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Episode 1027 – New Car Prices Rise, EPA Hires New Regulator, Global Car Sales Up

December 5th, 2012 at 12:01pm

Runtime: 8:15

Incentives for new cars keep going up but that isn’t lowering the price consumers are paying. Chris Grundler will replace Margo Oge, who retired in September from the EPA, as director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality. Despite tumbling sales in Europe, global car sales keep going up. All that and more, plus John McElroy takes on your questions and comments in today’s edition of You Said It!

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Thanks for joining us for another edition of Autoline Daily, let’s get right to the news.

NEW CAR PRICES UP DESPITE INCENTIVES
Incentives for new cars keep going up but it’s not lowering the price consumers are paying for a new car. According to research from TrueCar.com, the average transaction price for a new car in November was nearly $31,000 which is up $335 compared to last year. At the same time, the average incentive was $2,700, a four percent gain compared to last year. TrueCar says consumers are willing to pay for more features which is pushing the transaction price up. I say, all that new technology needed to meet CAFE standards is pushing them up even faster.

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
Despite tumbling sales in Europe, global car sales keep going up. According to WardsAuto, worldwide sales hit 6.66 million vehicles in October, a gain of nearly 6 percent compared to last year. Year over year sales were up in every region except for Europe. And it’s especially bad in France with sales dropping nearly 20 percent. Through October, global car sales are at 68.1 million units which is a gain of 5.6 percent compared to last year. That puts sales on track to hit 80 million for the full year.

COULD SUBARU PRODUCTION EXPAND?
Subaru’s sales have shot up 29 percent this year in the US market, and were up a whopping 60 percent in November. So now Subaru is looking at expanding its assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Subaru joins Toyota, Honda, and Nissan in boosting US production to replace production in Japan which is getting hammered due the strength of the yen. Subaru’s Executive Vice President and COO, Tom Doll, who just was on Autoline’s live broadcast from LA last week, said they might bring further production to the U.S., probably for the Impreza and Forester.

EPA HIRES NEW REGULATOR
Margo Oge, who retired in September from the EPA will be replaced by Chris Grundler as director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ). Both Grundler and Oge have been guests on Autoline over the years and represent public servants at their best. As director of the OTAQ, Grundler’s job is to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles, engines and the fuels used to operate them. He also establishes and implements national emission standards for vehicles, off-road equipment and transportation fuels. In fact, ocean going ships in national waters also come under his purview.

BUICK IS BACK WITH AN ENCORE
Yesterday we got our first test drive of the new Buick Encore. We’ll have more details about the vehicle in a future report, but here’s the highlights. This front-wheel-drive compact crossover was designed in Germany, is built in Korea, and will be sold around the world as the Chevrolet Trax, and Opel Mokka. As the Buick Encore it comes with a 1.4 liter turbo engine mated to a six speed automatic. Base price is $25,000 including destination. Fully loaded it’s almost $34,000. It feels a little bit underpowered, but feels tight as a drum, is quiet for a car in this class, and handles well. Buick is really benefiting from getting new products in its lineup, and the Encore will keep the momentum rolling.

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

Bradley says, “I am confused to how hurricane Sandy has such an immediate impact on the SAAR. I thought a car was considered ‘sold’ when it left the factory.” Bradley, you’re partially right. Automakers count a car as sold when it leaves the factory, but only for financial reasons. When we report sales that measures the retail customers or fleets that go to dealerships and buy them.

Lex wants to know, “Will we see a Grand C-Max in the U.S. market?” I don’t think so. Ford’s original plan was to bring the Grand C-Max to the US, but then changed its mind, and decided to only sell the smaller C-Max and only as a hybrid.

Mike says, “I wonder if changes in the fuel supply (i.e. the fracking of shale) is supposedly leading to oil self sufficiency within five years, and the massive availability of natural gas is on the verge of making EV’s passe?” Mike, that’s pretty much how I see it. I don’t think that EV’s will become passé, but this is going to limit how much they’ll grow in sales. Amazingly a barrel of oil in the United States is now about $22 cheaper than it is in the world market.

Kit Gerhart wants to know, “Who is going to make all these diesel cars to double their numbers in the next year and a half? VW is almost the ‘only game in town’ with diesel cars.” Kit, Audi just introduced three new diesel models at the LA auto show, Mazda displayed its new diesel engine there, the Chevy Cruz gets a diesel next year, and so does the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Meanwhile, VW, BMW and Mercedes keep selling more and more diesels all the time in the American market.

Blueovalblood is puzzled. “Why is Hyundai/Kia being fined for the mpg errors on their cars? Isn’t the E.P.A. responsible for testing and verifing those numbers? Shouldn’t they be the ones paying the fine?!” First, Hyundai and Kia have not yet been fined by the EPA. Second, all automakers have to submit their own fuel economy data and the EPA only does random testing of their cars, unless it suspects that something else is going on as it did with Hyundai and Kia

Hey, check out this picture. When I was at the LA auto show last week I stopped by Volkswagen to get a Coke and it turns out that the guy behind the bar is a huge Autoline fan. This is Eddie Martinez and as you can tell by the photo that dude is tall.

Thanks for all your letters and comments really get a kick out of trying to answer at least some of them. Before we go don’t forget to tune into Autoline After Hours this Thursday night starting at 6 PM Eastern time. Did you know that the automakers in Detroit went to one of the local universities and asked it to start a new automotive design school? Keith Nagara is the director of the new transportation design school at Lawrence Technological University. So join me and that Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the automotive industry.

And that wraps up today’s report, please join us again right here tomorrow.

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

77 Comments to “Episode 1027 – New Car Prices Rise, EPA Hires New Regulator, Global Car Sales Up”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John,
    Thanks for your reply regarding upcoming diesels. I guess it is more SUV’s more than cars, as BMW dropped the 335d and now sells no diesel cars in the U.S., and Mercedes sells only one, the E350d.

    I recently saw a rumor that BMW might sell the next generation 3-series wagon in the U.S. with a 4 cylinder diesel. That would be cool, especially if they will sell it with a manual transmission.

  2. Lex Says:

    I think General Motors will have more success with bringing the Chevy Trax to the United States than offering the Buick Encore. The Encore with a base of $25K and a fully loaded price of $34 will be a sales disaster!

  3. HtG Says:

    Does anybody have an idea where all these Subaru sales are coming from? Are SAAB and Volvo owners coming over? I notice how expensive Volvos are these days, and wonder how the intellectuals can keep up.

  4. Lex Says:

    John thanks for the reply.

    Ford currently has no minvan in it’s lineup. The Ford Transit Connect only fills commerical needs. I believe the Ford Grand C-Max with it’s sliding rear doors would enjoy good sales from those families looking to downsize from bulkier, oversized traditional minvans like the Toyota Sienna. Honda has downsized the exterior of the Odyssey making it sleeker, but Chrysler and Dodge currently have refrigerators on wheels in their product line. Chrysler and Dodge need to bring back the regular and grand Caravan from model years 1996 – 2007. These were the Third and Fourth Generations of this iconic vehicle.

  5. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @3 The devil is in the details. For instance, if they sold 2 cars last year, and they sold 3 this year, that’s a 50% increase. So if they are selling low numbers, it doesn’t take a lot to get a big percentage gain.

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    Subaru sales – IMO its a combination of A) their designs going a bit more ‘ mainstream ‘ B) They’ve always made a good product and have finally done as good a job marketing them C ) Weather patterns bringing snow to areas not normally affected : thereby again increasing Subaru’s appeal in areas where they were not formerly popular D) More than likely a few SAABisatas and Volvo folks coming over what with SAAB’s demise and Volvo’s ongoing problems with their new owners and pricing .

    Once again HtG . Apologies for the hideously worded post of mine last night

    Euro Sales – Sales in Italy have dropped even further than those in France what with their rapidly declining economy as well as the OTT and excessive Tax Evader tactics the Italian government has employed lately scaring even legitimate citizens from driving or buying a new car of any kind

  7. WineGeek Says:

    John there is an additional reason for buyers to consider an EV or Hybrid…global warming which regardless of the price of oil needs to be considered as a serious threat to our country and our world.

  8. Lex Says:

    My Sister just picked up a new Subaru Outback Premium because she wanted to downsize from her aging Honda Odyssey. She looked at the New CR-V but it has huge driver blind spots and the Honda Fit is too small. She also looked at the Subaru Forester which she found too be too tinny and cheap looking in comparison to the Outback, so the Outback won! She can not wait to hit the snow in her AWD Outback!

  9. Dave Says:

    LOL on they guy selling you a Coke being a fan of Autoline, I guess you’re becoming a celebrity John! :-)

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #4,
    I’d like the grand C-Max if I were in the market for a small van, and my sister might actually buy one. I’m thinking Ford might know what they are doing, though, since the kind of similar Mazda 5 is not selling very well.

  11. Mark Says:

    John, you say, “all that new technology needed to meet CAFE standards is pushing them up even faster.”

    To blame the increases on just CAFE increases is not fair. I agree that in the future, as CAFE goes up a lot more, that we may see a connection between CAFE and car prices, but I don’t think we are seeing it yet.

    What tech are you talking about? Turbos? Direct injection? Turbos replaced V6′s in many cars and is a wash in cost. Direct injection is the next evolution in fuel injection and would have happened with or without CAFE.

    We saw price increase in the past, when CAFE was flat for decades, but that was because new features and more horsepower were added. Manufacturers are shifting engineering improvements from horsepower to MPG because of buyer preferences and CAFE requirement.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    Subaru Sales ; the numbers ;

    November 2011 – 17,206

    November 2012 – 28,206

    Any way you shake it an 11,000 unit increase is a plus

    YTD 11 month

    2011 – 233,288

    2012 – 299,288

    YTD 11 month numbers not looking quite as impressive but that spike in November 2012 may be telling of whats in store for Subaru’s future

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding Subaru sales, a small sample of one Subaru owner I know replaced an S-10 Blazer with a Forester.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe car prices are going up because of all that electronic crap that some of us would pay extra for them to leave off.

  15. HtG Says:

    6 CK, we’re cool, there was never any problem

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    ” Maybe car prices are going up because of all that electronic crap that some of us would pay extra for them to leave off ”

    +1

  17. C-Tech Says:

    I think the increase in Subaru sales has something to do with moving from a very quirky, on the edge design, with questionable fit and finish, to closer to mainstream design, and tighter fit and finish.

  18. C-Tech Says:

    Before blaming CAFE for increased prices, could the various required safety features (ABS, traction control, extra airbags, stronger steel) be driving up prices as well?

  19. dcars Says:

    Kit makes a good point and I might add that the future of Diesel fuel does not seam so bright in the US.
    Major fleet diesel users are increasingly turning to natural gas as their primary fuel. Buses, heavy haulers, mid range haulers, and garbage/recycle trucks are all converting to CNG from diesel. These former diesel users are demanding and building the CNG infrastructure. Those that have converted are getting the benefit of stable and drastically cheaper fuel costs. FYI the cost of an equivalent gallon (to Gas) of CNG is about $1.30!

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #18
    Agree with C-Tech; safety, fuel mileage, extras, etc. all driving up the average cost. Just more stuff on the new vehicles these days (hardly any stripper models being bought or even available to be bought).

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Subaru lost sales years ago when Americans went SUV crazy and ignored the smaller, more efficient Subies for more room and power, but with the ever increasing fuel costs and all the anti-SUV sentiment around, they have been re-discovered by folks who need or desire AWD without the high cost of filling up, car prices are going up because of all the things that used to be optional that are now standard in most cars, even the lowly Mazda 2 now comes with power window and locks and I believe ALL cars now come with std A/C

  22. Wim van Acker Says:

    #1 Contrary to your statement about Mercedes offering the E350 diesel, only: the last time I looked (1 minute ago) Mercedes is offering diesel engines in the E, S, M, and GL.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19,
    Yep, CNG can be a great fuel for commercial vehicles that don’t go “too far from home,” and can be refueled on their off-time. In time, there may be more fueling stations, making nat gas feasible for over-the-road trucks.

    BTW, to run on ONLY natural gas, you need to use spark ignition. To use natural gas for a compression ignition engine, you need to inject a small amount of regular diesel fuel along with the natural gas.

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    #22

    As well as the GLK , C Class and the upcoming CLA Diesels in the works . Along with the much rumored G-Class diesel .

    Looks like Mercedes Benz might just be positioning themselves to become the diesel leader in the US . Assuming folks actually step up and buy them that is. Speaking of …

    ……Buying Them ;

    Cadillacs CTS wagons . We ( the enthusiasts ) wanted them . The general public hasn’t been buying them ( with rumored back stocks on every Caddy dealers lot in the country )

    And hence – ‘ No CTS wagon For You ‘ and no more wagons in Cadillac’s future . Somehow I can see things going down this very same route with diesels as well . Time will tell .

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #22,
    I was talking about cars, not SUV’s. I missed the S. Yes, I knew some of the SUV’s offer diesels, and the new GLK will offer one soon, or so I’ve heard.

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    Subaru Sales Pt II

    A couple of more possible reasons for the sudden sales increase ;

    1 )FrankenStorm Sandy scared a lot of folks into wanting AWD

    2) What else other than Subaru is left for the conservative architect , professional academic , sort of green outdoors person or intellectual types to buy now that SAAB is gone and Volvo has become irrelevant ?

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Yet no mention of diesels in smaller trucks to replace those thirsty gassers that are everywhere.I don’t see many people in the car buying market buying diesels,why should they? Same with most suv buyers unless they plan on doing some towing,which most don’t.I understand Ram is going to be offering a possible V6 diesel in the 1500 size pickup later in 2013.I’ve said this many times before,whoever comes to the market first with a 1/2 ton or smaller diesel pickup truck,will win a big sales advantage.Jmho.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #26 #2 agree 100% #1 ok, mentally maybe but the only thing that could have survived Sandy would have been an armored personnel carrier. Abrams or something second hand from the Soviet arsenal.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #27,
    VW has a “take rate” of about 20% on their diesels, according to Edmunds, but it is, understandably, much lower on the other diesel cars available in the U.S.

    I say understandably, because the VW’s get at least 30% better mpg than their gas counterparts, while the E350 BlueTEC and the now-discontinued 335d do not. The S diesel does well for a car like that, but do people who buy $90K+ cars really care that much about fuel economy? Probably not.

  30. dcars Says:

    #23, I’ve visited a quick fueling CNG station and it’s very busy. In addition, toll highways are adding quick fill CNG equipment. The Germans are heavily invested in Diesel and I would bet that they are cranking up their marketing efforts to save a technology that they have an advantage in.

  31. Tony Gray Says:

    Seems like “underpowered” seems to be popping up more and more, especially when we are talking about mass market GM products. Of course, this is all relative, since my 84 Celebrity Eurosport had a “High Output” version of the carbureted 2.8L V6 with a massive output of….130 horses. It seemed sprightly in the day with its 10.6 second 0-60 time….

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    #28

    I wasn’t implying on reason #1 that a Subie would of survived Sandy : only that the aftermath etc might of scared a few more people into seeing the benefits of AWD assuming you hadn’t been directly hit by the storm .e.g getting around all the rubble , sand covered and washed out roads etc ;-)

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #31,
    It sounds like your “hot rod” Celebrity had about the same 0-60 time as a Prius.

    I had an ’86 Celebrity wagon with the 2.5 “iron duke” and a four speed manual. It probably had a 0-60 time of about 15 seconds. It was quick enough then, and it would be quick enough now, if you actually want to be realistic.

  34. HtG Says:

    We had a ’85 Celebrity Eurosport wagon. It could move and had a very sticky suspension. Put the pedal down and boy oh boy did it get loud. Cool car (except on hot days, stuck in traffic. Don’t you even look at that AC button)

  35. HtG Says:

    It lasted until like 2006, when my sister sold it. Local contractors were always asking if they could buy it.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    #32 I hear you, but most of these AWD really are not capable of handling high water or none of those horrible conditions we saw in the news, not enough ground clearance, for that you need to be way high, and even skid plates underneath Oh a snorkel type intake would help also.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35
    That’s pretty good. You don’t see many of them on the road any more. There are a few down here in FL, but they would need to have a sheltered life to survive 20+ years in Indiana, land of road salt.

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Spotted ;

    OK guys … what the heck was this I just saw today ?

    A Saturn Sky Coupe ! Not with an add on hard top mind you , but a bonafide , no seams to be found anywhere , fastback , hatchback and all coupe ! Kind of reminiscent of the BMW Z3 coupe in styling .

    So … did I miss out on something during the Sky’s tenure or is this some one off , custom or possibly even a Saturn prototype that escaped GM’s studios ?

    Got to admit I liked it . A lot .

    So … what the heck was that ?

  39. T. Bejma Says:

    #24

    Not so fast on the abandonment of the wagon…

    http://gmauthority.com/blog/2012/12/gm-trademarks-chevrolet-nomad-name/

  40. T. Bejma Says:

    #38

    Are you sure it was a Sky? GM never made a Sky Coupe but we did make a few hundred Solstice Coupes…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/automobiles/autoreviews/05solstice.html?_r=0

    Maybe someone got fancy and grafted a Sky nose on it?

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The last Solstice to arrive at the dealer in Kokomo, IN was a coupe.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #39,
    I hope they do that wagon for the U.S., if they can keep the price within reason. It would be a great replacement in the market for the late Magnum wagon.

  43. HtG Says:

    39 oooooh

    Any chance wagons will get upscale cache? I see big Audi wagons around

  44. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Projected diesel sales may even start to wane; almost a dollar a gallon difference from regular to diesel fuel (in my area)now. The diesels won’t make economic sense with those prices. Admittedly fuel prices are highly volatile, still, many folks will drive around the block or mile or two away just to save a couple pennies a gallon. People yell for diesels, the manufacturers make the commitment to build, gas drops, and they don’t sell.

  45. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 40

    Nope . It was a Sky with all the added visual clues along with slightly more flared fenders and a tad bit smoother than either the Solstice or the Sky . Could it be some lost prototype that someone walked away with after the demise of Saturn ? What ever it was it sure was a mighty fine looking little car . I’m saying that never having been a fan of either the Sky or the Solstice’s looks …. which is why the car caught me so off guard as well as why I noticed it immediately in the retail parking lot I was in this morning

  46. SMoli Says:

    Kappa Coupes were made in limited volumes the last year of production. Soon to be collector cars.

  47. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If the Nomad makes it (in Australia) and makes it into production it sure would compliment the upcoming Chevy SS; very nice lines (at least as seen from the rear shot).

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    There were some made for promotions like Falken Tires had one, GM should have done it themselves and would have sold a lot more of them. Lot of folks don’t like rag tops.

  49. ColoradoKid Says:

    #39

    Oh please T Bejima ! Do not get my hopes up … again for the revitalization of the Nomad .. only to once again have them dashed against the rocks as GM did once before ( remember the last Nomad concept ? )

    I’m really gonna hate you T if this’n turns out to be another in a very long string of GM’s ‘ Red Herrings ‘ and broken promises :( Yer on thin ice right now T ! :o

    #43 – If Audi’s announcement today is anything to go by ;

    ” No Wagons for You America ” ( they just said no Avants coming our way in any guise or model ) 8)

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44,
    Of diesels currently on the market (cars), the VW’s are the only ones that could possibly be cost effective.

    Since they redesigned/added GDI to the Benz 3.5 gasser for the 2012 E350, the diesel only does 2 mpg better in both the city and highway EPA numbers. The E350 gas is 20-30, and the diesel is 22-32. The Benz needs premium, somewhat reducing the fuel cost difference, but diesel is always more expensive than premium where I am.

    Maybe the diesel could be cost-effective in the big Benz S-Class, but I doubt people buying cars that expensive care very much. I don’t buy cars like that, but if I did, I suspect I would go for the S550.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    The wagon Nazi does not like America, I guess?

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    49,
    Yeah, they turned the A4 Avant into an “all road” or something like that. I guess they are copying Subaru’s turning the Legacy wagon into the Outback, by jacking up the suspension and adding body cladding.

  53. ColoradoKid Says:

    Damn ! If T is right and Chebbie brings over that Nomad .. especially if they offer it in a performance AWD version …. damn ..I might just wind up giving those _____ at GM some of my money . This time by my own choosing . Damn !

  54. HtG Says:

    CK, perhaps you saw a version of the Solstice/Sky that was sol in Europe as an Opel?

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=solstice+versiin+opel&qpvt=solstice+versiin+opel&FORM=IGRE

    Made in Delaware

  55. ColoradoKid Says:

    #54

    I was wondering the same thing .

  56. HtG Says:

    The Kappa, as SMoli wrote in 46

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    #56 -Like I said , what ever that was with its Saturn badge on its very Sky nose it sure was a mighty fine looking car inside and out . Seriously had Saturn/Pontiac offered that version up from the get go and done it right mechanically I’d of seriously considered one .

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    TB, do they make that Aussie wagon and ute in LHD for other markets, or are all of them RHD?

  59. T. Bejma Says:

    #49

    Remember, this is just a rumor, not a promise from GM. Nothing official.

    #58

    No, only us. Other than the Aussie’s there is not much global market for RWD V8′s…

  60. Sprinkler48602 Says:

    Will the new Buick Encore and siblings spell the demise for the Chevy Captiva?

  61. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejima

    Tell your minders if they want to earn the hardest and most unlikely buck they’ll ever get to bring that Nomad to reality – do it in an AWD performance version as well as RWD … and for the love of all things good … Do It Right the First Time !

    In the mean time though I still might hate you for getting my hopes up if it all comes to naught :o

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, if they can do the Nomad and sell it at “afforable” prices, meaning the same range as Magnum, they should have both V8 and V6 versions, and maybe AWD as a free standing option. Probably about 10% of customers would go for AWD, based on the last numbers I heard for the Chrysler RWD cars.

  63. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #4 Lex

    They do have a 5 passenger version of the current Transit Connect right now you just don’t see them on dealer lots. The interior is kinda low rent though. I think Ford is waiting for the 2014 Transit connect to fill the minivan need. The interior seems to be much nicer on that one and there will be a 6 speed auto by then.

  64. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The truth is diesels have been so polluted out in this country there really isn’t much reason to buy one unless one plans to do some serious towing/hauling.The advantage was with the huge torque available at low rpms.That also gave the great mpg numbers they ONCE enjoyed.It ain’t like that anymore.Higher rpms now to get them to burn cleaner,decreases the mpg etc.Once again our govt helped us right into a hole that keeps getting deeper.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #64,
    VW diesels still get very good mpg.

    Car EPA City EPA Highway Combined

    Passat TDI auto 30 40 34
    Golf TDI manual 30 42 34
    Jetta Wagon TDI auto 29 39 33

    Also, diesels tend to “overachieve” relative to their EPA numbers. CR got 51 mpg with the Passat TDI in their 65 mph highway test, while a Focus SFE with the same 40 mpg EPA number got only 43 in CR’s highway test.

    No, the government didn’t ruin diesels, unless you think the 6 cents a gallon higher tax on fuel counts, but that is trivial.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My spaces got deleted in the above post making it a little hard to read, but you should be able to figure out the “chart.”

  67. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Actually,I should have said this too,I wasn’t really referring to cars.I was talking about the 3 3/4 ton and 1 ton OEM’s.Ford,Ram,GM.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the clarification. As far as the pickups, a big part of the mpg decline is that the engines keep growing, and are too big for use other than towing 14,000 pounds, which they rarely do.

  69. Stuart Somers Says:

    I see Ford Transit Connects being used as Taxis in Hartford Conn. They run on CNG. They have been around for a year now.

  70. T. Bejma Says:

    #60

    Encore taking sales away from Captiva? Right now Captiva is fleet only. It is also basically just a re-badged Saturn Vue. It is built in Mexico and was brought into our market to meet the demand of the rental car companies for a small SUV without diluting the value of very successful Equinox/Terrain. Encore is smaller than the Captiva, has a lot more features and should be in it’s own market segment.

  71. Wayne M. Brehob Says:

    Almost every add and article on a new Buick emphasize that It is not the type car that Buick used to be. It seems like the new Buicks fall into the type car that Pontiac used to be known for. When GM drooped the Pontiac brand, it seemed like it was a mistake that would force them to spend advertizing dollars to try to redefine what a Buick is. Now that this is happening, I just say “I told you so”.

  72. T. Bejma Says:

    Pontiac was always more of a “Sporty” brand while Buick emphasizes “Luxury”, with some performance to back it up (Regal GS, Verano Turbo).

    Buick was always the choice over Pontiac due to the (larger than the US) market in China. Buick will never be a global brand like Chevrolet and Cadillac, but it is nice that they are considered by some of the Pontiac fans.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to me, that the Encore should have been a Chevy. It is quite a bit smaller than the Equinox, so would not directly compete with that vehicle.

    I guess the Encore will be sold as a “city car” for drivers of LaCrosses and Enclaves.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I worked for GM, I had some Pontiacs, and one Buick. The Buick was an ’88 Skylark 2 door. I still think those look pretty nice, for cars of that time.

  75. T. Bejma Says:

    You’re right Kit, it could be a Chevy and maybe they will get a version sometime. Will depend on how the Encore sells since it is coming over from Korea. The added content helps offset the price of shipping, maybe the Trax couldn’t make a profit.

  76. HtG Says:

    ‘The added content helps offset the price of shipping, maybe the Trax couldn’t make a profit.’

    Now there’s an interesting statement

  77. Sprinkler48602 Says:

    Spindle grille, b***s**t! Look up the cowcatcher in the Webster’s dictionary – the metal frame projecting from the front of a locomotive and serving to clear the track of obstructions.