Autoline Daily

Subscribe - Podcasts Video Podcasts iTunes Zune RSS Audio & Other Options
Autoline Daily

Episode 567 – Ford Posts Net Profit in 2010, Volkswagen XL1 Concept, 2011 Chrysler 300

January 28th, 2011 at 12:09pm

Runtime 9:37

Ford just reported a full-year net income of $6.6 billion for 2010, the company’s highest net income in more than a decade. Chrysler wants its dealers to avoid haggling over the price of the Fiat 500 with customers. Volkswagen showed off a futuristic two-seat concept called the XL1 this week at the Qatar Motor Show. All that and more, plus a design tour of the 2011 Chrysler 300.

youtube-logo-3

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

Here we go again. Friday, January 28, 2011. Autoline Daily. Peter De Lorenzo . Autoextremist. AND NOW, THE NEWS!

FORD POSTS NET PROFIT IN 2010
There’s no doubt that Ford is on a roll right now. You can see it in the showroom – its product momentum is gaining steam by the minute – AND you can see it on the balance sheet. Ford just reported a full-year net income for 2010 of $6.6 billion – yes, billion with a “B.” That’s up $3.8 billion from 2009. This is the company’s highest net income in more than a decade, and solid proof that it’s got it goin’ on. This is good news for shareholders, the economy, the country and especially employees. Ford will share its profits with nearly 41,000 full-time hourly workers. The average amount awarded to each employee is expected to be about five grand. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Well done ladies and gentlemen.

GM WITHDRAWS LOAN APPLICATION
Earlier this week we reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was coming under fire because it has been dragging its feet in regards to awarding loans to automakers and suppliers to help build fuel-efficient vehicles. GM was one of those companies waiting for a loan but now the company has withdrawn its application. GM asked for over $14 billion but now says it doesn’t need the money because of its recent financial success and the confidence it has in its strategy. Ed Welburn, the company’s top designer, says not getting the loan won’t hurt its progress in developing fuel-efficient vehicles. In fact, GM says it plans to speed up the introduction of the Volt and is also thinking about doubling or tripling production by next year.

NO HAGGLING AT FIAT DEALERS
Saturn may be looooooong gone but some of its ideas are living on. Bloomberg reports Fiat is applying the extinct brand’s no-haggle pricing strategy to the 500 when it launches in the U.S. later this year. Dealers have been prohibited from selling the cinquecento for less than MSRP, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. According to Laura Soave, the head of Fiat in North America, the reason for this hard-line stance is younger buyers HATE haggling. She said it’s something that ruins the buying experience. Really? Let’s just say that the first-on-the-block, “gotta get me one” types will gladly be paying sticker, or higher.

VOLKSWAGEN XL1 CONCEPT
Volkswagen showed off a futuristic two-seat concept called the XL1 this week at the Qatar Motor Show. It’s the third generation of the company’s one-liter strategy which is focused on creating vehicles that are as fuel efficient as possible. The XL1 is a plug-in hybrid with a 0.8 liter two-cylinder engine that’s combined with an electric motor, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a lithium-ion battery. This combination results in an eye-popping 261 MPG! That’s just 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers! It can also drive up to 20 miles in electric-only mode, that’s 35 kilometers. Large parts of the body are made from carbon fiber, so the XL1 only weighs a little over 1700 pounds. That’s 795 kilograms.

VW SCIROCCO, PHAETON MAY RETURN TO U.S.
In related Vee-Dub news, a couple weeks ago we reported that Jonathan Browning, the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations, wants to bring the Scirocco back to the ‘States. That’s fine, I guess. There’s probably room in the market for another sporty hatchback. But according to Bloomberg, the company is also considering resurrecting the Phaeton, the answer to the question that absolutely no one was asking, which was dropped from its North American lineup back in 2006 after four years on the market because – SURPRISE, SURPRISE – nobody wanted a VW at an S-Class price. The company is still thinking it over, but if it does decide to pull the trigger we would get the car on its next product cycle.

TATA MAY SELL NANO IN NEW MARKETS
Tata is considering selling the Nano in other Asian countries this year. According to Bloomberg, the car is only sold in India right now where its sales have been inconsistent due to price increases and safety concerns. Only 500 were sold in November, but sales jumped to over 5,500 in December after Tata doubled warranties and offered better financing. Now that sales have rebounded, Tata wants to begin expanding into Asian countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Coming up next, we’ll take you on a design tour of the 2011 Chrysler 300, so don’t you go anywhere. I’m serious; sit back down! Don’t make me reach through the internet and smack you!

2011 CHRYSLER 300
Recently John got to sample a wide range of Chrysler’s latest products. One of if not THE most important one is the 300. Inside and out it’s been thoroughly reworked for 2011. Here’s a quick tour of its brand-new design.

The new 300 is a really solid offering and it’ll only get better once Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic transmission hits the market.

And with that, we’re closing up shop . . . for the weekend, that is. As always, thank you for joining us, but before I sign off I have to remind you about this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit. If I don’t, McElroy will skewer me with a ski pole. Believe me; I’ve seen him do it and it really hurts. This week he hosts the program from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. Listen in on his conversations with top-level executives and industry experts. It’s a good time. You can watch the entire episode on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, right now, but check your local listings because we may be broadcast in your area.

And with that, I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist. Later!

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

66 Comments to “Episode 567 – Ford Posts Net Profit in 2010, Volkswagen XL1 Concept, 2011 Chrysler 300”

  1. HtG Says:

    So let’s see if I understand this right, Ms. Soave. If I go into a Fiat ‘studio’ to get a 500, the dealer will offer me a price for my trade, which I will gladly accept. That’s because the pricing is no haggle. Cosa?

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    How thoughtful of Fiat to offer no-haggle pricing, the haggle will come later on at the service dept. That Ford profit did not come from the disappointing Siesta, it is mostly the very successful F series.

  3. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    Hey Peter,Loved that laid back look today. I’ve got to get me one of those “Autoextremist’s” sweatshirts.

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Way to ‘shake it up Peter’; great job this week.

    The ’300′ may be just fine (functionally) but leaves me flat as far as exterior design.

    Oh, and Peter, have you ever assigned your Forest Gump to go along with your Lt. Dan?

  5. bob Says:

    “# HtG Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    So let’s see if I understand this right, Ms. Soave. If I go into a Fiat ’studio’ to get a 500, the dealer will offer me a price for my trade, which I will gladly accept. That’s because the pricing is no haggle. Cosa?”

    Good point. This should give the dealer wiggle room. if everybody and his mother-in-law want one of these little POS (assuming their obese asses can fit in it), then the trade-in will be the lowest possible, or the dealer may NOT accept it at all. If it becomes a debacle like the “Dumb” (aka “Smart”), he will give you retail value in excellent condition for the trade in, even tho it may well be an undrivable rustbucket!

  6. bob Says:

    yes, Excellent Job as always, Pietro,

    but as the new “improved” 300 goes, it may be smooth but it is neither as bold or as Distinctively styled as the original. It looks rather boring on the outside, frankly, and the headlights you tout so much are rather lame.

  7. bob Says:

    To be given a Fiat 500 franchise, one of the contidions is that none of the mechanics in the service dept is named TONY.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    How very thoughtful indeed of Macaroni to insist upon a ” No Haggle ” sales tactic on the model of the 500 no one with an ounce of automotive enthusiasm wants . Preemptive Sales Resistance Assumptions perhaps ?

    As well as how very generous of Macaroni to also lower his request for additional Tax Payer Dollars to keep his Chrysler/FIAT debacle going . From $8.7 Billion to a mere $3 Billion . On top of now how much has he already gotten ? Such a nice man .

    What do you say we nominate him for an Award .

    Any suggestions ?

  9. bob Says:

    conditions.

    Fix It Again, Tony!

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ Peter DeLorenzo ;

    Count me in as well for one of those AutoExtremist’s Sweatshirts

    Where can you get one ?

  11. bob Says:

    What is unbelievable is that the fools in Wash DC went to Fiat AGAIN, AFTER it had swindled GM of $4 billion ($2 billion of which were penalties) when their ill-conceived marriage or affair fell apart!!!!

  12. HtG Says:

    I didn’t even mention loan rates as a profit opportunity for the dealer. Is Ms. Soave signalling that Fiat is looking for a new generation of sheep to shear?

  13. tj Martin Says:

    F__ing Italian Automotive Trash… fits as well .

  14. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    Oh come now . you know better ! FIAT isn’t looking for any Sheep to shear . What they’re looking for is the proverbial ;

    There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

    To screw royally . Or since they’re Italian . Papally !

  15. tj Martin Says:

    Bob ;

    For once we agree ! Post #11 .

    They did that because DC as well as all the other Automotive manufactures were deathly afraid Magna was going to purchase Chrysler . The very thought of Magna owning any Automobile Maker strikes fear into every other company out there because they know if Magna did , they’d kick everyone else’s butt !

    Too bad as Magna was probably the only potential buyer that could of brought Chrysler back from the dead !

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    When the 500′s sit there on Fiat lots, unwanted and abandoned, what will happen to the no-haggle policy then? Note to VW and your Phaeton: ship them all to China, you’ll do much better there, I’m sure. I have yet to see one freaking Equus out on the road around here.

  17. bob Says:

    I hear that, after the 500 has been around for a few years, after examining the service Record (or, better, the WRECKage), will be renamed the Fiat “Porca Miseria!”

  18. dcars Says:

    I hate haggling, but I also hate the thought of getting ripped off with this type of policy.

  19. shan Says:

    The new 2011 CHRYSLER 300 is a great accomplishment compared to the previous generation. The gap tolerances on the body panels are really tight and overall it’s a seamless design. It’s definitely a car with a bold and unique design compared to other brands. They really need to drop the 200 from the line up and offer a 100% fiat engineered platform. Lastly, I think the Chevy Volt will be a utter failure for GM. To0 pricey and aging exterior design and offers no real benefit in fuel economy. It’s basically a perverted hybrid.

  20. bob Says:

    To get th ebest deals, it is a no-brainer. Always buy 1) used and 2) from a Private owner, never from a dealer. Regardless how much you are willing to spend on your next car, whether it is $1,000 or $50,000!

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Say what you will about the 500 and other Fiat models, they all have “passion”. That’s what Sergio claims.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess I’m one of few around here who is willing to “wait and see” regarding the FIAT 500. I’ve had my share of cars everyone says are unreliable, like 80′s and late 90′s VW’s, and, truth be known, I didn’t have much trouble with them. I now have a Mini Cooper, another car not known for being the most reliable set of wheels on the road, and have had no trouble with it.

    As far as the “no haggle” pricing, if the sticker price is in line with what it should be, “no haggle” is great for a lot of people. You know the price of the car, and, if you have a trade, you know the REAL amount being offered for your trade.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    The Marchionne Facts as I see them so far ;

    #1 Marchionne is sending us the FIAT 500 model he knows we don’t want ( 5 speed manual ) as well as sending the EU/UK a car he knows for a fact they despise ( Journey/Freemont )

    #2 Both the FIAT 500′s that we’ll be getting , as well as the Journey/Freemonts that the EU/UK will be getting will all be manufactured in Mexico

    #3 On top of the Billions Marchionne has already gotten of our hard earned Tax Dollars , he’s now insisting he needs another $3 Billion .

    So please . Someone answer these two questions ;

    A) How is ANY of this going to benefit the US especially in light of the fact that all this is happening on OUR Dime ?

    B) Why should we look on Sergio Marchionne as anything but either 1) Mad…. 2) A complete fool when it comes to business or ….. 3) A self serving Conniving Double Dealing Con Artist out to load his pockets ASAP and then bolt out the nearest Exit .

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Scion also has a no-haggle pricing, however when my son got his, we found it later at another dealer for less money, so go figure.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj A)there will be openings for thousands of Fiat techs, grief advisers and increased sales of depression meds for all those passionate enough to go buy one of these cars. B) supposedly he saved Fiat form certain death. he’s the modern day version of Lee Iacocca.

  26. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro ;

    I’ve never seen the No Haggle bit work for anyone .

  27. tj Martin Says:

    pedro ;

    So what your saying in post # 25 is that I should go out and buy a ton of Anti Depressant Meds Manufactures Stock now while the getting is good ?

  28. HtG Says:

    tj, I recall Marchionne saying Fiat group needed to sell 5.5 million units a year to be viable. Taking over Chrysler looks to me to me one way he’s going to get the scale he needs financially.

    The thing about not liking to haggle is it means surrendering from the start. If you like that, and you think the other guy isn’t getting a better deal than you, well…bless you.

  29. tj Martin Says:

    By the way , and Im not trying to start any arguments here , but I am seeing a ton of brand new ( temp plates ) Ford Transits here in the last week or two. Being purchased by Trades People , Decorators , Delivery Companies Etc.

    Makes me wonder how long it’ll take for the Surf/Snowboard crowd to start buying and modifying them , especially with the recent resurgence of 70′s Custom ( If this vans a rockin don’t come a knockin ) Vans ( see bangshift.com )

    Seems to me if Ford wants the general public to buy into the product they need to star marketing it to that niche .

  30. bob Says:

    “# pedro fernandez Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Say what you will about the 500 and other Fiat models, they all have “passion”. That’s what Sergio claims.”

    I bet they do! Especially when they leave you stranded in a blizzard in the middle of the winter, or in the South during the Hurricane Season!

    More like the “Passion of the Christ!”

  31. bob Says:

    “wait and see” applies to new makers and new models. Not to FixItAgainTony.

    And over here, I doubt that parts will be either cheap or easy and fast to arrive, as they ARE over in Europe, which is one (rather, two) major advantages of Fiats in the old country, compared to the hapless Suzukis, for example, which some fools choose instead, including an old friend, who then proceeded to smash the little POS Suzuki in the front and had to wait for MONTHS to get the parts!

  32. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Actually ‘no haggle’ did work for Saturn; Saturn’s demise was lack of product.

  33. bob Says:

    “pedro fernandez Says:
    January 28th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    tj A)there will be openings for thousands of Fiat techs, grief advisers ”

    GRIEF COUNSELORS! Why didn’t I thunk of it before?

    Quick, anybody know of a good company I can invest in which deploys these “Kelly girls” to bereaved Chrysler-Jeep-Fiat owners? LOL…

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    “The passion of Christ propels you” when you break down in downtown Camden, NJ. tj I think the old VW bus has more fans than the transit connect ever will.

  35. bob Says:

    Kit: The discrepancies between reliability stats and your own experiences can be explained one way or the other.

    Consumer Reports hase been very sloppy and unscientific in reporting reliability data on some car models where only VERY FEW owners responded, and then, cluelessly, declared them very reliable or very unreliable. This has been investigated by Michael Karesh, who gave chapter and verse on specific models and years CR had NO statistically sigfnificant data and YET they dared to proclaim Merc S classes or some Cadillacs or BMW 7 series as “unreliable”.

    The above takes care of a lot of allegedly unreliable models that are QUITE reliable, and, especially if you consider how more complicated they are vs simpler models, they are IMPRESSIVELY reliable (such as my 7 series compared to my two very basic Hondas!), and in many aspects FAR SUPERIOR than these Hondas (eg, in the exhaust system that never needs ANY repair in the BMW)

    besides the above, of course it makes a diff if the owner is responsible or forgetful or auto illiterate, then even the best vehicles will fail, if ABUSED.

    Some of my best friends in the 70s and 80s were a family in Boston, the (now deceased) husband was a Biochem Professor at Harvard, who had a wealthy friend who handed him down S-class Mercedeses that were in quite good shape, and the clown always forgot to CHANGE THE OIL and RUINED them one after the other!!!

  36. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro ;

    The VW Micro Bus for sure but those things have attained the dreaded ” Collector ” status with prices going way out of line in the last few years .

    So the youngins is a lookin fer a replacement Hippie Mobile and are getting more desperate for one every year.

    Truth is if VW had half a brain they’d put the Micro Bus Concept into production at a reasonable price and make themselves a God Awful Fortune on it . Some rumors say they still might , but only rumors so far .

    @Bob Im afraid there are no Kelly Girl Grief Counseling companies so jump on board with the Pharmaceutical Stocks and plan to roll in it . While you’re at it you might want to consider a long term investment in Hearing Aids as well . With all the iPods , OTT Car Stereos and excessive Headphone use there’s a fortune to be made there as well . Hmmn . So maybe that younger generation is good for something . They can make us wealthy with their stupidity in our old age . Hmmn . i like that !

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj VW is too busy trying to ram that Phaeton and the Buck Rogers semi-electric, teeny-weeny engine crap that no one will buy, when they got things like the Microbus and 40 mpg diesel Golf (Rabbit) hatch they could build and SELL here.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro ;

    Lets just say that my opinion of Winterkorn ( Korny ) is about as low if not lower than my opinion of Macaroni .

    e.g. You’ll get no argument from me .

    And I’m just dying to hear what the real MPG will be on the Buck Rogers XL1 will be . I’m betting their 231 (or 313 mpg depending on who you read ) is extremely exaggerated as well as if attained at all , was done on VW’s next to perfect Test Track .

    Which is also the only place the Verygonewrong ( Veyron ) can reach its max MPH

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro,
    VW already sells the Golf diesel in the US. It is a great car.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    yeah, you’re right. Not too popular around here, though.

  41. bob Says:

    The official Fiat 500 “Porca Miseria” EPA MPG numbers are out and unfortunately it is not a “miser” at the pump, despite its tiny size and engine.

    The best it can do is 30-38 with the 5-sp manual, while with the 6-sp auto it gets a rather poor 34 Hwy and less than 30 city, if i remember well.

    it seems it is not geared for fuel economy.

  42. bob Says:

    on the Phaeton, I was curious how low used prices are in the US and went to cars.com. These are now 8 year old cars, 2004 models, and some of them commanded OUTRAGEOUS prices, close to… $40,000 for a W 12 with low miles! This is more expensive than an S class or 7 series of same vintage. What gives?

  43. bob Says:

    34/27 EPA with the 6 sp auto. Ludicrous. And I bet most of the (largely chicks) 500 Buyers will get the Auto.

  44. Jim Thykeson Says:

    Bravo! for GM. It’s proving that the ‘Brave new world’ truly can be accomplished in spite of the oil companies. The car companies can build vehicles that will run on compressed air if you want that. Until ‘big-oil’ lives up to all those phoney ad-campaigns they run, you won’t see a shift to alternatives. Its amazing how the conservative capitalists have convinced the public that its the dirty old car companies that are stalling efforts to go forth to the new energy forms. Big oil is hard to fight, even when you have the answer….just ask T. Boone Pickens!

  45. HtG Says:

    You want cheap, bob? Check out these prices for Phaetons at ebay. Craigslist is also another place to check for low offers, if not for this specifac car.

    http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Trucks-/6001/i.html?_dmpt=US_Cars_Trucks&_mqf=0&_qfkw=1&_trksid=p4506.c0.m273&_fpos=10021&_lsbx=0&_fspt=0&_flso=0&Make=Volkswagen&Model=Phaeton

  46. HtG Says:

    that’s right, I can’t spell ‘specific.’

  47. bob Says:

    Htg, These are not cheap AT ALL! They are 6-7 year old lousy obese VWs and they sell for 15 and 20k!!!

    When I got my 740iL it was also a 7 yr old and I got it for $10.5k , and I could get it ‘as is’ for $9k, but i decided to ask the owner to fix the check engine light (I should not have!), detail it inside and out etc instead.

    You can get 1998 some 740iL’s now for peanuts, $2-5k!

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    bob,
    I looked up prices of used Pheatons a while back, and I, too was very surprised at how high they were, especially the W12. I guess people want them because it is something different, or a bargain Bentley. I’d hate to try to get anything fixed at a usual VW dealer. They seem to have a hard time, even with a Golf or Jetta.

  49. bob Says:

    Yes, I agree that one attraction of the W12 Phaeton is that you have really a bargain bentley engine and a bentley-sized car (over 5,000 lbs) with lots of space inside, although the “feel” inside is not as upscale as in the bentley.

    Both vehicles are built in the same factory etc.

    Of course, one can also claim that the BMW 7 is quite related to the Rolls Royces. The RR Seraph used to have the v12 in the 750iL of my 7′s vintage, which made barely more HP than the 4.4 V8. (322 vs 282, but you can pay $150 and have a chip changed in the 4.4 to make it go well over 300 HP-voiding the warranty, if any)

    The current 7 and both Rollses (Phantom and Ghost) are built on versions of the same platform and their engines are related to the 760iL’s v12

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the mileage ratings of the FIAT 500 are 30/38 for the manual, that is in line with what I’d expect. The 500 is only 200 pounds lighter than a base Mini, which has ratings of 28/37.

    Still, the city mileage should be better, with such a small engine. I wouldn’t expect the highway mileage to be too great. The car is obviously not designed for low aero drag, and is 5 inches taller than a Mini.

    34 highway for the automatic is really poor, though. It must have really short gearing, or a non-locking torque converter or something.

  51. bob Says:

    it’s also true that prices of used ROllses and Bentleys do not depreciate as much as S classes and 7 series. Maybe due to their low volumes and snub appeal.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    I believe that the 500 will be nothing but a niche vehicle, it will not be nearly as successful as the Mini, and after seeing the poor showing of the Siesta, I believe it will do even worse.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    I actually met a guy of moderate means who had purchased an old Rolls which he picked up at a real good price and only used it on weekends, I can only imagine parts and repair costs!!

  54. bob Says:

    Pedro: Just how old was that Rolls, what model and how many miles? Used rolls prices have gone up from what they were a decade or two ago. I had offers to buy an old white silver shadow for $15k, white with blue leather inside, but did not even go see it because the owner told me a rather strange story of how he got it, plus it is really obsolete, a 60s design that looks good but, despite its bulk, it is not safe really, with nothing except seat belts as safety systems etc.

  55. bob Says:

    It’s still early to write the Obit of the Fiesta; on Tuesday Jan sales will come out and we will see if it did any better, also see the Transit Connect that some here are seeing more of, but the sales US-wide are still poor.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    This Rolls was from the late 70′s I believe and Bob, this is going back a few yrs ago when people around here had money coming out of their orifices due to the exaggerated real estate boom, I believe he got it from another state,for around 10k, one of these rare cases where an old guy dies and the widow just wants to get rid of stuff. Re the Siesta even if gas goes up over $4 you got the upcoming Accent which is a better value than the Fiesta and I saw the upcoming Sonic, I was not impressed that much by it, Even though it is much better than the much-maligned Aveo.

  57. bob Says:

    Thanks. Which means it was still that 60s design the Silver Shadow-Silver Wraith. Looked great, but today it is obsolete and I would not use it daily and on long trips.

    It is not rare to get these old Rollses in estate sales, since many people buy a Rolls towards the end of their lives

    The new Accent hatch looks very good exterior styling-wise. it sure will be a far better value than the Siesta

  58. bob Says:

    I find the current S class exterior Styling very handsome. if I had to replace my 7 I would not get its successor, either the bloated Bangled 2002-09 model or the current one, despite some impressive stats they have. In any case, life is short and I would not want to get a similar car from the same maker the next time, even if this one turned out to be quite reliable (and of course a delight to drive (even in the snow with all season tires!)

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Your 7 must be very comfortable on a long trip, when you see the miles flow by, comfortable seats, quiet, yet without the floaty, cruise ship ride that makes you feel you have no control of the vehicle in adverse conditions. I drove an early 70′s Eldorado rag-top on a 6 hr round trip and that is exactly how I felt, fortunately the weather was nice.

  60. bob Says:

    True. What i did not expect is that such a big heavy vehicle with a 120+ ” wheelbase would also be so agile around corners and turns when driving around town.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, the main problem with the Fiesta, at least the hatchback, is the price. I haven’t driven one, but I’m sure it drives ok, and the hatch looks decent. When gas goes up, it will sell reasonably well, if they eventually price it competitively.

    Still, being a newer design, it should be as good as a Honda Fit overall, but it’s not. It’s slower, less roomy and comfortable in the back seat, but gets about the same gas mileage.

  62. bob Says:

    The Fit has a very clever interior design, and its current exterior is much better than its original that looked a bit like an Aveo hatch. Now the front end looks much better.

    It is because of the hatch-wagon design, it is far more versatile than any current Civic (sedan or coupe).

    In Europe they offer the Fit Hybrid, but here they don’t, and instead they wasted their time making this cheapo 5-passenger Insight as a cheap prius alternative. Fools. They (at Honda) have lost their way for more than a decade, and i say that as a satisfied Honda owner (of decade or two decade old Hondas, though)

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m a satisfied Honda owner. I have an ’03 SilverWing “megascooter” which has been great.

  64. dcars Says:

    I’m satisfied with my 06 accord, but I don’t think I would buy another one. That could change, but I think their are a lot of good cars out their to consider.

  65. bob Says:

    The Accord, the Civic and the CR-V are the three Honda Cash Cows, by far its three most important vehicles in terms of sales nos and profits.

    They area all still quite good, but as others said, there are alternatives from other makers.

    I was driving next to a Crosstour yesterday, driven by a guy that looked Indian. Its rear windows were blacked out for some reason. It looked less bulky up close, and will sure not have as much space in the back for cargo as the cheaper, more efficient Venza. From some angles on the sides and back it did not look awful, but up front is another story.

  66. bob Says:

    January sales are tomorrow, but January Production figures are in today, and we can get some hints:

    The Ford Transit Connect is not even made in Mexico (but in Turkey) so the NA prod data do not include it.

    Fiesta-10,395

    Cruze-20,233!

    Equinox-19,143+7,739 for its mechanical twin the GMC Terrain

    Fiat 500 (Mexico) 1,427 (Ah… the Passion!)

    Crosstour: 914 (right, not.. 9.140!)

    Venza: 3,781 (4 to 1!)

    Rav 4: 14,000

    Corolla 18,700

    Accord: 24,468

    CR-V: 22,272

    Elantra (US) 12,808

    Sonata (US) 11,533

    Civic: about 20,850

    ALL 5 or so Mitsu models: 3,706….