AD #1337 – GM Names Safety Czar, Porsche Replacing GT3 Engines, 2015 Chrysler 200 Impressions

March 19th, 2014 at 11:57am

Runtime: 8:25

- GM Creates New Safety Position
- Toyota Payment Could Hint at GM Fine
- North American Production Strong
- European Sales Rebound
- Porsche Replacing 911 GT3 Engines
- Driving Impressions: 2015 Chrysler 200
- You Said It!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily as we cover the industry that never sleeps!

GM NAMES SAFETY CZAR
General Motors continues to take steps in damage control over this ignition switch defect that has captured national headlines in the U.S. It named Jeff Boyer to the newly created position of Vice President, Global Vehicle Safety. He will make regular reports to top management and even the board of directors about vehicle safety issues with the company’s products. That should ensure top management can never again claim it did not know what was going on.

GM RECALL COULD COST BILLIONS
But in a possible indication of what this disaster is going to cost GM, Toyota is reportedly going to pay a $1.2 billion fine to the U.S. Justice Department. It all has to do with alleged incidents of unintended acceleration with Toyota’s vehicles. But the reason for the fine is that Toyota failed to notify the proper authorities or the public that it had a problem. And that sounds exactly like what’s happened at General Motors. Toyota also settled a class action lawsuit from owners who claimed their vehicles lost value. That lawsuit cost $1.6 billion. But when you add up everything, including the cost of lawyers, and the need for sales incentives and marketing campaigns, some analysts say this cost Toyota about $5 billion. So far GM will book a $300 million charge in the first quarter for its recall, but Toyota’s experience strongly suggests it’s going to cost GM a lot more than that.

NORTH AMERICAN PRODUCTION STRONG
Sales in North America have been hammered by winter weather, but there’s a sign that spring is just around the corner. Ward’s reports that production of light-vehicles in the month of February were up a strong 4.4% from a year ago. Car production was actually down a little over 3.5%, but light-trucks were up 11%.

EUROPEAN TURNAROUND
And in a sign that the slump in Europe is turning around, sales shot up over 7.5% in February, marking the sixth consecutive monthly gain. Renault and Volkswagen saw the biggest rise in sales and the European Commission is predicting that the European economy will continue to grow in 2014.

FIRE IN THE HOLE!
Last month Porsche recalled all 2014 911 GT3’s and told owners to stop driving the car after two of them caught fire due to a problem with the engine. Porsche announced it figured out what the problem is and had a fix for it. And the fix is that the company will replace the engine. Owners will be offered a loaner while their engine is being swapped out.

2015 CHRYSLER 200 FIRST IMPRESSIONS
We just got the chance to drive the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 and here’s our first impressions of the car. The styling is more elegant and upscale than the previous model and features a new signature grille with the winged Chrysler logo. Inside is just as nice, with soft touch materials in all the right spots and the layout of the climate and infotainment controls creates a nice cockpit-like feel. Two engines are available, a 2.4L inline 4-cylinder and a 3.6L Pentastar V6, both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. We drove both engines with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is also offered. Both performed well in the hilly, twisty back roads of Kentucky. The 4-cylinder was particularly impressive and isn’t that much of a step down from a power standpoint from the V6. The 2015 200 has a base price just under $23,000 and we’ll have a more in-depth look in a future show.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

Mark says: “Why do you think everyone blames poor sales of the Silverado on styling and yet some brands like Honda, Audi and BMW barely update their car’s and SUV’s styling and their sales keep going up?” Well, I think those brands do update their styling, especially BMW and Audi. Don’t mistake family resemblance with no change. And if styling does not explain the Silverado’s poor sales, what does?

revampted heard our report that Audi is coming out with 4G LTE and says, “500 dollars for 4G LTE? NOPE, I’d rather use my phone as a hotspot or get a mobile hotspot router. Audi is gonna be outdated by year’s end.” I’m not so sure that using your phone will work as well as the Wi-Fi hotspot in your 4G car. Once we get one of these cars in the Autoline Garage, we’ll let you know.

We got a lot of feedback on using propane to power commercial trucks. BobMan Says: “I use propane to heat my garage shop. Last September I paid $1.79 a gallon…last month I was forced to pay $4.79 per gallon due to a “shortage”. How’s that going to go over when both homes and vehicles are using this stuff?” BobMan, you need to get people like yourself to band together and buy your supplies on a long-term contract that lets you lock in a cheap price. How do you do that? Beats me! But I know that’s the answer.

And we got even more feedback on my criticism of backup cameras. Lex Says: “If visibility is an issue with most backup cameras in low or no light conditions then why not incorporate the camera within or near the reverse light emitting housing source?. The reverse light should provide ample illumination.” It should, but in many cases it does not. it all has to do with the resolution of the camera being used and the screen which shows the display.

Robert Sauter Says: “John… when your windshield gets dirty do you clean it? How about your rear window? Oh my goodness… while you are back there wipe off your rear camera lens. I live in LA and my backup camera works great. You choose to live in a lousy climate not me! Stop complaining and clean your camera lens.” This is why the IIHS chose LA to test backup cameras. Because it would make it look like they were intelligently recommending a device that works well. But what the IIHS and Robert don’t seem to understand is that even if you wipe the lens clean, all it takes is about 2 blocks of driving in bad weather to mess it up again. Robert, when I was at the LA auto show in November it rained and we ran into the same problem out there.

Howard LaVine Says: “You’re right on the money with the cameras. My vehicles are equipped with rear view cameras and sensors. If I had to have just one it would be the sensors. The lenses on the cameras do not work well for vehicles driven in snow or even heavy rain.” Thank you Howard. And I want to thank all of you for writing in or commenting, yes even when you criticize us.

Remember, tomorrow night for Autoline After Hours we have Mose Nowland coming in. When it comes to building race engines, he’s done it all. He helped Ford develop some of the most famous race engines in its history, working alongside some of the most colorful characters involved in motor racing, and has some great stories to tell us about it all. That’s tomorrow night on After Hours.

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

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105 Comments to “AD #1337 – GM Names Safety Czar, Porsche Replacing GT3 Engines, 2015 Chrysler 200 Impressions”

  1. Alex Wellington Says:

    Interesting discussion about these cameras. I don’t have any in my 17 and 23 year old vehicles and, from the discussions, don’t think I am missing much either.

    the new 200 looks good inside, but it enters a very competitive segment (Accord, Altima, Camry, Fusion, Passat, Malibu, Sonata, Optima, the works). Its sales increase over the old 200, if any, will probably come at the expense of the Malibu and to a lesser extent the Fusion, and maybe the Koreans.

  2. Jim MacMurdo Says:

    Re: GM’s new Safety Czar. This is a farce. First of all, this should be a Quality Assurance function. Second, if GM – as do all the other major automotive manufactures — did not make QA subservient to some engineering function, but made it a direct-to-the-CEO reporting structure, we would see a lot less of these “safety” recalls. The pharmaceutical industry has been structured like that for decades, and we clearly don’t see the weekly recalls from that industry we do from automotive.

    While I wish Mr. Boyer the best, he can surely count on the first “bad news” message of his that may negatively impact one of his new boss’s other areas of authority, will be his last one.

  3. Bradley Says:

    I installed the the OEM camera on my Sportswagen, and yes it gets dirty. Wiping it clean wasn’t much of an issue.

    I considered adding aftermarket radar sensors to the car, but my wife is confused enough with the backup camera.

    Now, blind spot detection with an indicator on the side mirrors is a great idea.

  4. Bradley Says:

    I didn’t follow the Toyota unintended acceleration to the nth detail, but what did Toyota do wrong? Was this for the floor mats?

  5. Alex Wellington Says:

    3 it had to pay the Feds $1.2 billion for an alleged problem it failed to report, and which problem was only in the minds of the few auto illiterate yahoos who hit the accelerator instead of the brake, or let their mat tangle with the gas pedal or whatever.

    What a joke. I hope there will be an appeal for this ludicrous fine.

    GM’s problem is quite different. For one thing, it is a real defect. For another, they even let it continue in the next model cycle, even after knowing about it.

  6. Jon M Says:

    John – One thing I did not think to ask about the other day regarding the backup camera vs. sensor is what kind of screen the vehicles you tested use? Both of my vehicles come with cameras. One has a nice, large screen, while other is embedded in a decked out rearview mirror. The former follows what you had to say about cameras, but the latter is hardly even useful when the lens is clean and the sun is shining. Needless to say, when the lens gets dirty, it’s nothing but a spot that blocks the view in the mirror.

  7. MJB Says:

    Kudos to Chrysler on the redesign of that 200. Much neede, and very attractive.

    On the camera issue, I’ve always just crained my neck around to LOOK where I’m backing up. If I drove an SUV, then I’d see the need for a backup camera. I guess we’ll start seeing little, miniature wiper blades with spray nozzles on those things now (just like on the headlights of Volvo’s) LOL

  8. T. Bejma Says:

    Doesn’t sound like a “fake” problem…

    AutoNews article…

    “Toyota will admit that it misled consumers by concealing information and making false statements about safety issues.”

    There was also this (which was OBVIOUSLY not someone who hit the wrong pedal)

    “The furor began when an off-duty California Highway Patrolman crashed a loaner Lexus ES350 at high speed, killing himself, his wife and their daughter, and his brother-in-law. It was reported that someone, either the officer or his brother-in-law, called 9-1-1 moments before the crash, saying that the “accelerator is stuck . . . there’s no brake.””

    So, why, if it was nothing…

    Did they pay the fine?

    Did they add the following to all of their vehicles (that several other automakers – including GM – already had in place)?

    “Since the advent of electronic throttle control, many automakers have added software to program the throttle to close—and therefore cut power—when the brakes are applied. Cars from BMW, Chrysler, Nissan/Infiniti, Porsche, and Volkswagen/Audi have this feature,”

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-deal-with-unintended-acceleration

    It was FAR from a fabricated issue.

  9. Bradley Says:

    #4

    That is what I thought. Thanks!

  10. Alex Wellington Says:

    7 Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  11. Mike Nassour Says:

    Regarding 4G/LTE in a moving vehicle, there are all kinds of reasons that’s a foolish road for automakers to travel. I have a $3 app that turns my cell phone into a hotspot, as revanpted said. It’s reliable anywhere within ten feet of the phone itself. Perhaps some tech-ignorant executive might use Audi’s hotspot to check email once a day, but the vast majority users know that Audi is charging too much…for too little.

  12. Bradley Says:

    #7

    Yes, all true. Well, I never heard whether the 911 call was validated.

    GM has their mess just like Toyota had theirs.

    IMO, adding a CZAR is bureaucratic BS, simply to grab a headline.

  13. Alex Wellington Says:

    7

    1. MANY times people and companies pay unjustified fines if it makes economic sense. Toyota is sitting on a pile of billions of profits six times as high as that of what GM ever had, even though the two companies are of comparable size world-wide, and can easily afford it. Note that it never even came close to going bankrupt, which of course you cannot say for your outfit…lol.

    2. GM’s real problem is far worse. You made a faulty switch and kept using it in models years after the ones that got in trouble and you were aware of them.

    3. The ultimate Judge will be the Consumer April Sales and beyond).

    4. Instead of badmouthing and shadenfreuding over the alleged problems of your competitors, you better listen to your boss herself, Ms Barra, and make

    “No More Crappy Cars”

  14. bobek Says:

    # 1 Alex I proudly own a 2013 Malibu LT..A great vehicle in every way never even the slightest problem .. fit & finish are flawless..great gas mileage 35 plus hwy..I love the styling..I feel they are as good as any of the competition..A USA Company. PS owned a 2008 Malibu 2LT previously 70,000 flawless miles, never any problems !

  15. Buzzerd Says:

    4 – Toyota did have a problem with there throttle pedal assemblies and replaced them under recall so it wasn’t just the iliterate yahoos… The floor matt was a different issue related to the same possible outcome.

  16. Buzzerd Says:

    I too don’t see why anyone would pay for wifi in their car when they could use their phone, like having a plan for your tablet and phone when you can just link your phone.

  17. Buzzerd Says:

    camera’s and sonar are great but they are no replacement for a properly adjusted set of mirrors and a little situational awarness.

  18. Alex Wellington Says:

    13 i am familiar with the predecessor of the current Malibu. I rented it and did about 1000 highway miles in June 2010. (I had a $100 certificate from Hertz because of the junk altima Hybrid they tried to give me a year before, and it paid for 3 days plus a tank of gas!).

    The previous Malibu looked more elegant, much more elegant, on the outside than the current bloated model. it also was good inside, rather upscale interior, and got me 33 MPG for the trip at 75 MPH or so. It was nothing to be “proud of” in terms of handling and performance, with its unresponsive transmission and rather mediocre engine, however.

    As I said, this midsized segment is very, very competitive. IMHO the Current Accord is the best of all cars in this segment. The Altima is the best selling one so far this year, and the Camry is not far behind. The new Fusion is also doing well. The Malibu, if you look at the sales data, is weaker than any of the above.

  19. Bradley Says:

    #13

    Good to hear..

    Yes, GM is headquartered in the USA.
    Yes, GM’s highest paid execs work in the USA.

    I was passed by 4 different generations of Impalas yesterday. The newest is HUGE! Not a good thing IMO. The Avalon is functionally as HUGE, but sure doesn’t overweight.

    I like how GM stayed with the name Impala. I learned to drive with a 1976 Impala.

    I drove an Impala LTZ as a rental from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone, etc for over a week. It was a car. The Yaris is also a car. Funny thing is my 300lb+ father-in-law could get in and out of my Yaris more readily.

    GM needs to be better than the competition to survive. Meeting the status quo was a huge hurdle for GM, but it won’t take sales away from those that have been faithfully served by other brands.

  20. Alex Wellington Says:

    14 what exactly was the problem with the “floor pedal assemblies”? Pedals too close to each other? And did Toyota, like GM, use faulty parts (if it had any) after knowing the defect, in many subsequent model years and models?

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I, personally, am not worried about unintended acceleration of my Toyota, and if I had one of the Chevys in question, I wouldn’t be worried about it either.

    As far as the ignition turning off, that is probably more likely with my Prius and MINI, neither of which even have a key, but have lots of electronics involved in making the car go.

    Also, regarding a different aspect of “unintended acceleration,” there isn’t even a quick, easy way to turn off these new cars with keyless operation. Even with my “simple” MINI, hitting the start/stop button while moving won’t shut off the engine. You have to hold the button a few seconds.

  22. Buzzerd Says:

    19 the gas pedal could stick, not return on release. Dunno how to answer you next question just stating a fact. Had the assembly replaced on my Vibe, and the matt secured under recall.

  23. Buzzerd Says:

    There is an easy solution to un intended acceleration, car in neutral and floor the brake. Porblem is all that is required for a drivers license in America is a pulse so people are usually ill equiped for such incidences.

  24. Chip Says:

    Part of the Silverado’s poor sales is that GM competes with itself first, and everyone else next. GM has to decide which truck it wants, concentrate on that one, and dump the other.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18,
    The current Impala is a little bigger than the Avalon, but also a little roomier. From most of what I’ve read, the Impala is a better car than an Avalon, in the things people buy such cars for. That is assuming it turns out to be reliable.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22, With my MINI, I even have the option of depressing the clutch, but with that car, having 118 hp and very good brakes, the brakes alone would easily stop it if it “stuck” at full throttle.

  27. Buzzerd Says:

    Chip- and you say what to the GM dealer that has millions invested in his dealership?

  28. Buzzerd Says:

    Kit- like John has pointed out before, it seems that none of these cases involve cars with standard transmissions.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26, How about making all of them look like current Sierras, but call them Chevys, and let both existing Chevy, and Buick/Cadillac/GMC dealers sell them?

  30. Lex Says:

    I believe Mary Barra is doing the right thing concerning the GM ignition switch defect. IMO Mary spoke not as a CEO but as a concerned mother and spouse. She understands that 60% of car buying decisions are made by females. The mistakes of the prior “Macho” Lutz Generation at General Motors will not rebuild market share. Mary has a opportuntity to fix GM’s at is very core and stop the penny pinching which probably lead to this defect. I hope everyone at GM reflects on this most recent mistake which is being added to a long list of previous mistakes and starts anew with a better attiitude. There will be no “Second (Chance) Bailout”!!!

  31. Buzzerd Says:

    Kit- I like it.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27, Yeah, that’s true, and very few manual transmission cars are even sold in the U.S.

    Who knows what happens if you put one of today’s electronically controlled automatics in neutral while moving? Does it act like they did, back when there was a mechanical cable working the transmission? If you put them in neutral while cruse control is engaged, does the engine rev up against the rev limiter as the car slows down? I don’t know. Just curious.

  33. Albemarle Says:

    I agree with you John about rear cameras and sensors. On my previous MKX it came with both and was brilliant. Nice bright screen, really visible (when you cleaned the lens). And the sensors were wonderful. They even indicated which side was getting too close.
    On the other hand, my new Forester is pathetic. The screen is the size of a watch face and is placed nowhere near the driver. It’s hard to see at the best of times and the lines are thin. And Subaru, in it’s infinite wisdom, does not put any audible sensors on the car. Double fail.
    Thank goodness I knew all this before buying. The Forester has this long lost feature called rear visibility. Makes the car look dorky, but I like it.

    Ian

  34. Lex Says:

    Why is Audi putting 4G LTE in it’s vehicles? Aren’t drivers distracted enough already! I believe Revampted is correct. This technology will be outdated in a year or two by the next generation of smartphones / devices. The vehicle should not be a Hotspot costing the buyer an additional $500. The vehicles only needs to be able to have a dashboard screen of high quality and ample display size with sound to display and interface with our mobile smartphones and devices. My Ford, My Chevy, My Toyota systems are all very priced and unnecessary distractions to the joy of driving!!!

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32,
    ” My Ford, My Chevy, My Toyota systems are all very priced and unnecessary distractions to the joy of driving!!!”

    Exactly, and imagine how obsolete they will be when the cars are 15 years old. Most of today’s consumer electronic gadgets are at least somewhat outdated by the time they are a year old.

  36. Lex Says:

    FIAT / Chrysler seem to be putting alot of effort into revamping the North American lineup with restyled / rebadged FIAT’s. I do not feel they will be very successful unless they begin to step up their warranty and service in the same way as Hyundai / Kia.

  37. Lex Says:

    It has been said that even in-dash navigation system depreciate a vehicles value much faster than a similar vehicle without it. Detroit should leave the tech to the people in Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley.

  38. Dave Says:

    To me the parking sensors are light years ahead of the cameras in terms of the safety they provide the average driver. Beyond what’s already been discussed about cameras not working well in low light and poor weather (and in my experience, many don’t work great on a bright sunny day either because the screen isn’t good enough), no matter how good the camera and screen you can’t force people to look at them. Sensors on the other hand make a noise that will get (most) people’s attention.

  39. HtG Says:

    *cracks knuckles*

    Porsche-the story is that P is testing the fix at the track right now. Engines removed from current cars will be saved to scavenge parts for other repairs. (at least this is what I read on the P forums. Whacky guys over there, some are talking about whether their car will still be numbers matching)

    Audi-they are well aware of the obsolescence issue, and work with Nvidia to design the systems so you can easily substitute in a state of the art processor in a few years.

    Toyota-they may not be done cutting checks. I haven’t heard anything recently, but it’s been reported that they are trying to hash out a settlement with plaintiffs in the wake of a court case where the Toyota computer module and software were found at fault.

    Backup cameras-what are you looking at me for. I dunno. :)

  40. Dave Says:

    I also have to second the comment someone made about the in-car connectivity being useless and overpriced. Most everyone who wants that connectivity already has a smartphone, which will be far cheaper (they already have the hardware and the data plan), and future proof (the phone is all that needs replacing). All this technology going into cars these days is obsolete in such a short period of time, and usually it’s not upgradeable, so you’re stuck with it for the life of the car. Don’t get me wrong, I love my gadgets, including the automotive bells and whistles, I just wish the car makers were making the technology able to last as long as the car.

  41. Gerry P Says:

    Well, leave it to a glass guy to come up with a solution to the dirty backup camera problem. Just mount them behind the back window glass. Ute’s, the worst offenders because they are more upright usually have a wiper there anyway. Cars with the back window more angled usually have less of a problem. If you really want to get tricky, you can always have a hydrophobic coating put on the glass. Mounting the camera high in the back window will also give you a nice look-down angle to see everything behind you.

  42. Alex Wellington Says:

    Porsche replacing entire engines. I think they can afford it.

    I read the other day they make $25k profit per vehicle they sell. Now if this was Ferrari, who sells far pricier vehicles than Porsche on average, it would not have raised my eyebrows. But Porsche? Most of its sales are low-priced base Cayennes and Boxsters and Caymans, all well below $75k or at least $100k RETAIL (and far less wholesale!).

    If Porsche really makes $25k on every vehicle it sells, (and note further, that the price it sells them to the dealers is far below what the dealers charge the buyers, above!), this is a HUGE profit margin and not just a “Halo division” but also a major Cash Cow for VW Group.

  43. T. Bejma Says:

    #13

    Was not “bad mouthing”, simply stating facts that went against your “opinion” that…

    Toyota.. “had to pay the Feds $1.2 billion for an alleged problem it failed to report, and which problem was only in the minds of the few auto illiterate yahoos who hit the accelerator instead of the brake, or let their mat tangle with the gas pedal or whatever.”

    My post is purely facts.

  44. Alex Wellington Says:

    43 Again, worry about your own glass house and don’t throw stones at the others. And stop making crappy cars, to repeat your Bosse’s admonition!

  45. Alex Wellington Says:

    boss’s, 44 above.

    In addition, try to help that poor soul James that bought a Volt new and had to go for non-maintenance service 9 times in less than a year, and wrote to GM to replace it with another and got denied (yesterday’s ALD).

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    This morning I saw at least half a dozen accidents, all were slow speed rear end collisions and I will bet my salary that they were all involving texting or fiddling around with the car’s info-tainment system, this is truly becoming an epidemic of biblical proportions.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44, GM has stopped making crappy cars, at least for the most part. The Spark is not too great, but then neither are Benz’s and Toyota’s closest competitors, smart and iQ.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    In all fairness, AW those cars were made almost 10 yrs ago when they were still making crappy cars, GM should switch to push button starting in ALL vehicles they make so this would not be an issue any longer.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR put out a youtube video on what to do if your car stalls, not much help if you’re driving down the highway at 70 with traffic all around you, most likely you will be rear ended, or if you try to pull over to the emergency lane, you will be splattered and not even the air bag deploys. Just use the one car key and put the others in your pocket or hang from belt buckle

  50. Alex Wellington Says:

    47, 48 I know, I just like to yank his chain. but even if it does not make crappy cars any more, it does not make top cars in their segment either. And it is playing HOME Games, unlike the dominant imports. Imagine if it tried to sell its models overseas in competitive markets. Like Caddy (and esp Lincoln) trying to compete with the big 4 (Merc, Porsche, Audi and BMW) in their home turf in Germany!

    And don’t mention Opel, it will be too depressing for Bejma. They are bleeding billions in Europe year after year even in the econobox segments.

  51. Alex Wellington Says:

    49 if it is a divided highway with traffic, you probably are going the same speed as the others, and when you stall, the car will keep going sufficiently fast to find time to move to the right or for the others to notice and brake. The collision, if any, could be at a very low relative speed (70 vs your 65 or 60)

  52. T. Bejma Says:

    #44

    “Again, worry about your own glass house and don’t throw stones at the others.”

    I will stop posting facts (that you somehow comprehend as stone throwing) as soon as you stop trying to portray GM as the Yugo of the current decade when it has been proven by every independent rating organization and through sales volume, that we make very good vehicles and in some cases – Best in Class.

    Perhaps someone that drives a vehicle from the 1990′s is not the best judge of the current crop of vehicles…

  53. G.A.Branigan Says:

    My last two chevies were as near perfect as I have ever owned.My Silverado was trouble free and got decent mileage on the hwy despite living and driving in the mountains.Same same with my nox that I have now.It’s a damn fine cuv,(or is it an suv?).

    Rear cameras: As I have both worlds,rear camera and sensors,backing up in the dead of night with the camera less then perfect,I still don’t have a problem because I still use the mirrors as well.

    However,if they would just add a infrared camera for night use,that would greatly improve it’s worth.And if the lenses is cleaned of snow,it would still ‘see’ better then the regular camera.Just a thought.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    read Jack Baruth’s piece on his first couple of months with his Accord, interesting reading and will sell more of them than these Honda ads we see on TV.

  55. Alex Wellington Says:

    52 Don’t make me laugh. And don’t set up STRAW MEN that do not exist. I never compared GM to Yugo or the like. Nice try.

    As for your “facts”, lies, damned lies and statistics. You conveniently look away from the huge bulk of owner-reported reliability data to COnsumer Reports, which very recently published its annual Auto issue, and the picture in the reliability pages was decidedly FUNEREAL (a ton of solid black dots or black eyes (much worse than average) for the domestics, and Chevy and Chrysler in particular, while it was a forest of bright red dots (MUCH BETTER than average) for ACURA (of which I do not think much), HONDA (of which I do), TOYOTA and LEXUS, and even AUDI for its latest year 2013.

    Analyze this, wise guy.

  56. Alex Wellington Says:

    54 which model does he have? I read and extensive and very flattering article, I believe by Jack too, on the new and very efficient Accord Hybrid.

    The mid-size segment is shaping up like a very ingteresting battle for #1.

    The 44 MPG real HWY CR MPG Altima is the best seller this year (after decades of the Camry being the top one),

    Toyota has deep pockets and willdo whatever it takes to keep the Camry in the No 1 position,

    The Accord is an excellent car (I even liked the previous too large model), and sells strongly,

    The Fusion is doing OK so far (I see a lot of them around here too)

    The others will struggle (Malibu, Passat ( the 800 mile range Diesel is a favorite of mine), Sonata, Optima, and the new 200 will fight for.. fifth place.

  57. Alex Wellington Says:

    57 I went and read that jack baruth article, he got 6 sp manual v6 coupe accords, and it sounds pretty good, but IMHO 300 HP is utterly wasted on any FWD car, even one that is as satisfying as these Accords.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    55,
    Actually, Ford got a lot more black dots that Chevy on the new stuff, but what really surprised me was how well Audi did. They did almost as well in red dots as Honda and Toyota.

  59. D. Foreman Says:

    DIRTY BACK UP CAMERAS not a problem with our 2013 Hyundia Elantra GT ! ! It has a cover over the lens that opens up when being used other wise it’s closed and stays clean! !

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, even Merc and BMW have joined the FWD party for their entry level models and Audi has been FWD a long time and no one badmouths their handling prowess. Interesting that such a smart car guy would not go for an Audi instead of the Accord. I guess that V6 with the manual in such a nice car at that price point is unmatched.

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    But Kit this is the initial quality survey, is it not? anyone who does not well in initial quality at this point, should get out of the car business.

  62. T. Bejma Says:

    “it does not make top cars in their segment either.”

    GM Vehicles at the top of their segment…

    - Full Size, Full Frame SUV’s – Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon
    - Full Size, Unibody SUV’s – Enclave, Acadia, Traverse
    - CUV – Equinox, Terrain
    - Full Size Sedan – Impala
    - Luxury CUV – Cadillac SRX
    - Luxury Compact CUV – Buick Encore
    - Luxury Compact Sport – Cadillac ATS
    - B-Segment Car – Sonic
    - Luxury D-Segment Car – Verano
    - Sport Coupe – Camaro
    - Sport Car – Corvette

  63. DanChester Says:

    John,
    You keep harping on styling as the reason the Silverado is not selling up to expectations. I agree that it doesn’t break new ground and that the GMC version is the better looking of the two, but both vehicles do look fresh and more expensive than their predecessors when seen in person, especially on the road. The situation was the same for the last refresh of the F-150 and its sales didn’t tank. Chevy executives have no doubt already looked at the mix and availability at launch, as well as the incentives situation being applied across town. IMHO, they really need to take a hard look at the advertising. The TV stuff for Silverado, force fit under Chevy’s “Find New Roads” campaign theme, doesn’t communicate the truck’s newness very well, and, it fails to sell product advantages strongly enough compared to the more macho campaigns long run by Ford and Dodge. In contrast to Silverado there is continuity in the Sierra campaign, and that should make for some interesting analysis within the halls of GM. What works for cars doesn’t always work for trucks.

  64. DanChester Says:

    Oops, I meant “Ram,” not Dodge!

  65. David Sprowl Says:

    John,
    I live in the same climate you do. I have a 11MY Nissan with back up camera – works just fine. Did all winter long. Yes I cleaned the lens, but I just don’t have the issues you seem to be having. What is more I but an after market one on my 03 Avalanche. Guess what It works great too. And I used them a lot this past winter with no issues. I just clean the lens.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if Ralph Nader was approached to be the GM “safety” czar!

  67. cwolf Says:

    #66
    Nah! Nader’s the guy CR would hire to fill in the many black dots in there highly accurate surveys…..cough…hack…wheeze!

  68. HtG Says:

    Is Barra aloud to fly to DC this time around? Is business class acceptable? What are the optics? Hay-Adams, yes/no? Eagle pin? tacky?

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    Spirit Air? Jet Blue? or corporate Lear jet? this would be very revealing. C wolf why don’t you trust CR? they have not steered me wrong on my last 2 car purchases. not to mention TV or appliance choices.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60, They give info out to 6 years or so. I just quickly looked at the most recent couple years when posting my Ford/Chevy comment.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    69, I’m flying to DC in a couple weeks on Jet Blue. I’ll see if MB is at the terminal.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    67, 69
    Nader would have to buy a lot of subscriptions to affect the black dots much.

  73. cwolf Says:

    CR tests a mean coffee maker and othe appliances, but when it comes to autos,…let’s just say I don’t agree with their statistics. Simply based upon my limited experiences with various cars, then comparing them to CR’s critique based upon human perceptions,I noticed and believe CR is more likely, than not, state a fault of an American car over Asian brands, although I took notice of it in both and found the issue pretty much a non-issue. I also find the weight they give to info systems, and dwell upon them, major faults a mistake.

  74. cwolf Says:

    error: should be: dwell upon them, as if they should be merited as a major fault, is a mistake on their part.

  75. HtG Says:

    71 Udvar-Hazy national air and space museum, Kit. Take Route 66. A wonder of the world, IMO. Enola Gay is there

  76. HtG Says:

    also buses from air and space on the mall. Forgive me, but seriously, it’s something else

  77. jack878 Says:

    About GM ignition key problem, NHTSA had some knowledge about that problem, but failed to dig into it further. GM must have figured if NHTSA is not that interested, why should we. I know that does not make it right, but I think NHTSA failed at doing their job.

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    If you get a chance to watch Motorweek’s video review of the Sonic RS and tell me if these people have any objectivity at all, the car sells for over $1600 above the LTZ, same HP and torque, same 0-60 times, same handling, no good reason to buy it over the other one and yet they recommended it.

  79. Bradley Says:

    #62

    Are those claims based on sales?

    Curious specifically to how the Sonic is doing better than the Honda Fit, etc?

  80. T. Bejma Says:

    #79

    In most cases sales, but some like the Impala and ATS, they are not the sales leaders but still at the top based on reviews.

    BTW – 2013 Sales

    Chevrolet Sonic = 85,646
    Honda Fit = 53,513

    Class sales leader? ULTRA CHEAP, poorly reviewed Nissan Versa = 117,352. Sonic is 2nd in the class for sales. Yaris at the bottom.

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think the Fit is overpriced and just like the Yaris, for a little more you get a much better car within the brand
    . I am surprised at how many Sparks I see around here, a lot more than Sonics and yet I think the Sonic is a better buy, a more complete, rounded vehicle.

  82. HtG Says:

    Man, you just don’t see any Sonics or Sparks around here. Makes me want Sonic.

  83. T. Bejma Says:

    This is the Sonic I want HtG… If it ever comes to reality…

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/11/01/chevrolet-sonic-b-spec-racecar-sema-2012/

  84. Bradley Says:

    #80

    Yes, the Yaris is only for a select few. :)

  85. Earl Says:

    Rear backup camera’s ….a nozzle that puts a shot of washer fluid on the lens every time you shift into reverse. I had a car that had washer fluid nozzles for the head lights so putting one at the back near the camera lens would be no big deal. I hope the manufactures of SUV’s and Crossovers read this.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    76, I’ll be with a group and on a tight schedule, but I hope to make it to Air and Space.

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    73, As with other reviews, you need to read CR’s reviews, and decide what is important to you. Based on their review of the Scion tC, you wouldn’t say they love Toyota. They rate it very low because it isn’t sporty handling, it’s kind of noisy, and a few other things. The one person I know who has one loves it.

    As far as reliability, samples of one don’t count. Based on my experience, MINI’s never break, but I don’t dispute CR or J. D. Power surveys that say statistically, MINIs aren’t very reliable.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    81, For those of us who like hatches and wagons, the Fit is great because of its utility, but if you want, or can tolerate a sedan, the Corolla and some others are better buys. The new Corolla probably gets about the same mpg as a Fit, but is more “luxurious” in every way.

  89. Steve Says:

    I look forward to the rest of your report on the new Chrysler 200. After seeing it in person was impressed with how beautiful the interior looks in beige and how cheap it looks in black. Almost unbelievable the difference the color of the inside makes to how much you’d think the car is worth. Personally thought it was the best interior under $40k in the beige color. Barely worth over 20k at best in black.

  90. Earl Says:

    That Chrysler 200 is a sharp looking car. Now that I think of it the Sebring and the last 200′s were good looking cars too but that’s where it ended. John, I have to say you gave the 200 the benefit of the doubt but then again I would to if Sergio and Co. wined and dined me for a few days.
    I wonder what oer centage of previous owners of Sebring’s and 200′s will buy the new one. I suspect their retention of previous owners has to be low. All in all good news for all those workers up in Sterling Height’s Mi.

  91. Alex Wellington Says:

    62 T. Bejma Says:
    March 19th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    “it does not make top cars in their segment either.”

    GM Vehicles at the top of their segment…

    If you really believe what you claim below, you ought to have your head examined. I am surprised that nobody else took you to task already, but I will. And trust me, it will be fun.

    - Full Size, Full Frame SUV’s – Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon

    only if you are short of cash. Mercedes GL if you can afford it, is heads and shoulders better. Toyota Landcruiser and the Lexus variants as well. Are you kidding me?

    - Full Size, Unibody SUV’s – Enclave, Acadia, Traverse

    See above. And a ton of others, BMW X5. If on a budget, Highlander, etc

    - CUV – Equinox, Terrain

    HAHAHAH!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The CR-V eats your lunch. You ARE Delusional, aren’t you, poor man…A ton of others too, ESCAPE anyone?

    - Full Size Sedan – Impala

    HAHAHAH Not in this lifetime. Cheapo ones, the 300. If you are not destitute, try the S class, 7 series, or the A8 and especially the LS 460 sometime. You may actually LEARN something!

    - Luxury CUV – Cadillac SRX

    IN YOUR DREAMS. Ever heard of the X5 and the lexus RX?

    - Luxury Compact CUV – Buick Encore

    HAHAHAHAH! Nice one. Any other entrants in this tiny segment?

    - Luxury Compact Sport – Cadillac ATS

    HAHAHAH! 3 series anyone? A4? LOOK AT THE INVENTORIES, delusional person!!!

    - B-Segment Car – Sonic

    Why, was the AWESOME HONDA FIT DISQUALIFIED?

    - Luxury D-Segment Car – Verano

    Luxury? Does it have CORINTHIAN LEATHER, too? LOL!!!

    - Sport Coupe – Camaro

    For the successful plumber or high school sopphhomore? ReallY?

    - Sport Car – Corvette

    Affordable supercar? I will give you that one, so you can stop crying.

    BOY I can’t believe the others here gave you a pass on all thew above nonsense!!!

  92. Alex Wellington Says:

    Actually some of you did, and made some of the points I also made above.

    In other news:

    ” HtG Says:
    March 19th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Is Barra aloud to fly to DC this time around? ?”

    her PR Guru tells her she should drive in a Chevy Spark or Sonic or whatever, and that may count as GM’s collective punishment, so they will not have to fork over $10 billion to the Feds for their criminal negligence with the faulty ignition switches.

    “pedro fernandez Says:
    March 19th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    C wolf why don’t you trust CR? they have not steered me wrong on my last 2 car purchases. not to mention TV or appliance choices.”

    Come on, PEdro, don’t you know the likes of CWolf? They will punish themselves first of all by never even test-driving a much superior import, then they will get a pimped-up Daweoo or Opel, deluding themselves that they bought an “Amuriucan” vehicle.

    How can they trust CR if it never accepts any commercials, ads or contributions from the Autromakers? Naaah, they much prefer that hillbilly who shouts the sript at Motorweek, and to whom NO vehicle was bad, EVER. Even the effing YUGO and the Renault Alliance in the 80s!

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    91, Some of the cars listed are the best, or nearly so, at their price point, including the body-on-frame SUV’s, Impala, and Corvette.

    Tahoe et. al. make sense only for people who need to tow while carrying people and/or stuff, but they are good vehicles for that.

    I don’t think most people consider Impala to be in the same market segment with an S-Class or LS460, but the new Impala is a very nice car for its price, probably better than its real competition, like Avalon. Impala can be a good buy if you don’t “load it up” too much. Yeah, the 300 is a nice car, but tends to end up pricier than Impala.

    The Corvette is a bargain super car, plain and simple, and a much better daily driver than those Italians that cost several times as much.

    Most other current GM cars are ok, but certainly not best-in-class, but some have special appeal to certain people. An ATS might be appealing to someone who values handling more than cabin space, and who wants something “different” from a 3 series.

  94. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Looks like ford will be the first to have led headlights on their trucks: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2014/03/new-f-150-to-be-first-pickup-with-led-headlights.html

    I hope GM doesn’t follow.

  95. Bradley Says:

    #91

    I agree 100%.

    ***Step up to the Soap Box***

    I would say few people go through life and are able to be surrounded by work they love, at a company they love. Although, I am jealous of those that can find that utopia – it does make them bias.

    The largest issue I have with those that have found utopia at GM probably spoke the same gospel in 1990, 2000 and 2006 as they do today.

    GM wasn’t doing things right at some level. The company was at death’s door. Why should the exact same rhetoric be worth any more now? It wasn’t like Camaro/Corvette owners were complaining of badge engineered cars with mismatched interiors.

    Toyota, VW, Hyundai, Ford, etc have their fans, but they do not demand respect and the benefit of the doubt as GM loyalists do.

    In the 1980s/1990s and early 2000s I was a Lorax for Japanese cars. I didn’t try to spin positive press, but instead encouraged people to drive the product.

    My last purchase was a wagon, GM doesn’t offer a wagon. If they did, I would have drove it. However, unless that product was exceptionally better than the competition, I would not buy. As GM doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, the burden of proof is on them…and no gospel will prove to me GM is the car company of tomorrow…only great product and time will.

  96. HtG Says:

    Looks like the truck makers will be taking a page from the Porsche school of loading up the Christmas tree with pricey options.

    Are LEDs rugged enough looking for Dallas metro?

  97. alex wellington Says:

    93 If you divide the market in a zillion segments, then even Kia will have a top vehicle. Who competes with the Buick Encore?

    Also, it is telling that even T Bejma did not dare to name a GM vehicle as tops in the two biggest and most crucial segments:

    1. The mid-sized sedans, where the Accord is the best, the Altima the most efficient, the Camry the perennial Best-Seller, the Fusion the cutest exterior (but not much else), and the Malibu is running for fifth,

    and 2. Full Size Pickups, where the F-150 is Ford’s 21st century model T in importance, and a HUGE cash cow, and the Ram is making inroads and selling very well too.

    These two segments are the ones automakers make most of their billions, or all of them, after adjusting for the losses in many other so-called “segments”.

    As for the Corvette, first, you are biased because you own one. Second, I did give it to Bejma so he can stop crying. Third, It is NOT a supercar. Are you kidding me? (affordable or not). It is a very good sports car, but even the latest version is topped in HP and other features by a large number of moderately priced cars of all types. Also, if you want to talk affordable, you can get yourself a Cayman or a Boxster (or even an M3) for Corvette money, and they sure can hold their ground, especially the porsches, who many consider not a cheaper 911 but a more true to the original 911 than the current, larger and heavier 911.

  98. alex wellington Says:

    95 Thanks, that’s good to hear!

    If you go back and read its history (I have, and also have the 75th anniversary GM edition which has a wealth of info about its decades of decline), GM used to really dominate the US car market with at times much more than 50% of the industry, even close to 60%! And then it started three decades of disastrous decline, losing market share year after year, until it reached the pitiful 18% or so it has today.

    It is a classic business school case study of a company who could have driven everybody else out of its industry, but instead, amazingly, managed to go bankrupt itself!!!

  99. HtG Says:

    AW, how do factor in US Cold War policy favoring Japanese exports and antitrust pressure on GM(remember IBM and GM?). I’d also argue the US had a post WWII advantage due to destruction of Germany and Japan’s industry. And we were one if the biggest oil producers for a time.

  100. HtG Says:

    Crib. I meant to ask you to recall IBM and AT&T.

  101. HtG Says:

    Crxn 2

    Didn’t catch autocorrect writing crib where I meant crxn.

  102. Kit Gerhart Says:

    97, Yes, I agree that a Corvette is not a “supercar” in the traditional sense, with exotic engines, etc., but it runs with them on a race track. That, to me, makes it a bargain supercar.

    Cayman and Boxster are great cars, but they do not run with a current Corvette, especially the non-S versions which are closer to Corvette in price.

  103. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My Corvette does not pertain to any of this discussion. Unlike the C7, and to a lesser extent a C6, my C4 is crude in nearly every respect.

  104. alex wellington Says:

    103 Of course. But any car from the 80s- mid-90s would be very weak compared to its current version.

    The Boxster/Cayman do not compete with the Corvette in drag races, or in top speed, but you need to see the whole sports car experience.

    One can start with a low-powered Miata, which is a load of fun already, then the Boxster, even in its base form, is a big leap forward.

    But again, I gave him the Corvette from the beginning as tops in some properly defined sub-segment (affordable powerful sports car etc)

    99 I do remember the antitrust witchhunt against IBM. For full disclosure, I bought and held on (thru many downs and even more ups) 300 IBM Shares in the Mid-80s (now they are 1200 or double that). That was a waste of taxpayer $. I don’t think they pursued GM as hard, in fact I don’t remember any GM antitrust stories at all. Does anybody?

    99 We were indeed the world’s top energy producers for many decades, and in WW II we cut off our oil exports to Japan to punish them for their China war crimes etc, one factor among many that led to Pearl Harbor. We are currently the world’s top oil producer or very close to that, but we do not export what we make, we also import some still. In the Future, we might become a major oil, and LNG exporter too, if the greenies let us.

    The WWII advantage was short-lived, and you can argue the opposite too, the DM was 4 marks to the dollar for many decades, and the Yen started at 800 to the dollar, and was 200 to the dollar as late as the 80s.

    I am wondering the exact opposite, how can the Japanese compete with any models imported from Japan with the yen well below 100 to the $? And how can the Germans compete with german-made models sold in the US, with the Euro at a very high $1.40?

    It is exactly the opposite, instead of GM whining all the time, the Japanese and the Germans should!

  105. Kit Gerhart Says:

    104, 99
    I remember talk of breaking up GM on antitrust grounds in the ’60′s, when they had more than half of U.S. market share. As I remember, the thought was to break G.M. into Chevy and “the rest.” Some people thought that might be even worse for Ford and Chrysler than the the status quo, with the “two GMs” competing against each other.