Episode 358 – Volvo Deal Done, 1st Drive: 2011 Ford Mustang, Technology Debuts On Cruze

March 29th, 2010 at 12:04pm

Runtime 7:36

Geely finally buys Volvo from Ford for $1.8 billion. First test drive of the new 2011 Ford Mustang. General Motors puts a piece of breakthrough technology on the new Chevy Cruze. All that and more, plus a few quick driving impressions of the Infiniti M37.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. The sale of Volvo is finally a done deal. First test drive of the new Ford Mustang. And General Motors puts a piece of breakthrough technology on the new Chevy Cruze.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, March 29, 2010. And now, the news.

A big day for China’s auto industry as Geely finally bought Volvo from Ford. According to the Detroit News, the companies signed the agreement at Volvo’s headquarters in Sweden for $1.8 billion. Ford originally acquired Volvo in 1999 for $6.5 billion. As part of the agreement, Geely gets access to key intellectual property, as well as engineering and manufacturing resources. And Ford and Volvo will continue to supply each other with engines, powertrain components and other parts for current products.

Japanese automakers are cranking-up production at an astounding rate. Bloomberg reports that Honda boosted global production last month by 49 percent thanks to growing demand in China, Japan, and the United States. Nissan boosted production 72 percent. And Toyota cranked it up 83 percent compared to a year ago.

Chevrolet is unveiling the U.S.-version of the Cruze at the New York auto show this week. It includes a high-mileage version called the Eco, that will be powered by a 1.4-liter, turbo four, with variable cam timing and a six-speed manual transmission. It also has what I believe is a first for the auto industry. The use of shape-memory composites to open and close louvers on the lower grille to improve aerodynamics at highway speeds. In fact, it was three years ago that Dr. Alan Taub from the General Motors Research Labs came on Autoline Detroit to demonstrate how shape-memory alloys work, including a demo of the louvers that move automatically, with no motor to drive the system. You can learn all about it on show 1121 on our website at autolinedetroit.tv.

It’s no secret that Chrysler’s in trouble. Right now the company seriously lacks new product and it has at least a year to go until it can start selling some Fiat-sourced vehicles. To help lift flagging sales, the Wall Street Journal reports that Chrysler has pulled ahead the launch of its redesigned 300 by three or four months (subscription required). The brand’s flagship sedan is now expected to go on sale this November rather the first quarter of next year.

GM plans to boost production of the hot selling Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers but will do so in a unique way. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM’s CAMI Automotive plant in Ontario, Canada will be expanded to build extra bodies of the vehicles which will then be shipped to its Oshawa plant for paint and final assembly. The company has been looking at unique ways to increase production without reopening another plant. But this is a weird solution. Automakers stopped shipping bodies from one plant to another years ago because moving them all around, loading and unloading, always led to dings, dents and quality problems.

Ford wrapped up the press preview of its 2011 Mustang and the embargo lifted this morning. Even though the ponycar just received an overhaul last year, the company has delivered some major upgrades this year. There are minor upgrades to the body and chassis, but as you know, the big news is what’s under the hood. Base cars get a brand-new V-6 – 3.7-liters – 305 horsepower – 280 pound-feet of torque – 31 miles per gallon, we’ve been over this before. From the driver’s seat the engine is a gem – a HUGE IMPROVEMENT over the 4.0-liter V-6 it replaces. It’s smooth and pulls strong all the way to its 7,000 RPM redline. It’s paired to a six-speed transmission of your choice – either manual or automatic. The other half of the equation is a BRAND-NEW V-8. The five-point-oh is back! Ford claims it delivers 412 ponies and 390 pound-feet of torque. It’s STRONG! It’s also very, very smooth and has a beautiful snarl when you hit the gas. We’ll have a lot more on the 2011 Ford Mustang in the coming days so stay tuned.

Up next, a few quick driving impressions of the Infiniti M37. We’ll be back right after this.

Infiniti just introduced its redesigned M. The M37 is available with a 3.7-liter V-6 while the M56 comes with a 5.6-liter V-8. The car also offers all kinds of other technology and luxury features. Autoline Daily Correspondent Craig Cole took a quick spin in the M37 and filed this report.

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

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

51 Comments to “Episode 358 – Volvo Deal Done, 1st Drive: 2011 Ford Mustang, Technology Debuts On Cruze”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    58% of all Chrysler Sales were to fleets last Feb. It will be really hard to avoid all these “worst car ever made (according to Top Ggear)Dodge Avengers and Chrysler Sebrings… Gawd…

  2. Nick Stevens Says:

    58% of all Chrysler Sales were to fleets last Feb. It will be really hard to avoid all these “worst car ever mad” (according to Top Gear) Dodge Avengers and Chrysler Sebrings… Gawd…

  3. Nick Stevens Says:

    Donald N. Frey, the engineer who spearheaded the design and development of the Mustang, died March 5 in Evanston, Ill., where he lived. He was 86.

    The cause was a stroke, his son Christopher said.

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    Sorry for the double posting above, the site was too slow

    And now for something not really surprising for those who know how good Toyotas really are…

    Hyundai Smoke and Max, the resident Rabid Toyota-haters: You have been warned!

    “If you, dear reader, had expected (or, perish the thought, hoped) that SUA hype and rapid fire recalls would bring Toyota down, then stop reading immediately. What follows will not be good for your circulatory system.

    Ok, you have been duly warned: The Nikkei [sub] reports that Toyota’s domestic output in Japan rose 119.6 percent on the year to 309,933 units in February, up for the fourth straight month.

    Toyota’s exports increased 106.9 percent to 150,232 units, the second straight monthly improvement.

    Sales in Japan grew 49.9 percent from the previous year to 149,604 units last month, up for the seventh month in a row.

    Toyota’s overseas output was likewise utterly unimpressed by the avalanche of (driver error) auto-accelerating autos.

    It improved 58.8 percent to 345,247 units, marking the seventh consecutive month of growth.”

  5. adaptabl Says:

    Chrysler is gone from the retail market. The products are so bad they need $10,000 or more incentives. The best thing would be to close them up and help Ford and GM move forward. I own a Chrysler and can tell you they are worse to own than they look. My lease is up in 3 months and there is no way I would ever buy/lease another Chrysler.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    You can clearly see why Mullaly is in a class by himself, the Mustang languished for years, neglected, stagnant and grew stale by being built using the ancient Fox platform for decades. Now instead of resting, it is continually being improved and updated to try to keep it fresh and current. Learn from this, GM and Chrysler. Just look at your own portfolio.

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Wow, that Mustang does sound sweet, however, a Chevy guy forever, I’ll wait and put my hopes on the new Z-28 (that’s got to be in the pipeline………………………please). I still think there is great brand loyalty when it comes to trucks and pony cars.

  8. EAB Says:

    I always said that if I got a pony car it would have the baddest engine they could come with. Really, what’s the use? But then the V-6 Mustang and Camaro hit the street. These new sixes are delivering acceleration that even the muscle car era could only dream about. I would have never thought I would say it, but if I bought one of these examples I would (OMG, I cannot believe I am saying this!!!)…ok, deep breath…..whew…ok…

    I would get the six. There, I said it.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    My sister made the dumb move to get a Dodge Journey, against my advice. This POS derived from the Sebring/Avenger platform is lagging behind all of its competitors in performance and refinement. The only thing it has going for it is the price with the incentives being given by Chrysler, I wish her luck.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Chrysler’s dismal future is now in the not so capable hands of sergio macaroni.IF,and that is a big IF,they would actually listen to what customers really want AND made those vehicles available,they wouldn’t be in the fix they are in and have been in for way too long now.So to Sergio I say this,Just how long do you plan on beating a completely dead horse?

  11. dcars Says:

    Pedro, The Journey is probably the best thing on that platform and really is a decent vehicle. The Avenger styling is much better than the Sebring. I don’t know how reliable it will be.

  12. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    @ pedro fernandez

    Other than advice did you give your sister any financial aid to make her purchase??

    If not then she should feel free to purchase whatever type of vehicle she prefers. If you took her for ice cream would you require her to choose only vanilla if you do not agree with chocolate??

    For the life of me I cannot understand why someone would get so upset with someone elses purchase choices.

    Because you like Toyota or Honda or whatever make you choose should the rest of us make disparaging comments about your choices since they do not agree with our selection.

    By comments made by some contributors to this blog it seems that only Honda Toyota and some German makes should be tolerated on the roads.

    I thought the whole idea of the free enterprise system was to give the people the products they wish to spend THEIR money on no matter what.

  13. Nick Stevens Says:

    Ralph’s Titanic is sinking and he is still in deep denial, and thinks pedro and I are the problem….

    GM (and of course Ford) at least has a chance. What chance does Chrysler have, if they sell a fraction of what they used to, and even at that, 58% is to FLEETS????!!!

  14. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    News Scoop:

    Speaking about Cruzes the Buick Astra along with next gen Accent will debut in Beijing in 4 weeks.


  15. Ralph Kercheval Says:


    There is no denial. Just disgust in the attitude that if it is not what you and Pedro think the best choice is then the rest of the buying public is something to be ridiculed.

    I have no love loss for Chrysler and, other than having friends trying to make a living working at a Chrysler Jeep Dodge store, I have little to gain or lose with their faliure or success.

  16. KamalRowe Says:

    Long time viewer, first time commenter. Really nice haircut!

  17. Nick Stevens Says:


    Your false charges are just TRASH TALK. You stubbornly refuse to face the facts.

    You should be disgusted at the DOMESTICS, not ME, who actually bought a GM vehicle the only time I bought a car new for myself.

    You should study their horrible failures over 35 years, losing HOME GAMES every si ngle year to the imports, and instead of improving, blaming EVERYBODY ELSE for their troubles.

    YOu are NOT going to silence anybody here with your unwarranrted protests.

    Chrysler is dead and Buried already, and it is THEIR, NOT OUR, fault

    As a TAXPAYER, it should be ME, not YOU, that should be disgusted at being robbed blind so Obama can pay back his debt to the UAW. HE should have let them sink or swim!

  18. T. Bejma Says:

    “Chuck Grenci Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    Wow, that Mustang does sound sweet, however, a Chevy guy forever, I’ll wait and put my hopes on the new Z-28 (that’s got to be in the pipeline………………………please). I still think there is great brand loyalty when it comes to trucks and pony cars.”

    Z28 is coming, that’s a fact…

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ralph,dcars: I based my opinion after reading literally hundreds of comments from buyers of all vehicles that were considered, and from my own test drives. For example, when we got into a Mazda CX7 I tried to start the engine, and to my surprise and embarrassment it was already running, I just could not hear it, not so with this Journey, though not noisy, it was not as refined as others we tried, so yes she made a compromise to save a grand or so, but since she plans to keep it a long time, I would think a more established model with a better track record would have been a wiser choice.ps it’s made in Mexico, so how American can it be?

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    “dcars Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Pedro, The Journey is probably the best thing on that platform and really is a decent vehicle.”

    That really does not say much. You should co mpare it to its competition, not to anything else made on the same platform!

    ” The Avenger styling is much better than the Sebring.”

    Really? I thought the opposite is true, buit both of them are really, really lame, and not just in one area, but in all. Read the reviews, not only from the enthusiast mags, but also the indepe ndent, unbiased COnsumere reports coverage.

    Have you driven any of these things? I know you own an Accord, I used to own one, and every time I had to rent one of these total POS’s, even though they were 10 years younger than the Accord, I appreciated the far higher quality, handling, and of course reliability of the Accord when I would use it again.

    ” I don’t know how reliable it will be”

    Take a guess, Chrysler Group reliabiklity has been dismal, and even 10 years ago they were desperately trying to reduce their warranty costs, I supervised two different teams of consultants that worked on this over two years.

  21. Andy S Says:

    John Mac, is there any way to limit the posts to no more than 2 per person per day? It’ll help reduce the volley of insults, which should help stimulate a greater diversity of thought.

  22. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Andy, that would suck man. Ok, think about this. This would be a dry ass place if we only got to shoot just 2 messages a day.

    This would revert to a humdrum experience to yes a diversity of thought, but a lack of depth in the thought limited by posting limits. Not the kind of place you want to grow if you’re trying to build for the future.

  23. tom young Says:

    Great shows John,& Peter & others
    I’m with Andy S.
    Used to look forward to the comments section,
    But all to often it has become a peeing war.
    One day beer was the topic of discussion.
    Who cares if you have to rush off to teach.
    There must be other social networking sites for that stuff.

  24. First on Race Day (FORD) Says:

    If the foriegn manufactures are gearing up production won’t this put too many days of sales on the lot like Ford did with the Mustang? And the Ford Mustang is a knockout V6 or V8. When is Ford going to put these in the F150 and will the engins still get their torque and hoursepower? I hope so.

  25. Andrew Charles Says:

    Nick, Toyota’s output has been running about 200,000 units p.a. ahead of sales for years, so it should not have been a surprise that for much of 2009 they lost even more money than GM and had to dramatically cut production for some time. These boosts in production and exports mean nothing, unless they are supported by profitable sales, and actual sales are not in their reporting schedule just yet. Until the acceleration scandal broke Toyota’s solution to overcapacity and unprofitable sales was to target cost cuts of a further 20%, which is how they got into this mess in the first place. Until they rationalize their product portfolio (e.g. last time I counted they had 25 different MPVs of various sizes) and focus on building better cars rather than cheaper cars, the decline will continue.

  26. Max Christensen Says:


    YOU are so darn stupid and full of yourself that I don’t even know where to begin with you today, so I guess I’ll just let you blobber on and let you enjoy the fact that you can momopolize the conversation here along with your puppet boy Pedro.

    And speaking of Pedro, I have to agree with Ralph from post #12. Unless you have some of your own money in this car, she can buy whatever she damn well pleases!

    And the two of you (nicky and pedro) rely so much on what other people say in reviews – can either of you actually think at all for yourself? Have you ever read a bad movie review and then gone to see the movie and it was actually pretty good? Same thing with cars ….. opionions are like assholes, everybody has one! Except for this forum where we definitely have TWO!

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, except a movie ticket is pennies and will last a couple of hours compared to buying a car that turns out to be a piece of crap after a few years, I suppose all those buyers who give a review of a car they have purchased are also A Holes for giving an honest opinion of what they bought if they don’t happen to agree with you.

  28. David B. Fishburn Says:

    John, WHAT is the deal with Itunes? The time is now 2018 and i still cannot download your daily show! This is not the first time.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW, US News and World Reports Business section places this Journey #22 out of 25 in the affordable SUV category, they even recommend spending the extra grand or two and getting either the Rav4 or CRV, they must also be a bunch of A Holes.

  30. naif Says:

    On GM moving cars around, dings and dents. Gm hasn’t got it for 35 years, it will not change overnight. Or in a couple of years even with better looking cars and better quality. It takes time.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Chrysler has one market segment covered much better than GM, Ford, Toyota, or Honda. With the Caliber, they have a hatchback that is a CAR, not a truck. They don’t try to make it an SUV or “crossover,” but sell it for what it is.

    The unfortunate thing is that, while the Caliber is the right size and concept for many people, it is way too crude in about every way. The interior got better for 2010, but it still has a long way to go. Also, the power trains are lacking. A good way to jump start the Caliber might be to sell it with one of Fiat’s excellent four cylinder diesels.

  32. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >…………. And Toyota cranked
    >it up 83 percent compared to a year ago…….

    I hope this doesn’t lead to, or aggravate, Toyota’s quality problems.

  33. David B. Fishburn Says:

    The thing about the Caliber is, it needs to lose the snowmobile transmission. I am not convinced that keeping rpms high gets better gas mileage. Granted, the engineers need to improve the engines, but they also need to offer a real auto trans. along with the manual trans.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A CVT done properly gets excellent gas mileage, as demonstrated by the Nissan Cube. You need to keep the rpm low to get good mileage, and that is what seemed to be the case in a Cube that I drove recently. If the Caliber’s CVT keeps rpm high, it sounds like they need to change the software.

    They sell Caliber with a manual transmission, but, I think, only with the smallest available engine (1.8 liter).

  35. Alex Kovnat Says:

    Nice thing about a CVT is, a car’s master control computer can simultaneously manipulate throttle and CVT together, to attain smooth, economical performance. My question is, how quickly does a CVT (often based on the belt with variable pulley concept) respond to demands for a ratio change?

    A big disadvantage of CVT’s is, they don’t offer regenerative braking and power boost from stored energy, like a hybrid electric car does.

  36. Tom Martin Says:

    The 2011 Mustang had 11,000 orders on March 1. It will likely have over 22,000 by April 1, and over 33,000 by the time the car start delivery (around May 1).

    At the same time, Ford plans to eliminate one of the shifts at the Mustang factory.

    This doesn’t seem to make sense.

  37. Tom Martin Says:

    As impressive as the 305 HP Mustang V6 is, there’s still room to grow. The V6 does not currently use direct injection and Nissan manufactures several 3.7 V6′s with 330 to 350 HP.

    I bet in about nine months we’ll see a “special edition” V6 mustang with direct injection and over 320 HP. At some point in the future, direct injection will become standard for all mustang V6′s.

  38. Tom Martin Says:

    There’s too much press on the 305 HP and 31 mpg. That’s only 1 hp more than the Camaro and 2 mpg.

    People still bought the 210 hp V6 mustang.

    GM buyers are not going to change loyalities just because of a few mpg’s and one hp.

    However, the early reviews point to a significant difference in handling between the Mustang and Camaro. That is a big deal.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:


    Pedro, here is the solution to your 7-pasenger wagon-van search.. but slightly used.

    How to carry 8-9 with 20 HP!!! (note the original VW bus only had 25 HP!)

    We have been living in HP Valhalla the last 10 years. It has gone crazy. Cars with over 500 HP are routine production cars today.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Tom Martin Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 8:09 am

    There’s too much press on the 305 HP and 31 mpg. That’s only 1 hp more than the Camaro and 2 mpg.”

    And all these numbers are meaningless without the RPM at which these high HP’s are made. Who cares if a car can make 300 HP, if it makes them from an I-4 at 9,000 RPM? That is not useful everyday HP!

  41. Tom Martin Says:

    I bought a 1967 Ford Mustang in 1969. It had a 289 with a 4-speed–something like 4.8 liters.

    I was alway sorry that I didn’t buy the 289 H.O. engine with 271 hp.

    Years later I discovered that the 1968 Ford Mustang 289 H.O. had a 0-60 time of about 7.6 seconds. The original Z-28 Camaro was similar. Eeeek! This is Camry teritory! Someday the Prius may be this fast.

    The 2011 V6 Mustang has a 0-60 time in the mid-5′s. The 2011 GT is in the 4′s.

    We ARE in the real Muscle Car era.

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    I think most automakers wish they had a 40 MPG compact rather than a 300 HP sports car to sell, and not this year, even two years ago. But the problem is the 4-year inertia of the design cycle.

    Oil skyrocketed to $147 two years ago. Even if some makers took immediate action, you will not see it in new designs until 2012. In the m4eantime, they try to increase MPG by cheap tricks with the aero, tires, etc, but still use the same old engines.

  43. Nick Stevens Says:

    Many Chrysler cars have good exterior styling, even the caliber. But it is beyond the exterior that the problems start.. the cheap hard-plastic low-rent interiors, the poor ergonomics, visibility, handling, and above all reliability.

    The Chrysler 300 is another great exterior design, and it has, almost the only domestic, the 120 inch wheelbase and the heft and presence to be like the 7 or other long-wheelbase upscale imports. But I suspect the interior and all the rest of the above are not up to snuff.

  44. Nick Stevens Says:

    Alex Kovnat wrote:

    “A big disadvantage of CVT’s is, they don’t offer regenerative braking and power boost from stored energy, like a hybrid electric car does.”

    Are you sure? I am pretty sure even the first hybrids were available with a CVT, like the original Honda Insight. The CVT EPA MPG suffered greatly over the stellat 70 MPG manual Insight, it lost more than 10 MPG!

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Andrew Charles Says:
    March 29th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Nick, Toyota’s output has been running about 200,000 units p.a. ahead of sales for years,”

    I am familiar with US Toyota inventories, and they were always far smaller than the domestics, that is actually Toyota’s claim to fame, lean manufacturing!

    Are you talking about Toyota Global sales? They sell almost 10 million cars a year, so 200k is really noise, 2% of the above.

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    This is the last time I will try to give buying advice to any family or friend, my late aunt wanted a used car a few years back, I recommended a couple of Corollas and a Civic we saw,she said it was too much $ so she instead got a 5 yr old Corsica, quite possibly one of the worst cars ever made in this country, and of course the rest of the story is as expected: a big POS since day 1, I even remember the dashboard trembling every time the car went over any kind of road irregularity. Finally gave up on it, sold it a a big loss.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    tested out a couple of cvt cars, and I like the way they just seemed to accelerate w/o pause or hesitation. Felt like an electric car. I don’t know about high speed driving or long term reliability and repairs, but for around town, very nice. For all the standard equipment on that Journey, one big omission is cruise control on base model.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    “For all the standard equipment on that Journey, one big omission is cruise control on base model.”

    Cruise control was a big omission on first generation “new Minis” too. I made the mistake of buying a base ’06 Mini not realizing how much I would miss cruise control. After a few months, I sold it and bought a newer one which had cruise. I bought the ’06 at a good enough price that I was able to sell it for about what I paid for it when I bought the newer one.

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    it makes a lot of sense that the original base Mini did not have cruise control. Minis are not for long highway trips on cruise, they are for driving short distances around town, on twisty roads etc, where you just do not need to put the thing on cruise. But even on the autobahn, few use cruise, you need to be alert. Only on largely empty US interstates does it make sense to put the car on cruise and leave it there for hours.

  50. Nick Stevens Says:

    I try to give advice to people I know and/or work with, but usually it is too late and they have already made up their mind, and soon after they pay for it.

    I hosted a family of 4 (now 5) for a post-doc of the husband some time ago, from Europe, and they really liked a crude Pontiac Montana Minivan. They would be here only for 6 months, and they bought it from a dealer (problem!), for $6,000. They did not think of asking for the warranty, but even if they got it, it covered only a very small amount, less than half of the $2,300 major repair they had to do a few months afterwards. I hate to think how much they got when they tried to sell the POS after 6 months.

    Then another friend (son of a friend), a single young man, from the UK, got a prestigious fellowship at Johns Hopkins, and had to buy a car fast, did not ask me, and chose a big bloated Dodge intrepid(his parents visited later, so he wanted the extra room). He did buy the warranty, BUT he had to pay for a very expensive repair soon thereafter too, AND that repair was NOT covered, he read the fine print and it was excluded, since it fails often and Dodge can’t afford to cover it. he has another 1.5 years, and the car has already 130k miles. I wish him luck…

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    “it makes a lot of sense that the original base Mini did not have cruise control. Minis are not for long highway trips on cruise, they are for driving short distances around town, on twisty roads etc,”

    Cruise control is not just for long highway trips. I frequently drive on a government installation which has very light traffic and strictly enforced 50-55 mph speed limits. Cruise control is great in such situations, and probably helps gas mileage slightly compared to working the throttle manually. I also drive on a lightly traveled 25 mph street which is heavily patrolled, and cruise control is useful there too.

    Given that the Mini, like all current cars is “throttle by wire,” I suspect it costs very little to make cruise control standard.