period.Second,how much more in-dash crap can they put in and get away with it?Third and final from me on this subject,hands free phones are here to stay.Having said that,IF YOUR VEHICLE isn’t equipped for bluetooth hands free cell,buy a Blueant or similar product and make it your friend.I have one for my jeep and it works great.My wife’s car has the Ford Sync,and it works great.

  5. Tom Dubois Says:

    Distracted driving is not technology’s fault, it’s the poor choices made by a largely under-trained driving public. It would be a challenge, but if we can convince the public that driving is serious business — and tie that to licensing requirements — then drivers will make better, safer choices. No amount of legislation can compensate for ignorance.

  6. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Regarding Mazda’s Skyactiv Powertrain, sound like the urban legends of 100mpg technologies maybe true. Now let’s see how long it takes to get this technology to market.
    John, don’t feel too bad I didn’t know ALFA was an acronym, but then again must of my auto knowledge in US and Japanese based.

  7. Phoenix Mark Says:

    For Chrysler or any other manufacturer to make dealers more competitive with independent repair shops, how about charging less…..

  8. Salvador G. Says:

    What about the role government should play? And what about driver responsibility? What do you think about all of this? Whose responsibility is it to curb distracted driving? What should automakers be doing as they prepare their next-generation vehicle connectivity systems?
    _____

    John McElroy, How dare KIA, How dare they; this is America(No1 Greatest Nation on Earth) and it is Not My responsibility -It’s the useless big government and Obama’s and because of election season it is All the car manufacturer’s. ‘Personal Respon… Something ” That sounds like something a Communist/Terrorist/Illegal Mexican would say.
    And you can tell KIA, that what Americans want is a car that doesn’t get into an accident because of distracted drivers -But not an Automoton, there.

    (And for those don’t get the joke above – That’s called Sarcasm, look it up)

  9. tj Martin Says:

    @John M. Thanks for making the China comment clear . I thought that might be the case ( things getting worse with the Chinese Auto Industry therefore repeating the story ) but I appreciate your response .

    @ Salvador G ; Whats this ? We agree on something ? ( drivers being responsible for their own actions rather than demanding more electronic nannies ) Well it does make for a nice change of pace .

  10. tj Martin Says:

    So with Alfa in the toilet , finances wise , and FIAT claiming a huge loss this year could somebody please explain to me why we’re all to believe FIAT is in any position to save or revive Chrysler ?

    Seems to me FIAT et al can’t get out of its own way , never mind attend to someone else’s problems

  11. TomL Says:

    Hi John
    I believe that most accidents are cause by poor roads. There should be more yield signs, roundabouts and wider shoulders. So I would blame it on the government

  12. MouhamadA. Naboulsi Says:

    John,

    Driver distraction cost the U.S. alone thousands of lives each year. No news here, but the news is Why isn’t this problem solved yet? and I am glad that you asked.

    What we have are five (5) players that have effect on the Driver Distraction issue, particularly when it comes to the issue of Connectivity, Contents and Dining.

    The players are:

    1. Drivers and passengers
    2. Automotive OEM
    3. Telecom industry (Carriers and handset makers)
    4. Insurance companies
    5. Contents Providers
    6. Fast Food Industry
    7. Government, (All branches + and regulators)

    1. The first part of the problem lies with the Drivers. The drivers manage their time poorly so they need to eat in the car or finish their grooming, but all other parties except for Government are involved in the “Distraction Business” and they do so by enticing consumers into using their product while driving without providing the consumers with an antidote to what the side effects caused by their product.

    Each of the players is trying to solve the problem using their own business model so we end up with a square peg in a round hole every time.

    2. Automotive companies are mindlessly giving the consumers what they want and they think of this as a competitive edge. Perhaps the most telling of how short sighted are the OEM is their increased reliance on “Speech Recognition” as a remedy to driver distraction, but instead they end up causing Eyes Off The Road as the medium fails and the drivers look at the “head unit” trying to find out why it is not responding.

    3. The telecom companies completely washed their hands from the problem completely and now we have Cell phones instead of Car Phones and as I was told by a telecom executive one time, we will own the telematic market, not the automotive companies. This is evident in how companies are promoting their products with the “App” angle with “automotive applications” that are still need to be used like a desktop spreadsheet.

    While the Automotive industry may not be doing enough, they are still managing several aspect of the usage of the portable and the built in telematics through some engineering. The telecom industry spend Zero Dollar on the issue of Driver Distraction mitigation

    4. The insurance companies should be in the lead to solve this problem, yet they keep their IIHS at bay and just issue contradicting reports about the problem. Their business model is simple; you get into a risky behavior your premium will increase, so there is no financial motive for them to solve the problem.

    5. Contents providers (Traffic, Entertainment, etc) are also clamoring to get their slice from the consumers. Music providers/OEM for example, allow driver to tag a song that they are listening to while they driving so they can purchase it later “supposedly”. The financial incentive is not just in selling the receiver, but also by getting a slice selling the contents. Add to that traffic and weather reports

    6. The fast food industry has the most obvious contribution to the Driver Distraction problem and they exploit it to the max. Take for example the cup holder in vehicle. The OEM design these holders to hold a 12 oz can or similar size drink containers. The fast food industry turn around and supply the driver with a 32 oz drink with a tapered bottom that fits into the 12 oz sized holder. Statically, that works fine, but on the road the 32 oz pop is more likely than not to spill and end up in the lap of the driver while turning or breaking. The industry goes further and create food designed especially for eating while driving

    7. The government can only regulate mandate and fund research. When research are not suppressed as was done by the Bush Administration, the government activity can play a great role in increasing awareness, as Secretary LaHood campaign to highlight the problem and push to increase enforcement. . With that we only have to remember the “prohibition” and the “55 MPH” to know the outcome of legislating behavior.

    Bottom line is that the automotive OEM and their products are not the real/root cause of Driver Distraction, but they are swept with the tide to stay ahead of competitors in their business and from outside their business. What is needed is for the government is to mandate safety interlock such as the ones I developed and patented. The OEM are aware of this solution but the main concern is their fear that the consumers will revolt and go to competitors in case they deployed an active driver distraction mitigation system. A Government mandate on the Telecom Industry to come up with a simple to use “True Plug and Play” standard and for the Automotive Industry to implement such standard on all vehicles. Such system will have more benefit then just preventing distraction, but will also prevent other types of accident and provide cost free enforcement if it is configured to do so. For more information, please see iQ-Telematics.com

  13. HtG Says:

    Methinks the key number for FIAT is 5.5 million units/annum. If I recall correctly, Sergio said in ’09 they needed enough volume if they were to survive.

    Mangia America!

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just like Saab, Alfa lost its mojo many years ago and I think it’s too late to revive the brand, after all they were known not just for their design, but for their technological innovations. That’s ancient history now.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding driver distraction…

    For a start, there needs to be a buyer backlash against car companies that make controls overly complicated. The expensive Europeans are probably most guilty of this. Then, there needs to be a buyer backlash against car companies that expend way more effort designing and marketing “built in” driver distractions than in the chassis dynamics of the cars. Ford seems to be by far the most guilty of this. Do they advertise anything except “sync”?

    Also, I’d like to see cell phone jammers built into every car, but yes, I know that’s not going to happen.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I know a doctor who could afford to buy a luxury brand for him and his wife but refuses to do so for the same reason you mentioned, but they are in a tiny minority unfortunately.

  17. HtG Says:

    Driving in NY yesterday, I got balked by a US govt fleet car that was clogging the left lane. Everyone had to drive around this doosh, with his G10 license plate. At a light, I was alongside him and saw that indeed he was texting. Was he texting while in motion? Don’t know.

    Re Alfa design, I saw a 147 in DC a few weeks ago. Che bello.

  18. Phil in Burlington Says:

    Hi John,

    I am a claims adjuster and believe it or not I get people calling in to report their accident from a cell phone, WHILE DRIVING! When I tell them we as in insurance company can’t take the claim from them while they’re driving (for obvious reasons ie, we need them to refer to police reports and other documents and it takes about 15-20 minutes to report the average claim) they get all indignant and can’t understand why we don’t condone that activity. Makes you wonder if they got into the accident while talking on the phone or texting in the first place.

  19. Salvador G. Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    @ Salvador G ; Whats this ? We agree on something ? ( drivers being responsible for their own actions rather than demanding more electronic nannies ) Well it does make for a nice change of pace

    tj, I blame white people. :)
    __

    JohnMc. I don’t get the news on Alfa’s (Anonima Lombarda Fabrica Automobili – Say that 5 times fast – I DARE YOU) & Romeo (of Nicola Romeo) Anywho… I don’t get, Its been dying forever and trust me when I say, it is not going down anytime soon, Italians will rollover hell before that happens.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG -Next time you see a Fed Texting while driving , call and report his ( bleep ) with license # , location and time of day . What that guy was doing is against all Safety regs for Feds while Driving and will at least garner him a reprimand , hurt his next evaluation , as well as a possible short suspension .

    @Kit Gerhart – Post # 11. Two thumbs up !

  21. cwolf Says:

    I like the looks of the ALFA ROMEO, esp. the eye catchy grill,so will someone give me a couple facts for their poor numbers. Whats the problem with them? How about the FIAT brand? In my youth,I use to see a good number and only noticed they became rust buckets.
    As I previously stated, $15/hr is old news and has been inacted in a good many auto plants for perhaps 2 years. I was lucky enough to get under the wire before the trades made compromises, but know as fact that I will have to make a wage adjustment when the contract ends. Considering the economy and our need to get the AMERICAN auto industry rolling toward profitability, it is the right and fair thing to do. Since labor costs are a small part of the overall cost of a vehicle, I noticed greater profits may be had in waste reduction, process control, an a more focused and common sensed management. I, for one honestly believe we are headed in the right direction.
    Crused beside a CRUSE on the pike for about 15 miles yesterday. It was quiet, seemed to handle and accelerate well. I just wished it didn’t mirror the MALIBU quite so much. What are others thoughts?

  22. tj Martin Says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and place a gentleman’s wager here . I’ll bet that in five years time ;

    #1 FIAT will be running back to Italy with their tails between their legs ( what that’ll mean for Chrysler is anyones guess )
    #2 The brands Alfa Romeo and Lancia will be relegated to the Dust Bin or alternatively sold off by FIAT
    #3 Marchionne will be out on his pretentious over ambitious arse
    #4 In order to survive FIAT will as they’ve been threatening/hinting at lately sell off Ferrari as a whole or at least a controlling interest in the company

  23. tj Martin Says:

    The main question the UAW needs to be asking themselves is ;

    Would you rather have a job albeit , making less money ? Or would you rather be out of work with no prospects on the horizon ?

    Personally I’d go for the first option . But then again I’ve retained an element of Common Sense over the years . Something I fear the UAW lost years ago . If they ever had it .

  24. Mohammad Rafi Says:

    I could count IN ONE HAND the number of times I have used my phone in my car in the past 5 years. That is not due to laws not allowing me to do so (there aren’t any laws, yet, that would prevent me from doing so) but because I know the dangers distracted driving poses to both myself and other drivers on the road. So it all comes down to being a responsible individual and knowing that a text message or a phone call (while driving) could cost you your or someone else’s life. And no matter what electronic gizmo’s the government or the car makers come up with, if the individual doesn’t take responsibility, all efforts (to prevent a driver from being distracted) are is simply wasted.

  25. HtG Says:

    tjM@16, I couldn’t see if the driver was texting while in motion, but he was driving slow and steady, oblivious to people passing him on the right, as though ‘distracted.’ He certainly was texting at the light. And I know very well what reporting him might lead to. So I didn’t.

    (Short story time, folks? A couple of months ago I was riding the train into Manhattan when I saw the driver of the train alongside mine READING A BOOK!!! This was truly shocking, and I reported it to the MTA in such a way as to disguise the person’s identity. I felt this dangerous behavior was also a management issue. You better believe they responded to my message mucho pronto.)

  26. cwolf Says:

    @tj Martin.. If you were had enough common sense enough to read my postings you would know by now, adjustments between the UAW and the auto industry began last contract for some and will no doubt be carried thru by the remainder as contracts expire. Please us your common sense to realize that contracts are a bond until expiration. Allow this 4 year cycle to complete itself, show patience to see what has been bargained for the next. Your perceptions towards the UAW over the hayday years have validity,yet, yesterday is not today! The union is not a god, but is comprised of people who would like to believe they are just as wise as you and just as devoted and hard working as you were.

  27. El Minotauro Says:

    Hey John Whatever happened to your weekly trivia question? I really liked that part of the show and I kinda miss doing the research and the idea of learning something new every week. I don’t care if you don’t give a price but if you feel like giving a price just list the weeks winner on your website for a year, I would be happy with that.

  28. dcars Says:

    Italian designers are some of the best in the world, teamed with the some good engineers they could do some truly great things. Before Daimler came along Chrysler was know for inventiveness and engineering work. As John as said Chrysler may; save Fiat.

  29. XA351GT Says:

    The responsibility lies with the user of the electronic gizmos. Just because your car has thees doodads doesn’t mean you use while driving. It takes a bit of common sense to know what you should and shouldn’t be doing while driving. It boils down to who do you sue if your involved in a accident . A. the car company,B. the cell phone company, C . the moron using it when they should be paying attention to their driving? For me the answer is C . The car doesn’t hurt anyone when used properly as is the case with the cell phone. It’s the selfish bastards that feel their phone call or text message is more valuable than your life. These arrogant a$$holes believe that life can’t go on without their precious phones.

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: With regards to the Ford Sync,we have the basic radio/sat/single cd with sync.While driving,you press a button on the steering wheel and the rest is easy as pie voice commands.No muss,no fuss,no scrolling etc.No nav/infotainment system needed ;}>

  31. C-tech Says:

    Big whoop on Chrysler quick lube!?! They have researched and found the lowest profit (if any) service at a dealership and found that you can “double” the revenue (or net profit loss) by offering the service faster. Sadly the men of genuis who studied this still have well paying jobs instead being kicked to the unemployment line. If dealers really want to increase their service revenue and profits 1.) lower the costs of parts, thus selling more parts and service. selling a battery for $160 that the consumer can buy at Wal-Mart or Autozone for $90 will LOSE your dealership business everytime. 2.) Quality control – fix the car right the first time and customers will return. Customer pay a premiun at a dealership so may sure the repair is done right and the customer is treated with respect. There you go, that consultation was free Chrysler, e-mail me for a full report.

  32. Miradart Says:

    Slam dunk for Salvador G! Right on! :)

    When it comes to companies doing special edition cars from video games, I’m waiting for the reintroduction of the NEON ACR, and the following “Mario Cart” edition!

  33. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Mazda seems to be telling the world, “who needs hybrids?” ”

    I have been saying that for AGES. And we need Plug ins and EVs and Fuel Cell BS Fu King Vehicles EVEN LESS. Welcome to the club, Mazda!

    “It just introduced what it calls its Skyactiv powertrain in the Demio.”

    Isn’t that a tiny car smaller than the Yaris-Fit?

    “The engine features direct injection and a compression ratio of 14:1, which is incredibly high for a mass-production gasoline engine.”

    that’s OK

    ” The automatic transmission uses a more aggressive lock-up calibration. ”

    How many gears, John? Is there a CVT?

    “And the chassis is 100 kilograms lighter than before.”

    Good, if not at the expense of reliability and safety.

    ” Put it all together and Mazda claims the Demio will travel 30 kilometers on one liter of fuel as measured on the Japanese driving cycle. That converts to more than 70 miles per gallon,”

    NO IT DOES NOT. Even on the highway, it will get less. Japanese MPG standards as well as euro ones are far more lenient than the revised 2008 voo-doo (I’ve seen the full 200 page or so report!) EPA MPG standards

    ” which by the way, is better than the Honda Fit hybrid, and for a lot less cost.”

    See above, John. APPLES AND ORANGES comparison both MPG-wise AND vehicle-wise, the FIt is a far superior vehicle than the tiny little Demio.

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    “A couple years ago at the Detroit auto show (NAIAS) I was puzzled by the presence of an Audi A4 in the Chevrolet area. Then I realized it was actually the new Cruze. Shod with 19-inch five-spoke alloys and painted candy apple red, the small sedan really grabbed the eye.”

    See the production Cruze review by Michael KAresh. He is a serious dude and writes useful reviews.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/review-2011-chevrolet-cruze-lt/

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    As far as Distracted Driver Debate goes, it ultimately comes down to personal responibility. Even if vehicles had no attention distraction devices the driver has to pay attention to operating the vehicle. As mentioned earlier, you still have; eating, talking to passengers, swatting the kids in the back seat, general lack of paying attention, etc. so you still can’t eliminate inattention.

    And as far as the Alfa misunderstanding, the Greek letter is spelled: alpha…………but that’s okay John (I hadn’t even a clue as to what Alfa stood for.

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    “ΑΛΦΑ” IN GREEK is spelled without the H.

    FIAT is a LATIN word also in the english language, but FIAT the failed automaker stands for

    FABRICA ITALIANA AUTOMOBILI TORINO

  37. littlejw Says:

    UAW wages are based mainly on the cost of living index put out by the government. Real wages are actually less than what they should be. Also the UAW wage is less than two thousand dollars a car. It’s the corporate profit of five to ten thousand dollars per vehicle that really drives up cost and per vehicle cost in adverting, property and corporate taxes, plus other production cost that keep our vehicles higher.

  38. dcars Says:

    They have loaded up the new car storage lot (on the Canadian/Us border) with the new Chevrolet Cruze. I’m shocked by this car’s good looks. GM may have a winner.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The review linked in #28 is a great review, by the “serious guy” of the TTAC site.

    For those who aren’t aware, you need to know who is writing a review on that site to know whether to take it seriously.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    Yes, as I said many times before, I expect the Cruze to be a HUGE home run for GM, even bigger than the Success of the Excellent Equinox, which now is expanding production even more.

    In fact, the CRUZE, not the STUPID Volt, will be THE most crucial, important vehicle for the new GM.

    It does look great from the outside, the white four-door I saw one night at an empty, unpaved lot in Europe, looked VERY high quality AND excellent exterior styling.

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS There is little in the “The Truth about Cars” site that I don’t take seriously. Ihave not found out anything they ever said to be false. In fact, they had a 1,000- or so intallment “GM Death Watch” long before other auto journalists realized it was going broke (OR chose to reveal it to us) !

    Karesh has developed a reliability database where I have copntributed facts about my own cars, and he sends me emails regularly for updates. He also emailed us once to get a group to drive to the Auto Show but it did not happen, the economies of scale really were not there.

  42. Julius Lambert Says:

    If most people that drive cars ,can bang out info on their computers without looking at the KEY BOARD,What’s with the distraction PROBLEM?I guess that when they perform SEX the LIGHT is ON.

  43. Bob Tarpey Says:

    Distracted Driver Debate – One last comment on the subject, please!
    I have been with Ford for the past 15 years, and I spend alot of time in every vehicle we produce. Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple hundred miles in the 2011 Edge equipped with every option you could throw at it.
    Talk about driver distraction!
    With all of the buttons,& screens, it took me 12 distracing miles to find out how many miles to emty on one of the three dashboard screens!
    I can only imagine how many little “fender benders” new owners will experience while trying to navigate the dash!