Episode 806 – U.S. Cars Get Older, Mercedes May Export Engines from U.S., Prius Camper

January 18th, 2012 at 11:50am

Runtime: 6:42

The average age of vehicles on roads in the U.S. increased again last year to 10.8 years. Mercedes-Benz is considering exporting engines built in the U.S. Japanese conversion company, Campinn just unveiled a camper add-on for the Toyota Prius at the Tokyo Auto Salon. All that and more, plus guest host Mark Phelan from the Detroit Free Press shares his hits and misses from this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

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It’s Wednesday, the 18th of January, 2012. Welcome to Autoline Daily, your one-stop shop for everything automotive. I’m Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan with the latest news from the world of cars.

U.S. CARS GET OLDER
And they just keep getting older. The average age of vehicles on roads in the U.S. increased again last year. A new study from Polk says that the average age is 10.8 years, an increase of one year compared to what it was five years ago. The age of vehicles is due to the poor economy, which has dramatically lowered car sales, but researchers expect it to change as sales pick up.

SAAB SENDS CARS TO THE CRUSHER
But one company that will see NO benefit from the improving global economy is Saab. As if its financial problems weren’t enough of a death knell, this bit of news should signal the brand’s demise LOUD AND CLEAR. About 100 cars sitting on the company’s Trollhättan, Sweden assembly line are headed for the big parking lot in the sky. The vehicles in question have an appointment with the crusher. Why not just sell them, even as parts? Well, culling these orphan autos is some requirement of the bankruptcy proceedings, and maybe the healing process as well. A moment of silence for Saab, please.

MERCEDES MAY EXPORT ENGINES FROM U.S. (subscription required)
Localizing production in the U.S. is a real trend these days as currency-exchange rates eat into foreign automakers’ profits. Following this movement, Mercedes-Benz will build engines in America for use in vehicles it builds domestically, but it’s also thinking about exporting them. It will manufacture four-cylinder powerplants in Nissan’s Decherd, Tennessee factory. The deal is part of its technology-sharing agreement with Renault-Nissan.

KARAOKE KRAFCIK
John Krafcik is not like other executives. The president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America is really personable and friendly – an all-around great guy. He’s not even afraid to sing his lungs out. Every year after the Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai hosts a party for the press. At last week’s event, entertainment was provided by a local band called “The Exhaust Tones.” They’re a group of folks who work in the automotive or media fields. To everyone’s surprise, during their performance Krafcik took the stage and sang a number – and McElroy got it all on video. Look at him go! You know, more CEOs should loosen their ties and let their hair down a little.

PRIUS CAMPER
This is taking the Prius’ green image to a whole new level. Japanese conversion company, Campinn just unveiled this camper add-on for the popular hybrid at the Tokyo Auto Salon. It’s made from fiber-reinforced plastic and features a retractable coffee table, a sofa that doubles as a bed and even a back door to get inside. And believe it or not, this is actually available for order.

NISSAN’S SELF-HEALING iPHONE CASE
And speaking of unexpected accessories, Nissan just revealed a self-healing iPhone case. It features the company’s self-healing paint finish which is already in use on some of its cars. It’s going through a trial run in Europe and if it’s popular enough it could be on sale later in the year. Nissan says the case can heal a small scratch within an hour but more severe ones could take a week or more.

A lot went down at the Detroit Auto Show. Which products were studs and which ones were duds? I’ll give you my list of hits and misses right after this.

DETROIT SHOW HITS AND MISSES
Be sure to go to the Detroit Free Press or freep.com tomorrow to see my hits and misses from the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

The sleek 2013 Ford Fusion is the hit of the show, and the best-looking midsize sedan we’ve seen in many a year.

It will also offer impressive technology, including a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a gasoline-powered model that gets 37 mpg.

The 2013 Cadillac ATS sport sedan is another hit. With an all-new lightweight architecture and powerful, fuel-efficient engines, it was developed purely to go after the BMW 3 series.

The Dodge Dart compact sedan is the first real joint project from Chrysler and Fiat. It’s a huge improvement from the Dodge Caliber it replaces, and offers some surprising and advanced features.

The Acura NSX hybrid will become Acura’s next icon when it goes into production in Ohio three years from now. After years of goofy designs and ho-hum engineering, Acura needs this car to revitalize its brand.

There are a couple of real misses at the show, too.

The Chrysler 700C concept minivan looks like Chrysler’s competing with Nissan to see who can make the weirdest-looking minivan. Settle down, boys. Minivans are about substance, not style.

Finally, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S sport coupes are a wasted opportunity. Their lookalike styling recalls the worst of the old General Motors. It’s too bad, because they’ll probably be great fun to drive.

You’ll find those and lots more auto show hits and misses in Thursday’s Free Press.

Well folks, I think that’s a show. But be sure you mark your calendars because next week McElroy and company will be webcasting LIVE from the Washington D.C. Auto Show. He’ll be interviewing a bunch of regulators and legislators, so don’t miss it.

Wrapping things up, I’m Mark Phelan from The Detroit Free Press. Thank you for watching today’s program. I’ll see you next time!

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75 Comments to “Episode 806 – U.S. Cars Get Older, Mercedes May Export Engines from U.S., Prius Camper”

  1. LS ford Says:

    Prius pop up camper??? WTH!! This is another thing from the “I cannot believe they made that” department.

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    “Finally, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S sport coupes are a wasted opportunity. Their lookalike styling recalls the worst of the old General Motors.”
    WOW! Whoever said styling was subjective sure knew what they were talking about. Or is Phelan just plain nuts!

  3. LS ford Says:

    oh wait, I know what the prius add on is. Its the dust buster docking station!!

  4. LS ford Says:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbnid=AA4SZs0JGSDHQM:&imgrefurl=http://iconmotosports.blogspot.com/2009_11_29_archive.html&docid=Xw9r8YvyE8itxM&imgurl=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_9FNAlMtMgF4/SxaZaejjA9I/AAAAAAAAArU/AZpnLgwb-3I/s400/8_851-Dustbuster–charger.jpg&w=380&h=206&ei=efwWT_nHAqjisQLFlbyWAg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=217&sig=108462364487689525802&page=2&tbnh=105&tbnw=193&start=21&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:21&tx=129&ty=46

  5. HtG Says:

    Paint that Prius attachment black, tint the windows and chrome the frames. What do ya got?
    Ah 1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get a ready, now GO CAT GO!!!!!

    thank you, thank you, very much

  6. 012345 Says:

    LS ford Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Prius pop up camper??? WTH!! This is another thing from the “I cannot believe they made that” department.

    You can’t believe they made it, I can’t believe someone had the balls to pitch that idea and that he got a “Yes, will do it”.

  7. GPL Says:

    Maybe that Prius camper makes sense to the Japanese market – along the lines of those “capsule” hotels. But I don’t get it.

  8. HtG Says:

    looks like then next model will be the Port-o-San

  9. tj Martin Says:

    Prius POP UP CAMPER

    Nope !

    You’ve all got it wrong .

    In reality this car is a direct result of the radiation leaks coming from the Fukashima Nuclear reactor , which is causing massive amounts of Boils , Growths , Disfigurement etc amongst several cars and M/C’s near enough to the leaks to be directly affected . This horrific trend has affected almost all of the Japanese manufactures as witnessed by the hideous abberations that showed up at the NAIAS , including the BRZ/FR-S .

    No known cure/solution is currently available and unfortunately many more cars / motorcycles will no doubt be affected until the radiation finally clears .

    :o

    Sorry . Somebody had to say it 8)

  10. GPL Says:

    “…this car is a direct result of the radiation leaks coming from the Fukashima Nuclear reactor…”

    Now I get it. Should have known tj would explain it. Thanks, tj.

  11. tj Martin Says:

    MERCEDES /NISSAN TIE IN

    Guess that puts paid to any thoughts we might of entertained of buying the B-Class once it hits our shores .

    If I’m gonna pay for a Benz I want it to BE a Benz . Not some snively Nissan pretending to be a Benz .

    FYI ; The M-BUSA Owners Club forums are alight with protests from Benz owners Nationwide with todays little announcement ( until this it was still a rumor ) Canada as well .

    Bad Form Mercedes Benz . Very bad form .

  12. HtG Says:

    perhaps lady TJ prefers the Prius C?

  13. Autos101 Says:

    I used to have a lot of respect for Krafcik, BEFORE I saw him =make a fool of himself in the stupid Karaoke.

    And Phelan advises other execs to do the same?

    What’s next? Brownie points for those who sing in the shower?

    Ridiculous.

    AND, Phelan, the Dodge Dars is a hit? WHY? Just because it may be better than the Caliber? Give me a break, and get out of Detroit once in a while!

  14. Autos101 Says:

    That Prius camper looks like a portable toilet on wheels from the back, and as a Prius with a TUMOR from all other sides.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Prius pop-up; I thought maybe the boys at TopGear, U.K. were having another go at a ‘Caravan’ race/competition.

    Average cars getting older; while I agree that the economy is still on the mend, maybe our old ‘iron’ just lasts longer than it used to (it really does too).

    Mark, good job filling in for John (and I agree on most of your hits/misses mentioned today.

  16. RS Says:

    Great perspective on the new models – I think you are right on the money with each of your picks. I will definitely check out the Freep tomorrow for the full list.

    As most other comments about the Prius Campinn, the proper follow up would be…

    “But seriously folks, …”

  17. Autos101 Says:

    With new prices as high as they are (the $23k fiesta and the $600 toilet seat), no wonder people are keeping their cars longer, and since they are ALSO driving less miles every year since 2007, on average, they are not going to all get new cars anytime soon.

  18. HtG Says:

    If your barrel roll it across a pond you could maybe skip it off the roof and onto Boss Hogg’s patio. Yeeeeeehaw y’all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. HtG Says:

    If you prop it up on its back side it might find a female customer.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #12

    Bite thy tongue oh fowl of thought !

    We Don Need No Stinkin Prius !

    Thats it HtG . You’re off the list ! ;-)

    ( and no smart acre …. that just means she’ll get a C350 4matic if its a Benz she desires this year . Also means though I’d all but decided this last week that now definitely … I won’t be trading the GLK in for a B – Class when the time comes )

  21. HtG Says:

    TJ, I have a question for you about tact. Yes, you read that right. How would you avoid answering a question about the internet broadcast of a certain orchestra?

  22. tj Martin Says:

    ( pardon me while I repeat myself )

    Cadillac ATS R.I.P.

    Well the cars nit even in the dealers yet and already Cadillac’s PR and marketing fools have given it the Automotive Kiss Of Death that has been the downfall for everyone trying it from Alfa Romeo to Vauxhall .

    Calling it a BMW Fighter .

    It works like this ;

    First some manufacture comes out with this ridiculous claim . The customers for about six months buy into the myth . BMW stages a back to back with several Automotive magazines , where upon said ‘ BMW Fighter ‘ gets its clock cleaned . Sales die off . End of story .

    And ….. FYI Cadillac … a rebadged OPEL that at best has garnered mediocre reviews in the EU is not in any way shape or form EVER going to be a ‘ BMW Fighter ‘

    Fact is the ONLY time in 40 years of following the Automotive Industry I’ve ever seen a BMW analogy work for any manufacture was FORD ( Mercury in US ) with the Capri ( German built one ) when they called it a ‘ Poor Man’s BMW ‘ saying it wasn’t AS good but for the money pretty darned close

    ——

    PS; T.Bejima – Might I suggest you have a little look see as to the roots of the ATS’s platform before going off half cocked with the critiques ;-)

  23. tj Martin Says:

    #21

    #1 I’ve no clue what you’re on about

    #2 You’re off the list … remember ? :o

    #3 I aint got not tacks today . Plenty o’ nails and such but nary a tack in sight .

  24. HtG Says:

    I want to avoid letting my cuz know that I don’t like the way Berlin sounds with Rattle. Too sweet and comfy.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    He’s family … right ? You’re from NYC … right ?

    So what’s the problem ? Tell him what you think . After all its a criticism of the Conductor … not the performers you’re proffering .

  26. HtG Says:

    I’ll have to take a deep breath. I’ll try to avoid it, though I think he feels the same way. Jeezus, KARAJAN ABBADO FURTWANGLER

    back to autos

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Prius is about the worst possible candidate for a “conversion” like that. Part of why a Prius gets such good mpg, and A LOT of why it gets such good highway mpg is the low aero drag. Tripling the aero drag doesn’t seem like such a great idea. If you really want a car like this, you should probably start with a diesel hatch or wagon of some sort. I’d rather just pull a small trailer, though, if I really wanted the “camping” experience.

  28. OneCentTwice Says:

    Uhhh, there’s a giant white dong on the Prius… You lose enough manhood driving a regular Prius…

  29. C-Tech Says:

    This is a really big country and I bet some Toyota dealer sells 12 of those Prius campers – total for the U.S.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    Please don’t call the ATS and “BMW” fighter. The right people will find it, and its NOT BMW PEOPLE. I still miss the 2002.

  31. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2012-volkswagen-passat-36-sel-vs-2011-honda-accord-ex-l-v6-2012-hyundai-sonata-20t-limited-comparison-test-car-and-driver-2012-volkswagen-passat-36-sel-page-4

    Car and Driver tested the Passat (not the diesel, the v6) vs the Sonata and its perennial favorite the Accord. The Sonata finished dead last. The Accord? Read on

  32. RS Says:

    @#13

    Dodge Dart…

    How do you know whether it will be a hit or a miss. I doubt if Mark has driven it yet but it is certainly not a “miss” like the Prius camper thingy! Let’s just wait and see how this pans out. I will be interested to find out how the car mags end up rating the newcomer in comparos with existing models – everything else is just bias at the moment

  33. Autos101 Says:

    The GLK will finally also get a Diesel (like the ML and the GL) but they don’t say which of several Diesel Engines

  34. Autos101 Says:

    RS Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    @#13

    Dodge Dart…

    How do you know whether it will be a hit or a miss.

    Got Eyes. It already fails in the (flaky grille, uninspired rest of it) looks dept.

    I am amazed they did not just import the FAR better looking Alfa Giulietta which the Dart is a clone of. They would have saved a TON of $ in Dart development, AND be able to sell it as an Alfa for much more it can fetch as a lowly Dodge.

    In fact, now that Ram is a separate Division and they also got Jeep, what does the entire Dodge Division have to offer?

    OFF with its head!

  35. T. Bejma Says:

    #22

    tj, I asked you the other day – What vehicle is the ATS rebadged from??? What rear wheel drive car do they have at Opel that this is derived from??? Maybe YOU should read up on the Alpha platform from Motor Trend:

    http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2010/112_1003_gm_flexes_alpha_platform_options/viewall.html

  36. T. Bejma Says:

    #23

    tj, thought you were off the list too (something about major music career changes)… That didn’t last long… ;-)

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “what does the entire Dodge Division have to offer?”

    Charger and Challenger.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #30,
    It was interesting that they singled out the Honda 5-speed autobox for special praise.

  39. T. Bejma Says:

    #30

    Just like I said driving the Passat, the suspension is TOO SOFT!! Maybe I should get a job at Car and Driver… :-P

  40. T. Bejma Says:

    #22

    More research on the NOT FOR GLOBAL CONSTRUCTION Alpha platform – this from almost 2 years ago tj!!!

    http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f12/gms-alpha-platform-what-we-know-92357/

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    Remember, the new Passat was designed for the American market. The intent was for it to be competition for Buick, or something like that. The appeal of the car to me is that you can get the TDI, and even with a manual transmission.

  42. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    “what does the entire Dodge Division have to offer?”

    Charger and Challenger.

    Not worth keeping an entire Division. Chrysler has enough of them already, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and all the Fiats. Far better divisions (Pontiac) have died, and if you go back far enough, far, far better entire companies (Packard!)

  43. T. Bejma Says:

    #40

    That’s strange Kit, we get a re-badged German Sedan, the Opel Insignia (Buick Regal) that has a very stiff ride, and the German’s at VW make us a mushy land yacht, that rides like a 70′s Cadillac.

    THIS American hates a soft ride. I would hope any driving enthusiast would agree…

  44. Autos101 Says:

    They should have used the Passat Diesel, far superior to the V6, but even the V6 won the comparo, which is really stunning given how many dozens of years the Accord was in their Top Ten list.

  45. Autos101 Says:

    #40, no, the intent is to compete with the Accord, the Sonata, the Altima, the Fusion, the Malibu, and the Camry, Buick is an insignificant, distant laggard compared to these.

    If this was true, BTW, C&D would have tested the Passat vs the Buick.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #43,
    They used the V6 because they wanted the cars as comparable as possible. They even mentioned that the Passat TDI is “a class of one.”

    It would make a good test for them to compare the TDI Passat, and the Accord 4 cylinder which they really like. They should test them with manual transmissions, if you can still get a manual in an Accord. I think you can, at least with the 4 cylinder.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In #40, I was being a bit facetious, and meant competing with Buick in an “old Buick” sort of way.

  48. Autos101 Says:

    The Camry is just as “old Buick”, #46. I bet this is why they made the Passat softer, to compete with the high-volume, reliable Buick known as the “Camry”. But I am still surprised they did go soft. Hope the Diesel is like the old Passats handling wise.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    To me the most important news for the day is the aging of the American car, yet no one has made a comment, it is a strong indication that; 1) people have no faith in the economy getting better, 2)New cars are just too damn expensive, just read the C/D article all the midsize they tested a were over $30K, 3) when people who can afford to buy new (like our resident professor) refuse to do so, the auto industry is indeed in trouble

  50. steve Says:

    BTW from yesterday, the point of GM people monitoring various websites is to help people who can’t seem to find their way to get issues on their GM cars resolved.

  51. HtG Says:

    Buckle up Maybelle. Today we got two letters from Nissan dealers trying to get us to bring in the Versa. The better offer is for 100% of what we originally paid in 08. The language is a little squirrely, but I don’t think they mean to merely buy the car back. I think they’re thinking trade, but again, squirrely lingo.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    How Should Cadillac/ the Press be Advertising/Promoting the ATS ;

    Well … since I’m being quite harsh about the ATS’s BMW Fighter stance I thought I’d contribute a few positive spins on how to promote the thing .

    1) The Softer , Americanized Alternative to a BMW ( if they must use the BMW name in their promotions )

    2) The Smaller , Friendlier Entry Level Cadillac

    3) American Luxury in a Smaller Package

    Personally I like # 3 the best . Its accurate yet in no way can be perceived as Negative , nor does it invoke either the BMW or the Mercedes Benz name

    Because in Truth , if Cadillac choses to get into a ____ war with BMW and/or Mercedes , Cadillac will come out on the very Short end of the stick , and will be the vehicle of the ATS’s eventual Demise

    Too bad Cadillac’s executives STILL haven’t learned the Lessons Faith Popcorn tried to teach them back in the 80′s

    Its not too late though Cadillac . Book’s still available ( ” Popcorn Report ” )

    Think about it ;-)

  53. HtG Says:

    The CTS-V challenge at Monticello showed some stones, tj.

  54. tj Martin Says:

    @ T.Bejima

    I’ll assume since I’m not reading them , that somewhere up in that glom of posts is your attempts to once again discredit my assertion that the ATS is in fact a re-badged OPEL .

    In truth though T. nice a guy as you may be , you are in up to your ears in GM rhetoric/dogma and therefore unable to see the Tree for the woods you’re in

    And I do understand you’re trying to defend the company you work for in light of the fact that your daily bread is depending on GM’s success .

    But T…… the UK and EU press has already had their say on the up coming ATS and OPEL they say it is . Just because GM tweaked and stretched an OPEL platform a bit doesn’t make it any less an OPEL

    In closing though T … perhaps if Cadillac would drop the whole BMW/Mercedes comparison in their promotions and Ads as well as their press releases …. maybe …. just maybe they might have a Bats Chance in Hades of having the ATS succeed .

    But if they do not , and continue on this vein of trying to Compete With : rather than offer an Alternative To Mercedes and BMW

    Well T……….. you might consider looking elsewhere for future employment because your level of loyalty is worth a whole lot more then being made redundant by your employers mistakes

  55. tj Martin Says:

    #53

    Showed some Stones : or a Foolhardy exercise in Futility ?

    Me thinks more a case of ” Where Angels Fear to Tread ”

    Seeing as how that whole campaign fell flat on its face and once again proved the ” BMW/Mercedes Fighter ” Kiss of Death theory to be all too true

    FYI Just because your pretentious BMW wanna be . Cadillac can go around one little track a bit faster in no way proves it to be as good , never mind better than said BMW

    What makes BMW and Mercedes what they are is their All Around capabilities , and nothing else can compare

    Oh MJB may prefer the ride of the Lexus and cwolf his Cadillac dreams and thats the whole point . They don’t want what BMW and Benz have on offer .

    So perhaps as I’m saying above its time for Cadillac to start being C-A-D-I-L-L-A-C and drop the whole BMW/Benz or even Lexus / Infiniti wanna be syndrome

  56. HtG Says:

    Well, I haven’t driven any of these cars, but I have been flung around by a prodriver in the M3 coupe and sedan. Wow, that’s fun. I’ve also spoken to an M3 owner that found it a little meh in the midrange, and didn’t much like the paddle shifting. But no car makes as much of an impression on the road like a CTS. That’s my opinion, but they just explode with ‘tude. Maybe calling out the Germans at Monticello was part of that swagger.

  57. GPL Says:

    Since the villagers are taking up their pitchforks and torches, I decided to looked back at some of the recent articles about the ATS, and while a lot is made of it being a BWM-fighter, those assertions are being made by the writers, not GM. I’m sure someone from GM has at some point made that claim. Hyping their product IS their job, though I can’t find it, but the overwhelming majority of all this fanfare is being coming AT GM, not from it, so some of this malevolence toward GM right now for claiming to have a Bimmer-killer might be a bit displaced. This may be one case where it is appropriate to kill the messenger.

  58. HtG Says:

    GPL, it was Dan Ackerson who bragged the ATS was comparable to the BMW 3. He’s been getting pushback on that since it stole the ATS’ thunder and PO’d the people that have working at GM a bit longer than the lieutenant. DeLorenzo has been blasting him for many months now over that remark.

  59. T. Bejma Says:

    #54

    tj, why won’t you answer the simple question:

    What Opel is rear wheel drive on the same platform as the ATS? Do you have a name?

    I see your game, instead of admitting that you are incorrect, you simply avoid the questions, repeat the same misinformation, claim to have not enough time to read the links, and hope that we tire (which we all are) of the monotony or just give up… ;-)

    So to aid you in your struggles with your lack of humility, I will quote the important sections that the links call out:

    “the new rear-wheel-drive General Motors platform, Alpha, designed for the 2013 Cadillac 3 Series-fighter, also will underpin the 2014 CTS and 2015 Chevrolet Camaro”

    “Contrary to popular belief, Alpha is not yet considered a “global” architecture. A vast majority of the development is taking place in North America, with GM Europe having a little involvement in some of the testing.”

    #55/#56

    Ahhhh Monticello, that was cool… Had a friend that took his V there and had a great time. He said everyone had a great time. The thing to remember was that the CTS-V’s direct competitor is not the lighter and nimbler M3, but in fact the M5. And yes, the V did barely beat the M3, but it wiped up the track on the only M5 foolhardy enough to show up…

  60. cwolf Says:

    Ya,I like the bmw but would never buy one. Had 2 cuz’s and a few friends owning one and they used to like them as I do. Unfortunatly all of their cars were in the shop too often and each repair bill equated to a months motgage. Nope…not for me! The ATS is something I could splurge upon if the driving dynamics are anywhere close to a Beemer. I wish the body was more unique,yet it’ll do. For once I wish I would just let go of my common sense and frugal habits. That damn Fusion is really hard to ignor when loaded to my specs and the mpg’s just makes it more difficult.

    By the way,tj,lets wait for sales and customer comments to surface before you get too carried away with yourself. Bejma might be serving you crow on this one!

  61. T. Bejma Says:

    I like BMW’s too. My favorite is the e30 M3. I had an e30 325e for a few years and it was a lot of fun to drive (good thing it handled because the acceleration was crap!) but even an 80′s vintage Bimmer cost an arm and a leg to maintain ($100 for spark plug wires, rubber timing belt that needed to be changed at a specified interval or grenade the engine, $150 alternator, etc., etc.) and as I have said before, the newer BMW’s interior is just too plain for me…

  62. HtG Says:

    TB, maybe I missed it, but any idea when ATS pricing will come out?

  63. T. Bejma Says:

    Nothing announced yet on the ATS pricing, but expect it to be slightly below the CTS…

  64. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Not that Mark did a bad job or anything, but why don’t Craig Cole or Seamus McElroy ever get a chance to take the helm? Cheers, Phil

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing that bothers me a little about the Alpha, is that it is going to be designed to take engines from 4 cylinder to V8′s. I’d think there would be weight-adding compromises in the 4 cylinder cars, if the platform is designed to also use turbo sixes and V8′s.

    Come to think of it, though, BMW does that with the 3 series.

  66. KEVIN Says:

    SELL THE REST OF THOSE SAAB”S FOR PARTS . EVEN HERE IN AMERICA WERE THE WARRENTY’S ARE USELESS NOW AND THE PARTS ARE SO EXPENSEVE TO FIX AND SOMETIMES HARD TO FIND. AT LEAST WE CAN SAY WE HAVE SPARE PARTS FOR FIVE OR TEN YEARS OR MORE IF IT LAST ‘S THAT LONG . SO COME SAAB SELL YOUR PARTS THAT YOU DON’T NEED ANYMORE AND GO OUT WITH A LITTLE GLORY AT THE END . MAY YOU REST IN PEACE .

  67. Carroll S. Says:

    The Chrysler 700 C was very stunning, in a good way. What’s with the minivan hate? Of all the minivans ever created, that one really stands out with style. I stood and eavesdropped real, working people and families making very good comments about it. I find the harsh criticism to be lacking in original thought.

  68. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Remember also that the ATS is also going after the small Audi and M/B’s (“C” class); I think it is going to make its mark. Also heard, a diesel will probably also be available in the ATS’s first car’s life cycle (not the first year). More here: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20120119/BUSINESS01/201190326/New-Cadillac-ATS-Months-preparation-ready-pay-off-Grand-River-plant

  69. tj Martin Says:

    A LITTLE MORNING EYE CANDY TO BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY

    http://jalopnik.com/monte-carlo/

    Now thats driving gentlemen as well as a Siesta worthy of being called a Fiesta

    ——-

    @ Chuck Grenci

    You have my sympathies if you even think for a moment the Cadillac ATS will EVER ” make its mark ” against the likes of the Mercedes C-Class or the Audi A4 . Especially if T.Bejima’s assertions about the price are true .

    Oh it’ll sell at first as a novelty item , but as the EU’s have found with its OPEL cousin , the US consumers will quickly realize what a bad joke the ATS is and how many steps below ANYTHING Benz – BMW or ( gag) Audi have on offer .

    T Bejima can make al the claims he wants . CAR Jalopnik etc etc have all stated point blank the ATS is and will be a re-badged OPEL .

    Remember Bejima works foe GM . GM Lies . All the time . Therefore Bejima is either mis-informed by his superiors or is part of the GM misinformation culture himself

    Beyond that / Believe what you will . In the end I’ll once again be vindicated – the ATS will crash and burn ( perhaps like its SRX cousin – literally ) and Benz – BMW – Audi will be sitting on the sidelines laughing their arses off . As always

    ;-)

  70. T. Bejma Says:

    TJ

    Still waiting for the name of the Opel vehicle that is rear wheel drive and is the ATS’s cousin. All of my searching through Jalopnik, Autoblog, Google, etc., I can’t find a thing. There must be a review of the vehicle somewehere??? If you ever prove that I lied about one single thing on here, I will happily come to KC and hand wax/clay bar your precious GLK… ;-)

    Any comments on your beloved MB and the new M class using a majority of it’s hardware from… God forbid…

    A Jeep Cherokee/Dodge Durango???

  71. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Thanks tj for the ‘Rally’ link; I have a lot of respect for both the drivers and the cars (some of the best, if not the best, car driving in the world).

    As far as the ATS, well maybe your right; I have high hopes but I’ll wait and see before I make a decree (ooh, I made a rhyme). The Cadillac “V’s” have certainly kicked some ‘world’ butt; never say never, I say. Certainly the competition should improve all the ‘Marks’.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #69,
    You are right about their being no Opel “cousin” on the new Alpha platform. I searched quite a bit, and there is nothing.

    I’ll form my opinions on the ATS after it arrives. It sounds promising, but I hope it starts at a lower price than just “a little” below the CTS, which has a base MSRP of $36,790 MSRP, according to the Cadillac web site. It’s easy, very easy to get a CTS into the low-mid 40′s with options.

  73. Rafi N Says:

    Everyone, please call Congress to let them know that you do not support PIPA and SOPA. That bill is created to limit and destroy the internet. I just made the call and it was super easy to do. All I had to do was click the link on top of Wikipedia’s page and after entering my zip code, found the contact info to my Representatives and Senators. Please do the same!

  74. GPL Says:

    HtG, #58 I think that supports my point. GM isn’t billing the ATS as a BMW fighter. Lt. Dan just made a stupid, clumsy comment and the auto press ran with it, but the comments here make it sound like the claim is from Caddy’s ad campaign or something.
    One example:
    “How Should Cadillac/ the Press be Advertising/Promoting the ATS…the ATS’s BMW Fighter stance…if Cadillac choses to get into a ____ war with BMW and/or Mercedes…”

    To me that implies the claim is organized and intentional, rather than a oral foot insertion by a moron that happens to be the CEO. So I stand behind my point the the malevolence is displaced. Throw stones at the LT. He deserves it. The people doing the real work do not.

    And before anyone calls me a GM apologist or shill, I do not work for GM, I have no interest in GM, I’ve never owned a GM, and I’m no particuLar fan of GM products. In this case I just see some unwarranted bashing going on and thought I’d point it out.

  75. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro (#49)

    I am not a good example, since in my case it makes zero sense to buy new, given I only need to do a couple thousand miles a year with each of my cars, on average.

    I am at one extreme of the miles/yr spectrum, and maybe Cwolf is at the other extreme, and you are much closer to him than me in miles/year, and both of you make sense to buy new, go one size less if you cannot afford it

    But even if I bought new, these is almost NO Detroit offering that attracts me now.

    I would not buy another 7, or even another BMW if I bought new. It has been great, but I want to experience other cars too, Mercs, maybe an LS Lexus, etc.

    But if new Tech is developed that produces vastly superior cars safety-wise, not available in used cars, I sure would buy new again.