Episode 662 – Golden State Mandate, Nissan’s Short Circuit, China’s Flaming Taxis

June 13th, 2011 at 12:02pm

Runtime 8:39

A Plexiglas Pontiac display car from the 1939 world’s fair is slated to hit the RM auction block this summer. China is recalling its electric taxicabs after one burst into flames recently due to faulty wiring and battery leaks. California is proposing targets for EV sales in their state that would mandate 14 percent of new cars be EVs by 2025. All that and more, plus John reports on Hyundai’s fight to be top dog in the fuel economy war.


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This is Autoline Daily for June 13, 2011. And now, the news.

GOLDEN STATE MANDATE (subscription required)
Here we go again. California is dredging up another proposal forcing car companies to sell thousands of electric vehicles or zero-emission cars. According to the Wall Street Journal, the proposal requires that 5.5 percent of all new-car sales by 2018 would have to be zero-emission. That amounts to 81,000 vehicles. That number would rise to 14 percent by 2025, translating into 227,000 electric or fuel-cell cars. The rule applies to automakers that sell 20,000 vehicles or more a year in the state. But the car companies say there isn’t enough demand and that the infrastructure to support them isn’t there yet. Here’s my Autoline Insight. This is the third time that California has tried to force the issue on EVs. The prior efforts failed because while you can force automakers to build electric cars, you can’t force consumers to buy them. And not enough people bought them.

Speaking of troubles with electric cars, Nissan is running into problems delivering the LEAF to customers. And the problems started well before the earthquake in Japan. Some people have been mistakenly dropped from the waiting list after plunking down $99 to reserve an order. Bloomberg reports there have been technical glitches and communication problems that caused the delays, now compounded by the devastation of the earthquake. And the delays could take a toll. Some customers worry that California’s $5,000 rebate program for EVs may run out of money next month. That rebate program may be extended, but cut in half. Nissan expected to sell 20,000 LEAFS this year in the U.S. market, now it’s cutting that number in half.

China is also running into problems with EVs. China Auto Web reports that the city of Hangzhou pulled 30 Zoyte M300 taxicabs from the streets after one caught fire several months ago. Investigators found leaky battery cells, damaged insulation between battery cells and short circuits, one of which ignited the car’s back seats. The battery maker wasn’t blamed for the incident because the EV wasn’t properly converted for taxicab use. The remaining taxicabs in the fleet have been modified and are using redesigned battery packs.

MAXIMUM HYBRIDS (subscription required)
Now that Ford is going to sell the C-Max in the U.S. market only as a hybrid, it will likely drop one of its other hybrid models. Ward’s reports that Ford will drop either the Fusion hybrid of the Escape hybrid. I’d say it’s more likely going to be the Escape, since it has a similar footprint to the C-Max and Ford is going to want to direct as many hybrid buyers as possible into the C-Max.

SAAB SAGA (subscription required)
Saab has sold part of the company to yet another Chinese automaker. It just agreed to sell 30 percent of the company to the Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. Last month it sold 24 percent to automobile distributor Pangda. If approved by Chinese authorities, Youngman would also be able to build Saabs in China. BAIC, another Chinese company, already has the rights to build the previous 9-3 and 9-5 models.

In high-tech news, a team of researchers from several universities in Germany are working on a touch-screen-enabled steering wheel. According to Physorg.com, they’ve created a prototype model that allows drivers to adjust audio volume or change the navigation map without taking their eyes off the road. Popular touch-screen gestures like pinch-to-zoom and hand writing recognition are baked into the system. If you’re concerned about safety, don’t worry; it HAS NOT been fitted to a vehicle. So far all testing has been done on a simulator. The researchers claim the prototype greatly reduces the amount of time drivers take their eyes off the road.

This next one’s for all you history buffs out there. We found it on Hemmings.com via Autoblog. An awesome pre-war automotive relic is going up for auction next month. During the 1940s GM built a tiny number of cars with clear plastic bodies to showcase their internal parts. One of these see-through specials, a four-door Pontiac, is crossing the RM auction block at St. John’s, in Plymouth, Michigan. This ghostly car was built for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. With a flathead-six under the hood and ORIGINAL all-white tires, it’s estimated to bring in anywhere from 275 thousand to 475 thousand dollars. Amazingly this car is a runner, but it only has 86 miles on the odometer. It’s understandable why it hasn’t been driver very much over the past 70-plus years. Hopefully the seller is being “transparent” and the car has a “clear” title.

Coming up next, we’ll see what Hyundai’s doing in the fuel economy war that’s going on right now.

There’s a war going on right now and it’s being fought on a global front. Automakers are at each-other’s throats battling for sales, profits and share – both market and mind. What’s really amazing is how far Hyundai’s come in the last five years. Its showroom success is due in no small part to fuel efficiency. And some of its newest cars deliver eye-popping economy.

When it comes to fuel economy, with today’s technology, it seems like the sky’s the limit. Automakers keep one-upping each other with every vehicle redesign.

Of course he doesn’t say what these technologies are, but with direct fuel injection in place turbocharging and downsizing seem like logical next steps. And who knows . . . Hyundai may even be bringing a Diesel to the ‘States. It wouldn’t surprise me given how aggressive it is in battling the competition.

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

90 Comments to “Episode 662 – Golden State Mandate, Nissan’s Short Circuit, China’s Flaming Taxis”

  1. HtG Says:

    What’s that future fuel saving technology you ask, John? Here’s an article on getting useful work out of engine heat.


  2. tj Martin Says:

    Golden State Mandate

    Lets face it . California is flat broke ( even closing State Parks ) is full of a bunch of Wide Dreamy Eyed Unrealistic Granolas ( what aint fruits & nuts is flakes )

    So I say to ( _____ ) with California . What good have they done the US over the last decade anyway !!!

    Other than steal water , beg electricity and inundate us with a bunch of really lousy TV , Music and Movies .

  3. HtG Says:

    tj, how’s the better half like driving the GLK. Pluses/minuses

  4. tj Martin Says:

    Lemans ;

    Corvettes # 1 ! Twice ( GTE-P & GTE-AM ) With the added bonus of a Ford GT coming in 3rd ( GTE-AM )

    FORD really needs to put out an updated GT and give the independents a bit of Factory Support

    But …….. if I were the Conspiracy type and working for Audi ? I’d seriously consider whether Emperor Marchionne might of hired a couple of ” Cleaners ” to drive at LeMans after the events of this race . Including the near miss with another Ferrari two hours before the end ! Think about it there Kaiser Winterkorn


    I’d like to say thanks to Jenson Button for paying homage to Mr and Mrs Tj’s recent purchase :o Much appreciated there Jenson !

  5. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG ( and anyone else )

    Lets continue the GLK conversation … say after 3 pm EDT to let others here post about the car business today .

    Quick answer though . All plus . Zero minus .

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    instead of pushing automakers into selling more EV’s, California should encourage companies and their own departments to switch to alternative fuels for their fleets. It could really make a dent, not the couple of hundred new Leafs you would see on the road.

  7. SalvadorG. Says:


    -If you going to mandate for electric cars, Why not mandate the people?? It just as well, are we not about to have a mandate to buy health insurance?
    (for people who don’t get me – I’m saying; I’m against this car mandate)


    - Yay! Porn… well, old people porn, still; PORN!

  8. HtG Says:

    on Cali, how does that exemption work for carmakers making fewer than 20k units? How do you factor Lambos owned by VW group, or who owns Ferrari(Chrysler)? How big a loss are cars supposed to be sold at to reach the 5.5% figure(and not 5.4 or 5.6)?

    In Lutz’ book he says the way the Volt can be leased for so low a price is that GM assumes that the low volumes will mean that when the cars come up for used car resale, supply will be constrained such that prices will be high. Uh huh, imho. And are Volts counted as zero emissions, or will NUMMI first have to magically reappear?

  9. tj Martin Says:

    Self Igniting E/V’s

    Well lets see here . Six months ago the scientific community came out with a severe warning that all E/V’s ( and some Hybrids ) had a high probability of morphing into Mobile BBQ’s because of the battery issues .

    Then TESLA’s , Fisker’s et al start doing the BBQ dance left and right .

    Then last week the NHTSA comes out with a warning and investigation into the dangers of E/V battery fires

    And today we hear about the Chinese Mobile BBQ’s ( E/V Taxis ) going up in flames .


    Do we need a few 100 fatalities to drive the point home ?

  10. tj Martin Says:

    LeMans Score Card

    Salvador G – 1
    TJ ——–2 1/3


  11. HtG Says:

    interesting note on Volt’s battery pack in re reliability. The pack can actually drive the car 80 miles on a single charge. However, its reliability is affected. So GM makes the ICE turn on at 40 miles so it can warrant the battery for so long; cf. Lutz. There’s also an explanation for you tj, in Lutz’ book about how GM’s choice of battery chemistry was at first not taken seriously by another manufacturer. No guesses.

  12. dcars Says:

    Congrats to GM’s de-tuned Corvette Racing program for the win at Le’mans and the great commercial afterwards. #6 great idea Pedro!

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Cool Pontiac; a bit of history reclaimed (I’d never heard of it before). Too bad, the other half of the story is: “I wonder how much it’s going to make at the auction”? I just hope it goes to a good home.

    F1 and Lemans good shows indeed; Yea Corvette. (Seventh Class title in ten years, and bringing home the trophy for Chevrolet’s 100 anniversary.

  14. HtG Says:

    I hope I’m not the only one that left the in car stream from inside the Corvette just running for hours.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ dcars & Chuck Grenci

    Corvettes times Two my friends .

    They won both the GTE classes ! ( P & AM )

    Lots of Porsche , Ferrari , Aston and BMW fans crying in their soup today . Hee Hee !

  16. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Seriously . Get yourself to your local Chebbie dealer or see if Hertz in your area still has any of the ZHZ Corvettes ( I think it may be over ) on the lot and get yourself a test drive .

    That C6 is one mighty fine EuroSnob killer as well as a heck of a daily driver .

  17. HtG Says:

    @16 Hertz thing is over. But I’ve learned how high powered cars are torture to drive on the road. You have to get so unsafe to enjoy them, I prefer how I can get on the limits of grip in the Miata and not draw much attention. I remember driving the RX-7(friend’s car), and only being frustrated. Driving the MX-5 cup car at SkipBarber showed that the real fun happens on the track in an oversteering car. I’m checking out the local go-carts for jollies.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect these battery fires, or concern about them, has a lot to do with Toyota’s continuing to use nickel metal hydride batteries in Prius.

  19. HtG Says:

    Here’s section of a note from Jim O’Neill of GoldmanSachs(evil), describing the rebuild in Japan.

    “One of our 3 European portfolio managers, Ed Perkins, had suggested soon after the tragedy that the supply chain impact was likely to be considerably bigger than many realized. It looks like he was right. Interestingly, at our latest CIO call last Thursday, his evidence from companies was that Japan was in significant production rebuild mode. I hope to hear more about this in coming days. If it is true, then a number of parts of the world might suddenly do a bit better than people think.”

  20. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    LeMans Score Card

    Salvador G – 1
    TJ ——–2 1/3

    That was a terrible race … Well, I didn’t like the race, I mean; I glad Audi won LMP1 – it was a race against all odds for Audi – but from the early part of the race it all went from bad to worse, too many tires problems for a lot of teams – this lead to many early incidents and car problems for the same teams, some really bad accidents – A lot of which cause by the new rookie class (GT am) – when I saw that Ferrari crossing on the Audi, argh! (the second accident with the 430 not the 458), it was a bad race all around.

  21. HtG Says:

    is there anything to the charge that the Peugeots were trying to force the Audi off the road?

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    I’d thought the first two accidents Audi had with the Ferraris was bad enough , but then that near miss with the Audi driver barely avoiding the idiot in the Ferrari ……. well that was too much .

    One Audi accident with a Ferrari – Racing incident

    Two Audi accidents with a Ferrari – Coincidence but suspicious

    But a a third Near Miss for Audi with yet another Ferrari ?

    Hmmmn – ( read post #4 paragraph three ) Looking might suspicious , even to me !

  23. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Thats was all the Ferrari’s doing .

    Does make you wonder if the Emperor put out a bounty on all Audi’s w/the Ferrari teams involved .

    Yeah I know its unlikely … but you gotta admit …….

  24. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Actually the charge against the Pugs was that they were intentionally blocking the lead Audi to let the second place Peugeot catch up .

    Valid ?

    Maybe . The Audi driver though sure was PO’d when HE tried to run the Pug off the road !

  25. HtG Says:

    I vaguely recall something about Audi nearing Ferrari’s record number of wins. Still, Pescarolo thought McNish was too opitimistic, and it looked to me Rockenfeller was passing at the most difficult part of the course(why not wait till after Indianapolis). Not to say I don’t suspect the Spirit of Enzo.

  26. tj Martin Says:

    LeMans & CDN GP

    Both….. crash fests ( F1 mainly during qualifying )

    It does make you wonder whether Technology may have finally exceeded the abilities/capabilities of the human body .

    Also in spite of McNish et all denying it to the hilt , those excessive blind spots in the Audi LMP1 certainly did them no good in passing the lower classes .

    Hmmmn . Blind Spots in a vehicle .

    A BAD thing for any car maybe ?

  27. GPL Says:


    re#18: I’ve read that Toyota’s JV with Panasonic for batteries commited them to a single supplier, whose Li-ion tech was a bit behind other battery manufacturers, whereas other auto manufacturers could source from any cell supplier. Panasonic’s battery may just have not been ready for the application before now.

    It just as well have been a cost issue. I think the Prius V is going to have a Li-ion battery and 7 seats in Japan and EU but only NiMH and 5 seats in the US. The higher fuel prices of the other markets obviously make payback on the premium for the Li-ion battery more attainable.

  28. HtG Says:

    I could say something about blindspots in vehicles from the Lutz book, but I shan’t.

  29. HtG Says:

    @27. Lutz wrote that in developing the Lithium Ion battery for Volt, GM was criticized because Li was not thought to be an appropriate chemistry for the power draw of a car, ie high rate of draw rather than slow like in laptops. GM pushed against this weakness, and hired LG to develop and make the batteries for Volt. Now we see Toyota moving to Li when originally they didn’t think much of that choice.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    As to # 29

    And now all these loverly Lithium battery’ed cars ( including a few Hybrids ) are lighting up like Christmas Torches Worldwide because no ones listening to the Science behind it all .

    No doubt the Spin Doctors will start exclaiming ;

    ” But look ! You’re getting two for the price of one ! First its a car and then its an expensive high tech BBQ ! ”

    Same excuse no doubt Ferrari handed out to all the 458 buyers to justify them owning the Worlds Most Expensive BBQ .

    Hmmmn . Reminding anyone of the Bad Ol Pinto days ?

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    illuminate us HtG

    ( Lutz’s blind spot comments )

  32. HtG Says:

    It is a deliberate weakness in some GM cars today, that there are blindspots. Design has been given the whip hand in setting up cars to look good, rather than let Development Mathletes force certain criteria like blindspots upon the design. It was a known that there would be poorer visibility under the leadership of BL. The idea is that good looking cars are so desirable that buyers will accept real deficiencies like poor visibility. But in a larger sense, beancounters and product development people have been taken out of the driver’s seat. But your criticism of blindspots in the Cadillac is accurate, just no surprise to GM. It was just too much for you, tj. Reading the book, I learned how BL very intentionally pushed GM to making stuff people just had to have, rather than would accept. Shocking to read about, actually.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys: the trend towards higher belt lines and smaller windows and rear glass,(hunkered down look), not to mention larger outside mirrors are all contributing to bad outward visibility, which of course helps sell back-up cameras as part of the infotainment package. Loved those full size GM cars from the 80′s and 90′s.

  34. tj Martin Says:


    Not to rant , but there in lies another reason for loving the GLK along with it being just the right size etc.

    NO BLOODY BLINDSPOTS ~ I love not having them . The Wife loves that they’re not there . ( remember pedro right after I returned from renting the GLK I told it was a first . A new car with Zero Blind Spots rather than the SNAFU Zero Visibility )

    Oh well . I guess like the EU doesn’t want my tourism dollars ( read the NYTimes article on the EU not accepting US credit cards )

    GM doesn’t want my Car Dollars either .

  35. tj Martin Says:

    What GM hasn’t wrapped their pointed little heads around is that there are more and more consumers out there like pedro and myself that are unwilling to buy a car thats undrivable and couldn’t care less how desirable it may be .

    If it don’t work , it don’t work .

  36. HtG Says:

    ‘FUBAR Zero Visibility’ would have been a little more clever, tj. But tell about your ownership impressions. Any scratches yet? How’s getting in/out?

  37. HtG Says:

    @35 then you’ll have an argument with Lutz, tj. He didn’t only have to push about design/blindspots, but on things like shiny paint. It’s like the mentality of abstract improvements and total quality management became a grotesque at GM. I know I plain like looking at their cars these days. There’s a holyshitgreen Camaro on my street, and it’s just great to see. But I also think GLK is fine looking; red for me.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ it’s not just GM. Most manufacturers are guilty of the same crime, my son’s Xb has much worse visibility than the previous gen Xb, which I am also familiar with.

  39. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    I’d thought the first two accidents Audi had with the Ferraris was bad enough , but then that near miss with the Audi driver barely avoiding the idiot in the Ferrari ……. well that was too much .

    One Audi accident with a Ferrari – Racing incident

    Two Audi accidents with a Ferrari – Coincidence but suspicious

    But a a third Near Miss for Audi with yet another Ferrari ?
    Hmmmn – ( read post #4 paragraph three ) Looking might suspicious , even to me !

    - To be perfectly fair, the Audis have this massive blind spot for being so low to the ground and their incredible speed didn’t help, so the first crash with the 458 Ferrari was clearly Audi’s fault but, the accident during the night was cause by a rookie that happen to be driving a Ferrari.

  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    Well maybe ( McNish’s accident ) but that near miss at around 5:20 am CDT was ALL the Ferrari drivers fault . He moved over to let the Audi by , and at the last second jinked over into the Audi with the Audi driver just being able to avoid him , almost running off the track to do so !

  41. HtG Says:

    tj, can you positively ID the car Tiger Woods is getting into? The story says it is his. I say Merc, but which.


  42. tj Martin Says:

    So here’s a question for ALD to address ;

    Why is it our Government can and does mandate these multitude of Electronic Safety and Nanny devices , adding more almost every year now .

    As well as trying like ( _____ ) to mandate E/V’s and Hybrids

    Yet……… They do absolutely nothing about the multitude of Blind Spots almost every manufacture are designing into their cars .

    Someone tell me that at least 30% of all Traffic Accidents couldn’t be avoided if cars had unobstructed vision all the way around !

    Now truth be known I’ve got a pretty good guess why the Feds don’t deal with the Blind Spots issue .

    Manufactures make a bloody fortune off all the Electronic Nannies they add on to out cars , whereas they’d make not one Thin Dime by designing the car correctly .

    And as Bob L’s book will tell you . Its all about the profit gentlemen . Your safety and comfort be damned !

  43. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Well if its not a GLK then its a GL . But….. me thinks its a GLK .

    So now its me , Tiger and _____ _______ the fashion editor driving or being driven in one .

  44. HtG Says:

    Tiger isn’t driving a GL with wheels and taillight mods.

    So? Driving impressions? How does the transmission handle getting confused going into a turn? Getting any looks?

  45. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    @ SalvadorG

    Well maybe ( McNish’s accident ) but that near miss at around 5:20 am CDT was ALL the Ferrari drivers fault . He moved over to let the Audi by , and at the last second jinked over into the Audi with the Audi driver just being able to avoid him , almost running off the track to do so !

    - How is that different with what I said??

  46. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    I know its the official line that McNish caused the first Ferrari vs Audi accident , but reviewing it again on the DVR I’m still not convinced .

    It looks to me ( and it did the first time as well ) that the Ferrari moved over or slid a bit , just as McNish went by . From all the angles the coverage had .

    I might be wrong mind you . But thats my honest opinion .

  47. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    # 46 Take a breath mate .

    I’m talking about the near miss on Sunday morning , not the two actual accidents .

  48. len simpson Says:

    If one,s vehicle was equipped w/cameras & screens
    instead of mirrors,blind spots would not be a problem & us oldfrts wouldn’t suffer from neck strain
    Some of the air transports now under development have no windshields,just hi def TV screens

  49. HtG Says:

    On McNish, wasn’t his teammate caught behind the slower Ferrari, so the high closing rate might have tempted M to go for it? He almost made it. Besides, could the Ferrari driver even see at that angle behind his car before he went for the apex?

    Devil’s Adv: aren’t there just a lot of Ferraris on the course?

  50. Darren Says:

    If Obama encouraged the use of natural gas for autos he could break OPEC Cartel and lower energy costs for everyone. CNG, LNG or propane is already in wide use in Asia for cars and trucks. US has an enormous natural Gas reserves. This could actually boost our economy to boot.

  51. XA351GT Says:

    Freakin’ California , maybe they need to lay off the medicinal marijuana. Get it through your stoned skulls that people don’t want E/Vs that are A) too expensive B) too unreliable and C) too damn ugly. Quit trying to force your will on everyone. Want to buy and use E/Vs for the state fleet ,great go for it. But you won’t you’ll still use the same vehicles your trying to push everyone else out of.

    TJ , I’m glad you and the missus like the GLK . The reason there aren’t any blind spots is it’s styled like a box. You can easily design out the blind spots . When you try to style something that is pleasing to the eye ,most cases there are going to be blind spots. That is why they put mirrors on vehicles. and now rear facing cameras and blind spot detectors etc.I will always favor the styling of say the Mustang,Camaro,and Challenger over the shipping crates with wheels that cause worse visibility problems then the dreaded blind spots those cars have. Trying to see around these behemoths is a PITA ,especially trying to back out of a mall parking space.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe it’s my age or my personality, but I really don’t give a crap of how my mode of transportation looks or if anyone else likes it, it has to be to MY liking and comfort and yes visibility which is part of safety. Even with this hot Fla sun, I will not put very dark tints because it affects night driving. I would only do it if I had a night car and a day car!!

  53. HtG Says:

    @52 The legit concerns about building cars were what I read to be in the balance during Lutz’ time there. GM knew tons about how to make cars, develop them, market. But Lutz knew you have to make the cars appealing, even as others in the org. could give him good reasons not to go in a given direction. Such a hard problem.

  54. GPL Says:

    Just my $0.02, but I don’t buy the conspiracy theory. As strange a coincidence as the Audi conflicts all being with Ferraris, the incidents in question are common in multi class racing. I see them all the time.

    McNish did himself in. He went for the “two-fer” with a high closing speed at the apex. The F driver would have seen the Audi behind him checked up and not going for the pass but probably didn’t see McNish closing from behind it and so commited to the apex.

    The second crash – rookie in the slower car, at night, sees lights (and glare) but doesn’t know from how back, how fast, or which way the overtaking car is going.

    There are two schools of thought among drivers at play and, thus, confusion. Some faster class drivers expect the slower class cars to vaporize in their presence and contact them when they don’t. I’ve heard other drivers say the slower cars should hold their line to be predictable, so the faster car can overtake safely if somewhat later, and then contact them when they try to get out of the way.

    As for the last incident, I’ve seen many times where the slower car lets the faster car by, but then appears to try to take maximum advantage of the draft of the faster car by tucking directly behind it, only to misjudge the speed/distance and tag the overtaking car in the rear corner.

    Besides, intentionally taking out an overtaking car from another class at those speeds is potentially suicidal, not to mention likely to end one’s own race for no gain, so what’s the point? Money? I can’t imagine a driver, much less a team, risking throwing away a run at LeMans for any size check. It takes too much effort to get there to take a fall.

  55. cwolf Says:

    I am amazed that the Chinese would design their entire EV manufacturing in honor of their biggest advocate and call the process,”Up In Smoke!”

    Californians have to be a bunch of morons! The state can’t afford a new pot to piss in, yet they want to create another mandate every other week without a clue that these things cost money they don’t have. Perhaps expanding upon their mass transit system is a better solution to get to work.

    I can’t speak for you regulars,but I am beginning to wonder if John Mc’s all too frequent support for Hyundai isn’t becoming more and more influenced by sponsorship cash.
    Hyundai has never developed anything on their own,continues to have unacceptable interior noise,plus the mpg’s and reliability claims are more hype than truth,according to many blog owner comments. My opinion remains cleal,…they are a piece of shi…(crap)!

    tj: I’m happy for you,but this scrap iron is just 4 wheels that turn on premium gas. If it is that bluish-charcoal color, I’ll hate you more!

  56. Kate McLeod Says:

    Poor Saab. And, behind door number 3 . . .

  57. HtG Says:

    tj et al. Here’s a link to a lengthy report on Audi’s victory.


  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf, true that H/K have not developed anything on their own, but they have made big improvements in engines and transmissions where they are now getting the kind of MPG’s that put Honda in the map back in the 70′s and 80′s. If there was one weakness in the H/K arsenal was their engines, weak and not very fuel efficient compared to the Japanese brands, but now they seem to be taking the lead in engine design also. Only time will tell if durability/reliability is an issue

  59. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    # 46 Take a breath mate .

    I’m talking about the near miss on Sunday morning , not the two actual accidents .

    -I know, but I’m just talking about the accidents; the Sunday morning incident it just that.. a racing incident and that was actually fairly common.

    - Remember, I’m actually the one hoping for Audi to win -

    But the problem with the Audi is how incredible low the car is, which lead to this massive blind spot to each side of the car- This lead to the first crash-

    As the Audi intended to pass his team mate (Who was then following the Ferrari) coming down the hill, I doubt he saw the Ferrari in front of his team mate and the Ferrari at not fault of his own keeping on the racing line turn and there it was the Audi.

  60. cwolf Says:

    Pedro,I knew you would be first to reply. I cannot dispute Hyundai’s gains and advacement in styling,but copy catting from others, then to refocus these savings into other areas,still makes you a follower, not a leader! Say what you will,but time will tell and time is on my side.

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf I have owned 3 Toyotas in a row, since 1986,so I would not buy H/K unless I got a real good deal on a used one. With an extended warranty.

  62. tj Martin Says:


    First off the GLK is one mighty fine looking ” Box ” as you call it .

    Second – Comprising your vision for a bit of pretentious styling is foolish

    Third – The Mustang as well as the Corvette don’t seem to have any real blind spots so what’s GM ( Camaro ) and Chislers problem

  63. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Arctic White . Almond and walnut interior . AMG kit

    Franz is a mighty handsome little beast !

  64. tj Martin Says:

    I’ll still contend that Marchionne put out a bounty on the Audis for the Ferrari teams to keep Ferrari’s LeMans records intact .

    Or at least thats what I’ll do for the pure fun of it .

    ” Smack em a down a paisanos and a I’ma give a you a da free parts ana da Pizza with a you $100,000 “

  65. tj Martin Says:


    The more I read your post , the more I say Horsefeathers .

    You can follow the adage ” first make it work and then make it beautiful ”

    Don’t believe me . Have a look at Shaker design !

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Darren re #50
    The problem with CNG is limited range, and no infrastructure, at least for road trips. Honda sells a CNG Civic. It has about half the range of a gas Civic, and the gas tank takes up about half of the trunk. It would make sense for commuting for someone who already has nat. gas plumbed to their garage for a furnace or water heater, but even then, the fueling setup is pricey, like about $3K.

  67. HtG Says:

    @62 when I was shopping cars a few years ago, a baseline test I did was to try backing up into a parking spot through a 90 degree turn. You learn a lot, like where are the blindspots. At that time, that test was a dealbreaker for me. But in the Civic it’s only an annoyance, and in the Miata with the top up it’s Character.

  68. cwolf Says:

    I would’nt chastise you if you bought either a new or used Hyundai.It is what it is and if one is within your means at an added plus,I may also be unable to refuse a good deal. If I am correct,you have a Corolla. Lots of negative driving characteristics about this car,but This is the only foreign car that I am assured would satisfy my needs of comfort and mpg’s. I reguard this car highly!

  69. cwolf Says:

    #68 @ pedro

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes I have a Corolla despite its shortcomings, noisy, 3 speed auto, it serves my needs quite well,due to its reliability, good mileage and easy to drive, NOT the most exciting thing on 4 wheels

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    the mere fact that it is a 3 speed no overdrive, probably is its weakest point, always has been, if I could go back I would have splurged and gotten the 4 speed.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just received a CR with a test of the new turbo Sonata and Optima, along with some more expensive cars they classify as “sport sedans.” The thing that surprised me was that the KIA was a little pricier than the Hyundai. Both performed well and got near best-in-class gas mileage. The main negative for either was road noise, which they share with Accord. These H/K’s are good cars in their class. Time will tell how reliable they are.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    RE #51 The new xB is about as boxy as can be, but the bean counters at Toyota, yes even Toyota has bean counters, decided it’d be cheaper to add metal to where glass used to be at the C pillar thus causing a big blind spot where the previous gen had glass and NO blind spot.

  74. HtG Says:


  75. cwolf Says:

    Pedro: Time to grill required 3 full glasses of wine tonite, so I have a couple questions that have always been on the backside. Why do Cubans and other Spanish have names a mile long,when you darn well know only so mny can fit on a green card,visa,citizen papers or drivers licence? Why hasn’t a culinary Cuban tried to go national?; Gosh, the food is soooo good! You guys,also have the terrific abilities to keep many US classics operational all these years. How come some industrious Cuban has’nt found a way to start a business importing these classics back home? And why does this Cuban(you) prefer Asian brands over U.S. makers knowing “America” is the country that allowed your families dreams to come true?

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    re: restaurants, it’s not easy to find ingredients to cook Cuban food in all places here, otherwise a Cuban restaurant chain would do well, you can’t even find Cuban coffee in many places, Cubans over there have to keep old American cars running because there is nothing else available, regular folks cannot buy cars, only govt personnel and the privileged can do so, and remember there is an embargo. My family always bought American cars, my folks used to tell me Asian cars were crap, I bought a Chevette and then an X car Buick POS and then I said enough, it’s obvious that Americans just could not make small cars, both the Camry and Corolla were made here, so I really don’t have any issue with this, I consider them more American than the Mexican built Fiestas and Chevy Aveos

  77. cwolf Says:

    Pedro, quit making so much sense about your car choices,when I am only trying(poor attempt)to have a bit of fun with ya! By the way, what’s so good about cuban coffee?; Are the beans roasted with your habana’s? Do the regular folks realize how much in demand their old cars are? Seriously,pedro, why haven’t the people revolted or have been more expressive in their desire for change? I know so little about cuban affairs!

  78. XA351GT Says:

    TJ, Like I said I’m glad you guys like the GLK. The Boxy design isn’t my favorite but that’s why there are so many designs to choose from. While you don’t like vehicles for their blind spots and that’s not bad mind you.I prefer shapes that are more soothing to the eye ,but that’s MY Opinion, Not that it’s right or wrong ,just mine. It would be a damn boring world if we all liked exactly the same thing. Now my comment that these tall square shouldered vehicles are a pain to see around I don’t think anyone will argue with.

  79. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cause they’re a bunch of pussies and would rather drown trying to reach Fl than try to save their homeland, Cuban coffee is made from Arabica beans which are roasted to be super potent. BTW those cars over there are kept running with adapted parts from other manufacturers, they’d be pretty much worthless to collectors.

  80. dcars Says:

    #79 they do look pretty cool in magazines! Their is an old 50′s Chevy truck outside of a restaurant near me and the thing has very heavy metal and it’s rock solid. If those cars are made like that I bet we’d see some very nice resto mods, if things change politically.

  81. dcars Says:

    #56 I think Saab will totally goto the Chinese eventually.

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve seen a few magazine articles over the years about the old American cars in Cuba, and it’s impressive how they keep them running. As Pedro alludes, most of the ones shown in the articles are running, but would not be very collectible. The steering wheel is just a piece of wire with a few pieces of plastic remaining, the original light switches have been replaced with toggle switches hanging from wires, and other things you’d expect with 50-60 year old cars that are used as daily transportation and taxis, of necessity. I’d really like to go to Cuba and see what it looks like, if my governament will ever let me.

  83. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >There’s a war going on right
    >now and it’s being fought on
    >a global front.

    THAT’S the kind of fuel economy fight I like to see!

  84. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’t too bad no one wants to go after highway fuel economy in a serios way, while using a simple, conventional power train. Just make a car that is shaped like a Prius, but with your best 4 cylinder engine in the 120-150hp range. Geared properly, it should get well over 50mpg at 75mph, given that a Prius gets 45mpg at that speed with a power train that is optimized for stop and go, not highway driving.

  85. tj Martin Says:


    Smooth , non boxy designs without critical Blind Spots ?

    Here’s my short list of what I’ve driven and/or owned .

    1) Ferrari 365GTC/4
    2)Ferrari 456
    3) Acura NSX
    4) Corvette C6
    5) 2008 Shelby Mustang
    6) 2011 Mustang GT
    7) Bristol Fighter
    8) Porsche 911 ( any year )
    etc etc ……

    …..and thats just the short list . The very idea that you have to sacrifice style for visibility is nothing more than a MYTH the Auto Makers Bean Counters would have you believe , lest they actually take the TIME to design a car correctly , costing a dime or two more .

    eg ; You’ve been had !

    FYI ; Have a good close look at the GLK . You’ll find many in your collection have a much larger footprint and are twice as hard to SEE around .

  86. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Cuban Cigars #1
    Cuban Food – Two Thumbs Up !
    Cuban Harleyistas – Another Two Thumbs Up
    Cuban Classic Car guys ( not by intent ) My hats off to them
    Cuban Coffee – Yum ! Almost as good as Italian and Espresso roast , but then again I’m biased .

    And to heck with collectors . Their cars are drivers and should be maintained as such wherever they end up .

  87. tj Martin Says:

    There really is something very seriously wrong with the AutoMotive Design World when a Corvette C6 has bette visibility and less blind spots than a Cadillac SRX SUV , never mind the new Camaro as well .

    Think About It :(

  88. tj Martin Says:

    @ XA351GT


    The list ( # 85 )

    How could I forget ? ( oh thats right i hate Audi )

    The Audi R8 . Add it in as # 9

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Glad you like your GLK. I like the GLK, for an SUV.

    Given all your recent comments about vehicles with poor visibility, I’m surprised the FJ Cruiser was ever on your short list, unless it was never as high on your short list as seemed the case at one time. Anyway, good luck with the new car.

  90. Brett Says:

    I do find the relentless negative stereotyping of the people of California to be both shallow and rather tedious. California is the rest of the country ten years from now. You can joke about the idiocy of the voters, but I find that the rest of the voters in this country are catching up at a breathtaking pace.

    Then: California broke and in fiscal crisis.
    Today: Most states broke and in fiscal crisis.

    At least they’re trying to deal with some of their problems and in coming years, the rest of the country will look at what they’ve tried and consider the results before attempting resolutions of their own.