Episode 833 – VW Posts Record Profits, Panasonic to Supply Batteries to Ford, Four-Door SLS?

February 24th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:42

Volkswagen just posted record financial results for 2011. Its earnings before interest and taxes were up 58 percent to $15.1 billion. Panasonic announced it will supply lithium-ion batteries to Ford for its hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Mercedes-Benz could be toying with the idea of a four-door SLS. Sketches of one popped up in a German patent application. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.

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Hello again and welcome to Autoline Daily. It’s Friday, the 24th of February, 2012. John is out this morning so you guys are stuck with me for the duration today, but sit tight because we’ve got a boatload of interesting news to report.

And first up, Volkswagen. The company just posted record financial results for 2011. Its earnings before interest and taxes were up 58 percent to 15.1 billion dollars. 15 Billion! Revenue was up 26 percent, exceeding 213 billion dollars. All told, the company sold close to 8.3 million units last year. VW wants to become the largest automaker in the world before the end of the decade, and we think it can declare victory right now.

As McElroy has said many times before, Chrysler is keeping Fiat afloat. We all know things are getting tough in Europe, and Reuters reports the Turin-based automaker may have to close two more plants in Italy if it doesn’t start exporting vehicles to the U.S., where demand is actually increasing. This is referring, of course, to the Alfa Romeos its American dealers desperately need. Fiat has already shuttered a factory in Sicily and it looks like more are on the way.

Chinese automaker Geely just announced it plans to set up a joint venture with Volvo in order to create its own brand for the Chinese market. According to Gasgoo, the two companies have already sought government approval and hope to announce details in the next few months. Even though Geely owns Volvo, it’s still considered a foreign brand by the government, so it must set up a joint venture before it can produce cars in the country.

Great news for all you EV lovers out there. Tj Martin and Pedro Fernandez, this one’s for you guys. GM has resumed production of your favorite vehicle. Yes, the Chevrolet Volt is once again rolling down the line in Hamtramck, Michigan. According to The Detroit Free Press, GM hasn’t built any since late December. The car is now being offered with a special low-emissions package for – surprise, surprise – the California market. Buyers in the Golden State will be eligible for an additional 15-hundred dollar rebate beyond the 75-hundred dollar federal tax credit. They’ll also have access to the state’s prized carpool lanes. Maybe electrics aren’t so bad after all.

In somewhat related news, Panasonic announced it will supply lithium-ion batteries to Ford for its hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. SANYO, which was acquired last year by Panasonic, had been supplying nickel-metal hydride batteries to the company since 2004. Panasonic’s li-ion packs will be used in the Ford Fusion and the C-Max Hybrids as well as the plug-in versions of both models

The high-dollar, high-performance SLS AMG is a pretty sweet ride, and its gullwing doors only amplify the coolness. But more is always better, right? According to Autoblog, Mercedes-Benz could be toying with the idea of a four-door SLS. Sketches of one popped up in a German patent application. They show the vehicle with a small back seat and a matching suicide doors, in addition to the gullwings. Guys, put down your pencils and back away from the drafting table. Those little doors bring to mind the Saturn Ion quad coupe.

After the sponsor message John sits down with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. Stick around . . .

As I mentioned before the break, John’s special guest on Autoline This Week is none other than Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. In the following bite, John asks him about distracted driving.

Fascinating discussion. And as always, you can check out the whole magilla right now on our website, Autoline.tv. It’s definitely worth watching.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for today and this week. But before I sign off, please check out RoundAbout tonight starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. We’ve got two hilarious guests lined up – Al Vinikour and Chris Sawyer, in addition to MissMotorMouth herself, Michelle Naranjo – you won’t want to miss it. And with that, thank you for your time, have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.

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

96 Comments to “Episode 833 – VW Posts Record Profits, Panasonic to Supply Batteries to Ford, Four-Door SLS?”

  1. tj Martin Says:


    Now officially vying for the Fugliest Exotic Car Manufacture of the 21st Century ;


    Just when I’d resigned myself to the FF being as bad as it can get with new Ferrari design …… they come up with this thing !


    @ Johnny Mac

    re; VOLT comment .

    Long as its MY Tax Dollars still paying to build the thing , never mind subsidize the Sales of the worthless( its NOT an E/V BTW ) pile of junk I say ;

    Thpppppppppppppt ! 8)

    Smart acre !


    FORD vs the World

    If’n ya haven’t heard , now DODGE is taking cheap shots at the FORD 150 in its new string of Ads .

    Which IMHO pretty much confirms the fact that FORD does make the # 1 Full Size P/U sold in the US . By a long shot !

    ( nobody wastes this much time & money taking cheap pot shots at a competitor who’s product isn’t in fact a heck of a lot better than what you’re making )

    Give em Hell FORD !

    The F150 . Last of the truly exceptional American vehicles being made .

    Unlike I might add ;

    The (re)VOLT(ing) ;-)

  2. tj Martin Says:

    Marchionne’s Madness

    Dateline Feb 2012

    Lets see now .

    Just a year ago , in return for major concessions from the Italian Automotive Unions … he PROMISED ( in writing I might add ) to keep FIAT etc production in Italy

    Now today he announces he’s about to renege on that PROMISE

    Hmmmn . Seems to me he made the exact same PROMISE ( in writing again ) to the US and CDN Autoworkers Unions a few months later as well .

    In return … I might add … for more than a few MAJOR concessions , including Part Time and Temporary workers .

    Anyone wanna bet that by Years End Marchionne starts moving ALL ( FIAT & Chrysler ) production to …

    ….India , Mexico & Brazil ?


  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That car pool lane thing will sell Volts in CA, way more than another $1500 rebate. Some people will buy them and never plug them in, just to be able to use the car pool lanes without a passenger.

  4. MJB Says:

    Merc SLS AMG – Never liked the styling on that thing. I think it’s just flat out ugly from almost every angle.

    Ray LaHood, and everyone else who thinks they can levy broad generalizations about the ability of ALL drivers while using cell phones, hands-free devices, etc. can go take a leap.

    He made a statement to the effect of, “we know that people on cell phones are VERY engaged when talking…” Not so, buddy. Not everyone who picks up a cell phone to talk is getting in a heated argument with their spouse! Not every call demands total engagement. And not all drivers let their attention and focus wonder from the road while talking on a phone.

    STOP GENERALIZING! Some people CAN walk and chew gum at the same time. I am so tired of being thrown in with the rest of the drivers who loose focus when using a phone behind the wheel. Not everybody has dexterity, coordination, concentration and response time challenges when talking & driving.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Whoooooopeeeeeeeeeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeee. VOLT RESUMES, I am so happy!!!, that I’m gonna drive to So Beach, order a large tropical drink with the little umbrella and all and stand at the shore wearing my speedo and telling all the Canadians there that Volt production is starting again! Bye!

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Brand loyalty is a more important factor in the big pickups people buy than with any other market segment. “Ford guys” won’t buy a Chevy, and vice versus, not even if one is demonstrably better than the other.

    Right now, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and Toyota big pickups are as close to equal as they’ve ever been. CR rates Chevy the best, by a small margin. Other publications kind of take turns rating different ones the best.

    Anyway, all of the manufacturers need to sell them while they can, because, when gas gets to $7/gallon, not may people will buy big pickups, except for the handful who actually need them.

  7. Brett Says:

    #4 – You have to legislate/regulate to the average ability. Not yours and not mine. That’s what living in a society entails.

    Hell, it annoys me that I can’t drive as fast as I deem prudent for the circumstance.

    It annoys me that people slide into wrecks with their eyes shut and their foot jammed on the brake. “There was nothing to his left. Why didn’t you just swerve left and drive around him?” “Whaaa??”

    It annoys me that wrecks are called accidents. As if it was just some cosmic happenstance for which absolutely nobody was responsible for causing.

    Regardless, I have to accept that’s what living here entails, so I do. I think Mr. LaHood was speaking to just that.

  8. C-Tech Says:

    Good luck with the Volt, now on to more important stuff.
    I hope Mercedes does not seriously consider a 4 door SLS. If they want to stretch it and add a back seat, then do so and leave the doors where they are please.
    The thing with Geely and Volve having to get government approval for a “joint venture” even though Geely owns Volvo, is a big reminder that this is still a COMMUNIST government the world is dealing with.
    Just posing the question since I am not familar with the Alfa-Romeo models, are there any models that are ready to ship to Fiat dealers in the U.S.?

  9. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    Having both seen and driven the SLS I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you on its styling . Initially I was also taken a bit back by the design , but over time I’ve come to appreciate its looks ….. and especially its performance

    Having seen the 4dr patent in its entirety ( joys of MBOCUSA membership ) I’ve got to say just from the drawings it has potential to be pretty slick . Or at least a damn sight better than the freaking Ferrari FF its being aimed at


    @ pedro – I’ll be joining you in that toast to our CDN brothers good news and expanding fortune .

  10. C-Tech Says:

    @ #5 Pedro the tall drink on the beach sounds good regardless of the news!
    @ 4 I believe LaHood did say in the interview that they are studying the affects of distracted driving, which I think is a good thing. He has not accused you personally of bad driving with a cell phone.

  11. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-Tech

    ” Just posing the question since I am not familar with the Alfa-Romeo models, are there any models that are ready to ship to Fiat dealers in the U.S.? ”

    The answer at this point in time is a resounding NO !

    Thats been part of the FIAT dealers problem in the US . They were promised ( there goes another Marchionne promise down the tubes ) both FIAT & Alfa Romeo by Spring 2012 when in fact they can still barely get any 500′s and Alfa Romeo’s future here ( as well as in the EU/UK ) is in question at best

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Back already, had to get out of there quickly almost got arrested for indecent exposure, anyway, I wonder if LaHood did not have a chauffeur, would he partake in the same activities he is so adamantly against?

  13. tj Martin Says:

    No one . No matter how smart they are . How high a level of driving skill they may have . How much car control they think they may posses .

    Can Talk on their Phone and Drive at the same time without risking both their’s as well as everyone surrounding them’s safety .

    ALL recent studies ( AMA / Psychologists / University’s etc) on the subject of Multi Tasking ( which is what driving and talking on a cell phone is ) have come to the simple and unanimous conclusion ;

    ( MJB’s gonna hate me for this )

    Multi Tasking is just another term for not doing ANYTHING well .

    Sorry MJB :( But the facts is the facts no matter how much we may not like them .

  14. tj Martin Says:

    Science has shown , pint blank in fact that Multi Tasking is in fact a Myth and that our brains are incapable of doing so .

    What is really happening is your Brain is switching back and forth Between Tasks , temporarily ignoring the previous task to focus on the current one at a relatively rapid though deceptive pace

    Therefore as you concentrate on a specific aspect of a conversation … at that point .. unbeknown to you …. you are ignoring driving … if even for a split second … though in truth its usually more like 1-2 seconds

    Jeeze …… the Mrs and I hang around way too many Academics

    Gotta find me some ‘ dumb ‘ friends so’s I can become blissfully unaware .

    Maybe another of those Umbrella Drinks pedro is offering up might do the trick as well . Errrrr. Maybe ten or twelve

  15. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Distracted driving will always be with us.As far as talking while driving here I again will repeat something I’ve said often enough.Talking on a cell phone (in car-hands free)is LESS distracting then talking to a passenger riding in your vehicle.Irregardless of experience or whatever,you WILL turn and look at your talking passenger.Guaranteed!!And you WILL look at your passenger when talking.You won’t devote all of your attention to whomever your talking too,but a quick glance is all it takes to get fubared.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hot damn!! There is something I completely agree with you on, tj.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Having a passenger is MUCH less of a hazard than talking on the phone, because the passenger is a SECOND SET OF EYES, connected to a brain and a set of vocal cords that will be activated when the driver screws up.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    I stopped using my phone while driving, more than once, I passed by an exit I was supposed to take, forcing me to go to the next one and turning around, wasting valuable time. As far a passenger talking, the only passenger I ever have is the wife and I learned to ignore her years ago.

  19. W L Simpson Says:

    Fix It Again Tony should have changed it’s name
    & image or quit the biz long, long ago.
    The word fiat, as a noun, means “let it be done”

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The four door CLS doesn’t make sense to overload a niche market that doesn’t sell many cars to begin with (the Panamera and the Ferrari FF); maybe the margin on these cars is so good (that it does) make sense. But put me down for ‘ugly’ as well.

    There are so many variables, when driving, that distractions can be inconsequential to catastrophic, and I think that is why generalizations have to be made to keep risk at acceptable levels. You can’t rely on common sense, because as we know, it’s often not as common as you would think. That leaves us with legislation to the lowest common denominator, which while is frustrating for many, addresses the problem for the moron that refuses to yield to rational thought.

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ #’s 17 & 18: I guess I had training to operate and talk at the same time.When flying in Vietnam I had 3 radios to monitor and talk on, to various commands while flying any given mission.I have also been a licensed ham for decades and have 4 radios on all the time.As for walking and chewing gum,you remf’s probably need to pull off the side of the road to change your minds.Too bad for you.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    G.A has this ability diminished with age, or not?

  23. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I just don’t have the capacity for whining civilian bullshit anymore it seems.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    From the “If they build it, no one will but it” files, TTAC reports that Land Rover is gonna sell a cabriolet version of the Evoque model and both it and the Murano Cabrio will go down in history as two of the most undesirable and unappealing vehicles ever made.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    #21 – I just knew some smart acre would come up with the walk and chew gum analogy !

    Unfortunately you’re talking Apples and Oranges .
    Walking and Chewing are in fact innate functions being monitored by the Sub Conscious mind .

    Talking and Driving are neither innate nor run by the subconscious but are rather LEARNED and run by the Conscious Mind .

    As far as you THINKING you’ve the capabilities to Multi Task in the conscious realm … well thats all you’re doing . Thinking and Assuming you’re doing so … while in FACT you’re doing nothing at all the least bit WELL or proper .

    e.g. You’re training at best was flawed . At no time were you ever either flying or monitoring radio transmissions to the best of your abilities and in fact had you NOT been trying to do all of the above , in what I’ll assume was a pre- computerized Fighter you’d of done any of the one to a much better ability .

    As far as your CB habit … well do me a favor and stay the ____ as far away from me and my roads as possible . Because I can guarantee you your driving is suffering for the sake of a HOBBY !

    Fact is if I ever ran across the likes of you on the road I’d have you arrested for Distracted Driving … Veteran or Not ! And I’d win ….. guaranteed !

    And G.A. going down that macho route you’re inferring is at best ill advised with the likes of me , in person or online .

  26. tj Martin Says:

    VOLT ( the ugly truth )

    Ohhhh take a look at this’n


    And ….. I looked it up on the SAE Website .

    The VOLT is a Hybrid …. not an E/V

  27. tj Martin Says:


    Whining Civilian BS ?

    Sorry I never realized Responsible Living had suddenly become somehow Whining Civilian BS .

    Must of been misinformed .

  28. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TJ Martin: Not fighters,US Army helicopters.If you haven’t been there,gone through the training we did,and fly in combat every single day you have zero experience in what I did.As far as macho goes,I don’t come on here every single day spouting off about this and that as if I’m an expert,which I am not.Also,I didn’t direct my post at you either.As for in person,please,you are welcome to do whatever it is you want to try.If you want my street address I will send it to you anytime you want it.Just what have you ever done for your country?

  29. tj Martin Says:

    #16 We do agree on occasion Kit . Just not on the Hybrid issue

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    #26 OUCH!

  31. tj Martin Says:


    Try this on for size

    Afghanistan – 1984 – 1985 ( ever had a $250,000 bounty put on your head ? )

    Israel – 1980 – 1982

    Russia , Poland , E. Germany 1970′s ( you’d be shocked where a Musician can go that you macho types couldn’t get near if your lives depended on it. )

    Oh yeah . The Mrs . DHS ! Keeping your arrogant and angry self safe , at sometimes great risk to herself on a daily basis not that she or I will ever get an ounce of thanks from the likes of you

    Chill mate ! You’ve done your bit and thanks for it but that in no way grants you an ounce of privilege in my book ; nor does it in any way justify your attitude

    Or do I need to remind you that you were Fighting for the Right to live a peaceful , safe and prosperous life ?

  32. tj Martin Says:

    I’m done for the day !

    Too damn much attitude and anger for my taste for one session

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ G.A

    But I do owe you one apology before I take off for the day

    You are correct . You were not addressing me .

    My mistake . I should of looked up to see which pair of posts were mine

    Mea Culpa

  34. G.A.Branigan Says:

    LMMFAO,let me guess,lol,special forces,or what navy seals,or air force special ops? There is only one thing keeping us all safe and that is today’s soldiers in the field.DHS??? A joke at best.keep your “I’ve done everything everywhere bullshit confined to the automotive world TJ.You have a quick mouth tj.Confine yourself to your ego boosting rants that you put out.As for me,I really stopped giving a shit what you loud mouths spout off.Hey McElroy,go ahead and ban me.You guys should read the shit you write sometimes,especially about driving and talking.Such wimps.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    G. A.,
    You are one of the lucky ones who survived your distracted helicopter flying. One of my high school classmates wasn’t so lucky.

  36. Chuck Grenci Says:

    G.A. respect what you are saying but the legislation has to be set to the lowest common denominator (sad, but true). There are many multi-taskers that can and do function (as you describe) but the litigators will argue against that commonality (and rightly so)and press for more control (I’m almost shocked that they, the lawyers, haven’t come up with a class action suit against the cell phone providers) stating negligence for allowing usage in moving vehicles, whether in their control or not.

  37. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Chuck: We have all discussed the simple device (s)that could be put in cell phones that would allow them to ‘sense’ movement to render them inop etc.So your lawyer comment has merit,and I’m wondering how long it will take for some law firm to do just that.It wouldn’t break my heart to see it happen.So far with the states that have banned ‘distracted driving’,all of those states have made exceptions for licensed ham radio operators,lol,which I am ;}>

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ KIT: Yes I was very lucky Kit.In two tours I was shot down 3 times,the last being in Laos in Dec.71.I broke my back in three places and my left shoulder.My last aircraft was evaced back to the world and was rebuilt and stayed in Army service till it was retired,then restored and put on a 12ft.stick in front of the US Army Aviation Museum at Ft.Rucker Al.They (the musem) asked me for pics of her and I and also asked me for my scout scarf (an air cav thing)which is on display inside.As for your high school friend Kit,I am sorry for that.I lost my best friend from HS over there.He was riding in a CH-47 Chinook (hook) and was shot down somewhere in II corps,(the central highlands)and of course there was no survivors.I could tell you more,but that can wait for another time.

    @tj.Back at ya bro…mea culpa (sp).

  39. HtG Says:

    Nice job today, Craig! Can you do that again wearing a light blue sport coat with WNJN embossed on the pocket?

    Distractions. When I had to sit through a driver re-education session, the only thing they drilled into us was the danger of distraction. All different kinds, for 8 hours.(yeah, I know) So what? Well how should the govt regulate hands free phones when there is already certainty that people are distracted in many ways, like changing radio stations, dealing with kids, etc. They’re going to calculate the added risk, and they won’t start at zero. If you’re on the hands free phone, how should cops know that, anyway?
    Pedro, thanks for the vivid images from your Miami lifestyle.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG you mean the tall, cold tropical drink, all the babes with their barely there bikinis or me standing there with the drink and the speedo?

  41. HtG Says:

    I’m not clear, Pedro. You are wearing the speedo, yes?

  42. Chuck Grenci Says:

    G.A., glad you made it man; Vietnam Era Vet (myself; but not in-country); saw my share of wounded Vets (as a Hospital Corpsman stationed stateside) in Bethesda MD and Charleston, SC.; continued service at VA Hospital, Charleston. Always took pride in providing services to our Vets, and so I say with deepest respect, thank you for your service (to you and the rest of us, for the then, very unpopular war). Put me down for getting a little tired of the whinny general condition our country has become. And this, my last statement, is also referring to the soliloquy that Clint Eastwood was alluding to in the Superbowl Chrysler commercial (at least that is what I gleaned from it; not Detroit’s resurgence; well okay, I’ll share that thought too).

  43. HtG Says:

    It looks like the new Malibu has hit the street. I drove alongside a silver one on this rainy day in NY. The rear end and 3/4 views of this thing are done so well. The car moves in an agile way, too.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes I pretend to be a Canadian tourist, white as snow and dressed very inappropriately with the tropical drink in my hand, incl the tiny umbrella.

  45. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Ray LaHood and Bob King are my two most reliable sources of information about the US automobile industry.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the response. I don’t know any details about what happened with my friend. The news reports only said that the chopper he was piloting “crashed,” and there were no survivors. Maybe no one knows why the helicopter crashed.

  47. oak cabin Says:

    This had to be rigged or very good timing !! Did anyone see the lady in the back ground talking on her cell phone while LaHood talked about cell phone use. I missed about half of LaHoods talk because I was distracted by the lady with the Cell phone.

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ KIT: What year was your friend over there and do you have his unit designator,or maybe his aircraft #? The VHPA has a extensive data base on all the helicopters lost there,I could look it up for you.

  49. KEVIN Says:


  50. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Great job, Craig!

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was in Scotland in the Navy at the time, and just heard about in a letter from my parents, so I don’t know any of that. About all I know is that it was in the fall of 1971.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should just bring the Alfa over that the Dart is made from. The Alfa looks a lot better, at least to me.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s is a British review of the Alfa Giulietta, the car the Dart is based on:


    I think it looks great, and it’s a hatch, which I like. I suppose it wouldn’t sell well here, though, even if they brought it over.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    I was listening to Click and Clack on the radio today which I enjoy very much, but I’ve noticed that everyone who calls that show has a vehicle at least 15 yrs old or much older, I have always lived in or around large metropolitan areas, where you really don’t see too many old cars, is it like that in other parts of this country??

  55. Chuck Grenci Says:

    My guess about Click and Clack is that the callers are going to be slanted to the older ‘last chance’ category of vehicles. I would also think, that in larger metropolitan areas, that there are lots of older vehicles but that they are just diluted by the shear volume of newer-mixed vehicles there as well. Moderate to large cities would probably afford a lot more people with more job opportunity and that could support newer vehicle purchases.

    As an aside, anyone remember “Last Chance Garage” with Brad Sears (on PBS); that was my first exposure to auto repair. I really liked that show (think it was on the air in the late ’70′s).

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes, I vaguely recall that show as well, there is also a show called Shade-tree Mechanic that I used to watch cause the 2 hosts were very good at explaining what they were doing, but they were both replaced by 2 younger guys and I did not think they were good at it, so I stopped watching, DIY network also had a car-related show but they yanked that off the air. Nowadays with you tube, there is a glut of instructional videos on just about any repair or service aids for do-it-yourselfers.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC has a chart showing the new cars that give out the most toxic odors inside and the ones with the least. Once again the stalwart of quality Chrysler 200 is among the worst of the bunch, only beat out by a Mitsu SUV which sells so few that no one, except the poor salesmen, should have a problem.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I see a number of older cars here in the “space coast” area. I even see an occasional ’80′s Buick Century or Olds Ciera.

    In Indiana, the only old cars on the road have had a sheltered life of not being driving year round, because the road salt destroys cars.

    I missed Click and Cluck yesterday, but I often listen. I have never called, so I don’t know how their screening works. I’m sure try to take calls that will be humorous to deal with, but maybe they also may go for the calls about older cars, for the “serious” questions.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the MINI wasn’t so good, at least the Clubman. Mine still has some “new car smell,” even after two years. Maybe that’s not good, but I’m not going to worry about it. I guess the Prius makes up for it.

    I wonder if they tried to find cars that had been sitting in lots for about the same length of time. I suspect a “new” car that has sat on a lot for months, would have already outgassed a significant amount of its toxins, while one “fresh off the boat” would not have. Maybe, though, if the car had been closed up the whole time, there might not be a lot of difference. The solvents would have just moved around in the car, with some on the windows, and on different surfaces than where it came from.

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I wonder if cars with lots of leather inside would not have this problem, or if it be less of it, specially if the dash and door panels are made out of the more expensive leather. BTW I doubt the ultra expensive cars with tons of wood and leather even have this issue at all. BTW my son’s xB after 4 yrs still has a bit of the “new” car smell. I’ve never seen anything like it, I always thought that would be gone in a couple of months. He never drives with open windows, maybe that makes a diff.

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    #58 I would suspect that older drivers keep their cars a lot longer since they baby them and don’t go out much, you see a lot of old Buicks and Caddys still being driven by old folks usually on weekends.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think leather might be better than a lot of materials, like vinyl, but there are a lot of chemicals used in processing leather.

    I tried to find the whole list of cars tested for “air quality,” but the site TTAC linked only had the top and bottom ten. It would be interesting to know which end of the “middle” the other cars landed in.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, older people baby their cars, and I suspect some of those old Caddys have barely been driven at all for years, and were then given to kids and grandkids at some point.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    I would suspect new car salesmen would be more at risk than regular folks as well as those doing interiors at the factory where they’re breathing this in 8 hours a day.

  65. cwolf Says:

    Do you remember when I purchased my 2010 Milan and commented cleaning interior windows was a daily chore? That lasted about 9 months before the only smell was of leather. As drastic as these numbers appear,the units of measure were not given. My guess is they are in ppm. None would worry me much considering everything except tofu and oatmeal is bad for you.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I found the whole list, sort of, at:


    The cars are listed as low, medium, or high, but you have to click on each car individually to see actual numbers.

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    Pray tell what is the diff between the 200 and the 200 S ????

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here are some numbers on a Fusion:


    It’s hard to know how the cars are equipped, when different interiors are available, as with most mid-market cars which offer vinyl, cloth, and/or leather. Some cars, like the Mercedes S-Class would probably be about alike, since all of them would have leather.

  69. cwolf Says:

    When I bought vinyl in small rolls,the smell was quite strong untill unrolled for a day or so. Leather hides smell of just leather pretty much from the get-go. Hides of today are mostly vat dyed which require fewer chem. in the process. The largest toxin contributor are in the adhesives used to bond the mat’l to a foam underlayment or jute if its to carpet.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the 200S is the convertible, and the 200 is the sedan.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    interesting how the Outlander sport is high and the regular one is low.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess poverty has its rewards after all!

  73. cwolf Says:

    Did you notice the three highest levels were in areas requiring the largest amounts of adhesives,just as I said. Also know that 100 years ago hot horse glue was used in the furniture biz with no smell what so ever and it adhered so well it became permanent to what it was stuck to. Not very practical in the car industry, but still around in small upholstery shops.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There probably aren’t enough horses available to make a lot of that hide glue. I don’t know if they still use it, but as recently as 10 or 15 years ago, they still used it in some furniture factories.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    On the way to breakfast this morning, I experienced a sample of one, regarding the buyer demographic of the MINI S Coupe.

    I was stopped at a red light (in my Prius) in the right lane of a fairly busy road with three lanes in each direction. A MINI S Coupe, red with a silver roof pulled up next to me, with the center of the car over the wide white line you are supposed to stop behind. I pulled up far enough to see the driver, who was a young woman, with busy thumbs on a touch screen device. When the light turned green, I started off normally, and a couple seconds later, the MINI started moving. I accelerated up my usual ~50 mph for this stretch of road, (posted limit is 45), and she stayed in the center lane, going about my speed, and a little behind me. Then, about 1/4 mile before an intersection where I was going to turn right, she sped up and passed, pulled in front of me, without using turn signals, and turned at the same intersection. I had to slow down from the speed I would normally take the turn, in the Prius, to keep from rear ending her. I guess she was too busy texting, or something.

    This is a sample of only one, but it looks like the MINI Coupe may appeal to the same demographic as the 3-series convertible.

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    Which goes to show a bad, inattentive driver will still be a bad driver no matter what they’re driving. My biggest gripe is when I’m in the right lane (where I am most of the time) and some jerk-off gets in front of me and almost instantly pulls into a driveway or a shopping center or gas station and I have to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision.

  77. HtG Says:

    You got it right, Kit. People in their powerful cars love to get ahead of me in the Miata, only to tippy toe through turns, barely staying in their lane. I’ve had one gal in a Benz pull in front of me at a stop light, only to remain at the light, texting as the light turned green again. The squalor of other people’s driving intrudes on my mind, making me wonder why I care or why I don’t just sell the cars, and get some non-mobile like a Cruze with automatic. It’s going to be a real party in a few years, sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles moving along at the speed limit.

    You think they’ll get the 500 in this afternoon? I was at Pocono once where they delayed and stopped the race over the course of a day, but got the race in somehow.

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have been tailgated doing the speed limit or just above, on the RIGHT lane by idiots who think they have the right of the road all to themselves, to the point where I am tempted to hit the brakes so they hit me, but most of those drivers who drive like that don’t even carry insurance, besides my car’ low value will most likely mean they would junk it and give me some crappy amount of money which will not help me get another car! BTW Even cops have done it also.

  79. HtG Says:

    Once in a residential area I had to stop for STOP signs laid along a road. This didn’t please the gal in the white BMW 3 following me, as after the third stop she just honked at me; I was never sure she wasn’t going to hit me before that, as she was rolling through the signs herself. (the area is regularly staked out by cops, too)

  80. HtG Says:

    I just checked the highest priced gas in DC, near the Watergate at the Potomac. 4.99.

  81. cwolf Says:

    Gas in Toledo,Oh averages about $3.57,lowest 3.39 and some areas $3.69/gal. Since we all know gas comes from the same bulk plant,I wonder why Marathon/Mobil is usually always towards the high end?

    It is really sad women,for the most part,think that texting and driving go hand in hand. And to make matters worse,they fail to maintain a constant speed even when using cruise control! Let’s not forget they don’t care what lane they are in when multi-tasking. The same descriptions you guys discribed happen to me on the pike all the time! I placed a 1/4 mi. lead on a gal eating,drinking soda,texting and filing her nails at the same time. A minute later she was riding my tail and would not pass in another lane. I pulled into the fast lane @ 80 mpg to put 1/8 mi.distance between us,once again. In a flash she was on my tail,still texting,eating,drinking,etc…..until I tappped my breaks. Pop and burger all over the windshield! I waved at her in the mirror as she pulled off to the side. I hope she finished her texting there.

  82. HtG Says:

    Laramie, Wyoming gas prices range from 2.86 to 3.16. Home of Dick Cheney.


    find prices across North America

  83. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks iffy, to unlikely for the race. I am about 100 miles south of Daytona. It’s overcast, but not raining here, but it looks worse to the north.

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’m trying to find out if the upcoming Mondeo-based Fusion is built off the same Mazda 6 platform as before, or is it all new architecture, I cannot seem to find an answer online.

  85. cwolf Says:

    The present fusion is based upon the mazda6 “GG”chasis and ford called it their CD3.
    The new fusion is off the mondeo EUCD platform.
    I found this out when looking for platforms for the Caddy ATS. Looh at sites for fusion platforms. There are many.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From what I’ve read, the new Fusion about the same as the new Mondeo, and is not related to the Mazda 6 in a significant way. If I learn anything different, I’ll post it here.

  87. cwolf Says:

    I’m thinking the new fusion must be a little smaller. The mondeo platform was selected because it could be utilized in other smaller cars. If this is true,I would’nt mind it if the new fusion was a handfull of inches shorter. The front end seems to be;at least the overhang looks less. It’s one that has’nt left my list of next car.

  88. pedro fernandez Says:

    I asked this cause someone corrected me on another forum saying that the Mondeo, Fusion and 6 are all derived from the same platform, but I recall reading otherwise a few months back, my comment had to do with the fact that the new Fusion may not enjoy the same quality status as the previous model due to the change in platforms, remember the last Mondeo to make it over here was the Jag X-type a black eye in the history of that brand. Plus the equally crappy Ford T-Bird.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Fusion is a little bigger, 2 inches longer, with a 5 inch longer wheelbase than the old one.

    They will build the new one at the same plant in Mexico as the old one, so if they can continue to run the plant as well, the quality should be decent. I think they plan to move at least part of the the production to Flat Rock, Michigan, at some point.

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The other Mondeo to be sold sold in the U.S., before the Jaguar X-type, was the Contour/Mystique which got good early reviews, but didn’t turn out too well. I don’t see many on the road, and I think they were sold as recently as the 2000 model year.

  91. pedro fernandez Says:

    I like to read the TTAC junkyard finds articles and the 2 latest ones show a 98 Neon and a late 80′s Tempo with zero body damage and decent interiors meaning they were put there because the owners just gave up on fixing them. On the other hands I see everyday kind of “tired” looking and beat-up Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans still being driven around, rust and all.

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is a “tired looking” early Neon at my condo. It would be interesting know its service history, but I don’t know the owner very well, so I hate to ask, in case he has spent way more fixing it than it is worth.

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just got gas in Merritt Island, Florida. It wa $3.649.

  94. T. Bejma Says:


    Kit – Pretty sure Ford is pulling out of that Flat Rock Plant (joint Mazda/Ford) and there will only be Mazda’s built there. I have a friend that works at Ford that says the Mustang is moving out of Flat Rock to another Michigan Plant (Wayne Assembly maybe?).

  95. Kit Gerhart Says:

    This is where I saw that they would build Fusion at Flat Rock:


    It was a few months ago, and could be wrong.

  96. Jeff Taylor Says:

    I just wanted to say great job Craig! The whole Autoline team is a real class act and I’m very thankful I can live my auto industry dreams vicariously through you guys.