Episode 402 – Ford May Close Mercury, New Dodge Logo, Lambda Based Cadillac On The Way

May 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm

Runtime 8:12

Ford will propose to its board of directors in July that it close down Mercury. Chrysler unveiled a new logo for the Dodge brand that drops the Ram’s head logo. Cadillac will get a crossover built on the same lambda architecture as the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. All that and more plus, a look at Cadillac’s V-Day in China.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Hey, it’s Friday, May 28, 2010 and this is Autoline Daily.

FORD MAY CLOSE MERCURY
Ford let the word leak out yesterday that it wants to close down the Mercury line. Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) broke the story yesterday afternoon, saying that Ford will propose to the board of directors in July that it close down Mercury. Here’s my Autoline Insight. How interesting that two major news outlets would get the story that the board will get a proposal . . . a couple of months from now. So officially, nothing’s been decided yet. Was this leak, and make no mistake about it this was a deliberate leak, nothing more than a trial balloon to see what the reaction would be? Especially the reaction from Mercury dealers? Ford has been talking about closing down Mercury for a couple of decades, but up to now, top management never had the courage or the support to pull the trigger.

GETTELFINGER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE
UAW president Ron Gettelfinger gave what is supposed to be his last official press conference to reporters. Amongst the many topics he covered, he wants to see the union gain back some of the concessions it made. He predicted the union will start to gain membership again, and he also said that GM, Ford and Chrysler now have the right management in place to steer them to better times.

NEW DODGE LOGO
Last year, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne decided to separate Ram truck from the Dodge brand. Now the separation is complete. The company just unveiled a new logo for the Dodge brand that drops the Ram’s head logo. The new one is just the name Dodge with a pair of red racing stripes which is supposed to suggest speed and agility. The new logo will be used for advertising but it will not appear on any products or dealer signage.

TESLA BUYS NUMMI
Last week we reported that Toyota is buying a $50 million stake in Tesla and that Tesla would build cars in the shuttered NUMMI plant. Now the AP has learned that Tesla will buy the plant from Toyota for $42 million which includes the cost of the land and building but none of the equipment. Tesla plans to build 20,000 of its Model S’s at the plant, which, by the way, is 5 million square feet. 20,000 cars in 5 million square feet? That’s crazy. And it proves to me that Tesla knows nothing about manufacturing. An easy prediction here: this will not last.

WALL STREET TO CASH IN ON GM IPO (subscription required)
GM is inching closer to an IPO, an initial public offering, where it sells stock again. According to the Wall Street Journal, bankers and investment firms cannot wait for this to happen. The IPO could generate fees of $275 million or more for Wall Street underwriters. Some experts estimate that GM’s market value could top Ford’s at $41 billion and even exceed $70 billion, the level needed for the U.S. government to break even. Two months ago J.P. Morgan Chase pegged its value at $90 billion. By comparison, Toyota is worth $116 billion.

LAMBDA BASED CADILLAC ON THE WAY
According to Edmunds.com Inside Line, a seven-passenger Cadillac crossover is in the works. Karl Stracke, GM’s vice president of global engineering said the luxury people mover is absolutely a go. It would be built on the same lambda architecture shared by the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and discontinued Saturn Outlook bringing the total number of crossovers built off of this platform to FIVE. I don’t know, sounds like just a bunch of badge engineering to me.

Even though China is now the biggest car market in the world, the car culture in China is still in its infancy. And that’s allowing automakers to dig back into the past and wow Chinese car buyers with a dazzling display of what cars can do. We’ll show you what we’re talking about, right after this.

Back when I was a kid, Chevrolet sponsored a guy name Joie Chitwood, who led a group of daredevils to do crazy stunts with cars. It was mesmerizing to watch. Well, Cadillac got the idea to do the same thing in China with CTS-V’s. They call it V-Day and what you’re about to watch took place at the Formula-One track in Shanghai.

I just love watching this show. And Cadillac ought to take it around the world and especially bring it back to the ‘States.

Don’t forget to tune into Autoline Detroit. We have top designers from GM, Ford, Hyundai and the College for Creative Studies, talking about mega trends that will shape tomorrow’s cars. You can watch that right now on our website autolinedetroit.tv.

And another programming note, Open Line will be off the air Monday night because of the Memorial-Day holiday but we’ll be back the following week.

And that’s it for Autoline Daily this week. Thank you for watching, have a happy Memorial Day and we’ll see you on Tuesday.

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

Electric vehicle news from Magna, Mahindra and Nissan. Pininfarina, the Italian design house, controls about 30% of the Chinese design market. Formula One racing is coming back to the U.S. in 2012 but probably not where you would expect. All that and more, plus we find out why the sedan and hatchback versions of the new Ford Fiesta are styled differently.

87 Comments to “Episode 402 – Ford May Close Mercury, New Dodge Logo, Lambda Based Cadillac On The Way”

  1. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I dont know if the term V-day would be appropriate with a Friendly Enemy Nation.

    Ill Explain,

    Breaking News Just in:

    NK to SK,

    “Any Accidental Clash on the West Sea of Korea or the DMZ could lead to all out war.”

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It would be about time if Ford does indeed shut down the mercury brand.They just don’t sell anymore…period.Now,does that mean that Ford will also 86 Lincoln? Imho,I don’t think they will.They still need a luxo brand….at least for the time being,or until they just don’t sell at all anymore.

    I’m still not sure I understand why the Dodge and Ram thing.That makes no sense to me at all.When they restyled back in the mid 90′s and really incorporated the Ram logo into their truck line it was a marketing hit,or so I thought.Good luck to you,whoever you are now,LOL.

  3. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    G.A. that whole Ram Lineage grille served them well too. I wonder if they will get rid of the Grille now?

  4. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That Grille on Dodges is what they got going for them. That would be like GMC and Chevy with the same Grilles LMAO!!

  5. Ron Paris Says:

    The fact that Tesla is buying the NUMMI facility in Fremont, CA to produce the Model S should not come as a great surprise even though it’s a far greater size plant than is needed. First off, NUMMI is right in Tesla’s back yard, so there’s the convenience factor. Secondly, $42M seems like a relative bargain for such a facility and third, that sum represents not even 10% of the taxpayer dollars the feds are committing to Tesla for this project. With that kind of slush fund to play with, why should Elon Musk care if it’s necesarily the best purchase decision? It’s not his money!

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    Well said, Ron Paris.

    Also, keeping Mercury as the same lame-ass chick brand that cranks out Ford clones does not cut it in this day and market. And in fact, it is the KISS OF DEATH to advertise any car as a chick car.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    Ford talked about shutting down mErcury for 20 years, John says. It did not have the guts to do the right thing, and to hell with the dealers.

    Even today, as John correctly reported, they are leaking the info two months in advance, to see dealer reaction. SO WHAT? are these cowards going to do nothing if the dealers bark too loudly?

    Its closing will be 20 years overdue

  8. Derek Says:

    I like the idea of Ram standing alone – it gives a truck brand distinction which could help Fiat move into more commercial vehicles in a much wider range – might even give them an opportunity to rebadge Iveco trucks.

    I like the new Dodge logo too. I suspect the delay in incorporating it follows suit with everything FIAT is doing. Put the new logo on the cars and signs when the new products arrive – a clean slate from what it looks like. Makes sense to me.

    Ford should let the sun set on Mercury. Keep Ford going in the current direction and establish Lincoln as the US equivalent of BMW and Mercedes. Right now, Buick and Cadilac are more comparable to Lexus and Infiniti – I’d position Lincoln higher than that.

    Finally, can we please stop talking as if taxpayer money is just being given out to any “Joe” on the street with no expectations to be paid back. There is no “slush” fund. That money has to be paid back – its a loan. Elon is running a business and I think the intention is to make money with the use of as little money as possible. I’m sure there is a much bigger plan for that facility – maybe using/renting space for other smaller manufacturers to use? Of course, I don’t entirely rule out the possibility that Toyota is simply doing this as a PR stunt, to ultimately blame Tesla for any future failure – oh yeah, kind of like they just did with GM. Not so far fetched thought after-all.

    Great show as always John, enjoy your weekend. And thanks to all those who have served (especially my brothers) – I appreciate my freedoms everyday.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Dodge chooses two red lines for a logo? How about using the R/T; that still evokes Dodges of old and still holds a lot of prestiage. JMO

    Logically speaking (and as recent history of killing off brands goes) Mercury needs to go. Seems about as sad as Pontiac leaving; (the old stuff really pulls at some heartstrings but the present stuff is/was just redundant). With Mercury gone Ford can divert some of that capital expense towards Lincoln (Lincoln does need an infusion to get their products more up to snuff) and this will also rekindle the rivalry between Cadillac and Lincoln, and with any luck make both brands better.

  10. LEX Says:

    John McElroy Reports – Tesla Buys Nummi:

    “Last week we reported that Toyota is buying a $50 million stake in Tesla and that Tesla would build cars in the shuttered NUMMI plant. Now the AP has learned that Tesla will buy the plant from Toyota for $42 million which includes the cost of the land and building but none of the equipment. Tesla plans to build 20,000 of its Model S’s at the plant, which, by the way, is 5 million square feet.”

    I suggested this same situation some time ago and heard back that it would never happen.
    Sorry to say but I told you so. I believe Toyota is allowing Tesla to operate in the Nummi Plant as a way to keep it from being attacked by urban decay and vandelism. The State of California and The Federal Government both need to create jobs and will give tax credits and rebates to Green Industry Employers. This could also be were the “Prius Brand” from Toyota will be born, along side the Tesla with shared EV technologies.

    Either way Toyota Wins!!! I was hoping that a major OEM would see the stategic benefits of the Nummi Plant for the production of a wide range of Electric Vehicles using shared parts, batteries and electronics across several automotive classes all under one roof. I predict Tesla in the long term will be absorbed by Toyota, especially after receiving this $50 Million infusion of capital and a plant being retrofitted to build electric vehicles.

    The Other added benefit that the Nummi Plant has to offer is that it is only a stones through away from the best and the brightest minds in silicone valley. Software and Electronics are revolutionizing the automotive driving experience.

    Have a Great Memorial Day Holiday!

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/15-years-of-free-falling-mercury-sales/

    See the impressive graph!

    A picture is sure worth 1,000 words. Make it a Million.

    Pontiac was never as bad as Mercury has been the last 15 years.

    At GM, SATURN had a lot to do with the dismantling of the historic Oldsmobile brand. Both Olds and Pontiac were far more worth saving than loser Mercury, which for some strange reason is still alive, is.

  12. Roger T Says:

    The new Dodge logo kind of reminds me of the Fiat logo, but with fewer stripes. I wonder whether that’s what’s going on here, they’re trying to close the gap between Dodge and the now parent company Fiat.

  13. Nick Stevens Says:

    Even if Fiat-Dodge resurrect Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh and all three do their best and come up with the perfect logo, I still will not give a rat’s ass about their crappiest of the crappy vehicles, and no other auto literate person should either.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yesterday I talked to a local cop whose Crown Vic was replaced by a Charger a few months ago. He thinks the Charger is great, not the crappiest of crappy vehicles.

  15. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Yesterday I talked to a local cop whose Crown Vic was replaced by a Charger a few months ago. He thinks the Charger is great, not the crappiest of crappy vehicles.”

    He can speak for himself, and I for myself. And the Charger may be the ONLY Dodge vehicle that I might care to be seen in, but even then I’d rather try its far better looking cousin the Chrysler 300.

    As for that cop, DUH, of course he is happy with the Charger, since his PREVIOUS Car was most likely the backward, primitive, prehistoric Crown Vic! A design so damned STUPID, this is a car that is 212 inch long, a FOOT longer than the S class or the 7, and the back seat has NO leg room! I have to take these damned dinosaurs once in a while since most taxis are still Crown Vics, and I know. (But I am STILL surprised by the extremely poor design.)

  16. Nick Stevens Says:

    Although the Charger looks rather masculine, the wife of a colleague recently got one. But it is NOT the 400+ HP version, nor the base hemi, but instead it has the base, very modest HP engine. Sort of a fraud, to have the appearance of a muscle car, quite agrressive too, and most buyers to buy it with the wimpy engine.

  17. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS the cops don’t have to worry about the repair costs and frequency of the Charger.. LOL. It makes a big difference if you actually OWN a car and you pay for everything, than if you just drive it.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    I was told by a cop that the cop Chargers have been having brake issues, I guess that when cars are driven hard, brakes take a toll, I suppose fixing that problem should not be such a big deal, just put better brakes in them. I guess that when Tesla starts having problems maintaining that NUMMI plant, the taxpayers will come to the rescue, after all the Feds want EVs in our future.

  19. Dan Clemons Says:

    I too watched that twice. That is some kind of driving.

    Happy Memorial Weekend to you John.

  20. dcars Says:

    Those Cadillacs are great looking cars, very unique styling. GM has to convince people that they are dependable and they’ll sell lots of them.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think Chrysler should make a police version of the 300, since it has a roomier back seat than the Charger, but since only the “suspects” ride back there, I guess back seat room is a low priority.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Crown Vic! A design so damned STUPID, this is a car that is 212 inch long, a FOOT longer than the S class or the 7, and the back seat has NO leg room!”

    …but it has a big trunk:-)

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s a bit of information. A V6 Charger runs the quarter mile in the same 16.3 seconds as a Crown Vic, and is only .2 sec slower 0-60 at 8.2 seconds. The police Charger I mentioned earlier has the 5.7 hemi, and is, of course, much quicker than the Crown Vic he had before.

  24. LEX Says:

    John McElroy Reports:

    “According to Edmunds.com Inside Line, a seven-passenger Cadillac crossover is in the works. Karl Stracke, GM’s vice president of global engineering said the luxury people mover is absolutely a go. It would be built on the same lambda architecture shared by the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and discontinued Saturn Outlook bringing the total number of crossovers built off of this platform to FIVE.”

    If Cadillac is getting rid of the Truck based Escolade with one based upon the Lamba Platform, then Three Cheers for Cadillac!!!
    If not what are they thinking about. GM / Cadillac produces far too many truck and SUV’s!
    Buick Divison should have been rolled into Cadillac Divison. Then you would have an Enclave in the same showroom with a Escolade.
    The Cadillac Enclave has a nice ring to it!
    Buick has a mid size vehicle in the new Regal based upon the Opel Insiginia. Cadillac needs a fuller profolio of vehicles. Bring Back the Buick Rivera as a Cadillac.

    Cadillac should insert itself into Europe and other markets by partnering with established Opel Dealerships as a upscale American alternative to Mercedes, Audi and BMW.

    Ford is doing the right thing by attempting to eliminate Mercury. Ford and Lincoln should be distanced the same way as Honda and Acura.

    Who will take over Ford once Alan Mulally decides to retire?

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    my friend rented a V6 Charger for a long trip which included some hilly driving and he says the car lacked power and torque and it still used a lot of gas. the slanted rear door sill makes it difficult for suspects to get in and out of the car, most of them bump their heads sitting down. I believe the 300 does not have this problem. also I believe Lincoln needs to bring back the Mark ? class.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Lincoln needs a big, rear drive sedan, a modern Town Car, as it were.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, where is the platform for such a Lincoln gonna come from? The only RWD platform they have is the CV/Town car and the Mustang, besides the trucks , of course

  28. Dave Says:

    The Hemi is not standard in the police Charger. I set up and order the police cars that I drive and keep them running. We could have ordered the car with a V6, but that does not have the CID on demand. So, we got the Hemi and are see about 50% BETTER mpg than the CVPI. After 10000 miles were have had no real problems. As for the CVPI we lost 2 motors just short of 40000 miles. A few trans, and a TON of front end part ball joints, etc. Is the Charger going to go though it’s service time without a problem..NO, but so far so good. Also the Charger has TC and ESP which makes the car safer. The RT Charger police car with state pricing was about 300 bucks more then the CVPI.

    But hay I know some here KNOW way more then me by watching them drive by or see them in the mirror with those nice lights on..

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    “Kit, where is the platform for such a Lincoln gonna come from? The only RWD platform they have is the CV/Town car and the Mustang, besides the trucks, of course”

    Ford would have to spend some money to do a big Lincoln properly, but if they could make a car competitive with an S Class and 7 series and sell it for “only” $65K, it might be worth spending the money to develop it.

  30. Drew Says:

    On a lighter note….
    it’s TESS-LA, not TEZZ-LA.

  31. dcars Says:

    The Australian Ford Falcon is rear wheel drive, but I don’t know if it’s big enough to be a Lincoln. A single version of RWD would make sense for Lincoln. I would bet that Ford could also base a Thunderbird on a Lincoln plate form.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    dcars Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    “The Australian Ford Falcon is rear wheel drive, but I don’t know if it’s big enough to be a Lincoln.”

    The Falcon is 195 inches long and has a 112 inch wheelbase, so it’s too small to be a “big” Lincoln, unless it could survive a major “stretch” and come out ok. It is 73.5 inches wide, about the same as an S-Class, so it might stretch ok and come out properly proportioned. Of course, there is always the issue of the translation from right hand drive to left hand drive. The Manara/GTO didn’t survive that translation very well.

  33. C-tech Says:

    “The Manara/GTO didn’t survive that translation very well”
    I thought the GTO did not fare well because it did not find favor with the type of retro buyers like the Camaro – i.e. it did not “look” enough like a GTO, and the fit and finish was not there. Was this due to the conversion process?

  34. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The more i think about it, the more i Disagree with the majority opinion in this room about Lincoln. I think Lincoln should start over again from scratch with totally new product etc… and go downmarket with small cars on the lower end, and upmarket with 7 series Killers on the top end.

    John McElroy flotaed the idea of the entire Lincoln brand going downmarket yesterday on AAH#57.

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Lincoln needs 3 smaller FWD products its just that simple.

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    # Kit Gerhart Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    “Crown Vic! A design so damned STUPID, this is a car that is 212 inch long, a FOOT longer than the S class or the 7, and the back seat has NO leg room!”

    …but it has a big trunk:-)

    It probably does. Hopefully its space is useful and it is not half taken by a spare in the middle.

    My point was, COME ON, a car 212 inch long (the CTS is barely 190-195 inches!) should have plenty of room in the cabin AND a good trunk. Which goes back to my comment, the Criown Vic is a really, really STUPID design. As opposed to a Civic hatch, for example, which is barely…160 inch long (my 92) and takes five people, weighing less than half of the crown vic (1875 lbs) and getting 44 actual highway MPG

  37. Nick Stevens Says:

    “So, we got the Hemi and are see about 50% BETTER mpg than the CVPI. ”

    IS this because it has cylinder deactivation and works on 4 instead of 8 cylinders most of the time (except in a fast pursuit)?

    And what were the actual mpgs? like from 14 to 21MPG? 16 to 24? or 18 to 27?

  38. Nick Stevens Says:

    When the Charger completes 200k miles then we can talk about reliability and durability. Past chryslers and dodges (average of millions of owners, not just one lucky guy) did not do well in the long run

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Lincoln needs a big, rear drive sedan, a modern Town Car, as it were.”

    I know a guy (a self made, smart but almost illiterate millionaire) who had a 2-door Cartier edition Mark something back in 77. His nephew was saying he would not drive it in the rain, as if it was a Ferrari or something. The rear seat was also cramped, despite the fact the thing was two miles long. Just because it is a 2-door, does it mean that it should not be able to take four adult men or women for more than a ride of a few miles down the street?

    In contrast, the Mercedes coupes, even the E-class of 86 or so, had adequate leg room in the back (I have ridden in one. The S-class coupes had even more space in the back than the Es.

    And if it fits my legs, it will fit most poople’s)

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    BTW, I saw a big Lincoln MKT in silver the other day in the supermarket lot. It looked quite distinctive and flowing from the back. I guess if they did something with that god-awful toothy grille, it could be quite impressive. I tried to look inside and caught a steering wheel made of wood partly (nice luxo touch) but there was an old guy inside and I was too shy to keep looking.

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    “John McElroy flotaed the idea of the entire Lincoln brand going downmarket yesterday on AAH#57.”

    Did not catch it, but I guess this should not be difficult… since it has been going downhill for a while now..the Navigator was only a temporary reprieve, it came and went.

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    Speaking of Police Cruisers, here is an update from Carbon Motors:

    “In its latest newsletter update, Carbon Motors has revealed that it’s received over 14,000 reservations from over 400 police agencies for its new purpose built E7 police car. However, it’s best to bear in mind those are just reservations for slots in the production schedule.

    As of yet, no one has placed a firm order for the E7 because Carbon hasn’t even announced pricing.

    While the concept of a vehicle built specifically to meet the needs of police forces certainly sounds good on paper, the E7 will undoubtedly be expensive.

    Besides using plenty of bespoke hardware that won’t benefit from economies of scale, it will be powered by a BMW 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine – a phenomenal engine and much more fuel efficient than anything else currently available in the police market, but coming from Munich will certainly elevate the price.

    (a friend who had bought a pre-95 BMW 735 had to pay $8,000 for a new engine soon after he got the car from the dealer with lo miles. 3.5 lt 6 gas. he also replaced the transmission for $6k. the car was under warranty so he paid only half of the $14k total.)

    It will be very interesting to see how many reservations get turned into firm orders once pricing is announced. “

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    C-tech Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    “”I thought the GTO did not fare well because it did not find favor with the type of retro buyers like the Camaro – i.e. it did not “look” enough like a GTO, and the fit and finish was not there. Was this due to the conversion process?”

    I’m sure appearance was a major part of why the GTO didn’t sell well, but…

    The gas tank took up most of the trunk. The driver foot space was very small for such a big car, probably because the drive train was offset to the left because of the car’s right hand drive origin. The radio controls, and maybe some other controls were set up for use more by the passenger rather than the driver, also reflecting the RHD origin.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “My point was, COME ON, a car 212 inch long (the CTS is barely 190-195 inches!) should have plenty of room in the cabin AND a good trunk.”

    I get your point completely, and I agree that the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis is a very poorly packaged car. An area where it fares better is that it is light for its size, while still faring reasonably well in crash tests.

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    All old designs are light for their size, because they are basically empty shells and do not have the zillions of systems and motors advanced cars of their size have. Also many Domestics, which do not have the parking constraints of the old country, grew in size but not in weight, while Euro and Japanese cars are more tightly packaged.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To some people, probably including police officers, it may be worthwhile to trade rear seat room for trunk space. An S-Class or 7 series has a lot more rear seat room than a Crown Vic, but the Crown Vic has about twice the trunk space. There’s no “free lunch” here.

  47. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Extra Trunk Space for Cops= A Free License to do nefarious things to their suspects.

    Its just that simple guys, you dont give somebody with that much power extra trunk space, as in extra I can put a couple of people in the trunk space.

    Im sorry, like I said before Im a non conformist Civil Libertarian. I dont trust the police at all, Id rather handle a Crim myself.

  48. Nick Stevens Says:

    The large trunks are appreciated by mob hitmen (or should I say “hit persons”, (as in a “three corpse trunk”), not police officers, whose gear can fit in much smaller trunks.

    And i can’t imagine how the CV would be able to outhandle a getaway M5… or even a lowly Accord or Civic. It’s a beached whale. stick a fork in it.

    Even Ford itself will stop making it, do you think that anybody would want this thing to succeed more than Ford? They already have replaced it with the (at least modern) Taurus.

    PS Even the resident officers like the Charger, with all its faults, much better.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    The CV should have been put out to pasture when GM retired the old Caprice, Ford kept it cause there was no other police alternative, also around here you see most retired police CV end up as taxicabs because of their roomy trunks, I guess even those cab operators will have to look for alternatives.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A lot of taxi operators are switching to vans. Even though today’s “minivans” have become huge, they would get better mileage in urban driving than a Crown Vic, and have a lot of cargo space in 5-passenger configuration.

  51. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Yeah Kit you have a point, Minivans are Whales today. America needs old school sized Voyagers/Caravans, etc…

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Here in So Fla taxis are not a very big business, since most tourists rent cars when they arrive, however when it’s time to go to the airport the locals have these big vans with plenty of cargo capacity for their luggage. The reason taxi operators buy these ex police cars is that they’re affordable at auction and they’re still in pretty good shape and have had their maintenance done, even though they do take a lot of abuse, besides they are pretty sturdy.

  53. Nick Stevens Says:

    A lot of taxis both where I live and also in Wash DC are Priuses. I took one in DC a few months ago, and at first I assumed it was a previous gen Prius, and sat in front because these cars really have no headroom in the back (the new prius has improved this by a redesigned roofline), but it was actually a current gen prius.

    The Prius is too small for a taxi, but if they bring out the minivan prius with three rows of seats, it might be perfect as an airport taxi or an urban one.

  54. Nick Stevens Says:

    A Touran far superior than the rebadged Chryslers sold in the US:

    “ The new Touran, a compact MPV, consumes only 4.6 liter diesel per 100km. that’s 51.3 miles to the U.S. liquid gallon (your EPA mileage may vary.) Not bad for a 7-seater! It gets there with a 1.6-liter TDI engine with BlueMotion Technology. The planet thanks Volkswagen for a 121 g/km CO2 rating.”

    I fit gets 51 MPG (is this highway or average??) in the Euro circle, it should rate about 40 EPA MPG AVERAGE, very impressive.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    For all of you out there who believe all cars are equally reliable and well made, I invite you to read the Dodge Journey consumers review pages on Edmund.com and all the negative reviews of a car that has only been in the market since 2009. I pity my poor sister who refused to listen to me and all the troubles that await her in the next 2 years with this Chrysler built POS.

  56. Nick Stevens Says:

    The first Fiesta ads are on TV. They clearly go after the young crowd, and females in particular

    I have not read the Journey’s unreliability reports, but I saw a few in parking lots and they don’t look bad, esp. from the back.

    But Chryslers always had no problem with styling, (with exceptions such as the Avenger) it is the unreliability that killed them.

  57. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro- isn’t your sister’s under warranty for the next 2 years? (of course, it will still affect its resale value, assuming she will not keep it forever, in which case she will later have to pay for the repairs all the time.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    May 30th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “The large trunks are appreciated by mob hitmen (or should I say “hit persons”, (as in a “three corpse trunk”), not police officers, whose gear can fit in much smaller trunks.”

    Police might use the trunk of a car for other than “standard” items of equipment, like the time I saw a Crown Vic with a trunk full of traffic cones.

    I agree that the Crown Vic is not a very good car by today’s standards, but it served police departments, taxi companies, and people with an anti-front-drive bias very well for a lot of years. Sure, its time has come and passed, but it had its day, and was very successful for a car that ran almost 20 model years with one styling change change and not much more.

  59. Nick Stevens Says:

    In the past, the domestics were squeezing the suppliers to minimize the cost of the parts, resulting in crapply vehicles with high warranty costs. Apparently they finally saw the light! This could be BIG.

    “DETROIT — Auto suppliers’ new contracts with General Motors Co. include a provision that makes suppliers liable for half of GM’s warranty costs.

    GM introduced the change in mid-April. GM spokesman Dan Flores declined to comment.

    Until now, GM has recouped warranty costs from its suppliers on an ad hoc basis. If GM attributes warranty costs to a supplier, GM makes a claim against the supplier, leading to an often-protracted back-and-forth to assign responsibility and decide which one will pay.”

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100531/OEM01/305319974/1424#ixzz0pWQtLmzZ

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick a lot of the complaints re the journey involve premature brake wear, let’s say your pads wear out too fast, if you don’t notice, then there’s damage to the rotors, and wear items I believe are not covered by the mfg warranty, so a complete brake job on a modern car can run you well over $200 bucks

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re: the GM story, last year they had problems with the electric power steering in several GM cars, most likely a supplier issue and not a design one. In these cases suppliers should take more of a financial responsibility for the repair/replacement cossts

  62. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pads and rotors for a modern car will run you several times more than $200, except if you buy the parts and do it yourself.

    I had replaced the pads and rotors on the Accord, and at Midas, not the dealer, after 100k miles, for $500. If i replaced them on the 7 it would be $1400 at the dealer, and $800 at midas.

  63. Nick Stevens Says:

    Hyundai is offering a Sonata Wagon in Europe. No info if it will ever come to the US

    BTW, I just checked out the mazda 5 specs. It is quite obese for a FWD compact van, at 3,442 lbs (and only 180X69″X64″)

    Its highway MPG in particular is just LUDICROUS if you compare it with the far heavier EQUINOX, which has a bigger engine and HP, and still gets 32 MPG Highway!!!

    I can’t count the times when I am reminded of what an EXCELLENT vehicle the Equinox is for its segment, a 100% HOME RUN for GM. The auto journalists that passed it for car of the year blundered once more, whether they want to admit it or not.

  64. Nick Stevens Says:

    (The MAzda 5 has a pathetic 28 Highway MPG, as opposed to the much bigger, more powerful and heavier Equinox at 32. Both are FWD)

  65. pedro fernandez Says:

    What the hell has happened to the weight of new cars? My lowly Corolla is just 2400 lbs. about a grand less than the Mazda. In comparison, the 09 Corolla is only about 300 lbs heavier than mine. Don’t understand why can’t they watch the weight on these new cars. That explains the mediocre MPG’s.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mazda 5 is 200 pounds lighter than the Kia Rondo, its closest competitor in exterior size and cabin volume. The Mazda 5 got 16/33 mpg in CR’s tests, as opposed to 14/29 for the Rondo. A 4 cylinder AWD Equinox got 14/30, very good “real world” mileage for a vehicle its size. The front drive version would probably beat the 5.

    The next geration Mazda 5 will probably do better, though, with a new engine and an additional transmission gear.

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit: my son’s 1995 Prizm (Corolla) with a 4 speed transmission and A/C on, gave us 34mpg on a 400+ mile Miami to Disney trip using secondary roads going no faster than 65 mph. My 3 speed Corolla same conditions came back with a horrible 25 mpg. Transmissions are most crucial in getting good mpg, so is curb weight.

  68. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    May 31st, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    The Mazda 5 is 200 pounds lighter than the Kia Rondo, its closest competitor in exterior size and cabin volume.”

    So you managed to find a MORE idiotic, inefficient design than the obese small wagon 5???

    THis is LUDICROUS.

    The EQUINOX is a big, heavy crossover, almost 4,000 lbs, 500++ more than the 5.

    YET it is rated by the NEW TOUGH EPA (“for comparison only”) 32 HWY in FWD mode, so it can be compared to the also FWD Mazda 5, which gets a pitiful 28 USING THE SAME SYSTEM.

    Does this not raise A gigantic flag to you, PROVING that the 5 not only does not CUT IT (you can add the stupid Rondo as well. And no wonder both of these sell a PITTANCE of copies a monnth, almost certain losing big $ to their makers. Serves them right. there should be a penalty for AWFUL designs!)

    “The Mazda 5 got 16/33 mpg in CR’s tests, as opposed to 14/29 for the Rondo.”

    I’ll let H/S handle that! It is no news that many small and midsize Hyundais and Kias have terrible MPG.

    “A 4 cylinder AWD Equinox got 14/30, very good “real world” mileage for a vehicle its size.”

    THE MAZDA IS A 3,450 LBS FWD and you compare it to the AWD version of the Equinox?????????

    Outrageous. You should the CR report on the AWD Equinox to the CR report of a comparable ALSO AWD vehicle, EVEN IF, as the Mazda, it is 500 lbs less and has 30 less HP than the EQUINOX, and I bet you it will have far inferior mileage than the 30 of the AWD (!!!!!!) Equinox!

    “The front drive version would probably beat the 5.”

    “Probably”???? As in 100.00%? And how do you ezxplain it, when the mazda is 500 lbs lighter AND has 30 less HP?

    How about “THE Mazda design is utterly inefficient, inferior and just plain STUPID!”?

    The new CAFES are coming, and while I am not a fan of CAFE, this will pull these atrocities, such as little vans that have much poorer EPA MPG than far more powerful, far more heavier crossovers, off the highways.

  69. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# pedro fernandez Says:
    May 31st, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Kit: my son’s 1995 Prizm (Corolla) with a 4 speed transmission and A/C on, gave us 34mpg on a 400+ mile Miami to Disney trip using secondary roads going no faster than 65 mph. My 3 speed Corolla same conditions came back with a horrible 25 mpg. Transmissions are most crucial in getting good mpg, so is curb weight.”

    Good points about the transmissions, that is why I do no tmind at all the current trend to 6, 7 and 8 speed autos. We do need them, with heavy powerful cars to get good MPG AND operate smoothly and silently at high RPM with less wear etc. And surprisingly the 8-sp ZF transmission for BMWs etc is lighter than their previous ZF 6 or 5 sp auto.

    I got far better MPG with the 2,822 lb Accord 5-speed manual, with A/C on and cruising on long trips, mostly high speeds (80 MPH) except in work areas (60 MPH).

    Another ‘secret” is to make sure your tires are not underinflated, in fact they should be 1-2 lbs over the recommended cold pressure, since with time the tires lose pressure, so if you check it once a month, the average is way below the recommended.

  70. Nick Stevens Says:

    Forgot to say, I got 32-37 MPG with the Accord, which was listed 31 EPA HWY under the more relaxed pre-2008 rules (that rated the prius a 60 city and 52? Hwy). I also get 44 MPG real hwy mpg with my small 1992 civic hatch, no A/C, only 1875 lbs, and 35 mpg overall. It is really tinny.. and 5-sp manual

  71. Nick Stevens Says:

    Actually, I was thinking that GM should clone the Equinox in a luxury version as a Buick or even Caddy, and hit the Lexus RX300 especially the hybrid version, it could well have far better HWY MPG (and even overall MPG) than that overpriced chick car or crossover!

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “The front drive version would probably beat the 5.” “Probably”???? As in 100.00%? And how do you ezxplain it, when the mazda is 500 lbs lighter AND has 30 less HP?” (compared to Equinox)

    CR tested the Mazda 5 in 2006 when it still had a 4-speed automatic. It now has a 5-speed. The engine was a conventional 4 cylinder with port fuel injection. The new Mazda 5 will undoubtedly do better than the old one.

    Yes, the Equinox does well. It is a newer design with direct injection and a 6-speed transmission. I quoted CR’s measurements for an AWD Equinox because that is what they have tested. I’d like to see them test the FWD version and see what mileage they get, but so far they’ve only tested the AWD.

    Nick, you don’t seem to understand that not everyone buys their cars by the pound, and while everyone likes good fuel economy, one or two mpg difference in highway mileage when you are in the 30 mpg range doesn’t amount to squat, unless you drive a million miles a year.

    As far as the Mazda 5, there are people who like sliding doors and a small van with three row seating. In Europe, there are a lot of “MPV’s” like that, but in America, the Mazda 5 is the only only available. It hasn’t sold well, partly because of its looks, partly because there aren’t many Mazda dealers, etc. Still, this constant bashing of that car gets old. It’s a good, practical car, and is a very good value at under $25K with all available options. Have you ever even driven one? Of course it’s not going to drive like a 7 series, but it drives fine for what it is, a small, 4 cylinder “true” minivan.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick: FYI, when we recently went car shopping, one car considered was the Rondo,(due to price/interior space) but was told that Kia was not shipping them because of their likeness to the Soul and Kia wanted to move the Soul as fast as possible and when both were compared, the Rondo came out as a better package. Even though they both suck, IMHO.

  74. Nick Stevens Says:

    pedro: not only they suck, they also suck way too much fuel, despite they tiny size and weight. The Nissan cube which is as small as the Soul, got 29+ MPG o Motorweek’s long term fleet, while the Soul barely got 25 on the SAME fleet!

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Rondo has three rows of seats, for those who need that. The third row is cramped and there is little storage behind the third row, but it would work to take six people for a short trip to lunch from work.

    The Soul is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the Rondo. It is for those who like quirky styling, like the Scion Xb and Nissan Cube.

  76. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit, you got SOME NERVE, after the misinformation you posted, to accuse me of not understanding this or that. I express MY opinions anyway, BUT it seems, from the sales numbers, and we will have MAY’s sales pretty soon, that mos tpeople ALSO agree with ME and not with YOUR desperate attempts to pass POOR, UNACCEPTABLE designs such as the CV, the Mazda 5 or the Rondo as OK, and compare AWD versions of 180 HP, 4,000 lb safe crossover with a FWD version of a 3,500 lb 150 HP mini-minivan!!!

    And you STILL cannot comprehend how far SUPERIOR the Equinox is.

    You still have time to find in your precious CR ANY 4,000 180+ HP crossover with AWD and tell us all how low its Highway MPG.

    THAT is the only comparable # to your AWD Equinox 30 MPG, which is not just good, but STELLAR!!!!!!

    TO compare, my 4,300 RWD 7 series, that has a lower frontal area than the Equinox (and hence less resistance on the HWY at speed) and NO AWD, barely gets 22 HIGHWAY MPG in REAL driving. Only the 3.0 lt DIESEL 7 could get 30 MPG highway (and it does)!

    If you know anything about physics, energy, fuel efficiency and th elike!

    WE will be waiting.

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ve noticed these HyundaiKia engines cannot match either Honda nor Toyota when it comes to power vs mpg ratios. Not to mention durability. They have improved, but they’re not there yet. Speaking of engines, Toyota had never built a V8, but when they planned Lexus, they had to build one, quickly. The result was a V8 superior to anything Detroit had, and they’ve had V8′s for like 70 or 80 years!

  78. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Soul is a JOKE. Motorweek, as I said, has it long-term, the hest kind of MPG test, and it gets a DISMAL 25 MPG, while the equally small Nissan Cube got 29+ mpg (both Averaqe MPG) in the same long term fleet.

  79. Nick Stevens Says:

    That’s interesting info, Pedro, about the Toyota V8.

    The Koreans started out with Mitsu engines, then slowly they built their own. Korea in general has also done well over decades in building more and more complex engineering systems (and I don’t just mean cars here, but very large, complex vessels such as Liquefied Natural Gas carriers, containerships and the like)

  80. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, I believe the Rondo is a better buy than the Soul. Because of the Soul’s popularity, they were getting MSRP plus they had a lot of options put in, while the Rondo, if available, would have had a nice discount. Soul is based off the Rio while the Rondo is based off the larger Spectra.

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    June 1st, 2010 at 9:12 am

    “Kit, you got SOME NERVE, after the misinformation you posted, to accuse me of not understanding this or that.”

    Of what misinformation do you speak? When I quoted CR’s gas mileage measurements, I clearly stated the the Equinox was AWD.

    “You still have time to find in your precious CR ANY 4,000 180+ HP crossover with AWD and tell us all how low its Highway MPG”

    WTF? When did I say that the Equinox had “low MPG?” You are really grasping at things about which to ridicule my posts.

    “TO compare, my 4,300 RWD 7 series, that has a lower frontal area than the Equinox (and hence less resistance on the HWY at speed) and NO AWD, barely gets 22 HIGHWAY MPG in REAL driving. Only the 3.0 lt DIESEL 7 could get 30 MPG highway (and it does)!
    If you know anything about physics, energy, fuel efficiency and th elike!”

    Again, when did I compare the fuel economy of your 7 series with that of an Equinox? That’s right, I didn’t. I am well aware that a car like that with its large engine and fairly high weight is going to suck gas, even though it might have less aero drag than a small or mid size crossover.

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    There’s no question that Hyundai has come a long way in a fairly short time after its new CEO promised to make the company world class in quality and value, the same cannot be said for their fellow countrymen, the Daewoo clan, their products still languish behind, much like a third world country car maker.

  83. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Of what misinformation do you speak? When I quoted CR’s gas mileage measurements, I clearly stated the the Equinox was AWD. ”

    The point is that you should NEVER COMPARE THE TWO, even if you stated it!!!!!!

    As if the 500 Lb heavier (or more, if the AWD obviously weighs more!) weight for the Equinox and its 30 more HP was not an unfair enough comparison!

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    June 1st, 2010 at 9:14 am

    “The Soul is a JOKE. Motorweek, as I said, has it long-term, the hest kind of MPG test, and it gets a DISMAL 25 MPG, while the equally small Nissan Cube got 29+ mpg (both Averaqe MPG) in the same long term fleet.”

    Were the cars both automatic trans? The Soul has a 4-speed automatic while the Cube has a CVT. Also, the Soul has larger engine than the Cube.

  85. Nick Stevens Says:

    And I did NOT accuse you of comparing the 7 to the equinox, I WAS THE ONE who compared the two, since the comparison is FAR MORE FAIR, because they are almost equal weight, and the HP difference is compensated by the more aerodynamic, lower 7!

    PS the Rondo and the Soul have LITTLE in common, few people shopping for the one will go to the other, except perhaps those who can’t afford the pricier of the two.

  86. Nick Stevens Says:

    If you were thinking of the Hybrid S class, you may have a far better option:

    “Mercedes-Benz has confirmed to Autoblog that the S400 hybrid won’t remain the only efficiency-minded member of the S-Class family for long. The S350 Bluetec will be coming to the U.S. market for 2011 as the first diesel S-Class since the mid-1990s. The S350 will use the same 3.5-liter turbodiesel V6 already used in Mercedes’ ML, GL and R-Class SUVs. That engine is rated at 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet and includes a urea injection system to treat the NOx emissions in the exhaust.

    We expect the S350 to at least match – if not beat – the 22 mpg real-world results we achieved with the S400 gas-electric earlier this year, and it will probably have similar performance thanks to its exceptional torque. There is no word on pricing, but we anticipate it will sticker at or below the S400′s $87,950 base price for 2010. ”

    based on the cost to build these two very different vehicles, I’d expect the Diesel to be substantially less than the hybrid, or Merc will be milking its customers for the much less expensive diesel.

  87. Nick Stevens Says:

    I assume these above 22 MPG with the S hybrid are average, not HWY MPG. Even if average, they are not as high as one would expect.