Episode 752 – Cars Remain Economic Bright Spot, Bad News for VW in China, Homemade Tank

October 24th, 2011 at 11:35am

Runtime: 7:11

Car sales continue to be one of the few bright spots in the American economy and the October SAAR is looking up.  Rolls-Royce is expanding its global footprint with plans to open dealerships in Brazil and Chile next year.  Google has set a goal of hitting 1 million miles with its autonomous cars.  All that and more, plus a look at how ZF is making it easy for automakers to electrify vehicles.

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

This is Autoline Daily for October 24, 2011, with news pouring in from all over the world.

STAR-SPANGLED SAAR (subscription required)
We start in the United States. While economic problems continue to dominate the headlines, car sales continue to be one of the few bright spots in the American economy. Ward’s reports that the October SAAR, or seasonally adjusted annual selling rate, could come in at 13.6 million units. That would be up 15 percent over a year ago, mainly thanks to Toyota and Honda getting back to normal levels of production. Ward’s predicts both companies will make significant gains in market share. It says the total market will be down somewhat compared to September, but that normally happens, and the month-over-month decline will be smaller than in the past.

And now to China where there’s bad news for Volkswagen and Audi. The government is about to introduce new regulations that will essentially prohibit government officials from driving foreign-brand cars. Today, VW and Audi dominate that market. Not only is the government banning foreign-brand cars for government officials, it’s limiting what they can buy. Right now they can spend up to $39,000 on a car with a 2.0-liter engine. Going forward they can only spend $28,000 on a car with a maximum of a 1.8-liter engine. It’s all aimed at boosting sales of cars from Chinese companies.

Speaking of China, the price of a set of license plates in the city of Shanghai has hit an average of almost $8,500. The city issued 9,000 license plates last month, but 19,000 people applied for them. Get this people, that’s nearly a billion dollars a year in license-plate fees, and that’s in just one city!

Now to the southern hemisphere where Rolls-Royce is expanding its global footprint. The super-luxury brand just announced plans to enter South America, marking the first time in history that its cars will officially be available on the continent. The fast-growing markets of Brazil and Chile are its main focus.

Back to the States for a moment, where Google has set a goal of hitting 1 million miles with its autonomous cars. So far they’ve been driving in cities, on country roads, on expressways and have also done all this at night. And they’ve done all this with the cars driving themselves with no human input. Progress marches on.

And now we end up in North Africa. Libyan rebels won a great victory against Muammar Gaddafi and his oppressive regime. Rag-tag freedom fighters battled government forces with whatever weapons they could scrounge up – or make. The Telegraph reports industrious insurgents constructed a battle tank! This Conestoga wagon-like vehicle is built on top of a bulldozer and features double-thick steel armor reinforced with concrete. Painted in the colors of Libya’s new flag and emblazoned with Arabic script praising God, the armored earth-mover bristles with five machine guns and a tank cannon on top. It was designed to take out sniper positions on rooftops.

Coming up next, some of the technological progress being made on developing electric cars.

Converting vehicles to become electrically powered can be easier than most people might think, especially if all you have to do is convert the rear axle. ZF recently unveiled its latest contribution to the cause. Take a look.

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

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

67 Comments to “Episode 752 – Cars Remain Economic Bright Spot, Bad News for VW in China, Homemade Tank”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Rolls Royce’s in Rio

    With all the extensive and abject Poverty that has Brazil’s majority consumed into a Black Hole of No Return ……

    How can even the most Callous Wealthy Individual stand to be seen driving ( or worse yet .. being driven in ) a Rolls Royce


    SAAB Story

    They’ve dropped the Chinese Deal as well as the ‘ other ‘ bailout ( the American Investor that NO ONE seems to know or can prove has the money to invest in anything ) as of today

    ( see AW etc for the full skinny )

    Hang it up Muller ( and all you SAABistas )

    IT’s OVER :(

  2. tj Martin Says:

    @ Johnny Mac and the ALD crew

    It was my understanding that BUICK was the car of choice for the Chinese Officials etc

    When did that change over to VW-Audi ?

  3. tj Martin Says:

    THIS is how easy it is to convert an ICE to Electric

    Done by a Rock Star and his crew .


    Well……. easy if you don’t consider the fact that like every other E/V the Lincvolt has done the BBQ Party Trick as well

    Point being ZF’s got nothing on good ol American ( well .. CDN transplant ) DIY

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While Brazil still has a long way to go, it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. And while Rolls Royce may be ostentatious, there must be room for it or they wouldn’t be entering the market.

  5. HtG Says:

    Danger, tj Martin! Danger! The Poison Dwarf will soon testify in a bribery case involving a German businessman.


  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And with ‘electrics’ still somewhat stagnating, it’s mostly just an exercise in conversion (at this point) though they will be staged if it catches on.

  7. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    Ever been there ? ( Brazil ) I have . More often than I care to mention . Have more than a few ” Associates ” down there as well

    Saying ” Brazil has a long way to go ….. ” is the supreme understatement of the Decade .

    Stating that its ” ….. one of the Worlds fastest growing economies ” is in fact the Ultimate in Hyperbole . Its not . For 99.999 % of the Nation .

    Don’t buy into the Hype and Smoke& Mirrors in Brazil , from the Media , Obama or anyone else

    On the ground Brazil is an Abject Hell , glossed over by a few millionaires making a lot of noise about how ” Well ” things are doing there .

  8. Tony Gray Says:

    That electric drive had me wondering what ever happened to that suspension system that Bose was developing….

  9. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    So what’d you think about the NJ F1 race announcement ?

    This has been in the works for over three years , but I thought the Austin race had put paid to the idea .

    You and I may have to hook up for this one ;-)

    A few name suggestions for the race ;

    The FugettaBoutit F1

    GoodFellas GP

    The Garden State GP ( actually thats not bad )

    The NJ BOSS Grand Prix ( get a Jersey icon [ Springsteen ] and a title sponsor [ Hugo Boss ] all in one )

    The WhatSaMattaU GP

  10. XA351GT Says:

    tj , I know they had been trying to get NASCAR track built up there ,but the name Landfill 500 didn’t appeal to many people. So what are we talking here a race set up in the parking lot of Giants Stadium?

  11. HtG Says:

    @9 We’ve seen Baltimore and Singapore put on races, so technically it’s doable(but they may need to put in chicanes around the final resting places of members of the Witness Protection Program, Curva Hoffa?). I wonder how the financing will work: remember Bloomberg telling Bernie that “NY would love to have a race, how much will you pay?”
    And the week long PR extravaganza will be as much fun as the track action. We don’t get this side of it, here.

  12. LS ford Says:

    NJ F1???? Is this gonna be the next location for jersey shore? Maybe they won’t be allowed to attend the race??

    I applaud a US F1. I have been missing those engines and those cars stateside.

    Question: How many state vehicles do you see in other states that are not domestic brands? The China issue is interesting, but most of the state vehicles I see in Michigan tend to be Chevy or Ford.

  13. HtG Says:

    track section naming rights may need to be sold.

    1 Teamster Speed Bumps, One, Two, and Three
    2 The Goldman Sachs Memorial Black Hole
    3 No Standing Anytime, This Means You, Schumi
    4 The Competitively Bid, Jonathan from Old Tappan, Pizza Concession

  14. Dave Says:

    ZF said heir motor was not unsprung weight, but it sure looked like it to me.

  15. LS ford Says:

    Wall street chicane….where there are lots of twists and turns, the speed is unregulated and no F1 rules apply there. But there is a government press box to watch the events

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Brazil is like the rest of the world, the rich getting richer the poor getting poorer, no difference.

  17. HtG Says:

    Cars for large loads. An article on cars accommodating the growing population. It must amuse the engineers how their efforts to take weight out of a car need to compete with pizza and cokes.


  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe the taxi drivers in China are government officials. They mostly drive newly built gen 2 Passats, or something similar, or at least they did a few years ago when I was in Shanghai.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    NJ F1 Race

    Here is what’s known so far

    It’ll be a Street Race

    With the Manhattan Skyline as a backdrop ( so Meadowlands ? )

    And from what Autosport etc are saying all systems are go

    Speed TV is supposed to broadcast a special announcement Tuesday between 12 – 1 pm EST

    We’ll see when its made ‘Official ‘


    @ pedro

    Brazil makes China look like a Summer Holiday in comparison

    And its always been this way ( Extreme minority of very wealthy with the vast majority being beyond poverty )

    Remember in Brazil ( especially in the Cities ) its considered a National Sport as well as a Service to the Community to terminate Poor Orphan Children . .Of any age ( murdering being the more blunt way of saying this ) Mostly 8 14 year olds

    Prejudice ? The ” Shade ” of your skin color there can keep you in poverty , or boost you into the middle class .

  20. tj Martin Says:

    Uncle Bernie ( Ecclestone )

    Is at it again


    Summary ;

    India F1 Race – Friday

    Track – Not completed

    Built by – Severely underpaid workers yet to have been paid

    OOOoooops !

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @HtG ( as well as any others interested in the McLaren MP4-12C)

    Par vu mon ami


  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj did you read the TTAC piece on the lofty 40mpg claims by some OEM’s seems more like a case of wishful thinking, they should have a small sidebar on those 40mpg figures: “If you can get 40 mpg, please check your pulse”

  23. tj Martin Says:


    Anyone seen the most recent AllState Car Insurance ” Mayhem ” Ad ?

    Now even the Insurers are admitting that the Plethora of Blind Spots on new model cars is causing accidents .

    Ahhhh …. vindication .

    But then again , as we’ve said before , with all the safety devices etc who cares if we Pinball Wizard our way around town in our brandy new Blind Spot equipped Automobile .

    OK this is my being sarcastic , but maybe Blind Spots are the manufactures way of contributing to Population Control what with now 7 Billion of us crawling around the Planet .

    Shame on Me ! :-)


    @ pedro

    No I hadn’t . Where is it . Can’t seem to find that article . Sounds pretty funny , as well as true though .

    Ah yes , the Terminally MPG Deluded . The list goes forever on !

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On the New Jersey Grand Prix: I hope it’s better than the street race they used to run with Indy cars; talk about a snooze (no room for passing, heck, almost no room to race). I’d like to know where they plan to route this race as well; (born and raised in N.J.), the pot holes could swallow those high speed ‘go-carts’. I hoping for the best (but don’t have much confidence in having a good race).

    And a comment on yesterday’s Talledega race: why did they even bother; 175 laps of so-what lead changes, and just when they might have a race for the last ten laps, cautions and a one lap sprint. Hours of boredom and five (okay maybe 10 seconds) for the last lap pass.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve had tanks of over 40 mpg with my MINI which has a highway rating of 37, but it is for tanks where most of the driving is at 50-55 mpg with only a few miles of driving with stops, and no high speed.

    Yeah, most people are not going to get 40 with these cars with 40 mpg highway ratings, but it is certainly possible. The car companies need to quit advertising on the basis of the highway rating, or they need to put a caveat in the ads, like they do with the prescription drug ads.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Why does Bernie hate Indy so much? The course it not the greatest, but everything else about the facility is great, and the hotel rooms are a whole lot cheaper than in the NYC area.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The TTAC thing is at:


    There are a lot of comments, including from people who beat the EPA numbers. They don’t do it in what most of us would consider “normal” driving, though.

  28. HtG Says:

    I hear the town of Weehawken NJ being named as a possible place for the F1 race. For those of you not familiar with it, Weehawken is hard by the helix, near the fishes, but with a killer view of The City.

  29. T. Bejma Says:


    I’ve had tanks at over 40 in my Supercharged Cobalt SS that was only rated at 32 – part of the reason was that it needed a new fuel filter ;-) it can be done in about any 30+ mpg car so it’s not really a big deal. Not to get into a back and forth on mpg numbers but everyone knows this is a government run (as in easy to fool) test that EVERY (as in EVERY) manufacture cheats using shift points and fuel management. The only common is the test and it states right on the sticker that “YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY!!!!!”

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    re; Why does Bernie Hate Indy so much ?

    Probably , as far as the F1 race was concerned , the same reasons I hated Indy so much ;

    1) Almost zero transportation to and from the track
    2) Almost zero Trackside Hotels/Motels etc
    3) No support from the City of Indianapolis ( go see the CDN GP and see how all of Montreal comes out for the week long party as a comparison
    4) Customer service for buying tickets etc was abysmal and all but non existent
    5) Indianapolis is sourly missing any reasonable Cultural Base for after hours entertainment
    6) The Indy Chamber of Commerce did next to nothing
    7) The Indy Tourism Board did even less ( one call to the Montreal Tourism Board gets you Air Travel , Hotel and Tickets package , Special perks including meal discounts etc and insider info to Meet & Greets etc )
    8) Downtown Indy is too far from the track and again zero ground transport . You drive or you don’t go !
    9) The track was a Joke ( F1 fans worldwide called it the worst track in F1 and a Fish Bowl )
    10) The tracks facilities are well below par for what is expected from F1 fans
    11) Indy is not a World View kind of town
    12) Well do we really need a # 12 ?

    Sum up

    Went twice
    Got PO’d both times
    Never went again
    Spent my F1 money in Montreal instead

    Blame Indianapolis proper and the Track .

    The Indy F1 race was an event waiting to fail .

    Thanks in part to the pretentious George family

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    May have to make a ” Homecoming ” out of the race if it happens


  32. tj Martin Says:


    I’ve yet to NOT exceed the EPA and Manufactures claims for MPG in either of the SUV’s I’ve had .

    versus ;

    I’ve yet to even come close to the MPG claims in the Hybrids and Subaru’s I’ve rented

    It kind of seems to me IMHO that the higher ( more optimistic )the MPG claims – the lower the actual MPG is.

    Whereas the lower ( more pessimistic ) the claimed MPG the better chance you have of exceeding it

    Least thats what I’ve observed .

    The only experience I’ve had to contradict that theory was the MINI that had high MPG claims that I consistently exceeded .

  33. HtG Says:

    @30 If they had built out the track to go onto the golf course, and got some elevation changes, it could have been quite an event. I liked the nickname for those two tight turns before the cars got on the oval, Mickey and Minnie.

    A race across the river from Manhattan will also have the marketing advantage of being able to lure(pay) celebs to associate themselves with race. I think I’m looking at the NY/NJ race as a marketing exercise, mostly.

  34. HtG Says:

    or was it Mickey and Mouse? tj?

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Well the infrastructure is there (NY/NJ), and if they can get the proper route it could be a great race; but that’s a lot of if’s, and’s, or but’s.

    And Weehawken: probably one of the most congested parts of the NJ/NY corridor; can’t see that working.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I get the impression you don’t like Indianapolis. Yeah, the track is not great, but the city is easy to get around in using the rental car you probably got a the airport. Yes, the hotels are downtown, not next to the track. Where are the hotels for the Austin race, or Watkin’s Glen where they used to have F1 races? Maybe I should go to Montreal. I know the city is fun, but I didn’t realize there were a bunch of hotels next to the race circuit.

    I had not trouble getting tickets. They were cheap, and I got them easily with a short phone call.

    OK, I’m a “regular person,” not an AA with presumed special priviledges like “meet and greet” you mention in #7, so maybe that is why I liked Indy OK.

    For those not familiar, downtown Indianapolis is about 6 miles from the track, and the Indianapolis airport is 13 miles from the track.

  37. HtG Says:

    @36 I’ll bet the local residents make a killing letting people park on their lawns. I was surprised at how the track is just in a neighborhood. Is that really the case, Kit?

  38. HtG Says:

    @35 Moving people to the track will be aided by the PATH trains to nearby Hoboken, and Port Imperial(shuttle boats that dock exactly along the river where the race could be). Only crazy people would drive to this race, and Bernie can just take a helo to Teterboro, being wheels up before the red lights go out.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, it’s pretty much just in a neighborhood now. It would have been in the country when it was build over 100 years ago.

    If you are early, you can park in the infield, and there is a lot owned by the speedway north of the track. Yeah, the locals make good money having people park in their yards.

  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Sorry if the post came across that way , but I haven’t got a thing against Indy as a City , just as a host for an F1 race . For the Indy 500 and NASCAR … no problem .

    Honestly it’d be just a big if not bigger failure if they brought F1 to Kansas City . Lets face it Kit . These Mid West Cities are mighty fine places to live etc but other than family , friends or an event there isn’t much of a draw for the International community to want to come here .

    As far a me being A List , thats not the case Kit . That’s just the level of customer service you get from Montreal .From basic hotel/ticket to Sofitel Suite and Grand Stand they cover all the bases with a single call , even giving you your own concierge ( Montreal Tourism ; the F1 race advisor )

    My first year of buying Indy F1 tickets they refused ( this was written up in AW so not a one off ) to guarantee that the tickets I was buying were the tickets I’d receive . And they were not !!! Got bumped when I arrived for some press dodo

    Both years , no one at Indy was willing to help with Hotels , transportation , flights etc . Heck they wouldn’t even make a suggestion !!!!!!

    So no Kit Indy the city is just fine by me . Indy the F1 race was another story

  41. tj Martin Says:

    NJ F1 scuttlebutt ;

    Well here’s the poop thats floating about ;

    According to my sources , the City of NY …… and the State of NJ … if this can be believed …… will be cooperating on the NJ F1 race , with NJ having the space for the race and NYC having the infrastructure .

    IF…….. this is true it’ll be a Historic Precedent . The two ‘ Rivals ‘ cooperating to create a mutually successful event .

    This’n I gotta see ( assuming it happens )

    e.g I’ll be there with bells on if it does

    ( I likes Austin well enough but family is family , they’re all in NJ , aint see’d them fer a bit , an well ……. families got a few connections here and there .. SOoooooo ….. We’ll be seeing you HtG . If we can arrange it )

  42. HtG Says:

    I’ll be the one in the tifosi outfit, tj. If the Meadowlands can host a superbowl, with shuttle buses from hospitalty venues in Manhattan, then this F1 could happen. It’s just that Christie doesn’t seem like the kind of governor to put state money behind it. He killed a freight tunnel project not long ago.

  43. tj Martin Says:

    Montreal F1 Customer Service story ;

    One year a friend from the FOC NA tried to get me to go on the Members trip to Montreal at some four times the going rate . For that he got a couple of Meet and Greet events ( with about 400 other folks ) etc

    I on the other hand , stuck with my new found friend at Tourism Montreal . Got everything from Hotel to tickets to flights discounted .

    And………. thanks to _______ , and very very lucky circumstances… got to have Martini’s with Ross Brawn and one of the Ferrari Team engineers ( this was a bit ago ) for the entire evening , discussing Fly Fishing in VT .

    You’ll never guess who showed up at my doorstep in VT awhile later with Fly Rod in hand .

    To say the least FOC NA friend to this day is Green with Envy .

  44. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Tifosi outfit :o LoL

    Like that’ll differentiate you in the slightest from the 30,000 other Tifosi outfitted folks at the race

    Gotta do better than that HtG


  45. tj Martin Says:

    NJ F1

    Still nothing on Speed’s schedule for the official announcement , but I’ll guess with the cancelation of this weekends MotoGP ( another tragedy if you hadn’t heard ) I’ll guess it’ll be on at ;

    1:00 PM EDT

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hyundai seems to be getting a lot of mileage out of these 40mpg claims for most of their cars, the funny thing is that TTAC reports that among the auto media who got to test out the cars that supposedly get 40 mpg, the much maligned and criticized Civic got the best numbers at real world speeds, not the geriatric speed that you need to do to get those 40 mpg numbers

  47. HtG Says:

    Have you seen my outfit? tight jeans, tight short sleeve button down shirt with pack of butts in the pocket, two days beard, loafers, sunglasses holding up my beautiful long hair.

  48. HtG Says:

    Off Topic. tj, you can stream the Apple memorial to Jobs from the campus on Oct 19. Go to the website. 80min

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    We’ll see how the Super Bowl goes over at Indianapolis. It’s certainly a different crowd from F1 folks, but also, the arena is downtown, where many of the hotels and some entertainment venues are located.

    Sad to say, I’m sure the tourism people will be more accommodating to the Super Bowl crowd than they were for the F1 people.

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    Oh great . You’re one of those freakin MS Hipsters . So …….. uh ….. lets see

    That’ll narrow you down to what ………… 29,000 folks at the race ?


    And yes I figured out the Sunglasses smiley .

  51. tj Martin Says:


    # 50 should of said #47

    As to # 48 I’ll read the book . Picking it up tomorrow on reserve at B&N

  52. tj Martin Says:

    Camaro ZL1 Details

    Sheesh . Read this ;


    Be careful with this / take special care of that / don’t break the other thing

    Kind of contradicts the whole Muscle Car mentality with the ZL1 sounding more Fragile Ferrari than Beat the Daylights Out of it Camaro

    Even if it does outperform the Shelby GT500 Mustang , why would a buy a High Maintenance Muscle Car when I can have a Heavy Duty , kick the daylights out of it and it’ll keep on running Shelby ?

    This ZL1 …. as a famous movie line once said ” … aint right ”

    ( strains of ‘ Dueling Banjo’s ‘ in the background )

  53. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The only caution I saw was that the body work was lower than an “SS” so caution should be used around curbs; I don’t see you conclusion in #52.

  54. GPL Says:

    I didn’t find Indy much if any more difficult to get to than Montreal on race day.

    The Montreal track being on an island, there aren’t many ways to get there. It has been a few years, but if I recall I had to take a subway somewhere to get on a bus to get across the bridge to St Helens and then walk across to Notre Dame and to our seats on the front straight. A good few miles, I’d say.

    In Indy I just took the IndyGo bus that dropped me a few blocks from the track. On race day there are bus-only lanes, so it rarely stopped and not much of a wait to board coming or going.

    The biggest difference was the cost. Montreal cost me much more, and that was with a more favorable exchange rate than it is now…and the a-hole French Canadians that seemed to go out of their way to be rude to us at every opportunity.

  55. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    the warnings about the hood scoop , ground clearance etc

    @ GPL

    You should of booked the race thru Montreal Tourism to get the discounts and goodies . Thats where you got the extra cost as I’ve always paid less to go to Montreal than Indy .

    You should of asked for directions as well because …

    ……. as far as getting there , come on , you have ZERO need of a car when going to Montreal , the subway dumps you right at the entrance of the track , with several points in the city to get there ) and the whole damned city is F1 Crazy for the entire week . If you took a bus etc you did it the very hard way !

    Anyway my point was the Customer Service at Indy ( where there was none ) vs Customer service at the Canadian Grand Prix

    As far as the way you were treated , not knowing you personally I couldn’t say for sure , but it sounds like you’ve got a bit of the Dirty American Tourist attitude hanging around

    Other than the Quebecois attitude about their language ( they even give French citizens crap about that ) I’ve found them to be nothing but fun , enjoyable and joyful folks to be around and the City sure has its Customer Service down pat .

    I’d say your experiences in Montreal had more to do with your lack of experience / knowledge of the race /area than the race itself

    Whereas I’d been to Indy before ( for the 500 ) and couldn’t believe the difference in customer service between the 500 and the F1 race

  56. HtG Says:

    ZL1. It appears that striving for good times on the Nordschleife has forced some less than street immune compromises onto cars. Wasn’t Mark Reuss just on Leno with the ZL1 that was going around the Ring? I also recall Bob Lutz, IHB, describing how certain in house GM quality standards needed to be retired, in the interest of making compelling products. This and the blindspots problem, seem to be where you don’t like Lutz’ choices, tj. (but I do like those Allstate ads)

  57. cwolf Says:

    I do not object to China’s ban of foreign-brand cars for gov’t use and think this may be a good idea for us to follow,as well. But then,I question, should the allowable brands only be GM and Ford products,or should Chry. products still be included. Yet to include them,an Italian brand,would give favoritism over all the other brands now assembled in the US. I have no problem having all US vehicles being a Ford or GM product,but what do all of you think?

  58. tj Martin Says:

    @ GPL

    #55 should of read ‘ Ugly American ‘


    Lutz ( becoming the ) putz in my mind

    1) Blind spots
    2) His endorsement of the VOLT and E/V’s in general
    3) His blatant selling off his services of late to any Tom , Dick and Harry that’ll pay the required sum , Quality and Reputation be damned

  59. tj Martin Says:


    Our Government

    Our tax money paying for them

    Conclusion ; They damn well better buy American for any and all Government Vehicles .

  60. tj Martin Says:

    You know if Steve Jobs had pulled half the crap the likes of Lutz , Fisker , Musk , etc have in this Country we’d of had his head on the chopping block

    But from Auto Execs ?

    Oh well then . They’re beyond reproach and can do no wrong . As they strip manufacturing right out from under our noses , rip us off blind , sell us a bill of goods they wouldn’t GIVE to their worst enemy etc

  61. HtG Says:

    @58 I personally have a very serious problem with Lorne Maazel.

  62. cwolf Says:

    Does this mean you are OK with only Ford and GM?
    On the “green” segment of MW,they have highlighted an array of foreign green vehicles used by various communities around the country. Reguardless of the fact if any of these vehicles were purchased or donated,should they be accepted?

  63. cwolf Says:

    Here is a question to test ones sense of compassion and moral values. The nightly news reported on debris,from the Japan sunami, floating in the ocean TWICE the size of Texas. Everything from wood to refridgerators. Question?: Since it has been demanded of the oil companies to clean-up their spills,should it also be expected that Japan clean-up the mess from their catastrophy? Agree and it’s akin to kicking someone in the nads when they are already incapacitated. Disagree and you are paying to clean-up anothers mess. Anyone willing to show their true colors?

  64. HtG Says:

    @63 Act of God. The Japanese have been practicing world class earthquake preparations(nuclear plant regulation being the glaring failure). Should they be forced to clean up the dreck? There’s been lots of stuff out there already which marine creatures choke on. The cost/benefit for me is a no brainer on the big chunky stuff. The pollution of the ocean with radioactive releases from Fukushima, well they are already compensating the fishermen.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Right or wrong, car companies get attention from the government because because they traditionally, and even currently produce many more jobs than Apple or any other tech company. Even Chrysler has more US employees than any tech company, and probably more supplier-related jobs than any tech company.

  66. GPL Says:

    tj, I don’t believe I said anything about needing a car in Montreal. We didn’t have one.

    I’m sure you are right about Montreal Tourism. We were not aware of that and used a travel agency.

    As far as getting directions, the route we took was directions we were given, though considering the treatment we got from the locals, it may have been a joke played on us.

    Regarding the Ugly American comment, quite the opposite, actually. I am a very quiet person by nature, respectful of other cultures, deferential on their turf, and always polite to everyone. But in Montreal, regardless of how polite I was to the locals, as soon as they heard me speak, their attitude soured. I’ve spoken to many other people with the same experience, so mine is not a unique experience, and I’ve never experienced that in any other country.

  67. Brett Says:



    I think the first impression is that this is a torsion beam straight axle. I don’t believe so. I think it’s independent, like the rear axle on a Renault Alliance, but with struts instead of torsion bar springs). (I can’t tell if it’s leading or trailing arm, but I’m guessing we were looking at the back of it)

    With the electric motors moved off the centerline of the hub and towards the pivot point, it does effectively remove some unsprung weight. I don’t have the math handy to calculate how much, but there should be some net effect in reducing the unsprung weight beneficially.

    It reminds me of the genius idea of, instead of electrifying a perfectly good bicycle, somebody built a single-wheel trailer that comprised the battery pack and the hub-motor. With a simple, clever hitch to manage the thrust vector safely, he had the best of both worlds.