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Episode 327 – Toyota & NHTSA Under Fire, Truck Sales Indicate Upswing, New Fuel-Saving Seal

February 12th, 2010 at 12:18pm

Runtime 7:44

Now Toyota is being accused of hiring former employees of NHTSA who convinced it to stop investigating reports of unintended acceleration. In a sign that the economy may finally be picking up speed, sales of heavy trucks were up last month. A new kind of drivetrain seal could save a lot of fuel. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit about what it costs for an automaker to advertise in the Super Bowl.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Toyota and NHTSA could find themselves in hot water. A leading economic indicator shows a nice upswing. And a new kind of drivetrain seal that could save a lot of fuel.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, February 12, 2010. And now, the news.

Now Toyota is being accused of hiring former employees of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who convinced NHTSA to stop investigating reports of unintended acceleration. Bloomberg reports that while all automakers hire lobbyists to represent their views in Washington DC, it appears that Toyota is the only one which hired formed NHTSA employees to lobby NHTSA. It quotes former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook of saying, “Toyota bamboozled NHTSA or NHTSA was bamboozled by itself.” Bloomberg also quotes a former NHTSA lawyer who says former employees are not supposed to deal with the agency on matters they handled while at the agency.

And it gets worse. Auto insurer State Farm claims it warned NHTSA about troubles with Toyota vehicles nearly three years ago. According to Reuters, State Farm noticed a trend of claims involving vehicle-related problems with Toyotas and warned NHTSA in late 2007. A spokesman for the insurance company said that the models recalled recently by Toyota were consistent with the ones it had received complaints about.

Sales of heavy trucks are a leading indicator of where the economy is going and in a sign that the economy may finally be picking up speed, Ward’s reports that sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks finished in positive territory last month (subscription required). This is the first year-over-year increase since December 2006. Total big-truck deliveries numbered just shy of 16,000, a 10.6 percent increase. The only segment to see sales decline was class-four, everything else was up.

The Fiat 500 will be in U.S. showrooms by the end of the year. Ralph Gilles, CEO of Dodge and head of Chrysler design, confirmed in Twitter postings that it will be on sale by the end of the year. He also tweeted that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be on sale within the next three months.

The Detroit News reports that Chrysler and Fiat have signed a $3.3 billion joint-venture with Russian automaker SOLLERS to build cars and sport-utility vehicles. The 50-50 partnership will be supported by a $1.64 billion loan from the Russian government. The plan is to produce nine different models – up to 500,000 vehicles per year – in the country by 2016. The lineup would consist of compact and midsize cars as well as SUVs, including some Chrysler models. As many as six of those vehicles could be built on a new, global platform under development by Fiat.

The supplier company Freudenberg-NOK announced yesterday that it’s come out with a new type of engine and driveline seal that greatly reduces friction. This test shows a conventional crankshaft seal on the left and the new one on the right, what they call the Energy-Saving Seal. To compare the two, they’ve been sped up, then allowed to coast to a stop, but the new design just keeps on coasting. Freudenberg-NOK says the new seal has 60 percent to 70 percent less friction. It says if a heavy-duty semi-truck used these seals throughout, it would save about $1,000 in diesel fuel in three years’ time.

What does it cost an automaker to make a TV ad for the Super Bowl? We’ll be right back to talk about that.

For some people, watching the ads in the Super Bowl are as important as the game itself. On this week’s Autoline Detroit we dissect all the automotive ads that ran in the game. I start out asking Gary Topolewski, a Creative Agency Director who did a Super Bowl ad for Jeep a couple of years back, if automakers really get their money’s worth out of these ads, and I ask him, what does it cost to make these ads?

You can watch that entire interview on our website, Autoline Detroit later today. It also includes David Kiley from Icon Creative, and Jean Halliday, a journalist who covers automotive advertising.

Ok, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to identify all of the vehicles that are shown in the opening of Autoline Daily. And the correct answer is, it’s the Pontiac G6, Tata Nano, Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Chevy Volt. Not a lot of you figured it out, but the winner is Peadro Craig from El Mirage, Arizona. Congratulations Peadro, you’ve just won a computer mouse that’s a model of the Fiat 500.

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

55 Comments to “Episode 327 – Toyota & NHTSA Under Fire, Truck Sales Indicate Upswing, New Fuel-Saving Seal”

  1. casual observer Says:

    John,

    The only real right or wrong answer to this weeks trivia quiz was YES or NO since the question was “Can you identify the cars in the opening segment”.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    That’s it, I no longer can trust Toyota, I think I’ll smoke something and step into a Hyundai dealer.

  3. casual observer Says:

    John,

    Aren’t the American OEMs giving up the tuner market to their competition when they bring a new Cruze, Fiesta, or Focus to America without offering them in a two door version? I for one am not interested in a people hauler but would like the greater simplicity and lower cost of a two door hatchback. Nothing says non-sporty to me more than having to buy a four door when a two door will do. Thanks for a great show all the time.

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    I was only driving 5-sp manual 2-door coupes and hatches from 1994 to 2008, and even now I have one 2-door (3-door) hatch civic and a large 4 door sedan.

    The 2-doors have a lot of extra advantages, if you do not have back seat passengers: Their wider doors make entry and exit easier, AND the windows are longer so you can rest your arm on the window on a leisurly low-speed drive if you want to.

    More important, a 2-door is both lighter and stronger than the same model as a 4-door. (Imagine a tin can with four large holes and one with only two…)

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s in interesting “casual observation.” The thing that has bugged me is that so many car companies have no hatchbacks at all in the US market. I am still bad mouthing Ford because they dropped the Focus 3-door, 5-door, and wagon, and replaced them with a TWO DOOR SEDAN. I’d like to see 3-door and 5-door versions of all Focus size and smaller cars. Either one would work for me, but the 3-door would be “sportier” and would be popular with the tuner market. I still like those older Civic 3-doors.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    What is a two-door sedan? Sounds like an Oxymoron. Two door cars are called COUPES, and three-and five-doors are Hatchbacks.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They called non-hatch two door cars two door sedans for many years, and at 63 years old, I remember when that was what they were called in the brochures, and probably in ads.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It is an oxymoron to call a four-door sedan a coupe, just because it has a sloped roofline like certain Mercedes and VW models.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The older cars called two door sedans have frames around the windows in the door. Two door cars with frameless windows, front and back, are two door hardtops.

  10. Drew Says:

    I sort of like the newer 260hp Chevy Cobalt SS Coupe. One of my biggest complaints about the car, however, is that it LOOKS like it is a hatchback but it is not. Chevy really made a mistake by making the car have a small trunk opening instead of a large hatch opening!

  11. Max Christensen Says:

    Kit,

    I’m not quite in your age bracket yet, but I DO remember the use of the words two-door sedans and two-door hardtops to distiguish, as you rightly stated, the difference between having and not having frames around the windows.

    The hardtops are now referred to as coupes, but I believe the term “coupe” is actually a term that may have been used back in the 30′s and 40′s that may have just been a generic term for two-door cars.

  12. Max Christensen Says:

    Kit,

    This discussion brings back such good memories of when two of my older brothers each bought a brand new Ford Galaxie 500 back in 1969. One of them bought a two-door sedan (with frames around the windows) and the other one bought a two-door hardtop (without frames). The hardtop looked sportier but only had a 351cid engine while the two-door sedan with a bigger and stronger 390cid would whoop the butt of the 351! Those were the days!

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Up into the early 50′s, there were also cars called “business coupes” which had no back seat and a huge trunk.

    Now, non-hatch two door cars are almost universally referred to as coupes, but I still use the old terms sometimes.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Max C. says:

    “The hardtop looked sportier but only had a 351cid engine while the two-door sedan with a bigger and stronger 390cid would whoop the butt of the 351! Those were the days!”

    The sedan probably also rattled less. My experience with hardtops, is that they tended to rattle when all the windows were down. Driving with all the windows down is what made the hardtops look cool in the first place.

  15. paulstewart Says:

    Max Christensen … My Dad had a 1968 Ford Galaxie 500 too. It only had a 302 but it sure hustled when my Mom wanted it too. A beautiful green color too. They made it last till 1976. She was a beauty.

  16. HtG Says:

    On coupes; the word coupe literally means ‘cut,’ from the French.

    Nick, I don’t mean to be disputatious, but if the door of a car is shorter, it has a shorter swing radius, meaning it can open wider when there is a car parked right next to you. I always find my Civic ‘coupe’ a little squeezy in a parking lot.

  17. Max Christensen Says:

    @ Kit

    Yup! The hardtop DID rattle more, but it did look soooooooo coooooool with all the windows down!

    @ Paul

    And they were a big, nice riding car too! The sedan was a kind of gold/beige with a black top (not vinyl), and the hardtop was a really pretty burnt red (kind of like the current Inferno Red that is so popular with Chrysler cars right now) – seems it was called Indigo or somehting like that at the time.

    @ All

    And what ever happened to two-tone colored cars? It used to be we could get different colored roofs (vinyl or painted), and now we don’t even have a choice! Some pickups are still available in some sort of two-tone paint job, but I don’t know of a single car that is – OH, I do miss the good old days!

  18. paulstewart Says:

    @ Max, I still owe you a beer don’t I ?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Max says:

    “And what ever happened to two-tone colored cars? It used to be we could get different colored roofs (vinyl or painted), and now we don’t even have a choice!”

    My Mini is red with a white roof and mirrors, but Mini is one of very few cars to routinely do any kind of two-tone now. Something I also miss is “colorful” interiors that were available in all 60′s American cars. Now, you generally have a choice of black, grey, or beige for car interiors.

  20. dcars Says:

    Hi Paul,
    Sounds like your family had some nice cars! My dad was a Ford guy too, he had a white 64 Ford Galaxie wagon with a red interior. It was a nice looking car for a wagon.

  21. Max Christensen Says:

    OMG, the internet is awesome! The color name I was looking for with the hardtop was called “Indian Fire”! (Indigo was close…..)

    @ Paul

    YES you do! And someday I will be up Michigan way to collect!

    @ Kit

    I forgot about the Mini! They are available with the two-tone paint. And yeah, what about those interiors?? No wonder it’s so difficult to get really passionate about today’s cars, huh? They really all are kind of a cookie cutter design.

  22. Nick Stevens Says:

    A ford dealer near me had a Ford 500 Galaxie on display (a 60ish model) together with the bulky, tall Taurus that looked like a PAssat on steroids.

    The black galaxie with grey-greenish leather inside looked gorgeous. I do not remember if it was a 4 or a 2 door.

    BTW, Some makers today call “4 door coupes” some sedans with room for midgets only in the back. Some, like the VW CC passat, sell even more units than the far more efficient, larger and less expensive sedan Passat! I think the name is BS, despite how good it looks from the outside.

  23. Nick Stevens Says:

    “HtG Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    On coupes; the word coupe literally means ‘cut,’ from the French.

    Nick, I don’t mean to be disputatious, but if the door of a car is shorter, it has a shorter swing radius, meaning it can open wider when there is a car parked right next to you. I always find my Civic ‘coupe’ a little squeezy in a parking lot”

    My 90 Accord coupe had much bigger doors than my 92 Civic hatch. It was a problem once in a while, but if you cannot squeeze out of it in a parking lot, I also do not mean to be disputatious, but you need more exercise.

    But these cars, both the 2-door coupes and the civic hatches, had very low seating positions and had a very low height (51-53″ vs the usual 58″ of most econocars today), and older people with back and knee problems would not like them too much.

    Recent new BMW 4-door GTs and X6s are actually targeted to these older people who find a high seating position much easier to use and less painful..

  24. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Mini is the only car today that has a two-tone available and actually I believe it is the only car design today that really looks good in two-tone paint (roof vs rest of it).

  25. Nick Stevens Says:

    My old 90 Accord coupe was a 2-door, but it had plenty of room in the back, almost as much as the sedan, in contrast to othe rcoupes that have a much smaller rear room. it was overall 2 ” shorter in height than the Accord Sedan, though. it looked squarish and more german-like than later Accords and Civics. It sure looked much better than the sedan Accord of the time.

    But both were conservative designs.

  26. Phil W. Chappell Says:

    I had nothing but Hardtops until they quit making them. Then I bought a Truck. I’ve owned nothing but trucks since.

  27. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Guys, i remember a car that my best friend had. It was a 1968 Oldsmobile Delmont 88. It was a Canadian model that was based on the Delta 88. It was a big four door car, that Oldsmobile called a “Four-door Holiday Sedan”. The doors were frameless, and it was a gorgeous car. It was fast, too. It had a high compression 455 with a 2bbl carb. I loved the car’s ability to cruise on the freeway at 100 like it was doing 50. My buddy loved it, too.

  28. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Now, after hearing the story about Toyota and NTHSA, i’m not surprised at the level of corruption in D.C. , but i am also mad about the apparent breach of public safety. The thing i can’t get over, is that Toyota was doing the same thing that Mitsubishi did, It would seem that the other Japanese companies would have learned from Mitsubishi’s situation. Apparently not. Btw, Mitsubishi is still struggling to this day.

  29. LEX Says:

    Let’s see how long it takes the Oil Companys to buy the patent / manufacturing rights to that 70 percent less fiction seals made by Freudenberg-NOK, which John reported about today. It will be placed in the same vault where the 100 MPG carberator is sitting.

    John McElroy, You haven’t said much able Bio Fuels or Algea Based Fuels in some time. Is that because the Obama Administration stopped funding research? What about solar panels in the roof panels of automobiles?

    I gave up on the Chevy Volt! It is locked up in a perpetual R&D loop. Has anyone driven a Chevy Cruze yet? I would love to hear real world driver feedback.

  30. Dave Says:

    Coupe in the old days, like 1930, was a 2 door with NO back seat like the 30 chevy 3 window coupe I had. If it has a back seat then its a 2 door sedan. Now the new 4 door coupes^$^%$@ I dont know what to say, but I do like the roof line on those cars…

  31. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    According to David Wilkerson’s book “the Vision”. In the future there will be what they will call a “Great Recession.” The economy will be very bad for a long time, but it will fully recover. However, from now on the economy will be bad one year and excellent the next year. The Economy will be in an unstable talespin.

    At this time there will be a transformtional president (a Black man or a Woman) who will get voted in to fix the Economy. His efforts will ultimately work, but they will be forced to raise taxes. Inflation will skyrocket. 1 or 2 presidents later and there will be a Young Consevative Revolution at the Polls, but that will last a short while as the long term future of America is moving towards the Left.

    As the Economy gets better gas prices will skyrocket and in many cases will at least double.

    There will be an Anti Global Warming Movement that will be very succcessful and people will go back to their old lifestyles of driving fuel inefficient vehicles, but there really is a problem with the Earth!!!

    Something seriously wrong and we dont even truly understand the magnitude of the problem!!! Those problems will eventually show themselves with storms and suprising and rapid sea level rise, and weather problems never seen before in the history of man.

    That will force us to change our ways in destroying the Earth, and live a cleaner healthier lifestyle.

  32. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Economy for now on will be trapped in a never ending talespin of High Gas prices and Inflation, especially Food Inflation.

    The Gas Prices get bad the Economy gets bad, the gas prices gets better the Economy will get better.

  33. C-tech Says:

    YAWWWWWNN

  34. John V. Says:

    It’s great to hear that Fiat is planning to do something in the US market by year end. I was wondering if they were going to do anything.
    The timing of the Grand Cherokee is no surprise, its been in the works for a while. I wonder if it will sell enough to make money. It is a capable, but thirsty vehicle.

  35. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Although I don’t have the years logged in as much as Kit does,I am right behind ya.As for the old terms:hardtop/coupe/the bareass business coupes,I do remember.With fondness I remember my dads 49 Dodge 4 dr.What a beautiful barge.
    I have over 700 cd’s in my collection and I still call them albums,and when talking about the Colts,I still refer to them as Baltimore.Life is good bros.

  36. John V. Says:

    I am glad David Wilkerson can tell us the future. Does he tell us the years things will happen so we can invest accordingly?

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “The Mini is the only car today that has a two-tone available and actually I believe it is the only car design today that really looks good in two-tone paint (roof vs rest of it)”

    The way the Mini is made, the roof is pretty much separate from the pillars, so it works well the way they do it. Most other cars would need to have at least the C pillar the color of the roof to work well. It’s been so long since two tone has been a common thing, that it is hard to know how it would look on most cars.

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    No C-Tech, I think you need to YAWN at this Chicago Auto Show here (Except KIA Ray).

    I can see why John didnt go. What a Snoozer!!!

    If the Auto Show in America’s 3rd largest city (Well, not for too much longer as Houston will overtake them any day now) is a Snoozer what’s the point of these Po’Dunk Regional Autoshows.

    Proves my point yet again, we need to consolodate ALL of these Autoshows. East of the Appalachian shows should be combined to the New York show only. Middle American Shows (South and Midwest) should only be Detroit Auto Show, and West of the Rockies Shows should only be LA.

    Instead of having these po’dunk shows we should foucs our energies into having the 3 best Auto shows on Earth, which we are very capable of doing.

    Us Americans sure like to waste lots of money.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Nick Stevens Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “The Mini is the only car today that has a two-tone available and actually I believe it is the only car design today that really looks good in two-tone paint (roof vs rest of it)”

    The way the Mini is made, the roof is pretty much separate from the pillars, so it works well the way they do it. ”

    Right, that’s why. There are a few ultra-luxury cars that used to look good in two-tone, such as Rolls Phantoms and other pre-silver shadow Rollses. They were tall cars, and the two-tone made them look more slender, plus the color combinations (such as black and silver, or blue and silver, and dark brown and beige, were quite good. I got some in pics but don’t know if I can embed them here.

    My neighbor next to my summer home has a mini with red and white roof, they use it all the time so they park it outside, I bet the wife and daughter use it, and the husband uses it around town, but for longer drives he always had expensive cars, (started with an E class, the next E, then a BMW 745, then an M5. I think this is his latest) and changes them frequently.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/09q1/2011_chevrolet_cruze-first_drive_review

    it’s a year old. it did OK.

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    “No Diesels for the U.S., but Expect the Turbo Four to Be Very Efficient

    In Europe, the Cruze launches with two gasoline four-cylinders—a 1.6-liter that makes 111 hp and a 1.8-liter producing 139 hp—and a 148-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel that likely will spawn a 123-hp variant in the future. A five-speed manual is standard on all engines; the more powerful gasoline mill can be ordered with an optional six-speed automatic. We’ll see the 1.8-liter gasoline engine here, as well as a 140-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder—expected to return at least 40 mpg combined—that will debut as the car hits the North American market. ..”

    There is no chance in hell EPA wil rate the 1.8 40 MPG “combined”.. It will be lucky to get 40 MPG HIGHWAY.

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    It is interesting, 27 years ago I bought a new 1.8 lt Pontiac 2000, it weighed 2,400 lbs, 5-sp manual (a crude one) and was EPA rated very optimistically 28/46. (EPA lowered its numbers a year later, then again in 2007-8 or so). I could get 42 if I drove 55-65 on the highway and had well inflated tires.

    the 1.8 on the Cruze makes 139 HP (!) but the car is probably 2,800 lbs.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “In Europe, the Cruze launches with two gasoline four-cylinders—a 1.6-liter that makes 111 hp and a 1.8-liter producing 139 hp—and a 148-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel that likely will spawn a 123-hp variant in the future.”

    I bet they won’t sell many 1.8′s in Europe.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    February 13th, 2010 at 9:03 am

    “It is interesting, 27 years ago I bought a new 1.8 lt Pontiac 2000, it weighed 2,400 lbs, 5-sp manual (a crude one) and was EPA rated very optimistically 28/46.”

    I had a similar car, but an ’84 wagon. It was called 2000 Sunbird in ’84. I didn’t remember the EPA numbers, but I got ~38 MPG at 60 on Indiana state roads on trips with some, but not a lot of stops and speed changes. Those EPA numbers were REALLY optimistic in ’83.

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    Forgot to say that the 2000 back in 83 had only 84 HP, and the speedo went only to 85 MPH. But at some speed above 80, the needle would get stuck in the odometer stick. It probably had a top speed of 95-98 mph.

    These were the same EPA ratings that rated the Rabbit Diesel at the time at 60 MPG.

  46. Nick Stevens Says:

    “In Europe, the Cruze launches with two gasoline four-cylinders—a 1.6-liter that makes 111 hp and a 1.8-liter producing 139 hp—and a 148-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel that likely will spawn a 123-hp variant in the future.”

    I bet they won’t sell many 1.8’s in Europe.”

    Back in 1980-1990, and in the poorer Euro nations, they sold mostly 1.4s and the 1.6 was considered powerful. Recently even these poorer nations had a huge appetite for mucgh larger engines and cars, even some SUVs (the luxury type, but Jeeps too)

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 1.4 turbo that will be used in the Cruze sounds good, on paper. It should get better gas mileage than larger displacement non-turbos of similar power. Of course, that’s what I thought about the new Ford V-6 turbo, but it didn’t seem to work out that way.

  48. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    What Poorer Euro Natons. We were in 13th place in terms of wealth to GDP last time I checked.

    You old guys really need to stop this “We are the Richest Country on Earth” Crap. It hasnt been true for years, and its a shame that even many politicians are ignorant to the point to where they repeat such utter nonsense.

    If you want to us to be the richest Country is the world, stop repeating the tired BS rhetoric and start making it happen again. It doesnt really matter does it we arent the richest country in the world?

    However, if you guys really want that title to ring true, then we are going to have to do what it takes to make it happen.

  49. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You old guys can say whatever you want, but you have NO IDEA what its like to have yourself and your whole Generation having the rug of guaranteed American Prosperity and Growth taken up from under you in the most important years of your professional and social development and growth.

    Thanks guys. You took 30 years to squander what took 150 years to build. Thanks for making things tough for at least the next 3 Generations of Americans. Then again its all conspiracy anyway.

  50. Nick Stevens Says:

    Smuled Halibut

    You REALLY do not have EFFING CLUE ONE.

    What poor nations, you ignorant person? BUy a map, you uninformed buffoon! LEarn first, speak next!

    As if the whole world is not abuzz with the practical BANKRUPTCY of GREECE, that has taken the euro ten cents down WRT the dollar, you fool!

    And not just greece, there are about 20 Eastern E and Balkan nations that are even poorer.

    And PIGS is next… Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

    In addition, you fool, I was talking about DECADES ago, when these nations were really poor!

  51. Nick Stevens Says:

    That should be “Smoked Halibut”, our mindless, clueless and uninformed (typical “young” preson product of the iverfunded US public Schools) resident village idiot Hyndai Cheerleader.

    PS what “you old guys”, you clueless buffoon? I’ll die around 2076, and in all likelihood, if you are as informed about health and nutrition as about Economics and Cars, I will easily bury you!

  52. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    BUT OUR DEBT IS THE SAME AS THOSE NATIONS, NICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We run 10%, they run about 10% to 12% To me debt is really not a big deal, but to you I infer its a very big deal.

    Its only a big problem for the PIGS countries, becuase to be a member of the Euro Zone you cant have more than 7.5% Debt to GDP ratio. If we were in Europe, they’d try to kick our asses out too under their guidelines.

    By the way Nick, I maybe young and relatively educated (2 degrees), but Im one of the smartest persons you’ll ever know my friend.

  53. T. Bejma Says:

    “casual observer Says:
    February 12th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Nothing says non-sporty to me more than having to buy a four door when a two door will do.”

    Guess the Subaru WRX STi and the Mitsubishi Evolution are non-sporty… Hmmmm…..

  54. FrankCanada Says:

    I think the I in pigs stands for Ireland not Italy. Italy is one of the richest countries in the world, it’s their underground economy which drives down tax income & raises debt. Third in the world after US & Japan, while having fith or sixth biggist economy. Eric Margolis, a top Swiss journolist, once wrote “If all the money in Italy was declared, their economy would be bigger then Germany’s” And Italy sold more cars than Germany, Briton, & France in January, let alone all the PIGS combined. And socialist programs will bring down Germany, you’ll see.

  55. FrankCanada Says:

    And by the way, I’m only an ASE & Interprovincial licensed tech, & Hyundais are crap, my friend.