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Episode 556 – Profit Sharing for the UAW, Ford Wins More Awards, Toyota’s Advanced Batteries

January 13th, 2011 at 12:07pm

Runtime 6:49

UAW workers could be headed for some pretty good profit-sharing checks this year.  Ford is really on a roll,  topping several categories in the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards.  Toyota is hard at work developing several different battery technologies for use in EVs, including one called magnesium sulfur.  All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.

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This is Autoline Daily for January 13, 2011, and now, the news.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS (subscription required)
UAW workers could be headed for some pretty good profit-sharing checks this year.  Ford’s UAW workers could get a $5,000 bonus. GM, Ford and Chrysler are keenly interested in going with profit sharing, instead of baking on higher wages and benefits and more vacation time, which is exactly what got them into trouble in the past.  With profit sharing, everyone benefits when times are good and allows companies to hold their breakeven costs down if there is a downturn in the market.  The automakers want the hourly workers to earn their bonus the same as salary workers.  It will also be based on sales, market share and quality.  Ward’s reports that the Detroit Three want to pay the profit-sharing bonus in stock instead of in cash.

HONDA HINTS AT FUTURE CIVICS
As you know Honda unwrapped concepts of the new Civic and Civic Si at the Detroit Auto Show and we have new video of both. Honda says they provide a glimpse as to what the production versions will look like when they go on sale this spring. The company didn’t say specifically which engines will be available but said it will still be available with gas engines, a natural-gas version and a hybrid. It will also be available with EcoAssist, which uses graphics in the dash to help the driver max out his or her fuel economy.

MORE AWARDS FOR FORD
You don’t need me to tell you Ford’s on a roll.  With Captain Mulally at the helm, the company has successfully navigated through troubled waters and has serious momentum right now.  Adding another feather to its cap, it just took top honors in the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, a study that looks at automakers’ ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles.  During 2010 the firm measured nearly 5 million “return to market events” as they’re called, and here are some of the results.  Ford took home awards for “Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer” as well as the “Overall Loyalty to Make.”  It was also the top brand among African Americans.  Not surprisingly, it also took the gold in the “Mid/Full-Size Pickup” category.  Some other winners include Kia, which was honored with the “Most Improved Loyalty to Make” title while the Dodge Challenger was tops in the “Sports Car” category.

MAGNESIUM-SULFUR BATTERIES
The race is on to develop advanced new batteries for electric vehicles.  Lithium-ion is the current front runner in this field but it seems everyone is scrambling to come up with something better.  According to Bloomberg, Toyota is researching a technology called magnesium sulfur.  Allegedly these batteries can hold TWICE the energy of today’s li-ion cells, which, in turn, have about double the capacity of nickel-metal hydride packs.  Toyota is also looking at aluminum and calcium as potential battery materials, but don’t expect any of these advanced cells to come out in the near term.  Magnesium-sulfur batteries MAY be ready by around 2020.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline after hours tonight.  We’ll be starting a little bit earlier than we normally do, at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time.  Our guest tonight is Camilo Pardo, the guy who designed the extraordinary Ford GT, and we’ll be broadcasting the show from his studio.  Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter DeLorenzo, on Autoline after hours.

Coming up next it’s time to take a look at some of your questions and comments.

And now it’s time for, “You said it!”

JETZcorp saw our coverage of the outrageous off-road version of the Ram pickup and says, “YES! I’ve been waiting months for Chrysler to start offering the Ram Runner to the public. Ford Raptor, the end is nigh.”

cwolf wasn’t very impressed with the minivan concept that Kia showed at the Detroit auto show.  He wrote in to say, “The Hyundai/Kia copycat people are sure on a roll! The KV7 light looks like the concept was from Audi. I’m not sure they can create anything on their own. I’m just waiting for their over-confidence and “finger-in-every-market-segment” to bite them in the rear. If they want to improve their cars, they should focus on removing engine/tire/suspension noise from the cabin. A $27,000 Optima? Go Fish!”

But dcars doesn’t see it that way, he says, “Koreans work hard and deserve the position they have earned in the automotive world. The Sonata looks great I’m going to check it out at the next auto show.”

Tony Gray saw last week’s Autoline After Hours with Bob Lutz and has some pretty good advice for anyone else who didn’t see it.  He says, “A plug for you folks who may have missed Bob Lutz on last night’s Autoline After Hours…GO WATCH IT!!”

He’s right, go watch it!  And while you’re at it, check out the John’s Journal section of our website or check out our YouTube channel, for our complete coverage of the Detroit Auto Show.  We have an astonishing number of interviews, as well as our tour of the floor of the show. It’s a great program to have running in the background while you’re at work or doing some other chore.

But that brings us to the end of 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

68 Comments to “Episode 556 – Profit Sharing for the UAW, Ford Wins More Awards, Toyota’s Advanced Batteries”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Yesterday a few here were reasonably challenging ( though some being quite snide ) my MPG claims in my MINI so I thought I’d take a bit of space to explain .

    First the MINI . 2007 MINI Cooper Six Speed . I intentionally ordered it to be the best handling and lightest I could make it . e.g. Sport Package Sport Suspension No Sunroof , No leather power seats , no stereo upgrade ;

    Second my driving habits ;

    1) I never ” Launch ” from a dead stop ( unless having a bit of fun ) accelerating as quick as possible once moving to the desired speed . Occasionally Short Shifting ( taking second to 40mph and then shifting to Fourth )

    2) Due to racing experience ( FF Old Rules F Vee and GoKarts ) having taken the Jackie Stewart driving course when he offered it here and the handling characteristics of the MINI I ” Carry ” as much speed as is reasonable thru and around corners many times negating the need to accelerate out of the corners

    3) I store nothing ( other than an emergency kit and in the winter some gloves hat and ice removal tools ) in the car

    4) Unless taking an extended journey I never fill the tank past 3/4 and most often 1/2

    5) KC has a plethora of Traffic Ways ( few stoplights ) and most lead to my intended destinations in town .

    6) Excepting on Weekends and the odd evening out with the wife I am most often alone in the car .

    I’m sure more than a few will say my driving is a bit Anal . Truth be known they’re probably right . But … with the training I’ve had etc. and the years I’ve driven this way all of my driving habits have become second nature . Truth be known I revel in the Details and Precision of Driving as well .

    To end let me add I was able to get an AVERAGE of 23-24 mpg in my 98 4Runner when i owned it except in winter when the 4 Wheel drive was engaged regularly . Same light as possible set up . My neighbor back then in VT thought I was crazy as he could only manage 17 MPG in his fully loaded 4Runner . Till we switched cars for a week . I pulled 22 MPG in his whereas he only got 19 MPG in mine .

    So driving skills and habits as well as weight savings . Thats how I do it .

    Sorry for the extended post

  2. HtG Says:

    Interesting tj. I read Stewart’s book on driving, and also took on board the value of being smooth, also of being courteous. Did you do Stewart’s exercise with the ball in a dish on the hood of a car?

    I am guessing you don’t fill the tank for weight savings. I also got my Civic with no extras except A/C. I get very good mileage last time I checked. 35 mixed driving and 43 highway(not going over 65, and measured by dividing miles by actual gas added). I wonder though, do you also draft? By which I mean driving in another car’s wind shadow?

  3. HtG Says:

    Some cars punch such a big hole in the air on the highway, that I can sneek up on them and literally feel the wind resistance collapse. A car with as small a frontal area as Mini can also benefit from this effect. As soon as I feel this I can lift up on the throttle. And I am no closer than other cars to each other.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    good explanation tj, unfortunately in my area the freaking traffic is so heavy and congested most of the time that having a stick becomes a liability esp. with all the driving I do, otherwise I remember reading in the old days that you should always buy a small car with a stick to take advantage of every little pony the engine can muster.

  5. bob Says:

    John McElroy:

    Too much cheerleading for Ford, I think. You should pause and consider several recent Ford BLUNDERS that are costing it dearly:

    1. The God-awful, butt-ugly, stinking, unstable-looking Ford Transit Connect, whose sales bombed no matter what tricks Ford tried. The Jury is NOT still out, and the veridict is NOT flattering for your auto Journalists buddies that voted it … Truck of the YEar no less, instead of the obvious choice, the AWESOME CHEVY EQUINOX.

    2. The Fiesta Siesta Flop (a conti nuing disaster). Despite the humongus PR Campaign and all the hype from you auto Journalist types and from Ford types, it is not selling even HALF of what the AWESOME CHEVY CRUZE is selling, AND the Fiesta Inventories are getting HUGER AND HUGER every month, which proves they did NOT expect such DISMAL sales. The reason of course is that the SIESTA is OBSCENELY Overpriced.

    3. ALL LINCOLNS. Their looks SUCK, their MPG Sucks, and all are clones of FORD vehicles you can buy at a FRACTION of the price. MAJOR improvement is needed at lincoln. IN Addition, NO V8s and NO true luxury inside. NOT what a luxury car SHOULD BE.

    4. My best advice to the truly great Alan Mulally is: FIRE MARK FIELDS AND any other Snake oil salesman down at Ford that that contributed to the above debacles.

  6. HtG Says:

    bob, do you know Nick?

  7. bob Says:

    CIVIC:

    The new Civic will FAIL if it does not get 40 MPG in ALL ITS VARIANTS, like the new ELANTRA does. People are SERIOUS about MPG, esp, in that category.

    And i say this as a former and continuing Honda owner, but not of its recent poor models but of its awesome 1990 Accord coupe 5-speed (1994-2008) and its 1991-2 Civic Hatch 5-speed (1991-CONTINUING and still looking and driving LIKE NEW)

  8. bob Says:

    Htg

    of course I do.

  9. bob Says:

    DUH!

  10. HtG Says:

    well alright

    I can say as a Civic 02 owner, the recent iterations just didn’t appeal to me. I like simple. Those designs were just too much inside and out. And the power sacrificed mileage.

  11. dcars Says:

    My Honda accord gets about 24mpg, I think I could do better if it layed off the gas petal. It would be nice to have one of those economy gauges. The after market ones cost about $200.00

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Right on Bob, Ford Fiesta was all over the American Idol tv show with its humongous weekly audience but to no avail, I think people had instead of sticker shock, sticker myocardial infarction when they went to see the SUBcompact Fiesta. It amazes me that I have only seen 2 driving around these parts and just 1 Mazda 2.

  13. bob Says:

    I tryly believe Hyundai’s Krafchik when he boasted that the NEW Accent, of which the hatch looks TERRIFIC, will kick the Siesta’s overpriced butt. Especially if you can get a loaded one for $15k or less.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    By naming the Challenger as top sports car makes me wonder if this Polk report should be taken with a grain of salt. A fancy, schmancy mileage meter? why not just look at the readout on your car’s computer? Now the stupid gadget epidemic has even hit Honda.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    HtG;

    No drafting on my part ( wouldn’t trust the driver in front of me to do so ) Also a YES on the Ball in a Bowl exercise . Damned embarrassing the first few times let me tell you . YES on why I don’t fill the tank as well .

    Hmmn . Seems along with a certain someone’s single brand bias we’ve got ourselves a FordaPhobic in our midsts as well . Hmmn . Hyundai/KIA mania . FordaPhobia . Hope none of these are contagious .

  16. bob Says:

    Does this pitiful clown have a SINGLE honest bone in his poor body?

  17. tj Martin Says:

    I’m going to make my last statement here concerning HyundaiSmoke as well as Hyundai/KIA .

    To be honest , until my run ins with HS and his kind ( last year the Factory KIA forum had all their members gang up on the CAR site to push the votes towards Peter Schreyer of KIA for CAR’s annual designers award ) my overall attitude towards Hyundai/KIA was basically thus ;

    A decent , cheap , but somewhat suspect car for the money . I’d never recommend one ( I’ve always suggested a used Honda/Toyota over a new member of the HK duo ) but never used to try to dissuade anyone from buying one either.

    But after a year and a half dealing with HS most often , but more than a fair share of the multitudes of the rest of the Hyundai/KIA Cult ( and lets be honest . Thats what it is ) I’ve come to absolutely HATE the brands , their business practices and especially their prompted as well as PAID Internet aggressiveness .

    Not to mention doing extensive research to back up my critiques and claims : as well as following ( whereas in the past ignoring ) all of Korea’s UNFAIR business practices .

    So to all in the Cult of Hyundai/KIA . Congratulations . You’ve managed to take a person from a Benign Opinion of the Brand to Abject Hatred .

    And let me assure you all . I’m far far from the only one you’ve had this effect on .

    Won’t your minders ( Hyundai/KIA ) be so proud .

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey Captain Mullaly, remember one single iceberg sank the unsinkable Titanic. and you already ran into 2 of them.

  19. bob Says:

    I will watch the progress (or lack thereof) of the Siesta with interest. if Ford admits its error and lowers the price, it will lose face but it may have a chance to sell some of these little POS.

    As for Lincoln, I did read somewhere that Ford (mullaly?) is indeed aware of its very serious problems.

    Don’t forget that a few decades ago the US luxury brands (mostly Caddy and Lincoln) carried 90% (!!!!) of the US luxury market, and today they barely have 17%.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    Oh Booob ;

    Who are you to challenge me or anyone else on this site as to being honest ? What’s the matter . Have I been bursting your uneducated and uninformed Bubble once too often ? Stepped on your unfounded opinions a few too many times ? Flat out proved you a fool on every challenge you’ve made ? Crushed your arrogance and self serving snobbery on a regular basis ?

    So sorry Booob . I thought this was an automotive information site , not Disneylands Car Fantasy on Ice . My mistake.

    Do go on regaling us with your delusional wisdom and mis-information . I’ll know from now on to take it as a bit of juvenile entertainment from this point on . By the way . you dropped your Binky last night .

    Nice bit of condescending towards Pedro last night as well

    Carry On !

  21. ckernzie Says:

    Well said tj! Personally I will never forget that H/K dumped substandard cars into N.AM. for 2 decades and passed them off as competitive. By far the cheapest junk I’ve ever run across. Had a academic teaching shop and could not believe the cheapness of the parts and how badly those cars were put together and I’m talking 5 year old cars not the even more pathetic Pony. Made my old Triumph Spitfire look like a BMW. I steer people away from that junk if I can but the recent styling and ‘cheap price’ make it hard to convince non-car people.

  22. bob Says:

    “# dcars Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    My Honda accord gets about 24mpg, I think I could do better if it layed off the gas petal. It would be nice to have one of those economy gauges. The after market ones cost about $200.00″

    24 MPG overall? You got the V6? Even for that, it’s low. My 1990 Accord coupe was rated 24/31 with the old pre-2008 lenient EPA ratings, and I could get 35-37 highway if I did not speed. 28 average was typical.

  23. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ dcars:No need for any expensive gauge.Just buy a inexpensive vacuum gauge.easy as hell to hook up,and easier to read…..just keep it in the green zone.

  24. bob Says:

    And you don’t need the gauges, you can find your mpg even more accurately when you fill your tank to the top every time you fill up, and deduct the odometer reading from the new reading, and then divide the miles by the gallons you bought, and there is your MPG.

    I had been doing this both when i did not have trip computers in my cars and now that i do in the BMW, and I do it mainly to make sure the car is running properly and there is nothing bad developing under the hood (or deflated tires, or..)

  25. Brett Says:

    Why do some of the posts bring this old chestnut to mind?
    ——————————————
    (to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”)

    I am the very model of a Newsgroup personality.
    I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.
    Addresses I have plenty of, both genuine and ghosted too,
    On all the countless newsgroups that my drivel is cross-posted to.
    Your bandwidth I will fritter with my whining and my snivelling,
    And you’re the one who pays the bill, downloading all my drivelling.
    My enemies are numerous, and no-one would be blaming you
    For cracking my head open after I’ve been rudely flaming you.

    I hate to lose an argument (by now I should be used to it).
    I wouldn’t know a valid point if I were introduced to it.
    My learning is extensive but consists of mindless trivia,
    Designed to fan my ego, which is larger than Bolivia.
    The comments that I vomit forth, disguised as jest and drollery,
    Are really just an exercise in unremitting trollery.
    I say I’m frank and forthright, but that’s merely lies and vanity,
    The gibberings of one who’s at the limits of his sanity.

    If only I could get a life, as many people tell me to;
    If only Mom could find a circus freak-show she could sell me to;
    If I go off to Zanzibar to paint the local scenery;
    If I lose all my fingers in a mishap with machinery;
    If I survive to twenty, which is somewhat problematical;
    If what I post was more mature, or slightly more grammatical;
    If I could learn to spell a bit, and maybe even punctuate;
    Would I still be the loathsome and objectionable punk you hate?

    But while I have this tiresome urge to prance around and show my face,
    It simply isn’t safe for normal people here in cyberspace.
    To stick me in Old Sparky and turn on the electricity
    Would be a fitting punishment for tasteless crass duplicity.
    I always have the last word; so, with uttermost finality,
    That’s all from me, the model of a Newsgroup personality.

  26. bob Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Oh Booob ;

    Who are you to challenge me or anyone else on this site as to being honest ? What’s the matter .”

    Who I am is utterly irrelevant, here we are judged by what we post.

    Didn’t you just accuse me, utterly cluelessly or maliciously, you tell us, of… “Fordophobia”>?????

    Do you Evek KNOW what the damned word “Phobia” means?

    WHY the hell would I be AFRAID of … Ford of all people or companies?????

    I am quite happy and grateful that Ford has managed so far without going belly up like the other two Detroit Geniuses!

    You make no sense whatsoever. Sober up!

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did a little research on my local Autonation dealer website and they have about 110 Cruze in stock and 170 Fiestas, yet only 15 and 20 Yaris and Fit respectively with almost 200 Civics, I guess sine the new Civic is coming, people are waiting on the new one. Must be a hell of a time to get a great deal on one right now, with that much stock just sitting there.

  28. HtG Says:

    question for Bob. FORD took about 24B in financing beginning in ~’06, but do you know who it came from? I ask because they didn’t go BK, but had cash. Which of our illustrious financial institutions did they rely on?

  29. bob Says:

    “question for Bob. FORD took about 24B in financing beginning in ~’06, but do you know who it came from?”

    Yes, I remember very well when Ford decided to mortgage almost everything they got to get these $23 Bill or so. Fine with me.. much better than GM or Chrysler getting it from me and you.

  30. bob Says:

    The nation-wide inventory numbers (in days of sales) for the Cruze and the Equinox are very, very low (30 days or so) while for the .. Siesta they are like six times that, about 180 days (half a year!)

  31. HtG Says:

    I ask the question because GM and Chrysler get pounded so much. If the govt saved the banks, they saved their customers too. I just wondered if you knew which banks for got $ from. Was it C?

  32. HtG Says:

    crxn

    …which banks Ford got $ from.

  33. phil Says:

    Bob don’t like FORDS. I guess

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj,
    If you don’t fill your tank full, how do you check gas mileage, other than with the computer? I “fill it full and run it low,” and then divide the miles by the gallons to get an accurate check of “overall” gas mileage.

  35. bob Says:

    HtG: I don’t know which banks they were. In general, I don’t know much about how banks operate, and I really don’t like banks in general, they are a necessary evil in the economy and that’s why Bush and then Obama had to bail them out.

    Phil: No, I don’t think I don’t like Fords. I never owned one because one could buy a similar Chevy or even Pontiac for $2-3k less, so I have no horror stories to report, but since they are more expensive, they should deliver in terms of better quality and/or reliability than Chevys.

    I like a lot of cars and carmakers, including both Domestics, Japanese, Korean and German models (I don’t say Italian because I am not ready to buy a Ferrari in the snowbelt yet, and the other italian makes are 100% junk).

  36. bob Says:

    Re Ford Motor Co, I applaud that they finally bit the bullet and killed Mercury, that underachieving “Chick brand” had no reason to exist any more. Now they can focus on improving Lincoln.

  37. ckernzie Says:

    I think it is interesting to see what is happening with the failure of the Fiesta to sell vs. what VW is doing with the likes of the Passat. For years car-guys have been beating the drum to let us have the excellent products sold in Europe. The problem is that European ride characteristics, styling and quality come at a cost. The car may be superior but most of the unwashed masses in America don’t seem to care, they just want cheap small cars with falsely perceived value & they are getting it from the likes of the Koreans. Now VW is in the game de-contenting their cars and dumbing them down for America in the quest for market share. Eventually with rising fuel prices we will see Americans desire premium quality small cars but Ford may initially sacrifice sales to stay the course.

  38. Rick Wakefield Says:

    John,
    When you suggest that everyone watch the Live Coverage of the Auto Show (specifically Day 2) why don’t you also mention the continuous interruptions to the broadcast due to the latest and greatest technology you all are using.
    I tried watching it live, but had to bow out. Sorry the technology is a “FAIL” as far as I’m concerned.
    Had too many LOOOONG periods of no broadcast, yet was looking forward to what you were supposed to be showing LIVE on the floor.
    Didn’t happen, sorry for you guy’s as well as us loyal watcher’s.
    Rick Wakefield

  39. dcars Says:

    I press on the gas way too much, if I try hard I can get my mileage to 26. I will look into the advice I’ve received here and look for a vacuum gage. I rented a focus with a economy gage and I paid attention to it and it least felt like i was getting better gas mileage.

  40. Bill Says:

    I thought this was an Autoline Detroit website. When did it become the tjMartin, Pedro, Bob & htG chat room ????

  41. bob Says:

    Ck: yes, it is very interesting to see how well VW will do with the cheapened Jetta and the big new also cheapened Passat. People are more defensive and frugal these days and may welcome a big car with good to excellent (if they ge tthe diesel) MPG at a good price. it is the opposite of what VW did when it failed miserably with the $70k-$100k phaeton obese luxomobile which even had a W-12 engine (the $100k version)

    And re the Show, I agree with Rick’s comments above. And re the Lutz interview, i watched it but was not that much impressed.

    First, Lutz would not bother being interviwed if he did not have a book to sell.

    Second, Lutz refused to blame any auto execs by name despite being challenged by some callers…

  42. HtG Says:

    Rick@38. I had a very smooth feed in NY.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Totally agree with #37, we’ve been accustomed to the fact that small cars=cheap cars. Suddenly Fiesta shows up at a premium price w/o breaking any new grounds here. (The Fit is just as good) and can be had for less money plus it’s proven itself to be reliable and it’s very well designed inside where it counts. Now Cruze comes in same price and you get more car for the money. I wonder where are they gonna price the Focus, it’s gonna clash with the Fusion. The current Focus is cheaper than the Fiesta even though it’s a class higher with more room and engine power.

  44. tj Martin Says:

    Kit Gerhart ;

    Every now and again I do top off ( once to fill /once to refill ) to see if the MPG has increased/decreased .

    I’ll have a look every now and again at the MPG readout but know its unreliable . e.g. I don’t define my actual MPG by the onboard computer .

  45. T. Bejma Says:

    ckernzie Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    “…For years car-guys have been beating the drum to let us have the excellent products sold in Europe. The problem is that European ride characteristics, styling and quality come at a cost. The car may be superior but most of the unwashed masses in America don’t seem to care…”

    Not so with the fantastic Buick Regal…

  46. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Regarding the lead subject of this show, what are the chances of dumping the UAW and replacing it with profit sharing plans at the “big three” US plants? What creative compensation methods will the foreign manufacturers offer team members to keep the UAW out of their US plants?
    PS. Not related to just plain “bob”

  47. tj Martin Says:

    T.bejima

    Not having driven or seen the new Regal I have no idea what the car is like in its US guise . But I do know from the UK Forum I’m on that its Opel/Vauxhall equivalent is somewhat less than revered on that side of the World .

    So are we getting an excellent European product at a decent price ? Or are we getting a less than admirable European product at an OK price ?

    From the Euro/UK reviews and comments I’d lean towards the later . Not to mention that the engine it currently has available has been reviewed by the US Press ( NYTimes etc. ) as being underpowered . The recommendation being to wait for the more powerful version yet to come .

  48. T. Bejma Says:

    Scanning Wards website and just noticed that Hyundai Group went from 7.7% Market Share in November to 6.6% in December (15% Drop!!).

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that Ford really blew it by pricing the Fiesta high at launch. If they had gotten a bunch of them on the road by pricing more reasonably, they could have gotten the car better established.

  50. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ( the other Bob ) in Atlanta ;

    Getting the Union out of any shop etc. is nigh on impossible with all the legal protection etc. they’ve gained over the years .

  51. tj Martin Says:

    @Kit #48 That would of been the smart move for Ford to make rather than trying to cash in too much too soon and turning people towards other products .

  52. HtG Says:

    tj, to get an impression of Regal, go sit in it. It’s a german car. And it looks very different on the exterior than it photographs. It is not a Buick.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just saw a glowing report on the new Elantra at autotoob.com. this car will put the final nail in the Fiesta’s coffin if they don’t adjust the price of it. Even tj might end up buying one of these.

  54. dcars Says:

    Lots of good products in the Ford Fiesta segment. They really can’t have a bad price because their are so many good cars to choose from. I remember the Saturn (Opel) Astra, a nice car, but too expensive and it didn’t sell well here. Honestly it wasn’t any better than a Civic, Elantra or a Corrola.

  55. cwolf Says:

    @ Atlanta Bob & tj:It is not specifically legal protections that prevents the removal of a union from a shop,but rather the vote from the entire work force in that plant. Yet,you are correct to state it’s wishful thinking.
    Though a UAW member myself, I would like to believe I am not a radical of the past and shared previous comments of where they are headed in the future have been quite accurate. Using ones ears and not the mouth has proven to be a true benifit. U.S. foreign manufacturers, in the past, have mirrored union contracts as a deterrent and to stray too far from them may have adverse affects. In this coming contract, profit sharing will be one union target and I invision a closer company/union partnership toward quality and competitiveness will form. Another target,benifitial to both, is fair trade practices and policies. The UAW doesn’t like the idea that foreign companies are unionized in their country ,but not here! As of now, I predict,with a degree of confidence, U.S foreign manufacturers will become unionized in a domino effect. If, both, Co. and Union become TRUE partners towards all that is good, it might not be a bad thing! Time will tell.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Astra had one big advantage over Civic and Corolla in that they sold it here as a hatch, but “captive imports” from GM carry way too much baggage from the past.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    I remember the good old days when Civic had many variations including a tall wagon type vehicle that was very accommodating, even Corolla had a wagon and a 2 dr hatchback that was also popular.

  58. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, the Elantra is a whale compared to Fiesta. The reviewers are screwing up segments badly in their reviews and commentary.

    Elantra is a full 5 inches longer than Fiesta Sedan, and nearly a foot and a half longer than Fiesta Hatch.

    Comparing C-Segment cars to B-Segment cars? WTF? Is American auto journalism devolving into British auto journalism?

    Even Autoblog has been caught a few times trying to compare Fiesta to Elantra.

    Stop being so hasty Autoblog. Wait for the Accent, it’s worth it. Besides, John Krafcik stated that: “Accent would kick Fiesta’s butt.” Im sorry but that US/Korean Spec Accent being sold in Korea right now is a VERY VERY VERY SWEET PRODUCT.

    -Gauge screens with traditional needles
    -Leather seating with heated seats
    -Nav with Backup camera
    -No Steelies and caps on ANY TRIM
    and much more….

    It spanks Polo, and that was the intended goal.

    BTW, those old Civics made me like small cars.

    Like I said, the Yaris still needs that iconic “cute” formula. The Yaris should have a shape that even in a shadow 35 years from now you know it’s a Toyota Yaris. A Yaris should make you smile when looking at it. A girl would smile because it’s cute, and a guy should smile and shutter, “Silly car.” In a good way, though. Not in a, “Oh it’s a Smart” it sucks way.

    I like that Music in the background of AAH this week. It does sound like the Doors.

  59. bob Says:

    “# pedro fernandez Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Just saw a glowing report on the new Elantra at autotoob.com. this car will put the final nail in the Fiesta’s coffin if they don’t adjust the price of it. Even tj might end up buying one of these.”

    Sizewise, and as Krafcik said, it will be the new Accent Hatch that will kick the Siesta’s butt, while the Elantra is sized more like the Focus.

    If Ford does not overprice the Focus too much, it will do very well, but if it pulls a “siesta” there too, the 40 MPG (ALL its variants get 40 MPG EPA HWY) Elantra will also kick its butt!

    I do remember the Honda Tall Wagon, my neighbor used to have one from 87 when I moved here to when she left, it was even 4WD or AWD, and still very lightweight, short, narrow but tall. Today’s Fit is not much different.

  60. bob Says:

    I do not blame most Americans for wanting larger cars and not liking small cars, their needs are very different than the needs of Europeans or the Japanese.

    FORD tried many times with the Escort to produce a “world car”, same recipe in all different markets, but it failed.

    It does not make sense for some farmer in the Midwest with a large family AND with NO parallel parking problems like city dwellers in London or Paris or… to buy a Fit or a Fiesta. He is far better served by an Impala or a Malibu or a Fusion, and of course with an Accord or Camry or Sonata.

    Especially when a loaded tiny Fiesta costs as much as an outstanding Accord or SOnata!!!

    Even Ford has cars that are far superior to the Fiesta yet cost the same! Such as the Mustang with the 300 HP 6 cylinder, you can get one of these for 23k, and the 400 HP v8 for about 30k!
    \
    Sanity has to return. Ford should quietly reduce the price of the Fiesta, OR, even BETTER, leave the prices unchanged for the base Fiesta to save face, and offer it with much more equipment without charging 23k for it.

  61. bob Says:

    Buicks have improved vastly, thanks to loaners from Opel. Their exteriors, when i see them at Airport Displays, are truly works of art, and the interiors can be really upscale.

    I have not driven them, but if the same type of folks that bought the old buicks buy the new ones, they would not care less if they do not handle like trains on rails, like my 7 does, or if they don’t even have a v6. Why would a granma that drives her buick to see the grandkids, or to go to church, or to shop, needs more than 150 HP in an I-4?

  62. bob Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    January 13th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    The Astra had one big advantage over Civic and Corolla in that they sold it here as a hatch..”

    The Astra failed miserably in the US, and Lutz one day very frankly and bluntly explained why:

    it was overpriced for what it offered, and they did not spend any $ to advertise it, so the average guy on the street that does NOT keep up to date with all the models, had NO CLUE what the hell an “Astra” was.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Also, the only engine used in Astra in the US was very underwhelming, both in performance and gas mileage. The US-spec Astra was slower than a Prius, but got only slightler better gas mileage than a 2.5 liter, 5 cyl. Golf.

  64. dcars Says:

    FYI for the first time I saw a Fiesta commercial on TV and it was advertising a +$13000 price. I think they got the message loud and clear, we won’t buy and over priced car.

  65. dcars Says:

    Here is an idea for the UAW go after the foreign national companies that have Unions in their home countries and request the same treatment. For Example the new VW plant. The German unions are more reactionary than the UAW and whats good for the germans should be good for the Americans.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Dcars, they’ve been advertising the Siesta for that amount: 4 door sedan WITH NO EXTRAS. very few people would actually buy it that way (not even rental fleets) you start adding options (which are standard in other cars) and the price goes up quickly ex. hatch with auto and insync and Backstreet boys and all that crap makes it go above 20k

  67. bob Says:

    In today’s market, where all that counts is MPG, the tiny Siesta is an inferior design, as both the Eco Cruze and ALL new variations of the Elantra get 40 MPG hwy EPA and the much smaller fiesta only gets it in one variant that is much more expensive than $13 or 14k.

    Maybe Mullaly and his sidekick Fields will learn their lesson when they price the much improved new Focus?

  68. XA351GT Says:

    I love the look of the Challenger, but I have to ask what was the criteria they based the award on? It has finished 3rd or 4th in every comparison to it’s direct competition, the Mustang, Camaro and Genesis coupe. So what exactly did it excel in better than the other 3?