Episode 292 – 2010 Car Sales Could Soar, GM To Repay Sooner, OnStar Tracks Santa Claus

December 16th, 2009 at 12:09pm

Runtime 7:49

One analyst says pent-up demand and easier credit could lead to a car sales jump of 20 percent next year in the U.S. GM chairman Ed Whitacre announced that the company will repay all its government loans by next June. At the push of a button, OnStar will tell you where Santa Claus is. All that and more, plus John answers your questions in the “You Said It!” segment.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Car sales could soar in the American market next year. GM says it will repay the government by June. And at the push of a button, OnStar will tell you where Santa Claus is.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, December 16, 2009. And now, the news.

Could next year turn out to be a whole lot better for automakers in the American market than anyone expected? The Center for Automotive Research, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says pent-up demand and easier credit could lead to a sales jump of 20 percent in 2010. The Detroit Free Press reports that Sean McAlinden, the chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, predicts sales will hit 12.4 million units next year, substantially above most forecasts out there. He says sales will still be lousy through the spring, but will start to pick up after that. If he is right, the auto industry just got an early Christmas present.

And maybe that rosy outlook led to some more good news for the industry. Yesterday, GM chairman Ed Whitacre, announced that the company will repay all its government loans by next June. Reuters reports that GM will repay $8 billion to the U.S. and Canadian governments over the next 6 months. I imagine that will be enough to satisfy the government to lift its pay cap for executives, which would make it a lot easier for GM to recruit a new CEO. But remember the government has a lot more money into GM than the loans it provided. And it will have to wait for GM to do an IPO before it can sell stock and try to get more of the taxpayer’s money back.

China is the largest car market in the world, but its an even larger market for electric bikes. According to Gasgoo, e-bike sales are expected to hit 20 million this year compared with 12 million cars. The bikes are powered by rechargeable batteries and are popular due to their low cost, only $360 for high-end models, and are more convenient for getting around congested cities.

Chevy will offer wireless internet in select models. According to the Detroit Free Press, it’s a dealer-installed system that will allow users to get online, inside and around the car. It costs $200 and service is $30 a month, although for a higher fee it can be upgraded. It’s on the Equinox, Traverse, Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Avalanche and Express.

And GM will allow kids to track Santa Claus via OnStar. Starting on Christmas Eve, OnStar subscribers just need to press the blue OnStar button to have an adviser share Santa’s whereabouts. NORAD, which has tracked Santa for over 50 years, has partnered with OnStar to provide the service.

Renault has ended speculation that it’s going to pull out of Formula 1. According to the Wall Street Journal, the French automaker will continue to race, but it’s going to sell a majority of its outfit to Luxemburg-based private investment firm Genii Capital. In other F1 news, the New York Times reports that retired driver Michael Schumacher is close to signing on with Mercedes to compete in the series next year.

Speaking of Mercedes, Inside Line reports that late next year the company will drop its naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 in favor of a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter engine. The company’s AMG eight isn’t the only powerplant getting booted; mainstream Mercedes models are moving to forced induction as well.

And in more related news, Bloomberg reports that the future of Maybach may be in doubt. The retro-named, super-luxury brand has not competed very well with other top-shelf marques like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Last year it only moved 300 cars compared to 1,400 Rollers and nearly 8,000 Bentleys. But Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says they’re still committed to the brand.

The Daily Mail reports that a British photographer named Andy Willsheer miraculously cheated death at Pomona Raceway in California. As he stood alongside the track, an out-of-control funnycar nearly hopped the barrier and took him out. Incredibly, he cheated death and even got away with some amazing photos! Here you can see just how close things got. Luckily both Willsheer and the car’s driver were unharmed.

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

And now it’s time for some of your feedback. Here’s my chance to showcase some of your comments and letters.

HyundaiSmoke wrote in to say that Fiat still makes poor quality cars and asks, “Why did our government allow Chrysler to make a deal with this POS Automaker, who will only lead them to inevitable doom?”

Well, Hyundaismoke, the government did the deal with Fiat because it was the only deal on the table. And even if you think that Fiat will lead Chrysler to inevitable doom, it doesn’t matter. Because if Fiat had not come along, Chrysler would have ceased to exist about six months ago.

Perry Cartwright wrote to say that we sort of misquoted Johann de Nysschen, the president of Audi of America, when we said he’s falling in “love with diesels.” He says, “Your attribution of “falling in love” that you gave to Mr. de Nysschen’s National Press Club appearance seems intentionally skewed by your own opinion.”

Perry, I know Johan de Nysschen very well. I’ve interviewed him numerous times, had him as a guest on Autoline Detroit on several occasions, I went to the Sebring 12 hours with him a couple of years back, I was at the Indy 500 with him this year. I even went to Elton John’s party on Oscar night with him a couple of years ago. I consider him a friend. And I can you I did not intentionally skew what he said, that man loves diesels.

And along those lines, dcars wrote in to say, “Johan de Nysschen wants to flood the American market with German diesels. If the Volt, LEAF and Prius are getting over 100 MPG the Germans won’t have a chance.”

Dcars, you may be right. But don’t forget, the lithium-ion batteries in those cars are super expensive. There’s also the inconvenience of finding a place to plug them in. That means plug-ins and EVs have some big hurdles to overcome while the diesel engine is ready to go right now.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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38 Comments to “Episode 292 – 2010 Car Sales Could Soar, GM To Repay Sooner, OnStar Tracks Santa Claus”

  1. dave Says:

    Car sales to Soar!@##??? C4C pulled sales foward, unemployment over 10% and people who do have a good job do NOT want to buy ANYTHING right now..SO, what are they smoking? If they say it maybe they think it will come true

  2. Perry Cartwright Says:

    John, sorry; read it again. You still have it wrong. I objected to what YOU said yesterday. It was, “Speaking to the press yesterday, Audi’s president of North America, Johan de Nysschen, criticized the U.S. Government for “falling in love” with electric vehicles. ” While of course you’re right that de Nysschen is in love with diesels, in his statement at the Press Club luncheon he was much more neutral than what you indicated and that’s all.

  3. Nick Stevens Says:

    a 20% rise in 2010 will only yield 12.4 million sales. This is a far, far cry from the 17 million sales we used to have from 1998-2007.

    What’s worse for the Detroit 3 and other makers, the 12.4 million will not contain as many high-profit large trucks and SUVs they contained in 98-07. Detroit is notorious for not being able to make a dime on small cars. Their solution is to make some in Mexico and Korea.

    So, John, you really need to curb your enthusiasm, or you will be bitterly disappointed EVEN if your “rosy scenario” is realized in 2010.

    And the huge drop in auto sales from 17 million a year, whether it goes to 10.5 or 12.4 million, happened when the legal US population gre by at least THIRTY SIX MILLION PEOPLE since 1997!! Sales SHOULD be 20 million in a dece nt year, when the economy recovers, but they will not even come close to that, because people behave differently, and keep their reliable cars far longer.

  4. LEX Says:


    I enjoyed your guest Sandy Munro on AAH. Sandy is a straight shooter in my book! David Welch looked uncomfortable seating next to Sandy. I would like to suggest that you switch to comfy chairs for David and quests like the one you and Mr. D. park yourselves into.

    I hate Diesels!, Johan de Nysschen comes across as a very arrogant individual with very rigid point of view. Mr. de Nysschen should put a small diesel engine into a Range Extended Electric Vehicle. This would give the consumer the benefitd of both technologies.

    I believe Range Extended Electic Vehicles (REEV’s) are going to be the vehicle of choice for urban and suburban drivers. Peter De Lorenzo is right about that EV’s & REEV’s will make up approxiately 10 to 15 percent of our domestic fleet in the near future. The turnoil at GM has the Volt hanging in limbo. As I understand it GM is going to only lease the Volt and pull the same crap it did with the EV1. The more I listen to Carlos Goshen of Nissan about the future of the automobile the more convinced I become that he gets it! There will not be one solution, be it Gasoline, Hybrid, Diesel, E85 or Bio Mass derived fuels. It will be a combination of all these types based upon Government and Regional Economics. Exxon and the Other Oil Companies will be lobbying Congress based upon what fuel makes best economic sense for them and not the American Consumer. The wealth generated by the Oil Industry with buy up all the electric generating capacity in the world to form an Energy Monopoly which will force the Automotive Industry and it’s customers to purchase vehicle which use fuels which enriches the Energy Monopoly.

    Soon we will all be eating “Solvent Green”!

  5. David Sprowl Says:

    Cars sales will soar if credit is available? Not gonna happen. Banks are still tight and will remain so until the government acts on banking reform or drops its threat too. With unemployment that will continue to be high and those that have taken a large pay cuts, few will want to commit to car payments. My numbers are 11.5 to 11.7 million units for 2010.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    “I hate diesels”

    Oh what 100%, USDA choice Bullsheet!

    MODERN Diesels, NOT the god-awful 80s GM diesels LEX knows, in the US are LOOOOOONG overdue.

    All of EUROPE uses MODERN diesels in cars much smaller than those we have, and diesels are IDEAL for Trucks and SUVs and towing vehicles.

    WAKE UP! GET WISE! LISTEN to John when he correctly cites the HUGE drawbacks of all these silly EVs and Plug-ins that will make sense only for VERY FEW consumers out of the 200,000,000 drivers in the USA!

  7. G.A.Branigan Says:

    “I hate diesels”…….good,I’m glad you do.I have no sympathy for ignorance.Long gone are the days of smoke belching noisy diesels,even in most over the road trucks,and soon it will be ALL trucks.Diesel electrics are cool,and efficient,but not for towing,at least not in the near future.Buy your EV and enjoy.Don’t forget,you still have to plug it in,and most power generating plants in this country are COAL fired.Those batteries your in love with aren’t anywhere close to being “green” when it comes time to buy a new one and dispose of the old one.I am very happy for you.

  8. Len simpson Says:

    MY EV of choice will sport inwheel motors , combo battery systems & microturbine charger. Aah, the simplicity of it all !

  9. LEX Says:

    Nick Stevens,

    This is not a forum for you to bash your follow bloggers on Autoline Daily. Maybe I was harsh in my opinion of Diesel and Mr. de Nynysshen but that does not give you the right to dismiss my opinions!

    Yes Europe has Fuel Efficient Diesel Vehicles based purely upon ecomomics involving fuel costs and MPG. Diesel has an advantage in MPG over gasoline. However France has the nuclear capabilty to generate and store electrical power for a fleet of EV’s.

    The only drawback with EV’s and Plug-ins is that some people are afraid of new technology.

    The average engine in a modern car weights about 350lbs. The gasoline to power that engine weighs 6.5 lbs per gallon, ie 20 gallons X 6.5 lbs / gallon = 130 lbs. The combined weight is nearly 500 lbs. Diesel weighs 7.15 lbs per gallon which translates to 150 lbs per tank full. That does not take into consideration the cost of the Urea used in clean diesel techology. Petroleum based fossil fuels are finite in quantity controlled by huge oil corporations and unfriendly nations. Electricity can be produced via Solar, Wind and Hydro using clean technologies and stored for future use. The EV’s electric motor for example in the Tesla Roadster is only 70lbs. The Battery in a Nissan Leaf is only 440 lbs. At present the weight is nearly equal. The Battery size and weight will reduce as the technology matures, and the EV is not dependent of foreign oil to generate all it’s recharging needs.

    The EV has better off the line perforance than a Conventionally vehicle. There are fewer parts and less maintenance requirements with an EV. This is no oil, oil and air filters to change. The incorporation of Solar Technology into the roof panel of EV’s will aid in recharging your vehicle especially in southern and western states. I am not saying that EV’s are for everyone but I will keep an open mind about diesels if you do the same regarding EV’s.

    As I said in my original posting, ” Mr. de Nysschen should put a small diesel engine into a Range Extended Electric Vehicle. This would give the consumer the benefits of both technologies.”

    I am fortunate to already have my electrical outlet placed in a perfect location in my garage waiting for my Plug-in EV, be it a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf or Toyota Plug-in Prius.

  10. Nick Stevens Says:

    I don’t suffer fools gladly, LEX. Your ignorant and utterly silly statements about “hating” the greatest hope for reducing our dependence on imported oil could only provoke my fully justified reaction.

    If the car I drive was available in the US (AS it IS in Germany) with a diesel, I would get 50% better fuel economy.

    And even though I fully support the MODERN diesel (EDUCATE yourself, LEX, as to how UNBELIEVABLY clean and efficient it is!) , I ALSO fully appreciate cars like the PRIUS, which I have driven for 3 days (rental) and got actual 47-50-62-69 MPG.

    But hybrids are ideal for CITY FLEETS, NOT for private owners that take long trips on the highway, where the diesel is FAR superior, while the hybrid on the highway stupidly drags along a second powerplant and the connecting systems that it does not need.

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS LEX: Your lengthy reply is full of inaccurate nonsense. DIESELS are NOT just used for economics reasons, because of their steeply higherr MPG they have much lower EMISSIONS than gas engines in MANY pollutants.

    AND your silly claim that people are somehow afaid of EV tech, and that is the.. Only draw back of EVs, is LUDICROUS. WHatever weed you are smoking when you wrote this nonsense, I am sure many here would like a sample.

    The number ONE problem with EVS is their UNACEPTABLY Small, tiny RANGE. Families need cars that can do 500 miles or MORE on one tank, and all the cars I have driven could easily squeeze the 500 on the highway. The best EVS today have a laughable 200 miles range, and that under IDEAL conditions.

  12. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Lex:NOT all diesels for sale in this country use Urea to clean it up.Check out a 6.2L Cummins available with a Dodge Ram…..no urea injection,cleaner then gasser emissions and better mileage against a comparable size gasser powered pickup.For people who live in the northern climes,how well do you think the battery is going to last?Sure they’ve tested out the ev’s in winter,but not all winter long,parked outside etc.You get the picture,you know what I’m talking about.EV’s will have there place in our future,but in limited areas.Oh yeah,who gives a damn what they have in france anyways,how does that translate to us here in the USA?

  13. EAB Says:

    For daily transportation, even if the mileage was even up, I would still prefer a diesel. I prefer the torque curve of a diesel as even the small ones can loaf like a large V-8 at highway speed. The current “vvt” gassers do put out enough torque to loaf as well, but once they see a hill, the tach needle jumps and the racket begins. My non vvt four sits at 3500 for 70MPH, and you can hear every rev. Now add in the service and economy benefits, and to me, it’s a no brainer.

    One more thing. Rudolph diesel engineered his engine from the start to run on veggie oil, aka “biodiesel.”

    Hybrids and electrics have their place, but for my 60 miles round trip commute, they simply don’t fit the bill. Ford, give me my Fiesta!!!, and give it to me with a 1.3L turbodiesel. I’ll buy it, even at 26K, I’ll buy it!!

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Ahhh yeah,build the diesel and they will buy….
    Damn right we will ;}>

  15. G.A.branigan Says:

    PS: wasn’t it a turbo diesel that won Le Mans 2 or 3 years ago? Peugeot(sp)?

  16. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Why is it that Americans only seem to associate diesels with big trucks and SUV’s? Is it lack of education on the subject or that they see these construction trucks and 18 wheelers spewing thick, black smoke and feel cars will do the same after they get a little old? And what’s gonna happen to the price of diesel fuel if demand goes up?

  17. pedro Fernandez Says:

    by the way, Cadillac offered Mr. Woods a new Escalade with a girlfriend tracking system using On-Star and a service called “Booty-on-call”

  18. mg Says:

    Boy, my blood boils every time I hear that gm will pay back all the money it borrowed in June 2010. ALL THE MONEY IT BORROWED. I don’t want to hear about their BS bankruptcy splitting the company into good and bad assets. GM took $50 billion from the American people and insults us by saying it will pay all their borrowed money back with one $6 billion payment. They need to do this payment 7+ MORE times after that for me to “consider us good”! Until then … shut up GM and stop bragging about how successful you are!

  19. C-tech Says:

    @Pedro: You are SOOOO wrong! Funny as hell, but sooo wrong! Can I use that?

  20. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    yeah, man, I have no copyright on that!

  21. dcars Says:

    Thanks for mentioning me today.

    I had a loner Honda EV for a year. The reaction from everyone that I came in contact with it was positive. They liked the idea of a quiet efficient comfortable vehicle, one strange thing, its heater was fueled with kerosene! I took less than a gallon and lasted the entire winter. It was also very ugly, but had good acceleration.

    While in Europe, I wasn’t impressed with the little diesel cars that littered the roads. The price of the German Diesels is also very high.

    GM, Ford, Toyota and Honda invested their money into electric Hybrids, so being from the US I’m rooting for the home team.

  22. LEX Says:

    Hey Guys!

    You all missed the point! We need to begin switching our domestic automotive fleet from petroleum based fuels to alternative domestically producted fuels which reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil.

    Henry Ford, back in the early 1900′s, made vehicles which could run on pure alcohol. His reasoning was that farmers could grow their own corn to make a fuel based alcohol.
    The Federal Government stepped in to stop it because the alcohol could also be consumed as moonshine.

    If Diesel is so great why isn’t everyone driving one? Truckers need the torque provided by diesel to move heavy loads. The only problem is that diesel is not a renewal fuel.
    Bio Diesel may come into it’s own, but it will only supply the fuel needs of a small portion of the general public. The Battery Packs for EV’s will need to be recyclable so that they do not pollute the environment. All these fuels have draw backs but Energy Independence for America is why I even wrote anything on this subject.

  23. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    John, I have to admit you have a point. Others did make or at least entertained the idea of making offers, I guess the best offer won.

    However, I have been an advocate of the full scale nationalization of Chrysler by our government. If they got much worse, then the Governemnt should have pulled the plug. If Chrysler’s sales, etc… got way better then sell the thing to the highest bidder, and make a profit off of it.

    I love Diesels too G.A. All of the makes need to bring Diesel SUVs to the US Market, but I have a feeling theres a conspiracy of Trucking Companies, etc… trying to keep that from happening. Those EPA Guidelines are absolutely ludicrous!!!!!

    I pretty much Cussed someone out from KIA recently for their continued waffling in holding back Crossover/SUV Diesels in the US market. KIA has some pretty good social networking sites.

  24. dcars Says:

    I agree totally LEX, Diesels do not solve the problem, just delay it. Bio diesel production isn’t up to speed. E85 is closer to realization and maybe a more realistic answer in the short term. The Germans like diesels because their technology is more advanced than everyone else, so they pushing what they are good at. Batteries can be recycled and I would bet that production costs will fall. Hybrids getting over 100mpg seams like a better idea.

  25. M Campbell Says:

    G.A.: a diesel has won the LM 24 the last four years in a row, ’06-08 by the Audi R10 and ’09 by the Peugeot, each had 5.5L twin-turbo V12s.

    Can an EV lover explain how EV owners will manage holiday travel in an electric car? According to AAA, 77 million Americans will be traveling by car this holiday season, two-thids of whom will go over 250 miles. How, exactly, will an EV do that?

    Getting rid of the IC engine in favor of electrics is a fanciful thought, but so are unicorns.

  26. Nick Stevens Says:

    Agree with all the points of the last post (M Campbell). In addition,

    The EV fanatic here claimed that the biggest obstacle to EVs is the fear of the “new tech”? Are you serious? Do you have a clue about Automotive History? EV cars were among the first cars ever to be produced! And even today there is a whole bunch of EVS driven around in Factories, Warehouses, Gated communities and, above all, Golf Courses.

    If the cost numbers make sense (including the harm to the environment and pollution). I would be all for EV or Hybrid Mail Trucks and taxis and delivery vehicles in the city, but for the private auto owner who can afford, and has garage space for, only one car per adult family member, they make little sense.

    And to quote again the Audi boss, only an idiot would buyh the chevy Volt at twice the price of the little Chevy Cobalt on whose platform and mechanicals it is based. (The Audi boss mentioned the Corolla instead, but the Cobalt would be more appropriate)

  27. Nick Stevens Says:

    “pedro Fernandez Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Why is it that Americans only seem to associate diesels with big trucks and SUV’s? ”

    The Diesel is far more appropriate for a Truck or SUV than for a corolla, because of its prodigious TORQUE, which allows you to haul a ton of stuff and tow a large boat at excellent MPG.

    My point was that, if EUROPE, where there are very few trucks and SUVs, was able to profit so much by the MODERN, CLEAN and efficient Diesel, the US should have TEN TIMES the reason to do so.

    The only drawback is COST, the diesel costs more to make than some gas engine, BUT it lasts longer, so from the point of view of total lifetime costs, it is a far better proposition.

  28. G.A.B ranigan Says:

    @ Lex:Bro,do a google on bio-diesel vs ethanol blended gas.Hands down bio diesel wins,on many levels.

    @ Nick:Your right on with the life of a diesel.Some have said higher maint costs for diesels.In some terms that is true:FILTERS are the key,and keeping them clean ((changed out)is actually cheaper then they realize.

    All in all a diesel in the life of a given vehicle is more efficient,and less (lots)maint costs overall.No.they don’t stink of fuel anymore and they are very quiet.The “buy in” for a diesel option is spendy.However,like me,I am waiting on a diesel JK.Once I have that,my vehicle buying days are over.That should last me till I croak.

  29. T. Bejma Says:

    M Campbell Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Can an EV lover explain how EV owners will manage holiday travel in an electric car? According to AAA, 77 million Americans will be traveling by car this holiday season, two-thids of whom will go over 250 miles. How, exactly, will an EV do that?

    The IC engine in an EREV such as the Volt would provide similar cruising range as a regular IC engined vehicle. So, all of that 250 mpg regular commuting will save you money for the 1 or 2 times a year when you go over 250 miles and get 40 mpg…

  30. T. Bejma Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 9:28 am
    And to quote again the Audi boss, only an idiot would buyh the chevy Volt at twice the price of the little Chevy Cobalt on whose platform and mechanicals it is based. (The Audi boss mentioned the Corolla instead, but the Cobalt would be more appropriate)

    Actually Nick, that is not more appropriate. The Volt is built on the brand new, well recieved in Europe, Asia and Australia, Cruze platform, not the Cobalt…

  31. Rick R Says:

    OK, all you diesel lovers, why do ford pickup trucks with diesels stink? I hate being behind one ’cause I can smell the stench 5 car lengths back.

  32. Nick Stevens Says:

    “The Volt is built on the brand new, well recieved in Europe, Asia and Australia, Cruze platform, not the Cobalt…”

    I appreciate the correction, T. Bejma, but the Cruze is the replacement to the Cobalt, and will sell at about the same price, so the Audi Boss’s point, as modified by me (sub’d the Cobalt-Cruze for the Corolla) remains.

    Also, the comments about EV Range were NOT for Hybrids or plug-in Hybrids as the Volt, they have adequate range.

    They were for pure EVs, and all i have seen so far have PITIFUL range. Look at the $109,000 TESLA, now that they are driving a bunch of them 2,700 miles from CA to Detroit: They have to stop every 200 miles or less to re-charge them. And how long does each re-charge take? And other EVs have even less range than the Tesla, 150 miles or just 100 miles-barely enough to commute round-trip, let alone take the family to visit granma on Xmas!

  33. Nick Stevens Says:

    # G.A.B ranigan Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    “@ Nick:Your right on with the life of a diesel…All in all a diesel in the life of a given vehicle is more efficient,and less (lots)maint costs overall.No.they don’t stink of fuel anymore and they are very quiet.The “buy in” for a diesel option is spendy.However,like me,I am waiting on a diesel JK.Once I have that,my vehicle buying days are over.That should last me till I croak.”

    I just thought that a far better use of the $4,500 cash-for-clunkers taxpayer subsidy would be to subsidize new diesels, or conversions of the largest trucks and SUVs to diesels, without scrapping or killing any old car. The fuel savings alone would be spectacular!

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    Rick: Gas cars stink too. Older cars in particular. I remember when my mother was quite young and we took a drive in the country, we’d have to stop when she would get “seasick” of the fumes and wanted to vomit. Even today’s cars stink of gas smell whenever you are out and next to them trying to clean up the windows in the winter, it is not a fun smell at all.

    I am really not a fan of SUVs, and big SUVs at that, but now I remembered a Motorweek test of the Ford Excursion, an SUV so big and heavy it does not fall under EPA rules, that they tested with the diesel, and got almost 20 MPG!! Average, long term. That is not just 50% more MPG than the gas version, like most diesels, it is close to 100%!!!

  35. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Rick R:Older diesels smell because of the sulpher that was in the fuel.Back in 07 (I think) the feds mandated new low sulpher diesel.The new fuel,combined with the crd/clean diesel technology eliminates the “stink”.I can still buy regular diesel that is made for off road use,it’s used in heavy equipment like my loader.And in truth,the 3 cly Cummins diesel that is in my tractor doesn’t smell at all,it runs that clean.

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    GA, good point. I believe it was oct 2006 when the ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel became law and all diesel you buy after that for US highways is of that type. I don’t know if the sulphur was the culprit for the smell in the past, but i do know that the new extra-clean diesel is hugely more clean than the old one (from 500 particles of sulphur per unit to 5 or 30 or so!)

  37. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Nick:Another cause for smelly diesels was also the lack of catalytic converters,fouled out injectors from the high sulpher fuel etc.If an engine,be it gas or diesel is not properly maintained,it will not burn all the fuel and stink out a neighborhood.On a side note:A lot of people remember the noisy stinky old city buses.Those were powered by 2 stroke Detroit diesels.Probably the single worst diesel engine design in history….thank god they stopped making them over 25 years ago.They were extremely popular because they were extremely cheap….for a diesel.

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I love that diesel smell, older gas vehicles stink though.