Episode 632 – Q1 Earnings Impressive, EcoBoost Popular in F-150, Mazda Creates New Position

April 29th, 2011 at 12:12pm

Runtime 9:13

More first-quarter earnings are in. We’ll take a look at the financial numbers for Daimler, Kia and BorgWarner. Ford says demand for its EcoBoost engine in the F-150 is stronger than expected. Mazda North America announced that Robert Davis is being promoted to senior vice president of the company’s newly created U.S. Operations Group. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with Joel Ewanick, the head of global marketing at General Motors.

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This is Autoline Daily for the last working day in the month of April, in what they call 2,011 in the year of our Lord. And now, the news. But no news about the royal wedding. Not on this show. No mention of Kate’s diamond tiara. No pointing out the Queen’s yellow hat. No talk about how they supposedly drove up to Westminster in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine special. No, we’re talking the news . . .

Q1 EARNINGS IMPRESSIVE
The first-quarter earnings from automakers all over the world are pouring in, and the results are really impressive. Daimler sold over 460,000 cars and trucks worldwide, a 15 percent increase over last year. It brought in more than $36 billion in revenue, and posted a net profit $1.7 billion. Kia sold nearly 620,000 vehicles. But obviously Kia doesn’t get nearly as much money per car as Mercedes does. It pulled in almost $10 billion in revenue and posted a net profit of $890 million, which is up a jaw dropping 91 percent. And it’s not just the automakers. BorgWarner, the supplier company, reported record revenue of $1.7 billion (.pdf), up 34 percent and its profit nearly doubled to $124 million. By the way, we’ll have Tim Manganello, the CEO of BorgWarner, on Autoline Detroit next weekend, so you can learn a lot more about this company and why it’s doing so well. We’re going to see more earnings next week and all this shows the auto industry is roaring back from the big collapse three years ago.

STRONG DEMAND FOR ECOBOOST (subscription required)
Ward’s reports that Ford has been caught by surprise by the strong demand for its EcoBoost engine in the F-150 pickup. Trucks equipped with the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo, intercooled, direct-injection engine are literally flying off the lots. Thirty-five percent of buyers are buying that engine, which has plenty of power and offers better fuel economy than a V-8. Presumably, sales are rocketing along because of higher fuel prices. But remember, Ford is charging them $1,750 for the optional EcoBoost engine. Dealers say it’s flying off the lots, taking only 13 days on average to turn. And the hardest-to-get versions are the 4×4 ones. Let’s see, multiply F-150 sales by 35 percent and that by $1,750. Wow, that engine in the F-150 is bringing in $30 million a month for the Ford Motor Company,

AUDI MORE POPULAR THAN LAME MUSICIANS
Facebook is THE hot social network right now. It seems like everyone and their grandmother has an account with the website. Celebrities and even corporations are getting in on the action, too. Have you ever wondered who has the most engaged fans of all? Could it be Lady Gaga? Is Bieber-fever sweeping the internet like it has the nation? If you think it’s either one of these red-hot musicians you’d be wrong. According to SocialCarNews.com, Audi has the most engaged fans of all, averaging 47 more “likes” per post than the competition. Now keep in mind this includes all of Facebook NOT JUST OTHER AUTOMAKERS! Amazing indeed. Speaking of “liking” things, give us a “like” at Facebook.com/AutolineDetroit.

MAZDA CREATES NEW U.S. POSITION
Mazda North America announced that Robert Davis is being promoted to senior vice president of the company’s newly created U.S. Operations Group. He will now be in charge of all U.S. sales operations and training, marketing, customer service and parts, owner loyalty, dealer development, public relations, and dealer affairs. He reports to Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North America.

NYC’S “TAXI OF TOMORROW”
The race is on to find New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow.” As you remember, the competition is down to three finalists including the Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200 and – what seems like a total dark horse – the V1. No, not Hitler’s vengeance weapon, the V1 “buzz bomb” we’re talking about the Karsan V1. Maybe this Turkish delight has a better chance of winning than we think. To get an edge in the competition the New York Daily News reports the company has vowed to build these taxis in Brooklyn. The factory could employ as many as 800 people. The Nissan offering is built in Japan and, ironically, the Ford Transit Connect is made in Turkey. The three automakers are competing for a billion-dollar contract.

AWD POPULAR WITH LINCOLN CUSTOMERS
Lincoln says its customers love all-wheel drive. So far this year 72 percent of MKT customers and 62 percent of MKX and Navigator buyers have gone for all-wheel drive. However, it’s not as popular with sedan customers. Just under half of MKS buyers and only a quarter of MKZ customers have opted for all-wheel drive.

Coming up next, how is it possible that people in South America love their Chevrolets more than people in North America? We’ll be talking with Joel Ewanick.

THIS WEEK ON AUTOLINE
This week’s Autoline Detroit is all about the global marketing officer of General Motors, Joel Ewanick. In the following clip I asked him how they’re marketing Chevrolet around the world since Chevy is such an American brand. Here’s what he had to say.

By the way, Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, and Chrissie Thompson from the Detroit Free press are on the panel for that show. You can watch the whole thing now on our website.  Also, check your local public-television listings for Autoline Detroit.

As always, catch tonight’s LIVE broadcast of RoundAbout for a fun start to your weekend. This week we’ll show you how you can give your Camaro the chrome treatment and show you a road in Europe where seat belts are illegal! All that and much more at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time tonight at, you guessed it, AutolineDetroit.TV.

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

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

54 Comments to “Episode 632 – Q1 Earnings Impressive, EcoBoost Popular in F-150, Mazda Creates New Position”

  1. HtG Says:

    Here are a few words about my visit to the New York Autoshow this week. Just some things we haven’t all heard a few times, already.

    -The Hyundai Veloster is a winner. A great looker, its character line is less pronounced than the Sonata or Elantra. It has a 105” wheelbase with very little overhang; the wheels are really pushed out to the corners. Getting in and out of the single rear door was easy, and headroom was good. The product specialist(PS) told me that though the target demo was around 30, people of all ages were very fond of the car. It will have a 6 speed auto transmission with double-clutch(!!!!), and start at 17K. No chrome like the Sonata, so a very warm vibe. A winner. Guaranteed.

    -The Scion FRS concept coupe is gorgeous. A smaller car than I expected, it’s less creased and angular in the flesh. The PS said the street car was 80% set, that it’s going to be built on a platform that is already on the market in Japan, that he was not sure if the engine was going to be mounted behind the front wheel axis, and he didn’t know if there would be a transaxle (I need to keep some of my questions to myself). He said that one idea motivating FRS was to raise the demographic age of Scion likers from the current 12-14 year olds and move it up to around 30 where there’s more money. The music played at this installation was cooler than me. They played ‘We are the people’ by Empire of the Sun a few times(it’s on YouTube). The PS gals had no trouble dancing for us geezers, but when one took the mic and started rapping out something to Scion…Scion…Scion, I was out of there.

    -The new Beetle is dramatic. Photos don’t show how interesting the bend of the hood is as you stand in front, or how low and wide the rear end is. All the curves and creases show strength and understatement. Plenty of rear seat headroom, though ingress/egress was very tough. Lots of admiring males walking around. (A word on Passat’s look; are you sure that’s not a Jetta?)

    -Infiniti had the 2010 RedBull F1 car on a turntable, with Infiniti stickers affixed. The PS was drawing a connection between the F1 team and the brand. The PS was the most gorgeous woman at the show. But I still ain’t buying the bull.

    -Lexus’ new design statement/front clip shouldn’t turn anyone off. That basic form of two opposed uneven chevrons is already present in the brand, though toned down. Just look at the front end of LFA, and you get the idea. It’s like the Gh concept is good sushi with too much wasabi. Gets your attention, mostly. Also the 200h hybrid looked very fine in the flesh. It sits very low and wide in the rear, super interior, a swanky car you’d buy regardless of the batteries. I also defy anyone to walk through the Lexus stand without being offered more information in exchange for your email. (Other brands were also doing this, and there were ipads in many PS’ hands)

    -KIA. Everyone take cover, ‘cause here they come. The Rio hatch and sedans were very well proportioned little cars, with more smoothness than the Forte. I watched a very big man sit in the Soul, talk to his gal about how much he liked the car. He fit well in it. I like it too.

    -Followed ‘Hoss’ over to Chrysler where I watched him sitting in the 300. Such a handsome executive car. The exterior is telling everyone who is in charge. Elegant and powerful. I also noticed the lengthwise creases on top of the front fenders; that’s some impressive metal bending, and looked very classy. Hoss fit very well in the 300, and he was about 6’1” at least.

    -The award for smokenest display goes to Laura Soave with her 500s. Kids were crawling all over these little babies. They would crawl into the back seats and refuse their parents instructions to come back out. Why should they when they can fold down the rear seats and crawl into the trunk? Very funny, but maybe a danger to come as some kid figures out how to open the trunk from the rear. And the lady PSs were the most stylishly turned out bunch. Che bella! White crema color pantsuits matching the colors of the walls and carpets of the installation, these were some beauties I will admit to circling back towards just to pretend not to gape. It’s working Laura.

    -But at the other end was Honda. HS, WTF has happened? Even though their installation was right at the front gates, there were not a lot of people. Which makes sense if you lay eyes on the new Civic sedan. It is so plain and ugly my mind tells me Honda knows something I don’t know. The coupe looks much better, inside and out; though rear seat headroom is constrained. The PSs at Honda were wearing what can only be described as the congress between brown paper trash bags and blue bags of cheez doodles. These gals’ figures were totally obscured by their outfits, which I speculate is aimed at not putting off women buyers. But I felt bad for women wearing that dreck. Honda cars don’t look much better. I am very loyal(having an 02 Civic), but it may be over between me and them.

    -The other award for ‘not getting’ it goes to Nissan’s Versa sedan. As bland and ugly a car as possible to imagine, it slaps you in the face because all around it you can see how important expressive design has become. So many carmakers have made great looking shapes a commonplace. Again, Nissan knows something I don’t.

    -BMW 6 convertible. Boring boring, I can’t be bothered to pay attention to this old man car. The Z4 is just the opposite. Sultry and expressive. I got buttonholed by a PS who twice in the conversation brought up that I could buy a pre-owned model. Once when I asked her if she would spend 50K on the Z4, I learned that she buys pre-owned. BMW would like you to buy pre-owned. Did you get the memo?

    -Everybody is making direct injection engines now. Honda?

    -Mercedes. If you thought the C-class coupe looked like the Honda Accord coupe, but wondered if it looked different in the flesh, make an exception, and believe your lyin’ eyes, because it’s comical how much the two cars resemble each other. I asked a PS if customers were saying anything about the confusion(cheeky, huh?), and she replied in the negative. In contrast, the SLK convertible doesn’t look at all like its photos. It’s smooth and cool. I want.

    -I somehow couldn’t be bothered to check out the Chevys. I had wanted to see Sonic, but didn’t run into Chevy, Buick, Cadillac. How does this happen? I did get to see Volt being driven in the basement. Like John said last night, it looks real good in the fourth dimension. As it rolls, it looks well balanced and eager to move.

    -Etc File.
    I saw Rupert Gee from the Letterman show walk by!
    So you want to buy a Coke at the Autoshow? That will be $4.25 for a bottle. Did you think it would be cheaper for a 20oz bottle water? Well it’s $3.99
    Every year I come to the show I see some of the same faces working. A guy at the Lexus stand started in around 1990, when he did Infiniti. He’s from Michigan.
    Infiniti has the most gorgeous PS at the show, and she can take the compliment, too. Dear Lord.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder how many of those Audi fanatics would love the brand if they had to keep bringing in their prized possession back to the dealer over and over again, no secret about Chevy’s reputation in Latin American, while Ford is seen as second rate quality.

  3. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ; Some (good ) F1 news . The Senna documentary will be coming to the US on August 12th 2011 .

    So if you’re an F1 Fan , A Senna Fan , or heck if you’re just a documentary fan GO !

    This is by the far the nest film on Senna’s career ever made as well as one of the best Documentaries ever made . Period !

  4. tj Martin Says:

    @ Salvador G

    Hmmn . Your reply yesterday .

    #1 My comment was not intended as an insult nor was it referring directly to the Japan Disaster .

    #2 Tires and Aerodynamic affecting MPG

    To put it bluntly , you couldn’t be more wrong about your assumptions .

    I could spend the next 20 paragraphs trying to explain to you how tires ( Tread Width , Traction Coefficient , Weight , Rolling Diameter etc. ) and Aerodynamics have a DIRECT impact on a cars over all MPG .

    I could . But I won’t . Because if you actually believe what you wrote yesterday it would prove to be an abject exercise in Futility on my part to try an explain it all to you .

  5. tj Martin Says:

    And last night I see Nick/Bob/Thor/Jeff etc etc has yet another “Sock Puppet ”

    How many ” Sock Puppets ” does this individual have to put up before he/she realizes that his/her Syntax Grammar Punctuation and Writing Style give him/her away in less than a paragraph ?

  6. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Personally I think SocialCarNews statistics are at the very least inaccurate and more likely Contrived BS on Audi’s behalf in order to gain them more Attention .

    Like that never happens on the Web !

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Seeing as the quarterly reports are encouraging(very encouraging) here’s hoping that this will translate into more jobs for us Americans; not stupid growth of years gone by, but intelligent growth with a sustaining quality. UAW, mind your manners; you can talk, but keep it civil, represent your membership fairly, respect the employers and maintain the strong industry that working together created.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Well here’s where you and I part company I’m afraid ;

    VeloToaster – A bad joke

    Scion FR-S – A very bad pastiche of the worst Japanese ” Sports Car ” designs , including Mitsibushi ever done .

    New Beetle – Please tell me you’re joking

    KIA- They may be coming because people are falling for the BS , but they’ll be going ( to the junk yard ) just as quick .

  9. HtG Says:

    You got to see the cars for yourself, tj. Photos distort cars a lot. Also, some cars like the Beetle don’t really appeal to me, but I can see how well done they are anyway. And the KIA Velotoaster was well done inside too. I was sniffing around for cheapness, but it’s good. Sit in the Honda Fit; that dashboard is a cacaphony of plastic in the key of cheapo.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG:Thanks for the GREAT reviews,especially your impressions of the new beetle.From the few pics I’ve seen of it,I like.

  11. HtG Says:

    tj, when I walked around the 458 Italia it was stunning how different it looked from photos. So sexy on my screen, but a little dull in the flesh. Like finding out Natalie Portman or Robert Redford are tiny people.

  12. HtG Says:

    you’re welcome GA. When I see so many cars at once, particular cars stand out from the field, and trends appear, too. Like how many displayed engines were direct injected. I usually only have a few hours before my senses get dulled. One other thing I left out was how hard the Product Specialists are working. Some looked like they would die of boredom. Or how many people at the show were never going to be buying these cars. Or that despite the bad reviews of the Lexus Gh concept, many people were standing around it taking pictures. Don’t ask me.

  13. Lex Says:

    Mayor Bloomberg of NYC needs to support an American Built Taxi of tomorrow for NYC. The three finalists Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200 and Karsan V1 are all not built in the USA. The Ford Transit Connect, if built in the USA would be my first choice. The Ford Grand C-Max is actually the best vehicle to replace the Ford Crown Victoria as the Taxi of Tomorrow in NYC. I hope the Mayor Bloomberg and Ford CEO Alan Mulally are listening.

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Agreeing with Lex; an American built taxi would speak volumes for supporting our industry. Even picking the Transit Connect would at least bring the profits home. And the C-Max; well, another good idea.

  15. Andy S Says:

    I, too, was at the NY Int’l Auto Show this week. I have to agree with HtG about Honda. The Civic greatly lags the new Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. Even the underwhelming Cruze outshines the Civic. Honda has now completed a full generation of foul balls and strike outs. Honda has fallen behind in fuel economy, technology, safety, quality, and design.

    Speaking of underwhelming, again I agree with HtG about the Nissan Versa. I thought the old Versa was ugly, until I saw the new Versa. So, I guess I’ll have to re-characterize the old Versa as homely. I’d be tempted to blame this on the design influence from Renault, but that wouldn’t explain the design lapses at the other two Japanese powerhouses – Honda and Toyota.

  16. shan Says:

    I think Honda needs to resurrect the design/engineer/marketing/advertizing teams they had in place back in it’s hay-day. I never ever expected a company that had so many achievements in the auto industry, simply whittle away into a bland, boring company. Where has the passion gone? A hyrid CR-Z?? Are you kidding me?? Yes, they have made some recent strides, but it’s a little too late in the ball game.

  17. HtG Says:

    hey Shan, the Product Specialits at Honda were talking up the CRZ as a car you could flip a switch, and put into sport mode. My only reactions to this are NSFW.

    More on Hyundai Veloster, the PS pointed out to me that the wheel inserts were the same color as the body paint. The inserts looked like thin asterisks about a foot in diameter. I wonder what the effect will be when the car is moving. Lots of 60 year old men were checking this car out,…and it was orange!

  18. Lex Says:

    John,

    I believe that some of your other viewers agree with me that Honda has a problem. Why not invite Dave Marek of Honda to do an skype chat on AAH? This way Dave and his team can get feedback from us the consumers of Honda products. We all love our Honda’s but the magic is losing it’s glow!

    The Competition is getting stronger everyday, and when it’s time to replace your vehicles Honda might not be our best choice. The most important two most in need of redesign and updating in my opinion are the CR-V and Element.
    The CR-V needs a more conventional front clip, similar to the design of the New Odyssey. The Element needs a more youthful and conventional interior redesign to compete against the likes of the Kia Soul and all other vehicles in that demongraphic market.

    My Co-Worker was looking for a new Acura, but decided that the EXL V6 Accord was her best choice. The Two Brands are too closely matched in price and features. They are competing against themselves. Honda needs to throttle back a bit in price and allow Acura to focus more on luxury competitors.

    Honda need to also put more focus on it’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) System.
    As Ford is doing with Eco Boost in it’s F-150,
    Honda should put VCM in all of it’s V6 powered vehicles at all model levels LX, EX and EXL.
    I can not believe Honda Racing has not come up with some great ideas to improve fuel economy and power which can be used in it’s vehicles.
    Best of Luck Honda!

  19. SalvadorG. Says:

    Hey! seems today is HtG day.

    tj Martin Says:
    April 29th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    @ Salvador G
    Hmmn . Your reply yesterday .
    #1 My comment was not intended as an insult nor was it referring directly to the Japan Disaster.

    __

    You said that I took pleasure on Toyota’s and Honda’s suffering & pain and of all things being related. Now I can accept that you did not meant to express it this way, but that is exactly what you did.

    -And as for your tire conspiracy theory..,
    From the EPA and practically all Independent reviewers, who tested all this cars; the MPG range among all these cars DO NOT Change.

    So, I guess there is the MASS World Tire Conspiracy now.. Hey! I heard the president is actually from Kenya, don’t you think he is involve in this too.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    I believe the epitome of quality and engineering for both Toyota and Honda came in the late 80′s and mid 90′s when the US car makers were in disarray, making crappy small and midsize cars and the Japanese brands came in and pulled the rug from under them, In the past few years the playing field has been leveled out with Korean and American competitors bringing out good products and this has caught both HON and TOY flat-footed and unable to respond.

  21. GPL Says:

    Lex,

    Now that you mention Honda Racing it occurs to me Honda used to be involved in many racing series, but seem to have faded from the scene. Now I can’t think of anything on four wheels with which Honda Racing is involved other than the Indy car spec engines.

    A lot of Honda’s tech in past decades came from their involvement in highly competative series like F1 and LeMans endurance racing. Being a supplier to a spec series isn’t competative, so it doesn’t drive innovation. I think Honda even advertises that there hasn’t been an engine failure in the Indy car series in something like 5 years. To me that just says that they aren’t pushing them very hard.

  22. SalvadorG. Says:

    John McElroy says: But no news about the royal wedding. Not on this show. No mention of Kate’s diamond tiara. No pointing out the Queen’s yellow hat. No talk about how they supposedly drove up to Westminster in a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI limousine special. No, we’re talking the news . . .
    __

    Thank the gods for Autoline but, JohnMc. you shouldn’t let journalistic integrity get in the way of making more money, just think of the opportunities; you could actually become the Royal Family car review and be knighted.

    NYC’S “TAXI OF TOMORROW”
    Foreign Taxis in New York City, does that mean we would have to replace the taxi drivers for Americans now?

    AUDI MORE POPULAR THAN LAME MUSICIANS
    Besides the obvious Shameless promotion and since I don’t have a Facebook account, I’m actually surprise that Audi of all cars makers would have the most fallowing, seriously; Audi!

  23. HtG Says:

    A last word from HtG on the Beetle drama. The round shapes of the car contrast with some sharp creases like along the top of the bumper or along the top of the beltline. I keep feeling this even though it was Tuesday evening when I saw the car. The way light gradually shades across round surfaces is the opposite of the light/dark edge on other parts. Very elegant, if you ask me. Maybe that’s why they introduced a car in white in NY(don’t know what they did in Shanghai).

  24. SalvadorG. Says:

    Great! HtG likes the new Beetle, I still say it looks like a butt-ugly Porsche (WHICH is a compliment for the new Beetle).

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    I’ve seen the VW ( urp )” New ” New Beetle in the steel . ( hmmnn where could I of been to do that ??? Hmmmn )

    Sorry but for my eyes its a Squashed , Roof Fat Arsed ( God is that butt huge for such a small car ) out of proportion Blob with wheels .

    What gets me more than the looks is VW’s pretentious attempts to claim its more of a ” Man’s ” car.

    Give me a break . Its a pathetic attempt to rejuvenate a dying model , with hopes that enough BS will sell it to an unsuspecting consumer audience .

    Can’t ( urp ) wait to see the Ads VW will come up with to advertise this little travesty .

    Lets see . …… Who shall we use as the Star ? Hulk Hogan ? Nahhh he’s yesterdays news . Hows about Mike Tyson . Hey…. there we go . He’s all about his more ” Feminine ” (yeah right ) side what with the Pigeons and all .

    Got it . Mike Tyson as the celebrity spokesman for the “New” New Beetle . With music by ………. hmmnn……………

    Tangerine Dream !!!

    Filmed in Berlin , NYC and …… well no convertible yet so forget LA ……….. San Fransisco . Got to get CA in there somewhere .

    Oh and lets take it for a lap of the ” Ring ” so’s to show what a great performer the ” New ” New Beetle is .

    Am I good or what ?

    FYI , HtG I could of told you the $260K BBQ …….. oops .. meant to type 458 …. was a dog in person .

  26. tj Martin Says:

    Salvador G

    Well at least we’re on the same page on something .

  27. tj Martin Says:

    NYC’s Cab of Tomorrow ;

    Tell you what . With the AFL -CIO all but running NYC , the town damn well better pick the Ford over the Foreign competition .

  28. tj Martin Says:

    VW “New” New Beetle commercial revisited ;

    Changed my mind about the music . Tangerine Dream is too cerebral .

    Lets go for Metallica’s ” Sandman ” instead . That’ll go better with Tyson’s presence and the words fit to a tee.

    In fact lets do a “Sandman ” model . Complete with Electric Guitar and built in amplifier . VW’s already done that … but this is better cross marketing .

  29. HtG Says:

    Come and git some Beetle bashers!

    The Beetle doesn’t really do it for me either(I’ll have the MB E-coupe), but I can describe what’s working and what tools the designers may have used. The guy sitting in the car with me really loved it, and when I told him I had heard VW was trying to make the car more appealing to males, he emphatically agreed that was so. I just listened to Sandman, tj; I’m hearing more Burning Down the House.(I keed)

    tj, Mini did have your KISS themed Countryman hanging it out there. Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh!!!

  30. SalvadorG. Says:

    Right..!! Because when I think Metallica, I think VW.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    When I think Beetle, I think the Bangles or Cindy Lauper

  32. shan Says:

    @Lex, News Flash, Honda is ending the Element platform.

  33. dan9867 Says:

    I really don’t find the gas mileage on the F150 with EcoBoast that great. I say EcoBoast because it’s a better name, considering all the bragging Ford does with this engine. Maybe Volkswagen, GM and the others using the same technology, in fact before Ford, should have given it a name. Ford sure knows how to market their products

  34. cwolf Says:

    What a great thing to get more ECOBOOST’s on the road. In the next year or so,we”ll finally have enough sample size to evaluate its PROVEN merits and weaknesses. For sure,these recent buyers made their purchases base on hopes and wishes for better economy,but the added costs still buys a lot of gas for the average driver. Also appearent the salesman haven’t lost their touch!

    The NYC taxi piece made me ponder. My impression of the city dwellers are that they are more friendly to each other than they are to outsiders;compare the price you pay to a street vender to that of a local! Anyway,the Turkish Karsan V1 is eye catching and has the most potential to make everyone much more friendly. Have water pipes loaded with hashish or Turkish funny tobacco installed in each taxi.Bet the cabbie could make a fortune selling munchies to these,now, friendlier people! Would’nt it be crazy if these two Turkish vehicles automatically moved to the curb and shut off for 10 min. during prayer time?

  35. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    HtG,

    Thanks for the great reporting on the NY Show.

    Specific comments coming up

  36. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    Here are a few words about my visit to the New York Autoshow this week. Just some things we haven’t all heard a few times, already.

    “-The Hyundai Veloster is a winner. A great looker, its character line is less pronounced than the Sonata or Elantra. It has a 105” wheelbase with very little overhang; the wheels are really pushed out to the corners. Getting in and out of the single rear door was easy, and headroom was good. The product specialist(PS) told me that though the target demo was around 30, people of all ages were very fond of the car. It will have a 6 speed auto transmission with double-clutch(!!!!), and start at 17K. No chrome like the Sonata, so a very warm vibe. A winner. Guaranteed.”

    The numbers above look good, esp the short overhangs. I’m not in the market for such a thing, and they know it. However, I am no rabid fanatic fool like that mindless, clueless TJ MArtin scumbag, who condemns everything Hyundai JUST because it is a Hyundai or Kia product. That is of course BIGOTRY and CLOSED MINDEDNESS..

    “-The new Beetle is dramatic. Photos don’t show how interesting the bend of the hood is as you stand in front, or how low and wide the rear end is. All the curves and creases show strength and understatement. Plenty of rear seat headroom, though ingress/egress was very tough. ‘

    I have no doubt, from the photos I saw, that the NEW new beetle is 10 TIMES better than the lame-ass first New Beetle. Just for deleting that lame-ass VASE they should get a medal. lol.

    It is also much closer to the original beetle idea, and the fact that the rear headroom is now decent makes it more practical too.

    “Lots of admiring males walking around. (A word on Passat’s look; are you sure that’s not a Jetta?)”

    Passats and jettas look fine on the outside, not offensive, smooth designs. it is inside that they cheapened the jetta to make it more affordable.

    “-But at the other end was Honda. HS, WTF has happened?”

    It has lost its way. There are MORONS at Honda and esp ACURA that need to be retired or fired. it is a DISGRACE. AND i say this as an owner of excellent Civics (still own my 91-92 hatch) AND accords for decades.

    “It is so plain and ugly my mind tells me Honda knows something I don’t know. ”

    they don’t. They are MORONS. Having a FIVE speed auto, and taking so LOOOOONG to bring out the new civic (7 instead of 4 years) is a DISASTER. only $5 gas will save it.

    “-The other award for ‘not getting’ it goes to Nissan’s Versa sedan. As bland and ugly a car as possible to imagine, it slaps you in the face because all around it you can see how important expressive design has become. So many carmakers have made great looking shapes a commonplace. Again, Nissan knows something I don’t.”

    The Versa is sure bland and ugly, and its previous model was weitrd too. Part of this is they are damned RENAULTS in disguise (this should make them even more unreliable than Nissans) and part is it is a dirt cheap econobox, what other roomy comforable car can you buy for $11k for gawds sakes today?

    “The Z4 is just the opposite. Sultry and expressive. I got buttonholed by a PS who twice in the conversation brought up that I could buy a pre-owned model. ”

    It’s a great looking car from the front, the trunk is a little out of proportion, and a wild beast on the road, esp the M version.

    “-Mercedes. If you thought the C-class coupe looked like the Honda Accord coupe,”

    It may, and this should make it BETTER looking than the PREVIOUS god-awful Merc C class coupe or hatch, which once was the cheapest Merc you could buy in the US at $25K. That was ugly, the new C and C coupe is MUCH better.

    “In contrast, the SLK convertible doesn’t look at all like its photos. It’s smooth and cool. I want.”

    The new SLK looks great.

  37. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    PS That rabod fanatic FOOL TJ Moron has lost ALL credibility when he screams that Toyota and esp Honda’s problems are all due to the Tsunami and Earthquake. While these sure will have a big negative impact, the LEGIONS of UGLY-ASS ACURAS and Underwhelming, FAKE LUXURY LExus ES 350s (aka CAMRY’s) went on for DECADES before the earthquake.

    Like any Drug Addict or AA type, Honda and TOyota FIRST MUST (agt least INTERNALLY, if not PUBLICLY) ADMIT that Hyundai-Kia are EATING THEIR COLLECTIVE BREAKFASTS, LUNCHES AND DINNERS. I USED to be contemptuous of Hyubndai, and I am STILL not in the market for ANY of them, BUT they are FINE choices for MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of consumers.

  38. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    “dan9867 Says:
    April 30th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I really don’t find the gas mileage on the F150 with EcoBoast that great. I say EcoBoast because it’s a better name,”

    You are right, it is only MARGINALLY better. And the name is SUCH a fraud. “ECO” mY ass, FORD! it is JUST A DAMN TURBO.

    Your “Eco-boast” has hit the nail on the head, just as much as my Fiesta-Siesta-Fiasco (but kust saved by the $5 gas and the Tsunami…LOL)

  39. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    Hey CWOLF

    1. I doubt that it is so commonplace for people to do 200 miles a day commuting, even where you live. I knew a ford Engineer who liked where she lived and commuted 40 miles each way to Dearborn in her V6 Ranger Truck or v8 explorer, and she did take the truck most of the time, to save fuel, EVEN tho this was 2000 or so and fuel was $1 a gallon!

    2. The Milan-Fusion provides only cvery marginally better safety than the Focus or Fiesta, but it also has only marginally worse fuel econ. I agree if I were you I would not bother replacing the Milan with these now.

    And as I proved with numbers, shelling out $41k++ for a new Volt would not do you any good either, since after 35 miles at most every day, you’d have to do the remaining 165 at a LOUSY 37 MPG TOPS Volt gas engine feeding the battery.

    That’s the problem, the domestics have NO super efficient gas diesel or hybrid model, even the new ones do not cut it. You need 50 MPG PLUS, not a mediocre 37-42 MPG highway, which means 30 MPG COMBINED that the new domestics give you.

    ALSO, safety is BOTH active and passive, all these cars have mediocre passive safety and even worse ACTIVE safety doe to their lame engines and poor acceperation, handling etc you need to AVOID accident scenes.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just met a fellow who wanted to trade in his 04 Jetta for another new one but was put off by it’s cheap looking plasticky interior, so he decided to be a good American and leased a new 1.8 auto Cruze, very impressed with quality of interior, not so with the drive-train. he says that the car hesitates and takes so long to find the right gear, that he took it in to the service dept where they told him that is the way it’s supposed to be, now he wishes he had kept the old Jetta, he misses the responsive engine/tranny combo.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    By the end of this year the compact class is going to get really interesting with new offerings from just about every manufacturer, I am just wondering if Fit will be able to keep the current first place status in most comparison tests. the only one left out again is Toyota with its aging Yaris, new one a think a year away and Chrysler who is putting too much hope on the controversial 500, BTW the couple of reviews I’ve read don’t look too favorable for this reliability-challenged, Mexican-made, Italian mutt.

  42. HtG Says:

    Hi Pedro, I saw a rosso 500 drive by today in the sunshine. Looked nice as the light reflected off its little body.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG, in 1986 I was car shopping,went to see a brand new little car that had just arrived in the US, it looked ok, nice thump when I closed the door, seemed to be well made, took it out for a test drive with salesman, wife and son, salesman says: “Hill coming up, turning off a/c, so we can climb it. Went back to dealership and said bye bye. It was a Hyundai Excel. before that I tested an Alfa Romeo Alfetta, very nice car, fell in love with it, during test drive either the radiator or a hose broke, spewing hot coolant all over the place and left us stranded a few blocks from dealership, gave up and went for a Toyota.

  44. cwolf Says:

    Pedro, I’m hearing the same stuff about Cruze. Some people are having good experiences, while other not. Poor mileage of 34-36 is often said,as well as narrow seats. Many mag. comlain about trany noise in the new Focus, but I did not find it noteworthy during my test drive. I hope to have the same feeling when a Cruze is driven. The Buick Verrano,out this Fall, is a cruze clone. Do you have any idea if the transmission is the same one?

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf,this is a problem in a lot of new automatics with 5 or 6 gears and low torque engines, this same fellow told me he tested the Cruze 1.4 turbo and it was fine, but decided to save a grand and go for the base 1.8 engine, it is all about engine and tranny control, I drove the 08 Civic and 09 Sonata and did not experience this problem, however the Cobalt and the Dodge Journey did, I don’t require a lot of power, but I want the car to respond to my right foot right away, not in 3/4 secs.

  46. Lex Says:

    @ Shan

    If Honda would reconfigure the Element according to my suggestions, they would not have to end it. Honda needs to evolve the Element into a “FUN-CUV”! The old formula did not work so try something new. It seems to work for the competition. Honda seems to be stuck in between second and third gear. It’s time to bring back “The Fun Factor”.

  47. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    Hi. I’m Jeff Cunningham and I am the Mighty Thor’s Sock Puppet.

    Now that we have the silly crap out of the way, to the serious stuff.

    Motorweek had tested the Elantra and separately the Fiat 500.

    Although the Elantra is almost twice as big inside and one full class (or two) bigger than the 500, it is rated 40 MPG HWY in ALL Its versions. The Fiat is rated 1 MPG less hwy and 1 more city, so it is a wash.

    In Motorweek’s quasi-scientific “MIXED LOOP”, both vehicles got 33 MPG real observed average.

    That’s acceptable, but not great.

    I also predict, like others here, that the 500 will do OK, for at least a year or two.

    It’s very cute on the outside and due to its tiny length (even shorter than the MINI) it should be a breeze to parallel park, even by auto illiterate chicks on their shopping raids.

    I expect many high school teen chicks to pester their fathers to get them one, and some aging chicks as well.

    It should be interesting to see the Reliability after a couple years. Not that the above chix would care, of course, if somebody ELSE pays TONY to fix it!

  48. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    To follow up on my post to CWOLF, I did some simple calcs on the cost for a 200 mile a day commute.

    Even Gas ALONE, at today’s $4 a gallon (and climbing every day towards $5 by Mem day!).

    If you are able to get 30 MPG (an optimistic no. in the Milan-Fusion, and say you do 210 miles a day (200 commute plus a few short trips to shop etc in the evening), that’s 7 gallons or $28.

    That’s $28 every day for gas ALONE, not including the oil changes and the inevitable wear tear and failures and repairs.

    In a week, say you do 1,200 miles, conservatively, or 60,000 miles a year (50 weeks only, no vacation driving!)

    At 30 MPG and $4 gas, (VERY optimistically) that’s 2000 gallons, or $8,000 every year.

    If you had some POS 15 MPG Chevy Blazer SUV, that would be $16,000 EVERY YEAR JUST FOR GAS!

    If you had a 10 MPG suburban or Escalade, make it $24,000 a YEAR JUST for gas!

    But if you had the TRULY AWESOME PRIUS, REAL 50 MPG, you’d need 1,200 gallons or $4,800 only.

    AND if you had a vintage 2-seater Honda Insight Hybrid, rated 70 MPG highway (old ratings) you could get 60 MPG easy on long drives (Hypermilers got up to 100 MPG) and $4,000 a year.

  49. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    The LEXUS Hybrid hatchback CT200h

    I saw one at the dealers, ansd sat in, but did not bother to test drive.

    it looks cute on the outside, and is rated a very decent 42-43 EPA average, but it is cramped inside and esp in the back, and the trunk is tiny compared to the Prius, which has the same engine but gets much more mpg.

    I think it is ideally timed now that we have $4-$5 gas, and Lexus advertises the hell out of it on TV, I see.

    I predict that since it is very modestly base-priced, it will be a far bigger hit than ANY previous Lexus Hybrids, even the ill fated compact 4 door ugly POS (forget the name).

  50. Earl Long Says:

    What’s with Toyota….I thought we’d see a fresh looking RAV4 with that bold grille like they’re showing in other markets

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    What’s with all the”name” changes, Jeff, formerly bob, Nick, Jim, and Thor? Can you explain your reason for this?

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I drove a CT200h a few weeks ago, and liked it pretty well. Power tran-wise, it was obviously like a Prius, because it has the same power train. The steering feel and handling of the CT were better, though. It would be partly due to the wider, lower profile tires, but I suspect the different suspension also helps out. Also, the Lexus has a better seating position. In a Prius, the steering wheel won’t get as close as I’d like, but in the CT, it will. Also, the seats in the CT were a little better, while those in a Prius aren’t bad. The CT has the most convincing leather substitute, AKA vinyl, that I have seen, better than what they use in $50K+ E-Class and 5 Series.

    To me the big weakness of the CT200h is the gas mileage. While good, it is a lot worse than a Prius that uses the same power train. In the case of highway mileage, I’d blame it on the aerodynamics. I suppose the bigger, higher performance tires account for most of the difference in city driving, because the CT and the Prius weigh about the same, and at lower speed, aero drag is not so much of a factor.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, What’s the next name gonna be? Osama Bin Dead?

  54. Rick Says:

    John, I keep hearing on the show about car manufactures increasing their offerings of turbo charged cars, with Ford and Hyundai in particular coming to mind. Have any of the manufacturers talked about the predicted reliability of these engines. With increased reliability of cars over the years, I think many consumers have come to expect cars to last over 200,000 without major drive-train issues. Would this be expected to hold true for these new turbocharged engines.
    In addition, from a convenience standpoint, are manufactures still recommending that folks sit with their cars idling for bit before shutting their turbo charged engines off after a long drive?