Episode 406 – Mercury Resale Values Won’t Drop, Peugeot BB1, Self-Healing Concrete

June 4th, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:16

Mercury resale values won’t drop because the brand didn’t carry a premium. Peugeot talks to Autoline Daily about the performance aspects of its BB1 electric car. A graduate student at the University of Rhode Island has invented concrete that can repair itself. All that and more, plus John answers your questions about Tesla, Lexus and Chrysler in “You Said It!”

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, June 4, 2010. And now, the news.

MERCURY RESALE VALUES WON’T DROP
What’s going to happen with the resale value of Mercuries now that the brand is being dropped? Not much. According to AutoRemarketing, since Mercury didn’t carry any premium with it, resale values will not drop. It says the same thing happened when Chrysler dropped the Plymouth brand. But it says the values of Pontiacs and Saturns dropped anywhere from 5 to 10 percent when GM announced it was getting rid of those brands. That’s because, up to then, customers did pay a premium to buy those brands.

PEUGEOT BB1
When Peugeot set out to design an electric city car that can seat four people it also wanted to completely change the way it makes a car. Autoline Daily was at this week’s Challenge Bibendum in Rio de Janeiro and ran across Marc Bocque of Peugeot who talks about the performance aspects of the BB1. Interestingly, the BB1 uses a tubular chassis developed by Peugeot’s motor scooter division.

SELF-HEALING CONCRETE
Don’t you hate bad roads? Of course you do but help is on the way. A graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, Michelle Pelletier, has invented what she calls self-healing concrete. A microencapsulated sodium silicate healing agent is added to the mix of concrete. When the concrete begins to break up the capsules rupture and release the healing agent, this reacts with another compound in the concrete and it creates a gel-like material that hardens in a week. Her tests show that the concrete recovered 26 percent of its original strength and she believes if a heavier concentration of the healing agent is added it could further improve the strength of the concrete. The best part is it’s supposedly a fairly inexpensive procedure.

MERCEDES WANTS TO CHANGE IMAGE
It’s June and it means that the world is getting geared up for this month’s World Cup soccer tournament, even Mercedes. According to Bloomberg, the company is launching a big advertising campaign and also will offer sales incentives in Germany. And if Germany wins the cup, Mercedes will pay customers up to 319 euros as part of a special lease offer. The company is doing it because it wants to attract younger buyers. Mercedes is seen as an old person’s car in Germany, the average Mercedes driver is ten years older than BMW and Audi owners, which, by the way, won’t be offering incentives of their own during the World Cup.

RENAULT/NISSAN/DAIMLER DETAILS (subscription required)
More details about the Renault/Nissan/Daimler alliance are starting to emerge. Ward’s reports that Infiniti’s next-generation G and M could be built on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class platform. Additionally, the redesigned Z-car could get Daimler powertrains from the Mercedes S400 hybrid and E300 Bluetec. A diesel-powered sports car sounds like a lot of fun. Daimler is also expected to share some of Renault’s new engines including a 1.6-liter diesel with stop/start technology as well as a range of small-displacement three- and four-cylinder gasoline engines expected out in 2012.

TESLA SELLS CREDITS TO HONDA
Tesla hasn’t turned a profit yet, but the electric sports-car builder has made some money. According to Bloomberg, the company brought in nearly $14 million since 2008 by selling “zero-emissions vehicle” credits to other automakers. Honda is the only buyer named, snapping up an equivalent of 368 cars’ worth and contracting for an additional 287. The credits are needed to meet California’s strict pollution regulations.

MINI E FALLS SHORT (subscription required)
In related electric vehicle news, the Wall Street Journal reports that the range of BMW’s battery-powered Mini E is falling short of estimates. Based on a U.S. EPA driving cycle the car was supposed get nearly 160 miles on a charge, but in real-world testing it seems most lessees are only getting around 100 miles out of it. The best any driver in the program has managed is just 127 miles! The car does well around town but sustained highway driving really drains the battery. By the way Nissan also used the same test procedure to estimate the driving range of the Leaf, and the same goes for other automakers, too.

Coming up next, it’s time to answer some of your letters. We’ll be back right after this.

And now it’s time for “You Said It!”.

TCB1468 saw our story that Tesla is going to build electric cars in the gigantic NUMMI plant in Fremont California and writes in to ask, “Is 5 million square feet a lot for 20,000 cars or not enough square feet?”

TCB, 5 million square feet is massive overkill to build only 20,000 cars a year. To quote an old German proverb, it’s like shooting sparrows with cannons. And remember, that’s 5 million square feet under roof, the ground surrounding those buildings is even bigger. Once Tesla realizes how much it’s paying in heating and lighting and electrical and maintenance and security, it’s going to wonder why it ever moved into such a big facility. Tesla probably doesn’t even need half a million square feet to build its 20,000 cars.

Chuck Grenci wasn’t all that impressed by the new TV commercial for the Lexus LFA that we showed you yesterday. “I can’t see how the LFA commercial is anything positive by breaking a glass. Am I missing some sophisticated engineering phenomenon or is the Lexus just one screaming tenor?

Chuck, you didn’t miss a thing. The idea of shattering the glass is just to get people to look at the ad and talk about it with their friends.

cba1067950 wants to know, “How is Chrysler making money? That doesn’t make any sense. They don’t have new cars. Where did this sudden interest in Chrysler come from?”

CBA, even though Chrysler doesn’t have new products, it still has been able to cut incentives by an average of $2,000 per vehicle. How? Because now it’s only building cars based on demand. It’s no longer flooding the market and doesn’t have to discount them as much. So when you get two grand more per vehicle and build over a million vehicles, that alone drops $2 billion to the bottom line.

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

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.

50 Comments to “Episode 406 – Mercury Resale Values Won’t Drop, Peugeot BB1, Self-Healing Concrete”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    As Nick’s been saying here for the longest time, range estimates for EV’s have been greatly exaggerated by the manufacturers to get people excited in the technology, now the truth is coming out and will keep on coming out on these. Just like the old EPA estimates for mileage were always too high and unattainable for all drivers.

  2. Nick Stevens Says:

    In fact I had read that story about the real range of the E-Mini being 100 miles so long ago, I had forgotten that the claimed range was 160.

    Plug-ins are already overkill over the (actual 50 MPG) Prius, and pure EVs are really a luxury item that only affluent families with 6-car garages can afford to use as a secondary and tertiary car. Unless if they are willing to use mass transit or fly whenever they have a trip more than 50 miles long!

  3. Nick Stevens Says:

    But for city fleets whose vehicles do not do a lot of miles a day but a lot of stop-go, such as Parking meter maids or even some mail delivery, they may be more suitable to buy these EVs and reduce all the downtown pollution.

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-a-giant-clunking-sound-edition/

    Pedro, I and others here were extremely critical of the idiotic cash for clunkers program in the US, and the link above PROVES US RIGHT 100%!

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    A couple of comments on todays show: first, about that self healing concrete; I wonder if they tested this stuff under real world conditions. And by that I mean, if the concrete cracks and remains in service (in just about all roads scenarios) how is it going to ‘set’ when it is constantly being re-injured. If you’ve ever tried to glue anything and don’t stop the crack from reopening the joint just never sets. So in the lab it may work but I’m a bit skeptical about real world (and let’s not forget being outside in the heat, cold, rain, snow).

    And a general observation about selling credits (in this case, pollution credits); the only thing you ever get by trading a credit here for a credit there is net-zero equation (the pollution is the same; just attributed to someone else). It’s feel-good witchery in my book.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    That’s an eye opening chart. Yeah, so, another case of government wasting our tax dollars, part II will follow soon with cash for electrics coming to a Chevy/ Nissan dealer near you. Socialism at work, folks!

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And plus 1 to what Pedro and Nick said about the EV’s; I think they remain part of the alternative (holding back on whether they’re part of the solution) but time will surely tell about the actual real-world numbers.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    If People drive conservatively then they can get decent range, but fast driving, A/C, hilly driving, radios with amps/subwoofers will significantly cut the range on these vehicles, not to mention battery life and resale values. No one in their right mind will be buying a used EV with an uncertain amount of battery life left. They’re as expensive as a transmission to replace.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A big problem with pure electrics is that, in cities where they would be most useful, a lot of people park on the street and would have no place to plug them in. For people in the suburbs with the three car garages, EV’s are less likely to have adequate range for regular use. Also, cities are where EV’s are good for air quality with their ability to “export” pollution from the city.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    June 4th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    “…fast driving, A/C, hilly driving, radios with amps/subwoofers will significantly cut the range on these vehicles,…”

    Also, heaters greatly reduce range when EV’s are used in cold weather.

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    Cold weather will probably be the worst parameter reducing range. Most EV buyers will not race them, unless they commute to work in a $120,000 Tesla Roadster like Dave Letterman, but that’s a handful of people only.

  12. Nick Stevens Says:

    of course very hot weather and a/c would be a big drag too, but very cold weather usually affects batteries even more

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’ve mentioned the “cold weather factor” many times here in discussion about the volt.I have also said a few times about how the batteries will hold up to constant high-amp drain/charge in the colder climes.EV’s will have a place,but not until our electric grid is updated,more powerplants added,and battery technology is vastly improved.I still have serious reservations in regards to “real world” testing in cold northern climates,and the opposite extremes as well like Phoenix etc.As for the real range of ev’s,most of us knew and were not buying the load of crap that the manufacturers were trying to sell us.

  14. Salvador G. Says:

    1. PEUGEOT BB1
    JohnMc., anyway you could check more on the designs aspects of Peugeot BB1…- How far does the windshield steps forward and does it have a transparent roof (can someone see the traffic lights in that car?) and why didn’t Peugeot try a more aerodynamic design???

    2. TESLA SELLS CREDITS TO HONDA
    Honestly- – I don’t know how to feel about this, at some level I wanna laugh or just be sad for Honda.
    -Maybe Companies like Ferrari will start buying credits from Tesla and that is how Tesla will make profits in the future rather than selling cars that actually work.

    3.MINI E FALLS SHORT
    EVs should come with a disclaimer saying “Not Meant For American Highways”

  15. Nick Stevens Says:

    GA:

    Power plant capacity is not an issue, even after 10 years and a million EV, since they will mostly be recharged at off-peak times, and the power plants can handle much more load than that. Many will be charge overnight, when there is very little other power-draining activity, even the A/C works less hard overnight.

  16. HtG Says:

    I remember years ago at a NY Auto Show, there was a guy marketing an electric ‘car’ powered by twelve volt car batteries. It was a three wheel job, looking a little like a orange joke messerschmitt. I asked him if cold weather affected the range, and he answered boldly that, ‘no it doesn’t.’ I can still remember the stupid look on his face when I asked him, ‘really?’

    Just say, I’m from Missouri.

  17. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Europe is usually years ahead of the US, and well if thats the case Honda like Mercedes will have the same problems too in America 2015-2020…

  18. LEX Says:

    Self Healing Concrete, Autonomous Vehicles, Smart Traffic Lights and Fiber Carbon Auto Bodies sounds like the stuff of science fiction, yet we can’t plug a oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. It seems like the best and brightess minds are wasting their brain power on things that do very little to improve the human condition of the mass population.

    The US needs to build a rail and light rail systems that releave congestion and pollution in large Urban Centers while carrying people and goods in and out of cities. GM and Firestone are the ones who got rid of the trolley and cable cars around the US which were powered by electricity, and replaced that with GM Buses and Firestone tires. They did the same with the railroad lines in Hawaii which originally carried the sugar cane to the habor for shipping to California for refining. Those rail line could now have used as a commuter rail line for the Island.

    The US Senate and Congress operates in the same fashion as does Wall Street Executives. They only look forward to be re-elected based upon short term performance without long term goals and wise fiscal planning. We need to put people back to work and restate the manufacturing engine which made America prosperous. Urban Planning and investments in infrastructure is needed also.

    James Cameron and Others in Hollywood are being asked to give a hand in stopping the oil from gushing out of the deep water pipe in the Gulf. What do plumbers do when a pipe breaks? They connect a new pipe to the broken pipe with a sleeve which bonds the two halves together. Now our mighty brain trust at BP and Washington can’t figure this out!

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It sounds like the Mini E has good range, for a pure electric car. That 100 mile range would work for nearly everything I use my Mini for.

    I’d have a problem, though, charging it with the “community” power supplied to the garage in my condo. Basically, the power in the garages is intended for a ceiling light and a door opener. They have specific rules against having refrigerators and freezers in the garages, but, so far, nothing about charging electric cars. I’m sure this will come up soon, when Leaves and Volts hit the market.

  20. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    LEX the time is now for them to at least take advantage of the crisis and revise the 2016 CAFE to 40, and make the 2025 CAFE 60 MPG.

    The way I see it if the car makers cant meet the standards in that time frame using Hybrids, Gas Direct injection, Turbos, and HCCI then they might as well pack up shop and get out of the business.

    The Government should force makes to have a Hybrid powertrain avain for each car. They can do it simple and Smart like Hyundai/KIA, or Complicated and stupid like Toyota or Honda.
    Oh Yeah, Toyota and Honda Hybrid programs are in Trouble. Synergy Drive is like HD DVD and Hyundai Blue Drive is like Blu-Ray.

    Blu Ray won, remember that.

    Hyundai will be the hybrid leader in 5 years, trust me. Its a very simple design they have, geared up for unlimited life, and easy maintenance.

    Accent Hybrid hatch with leather, panoramic sunroof, the works, etc… for me please.

  21. Nick Stevens Says:

    There is little point in sacrificing your 400-500 mile range with a 50 MPG actual MPG prius to get any pure EV, which will cost you far more than the Prius to boot, and may get anywhere from 50 to 100 miles actual real range!

  22. Nick Stevens Says:

    Car Review: 2010 Chevy Malibu

    Well, I just got my rental for the next three days, a 2010 Black Chevy Malibu with 7.2 k miles The alternative would be an Impala, which would be more the size of my 7 (but not the weight or engine!) The Malibu trunk is quite small, even tho it is well lined inside.

    total cost with a full tank of gas included, $7 (!) after I used my $100 customer satisfaction certif. that actually was valid for a year that ended today!

    The car must be an upscale version. The engine seemed very quiet and smooth. The seats looked very nice, with hand-stitched leather at the edges and a suede leather (?) thing in the nmiddle, tan and gray colors.

    The car has no trip computer, (inexusable!) and I will have little clue of its MPG until I top the tank and find it manually. Also no sunroof, but that’s OK. At least it has a nice stereo and CD player

    The cabin has all kinds of shiny touches, aluminum, chrome (or fake Al) all over the place. The doors have acres of something that looks like hard plastics but if you touch them they are rather soft (!)

    The steering is EXTREMELY light, what is wrong with all these people in the domestics, is this car marketed to frail 95 year old men or frail women who cannot turn a wheel? It is very Unappealing, and gives the impression that the car is not ‘on tracks’.. and the gas pedal is extremely easy to push down, WHY again?

    I hope the thing does not break down as we will put over 1k miles the next 3 days in the east coast.

  23. Nick Stevens Says:

    Another stupid feature, the stereo keeps playing after you turn the engine off and take the key out.

    I wonder if Malibus today are not like they used to be, I had locked myself out of an older Malibu sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s. I could not lock myself out of even the two Hondas as easily.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick: what ever happened to variable rate power steering in domestics. Come to think of it, just about every car I have rented in the last couple of years had very soft steering, only the Civic was very balanced and nicely weighed.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    June 5th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    “Another stupid feature, the stereo keeps playing after you turn the engine off and take the key out”

    The radio keeps playing in my ’06 Malibu too, for about 10 minutes, but turns off when you open a door. The same applies to the window lifts. To me, it is neither “stupid,” nor particularly useful that the radio stays on, but I like it that the power stays on to the windows until you open the door. That comes in handy sometimes.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “I wonder if Malibus today are not like they used to be, I had locked myself out of an older Malibu sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s. I could not lock myself out of even the two Hondas as easily.”

    My Malibu, and I suspect the new ones go “ding ding ding” continuously if you open the driver’s door with the key in the ignition. Mine won’t let you lock the car with the power locks if the key is in the ignition, but you can lock yourself out by pushing the mechanical button on the door.

    It is nearly impossible to lock yourself out of my ’86 VW Cabriolet without power locks. You have to use the key to lock the driver’s door from the outside. If you lock it from the inside, the door unlocks when you close it.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick,

    Is your Malibu rental a 4 or 6 cylinder? They put both engines in even the top trim level, called LTZ.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “The car has no trip computer, (inexusable!) and I will have little clue of its MPG until I top the tank and find it manually.”

    The Malibu has a trip computer, called “driver information center” in Chevy speak. If the owner’s manual is missing from your rental, you can see it at:

    http://www.chevrolet.com/assets/pdf/owners/manuals/2010/2010_chevrolet_malibu_owners.pdf

  29. HtG Says:

    Nick, if you’re on the EC, why not check out the Simeone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia. It’s a private collection of a noted neurosurgeon, organized along the idea that racing competition spurs advances in auto technology. It’s just off 95 near the airport.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Simeone is great, and has one of the best collections of pre-WWII racing cars around.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just saw a Motorweek report on the Lacrosse 4 cyl. and I think Buick is taking a big gamble on this car. Most traditional Buick buyers will have a hard time buying a 4 banger, it tested out ok under normal conditions, but it is a 4 door large sedan which with capacity for 5 with A/C on and hilly conditions=disastrous conditions for ANY 4 cyl car. ps the gas savings and price are not worth it in my opinion. Also for about the same money you can get into a similar Malibu with a V6. Though not as luxurious.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that putting the 4 cyl. in LaCrosse doesn’t make a lot of sense, when the car weighs about 500 pounds more than a Malibu. If they used a turbo 4, that might be different.

    Also, I don’t know why GM even makes the 3.0 V6. The 3.0 actually gets a one MPG worse EPA highway rating than the 3.6 in LaCrosse. The four gets 19/30 EPA numbers in LaCrosse, while the 3.6 gets 17/27.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit: I believe that 3.0 engine is old school, I understand car makers want to get buyers used to 4 cyl engines from now on, but there are many people who associate 4 bangers with economy cars only and would feel ‘cheated” if they spent close to 30k and all they could get is a 4 cyl only.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is an interesting article at:

    http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2010/03/buick-drops-the-lacrosses-30-liter-v6-for-2011.html

    The 3.0 is being dropped in the LaCrosse for 2011, but will still be used in the Equinox and CTS. According to the Edmunds article, the 3.0 exists mainly for the Chinese market where taxes are higher on cars with engines larger than 3 liters.

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Yeah, that Malibu is a good car Nick.

    Too bad its going to suck when they replace it with this wannabe Camry they happen to be testing.

  36. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Screw Wannabe, its the new Camry in my eyes.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The better car makers get at keeping the noise and vibration out of the cabin of 4 cylinder cars, the better they will be accepted in other than economy cars. Everyone seems to be making major progress in this area. I remember nearly every road test of ’02-’07 4 cyl. Chevy Malibu complaining about the engine being “rough and noisy.” The new Malibu uses basically the same engine, but it is not described as rough and noisy. They have just gotten better at isolating the engine. Honda has done a good job with 4 cyl. Accords for years.

    I’m sure 4 cylinder cars will still be a hard sell with some people for years to come, no matter how good they are, kind of like people bought Crown Vic and Grand Marquis when they were way past their prime, because they were convinced that they needed rear drive and a V8, and the Fords were the only affordable new cars of that type.

  38. B. Berman. Says:

    I think that being able to sell or buy emission credits is the most absurd concept ever invented. Franckly I am surprised that the powers in the California government actually accept it. You either pollute or you don’t. Buying an emission credit does not change that. This is all just talk. Bla, bla, bla.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    HI guys,

    My first part of the trip (getting to the EC) with the Malibu was a breeze. I don’t think it is the 6 cylinder LTZ but just the LT flex fuel.

    I was wrong about the trip computer, it DOES have one but it does not have GPS or a nav screen, it has an “info” button that you can heep pushing and each time it gives you a variable or two, total about 12. Very informative and useful, despite what Pedro may say.

    The car had an excellent lifetime average of 29.9 MPG at 7,222 miles, and with my almost pure highway driivng it is closing on 30.9 MPG now (and maybe 31.5 MPG by the time I’m done with it).

    I also calculated my MPG manually the first time I filled the tank, and I got 33.24 MPG over 202 (95% highway) miles. I drove it in a relaxed way, 70-80 MPH except in a few work areas at 60 MPH. I may get a higher MPG than that when I fill it next.

    I think the main reason for the high MPG is the transmission, it is probably a 6-sp auto. It is impressive for a 3,500 lbs large car (over 190 inch long) and an auto transmission to get 50% better MPG than I get with the V8 7, which is 4,300 lbs (but I go a bit faster with theh 7).

    It is an upscale edition, it has some leather touches, hand-stitched, and some soft plastics that look hard, and were not very clean (this is Hertz’s problem, not Chevy’s, but if the plastic was darker it would not show that much).

    The one thing they need to imrove is the plastic at the doors and the door pockets, it is 100% cheap, hard plastic, really unacceptable in this otherwise upscale car. I remember my 1990 Honda, every inch insiude the car was upscale fabrics and soft, high quality plastics.

    ALso, the trunk was larger than I initially thought, it was the dark lining and the absence of a trunk light that made me think it was rather small.

    The computer includes a poresure monitor, if you ask for it, you get the presures in all 4 tires, and it is useful not only to know which tire needs more pressure (my rear left tire has 3 PSI less than the rest!) But also to see the diff between cold tires in the morning and warm after you drive a bit. (another 3 psi diff for all tires)

    HTG, thanks for the tip, I will not have time this time but I’ll see it in my next visit

    Kit, your comment explained to me that alarming bell I had no idea why it went off as I was slowing down and about to park.

    PS I think the 4s in today’s cars are more than adequate, and many old ladies that buy buick never needed a 6 in the first place.

    If anything, obese as they are, today’s cars are way overpowered, especially if they have no passengers, but even fully loaded.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    lots of typos above, but never mind, written in a hurry.

    PS the Malibu LT I have was not noisy at all and did not vibrate at any speed. Of course it only has 7,222 miles.

    And the best part is, due to my customer satisfaction $100 certificate, the whole 3 day trip PLUS a full tank of gas cost me… $7! (plus the extra gas, probably another $50, to do the total of 1,250 miles or so.)

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS2 My second post will appear before my first, long post today.

    Another GREAT thing about the Malibu is its huge range! When I filled my tank (not all the way, just until the pump automatically stops) it gave me a range of 542 miles. That is greater than the 500+ miles in either my 5-sp manual Accord 90 or the about 500 miles in my 740iL. (both mostly highway ranges)

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    And another thing, my rental today is mostly free, thanks to the unacceptable failure of that POS Nissan Altima Hybrid last June in LA.

    Why would one pay $10k extra to buy that POS, which had a lifetime average of ..32 MPG, when the Malibu I rented has a lifetime avg of 31? And on the highway it is getting 33 (95% HWY) or more when I will finish a pure highway stretch?

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    So Nick, do you think Buick introducing a 4 cyl Lacrosse is a misstep? Considering the car appeals to a higher income group and it’s heavier than the Malibu.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    So Chrysler just had this massive recall involving their popular minivans, just think, once Fiat takes over with their world-class engineering, things will only get worse.

  45. HtG Says:

    Nick, is Malibu achieving its strong highway mileage figures through very tall gearing? How was the responsiveness of the car to the throttle? What did you think of the transmission, greenhouse, NVH? What about the rental service itself?

  46. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro:That recall includes yet another one for Jeep Wranglers involving the front brake lines……sigh.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Such a simple fix for the brake line issue, seems like these engineers don’t know what the hell they’re doing. You have to carefully analyze every component and think of how they will wear over time and adverse conditions, especially a rough and tumble vehicle like the Wrangler that could conceivably get put through real tough conditions, or do they expect every Jeep owner just to drive over asphalt all the time and never venture off-road?

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick,

    It sounds like your Malibu must be a 4 cyl., given the mileage you are getting. That’s great that you find the car to be adequately smooth and quiet. Some people wouldn’t consider it to be fast enough, but with published 0-60 times in the mid-9′s, it would be plenty quick for me. The 0-60 and quarter mile times are about the same as a manual transmission Mini like mine.

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Nick, is Malibu achieving its strong highway mileage figures through very tall gearing? ”

    I bet this is the reason, plus with 6 gears it can go really tall on the 6th.

    “How was the responsiveness of the car to the throttle? ”

    It’s geared for economy, not strong acceleration. When you hit the gas it does not like to accelerate, and the auto transmission is a bit erratic if you pressure it to accelerate.

    “What did you think of the transmission, greenhouse, NVH? What about the rental service itself?”

    Otherwise the Transmission was OK, NVH was close to zero. The rental service so far was great, they honored the $100 from the LA office, and surprisingly I took the car and there was no checkpoint, so I drove it back to the office and asked them if they did not want to inspect it. I told them it had minor scratches in the exterior, and they said they already know it has “very” minor scratches.

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