AD #1336 – Mary Barra on Message, China OEMs in Brazil, The Problem with LEDs

March 18th, 2014 at 11:55am

Runtime: 7:31

- Viper Plant Shuts Down for 15 Weeks
- GM Recalls 1.5 Million More Vehicles
- Mary Barra Now Front & Center
- Chinese OEMs Break into Brazilian Market
- Stunning Replica Cars Made from Cans
- Are LED Lights Worth the Trouble?

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily.

VIPER PLANT SHUTS FOR 15 WEEKS
Has the success of the new C7 Corvette killed the SRT Viper? A source in the supplier industry tells Autoline Daily that the Viper assembly plant will be shut down for 15 weeks. Chrysler says it will be shut for 11 weeks starting the week of April 14. The plant was originally going to shut for 8 weeks, but the shutdown was then extended as Viper sales have gone from bad to worse. The Conner Avenue plant in Detroit which makes the Viper was tooled to build 2,000 Vipers a year, but last year sales came to only 591 units, as reported by Ward’s. Last month only 44 Vipers were sold and inventory now stands at 412 day’s worth of unsold cars. Maybe the success of the new Corvette has something to do with it. Last month Chevrolet sold 2,438 Corvettes, up 148% from a year ago. The Corvette only has 34 days’ inventory.

GM RECALLS 1.5 MILLION MORE
General Motors is starting to get out ahead of this ignition switch recall. Up to now the company has seemingly been reacting to events, now it’s becoming proactive. Yesterday the company announced it was recalling another 1.5 million vehicles. These were being internally investigated for possible recalls, but now the company is not taking any chances, and announced it would take immediate action on them. Click on today’s show notes to see exactly which vehicles are affected and why.

BARRA NOW FRONT & CENTER
GM also released a video of CEO Mary Barra talking about this recall, the first time she has appeared publicly dealing with this issue. Barra admits that “something went wrong with our process,” as she explains why the ignition switch defect was not dealt with years ago. She also announced that a second production line is being added to make more of the ignition switch replacements, and said that GM is changing its internal recall process. Barra said GM will now be “putting customers first in everything we do.” You can click on the link in today’s show notes if you’d like to see that video for yourself.

CHINESE OEMs LEARN TO SAMBA
Chinese automakers would love to break into the US and European markets but they know their cars are not quite up to snuff, at least not yet. So they’re getting ready by exporting cars into developing countries where safety and emissions standards are not very strict. They’re even assembling CKD kits in some of those countries. And one of their key targets is Brazil. Did you know there are now nine different Chinese brands sold in the Brazilian market? Their sales volume is still low, just about 1% of the market. But it’s growing. And you can be sure that as they gain experience in Brazil, those Chinese automakers will be keen on moving their marketing efforts farther and farther north.

CHINESE AUTOMAKERS IN BRAZIL
1. Chery
2. Jianghuai
3. Lifan
4. Brilliance
5. Shineray
6. Hafei
7. Chana
8. Huanghai
9. Dongfeng

Source: WardsAuto

LOOK WHAT I “CAN” DO
I’m sure most of us just throw away or recycle aluminum cans after we’re done with our favorite soda or beer. But after a motorcycle accident left Sandy Sanderson with a broken wrist and a lot of free time, he decided to take his cans and make them into these little model cars. They are very detailed and must have taken days, if not weeks to complete. The first model built featured the cans glued to cardboard for strength, but Sandy has since switched to superglue and balsa wood. Examples sell on his website for upwards of $2,000, but if you’re a DIYer you can purchase the blueprints for $10.

Coming up next, are LED headlights or running lights on a car really worth it? That’s coming up next on the Autoline Garage.

LED LIGHTS WORTH IT?
Being able to see clearly in low light conditions, not to mention being able to see the car in front of you is crucial to driver safety. Many new vehicles now come with LED lighting, which is far more intense than any traditional light. But, not only can they be distracting they are drastically more expensive.

On average your typical LED headlamp will cost you about $1500. What’s a traditional bulb cost? Something like $20 – $50. It should be noted that most of the vehicles that are equipped with LED headlamps are luxury vehicles, so it’s not surprising it’s a little pricier. But now we see everyday vehicles equipped with LED running lights and on average those will cost around $350 to replace. LED taillights are about $260. And that’s just for one side, not both.

Now some of you may be saying, Sean… I thought that LEDs last longer than traditional bulbs? And you’re right, they do. But, it’s not the diode itself that’s failing. It’s the circuit board they’re attached to that have trouble standing up to heat, cold and constant vibrations. And what also makes them so damn expensive, which is my biggest issue with LEDs, is that they’re integrated into the light housing. So, you have to replace the whole assembly, which could also cost you an additional $500 in labor.

It’s not like this is the most common occurrence in the world, but I’ve seen it happen a few times. And think about it. How many times have you had to replace a headlight or brake bulb? Not very often I’m sure, and I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t add up to the cost of just one LED.

So, just like those 20” wheels, LEDs look great but if they’re really something that we need then I think it’s time for engineers to come up with a way to replace these things without having to replace the whole assembly.

Say, don’t forget to join us on Autoline After Hours this Thursday night when our guest will be Mose Nowland, who had so much to do with Ford’s racing engines during the Golden Age of motor racing. He’s a guy who worked directly with people like Colin Chapman, Jimmy Clark and Dan Gurney. And man does he have some good stories to tell. That’s this Thursday right here on Autoline.tv

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, I hope you join us again tomorrow.

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

71 Comments to “AD #1336 – Mary Barra on Message, China OEMs in Brazil, The Problem with LEDs”

  1. Alex Wellington Says:

    For somebody as relatively young as she is, (50ish), why does Barra look that bad? Maybe the pressures of the job…Even Bob Lutz, who is 35 years her senior or something, looks younger!

  2. Buzzerd Says:

    Viper- for such an iconic car it strange the sales are so low.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2, It seems that today’s Viper isn’t “outrageous” enough, with its Benz-based architecture, ABS, traction control, and other civilities that the original lacked.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Seems like yesterday, Toyota was getting dumped on for so many recalls, now it’s GM. Who’s next?? I predict Ford because of all their new technologies being used at the same time.

  5. Buzzerd Says:

    I think Toyota was getting dumped on because so many held Toyota up as the perfect company and those that prop you up love to tear you down.

  6. Alex Wellington Says:

    3 I’d think the Viper is quite crazy, with its truck-like 8.0 liter V8, and weird styling. I’d bet people prefer the Corvette because it is much more mainstream and has even more amenities.

  7. Alex Wellington Says:

    6 even crazier, the current (5th gen) Viper is 8.4 lt V10, 640 HP. Give me a break!

  8. Buzzerd Says:

    from owners Ive talked to of both they seem to say the same things- Corvette is the better car but the Viper is the more outrageous car. Vipers tend to hold their value more than Vettes also, although that would be expected if their sales are an eight of the Vettes.

  9. Alex Wellington Says:

    4 to do a recall preventively is not such a bad thing, as Honda did with the problems on the Odyssey or the Pilot, they will fix a small thing before it has caused any injuries, or, worse, fatalities. Very different than the original 1.6 m recalls by GM, after 13 people had died and despite the evidence, they used the faulty switches on later year models too!

  10. GM Veteran Says:

    I agree with you on the LED lights. It shouldn’t be that expensive to replace them for the consumer. It seems that most of the advantages of the LED’s reside with the manufacturer in their smaller size, lighter weight and supposedly longer life (as a selling point, this is also an advantage for the mfr). It seems that the costs that must be borne by the consumer outweigh the minimal lighting advantage they provide. I replaced nearly all of the exterior non-headlight light bulbs on my Avalanche for less than $50!

  11. Alex Wellington Says:

    PDL just wrote his weekly column on GM. I paste its ending lines:

    “…And the idea that GM can get out in front of this PR shit storm is so completely naïve that it’s almost impossible to think that anyone down at the Silver Silos actually believes that’s how it will play out.

    But don’t worry, that notion will blow up real good when the circus comes to town in Washington in April. That’s when GM executives will be sitting front and center for the relentless grilling by the lesser lights in Congress whose only goal is to get TV network time so that they can give their reelection campaigns a jump-start. Fueled by vicious young staffers trying to make names for themselves, “the GM thing” will give these bumblers in Congress just the bully pulpit they need to portray GM as evil incarnate and a bad, bad company. One undeserving of America’s trust, etc., etc.

    You can imagine where all of this is going. Sounds like a giant heaping, steaming bowl of Not Good to me.

    The sad thing in all of this is that GM could have done something about this situation more than a decade ago.

    But they didn’t.

    And for that egregious indiscretion they’re going to pay dearly.

    And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.”

  12. Alex Wellington Says:

    I am not 100% satisfied with the headlights of my 98 740iL. Recently I have the impression they are not as strong as they should be. I’ll check them out and clean the plastic exteriors when I remember. For such a flagship model, I expected them to be stronger. they were state of the art at the time, but that was 17 years ago (the 98 model year starts in Oct 97)

  13. Alex Wellington Says:

    5 also because Toyota is the domestics main rival, almost equal in US sales as Ford (and only slightly less than GM), also participating in fleet and rental sales big time..

  14. Jon M Says:

    Repair/replacement costs are the biggest drawback to so much look-what-my-car-can-do technology features. But if it’s what the market wants, then let not the market complain when they get the bill for all those goodies gone bad. This is not to say, however, that some items should not be made less expensive to fix (e.g. LED lights). Nevertheless, it will just be the price the market has to pay for iCars

  15. MJB Says:

    I guess that fella’s wrist wasn’t THAT badly broken if he could manage to assemble model cars out of aluminum cabs from scratch like that.

    I agree that the use of LEDs has been pushed into the ‘average Joe’ car segment way too soon. Bring the cost of repair/replacement down first. I’ve seen way too many cars being driven around with accident damage that could have easily been fixed for less than $1000. But because the owners don’t have that kind of residual income lying around, they ignore the repair indefinitely. Imagine how many tail lights and daytime running lights will go out AND STAY OUT simply because of the sticker shock these buyers get when they try to get them fixed.

  16. Frank Nelson Says:

    @ Alex Wellington. Why would you ask something like that about Mary Barra? I’m 60 and thinks she looks good for 50ish. I’m not a GM fan, but you don’t comment on any lady that like that. No way Maximum Bob looks younger than her. Post a photo of yourself and we’ll critique how well you look. You obviously weren’t raised right.

  17. Alex Wellington Says:

    16 Methinks you protest too much. Why? Are you married to her?

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    The plastic headlights getting all cloudy is a real issue when it comes to safety. this is what should be addressed.

  19. Alex Wellington Says:

    I looked again at the used Alpina B7s and was curious why there was a 2007 for only $14k while all the other 45 units were from $29k and above. I looked at the pics of the cheapo one and it turned out it was a regular 7 series, no Alpina badges inside or out, and the short wheelbase one at that. Originally I guessed the car had been in an accident or a flood.

  20. Alex Wellington Says:

    18 u mean the plastic gits dirty or its chemical composition changes and it becomes opaque?

  21. HtG Says:

    Anyone know what the insurance premium bump is for cars with LED lights? It seems to me one pays no matter what.

    —-
    Mary Barra’s looks

    I don’t care. Everyday I parade around in my Speedo before college age lady lifeguards, and that ain’t so much fun.

    ‘Eyes up my dears’

    —–
    Porsche GT3 engine recall and replacement

    It’s shocking to read that Porsche is replacing 800 motors on GT3s, as a connecting rod bolt is leading to destruction of the crankcase. WTH?

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    20 yup this never used to happen

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12, 18, 20
    Headlights degrade over time for a number of reasons. The polycarbonate lenses get cloudy, and even if “refinished,” the plastic transmits less light than when new. Also, the light bulbs degrade. Some of the filament metal evaporates off, reducing wattage, and depositing on the glass. There, there is the reflector which can oxidize over time, and reflect less light.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20,
    Glass was a great material for headlight lenses. I got 7 inch round H4 headlamps for my 1974 Duster. They worked great and, unlike today’s polycarbonate lenses, their glass lenses didn’t turn opaque with age. Halogen bulbs degrade only a small amount before they fail.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, I meant 22 more than 20.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose it was done to save weight? but cars have gotten much heavier anyway, so other than economics, I don’t see the advantage (pun intended)

  27. T. Bejma Says:

    #24

    Newer headlights will not yellow/opaque as quickly as the ones you see on old Taurus’s and Dodge Neon’s. In the past, the industry was still trying to figure out Ultra Violet (UV) protection. First method was a coating (like paint) and that didn’t last long on the high abrasive area of headlights. Next was some level of UV stabilization mixed into the plastic. The UV Stabilizers have gotten much better and last much longer. Glass is too heavy for current designs. If tiny headlights, like Cherokee (YUCK) catch on, maybe glass could make a comeback without affecting weight as much.

  28. Alex Wellington Says:

    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?tracktype=usedcc&csDlId=&csDgId=&listingId=134434005&listingRecNum=14&criteria=feedSegId%3D28705%26rpp%3D50%26isDealerGrouping%3Dfalse%26sf2Nm%3Dmiles%26requestorTrackingInfo%3DRTB_SEARCH%26sf1Nm%3Dprice%26sf2Dir%3DASC%26stkTypId%3D28881%26PMmt%3D1-1-0%26rn%3D0%26zc%3D48105%26rd%3D100000%26crSrtFlds%3DstkTypId-feedSegId-mkId-mdId%26mdId%3D21396%26stkTyp%3DU%26mkId%3D20005%26sf1Dir%3DASC&aff=national&listType=1

    A less flashy and over the top alternative to the Alpina is the subdued M5 of 2000-03 vintage. 400 HP and 6 sp manual, and an interior very similar to that of my 7 (Navigation, gauges etc).

    I was surprised how many of them had 150K+ miles, I thought such a car would be a weekend toy rather than a daily workhorse commuter.

    One can find lower-mile specimens for $15k or so, and 75k miles. Not cheap for a 14 year old 5 series, when I got a 7 year old 7 series with almost the same engine (diff HP) for 2/3rds of the price. But of course these were 2005 dollars, not the weak $ of today.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26, The polycarbonate would save weight, but I suspect it is also easier, and cheaper to fabricate than glass in the car model specific shapes now used.

    To my knowledge, the last glass headlight lenses were the round ones, probably on motorcycles later than on cars. Even replacement sealed beam round and rectangular headlights went to plastic lenses.

  30. Sean McElroy Says:

    #20 – There’s a protective coating on plastic lenses that gets worn off, then dirt and road grime will impregnate itself into the plastic turning it that opaque/yellow color. There are tons of videos on YouTube showing how to restore the lenses and in many different ways. You may have to do this every few years or so because the protective coating is gone. Some of the cleaning systems have a protective coating to put back on, but in my experience it doesn’t make much difference in how long it will last. But as Kit alluded to, there are other reasons why the lights could be dim, so I would make sure cleaning the lenses will help before taking the time to restore them.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 Agree, but you have people that won’t even clean their windshields or replace worn wiper blades, much less re-new their headlight lenses, I use a rubbing compound once every 2 mos and it does the job.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31,
    …and you have people who deliberately put black things over their headlights and tail lights, reducing their intensity by 75%, because it “looks cool.” Those people should lose their driver’s license for life.

  33. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @31 Pedro – I hav never done this, but I’ve heard that toothpaste does the same thing.

  34. MJB Says:

    31. Yep. Me too. I use a rubbing compound on the headlight lenses of my 1993 and my wife’s 2003 auto at just about the same interval.

  35. Buzzerd Says:

    28- K, got it. You own a 7 series and they can also be had cheap. moving on now.

  36. Dave Foley Says:

    Good commentary on the LED light situation, Sean. I’m totally with you. A long lasting bulb with a short lasting board, isn’t worth a hoot. Having to spend that much money simply because the ‘bulb went out’ is ridiculous!

    As for the actual cost of the housing, even some non-LED light housings can be brutally expensive. When it comes to tail lights, many larger housings can still be over $400 per side from the dealer. The 88 Bonneville SSE that we once owned was right about that price.

    As a kid, I remember we had to buy tail light for our old 80 Dodge truck. It was $125 from the dealer, just it had the chrome trim on it! Inflation adjusted, that’s BRUTALLY expensive! And this housing only held 2 bulbs.

    Personally I think light assemblies from the OEM are usually ‘threshold’ priced. The price is so high, it is just right at the edge of what they think people will refuse to pay. I bet the complexity of the light itself probably has little to do with the final price.

    As a side note to #1 @Alex Wellington

    Commenting on Mary Barra’s looks are inappropriate. That is shallow. No one at that level gets the job because of their looks. Her challenge is to weather this storm, and if she handles it right, THAT is worth commenting on. Not the presence of “experience lines” on her face.

    +1 to #16 @Frank Nelson! Wellington should show his pic, and let us judge him.

  37. cwolf Says:

    @36 D. Foley: I’m not so sure showing Mr. Wellington’s face would do much good, for he has shown two or three different ones over the years.

  38. BobinAtlanta Says:

    I’m thinking AW looks like CK and whatever preceeded it. Any other opinions?

  39. RonE Says:

    #31, Pedro, I was worried that the rubbing compound would scratch the lens so I used polishing compound and had good luck with it.

    I tried the toothpaste long ago and didn’t have much luck there. Seems like it took more work with less results.

  40. Dave Foley Says:

    Haha! Cwolf!! That’s pretty funny!! :D

  41. XA351GT Says:

    I think it’s nice that Mary Barra says GM is now going to put customers 1st. My only question is why weren’t they or any other manufacturer already doing that. You can try to make board members and share holders happy ,but if you don’t continue getting sales no one is happy. The days of blind faith in a car company is over. There are way to many good cars and brands to not care about the customer 1st.

  42. RonE Says:

    And now, Laser Lights from BMW.

    http://jalopnik.com/how-bmws-new-laser-headlights-will-work-and-not-kill-y-1521586271

  43. mj Says:

    Where is peter delorenzo?

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    39 I have been using it for a few yrs and no problems, but they’re getting pretty bad and to replace them I need to remove the freaking bumper, ridiculous!

  45. C-Tech Says:

    I made a few bucks doing headlamp restoration. Looking forward to LED repair, where is that soldering iron?

  46. C-Tech Says:

    I don’t care if Mary Barra or Yogi Berra is at the top at GM. They must get their act together. There should be an internal investigation and the it should be known who/how/why this happend.

  47. C-Tech Says:

    It is bad taste to comment on a woman exec.’s looks. Everybody has a job to do.

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I always used a very fine,very much watered down rubbing compound on my bikes windscreen.Worked pretty good for 20+ years on the same screen.

  49. Tom Tyson (ARHPG) Says:

    GM’s Mary Barra is correct in becoming proactive on the ignition-switch issue; there is a huge public-relations gamble to stay in front of it to the extent possible insofar as there have been several fatalities due to the defective switch. This is bad stuff for GM.

    Sadly this ignition-switch problem dates back to around 2001 with the lovely Motors Liquidation Company — formerly the “old” GM — therefore the current corporation probably isn’t worried too much about huge lawsuits, even though the old (and possibly new) company allegedly tried to cover up some of the damage. Ironically, not only did stakeholders and bondholders in GM get the royal shaft during the bankruptcy and toxic spin-off at Motors Liquidation, but now consumers involved with damages due to this defect may not likely get appropriate compensation from the “new” GM. It can’t come from Motors because that ugly corporation is completely insolvent.

    The real issue now, however, is the public-relations image for GM, and that of the people who are currently managing GM — many of whom were with the company during the many problems over the years that existed with the ignition switch. Mary Barra was there during those years — and this may be a test for her — but management apparently did not take appropriate action on this problem up front, probably because of all the other egregious corporate headaches (namely impending bankruptcy) GM was feeling at the time. Self-preservation first, of course.

    So, not too much action taken until now, insofar as the big recall is firmly focused in the public eye at the moment. There is some feeble offer for $500 credit towards the purchase of a new GM car, or something to that effect. I suspect that this will be a good test for GM going forward, and this one will be worth watching very closely.

  50. Brian Little Says:

    Corvette vs Viper Price:

    The Corvette has a much lower base price compared to the Viper. It is hard for a lot of people to get financing for a car that costs over $100,000. It should be no surprise that the Corvette out sells the Viper (all things being relatively equal). My comments are made about the pricing of the cars not about their relative merit.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    49,
    In addition to being a lot less expensive, the ‘Vette would be a much better car than a Viper to use as regular transportation, both in “livability,” and fuel economy. Yeah, if you buy a $100K+ toy, you probably don’t care much about fuel economy.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38,
    AW and CK are different. I tried to give more information, but my post was rejected.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48,
    Do you water it down with water, or with some kind of oil or something?

  54. Alex Wellington Says:

    38 You could not be more wrong. On many matters, CK and I are DIAMETRICALLY opposite. Such as the Tesla phenomenon and the Tesla S in particular.

    51 Quite right.

    31, 34: I must admit that, while I spend a whole lot of time watching and reading auto related shows and articles, I never noticed anything about using any compounds to clean any lenses, and certainly not every 2 months (!!!).

    Any suggestions for a compound that is good value and does the job? How much does it cost, and how many times does it last?

    I know I never applied any such compound from when I bought the 7 9 years ago, but maybe they did at the dealership, once when the owner sold to me and he had it fully detailed inside and out, and hopefully the few times I took it to them for oil changes and service, when they wash it by hand every time (but I doubt they did it then)

  55. Alex Wellington Says:

    Ok, I blurted out the truth about how Barra looks (I only said that Bob Lutz, who is in great shape but 35 years older than her) almost looks younger), and everybody is on my case.

    Nobody complained when, a few years ago, I joked about Jim Hall (who now works for GM) looks older than his probable 2/9/53 (hence 2953 Analytics, his old co), and even Jim himself took it well, with a sense of humor as intended, and replied that i should see his (identical twin) brother who looks even older.

    So we have a double standard? I am not that old fashioned. And as for my own pic, it is utterly irrelevant, I am not a celebrity-public person, while the above all are. I don’t even want to disclose my real name, while it would not be hard at all to find out, given my frankness and wealth of info I occasionally post here.

  56. RonE Says:

    #53, Alex, I used Turtle Wax brand Polishing Compound. It’s a lot finer than a rubbing compound. And as G.A.B. said, “Use with water.” Kind of like when “wet sanding” a new paint job. As to how long it will last, I don’t know. The car I did was our daughter’s Civic that always sat outside. When she returned to Chicago, the car was stolen and never recovered.

    Places like Autozone and Advance Auto Parts sell kits just for this purpose. I watched a guy do his headlights using one of these kits and he had good results.

  57. James Says:

    Mary Barra – I call total BS!
    This episode you quote Mary Barra saying:GM “will be putting customers first in everything we do”.
    I’m calling you out on this Mary Barra!
    End of June 2013 I bought a new 2013 Chevy Volt, sticker price in the upper $30,000 area. Made it a whole 6 miles out if the dealership before the dash went crazy with CEL and Service this and that warnings. Turned around and immediately took it back to the dealer. They cleared the codes and sent me on my way, only to experience the same issues 15 miles later. Fast forward to March 1, 2014 – my Volt has been in for service a total of 8 times (and needing a 9th visit) for everyt from the roof leaking, steering rack replacement, software issues and on and on.
    In February I contacted GM and said I have had enough, buy back this volt and/or swap me into another.
    GMs response – “No”. Denied, get lost sucker.
    So tell me Mary Barra, how is that “putting customers first in everything we do?”. Monthly visits for service for a new car,(and not maintenance issues), would you put up with the car or GMs response?

  58. Alex Wellington Says:

    55 Thanks. I thought turtle wax was for waxing the body (another thing I have not done for decades.. when you live in the snowbelt it is a losing battle to keep the exterior of a 17 year old vehicle up). I’ll get some this weekend.

  59. Alex Wellington Says:

    56 James – if you have sufficient grief with your Volt, perhaps you could use the “lemon laws” in your state? The trouble is, you are probably just entitled to another Volt, not your $ back.

    I had a friend and colleague (he was in our Business School, now retired), who always bought high-risk cars (Jag XJ, and then a Maserati Quattroporte!). He already had told me how the Jag had lived up to its reputation for gross unreliability, and he returned it at the end fo the 3 year lease, while his wife, who had a Lexus LS 400 or 430, did 250k easy highwy miles commuting 120 miles a day minimum to her job at MI State U, and was so happy with it, she kept it after the lease was over.

    The guy must have beena glutton for punishment, because after all he suffered with the Jag, he got the Quattroporte, brand new, and it had so many problems in such short time, the dealer exchanged it with a new one under our “lemon Laws”

  60. HtG Says:

    55,57 nerd alert

    You can also start the effort more gently by washing the lenses with a microfiber towel, and then trying a clay bar treatment.

    Top tip; clay bar for your windows may make a big difference on an older car.

  61. Marshall Says:

    My personal opinion, the Viper is over styled, and vastly overpriced.

  62. Alex Wellington Says:

    59 Where do I get a microfiber towel? and what is a clay bar? Vielen Dank fuer die tips anyway.

  63. Alex Wellington Says:

    61 the original Viper was very crude inside, no care was taken to keep the interior at a reasonable temp, it would get too hot easily. But the exterior was striking and at that time (1990 or 92) no car had 8 lt engines and few, (and most exotics at two or three times the price) made as much power.

  64. Alex Wellington Says:

    http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/bentley-suv-first-look-2014-03-19

    This is not much of a first look. In LWB trim it will cost 140k pounds (about 200k $?) and will have the VW-Audi V8 and W12 engines. The photo shows a front end little different from Bentley Sedans.

  65. HtG Says:

    62 any auto parts store will have these things, AW. Even checking on Amazon will give you an idea of what’s available. Microfiber and clay are magic; I just cleaned my goggles with a microfiber and no more fogging problems in the pool.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    59, A couple friends have Volts, and love them, but if they’d had James’s experience, things would be different. While, at this point, it’s probably not what he wants, but james should be able to at least get another Volt, with or without lemon laws.

  67. James Says:

    My point was Mary Barras words are a bunch of corporate-speak BS, not worth the cost of the air they traveled on leaving her mouth.

    And, yes – I hung up the phone with gm after hearing they wouldn’t buy back or swap me into another car, and filed with a lemon law attorney. Maybe the legal system will help gm to remember to put “customers first in everything”

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    67, Good luck, and let us know how it turns out. One would think that some people at GM would want your car, to figure out what is wrong. Most Volts have been reliable, but yours has not. You’d think they’d want to know why.

  69. Alex Wellington Says:

    67 if you publicized your story in a wider forum than this one, say at Automotive News (autonews.com), I am sure GM’s reaction would be very different. One of the journalists there (Larry Velaquette or sth) bought a Hybrid C-max advertised at 47-47-47 EPA MPG and could barely get 30s MPGs in his considerable commute, and when he wrote about it, Ford bended over backwards to study his problem, give him tips for driving etc. (then they also had to reduce their Tall MPG Tales for the Cmax as well)

  70. Alex Wellington Says:

    In other news, the amazingly falling US dollar went even below $1.4 per Euro. I wonder what kind of profits the big 4 German makers make any more, especially for all the models they do NOT make in Alabama or wherever else in the US.

  71. Steve Says:

    Sorry to tell you, but asking the engineers to design an easier to fix LED lighting in cars is not how it’s done in this industry. Cars are made to last 3yrs/36,000 miles. After that your on your own.

    Only after it becomes a cost issue under warranty would this be a concern to the auto manufacture. I’m sure this will become fixed after the government steps in and makes requirements, but don’t hold your breathe. Just pray they last or don’t buy them.