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Episode 731 – Car Sales Defy Economy, Toyota Pixis Space, Ford May Develop EVs in China

September 26th, 2011 at 11:00am

Runtime: 7:26

Despite a poor economy, car sales continue to grow in not only the U.S. but around the world. Toyota just introduced its first mini-car in Japan, called the “Pixis Space.” Ford CEO Alan Mulally said Ford may make electric vehicles in China, but didn’t say when. All that and more, plus a look at Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technology.

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This is Autoline Daily for September 26, 2011. And here’s what’s happening in the wonderful world of the automobile.

CAR SALES GROW DESPITE POOR ECONOMY
The economic headlines these days look as dire as they come. The global economy is slowing down, the financial system is tottering, unemployment is stubbornly high and yet car sales are doing pretty good. Sales in the American market are expected to finish strongly this month, up ahead of last month, and Ford says sales of its F-Series pickups are the best they’ve been in five months.

GLOBAL SALES UP (subscription required)
And it’s not just in the U.S. Ward’s reports that global sales were up more than 7 percent last month, and that includes a 12 percent increase in Europe, yes despite all the headlines about the meltdown in the Euro zone. Sales were up in South America, the NAFTA region, and Asia. The only major markets where sales were down were in India and Japan.

CAR SALES TO CONTINUE GROWTH
So how come car sales can be going so strong in the face of so much dire economic news? Because as bad as things seem to be, the vast majority of people still have jobs. And they need cars, especially since so many of them postponed buying one during the Great Recession of 2008. Forecasting can be a dangerous occupation, but the forecasters say sales are going to get even better.

TOYOTA PIXIS SPACE
Toyota just introduced its first mini-car in Japan, called the “Pixis Space.” It’s actually manufactured by Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota. Starting price for this kei car is less than $15,000. Toyota plans to introduce two additional mini-models in Japan, but has not announced when they’ll go on sale. Overall, the company is aiming to sell some 60,000 mini-cars per year in Japan, a modest number compared to Honda, which moved 160,000 last year.

STAINLESS STEEL EXHAUST MANIFOLD (subscription required)
Engineers are constantly looking for ways to make vehicles lighter to deliver better fuel economy. According to Ward’s, a prime target for weight reduction is exhaust manifolds. More and more automakers are making them out of stainless steel instead of cast iron. This can reduce weight by up to 50 percent, which translates into a 10 or 15 pound savings! Another benefit of sheet-metal manifolds is that they have smooth internal passages, which gives them better flow characteristics.

BIZARRE PRIUS AD
Earlier in the year at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota unveiled new vehicles that will join the Prius lineup. And to let consumers know it’s expanding the Prius lineup, the company just created this bizarre commercial to get the message out. Plenty of computer animation was involved but those are real actors you’re looking at. So what do you think of the ad? Is it cool or just creepy?

FORD MAY DEVELOP EVs IN CHINA
Last week GM announced it will develop electric cars in China with its partner SAIC. Now Bloomberg reports Ford is considering doing the same. Speaking at a groundbreaking for an engine plant in China, CEO Alan Mulally said Ford may make EVs in China, but didn’t say when. Automakers must share EV technology with Chinese partners in order for the cars to qualify for tax credits. The government wants 1 million EVs on the road by 2015. At the same event, Mulally also said Ford is considering introducing Lincoln into the Chinese market as well.

I’m Isaac Bouchard outside Vancouver, British Columbia, and I’m driving on the wrong side of the car. That report’s coming up.

MAZDA SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY
I’m in the mountains outside of Vancouver, BC. As you know, Canadians drive on the left as we do in the states and I’m in a right-hand drive car. That’s not the only unusual thing about this Mazda. This is an advanced prototype for what they’re calling their SKYACTIV technology.

The way Mazda met those engineering challenges was to redesign six key elements that, among other things, will take weight out of the car, increasing mileage and decreasing emissions. So when they’re released, SKYACTIV vehicles will offer one of two new engines — a gasoline and a diesel — two new transmissions — a manual and an automatic, as well as a new body and a new chassis . . . everything lighter, stronger and more efficient than current models.

SKYACTIV fits perfectly with Mazda’s legacy of iconoclastic, groundbreaking engineering — things like the rotary engine and the reinvention of the affordable sports car with the Miata.

These prototypes are our first taste of what’s to come; next up is the freshened Mazda3 with a SKYACTIV engine and transmission. This will be followed by the first full-Skyactiv Mazda, the CX-5, in 2012.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, this is Isaac Bouchard for Autoline Daily.

Thanks for that report Isaac. And that wraps up today’s report on the global news in the automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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

79 Comments to “Episode 731 – Car Sales Defy Economy, Toyota Pixis Space, Ford May Develop EVs in China”

  1. Ron Paris Says:

    What are the SPECIFICS on SKYACTIV technology John? Curious minds want to know!

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve seen the Prius ad a couple times, and it didn’t strike me as either cool or bizarre, just informative to people who didn’t know there will be these other Prius-derived cars. It mainly struck me as premature because none of the new cars are at dealers yet, at least not where I am.

  3. tj Martin Says:

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110926/CARNEWS/110929914

    OK … its official . The whole ” Bob Lutz is consulting for us ” bit is just a publicity stunt on the part of the Automakers using his name .

    I’m sure Ole Bob is making a pretty penny from the whole Schtick but as for me , my personal opinion of Bob has returned to that of a few months ago

    Lutz the Putz . Nice book Bob , but your actions aren’t consistent with your words :(

    ————————-

    TOYOTA Prius Ad ;

    Actually I like the Ad ! In fact ( sorry Kit G . ) its the ONLY positive thing IMHO that’s come out of the whole Prius Smoke & Mirrors bit !

  4. tj Martin Says:

    I’ll add to my # 3 on the Prius Ad that its also the ONLY genuinely creative and original bit of thinking to come from Toyota when it comes to the Prius as well .

    Too bad in fact it wasn’t ( the Ad ) from Toyota , but rather from their Ad Agency

  5. HtG Says:

    Toyota Prius ad; Totally creeped out. Maybe if I hadn’t been seeing photos of all those piles of mutilated bodies in the current Mexican drug war, it wouldn’t be that way. Anyway, we won’t have to worry about DeLorenzo puking out over the bright shiny people ads like last year.

  6. C-tech Says:

    For Mazda, the issue they will need to deal with is long term reliability and cost. If Skyactive engines hold up and repair / maintence costs are low to moderate, then Mazda will have a another winner like the Miata. Not really that impressed with the Prius ads. Its an artistic triumph over the message about the product. Seening the cars and trucks being traded in for new cars, wear and tear is driving the market now. Some trade-ins are flat out unsafe.

  7. HtG Says:

    from what I can gather, SkyAcive is more than an engine thing. It’s about getting performance out of lightweight cars with efficient use of available energy. A lot of different engineering categories at once.

    OK Mazda, now that I did my thing, tell me what’s up with the new Miata.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    Corvette ZR1 Ad ;

    On a more positive note , did any of you catch the new ZR1 ad this weekend ?

    What a hoot !

    Corvette race engineers telling how they had to REDUCE the Horsepower of the ZR1 some 138 hp to be FAIR to the competition in GT1 and GT3 !

    Which would be Ferrari , Porsche , Audi ( R8 V10 ! ) Lamborghini etc .

    Hmmmn . At least GM can still do something right ( the C6 and its derivatives )

  9. C-tech Says:

    The Skyactive engines are high-compression engines. Thas gas engine is I belive is 13:1. A potential grenade over the long-term.

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    I’m sooo confused ! :(

    First you’re telling me you like Tornados , Earthquakes etc and now you’re saying the Prius Ad creeped you out ?

    Huh ?

  11. HtG Says:

    got a link tj? I witnessed this ZR1 GT1 detuning while at the race. Smaller bore, no? Did you notice that the race car also has higher profile tires in order to lower rolling resistance?

  12. tj Martin Says:

    New Mercedes Benz C250 Coupe gas milage stats ;

    21 City – 31 Highway

    For those who want to know .

    Lots more ” Blue Tech ” on the way as well .

    FYI Mrs Tj wants one ! Sleek car if you ask me !

  13. HtG Says:

    @10 You want pictures, tj? The human toll of the drug economy is horrific. Did you hear about the Mexican female journalist last week, who had written about some drug related crime? It’s hard to get the images out of my mind, but I don’t think it’s part of the american zeitgeist. It’s a neat ad,….unless….

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    SPEED TV was broadcasting the ZR1 ad all weekend during F1 coverage , so I’ve got no link to send you to .

    FYI ; I’m beginning to think its Vettle and not Hamilton thats inherited Senna’s mantle in F1

    I don’t know if its the stress of the last three years finally wearing off , the fact that I’m now really seeing Vettle’s genius for what it is or what , but in spite of the Poison Dwarf etc I’m enjoying F1 again

    As to the RBR book , I can’t say I’m learning anything terribly new , but I sure am enjoying seeing all the bits and bobs up close as well as it kind of makes up for SPEED TV not doing Steve Matchett’s Inside Line bits on the pre race show .

    Definitely worth buying !

  15. tj Martin Says:

    # 13

    A reminder . I’m always getting into an argument here with SG when I talk about how BAD things are down there ( Mexico )

    So yes I’ve seen the carnage .

    Which does beg the question , to return to Cars

    What in the _____ are the Automakers doing sending so much of their manufacturing to a Country ( Mexico ) thats beginning to make Iraq look safe in comparison ?

  16. HtG Says:

    Do you mean, Steve “come on boys” Matchett, tj? His chalk talk is viewable online before the weekend racing.

    My take on Hamilton is that he’s so frustrated with the car’s pace that he’s driving over his and the car’s limits. Poor Massa. If you read the Haynes book through, I think you may get the sense that Vettel is really really quick, but that it’s Webber that the team uses to develop the car.

  17. HtG Says:

    If I lived in Mexico, I’d be terrified and quiet. No labor problems methinks.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    If they had made the Prius ad using the nether regions of the body, then they could have hired Kanye West to “fill” that part. I saw the ad for the upcoming Prii but where are they??, why do they spend millions to promote cars that are not yet available, I never got it!

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    I get they got all they could from the Zoom Zoom BS, now it’s time to reach for the sky, up up and away!!!!!

  20. HtG Says:

    Here comes the Prius brand rollout, Pedro.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Like all other car-makers do, they roll out slowly,a few here,a few there, you go see them and then you find out you gotta wait months and months to get one at full MSRP or higher and you end up getting pissed off at the dealer and or the brand, I say, be patient and wait till there’s plenty of stock available.

  22. HtG Says:

    Tj, do you follow the live timing of the qualifying and races? the Formula1 site lets you see sector times, race position, with running typed commentary. Since I don’t do cables, I’ll just get a sense of how each driver is doing; with it being obvious yesterday that Vettel had effectively stopped racing midway in the race. Having it online also let’s me do other stuff at the same time, Pedro knows what I’m talking about.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Prius Ad that its also the ONLY genuinely creative and original bit of thinking to come from Toyota when it comes to the Prius as well”

    When Prius was new, and still to most people, Toyota did some “original thinking” to come up with a car that gets twice the mpg of other similar size cars in city driving.

    Also, tj,
    will there be any 4 cylinder M-B diesels, AKA Bluetec coming to the U.S., like in the C-Class, or B-Class when it arrives?

  24. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    ZR1 power reduction ;

    If I’m reading things correctly , the ZR1 has to have its Supercharger removed in order to ” Play Fair ” wiff the po little chilruns from ……. ahem …….. Ferrari … Lmaborghini ….. Audi etc . All of who’s cars cost at least twice the price of a reasonably discounted ZR1

    F1 – Nope I watch it on the TV as I can’t stand sitting in front of a computer screen for more then 15 minutes , and have no desire to WiFi my APPLE ( for T Bejima in case he’s looking in ) to get the signal to the TV .

    ( WiFi = # 1 access to your personal computer by a Hacker )

    come to the light T Bejima . come to the light :o

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    re; Mercedes Benz future products .

    Diesels are on the way , in it appears if my Little Birdie is correct , all models , along with the newly available Turbo 4′s etc

    GLK being amongst the first to get the Diesel here .

    Wanna place a Gentleman’s wager though that both the Blue Tec and the Bluetec ( gas and diesel ) models don’t sell worth a hoot here in the US ?

    I may trade mine in for a Diesel , but as in the past I’ll place bets the majority of M-B buyers won’t go for them , once they’re offered .

  26. HtG Says:

    you mean to say you don’t trust WPA2-PSK encryption, tj? You’re seriously sitting there with your laptop attached to an IV? No WiFi? Did you see that Q2 is now downloading an app for iPhone and iPad?

    On ZR1, it is so curious that it needs to be detuned to conform. Yet BMW is making more power on the track. Something isn’t right with the restrictions, like who writes the engine management software that feeds in the power at low revs?

    F1, it is interesting to watch the sector times, as do the engineers at trackside. It was instantly apparent that Vettel had slowed, or that Webber had given up on catching the guy in front. More info than the round and round.

  27. HtG Says:

    Vignette; over the weekend I talked to a guy that had a new M3 coupe. The first thing he said after I admired it was that he had a love/hate feeling towards it. Huh? It was heavy, it had great power at the low and top ends, but wasn’t so hot in the midrange. He had gotten the flappy paddles, but his tone was not too enthused. Huh? That’s a 60K car that we’re all supposed to envy; him not so much. At least he tracks it.

  28. HtG Says:

    I can’t get over this, tj. Why do you trust a physical connection to the internet? The internet is full of ways to boof you. Wifi is only one access point. It’s such a convenience.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re. #25,
    The current MB diesels don’t get good enough fuel economy. The E350 Bluetec has mileage ratings of 22-33, while the competing BMW 528 gets 22-32, on gas. The E350 gas has 17-24 ratings, so worst-in-class that people who care about fuel economy look elsewhere.

    VW is selling a high percentage of Golfs and Jetta wagons with diesels, which, with 30-42 ratings, get better mpg than anything you can get except Prius. If Mercedes sells the B-Class with a 4 cylinder diesel, and it matches, or nearly matches the VW diesels, it should sell.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    Well mate , hate to be the bearer of bad news but Toyota’s Hybrid concept is anything but original or new .

    Dr Ferdinand Porsche created the Loher- Porsche Mixte Hybrid , of which the Prius is a direct descendant of with the ONLY changes being in materials and computers ……..back in 1901 !

    ( read the SAE papers on Hybrids )

    ————————————

    @ HtG

    Hate again to be the bearer of Bad news , but for less than $250 I can buy a device that can hack into any WiFi within a 100 square yard radius , whereas it would take at least ten times the price and effort to hack into a land line .

    Same with Cell Phones ( remember who the Mrs works for before arguing the point my friend )

    99% of all Industrial and Personal Sabotage happens thru WiFi and Cell Phones . I’ve seen first ( very first ,… a good friend is a very high priced PI and well …… I’ve been witness to his/her efforts ) hand just how easy it is .

    Its like leaving your front door unlocked in the city , waiting for someone to try the knob .

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Look at the history .

    Every time M-B comes out with a high mpg car . it initially sells OK and then finds itself at the bottom of the pile , sales wise

    And again Kit you’re comparing Apples to Eggs

    2012 BMW 535 sedan – City 19 – Highway 28

    2012 Mercedes Benz E350 sedan – City 22 – Highway 33

    Apples to Apples Kit . A 2.8 is not equal to a 3.5 !

    And if you missed it the Benz in gas guise won !

  32. HtG Says:

    explain tj. How does a device break a 128 hexidecimal code? How long does it take to try out all the combinations. If you were to use lower level security like WEP then yeah, that’s easier.(I think verizon wants people using this just so people don’t share connections)Phones, forget it, Rupert’s police are listening. Hear about Siena Miller? Check the Daily Mail.

    As to Lady tj, no way I’m going there, except to say I have excellent reasons and knowledge as to why communications are insecure. (Is there an NSA/AT&T node there in KC?)

  33. Lex Says:

    The Prius Commercial is CREEPY & HORRIBLE!

    I was watching Bloomberg’s Risk Takers, which features Elon Musk. It spoke about his business ventures, his successes and near total failures, good show. When will you have Elon on AAH?

    There is also a movie out called “Revenge of the Electric Car”. When will you do a segment on the people involved in this movie.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, Dr. Porsche built one, or maybe two. So he (maybe) came up with the concept. If you don’t implement it, who cares?

    Also, the Porsche was a series hybrid, not at like a Prius, materials or otherwise.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #31,
    The E350 DIESEL gets 22-33 ratings

    The 528 having COMPARABLE PERFORMANCE ON GAS gets 22-32

    The MUCH FASTER 535 gets 19-28
    The E350, which is slower than the 535 gets 17-24

    Talk about comparing apples and drapefruit, you are completely out of touch.

  36. tj Martin Says:

    Sorry Kit but you got your specs mixed up . The E350 Diesel 4matic gets 22 -33 .

    Also its the E350 4matic gasoline that gets 17 -24

    The E350 RWD gets the above 22-33 w/comparable 0-60 to the BMW 535

    Sheesh Kit , who’s Anti Benz propaganda are you reading , and just what is their Beef with the company , other than they not being able to afford one ???

    As to the Prius/Porsche it aint who mass produces it first that counts . Its who INEVENTED it that does .

    Therefore the Prius is NOT an Original Idea /concept/design

    So now who’s out of touch here Kit ?

    Get your facts straight ( and your nose out of CR ) before coming to the table if you would .

  37. T. Bejma Says:

    Yes tj, I am still lurking occasionally. Curious about the comment that I am against Apples and or/WiFi…

    No stick shift on the Merc C250??? 7 Speed Auto only???

    Deal Breaker!!

  38. tj Martin Says:

    #32

    Easier than you’d like to believe

    Here’s something to remember .

    Any code created by a human being …. or a machine created by a human being can be broken by another .

    And as with Virus’s and Theft the Baddies always for for the Path of Least Resistance with the Maximum Return

    WiFi being easy and many . Along w/cell phones

    As to the ATT question i can’t answer that !

  39. tj Martin Says:

    @ T Bejima

    Good to see your posts

    Don’t be such a stranger .

    The Apple thing is just me being …….. well …… myself .

    Smart of you to be against WiFi . Apple ? You’ll come around my friend . Hee Hee !

    ( see what I mean ? )

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Look it up on the EPA site, tj. Both the RWD and 4matic E350 gas get 17-24. The E350 diesel gets 22-33. Also, the 535 is faster than the E350. Again, find some road tests.

    OK, you don’t care about whether someone uses an idea or not, but a Prius is totally different from the series hybrid that Dr. Porsche helped build.

    It’s getting harder and harder to give much credibility to totally anonymous know it alls who like to state things as “fact” without looking up the real information.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Oh, and I’m not getting anti-Benz propaganda. I am disappointed, though, that MBUSA won’t import any of the several cars they make that I like.

  42. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The Prius ad seems distractful from the actual automobile (plus, if the nose farts, does he smell it?)

    Is Mazda trying to emulate Ford’s Ecoboost recognition with their own, new intro, called: SKYACTIV (by trying to give it an iconic name) that it hope to catch on?

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #42,
    That’s what I was thinking. A new, made-up word seems to be working well for Ford, so maybe Mazda decided to try the same thing. Also, maybe part of SKYACTIVE is a turbocharged, direct injection gas engine.

  44. HtG Says:

    The SkyActive name seems to me to be a catch all term. It’s more than efficient engines, it’s about light fun cars that make the most of resources lie the engine and transmission. I think.(At the NY show last spring even a product specialist couldn’t really explain it any deeper than some phrases)

  45. HtG Says:

    …like the engine…

    drhn txpos crand crict!!!!

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the Pixis, the original xB returns.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Pixis is quite a bit smaller than the original xB, but kind of the same idea.

    Pixis might be too small to sell in the U.S., but maybe they should start selling the “old” xB again. It was’t a great highway car, but has a following and gets very good city mpg for a box on wheels, at least with a manual transmission. The new xB is safer and bigger, but is kind of thirsty with its 2.4 engine.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    This Pixis is called a micro car yet the wheelbase is 98 in. identical to the 1993-2002 Corolla, NOT a microcar. Also announced the new Yaris will cost as much as a Camry of a few years ago. No wonder car sales are so bad.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, with every body going for bigger, they had to make the xB larger as well. Just look at the Mini Countryman, it looks like a Mini that went to McDonald’s 3 times a day for a year.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    I did not mean to say the Pixis is not a micro car I meant the Corolla from that era having a short wheelbase gave it horrible leg room fore and aft. I could never understand why they could not increase wheelbase and maintain same overall length.

  51. tj Martin Says:

    Alfa Romeo Update

    Not only is it not coming ( been delayed again ) but its a dud as well

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110926/CARNEWS/110929909

    Yup ole Stronzetto Marchionne will really be saving the day for everyone ( Chrysler/Alfa Romeo / Maserati / Ferrari ) won’t he

    @ HtG Does this review disturb, perturb you as much as it does me ?

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey Sergio, maybe you should move Alfa production to Mexico or Southeast USA, maybe your paisan are not such good car builders after all. I remember fondly my one and only time driving an Alfa out of the dealer for a test drive and having the freaking radiator hose spring a leak and leave wife, sales rep and moi stranded 3 blocks from dealership. ps I did not buy the Alfetta.

  53. julius lambert Says:

    I do not think that the investors that are MOVING hugh FUNDS into SAFE HAVENS are included in this worldwide bunch.It takes the general public quite some time to really feel the pain of an actual DEPRESSION.Ofwhich we are really in the fore stages of a WORLDWIDE DINGER.
    Ronald REAGAN told the communist that the US would run so fast so hard that they would FALL trying to catch up.Guess what, the POSSUM[POOT POOT]POTIN turned it back into our face.Who is falling within TODAY?Russia has used the Islam religion and DRUGS to pull us DOWN.

  54. tj Martin Says:

    @Kit

    That EPA site is inaccurate and out of date , especially when it comes to new year models . Always has been . Always will be . Trust the Road Tests , not the EPA ( or CR for that matter as all their tests are on closed courses , not in real world driving )

    As far as M-B not sending over anything you want . well unfortunately what you ( and I for that matter ) want is not what Joe Average Mercedes buyer wants ( re-read my posts up above ) and like every other Manufacture M-B isn’t about pandering to the Minority .

    Honestly if I could of had the exact GLK I wanted it would of been the Diesel with the Off Road Package and minimal Add on Goodies .

    The fact is EVERY manufacture , including Toyota make a plethora of Cars many of us might want , that they the auto makers know they’d never be able to sell enough of to justify bring ing them here .

    —————-

    @ pedro #48

    Cars over the last decade have become like Women’s Dress sizes ;

    Last years Size 10 is this years Size Six

    So you’re right in saying this years so called Micro Car is the same size as a few years ago’s Compact .

    This Size Inflation trend is going on World Wide and we’re ( in the US ) not the first , nor only ones to Notice/ Complain .

  55. tj Martin Says:

    OMG !

    Me thinks H/S has been cloned !

    Y’all know which one I’m talking about !

    @pedro

    FYI Sergio is already moving FIAT production to Mexico with now all 500′s ( US and EU bound ) built there and other models , according to him , soon to follow

  56. tj Martin Says:

    # 40

    If the FACT that both the RWD and the 4matic on your chosen site get the same MPG , doesn’t set off Alarms and Warning Bells ( just HTH do you think 4matic with its extra weight and additional friction from AWD gets the same mpg as RWD only ) then you’ve got more than a few things to learn about Automotive Dynamics and Efficiency .

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    #55 If he moves production stateside to existing or abandoned Chrysler plants, he would score some points here but I doubt the FIAT unions over there would be very happy with this and he may have work stoppages or worse, slowdowns and poor build quality as payback.

  58. tj Martin Says:

    SkyActive = A Nonsensical , Post Modern , Synthetically Created Buzz Word created by a Cynical Focus Group within Mazda so the Marketing Department can have a Hey Day pulling the Wool over the General Public , Fooling them into thinking they’re getting something new , when in fact its the same old song by the same old artist with a Fancy New Moniker and not much else

    Come on guys . A little more Honest Cynicism if you please .

    BS is BS so lets call it what it is .

    Or would we all prefer to succumb to this pathetic level of Marketing Hype ?

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    #54 Indeed this is the case, including the bloated Accord which I understand will be smaller next model year, big gamble for Honda, look at the Kizashi how poorly it is doing, despite having great reviews.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My “chosen site” as you call it is the EPA site.

    Of course, the 4matic would get worse mileage.

    Actually, the 4matic gets one mpg worse “overall” rating, but the same city and highway ratings as the RWD. They round the measured results for the city and highway, and then weight the “raw data” for the overall rating, and then round that number.

    The test results probably ended up where they rounded down the RWD measurements, and rounded up the 4wd results.

  61. tj Martin Says:

    #57

    Shame on You Pedro !!!!!

    Talking Common Sense and Logic !!!!

    This IS Sergio Marchionne and his Madness we’re discussing e.g Common Sense and Logic are BLASPHEMY !!!

    Go to the Punishment Chamber and get your 40 lashes

    Then make your apologies to all involved

    The Moderators will be back later to deal with you further

    :o

    ( PS ; I hope you’re laughing at least half as hard as I am right now )

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have driven a couple of late model Mazdas and honestly I could not find the “zoom-zoom” they kept referring to. I do like the Mazda 2, however.

  63. tj Martin Says:

    # 60

    I give up

    Logic and Facts obviously playing no part in this discussion from your end .

    :(

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The EPA tests and CR are the best data that is available. If you think they even make a serious attempt to accurately measure gas mileage in “buff book” tests, you are more out of touch than I realized.

    I was quoting the 2011 EPA numbers because the 2012 data is incomplete, and it some cases, the numbers for the same car are a little different with the new system.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #63,

    Your royal arrogance. You seem to be the one who lacks logic and makes up a lot of “facts.”

    Do you think they measure exactly even MPG when they run the tests? There is rounding going on. With a heavy, inefficient car like the E350, the difference between the RWD and 4matic is not going to be huge, and in this case, was within rounding error.

    See you later.

  66. HtG Says:

    @51 I wish Alfa could succeed, tj. I learned to drive in a 72 Spider, and have spent some time in one of the sedans in the nineties(Italian boss). I like these cars a lot. I got to see a 159 in DC, and was it very pretty; proportions and colors. If they come in with the 4C and a small crossover(yeah, it’s wrong, but people want SUVs) maybe there will be a niche for them. I just remember how long it took to make a US 500 and consider the effort and expense it takes to bring any car here. VW seems to have more money for development, and now there are all these dealerships in the US. Maybe Serge and Marti can arrange something. It’s quite beyond me to predict.(take a look at the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta, would you have guessed they shared a platform?)

  67. HtG Says:

    @62 Pedro, I’ve driven the Mazda3, RX8, and late model MX5 on the track and at the limit. They’re plenty fun and capable cars that won’t try to kill you.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well HtG I’m a more sedate driver and I’ve tried the Mazda5,6 and the 7, not in that order and I failed to find the zoom in those models, the ones you refer to are sporty ones and I am sure they are good performers, but they should make that clear in their ads.

  69. HtG Says:

    no zoom-zoom in the Mazda5, Pedro? Maybe they meant boom-boom in the back.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    too tiny back there, only tiny people need apply.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A friend has a MazdaSpeed 3 which has a lot of zoom zoom.

  72. cwolf Says:

    I must say I am happier than heck you guys waited for me today–Geesh!!! Gabby-Gabby!

    I have yet to believe in EV’s,but the thought of Ford developing them in China urks me to no end. Its just for the money,I know,but it remains nothing more than selling ones soul to the devil. And for what?; 25-30% at a cost of all of anothers technology.I am very saddened that beliefs in morals,loyalty,responsibility and devotion have become lost in my generation. Forgive my words,but, screw those “Chinks!” The senate votes for FEMA money today,paid inpart by eliminating EV subsidies. Sounds dandy to me!

    I,for one ,have been looking forward to learn more about the SKYACTIV technology,especialy, the diesel. The compression ratio thing scares me,except for the diesel. Time will tell if Mazda is selling more than hype. For what it cost,my sons 2.0l Mazda3 has been a good choice for him. I’m not crazy about how all the body panels are assembled,yet so-far-so-good. My in-law has a CX-9 and a 6. The suv is avg. and he raves about the 6. Any how, I’m looking forward for long tem data to examine.

    Global sales are up–woopie-poopie! Wonder how many will get a visit from the repo man? The world has over extended itself and continues to do so. Hold on to what you got! Putting it in a matress isn’t all that bad of an idea!

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    of course that car is made to be fun to drive, just like the Golf GTI compared to the regular one same goes for the Civic SI, Sentra SR, only Corolla seems to have missed that boat. BTW I just read that the new Focus has worse than average reliability. So much for perfect Ford.

  74. HtG Says:

    Fun fact for tj. Did you know that the Moog valves in F1 were created by the cousin of the same Moog who created the synthesizers?

    http://www.moog.com/literature/ICD/Articles/RCE18N11_Moog-LOW.pdf

  75. cwolf Says:

    Kit: When choosing a Mazda3 with my son,we drove all three flavors; the 2.0,2.3 and the speed3. The mpg,low profile tires,which includes their excessive wear out @15K and noise and extra cost lead us to choose the 2.0. The 2.3 screems and just too fast for a young driver. And the speed3 is for those who frequent the track on weekends and should require a pilots license. The torque steer on these faster models is a handfull!

  76. HtG Says:

    Cwolf, when I drove the Mazda3 one thing we got to do was practice braking at the limit, braking and turning, and lane toss exercises. That car can really take it. On an autocross it will do just about anything you ask, except if you floor it out of a turn, you will be waiting a bit for anything to happen(good news for fathers). A car I’d be happy with.

    You should have seen the blue smoke and embarrassment when the young guys had to practice braking the cars that had had the ABS turned off. Ha ha, young people!

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The speed3 is more about fun than practicality. It is a faster, but less civilized GTi. The only car I’ve driven with worse torque steer was the Dodge Spirit R/T I had for a couple years.

  78. cwolf Says:

    The mazda3 is a nice car. I drove it for about 35K before handing it over to Zach. It was fun to drive! My fanny like Milan better! Zach wasn’t happy with the reach of the low beams, so the other day I replaced them with the pricy HD bulbs. Mucho better, but does anyone know if the life is shorter than the std.? I put them in a p/u several years ago…many times! I changed back.

  79. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    The Prius ad appears to be inspired by the Salvador Dali skull photograph. Very creative adaptation of the original concept, encouraging the viewer to take another look – at the ad and the product.