Episode 1081 – UAW to Organize Nissan Plant? GM Ups Plug-in Production, Happy 75th Toyota

February 28th, 2013 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:34

Reports are out that several hundred of Nissan’s factory workers in Smyrna, Tennessee met with the United Auto Workers this week at a local hall. GM is boosting plug-in production as it believes that demand for its extended range electric vehicles is going to grow this year. After 75 years in the automotive business, Toyota marks the milestone with a fully interactive timeline. All that and more, plus we take a look at Visteon’s vision of what cars and the technology they’re equipped with will be like in the year 2020.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Later on in the show we’ll share the results of our latest poll about whether diesels or hybrids will sell better. But before we get to that let’s get to the news.

The Detroit Free Press reports that several hundred of Nissan’s factory workers in Smyrna, Tennessee met with the United Auto Workers this week at a local hall. The union very much wants to organize that plant. In fact, it wants to organize all of the foreign owned transplants, but it has been spectacularly unsuccessful even after trying for 30 years. So the fact that it attracted several hundred Nissan employees to attend a meeting could be a significant development. Check out the link in today’s show notes. There’s an interesting video posted by the newspaper, The Tennessean, with comments from some of the disgruntled workers who want the union to organize the plant. This is a story we’ll have to keep an eye on.

General Motors believes that demand for its extended range electric vehicles is going to grow this year. It’s going to build 36,000 Chevy Volts, Opel Amperas and Cadillac ELRs for sale globally, which is 20 percent more than in 2012. Last year, GM sold about 30,000 Volts and Amperas. Even with the boost, that’s not a lot of cars. But the good news is, sales are going up. Speaking of electric cars, we’ve got a great package coming up in the second half of the show about a heavily modified Nissan LEAF that is unlike any LEAF you’ve ever seen.

Ford released pricing for the new Fiesta ST and it starts at just over $22,000. Powered by a 1.6 Liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder that’s matched to a six-speed manual, it cranks out 197 horses along with 214 lb.-ft of torque. A few weeks back on Autoline After Hours, we had John Davis, the Chief Program Engineer for the Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX and he said he actually prefers the Fiesta ST over the Focus ST, because the Fiesta is lighter, nimbler and eminently more tossable.

After 75 years in the automotive business, Toyota marks the milestone with a fully interactive timeline. It has information on every Toyota ever made and perhaps more info than you ever needed or wanted to know. Your journey starts out by choosing either make, body type or year and from there the searching is left up to you. The timeline may seem a little daunting at first, but give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be impressed. Oh, and by the way, happy anniversary Toyota.

Gasoline prices have shot up in the American market and they’re also going up in China. So what do Chinese consumers have to pay to fuel up their cars? Right now a gallon of 93 octane gasoline is going for $5, 97 octane is $5.41 a gallon, 98 octane is $5.71. Not many Chinese consumers buy vehicles with diesel engines, those go mainly into commercial vehicles. But maybe some automaker might want to start pushing diesels. A gallon of diesel fuel costs the same as regular, $5 a gallon. Considering that diesels typically get 30 percent better fuel economy, car buyers would be coming out way ahead.

Speaking of diesel engines, we’ve got the results to our latest poll, and there was a definite clear-cut winner. We asked, by 2020 which powertrain do you expect to sell better in the U.S., diesels or hybrids? And you our viewer choose diesel as the more likely powertrain to succeed. 70 percent of people picked diesel compared to 30 percent for hybrids. This is a fascinating results, but I guess we are going to have to wait a few years to see how the results come in.

Coming up next, a look at one supplier company’s vision of what cars could be like by the end of the decade.

(Our full report on Visteon’s e-Bee concept vehicle can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Automotive supplier Visteon recently took the wraps off a concept vehicle called the e-Bee. It represents the company’s vision of what cars and the technology they’re equipped with will be like in the year 2020. The e-Bee is based on the Nissan LEAF but the exterior styling is about the only thing that is similar. Inside it’s a completely different car.

In addition to moving the HVAC system, the airbags were relocated to the headliner. Not only does this create extra space, it also opens up more options for designers.

Personalization is another key feature of the e-Bee. The screens in the vehicle are reconfigurable, are able to display Cloud-based content or content from smartphones or tablets. Plus multiple devices can be connected to the vehicle, giving each passenger their own unique space within the car.

But another reason the e-Bee is highly customizable is because it was created with car-sharing and short-term rentals in mind.

Obviously you will never be able to buy this vehicle and some of the technology is still being developed. But there are a number of features Visteon says are either application or production ready right now.

We’ve got great show on Autoline After Hours tonight. Our guest is Pietro Gorlier, the head of Mopar, who is bringing the new Mopar ’13 along with him. So tune in tonight for some of the best insider information in the business, or catch the podcast later on at your own convenience. You can get that here at the Autoline site, or at the iTunes store, or on our YouTube channel.

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

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

79 Comments to “Episode 1081 – UAW to Organize Nissan Plant? GM Ups Plug-in Production, Happy 75th Toyota”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Diesels – Well I voted diesels and to be honest am having second thoughts about owning one as well . With the GLK’s lease coming up in December – the new GLK not really capturing my attention – I’m thinking I’ll re-up the lease for a year till the GLK-D comes stateside … give it a go and see what ‘ Security Girl ‘ and I think ;-)

    ( that one’s gonna stick HtG )


    GM’s Plug In production increase . I said it this morning – I’ll say it again and I’ll stand by it till proven otherwise .

    IMO GM boosting production of a car thats losing money left and right : is barely selling ( 30,000 units is a bit of a joke worldwide ) is … at best …. a Delusional decision .

    GM needs PROFITs .. not more loss and extensions on government subsidies in order to generate/ maintain sales .


    The e-Bee’s a bit of a pipe dream as well as more than a bit silly IMHO . No real benefit .. the thing being just a bunch of vaporware add ons with a shift in the interior here and there . Doesn’t Visteon have something more ‘ productive ‘ to do with its time and resources ?

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Diesels winning the latest poll isn’t any kind of shock.Diesel tech has been improving by leaps and bounds,doesn’t suffer from range anxiety,and every gas station around my area has at least on pump per lane.

    The hybrids are getting much better,but dependency on rare earth metals,poor battery tech,and battery recycling and maybe poor (?) resale value in the used market? I know diesels retain a fair amount of their original value on trade-in.What about high mileage hybrids?

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’ve been giving the roof mounted air bag some thought.When it pops out of the steering wheel,the wheel itself offers a firm mount so when the bag deploys,it won’t move out of the way,and gives the bag the support it needs to absorb the energy.When it deploys from the roof,what would keep it from just being pushed out of the way which I’m thinking would render it useless.

  4. T. Bejma Says:


    Just think, the more we sell, the less we lose ;-)

    I like you CK, I just think I trust Jim Hall in this area a little bit more ;-)

  5. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @ 1 – Just curious with no hostility, where do you get your info GM is losing money on every EREV we sell?

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ooops !

    Maybe I’d better have a re-think on the diesel thing ;


    If they’re clamping down on diesels ( France the Diesel kings ) due to ‘ health issues ‘ what chance does diesel stand here in the states ?

    Is this simply a move on behalf of the French Government to ‘ Force Feed ‘ EV’s down a reluctant publics throat ?

    Is the governments claims legitimate ?

    Is this just another attempt to raise revenue ?

    Or yet another case of ;” The more we try and be like them : the more they really want to be like us ” and the French tiring of all the French Tractor jokes that abound about their obsession with diesel engined cars ?

    Hmmn. More questions than answers on this one I’m afraid


    Speaking of Questions ;

    Anyone have any insights as to if and how the dreaded ‘ Sequester ‘ might affect the automotive industry assuming it happens ?

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I didn’t vote in the diesel/hybrid poll, because I’d have two different answers. For cars, I say hybrids, by a wide margin, but for” the rest,” including SUV’s, “crossovers,” and pickups, I’d say diesels.

    As far as GM increasing production of plug-ins, of course they will increase production, since the ELR is now entering production.

  8. HtG Says:

    USA Today piece on sequester’s effect on autos.


  9. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chuck @ GM

    A legitimate question . No hostility taken

    The simple answer being ;

    Each and every financial news agency/pundit from the EU to the US and all places in between ( as well as TTAC – Reuters etc ) Fact is GM isn’t just ‘ losing ‘ money on every VOLT ( and its derivatives ) its taking a financial bath on each and every unit .

    And err Mr Bejma . When it comes to money and especially GM I’ll take the financials word … thank you ;-)

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As far as france raising the taxes on diesel,I wouldn’t worry too much about it.Since they have been ‘diesel’ for a long time,I would say then that the majority of the diesels running around are not ‘clean diesels’ by any stretch.As such,they are a dirty engine.

  11. Chuck @ GM Says:

    I don’t think diesel is the ultimate answer, I don’t know if any knows that, but IMO it sure is a very good next step. Upping MPG by some amount (would vary with the implementation) just by switching to a diesel. No batteries to deal with in 10 or 15 years, no infrastructure problems, other than more diesel seemed to mean less home heating oil for those still using that and that’s not insignificant.

  12. jesse Says:

    No one will ever accuse GM of being the brightest lights in the room nor the quickest in any race..

  13. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 8

    Those auto execs and dealers are more than a bit deluded on how the ‘ Sequester ‘ will effect each and every local economy . Remember by law the sequester requires a 10% across the board cut ( not on one or two specific areas ) and plenty of Government workers ( especially contractors ) will be placed on unpaid leave . Add to that the fact that everyones pay packet as of 1/1/13 is lower ( due to more taxes taken out ) and the economy is once again ‘ stalled ‘ Then factor in the disruptions in transportation nationwide ( especially the airlines ) and well ….. delusional may not be harsh enough to describe those interviewed’s opinions

    But what I’d like to know ( and do not ) is whether those cuts will include all the EV/Hybrid incentives etc.

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ #11: Diesel is only a stop-gap until such time that battery tech and everything involved with it reaches a much higher level.As for diesel fuel supplies for transportation and heating….BIO-Diesel for both.say B20 to start out,and B50 lets say in 5 years from now.We already have the tech in place,the infrastructure is in place.What we need is the govt to get behind it as they did with ethanol.Easy as hell and makes sense.Shoot….we’re doomed ;}>

  15. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @6 Believe it or not, the main reason we couldn’t get diesels in the past was our emission standards are/were tougher than EU’s. I guess our environmental wacko’s have a better lobby than theirs. The reason we can talk realistically about gettin them now is we have after treatments like particulate filters and DEF and they don’t/didn’t. That’s why their cities have blackened buildings and ours don’t, aside from we don’t have the numbers of diesels they do. Before he retired my cousin worked for AAM Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, specifically about this, and spent a lot of his time studying this for the alliance.

  16. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @12, sorry last Sunday dispelled the quickest in any race issue. lol

  17. T. Bejma Says:


    Article on Volt costs from the MAN – Maximum Bob!


  18. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @14 Then we agree diesel is a stop gap. I don’t know if we understand the “unintended consequences” of going to diesel. Our refineries are operating at near 100% capacity now, which is why any disruption causes havoc, there’s no spare capacity to compensate. And as we saw during the last “up the ethanol content” phase it came at the cost of feed for what eventually became my T-Bone steak. WAY WRONG ANSWER!! True enough there are other things on the horizon. But this is the problem when the government decides winners and losers instead of the market.

  19. Feldman Says:

    #15 “@6 Believe it or not, the main reason we couldn’t get diesels in the past was our emission standards are/were tougher than EU’s.”

    Believe it or not???? Not only did you bring coals to Newcastle, everybody here and his mother-in-law know that, and not only that, but there are various estimates as to how much it costs to convert a Euro-legal diesel to a EPA-Legal one, and they range from $2,000 to $4,000 or so! Even John has cited such mumbers here. You obviously are new to this forum.

    Thank you, auto illiterates at the EPA…. Until that outfit goes down the drain where it belongs, along with its biased (in fasvor of hybrids and against diesels), worthless, so-called MPG numbers, Diesels will not get the place they RIGHTFULLY DESERVE in the US market.

    ANd I disagree with Kit’s simplistic “cars-hybrids, trucks-diesel” recipe.

    A far better guide would be HIGHWAY miles, DIESEL, TOWING, DIESEL, and CITY miles, Full (not mickey-mouse Malibu Ecos) HYBRID.

  20. Lex Says:

    I believe that “Clean” Diesels will increase in popularity by the end of the decade. On AAH the gentlemen from Chevy mentioned that the new Chevy Cruze Diesel will have a 2.0 liter diesel with injected urea after-treatment to make it run cleaner. This is the same process employed by Mercedes Benz Bluetec vehicles.

    As Automotive Technology improves, diesels, hybrids and electrics each will improve in popularity over time. However I do agree the Internal Combustion Engine still has plenty of life and innovation ahead of it.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think that if there were a permanent shift in the demand for diesel vs gasoline, the refineries could adjust.

    To me, a big question is, “would today’s “clean diesel” cars be clean enough, if they were to make up a large percentage of the fleet in large metro areas, especially places like LA?” I really don’t know.

  22. Feldman Says:

    #18 Diesel neither is nor should it be a “stop gap”! YOu obviously can’t look beyond your nose.

    EVERYTHING is DIESEL. DOn’t just look at little cars and trucks!

    1. VERY 18 wheeler is diesel, and the only serious alternative is to convert them to CNG, BUT that’s too expensive.

    2. Every TRAIN is diesel, esp the serious FREIGHT trains, which, along witht he trucks and

    3. Every BARGE-Tug combination in our rivers, carry the vast majority of business cargoes in the USA.


    4. Every SHIP of the 100,000 Gigantic (compared to your puny cars and trucks) that crosses the oceans with 95% of the WOrld Trade is also an Exctremely Efficient (not even in yourdreams!) DIESEL.

    These gigantic bulk carriers and tankers are SO efficient, one calculation showed them getting 12,000 – 22,000 (Not an error!) TON-MILES cargo carried PER GALLON.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “ANd I disagree with Kit’s simplistic “cars-hybrids, trucks-diesel” recipe.”

    My “simplistic” recipe has to do with what will be on the market, and what people will buy.

    As far as car hybrids, there are several very good ones, mostly from Toyota and Ford, that sell in fairly high volume. The only car diesels in the U.S. market that make sense are VW, with Cruze and maybe Mazda joining them, but both at low volumes. BMW dropped their one diesel car from the U.S. market. The E350 diesel gets barely better mpg than the E350 gas with the revised engine, the the diesel sells in very small numbers.

    With trucks, now that the Escape hybrid is gone, the Highlander is the only hybrid left that sells in any reasonable numbers, and there are few in the works. Meanwhile, there are already diesel pickups that sell fairly well, and Benz has several diesel SUV/crossover entries. Additionally, there are more diesel entries on the way from Jeep, and others.

    To you, Mr. “Feldman,” simplistic has odd meaning. I’m using logic when I say that in a few years, hybrid cars will probably outsell diesel cars, and diesel “trucks” will probably outsell hybrid “trucks.”

  24. HtG Says:

    22 would you put bunker fuel used at sea in the same category as street diesel? They still use that filth, no? I read some time ago that the Port of Long Beach tried to force ships to hook up to electrical power when docked, so polluting is bunker fuel.

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    OPEL vs Unions update ;


    This one gets weirder by the minute . And take notice of what the Unions are aiming for down the road . None of this can be good for OPEL or GM


    T Bejma – That article has been disproven so many times its no longer even worth mentioning … not to mention ‘ Maximum Bob ‘ has zero comprehension of how to factor the overall costs of manufacturing . You MUST factor in the amortized development cost per unit into the final cost to produce analysis in order to arrive at a CORRECT end number . That ‘ number ‘ with the VOLT/Ampera at present sales levels is approximately $75k per unit sold .



    In case this little factoid has passed you by ;

    Each and every supplier of Electricity across the US is in fact at present operating BEYOND capacity … with the likes of PG&E ConEd etc stating quite clearly that there is NO capacity to include EV automobiles – as well as zero future plans or money for expansion etc .

    For the record the situation in the EU – UK and Japan is even worse .

    e.g. The infrastructure for the EV – Plug In Hybrid etc does not exist and at the current pace of economic development ( worldwide ) as well as the rapid increases worldwide in energy needs ( do you have any clue how much energy is being consumed by the servers needed to maintain just this website ? ) it never will

    The WRONG answer then fellow site mate is that EV’s in any way shape or form are the answer … to much of anything

    In conclusion . If Diesel is the Stop Gap … then Hydrogen is the End Game everyone should be striving for . Taking notice that those cleaning GM’s clock at present already are ( BMW – Mercedes -Audi .. in luxury sales // Toyota – VW etc on the mass end of things)

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For you Benz fans:


  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, they still use it. I’m sure I sometimes get to breathe the fumes from the Port ~3 miles away, though the wind is usually not in the direction the would put me downwind of the port.

  28. W L Simpson Says:

    Speaking of fuel costs—–


  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I see ‘clean diesels’ gaining in popularity,while the prices will come down.I also see when the tech is finally commercially available (cheaply) for consumers,hydrogen.that will take a long while though,longer then I’ll see,lol.I think bio-diesel will be the saving grace for the time being.Cheaper to make,doesn’t take food stocks away from out steaks,and actually burns cleaner,and lubes the engine better then straight ULS-diesel.refineries will have to powerup the closed down refineries and should add regional refineries as the bio thing takes off.Anyways,thats my dream for now…

  30. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @25 – I recall that I’ve ever advocated for electric cars in this or any forum. So I guess I miss the point of your little factoid thing.

    As we agree that hydrogen is the end game, or could be anyway, or at least at this point looks better than anything else, we’ve proven before on this forum within the last month or so, GM is a leader in Hydrogen Fuel cells, has been working on it since the mid Rick Wagner days when he wanted a solution that would take automobiles OUT of the environmental discussions. If your talking about fuel cell hydrogen implementation GM has an in-house fleet of ready for prime time fuel cell cars with a range exceeding 300 miles on hydrogen and has had them since before Mercedes or anybody else was even thinking about hydrogen in any form. If you’re talking about hydrogen as a fuel for ICE, I don’t know much about that, or even if anybody is looking at it, could be the others have a lead on that.

    Back to fuel cells, GM has additional fleets on both coasts being driven today by regular people who live near the extremely few places where they can be refueled.

    Don’t make me have to drag out those articles about all of that starting from 10-15 years ago again.

  31. Bradley Says:

    What a simple, clever and informative way to help celebrate 75 years.

    Toyota has had a significant impact on the automobile industry.

    Happy Birthday Toyota!

  32. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @25 again – I do know GM has had discussions with the local power companies and a national organization of power companies to address charging all vehicles off prime time. Haven’t heard anything about it lately though. But I don’t recall any mention of no additional capacity, it was always about charging during a time when the price would be cheaper.

  33. Wim van Acker Says:

    John: I was puzzled by your poll between diesel powered and hybrid powered vehicles, because those are not mutually exclusive categories: hybrids can be gasoline-electric OR DIESEL- ELECTRIC Please have a look at the German automakers, which are selling and developing those. I believe it is long over-due to become more specific about hybrids to avoid confusion.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Happy b-day Toyota and thanks for 1/4 century of giving me reliable, stress-free transportation (let’s see who I’m gonna piss off with this)

  35. G.A.Branigan Says:

    We talked about diesel electric hybrids here back when we heard about the volt.The reason being is the volt requires premium fuel.We have talked about it before the volt,but that really sparked the conversation for a while….like now.

  36. T. Bejma Says:


    Last year they were saying $55,000 cost per vehicle and with sales higher, it should be less. Agree it is a lot, but like I said, the more we sell, the more the loss goes down.

    “General Motors has spent roughly $1.2 billion developing the Chevy Volt. And in the last two years it’s only sold 21,500 versions of the extended range electric car. That means GM has lost a little over $55,000 on every Volt it’s sold.”


  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Anything new is a money loser, usually for years. Toyota lost a lot of money on the gen 1 Prius and, from what I’ve read, they were mid-cycle on the gen 2 (2004-2009) before they turned a profit. Prius is now profitable for Toyota, even though it is not an expensive car in today’s marketplace.

  38. HtG Says:

    anyone know more about the state takeover of Detroit, tomorrow?


  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    #37- The difference being Toyota’s sold a lot more units than the VOLT/Ampera can ever hope to . Also Toyota did not eat up a bundle of tax payers dollars ( Japanese and US ) in order to develop the Prius .


    Technology ;

    A simple axiom that in this relative world we live in is one absolute that applies to any and all technologies … in our case be it diesel – hybrid – EV – Plug in’s – Hydrogen etc

    ” For every benefit gained by technology … there is an equal or greater cost incurred ”

    Or as in my favorite idiom – ” There is NO Free Lunch ”

    Care to dispute that axiom ? Without glomming up the site with 10,000 words or more lets look at one aspect of the health care industry .

    There is no disputing the fact that we all live longer only due to the ‘ advances ‘ in medical and pharmaceutical technologies . Fact is though as age increases .. so does the incidents of Alzheimer’s and Dementia ( estimated to hit 60% of those over 70 by 2020 ) … along with increased medical and insurance costs … the rapidly increasing cost of Medicare/ Medicaid etc .

    Benefit gained . Cost incurred . Is it worth it ? After watching two relatives pass due to Dementia and Alzheimer’s respectively ….. I’d say a definite … NO !

    And that …. gentlemen … is the main problem with any and all so called ‘ New ‘ technologies . In the rush to be first and the desperation for profits the overwhelming majority of engineers/scientists/corporations etc do not calculate the actual long term cost of any given new technology .

    Ponder that for awhile ;-)

  40. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG 38

    Yes . Thats been all over the media including NPR etc for the last ten days . It looks all but for certain …. and it is an ugly thing to behold in what is touted as the richest nation on earth . Honestly every one of us should bow our heads in shame that we’ve allowed this to happen . And like pedro’s said many a time … it does make one wonder who really did win the Cold War .

  41. HtG Says:

    I’ve been hearing about it, but this story seems to say it’s going to happen tomorrow.

    you do like an argument, CK

    ok, potable water and safety belts and antibiotics and anesthesia and plumbing etcetera and refrigeration and Budweiser and birth control pills and glasses

  42. Feldman Says:

    #23 Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 28th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    “ANd I disagree with Kit’s simplistic “cars-hybrids, trucks-diesel” recipe.”

    My “simplistic” recipe has to do with what will be on the market, and what people will buy. ”

    Your recipe was simplistic without the quotes, ie, really simplistic (notice I did not say wrong or anything worse, just simplistic) because of the major omission of whether one does mostly CITY or Highway miles.

    SO I think I was 100% correct when I modified your recipe, again, to be:

    1. If you do a lot of highway miles, and few city miles, the DIESEL is BY FAR the Optimum choice, REGARDLESS if you have a car or truck.

    2. If you do a LOT of CITY miles and few highway miles, like a TAXI, then the FULL (no mickey-mouse Maliby Ecos or Buick whatevers here!) Hybrid is your best choice, and if you want THE BEST, forget all else and get a regular, V, or C non-plug in Prius.

    3. If you do a lot of TOWING, then the Diesel is also ideal. If you have one of those lame-posterior crossovers, esp the tiny ones, and do no towing with them (most of them forbid any towing anyway), (I mean some of them are as ridiculous as the MINI Countryman), then 100% get the Diesel.

    I like Simple rules, but not simplistic ones that miss major (and also simple) points like the above.

    TOYOTA: I also 100% applaud the excellent way they chose to celebrate their 75th, and GOD do they have a LOT to Celebrate.

    I am no fan of most TOyotas myself, but I strongly recommend them to people that would not care less about cars, and just want a device that starts in the morning and does not fail by the evening. Same re Lexuses, but with some leather and wood inside. I do like the previous gen Toyota Corolla HATCHES they make in Europe, they are far heavier than my civic hatch, and feel HIGH QUALITY inside, as well as really safe for such a small vehicle.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Volt is, and will remain substantially more expensive than Prius, so the break even volume would be fewer units. If it sells at all well, the more expensive ELR will further reduce the break-even volume.

    No, I’m not predicting if or when Volt/Ampera/ELR will generate a profit. I agree that it will be an uphill fight.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Feldman says:
    “Your recipe was simplistic without the quotes, ie, really simplistic (notice I did not say wrong or anything worse, just simplistic) because of the major omission of whether one does mostly CITY or Highway miles.”

    I’m talking about SALES VOLUME, which was JOHN’S SURVEY QUESTION. I’m not talking about what actually makes sense to buy. I agree completely that, for highway driving, diesel cars are great, and for stop-and-go driving, hybrids work well. That was not the point of my post. My guess of sales volume in 2020 is what I was talking about.

  45. Feldman Says:

    error- in #3 above I meant do NOT get the diesel if you have a Mini Countryman or similar small crossover and do no towing.

    Regarding the comment that all new car concepts (like the Prius or the VOlt) lose $ at first but make $ at the end, that’s NOT true. And do NOT assume that the Volt and its ilk will be even REMOTELY as successful, DOMINANT and profitable as the Prius FAMILY has been. If you do, you are headed for GM bankruptcy no 2.

    A successful Volt implies, like in the Prius case, that there is a VOlt 2.0 version in the works, (and I DO NOT Mean its Caddy clone, which, apart from the fancy sheetmetal and the better interior, has no tech improvement over the VOlt)

    and that VOlt 2.0 can be offered for sale in less than 2 years, AND is a V ASTLY SUPERIOR and far more INTELLIGENTLY DEsigned vehicle than this porker the VOlt 1.0!

    My guess, for what it’s worth, is that you VOlt engineers do NOT have and WILL NOT have a 2.0 that is as much better than the 1.0 so as to be profitable.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The main weakness of the Volt power train, other than expense, is its mediocre mpg when running on gas.

    If there is a Volt 2.0, it needs to be able to connect the ICE directly to the wheels under nearly all conditions, rather than operate generator-motor fashion which is not very efficient.

  47. Rafi Jaan Says:

    Besides Hybrids and Diesels, I was hoping for a third choice to vote for: Diesel Hybrids. Having a reliable and (already) efficient diesel paired with an hybrid powertrain makes a lot of sense. I predict that such a system will come along and be refined for personal and commercial use in the next few years.

  48. T. Bejma Says:


    Prius Global Sales

    1997 – 300
    1998 – 17,700
    1999 – 15,200
    2000 – 19,000

    Volt/Ampera Sales

    2010 – 1,219
    2011 – 17,115
    2012 – 30,827

    So, actually the Volt is selling MUCH faster than the Prius did at the start of production.

    That’s 0-2 for you today CK ;-)

  49. T. Bejma Says:

    #39 (cont’d)

    [Sorry Johnny Mac, I know you just scolded Feld(boy) for this but I promise I will try harder next time]

    Perfect example of benefit gained but no detrimental impact on society – iPod/iPad/iPhone… Maybe to China, but not to the USA. We get music, videos and internet wherever we want in a compact, stable, cheap package (as opposed to turntables/CD/Blue-Ray players) that is portable and very convenient…

    Fail to see the long term cost to society [stretch reasoning - less face to face contact, socially deprived generation... Nah...]

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    test ?

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    The Detroit story ;

    Thought this worth repeating ;


  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    Oh Bejma ! Guess what ol buddy ( 48) Those claims and numbers were tossed out as GM propaganda as well as taking the facts out of context months ago by everybody outside of the GM community .

    Bejma – 0

    CK – ( suffice it to say I’m winning and too nice to say by how much)

  53. HtG Says:

    totally pozzo, you ragazzi

  54. ColoradoKid Says:


    Oh goodie ! You did it ! Somebody ( but why’d it have to be you ? ) brought up the antibiotic argument . Been waiting for that .

    Four years ago . Moi . Taken down and almost taken out by one of those SuperBugs ( Drug Resistant Staph Pneumonia ) … that was …. errr ….. created by the over proliferation and over use of …. antibiotics . 10 days in hospital ( where the odds were I could of caught something even worse ) 4 years of recovery and still dealing with a couple of minor side effects .

    Case in Point ; Cost outweighing the Benefits

    But I should of clarified my position and said in the original post that when the Cost equals the Benefit …. one should of course proceed

    But …. when the Cost outweighs the Benefit …

    That being the problem today . No one takes the Cost vs Benefits under consideration when moving forward on any new technology .

  55. T. Bejma Says:


    Ahhhh… I see… All I have to do is say that something is “propaganda”, claim that every “pundit” and “financials” word is correct (without a reference) and that makes me right? Oh, okay, it took me a while, but now I understand…

    Look out now CK, now that I know the secret, I am going to start winning some arguments now… ;-)


  56. HtG Says:

    54 Polio vaccine

    GO! :)

  57. XA351GT Says:

    Wow , so it is disgruntled employees listening to the UAW pitch, shocking!!I wonder if they are disgruntled ,because the company actually wants them to show up and work ? Right now the only thing the union seems good at is protcting the dead wood in companies. I mean anyone that would have the balls to get employees caught red handed on camera no less getting stoned and drunk on company hours rehired is insane. They rae concerned with getting the dues checks.

  58. cwolf Says:

    @57, XA
    My guess is that you’re one man who is talking from experience!

  59. kevin m Says:


  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Happy 75th., Toyota.
    I just went by my Toyota dealer to see if I could get a special 75th. anniversary Prius, but they didn’t have one. I guess these anniversary specials are an American invention.

    Anyway, I checked out Toyota’s first car, which was this:

    1936 Model AA. The body is modeled after a De Soto Airflow, and the engine after a Chevy 6. It would be cool to have one of those now.

  61. Feldman Says:

    Ford Hybrids are in DEEP doodoo.

    The much larger Prius V beats the C-max HANDILY, not just in cargo capacity, and of course Reliability, but also in MPG,

    WHILE the C-max falls woefully short of its alleged 47 MPG HWY.

    Read and weep, Alan Mulally: (from Autoblog today)

    “Wayne Gerdes .. and his crew tested a Ford C-Max Hybrid… Turns out, they couldn’t get anywhere near the EPA’s claimed efficiency numbers.

    Already the subject of a class action lawsuit over fuel economy claims, the C-Max Hybrid officially gets 47 miles per gallon across all three of the EPA’s test categories (city/highway/combined).

    Plenty of people have questioned whether 47 mpg is an accurate real-world number, and Gerdes’ discovered that the C-Max Hybrid doesn’t always reach the lofty EPA levels.

    During a recent test in the sunny southwest, Gerdes and crew discovered the C-Max only managed 35.537 mpg over 360 highway miles..

    The drive was a comparison test with the Toyota Prius V, which is rated at 44 mpg city, 40 highway and 42 combined, and the V handily beat the C-Max, despite its lower EPA numbers.

    Along the same route, the Prius V got 40.768 mpg on the highway.. (BEATING its EPA Estimate. BIAS against the MIHTY TOYOTA, anyone?-Feldman)

    Gerdes wrote, “While the C-Max did beat its EPA city result, it fell woefully short of besting the lower fuel economy-rated Prius V

    revealing that the C-Max fuel economy claims beyond that of the Prius V are not what we were meant to believe.”

    Motor Trend also found the Prius V beats the C-Max. “

  62. ColoradoKid Says:

    TTAC is ripping Akerson a new one . Again !

    Here’s pt I ;


    Lack of credibility – His continuing on with GM’s culture of Lies- Platitudes & Attitudes – Head in the Sand delusions – Taking numbers out of context – Lying to the Feds – Waffling as much if not more than Marchionne … etc etc etc


    And on a positive note


    Kit is correct about the 36- 43 Toyota AA and if you want the full story as well as photos of a 36 recently found buy the latest ( in US ) edition of OCTANE -February 2013 #116

  63. ColoradoKid Says:

    Feldman ;

    Lets face it . In comparison to the Prius EVERY other Hybrid/PlugIn Hybrid is gonna come up short . And I don’t even like the pretentious Prius ( apologies Kit )

    ( as I’ve said in the past …. if you must buy a Hybrid … which I do not recommend …… at least be smart about it and by a Prius )

    btw .. enjoy the TTAC Akerson series . Three parts in total when all is done ;-)

    I’m dying to read the GMophiles we have on site’s attempts to explain away TTAC’s latest accusations against Akerson and GM

  64. ColoradoKid Says:


    The Polio vaccine is one of those where the Cost ( do a bit of research … there was and still is a cost ) equals the benefits with in fact the benefits …. slightly outweighing the cost now after several decades of refinement etc . So of course one moves forward on that .

    Sorry HtG .. but the ” For every benefit gained by technology there is an equal or greater cost incurred ” axiom is unfortunately … indisputable .


    Mr Bejma ; No ! What you need to do to win an argument is to present viable facts which have not already by multiple sources been shot down like so many clays in a Trap & Skeet contest . Sheesh Bejma ! TTAC and Bloomberg tore GM a new one for their ” Our VOLT outsold the Prius ” schtick . If memory serves me so did ALD and PDL .

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is nothing pretentious about a Prius. It is just a car that is designed with the purpose of being the most efficient car on the market with a given amount of capacity for people and cargo. I’m still waiting for VW, or someone else, to make sort of a Prius clone, but with a small diesel. Talk about an efficient highway cruiser. The Passat TDI gets 51 mpg in CR’s 65 mph steady speed highway test. That powertrain, but with a little taller gearing, should get about 75 mpg in the low drag Prius body.

    As far as pretentious cars, some of these Benzes come to mind, like that upcoming CLA. It is really pretentious to put a 3 pointed star on the next gen Sebring, or whatever it is.

  66. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes CK, I am aware of the articles about Volt selling better than the Prius and TTAC et al used the numbers of the Prius selling in the USA (after it had already been sold in Japan for 5 years). My numbers were a comparison of each from the beginning of production and not just the regional data.


    I think I will stay out of the Akerson TTAC stuff and just let the TTAC comments speak for me…

    “Don’t really see any new ground here so far but I’m not giving up. So far, this looks like a recap of TTAC stories so far. Bertel has a nom de plume now?

    Let me guess:

    Part 2: Europe/Malibu Launch/Upper Level Mgmt turnover/Advertising-Marketing issues

    Part 3: He’s mean to people and doesn’t support the ‘true believers’/He has a mean PR person/He said bad things about GM Powertrain/He told the truth about the XTS being ‘good, not great’/He picked a non-auto guy to lead Cadillac/

    What am I missing?”


    “This article is long on allegations of character defect but short on facts. Contradictory media reports of internal GM decision making processes don’t necessarily indicate anything other than sloppy and inaccurate reporting, a phenomenon which even the ol’ Grey Lady is not immune from. Are you sure your mystery analyst isn’t just a GM employee with an axe to grind?”


    “That pretty much sums up BS’s modus operendi in putting GM in a negative spotlight and Toyota in positive one. How odten does Bertel say anything positive about GM? Negative about Toyota?”

  67. T. Bejma Says:

    General Motors (GM) February U.S. sales: +7.2% to 224,314, easily beating the estimate of Edmunds.com for 4.6% growth. The automaker’s strong month was led by crossover (+17%) and truck (+15%) sales growth. Total sales by brand: Cadillac +20%; Buick +15%; GMC +23.4%; Chevrolet +5%.

  68. HtG Says:

    65 that CLA certainly is up for an award, Kit, but strange thing is, I like the looks.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    68, I don’t particulary dislike the looks of the CLA, but, to me, it isn’t a Benz. I may change my mind, at least a little, when I see it in person.

  70. Feldman Says:

    #44 Kit- Sorry I did not read John’s question carefully. Your comments are OK as far as predicting sales numbers a decade or so from now.

    But in that case I want to withdraw some of the enthusiasm with which I received John’s question. Predicting 10 years down the road is too difficult, because it does not just depend on the laws of physics and the economy, but also on which retard heads the EPA, the White House, and Congress. (I can bet it will be some kind of a retard, but I am unsure which one)

    As a friend and colleague in the UK put it,

    “Those who gaze in crystal balls eat broken glass”.

    #63. I agree with your admission, they will come up short in MPG and Reliability and Quality even

    (except if there are serious efforts to sell diesel-electrics. These will get better MPG but will be far more expensive in the USA, where diesels are penalized by unreasonable EPA reqs).

    The question is why. The answer is that TOyota went all in to make the perfect, optimal hybrid. Its first attempt was a joke (the ugly Echo-like Prius), its second vastly better (but with very limited rear headroom), and the third really great.

    The Engineer who led the Prius team was recently given a huge promotion. (forget the exact exec post he will now have).

    I am glad that in a world of Admitted auto illiterates from the Phone Industry being the current GM CEOs and VPs (Anderson was not content with becoming GM CEO, he had to bring his lackeys from ATT with him and make them VPs of this and that), there is one company that recognizes engineering excellence and results, and promotes such people to the very top.

    But I don’t think the Prius is pretentious at all. It is optimal in what it does, and focused. Is the Porsche 911 pretentious? Not one bit. You may say some of its drivers may be pretentious and/or showoffs, and to some extent they are justified to not only want an optimal hybrid, but they want it to look different than the corolla or camry, to declare its ‘special’-ness or “green”-ness or whatever.

  71. T. Bejma Says:

    Toyota (TM) February U.S. sales: +4.3% to 166,377 vehicles, falling short of the consensus estimate of analysts. Full sales totals by model will be issued by the automaker later today.

  72. HtG Says:

    70 ten years ago I was more conscious of the gauzy vibes emanating from Priuses, but today? Of course, if you’ve ever seen one in black-now that’s odd.

  73. T. Bejma Says:

    Ford (F) February U.S. sales: +9.3% to 195,822 vehicles, short of the estimate of TrueCar.com calling for a 11.9% rise. Ford brand up 10.9% to 190,939, to help offset a 29.4% drop in Lincoln sales. By model, Fusion +28% Y/Y to 27,875 and Focus -10.9% to 20,808. The closely-watched C-Max saw sales rise 17% M/M to 3,183.

  74. G.A.Branigan Says:

    My view on GM; I like their trucks,some of their cars,but as I’ve said before,it looks like they are ‘shaving points’,or trying to lose.They get so close to having something good,really good,then let go of it,or turn it into crap.BUT,as long as they still make good trucks like they do right now,akerson can show up for work in a pink tutu for all I care.Hmm…..maybe he does?

  75. HtG Says:

    darn it, GA, now I’m imagining him in yoga class.

  76. ColoradoKid Says:

    On a completely fun . OTT and a bit silly note ;

    Mercedes is gettin Down & Dirty funky !


    G.A. get yer order in quick afer all them dad burned furryners n’ hollywood types gets there afer ya ! :o

    Gots mine placed darn tootin ! ;-)

    ( absolute and abject silliness intended )

  77. ColoradoKid Says:

    76 cont.

    First thang I’s gonna do once mine’s delivered is run me down a couple o’ them H1 Hummer thingy’s , a hopped up JEEP or two , along with a few o’ them ICON thangs ……. an crush em !

    Yep ! Thats what I’s gonna do alright ! 8)

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Probably Arnold will want one, to go with his first-kid-on-the-block H1.

  79. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Lmao….yeah maybe I should buy 2 of them ;}> Just those portal axles are around 11+k a piece.