Episode 392 – Ford To Pay Off Debt 1st, Truck Sales Increase, China’s 1st 8-Speed Auto

May 14th, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:48

Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr., said the company will pay off more of the $34 billion in debt it still owes before restoring dividends to shareholders. Sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. in April indicate the economy is headed in the right direction. China’s Shengrui Transmission Co. became the first company in the country to develop an eight-speed automatic transmission. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with the new owner of Saab, Victor Muller and how he plans to save the company.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, May 14, 2010. And now, the news.

BMW WANTS AMERICANS TO PRE-ORDER
BMW wants to change the way that Americans buy cars. It wants them to pre-order the car they want to get, rather than select one that’s already on a dealer’s lot. Unlike Europe, where most customers will wait months to get the car they ordered, Americans typically want the instant gratification of going to a dealer and driving home that day in a new car. Changing that buying habit will be hard to do. But Bloomberg reports that BMW will focus on people who lease their cars, and get them to pre-order a new car so that it’s waiting for them at the dealer when their lease is up. BMW’s goal is to reduce its sales incentives which, at an average of over $4,000, are some of the highest in the business.

NISSAN WORKS TO LOWER BATTERY COST
Nissan is shooting to get the price of the battery for its electric car, the Leaf, down to somewhere between $8,000 and $9,000. Right now the price is about $11,300. Bloomberg reports that Nissan’s goal is to get that price under $370 per kilowatt, but ultimately it’s going to depend on the manufacturing volume and recycling cost.

LEAF AVAILABLE FOR RENT AT HERTZ
And in related news the New York Times reports that Hertz will have Nissan Leafs available to rent in both the American and European markets next year. And it will make them available at some Connect by Hertz locations, which is a car-sharing program.

HEAVY-DUTY TRUCK SALES INCREASE
Heavy-duty truck sales are a great indicator of where the economy is headed, because truck fleets only buy new trucks if they know that they have a lot more freight to move. And they only have more freight to move if you the people are out buying things. If the numbers from last month are to be believed, we may be on the brink of a BIG economic recovery. According to Ward’s, sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks were up 10.8 percent in April (subscription required) compared to a year ago. That follows healthy growth in March of 10.6 percent. Class eight was the biggest winner, up nearly 30 percent! Year-over-year sales were also up in Canada (subscription required) – more than 25 percent.

4-CYLINDERS FOR ALL FORD CARS & CUVs (subscription required)
We all know there’s a downsizing trend sweeping the auto industry. Manufactures are working on smaller, more efficient cars; they’re developing new ways to reduce weight; and they’re downsizing engines. Following this trend, Ward’s reports that ALL of Ford’s cars and crossovers will be available with four-cylinder engines by 2013. Although the company hasn’t mentioned specifically which powerplants will be offered, EcoBoost is practically guaranteed to play a BIG role in the shift. Is this confirmation that another four-cylinder Mustang is on the way? The last time Ford offered one was waaaaaay back in 1993. Heck, the last time a four-banger Taurus was available was ’91.

FORD TO PAY OFF DEBT FIRST
Even though Ford is starting to turn things around, its shareholders will have to wait before they get compensated for that success. According to the Detroit News, chairman Bill Ford Jr., said the company will pay off more of the $34 billion in debt it still owes before restoring dividends to shareholders. However, he points out, shareholders shouldn’t be too concerned, since Ford expects its profits to grow, and the company’s stock price has nearly tripled since last year.

CHINA’S FIRST 8-SPEED AUTO
China’s Shengrui Transmission Co. became the first company in the country to develop an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Gasgoo, Shengrui teamed up with several Universities and research institutes to build the transmission. It’s also the world’s first front engine, front drive eight-speed automatic transmission as well. No automakers have yet placed an order for the transmission, but I’m impressed that a Chinese company did this all on its own.

Speaking of doing it all on your own, how did a lawyer from the Netherlands end up buying Saab for a song, and what gives him the idea he can design cars too? Meet Victor Muller after the break.

General Motors poured billions of dollars into Saab, trying to build up the Swedish automaker. But it failed spectacularly. Now you have to wonder how the company can survive, but Victor Muller, the very engaging new owner of Saab, says by carving Saab out of GM and making it a stand-alone company again is precisely what is going to save it.

You can watch that entire interview with Victor Muller at www.AutolineDetroit.tv.

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

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

89 Comments to “Episode 392 – Ford To Pay Off Debt 1st, Truck Sales Increase, China’s 1st 8-Speed Auto”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    Another clueless goofball loser guest on AL Detroit this week. What a waste…

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Last night’s ex dealer guest sealed the deal for me. Dealers are a bunch of sleaze balls, how can you sit there and state that leasing is the way to go. WTF! perpetual car payments, no mister, you buy a car, pay it off, and try to maintain it as long as possible so you’re free from car payments as long as you possibly can. You buy USED let someone else take the depreciation and you pay cash and use it until it becomes financially unwise to hold on to it anymore, That;’s the smart thing to do Take the money and travel or do something else.

  3. Tony Gray Says:

    BMW would also be able to cut floorplan costs if they can get away from having large numbers of cars sitting on the lot, hoping that somebody wants that exact combination of model, color and options.

    And hooray for Ford. Reducing their debt structure first instead of throwing money in dividends is a smart move…and they aren’t going to do a GM like three card monte with taxpayer money to do it!

    And I see I didn’t win the trivia contest again this week. I suppose I will have to BUY an Autoline Coffee mug…

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    I watched part of the show (AAH) and just a few minutes after the dealer joined the group. Then it was cut off, but I did not bother to see the rest of it. What a farce. As if I would be more likely to buy a car from somebody that dresses like a clown than somebody that can talk seriously about the car and give me the best deal.

    I always believed that no matter what your budget is, you should buy used and from a private owner, preferably one you know, a neighbor or..

  5. Nick Stevens Says:

    BMW’s inventories are already very low, 40 or less days, vs 60 and 80 and 110 for the other makers, but they want to go to the order system to avoid deeply discounting the cars when they sell them off the lots without special ordering them.

  6. Drew Says:

    Personally, I think that auto transmissions are going way overboard with the amount of gears….8-speeds are not necessary.
    And, if you disagree, when are 8-speed manual transmissions coming?

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Drew: the more gears, the larger the repair bills. 6 speeds is ideal, IMHO.

  8. Joe Szczep Says:

    I would never buy a new car unless I can take it off the lot. Once you order it and the dealer has some of your cash, you are in the worst possible negotiating position (been there, been screwed by that before). I want to fully inspect the vehicle before giving away my money. Maybe the dealers aren’t such sleazebags in Europe.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    Well as if we all needed more proof that on the Evolutionary Scale , Car Dealers are somewhere between a Stoat and a Pit Viper . Oh but maybe thats being unfair to Stoats and Pit Vipers . Well Sorry I can’t do any better .

    BMW and their Pre Order idea . Might work with their lease customers but I’ll place stiff odds the general public will react very negatively to that .

    And pedro fernandez you’re absolutely correct in saying that 90% of the car buying public should definitely NOT be considering a Lease .

    Any of you read the book ” Black Swan ” by Taleb ? I’m thinking about buying it after the interview I watched Monday .

    Opinions please

  10. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    @Nick and Pedro,

    Since they no longer have the USED CAR FACTORY in Cincinatti(Joking) Where do you propose all of these used cars are to come from. If no one buys NEW just where are the pre-owned going to appear from.

    Nick, you quote all sorts of sale figures and days supply figures and call this YOUR SPORT then turn around tell everyone you would not but a new car of any make, only pre-owned from private owners.

    Another prime example of “rather to be silent and thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt”

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    My opinion of the majority of car dealers is not very favorable, perhaps because I live in a heavy Latin community, I see how these flim flam men take advantage of people that speak little or no English and use their common ethnicity to build up trust, and then give them the proverbial shaft. I recently met a middle age s Spanish lady who paid $21k for an Aveo, but it did include oil changes for 3 years. She should have called the cops and accused them of rape.

  12. LEX Says:

    John,

    How do people buy cars in Japan? If you want a Toyota do you go to Toyota City HQ and pick a vehicle off the lot, or place an order like “Take-Out” order and pick it up in a day or two? This poses an interest question based upon BWM’s attempt top have Lease Customers pre-order their next vehicle. Build to order is not necessarily the most cost efficient way to do business in the Auto Industry, however I do remember back to the days when you would order an American car built to your specifications.
    When it came in you would go to the dealership and pick up your new “Baby” car. I think is why the Saturn Buying Experience was so popular.
    They made you feel special during the entire buying experience.

    You did “How a Car is Born”, now you should do “How a Car is Sold” as a sequel. Peter De Lorenzo can do the Advertising ans Marketing Segments and David Welch can to the Financial Segments.
    This would be a great expose’.

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Mark Ragsdale’s appearance on AAH was provocative, entertaining and represented another side/opinion on the car industry. He was well versed in the auto industry’s complexities and revealed some of the shananagins that the factories pulled,(which others on this forum have vented upon themselves, and could be construed as endorsements to his views) so I don’t know why his review here has been so negative. And beside Mark’s segment. the conversation before and after was top notch so I hope you consider the whole before damning the easy target (in this case an auto dealer).

    And on the 8 speed auto transmission (whether the new Chineese or anyones); whenever you place the components for a higher speed transmission into the same size package, components will have to be at a somewhat smaller size, which could compromise durability, capacity and expense in production and/or repair. As others have said, after six, what’s the point?

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ralph: there are enough people out there still leasing to feed the used car market, besides there are just as many who would rather buy a new inferior car than a used better model.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    Pedro Fernandez

    I understand what you’re saying as to the horrific treatment minority communities are given by Car Salesmen because of their poor English skills .

    But for the record my wife and I both are white , have advanced degrees , both having worked in higher ed , along with a higher than average income . Along with always buying cash .

    So or choice of cars is perhaps a little above the norm , so one would think the dealers we’d be doing business with would be of a higher standard .

    Well I can assure you nothing is further from the truth . In reality I’ve had more bad experiences with the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Audi dealers than say the Toyota and Honda dealers I’ve done business with over the years .

    In all honesty it has gotten to the point , because of the constant double dealing, lies etc. we’ve received over the years that the act of New Car Buying has become a chore not looked forward to as I am all but gauranteed that the experience will be a negative one .

    So you’re not alone , or due to the neighborhood you’re in isolated in your opinion of Car Dealers New or Used .

    It’s an across the board reality . With the exceptions being far and few in between

  16. tj Martin Says:

    PS;

    Its good to see from yesterdays comments that everyone is catching on to the fact that HyundaiSmoke is a shill for the Hyundai company either officially or off the record . As well as not being from the US .

  17. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kercheval:

    I really am moved for your concern about where I can find used cars. As if there are not millions and millions of 3 yeas leases and one year rentals one can buy, or, MUCH better, 7 year old PAMPERED by their owners, ULTRA-Luxury PERFORMANCE cars like my 7, which we can find for PEANUTS at cars.com…

    Why don’t you tell us the TRUTH once in your miserabel life? That you are a slimeball ignorant used car salesman (or new car salesman for that matter) that does not have an effing clue about what you are selling, and you are worried about losing YOUR job when prople finally are as fed up with yoru SCAMS and your DISRESPECTFUL behavior towards the BUYING PUBLIC?????

    WISE Up and CHANGE before it is too late for you and your ingorant, slimy ilk!!

  18. Nick Stevens Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Pedro Fernandez

    I understand what you’re saying as to the horrific treatment minority communities are given by Car Salesmen because of their poor English skills”

    It is NOT just the minorities, it is ALSO the WOMEN who are the majority and are NOT interested in cars typically and do NOT know all the things they should know before they go shopping for a car. This is amply documented.

    And even when people like their cars such as toyotas and hondas, they really do not like the dealers, as also documented in polls and surveys.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj, have you looked into carsdirect.com? they give you the price, arrange financing and then you pick up the car and do the paperwork. No dealer BS or hidden fees, or you can take their price, print it out and take it to the internet manager at your local dealer and see if they match or beat it. I’ ve heard that Lexus dealers are generally better than other luxury car dealers.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lex, I’ve always thought that manufacturers should sell their cars directly to the public. One set price, no haggling, no hidden fees, no BS. But I was told I was nuts and that would never work. They point out to Daewoo trying that when they began here, but they went about it the wrong way. Instead of stores, they used door to door sales men much like the vacuum cleaner companies used to do and they failed miserably.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    True, Nick. As good and reliable as Toyotas have been, their dealers have always showed dead last in customer surveys. How you can have such a good, trouble free car and still manage to screw up customer service is a feat in itself. Yet Saturn with their inferior products were tops in the polls.

  22. Nick Stevens Says:

    Lex, I’ve always thought that manufacturers should sell their cars directly to the public. One set price, no haggling, no hidden fees, no BS.

    i always wanted to be able to do that. the only things that come close were the euro delivery of m-bs and bmws etc, and the no haggle pricing in the early days of saturn only.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Nick & Pedro ;

    You’re both correct in you opinion of Toyota’s dealer network . They are less than stellar But I do have to say in all honesty in comparison to the treatment I received from not one but three Audi Dealerships along with VAG’s bad joke ( VAG Consumer Advocate ) I’d have to say Toyota is miles above them . Not that that is saying much . Well you get my point .

    Pedro ; Thanks for the tip I’ll give it a go .

    Nick ; I like your style re;your reply to Kerchavel. There must be a hint of NJ in you somewhere . And thats a compliment from this former Jersey boy .

  24. Nick Stevens Says:

    hehe.. no, i never lived in ny-nj, but i visited a former hs classmate in colts neck nj last april, midway between two trips to dc and northern nj, had not seen him in 32 yrs, he is not from nj either, he had a surprise in his modest home, a 2006 maserati 2-seater cabrio he bought at half price (sorry, kercheval!) USED from a broke wall street type for $65k, last year, with only 7k miles

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick while in Colt’s Neck, did you get a chance to go to a place called Delicious Orchards. I don’t even know if it’s still there!

  26. HtG Says:

    tjM, I read the Black Swan by Taleb, or enough of it. He goes on and on about a single point, which is that statistical models don’t catch all outcomes. WELL DO TELL!. There’s no reason to buy and read his book, IMO.

    On BMW getting people to order cars, I keep in mind that Mini customers elaborately configure their order then wait 4-6 weeks for the car to be delivered. So BMW, which owns Mini, has years of experience with this business process. Let’s see what they do.

    One reason for having cars ready to sell is that if your car gets in an accident and is totaled, dealers can get you in a car right off.

  27. HtG Says:

    If I recall correctly, those high priced options people order on their Mini are the source of the dealers’ profits as well.

    Another reason to buy a car today is that someone just stole your baby.

  28. Nick Stevens Says:

    “pedro fernandez Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Nick while in Colt’s Neck, did you get a chance to go to a place called Delicious Orchards. I don’t even know if it’s still there”

    No, i was there for only a few hours and had to continue to Rockaway (hotel) where we had a working breakfast with my team at 7:15 AM. My friend took me to a MExican place that was quite a way from his home (I drove the 7, he did not want to take the maserati in the rain, and because the passenger seat was occupied, he sat in the huge rear seat which is also like new because it is seldom used and was quite impressed. However, he is a vegetarian and I think they assumed i was one too, because they brought my burrito filled with broccoli, which ruined it!

  29. Nick Stevens Says:

    TJ:

    The problems with Audis are mostly with the very unreliable cars and their very costly repairs.

    TOday i spoke with my colleague which has a Toyota Landcruiser (a 96 or so) with 183,000 miles and few problems (but the damn thing is thirsty, 12 mpg even with the 4.5 6-lt engine), and a merc 300 SEL 1990 (!) with only 118k miles. I thought the merc only had A/C problem once and otherwise was ultra-reliable, but he told me of some recent horror stories even with that old simple Merc, $3,000 here and other $ there, and the A/c has to be fixed every year somehow..I told him whi not dump the POS and get an identical if he wants to for $5k or less, it is a 21 year old car now! But he bought it NEW (Ralph, you hear?) and is very attached to it.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    HtG;

    On the book , thanks . Pretty much the way I was leaning from the reviews but thought it worth asking .

    On the Mini Ordering ORDEAL . Well I was one of those that had to custom order his Mini rather than buy it off the lot . In spite of wanting very few options ( Sport Pack , Floor Mats Specific Wheel Arm Rest and a Sunshade for the FW )

    All I can say is once was enough for me . The dealer was a pain . Mini USA was no help in getting the car delivered on time or even giving a reasonable ETA once it was late . The Accessories Manager tried to overcharge me for the Arm Rest which cost the Dealership a $1000 discount to keep my business as I was about to walk away .

    Thats the Mini Buying Experience in a nut shell . All the positive raves and reviews of the process are due to the majority of buyers going into it all with Rose Colored Glasses . Anyone looking at it objectively will admit it is not fun .

    So no bets from me that the parent company BMW will do any better .

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re Saab and the new owner, I don’t think this market is very keen on the brand, in its heyday it was a quirky, anti Volvo, anti establishment, intellectual mobile, there ‘s just no market for that now. The intellectuals buy Bimmers.

  32. tj Martin Says:

    Nick ;

    The Audi dealerships are as bad if not worse than their cars reliability . when i was going thru my mess with VAG Audi Driver and the Audi Owners USA magazine both were reporting similar experiences nation wide .

    And the unsolicited stories I heard whilst in the Waiting Room at all three dealerships made my experiences look like a walk in the park .

    For the record Yes I am and have been on a tear against VAG since my three year ordeal with them and to be honest have yet to meet another Audi owner past or current with a different story .

    Which begs the question . WTF do so many people still buy the things ?

  33. tj Martin Says:

    pedro fernandez ;

    Well at least Nick does . As for the rest of us here . Well I can only speak for my wife and myself . No Bimmers in our garage of late .

    Actually I think most of the Pseudo Intellectuals out there buy a Prius .

    NS no slur intended on your BMW purchase . From what you’ve told me and others here you lucked out big time with your 7

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Funny how a manufacturer like Audi spends millions on developing new cars, more millions in advertising and then dealers treat customers like shit. What is the whole point then? I can’t believe OEM’s are not willing or able to correct this problem. Same for Toyota, they have known for years they have a problem. When my son bought his XB the sales guy asked me to turn in the blank survey form to him and he would give me $20. I filled it out myself and made a note of this on the form, next month he was gone.

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Smart Decision Ford!!!

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Smoke, any chance of H/K buying that Chinese 8 speed tranny? just imagine a Sonata with an 8 speed transmission.

  37. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Well Pedro, Hyundai is sticking to its new in house 6 speed Tranny. Accent and Elantra will get this tranny too as a way to spread costs.

    Plus they are waiting on the 8 speed tranny verdict. Its too controversial to put in a Hyundai. Even the Equus uses a 6 Speed. There are many people to find it to have too many Gears.

    Hyundai waits until a technology feature becomes tried and true, or it gains more acceptance among customers before it tries anything.

    Plus its a Chinese engineered Tranny. Yes, Hyundai will allow Chinese to build components, but not use Chinese Engineered components.

    Hyundai is giving the Chinese a chance however, by allowing them to build the 2.0 GDI engine for Next gen Elantra for US market.

    Without US Production, and Chinese Labor building the Engine Elantra’s Long list of Equpipment would make it cost the same or more than Sonata.

    Accent is Next, they are still trying to find lower cost locations for that car’s components. India will most likely become the engine building source for Accent-as Hyundai already has Indian plants making 1.6 Gamma engines, while for now assembly will still be done at Ulsan.

  38. Mohammad Rafi Says:

    I agree with so many other comments here that there’s no need for an 8-speed transmission. 6 speeds are not only more reliable and cost-effective, but they also deliver all the efficiency and performance anyone will ever need. So be it manual or automatic, 6 is the magic number.

  39. C-tech Says:

    The reason dealers are still alive is due to legislation (or the threat of legal action) in many states that prohibit manufacturers from owning dealerships or selling directly to the public. One state evens prohibits dealers from selling cars in malls, by requiring the service department of a dealerships be located on the same property as the sales floor. I believe Ford tried to buy back the dealers in the Indianapolis area to experiment with direct sales. They were thwarted by the Indiana legislature.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# tj Martin Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    pedro fernandez ;

    Well at least Nick does . As for the rest of us here . Well I can only speak for my wife and myself . No Bimmers in our garage of late .”

    I had a VW, a Pontiac, and two Hondas until 2005. That is when i took a big risk (not so big if you think abiout it) and got the 7 yr old, 100K+ miles 740iL from its owner, for a mere $10.5k all fixed up and detailed inside and out, initially for long trips. As it turned out, mostly for parking inconveniences where I live, I donated the 5-sp Coupe accord to charity and kept the big 7 full time winter and all, and had remarkably few and minor problems in 5 years since I got it. Like you, the stories I hear are worse than mine, much worse, (about Audis and now Mercs, and even some BMWs overseas). I hope my luck does not run out soon.

    “Actually I think most of the Pseudo Intellectuals out there buy a Prius .”

    It is mostly the greens and the fake greens, I doubt many of them are intellectuals or even pretend to be. But the prius is an EXCELLENT buy, and as I said here before, if i were to buy a NEW car today, the Prius would be at the top of the list, with few, if any, cars under it!

    “NS no slur intended on your BMW purchase . From what you’ve told me and others here you lucked out big time with your 7″

    No complaints. But when I bought a $100+ k car (today’s 750iL) for.. $10k, you realize that even if it dropped totally dead on after only one year, I would only lose … 1/3rd the.. depreciation the new one would get hammered with in the same year.

    On transmissions, I welcome the 8s, and if some think they do not need them, they do not have to buy them, and anyway only 1-2 car models out of 500 or 1,000 or so on the market offer it now, and they are typically ueber-luxo Lexuses 460s and Big BMWs.

    I have a 5 sp ayto in my 98 and 5 sp manuals in my other cars the 5 sp auto is quite nice, but of course the 8 would allow me to cruise at high speeds with far greater fuel economy, esp. if its top gear has a 0.5 ratio like in the old 6 sp corvette.

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    “For the record Yes I am and have been on a tear against VAG since my three year ordeal with them and to be honest have yet to meet another Audi owner past or current with a different story .

    Which begs the question . WTF do so many people still buy the thing”

    Exterior and esp. interior styling and 4wd. Being cheaper than mercs and BMWs also helps. I am not aware how big the incentives are on Audis.

    Why do people buy VWs too? Usually it is the young, they really like the excellent styling of recent models, and don’t mind the unreliability vs the bland toyotas and hondas after the mid-90s. (they used to be better before that, like the 91-95 camry or the civic hatches back then)

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    “HtG Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    tjM, I read the Black Swan by Taleb, or enough of it. He goes on and on about a single point, which is that statistical models don’t catch all outcomes. WELL DO TELL!. There’s no reason to buy and read his book, IMO.”

    There is no reason to buy any of these ephemeral trendy silly books written by all kinds of TV pundits or celebs or written for them. The classics are 1000 times better and…5 times cheaper usually!

    And as for stat models, none of these clowns tells you the truth about forecasting econ variables, ie, it does not work ever! If tomorrow is the same as yesterday, sure, you can forecast it, but everybody else can too, so who needs the book? But if tomorrow is different than yesterday, which is the only case you need a forecast, the forecast is always cluelessly wrong.

  43. Nick Stevens Says:

    “C-tech Says:
    May 14th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    The reason dealers are still alive is due to legislation (or the threat of legal action) in many states that prohibit manufacturers from owning dealerships or selling directly to the public”

    That makes sense, if they could, they would..

  44. Nick Stevens Says:

    In my first post in this forum, I was quite cynical and skeptical of John’s guest w Saab etc.

    Now that I have heard the broadcast in its entirety, i can say that even tho the guy is quite likeable and bought Saab for peanuts, if he thinks the annual volume will be anything like 125,000 or even his goal to break even at 85,000, he is dreaming.

    Unless the Swedish governlment buys 50,000 Saabs from this guy every year, there is no chance in today’s cut-throat markets to succeed. Especially with recent Saab-Volvo lousy reliability and derivative clone styling shared with a ton of much cheaper cars.

  45. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I recently read something on Left Lane talking about the Perception gap and Lincoln. With Younger people thinking that Lincoln is a Grandpas car.

    Lincoln could be the American Audi.

    1. They need to offer a 2 Bonkers V8s.

    2. They need a Playboy Car a 3 door Hatch, or a small GT car based off a Fiesta or Focus could do the trick.

    3. They need a real Flagship, RWD, AWD, 400HP+.

    4. They need a Real Ass Kicking Sports Car.

    5. They need to drop a Focus RS Motor in a small car.

    6. They need a Wild, Crazy, Ostentatious, Bonkers performance division IN ONDER TO STAND OUT FROM THE PACK!!! They should sign that Hennessy Company on and everything would be badged as LH.

    7. They need an MKZ Coupe with a V8 that pumps out at least 400 HP.

    8. They can Turn the Mark LT into an American Prombron (The Whale Penis Interior) Truck. No, No, No!!! Not put in Whale penis interior, but make it ostentatious enough to the point to where its in the same category of a truck that has that. Make it the Most Ultimate Truck on Earth.

    9. Lincoln needs serious off roaders out of its crossovers to put land Rover to bed.

    10. Lincoln Needs a B-Max with Lincoln everything on it to the point to where it doesnt look like a B-Max. They need a Bonkers Variant with a Focus RS Engine. Then have the 1.6 Ecoboost as standard in that baby.

  46. HtG Says:

    Nick, there was one interesting story in Taleb’s book. He wrote that when Euler came up with the Bell Curve distribution model, he was really just making it up. I don’t know the history myself, but it’s known in academia that the models used in financial forecasting are crippled by assumptions and simplifying coefficients. The problem comes when practitioners act like the model is stronger than it really is. OPM

    Also, I recently walked into a Lincoln showroom and saw that those things are pretty nice. the MKT looks great in the flesh even though photographs would make you think otherwise. And the large sedan MKS with the light interior put a smile on my face. The outside of both cars had clearly benefited from designers being allowed to go to town. They’re not the kind of car I want to drive, but these cars deserve a look.

  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Nick, there was one interesting story in Taleb’s book. He wrote that when Euler came up with the Bell Curve distribution model(SIC!!!!!)”

    If this clown actually wrote that (I still doubt it) his ignorance is mind-boggling.

    Even the worst student in a stats class knows that, of course, Euler NEver ever came up with the bell curve, since the bell curve is also called the GAUSSIAN distribution, named after the genius that ACTUALLY invented it, the late great KARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS, who also came up with all kinds of other tremendous stuff we all use today.

    And as late as in 1999, you could see Karl with his funny hat and his bell curve and even the complete math formula for that curve on the late 10 Mark banknote. (you could even cheat in a closed book exam in germany if you carried a 10 mark note with you!!)

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Smoke: Lincoln needs to bring back the Mark series as a smaller package with good handling and V6 power just like Buick should do the same with Riviera,maybe even Caddy Eldorado? ps.all the Ford Fit, er Fiesta reviews have been really good, I do have my doubts about that double clutch transmission and its long term reliability, durability and repair costs. Seems like a big gamble to put it into an entry level car.

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    Linconls only saving grace is that they are more reliable than the far better looking (exterior styling) but very unreliable Cadillacs.

    Recent Lincolns look really horrible on the outside, and reviews I read also pan their interiors. They are obese, have grotesque grilles, and you can save yourself $15,000 and get a new Taurus instead of the MKS or a Fusion instead of an MKZ, and a Flex instead of an MKT!

    Ford is doing well, but Lincoln had a series of disasrtrous misses and needs a TON of help. Their sales are dismal, even worse than Cadillac’s, BMW and MErc and Lexus are eating their lunch, dinner AND breakfast!

  50. HtG Says:

    No Nick, I am the idiot. I got Gauss and Euler names mixed up. But Taleb’s point about the Bell Curve was about the most interesting part of his book. Is that reliable?

  51. Nick Stevens Says:

    Domestic luxury makers should offer at least one no-compromise flagship model that can at least compete with the S class, the 7 and the A8, if not more exotic flagships such as bentleys etc.

    Such a vehicle needs to be big enough (interior AND trunk) to accommodate four huge passengers, ie, it needs REAR LEG ROOM that current very lengthy Caddys (esp.) and Lincolns do not have.

    they should be modern, 21st century versions of the Fleetwoods and the COntinentals of the past.

    here are some owner’s requirements:

    Length should be in excess of 205-210 inches to provide both rear leg room and trunk space. more important, wheelbase should be longer than 120 inches for highway comfort and space utilization inside.

    Width, 75 inches, height, 60 inches, for excellent headroom.

    HP-Transmission: 30 MPG HWY 3.0-4.0 lt 6 or v8 diesel, 300 HP and 400+ lbs torque, like the BMW 735D, or the even better new 740D (over 300 HP! and over 400 lbft) that can tow a small house too, and mated to a six to eight speed auto tranny

    The car should HANDLE as well as an S class and preferably close to excellent 7 series handling

    Should weight about 4,200 lbs and have excellent passive and active safety

    Did I miss anything

  52. Nick Stevens Says:

    HTG: please give me exact quote of what Taleb said, even then I may need the rest of the context to understand what this guy is talking about.

  53. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS Euler was great too, esp. in Geometry, which was my fav subject back in school. I have a very well educated retired colleague in Berlin who studied him in detail and came here and gave us a seminar on some anniversary (300th birthday of Euler). Euler was Swiss (but german speaking)

  54. HtG Says:

    Sorry Nick, but I only borrowed the Taleb book from the library. I have become wary of buying books these days, as many are puffed up magazine articles. Taleb’s book isn’t the only one where the lemon got squeezed too hard. You might want to let this whole issue go, rather than pursue it. It’s too nice outside.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    I truly wonder if any American car maker can build something as good as a 7 or S class vehicle. The Caddy DTS wasn’t even in the same ballpark. I think they have just given up competing in that segment, I guess they figure it’s too small a market and too risky to invest all the money they would need. But the fact remains that there are many successful people that feel that what the Detroit 2 are offering is not good enough for their tastes.

  56. HtG Says:

    Pedro, the Lincoln dealer I spoke with lamented the difficulty of getting people to come in and drive the cars. He thought people would be impressed. And I shared with him what a GM marketing person wrote on the GM blog webchat, to wit, it will take seven years for customer perception to catch up with the cars.

  57. Nick Stevens Says:

    HTG: it was you that brought Taleb up and asked about it, so I needed to know what exactly he said, otherwise I can’t be sure if it made any sense.

    Pedro: The domestics in the 50s had top models that were as expensive as Rolls-Royces and bentleys of the time, at $17,000 a car! I assume they were competitive then. And at that time the 7 did not even exist, and only the ancestors of the 5 series were around.

    The domestics have an opportunity today, when the 7 and the S are $100k new, and both have rather smallish trunks, which makes them impractical to take a full four adults and their stuff on a long trip. if they can develop or buy a top ranked diesel (maybe BMW can sell them theirs, I think they have already sold them to other, small makers) it’s not that hard.

  58. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Pedro, the Lincoln dealer I spoke with lamented the difficulty of getting people to come in and drive the cars. ”

    When they are $15k more expensive than better looking Tauruses, Flexes and Fusions, no wonder!!!

  59. Nick Stevens Says:

    (Lincoln MKS=Taurus Clone, MKZ=Fusion clone, MKT=Flex clone). I rest my case.

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    HTG: even if the perception improves, it would take a massive amount of money to develop a higher end vehicle capable of taking on the German flagships and even the LS460. GM or Ford parts from their bins just wont cut it, you would need new drivetrains, suspensions, etc. The domestics have to worry about staying alive and concentrating on high volume, lower costs vehicles and just can’t afford to take a gamble, invest millions and end up with another Phaeton.

  61. Nick Stevens Says:

    Fiesta vs Lambo! Maaaammma Miiiia!

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/05/14/video-the-only-way-a-fiesta-can-beat-a-lamborghini/#continued

  62. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Nick You didnt miss anything. You pegged it about right on how a proper American flagship should be.

    I think GM is ahead of Ford on the Near Luxury and Luxury Car Side, and Ford is ahead of GM on the Eco car side.

    Ford Really has to do something to turn Lincoln in a Global World Class Luxury Brand. Exporting Lincolns as they currently are to Europe will be the best thing.

    Hear Me Out:

    1. Getting eaten alive by the harsh European car reviewers who are used to nothing but Audis is what Ford Needs to light a fire under Lincoln’s Ass.

    2. Bringing them to Europe will gauge what Euro Customers want in their Lincolns. Ford will then apply this.

    3. Ford should then use its results to build Special Euro Lincolns, and develop those cars over a generation or 2. Ford should then use sites like Autoline and Autoblog to tease Americans with Euro Lincolns, and drum up support on replacing American Lincolns with those Lincolns.

    4. Ford Needs to move Mercury Upmarket to take Lincoln’s Spot.

    5. Ford has outgrown its Economy Car status in America, and they should move to where Mercury is at now. Look at the Fiesta pricing. Its priced like its a Mercury, its optioned out like its a Mercury.

    Im sorry but Ford’s brand image doesnt justify this Mercury Priced Fiesta, in the same manner that Fits are Priced like How an Acura Fit should be. Whats the point of the Fiesta in its highest trims, when you have MINI.

    Not to be a Badgewhore, but who wants a Fiesta at $19-$22K when I can get a MINI for that price that also comes along with the MINI Badge?
    I could see if the $19-$22K Fiesta was a fully loaded Hybrid, BUT ITS NOT!!!

    Unless Ford Axes Mercury or Moves Mercury upmarket, than The New Fords arent justifiable. They may be great quality products, but it will even bring on more Mercury Cannibalization. Mercury should be a Small Car Boutique Company like MINI providing the small cars Lincoln cant yet.

    These guys are like HKAG 5 years ago with cannibalization. They have to make some BOLD MOVES in changing their brand.

  63. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Ford Motor Company is America’s VW AG. LIKE IT OR NOT Ford like VW is not a real Economy car brand anymore. VW is of course way ahead of Ford, but Ford

    When Ford Brings their Mondeo Over as the Fusion Replacement in a year or 2 it will really be an Expensive Ford.

    No such thing as Expensive Volkswagens anymore, as that has been replaced by EXPENSIVE FORDS.

    You older guys may think its a shock that people are willing to pay VW prices for a VW, however Im shocked that people are willing to pay VW Prices for Fords without a proper brand upmarketing program to be included with that.

    Until the day when Ford stops pussyfooting around with it and just say they have gone upmarket, I dont see the price justification in these new Fords.

  64. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Its Ludicrous that you can option out a Fiesta to cost more than a Fusion. Those options should be in $18-$19K Fiestas. The Fiesta needs a 3 foor to start at $11k too.

    Hyundai is going to leave a wide open door, as its official the Cheap Accent Hatch is dead for next Gen. The Accent hatch will be replaced by a more upscale 5 door and the Veloster.

    That Accent Hatch was a Hyundai staple, at those low low prices, with that gone (Well I hear KIA will take a crack at it this time) Ford has a market opening for a Fiesta 3 door at $11k-$12K to start.

  65. Nick Stevens Says:

    Just watched Morotweek (only the first part) when they tested the Fiesta. Really an incomplete report, they did not even bother to measure its alleged 30-40 MPG in their unscienrtific ’150 mile loop’. But it should probably achieve t he 40 MPH highway, it seemed quite underpowered when going uphill.

    More interesting, the $13,995 is the base FOUR door only. The hatch starts at $2k above that, $15,795 base price, and a more uoscape model at $19,995 or so.

    How can Americans care for hatches when they cost $2k more than the much longer four door?

    And with a base Nissan Versa 4 door at $10k, not everybody will go get the much smaller (inside) fiesta.

    BTW the 5-door is MORE expensive than even the FITbase price! And the Fit is not cheap either. The Fiesta has more stuff in it, they say.

    Conclusion- the Fiesta is good for young people in college, secretaries that do not care much about cars, and want a stylish and efficient commuter, and the like.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick: the Motorweek review was a partial test drive, not the usual comprehensive one they do, I’m sure they’ll be doing that at a later time. I think if Honda had made the Fit handle a bit better, improved the interior materials and made it quieter, the Fiesta would have come up short against it. As it is, it’s a real competitor in the segment. We’ll see what GM can do with the new Cruze.

  67. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro:

    No, the test was a full test drive. As I wrote above, Motorweek is far less ‘scientific” than Consumer reports in its tests, and, to make things worse, it arbitrarily does the 150 mile loop or does not whenever it feels like it.

    I see the show on the web and then parts of it on TV. it is far inferior to shows like Top gear, and even Autoline Detroit.

    Many of the people working at Motorweek are cleaqrly auto illiterate, and were hired under BS political correctness rules that dictate they are supposed to have so many women, minorities etc. These fill the part between the two big tests on every show.

    Even the host of Motorweek, John Davis, is really getting long in the tooth. he is shouting like he is out in the fields, reading from a prompter instead of speaking in his normal voice and THINKING as he speaks. he is worse than even dumb network news anchors!

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If BMW can deliver pre-ordered cars in a reasonable time, like 6-8 weeks, I’d be all for it if buying a new BMW. I ordered a number of Chrysler and GM cars back when you had real choice in options, and it was great. It rarely took more than 6 weeks to get the car, and was equipped exactly as I wanted.

  69. Nick Stevens Says:

    I only special ordered a car once, a pontiac 2000 5-sp manual in 83, and it took about a month to arrive, just the eve of a trip to Chicago I wanted to drive it, but the clutch had a problem on day one, i called the dealer and demanded that they tow it to their dealership and fix it in time to take it to the trip, which they did. It did not have any other problems for the first seven years, and I’m glad i did not buy the limited extended warranty for $500 (today this would be $1500 or so)

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I ordered an ’84 2000 Sunbird wagon with 5-speed manual. It was very reliable for the ~60K miles that I had it. I felt a little guilty, though, when the head cracked at about 80K after I sold it to a friend. I later learned that cracked heads were a common problem with the Opel designed, Brazilian manufactured 1.8 liter engine my car had.

  71. Nick Stevens Says:

    I had the same engine and the timing gear failed at 65k, had it for 11 yrs but had to sell it for parts then for… $275. problems developed after the first 7 years, but with low miles. One more reason that in my case, driving few miles a year with each of my cars, it makes no sense to buy new, but instead to buy used, in good shape, and with as many miles as you want, (over a relative short time such as 3.5-4 years for my 1990 accord’s 68k miles, or 7 years for the 7 yr old 740 with over 100k mikes, this means easy, highway miles and top condition.

    However, i was wrong when I said a few weeks ago that the 740 had no rust. I was talking saturday to a colleague (and former student) who tries to keep his A4 and A6 turbo in ‘as new” condition and would fix some rust on them later, then I went shopping and after I parked, I noticed several spots, usually at the edges, and a few tiny paint chips in the front. I have touchup paint and clearcoat, bought just in case 5 years ago when i bought it, but never used it..There was also a spot behind gthe rear wheel where the paint was swollen, about 3/4ths of an inch bubble, wonder if this was a prior touchup job before I bought it in 05…Surprised I did not notice it before.

  72. Nick Stevens Says:

    Fiesta MPGs: Only 120 HP and NOT 40 MPG excvept with the more expensive dual clutch 6-sp.

    “The EPA has finished calculating the fuel economy of the 2011 Fiesta and as Ford projected, its new baby has hit 40 miles per gallon. The official numbers from the Feds are 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for Fiestas with the new six-speed dual-clutch Powershift gearbox. Those highway numbers top the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit by four and five mpg, respectively.

    Fiestas with the base five-speed manual gearbox get a rating of 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. All North American Fiestas for now are equipped with a 120 horsepower, 1.6-liter inline four regardless of which gearbox is selected”

    To get your 40 MPG HWY (but still 29 MPG city EPA) you will need to pay many $1000s more than the $13,995 base 4 door or even the $15,795 5-door.

    And the engine is rather lousy, they need to put the small ecoboost in this thing, I assume this 1.6 is not it.

    COnclusion: The eco Cruize, one size marger than the Fiesta, and 40 MPG also, and costing only a few hundreds over the base Cruze, will eat the Fiesta’s lunch in the high-mpg segment.

  73. Nick Stevens Says:

    From Autoblog: How much does the Nissan leaf Battery really cost? Not $9,000, more like $18,000! for a small EV that sells for $32.5k ($25k after tax credit!)

    “A couple weeks ago, the Times of London reported that the battery in the Nissan Leaf cost the automaker around $9,000 to produce. We covered the story here, but were hesitant to agree with what seemed to be an incredibly low price. We went with the story because Nissan had told us that a profit will be made on each Leaf sold, so the low battery price partially made sense. We were still skeptical of the numbers though, apparently with good reason, because a new report pegs the battery cost at around double the previously reported amount. Mark Perry, Nissan’s chief product planner for North America, tells The Wall Street Journal that the actual cost is a little less than $750 per kilowatt hour, bringing the total to just below $18,000.”

    Nissan wants to be in the EV segment what Toyota has succ4eeded to be in Hybrids, dominate the segment, and is going to lost 10s of millions (if not hubndreds) until it does.

  74. Nick Stevens Says:

    “The European starting price for the Nissan Leaf full-electric car will be less than 30,000 euros ($36,976) after incentives

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100517/ANE/100519884/1193#ixzz0oC6oRgp1

    This compares to US price of about $25k after incentives!

    The US auto buying public does not know how good it has it here until it goes overseas.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick, the engine in the Fiesta is not “lousy,” unless it turns out to be unreliable. It is a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder which produces power typical of today’s engines of this type. Assuming that it’s reliable, it is probably no more lousy than the engine in my Mini, which works just fine.

    The MPG of the Fiesta seems to be about what should be expected. The manual transmission EPA ratings are the same as a non-turbo Mini. The Fiesta and Mini weigh essentially the same, and have engines of the same size and power.

  76. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit, it is lousy in today’s market. It would be fine in the 90s when it was probably designed, but if Ford bothers to offer dual clutch transmissions, it should also offer the smaller eco-boost engine.

    As it is, the 40 MPG fiesta is way overpriced and underpowered except for the secretaries that buy it for the styling and not the performance, and, as I wrote above, the also 40 MPG but one size bigger ECO-Cruze will eat its lunch.

    The already successful Equinox, BTW, was a big factor in GM posting a NET (not just operating, as chrysler!) profit of almost one billion in the last quarter.

    The Cruze will also benefit from lack of competition from Honda, which is delaying the already delayed Civic replacement to 2011. The current model has been around since 2005, and usually the cycle is FOUR years, not over SIX!

  77. Nick Stevens Says:

    Average and expected will not cut it in thi smarket. Only the FIT-test will survive. The fiesta may have priced itself out of the mass market in this segment, and may end up a niche player in the 40 MPG variants.

    In contrast, the 40 MPG Eco-Cruze is only a few HUNDREDS of $ more expensive than the base model!

  78. Nick Stevens Says:

    Used 2-yr malibus up 35% (!!) -but these are two different models! it paid when Lutz redesigned malibu to be far better styled than the old malibu sedan.

    “Used-vehicle prices of some recently redesigned GM vehicles are rising faster than those of their competitors.

    For example, data from Black Book shows that the average wholesale price of a 2-year-old Chevrolet Malibu was $12,850 in early May, up 35 percent compared with the price of a 2-year-old Malibu in early May 2009.

    A 2-year-old Honda Accord had an average wholesale price of $16,050 earlier this month, 24 percent more than its 2-year-old price in 2009. The average wholesale price of a 2-year-old Toyota Camry was $12,825, 10 percent below the price of a comparable Camry a year earlier.

    Still, in April, Toyota Division racked up its best certified month — selling 31,090, up 44 percent. Through four months, Toyota Division increased its certified sales 13 percent to 95,383.

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100517/RETAIL04/305179996/1433#ixzz0oCJbdwe1

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    May 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    “Kit, it is lousy in today’s market.”

    The Fiesta engine is “typical” in today’s market. It may be “lousy” in the market of two or three years from now, but in power and MPG for it’s size, it is right there with 1.5-1.6 liter engines from Honda and Mini. It has better power and/or MPG than similar size engines from Toyota(Yaris) and Hyundai(Accent).

    As far as Cruze, it remains to be seen. The EPA numbers are not yet published, nor are controlled road tests. If the turbo Cruze will get the mileage of a 118-120 hp Fiesta, Fit, or Mini, that will be great. Too bad they won’t sell a 5-door version of it here. Maybe they will by the time I’m in the market for a replacement for my Malibu Maxx.

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I occasionally check the KBB value of my ’06 Malibu Maxx, and found that it’s value has gone up slightly over the past 6 months. That is very unusual for a GM car that new. It’s indicative of a stronger used car market. Also, it may indicate that I’m not the only person in the US who likes largish hatchbacks.

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    In my opinion, the only 2 advantages the Fiesta has over the Fit is in the styling and noise abatement. Also Ford has done an excellent job of not presenting it as an economy car, but rather as an attractive, nicely equipped, “cool” car that young people would like, while the Fit has this dorky, practical economy car, that most young people won’t even look at.

  82. Nick Stevens Says:

    again, we are saying the same thing, typical, average, NEITHER CUTS IT in TODAY’s market where only the BEST will survive.

    Look at my old posts, I don’t want to repeat myself, there are many reasons why the firsta pricing and options lacks way behind the Cruze eco. In addition, pricing the base 5-door $2k above the base 4-door Fiesta (that does NOT get even CLOSE to 40 MPG!) is really weird… we’ll see how bad it fails vs the cruze. But if it succeeds it will not be because of technical excellence or value, but the effing marketing to bubble-brained idiot 20-something secretaries Ford very cunnignly is having. GM marketing is woefully inadequate, and people like Susan DOH!-erty have lost their necks because of their idiotic marketing suggestions that failed..

  83. Nick Stevens Says:

    All used cars are up, since people understood that buying new is a RIPOFF, and the economy still sucks big time.

    You should compare how your used car is doing vs the market average to see if it is holding up well. The fact that its used price went up means little, everybody else went up. BUT the bIGGEST gain, even bigger than the 2-year Accord’s 24%, was the 2-yr Malibu sedan, up 35% (!!!!!) vs the 2-yr malibu (previous model) last year.

  84. Nick Stevens Says:

    “All used cars are up,”

    With the only exception of the Camry and maybe a few other Toyotasm because of all the bad publicity and scaremongering by the likes of… the discredited 60 minutes.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    May 17th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    “again, we are saying the same thing, typical, average, NEITHER CUTS IT in TODAY’s market where only the BEST will survive.”

    Actually, Fiesta, Mini, and Fit are BEST of the 1.5-1.6 engines in TODAY’S US market, as far as power and performance, since they are better than Toyota and Hyundai. None of them is anything special, though, and will presumably be bettered in the next year or two by GM’s 1.4 turbo and others.

    I agree completely that the Fiesta is overpriced, especially the base 5-door. Of course, I’m not one to talk too much about small cars being overpriced, given that I own a Mini.

  86. pedro fernandez Says:

    Honda needs to change the styling of the Fit and put some sound insulation in there so they can better take on Fiesta and Mini. Nick: I think you expect too much from GM with the Cruze, remember they have a history of screwing up every car they have produced lately, except the Lacrosse and the Equinox/Terrain twins.

  87. Nick Stevens Says:

    The mini is a niche vehicle. There are plenty of other BMWs that are compacts or subcompacts by EPA volume criteria (3 and 1 series).

    The Fiesta cannot really compete with the Mini, it will have to compete with the Fit, the Versa, the Yaris, the Cruze (pricewise) and assorted Hyundais and kias in this segment (even I don’t know their names!).

    The only other vehicle similar to the Mini concept is the Fiat 500. I see some of them in this area being tested, obviously, already.

    I also started seeing Dumbs (Smarts), about one a week, maybe they are used in the Zip-Drive shared program.

  88. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I dont know Nick the Cooper itself sells 50K units a year the other models like Clubman add another give or take 5-15k a year.

    In this case this puts MINI in the running to the 3rd largest distributor of B-Segments in America behind HKAG and Nissan.

    The MINI guys like to call it a niche product, but it sure doesnt sell like one. Which is great, and proves my point that the Premium Subcompact will sell, and will sell like Hotcakes in America.

  89. Kylie Batt Says:

    По моему это очень интересная тема. Предлагаю всем активнее принять участие в обсуждении….

    S. in April indicate the economy is headed in the right direction. China’s Shengrui Transmission Co. became the first […….