Episode 783 – Nissan = Stalin? Renault Details New Scenic Models, Dealers Declare War

December 8th, 2011 at 11:37am

Runtime: 7:47

The Detroit News reports that UAW president Bob King is calling Nissan a human-rights violator, but he offers no specifics. Nissan, of course, says the accusations are baseless.  Renault is releasing details about its facelifted Scenic and Grand Scenic models.  GM and Chrysler dealers who lost their franchises when the two companies went bankrupt want to take their case against the feds all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  All that and more, plus we take the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe for a spin.

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This is Autoline Daily for December 8, and now, the news.

STALIN, POL POT AND . . . NISSAN?
The Detroit News reports that UAW president Bob King is calling Nissan a human-rights violator, but he offers no specifics. Nissan, of course, says the accusations are baseless. So is Nissan the UAW’s target to organize? Strangely, the union says it is not picking a target; it wants to keep its options open. King says the union is talking with Nissan executives, but Nissan denies that. Earlier this year King said they were talking with Volkswagen, but VW denied that, too. Clearly, someone is lying. The UAW has made several organizing attempts at Nissan in the past, which failed overwhelmingly.

THE SCENIC ROUTE
Last week we showed you the updated version of Renault’s subcompact car, the Twingo. Now the company is releasing details about the facelifted Scenic and Grand Scenic. The Scenic goes on sale next month in Europe and then will roll out to other markets throughout 2012. The Scenic starts at just over $28,000 while the Grand Scenic starts at $33,000.

PROTON’S POSITIVE ATTITUDE
General Motors is in talks with Malaysian automaker Proton to form a manufacturing partnership in the country. According to Bloomberg, GM is looking to expand its Southeast Asian production base outside Thailand, which was just devastated by flooding. As part of the deal, Proton would get access to GM technology. Proton has recently had unsuccessful talks with Volkswagen and Peugeot and earlier this year the company signed an agreement with Nissan.

NINE OLD PEOPLE IN BLACK ROBES (subscription required)
GM and Chrysler dealers who lost their franchises when the two companies went bankrupt want to take their case against the feds all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The claim they were inadequately compensated after the Treasury Department ordered GM and Chrysler to drop several dealerships. They’re asking $200 million apiece. It sure will be interesting to see how this one turns out. We’ll let you know as it develops.

ELECTRIC BOOST (subscription required)
French supplier Valeo just purchased a UK-based outfit that’s been developing electric superchargers. Called a variable torque enhancement system or VTES for short, it uses no rare-earth metals. Electric superchargers have less parasitic drag than mechanical ones making them more efficient. They’re also quicker to respond. This one can hit 70,000 RPM in about one-third of a second! The VTES system is designed to work on existing 12-volt electrical systems but the company is testing them with 48 volts, and that could give turbochargers some real competition.

DOCK + GO . . . ON SECOND THOUGHT, I’D RATHER NOT
Rinspeed came up with a way to make the Smart Fortwo a far more practical vehicle. It attaches a trailer that looks like its built right into the back of the car. It says the Dock + Go system is the dream of every pizza delivery guy, complete with a heated box for the pizzas. Or it could hold additional batteries for an EV, or a tool chest, or, well, whatever. Actually the idea is nothing new. In 1990 Chrysler showed this concept vehicle called the Voyager III, where the back of the van could be separated from the front. I like this idea. If the kids ever got too loud, mom and dad could uncouple the back and leave them at the side of the road.

Thanks for that report, Isaac.

Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tonight starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Joining us will be Michael Karesh from True Delta, who sets quality ratings for cars, and who has a few things to say about the way Consumer Reports does it. He doesn’t like the way they do it. So join me and Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, for some of the best insider discussion of what’s going on in the industry. Join us tonight at Autoline.tv. And don’t forget you can also get all of our podcasts on YouTube and Streetfire. Just look for Autoline.

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

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106 Comments to “Episode 783 – Nissan = Stalin? Renault Details New Scenic Models, Dealers Declare War”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    UAW

    So why doesn’t the UAW go after Hyundai , when everyone knows even their Korean employees say the company treats them like a commodity , instead of Nissan , for whom I’ve nary heard a bad word said in print or otherwise as to how they treat their people ?

    Come on UAW ! You’ve got to have more smarts then that ?

    Or do they ?

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    If Nissan is Stalin, then Bob King represents the neighborhood protection and improvement committee (Mafia).

  3. tj Martin Says:

    RINSPEED

    The guy and the company are nuts .

    But such sublime and wonderful nuts they are !

    More like them in the World if you please .

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    tj, I was thinking the same thing; why no mention of Hyundai. The Union’s shenanigans don’t bother me too much (but I wait patiently for actual outcome, real news, not the ‘before the ax drops’ conjecture.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    If any of you have any influence with the Old Elf , please tell Santa Tj would like one of these in his Xmas stocking . Matt black w/black wheels ;

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20111207/CARNEWS/111209902

    I might even be good for awhile if he does .

    Maybe ;-0

  6. tj Martin Says:

    ;-)

  7. HtG Says:

    7 does someone have to be lying with the UAW and Nissan saying they didn’t meet? Govts just use retirees or other intermediaries to they can have deniability.

  8. HtG Says:

    sorry. Lord am I messing up this morning.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    I may be going loco, but in the past few days, I’ve seen a few Corollas being driven by young guys in their 20′s. What’s up with that, I thought the Rolla was a geezer mobile, and young folks preferred Civics and Mazda 3′s?

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG – Time to hit the Coffee shop again methinks mien freund

  11. HtG Says:

    10 I think I’m hypoglycemic, insomniac, and scared. just shaking. What do I take for that, tj?

  12. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Hmmmmn . Quite the array of symptoms there HtG .

    Lessee what Dr Tj can come up with .

    ( think think think )

    A nice pastrami on rye , Dr Browns Cream Soda and a chocolate chip cookie ought a do the trick . Either that or you’re screwed .

  13. tj Martin Says:

    #9

    Hey , here in KC all the youngins is driving 5 – 10 year old mid and full size SUV’s which are definitely supposed to be Old Dog Mobiles !

    Kids these days ! Go figure !

  14. LS ford Says:

    John et all,

    To add to the news on the docking car, this was just released today as well.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/07/autos/smart_forus_pickup/index.htm

    Smart for 2 pickup bed. taking the Subaru Baha concept to new lows….

  15. Steve Says:

    Hey John why do keep saying “Valeo” wrong? It’s not a french word it’s latin, means “I am well”.
    No one working at Valeo says it like you. Haha makes me laugh every time.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    #12 Forgot the potato knish, cole slaw and follow it up with a Cuban coffee #13 seems like those maybe hand-me-downs from parents or grandparents, these here are their because of the subs and other personal add-ons that only young people would do.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #14 what is the purpose of that stupid thing? you can’t even fit an extra large pizza back there!

  18. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    #14

    Actually that came out yesterday ( AW and the UK press ) but it is kind of cool . Might even get a few more SMART’s out the showroom door to the young folks , assuming they price it right if you get my drift . I’ll look forward to its real world debut at Geneva . Then lets see if its ever built

  19. Steve Says:

    Congratulations should be going to my buddy at Valeo for put the idea of that electric turbo out there a few years ago. Maybe he’ll see a little bonus for the idea coming he’s way.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    #17

    Yeah but if you look at the extended photos AW has along with the UK automotive press …. the damn thing has a plethora of Bicycle Carrier etc adapters that’ll go down real good with the young ones .

    Nope . I think at the right price the kiddies might forego their used SUV’s and Corollas and jump into something brandy spankin new

    As to the Cuban Coffee .. HtG did say he was shaking , so maybe not such a good idea .

  21. MJB Says:

    John, I know I’m nit-picking, but does Renault really pronounce the name of their Scenic as ‘sin-ik’? Looks like ‘seen-ik’ to me.

  22. Lex Says:

    Renault wants $28K for a Scenic and $33K for a Grand Scenic. They can keep it!

    That Chrysler Voyager III look’s like something out of a Gerry Anderson “Thunderbirds” movie.

    GM and Fiat Partnership cost GM $2 Billion.
    Maybe Proton is going for $3 Billion from GM.
    Mark Reuss should be strenghtening GM’s relationship with Holden, which are our English Speaking Allies in that part of the world.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know about Beverly Hills or other expensive “hoods” but around here, Pizza guys drive old Toyotas and Hondas cause delivering pizzas around here is not a very lucrative job.

  24. cwolf Says:

    Due to my tight-lipped UAW sources,it took awhile for me to figure this one out. The UAW accepted the 2-tier wage in order to bring back operations out side the US. Their aim was to gain membership,…er needed dues and nothing to do with the worker per se. But the working T2′s bitched until the union bargained for a few more bucks/hr. In doing so,the UAW wage cost has become higher,except for Nissan. But the UAW continues to ignor the concerns and internal conflicts between company and worker. So why would any transplant want to unionize if they can see the union big shots are only looking out for themseves? I am a member and the UAW isn’t doing a damn thing for me and is breaking every contractual promise made for those retired. The UAW motto includes words like “unity”and “solidarity”,but they didn’t mension the fine print stating,”You’re Expendable!” They need to by getting rid of “dead wood” and to take an active role in proper training. Promote good work ethics and the concept of pride in ones work. Only by demanding high standards of themseves and the workforce,leading by example and by goal sharing with the company will the UAW have a hope of unionizing any other.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    God, I miss those NY deli pastrami and corned beef on fresh rye,mustard with the knish and the slaw and a Schlitz to wash it all down, Yum Yum!!

  26. LS ford Says:

    @ #18 TJ

    I just caught that on the news this am. I wonder though, is the realization at smart that thye have a joke of a car? That there is no real usability in the car as a 2 seater with no room and no sex apeal? Even the micro miata has more passenger room.

    Perhaps they have realized that the economy market that this is geared at requires more than they are providing? If I were in NYC this car has some benifits, but unless you have smart parking lots that charge less for these micro cars as they require less space, why not pull in with my full size MB?

    Typically the A-class car segment is small but lot of room and space as these cars are geared towards smaller budgets but with the same basic 4 wheel requirements. Smart seems to go against this general notion. But perhaps they know something I do not?

  27. C-Tech Says:

    I will have to start following around a Mercedes C-coupe owner to make sure they don’t mess up my used car. That is a beautiful coupe!

  28. cwolf Says:

    pedro, come north to Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor. The corned beef is to die for! My fav is a #39 Good Golly Miss Molly: Two deep fried potato latki’s,a thick slab of sweet onion,and pilled high with corned beef,including 2 home made garlic pickles strong enough to kill a vampire. Oh..Ohh…Ohhh; the corned beef hash is a another must!

  29. Lex Says:

    John reported:

    “Rinspeed came up with a way to make the Smart Fortwo a far more practical vehicle. It attaches a trailer that looks like its built right into the back of the car. It says the Dock + Go system is the dream of every pizza delivery guy, complete with a heated box for the pizzas.”

    What a waste of time and material on the part of Rinspeed! I thought the Smart for Four was going to be the more practical vehicle. Maybe Rinspeed to think of a way to covert Smart for Two’s into a purpose built US Postal Vehicle for local deliveries. That way Rinspeed might get a Big Fat Government Contract!

  30. Aliisdad Says:

    Why would anyone buy an extra “butt” for their Smart car when you can buy a REAL car for the same or less money like a Yaris, 500, or base Mazda, Nissan, or Kia????

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    If I.m ever in that part of the country, I’ll make sure I go by there, I envy these food channel guys that make a good living traveling all over the world trying great chow. Only job better than that would be the talent coordinator at a Vegas strip club.

  32. Lex Says:

    What’s going on today? Did I log onto the “Deli Food Channel” Website?

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 Why would anyone buy a Smart to begin with? the name is an oxymoron indeed.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Eating, driving,traveling, shooting the breeze, it’s all part of la “dolce vita”.

  35. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    #1 the SMART is a micro car , not an A-class

    #2 I think what they’ve realized is that it’ll take a sense of novelty to get folks in the US to buy them

    #3 Now that M-B is in full control of SMART methinks they’re seeing where their market is ( you’d be surprised how many GL ML and S – Class owners are suddenly buying a SMART to go with their new Luxo Mobile

    #4 The new SMART ForFour being co-developed with Renault will be a bit larger and more practical ( the artist concept drawings don’t illustrate that fact )

    ——-

    @C-Tech – Why yes it is ( the C Class coupe being a beauty ) Fact is one may wind up as the Mrs new wheels next year ;-)

    ——–

    @ cwolf – Sorry mate , but there’s no way in heaven hell or earth you’ll ever convince me or any other NYorker , Ex or otherwise that ANY Deli anywhere else in the World can ever compare to a NYC Deli .

    Bagels as well .

    NYC does them both best . No Contest !

    Hot Dogs ? Well I’m a major fan of JapaDog in Vancouver BC as well as BikerJims in Denver CO so there NYC has been topped IMHO

    Ummmm. A Rattlesnake Dog w/ the works at BikerJims . Sounds sick . Tastes to die for 8)

  36. tj Martin Says:

    #32

    Welcome to the Twilight Zone where Cars are Deli’s and Deli’s become cars

    do do do do …. do do do do …. do do do do….. bleepadump !

  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ Lex

    Rinspeed is all about creativity whimsy and fun , practicality be damned . Always have been . Always will be .

    And thats why I love em . Crazy Weird or Ridiculous they never fail to put a smile on this jaded and cynical face :o

  38. cwolf Says:

    John Mc: You must have frequented Zingermans and those deli’s in NYC. Tell these slickers that Zingermans holds it’s own.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #9,
    The Corollas driven by 20 somethings, especially if they are a few years old, are probably hand-me-downs, like the Buick Century driven by a college student I know.

  40. cwolf Says:

    The Corolla S is rather sporty looking for a young driver to be seen in. Still the Mazda3 is more fun to drive.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The pictures of the Nissan/Renault smart forfour look a lot like a conventional 5-door hatch.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the two I saw were pretty new, seems to me many young guys are more into games and phones and electronics than cars.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #42,
    Yeah, I know some young people like that, but also a few young “motorheads.”

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj,
    Would the Mrs. consider a C-250 coupe, or is she as anti-turbo as you are?

  45. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Electric turbos…………great idea.I’ll take one to go please,hold the hot exhaust.Damn deli speak has me climbing the walls for a great pickle and some REAL ny slaw.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The electric supercharger sounds cool. It would take lots of power, probably like a starter motor, but for bursts of extra power for passing, etc., it sounds like a great idea.

  47. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Sorry Kit but with us being in a snow zone as well as probably moving to a deeper one soon , it’ll have to be a 4matic and I just can’t see that nice little turbo do so well with the extra weight etc

  48. tj Martin Says:

    NYC Deli’s baby !

    Thats the only real game in town

    Everything else ? Second class at best ( sorry cwolf but we NY’ers gots our pride about our Delis as well as the Yankees . #1 is #1 and thats all there is to that :o )

  49. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    But……….

    She is holding out to see what arrives with the new B-class before making up her mind . 4matic in a nice B-class would be just the ticket alongside the GLK .

  50. cwolf Says:

    tj, the C-Class coupe is a beauty. Our friend has had a C-Class for the past several years and loves it. Thank God for the warranty,because it would have been costly to maintain. His big complaint was paying for tires and finding winter ones that performed well in the Lansing area of Michigan. The trunk is quite large and I still marvel at the highway mpg’s he is getting(as high as 37 on a good day). No engine problems. Wheel brg. and joints the trouble area for him.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    According to mbusa.com (on my iMac), the C coupe is not available with AWD in any guise. I suppose that might change next year, though.

  52. cwolf Says:

    #48 you left out the third #1…over priced!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #49,
    The B-Class will be interesting. If they sell the hatch here, It’s something I might consider, if I wanted to splurge.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ After I moved out of the NY NJ area to So Fla I was disappointed at how inferior Chinese, Italian and Jewish eateries were over here. I have not had a single great Jewish sandwich since I moved down here , ditto for pizza and Chinese, forget it unless you go to the expensive joint. The pizza is just not the same, you would think such an easy thing to make, but no way, I don’t know if its the sauce or the dough or whatever, it’s just not nearly as good.

  55. HtG Says:

    Is the MB customer experience part of what attracts Lady TJ to the car?

  56. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Here’s a song to get you thru the day ;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8pOgzjMULg&feature=related

    And no its not the experience , but rather the sheer lack of drama and sheer enjoyment of driving thats got her hooked !

  57. cwolf Says:

    The B-Class may not be to tj’s liking. Appears the back window area may have too many blind spots for him. Me likes,but too frugal.

    pedro,speaking of pizza! My wife and I never tire of the many great eateries is Vegas,but this fair priced shopping center joint,Dianas” has this 5 cheese pizza that is out of this world. One is so white on top it looks enemic.Yet, the crispy semi-thick crust is wonderfully seasoned and the cheeses melts in your mouth with a splendid butteryness.You can’t get enough! I don’t often get one because of the many other delectables to try,so I take sever frozen ones home on the plane! Oooo-La-La!!

  58. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    C-Class 350 4matic Coupe . Its on the way !

  59. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    #52

    Well ……. that is true …… but………

    Thpppppppt anyway ! :o

  60. tj Martin Says:

    #57

    The B-class would be the Mrs car so thats for her to judge

  61. tj Martin Says:

    We gotta all chip in and buy cwolf Anthony Bourdain’s book ” Medium Raw ” ( especially the chapter on Vegas eateries ) afer we lose the good man to some gastronomic catastrophe

    :o

  62. cwolf Says:

    I have noticed a Ford dealer having a couple dozen Rangers on his lot. Over the last month it looks like nary a one has been sold. Hope he has an agreement with Ford because by the time the Spring demand comes, the carrying costs will eat any profits. If they are like the one I had,the should be pretty good lil’trucks.

  63. HtG Says:

    62 Monday morning I was in a Ford showroom, and did overhear a couple of salesmen bucking each other up. Like things were slow. Time of year? The Focus on the floor was great, in and out,at about 25K sticker. Even when you open the gas filler flap, the swing arm is stylish. The vent controls are good looking and feel good to touch. I’d like to meet the people that don’t like this car: ‘too styly?’

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee Herman, that’s a $10k jump in price from the previous model, I understand it’s a lot more car, but $10k worth? Usually when new versions come out the price goes up a couple of grand or so, but not so much!!

  65. HtG Says:

    that’s how come I wrote ‘sticker.’

    whoa, I went all hillbilly there

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Being it is a first year model and it’s considered “hot” I doubt they’re going to be discounting it much, I just got an offer to get a new Corolla that does not vibrate for zero apr for 6o mos and 500 rebate plus “extra” for mine. LMAO wait till they get a hold of it, they’ll have the security guards chase me out.

  67. HtG Says:

    66 perhaps the slow time is Pedro time. Are you tempted? BTW, Honda is sending me love letters, too.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    Herman just went to truecar.com and the Corolla equipped as the 4 door Focus goes for $2200 less, at local dealers. No wonder the Corolla still sells better, lower price, proven track record and better resale value and normal, not quirky, auto tranny.

  69. HtG Says:

    68 yeah, I see they start at 16.2K. That is a compelling car. I could feel my blood surge.(and remember how zissed I got over those ‘Ford didn’t take the money ads’)

  70. C-Tech Says:

    Hmm… Can someone put together a regenerative braking system which stores electricity in capacitors that power my electric supercharger?

    If you find yourself visiting the Detroit Area, try the Star Deli in Southfield and the bagel shop next door.

    Holiday season – cheap cars selling slowly, we sold a Volt and 5 Corvettes (one a ZR1 at $125K) this week.

  71. RonE Says:

    #68: I have owned a 2012 Ford Focus SEL sedan since early June and I am very pleased with this car.

    The ride is nice, quiet, and excellent fuel mileage.

    As for the quirky Xmission, I had a software upgrade recently and I think the shifting is quite smooth.

  72. cwolf Says:

    The Focus is a nice car. I have driven the sedan and hatch,but prefer the sedan for unexplainable reasons. Soon after I drove several Cruze and personally place it in a different catagory than the Focus. To me it seemed less sporty and fun to drive. For me the Cruze (and Corolla) have seats that fit my fanny better and provided a more supple ride. I like’em all and still have the Prius on my list for my next ride. However, my Milan has spoiled me, as far as comfort expectations and makes going to a smaller car a difficult sacrifice. For now, I’ll just remain a fart in the wind.

    Did you guys get wind of the new lil’Buick Enclave to previewed at the Detroit show? Hard to imagine a SUV as big as a barge built on a Sonic platform! Whoa!! Speaking of Soics,did ya know the workers are not GM employees? Like the transplants,the are outsourced and wages are about $9/hr. Excluding any bennies,that close to min. wage! I’ve read somewhere the workers are trying to arbitrate the agreement or are close to a strike. Hmmmm….. Don’t think I’ll want a new lil’Enclave anytime soon.

  73. HtG Says:

    71 are you meeting the claimed mileage, Ron?

  74. cwolf Says:

    C-tech: I have the month off(using remaining vacation)and have been working harder on home projects and honey-do list than at work. I intend to treat myself by hitting a casino or two during the week. If I go to this deli,what would you suggest?

  75. C-Tech Says:

    I am partial to the Corned Beef or Turkey, however all the meat sandwichs are terrific (Did NOT try the tongue). On 12 Mile Rd., East of Telegraph Rd.

  76. C-Tech Says:

    I can sympathize with the “honey-do” list. I still have things to do with kitchen cabinets and a 250,000 mile Eclipse.

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf no question that the Focus has a more European-type ride than the Cruze and Corolla, for a longish trip , it may be tiring after a few hundred miles. That should be interesting to test out.

  78. cwolf Says:

    I think I could tolerate a European-type ride since most miles to work are on the pike. But if the mpg’s don’t compensate for the bumps,the purpose would be moot. I wish RonE would tell us the REAL mpg’s he is getting.

  79. tj Martin Says:

    VOLT NEWS

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/business/gms-chief-daniel-akerson-shakes-up-automakers-staid-traditions.html?ref=automobiles

    Gee Mr Akerson , if its unique in the automotive industry thats your goal , hows about just admitting GM effed up when it comes to the (re)VOLT(ing) instead of all the posturing and promises ?

    Honesty . Now THAT would be unique ;-)

  80. tj Martin Says:

    #78

    That all depends on whether you’re talking about (A) Mercedes European Ride or (B) GOLF GTI / BMW 3 Series European ride my friend .

    Big difference. Drastic even !

    (A) is comfortable as all get out for miles on end (B) will beat the living hell out of you in 100 miles or less

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    Volt is GM’s pride and joy, really? I would think it was the Cruze, at least it’s making some dough for them. Volt is a failed experiment, resources would have been better spent on meaningful engineering research.

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #81,
    They have that nice, low drag hatchback body they came up with for the Volt. It would be great with the Cruze eco power train.

  83. RonE Says:

    #73, #78, Re: Focus mileage.

    Around town I consistently get 27mpg and if I drive with a light foot, 29-30mpg. I have taken several road trips, about 600 miles each trip and 40 mpg is not problem at 70mph. At 65mph, I think 41-42mpg would be easy to attain.

    I have about 4900 miles on the car and I’m pleased with my selection of the Ford Focus SEL sedan w/no options, but well equipped.

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #71,
    I drove an automatic Focus a few months ago, and I mostly liked it. The thing I didn’t like was that it was hard to drive smoothly at low speed. I think de-sensitising the throttle was what it needed. I generally don’t like automatics, but I thought the one in the Focus worked great, once you get up a little speed. Upshifts were quick and smooth, and downshifts were smooth and rev-matched.

    Still, I think I’d have a hard time buying a Ford any time soon. The “we didn’t take the money” BS ads were too much of a turn off. By the time I’m in the market for a car in a few years, I might re-consider. I have two newish cars, so I won’t be in the market for a few years.

  85. HtG Says:

    84 I read an interesting column by Randy Pobst,Kit, about throttle settings. He wrote that in some cars today the throttle mapping gives lots of power to the engine at small gas pedal positions, so that the driver gets the impression of a strong engine. But Pobst said this is actually a problem for handling when you want to ease into the throttle coming out of a turn. I recall years ago when Infiniti did this trick to a G I had as a loaner car, and the service manager chuckled when I asked about the motivations behind this approach. But she agreed it had been done.

  86. RonE Says:

    #84
    I understand your feelings about the “we didn’t take the money” ad. I wasn’t exactly happy about that either. I’m pretty sure I had already ordered my car when that ad was produced. I also wasn’t happy about GM’s claim, “We paid back the money.”

    Regardless, I’m pleased with the Focus and I’m not easy to please. I liked the Cruze, but when I buy a car and like it, I keep the car for a long time and I was skittish about the turbo.

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like “low gain” throttles in all cars. I tried “power mode” in my MINI one time, and like regular mode better. I almost always drive my Prius in “eco” mode, which de-sensitizes the throttle at small deflections. If you floor it, you get everything it has (about 10 sec. 0-60), the same as you get in the other modes.

    A few years ago, I drove a V6 Mustang, and it was really hard to start off smoothly, because they opened the throttle a lot with small pedal deflection, to try to make the car feel faster than it was. I don’t like that. Years ago, I drove a big, high powered Benz. I think it was a 450SEL5.6 or someting similar. It was very docile at small pedal deflection, and was easy to drive smoothly, but if you stood on it, the car went like stink. That’s the right way to do throttles, and it’s easy to do with today’s drive by wire.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @RonE,
    To me, Focus has one big advantage over Cruze, but not one that you were interested in. They have a hatchback.

  89. tj Martin Says:

    Talk about waking up to a series of disappointments !

    First and foremost , the overwhelming majority of the Idiots in the EU voting to hand over their sovereignty to Germany ( Cheers to the Brits for having the Stones to JUST SAY NO )

    Yeah you bet . Lets all become like the current EU . A bunch of spineless , mindless , wimps to whom their hard earned Freedom over the centuries doesn’t mean a damn thing , and in fact is only a bargaining chip to maintain their wealth

    What’s that Biblical story about selling your Birthright ? Congratulations EU members .. you’ve just done so with nary a word of protest

    Second – The Idiots at Renault chose Roman Grosjean over little Senna for the second seat next to Raikkonen

    The only good news today is all the financial pundits coming out with the very same statements CNBC made last week that its FORD and FORD alone thats making any profits or any real gains amongst the ( not so ) Big Three !

    With FORD this morning confirming that fact by stating Dividends will be paid out to investors this year

    Up yours Marchionne and Ackerson ! FORD’s making money while you two are still sucking the blood out of the US taxpayers back pocket !

    ———-

    #87 + 1 on the throttle pedal issue .

    Same with the GLK . Feather it and it wafts around like a ballerina in a china shop . Step on it quickly and the thing goes like a scalded cat in an alley full of Pit Bulls . e.g. Absolute control rather than pretense .

    Oh … and the Focus has one other Huge advantage over the CRUZE

    IT’s A FORD !

  90. HtG Says:

    One can always tell a tj post from below. I see you don’t like the EU tightening up. I can’t wait to see how the bankers get squeezed.

    BTW I saw a white GLK driving around last night under the lights. You and me, we isn’t talking for a little bit.
    ┌∩┐(◣ _ ◢)┌∩┐

  91. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Remind me . WTH is that on post # 90

    Tightening up aint my grudge . Its handing over ones sovereignty lock stock and barrel thats up my nose with a vengeance !

    And why the ‘ Not talking ” schtick ? Jealousy ? Hey its your fault I bought the White one mien ……….. freund ? Remember ?

    ————-

    GOOD NEWS !

    TESLA stocks are plummeting after getting a major Downgrade !

    Finally a moment of objective reasoning and intelligence rises to the surface .

  92. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Whether you’sa talkin er not ;

    The one thing NO ONE is considering in this EU hand over of power is assuming Merkel does do a good job ( which she won’t ) and Sarkozy does play ball ( which he isn’t about to )

    WTH is gonna happen when Sarkozy is voted out ( French are counting the days to be done with him ) possibly to be replaced by the once again on the rise National Front ( fascist for those that don’t know ) and when Merkel gets handed her walking papers ( Germans aint exactly thrilled with here either ) to be replaced by Who Know What ?

    Yeah thats the thing . Hand over your sovereignty and you’re then beholding for life to what ever Fool shows up next in the Bosses Seat . While you ( country that handed power over ) conveniently remain in the ‘ Mercy Seat ‘ waiting for the switch to be thrown

  93. HtG Says:

    just funnin’ ya about Franzl, tj. A white car at night has some ‘fare un cinema’ going for it.

  94. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #93 And its all due to you mien freund ( the color choice that is )

    Honestly had you not pointed out the virtues of the white one I’d be driving a charcoal grey instead .

  95. tj Martin Says:

    Hmmmn . ‘ Fare un Cinema ‘ Persols on my beak . Lovely ex figure skater by my side ( yes…… Mrs Tj )

    Anyone got Fellini’s phone # ?

    Oh heck ! He’s dead . Hows about Woody’s ?

    8)

  96. HtG Says:

    94 I’ve been liking the white Benz UVs for some time.

  97. HtG Says:

    95 No, it’s a spy thriller. Here comes Richard Burton meeting his beautiful case officer for drinks at the Algonquin. She pulls up to the curb in her GLK, not keeping a low profile like she learned on the island.

    Fade in.

  98. cwolf Says:

    Here is juicy tid-bit. GM’s Sonic E/V is changing over to Li Phosphate batteries rather than those in the Volt(Lith Met.Oxide). The phosh. battery hold less of a charge and is larger, but is much less prone to fires. And out of the other side of their mouth,GM has been saying no problemo,…we got the Volt problem resolved. They could give Newt a run for the money when it comes to flip-flopping!

  99. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Well in all honesty my life does feel more like a Fellini/Woody Allen film ( or a Murakami novel ) but I’d much prefer the Spy idea instead

    So now who do we call ?

    I’ll assume by your professed affection for the Spy book/films you’ve seen Syriana as well as read DeSilva’s novels ?

  100. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Hee Hee ! Thanks for posting that . I was gonna save it till todays episode , but what the heck !

    After all the bad news from the EU we could use a little humor

    Gee and don’t you just have to ask yourself WTH GM didn’t think of this with the VOLT in light of every scientist and engineer telling them time and time again the Li batteries they were using had an extremely high fire risk ?

  101. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #98,
    Do you mean SPARK EV? I haven’t read of any plans for a Sonic EV.

  102. tj Martin Says:

    # 100 cont.

    As well as why the supposed ‘ Fix ” for the VOLT isn’t replacing said Li’s with the lower risk units ?

    GM is in over their heads and hey know it .

  103. tj Martin Says:

    Yeah Kit its the SPARK but these days all them thar Furign cars from the Fer East looks the same , so who can tell the difference ?

    :o

    Hmmmn . Spark . A hint of things to come perhaps ?

  104. tj Martin Says:

    ” Hey honey , would you mind lighting up the SPARK and the VOLT while I’m getting the hamburgers ready ? “

  105. cwolf Says:

    Sorry about the I.D.mistake. They are pretty much the same. Catholics should love to drive one of these to church on ash Wed.!

  106. HtG Says:

    99 fiction can’t match the ‘real’ stuff. Check Man in the Shadows by Halevy, or Fallout by Collins and Frantz. I consider the auto industry to be a suspense thriller; and following the titanic nerd war in computing is excruciating.