AD #1366 – VW Posts Earnings, Mansory Customized Aventador, AC Repair Do’s And Don’ts

April 29th, 2014 at 11:50am

Runtime: 7:29

- Toyota Moves U.S. HQ to Texas
- VW Cranks out The Profits
- Mansory Customized Aventador
- Google Improves Its Autonomy
- Chevy City Express Pricing
- AC Repair Do’s And Don’ts

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily.

In yesterday’s show we told you that Toyota would be moving a big chunk of its US headquarters out of California and into Texas. Later, Toyota divulged more information, and it turns out it is moving its entire headquarters to Dallas, Texas. It’s a move that stunned employees, many of whom were very proud to be living in Southern California. And many of them felt that being in California, which is such a diverse and trend-setting state, helped explain a good part of Toyota’s success in the American market. For the time being Toyota will keep its Calty design studio and TRD racing operations in California, but just about everything else is going to end up in Texas.

Volkswagen released its earnings for the first quarter and the numbers are breath-taking. It sold 2.4 million vehicles worldwide, up over 5%. Its revenue came to more than $66 billion, up almost 3%. It delivered an operating profit of more than $4 billion and it put nearly $3.5 billion to the bottom line. Let me put that last number in perspective. Volkswagen’s net profit for the first three months of this year was nearly as much as General Motors made for all of last year. And remember, last year GM was not affected by those recalls.

You’ve all heard of luxury coachbuilders like Bertone and Pininfarina, but have you ever heard of Mansory? Established in 1989, Mansory works on everything from Audis to Ferraris. And here’s its take on a Lamborghini Aventador, a version it calls Carbonado, thanks to the massive amounts of carbon fiber that drape this car. And just take a look at the wild weave that resembles a stealth bomber. Mansory removes the original body panels and fabricates new ones, even dyeing the carbon fiber threads to get colorful weaves like you’ve never seen before. Buy it isn’t just about the aesthetics of a car either. In 2007 it purchased Porsche tuning specialist Rinspeed, which is helping to turn out some pretty wicked machines. The Carbonado is rated at 1,250 horsepower, only a mere 550 above stock and it also adds nearly 400 lb-ft of torque. And if you must know, the Carbonado sells for about $1.66 million, which is about $1.2 million more than the Aventador it started with.

Google’s autonomous cars have currently logged nearly 700,000 test miles but most of that time was spent navigating freeways. Now it’s looking to master city streets, which are much more complex. It improved its system by creating new software models of what the vehicle can expect, everything from a car stopping at a red light to a car blowing right through it. So far Google has only been testing on the city streets of its hometown in Mountain View, California, which means a lot more testing needs to be done. But here’s an interesting insight. Google says that thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped it two years ago, can now be navigated easily. And so far Google is not backing away from its claim that its autonomous technology will be show-room ready by 2017.

Chevy announced pricing for its new small commercial van, the City Express. The base model carries a starting price just under $23,000. That’s nearly $2,000 more than the vehicle it’s based on, the Nissan NV200. And while Chevrolet has a lot more dealers than Nissan, that sure gives Nissan a huge pricing advantage.

Coming up next, as the Northern Hemisphere transitions into the summer months we need to look at why it’s so important to keep the proper A/C charge in your vehicle.

Over the years air conditioning systems have become more and more efficient but it means that keeping the proper charge is now more important than ever. Here’s Sean McElroy with the report on why.

Over time all air conditioning systems will lose some of their charge. Most people don’t notice until there’s a drop in temperature coming from the vents but it does happen. And it’s very important to maintain the proper charge for overall system performance because the refrigerant carries the oil that lubricates the compressor. Especially with new cars these days.

And that’s because, like any other component that’s been around as long as air conditioning has, automakers have found a way to make the system more efficient, so they’re now using less refrigerant. Some small cars only use 3-quarters of a pound of refrigerant. 10 years ago it would have been around 1.5 pounds. Meaning a slightly low charge on some vehicles now constitutes a much larger percentage of the overall system charge.

At least it’s easy enough to have the system recharged and is not too expensive. In some cases it’s less expensive to just top off the charge every year than it is to repair the leak because A/C repairs can cost thousands, Which brings me to my next tip. Don’t use A/C fix in-a-can.

The commercials make them look so easy to use and work perfectly all the time, but they use a sealer mixed into the refrigerant, which as you can see by this cross section of a condenser fin, just how small the passages are that the mixture has to pass through. And how easy it would be to clog up. Not to say that it will but if it does, you’re left footing a hefty bill.

It always surprised me that you don’t see more dealer commercials saying the same thing and one reason why it’s so important to properly maintain your air conditioning system.

For Autoline Garage, I’m Sean McElroy

Be sure to join us Thursday night for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Jim Dollinger, a salesman who claims to have sold more Buicks than anyone else in history and who says he has a plan that could greatly boost GM’s sales and market share. And that will be a great show.

But right now we’re out of time, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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23 Comments to “AD #1366 – VW Posts Earnings, Mansory Customized Aventador, AC Repair Do’s And Don’ts”

  1. jim Says:

    it would be interesting to pull up some old video of Dollinger on Autoline where he correctly predicted the fall of GM because of poor management about 2 years before it finally happened.

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    2k more for a base chevy then the same nissan version??? Hey GM,whats up with that?

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    We’ll have to see what (if anything) Chevrolet offers with the City Express (as opposed to the Nissan). Two thousand would need to include quite a bit to warrent the extra money (they’re asking). And don’t know if it makes any difference, the two grand difference is from the ’14 Nissan, and the listed ’15 Chevy (some maybe, but probably not much).
    Nissan lists an NV200S and NV200SV (I don’t know the difference; 20,290 and 21,280 respectively plus 860 destination). I believe the City Express is 22,950 including delivery; makes it a little closer (that way.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe they’re gonna use the $2k to put in a better ignition system and help pay the replacements for the thousands that they need to fix.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if this Buick salesman works in So. Florida somewhere, there are certainly a lot of prospective Buick buyers around these parts.

  6. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Tip number one for car A/C units, because the lubricate is in the refrigerant you need to run the system at least monthly so the seals don’t dry out. Not a problem here in Phoenix, but it still needs to be done in the cold climates too.

  7. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Hey, John maybe things cost less in Texas compared to California. This is the cost comparison I got back comparing Orange Co CA with Dallas TX. You can pay some a less in Texas and they still could be living better.

    Groceries 9%less
    Housing 68%less
    Utilities 2%more
    Transportation 13%less
    Health Care 9%less

  8. RumNCoke Says:

    Here in Ontario, you can’t “top up” your AC system without diagnosing the reason for the refrigerant loss and repairing it.

  9. C-Tech Says:

    Just curious, is Jim Dollinger selling Buicks near a retirement complex?

    2K for a NV200 seems like a lot for a Chevy grille. It reminds me of the customers we had who bought Dodge Sprinter vans and swapped the Mercedes grille on them.

    The attraction of things like A/C Pro are their low cost compared to a dealer recharge. The can you show is anout $35 here in central FL vs. an evac and recharge at the dealer for that Neon (with coupon) of $129

  10. Albemarle Says:

    I have 15 years or so of safe driving left, I figure. So it’s a race between my aging and the autonomous car. Bring it on!

    Neither public transit nor cabs fit my lifestyle (cottage, Home Depot, driving vacations etc.).

    Who knows, maybe by then they will even have a built in nav system the equal of my $100 Garmin.

  11. C-Tech Says:

    I give Google the same advice that I gave my teen sons when learning to drive: There are a million things that could go wrong. Mastering a few is good, but not enough.

  12. Jon M Says:

    @ Phoenix Mark.

    It’s more about the incentives and a business-friendly environment that compels most companies to decide where to locate their headquarters and other offices. Consider how many bank/finance companies have offices in the state of very business-friendly Delaware. Apple keeps its finance work in Nevada instead of California…and not because the cost of living is cheaper. The Golden State isn’t so much of a golden calf for a lot of businesses today.

  13. MJB Says:

    7. Well, if nothing else, taxes are much lower outside of California.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Any one who tries one of these do it yourself a/c fixes is an idiot, who risking thousands of dollars damage by trying to save a few bucks. I have an issue with my a/c and not even the so-called a/c “expert” was able to properly repair, he did a bypass job which kind of works, but when the compressor engages, the idle speed does not increase, making the unit ineffective in heavy traffic.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    I saw the sat image of the supposed site for the new Toyota center and I just don’t think there is enough land for that.

  16. Bradley Says:

    Autonomous +1

    Did Michigan/Detroit miss an opportunity? Toyota already has some operations in the Michigan area.

  17. T. Bejma Says:


    Maybe it is to account for incentives? ;-)


    Perhaps Texas offered them more tax breaks?… [you knew I had to go there]

  18. Bradley Says:


    LOL, yes. It probably is that simple. Or maybe out of all the States Texas buys the fewest Toyotas per capita. This whole maneuver is simply to increase Toyota awareness in Texas. :P

  19. cwolf Says:

    Michigan won’t benifit from Toyo’s move from California, but they will transfer 250 jobs to Ann Arbor’s Tech Center from Kentucky.

    When Toyota moves to Texas I wonder if all their vehicles will come with a set of longhorns mounted to the front end as a part of its new design strategy to look more American?

  20. cwolf Says:

    Texas is getting a small incentive, plus abatements:

  21. T. Bejma Says:


    If TJ/CK were still here, he would say the move to Texas is to help prepare for the Tundra to overtake the Silverado here by the end of the year. He was always good for a laugh a day. ;-)

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Toyota will have to come out with an all new truck,(frame up type of new truck),to even compete with the big three.So far,toyota is #1 cheap charlie when it comes to their two trucks.GM has nothing to fear from them…..move along,nuttin to see here..

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    As mentioned above, Toyota builds their pickup trucks in Texas; perhaps Toyota liked how they do business there, in Texas, (and decided it was to their advantage to move).