Episode 749 – Ford Workers Ratify Contract, Price of Steel Tumbles, Global Supplier Scandal

October 19th, 2011 at 11:52am

Runtime: 7:05

Hourly workers at Ford in the U.S. ratified a new labor contract but now the attention will turn to the voting on the Chrysler contract. The price of steel could fall by nearly $300 a ton compared to its peak in April. Several lawsuits have been filed against suppliers, accusing them of an international price fixing scam involving wire harnesses. All that and more, plus a walk around of the new Fisker Surf with company CEO, Henrik Fisker.

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This is Autoline Daily for October 19, 2011, and here are the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

Well, it’s official. Hourly workers at Ford in the U.S. ratified a new labor contract. Though early returns showed that it was in trouble, as more and more UAW locals voted, more of them were in favor of it. Now, the attention will swing to the voting on the Chrysler contract, which is not as lucrative as the ones at Ford or GM.

The price of steel is falling, but so is production of the material. Buyers say that by the end of the year prices could fall by nearly $300 a ton compared to their peak in April. There’s good news and bad news in this for automakers. The good news is that the price of their most important raw material is dropping fast. The bad news is that this is an indication of a slowing global economy, and that could ultimately hurt car sales.

RARE-EARTH PRICES MANIPULATED (subscription required)
Speaking of raw materials, the prices of some rare-earth metals have also been falling from their peaks this summer. And that is prompting the largest producer in the world to cut back on production. The Chinese company “Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group,” which accounts for half of global production, is using its dominance to force prices up. Rare earth metals are a crucial raw material for making electric cars and hybrids. Many automakers and suppliers are trying to come up with ways to avoid using rare earths, precisely because China is manipulating the market.

And to help boost sales of EVs, Beijing will not force buyers of electrics to use a lottery system to get a license plate, which can cost up to $5,000 for a set of plates. However, city officials say the offer will only be available for a limited time, and they’re also considering tax credits of up to $18,000 for EVs to try and spur sales, because in China, like elsewhere in the world, hybrids and electrics just don’t sell in big numbers.

OPEL ASTRA GTC (subscription required)
Production of the new Opel Astra GTC three-door hatchback has begun in Poland. The car wasn’t supposed to be out until January, but customer interest prompted the company to pull the schedule ahead by three months. The plan is to build about 17,000 cars this year. Full-year production should hit somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 units. I’ve got to tell you, I really like the way this car looks.

Several lawsuits have been filed against suppliers, accusing them of an international price-fixing scam involving wire harnesses. According to the Detroit News, the companies involved are Delphi, Lear, Furukawa, Leoni, Sumitomo Electric, S-Y Systems and Yazaki. Three car owners filed the suits on behalf of millions, claiming the scam resulted in higher prices for cars and they want the companies to return the money. The U.S., the European Union and Japan have been investigating the claims since at least February 2010. The conspiracy started as early as January 2000. The FBI raided offices in Michigan last year as did law enforcement in Europe. In Japan, three Furukawa executives have already pleaded guilty and have agreed to serve prison time in the U.S. The company will also pay a $200 million fine. This is a story that we’ll have to keep an eye on because it’s only getting going.

The Fisker Karma is starting to show up on the streets, or at least some streets. And the company is already looking at expanding its model range and we’ll show you more of what that’s about, right after this.

The big news at Fisker these days is that they’re coming out with a new model. Actually, it’s a modified version of the Fisker Karma and I recently got Henrik Fisker to give us a walkaround and tell us what it’s all about.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. Our guest will be Jack Hollis, the head of the Scion brand, and we’ll especially be talking about their latest model, the dinky little iQ. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for some of the best discussion going on about cars that you can find.

And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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

92 Comments to “Episode 749 – Ford Workers Ratify Contract, Price of Steel Tumbles, Global Supplier Scandal”

  1. HtG Says:

    The voiceover on that Bridgestone commercial, John? I may have to punch somebody. Just sayin’

  2. MJB Says:

    How many times is Bridgestone going to change it’s tagline? Today marks the third tagline they’ve tried (since first sponsoring Autoline).

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow this week I’ve learned that in China a set of tags are more valuable than a child’s life, this Fisker story should carry the name of a famous Shakespeare play: “Much ado about nothing” Spoke to a client today whose neighbor, who got a new Sonata, had the electric power steering develop a case of Parkinson’s as he went to start the car one morning, engine was off. He had to disconnect the battery to get it to stop!

  4. MJB Says:

    Completely off topic here, but yesterday I drove by a Smart car on the freeway and noticed the rear brakes are drums.

    I didn’t think anybody even made drum brakes anymore. Hmphh! But I suppose on this car, one needn’t ever worry about the drums expanding from overheating, causing that old-school ‘brake fade’ effect. It’s not like the car will ever acheive high enough speeds to trigger that condition.

  5. HtG Says:

    @94/Episode 748 comment on Lieb. Good catch, tj. The whole business of bribery in German business is one reason why I had to let loose on David Kiley a few weeks ago.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 you’d be surprised how many new cars come with standard rear drums, such an important safety item is overlooked but they seem to be more concerned about turning the car into an infotainment home away from home.

  7. tj Martin Says:


    Glad you caught the link cause now they won’t let me access it again to put it up here ( too many views in 24 hours ? )


    FISKER Surf( bum )

    When oh when pray tell , is the Press finally gonna get it thru their heads ( and yes this means you too Johnny Mac ) that Fisker is the second biggest automotive debacle ( TESLA being # 1 ) as well as the third largest rip off of the American Tax Payer ( behind the VOLT and TESLA ) for the 2010′s ?

    How many times must Herr Fisker disappoint before everyone learns to just Look Away and Ignore the man , hoping Obama doesn’t feed him anymore of our Tax Dollars before Fisker is relegated to the Ranks of the Bankrupt and Extinct

  8. HtG Says:

    @7 Here’s the link to FT’s Lieb news.


  9. tj Martin Says:

    For the record the Financial Times of UK is reporting Herr Lieb was let go due to misuse of Company Funds

    e.g. The Troll had his hands in the Corporate Cookie Jar

    Check the link on yesterdays ALD post #94 to see if it still works for the full story .

    Got to admit , that was a guess on my part , albeit an educated guess yesterday . But after dealing with enough ” Corporate Speak ” you do get the hang of ‘ Reading Between the Lines ‘ and can get pretty accurate about interpreting the Lingo when its dumped on the Press like it was yesterday

  10. WL Simpson Says:

    EV’s are—-over built , over weight & over priced

  11. tj Martin Says:

    #8 Molto Grazie HtG

  12. tj Martin Says:

    # 10 Amen !

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    So let me get this straight, pardon my ignorance but I thought that the whole idea of coming up with EV’s was to stop depending on foreign oil, and now these EV’s need Chinese rare earth materials which as we can already see, the Chinkies want market control and raise the cost at will and the oil still needed to generate the electric power to charge these EV’s. Will somebody tell me I’m a moron!!

  14. tj Martin Says:

    TJ’s Tune of the Day


    This ones especially for HtG and his Pet Peave , BoA

    Awfully accurate and pretty darn funny as well . Listen to all the words .

    Good Ol Ry Cooder .Comes to the rescue just when we need him

  15. tj Martin Says:


    No mi amigo , you got that one right on the money

  16. Tony Gray Says:

    I suppose I’m not the only one who finds that Bridgestone commercial…condescending? Annoying at least. If I have to watch that every day on AD, I may just have to replay my morning show with Jennifer Vuong instead!

  17. HtG Says:

    @13 I’ll tell you anything you want to hear, Pedro. But the US and China are like the icing on a cake make of coal. Most electricity is made with coal, so EVs take advantage of a natural advantage. Also, motors that don’t depend on rare earths are being developed, showing the Middle Kingdom how those foreign devils are devilishly clever.

    (did y’all see what I did there?)

  18. HtG Says:

    Lieb. What threw me off, was the MB people saying that the firing was not a company matter. So how is this personal? A dungeon, that’s personal.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Next tag line for Bridgestone, “Where you wanna go is your own damn business, getting you there is ours” BTW anyone here jumping on the Ron Paul bandwagon, makes a lot of sense, but cannot get elected. #17 Here in Fla I believe it’s either nuclear or petroleum for electric generators.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that Sergio is giving up on Europe and turning to US and Brazil to pump up sales, I guess the old adage about fooling some of the people………….. is still relevant today

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Put some Bridgestones on your Hyundai glued together by Dow adhesives.

  22. HtG Says:

    @20 somewhere in KC, tj is taking a bow

  23. tj Martin Says:


    Hint ; Read corporate speak just like you do Relator speak

    What ever they say ( when its intentionally veiled ) is just the opposite of what it means .

    e.g. ” ….. firing not a company matter … ” means 9 times out of ten it most certainly is a company matter

    You’d think after decades of the same rhetoric they’d come up with a new code to hide their true meanings …….. but they don’t . Cause we’re all that naive . In their minds . Except a lot of us are .

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Recently, and maybe currently, Civic, Corolla, and nearly all of the “subcompact” cars sold in the U.S. used rear drum brakes, and, for normal use, it doesn’t hurt stopping performance. By “normal use,” I mean no more than one stop from high speed before a cool down time for the brakes. Drums are more susceptible to fade than discs.

    Today’s drum brakes actually work pretty well, and front drive cars do about 2/3 of their braking with the front brakes on hard stops anyway. Drum brakes have the advantage of outlasting disc brakes about 2:1.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    here’s the link to the TTAC article ;


    So let me see if I’ve got this right – :- The Savior of Chrysler / Who now needs to be Saved by Chrysler / Which is still up to its neck in Debt and in no viable way Solvent / Is now looking towards US Sales / Of cars that are mostly unavailable and consistently being delayed ( Lancia Alfa and FIATS )/ not to mention no one is buying when they are available / As well as sales from a slightly emerging Third World Country ( Brazil ) / Who’s economy is as out of balance if not Worse than China’s / to Save both FIAT and Chrysler / Both of whom are in ANY financial analysts view , losing propositions

    And we’re supposed to buy into this Hyper Inflated bit of Manure based rhetoric .

    So ……… Have I got that correct or am I hitting on my 10% error rate on this one ?

  26. tj Martin Says:


    ……… while smashing into your neighbors Chevy Cruze


  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Per a brake specialist I met once: The problem with drum brakes is that if you don’t get them adjusted regularly, the bulk of the braking is done by the front discs, which explains why the drums outlast the front discs: moat of the time they ain’t doin’ nuthin’

  28. tj Martin Says:

    Well folks ……. at least the UAW FORD members got it right .. so there is that to lighten up the day a bit .

  29. HtG Says:

    #26 as the Hyundai Sonata driver smugly passes by.

  30. dcars Says:

    @4 MJB, The new VW jetta comes with drum brakes and I think the eco Cruze has them. VW sells a base version of the Jetta that doesn’t have AC or a radio! and yes I saw it on the lot at a dealership. They use the car as lost leader, advertising it at $17k price, it’s a pretty crappy car.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ What do you think of #3 the last sentence, ever heard anything like that happening to a car? what if you are driving this thing and it gets the attack while you’re moving?

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Oil and nuclear are used in Florida, but also coal, and increasingly, natural gas.

  33. Lex Says:

    Speaking about vehicles with Rear Drum Brakes.
    I was surprised to learn that the Chevy’s World Car the Cruze has Rear Drum Brakes only on it’s lowest “LS” version. This does not make sense to me! Would it not be better for the assembly line to have all versions with the same basic front and rear disc braking systems?

    I realize that the Cruze is an economy car, but I would love to see a larger engine than either the 1.8 or 1.4 Turbo under the hood. Maybe a 2.0 or 2.4 litre with about 200 hp, like the Hyundai Sonata. Chevy needs to get rid of that cheeze fabric insert in the dash on all trims and replace it with a higher quality leather or plastic like in the LTZ version.
    What about a turbo on the 1.8 litre?

    The Eco Cruze only comes with a manual transmission, what about an automatic with overdrive?

    Fisker stole everything he knows about EV’s from Elon Musk and Tesla. I predict that Fisker will go bust without Government Support and Tesla will be sold to Toyota when Elon decides to build his own Space X SpaceStation. Toyota will built Tesla based vehicles at the Nummi Plant in California. One of the first models Toyota will produce out of this new EV line based on Tesla Tech will be named the “Elon”. You heard it first hear.

  34. Lex Says:

    @30 dcars

    “VW sells a base version of the Jetta that doesn’t have AC or a radio!”

    This is simple stupid to me. Every car should have a radio, AC, power windows and door locks.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    A/C yes, radio you can always get after market and get better quality for less money, power windows, locks nice convenience not a necessity.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    About 60% of the weight of front drive cars is on the front wheels, and with weight transfer under hard braking, this can increase to 70% or more. That’s why the front brakes do most of the braking.

    In addition to their doing less than half the braking, rear drums last longer because they have a lot more lining area than discs, so the wear is spread out over a greater area.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Lex #33,
    Cruze Eco is available with an automatic, but with lesser mpg ratings than the manual.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wouldn’t want a car without cruise control, but I’d just as soon not have power windows.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, the cruise is nice on long trips, here in So Fla traffic is so heavy that it becomes useless. Rental cars should all be so equipped, regardless of class.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I was not aware that Tesla had sued Top Gear UK for libel for their smoking EV incident back in 08, Well there is justice after all, Tesla lost!

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro #33

    RE; #3

    Nope , thats a new one on me assuming you mean the power steering started shaking . Hmmn . Hyundai quality control strikes again ?

    Also yes TESLA sued Top Gear , but it was for Top gear giving an honest appraisal of the car ( it took some three TESLA’s to complete all their track tests as they kept breaking down ) Oh but thats not the worst of it mi amigo . The Feds have also been censoring a certain comparison test between a TESLA Roadster and a certain German tuners E/V where it took FOUR TESLA’s to complete the testing that the German Tuners E/V trounced it in , with said TESLA(s) ( at least two ) wound up in flames at the end of the day .

    I’ve alluded to this before , and still can’t give all the details , but thats the gist of it .


    @ Lex #33

    Fisker has had zero relationship with Elon Musk , so saying he learned anything from TESLA is in fact overstatement at best . Had Fisker learned his E/V trade from Musk , the Fisker’s would be bursting into flames , morphing into mobile BBQ’s as almost every TESLA sold or tested has

    And here’s my prognostication on the Toyota/TESLA deal

    In the End this will wind up becoming Toyota’s Single Biggest Financial debacle ever , making the moneys lost on LF-A sales look like a drop in the bucket in comparison , serving to further bring down the once Spotless Reputation of Toyota for ever hooking up with that blatant Con unleashed upon the US Tax Payers : thank you very much for nothing Barak Obama

    How many times has Musk come to us ( US Tax payers ) for a bailout ? Since the Toyota Investment ?

    TWICE !

    That tell you something about the honesty/reality/viability of Elon Musk and his sparkless TESLA ?

    Hint ; Put your money elsewhere . Any investment in Elon Musk’s pretentious attempts at going from the Virtual World to the Realities of REAL Manufacturing will end up in tears

    And you heard that from me . But not first . Do a bit of research . Many more are saying the same , and did so earlier than me

  42. tj Martin Says:

    Percentage of Fuels Used in Electricity Production in the US as of 2008 ;

    Petroleum – 37.1% <<
    Natural Gas – 23.8%
    Coal ——-22.5% <<
    Renewables –7.3%
    Nuclear —–8.5%

    Hmmmn ;-)

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ the Sonata like so many modern cars has electric power steering, seems like this one went bunkers and started moving left and right even with the car being turned off, if this were to happen with the car moving, could have caused an accident.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ there’s a video of this happening on youtube, looks like a ghost is moving the steering wheel back and forth

  45. Brett Says:

    Rear brakes provide 20% of the brake force when decelerating. Manufacturers who still use drum brakes do so because no more sophistication is necessary for the price-point they’re building to.

    Honestly, you could completely disconnect the rear brakes and most people wouldn’t even notice in regular driving.

  46. HtG Says:

    US Dept of Energy figures on electricity generation are linked to below. Scroll down to see the pie chart. The point is that EVs use domestic sources of energy, whether it’s coal, gas, or nuclear. It’s my opinion that our strategy is to use these sources more, even as battery tech lags. Oil comes from nasty places, costs lives and wealth, and hurts our balance of payments.


  47. HtG Says:

    White House fact sheet on energy efficiency and diversification of energy supplies away from oil.


  48. GPL Says:

    tj, check you stats again. I think you’re looking at the numbers for total ENERGY consumption, including motor fuels, heating, etc. not just electricity.

    For electricity in the US it is more like
    45% coal
    20% nuclear
    23% natural gas
    6% hydro
    1% petroleum
    5% other

    source: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

  49. dcars Says:

    @45, I would kind of agree on this point for most cars. My Accord (RIP), seamed to have fairly balanced braking, wearing out the rear pads. My cars equipped with drums didn’t seam to wear out as often. I felt safer with the rear discs.

  50. Les Says:

    Gee, China cheating on trade issues again…When will we give them the proper smack-down!? DON’T BUY CHINESE PRODUCTS, they really don’t have any manufactured goods we really need!

  51. HtG Says:

    It isn’t just the US making a push toward EVs. Check out the articles in Science Daily. When I think about EVs, I remember the space race. Many missteps, but many categories of tech were created in order to “land on the moon,” if that’s what floats your boat.


  52. tj Martin Says:

    Nope !

    Those stats are for ALL the sources for ALL Electricity used in the US where as the stats on the link provided are for CONSUMER Electricity

    My point being its the BIG picture that counts , not the limited statistics the US Government is feeding us in order to lull us into a state of E/V acceptance

    Simple fact is the only reason our government ( Democrats only by the way ) is pushing E/V’s down our throats at such a fast rate , in spite of the fact that even their scientists are telling them the current E/V’s DO NOT WORK is because my friends ;

    The Democrats when Obama was elected on his E/V platform , invested their own funds very heavily and stand to lose several Fortunes if E/V’s do not come to pass in the next two years

    Now with Obama’s second term in question , they’re even more desperate to convince you thru the Media etc that in some obscure way the US will in any way benefit from an E/V Economy

    Oh and one little statistic they’re now going out of their way to suppress is that EVERY Major Producer on Electricity in the US including Con Ed , PG&E etc etc have all stated clearly that if even 10% of the Public switched to E/V’s with the Grids in their current state , ALL the Grids Nationwide would be overwhelmed , causing extensive Blackouts , BrownOuts , Power Station Failures etc .

    And then ………… there’s that little fact of all current E/V’s on the road at this time : including the LEAF suffering from that Spontaneous Combustion / Mobile BBQ syndrome thats running rampant these days .

  53. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Its also well known that Mz Merkel has her paws invested into E/V’s as well .

    Just have a read in the German press about what all the majors engineers ( VW -Audi Mercedes Porsche BMW ) are saying about E/V’s

    BMW has more than once stated very clearly that the only reason they’re moving forward on producing E/Vs is

    1) German Government Mandates


    2) Marketing Dept/Shareholder mandates

    The Engineers hate them and have said E/V’s will diminish BMW’s reputation greatly before its all over

    And thats todays Opinionator from the AutoAnarchist

    ( didn’t think ya’d get rid of me that easily , now did you ? )

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #48, or something similar is what I’ve heard for years, almost half of our electricity if from coal. It varies a lot by state, though. Essentially all of Indiana’s electricity is from coal, but a much smaller amount in Florida, which has a couple large nuclear plants and many small gas and oil plants.

  55. HtG Says:

    @53 The wishes of car manufacturers may be secondary to the interests of the state. The Middle East, Russia, Africa are terrible places to be dependent on. Look at our entanglements. How much do you think germany likes to have to buy oil and gas from Boris? We’ll have ICEs for a good long time, but if you look at the countries in the Persian Gulf they are trying to diversify their economies now for what’s coming. Watch how many celebrities in bikinis show up on the beaches of Dubai. Look at Global Foundries, which makes many of the chips in our phones.

    Long range, not now, electrical power is going to become more useful and efficient.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That is total energy usage, including transportation, not electricity, thus the high number for oil, (cars, trucks, airplanes) and natural gas (home heating). Most people use natural gas for heating in Indiana if they live where it is available.

  57. Zieke Says:

    Re: #4 Anyone driving a “Smart car” won’t ever have to worry about what kind of brakes they have.When they’re wadded up into a little ball, no one will really care if they even have a braking system.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Actually a smart needs good rear brakes more than most cars, because it is rear engine with 56% of the weight on the rear wheels, as opposed to the ~40% for most front drive cars. The smart would have a lot of weight transfer to the front wheels on hard braking, though, being so short and tall.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    #58 Well, they charge enough for that little POS car that they could afford to put discs all around, they certainly are not spending it on sheet-metal, seats or engines.

  60. cwolf Says:

    From my experiences,the front discs/rotors have always wore faster than the rear drums,for all the reasons stated. One factor to improve upon the situation is to use a good quality break pad. And to even out the wear a little more to my liking,I use to adjust the rears to share more of the load. It took a little playing with to get the feel that I liked,but once determined,any occasional adjustment was quick and easy. Now that I have two vehicles with all discs,I have a feeling of greater confidence in having them.

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports the EU Volt (Ampera) will allow driver to choose between EV mode or gas, I think this is better than the US version which gives you no such option.

  62. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Rear Drum Brakes:They have been ‘self adjusting’ for decades.Put your vehicle in reverse,back out of wherever and apply the brakes.If they needed adjusting,that would take care of it.

    I prefer rear discs and was disappointed in seeing that my 2011 Silverado has rear drums.It never occurred to me to look……shame on me,that will never happen again.My last two Ford F150′s both had rear discs.Oh well……

  63. cwolf Says:

    Volts must be in a greater supply. On my treck home I noticed one displayed in the front of each dealer;For the past many days it doesn’t look like either has been moved. The cruze inventory has been dwindled for some time and the ECO has become a rather rare item of late.

    Ever since the comments about WallyMart tractors beeing company owned,I have not seen a single one on the pike or hwy and I travel them 2.5 hrs/day! Must be Murphy Law related.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA I do that, but when I engage the hand brake, they barely “catch on” and can barely stop the car. only when adjusted by a tech, do they seem to grab when I pull the handle,

  65. cwolf Says:

    @G.A.Branigan re 62: To activate the self adjustors on my past Marquis,authority had to be applied when breaking in reverse.Discontent with the amount of “nose dive” in most of my hwy situations,keeping the shoes a bit closer to the drum,in a matter of speaking,”pulled” me to a lesser speed rather than plunging. If that makes any sense.

  66. cwolf Says:

    pedro. Your shoes are too far from the drum to make contact. From my experience, this could vary as a result of wear or adjustment of the hand break cable. WOW! I only thought only San Fransicans used the hand break any more. I only pull mine from time to time just to keep it free. You must have some pretty steep hills thar in Florida!(joke)

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf I had all four brakes done recently and the hand brake catches almost at the top. If I needed to use it in an emergency, it would take along distance to stop the car

  68. cwolf Says:

    pedro, if this is your vibrolla,I don’t know the mechanics of your hand break,but I betcha it is the object in need of adjustment. I don’t think it is a big deal to correct or very $, since the breaks are new. If you rarely make it a habit of using the hand break,it can develope internal rust(fixed with WD) or maybe the line has a slight kink in it that hinders function.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The only time I use a hand brake is when I park my Prius in a steep driveway, to avoid putting lots of load on the park pawl. My other cars are manual transmission, so I just park in first or reverse unless it’s a really steep driveway where the engine might backdrive.

    On the rare occasions where I encounter hills in traffic, the hand brake gets some use.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Come to think of it, the “hand brake” of my Prius is a foot brake. I don’t use it very often. My MINI and ’86 VW have hand brakes.

  71. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Cruze rear drums: LS, 1LT, ECO
    all discs: 2LT, LTZ

    Practically speaking doesn’t make too much difference (other than feeling/looking more premium) or under repetitive high speed braking. Just the same I’d rather have the discs.

  72. HtG Says:

    My inner child doesn’t let me ever leave a car parked without the handbrake pulled up. Only in recent years have I mellowed enough not to jack it real tight. And I leave the manuals in gear. And I turn the front wheels toward the curb if parked on an incline.

    Just thought you folks might like to know what you’re working with here.

  73. cwolf Says:

    sorry about the spelling of “brakes.”

  74. cwolf Says:

    HtG: I bet you ‘aced” drivers ed.! I love a perfectionist!

  75. HtG Says:

    @74 don’t forget shop and home ec

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I always “use” the curb when parking on a hill, if there’s a curb, but I rarely use the hand brake. If I can use a curb to avoid rolling, then I don’t use the hand brake, even parking on a fairly steep hill.

  77. cwolf Says:

    HtG you’re taking me bake to my puberty days. I only recall making a bottle opener in shop class, when the brew the gang swelled was in a pull tab. Home Ec? When I was a kid ,my sisters had this toothed framework for making pot holders. The cloth loops were purchased in an array of colors and interwoven. You’re an aging youth. Do you remember this gizmo?

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m not HtG, but I remember the pot holder thing. They called the things that went on the frame “loopers.” I did this in YMCA day camp in the 50′s.

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Back to drum brakes, I think putting 20 inch wheels with rubber band tires on a Civic looks even sillier than it would otherwise, when you see those tiny drums so clearly.

  80. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit not just silly but very unsafe, most of these kids who put gigantic rims and don’t touch the suspension or the brakes are just crazy.

  81. tj Martin Says:

    The ‘ TRUTH’ about Fisker


    32 mile range on Batteries

    20 mpg on gas engine

    THIS is what your Tax Dollars have gotten you gentlemen

    And thats not even discussing the MSRP assuming this ever makes it to a showroom floor

    So Again ! Say a great big fat juicy THANK YOU to Obama and his Democrat cronies …. For spending your hard earned Dollars on such a worthwhile project .

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    What I find astonishing is that bloggers to TTAC still think this company and their cars have a future in the market, must be those who think Scientology is for real!!

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ but you forgot to mention that if you run it hard enough, you can use it to roast your wieners at the next tail gate party.

  84. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    If you really want to take offense over this Fisker revelation , get a load of this ;

    My freaking GLK , which is an SUV/Xover gets ;

    According to the on board computer – 22.1 mpg

    According to my calculations – 21.5 mpg

    Overall !!!!

    ( so much for EPA and CR stats )

    Yeah Henrik Fisker’s a real genius . At Conning the American Public as well as Obama and friends .

    Only his ‘ buddy ‘ up the road , Elon Musk is screwing us worse these days

    But Pedro ! Do you mean to tell me you DON’T believe Scientology , EST , Urantia etc are real ???

    Real Con Jobs designed to raid your wallet that is


  85. pedro fernandez Says:

    No, but I believe in Afro-Cuban voodoo with the severed chicken heads and sacrificial goats and all. Tony Montana taught me that!

  86. tj Martin Says:

    You know I’m kind of surprised with the Fisker Surf( bum ) that no one has commented how much of a pastiche of the Ferrari FF it is .

    Take the back doors off and its almost a dear ringer for it .

    So as well as never having any manufacturing know how ( or experience ) it seems Henrik Fisker has lost his Design Mojo as well

    Yeah he’ll succeed alright . Succeed in Bleeding us Dry of our Tax Dollars while filling HIS bank account to the brim

    And again . Do say THANKs to Obama and Friends . What the heck … we didn’t need all that money anyway .

    Did we ? :(

  87. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro


    OK then . You get the Voodoo Dolls ( in the likeness of Fisker and Musk )

    I’ll get the Pins and its on . The Swamp at Midnight Friday in FL . You pick the swamp and get the Voodoo Hoodoo man to do the deed . I’ll provide the chickens .


  88. pedro fernandez Says:

    How about if we throw in Sergio into the mix?

  89. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Only if we can toss Winterkorn in as well

  90. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    ……. as well as Dany Bahar !

    Oh and save the receipts for the dolls and the Hoodoo man

    This’ns on me

    Anyone else want in ?

  91. pedro fernandez Says:

    Swamps? are you kidding? they got alligators and giant snakes in the swamps, I go to little Havana, it’s a little safer there!

  92. Broge kilrain Says:

    Remember Fisker is bought fo you by Obama,Biden and Al Gore.