Episode 1073 – More History at Daytona, Ram Ad Voted #1, Fisker May Find a Partner

February 18th, 2013 at 11:32am

Runtime: 6:24

Danica Patrick became the first woman ever to qualify in the pole position for the Daytona 500 yesterday. According to YouTube viewers, Ram’s “God Made A Farmer” was the top ad during this year’s Super Bowl. We’ve reported how EV startup Fisker is desperately trying to find a partner and now it looks like the automaker has found some interest. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Sean McElroy takes a look at the almost all-new Kia Sorento.

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Welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily, here’s what’s going on out there.

DANICA AT DAYTONA
In something of a historic development yesterday, Danica Patrick became the first woman to take the pole position in qualifying for the Daytona 500. With a speed over 196.4 miles-an-hour, which is 316 kilometers-an-hour, she put herself in the history books. The race takes place this coming Sunday and NASCAR could not have come up with a better publicity stunt than to have her quality at the front of the field.

CHEVY SS UNVEILED AT DAYTONA
Danica took that pole in the racing version of the Chevy SS, and Chevrolet used Daytona as a backdrop to unveil the production version. As we reported last week, it’s really a redesigned version of the Holden Commodore, but it’s the first V-8 rear-drive performance sedan from Chevy since 1996. The LS3 engine under the hood, expected to have about 415 horsepower, is mated to a 6-speed automatic trans that rockets the SS to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. It also has a near 50/50 weight distribution, something you almost never hear on such a large sedan. The Chevy SS will hit showrooms in the 4th quarter this year, but no word on pricing just yet.

RAM AD VOTED #1
According to YouTube viewers, automakers did a great job with this year’s Super Bowl ads. Ram’s “God Made A Farmer” beat out Budweiser’s Clydesdale ad for the number one spot. Samsung came in at number three, The Jeep ad with Oprah narrating it finished fourth while Hyundai rounded out the top five. YouTube says that these ads had over 61 million views on its website.

CHINA CAR FLEET TO TRIPLE
China is facing horrific problems with pollution and traffic congestion, but the country is going to see the number of vehicles in the country triple in the next decade. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, there are now 20 vehicles for every 100 household in the country. But it predicts that will grow to 60 vehicles for every 100 in the next ten years. It also predicts more cities will take moves to limit the growth of car sales.

AMERICAN TAXES, CHINESE OWNERS
We’ve reported how EV startup Fisker is desperately trying to find a partner and now it looks like the automaker has found some interest. Reuter’s reports that Chinese automakers Geely and Dongfeng are talking about taking a majority stake, with offers between $200 and $300 million. Ironically Fisker will be the second company that received loans from the U.S. government that ended up being bought by a Chinese company. That’s exactly what happened to Fisker’s battery supplier, A123.

GLORIA IN GENEVA
Take a look at this beautiful Alfa Romeo concept car called Gloria that’s set to make its debut in Geneva. It’s actually a student project, specifically by 20 students from the IED design school, with guidance from Alfa’s own Style Center. Looks to me like they did a terrific job.

Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the new Kia Sorrento.

2014 KIA SORENTO
(Kia Sorento can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we hope to see you tomorrow.

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

117 Comments to “Episode 1073 – More History at Daytona, Ram Ad Voted #1, Fisker May Find a Partner”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Danica: blah, blah, blah, blah blah…………..

    Chevy SS: too soon to tell

    Super Bowl commercials: I’m going with the Clydesdale.

    Gloria in Geneva: loose the ‘pig snout’

    And even though I’m a couple days late with this comment; this is my take on CR and turbo-charging: I like to use the analogy of the four barrel carburetor (when referring to turbo charging); you can maintain good fuel mileage but you have to keep from employing the turbo charger (in order to do it). The ‘turbo’ is for power (when you want it or need it); the four barrel carburetor also was pretty good on gas (as long as you didn’t ‘stomp it’ and engage the ‘secondaries’).

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Even though I’m not religious and don’t buy pickup trucks, I thought the Ram ad was very good, and was about the only ad that really caught my attention while I was halfway watching the game.

    Is there any correlation between people “liking” ads, and those ads working well for selling products?

  3. Steve Mader Says:

    According to the NFL website, the Dodge commercial was #4: http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/47/commercials

    #1 Coke
    #2 BlackBerry
    #3 Bud
    #4 Dodge
    #5 Audi

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Danica as always will freshen up her make-up as she drives, crash and blame one of the guys cause they pick on her.

  5. T. Bejma Says:

    Wonder how much of China’s terrible polution is actually coming from cars? Factories, especially in an unregulated country like China contribute just as much if not more pollution…

  6. Dwight Mannsburden Says:

    John, in your segment this morning on WWJ you talked to a guy who predicted Geely would dump Volvo because they’d sucked all the technology and knowledge out of them that they wanted. In light of that observation, what do you think about Geely buying Fisker?

    @Pedro…if she’s such a bad driver, how did she take the pole position? Wasn’t due to her looks.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I doubt that much of the pollution is from cars, given their probably unregulated coal-fired power plants, factories, etc. Also, there are probably still a lot of 2-stroke motorbikes in the cities.

  8. T. Bejma Says:

    Good article on GM “adding lightness” ;-)

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130218/OEM03/302189922/crash-diet-gets-results-at-gm#axzz2LGweuIjT

  9. HtG Says:

    An article from Ars Technica on a study of cell phone data, showing how just a few neighborhoods are leading to widespread traffic delays.

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/02/cell-phone-tracking-system-reveals-how-traffic-jams-start/

  10. M360 Says:

    As in the US, the car industry is a handy whipping boy in China for all the problems with air quality. Never mind what’s coming out of the smoke stacks from the factories, mines and mills.

  11. Feldman Says:

    #1 Re Danica

    Somebody posted at Autoblog

    “So it is still possible to sleep with a chronometer and get an A in the course”!

  12. Feldman Says:

    ” T. Bejma Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Wonder how much of China’s terrible polution is actually coming from cars? Factories, especially in an unregulated country like China contribute just as much if not more pollution…”

    Not a whole lot. Most of it comes from its power plants, which run something like 80% or 90% on Coal!!!

    Industrial pollution is also pretty bad there at places.

    My eyewitness info is now 7 years old almost, and I bet major improvements happened the last 7 years there.

    When I was there I also saw many tiny electric scooters-bicycles, I thought they were very cool, they were usually driven by a young woman college student and had another woman on the back who had an open Umbrella in her hands!

    I asked how much they cost and was told a very low $1,000 or so.

  13. Feldman Says:

    #7 PR BS Buzzwords. The bottom line is sales and, even more important, profits.

    My local paper had ads for 2013 Silverados at $129/mo (for 24 month lease?). That’s much less than they ask for a Cruze or even a SOnic.

    Obviously, GM horribly overproduced these pickups and then had to get rid of them in fire sales like this.

    (if you keep count, this would be GM blunder no. 123 or so, and a major, major one)

  14. C-Tech Says:

    I wish Danica well at Daytona and the rest of the season. I hope she is not the cause of “the big one” that always happens. This is the season earn that 13 million dollar income.

    With the new Impala SS, now the Charger has some competition.

    @ #2 Kit, the “Imported from Detroit” ad with Eminen did wonders for bringing eyes to Chrysler products in general.

  15. T. Bejma Says:

    #12

    The Silverado’s are the current model and the incentives are matching the (much) newer F150′s ($149/month for 4×4) and Dodge (0% 60 months) fire sales going on, at least in the Detroit area…

  16. Feldman Says:

    #13 Give Sergio some credit too. I know we all made fun of him, and the Autoextremist (his fellow Italian nonetheless!) hates his guts, but he did well and I think he may be even smarter than Mulally, who has a big problem at Lincoln and all these years nothing he tried has succeeded.

  17. Feldman Says:

    #14

    I follow inventory numbers closely. The one who started it all by overproducing way beyond its sales was GM. Ford is just keeping up.

    And, another feather in Sergio’s cap, the New Ram is getting all kinds of awards and, more important, pretty good sales.

  18. Feldman Says:

    PS I don’t care at all about Pickups, but Ford stole the show in Detroit last month, when GM showed all-new Pickups that looked like some lousy 90s models, and Ford dropped its Atlas concept which got all the adoration.

  19. T. Bejma Says:

    #13

    Keep in mind, the new Chevy SS is not the Impala SS. Latest Impala is on a totally different FWD platform.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #6, 11,
    Your “eye witness” info is newer than mine; mine is about 18 years old, but I bet there are still a lot of little 2-stroke motor bikes, each of which would emit many times the HC of a new car.

  21. T. Bejma Says:

    #16

    Each of the 4 assembly plants that produce pickups are going down for 10 weeks to re-tool for the new truck, so no need to fret inventory numbers, it will all balance out and CK/tj will owe me a case of Titan IPA to boot! ;-)

  22. Feldman Says:

    #19

    Of course there are still a ton of regular small scooters and motorbikes, and also a ton of cars in big cosmopolitan cities like Shanghai and Beijing but I agree with you that most pollution is still from the coal power plants and the many industries.

    The changes though were big even then, when Shanghai prospered (after it abandoned the horrendous policies of Mao, under Deng), they fixed their primitive sewer system, by the time I was there it was Ok

    I remember a workshop where a worker-artist was carving something out of onyx (to be sold to tourists probably) and he wore no protective eyegear, and poor ventilation (lots of very harmful dust in the air), even in 2006, and they showed him to us, not thinking there was anythign wrong with that.

  23. Feldman Says:

    #21 That was the official excuse GM gave back then, I remember it well, but I don’t really believe it, since if it was true, it would not accumulate 129 days of inventory and then have to sell them at a loss in fire sales until even now.

    Other GM models have very big inventories, including many Buicks.

  24. Feldman Says:

    I believe the real reason the Big 3 overproduce so much out of line with sales is the UAW agreements which make it more painful for GM or FOrd to cut production, since the workers will be paid anyway.

  25. Duke Says:

    This whole “likes” thingee is not what I would call an accurate barometer of whether an ad did its job. I read somewhere that Lincoln had 250,000 peeps go to their site to check out pricing – within 24 hours of the SB.

    That would seem to be a more accurate measure . . . of the efficacy/validity of an ad . . . at least to me.

    It’s like the popular methodology of companies using FB and the “likes” thing – for entry into sweepstakes etc. Does that translate to actual “like”, or something else?

    I did catch a small portion of airing of Nascar this weekend and the announcers made mention that she had at least 50# of weight on the rest of the field (minimum car weight is determined w/o the driver unlike many sanctions?). That might be all it took. I am not a Nascar fan – haven’t been since they switched from stock cars when they let Chevy shoe-horn in the Lumina, but they are tuned into how to get PR.

    I may catch the opening handful – and the closing handful – of laps of the race. Maybe not. Depends whether or not my sock drawer needs rearranging.

  26. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I think I’m the only pickup buyer/driver here.And as I’ve said before I am NOT brand loyal.When in the market for a new pickup,I compare my needs to what is available from only the big 3.

    As it is,right now Chevy has what I would want in the 2014 for a off-road pkg,and has for years.I like the new styling too,and I like chevies better then gmc.BUT,I don’t know anything at all about the new engine offerings other then they are all aluminum,and have DI.

    Ram.I like their styling,not as much as chevies but it is acceptable.The big news of course is the soon to be offered V6 diesel with an 8 speed auto.420 ft.lbs of torque from a fuel sipping V6 diesel sure as hell puts a good whupping on ford’s ecoboost V6.And gives me pause on the 14 chevies too.

    BUT….then there is (supposed to be) the new Colorado/Canyon that might be coming out with a diesel too.Game changer for me? Maybe.It will be worth a serious look see,I can tell you that.

    Then there is gonna be,FINALLY a jeep JK diesel.Given my personal experience with the JK’s,and the continuing lack of quality even in the 13′s,I won’t even look at them.Xin Loi manley,your dope smoking boys make you look even dumber then when you had AEV build your personal JK.PUTZ.

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Duke: “I may catch the opening handful – and the closing handful – of laps of the race. Maybe not. Depends whether or not my sock drawer needs rearranging”.

    LMMFAO !!!!

  28. T. Bejma Says:

    #23

    The shutdowns are staggered and have not even started yet. First one will be Silao. We are only building small numbers of the new model at this time.

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ T Bejma: any ideas as to when the new engine specs and stuff will be released for the 14′s? And for the ‘little twins’?

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    Fisker and A123 now in Chinese hands ( financials are saying the Fisker thing is a done deal )

    How nice . Reports are now saying Solyndra may be revived by the Chinese as well . Aint that nice o’ us Tax Payers to be subsidizing the Chinese economy ? Next you know we’ll be handing them TESLA , GM and Chrysler as well … which would then accomplish an Obama subsidized Sweep .

    Nice legacy the man’s creating ;-)

  31. Feldman Says:

    #28 Weren’t you in the Volt group? How is production there? You’r lucky it was pitted against that short-range ugly pig the Nissan Leaf! LOL…

  32. Feldman Says:

    #30 As they say, a fool and his $ are soon parted… I call it the “Separation Theorem”!

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    A very good F1 blog …. well written even

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/

    Pedro …. scroll down the page to his essay on his recent Cuba trip and tell me what you think . Personally I love his ‘ Animal Farm ‘ analogy

  34. ColoradoKid Says:

    Alfa Romeo Gloria ;

    Not half bad looking . Question is which FIAT SpA pos is this one built on ?

  35. GM Veteran Says:

    For those who work in the business, no one was surprised at the GM pickup inventory levels. When you consider the upcoming factory shutdowns for changeover to the new pickup and the production that is lost it starts to make sense. Also, pickup sales rise in the spring (all three domestic makers promote Truck Month events in the February/March timeframe), and this sales increase rapidly brings that days supply number down. Finally, when you look at the improvement in resale values, the lease deals you see on TV are not as costly as you might imagine, especially when you realize that they are mostly for 12,000 miles per year and you have to have excellent credit to qualify. There are big incentives available, but nothing out of line for an outgoing model and for pickups in general. The press like to make a big deal out of those misleading days supply numbers, but its simply a matter of making sure they have enough supply to last through the biggest sales months that precede the factory conversions. Not to worry, they will sell them all at a profit!

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    #35

    Methinks thats more than a bit of wishful thinking on your part .. as well as another case of manipulating the numbers on GM’s part .

    Suffice it to say ….. NO amount of Spring sales increases …. which at this point are doubtful at best can rectify the simple fact that GM has once again …. as is their norm … over produced

    And I’ll place money on that one !

  37. Feldman Says:

    GM Veteran Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    “For those who work in the business, no one was surprised at the GM pickup inventory levels”

    This reminds me of a lecture on Human Error, where we distinguish between “acceptable practice” and “Common Practice”.

    I assume you have worked in tbe business for a long time. But I am not sure if you have any idea of the horrendous losses a 120 day inventory, especially for a top selling vehicle like the Silverado, means for GM.

    Have you ever calculated the extra inventory cost?

    It could be in the $ billions.

    AND when you say “the industry” you mean the Domestics ONLY, the imports AND the USA transplants always seem to have their act together.

    John here mentions the “60 day inventory” as some kind of an “optimal” level. It is not, and much of Toyota’s, BMW’s, Lexus’ and Merc’s profitability is derived from their ability to have very lean inventories, 20 and 30 days, routinely, and at m ost 40 and 50.

    I know the DEALERS put a lot of pressure on the Automakers to have huge inventories so they can give every customer his favorite optioned vehicle in no time. But from the Makers point of view, big inventories should be viewed as the disasters they are, NOT shrug your shoulders and view them as routine.

  38. Feldman Says:

    Here is a summary of the latest inventory numbers (days inventory)

    Detroit 3: 1,696,200 89 70
    Detroit 3 (car) 599,000 86 78
    Detroit 3 (trk.) 1,097,200 91 67
    Chrysler Group 393,400 85 72
    Ford Motor Co. 564,600 85 63
    General Motors 738,200 95 76

    EUROPEAN 251,000 63 56
    JAPANESE 953,400 62 48
    KOREAN 195,700 61 38
    TOTAL IMPORTS 1,400,100 62 49
    TOTAL 3,096,300 74 58

    The differences are shocking, and the losses to the domestics because of their poor inventory management, even more so.

  39. dcars Says:

    China’s pollution and hazardous material usage record is terrible on all fronts. They’ve become the kings of Dirty coal electric power plants, mercury use in electrical devices, polluting autos, traffic congestion, strip mines and lead paint in children’s toys – China wins for the most unrestrained industrial society in the world.

  40. Feldman Says:

    explanation-the first number is number of vehicles, the second is days inventory as of Feb 1 2013, the third is inventory as of Jan 1 2013.

    some specific numbers:

    DAIMLER AG†* 45,000 48 45
    Ford Fiesta 22,900 134 92
    Total Lincoln 21,800 130 72
    Total Buick car 37,700 115 89
    Silverado 160,000 113 78
    Total Accord 54,100 57 45
    SUBARU†** 44,600 40 29
    Total Porsche (I)† 5,700 42 45

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    #29

    Sorry GA, Powertrain is a whole different group from Body where I work. They have their own timing and their Engineering is in Pontiac, while I am in Warren.

  42. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Lol,thanx TB,it was worth a shot ;}>

  43. T. Bejma Says:

    #37

    If you were in the industry you would realize that the inventory on dealer lots costs the auto OEM’s exactly $0. The financial transaction occurs as soon as the vehicles leave the factory. In addition, the dealerships are completely separate entities from the OEM’s so dealer inventory burden does not affect them. Selling vehicles cheap does affect brand strength, but everyone knows that the new truck is coming so the value of the old truck is inconsequential.

  44. Feldman Says:

    #43

    you don’t have to be a Genius to know that keeping a vehicle in inventory one extra day costs somebody serious money.

    You also don’t have to be a genius to know that the automakers with very lean inventories make billions and billions in profits, TOYOTA being the greatest example and the Teacher from whom many others, including Porsche, have learned,

    While the automakers with perpetually bloated inventories, regardless of their excuses, went BANKRUPT, and not just Chrysler, twice,

    But even GM, who used to be the (by far) dominant US automaker!!!!

    So what is your pick, TJ Bejma?

    Horrendously Bloated inventories, before and after your Bankruptcy, and heading straight to Bankruptcy number II for GM, OR

    Economic Literacy, ULTRA LEAN Manufacturing, and the tens of billions of profits that TOYOTA makes?

    I am actually quite amazed that GM’s engineers can be so economically illiterate and clueless as you seem to be.

  45. HtG Says:

    come on now Feldman, we know you’ve got lots of horsepower, you don’t need to floor it.

  46. Feldman Says:

    As to be not being in the industry (which I assume you define as working directly for the Automakers), I am mightly glad I am not,

    and I point the success of outsiders like MULALLY, who also was not “in the industry” but saved Ford’s posterior, while your Insider Mr Wagoner could not save GM!!!

  47. Feldman Says:

    45 Torque too!

  48. T. Bejma Says:

    #44

    I am not surprised, based on your responses, that you resort to name calling instead of arguing with facts.

    GM’s profit margin – 3.93%

    http://ycharts.com/companies/GM/profit_margin

    Toyota’s profit margin – 4.77%

    http://ycharts.com/companies/TM/profit_margin

    So ultra lean… Meh…

  49. HtG Says:

    :D xD >:D

  50. Feldman Says:

    Where’s Pedro?

    I remember when he was giving the Journey the double thumbs down, but recently he did an 180 and thinks it’s very reliable!

  51. T. Bejma Says:

    #46

    Wagoner was a Harvard bean counter who came up through the finance end of the business. Hardly an auto insider…

  52. Feldman Says:

    #50

    Wagoner, like many other failed GM CEOs, were 100% INBRED company types that spent virtually their whole career inside GM. What are you talking about?

  53. Feldman Says:

    And unfortunately Akerson, even tho he was hired from outside GM, is equally auto-illiterate or more. At least Mulally knew manufacturing when he was brought in.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    #49 Well, except for the brakes, she’s had no other problems at all and the 3 yr warranty is about to expire and on the last brake job, they used an “updated” pad, no more problems. I never said Danica was a bad driver, just distracted with the make-up and the texting and the other things women do to crash into others.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    PS I still would not buy one, too spongy and insecure at high speed in the rain, maybe the crappy tires have something to do, but it is too softly sprung for a vehicle designed for 7 and luggage.

  56. Feldman Says:

    #54 I did not mention Danica, I don’t follow her races, but if you do, does it seem like the male drivers give her as hard time on the track as they give to each other? More? Less?

  57. Feldman Says:

    Hey all,

    Did anybody else listen to that Autoline Detroit show where they had this youngish guy from Lincoln who is supposedly the new VP or something there?

    I really found nothing that he said reassuring that Lincoln is ever going to get its act together.

    No new product that is not a more expensive, weirder looking version of far better looking Ford models…

  58. HtG Says:

    the whole teamwork thing in NASCAR is mysterious to me. I watched that thing on Saturday night, and an announcer said this year drivers can’t talk to each other during the race.. Say what?
    Yet the spotters are standing next to each other. It reminds me of deal making in cycling.

    Anybody know about qualifying set-ups and if they’re allowed to change the car for the race? I heard one thing a driver like Kyle Busch is so good at is setting up a car, and that means making run best at certain stages of the race rather than qualifying.

  59. RS Says:

    # 12 – Not sure about China specifically but worldwide, vehicles produce about 10% of all pollution (way down from the numbers 25 or 30 years ago). The largest single contributor to pollution is electricity production, which accounts for just over 35% of all the nasty stuff. Heavy manufacturing production accounts for about 30%. The other 25% is from a long list of miscellaneous, like households, farms, animals (stand clear!) rotting organics, etc.

    #16 + an enthusiastic 1

    Sergio gets a very bad rap from the AL contributors but Chrysler has certainly thrived under his watch. His formative years were in North America (Canada) and he certainly needs no interpreter at his press conferences.

    #18 another +1

  60. T. Bejma Says:

    #52

    Being in the finance arm hardly makes you an expert on manufacturing, marketing and car design. They spend their days looking a spreadsheets and trying to de-content everything in site.

    Since you praise Mulally so much, I assume you read the book about him – American Icon. I did, and what I got from it is that he was not so much a visionary but took his micro-managing, buck stops here, weekly report out style (that worked at Boeing), forced out the idiots that ran Ford into the ground (and caused the mortgaging of every last asset in the company) and caught the industry on an upswing.

    Ford still struggles to launch a vehicle, is slipping in all of the quality surveys and can’t even decide on any direction with Lincoln.

    Mulally is a smart man and Ford is a company with potential but the messiah? Far from it…

  61. Dwight Barnes Says:

    @tj … @Coloradokid …@Feldman

    Why the name change again ?

    Just wondering.

    Your good friend,
    Dwight Barnes

  62. HtG Says:

    get stuck in the trunk again, Dwight?

  63. cwolf Says:

    HtG
    You must admit something is odd. Almost like HS has a new sugar-daddy.

  64. ColoradoKid Says:

    cwolf & HtG

    Nahhhhhh. Its one of the Sybil’s I’ll bet . Funny that he thinks Feldman is me :o

    _________

    T Bejma

    So if GM’s so bloody well profitable WTW are they gonna pay back the now over $25 billion they still owe us …. Answer that one if you will good sir

    Oh …. and btw …. you owe me a case of my favorite . That Chevy P/U inventory is still huge . Make it a case of Dechutes Black Butte Porter … but tell you what Mr Bejma … like I said … other than the GM thing I kind of like you … you got spunk ….. so lets call it a six pack and I’m buyin the brats ….. Buffalo – Rattle Snake or Elk …. your call ( Biker Jims ) and yeah T …. I’m sharin the six pack with ya as well ….. cause deep down under all that GM …. errr…… stuff … I’m still bettin yer an OK guy

  65. ColoradoKid Says:

    #43

    Errr …. but a …. TB … there you are dead wrong . Unsold cars on GM lots are floor planned …. which costs the dealership quite a bit in fact …. in interest as well as monthly payments …. which is why a GM dealer will bargain to the bone on a car/truck thats remained unsold for more than 30 days …. if you were in the ‘ Business ‘ side of the automotive business …. you’d know that ;-)

  66. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #9 Intersting article HtG… it would be interesting to see if concentrating money into the 3 or 4 worst miles of congested roads in certain areas could truely help with congestion vs. the cost of adding an extra lane to an interstate for the 15 to 20 total miles it sees congestion during rush hour.

  67. ColoradoKid Says:

    A simple business ( 101 I might add )

    That in fact disproves any attempt by anyone here to try and justify GM’s massive over stock of last years P/U’s

    ” Demand must always exceed Supply .. and never Supply Exceeding Demand ” Period

    That …. is why Toyota is kicking GM’s tail with VW right on their heels .

    Toyota and VW understand the Just in Time and Demand Exceeding Supply principals …

    Whereas GM’s been on a rampage of over building and over supply for going on 25 years …

    GM needing multiple bailouts over the last 25 years …. whereas Toyota and VW ? Errrrr …. none !

    Lesson over . Point made . Sorry gmveteran and Mr Bejma .. but errr… thems the facts ….. and no amount of excuses justifications or wishful thinking can ever change the fact .

    GM’s business culture of the last 25 years is looking more and more like BMC … American style …. with the same consequences being inevitable …. unless something changes … very very fast

  68. HtG Says:

    66 how about a few strategic red lights at ‘on ramps’ like in CA?

  69. HtG Says:

    67 I think you could argue that Toyota(and the rest) are getting a helping hand right now from the Bank of Japan. Take a look at the falling Yen. Cash for CLunkers also ended up in foreign coffers.

  70. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    Yes and you and I both know VW’s gotten more than a few euros from Frau Merkel …. but we also both know its GM thats still on the skids …. and still owes us a bundle … not to mention still needing government subsidies to get the VOLT’s off the showroom floor …. So lets be honest here . GM’s P/U overstock is a major league screw up …. one of which they repeat about every six months or so with this model or that

  71. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    btw did you check out Joe Saward’s F1 site yet ?

  72. HtG Says:

    71 sure, and bookmarked it too. I’ll be interested to see what he says beginning with this week’s test. It’s this week in Barcelona, no?
    70 I don’t single out GM from most companies today. The crisis was so severe. Get me talking about bankers or washington,,, then step back

  73. cwolf Says:

    Cuz I’m a (once was)Big 3 guy and also feel that TB is a nice fella, I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot AND, Kidd, you sure don’t need my help adding fuel to your fire. Never the less, GM also has not contributed its share to the retirement fund, which Ford has done. Seems like GM is tighter than I am with a dollar!

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The reason for GM’s “overbuilding” is probably the same as it’s been for the last 50 years. The union contract is such that you pay the workers, whether they build anything or not, so they keep on building more vehicles. even if they will need big incentives to sell them.

  75. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    John, what is with all the china news! It feels like you covered the same story over and over again. I think EVERYBODY knows they have pollution problmes and to much trafic! They have over a billion people, of course there’s problems! Plus there communist so that makes them even worse.

  76. cwolf Says:

    Kit, not sure I completely agree. Worker pay is about half of what it once was and, don’t forget, the union pays the retired,not GM. Remember, GM does not have to run at 100% capacity. It could minimize capacity to at least break even for labor and still squeek in a little profit. I think greed and poor choices has more to do with it. Just my take and may be wrong.

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    cwolf, you could be right. As far as the pickups, I guess we’ll know more when we see how many are left unsold near the end of the shutdown for the changeover to the new ones.

  78. C-Tech Says:

    @ #58 Hi HtG, On the Superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega the drivers can pretty much run their (restricter plate) cars flat out all the way around the track. Your advantage then comes with managing the aero properties of the car. Find a drafting partner you can work with and both of you go faster than alone. If you can talk directly car to car it gives you an advantage, but it may be a distraction (actually it may be confusing to those who paid for the radio access to the race cars, can’t hurt a revenue stream).

    Some races they allow you to run a “qualifying setup” and then change for the race. Other races are “impound” races where your car is held after qualifying to the set up you qualified with. It forces you to choose whether to set-up for all-out speed to qualify or for the longer haul of the race.

  79. C-Tech Says:

    To Kit, T.B., HtG, CWolf, Pedro, G.A., and other reasonable voices here, looking at the numbers I wonder if the pickups and suv production skews the inventory numbers? Notice the smaller inventories of automakers who do not produce / sell many trucks and suv’s (Toyota, VW, Porsche).

  80. Jonathan Says:

    Ideal inventory levels should be 60 to 70 days.

    The domestics are very close considering the data in this thread.

    I don’t quite see the call to arms with derogatory statements with regard to proper production planning.

    Anything below 60 days inventory does call into question the availablity of the product that consumers want to purchase at the time they walk into the dealership.

    Just an opinion to consider.

  81. HtG Says:

    78 interesting, C-Tech. When you watch a race are you able to keep track of how teammates and others work together? When I was at Pocono a couple of years ago, there were a few laps where Gordon and Johnson were pushing each other; pretty easy to catch on, right there. Do you think Danica will have a shot this weekend?

  82. C-Tech Says:

    @ #81 For the aero challenged racers of NASCAR, teammates do try to link up with each other initially, but when you lose teammates to accidents, crippled engines, non-coordinated pit strategy, by the last 50 laps you link up to who ever you can run with best. This is how the rookie Trevor Bayne won Daytona a few years ago. No need to keep up with teammates like cycling, some teams have drivers with mis-matched talent, personalities and they don’t even try to work with each other (you rarely saw the last 2 Dodges work together, so far apart were Keselowski and Hornish in terms of driving styles).

    Danica is with Stewart-Haas racing, one of the top tier teams so she will have have one of the best cars and more importantly pit crews on the track. If Tony Stewart or Ryan Newman cannot win they will try to help her win. She has a good chance. I believe she SHOULD finish in the top 15. She gets my respect if finishes top 10.

  83. C-Tech Says:

    I really root for Johanna Long. She is a 21 year old woman, running on a team with a shoe-string budget in the Nationwide (Junior) series. Last year she consistently finished ahead of Danica in the races her team could afford to get to. She has been racing since she was 13. She does not have Danica’s looks, but if some sponsor gives her a shot with a decent team, she has the ability to run with the big boys.

  84. HtG Says:

    great stuff, C-Tech. It’s going to be so exciting at the start this weekend. JL sounds like a real racer, judging by wikipedia.

    Fun fact; I asked a driving instructor and nascar racer where he looked as he went around a turn on an oval, and he stunned me when he said he looked around the corner something like 10 or 15 seconds ahead of the car. Some ridiculous amount of time and distance. He taught me how to take a curve right on the limit and trail brake.

  85. pedro fernandez Says:

    C Tech when I pass by my local GMC Caddy Buick dealer’s huge lot, I see rows and rows of unsold SUV’s mostly the big boys, I have to think that at the end of the model year, they ship all that stock to Russia and the Middle East where fuel is cheap and money is plenty.

  86. C-Tech Says:

    Pedro, you see exactly what I mean about GM dealers inventory vs. VW or Toyota.

  87. T. Bejma Says:

    #65

    I do realize it costs the dealers in inventory but, because the dealers are not part of General Motors, it does not affect GM’s financials. I also do understand that there are many complicated incentive plans that are sometimes subsidized by GM directly, and I do know a little about the “business” side of the business (looking to make a move to a District Sales Manager [Face of GM to the Dealer] position soon).

    I also like you Mr. Martin and look forward to our daily debates. It keeps my day interesting.

    #64

    The bet is not over. If you recall the wager was that the current (GMT900) truck inventory would be down to a reasonable level (60 days – trucks always run higher because truck customers like to pick from the dealer lot and not order) by the time the new (K2XX) truck launches, which is not until the summer. So hang tight and don’t count your Porters yet… ;-)

  88. Feldman Says:

    TJ Bejma

    You REALLY are very dense, are you?

    I was NEVER EVER in the FInancxe arm as you allege, fool!

    ANd your attempt to portray GM and Toyota as equally profitable is the HEIGHT of misleading propaganda, LIES, DAMNED LIES, and Statistics.

    LAUGHABLE!!!!

    As if you don’t know what I do for a living!!!

  89. Feldman Says:

    61 Dwight Barnes

    Ask HTG. I wrote the reason on his website with the pix of the Tesla.

    Do you really think there is no reason?

    WHy don’t you focus JUST on what PEOPLE SAY here, not who they CLAIM they are, or what their name is. WHat does all of that matter???

  90. Feldman Says:

    “Jonathan Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Ideal inventory levels should be 60 to 70 days.”

    WHat are you, a DEALER??? FOr a Dealer, even 200 days are ideal, for they can always have any car variation available immediately. FOr a MAKER, NEVER. 20-40 is far better!!!

    Are you SERIOUS????

    Are you 95?

    Obviously the Great LEAN Revolution has passed you by.

    No wonder GM and Chrysler went BROKE, Chrysaler TWICE.

    WIth such parrots that do not even know what “ideal” means….

  91. T. Bejma Says:

    #79

    Looking more into the numbers C-Tech, it appears that it is not just the trucks, several cars have pretty high inventories right now. I know there are a few plants shutting down soon to try and normalize the numbers but it appears we are definitely building some cars we don’t need. I don’t work in that area, but I hope the people that do are seeing this and adjusting. They have in the recent past, so I hope that continues.

    Model – Days as of 1/31/13

    Lacrosse 117
    Lucerne 75
    Regal 200
    Verano 88
    Buick Total 114
    ATS 147
    CTS 140
    DTS 125
    XTS 163
    Cadillac Total 149
    Camaro 164
    Corvette 168
    Cruze 103
    Impala 31
    Malibu 94
    Sonic 89
    Spark 52
    Volt 121
    Chevrolet Total 86
    GM Domestic 97

  92. Feldman Says:

    Toyota, BMW, BEnz, Porsche and Lexus are all crying all the way to the bank, and 95 year olds here keep parroting the UTTER FALSEHOOD that you need 60 and even 70 (!!LOL) days of inventory!!!

    ANd then that piece of work Bejma REALLY is asking for it! He claims, with a straight face, that high inventories are not GM’s problem, because the DEALERS pay for them.

    And THEN, 100% con tradicts himself by trying to make excuses for GM’s HORRID 129 day TRUCK inventory they just had.

    If it does not matter, BEijma, then why not have 300 day inventories? OR is GM already there in some models? LOL!!!

  93. T. Bejma Says:

    #88

    Comprehend much???

    I was talking about Wagoner, not you!!

  94. Feldman Says:

    91

    WHy do you defame GM by listing the DOZENS of your failures???

    Do you think that Akerson will be happy to see that list of failure published by one of his paid engineers???

    PS where are you, in the Finance Arm? LOL.

  95. Feldman Says:

    #91

    You should compare the numbers on your list with your COMPETITORS that are eating your LUNCH AND DINNER:

    MALIBU (what a pitiful POS!) vs ACCORD and CAMRY and ALTIMA and even the FUSION!

    and so on!

    LOL!

  96. Feldman Says:

    #80 Jonathan,

    this is a SCIENCE (of Inventory Management), don’t you want to have an EDUCATED opinion?

    Did you never hear about the STELLAR Success of LEAN Manufacturing at Toyota, which was then propagated to all INTZELLIGENT makers, even porsche?

    They saved BILLIONS, tens of billions!

    Your GM and Chrysler did not listen and went BANKRUPT.

    Just an opinion, but a FACT BASED ONE.

  97. Feldman Says:

    #93 don’t you have a JOB to do at the VOlt group???

    Or do they have you playing video games all day long, as they do in some battery suppliers funded by the taxpayer?

  98. T. Bejma Says:

    #67

    CK – Looks like VW doesn’t really understand as much as you think…

    Beetle 124
    Beetle Cabrio 106
    CC* 91
    Eos* 134
    Golf* 89
    GTI* 115
    Jetta 104
    Passat 81
    Volkswagen Domestic 96

  99. T. Bejma Says:

    #94

    Akerson sees it everyday, I am sure. This is public information, on a public website…

    http://www.wardsauto.com

  100. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I was working at GM and buying a lot of new GM cars, I always ordered them, so zero would have been an adequate inventory, from my perspective, as long as the dealers had a demo of each model/power train combination.

  101. ColoradoKid Says:

    Automotive Industry Observations ;

    GM is back to its same old tricks . Over producing ( underwhelming cars I might add ) Over paying its executives ( which they also did while under Government control as its now being reported ) as well as once again over purchasing private jets etc. Buying technology rather than manufacturing their own ( making one wonder WTH their engineers do of late ) … as well as returning to a culture of Lies- Manipulation – Excuses and Explanations in a vain attempt to justify away their each and every mistake rather than doing something about it ….. all leading to what is becoming another inevitable crash and burn … of which this one they may not survive

    ( worse yet that culture is spreading down thru the ranks infecting the very mindset of even its lowliest employees )

    Elon Musk is once again at it … taking his cues from GM by also trying to manipulate etc to justify his mistakes ( perhaps a side effect of like GM being supported by tax payers money ? )

    Marchionne …. being …. well … Marchionne .. what more need be said ?

    Chrysler when the numbers are put into context being Dead Man Walking and too stupid to just lie down and get it over with

    China … looking more and more like the political and economic disaster of the 21st century .. all while the automotive industry is depending more and more on a market that does not in reality exist

    Emerging markets that the industry is placing so much hope on despite them being run by blatant despots intent on only benefitting themselves and their cronies

    The automotive ( print ) media marching in lock step with what ever the Industry wants them to say out of fear of losing what little advertising dollars are coming their way … investigative journalism having gone the way of the DoDo …. not to mention the quality and quantity of prose making a rapid decent into the very bowels of Dante’s Inferno .

    So I’m sitting here banging this out wondering ;

    Why should I care ?

    Better yet … why do I care ? And what does it matter if I do ?

    Questions I shall ponder seriously over the next few days

  102. ColoradoKid Says:

    From the Dear CK Advice Column ;

    T Bejma – Quite trying to justify and excuse each and every mistake your minders make . All it accomplishes is making folks like myself even more disgusted with the company …
    ( see above )

    Feldman – Chill out a bit their son . You’re putting more energy into futile arguments with a true believer than than most of the manufactures do into development of their ‘ new ‘ products

  103. T. Bejma Says:

    #101

    How do you explain the sky high VW inventories?

  104. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …from yesterday, “Feldman” said:

    “And don’t forget the J2000s god-awful manual 5-speed, very crude to put it in 1st or 2nd gear, who made those pieces of junk?”

    I’m pretty sure Isuzu made those 5-speeds. I had one, and it worked ok, but yeah, Accords and Civics shifted much better. But hey, that 5-speed was better than the 4-speeds used in X-cars, though I had both, and neither actually broke.

  105. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ahhh … Mr Bejma . Once again …. you’ve completely and utterly missed the point in your desperate attempts to explain away the mistakes of your minders .

    A reminder even though it was just a few minutes ago ;

    ” Why should I care ?

    Better yet … why do I care ? And what does it matter if I do ? ”

    BTW why aren’t you asking the same question of C-tech as he’s said the very same thing I have about GM vs Toyota and VW ?

  106. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    OT – I hear tell Becket is decomposing a new play to be titled ;

    ” Waiting for Barnes ”

    The story of several automotive enthusiasts while in the midst of discussions about cars all pondering when and where the vaporware specter might appear and what message he might deliver this time ;-)

  107. ColoradoKid Says:

    And yet one more woe to add to number 101

    I just received an email from the company informing me that ….

    Spyker is back . Seriously ! At least they think they are . Ugh . One more round of automotive delusional thinking .

  108. T. Bejma Says:

    Talk about manipulating the numbers (or MB has inventory management down to a science)…

    Mercedes C-Class* 45
    Mercedes CL* 45
    Mercedes CLS* 45
    Mercedes E-Class* 45
    Mercedes S-Class* 45
    Mercedes SL* 45
    Mercedes SLK* 45
    Mercedes SLS* 45
    Smart Fortwo* 45

  109. T. Bejma Says:

    #105

    I did not ask C-Tech because it was you that said:

    “Toyota and VW understand the Just in Time and Demand Exceeding Supply principals …”

  110. Kit Gerhart Says:

    108,
    I don’t know where they came from, but those numbers look kind of fishy, with all of them being 45.

    What about GLK?

  111. T. Bejma Says:

    #110

    Here you go Kit. Looks like they put a 46 in there on the R to make it look more realistic…

    Mercedes G-Class* 45
    Mercedes GL 45
    Mercedes GLK* 45
    Mercedes M-Class 45
    Mercedes R-Class 46
    Mercedes Sprinter Van* 45

  112. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe the Benz boys keep them in the field where they unload or build them, and ship to dealers to keep the numbers where they want them.

  113. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the good ole days it was normal to order your car exactly how you wanted it, and wait a few weeks to get it, now in this age of instant gratification, they already are prepping the car and the ink on the dotted line hasn’t even dried yet, the dealers are afraid that if you don’t get your wheels right awy, you’re gonna go somewhere else and they lose a sale.

  114. C-Tech Says:

    @ #113 Pedro, you are not that old! Dealers have since the 50′s kept cars on their lots for immediate delivery – to keep you from changing your mind! I remember reading about a time when you would order a chassis and have the body (coach) built. Does GM still put a body by Fisher plate on their cars?

  115. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, there’s the instant gratification thing, but also, there is less reason to order cars than there once was. There are few free-standing options or powertrain choices, few interior color choices, etc., especially compared to the 60′s.

  116. pedro fernandez Says:

    perhaps the dealers in the area of NJ where I lived did not have the space needed to have enough stock but every car we bought there had to be requested from another dealer and waited a couple of days to get them, boy how times have changed.

  117. pedro fernandez Says:

    Leno’s Ariel Atom car now has an ecotec 4 cyl super charged instead of the Honda it used to come with, tels you something about Honda engineering and where it has gone.