Episode 1071 – GM 2012 Earnings, Chrysler Holding Back Models, Will Geely Dump Volvo?

February 14th, 2013 at 11:47am

Runtime: 9:51

GM reported its net profits for 2012, and lets just say they’re not very good. Chrysler is holding back the introduction of its mid-size pickup and small commercial van. Michael Dunne is one of the foremost experts on the Chinese automotive industry and he’s predicting some pretty wild developments. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Seamus McElroy has the report on the 7th vehicle in MINI’s lineup, the 2013 Paceman.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, you Autoline car lovers you! Results of this week’s poll coming up later in the show, but now, the news

General Motors reported that its net profit plummeted nearly 36 percent last year. Not unexpectedly the company’s losses in Europe more than doubled to nearly $1.8 billion. What is a unexpected, however, is that its profits in North America fell to just under $7 billion. But GM did see an impressive 15 percent improvement in its International Operations which include China, and it turned a loss into a profit in South America. Overall, GM sold almost 9.3 million vehicles, up almost 3 percent. But its revenues grew only 1 percent to $152 billion. And its profits dropped by $2.7 billion to $4.7 billion. In my book this is not a very good performance, especially when you compare GM’s numbers the growth at Ford or Chrysler.

Uh-oh, here we go again. Another battery company that got U.S. government money is in trouble. Recently A123 Systems, which supplies batteries for the Fisker Karma, went into bankruptcy and was bought out by a Chinese company. Now a new report from the Department of Energy says LG Chem misused its $150 million grant. The South Korean company used the money to build a battery plant in Michigan but so far it has not built one battery cell. Instead, its still importing cells from South Korea. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to see more EV related plant closings in the near future.

A correction here. On Monday I said that GM, Ford and Chrysler gave $50 billion to the UAW for its VEBA trust fund. The UAW contacted us to remind us the VEBA is run as a completely separate entity from the UAW. So the UAW did not get that money, the VEBA did.

Chrysler is holding back the introduction of its mid-size pickup and smaller commercial van. The unit-body pickup was set to replace the Dakota that was discontinued in 2011. Now Chrysler is unsure if it will even be a unit-body design because in markets like South America and Asia, where small pickups are popular, they don’t like unit-body, they want pickups with frames. Chrysler also delayed the Doblo commercial van, about the same size as a Ford Transit Connect. It was slated to be on sale now but has been pushed back to late 2014.

This grainy thumbnail-size image of the redesigned Ford Edge was part of a company presentation to some bankers. But someone Photoshopped it out for us, so take a look. The design makes it look lighter and more athletic. The grille is reminiscent of the Taurus and the raised crease that runs down the side is similar to the Escape. This next-gen Edge should be available in the 2015 model year.

You may remember when we had Michael Dunne on Autoline This Week. He is one of the foremost experts on the Chinese automotive industry and he’s predicting some pretty wild developments in the Year of the Snake. In an article that ran in the Wall Street Journal, Dunne predicts that Chinese automaker Geely will dump Volvo, because Volvo sales are going nowhere. After three years of owning Volvo Dunne says Geely has absorbed all the technology it needs, so he believes it will keep the brand but dump all of Volvo’s operations in Europe. He also predicts that Chinese automaker SAIC will end up buying Buick, since 3 out of 4 Buicks are now sold in China. I’m not sure I agree with his predictions, but just in case they turn out to be true, remember that you heard it here first.

Now it’s time for the results of this week’s poll question. We asked if you would consider a diesel for your next purchase, excluding heavy duty pick-ups. And the results were decisive. Almost 80 percent of you said you would consider buying a diesel. About 22 percent said no way. Wow, I’m blown away by these results. It may not be a scientific poll, but I think this bodes very well for diesel sales, especially in the American market.

Coming up next, let’s take a look at the latest from MINI.

MINI continues to grow in the U.S. Last year the company sold over 66,000 vehicles in America, a record for the brand. And that number will likely keep going up due to the company adding more dealerships. Plus MINI is set to launch the seventh model in its lineup, the Paceman. Here’s Seamus McElroy with a look at what this new model is all about.

(MINI Paceman can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

The Paceman is based on the same platform as the Countryman, it’s not as tall or wide but it’s slightly longer. It’s a two-door model, unlike the four-door Countryman and it doesn’t offer a bench seat in the rear, so it can only seat up to four people. But MINI believes the Paceman slots nicely into its line-up.

The Paceman is powered by a variety of 1.6 liter four-cylinder engines that can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Your choices are a naturally aspirated version with 121 horsepower, the turbocharged Cooper S with 181 horsepower and the John Cooper Works model with a turbo that cranks out 208 horses. The Paceman is also the second MINI ever to offer all-wheel drive. We drove the turbo with all-wheel drive and an automatic. It’s fun to drive and handled very well on small twisty roads and didn’t disappoint when you need that extra oomph to pass slower cars.

While there’s no mistaking the Paceman as anything but a MINI, it does have its own unique styling elements.

Pricing for the Paceman starts just under $24,000, the Cooper S with all-wheel drive starts just under $30,000 and the John Cooper Works model is priced just over $36,000. The Paceman goes on sale in the middle of March while the JCW follows in April.

We’ve got a great Autoline After Hours tonight. Our guest is John Davis, the chief engineer on the Ford C-Max Energi. As you know that vehicle has been criticized for not delivering the kind of fuel economy that the label says it will get. We’ll get to the bottom of that tonight, so join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider viewpoints in the industry.

And this wraps up today’s show, thanks for making Autoline a part of your day, and please join us again tomorrow.

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

95 Comments to “Episode 1071 – GM 2012 Earnings, Chrysler Holding Back Models, Will Geely Dump Volvo?”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    If Americans prefer unit-body trucks over body on frame, then why is the Honda Ridgeline truck always lagging in sales way behind the others?

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Americans DON’T prefer unit body trucks.

  3. HtG Says:

    Nice report there, Seamus. I just checked the Paceman configuratorator and see that only white body paint is standard. Any other color will cost you 250-500 extra, but color options for the top and mirrors are ‘as standard.’ A bit odd, wouldn’t you motor?

    Obviously, I like this car

  4. C-Tech Says:

    @ #1 I don’t think John said Americans prefer unit body trucks, he says in South America they prefer body-on-frame. If you are designing a truck to be sold across continents you better get what the markets prefer right. As for the Ridgeline, I found it was too expensive, not versatile enough, and not competitive with full-size pickups or compact pickups.

  5. C-Tech Says:

    Thank you everyone for your input on this buying journey and Thank you Autoline staff for allowing all the different posts. Just to follow-up, the first problem is that it does not fit into the Eclipse’s old spot in the garage. The run-flat tires were what the salesman told her were on the X5 as he sold a tire protection package. I hate mis-information by a salesperson, it leads to problems in the service dept. later. It looks like I get a 36 month break from working on her car.

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    China and Volvo ;

    Take note gentlemen as well as auto manufactures . What you’re seeing with Geely is the future for any and all manufactures either in partnership with/ or having been purchased by a Chinese manufacture .

    Rape & Pillage said company for all the technology they ( Chinese ) can get out of them …. then dump them in the streets like so much garbage on a Monday morning .

    And you can take that to the bank ! Cause all the ‘ bankers’ certainly are ;-) ( hint hint )


    Trucks – I sure as heck don’t want a unibody truck . Best ‘ truck ‘ I ever owned being my 98 4Runner . Body on Frame – Tough as nails – nary a problem in the 10 years I owned it – got me everywhere and I do mean … everywhere .. in any kind of weather – and to this day the only vehicle I regret selling . Body on Frame for trucks I say …….. ( for the record despite the government/industry confusion I consider the GLK a car … or a CUV if push comes to shove.. and so does the state of CO )


    HtG – Why ? ( do you like the PacMan …. I mean Paceman )

  7. Feldman Says:

    Great that 80% of the respondents are for Diesels. But I bet the general public is far less auto-literate than the regulars here, who voted in the AD Poll.

    I also voted “Hell Yes” for Diesels, but I have no illusions about the difficulties.

    It is not just the memory of the god-awful GM diesels of the early 80s,

    It is the fact that diesel fuel is cheaper than gas in Europe, but more xpensive than gas here,

    and to add insult to injury, the worthless parasites at the EPA are not satisfied with a very green Diesel that meets Euro Requirements,

    so makers have to spend extra thousands of dollars to make their Euro-legal diesels “EPA-legal”!

  8. Seth Says:

    John, did you hear Ford accidentally released a picture of the new edge?

  9. Lex Says:

    Please SAIC buy Buick from GM! This will allow GM to bring back Pontiac’s “Driving Excitement”!

    If Geely dumps Volvo I bet TATA will be waiting to catch it!

    That next generation Ford Edge looks alot like the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport!!!

    No matter the size of the pickup truck, buyers want a rigid full frame on which the body can rest. The rigid strenght below adds to the driving pleasure.

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    c-tech – Congrats and welcome to the club ! You’re now like myself a bonafide ‘ perceived ‘ snob :o

    But seriously … many good miles ahead and ____ em if they ( BMW haters ) can’t take a joke ! Start asking around now for a good independent repair shop for when the service contract runs out . And do have a look at your local BMWOC chapter . The benefits I get from the MBOC ( discounts all over … including Sears for goodness sake .. inside references to repair – discounts from MB on parts/accessories – trip discounts hotels etc etc ) far out way the minimal cost . And if you’re lucky your local chapter will have more than a few good folks in it

  11. HtG Says:

    so if SAIC buys Buick, does that really mean Opel?

    6 I like the looks. Not that black grill though; it looks like a toothless mouth coming at you.


    I got a new offer/gambit from the Nissan dealer. Now they are offering to buy the Versa, show how much they’ll pay, but here’s the kicker, have printed out an estimate of how much trade in value the car has lost in the past 90 days. $382 (which if I cared is about two payments on A NEW CAR!!!!!!)

    Oh boy, I better call right away. twats

  12. Next Says:

    John, Excelent job. Your show is the best spend of 10 minutes in my day. I learn more in those 10 mintues than I do in a whole afternoon. Keep up the good work! And I do know, when I hear something new, or for the first time, I bet I hear it hear on your show! Look forward to your “next” show tomorrow!

    Macomb, Michigan

  13. HtG Says:

    10 for me the problem with BMW drivers isn’t the snob thing, it’s the careless aggressive driving partnered with the tippy toeing around turns. Also, please clean your wheels and put those valve caps on your nozzles. Sheesh

  14. buzzerd Says:

    I would think the Ridgeline has never sold because for the money it’s small yet doesn’t offer better mileage than full size options which are more capable. The Dodge full size van was a kind of a unibody truck and they did sell a decent amount of them even though they were kind of crap.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People in South America and Asia don’t like unibody trucks, because they actually use them for various types of work, and many of them are used as “chassis cabs” with various types of fitment other than a pickup bed.

    Americans don’t like unibody pickups because, well, they don’t really know, but they just don’t like them. I know a guy who drove a Jeep Comanche well over 200K miles, and thought it was great. Also, the Ridgeline was a great vehicle for the way most Americans use pickups, but it didn’t present the right image, and it was kind of pricey.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think that the end of the Swedish auto industry is indeed coming to an end, is France next? In John’s report on the Chrysler truck decision, I understood that he implied that the reason was that those markets don’t like unit body on trucks, otherwise they may have gone ahead with it, very poor decision on their part if they did that, who does the research for these guys anyway? They would have sold poorly here as well as abroad

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Chevy vans are unibody, at least the version from ~’71-’96 were.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    CTech has now officially entered the higher echelon of society.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think if Dodge, or anyone else made a unibody pickup that worked well, looked right, and was priced, right, it would sell ok in the U.S., once the word was out.

    The Comanche did reasonably well, considering how small the Jeep dealer network was at the time, and considering that Jeep was never a “pickup truck company,” as it were.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think you are right about Sweden.

    With the French auto industry, they make a lot of cars, but both PSA and Renault are always in financial trouble. Renault is now hooked up with Nissan, helping them a lot, but I don’t think Toyota or Honda are ready to merge with PSA any time soon, and that is seemingly what PSA needs.

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 13

    _____ hats as Jalopnik calls them ! Oh well . There’s at least one in every ( brand ) bunch .

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    France’s Automakers ;

    What a mess they’ve been for the last few decades . Mostly by their own doing . By the 80′s they’d all lost their technological advantage … had gotten into some real money losing partnerships ( Citroen and Maserati for one ) … Did nothing about their ongoing poor reliability as well as overall quality . Them there’s all the Union problems- 35 hour work weeks – socialized medicine – mandatory 7 week vacations etc they’ve dealt with over the decades

    And here they are . Up to their necks on the brink of financial disaster despite partnerships – bailouts etc .

    And yet ……. there’s another country’s automotive business thats even more on the ropes financially …… despite the little despots claims otherwise . Of course I’m talking about the Italian Motor Industry . Who at present make the French almost look solvent by comparison .

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, most people believe that a body on frame set up makes up for a tougher, more durable and thus reliable vehicle, with other countries demanding body on frame it would be a major blunder for any manufacturer to come up with unit body tucks of any size, btw I think this Dodge truck would be too big for some of these markets, they need to go smaller AND diesel.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why should we be surprised about France’s dying auto industry, if I’m not mistaken, the UK with the exception of a few niche and expensive brands is long gone. How long b4 BMW pulls Mini out of there?

  25. Feldman Says:


    Unibodies are far SAFER in collisions and far, far more comfortable. That is why no flagship Luxury Vehicle is Body on Frame.


    The Ridgeline was a joke from the start. Ugly, Weird-looking, and far inferior in capacity and capability than the Domestics and even the Tundra-Titan.

    Most Truck buyers are quite loyal to the domestics and would not even consider an import anyway. This is why even far better efforts than the Ridgeline (Tundra, Titan) have failed to challenge domestic dominance in Pickups.

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    Euro Auto Sale

    A reality check

    Yesterday ( and previously ) a couple of site members placed up the very flawed auto sales numbers by brand for the EU .. then tried to use them to defend PSA’s and OPEL’s abysmal sales .

    Well first off here’s the major flaw in those numbers ; That being separating out the entire VW-Audi group’s sales … while combining all of PSA’s – Renaults – FIAT’s output as a whole per … as well as combining OPEL/ Vauxhall who should never be counted together

    For a more accurate picture try this ;

    Add up all of VW-Audi-SEAT-Skoda-Lamborghini -Bentley – Bugatti sales .. plus all their commercial divisions ( as was done with PSA/Renault/FIAT’s numbers ) …… and see what you get . Then compare that to PSA – OPEL/Vauxhall – Renault and FIAT SpA’s sales and you’ll quickly understand why it is they’re all in the toilet sale wise by comparison .

    Because … much as I do not like the company …. the VW-Audi GROUP are not dominating EU sales ….. they are Crushing it . As DWTV recently said ” VW-Audi groups only real competition in the EU ….. is themselves ”

    Making everyone else’s sales numbers there … even when combined wrongly …. looking like Chump Change in comparison

  27. ColoradoKid Says:


    Ahem . The Cadillac Escalade .

  28. Phoenix Mark Says:

    The best small pickup was the previous version of the Toyota Tacoma. Truly a small pickup, the current version is what I consider a midsize.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Ridgeline was a good vehicle, for the way most people actually use pickups, which is to carry one person to work, go grocery shopping, and occasionally get a couple bags of mulch from Home Depot. Yeah, it didn’t have a lot of “capacity,” but most pickup drivers I know don’t use the capacity anyway.

    It is understandable, though, that it didn’t sell well because, as you mention reason, it looked funny. Also, it cost too much.

  30. Lex Says:

    I was looking into that leaked future Ford Edge photo and saw on the Ford UK website that they off the Ranger along with a wide variety of wagons / micro minivans: B-Max, C-Max, Grand C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy. So much for One Ford!
    It is more like One Ford for them and Another One Ford for us! By the way the front grills on the european Fords are better looking than the ones offer here in the United States. Another picture in that European Ford press release had a picture which looks like Alan Mulally kissing or blowing air into a small Eco-Boost engine. I found myself thinking that he as the CEO of Ford he looked ridiculous in that position / picture.

  31. T. Bejma Says:

    “…as well as combining OPEL/ Vauxhall who should never be counted together.”

    Why? (and not just because “they are separate entities” – don’t cop out, I really want to know) Asked yesterday and never got an answer.

    Also never answered my challenge to name a Vauxhall model without an Opel variant.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    #25 also the perennial American luxo boat, the Town car and all the old worthwhile Caddy models before they killed the brand with those pathetic FWD excuses for a “luxury” car which came out in the mid 80′s

  33. W L Simpson Says:

    Cadillac should have stuck to luxury instead
    of trying to be all things to all people.
    “Standard of the World” hasn’t applied in a long, long time.
    Englishmen car builders died because of rust, rot & Lucas

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    #28 Amen to that, brother.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The last remaining “mainstream” British car company was Rover, which BMW bought in the 90′s. The current MINI is what remains of BMW’s ownership of the brand. The rest of Rover existed for a while as MG Rover, owned by someone in China.

    When I was in Scotland in the military in 1970-71, the British car industry was already on a downhill slide. As I remember, Ford was the best selling brand in the UK, with Cortina and then rear-drive Escort being popular.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Recall Time !!!

    ( thought it was about time for one )

    Chrysler’s turn … and its a biggie


  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe Macarroni should move his office away from the engineering center, seems like he’s making them nervous being right next to them. Funny, cars are supposedly getting better all the time, but recalls are alive and well.

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    MINI is just the brand name on the hood . the design language that was borrowed and the dealerships facia . In truth everyone knows the MINI is a FWD BMW …. IF .. BMW had decided to brand their FWD a BMW back then . Which …. is part in parcel why MINI’s are such brilliant little cars despite the price . Its really a BMW . W/FWD and a cuter body !

    As far as taking the factory out of the UK ? Doubtful . BMW gets too much traction, perceived credibility and publicity to consider taking all the production out of the UK


    Mr Bejma . Look it up ! You’ve got two eyes – a computer and I’ll assume a library card as well . Suss it out for yourself .

  39. ColoradoKid Says:


    Try this experiment out if you ever get the chance . Drive your MINI back to back with a BMW E30 M3 . The similarities will astound you . Sure the M3′s a bit cruder due to age and the MINI’s handling is a bit better .. and its FWD vs RWD …. but …. you’ll be amazed .

  40. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: You really do hate pickups don’t you? People like me and probably 95% of pickup owers use them for what they are.Body on frame is extremely important to how well you can fully utilize your pickup.The ridgeline is no way a truck despite what it was sold as.I know only two people who were dumb enough to waste their money on the ridgeline and soon (too late) regretted their bad decision.Just because some people like them as a ‘lifestyle’ thing….so what? It’s there money and they have the freedom to do what the hell they want to do with it,me included.In the next 12 months I will be buying a new pickup.Maybe a diesel,maybe not.Maybe a reg cab full size,maybe not.I am now waiting to see what else chevy is gonna field.

  41. Michael Khoury Says:

    John, what I want is a plug in hybrid with a small three cylinder diesel.

  42. T. Bejma Says:


    I did.


    I just wanted to here your explanation because it is beyond me…

  43. buzzerd Says:

    29 Kit – I don’t disagree with your point about the Ridgeline, it probably is capable for most peope but when I was considering a newer truck I looked at used Ridglines and Avalanches. I need a truck to carry a motorcycle sometimes and then the odd bit of yard work. I saw no advantage to buying the Ridgline other than it was easier to park.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Part of the appeal of the MINI is the “British Connection” of being built in the UK, even though we all know it is just a front drive BMW. Yeah, I suspect they will keep production in the UK for the foreseeable future, for that reason.

    Yeah, that would be interesting to drive my MINI and an E30 M3 back to back. Years ago, I drove an E30 M3 back to back with an E36 M3. In that comparison, the E30 seemed really crude, with its peaky, kind of noisy engine, but it was much more “involving” than the relatively refined, and almost luxurious E36.

  45. XA351GT Says:

    So nearly 80 % of you said you would “consider” a Diesel. I’d be willing to bet less than 8% will ever buy one. Hell I’d consider buying a Corvette , but actually buying it is another story. These polls are fun ,but for most parts unrealistic and ultimately useless.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember Vauxhall Victors being sold in the U.S. in the late ’50′s-early 60′s, but I don’t remember who sold them. Maybe Olds dealers? At around the same time, Opel Rekord was sold in the U.S. by Buick dealers. Both cars were rear drive, and would have competed with Ford Cortina in Europe.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    #45 I drive a hell of a lot for work and I would not buy a diesel unless my mpg’s would be high enough to compensate for the higher fuel cost plus the higher cost of a diesel car vs a gas one. I’m not keen on diesels but I would suspect that the kind of stop and go city driving I do would not benefit from driving a diesel.

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ xa351gt: I’ll be buying a new truck within the next 12 or so months.Will I buy a diesel,it’s a definite possible maybe…..for sure I might,lol.

    I seriously doubt I will buy a ram.I don’t like their off road pkg’s,and that is a deal breaker for me.I’m hoping GM will dieselfy (my new word:(pat pending)the 1500 Silverado,or better yet,the new midsize Colorado,(numero uno choiceo).

  49. dcars Says:

    My brother owns a Ridgeline he doesn’t like it. He feels that he pays too much for gas and gets less utility. The truck gets the same gas mileage as a full size pickup.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    #49 Even with a V6? doesn’t sound very typical of a Honda product!

  51. Chuck @ GM Says:

    GM sell Buick?? Anything is possible I suppose, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    More premium body on frame SUV’s ;

    Lexus GX & LX as well as the Toyota Land Cruiser .

    Never heard a soul complain about them , nary a safety issue involved ( except the GX which had issues separate from its construction ) Any one of them will outlast their Unibody competitors … not to mention the LC being the SUV of choice when the rough stuff is omni present . Fact is they’re all well loved by owners and fans alike .To be honest if the LC wasn’t so darn huge I’d be driving one myself

    ( shame on me for forgetting those )

  53. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I have never heard through conversation,or read any where,anything positive about ridgeline ownership.Btw,my lady has a CRV that she just loves,and it’s her second honda.I’ve driven it to Nevada once and it’s easy on gas (4cyl,awd)and handles very good in the mountains.It’s fun actually.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My Jetta diesel got good enough mpg in stop and go driving to more than make up for the fuel price premium, but for that type of driving, nothing beats a Prius. If you want more “luxury,” the Camry and Fusion hybrids do very well too.

    Still, even though Prius tops its class in PD Power dependability, and even though I have friends with Prii that have been trouble-free for near 200K miles, I’m not sure I’d buy any hybrid intending to keep it 20 years.

  55. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ ck: LOL….why would they complain? They are maybe towing boats once in a while or campers,but not both offroad (camper,not the boat).Not much ground clearance,no skid plates,maybe not even a rear dif LS or auto locker.They would trash their vehicle in short order.Then imagine it loaded down with mining equipment/water etc.They were never built to work like I work a 4×4 truck,or most that I know just going to various jobsites.

  56. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Ridgeline, I normally like Honda’s stuff, but that one irritated me. I wanted to write Maximum Bob and say “Why don’t we steal our design back and put it on the Colorado/Canyon platform.” I’d like to see a real S10 size truck back in the market with S10 pricing. Refresh/update the Iron Duke with today’s quality bodies…. I can only dream. S10 owners are fanatics, you priced one lately???

  57. ColoradoKid Says:


    +1 … with a chuckle as well !

    Too true … Too true .

    And anyway even if we all ponied up to the bar ( dealership ) cash in hand .. none of the American automakers would listen anyway .


    Mr Bejma – Well according to yours and your list source’s ( ill ) logic VW – Audi – SEAT and Skoda should all be counted as one as well seeing as they all .. with the exception of the Audi A8 and R8 share the same platforms . But… they’re not are they ? Because my ever so non business minded site mate …. they are all independently traded and registered companies , despite the shared platforms and common overlord

    Just like Vauxhall and OPEL . Business . Comprende ?

    So either be consistent ( the source of your list.. not yourself as I know you didn’t compile those number ) across the board or admit bias as well as genuine fear of the truth …. Which is to say the source of that list is a bit confused … or biased … or both .

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I know only one person with a Ridgeline, and he likes it a lot, except for the so-so gas mileage.

  59. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I had a 90 s10 blazer and a 92 s10 reg cab longbed 4×4.Damn good truck and pretty easy on gas too.Both had the 4.3L vortec v6.As reliable,and relatively powerful as they were,I’m wondering how the new all aluminum 4.3 is going to be.

    That is why I am not sure if I will buy a diesel.I was really happy with my 4.3 pickup s10.If the all new 4.3 is even better,I might not need a diesel at all.Too early to tell.

  60. HtG Says:

    I once explained to a friend from LA that I had read in Keith Bradsher’s book on the development of SUVs that engineers were getting a little miffed about people in LA using their SUVs mainly to park on each other’s lawns for parties. He just said, ‘yeah, of course, that’s what they do.’

  61. ColoradoKid Says:


    When it comes to the Toyota Land Cruiser good sir …. I beg to disagree .. I’ve seen LC’s run circles off road around many a JEEP etc back in my Overland days . Not to mention all the LC’s running lose ( and amok ) in N Africa etc .

    Now the Lexus GX/LX gruesome twosome ? Thats another story entirely ! ;-)

  62. T. Bejma Says:


    Opel (OPL) is traded, Vauxhall is not ( http://www.lse.co.uk/CompanyLookup.asp?txtcompany=vauxhall )

    [because it is part of Opel]

    Try again.

  63. Julius Lambert Says:

    A UNI-Body[no frame]will never fly in the US. Sheet metal doesn’t hold up like plate steel/alloys,formed and welded together.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Opel and Vauxhall are the same, because they are the same cars, model for model, and they even use the same names, Astra, Corsa, and the rest.

    Peugeot and Citroen are not one “brand,” even though they share platforms and power trains, because the sheet metal and interiors are different. The same applies with VW,/Audi/Skoda/Seat. They share stuff, but they are not the same cars.

  65. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Land Cruiser has taken over where the Land Rover used to be King due to the fact that the former is a lot more reliable and easy to fix than its Brit counterpart. Even here “vintage” LC’s in good condition demand a high asking price, only drawback is its lousy fuel economy for a 6 cyl. Current LC is way too expensive for most folks.

  66. cwolf Says:

    Your mid-size diesel truck might be com’in soon. The new US/EU trade agreement tossed out the “chicken tax”, so there might be several to choose from. The VW was shown on TTAC awhile back and it looked alright to me.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My Prius and MINI work great for the type of off-roading you mention, which is all most SUV’s ever see.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t believe GA will be buying any stinkin’ VW truck any time soon! Diesel or not.

  69. Bradley Says:

    Ok, new strategy. Mini needs to offer a pickup truck. It would then be a compact truck.

    Also, compact trucks should be body on frame.

  70. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Given the original LC and their counterpart Jeep,the LC had a bigger engine with the 6.I think the then currant Jeep had was running a 4cyl.Hard to tell because certain years had some different engine options where the LC was always the inline 6 I believe.However,even up the power and the jeep was more then enough to keep up with,hang with,and out perform the LC.It was certainly it’s equal back then in quality/durability/reliability.

  71. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Your right ;}>

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    Every single small truck owner I meet absolutely love their vehicle and would buy new one if they were available.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Land Cruiser has nothing in common with the original FJ Land Cruiser, except the name, and it has four wheels. The current one is the size of a Tahoe/Yukon, weighs over 5000 pounds, and costs $80,000. For a monster truck, it probably works ok off-road, but that is certainly not what people buy them for.

  74. Earl Says:

    The automotive industry in Europe is going to under go so much change in the next few years that the average person can’t begin to fathom.
    Volvo going by the way side is just phase one. The Government in France will not be able to prop up PSA and they’ll be begging the South Korean’s or the Chinese to take it off their hands for nothing.
    The Company’s that survive have to right size as there’s too much manufacturing capacity. Sergio will have to use his Chrysler profits that he makes in North America to close own factory in Europe
    All of this will make what Detroit went through in 2008/9 look like child’s play as the European’s will make the right sizing a drag um out knock um out affair

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t hate pickups, but it is crazy how many people buy them who have absolutely no reason to have them. I know a lot of people who have them, and the percentage who “need” them is a lot closer to 10%, than 95%.

    How is body-on-frame important? The unibody Jeep Comanche was as good as any of the competition at the time, and the big vans, all unibody, are lighter for their strength, than if they were body-on-frame.

    As I said earlier, “real” or not, the Ridgeline works better than “real” trucks for what most people use them for. I understand its not selling, though. It cost too much, and doesn’t have the “macho” image that many, or most pickup buyers want.

    I suspect the people you know who don’t like their Ridgelines should have bought cars, or vans, rather than any kind of pickup. I’m just guessing on that, though, and I could be wrong. Maybe they should have bought Ford Super Duty monster trucks.

    Anyway, if you are one who actually needs a truck, it is great that there are so many to choose from, and, since you want a light duty diesel, I hope one comes along that is what you want.


  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Correction. The current Land Cruiser doesn’t just weigh over 5000 pounds. It weighs almost 6000 pounds, 5855 according to CR. They actually weigh the vehicles they buy, so that should be accurate.

  77. MikeG Says:

    I really don’t follow Mini’s so please excuse my ignorance. Are these cars B segment or C segment? Thanks.

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    MINI’s would be B segment, even the “big” Countryman and Paceman.

  79. XA351GT Says:

    G.A. @#48 Ahh see , The question was would you buy a diesel car in the poll it excluded trucks. A diesel in a truck makes good sense for the power and torque. For most people ,like Pedro said you can’t make a good business case to buy one. I don’t know about other areas ,but diesel equiped stations are still not as prevelent as their gas counter parts around here. So like with a pure electric there is a bit a range anxiety . If your in a unknown area. Which takes your ability to shop around for a better price on fuel away. I guess if your spending $25K on a diesel then $.10 @ gallon more isn’t a big deal. To some it may be.

  80. Bill Murdock Says:

    Back to Volvo and Geely. I’ve always liked Volvos, but I currently wouldn’t buy one because the corporate profits, assuming there are some, will end up in China, and they have enough of our money already.

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Range anxiety is NOT an issue with diesel cars. My Jetta TDI had 500 miles of range, worst case, and I had one tank of over 700 miles. Not all stations have diesel, but many do. Even if you are in an unfamiliar area, if you start looking for fuel with 50 miles of fuel left, you will not have a problem.

    As far as making economic sense, diesel cars, and pickups, for that matter, wouldn’t make economic sense for many people.

  82. HtG Says:

    Morning Reading

    An article about increasing the accuracy of GPS calculated position. When I worked with these toys long ago, we’d use a known location as a reference to recalculate the information coming down from the satellites, whose data were scrambled by a pseudo-random number. We were able to get accurate locations to within in inches.



  83. Feldman Says:

    Body on Frames are dinusaurs. Only for professional grade pickups do they still make sense. For private auto owners who place safety in a collision and comfort on long trips very high, they are not an option.

    I mentioned “flagship luxury cars”. Somebody mentioned the “Escalade”. That is not real luxury. That is bling. And if it is body on frame, it also explains why it was so much less comfortable to ride in it on the way to the airport the other time, compared to the Town Car I rode on the way back (same company). I don’t think the recent Vintage TOwn car (latest model) was body on frame.

    The Escalade interior was really poorly designed and not luxurious. Those who pay $20k or more over its clone the Suburban, probably are not very smart shoppers.

    Flagship Luxury means S class, LS, 7 Series or even A8.

    I know there are a few left over Body on Frame Toyota SUVs disguised as Luxury SUVs. I don’t expect them to last many more model cycles.

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The latest Town Car was body-on-frame, but was, of course, a very poor excuse for a serious luxury car compared to the S-Class, LS, 7 series, or A8.

  85. ColoradoKid Says:


    Yeah …. but for the price ( well below an S Class A8 etc ) it was one hell of a bargain …. was one mighty fine car to be driven around in … and still has yet to be equaled Bang for the Buck – luxury , reliability , durability and repairability wise .

    The TownCar will go down as one of the US’s last great classic rides …. unless someone else finally steps up to the plate .

    Ten years from now people will still bemoan the loss of the Towncar …. whereas I’ll place dollars to donuts in ten years no one will even remember any of the current Lincoln’s – Cadillac ATS , CTS and what ever other S they may come up with …


    BTW- Feldman – FYI the Bristol ( Fighter and Blenheim ) the most exclusive luxury car made in recent history – right up and until its final days was body on frame as well . And let me tell you ….. if they were available ( used or new ) in the US … I’d of purchased one ( preferably a used 411 ) in a heartbeat . Talk about dependability , luxury and ease of repair ! Not to mention restraint of design etc.

  86. ColoradoKid Says:

    Body on Frame vs Unibody ;

    There is but one single overriding factor that has directed the automakers into switching from Body on Frame to Unibody construction …. and it isn’t safety – better ride – better handling- weight etc ..

    It is in fact ..

    COST of manufacturing . Period !

    Even Land/Range Rover admitted as much when push came to shove in a rather contentious interview in the UK press ( think the UK’s version of PDL ) right after LR had announced the switch over back in the day .

  87. HtG Says:

    75 Ya know, Kit, I can’t remember where I read it, but one thing marketers know about us ‘murricans is, we like our technological overkill. Like “people wearing parkas in Atlanta,” is an example I recall. It’s actually hard to select the appropriate tool for a task, so people go nutso ‘just to be safe.’ Overpowered cars, overclocked computers, giant TVs, that’s us. I’ve used pickups and vans and cube trucks as work tools; it’s neat, it makes you feel like a dude, and I get why people like to play fireman, when suburban prole is who they really are.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Town Car was a nice ride to be driven around in, but there wasn’t enough “premium taxi” market to keep it going. When it was first announced that the TC would be dropped, it seemed like a big mistake, but after checking sales numbers, maybe not. They sold over 100K Town Cars several years in the ’90′s, but well under 20K/year from ’08 onward. Nearly all of the sister Crown Vics were fleet cars too, so it was hard to make a business case for the “panthers”

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So they use unibody for cost (almost) no object cars like S-Class and 7 Series to lower cost, rather than because it’s better? I’m not convinced.

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    87 Yep, so true.

  91. Feldman Says:

    #89 Good point.

    As I posted above, Body on Frame is at best suitable for commercial pickup applications. It is really obsolete as far as modern safety requirements, as well as overall travel comfort.

  92. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder just how many of you here have ever owned a pickup truck and worked a pickup truck hard as they are built to be used.How many of you ever been up old mining trails loaded down with small equipment,going through washouts etc.Kit with his ‘most people don’t need them’ mantra,and neophytes discussing the frame vs the unibody etc.Get out and take a truck where I go,do what MOST people do who use their trucks for work do and then see what you think.If it were a 80k car you guys would be all over it.Not one comment as to whether it’s ‘needed’ is ever heard.If you’ve never in your life used a pickup for what they were designed for then do as you ask when your tired of hearing all the GM bashing.If you have NO PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with PICKUPS…..

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I had a pickup truck once, a ’95 S10 with the 4.3 and a manual transmission.

  94. HtG Says:

    92 I think you’re making my point, GA. I think lots of consumer items, including expensive cars, are overkill.

  95. Don MacConnel Says:

    Body on frame construction has some advantages for fleets. In a severe collision the body on frame vehicle is more likely to be repairable, i.e. frame straightening, whereas the unit body vehicle may have to be scrapped. That can result in lower cost of ownership for the body on frame fleet. That is one reason Crown Vics were popular with public safety fleets.