Episode 559 – 2011 Looks Good for OEMs, Toyota Halts Production in Japan, Front-Wheel-Drive Falcon?

January 18th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:10

The last few years have been tough on OEMs, but the Center for Automotive Research predicts sales will improve significantly in 2011.  Toyota halted production in Japan, but not for any of the reasons you might think.  Ford is rumored to be developing a front-wheel-drive replacement for the Falcon it sells in Australia.  All that and more, plus guest host Murray Feldman from Fox 2 News, Detroit, shares some of his thoughts on a potential problem the Big Three face going forward as the price of oil climbs.


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This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, January 18, 2011.  It’s hard to believe, but we’re already in our third week of the New Year.  Murray Feldman here from Fox 2 News, Detroit.  McElroy’s flown the coop again; he’s out of town driving some hot new cars.  Lucky guy.  We look forward to his reports, but in the meantime here’s what’s going on in the automotive world.

The last few years have been some of the toughest the auto industry has ever faced.  Plants closed, jobs were cut and GM and Chrysler went bankrupt.  Thankfully things got better in 2010, with year-over-year sales increasing 11 percent, and this year is looking even better.  According to CAR – that’s the Center for Automotive Research – sales are expected to improve some 12 to 14 percent in 2011 compared to last year.  They attribute the expected growth to the availability of credit, which is making it easier for people to get into new vehicles and the average age of cars on the road today, which is more than 10 years old.  According to The Detroit News, CAR also predicts that Michigan – the heart of the U.S. automotive industry – will increase its manufacturing employment this year by 23,000 jobs.  Good news for all of us.  Hopefully we’re finally putting the Great Recession in the rear-view mirror.

Automotive supplier Takata and TruTouch Technologies, a company that makes alcohol-testing systems, have teamed up to develop a non-invasive alcohol detection system for cars. TruTouch Technologies already has a system that can measure how drunk a person is by analyzing light reflected from their skin. The two companies will work to integrate this into a vehicle to make sure someone who’s drunk can’t drive. The partnership is part of a project by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adopt technologies that will prevent drunk driving. According to the World Health Organization, 576,000 people die each year due to alcohol-related crashes.

Last week we reported that Toyota is looking to move production out of Japan because the strength of the Yen is making it more costly to build there, but yesterday the company was forced to halt production in the country because of snow. According to the AP, the company stopped production at 12 factories because heavy snow caused traffic jams and delayed the delivery of car parts. Toyota says production will resume today and that workers will have to make up time for the missed production.

FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE FALCON? (subscription required)
More and more automakers are surrendering to the call . . . of front-wheel drive . . . as fuel economy and emissions regulations clamp down.  Australia has become a bastion for performance enthusiasts, as V-8-powered, rear-wheel-drive cars like the Holden Commodore are still offered.  But even down-under that way of life is threatened.  Ward’s reports that J Mays, Ford’s global design chief, strongly hinted at the Detroit Auto Show that the rear-wheel-drive Falcon’s days are numbered.  It’s rumored the Blue Oval is leaning toward a front- or all-wheel-drive replacement for the car sometime after 2015.  A company spokesman says design and engineering proposals are currently being considered but that no plans have been approved.  Either way, this should send a chill down every enthusiast’s spine.

In other product news, Jonathan Browning, the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations, wants to bring the Scirocco back to the ‘States.  The sporty hatchback hasn’t been offered here since the early ‘90s.  According to USA Today, Browning said they weren’t able to make it work for this product cycle, but that he’d love to sell it here in the future.  Is there a market for a sporty hatch like this in North America?  Tell us what you think.

Coming up next, the Detroit Three have just righted the ship and things are really looking up, but are they on a collision course with another iceberg?  Find out what I’m talking about right after this.

Automakers are now rushing out more fuel-efficient vehicles.  By latest count the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers notes there are 160 different vehicles out there that get more than 30 miles per gallon, and more are on the way.

However, many car makers – including the Big Three – are still heavy into larger vehicles. As noted here on Autoline Daily, those large vehicles are among the ones that really sell. People like the size, and the features, and the car makers like the larger profits that come from these big sizes. But with the price of gasoline over three bucks a gallon, heading to four or five bucks a gallon depending on which analyst you hear. Question is, will the redefined Chrysler and General Motors, and even Ford, get boxed-in again with too many high-profit but suddenly slow-selling vehicles because the price of gasoline sky-rockets and buying habits will switch to small.

We may soon see if the new flexible manufacturing plants which enable a carmaker to turn different vehicles out on a dime really work that way, and if carmakers can quickly adapt to a change in buying habits. They said they could if this happened. We may soon see. And if they do make the switch can they keep the profits coming in – profit on a small vehicle is often 10 percent of what they make on a larger one. Time for you to look into your crystal ball.  What do you think?  Let us know with a comment on this page

And with that we can wrap up today’s episode of Autoline Daily.  Again, I’m Murray Feldman, thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time . . . unless of course you live in Metro Detroit where you can tune in every weeknight at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time for the best local news on Fox 2.  If you’re in our neck of the woods check it out – watch McElroy send me a bill for that little commercial – if not I’ll see you around here on Autoline Daily.  Bye for now!

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

73 Comments to “Episode 559 – 2011 Looks Good for OEMs, Toyota Halts Production in Japan, Front-Wheel-Drive Falcon?”

  1. HtG Says:

    If the Scirocco blows in, something is going to start burning a hole in my pocket.

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    Losing the Falcon to FWD/AWD would hurt the enthusiasts in Australia for sure. I guess they would find some other outlet, but it’s sad that we haven’t filled that niche here. (Pony cars are a tad tight for what I am talking about.)

    Here’s to hoping that a 2 door version of the upcoming Caprice Police Car is built….and called Chevelle SS!

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For several years, Chrysler has filled the “niche” of rear drive, big engine cars.

    While the G8 was a good performance value, I doubt that the timing would be right to re-introduce a civilian version as a Chevy. It would probably arrive just in time for $6/gallon gas, and would be a sales bust.

  4. Clem F Says:

    Do we REALLY need another SUV? I see large and small SUV’s all the time with only the driver inside. When the price of gas hits $5 plus, we will again see the gas guzzlers parked in the driveways and used car lots.

  5. bob Says:

    Both Ford and GM (and Chrysler) already have good to excellent performance values in both their 6 and 8 cylinder Mustangs and Camaros and the 8 cyl Challenger-Charger hemis

  6. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    Takata and True touch system. This is good news for the rest of us. But in the photo it looks too bulky to fit on a steering wheel (my patent). Where will it sit? How will the driver interact with it?

  7. HtG Says:

    here’s how to beat the skinalyzer. Stand outside the car. Drain bottle of Vodka. Get in the car and let the laser take a profile of your skin. Start car and go.

    Will HAL keep taking readings as you get sloshed, or is it just at start up?

  8. HtG Says:

    hey boys, Honda just sent me a coupon offering $2500 above something called “Blue Book Value” for my 02, if I trade it in. But the fine print says I don’t have to get a new Honda; that I can also trade for a used vehicle. It doesn’t even specify buying a used Honda.

    This can’t be good.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    So now the Falcon RWD bites the dust .

    What next ?

    A FWD 4 cyl Mustang ? ( shades of the Mustang II )

    A Hybrid AWD Camaro ?

    The Dodge FWD E/V Challenger ?

    Next they’ll be selling us Gerbil Powered Shelby’s , Ferrari Diesels along with a 2 cylinder 4dr Corvette .

    Why not make things simple and get it over with . Make every car EXACTLY the same and lets not pretend any aspect of driving is intended to be enjoyable or fun anymore .

  10. tj Martin Says:


    Funny MINI me a similar offer last month

  11. HtG Says:

    tj, did you see over at the other site that Porsche will bring out a flat 4? 2.5L with 350hp blown.

    You better go score that S5 before it’s too late.

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Hoping that Detroit can do as Murray stated, that they can quickly respond to differing buyers demands. Right now, the Big Three, have to produce the big vehicles (that’s what a great deal of people want now), but as the fickle gasoline prices mingle with the fickle buying public, Detroit will have to respond and respond quick. Fool them once shame on us, fool them twice, shame on them.

  13. bob Says:

    # HtG Says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    “hey boys, Honda just sent me a coupon offering $2500 above something called “Blue Book Value” for my 02, if I trade it in. But the fine print says I don’t have to get a new Honda; that I can also trade for a used vehicle. It doesn’t even specify buying a used Honda.

    This can’t be good.”

    it sounds very good. How times have changed! In the 90s, Honda dealers were the worse cheapskates, refused to reduce prices one iota, but now with hyundai breathing down their neck (no to mention the Cruze, the Equinox, and later the new Focus) they did an 180, it seems!

  14. bob Says:

    basically trade-in is always 2-3k below private party value for most cars, so they just are not as greedy as they used to be, when you traded in an old civic for $4k and the next day they sold it for $8k, with minimum improvements beyond a mild facelift!

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Scirocco was always a niche car (and I predict the new one, when it gets here, will be the same), so yes there’s room (same as when it was here the first time). Runaway hit? NO

  16. David Sprowl Says:

    $4.00/gal gas!? Hmmm the last time this happened, two years ago, many of us had to make a hard, hard choice; pay the mortgage or buy the gas. If fuel cost do go up, then power brokers in DC have two choices; suffer another notch on the recession belt(unlikely given the debt we are in) or let inflation pay the bills.

    So, given that tid bit O info, I’d bet on inflation and pay increases for the next five years.

  17. bob Says:

    VW’s US gamble is to cheapen both the jetta and the passat and make them more roomy and price them lower. Their interiors are far more Checy-like than the higher quality german interiors of the past.

    This is a volume strategy, they hope they will double their sales by doing so. They may take sales from GM, Ford and Hyundai and less from Honda or even toyota.

    The Passat will be a large vehicle that, with the diesel, will easily get 43 EPA HWY, ie close to 50 MPG highhway in real driving.

    IF this coincides with $4 gas, it may become popular.

  18. bob Says:

    Chevy-like, not Checy-like, above.

  19. tj Martin Says:


    What ” Other ” site ( re; Porsche Flat 4 )

    S5 ???? You’ve got the wrong guy . I’m the one that had the S4 Avant and nothing but trouble from the car and Audi USA . They’ll never see a dime of my money again .

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    “January 18th, 2011 at 1:04 pm
    So now the Falcon RWD bites the dust .
    What next ?
    A FWD 4 cyl Mustang ? ( shades of the Mustang II”

    America’s “pony cars,” and the larger, rear drive sedans will increasing become niche cars as gas gets more expensive. I don’t know if Australian Falcon sales are already declining, but even if they aren’t, I suspect Ford is anticipating the need to rethink the Falcon to adjust to the times. If they are “talking about” an FWD Falcon now, it would hit the market no earlier than around 2015. Unlike Mustang, Falcon is a “bread and butter” car for Ford down under, and they need to have what the market will call for in the future.

  21. HtG Says:


    sorry about the S5 guess.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I meant to say:
    “America’s “pony cars,” and the larger, rear drive sedans FROM CHRYSLER will increasingly become niche cars as gas gets more expensive.”

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Relax guys . Its Winter . Heating Fuel is at peak demand and more folks than ever took their Xmas Holidays in their car .

    Its just the Oil Companies raking us across the coals again when we need Petrol Products the most . SNAFU

    Come Spring like Clockwork the prices will come down again .

    Until Memorial Day weekend of course , when they’ll miraculously need to raise prices again . Unless of course driving mile hence demand goes down again .

  24. bob Says:

    “David Sprowl Says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    $4.00/gal gas!? Hmmm the last time this happened, two years ago, many of us had to make a hard, hard choice; pay the mortgage or buy the gas”

    Very few people actually had to make such an extreme choice.

    Your statement above implies that ALL, every single one of the miles you drove before the $4 gas were absolutely necessary, AND that there was NO other option of ANY kind, walking, carpooling, mass transit, biking, scooter, the works!

    For most people, the above just is NOT TRUE.

    They have a ton of aces up their sleeve before they have to delay paying the mortgage just because gas went up one dollar!

  25. Paul Says:

    Since the current Scirroco uses the platform from the Passat why not make it so again with the replacement model. The advantage,of course is it could then be built in the US. If VAG does decide to do this then I say they should look to pony cars for inspiration as to how it drives.It needs to be a little rowdy. But above all fun.

  26. tj Martin Says:


    Autocar’s not a site I visit ( just have Brit friends that do . Their nickname for Autocar being AutoMasochist as the site seems to only like cars with rock hard suspensions )

    But I’ll go take a peak about the Porsche and see what’s up .

    No problem on the S5 mix up . You probably got that from my explanation to someone else about Audi being a legitimate Luxury Car maker based on price .

  27. tj Martin Says:

    Kit gerhart ;

    This is second hand from an Australian and NZ friend so take it with a grain of salt as its their opinion only and both are major league GearHeads .

    According to both ( and the Antipode magazines they occasionally send me ) the Falcon is as popular as ever what with the sedan , their Ute ( think El Camino / Ranchero ) and if anything the demand has been for a Coupe Falcon built on the new Mustang platform .

    So I’m guessing when I hear form them later today this news won’t go down well with either

  28. Alex C. Says:

    Oil/gas usage in the USA is on the decline however global demand is increasing – driven by large emerging markets like China and India. As demand increases – price increases – as we learned in economics 101. However…Americans are waking up to the insanity of USA energy policy as driven by the crazy leftist socialists – greenies who believe in the global warming scam, CAFE CO2 regs, government control over oil drilling, etc. The November 2, 2010 election was a real indicator with major shift towards more sanity. November 2012 will be the next step…with the US Senate and Presidency turning conservative as well…then in 2013 we will create common sense energy policy to allow us to drill for our own oil here rather than send our cash to communist dictators who would love to see our country implode…and we will also add refineries….and nuclear power. This will lead to long term USA fuel prices – 2015 to 2020 to decline down to under $2.00 per gallon!!! Then us independent Americans will again enjoy the good old days with our large V8 sports cars, SUV’s and pick up trucks. Fuel efficiency will still be a competitive advantage to OEM’s in each market segment. WE THE PEOPLE can make oil/gas prices drop through local production…we can make this happen…it is already in the works…LETS KEEP IT GOING…HELP TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK…join your local Tea Party Patriot movement. Support constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free market capitalism to maximize our future prosperity. There is no reason the USA should not be buying and making 20 million vehicles per year. We need to remove our blinders and paradigms and get back to common sense and free market innovation. Let’s support the Auto Industry by supporting the poticial wave that will help it the most.

  29. tj Martin Says:


    Just read the news on Autocar and a couple of other sites about the Porsche Flat Four .Looks like Porsche has officially confirmed the motor . Three cheers to Porsche for standing up to the VW-Audi Megalith and demanding their own motors for the upcoming Mini Me Porsche .

    At least somebody in the Industry still has some cajones .

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Who carea about Detroit? They deserve to rot. Look at them. They never learn, do they?

    You know if the Dollar collapses-which Im doing an article about such a hypothetical scenario for my site, but if if does crash gas would be.. say $7 a gallon or more. I say more, just because of the fact that the Dollar is the world standard, before that Pound Sterling, before that Gold.

    Everything in the world is bas on the value of the dollar. The Dollar has dropped 13% in the past 4 months already. At this rate of decline, there’s a problem-A big ass problem.

    If such a thing were to happen the US would dwindle down to the Big 2 if not one. There would also be a depressionary scenario, and food prices would be…. WOW!!!

    But hey, Detroit has been asking for it for years.

    The Japanese will rot too. If the Dollar were to crash Honda Motor Company is done, as they are mainly dependent of the US market for car products.

    We”ll, but you have been warned.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford is probably tying to anticipate a drop in RWD Falcon sales, but it sounds like they should keep building the current Falcon/Ute as long as they are selling. They might ought to hold off on any complete redesigns, though.

  32. HyundaiSmoke Says:


    VWAG, Ford, Hyundai/KIA, Nissan/Renault are the 4 companies in the best position ON THE PLANET if such a scenario occured.

    These are what I call the New World Order car companies. All 4 companies are ready and primed for the future with ZERO tweaks neccessary.

    Toyota/Lexus would get badly hurt though, as they have a ton of big products. Most of their products are 3500+ lb whales. GM is in worse off shape than Toyota however, and Chrysler=hopeless.

  33. Scott Evil Says:

    A few years ago I asked Stefan Jacoby if VW would bring the Scirocco to the US. His answer had something to do with poaching sales of the GTI. VW has huge growth goals for the US market. In order to meet them, they will need product that appeals to more than their current buyer base. A GTI buyer wants a GTI–just ask one and they will tell you. Scirocco is a different car today, like it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Different buyer.

    Anyone who bought Jetta in the early 2000s would never buy the new one. Outside it is gorgeous. Inside looks like it was made with Legos. I hope VW does not ignore their enthusiast following in their quest to be like Toyota.

  34. HtG Says:

    H/S, will you cite Hank Paulson’s book on the financial crisis when you predict the dollar collapse? Check out how hank calls his opposite number in the Central Kingdom to ask that the mandarins stop dumping the dollar.

  35. bob Says:

    Tell me something NEW, dollar collapse?

    The US dollar has been falling for over 40 years now, since 1968 or so, and all the while those that undercut it (the US government and PResidents) LIE TO YOU that, allegedly, they support a strong dollar. BULLSHIT! The US dollar was worth 5 swiss francs when I was in college, now it is barely worth ONE LOUSY SWISS FRANC!!!!

    ALso, it was worth 800 YEN, now it is worth EIGHTY, thanks to the wimp idiot CEOS in Detroit that were blaming their HORRIBLE UAW-mismade car sales drops to the “weak yen” (LOL!!!)

    Even the term MILLIONAIRE today means NOTHING, a guy with a million $ in assets can barely buy a 3 bedroom house in a nice area, WHILE when the term was coined, in a 1850s or so OBITUARY of a French banker in the U S, the $ waa more than ONE HUNDRED TIMES SRTRONGER than today.

    If the EURO was not an Even MORE Worthless currency, and, thanks to CHINESE imports, prices in the US still enabled most people to live OK, the shriveling of the US dollar would be far more painfully obvious to all of us!

  36. dcars Says:

    US monetary policy went from stability of the dollar to stability of the economy. The effect is unfortunate. I don’t think I have enough brain power to decide what our future policy should be. I do know that taking care of our assets like infrastructure, defense, security and basic services should be a priority. Our work force is efficient and our management very good. A longer view (greater than four years!) would be helpful.

  37. bob Says:

    Somebody may complain that this discussion is becoming political again, but the solution is to CUT SPENDING, CUT SPENDING, and Cut spending in US government, and all its aspects.

    Fraud, waste and abuse are estimated at anywhere from 10-33% of the three trillion a year Fed budget.

    After spending is cut to the bone, we can repay the debt, this will lower interest rates and strengthen the $.

  38. dcars Says:

    VW was selling mainly niche cars and tripling sales in the US could be quite a task. I’m not sure that GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai….. are really interested in getting out of the way for them. At the auto show VW held up a sign that read 12000 US jobs, but are they getting the same sort of benefits that they’re German VW counterparts are getting? I would bet that the Asian brands are paying they’re US workers similar pay than they’re home workers, VW probably not even close.

  39. tj Martin Says:

    Hmmn . Looks like the Glen Beck wanna be’s and as the Brits call them the AnarchoCapitalists are now holding sway on this site along with the Cult of Hyundai/KIA

    What’s next ?

    Hari Krishna Sermons ? Some New Age Guru from India ? A group of Palin Supporters with an online Tea Party ?

    Heck . Lets just remove the AutolineDetroit moniker and call it EveryNutAndHisBrother Online .

  40. tj Martin Says:

    dcars ;

    The AFL CIO auto workers would be crying in their soup if they saw what their counterparts in Germany are getting . The pay only being half of it . Add in all the multitudes of benefits , the fact that their Unions are subsidized by the German Government etc : it all probably adds up to at least twice what the average Union Auto worker receives here . Add in the Health and Education subsidies the German citizens get and you’re probably looking at more like three times as much .

  41. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Yeah bob, but this is different this time however. The Euro is collapsing at even a faster rate than the Dollar. The Fed is printing money which devalues the dollar faster. Just say I have “Friends” who know what they are talking about and nearly always get it right.

    The Consequences of a dollar collapse shall we:

    1. Out of control inflation on all goods and services.

    2. The US Dollar will not be accepted as a universal currency all over the world any longer. So many transaction we take for granted today would be impossible in such a situation.

    3. The living standard of the bottom 99% of the US population would be severely hampered. The social consequences of such a thing would be unthinkable for most people, but I live in reality and talk abotu Crime, Rioting, ciivl Unrest, Tribalism, etc… This would make the 1960s look like a peace march.

    Study your history-refer to Yugoslavia, refer to the British in the 70s when the Dollar replaced the Pound Sterling as the world standard. Watch Zimbabwe and most of Africa today. Study the Argentina, etc…


    It’s happening all over the world to the weak currencies first, then America will be the grand finale. With 300 Million Registered Guns and just as many guns floating around out there that are unregistered…. You figure it out.

    Hey, I’m just warning you. Screw the tea Baggers, Screw the Democrats, Screw the Republicans, because at the end of the day it’s all going to be about you. They will make sure they have what they need, while you wait in a 3 hour long line to buy a $15 loaf of bread during such a Dollar Collapse with armed military personnel limiting your purchases (rationing).

    You think they care about us? HELL NO.

    They want us so focused on this left right paradigm while we are being robbed blind.

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Whatever tj, you’ll see sir.

    You’ll see.

  43. Mike W Says:

    So, you’re saying the Detroit 3 can’t make a profit if gas prices go up and they can’t sell their trucks and SUVs? What? Didn’t we just have that conversation?? Are you taking a nap? By now everybody knows the Detroit 3 have been working on that problem. What’s the next question?

  44. HtG Says:

    Q for bob, does the value of the dollar affect engineering grants or jobs? How do US engineering grads fair compared to high and low wage countries?(yes, I know there’s lots of foreign grad students in science)

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    VW’s big draw for the new, cheapened Jetta and Passat will be that they sell them with diesels. Their only real competition, if you want room and fuel economy, is Prius. When fuel starts getting expensive, VW will sell lots of these cars, just because of the TDI.

  46. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    While you guys fight over Childish things (except cars) I will hoard. If you come to my house though looking for trouble (to steal my food and gas) during that time my glock will be wating.

    With the craziness that could happen in such a situation, an automatic would be an excellent investment. And a safe.

    Relaz guys, if this were to happen in America we would eventually get it under control. This still is America, you know. When it’s out of control though, it will be really out of control.

  47. HtG Says:

    Kit, when I asked the VW dealer about quality in the Jetta, he told me the company had just opened up an automated engine plant in Mexico. He had a real quick answer, so maybe VW is going to hit it this time.

  48. HtG Says:

    Oh, and he even had a decent answer for the torsion bar rear suspension. He said that, yes there was a difference, but that you’d probably only feel it at the limit. It was like he had been trained for these questions.

  49. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Its the Cycle of an empire. In the past there were 500 year spacings between such events, but as time goes on and we advance faster these cyclic events will seem to occur more often. Just remember, today 10 years of history is 25 years of history translated to old days time.

    That exponentially increases over time. Soon enough, 10 years will be equivalent to 100 years of past history.

    Think about it, tech from 10 years ago are ancient relics compared to the tech today. Try using a 10 year old cell phone in most places and see what happens. Try using a 10 year old computer today with more advanced Virus systems and larger data files and see what happens. etc.. etc… etc…

  50. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Most cars 10 years ago still had tape decks or tape deck options. Today we leaped from from tapes to CDs to: flash drives, Zunes, Androids, iPODs, etc… for our music playing needs in our rides. Imagine the technological wonders that will be available 10 years from now.

    The combustion engine is the slowest to change device ON THE PLANET. Even guns change faster than Combustion engines.

    No wonder why the future of the Car itself is in question.

  51. bob Says:

    # Kit Gerhart Says:
    January 18th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    VW’s big draw for the new, cheapened Jetta and Passat will be that they sell them with diesels.

    Also their very low price and their huge interior for the Passat, many that bought Impalas, malibus, Fusions and even Camrys and Accords could switch. But they also expect Diesels to make an increased share, maybe 40% of the passat sales. A passat wagon would be ideal with the diesel, and if it also has a start-stop system it will be a real competitor to the prius wagon

    “Their only real competition, if you want room and fuel economy, is Prius.”

    In the city, the prius is far better, unless they have the above start-stop (10% improvement in MPG city)

    ” When fuel starts getting expensive, VW will sell lots of these cars, just because of the TDI.”

    Sure. But 40% is peanuts compared to the late 70s and early 80s when the underpowered, primitive Mercedes DIESELS were 80% of all Mercedes sales (!!!!)

  52. tj Martin Says:

    I know !!!

    Lets go ahead and invite the Scientologists , Ekankar , EST , the Neo Nazi Party , Moonies , Religious Right , and the whole crazy , conspiracy theory delusional bunch to the site .

    That way , anyone from another Country looking in could have the complete picture of the State of Madness in America .

    I mean seriously . Just because the site is labeled AUTO line Detroit , why should that stop some good lively Political and Economic Rhetoric from the Severely Insane and the Terminally Clueless .

  53. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Maybe you’d stop whining and complaining about the Economy if you’d dump that Pretentious Expensive Extensive Repair Needy BMW 740 , got your Financial House in Order ( debt free ) started living within your means , and while you’re at it read a copy of ” The Millionaire Next Door ” You’ll be shocked how far a Million really does go these days in spite of the economy .

    Surprisingly you might even gain a sense of Empathy for those around you who may not be so fortunate ( your comment about $4 a gallon gas not affecting anyone ) as well as having a bit left over to help be a part of the Solution, rather than just another BlowHard Complaining about the Problems .

    Oh but you know ever so much more than I . Thats so obvious . How dare I critique the likes of BOB .

    Quite easily actually . He’s a pretentious blowhard ass !

    By the way genius . When I Was in college ( 70′s ) the exchange was $2.25 – £ . So much for that theory . Care to enlighten us further BOB !

  54. dcars Says:

    The Detroit three made big moves into the small car market and many were concerned that they would fall on their faces if the price of gas didn’t go up. Be careful what you wish for…… while listening to the Bob Lutz interview it became clear to me that GM has a good strategy to combat high gas prices, did the home teams finely guess right?

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, the poorly named Sonic can’t get here fast enough for these escalating gas prices, but remember the $4+ gas is not what drove people into small cars in 2009, it was the C4C which caught the domestics unprepared to meet small car demand once again.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, looks like some of H/S’s dire predictions are already coming through, the crime infested city of Camden NJ has laid off half its cops. Soon criminals will simply go about and prey on innocent victims. I guess the governor will have to bring in the National Guard, that is if they’re not involved in combat support ops in Iraq or Afghanistan, then it will be the military, oh wait, the military cannot be deployed in the homeland unless there is Marshall Law declared, Holy anarchy, Batman!!!!


  57. HtG Says:

    and Apple did monster business last quarter!

    just teasing, tj!

  58. cwolf Says:

    The NHTSA just added more roll-over protection,i.e COST, to a vehicle and I bet they are anxious as heck to incorporate this alcohol detection system! Where does this stupidity end? I say the NHTSA needs their feathers clipped.
    Since VW is cheapening their cars and has a diesel to attract more buyers, I think it would be a good time for Ford and others to lower the cost of their cars by offering bare-boned versions and to let the customer choose the options that aren’t packaged.
    For as much as I desire a diesel, I fear,due to the up-swing economy,increased semi fuel consumption will increase prices beyond justification. I truely feel there is some powerful identity out there that doesn’t want us to have diesels! Gas 4 cyl.’s MPG is becoming somewhat comparable, considering costs,yet I am bothered that U.S.car companys estimated MPG almost never are true.

  59. XA351GT Says:

    As a Australian Ford Falcon owner( XA 351 GT) I can tell you that if Ford does make the Falcon FWD they may as well shut down Ford AU . They will not buy them . They hate FWD especially in big cars. I think you will hear the same uproar as when Ford announced that the Mustang would be a FWD car built off a japanese platform. It led to a near revolt. That is why the Fox body Mustang went unchanged from 87-93 . It was supposed to be the 89 Probe. Oh and Ford if your listening how well is the probe still selling ? Oh that’s right it didn’t last 10 model years and went tits up. I had heard the new Falcon and Mustang would be sharing the new chassis architecure in 2014/15 . Which would make sense to share the RWD geometrey and bring down the costs.

  60. XA351GT Says:

    Well funny I mentioned this impending gas price doom over the Christmas break and most people called me nuts . Now that AD mentions it now everyone is echoing what I said 2 1/2 weeks ago.

  61. cwolf Says:

    I dread the thought of opening a can of beans but I think it’s worthy: Admittingly a UAW member, I fail to understand how/what/why merits a meeting with congress to unionize foreign US auto manufactures. For the purpose of unrestricted/legal/fair access for employees to choose is understandable to me. The political aspects are greater than pee-wees like me can comprehend. I plan to seek my plants union president for a better understanding and clearification. I’ll provide the response when given. I personally think,as I said before, the UAW and Manufacturer are collaborating. What a change this would be!

  62. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, I grew up in Camden. It was a good rough formative experience for me. It also makes me see that people in the rest of America except for a few other inner cities and rural areas are a bunch of spoiled overindulged pussies who: DESERVE TO HAVE $15 LOAVES OF BREAD, WHO DESERVE TO HAVE $15 A GALLON GAS, WHO DESERVE TO HAVE A LOWER STANDARD OF LIVING, WHO DESERVE TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DRIVE, ETC….

    Im working on my 3rd degree right now, and here comes the professor (a well publicized Environmental Scientist) boasting about how she drives a 2 MPG (it might as well have 2 MPG)Honda Oddessey when she has 2 kids and just a husband. If she likes Hondas so much then she needs to drive a Fit. You can fit 3 kids and a husband in a Fit, dammit.

    Like I said, cars aren’t Buffalo Wings. People shouldnt be allowed to have this big array of size choice.


    I grew up in an martial Law Camden. They once decalred martial law because there were so many murders once.



  63. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I soo.. take back what I said about Ford in the Past. A Mustang shouldn’t be $20K, A MUSTANG SHOULD BE $60K. THAT REALLY PISSES ME OFF ABOUT FORD. THEY TREAT THEIR MUSTANG LIKE A VOLUME PRODUCT AND NOT A NICHE CAR.











  64. dcars Says:

    Hey H/S no need to yell (all caps?) cwolf I have no problem with the UAW asking for help in negotiating with the VW plant in the south, if the Germans are allowed to have a union in Germany then they should allow the UAW to unionize the plant in the US, seems only fair or at least give them the same benefits and rights.

  65. XA351GT Says:

    There are already 60K Mustangs they are called Shelbys and the new Boss 302. Your bitching about the Mustang’s price makes no sense. The car is still sticking to the mission it was founded on, affordable stylish performance. Unlike the Hyundai Genesis coupe which is over priced for what it is. Hyundai is losing it’s plot which was affordable cars with decent dependability . 33K for a decently appointed Gen Coupe is BS. Along with no V8 option it is never going to be a true pony car contender that Hyundai is trying to sell it as. When a Mustang GT with a V8 sells for the same price the Hyundai will lose. V6 Mustangs go for around 24K with good options and that is it’s mission .

  66. bob Says:

    The Huyndai genesis coupe is an UTTER FRAUD. Its name implies it is a luxury vehicle of some kind, it is NOT, it is not at all related to the near-luxury genesis Sedan

  67. Ivan Sears Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if folks outside of the manufacturing and manufacturing engineering world, and maybe the automotive product engineering world really understand what it takes to turn product in a new plant – even a plant that is designed to be very flexible and very automated. A fast turnaround would be one year. If no tooling is required and the existing gaging would work on the newly introduced model (not very likely), well, every single weld robot and flexible fixture would hvae to be reprogrammed and every single person working in the plant would have to be retrained for the new vehicle. This alone would take several months. Bankruptcy is not a magical cure for lack of wishful thinking, but then again, wishful thinking by itself, won’t build cars or anything else. Somewhere along the line, it takes a bit of time, elbow grease, hurry up, and, in the end, patience. GM specifically, but Chrysler, too, are in better shape than ever to be able to convert lines to alternate vehicles. But, it still takes some time. Let’s cut ‘em a bit of slack.

  68. bob Says:




    You DAMNED LIAR, who lies effortlessly just by opening your mouth,

    You IGNORANT A-hole,


    Just kill yourself, IF you have the guts to do even THAT….

    Society will be far better without you.

    Scumbags like MARTIN are the MAIN reason why it is NOT wise to post here under one’s OWN name.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It you want to rant about the silliness of the mix of vehicles in America, there are a lot better targets than Mustang. How about all of the 300 hp pickup trucks, usually with only a driver and no cargo. Then, there are the moster SUV’s, also usually empty, except for the driver who is going to the super market to stock up on bottled water.

    Oh well, expensive gas will help fix this, but if the gas gets too expensive too quickly, it will really put a hit on the economy.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    my memory ain’t what is used to be so help me out here guys, what happened to overall car sales when gas hit $4+ in 09? I believe only used cars did well, ALL new car sales dropped .

  71. Gary Gross Says:

    Bring back the Scirocco! It will look great along side my 78 MK1

  72. Michael Says:

    I’d be very interested to know whether or not this TruTouch DUI monitoring system will work just as effectively on skin with melonin in it (in other words, black people).

    The moment I heard that it works its magic by detecting and measuring the amount of light bounced back from a persons skin I just couldn’t help but think that it just may not work for everybody. I even went to their website to see if they made any mention of this device yielding accurate results with subjects of a full sprectrum of skin colors. No mention whatsoever (from what I could find).

    ….Just saying, that’s all.

  73. Andrew Charles Says:

    I’m no great fan of the Falcon (ancient I6 engine and compromised design for compatibility with the Ute rear body), but the idea of replacing it with the Taurus is MONUMENTALLY stupid.

    1. Ford tried selling the Taurus in Australia already—no-one bought them.
    2. They are not even in the same size class—the Falcon is actually closer to the Fusion in size. Ford’s last rwd cars in the Taurus class were the Fairlane/LTD twins. Ford killed them because no-one was buying them and they couldn’t afford the investment to design a new model. What limited market there is for cars this size in Australia (we are talking a few hundred cars a month) is dominated by Holden, who has a large export market in the Middle East to support production (80% of Caprices go to the Middle East).
    3. The Falcon’s rwd platform is LIGHTER and has far better packaging efficiency than the Taurus’ f/awd platform. Ford Australia’s r/awd Territory midsize crossover is lighter than the new Explorer, has a longer wheelbase, and has more headroom, legroom and cargo capacity. If they’d based the Explorer on the Territory instead of the Taurus they’d have a vehicle that could go head to head with the Grand Cherokee and Durango, instead of an oversized dinosaur that steals sales from the Flex (check the sales figures—the intro of the Explorer has gutted the Flex).

    Now if Ford wanted to reintroduce the Taurus as a replacement for the Fairlane, that would make some sense—it may be a limited market, but the investment is also minimal, and the markup phenomenal (a base V6 Holden Caprice sells for around $US 60K in Australia).