Episode 781 – Big Sales for Heavy Trucks, European Van Invasion, Honda’s “Earth Dreams”

December 6th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:05

While global car sales have been running at decent rates all year long, sales of heavy trucks are running at record rates, especially in China and North America.  We’re going to see a lot more European vans in the U.S. as Ford, GM and other automakers expand their range of offerings.  Honda announced it plans to deliver best-in-class fuel economy in every vehicle segment within three years thanks to a new suite of technologies it’s calling “Earth Dreams.”  All that and more, plus we take a look at the new Range Rover Evoque.

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This is Autoline Daily for December 6, 2011, with our latest report on the latest news in the global automotive industry.

HEAVY TRUCKS, BIG SALES
While global car sales have been running at decent rates all year long, sales of heavy trucks are running at record rates, especially in China and North America. Fiat is one of the big players in the heavy-truck segment with its Iveco operations. But now Bloomberg reports that Iveco could be up for sale. It quotes Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne saying that Daimler and other truck makers in the Far East would be interested in buying Iveco. And that makes us wonder what’s going on? Does Fiat need cash that badly that it would sell such one of its most profitable operations? I guess the answer is yes.

EUROPEAN INVASION!
Our American viewers will be interested to learn more about Iveco because Fiat is going to bring a couple of its commercial vans to the U.S. market, probably the Ducato and Doblo. In fact, we’re going to see a lot more European vans in the U.S. Daimler already sells the Sprinter here. Ford is already selling the Transit Connect ‘Stateside, and it going to bring over the full-size Transit van, though we don’t know if we’ll get the front-drive or rear-drive version. And now Ward’s reports that GM is looking at bringing some of its European vans over, too, like the Opel Movano and Combo. Hey, back to Iveco for a moment. Here’s a quick trivia question. Does anyone know what Iveco stands for? International vehicle company.

HONDA “EARTH DREAMS”
Honda just announced it plans to deliver best-in-class fuel economy in EVERY vehicle segment within three years. It’s also set a goal of cutting CO2 emissions 20 percent by 2020. How does it plan to hit these lofty targets? Well, brace yourself for another stupid name! Enter the “Earth Dreams” suite of technologies. Like Mazda and its SKYACTIV strategy, Honda is optimizing and enhancing to stretch every drop of fuel. Some of the upgrades include: next-generation gasoline engines that are lighter, feature direct fuel injection and have the latest version of Honda’s famous VTEC system. It will also offer a new diesel engine plus a range of continuously variable transmissions. A new two-motor hybrid system has been developed and it will push toward greater vehicle electrification. Nothing revolutionary in this secret sauce. You know, 10 years ago if Honda set the goal of being No.1 in fuel economy we all would have said “no problem.” But today it’s a different story. It’s going to be hard for them to beat even Hyundai and Kia.

WATER-BALLOON FIGHT!
Automakers like to find unique ways to introduce a new car but this is one of the more bizarre methods I’ve ever seen. To celebrate the launch of the Mito Quadrifoglio Verde, Alfa Romeo used over 2,500 water balloons to create its logo and then had its professional test driver pop them all with the car. Is it pointless? Yeah, but it’s fun to watch. The stunt set a world record for most water balloons burst by a car. Yes, apparently there is a record for that.

The Evoque is based on the LRX concept from a few years back. And thankfully the company did not change its look all that much. It’s targeted at a broader customer base than the rest of the company’s lineup. So engineers did a number of things in order to produce the lightest, smallest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever.

Powering the Evoque is an all-new 240 horsepower turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. AWD is standard. And fuel Economy for the Evoque is 18 MPG in the city and 28 on the highway.

The Evoque comes in two-door and five-door models, and both can seat up to five people. Each model is identical in overall length and width but the five-door has a higher rear roofline. Despite the height difference, there is good head room in the rear of the Coupe, but it is more difficult getting in and out of the back seats of the two-door.

Pricing for five-door starts at nearly $44,000 ($43,995), and the Coupe starts close to $45,000 ($44,995.) A competitive price compared to the rest of Land Rover’s lineup but we’ll just have to wait and see if it’s what customers are looking for.

Thanks for that report, Seamus. Deliveries started off red hot last month in North America, and ultimately the Evoque will be sold in 160 countries around the world.

Remember to join us tonight for Open Line, where you can join our conversation with none other than Bob Lutz. Visit Autoline.tv or even listen in on the phone, and you’ll have your chance to talk to the man himself. Open Line starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and you can call in at 712-432-0900 and PIN 911633.

And that’s today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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84 Comments to “Episode 781 – Big Sales for Heavy Trucks, European Van Invasion, Honda’s “Earth Dreams””

  1. HtG Says:

    I read some other features on Honda’s efficiency plans include an electric oil pump and reduced spacing between cylinder centers. I’m going to have to have faith on this one.
    ___________
    Are there any better meanings for Iveco than International blah blah blah?

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    Not being a fan of the current “rolling gun turret” styling ethos,I find it difficult to warm up to the new Range Rover Evoque with its ridiculously high beltline. BTW, has anyone ever figured out the rationale for Range/Land Rover brand distinctions? If so, please enlighten.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope that Honda innovation will be accompanied with reliability as well. Fiat has long been known to burst the bubble of those who spend their hard-earned money and get crap in return.

  4. HtG Says:

    I blame the rationalcrats for forcing over-sized hoods onto cars. These sperm whale front ends are wrecking the look of cars and suvs. Of course, if you balance the added costs of such pedestrian protection against the costs of injuries to walkers/talkers/iphone schnawkers, then everybody’s happy.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    DOES FIAT NEED THE CASH

    Does a bear ____ in the woods ? Is the Pope a Catholic ? Is Ron Paul a KKK wanna be ? Was Herman Cain a bad joke ?

    Of course FIAT needs the cash !

    FIAT ( the brand ) is bleeding €’s like a stuck pig in a slaughter house . Chrysler ( the brand ) is barely making a dent , never mind any real gains .

    Maserati , Ferrari and Alfa Romeo have been Dead Man Walking for the last decade : the very concept of profit never entering their thoughts or dreams .

    The ONLY profitable section of FIAT is in fact ( CNBC Financial BllombergTV etc ) JEEP and there’s no way they can hold the FIAT/Chrysler ship afloat

    Does FIAT need the cash …. INDEED !

    Anymore ‘ Obvious’ questions for the day ? ;-)

  6. tj Martin Says:

    EVOQUE

    Ahem !!!

    All new Turbo Four Cylinder ? I rather think not there gentlemen

    More like a FORD engine thats been around for what ,,,,, five years at least ? ( CAR EVO ) Don’t buy into the press release hype there Seamus

    Honestly anyone who shells out that kind of money for what is for all intensive purposes a Badge Engineered FORD truly defines the saying ;

    ” A fool and his/her money are soon parted “

  7. cwolf Says:

    Todays news doesn’t compare to the piece on Jalopnic,”bodacious babe meets bodacious CTS-V! Put Miss Bodacious in a dune buggy wearing a wet tank top,swap the 50 weight she is carrying with a 5w-30 and then it would be worth watching over and over and… I had to watch it twice just so I didn’t show favoritism to one eye over the other!

  8. HtG Says:

    I wish I could read the Arabic on the palace walls, because it’s hard for me not to suspect the GCC, via Abu Dhabi, is keeping Ferrari afloat so that the wretches around the planet will keep dreaming about driving oil chuggers. Kind of like the perfume biz actually pays the bills for money losing couture.

    OK, now back to making fun of that Prius driver in Japan.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    That Evoque engine reads like a time bomb waiting to explode, just saw @ TTAC the new Dodge Alfa-based Dart, looks really nice but if it has Alfa underpinnings, looks may be all it has going for it.

  10. HtG Says:

    6 come on tj, name a luxury brand Rover owners don’t shop.

  11. tj Martin Says:

    Oh ……. How rude and neglectful of me

    BON HIVER gentlemen !

    ( a Quebecois tradition I picked up on living in VT where you wish everyone a good winter on the first day it snows . Woke up to a 1/2 an inch )

    On icy slick roads the GLK 4Matic was …. as everything else about the car is ……. completely seamless and drama free . It just works . You never notice it . And you drive on

    May we all have a Drama Free winter this year

    Bon Hiver

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Seeing that CTV video and where this chick has to wear the seat belt will create a new NHTSA warning: “Having huge boobs may cause seat belt not to provide appropriate protection in case of a crash, all such babes should ride in the back seat”

  13. cwolf Says:

    With the size of those balloons,who needs a frontal air bag? Only problem during a crash is getting all that silicon off the windshield.

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 8

    You’re more than spot on . Abu Dhabi is sinking more than a few ( what ever their currency is these days ) into Ferrari’s F1 team , along with financing SheikMaranelloLand as well as the Ferrari Pi Experience at a (EU ) mall near you .

    Ferrari’s street car department though no one is sure of . The F1 etc is known by every insider who cares , but when it comes to ANY aspect of Ferrari’s road car manufacturing …. lets just say they make a Swiss Banker look positively transparent .

    e.g. Other than Montezemolo , Piero Ferrari and maybe Marchionne , nobody has a clue .

    The only reason everyone knows the company is losing money is because when you talk to the dealers their numbers and positive outlook are the polar opposite of what Ferrari SpA is saying and the cars licensed do not add up to sales claimed

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    My vibrolla would be even more enjoyable for this young lady with its constant vibration that gets worse when I’m stopped, so instead of going fast all I have to do is crawl along in the parking lot. My Vibrolla, the Ultimate Chick Mobile

  16. HtG Says:

    Unless that CTSV has suspension damping that’s harmonically resonant with the anti-phase of silicon, I call fake boobies. The hair extensions though, do indicate g-forces which the squeeling confirms.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    BODACIOUS BABE IN CTS-V

    Well here’s where our tastes do part ways , don’t they ?

    Seriously … is there one single aspect of that woman that ISN’T chemically , surgically or cosmetically enhanced ? Is there a single square inch of her left thats still Real ?

    I think not .

    Honestly , the moment she’d of let lose with that adolescent squeal I’d of shoved her out of the car ( if she fits thru the door that is ) ay what ever speed I was running .

    Yeeeeeeeeck ! Bleaaaaaaa !

    Geeze ……. now I gotta find something else to watch just to get that image from Hades out of my mind .

  18. HtG Says:

    you can’t fake the squealing, tj. Oh wait

  19. cwolf Says:

    Now that all model segments mirror one another,I wish the reliability would also equalize for the better. I am very fond of the looks of Alfa’s and others. Having to find a handsome vehicle which is also reliable,well…the pick’ins are slim.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Eye candy, mi amigo, eye candy, listen every day I pass by an exotic car dealer called the “Collection” and look into the window, don’t hurt to look, Gee, Herman you are quite a scientist, aren’t you?

  21. tj Martin Says:

    Germany’s day of reckoning is on the Horizon

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/business/global/germany-calls-sp-threat-a-spur-to-action.html?_r=1&hp

    Reality ever so slowly but surely catching up with them

    Duck cwolf . Best investment advice I can give right about now

  22. tj Martin Says:

    #20

    Its just that the ‘ bimbo ‘ T&A look never has done much for me .

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    #22 I also prefer the brain over the boobs, boobs are not capable of having an intelligent conversation.

  24. cwolf Says:

    tj,I’d shove her out of the car,too! After a spell,I mean. By that time I should be able to determine,for sure, what is real and what isn’t. And for the squeel;that’s what duct tape or a pair of balled up socks are for. These would be my thoughts if I was younger and single. As for today? It’s still nice to look at!

  25. HtG Says:

    I would admit, within this sympathetic online circle, that at times I have wished the respectable beauties drawing my attention to an automobile, would just step out of the way so I can see the pretty car.

  26. cwolf Says:

    tj,One of the problems I have with the Euro crisis is with the power and influence agencies,like the S&P,has over these many nations. How can the combined 17 or 29 reach any sort of rational agreement when a gun is held to your head? Harnessing their influence may not be the answer,but they do need to work more collectively towards a solution.

  27. HtG Says:

    Looks like the Pirelli calendar is out, lads. Warning, Not Safe For Seamus.

    http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG8938550/A-sneak-preview-of-the-2012-Pirelli-calendar.html

  28. LS ford Says:

    @#5 TJ

    TJ – Hate to correct you, but Ferrari is doing very well in fact.

    Ferrari has been the only profitable arm in the Fiat group for years. Last year they had record sales and profits (even in the US).

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/fiat-five-year-plan-more-profit-from-ferrari-cheaper-maseratis/

    But about the deadness of Alfa, Lancia, and Maserrati, you may be right on those points.

  29. LS ford Says:

    And one more source

    http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2011/07/ferrari-reports-best-ever-six-months-in.html

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    Hate to correct you back at you but as both a Ferrari insider as well as having connections to the Swiss banks ( relatives ) and EU stock markets that Ferrari has been begging to get an IPO from I can guarantee you TTAC’s findings at best are full of cow manure

    EVERY EU market has flat out refused an IPO for Ferrari because ;

    A) They all know Ferrari has NEVER shown a profit in its entire existence

    B) Ferrari flat out REFUSES to show their P&L statements , verification of sales or their financial books to anyone outside of the Immediate Ferrari higher ups (even upper management is clueless as to Ferrari’s actual financial status

    Fact is when Montezemolo appealed to the Swiss and German market this Fall for an IPO they laughed him right out the door

    One went to press with the statement ” Who does Montezemolo think he’s dealing with ? Deluded Ferrari faithful ”

    TTAC sometimes gets it right and sometimes they blow it big time . This being a case of the later with TTAC only repeating the Ferrari Spin the press department tossed out , without doing a dot of research .

    Believe me when it comes to Ferrari or any aspect of the FIAT rapidly dying empire I’m 99.999% right . Lets just say there’s a lot of history behind why that is and leave it at that

  31. tj Martin Says:

    # 29

    Once again they’re just repeating the Ferrari spin doctors hype

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    Just a little history here for you .

    Ferrari rarely if ever tells the truth about anything ,when it comes to their rod cars , be it sales , performance , reliability , how they stack up against the competition etc etc .

    i won’t even go into the consequences they’ll levy against any magazine etc that dares to criticize either the company or the cars . Draconian is putting it mildly

    FYI they lie about their competition department as well .

    All the time !

  33. LS ford Says:

    Are you saying WE italians have a knack and a history of being “not above board”?? :) I hear you on those points, and yes they do play cloak and dagger with the financials.

    But, every source I have (including those close to S.M.) have faith in Ferrari’s profitablilities. They do agree with the posted porfits of the past few years. Now as to what those real numbers are, well I can only go off the published numbers. I will not mis quote any in the Fiat SPA group.

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    Every source you have is taking their info from Ferrari’s press department , whereas if you have a look at the European financial sector and press you’ll find reams of articles as to Ferrari’s complete unwillingness to show their numbers as well as the Financial sectors complete unwillingness to believe anything Ferrari or ESPECIALLY Stronzetto Marchionne says

    Also ask your local dealer just how well new Ferrari’s are selling these days .

    I can tell you three of the largest dealers in the US as well as the UK have stated clearly that Ferrari’s ‘ optimism is ill founded and based on pure fantasy

    And ……….. if Stronzetto has so much ‘ faith ‘ in Ferrari , why is it about every six months or so for the last three years he keeps threatening to SELL Ferrari off ?

    Trust me . Ferrari has NEVER shown a profit in it entire history

    Do you think if they had Enzo would of ever belittled himself by selling off to FIAT ? If you knew the old man in the slightest you’d know the answer to that would be a resounding N-O

  35. HtG Says:

    33 funny financials you say, LS? Olympus, AIG, Greece, RBS, chinese real estate, BofA, Citi, etc etc. Enron, Lehman, ArthurAndeersen, and on and on.

  36. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #27

    Now thats more like it ! 8)

    I’ll take the Russian on page one and the Italian at the end ( like i said if you’re gonna mess up a perfectly good marriage , you might as well do it right )

  37. tj Martin Says:

    #35

    Add to that list , my pet peeve CountryWide Mortgage

  38. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    FYI its doubtful according to my sources that even Stronzetto Marchionne has a clue as to what’s really going on with Ferrari’s financial status , other than the fact that they’re not making FIAT a dime of profit and in fact are costing FIAT a small fortune to keep afloat , in spite of all the Arab money being dumped into the F1 team , and SheikMaranelloLand , Ferrari Pit Experience ( at an EU mall near you ) as well as any ( urp ) profits from their merchandising etc .

  39. HtG Says:

    TJ, how do you think Luca M will play his hand politically? And do you think Sergio M needs to be a little in the dark for some reason?

  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Not sure i’m understanding the first half of the question

    As to the second , it may be because either Piero & Montezemolo do not trust Marchionne to honor the silence of Ferrari’s realities … OR like myself and several overseas , do not think S.M. is long for this World , figuratively and being head of FIAT speaking .

    I’m not really convinced ( and neither are the cousins ) that even the Elkann’s have the complete Ferrari financial picture . The last that we knew for a fact did was Gianni Agnelli himself and he only tolerated the situation because Ferrari was good press for FIAT and at the time FIAT was making more than enough to cover Ferrari’s expenses ( F1 team ) and loses .

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Isn’t it more than a little hysterical though that L.M. would even have the nerve to approach the Swiss and German markets for an IPO ?

    I know the guys a little sleazy around the edges ( jeeze since his F1 management days in fact ) but I’ve never taken the man as a burgeoning Con Man , which is what you’d have to be to present such an abjectly ridiculous proposal to that crowd .

    Maybe it went like this :

    ” Ecco …… We at a the Ferrari we donna wanna expose a our books and a we no gonna tell a you how much a da money we really a makes , but a you gonna let us a have a da IPO anna letta the public a decide cause a we’sa da Ferrari . OK ? ”

    All I know for a fact though is that L.M was laughed literally out the door by each and every one he approached with the idea . Wish I could of been a fly on those walls ;-) along with being the fly on the photographer for the Pirelli calendar’s camera 8)

  42. HtG Says:

    40 I’ve got the impression LM wants to go into national politics. Here’s a nosy question for you tj; do you ever wear your wristwatch on your cuff?

  43. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    As to L.M you may be right . He’s already ‘ separated ‘ himself from S.M when he openly called for Berlusconi’s resignation , so who knows what he has planned next

    Nosey little beggar :o As to the watch question . As a matter of fact I never have . Never will as well . But ……….. mi Nonno ( not G.A. if you’re wondering ) did right up and until his dying day

  44. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #43 cont.

    But I do have this unexplainable obsession for Persol sunglasses , well before I ever heard of A. Bourdain as well as having been the first of my ilk to wear ( and be sponsored for a time by ) Armani on stage before Clapton even had a clue !

    Hmmn

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is no reason to think Honda won’t meet most of their goals toward being best-in-class in fuel economy. In spite of some recent faux pas, as with the 2012 Civic, Honda is historically as good as anyone in the world at engine building.

    As far as the hybrids, their site talks about “two motor” hybrids which sounds a lot like the current best hybrids from Toyota and Ford.

    It also sounds like they are going to bypass 6, 7, and 8-speed automatics, and go big for CVT’s. It will be interesting to see how that goes. All the automotive “journalists” seem to hate CVT’s, but I see a lot of Nissans on the road that have them. Honda are claiming they will have a “wide ratio range” with their CVT’s. That is a good thing, in making CVT’s competitive with 8-speed autoboxes.

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sergio: I knew Dodge Dart well, and sir, your “new” Dart is no Dart at all, just using the name.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit are the CVT as fuel efficient as the 6 speed autos? I’ve only driven one CVT and I was not paying attention to the tach.

  48. HtG Says:

    il mio respetto, Signore

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I had a ’64 Dart with a 225 slant six and Torque Flite with push buttons. That was the last year for push button drive on Chryslers.

    I sold it to a friend who drove it until the wheels fell off, literally, due to rust from all the Indiana road salt. It was about 25-30 years old.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    Existing CVT’s don’t seem to be as fuel efficient as some of the regular automatics, at least on the highway, based on EPA numbers of the Nissans. They do well in city driving, though. CR got good city mileage from CVT Cubes and Versas.

    Current CVT’s don’t have as wide of gear ration range as regular automatics, resulting in a “shorter” top gear, and I’ve read that they have higher friction loss than regular automatics.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had the Ply variant, a Scamp V8, great car, especially when I moved up from a 60hp beetle with no air or working heater. Only 3 speeds, but back then that was never an issue, I could do 70 with no effort.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    If only Stronzetto would get it thru his thick head to keep Alfa’s as Alfa’s and Chryslers as Chryslers he might just stand a bats chance in hades of succeeding .

    As to CVT’s well no they do not . I have to say also that the folks I know that have one in their cars ( mostly Nissan’s ) dislike them as much if not more than the Automotive journalists do

    As far as Big Red ( Honda ) as a whole is concerned they’ve got a lot of ground to make up both in Two Wheels as well as Four as their products of late have not ( with the exception of the Goldwing M/C ) been well received .

    So I’ll say they ( Honda ) should live up to expectations , but at the present rate I’ll doubt that they will

    I think they’ve lost touch with both their past as well as their customer base these days .

  53. tj Martin Says:

    CVT’s also shift like _____ when you need them to in a hurry

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    You have to wonder about this stop/start technology and how many cases of road rage we’re gonna read about when the system fails and keeps an long line of pissed off drivers from being able to move ahead, in this part of the country, it could get you killed. In the past 3 days I’ve heard cars starting off after a red light turned green

  55. tj Martin Says:

    HONDA – A reprise

    Also Honda needs to drop all the extraneous JUNK like Asimo Robots , HondaJet ( destined to fail since day one ) etc and go back to concentrating on building the cars and m/c’s we all know they used to be capable of .

    Maybe they need to stick their noses back into F1 as well ( as engine suppliers ) as that seemed to create a steady stream of forward thinking engineers : moving from F1 to road cars at the peak of Honda’s involvement

    But its gonna take a lot more than Hype , Smoke & Mirrors and Spin Doctors to get Big Red back on track

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #53,
    Huh, CVT’s, “gear down” almost immediately when they need to for extra acceleration. That is one of their advantages over a regular automatic.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    the one thing I remember from my drive of the Rogue was the total absence of shifts, I had never experienced anything like that, it felt as if I was stuck in 1st gear, yet I picked up speed without the engine roar you would have heard if this was the case.

  58. HtG Says:

    If you’ve had enough of cars, how about some Geithner? An article at Bloomberg. Sorry cwolf, just one boob(hehe, couldn’t resist)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-06/geithner-backs-merkel-sarkozy-crisis-plan-with-stronger-firewall-on-debt.html

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #54,
    They have been using start/stop on a lot of cars other places in the world for years, and it seems to be reliable. The engines start with one cylinder through compression, and there is no significant delay in getting going. It takes a little getting used to, but not much.

    My concern with start/stop, would be if they use a conventional starter engaging the flywheel. I would expect to go through a lot of starters with such an arrangement.

  60. cwolf Says:

    I heard one requirement of the over-all Euro plan was to set spending limits on nations not to exceed 3% GDP. This,to me,sounds do-able for everyone. For as much as a central bank is needed,each country needs the fredom,at least the feeling, to control spending in a manner best for that economy. Geithner may not be liked,but he’s been in the loop from day one. And unlike the S&P gang,Geithner encourages heading in a prefered direction,rather than to dictate it.

  61. HtG Says:

    60 My opinion is along your lines, cwolf. They need to do some things that will set them on a more sustainable, unified path. That’s the only thing that can be persuasive to markets. Just remember, in 08, Lehman blew up because of a misunderstanding between the US and the Brits. Current attempts at saving the world may not pan out either. If you eyes are all warmed up, you might like to read this speech by Christine Lagarde of the IMF, talking about moving forward in Arab nations.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-lagarde/the-arab-spring-one-year_b_1132426.html

  62. tj Martin Says:

    # 56

    Mine as well as the friends I know experience with CVT’s is they shift like a Sailboat in Cold Molasses when gearing up or down . Actually the ‘ advantage ‘ of the CVT is supposed to be the ‘seamless ‘ and jerk free shift , not the speed . I’m not too sure i buy into that one either , especially having now experienced in the Benz how good a 7 speed can be .

    The worst of the bunch unfortunately has to be the one MINI is using . More like oatmeal than molasses

  63. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG and cwolf

    re; Eurozone collapse etc .

    IMHO the only way we’ll get out of this is if everything is once and for all made clear , which is all S&P is doing . Calling it like it is

    Look at it this way . For the sake of argument lets call the mess we’re a ten foot Brick Wall

    We’ve ( the World cause believe me even China ain’t lookin too pretty once you get below the surface either ) got two choices with this Brick Wall

    A) Either we knock it down , brick by brick accepting the fact that a few bricks might fall and break our toes or worse , but deal with the Brick Wall as a Brick Wall and gradually take it down , with some collateral damage along the way

    Or ;

    B) We keep up with the current way of thinking , hiding reality , Smoke & Mirrors , Bailouts , Lies and BS etc and ……. well you know what ?

    That Brick Walls still gonna be there . Only with this mode of thinking instead of it coming down brick by brick with some pain along the way ……..

    The Whole Damn Thing is gonna come crashing down on our heads in a way that’ll make 1929 look like a Disney Love Story in comparison .

    I’ll take (A) thank you !

    ——-

    @ HtG – Here’s the entire calendar and damn you anyway for getting me stuck on this ……… :o

    http://fashionista.com/2011/12/its-here-kate-moss-lara-stone-joan-smalls-and-more-get-naked-for-the-2012-pirelli-calendar-shot-by-mario-sorrenti/

  64. cwolf Says:

    The Arab-Spring nations are too unsettled for anyone to understand or predict. Mostly Muslin,ruled by sect leaders,biased and corrupt,the US should have learned lessons from the past and to not get over involved in the mess. Instead,I think the best way to bring about change in the US favor is to take lesson from the Chinese. Buy everything vital to our economy,then run these operations fairly and democratically. Pay fair wages and re-invest in that country to bolster that economy. A win-win situation with limited involement. For the price we paid in Afganistan,then to have them sell out to the Chinks just boggles my mind. And why we let it happen under our very noses is unforgivable!

  65. HtG Says:

    The ECB can start printing euros anytime it gets a new mandate. It’s my hope that we’re watching brinkmanship being played by elites trying to use the crisis threat to force new fiscal rules on member states. Managing popular resistance and rage is an historic challenge. This weekend should be terrific, as all the players get together for their cordon bleu and sweet white wines.

    So if I’m so sure, why do I keep swallowing air?

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Despite all the bad economic news from all corners of the world, our ever optimists friends at Edmunds are predicting a boom in car sales to catch up with pent-up demand worldwide as well as in the US. I think they’re full of hot air.

  67. cwolf Says:

    tj,I fail to understand your comparison. “Smoke and Mirrors”,really? Then what shall we call what continues to transpire? A bad dream? The S&P didn’t sugar coat the facts that had to be known,but then again,maybe Merkel and the lot knows the reality of it all cannot be accomplished in the blink of an eye,as the agents so desires! Just who’s interests do you think they are looking out for anyway? The issue is not,as you referenced, tumbling the wall,but how the wall is to be feld in a collective,colaborative and effective manner. IMHO,there is absolutly no reason why the 500 couldn’t wait until what transpires from the coming gathering and to offer the ECB the oportunity to provided unity and direction of stabilization. Sharing the words of Germany and France,”they can go F**K themslves!

  68. HtG Says:

    Here’s that leak you’ve been waiting for, cwolf.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/06/eurozone-shakeup-voting-rights-confidential-paper

    Now, back to the Pirelli sirens.

  69. cwolf Says:

    @HtG: Good article! Who is to say these actions have been spurred by the S&P or that someone in Europe really feels the pulse of Euro needs. Reguardless, coercion,threats and bullyishness seems no longer needed by those whos only concern is the amount of green in their bank accounts!

  70. HtG Says:

    I wonder what were the intentions of the person(s) that handed the draft over to the Guardian? This is the real deal here: History being made.

  71. cwolf Says:

    I’m at the point where I hope each country goes back to their own currency,…damn the Euro! As long as I keep my savings at breast,the only ones hurt are the rich and pompus. Chapter 11,I say and to hell to those left holding the bag! And to them,…just get used to the ay the majority of the world is living.

  72. cwolf Says:

    HtG,this IS the real deal! There will be feudal words spat between them,for sure. Kinda takes the wind out of Germany’s sail,eh? I had always wanted to visit Italy and neighbors,but I guess it will have to wait. It’s O.K.,though,because my visits through out the USA just makes me want to see more of it. God Bless America!

  73. G.A.Branigan Says:

    When the Fiat motor group gets over their cerebral rectumitus,maybe they will get rid of macaroni once and for all.If he is thinking,(or hoping)Jeep will hold up Chrysler it’s clear he ain’t thinking at all.And,it would really help Jeep to get rid of the deaf and dumb Manley who heads that division (Jeep).And playing badge games between Alfa and Chrysler? Who’s foolin’ who?

  74. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Land Rover/Range Rover,big or small,they are all pure expensive junk.The rare times I go up to Grants Pass or down towards Medford I will usually see one range rover and can’t help but wonder “did the owner even bother to look up the reliability of that before they laid down big bux”? I would have to say……..no.It amazes me to no end what people will spend money on to look good?? When I do see them,I just laugh.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #62,
    The automatic used by MINI is not a CVT. It’s a 6 speed. I haven’t driven one, and it may downshift slowly, but it is not a CVT.

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    #74 I think it’s the exclusivity factor they’re looking for, GA

  77. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro:”Exclusivity factor” yes……”smart factor” no….LOL

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Exclusivity factor is also why people buy a Lexus ES over a Camry V6. At least they get a reliable car, but they pay thousands extra, mainly for the Lexus name.

  79. ArmyEd Says:

    Snow covered roads? I didn’t see any snow on that road you were driving on Shamus. 2 door? Really? It doesn’t have a hatch like the 5 door? Be consistent and call it a 3 door or call the 5 door a 4 door with a hatch out back. To be terrific you must be specific, accuracy counts.

  80. HtG Says:

    hooah!

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit sorry, but there is nothing exclusive about the ES, they’re all over the place, only dumbasses will spend that much extra, when all you need is the Camry XLE with the V6 option, save a bunch and get cheaper service to boot.

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that there is nothing exclusive about an ES, but many of the people who buy them think there is, just because of the “L.”

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    There are a lot of automotive ignoramus out there, they will argue with you that the ES and Camry are completely different. Just like in the 80′s they would argue that Buick was better and different than Chevy or Pontiac when they were basically the same car. When the news came out that GM was using the same V8 engine across the board, there was a huge outcry from customers that felt they had been ripped off by GM

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember all outcry about using Chevy engines in Oldsmobiles. The funny thing is, the Chevy engine was probably better, but the Olds buyers didn’t see it that way.