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Episode 359 – NASA Investigates Toyota, Ford May Issue Bonuses, Maybach For Sale?

March 30th, 2010 at 12:02pm

Runtime 7:06

NASA scientists will be taking a deeper look into Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems. Ford promises bonuses to salaried employees for 2010 if the automaker hits certain targets. Reports from China say BYD is interested in buying Maybach from Daimler. All that and more, plus Mark Phelan from the Detroit Free Press shares his thoughts on the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. NASA gets involved in Toyota’s problems. Ford announces the possibility of bonuses. And could the Maybach brand be for sale?

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

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, March 30, 2010. Hello again, I’m Mark Phelan, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, taking another turn in the anchor chair for John McElroy who’s covering the New York Auto Show. He should be back later in the week, but in the meantime, here are today’s top stories in the global automotive industry.

Topping the news today is Toyota, once again, as the U.S. government expands its investigation of unintended acceleration. And now NASA is getting involved. You heard right. In a story you can find on our site, freep.com, nine NASA scientists on loan to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, will be taking a deeper dive into possible problems stemming from electromagnetic radiation, software issues and even cosmic rays. At the same time, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that a separate National Academy of Sciences study will be examining sudden acceleration issues. Both studies should be done this summer and will cost around $3 million.

Meanwhile, my Free Press colleague on the Ford beat, Brent Snavely, writes about more good news for the Dearborn automaker. In an e-mail sent out to its more than 21,000 salaried staff, Ford promised bonuses for 2010 if the automaker hits certain targets, which is the same plan upper management is on. That would be the first bonus payout in three years. In addition to the bonus news, Ford also announced it would make a $3 billion payment on its $34.5 billion debt.

Recently, the U.S. imposed tariffs on China to stop the country from dumping low-cost tires on the market. Apparently the move worked. According to Gasgoo.com, the duties have caused Chinese tire exports to decline. The U.S. is one of China’s biggest markets, with about one-third of its tire exports going to America. The tariff has also led to a decline in natural rubber exports.

In other China news, yesterday there were reports from the country that BYD is interested in buying Maybach from Daimler. Recently there have been rumors Daimler could axe the brand. But according to Reuters, Daimler is backing off those rumors and both it and BYD deny having talked about a sale. Last year only 200 Maybachs were sold.

Mirroring the auto industry’s other problems, the Detroit News reports that UAW membership has dropped to its lowest level since the end of the Second-World War. Last year the United Auto Workers Union lost nearly 76,000 members – an 18 percent decline! Only about 355,000 people are involved with the organization – roughly half its size in 2001. Experts disagree as to whether the union has hit bottom yet, but it’s poised to lose another 4,600 members next week when the NUMMI plant in California closes. This is a far cry from its peak back in 1979 when it represented some 1.5 million people.

The Focus RS is one of the best compact performance cars in the world. As good as it is, Ford doesn’t offer it in the U.S. To taunt us even more, the company will introduce a special, limited-production version of the car. The RS500 is more powerful than the standard Focus RS, with 350 PS, or about 345 horsepower from its enhanced turbo five-cylinder engine. It also gets massive 19-inch wheels. But the most noticeable feature of the car is its matte-black paint, which Ford is calling a “foil” finish. It really gives the RS a sinister look. Production is limited to just 500 units. Look for the Focus RS500 to debut in the flesh, or rather, in the steel, at next month’s Leipzig Motor Show.

Coming up after the break, a few of my thoughts on Hyundai’s redesigned Sonata. We’ll be back before you know it.

Hyundai surprised people when its Genesis sedan won the North American Car of the Year Award two years ago, but for my money, the 2011 Sonata is the best car the Korean automaker builds.

The Sonata takes the value Hyundai’s known for, wraps it in a beautiful design and throws in best-in-class fuel economy and value.

It’s sure to give favorites like the Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry a run for their money. In addition to better fuel economy and a great price, the new Sonata has more room than any of them.

With luxury-car looks and a budget-conscious price tag, the 2011 Sonata looks like a hit. It should be a blockbuster.

Sonata prices start under $20,000, and you can get a loaded model with a first-class navigation system for less than $26,000.

The Sonata gets its power from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Linked to Hyundai’s new six-speed automatic transmission, the engine gives the Sonata very good performance.

The Sonata’s system for hands-free phone calls and iPod controls still need some work, though, and the coupe-like roof reduces visibility.

The Sonata also joins the new Hyundai Tucson in setting an appealing and modern new design theme for the Korean automaker.

You can read my full review of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata in Thursday’s Detroit Free Press and at freep.com.

And that’ll just about do it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Again, I’m Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press filling in for John who should be back from New York AND back in the anchor chair later this week. Anyway, thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time.

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

60 Comments to “Episode 359 – NASA Investigates Toyota, Ford May Issue Bonuses, Maybach For Sale?”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    I looked up the Det Free press site to read more about the new Sonata, and found this instead:

    “For the 15 months ended Sept. 30, 2009, Americans scrapped 1.2 million more vehicles than they bought, a historical first, according to R.L. Polk & Co, which has tracked car owning patterns since 1948.

    More than 14.8 million cars and light trucks were crushed or recycled in that period, while consumers registered 13.6 million new vehicles.

    “It foreshadows what may be pentup demand. The assumption is that those vehicles have to be replaced,” said Lonnie Miller, Polk vice president for marketing and industry analysis.

    More immediately, it is good news for service repair businesses and suppliers of aftermarket parts.

    The average vehicle on U.S. roads was 10.2 years old during the 15 months of Polk’s most recent analysis. That is the oldest fleet in at least 14 years. ”

    Cars last much longer than they used to, especially the RELIABLE ones, which increasingly, as Darwin predicted, survive, being the fittest (LOL).

    I would not necessarily conclude that there is a lot of pent-up demand, maybe the higher gas prices that will not go down to $1.50 a gallon any time soon (or EVER), are making people drive less (I do) or scrap unneeded vehicles in their driveways and make do with the rest of their cars.

    Only if the automakers bring out new and really improved models, with emphasis on Stellar MPG always, will sales skyrocket.

  2. Jesse M. Says:

    I can say first hand the 2011 Sonata is a big hit!The Tucson is also going good.I have a harder time selling the couple of 2010 Sonata’s left on the lot at 0% for 72 months, then the 11′s with no rebate!

  3. Art in Virginia Says:

    Ford is showing GM and the other one.. how it is done. WITH PRODUCT!!!! Product we want. where are the Aussie cars though?? and the handsome Ford MAX mini van??

    GM killed the G8 – but allow things such as the Spark to be built.. what a horrible looking thing.. compare that to the fantastic Ford Fiesta – which I had the pleasure of driving this past summer in France.. marvelous little car.. GM should just give the reigns over to Penske and let him have at it.. get the the government and union control out of American car manufactures and watch what they can do..

    I’ll never own another Government Motors car in my life… and they thought I wouldn’t buy a car from a company in Chp 11 — they were wrong.. I would have purchase one that might have stuck my interest – but I won’t buy a car from a company to big to fail and then failed… thanks OBAMA! I want my money back. Oh by the way.. thanks for screwing the bond holders.

  4. Dan Clemons Says:

    Mark, nice job!! Thanks for sitting in for John. We auto junkies can’t get along without our Autoline Daily.

  5. Jim Says:

    I wonder how much money the government is going to blow on this Toyota deal with NASA and NHTSA spending money like druken sailors to find nothing. I can only assume that some toyota state goevernment types are behind this money waisting deal to try to help out toyota in the US market

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    After NHSTSA, the mentally retarded (and corrupt) LaHood (a notorious porkmeister before he was appointed at DOT) is now calling… NASA??

    Maybe the retard meant NASCAR… that is more up his alley… an evaluation by a NASCAR scientist… you know the type, those whose family tree does not fork, and whose home has four wheels while their car none.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    Nissan Leaf, after several tax breaks, to be DIRT CHEAP ($20k!!) in CA. The VOLT guys at GM should be very worried.

    “Well, our questions have been answered, and the first US-market pure electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, will be sold well under its Japanese-market price of $38k-$44k, coming in at $32,780. After a $7,500 federal tax break that brings the price to $25,280, and a California and Georgia tax break of another $5,000 will bring it within spitting distance of $20k (a $1,500 credit is available in Oregon). Full Nissan release after the jump.”

  8. Willi B Says:

    you know the type, those whose family tree does not fork, and whose home has four wheels while their car none.

    now that’s just plain nasty – what’s your lineage?

    just so happens, those folk provide alot of info for the oe’s that was overlooked, ignored or otherwise manipulated …

  9. Nick Stevens Says:

    You don’t go around calling Foxworthy’s so-called redneck jokes nasty, but he is making millions off them, while I am not. In fact, both of the above are his. You should be barking under HIS tree. And while I have not done extensive ancestor research, I can assure you that our family tree does not fork, and our cars all have four wheels (plus a spare).

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    What’s next for Toyota? Vatican-approved exorcisms by your local Padre? This Leaf supposedly has a 90 to 100 mile range, double that of the Volt, at a lower price. GM screws up again. For commuting use the Nissan is a better choice. The Top Gear show was making fun of the Volt, they designed their own, complete with a smokey on board generator.

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    hell, if I can buy a new leaf at only $20k, a price one can’t even buy a compact gas guzzler these days, I’ll consider it as a second car (for around town). I know the 100 mile range will actually be half that for any electric under real conditions, but I will rarely need more than 10 miles each way anyway.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    “This Leaf supposedly has a 90 to 100 mile range, double that of the Volt, at a lower price. GM screws up again.”

    The Volt has semi-infinite range, as long as you put gas in the tank. The Leaf has 90-100 mile range (under ideal conditions I suspect) and then you walk.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey Hyundai smoke:Re: new Sonata, seems that finally you have a car that you can really be proud of, I sat in one 2 weeks ago and was truly impressed with its fit and finish and level of refinement. felt like a much more expensive car. Looks like the domestic car lovers in this forum have something new to worry about. Everyone back to the drawing boards.

  14. Nick Stevens Says:

    I’m sure Pedro is fully aware that the Volt is just a plug-in hybrid, while the leaf is 100% electric, and was talking about the electric-only range. The Leaf is an urban vehicle, you should never have to walk, even if it has a low-ball 50 mile range.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit: true indeed, but if you just need a commuter car for short trips, the Nissan can fill the need w/o the overly-complicated electronics of the Volt which I can almost guarantee will have a bunch of recalls during its introduction. That NatGeo channel documentary on the Volt was an eye opener.

  16. Nick Stevens Says:

    “pedro fernandez Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Hey Hyundai smoke:Re: new Sonata, seems that finally you have a car that you can really be proud of, I sat in one 2 weeks ago and was truly impressed with its fit and finish and level of refinement. felt like a much more expensive car.”

    I have not sat in one, or even seen one from the outside, but I’ve read about it and seen pics.

    It is impressive that they can get 35 EPA highway (a big selling and Ad point of theirs) while having a 200 HP engine.

    This could eat into the sales of not only the Camry but also the Nissan Altima, the Fusion and even the Malibu. Not to mention the corresponding Chrysler-Dodges (isn’t the Avenger-Sebring in the same size category?)

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “The Leaf is an urban vehicle, you should never have to walk, even if it has a low-ball 50 mile range”

    I agree, but the Volt, if it works as advertised, will be an urban vehicle that has the huge advantage of being usable as a “regular car” when the need arises.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    As long as there are rental car agencies, there will be a market for these Chrysler products which compared to just about everything in that class, are only similar in size and nothing else. If they think Fiat is gonna step in and make them better, they’ll be disappointed. Only the styling will change for the better.

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Volt has no huge advantage of any kind. As the Audi USA CEO said, without mincing words, only a total idiot would buy a $40,000 Volt when one can buy a similar COROLLA sized vehicle (more likely a CRUZE (cobalt successor) size and quality vehicle) at half the price.

    Even if the taxpayers cough up $12,500 of that $40,000, the Volt is $7,500 more expensive than it should be to be competitive.

    Volt’s later versions may cost less, but this is a meaningless exercise and a total waste of time for bankrupt GM, which should pay attention to what the buying public NEEDS (like Hyundai does!) as opposed to what pie in the sky its green VP’s (and i am talking about that Larry Burn’s thankfully FORMER Research VP for GM wants to do with his time)

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    And the worst thing is probably that the Volt will lose money even at $40,000 on every single one they make, (if any) for years to come.

    This is what happens when an automaker is not listening to its customers and instead embarks on some u nprofitable venture, 10+ years after its Rivals Toyota and Honda brought out the first hybrids in the market.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    “The Volt has no huge advantage of any kind.”

    The projected price of the Volt is way too high, but a car like the Volt DOES have a huge advantage over a pure electric car. It can serve as an only car for someone who mainly does short trips, but sometimes takes longer trips. A pure electric can only be a second or third car for most people.

    If you only need range of longer than 50 miles once or twice a year, you’d be better off to rent a car if you want a plug-in for short trips. If you need real range once or twice a month, but most trips are short, the concept of the Volt makes sense. As with all new technology, it will take time to get the price down.

  22. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, to be bitterly opinionated via speculation and conjecture against other person’s views (these things aren’t even in the market yet) is just plain irresponsible and reckless. While I’m sure no one will remember these outlandish statements in six months (let alone six weeks) they certainly rile the constabulary and create ill will. Bench racing is one thing, these personal attacks, uncouth.

  23. Nick Stevens Says:

    “The projected price of the Volt is way too high, but a car like the Volt DOES have a huge advantage over a pure electric car. ”

    This is not the right comparison, since those who will buy the volt will not cross shop for pure electrics, but for Hybrids like the Awesome Prius, which may by then be available in plug-in form as well.

    But I think you are missing the HUGE point about the leaf. I don’t know how Nissan did it, and maybe it has lousy quality inside and under the hood, but it was always the case that pure electrics were always far more expensive than Hybrids and of course regular cars. Now nissan prices the Leaf at an unbelievably low price, especially after the rebates. $20k for an electric? have you checked out how much current electrics go for? $100,000! Do you know how much is the monthly lease for the electric Mini? $800-900! I’d rather lease an S-class for this kind of dough!!! BUT Nissan has apparently done it, and it is UNbelievably cheap!

    “It can serve as an only car for someone who mainly does short trips, but sometimes takes longer trips. A pure electric can only be a second or third car for most people.”

    Most people, and almost all FAMILIES, have more than one car. They only need ONE car for the weekends, and two only for commuting, IF both spouses work. Therefore the electric is 100% adequate: One of the spouses will use it to commute, and on weekends they will use the other car for long trips etc.

    The judge will be the byuing public. We should ignore all the “welfare queen” purchases by Government FLEETS and get the number of Private Citizens buying the Volt or the leaf vs the Hybrids and the plug ins. Then we will know.

  24. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Chuck Grenci Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, to be bitterly (correction: STRONGLY) opinionated via speculation and conjecture against other person’s views (these things aren’t even in the market yet) is just plain irresponsible and reckless. While I’m sure no one will remember these outlandish statements in six months”

    I don’t know what you are talking about. Please tell us what are these “conjectures” and “speculations”, and especially these “outlandish statements” (SIC) you claim you see in this forum today.

  25. paulstewart Says:

    Nick, what is wrong with you why do you have to call people names, i.e. retard. You strongly disagree with people, that’s find & good. However I know your an adult, their are better ways to get you feelings across. An educated person like yourself should be able to.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens writes:

    “This is not the right comparison, since those who will buy the volt will not cross shop for pure electrics, but for Hybrids like the Awesome Prius,”

    People who know what the technologies are would cross shop Volt or similar plug-in series hybrids against pure electrics. If you know you will never need much range, the pure electric would work. If you sometimes take longer trips, or if don’t plan trips in a way that you’re sure you have enough range with a pure electric, the Volt would work.

    Volt or any other series hybrids that come along would not be competition for Prius. A parallel hybrid like Prius is going to be more efficient on extended trips using the engine.

    A plug-in Prius should, in fact, be the best of all gas-electric worlds to come about any time soon. Starting with present Prius, they’d need a more powerful electric motor to make it work like a normal car with electric only, and they’d need a lot more batteries and the controls to make it work. They sure have a good starting point, though.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    just read an interview with one of the Volt’s main engineers who says that the 4o mile range is “optimal” with most drivers getting quite a bit less, especially in very hot or cold climates. Even went as far as saying it may not be right if you live in areas of extreme heat or cold. So if that’s the case why didn’t they make the volt into a plug-in hybrid, with a lighter battery pack and a lower price. able to be owned by anyone, anywhere regardless of climate. ps GM refers to it as an EV, not a hybrid.

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Actually, Im not proud of the Sonata.

    Ill Explain:

    Im worried about the future. Younger familes are buying CUVs. They dont want to drive their MOMMY’s Camry, Sebring, Sonata, etc… Im kind of PISSED at Hyundai for punking out on not giving Tuscon GDI.

    Hyundai States it wants to be a leader, and there is a growing trend of people choosing more practical more sensbile CUVs than Wasteful Midsized sedans. Since Hyundai wants to be a leader, they should experiment with this trend.

    Give the Tuscon GDI and 35 MPG too with more power to boot, and let the market choose which is more desirable. Did you guys know that Tuscon is Hyundai’s top Selling vehicle Globally, and has been so the last 6 years? Its the top seller everywhere except right here in America. Its becuase they give it diesel, and more fuel efficient Gas powertrains than what the American Tuscon gets!!!

    Since Hyundai has no plans on US diesels nor will entertain the idea of Diesels, they MUST BRING GDI FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!

    Sonata VS Tuscon both with 35 MPG who will win? I think Tuscon will win hands down, and Hyundai is scared of that. Hyundai invested a ton of money into this Sonata, in a segment that resonates better with 50+ buyers.

    For a Company like Hyundai, they do not need a car that resonates with 50+ buyers.

    I wish Sonata would become a niche car. A car thats like our version of the E-Class. A technological Showcase that shows what the real “New Hyundai” is all about.

    I really like the Sonata in another way, becuase its an ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT CAR!!! The problem is the future, an Absolutely Brilliant car in an Aging segment is not a cood thing.

    I think the Accent will be a better car that makes tons more sense for the times we live in, as MY 2011 ACCENT IS READY!!!!

    Midsized sedans=the last vestiges of 1950s turnpike cars. So Medicare Select, and short young women’s cars.

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    When I start my Young Family, guess what? Sonata wont be on the radar as my grocery getter. Id get a Tuscon, HANDS DOWN!!! However with GDI only!!!

    Accent still would be my daily toy.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hyundai is not promoting the Tucson nor the Elantra Touring models. I was not even aware that the Touring existed and I think it’s a good design. But the Sonata was made to prove that Hyundai could play with the big boys also. Every company needs a god midsize family sedan to show they have the technology.

  31. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I dont know Pedro? I see plenty of Tuscon Commercials. I just want it to be the utlimate MPG Machine like it is Globally here in America too. This thing PWNS the Global competition!!!

    Hyundai is missing a key market here, and the Tuscon could sell 20,000 Units a month if it had GDI Gauranted. A 200 HP Truck with 35 MPG would sell like hotcakes, especially with Young under 45 families and professionals.

  32. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Globally its marketed like that, do it here too!!!

  33. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Hyundai North America has less confidence in themselves than Hyundai Global I think. Globally Hyundai Nukes. Its America, France, and UK where the problem lies.

    If Hyundai Sold cars in the same percentage they Sold cars in Canada and Mexico just here over the border Hyundai sales would be more than Double. Nearly 800,000 units yearly.

  34. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Its Hyundai USA, sorry.

  35. Nick Stevens Says:

    More interesting news: Has RAV4 taken the crown from the recently very successful (sales-wise) awesome honda CR-V? Despite the efforts of the clowns in Congress and the crooks at ABC news to discredit TOYOTA?

    “NEW YORK — Perhaps seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, Toyota expects March sales to be up 30 to 35 percent over year-ago figures, outpacing industry gains, its top U.S. executive said today.

    Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said the “biggest surprise has been the RAV4,” which saw sales surge to an expected 22,000 units in March, far above the crossover’s typical sales.”

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    Lentz predicted Toyota will be “up 35 percent” in March. But don’t expect the Japanese automaker to stay in the incentive game.

    “Incentives are not a strategy; they are a tactic,” he said. “It’s a short-term plan. Our intent is not to stay on incentives for a long period of time.”

    The above is SO wise!

    He said Toyota will always use incentives to correct production missteps or move less popular products.

    “But the day we use incentives as a strategy, and price up our products to then incentivize them down, is a dead strategy”

    So true too! Toyota has seen the mistakes of the Detroit 3 with incentives, and has learnt plenty from them.

  37. paulstewart Says:

    Thanks !

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    By the way Pedro, I told you I wasnt BSing you about that Sonata man. That same rubric will be in the Elantra and Accent too. Both New Elantra and Accent will debut in the next 4-6 weeks.

    Accent will be shown as soon as April 25th in Beijing. Im waiting for that Accent hatch, as that’s going to be super hot, but the Sedan is not too shabby either!!! A very Classy looking little sedan in fact.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    noticing a lot of new cars on the road, (by looking at the tempo tags), looks like most of them are imports, at least around these parts. Looks like people are back in showrooms, even the lowly Dodge dealer I went to had some action. Everyone was looking for some cash back.

  40. FrankCanada Says:

    You Internet People make me laugh. Hyundai & Toyotas? Really? Keep buying that junk, the profits at my service station increase along with their market share. But I would be willing to lose those profits, as long as thouse souless pieces of garbage are striken from the earth. This Walmart, hilbilly cult, riding around in their hyundai toyowhatever chariots must be stopped. Before we lose all the real car companies for good.

  41. Max Christensen Says:

    The Rav4 and CR-V certainly have a large group of loyal followers and most people find them to be really good cars, which I’m sure they are. But why don’t we hear about these types of things ……….

    My brother drove Dodges for about 35 years and quite frankly I’ve lost track of how many he owned in that time span. He has 9 kids and in the process of them growing up provided each of them with a car. Most of these cars were Neons, a vehicle that seemed to have a pretty loyal following, but one that I personally did not care for (see Nick & Pedro – I don’t love EVERY Chrysler car). His wife also commuted about 250 miles a day in her role as a radioloigist for 6 rural hospitals. Because of these factors, again, he bought countless numbers of Dodges. He (like myself) had very good luck with them. I’m not saying he didn’t have any problems, but no major problems.

    Now, back to my original thought. Three years ago he decided he wanted to try something different, so he purchased a CR-V. I drove it and I thought it was a very nice car – certainly nothing great, but it was okay. At 18,000 miles, it began to make odd noises every time he turned a corner. He took it in and there was a service bulletin on it indicating that should this problem appear, it needed a different type of fluid in the differentials or transmission – I don’t remember which. They changed the fluid and the CR-V was once again fine. Turned out the vehicle was too small for my brother, so he traded it this winter for a Toyota Venza. So far, he has had no problems with it, but he isn’t crazy about it. Why? He says it’s really a boring car (something we DO hear about Toyotas – they lack excitement).

    Back to my question, why don’t we hear more of these types of stories about the most popular Japanese imports, Honda and Toyota? There was a service bulletin on the Honda, so it wasn’t just my brother having problems. And we do hear about how “boring” Toyotas are, yet in reviews of these cars both by professionals and in here, all we hear are how wonderful they are. I don’t get it………. they don’t seem that wonderul to me to begin with, and if you really dig into them and find their obvious flaws, they really aren’t that great of vehicles.

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Frank doesnt realize that such a thing called market forces that dictate on what people want.

    Hyundai makes what people Want and Need, Toyota makes what people Need.

    So Called real car companies:

    1. SAAB on the other hand makes cars for Homosexuals and Cops, which both Homosexuals and Cops are interchangeable.

    2. Lexus and Buick are SO Medicare Select. Hyundai will steal their sales for a new Generation.

    3. Volvo makes cars for MOMMIES and others who know nothing about cars!!

    4. Crapsler Makes 3rd World POSs.

    5. Nissan has a lower dependability score than Chrysler so…. DAMM!!! Its obvious that Renualt/Dacia gave them this quality deficit, but the PRESS WONT ADMIT THE TRUTH!!!

    6. VW has an even lower score than Nissan.

    7. Land Rover=POOP

    8. BMW/MINI Overpriced Bland Rattletraps for Badgewhores. No passion, just cars that are about as asthestically appealing as a Toyota. IN AMERICA LUXURY=CHROME. NOT ECONO CAR EURO TRASH BODY COLORS AND BLACK PANELS ONLY, with interiors that look like Yachts, ewww…..

    9. Jaguar= getting better but they are cooked in the long run too.

    10. Ford Lincoln Mercury- getting better but there are still too many details and quality bits missing. Ford=new Honda.

    11. Cadillac-the best product with the worst management ever.

    12. Merc-sweet stuff will be the new Rolls Royce.

    13. Smart-worst mistake ever.

    14. Mitsubishi- The cars Hyundai/KIA USED TO MAKE!!! (in a bad way)

    15. Mazda-Ford’s empty beer can tossed over Fords Shoulder and chucked alongside the road. What a train wreck that company is.

    16. Infiniti-Hyundai can do just as good for less.

    17. Acura-KIA can do just as good for less.

    18. Audi-Decent product, but I wouldnt trade brands considering Hyundai might be Audi in 20 years, and Hyundais are better built over the long term.

    19. Porsche- stellar product for Conservative Assholes except for the Cayenne. Their cars are SO Midlife Crisis, and so Penile Compensatory. The Cayenne is sweet however.

    20. Chevy-New Toyota.

    21. Hyundai/KIA=does their own thing. An aspiring premium automaker that charges people fair prices for more content than cars that are competitively priced or even cars that cost more. The Company that will show the world that Green can be premium too.

    22. Toyota-BMW.

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Ill take that back what I said about MINI. When you think about it, MINIs cars actually look more upmarket than BMWs cars.

  44. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Kit, why do MINIs look more upmarket inside and out than Beemers?

  45. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Frank has the mentaility of a Z4 owner.

    Thinks hes better than everybody else, yet drives a $50K car that looks cheaper than a $27K Gen Coupe inside and out.

    Hey, why does the Gen Coupe a car from a So Called Hillbilly company have more power than a Z4?

    Hey Frank, answer that smart guy?

  46. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Why does Gen Coupe have more power and better MPG than 1 and 3 series Coupes?

    Why are you paying Exhorbitent prices for a BADGE in these times, when I know bankers on the side of a river cooking rat for dinner?

    Yet, your socially irresponsible ass is probably one of those stupid employers who rather have the badge than do what’s right and give someone an EFING JOB.

    Shows how smart you are.

    Advertise your IQ, not your Income Smart Guy!!!

  47. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Toyota my Ass, I HATE when people Compare our cars to Toyota considering that Toyotas are significantly cheaper looking and feeling on the exterior and interior fronts.

    Its actually Borderline Racist or at least ignorant I think to assume that, “Oh well Hyundai/KIA is Asian, so they must wanna be Toyota or Honda.” Hyundai/KIA latest cars are more like VW or Acura than Toyota or Honda or anything else for that much matter.

    I think its kind of archaic to think such a thing after youve been inside a New Hyundai product.

    Comparing Hyundai/KIA to Toyota actually undermines their efforts as of late. It actually diminishes their efforts as of late.

    They are something else, something new. They are about democratizing Luxury, and providing the best fuel economy on the planet.

    Toyota is Budweiser, Hyundai is some criminally dirt cheap exotic beer that came out of nowhere but runs circles around most beers.

    Like that Mexican Tecate Beer.

  48. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Toyotas are made at a lowly Brewery, while Hyundais are made at a Cervezeria.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    One of the reasons why my sister picked the Journey is because her boyfriend moved here from Cuba a couple of years ago and over there they relish those 50′s American cars and think that they’re still as durable ,fixable and adaptable as they used to be, without realizing the world has changed since the 50′s and 60′s and the US auto industry is nothing like it used to be, so he pushed for an American brand. (never mind the fact the Journey is made in Mexico) Smoke: why doesn’t Hyundai make a small RWD, good handler like the old BMW 2002? They would sell a lot, don’t you think?

  50. Nick Stevens Says:

    Another copycat Toyota outofcontrol old lady at YMCA

    TTAC suggests a Joint AAA-AARP investigation. Sorry NASA and NASCAR

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/yatuas-yet-another-toyota-unintended-acceleration-story/#more-350905

  51. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro: even if the data could not change their minds, why not try to steer them away from the moribound chrysler-dodges and into some decent Ford or GM vehicle? I am sure there are far, far better alternatives to the obscure, derivative Journey.

  52. Nick Stevens Says:

    Actually, what would work better is if you told them that Chrysler is now owned by Fiat and Run by Sergio Macaroni-Castro of 7 hour speeches infamy.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    If a Buick crashes into a store window because of some geriatric malfunction, no one would even find out about it, because it’s not a Toyota. Tip to drunken NBA and NFL players, trade in your Bentley for a Toyota, so when you run over some hapless pedestrian during a drunken stupor, you can then blame a stuck accelerator instead of your intoxication. Nick: it’s too late she already bought the frigging Journey. So far after 48 hours, NO PROBLEMS. See, we’ve been badmouthing them for nothing.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    My POS, appliance Corolla just reached 300k miles, no big deal according to Max, but still not bad considering it serves almost like a taxi cab, in the hot So. Fl. heat and humidity, I just wonder who’s gonna need a service call first, the new Journey or the old Corolla.

  55. Nick Stevens Says:

    If they are from Cuba, then probably they know how to fix the Journey when it breaks down, so they will only have to pay for the parts…

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    No way, Nick. Today’s cars are so frigging complicated that even your corner gas station mechanic couldn’t fix the damn thing. It’s all computerized and crap. I asked a new car service tech why on earth do they cover the engine with plastic and the answer was for aesthetic reasons only. Stupid idea, engine needs cooling, not plastic covers on it.

  57. Nick Stevens Says:

    My 740il engine bay sure did look great with the plastic cover over the engine, it may have also reduced noise, vibration and harshness. Sure it would be so difficult to remove that cover?

    And even in today’s most high-tech cars, they can still have simple, labor intensive repairs, such as a gasket oil leak, the part is $60 but the labor, the dealer would charge $480!

  58. Nick Stevens Says:

    Rather surprising… wimpy Mazda introduces excellent 43 MPG non-hybrid, non-electric diesel for the Mazda 6. That’s exactly twice the MPG you get on the highway in real world driving of an S or a 7 v-8.

    “New York — Mazda Motor Corp. says it will introduce a new, high-performance diesel engine to the United States in 2012 that will allow its next-generation Mazda6 mid-sized sedan to achieve 43 miles per gallon on the highway.

    “This is better than today’s midsized hybrids,” said Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, “and let me add, it is achieved without any electrification.”

    Mazda also announced that it will introduce a new, more fuel-efficient gasoline engine in the United States next year. Dubbed Sky-G, it will become the base engine across Mazda’s product lineup. The new diesel will be called Sky-D.

    From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100331/AUTO01/3310405/1148/auto01/Mazda-s-new-diesel-engine-promises-hybrid-style-numbers#ixzz0jm34d2DS

  59. Nick Stevens Says:

    “This fall, Chevrolet will offer its buyers a choice:

    a compact car with electric motors that can get 40 miles on one charge, (probably only 20 in real-life conditions in Michigan Winter Driving)

    or a compact car for roughly half the price that can go 40 miles on the highway with a single gallon of gas”

    Today’s show is very late, so while you’re all waiting for it, guess how many will go for the 40 MPG sub-$20k CRUZE and how many (if any!) for the Stupid Volt nobody asked for.

    I’ll start. In 2010-11, 200,000 cruzes and 2,000 volts! (1%!).

    And GM will be glad it only sold 2,000; it loses big bucks on every one it makes!

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    No question about it, the Cruze will kill the Volt, and you got Fiesta and Focus also coming, even the Corolla still outsells Prius, even though the latter is a better car in just about every aspect, except price, of course.