Episode 656 – U.S. Sells Chrysler Stock, Reuss’s Futuristic Proposal, Mazda & Ford Split

June 3rd, 2011 at 11:45am

Runtime 7:24

The U.S. government sold its remaining Chrysler stock to Fiat and President Obama is going to a Jeep plant in Ohio today to celebrate. GM’s President of North America, Mark Reuss, wants to test the company’s futuristic autonomous electric-vehicle, the EN-V, in Detroit. Mazda is in talks with Ford about selling its stake in their shared assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan where the Mazda6 and the Mustang are built. All that and more, plus a look at some fascinating stories that came out of last month’s new-car sales in the U.S.


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This is Autoline Daily for Friday, the third of June, 2011. Here’s what’s happening in the automotive world. And after the break, make sure you stick around, because we’re announcing the FIRST winner of our Bob Lutz book giveaway. And now, the news.

President Obama is going to the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio today to celebrate the fact that Fiat is buying up the last of the stock the U.S. government holds in Chrysler. In fact, Fiat will now own 52 percent of Chrysler, with the rest pretty much held by the UAW’s trust fund for employee health care. Now Fiat has to negotiate what it’s going to pay the union for that stock. My estimate is that it will come in somewhere around $4 billion. In a related note, the Detroit News reports that the government will lose $14 billion on the auto industry bailouts, but that’s a lot better than the $48 billion it originally expected to lose. Ron Bloom, the auto czar, is quoted as saying we record what we lost, we also have to record what we saved.

Last year General Motors showed a futuristic autonomous electric-vehicle at the Shanghai World Expo called the EN-V. It’s a two-seat concept designed to help reduce congestion in China’s megacities. But GM’s President of North America, Mark Reuss ,wants to see these autonomous vehicles being tested in Detroit. Reuss is proposing using the vehicles as a way to connect the city of Detroit, since geographically, it’s spread out and there are plenty of open spaces. Reuss believes this is something Detroit needs to do in order to innovate and rebuild.

As we’ve been reporting throughout the year, car sales in China are slowing down and last month they took a big hit. According to Gasgoo, passenger car sales totaled just 850,000 units, an 11 percent decline from April and 1 percent drop compared to last year. One analyst believes the drop in sales is due to the Chinese government phasing out incentives for new cars and cities like Beijing and Shanghai restricting sales of new cars. He also blames the weakening economy and the industry for developing too quickly.

Mazda and Ford are canceling their joint venture. The two automakers have been working together for more than three decades, but their long-lived partnership is expected to come to an end in 2013. Mazda is in talks with Ford about selling its stake in their shared assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. This is where its slow-selling Mazda6 sedan as well as the Mustang are assembled. Reuters reports Mazda will import cars to the U.S. from Japan and Mexico starting in 2013. But Mazda officially denies that it will make cars in Mexico (.pdf, login required).

Here’s a world’s first! Autoblog reports the crafty candy confectioners at Cadbury have commissioned an amphibious ice cream truck! Amazing, I know! Called the HMS Flake 99, this floating freezer was built to celebrate National Ice Cream Week in the UK. With wide-open windows and trademark jingle-chimes it’s ready to feed boaters’ sweet teeth as they cruise up and down the Thames River. I wonder how well she fared during sea trials?

Coming up next, there are some fascinating stories that came out of last month’s new-car sales in the American market. In fact, one of them is going to shock you.

SURPRISING SALES STORIES (subscription required)
I’ve been going through last month’s sales numbers, as reported by our friends at Ward’s, and I found some really interesting stories in those figures. Get this. Last month even though gasoline hit four bucks a gallon, the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger outsold all the hybrids in the market put together. Remember, there are now 30 different hybrids offered by 14 different brands. There are compact hybrids, midsize hybrids and full size ones. There are pickup hybrids, crossovers and SUVs. There are cheap ones and luxury ones. So three muscle cars outsold 30 hybrids. Part of the reason is that sales of the Toyota Prius fell nearly in half because of production disruptions in Japan. But even so, three against 30? Who would’ve expected that?

And while sales did slow down last month, the numbers suggest it had nothing to do with rising gasoline prices, or the continuing housing crisis, or a drop in consumer confidence, or concerns about the economy. No, it all had to do with the Japanese automakers. All of them except Mitsubishi and Suzuki saw their sales go down. Every other car maker saw its sales go up. In fact, if the Japanese had merely sold the same number of cars they did a year ago, in a much weaker market, May sales would have matched April. And that means the SAAR would have stayed right at 13 million units. That means that as the Japanese get their production back on line, car sales will probably pop right back to where they were. And that means the slow down in May was probably just a blip on the road to recovery.

Don’t forget to check out the LIVE broadcast of RoundAbout, tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv.

OK, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. We’re giving away four copies of Bob Lutz’s new book “Car Guys vs Bean Counters.” To enter the contest you have to send an email to your local public television station asking them to carry Autoline Detroit. If they already carry it, we ask you to thank them for carrying it and send us a copy of the email.

And the winner is . . . Joey Crampton who wrote into Prairie Public Broadcasting in North Dakota to suggest they carry Autoline Detroit. Don’t forget, we’ve got three more books to give away, so get all the details at bit.ly/AutolineContest.

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

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

81 Comments to “Episode 656 – U.S. Sells Chrysler Stock, Reuss’s Futuristic Proposal, Mazda & Ford Split”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Well I’m glad Obama is so terribly excited about FIAT gaining a stronger foothold into Chrysler because I’m sure as heck not .

    With Marchionne’s plans for a Unibody Wrangler etc on deck this will only mean an even quicker albeit more devastating end to Chrysler as we know it .

    Odds are 20 – 1 Marchionne as he has threatened will wind up moving 100% of Chrysler manufacturing to Mexico as well .

    Then …. add in the reality of just how much the US Tax Payer is losing on this deal ( since when is losing $14 Billion considered a good thing ) …..

    and ………… the ‘ Rainbows ‘ (re;episode 655 post 62 ) are coming Hot & Heavy today .

  2. tj Martin Says:

    …….. and to add to todays ‘Rainbows ‘

    The agency which holds the copyrights for Eminem’s song on the recent SB Chrysler commercial is suing Audi for what they claim is a blatant rip off of both the commercial and the song .

    I’ve listened to both side by side ( as well as watched ) and from a US Copyright Law perspective they don’t have a case/leg to stand on .

    As well as them revealing that Eminem did the song on a ” Work for Hire ” basis which doesn’t say anything good about Eminem’s current level of success or status in the Industry


    Even more ‘ Rainbows ‘ today .

    Bernie got his way . Bahrain is back on the F1 calendar in spite of the ongoing violence etc.

    Not sure my brain can take too many more ‘ Rainbows ‘ this Friday .

  3. Nanny-State Says:

    Check out this video as gas prices hit +$4 today…


  4. HtG Says:

    Hey Crampton, birthday boy, twenty bucks says I get my Nook edition of the Lutz book before McElroy sends you The Precious Load, The Arc of the Convertible, The Leafs of Perfectly Handling Prose. Sore loser you say? Future winner, more likely.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Yeah smarty pants , well I’ll bet you my hard copy of Lutz’s book that I’ll be paying for out of my own pocket ( nobody appreciates a good schill these days ) will be around long after your ‘ NOOK ” has become obsolete !!!

    Thppppppppt ! :o

  6. Bob K Says:

    John are you padding the Autoline Detroit show count? Show 1523 is show 1516. where is the
    “Original air date” tag?

  7. tj Martin Says:

    …… and just to make sure this Friday covers all the bases …

    …. Nanny-State leaves a few Extreme Right ‘Rainbows’ behind to complete the day .

    Ugh ! :o (

    ( right about now a good solid rain storm is looking mighty good in light of all these ‘Rainbows ‘ )

  8. tj Martin Says:

    should of been a :(

  9. HtG Says:

    Too late KC humorist! Nook was obsolete the day I bought it. But there’s no more bookshelf space in my place.(except for the special spot I’m saving for Doctor Simeone’s book about his car collection in Philadelphia. See how I worked that in?)

  10. shan Says:

    While the Jeep Wrangler is king for it’s off-road merits, it’s atrocious in daily commuting. Most people use it for the latter. It simply needs major refinement in better handling and interior upgrades that’s quieter and not a full scale rebuild that will weaken it’s heritage.

    Horrible gas mileage, noisy in every aspect, rides like a flatbed cabbage truck, even after generations…..I’ll pass…

  11. tj Martin Says:

    @ shan – # 10 Agree completely !

    @HtG- See thats the thing with Mr & Mrs Tj’s place . Our Interior Decorating theme is ” Books are Us ” so plenty of room for a copy or two of Lutz’s ” Car Guys vs Bean Counters ” To be released on June 9 , 2011 .

    Wink Wink

    (SG is gonna hate me for this )

  12. tj Martin Says:

    JEEP Wrangler

    In reality all they really need to do in the short run is to start building them right , minus the multitude of flaws and mistakes that riddle each and every one off the assembly line .

    Then maybe just a tad bit of refinement ( not too much ) as well as a better engine .

    If JEEP/Chrysler was doing that now they’d of made a sale . Instead of those bloody Germans getting my hard earned $ !

  13. tj Martin Says:

    FYI ( for those who care )

    M-B dealer came back with an offer of $39K against $42K list for the 2011 new one , and $14.5K trade in for the MINI

    Opinions ?

    ( buy this new one or wait for the right used ? good deal or bad ? )

  14. HtG Says:

    tj, what was the offer on the Mini from the mini dealer? Do you know what CR says the GLK cost the dealer? What about the grey used one on cars.com?

  15. HtG Says:

    What I’s saying is, if you think you’re getting a good deal, then consider if you want to do it.

  16. Alex C. Says:

    Tax payers lost $14 billion for a bailout…so where did all that cash go???

    Detroit 3 is officially over and now Detroit 2 with Fiat taking over Chrysler. USA continues to FALL!

    Union control in Fiat-Chrysler and GM will assure they likely will remain the worst 2 OEM’s in long term quality and durability. European socialism will also help doom Fiat and Chrysler.

    Hyrbrids did not lost to 2 muscle cars…those are totally different vehicle and consumer segments. That is as moronic as comparing movie ticket sales on the weekend saying a new romantic comedy beat out a new sci-fi thriller….totally unrelated. What is well known of you look at consumer research is only about 5% of Americans are true “geenies”. So we can expect EV’s and hybrids to stay niche for a very very long time.

    China is a communist nation with 2 billion people with GDP per capita that is horrible and 3rd world. Don’t look at auto sales volume in China…look at average sales price or average HP or average weight of vehicle sold. That will show you the true picture that all this China hype is overrated. Until communism is overthrown that nation will DECLINE in the long haul.

    We need Ford and GM to shift production plants to USA and start building in America in right to work states to put our people to work. Exploiting low cost Mexican labor in that corrupt nation is wrong.

  17. HtG Says:

    the 14B made up for the collapse in commercial credit and car loan credit. How’s the Magnificent 7?

  18. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    MINI/BMW dealers offer to buy outright – $14K

    MINI/BMW dealers offer to trade – $16K

    Don’t do internet purchases .

    ( this weekend if the deal seems good we’ll be discussing whether or not to spend the extra $ for a new one . if the deal seems reasonable which is why I’m gathering opinions )

    No don’t tell me . He’s a guest artist of the Cybil Quintet ?

  19. HtG Says:

    it’s almost like identifying gould or horowitz. Unmistakable.

  20. HtG Says:

    isn’t the grey GLK on cars.com still offered at the KC Benz?

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    KC M-B has a silver 2010 w/26K miles and was a rental car in its previous life . In light of all the news lately about the Rental Companies NOT servicing their fleet , I’ll pass on that .

    KS M-B ( Aristocrat ) has another 2010 with way too many options and again 26K on the clock for $39K .

    So now its the Cybil Sextet or am I just forgetting a name ?

  22. dcars Says:

    I think if Fiat didn’t take over Chrysler, they wouldn’t be here for us to discuss. I know I’m being Mr. sunshine but I’m interested to see how Marchionne is going to integrate the two companies. Fiat never called it the merger of equals but it sure sounds like that is exactly whats happening.

  23. HtG Says:

    It doesn’t look like you’re making any errors in your buying process, not withstanding the advice from financial advisors. Who is the decision maker, you or Lady TJ? You could try a counter offer, asking for 16K for the Mini. Let the dealer say no. Remember, you got a hot car and cool cash.

  24. HtG Says:

    Marchionne speaks to Bloomberg tv during smoking break.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    My car , so ultimately my decision . But I do include the Mrs. opinion ( that woman’s intuition thing comes in handy now and again )

    We just need to think about whether or not new is worth the extra $ . As well as do we move now or wait out the extra month the FA guys recommended . Then if we do I’ll try a counter offer .

    @dcars – I hope you might be right . But I’m betting unfortunately you’re wrong . Marchionne’s track record what with FIAT’s excessive debts ( and where did FIAT get the $ to buy more of Chrysler ) lousy sales and worse reliability rating thru out the EU/UK doesn’t bode well for this recent round of decisions as regarding Chryslers future .

    Not to mention this is costing us ( US Tax Payers ) $14 Billion of money we cannot afford to throw away .

  26. tj Martin Says:

    Sheesh !

    Those Koala’s are mighty busy fellows today with even HtG spreading their ‘ Rainbows ‘ about ( #24)

    Think I’ll take the rest of the day off before those ‘Rainbows ‘ explode my mind .

    ( and I thought it was bad when the Garden Gnomes were trying to steal my brain )

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sorry to spoil anyone’s weekend, but heard from good source that some banks are warning their managers that the economic manure will hit the ventilator towards the end of the year, and one of my economic barometers agrees with this and add to that diminished car sales as the summer approaches, well, you figure it out!

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    The President’s at Mt Rushmore must be shedding a tear or two when they find out that a President is celebrating the fact that a foreign company is taking over an American one for the simple fact that the American-owned and managed company could not compete in a free market economy

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The bailout/Fiat deal has saved 4000 jobs in my home town of Kokomo, In, for now. While I’m not as negative as a lot of people here, I’m certainly skeptical about the long term prospects for Chrysler. That said, I hope we are all wrong.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, if a used GLK, not equipped quite as you want, would be $39K, I’d get a new one, if you can find exactly what you want. Would the dealer make the same kind of deal if you ordered one? It would probably take two months which might be a problem, but if not, you might want to consider it.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think it is time that Americans get over this “foreign owned” thing. Many, if not most Americans are unaware that Shell Oil, Nestle, Anhueser-Busch and umpteen zillion other companies are foreign owned. We still have the most powerful war machine the world has ever known, but we don’t own the world in economics, and especially the industrial base any more….and this “decline,” if that’s what you want to call it, started many years ago.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    I know this decline started years ago, to blame the current administration is ludicrous, but anyone who doubts this I invite to visit any major city up north where industry was strong and millions were gainfully employed, now they look like post apocalyptic cities only previously seen in sci-fi movies, just had a relative come from my old home, Hudson County, NJ he tells me the place is worse than it’s ever been, rampant unemployment, crime and it’s becoming unbearable to live there. Typical of the former great industrial north.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, I see it on a small scale in Kokomo. GM/Delphi, where I worked for years, now has about 1/5 as many employees as when I started. Huge factories sit empty. Chrysler still has about the same number of employees they’ve had for several years, but we all know it may not last. If Chryler goes under, you can be sure the Kokomo plants would close and the best of the equipment be be sold off, and probably leave the U.S. I don’t know what the solution is, but I’d rather a foreign company provide some jobs here than the jobs go away completely, but yes, it would be nice if the U.S. companies made it on their own.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    This is exactly my beef with companies like Ford, who keep moving production to Mexico, I feel most Fords will be built there in the next few years, I see Mustang and possibly a replacement for the Ranger being relocated there to control labor costs in case the UAW starts asking for new wages and benefits and such. The Mexican govt will be more than happy and accommodating to get these factories built there.

  35. cwolf Says:

    tj: Looked around Toledo area for GLK’s to get a perspective of the volumes of both new and used. Only 4 new at dealer and all list @46K. The 1 used at another place had a sticker close to a stripped new! Don’t want to attempt to aggressively influence you and the Mrs. too much,BUT, that NEW GLK will look good in your driveway. Don’t think waiting will have any great effects for this brand, considering the used car values.

    KIT: what did you make and do at GM/Delphi?

  36. cwolf Says:

    pedro: I share your frustrations with productions moving over the boarder. I’m sure labor costs may be a small cause,but also think the uncertainty and high cost of health benifits are the bigger culprit and not actual wage. From what I gather,keeping up stock prices and more cash in the elite’s pockets are a truer cause for the move of US soil.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cwolf, I started out in 1977 in radio repair, trouble shooting and fixing radios that didn’t pass final inspection. At that time, Delco Kokomo made all of GM’s car radios, and sold some to other car companies. After a couple years, I became an engineering technician, and later a project engineer. Over the years, I worked in silicon IC processing, accelerometer design and characterization (for air bags), air bag module testing, and a few othrr things. I took an early retirement in 2001.

    To my knowledge, there is no longer any manufacturing at what used to be Delco Kokomo, but there is still some design work for car electronic systems.

  38. dcars Says:

    Thanks for the video HTG on #24 I think John was right, Chrysler will probably save Fiat and Marchionne knows it. Before M&B came along Chrysler’s quality/reliability was very good (except for Jeep!) Chrysler’s work force in the US is very productive compared to their Italian counter parts, no video’s please!
    On another issue the real wealth in the US is based in our middle class. Any reduction to our middle class will make for less wealthy upper class Americans.
    Lastly the only true way to reform the federal government’s spending habits is to get state government’s finances in order, then take car of our federal government.

  39. tj Martin Says:

    Et Al

    Well gentlemen. The good Mrs Tj came up with what may be a brilliant suggestion .

    Lease a 2011 GLK

    Answers my concerns of ;

    Future of Fuel Prices
    What Automotive life will look like in three years ( thats how long I’d lease it for )
    M-B ownership experience ( after my S4 Avant debacle with Audi USA I’m a bit skeptical )

    So I’m heading to the dealer Monday morning to Crunch the numbers and see if it makes $ sense

    Yeah the Cybil Sextet will think I’m nuts but who cares what a group of Internet Sock Puppets think.

    @pedro I agree whole heartedly . We’re selling the US down the river , catching up with the UK by the minute !

  40. tj Martin Says:


    Chrysler and FIAT

    The Blind leading the Blind I’m afraid .

  41. tj Martin Says:

    UK Auto Makers

    Well in case you didn’t know this . Now there is one . Owned and Operated in and by the UK


    Out of how many brands even 20 years ago ?!?

    ( McLaren has far too much foreign ownership to be counted )

    With Chrysler going head long to Italy . We’re almost there ourselves .

    Aren’t we ( US ) smart !

    Uhhh………….. NOPE !

  42. HtG Says:

    @39 If that’s the white one you’re considering, tj, give me a call in three years. I just saw one in a parking lot. That’s gonna pop at altitude.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj Yahoo auto has an interesting article on car sales from the point of a salesman that could give you some tips on your GLK deal, I looked locally and there’s none 4matics found for less than 41k. Good luck!

  44. HtG Says:

    the link to Pedro’s piece


    how much says tj is at the NASCAR in KC this afternoon?

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    yep! for sure. Lucky guy!!

  46. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Boy are you ever off the mark !

    NASCAR ! Ha ! I’d rather sit thru a Justin Beiber concert .

    I was watching the French Open if you must know !

    GLK Grey or dark silver are the two that fit us best options etc wise .

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Who is Justin Beiber?

  48. dcars Says:

    Justin Beiber is the only male driver of a VW Beetle.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    dcars: funny, but not true. Just the other day I saw a gangsta-type driving a Beetle, rims, spoiler, bad-ass matte black paint etc. I’ve never seen so much effort to man-up a vehicle in my life.

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    How to explain Justin Beiber . Lets try this ;

    1) Think of the shlockiest pop artist you know of . You know … the kind that makes ABBA look like Metallica .

    2) Then factor in that the only thing ” real ” about the kid is……. well maybe nothing . For all we know he’s a midget pretending to be a kid .

    And that pretty much sums up the Beiber

    So to say the least , subjecting one such as myself to a forced listening of a Justin Beiber concert would be considered inhumane punishment as well as most likely outlawed by the Geneva Convention and condemned by Amnesty International

  51. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    The Beetle in # 49 reminds me of all the crazies that stuffed Rolls Royce grills and trunk lids on the original Beetle back in the 70′s

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    But at least the old Beetles were more manly cause they were pretty tough to drive, no power anything, noisy, rough and would never sell in today’s world. BTW Bieber is getting beaver already!!

  53. tj Martin Says:


    Before we make the GLK decision , remember gentlemen , there’s still the Subaru Forester XT to check out to make sure the extra $ of the Benz is really worth it .

    @ pedro – # 52 – See ! I told you he was a midget pretending to be a kid ! But like you said , he drives a New Beetle . So maybe the beaver reports are a promo sham as well .

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj based upon reliability and resale value I would go for the Subaru, around these parts, used ones go for a premium, they just don’t sell very well where it never snows.

  55. tj Martin Says:


    # 54 Those are the reasons for making one last ditched effort at a common sense car decision , before plunking down for the spoil ourselves a bit extravagance .

    We’d buy the Subie ( new ) but will lease the GLK if thats the way we decide to go .

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj the Bieb is “dating” an 18 yr old chick, he’s 17 why isn’t that considered illegal is beyond me!

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    When you do compare, you gotta remember one is a luxury brand, the other is not, it almost seems unfair to the Subie, don’t you think?

  58. HtG Says:

    you guys are going to get a call from Big Sis if you keep talking about Bieber bopping.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Herman, pray tell who is Big Sis?

  60. HtG Says:

    an article in Businessweek on Subaru.


  61. HtG Says:

    59, that’s what Drudgie calls Janet Napolitano, head of homeland security

  62. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Subaru Forester XT = the practical sensible reliable car . So is it good enough in light of the $$$ saved ?

    M-B GLK – The mildly extravagant less reliable and luxury car . Is it worth the extra $$$ ?

    Thats how we’re judging them .

  63. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro & HtG


    That is the other appeal of the Subaru . Japanese owned but at least built in the US . Keeping a few more midwest workers employed .

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj really tough decision, based upon what you get for the money, it’s the Subie, but I read a review about the less than comfortable seats and less than perfect fit and finish so perhaps a 10 min test drive won’t help you determine this, perhaps the dealer would be willing to let you have it for a couple of days. I know I’ve had dealers offer that to me

  65. HtG Says:

    my 2 cents on your choices, tj

    Subaru-handling, interior, 4wd, price, but check the back seats for hardness-it’s like they’re built for kid seats to have a good base. People will think you’re an academic or gay.

    GLK-looks, base model not much per month if you trade the Mini or do cap reduction, you don’t drive enough miles to worry reliability. I’d rather have capital available-the economic world is still more awful than commonly understood(want a link to the true state of BofA? No you don’t)

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj are you also aware that the GLK has a factory in Egypt?, but I doubt those sold here are made over there.

  67. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro


    A little Music Industry tid bit given to me by a former classmate who’s an Exec at Sony Music when she talked me out of signing a contract .

    At this point in time 85% of all Sony/CBS artists are in debt to the company on an average of $250K and up .

    Also from Rolling Stone’s archives it took ‘ The Who ‘ until 1984 to BREAK EVEN !

    So back to Beiber beaver bopping , take what the press says with a large grain of salt when it comes to the music industry . That and a bottle of Excedrin .

  68. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    All US bound GLK’s are made in der Fatherland .Bremen to be exact

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    The last car I rented that had horrible seats was an Accent, but I did not realize this until I had driven to Orlando, 4 hrs away and then my lower back was in excruciating pain for a couple of days. I would have gone bonkers if I had purchased that POS

  70. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Trading in the MINi with the minimum down on the GLK give me the down payment , $414 per month , with the first 20 months paid by the MINI’s equity . eg no out of pocket payments for 20.3 months .

    This with the GLK 4Matic and premium 1 package ( Mrs Tj likes the automated back hatch and the programable seats )

  71. tj Martin Says:

    Well I’m off to crunch the GLK numbers w/ the dealership

    Back later

  72. HtG Says:

    Story time children. I just got a call from the dealer about our Civic. I took it in for service this morning, and they red flagged it because it has low mileage(2002 with 58K). The dealer can’t get older cars onto the lot because customers are holding onto these older cars. Seriously, it took them an hour to call me. I told the person on the line that the mileage and condition was exactly what made the car attractive to keep. She said there were deals on leases, loans, and money on the used car itself. I bet this means tj’s Mini is quite the bargaining chip.

  73. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    BWTM (still waiting for something to finish )

    # 65

    Yep ! Cash is King in these financial times . But what is B of A that I don’t want to know about ?

  74. tj Martin Says:

    Yeah try and find a 2007 MINI w/6100 miles

  75. tj Martin Says:

    FYI HtG # 65

    Technically I am an Academic . Inactive by choice , but still a desirable commodity in the Academic market place .

  76. HtG Says:

    here’s the Fortune piece. Don’t imagine it’s just BofA either. This will spoil your day, if your last three years hasn’t already gone that way.


  77. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    More Story Time

    When in VT we had a home that in our opinion was at our comfortable limit cost and payment wise . We had the mortgage with Countrywide .

    Six Months after moving in a Countrywide representative came to our door ( we were in the boonies 50 miles from the office by the way ) with a Real Estate agent in tow .

    Saying ; ” Mr Tj . We’ve come the conclusion that you and the wife are living Way Below your means and should be in a much better property than what you’re in ( 2100 sq ft and 20 acres )

    He then with the RE agent pulled out a ream of listings over $750K to try and convince me to go house shopping right then and there .

    My response was ” You’re kidding me right ? ” Tossed them out the door and told Countrywide to never pull a stunt like that

    They WANTED us at or above our limit , not well within our comfort zone .

    Thats when we knew for certain

    The ” CRASH ” was just around the corner . We got out ( sold ) just before it hit and just made money on the house .

    Thats the kind of BS the financials were pulling back then !

  78. HtG Says:

    @77, one also doesn’t need to wonder much about the coercion/corruption of the appraisers. I don’t like this subject, as it’s not long before I curl up in ball.

  79. pedro fernandez Says:

    A lot of people including family members made the mistake of moving up to a more expensive and out of their range property when the boom hit around these parts, when the crapper collapsed they lost their homes or had to move back into lower price RE I stood where I’ve been for the past 20+ yrs and have no regrets.

  80. HtG Says:

    @77 Thats the kind of BS the financials were pulling back then !

    So much worse. so so much

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That was an ineresting article about the Lafayette, Indiana Subaru plant, which is about 50 miles from where I am in the summer. I know one person who works there, but one who quit; didn’t like factory work. He is now a server in a restaurant, probably making less money, but likes it better.

    I continue to be surprised that Subaru continues to do so well, even though they have kept me from even considering their products because of the mandatory 4 wheel drive.