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Episode 834 – China Goes Domestic, In Soviet Russia Jeeps Build You, Toyota’s $83K Minivan

February 27th, 2012 at 11:50am

Runtime: 7:03

The Chinese government says it will only buy domestic vehicles for government fleets. Fiat will build two factories in Russia to make Jeeps. Meet Toyota’s $83,000 luxury minivan. All that and more, plus an eerie look into the past as we dissect some historical footage.

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This is Autoline Daily kicking off a new week of news about the auto industry, and with a hauntingly intriguing film from over 100 years ago that’s coming up after the break. But now, the news.

CHINA CHANGES THE RULES
China really wants to see its domestic auto industry grow, even if that means taking business away from foreign automakers. Last week China announced that it would no longer favor foreign automakers building more plants in the country. That really hurts Ford and other automakers who have been slow getting in there. Now the Chinese government says it will only buy domestic brands for government cars. Currently foreign brands account for 80% of that segment, worth about $13 billion a year. And that segment is dominated by Audi, with GM getting another chunk of the business. Just to give you an idea of the size of the market, there are over 5 million government cars in China.

JEEPS IN RUSSIA
Of all the brands that Fiat got when it bought Chrysler, it has always seen Jeep as the gem of the group. Sergio Marchionne speaks glowingly of the brand and how much they can boost sales around the world. Now comes word that Fiat will build two plants in Russia to make Jeeps. The deal was signed with Sberbank, the largest credit institution in Russia, that is also controlled by the Russian government. You may recall that it was involved in Magna’s attempt to buy Opel from General Motors a few years back.

BUT IT’S A LUXURY MINIVAN!
Speaking of Russia, Toyota is launching a luxury minivan there. Called the Alphard, it has only been sold in Asia so far. According to WardsAuto.com it will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and feature an eye-watering price of $83,000! Is it me or does this thing remind you of the Toyota Previa minivan from the ‘90s?

CALIFORNIA WARMS UP TO CHRYSLER
California is import country. It’s the largest vehicle market in the U.S. and it’s dominated by Toyota, Honda and the like. Buyers haven’t been very kind to the Detroit Three over the last few decades. As recently as 2010, Chrysler got clobbered, selling fewer than 31,000 vehicles there. But it hasn’t given up on the Golden State. It’s been making a big push to regain a toe-hold. It’s opened 17 new dealerships and 20 Fiat studios there PLUS a new California-specific business center, located in Irvine. The effort seems to be paying off. RETAIL registrations were up 55 percent last year to nearly 51,000 units. That’s a healthy improvement but it’s still nowhere near where it needs to be.

LAND ROVER COPIES THE CROSS CAB
Nissan’s Murano CrossCabriolet has been panned by most critics. “White elephant,” “blunder,” “mistake” are words that crop up in most reviews. But watch out CrossCab, you’re about to have some serious competition. Joining the fray for convertible crossovers, Range Rover will show off a roofless Evoque concept at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. It follows exactly the same formula as the Nissan: two doors, ungainly proportions and horizon-to-horizon views. You know, some things just weren’t meant to sell in big volumes – like a coupe with sliding doors – and convertible crossovers can be added to the list.

Coming up next, a look at a film from over 100 years ago that is fascinating, informative and haunting all at the same time.

Maybe you’ve seen the film I’m about to show you before. 60 Minutes did a piece on it, Wikipedia has an entry about it, and some automotive historians are very familiar with it. But even if you’ve never heard about it before, I’ll bet you find it fascinating.

This film was shot in April of 1906 in San Francisco by three film pioneers, three brothers, the Miles brothers, Harry, Herbert and Earle. They were pioneers in using 35 millimeter film, and figured out how to modify their cameras to shoot longer segments than anyone else was doing over 100 years ago.

They mounted one of their cameras on the front of a cable car in San Francisco and let it run, while the cable car rumbled down the street. Watching what a typical street scene from 1906 looked like is really captivating.

It’s surprising to see how many cars there are. Historians have identified models from the Middleton Car Company, Autocar, and the Reliance Automobile Company. And notice how they all have the steering wheel on the right hand side. In fact, all drivers of the horse carts are sitting on the right hand side. Left hand steering really didn’t become popular until around 1910.

But historians also noticed that it’s the same cars that keep running past the cable car. Obviously, the Miles brothers hired the owners to keep driving their horseless carriages past the cable car to make it look like there were a lot more of them in the city.

After shooting their film, the Miles brothers brought it back to their studio, developed it, packed it up, and shipped it by train to New York City to be shown in movie theaters there. That was on April 17, 1906. The next day the great San Francisco earthquake hit, flattening just about every building you see in this film, or burning them to the ground. And I want to thank David Kiehn, a film historian in the Bay Area for filling me in on all the details.

And that brings us to the end of today’s report. Thanks for watching, and please join us again tomorrow.

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

73 Comments to “Episode 834 – China Goes Domestic, In Soviet Russia Jeeps Build You, Toyota’s $83K Minivan”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Car-BQ CLUB News ;

    http://www.torquenews.com/1081/nissan-recalling-80k-juke-infiniti-m-and-qx-models-over-fuel-system-problems

    @ Johnny Mac & ALD – Its official guys . This Car-BQ thing has gone from epidemic to Pandemic . Somebodies got to get to the bottom of this one fast . Tragedy is awaiting on the Horizon

    —–

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY RALPH NADAR !

    Oh yes Ralphie boy … we ow you soooooo much .

    Like killing off the American Porsche ( Corvair
    Strangling the US Auto Industry to the point of neutering any and all Creativity and/or Out of the Box thinking , which is a good 90% of the reason the US Auto Industry is so far behing the rest of the World

    Preventing us from being able to purchase some of the most innovative cars made in the EU/Asia BECAUSE of all the stupid regulations you helped put into place

    Single handedly Instigating the Current Nanny State we live in where everyone now assumes it the Governments responsibility to keep one safe rather than any sense of Personal Responsibility

    In truth accomplishing nothing in light of such Safety Debacles such as the Flaming Pintos etc that were all after the fact of your so called Victory ; while costing the consumer extra $$$ every time you buy a car

    Oh yes Ralphie boy . We got so much to thank you for .

    And ahhhh I get the feeling we’ll be paying for those thanks for a good nother decade at least

    ;-)

    ——–

    JEEP

    Propping up Chrysler – who is propping up and keeping alive FIAT ( barely ) all because Marchionne is such a bleeding Genius . Hmmmn . No … Stronzetto still fits the best

    8)

    Ciao

  2. HtG Says:

    tj, you’re aware that you are only at three degrees of separation from Nader? Did you get your invite? ;)

  3. tj Martin Says:

    BWTM

    Ralph Nadar cont …

    Forgot to thank ole Ralph for those Fugly ‘ Safety ‘ bumpers we got stuck with on everything from Chebbies to Ferraris ….. that in fact accomplished Nothing except to make all our cars Hideous looking and a Laughing Stock to the rest of the World … all while tacking on another additional cost to the purchase of a car .

    Thanks Ralphie … For …….. NOTHING

  4. dcars Says:

    After seeing the pictures of the Nissan Murrano Ragtop it brought back memories of the 1969 Ford/ International Bronco.

  5. LS ford Says:

    I am contiually shocked and suprized by how much the government in China is throttling back the sales expansion for imported cars. Its almost like they are closing their trade borders. I think its time the US gov takes a similar approach….like raise tarriffs on China imports.

  6. jim Says:

    I think it was Jason Vines on an old episode of Autoline After Hours that said of all the brands he would like to run, Jeep was number one. Jason said he thought Jeep had the best chance of succeeding because people always look to see who is in a Jeep, especially when the top if off. Looks like Jason had it right.

  7. tj Martin Says:

    #5

    TEN POINTs to LS ford !!!!!!!!!!!

    Nailed that’n smack on the head . Just wait’ll till you see why and whats coming up next from our ‘ buddies ‘ over China way .

    So much for all those investments and hoped for profits by all ( US UK EU & Japan/Korea ) the auto manufactures

  8. Tony Gray Says:

    I saw that film a few months ago and was also captivated by the automotive anarchy! But I didn’t catch that it was the same few cars over and over again…that may explain the wild and wooly driving techniques.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    But ….. to part company today on a positive note ;

    The best Italian car on the road today …. was in fact made in North CA

    http://www.moal.com/04_gallery/11gatto/index.php

    Nice write up in the NYTimes Autos section as well

    Cole Foster is by far the Coolest Hot Rod/Custom builder in the Country but Steve Moal and the gang are the absolute best

    Trawl around their gallery , especially Licorice etc as well .

    Ciao !

  10. tj Martin Says:

    Silent B&W Flim must see ;

    ” Wings ” the 2012 digitally restored edition

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #5,

    If we drastically raised tariffs on stuff from China, it would be a lot more expensive to shop at Wal Mart.

  12. T. Bejma Says:

    John Mc – Very cool video! Amazing that there was no one killed in that scene, between, the car cutting off the trolley and all of the people waking in front of it and standing in the road

    Nissan Murano and Land Rover convertibles: I just threw up in my mouth a little…

  13. HtG Says:

    9 Now that’s a car, tj. 300hp, 2300lbs, and skinny tires. Sighs.

    ———–
    Little note for baseball fans. The Brooklyn ‘Dodgers’ got their name from people who would literally dodge out of the way of street cars in the past.

  14. George Ricci Says:

    Here is the link to the 60 Minutes episode about the San Francisco film.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6966797n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

  15. aliisdad Says:

    That Land Rover kind of gets a bad rap over the “chopped top” suv styling like the Nissan, but it looks like fun to me…While it might not be a great looking or practical vehicle, it would sure be fun for a Sunday afternoon drive up a coast highway or in the desert areas…Maybe someday, when I become a rich man, I will add it to my dream garage…

  16. 012345 Says:

    Mr.McElroy, if I were a Chinese gov. official, why would I buy a car when the lowly average Chinese worker would not? I know they’re communist, but I really doubt the Chinese government would send their own party members to prison for not buying what they know to be nothing more than a crappy vehicle.

    And! That was some beautiful film footage, 100 years ago the world really was different, the only thing people back then have to worry about was a possible world war, some flue plague and the occasionally natural disaster; how things have change.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    #12

    ” Nissan Murano and Land Rover convertibles: I just threw up in my mouth a little… ”

    At last …. we agree

  18. C-Tech Says:

    As far as “ëxpanding” Jeep, be careful what you wish for. The cache of Jeep is that it is NOT a brand for everyone. As you make it “more” availible, it may lose its attractiveness.
    @ #1 The Corvair, the American Porsche?! Give me a break. Even after considerable improvement in 1965, the sales numbers were not there, and face it, the air-cooled engine just was not going to meet pollution and performance standards. Nader did not cause all the “unnecessary safety” features being added to today’s vehicles, part of it was the short-sightedness of the auto industry on safety issues at the time. Which would you rather be in a highway accident in, a 2012 Malibu or a 1965 Impala?

  19. tj Martin Says:

    Little note to College Basketball fans ;

    KU vs MU Borderwars ;

    KU – 2
    MU -0

    Friends really don’t let friends go to MU

    ——–

    # 15

    “the only thing people back then have to worry about was a possible world war, some flue plague and the occasionally natural disaster; how things have change ”

    Oh dear . You are most definitely giving mi amigo pedro a run for his money in the ‘ Funniest Post ‘ contest :o :o

    Me likes a good dose of well stated sarcasm

    ——-

    #11 Yup – You do not bite the hand that is in fact keeping your entire Countries ( as well as now many EU ) financial well being upright

  20. tj Martin Says:

    #17

    ” As far as “ëxpanding” Jeep, be careful what you wish for. The cache of Jeep is that it is NOT a brand for everyone. As you make it “more” availible, it may lose its attractiveness ”

    A well stated warning ! And on that note …. the following on Sergio’s future plans to ‘ Expand ‘ JEEP;

    http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Secret-new-cars/Search-Results/Spyshots/Fiat-500-Fuoristrada-and-Jeep-Jeepster-baby-4x4s/

    Yeah that’ll work real well !

    On the Corvair issue we’ll have to a agree to disagree …. but in fact had you ever driven an independently sorted out Monza Turbo you’d be on the same page on this as well .

    You’d be shocked how little it takes to make one every bit a 911 challenger from the day . Even a tuned 911 .

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-Tech

    Errrrr I am going to have to take issue with your ‘ air cooled engine not meeting emissions standards ‘ as well

    Methinks you’re either unaware or ignoring how many years VW and Porsche were able to keep Air Cooled engines on the road in the US

    1998 for Porsche to be exact .

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #14,
    “it (Evoque ragtop) would sure be fun for a Sunday afternoon drive up a coast highway or in the desert areas…”

    …but a Chrysler 200 convertible would also be good for that, is unreliable like the Range Rover, but would cost half as much.

  23. Rafi N Says:

    Soviet Russia? Last time I checked, Russia is Soviet no more. Misleading headline is what I’d call that!

  24. Darren Says:

    Back in the early 90s in China there were only a few cars you saw on the road. The Audi 5000 the VW Santana (jetta) and the Beijing Jeep (Cherokee) an then there was this 1 cyl diesel chugging down the streets belching black smoke.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/102988372928778833247/CHINA1995SmallTownThatMadeWoodcraftNearHangzouOrWestLake#5605579671830726610
    They were quite powerful if you consider the weight on this one going up a mountain.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/YyuhXnEmTotu317Csedz7dMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Am I incorrect in stating that most US, state and local govt fleet vehicles are American brands as well? The only time I remember seeing a few Volvo NJ State troopers back in the 80′s and here in Dade county I see a few Prius court support vehicles. That ugly Toyota Minivan has a very plain dash for such an expensive vehicle. From the “I don’t feel that bad now dept” today as I.m getting some rout fluid changes in my Vibrolla, a chauffeur drives in an 07 Rolls with a check engine light for diag. and repairs, even them there cars get check engine lights going on after all!

  26. 012345 Says:

    #19

    A FIAT 500/Jeep (never mind how bad) isn’t that basically a 4×4 FIAT Panda? — After all the F.500 platform comes from the Panda. hey, I don’t care if it is a debacle; I like to see it made.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #23,

    I see a number of NASA and Air Force vehicles around here, and they all seem to be American name plates, but it appears that most, or all of them are also “American made.” I don’t remember seeing any Fusions among these cars, but there are Malibus and Sebrings. There are Ford pickups, so Ford is in on the action, but maybe not with the Mexican sedans. These cars I see range in age from almost new, to several years old, so I don’t see any change in policies on what they buy.

    Has anyone seen any of the Aussie Caprice police cars on the road? I have seen one, which was at a Chevy dealer in Indiana several months ago, but I haven’t seen actually seen one in use.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    None, ditto for that police only car that was supposed to take the country by storm, Haven’t seen one single one yet, just Chargers and the old, venerable C.Vic. When the tech opened up the massive hood on that Rolls with that monstrous BMW V12 engine, I thought to myself, gee, it’s got a alternator, battery, wires. hoses and a check engine light. Shop owner was thrilled, he was gonna make the day’s salaries on that one car!

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Properly equipped 1965 and later Corvairs were certainly sporty driving cars for their time, but a long way from a 911. Of course, they were a long way from a 911 in price, too.

    A friend had a ’66 Corsa with the 140 hp engine and 4-speed. I drove it a little, and rode in it a lot. It was a really cool car, for the time.

    The only automatic used in Corvairs was a two-speed, and the performance of the automatic cars was, to put it mildly, rather underwhelming.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    @ #26
    Gawd Pedro, what neighborhood do you get your oil changes done in that has that clientel?
    The Chinese government probably should support their own auto industry with government purchases, as done in most places around the world. It’s the questionable cheap exports design to capture market share that I worry about.
    From what I have heard about the Caprice police cars, the hold up at agencies which ordered them have been shipments not arriving on time. Some departments have held up purchasing them because of their need for premiun fuel.

  31. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > CALIFORNIA WARMS UP TO CHRYSLER

    Considering that California has long been known as the “left coast”, and considering that California sought to pass their own draconian CAFE requirements, I’m surprised that they don’t also have their own local content requirements too.

  32. C-Tech Says:

    Volkswagen dropped U.S. air-cooled engines in 1974 I believe. Porsche loves an engineering challenge and let’s face it, 911′s aren’t exactly restricted to cost-consious engineering requirements. They probably could have kept it going into this century if enough customers would spent the bucks for it.

  33. C-Tech Says:

    @ 29 Perhaps a California requirement for “hemp” seat materials?

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nah! turns out the chauffeur is friends with the shop owner so he takes the Rolls there for service, I was shocked to see such a car there, I mean if you can afford to buy a Rolls, you should be able to have it done at a specialty shop, I think these guys are over their heads with a check engine light, they were not even aware that the V12 was a BMW engine so they were going crazy trying to get the code deciphered, the tech jokingly asked me if I would trade in my Vibrolla for the Rolls and I said No!! I would have to work just to pay for gas and tires.

  35. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > HAPPY BIRTHDAY RALPH NADAR !

    > Oh yes Ralphie boy … we ow you soooooo much …

    I agree 100% with whoever wrote that which I’m referring to above.

    Ralph Nader is the prime example of a person who should long ago have been told to work out his personal issues with a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst, rather than seek nationwide public solutions to his private internal furies.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Looks to me like the Chrysler 300 V6 with its 8 speed tranny is a great alternative to the generic FWD 6 cyl 4 door sedans. Any counterpoints? I mean both domestics and foreign.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Speaking of 911′s Motorweek tested the latest and it has also fallen victim to the overuse of electronics which gotta kill the Porsche purists. plus its gained weight as well.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    DETROIT GETS CAUGHT WITH ITS PANTS DOWN

    Again !

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/detroit-sleeps-through-chinese-suv-boom/

    With the one segment they had up till now dominated in . Smack dab in their new big profits ( sic ) playground

    Bailouts and Detroit – Now do y’all understand ?

    —–

    #33 Molto Grazie ( that’n was mine …. )

  39. tj Martin Says:

    #24

    No my fellow site mate that’d be a rebodied/ badge engineered Suzuki SX4 – built in Hungary – masquerading as a FIAT and soon to be a JEEP

    Brilliant aint it ?

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    #36 don’t matter much cause I predict the Big Red Bully will kick out all foreign “partners” within a few years after they’ve learned and copied all they need to learn and copy from the West and then it’s Sayonara, Arrivederci and Adios,we aint need you no more.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    And then it’s the invasion of the C.C.C. (cheap Chinese car)

  42. tj Martin Says:

    #34

    Just a few problems with the 300 V6

    #1 Its a Chrysler
    #2 Again … its a Chrysler
    #3 With all the previous reliability problems as well as that Mercedes size repair bill to go with that with Chrysler reliability
    #4 Yet again …… its a Chrysler ….. owned by FIAT now …. so any bets Chryslers reliability woes will only get worse ?

    Fix It Again Tony + Chryslers already poor reliability + Mercedes sized repair bills makes for a very PO’d Pedro

    Capice ? 8)

    Nuff said .

    Just Say No

  43. tj Martin Says:

    #38

    Read between the lines in todays ALD China report as well as the financial pundits viewpoints

    Big Red’s already well on its way to booting out the new comers ( US EU UK Japan/ Korea )

    But still you’d of thought the Whizz Kids in Detroit would of caught onto the Chinese SUV craze and taken full advantage of the …….

    WTH AM I SAYING ???? This is DETROIT . land of the Zero Common Sense and Lets Ignore the Obvious method of doing business

    Never mind :(

  44. cwolf Says:

    How can anyone keep complaining about the Chinese as long as we keep buying everthing they ship to us? And don’t forget that everything the US makes is not good enough or costs too much! Kinda sucky excuse is’nt it?

    The chry300 is proving to be a reputable car! I see more and more of them on the pike and the drivers look very comfy/cozy.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Remember what happened with C4C? domestics either had insufficient supplies or undesirable offerings and most C4C buyers went foreign (mostly Japanese). Toyota and Honda never sent Obama a proper thank you note, did they?

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh come on, Tj not all Chrysler products are that bad, look at the defunct Pacifica and their Minivans have stood the test of time. I believe the 300 to be a smart choice for people looking in that segment, after all, real luxury has to be RWD, you know that better than moi!

  47. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Heck C we’re not just buyin . They’re ( China ) owning ….. us …. pretty much lock stock & barrel at this point .

    So yeah .

    China right now is like the Loan Shark you owe a fortune to , and out of the goodness of his heart has decided to let you slide …. for the moment

    Can’t exactly say no when he asks you to do him a ‘ favor ‘ Tells you he’s gonna marry your 14 year old daughter and by the way he’d like to borrow the wife for a week or two now can you ?

    Boy have we purchased / borrowed our way into one great big never ending mess .

  48. tj Martin Says:

    #44

    Chrysler Minivans ? Everyone I know has one hates them . Four are in an ongoing class action against Chrysler cause their van is such a great ride

    The Pacifica ? Eeeesh . Breakdown on Wheels ! Underpowered and kind of a joke ( like M-B’s R Class ) as well

    And ahhh….. oh yeah . That 300C’s still a now decade old Benz underneath …. with FIAT calling the shots now

    Yeah baby …. thats some mighty fine good stuff that thar Chrysler company

    Sign me up ! I’sa tradin the GLK in fer one !

    When hell freezes over – Marchionne is finally good on his word – Obama stops giving our money to E/V con games and the Banks as well as GM/Chrysler pay all our $23.77 billion of bailout loses back

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    I keep remembering when Subway needed thousands of special ovens for their shops, no one company over here could handle the demand, had to be done fast and on budget, guess where they had to have them made? And some people still argue with me that we’re still a great industrial powerhouse, maybe for heavy equipment, but for stuff like the aforementioned ovens, No sorry!!

  50. cwolf Says:

    Skimming the blogs reminded me just how many years the auto makers have stated that diesels would be included in this or that model and repeated over and over again. Where are they from Ford,Mazda and GM? GM says The diesel Cruze will come in about 18 months. So,realistically it will be maybe another 5 years!

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Point is that how much do you have to spend to get a RWD sedan of that size? I don’t think anyone makes a non-luxury RWD sedan anymore, with the demise of the Panther and the G8, all the foreign (German) are super expensive.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    My biggest China pet peeve of the moment ?

    All that lovely Glass & Steel in the 9/11 monument and new tower that ………. urp ….. is all coming from Big Red !

    21st Century American Patriotism in action . All while towns like Pittsburg Detroit etc continue their downward spiral

    FYI – Detroit – Its looking all but inevitable that the Michigan Government and the Feds will be taking over the place .

  53. tj Martin Says:

    #49

    cause all them thar Bean Counters is jes so darn smart

    ( dumping almost every RWD car we make )

    Well ….. if’n I had ta buy Merican …. an was a wantin sumpin close ta that big .

    Guess I’d take the lesser of two evils and buy a Caddy . New or used depending on my budget

    ( oooops ! Who said that ? )

  54. cwolf Says:

    @tj
    Thanks for the reminder:as if I did’nt already know! For a starter I’m giving up chinese chopsticks and will avoid every chinatown in the US. They just bought the waterfront district in Toledo. If I ever go there in the future I will make a point of it to pee on the docks!

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 300 is a good car. The V6 has decent performance and good gas mileage, for a car of its type. The 300C with the “basic” 5.7 is genuinely quick and gets ok gas mileage, on regular. The car is built on an oldish, but still competant MB platform.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Chrysler minivans, while not as reliable as Toyota or Honda, work well, and are a bargain if you don’t option them up too much. Their “stow and go” still provides better versatility than the competition, and the power train is now competitive.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    #50 well, it makes sense since most of the steel from the towers was sent over there, recycled and reused for the new WTC reconstruction, I recall vividly watching a documentary on the aftermath of 9/11 and they said that the remnants of the towers was being sent to “Asia” they would not say China, I guess not to bring down the level of patriotism that prevailed for months after, I’ve also noticed a lot of news items referring to Asia when they mean China, but it’s not in their best interest to reveal so.

  58. C-Tech Says:

    The Chrysler minivans maybe #2 to Honda, when new but they do seem to hold up well used. The Odyssey repairs get pricey the older they get (try $700 factory motor mount – its electronics cancel the vibrations).

  59. C-Tech Says:

    The 300 and 300C seem to hold up pretty well. The more gears in a trans the scarier it get for me. If it fails out of warranty, its gonna cost you, just like Honda, BMW, Merc. Hey that is more money for me as a tech though, so there is a upside.

  60. HtG Says:

    Pedro, Volt numero 14 sighted tonight. (probably the same one driving around me)

  61. HtG Says:

    56 What!? 700 dollars? Is that for both parts and labor? HS

  62. cwolf Says:

    I must say,I see a far greater number of old chry/dodge vans still on the road than any other.

  63. C-Tech Says:

    State police in Fl. are approaching 100,000 on their 2 year old Chargers and the suspensions are still in better shape than the C.V.’s No trans problems seen which is also surprising.

  64. C-Tech Says:

    @ #59
    That was for a traded in 2005 Odyssey with about 90K on the clock. That was the part alone from Honda. Dealer sent it to the auction.

  65. C-Tech Says:

    Chrysler vans have predictable failures, but the 3.3/3.8L engines will keep giong forever if you keep oil in them.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    From my trusty tech when I asked him about Chrysler Minivans a couple of yrs ago: “Son una mierda” (They’re crap!) The engines may go on forever, but they’ll have to do so in another vehicle, because the one they cam in will most likely fall apart or the tranny will die or the a/c or the brakes.

  67. C-Tech Says:

    As the personal owner of a couple (ex-wife got one), I have not had any brake problems, one trans problem, and the compressor was covered under extended warranty. I’ve seen worse for wear in other brands (Ford and GM were the worse).

  68. C-Tech Says:

    Are they racing in Daytona tonight?

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ctech I guess strong brakes are not one of Chrysler’s best features, the Sis old 99 Caravan had all kinds of brake issues and finally the tranny gave in at 160k miles and now the Journey is also having brake problems. Also heard from a county PD dept tech that Charger’s brakes are not up to police abuse as were the Panthers.

  70. HtG Says:

    It’s on right now on Fox, C-tech. Johnson in big wreck.

  71. tj Martin Says:

    MORNING VIDEO BREAK

    Now this here is racin gentlemen

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vahHuNPKz0g

    None o’ that beer addled , fraid o’ the rain , roundy round , runnin into the track dryer stuff . Nope ! This’n here be the real deal , Fer real men , who can turn a car left/right and any other which way when needed . In dry / rain / snow … whatever 8)

    Ohhhh …. but wait till todays show ! TJ’s got some GM news straight from the other side o’ the pond

    You gots a lotta splainin ta do today T Bejima !

  72. tj Martin Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/odd-couplings-gm-to-buy-7-percent-of-psa-what-for/

    Well since everyone else finally got a hold of this , here it is ;

    ( details were on BBCA News this morning )

    Oh well

    GM ! This is your Brain :(

    This is your Brain on Bailouts :( :( :(

    Any questions ?

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If it were easier to close plants in Europe, an Opel/PSA tie up would make more sense, but both companies have lots of excess capacity.

    Most Americans don’t know it, but PSA is the second largest car company in Europe, after VW. The trouble is, their market share is decreasing, and they have a hard time making money. They have some good stuff, though. They have among the best small diesels, and the fact that, of all the car companies in the world, BMW chose PSA as their partner for the engine in ’07 and later MINIs says something.