Episode 826 – EVs not Selling in Europe, Ford’s Redesigned B-Max, Audi’s Bahn-Storming RS 4 Avant

February 15th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:42

Uh-oh, there’s more trouble in green-car land.  Like China, EVs are simply not selling in Europe.  The stage is set for Ford to unveil its redesigned B-Max compact MPV.  It will take a bow in less than two weeks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.  Audi is getting ready to drop a bomb — a 450-horsepower explosive charge in the form of its new RS 4 Avant.  All that and more, plus John answers your questions and responds to your questions in the weekly “You Said It!” segment.

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This is Autolne Daily for February 15. And now, the news.

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Uh-oh, there’s more trouble in green-car land. Yesterday we reported how a big switch to electric cars will increase pollution in China because of how much coal is used to generate electricity. Today, Ward’s reports that EVs are just not selling in Europe. Last year only 11,500 Europeans bought electric passenger cars, representing 0.09 percent of the market. This, despite generous subsidies to buy EVs and gasoline prices that are over $7 a gallon. Here’s my Autoline Insight. Most people in Europe live in apartment buildings and they don’t have anyplace to plug in. And they don’t want to park at public charging stations that in most cases are blocks away from where they live.

Other alternative transportation providers are struggling as well. Zipcar, which rents out cars by the hour, just reported a bigger financial loss in its first quarter than what analysts were expecting. Its stock took dropped 14 percent on the news.

Speaking of stock, GM announced yesterday that an investment firm, Capital Research Global Investors, bought 5.8 percent of the company. That’s a pretty good vote of confidence. GM is expected to report a net profit tomorrow somewhere around $8 billion.

The stage is set for Ford to unveil its redesigned B-Max. This compact MPV will take a bow in less than two weeks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. This will be the first vehicle ever introduced at the event, which is basically a cell phone show! Executive Chairman Bill Ford will give the keynote address. As for the vehicle itself, it’s built on the Fiesta architecture, features dual sliding doors and will offer a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine or a one-six diesel. It will also be shown at the Geneva show next month.

Speaking of that pleasantly neutral country in central Europe, Kia also has an important product to reveal in Switzerland. The second-generation Cee’d hatchback is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. This five-door also gets stylish new bodywork and a redesigned interior. From the grille to the dashboard layout, the new Cee’d is 100 percent Kia, which isn’t a bad thing. You can bet we’ll have more details on it when they become available.

Audi is readying its latest Autobahn burner — and it’s got room for the wife and kids! The RS 4 Avant will deliver blistering performance with wagon practicality. It’s powered by a hand-built 4.2-liter V-8 delivering a staggering 450 horsepower. If you do the math, that’s 108 ponies per liter – from a naturally aspirated engine! It’s matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for near-instant gear changes. Delivers to German customers are expected to start this fall. Base price of the RS 4 Avant is nearly €77,000. That’s 100 grand and some pocket change.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

MJB heard me criticize the type of motorized seat belt that became known as the electric mouse and says, “I, for one, LOVED the track-mounted active restraint belts on my 1991 Acura Integra! In fact, when I finally had to sell the car, it was that feature I knew I’d miss the most.” Wow, that takes a lot of courage to admit that MJB.  You’re the first person in the world I’ve ever heard about who liked that system.

Dave liked our report on what GM has done to make the Malibu quieter, “The Malibu shows how far GM has come in a decade. Compare that 2013 to the 2003 Malibu and you’d be shocked they came from the same company.” Yep, that’s what happens when true car people, led by product enthusiasts like Bob Lutz, get to override the finance people who would cheapen up the product to try to save some money.

Lex was disappointed in what we had to say about the Honda CR-V. “It is unfortunate that your review of the New CR-V was poor. My family are all loyal Honda owners. When it comes time to get new vehicles Hyundai/Kia models will be on the top of our shopping lists.”  Lex, as we pointed out, there are a lot of positive attributes to the CR-V. I would still suggest test driving it and its competitors before you make any decision.

T. Bejma wants to know, “John – Do you think the big increase in large truck sales is a sign of a recovering economy? I sure do. The first thing to get this country going is manufacturing, and what do you need to move things around? Big trucks.” I’ve got to tell you, in my entire career I have never seen big trucks post such big sales gains as they’re doing right now. They are setting all-time records, and that really bodes well for the U.S. economy.

C-Tech saw our report on how much car sales may grow in China. “35 million vehicles in China will drive gas prices to what level? $7/gallon?” I don’t know if gas prices will go that high, but that increase in sales in China is like adding the entire U.S. car market on top of what China is already selling, and doing that in the next four years. It’s hard to believe that will actually happen.

A final note here. We had been getting complaints from a number of you who regularly post comments on our website that the tone of a couple of people was getting downright nasty and personal. The only reason we even have a comment section is to allow you, our viewers, to post your ideas, comments, insight and information. We actually learn from this, and have picked up some really good story ideas to pursue. But we are not going to tolerate bullying, name calling or rude behavior. And so we temporarily banned a couple of people from posting. We welcome big arguments over issues, not personal attacks. And we welcome anyone who wants to follow this kind of format.

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

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90 Comments to “Episode 826 – EVs not Selling in Europe, Ford’s Redesigned B-Max, Audi’s Bahn-Storming RS 4 Avant”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the last comment, well said John. When I read the main story about EV’s not selling well in Europe, my fist thought was: Where are they selling. period? you know the main problem with EV’s is that in urban areas, where they make the most sense, you have no place to recharge them, out in the suburb where they don’t make as much sense, that is not an issue. BTW I knew that Zip car idea was going nowhere, it made no sense at all, around these parts you can rent a car for a whole day for just a little more $$ than that Zip car idea.

  2. david sprowl Says:

    So, IF those car sales numbers in China bear out, then I would think that would mean significant increase in wages to afford those cars. If that happens does not some of the wage advantage dissipate? I can remember the wage criticism being leveled at the Japanese in the 70′s, now look at it.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The idea of zip car makes a certain amount of sense, except that, in urban areas where it is offered, like DC and Boston, you have the alternative of public transit.

  4. motorman Says:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_781632.html This will help sell EVs too bad they will be Prius not Volts. GM should have a Prius type vehicle in the $20K range and I bet they would sell. My guess GM does not want a EV in the $20K range as it would cut in to the sales of their prime money making cars and the EV would most likely be a money loser.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to TTAC, a study by the NC State University shows that brand perception of Toyota has changed little or none at all despite the recalls and BS acceleration stories, but then again a lot of us here knew that would be the case, right?

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I, like many Europeans as John mentioned, would have no place to plug in an EV or plug-in hybrid at my condo in Florida. When in Indiana, I wouldn’t want to plug one in, because I would be fueling my car with coal.

  7. Jon M Says:

    John, The news about EV sales in Europe, while hardly surprising, is interesting. It’s typical for a manufacturer to drop slow-selling products unless there is a good business reason to continue (e.g. sales of an unprofitable product enhancing sales of other profitable products). But in this case, there is pressure on automakers to increase their average fuel ratings. It will be interesting to see then whether the lethargic sales of EVs will prompt automakers to invest more in diesel engines as a means of lowering their CAFE ratings.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    HEeeeee’s back !

    ( a little worse for wear , but back in the saddle )

    Many thanks to cwolf , pedro , HtG etc for your support .

    As well as thanks to Ben and John for reconsidering

    And now to the additional automotive news ;



    Well … they’re not selling anywhere , but never the less in Obamacins new Budget proposal , he’s calling for an increase in sales incentives , from $7,500 per car to $10,000 per automobile .

    Paid for by you and I ( Tax Payers ) of course


    The news on Wall Street is $5 a gallon by summer . Any bets that by the time the pumps hit $4 consumption will slump , OPEC will again drop their prices and we’ll be right back to $3 and some change ?


    Have a look at what some are calling the Ugliest F1 cars ever

    autosport.com ( galleries )

    IMHO – F1 cars haven’t been truly ‘ good ‘ looking since the eighties , so I’ll reserve judgement based on how ‘ Beautifully ‘ they do or don’t perform

    FYI the new 2012 McLaren is the only one not going down the Fugly route , so we’ll see who’s concepts are the winners for 2012 , Fugly or not half bad looking .

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 I don’t think so! from conversations I’ve had with some new vehicle buyers, they all wanted to get something more frugal than what they had before, I’m referring to middle income folks who have had enough of $80 fill ups with their ginormous SUV’s and are now getting into 4 cyl vehicles and realize they have to get used to less acceleration and power for the sake of saving $$$, but none of these folks would have even considered getting an EV, just the fact that you have to charge the thing every night is a factor that they just don’t want to deal with. Specially in areas that are prone to losing electric power for day after a storm, then that is another issue you’ve got to deal with. Here in So. Fla the county govt mandated gas stations to have generators installed so they can still pump gas in case of power outages.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    And Elvis has re-entered the building, thank you, thank you very much!

  11. tj Martin Says:



    Oh please , say it aint so . Say its all a fabrication on behalf of Mr Musk to promote his 21st century version of the DeLorean .

    What am I talking about ? Well it seems ( jalopnik ) that some folks have plunked down some $40 million in deposits for the TESLA X ( box ) that at this point doesn’t even exist .

    Ugh !

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    If the Iran thing blows up I cannot imagine what will happen to the price of gas,

  13. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    Ford keeps saying they are “One Ford”Well,If so,Why don’t we get the regular C-Max,Grand C-Max and the B-Max? I for one would buy the B-Max in a heartbeat as it’s the perfect size small utility vehicle I am looking for. I know there are some foreign cars in the U.S. in this catagory but I am a loyal Ford owner and wish to stay loyal.Europe seems to get all the neat vehicles where we here in the U.S. can only dream.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Can someone check how the new Focus is selling compared to the outgoing model?

  15. C-Tech Says:

    The B-max does look good and practical. It kind of reminds me of the Dodge Hornet concept vehicle. This is a design Ford should consider bringing here or GM and Dodge stealing!

  16. MJB Says:

    Hey, just want to offer up my 2-mites on a comment Kit made to episode 824 a couple of days ago in reference to the use of hard plastic in car interiors.

    #54 “They are durable, and easy to clean. I never touch anything in a car except the controls and seats, so what difference does it make if stuff is hard?”

    …Perception, that’s all.

    Perception (as far as automotive interiors are concerned) says cheap things are hard and resilient, while quality, high-end things are soft and supple.

    You may never ‘touch’ anything other than the buttons and knobs, but try convincing buyers of flagship Audis or Bentleys that only the materials with which ones hand comes in direct, regular contact matter.

    I mean sure, for the Chevy Aveo’s, Ford Fiesta’s, and other rental-market destined offerings, yeah. For pickup trucks and Jeep Wranglers and other vehicles where cleanability is more important than easthetic or tactile appeal, yeah. Toss around the hard plastic. But automakers should not try getting away with that sort of thing on a grand scale.

    I’m glad they’re paying closer attention now to auto interiors.

  17. MJB Says:

    Great having you back, tj!

  18. HtG Says:

    Let’s hope we can have a good debate in the future, but without avoidable harshness. It’s both a strength and weakness of comment boards on the web that we can lose our restraint, but it’s still vital to use judgement. Besides, who’s significant other wants to hear this car stuff?

  19. HtG Says:

    EVs. We read that Obama would like to give an direct rebate of 10K to buyers. If this price break opens the wallets of less affluent people, then maybe Carlos Ghosn’s expectation that early adopters will do the word of mouth marketing for EVs will be put to the test.( He said this in Revenge of the Electric Car)

    Ford at Mobile World Congress. This geek convention will also be the place where Microsoft begins the roll out of its new Windows OS. Phones are one category of mobile devices now, and cars are one element.
    Thought you’d get some work done today? Here’s a link to a BBC documentary on the making of McLaren’s latest street super car.


  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Willkommen Herman, TTAC just published the JD Power 2012 new car dependability study and once again it’s the Lexus and Porsches of the world in first place while all the Chrysler stuff is still at the bottom, Merc now clearly leads BMW and Honda has fallen behind Hyundai! What the heck has been happening behind those Honda corporate walls is unexplicable.

  21. Lex Says:

    John McElroy,

    Thank you for your Zero Tolerance when it comes to bullying, name calling or rude behavior.

    Will either the Redesigned Ford C-Max or Kia Cee’d be coming to the US? Those two vehicles look like really good people movers especially in an urban setting. Will the Ford Grand C-Max get a similar redesign? As my parents have gotten older they love being taken around in my Odyssey because it is so easy for them to get in and out of with those siding rear doors. Any Chance of those OEM product guys or gals out there who will consider bring a Grand C-Max or Kia Cee’d type vehicle to the US with rear siding doors?

    The Aston Martin inspired grill on the new Ford Fusion and C-Max is fantastic. My only concern is how well it holds up in Consumer Reports Bumper Bash Test?

  22. C-Tech Says:

    It seems the ideal EV owner lives within 10 miles of almost everything they need, has a garage at home where they can park and recharge the EV, and has enough disposable income to afford a $40K EV AND a conventional gas vehicle. How big and profitable is THAT market?

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Molto Grazie MJB !

    QUALITY and Perception ;

    First off I’ll heartily agree with MJB’s comments on #16

    The ‘ hard ‘ plastics ‘ wear no better and in fact if anything become more brittle over time , subjecting the bits to cracking , deterioration etc .

    Quality ( true quality ) is by intent designed to last whereas Cheap is Cheap and intended to be replaced often and soon

    Second off was the whole ‘ Quality ‘ issue that was brought up the other day ( yes I been looking in ) where it was stated that somehow ‘ Quiet ‘ and ‘ Quality ‘ go hand in hand .

    Rubbish I say !

    To put it bluntly , the SRX and the CTS wagon’s I’d driven/rented were both ‘ Quieter ‘ than my GLK

    So , for that matter is the Lincoln Town Car our driver uses to tote us to and from the Airport etc .

    But ………. both the Cadillacs and the Lincoln’s materials , workmanship , construction etc are in fact Substandard to any of the Euro or Japanese premium brands , as well as my personal ride .

    Add to the above that the Cadillacs and the Lincoln being so ‘ Quiet ‘ as to isolate you from the driving experience so much as to be distracting . Which is not in fact a trait of ‘ Quality ‘ either .

    Whereas BMW’s M-B’s , the bespoke Lexus and ( choke ) even Audi give you enough Quiet and isolation to keep the majority of outside noise at bay : allowing even the most subtle String 4tet music at my preferred volumes ( low ) to be absolutely enjoyed to the fullest , while keeping one fully aware of ones surroundings , allowing one to react in time to avoid any mishaps !

    No gentlemen . Quality is an Overall trait and can not be isolated to any one or two items .

    Quiet is Not in Fact Quality . One single aspect of quality yes , but not the defining trait by which to judge whether or not something is genuinely ;


  24. Scott M Says:


    I guess I can assume the Ford B-Max is not bound for the US. It is ashame that the only why to get sliding rear doors is to buy a minivan. I wish the manufacturers would offer them on vehicles like the Escape. Having two kids under the age of three drives my desire to see this feature, but my wife and I do not want a minivan!

  25. HtG Says:

    23 ciao, tj. On quality, I remember sitting in the Honda Insight, and being stunned by cheap and hard feeling plastics. The Fit was the same. But one interpretation I have is that we americans just don’t have the buying power we used to have. Did you see how upscale the Civic hatch is in Europe? All that plastic in the Camry also has me wondering. (plus, look at the yen value)

  26. guybob Says:

    thanks you for your comments on tone of posts becoming personal. i have exited most forums because of the attitude of some posters. i come here for your straightforward reporting and informed feedback. keep up your excellent work.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    Isn’t it a bit Ironic that we in the US get only the cheapest ( in the case of Honda’s etc ) or the most loaded up and expensive ( e.g. BMW M-B Jaguar ) with almost none of the InBetween options that it seems everyone else but us in the World gets ?

    For all our so called ‘ Buying Power ‘ it sure feels like ( when you’re overseas ) that the rest of the World gets unlimited options , whereas we get …….. well what ever the ‘ Bean Counters ‘ want us to get .

    Hmmmn !

    ( PS I’m assuming your ‘ absence ‘ was in support so Molto Grazie and DonkeysAreTheSame to you as well :o )

  28. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    to john mcelroy,

    thank you for your words at the end of today’s program. they were much needed.

    looking forward to future programs to comment on.


  29. HtG Says:

    26 I do care very much about who is reading and writing on the forum, tj. It’s no fun if people are absent or driven away. Yes, I was deliberately quiet, for reasons I explained to John.

  30. Chuck Grenci Says:

    There was an article in my local paper (I’m sure it was a national article just gleaned for the business section) that mentioned that Toyota had gained back market share, but here’s the clincher, they said that some of this could be attributed to ‘fleet sales’, ah-oh; slippery slope here. So, I believe maybe Toyota is still reeling a bit about their recalls, quality issues, etc.

    Agree with tj about quiet and quality not always going hand in hand, though, quality usually is a prerequisite to achieve quiet. But don’t agree that the Caddys’ of the world are as far from quality as tj alludes; plenty of horror stories (for most of the luxury vehicle manufacturers) out there (except maybe Lexus), but some of their shortcomings involves ‘soul-less’ execution in the pursuit of road feel/driving.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    But Wait ! Uno mas !

    E/V’s & HYBRIDs

    Its interesting to read in the UK and EU Press this week , leading up to the Geneva Auto Show that as Mercedes BMW and VW-Audi are releasing Hybrids , with planned E/V’s : borrowing technology from other manufactures as well as Williams F1 etc that …

    All three have come out this week ( too many links to post as well as some being print only ) saying …. and I quote ;

    ” E/V’s and Hybrids are not …. will not ….. and never will be a viable and fully functioning alternative to the ICE and in fact Hydrogen is the ONLY technology with a genuine Future ”

    Which …. is why Benz BMW etc are ‘ borrowing ‘ not creating their own Hybrid/EV technology … preferring to invest their time , money and efforts in what they consider to be the ‘ Real ‘ future of automobiles .

    This is gonna get real interesting gentlemen ;-)

    ( FYI as has been made obvious by my previous posts I’m in complete agreement with BMW / M-B / VW-Audi on this one )

  32. MJB Says:


    I second that. No minivans here either. And we, too have two (boys) – ages 2 & 4, but will just make due with what we’ve got.

    Heck, my parents used to haul my brother and I around in a 2-door ’78 Old’s Delta 88 as well as several other 2-door cars back in the day.

    I was just thinking to myself the other day, however, your same quandry – why are there no non-minivan vehicles offered with sliding rear doors? And what would they be called? They’re not quite station wagons. Not quite minivans.

    I know…Miniwagons! DISCO!

  33. HtG Says:

    Cost cutting at GM

    WSJ’s Sharon Terlep reports GM will cut bonuses and pension contributions for 2011. Even though the company will report record annual profit, it failed on other metrics. A quote from the $$ article.

    “The company will pay smaller annual bonuses despite an expected record profit because net income is only one factor in determining payouts. A variety of metrics, including earnings before interest and taxes and free cash flow, determine the amount. GM is not at the level it wants to be when it comes to margins, the percentage of revenue left after paying expenses, those people said.”


  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Its my understanding from todays press reports that in fact GM will be posting huge loses , due to the Decline and Fall of OPEL as well as declining sales with their Vauxhall and Holden subsidiary’s

    So where’s the contradiction coming from IYHO ?

  35. HtG Says:

    33 I have no idea, but when they formally release the figures, we’ll see

    I just checked out what Bill Ford will talk about in Barca for his keynote at the MobileWorldCongress. He’s talking about ‘ubiquitous connectivity’ and his vision of the ‘connected future’ among other things. The speeck will be webcast, from what I can gather.

    Interesting story about sensors. ARM president talked a bit about a sensors being embedded in concrete, and using vibrations in the concrete to power the chips. I’m guessing this is piezoelectric tech, but I don’t know what the implications are.

  36. dave marsh Says:

    #31 MJB – I second your notion re the sliding doors – our Mazda 5 is a good mix of size and flexibility (3 kids) – it’s even better in garages and parking lots where I know the kids are not going to open the doors and hit other cars/walls, etc.

    Re the zip cars – yes in urban areas they make sense and even when there is local GOOD public transit, errands like shopping and going to the doctors with kids in the winter are made very much easier with services like zip cars.

    I think there is a strong tendency to forget the use case that families bring when some of the automotive “opinions” are made.

    Case in point – on Tesla’s “new” X – how the #$%^ do you open the door once you’ve parked that in the garage? That bottom sill edge looks like it will sweep out a long way as it traverses it’s way up into the garage door overhead.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    #23 I’m living the quiet is not automatic quality fact, sister’s Journey is very quiet for the price point and the driving dynamics and of course the brakes are not at the same level.

  38. paulstewart Says:

    Thanks John for that comment & temporarily banning indivudials that can’t talk civilly on your site ! Long time listener for well over a Decade in Michigan.

  39. tj Martin Says:


    ” Thought you’d get some work done today? Here’s a link to a BBC documentary on the making of McLaren’s latest street super car ”


    Brilliant !!!!!!! Highly recommended . Worth the 59 minutes !

    Too bad we here neither have a company like McLaren to toot our horns about , as well as the fact that talent like American Frank Stephenson needs to go to the UK to ply his wares rather than in the US

    Funny also that Ron Dennis has accomplished all that with nary a Dime ( £ ) of UK Government money , whereas TESLA and Fisker are constantly begging for more .

    Things in the US manufacturing , financing off and development wise needs a serious re-think . FAST !!!!!

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    This so-called auto expert on TTAC wrote an article saying that when it comes to buying used, “Brands mean nothing” sometime I wonder where the heck these people get their ideas from? So when anyone goes to a used car lot and they have a Cobalt and a Civic from the same year and condition, insist that the Civic be sold at the same price as the Cobalt cause Mr. Lang and expert from TTAC says brands mean nothing!

  41. HtG Says:

    38 McLaren. I also wondered how Ron Dennis is paying for this production. Cwolf may have an opinion about McLaren’s set up. I look at the core tub and can imagine a convertible and a sedan to come. It seems McLaren’s prize jewel is its method of making the core tub cheaply enough.

  42. HtG Says:

    Looks like maybe Rick Santorum watches AutolineAfterHours.


  43. pedro fernandez Says:


  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    AP picked up the JD Power story with this headline: Lexus tops and Toyota products have 5 models at the top of the list while Chrysler and Land Rover take the bottom spots, Boy, this is deja vu all over again! Go ahead Sergio, call another Castro-like press conference and try to get out of this one.

  45. HtG Says:

    pump prices here have reached 3.91 for 87.

  46. tj Martin Says:


    Jeeze HtG …. you must be psychic ( MP4-12C convertible ) Or should that be psychotic ? I never can get those two straight


    Pick up a copy of February CAR . Its all in there , along with a complete scoop on the upcoming ” New ” McLaren F1 road car

    How does Ron do all this you ask ? Private financing , much of it from his Middle Eastern partners . That and a whole lot of success in F1 despite Uncle Bernie’s constant fines and harassment . As well as a long habit of hiring the Best and the Brightest the Industry has to offer


    #43 I love it ! Marchionne’s Madness Marches On !

  47. tj Martin Says:

    #41 – Sorry but I’m missing the point as well

  48. T. Bejma Says:


    Sorry tj, no huge losses at GM. Although I am not told what earnings are before any of you, I do know that there will be profit. Opel is only a small piece of the overall pie and can not alone drag down all of GM when there are record profits in North America, China, Brazil and other smaller regions…

  49. cwolf Says:

    What a wonderful day in the neighborhood.What a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Will you be my;will you be my; won’t you be my neighbor? (Mr. Rogers theme song just seemed fitting,doncha know!)

    Without seeing the names,I could tell,by the lenght of scroll and my sore eyes from reading,that THEIR BACK! Good call John McElroy and thanks.

    OK guys enough XXX &OOO’s! Throw those infants out of that Ford C and B segment van thingy because I discovered my use for a sliding door was more important,now that I no longer have a truck. I found out that I could roll in a roto-tiller once the rear seats were folded without the use of ramps! The lil’van was low enough that if I parked close to a ledge along several driveways, I could just drive the tiller right in. Pretty cool,eh? And of corse, I had to fold down the handles. Too bad they AINT com’in here,except in hybred and no slider. Keep wishing!

  50. tj Martin Says:

    # 45 cont…..

    Looking at McLaren’s official site it looks like Ron’s got himself an investor from Singapore as well . A Mr Peter Lim

  51. tj Martin Says:


    Thats not what the pundits are saying . OPEL is bleeding off a fortune , Vauxhall is almost as bad and Holden is in the Red as well .

  52. HtG Says:

    Rick Santorum ad

    Sheesh, am I the only political junkie watching AAH? Don’t you guys get the reference to the Rapid Fire Rambo graphic starring our own Jason Vines?

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf or we can all sing the Barney song, I love you, you love me, as long as you don’t insult me.

  54. cwolf Says:

    By they way; don’t worry one iota about the future of Opel. My UAW Grand Puba is there to save the day!!! Gosh this man makes me proud to be a member,but I also like self inflicted wounds.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    # 51 I don’t watch that anymore, my PC stopped playing it for some unknown reason!

  56. cwolf Says:

    your a hoot, pedro!

  57. HtG Says:

    45 On McLaren iterations. When we saw the guts of the coupe a year or so ago, with its lack of a roof for structural strenth, the idea of a convertible and sedan leapt at me. When R Dennis said the exterior surfaces were only for air management, it seemed more likely.

  58. tj Martin Says:


    Profits ? In Brazil and China ?

    Fraid not there Mr Bejima . With all the discounts all the manufactures are having to offer in both Brazil and China NOBODY is making a P-R-O-F-I-T and most are in fact somewhat in the R-E-D with their sales in those countries ( CNBC Financial / Bloomberg TV )

    The numbers ( of units sold ) may look impressive , but there’s not any money coming in .

    Oh …… but I’ll bet you ten to one in spite of what every financial expert knows and is saying right now , they’ll Fudge the numbers to try and make the Bailouts and Obamacins look good .

  59. tj Martin Says:


    Must of been a bit ‘ dense ‘ on that episode

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    This JD power is really an eye opener, Infinity and Kia which are derivatives of their parent companies are doing much worse than the parents, and in the case of Infinity, being a more expensive version of Nissan, you’d think they’d be better or at least as good. except for still horrible Chrys Co, the domestics came out ahead of Honda, that whole management team needs to be replaced, Honda that is.

  61. tj Martin Says:


    Sorry mate but by all counts OPEL is ‘ Dead Man Walking ‘ and destined to become the newest SAAB ( Sob ) Story

    Methinks your Gumba was sent there in fact to drag its existence into its final chapter with as little impact as is possible for the home company

    Yeesh , just reading the Euro media’s take on OPEL is enough to send one to therapy …… for a very very long time

  62. tj Martin Says:

    Here’s just a ‘ taste ‘ of what the EU/UK media is saying about OPEL . It gets worse .. believe me :(


  63. cwolf Says:

    I’ve been reading the same scoop on Opel,tj. For sure it will take more than the “rabbit out of the hat” trick to save them.

    Things don’t look good across the globe,in fact,but some say it may be a good idea to keep your finger on the trigger for buying some stocks.

  64. T. Bejma Says:


    One of the best things that came out of the GM Bankruptcy was the adjustment of wages to a level that was realistic. Opel needs the same thing if they have any chance of survival. Perhaps with the SAAB liquidation fresh in their minds, the Europeans will take the labor cuts they need to save Opel…

  65. HtG Says:

    one also wonders about the complexity of the negotiations, since Germany and the UK both have jobs at risk.

  66. tj Martin Says:

    @ T. Bejima

    A bit of Yiddish wisdom to pass on to the Decision Makers at GM

    ” No man ever went broke making a small profit . But many a man has gone bankrupt making small loses ”

    As far as the Euro’s being willing to accept changes , its Angela Merkel herself that is demanding ( like she has any right to ) that GM sell OPEL ASAP in her words “….to a company that is capable of making OPEL profitable “

  67. tj Martin Says:


    With BMW M-B etc making money and keeping jobs as well as hiring even more ( Mercedes Benz is on a roll ) I pretty much doubt Germany or the UK are in any mood to listen to why GM can’t do the same , with the same level playing field as their competition .

    Methinks both are at the ‘ Put Up or Shut Up ‘ point with GM

    Oh but did you read the rafts of criticism being leveled this week at Germany and Merkel by her former allies … the French ? ( not Sarkozy but he’s out anyhow …. its the rest of Frances politicos that are on a tear about Germany )

    Oh dear …Oh My …….. things in the EU are gonna get way ugly …. before even a hint of ‘ Better ‘ appears on the horizon

    Thats from the cuzes !

    @cwolf – One word of advice mien freund


  68. T. Bejma Says:

    So, is Angela going to screen the companies to see who “capable”? Would Magna have made Opel profitable with the condition of the European Market if GM would have sold them 55% in 2009? How about Sergio and Fiat? Nissan (Carlos has always wanted a piece of GM), your lauded Merc? I don’t know who Angie has in mind, but I would love to know…

  69. cwolf Says:

    I don’t know what is more troubling; Merkel,the “cut-cut policy or Germany unions unwillingness to face the reality to share more of the burden.

  70. cwolf Says:

    tj:me always listens to you and the cuzes on these matters,though I hafta double check for mysalf. Thx for the heads up.

  71. HtG Says:

    67 If you were Merkel, wouldn’t it be best if the potential buyers had to compete for her hand?

  72. cwolf Says:

    tj,this is for you! J.D.Power Dependability 2012 Study reports Caddilac over MB. VW and Infinity sucking the bottom with Chry products.
    When your lease is up,put a Caddilac in your garage,my friend. Sorry,the devil made me do it!

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Soft touch” materials:
    I agree that they equate with “quality” in a lot of peoples minds, even though soft plastic on door panels,etc. often comes unglued and peals off at the edges on older cars. Still, since people think soft plastic equals high quality, Honda and others need to use soft stuff to improve their “perceived quality.”

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as quietness, it may be a “perceived quality” issue, but it’s more than that. Quieter is better, plain and simple, for mainstream cars used be non-enthusiasts. This is especially true when taking long trips. It is less tiring to be in a quiet environment. Also, a quiet car is a better place to converse, or listen to music. Yes, if you buy a $200K exotic, you want to hear the engine, but those who buy generic sedans want to hear as little sound from the car as possible.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Like it or not, most cars will burn liquid fuel for a long time, and most of it will come from petroleum. The vehicles of the future will trend to use less petroleum than in the past, as we approach those hydrogen power cars of the future (though no one knows where the hydrogen will come from).

    Anyway, for now, there are various ways to reduce fuel usage, smaller csrs, smaller engines, direct gas injection, diesels, and hybrids. Yes, hybrids which, done properly, reduce fuel usage by 50% in city driving. All of this is interim technology, but it will be around for a long time.

  76. T. Bejma Says:

    Agree with you 100% Kit. In addition, the further along in ownership that the car stays quiet, says Quality. Again, we are speaking about the general population…

  77. HtG Says:

    Kit, you might want to look at that new Azera from Hyundai. When I sat in it in DC it totally convinced me as to its quality. I remember a few years ago, sitting in a Genesis, that those guys were only simulating the real thing.

    And I hope you continue to post.

  78. Aliisdad Says:

    Wowwww…That Audi had me drooling!! What power for that car!!!

  79. tj Martin Says:

    Hmmmn . A bit quiet this morning .

    Oh well , one to start the day ;

    First ; Quality ; Quality is defined by the overall construction , materials etc …. not by again , any single standard .

    Thats half the reason T.Bejima GM is and has been in the weeds for so darn long . Your Bean Counters keep focusing on one or two aspects of the cars , leaving the rest to be substandard … thereby chasing potential customers like myself away after an extended drive in one of their so called Premium cars .

    Its the Whole Package .. or none at all that determines Quality .. for any reasonably discerning customer considering something like a Cadillac . For the rest of the range , well just look at how the Camry is beating the daylights out of GM’s mid range offerings to see once again …

    Quality is Determined by the Entire Package and not one single trait


    Second ; ” The Dog the Dog He’s Doing it Again ”

    Uncle Bernie that is . Once again against the wishes of the teams the UK and several other EU governments etc he’s insisting that the Bahrain F1 race happen in 2012 despite that fact that unrest and violence are once again on the rise


    @ Chuck Grenci – I never said Cadillac and Lincoln were that bad . Just not up to par with their Euro / Japanese competition especially at some $10-$15K more than a comparable unit

    e.g. A comparably equipped , equal performance SRX lists for almost $15K more than my GLK did .

  80. tj Martin Says:


    Sitting in a Show Car , which is usually some ten times removed from what the quality of the product that’ll make it onto the showroom floor is no indication as to how good the car may or may not be

    Come on there HtG ! You’ve been around long enough to know ALL the manufactures put their best foot forward with a meticulously assembled ‘ Show Special ‘ guaranteed to woo the general pubic into a false sense of Quality .

    Yeah … then you go take a test drive in the real thing and its like ;

    ” WTH did you guys do to this car since I last saw it at the _____ Auto Show ”

    Which is another reason I rarely go to the Shows anymore .

  81. HtG Says:

    79 I know it’s just sitting in a show car,tj: I thought that was understood. But what was striking about the Azera on the floor was how well both the outside and inside were carried off, as upscale elements. When I look at cars at the show I look at how they’re put together as well, and over the years GM and Ford products have gone parabolic. I still have to take T Bejma up on renting a Cruze, though.

    (we can have an argument about ‘quality’ later)

  82. tj Martin Says:


    Renting a car is by far the best way I’ve ever found to see just how good that car may or may not be .

    Ten days in the SRX ? – First 2 days thought I loved it . By the third I wanted to run it off a cliff . By the tenth I couldn’t wait to give the Keys back and tell Hertz what I thought of the POJ . Cant say enough Bad things about the car .

    Ten days in a C6 ? – Thought I’d hate it but by the end of the ten days I was blown away for the price being asked . Been recommending C6′s to friends and associates ever since ( sold five on my recommendation there T. Bejima including a ZR1 )

    Quality – If you want my definition … read or re-read ” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ”

    Much like your cuze I would guess ( or maybe I’m more so as I’m a composer first and foremost and demand perfection from myself even more than others ) I am Hard Core when calling something ;

    Quality ;-)

    PS; Loved the Phillip Glass in the McLaren video . Very apposite for the tour . Very !

  83. HtG Says:

    81 Off topic. He bought the Ruggeri after two hours. CRAZYTIMES, you say? Usually it takes weeks of working with a new machine before you can tell if it’s for you. But this violin was instantly right, made the sound he wanted, was easy to play. (I think the previous one was a loaner G)

  84. tj Martin Says:


    Equally off topic

    My recent instrument acquisition I was daring enough to purchase from the maker Sight Unseen ( on approval of course )

    Never did that before . Will never do it again

    Oh its perfect . Beyond what I’d hoped for . I’m just betting I’ve spent my Penny on a move like that for a lifetime

    Gotta get the cuze into a modern instrument hopefully . Its time to get beyond the Myth of Old is Better .

    I assume you read all the articles in the Times about the recent studies that uphold all about the ‘ Myth ‘that many including myself have been arguing about for the last 40 years ?

  85. HtG Says:

    Years ago he was playing around with four violins from Francais in my house. You could hear differences very clearly. This Ruggeri is especially quick in response. The study about hearing the differences doesn’t convince me, especially if you consider differences in bows, and in how hard it is to play some violins compared to others. (actually, I remember the cuze praising on violin maker on Long Island. He doesn’t care where it’s from, as long as it’s good. You should hear him slag on some Strads; something about making chairs)

  86. Jon M Says:

    I noticed the RS4 Avant was referred to as a wagon. Hmm, I wonder then how many inches in ride height it must increase until we call it a CUV? And from there, how many inches must it increase before it becomes an SUV? Oh, and since every new classification seemingly must end in “UV”, what shall we next call such cars as the RS4 Avant, ESUVs, as in extended sedan utility vehicle? I suppose “pickup truck” will start sounding too stereotypical and yucky as well. Perhaps we should call those WUVs, as in working utility vehicles. While I’m at, is it just me, or is the “V” a little redundant? Isn’t it kind of obvious that the thing being described is in fact a vehicle? Sooner or later, if cars in the style of the RS4 keep being produced, we’ll have to determine what kind of utility vehicles are such automobiles. For now, though, I suppose the old stigmatized word “wagon” will have to suffice. But will the new generation understand what it is, since we don’t describe it as a vehicle?

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current SRX is substantially improved over the original. They now have the direct injection 3.6 as standard, and there have been other improvements. The 3.0 formerly used in the SRX had to be “thrashed” way too much to get decent performance.

    BTW, a GLK is $44,385 by the time you get the premium package one, leather, 4-matic, and keyless go that it takes to make it about comparably equipped to an $47,515 AWD SRX “Performance.” See:


    I’d rather have the GLK because it is smaller, and would be “sportier.” The SRX is bigger, and heavier, but that only results in a little more back sear room.

  88. T. Bejma Says:

    I happen to have a company SRX this week and as you say Kit, the engine IS much better, but I hate to do it, as to add to the already behemoth size of his ego, butttt…

    The SRX blind spots are TOTALLY unacceptable! Worse than the Camaro due to my 6’4″ seating position (Camaro being a coupe, with the lack of a B-Pillar, is way better for side viewing). I have never been a fan of the overall looks of the vehicle (much better than the previous version though) with it’s locomotive nose so it is not even in consideration for ownership, but even if it was, the insanely large A-Pillars and D-Pillars are a deal breaker. The rest of the car as far as fit and finish, interior materials, quietness, the neat ambient lighting are all top notch in this vehicle however.

    Now, I have to ask a favor of you tj – Please only a sentence of response on the SRX. Every single person that reads this site knows you hate the SRX (already posted today). I bet that the number of times you complained about it is higher than most peoples number of posts. ;-) 57,000 people disagreed with you, so lets just let it lay. You were right, the blind spots are bad.

  89. T. Bejma Says:

    * 57,000 people in 2011 bought the SRX

  90. HtG Says: