AD #1339 – Russian LV Sales, EVs Help Pollute China, Volvo’s New Safety Technology

March 21st, 2014 at 11:59am

Runtime: 8:24

- Russian Light-Vehicle Sales
- China Closes Graphite Mines
- Infiniti Taking Engineer Applications
- Volvo’s New Safety Technology
- Barra to Testify Before Congress
- GM Enlists Help From Rental Companies
- Developing Ford’s New F-150

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: BorgWarner, Bridgestone and Dow Automotive Systems

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher | YouTube

Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily as we work to keep you up to speed with what’s going on in the global automotive industry.

As diplomatic tensions continue to ratchet up over Russia’s power grab in the Crimea, Western automakers are worrying about trade sanctions and financial boycotts. That’s because the Russian car market, with sales of about 3 million vehicles a year, is an important one and Western automakers have invested heavily there. Autovaz is the largest car company in Russia, with nearly half a million sales a year. That’s the company that has the Lada brand. Renault owns 25% of Autovaz, which is now run by Bo Andersson, the former head of Purchasing for General Motors. Hyundai-Kia are the next biggest players, followed by General Motors, which sells cars under the Cadillac, Chevrolet, Opel and Daewoo brands. Yep the Daewoo brand is still alive and kicking in the Russian market. The Volkswagen group is in fourth place, thanks to its Audi, VW, Seat and Skoda brands. Renault is in 5th place, followed by Toyota and Nissan. Ford is the 8th largest automaker, followed by GAZ, a Russian automaker and in 10th is Mitsubishi. By the way there are 9 different Chinese brands sold in the Russian market and their sales are growing much faster than the overall market. So if diplomacy fails, look for the Chinese to make even more significant inroads.

1. Autovaz 456,000
2. Hyundai-Kia 379,000
3. General Motors 318,000
4. VW AG 299,000
5. Renault 210,000
6. Toyota 170,000
7. Nissan 155,000
8. Ford 106,000
9. GAZ 82,000
10. Mitsubishi 79,000

Source: Ward’s

While EVs can help the environment, one of the materials used in lithium-ion batteries, graphite, is adding to pollution problems in China. The country, which produces most of the world’s supply of graphite, is closing mines and processors in an effort to clean its air and water. Bloomberg reports that some analysts believe this could push the price of graphite up 30% which could boost the price of battery packs by as much as 5%. However other analysts say the closures won’t have much of an impact but it’s a story we’ll have to keep our eye on.

Finding engineers that are interested in the automotive industry can be difficult and finding engineers interested in Formula 1 is even harder. But Infiniti is currently taking applications for its Performance Engineering Academy. There are a few requirements and restrictions, but if chosen there’s a year-long assignment with the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team in the UK with accommodations, full salary, company car as well as working with the road engineers. Click the link in today’s show notes for full details.

Not long ago we reported that Volvo was going to get back to its safety roots, and one new technology its showing off highlights that sentiment. The Swedish automaker has launched a pilot program in which road friction data is shared within a cloud-based system. When a car detects a slippery or icy section of road that information is transmitted to a database via the mobile phone network. It’s then sent to other approaching vehicle in the form of a warning on the dash, allowing the driver to take appropriate action. The information will also be sent to the road commissioner, which could be used to make winter road maintenance more efficient. Volvo currently has a fleet of 50 vehicles equipped with the technology, with plans to expand it next winter.

In an effort to find out if GM’s ignition cylinder issue could have been prevented and stop failures like this in the future, GM CEO Mary Barra will speak before Congress. She, along with acting administrator of NHTSA, David Friedman will testify to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 1st.

And in other GM and ignition news, the automaker has recruited help from rental firms Enterprise, Hertz and Avis just in case it runs out of loaners vehicles. GM has already recalled about 1.6 million vehicles due to the issue and has offered up the loaners to owners of affected vehicles. The agencies will shuttle active rental cars to nearby dealers if needed and the automaker will foot the entire bill.

Coming up next, a look at the new aluminum Ford F-150.

On Autoline This Week the topic is all-about the new aluminum intensive Ford F-150. In the following clip, the chief engineer of the vehicle, Pete Reyes and the head of global product at Ford, Raj Nair, explain how the development of the new truck differed from past F-150’s.

(Clip about how development of the new F-150 differed from others can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Also joining John for that show is Doug Scott, the marketing manager of the F-150. As always you can watch that entire show right now on our website,

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

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

136 Comments to “AD #1339 – Russian LV Sales, EVs Help Pollute China, Volvo’s New Safety Technology”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Been driving this Sentra for a while now and I don’t like this car at all, it feels devoid of any contact with anything, the brakes are super mushy, when I press the gas. it’s more like a request for more speed that has to go through 2 committees and then the presidential signature before it happens, the CVT shudders as I come to a stop and again when I take my foot off the brake, also when I’m a red light, same pressure on the brake pedal, the car will creep up slowly and then I have to press the brake harder, otherwise I hit the one in front, I have never experienced that in any car I’ve driven.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    At this point, even cows and pigs pollute China’s air, cigarette smoking, egg fu-young, any thing.

  3. T. Bejma Says:


    Amazing Pedro, that is sells as well as it does. I guess most people will put up with crappy experience if their monthly payment is low…

  4. HtG Says:

    1 Try spinning the steering wheel quickly, Pedro. Notgonnahappen, if Versa is a guide

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So the Daewoo name is still used in Russia. l guess it has special appeal in Eastern Europe. I remember seeing the car called Pontiac LeMans in America when I was in Czechoslovakia in 1992, and it was called Daewoo Racer. I guess it was racing those rear engine Skokas that were still on the road at that time.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2, And there are still a lot of two stroke mopeds and scooters.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    I must be suffering from crappy car syndrome, because all these newfangled new cars I’ve been driving lately lack ANY feel at all, absolute driver detachment, and I thought that only occurred with the Lexus cars!!! Makes me long for my old VW Karmann Ghia

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose that compared to Lada, Daewoo must be like BMW.

  9. HtG Says:

    7 you sound just like the rest of the ‘expert media’ car reviewers, Pedro. My rationalization for the phenomenon is that most folks equate detachment with quality. Now you need to test drive a Cayman and tell us how great it is.

  10. MJB Says:

    Hey, Volvo, don’t stop at collecting vehicle info in the cloud for icy patch road warnings. Track the feedback from the struts (vertical wheel travel) and report potholes to the state road commission.

    This will
    #1. Make it easier for them to track precisely where the areas are that need the most attention.

    #2. Make it easier for drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by severe road conditions (monster potholes) to substantiate claims. Because as anyone who has tried submitting a damage claim to the state for reimbursement on a pothole related repair knows, you must show proof that the pothole has been there for a reasonable amount of time, and didn’t just pop up, say 6 hours earlier.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7, 9 Pedro, how is your son’s BRZ? Also, you should test drive a MINI.

  12. alex wellington Says:

    9. yeah, the Cayman is the most appropriate heir to the old Carman-Ghia, even looks-wise. Although much, much more potent. I can’t believe how these old cars (all of them, even 911) could handle with the unbelievably skinny tires they had back then.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why should Barra have to testify? she was NOT in charge at GM when they decided to ignore this problem all those years ago, bring in the people responsible for this at the time of the misdeed.

  14. alex wellington Says:

    3 Of the japanese imports, Nissan reminds me most of the domestics, or at least it used to. Their reliability has not been as stellar as that of Almighty Toyota, or even Honda or Subaru, and their prices were cheap.

    Perhaps the domestics have priced themselves out of these segments today? The $23k loaded Fiesta is an excellent example, and its crappy sales numbers are no surprise.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    FR-S is a great handling car, fun for weekends or for young folks, (I’m not) it does handle very well and it’s made to do so, the Sentra does nothing for me, I would not run out and buy one at all. The last car I rented and hated giving back was an 06 Civic.

  16. Bradley Says:

    Volvo’s tech would be helpful. I can see if there was a standard for this time of communication where any car or smartphone could use the data.

  17. alex wellington Says:

    13 Perhaps because they will be far more easy on her than if Akerson did? After all, everybody in the Admin and among Dems, including Hillary specifically, has gone absolutely ga-ga over Barra been Appointed CEO of GM and broken the repsective ceiling, and all that jazz.

  18. HtG Says:

    12 if you look at the older 911s, the bulk of the mass from engine to torsion bar suspensions, the center of gravity will have been extremely low to the ground. This means FUN.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12, Even Corvettes, with their monster engines, had about the same size tires as a small pickup until the C4 arrived in 1984. Those cars would lay a lot of rubber, but not handle so well, at least compared to today’s cars.

  20. alex wellington Says:

    16 Civics are a ton of fun, especially around town and on low-speed roads. On the Highway, they are too small and a bit noisy. (from my ancient and still like new 91 Hatch 5-speed minimalist all-manual 1875 lb tossable lightweight near-motrorcycle)

  21. MJB Says:

    7. Well, Pedro. I, for one LOVE being disconnected from the road. That’s precisely why I bought a Lexus LS430.

    I went through my ‘racer’ stage with ten years in a manual tranny 2nd gen Integra. And likely will pick up a corvette or something in that category in the next few years just to get back ‘in touch’ with the road.

    But right now, I’m just to darn satisfied NOT feeling everything the ‘road’ has to offer.

    I know there will always be the ‘luxury’ debate pitting soft and quiet against tight and connected. I’ll refrain from naming either of those the owner of the lux title. But I will say that I simply ‘feel’ much more lux in a soft quiet ride.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, But the Republicans in the house probably hate her, just because the Dems might like her. in any case, the “hearings” will accomplish nothing.

  23. alex wellington Says:

    18 That’s like I like pure EVs, even large ones like the Tesla S, its center of gravity is wayyy down even tho it is not a low-roofed vehicle, thanks to all these laptop batteries underneath the floormats.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    “Thank you for your testimony, Ms Barra, by the way, you look lovely this morning and just love your earrings, who are you wearing this morning? It suits you very well”

  25. alex wellington Says:

    21 I have ridden in a 430 a few times and it had an immaculate interior, sparking and luxurious. The owner also had a corvette but he wasted it in the garage most of the time and used the Lexus 24-7.

    I appreciate the isolation, especially the quietness so I can enjoy classical music pieces, and not just their loud parts, but if you drive in a pothole-infested area like all of MI these days, and the car does not give you any feedback, you will assume all is well while you just destroyed your struts and springs!

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    #20 AW I don’t agree with you sir, one of the things I loved about that Civic was that it felt at home both on a longish trip and around town when I got to my destination. Neither the Corolla nor my old Camry were good highway cars at all. Civic’s steering was way more engaging than this Sentra.

  27. Bradley Says:

    On the East side of Russia the majority of cars are from Japan. Not only from Japan, but right-sided steering like Japan.

    This is a result of Russia’s size. The East side is so far removed from the majority of the population. Yet, they are in close proximity with Japan.

  28. alex wellington Says:

    21 the Luxury in the LExus 430 I rode was not so much in the Quiet Ride, that any domestic large car can also offer, but in the excellent interior materials and colors. The seats were almost white leather, very clean, and so were the carpets, the polished wood veneers were excellent color, a very warm reddish shiny wood, etc. This has improved with the LS460 and its competitors since about 2007-2009, because now they don’t just have leather seats and good quality soft plastics elsewhere, but double-stitched leather surfaces everywhere, doors, even the dash.

  29. HtG Says:

    Barra on the hill (not that one)

    I expect Henry Waxman, the D ranking member on the committee, to take some big ‘ol whacks at Barra. He’s retiring and may want to set himself up for some, errm how to put it delicately, consulting work.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Big John Dingell plays it. His wife will run to replace him.

    If you think Barra isn’t learning a lot about all the critters on the committee….

  30. alex wellington Says:

    26 Your Civic was an 06. Mine is a 91, and has a smaller engine, even a carburator. Ancient! Mine was a proper CIVIC, as the word says, designed for around town, small, short, easy to park etc. I did highway trips with it and got 44 MPG each time, but it was not as fun to drive there, wind n oise and it has a top speed (when new) of only 106 MPH.

    If you drove it at 60 and 70 MPH, it would be fine even on the highway. this may offer additional explanation why you did OK with the 06 on the HWy.

  31. alex wellington Says:

    29 Waxman is retiring, but even if he is there, I will be surprised if he throws anything more than a softball against his dem-supported and bailed out GM and Barra in particular.

  32. MJB Says:

    25. Was the one you rode in an Ultra Luxury package version? If so, it had the air suspension. Super lux! And super expensive to replace (just south of $5000 usually at around the 6 or 8 year mark). But I’ve been told that ride quality even supersedes that of a Bentley.

    Mine is not the Ultra Luxury package. Just mere mortal gas struts. Which, in fact, I’ll be replacing in a couple of months.

  33. alex wellington Says:

    Dingell looks really awful, like he died three years ago! He is also retiring. He sure moved his weight around a lot in these committees. Good riddance.

  34. alex wellington Says:

    32 I really don’t remember, and probably did not know even then, if he had it. Bentleys are supposed to be sporty, the brand to compare to is Rolls.

  35. Bradley Says:

    #3 T. Bejma

    A coworker of mine is an old Audi gut. He is aware of my opinion on the bailout and rushed over to tell me what he thought about the ATS.

    He really liked it, but he mentioned two items which may keep him away.

    The first item is one the ATS shares with BMW. Run-Flat-Tires. He believes they hurt the ride and doesn’t like the cost of them.

    The second item is he didn’t think the trunk would hold his golf clubs without folding the seat down. He told the sales person to call him after seeing if it would hold a bag of clubs. Its been 3 weeks…no call.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    I would avoid at all costs ANY form of air suspension system, they all end up failing, It doesn’t matter who makes the vehicle, and the cost is really high to repair, I still see old Lincolns with sagging rear ends, my in-laws crappy 86 Deville had to have the air struts repaired as well and it was costly.

  37. T. Bejma Says:


    Agree with the run flats. Obviously you know it is done to save weight. If I owned one, I would but on some non-run flats and call a tow truck through Onstar if I had an ATS. I have driven an ATS and without doing a side by side, the run flats were not objectionable.

    As far as the golf clubs – 1 set with the seat up and 2 with the seats down…

    I believe this is a unwritten corporate requirement ;-)

  38. T. Bejma Says:

    From yesterday, our resident replacement GM basher…

    “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”)”

    Not quite…

    2013 Sales

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

    CRV = 303,827

  39. Bradley Says:


    Thanks! I shared the video. His comment was “Pulling the driver out isn’t really convenience.”

    For reference, I have put 3 golf bags in the Yaris’ trunk without pulling the drivers.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t much like the run flat tires on my MINI because they are noisy, and probably hurt the ride. It wouldn’t keep me from buying a car, though, if I liked the car. Replacement run-flat tires for my car, size 195/55R16 cost ~$155, but I’ll never buy any. When I need tires, or maybe even before these are worn out, I’ll replace them with non-run flats. If I damaged a tire to where it couldn’t be repaired, I’d just get 4 non-run flat tires.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39, I could probably put 6 or 8 sets in my Prius, with the back seat down, but I don’t play golf.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    The spare tire is now all but gone, those fix-a-flats with the little pump don’t do the job most of the time so now we got run-flats, thank you, I will always carry a spare, a couple of times that I had a flat, it was a huge piece of metal that no spray or pump could have repaired. I did buy a flat repair kit that I will use the next time I need it.

  43. MJB Says:

    36. Tell ya what though, Pedro, I wouldn’t mind seeing first hand just how soft the ride quality is. I’ve heard that there’s even a world of difference between that and the standard Lexus ride. If I were in a position to do so, I certainly wouldn’t mind forking over the cash to keep them in good working order.

    I too, recall many a Mark 8 slumped down due to failed air suspension. But I do think the quality of the ones Lexus uses are better than the Lincolns.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have driven a couple of LS models from 10 yrs ago and I found the ride comfy enough w/o the air suspension, I don’t think it’s needed.

  45. alex wellington Says:

    38 “Not quite”? Your numbers prove my points 100%. And don’t cheat! If you want to add the terrain to the Equinox, you should ALSO add the Acura loser CR-V clone to the CR-V.

    But most important than the Quantity is the Quality of the CRV, far superior to that of the Equinox.

    Also, I have PROVEN with my posts that I am not a GM basher, I was equally hard to LINCOLN and Mullaly and Nissan and many others.

    The problem is YOU, not ME.

    YOU are the ONLY person officially representing one of the automakers in this forum, and parrot (without any shame) the GM company line.

    IF there was somebody like you from Ford AND one from Chrysler AND one from Nissan and one from Honda and all the others, then I would seldom need to take you to task.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The next Boxster and Cayman will get 4 cylinder engines.,-Boxster&utm_campaign=awdailydrive

  47. alex wellington Says:

    46 I wonder how these engines will sound. Most likely not like any V8 and even less than a V12 Ferrari.

    BTW I once (mid-80s) took a trip (from Detroit to Toledo, if this is a hint) in a 4-cylinder Ford that had several thousand HP. The engine was from the 1920s, I believe, but still going strong.

  48. alex wellington Says:

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45, There isn’t really an Acura clone of the CRV. The closest Acura, the RDX, is bigger, has a longer wheelbase, and a different powertrain.

    Still, while the Equinox and Terrain continue selling well, they are showing their age, and they are kind of porky, about 500 pounds heavier than the CRV. The new ones probably arrive for 2016 model year.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47, They should sound like a hopped up Subaru. I suspect they will sound decent, but not like the sixes.

  51. alex wellington Says:

    49 I am aware. It is the RDX I was referring to.

    You may remember I was actually a fan of both the Equinox and the Cruze. They are still OK to me but the Equinox is getting long in the tooth and the CR-V is the better vehicle, whether it is also Number one vs the Equinox or No 2 vs the Equinox plus Terrain. I also used the same word “porky” you used above, in my earlier comments, for the current Equinox.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47, 48 I bet that is a very low rpm 4 cylinder Ford.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    51, Yep, I remember all that, including your saying good things about the Equinox when it was new.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope they don’t sound like the old pumped up Beetles, where they sounded more like a lawn mower race than a Beetle competition back in the 70′s.

  55. Buzzerd Says:

    Alex- if you are going to include the RDX then I guess you should also include the SRX. Either is ridiculous but what the hell.

  56. alex wellington Says:

    55 Agreed, on both counts. I don’t mind if TB adds the Terrain. But the “facts” that TB has which he will not give you are

    1. Who is Number one in RETAIL sales? (No fleet sales!). Even if you combine the Rental Queens Equinox and Terrain (you can even add the SRX Caddy), but only count the retail sales, and compare them to the CRV, which is 100% retail, then the CRV most likely has more sales than all three put together.

    And related to one, how about PROFITS? How much $ does GM and Honda really make from these respective vehicles? CR-V vs the 3 from GM. Given the number of fire sales all the time for the domestics, and the stinginess of Honda, I’d bet the CR-V wins by a mile.

    But my comment was about which vehicle is the TOP vehicle of this segment, not re sales, but re overall quality and performance, and the CR-V wins hands down in this segment.

  57. alex wellington Says:

    52 very low rpm compared to most cars. the link may show the RPM. But most great Lakes vessels have medium speed engines working at a (huge for oceangoing ships) 500 RPM or so. Big efficient ocean-going cargo vessels have one gigantic propeller (30+ feet diameter, 100 tons weight) turning at less than 100 RPM, sometimes only 60 RPM, and no need for reduction gear. These diesels can now top 120,000 HP (10-12 cylinders in line)

  58. T. Bejma Says:


    Person posing as Alex Wellington…

    Pay attention this time.

    I AM NOT officially representing GM.
    I DO NOT get paid to be on this forum.

    I AM a GM employee and MY opinions are MY OWN. I WILL present the facts, along with sources, whenever I see blatant misinformation, especially if it is obviously biased against my employer.

    Please try and comprehend so I can save the bandwidth of having to explain it again.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve read about some of the huge cargo ships engines. The cylinders have 40 inch bore, or something like that. Do you know how they start them? Do they use compressed air to some of the cylinders to turn the engine, like some emergency generator diesels I’m aware of?

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Last summer at a car show, I saw a Karmann Ghia with a very nicely done Subaru engine transplant. It used two Harley mufflers of some sort, and it sounded pretty good. It was louder than I would have expected, since they were stock Harley mufflers, but there would be almost twice as much engine per muffler than on the bike.

  61. alex wellington Says:

    58 spare me. The one who is dense is the one who cannot understand what “obvious conflict of interest” means. And since you seem to brag about your alleged “facts”, why don’t you tell us about the share of the Equinox-Terrain sales that are RETAIL (NOT FLEET), and compare them to those of the CR-V.

    You are employed by GM and are active in more than this forum, you also post in many others including Automotive News. I don’t know of any one else in this forum that toots the party line of any other automaker, and this makes these discussions very unbalanced.

    I hope you can understand the above and not have me repeat them for the Nth time!

  62. alex wellington Says:

    59 Good question, how to start them, I have heard that some use compressed air or an aux gen.

    One can live inside these cylinders, their height is far more than 7″ and the diameter is large enough for even the most corpulent giant. If only their interior temperature and pressure were different… and a window or two would be nice.

  63. alex wellington Says:

    62 Typical weight for the main engine of a big oceangoing ship, 2,000 tons or more.

    But even more impressive is the efficiency of real slow RPM engines of ships going very slow, 15 MPH or so, can be above 20,000 ton (cargo)-miles per gallon!

  64. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ AW: I have a 2012 nox ltz,my wife has an 08 crv.Hands down my nox in every way except mpg beats the crap out of that crv,including quality.My nox has the v6,and both vehicles are awd.

  65. Buzzerd Says:

    ” I bet the CRV wins by a mile” but since you don’t actually know and who cares anyhoo, it doesn’t matter. Fleet sales are still sales, after they serve a year or two they don’t just vanish. You sure like to exclude anything that doesn’t support your bias … I mean argument.

  66. Brett Says:

    For the air suspension on Town Cars, Grand Marquis, and Crown Victorias, Arnott’s here in Florida can provide replacements for all the critical components for around $500. Bags, valves, compressor, etc.

    You can also take the fuse out of the compressor circuit, tie off the hoses to the frame, and grab a set of coils and perches from a salvage yard for cheap. They’re referred to as “poverty coils” because you have to be pretty hard up to replace the superior airbag system when replacement parts are so cheap.

  67. MJB Says:

    63. Really?… Wow. Now you’ve got me interested in knowing more about these engines. Gonna have to see what marine engine documentaries I can find on Netflix this weekend.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    63, 67. Big ships are really efficient cargo movers, as long as you aren’t in too much of a hurry.

    I’ve read that Kawasaki makes some of those huge engines.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    Have you seen those ads for CXS trains? where they claim some astronomical MPG numbers to move cargo from point A to point B. they must be referring to electric locomotives.

  70. HtG Says:

    Pedro, any word yet on what will become of Rocinante? Big windmill in the sky?

  71. HtG Says:

    Here’s a vid of one of these marine diesel monsters being assembled

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    69, Yeah, I think it’s CSX. Trains are, by far, the most efficient way to move heavy cargo by land.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    18 wheelers are very inefficient in moving goods all over the country, I wonder how much we could save if we used more trains, for example Wal-Mart ships their goods from AR to all point in the US by truck instead of trains. I know long distance haulers who take recyclable stuff to California and bring back produce to So Fl.

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    I read an article by Yahoo auto that names the new Mitsu Mirage one of the 10 worst cars ever made, joining such notables as the Yugo and Pinto. For years now we’ve been led to believe that there are no really bad cars any more!

  75. MJB Says:

    Totally of topic, but I just stumbled upon this.

    Now THIS is a real mechanic.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    74, The new Mirage is made in Thailand, and was no doubt designed for markets other than North America. It apparently gets good gas mileage for a non-hybrid, but that is about all it has going for it. It is about the size of a Chevy Spark.

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    73, I suppose Wal-Mart needs to use trucks, because they “go everywhere,” but it sounds crazy using trucks to transport low value recycle stuff 3000 miles.

    Trains are used to take coal to all of the power plants around the U.S., and I remember seeing a lot of long trains carrying various things across southern Wyoming when I spend a day near the Union Pacific in the early 80′s.

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    I ave been driving this sentra for 2 days and I’m getting 40+mpg in around town driving using the ECON mode, I find that to be amazing. Either I am the slowest driver outside Century Village or this 1.8 with th CVT is one incredibly efficient power train.

  79. alex wellington Says:

    64 this is contrary to any review I have read, so you will excuse me if I trust the thousands of owners over a single one, even if it is your spouse.

    However, The 08 CRV is old news anyway, and you compare it to a 12 Equinox? the fair comparison is a current nox with the current CRV

  80. alex wellington Says:

    “Buzzerd Says:
    March 21st, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    ” I bet the CRV wins by a mile” but since you don’t actually know and who cares anyhoo, it doesn’t matter. Fleet sales are still sales,”

    While they may still be sales, there is a TON of difference between Honda selling a CRV to a private owner with a minimal discount, IF any (they are notorious cheapskates) and GM giving old impalas And many current models away to Rental sales at DEEP discounts.

  81. alex wellington Says:

    74 I read a similar article about the Mirage. And, unlike the much bigger and better Versa, it is not even cheap, $15k for a tiny little POS that loudly refuses to accelerate. What is wrong with these people at Mitsu? Don’t they ever do any MARKET RESEARCH?

    73 77 Trains are far more efficient in hauling things like Coal across the US, and trucks do it only for very short distances or when there is no rail option. However there are also millions of tons of coal and ore carried around the US by inland waterways (tugs and barges) and also great lakes ships such as “Henry Ford II” and many much larger and much more modern ones. The one I boarded for a 2-day trip was carrying iron pellets it loaded in Toledo to the Detroit Rouge Ford plant, I believe. I could get no sleep all night in my cabin from the infernal noise of the pellets being thrown by the thousands of tons in the empty cargo holds

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have made fun of CVT’s since they came out, but for maximum fuel efficiency w/o having to drive a manual, this seems to be the way of the future, even conservative Honda is putting one in their bread and butter Accord 4 cylinder and Toyota is testing the waters with the new Corolla, even though that one only comes in the higher trim levels, perhaps smaller engines, CVT and less lead-footed driving is the way to go.

  83. T. Bejma Says:


    Of course, as others have pointed out, unless it fits your agenda or compliments your opinion, it must not be true…

    “Equinox boasts quiet powertrains, flexible passenger and cargo accommodations, and value pricing. It’s no speed demon, even with the V6 engine, and its ride and handling balance doesn’t quite match that of rival import crossover SUVs. Still, this Chevrolet merits serious consideration.” — Consumer Guide

    “The 2012 Chevy Equinox is a stylish and comfortable entry in the highly competitive small-crossover segment. RAV4 and CR-V shoppers should take notice.” — Edmunds

    “We all know how much Americans love their SUVs, so when Chevrolet introduced the Equinox, a smaller, less-expensive and more fuel-efficient version of the traditional SUV, its acceptance among buyers seemed a no-brainer.” — Kelley Blue Book

  84. alex wellington Says:

    68 These kind of ships (tankers and especially dry bulk carriers that carry iron ore and coal) are never in a hurry nor can they afford to be, since the cargo they carry is very low-value and they can’t ask a freight rate that is too high a percentage of the value of the cargo.

    The biggest engines are made by a handful of makers only, B&M, MAN, Sultzer. Kawasaki may have a license with one of them.

  85. alex wellington Says:

    78 Impressive. Although I can’t look at the damned Sentra without puking, what an ugly exterior. That agrees with CR’s 44 MPG for the next size up Altima HWY.

    If you liked that 06 Civic, go to and you can find 1000s at affordable prices. They are not cheap, because they are not Cobalts (TB, you hear?), but they will give you your $s worth in driving satisfaction.

  86. alex wellington Says:

    A quick search at for 06 Civics below $9,000 (I wanted to limit the numbers found) showed 333 vehicles across the USA, with prices starting as low as $3,900.

  87. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW should I not stick with Corolla? After all. it has given me 16 yrs of mostly trouble-free motoring? Even though I recall my mechanic telling me that he preferred Civics over Corollas.

  88. alex wellington Says:

    87 up to you, I only found them because you said you liked that 06 Civic.

    I believe Toyotas are a bit cheaper to fix than Hondas, some parts like timing belts used to cost $500 for the Accord (plus the pump) but about half of that for the Toyotas.

    My experience with 5-door European Corollas made in the UK, having taken long trips with two different cars of that type, was that they did ok on the highway, they felt much more substantial (and probably weighted 500 lbs more than) my 91 1875 lb civic, and felt high-quality and safe inside.

    Did the insurance co get back to you? Is repair an option, or do you have to get another car?

    If I did as many miles as you do I’d get a used Prius myself.

  89. pedro fernandez Says:

    Most likely they will declare it a total loss and I’ll get screwed big time cause there is no way I can get anything that will run for more than a couple of weeks with what they’re gonna give me, I could fight it in court but I will lose more in lawyer fees than it’s worth. There should be a law that forces insurers to either fix it or buy you a vehicle to replace the one you lost. I mean it runs, perhaps I could get some body shop guy to replace the hood and the front bumper cover with some junk yard stuff and then get the mechanic to fix the fan blade hitting something as it goes ’round..

  90. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yep the timing chain is a big plus for the Corolla engine, most others use rubber bands

  91. Kit Gerhart Says:

    87, I you just want transportation, I’d stick with Corolla over Civic, and the timing belt is a big reason. Not only is the belt in the Honda an expensive maintenance item, the last I knew, most, or all Honda engines crash valves if the belt breaks.

    As far as “fun to drive,” Civics are generally better, but cost of ownership is not.

  92. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks Kit that is exactly how I feel about it, there are plenty of affordable Corollas on sale locally, but I would not buy any w/o having my mechanic giving it a good inspection.

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A friend in college has an ’05 Civic SI hatch, and seemms to really like it, and he’s had it since he was a jr or sr in high school. He mentioned not being too happy about the cost of the belt replacement, though, but he had it done at the recommended interval, knowing it would seriously mess up the engine if it broke.

  94. HtG Says:

    Pedro, I consider myself to be in a similar situation to you, less a few days. I expect my car to get hit and the insurance co to total it, just because repair is so expensive. I check craigslist for replacement cars and have a short list of new cars too. Maybe there’s a low mileage Corolla listed near you.

  95. HtG Says:

    2002 era Civics have non-interference motors, so if the belt brakes you only get stranded. I don’t know about later models, when the engines got more power.

  96. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG there are indeed quite a few to be found, but without having a trusty tech check it out, it would be nuts, I sold my friend my late Mom’s Sentra that had low miles and no major issues, but it was used sparingly by her, when he got it he started giving it a lot of miles day after day and then all kinds of things started breaking down, lucky for him, his son is a gear head and they were able to fix or replace all that broke down, I’m afraid the same may happen to me, it may look ok and well maintained and then with my heavy duty use, things will start to break down.

  97. HtG Says:

    I think with any used car one needs to plan on repairs, and have a reserve of cash. This phenomenon pushes down values on the German stuff, tempting the unwitting. You have some thinking to do, Pedro. Maybe something from Carmax with an extended warranty?

  98. C-Tech Says:

    @ #90 Pedro if the ins. co. declares a total loss, you can still make them pay you for the car and give it back to you. They usually deduct about $100 from the settlement for fees. You are then free to repair it yourself.

    If they do write it off, make sure you get the RETAIL, no wholesale price of the Corolla. This can make a big difference and under Fl law that is what you are due.

  99. C-Tech Says:

    If you are still considering a pick up, from what I have heard a Toyota T100 / early Tundra sells for less than a same year Tacoma. The Tacomas are pretty popular.

  100. C-Tech Says:

    If you need a check out, try Pedro.

  101. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks, C-tech I rather keep the thing since it runs, no leaks anywhere from the crash even though it sounds as if the fan belt is hitting something, the hood cannot be opened, I would need a new hood and bumper cover., both of which could be had at a salvage yard, headlights ok, one directional plastic cover lens did break (no biggie) The one that I hit had the front wheel go out of whack and could not drive the SUV, no airbag deployment on mine, basically a crumpled hood, I may be driving with a diff. colored hood and a fender, but who cares?

  102. HtG Says:

    I’d do everything within reason to keep my car, Pedro.

  103. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG I have NO other viable option. I just hope that the greedy gecko does not insist on keeping my beater after they pay up, I mean, what kind of loss will they have if they give me $500 and then turn into the junk yard for $500, the only expense they would have is the $21.00 per day rental they provided me. Actually they are gonna make their money back, the insured will be penalized for causing the accident in the 1st place and she won’t get any money from then since she only had liability and PIP.

  104. HtG Says:

    It’s a sad part about owning an older car. When I insured the ’96 Miata with 110K+ mileage, they(Travelers) said my cost of coverage would be higher if I only got liability rather than comprehensive. It was clear that if I filed any claim they would total the car. Kept me more honest than I’d have liked.

  105. HtG Says:

    Oh, but the geniuses didn’t figure out that the car didn’t have ABS brakes. Psych!

  106. HtG Says:

    Here’s a lamentable article from NYTimes about how the feds are looking into how GM’s bankruptcy protection may be affected by possible fraud related to disclosing issues with the ignitions. Did I not say? It was silly hearing people saying there was no risk because of the old/new GM division.

  107. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, I have not paid for full coverage in like 6 yrs, only PIP and the one that caused the accident actually thought that she had full coverage so when the gecko told her “Sorry senora!” I thought she was gonna pass out from the shcok.

  108. Kit Gerhart Says:

    95, My friend was sure his ’05 SI was interference, or he he would have been willing to be stranded, as I am with my ’89 minivan. I suspect his being an SI could make it interference, while regular Civics might not be.

  109. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, Kawasaki makes the ship engines under contract with MAN.

  110. HtG Says:

    Sunday morning shopping run

    So, here north of NYC I’m pulling into the organic supermarket parking lot, when I see this 6’ plus blond gent crossing before me. He’s wearing clothes I can’t place and being followed by a pair of young towhead sons. They walk up to a big new blue truck, with the crew cab. As I pull into a spot I notice the wheels on the truck are grey steelies; What? But I listen to the father talking to the kids, and can’t even identify the language beyond northern European: one of the boys answers his father with a, ‘nay,’ so it’s Germanic.

    This picture is suburban surreality, imho

  111. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #109 Kit

    I guess the rpm are so low (on these monster diesels) that a two stroke diesel makes sense (plenty of time to scavenge and inject fuel) efficiently; I think I noticed the power output as Mega Watts (as opposed to h/p).

    #110 HtG

    Perhaps Scandinavian?

  112. Kit Gerhart Says:

    111, From descriptions I could find, it looks like these huge ship engines work similarly to the old Detroit engines, with air entering through ports, and exhaust exiting through valves. They use turbochargers rather than roots blowers, though.

    110, That reminds me of a couple Brits I knew who spent some time in the U.S. with Boeing in the late 70′s or early 80′s. Rather than cars like they had back home, they wanted quintessentially American rides which, at the time, were “large estate cars,” as in big rear drive Chevy and Olds wagons. Probably the new quintessentially American vehicle for Europeans is the monster pickup truck. I’m not sure how the steel wheels fit in, though, unless he wanted more of a “real truck.”

  113. HtG Says:

    111,112 I think both you guys have it right. I decided the steelies are explained by a work stipend for a car while in the states, and he’s seeing how much truck he could get. The funny thing is, big trucks are rare as hen’s teeth around here.

  114. alex wellington Says:

    110, 112 It is natural if you visit a place with cars different from yours, you want to try them. I advised my post-doc from Poland, who is a junior faculty at the U of Warsaw, and who had a Corolla Wagon plus a small Daewoo Matiz 800 cc there, to stick with Toyota here as well. He did not listen to me and got a Pontiac Montana or something Minivan from a dealer, and did not even pay attention to the warranty. He was here for 6 months in his 1st visit, with wife and 2 kids, and they had a third kid while here.

    Guess what. The POS minivan soon developed major problems, they cost him an arm and a leg to fix, they were not covered by the ridiculous 1-month warranty, I believe they happened after it expired anyway

    The guy was attracted to the minivan because of its space, first, and the leather etc inside, second, which he did not have in that Corolla wagon, and after he suffered, he saw the error of his ways and next time he came here he got a reliable vehicle.

  115. HtG Says:

    114 so how to explain the pickup in the organic food store parking lot? That has to be a first ;)

    (An old Civic? Yeah, no surprise there)

  116. alex wellington Says:

    Road and Track current issue

    I do my shopping rounds on Saturday afternoons, and also visit the local public library and check the mags, rent dvds etc.

    Yesterday it had the latest “Road and Track” issue. Everything I cite below is their articles and opinions, not mine.

    First, they had a test of that pimped-up VOlt, the unreasonably priced ELR. As expected, they find the ridiculous price as the biggest fault, and equate it with other disastrous GM caddy pricing decisions 30 years ago (that POS CImarron etc)

    Then, they have a hard-to-believe comparison test between the outstanding Merc E 250 DIESEL, (it really has a 2.1 lt 4) an AWESOME vehicle with mind-boggling HWY mpg, but they tested it against a Prius NOT on a pure Hwy segment, but on some mixed driving itinerary, and… they claim the Merc did it and had 20 miles more to go than the Prius! They compared tank for tank, I am not sure they used the same amount of gallons, the two tanks are not the same size. The total distance was more than 500 miles.

    No domestic builds anything that even comes close to either of these vehicles, the Prius and this awesome Diesel E class that gets huge HWY numbers, 50 or so, from a big, powerful (and really torqueful) 4,000 lb car.

    Then they had a test of the M5, the Audi RS7, a MErc E63 or C63, a Jag equivalent and maybe a fifth car I forget now.

    Most of these cars, with options, cost more than 120k, let alone 100k. Each has over 500 HP and 500 lbft.

    I was surprised that the M5 held its ground and ultimately won this test.

    Plenty above to think about.

  117. alex wellington Says:

    115 it explains it even more. A full size pickup is an extinct animal over in the old country, so curiosity killed the cat again. They had to try it. they did not have the luxury of using (or wearing!) a different vehicle if they visited an organic store. What are cars, dresses?

  118. alex wellington Says:

    116 And the other was the Panamera Turbo, which lists for Bentley $ as tested, $178k! (well, at least Entry-level Bentley).

    Speaking of Bentley, the NYT autos section had a glowing article about the new Flying Spur, a 600 HP+ Behemoth with AWD that was unstoppable in the snow, they used it to cover 630 miles in 9 hours. But then at the end some electronics erroneously told them that their tire pressure was low, and they had to check them out (it turned out to be a false alarm) at a gas station while the passengers of a decrepit Cherokee next to them were watching amusedly.

  119. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Benz has a much larger fuel tank than a Prius, 21.1 gallons vs 11.9, so its range would be better, even though the fuel economy of the Prius is significantly better.

    That Benz would be a fantastic highway car, especially for those who don’t want to refuel very often. A surprise to me, though, is that the Audi A7 with a V6 diesel is very close to the 4 cylinder Benz diesel in fuel economy, while being substantially quicker. The A7 is overpriced, but the 3.0 TDI is available in the much less expensive A6. It’s too bad we don’t get the A6 Avant, though.

  120. alex wellington Says:

    119 I remember the tanks of older E class diesels being 18 or 18.5 gals, but 21.1 is really big, almost as big as my 22.5 gals in the 740. I also did not notice the Prius’ tank was so puny, 11.9 gal only! Almost half the above.

    The R&T article was a bit disingenuous, it really did not highlight the diff in the tanks at all, and I bet many readers will not know it is that huge.

  121. alex wellington Says:

    119 If Audis have indeed improved across the board, Reliability-wise, then one might consider the A6 Avant. However, a colleague of mine with two young kids used to have an A6 Avant (or maybe it was the Allroad variation) and it was unacceptably unreliable, and dumped it in favor of the Awesome Honda Odyssey they should have bought in the first place, which they still own, and which has been extremely satisfying to them.

  122. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR’s recent reliability data on most Audis has been pretty good, but I don’t think I’m convinced enough to buy one, at least not yet.

    If you just need lots of room for either people or stuff, the Odyssey is hard to beat.

  123. alex wellington Says:

    Other minivans are reliable and have plenty of room (Sienna) but the Odyssey looks and drives far better than they do, and also has a more intelligent interior design. It rides like a large sedan, luxury sedan when it has the options. It has S-class wheelbase and weight, which helps.

  124. HtG Says:

    No smirks please, gentlemen

    I just saw a Honda CRZ on a dealer lot with a 2012 Monroney sticker! Can you believe that? A new car from 2011?

    What a whiff for Honda

  125. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I wonder what the range is on a chevy Cruze diesel…

  126. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It has a 15.6 gallon tank, so based on CR’s getting 49 mpg at 65 mph, it would have a highway range of ~700 miles, with gallon left over driving a steady 65. It should have a range of over 600 miles in any normal highway driving, unless you go really fast.

  127. G.A.Branigan Says:

    WOW….thanx Kit :}>

  128. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, according to CR, the Passat diesel has a highway range of 690 with its 18 gallon tank and 50 mpg. MT doesn’t even list it, no wonder these car mags stink out loud!

  129. alex wellington Says:

    128? I think I first read about the passat diesel getting an average 52 MPG in a long trip exactly in Motor Trend.

    The mag i was quoting above was road and track.

  130. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Passat TDI should be about the ultimate “affordable” highway car, if you want a roomy sedan with great fuel economy. It gets better city mpg than the Cruze diesel, both EPA and in CR’s tests. The Passat is a few pounds lighter, but I suspect the VW’s DSG might account for most of the difference. The Cruze has a torque converter automatic.

  131. alex wellington Says:

    130 the Passat Diesel is lighter than the much smaller Cruze Diesel? Wow!

    The Passat has an enormously roomy rear seat, not only much more room than the Cruze, but than all its competition (Accord, Camry, Altima, Malibu, Fusion especially)

    In my case, being able to have a HWY range well above 600 miles is really important. From where I am, Wash DC and Baltimore is 530 miles, NY 600, Philly somewhere inbetween, Connecticutt towns are about 700 miles, and Boston is less than 800 miles away.

    I could go to every one of them with gas to spare in my tank, if I had the Passat Diesel. Very convenient when you have to put gas at some highway robbery station, or if it is too cold/rainy/etc on the road to get out of your vehicle.

    My vehicles all had about 500-525 miles of useful range (with a gallon left in the tank). Both the 17 gallon Accord and the 22.5 gallon 7.

    In addition, the new Passat really looks good on the outside. Looks like a much more upscale vehicle. No comparison with the weird Camry grille, the juvenile Sonata, the porky Malibu.

  132. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From CR’s info. Passat SE TDI 3450 pounds
    Cruze diesel 3515 pounds

    They get this info by weighing the cars they buy and test.

  133. alex wellington Says:

    132 Cruze diesel not a very efficient design. I wonder if the Euro version is as porky, or they had to strengthen it to meet US specs (also add stuff to the diesel plant to pass emissions?)

    GM also did not price the Cruze Diesel attractively, the regular Cruze is sufficiently efficient (the Cruze Eco in particular) so very few buyers will ever recover the significant price increase of the Diesel over the base Cruze.

    It seems to me that the army of beancounters who bankrupted GM is alive and well in the “new improved” GM.

    See the ridiculous pricing of the ELR, then the also steep, $60k++ Camaro SS (high spec Corvette money), and the Cruze diesel.

    Or do these prices have built-in $5,000 rebates on the hoods?

  134. Kit Gerhart Says:

    133, Some GM cars are well priced, like Corvette, and most other Chevys if you hold back on the options. Yeah, the diesel Cruze is too pricey, and is sold only as a “loaded” car. It would be nice with a manual transmission, but I understand their not selling it that way in America. They’d need to sell the hatch or wagon to get me interested.

    Except for ELR, most Cadillac cars are competitively priced, except that they won’t hold value as well as a Benz or BMW is likely to.

    The Camaro SS is a really bad buy, but so is the $50-60K Mustang. GT 500 or something like that?

  135. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Actually, the extra expensive Camaro is the Z28. The SS is the “basic” V8 version.

  136. Darren Says:

    Ford will have expensive Aluminum truck body to reduce weight. But my bet is GM will have composite lighter body and COST REDUCE their tucks.
    Think Fords better idea should have been used on Mustang first.GM already mastered composite on Corvette.