Episode 464 – Cash-For-Clunkers Fraud Uncovered, Moscow Motor Show Reveals, Zeroshift Gearbox

August 25th, 2010 at 12:30pm

Runtime 7:56

The U.S. federal government is investigating at least 20 dealerships that may have violated the rules of last year’s cash-for-clunkers program.  Hyundai and Renault reveal a couple new cars at the 2010 Moscow International Motor Show.  BYD is in trouble with the Chinese government for illegally building factories on farmland.  All that and more, plus guest-host Jim Hall sounds off on some of the perks and pitfalls of electric vehicles.

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Hey, it’s me again!  Jim Hall here from 2953 Analytics.  Welcome to Autoline Daily for Wednesday the 25th of August, 2010.  As always, here’s what’s going on in the automotive world.

The federal government is investigating at least 20 dealerships that may have violated the rules of last year’s Car Allowance Rebate System – the U.S. cash-for-clunkers program.  According to USA Today, auditors report that as much as $94 million in rebates may be ineligible due to a lack of proper documentation.  That’s about 3.3 percent of all the claims submitted.  There were other issues reported as well – for instance, some dealers allegedly shipped cars overseas that were meant to be destroyed.  So far nine different stores have paid a combined total of nearly $72,000 in fines.  Altogether this is a remarkably small amount of fraud to uncover given the scope of a $3 billion government program involving nearly 19,000 dealerships and almost 700,000 new-car buyers.

Over in Russia the 2010 Moscow International Motor Show is underway and we’ve got a few reveals to share with you. Renault introduced its future flagship sedan called the Latitude. Two engines are available when it goes on sale, a 2.0-liter gasser mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission and a 2.5-liter V-6 paired with a six-speed automatic. More engines will be available later. As you’d expect for a flagship model, the Latitude features a generous helping of luxury features… some of ‘em seen on much more expensive cars. The driver’s seat has a massager with four-different settings and it has an air-quality control system that features an ionizer that spreads fragrance throughout the cabin. The Latitude launches in Russia this fall and then will be released in 50 countries around the world.

Hyundai also revealed a subcompact vehicle called the Concept RB. Hyundai says the front-end of the concept will be mostly retained for the production version. When it goes on sale, customers will have the option to choose either a 1.4-liter or a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine which comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission or it can be mated to a four-speed automatic. The vehicle will be built in Russia and goes on sale in the country next spring.

Earlier in the week we reported that Chinese automaker BYD, which is backed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, wasn’t meeting sales expectations and as a result the company reported a weaker profit than expected. But now the company has even more problems. According to Bloomberg, the Chinese government is considering punishing the company for illegally building factories on farmland. Even though the company owns the land, it’s zoned for agricultural use. China is struggling with growing its economy while at the same time maintaining enough land to grow food for its citizens. Analysts fear that if the government doesn’t make an example of BYD and punish them, companies will continue to build illegally on farmland.

ZEROSHIFT GEARBOX FOR EVs (subscription required)
Ward’s reports that a British company called Zeroshift Ltd. has developed a new kind of multi-speed gearbox that can extend the range and boost the battery life of EVs by up to 10 percent!  That’s double digits!  This could allow automakers to use smaller, lighter electric motors to save weight and cost.  The company claims the transmission does not require any kind of clutch and can change gears seamlessly thanks to its unique design.  Zeroshift replaced the synchromesh found in a conventional manual gearbox with a pair of interlocking rings that change ratios without interrupting torque flow.

MITSUBISHI SLASHES i-MiEV PRICE (subscription required)
Mitsubishi has slashed the launch price of its i-MiEV electric car in the U.K.  According to Ward’s, the MSRP has dropped by a whopping 25 percent to – drum roll please – a-more-affordable-but-still-outrageous £28,990.  That’s nearly 45,000 U.S. dollars.  Keep in mind, that’s the price BEFORE a £5,000 government incentive.  The i-MiEV is set to go on sale January 1.

NISSAN LEAF PRE-ORDERS (subscription required)
In still more electric news, Ward’s reports that some 18,000 people in the U.S. have put money down to buy a Nissan LEAF.  The next step for these intenders is to convert their deposits into dealer orders.  The car goes on sale in the U.S. this December.  Initially the electric hatchback will be imported from Nissan’s Oppama plant in Japan with North American production set to begin later next year.

Hey, speaking of electric vehicles, coming up after the break a few of my thoughts on weird combination of wisdom and folly of EVs.

Have no doubts, electric vehicles are coming and will become a part of the automotive landscape no one will be able to ignore.

For manufacturers, the benefits of EVs are significant

• Zero emission cert costs
• Saves billions on a global basis
• CAFÉ perk

For SOME customers they will be the perfect compliment to the family fleet.

• Home fueling
• Cheap to fill… in some parts of the country
• Unique driving experience

Early adopters will be techno-junkies, aggressive environmentalists and the prototypical early-adopter

As used cars, pure EVs will be something of a challenge

• Paths to becoming a Used Car are challenging
• No garage, no fuel
• “Mooch” fueling from friends and family
• Getting ICED

Of course putting a small internal-combustion engine on the car to keep the batteries charged eliminates most of these shortcomings.

The intrigue of ownership for pure EVs may be something only the first buyer experiences.  There is aa distinct possibility that used EVs could become a drug on the market.  Like a late-seventies Oldsmobile diesel.

And remember; make Autoline Daily your first-stop for the latest news and the best analysis in the global automotive industry.  Again, I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics.  Thanks for watching, McElroy’s back in the driver’s seat tomorrow.

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

55 Comments to “Episode 464 – Cash-For-Clunkers Fraud Uncovered, Moscow Motor Show Reveals, Zeroshift Gearbox”

  1. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Hyundai Concept RB= 90 something percent of how US/EU Accent/i25 will look like.

    The Russians will get the Non GDI powertrain mentioned in the report while we get the GDI!!!

    SWEET!!!! Superior looking car to nearly anything from Japan, America, and Europe.


  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, and I’m sure some people find Rosie O’Donnell extremely attractive also.

  3. David Sprowl Says:

    EV’s a clean car? There is no such thing as a “clean car”. 60% of this country’s electricity is generated via coal. Once that is used up there is no replacement for it other than nuclear. So again emissions out a smoke stack or tail pipe, take your pick. Second if the EV market catches on(big if since we have tried several times over the last 100 years) the cost of the infrastructure needed to recharge will be born by the end users of all electricity. Meaning that all customers of electric utility will pay higher cost to pay for that new infrastructure. EV’s for all there hype just do not make economic sense either by initial purchase, refueling, or emissions. Oh I know tell me about the volt. I’ll take a Malibu and still be money ahead over 5 years

  4. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Whatever Pedro, your next Gen Prized Yaris is a joke.

    If I were Toyota I Wouldnt even waste my R&D money on that crap, and run the current Yaris all the way to 2015 so they can develop something better; and different.

    -The MINI is Ugly compared to this car
    -The Next Gen Versa will be pretty Nice, but not as good looking.
    -This mops the floor with MiTo
    - Honda will of course put out more crap, and the Fit compared to this is laughable. You cant even take Honda seriously anymore.
    -The Audi A1 looks as nice as this car but in more of a subdued conservative way
    - This will probably look better than the Next Merc A Class
    -The Aveo looks VERY nice but put up right against this= NO
    -The Swift looks nice but its not even on the same planet=the Accent Planet.
    -This Looks better than the World Car of the Year Farce Competition darling BY A MILE= VW Polo. Yeah if Polo can win WCOTY then this should win too, or that competition shouldnt be taken seriously anymore.
    -Ford Fiesta looks pretty nice in its own way, I cant gripe about that one except that Fiesta looks more feminine.
    -The Punto is crap, its not even in the same universe as a 10 year old Hyundai in quality, much less a new one.
    -Mazda 2 looks like another cheap quality overpriced for what it offers small car.
    -The Next Gen Peugeot 208 looks very nice. I have nothing say abou that.
    -Next Gen Renault Clio looks nice, but KIA can do that kind of design better to pleas emy eye.

    Admit it, Hyundai has a Global Juggernaut small car here in this Accent. GET OVER IT!!! HYUNDAI IS NOT TO BE TOYED WITH!!


  5. Len Simpson Says:

    Hey Jim! the olds diesel was a POS(I wrenched a lot of em) . Maybe the Volt is built a little better w/not as much pennypinching

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The Zeroshift gearbox looks interesting. I went over to their website and checked things out. It’s not just for the EV’s (which was alluded to in the segment) but can be adopted to all transmissions. They say they are talking to many of the major manufacturers and motorcycles will probably hit the market first. The 10% benefit is going to see seen on the city cycle (my evaluation here) as the economy comes from the shifts (so once a vehicle is in top gear the fuel mileage will be the same). Interesting technology to be sure.

  7. GPL Says:

    HS, the problem with your analysis of this Hyundai, and Hyundais in general, is that aesthetics are subjective, and you look at all Hyundais through your strongly biased, smoke-tinted glasses. To me this RB is homely. I have nothing against Hyundai. I think they are making some great cars, I just don’t think THIS one looks all that great.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Smoke, you neglected to mention the Fit, which beat the Fiesta in a recent comparison, to most people the Accent continues to be a cheap POS. ps the Yaris always trails the reviews but that’s because it is the cheapest of them all subcompacts. All these new subcompact do not have subcompact prices.

  9. C-tech Says:

    One of the potential problems with the EV’s conpared to a Diesel is that if push comes to shove there is no conversion to gas (or Diesel in this case) as there was with the Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. Your Nissan Leaf really could become a big house planter!

  10. HtG Says:

    TjM and Jim, I saw a Mini today in DC with a vanity license plate that read ‘BLUDY L.’ Of course the paint job was red.


  11. HtG Says:

    mooching a charge? Come on Jim, there has to be a more catchy combo for bumming some go go juice.

    …I’m still working on it…

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    How about a 6 pack for some go go juice?

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I can just see it now, people using dating sites hooking up ev owners with those who have access to a charging station.

  14. willi Says:

    and no one dear touch the headline: Clunkers
    and the millions in tax dollars that are now in someone’s pocket

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Does anyone know which dealers were involved in the scam? I’ll bet they were in So Florida or border states, in the south.

  16. Tom Martin Says:

    I take exception to the inference that owners of single family homes and townhomes mainly buy new cars. And those living in cities or apartments mainly buy used cars. :)

    That said, I believe that an “all electric” car should be far more reliable than an ICE car which may make the “all electric” more desirable. Would you want a ten year old Versa or ten year old Leaf with a new battery.

    Hopefully in ten years, batteries will cost one-quarter, hold greater energy, weigh less, and last longer than they do now.

    The “all electric” resale price may also be impacted by gasoline price. It’s quite likely that the price of gasoline will rise faster than price of electricity.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    HyundaiSmoke ;

    Well your ” MINI is ugly compared to this car ” comment seals the deal . You’re either Blind , Have Zero Taste or your head is so far tucked up your bum it hasn’t seen the light of day for the 16 or so years you’ve been walking this planet .

    Having dealt with you and your multiple personalities for the last 14 months I’ll vote for the later ( head tucked up your bum )

    My offer still stand also there H/S . I’ll place a gentleman’s wager ( not that you qualify ) that the new $50K Hyundai is going to break that limping somewhat lame camels back within 3 years of its release . Because if you haven’t noticed folks are jumping the Hyundai Boat in legions . None jumping on any too quick to replace them .

    Business 101 there H/S ; thats a very BAD sign .

  18. tj Martin Says:

    Anyone want to make a guess that at least one of those Cash for Clunker Frauds was the Aston Martin DB7 and the Bentley that were taken in on the deal ?

  19. tj Martin Says:

    And finally . Anyone else hear read the news about the Ferrari 458′s that have been Self Igniting lately ? Ten reported so far just lighting up like a Roman Candle . Lost the link but its out there . Ferrari is in a panic .

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    “Hey baby, can I come over tonight so I can plug my leaf into your receptacle”.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    Tom Martin ;

    If it makes you feel any better , the wife and i are city dwellers . Bought two brand new cars right off the lot ( MINI Cooper and a Toyota Matrix )

    Along with every one of the 14 in our town house complex ( as well as everyone we know within 4 square blocks ) having done the same ( bought new cars ) Who came up with this idiotic statistic and where are they gathering their info from ? HyundaiSmoke ?

  22. tj Martin Says:

    Pedro ; You are a riot . Keep them coming . The new ” Come On ” line of the naughties .

    ” Come on baby charge my car “

  23. tj Martin Says:

    HyundaiSmoke .

    You know in light of the fact that I know you’re not in the US maybe I’m being a little too hard on you there Junior .

    So let me educate you just a tad on the US Automotive scene .

    Hyundai is what you buy , when you can’t afford a Toyota or a Honda , but really wish you could buy a BMW .

    i.e just to make this clear . Hyundai is the cheap piece of twaddle you buy when you can’t afford a REAL car .

    Funny though . thats the same attitude they have in the UK/EU as well .

    Hmmn . Better tell your ” Minders ” ( Hyundai ) that you’re not doing a very good job convincing anyone here either . Too bad So sad .

    Bye Bye

  24. HtG Says:

    tjM, seriously? you read HS comments? Reading his stuff feels like dealing with my four year old nephew. Enough is enough.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    “Hey, baby, since you have a 240 outlet, I’ll just come in for a quickie”

  26. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    What can I say ? First off I shouldn’t . Second off you’re close . ( best guess by moderators on other sites is he’s 14-17 ) Third the little snipe has been getting up my nose on the sites he’s been kicked off and here for the 14 months I’ve come alive on Automotive sites .

    But you’re right HtG . Enough . @ Hey Pedro ! How about a pact that we all just ignore H/S ? Maybe then he’ll just go away . Though I doubt it as that didn’t work on the other sites either .

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @Pedro ;

    ” Come on baby , Give me a charge . Its just like eating ice cream . Really ! ”

    or if you prefer ;

    ” Like a Virgin … Charging for the very first time “

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj: does brain cancer go away if ignored? I don’t believe so. We should all pick a pet car brand and bs about it till the cows come home. Maybe then he’ll realize how silly he is. I will choose the 1993 to 1997 Corollas.

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    Funny, my Mozilla ad-block doesn’t seem to work with him.

  30. Salvador G. Says:

    Hmmmmn!! You know… RadioShack is going to make a killing on electric cords next year. Maybe I can start an Electric Outlet Pimp business OHH Yeah!!.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ Pedro ; You are on a roll today my friend . Between the E/V come ons and the H/S comments you’ve got me laughing .
    Hmmn . A pet car brand to get stupid over ? I’ll think about that . I’d take MINI but since I own one that might be taken the wrong way.

    But I’ll leave you today with this little E/V parody for a good laugh .

    ” She’ll have Fun Fun fun till her daddy takes her outlet away….. “

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sal, I believe you need a special cord supplied by the dealer, of course, at an outrageous price!

  33. tj Martin Says:

    Salvador G ; Just when I thought I was laughed out for the day . Put up my post and there was yours .

    I can see this E/V issue has become a foil for all our humor here today . Wonder if the manufactures ever look in to see what the general public thinks of all this madness .

    Nahh . That would make too much sense .

  34. tj Martin Says:

    Sal ; Here’s a working line for your “Outlet Pimp Business ”

    “$50 for a Quickie . $200 for ” Around the World ” But I don’t do Golf Carts ! Get it ! “

  35. Truman Says:

    great job and hope to see and hear more from you.some of these folks need to get a life.

  36. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >Ward’s reports that a British
    >company called Zeroshift Ltd.
    >has developed a new kind of multi
    >-speed gearbox that can extend
    >the range and boost the battery
    >life of EVs by up to 10 percent!

    I’m not surprized that someone would recognize a need for this. The problem with electric traction motors is, if you want a high top speed, you need a lot of torque down low and a high power capability at high RPM. By using multiple gear ratios between the motor and the wheels being driven, you can get the best of both worlds (as has always been the case with internal combustion engine driven vehicles) without the motor having to have such a wide constant-power speed range.

    Best wishes to Zeroshift in developing a marketable product.

  37. Will Says:

    Three counterarguments to Jim’s assertion that Volt will have better resale value than a pure EV:

    1) An EV bought in mid 2012, might be resold in the 2016 time frame. That’s quite a bit of time for recharging infrastructiure to improve.

    2) Such a small number are likely to be sold over the next few years, that the repurchasers will still be elite early adopters.

    3) Volt suffers from the need to maintain the ICE. That includes passing emissions tests. Thus, in the long term, the purchaser of a Volt has to worry about catalyst failures, sensor failures, etc.

    That brings us to the overkill nature of Volt. The engine is huge. One should be able to use a tiny modular 20 horsepower generator set. GM did not want to tool up to make and certify a small engine, so they used one off the shelf.

  38. Don MacConnel Says:

    The Zeroshift cutaway looks like “soft” dog clutches so me. Maybe I spend too much time in cycle gear boxes–those darn nitro fumes get to a person after a few years.

  39. Salvador G. Says:

    To be serious -
    What actually I’m worry about, is that stupid EPA & NHTSA plan of 60MPGs by 2025 that car manufacturers have to make, which regardless (and I do mean Regardless) this stand as- for the next 13yrs. It means, massive EVs car market dumping for the next decade, remember; a car development takes over 4 to 6 years. – You guys realize this will increase the cost of current used cars as well, since i doubt all these new EVs will be popular to hold value for long.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    To add to Salvador’s comment is that also cars have been getting larger and heavier for the last few years and the trend seems to continue and we all know that you need to cut back on both those factors BESIDES the improvements to the drive-trains.

  41. HtG Says:

    On resale of a Volt, I wonder how to describe the wear on the engine. In a standard ICE car the mileage tells you a lot, but in Volt you want to know how many miles the motor was burning fuel. So, so interesting.

    Also, how do you set lease rates when used car values are uncertain or poor. Seems like another fine tangle. So, so interesting.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:


    Your EV humor is great! Thanks.

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    tj, to these eyes, the MINI looks horrible and it always has since I first saw it in Austin Powers some 10 years ago. It looks well retro small cars, and Im not a fan of retro, or bringing ANY small car back from 10 years ago or before. The MINI is nice for its features however.

    tj please grow up dude.



    Pedro sorry my friend, but I dont take advice from somebody who likes 90s cars. More so than you would take advice from somebody who likes Hyundai.





    -The MINI is Ugly compared to this car.

    -The Next Gen Versa will be pretty Nice, but not as good looking.

    -This mops the floor with MiTo

    - Honda will of course put out more crap, and the Fit compared to this is laughable. You cant even take Honda seriously anymore.

    -The Audi A1 looks as nice as this car but in more of a subdued conservative way

    - This will probably look better than the Next Merc A Class

    -The Aveo looks VERY nice but put up right against this= NO

    -The Swift looks nice but its not even on the same planet=the Accent Planet.

    -This Looks better than the World Car of the Year Farce Competition darling BY A MILE= VW Polo. Yeah if Polo can win WCOTY then this should win too, or that competition shouldnt be taken seriously anymore.

    -Ford Fiesta looks pretty nice in its own way, I cant gripe about that one except that Fiesta looks more feminine.

    -The Punto is crap, its not even in the same universe as a 10 year old Hyundai in quality, much less a new one.

    -Mazda 2 looks like another cheap quality overpriced for what it offers small car.

    -The Next Gen Peugeot 208 looks very nice. I have nothing say about that.

    -Next Gen Renault Clio looks nice, but KIA can do that kind of design better to please my eye.


    By the way TJ, the Equus costs more in other countries A LOT MORE in fact. Guess what people buy those cars, and global sales have been more than expected OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS!!!

    Humm…, that creates a business case for this car.

    Then again, like many other mainstream Automotive Journalists you have no interest in:
    Learning more about Hyundai Globally, not spreading misinformation about their cars, not dismissing their products.



    Younger and older journalists dont have as much of a problem-IF ANY. Its the middle agers, the 45-60 year olds brainwashed by Japan and Germany who have a problem of BLATANT bias towards these cars.

  44. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Younger people are open to new ideas, and older people know better than to not dismiss something new as they have the experience to know that new thing you may dismiss now might come back to kick your ass, and MAYBE EVEN KILL YOU!!!

    The 45-60 year old Japan and Germany lovers are about to learn this lesson THE HARD WAY!!!!

  45. Salvador G. Says:

    To add fuel to the fire… – HtG brings a good point, How will you maintain a car (or what will the cost be?) that is basically design to expire??
    - An EV car like the Nissan Leaf is made from many lightweight materials, which will degraded and rot faster and all that apart from the battery itself… How much of a Nissan Leaf will be original 50 years from now??

  46. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    By the way tj, as Accent will be badged as i25 outside of: Russia, South Korea, and North America then I see this a global car, and that’s why I put the other global cars in there.

    Ill Explain

    Ford screwed up and still is screwing up on this fact:

    Hyundai is succeeding because of one of the many things its doing right=LEARNING ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE, THEIR WANTS, AND WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD.


    Like this Acccent. Its the same shell global but:

    1. In Europe it will be an more upmarket car than what you expect from a Hyundai.

    2. In China its upmarket, but it has different face and name VERNA REINA which more appropriate for that market. Its also stripped down for costs as in China its starts at $10K, but it doesnt even have sound insulation, ESC, undercoating, and underbody paneling. Features which MUST by law come with the car here. And a downgraded Non Direct Injection Engine.

    3. Americans complained about how Accent was cheapened because IT WAS MADE UNDER THE OLD ANTIQUATED “ONE GLOBAL HYUNDAI” BANNER=CHEAP FOR CHINA, BUT SOLD IN AMERICA JUST AS CHEAP TOO. The Accent here will be similar to what they are getting in South Korea. We get the 1.6 Firect Injection, and a turbo most likely a 1.4 Direct injection, with a hybrid. Accent will treated like a Mini (Excuse the pun) Genesis. There will be some soft touch points, as well as the hard kind youll find in any car this size. The options will be very similar but downscaled to what the Genesis has. Remember, with KIA Rio taking the Accent’s place as a cheaper car, the Accent is now free to be a more upmarket product. What will be really sweet about the Rio is that it will be a dirt cheap car, but carry the same Gas Direct Injection engines as the Accent. It’s Economy of scale on those very expensive to produce GDI engines guys.

    4. In Russia, they like what Americans want but they cant afford it, so their Accent will be stripped down for costs too, but keep the same face as the American one with some features to make it seem upmarket. They will also get the downgraded 1.4 and 1.6 engines with the ancient 4 speed trans to cut down on costs as well.

    5. South Koreans, will probably get that exact car in those photos without any changes except lower displacement (1.2 and 1.4) direct injection engines.

    My Point:


    Hyundai realizes the “One Hyundai” with global cars cheap for China and sold in America, but just as cheap as the Chinese model strategy doesnt work.


  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    I am actually GLAD that some dealers had the sense to SELL some useful parts of the clunkers overseas instead of Wastefully JUNKING the whole car. If the morons in Wash DC had an ounc e of brains, they would allow selling for parts of the clunkers and would not require that they would be mindlessly destroyed. OR allow to EXPORT them overseas. AND REDUCE the exorbitant $3500-4500 the fools in DC paid for each clunker.

    But who would expect the stupid, corrupt congress or Government to be efficient?

  48. Nick Stevens Says:

    There were some bad stories about the Civic Hybrid recently in the news, but you would not know them seeing this 415,000 + mile Energizer Bunny one:


  49. HtG Says:

    Wasting all those good replacement parts from the clunkers will make it harder to maintain similar models. Congress isn’t only stupid Nick, it’s slick.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    H/S, you just don’t get it. The Mini is the best looking car on the road. For those who don’t like retro, the Prius is also a thing of beauty.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Most of the clunkers I saw on the “back lots” at local dealers would have had few good parts, but it was silly not to salvage any good parts.

    A big problem with “cash for clunkers” in my original home town in Indiana, was that the wrong people were using the program. A friend who works at the Chevy dealer told me there have been a lot of repos from the CFC sales.

  52. HyundaiSmoke Says:


    It is the best looking car on the road to you Minimalists and Minimalist Admirers, and others who think 3 doors are cute as a button.

    To those who arent into retro like the MINI, or 90s futurism like the Prius, we strongly advocate for our alternatives to look better. Whether its an Aveo lover, an Accentuator, A Fit Freak, a Fiesta Fanatic, etc, etc…

  53. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    However, we Accentuators, Aveo Lovers Fit Freaks, and Fiesta Fanatics see the MINI as an idol for proper small car fit and finish.

    We benchmark the MINI on various aspects too. You freed small cars in America from their cheap rattletrap aspirations just to get a few sales to: Eco Geeks, Poor People, and Misers. Because of you everybody has to benchmark the MINI.

    You made it so that big mass market brands want to grow once cheap and cheerful offerings into premium small cars for the masses.

    So to that, I say thanks Minimalists.

  54. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 8:37 am

    H/S, you just don’t get it. The Mini is the best looking car on the road. ”

    I had the chance to see up close to each other an original mini with leather and wood interior and a modern mini my neighbor uses around town a few weeks back. The original mini had far better styling in the exterior as well, details like how the hood closes and merges with the rest of the body etc. ANd the interior was far better, but it was quite small for today’s bigger and obese kids.

    “For those who don’t like retro, the Prius is also a thing of beauty.”

    The original Prius looked god-awful, it was basically an ugly Toyota Echo. The Prius 2 looked much better, and for those of us that believe that form does follow function, we do not mind any strangness in the lines as they DO succeed at delivering 50+ MPG. The Prius 3 is much better looking, finally has sufficient rear headroom the Prius 2 did not have, and gets even better MPG. Almost perfect. If I bought a new car, I’d first check the prius 3 out.

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Most of the clunkers I saw on the “back lots” at local dealers would have had few good parts, but it was silly not to salvage any good parts.”

    Not all clunkers were trached because they were old and/or had high miles, there was a whole bunch of POS EXplorers that were not old or high mile but were dumped for their awful MPG.

  55. JOHN Says:

    Wow! Interesting! That Renault is nicest most normal looking French car ever to escape Le Tour Eiffel. Vive Le Difference!

    See a Lot of Lexus/VW styling going on.
    [Didnt say that was a bad thing mind you]

    Interesting EV arguements. Well done!