Episode 644 – Merkel’s Million EV March, Cadillac Clearing Way for XTS, Audi’s Capacity Constraints

May 17th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 9:10

German Chancellor Angela Merkel just unveiled plans to double financial aid to German automakers, with the goal of getting 1 million EVs on the country’s roads by the end of the decade.  Cadillac is gearing up for the debut of its new XTS by selling off the DTS and STS models it will replace.  Audi is capacity constrained right now but at least it has a sense of humor about the situation.  All that and more, plus a look at the updated 2012 Honda Civic.


Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

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

This is Autoline Daily for May 17, 2011. And now, the news.

Saab was able to stay one step ahead of the bear, yet again. It managed to land a deal with Chinese company Pangda which will inject about $91 million into the company. Pangda is an automotive distributor in China that handles foreign brands including Toyota and Audi.  But to put that money into perspective, I would estimate that it represents about two months of cash burn at Saab, so clearly the company will have to come up with a lot more money if it is going to survive.

Germany is next on the list to get a million EVs on its roads by the end of the decade. German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled plans to double EV financial aid for German automakers to nearly $3 billion. And unlike the U.S., which is giving EV buyers $7,500 toward the purchase of one, Merkel doesn’t favor subsidizing sales. Instead, the plan calls for eliminating a road tax for 10 years on cars that emit fewer than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer. EV drivers will be allowed to drive in bus lanes and park and charge for free in some areas. And the plan will reform taxes to encourage companies to use EVs for their fleets.

Hyundai is red-hot right now.  Like Korean barbecue, it’s sizzling!  To keep things cooking, the company is investing $173 million in its Alabama plant to build engines for the compact Elantra.  The facility will be able to build 600,000 engines a year, also for the Sante Fe crossover and Sonata sedan. Now these engines won’t have to be imported South Korea.

Cadillac is gearing up for the debut of the XTS by selling off the models it will replace. According to Ward’s, the brand is looking to sell 3,000 DTS models it still has on dealer lots along with 900 STS units before the XTS goes on sale next year. The STS sells about 200 units a month and the DTS ranges from 800 to 1000 a month. Production for the STS ended last month and DTS production could come to a halt in the next three to four weeks. The company isn’t concerned if it runs out of STS and DTS models before the XTS goes on sale because of strong sales from the other models in its lineup.

The Consumer Federation of America released the results of a survey yesterday, where it found that Americans overwhelmingly support higher fuel economy standards of 60 miles per gallon, which is 3.9 liters per 100 kilometers. Of course, consumer and environmental groups often release polls showing that Americans want better fuel economy. Who doesn’t? But if Americans truly want better fuel economy, how come hybrids account for less than 3 percent of car sales? How come they still buy big trucks and big SUVs in big numbers? I’ll tell you why. Because what Americans tell the pollsters and what they go out and do in the real world are often two different things. If you really want to know what Americans think, don’t pay attention to what they tell the pollsters, instead, watch what they spend their money on.

It’s no secret Audi is capacity constrained.  It is THE luxury car-brand to own right now.  And even with its factories working overtime it just can’t build enough vehicles to meet demand.  Interestingly, the company is being a good sport about it.  It’s actually poking fun at the situation in its latest commercial, which we found in a post on Autoblog.

That’s a great spot.  I wish all advertising were this much fun.  Unfortunately though, buyers are waiting months for custom-built Audis and the company is sitting on just a 27-day supply of cars!  For a little perspective 60 is ideal.

Coming up next, a look at the 2012 Honda Civic, we’ll be back right after this.

Honda just came out with a redesign of the Civic, and here’s Seamus McElroy reporting on some of the highlights about the car.

Rounding out the lineup is the performance Si model and a new natural gas version, which drops the GX name and will just be called the Civic Natural Gas.

Under the hood, the sedan and coupe feature an updated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine which can be mated to a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. Even though it’s the same setup as before, fuel economy is better thanks to improvements. The HF model, which stands for High Fuel Economy, uses the same powertrain as the standard model but is able to eke out a couple extra MPGs thanks to aerodynamic improvements. The Si gets a new 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that comes with a six-speed manual. And the hybrid gets a larger engine, a 1.5-liter up from a 1.3 and uses a lithium-ion battery instead of a nickel-metal hydride one. It too gets better fuel mileage than before.

The styling is pretty similar to the previous model. The front end has been tweaked and the hood has a couple of character lines running along it unlike before.

Inside there is more cargo and seating area even though it’s got pretty much the same dimensions. Like the previous model, the Civic features a two-tier instrument panel but new for 2012 is what Honda calls its Intelligent Multi Information Display or i-MID for short. It shows audio information, Bluethooth info, and turn by turn navigation directions. i-MID also helps the driver get better fuel economy.

And to further improve fuel economy all Civics – except for the Si – are available with ECON mode  which changes the dynamics of the vehicle to operate more efficiently.

Thanks for that report, Seamus. The sedan, coupe, HF and hybrid models are available now. The Si will be available later this month and the Natural Gas version doesn’t go on sale until fall. However, Honda says there will be limited production for the next few months due to the disaster in Japan. Starting prices for the Civic begin at just over $16,000 and go up to $25,000 depending on the model.

If you missed last week’s special edition of Autoline After Hours with Margery Krevsky and her top-notch troupe of product specialists, make sure you head over to the John’s Journal section of AutolineDetroit.TV. By the way, she left us with a stack of books to give away. Watch our Facebook and Twitter pages for details on how to win a copy of “Sirens of Chrome”

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

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

70 Comments to “Episode 644 – Merkel’s Million EV March, Cadillac Clearing Way for XTS, Audi’s Capacity Constraints”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Survey Says ;

    The answer as to why more Hybrids are not being bought by people such as myself is simple .

    They are too complicated . Cost of Repair is German Luxury high . The Cost as well as the facilities for disposing the batteries when they’re done is both extremely hard to find as well as very very expensive .

    And at this point in Hybrid Technology the gains made for to Environment are overwhelmed by the Costs incurred by Hybrids .

    Add to that , for many , the cost of purchasing a Hybrid being too high as well as the ability/time required to re-coup said extra cost is well beyond the projected Life Span of the Hybrid car you’ve bought and well…….

    Do you really need to know more ?

  2. tj Martin Says:

    SAAB Story ;

    So what’s really being said in todays announcement , if you read between the lines is that all this deal has done is to extend the pain a few months , while in fact fixing nothing .

    I really feel sorry for those folks working for SAAB . What a protracted and painful death this has been .

  3. tj Martin Says:

    Hybrids ;

    Add to my post # 1 the fact that at this time there is not a solitary Hybrid being sold that in Real World driving can attain anywhere’s near 50 mpg never mind 60 .

    In Real World testing the actual figures are more like 40 mpg .

  4. shan Says:

    The most important question regarding the 2012 Honda Civic is whether they have made it quieter and improved handling. Those two have plagued different Honda models for years and they have been the usual complaints from critics/owners. There is no way I will pay over 20k for a car with wind noise and mediocre handling.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had the pleasure of driving a rented Civic 3 yrs ago and have no memory of road or wind noise, but of a refined ride comfy seats great mpg’s and quite capable both on the open road and local streets. While a yr earlier I had a PT Bruiser and it was all the contrary.

  6. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Do Seamus and Scott Burgess go to the same hair stylist?

  7. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    Ok Victor,Get to work,You have two months to save your iconic brand.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    Merkel’s Million E/V’s

    How Ironic is it that Germany’s head honcho wants to promote E/V’s by in essence subsidizing the Manufactures as well as Eliminating Road Taxes for the End Users when in fact Germany’s Two Leading Manufactures Engineers ( Mercedes and BMW ) are both Publicly and Privately Opposed to E/V’s base on their Data and Knowledge .

    So I guess its not only our Bureaucrats that pay more attention to their Own Agendas , rather than the extensive knowledge of the Automotive professionals .

    Am I the only one who wonders why ( while secretly thinking ” so how are they [ politicians ] profiting by this E/V stance )

  9. tj Martin Says:

    Lenny Kravitz now shilling for JEEP ;

    I’ve been thinking about the latest blatant attempts by Chrysler using what are in essence Yesterdays News Rock Stars to Advertise their products .

    And I have a thought , based on my knowledge of the Music Industry . More a question perhaps .

    Is it possible its the Musicians ( thru their management ) that in fact is either paying Chrysler or Ad Sharing with them in order to get the Rock Stars Image back into the Public Mindset ?

    Well yes it is possible . This type of shameless promotion on the part of Music Management is not unheard of .

    Is this the case with the Current Chrysler campaigns ? Lets just say its more than possible .

  10. Lex Says:


    You are correct about what Americans want to drive. I am more interested in what Honda is doing with the 2012 CR-V then the Civic. I understand the new CR-V will be larger than the current model. This will leave a gap in Honda’s lineup. We know the Element has been discontinued, however what will be it’s replacement? A redesigned Element to compete against the like’s of the Hyundai Tucson?

    I would like to suggest that Honda bring back the Honda nameplates like “Passport”, or a Honda “HR-V” made up by combining the Element with the Ridgeline into a MPV type of vehicle.

    I like the Ford Edge’s styling, which you see carried into other vehicles in their line up.
    The front clip of the New Ford Fiesta is far better looking than the New Ford Focus. I hope the New Ford Grand C-Max has the New Fiesta’s front end. The New Ford Fiesta’s front end reminds me of the old Taurus front end, very aerodynamic and smooth.

  11. G.A.Branigan Says:

    TJ,don’t read this……People want economy but many like myself still need a capable truck.It ain’t rocket science here,people need trucks for the most part,especially in rural America.

    Economy and fuel efficiency is spelled D I E S E L.( see why ya didn’t need to read this tj)Give us a reasonable choice in engine options including diesels,and really push bio-diesel,up to B50 would greatly improve everyone’s fleet average and give us the power in smaller packages to work with.Like I said,it ain’t rocket science.

  12. MJB Says:

    Great Audi ad.

    I guess it is rather fitting that every Audi on that vehicle hauler was the same non-discript silver – given that the direction their styling has taken lately has become so homogenous.

    Not bad styling, mind you (for the very most part). Just begining to suffer from a severe case of “sameness”.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    People want to get good MPG but are not willing to give up power for passing or hill climbing or showing off, this is indeed a dilemma for car makers.

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ G.A. Branigan ;

    Sorry , but I always read your posts .

    And believe me I get it ( you needing a solid reliable truck )

    Especially after using the True Cost to Own tool on edmunds.com and finding out how bloody stinking expensive these BMW’s M-B’s , Volvo’s , Ford heck even my MINI etc cars are to maintain and repair in comparison to the Toyota FJ , which is just a comfy body on top of a very dependable P/U platform .

    Nope G.A. I get it all too well . I can either get good mpg with ridiculous repair and maintenance bills .Or pay a little more for Gas ( lower mpg ) and have a vehicle I can depend on and won’t need repairs every other week .

  15. HtG Says:

    tj@8. Perhaps Chancellor Merkel is keen on EVs partly because she needs the Green party for her coalition govt.

  16. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Patiently awaiting the Cadillac XTS; Cadillac has done a pretty good job in maintaining secrecy on how it is going to look. The XTS showcar, while having a stronge resemblance to the production vehicle, is rumored to be stretched in wheelbase and length to differentiate it from the size of the CTS. The DTS and the STS were pretty good cars but Cadillac severely limited upgrades and redesigns of those two models (especially the STS, which was when introduced, a serious European upscale fighter).

  17. tj Martin Says:

    G.A. Branigan ;

    I’s confused . Why would D I E S E L be a reason for me not to read your post ?

    I’m all in when it comes to Diesel . Wish the heck the FJ had it as an option !

    Better yet I wish Toyota would bring over the FJ 75 Series ( less Tonka Toy/ more Truck ) in diesel .

  18. MJB Says:

    @ #9 tj:

    Kravitz is the man! I love Kravitz!

    But seriously, they’ve gotta appeal to their target audience with these ads. That’s why you’ll (hopefully) never see the likes of “Leave It To Beiber” hocking any mode of transportation above the Honda Elite grade motor scooter (Do they even still make those?)

    For that reason, I think Kravitz is a good, safe bet. His listeners aren’t sucking down Ensure (Seiger), and niether are they still on breast milk (Beiber). They’re comfortably in between.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    RE; #15

    But is that a reason to spend Billions of the German Publics Tax € on E/V’s ?

    Or are you implying she’s just announcing this , with no plans to move on it in order to garner said Greenies vote .

    Not like that’d be an unheard of tactic Politically .

  20. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    Got nuthin gainst Kravitz , but realistically he is a bit past his sell by Industry wise .

    But have you seen who Audi uses ( talking about kiddie music )

    Justin Timberlake .

    So I’m guessing Beiber can’t be far behind . Hmmn . Maybe Hyundai/KIA will hire him for their campaigns :o )

  21. HtG Says:

    It’s just that the Green party has its agenda, too. They can influence political choices. Have you seen all the solar panels Germany has been putting up; like along highways? She is pushing against nuclear, they’re dependent on gas from Russia, the coal is dirty, and they have oil only for Salat. Whoever can get an edge in EV tech, like batteries or controls, will be able to export it to other OEs. Germany like exports.

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    I just hope the XTS doesn’t have half the Blind Spots that the SRX and the CTS Wagon have .

    Blind spots ? Heck thats being kind ( especially the SRX ) Those two are accidents waiting to happen .

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The Audi commercial reminded me of the ‘advertiser nazis’ that made Chevrolet pull the Corvette commercial of the child dreaming he was in a Corvette and was flying through the air; still makes me mad.

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    @tj on the XTS comment on blind spots:

    Perhaps, but I’ll reserve judgement; hoping the XTS is a hit/winner/watershed vehicle (probably got my hopes up a little too high). :)

  25. tj Martin Says:


    I’m all for Wind Power , Solar development etc. But in light of what the engineers are saying ( especially BMW and M-B with VW -Audi’s engineers pretty much staying out of the conversation ) if this attempt on Merkel’s part to promote E/Vs might not just Bite her on the Posterior as I think it will for Obama as well .

  26. HtG Says:

    Kids,here is the evil Corvette ad old man Grenci’s talking about. And don’t listen to that kind of music either.


  27. HtG Says:

    tj, hey, I don’t agree with everything Obama does either, but I try to understand why he’s doing it.

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 27 So do I .

    Stumped for him , donated to his campaign . Heck i was supposed to be on stage with him when he was in KC during the campaign ! ( family emergency that lasted 2 1/2 years called us out of town the very day we had to leave )

    Most what he’s done I agree with ( was never more proud the way he handled the BinLaden thing ) But when it comes to the Automotive Industry he needs to listen a lot more to the experts and a lot less to the Pie in the Sky Dreamers he’s got on Staff at the moment .

    He’s about to cost us a pretty penny on what will be too little way too early .

    Just this mans opinion mind you

  29. HtG Says:

    I think Obama has decided we’re going to use more of our local resources. So we’ll propel vehicles with electricity made from coal and nukes. I’d also like to see diesel favored, but then Cali has lots of electoral votes.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yes, hybrids are complex, but, at least in the case of Prius, they are reliable in spite of the complexity. As far as the “end of life” issues with the batteries, that will be managed when the time comes, just as it has been managed with lead acid batteries for 100 years.

    Also, hybrids DO provide a major boost in fuel economy, especially in city driving. The only thing better than a gas hybrid would be a diesel hybrid. My Prius has a lifetime mpg of 46 mpg so far, while my base MINI, with half as much space, has a lifetime average of about 37 in similar driving. The difference would be much greater if I did a lot of driving in dense traffic.

  31. Chuck Grenci Says:

    @ HtG, thanks for posting that commercial; I love it (and I really don’t even like the “Rolling Stones” but I still love it.

  32. tj Martin Says:

    Corvette Ad

    Makes you wonder who the idiot was that made GM pull the commercial as well as WHY ?

    Anyone remember the very short lived Bob Dylan commercial for the Escalade ? Boy did that ever raise a Firestorm in the Music as well as Auto Industry .

    FYI ; Where I grew up in NJ you were either a Rolling Stones or a Beatles fan . Three guesses which side the Young TJ fell into .

    If you guessed Rolling Stones , move to the head of the class . What can I say ? With a Blues and Jazz background ….. well it had to be the Stones . Up until Exiles on Mainstreet .

  33. dcars Says:

    46 MPG is pretty good. Is it me or does the new Jetta and the new civic look almost identical?

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG ( and any other F1 fan )

    Read this and weep ;


    The Drama that is the current F1 Soap Opera goes ever on . Eeesh !

  35. dcars Says:

    Eek, Bob Seiger fans are sucking down ensure!?<%$# Opps I guess your right.

  36. dcars Says:

    The only reason they allowed the blown diffusers was to make the race winnable by some one other than M&B and Ferrari. Loosing Toyota, BMW and Honda was big and the FIA noticed. Now that the big boys have caught up their is no reason to keep it.

  37. shan Says:

    @LEX, wow, Honda still makes the Ridgeline? Amazing how they still sell them, being they get 20 mpg and only tow 5000 pounds. Limited payload too.

  38. RAFI KHAN Says:

    As soon as you said, “Honda is limiting production of the Civic due to the disaster…” I thought you’d say, “the disaster that’s the styling of the “new” Civic.” It’s really, really sad that after owning 4 Hondas, my next new car won’t be a Honda. Not only are the new Hondas ugly (and getting uglier), but they aren’t the trend-setters they once were in terms of fuel-economy and reliability. Hyundai/Kia today are what Honda and Toyota were years ago. I will forever miss the NSX and the S2000…

  39. HtG Says:

    on F1 diffusers; the end of the article hinted it may have been Ferrari’s complaint that led to the changes. Do you think Luca told Todt that it will lead to more ‘competition excitement?’ It sadly looks like the TV rights silly season has begun. Montezemelodrama has just recently done two interviews, one on CNN and the other in NYT. The FIA may want the Prancing Horse not to slip and fall. It’s crazy when the ‘behind the scenes’ is more competitive than the ‘show’.

    tj, have you recommended the film Cadillac Records to any of your Blues/Rock pals?

  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG – Blues Rock = TJ’s past not present . Still have some connections there but I long since have moved on .

    Montezemelodrama – Love it

    Pair it up with mine ;


    and you’ve summed up Ferrari of late to a Tee

    Oh that NYTimes article with Luca Da Pukka . He all but came out and said Ferrari is a Fashion Accessory and Not an Automobile . I saved the FF article as a reference in case any current Ferrari owner disputes me when accusing the company for building Automotive Jewelry .

  41. tj Martin Says:


    Interesting that you’re criticizing Honda and Toyota’s designs while lauding the merits of Hyundai/KIA when in fact Hyundai/KIA are for the most part just pretentious pastiches of Toyota and Honda designs with a tad bit stolen from M-B and BMW .

  42. HtG Says:

    the line about selling fashion, not cars, was the killer for me too. It’s the most candid thing I’ve heard Luca DiM. say. It’s the same idea behind other expensive marks as well, I think. Where would you even be comfortable parking your Ferrari, or even your new 70K Boxster? Cars get beat up.

    I can’t recall which article had it, but Luca DiM. also described the FF as a car that wouldn’t be spending all its time in the owner’s garage.

    Watch the CNN video online if you can. It’s like he’s talking sense.

  43. INSIGHT Says:

    In the real world I get 48-50 MPG in my 2011 Honda Insight.Paid 20K for the LX model.Very satisfied.

  44. SalvadorG. Says:

    I forget, what was it used to kill SAAB, a stake or holy water, silver bullets, shot to the head?

    I still say, someone at Autoline (mainly McELroy) should really have a charity money jar for every SAAB Finally Dying News. Hey! that’s my way of helping the homeless.

  45. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Its still there , the CNN video of Luca Di Pukka .

    I’m not sure whether you ruined or made my day

    ( should I laugh or be sick ? )

    Luca’s lack of compliments about Massa and that tell tale smirk afterwards said more than all Luca’s words combined .Massa I’m guessing is History .

    The only part I could agree with was Luca’s assessment of what F1 has become along with his criticism of the lousy tracks Tilke (without mentioning his name ) has designed .

    I’ll say this . The Old Man ( Enzo ) was an SOB to the hilt . But I’d take ten of him over Luca any day .

    FYI – The ” FF as a car that … ” quote was in the NYT FF article

    He’s right by the way ( Luca ) Current FOCNA statistics show the average new Ferrari get driven less than 5,000 miles over a ten year period with the majority of owners keeping their new Ferraris’ less than 10 months . Yes Ten Months .

  46. tj Martin Says:

    Can you imagine waiting up to two years for a car you’ve lusted after , only to sell it ten months later ?

    Says a lot about the kind of people that buy Ferrari’s these days .

  47. HtG Says:

    I believe those numbers about the low miles owners put on their Ferraris. If you check ebay Motors and look for cars in the 90210 zip, you see some examples of used ones waiting for the agent of their dreams to take them to a private garage(catching my drift tj?).

    And didn’t LM also say they make 20% of their money off accessories and other swag?

    I guess it’s more apt to see Ferrari as a company struggling to keep going by being in the Zsa Zsa niche. If you are in Philly, go to Simeone Museum, and see the GT history where the names were made.

  48. HtG Says:

    I also got a whiff from LM that an IPO would be difficult if they had to open the books on the F1 operation. My nasty mind sees the loss of face when it is revealed how much the FIA earns its name, Ferrari International Assistance.

  49. cwolf Says:

    tj, I was trying to recall if someone suggested to you the Ford Edge. My wife has one and loves it! Though it has been trouble free and has a good ride, I would’nt want one because of the blind spots and don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel for some reason. Have you viewed any sites for the up-coming Ford Vertrek; built of the c-segment platform? It really has nice lines and a 1.6 EcoBoost. My guess is that mpg’s will be atractive. If it performs anything like the c-segments, now available,that I have driven, it may be something to investigate. But, if my estimate is right, you are about as old as I: have a few bucks,little debt and are somewhat a cautious buyer. Maybe it’s OK to splurge into something out of routine. Treat yourself by getting the vehicle dear to your heart just this once. Sure ther are horror expenditure experiences, but how valid are they and will you have the same fate or something better? After all,..you don’t drive the way I have to and you only live once!

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Didn’t look at the article but I believe Ferrari’s swag is more then 20% of their annual income .

    As to Ferrari doing an IPO thats laughable . The most conservative estimates place Ferraris debt well over their profit due to the cost of the F1 team which is why Marchionne keeps blowing smoke about selling Ferrari off . Its costing FIAT SpA a fortune .

    Even talking with a couple of dealers I still know , they say Ferrari’s car sales are not what’s advertised ( they are in fact lower ) and the company (Ferrari ) continually is looking for outside investors ( I think Abu Dhabi’s cut is now up to 30% )

    Now that I’ve said that HtG can I interest you in say a $400 Ferrari Hair Dryer ( the sticker powered by Ferrari ) a $25,000 Ferrari Wrist Watch . Or perhaps you’d prefer the limited edition Ferrari Book / Catalogue Raisione . A mere $250,000 including Leather Slip cover

  51. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    You make a compelling argument there ( though I’m sure pedro will give me a smack for considering it ) Yep we sound a bit similar . Zero debt for us and ………

    Thing is though is I did a fair amount of splurging back in my Youth ( 25 – 35 ) Fact is more than a fair share . So I’m not sure I can justify another round at my age and in these crazy times .

    But I will consider your thoughts on this .

    As to the Edge , like you I’m not fond of the blind spots . Too bad because its a good looking car . The Vertek I assume is coming to late for our needs ( would like to replace the MINI by July )

  52. tj Martin Says:


    The Vertek . Thats a pretty sharp design . But form the views I found its sporting the mandatory it seems raised rear belt line narrow slit rear window that causes the Blind Spots in the majority of todays designs .

    Having said that , i could see it being a success for Ford with a proper engine .

  53. HtG Says:

    there’s also the Toyota RAV4. I test drove one a few years ago, and found it to be carlike in its feel. When I stressed it with hard stops from speed and braking and swerving manoeuvers, it was very sure. I did a 90degree back up into a parking spot, and had no trouble seeing or controlling the car. Also the rear door opens to the side, which is a plus to me.

  54. cwolf Says:

    O.K. tj, it appears your a tough nut to crack, so let’s do this; Allow some of us “regulars” to each suggest the perfect unit for you within your limits and requirements. Maybe we could encourage McElroy to take part. First give us the max. amt you can spend or monthly paymnt. then, provide the amt. afforded for other costs, such as insurance, repairs,ect. and length of ownership. Also provide the type of vehicle you prefer(realistic)and characteristics that you demand. Sounds fun! Are you a willing Ginnie Pig?

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj if I were shopping for a small SUV-like vehicle and with gas going who knows where, I would consider the RAV4, a family member has one and she is very pleased with it, it is built in Japan and it has a nice power-train. Today I spoke to an Equinox lessee and I asked him about it and he said: interior and driving very nice, engine and trans, not so nice, it appears the GM engine/tranny combo is not quite up to Asian-Euro standards

  56. HtG Says:

    @52, nitpick alert.

    The sentance, ‘Also the rear door opens to the side, which is a plus to me,’ should read, ‘Also, the rear door opens to the side which is a plus to me.’ My apologies to the parents.

  57. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ tj: No insult intended my friend,I know your right in tune with wanting/needing a diesel and I was just repeating myself for the 10000th time.I’m hoping that some auto executroid will read it and get us some damn diesels.Yeah,I know,never happen,but I will keep on trying.

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj I also feel the same about the Stones, they peaked with Exile and Taylor, it was the perfect fit until Keef got jealous and selfish. Crtics say everything Taylor took part in was genius, I say: not the “Soup” one.

  59. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    You’re on . Lets see what comes of it . If nothing else it should be interesting .

    Cost – Say around $20K cash plus my MINI ( currently $16-17K) + or -
    No loans this is a cash deal

    Car type – Would prefer the higher seating of an SUV/CUV but am open . Just don’t at 6’4″ feel like sitting down into a car anymore

    No (bleepin ) Blind Spots or at least a minimum

    I’d like to able able to keep the car five or more years

    Don’t need sporty but no whales either if you get my drift .

    Would prefer leaning towards the more reliable side but as the Wife and I were just discussing we may have to compromise that for comfort and a but of luxury ( we’re still leaving the GLK X3 and Xc60 on the table as well as the FJ )

    I’m an artist ( musician ) so a bit of beauty is appreciated .

    Either new or CPO used .

    I’ll be back tomorrow to see if you need any other blanks filled in

  60. tj Martin Says:


    Mick Taylor a brilliant but tragic genius . Still around but no one will work with him because of his behaviors since leaving the Moldy Bones as I now call them .

  61. tj Martin Says:

    G.A Branigan

    Rant all you want on Diesels . I’ll be sure to chime right in with ya !

  62. tj Martin Says:

    RAV4 considered it . Too similar to the wifes Matrix

    Also on my car

    AWD if possible 4WD is fine .

  63. tj Martin Says:

    What !!!! No psychotic hummingbird ?

    Thought this was the time of day when they let him out of his coffin in Spring

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As I’m sure you know, the Fj has bad visibility, a crude interior, and so-so on road handling, but is retro cool and reliable. To me, Rav 4, while a good machine, is too, well, boring. I like the GLK, for an SUV, but it’s too bad they don’t sell it here with a diesel. Maybe sometime. In the end, of what you’ve mentioned, if I for some reason felt compelled to have an SUV, I think it would be a used GLK. I’d be willing to take my chances with the reliability issues.

  65. HtG Says:

    here are some other considerations. If you will be moving to CO, try to imagine what that car will look like there. Open space, mountains, high altitude. When I was there, I noticed the light was much sharper. Edges were sharp. Colors popped. KC didn’t have the same visuals as CO. Will you be around Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Aspen? How do those places feel?

    Also, there will be dust, so how does that affect the maintenance schedule?

    If you know where you will live, which dealerships will be close by?

    Here, smokey, smokey, come and get it

  66. tj Martin Says:

    @HtG & Kit Gerhart

    If you’re checking in this morning . Hmmn .

    To HtG well lets face it , if its a Western CO car it’d have to be the FJ . Tough , rugged and it does look the business in CO light .

    If its the Euro CO experience (read Vail ) We’re wanting well the GLK hands down . Unless of course i was crazy enough to buy a used ( very ) G Class or Land Rover Defender which would cover both bases .

    But outside the Metro areas , not a dealer or mechanic to be found .

    Whereas Toyota mechanics and dealers are almost everywhere


    But hey !!! How’d we pull this off yesterday . No appearances from either the Cybil Quintet or the Psychotic Hummingbird .

    Why do I get the feeling we’ll be paying for this moment of respite ?

  67. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Denver – Medium City on the mend

    Boulder – Peoples Republic of Boulder sums it up . Prius country . Politically correct to a Fault

    Ft Collins – College/Blue Collar / Family town w/New Belgian Brewing just up the road . Quasi Funky . Appealing

    Aspen – Over Gentrified with a few Curmudgeons holding on for dear life

    Vail- Very Euro/Western due to Austrian contingent founding it and bringing much of their culture with them , while making room for the Western US influence

    Breckenridge – Legalized Marijuana everywhere , so the towns now over run with dopers

  68. HtG Says:

    on light in CO, I found that at altitude the metallic paints on cars were dazzling.

    On the thin air, hiking up to the continental divide overlooking the Eisenhower Tunnel, I started seeing blue spots like in the Bugs Bunny cartoons. So I went back down and got some coffee. In my compromised state I noticed I was speaking at the same speed as the locals.

    On Ferrari, I imagine that Ferrari may have complained about blown diffusers since their wind tunnel data hasn’t been matching the real world. One issue is probably modelling a half scale model with blown exhaust.

  69. tj Martin Says:


    A little advice for your next high altitude excursion . That was a touch of Altitude Sickness you had there

    Coffee + Altitude Sickness = Very Bad Thing !

    Next time , drink more water and take an aspirin .

    Especially if you decide to spend the day in Leadville !


    Lets face it . If they’re not dominating , LM will find something to gripe about . Arrogant little snipe that he is !

  70. HtG Says:

    yes, it was a very stupid day all around