Episode 790 – Saab Files for Bankruptcy, Chevy Sonic RS, Car Sales Remain Strong

December 19th, 2011 at 11:11am

Runtime: 7:44

Well, as we’ve been predicting for over a year, Saab is filing for bankruptcy and will likely liquidate its assets. Chevy will debut an RS version of the Sonic at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Car sales this month in the U.S. could reach 1.23 million units, which is a 15 percent gain from November. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Hyundai Accent.

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This is Autoline Daily for December 19, 2011. And here’s what’s happening out there.

Well, as we’ve been predicting here for over a year, Saab is filing for bankruptcy and will likely liquidate its assets. The company simply couldn’t come up with the money it needed, and an attempt to get Chinese investment ran afoul of General Motors, which refused to let Saab turn its technology over to them. Pang Da and Youngman Lotus will likely lose everything they put into Saab.

Chevy’s terrific B-segment car, the Sonic, is getting a sporty new trim level. The company will debut an RS version of the car at the Detroit Auto Show next month. It’ll be powered by the same 1.4-liter turbo churning out 138 horsepower, but it will benefit from a laundry list of other upgrades. A new grille, fascia and fog lamps punctuate the front end. The rocker moldings and mirror caps are also RS-specific. It gets a sport suspension, new seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, among many other upgrades. Look for the Chevy Sonic RS at dealerships LATE next year.

Alfa Romeo’s sultry 4C concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show is rumored to be a go. Autoblog reports Fiat is just about ready to start building this mid-engined two-door. Supposedly, when it reaches showrooms, it will carry a base price of £45,000, roughly 70,000 U.S. dollars. It’s expected to be powered by a direct-injected turbo four that belts out 230 horsepower. We shall see.

Car sales are ending the year on a high note in the US. WardsAuto.com is forecasting that this month’s SAAR will hit 13.4 million units (subscription required), and that sales for December will reach 1.23 million units, which is a 15 percent gain from November. Overall for 2011, sales are expected to be 10 percent higher than 2010. And maybe here’s a reason why sales are picking up. A report from CNW Research says automakers and dealers combined have ratcheted up incentives and discounts. They’re up over 20 percent from a year ago.

According to taxi drivers in China, it’s always best to yield to Audis, because odds are the German-bred luxury cars are driven by high-ranking government officials. Or at least that’s the brand’s stereotype in the middle kingdom. Audi isn’t the only brand with a different perception in the People’s Republic compared to the ‘States. Meanwhile, BMW’s reputation for sporty performance doesn’t seem to win it much favor in China, where the ultimate driving machines are more known for being involved in street racing and corrupt politicians. Mercedes is thought of as an old folks’ car, much the way Americans viewed Oldsmobiles, while Buicks including the outdated Lucerne, are considered must-have vehicles for the up-and-coming middle class. Buicks are highly regarded because the last emperor of China loved the brand.

After the break, a look at the new Hyundai Accent.

Don’t forget to join us Thursday night for a special Christmas edition of Autoline After Hours. Joining me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for that show is David Welch from Bloomberg. We’re going to play Santa Claus, giving out presents and lumps of coal for the best and worst of what happened in the auto industry this year. It’s going to be fun, and funny, so join us Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.

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

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

69 Comments to “Episode 790 – Saab Files for Bankruptcy, Chevy Sonic RS, Car Sales Remain Strong”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Hyundai Accent: electrolyte green; I don’t think so, I’m thinking “Pee Green Metallic”.

    That ‘Alpha’, kind of steep (in price) IMO

    Vehicle sales: propped up by incentives, maybe, (but that tells me maybe asking prices are too high to begin with). And if the volume is still being helped, disproportionately by trucks, we already know that there is a healthy mark-up in that segment.

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    At last….make that “at long last”….the Saab story is coming to it’s natural conclusion.

  3. MJB Says:

    Wait a minute, so a Chevy Sonic RS contains everything you need to make drivers of standard equipment Sonics THINK you can dust them, but if they were watching this segment of Autoline Daily they know that it’s all just smoke and mirrors? Now Chevy’s gone and taken all the work out of ‘tuning’. All the wanna-be tuners out there will need now are a K&N intake and a used Folgers (or Maxwell House – their preference) coffee can for the exhaust. Then they’re good to go!

    Love the last part of that Hyundai Accent segment with Craig.

  4. Brett Says:

    I find it hard to believe that the info screen on the new Accent does not dim when the lights are turned on or isn’t tied to the panel light dimmer.

  5. Lex Says:

    Thank God somebody at General Motors had the Brains to block the Chinese from acquiring SAAB and all of this GM Technology! Score 1 for Detroit.

  6. John McElroy Says:

    @ No. 4


    We tried the dimmer switch, but even on its lowest setting the radio display was still too bright relative to the gauges. On its lowest setting the instruments were difficult to read but the faceplate was still plenty bright.

  7. tj Martin Says:

    Ding Dong the SAAB is Dead .. the SAAB is dead … ding dong

    Its official from this side of the world . Swedish courts have proclaimed SAAB DOA

    Why this would come as a surprise to anyone having even a modicum of knowledge about SAAB’s new owners ( Spyker ) is beyond me . Fact is SAAB was DOA the minute the contract was signed and GM KNEW IT !!

    I’ll hold to my opinion it was GM’s plan all along for SAAB to self destruct ; that fact becoming all too clear the moment GM refused to sell to Christian Von Koenigsegg , selling to the fools from Spyker instead .

    Weather is here . Wish y’all were beautiful ;-)

  8. tj Martin Says:

    Alfa Romeo

    Well if you were reading what I am these days as well as watching the news I’m seeing you’d know all to well , as Johnny Mac seems to be implying …

    When it comes to the ( urp ) new ( its a KTM X Bow with an Alfa badge on the snout ) Alfa Romeo 4C…

    Don’t hold Your Breath

    Seems someone may have forgotten to pay their Dallara bills lately

    Ciao 8)

  9. cwolf Says:

    They claim its hard to make a profit on small cars,but after seeing what the costs are,I think that has changed. One thing for sure is that Ford isn’t giving anything away!

    Other news that gladdened my heart was seeing TTAC pictures of a Cruze wagon. Sweet! And to think a diesel will soon be an option. I just can’t take it without drooling!! But sad enough and as usual its only in Europe for now. Dang!!!

  10. tj Martin Says:

    Well shucks !

    I was hoping if I stuck around a couple of minutes today , T. Bejima , GM/Chevy’s ALD Apologetist would step up to defend the Generals honor on my GM knew SAAB would fail by selling it to Spyker statement .

    Hmmn . Probably a good thing as there’s not much of a defense to be made for the General on this one I’m afraid .

    Oh well .

  11. Autos101 Says:

    There is already a Cruze 5-door hatch in Europe, it looks good too. Is this the wagon or is the wagon a bigger vehicle?

    The gfas cruze is already very fuel effiicent, the Cruze Eco gas even more so at EPA 42 HWY.

    The Cruze Diesel to be built (or are they already building it) in Lordstown OH is alleged to get 50 MPG EPA HWY. That’s better even than the Jetta-Passat Diesel, and actually better HWY MPG than ANY Vehicle currently on salew in the US, incl the Prius.

  12. tj Martin Says:

    ( time for one more )

    The SONIC RS

    Looking over the specs , or the lack thereof …. perhaps the better ( or at least truer ) moniker would be the ……..

    Chevrolet Sonic BS

    And folks have the gaul to ask why I dislike GM so much !

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ autos 101

    In real world testing ( not the fluff you’re reading ) the Jetta beets out the pretentious Prius …. hands down in mpg .

    In the REAL , not the virtual world mind you

  14. Autos101 Says:

    I am not a mirror, TJ

  15. Autos101 Says:

    got it, fool?

  16. Autos101 Says:

    AND, you blind retard tj, i SPECIFIED EPA, I did NOT SAY it is ACTUAL MPG.

    IN FACT, MOST CARS WILL GET ABOVE the low 2008 NEW EPA MPG numbers, yopu damned fool TJ,

    INCLUDING your entry-level Mercedes Breadvan on stilts, FOOL.

    Now leave me alone.

  17. Autos101 Says:

    “In real world testing ( not the fluff you’re reading ) the Jetta beets out the pretentious Prius …. hands down in mpg .”

    This is UTTER NONSENSE. ‘

    WHILE the Jetta and ev en the Passat DIESEL may well beat the AWESOME PRIUS in HIGHWAY (!!!!!) Mpg,

    they will be a VERY VERY DISTANT SECOND in CITY MPG.

    DO NOT SPEAK when you have no effing clue, fool.

  18. T. Bejma Says:


    Sorry tj, unlike you, I am not on vacation and to add to the delay, I never got my daily email saying the new episode was up (John – need to check that out)…

    As far as SAAB – the only reason it survived any longer than Hummer out on it’s own is because they actually had some (more) fuel efficient offerings. Niether speciality car maker could have kept it afloat. High volume car making is NOTHING like specialty super car manufacturing. Not going to defend anybody here…


    Need to really keep it clammed up about the Sonic until you drive one (like someone that would own one, not like someone that has owned Ferrari’s) ;-) It is a cool littl car, and performs well even without the Turbo. Can’t wait to check out the Turbo myself…

  19. cwolf Says:

    My mistake. The Cruze wagon can be viewed on the LeftLane cite. Its a real station wagon. It does take a little imagination to see past the camo.

    T. Bejma: I drove the manual turbo Sonic LTZ and wouldn’t mind comparing it to the standard. The car doesn’t meet my needs, but it is a swell car!

  20. T. Bejma Says:


    How was the shifter in the manual version? Compact cars tend to get the “feels like it’s attached with string” version…

    I agree as well, that the Sonic is not really a car for me (I can afford a Camaro SS or maybe a used CTSV), but if I was looking at a sub $20K commuter for a family of 4, I would definitely consider the Sonic over the Fit, Civic, Yaris, Accent, etc. I did a side by side static comparison for vehicle comfort and the Sonic beat all of the competitors for room and visibility. I wish the compare would have included driving too, but alas…

  21. cwolf Says:

    @ T. Bejma: Be’in your a GM aficionado and spoke praises for the Verano,a Verano wagon may also be considered. Thinking it too may have a diesel makes me wet my pants! By the way. I recall your offer to provide a test car. I’m within rifle range of Cabela’s(dundee) and would like to put an ATS,4 cyl through its paces when available. Is this a possibility?

  22. T. Bejma Says:

    @cwolf – I will see what I can do to get an ATS, but I won’t be able to get anything until a few months after it launches. I can’t even get a Verano yet and just got to the point where I can get a Regal GS…

    I lived in Dundee for a couple of years, lived in Maybee even, so I know where you’re at. No problem as soon as I can get one, I will let you know.

  23. Autos101 Says:

    There is no question that both the Cruze and the Sonic (despite its unfortunate name) are HUGE improvements over their god-awful Cavalier-Cobalt and Aveo ancestors.

  24. Autos101 Says:

    The Verano looks very, very smooth on the outside. If it is not just a Cruze rebadge, and I think it is not, it should do OK.

  25. cwolf Says:

    The manual was smooth. It’s been awhile since driving a stick,so I was rusty,but I am most certain it had too long of a clutch for even me. I’m glad you like it,yet the Fit also has my praises and a different set of attributes.

  26. Autos101 Says:

    The Fit is different, a very smart interior package. Its previous generation looked bad, esp in profile, i often confused it for an Aveo (!) bu tits current version is good on the outside too.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sorry, tj, but as usual, you are WRONG on this. I’ve had both, and, overall, the Prius does better than the TDI Jetta I had, and my TDI was the 1.9 which got better MPG than the current 2.0.
    The Jetta got about the same 44 mpg as the Prius on my twice-a-year trip between IN and FL, but on more expensive fuel.

    BTW, I have the data to prove it.

  28. Autos101 Says:


    In CITY MPG, not just the Prius, but also many other hybrids, such as the Civic, Camry, Fusion, you name it, have BETTER MPG than the otherwise excellent VW Diesels.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The only conditions where my 1.9 TDI, manual transmission Jetta wagon might have beat the mpg of the Prius would at very high speed, like 95 mph, although I have never tried to find out with either car. Both would/will do an easy 50+ mpg at 55-60 mph steady speed.

    Of course, as Autos101 says, the Prius does much better in stop and go driving, though the Jetta did very well.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the diesel to be used in the Cruze actually beats the mpg of the VW’s, that is impressive.

  31. Autos101 Says:

    I will believe that EPA 50 MPG (which means far higher actual MPG) of the Diesel Cruze when i see it.

    The new Passat is very impressive on the highway, I have seen articles in the enthusiast mags hav ing this big, comfortable family car exceeding 50 MPG in real MPG.

  32. HtG Says:

    Please, tj and A1, don’t go at each other so hard. I want to keep reading what you guys are thinking.

  33. Autos101 Says:

    tell TJ to cut the patronizing insults when he addresses me, HtG, and all will be fine.

  34. LS ford Says:

    Amen #32.

    I too struggle with MPG. Manufacturer vs. EPA vs. real world. There is a lot of difference between testing in the lab or on the track and being in low pressure or high pressure weather and temperatures. IE I used to have a CRX that got around 27 MPG (close to stated by Honda) in the winter months, and the I got over 50 on the highway one summer during a high speed trip.

    So, there is a lot of difference until we see real owners on real driving situations reporting their “digital” MPG. As even those computers are off a little as well.

  35. Autos101 Says:

    We know that the EPA has lowered its own MPG estimates at least two times

    First it did it in the mid-80s, then in 2008.

    My 1983 Pontiac 2000 (a Cavalier clone) was rated 28 /46 EPA then, I could barely get 42 hwy and that with low speed limits and tires 2 psi above normal.

    My 1990 Accord coupe 5-speed was rated 24/31 EPA, under the lower EPA rules, and I easily got 32-37 MPG on long trips and with a higher speed limit!

    Go to the FUELECONOMY.GOV site where the EPA has a CONVERTER of these two above EPA MPG pairs to be comparable to the LOWER 2008+ EPA MPG.

  36. LS ford Says:

    I have found that on that same site, there was an area to see what actual owners observed. I found that this was closer to what I saw on my cars.

    For example, I previously had a 98 540i and the US Gov said it gets like 17 and 21. I averaged 22 and this with hard back roads driving. SO I dislike their downgrade on pre 2008 cars. I feel that this is false information. But I might be wrong as I do not know how they get this information….and who pays for this info.

  37. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If GM could use Mr. Peabody’s Way-back machine (for us older guys/Back to the Future’s Delorean for the younger crowd here), I’m thinking that they would have left Saab alone (in the first place) and might have diverted some of those funds into either Pontiac and/or Oldsmobile, and would have had better luck saving either/or both. But that’s what happens when (all you have is 20/20 hindsight). Even Ford, with the purchase of Volvo had just a tad better luck (and that went away too). Hope I didn’t stray too far; just some random thoughts.

  38. LS ford Says:

    Much agreed Chuck. The later 90′s “collecting” that both Ford and GM did was like an auto arms race. At the end, they had to unload as many as quickly as they could. So far, as I think ALD mentioned before, on VW has been able aquire multiple brands in part as they seem to leave these companies alone. And it seems that once GM and Ford brought a company into the fold, they then cut that company loose and look the company is like a drug addict that cannot survive with out the $$ fix.

  39. Autos101 Says:

    My 1998 740iL was listed 17/ 24 MPG Hwy under pre-2008 EPA, but 15/22 under post-2008.

    My experience is that the post-2008 are almost identical to what I get in actual driving.

    OF COURSE I am not going… 65 on the highway, I get 22-23 MPG going even up to 3 digit speeds at times.

    around town I can get as low as 10-13 MPG on very short trips and/or winter conditions, which is typical here.

  40. Charles Domanski Says:

    Whats up with all the Prius lovers? Talk about a booooooooorring car, this is the one. I think each and every one of them are also very ugly. Wouldn’t be caught dead in one. I think you Prius drivers just drive them so you can brag that you are so hip with the tree huggers. I couldn’t care less if I never see another Prius. There are a lot of cars out there for sale that in all actuality palute less then the Prius. What I’m talking about is in the building and construction of the intire car, the Prius is a very dirty car. And all you Prius drivers are fooled into thinking your doing something good for the environment.But your not. Suckers.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From my experience, the MPG readouts on cars tend to read high. They read 3-5% high, both on my MINI and my Prius, but when I post my mileage, here or anywhere else, I am using the calculated mpg, not the readout.

  42. Charles Domanski Says:

    Sorry about the spelling.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #40, Charles D.,
    I bought my Prius because it carries everything I need to carry, is reasonably quiet, rides and drives ok, and uses barely over half as much gas as the Malibu Maxx it replaced. It’s as simple as that.

    Some people buy Priuses to “make a statement,” but I bought it because it is by far the best car in the U.S. market for what it was intended to do, carry up to 5 people in reasonable comfort, and carry “stuff” easily in its hatchback body, while getting exceptional fuel economy.

    The stuff I hear about the manufacture of the Prius being environmentally bad is never documented by any reliable source. If you have one, let us know. I’m “all ears” on that one. Also, the claim by some outfit with an agenda that “it takes more energy to build a Prius than a Hummer H2 burns in its lifetime” is patently false. If that were even remotely true, a Prius would cost more than $50,000, not the $24,000 that a very well equipped base Prius sells for.

  44. Andrew Charles Says:

    The withdrawl of Pangda and Youngman shows what they were really interested in—not the Saab brand, but only GM’s technology. Prediction—if Youngman is really interested in Saab, they’ll make a bid for the brand (and probably only the brand) in liquidation.

  45. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    So what else have you ‘ owned ‘ pray tell ?

    And how is it that as a supposed Toyota owner you did not know that Toyota uses Castrol in all their cars and has done so for the last 15 years or so as that little ‘ fact ‘ is well advertised in both the owners manuals as well as all the info given at point of purchase .

    @ Autos101

    I have no idea what your problem is . You’re making claims I know to be untrue ( about the Prius etc ) and I’m only placing the correct information in contrast to your expressed ‘ Opinions ‘

    Believe me if my intent were to insult , you’d know it , point blank . So allow me to suggest you tone down your rhetoric just a tad and deal with the fact that I do not believe or think , but rather KNOW for a FACT that the Prius is …… ahem …… somewhat ….
    …… OK a whole lot less than advertised .

    @ Charles D – + 1 with a bullet ! Preach it to em brother !

  46. tj Martin Says:


    BWTM !

    ” The stuff I hear about the manufacture of the Prius being environmentally bad is never documented by any reliable source. If you have one, let us know ”

    Oh its been well and good documented Kit , by very ‘ Reliable ‘ sources both in print ( CAR EVO AutoCar , Nordhaus & Shellenberger etc ) as well as online

    All you’ve got to do is look beyond your nose and its all their for the asking

    Want a good place to start ? Go to NYTimes and search rare earth minerals ( of which your Prius uses more than ANY other Hybrid or E/V currently in production ) and have a peak at the pollution and devastation just the mining and refining of said rare earth minerals causes

    I’ll leave the rest of the research up to you

    Enjoy !

  47. cwolf Says:

    The talk about fuel miles made me wonder if the purchase of a diesel could be justified. Quick figures indicate the break even point is not relistic more most drivers. Even with my drive,I am “on the fence” for it to be a bargain. Using a diesel Cruze@50 mpg vs my Milans(say)30mpg as a model, say 50,000 mi/yr,gas $3.25- diesel $3.95/gal,urea fill every 15K @ $100. Added cost of disel $2000. Using these figures, a rough break-even point would be about two years. Estimated savings after 2 years would be close to $1200/yr. Imagine if one only traveled 15K miles/yr!

  48. tj Martin Says:

    @ T Bejima

    Your response doesn’t exactly deal with the issue I’ve brought up in post #7 pertaining to GM’s behavior in the sale of SAAB now does it ?

    As to the ( sub) Sonic , look at the facts mate

    The RS ( BS ) is nothing more than an appearance package pretending to imply performance . Which in my book makes the RS a sad joke ……. on the consumer that hopefully no one will buy into .

    Simply stated the Sonic RS does not add up , when placed against its immediate competition , in spite of all GM’s attempted hype .

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “tj” says:
    “And how is it that as a supposed Toyota owner you did not know that Toyota uses Castrol in all their cars and has done so for the last 15 years or so as that little ‘ fact ‘ is well advertised in both the owners manuals as well as all the info given at point of purchase”

    I confess. I don’t read owner’s manuals cover to cover, I read the parts that I need to for certain information. Also, I don’t pay much attention to ads, like the one that may say that Toyota uses Castrol. What difference does it make?

  50. tj Martin Says:


    Don’t forget to factor in the added cost of buying the Diesel over the Gas model as well .

  51. tj Martin Says:


    The fact that you’ve missed one of the most obvious aspects of Toyota ownership ( Owner manual / New owners info / Sales brochures as well as every dealer making it real obvious from the point of purchase what oil Toyota prefers you to use ) convinces me that you do not as a matter of fact , nor have you ever owned a Toyota of any kind

    Even my wife who is not at all interested , beyond transportation needs and comfort in cars , can tell you what oil Toyota uses . It really is , assuming you owned one , that bloody obvious


  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree with others that the RS package on the Sonic is silly, but the fact remains, people want stuff like that. They had basically non-functional RS packages on Camaros, back to the body style that started in ’83, and people bought them. It’s just a way to make some extra money on the cars.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Huh, the brand of oil they use when they build the car is one of the most obvious aspects? What are you talking about? The obvious aspect of Toyota ownership that counts, is that the car works well for what it was designed to do, and is reliable.

    Who cares what oil Toyota uses at the factory. The car will work fine, and stay on warranty, regardless of what brand of oil you use, as long as it meets the proper SAE spec.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, #51,

    “convinces me that you do not as a matter of fact , nor have you ever owned a Toyota of any kind”

    You are so full of it, that it makes me ill. I hope you are really having fun with all your BS, calling people liars, etc., but I am tired of it. Have a nice day, a$$hole. I’m out of here for a few days.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    My Corolla manual recommends Toyota oils and filters for the oil changes, I have used neither since I refuse to pay $29 for an oil change.

  56. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I run Castrol Syn-tec oil,and a Napa gold filter.Next oil change I switch to all Amsoil products.I never cared what any car maker says.I just go with the recommended weight and do my thing.Ain’t no big deal.Hey…MERRY CHRISTMAS to all,and to all……a good night.

  57. Shane Crilly Says:

    SAAB made some truly wonderful cars ESPECIALLY pre GM. Had the general handled them better they may have fared way better in meltdown of ’08, However, rather than moving them upmarket as Ford moved Volvo they cheapened the brand with their Opel based world platform and their long tradition of nickel and diming.

    Then in a staggering act of bad faith, like the offer of Opel and Saturn and Hummer they offered SAAB on the condition that it could not actually succeed.

    Protecting technology? What a crock! GM gave nothing worthwhile to SAAB, they are more likely afraid of competition to Buick and probably for good reason.

    Somehow, Ford has survived and even thrived minus Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover despite billions poured in that direction.

    Any truly valuable technology could have made the general millions in cost free royalties, especially really valuable tech to SAAB – X-drive – will probably never be used by the general.

    If there is a hell for Auto execs it should be filled with GM’ers

  58. C-Tech Says:

    Kit – Please don’t let them curtail your contributions to this forum.
    John, where are your editors for the forum?
    Any ideas for the value of rights to produce Saab parts for the diehard and stranded car owners?
    What will the price of the Sonic RS be?

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why can’t we disagree without resorting to insults and put downs? Please gentlemen, insults are nasty and not necessary , I should know, I’ve gotten my share of them here as well.

  60. Autos101 Says:

    47. cwolf Says:
    December 19th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    The talk about fuel miles made me wonder if the purchase of a diesel could be justified. Quick figures indicate the break even point is not relistic more most drivers. Even with my drive,I am “on the fence” for it to be a bargain. Using a diesel Cruze@50 mpg vs my Milans(say)30mpg as a model, say 50,000 mi/yr,gas $3.25- diesel $3.95/gal,urea fill every 15K @ $100. Added cost of disel $2000. Using these figures, a rough break-even point would be about two years. Estimated savings after 2 years would be close to $1200/yr. Imagine if one only traveled 15K miles/yr!”

    ANd imagine that one traveled only 5,000, not 15,000, miles a year with one car, and 1,000 with another!

    PS the AVERAGE US driver used to drive 12,000 a year, BUT with the current $3-$4 gas environment and the econ recession and huge unemployment, this has gone BELOW 10,000 miles a year per vehicle!

    It’s good that you did some numbers, Cwolf, but you have forgotten some others, that could well make the difference.

    The resale price of the Cruze Diesel will be VASTLY Greater than that of any gas equivalent!

    If VW used prices are any guide, VW was able to brag that it has the highest resale prices for the Jetta, ONLY because of the large no of diesels that were almost TWICE the price of the equivalent gas jetta.

    You see the same between the Merc and BMW SUVs, the gas versions are far lower in resale than the diesels.

  61. cwolf Says:

    @auto: I’m glad you caught on to resale values,but I purposely avoided the consideration. I usually drive the wheels off my work cars,so resale value has less impact. And, from my perspective,any added residual value from a diesel is like letting someone use your money for free during the span of ownership with little to no returns. Being frugal and loving cars blends like vinegar and oil. In a joking way,I go through cars as often as you go through underwear! In a strict sense,cars are a loosing proposition all the way around.

  62. Autos101 Says:

    Cwolf: I do the same thing you do, keep my cars until they drop dead or until they are 18 years old rusted out like my 1990 Accord 5-speed coupe was when i donated it to purple hearts.

    The much higher resale value implies other things that do make a difference even if you keep the car forever, it implies the diesel engine lasts far longer than the diesel, and has less maintenance and repairs.

    Over in Europe, that’s why ALL taxis are diesels, and do half a million to a million miles on the same engine (or at most two engines). These guys do 100,000 miles a year easy. (about 300 a day)

  63. Autos101 Says:

    Cwolf, of course most cars are not an investment, they are ‘consumables’ especially in the snowbelt, they eventually rust and wear out. And anyway most 20 year old cars do not have the minimum safety tech you need today.

    That’s the other good thing about flagship luxury cars, not only they depreciate like a rock (I bought my 740iL in ’05 for …1/10 of its six-figure amount its grandkid costs today), they also have all the tech you need for safe driving, and on top of that they have both plenty of active and passive safety.

  64. cwolf Says:

    Auto: Yep,diesels sure do last longer and that is also a low point of having one. The thought of driving the same car for,say, 5-8 years would be a bummer for me. Also,as the car wears of age I become more edgy at the thought of having car trouble half-way to work at 5a.m! Yuck! With all the extra crap that is required in the US,it is uncertain a diesel will be as maintainance free as we believe them to be. There are so many advancements in design and technology today, it make choosing difficult,yet fun. That only proves we should select the car best suited for the individual and not others because,for the most part,they all will serve us well.

  65. Scott M Says:


    Point of clarification. In China the ubiquitous black Audi sedans (usually the A6) seen especially in Beijing and Shanghai, are not driven by government officials. They are riding in the back seat. These officials have personal drivers for their cars. You will also note most of the Audis are long wheel base models as well.

  66. Autos101 Says:

    Cwolf: of all the people in this forum, given the large no of miles you drive per year, you are probably the only one for whom the Diesel makes sense!

    This is professional driver kind of miles.

    There is a reason none of the one million 18-wheelers are gas powered. I am amazed that our taxis are not diesel powered as they are in Europe, but recently I see a TON of Prius Taxis where I live, which is a good alternative for the stop-go taxi driving pattern.

    The main reason you don’t have a Diesel is that the only game in town in the family sedan class is the Passat and the Jetta, both imports. If the Cruze Diesel gets 50 EPA and 55 real MPG HWY, it should be a serious consideration, especially for you.

    I would not mind driving a car 20 years as long as it is great and has the safety and perfoemance and comfort features I need. (like the 7, whose platform is used for all ROlls ROyces too!).

    But if you want to change them every 5-8 years, then the huge Diesel resale value DOES matter to you!

  67. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    December 19th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    “My Corolla manual recommends Toyota oils and filters for the oil changes, I have used neither since I refuse to pay $29 for an oil change.”

    Hi Pedro, long time no see.

    I must confess I hate the $100+ synthetic oil changes for my 4.4 lt v8, but that’s what the manual recommends, and I thought I should not take any chances of $1000s repair bills for my 740iL.

    But $29 twice a year or so, what’s the big effing deal?

    Given the number of miles you drive every year, you must spend $50 for gas every single week, if not $100!

    In fact, I am surprised that most people, that do many times the miles a year that I do, are not going for the tiniest and most fuel efficient vehicles but instead they keep buying a ton of pickup trucks with V8s they can’t afford and don’t even need!

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    But it is not $29 twice a year, I change the oil every 3k miles, which for me is about 5/6 times a year. I get it done for $15 and I bring my own oil, high mileage whatever brand it’s on sale, besides every time I go to the dealer they make up a list longer than “War and Peace” of things I should do to the car.

  69. Autos101 Says:

    But we had a whole discussion here that, unless you drive under very bad conditions, dirt roads, short trips etc, you don’t need to do it every $3k miles. Even using regular oil, you probably only need to do it every 7,500 miles or so, esp. since this means 2-3 times a year anyway.

    I have to use synthetic and can seldom find it for less than $90 for a large V8 (7-8 quarts needed each time).

    Dealer’s lists have proven redundant after a few years pass and none of their alarms realize.