Episode 1079 – Mahoney Finds a New Road, Akerson Buys Stock, GT-R is Finding NISMO

February 26th, 2013 at 11:56am

Runtime: 8:23

In a move that caught most industry observers by surprise, General Motors hired away the top marketing executive from Volkswagen of America. The U.S. Treasury Department is selling off its remaining shares in General Motors. And one of those people who bought stock was GM CEO Dan Akerson. NISMO became Nissan’s exclusive performance and motorsports brand. All that and more, plus John McElroy shows you how the top car companies stack up against each other.


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Welcome to Autoline Daily. Later on in the show we’ll be asking you about this week’s poll, but before we get to that, let’s cover the news.

In a move that caught most industry observers by surprise, General Motors hired away the top marketing executive from Volkswagen of America. Tim Mahoney will run all of GM’s global marketing operations as well as serve as chief marketing officer for Chevrolet on a global basis. He will report to Alan Batey who is the interim Global Chief Marketing Officer at GM. Autoline viewers will remember that I interviewed Tim Mahoney during our live webcast of the LA Auto Show while he was still at VW. Prior to that he also worked at Porsche and at Subaru. This is a great move for GM and for Chevrolet because Mahoney has a proven track record with German and Japanese brands, which are exactly who GM is going to have to fight to regain market share. VW has been on a tear in the American market lately and I’ve got to believe that GM hopes Mahoney can replicate that momentum at Chevrolet.

The U.S. Treasury Department is selling off its remaining shares in General Motors. So far it sold at least 5.4 million shares and netted over $156 million in January. And one of those people who bought stock was GM CEO Dan Akerson. He purchased 25,000 shares for just over $660,000 which brings his total GM stock ownership to nearly 300,000 shares. Akerson also wants a raise, a 20 percent raise to $11 million. The Detroit News reports, that the company is looking to pay its top 25 executives $82 million in 2013. But GM must get approval from the Treasury Department since the government still controls a stake in the company.

The NISMO brand, which was founded in 1984, has been well-known in the world of motorsports for its styling, handling and performance. Now the company is moving into a new era as it becomes Nissan’s exclusive performance and motorsports brand. NISMO will create a range of affordable performance models from small cars to sports cars. First comes the Juke NISMO, which will come to the U.S. in the spring, second will be a revised 370Z NISMO, for this summer, and then Nissan’s flagship sports car, the GT-R. Production will begin at NISMO’s new headquarters and development center in Yokohama, Japan.

Volkswagen has been in the news over the last few days with announcement of new hybrid drive vehicles, like the XL1 and the Up! Hybrid. So why not add another to the list? Well that is exactly what the German automaker has done. It announced a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf that will share the same powertrain as the Audi A3 e-tron. A 1.4 Liter turbo gas engine and a 101 horsepower electric motor mated to a 6-speed automatic. While no pictures have been released yet, we will get to see it in the flesh next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

Ok, it’s time for this week’s poll question. With all the diesels that are coming to the U.S. this year, we were wondering, will they eventually become more popular than hybrids? So that’s this week’s question. By 2020 which powertrain do you expect to sell better in the U.S., diesels or hybrids? And we mean strong hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, not a weak hybrid that just adds a little bit of electric boost like the Chevy Malibu Eco. To vote, just visit Autoline.tv and click the link under today’s show notes. And you can also get your friends and family to participate by sending them the link below the poll as well.

Last year General Motors was rated as the largest car company in the world. This year it’s fallen to third place. In fact, I’ll show you how the top car companies stack up against each other, right after this.

There’s a lot of jockeying amongst the biggest car companies in the world. They all want to get bigger in the belief that this will give them the economy of scale they need to have lower costs and higher profits. So how do they stack up against each other? Let’s take a look.

When it comes to who sold the most cars, trucks and busses last year, then Toyota takes the top spot, with a 400,000 unit lead over Volkswagen. What makes Toyota’s performance all the more impressive is that all Japanese automakers suffered lower sales in China last year when consumers boycotted their cars because of a dispute between China and Japan over some islands. VW motored past GM to take the second spot, and then there’s a big drop off to Nissan-Renault. And then look at this. Hyundai-Kia have now surpassed the Ford Motor Company in global sales as well as Fiat-Chrysler and Honda.

Another way to rank the car companies is by the amount of revenue, or money, that they take in. And guess what? Toyota is still at the top of the list. Or at least it will likely be. Japanese automakers operate on a fiscal year that concludes at the end of March, so this revenue number is what Toyota says it will hit. But in my experience, when Toyota says it’s going to hit a number, it hits it, so I’ll take them at their word. VW is in second place, but lookee here, Nissan-Renault pulled in more money than General Motors. Now that is quite unexpected. Then come Ford, Honda and Fiat. Amazingly, the Hyundai Group is way behind the other big companies. Presumably Hyundai doesn’t pull in as much money because it sells so many lower priced cars, especially in Asia.

And if we rank the automakers by their net profit then once again Toyota is at the top of the list with more than $10 billion dropping to the bottom line. Then there’s a big dropoff to VW and Hyundai-Kia. But the Hyundai number is extremely impressive considering how small its revenue number is. Hyundai has the highest corporate profit margins of all the major car companies and by a wide margin. Ford is solidly ahead of GM, Honda is hot on GM’s heels and Fiat trails the rest, mainly because of all its problems in Europe.

When you look at all these rankings it’s clear that Toyota is the biggest car company in the world, and that the Hyundai group is growing faster than all the rest. I got all this information out of each company’s financial earnings, press releases, and media reports. I made certain assumptions on currency exchanges when these were not provided by the companies. I also adjusted the Japanese numbers to account for their different fiscal year. So when the Japanese post their final figures these numbers could change a little bit, but I don’t think they’ll change any of these rankings. I hope you find these rankings as interesting as I do, because there’s some real surprises here.

And that brings us to the end of today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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83 Comments to “Episode 1079 – Mahoney Finds a New Road, Akerson Buys Stock, GT-R is Finding NISMO”

  1. Feldman Says:

    Akerson has some nerve! He buys a pittance of M shares, and wants a raise that, by itself, is three times higher than this amount, and to reward his utter cluelessness and incompetence…

    “There is no Justice”…

    John: EXCELLENT job ranking the companies not by the meaningless “number of units sold” but by sales $, revenue, and ***especially*** profit $s.

    Another measure: MARKET VALUE, where Toyota was… SIX TIMES bigger than Bad old GM, before GM went broke!

  2. Feldman Says:

    BTW this poll question is really excellent, and it is really tough to answer what will happen because so much depends on the auto illiterates in wash DC and at the EPA.

    The EPA, it is now obvious, is utterly biased against Diesels and in favor of the hybrids, in two big ways:

    1. Its MPG “adjustments” are an UNFAIR JOKE. If I was VW or any other diesel model maker, I would sue their ignorant posteriors off, fro having ratings of… 42 MPG for the Great Passat Diesel, when it actually gets 52 on long trips, AND at the same time having ratings of 47 for the Ford Hybrids, where every test gets 39s!

    and 2. For not being content with a Diesel meeting the already very stringent Euro regulations, but imposing another $2-4k of mods necessary to make a Euro-legal Diesel US-legal!

  3. Feldman Says:

    (BTW I voted Diesel, and it currently has a 18 to 6 margin)

  4. Bradley Says:

    How do diesel Hybrids fit in the survey?

  5. HtG Says:

    great piece on the financials, John.

  6. 14L Diesel Says:

    Feldman – I will certainly agree that the regulators have not been as friendly to the diesel. But my feeling is that the rate of advancement of diesel (and ICE technology in general) will outpace that of battery technology in the next 10 years.

  7. Feldman Says:

    #6 I agree and that’s why I voted diesels

  8. Glenn Says:

    I think sales of diesels will vary by state. In my state of PA, they have a steep tax on diesel fuel. In my area it sells for 20 to 30 cents per gallon more than premium. That will affect the overall cost per mile. And with the added upfront cost of a diesel engine’d car, will make diesel less appealing, at least here in PA.

  9. dcars Says:

    Of all the manufacturers you list it appears that GM & Renault/Nissan are the most narrowly focused on just making cars. Toyota, VW, H/K, Ford etc. have other businesses. Toyota has Large trucks, VW and H/K are vertically integrated, Ford has medium duty trucks and Honda builds lots of engine related products.

  10. Brian Little Says:

    Another set of measures are Revenue per vehicle and profit per vehicle. The numbers are (using the numbers from today’s Autoline Dail):

    Revenue per Vehicle

    Honda 31,316
    Toyota 27,732
    VW 27,097
    Fiat-Chrysler 26,190
    Ford 23,571
    Nissan Renault 21,235
    GM 16,522
    Hyundai-Kia 11,029

    Profit per Vehicle

    Hyundai-Kia 1,184
    Honda 1,211
    Toyota 1,093
    Ford 982
    VW 898
    Nissan Renault 753
    GM 511
    Fiat-Chrysler 436

    Makes Hyundai-Kia’s performance even more impressive.

  11. dcars Says:

    When GM made locomotives, heavy and medium duty trucks, military Vehicles in addition to parts for all these vehicles they made an astonishing amount of money.

  12. rickas Says:

    “The U.S. Treasury Department is selling off its remaining shares in General Motors. So far it sold at least 5.4 million shares and netted over $156 million in January.”

    How will this be spun to show that “We The People” actually MADE money on the bailout?

  13. Feldman Says:

    ANd here is what you will probably see in tomorrow’s Autoline Daily and other auto sites:

    “Japanese brands continue to dominate Consumer Reports’ rankings
    Lexus, Subaru, Mazda score highest; Detroit 3 brands lag”

    “Honda’s redesigned Accord is the top mid-sized sedan in Consumer Reports’ 2013 auto study released today.”

    Apparently they fixed that allegedly horrible noise problem, Pedro? LOL.

    “WASHINGTON — Japanese brands, led by Lexus, Subaru and Mazda, continue to dominate Consumer Reports’ rankings of the best light vehicles on the market, claiming “top pick” honors in seven out of 10 product segments and capturing the top seven spots for overall brand reliability and performance.

    The brands that scored best on the magazine’s report cards for 2013 were Lexus, with a score of 79 out of 100, followed by Subaru and Mazda, which both scored a 76. Toyota, Acura, Honda and Scion rounded out the top seven.

    For the first time in several years, Detroit automakers did not claim the top spot in any vehicle segment, continuing their longstanding struggles in the magazine’s rankings.

    Consumer Reports, an influential shopping guide with 8 million magazine subscribers, said the six lowest-rated brands were Buick, Chrysler, Ford, Lincoln, Jeep and Dodge.”

    So much for the allegedly very reliable Buicks!

    “Dodge, the last-place brand, received a score of 46.”

    Oh, but the outstanding new Dodge Fart (oops, Dart!) will change all that! (not!)

    “…Cadillac — ranked 14th with a score of 62– was the top-scoring domestic brand in the 2013 study.”

    “Among Japanese brands, Honda staged a comeback in the rankings for 2013 models. Three of Honda’s vehicles took top honors, up from zero last year. Honda’s winners were the redesigned Accord, which unseated the Toyota Camry Hybrid in the mid-sized sedan category; the CR-V, which replaced the Toyota RAV4 as Consumer Reports’ top pick among small SUVs; and the Odyssey minivan, which ranked first in its segment…”

  14. GM Veteran Says:

    As we all know, logic does not always click with the buying public. I believe that sales of hybrids of all types will increase more than sales of diesel powered cars in the US market. Why? Because diesel fuel shows no sign of decreasing its price premium over gasoline and because of the price premium diesel powered cars versus the much smaller price premium of most hybrids. Add in the wider availability of gas vs diesel and that most people regard it as cleaner to handle in the refueling process and diesel just isn’t as appealing to the majority of the public. I understand the performance advantages diesel can offer, but again, most of the buying public doesn’t care about that. Its why the Camry, Accord, Corolla and Sentra are top selling vehicles.

  15. Chuck Says:

    The Hyundai-Kia numbers are extremely impressive. In my neck of the woods, the Kia dealership recently doubled their lot size and still can’t keep stock to meet demand.

  16. dcars Says:

    Here’s another survey for your site

    CNG or Diesel fuel?
    From the listed fuels answer the following:
    Which fuel is cheaper
    Which costs less for the same amount of energy?
    Which fuel is more abundant?
    Using the list fuels which engine is cheaper to build?

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CNG is a “niche” fuel, and will be so for a long time, for two reasons. There is no infrastructure to refuel CNG cars, except in your garage, if you have a “fueling station” plumbed in. Then, there is the little issue of it taking a lot of very high pressure gas to move the car not very far. The only CNG car available in the U.S., the Civic, loses about half its range, and half its trunk, compared to regular Civics. The CNG Civic is a good commuter car for some people, but it’s little better than a pure electric for road trips, since there is no place to get fuel.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s not the “mpg adjustments” that favor hybrids over diesels. The actual test results are downwardly adjusted for all cars, non-hybrid gas, hybrid gas, and diesel.

    It’s just that hybrids test high, and diesels test low when running the driving cycles. Maybe it is partly because the hybrids start with a partly charged battery that helps them in the tests.

    Even a Prius, which gets better real-world mpg than any other car in the U.S. market, under-performs its EPA number in normal driving. My overall mileage for the first ~15K miles on my Prius was about 47 mpg against an EPA combined rating of 50. 47 is pretty good, but is lower than the EPA number. On the other hand, I have averaged about 36 mpg, against an EPA combined rating of 32 for the first 7K miles on my manual transmission 2010 MINI.

    The Prius seriously beats the MINI in mpg, but the MINI does a lot better relative to its EPA numbers. Yeah, a Golf TDI would do better yet compared to its EPA numbers.

  19. Dickson Goon Says:

    Until a safe, low-cost, lightweight rechargeable battery that can be quickly recharged and can propel a car around the same distance as a current gas or diesel engine is available, then hybrids (and electric vehicles) will remain a niche technology.

  20. C-Tech Says:

    A very interesting look at the numbers John, I notice the firms heavily invested in Europe, except for VW, do not make the cut as in the past.

    If Ackerson gets a raise, I’m starting a petition for revoking it!

  21. T. Bejma Says:

    Mandatory reading (and a great idea to adopt by ALD) for someone…


  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the hybrid/diesel question is for cars, I’d say hybrid, but since John probably means to include SUV’s, “crossovers,” pickups, etc., it isn’t so clear. I still haven’t voted, but I will.

  23. newamerican Says:

    So much for liking GM products.


  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    Hint #1 Take anything and everything FIAT SpA publishes : numbers and money wise with an extreme grain of salt …. for the same reasons all the EU Financial Institutions etc do . Because FIAT SpA refuses to divulge their books … to anyone

    Hint #2 Hyundai/KIA aren’t exactly known in the world of finance for being transparent or up front either


    But my main reason for popping up today ;

    HtG – ( as well as any other F1 fans ) Worth considering in light of SPEED losing the F1 2013 coverage – Bernie wanting to make all access Pay for View – and the rapidly ascending prices of Cable/ Satellite ( I’m getting sick of paying for 100′s of channels when in fact I only watch 20 or so )



    So …. after careful consideration I’ve decided not to leave you mugs entirely ( yeah you HtG Kit G.A. TB GC pedro ) but rather to pop in with an occasional news blurb , recommend etc while avoiding engaging certain folks in any discussion. So if I don’t respond to a question / challenge … take no offense … I’m only trying to avoid losing my cool with a certain someone


  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    I voted diesel simply because they’re cheaper to manufacture repair and maintain … are less complicated … and with the right technology have the potential to exceed the mpg of the best of the Hybrids .

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    And last but not least ….. the Consistency Award of the Decade goes to ;

    Land/Range Rover … who’ve consistently remained glued to the very bottom of the reliability lists for going on over a decade .

    Most Deluded Car Owners of the Decade – Once again Land/Range Rover – They know their choice of cars is junk . They openly admit it ( while complaining about it as well ) Yet year after year like Lemmings to a cliffside … they keep coming back to buy another

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    @CK Glad to know that. I’m still reading, listening and learning, just not participating.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Good to know that you’re out there, pedro.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The top of my list of “WTF would anyone buy it,” is that new, smallish Land Rover thing that is about like a Ford Escape, but with a $50K price tag. Yikes!

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Evoque is the name.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    #24 I’ve always said that LR owners are a bunch of masochists, the local LR dealer has a waiting period for service and loans out crappy Hyundai Accents to people who have to leave their precious British Turdmobiles for a few days. Hi Kit, doing well?

  32. C-Tech Says:

    I thought the Evoque was a Ford Escape variant?

  33. T. Bejma Says:


    Sounds like a good way to approach it CK, mind if I steal/borrow it ;-)

    I’ll also steal/borrow your “News on the Recall Front” (or soon to be a recall) for today…


    Now do not get me wrong, I like my fellow American car company down the road in Dearborn, and this is not an attempt to make them look bad at all, just sharing of information. If NHTSA was looking at GM and I came across it before I saw anything on here, I would post it.

  34. C-Tech Says:

    In looking over the Consumer reports lists there is something I don’t understand. The Consumer reports Car Brand Perception Survey “The survey includes data “from 1,764 adults in households that had at least one car.” Consumer Reports points out that the scores do not actually reflect the quality of the auto brands, and are just how consumers perceive these automotive brands.” does not seem to jibe with there other surveys or J.D. Power. Are consumers confused?

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29, Pedro, thanks, I’m doing well. I was down in your direction over the weekend, to Port St. Lucie visiting a former co-worker. That would be a little over a third of the way to the Miami area from here.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    #31 If Mullaly feels like he has to remain at Ford until all their quality issues are resolved, he’s gonna die on the job of old age.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit a little further south and you would have entered Havana North and could have joined me for some delish Cuban food and cafecito,

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35, sounds good.

  39. Bob Quality Says:

    As a strong VW TDi fan I am positive on Diesels. However there has been some issues with them since the tightening of emissions. Do a search on frozen Inter-coolers on TDi’s. Its been a TDi problem in certain areas of the country with high humidity and cold temps. Hopefully the change over to air/coolant Inter-coolers in the Passat will eliminate it and Chevrolet already figured it out. Time will tell.

  40. T. Bejma Says:


    Confused, easily influenced, stuck in the paste, poorly educated (about cars), various reasons C-Tech.

    The Japanese have been getting a free pass since the domestics screwed up so bad in the 80′s and 90′s but hopefully people will understand that they are not any better (and based on Toyota and Honda’s recall record – actually worse) than the domestics…

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    *past not paste…


  42. Brian Little Says:

    Yesterday’s (26Feb2013) sales numbers did not include Benz or BMW. Their sales numbers would be interesting to know too.

  43. Feldman Says:

    To follow-up on my earlier news item (Consumer Reports rankings), CR itself admits that they are based on

    Road Tests (and these are good, as even John agrees),

    Reliability (owner-reported, which are fairly accurate for large-volume econoboxes

    but statistically meaningless for many high-priced, low-volume flagships, due to few owners reporting on them)

    and NOT on STYLING. But autos are very emotional purchases, who wants to escort an ugly woman around???

    So CR was too harsh on Ford, even tho the Fusion has stellar looks, (but these are at the expense of interior room and practicality), and it makes a huge deal about “My Ford TOuch”. WHo cares?

    Speaking of Ford, Mulally’s number one failure (and he had years and years to fix it, now he is retiring and it is as bad or worse than ever) is LINCOLN.

    Is Mulally setting Lincoln up to fail and is he planning to shut it down for good? That’s the only rational explanation for Lincoln’s continued and deepening incompetence.

  44. Feldman Says:

    #46 This Friday we will have February’s US sales numbers. I can’t wait.

  45. Feldman Says:

    #18 “It’s not the “mpg adjustments” that favor hybrids over diesels. The actual test results are downwardly adjusted for all cars, non-hybrid gas, hybrid gas, and diesel.”

    I know that. I assumed the RAW scores were accurate, and the GROSS errors occur during the voo-doo EPA Adjustment process. IN any case, the facts are, as I said, that, while these adjustments work OK for non-diesels and non-hybrids, they GROSSLY UNDERESTIMATE Diesel HWY MPG by up to 10 Miles, and Grossly OVER estimate FOrd Hybrids by almost 10 miles per gallon too!

    This is utterly unacceptable, and I bet EPA is right now working to revise them further (version 4.0 since 1984?) and save itself from further embarassment.

    and as I said, I was VW or any other seller of Diesels in the USA, I would sue their ignorant posterior off, since I can probably prove that their inaccurate AND biased (against Diesel and in favor of Hybrids) estimates cost VW tens of millions of $ each single year.

    “It’s just that hybrids test high, and diesels test low when running the driving cycles.”

    This means that these “cycles” are very unfairly designed. I already know that the EPA cycles give start-stop systems NO Credit in MPG, 100% contrary to real life results, so this explains why very few makers bother to offer these sensible systems in the USA!

    “Maybe it is partly because the hybrids start with a partly charged battery that helps them in the tests.”

    If the EPA does not take this into account, they are guilty of gross incompetence.

    “Even a Prius, which gets better real-world mpg than any other car in the U.S. market, under-performs its EPA number in normal driving.”

    No it does not! Absolutely not. Maybe YOUR prius does, but not the average of 100,000s of drivers reporting lifetime MPGs.

    The Prius WAS rated higher than actual before 2008, when its EPA was 60 city, but in their 2008 revision they took it down to 50 or so, which is easily surpassed.

    AS I have said before, I drove the prior Prius model in 09, a Hertz rental in CA, did over 300 miles and put less than 6 gallons in the tank to fill it when I returned it. The computer showed 53+ city, 47 HWY at 75 MPH (drove from LA to Del Mar before San Diego and back) and at Palos Verdes, country road style driving at leisurely 45-55 MPH, I got 62 and 69 MPG!

    ” My overall mileage for the first ~15K miles on my Prius was about 47 mpg against an EPA combined rating of 50. ”

    If you do a lot of highway miles with it, 47 is spot-on. If not, maybe you do short distances and cold starts all the time.

    ” On the other hand, I have averaged about 36 mpg, against an EPA combined rating of 32 for the first 7K miles on my manual transmission 2010 MINI.”

    Further proof of my point. EPA figures overstated your Hybrid MPG by 3 miles and UNDERstated the non-hybrid by a significant 4 MPG.

    It is bad for EPA MPGs to be inaccurate, but it is much worse for them to be clearrly biased towards hybrids and against non-hybrids and especially Diesels.

    They got to fix this in EPA MPG 5.0 or they may face lawsuits.

  46. Feldman Says:

    PS 18 I have asked taxi drivers in DC that have Priuses, they told me they get 50 MPG average, and taxis do a lot of ‘idling’ and stop-go (but with a warm engine and low MPH)

    Also the EPA does not overestimate Honda Civic or Insight hybrids, owners report they get the EPA average. Camry hybrids also do OK. It seems only these Ford Hybrids have a big problem.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ““Even a Prius, which gets better real-world mpg than any other car in the U.S. market, under-performs its EPA number in normal driving.””

    “No it does not! Absolutely not. Maybe YOUR prius does, but not the average of 100,000s of drivers reporting lifetime MPGs.”

    I said NORMAL DRIVING, which includes a mix of short trips from cold starts, somewhat longer trips at lower speed, and interstate driving at ~75 mph. No, I do not “hypermile,” or I would do better.

    In addition to my own data, I have have a couple friends with Gen 2 Priuses whose mileage is very similar to my Gen 3, with probably a similar mix of driving.

    And, for what it’s worth, the computers on both my Prius and my MINI read mpg about 5% high.

    I’m surprised Prius taxis would average 50 mpg, but yeah, the ICE would always be warmed up, and the speed would be low.

    CR got about the same MPG with the Camry and Fusion hybrids, which should be expected. Something is fishy, though, with the Fusion hybrid having EPA numbers a so much higher than the Camry.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The test result numbers are downwardly adjusted by the same percentage for all power train types. Do you suggest that they come up with different percentages to adjust hybrids and diesels?

    The EPA could use steady speed tests like in Europe and not adjust them. I’d like that, but I can imagine the stink from customers, given the very high numbers such tests produce, and which very few drivers would match.

  49. ColoradoKid Says:

    FIAT SpA

    A view from ground zero ;

    An interesting development is brewing over Italy way with FIAT SpA and all its holdings

    It seems from all preliminary investigations that the Agnelli family may of ‘ bent ‘ the rules more than just a tad when taking final and complete control of the company back in Gianni’s day .

    Which …. if all pans out ….. means the Elkann’s may not in fact have the controlling interest in FIAT SpA . Which will also more than likely hinder … if not completely negate the FIAT Chrysler situation .

    Suffice it to say …. things are getting a bit ugly with FIAT SpA … the end result being anyones guess …. what with the recent elections in Italy and all


    GM – So who is this deluded woman thats claiming she’s going to raise Cadillac’s image in the EU and what is she on anyway ?

    First she comes out swinging … claiming that she’ll raise Cadillac sales in a dying market ( the EU )

    Then …. yesterday she blindsides everyone with her claiming GM’s Chevy and Cadillac lack of sales in the EU and Germany in particular are the fault of uninformed …. Customers

    No dearie … Its not the customers fault . The Fault lies in GM/Cadillac -Chevy having over priced products in the EU that are not competitive with what else is on offer there .

    Honestly if Akerson’s head is in the clouds ( along with being over paid in 2012…… oops …. GM made a boo boo ) then this lady …… is beyond help .

    GM ! Get your house in order !


    EPA estimates . Like FIAT SpA’s numbers ….. take any EPA MPG estimates with a huge grain of salt especially when it comes to EV’s and Hybrids . Suffice it to say there’s an agenda on deck that ….. at best …… warps the EPA’s viewpoint just a tad .

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “If the EPA does not take this (stored battery energy of hybrids) into account, they are guilty of gross incompetence.”

    The car companies test their own cars, and submit data to the EPA. Could it be that Ford, who tested the Fusion and C-Max themselves might have “cheated,” and run their tests starting with batteries more fully changed than would normally be the case, except after going down a long grade?

  51. ColoradoKid Says:


    For what its worth the computer in my GLK constantly under rates my actual MPG . It’ll claim … say 19 mpg overall when in fact I’ve done 22 mpg plus after calculations .

    My MINI’s computer did the same . Always by 2-4 mpg .

    Honestly though I’d rather it under estimate than over estimate . Nothing like crunching the numbers only to find out you’ve exceeded the computers numbers

  52. HtG Says:

    47 Cosa?

    Not that many customers will look, but EPA has a website where real owners have entered their own mileage experience. Maybe in the the near future, cars will be allowed to record a few mileage and usage figures, and send the data to a site where other people can peruse the anonymous real world data. Maybe even the Munroney sticker can have one of those new barcodes for someone with a smartphone to instantly get the information at the dealer. I dream, I know.

  53. HtG Says:

    MPG and F1

    I can now argue to myself that F1 has a relevance in that pushing the rules to the limits in search of performance has a corollary in how carcos may come up with their MPG results.

  54. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – What specifically ?


    Almost forgot ;

    NISMO – Well …. if the NISMO Juke is anything to go by methinks the whole NISMO announcement may be ” Much Ado About Nothing ”

    Suffice it to say the NISMO Juke has already been well covered by the EU and UK press . Its a Juke with a bit of body cladding and a couple extra gizmos …. zero performance increase … zero handling increase .

    Which errrrr ….. makes the NISMO Juke a bit of a Joke .

  55. ColoradoKid Says:

    #51 :o

  56. HtG Says:

    52 Elkann controlling interest.

  57. Steve Ashley Says:

    Re: Diesels vs hybrids;
    How many different types of fuel can a diesel run on? vs how many types of electricity can a hybrid use? Enough said!

  58. ColoradoKid Says:


    Aha !As you know .. the Elkann’s are the heirs to the Agnelli empire after their father passed away .

    If … it turns out as is being suspected that in fact Gianni ( the Elkann’s grandfather ) stole/manipulated : rather than purchased the shares needed to gain complete control of FIAT SpA then Italian Law will require complete restitution ( to the survivors and heirs of those taken advantage of ) …. leaving the Elkann’s in a minority position …… and according to Italian law …. possibly and most like negate any and all contracts put in place after the suspected illegal take over of FIAT SpA

    Suffice it to say there’s no statute of limitations in Italian law when it comes to finance and business

  59. ColoradoKid Says:

    F1 and media coverage ;

    After carefully reviewing that online F1 subscription magazine ( F1+ ..I’ll pass …. its for the F1 compulsive obsessive … not the normal F1 fan ) I’m seeing in my future …. much like what’s happened with my WRC interests ….. my simply reading the race results online ( for free ) on Monday and beyond that no longer caring much about it at all .

    Kind of a shame seeing as how I’ve followed F1 since …. errr … 1964

  60. Feldman Says:

    #45 I also meant 100% normal driving, no hypermiling.

    But there is a diff, in my case I always have short commutes and other around town trips that are usually done with a cold engine and of course the MPG always suffered, whether it was the Accord 2.2 lt or the BMW 4.4 lt

  61. HtG Says:

    57 I read this F1 site; http://www.f1technical.net/

    also yallaf1.net summarizes events.

    If you’d like to know how to watch Beeb coverage, I’ll give some clues. Coulthard and Eddie J. do make it interesting.

  62. Feldman Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 9:37 am

    The test result numbers are downwardly adjusted by the same percentage for all power train types.

    I have seen and even made a copy of their 200+ page report where they do their 2008 adjustments (latest update). It is wrong to adjust every car by the same percentage, since most cars were OK, some Hybrids were way overstated and the diesels qere way understated. Instead of voo doo adjustments, they should do an honest MPG measurement of every car individually, at REALISTIC speeds, on the road, under clearly specified conditions. For example, constant 75 MPH Highway, or constant 55 MPH country road. City is more complicated.

    Do you suggest that they come up with different percentages to adjust hybrids and diesels? ”

    No. It is not my job to develop the methodology for them, especially since they don’t hire me to do it. But when Motor Trend does a road trip with the Passat and gets 52 MPG, vs its 42 EPA HWY MPG, the EPA can’t just sit on its fat posterior, because sooner or later some maker will sue that posterior off, even if the lawyers tell them it has no legal merit and the EPA is protected, just for the Publicity value.

  63. Feldman Says:

    PS I am aware of the EURO MPG rules, they are far more optimistic than EPA, and magazines like Car do tests and give both numbers, and the difference is almost 2 to 1.

    20 years ago, the European mags would give 3 numbers, one for city, one for 90 KPH country road and one for 120 KPH Hwy.

    I think our lightweight 3-door hatch Civic was rated 7.9, 5.3 and 7.3 (from memory) lts/100 km, respectively. I would get even less than 5 lts on long country road trips at 70-90 KPH, with some stop-go.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve never had a car with an mpg readout that read low, but yeah, that would feel good to find out that you are doing better than you thought.

  65. HtG Says:

    I’m confused. Does it count as hyper-miling if I don’t slow down for turns, and thus don’t have to spritz more gas into the engine to return to straight line speeds. This feels so good it has to be right.

  66. gary susie Says:

    CR is a joke. Weren’t the vibe and Matrix the same car with the same motor? Read CR on these two and said Vibe had loud motor and ill fitting parts, whereas the matrix was smooth and quit and fit and finish was perfect. All reports i read say there is little diference between foreign and domestic cars. Byn the way the Juke is the ugliest car to ever hit the road.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s too bad that more people don’t post their mpg to the EPA site. If hundreds, or even tens of people posted their mileage for each model/powertrain configuration, the data would be very useful for comparing cars. As it is, few people post. I’ve posted only once, for my mileage for the first ~5K miles on my MINI. The last I looked, only two or three other people have posted data for that car. It takes a lot more data than that to be useful.

  68. T. Bejma Says:

    #65 :-)

    It may not be hyper-miling but it sure is fun, huh HtG?


    Totally agree Gary, totally… +1

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR is the only real source of carefully controlled mpg data for comparing cars, other than the EPA data which tends to correlate poorly with real world results for some vehicles.

    As far as the Vibe vs. Matrix, I kind of remember it, and they were testing different versions of the two cars, and pointed that out.

  70. Feldman Says:

    ” HtG Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I’m confused. Does it count as hyper-miling if I don’t slow down for turns, and thus don’t have to spritz more gas into the engine to return to straight line speeds. This feels so good it has to be right.”

    I don’t think you are confused. Hypermiling is typically driving at very low speeds or following an 18 wheeler very closely to reduce your air resistance, which is NOT a good idea.

    I would not count what you say as hypermiling, mostly because… I do it regularly myself, but in my case I can easily afford to do it, with a perfectly balanced vehicle that feels as if it is on rails, and the main problem is that the slowpokes in front of me, wisely or not, are slowing down and I don’t want to tailgate them.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, that’s hypermiling, maintaining constant speed, and thus avoiding braking and accelerating. You waste gas when you use brakes to slow down, and then accelerate back up to speed.

  72. Feldman Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 11:00 am

    It’s too bad that more people don’t post their mpg to the EPA site. ”

    There are plenty of unofficial sites where owners post much more detailed MPG records, many of them tankful by tankful MPG for “green cars” such as hybrids.

    I just looked at my bookmarks and even googled some keywords but could not find a particularly thorough site I thought I had bookmarked.

  73. RonE Says:

    #66, Gary, I can see where build quality could be different between the Matrix and the Vibe. The Matrix was made in Canada and the Vibe was made at the NUMMI plant in California.

  74. Feldman Says:


    NONSENSE. Just because your company has a tradition of producing low quality, unreliable cars, and CR fairly and accurately REPORTS IT, it does not make it a “joke”.

    CR, whether you like it or not, is THE most authoritative source of CONSUMER (NOT ENthusiast!) information, when they don’t just window shop but are serious about actually making the second biggest purchase of their lives after their homes.

  75. Feldman Says:

    And just to clarify, I am NOT recommending that people JUST look at CR before buying a new car, but they will usually REGRET IT if they do NOT include the CR info into their decision, along with sources like comparison tests in enthusiast mags, their own test drives, experiences of people they know who own the cars, etc etc.

  76. HtG Says:

    Is there a profile to people that only minimally check out information about potential cars?

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That sounds like most car buyers.

  78. HtG Says:


  79. HtG Says:


  80. HtG Says:


  81. HtG Says:


  82. HtG Says:


  83. avlisk Says:

    4 total.