Episode 757 – VW Already No. 1, MINI Roadster, Renault Pulse Revealed

October 31st, 2011 at 11:55am

Runtime: 7:30

Volkswagen set a goal of becoming No. 1 in the world by 2018, but it looks like the company could get there this year. MINI is introducing a roadster version of its popular small car, its first ever two-seat drop-top. Renault revealed a new small car for the Indian market called the Pulse. All that and more, plus a look at which car companies raked in the most money and had the best profits for the first half of the year.

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This is Autoline Daily for the last day of October in 2011. Man did that month go by fast! And don’t forget that today is Halloween. Now for the news.

As you know, Volkswagen set a goal of becoming No. 1 in the world by 2018. But it looks like the company could get there this year. That’s certainly the case if you measure all the revenue it raked in so far this year, and how much profit it’s generated. We’ll have all the details later in the show.

NISSAN NV OFF TO SLOW START (subscription required)
Earlier this year Nissan introduced a commercial van in the U.S. called the NV. The segment is currently dominated by GM and Ford, so it’s no surprise to see that Ward’s is reporting that the NV is getting off to a slow start. Its 205 days’ supply is second only to the Dodge Viper’s 304 days. But I would point out that a high days’ supply is common when a new product is introduced. Even so, the NV’s sales are very slow. Through September just over 3,000 have been sold compared to nearly 70,000 Ford Econolines and 42,000 Chevy Expresses. And in September only 24 NVs were sold.

GLOBAL CAR SALES UP (subscription required)
But globally speaking, car sales are strong. Over 6.9 million vehicles were sold in September, a 6.6 percent increase compared to a year ago. North America. South America, China and Europe all recorded gains. But Japan was the only major market to see a fall, with sales dropping 2 percent.

Another day, another new model for MINI. The British brand is introducing a roadster version of its popular small car. It’s the sixth vehicle in the company’s lineup and its first ever two-seat drop-top. A naturally aspirated 1.6-liter is the base engine. The S model straps on a turbocharger and gains about 60 horsepower. There’s an even more powerful John Cooper Works edition and of course a diesel. Output ranges from 122 ponies on the entry-level engine to 211 on the Works model. The diesel puts out 225 foot-pounds of torque, a crazy amount for such a small car. There is no pricing or availability information to report at this time.

Renault took the wrapper off a new small car over the weekend. The Pulse will be the brand’s third model sold in India when it goes on sale next January. The Fluence sedan and Koleos sport-utility vehicle are its other two offerings. The Pulse will compete in the low-priced, small-car market currently dominated by Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata.

There was a time when Henry Ford told his customers they could have any color they wanted as long as it was black. That’s because black paint dried faster than other pigments, which meant Henry could make more Model T’s. But then around 1920 DuPont, working together with General Motors, came up with a lacquer paint it called Duco, which allowed any color to dry quickly and that spawned a color revolution in automobiles. So why do I mention all this? Because Bloomberg is reporting that DuPont is looking at selling its paint operations, hoping to get about $4 billion that it can invest in faster-growing areas. And so goes a part of history.

Don’t forget to join Open Line tomorrow. You can catch another call-in episode at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Host Michelle Naranjo will be joining in LIVE from Las Vegas where she’s attending the SEMA show. She’ll also be joined by co-host Chelsea Sexton as well as Aaron Bragman from IHS Automotive. Be sure to call in or watch at Autoline.tv. We’ll see you there.

Like we said at the top of the show, VW is now No. 1 in the world, and we’ll give you all the details on why that’s the case, right after this.

A couple months back we looked at research and development expenditures for the major automakers, to see which car maker is investing the most in future products. Now let’s look at which companies raked in the most money and had the best profits for the first half of the year.

Just like with R&D spending, Volkswagen dominated in Total Revenue. The company took in $14 billion more than No. 2 Toyota which in turn beat No. 3 GM by $23 billion. For the most part, the ranks depend on how many cars an automaker sells but that’s not always the case. Daimler and BMW are not high-volume companies, but both are in the top 10 in revenue. Both companies benefit from being able to charge a premium for their vehicles.

The net profits seem to show a much clearer picture of how well the automakers performed in the first half of the year. And surprise, surprise, VW is again at the top. The company made $3 billion more than second-place GM. To put that in perspective, that gap is more than what eight automakers on this list made in net profits.

The earnings show just how much of an impact the strength of the Yen and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan had on its automakers. All three Japanese automakers are ranked out of the top 10 in net profits.  Only Nissan earned over $1 billion. This helped put the three German automakers, VW, BMW and Daimler, in the top five. Also moving up the list due to the Japanese struggles is Hyundai and Kia. Both are in the top 10 but Hyundai’s $3.9 billion profit is especially impressive. It’s just $1 billion less than Ford which is No. 3 on the list.

It will be interesting to see if the Japanese automakers will recover before the year is out or if they will have to wait until next year before their books are back in order.

Rounding out the list is Chrysler. It’s not too surprising it was the only OEM not to make a profit in the first half. The company does not have many new models and at the time, it was still owned by the Canadian and American governments.

Clink the link to see all the results.

And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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85 Comments to “Episode 757 – VW Already No. 1, MINI Roadster, Renault Pulse Revealed”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Newsflash: Mini fills another niche in the market…………………what, there was no niche (in the market)………………flash; Mini makes another new model……………really??

    Congrats to Volkswagen: Uh-oh; another new target (for everyone else to shoot at). The ‘King of the hills’ haven’t remained king long (lately).

  2. LS ford Says:

    I really want to know how these global market sales are up with respect to the whole industry. If the units are up 30% in India or China does that equate to .5% of the global market total? I mean how much volume is really being increased here? If richard branson buys one car on his private island is sales there up 100%??

  3. jim Says:

    The near obsession with who is ranked number 1 is sales or profits amuses me. It all reminds me a bit of the movie Moneyball. The automakers are looking at the wrong metrics. If you consider a carmaker like Subaru, you’ll never see them ranked number 1 in sales or profits, but they quietly go about their business building cars that are highly ranked in quality and more important have a loyal customer base. To me, that is more important than bragging about whether your company is #1 in sales and/or profits. If you’re building a quality product and have loyal customers, you’ve already succeeded.

  4. MJB Says:

    I’m really liking that Mini Roadster. That Renault Pulse is pretty sharp too.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    “A high days’ supply is common when a new vehicle is introduced” Funny, I thought it was the complete opposite, unless the car is undesirable. VW should take some of those profits and invest it back into better reliability and quality.

  6. Lex Says:

    VW vehicles are over priced and cheaply made, hence huge profitability!

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    #3 These days, it’s all about the moolah!

  8. HtG Says:

    Speaking of moolah, Pedro, LATimes is doing a three part feature on the business of selling cars to people who can’t afford them. Wall Street has even gotten a wiff.


  9. tj Martin Says:

    VW’s ( so called ) Profits

    I find it interesting , that in light of VW-AG’s unwillingness to make their ‘ Actual ‘ P&L statements available to ANYONE , especially the Press , that these claims are actually being taken seriously .

    I could say much more , but as HtG is more the expert in all things German than I , I’ll place the ball in his court .

    Suffice it to say from myself , that I’d take these numbers with a Serious Grain ( more like a box full ) of Salt before running out in the streets proclaiming VW-AG’s supremacy

  10. HtG Says:

    10 I actually don’t know much about it, tj.

  11. HtG Says:

    There was also news early this morning that the Japanese had intervened to push down the Yen. About 3% so far.

    And this weekend, Wapo had an Op-Ed from Daniel Yergin on the changing oil game.


    I’m saying these are both auto related, once removed.(speaking of removed, how about that Kim Kardashian? I hope she gets to keep the 458)

  12. tj Martin Says:

    F1 INDIA

    ( subtitled – India’s ‘ Booming ‘ economy )

    A countries International Sporting Event is a very good barometer of its overall economic Health

    So lets have a look at the Back Story behind this weekends India F1 Race

    #1 The 1000 acres used to build the track on was in fact STOLEN by from the farmers that owned it , with none having been compensated as of yet

    #2 The construction crews , workers etc who BUILT the track have yet to have been paid

    #3 In spite of Bernie’s praises and the hype let out in the press , most of the teams agree that that Track in its unfinished state was dangerous as well as the Pit Exit being ill conceived

    #4 There were multiple empty Seats available in every section of the track and every Grand Stand , including the VIP sections , with many Grand Stands completely empty

    Oh and if you’ve read the Sunday NYTimes you’d know that the minimal Middle Class in India is now involved in major protests and actions nationwide there against what is a VERY Corrupt Indian Government

    So much for India’s BOOMING Economy

    Think I’ll stick with our Recession/ Depression what ever the ____ it is . Any Day


  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG it’s all about the spur of the moment thing, which also explains why nobody is willing to take a lower price version of a particular model unless it comes with all the whistles, power everything, navigation, high end radio, I remember when I got my Vibrolla and told the dealer I did not want power windows or locks, he turned to my wife and asked: ” Lady, do you realize you’re gonna have to crank the window up and down, think of your nails” I reminded him that in So Fla, a/c is a year-round thing and window cranking is rare.

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    You do know as well or better than I that the only Financial and Business sector more close lipped than the Germans ( the Automotive sector being no exception ) is Switzerland , though in truth I’d call it a tie between them


  15. Lex Says:

    @8 – HTG

    Very Eye Openning Article, Thank you.

    There must be an OEM that is willing to product a very low cost entry level basic transportation vehicle similar to the idea of the Yugo?

    If this mother in the article was able to make a down payment of $3000.00 on a used Ford Fusion at 20% interest rate for four years. Why wouldn’t an OEM build a $10,000.00 vehicle and take the same down payment and charge only 10% interest rate on the balance of the loan over five years? It seems to me that this would really build brand loyalty!

    I quess Pedro is right, it is all about the moolah!

    This is probably why Urban Milleniums choose to patronize Zip Car. The cost of ownership is just getting out of hand, and affordable credit is still too hard to get.

  16. HtG Says:

    @15 It used to be, people had scruples about usury. It also appeared to me that requiring a payment every two weeks is also a trap to catch someone short.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re Kim K I just hope she’s better at picking cars than mates.

  18. Miro Kefurt Says:

    VW is #1 wow !!!

    From the data just shown yesterday:

    2011 3rd Q
    Profit %
    Profit PV
    Revenue PV

    Excuse me but did the VW borad got infiltrated by the Communists from ex-DDR ?

    Remember it was illegal to make profit in DDR ?

    VW almost achieved it !!!

    But I am sure they will find a way soon to spend the 1.11 Euro they accidentally made on each vehicle sold at average of e14,807.69

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Buy here, pay here, repossess here.”Check out this beautiful Ford Fusion, low miles, only been repossessed 3 times, be the one to give it a permanent home”

  20. LS ford Says:

    @18 HAHAHAHAHA that is hillarious Pedro!

  21. tj Martin Says:

    # 18

    Too funny :)

    But too true as well :(

    One Stop buying , financing , repo’ing .

    Probably the new Automotive Sales Business model of the Future

    Dealin Doug at the front door

    Uncle Scrooge in the back office

    ‘Dog ” the repo man hiding in the shadows

  22. tj Martin Says:

    Spontaneous Combustion Club News

    Please to welcome (willkommen ) the ‘ Newest ‘ member of the Mobile BBQ Fraternity


    NEXT ! ( ? )

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Operation Repo TV show on BS TV (I meant True TV), if that fat bitch comes a knocking at my door I may think it’s Halloween and give her some candies.

  24. tj Martin Says:

    MINI Roadster

    As more than one auto journalist has said today about the MINI Roadster

    ” MAZDA won’t be needing any Ambien over this cars introduction ”

    Much as I loved my MINI , me thinks they’re right

    The Coupe , Roadster and ( oh dear ) The Paceman ( Pacman )

    All filling a void that in fact does not exist

    MINI’s got some fairly sharp folks working there , but Steve Jobs they aint and me thinks they may have gone a Step Too Far with the Brand

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ it may be time to resurrect the names “Caliente” and “Fuego” on some upcoming car. I think one of them was a Mercury the other one a Renault.

  26. MJB Says:


    I respect your arguement about Subaru. But you know, it could also be argued that being #1 in sales volume is ALSO proof of “brand loyalty”. After all, you don’t get to #1 off of only first-time buyers.

    And besides, there will always be automakers competing for that #1 spot. Think of the automobile market like sports. Who cares if your team has heart, professionalism and a lock-down defense. If you’re not winning championships, nobody cares. Well, except for those purists who’d rather have “a team with HEART” than a team that takes care of business on the court and walks away with the title.

    Politically correct, castrated, and otherwise meaningless youth sports leagues of the last several years where nobody keeps score anymore for the sake of not offending any kid with an underdeveloped sense of self worth (and overly protective and sensitive parents) aside, there still is merit to holding that Top Dog slot.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    I’d agree with # 25

    Assuming that ones claim for # 1 is in fact ‘ Valid ‘

    Problem is these days the ” Claims ” usually Exceed the Reality by a rather wide margin , and its not like anyone in the Press ( with very few exceptions ) does any genuine Investigating to Verify these claims

    Making them about as Meaningless as the ‘ Everyone Deserves a Medal ‘ Sports Leagues

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ 24- Correct on both counts

    But ………. why ?

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    In honor of all the recent spontaneous combustion incidents which by the way seems to have started with the Nano and is now “spreading” throughout the industry.

  30. tj Martin Says:


    +1 !

  31. Lex Says:

    I understand that the Chevy Captiva, which is built in Mexico as a fleet vehicle have started to arrive in the US. Will Chevy add the Captiva as an entry level CUV beneath the Equinox and Traverse for American Consumers?

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    What with the current viral ‘ spreading’ of this Spontaneous Combustion / Mobile BBQ trend , what better time for GM to reintroduce …….

    The FIREbird !

    ‘ Burning ‘ up the road in a neighborhood near you


  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    A Daewoo engineered (I use the term loosely) Mexican-built thing? Oh I wish I could find a time machine and go back to the Jurassic period. Does GM really have that much faith in the people who built a POS like the Aveo?

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    With this of course ……….


    ……playing in the CD, Cassette, 8Track

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Subaru has removed themselves from my shopping list for years, by having mandatory four wheel drive, but they do have a following.

    As far as VW, they sell everywhere in the world , they build everywhere in the world, and except in the U.S., they would be considered a full line car company. Also, except in the U.S., they probably have a competetive dealer network. No wonder they sell a lot of cars around the world.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Introducing Tata Nano, the hot little car from India that has burned a path of economy and affordability in its homeland, now it comes to the US to become the ultimate tailgate party animal, yeah, “Tata light my fire”

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well Kit to be fair, most people live in areas that could use 4wd at one time or another, we is spoiled here in Central and So Fla, I remember I was in the panhandle in Feb 2009 and they had warnings of icy roads, I had forgotten how thrilling that was! actually I was kind of worried driving a car I was not familiar with and was out of practice as well.

  38. tj Martin Says:


    So ….. as of this weekend the World’s population has hit 7 Billion people , with many across the Globe expressing their concern over the Planet’s as well as our capabilities to sustain this level of Human Population

    This news coming right on the Heels of the multiple Spontaneous Combustion Cars ( Mobile BBQ’s ) being revealed as well as the newest member of the BBQ Club being announced the ‘ Day After ‘ ( cue in the ominous music )

    So what if ……. in truth this Mobile BBQ Epidemic is in fact …

    ………the Automotive Industries contribution for curbing the Population Explosion Worldwide ?



    ( couldn’t resist )


  39. tj Martin Says:

    @ 36

    Yeah …… some of us chose NOT to be Snowbirds , fleeing South at even the slightest hint of inclement ( read Snow ) weather .

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, 4wd provides an advantage for some people, some of the time, but I didn’t need, or want the extra weight and complexity, even during my 40 years of driving up north.

    Subaru has made a conscious decision to be a niche car company, and it has worked for them.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    # 38 The Wall Street protestors should carry signs reading: “Less cars, more bikes” or “pedal power is people power”

  42. T. Bejma Says:


    Captiva is only for fleet sales. No intention of selling this re-badged Saturn VUE new to the public.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    The local ad for Subaru has some chick saying that she feels more secure with all wheel drive and that Subarus are built “tough, to last many years of family abuse” and have ” High resale values”

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    #42 my deepest sympathies to fleets, then.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just thought of something, could all this anti CR sentiment be part of downplaying the reliability issues facing the latest successful small cars from Detroit. Just imagine after all the talk and the promises of the “new” Detroit, we find that it’s the same crap as before only better designed.

  46. tj Martin Says:

    FYI Off Topic

    I found that Pyramid Scheme the friend had bought into

    Its a doozy alright .

    So much for needing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement to get the details .

    Its all there for the asking if you know what keys to hit 8)

  47. tj Martin Says:

    CR Reality Check

    Being of the Socratic School of Teaching I’ll let y’all sort the facts out and come to your own conclusions

    #1) 70-99% of all Magazine revenues come from advertising , sponsorship ( manufactures manufacturing positive reviews etc ) not from subscriptions and news stand sales

    ( which is why they can offer such deep discounts , up to 80% off sometimes on subscriptions )

    #2) CR ‘Claims ‘ they receive Zero advertising and/or sponsorship

    #3) Over the last two years CR has been on a rampant campaign to increase subscription numbers by offering Two for One subscriptions to current subscribers ( for family and friends ) as well as up to Three for One on their newsletter format offerings ( e.g. CR Health etc ) I know because the Mrs and I have been the unfortunate recipients of this from a well meaning family member .

    So ………. in light of # 1 and # 2 ….

    How is CR able to make these offers if in fact # 2 is true ?

    ( # 1 does not apply to the few legitimate ‘ Journals ‘ etc that in fact offer zero discounts )

  48. tj Martin Says:


    A T-Shirt I purchased at the last F1 race I went to ;

    ” Bicycles are for People who Can’t Handle Horsepower ”

    Kind of ironic in light of my being an active proponent of Bicycling as transportation as well as sport , but it was too funny to pass up .

    And ya oughta see the looks I get when I show up at some group ride or another .

    I’m a BAaaaad Boy sometimes . My favorite T ?

    PETA – Which in this case stands for ….

    ” People Eating Tasty Animals ”

    Shame on Me !!!!

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    But when CR had the Japanese cars ahead of the rest for years and years, no one questioned it, as a matter of fact, they repeatedly used this data to prove their point about American and European brands. Imagine the consequences once the public finds out the Daewoo Cruze is not all that reliable and neither is the Focus or the Fiesta and the Sonic and Spark are just a little better than the previous Daewoo crap? But they promised us their cars are now as good as anything out there. And they lied!!!

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sonic is a much MUCH better car, performance-wise than Aveo, but reliability is unknown.

  51. tj Martin Says:

    MF Global

    Collapsed – Kaput – Finuto – Bankrupt – Another one bites the dust

    The Feds are in a panic

    Wanna guess what that’ll do to Auto Sales ?

    Wanna bet we get ANOTHER round of ‘ Too Big to Fail ‘ ?

    Wanna bet there’s a slew more just waiting in the Wings to follow suit ?

  52. tj Martin Says:

    A Daewoo by any other name …. is still a Daewoo just the same

    Admittedly ……… IF we can believe the reviews on the Sonic , it ‘ Appears’ to be a better car than the Aveo it replaces ( but then again what wouldn’t be ? )

    But underneath it all its still a pretentious Korean Pile of Fluff pretending to be up to its betters ( the Japanese ) standards w/ a Chevy Bowtie on its snout .

    So in conclusion I’ll stick with my preferred moniker for the Sonic till proven otherwise

    The Sonic Distortion – e.g. Lots of noise ( hype and propaganda ) at high volumes , none of which you really want to hear or believe .

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys, I just went to AOL Auto who get their data from JD Power and both Cruze and Fiesta ain’t doing too well in the reliability departments, so why the beef towards CR? they’re saying the same thing.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM has placed their future in the hands of the wonderful Daewoo designers and engineers to bring to the market world class, reliable cars. Big gamble if you ask me.

  55. tj Martin Says:


    My only problem with Subaru’s , and why didn’t purchase the Forester XT over the GLK is ….

    Subaru’s seats

    I don’t know what it is , if its just my Body Type or what , but no matter how much I adjust and fiddle with the seat settings I cannot get comfortable

    Calling the Subaru’s seats ( even in family members Tribeca ) torture devices ( for me at least ) is being kind

    Which ….. is too bad . Decent cars otherwise .

  56. tj Martin Says:


    Its CR’s overall inaccuracy I’m hot under the collar about , not any specific review .

    Well … excepting their claim last week of JEEP being the most reliable American car .

  57. tj Martin Says:

    FYI JD Power is an opinion poll

    So I wouldn’t place much stock in them either .

  58. HtG Says:

    @55 I do wonder if the problem is that manufacturers are designing for the middle %95 person. If you’re petite, you’ll have some problems, too. And it may be that as a German manufacturers, Mini and MB have predicted that taller people, maybe even Dutch, will be buying their wares.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you consider both CR and JD Powers to be useless, where would you look for reliability data on cars, other than a sample of one friend of a friend who has a specific model?

  60. cwolf Says:

    A sucker foe almost any 2 seater,I’ll take the new MINI any day. Wasn’t long ago you fellers commented on the Z4′s check engine should say “replace engine” and the popular Miata as less than reliable. In my eyes,this indicates there may be an opening in the niche for this kind of roadster.

    I drive close to 3 hrs to and from work,going around lake erie. During winter months,I only had a real need to use 4wd about twice per season. My 4wd Escape was a real comfort then,but I could have arrived just as safe by driving a little slower. Subaru should offer their line in front wheel drive,even as an option.

    tj, whats going on with MB? All afternoon they advertised 7yr./135K on their certified used models(at an added cost)? Is this to compete with other brands or is it to give some sign of reliability confidence?

  61. cwolf Says:

    I have yet to test drive the Sonic,but the few at work who have like it better than the best selling Fit. They say the car drives and rides much bigger than its size,but reliability IS a story to be told,just like tj’s GLK.

  62. tj Martin Says:


    Independent Owners forums that are not sponsored by the manufacture

    That was the only way , with the S4 I was able to verify , in spite of Audi USA and Audi EU denying it , that all my suspension problems were in fact the norm , worldwide


    @ cwolf – Nobodies saying you ” Need ” AWD , but let me tell you its sure as heck can make a huge difference in both your security as well as your nerves , having lived in CO and VT as well as many a trip up them thar CO Rockies in Winter fer a bit of winter recreational fun .

    Doesn’t hurt my feeling much either to have AWD when on the Freeway at 75 mph and a sudden down pour hits as well . Not to mention the issue of Black Ice which can and does sneak up on you like a …… well ….. you know 8)

    AWD is a mighty nice thing and I think Subaru is smart offering what they do best


    Y’all Forgotten somethin ???

    Subaru IS offering a non AWD car coming to a dealer your way soon . The 0846 or what ever the _____ they’ll be calling it .

    In RWD never the less . Dumb move if’n ya asks me . Not that anyone ever does . Snif .

    As to MBUSA offering the extended warranty on CPO’s , thats been the norm , though 7 years may be a bit longer now . Three was free , with additional years available at an added cost . Is that the same they’re advertising today ?

  63. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    re; GLK’s Reliability Report – 4000 miles and counting ( lots of road trips since we bought it , ignoring the Airlines and all their $%## )

    Nary a squeak or a squiggle so far .

    Fingers crossed .

  64. cwolf Says:

    My 69 MGC is in for restoration and the time has come to have the engine gone over. I have rebuilt the su carbs and know that every seal/gasket needs to be replced,but how deep should I go to do the right thing and what can be avoided? Many of you have my confidence and look forward to what advice you have to share.

  65. tj Martin Says:


    With the Benz

    Lifetime ( as long as you maintain it according to the manual )towing , road assistance , trip planning etc . Nationwide and Canada . Not to mention some pretty hefty discounts at hotels dept stores ( wife just got herself a box of goodies for free from Sax’s via MB ) etc

    As long as you live or own the car . Lifetime . So I don need no stinkin AAA on the Benz . Keep it on the Matrix though . Jes in case .

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With those warranties, it looks like used Benzes are competing with new Hyundais.

  67. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    On just the engine , I’d have it torn down ( as much as needed ) and have all the bearings and surfaces checked and inspected , Replacing or rebuilding only if needed .

    But don’t you mean MJB ? Or did you luck out and get one of the 6 cylinder versions , which is of course the MGC or the MJB-C depending on who you ask

    If you did and its one of the Buick aluminum blocks I’d have the block tested and inspected as well ( sorry but the term for that inspection on a block for cracks etc escapes me )

  68. tj Martin Says:


    Thats on CPO Benz’s not new .

  69. tj Martin Says:


    On new Benz’s its always been this way

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Owner’s forums are certainly good for determining what problems a car has, but they don’t give any info how common a problem is. They are interesting, though.

  71. cwolf Says:

    tj: It sounds like the same extended warranty,but the radio ad has been constant for the past 3 days! Very unusual.

    AWD is a real comfort,but my personal needs for mpg’s is of greater importance. I’m sure To think differently if living in Aspen or Buffalo. You must know by now my driving situation is most extrodinary and I am the one who often forgets this fact.

  72. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf


    While you’re at it and its apart I’d have everything balanced and blueprinted as well as have the head shaved a bit .

    Nothing like a good kick in the HP/smoothness department to make a restoration feel worth the effort and $$$

  73. tj Martin Says:


    IMHO the Independent Owners forums are a heck of a lot more reliable and accurate despite not having the exact numbers

    When you read as I did , hundreds of people worldwide complaining about the same specific rear suspension failures I was dealing with , who cares what the Exact numbers may be ?

    And anyway as that article I posted stated ( who pays for your subscription ) when it comes to CR JD Power WARDS etc

    ” EVERYBODY LIES’ ( House )

    Owners on the other hand , though some may be deluded ..

    Don’t !

  74. cwolf Says:

    tj: what in the heck is MJB? My “C” is the real macoy as far as I know. The 6 cyl’s weight is a heafty 650 lb. When a youth,I replaced the std shocks with conies(?),but have 2 new std sets in reserve. By the way,do you know of any source who recovers leather steering wheels or one who can replace/tighten/rebalance 68 spoke wheels?

  75. cwolf Says:

    tj: what in the heck is MJB? My “C” is the real macoy as far as I know. The 6 cyl’s weight is a heafty 650 lb. When a youth,I replaced the std shocks with conies(?),but have 2 new std sets in reserve. By the way,do you know of any source who recovers leather steering wheels or one who can replace/tighten/rebalance 68 spoke wheels?

  76. cwolf Says:

    Appears that I have stuttered!

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …but how, exactly, do you use owner forums to determine which is more reliable, Camry, Accord, Malibu, Fusion, Elantra, Sonata, etc. I agree that if a certain car, like your S4 has an especially bad problem, it will show up, but owner forums are not a useful tool for most car shoppers.

  78. HtG Says:

    I am guessing you are aware of these guys, cwolf.
    Moss Motors.


  79. HtG Says:

    if you type ‘mg restoration’ into your browser, quite a few shops pop up.

  80. cwolf Says:

    tj: To have everything balanced,do you mean the crankshaft or is there more? How much extra would this cost? Being that this was my first car,I am willing to go the extra mile ,yet I must be wise. When a foolish teen, I once had 135mph before letting off the gas,due to imbalance either in the nylon/tube tires or/and spoke wheels and the 3 spoke steering wheel didn’t help matters. If there are variables like the ones described is balancing the engine going to reap any real driving benifits? Help me understand what I am missing.

  81. cwolf Says:

    sure do know of moss motors. Believe it or not ,one of the top british restorers is only 20 min. from me and is the one working on my car,but, we all know the more informed and the better questions asked,the more satisfied is the customer. I gotta tell ya, having friends like many of you, I feel much more prepared in the choices i’ll have to make. As mechanical savey as I am/or believe to be,I am not afraid to seek the advice of others.

  82. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    VW may be # 1 But they will have to pry my Ford from my cold dead hands.

  83. Andrew Charles Says:

    TJ, CR is financed by the Tort Lawyers’ industry association, and in the past they’ve been known to rig test results to give their patrons some basis to extort money from businesses (since it’s usually cheaper to pay up than defend unfounded accusations).

    Also, the Sonic is not a “Daewoo” underneath—for this generation GM started with the underpinnings of the Opel Corsa and Fiat Punto. They even ditched the Aveo’s Korean engines for the Corsa’s European-designed Family 0 and Family I engines and the Fiat-GM small diesel. And while GM Korea was in charge of development, the lead engineers came from Opel. Development was also spread across GM’s global technical centers—that’s just how they work these days. To paraphrase Taichi Ohno, they employ “development levelling”—whoever has free time and resources in cadence of their own programs lends a hand to those who are at the peak of theirs—resources are better utilized and development is sped up.

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There’s not much to be gained by balancing your engine. It’s a lowish rpm inline six which inherently very smooth. Just assemble the engine carefully and it will work well, as long as those SU’s cooperate.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Honda is planning to expedite it’s refresh of the Civic. See: