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Episode 821 – GM Loses Big in Europe, Diesel Incentives Coming? Elantra Ditches Doors

February 8th, 2012 at 11:45am

Runtime: 6:53

It looks like GM is poised to announce a big loss in Europe. Diesels already outsell EVs and hybrids, but could incentives be on the way? The Hyundai Elantra has shed a couple of doors for its new coupe version and added a hatchback for the new GT. All that and more, plus John McElroy responds to your comments and questions in You Said It!

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This is Autoline Daily for February 8th, and here’s what’s going on out there.

BRACE FOR IMPACT! (subscription required)
General Motors is going to announce a big loss in the fourth quarter in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal. GM has lost $14 billion on its European operations since 1999. That’s why GM has assigned a new management team to turn Opel around. Here’s my Autoline insight. Whenever new management steps in it always throws every possible problem onto the books to get that behind them. They can always blame their predecessors for those problems, but you only get to do that once, so here’s their chance. Plus, GM needs to convince German unions and politicians that drastic measures are necessary, and anything that can make the problem look as dire as possible is what they’re going to do.

DIESEL INCENTIVES?
In the American market, vehicles with diesel engines, including heavy-duty pick-ups, now outsell all hybrids and electric cars combined. And they’re doing that without any incentives. But that could be about to change. Ward’s reports that the EPA could offer incentives to consumers, or to automakers in the form of more generous credits towards their CAFE targets. Currently, future CAFE regulations are heavily biased in favor of hybrids and electrics.

NADA HATES CAFE
Speaking of CAFE, the National Auto Dealers Association is opposed to the suggested target of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s about 4 liters per 100 kilometers. It says that goes too far, and will force higher car prices that will cripple sales. So far, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy target is just a proposal, it has not yet been finalized.

CHINA TO IMPORT 1 MILLION CARS
As we’ve talked about before on this show, Chinese consumers prefer driving foreign brands over domestic ones. In fact, imported car sales in China grew by over a quarter last year in China and they’re expected to surpass one million units for the first time this year. European automakers are especially increasing imports into China in order to offset losses because of the debt crisis back home.

ELANTRA MODEL LINE EXPANDS
On the heels of being named the North American Car of the Year, Hyundai is expanding the Elantra line-up, with a coupe and a hatchback. The Coupe incorporates the same “fluidic sculpture” design language as the sedan and Hyundai’s signature hexagonal front end. The hatchback, called the Elantra GT, also has the same engine and a sleek design. Hyundai says it’s lighter than its competitors thanks to the use high-strength steel, yet it has more interior room. The Coupe is scheduled to go on sale this spring while the hatchback will be available in the summer.

Coming up next, it is time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

armydray13 saw a couple of our recent reports on Mazda, including its latest profit and sales numbers. “So…yesterday Mazda’s sales were up 68.2%, but today their revenue is down 17%? Not sure I follow the math on that one!” Armydray13, the sales numbers were just for last month and only in the American market. The profit numbers reflect Mazda’s global operations for all of last year, including the impact of the massive earthquake and the flooding in Thailand.

A bunch of you reacted to our reports on the Super Bowl ads, especially with Ford lashing out at GM for running an ad showing Chevrolet Silverados surviving an imaginary apocalypse, while a guy who drove a Ford F-150 didn’t survive. TangoR34 wonders why Ford reacted like it did. “Why should Ford flip out? They were the one who did a “Ford owner who would only drive a non-bailed-out American brand” PR stunt.” Amen Tango, what goes around comes around.

Adam White feels the same way, “I have owned a Ford Truck for over 10 years….When I saw the Chevy Silverado Ad during the Super Bowl last night I laughed out loud at the ending! I thought it was one of the better Ads shown during the game. No hurt feelings here.” Right, it was a fun ad, Ford is just being petulant. Lighten up, Ford!

Chuck heard me say that when Ford saw the ad, “that took the rag off the bush,” and it demanded a retraction from Chevrolet. “Took the rag off the bush…”?? Where in the world did that one come from?” Chuck, I am so glad you asked. It’s an American idiom that went out of use over a century ago. It’s something that I’ve never found the chance to use before. I ran across it years ago reading Western novels by Louis L’Amour. It’s very hard to track the origins of it, but it goes back to the Old West and it kind of the equivalent of slapping someone with a glove: it reflects both an insult and a challenge.

012345 also weighed in on the ads, “So, what was the best Super Bowl Car Ad, Mr. McElroy? I gladly would say it was the one featuring Mr. Clint Eastwood, but that ad just makes me feel like shooting some punks.” Well, don’t go shooting anybody, but thanks for sharing that thought. By the way, those Super Bowl ads are going to be one of the topics on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. Joining us will be Jean Halliday who reports on automotive advertising, so join me and the Autoextremist Peter Delorenzo for the best insider information in the business.

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

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

83 Comments to “Episode 821 – GM Loses Big in Europe, Diesel Incentives Coming? Elantra Ditches Doors”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    There was an Elantra hatchback GT a few years ago and the used one go for a premium because they didn’t sell too many, why don’t the domestics make a bigger push into China since the Chinese seem to love imports so much?

  2. tj Martin Says:

    CHINA ABOUT TO IMPORT 1 MILLION CARS

    Really ?

    Guess somebody forgot to read ……. THIS !!!

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/china-implodes-someone-call-glenn-beck/

    Ooops ;-)

    ——–

    GM – Aint y’all jess so glad we bailed the company out …. as they continue to lose billions and billions of dollars / euros / pounds … hell any currency they’re dealing in

    ——–

    Diesel – I’ll believe it when I see it . Official like

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They are still selling the old Elantra Touring. A friend recently bought one, I think a 2011, but they still sell it as a 2012. It is a decent small wagon/hatch, but is very thirsty compared to the new Elantra sedan.

  4. Dave Forslund Says:

    Re: Super Bowl Chevrolet Ad

    Years ago ads would give a feature of the product and an benefit to the consumer for choosing the product, (feature/benefit). This was true even for political ads (ie: even in the bitter Kennedy/Nixon election in 1960.)Ads rarely mentioned the competition by name.

    America has changed as the generations have changed! Whether it’s sports, elections or business, it’s not how you play the game, it is only winning that counts!

    So why should Chevrolet be different?

    However, we have to give Ford credit for the way they conduct business (no bankruptcy or government loans) and advertising ….it’s called “the old fashioned way.” It’s just another way of playing the same game.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    re; #1

    Because mi amigo , for all the cars they might be selling in China , with all the extensive and OTT discounts , Cost of Doing Business in China etc ……. they don’t make any money on the sales .

    Not to mention as I predicted and have been arguing for months the China and in fact all the BRIC’s markets have all but dried up

    The Up and Comings have Gone and Went ( see #2 )

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From the TTAC article that tj linked:

    “Whoa!!!! What’s going on?

    Is the sky over China finally falling? It sure looks like it. Unless you are one of the 1.3+ billion chosen few who own a Chinese calendar. Then you would know that for the better part of January, China was closed.

    It happens every year. A phenomenon called Chinese New Year causes hundreds of millions to travel, to set off fireworks, and to paralyze commerce for weeks on end. Officially, Chinese New Year started on January 2012 and lasted a week. Unofficially, it can last a month. Picture Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and Ramadan all rolled into one, and you’d be covering only a tiny part of what is Chinese New Year.”

    In summary, that China’s sales fell in January means nothing, because the country was on vacation. Chinese New Year moves on the calendar, like Easter, so year-to-year monthly sales numbers in China mean nothing for the early part of the year.

  7. Dave Forslund Says:

    P.S. I hope that Ford swallows hard, and doesn’t reply to the Chevrolet ad. Why add fire to fire, and then be like all of the others?

  8. David G. Forslund Says:

    P.S. I hope that Ford swallows hard, and doesn’t reply to the Chevrolet ad. Why add fire to fire, and then be like all of the others?

  9. MJB Says:

    #4

    Dave, those were also the days when an honest fist-fight was the more honorable and respected way to ‘man-up’ to an adversary. But today some guys are more likely to just take the easy way out and pull out a heater.

  10. C-Tech Says:

    Elantra 3-door coupe, should Honda’s Civic Si be concerned?

  11. Lex Says:

    Hyundai was able to come out with both a New Elantra based coupe and hatchback pretty quickly. Why is it take GM/Chevy so long to do the same with the Cruze. I know why, they are wasting time and money thinking the US consumer will buy luxury versions of the Cruze called the Buick Verrano. John Krafcik and Company are filling all the gaps in the small car market with tastefully done versions of award winning products. Go Hyundai Go!

  12. C-Tech Says:

    Should Ford truck marketing be running a commercial that “features” Dave in a F-150 this week?

  13. C-Tech Says:

    If there is no agreement to pay cuts and quality improvements at Opel, John will you be writing their obituary in 2014?

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    C-tech #10 yes if Honda give it the same lame, spongy suspension as the sedan. #11 they’re seating in a board room, with planners and bean counters and old stuffy geezers discussing what to do, while the competition once again gets there quicker and with better products,

  15. C-Tech Says:

    I am not as familiar with the Elantra as the Cruze (nice car, stupid name), Is the Elantra in the same class as a Cruze (size wise) or a Sonic?

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cruze sized but looks wimpier and more tinny looking than the Cruze.

  17. Autos101 Says:

    “Elantra as the Cruze (nice car, stupid name)”

    I fail to see why ELantra is not just as stupid and meaning less a name.

    And to those that dislike the Cruze name because it’s a misspelled “Cruise” (but is pronounced the same, like Lite vs light),

    remember that the Prius (=PriMus=first in latin) is equally misspelled.

  18. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.windingroad.com/articles/reviews/driven-2012-toyota-prius-c/?utm_campaign=Weekly+Email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-319&utm_content=WR78+4

    The first full review I have seen of the Prius C, includes a link to a review of the Prius V

    “…Amazingly, despite driving like hooligans rather than hypermilers, we couldn’t get the Prius C to return anything worse than about 46 mpg over the 60-mile drive route. On the other extreme, fellow journalists that were driving for maximum fuel economy claimed mpg figures in the 80s. The driving patterns they had to adhere to to get those shocking numbers were, it’s fair to say, soul-crushing, but we were duly impressed, nevertheless.”

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    looks like Toyota went back to the old Prius power train for the C, a 1.5 gas engine and a smaller electric motor but yet achieve better numbers than the old Prius.

  20. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.windingroad.com/articles/reviews/driven-2012-bmw-activee/?utm_campaign=Weekly+Email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-319&utm_content=WR78+4

    And the first review of the electric 1-series. Far superior to the ugly Leaf, and not that expensive!

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Prius C has a surprising small battery, only 0.87 kwh, but they made the car work well. Autoweek did a test drive. See:

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120208/CARREVIEWS/120209883?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150522207296123_20481370_10150522445856123#ffdd899ec

    I suspect that, while the C has a 1.5 liter engine, it has a completely different power train from the old car. When the Gen III Prius was in the works, I read that they were able to remove weight, and cost from the system, even as they went to the larger ICE, and more powerful, but lighter and probably higher rpm electric motors.

  22. tj Martin Says:

    Honda/Acura NSX

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6lZE37gBzs&feature=player_embedded#!

    ( get past the Ad in the beginning )

    Lets just hope the ‘ New ‘ NSX is half the car in this day and age that the original was in its day .

    I could kick myself in the ( bleep ) for not buying the one I could of had for under $30K ( divorce sale ) What a dad burned , trying to be practical , but fool hardy maneuver that was ! Hmmph ! :(

    @ HtG – did you ever guess the clues ? Answer – McLaren Mercedes SLR

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The C probably has kind of a scaled down version of the Gen III Prius power train.

  24. tj Martin Says:

    #6

    Wanna place a wager on that one ?

    You’ll lose !

  25. tj Martin Says:

    Prius C

    SSDD – nuff said ;-)

  26. tj Martin Says:

    ” “…Amazingly, despite driving like hooligans rather than hypermilers, we couldn’t get the Prius C to return anything worse than about 46 mpg over the 60-mile drive route. On the other extreme, fellow journalists that were driving for maximum fuel economy claimed mpg figures in the 80s. The driving patterns they had to adhere to to get those shocking numbers were, it’s fair to say, soul-crushing, but we were duly impressed, nevertheless.”

    What a total fabrication and deluded pant load

    Oh but heck . The Prius faithful will buy into this most recent pack of lies as well as the car so why do I bother ?

    New psychological ailment for the 21st Century

    DPAS

    Delusional Prius Acceptance Syndrome

  27. T. Bejma Says:

    #2

    Last I looked, GM is making money in EVERY other region besides Europe…

    Looks like BMW is not as high on diesel fumes…

    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/07/bmw-nixing-335d-in-favor-of-new-3-series-hybrid/

  28. Autos101 Says:

    #21 it is really very disappointing that the lazy bums at Autoweek did not bother to measure their own MPG, but cite the VOO DOO EPA figures we already know. They did not even bother to report what mPG their fellow journalists got (such as the 46-80s MPGs that WInding Road vs the Hypermiler Journalists got)

  29. Autos101 Says:

    #27 pfft

    PS Shouldn’t you be working hard to improve the stupid, stupid Volt, Welfare Queen?

  30. Autos101 Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    WHat “pack of lies” YOU Hallucinating Prius-hating MORON?

    These are FAR MORE TRUE than your VOO DOO EPA LOW BALL MPGS WILL EVER BE, FOOL!

  31. Autos101 Says:

    PS FOOL Martin: I DO NOT NEED to accept a DAMNED THING. UNLIKE YOU, I have rented a prius for more than 3 full days and MEASURED MY ACCURATE MPGS MYSELF, FOOL.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    So GM claims 45-50 miles on the Volt fully charged, EPA says 35 and the Fox reporter got less than 20, why doesn’t GM come up a believable, certifiable third party test on any random Volt and show that on TV if they feel they’re being bamboozled.

  33. T. Bejma Says:

    #29

    Besides being expensive (that is to be expected since it is the first vehicle with this type of powertrain), there is nothing wrong with the Volt (as every automotive review, other than Faux News, has stated). There is work being done everyday to reduce the size and weight of the batteries, but due to the battery fire witch hunt, all of that has been delayed…

  34. T. Bejma Says:

    #32

    pedro,

    Why should electric power be any different than mpg? Maybe Faux News should take GM to small claims court like the Honda owner…

    I can get a Volt to get 5 miles out of a full charge, I can also get 80 miles a charge too by hypermilling, so what’s the point???

  35. HtG Says:

    Welfare Queen, that’s you T. Bejma,;) I saw Bob Lutz say that one part of the plan for Volt is to develop that T shaped battery so it can be put into different cars, thus boosting volumes beyond what Volt can do. Can you say anything about that?

    (source, Revenge of the Electric Car, extended interviews)

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #28,
    Most of those AW “Daily Drive” reports are not very comprehence, though many of them do give an mpg number. With the Prius, they might have only burned 1-2 gallons of gas making it impossiblr to get accurate results from a fill up. They could have, and should have given the readout from the computer, though. I assume the car has an mpg readout.

  37. T. Bejma Says:

    #35

    Can’t speak for the Ultimate Car Guy, but I believe he was referring to what I said before, trying to reduce the size and weight of the batteries. Right now, it would take a total tear up of a chassis to put in that large battery pack, but if we could somehow get it more efficient (same 40 mile range, half the size) then it could go in several different vehicles. Kind of like the e-assist in the Buicks (sacrifice a little trunk room and get higher mileage) – Now standard on the Regal!

  38. Autos101 Says:

    #37 r u retired? How come you goof off work all day long? SHouldn’t u at least mow my lawn, Welfare Queen?

  39. Autos101 Says:

    On second thot, just do my carpets, the condo association does the lawn anyway.

  40. Autos101 Says:

    #36 old AW issues used to have detailed tests of a model on each issue, including depreciation, owner’s likes and dislikes, cost of 5 typical parts, and a breakdown of actual MPG by track and rest of it.

  41. HtG Says:

    thanks TB. So the smaller the pack, the more possibilities for using the technology. Is the path of being able to use more of a battery’s charge where the focus is? Add to that the current jihad to get weight down, and things get interesting.

  42. T. Bejma Says:

    #38

    I spend about 15 minutes per day on here (and you can tell by MY volume – or lack there of – posts).

    How about you? Unemployed probably… No wait, old BMW driver… Bartender!!

  43. Autos101 Says:

    #42 DUMBASS: Get a clue, fool.

  44. Autos101 Says:

    Welfare Queen…

  45. Autos101 Says:

    No wonder your stupid, Stupid Volt is the YUGO of the 21st century, fool.

  46. Autos101 Says:

    #42 and don’t assume that everybody else is as huge a loser as you are, Welfare Queen.

  47. T. Bejma Says:

    #45

    It is “you’re” stupid, not “your” stupid…

  48. HtG Says:

    Uh oh

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    it’s called deceptive advertising, when you claim 35 mi per charge and you get less than 20 that is quite a difference. So the so-called bargain ain’t such a bargain after all, and I suppose it gets worse as the battery gets older.

  50. T. Bejma Says:

    GM did not claim 35 miles per charge, as you said, the EPA did.

    Maybe the we should take the EPA to small claims court…

  51. dcars Says:

    Germany has no interest in helping GM. They have to much capacity in Europe and they would rather see one of their companies survive.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG ( and any other F1 fan here as well )

    Carve out about two hours of time . Grab what ever beverage you’re favoring today and give this a watch ;

    http://silodrome.com/1987-detroit-f1-gp/

    Boy ! When F1 was still a sport and Detroit was a place for all Americans to be proud of .

    sigh

  53. tj Martin Says:

    Jeeze the rhetoric today has gone straight to Hades in my absence ….. hasn’t it ;-)

    I’m staying the ( bleep ) out of this war of words .

  54. tj Martin Says:

    CHRYSLER SUPERBOWL AD ;

    Well Johnny Mac I gotta tell ya , the only thing I wanted to hit after watching Clint lie thru his teeth , doubling back on his comments of less than three months ago all for ” A Few Dollars More ” …..

    was first the TV …… and then Mr Eastwood’s lying two faced chin

    Luckily I value my hands and the TV more than my anger and Clint was no where to be found . Lucky for Clint that is 8)

  55. Donan Iacovone Says:

    All I can say is it’s about time that diesels have more incentives.

  56. cwolf Says:

    Did any of you read on one of the other sites the other day that the demand for the Prius C is so great in Japan it may be mid year until their demand is met? Outlook for them to hit US dealers in any amount would follow. I expect the amount over MSRP will discourage many.

  57. cwolf Says:

    Must be the case of too many personalities out of the bottle at once. The sock-puppet is cuss’in up a storm!

  58. cwolf Says:

    I saw my first Veloster today! Looking out the back window must be a chore.

  59. cwolf Says:

    T Bejma
    You should feel real threatened by the guy who can only afford used cars and a condo!LOL

    By the way: Reguarding the ATS tire size,I have read 45 and 50 series on the standard model. Can you find out the size for sure? Hope it’s a 50 series and a touring model is offered.

  60. T. Bejma Says:

    Sure cwolf, I will check on the tires.

  61. tj Martin Says:

    @ T.Bejima

    At the risk of sounding like I’m in any way interjecting myself into this war of words you’re having with 101 I’d like to say this in continuation from the discussion yesterday ;

    The best thing you can hope for ( being a GM employee ) right now is the following ;

    #1 That GM’s Bean Counters finally get the Stones to stand up to Obamacins and drop the VOLT completely which by most counts is losing between $15 -25K per unit sold

    #2 That those same Bean Counter get smart enough to drop GM down to two brands ( Cadillac and Chevy) keeping the Buick nameplate for the Chinese market only … not that that will matter much in two years or so but …

    #3 That Obamacins finally gather the cojones up to tell Marchionne to Put Up or Shut Up …. which he won’t be able to do finally allowing the inevitable ( Chryslers demise ) to happen which will then open the doors for GM to hopefully get back on THIER OWN two feet

    #4 That your marketing mavens ( idiots IMHO ) get off their pretentious attempts at trying to make Cadillac in ANY way a competitor to BMW / Mercedes / Lexus and rather start advertising the cars as what they are ..

    American Luxury Cars with a touch of performance

    # 5 That Chevy wakes up to the Silver Bullet they’ve been sitting on ( 2004 Nomad concept ) for going on eight years now that’d prove ( assuming y’all did it right ) to be the American MINI buster and success story of all time

    ( you have no clue Bejima how many in the HR community including myself offered an upfront downpayment for the Nomad had Chevy produced it )

    And finally … in light of #5 I’m guessing there’s a whole slew of gems your Mgt has been keeping in the closet , due to a lack of what ever .. that the American Public would jump all over sales wise …. so let em out already !!!!

    There T Bejima . That positive enough for you ?

  62. cwolf Says:

    WOW!,tj, I’m really impressed with your #61.
    A++ for you.

  63. tj Martin Says:

    Tj’s Prius experience of the Month

    Today . Running errands this morning at our favorite neighborhood .

    Little old lady pulls up to the stop light when its red . Prius does its turn off thing ( 2011 w/ 900 miles ) Light turns green ….

    Nada ! No Electric motor . No ICE motor . No power ! Nada

    So ….. I drop my shopping and help push her Prius to the side ( in spite i might add of a wounded paw and a hell of e head cold ) and have a look . As far as I could tell it had no juice left . At all .

    So then…… another Prius owner comes over to lend a hand .

    Takes one look at her car gauges and says as I thought the battery was all but drained .

    But wait ! The best is yet to come !

    He then tells the little old lady … and I quote : after telling her we needed to get her a tow ;

    ” This is a pretty common problem with the Prius whenever the temperature is below 34 degrees ( it was 32 )

    Imagine my surprise ( not ) Too bad there’s no video function here so’s I could show y’all my ‘ Shocked ‘ face

    This’ll have to do

    ;-)

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee, Tj looks like I am gonna stick to good ole noisy, stinky, shaky Vibrolla after all. No payments, low ins rates.

  65. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Molto grazie

  66. T. Bejma Says:

    #61

    Thanks for injecting an interesting bit of intelligent thought into the mix today. Much appreciated.

    BTW, did you miss this one (#27) today? What is BMW thinking?

    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/07/bmw-nixing-335d-in-favor-of-new-3-series-hybrid/

  67. C-Tech Says:

    @17
    It is my opinion that Cruze is a stupid name. I don’t need to justify it to you. Most people don’t speak Latin, so if Prius is misspelled, who cares? (wait, don’t answer that). Auto101 why do call people names on this site?

  68. cwolf Says:

    I am surprised no one shared my curiousity about the GM/Opel/UAW King arrangement. In short,I was told a couple reps who visited Germany in the last year thought it to be a bad idea. First off,Germans are very worried and mad about saving other Euro butts. Second,the MB plant in S.Carolina has not met predictions so whatever % promised to their union is less. Because of these 2 occurances,Kings purpose to convince the worker to accept a pay cut seems as a death toll for him and distancing ties between the unions. I was told 2 or maybe 3 plants may be closed if a mutual understanding cannot be reached that will make Opel sustainable PDQ!
    My take: I predict the Germans will have to accept similar sacrifices the UAW had to make here. The UAW is in a tough spot and the right to work talk is adding to their troubles. If King can pull this off,my guess the UAW is directed to a global approach to unite,strengthen and collaborate collectively. For now,the plot deepens.

  69. XA351GT Says:

    Acura NSX , beautiful car with that god awful grille. Wille someone fire the idiot that came up with that joker grin already. They have nice looking cars until you see that monstrosity on the front of them.

    The Chevy truck ad. Ford don’t get your panties in a wad. No one will believe that ad any more than the Jepp ads from years back with the tag line ” Go any where ,Jeep” and featured it driving through snow over top of it or the guy parking on the the roof of his A frame house to adjust his TV antenae. Oh wait damn , people did believe that. That explains why every time there are 6 snow flakes those idiots are on the roofs in the median tying up traffic for the rest of us with 2WD .

  70. Shane Crilly Says:

    If memory serves, GM as a condition of its rescue, was supposed to sell Opel. It had buyers, but as in every deal made that would result in competition scotched it.
    Of course, while Opel has cost GM it has also provided it with most of its modern intellectual capital. Without Opel GM would be stuck in the lead sled era. But is GM really learning or just continuing the big con job?

  71. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I said several years ago,maybe a bit longer,that the batteries used in these pie-in-the-sky hybrids are junk,and dangerous,(prone to fire/explosion.I also brought up MANY times that testing (long term,like a car loan term) should be done.Not just the run around maybe when it’s cold,maybe when it’s hot etc.NOTHING beats the long term test in REAL WORLD day to day stuff.

    Diesels for the near future…..why bother now.They have become so polluted out that the mpg/power/durability factor isn’t there anymore.It is gone and won’t come back in what I see as the near foreseeable future.Too bad they are a day late and a buck three fifty short.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Several people here don’t seem to know, but Priuses are very reliable, the battery typically lasts 150K miles, and the battery, in the unlikely event you need one, costs about 3000, new, and used ones are available from wrecks. That’s the way it is. If you don’t like hybrids, so be it, but, in least in the case of Prius, they work very well.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #56,
    AW had a piece about that a couple days ago.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #27, 66,
    The engine in the 335d was too big. It performed very well, but didn’t get enough better mileage than gassers of the last few years to make sense, and the upcoming 4 cylinder gas turbo in the 3 series will beat its mpg, while making about the same power.

    For a diesel to make sense in the 3 series, it needs to be one of the excellent 4 cylinder diesels they sell in the rest of the world, but not in the U.S. Those DO get exceptional mpg, while providing adequate performance.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #27,66
    Unless they can do better than they are doing with the hybrid versions of the bigger cars, BMW should forget the hybrid 3 series. Leave hybrids to those who know how to do them properly, which seems to be Toyota, and maybe Ford.

  76. T. Bejma Says:

    Yeah, Ford is just tearing it up in the Hybrid market… Hybrid Fusions and Escapes are just flying off the lots!!!

    Come on Kit, really???? Even Hyundai is doing better than Ford when it comes to Hybrids. Ford will do what it always does and sit on the sideline with some lame offerings until someone hits a home run and then copy that…

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Fusion and MKZ hybrids work well, and get much better mpg than the standard versions. That is what I’m talking about, not sales numbers. The MKZ hybrid is making up a higher percentage of MKZ sales than Ford expected, though.

    The Fusion hybrid, by most accounts, drives better than the Sonata hybrid, and the two get about the same mpg.

  78. tj Martin Says:

    @ T Bejima

    re; What is BMW thinking

    Damn good question in light of the fact that every BMW engineer thats gone public has stated clearly that the only thing they see as a more useless waste of time and effort than E/V’s are Hybrids

    So I guess we can assume BMW doesn’t listen to their engineers either

    Damn ! No one listens to me , the engineers , scientists , financial experts , the buying public …… nobody !

    And then they come crying when the ( bleep ) hits the fan

  79. tj Martin Says:

    @ T. Bejima

    after say 2 pm est I’ll put up my ” What an American Car Should Be ” rant

    In the mean time go buy a copy of this ;

    http://www.amazon.com/Popcorn-Report-Faith-Future-Company/dp/B000C4SGNM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328803620&sr=1-1

    …. and then hand it off to your superiors

    Heck if you search around a bit you can get a whole case of them for less than a $100 , so buy a gross and hand them out as Valentines Day favors .

    Suffice it to say if GM ( and FORD & Chrysler ) would follow the advice Mz Popcorn tried to give back in the 90′s ( do what you do well and stop trying to do what everyone else is doing ) none of the ( not so ) Big Three would be in the mess they’re in

    Not to mention probably of gotten my automotive dollars as well as the Mrs

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A hint that a 4 cylinder 3 series diesel might make it to America:

    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/07/bmw-nixing-335d-in-favor-of-new-3-series-hybrid/

    See the third paragraph.

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why do we have to beg to get European-bound stuff to come here as well, what the hell has happened to this country? Specially from the so-called “American” companies.

  82. Autos101 Says:

    #80 Interesting.

  83. XA351GT Says:

    T Bejima @76, Yep Ford will sit around just like they did with the Mustang right? They’re called Pony cars ,because they created that market segment. Just like the model T followed everyone else. What the hell kind of revisionist history do you think your writing? All manufacturers get it right and have others copy once in a while. so why your slap at Ford I can’t see. You know what for people that want a Hybrid that doesn’t look like a turd with wheels the Escape and Fusion do just fine.