Episode 1028 – Buick Gains Momentum, Give Them the Finger! New York’s Red Light Districts

December 6th, 2012 at 12:03pm

Runtime: 8:25

Looks like Buick is really starting to get some momentum, thanks largely to lowering one key number. The Cadillac Cue and MyFord Touch systems have been heavily criticized for being awkward to use; we’ve found that a key factor is how you use them. New York City is being sued over red-light traffic cameras. All that and more, plus host John McElroy talks with Lexus’ Mark Templin on the public’s reaction to its new styling.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, where we strive to keep you on top of what’s happening in the global automotive industry.

Looks like Buick is really starting to get some momentum. Sales were up 22 percent in the US market last month, thanks to bringing in new buyers to the brand. In 2007 only 28 percent of Buick’s sales went to customers who had never bought a Buick before. Today that conquest rate is up to 43 percent, and on Buick’s newest model, the Verano, it’s 50 percent. And that conquest rate means all of those customers were coming out of non-GM products. Buick is the only brand that has lowered the average age of its buyers in the last 5 years. The average is now 57 years old, compared to an industry average of about 51.

Last month we reported that Aston Martin’s owners, Kuwaiti based Investment Dar, is looking to sell a stake in the company. Indian automaker Mahindra and a European private equity firm, Investindustrial, were the frontrunners to buy it, but now Bloomberg reports that Investindustrial is about to get it. However, the Chinese website autosohu.com reports that Geely and Toyota are also talking about buying Aston, and that could help drive up the price.

New York City is being sued over red-light traffic cameras. According to Bloomberg, three men who were ticketed for running red lights filed a lawsuit against the Big Apple claiming the yellow lights are shorter than the minimum three seconds the law requires. They also claim the city has installed more cameras than state law permits. The plaintiffs want the city to refund fines it illegally collected since the cameras were installed in 1998. The lawsuit claims that last year alone, red light cameras generated $47 million in revenue for New York City.

BMW pulled the wraps off the new Concept 4 Series Coupe, the fourth generation of its sporty mid-range coupe. So we now officially can say goodbye to the two-door 3 Series. The 4 has classic BMW styling with its twin-kidney grill, long sweeping hood and set-back passenger compartment. It is also larger than its predecessor, its width and wheelbase extended about 2 inches. The interior of the 4 Series looks good too, with plenty of leather to go around, even the cup-holders in this picture are leather. BMW has not yet released which engine will power the new 4 Series, which will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show.

The Cadillac Cue and MyFord Touch systems have been heavily criticized for being awkward to use. And while we generally agree, we’ve also found that a key factor is how you use them. We are so used to switches, knobs and buttons that we expect everything to operate instantly. That doesn’t happen with these touch screens in cars. There’s a slight lag. So you touch the screen, nothing happens and you immediately touch it again. Guess what? You just tuned something on and immediately turned it off. I find if you chill out, slow down, hold your finger on the screen just a little bit longer than you want to, everything will work fine. I don’t like my solution, Cue and MyFord should work as fast as any smartphone or iPad. But if you have one of these systems and want it to work well for you, go a little bit slower and you shouldn’t have any problems.

The new styling look coming out of Lexus, especially with what they call the spindle grille has been pretty controversial. Coming up next, we’ll talk with the head of Lexus about the public’s reaction to what they’re doing.

(Video for Lexus’ New Styling Look can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show)

Lexus has been known for making superb, but boring luxury cars. Now the brand is out to change that. It is dramatically changing the styling of its cars. Mark Templin is the group vice president and general manager and at the LA Auto Show I asked him to talk about how they’re going to roll out this new form language.

Lexus first signaled its new styling change with a dramatic looking concept sports car. Then it did a concept coupe, so I asked Templin if a concept sedan would be the next one up.

There’s no hiding the fact that the new spindle grille that Lexus is adopting is controversial. But since the brand has been accused of being boring, I asked Templin if being controversial could be good for Lexus.

Since Lexus is now getting into more and more markets around the world, I asked Templin what the reaction to the brands new form language is in other countries.

By the way, Mark Templin doesn’t just run Lexus in the US anymore. He is in charge of marketing and product planning on a global basis and keeps offices in Japan and Germany as well as the United States

Speaking of design, even though there are two preeminent automotive design schools in the United States, CCS in Detroit and Art Center in Pasadena, California, automakers felt they needed design students with more of an engineering background. So they asked Lawrence Technological University to start its own design school. Keith Nagara is the head of that school and he’s our guest tonight on Autoline After Hours. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the business.

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

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65 Comments to “Episode 1028 – Buick Gains Momentum, Give Them the Finger! New York’s Red Light Districts”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Between the fugly ‘spindle’ grill,there is all the letters lfcc,g,abcd…..wtf over.What ever happened to a good name for a car? Is that gone now in the luxo market? Speaking of that spindle grill….anyone want to try cleaning one?

  2. HtG Says:


    In NY I believe you must prepare to stop for the RED light when you see the YELLOW. If you cross the RED, and that’s regardless of the white line painted on the road, then you broke the law. PERIOD

    Of course yours truly found this out the hard way. I love negotiating with town attorneys, if at all possible.

    Funny thing in the Bloomberg article: According to the city, not all those places with traffic cameras actually have cameras. Hmmmmm, sometimes a duck is not a duck, but a decoy duck. Maybe that explains the excess number of cameras

  3. guybob Says:


  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d like to see Toyota buy Aston Martin and see what they would do with a low volume ultra-lux car brand like that. Ford seemed to have helped them out, for a while, and Bentley and Rolls-Royce both seem to have benefitted from being owned by “real” car companies. Toyota has never taken on anything like that.

  5. HtG Says:

    3 extra clever would be to have all the cameras be real, but only selectively activated. We’ve seen what Sodaman Bloomberg is capable of, ya know.

  6. Bradley Says:

    See, no mention of Toyota at all, and the Lexus guy spoke waving his hands for minutes. Ford and Lincoln…get the point!

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    Well . After T Bejima’s announcement that GM ‘ might ‘ build a Nomad for the 21st century I’ve been thinking a lot about it and have come up with CK’s design brief for the possible new Nomad which I’ll toss up a bit later as its a bit lengthy . Yes … I know the new Nomad stands a Bats Chance in Parma ( Ohio ) of getting built with the chances of GM giving a rats posterior about my ideas being even somewhat less .. But the thoughts are ‘ composed ‘ and who knows maybe T Bejima does have some influence as well as I’m interested to see what others here might think about my design ‘ Brief ‘

    As to the news – Looks like IndustrialInvest’s purchase of Aston Martin according to the UK press is a done deal : with the Toyota etc possibilities being a decoy . IMHO Toyota buying Aston Martin ( great cars – perennial money losers ) would be the kiss of death for both . Simply put the only way to make a Small Fortune owing Aston Martin is to spend a Very Large Fortune and be content in losing most of it

  8. Lex Says:

    Cadillac Cue and My Ford Touch are way too complicated, slow and over-priced in my opinion.
    I still say that automotive OEM’s should partner with Apple-iPhone, Google-Android and Microsoft to allow the functionality built into your smartphone to be available via the IP central screen in your vehicle. I believe the Chevy Sonic will have that capabilty soon.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, neither Toyota, nor anyone else should buy Aston Martin, or any other small car company like that, with the idea of making money. I doubt that BMW is making money by selling a few hundred Rollses a year, but making the cars is probably good for the company image. If nothing else, owning Rolls will keep them from coming up with a hair brained idea like Maybach.

  10. HtG Says:

    CUE etc
    I don’t expect autos to have the latest greatest processors, thus the delay, but they sure do charge for it.

    (sorry, bad day)

    9 Rollers

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    At least you can avoid CUE with the ATS. No such luck with the XTS, though.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    What’s Up With Bloomberg ?

    Somethings gone a bit amiss with Bloomberg’s reporting lately . Now they’ve resorted to Tweets for their financial news : reporting today that Tesla is now making a profit …… based on a Tweet found on … Elon Musk’s Twitter account . Huh ?!?

    What is the world of news reporting ( of any kind ) coming to ?

  13. cybercycle Says:

    Sorry, but I have to comment about John’s recommendation to just take it easy when using Ford’s MFT or GM’s CUE and all will be well. I wish that was true, but having lived with Ford Sync in my 2009 Mariner and 2010 F150 these Gen 1 systems just don’t work as advertised. Voice recognition is horrible and iPod use in these systems are riddled with issues. My dealer acknowledges that the Sync systems are a problem and the MFT/MLT systems are even worse. He admits Ford has not done a good job of supporting his service department (and customers) with solid solutions. He also says some customers have left the brand because of chronic Sync MFT/MLT problems. I asked him about John’s advice about taking it slower with the systems, and he didn’t see that as a “fix” in most cases. Also, I asked about whether or not it was especially an issue with the over 50 customer, and he didn’t think so because most of the complaints he sees comes from the under 50 customer (maybe the over 50 crowd just doesn’t use the system?). Just go to Ford’s “Owner to Owner” website for a sampling of the many issues that just do not seem to reflect problems that can be solved by using John’s suggestion of: going easy (slow down) and the system will work just fine.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:



    Automakers need to stick to building Automobiles and leave computer manufacturing to the pro’s .

  15. aliisdad Says:

    I thought that Lexus looked overstyled and just plain odd in the front end…However, they are not alone with those strange snouts..I think the Lexus just looks worse with that “spindle grill”…I wonder how those would do in a parking lot situation?!?
    Did any of you notice the interior that they showed for just a quick shot…Wow, is that different, too?
    Anyway, not my “cup o’ tea” but probably a pretty good Toyota, er ahh, I mean Lexus car…

  16. T. Bejma Says:

    Back to the discussion on Carbon Fiber from recent days, found a blog post from our own J. McE. on the subject that should sure get CK’s feathers in a bunch…


  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, Rollers and Bimmers. Beemers, if talking about two wheels.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ #15: Thanks for that article,very informative.As with most new technologies that are making their way into everyday use,in this case everyday automotive use,new processes,new cures for old ills etc will eventually win out.

  19. dcars Says:

    GM made a mistake in closing Pontiac and they prove it every time they issue statistics like this. Chevy is even paying the price for this mistake. ie –
    - The Malibu was made smaller(?) to make room for the impala and the re-badged G8 called the SS.
    - Spark and Sonic
    - Cruze Only one in the segment! but…..
    - Volt; same size as the Cruze
    - Plans to sell the TRU140 and Camaro
    - Equinox and Captiva
    - Terrain, Suburban and Tahoe.
    It seems like Chevy is two brands in under one name, with out the benefit of an increase in sales.

  20. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 15

    That article certainly won’t get my feathers in a bunch . But it sure will put a smile on many a Litigation Lawyers face .. not to mention a new car of his/her choice or two in their brand new garages attached to the custom built home they just finished thanks to the multitudes of Carbon Fiber based lawsuits they’ll be filing … and winning ! ;-)

  21. HtG Says:

    15 TB, I think CK’s critique of carbon fiber had to do with the lifetime performance of the material. You can’t tell if it’s been cracked internally until it fails catastrophically. Your citation looks like it’s about production costs coming down.

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    #15 – BTWM . Now be nice and patiently hang around till later for my Nomad design brief there Mr Bejima . I’ll remind you you’re already skating on very thin ice with me what with you getting my hopes up and all over your Nomad pronouncement yesterday :o

  23. ColoradoKid Says:

    #20 – 10 Bonus Points for the man in NYC !

  24. HtG Says:

    22 I’m going to need those points, the way things are shaping up over here

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I hope the lifetime performance of carbon fibre isn’t as bad as some people say. I fly in commercial airliners 3 or 4 times a year, and a lot of CF is used in the new ones.

  26. C-Tech Says:

    Saw a first (for me anyway). Guy traded in his Camry for a Corvette.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Was it a new Corvette, or used?

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #24 I would not fear C.F. in airplanes and helicopters. They are much more stringent in inspection and replacement of critical parts at certain time limits than car owners. Car owners fly it until it fails.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    @ #26 It was a used Vette, I think a 2006, with the chrome GS wheels

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Also, in airplanes, they coat it to prevent UV from getting to the CF. Also, I suspect they might use different resin which lasts longer.

    I’d think they would be aiming for at least a 40 year design life for the current airplanes, given that the aluminum ones are lasting 70 some years. I was at an air show recently, and there were three DC-3/C47′s there. The last of those were built in 1946.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR put out a video claiming that the C-Max and Fusion hybrids don’t get anywhere near the EPA mpg numbers, another blow for Ford, Mullaly might think about retiring after all and walk away from their weekly negative news reports.

  32. W L Simpson Says:

    When accident rates climb again, touch screen dashes will be at fault

  33. C-Tech Says:

    @ #18 I see your point. Does GM seem to be slipping back into is old ways with a a multitude of models which are close in size being marketed against each other? The division of resources does not seem to be producing a superior product. Designed in Germany, built in Korea, sold in the U.S. as a Buick? Help me to understand why a current U.S. platform could not be used by Buick?

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    My late father, a life-long Buick buyer since 1949, would be very sad seeing an Asian made Buick coming to this market.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m not surprised. The 47/47 EPA numbers of both cars seemed unrealistically high, based on what the Camry hybrid gets.

    It looks like the Fusion hybrid got 1 mpg better “overall” in CR’s test than the Camry hybrid, but the Ford’s EPA combined number is 8 higher. The C-Max got 4 mpg LOWER in CR’s test than the Prius V, while the Ford’s EPA number is 5 mpg HIGHER. Hmmm…. It sure looks like Ford may have a Hyundai moment.

    The Ford hybrids certainly get good mileage, but about what I would expect compared to the Toyotas, but not a lot better as the EPA numbers indicate.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Carbon Fiber ;

    Tell you what . I’m still refining my Nomad design brief so I’ll hold that off till Friday and comment on Carbon Fiber

    First off . Its use in commercial airlines . News Bulletin ! They replace those parts on a regular basis . Because if they don’t . Well … need I really remind you of that post 9/11 airplane crash in NYC along with the subsequent investigations on those CF parts that caused the tail to separate from the plane ?

    Second ; A CF tale of woe . Fact not Fiction ;

    Last year a friend went out and purchased a brand new $12K top of the line ( exact model to the detail of what a couple of pro teams use ) Carbon Fiber race bike .

    On one of our rides at a resting point he had the bike leaned up against a tree . Something ( wind what ever ) pushed it over and the top tube just barely grazed my wheel . Barely even leaving a scratch on his clear coat mind you and zero damage to my rim . But I warned him to be cautious because of CF’s lovely little habit of hiding damage beneath the surface .

    No further incidents ( crashes etc ) occurred after that UNTIL :

    We went riding this last summer . Half way up a pass … we hit a small bump in the road ( no big deal ) and ……… BANG ! His top tube literally exploded right at the point where it had hit the previous year . Friend on the ground . Bike ends up totaled . Luckily friend is OK . A common tale I might add

    Last . Have a nice long talk with a Mr Gordon Murray ( McLaren F1 road and race car designer ) or at least read a couple of his more recent print interviews of late on the subject of Carbon Fiber in race and road cars .

    Suffice it to say the man who started the whole CF revolution in Road and Racing now has had quite a change of heart lately when it comes to Carbon Fiber

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG, 10
    Thanks for reminding me about Roller (yes, seriously) I knew “Rollses” didn’t sound right, but didn’t think of the proper nickname, which is Roller.

  38. HtG Says:

    Roller does sound grand

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Much better than Rolls-Rice or something like that.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Rolls-Rice would be a plural.

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    They’re Baaaaaack !

    Just when we all thought we were finally done once and for all with the whole SAAB/Spyker debacle ;


    Can’t imagine GM is any too pleased with Youngman getting their claws into GM’s technology either .

  42. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Loved Mark Templin’s (the Lexus guy) enthusiasm about talking on the new Lexus styling. Don’t agree ‘worth a lick’ on almost everything he said, but had to recognize his fervor; oh yeah, that’s what he was supposed to say (that’s his job), never mind. Pretty sure, the brethren (here) didn’t care for the spindle/hourglass styling (as a whole).

  43. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I was trying to think of what the ‘spindle’ grill reminded me of and now I got it….a different spin on th’ ‘big toothy grin’ from lincoln.At least lincoln didn’t have those enormous intakes on each side of the ‘spindlegrin’.I have to wonder what designers smoke when they are at work to come up with the stuff they do.Some scary shit man…

  44. T. Bejma Says:


    dcars – Have to disagree with you about the state Pontiac was in (not saying they were not much better in the 60′s 70′s, but then so was Oldsmobile)

    - Malibu was made smaller because it went to a global platform that was slightly smaller
    - Spark is an A-Segment (Fiat 500) and Sonic is B-Segment (Honda Fit)
    - Cruze and Volt are not competitors
    - TRU140 is much smaller and cheaper (under $20,000) than Camaro
    - Equinox/Terrain is larger than the Captiva which is only sold to fleets
    - Suburban and Tahoe – GM owns this market and since the Excursion is gone, Suburban is the only large, on frame SUV left.

    Can’t satisfy everyone but it does look like the models are spread out pretty good. There is some cross brand redundancy but they are very different (Equinox/Terrain, Cruze/Verano, Malibu/LaCrosse, Impala/XTS)

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When Equinox and Terrain were first introduced, I never understood having both. To me, Terrain was just a really ugly version of the Equinox. Then I talked to someone who had bought a Terrain. They just liked the “trucky” look of the Terrain, and said they would never have bought an Equinox, even though they are the same thing. This car business is really crazy. I guess that is why some people will pay an extra $10-12K for a Lincoln MKS over a similar Taurus. They just like the way it looks.

  46. HtG Says:

    You got that right, Kit. I lurv the look of the Terrain, and just shake my head at how many people don’t similarly luuurv it.

    (lurv is an Annie Hall reference kids, imdb it)

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s funny

  48. XA351GT Says:

    Wow , that Lexus is sharp looking. If they can make a decent looking car then why can’t/won’t parent Toyota? They just keep churning blandtastic 4 wheeled toasters.

    Okay , red light cameras. If you run a light and get caught, tough.If you slow the hell down you could stop for that yelllow light. The total disregard for red lights and stop signs is insane. I just watched a woman get ripped in half by a speeding car on the news here in the Philly area. The bastard never even slowed down let alone stop.

  49. M360 Says:

    #44 – I think that’s why Dan Ackerson at GM is not the guy for the job. He can’t understand why have the Terrain AND the Equinox, either. He just wants to build the Equinox. The car buisness is not just dollars and cents like the telecom buisness. When cars are sold as a commodity you can’t make the big bucks. I don’t believe GM will ever be that great with him around. In a recent interview, he didn’t even know exactly what year GM bought EDS. 1984 was a bad year for GM and EDS was just one part of the disaster.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe Toyota makes “blandtastic 4-wheeled toasters,” because that is what people in that market segment want. as evidenced by Camry being the best selling car in the U.S. for how many years running? If Fusion beats Camry for 2013, that will be an indication that generic front drive sedan buyers are looking for flashier styling. I’d bet on Camry to maintain their sales lead, though, unless Accord takes it back with the redesign.

  51. Chuck Grenci Says:


    But is the new Fusion “grounded to the ground”? :D

  52. jack879 Says:

    The Lexus grill is not what I would have initially called bold. Initially I would have called it ugly and today I would call it super ugly.

  53. cwolf Says:

    The “CUE” is supposed to vibrate when making a selection so double ta”pp”s would be avoided. AND for an extra $3 grand you can get one with a super capacitor with the zap of a cattle prod, for those driving with gloves! Just funn’in!!

    Ford’s over-stated hyb.EPA numbers bother me the more I think and hear about it. Do you remember a few weeks ago when John replied to my mpg remark on “you said it?” He said even with the complex calculations,the estimates were real close to real world mpg’s. Hmmm….wonder if John brought back some of that tobacco in a “gaggie” while in L.A.!

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The EPA numbers of the Ford hybrids just didn’t make sense. The only significant difference between the new Ford system, and the old Ford, and Toyota systems, is the use of lithium batteries rather than NiMH. The lithium batteries may (or may not) have better charge/discharge efficiency, but if they are better in this regard, the difference would be small.

    It would be expected that the Fusion hybrid would get about the same mpg as the Camry hybrid, and it does, in CR’s tests. The Ford does one mpg better overall. I would expect the C-Max to get a little better city than the Fusion, because it is lighter, but it didn’t in CR’s tests. It got the same, 35 mpg. Maybe that is because it is taller, and maybe enough draggier to have an effect, even in the lowish speed city test. Anyway, I suspect we will be hearing more about this.

    The bottom line is that the new Ford hybrids get very good mileage, just not nearly as good as those EPA numbers would have you believe.

  55. cwolf Says:

    I guess it was premature of me to fault McElroy,as well…, but he should comment to Ford that their numbers have been routinely off the mark for years,when compared to others. I read that manufacturers use real gas,not the ethenol added stuff,when testing. This does’nt sound like a logical way to make an accurate evaluation,if’n true. We’ll soon see just how many folks get close to those 47/47 numbers.

  56. HtG Says:

    I wonder how many consumers know that they can go to the EPA(evil govt) and see what mileage other drivers have reported?

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=browseList2&make=Hummer&model=H3 4WD

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Truedelta also has a “report your gas mileage” function. I haven’t reported my mileage on either site, but have looked at numbers for cars I have on both sites. On truedelta, the numbers reported for a MINI like mine were very high compared to what I get. I think there are multiple reports by the same person who claims to be getting 40+ mpg at 80 mph. I get only around 36 mpg at 75 mph. On the EPA site, mileage reported for Prii was high compared to what I get. Maybe the Prius drivers are “hypermiling” while I just drive it, but unless something is wrong with my MINI, they don’t get 40+ mpg at 80 mph.

  58. cwolf Says:

    Yea,I forgot about that govt site-thx.
    I scanned the C-max and the Prius V. I must say,both numbers are in the same ball park. I see the prius drivers have higher city driving averages and I sense they are more seasoned hybred drivers,as well. Perhaps Ford drivers will get a little better mpg’s once they understand hyb’s are not a standard car. Still,based upon the few data contributors,the Ford claims can be viewed as decieving at this point.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just checked the EPA site for Prius like mine, and average reported for a 2010 Prius is only a little more than what I get. There is a lot more data than the last time I checked, now 172 cars reported.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR got 2 mpg better city mpg for the C-Max than the Prius V, but they got the 9 better for the Prius V in their 65 mph highway test. I guess the C-Max’ being taller and wider really hurts it at highway speed.

    What I’m seeing doesn’t make me want to trade my Prius on a C-Max any time soon, even if I thought the Ford would be as reliable.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here is another useful EPA site:


    It is to compare gas mileage ratings for cars of all years, 1984-2013. As the link will show, it downwardly adjusts the ratings of older cars to the current system, but allows you to see the original ratings of the car. It’s kind of cool.

  62. cwolf Says:

    Car makers often hold supplier parts accountable to tolerances within nanometers and have a fit if one part misses the mark in a batch,yet cannot hold themselves accountable to their own standards claimed to the public, in Ford’s case. If a driver does their part, I just fail to understand why they can’t maintain a variance of a couple mpgs. Maybe Ford should make these hybred evaluations in the city and burgs of Detroit, using winter gas. Then they just might have a chance to have believable claims.

  63. ColoradoKid Says:

    Bad News for the Future of Wagons ;

    ( thanks to the compact Xover )

    Now they’re de-rigor even in France


    Oh well . No sense posting my thoughts on a possible Chevy Nomad . That Bat in Parma having met his untimely end due to lack of interest … now seemingly Worldwide :(

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just checked the 2013 Fusion hybrid on the govt. site, and 9 owners report an average of 39.5 mpg. That is about 0.7 mpg lower than the average reported by 23 drivers of 2012 Camry hybrids, yet the Ford has an EPA combined rating 6 and 7 mpg higher than the two trim levels of Camry hybrid.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I saw a few “compact crossovers” when I was in France a few years ago, but there are more now. There are still a lot of real wagons available over there, though, and a lot more hatches than in N. America.

    When the Europeans start noticing that even the smaller “crossovers” are gas hogs compared to cars, maybe the trend will reverse. I suppose not, though.