Episode 858 – 2013 Legacy & Outback, Tires Influence Loyalty, Gas Prices Soar in Italy

March 30th, 2012 at 12:41pm

Runtime: 8:06

Subaru announced it will introduce the 2013 Legacy and Outback models at the New York Auto Show next week. A new study from J.D. Power says a customer’s satisfaction with their vehicle’s tires influences brand and dealership loyalty. Gas prices in Italy are soaring due to new austerity measures put in place. All that and more, plus guest host Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, shares his driving impressions on the 2012 Audi S5 Quattro Coupe.

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No, you’re not seeing things. It’s me again, Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist. McElroy’s still out of the office – more of that official business I mentioned yesterday. As for today’s show, we’ll take a peek at the latest episode of Autoline This Week, we’ll find out a little bit of what’s going on at Lincoln PLUS I recently spent a few days behind the wheel of a German thoroughbred. Which one? Stay tuned to find out. In the meantime, here’s the news.

With The New York Auto Show set to kick off next week, carmakers continue to tease us with what they’ll unveil at the show. Chrysler released this interior photo of the new 2013 SRT Viper. It doesn’t really show much but we’ll fill you in on all the details once it debuts.

And Subaru announced it will introduce the 2013 Legacy and Outback models in New York. Both vehicles feature re-styled front-ends and a new 2.5-liter boxer engine, which offers more power and better fuel efficiency compared to the previous models.

For a decade or more Lincoln has been a backwater brand. Ford’s luxury division has received neither the attention it needs nor the resources it deserves. But a new journey has begun. Lincoln is working overtime to reinvent itself. For the first time since the 1970s it has its own dedicated design studio. Its staff has grown from just 10 people a year or so ago to more than 200 today. Things are changing, even on the dealer-side of the business.

Lincoln will have more to say about its future next week at the New York Auto Show. Among other things, the production version of the redesigned MKZ will be revealed, and we look forward to seeing it as the rejuvenation of Lincoln continues.


JD Power released an interesting study that says a customer’s satisfaction with their vehicle’s tires influences brand and dealership loyalty. According to the report, 67 percent of owners who rate their tire as “truly exceptional” say they will definitely re-purchase the brand. That number drops to 59 percent if owners weren’t as satisfied with their tires. The study also shows customers are more likely to return to the dealer for maintenance and repair work if they’re highly satisfied with their tires. Researchers suggest better-performing tires help with the perception of the vehicle.

Hey, do you live in the New York area? If so, you can attend a LIVE broadcast of Autoline After Hours next Thursday, April 5th, from Katz’s famous delicatessen in Manhattan. You can find out all the details on our website, Autoline.tv. Just visit the Autoline After Hours section where you can RSVP and get directions to Katz’s. We’d love to see you there.

Anyway, we’re wrapping up another Friday and that means it’s time for a new episode of Autoline. This time John is in the nation’s capital for the Washington D.C. Auto Show. He sits down with a variety of government officials, industry experts and environmental activists. His list of interviewees included Phil Murtaugh the CEO of Coda Automotive, Roland Hwang from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Dave Zuchowski, the Executive Vice President of Sales at Hyundai Motor America and Margo Oge, the Director of Transportation and Air Quality at the U.S. EPA. As always, you can check out this entire show at Autoline.tv.

If you think we’ve got it bad in the U.S., be thankful you don’t live in Italy! According to Bloomberg, fuel prices in the boot-shaped country are soaring. At one Euro 82 per liter, they’re the highest in Europe. In ‘Merican money that works out to $9.17 a gallon! The reason for the increase is that gasoline taxes have risen 24 percent in the past year! The price hikes are part of austerity measures put in place by the country’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti. Sucks to be them.

Hey, after the sponsor message, I’ll give you my take on a most desirable German road star.

It’s no secret that I like the way Audi does things, but as good as the flavor-of-the-moment A7 is I think the 2012 S5 Quattro Coupe with 6-speed gearbox just may be the best all-around Audi for the enthusiast. And this comes from someone who had an Audi S4.

Everything about the S5 is geared for pure driving pleasure. The 354 HP V8 is simply one of the best engines in the business today, and the slick-shifting 6-speed gearbox is perfectly suited for the power and torque at hand. The package size of the Audi Coupe seems to be just right and the crisp, contemporary design has worn well. And the interior refinement and detailing are simply exquisite. I just can’t say enough about how good this Audi felt and how well it drives, and that’s the bottom line here. It is truly fun to get behind the wheel of this machine and frankly in this day and age of rampant anti-car-ism, that says a lot.

Some would argue that the Audi S4 is the quintessential driver’s car of the Audi lineup, that it’s better balanced, lighter on its feet and offers better fuel economy. And I have previously agreed with that statement because I love the S4 in both double-clutch automatic and 6-speed configurations. But the power of the magnificent V8 in the S5 just cannot be denied. It transforms this Audi into a formidable machine to be reckoned with and one that’s satisfying in all aspects. (Okay, if you hammer it the mileage is not great, but please don’t be one of those people who gets a high-performance machine like this and then complains on your J.D. Power survey about the mileage. That’s auto dork-ism at its lowest.)

Needless to say, Audi has it goin’ on. And if your automotive jones veers toward V8s and 6-speeds, you owe it to yourself to give the S5 a close, hard look.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this Friday.

And the end of this week’s worth of Autoline Daily. Once more, I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist. But before I sign off, make sure you check out RoundAbout tonight. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time at Autoline.tv. Good times are in store.

Anyway, have a great weekend and I’ll see you next time!

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

38 Comments to “Episode 858 – 2013 Legacy & Outback, Tires Influence Loyalty, Gas Prices Soar in Italy”

  1. C-Tech Says:

    Oh I get it, there won’t be a show April 1, so the item about how tires affect brand loyalty is the “April Fools’s” item. Most owner’s couldn’t tell you what brand or size the tires are on their car. Most buyer’s replace the original brand tires on their car with the cheapest or near cheapest available. Otherwise Kelly, Nexen, and a number of Korean and Chinese brands would not exist.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the S5 is a rare case where Americans get the “good stuff” from a European car company, at least those Americans who don’t care about gas mileage, The S5 sold in the UK has the supercharged V6 used in the S4, rather than the V8. Both cars would perform about the same, but I suspect the V8 sounds cooler, and might “feel” better.

  3. C-Tech Says:

    We keep hearing about changes at Lincoln, but the cars and suv’s they roll out still seem to sing the same song (off key for a premium brand).

  4. C-Tech Says:

    The S5 may have a great set of attributes for a test drive, so why does the Audi brand have such a disconnect in terms of long term quality and customer service with its customers?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Most people I know usually replace the original tires with equal, or better tires than came on the car, the first time, but those who “drive their cars to the junkyard” buy the cheapest they can get when they feel that junkyard trip is getting near.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    What Lincoln needs is a modern Town Car, but they don’t seem interested in coming up with such a car. The new MKZ sounds interesting, but the rest of the line, not really.

  7. C-Tech Says:

    When cars are traded in and need tires, only Mercedes-Benz requires their certified used cars have 4 matching ORIGINAL BRAND tires with 70% tread or better. Honda requires 4 matching tires with 70% tread or better. Most used car managers will only replace worn out tires, usually 2 at a time, with the cheapest brand available. Try going by a dealer and checking out the tires on the used cars, especially used cars that are 4 or more years old.

  8. Lex Says:

    Hi Peter,

    You looked very professional today in your suit and tie! The Producers of Mad Men should offer you a guest appearance on their show.

    I do not see Lincoln regaining it’s former glory as a luxury brand. Even Cadillac has not done it.

    My observation regarding Ed Welburn as your pick for chief designer of Renzo Motors: If you look at a 2013 Chevy Traverse and a 2012 Cadillace you will notice that Ed Welburn and crew have copied the same grill onto both brands except the Chevy headlights are horizontial and the Cadillac’s are vertical.
    Need I say more?

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Explain this to me: Audi puts so much effort into both the driving dynamics and the quality of their materials and workmanship, yet their cars do not hold up well, nor do they score acceptable in quality surveys, so what gives? I’m sure glad they don’t make aircraft, Tires: in my long history of many miles in the past 20+ yrs, I have purchased good. bad. and middle of the road tires. I’ve decided that for the kind of car I drive I am better off with mid-priced ones, the cheap ones don’t last and are very noisy while the expensive ones did not give the the mileage I was expecting from them, but they did handle a tad better than the mid level ones and lots better than the cheapo ones. It’s a matter of compromise, I guess!

  10. T. Bejma Says:


    GM also requires their Certified Used vehicles to have four matching tires with 5/32″ above the wear bars. So it is NOT just MB.

    Check out their checklist:


    In addition, GM has a 12 month 12,000 mile Bumper to Bumper and 3 year 36,000 limited warranty on top of the remainder of the 5 year 100,000 powertrain warranty for their Certified Used vehicles. I know, I just bought one.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is a lot of bashing of Audi around here, but, for what it’s worth, the A3, A4, and A5 have scored “average” in CR’s reliability survey. That’s not great, but better than some others, like all Jaguars, BMW 535i, Nissan “Z,” and Mercedes S550.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Speaking of used, just had a conversation with a long time service manager at a local Car Max and he says that they have changed from a company that would look for and only sell the best used cars available to one that will sell anything they can get their hands on, and while they used to fix or replace ANY thing that looked like it needed fixing, now it’s more of a cosmetic thing and only fix stuff when the customer complains and brings back for repairs

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    #11 why do I not see any older Audis driving around here? lots of Mercs and a few BMW’s but Audi? Where do they end up? salvage yards or, like Corollas, in third world countries?

  14. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Certified Used or Brand New, tires are excluded for the warranty. Tires are covered by thier maker and only for defects in material or contruction.
    I don’t by a new car based on tires (although I avoid the bigger rim options). With used cars I aways take into consideration the brand and wear of the tire on it for pricing purposes.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #13 They are selling a lot more Audis in the U.S. now than a few years ago, so there probably wouldn’t be as many old ones around as Benz and BMW, even if they have similar scrappage rates. Maybe they do get scrapped at a higher rate than some other “premium” brands, though.

    Does anyone have access to Polk data on such things? It might be interesting.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, isn’t Audi part of VW? YES and does VW give a crap about reliability? NO! no martter if it’s made in Mexico or Tenn or Deutschland itself so there, the only long to be # in sales world wide and I guess they want the same for Audi, impressive products? yes but where is the improved quality and reliability??

  17. C-Tech Says:

    @ #10
    GM certified used cars must have 4 MATCHING BRAND tires with greater than 5/32 tread. This means that if the used Impala you are looking at had GOODYEAR tires on it new, they can be replaced with 4 GOODRIDE tires. The discard bars on tires generally show through the tread at 4/32 which is way less than the 70% standard at other manufacturers for their certified program. Does GM still independently audit their dealers for compliance like Mercedes, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota?

  18. C-Tech Says:

    @ #13
    Part of the reason you don’t see as many old Audi’s around as Benz and BMW, is because they did take a major public relations whack over unintended acceleration in the mid-80′s. It took a long time for Audi to recover due to their lackluster defense of thier cars.

  19. C-Tech Says:

    @ #6 I agree Kit. Perhaps like the Taurus name we will see Lincoln try to revive the name in 10 years.

  20. ERNIE BRINK Says:


  21. W L Simpson Says:

    If you say the S5 is cool , then I’m sure it is.
    When does your 4wheeled “endorsement” fee arrive?

  22. Jon M., Says:

    In my opinion Lincoln is a brand neglected far too long to revive anytime soon, if ever at all. It didn’t have an appealing image to anyone post baby boomer to begin with and just looks and feels too much like a Ford in a tuxedo–a cheap one at that. But if Mulally and crew want to revive the brand, then they may wish to promote it more; although, certainly it would help to have something worth promoting first. From what I can tell, the company is pushing the Ford brand so much that I wonder if even FoMoCo has forgotten about Lincoln. I can’t imagine the brand is so popular that it sells itself. Though I’m not making any predictions, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Lincoln brand eventually follow its Mercury cousin into the annals of automotive history.

  23. T. Bejma Says:

    #17 C-Tech

    It is 5/32″ ABOVE the wear bars, so if the wear bars are at 4/32″, then the Certified GM approved tires have to be at least 9/32″ which is very close to the 10-11/32″ of a new tire (and actually equals 81% of new tire depth, so even better than the 70% MB requires).

    And yes, GM has an entire department dedicated to auditing dealers (who are independent businesses with only a Personal Service Agreement with GM).

  24. Dave Forslund Says:

    Hey Peter,

    You are giving your age away with the long hair and love for V8 engines!

    There is a new set of auto lovers coming up behind you with different tastes and values.

    I’m with ya!!!

    Dave Forslund
    age 74

  25. C-Tech Says:

    @ #22
    Sorry T.B., check again, the requirement for Certified GM is 5/32 measured from the base as you stated, not 5/32 above the the discard bar. Also Benz requires the SAME brand as new, not just any new tire on their certified used, if it came with Continentals or Pirelli’s the dealer must replace them with the same.

  26. T. Bejma Says:


    Quoted directly from the 172 point checklist:


  27. cwolf Says:

    As you stated many times,the Fusion/Milan is made in Mexico.Well..I’m a bit sad that production will remain there and not moved to Flat Rock as agreed. I might just have to cross it off my list. The Fit also will come with a sombrero.

  28. cwolf Says:

    I’m surprised noone mensioned BMW’s battery cable problem and suggestions of parking it outside until having the recall service. Did BMW’s catch a Volt virus or are they,too,a non-hybred/ev version of a toaster (as tj would say)?

  29. cwolf Says:

    After reading about the Prius c in C&D,I’m currious if the regular Prius still is’nt the better choice between the two.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf, you sure about that? I read that they were moving production to Michigan, doesn’t take a long time to set up an assembly line for a whole new model. It is not a last minute decision, you gotta have the crew and equipment ready to roll specially for a completely new model I think the Prius c will attract a whole new group of buyers who would have not considered a hybrid but with the long term price of gas an uncertainty, it is a safe bet to try to get the most mpg you can w/o all the recharging headaches that some of these plug in’s bring on.

  31. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I’m sure the Fusion will remain in Mexico and I don’t know the reason.

    The Prius c is a better city car and is selling well above the rest,yet for a little more$ one can get the std. model with better hwy mpg’s and more people/cargo room.

  32. RonE Says:

    Ford Motor Co. plans to invest $1.3 billion in a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, the automaker said Friday on its website.

    The investment in the plant, which will produce Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models, will create 1,000 jobs, Ford said.

    From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120330/AUTO0102/203300432#ixzz1qoCuX2kA


  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 Oh I think we know the reason, much lower labor costs, lower taxes and other savings and thanks to NAFTA no penalties for Ford, besides the stuff built in Mexico is not too shabby, just look at the 500, even that one has been coming in with no major defects so far, my sister’s Journey except for the brake issue has been flawless, (brake issue IS a design problem NOT a build one)and the PT was one of Chrysler’s most reliable models.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    PS the Fiesta tranny issues was again a design flaw whether unintentional or not, not a build problem.

  35. cwolf Says:

    It was stupid of me to assume the return of the Fusion was a part of the last UAW contract. Just the fact that I haven’nt heard a response about the issue really has me wondering.

    Funny you mention the Fiesta,pedro. Did you read the TTAC piece about the most pop. Euro cars? The Fiesta ranked second! I really liked the one I drove!

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    The 2 complains I’ve read are the “auto” tranny and the Ford Touch thing, well I guess the cure to tat would be to get a base model, if you can find one anywhere.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You should be able to factory order a “base” Fiesta.

  38. Brett Says:

    I think that the point about tires is that good tires make the car a more pleasant experience. Replacing the factory 18″ Goodyear Eagle GSAs on my Crown Vic LX Sport with Kumho Ecstas positively transformed the car from an NVH perspective. Lasted longer and stuck fine, too.