Episode 1002 – BMW Prepared for the Worst, New Kia Cadenza, Back in Black

October 29th, 2012 at 11:48am

Runtime: 8:42

BMW claims it can now withstand a 30 percent drop in sales without having to lay off any people, close any plants or post a financial loss. Kia just released photos of its new Cadenza, a car also known as the K7 and Amanti depending on which market it’s sold in. Ford says some of its customers are really getting into black wheels. All that and more, plus a look at the latest BMW model German tuning company Alpina has modified.

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. It’s October 29. I’m John McElroy, and here’s what’s happening in the global automotive industry.

Right now car sales are slowing down in most markets of the world. They are down in China, Japan, South America, and Europe. Well let’s make that most of Europe. Sales are actually up in Great Britain. They are also running strong in Russia and Turkey. They are also running strong in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In fact WardsAuto is reporting that fourth quarter production in North America will be up 8.3 percent to 3.7 million vehicles. However Wards is forecasting that North American production will only be up 1 percent in 2013.

BMW, meanwhile, has really positioned itself well for any kind of sales slow down. The company claims it can now withstand a 30 percent drop in sales without having to lay off any people, close any plants or post a financial loss. Last month BMW was able to get a new labor agreement that gives it far more flexibility to deal with any downturn.

Kia just released photos of its new Cadenza, a car also known as the K7 and the Amanti depending on which market it’s sold in. While this represents a fairly mild facelift of the car, with a new front and rear end, pay particular attention to the grille. Kia says this is a new interpretation of what it calls the Tiger nose. Obviously Kia’s chief designer Peter Schreyer continues to evolve the grille that has become the brand’s signature look.

BACK IN BLACK (subscription required)
Speaking of new design trends, Ford says some of its customers are really getting into black wheels. They think this adds more individuality to the look of their car. Plus, they just like the look. Amazingly, the take rate for black wheels on the Ford Flex, is up to 25 percent. And in trendsetting Los Angeles the take rate is 50 percent. The Focus has the second-highest take rate, but we don’t have a number on that. Ford charges $500 for black wheels on those vehicles and $700 on the Taurus. But they come standard on the 2013 Explorer Sport.

And now we have to go over the results of our latest poll. We asked you what kind of hybrid or battery-powered car you might be interested in buying. 40 percent of you said you are not interested in any of them. 23 percent of you said that you would buy a hybrid, 20 percent opted for a range extender such as the Chevrolet Volt, 14 percent of you indicated an interest in a plug-in hybrid, while only 4 percent were interested in a pure electric car. As abysmal as these numbers may seem, they are actually much higher than what’s actually going on in the market right now. Who knows? Maybe this is an indication that the future looks bright for electrification of the automobile.

Of course you’re familiar with BMW. And you’ve probably heard about Alpina. But just in case you’re not that familiar with the German tuning company we’ve got a story coming up right after the break.

Alpina is a German specialty tuning company that takes BMWs and makes them a lot faster than they come from the factory. Here’s the latest on the company’s newest model the B7.

(Our look at the BMW Alpina B7 is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

A programming note before we go. There will not be an Autoline After Hours this Thursday night. Join us again next week when my special guest will be Sandy Munro who has all kinds of great information on the true cost of making electric cars.

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

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

42 Comments to “Episode 1002 – BMW Prepared for the Worst, New Kia Cadenza, Back in Black”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Wow, the ‘ultimate’ “Ultimate Driving Machine”; believe I’ll pass.

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I like the black rims,always did.I don’t have them,and won’t buy them until I am able to buy a diesel wrangler.Rumor has it I’ll be able to do that in the 2014 my.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    I feel like a just watched a 5 min infomercial for Alpina and BMW. This guy reminds me of a villain form a 60′s 007 movie

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just watched

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR just put out a video on the most reliable new cars and once again the Toyota brands are in the top 3 spots while Ford is losing the battle of the Detroit 3 despite all the noise about how good their cars are now, if I was buying American, I’d stick with GM. BTW Audi is the most improved brand by a wide margin.

  6. Jon M Says:

    The poll results were indeed interesting, John; however, I wouldn’t put too much stock in what the future might look like for electric automobiles. Like you have said and with which I agree, what people say is one thing, what they do can be quite another. This poll helps support that argument. What will be interesting to see, however, is how the government and/or automakers will react if such alternatively-powered vehicle sales do not improve or actually drop. After all, automakers understand much better than the government that you can lead a consumer to the showroom, but you can’t make them buy!

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I believe the poll question was flawed (at least in the context in which it was evaluated); I voted for extended range hybrid but in all likelihood wouldn’t but an electric. I was trying to vote for the more likely electric, that I would buy (had I no choice).

    And on the black wheel report, again, a no-thank-you, for me. I’ve seen very few that would, in my opinion, look good (at all).

  8. C-Tech Says:

    Does Kia really need the Optima and Amanti?

    Interesting Alpina BMW coming back to the U.S. Given the budding competition between Cadillac and BMW will we see an SLP CTS-V ? Is SLP still around?

  9. Brett Says:

    The reason the poll numbers are strong than the actual take rate is because the questions were uncoupled from the economics. If you had prefaced it with “given your current economic situation and the current prices of these vehicles…”

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My thoughts go along with the poll results pretty well. I’d consider, and, in fact, bought a regular hybrid. I would not buy a pure electric, even if they cost considerably less, because they are incapable of making “road trips.”

    If Volt-type cars, and regular plug-in hybrids cost a lot less, I would consider them, but batteries have to get a lot cheaper before that can happen.

    People seem to exaggerate the price premium for regular hybrids. My Prius cost ~24K. The few non-hybrid hatches and wagons in the U.S. market with similar room aren’t a lot cheaper, especially if similarly equipped with auto A/C, “smart key,” etc. When you get into plug-in cars, that quickly changes. Even the Prius plug-in, with very limited electric-only range and performance, is about a $6K premium over a regular Prius. The same will hold true with the upcoming plug-in Fusion, and any other plug-in hybrids.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Speaking of hybrids, CR reports the Prius C is the most reliable new car sold in the US, remarkable considering how complex the Hybrid system is, I am really beginning to like that car.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR still doesn’t like the Prius C, because of its lack of refinement, etc., but the two people I know who have bought them, love them.

    I’ve always tended to “read between the lines” when CR evaluates cars, but it seems that they would do well to evaluate how cars do in their intended market, rather than rating a Prius C and a Benz S-Class as if they were competing with each other.

  13. Tony Gray Says:

    I loved the piece on the M7….I mean Alpina B7. What some folks may not know is that Alpina is not just an aftermarket tuner. They are a fully recognized manufacturer…quite an achievement in Germany.

  14. XA351GT Says:

    I don’t know John, I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in poll numbers. Those that say they would consider those alternatives to ICE may not do so when it comes time to pay the piper ,er dealer that is. When you can buy a standard engine that gives a good fuel number there is a hard time to justify the added price of a Hybrid or EV or any combination there of. This is especially true if they factor in the added cost to maintain this technology. It’s the same thing that holds diesels back here in the US.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, they reported on its reliability, even though they do not like it, just like they never liked the Yaris upon which the C is based, but people still buy them all over the world cause they are very reliable and get good mpg’s w/o resorting to complicated, questionable technology

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Prius C was joined by the Mini Cooper Clubman in being listed in italics in the CR’s “most reliable” list of small sedan/hatchbacks. The italics mean they are “not recommended” because of how they did in the road tests.

    They like the base Mini hatch a lot better than the Clubman, but I’m not sure why, unless it is because they tested the Clubman with an automatic, and the basic Mini with a manual.

  17. cwolf Says:

    It’s no secret that CR is biased against American cars on the whole. And when considering the Prius c’s competition and the relitively small numbers, its reliability rating becomes less meaningful. But then again, pedro, I guess one has to take what you get to justify your beliefs!

  18. cwolf Says:

    Black rims look really good on many models. Also a good solution to hide break dust on silver/chrome rims. Although it’s still a lot cheaper to replace break pads that to pay the extra price for those rims if it was the reason for purchasing them.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, FYI CR has removed the Prius C and the similar Yaris from its recommended list despite their reliability cause they claim they don’t perform as well as the competition, also they did the same for the new Civic, even though it continues to be a best seller in its class.

  20. cwolf Says:

    pedro, how can anyone justify any reliability claims on so small numbers and such short duration? Answer: You CAN’T !!!

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, what about low volume cars like Ferrari and Lambo, they also have reliability numbers as well, besides the Prius C sells a lot more than any of those, it did beat the Volt and that one has low numbers as well.

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    BMW prepared for the worst ;

    Am I the only one that thinks its more than just a bit refreshing to finally see an automaker not only facing up to the economic realities at hand : but actually planning ahead , doing something and being proactive for the impending ‘ Goat Rodeo ‘ everyone with a modicum of common sense can see coming for the Automotive Industry ?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR now requires a minimum sample size of 100 cars to give reliability data.

  24. cwolf Says:

    Gosh pedro! Please accept the fact that the smaller the sample size of anything, the less accurate the data is and any conclusion derived from it!

    I find it rediculous for CR to continue to fault Ford for its “MY Ford Touch.” Yes, Ford needs to remedy the problem PDQ. Yet, certainly there is a hell of a lot more important things to evaluate and weigh upon besides a flipp’in radio/info system!!!! In my book, CR’s bias is the only thing that can be RELIED upon in future issues. They need to get a life!

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If myford touch makes it unsafe to drive the car and change the radio station at the same time, that is a problem.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, so who should get the blame for the My Ford problem? Toyota? Honda? No it’s the company that put it into their cars, trying to be more hip and modern than the rest w/o taking into consideration all the negative aspects of it.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR has never steered me wrong, from TV’s to cars, the only thing I don’t bother is stuff like loudspeakers or headphones reviews, you need to try them out for yourself.

  28. cwolf Says:

    Ford’s touch system, VW’s reliability, BMW and Audi’s high repair costs,Honda’s blandness,…etc,etc……..; Can’t you see there is much more a buyer concideres than these issues. I have no problem with my Ford products because everything is pre-set, thus eliminating the distractions of all the buttons. If you have to play with all the buttons non-stop, instead of driving,you should’nt be behind the wheel.

  29. Richard Arnold Says:


    I enjoyed your piece on the BMW ALPINA B7, but your transcript of the video misspelled ALPINA — a common error committed by the automotive press. “Alpina” is a shoe & ski accessory manufacturer which sometimes sponsors racing cars. On the other hand, “ALPINA” is the BMW equivalent of Ford’s sometime partner Shelby. Before BMW had BMW Motorsports & M Division, “ALPINA” was BMW’s official unofficial racing division.

    Both BMW & BMW tuner company ALPINA both always spell BMW & ALPINA in ALL CAPS. Spelling this car “BMW Alpina B7” is like spelling it “Bmw Alpina B7.”

    Note also that BMW always spells its modern MINI in ALL CAPS (in contrast to the original Mini from the ‘60s).

    The original SAAB was always spelled in ALL CAPS (since it was an abbreviation for a 4-Swedish-word name for the company), but the Dutch company Spyker was dizzyingly inconsistent in following that convention after it bought SAAB.

    At least using the spelling “Bmw” does not confuse the car with a shoe company.

    Richard Arnold, editor
    BMW TV Guide
    Weekly news briefs, automotive humor, & miscellaneous ramblings along with a TV schedule highlighting shows featuring BMWs

    PS: My daily driver for the past 10 years has been a 2003 BMW ALPINA Roadster V8, now approaching 113,000 miles.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Aren’t your Fords from the time before MyFord Touch?

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you are picking on me, yes, I know BMW uses MINI with all caps, but I sometimes use Mini when responding to other people’s posts.

  32. Richard Arnold Says:

    No, Kit. Not picking on you. Mostly picking on members of the automotive press. Some misspell the names out of momentary carelessness & some out of ignorance, but others — such as Car and Driver — deliberately misspell them out of uniformity with their style book.

  33. Earl Says:

    Talk about black wheels take a look at the 2013 Sante Fey. These Hyundai people are ahead of the pack when it comes to being trendy. Personally I wouldn’t pay extra for them.I never did buy in to the chrome wheels either like a lot of people. But wheels do a lot for many people.

  34. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If my Ford touch breaks, then we have a reliability issue, if it doesn’t perform to users expectations, that’s a different problem. cwolf said most of these settings are set-it and forget it (same with the CUE interface); CR in my opinion, is off base, if using some of this as criteria for reliability. (your views may vary)

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m sure some people will answer on the CR questionnaire that something “broke,” when, in fact, it didn’t work very well when working normally. If you look at the detailed info on some recent Fords, though, there seem to be other issues. The 2011 Explorer, for example, had black dots (bad) for squeaks and rattles, and body hardware, which would not be related to myford touch. The black dots for audio system may have been mostly because the buyers “just didn’t like it,” or maybe it breaks. It’s hard to tell that from the way people answer the questions.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    We had to bring the FRS back for some rattles on one door near the speaker and one inside the dash and they could not fix it cause there is no bulletin on it and they don’t have a clue what is causing it, this is what happens when you buy a first year, early production car, but young folks don’t listen to experience.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2012 Priuses come standard with black alloy wheels, with plastic wheel covers. A friend removed the wheel covers, and the wheels look ok, with the shiny center caps and lug nuts, but, to me, to look right, the bead area of the wheels should be silver. Maybe white wall tires would look good on the black wheels. Do they still make those? Probably not, in the LRR variety you’d normally use on a Prius.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sorry to hear about those rattles. Stuff like that is annoying, and can be hard to fix.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit does you Prius have LLR tires and if so, is it noticeably louder than normal tires? BTW why do summer tires have to be so damn expensive, I wanted to get some for my Crapola, since we don’t really need all seasons in So Fl. but they are all high performance types taht cost twice as much as the ones I get.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I recall the first new car my family ever bought, a 1971 Plymouth Valiant with the 318 V8 and it had rattles galore and hesitation issues until it got warm, the dealer could not fix either problem, we even took it to an outside engine specialist who took the carburetor apart and was unable to fix it either, the stupid car had hesitation problems as long as we owned it. It was even a safety issue.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, yes, my Prius has LRR tires. They are Yokohama, I don’t remember the model designation. The seem as quiet as regular all-season tires, so far. They have 30K miles, and are probably a little less than half worn out.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect summer tires are expensive mainly because some people are willing to pay high prices for them for their “performance” cars. I’d like them too, now that I spend winters in Fl.