Episode 582 – Nissan Appoints New Head of R&D, Chevy MyLink, 2012 Honda Civic

February 18th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 10:13

Yesterday Nissan Americas appointed Carla Bailo as the senior VP of Research and Development, the first American to hold the position. Chevy just introduced its own hands-free, voice-controlled infotainment system called MyLink. Honda quietly revealed its brand-new Civic which offers some mechanical changes but not much else. All that and more, plus a big argument between what liberals and conservatives think the auto industry should be doing in a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit.


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This is Autoline Daily for February 18, 2011. And now, the news.

Women keep making progress in the auto industry. Yesterday Nissan Americas appointed Carla Bailo as the senior VP of Research and Development, the first American to hold the position. She will be responsible for all of Nissan’s vehicle engineering and development in Michigan, Arizona, Mexico and Brazil. Bailo is currently based in Japan, has been with Nissan since 1989, and started her career with GM.

Ford has pretty much had the in-car infotainment segment to itself with SYNC but that’s about to change. Chevy just introduced its own infotainment system called MyLink which is integrated with OnStar. Like SYNC, MyLink is a hands-free, voice-controlled system that integrates your MP3 player or smartphone with the car via Bluetooth, so you can make phone calls or listen to music without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. It also integrates internet radio services like Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio. It comes with a seven-inch, high-res, touch-screen display to select different functions, and while listening to music it will show the artist’s name, song title and album cover art. Chevy MyLink will first be offered with the 2012 Volt and Equinox.

Honda quietly revealed its brand-new Civic, and talk about an understated unveiling! It’s not even the big story on the FRONT PAGE of its media site. What? Are they embarrassed by it? Running down the spec sheet this 2012 model will offer buyers three different engine choices. The volume powerplant is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder churning out an underwhelming 140 horsepower. The hybrid version is motivated by a 1.5-liter unit paired with a CVT. Of course it also features an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. The sporty Si model loses its high-revving 2.0-liter four in favor of a larger 2.4-liter engine. Here, Honda traded RPMs for torque. The horsepower increases by three to 200 but the twist jumps up to 177 pound-feet. The company also emphasized fuel economy with this redesign. Coupe and sedan models are expected to deliver 39 miles per gallon on the highway. The HF version – Honda’s fuel economy model – is expected to return up to 41 MPGs. Other than these mechanical changes there’s not much to say about the new Civic. Inside and out it looks very, very similar to today’s car. Look for it at dealerships this spring.

We all know BMWs are expensive. But be thankful you don’t live in Singapore! Bloomberg reports the price of a 3 Series over there is about $260,000 – five times what is costs in the U.S. And it’s not just BMW. Owning a car costs a fortune in Singapore. Buyers also have to pay excise and registration fees equal to roughly 150 percent of the vehicle’s market value. They’re doing this because they’re concerned about air quality AND they’re investing heavily in public transportation, so they’re trying to push people in that direction. For auto enthusiasts this really puts the POOR in Singapore.

Many of you will recall the revolutionary engine from EcoMotors we reported on last year. It could help a car get a 50 percent improvement in fuel economy. Well, Tuesday EcoMotors and Navistar, the giant truck and engine manufacturer, are holding a press conference. No word yet on the specifics, but it seems to suggest Navistar will license EcoMotors, and that could be big news. Remember, you heard about it here, first.

China is now the biggest auto market in the world, but at least some in the Chinese media say that just because it’s the biggest that doesn’t mean it’s the best. And so China Auto Web came up with what it’s calling the Hall of Shame. Here we go:

Number One on the list is Cadillac for being the proud sponsor of a propaganda film that celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party.

Number Two: Volkswagen, for silencing the Chinese media and covering up the fact that three of its top executives were killed in a Tiguan that rolled and burned to the ground.

Number Three: BYD, for turning out copycat designs, failing to launch its electric car, and for a drop in sales in the hottest market in the world.

Number Four: the Chinese government, for denying green car status to the Toyota Prius because it determined that its 1.8-liter engine was too big.

Number Five: Geely, the Chinese company that bought Volvo, known the world over for safety. Yet Geely actually builds a car that got zero stars in an NCAP crash rating.

Number Six: the Chinese government, again, for its incompetence in trying to solve an epic traffic jam that stretched for 60 miles and took 20 days to unravel.

Number Seven: Honda, for enjoying high profit-margins in China, largely because it pays its workers $250 a month.

And finally, Beijing Auto, because BAIC only sells other automakers’ cars and has flooded the city of Beijing with Hyundais.

Just goes to show the Chinese media are more open than a lot of people realize.

Coming up next, a big argument between what liberals and conservatives think the auto industry should be doing.

Recently Autoline was in Washington D.C. where we caught up with three guys who have strong opinions about what the auto industry needs to be doing. Daniel Weiss is a Senior Fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. Fred Smith is the president and founder of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute. And Ron Cogan, the editor of Green Car Journal and GreenCar.com, a leading outlet for green transportation, but a very sensible fellow. All three of them are on Autoline Detroit this weekend and here’s a taste of what the show is all about.

You can catch that entire show on our website right now. Also, Autoline is now available to every public television station in the United States. If you’d like to see the program locally, let your public TV station know you’d like to see them carry Autoline.

Don’t forget to tune into the LIVE webcast of RoundAbout tonight at AutolineDetroit.tv. Tonight you can learn about what famous car chase is being recreated in 1/32th scale and we’ll take a look at Turkey’s first EV that looks to be . . . well, he said it, not me. Check it out at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, or you can subscribe to the podcast at RoundAboutShow.com.

And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.

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

86 Comments to “Episode 582 – Nissan Appoints New Head of R&D, Chevy MyLink, 2012 Honda Civic”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    So today one of TESLA’s co-founders , Marc Tarpenning , in an interview in the NYTimes (auto section online ) has revealed that in his opinion Obama’s E/V initiative is overly optimistic, over aggressive and unrealistic .

  2. tj Martin Says:

    So now you can distract yourself into a major accident with ;

    BMW’s iDrive
    Ford’s SYNC
    etc. etc.

    So who needs Smart Phones iPads and lap tops . Cars are now coming with built in Self Destruction devices .

    But Wait ! I think I get it !!! All these In Car Infotainment systems . Its a conspiracy by the Manufactures and World Wide Governments for Involuntary Population Control . Or Postpartum Abortion if you prefer . LoL

  3. Tom Cain Says:

    Computers are generally upgradable. I don’t get why GM won’t support software upgrades to OnStar to include some of these new features.

  4. tj Martin Says:

    F1 news ;

    Since I know I’m not the only fan on site , this wonderful revelation .

    Today , after multiple attacks on civilians and reporters in Bahrain by the Government , some deadly : as well as continually escalating riots and protests Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying ( to the BBC as well as autosport.com ) that as of today he is much more hopeful that all will be resolved in Bahrain and that the Race Will happen as scheduled .

    This AFTER Bernie had admitted on Thursday that the race might have to be canceled .

    The reporter from the BBC interviewing Ecclestone today was incensed at the utter abject cluelessness as well as the Heartless replies he was getting from Bernie .

    What an IDIOT ! BWTM ! He’s an extremely Rich Idiot ! Guess that makes him an eccentric in the British mindset .

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Attn: Austin Powers, Honda’s mojo migrated to Hyundai, don’t bother trying to figure out what happened to it, even the professor is starting to take notice. Honda has done with the Civic the same thing Toyota did with the current Corolla, barely moved the needle when they redesigned it. Saw the new Elantra in person today when I visited a client at an local dealership, very impressive.

  6. dcars Says:

    Bernie is a clown and proves it every time he opens his mouth. The Elantra, new Focus and Cruze are going to give the Corrola and Civic lots of trouble. I get the feeling that Toyota and Honda became paralyzed by their success. The other guys are willing to take a chance on a new design, but T. and H. are sticking to what worked in the past.

  7. tj Martin Says:

    AAAAaaaahhhhhhhhh !

    Its a plague ! Everyone here is turning into HyundaiSmoke !

    Someone Quick !!! An antidote ! Or at least a vaccine !

    Arrrrrrrggggggggg !

    ( a Korean terrorist plot no doubt )

  8. Ooll Says:

    So John, were you even more underwhelmed by the 136 HP of the 1.8 liter in the Cruze. I don’t recall any such negative editorializing when you reported on the Cruze, but then again I don’t see any Honda ads on your site, just plenty of Chevy ads. Four more HP and three more MPG in base form sounds OK to me.

    I prefer when you stick to the news and leave your options in the beak room.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj, remember when American cars were king throughout the world? I remember growing up in Cuba, 1950′s American cars were considered the best, period. all that other crap that came from commie countries, Fiat, even Japan was regarded as inferior in every way, buses, trucks all American made were worshiped for their durability and quality, then it was Japan, now maybe, just maybe, they are also relinquishing their throne.

  10. HtG Says:

    Pedro, story for you. Some years ago the lifeguard at my Y told me how got to the states. He was a starving kid in Cuba in the nineties, and swam alone into the Guantamo Bay base. Of course he was held under guard until a phone call to his grandmother in NY got him sandwiches and soup. What caught me was his asking me if the old cars people keep running would be embarrassing to him in front of the girl he was taking back for a visit. Can you believe it, he’s ashamed of how Cubans have kept those cars on the road?(I think he’s working as a security guard at the UN now.)

  11. HtG Says:

    tj, you know from marketing, so how do you think the Poison Dwarf should deal with the needs of all the sponsors and PR groups that are the lead in to any race, here it’s Bahrain?

    And did you catch the article in FT.com on a shady 50M payoff that got Big Bernie the rights to F1? Just type in ecclestone in their search box. They let you read a few articles free.

  12. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    The Poison Dwarf ! LoL !

    As to the PR’s and sponsors , first I’d be moving the race somewhere else as of today .

    Second I’d tell them lest they put up a fuss that its a choice. Between (A) Moving/Canceling the Race or (B) dealing with all the negative publicity and public outcry that will ensue when a few 100 more protestors as well as Fans , Team Members and their own people attending get injured/die.

    Want to bet they’ll all chose A ?

    As to Bernie getting a Payoff i doubt that was the only one . Fact is I’d bet it wasn’t even the largest one .

  13. tj Martin Says:

    Cuban cars ;

    Can’t believe anyone would think all those really cool and God knows how those Brilliant Cubans keep em running ( hire those guys as FIAT mechanics ASAP ) would be embarrassing .

    One of my greatest regrets with the wife being a Fed and all is that we can’t take a trip down to Cuba to see all the 50′s cars and Harleyistas before Castro drops and the corporate world takes over

  14. tj Martin Says:


    All I can say is the minute I hear about you dumping Kimchi on your Black Beans and Rice I’m heading to another site . Toot suite . Cause what ever you will have caught to make you do so I don’t want .

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Funny thing about those Cuban mechanics that worshiped those old American cars they kept going there with adapted parts from whatever they can get a hold of, come here and quickly realize that they don’t make them like that anymore and one particular fellow I know keeps telling me how he thinks Chryslers are the worst of the bunch, with Ford not too far behind.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    no tj I still like sushi with my rice and beans, but I could understand someone trying the Kimchi. BTW if VW was as reliable as the H/K brands, they’d be doing a lot better volume here.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow, today I got a case of more than sticker shock, more like sticker electrocution when I glanced at a 2011 Accent hatch sticker, after they added the mandatory wax and nitrogen bs aftersticker, it read a whooping $17,500!! For a freaking Accent? gimme a break. Craiglist used car listing, hello!!!

  18. Brett Says:

    I am suspicious that the new Elantra, Cruze, and Focus are why Mitsubishi threw in the towel on the Galant, Endeavor, and Eclipse by electing to shut down Diamond Star Motors in Normal, IL.

    They don’t have the money to engineer anything competitive in a timely fashion. So maybe the Lancer isn’t that competitive compared to the Elantra, Cruze, or Focus, but they build ‘em in Japan, not in the USA and sell them all over, so the costs aren’t so dear to bump along with them selling in the US market.

    I’d like the new Outlander Sport better if they offered a “RalliArt” version with a powertrain similar to the Lancer Sportback RalliArt.

  19. bob Says:

    Pedro: ” even the professor is starting to take notice.”? What are you talking about? Not only was I the FIRST to notice, I was also the first to break the news of the new Civic’s underwhelming stats in YESTERDAY’s comments, long before John told you!!!

  20. bob Says:


    Your show on Autoline Detroit is NOT even REMOTELY well balanced. INSTEAD of having one Econ Literate (AKA conservative) and One Liberal, you have TWO Liberals, one of whom, DAN WEISS, is a rabit, whacko EXTREMIST that talks INCESSANTLY while the second is from GREEN CARS (how do you spell liberal?) and ONLY the third is a mild conservative. The show was UNBEARABLE to watch, and the three minutes I could tolerate, when the bald dude started rambling, I would MUTE him.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    I meant noticing Hyundai’s improved line-up, not Civic’s underachieving 2012 model. I also suspect the next Accord will come up short also.

  22. bob Says:

    rabid, not …”rabit” above, of course. You could have done MUCH, MUCH better, John!

  23. bob Says:

    PEDRO: Are you still kidding me? I noticed everything and then some, wrote about it here, and I even remember yoru surpise when I praised the Hyundais and other makes vs the Hondas of which I have been and still am a happy owner.

  24. bob Says:

    If anything, your show, John, from WAsh DC proved how WORTHLESS and utterly out of touch these FOOLS in WASH DC are…

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro ;

    Glad to see the momentary fit of insanity was only temporary #17 . Phew ! I was getting a bit concerned there .

  26. HtG Says:

    Drive around DC for a few weeks, bob, and you’ll see where those nits are coming from. It’s just 35mph and stop/go traffic all day. Cars in DC are just motorsofas. Mostly all second hand beaters with no pride except stickers in earnest support of their execrable(you know the drill h/s) football team.

  27. HtG Says:

    Nits, by which I mean ‘shits’

  28. HtG Says:

    Drive around DC for a few weeks, bob, and you’ll see where those nits are coming from. It’s just 35mph and stop/go traffic all day. Cars in DC are just motorsofas. Mostly all second hand beaters with no pride except stickers in earnest support of their execrable(you know the drill h/s) football team.


  29. HtG Says:

    ‘nits’ by which I mean ‘shits’

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    ain’t no fun driving in DC, ain’t no fun driving in most big, congested cities, when I used to live in the NJ/NY metro area I had to take off on weekends, just to go to a far away restaurant or some park or to pick apples just to enjoy driving, back then, gas was as cheap as water, can’t do that anymore.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    That … That …. is ….. is …… weird …….. weird ………. the …….. the ……… site ……….. site ……….. seems ………. seems ………. to ……. to …….. be……… be…….

    Repeating posts when put up .

  32. tj Martin Says:

    pedro ;

    NY, NJ my old stomping grounds ! Where driving is another word for parking and the only real use you’ll get from your M3 is impressing the bimbos . And maybe not even that !

    It was the Watchung Hills and the Delaware River Valley , with trips down to Cape May etc. for my sanity breaks . As well as the Hudson River Valley when I was based in NYC .

  33. HtG Says:

    I just messed up my email tj. Ben’s getting all nervous about tonight’s pizza and wrestling.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj just looked at autotrader.com and used minis sell at a premium price, low depreciation,eh?

  35. tj Martin Says:


    MINI resale value . Combine high prices for a new one – with low inventory rates – reasonable if not good reliability and pretty decent dealer service after you purchased one ( though buying new can be a chore ) and yes the MINI holds its value . I’m hoping when it comes time to take the new Toy Toyota home , both the high residual value of the MINI combined with Toyota dealers need to move inventory added to the ConsumerReport purchasing info HtG clued me into to will bode well for at least a decnt deal .

  36. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ; Ben ? Who’s Ben ? And you’re having Pizza and didn’t invite me ??? May have a re-think on that BBQ offer HtG :o )

  37. HtG Says:

    You’re torturing me tj. I was just kidding Ben, John’s techie about the Roundabout show tonight.

  38. Gavin Says:

    I love it when Canada is referred to as overseas. We are the largest exporter of oil to the US. Sometimes I wonder how some of these experts breath given where their head is placed.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From what I’ve read, Diamond Star is not closing, just changing products to be produced.

  40. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Who cares about Honda and Toyota? I call those companies “Future Chinese Competitors.”

    The same change that happened to the US Auto industry in the 1970s is starting to happen to Japan.

    The Chinese will come to America in 5 years or less and slowly, but surely knock off the weak Japanese and Americans brands one by one like the Koreans and Japanese ate the Weak American brands for lunch like: Plymouth, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac, Eagle, Merkur, etc…

    The Japanese and Germans were also responsible for Killing the weak British brands that foisted crappy cars that enthusiasts loved, but served no other purpose in America.

    Plymouth, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Pontiac, Eagle, Merkur, etc… = Scion, Acura, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Mazda (maybe),

    Subaru will be totally swallowed up by Toyota, and Subaru will be positioned as a go in between of Toyota and Lexus in positioning. Like Buick is today between Chevy and Cadillac. Subaru will be treated like a Japanese SAAB.

    Nissan, Toyota, Honda= GM, Chrysler, Ford

    Yeah, I dont see a Future for SAAB or Volvo. Once the Chinese get what they want from Volvo they will chuck that brand in the trash like an empty beer can. The “Dollar Bubble” alone will kill SAAB. I dont see a Future for Land Rover or Jaguar either. The Indians will use them up too. Besides, TATA has long term aspirations of being a Luxury brand like Jaguar-yeah I read Indian car culture sites. I try to talk them out of it, but they (TATA) doesnt want to be known as a maker of cheap rattletraps, or economy cars either in the US.

    I still think the Chinese have the potential of turning the American car industry into the British car industry= almost non existent expect for maybe brands such as Cadillac and Ford.

    Who needs a Chevy when you can have a Chery from China that’s cheaper, and is what Main St America can afford? New Chevy’s are great near Premium cars, but Chevy has that working class stigma that will take a decade or 2 to drop-GUESS WHAT? YOU DONT HAVE THAT LONG. The prices you’re charging for the “Chevy” name are going to be your achilles.

    The job of Upmarketing Hyundai is easy as cake compared to Chevy just because the American public, especially the educated demographic has an inherrent bias to Foreign cars or Ford Products.

    My British Friends are right, Chevy needs to get rid of that Logo. The Logo alone says cheap rattletrap that I will have to spend years at the dealer with. Besides guys, the last time Chevy showed “true excellence” across the board was when Chevy didn’t have that logo.

    They are trying to sell cars to educated people who aren’t going buy them. I think Chevy as good as it may be is still ultimately doomed for the long term. That’s unless they become the “new Buick” or go back “Downmarket.” Either that, or just give up on the US market, and become an “International American Brand” that Foreigners will buy, but Americans wont.

    2010′s+ Chevy needs to become 1950s Chevy-Ewanick is on to something with that Heritage commercial.

    The Chyrsler group doesnt stand a chance with the coming socio economic forces. They will be the first to drop, while FIAT takes over their dealer network and sells FIATS/Alfas/Lancias from their dealers as a direct Hyundai/KIA competitor.

    I’m just being real.

    Im right and you’re wrong, guys. Remember the hate for the New BMW many of you displayed, while I said Americans will not be able to get enough of those cars like the x1, etc…?

    Who was right?

    The newer perspectives, younger than the Gen Xers you show on the Rounabout show can see the tea leaves-that’s if they understand their history, can spot future trends, and will be around to see these future ternds come to fruition.

    Who was right about the Premium Aspirations about the “New Hyundai” products when you still thought they were going to continue to be second fiddles to a Toyota you could laugh at?

    Anybody who sits in a new Elantra, would realize that VWs once Premium small car reputation in America is in serious trouble, while Acura and Chyrsler are pretty much screwed with the Sonata and Larger cars.

    The Koreans like I said in the past will replace all of those gone Premium and Luxury brands. Hyundai is not going to make a 3rd Luxury brand unless it goes after a Rolls Royce or Porsche. Are you crazy? Maybe for China a Lexus like brand? But the US will prove over the years to be an impossibility.

    With China around from below and the Japanese aorund Hyundai/KIA selling economy cars will also be an impossibility. They will have to continue to carve out their own Niche.

    Everybody else is tyring to copy off of them as a way to stop the Koreans from becoming premium automakers. Look at Chevy and Ford. They will give up trying to compete with the Koreans eventually, or their cars will become so pricey their demographic wont be able to afford them. Unless Ford and Chevy are willing to go the distance and ultimately become “true Luxury” brands.

    Face the facts guys, Hyundai is going to pass you by for the world of Lexus and then eventually Mercedes and Cadillac. Give it up already. Whos going to school for 4 years to grow up to buy a Chevy? No, Chevys are the cars you trade in after you get that degree. Unlike Hyundai, Chevy has the baggage of a 100 year history of making “people’s cars” with the first 20 of those years and the last 35 of those years being POORLY made people’s cars.

    If those classes want a “people’s car” they will buy a Ford- they are buying Fords in fact. Many of my past Employers drove Fords, while past co-workers and Employers would buy Hyundai’s and even KIAs with no problem (they were just seen as being “Different”), but laugh and scoff at the idea of ever owning or aspiring to own a Chevy.

    Ewanick is a Miracle maker, but this one miracle he’s not going to deliver over the long term.

    Just stick to what you know best Ford and Chevy- that’s making “people’s cars.” If Americans cant afford them, the Chinese sure can. The Chinese probably want them more than we do too. I know I sure dont. Ewww, I didnt bust my ass in school to buy a: Chevy, Ford or inferior Japanese car with piss poor value and outdated tech, nor get ripped off by the Germans.

    I want a new up and coming flavor that will provide me with a value, yet with comfort, quality, a raw but refined experience (I want to hear raw 4 Cylinder or alternative engine noise- AT ANY SPEED, but I want leather a soft touch interior and soft suspension to handle the bumps) and is Foreign- that’s Hyundai.

    I dont even want to bother with a brand that made the majority of it’s best most iconic cars in the last century.

    Sorry guys, I want new and different.

    Ford and Chevy are just old dogs trying to play new tricks that are utlimately out of their league.

    There’s a “Dollar Bubble” coming within the next 18-24 months. This will RADICALLY change the lifestyle of every American making less than $250K.

    This is what happens when the Banker controlled Federal Reserve continues to print money that has ZERO VALUE through stimulus measures such as Quantitative easing.

    Come on, you guys are smart guys. I cant believe you cant see this coming.

  41. KEVIN Says:


  42. bob Says:

    Motor Trend and the rest of the amen corner destitute GM stooges automotive press may prefer the Chevrolet Volt,

    but the well-heeled readers of the Robb Report have a considerably different set of priorities when it comes to picking the best of the best.

    That’s why the luxury magazine has decided to name the Ferrari 458 Italia as its Car of the Year.


  43. bob Says:

    Got this in an email a minute ago, I post it because it is automotive in addition to the health care commentary

    “Sen. Harry Reid goes to a local GM dealer in Washington , D.C. with the
    intention of buying a brand new Cadillac. Harry looks around and finds one he likes.
    After going back and forth with the salesman, Harry settles on a price
    of $45,000.

    Harry and the salesman go back to the office to complete the paperwork.
    Harry works out a 4-year payment plan, and signs on the bottom line.
    The salesman shakes Harry’s hand and says, “Thanks Senator Reid, the car
    will be ready for pickup in 4 years.”

    Harry says, “What are you talking about? Where are the keys to my new car?”

    The salesman replies, “No, you don’t understand Senator. You make
    payments for 4 years… THEN we give you the car. You know, just like your
    health plan”.

    Harry, with a choking voice, says to the salesman, “But that’s not fair”.

    And the salesman says, “No shit!”"

  44. HtG Says:

    And the next day the dealer gets a letter in the mail from Harry Reid, Esq. He’s being sued by a guy that made his fortune biting down on your cross hairs.

    But seriously folks, I just watched Autoline. Methinks I’ve become too much of a car geek, as I already knew everything that was coming out of those guys. But one thing I don’t get is why VW is able to make diesels here when even Honda gave up. Why can VW control the costs better than the other guys like Merc who basically eat the cost?

  45. Brett Says:

    I’d be mighty pleased to know that Diamond Star Motors isn’t closing.

    They’ve made some good cars there over the years and shown that American labor can make cars just as well as the Japanese, too. My 1990 Eclipse (Normal, IL) has just as good a build quality as our 2006 Outlander built in Kobe, Japan.

    Hope I can buy another someday.

  46. bob Says:

    htG: “..as I already knew everything that was coming out of those guys…”

    The rabid extremist said at one point that the US has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves. If you also knew that, you would both be quite wrong, we have far, far more PROVEN and esp. estimated total reserves. Esp. if you include UNconventional oils like oil shales (Canada Does include its oil sands and is second only to Saudi Arabia in proven total oil reserves.)

  47. HtG Says:

    Bob, what I meant was that I knew about all those topics and what they were going to say. I didn’t buy that 2% number or look not look askance at the Conservative who argued like there was no subsidy for oil. Pesky externalities.

    But do you know how VW does it?

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ” But one thing I don’t get is why VW is able to make diesels here when even Honda gave up. ”

    I don’t think Honda “gave up.” They just decided that there wouldn’t be enough market in the U.S. with and the low fuel costs that we have. VW has chosen to create a market for themselves by being the only company to sell reasonably “affordable” diesel cars in America.

    I haven’t read anything about it lately, but I assume Honda will rethink selling diesel cars in the U.S. when fuel prices get a lot higher. The Acura TSX diesel “almost” made it to market, and I would expect it to be the most likely first diesel from Honda in the U.S.

  49. XA351GT Says:

    Bob @#42 Thanks that was great LMAO

  50. bob Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    ” But one thing I don’t get is why VW is able to make diesels here when even Honda gave up. ”

    I don’t think Honda “gave up.” They just decided that there wouldn’t be enough market in the U.S. with and the low fuel costs that we have. “”

    And how is this different than “giving up”??? They spent a lot of $ to prepare the venture, then changed their mind and QUIT the idea. nd in retrospect they were dead WRONG, because now Hyundai is eating their lunch with the Elantra and dinner with the Sonata in the MPG Wars, and if they had a nice 45-50 MPG Diesel they sure could counterattack them, while now they play lame defense with their undewhelming NEW below-40 MPG (except for the special andmore expensive HF) civic!

  51. bob Says:


    ” Sources familiar with GM engineering were able to confirm to GMI that the diesel option is currently slated for the 2013 Cruze. The engineering sources also confirmed that the engine is a 2.0-liter with the RPO code of ‘LUZ.’ Power output or fuel economy figures are unclear at this time, however test mules of the Cruze diesel are operating now in metro Detroit.

    In Australia the Holden Cruze CDX has a 2.0-liter diesel engine. In that application the car produces approximately 147 horsepower and 235 feet-pounds of torque. Converting from the Australian fuel economy figures, the Cruze CDX is rated at 34 miles per-gallon in combined driving. It is unclear if the same 2.0-liter diesel will be in the North American Cruze, but one is compelled to assume that will be the case.”

    Underwhelming MPG tho even if it is a COMBINED 34 MPG

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “and how is this different from “giving up”?

    To me, “giving up” would mean that they were unable to build a diesel that would meet U.S. specs. To my knowledge that is not the case. I guess giving up has a different meaning to some people.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The combined rating for Jetta TDI is 34, so if a Cruze diesel could do 34, it’t where is should be.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I meant “it’s where it should be.”

  55. HtG Says:

    I think the point about diesels is that to meet US emissions costs a lot of money. If you’re selling a margin car like a Merc or Bimmer it’s easier to market a car. Also, maybe Merc likes the help diesel gives to their CAFE number(which goes some way to explaining the Smart).

  56. HtG Says:

    crxn, ‘selling a high margin car’

  57. bob Says:

    34 combined for the cruze is no surprise IF the EPA treats it as unfairly as the Jetta, where the ACTUAL MPG measurements done by independent testers are WAY above EPA. BUT the Cruze Diesel’s engine is not optimized for MPG but also has plenty of power, far more than the Jetta does, so I expect its EPA combined MPG to be less than 34.

  58. bob Says:

    “To me, “giving up” would mean that they were unable to build a diesel that would meet U.S. specs. To my knowledge that is not the case. I guess giving up has a different meaning to some people.”

    The CORRECT meaning of “giving up” is to ABANDON some project, as Honda 100% DID, WETHER they were CAPABLE or not of doing it.

    FAILING to do something is totally different than being able to do it but GIVING UP on it because of cost or whatever other beancounting consideration.

    But my far more important point was, and I make it again because it is so vital for Honda, is that the diesel would have been a nice ace up their sleeve to counter HYUNDAI’s DEVASTATING success with the Sonata and now with the Elantra, while Honda’s new product recently was only the pathetic Crosstour and the underwhelming Civic 2012 that can’t even match the Elantra’s 40 MPG in ALL its versions, but only in the more expensive HF version.

    The Civic so far: TOO LITTLE, and definitely way too late, since it has deleyed the new models by 2 years to make them lighter and more efficient, which it really did not succeed in doing vs the Elantra.

  59. bob Says:

    “HtG Says:
    February 20th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I think the point about diesels is that to meet US emissions costs a lot of money.”

    Even everybody in this forum knows that. If HONDA really did not, it would be grossly unprofessional of them, and they deserve to fail.

  60. bob Says:

    “Also, maybe Merc likes the help diesel gives to their CAFE number(which goes some way to explaining the Smart).”

    They should import the 70 MPG Diesel Smart then, not the barely 40 MPG gas disaster, but I doubt that many would pay the diesel premium for an already overpriced little POS.

  61. HtG Says:

    So why does TDI make sense for VW?

  62. bob Says:

    HTG: I don’t know if VW makes a profit off the Jetta-Golf diesels it sells in the US, but they sure get bragging rights and publicity when they claim that the Jetta has the highest resale of any of its competitors, a fact 100% due to the doubling of the used jetta price if the car is a diesel (other things being the same).

    M-B must not make much of a profit on that E class Diesel, an excellent vehicle it priced only $1k over the gas version, where you could recoup the extra $1 in a couple years, and would make another $5k when you sold it in higher resale vs the gas version.

    BMW introduced two diesels here (the 335d and the X5d, and for a while it ate up the entire difference btw diesel and gas (about $5k) by “awarding” diesel buyers with $4-5k discount for.. environmentally good behavior, high EPA MPG etc.

  63. bob Says:

    The E diesel, priced $1k more when it was available. I don’t think there is an E diesel on sale now?

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They are now, again, selling the E diesel in the U.S.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ” BUT the Cruze Diesel’s engine is not optimized for MPG but also has plenty of power, far more than the Jetta does”

    Is rumored Cruze diesel’s 147 hp “far more” than the 140 hp of the Jetta? I don’t think so.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    MB also plans to sell the S-Class diesel in the U.S., but with mandatory AWD.

  67. bob Says:

    I was thinking of the old VW diesel. For decades almost, the Golf-jetta diesel had a PAltry 90 HP. Their move to 140 was more than a 50% increase.

    The Cruze diesel also has 235 lb-ft torque, hiow much does the VW diesels have?

  68. bob Says:

    If M-B wants to really increase their sales and also their MPG, they should offer diesels on the C class, not just the S and the E, and not only w 4-matic. Then they can offer small 4-cyl diesels with Jetta Diesel or better MPG levels

  69. bob Says:

    Well… I woke up early and avoided the traffic, but the roads and lots were a total mess. I was able to get my 7 out of the garage by barreling thru my driveway, which was covered with more than a foot of snow, and get on the road without having to use my shovel, but I had to use it at the intersection with a parkway, when it got briefly stuck in a foot of snow (RWD with all season Michelins!), and then drove the 1.5 mile to the parking lot of my office, which was ALSo covered with a foot of snow. I was able to back out of that lot and go to an adjacent one recently opened, where I waited for the snopwploughs to clear a corridor and a parking spot for me. I should have walked the 1.5 miles, since the pedestrian walkways were well cleaned even at 7 AM.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The VW TDI has 236 lb-ft of torque.

  71. bob Says:

    When I saw the first lot covered with a foot of snow and no snowploughs in sight, I was really worried.

  72. HtG Says:

    was this drive an experiment, Bob? I’m guessing you live in a flat area and the snow was fluff.

  73. bob Says:

    What are you talking about, Htg? This is my daily commute. Since I donated the 1990 Accord 5 speed to charity in 2008, I only drive the 7 here. The civic is in the summer home, a long way from here. My alternatives are walk or drive, basically. (I can’t stay at home!)

  74. bob Says:

    The snow was a wintry mix. We had (still have) a Winter Storm warning in the area, which is mostly flat with gentle hills. If you bike, you notice the uphill, so not so gentle.

  75. bob Says:

    The 7 is pretty good to barrel out of the driveway in reverse, its 4,400 lbs and 300ish Hp and torque help it gain momentum and plough thru the one foot of snow on the driveway. And if it gets stuck, big deal, I take the shovel from the trunk and clear the area around the wheels.

  76. Darren Hussey Says:

    Could you research road taxes and find how much of them are NOT used for roads and highways. My guess they have raided those funds for everything but roads including mass transit subsidizing

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    Bob, would you consider either a new Accord or Civic if gas shot up to say $5+ and your 7 died out?

  78. bob Says:

    Pedro: Take a guess what my answer would be,… LOL.

  79. bob Says:

    Pedro: you KNOW I don’t give a rat’s ass about gas prices, even if they go to $100 a gallon I can easily afford them, and you know that I made a HUGE mistake owning all these POS econoboxes all these decades (Pontiac 2000, Accord coupe, Civic hatch) when i could have EASILY afforded the best cars out there.

    I have ALSO said that the 7 opened my appetite, my next car will be BETTER than the 7, not much inferior to it!!!

  80. bob Says:

    Judging from my friends who own 7s, mine is a long way from ‘dying out’. I said here that my friends in Arlington, who always regarded $ spent on cars as “$ down the drain”, and who are very affluent, the husband, who is a VP and Chief Scientist in SAIC, a $6 billion consulting co, bought a 1989 735i with low miles from a dealer, had to replace both engine AND transmission a few days after he bought it, ($14,000 of which he paid only half, the rest was warrantied), still drives the 22 year old car today, and it is in great shape after 100,000s of miles with the new engine and trans. And many posters in my “magnificent 7″ group own far older 7s than mine, all the way back to the early 80s!!! And with far more miles than my (just turned 134,000) 7.

  81. bob Says:

    Arlington VA, BTW.

  82. bob Says:

    You can find 1997-2003 understated M5′s with 400 HP and not too many miles for peanuts, $10-20k at most today.

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, I suppose that going from a 7 to a Honda is a big letdown, when I test drove a used LS 400, I couldn’t believe driving a car could be so enjoyable.

  84. bob Says:

    “I don’t give a rat’s ass about gas prices, even if they go to $100 a gallon I can easily afford them,”

    This is no exaggeration. I do less than 2,000 NON-Reimbursed miles every year, since I can easily walk or bike the 1.5 miles to work. Even if you assume I get a lousy 15 miles per gallon average, this is less than 150 gallons. At $100 a gallon, this is $15,000. A little more than a month’s wage for me or many of my colleagues here.

    And of course it will never go to $100 any time soon. If it goes to $10 a gallon, it will cost me an utterly insignificant $1,500 a year, or less than $150/month!!.

  85. bob Says:

    Pedro: When I drove an LS400, I did not like it at all. It drove worse than a Buick. I like the interior of the LS430 that succeeded it, but not its indifferent ride and handling.

  86. bob Says:

    The 7 is built on the same platform as all Rolls Royce models. it is a big jump in price from the 7 to these, new or used. And I am not sure the ROller is the right car for me, too loud and ostentatious.

    Early BMW Rollses (the “Seraph”) had the exact same V12 that makes 322 HP that was also on the 750iL from 1995-2001, and is much less than the 400 HP the current 7 twin turbo v8 makes.