AD #1110 – Apple Starts Autonomous Group, GM Invests in Opel, Explorer Gets New Digs

April 11th, 2013 at 11:47am

Runtime: 8:58

Silicon Valley gets more and more interested in the automotive industry, especially when it comes to connected cars and autonomous technology. Some analysts think GM should dump the Opel brand, but the company says otherwise. The Ford Explorer is currently sold in 64 countries, but it has always been built in the U.S., until now. All that and more, plus we take a look at the features of the new Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Welcome to Autoline Daily, we’ve got some very interesting developments to report on today.

And it all starts out with Apple. Silicon Valley keeps getting more and more interested in the automotive industry, especially when it comes to connected cars and autonomous technology. Google is currently the global leader in autonomous technology, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Apple, with its massive $137 billion cash war chest, is moving quickly to compete against its arch rival. Two sources tell us that Apple has quietly put together an automotive development group into connected cars and autonomous technology, and is already poaching engineers from companies in the Valley that are working on this technology.

Japanese supplier Takata, which makes seatbelts and airbags, is facing a massive recall involving Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda. That’s because of a manufacturing defect in the air bag inflator that could cause it to malfunction. Over 3 million vehicles are involved in the recall. I remember back in 1995 when Takata faced a recall of over 8 million faulty seatbelts, the biggest recall in the history of the industry. Even though it was a global recall, the company and Japanese transportation officials blamed the problem on sloppy Americans who spilled french fries and coffee into their seat belt buckles. Kind of makes me wonder what kind of excuse they’ll come up with this time?

Despite being the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano has been a sales disaster. Since its introduction in India about 4 years ago, sales are bumping along a less than 60,000 a year. Last month sales dropped 86 percent compared to a year ago. That’s why the company is looking to upgrade the vehicle with more content to try and appeal to more customers. Part of the reason the Nano doesn’t sell is because of its image. No one wants to be seen in a car that’s known by everyone else as the cheapest thing you can buy.

There’s been a lot of speculation over what General Motors will do with Opel. Some analysts think the company should just dump the German brand but GM thinks otherwise. It just announced a huge 4 billion euro investment in Opel through 2016. That’s about $5.2 billion. Most of that investment will go towards the company’s plans to introduce 23 new models and 13 new powertrains over the next three years. We’ll see if this effort works, but that is a huge commitment by GM.

The Ford Explorer was first introduced to the American public in 1990 and is currently sold in 64 countries. But it has always been built in the U.S., until now. Ford is going to start building them in Russia, with its partner Sollers. Last year in Russia SUV sales accounted for 31 percent of the market. In related news, we knew that Lincoln would manufacture cars in China, and now it looks like the first Lincoln made there will be the new MKZ. But of course, this being China, the Z will get a stretched wheelbase to accommodate customer tastes.

When Lexus started producing the LF-A it expected to sell about 20 of them in the Chinese market. But maybe because of that island issue, only 2 of them were sold. And one of them just got in an accident, which occurred shortly after the owner left the dealer lot. Turns out no one in China can repair the carbon fiber supercar, and it’s too expensive to ship it to Japan to get fixed. So now the dealer is trying to offload what’s left of the car. Originally the LF-A sold for almost a million dollars. The dealer is asking about $323,000 for the crunched up version.

Coming up next, a look at the highlights of the new Hyundai Santa Fe.

(A look at the features of the Hyundai Santa Fe can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Very interesting that Hyundai has two very different models of the Santa Fe. I think it could work very well for them.

We’re going to have a very interesting show on Autoline After Hours tonight. It’s all about superchargers versus turbochargers, and our guest will be Grant Terry from the Eaton Corporation, which makes surperchargers. They’re starting to show up on much smaller engines, and with car brands that never offered them before. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo to learn more about the latest technologies that are showing up in cars.

And that wraps up today’s report, please join us again here tomorrow.

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96 Comments to “AD #1110 – Apple Starts Autonomous Group, GM Invests in Opel, Explorer Gets New Digs”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah! blame Armor All cleaners and protectants for the air bag failures in the US and cigarette smoke elsewhere, Takat officials have no honor, hara kiri for them. The Turd CaCa is a failure? no $hit, why would anyone buy that pos when for the same money you can get a real used car.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CK, the autonomous car of your dreams, the iCar, will soon arrive.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    That is the day I will hang up my driving straps!

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yesterday, Pedro asked: ” I wonder if they still use that system (in-house parts and minimal outsourcing) for the Lexus brand, which they can charge more money for.”

    I could be wrong, but I suspect Lexus products use nearly as high of percentage of “outsourced” parts as other Toyotas. All car companies seem to be getting out of the parts business, except maybe VW.

    I was in the middle of it in 1999, when Delco Electronics division of GM, where I worked, was spun off as part of Delphi. Ford did the same thing with Visteon. At one time, Ford brought iron ore and coke into the Rouge facility, and drove Model A’s out the other end. Things have changed a lot since then.

  5. HtG Says:

    I think Takata already blamed a worker that forgot to turn on the quality control gizmo. Really? 3 million units weren’t checked because some guy didn’t throw a switch? Sure

  6. C-Tech Says:

    Why is it too expensive to ship that LF-A to Japan?

    I see someone in China removing the engine (provided it is servicable) and building 1 hellacious hot rod.

    Is there another airbag supplier in Japan? Given what reputation means in Japan and in the auto industry, could this mean a change in suppliers?

  7. G.A.Branigan Says:

    French fries and coffee.They have an active imagination don’t they.Wasn’t that a world wide recall?

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I think the coke is at the Jeep plant now….

  9. HtG Says:

    Watch out, John. Apple corporate security is watching you.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 that worker was probably a Chinese immigrant, according to Takata spokesperson, B.S. Tonkatruck. #6 Chinese drivers!! buying a car that lives for 100 mph roads in a country where you crawl around at 2 mph,ridiculous!

  11. HtG Says:

    :> <:

  12. HtG Says:

    11 oop, sorry. That graphic may be misconstrued as a slight. I was trying to show Apple eyeballs on John.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, Yeah, but that’s a different kind of coke.

  14. C-Tech Says:

    I guess its not just Chrysler Jefferson East plant having a problem with workers at bars?

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    so soon you can have an I-phone an I-pad an I-TV and an I-car. What’s next an I-wife?

  16. HtG Says:


  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 but Kit why no Lexus recalls? when Honda gets a recall it usually affects Acura as well, Lexus does not seem to have this issue and remember, they’re assembled where US Toyota models were built back in the 80′s and part of the 90′s

  18. Seth Says:

    John, you forgot to mention that the explores built in Russia will never come to America. I mention this because some people might get confused and think that Ford is starting to build American Explorers in Russia.

  19. HtG Says:

    6 I think what John meant to say was that fixing the LFA in Japan was too expensive and difficult. But did you see the purchase price of around a Million? Doesn’t the communist party parasite corporation have any shame over the tariffs they impose? Answer; of course not, don’t even dream. Just pay

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Would it be safe to say that the LFA is indeed a disposable car? Once you bang it up, is it impractical and cost prohibitive to repair?

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There are Lexus recalls. See:

    I suspect we don’t hear much about them, because the number of cars is so much smaller than the mass market brands.

  22. Lex Says:

    The Hyundai Santa Fe looks good. However I believe Hyundai should bring back the Vera Cruz as a minivan with optional AWD incorporating the front and rear clips of the Santa Fe to compete against the Toyota Sienna. The front and rear clips of the Santa Fe married to sliding rear doors of a minivan would definitely attract sales away from Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. AWD feature at a lower price point against the Sienna is needed in the marketplace.

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #11, apple eyeballs on John; I thought it was a rendition of the new Lexus’ front end. lol

    China needs to look-up the words ‘quality-control’
    , study it………….then ‘practice’ it. (and not just their automotive industry)

  24. ColoradoKid Says:


    1) My sources say horsefeathers ….

    2) Aint never gonna happen …. in our lifetimes at least

    As to VW-Audi … they outsource to the likes of Bosch , Seimens etc … so they’re potentially in the same boat at any given moment


    Pedro – 17 – specific models – specific years is why


    15 – The ( i ) question as to what might be next . I could answer that but then Steve Jobs spectre would kick my tail …. and all your hard drives would have to be zapped if I did … not to mention the visit I’d get from those security guys at Apple along with the threat of rescinding those ‘ gifted ‘ shares ( you jest HtG … but … errrrr ….. ;-) )


    TATA NANO no no no no more …. Is anyone even the least bit surprised about this ? Anyone ?


    HtG – 19 – If you’re in good with the ‘ Party ‘ …. anythings possible and doable

  25. C-Tech Says:

    @ #15 Pedro, in this day and age Apple or Google may find it more profitable to produce an i-Boyfriend

  26. T. Bejma Says:


    Toyota bunches Lexus recalls under the (many, many) Toyota recalls and because Lexus volume is so much less than regular Toyota, you don’t see them as well. Like Kit showed, they are there.

    With most Lexi being rebadged Toyota’s I am sure that many components are shared across the line from the same (questionable) suppliers.

  27. ColoradoKid Says:

    26 – No … actually they do not ! Any and all Lexus recalls are announced in the press separate from Toyota’s … they simply do not make the headlines a Toyota recall does

    ( hint ; the media is all about selling copies…. getting ‘ hits ‘ on their sites etc …. not distilling pertinent information )

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    25 true, much easier to build as well! fewer moving parts. Less maintenance as well.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yes, VW outsources to Bosch, Siemens, and many other suppliers, but they must do less of it than most car companies. That is why they have many more employees per car built than any other high volume car company.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    It seems to me: 1.) the reason so much is outsourced to suppliers these days started with the Japanese companies. Early on they concentrated on building the basic car and involved suppliers in the development process, something that was not done in the U.S. in the 60′s and 70′s. The U.S. companies moved to the Japanese production model 2.) Even if manufacturers went back to the Henry Ford days of raw materials in and completed vehicles out there is NO guarantee that there won’t be a screw-up somewhere in the production process. That has NOTHING to do with JP Morgan or any other economic theory. 3.) A great reason to continue to use outside sources is because they are often quicker to innovate because they concentrate on that part of the business. This advances the industry and can give your firm a competitive advantage if they develop a part or process for you exclusively.

  31. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chuck Grenci

    In China … the word ‘ quality control ‘ is spelled ;

    Profit at Any Cost .. Quality be Damned

    Unless of course like Apple the manufacture on the receiving end is actively , vigorously and constantly overseeing the quality control

    Which is to say …. blame the end user for at least 40% of the problem

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    29 – Nein mien Herr !

    They’ve got so many workers because they’ve got so many brands under the VW – Audi corporate umbrella ….. all over the freakin planet ( best I can come up with off the top is -VW – Audi – SEAT – Skoda – Ducati – Bentley – Bugatti – Lamborghini etc )

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26, 27
    Some of the Lexus recalls are combined with Toyota, like the biggie with the floor mats:

    Others, like the 3800 car recall of the LS are separate:

    The LS, IS, and GS don’t have a Toyota counterpart, at least in the U.S., so any recalls of those cars would be separate from any Toyota recalls.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26, 27
    Some of the Lexus recalls are combined with Toyota, like the biggie with the floor mats:

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Others, like the 3800 car recall of the LS are separate:

    The LS, IS, and GS don’t have a Toyota counterpart, at least in the U.S., so any recalls of those cars would be separate from any Toyota recalls.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    ” That has NOTHING to do with JP Morgan or any other economic theory. ”

    Sorry to disagree …. but history …. says … you’re wrong

    Also …. At the very least … assuming one is an astute manufacture concerned about ‘ quality ‘ … one needs to keep ones outsourcing at arms length ( walking distance )

    Simple fact of the matter is … next to NO manufactures these days could care less about ‘ quality ‘ Profit being their sole motivation

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and they pretty much have Porsche now.

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: “Simple fact of the matter is … next to NO manufactures these days could care less about ‘ quality ‘ Profit being their sole motivation”.

    That is going back to the $hitty 70′s total lack of quality,which in turn fueled the japanese invasion into our car market.Gone (I hope) but certainly not forgotten.

  39. pedro fernandezp Says:

    It’s a sad state of affairs when the most admired and sought after Toyotas are from the early and mid 90′s and the Hondas even further back, the 80′s.

  40. C-Tech Says:

    @ #35 Hey C.K. what would be different if Toyota or Honda built there own airbags and it was screwed up in production? What does a technical or production hiccup have to do with economic theory? (maybe chaos theory).

  41. T. Bejma Says:


    I did not say that they don’t announce them separately, but when they are totaled they are under Toyota, the same as Buick, GMC and Cadillac are under GM.

    Look at the bottom of the page for the link to the PDF on recalls by manufacturer…

  42. aliisdad Says:

    We seem to focus a lot of the discussion on quality of different cars..It seems to me that recent cars have really improved..We have has especially good luck with Mercedes, Subaru, and Toyota products…As I have said before, though, I plan to steer clear of domestic company’s offerings from now on…
    By the way, that new Hyundai looks like a really nice vehicle..They have made a lot of progress over the years…However, that parts situation might get pretty bad if the North sends a nuke their way!?!?!

  43. T. Bejma Says:


    3) – Ding, ding, ding – You win C-Tech, that is absolutely true.


    Another one I totally disagree with you about, and this time we are talking about my JOB. I work in Quality as a Supplier Quality Engineer and can tell you that, at least at GM (because that is the only OEM I work for), we are focused on Quality and I can give you hundreds of examples where the CHEAPEST PART WAS REJECTED for a MORE EXPENSIVE PART AT HIGHER QUALITY. I can also give you examples where we have reduced Warranty numbers from 100′s of incidents per thousand vehicles to 10′s.

    The Japanese have definitely lost focus on this and are damaging their reputation (but like the Jeep), people do not pay attention and keep buying and the domestics are struggling to get their reputations back, but in the long run, high quality will be the norm, not the exception.

  44. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Therein lies the problem,(or one of the problems) and that is ‘Perceived’ quality.If it’s a Japanese car,it must be better.That is not true when it comes to pickups,I don’t believe it’s true anymore with cars.

  45. HtG Says:

    42 I’m guilty in this regard, TB. A headlight bulb I bought from my Honda dealer failed after a few weeks, but I’m sure I didn’t touch it. Maybe I did, maybe not. But it’s hard to go tell the world about it.

  46. dave marsh Says:

    Re the outlet in the S-Fe:

    I don’t know about using a 150W outlet for running a game machine…most XBoxes have a 150W PS and then you still need a screen to show it on.

    If it is only for hand-held gaming/charging – then what good is it in the back area? With the cost of inverters these days, a 300 W outlet would be very feasible and at least halfway usable. In reality though, these are just almost useless gimmicks.

    …Like a vacuum built-in. In these days of scrimping for ounces for fuel economy, someone sold the marketing idea of 3-4 lbs of vacuum to haul around and support with warranty costs? I suppose they are really hurting to differentiate themselves to a different target market.

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM & OPEL

    The facts .

    Akerson is ‘ promising ‘ to make those investments in OPEL . Take notice … P-R-O-M-I-S-E-S …. not commits …. not guaranteeing …….. nothing …. just a vague blank empty promise with which that and $3.35 will get you a Latte at StarBurnts ( bucks )


    T Bejma – ding ding ding … you and C-Tech best be heading back to Business & Manufacturing 101

    As to your claims about quality and GM of late ( your response to #35 ) …. well …. the record says it all ( including all the reliability surveys ) and the record says …. you may be ‘ perceiving ‘ … whats going out the door as quality …. but what we’re ( the customer ) getting ….. is crap .

    Start cracking those books T … instead of following the rhetoric of your minders and you might just figure out why it is GM ( along with Chrysler and Ford ) are so deep in debt in comparison to their profits

    BTW – One of your former elderly board members ( sorry didn’t write down the name ) was on Charlie Rose the other night …. and guess what ? He said the very same thing I’m saying about outsourcing etc .e.g Its been part and parcel of GM’s rapid decent into the abyss…… as well as NOT being cost effective

  48. C-Tech Says:

    @ #46 Clinging to a past belief in spite of all the evidence going against it must be causing you some cognitive dissonance C.K. I do not think you could name a major firm in manufacturing who produces all its parts internally. Nike? nope, Boeing? nope, VW? nope, Daimler? nope, BMW? nope, IBM? nope, Samsung? nope. Intel? nope Face facts, today you buy from subcontractor the things that you cannot do well yourself, or cannot do PROFITABLY yourself.

  49. HtG Says:

    innies and outies

    TB, in the category of computer design I’m closely following a titanic battle for domination in design and manufacturing. Intel, the long time force which designs its own processors and leads in manufacturing, is being attacked by an economic model where partnerships between designers, manufacturers and OEs are centered around ARM Holdings. ARM designs chip cores which companies like Qualcomm develop into specific chips, but then outsource to foundries like Samsung or GlobalFoundries(just to name a few). It’s not clear which model will win the coming world of computing, but as more of a car’s value is in the electronics, I don’t see how an auto OE can compete if it does all the work in house. Not even Apple designs its chips from soup to nuts. Do you see more or less in house expertise coming to the auto industry as it concerns computers?

  50. HtG Says:


    That’s the current cost of a dollar in Yen.

    where it stops, only the BOJ knows

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    Recalls .. a conclusion

    Thinking about todays 3.4 million recalls .. my discussions with T Bejma etc i’ve come to the conclusion that all the woes of Toyota Honda Nissan GM Ford Chrysler/FIAT and no doubt soon to be Hyundai/KIA and VW-Audi can be summed up with one simple catch phrase

    Remember back when all the bank/auto manufactures / insurance etc bailouts were happening and the Battle Cry to convince the US Tax Payer was ;

    ” Too Big to Fail ”

    Well …. a more appropriate and truer phrase that subsequently also fits the current debacles of all the over bloated – over sized – under financed auto manufactures to a tee would be ;

    ” Too ( ___ ) Big to Get ( the ____ ) Out of Their Own Way ”

    That pretty much sums it up in my book !


    HtG – 49 – Lets see now . how many weeks of the Federal Reserve’s dumping $28 billion each and every week into our economy .. dollar value etc are we on now ? Hmmmn . Eight years and three months … fifty two weeks in a year …. ahhhhh …. heck … you do the math mien freund …. it hurts my head too much to think about it

    e.g. Stop concerning yourself over what Japan may or may not be doing and focus your concerns a little closer to home …. or alternatively and better yet ….. like moi …. say the ____ with it all and just get on with your own life . Yours being a heck of a lot more sane , interesting and a hell of a lot less prone to migraines than anything anyone on the outside may or may not be doing . Just think of the money you’ll save ( migraine meds , alcohol to numb the pain etc ) and join the Club ;-)

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In Powers’ initial quality study, Cadillac did better than Mercedes, and one Daimler brand finished dead last, even lower than Land Rover.

  53. HtG Says:

    50 I see the figure of $85B/month in Fed purchases. That’s 85×12=1Trillion a year. My point in citing BOJ intervention is that the fortunes of carcos are not under their own control. Japanese carcos are aided by their national bank, and our economy isn’t healthy either. It’s one reason I get riled at attacks on GM and Chry. How is it that the US treasury even had the funds to bail out anyone? There’s a Dell on Maiden Lane in downtown NYC, and they just type a money number down and press Enter. And I don’t imagine for a second that my own well being is my own doing only.

  54. HtG Says:

    Sorry, a link

  55. pedro fernandezp Says:

    An example of a simple design flaw, Journey’s tail lights, so well enclosed and insulated that the damn bulbs get so hot they are beginning to burn the plastic sockets, to the point that they’re dark brown already, not to mention a propensity to burn out in about 6 mos, I am sure that these sockets will indeed burn and fail, perhaps even causing a fire or an electrical short.

  56. pedro fernandezp Says:

    #51 of all Toyota vehicles the Yaris is the most reliable as well as the cheapest, made in Japan with minimal recalls, hook line and sinker, most likely very little if any US supplied parts. Any rebuttals?

  57. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ cwolf: I found a couple of boxes of Remington 45acp hollow points for 45 bux for 50 rds.I did order 500 which won’t be here till August.

  58. HtG Says:

    55 Are you shopping Yaris for when the Corolla rolls down the ramp into the underground parking garage of eternal recycling, Pedro?

  59. C-Tech Says:

    @ #54 I noticed that, but the sockets seem to just darken, not crack or break as in the past. CR also does not recommend the Yaris because it does not drive well compared to other cars in its class. Sometimes reliability is improved by not including options that can break, i.e. if it is NOT there it can’t break. That is why it is cheap.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yaris has a couple things going for it, reliabiliy-wise. First, yeah, it’s made in Japan with mostly Japanese parts, still a good thing. Additionally, it is a simple, basic car without all the extra gadgets most cars now have.

  61. HtG Says:

    58 Ha! C-CTech. Avoiding options was my way of avoiding having things to repair as my Civic aged. As I’m orbiting the Sun though, I’ve come to question my judgement in not getting cruise control.

  62. pedro fernandezp Says:

    #58 not to mention the simplistic 4 speed auto, I recall talking to a tranny repair shop owner who told me that my 3 speed Corolla auto would “outlast” me as long as I changed the fluid periodically. HtG I would like a used Yaris but around here they cost the same as a same year Corolla, simply because there are so many of them around, the only thing that would keep me away from another Rolla is the damn aluminum engine which has a bad habit of leaking and burning oil, I don’t see that problem with the Yaris’ bulletproof 1.5 iron block engine.

  63. pedro fernandezp Says:

    C-Tech the Dodge service adviser told us that these sockets do end up failing due to the heat from the bulb, the Fl heat/sun and the bumper to bumper traffic that keeps them on much longer than if you drove mostly on the highway.

  64. pedro fernandezp Says:

    #30 wasn’t the outsourcing to US suppliers done to comply with Fed demands that foreign cars have a larger % of US made parts, am I wrong on this? I recall as late as 86 when we had quotas on Japanese cars, which forced them to start building them here, first mostly with Japanese parts, then the gradual changeover to US made parts.

  65. C-Tech Says:

    Yet to see a service advisor repair a car. to really tell, call parts at a smaller dealer and see if they stock the part. If they do, they use a lot of them. I haven’t seem too many burnt bulbs and sockets here. For me, if I’m buying a used Toyota make mine a Camry or a Lexus LS400/430 (preferably from a non-smoking, 2 child or less home).

  66. C-Tech Says:

    If you look, a number of Japanese suppliers built or bought plants in the U.S. to supply the Japanese transplants. Those Japanese owned plants in the U.S. counts as domestic content I believe.

  67. C-Tech Says:

    # @60 Maybe Honda can add cruise control to your Civic? Its worth asking, many manufacturers have the software built into the ecm already, the hardware (switches and servo) just need to be added.

  68. cwolf Says:

    I believe the number of recalls will only grow. Suppliers are hiring new workers to meet demand, yet lower wages do not buy the best people available and proper training is only as good as the talents of the oldest “newbe” on the shift. But don’t worry, car sales will slacken soon enough. However, expect a huge push of product from the Germans because sales there have tanked and will continue to spiral downward for many months ahead.
    HtG, forget about what happens in Japan. If it makes you feel any better knowing, the yen will hit 103-105 by mid-year…so they say. We all will be good as long as we don’t do anything stupid with our money. As far as the Fed backing off on monetary easing anytime soon, don’t count on it! They will slack off like a dripping faucet to temper inflation. Some say years before things become something like normal.
    G. A. Branigan: I saw 45′s in the ads at lower prices. The scare is over, so assalt rifles also have fallen hundreds in price. I don’t buy/sell any more, like I used to. And I was never very fond of the .45. I did hand load them with ease and you might consider a simple hand loader.

  69. cwolf Says:

    @ T. Bejma
    The ATS only comes with Run-Flats and no spare! What’s the chance GM will offer better rubber and at least a doughnut spare?

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    61, 67
    Maybe you can still get aftermarket cruise controls. I had a few of them before you could get OEM cruise on manual transmision cars that I had. I installed a Dana cruise on my ’83 Chevette. It worked well, but was a pain to install, with the pickup coil and magnet, servo with throttle cable, wires through the firewall, control on the turn signal stalk, wiring to the fuse box, etc.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They must be copying BMW, in the wrong way, in this case. The BMW thing I don’t understand is that they used run flats on my MINI, even though it has a spare.

  72. Seth Says:

    Hi John, I want to comment on what you were saying a few days ago about ford gaining more hybrid market share. I think Ford could gain a lot more hybrid market share if were more serious about hybrids,and built more of them. I know for a fact Ford doesn’t build enough of them. I went by my local Ford dealership to test drive the C-max hybrid, and I was informed they didn’t have any on the lot. I passed by a Toyota dealership on my way to the Ford dealership, and Toyota had at least 15 prii on the lot. This is what I mean by Ford is not taking hybrids seriously. I want to know what you think,John?

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As the “new kid on the block,” C-Max is selling pretty well for a new-to-market car, which is probably why there is little dealer stock. I suspect Ford will increase production if sales warrent it.

    Probably those 47-47-47mpg EPA numbers are helping sell C-Max, but those numbers seem highly suspect.

  74. XA351GT Says:

    So Tata is having trouble selling the Nano ,because it’s too cheap? Problem solved they also own Jaguar ,so badge it as a Jag tack on a $25000 + charge for the jag grille and a cat ornament . Like Scion did with the low IQ as a Aston Martin.

  75. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ohhhhhh .. baby ….. they’re still here ( in CO ) ….. just a piece up the road ….. so guess what CK’s gonna be doing one fine weekend this summer ;

    Care to join me anyone ?


  76. ColoradoKid Says:

    73 :o

  77. T. Bejma Says:


    Welcome to the world of lightness ;-)

    I have been driving for 30 years now without a flat (oh great, just jinxed myself BIG TIME! ;-) ) and actually, driving on a run flat or using an inflator sound a lot safer than trying to change a tire on the highway with the idiots we have driving in SE MI so I am okay with it and feel like it is the better alternative to a doughnut or a full size spare…

  78. T. Bejma Says:


    I’m in!! :-)

  79. HtG Says:


    Still saving up for Go Karts, over here. ;)

  80. T. Bejma Says:


    Definitely seeing more expertise coming in house. With infotainment and the computers we have running all of the systems in the car, we need the knowledge here and not relying all on the suppliers. We even have a cyber security group that works on preventing vehicle hacking.

  81. HtG Says:

    Interesting, TB. If you can talk about it, do you know if choices are being made about which ecosystem to go with, Intel or ARM? Is it not even necessary to choose at GM’s level? (note, I have a vested interest in ARM)

  82. ColoradoKid Says:

    ” Too Big to get Out of Their Own Way ” club

    Looks like their memberships about to swell once again …. as expected ;


    T Bejma – Caterham Experience I’ll post the dates the minute they’re announced . Of course you can assume dinner and drinks are on me at least once during your stay … as well as sending you home w/a bottle of Stranahams


    HtG – Methinks ( having driven a friends Caterham many years ago ) this may be worth holding off on the GK’s for a year mien freund …. Caterhams being in my top five most FUN cars ever to drive …. not to mention they’ll run down cars ten times their price and a hundred times more complicated …. and err … assuming you might be single ….. the ladies love em :o

    ( seriously place one Caterham in the mix with a multitude of Ferrari’s Lambos Porsches etc and guaranteed the ladies’ll be flocking to the Caterham’s owner .. ignoring the rest …. cause they prefer perceived dangerous men over mid life crisis wanna be’s )

    And then there is that Meet & Greet , Dinner & Drinks and a face to face w/SG to consider as well ;-)

  83. ColoradoKid Says:

    76 – Much as I despise the ride and feel … Run Flats saved my bacon in the MINI when I hit a spike ( seriously … in the city … KCMO … 6″ long and as wide as your thumb with a point that had to be seen to be believed ) mid corner in a moment of ‘ hooning ‘

    So yeah …. I’m a believer despite myself

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That spike sounds like what they use(d) for attaching rails to ties.

  85. ColoradoKid Says:

    Methinks this’ll be great for the consumer … but absolute hell to pay for the big three ;,0,1309387.story

    Sure I’d be thrilled to see the REAL Toyota FJ come our way ( rather than the over stylized FJ Cruiser we get ) as well as the Hilux etc etc ….. but can you imagine the damage this’ll do to the sales of …. say GM’s supposedly upcoming mid size P/U’s ?


    Speaking of Government idiocracy ….. heard about the newest venture in Obama’s proposed budget for NASA ? $ 2.9 Billion to lasso an asteroid .

    Hey … I’ve even got a moniker for the program . They can call it the ;

    ‘ Rope a Dope ‘ project …….. eeeeesh …. so much for trusting NASA’s judgement :(

  86. ColoradoKid Says:

    83 A bit narrower than an RR spike ( my thumbs pretty thin ) … but it was something …. WTH it was doing in a mid town neighborhood being the real question ( set of curves along side the Nelson Atkins museum that are a hoot to hoon )

  87. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Catastrophic air loss is very rare (these days), except of course when something large is involved; good to hear that the one time you needed the ‘run-flats’, you had them C/K. I think ‘piece of mind’ is in the thoughts of vehicle purchasers when a spare tire is excluded for an air-pump and tire-goo (even though it would be rarely needed in any event). Oh, and I wonder what the shelf life of those tire repair kits are? And while a spare may save 50 pounds (tire, jack, etc.), I’m guessing the 50 bucks (or more) the manufacturers save may also weigh on the decision to exclude ‘spares’.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and in some cars, like MINI Cooper S, there is no place to store a spare. The exhaust of the S goes through the place where the spare is stored in my non-S.

    Yeah I’d expect the tire repair kits to have a shelf like. Also, I’d guess I might have trouble with the spare in my van, which hasn’t had the air checked in 15-20 years. I guess the new cars “remind” you to check the spare, though, as with the other tires.

  89. HtG Says:

    I’m the guy in america that checks the air pressure in his spare. It seems OEMs have a sense of humor, as I find I the valve is always facing away, and I need to remove the spare to check pressure. (If you rotate your own tires, the spare is pretty handy)

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m pretty conscientious with checking the air in my tires on the ground, but spares, not so much. Except for my van, which I only drive a few hundred miles a year, my spares are the small ones, and not rotated with the others.

  91. HtG Says:

    i use the spare to hold up the corner as I move tires. It’s good exercise and I check out the suspension etc.; I found a leaking shock on the Miata this way. It also impresses some people if you can do anything, anything at all on your car.

  92. C-Tech Says:

    Most spares do not include a tire pressure sensor. Ask your service advisor to check the air in the spare and slip the lube kid a tip for doing it.

  93. ColoradoKid Says:

    Funny thing as Kit can testify being that the MINI ( not the S ) comes with both a spare and the run flats …. go figure

    C-Tech – 91 – I’m a firm believer in treating ones service and trade folks well when the service is good ( not demandingly good mind you …. just good as in I got what was promised/paid for )

    Learned that lesson quickly when on the road . You’d be surprised how much better ‘ service ‘ I’d get from the roadies vs the so called star I was working for because I’d take good care of them ;-)

    Fact is they don’t do their job …. you can’t do yours

    On the opposite side when subbing for a friend ( as the sound engineer for a snotty quasi superstar prima donna little wench singer ) after she’d finished her little hissy fit with me ( a regular thing with her ) I suggested she might want to change her attitude rather quickly as she can sing the best she’s ever done tonight …. but if I turn the knobs the wrong way …. I can make her sound like the Aflac Duck in a heartbeat …. manager pulled her outta the room .. apologized …. and doubled my fee ( being ‘ That ‘ good helps in situations like this )

  94. C-Tech Says:

    @ #92 I concur C.K. Most people would have just taken the abuse

  95. HtG Says:

    92 BS? sorry couldn’t resist, CK :)

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think the 15 inch tires that are “standard” on a non-S MINI are not run flat, but the optional 16 inch and larger are run flats. I don’t know if it is this way at all dealers, but where I got my car in Orlando, they didn’t have even one car in stock with the 15′s.