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Episode 569 – More Production Cuts in Japan, Chrysler Will Pay Bonuses, BMW’s Smart Key Fob

February 1st, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:16

More Japanese automakers are moving or planning on moving production out of the country as the strong yen cuts into their profits.  Chrysler workers will cash in as CEO Sergio Marchionne prepares to hand out bonuses.  BMW is developing a smart key fob that could allow drivers to do things like check up on their vehicle or even book travel arrangements.  All that and more, plus a look at the enhanced 2011 Jeep Patriot.

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This is Autoline Daily for the first day of February, 2011. And now, the news.

YEN AND YANG (subscription required)
Twenty years ago Japan looked like it was ready to take over the automotive industry.  Today, Japanese automakers are moving out of the country as fast as they can.  The Wall Street Journal reports Nissan plans to significantly reduce the number of cars it makes in Japan.  Wards reports Subaru is looking at moving production of the Forester and Impreza out of Japan and to the United States.  Suzuki and Toyota are also considering moving production out of Japan.  It all has to do with the strength of the Japanese yen, which is currently trading at 81 to the dollar.  Indeed, Honda blames the strong yen for a 40 percent drop in its profitability in its most recent fiscal quarter.  And all the signs point to a strong yen for years to come.

CHINA STILL BOOMING
Meanwhile, in China, automotive production keeps on booming.  Last year General Motors sold more cars in China than it did in the United States, and yet GM can barely keep up with demand.  It says it could have sold more vehicles if it could have made them. Now, Reuters reports GM is looking at building more assembly plants in China. In fact, GM’s sales in China are growing by more than one assembly plant every year.  And it’s not just GM.  All the major automakers are looking at boosting production in China.

CZECH PRODUCTION MILESTONE (subscription required)
But that’s not to say China is taking over the auto industry.  Wards reports the Czech Republic just passed a production milestone by building more than one million cars last year. The country has five assembly plants which build cars for Skoda, Hyundai, Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen.  Pretty impressive from a country with a population of only 10 million people. Actually, it’s about the same population as the state of Michigan, which makes roughly the same number of vehicles in a good year.

CHRYSLER WORKERS CASH IN (subscription required)
Even though it just posted a loss of more than half a billion dollars Chrysler is taking an unusual step and paying out bonuses.  Hourly workers will get about 750 bucks. Sergio Marchionne says the company owes them a lot and it would be inexcusable to ignore them.  But is that really why is Chrysler doing this?  It could be a ploy to earn brownie points with the unions.  Labor leaders and workers will no doubt appreciate the bonus. But according to Ward’s, CAW President Ken Lewenza says the gesture will have NO effect on future bargaining.  Also, white-collar workers will be included in this “performance reward.”

HYUNDAI’S HYBRID CNG BUSSES (subscription required)
Hyundai is developing a new CNG-powered hybrid bus it’s calling “Blue-City.”  The automaker plans to have a test fleet of 30 on the roads in major South Korean cities this July with full-scale production expected to start in 2012.  The busses will feature a 240-horsepower natural-gas engine and a six-speed manual transmission.  Augmenting the powertrain is an 82 horsepower electric motor that’s juiced by a 3.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery.  Fuel efficiency is 30 to 40 percent better than Hyundai’s existing CNG-powered buses.  Those are some pretty impressive gains.

BMW DEVELOPING SMART KEY FOB
Currently most key fobs can only lock and unlock doors or start the engine but BMW is developing a car key that can do that and a whole lot more. It’s designed to make traveling much easier and not just in your car. For example, you can book a ticket for a train or subway with it by using the iDrive controller in the car to select the destination and to confirm the purchase. You can also book a hotel room from the car and then use the car key as your hotel key. It can store information about the car, like where it’s located, if it’s locked, and how much fuel is left, which can be accessed with a smartphone even if you’re not near the car. So how does it work? Good question. But it would take to long for me to explain. Just click the link in today’s show notes to learn more.

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS BOOST SAFETY
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study that proves red-light cameras can reduce traffic deaths. The agency studied nearly 100 cities in the U.S. with populations over 200,000 during two time periods to see what happened after cameras were installed. The study found that fatal crashes decreased by nearly a quarter with cities that used cameras. The IIHS concludes that fatalities decrease with cameras because people are more cautious if they know a camera is around. But here’s my Autoline Insight: they also think these cameras are just another example of big brother looking over their shoulder. That’s why you don’t see many of these red light cameras. What do you think? Are they a good safety technology, or represent too much government intrusion? Post your comments on our website.

Coming up next, a look at how Jeep is completely revamping its lineup.

2011 JEEP PATRIOT
As we’ve already shown you, Jeep is making a big push to improve its products.  The Compass, the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee have all been redesigned or upgraded, but that’s not all.  Craig Cole has more.

For 2011 the Patriot benefits from an increased ride height which makes it a lot better off road, it also gets a new front fascia AND, like the rest of Jeep’s lineup, a brand-new interior.

As we’ve already seen, the brand has made some big improvements to its products that are helping make 2011 a banner year for Chrysler.  Its Grand Cherokee is redesigned from the ground up; the Wrangler has a completely new interior; and the Compass got an updated front end, plus a bunch of other tweaks to its passenger compartment and powertrain.

And then there’s the Patriot.  It’s kind of the middle child in Jeep’s lineup, but it hasn’t been forgotten.  It too reaps some important enhancements for the new year, but its changes are far less radical than what the Compass received, and for good reason.

With these changes the Patriot definitely fits in with the rest of the Jeep lineup.  Some of the other improvements it’s received include an updated suspension with retuned springs and a larger rear sway bar.  The available “Freedom Drive II” off-road package also gives buyers a best-in-class 19:1 crawl ratio for serious mudslinging.  It can also ford up to 19 inches of water!  How’s that for capability?

2011 is going to be a BIG year for Chrysler, and all of these updated Jeeps are just a small part of that equation.

And 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

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82 Comments to “Episode 569 – More Production Cuts in Japan, Chrysler Will Pay Bonuses, BMW’s Smart Key Fob”

  1. Steve Says:

    We’re we reading articles in the last 6 months about over capacity in China? And now they are building more plants? Must be the new math.

  2. Steve Says:

    Sorry, S/B Weren’t we reading…

  3. Steve Says:

    Red light cameras are nothing more than a way for local governments to generate revenue with no capital outlay. It’s not an invasion of privacy but a way to help close financial deficits.

  4. Tony Gray Says:

    Here we go again with the Red Light Cameras. It’s a fallacy. They don’t mention the massive increase in rear end collisions that occur at these same intersections when the cameras are installed.

    What they REALLY need to do is have realistic YELLOW light times, giving you a reasonable time to determine whether you need to brake or can safely continue through the intersection.

  5. Andy S Says:

    With regard to red light cameras, IIHS justifies them because fatalities declined in cities the have red light cameras. But haven’t fatalities be decling across the entire country, and if so, aren’t red light cameras nothing more than another revenue-generating tool for municipalities?

  6. bob Says:

    John did not catch the January sales data for this broadcast, GM has already rushed to report excellent sales, up 22% (AND its less profitable fleet sales down 7%!), and, as expected, both the Cruze and the Equinox did very well, and Buick and Cadillac as divisions were up 44 and 49% respectively.

  7. Tony Gray Says:

    RLCs are revenue enhancement plain and simple. They need to just put on a realistic yellow light. Figure out the distance traveled by a car going the speed limit during the time of the yellow. Paint a line on the road at that point.

    Therefore if you are traveling the speed limit and the light turns yellow AFTER you pass the line, you know you can proceed through safely. If it turns yellow BEFORE you get to the line, you know you have to brake to a safe stop.

    No rear end collisions, no guessing wrong on gunning it to make the light.

  8. bob Says:

    If traffic lights were better coordinated, we could save millions of barrels of oil (gas) a day.

    When I stop at a red light, I expect that then it is green, I should be able to cross the next several lights with green too. Instead, frequently after one red light stop, the next, immediately, light is red again, which really points to extremely poor design and coordination!

  9. Ken Stadden Says:

    John,

    Red-light cameras are great in principle; it infuriates me when other drivers risking my life by running red lights. But I don’t much like the IIHS and have never trusted their motives, never mind those of government officials facing a budget squeeze. There have been instances of municipalities shortening yellow lights to jack up revenue, for instance. Can the cameras be used fairly? Not so sure.

  10. Bradley Anderson Says:

    Cedar Rapids, IA where I work has red light cameras. A firm in New York state has been contracted by the city to manage them. They appear to be more of a revenue generator for the city, than a contributor to safety. The same false logic is being used. If you wear bug spray you can testify you didn’t get any bug bites, but you do not know how many were prevented.

  11. Dan Clemons Says:

    Camera’s are all about making money for the city. They do nothing to make intersections safer. The last person to run a red light never knew there was a camera at the intersection. Cities have done their own studies and found no difference in the number of accidents at camera intersections. Most cities lose money that have them.

  12. bob Says:

    Ford sales are out too, they were up only 9% vs 22% for GM. No details yet how poorly the Siesta did.

  13. Robert Says:

    Regarding red light cameras, I question the motivation for deploying them. I have heard; anecdotally mind you that these cameras ticket you regardless of the situation. Stop 6 inches over the line and you’re ticketed. Stop then inch forward to make a legal red light right you’ve been known to be ticketed. Oh and your local government only gets a cut of this questionable income. A large piece of it goes to the third party company installing the systems. Finally, and this may be more urban legend than truth, but some people have argued that yellow light durations have been altered by the third party. One can only assume to increase the number of people being ticketed.

    Hoping not to live in a camera host city
    Robert

  14. Steve Says:

    Lights at intersections are the past. Can’t wait till they are all replaced with roundabouts. They are far safer then lights and more traffic moves smoother thru them and are very economical. They just need educate drives how to use them correctly. That’s the only problem with them.
    The cities that install cameras aren’t worried about safety, just revenue.

  15. Dom Montesano Says:

    Red Light Cameras, Have you driven in NYC lately. They have red light cameras and I can’t figure out how the insurance people say it cuts accidents. You can let statistics say what you want. It’s just a cash grab.

  16. Bob K Says:

    I think people who object to red light cameras are the ones that drive through red lights regularly. The cameras won’t generate any revenue if everybody stops on red! Running a red light is still illegal isn’t it? The 4 way red seem to have made intersections more dangerous then less.

  17. bob Says:

    OK, i finally got the detailed Ford Sales for Jan.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/ford-sales-up-in-january-but-lincoln-is-still-lagging/#more-382516

    The Siesta did miserably, a paltry 4,000 units plus change sold. I bet the Cruze sold three times that, if not four.

    And While the Ford division was up, LINCOLN of the baleen whale grilles was DOWN 21%. Any comments, Mike G? LOL….

    Note that some say that Lincoln has some good models planned for the next few years, but obviously we have not seen then yet.

  18. Dale Leonard,Lakewood Oh Says:

    Yeah,Lets encourage Red Light Cameras. Next they will have Yellow Light Cameras and ticket you claiming you had time to stop instead of going through it. I think we’re over camera’d now. Big Brother is watching way to much.

  19. ckernzie Says:

    Where I am a real downside of red-light cameras has appeared. The problem is that the government have rigged many of them to be speed cameras as well which creates a phenomenon where people who are exceeding the speed limit hit the brakes going through intersections, which as you can imagine in the flow of traffic can be dangerous. They also have found that the speed cameras are unreliable and imprecise and due to a recent court case the government may have to refund millions in speed fines.
    On the upside one of the best new light designs around here is the walk light count-down. You know exactly when the light is going to turn yellow/red as you approach the intersection. Now if we could just invent the bad driver/distracted driver cam!!

  20. Brett Says:

    With regard to the posters who are against red light cameras it is fallacious to presume that everybody approaches operating a motor vehicle with the same attention and care that you do. The vast majority do not. It’s an appliance and they don’t care. The fact that you are on this website following the automotive news here automatically puts you in very exclusive club compared to the rest of the millions of drivers in this country.

    Would you feel the same if that poor soul of a pedestrian who was mowed down in the aftermath of the red-light runners collision was a loved on of yours? Safely in the crosswalk, crossing with the light and wham! Totally innocent victim.

    People run red lights because aren’t paying attention or think they can shave a yellow and get away with it. Making the yellows longer will only get more cars through the intersection on the yellow and the same number of red light runners will persist.

    I think they should be “yellow light” cameras and fine any vehicle that physically enters the intersection within 2 seconds of it turning yellow 50% of what they fine the red light runners. Motor vehicle code here in Florida says that yellow means “do not enter the intersection” and they should put some teeth in it. A grace period would allow for folks already too close to stop safely when the yellow came on.

    I’m quite certain that the credentialed sociologists amongst us here could easily get a nice grant from the NHTSA to do a thorough, unbiased research project into the matter. Unless there are no credentialed sociologists here and you’re all just talking through your hats…

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Siesta’s down in sales so is Ford, maybe prospective car buyers are not as dumb as everyone thinks they are and are tired of the media constantly brown nosing Ford while GM is putting out just as good stuff for less money. When you see that Siesta sells for the same as a much better Cruze, well?? I did not see anything in the Patriot report saying that it still comes from the Caliber platform, I need to get my eyes and hearing checked.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW I agree that red light cameras are doing what they set out to do, they just need to adjust the penalty system, perhaps instead of a fine you could get points on your license, if you get enough points, then your insurance goes up, as it should.

  23. bob Says:

    http://media.gm.com/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Feb/0104_gmsales/_jcr_content/rightpar/sectioncontainer/par/download/file.res/Deliveries%20January%202011.pdf

    here are the detailed GM sales, and they fully rewarded my expectations.

    The Excellent Cruze was more than three times (200% higher than) the Siesta meager sales. Despite all the Siesta related hoopla. Ford got GREEDY in Siesta pricing and now is paying the price.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    These same smart buyers realize that Linc is just rebadged Fords with fancier interiors and rather spend their money in real luxury brands.

  25. bob Says:

    Chrysler did a hair better than GM (23% VS 22% better than in 2010) and Nissan was up 15%. I guess cheap sells (you pay later!)

  26. Buzzerd Says:

    RCL’s are often sold to the public as “safety’ but often cities sign deals with third party providers with revenue guarantees which have nothing to do with safety. If we want increased safety lock up the radar and laser guns and have the police enforce the laws that actually matter when it comes to safety. Lastly realize that when some one comes up to there 10th red light in a row they start to push the limits.

  27. Tony Gray Says:

    Brett @15. Facts are facts. Numerous INDEPENDENT studies, not those funded by proponents or advocates of RLCs have shown that they are NOT the best option for what everybody says they are intended to do…reduce accidents at signaled intersections.

    Let’s take your hypothetical of somebody crossing the road and getting plastered by a red light runner. If they (the drivers) aren’t paying attention to the light, no camera, no sign, no line is going to make a hill of beans difference. They are idiots!

    And fines for entering on a yellow??? Now drivers will be distracted by doing One Thousand One…One Thousand Two…to see if they will violate THAT edict. No way pal.

  28. Chuck Grenci Says:

    For the vast number of existing RLCs the underlying installation is for revenue creation. I believe “Car and Driver” found statistics/instances of some camera setups that, when installed, the timing of the yellow’s duration was shortened to entrap motorists that had previously been legal before the camera’s installation. And as previously mentioned, instances of increased rear-end collisions have risen. And the logic of ‘your loved ones’ getting run over is bunk; to live in a totally safe driving society (all the cars would have to be parked).

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Wow, Town Car sales are up! I thought they had dropped the TC except for fleet sales, but I guess not. It is still listed on the Lincoln web site.

    As far as the “other” Lincolns, not surprisingly, MKZ was the only one which saw a sales increase. In the case of the hybrid, the price premium of the MKZ is “only” around $2-3K over a similarly equipped Fusion, and the MKZ has a genuinely nicer interior, at least to me.

  30. bob Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Wow, Town Car sales are up! I thought they had dropped the TC except for fleet sales, but I guess not. It is still listed on the Lincoln web site.

    In a related story, two 4,000 year old Mummies were damaged at the Cairo Museum by the protesters.

  31. bob Says:

    In the case of the hybrid, the price premium of the MKZ is “only” around $2-3K over a similarly equipped Fusion, and the MKZ has a genuinely nicer interior, at least to me.

    Also, the I-4 hybrid MKZ is the exact same price as the V6 Non-hybrid MKZ. A no-brainer to get the hybrid.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit: are those Town Car sales up for fleet or for individuals? the reason could be that since there’s no more Crown Vic, perhaps Ford is giving fleet buyers a price break, to move stagnant stock.

  33. ckernzie Says:

    Kit / Pedro – Ford has already extended production of the Panther platform a couple of weeks to meet demand. I’d image fleet buyers and police agencies are snapping up as many as they can before Ford foolishly stops production.

    http://www.autonorth.ca/home/2011/1/26/crown-victoria-production-gets-extension.html

  34. HtG Says:

    I come today to speak in defense of RLCs. When I go to my dentist in the Bronx I pass through a massive intersection that has a RLC. I think it’s there because the complexity of the intersection and the long lights truly entice people to run the red. It’s obvious the camera is there. Don’t run the light, like a family member did a few years ago. It takes pretty good shots.

    I’ve also been stopped by a flesh and blood cop for going through a light. He thought I went through the red even though I had been carefully watching the yellow as I passed beneath the light itself. He let me watch the film record he had made from his cruiser. This trap was set at the edge of town, maybe to catch outsiders. Anyway, I fought the ticket, hauling officer Bob Speed literally off the street to court, bargaining with the town attorney in the hall outside the courtroom as the film was prepared for my case. We settled, but I felt like I made my point, and the judge looked happy he could go to lunch.

    litigious, you say? Hey, it’s New York.

  35. GPL Says:

    bob,

    Why do you keep comparing the sales of the B-segment Fiesta to the C-segment Cruze? Even the now ancient Focus sells double the Fiesta volume, which comes as no surprise to me. Gas is still cheap. Compare apples to apples. How do its numbers compare to Fit, Yaris, Aveo, Mini etc?

  36. bob Says:

    Toyota sales were also up double digits despite the lack of new models

  37. bob Says:

    Toyota sales up 17% and Honda 13% higher, but the numbers are really weak, 15k accords and about 15k civics, and only MINISCULE hybrid numbers, less than 700 civic hybrids and less than 1500 Insights

  38. bob Says:

    “# GPL Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    bob,

    Why do you keep comparing the sales of the B-segment Fiesta to the C-segment Cruze?”

    For MANY reasons.

    BOTH are NEW models from the two biggest domestics. BOTH claim to be 40 MPG in some variants, even tho the fiesta is a tiny POS andn the cruze a much bigger vehicle.

    I challenge the VALUE (if any) of the Fiesta, and have done so, and the PUBLIC agrees with me.

    Why does the above bother you? LOL? You work for Ford?

  39. Mike Says:

    The RCL’s are more of big brother watching and making revenue for the municipality under the guise of safety. Yes the rubric is safety and runners are caught but the truth becomes clear when you see the installing companies revenue sharing the take from the “free” installation with the city. The shortened yellow light they invariably adjusted just confirmed our suspicions. I thought I heard some cities in AZ and CA pulled out the cameras as a revenue loser when they were forced to return the yellow light interval to the previous length.

  40. bob Says:

    I have been very critical of the Ford Transit Connect getting the Truck of the year title (that little smelly and VERY ugly POS!!!!) instead of the OUTSTANDING Chevy Equinox, which was a SMASH HIT in sales as well, while the connect accumulated a year of inve ntory!!

    Do you have a problem with that too?

    Then came the SILLY and way overpriced Siesta, with a ton of hoopla and ads. Guess what. It is a DOG.

    The Fit is a FAR More clever design, and the Yaris a far better value, let alone monumentally reliable both of them. BUT Honda and Toyota do NOT spend 100s of millions of $ advertising either of them.

    As for the Mini, it runs circles around the Siesta. No comparison, really.

    Soon you will compare the Siesta to the… Fiat 500 Porca Miseria made in MEXICO, JUST like the Fiesta… LOL

  41. GPL Says:

    No, bob, I don’t work for Ford. I’m not in the industry at all. I just notice that you tend to compare the sales volumes of disimilar vehicles, which seems strange to me.

    I also notice you still didn’t answer my question regarding the sales volume of other B cars. I’m sure you have more ready access to that information than I do. Care to enlighten us?

  42. bob Says:

    I DID answer your Q, read my responses again!

    ALSO, you are WRONG about the comparison being of “dissimilar” vehicles, since they have both about the same PRICE and MPG.

    I could argue that BOTH the Fit and the Mini do NOT directly compete with the Siesta! I hope you know why?

    The God-awful Focus, a 15 year old design in the US (WHILE in Europe Ford has been selling a FAR superior New Focus for many years now!) sells better than the miserably low sales of the Siesta because it is priced dirt-cheap. It is one size bigger, but sells for less than the Siesta!

    I object to a little POS ECONOBOX like the Siesta selling for $23k. This is an AWFUL value, and the US consumers have understood it and are NOT buying.

    Again, the Yaris and the Fit are slow sellers not only because they are far more expensive than the Hyundais of the same size or even the Aveo,

    they sell little because Honda and Toyota spend very little advertising them, WHILE the Siesta was hyped to death!

  43. bob Says:

    GPL: and spare me the irony. You are not going to stop me from speaking my MIND, and I am very glad the US consumers agree with me, that the Siesta SUCKS as a VALUE. With $23k, only a fool would buy a Siesta. For that $, you can get a very recent vintage 3 series with low miles, even certified used. I rest my case.

  44. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    Red Light Camera is an after the fact solution. It does not stop a driver from mistakingly crossing a red light nor does it help other drivers in mitigating the problem.

    IntelliDrive(SM) however will warn the driver if they’re about to cross a red light and warn others that there’s maybe someone that will cross the red light so all involved can slow down and avoid an accident.

    IntelliDrive is a promising DOT project and more can be learned from http://www.intellidriveusa.org

  45. Roger Weare Says:

    I drive through an intersection with a Red Light camera. It is frequently off angle (main leg a curve with a “T” intersection at 45o). Bad design for a RLC. I think it is for revenue.

  46. Roger Weare Says:

    Suzuki in 2003 had 100% of vehicles that could be towed 4 down behind a motor home. Now they only have 1 and it hasn’t been updated for a long time. I think they lost their way.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re: #36 another sample of this is the Impala doing well against the Malibu even though the latter is more modern and stylish, but the Impala is a better value. I think Ford also struck out with the Taurus police car, all I see is Chargers for both local and state police, Sergio Macarroni should send Mullaly a thank you note for giving the Dodge the opportunity to become America’s favorite popo mobile. At least till the Chevy becomes available.

  48. XA351GT Says:

    Seeing as more people choose to ignore red lights and stop signs as nothing more than a suggestion . I wish they’d install them on every light and increase the fines to $250 for the 1st offense $500 for the 2nd $1000 for the 3rd and any after that they impound the vehicle and throw your ass in jail for 30 days. Jerk offs running lights kill people. Some choad ran a light and totalled my sisters car. Luckily she walked away with bruises ,but way to many aren’t as lucky.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro,
    Impala is just PERCEIVED as a better value than Malibu by some people. I recently compared the cars, and prices. Malibu is $1-2K cheaper, comparably equipped, and the Malibu has more rear seat leg room. Impala does have a larger trunk, if you need that, and has more rear seat shoulder room. The Malibu drives much better.

  50. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    RLC’s are strictly revenue sources for sorry governments such as Snellville, GA. When their contractor cost exceeded their revenue intake, RLC’s were removed. So much for any safety argument.

  51. dcars Says:

    I just took a look at the new Cruze. This is one nice car, the interior materials are excellent better than my accord. The front seats are roomy, while the back seat is a little tight. The trunk is big and the car feels like it is far bigger than it truly is. It’s seams like its far better than the Civic, Forte and Focus.
    They have removed all the RLC’s in our area so I don’t have much to say about them.

  52. dcars Says:

    I’ve also liked the Patriot and we almost bought one, but Chrysler was going through bankruptcy at the time so we decided against it.

  53. C-tech Says:

    I have mixed feelings about the red-light cameras. The initial installation near me, by an Arizona company, found the lights had been re-timed with a shorter yellow. After that was corrected (thank God for a free press) the camera caught so many runners it filled the hard disk drive in 2 weeks. Signs are posted about the camera and I can honestly say this intersection is safer. I would be curious what the effect would be if you installed fake cameras and signs?

  54. GPL Says:

    bob, so the Fiesta and Cruze are the same except for their size? Isn’t that the definition of their market segments – their size? That’s my point. Size is probably the single most important variable in the US market. MPG is secondary at best. The Fiesta is smaller, so it will sell fewer. That’s just the way it is. In the US almost everyone’s midisize outsells their compact which in turn outsells their subcompact. Camry>Corolla>Yaris. Accord>Civic>Fit. Fusion>Focus>Fiesta. Until gas gets a lot more expensive, that’s not likely to change no matter how great the.

    As for the pricing, I agree that the Fiesta is too high, but $23k Fiesta you keep ranting about is the top of the range with a lot of toys. Yeah, you could get a nice Focus or Fusion for that money, but is there any car that doesn’t over lap the next higher segment or two at the top? Could one not get a Malibu or Impala for the price of a loaded Cruze? That’s why the sales numbers stack that way. You can always get the next size up for just a little more, so buyers tend toward the larger cars with a little less content.

    Honda and Toyota do not advertise theirs as much. Of course, they’ve been in the market a bit longer, and they have a fairly loyal following, so they don’t really need to, and the Fit seems to be a damn fine car for a decent price. I’m just guessing, but I’d think it would own its market, but like I said, I don’t have that data. I’m not in the business.

    Your repeated comparison of the Transit Connect and the Equinox, since you brought it up, is even nuttier. Please tell me how a single color, small, commercial box van competes with a mass market CUV that is offered with a variety of combinations of engines, colors, and options.

    Is it because of the award? Really? You know those awards are meaningless, right? How often do they translate to sales? Rarely. And they heap and entire market into two segments – car and truck – so they put vehicles that don’t compete in the market in competition with each other for the award. Meaningless.

    I personally thought that the Equinox deserved the award, but they didn’t ask me. It is their game – their rules. The TC isn’t even a new or unique vehicle, as you are well aware, since it has been available elsewhere in the world for a long time where it competes with other vehicles much like it, right? But I guess the voters saw Ford offering it in the US as some sort of symbol of change in the US market. Whatever. Obama got a Nobel. For what?

    Stop you from speaking your mind? Check your meds, bob. No one is repressing you. Believe me, if there is anything I’ve learned reading the comments here is that your mind will be spoken – caps locks and all.

    By the way, you did not answer my question. I’ll be a little more direct. What are the sales volumes of B-segment cars in the US market? That was my question.

  55. tj Martin Says:

    GPL ;

    Good Luck ! ( getting a straight answer from Bob , especially if it involves his favorite dart Board , the Fiesta )

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Don’t understand Fiesta’s failure when the much inferior and similarly priced Smart did much better even after the poor reviews and much maligned transmission and unimpressive mpg’s.

  57. bob Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    pedro,
    Impala is just PERCEIVED as a better value than Malibu by some people.”

    Kit,

    You have3 said this before, and it is another gross distortion of reality.

    The TRUTH is that the IMPALA is a HUGE value for tens of MILLIONS of families that need Room and power at a VERY Affordable price. JUST because what the Impala offers may not interest YOU does not mean that the tens of millions are stupid and do not know what they are doing. The Arrogance!

    In fact, there are Buicks that are basically Impala platforms that cost twice as much just because they have a few bells and whistles a farmer in S Dakota could CARE LESS about.

  58. bob Says:

    GPL Says:
    February 1st, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    bob, so the Fiesta and Cruze are the same except for their size? Isn’t that the definition of their market segments – their size? That’s my point. Size is probably the single most important variable in the US market. MPG is secondary at best. The Fiesta is smaller, so it will sell fewer. ”

    MY POINT is that the Fiesta has been a DISMAL FAILURE. Care to argue with that? ALSO, hiow old are you????? DO yoU Remember when Ford was selling half a million ESCORTS a year, a tiny car half the power of the Fiesta? HUH? And it did so for DECADES! So, babble all you want about your silly size argument, while FOrd is LOSING BADLY with the Fiesta, which is NO MINI, no Fiat 500 even, so it cannot be a premium vehicle at a huge price. After all, even the top-end 500 will cost far less than the top-end Fiesta!

  59. bob Says:

    And it would be insignificant if Ford did not do so much advertising. You think you got your $’s worth? LOL!!! 4,000 measly Fiestas? This is another Ford Transit Connect debacle in the making!!!

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Smart did ok for a while, but sales tanked after those who wanted “something different” got one. I suspect a lot of people who might have bought a smart as a “city car” reconsidered after experiencing the transmission.

  61. bob Says:

    “# tj Martin Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 12:48 am

    GPL ;

    Good Luck ! ( getting a straight answer from Bob , especially if it involves his favorite dart Board , the Fiesta )”

    I have many favorite losers, not just the Fiesta, and the Ford Transit Connect, but also most LINCOLNS (what a coincidence! All three are FORD vehicles, and Ford can do no wrong right?) and assorted Chryslers, esp the Sebring, before Macaroni facelifted it.

    Life is good.

  62. bob Says:

    So GPL, try to explain to me then WHY did Ford BOTHER bringing the stupid Fiesta here, if it would sell as poorly as NICHE vehicles like the Mini or overpriced (for their content) Yarises?

    Will Ford make a DIME selling 4 and 5000 fiestas a month? LOL. No, it will LOSE tens of millions.

    No, you are wrong, and the proof is in the INVENTORY numbers. Ford’s plan was NOT to sell 4 and 5,000 a month, and you can see it in the detailed INVENTORy data, where Siestas accumulate and are enough for more than 4 months of sales, vs, for example, the Equinox that barely has three weeks of sales in inventory, or the Cruze, which has two months inventory and falling!

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    bob,
    The Impala is a good value for one group of people, those who need a BIG TRUNK. For everyone else, Malibu is a better value.

  64. Inais Says:

    @ XA351GT:
    I completely agree, fees now are way too mild! I was on my bike the other day and almost got hit by a car who ignored a red light. Idiot.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and yes, of course the Impala is a better value than a more expensive Buick built on the same platform. That doesn’t make it a better value than a lees expensive, better driving Malibu that has as much room, except the trunk.

    I know two Impala owners. One bought it for the large trunk, the other for the “conservative” styling.

  66. bob Says:

    http://www.autoblog.com/#continued

    The FACTS 100% agree with my harsh judgement of most Lincolns:

    With the execption of MERCURY which Ford has closed down, LINCOLN was THE WORST of dozens of brand names in january Sales!

  67. bob Says:

    Kit:

    As the other resident anklebiter keeps telling us, the Malibu and the Impala are in two different Size categories and we should not compare them.. LOL.

    ALSO, the Impala design is much older than the current malibu.

  68. bob Says:

    GPL is probably working in the… EPA, if he cluelessly thinks people go car shopping based on size. What nonsense!!

    The 3 Series is CIVIC sized, and the 5 series is accord-camry sized. DO you seriously believe, GPL, that people out to buy a civic or a camry go look at the 3 or the 5 respectively?

  69. bob Says:

    No, car buyers have a BUDGET and compare cars with similar PRICES they can AFFORD, GPL.

    Do get out of the EPA building sometime!

  70. bob Says:

    It is strange that Pickups did so well in jan. I wonder if those who bought them were orivate buyers or need them in the construction and other businesses (assuming they are finally coming out of the recession)

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just looked at the EPA site for the first time in a while, and ran across something interesting.

    They used to categorize cars, at least sedans, only on the basis of cabin volume. There were compact cars, mid-size cars, etc. They now also categorize them by “Market Class.”

    The EPA puts the Malibu and Impala in the same “Market Class,” which they call “Family Sedans.” In “Size Class,” the Malibu is a mid-size car, and the Impala is a “large car.”

    EPA puts a bunch of, in some cases, very dis-similar cars in the “Market Class” they call “Small Cars.” Among the small cars are:

    Fiesta
    Cruze
    Mini Cooper
    Mini Clubman
    Yaris
    Jetta
    Golf
    Mazda 2
    Focus
    Mazda 3
    Insight
    Volt
    Leaf
    …and several more

    Some cars are in more than one market class. There is a “Hatchback” market class which would include some of the “Small Cars” listed above.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit on the Jetta, that most have been the last gen. the new one is as big as the old Passat, also I don’s see how they can classify the Cruze with this group, it is being lauded for its voluminous interior.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeh, I agree that Jetta and Cruze don’t belong on this list. I guess the bureaucrats who compiled the list view the market differently than we “car people.” My guess is that since Cruze replaced Cobalt, and new Jetta replaced old Jetta, they would list the new ones as “small cars” like the old ones.

  74. GPL Says:

    tj, I know. I’m allowing him to illustrate that. He’s doing a fine job of it. I’ll get back to it again later. Right now I have some real work to do.

  75. bob Says:

    “# GPL Says:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:44 am

    tj, I know. I’m allowing him to illustrate that. He’s doing a fine job of it. I’ll get back to it again later. Right now I have some real work to do.”

    Pfff.. Mr Cheap shot. YOu call your work for the EPA “real work”? You are delusional.

  76. bob Says:

    Kit, interesting info re the EPA, it shows why we should not take most of what they do seriously.

  77. bob Says:

    GPL could not counter my rational observations and left with his tail between his legs… LOL

  78. XA351GT Says:

    Pretty soon most people will leave this site as they are probably getting as tired of all this attack crap as I am. If you can’t carry on a discussion without going to personal attacks then do us all a favor and STFU.

  79. Brett Says:

    There was nothing “hypothetical” about a pedestrian being mowed down by the aftermath of a red light runner. IT WAS SHOWN IN THE VIDEO.

    Fine. Stretch the yellows to ten seconds and fine anybody who enters the intersection 50% of a red light infraction if they enter the intersection in the last five seconds.

    The bottom line is that everybody is responsible for the operation of their vehicle. If it takes RLCs to make people monetarily aware of it, so be it. You gonna have a policeman on every corner instead? You willing to pay for that?

    It’s all just some companies enticing local governments into a revenue sharing scam? C’mon, you got a problem with a capitalist, free market society? If people weren’t running red lights, there’d be no market for RLCs, would there?

    So RLCs in my community helps keep them from raising property taxes to pay for law enforcement and other community services. Big deal. Think of it as a tax on stupidity, much like the taxes on a pack of cigarettes.

    Automated enforcement of personal responsibility. Hey, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

  80. Brett Says:

    They had a bunch of Chevy Cruzes in the infield during the Rolex 24. From what I could see, I’d hit on it. :)

  81. GPL Says:

    I’m still here, but I have a real job, (not with EPA) so I don’t have countless hours throughout the day to waste here. That between my legs is not a tail, though I don’t mind thinking that it is impressive enough as to be mistaken for such, so thanks for the complement.

    Obviously, a four-cylinder front-wheel drive “entry level” Civic does not compete with a six-cylinder, rear drive, luxury brand, BMW, just because they are dimensionally similar. That’s why we have market segment labels like “entry level” and “luxury”. But neither do vehicles of similar description but differing dimension, thus labels “B-segment” and “C-segment”.

    Pricing runs all over the place for whatever reasons the marketing groups decides to price them. It is their business. If that is how they choose to price their vehicles, then so be it. They will have to deal with the consequences; not you, so why does it bother you so much?

    The Fiesta starts somewhere in the mid teens – I’m not going to waste my time looking up the exact number – not $23,000, probably within hundreds of dollars of most other B-segment cars in the market. The C-segment 2012 Focus will be available soon, and will cost more than the Fiesta equally equipped. So what.

    Someone once said, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

    If you are what you say you are, you, more than anyone else here should appreciate this statement. You have not supported your thesis with data. I keep asking for something other than heated rhetoric and cock-eyed comparisons, and you reply with more heated rhetoric and cock-eyed comparisons. Stop digging.

    I’ve dug my own hole here. I generally keep my distance from internet-tough-guy pissing contests, and certainly didn’t intend to join one here, and I have read enough of your posts to have known exactly how it would likely play out but did it anyway – neck deep – and, worse, I kept doing it. For that I apologize to everyone else here, and with that these will be my last words on this subject. If that is how you play, the sandbox is yours.

    You are welcome to have the final word, as I’m sure you will. Question my intelligence. Question my character. Declare yourself winner of the internet, and enjoy the glory.

  82. David Sprowl Says:

    Red Light Camera’s invite many abuses by both the company that leases them and the municipalities that employ them.
    Last I knew, municipalities that leases them had to identify troubled intersections that needed the cameras. Giving that data to the operators was the first step in the agreement process. If the operator agreed, then in some cases the yellow light time was adjusted, and the ticket money flowed. Presumably enough to cover the cost of the lease and provide revenue to the local coffers. These systems were “sold” on the idea of safety. That didn’t work so well when some cities admitted to having to adjust the “stop” line and yellow light duration, then it looked like just a ruse to garner more income.
    Here is my view point. If you can identify a troubled intersection, then send an officer and car to the spot to issue the appropriate ticket. After all taxpayers already pay for that equipment. Why I ask you do you need to put up a red light camera If the goal is to reduce accidents? The presence of the patrol car should do the trick. Otherwise it just a flat out money grab.