Episode 778 – UAW Shows Korean Solidarity, Putting the “Brakes” on Rust, Audi A1 Sportback

December 1st, 2011 at 11:22am

Runtime: 8:35

While the UAW settles on a transplant to unionize, they’re picketing Hyundai dealerships in the U.S. in support of Korean workers abroad. GM develops a technology that will double the life expectancy of brake rotors by preventing rust. Plus Audi reveals the A1 Sportback, Renault has a new Twingo and Toyota shows off a new fuel cell concept. All that and more, plus Seamus McElroy goes for a spin in MINI’s new Coupe.

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This is Autoline Daily for the first day of December, 2011. And now, the news.

UAW SUPPORTS KOREAN WORKERS
The United Auto Workers says it will pick its transplant target by the end of this year and is close to determining who that will be, Bloomberg reports. In the meantime, the brothers and sisters in the UAW are beating the war drums for their brothers and sisters who work for Hyundai in South Korea. They’re picketing Hyundai dealerships in the United States in a show of solidarity with Korean union workers who want more money. But the UAW says this picketing effort has nothing to do with its efforts to organize the transplants and that Hyundai is not the target.

PUTTING THE “BRAKES” ON RUST
GM engineers have developed a new treatment for brake rotors that prevents rust and doubles their life expectancy. This can save drivers big bucks over the life of their vehicle. The process is commonly used on powertrain components and is called Ferritic Nitro-Carburizing – FNC for us non-chemists. It involves a massive oven and lots of heat. Rotors are baked at 560 degrees Celsius – about 1,040 degrees Fahrenheit – for an entire day. During the process, nitrogen atoms bond with surface of the steel, making it stronger and less prone to rusting. GM is aiming to have FNC rotors on 80 percent of its U.S. models by 2016.

RENAULT REVEALS NEW TWINGO
Renault just released details about its all-new Twingo subcompact car. It’s the first vehicle in the company’s lineup to show off the new design language developed by VP of design, Lauren van Acker. Powering the Twingo is a variety of gasoline and diesel engines that improve fuel economy compared to the previous version. A sport model will also be made available. Drivers can customize the Twingo with roof decals, which can be coordinated with the interior and upholstery. The New Twingo goes on sale next year and is available in 48 countries.

AUDI “SPORTBACKS” THE A1
We’ve got some more reveals from the Tokyo show. Audi is showing off a new five-door “Sportback” version of its tiny A1. Beyond a couple of extra openings, this model is also taller than the three-door model so there’s more room for back-seat passengers. Six engines will be offered: three gasoline and three diesels. The range-topping powerplant should deliver around 185 horsepower. The Audi A1 Sportback is expected to go on sale in Europe early next year. Entry-level pricing should be less than 17,000 Euros. In ‘Merican dollars, that’s about 23 grand.

TOYOTA’S FUEL-CELL FUTURE
Toyota revealed a hydrogen-powered concept in Tokyo called the FCV-R. The fuel cell is located under the body, which helps improve space for both passengers and luggage. Toyota says the FCV-R has a range of 700 kilometers or about 435 miles. A production version is scheduled to launch in 2015.

I’M GHOSN TO TELL YOU SOMETHING . . . (subscription required)
At the Tokyo Auto Show Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn tells the media that global warming is going to convince consumers to buy electric cars. He says that as the public sees a growing number of weather-related disasters people will blame global warming and will turn to electric cars as the solution. Well, Mr. Ghosn, I respectfully disagree. I believe that when big storms knock out the electric grid, people are going to recoil in horror as they realize they can’t go anywhere in their electric cars. Worse, there’s no way they’re going to dare take their electric cars onto streets that are partially covered in water, for fear of being electrocuted. And when they realize that their electric car might only go 100 miles as they try to flee a 400-mile-wide hurricane that is bearing down on them, they’re all going to wonder why they ever bought an electric car. No, I think weather calamities will not encourage people to buy electrics.

Why does Mini call describe its latest car as a helmet head? We’ll show you why, right after this.

PUTTING THE “COUPE” IN COOPER
MINI continues to expand its lineup of models, and the latest model is called the Coupe. Take a look.

Over the last several years MINI has expanded its lineup. It started with the Convertible in 2005, which was followed by the Clubman in 2008, and last year it was the Countryman. Now the company is set to come out with its first two-seater, the MINI Coupe. While there’s no mistaking it as MINI, there are differences.

It’s the first MINI to adopt a three-box body structure, which refers to the engine compartment, passenger area and the trunk. The A-pillar and windshield are more sharply raked which gives the Coupe a sleeker look. And it also features what MINI calls a “helmet roof” because, well, it looks like a helmet.

It’s also the first MINI with an active rear spoiler which extends automatically once you hit 50 miles an hour and recedes once the speed drops below 37 MPH.

Even though it’s an inch lower than the hardtop, it doesn’t impact headroom because the roof features two oval recesses for the driver and passenger. The layout of the interior is similar to the rest of the lineup.

Powering the Coupe is a variety of 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engines.

The engine can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. And as you would expect, fuel economy varies depending on which powertrain you get. (John Cooper Works, 28/33 MPG. Cooper S, 30/35 MPG. Base model, 32/37 MPG).

So how much does the Coupe cost?

The MINI Coupe is available right now.

According to Ward’s, MINI sales in the American market are up a very impressive 22 percent so far this year. And while sales of the original MINI Cooper are down somewhat, the other models have more than made up the difference.

Be sure to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for some of the best insight as to what’s going on in the auto industry. That’s tonight starting at 7PM Eastern Time on Autoline.tv

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

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94 Comments to “Episode 778 – UAW Shows Korean Solidarity, Putting the “Brakes” on Rust, Audi A1 Sportback”

  1. LS ford Says:

    John,

    Spot on with your EV assessment. Is Ghosn for real?? This guy is worse than a US polititian for incorrectly speaking about issues facing the general public. Seems this guy is born with his foot in his mouth…maybe the next CEO of Nissan will be Sarah Palin?

    A mini MINI?? What is the point? Oh, I saw this one before… ” I will call him mini me”
    Austin Powers, head of product development at MINI.

  2. tj Martin Says:

    GHOSN’s DELUSIONs

    Nice comment there John and very insightful as well as accurate

    I’m afraid Ghosn like so many others in the Industry are living in La La Land when it comes to the viability of E/V’s , what with the plethora of Spontaneous Combustion episodes of late ( including the Leaf( ItOnTheLot) all the inherent problems of creating a Grid capable of handling that many E/V’s ( especially in light of all the impending economic woes ) etc

    TOYOTA

    At least FINALLY Toyota seems to be pulling their heads out , focusing on something other than another Hybrid or E/V

    Gee …. could Toyota’s new tact possibly have anything to do with their BMW partnership ? ; As we all know BMW engineers despise E/V’s and Hybrids and would rather focus on Hydrogen ICE’s and Fuel Cells ?

    Hmmmmmn ;-)

  3. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    Wait till you see the up and coming , for real ‘ MINI Me ‘ BMW-MINI’s answer to the SMART – iQ question that no one is asking .

    Yes its real . Yes its coming . To the US though , who knows ?

  4. LS ford Says:

    If you make it…they will ignore it…

  5. tj Martin Says:

    MINI ( Countryman)

    Been seeing quite a few in and around KC of late

    Yeesh , if thats not the most ‘ Color Dependent ‘ design on the road today , i don’t know what is .

    In Black on Black , White w/black roof its not good looking , but not half bad and somewhat interesting

    In that Denim Blue , Red or almost any other color I’ve seen so far its more like seeing the South End of a North Bound hog

    Fugly !

    The MINI coupe ?

    Had they done this ;

    http://www.diseno-art.com/encyclopedia/concept_cars/mini_acv_30.html

    instead , they’d of had a winner , rather than a ‘ Helmet Head ‘ kind of dull for a MINI they wound up with IMHO

    ( count it down now . MJB will be here any second to contradict me …. five ….. four …… three …. :o )

  6. LS ford Says:

    The concept looks like it is a partnership between Caterham 7 and Mini….I do not like that one.

    Where are the Brits? Like Jag, Beautiful designs, horrible quality, over priced, but sold very well. Oh that’s right, the Brits sold everything out to India (tata)…

  7. HtG Says:

    climate change carlos? Pull the other one. Here’s what I require; a power outlet on my Hummer so I can send power to my house when the lights go out.

    (jeez, who didn’t I piss off, up there?)

  8. MJB Says:

    Roof decals on the Twingo? What am I missing? Who’s going to see those? Passers by riding in public transportation (busses) as they are teased for not having one?

    Loving that Mini Coupe!

    I’ll leave the global warming discussion alone. That one gets me too heated.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Very interesting information on the new brake rotor manufacturing process; nuts and bolts improvements for seldom thought of items, good move.

    And agreeing with the others that your insightful mini-editorial (no pun to the other story) that Ghosn didn’t quite think through his comments. (I still remember the saying, from when I was a kid); put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion.

    And on the Mini’s; I like their mission statement(s) but think they are a little (okay a lot) too expensive. And five different types seems a little ‘much’ to me as well.

  10. LS ford Says:

    MJB

    Best thing for you about the mini mini is that you can park one in the back trunk of your car for commuting from the parking lot to the elevator….

    I mean I think I saw those designs on my son’s toy cars…big wheels, small car. Mini, a great child’s toy…

    See the link

    http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbnid=2EJfCBwrCoaQ5M:&imgrefurl=http://www.chevroncarsblog.com/archives/2006/11/chevron_debuts_new_toy_car_and.html&docid=DLNaqMh_HfCClM&imgurl=http://www.chevroncarsblog.com/images/photos/brent-blizzard_lg.jpg&w=498&h=440&ei=d7PXTu25NqrM2AWw-uTiDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=916&vpy=274&dur=177&hovh=211&hovw=239&tx=149&ty=141&sig=103432316342411646769&page=2&tbnh=124&tbnw=135&start=12&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:12

  11. LS ford Says:

    This just in, breaking new concept from Honda from the Tokyo auto show

    http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbnid=wa1nL-BkLBBr9M:&imgrefurl=http://www.kids-toy-online.com/tag/self-propelling-toy-car/&docid=CHP5DUVbUvbn0M&imgurl=http://www.kids-toy-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/kids-toy-car.jpg&w=480&h=313&ei=d7PXTu25NqrM2AWw-uTiDg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=341&vpy=322&dur=1876&hovh=181&hovw=278&tx=211&ty=124&sig=103432316342411646769&page=4&tbnh=107&tbnw=164&start=49&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:49

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding electric cars, you aren’t likely to be electrocuted while inside one, even in deep water, but thinking plug-in cars are good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is crazy, at least in much of the U.S. Almost all of Indiana’s electricity is from coal, not the greatest fuel from any environmental standpoint.

    The new MINI prototype that I kind of like is the Roadster, or whatever they call it. I haven’t seen the helmet head coupe in person, but from the pictures, I don’t much care for it. The original MINI hatch, and the convertible are still my favorites.

  13. HtG Says:

    12 I saw one this summer. It’s funky lookin. Someone is going to like it. When the little wing goes up, it’s pretty good, but when down, I’d say the car looks off balance. This car does not just blend in.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Chevy Volt tops CR’s owner satisfaction survey. Challenger and 911 tied for second. See:
    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20111201/CARNEWS/111209999?utm_source=DailyDrive20111201&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=article1more&utm_content=20111201-Chevrolet_Volt_leads_satisfaction_survey&utm_campaign=awdailydrive

    Not surprisingly, Aveo and Colorado were at the bottom, but, for some reason, Toyota Matrix was also at the bottom. I don’t understand that one at all. Matrix is a practical and reliable car.

  15. David Sprowl Says:

    I concur with Kit about the electric car. But I also think the term “range anxiety” is sorely inappropriate. The term implies an irrational fear. Somehow when a vehicle can only travel between 35 and 75 miles on a charge compared with the expected norm of 300 + miles, I think those fears are highly justifiable. John’s comments are spot on. But from my vantage point, unless or until electrics become viable without governmental stimulation, their place on the market is doomed.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding #14,
    For those who don’t read the article, the questionairre data for the Volt is from well before the fire of the crash test car.

  17. Jerry Says:

    New Waste Conversion Process Passes

    Muster.Converts wood waste and forest residue into clean, renewable fuel.

    http://kneb.com//index.php?more=frasprqh

  18. XA351GT Says:

    I’ve seen the MINI coupe up close. I really lke it ,but to get what I would want the full monty JCW version with all the bells and whistles it would cost over 40K ouch. My sister had JCW MINI for a month til she lost it in the rain avoiding a deer and walloped a phone pole. She walked away unhurt ,but the car was done. It was like a roller skate from hell. It hnadled and accellerated like crazy for such a small car. In the coupe form it has to be one quick bugger.

    I love how Ghosn and others are trying to sell this latest fad (E/Vs) It’s like all that have come before, FWD because you won’t get stuck in snow, 4X4 because you won’t get stuck in anything,the removal of 2 door coupes because no one wants them, the death of the staion wagon , SUVs, Cross overs,etc. E/Vs are just the latest gimmick they want to ram down throats for our own good.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    # 14

    Yeah like after everything we’ve learned of late about Consumer Report and their so called ‘ surveys ‘ anyone in his/her right mind is going to take this current bit of CR BS ( VOLT news )

    One look at the Matrix being on the bottom says leagues about just how full of it this survey really is. Horsefeathers . Everyone we know that has a Matrix ( including the Mrs ) loves them

    ——-

    E/V’s

    Can’t get electrocuted in one ehhh ? Really ?

    Who pray tell told you that little myth ?

    Methinks ( actually I know ) each and every engineer both electrical and automotive would Disagree with that statement fully and completely

    You might also try that one on a couple of the TESLA owners out there that having received a JOLT or two from their E/V’s when driving them while you’re at it

    ELECTRICITY 101

    When in contact with ANY active electrical device of ANY sort , electrocution is ALWAYs a VERY Real possibility !

  20. C-Tech Says:

    A Mini for the NFL??? (At least the kickers).

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pure electric cars will always be niche products for use as a second or third car by people who rarely make long trips. Plug-in hybrids can be a “do everything” car, but until they can be made a lot cheaper, they won’t make up much of the market.

    It will interesting to see how the plug-in Prius does. It will have a limited battery-only range, but will get exceptional mpg similar to a regular Prius, if never plugged in. It will be a lot cheaper than a Volt, but about $6-8K more than a regular Prius. I’m not going to want to trade my ’10 Prius on one.

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ XA351GT

    Unfortunately the MINI coupe has zero additional performance over the hatchback in any guise

    Its all looks and Zero substance .

  23. XA351GT Says:

    TJ,
    The thing is to that it’s Amperage more than volts thats the danger in electrocution and any electric driven motor pulls a lot of AMPS. I’m not volunteering to ride along when someone decides to use a E/V as a U boat.

    That Volt survey, yeah come back and ask them in 2 years what they think. I have just started to see these cars hit the streets here in SE PA . Any car should be satisfactory in only a month or 2 of ownership.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #19,
    It is very difficult to be electrocuted with DC current. Even if there were 60 Hz AC instead of DC from batteries, you are not connecting the battery across your body when in a car, even a wet car. You really don’t know nearly as much as you thing you do about some things.

    By the way, tj, the electrocution means being killed by electricity. It doesn’t mean feeling a bit of tingle from it. From statements you’ve made in the past, it appeared that you think electrocution and electric shock are the same thing.

  25. C-Tech Says:

    You probably won’t get electrocuted in a Volt or Leaf, however it is not likely either car will be salvageable after a storm. The 100 mile range will not be a problem. Most customers who can afford a Volt, its their second car – not the one they will take when the storm is coming.

  26. XA351GT Says:

    tj @ #22 wouldn’t the lower height and faster windscreen give a small edge in aero? Also Isn’t it a bit lighter? I know it’s probably not a huge difference ,but every little bit helps.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    MINI’s

    An AutoAnarchist Opinionater ;

    The BMW MINI hatchback and convertible Series Two – A tad bit expensive , but in reality worth every penny

    MINI Clubman – A sensible if not great looking addition to the MINI family for those desiring a MINI but needing more space ( families artists etc )

    MINI Countryman- Delving seriously into the irrelevant . BMW would of been wiser to bring over the X1 its based on instead , but they needed the sales to homologate the Countryman for WRC

    MINI ‘Coupe’ – Irrelevance to the extreme . Serves no purpose other than to expand the line up and certainly won’t be giving the likes of Mazda any sleepless nights with the convertible version coming

    MINI Me ( that is on the way ) – Like i said above , it answers the SMART / ToyotaScion iQ question that in fact NO ONE is asking

    In conclusion . MINI has a great thing going for it , but if they’re not very very careful they’re going to Expand themselves into obscurity

  28. tj Martin Says:

    #26

    From what the UK press is saying ….

    Zip ! Nada . Nunka . Not a bit .

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #23,
    Yeah, it will be interesting to see the survey next year. When Challenger came out on top last year, I though it might slip a lot, given some reliability issues, but it didn’t.

    As far as Matrix, my friend who has one generally likes it, but says it is kind of noisy on the highway, and the air distribution from the HVAC is hard to distribute to be really comfortable. The CR question is something like “would you buy the car again if you had it to do over.” It’s not like the CR’s Matrix owners hate the car, but they would shop around some more if they had it to do over.

  30. XA351GT Says:

    Kit @ #24 didn’t they have this debate over 100 years ago between Edison and Westinghouse? DC is every bit as dangerous . Some claim even more so because it doesn’t let go once it grabs you. I’m no expert but again don’t expect me to volunteer to find out.

  31. HtG Says:

    how much should we weight the effect of more higher mileage MINIs when averaged into BMW’s CAFE number? Do more minis mean less in fines? the Helmut Head may be a bit odd, but how many M3s does it balance?

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #30,
    I’ll look a little to see what I can find about ease of being electrocuted, but I’ve heard for a long time that AC is worse. Also, 60Hz is supposedly more dangerous for electrocution than 50Hz used in Europe.

    The biggest reason that the power grid went to AC early on, is that transformers work only with AC.

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    #1 Getting a bit pedantic there aren’t we .

    So be it . Electric shock . But ahhh its been more than a tingle Kit so one very good electric shock

    #2 As for yours and C-tech’s assertion that you cannot get an ‘ electric shock ‘ ( that make you happy ? ) from an E/V well you’re both absolutely dead wrong . Its happened .

    FYI the KERS system in F1 is DC as well and Autosport has repeatedly reported on Crew members , engineers , mechanics and at least one driver ( while driving i might add ) that have received a jolt strong enough in the cases of the crew etc to knock them on their keisters , with at least two passing out as well as the driver winding up in the weeds from the jolt he received

    DC/AC its doesn’t matter what the source is , its what the end product coming from it that matters

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #31
    The EPA number for the 2012 MINI Coupe and hatch are the same, at least with a manual transmission. Both are 29-37.

  35. HtG Says:

    X, the guy I spoke to driving the Mini coupe said that it was pretty easy to break loose the front end with the gas pedal. TJ’s going to have to check out the roof pillers.

    Matrix, my sister has one. Perfect car for her. Slides pretty nice too.

  36. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    You are correct in saying AC is by its nature somewhat more hazardous , but that doesn’t let DC off the hook .

  37. tj Martin Says:

    #35

    One look tells me the MINI Coupe has more blind spots than the Hatchback . The one advantage of the hatch though is that the back window’s lower edge is inches ( Kit will have to measure his ) away from the far edge of the bumper , so its still pretty easy to reverse in whereas the ‘ Coupe ‘ will lose that bit of compensation with the blind spots

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s a discussion of AC vs DC in regard to electrocution:

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410681_3

    It says AC is three times as dangerous as DC, along with a lot of details I didn’t read.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #36,
    Yeah, you don’t want 200 volts across you body, AC or DC.

  40. HtG Says:

    37 we’re talking field hockey player thick, tj. But look for yourself.

  41. tj Martin Says:

    #35

    Did he have the ‘ S’ or the ‘ Sportpack ‘ w/TC HtG ?

    Cause if he did and is breaking the front end lose that easily what with BMW-MINI’s TC there’s something seriously wrong with the new ‘ Coupe’s ‘ engineering .

    The only time I ever got my FE lose was when well and good overcooking it into a corner ( to see what would happen ) or on the slippy stuff .

  42. HtG Says:

    I can’t recall which model it was, and it was pre-production. I think he was talking about what happens when you accelerate hard from rest. But then, this is not too tough in a front wheel drive car. Still, he mentioned it.

  43. Chuck Grenci Says:

    A/C or D/C isn’t the determining factor; voltage and amperage between conductors (meaning if you get between the conductors) then you risk electric shock or electrocution. We risk getting burned to death each time we get in our gasoline powered vehicle as well; as with electricity, the threat is minimal.

  44. tj Martin Says:

    #38

    So heres a question to research Kit

    We know what the batteries are producing in E/V’s is DC but is it being converted to AC before it hits the motors etc ?

    And …. like HtG intimated ;

    ” A Volt is a Volt of course of course .. and nobody wants to get a Volt of course … because that Volt .. will give you a Jolt … whether AC or DC or both ”

    ( sung to the theme from ” Mr Ed ” )

  45. tj Martin Says:

    Jeeze I’ve been at this for hours what with HtG , Pedro’s and my discussions this morning so off to work ( woodshedding and composing , got a deadline for a commission to meet ) I go .

    Rock On !

    ( we don need no stinkin disco MJB . FYI I hope you realize I’s jes funnin ya lately )

  46. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #44
    It doesn’t make sense to convert the D/C to A/C; that would require a converter that would use power to perform the conversion.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #44,
    I’m not going to research it, but there would be AC of constantly changing frequency going to the motors. If the car is under water, though, that is probably going to stop happening as the low power control electronics quit working.

  48. tj Martin Says:

    #42

    With TC on full stun , even wrapping the revs all the way to redline and dropping the clutch barely got a squeak out of mine unless the road was slippery or the tires were wet .

    TC off was a different story .

    Hmmmn

  49. tj Martin Says:

    #46

    Thats more common than you might think CG

  50. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #49
    Actually, the other way around, is more common (as in our vehicles); that is our alternators (A/C) being converted to pulsating D/C (so as to be useful for charging and running the D/C circuit in our cars) and charging the battery.

  51. tj Martin Says:

    BWTM

    F1 TRIVIA

    Did any of you know that Sir Jackie Stewart’s son took guitar lessons from…….

    George Harrison !

    ( MotorSport Dec 2011 pg 52-53 )

    Ahhhh the joys of celebrity . Sometimes .

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked the CR site, and the Matrix with low owner satisfaction was the AWD version. Maybe people bought them for rock crawling, and found that they weren’t very good for that.

    Also, cars that people would tend to be “emotional” about seem to top the lists. Corvette, 911, Mustang GT, most versions of MINI, etc., are high on the list. Cars I like, high mpg hatchbacks like Golf TDI and Prius are also high on the list.

    A lot of excellent, but unexciting cars like Civic and Corolla are in the middle.

    Say what you want about CR, but if you look at their owner satisfaction list, it mostly makes sense.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #46,
    The motors used in EV’s are synchronous AC permanent magnet motors. Basically, they replace the brushes of a DC motor with power controlled by electronics, eliminating the “wear out” of brushes and commutators. The brushless motors are also more efficient. They need complex electronics to work, though.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #50,
    Cars started using alternators because alternators are much cheaper and simpler to make than DC generators. Chrysler started using alternators in ’60 or ’61, and everyone else within a few years.

    What made it possible and practical to use alternators (AC generators) for the electrical system of cars, is that silicon rectifiers capable of handling ~100 amps became cheap and reliable.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    My Vibrolla has been anemic the last few days, today it got overtaken by a Fiat 500 with the AC on and mine was off. Filter is clean, recent oil change, plugs and wires seem ok, it’s a case of needing Geritol or Testosterone or both!

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I take exception to comment 52, 3rd paragraph whenever I drive my car and I smell something funky, I always think it’s coming from mine, 99% of the time it’s not, but I still fear the worse, stuck far away from home, that is exciting as hell.

  57. HtG Says:

    54 Thanks Kit.I was always too ashamed to ask. I may have some other questions later.

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    Truedelta on TTAC reports that some of these newer models like Fiesta and Cruze are getting better in the initial quality dept as if this is some kind of new thing, for as long as I can remember, I was always told that buying a first or second year new model is a risky proposition, and that you’re better off waiting till the “bugs” are resolved. At least now the OEM’s are reacting quickly and not taking 5 yrs to fix the gremlins, the modern car buyer will not put up with that!

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro, #56,
    I hope you excitement continues to be unwarranted.

  60. Aliisdad Says:

    John is right on with his analysis of the EV’s and weather…I know he was being serious, but I could not stop laughing…I just kept seeing pictures in my mind of those poor enviro fools stuck in their EV’s while everyone else fled the disaster…

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cruze turbo was pretty high in CR’s satisfaction ratings, but the non-turbo mid pack. Apparently the turbos are mostly reliable so far, and drive well, but the non-turbo would be better to anyone planning to keep the car 300K miles.

  62. HtG Says:

    look what’s on sale, Pedro

    http://www.amazon.com/First-Alert-Auto-Fire-Extinguisher/dp/B001PB3GUE/ref=sr_1_7?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1322770935&sr=1-7

    better get one before the Volt people load up

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh, man I love the free market and opportunistic business minds in this country. DO they also sell the automotive smoke detector? they have one for carbon monoxide.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit an agent buddy of mine got the 1.8 Cruze and he’s very happy with it and claims 29 mpg overall. I asked him why no turbo and his answer was: “What for?”

  65. tj Martin Says:

    TJ’s NOMEX Casual , Formal and Business Wear Emporium

    http://www.yourcarisburning.com

    Pre Holiday specials

    Ferrari 458 owners – 25% off all items

    Cadillac SRX , BMW & MINI Turbo and VW Jetta Diesel Owners – 15% off

    E/V owners – Add on 35% for being foolish enough to buy one

    THIS WEEK ONLY . New shipments in from Milan , Detroit and Koln . All the best designers are represented . Armani etc

    As well as a complete assortment of BBQ tools and equipment , along with a full range of Fire Extinguishers

    An extra 10% off if you have proof your car has already done the Spontaneous Combustion thing . Free NOMEX underwear if it took your house out as well

    Hurry on down before its too late ( literally )

    And you guys thought I was woodshedding and composing . That there’s Free Market at its finest

    8)

  66. HtG Says:

    someone needs to give Peter D. some truth serum tonight on AAH. This Volt thing is a Big Bowl of Not Good. I don’t even want to kid around.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #64,
    The turbo is quieter and gets a little better mpg, but for anyone planning to keep the car “forever,” the non-turbo makes more sense.

  68. HtG Says:

    Not OT. Here it comes, tj. Watch the balance of power within the IMF.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-01/lagarde-says-imf-may-receive-help-from-g-20-to-counter-europe-debt-crisis.html

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    #67 Turbo is quieter? even with the turbo whine and smaller displacement?

  70. tj Martin Says:

    FILE this under the Truly Pathetic heading ;

    What’s the title of the CD ?

    And what is that being pictured ?

    http://www.amazon.com/El-Camino-Black-Keys/dp/B005URRCUY/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1322778343&sr=1-1

    And HtG is worried about what’s going on overseas . Heck we need to be even more worried about this Abjectly Clueless generation thats hot on our heels and’ll be running things when we’re in our dotage .

    Eeesh :(

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC report that GM is going to redesign the volt battery to stop this burning thing, if it’s not such a bad problem why are they gonna spend millions to address it? Volt will be GM Achilles heel, and will drain their funds, it’s like the black sheep of the family, making every thing else look bad.

  72. tj Martin Says:

    So …..

    If… I’m reading HtG’s link correctly….

    The IMF thinks the BRICS , who in fact are run by totalitarian governments and have more underlying problems than the Media is owning up to or the IMF is willing to admit to ……..

    Are going to be willing to Contribute to the rapid downfall of the PIIGS to prevent the immanent collapse of the Euro and the EU

    BRICS helping PIIGS . Yeah that’ll happen . When Hades has frozen over ;-)

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ive noticed lately that old cars are being used in ads, movies, TV shows more and more all the time, it’s a need to satisfy the nostalgia bug hitting this country, instead of looking forward, we keep looking back more and more as if that is gonna fix anything, Instead of looking forward to a high speed train or the next space adventure, we want to travel in route 66 or go through old covered bridges or empty ghost towns. Even TV show about people driving around buying and restoring old things are very popular, I feel for the new generations.

  74. tj Martin Says:

    #71

    pedro

    And just HTH does GM think they can ‘ Fix’ what is in fact an inherent problem with all Li’s ??

    Sounds like another Crock of Dung from GM Spin Doctors Inc to me

  75. tj Martin Says:

    #73

    Yeah pedro but this bunch mucked it up , titling the CD ” El Camino ” and picturing a bleeding MiniVan . And a darn ugly one to boot .

  76. HtG Says:

    73 You’ve got it, Pedro. By what I’ve been reading, nostalgia marketing works as people remember the past more fondly than it really was. Marketers know we get all warm about the past, and position their wares accordingly. From Brandwashed, by Lindstrom.

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #69,
    The exhaust of the turbo would be quieter; the turbochsrger itself quiets the exhaust. Also, the smaller engine would tend to have less vibration that would make its way into the car.

  78. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I don’t think GM is going to allow the Volt to become any kind of sheep,if ewe know what I mean. NPR said GM will take back an sold Volts-no Q’s asked at full price. Two GM engrs. I keep in touch with say they will resolve the problem in short order,say they believe a sizable cost reduction will be in the near future and they REALLY like driving the Volt. Just like most of us,these guys like all cars,so to say this about the Volt is something I don’t discount.

    Am I going blind or are most of the new autos looking exactly alike?

  79. tj Martin Says:

    # 77

    Errrrr . That would of been better stated if you’d of added

    ” sometimes ”

    If you’ve ever heard an Audi Turbo’d S or RS compared to its normally aspirated brethren you’d know what I mean

    Jeeze the TT-RS is one of the loudest ( and best sounding ) street legal , from the factory cars you’ll ever hear

    It all just depends on how the manufacture choses to tune the exhaust

  80. tj Martin Says:

    # 78

    ” Am I going blind or are most of the new autos looking exactly alike? ”

    Been that way for quite awhile my friend . Quite awhile .

  81. HtG Says:

    78 Oh, you’ve gone an pushed my button,cwolf. The safety patrol has forced designers to put a gap between the hard engine and the hood so that pedestrians don’t get brained on impact. Of course this has meant that all cars now look like sperm whales. (mid and rear engine cars excepted) Plus aero considerations are rounding the front fenders, and putting a crisp line along the three trailing edges of the car. Dark days.

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ditto for the great old cars of the past, which were basically gas guzzling, unsafe, floating behemoths, yet I still fondly remember driving a 4 barrel carburated 70′s T-bird and an LTD Country Squire wagon with its phony wood on the sides, and they were great, no notion of handling, gas was cheaper than water and parking spaces and roads were plentiful.

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf why all the money and effort on a car that will barely make a blip in the sales figures, even the superior Prius has not really seen the numbers that were expected,even though Toyota has done an excellent job of making the car easy to live with in everyday use.

  84. cwolf Says:

    pedro: A blip at best,but I sense GM is on to something that these guys wont share with me. All I know is that it has to do with the battery,its cost and charging time. Thats all I know.

    No one mensioned monthly sales! Ford up 20-30%,but Chry up over 40%!! Wondering why Chry is SOOOO hot!

  85. pedro fernandez Says:

    #84 must be all the rebates, or CR has hypnotic powers over car buyers. Cause VW, another shining example of quality, also did very well.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #85,
    I suspect it is because Chrysler has something different. The Jeep name sells, regardless of everything, and, in the 300, they have a semi-E-Class at barely over half the price.

    As far as VW, they also have things no one else has. They have the only diesel in the U.S. market small enough to get serious fuel economy, and they have one of few real wagons in the Jetta Sportwagon.

  87. tj Martin Says:

    CHRYSLER SALES

    Its quite simple really . Was all over the financial news this afternoon . CNBC did ten minutes on the subject .

    JEEP plain and simple

    FIAT is a failure in the US & abroad

    Chrysler despite all the hype is all but stalled

    And its JEEP and JEEP alone thats keeping things from sinking into the abyss .

    e.g. No JEEP

    No big numbers

    FYI – VW sales in the US are stalled as well . All of VW’s numbers are coming from overseas and EU markets or they’d be in deep _____ as well

  88. tj Martin Says:

    #84

    What GM is up to is they’ve over invested into a technology they don’t understand and a car no one ( in his/her right mind ) wants and they’re just too damn stubborn and foolish to drop it and move on

    Oh… and there is that Obama factor thats keeping them on the wrong track as well

    e.g. No E/V ( Hybrid )

    No more Government Motors

    ( yes they’re still in debt up to their necks to us ( Taxpayers ) with no foreseeable end in sight , so they still need those Hand Outs good ol BO is dolling out )

  89. tj Martin Says:

    ECONOMIC NEWs

    If any of you are paying attention tonight

    Sarkozy is giving clear and present warning to the French people about the impending financial fall and the consequences thereof

    I gotta say , when the politicians ( spin doctors par excellence ) start sounding the warning bells its truly time to duck cause the ____ts about to hit the fan

  90. pedro fernandez Says:

    My wife’s cousin, a high up exec at a bank, was told by her superiors to prepare for the manure to hit the ventilator at the end of the year, this was 6 mos ago, so they knew something was coming.

  91. HtG Says:

    Chill, ladies. Looks like the cats in the old country will pull themselves together. Sarko is taking the lead, and his wingman Draghi will step up to the silicon ordinator and lay down a bead of zeroes. Classy. :___(

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #87,
    VW sales IN THE USA are up 41% over last year. See:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/01/us-autos-sales-idUSTRE7B01Q120111201?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #87,
    Also CHRYSLER brand had a 92% gain over a year ago. It looks like Chrysler contributed to the gains more than Jeep. tj, please get your “facts” straight.

  94. Wim van Acker Says:

    John took Mr. Ghoshn’s comment “…customers will increasingly buy electric vehicles due to more frequently occurring weather calamities…” literal and it was shown why electric vehicles may not operate well during flooding etc. What Ghoshn means in my opinion is that weather calamities occur more frequently as an effect of global warning. In order to reduce global warming more people would buy EVs. Which is based more on perception than on reality as long as the CO2 emissions by burning gasoline or diesel are replaced by CO2 emissions from burning coal to generate electrical power.

    Love your shows!