AD #1338 – GM Reveals New Ecotec Engines, Taurus Migrates To Fusion, Audi A3 Technology

March 20th, 2014 at 11:58am

Runtime: 8:35

- GM Reveals New Ecotec Engines
- Taurus Migrates To Fusion
- Lincoln’s Pothole-Proof Suspension
- Bentley Teases New SUV
- Audi’s Digital IP
- Audi A3 Technology

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, where we cover the latest news in the global automotive industry..

Not all the news coming out of GM these days has to do with recalls. Yesterday GM Powertrain took the wraps off a new family of 3- and 4-cylinder global engines called Ecotec that will be built in at least five locations around the world. The automaker plans to produce two-and-a-half million engines by 2017 with the first versions showing up this year in the new Opel Adam and China’s next generation Chevrolet Cruze, with more definitely on the way.

“It’s in 27 different vehicles that our engine family will go into. There’s 11 different variants of our engine ranging from a 1.0-Liter to a 1.5-Liter displacement. We’ve got state-of-the-art leading edge technologies in this engine family with direct injection, turbo charging and cam phasing. It’s all aluminum, lightweight and very refined.” Tom Sutter, Global Chief Engineer, GM Ecotec Engines.

GM remains tight-lipped, at least for now, on the names of the 3 engine families that Ecotec will replace as well as the other 25 vehicles that will receive them. We did, however, learn that there will be one hybrid in the mix but no details beyond that.

The current generation Ford Taurus was developed on a modified Volvo platform that is a bit overweight and not terribly fuel efficient, but that’s all about to change. Edmunds reports that the 2016 Taurus will be based on a lengthened and widened version of the Fusion platform and it will also get a 9-speed transmission. This of course is part of Ford’s plan to greatly reduce the number of platforms it uses, yet increase the number of variants coming off those platforms. This is going to take a ton of cost out of the Taurus program.

Potholes are opening up all over the place as the spring thaw breaks up roads, but the Lincoln MKZ may have one of the most pothole-proof suspensions in the business. That’s because its Continuously Controlled Damping system has 12 sensors that can read up to 50 inputs, which allows the car to sense a quick dip in the road. It then applies additional damping to the shocks that keeps the wheel and tire from dropping all the way to the bottom of a pothole. The system is currently offered on the MKZ and MKS and will also be installed on the upcoming MKC and Navigator.

Bentley is showing off this teaser image of the production version of its upcoming SUV. The luxury automaker first showed us what it had in mind for an SUV at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show with the EXP concept, but the styling of that vehicle was highly criticized. And with good reason. That thing looks hideous! On the new version it looks like only the grille was carried over from the EXP, but we’ll have to get some side views to make sure they stopped beating this thing with an ugly stick. The new one should be on the road sometime in 2016.

Audi is betting that its customers will really like its digital instrument cluster that it showed in the new 2016 TT. Car&Driver reports that the 12.3-inch LCD screen, which replaces all physical gauges will be offered in the next-gen versions of the R8, A4 and Q7. While the cluster will be standard on the R8, Audi is still mulling over whether or not to offer it as a standalone option or part of a package in the A4 and Q7.

And speaking of Audi, coming up next we’ll take a look at some of the technology that’s in the new A3 sedan.


(Today’s look at technology in the new A3 is only available in the video version of the show.)

We did ask, and unfortunately those upgraded units will only be added to the newest models and won’t be available to customers through the dealer.

Remember tonight is the night for Autoline After Hours. Our guest is Mose Nowland, who worked on some of Ford’s most famous racing engines and who worked alongside some of the most colorful characters of the day like Dan Gurney, Colin Chapman and Jimmy Clark. And Mose has a wonderful way of making those glory days come alive. Tune in tonight starting at 6 pm eastern time on

And that wraps up today’s show, thank you for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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76 Comments to “AD #1338 – GM Reveals New Ecotec Engines, Taurus Migrates To Fusion, Audi A3 Technology”

  1. marshy Says:

    That stuff is going to look so old on the used car. Some services just won’t even work (substitute myspace for facebook and see how impressive it sounds).

    And for the cynics out there, my 2009 Jeep has all these features too. All it cost were some double sided tape and an aux cable to my cell phone, plus it requires no additional monthly cost.

  2. marshy Says:

    But seriously, has anyone driven a car with a fully automated dash at very cold temperatures? like -40?

    I haven’t experienced an electronic display that likes this at all but I have limited OLED observations.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Camry>Avalon ATS>CTS Sonata>Azeera, everybody is playing this game.

  4. Buzzerd Says:

    Still not getting why I want to make my car a hot spot, I guess m commute is to short. I am wondering if you could run an app like Trapster along with the nav, now that would be worth while.

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I guess the driving dynamic has reached critical mass (and can’t get any better); why else all the resources being layed down for connectivity, gidgets and gadgets galore. I know I’m just regurgitating a lot of what others (here) have said, and myself have said in the past, but let’s make better vehicles (to drive, remember driving); (already got ‘tunes’ and a phone at home) where I can allocate my dedicated and undivided attention to.

  6. Buzzerd Says:

    Marshy- I have, the touch screen on my Avalanche works fine.

  7. marshy Says:

    @buzzerd, its out for you, its for the passengers. Although, if you can afford this car, you have a hot spot phone already. I hope it comes with a “hey kids, lets drive across the country watching netflix/youtube” data plan. What else would you use it for?

  8. Badnikl Says:

    I hope Mose gets a whole Hour! Excellent guest.

  9. alex wellington Says:

    3 Yes, but to be successful, they will need to significantly differentiate the products based on the same platform.

    Some makers do this well. For example, BMW with the 7 series and the 7-series-platform based Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The Ghost feels significantly different, both in the exterior and interior as well as in its Driving feel.

    Ford-Lincoln (who is trying to make a new Taurus off the new Fusion platform) has failed miserably so far, in rebadging Fords into uglier and more expensive Lincoln Clones. This one is different, it is not a rebadge, but using the same platform for another economy car, only one size bigger. We shall see if consumers will want to shell out another $5 or even $10k to get the new Taurus over the Fusion..

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Based on Azeera and Avalon sales, I doubt it, even though most Avalon buyers are not even aware of their car’s roots, nor do they care.

  11. alex wellington Says:

    10 both vehicles have tiny sales. But because they use existing platforms, they may make Toyota some money, even Hyundai. Not a big deal though. Ford cannot afford the new Taurus to have as small sales as these two.

  12. Tom Says:

    Hey Ford! Do us a favor on the next generation Taurus and give us back interior room with better packaging efficiency. I can’t be alone in complaining that the interiors of too many cars are cramped because of size of the dash and console. As a guy that drives over 35,000 miles a year, I want style but I also want interior space, quietness and comfort!

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ford’s big mistake was to re-name their midsize family car Fusion, Taurus was after all, the best selling car in America for many years and then they messed it up badly and allowed the Japanese to take over the market, should have used the Taurus name on that car and the Taurus should have been something else.

  14. alex wellington Says:

    13 The first gen Taurus looked great from the outside, but inside it was not that hot. Then they really screwed it up with the frog- or catfish-like second gen, and they were never able to recover. I kind of liked the Ford 500 version, sort of a bloated Passat, very roomy but did not sell as well.

    12 The problem is not the dash but the very short (compared to their length) wheelbases, which result in the fat rear wheelwells cutting into the space in the back. Among many other aggravations. Plus they suck visually, the 120″ WB RWD Chrysler 300 looks like a million bucks by comparison!

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope these new GM engines are better than the ones they replace, from most reviews I read on new GM cars, their engines are never as good as the rest of the cars. They need pwoerplants that are gonna enhance the improved driving dynamics, not detract from them.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    My in-laws had a fist gen Taurus wagon and it was a great car until it began to pile on the miles and the problems, but it drove much better than my 86 Camry.

  17. Buzzerd Says:

    12- my pet peeve – those door pockets that don’t seem to do anything but hinder getting in and out of the car. I wouldn’t need to open my door 180 degrees if they didn’t mold in that 3inch hunk of plastic where my feet need to go.

  18. Bradley Says:


    Issues at cold temperatures with displays are well known and it is simply a matter if the Car Company want it.

    OLEDs are sensitive to high temps, their colors change, but for a car that is probably a non-issue.

  19. Bradley Says:


    Agreed! Honestly, lets take the Name of the one car Ford made in the 80s that arguably earned its place in automotive history and apply it to a car that reflects non of that.

    Pedigree, heritage, consistency…

  20. Bradley Says:


    Toyota is going to rename the Avalon to Yaris. GM is going to rename the Impala to Metro, Chrysler is going to name the Charger to Omni

    Sounds dumb, ridiculous and unbelievable…but yet Ford replaced the Crown Victoria…with Taurus. Furthermore, they still haven’t righted the wrong!!

    I suppose, high paid Corporate Execs really are an elite breed of humans…as it made sense to them.

  21. Eric Brunner Says:

    John: I was taught to hold onto the steering wheel at 9 & 3 and I find that to be the best position for complete control as well as minimal interference to your arms and wrists if the air bag is deployed. Looking at your feature on the Audi A3, I was reminded that I still don’t understand why the car companies keep profiling the steering wheel for a 10 and 2 positioning.

  22. RonE Says:

    From the front, that Bentley reminds me of a ’63 Studebaker Lark.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Taurus started out as the 500, a roomy, decent car for the time, but a bit lacking in power with its 2.5 engine. Then, they made it into the new Taurus, and with every refresh, it got smaller on the inside, bigger on the outside, and probably heavier. That is not progress.

    Hopefully the new one stretch Fusion Taurus will be better.

  24. Buzzerd Says:

    Eric- I believe it’s because cars need less steering input now, many cars have variable assist and the ones that don’t still have a higher assist than before.

  25. HtG Says:

    Toyota’s face

    Did anyone read the excerpt of the US statement on Toyota’s criminal fraud(at TTAC)? Holy moly, admitting to lying to the US govt and US consumers? That is getting your face ripped off in the East. I can hardly breath, thinking about how this is going down at headquarters.

    Deep deep slow bow, and hold it

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15, The current GM four cylinder engines work well enough, except that they seem thirstier than they should be. Part of this, as with Cruze and Sonic has to do with car weight. Both of those cars are heavier than most of the competition. Still, the engines are not as refined as the Honda fours.

  27. HtG Says:

    I’ve signed docs with the US swearing to be truthful, and trust me it’s heavy. I really hope GM didn’t get into the bad place, because that can open up their BK to lawsuits from old GM.

    Yeah, I’ll be having a drink tonight for AAH.

  28. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The old (current) Ecotech engines are pretty darn good; one example would be the Equinox (and Terrain) both rated at 32 hwy. They had that accolade for quite a while before the competition caught up. I have a feeling if the (General) had lagged behind their competition all sorts of, ‘what’s wrong with GM’s mileage’ would have been posted. Eagerly awaiting what’s in store for the new “Ecotechs”.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since the new engines will be turbos, the 1.5 will probably end up in vehicles as large as Equinox/Terrain, which will probably get lighter with the next generation.

    If they are replacing three different engine families, presumably one of them would be the 1.4/1.8 liter used in U.S. market Cruze and Sonic. If the biggest version is 1.5 liter, I wouldn’t think it would replace the current 2.5, even turbocharged, but I guess that’s possible.

  30. alex wellington Says:

    While in general I am against excessive Govt regulation, the lofty 54.6 MPG CAFE standard automakers have to meet in the future ( it is only equivalent to about 35 EPA MPG using current EPA standards) has made many of them produce several very fuel efficient models. And while some doubt the reliability of the turbos, there are plenty of regular, non-turbo gas engines that achieve diesel or hybrid-like efficiency, and, amazingly, not in tiny little econoboxes but in midsize sedans. In addition, the luxury makers have some amazing Diesels now, which not only have ranges of 700 and 800 miles on one tank, but also get up to 50 MPG HWY, and that from powerful 4,000 lb big sedans!

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, Thanks for pointing out the relationship between CAFE and current EPA numbers. Most people don’t seem to know that.

    As far as long-term reliability of turbos, I’m “wait and see,” but given the unknowns, I’d rather not have a turbo if it doesn’t work any better, or as well as a competitor’s non turbo, as with an Accord vs Fusion.

  32. Lex Says:


    Kit do you know any specifics about the 2015 Chevy Equinox? I read someplace it was going to be lighter in weight and get a new 2.5 liter powerplant. I would guest the new 2015 Equinox will be a blending of the current Equinox and Current Captiva to produce a global Chevy CUV.
    Can anyone in the Autoline Universe confirm these rumors?

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32, I don’t know, but if I run across anything, I’ll post it.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit most reviews I read on GM cars point out the shortcomings of their engines, specially the 4 bangers, the Cruze 1.8 is not on the CR recommended used car list, you should NOT have to spend extra $$ to get an engine that is better than the standard one, the last review I read on the Chevy Captiva with the 2.4 4 cl was put down for its lackluster performance, despite being a 2.4 engine, it only puts out 180 hp on a heavy vehicle, they gotta lighten the cars or put more oomph in their engines.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Captiva is generally very underwhelming, and is sold new only to rental fleets. It seems a mistake to do that, because it would hurt the reputation of other, better GM products, when people rent Captivas and don’t like them very well.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!

  37. HtG Says:

    36 I had to erase my response, Pedro. But you get the picture, Papi.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG don’t you think I’m right? as long as they move the metal, and make some money, it’s all good. who cares what the renters think!

  39. HtG Says:

    38 sure I think you’re right, Pedro. Also, if you make Captivas for rental companies, how does that damage the brand and resale values of the cars you retail?

    But my erased remark was just dirty talk

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It might be better long term to NOT rent Captivas, for the same reason those Sebring rentals haven’t helped Chrysler sell those good-for-the-money 300′s.

  41. T. Bejma Says:


    Kit, my 2013 Cruze with the 1.4 turbo is getting 32 mpg lifetime after about 17K miles of mixed driving. Doesn’t seem too thirsty to me…

  42. C-Tech Says:

    1.) Captiva’s suck (IMHO)
    Captiva’s are slowly entering the used car market as they reach the 50-60 / 3 yr limits at the major rental companies. If I had to drive one, take the V6 if you can find one.

  43. C-Tech Says:

    Taurus migrates to Fusion – hmmm. Hey Ford, here’s a better idea, build a really, really, good RWD sedan and offer it in 2 wheelbases. The shorter wheelbase is the Ford Crown Vic and the long wheelbase is the new Lincoln Town Car. You’ll sell at least 70,000 to 100,000 combined easy.

  44. HtG Says:

    Jim Farley at Sebring

    John, here’s what I wrote on the comment board Saturday upon hearing Jim Farley talk at Sebring…

    Jim Farley at Sebring

    Ford’s Jim F was just asked about future Ford plans in racing, and he ‘declined to make news today though he wished he could.’ He pivoted into mentioning the Mustang’s appearance in the flick Need for Speed this weekend. And then he praised Fox for covering the racing.

    Could someone please make things a little more obvious for me? :)

    (I know you’re a normal person, but just in case, my comment went up a moment after Farley spoke, and the Sebring race can be viewed online at I know I’d rather hunt)

  45. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    #43 – C-Tech

    I would buy that car… maybe a new rear drive Lincoln on a stretched Mustang platform is in the future…

    as far as what cars the new Ecotechs will land in… well my bet would be whatever they have that competes with an existing Ford product with an Ecoboost engine… and most likely in the same displacements with slightly more horsepower and better MPG’s

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, it was destined to happen, as much as I drive, I was very lucky not to get into a car wreck until today, not injured but I saw this middle age woman pull out of a strip mall where she works, ignore the stop sign and then watch as I slid into her left front fender, my bumper, hood and one headlight is messed up. Just praying that her insurer pays for repairs instead of trying to give me a few bucks, and then it gets shipped to some 3rd world $hithole, repaired, sold and continues its life over there. Got a POS Sentra, why would anyone buy that thing is beyond me!

  47. XA351GT Says:

    I loved my 1988 Taurus LX wagon. I wish Ford would bring over the Mondeo wagon as a Fusion wagon.

  48. HtG Says:

    I’m glad you weren’t hurt, mi amigo. ;)

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks, HtG, even though my glasses went flying out of my face but no air bag deployment, I have to wonder if they even work anymore, front end collision and no airbags, the body shop guy told me it was because it did not hit the bumper cleanly, mostly the hood or bonnet, took the major blow.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46, Glad you are ok, and hope things come out ok fixing your car.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    #50 Thanks, Kit much obliged!

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41, Yeah, the Cruze gets good mpg, but some of the competition does better. Still, I wouldn’t worry about it unless I really drove a lot of miles.

    The Cruze is heavier than most of the competition, which probably accounts for most of the difference, but the Cruze is quieter and probably rides better than most of the competition. Such are the tradeoffs.

  53. cwolf Says:

    State Farm just raised the insurance $30/yr. on my sisters year old Sonic because the car did’nt pass the corner impact test. A pretty poor excuse, in my book.

  54. dave Says:

    I think its funny how all the GM fans on here ignore the way GM always copyist what ford does then calls it new!
    Why use “Eco” there’s. Only one ecoboost! Get you own name. And how about turbo’s I remember the gm fans and GM laughing at Ford for going with turbo charging.Now All you Gm fans think is great because .Gm says small direct injected turbo charged gas motors are new and the way to go! Oh but wait isn’t Ford all ready doing that.

  55. GND Says:

    Audi crows about “mobile broadband..realtime cloud access…touchscreen facebook and twitter..gaming devices…” What part of Distracted driving is now the cause of more automobile related deaths–more than DUI” -can you not understand?

  56. GaryPaul Says:

    #9: The Lincoln story is not done yet. Ford was a wreck in the mid-2000′s. Its first function was to save Ford and that took a lot of Philosophical changes to the culture (at least more than occurred at GM) and focus on the Ford brand. It wasn’t a perfect effort but it never is, and overall Mulally’s focus paid off. While this was occurring Lincoln was given little attention, just keeping it afloat as Ford sold off its other Premium divisions which i thought was just what they needed to do because their hands were full fixing Ford Division. Lastly they killed the truly pathetic Mercury brand which had more ups, downs, and sideways movements than any auto brand that I can think of and needed to be taken out and shot!

    The real efforts toward Lincoln’s turnaround will be clear in just a few short years, by say 2020, —and it is by no means a given that they will succeed!–but lets give them a chance. There are a lot of interesting scuttlebutt ideas floating around in Dearborn (Ford World Headquarters) about things such as a 4-door Mustang “Coupe” (the ridiculous names for those good looking 4 door sedans that knock your head as you enter the rear compartment through the smaller rear doors) which I long ago thought was a natural way to amortize costs with a hopefully very different looking, stretched version of a vehicle from the S550 (Mustang Platform). Ford I believe is also looking to expand aluminum use to Lincoln models that will then filter down to Ford models and that would really shake up the industry further, along with the already in the pipeline aluminum-bodied F-150 that is about to make its appearance soon.

    The new engine platforms using compacted graphite iron and of course the decision to move the engineering of Ford power-trains farther in-house (instead of the pathetic contract engineering that Ford used to rely on) speaks to some of the high tech that will combine with aluminum bodies to produce startling performance. I am sure some of you have heard rumors about the 500 hp normally aspirated V8 (5 liters or a little bigger) that has floated about out there for the Bullitt or GT350… Yeah–that is if all this works out—it’s an exciting game but if Ford hits it big with lots of aluminum and impressive new power plants combined with the 9 & 10-speed transmissions we may yet see a Lincoln rebirth.

    In other words, i think it is incorrect to state that Ford has failed miserably so far with Lincoln because in a sense, it’s as though they are just now starting to swing at the ball. After all the separate design center is what?– only about a year and a half in business. Lets see what they dish out over the next few years …and see if they really can resuscitate a “Premier brand.”

  57. alex wellington Says:

    Sorry for your accident, Pedro, at first I did not read your post carefully and thought that the woman was a pedestrian and wondered if she was hurt, but then it was obvious.

    Hope the insurance pays you to fix your car, if that’s what you want to do. I assume the totaled value would not be much, but if it comes to that, look on the bright side, you could end up with a slightly used 50 MPG Prius!

  58. alex wellington Says:

    “GaryPaul Says:
    March 20th, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    #9: The Lincoln story is not done yet….i think it is incorrect to state that Ford has failed miserably so far with Lincoln because in a sense, it’s as though they are just now starting to swing at the ball.”

    I don’t know what aces, if any, Lincoln has up their sleeves. However, I disagree with you above. “So Far”, Lincoln has indeed failed miserably, and much worse than its domestic rival Caddillac, which has at least made an effort and many of its vehicles are not pimped-up Chevy Clones, as all Lincolns are (Ford Clones).

    So, “SO FAR”, Lincoln has been a dismal failure, and this will continue at least for two-three more years, since there is nothing in the pipeline they have revealed (which could be for sale in 2015 or 16) that changes their current debacle.

    Mullaly is 68 years old. He did NOT arrive at Ford Yesterday, but almost a DECADE ago! (anubody remember exactly when?). He had PLENTY of time to fix Lincoln already.

    So it will be already “too late”, when and if Lincoln recovers. Let’s hope it will not also be “too little”.

    Maybe you have more inside info than I do, but before I read your post I was not sure what Mullaly wanted to do with Lincoln, close it down or stop starving it to death and give it a chance. Lincoln’s situation of the last 5-7 years has been utterly unacceptable.

  59. HtG Says:

    I was impressed by the MKC which will arrive this summer. That size CUV is a sweet spot in the market, and the MKC will start at $34k. It looked really good to my eye, but then I thought MKZ looked great on the highway next to Audi’s A7, rear endwise.

  60. alex wellington Says:

    58 I clicked at your link and it had just a profile of the thing (Escape clone?) and only the price, obligingly in fire-sale form ($33,995), and no info. When I clicked it, it took me to the new (and Abominable) Navigator.

    Some Lincolns look striking from some angles, but you can understand that is barely 1% of what they got to have to compete in this market.

    The A6 and the CLS overpriced versions of thew A6 and the E class, with less interior space, never impressed me. They are not much better looking than the sedans either. I ask for value in every segment.

  61. alex wellington Says:

    I meant the A7, not A6 above, of course. BMW also has some of these 4-door pseudo-coupes like the Gran Coupe, a disguised 5 series at upper 7 series prices. Four doors but sparce space in the back. My lowly Accord coupe 1990 5-speed (it did not even have any airbags) was the opposite, it was the roomy (in the back too) sedan with two doors eliminated.

  62. T. Bejma Says:


    I don’t buy your Lincoln logic that they just were not being paid attention to.

    GM managed to design a brand new RWD platform that, in the form of the Cadillac ATS, was able to best the German’s in handling in their first attempt. All during Bankruptcy and under government control.

    Even the Ford brand, that was paid attention to, according to your post, is really only all about the F150 and the Fusion. Several of their models are just so-so (Explorer, Edge, Taurus, Expedition, Focus, Fiesta, etc.). Seems to me the focus was on high volume, not high profit or across the board excellence.

  63. HtG Says:

    AW, I was subtly suggesting that we hear oohs and aahs about the A7′s looks, but rarely that it’s an A6 under the skin. Meanwhile other makes like Lincoln get blasted. Do real buyers think about this stuff? I’ll be surprised if MKC doesn’t do well, the challenge for Lincoln being to get awareness and consideration, then the dealer experience that Lexus owners expect(they have a Lexus guy on board just for this).

  64. alex wellington Says:

    62 In Lincoln’s case it is an epidemic, not just one clone like the A7. Every single Lincoln is a Ford clone with a few cosmetic differences, many of which actually result in a less attractive vehicle than the Ford Original (eg; Fusion vs MKZ)

    The dwindling pool of Lincoln buyers consists of no car enthusiasts or connoiseurs any more, but probably lil’ old ladies to whom a Lincoln is a step up from their deceased Mercury they used to drive all their lives, so they did not look as average as the ones who went with the Ford equivalent.

  65. HtG Says:

    Yep, it’s middle aged women I see in MKZs and ATSs. Fair point about A7; I was hoping to slip that past you,AW. ;)

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    One dealer I’m familiar with mourns the loss of Mercury. It gave them a mainstream brand to go along with Lincoln, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Now they are stuck with the 3rd tier luxury car brands, and expensive, unreliable SUVs.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    64, I like the A7, but it is seriously overpriced.

    There is one semi-affordable “4 door coupe” that I think looks pretty good, the VW CC. It’s probably overpriced compared to the Passat it’s based on, but not terribly so.

  68. alex wellington Says:

    66 The Passat CC looks good, but I fail to see its purpose, since the cheaper Passat has huge rear room, almost 7 series-like, and also has an excellent presence from the exterior, serious styling, no-nonsense, resembling much more expensive cars. I prefer the current Passat Sedan styling over the competition, definitely the Camry, the Altima, the Sonata-Optima, the Malibu (of course), even the excellent Accord. The Fusion looks cute, but sacrifices rear room to achieve it.

  69. alex wellington Says:

    66 What was the diff between Ford and Mercury? A couple decades ago, Mercurys were designed on purpose to be “Chick Cars”. A classic example was the attractive 1980s Ford Thunderbird, and the weird-roofed twin Mercury Cougar, from Left FIeld Designs, Inc. I believe this strategy is the kiss of death for a brand (to be perceived as “Chick cars” and may have contributed to its poor sales and eventual demise.

    BTW the boss of Mercury used to be Elena Ford, the offspring of the short-lived marriage of Charlotte Ford and the lesser known Onassis Rival, the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, whose 10 billion fortune when he dies (a decade or so ago), most of it in Art collections, was a multiple of that of his far more glamorous rival. I even wonder if Onassis married Jackie O 3 years later as part of his rivalry with that guy, to one-up him for marrying that Ford woman!

  70. alex wellington Says:

    My next door neighbor used to have a good looking black Rav-4 (exterior-wise) but it had a tired-looking grey-green cloth interior that looked very low-rent. They had it for almost 10 years (it was the second, and better looking, RaV4, the first one was too small and too ugly).

    A few days ago I started seeing a black CR-V in their driveway. This one has an excellent interior and looks great inside and out. No wonder it sold a record 300,000+ units in 2013, taking the top spot in both sales and quality from the Escape and the lesser wagons (CUVs) of this segment (such as the long in the tooth and rather porky Equinox, which Bejma claims, with a straight face?) it is the top in its “segment”)

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    68, At the end, there was essentially no difference between Ford and Mercury, except that Mercury was a more “mainstream” brand for Lincoln dealers to sell. Nearly all of the “civilian” panther cars were Grand Marquis, while the police and taxis were Crown Vic. I guess the old people who bought them didn’t want to drive something that looked exactly like a cop car, rather than just almost like a cop car.

  72. T. Bejma Says:


    2013 Sales

    Equinox = 238,192
    Terrain = 99,525
    Total = 337.717

    CRV = 303,827

  73. Lex Says:

    @71 T. Bejma,

    Looking at those numbers for the Terrain (29.5%) of total sales, why not eliminate the Terrain and devote total production capacity to the Equinox?
    Maybe the better thing for GM to do is totally eliminate the Captiva and produce only Equinox.

    What were Rav4, Escape and Hyundai/Kia’s numbers?

  74. Lex Says:

    Ford should have never eliminated the Crown Victoria. They should have kept it for Taxis, Law Enforcement, Fire and Government Fleets.

    Local Law Enforcement are switching to Ford Explorers or Chevy Impala’s. What ever happened to the Holden/Chevy Caprice for police cars?

  75. Lex Says:

    The Chevy Sonic is a Daewoo. It can not complete against the New Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note.
    The 2015 Honda Fit looks great. The exterior of The Nissan Versa Note is great also but the interior is cheap looking and poorly layed out especially the position of the transmission shift lever. Nissan please streamline and put a couple of extra bucks into the interior of the Nissan Versa Note and sales will increase.

  76. kurt Says:

    Nice that Audi made their infotainment electronics modular to allow easy updating. Stupid that they won’t allow field / dealer upgrades for customers wanting the latest tech. But perhaps that’s ok if Audi buyers are mainly leasers, getting rid of their rides every 3 years or so for a newer one?