Episode 571 – What Happened to Ford? Danger Signs for U.S. Auto Recovery, Taxis from Turkey

February 3rd, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:25

Ford posts disappointing, stock-plummeting profits in the fourth quarter of 2010. Raw material costs and a looming incentives war raise the alarm bells. New York City is holding a competition to determine its “Taxi of Tomorrow” and two-thirds of the finalists are from … Turkey? All that and more, plus John McElroy answers your questions and comments in You Said It!


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This is Autoline Daily for February 3, 2011. And now, the news.

Car sales in the U.S. in January hit an annualized rate of 12.5 million units, the fourth month in a row that’s happened. Total sales came in at 817,000 vehicles, a 17 percent increase over a year ago. Amongst the major manufacturers, Chrysler had the biggest increase in sales of all, nearly 24 percent. General Motors was hot on its heels with nearly a 23 percent increase. Once again, small cars, midsize cars and hybrids lost market share. Crossovers, SUVs and pickups all captured more of the market. There is so much to read into the numbers here that we can’t get to it all. But here’s one fascinating tidbit: the Honda Accord really took it on the chin. In fact, the Chevrolet Impala easily outsold the Accord.

But even though the market is recovering, Bloomberg reports that Toyota and General Motors are raising their incentives. That means they’re going for market share, not for profitability, which could trigger a price war. And that’s a problem for everyone.

This is an industry that desperately needs to boost profitability to cover the losses of the last few years, and to fund new product development. But the Ford Motor Company, which has been the darling of the media and Wall Street, posted shockingly poor profits in the fourth quarter of only $190 million. The Street had been expecting profits of nearly $2 billion. That triggered a big sell off in the company’s stock, which plummeted 18 percent in just a couple of days. And that does not look good for the future.

RAW-MATERIAL PRICES SURGING (subscription required)
For months now we’ve been warning that rising commodity prices were going to hurt the industry. Indeed, Ford says rising commodity prices hurt its profitability in every geographic region of the world. Steel makers have increased prices six times since November for a total of more than 20 percent because of surging prices for iron ore. Yesterday Bridgestone announced it is raising tire prices in North America by 8 percent because of surging prices for natural rubber. Ward’s reports that automakers realize they cannot force suppliers to absorb raw-material costs because it could cause parts of the supplier community to collapse. So, automakers are absorbing those costs.

We thought that automakers would pass those costs along to consumers, but in the short run that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Instead, we see GM and Toyota starting a pricing war. And we see profits plummeting at Ford. And that means the recovery in the auto industry does not look as rosy as it did just a couple of months ago.

PSA + BMW = BFF (subscription required)
Who says the French and Germans can’t get along? For years PSA and BMW have cooperated on a common, four-cylinder engine architecture and now they’re joining forces to develop hybrid technology. Ward’s reports the two automakers want to work together to save money and gain economies of scale. The companies would also like to sell components and services to other automakers. One potential hurdle the pair face: developing a hybrid system that works with different vehicle architectures. Most of BMW’s models are rear-wheel drive while all of PSA’s are front-drive.

There’s a war going on right now, and the battlefield is New York city. Don’t worry; the only casualty will be the Ford Crown Victoria. According to Bloomberg, automakers are vying to win the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” competition. Surprisingly, two of the three finalists come from Turkey. It’s down to the Ford Transit Connect and the Karsan V1, which are built Turkey. It also includes a van from Nissan that’s based on its NV200 commercial vehicle. It’ll be interesting to see which one of these vehicles wins the coveted 10-year contract as New York aims to have one vehicle for its entire taxi fleet.

Hyundai is going to start publishing its CAFE numbers every single month. In January the South-Korean automaker’s fleet was rated at 34.7 miles per gallon which is up three tenths from December. John Krafcik, the company’s head honcho in the U.S. is quoted as saying “We look at this information internally, so we thought, ‘Why not share it externally?’” This is an important play and here’s why. Hyundai wants to remind lawmakers and consumers every month that it has the best fuel economy of all. And that could put pressure on regulators to raise CAFE. Of course the company is being a little shady since it IS NOT a full-line manufacturer. But if I were Krafcik, I’d do the same thing.

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

A lot of you posted comments on horror stories of red-light cameras at intersections.

Tony Gray wrote in to say, “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.”

Tony you’re right. Those red-light cameras do result in more rear-enders. But I’d rather get rear-ended than T-boned any day of the week

Andy S. weighed in by saying, “The IIHS justifies them because fatalities declined in cities that have red-light cameras. But haven’t fatalities ben declining across the entire country, and if so, aren’t red-light cameras nothing more than another revenue-generating tool for municipalities?”

Andy, great point. Traffic fatalities are way down in the last couple of years. We’ll have to find out if the IIHS used any control locations in its study. You know, like they do with placebos in medical experiments.

And Steve made this point. “Lights at intersections are the past. Can’t wait till they are all replaced with roundabouts. They are far safer than 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.”

Steve, I could not agree more. Roundabouts are the way to go. And even though some people can’t stand them, I’ll bet that if they grew up with roundabouts they’d hate traffic lights even more.

And Tom L. saw our report that Renault is going to offer its own brand of tires called Motrio. I wondered who’s really going to make these tires, so he wrote in to say, “Hi John. Pirelli makes the tires for Renault.”

I love it when our viewers send in the information that we don’t have. So keep those letters coming.

Don’t forget to tune in tonight for Autoline After Hours. Our special guest tonight will be John Waraniak, Vice President of Vehicle Technology for SEMA. Also stopping by the studio will be Frank Markus from Motor Trend magazine. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time for Autoline After Hours.

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.

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

67 Comments to “Episode 571 – What Happened to Ford? Danger Signs for U.S. Auto Recovery, Taxis from Turkey”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    On the Auto Companies plummeting profits ;

    Maybe once they’ve all called it quits with the constant barrage of Creative Accounting , the REAL facts will come out from the get go rather than a lot a Hype just waiting for Reality to smack it in the face .

    VW- Audi by far being the absolute worst of them all . Just wait till all the REAL numbers are in on them !

    Toyota offering new incentives . Hmmn . Does that mean my little trip to my local Toyota Dealer(s) this weekend or next to trade in the MINI might prove to be a positive experience ?

  2. tj Martin Says:

    NYC Taxi Story ;

    According to the NYTimes today , NYC might not choose any of the three contestants currently in the running .

    No further explanation was forthcoming .

    All I can say is if NY or US Tax Dollars are involved in the decision , the final choice damn well better be a US made Taxi !

  3. tj Martin Says:

    @Peter De Lornzo

    Those AutoExtremist Sweatshirts we asked about ;

    Any chance of those becoming available anytime soon ?

    Sign me up if they do !

  4. shan Says:

    Given the bad reputation of the Ford Transit Connect’s interior having a smell of rotten eggs, it should fit in just great as a NYC taxi.

  5. bob Says:

    Hi John,

    I enjoyed listening to your analysis of the Jan 11 Sales numbers and Ford’s poor profitability.

    new car prices are quite high already, so I would not mind one bit if the automakers have price wars to expand their market share instead of selling fewer cars at higher prices.

    In this fragile recovery, and with the real estate market still poor, people cannot afford the MSRP prices for most cars and will easily go USED, Certified or not, ad they did big time in 2008-2010.

    if Automakers want profits, they should LOWER THEIR COSTS.

    They can start with their UAW agreements, and follow by slashing their huge ad budgets. Customers will be relieved to not see some of the silly ads again. Especially that infernal “zoom zoom” BS from Mazda…LOL

  6. HtG Says:

    tj, TOYOTA? I never would have guessed it. Will you be availing yourself of Consumer Reports service, telling how much the dealer paid and any holdbacks? Or do you choose to enter the arena, Commando?

  7. bob Says:

    Ford’s lack of profits is not across the board. I bet the aging Escape and the boring Fusion and esp the F-150 still bring in a ton of profits fro them.

    But clearly the underperforming Siesta is not making them dime one, and so are the various Lincolns, the worst performing of all US and import brands ALL, last January, the Discontinued Mercury aside.

    it is a no brainer. Cars are always an emotional purchase, people like GOOD LOOKING vehicles, and are willing to pay a premium for cars they LUST AFTER. Which is NOT the case for the obese whales of Lincoln. Cadillac, on the other hand, recently significantly improved the looks (at least) of its products, and can sell them without deep discounts.

    it is Striking, Cadillac sales were up 49% in january, while Lincolns were DOWN 21%, as I said, the WORST of any brand, domestic or import, save the closed down Mercury!

  8. bob Says:

    The NY cabs may be a bit more practical than the obsolete Crown Vics, but they sure are UGLY… make it FUGLY.

  9. bob Says:

    “# shan Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Given the bad reputation of the Ford Transit Connect’s interior having a smell of rotten eggs, it should fit in just great as a NYC taxi.”

    LOL…Will they come with matching his and hers Turbans? (or his Turban and her Burka?)

  10. shan Says:

    @ tj Martin

    It means either you or some fool will end of financing a huge amount of debt because they are enticed by measly incentive. BTW, dealers usually find a way to recoup that incentive with some snazzy math/financing. In all actuality, you will NOT save a single penny, but you’ll pay more with interests charges. They surely will never give you the advertised promotional interest rate. My mom had perfect credit and could not get the 0.9% they advertised for like 2 years online and in print. So, Good luck ;)

  11. HtG Says:

    Kudos John, for reporting negative financial information on Ford, a stock which I believe you may still hold

  12. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG – Post # 6 . Explanation please . Pardon me if I’m being a bit thick but I’m not sure what you mean . But I’l bet you’ll be even more shocked at which Toyota model I’m after .

    @shan – Not to worry . Trade + Cash for me . No financing needed .

  13. bob Says:

    I would never deal with any dealer, if I have a car to sell I will be always better off selling it to another private party. As for new cars, unless a huge tech breaktrhu happens and we need to get a new car, and regardless of how much one wants to spend on that vehicle, one is always better off used. With some rare exceptions (usually in some luxo car leases, when the makers are desperate or when they mis-estimate the resale value 3 years later)

  14. Tony Gray Says:

    Boy, spanked on the You Said It! segment. I feel shame.

    Actually I don’t. I don’t dispute that T-Bones are down at camera intersections. What I don’t have is information that compares them to similar figures at intersections that do NOT have cameras.

    I also don’t think that RLCs are the most effective or cost effective way to reduce crashes at intersections. Realistic yellow light times (with or without flashes to let you know they are going to change), lines on the road to let you know when you MUST brake to avoid violations, and summary executions for those who run red lights would do wonders for the problem.

  15. bob Says:

    Have you seen the latest oil prices? While US Texas oil is still around $92, Brent (North Sea) in Europe is well in excess of $102!!!

    This will not be good for gas prices. I’m glad I filled the tank a week ago and only need to fill it once a month (except for long trips, but these are usually generously reibuursed at the IRS rate of around $0.5 a mile)

  16. HtG Says:

    …and by ‘shocked’ do you mean what I think, tj?

    Here’s a link to CR’s car price service. I used it a few years ago, and felt much more confident, especially when the salesman had to call over the sales manager and the rest of the crew got out the big black binders to check my numbers.


  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’m not surprised about the Ford profits,or more the lack there of.I don’t pay much attention to cars,rather I’m into trucks as most of you know.While I was in the market for a new truck my first thoughts were with the F150.I was greatly disappointed in the packages one has to buy in order to really get what you want with the rest being BS.

    I also was extremely leary of being a “first adoptor” with the all new engine lineup.Also,the 5.0L engine even with all the variable cam timing and 4 valves per cyl still didn’t set right with me,so I chose a Silverado with the doodadz I wanted and not encumbered paying for crap I didn’t want,including the final drive gearing I wanted.

    So far I’m at 17.2mpg combined with a shade over 600 miles,so no complaints.The OnStar turn by turn nav is nothing short of awesome,with no dumbass screens to look at.Combined with my hands free bluetooth,I am a happy and safe camper—end of report.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Your headline of “Raw material price surging” should more correctly be, “Raw material price gouging”. Twenty percent for iron ore; I’m calling B.S. on that claim.

  19. Vince Says:

    Only in NYC where Wall Street and the financial institutions brought this country to the brink of economic collapse, would they consider an imported vehicle for the new fleet of cabs. I am sure his Excellency, Mayor Bloomberg, will think about it driving home in his Mercedes.
    It is not just trickle-down economics, economics is a two way street and trickle up economics is just as important. What exactly is wrong with an American worker making a decent wage to buy a home and a new car once every decade? As President Kennedy once said, and I paraphrase here: ‘The country needs the working middle class, they pay all the taxes.’
    I’ll walk next time I’m in NYC rather than step into a foreign built cab. At times like these it’s embarrassing to be a native New Yorker.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    Molto Grazzi . I’ll make use of the link for sure .

    As to your other question . Depends on what you’re thinking LoL . Not a Prius if thats what you’re thinking .

    A Hint ( can’t make this too easy now can I ? )

    The wife and I will be moving back to the Rockies in the next 12 – 24 months . I just subscribed to Overland Journal . I’ve owned a similar vehicle in the past .

    @Bob – I’d agree with your reasoning ( not dealing with a Dealer ) except for the fact that I neither have the time or the patience at this point in my life to Sell/Buy privately . But yours is sound advice overall .

  21. HtG Says:

    Cavalry Blue, tj? love that

  22. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    Damn ! Thats one mighty fine service ! We’d told our usual Car Broker to stuff it as he’d tripled his prices while cutting his service in half ( would of cost $950 ! )and I was about to go in Gorilla style . Whereas the CS service is all but doing the same thing the Broker would have , for a measly $14 Bucks . They just got my business !

    I owe you a big one HtG . If you’re ever KC way ( while we’re still here ) the BBQ is on me .

  23. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    All right HtG . Clue me in . How’d you know ?

  24. HtG Says:

    That’s what I want too, tj. It’s just a hoot to look at, and watch move. We’re all still kids on the inside.

    I’m glad you think the CR service is good. The dealer I negotiated with didn’t challenge it for a second. We just agreed on a margin for them. One trick I missed was the finance manager coming in later and offering an extended warranty. If I had it to do again, I’d include the EW in the original negotiation phase.

    Good Luck.

  25. dcars Says:

    I think I lost a lot of money on new cars in the past. My New Saturn Vue (exploding VTI transmission) was a total loss, I traded it in and paid way to much for a new accord. The new cars look nice, but I have to rethink how we buy cars in the future.

  26. tj Martin Says:

    @HtG ;

    i understand , but damn HtG you even got the color right . Though Silver or Sandstorm are my second choice .( I’m going to buy off the lot )

    Everyone here considering buying a new car should use the CS service . Can’t wait to see the dealers face when i hand him the CS sheet . That’ll make my day !

  27. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    I’m dead serious about the BBQ by the way .

  28. HtG Says:

    ROFL, mouth watering, tj. Thanks

  29. tj Martin Says:


    I’m being dense again ! ROFL ?

    Google Oklahoma Joe’s on the KS side of KC . Thats the BBQ ticket here hands down ! Even Bourdain loves it ! The line is always a mile long and every bit worth the wait . Come hungry .

  30. DukeT Says:

    I don’t know from where you regular posters hail, but in my area (SoFla), the barrage of auto commercials comes mostly from Toyota (thousands of $$$ off, plus free maintenance, no money down, etc, etc), MB, BMW, ‘Hundee’ and Kia ($10k over blue book for your trade-in blah, blah, blah). And lots and lots of Toyota ads trying to get good feelings back into peeps. . . from their ‘safety’ to their ‘green’ BS.

    Can’t even remember seeing a Zoom zoom ad lately. More Chrylser ads than Ford and GM put together.

    Oh BTW, bob, TC’s are all over the place here (guess you must live in a more depressed area – as local companies are buying them up big time here) and I personally asked several of them (in various parking lots) how they liked them: “. . . love it. . . best delivery vehicle ever owned. . . and am planning on replacing the rest of the fleet with them” – are typical response. Not one negative response so far.

    Oh and not one of them acknowledged any interior odors – maybe more showers would help you. Or, maybe you read that on the web and believed it. Wouldn’t be surprised . . . esp considering your proclivity in showing your behind. Like anyone cares what your likes/dislikes are – regarding anything.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @dcars ;

    If its any consolation . Everyone gets burned at least once when buying a car . New or Used . Hopefully that was your once . And the Honda should serve you well for years to come .

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @Duke T ;

    Glad to see KC,MO isn’t the only place the trades and delivery services are snapping up Ford Transits in droves . Quikcsilver just purchased an entire fleet for the KCMO KCKS area .

    The vehicle makes sense to me . Small . Good MPG . Plenty of storage space and room to hang tools etc. Not bad looking either . If Ford would create a Camper /SurfSnowSki option I’d bet they’d sell more to Joe Public as well .

  33. bob Says:


    My state was recently the most depressed in the Union (highest unemployment) but my small University town is very prosperous and impervious to all the misery in Detroit.

    As far as the smell of the transit connect, idiot, I NEVER went into the POS, WHY SHOULD I, but the smell was PUBLICLY ADMITTED IN THIS FORUM TOo. If you did not notice it, perhaps YOU stink too, wiseass.

    The Zoom Zoom ads were removed long time ago, I guess many others could not stand them either.

  34. bob Says:

    “# dcars Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I think I lost a lot of money on new cars in the past. My New Saturn Vue (exploding VTI transmission) was a total loss, I traded it in and paid way to much for a new accord. The new cars look nice, but I have to rethink how we buy cars in the future.”

    Why not consider Used? I did much better buying used from their owner (with the exception of the POS passat-Dasher wagon back in ’79) than new. Huge advantage. Honda Dealers know their stuff is good and do not discount them. Used hondas from dealers are an even worse bargain.

  35. bob Says:

    “Oh BTW, bob, TC’s are all over the place here”

    I don’t know where “here” is, nor do I care, as it sure must be on the “wrong side of the tracks”, if you have lots of this PATHETIC, Execrable Ford Transit Connect Cheapo Smelly Van, or Turbams and Burkas too.

    I don’t care about individual observations and illusions of plenty of these POS because I ca n always look at the exact (and pitifully SMALL) number of them sold in the Entire USA every month. When you make some $, maybe you can afford the subscription to Automotive News too.. only $99 a year, but for me $0, my U buys it for me.

  36. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Have to tell you the Quicksilver Driver I talked to ( how I found out about the fleet purchase ) loves the Transit . Said its the best delivery vehicle QS has ever purchased in all the years he’s worked for them .

    The guy loved the size . The drivability . The MPG . Everything about it .

    Maybe before making such brash comments about any car here ( like you have in your OTT praises of the Equinox which when I drove it firsthand I found to be competent and no more . As well as being at least a generation behind its competition ) positive or negative , you should get a little First Hand Experience of your own .

    Quoting others opinions does not make you an expert . More a well trained Parrot .

  37. bob Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Bob ;

    Have to tell you the Quicksilver Driver I talked to ( how I found out about the fleet purchase ) loves the Transit . Said its the best delivery vehicle QS has ever purchased in all the years he’s worked for them .

    The guy loved the size . The drivability . The MPG . Everything about it . ”

    I don’t doubt that, but AGAIN, you cannot draw any conclusions from anecdotal evidence from just ONE guy or a few guys, for whom the POS MAY be what THEY need.

    My comments are ACCURATE because they are NOT based on any such anecdotal evidence but on the DISMAL USA-WIDE sales of the POS.

    Statistics. Look it up.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Now thats rich . Post #34 Seriously what is it you think you’re putting forward here ? You do understand the concept of Logical Consistency now don’t you Bob ? You know . Philosophy 101 and all . Or do you ?

    Because at the risk of starting another war here ( Which you’ll lose . Again ) Post #34 shows you to be a bit of a hypocrite there Bob .

    ( Sorry all but I just love going head to head with these ” Engineering” types. I’ve been smacking one around [ relative ] going on 36 months now . Haven’t lost an argument /court case with the fool yet either )

  39. bob Says:

    “Maybe before making such brash comments about any car here ( like you have in your OTT praises of the Equinox which when I drove it firsthand I found to be competent and no more ”

    TJ: Look back at all my old posts about the Equinox: I never said I DROVE IT, I never commented on how it drives, nor do I care. I am NOT in the market for one. I, correctly, commented and will keep commenting on the TREMENDOUS SALES SUCCESS IT HAS BEEN. GM had to not only run three shifts to keep up with the demand, but is also making it in a SECOND PLANT!

    And as a US long-suffering taxpayer who was robbed blind to save those clowns at GM, I always will hope that other vehicles they make will have the AWESOME success of the Equinox, and it seems the CRUZE (which I have seen and admired but also not driven, NOR am I in the market for such a vehicle) will be the next one.

  40. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ; Add post 36 to my #37 comments . You’ve done it again ! Now with the added element of Circular Logic . Which in case you don’t understand makes it even worse .

  41. bob Says:

    “Because at the risk of starting another war here ( Which you’ll lose . Again )”

    Talk about DELUSIONS of Grandeur.

    I am sure you are a legend in your own mind.

    Did you even TRY to understand what I was talking about in ANY of my posts, before you easily call me names?

    Clueless fool. I don’t have time to nickel and dime everything to you. Keep babbling about that ONE GUY who is happy with his van, or that you see many Connects in your little neighborhood. AS if that does ANYTHING to console Ford for the DISMAL US WIDE SALES of the POS.


  42. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    No …. you continually refer to the Equinox in hyperbole such as Fantastic , Exceptional etc. Which are Value Judgements on the car its self . Not its sales success . If you intended the comments to be about the Sales Success you should of specified as such .

  43. bob Says:

    FOOL TJ: If this is not the pot calling the kettle black… talkign about LOGIC!!!

    You are outrageous in your cluelessness and ignorance. Tell us more fishing stories about happy Connect owners…LOL

    You have wasted enough of my time this afternoon, even tho I type REALLY fast…

  44. bob Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Bob ;

    No …. you continually refer to the Equinox in hyperbole such as Fantastic , Exceptional etc.”

    NO I DO NOT, I call it AWESOME ONLY because of its SUCCESS. NONE of these vehicles that sell millions (or half millions) as the Accord, Camry, Corolla, Civic are Fantastic from the “ROAD TEST”point of view.

    Did you FINALLY understand this? I am interested in the Automotive INDUSTRY, its sales and its profits, just as some are in SPORTS STATS. WHY would I enthuse about the Equinox as a DESIGN? I only have contempt for SUVs and esp. for FAK SUVs (Crossovers) ANYWAY.

    It is YOU that make ZERO sense.

  45. bob Says:

    And that’s ENOUGH for today!

  46. tj Martin Says:

    Oh Bob ( God this is fun ! )

    Why yes in fact as many others here have done I have tried to make sense of your posts . But like I keep telling you toady there’s that very distinct lack of Logical Consistency , a huge deficit of Verifiable Facts and that consistent habit you’ve got of using Circular Logic to defend your position .

    With of course , when beaten into submission leading to the inevitable retreat into Insult & Profanity .

  47. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    Glad you’ve seen the light and chosen to admit defeat . Smart move . Till the morrow all .

    And again my Thanks to HtG for the great tip/advice

  48. HtG Says:

    tj, here’s a link to a firm, Galves, that may give you some insight into how the dealer values your trade in. For a few bucks you can see current pricing of used cars.


    ROFL means ‘rolling on the floor’

  49. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >Hyundai is going to start publishing
    >its CAFE numbers every single
    >month. In January the South-Korean
    >automaker’s fleet was rated at 34.7
    >miles per gallon which is up three
    >tenths from December.

    Followers of this website might also like to know that Hyundai is contributing to CO2 abatement in other ways. For example, they devised a novel transit bus which combines a compressed natural gas burning engine with a hybrid-electric transmission arrangement. This results in less CO2 per passenger-mile than other buses, even Diesels.

    However, if any of our urban transit agencies propose to purchase this novel bus, will they be allowed to? Or will the powers that be, make a big fuss about loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs, our supposed trade imbalance with South Korea, or just general the idea of “buying American”?

    We should not lose sight of how ironic it is that the kind of personality who would most likely go to court to seek an injunction against transit agencies who would like to purchase the Hyundai CNG-hybrid bus, is the same kind of personality who enthusiastically supports the idea of the world coming to an end from global warming.

  50. cwolf Says:

    With car sales booming,perhaps Ford is doing some fancy paper shuffling or writting off vamping expenditures early. Another point to ponder is that Ford is probably in the initial stages of labor contract negotiations. Realizing both sides to be savvy,making out as a pauper is a good starting impression.

    Raw matls are not the only things going up in price…everything is! Not good for the market, nor the pocket book. Unfortunately,any combative,inovative or less costly solution always seem to cost even more in the end. As long as growing economies of China and India compete for the same materials,we have little choice but to grin and bare it. Prolly good reasons why fair trade agreements are more important than ever. I could be wrong, but is makes sense to me.

  51. cwolf Says:

    @HtG post23: Don’t mean to pry, but why would you want to buy an extended warranty,unless free? Buying a vehicle, then betting it will fail seems illogical to me.

  52. HtG Says:

    It wasn’t my choice cwolf. I was negotiating the car for someone else. We knew the car would be kept for many years, so given the sharp discount on the MSRP the price of the manufacturer’s EW wasn’t so bad. I did say that I missed a trick though. But today, as the car is out of original warranty, there’s some peace of mind for a few more years.

    (no prying taken)

  53. Carroll E. Gant, JR. Says:

    Why hasen’t the media noticed Ford not producing cars people choose to buy to make a profit? I’ve been saying Ford really has nothing exciting to offer other than the performance of the Ford Boss 302. I don’t like the graphics and paint on them either.

  54. XA351GT Says:

    I’d be surprised if NYC doesn’t choose the Transit Connect as it’s taxi of choice and here is why, 1st it is a American company despite where they are built, 2nd they have already passed our strict crash and EPA standards. 3rd parts availability . Waiting for parts from Turkey isn’t going to fly when that vehicle is your money maker. Time down is money lost. 4th used vehicles can be easily sold as used or salvaged for parts outside the taxi industry as well as inside it, Those Turkey’s not so much they will be taxi only.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    All of this discussion about Transit Connect is silly, especially the hate expressed by certain people, based on sales numbers.

    The TC is a CARGO VAN. It does not compete with CRV, Rav-4, Escape, Equinox, Sportage, and all of those other smallish “crossovers,” or whatever they are called. It competes with cargo versions of Ford, Chevy, and GMC big vans, all of which sell in very small numbers. It seems that most people here consider the NOTOTY award to mean nothing, but yet people get upset about the vehicle that wins. The TC won because it is something NEW TO THE US MARKET, and therefore SIGNIFICANT.

    I was disappointed that they didn’t do any better than an old design gas engine and 4 speed automatic as the only available power train, but I see the TC as a worthwhile addition to what is available in the US market.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “All I can say is if NY or US Tax Dollars are involved in the decision , the final choice damn well better be a US made Taxi !”

    The Crown Vics have have been dominating the taxi market for years were made in Canada, not the US. That’s closer than Turkey, though.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    Around here I’ve seen a lot of TC’s serving as commercial vehicles, none as the available family wagon though, It makes sense to use it as a taxi in NY, however since the NY mayor is such a weird, unpredictable dude,who knows what they will choose

  58. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Who gives a shit what TTAC says? They like refined raisin brand rubbish, and hate on good solid raw “new era” cars.

    They think every engine should sound like a church mouse at 70, every suspension should be sporty, and everything should be as predictable as a Toyota.

    Cars would be quiet bouncing devices of boredom of they had their way.

    The Truth About Cars


    The Toyota Tickling Admiration Club that place is.

    Yeah, we’re enemies.

    That place is like Syria, Egypt, and soon America- not allowed to say anything negative about the substance of the article or the site that even appears to be harsh.

    Anyway, Global warming is something you Boomers have been brainwashed on.

    We’ve stopped the CFCs, but what in the Fu-k is causing the ozone layer around Antarctica to be non-existant.

    Yeah, the whole continent of Antarctica has no ozone, causing problems all over the world slowly but surely.

    There really is something wrong with the Earth, and it will rear it’s ugly head in 8 years or so. Trust me, it will.

    Too bad you have been so scared by Al Gore and his minions who really want to scare you into accepting the idea of Carbon Credits (a Tax that will totally destroy your lifestyle).

    There really is something wrong with the environment, but do the powers that be care?

    No, they want to make a bunch of money on it.

    Just like the “Anti Obesity” industry. Just like the “Erection Dysfunction” industry.

    They create a problem with a predetermined solution to the problem that usually causes more problems.

    The solution to the environmental Problem is to:

    -Push everyone to move to Smart Growth Mega Cities where anything larger than an Elantra is not allowed is not allowed on the roads.

    - Tax people heavily on what the masters deem to be environmetally sensitive activities (incuding having “too many” children).

    - Push Genetically Modified Food to be able to grow anywhere even deserts(this will be a trojan horse as eating GMO over the long term will have very serious consequences).

    I can keep going on all day, but my point is there really are environmental problems, and you guys are being so tricked that you dont even believe it anymore.

    It’s like Crying Wolf.

    Too bad America, China, and the rest of the world will get eaten in due time.

    In the meantime,

    The American and Japanese auto industry will fail again, because of inevitbale geo-political and economic forces. Plus, they still are pushing product that exploits people wants AND NOT NEEDs. The Japanese quality will continue to deteriorate, and one day Japanese cars will be at the butt of jukes.

    The Chinese will come to America, and because of the economic forces will be embraced by a public with a lower standard of living over the Japanese cars. The Chinese are the only ones on Earth that can take down Japan or America besides Japan and America themselves. They wont be satisfied until they have all top spots in glboal sales= #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.

    See, the Chinese want to take over the world not through force, but by taking advantage of other nation’s economies by beign a creditor nation to them, and then once they get so dependent they drop the ball- like the US did with Zimbabwe and Argentina (resulting in inflation rates of 10,000,000% in Zimbabwe). The Chinese are figuring out that we will never be able to pay them back with real money, so they will just let our economy collapse by dumping our toilet paper currency, and buy everything up including Auto industry related activites pennies on the dollar.

    Just say Many Americans will have Chinese Bosses at their jobs within 5-10 years.

    The Chinese will provide an otherwise crappy product (they will improve even faster than the Koreans improved-say 10 years instead of 20), but if it works for 5 years and is a $7500 subcompact then Americans will buy it. The Japanese will be hurt badly, and it will take them 20 years at least to get it together again.

    The German cans will become more exclusive, as upper middle class Americans who used to buy German cars move to more affordable Korean and American Premium cars.

    VW plans will flop, as their quality is not up to and will never get up to what most Americans are willing to accept. Plus, Americans (who always have to learn the hard way) will finally figure out what HyundaiSmoke as figured out ages ago- Why buy a VW Product when you have more value priced Korean cars that are much much better.

    THE TREND IS SMALLER CARS ARE HERE TO STAY, AND EVs WILL DEVELOP A LOT FASTER THAN THE NAYSAYERS THINK THEY WILL. THERE WILL BE A MASS USAGE OF HYBRIDS (i.e. almost every ICE powered car will be a hybrid of some form: rare earth, no rare earths, diesel, ethanol, gas, plug in, very mild alternator hybrids, Hybrids with Turbos, etc…).

    Right now it may look like no, but there are socio-economic forces at work that will make this happen.

  59. bob Says:

    “# cwolf Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    @HtG post23: Don’t mean to pry, but why would you want to buy an extended warranty,unless free? Buying a vehicle, then betting it will fail seems illogical to me.”

    Good point. ALSO, the warranty companies make a profit, so this means that if yoru warranty costs $500 over 5 years, as one that was offered me when I bought a new car back in the 80s, I refused it, but I was also encouraged that the AVERAGE cost of repairs covered by it the next 5 years (its duration) would be far less than $500.

    I am against all insurances, I much prefer being self-insured, but unfortunately there are minimal levels of auto insurance we have to carry.

  60. HtG Says:

    bob, I did first refuse the insurance, but it was not my decision in the end.

  61. bob Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    All of this discussion about Transit Connect is silly, especially the hate expressed by certain people, based on sales numbers. ”

    Once more Kit MALICIOUSLY misrepresents my comments and complaints re the Transit Connect vs the Excellent Equinox.

    I am not irrational, to hate inanimate objects, who have not done anything to me, an. I JUST point out Ford’s FAILURE to meet its OWN Sales targets both with the Connect AND now the Fiesta, as PROVEN by their DISMAL Inventories (and Ford’s far lower than expected Profits).

    I will waste my valuable time to explain AGAIN the History of my objections and the FACTS:

    Last year, the top three Truck of the year finalists included the EXCELLENT EQUINOX (32 MPG highway for a 4,000 lbs crossover!!!!) and the Connect. The auto Journalists, in their infinite wisdom, selected this unimportant, fringe vehicle, which looks unstable and quite UGLY, as…. Truck of the Year.


    Since that award, I was vindicated 110%!!!!!

    While the Equinox became the no 1 crossover (together with its twin the Terrain (GMC) it is the no 1 seller, more than the very successful Honda CRV!!!),

    The Connect did DISMALLY. Even if it gets the NY taxi order, it will not salvage its pitiful sales. Better luck with the Siesta, Ford!

    AND to those of you that care, the Connect is made in TURKEY with starvation waged turkish workers while Ford barely makes a DIME of profits, WHILE the Equinox is made RIGHT HERE.

    And no amount of distortion of what i say here will change this!!!

  62. bob Says:

    “The TC is a CARGO VAN. It does not compete with CRV, Rav-4, Escape, Equinox, Sportage, and all of those other smallish “crossovers,” or whatever they are called.”

    Then it should NOT have been even a conteder for Truck of the year, but ALSO you are WRONG that there is anything “SMALLISH” (LOL!!) about the 4,000 Equinox, except its STELLAR fuel sipping (32 HWY in FWD!)

    ” It competes with cargo versions of Ford, Chevy, and GMC big vans, all of which sell in very small numbers. ”

    YOU are AGAIN 100% WRONG, KIT! You obviously do not have4 a clue here, I have been following these numbers for more than 2 decades and BOTH the GM AND the Ford full sized delivery vans and passenger vans (same vehicle really) sell VERY HEALTHY numbers, 10-15k EACH of them each month, vs the MEASLY 2-3k sales of the Connect, DESPITE its much cheaper price!!!

  63. bob Says:

    “# pedro fernandez Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Around here I’ve seen a lot of TC’s serving as commercial vehicles,”

    believe it or not, I have never seen a single one either in my small town or in my travels to DC and other destinations,

    But unlike people like TJ, who do no thave a clue how unimportant ANECDOTAL evidence is vs the total US sales of this vehicle every month, I am not drawing any conclusions from it.

    ” It makes sense to use it as a taxi in NY, ”

    If they midify it extensively, maybe. I expect it to be uncomfortable to sit in, but it sure is efficient in carrying lots of luggage in a very short length vs the Crown Vics, due to its great height.

    But the thing looks so ugly, I have seen FIAT delivery vans that looked FAR better and had the same proportions (but a different front end treatment, looking smooth and even sporty) in Europe.

  64. bob Says:

    All 3 choices for NY taxi are disappointing, all look ungainly to ugly, two are made in turkey and the third is a cheapo Nissan. No comparison with the iconic London Taxis, who also have a far more efficient design than the Crown Vics, but look far more appealing.

  65. bob Says:

    It is unfortunate that Bloomberg did not wait to have additional candidates, such as the upcoming PRIUS WAGON, with or without modifications it could serve the needs of most NY Taxi customers.

    Or he can have TWO types of taxis, one being an AIRPORT model with emphasis on Luggasge space, where he can have Connects or their rivals, and one for around town, which can easily be even a regular Prius, much less a roomy Prius Wagon.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    bob says:
    “Then it should NOT have been even a conteder for Truck of the year, but ALSO you are WRONG that there is anything “SMALLISH” (LOL!!) about the 4,000 Equinox, except its STELLAR fuel sipping (32 HWY in FWD!)”

    The TC is more of a “truck” than the other nominees, so why should it not be a candidate for “truck of the year”? Also, the Equinox IS “smallish” in the US market, compared to Pilots and Highlanders which are about 500 pounds heavier, not to mention Traverse, Edge, and all the others that are bigger yet.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    bob says:
    “BOTH the GM AND the Ford full sized delivery vans and passenger vans (same vehicle really) sell VERY HEALTHY numbers, 10-15k EACH of them each month,”

    From the data you linked about Ford sales, Ford sold fewer than 8,000 large vans in January, and fewer than 7,000 the previous January. That is for CARGO PLUS PASSENGER VERSIONS. The TTAC data didn’t split out cargo and passenger numbers, but I see a lot more passenger than cargo versions of both Ford and GM vans. How does that come out to 10-15K cargo vans a month?

    Nearly all of the TC’s are cargo, because there are, obviously, much better choices in front drive passenger vans. The TC is a TRUCK, not a car.

    As far as New York taxis, I hope they end up with something other than these three “nominees,” though any of the three, properly converted for taxi use would serve the purpose better than the Crown Vics they will be replacing.