AD #1358 – Dodge Tweaks Its Big Cars, GM Adds New Safety Group, Nissan Offers Free Charging

April 17th, 2014 at 11:48am

Runtime: 8:23

- Mustang on Empire State Building
- Dodge Tweaks Challenger
- Dodge Charger Redesign
- GM Adds Special Safety Group
- Nissan Offers Free Charging
- You Said It!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Later in the show, we’ll get to your comments and questions, but right now we still have a lot of news coming out of the New York auto show.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford displayed the all-new version on the observatory deck of the Empire State Building in New York, recreating the same stunt the company pulled off 50 years ago when it first introduced the pony car. The Autoline crew was on hand for the unveiling of the new model and we wanted to share it with you. What a breath taking view! Because there isn’t enough room for a helicopter to lift the car to the top of the skyscraper, Ford had to cut up the Mustang into pieces small enough to fit in elevators and then assemble at the top of the building.

Big news from Dodge coming out of New York. Besides celebrating the 100th anniversary of the brand there are some styling tweaks to the Challenger and a significant redesign to the Charger. Let’s start with the Challenger, which gets new front and rear fascias. The hood scoops are now wider and longer, making them more pronounced. And the grille is compressed to make it look like the headlamps are peering out. Inside the instrument cluster and center console are inspired by the look of the 1971 Challenger. One big important change under the hood is that this car now gets an 8-speed automatic with rev matching, which, with the base V-6 engine, knocks a half second off a 0 to 60 run.

But the big change is with the Charger which gets all-new sheetmetal and which now bears a family resemblance to the Dodge Dart. In fact, I think there’s a good chance this redesign might actually help sales of the Dart by making that car more noticeable. The Charger has more plan view both front and rear, which means they kind of rounded off the corners of the car, which in person makes it look shorter even though it has the same overall length. Also, the rear buttress, where the roof slopes into the trunk, is longer, which makes the rear deck look shorter. The design staff at Chrysler is getting good at hiding little design tricks, which they call Easter Eggs because you have to hunt to find them. One of the Easter Eggs on the Charger regards the holes in the grille. Those holes are actually shaped like the overall grille. One other interesting side note, the changes to the Charger include making it compatible with the Insurance Institute’s small overlap crash test.

Speaking in New York yesterday, GM CEO Mary Barra announced that the company is creating a special group to focus exclusively on safety during vehicle development. The team will report to the head of product development, Mark Reuss. Meanwhile, the Detroit News reports that GM is asking the courts to protect it from lawsuits involving that ignition switch defect before its bankruptcy in 2009. The company wants all those lawsuits to be dumped into the old GM, better known as Motor Liquidation.

And Nissan announced that it will take a page right out of Tesla’s book and offer free public charging to new LEAF owners. The promotion, called “no charge to charge” will give customers who purchase or lease a new LEAF an all-access card to charging centers that’s good for 2 years. As of right now the offer is only available to the top 10 cities for LEAF sales, but Nissan will be extending it to an additional 15 markets next year. With sales of the all-electric car going pretty well we think that this promotion should help to continue that trend, though it will probably tick off people who already bought the car and can’t get free charging.

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

Ron Paris points out that our report that Toyota is the first to use an Atkinson cycle engine in a non hybrid car is actually, “Not the first application of Atkinson cycle engine in non-hybrid vehicle by a Japanese manufacturer. Mazda uses the technology in its current line of SkyActiv engines.” That’s close Ron, but not exactly right. Mazda actually says that SkyActiv uses a Mazda Miller Cycle, because the Miller Cycle is their method of obtaining an Atkinson Cycle.”

Mark says, “John, your comment that the current gen Mustang dates back to the 1970′s Fox body platform is wrong. The 2005 Mustang represented a clean break from that platform as Ford used a modified Lincoln LS platform as a starting point for the 2005 Mustang.” Thanks for the correction.

gary susie wants to know, “John don’t you think Toyota recalling 6.5 million cars helps GM?” Well Gary you know that Toyota recalled 6.5 million cars and I know that Toyota recalled 6.5 million vehicles, but all the public knows is that GM covered up a massive defect.

Lex opines that, “I prefer what VW did to the Jetta in it’s refresh which is keeping the design almost timeless. What else would you expect from VW? Look how long the original VW Beetle remained virtually unchanged. It’s what is under the hood and inside the passenger compartment that counts!” The Model T looked the same for decades, too, until sales collapsed. Timeless or not, VW sales and market share are sinking in the American market and redesigning a car in a way that no one can tell the new one is a bad move. I keep saying this is a key reason why the new Chevrolet Silverado is a sales dud. And it’s a fantastic truck.

Ramón Rivera also has something to say about this. “Versa, Jetta and Cruze front refreshes… I can’t really see the difference without having the older cars aside those new. I wonder if customers will notice, and value the changes?” Exactly. Thank you Ramon.

PureMoose wants to know, “JOHN……is there a polish available that would give your car paint protection and a flat finish without the shine??” Not to my knowledge. Anybody else out there know about anything like this? If not, PureMoose, you ought to run out and patent that idea.

Bradley has a suggestion for GM. “One way to get ahead of this bad PR is to state that by Jan 1, 2015 ALL GM vehicles sold in North America will have push button start. This eliminates all ignition questions, gives the customers something they want and inevitably will have anyway.” Bradley, if it was in my power I would appoint you the head of Public Relations at GM. That is an A+ idea.

Thank you for all your letters and comments, you help make this show a better one. And speaking of shows don’t miss Autoline After Hours tonight. Gary Vasilash is hosting it from the floor of the New York auto show where he posed a bunch of your questions to a bunch of automotive executives. That show will air tonight starting at 6PM eastern time.

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

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69 Comments to “AD #1358 – Dodge Tweaks Its Big Cars, GM Adds New Safety Group, Nissan Offers Free Charging”

  1. C-Tech Says:

    The previous Charger was about spot on. The refresh is nice, but Dart sales most likely won’t increase until there is a larger gap in price from an Avenger and it has more power. Now a Dart hatch or wagon will bring some interest.

  2. John L.K. Says:

    I see Leaf customers get free charging. I thought all those charging stations were free. I’ve seen one at the library here in town. So do you have to pay for a charge at these things, and do they charge by the hour?

  3. XA351GT Says:

    With the demise of the Avenger , Chrysler needs a product there to bridge the gap. I’d suggest the name Demon if they were to do so. Give the car the size to be competitive and enough engine options from 4 to 8 cylinder to appease all buyers in the size range. Also to not cut into either the Charger or dart sales.

  4. T. Bejma Says:

    I also think the Charger refresh is nice. I like it better than the “angry eyes” look of the previous version. Is it going to help any sales? Probably not.

    Chrysler has been gaining share by selling their vehicles with razor thin (less than 1% while Ford is about 6% and GM around 3%) margins and eventually it is going to catch up with them. It is just not sustainable.

  5. alex wellington Says:

    “World Car of the Year Awards: top honors go to the brand-new Audi A3

    World Green Car of the Year: BMW i3
    World Car Design of the Year: BMW i3
    World Performance Car of the Year: Porsche 911 GT3
    World Luxury Car of the Year: Mercedes-Benz S-Class”

    In case u missed it:

    Score: Germany 5, everybody else ZERO.

  6. alex wellington Says:

    2 The Avenger was a Dodge that most people would gladly forget. Instead of keeping it alive, and since Ram is its own division, and Viper is comatose, why not close down the whole stupid Dodge brand?

    Of course, that would require RATIONALITY…

  7. Lex Says:

    The revised front end of the Dodge Charge is poorly executed. They should have recessed the headlights and matched it to the nose on the General Lee Charger. That would definitly increase sales.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Mark says, “John, your comment that the current gen Mustang dates back to the 1970′s Fox body platform is wrong. The 2005 Mustang represented a clean break from that platform as Ford used a modified Lincoln LS platform as a starting point for the 2005 Mustang.” Thanks for the correction.”

    The Mustang was never based on the Lincoln LS platform. Someone must be thinking of the most recent Thunderbird.

  9. alex wellington Says:

    #3 Good points about the ephemeral Chrysler market share rise and the profit margins.

    #3 While the Charger was not my favorite of the trio, I liked all three of them for their considerable virtues (RWD, huge Wheelbase, good looks). If they did this to help the Dart, they are really desperate. They should have done the opposite, refreshed the failed Dart to make it look like the Charger.

  10. Lex Says:

    Bradley is a genius! Mary Barra should give you a free vehicle of your choosing for that suggestion! Push Button starters in all future GM vehicles as of 01/01/2015. This could be costly for GM, but may be very effective in repairing the damage done by penny pinchers at GM.

  11. Mark Says:

    “The Mustang was never based on the Lincoln LS platform. Someone must be thinking of the most recent Thunderbird.”

    It was. The Thunderbird and Mustang both used the LS platform as the starting point of their designs. The LS came out in 2000 and the Thunderbird in 2002.

  12. alex wellington Says:

    Hey Bradley,

    Great point, I missed it before John brought it up. Listen, if Mary offers you a free $75k (base price) ELR, ask them for a Z06 Convertible (or coupe) instead, and if they insist, offer to pay the (not that big) diff.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    If VW really wants to increase sales in the US, they need to address their reliability problems once and for all, not this “engineered in Germany” BS that convinces no one. The CR and JD Powers stats say it all!

  14. alex wellington Says:

    #10 Is “..The Thunderbird and Mustang both used the LS platform as the starting point of their designs…” different than saying “They were both based on the LS Platform”, from start to finish?

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10, The Thunderbird, LS, and Jaguar S-type used that platform. If the Mustang did, it must have been VERY LOOSELY used, given that there is no similarity in the rear suspension of the cars.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW could actually be the poor man’s BMW if they got their crap together and bring back the driving dynamics they have in the European market.

  17. Lex Says:

    The boxy shape and poorly designed wrap around grill/headlights on the new Chevy Sliverado is what is killing sales. The previous model was better looking to the eye and not so boxy. The same can be said of the Tahoe and Yukon regarding the extremely boxy profile.

  18. alex wellington Says:

    12 In Europe, VW is perceived as a very high quality, very reliable brand. AUDIS are very reliable now, even in the US. Your stats and overall image is several years old.

    VW is not some amateur outfit. When they have problems, they sure know how to fix them.

    BTW I was stunned a few years back when some old friends in Europe were choosing between a 5-door Corolla and a VW GOlf, and at the end they bought the Corolla because they claimed “it was better looking” style-wise. It did not look bad at all, but the Golf looked 100 times better.

    There is no accounting for taste…

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14, continued…
    There is no similarity in the front suspension either. I guess it depends on what one considers the “same platform.”

  20. alex wellington Says:

    #15 VW is already the poor man’s BMW, except they are FWD. As are the Mazdas of today in the USA, most of them have a rather sporty, pretend-BMW flavor (ride and handling wise).

    But there is no need for any fake poor man’s BMW, a poor man’s BMW is a used BMW!

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, BMW will be soon be joining VW with more and more FWD vehicles.

  22. alex wellington Says:

    #19 “a poor man’s BMW is a used BMW!”

    They can fit all the budgets:

    $5k only: Get a 740iL 2001! or better, a 740i SPORT 01!

    $10k-$15k: Get a 2003 M5 or at least 540iL 6 sp manual, or a 2005 M3, 6 sp manual!

    $20k now you are nearing certified-used, 3 year old models with warranties! Enjoy!

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    The CR and JD Power data I refer to is recent, not years old, anyway just about any car today can give you a few years of reliable service, what happens when the car is paid for and the warranty expires is what matters to most buyers.

  24. alex wellington Says:

    20 They do it at their own peril. People with a clue will understand that they are aping Mercedes and its lousy CLA, and that they should not expect BMW handling from these POS. I bet before long they will realize that a luxury maker cannot offer 100 different models (which they are both close doing) and expect optimal profits.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4, I found it interesting that China, with 7 has more WCOTY jurors than any other country, except the US. Germany has only 3, and France has one.

  26. alex wellington Says:

    # 22

    1. If you have indeed seen the latest CR data, in the APril 2014 Auto issue specifically, you will have seen the STELLAR Reliability of 2013 AUDIs. Solid Red circles across the table. OLDER audis are the ones with problems.

    2. Just because the number of problems is higher, it does not necessarily mean that their severity is also serious, or that people who buy Hyundais and Kias and Buicks and CHevys and DOdges do not have similar trivial problems, but do not bother to report them just because their car starts every morning and they are OK with the less significant flaws.

    3. The fact is that ALL cars today are way more reliable than they have ever been, and that the gap between the most and the least reliable has shrunk considerably over the years.

    4. I believe you frequently mention VWs (and other brands) alleged unreliability to justify your own choices. But even your Corolla has had a ton of things go wrong over the years, as you yourself cited. 300K miles is great, but you did not do them in the snowbelt, with salt attacking your underbody and suspension, and with cold starts-short distances type of driving. Compared to the above, you had IDEAL driving conditions.

  27. Drew Says:

    Not to dampen the excitement about Bradley’s idea to install push button start/stop on all GM products, we need to remember it was a push button start/stop-equipped Lexus that the off-duty California trooper was driving when tragedy struck. As the vehicle accelerated out of control, the trooper could not quickly shut down the engine… suggesting some start/stop systems do not have intuitive shut downs in a panic situation. I believe the idustry and NHTSA are addressing this.

  28. alex wellington Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    April 17th, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    4, I found it interesting that China, with 7 has more WCOTY jurors than any other country, except the US. Germany has only 3, and France has one. ”

    Very interesting piece of info, thanks.

    Actually, if you look at world-wide car sales, including all the top-level luxury brands,

    China has for years Outsold the US, and from that basis, they should actually have more judges than the US! Germany had only 3 (out of 20?) judges, but got all 5 out of 5 awards (any comments, Pedro?)

    Personally, I would not give France even that one Judge, but have one from Italy or Britain, where they still produce award-winning cars, even if exotic ones.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have two push button start cars, a Prius and a MINI, and I’d be less surprised to have them unexpectedly “turn off,” than I would wy older cars with keys. There is a lot of complex electronics in those keyless systems.

  30. aliisdad Says:

    GM hiding behind bankruptcy laws and forming a “new” GM… Don’t they give a rats that people were injured because of their coverup just to save a few bucks?? What a bunch of snakes!!!

  31. XA351GT Says:

    Mustang chassis platform history. Okay according to what I found on Wikipedia( take that for what it’s worth) 64-73 Falcon based,74-78 Pinto based, 79-93 Fairmont based (Fox )94-04 modified Fox known as Fox- 4 or SN95, 05-14 D2C platform AKA @-197 loosely based on the DEW98 Lincoln LS , Thunderbird Jaguar S-type. I hope this helps.

  32. HtG Says:

    My reading of GM’s legal arguments is that they want to maintain their bankruptcy protection, but will compensate owners equitably regardless of having suffered harm before or after the bankruptcy. That’s what Ken Feinberg is all about.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that most European cars have much better driving dynamics than most others, in the brief time I spent behind the wheel of a Volvo 240 and as a passenger in an older 3 series and Audi 5000, I recall not ever having quite that kind of experience, I could only imagine a new one. Japanese brands re-wrote the book on reliability, even the UK reviews I watch and read always mention that fact.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    If those awards were given to Chinese cars, then I’d say the whole award process was kind of fishy, as it is, not giving any award to any Japanese nor American models is kind of suspicious.

  35. HtG Says:

    Getting the Vapors

    Are you sitting down, Senator Blumenthal? The judge in Texas says federal regulators are better than jurists at determining if cars should be grounded. The judge will not order Cobalts to be parked.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to TTAC the new Fit-based Honda CUV will start at around $23k I thought the CRV cost that much, holy inflation, Batman!!!

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35, You can get the “world car of the year” A3 for only ~$30K, but the new one is downgraded from a cool wagon/hatch, to a generic sedan. Yeah, the old A3 was becoming dated, but I’d rather have it than the new one. The new one doesn’t even offer a TDI, at least for now. It’s main competitor in the US is, presumably, the CLA.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    I watch Carbuyer from the UK and they test our cars all the time that get incredibly high MPG’s with either Diesel or small 4 cyl engines and i wonder it that has to do with the fact that in the UK the pollution control devices don’t kill miles per gallon like they do here. Also if they pollute little, they pay zero or very little road taxes.

  39. alex wellington Says:

    37 even if they are real-life tests, they are in IMPERIAL, NOT US gallons! 20% more gas in an imperial gallon.

    But if they are these pie-in-the-sky EU-regulations MPGs, these are laughably high by definition, and car mags routinely post actual test results which get about half, at best two -thirds, of these fictional MPGs.

  40. alex wellington Says:

    35 The Fit-based CUV has been very popular in Europe. Its previous versions looked rather ugly but this brand new one looks great!

    AND, if you saw the discussion of the far inferior Buick Encore which goes for a ridiculous $30k loaded, your $23k is excellent, almost a bargain!

  41. alex wellington Says:

    33 They are not voting for best APPLIANCE. They are voting for the best cars in the world in these categories.

    Which, if any, Japanese models would you replace the 5 germans with, in any of the 5 categories?

    I would only replace the i3 with the Tesla S, which sure is not Japanese but good old USA made!

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Emission requirements are about the same in the UK and US, at least for the gassers.

    The Brits have a lot more choice of engines that we do in the same cars; they especially have more choice of smaller engines and manual transmissions. They can get a Benz C-Class with a 4 cylinder diesel and manual transmission. They can get a Golf with a 90 hp diesel, or a 1.2 liter, 105 hp gas engine. Also, if they talk about mpg in the UK, they are using Imperial gallons which are 1.2 US gallon.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For example, a 90 hp Golf 1.6 TDI a got 74.3 “combined” rating. That’s pretty good, even using Imperial gallons, but not many people would get that in real driving.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40, The Tesla S won the “green” category in 2013. They probably don’t allow repeat winners.

  45. cwolf Says:

    Ahem…Over looking the Bridgestone sponsorship, why wasn’t something said about one current and two former executives of Firestone indicted and plead guilty to price fixing anti-vibration parts sold to Japanese makers here in the U.S.?

    Does anyone remember the last snafu for the price fixing of other auto parts?

    What is with these executives charged with fixing prices of automotive components, most of whom are Japanese? Must be something in the rice, perhaps?

  46. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Mustang platforms: From 64 to 66 the mustang was based on the Ford Falcon platform.In 67 the Mustang grew longer and wider,allowing for the 390 big block.I think that platform was used until the advent of the small Mustang II.

  47. HtG Says:

    44 We all know, cwolf. It’s in so many industries, and the US makes itself into the world wide enforcer. Sometimes I feel bad for the execs trapped in a system and a hard place. Why I’ve just had a private rant right here about a certain east coast elite professor who…, well it’s not auto related.

  48. HtG Says:

    ‘…execs trapped between a system and a hard place….’

    I meant to say

  49. cwolf Says:

    I’m sure there are many execs who give it their all,only to have their integrity tarnished by the few.
    Aw brought the topic of executive pay to light the other day which stuck in my pea brain. A day later, NPR aired a related piece of which I only caught the tail end. It was said, congress enacted a baseline for exec. pay based upon performance consisting of several self chosen methods. Because of the impossibility to create “one size fits all” regulations, a vast number of loop holes were a result and produced oposite intended results. This, as stated, was the reason why US CEO’s pay reached 100 to 200% pay differentials between them and the worker; The other global CEO pay was multiples less!
    The Sears head made 4 mil, microsoft 1.4, etc, etc. It was concluded that companys do not have to pay these people “over the top” wages for that business to remain profitable. And it is the lack of good planning on congresses part which allows the wage disparity to skyrocket out of hand. Sinse Barra has no track record, how was her wage established?

  50. Bradley Says:

    #9 #11 and John

    Ha! Thanks!

    Yes, it would be expensive. It would show that GM can respond and take action too.

  51. C-Tech Says:

    So how much does it cost to become WCOTY?

    A 1-2 year old Audi or VW is very nice. When they become 4-5 years old is when you see the expensive problems. Same with BMW.

  52. HtG Says:

    Oh, eff

    Reuters reports that GM didn’t test ignitions for knee bump risk.

    Here we go

  53. kevin m Says:


  54. M Campbell Says:

    Kudos to Mopar designers, awesome work!

  55. alex wellington Says:

    I watched AAH and it was one of the best, at least at the beginning with the brilliant Ex-Hyundai Boss Krafcik, AND the Consumer advocate and three time Jeopardy champ with a good sense of humor, who was no fool either.

    If you have not seen it, you really missed a lot.

    One important point, which everybody should really be troubled about, was his comment that Autonomous cars will not fly because of PRODUCT LIABILITY threats. Before all of you that hate autonomous cars instinctively do your knee-jerk reaction, listen to Kraftcik’s projections, which I find quite believable:

    Currently, 35-40,000 people are killed every year in road accidents. That is 12 (twelve!) September 11 WTC disasters EVERY YEAR. In juries are ten times as much, but even ignoring them completely:

    IF cars were autonomous, drunks, drug addicts, and any garden variety teen or elderly unfit drivers, would not be able to kill as many people. Kraftcik estimates only 10,000 or so would be killed.

    BUT nobody would tolerate 10,000 deaths caused by autonomous “evil robots”, while every inbred hilbilly (or not) would have NO Problem, as is the case TODAY and ever before, with 35,000, 40,000, and in the past up to 55,000 deaths annually. ANd that is in the US alone, in china they have a multiple of this, maybe 200,000 fatalities every year.

    We all need to really think seriously of our opposition to Autonomous Vehicles, and, much more important, the prospect of saving 25,000-30,000 lives EVERY YEAR if we embrace them.

    Of course, in our Litigious society, I have little hope that this will ever happen.

  56. alex wellington Says:

    50 C-tech

    Please do not contribute to the urban legends. I had a Honda Accord for 14 years and can compare its reliability with that of the flagship, far more expensive to maintain than a tiny 3 series or an audi a3, 740iL. AND my fact-based conclusion is that the Bimmer was a solidly made vehicle, that had dozens of systems more than the primitive accord, which did not even have a single airbag or ABS, and DESPITE all that, the Bimmer had outstanding reliability! AND I bought it in 05 with 113k miles, and it was always driven in Michigan winters! 16 years, going on 17!

    ALSO, if something goes wrong, not only is it usually nothing major, but you can always do it at a VERY reasonable price, even at some dealers, but especially at your non-dealer trusted and expert mechanic.

  57. HtG Says:

    54 You’re a bit late to the party, AW. We’ve talked ourselves blue over it already. What’s interesting is that JK says it, too.

  58. alex wellington Says:

    #56 It has been a very busy week for me, was the discussion in the previous emails? So what conclusions did you reach? And did you convince Pedro and the other anti-autonomists to change their minds?

    Actually, apart from Autos, every other form of transportation, you put your hands to the hands of a robot (such as an autopilot for boats or jets), or, worse, to a captain that could be drunk as a skunk and a second mate who can’t read maps (exactly what produced the Exxon Valdez Disaster! The ship was brand new and state of the art, but was driven by clowns!)

    Give me an “evil robot” any time instead.

    BTW, even when you drive, what is ABS if not a system that overrules your ignorant foot? And so many others?

  59. HtG Says:

    57 it’s been talked over here through the months and years. Personally i favor the statistical benefits

  60. HtG Says:

    I also find it weird when people who profess to not like computer control just don’t acknowledge how they use and rely upon them all day long. Maybe the younger generation will be different

  61. alex wellington Says:

    59 I agree. I just saw a thread at Linkedin having an MIT “entrance exam” in 1876, the questions were simple math ones, maybe they were allowed to use slide rules to easily get cubic roots and other colorful silly crap (by today’s standards). There was one particular fellow who longed for the days pre-computers etc, and I told him, Thanks but no thanks, back in his alleged “good old times” people were dying like FLIES and the averaqe lifespan was 40, and the buggy was even slower than canal transportation, which, pre-railroad, was the fastest way to travel in the US, but still at excruciatingly low speeds.

    58 I know that, but those discussions did not have the benefit of Krafcik’s keen insights. We never framed the problem in that way.

    PS 58 I want to be 100% sure of what your opinion is. Everybody favors the statistical benefits, that’s just motherhood and apple pie stuff. The Q is, are you for the necessary substantial investment in Autonomous Cars, or not?

    Also, I assume there was no consensus in these stale old discussions, and that the opponents of Autonomous cars (never mind the damn lawyers too) did not change their minds.

  62. C-Tech Says:

    @ #55 As a auto tech who regularly inspects an4.4epairs vehicles, I see plenty of vehicles as they reach the 60k to 150k area in mileage. For Audi and VW it is common to see oil leaks among other problems ( just Google Vw Oil leaks or Beetle trunk won’t open, or BMW 4.4 oil leak). These are expensive problems to fix once you are out of warranty. By the way my better half went that route and bought a used BMW 2007 X5 which has cost her about $700 in repairs not covered by BMW service contract.

  63. alex wellington Says:

    #61 One of the few problems I had in the 740iL beyond regular wear (brake replacement) and tear (we have the worst, pothole-filled roads in all 50 states, so I had to replace the front springs once), was an oil leak I detected. In retrospect, I was a damned fool to fix it, at the dealers no less, at $850. I could have just as well saved my $ and replaced the tiny amounts missing once in a blue moon.

    A former PhD student, now a professor for some years, who always bought used Audis (and a new Golf GTI before them) and really babies all his cars, does more repairs than even the dealer suggests), also bought an X5 recently, in his case a certified used 09 with low miles (30k) but with the smaller engine and rather spartan inside (fake leather!), for the winter. Of course had a good warranty, but did not need to use it for anything serious. Even his Audis, that are old now, a 97 manual A4 he just sold, and a 01 A6, are quite reliable. (the 2013 Audis score spectacularly well in CR, all solid red circles).

  64. C-Tech Says:

    My point is that any used vehicle is a higher risk than a new vehicle and high end luxury vehicles (including Lexus) are going to cost you more to repair than a Honda or Chevy.

  65. G.A.Branigan Says:

    My biggest fears for autonomous vehicles is the bored to tears computer hacker.The oems need to harden the systems so they can’t be hacked.That will be a big deal because you have to include all the traffic devices etc.The cars themselves might just be the easy part.If the grid goes down,what happens then?Imho,the infrastructure will be the biggest deal,and most vulnerable.

  66. alex wellington Says:

    63 You must not be familiar with Honda replacement parts and labor prices, no relation to Chevy, or even TOyota, they are very expensive.

    I got my 7 in 2005 for a pittance, $10.5k fully fixed and detailed, like new (the owner sold it to me $9k ‘as is’ but, also foolishly, I wanted him to fix the “check engine” light, which promptly came back after an expensive $550 sensor was wastefully replaced, and three visits to the dealer later (at zero cost, plus a free wash each time), they could not find anything wrong as the stupid light seemed to indicate.

    A comparable car now costs over $100k, then, over $75k.

    More importantly, the Depreciation alone, if some lunatic bought the 740il NEW, as you seem to recommend above, would be three times what I paid for the whole car in 2005!

    That was why I decided to take the risk, because even if the car dropped dead the first year, I would have lost barely one third of that depreciation.

    Not only was my 7 more reliable than the Accord, in 2009 it needed so little care, it was a PROFIT CENTER! And I will explain fully what I mean: I enjoy long trips in it and took it four times to business trips to Wash DC (about 1,050 miles RT), was paid per mile the standard rate (about $0.50) by the sponsor, and even if you deduct from that $2200+ total, the insignificant gas cost ($150 per RT), the Licence plate, the insurance, the oil change, and a minor repair (wiper motor replacement at the dealers), I actually MADE MONEY off it, which never ever happened with my Honda, my Pontiac, my VW or my other Honda I still have (the 91-92 Civic hatch)

    I claim that used flagship luxury cars, with the possible exception of the LS460-430 and 400, are HUGE bargains and people worried about repairs should NOT, they can do them at very reasonable cost even at the dealer’s but especially at an independent mechanic. PLUS what is the price of your LIFE? An econobox is a rolling target, compared to the immense passive AND active safety a powerful, heavy, solid, stong, and, above all, agile handling flagship offers?

    I made a mistake for almost 30 years driving cheap or mid-priced econoboxes, and I do not intend to make this mistake ever again. Unfdortunately, my 91 civic will never die and still has too few miles on it to recycle…

  67. T. Bejma Says:


    In addition, you would think that AW, who is supposedly a Mathematician, would understand statistical significance and the fact that with his sample size of exactly 1 Accord and 1 Bimmer, no valid conclusion can be made.

  68. C-Tech Says:

    You seem to have had very good luck with your old BMW 7 series. I prefer the older box to the Bangle-butt. There’s far more customers who have not been as fortunate and most people do not have the means to “make money” from their vehicles as you have. For that reason it’s buyers be very aware of what you are getting into with a used luxury car.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:


    My sample of one MINI finds the brand to be very reliable, but CR and JD Power have found otherwise, with their larger samples.