AD #1360 – New Kia for China, BMW Vision Future Luxury, Krafcik Shares Insight on GM Defect

April 21st, 2014 at 11:56am

Runtime: 7:07

- EU Mandates Emergency Call Systems
- New Kia for China
- BMW Vision Future Luxury
- VW Reveals New Midsize Coupe
- Lincoln MKX Concept
- Krafcik Shares Insight on GM Defect

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

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

Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, We hope you had a great weekend. We’ve got some new car reveals from the Beijing auto show, and very insightful comments from former Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik on the GM situation, so let’s get to it.

The European Union is mandating that automakers install the technology for automatic emergency calls if a car gets in an accident. By 2017 all light vehicles and vans sold in the EU must have emergency call systems or ecalls, that will notify police, ambulances or firefighters when a car is in an accident. The EU says ecalls will improve emergency response times by 40% in cities and by 50% in rural areas. And we’re willing to bet that it’s only a matter of time before this mandate is picked up in North America and Japan.

OK, now over to the Beijing auto show where Kia just revealed an all-new sedan concept called the K4 but as you can see from the pictures this car looks production ready. Developed specifically for the Chinese market, the K4 is powered by a 1.6L turbo GDI engine that’s mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch-transmission. Safety features include 6 airbags, electronic stability control and a back-up camera. The K4 goes on sale in the second half of the year.

Also at the Beijing show, BMW took the wraps off a sleek looking concept with a bizarre name. Called the Vision Future Luxury, the car is meant to demonstrate the company’s long-term outlook of a luxury vehicle. It features carbon fiber throughout and in some unique ways. One example is that the carbon construction allows the seat frames to be integrated into the load bearing structure which allows for a small unobstructed B-pillar. Another unique technology is the heads-up display that can highlight buildings or street signs in order to help the driver. You can click the link in today’s show notes to learn more about this concept.

Volkswagen’s idea of producing vehicles on modular platforms may have one big problem. Its cars are all starting to look the same. Case in point is the automakers new concept car that it showed in Beijing called the New Midsize Coupe which is built on the MQB platform and is supposed to show where its future design language is heading. But it looks almost identical to the Jetta or the Passat. Let’s hope VW does not bring this kind of styling to the US market, where its sales are already languishing with styling that does not resonate with most consumers.

Lincoln never held the debut of a concept car outside of the U.S., until now that is. In Beijing, Lincoln is showing us the MKX Concept. Not many details were released but you can see that it gets Lincoln’s signature split-wing grille. As you know, Ford is going to launch the Lincoln brand in China and wants to have four vehicles in the showrooms when its ready. We know two of those vehicles are the MKC and MKZ, and obviously this is the third. We think the Navigator will be the fourth. Lincoln conducted clinics in China too see how people would respond to the MKX’s styling. We think that it looks pretty good, but what do you think? Just leave a response in the comments section of today’s show.

Coming up next, the former CEO of Hyundai Motor America has some valuable insights into GM’s problems with this ignition switch defect.

John Krafcik was a chief engineer at Ford and the CEO at Hyundai Motor America. Now he’s a board member for True Car, and Gary Vasilash caught up with him at the New York Auto Show for last week’s Autoline After Hours. Krafcik had some interesting things to say about GM’s recent problems. Listen up.

(The AAH clip is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

You can watch that entire interview right now on our website and there’s a lot more there with all the different executives that Gary caught up with.

Speaking of Autoline After Hours, did you see that article that Car And Driver did, racing a Model T against a Tesla Model S over a 600 mile run? Well we’ve got the owner and driver of that T, David Liepelt, coming on the show this week, and that ought to be a hoot. You’ll want to check that out.

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

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

78 Comments to “AD #1360 – New Kia for China, BMW Vision Future Luxury, Krafcik Shares Insight on GM Defect”

  1. HtG Says:

    Here’s my account from my visit to the 2014 NY AutoShow. My writing approximately follows me through the day I spent. I didtook notes to aid memory, but sometimes I’m deliberately trying to be a little vague about whom I talked to or overheard.

    New York, Friday, 10:45am

    Local 79: This construction trade union had workers in front of the Jacob Javits Center giving information about Nissan workers’ in Mississippi efforts to bring in the UAW. There was also a representative of the UAW there who told me that the union was trying to educate the factory workers, and also to work with other civic groups like the NAACP to improve conditions. She said that a vote had not been scheduled yet, but that there was some fear among the work force as well as a cultural resistance to unions. She also wasn’t having it when I said that the UAW is seen as very aggressive. A member of Local79 said that Nissan was holding meetings with the workers to influence them, operating in legal grey areas, and even suggested the company was firing organizers.

    And so I went into the show…

    Mustang: this production, street car is a Show Car. I look at the details and surfaces, which are so clean and cool that my only reference is concept cars. Also, take a look at my pic of the yellow car from the rear ¾, where I see Aston Martin lines beginning with the side windows then in the roof, door and fender.

    F150: The product specialist(PS) was emphasizing to visitors that important structural parts of the car were made of different grades of high strength steel. I heard this repeated, and asked if it was intentional to make this point, which it was. I also learned that Ford will be compensating body shops, beginning with Ford dealers, at a 15% rate for the costs of setting up facilities for repairing bashed F150s. The dealer will show their receipts and somehow they get helped out; first for Ford dealers then independents. A pair of PSs didn’t accept my number of $70K being the costs dealers were facing to build their aluminum workshop, though I heard the number $55K from one.

    Jeep Cherokee: It’s huge in the back seat, with plenty of leg room if I sit behind myself(5’9”). The interior is superb, but pay close attention. The dark grey colors, soft touch, textured dash, very cushioned door armrests, polished metal framing of instrument cluster and touch screen,shifter etc., and again a polished metal inside door latch are a design language that I saw throughout the autoshow on car after car. It’s like the middle of the market, beginning at about $20K and going up into Mercedes/BMW have learned how to make very similar interiors. I swear that if you didn’t see the label on cars it would be hard to tell them apart. Even the dashboard knobs are rounded, grippy thimbles, the buttons squared off tiles with similarly detented feel when you push them. Some makes like Toyota and Honda and Cadillac and Buick don’t play this language game the same, going their own ways. Also, once you sit in something really low priced like a Yaris, Rio or Versa, you’re back in Plastic Land of old.

    Jeep Renegade: Every bit as cute as the photos. It looks just like the pictures we’ve all seen. The PS’s presentation emphasized fuel economy. Such a cute car, imo. The rear light’s X shape motif was described as ‘military,’ which is funny because the F150’s aluminum is also called, ‘military grade.’

    Buick Encore: GM tells the PSs that this car brings in all kinds of buyers rather than there being a dominant profile. The PS I spoke to said he sees a lot of dads looking for a daughters(they find it cute) going to college, for whom they are looking for good mileage and not too much power. Our chat began when I asked if the Encore’s door was made of aluminum, since I found it surprisingly light and easy to swing. It’s metal-amazing. One thing I messed up when talking to the PS was not letting him speak fully about perceptions of Buick among younger people; I believe he meant to say that the brand isn’t necessarily considered an old man’s car anymore. Maybe I’m getting old, but damn these cars are nice, especially the interiors. The PS and I joked a little about another visitor that told me he felt the Verano was cramped behind the wheel; ‘How does Manning sit in there?’ he wondered. Answer; adjust the seat and steering column.

    Chevy Trax: it doesn’t look much like the photos. It’s much much cuter. The new Camry and Jaguar C-X17 SUV also don’t look like their photos. So weird. Like the whale Infiniti QX80 BelugaBarge, whose front grill appears to my eye like a sheet of water falling down a wall of smoothed stones. But my photo totally loses this effect. It’s like the Mustang whose designers were able to put the feeling of a concept car into the flesh, but photography cannot capture it.

    Corvette: The interior is impeccable. I had to sit in the passenger seat because of the long line of loozers waiting to sit behind the wheel. This car had the carbon fiber interior option which has a super cool feeling matte finish. Anyone who criticizes this interior needs to get their neck bolts tightened up. Also, see my pic of the large trunk area; it’s quite deep, I’d estimate no less than 10” in any spot. Very useful. Perhaps we can thank the leaf spring suspension below for this great interior space.

    Miata: Mazda had their 25th anniversary display of historic cars. Each car is literally being guarded by a gal whose job it is to keep people from touching the cars. They stand behind the cars and watch over them, since many are hand built prototypes, but also for another reason. The gal will light up if you ask whether they are guarding against people who intend to slash the interiors. This happens in NY, and those gals standing there aren’t looking for any one type of person; it can be anyone.

    I also got to whine to someone about the next Miata not having been revealed right now. The expectation is that it will happen in Chicago in February, like always. Mazda guys don’t want to talk about it.

    Fit: You could compare both the current and coming models, side by side. The rear passenger floor of the new car slopes upward, while the current car’s floor is flat but much higher up relative to the seat. The A-pillars on the new car also crowded my head more, as they were a bit shifted toward the car’s midline. Though maybe the seats are simply mounted wider, I don’t know. The new dash board is a bit less plasticy than the old car, but the top is still a lid.

    Maserati: Formula1 fans will be pleased to know that I teased a PS about going for Marco Mattiacci’s job as President of Ferrari North America now that he has abruptly ascended to Scuderia Ferrari. Go for it! I teased. Ah, me.
    Back on the mean streets, we chatted(no espresso, grazie mille) about the great progress Maserati has made, tripling its orders this year. (Do I know how to break the ice, or what?) I learned that people coming into the brand were Merc and Jaguar owners looking for passion and excitement, and would like to step out from the sea of grey BMW 5series our suburbs are filled with. The line the PS had was that their buyer, ‘wants a different experience.’ The PS agreed that one is very noticeable in a blue Ghibli: I offered that observation because it’s what I see when driving around. One spots a Maser from a mile away, no matter the color. It’s the lines.

    Corporate is identifying potential buyers by going through public records like DMV records, then giving those lists to dealers who contact the people directly, and may invite them to the showroom to see and drive a car. But it’s up to the dealers how to handle leads. The other people buying Masers are dedicated Ferrari/Maserati people who identify with the brand.

    Cadillac: This year GM has positioned the Cadillac display smack in the center of the competition. Most of GM’s cars and trucks are located in the Javits Center’s north pavilion, separate from the rest of the show. But this year Cadillac is on the main floor, surrounded by BMW, Merc, Lexus, Jag, Rover, Lincoln, Acura. A PS I spoke to said in the past they had been hearing visitors wonder why they should buy an Escalade when they could get a Suburban; well, the answer is that by being on the main floor Cadillac is now placed beside its true competition.

    CTS: A family was checking it out, with the 6’4” dad sitting comfortably behind the front seat which he had positioned to fit himself. He had about 3” of knee room to spare and was impressed with this latest CTS compared to the one they already owned. My own impression of CTS, ELR and XTS was that Cadillac has the best interior style and quality around. The design language is specific and doesn’t look like anyone else. And the quality and diversity of materials are a pleasure. Sue me.

    ELR: Man I like this car. You’ll see four materials come together on the top of door at the A-pillar. Leather, brushed metal, wood, and suede. This isn’t a Volt. But when I asked about the aggressive pricing, the PS said that there aren’t many options so you start out pretty well appointed, and that there are tax rebates that come to buyers. I got into the back seat, and learned that my diet has had another positive outcome; I could sit back there for a short time, but I’d need a reason.

    Elmiraj: You cannot photograph this car. It’s a work of art.

    Porsche Macan: It’s alright, but if it didn’t have Porsche badges on it, I wouldn’t know what it was. It’s pretty generic looking in the flesh, and actually photographs more in line with its brand DNA than my bare eyes could detect; but you need to see one on the road to be fair to Macan. There were lots of PSs working the Porsche display and I got to chat with a couple. I learned visitors to the show were coming to see the Macan for the first time, having already bought their car sight unseen. The current allotment of cars is sold out and has not yet arrived. I asked one PS to explain the torque vectoring system on Macan, but she had to check her iPod since no one had asked her about this Porsche feature in her three years of showing Porsches. (the brake caliper grabs the disc on the rear inside corner of the car). So we got to talking about what people ask about the cars, and it’s things like price and horsepower. But more interestingly, she told me that the PSs were taken to SkipBarber Motorsports Park in Alabama to really drive the cars and learn the differences between them. Porsche wants them to be able to discuss how front, mid and rear engine cars handle differently, for which professional drivers teach the PSs on the same tests we see at the SB racing school. For example, they do the wet skid pad exercise and get to drive on the full race course in Alabama. The PS and I agreed that the skid pad is quite hard when the instructor is actively pulling on the handbrake to break loose the rear end of the car, and maybe she shouldn’t have told me that her favored car would be the Cayman, for its handling. (Burn, 911 guys!!)

    Dodge 200: My jaw actually did drop. It’s that good looking in the flesh, inside and out, and the photos I’ve seen haven’t captured it. Ralph Gilles and his interior designers are tripping if they think this is what a $23K car is supposed to look like. One of the PSs was kind enough to sit in the back seat so I could photograph her; I wanted to see how the C-pillar and roofline worked. She is 5’10” and one indeed needs to duck their head to get in the back, but there is a price for beauty.

    BMW 2series: They’ve softened all the exterior/interior creases and excitement generators that Bimmers have sported for more than the last decade. More smoothed out surfacing. I’d have one.

    Hyundai Sonata: Bullseye. This is understated elegance. It does remind me of the A7 on the outside, but the inside and dashboard have a point of view now. This car is trouble for everyone else. This and the Dodge200 were my surprise hits of the show.

    Camry: the new car still looks like a Camry, just with a little bit more expressiveness. Not too much. Again, photos are deceptive.

    Delicacy: Maybe I shouldn’t go there and I don’t mean to offend, but I couldn’t help noticing a change in the appearance of the female product specialists. I saw many who were so much more approachable looking than in years past. They’re not too beautiful to bear and they’re not so thin it hurts to look at them. I don’t have to feel like I’m having to pretend, a la elder New York goofball, that it’s not uncomfortable to talk to a young siren in a too tight dress. Perhaps the female buyer is being taken into account or maybe even the guy that is scared off by a towering babe. It was only when I looked at my pics that I even noticed that the Porsche PSs were wearing mere flats rather than high heels. But it was definitely a thing.

    People at the show: Such a massive and diverse crowd by age, ethnicity, gender, and wealth, it was a spectacle in itself. May I just admonish some of the guys not to sit in the cars for quite so long? There’s a line of other people who’d like a chance. Also, let’s not leave empty drink containers on the floors of the really expensive cars-resentment isn’t attractive.

    Soda bottle at the show: $4.65!, 5:30pm

    Here’s a link to pics from the show. Most pics have a comment, and The pic will expand if you click them, and most have a comment as well.

  2. HtG Says:

    Whoops, sorry. That’s not the correct link to my pics. Here’s the right one, with the intended sequence, left to right.

  3. Ron Paris Says:

    Did anyone else notice what an utter dolt Niel Pollack was in that interview with Krafcik? What was the Autoline crew thinking when they lined this bozo up to participate?!

  4. alex wellington Says:

    Thanks for the detailed personal impressions, HtG. At first glance I thought I was listening to Motorweek, whose obese host seems to like everything under the sun (as Pedro astutely observed), or Lawrence Welk (remember Ross Perot? “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful”.

    PS When I read your stuff about the Encore, which Kit wisely commented is priced about as much as a far superior BMW X1, I realized why TB was eagerly expecting your comments.

  5. alex wellington Says:

    3 WTF R U talking about? I just watched the excellent interview again, it was the brilliant Krafcik and the always adequate Gary Vasilach and the third guy who is a 3-time Jeopardy CHampion among other things, and represented the view of the Consumer. I did not see any ‘dolt’ Neil Pollack.

  6. Alexander Carabitses Says:

    It’s about time that a new Mkx came along. The current car is really starting to show its age among the brand’s other cars. I still say that up until the redesigned Mkz and the all-new Mkc came along, the current Mkx was the best looking vehicle in the Lincoln lineup.

  7. RumNCVoke Says:

    HtG – Thanks for the excellent wrap up of NYC show. I going over to check out your pics now.

  8. gary susie Says:

    Can’t really tell the diference between a VW and an Audi from the side. Good column HTG.

  9. alex wellington Says:

    VW Diesel Ads: They suck. As much as the Passat Diesel is a GREAT Vehicle, and despite the fact that current VW marketing (giving them a $1,000 diesel card to compensate for US ludicrous Diesel Fuel prices (everywhere else on the planet, diesel is FAR CHEAPER than gas!), I really suffer when their idiotic TV ads, with poor actors posing as alleged buyers and dealer reps, airs, during the milliseconds I have to suffer it before I change the channel.

    BMW X9 Concept. TOo avant-guard 4 me. I am not impressed with the silly interior. It is not very luxurious either, just gimmicky. ALSO, a Curvy design does NOT work well with this type of as super-sedan. BMW should have learned the lesson from its own ROlls Phantom (stellar Success) and its rival’s Maybach and its sloping, flowing lines (M-B closed it down after years of horrific losses and nonexistent sales)

  10. Jon M Says:

    Regarding the MKX concept. I’d say it looks OK, but boy that rear 3/4 view sure shouts Land Rover to me. Is it safe to say that given the Aston Martin-like grill adorning the Fusion that there a number of old PAG guys hanging around Ford and Lincoln?

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, Thanks for the report, and the great photos.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW is getting criticized a lot lately for their styling miscues in cars like Passat and Jetta, but I prefer their styling to the other extreme of the styling game, the Kias and Hyundais of the world with their over creased and over worked styling design that appear fresh for about 10 mins and then start looking dated soon after, I mean a 10 yr old Passat still looks fresh, so do decades old designs from Audi and Merc.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Speaking of the now less obese MW host, he mentioned that the Fit CVT was “kind of noisy” compared to the excellent unit used in the Accord, funny thing is that most reviews I have read on the new Fit point out that the CVT is actually more desirable than the manual, whose gearing is not tall enough for highway driving eve in 6th gear and that the engine RPM is too high at those speeds, CVT does not have that problem.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9, I don’t pay much attention to most car ads, but to the extent that I do pay attention, the VW ads suck. All they talk about is sales gimmicks, but VW has some great cars that are unique in the U.S. market.

    The Passat TDI is roomy, looks good, gets great mpg, and is affordable, as cars go these days. Then, the have the Jetta Sportwagon, about the only affordable car-height wagon available in the U.S., and like the Passat, has great mpg, and range when you get the TDI. Watching the bad ads, you wouldn’t even know that VW is selling some cool cars here.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10, I don’t understand the logic of the too-short 6th gear in the manual transmission Fit. When they went from 5 to 6 gears, I assumed that they would do the same with the “extra” gear as MINI in 2007, when they went to a 6-speed. MINI kept 1st through 5th about the same, and made 6th a taller gear, for more relaxed cruising. Honda, you can fix that more cheaply than you fixed the 2012 Civic.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Say what you will, some THING is keeping people from buying VW and instead going for the Asian brands, i have been seeing tons of new Corollas and Sentras around here, it has to be the poor reliability perception that the brand has had for so many years now, but to top it off, a lot of reviewers are making light of those less than sparkling VW interiors, that look archaic to some of the competition, I don’t feel the same way, I like their purposeful design and execution.

  17. J Hundertmark Says:

    #1 – Great report – Factual & unbiased. Thanks for the detail.
    Regarding Krafcik’s comments on change during pre-production launch changes. Many of us have been there & the trick is to manage the process. As John said, the buzz words are always “No change after X date” which always gets modified to No discretionary change after X date. Good management is defining mandatory vs discretionary.

    Additional comment on the GM issue from early 2000′s – If switch did not meet the specification at the time, there should have been a deviation with approval signatures allowing use of component that did not meet specification, along with the necessary explanation as to why, plan is to correct, etc.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13, I suspect the reliability perception, real or not, hurts VW sales. Also, they seem to have a sparse dealer network compared to the Asians, even Nissan.

    For myself, if I wanted a front drive, gas-fueled “compact” sedan, I’d buy a Corolla or Civic over a Jetta, because, even though VW quality has improved, the Asians are still probably better.

    When it comes to me, personally, as one who buys “outlier” cars, I’d be more likely to buy a VW TDI than any Asian car, other than the one I have (Prius.)

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW may be forced to join the fancy schmancy interior bandwagon that most automakers are now on, otherwise sales may not pickup much at all, better quality or not withstanding.

  20. alex wellington Says:

    #9 I see it exactly as you do. Form Follows Function. And it is not bad that they all look similar, so do all BMWs and Mercs and Audis, and they do really well. The Passat’s (and other VWs) only flaw is their too long front overhangs, especially visible from the side.

    #10 Did that shouting hillbilly have bariatric surgery? Have not seen the show in a while, but amazingly the Fit is another thing he has in common with HtG’s review, while most auto journalists praise it to high heaven, it did not seem to overly impress HtG, and Davis (of MW) complained about its noise? Really? Whadda u expect from a skinny econobox with a small engine?

    #11 I don’t protest the sales gimmick, the $1000 fuel might work well, but at the ad itself, the hired actors were utterly unconvincing. VW could re-do the ads with other actors impersonating buyers and dealer reps.

  21. alex wellington Says:

    #13 a major factor is the very small number of VW dealerships compared to those of Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, Ford or even Honda. That could be a major reason.

    Pricing could be another, and of course past experience. If you had a Chevy and it had a ton of problems, it would take decades, assuming they fix them, to go back and get another one. I bought my first German car (a VW Passat-Dasher) in 1979, and did not buy another (and it was not even a VW, but a 740iL!) until 2005!

  22. alex wellington Says:

    AN interesting stat, that TOyota probably has but is not making public, is how many of their huge number of Prius conquest sales, as the Prius became a high-volume car from an insignificant low-volume novelty, came from Corolla, Yaris, and Camry sales?

    Judging from the huge numbers of Prii I see around here, and from the much smaller numbers (compared to 10 years ago) of Corollas and Camrys, I would guess, a huge number!

  23. alex wellington Says:

    Another interesting analysis I read last Sat (probably in C&D or MT) is that Lexus is really not doing very well recently.

    64% of all Lexus sales come from two distinctly TOyotaish Clone models: The Camry-ES350 and the Highlander-RX350.

    If a division that offers dozens of models gets 64% of its models from two distinctly not special to Lexus Toyota clones, one can see they got a problem.

    On the other hand, the Germans, all of them, Merc, BMW, Audi and even Porsche, seem to have been able to fight back the original Lexus Assault (Merc had to signifcantly reduce its extravagant prices to do that), and currently, despite some effort by Caddy and Jag, still 100% dominate true luxury (we are not talking Buick here!) sales in the US and especially everywhere else in the world.

  24. Seth Says:

    I think the Lincoln MKX back looks a lot like a Porsche Cayenne.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that some Lexus models that SHOULD be good alternatives to the Germans, or the best of the Cadillacs, aren’t. The IS has the bad points of the ATS, a small rear seat and trunk, but doesn’t share the ATS’ good points of stellar handling, and decent ride. Also, the IS looks funny. The LS started out as a bargain, but is now too close in price to the German flagship cars. Some of the Lexus SUV’s are just uglier, and much more expensive versions of Land Cruiser, and others.

  26. T. Bejma Says:

    HtG – Not getting either link to get me to your pics. The first one get’s me to someo of your pictures, but don’t see an album for this year. The second link says that the page is PRIVATE.

  27. T. Bejma Says:

    2015 BMW X1 = BASE MSRP $31,825
    Buick Encore = BASE MSRP $24,585

    Same price? I don’t think so. Maybe if you compared a LOADED Encore to a BASE X1, you might be within a grand.

    Sometimes your comments border on the ridiculous. Thanks for the comic relief for the day.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The links worked for me, but I have a yahoo/flickr account.

  29. alex wellington Says:

    27 yes, Kit compared a loaded Encore, which is still far inferior to an X1.

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 23,TB: I had the same problem too.

    Gas prices here:Was out and about the other day and noticed for the first time that high test gas and diesel are now the same price.Actually,diesel has come down to the price of high test;$3.69.9 @.

  31. HtG Says:

    Sorry TB. The album is set to ‘public’ for anyone to look at. Here’s the link again…

  32. alex wellington Says:

    29 and far inferior to an Equinox, which you can get for about the same $, for that matter.

    Encore will sell a few units before the Trax is on sale next year, and then its sales will dissppear as so many other models from Buick, Caddy etc.

  33. HtG Says:

    TB and GA, you may need to sign in with a Yahoo, Facebook or Google account.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Encore seems to have an upscale interior and a lot of sound insulation, smoke and mirrors if you ask me!

  35. w l simpson Says:

    Flashy interiors reflect light, therefore
    interfere with road view.
    Interiors should be dark , quiet, & comfortable.
    Glass dashes are going to kill , they are just another form of texting.
    Voice controls will eventually rule

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    In that case, the shiny version of Armor All should be banned.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34, I know a couple who have an Encore, and like it. They like the interior, the small, as today’s CUVs go size, and they don’t seem to mind the modest power. Whether the Trax kills Encore sales will depend on the price difference, comparably equipped.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36, I agree, especially since it accelerates deterioration of most materials it is used on.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports the new Chinese made Ford Escort could come stateside, is Ford realizing that there is potential growth in the small car market? The last time a brand had 2 very similar sized cars was Chevy with the Prizm and the Cavalier sitting next to each other.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    One of the strong selling points of the Encore is it’s ultra quiet cabin, that gives the vehicle an aura of quality and luxury even in a small package.

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    “If a division that offers DOZENS[sic] of models gets 64% of its models from two distinctly not special to Lexus Toyota clones, one can see they got a problem.”

    Little bit of misinformation there. Lexus offers 6 models of cars (CT, ES, GS, IS, LFA, LS) and 3 models of trucks (GX, LX, RX). A dozen does not dozens make.

    Just trying to keep the facts straight.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems like there was a while that Ford sold both Escort and Focus at the same time, when Focus first arrived in the U.S. Does anyone remember for sure?

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    #38 Kit I was not aware of that, I use something with sun protection and it has kept my dash in good shape despite the hot Fl sun.

  44. XA351GT Says:

    VW needs to be criticized for boring cars and cheap interiors. When I went to the Philly Auto show there was really nothing that would make me want to visit a dealer. How about bringing the Scirroco over . Toyota has the same problem for me. The styling is just too bland .

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    I thought that the Focus was a replacement for the Escort,I remember they kept selling the sporty version of the Escort even after the Focus came to market.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43, I’ve heard that Armor All accelerates the loss of the original plasticizer of vinyl, and maybe other plastics. I could have heard bad information, though. I’ll see if I can find more info on it.

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    Inferior? How do you figure? For what it is supposed to be (not a race car), it does its job very well.

    Especially from a sales perspective…

    2013 Sales
    BMW X1 = 26,512
    Encore = 31,956 = 18% more

  48. XA351GT Says:

    Kit , The Escort and Focus sold side by side in the early 2000s The Escort sedan lasted until 2001 except as a fleet vehicle and the ZX2 2 door lasted until 2003. The thing is back then there was no Fiesta. If you sold the Fiesta ,Focus and escort together I’m afraid Ford would consider them sales failures. It seems any more that Ford if they don’t sell 100K units a year of anything consider them failures regardless of how they compete and other cars in their class. Example when Ford ended the 4 seat Thunderbird in 1997 It was out selling the Grand Prix and Monte carlo by 3 to 1 combined. They still killed it and tried to ram the jelly bean Taurus down the buyers throats.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44, In the past, VW has mostly “built for the world,” and sold what they have in America, more recent exceptions being the new, bigger Passat, and the cheapened Jetta sedan.

    On the other hand, for years, the U.S. versions of Toyota and Honda’s high volume products are built for America, generally bigger and a little “flashier,” and without the body styles I’d want. The Asians seem to do much better than VW with their Americanized products.

    Again, lack of dealers are part of VW’s problem. If they had a conveniently located dealer, and I liked that dealer, my Prius might have been a TDI Golf or Jetta wagon.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if that other “miracle” product they sell on TV that shows old, worn out plastic being rejuvenated by this liquid stuff is also harmful to the material, I remember when they used to market Nu-Finish as a product that would bring back worn out paint to a new car shine and luster, well, it did not do that at all.

  51. Brett Says:


    303 Aerospace Protectant seems to be the best of that sort of thing I’ve ever used. It kept a black vinyl tonneau cover on the bed of my Ranger looking like-new for several years under the Texas sun.

    It’s supposed to be excellent for staving off the deterioration of acrylic headlights, too.

  52. David Says:

    MKX, like you say John, looks pretty good.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember the German Fiesta was followed by a couple Kias, Festiva and Aspire, and I remember. Did the last of those go away in the late 90′s?

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A friend had one of those old Fiestas, and really liked it, except that it was very unreliable. I don’t know if he was unlucky, or if that’s just the way they were. They must not have had too good of longevity, because it’s been years since I’ve seen one on the road.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Amazing how car makers used to partner up in the old days, GM used Kia for their Pontiac Lemans POS and Ford for the Festiva,(Aspire) I wonder what would have become of Kia if Hyundai had not bought it? Toyota’s partnership with GM lasted until they closed the NUMMI plant.

  56. T. Bejma Says:


    Actually Pedro, the LeMans was a Daewoo.

    And wasn’t the Festiva designed my Mazda?

  57. aliisdad Says:

    #1.. Great review of the auto show!!

    #3.. Yes, yes, and YES!! That Neil guy was an idiot!! He had nothing positive, constructive, or relevant to the discussion!! He might have done well on Jeopardy, but he seemed to have little practical knowledge of the auto industry…Yet, I thought all of the guests were very interesting and great to see on the show.. His performance should also probably serve to warn people who might ever consider looking at Yahoo Autos if that is who works for them.. Not the usual Autoline guest, for sure!!

    ALSO, I really do like the VW styling shown as examples of “unattractive” cars… I thought the new car shown in red looked really great..
    AND, that Lincoln signature design is finally growing on me, as well… All they need is a few cars that are not “tarted up” Fords, but it will have to happen soon, while there is a “buzz” about the new Lincoln Motor Company, or people will loose interest….and buy a FORD!!

  58. HtG Says:

    Thanks to all who liked my autoshow report. Autoline gives me so much day to day, I’m happy to leave a little something on the back porch, like a grateful house cat.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57, If Ford wants to do anything useful with Lincoln, they will need to spend some money. They don’t have anything, anywhere in the world, as a starting point for a flagship sedan, or even a competitor for Cadillac’s current offerings. Isn’t Ford making money? Why don’t they just do it?

  60. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    Thanks for the great autoshow review HtG I am having issues viewing the pictures as well… I am sure I did something wrong.

    I am not so sure it is the modular platforms that cause the new VW’s to look the same… I have felt since the 90′s that the Jetta and Passat have always looked the same… just two slightly different size and powertrain options on the same car to me.

  61. cwolf Says:

    The new Lincoln? …..I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Spent time driving Ford’s last Sat. while doing the prep to swap over to Ohio plates. I drove a new Focus auto., Escape 2.0L, C-max and the 6 cyl. Mustang.
    Of course, the Mustang was the most fun. The 6cyl. had plenty of ponies for the average “Joe and Jane”, but the torque steer was a bit much. The seats were comfortable enough for long jaunts and the dash was not as busy as most Fords. I bet the 2015 is “killer!”
    The Focus was one of my choices for a work car, but I’m very glad I didn’t make that mistake. The car ran great, but the seats were god awful, air leaks in the cabin and noisy. The worst part were the dozens and dozens of tiny, poor marked push buttons which filled the entire center dash. The Focus was not my cup of soup!
    I now know why I see an Escape at every turn of the head around here. It is a peepy lil’hauler with the 2.0. Best of all?; The seats are comfortably padded and handles well.
    For me, the biggest surprise was the C-Max. Not at spunky as the 2.0 Escape, but between the 1.4L and added HP from the el. motor,and the CVT, the car is no sloutch. Sure, you only get about 1 1/2 miles on pure el, but reached a speed of about 55-58 mph. I think the most fun was trying the maximize the efficiency shown on the dash. I think I like the C-max a whole lot more than before. Opt for the info upgrade and get rid of the billion push buttons on the center dash. Then the interior looks pretty good.

  62. Robert Morrison Says:

    Come on Lincoln. Who will aspire to buy an MKX.
    For decades you defined luxury cars. Now you make really nice Mercurys.
    Get rid of these horrible excuses of luxury cars and show the auto community that you can make great luxury cars again.

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lexus has succeeded mostly with re-badged Toyotas and Audi has done the same with VW platforms, it’s obvious that Ford just does not have the talent to make it happen.

  64. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kudos for the Auto Show report HtG; seemed balanced and objective.

    Agree with Ron Paris and aliisdad on the John Krafcik (with Neil Pollack), on Pollack, interview: What is “Out of his league”, Alex?

    And on the MKX: looks pretty good (not great or epic, but better), but that is only a first step; got to ‘walk the walk’ after attracting by the looks. Agree with Kit; Lincoln, get some of that Ford money and get to work (if you want to move on up with the ‘big boys’).

  65. Brett Says:

    Did I not read somewhere that Mulally wanted Lincoln to “go away”, too, and that is why the marque originally languished after the economic melt-down? Cooler heads eventually prevailed and that’s where they are now, trying to recover.

  66. C-Tech Says:

    It seems to me that most of these automakers make their highest profit on the volume luxury vehicles. Lincoln is Ford’s luxury brand and if they put more effort into it, they will reap higher profits. Cadillac and Buick are very profitable for GM, Audi and Porsche are very profitable for VW.

  67. C-Tech Says:

    Thanks for the review of the NY show HtG. The pictures are mixed in with another auto show, which looking at the older cars and the newer cars together is interesting.

  68. T. Bejma Says:


    I think I read somewhere that Ford makes about 80% of their entire profit on trucks (I thought I saw GM and Chrysler were down under 50%) so that makes them even less interested in Lincoln. With Cadillac and Buick, GM can spread the profit around so when competing in the hotly contested truck arena, it is not as much live and die as it is with Ford.

  69. HtG Says:

    I put the pics of the Lincoln MKC in because I think it’s such a looker. I personally can’t conceive of how people won’t respond well to the outside looks. The inside looked more like other cars.

  70. alex wellington Says:

    1. We Report the Important News Stories TB will not (from the same Automotive News he also reads every morning)

    “NEW YORK — Cadillac last year began billing itself as the industry’s “fastest-growing full-line luxury brand.”

    It was a short-lived distinction.

    Cadillac sales fell 7 percent in the first quarter, to 39,588, compared with a 1 percent gain for the industry overall and an 8 percent rise in the luxury segment. Among the top seven luxury brands, it was the only one with lower sales. …”

    But even if it DID grow as fast as its 6 bigger luxury rivals, it would still have a huge amount of ground to cover before it had BMW-Like or M-B like or even Lexus-like sales.

    2. My neighbor’s new White Whale

    A (not next door) neigbor has bought a new White Impala (the cute one, not the rental Queen), and the first time I saw it (from the rear), from a distance it looked like a Chevy (because of the visible bowtie)but not clear which model (at first I thought it was a Cruze). I saw it again yesterday, but from the side, and it does look big, and different from the rental queen, but maybe too bloated, in white it looked like Moby Dick, except soon you notice the ill-matched tiny wheelbase, which deprives the car of the PRESENCE and Elegance a big sedan would otherwise have. Still, the exterior stylists did what they could under the tiny WB constraint.

    #68 While I do not doubt Ford makes most of its profits from the F150 series, other Ford Vehicles such as the Fusion and even the Focus sell very well and I doubt they also do not contribute substantially to its bottom line. Even the slow- selling Fiesta, since it is made in Mexico (is it still?) should not be a loss center for Ford.

    BTW, what is the % breakdown of GM profits? And especially Chrysler’s? I believe all onetime big, onetime domestics, are heavily relying on pickup trucks (and in Chrysler’s case also Jeeps) for their profits. So the F 150 is not the exception.

    #65 There is no indication Lincoln is trying to recover, they are wasting some money on it, but not enough for it to develop its OWN UNIQUE products and erase the stigma of a CLONE DIVISION. So Lincoln is really starved and dying a slow death, and I doubt that slick salesman Fields, who will succeed Mullaly, will do much about it either.

  71. HtG Says:

    Let’s wait and see what happens when MKC gets into showrooms. The crossover is a sweet spot in the market and this Lincoln is eye candy.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    70, I’ve being seeing a new CTS about every day, in my favorite color [candy red] and I think it looks great. Also, from checking them out at a dealer, I think the interior looks great. Still, if I were buying a sedan in that price range, I’d buy something else. As has been discussed here, given today “pecking order,” Cadillacs should be less expensive, rather than about the same price as the Germans. Then, there are the power trains. Being on my fuel economy kick, if I were buying an E, a 3, a 5, or any VW, I’d want the diesel. Cadillac might have a hard time coming up with one, but they should try. I doubt if Daimler, BMW, or VW want to sell GM the same engines they use in their own cars. VM, perhaps? Anyway, unlike Lincoln, Cadillac is making an effort, but it’s tough out there, trying to sell cars in that price range.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    70, They still build the US-bound Fiestas in Mexico. I suspect the same plant supplies them to everywhere in the Americas, keeping production numbers at a profitable level.

  74. alex wellington Says:

    #71: see #72. What can possibly happen? (spill out your best case, Rosy Scenario) with Lincoln’s newest Ford Clone?

    Even though I do few miles with each of my cars, I would also go for the Diesel midrange Luxo/performance sedan (if not a Tesla S)

    I also like the exterior of the new CTS. I have not seen the interior but have read that the back seat is cramped. Also, the NYT review of the 5 diesel made a point of the mushy seats on the Caddy vs the supportive seats on the Bimmer, which allow for a comfortable long trip.

    I had test driven the 1st gen CTS, I wanted to try the manual, and the dealer had one, but was really poor inside, a base version that did not look at all like a near-luxury car, let alone a true luxury car. I bet they improved a lot since then.

  75. HtG Says:

    74 I refer you to my account of a 6’4″ male sitting comfortably in the back of the CTS after adjusting the front seat for himself.

    Rosy Scenario was a good one, though.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    74, The interior of the second generation CTS was much better than the first, and the new, third generation is better yet.

    I sat in the back of the new one, and it was roomy enough to be comfortable for me, even with the driver seat quite a bit farther back than I would put it (I’m 5-10.) As far as “mushiness,” I guess I’d need to sit in the BMW to draw a comparison. In general, I seem to be reasonably comfortable in most cars. A Prius doesn’t have the most comfortable seats in the world, but I’ve used my for several long trips, with no problem. I’m sure I’d like the seats of an S-Class better, though.

  77. alex wellington Says:

    75 This does nothing to answer my question about Lincoln’s new Clone, and why this will be any different than all other ones that failed.

    Re the CTS I have read the exact opposite account in the mainstream car mags and their detailed test drives. Maybe your imaginary 6′ 4″ friend was an amputee?

    #76 You would not complain about the mushy-ness if you just try the seat or even drive around for half an hour, as usual in test drives. The NYT specifically mentioned the problem is in multi-hour long trips, where the mushy seats do not provide adequate support while the well-designed, supportive seats of the Bimmer does.

  78. Ivan Sears Says:

    I felt the comments on the “styling” tied to VW’s increasing use of modular platforms was a huge misunderstanding of modular platforms. With the exception of the typical, front drive, side view couple distance between the front door cut line and the centerline of the front wheels, the remainder of the styling is, relatively speaking, up for grabs. Use of the term platform speaks largely of the underbody of the vehicle. Modularity in the underbody should easily allow for wheelbase changes and overhang changes. These factors allow for a world of difference between the vehicles. I think the similarity in appearance between the various VW models shown was driven by an over commitment to the VW design language, and not limited by the use of a modular platform. Body width can also be significantly affected by use of a modular platform set as wider versus narrower bodies can significantly impact tooling cost in a modern, high volume, body shop. If VW is guilty of anything, it is sticking to close to the script of vehicle family “appearance” language. It all reminds me of the 1980′s GM families of cars that all looked alike but were different sizes, and those were on different platforms. VW needs to loosen the reins a little on their stylists and body engineers to cure this ill. It is way too easy to blame the modular platform architecture for this, when there is no engineering based need to limit styling because of common platform technology. John, I was surprised at your summary there. You typically see right through these things.