Episode 226 – Buyer’s Remorse over Opel, Brazilian Tariffs on Chinese Tires, Plug-In Prius

September 11th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 7:12

Yesterday Europe was elated to know that Magna will become a majority owner in Opel, today it’s showing some buyer’s remorse. Brazil accuses China of dumping tires below market costs. Toyota is set to unveil a plug-in electric concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. All that and more, plus a look at last night’s episode of Autoline After Hours about whether the new ads GM’s coming out with will be effective.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Europe shows buyers remorse over Opel. Brazil accuses China of dumping tires below market costs. And Toyota unveils its plug-in Prius.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, the 11th of September, 2009. And here’s today’s news.

Yesterday Europe was elated to know that Magna will become a majority owner in Opel, today it’s showing some buyer’s remorse. The AFP reports that now the realization is sinking in that Opel has been losing money for years, that it may require more government aid, and that the European Union is warning that any aid cannot be contingent on preserving jobs in the countries that provide that aid. In other words, we’re going to be reporting more about Opel for some time to come.

The Obama Administration is debating whether or not to slap import tariffs on Chinese-made tires by September 17th. The U.S. International Trade Commission has recommended a 55 percent tariff on low-grade Chinese tires which it says are being dumped below market prices. But Brazil beat the U.S. to the punch. Gasgoo reports that Brazil has slapped what it calls prohibitive import tariffs on Chinese tires for small cars. Brazil also slapped tariffs on shoes imported from China.

German engineers have developed a fastener that’s like Velcro but made out of steel, and they believe it can be used in cars. According to Autoblog, it’s called Metaklett and it consists of tiny steel hooks and loops that fasten together like Velcro. It can support loads over 77,000 pounds or 35 tons and can withstand heat over 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit or 800 degrees Celsius. Inventors say it may be useful with exhaust manifolds since it can easily withstand the heat.

GM will allow customers to return a vehicle up to 60 days after a purchase and get a refund if they aren’t satisfied with it. But owners can’t run up more than 4,000 miles on them. GM’s brands will also use hard hitting comparisons ads against competitors to show where the GM vehicles are superior. And as we reported yesterday the campaign will kick off with GM Chairman Ed Whitacre appearing in TV spots, who will tell viewers he’s an outsider who came to realize GM has terrific products that people have to check out.

Toyota is set to unveil a plug-in electric concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Prius PHV sports a lithium-ion battery pack that should provide a 12-mile electric-only range and speeds up to 60 miles an hour in EV mode. When the battery is out of juice, the car runs on an internal-combustion engine, just like a regular Prius. Beginning late this year, Toyota will start delivering 500 Prius PHVs to select customers around the world.

In Ontario, Canada, Michael Bryant, the former attorney general made a name for himself for his hard-line stance against street racing. But Autoblog reports that when a bicyclist grabbed onto the door of Bryant’s Saab to have the car pull him along, Bryant began to erratically shake the bike rider. He caused the rider to hit a mailbox, who later died from his injuries. Later, Bryant was arrested for his alleged involvement in this shocking hit-and-run accident. No matter which country you’re in, beware of self-righteous politicians.

Coming up next, a look at this last night’s episode of the ‘Renzo hour, we’ll be back right after this.

Peter De Lorenzo filled in for me yesterday, both on Autoline Daily and After Hours. In the following clip from After Hours, ‘Renzo and the gang talk about whether the new ads GM’s coming out with, the ones that feature the company’s chairman of the board, Ed Whitacre, will be effective.

Remember, you can watch all of last night’s show on our website, Autolinedaily.com, or you can download it as an audio podcast right from our website.

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest. We challenged you to tell us the name of the first plant where the Ford Model T was built. And the correct answer is, the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.

And this week’s winner is Bob Jasinski of Rochester, Michigan. Congratulations Bob, you’ve just won a Bridgestone ice scrapper, tire gauge, and a hand-cranked LED flashlight.

And that’ll do it for this week’s top auto news. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

44 Comments to “Episode 226 – Buyer’s Remorse over Opel, Brazilian Tariffs on Chinese Tires, Plug-In Prius”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    That Plug-in Prius sure does not look like the current Prius. It is a 2nd Gen Prius. Not good, esp. if they want to charge (pun intended) a Chevy Volt price tag to it.

  2. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Last year I purchased a set of Chinese tires, I don’t mean to question the quality but they did include a $50k life insurance policy. Fortunately they wore out prematurely, never had the chance to blow up.

  3. Max Christensen Says:

    I’ve used a number of foreign made tires – Hancook, Kumho, and even some Thailand made Michelins. In EVERY case, these tires were far inferior to any brand of North American made tires. After finding out how inferior their tires are, makes me wonder if the cars coming from that region of the world are all that great either?

    And HOORAH for GM – I think their idea of direct competition advertising with the foreign makes is awesome! This is the type of thing that will save the company!

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    The tires are one of the most important, and at the same time less expensive, part of any car, esp. an expensive car. And they are key to yoru safety.

    If I have any respect for the maker of my car, I would not shop around for tires, but would always do what the manual tells me to do, and buy the exact same tires it recommends. And if they happen to be Michelins, I will get Michelins.

    Of course, if your car is a cheapo domestic with barge-like handling, maybe the chinese tires will do.. after all, Buicks are so popular in China, right pedro?

  5. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    What makes you guys think I own a Buick? I happen to own a Toyota appliance, which has served me well and I was not aware the tires were from commie China, I was led to believe they were from Taiwan, I should have known better since they also came with a fortune cookie that read:” Don’t forget to kiss your loved ones every time you leave your home, you may never return” Is Nick and Thor the same person?

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro,

    Where in my post did I imply you OWN a buick? I know you own a corolla. I only mentioned your name because you frequently both defend buicks and mention how popular they are in China, which made the tires you spoke of. So logically, Chinese tires may be a good fit for a buick.

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    AAH was another good show; those who haven’t seen it, owe themselves the privilege to do so. My only negative is, when Jim Hall is on the show (and I know he is very knowledgeable and I do respect his opinion) is that he needs to give the rest of the panel a chance; he is a little conversationally hoggy (tough to get a word in edgewise). Good content though.

  8. Andy S Says:

    Nick, your reference to “cheapo domestic” is insulting to the houndreds of thousands of people employed in the doemstic auto industry and is ignorant of the high quality and robustly safe vehicles being offered by at least one manufacturer in particular – Ford. As I suspect you don’t believe me, just check J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, NHTSA, and IIHS. Then fast forward yourself from the 1970s into the new 2010 Fusion, Taurus, Mustang, Focus, F-150, Lincoln MKS and MKT. These are world class, guilt-free vehicles. With yours eyes wide open, look at the goofiness offered by many of the imports and be real honest with yourself. If a domestic badge was on an Element or Scion or Cube or FJ Cruiser or Pilot or Quest, you’d be writing about these aesthetic disasters ’til the end of days. Well, I challenge you to call it like it is with these import eyesores.

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I always run either Goodyear or Cooper tires on my 4×4′s.Excellent performance and mileage.Remember,you generally get what you pay for.For my bike I prefer Avon’s.

    Whitacre and GM are like dogs barking at the moon.Lottsa noise,zero substance.GM is going down,and it won’t take long either.Maybe 5 years.They might put in some quality at first….maybe.But,if they do,it will not last.They will resort to what they know best….cheapen everything and charge a lot.

  10. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Andy S Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Nick, your reference to “cheapo domestic” is insulting to the houndreds of thousands of people employed in the doemstic auto industry and is ignorant of the high quality and robustly safe vehicles being offered by at least one manufacturer in particular…”

    Talk is cheap. The domestics used to OWN the Expensive end of the market, the LUXURY market, in the USA, as recently as 3-4 decades ago, they owned 90% of that market. BUT today and the last decade or so, they only own 17%. This debacle is a far more humiliating defeat than ANY defeat the Detroit 3 have suffered in any other segment, such as the mid-priced segment. But if you look at th eimport haters, EVERY one of them is bashing the … JAPANESE, and not the GERMANS, who dominate the expensive end of the market.

    My characterization as “CHEAPO” (make it “CHEAP” if you are less insulted, also is accurate, because, for as long as I remember, even back in 83 when I did buy a truly cheapo pontiac new, the domestics were ALWAYS $2-$5 cheaper than any comparable import.

    WHen, once in a decade or so, I have a student that deserves to get an “F”, I give him an “F”, and there is nothing insulting about it.

    The donestics deserve a TON of “F”s recently, and NONE in the long list of vehicles you mention will ever be appealing to me, UNLESS it is very different from today’s version, FAR more reliable and DURABLE and EFFICIENT, DRIVES far more professionally and does not wallow all over the place, has top-notch interiors that do not fall off after 100k miles (and I know for a fact that even at FOrd, Trucks were designed to last an average of 150k miles, and cars for only a measly 100k miles.

    So please do not get me started. In many market segments I am intgerested in, the Detroit 3 do not even have a half-serious offering. For example, they do not have any competitor to the MErcedes S Class or the BMW 7 or the Audi A8. NONE. there is NO caddilac that can be matched against any of these. Look the specs up, but, more importantly, the reviews in the Enthusiast magazines, all of them, and note that they are printed in the Detroit area and survive largely on Big 3 ad $, so if they have any bias, logically it is in FAVOR of the domestics.

    I think I have said enough. Read it carefully, and hopefully improve, instead of pretending to be insulted. The long -suffering US taxpayers will not bail you out for ever.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM has several vehicles that are among the best in their classes. They just need to convince people that they don’t make Vegas any more, and what they make now really is worth buying.

  12. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    I really don’t understand why so many folks make fun of Buicks, just because the typical Buick driver is an older person who drives slow due to their age. But the cars themselves are of decent quality and they give you a lot for the money. I wouldn’t mind having a Buick in my latter years. They are comfortable, roomy, quiet and pleasant cruisers, with fairly good reliability.

  13. Jim Sachetti Says:

    Here is a very enlightening and in my opinion correct and balanced evaluation, from the site “The Truth about Cars” (Its owner Robert Farago was a guest in AAH recently)

    Author: ZekeToronto
    Comment:
    As a former dealer of both European and Japanese cars, I’ve always felt the difference boiled down to assembly quality versus material and component quality.

    Americans tend to trade their vehicles with much greater frequency than Europeans and are therefore most impressed by having zero problems in the first few years. Since the stuff that goes wrong early in a vehicle’s life is often attributable to assembly quality–where the Japanese have long held the lead–the Japanese manufacturers have enjoyed great success in the US.

    Over the long term, reliability is more greatly affected by material and component quality–an area where the Europeans have traditionally excelled. Europeans may drive less, but it’s often under worse or more demanding conditions and they keep their cars forever. Hence their success at home and in many third world markets that have harsh driving conditions. Problems related to poor assembly can be fixed, whereas it’s the stuff it’s made of that most often determines a car’s ultimate fate.

    I used to think that this too was changing–that the Japanese had narrowed the gap considerably wrt materials and components–but then recently Toyota repurchased the Tacoma I bought new in 2000. It looked as new on the top side, and had only 90k on it, but the frame had rotted through.

    My general advice remains for frequent traders to stick to the top Japanese brands and those with longer purchase cycles to consider the better European marks.

    *Note that by “European”, I typically mean the German and Swedish companies that are long time players in the North American market. I can’t explain the British, French and Italian car co’s success in their home countries as anything other than going for the home team :-)

  14. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Pedro Fernandez Says:
    September 11th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I really don’t understand why so many folks make fun of Buicks, just because the typical Buick driver is an older person who drives slow due to their age”

    NO, Pedro. The above is a Strawman, and you know it. Buicks are not acceptable vehicles from the point of view of sufficient Active as well as passive safety. They may have barely sufficient passive safety, but their poor handling makes them almost as bad as top-heavy SUVs in emergency accident avoidance maneuvers. It is different if you have an Escalade or a Navigator, then you may claim (falsely and ignorantly IMHO) that you do not care if these breadvans handle like the Trucks they are, and not like Porsches or BMWs, or even the excellent but inexpensive VWs. When you drive a barge like the typical Buick, you ara at a significant disadvantage. And that is just one of many complaints about the cars.

    And, after all, if a Buick type vehicle is all you need, explain to me why woudl you shell out $15k more than a mechanically identical Chevy Impala? Is the Buick logo some kind of a “status symbol”? Or are you so aroused by the tasteless fake wood in the Buick interiors?

  15. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Warning: beware of Chinese tires which carry all kinds of names and on paper, appear to be good tires, but they suck! the set I got suffered from such nice things as: uneven, premature wear, weak sidewalls and in one example, signs of tread separation. Name brands can also could come from China, so read the sidewall info.

  16. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Some people still believe Buick is a step up from Chevy and then comes Cadillac. The fact they share many components seem to be lost on those folks that still believe in name brands, hey look at Ford/Mercury and Chevy/GMC trucks.
    Many people will argue that they are significantly different to warrant paying more for one over the other.

  17. Andy S Says:

    Thanks Kit. People get so enamored with the badge on a German vehicle, that they overlook the hidden costs of “premium fuel only” or that simple things like metallic paint are an extra charge option or the ultimate insult of having to pay extra for leather (don’t insult me with marketing names like “leatherette” or “MBtex”). Then there is the dealership experience. For those who do their homework, a German car will not be in their garage.

    Now, I recogize more than a few AutoLine Daily fans like the Germans’ oil burners. But before jumping on that bandwagon, I’d like to know the yield of diesel fuel in a barrel of oil vs. the yield of gasoline in a barrel. I’d also like to know the forecast for the price of diesel fuel if the sales mix of diesel vehicles increased appreciably. These economic factors are masked in Europe where gasoline (oops, petrol) is more heavily taxed than diesel.

  18. John Says:

    Pedro you are correct about Chinese tires.

    I made the mistake of buying four Hankook touring tires from Pepboys because of the free mount and balance, dirt cheap.

    They dry rotted and cracked in between the tread.

    TOTAL JUNK.

    Read the sidewall of every tire you buy to see where it was made BEFORE they are mounted.

    I never thought about tires made in China, so my guard was down when I purchased the Chinese Hankooks.

    I have replaced all four with Goodyear Touring tires “MADE IN USA” .

  19. Andrew Charles Says:

    Pedro, maybe someone should remind you that almost every Lexus (with the possible exception of the LS460) share a great many parts and the platform with a more mundane Toyota model. You do know the ES350 is a Camry in drag? The original was even called a Camry in Japan! The RX 350 is twin to he Highlander (both are based on the Camry) and the previous model is still sold as the Toyota Harrier. The GS is twin to the older Toyota Crown (Toyota conveniently forgot there was a hybrid Crown long before the GS450h), the IS based on the shorter version of the platform first used by the Toyota Mark X. The LX570 is a LandCruiser 200, the GX470 is a LandCruiser 120, which is a twin to the Toyota 4Runner. At least with LaCrosse you know you’re getting not only more equipment but the latest and greatest engines shared with Cadillac (although you use more fuel going fwd, as you always do).

  20. Dave Says:

    “They just need to convince people that they don’t make Vegas any more, and what they make now really is worth buying”

    The problem is that GM made alot of junk not 30 years ago but 10 or 5 years ago and that is what people remember. I think GM has some nice stuff and my father just C4C a van for a new HHR SS and it is very nice. But, some products in the 90s were very bad.

  21. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Andrew if you read the previous entries you will see I don’t put down Buick, other people do, I think it does what it’s supposed to do fairly well at a good price. If you need road-hugging handling, you don’t buy a Buick. AS far as the Camry, I would say the Camry is a stripped Lexus ES. When Lexus first started, the ES was a dressed up Camry with a V6, but subsequent models started out as a Lexus, that explains the nice ride Camry has, The only true Lexus is the LS and maybe GS.

  22. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    I vote that the last truly crap car GM made was the Corsica/Bereta, anyone has a different opinion?

  23. C-Tech Says:

    Pedro, may I add anything built with the Quad 4 engine such as the Pontiac Grand Am. The Chevy Malibu with the 3.1L engines which leak coolant from the manifold gasket are no prizes either as far as auto techs are concerned. These were cars from the 90′s

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Jim S.,

    That article by ZekeToronto was very interesting, especially the part about the Toyota Tacoma’s frame rusting out in 9 years. While I’ve only ever had one Toyota product, a Lexus IS300 hatchback, I’d considered Toyota’s quality to be good in all ways that are important. It sounds like that may not be the case.

    As far as French and Italian cars, we can’t buy any of them, except the $200K Italian variety, but I rented a French car last summer, a Citroen C4 diesel, and I liked it a lot. The fact that they work well might be part of why the “home team” buy them, but I would not be surprised if they didn’t hold up as well as some other European cars, especially the expensive ones. Even VW’s are generally more expensive than most of their direct competition in Europe, and maybe they last longer than the French and Italian competition. There aren’t any “mainstream” British cars any more, except those made by Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, the Japanese companies, etc.

  25. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    It is about time GM, and other American brands, start pitting their products agianst competitors.

    GM should Identify a competitor for each of its line up and go after them in Price, Value, Warranty, Insurance rate, Crash data and what have you.

    Better yet, they should target these brands for bechmarking with intent to kill, not compare to them
    Cadillac Vs. Lexus/Infinity and Merceds
    Buick Vs. Audi and BMW (And tweak certain models to compete on Zoom zoom level,
    Chevy vs. Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hunday.

    This is how wars are won, not by matching competitors, but by overwhelming them just as they did to us here.

  26. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    Chines Tires, Why on God’s earth is the government allowing poor value tires into the country? Nothing against China specifically, but if we are going to go green, we should be chosing quality product over 3rd world rating.
    Tires that were out in half the times as a quality tires will take up twice the space in our land fill and use the same energy to produce, and ship

    Government should protect the consumers from being seduced by price alone. Cheep tires should be kept out instead of being Taxed at a higher bracket.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just heard that the administration is enacting a 35% tariff on Chinese tires. There is more information at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103957.html

  28. Jim Sachetti Says:

    I vote that the last truly crap car GM made was the Corsica/Bereta, anyone has a different opinion?

    Yes, the above were discontinued long ago, GM continued to make crap up until a few years ago, with the last Cavaliers and the new Cobalt, the Saturn ION and all previous Saturns, even the Malibu that preceded the good looking Malibu we have now, the list can go on and on and on.

  29. Nick Stevens Says:

    Hey John MCELroy: Here is some simple “Clunker Math”. Enjoy. and perhaps even you will finally be convinced as to how disastrous and silly a program it has been:

    “A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons a year of gasoline. A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons a year.

    So, the average clunker transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

    They claim 700,000 vehicles were replaced under the clunker program, so that’s 224 million gallons/ year.

    That equates to about 5.26 million barrels of oil. 5.26 million barrels of oil is about 1/3-1/4th of one day’s US consumption.

    ON DAY’s! Not one week;s, month;s or year’s!

    And 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $75/bbl. So, we all contributed to spending *$3 billion* to save $350 million.

    As that “Deal or no Deal” silly Host would ask, “How good a deal was that” ???

    They’ll probably do a better job with health care though…; — right :)

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I can’t speak with experience for any chevy car,but I have had a number of their trucks (all 4×4′s).All of them I bought brand new.My last one was a 07 Colorado Z71 4×4.I have never in my life had such a steaming pile on 4 wheels.With less then 1k miles on it,it spent more time in the dealership then in my driveway.The 4×4 system would engage while driving down the road at 65mph whenever it felt like it,the brakes would lock up to where it had to go back to dealer on a flatbed.It leaked like the titanic when it rained and messed up the electrical.The ONLY thing on that truck that worked great was the Eaton G 80 rear diff locker.An isolated case?NOT.GM has massive warranty problems with the EcoTec 4 and 5 cylinder engines.My friend just had his 08 Colorado bought back by his local dealer under them lemon law.GM has some great designs,but their extremly poor execution/production is the absolute worst I have ever experienced.Never again will I drop so much as a dime on anything GM.They “just don’t get it”,irregardless of what they say.

  31. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Tires are the number 1 safety item in cars, next to brakes, I suppose, they should be able to pass some kind of harsh, endurance test b4 they get approved for use in the US. The ratings on the sidewalls mean nothing when it comes to safety and toughness, I also had similar problems with 2 tires I bought about 4 years ago, made in a former iron curtain country, they were like old commie tires. We let just about anything in here in order to look good to the rest of the world and they still hate our guts. Chinese sent us bad toys, contaminated dog food and dry- walls and now dangerous tires. Can’t wait for them China cars to get here in a couple of years. Lawyers are already sharpening their teeth. Instead of raising the tariffs on these tires, they should be banned b4 people start dying.

  32. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Just read today’s news report about China peed off about the tariff placed on Chinese tires by Obama. Well, folks, if people don’t buy this crap, we would not be having any of this, same thing 2 weeks ago with BP forcing the British govt. to release that Libyan bomber, no one has called for a boycott of BP at least for a period of time, I don’t plan to buy any more BP gas ever again, there are plenty of other brands available. WAKE UP AMERICA!

  33. Andy S Says:

    Nick, your calculation of the cost-benefit of the Cash-for-Clunkers is missing a couple of key points. The new, more efficient and safer vehicle replaces the clunker for more than one year. The the envieronmental and safety benefits are understated. Also, the clunker may have residual value for our government in the form scrap steel and “parts”. These items may not amount to $3B. But if you are going to make an accounting of the program, let’s think fairly about both sides of the ledger.

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    Andy: First of, it is not “my” calculation”, I got it in an email. If you see the post again, note the smileyface at the end. It was part of that email. (Not my style)

    If you want to claim the enviro benefits are understated, you could be very wrong. Make sure you include the huge enviro damage by crashing and trying to recycle all the bad stuff in these dinosaurs.

    Also, “la critique est aisee, l’ art c’est difficile!” (Criticism is easy, but doing the work is hard!).

    Instead of just vaguely assuming that the calcs I got in the mail are imprecise, WITHOUT knowing what the RIGHT answer is, go do your homework and give us YOUR calcs. And I will make sure to tear them to pieces.

    Finally, my post was addressed not to you or the others in this group, most of us fully agree that the cash for clunkers program was a DISMAL FAILURE and robbed the long-sufferign taxpauer blind, and created a huge waste by cruching instead of REUSING the clunkers.,

    But it was clearly addressed to JOHN MCELROY, who, along with his detroit area buddies, insist that the program was… a smashing success (SIC !!!!!)

    Such nonsense only adds insult to our (the taxpayers) injury!

  35. Nick Stevens Says:

    “G.A.Branigan Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I can’t speak with experience for any chevy car,but I have had a number of their trucks (all 4×4’s).All of them I bought brand new.My last one was a 07 Colorado Z71 4×4.I have never in my life had such a steaming pile on 4 wheels…”

    Be consoled that, if you bought a car instead, it would be a much WORSE steaming pile on 4 wheels. At Ford, for example, where the wife of a friend is a senior engineer with an MSE in MEch Eng from UMichigan. she told me once that FOrd designed their Trucks to last only 150,000 miles (which is NOTHING in today’s competitive market), but, what’s worse, designed their Cars to last only 100,000 miles!

    And Fords are typically a bit more expensive and a bit more high qual than their equivalent GMs!

    (PS the other thing they did at FOrd is to get Camrys and LExuses and use them as “benchmarks”. Even if they were successful in cloning them, by production time, their cars would be as good as the PREVIOUS Generation Camrys and Lexuses.

  36. John Says:

    FYI

    http://www.youtube.com/user/PeterSchiffChannel

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Malibu before the current one was BETTER than the current one, since the MAXX hatchback was available. OK, I like hatchbacks and wagons.

    The new Malibu is a very nice car, and is one of the GM cars that competes well with anything in its class.

  38. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Honestly, I don’t see how you can design a car to last a certain number of miles, longevity depends on how it’s cared for, you can put cheap components and build it poorly, or you can do the opposite and that makes a difference, but to build it to last a certain period of time?

  39. Jim Sachetti Says:

    Nick:

    You are absolutely, 100% correct that the cash for clunkers program was a total failure. And the fears it would steal sales from next year were realized, and they were much worse! It stole sales even from the next MONTH!

    Read on from the Bible of the Auto Industry, Autonews.com:

    “Jesse Snyder
    Automotive News
    September 14, 2009 – 12:01 am ET

    The showroom misery after cash for clunkers was every bit as bad as dealers and automakers had feared. Maybe worse.

    “It was as still as a graveyard,” Wade Dinsmore, general manager of Anniston Dodge in Anniston, Ala., says of his showroom.

    Sales didn’t just slip back to pre-clunker levels, as many had hoped. September’s sales rate “may be the worst of the year,” says Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley’s lead auto analyst.

    The federal incentive that ended Aug. 24 propelled the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate for August to 13.7 million, says Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com, up from 9.5 million in June, the first full month before the program. But the SAAR careened to 8.3 million from Aug. 25 to 31 before edging up to 8.9 million in the first five days of September, Anwyl says.

    Analyst George Magliano of IHS Global Insight says: “I’d settle for anything in the 9 millions” for September.

    The rest of the year “will be depressed even compared to the first half,” adds Mike Jackson of CSM Worldwide. ”

    3 BILLION Taxpayer hard-earned $, and 700,000 perfectly fine cars destroyed. FOR NOTHING!

  40. Jim Sachetti Says:

    “# Pedro Fernandez Says:
    September 14th, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Honestly, I don’t see how you can design a car to last a certain number of miles, longevity depends on how it’s cared for, you can put cheap components and build it poorly, or you can do the opposite and that makes a difference, but to build it to last a certain period of time?”

    Oh, give me a break, Pedro! Did you bother to think even for one minute before you gave up here? It is OBVIOUS how you do the above! Every important Part of the car, you design it for an average life of 100,000 miles and NOT 300,000 or 500,000 as some high-quality Luxury imports!

  41. Jim Sachetti Says:

    VW was notorious for the short life of its parts in the older Passat and Jetta models. Things WORE OUT (did NOT “break down”, which is RANDOM!) at 60,000 miles, when you had Hondas easily pass the 300,000 mile limit with the ORIGINAL Everythings.

  42. Jim Sachetti Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    September 13th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    The Malibu before the current one was BETTER than the current one, since the MAXX hatchback was available. OK, I like hatchbacks and wagons”

    I also liked the MAXX because of its flexibility of th eback seat moving front and back if you wanted more cargo room or leg room. Made it a very comfortable car with back seats for 6 foot adults, not just short tiny ones.

    “The new Malibu is a very nice car, and is one of the GM cars that competes well with anything in its class.”

    Its exterior styling was sure very nice. Interiors were improved too. The real test will be durability, longevity, Fuel efficiency. We’ll see.

    So far even this very nice new Maliby does not sell many copies, a result partly of GM cutting the segment into 10 different pieces instead of having ONE car, like Honda has the Accord and Toyota the Camry and each sell 400 and 450,000 copies a year, with huge profits, instead of the Malibu selling 100-150,000 and little, if any, profits.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Fuel efficiency of the 4 cylinder, 6 speed auto version of the new Malibu is very good. Also, unlike many other GM 4 cyl. cars, the noise and vibration is under good control in the new Malibu. I guess time will tell how the reliability turns out. So far, my ’06 MAXX has been very reliable, but it’s too early to know how it will do in the long run. The biggest concern with my car is the engine. Buyers of new Malibus don’t have to worry about my particular engine, the pushrod 3.5; that engine is now history.

  44. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Jim if your theory is correct, then there should not be any Tercels running still, they stopped making them in ’97 and it was Toyota’s cheapest car, so it should have only lasted 50k miles? I have seen some with well over 200k miles and still going strong, yet my uncle’s ’96 Caddy which cost twice as much, died at 80k miles.