AD #1304 – VW Says It’s #2, French Market Breakdown, Toyota Issues Stop Sale

January 31st, 2014 at 11:39am

Runtime: 8:23

- EVs Won’t Reduce Air Pollution
- VW #2 in Sales
- France Vehicle Sales
- Toyota Issues Stop Sale
- New Mini Marketing Technique
- Is Social Media Worth the Effort?

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Hello and welcome to a brand new Autoline Daily. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John today but now let’s look at today’s top stories.

Many people perceive hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles as a solution to help improve air pollution but a new study from North Carolina State University says that’s not the case. Researchers tested 108 different scenarios to find out how electric-drive vehicles will impact emissions between now and 2050. They found that even if 42% of passenger cars have some form of electrification, they won’t significantly reduce air pollutants. Part of the reason is passenger cars are a small percentage of total emissions. But also because emissions from power plants will negate much of the benefits of electric vehicles.

Last week we reported that General Motors edged Volkswagen in car sales last year but the German automaker now claims it outsold GM. VW says it sold 9.73 million vehicles last year, which includes heavy duty trucks from its MAN and Scania units. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles in 2013 while Toyota was the top global seller, hitting 9.98 million sales.

Car sales are having a tough time in Europe and that’s especially true in France. Last year sales fell 5.5%. And yet, with 2.1 million light vehicles sold, it’s still a significant market. Peugeot and Citroen are the clear leaders with 30% market share, easily beating out Renault and Dacia. In fact, PSA still takes the Number One spot even if you include Nissan and Infiniti as part of the Renault Group. Here are the rest of the top ten automakers selling passenger cars and light trucks in the French market. The VW Group is in third spot, and then there is a big drop off with a close cluster of automakers headed by the Fiat group, Ford, GM/Opel, Toyota and Lexus, Nissan and Infiniti, Mercedes and finally BMW and Mini.

1. PSA 650,700
2. Renault 547,000
3 . VW AG 259,000
4. FIAT 96,000
5. Ford 93,400
6. GM?Opel 86,600
7. Toyota 78,600
8. Nissan 72,000
9. Mercedes.Benz 70,600
10. BMW 66,400
Source: Ward’s

Even though there have been no reported incidents globally, Toyota is putting a stop sale on some of its vehicles with seat heaters that don’t meet U.S. fire standards. As it turns out, the heater and some of the materials around it don’t meet requirements for how long they retard a flame. Affected models include the Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra. Now it just remains to be seen if NHTSA will issue a recall.

Mini has a history of clever marketing techniques and the tradition continues with the new Mini hardtop. To get the word out that the new model is on the way, Mini held a contest called “The Final Test Test Drive.” Mini owners were asked to pretend that they were a development engineer taking the new Mini on its last test drive before being put on sale. And they were asked to submit the kind of test drive they would take it on. Tom Salkowsky, the head of marketing for MINI USA, says they got 800 submissions and 11,000 owners, along with executives from Mini, just chose the top ten. They’ve produced videos of those test drives and posted them online. Now they’re going to choose the best one and that winner will get to customize a Mini, and choose a name for it. Mini will then offer that package on its configurator. Follow the link in today’s show notes to see what these test drives are all about. By the way, Salkowsky reminds us the new Mini hardtop will come standard with a 134 horsepower, 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder engine, that will deliver 40 miles per gallon on the highway and run from 0 to 60 miles an hour in 7.3 seconds with the 6-speed automatic.

Is social media something automakers should put a lot of time and effort into? We’ll take a look at that coming up next.

Automakers can cite anecdotal evidence of social media helping customers but is it really worth a carmakers time and effort to reach customers through those venues? On this week’s Autoline, John asks that question to social media experts from the Detroit automakers and here is what they have to say.

(Clip from Autoline This Week can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Joining John for that show is Scott Monty from Ford, Mary Henige from GM and Ed Garsten from Chrysler. And you can watch that entire discussion right now on our website,

That’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

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69 Comments to “AD #1304 – VW Says It’s #2, French Market Breakdown, Toyota Issues Stop Sale”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Avis will now sue VW in German court for stealing their “We’re Number 2″ tagline.

    Follow the proceedings on Court TV.

  2. Jon M Says:

    “…because emissions from power plants will negate much of the benefits of electric vehicles.” So there is now a study released to support was has long been said.

  3. Wim van Acker Says:

    @ Toyota: “Affected models include the Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra.”

    It would have been easier to mention which model(s) is/are NOT affected.

  4. Brett Says:

    I wonder if that study takes into account that EVs and plug-in hybrids become cleaner over time as coal-fired plants are replaced with natural gas-fired plants, wind turbines, and solar plants.

  5. Bradley Says:

    Its the whole trying to quantify how many mosquito bites you avoided by wearing bug spray. You only can account for being bitten X times, but you have know way of knowing how many you avoided.

    The Ford Fiesta would sell well regardless of social media. Small, fuel efficient and inexpensive cars always sell well in that age group. It is a true Detroit Branded small car.

    GM’s efforts of brokering cars from Korea aren’t quite as good. GM is missing a point by brokering cars. The Ford part of Ford Fiesta has a lot more weight than the Chevrolet in Chevrolet Aveo.

    Social Media works and has merits, but it is simply just another form of advertising.

  6. HtG Says:


    C7 observed at 100+mph on the highway. It was blue and made a sound like this…

    That thing looks awesome coming and going

  7. Bradley Says:


    Sorry, I don’t mean any disrespect, but when a Corvette lover compares the sound of a Corvette to an Elvis song.. that pretty much explains why the Corvette will never appeal to me.

    What will Chevrolet do when the baby-boomers are no more?

  8. HtG Says:

    Wait till one goes by you, Bradley. Stunning and alive

  9. Buzzerd Says:

    Bradley, I sold my C6 last spring but a couple years before that my wife and I took a trip up to Jasper Alberta which is a good distance from my house. I was surprised at the amount of thumbs up and people checking out the car, people of all ages. The C7 will have no problems attracting people.

  10. Bradley Says:

    #8 #9

    Oh, I have no doubt it gets the looks.

    I just don’t have any inner child or need to wrap myself in it as if it were equal to an American flag.

    When I was coming of age the Corvette was nothing more than a overweight, unrefined, super-sized wedge. Now..since the C5 a lot of those items have improved. But I don’t buy into the American Muscle car culture. I like refinement, smooth, controlled power.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    #3 FR-S, Yaris and Highlander?? Heated seats, what a croc of crap, wussie car buyers!!

  12. Buzzerd Says:

    I’m not american so I have no interest the flag either, I bought a vette because it’s was and still is, in my opinion and many others, the best daily driver sports car for the money. They are fast, handle ( certainly handle well enough for anything anyone is doing on the street) get decent mileage, have very good storage space for golf clubs, luggage etc. even with the targa roof off, are as reliable as anything out there and they have a huge dealer network.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    T0 me, the early Corvettes were factory built kit cars, more than “overweight, unrefined, super-sized wedges,” and most of them looked great. People of all ages love seeing C1 and C2 Corvettes at shows.

    My C4 is kind of unrefined, but wouldn’t be bad as a daily driver, though I don’t use it for that. The C7 is, in fact, pretty refined, for a high powered sports car. In a year or two, we’ll will know more about the age of those who buy it, but it won’t be just “baby boomers.”

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11, and Prius, at least the base model.

  15. Bradley Says:


    Bingo! The C4 was what filled dealer lots when I was learning to drive.

    Then came the story that secretly engineers were developing the C5 without approval. It made for a nice headline, who knows if it was true.

    I would rather drive an Impreza STI as a daily driver. Practical for all weather conditions and it has 4 doors. Oh wait, its half the price of a Corvette too. :)

  16. Buzzerd Says:

    pedro – if you live in the snow belt and have leather seats, you probably want them heated, either that or a large tube of ben gay.

  17. Buzzerd Says:

    if we are just gong by practicality you would just by the normal Impreza and save even more.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    I lived up north for 20 + yrs and never had none of that crap, just turn the heat and defroster on and scrape the ice, long johns and thick double socks. No leather, not good in cold nor heat, cracks and fades and breaks, I’ll take cloth, used to hate vinyl seats too. Always had them covered.

  19. Buzzerd Says:

    see I’ve saved money on long underwear and just turn on the heated seats or cooled seats in the summer. Technology is a wonderful thing.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    C4′s are a bit non-descript, styling wise, but I think they look ok. Also, they are much better cars than C1-C3, as far as body integrity. Their being the least collectible of Corvettes, and therefore cheap to buy in good condition, is why I bought the one I have. It’s a fun car to drive once in a while, and if I want to sell it in a year or two, I should be able to get my money back.

    I agree that an Impreza would be a better daily driver than a Corvette. It would also be a better daily driver than a 911, or other high powered sports cars I could name.

    Actually, a new Impreza STi costs more than 2/3 as much as a new Corvette, $37,290 vs $51,995 for “base” cars. See:

  21. MJB Says:

    Side topic, I saw that new Yukon on the road this morning on my way into work and I must say it does have a nice presence. Much more so than photos show.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, 20,
    Yeah, a “basic” Impreza is a great daily driver, and a good buy for those who want AWD.

  23. MJB Says:

    As Corvettes go (exterior styling wise) I’ve gotta say the C5 is my favorite. The edgy feel of the current gen is nice, but the smooth, supple, flowing forms of that C5 (the ‘big-butt vette’ as some call it) really appeal to me.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I don’t consider C-5′s/6′s/and 7′s as ‘muscle cars’ in the true sense.Muscle cars were pretty much ‘straight line’ cars,not noted for good handling at all.Having said that the C-5′s on up are good handling american sports cars.Dollar for dollar,imho,the best overall value too.Vettes in comparison to any other car with it’s capabilities is uber reliable,and relativly inexpensive to fix,compared to foreign brands etc.

  25. MJB Says:

    Give me a C7 interior, engine, tech and handling in a C5 shell, and I’ll be happy. ;)

  26. Chuck Grenci Says:

    So how about a 200 mph Vette: Hennessey

    You don’t have to embrace the Vette, but denying it, is a little closed minded. Each Vette, in History, brought something to the ‘mark’ (of sports cart).

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember a lot of whining about the C6 when it came out, because it didn’t have disappearing headlights. I think people have gotten used to that.

  28. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Now they have ‘disappearing’ tail lights. :)

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t consider Corvettes to be “muscle cars” either. The closest thing to muscle cars now being sold are the Chevy SS, and Charger SRT-8.

    To me, GTO’s, Road Runners, etc. were the “real” muscle cars, regular cars, then considered mid-size, with big engines and minor trim changes. They were ill-handling, but quick in a straight line, and, unlike the SS and SRT, were relatively “affordable.”

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe people will get used to that as well. If enough people continue complaining about the tail lights on the C7, there will be a mid-cycle change.

    It seems that a lot of people think all Corvettes before the C7 had round tail lights, but my ’96 has square ones. I think the square ones started on the ZR-1 with the Mercury Marine engine, and all later C4′s had them.

  31. Chuck Grenci Says:

    ‘Rounds’ started in 1961 and ran till the original ZR-1 in 1989 so you’re right Kit, there’s not an uninterrupted chain of just round tail lights (but there is an understood legacy to round tail lights).

  32. Gary Purcell Says:

    Wrong about EV’s not reducing polution. Check studies by NRDA, EPRI and DOE.

    First there is no emissions at the vehicle site. Very important for drivers!

    Second even if all Power Plant’s used nothing but coal, it would still be cleaner than gasoline vehicle emissions. Check the NRDA conclusions.

  33. aliisdad Says:

    I like the new Corvette, and it sounds like it does have really good performance with a fair price; however, that nice new styling is really overdone with all the little useless creases and indentions.. How ’bout just a nice, clean designed car that does well in the wind tunnel, and cut the “show” stuff… Then, it would be super, SUPER cool car with some CLASS.. Next to many of the European competition, the Corvette looks like it is trying to be a show-off for just the sake of getting attention, but I don’t think it needs to be anymore.. I think it would appeal more to people who would like it but want a car that is more refined and classy looking instead of overdone gimmick styling that says, “hey, I’m look at me.. I’m an old guy who wants to look like I am still cool; please notice me..” This is not the right kind of attention or image this great car deserves…
    Now, about that pushrod engine…

  34. Chuck Grenci Says:


    Nothing wrong with the pushrod engine; smaller, lighter, more compact (than the over’camers), and as to those creases, vents, etc. (on the new Vette), well they are pretty much all functional.

    p.s. And I’m an “old guy” too.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The C7 looks less “gimmicky” in dark colors, for those put off by the way it looks.

    By European competition, do you mean Porsche 991? Yeah, it looks “cleaner” than the ‘Vette, but it has its share of gimmickiness, with the louvers over the water cooled engine, I guess intended to make it look like the engine is still air cooled. Maybe those have some function, but so do those “vents” in the Corvette.

  36. HtG Says:

    32 I wondered about all the hot creases too. But in the flesh and in motion, something cool happens. Granted, both C7s I’ve seen we’re coming at me on the highway on grey winter days and I admire what engineers can accomplish within costs, but ooooo.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is nothing wrong with the pushrod engine, as long as you are not in a racing competition with rules based on engine displacement.

  38. Brett Says:

    I find that the styling of the C7 Corvette, just like the Camaro, to be overdone. This is subjective, of course. It’s because they’re trying to sell cars to people half my age. They’re not styling them for my sake. I’ve learned to accept that.

  39. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As far as pushrod engines go,I prefer them to the cammers.But like everything that I’m used to,they too are fading away.

  40. MJBTV Says:

    EV won’t help? Here we go again by a bastion of air headed idiots that decided to do a study that doesn’t have to do with anything regarding the truth. If NO EMMISIONS are coming from the EV then how many ways can we say its good. Regardless of how its charged. The idiots didn’t even consider that if we have the money to buy an EV we could also buy a Solar array to charge the EV. So it’s wrong, The University is wrong it will just take till 2050 to shove what they said in the garbage along with anything else they ever published. Sign me tire of the bull.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just met a long time Vette owner who told me that he does not like the new one and will not be getting one when the lease on his 2011 ragtop is finished, something about the rear wheels that he does not like.

  42. RonE Says:

    The 1953 Corvette was the 1st with round tail lights.

  43. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 39: In the grand scheme of EV’s,it is very important to figure in how it’s charged and from what type of power plant is fueled etc.They also have to figure in battery disposal.The last I knew,there wasn’t any ev car battery recyclers,though that may have changed since the last time this was brought up.How many people do you know that live in condos/apartments etc where there is no place to put up a solar array,let alone a place to plug the damned ev into.And,it looks like the ‘sky is falling’ global warming alarmists have been,WRONG all along.

  44. ColoradoKid Says:

    I see the marketing mavens at Cadillac are at it again . Trying desperately to claim their product is the equal to BMW Mercedes and Audi . Claiming they’ll capture the younger generation NOT buying the Germans … who ever they may be

    Whats that definition of Insanity ?

    Doing the exact same thing over and over again .. thinking the next time it’ll work ?


    EV’s – Yeah MJBTV …. thats right !!! Not only will EV’s NOT help the pollution problem … but in fact will increase it … as well as raise electricity prices ( for your home and business ) thru the freaking roof etc etc etc

    Creating more PROBLEMS than the technology is even capable of hoping to solve

    Get thy head outta the clouds … thy feets back on good ole Terra Firma … and join those of us that actually DO … know better … rather than those pretentious tech weenie blowhards that stand to profit from EV’s who do not

  45. ColoradoKid Says:

    Buzzerd – 12 – Bahahahahahahaha !

    Daily Driver ? In the Great White North ? On your torn up excuses for roads ?

    Bahahahahahahaha !

    Get a grip …. buy a freaking Porsche Carrera 4 if its the BEST exotic or sports daily driver y’alls lookin for

    But if you really wanna be smart .. take Bradley’s advice and buy an STi … Now thats a performance car thats suitable fot daily use in Canada

    A Vette … as a daily driver … in Canada …. and I thought Toronto’s mayor was delusional :o

    Bahahahahahaha … oh jeeze .. you Canahoodians kill me sometimes . Loves y’all mind you … but oh god can y’all ever make me bust a gut

  46. ColoradoKid Says:

    30 – Its the fact that the C7 looks like a distorted Camaro with a pointy snout auditioning for the next BatMan movie as designed to the Mid Life crisis … wish they were 13 again crowd that makes the C7 such an ugly travesty / pastiche … not the freaking tail lights

  47. HtG Says:

    Corvettes ever a distracting topic.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45, Whatever you say, CK. Whatever you say.

  49. MJB Says:

    43. CK, why are you so down on Cadillac? According to you, they will never be competitive with the Germans. I don’t know, because I have not test driven any Cadi against any German, but man-alive, you just don’t give Cadillac ANY play. What’s up with that? Where’s the love, boss?

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, I thought you’d know, but he has an irrational hatred for everything GM. The current Cadillac I’ve driven is an ATS V6. It is quick, and handles very well, better than the current crop of Germans, according to everyone who has driven them back to back with an ATS. The down side of the ATS is the smallish trunk and back seat. Also, CUE kind of sucks, but you can get a base ATS without it.

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    49 – Oh really ? Irrational you say ?

    Of course you would … being Ex GM .. a true believer to the core .. and completely dependent on GM for your retirement .

    Gee Kit …. no bias on your part what so ever now … is there ?

    No Kit … sorry … no irrational hatred on my part . Just an honest appraisal of a company thats done all it can over the last three decade to bury its self into the abyss… and unlike yourself … having the cojones to say so … rather than play the corporate ” With God On Our Side ” blinded by irrational patriotism …arschkussen


    Stupor Bowl 2014

    [ its real ... unfortunately ]

    ” Rocky Mt High ” vs ” Purple Haze ”

    My prediction ?

    What ” Smells Like Teen Spirit ” .. will be buried underneath an Avalanche of ” High Country Snow ” when its all said and done

    Dude !


    MJB – Get a grip on REALITY

    Everyone that knows [ vs those either deluded or paid off ] KNOWS Cadillac has never … and will never be able to compete with BMW Mercedes Audi …. as long as the idiots running the division are still in place

    Cadillac needs to be an American ALTERNATIVE ….. to the Germans .. not try in vain to compete directly with them

    That …. in any field …. is a losers game

    BTW .. on Mr Gerhart’s comment … yeah … I hate GM … thats why I personally am responsible for about 16 C6 sales … and why I keep giving advice on how Cadillac can grow … cause I hate GM so much


  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    47 – BTW Mr Gerhart … how many awards in the arts you got on your shelf ?

    None ?

    Then perhaps its time to defer arguments over aesthetics to the one one who does

    Mainly Mr Engineer ( remembering I’ll bet my engineering background is at least twice yours … not to mention more up to date and relevant ) that’d be …. ME !

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If I were such a “true believer,” my two most recent new car purchases wouldn’t be a Toyota and a MINI by BMW. The only GM car I have is an 18 year old Corvette, that I bought used at a bargain price.

    I don’t have any awards for “arts” on my shelves, but I do have a number of awards for other things, including things having to do with CARS, which is what this forum is supposed to be about. Right?

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    And CK, I think most people who read the comments here would fully agree that you have an irrational hatred for GM, and I don’t mean just TB, Buzzerd, and myself.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Come to think of it, I do have an award for “arts,” from a photography contest, for a car photo, it so happens.

    And CK, I’m not saying you always had an irrational hatred for GM, just that you do now, maybe because you would have preferred GM to die, rather than be “bailed out”.

  56. C-Tech Says:

    @ #51 What art award would that be CK ? My son has an art award from 3rd grade, but he does not brag about it or use it to try to put people down.

    Many people here trust Mr. Gerhart, Fernandez, and Branigan more than you. You are no better than anyone else here. It actually sounds like you are an unemployed wannabe engineer/writer otherwise how do you have so much time to look up obscure items and try to associate them with cars?

  57. C-Tech Says:

    By the way a Carrera 4 front suspension would be somewhat fragile in heavy snow so I would not recommend it for all-winter driving unless you plan to change ball joints and control arms frequently. This come from a Michigan Porsche specialist.

  58. cwolf Says:

    My bro-in-law raves about the adaptive cuse control on his Explorer,but had experienced a real eye opener on a trip to Columbus during a snow storm. When snow covers the front end sensors become less sensitive. Instead of an 8 car length setting, the system did not activate untill about 2 lenghts. He had expected this may happen, so was at the ready. I wonder if this is written in the manual?

    CK is right on one thing: Caddilac should have its sights on the German stuff, but make it clear to be its oun identity to the U.S. market.
    Therefore, I and many others would agree several Caddys are on par with their German rival for the American buyer.

  59. cwolf Says:

    Another interesting comparo: Monroe doesn’t make front struts for my Milan. My new dealer quothed a few bucks over $400 and another $90 to align. My sons Mazda 3 struts will cost $700 from Sears! I didn’t realize foreign parts were that much more!

  60. cwolf Says:

    correction: quothed should be quoted. sorry

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding Cadillac, an ~80 year old I know who bought an XTS would have been much better off with an Impala, which is basically the same car, but with much better controls than CUE which is in all XTS’s. The trouble is, the Cadillac name has the same panache with certain old people, that the BMW name, on 3 series convertibles, has with trophy wives.

    The ATS and CTS are competitive with the Germans in the way they drive, but they don’t have the snob appeal, and it will be very hard to change that. For an “American” Cadillac, they need the XTS, but with simple, intuitive controls of the type the average 75 year old driver would want. CUE isn’t it.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    58, I’m surprised Monroe doesn’t make struts for your car. When you combine all the interations, that is a high volume car.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    58, I don’t know what year your car is, but I searched Monroe’s web site for a 2009 Milan, with both available engines, and they had listings for struts.

  64. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CWolf: Try looking up your parts at’ve bought from them before and at least around here,I couldn’t beat their prices or quality.

  65. cwolf Says:

    You are right,Kit. I don’t know what that guy at Sears was thinking. I’ll call them again so I can compare Sears price against the dealers. I bet the dealer will be close to the same price.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, Rock auto does have Monroe struts for Milan models, but why Monroe, there are better ones out there!

  67. HtG Says:

    Did Super Bowl ads jump the shark, this year? Except for the first Coke ad, I wonder where my sense went.


    ps Really, Maserati? Lots of sad clowns

  68. Brett Says:

    The Kia K900 advert was pretty entertaining. Looks like a nice car, too.

    I missed the Maserati ad. The Jaguar ad was decent, though.

  69. jack878 Says:

    I’ve learned many surveys are not worth the paper they are written on and that’s what I think about this survey on EV’s. It’s easy to write about something and just give generalizes info.