Episode 692 – Honda’s Q1 Earnings, Global Vehicle Sales Stall, BMW Reveals EV Concepts

August 1st, 2011 at 12:38pm

Runtime: 8:56

Honda reported its first-quarter earnings which were way down due to disruptions from the earthquake in Japan earlier in the year. Global vehicle sales in the first half of the year were barely up compared to 2010 because of the disaster in Japan, a cooling market in China and a drop in sales in Europe. BMW unveiled two electric vehicle concepts which hint at where its new “i” sub-brand is headed. All that and more, plus guest host Jim Hall shares his thoughts on the real meaning of CAFE.

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This is Autoline Daily for August 1st, 2011. I’m Jim Hall from where else, but 2953 Analytics, filling in for John today. And now, the news.

HONDA Q1 NUMBERS DROP
Honda announced its first-quarter earnings which were way down due to disruptions from the earthquake that hit Japan earlier in the year. Global car sales were just under 550,000 units, a nearly 40 percent drop compared to a year ago. That sent the company’s revenue to just under $21 billion, which is down over a quarter. And the company’s net profit dropped a stunning 88 percent to $386 million. Honda did improve its full-year estimates because production recovered better than expected, but the company still expects losses for the year.

GLOBAL VEHICLE SALES STALL (subscription required)
Global vehicle sales aren’t growing much compared to a year ago. According to Ward’s, in the first half of the year automakers sold 6.6 million vehicles which is just a 0.9 percent gain compared to 2010. But that makes it the seventh month in a row sales growth hasn’t outpaced the previous month. The slow growth is due to the disaster in Japan, a cooling market in China and a drop in sales in Europe. However, sales are expected to pick up later this year with Japanese automakers returning to normal production levels.

ENGINEERS CONCERNED OVER MPG TARGETS (subscription required)
Auto executives have signed off on the Obama Administration’s new fuel-economy target, but maybe they should have consulted the employees who will have to make that happen. According to a survey from Ward’s, an overwhelming number of engineers and designers working at OEMs and suppliers have serious concerns over the proposals. Only one in four agreed that the original proposal of 56.2 MPG could be met with current available technologies. Less than one in ten thought the rules were taking into account future safety rules which will likely add weight to a vehicle, and over three-quarters said that the rules “will fundamentally change how vehicles are manufactured in the U.S.” The new target is 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, but it’s hard to imagine engineers and designers will change their minds much with the new target. Stick around for the second-half of the show. I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the weirdness that always circles around cost estimating a decade or more in the future.

BMW REVEALS EV CONCEPTS
BMW revealed a pair of electric concept vehicles. The i3 and i8 design studies hint at where the company’s new “i” sub-brand is headed. The i3 is the smaller of the two cars. Designed for urban areas, it’s a pure electric delivering a range of 150 kilometers. That’s about 93 miles. BMW claims it will be the first production vehicle with a body made largely of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. This cuts the car’s curb weight by anywhere from 250 to 350 kilograms. Zero to 100 kilometers an hour should take less than eight seconds, but best of all, this baby is rear-wheel drive! As for the i8, it features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with a 35 kilometer pure-electric range. Naught to 100 should take less than five seconds. The i3 is scheduled to drop in 2013, the i8 a year later.

FORD CUTS SYNC PRICE
You don’t need to clip coupons to save a bundle at your local Ford dealer. The company is cutting the price of its SYNC system by a hundred bucks. Neat-o! The popular infotainment system now stickers at just $295 and is available as an option on base-model 2012 vehicles. Before you had to order it as part of a package. Hooray for savings!

MAN JAILED FOR SMUGGLING REFRIGERANT
How am I supposed to keep my thighs from sticking to the tri-tone vinyl seats in my ’59 Pontiac Bonneville?! This is ridiculous! A 34 year-old man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and socked with nearly $1 million in fines for smuggling refrigerant into the United States. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he pleaded guilty to importing nearly 280 THOUSAND KILOGRAMS of hydro-chloro-fluorocarbon-22 . . . my favorite variety. Many of you may know this useful liquigas as R22. Here’s my take on this sad state of affairs, the EPA just doesn’t make any sense. It bans certain refrigerants because they’re said to accelerate global warming, but how else are we supposed to stay cool in this UNGODLY hot summer weather we’re having?

Coming up next, I’ll give you the real meaning of CAFE. Stick around.

THE REAL MEANING OF CAFE
If I told you 15 years ago that Chevy’s entry-level sedan would come with 10 standard airbags you’d say I was out of my mind. That many airbags is too expensive for a car that has to compete with a Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic. And in 1996 it was too expensive for a Cavalier.

So what’s this with people saying the new CAFE regulations will cost thousands of dollars, destroy jobs and excise liberty from the face of the earth?

I’m tired of people estimating what the cost of the 2025 CAFE will be by pulling numbers out of their . . . how do you do . . .

The estimates quoted range from about $2,000 of incremental cost to about nine grand.   The problem is the absolute cost will be determined by technology that hasn’t been invented yet.  Some of these technologies will have SIGNIFICANT cost reductions when developed.  This has happened before . . .

1) CVCC

2) Catalytic Converters

Let’s say the incremental cost to get to the 2025 level is $5,500, just to pull a number out of our you-know-what. That’s over 15 years, because we’re not going to have the solution NOW using 2025 technology. That’s less than 370 bucks per year! Telematics and driver-assistance systems will add more cost to a vehicle per year than that!

And that is all. Once again, I’m Jim Hall from where else, but 2953 Analytics. Thanks for watching and I’ll catch you next time . . . whenever that is . . . I go now.

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84 Comments to “Episode 692 – Honda’s Q1 Earnings, Global Vehicle Sales Stall, BMW Reveals EV Concepts”

  1. MJB Says:

    Loved the opening segment, Bob. Keep the creativity coming!

    Did I hear right that the the new BMWs I3 & I5′s are going to have bodies made from mostly carbon fiber? As if they weren’t expensive enough as they were!

  2. HtG Says:

    Jim, your brother is not evil, he is wicked. As the mover behind the greatest British sports car, would Bob like to share anything he knows about the next version of the MX-5?

  3. tj Martin Says:

    @ Jim Hall

    RE; CAFE costs . Tell you what there Jimbo . Put your money where your moth is . I’m betting the average cost of a new car , excluding inflation , will jump a good 30-45% if these new CAFE standards ( which the engineers say cannot be reached ) are enforced .

    Dollars to Donuts and word on the street says I’m right and you’re wrong .

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    In keeping with the humorous Autoline segment, TTAC reports that fewer than 5k Fiats 500 have been sold so far in the US. That is well below the 50k Chrysler expected to sell this year. I know we still have 5 mos to go but they’ll never make it.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    This whole CAFE crap reminds me of the Frankie Valli song. “Let’s hang on to what we got”

  6. tj Martin Says:

    You think Global Automotive sales are down now , just wait till reality and all the facts finally hit about the PIIGS ( Portugal Ireland Italy Greece Spain ) as well as when the fog lifts and everyone realizes what a mess our Economy is really in .

    Not to mention what’ll happen when everyone finally realizes Germany France and the UK is fact have debt up to their noses as well and cannot go on bailing out all these other countries .

    Nope , there my be a spike or two along the way , but I’m guessing all Automakers are in for a mighty rough ride over the next 36 – 52 months , regardless of who we elect in 2012 etc .

  7. john787 Says:

    Do I feel bad about Honda last quarter? I don’t.I also don’t wished them any disasters, but I do wish Japan would trade on a level playing field. The Japanese came here decades ago and setup factory when they did not have to pay any retiree whereas the domestic had over a million. Just that in itself gave them the upper-hand, thus came the mediocre domestic vehicles. This is only one of many reasons. I know good American technology can prevail if only given a fair chance.

    http://www.uwsa.com/issues/trade/japanyes.html

  8. HtG Says:

    I’ll bet one way we reach 55mpg is by making it too tough to compete for smaller manufacturers. The costs of not yet developed wizbang will have to be distributed over many cars, so bu-bye little guy.

  9. dcars Says:

    Jim Hall is right, no one will buy a car they can’t pay for. In other words the car makers will have to find a way to make more efficient cars at a reasonable price or stop making cars. The other alternative is to change the rules. This what they are attempting to do. In the past companies that embrace the rules tend to be very profitable and gain public support and buyers.

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Read your post from the weekend . first WTH is TTAC ?

    2) Saw the M-B B Class photos elsewhere . Not bad at all . Gonna have to have a person to car look see before the wife decides she wants a C Class . Heck gas prices go thru thru thru the roof I’ll trade the GLK in on one at the end of the term . Assuming the B looks as good in the metal as in the photos .

    3) Poor FIAT 500 sales – And exactly who does this surprise ? Certainly not me after puttering around in one for a bit . The FIT is less money , the MINI is a vastly superior car ( albeit more expensive ) and its a God Awful Fix It Again Tony FIAT

  11. Denis Morin Says:

    Way to go Jim, I fully agree. Let’s embrace change instead of fighting it, just like so many countries around the world are. As a car enthusiast, it’s a real disappointment that average fuel consumption has been going up in the last 30 years. The manufacturers now have a clear objective and I’m confident that future vehicles will not only meet the targets but will have better driving dynamics and competition will ensure affordability. With an expanding auto industry, these policies make sense and are the right thing to do.

  12. tj Martin Says:

    john787

    Brother do you have a lot to learn about the Japanese corporate mentality .

    The reason they didn’t have to pay any retirements back in the day is because back then you were guaranteed a job for life , along with any family member who might want to work for the company as well .

    Their ( Japans ) employees had it over our UAW workers hand and fist in every way possible .

    FYI Japan does play on a level playing field today .

    Its the Korean Upstarts ( Hyundai/KIA ) and the Chinese that are playing on an excessively Biased ( towards them ) playing field which our government under both parties has continued to uphold

  13. HtG Says:

    One way to make cars more affordable is to lease them. High calculated residuals decrease the monthly bill. Here’s a piece on the topic.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/wo-thirds-of-the-fancy-cars-you-see-in-new-york-city-are-leases-2011-8

    Remember that Lutz wrote Volt’s lease cost is lowered by a high residual assumption.

    ps TTAC is thetruthaboutcars.com

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj The Truth About Cars online, they seem to be one of the most honest automotive websites around and don’t pull any punches, like us, they believe the best stuff was built decades ago, specially the Japanese cars. Dcars: does this mean more oem’s moving factories to Mexico?

  15. tj Martin Says:

    LEASING ( when it works in your favor according to Tj’s money guys )

    1) You must be in a position to pay cash for any car you’re considering leasing
    2) Your credit must be outstanding
    3) The car must be one who’s residual value is well above the average
    4) You must be disciplined enough to save/invest the money you’re ” Saving ” by not buying cash
    5) You’re one of those folks who gets a new car every 3-5 years

    According to both the CPA and the FA , less than 5% of their clients are good candidates for leasing . Many of the 95% not , being a whole lot wealthier than Mrs Tj and I .

    Its a very narrow and select few that should consider leasing

    So how in any way shape or form could Leasing a VOLT be positive in light of the above , especially when the ONLY ones rating the VOLT with a High Calculated Residual Value is GM GMAC and its Dealers ?

    ( the major Financials are rating the VOLT as very high risk/ below average residual values )

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Homey don’t lease, it just makes no sense to me to always be paying for something which will never be yours. I suppose if you get new every 4 or 5 years and never actually own the thing, then it makes sense. I’d rather buy used and keep it till it don’t run no more, get my $$$$ out of the damn thing.

  17. MJB Says:

    tj, funny you should mention the merits (or should I say, the ‘qualifications’) for leasing.

    Everyday I drive by a Luxury Apartment front gate where the gate attendant has parked just outside a…wait for it… Smart Fortwo. I thought those things were available for lease-only. And at a price of about $550/mo for the hardtop and $650 for the convertible. Well this one’s a convertible.

    And I’m constantly left baffled and scratching my head as to how in the world a gate attendant can possibly afford a $650/mo auto lease. Not to mention WHY they would want to throw away that kind of dough in the first place.

  18. HtG Says:

    On leasing, it is a fact that many expensive cars in the NY area are leased. I wonder how people calculate the effect of the tax hit when they lease, as it’s based on the purchase price. But maybe in Jim Halls World of the Future, the gummint will change the laws so leasing is a wider choice.

    And I in no way mean to imply that GM’s calculation of a high residual on Volt isn’t a little squinky.

  19. shan Says:

    Given the recent success of some cars getting 40 mpg without and addition of mild hybrid or diesel tech added, 56 mpg shouldn’t be a big deal. As we speak, new tech for fuel injection and variations of the internal combustion engines are in the R&D phase. Those two additions alone will boost cars to 50 mpg. I.E, Opposed Piston engine and the pre-heating fuel before it goes into combustion chambers. Weight can still be reduced considerably too with the use of more adhesives and less spot welds using extra stamped sheet metal.

  20. MJB Says:

    #15 – DISCO, baby! DISCO!

    I haven’t had a car note in over 12 years. Driving a ’93 SC400 now with only 213K and will never get rid of it. I will, however, be getting another (pre-owned) car before the year is out. But The Lexus will stay with me always.

    In fact, some guys have their ’57 Chevys, but when I retire, this will be my collectible.

    Own or die – no leases here, baby.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe we should switch back to ammonia and hydrogen sulfide for refridgerant. They are cheap, they work, and they don’t cause holes in the ozone layer like CFC’s. They smell and can burn if you release them in a crash, though.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mercedes B-Class is kind of a neat car, in a slightly bigger, taller VW Golf sort of way. It’s kind of thirsty, though, except with the diesels. There have been rumors that it might be imported to the US sometime, but given how MBUSA works, I’m not holding my breath.

    Speaking of thirsty, how does the C-Class get such gawdawful gas mileage. A C300 has EPA numbers of 18-25. Yikes.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Et Al

    Just so you know , I was in no way recommending leasing , only placing the post ( #14 ) to show why the VOLT was a bad leasing option .

    @HtG I assumed you knew better , but stuck the post up for all .

    @ MJB- Far as I know the ( not so ) SMART 4Two has always been available for purchase , at least here in KC . As to why a parking attendant would have on or how he affords it , perhaps some grateful Cougar bought it for him . Wink Wink :o )

  24. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    2012 is the official date for the B -Class to come to the US . The reason its a bit more thirsty than say a Golf is because its a luxury compact , having a bit more weight to it for comfort .

    I’ll guess the same excuse for the C- Class as well . All that comfort comes at a price , the first of which is ( as you and i know with our light weight MINI’s ) extra weight .

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, do you know what power trains will offer in the B-Class in the US?

  26. HtG Says:

    tj, how cramped did the 500 feel to you? When I sat in the Scion iQ it felt comfortable due to the high seating, I guess. I just wonder if smaller cars will be more comfortable in the future, and after walking around cars from the 30-60s decades this weekend, it’s not hard to imagine cars looking pretty different in a few years. Those long Caddies from the 60s are loooooooong, making today’s big cars seem small.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart – What power trains will be offered I haven’t seen or heard any info on as of yet , but the assumption is an ICE , a BlueTech diesel and maybe an ( urp ) hybrid

    @ HtG Didn’t feel cramped in the 500 ( well except the cabin felt claustrophobic as all get out ) but there certainly was less room both interior and cargo wise than the MINI . The main thing that struck me about the 500 was how CHEAP it felt , looked and was inside . The quality of materials , fit and finish just left a lot to be desired . Honestly I thought the FIT the better car all around , with the MINI blowing the 500 away .

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    So how was the show ?

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    This just in: sergio macaroni is giving a free bag of weed to anyone who will buy the 500.He started with his own workers ;}>

  30. HtG Says:

    The show was weird. Ratrods, hotrods, customs, lots of facial hair and tattoos, smoking women, a rebuilt Studebaker that had been purchased in a field in MS for $300, and then rebuilt for three years by the owner, sharp tailfin caddies, caddies with the fuel filler in the taillight, two rockabilly bands that were very good, more facial hair on bald fat guys, parts for sale, handmade crazy colored vinyl handbags for sale, books and books filled with black and white photos from drag racing decades ago, and sun sun sun. (let’s try not to talk about the traffic jams on 95 coming and going. That’s why I took the Civic. One of the jams by the Philly sports arena complex was brought to you by Obummer’s highway reconstruction money[being snarky here folks, but seriously it was an hour long jam whose only redeeming event was watching some gal in an old Accord not let a guy in an Acura SUV merge, and then they squished and crunched into each other right in front of a police car].

  31. HtG Says:

    500, I also thought the dash looked a bit cheap. But as to the overall look of the car, they quite boldly frame the driver’s head, so when one goes by you see who’s driving. Most cars, I can’t see who’s in it, except for yesterday this little man driving a big german thing, and just seeing over the dash, was at a light behind me. Like a joke on himself.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    #19 “Only 213k miles” To some people that is an impossibly high number of miles, but it depends on vehicle and where you drive, in a large metropolitan area where distances are not long, but you get snow and potholes galore, most cars just won’t make it to that point, out in the country or suburban setting where you drive more and roads are better it is common to see such high numbers. the thing is that most people get tired of their wheels before long and thy end just getting rid of them.

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ G.A, Branigan #28

    Oh dear ! I knew Marchionne was a stunad as well as a stronzetto , but I never figured him for a Trafficante di Droga .

    Hmmn . Wonder who he’s doing it for . La Cosa Nostra or the Camorra .

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 29 Welcome to the wild and wonderful World of Hot Rods & Customs . For sure more than a few are a bit rough around the edges , but a better bunch of people to get to know , you couldn’t find anywhere else in the Automotive world . Well excepting MINI owners :o )

    As to the Acura vs Honda debacle , glad to see there’s a bit of poetic justice still left in the world , smacking into each other right in front of a cop . Wish it always worked out like that !

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the upcoming issue of CR, they lambast the new Civic to the point where they don’t even recommend it, reliable or not, seems that they found it so lacking and so inferior to previous Civics that they just could not put a stamp of approval on it. Usually they have avoided recommending cars that although test out well have yet to prove their reliability, this is the complete opposite. BTW despite this, I think it will still sell pretty well.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they want to sell more Fiat 500′s, a good place to start would be to have some dealers. There are only three in all of Florida, and they don’t seem to be in the prime markets where people might buy the 500 as a third or fourth car “just for fun.”

  37. HtG Says:

    @34 When I went to the autoshow in NY this spring, I remember writing here that Honda must understand something I don’t. One thing I meant was that they knew what their customers valued. We’ll see. (I also said the same about the new Versa sedan. Hhurrp) But a couple of years ago I sat in the Honda Insight, and couldn’t help notice how cheap the rear door panels looked. All hard plastic, I thought at the time that Honda would get a pass. No mo.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    FIAT 500

    If….. they want to sell more of them , they need to stop building them on the cheapest FIAT platform available , then trying to pimp them out , as well as prove their reliability is better than its EU counterpart , as well as make the interior at least look quality even if it isn’t , along with offering a bit more power ( nothing like zipping away in your new Italian Sports Hot Hatch at the speed of a lame turtle , while getting your tail kicked by every other small Hot Hatch out there including the Siesta )

    Seriously , other than its external cuteness the 500 brings nothing at all to the table .

    Oh and that pretentious Ferrari version 500 they’re getting in the EU/UK . If that isn’t as bad if not worse than the Aston Martin Cygnet when it comes to a cynical attitude towards your customers , I don’t know what is .

    Ehhh Stupido . You’sa wanna da cheap a Ferrari I gotta da bargain a basement Ferrari for ya . Hey just a ignora da FIAT badge …. see right a here itsa say itsa da Ferrari . If a da horsey shes ona da car … itsa da Ferrari . Trust a me .

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I drove a 2012 (automatic) Focus this morning, and, to me, the thing they should do is desensitise the throttle at low speed. It was hard to drive smoothly at parking lot speed, at least until you practice using very small amounts of pedal. Once moving, I thought the transmission worked great under most conditions. If made very smooth, quick nicely rev-matched upshifts at near full throttle. The downshifts were also smooth, but after downshifting and accelerating a few seconds, the transmission had a bit of a hard time deciding what to do after you let off the gas to go constant speed. Overall, a few software tweaks are all it would take for me to like the power train.

    As far as the rest of the car, the chassis felt good, the seats were comfortable, but, to me, the cabin was not too attractive in the mid trim level car I drove. I find the Cruze interior more attractive.

  40. HtG Says:

    “If a da horsey shes ona da car … itsa da Ferrari.”

    trying not to laugh, and failing

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The people who will buy the 500 will do so because it’s cute. The colorful interior fits the car, and potential customers will like it, even though it’s plasticky. This is a cheap car, after all. Yeh, it is slow, but it’s quick enough to do ok as a city car, which is what it will used for.

    If the reliability turns out to be terrible, that will be a problem. Time will tell on that.

  42. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    You seen the sticker prices on the 500 ? Cheaper than the MINI yes ( barely ) But Cheap ???

    Most definitely not . The 500 being firmly ensconced into the Premium small car segment . With an interior that makes even the worse out there look decent .

    @ HtG #40 Glad I could help :o

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t even think people will even consider this 500 a safe car, FIAT has been out of the US market so long that for those who don’t follow the auto industry, it’s like something from outer space, unproven and questionable safety and reliability, with all the available competition and the bad economy, it’s a big question mark

  44. MJB Says:

    @32

    That’s nothing. I say “only” because I got 273K out of my ’91 Acura Integra before selling it off to a teen who I knew was just buying it for the purpose of tuning.

    I expect at least 400K before having to do anything major to this engine. But seeing as how I’m going to have to invest in something with 4-doors real soon, it will be quite some time before the odo on the SC sees that milestone.

  45. tj Martin Says:

    Never Ending SAAB story ;

    Oh oh . Me thinks the death knell is at the doors of Trollhatten .

    SaabsUnited today is reporting that SAAB only sold 100 cars in its homeland of Sweden for the month of July .

  46. MJB Says:

    Oh, and Pedro, you mentioned that most people get bored of their cars long before reaching that many miles. True.

    That’s why I only drive cars that I am passionate about. Takes a lot longer to grow tired of it that way.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A base 500 is about 16K. The mid-trim one that CR recently drove with auto temp control, satellite radio, and a few other options was around 18K. A Fiesta I saw on the lot where I drove the Focus this morning was over 20K.

  48. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    Try and find a base model 500 anywhere in the US . Like base model MINI’s they are unobtainable unless you order them that way .

    All the ( ahem ) mod trims I’ve seen have been more like 19-20K on the lot ( a reminder Kit that I just finished up a project for FIAT USA and believe me they were bending over backwards to get me to buy one , showing me Nationwide inventories etc with ” Dona you wanna dis one Mr a Tj ? ”

    @ MJB – # 46 – Sometimes passion and reality come into conflict , with maturity and wisdom allowing reality to win . Hence selling my 98 4Runner after a decade of good use , the 365GTC4 after almost 20 , and trading in the MINI after three years of fun . Reality being a Horrible Mistress when left ignored . Actually she’s a ______ when left unattended .

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    500 is obviously a “niche” car, less so than a smart, but more so than a MINI. There is really no comparison, though, between the 500 and and smart, because the 500 drives decently, at least with a manual transmission. Smart does not. 500′s closest.US competition, size-wise, will be the Scion iQ when it arrives.

  50. HtG Says:

    Sitting in the back seat of the iQ scared the bejingleberries out of me. Your back is just a few inches from the exterior of the tailgate. Just try to imagine. I got the same feeling looking at the ratrods from the 30′s with their fuel tank rear bumpers and javelin steering columns. At least with the 500 there’s some trunkage. iQ still gives me the chills.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeh, compared to the iQ, the 500 trades back seat room for cargo space, and the “look” they were after. The iQ is a very efficiently packaged car, but I agree, that proximity between the back seat and back bumper is kind of scary.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit & HtG

    Ahhh grasshoppers , but what you do nor take into account in your comparison of the 500 and the iQ ( personally I know for a fact the 500 is a direct competitor for the MINI as it is in the EU/UK but …. )

    The iQ grasshoppers is a TOYOTA ! Built on a bespoke TOYOTA platform . With TOYOTA’s safety and reliability ( its over the top according to all the UK German Italian press ) And here’s the real kicker . The iQ drives better than the 500 ( EVO )

    Whereas the erstwhile 500 is built on the worst POS FIAT makes , with its current reliability ( very bad ) from the EU/UK following it along with its safety record ( somewhat worse than its reliability .

    Moral of the story grasshoppers ;

    Do not let your eyes overcome the facts at hand .

    Buy the iQ if you need a small city car that WORKS and are unwilling to pay MINI prices . Ahh so . Sensei Martin has spoken .

    @ HtG – Rat Rods . Thats the whole point . Nuff said !

    ( we gotta get you up to speed on the whole Hot Rod&Custom scene )

  53. cwolf Says:

    Gee guys,49 comments already,so start without me why don’t ya?

    An ol’friend who teaches at Aquinas has a C-class and claims to get 37 mpg on the highway. His only bitch is the cost of rubber and having to have two sets.
    It does look like the next year or so are going to be pretty rough, so hold onto your wallets. But if you have a wad in savings and can wait a year,I bet you can splurge on a car you always wanted at a bargan price.
    Re #5; pedro, you must be as old as I am,you ol’slug!

  54. tj Martin Says:

    http://www.bangshift.com/blog/Cool-Gallery-Mega-Moto-Demo-Day-at-the-Simeone-Museum-Unobtanium-in-Action.html

    Just to show HtG I am paying attention to his recommends

  55. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    Your friends C Class milage . Well after my road trip in the GLK which according to the computer I averaged ( highway , mountains city and town ) 25.2 overall for 1603 miles , so I can see 37 mpg in his C-Class .

    Like any car it all depends on how you drive it .

    By the by overall what is his assessment of his C-Class ? Seeing as how the missus might be wanting one next year ( with 4matic though )

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    cwolf, you inspired me to test drive the Focus. I’m glad I did. It was interesting to experience the transmission

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The guy who got 37mpg in the C-Class must have been going downhill a lot, at least if it was a US market car. Cars with 18-25 epa numbers don’t do that well, no matter how you drive.

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    When the IQ comes out it will really make the 500 look even worse than it looks now, plus the updated and (by all accounts) improved Beetle the 500 may be sitting in dealers lot for a long time.

  59. Youngblood Says:

    Bob: You are F—ing nuts but I think you are the GREATEST -next to Mohammed Ali. Keep up the entertaining work. PS I’m for hire to take “care” of your brother. Youngblood

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    37 mpg from a C Class!!!! Does it have a sail deployed on the roof?

  61. cwolf Says:

    Let me try to contact him. He, more than I,is very conscious of his driving habits. This guy loves cars as much as we do,esp the oldies!

  62. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Seeing as how you make the rounds in the general vicinity I have to ask . You ever spent any time in my old summertime stomping grounds ? ( N. Wildwood and Cape May )

    @ Pedro – Even amongst the Limeys in Blighty ( UK ) who call everything Toyota and Lexus Refrigerators , the iQ has been getting rave reviews , so………

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Saw the 2012 Camry photos online, it looks more better than the current one although I think they made the rear look like a larger Corolla. I’m glad they did not try to copy Hyundai’s “Moving while standing” flowing lines.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wish we could get the Aygo here, it is the right car for today’s depressed economy and persistently high gas prices.

  65. pedro fernandez Says:

    I cant believe I wrote “it looks more better” WTF was that??? I meant to say looks MUCH better than the current one.

  66. motorman Says:

    the new CAFE standards are out there to get obama thru the 2012 election by making the greens happy. after the election the standards will be deemed imposable to meet and lowered. it is all about the votes.

  67. cwolf Says:

    Your grammer is acceptable. Looks like your class in “ebonomics” has paid off!

  68. cwolf Says:

    Honda’s profits would have been even worse if 400mil. from cycle sales were’nt included.

  69. HtG Says:

    sorry tj. The closest I’ve come to Cape May is preparing a tech report years ago. But, here’s a link to the group that put on the show this weekend in Philadelphia. http://hotrodhoedown.com/

    There is also a RoadhouseRadio show associated which plays on WPRB.com on Tuesdays from 1-4pm. It’s called RockabillyRoadhouse on the Facebook contraption.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cape May is one of the primary reasons NJ is called the Garden State, it almost reminds you of Cape Cod and vicinity.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if Honda will EVER be able to get their manure together, or is it too late. Just look how long Acura has been in the dumps, anyone?

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was in Cape May once in 1971. Some Navy friends went there for a weekend beach trip from the DC area. I liked it. It was really pretty and “quaint” compared to some other NJ, MD, and DE beach towns we went to.

  73. cwolf Says:

    Rusting gas tank straps on the F150/250 causes another recall. How can anyone screw up a simple piece of iron? IMO, this is just carelessness that should have never have happened.

  74. cwolf Says:

    Recall involves 1 million trucks!

  75. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    re ; Cape May

    Wow ! Brother you should see the place now if 71 was your last trip . All those Hippy Dippy houses as well as the multitudes of abandoned homes are now some of the most spectacular Victorians in the US . A bit too gentrified perhaps , but do it right and its the place to take the little woman . September the week after Labor Day is the ultimate . Low prices . Everything is still open . Hardly any tourists and the water temps are at their warmest . Closer to Martha’s Vineyard than Cape Cod if you ask me .

    Guaranteed Mrs Gerhart will be thanking you for months on end if you go . Mrs Tj certainly did !

  76. tj Martin Says:

    F150-250 has another round of recalls . Geeze , how many is this now . Number ten ?

    @ cwolf . FYI . Take my advice to Kit and take Mrs Wolf to Cape May as well . A happy wife is a happy husband is a happy home .

    And seriously the week after Labor Day is THE week to go . So from September 12th on this year .

  77. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    OK saw the Hot Rod link . Mea Culpa . You should of sent me the link when you asked if you should go or not . This is the hard core nutter bunch , which in small doses can be fun , but for an entire show is way too much in my mind .

    Apologies . Had I seen the link first , I’d of said go to the Snobfest ( Ferrari day ) or better yet that event at your favorite museum .

    Now I feel really bad for badgering you today :o (

  78. tj Martin Says:

    Damn the smile should of been :(

  79. cwolf Says:

    tj, I will give Cape May a look. No time to go out west this year and the timing may just turn out to be perfect. If arrangements can be made, Ill be needing your input of “must see” sights. Thanks a bunch.

  80. HtG Says:

    no way, tj. It’s what I was expecting to find. The bands were a surprise though. If you watch this clip of the lesser band, Coffin Fly, you’ll get a taste for the crowd. Wait for the camera to pan.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBbmxhBSe-Y&feature=related
    (that kid has some stage presence, eh?)

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would be great to see Cape May again, but might not be such a fun drive to get there from FL. I’ll consider it, though.

  82. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    what ever you need there mate . I’m glad to help . Plenty to do there between Cape May and Wildwood ( WW being the 50′s kitsch party town ) and even Stone Harbor ( Yuppieville but plenty of worthwhile things to see for a day trip )

    Let me know if you need it .

    @ Kit Gerhart – Drive to Delaware and take the Ferry to Cape May . Its the only way to fly ( drive ) from your end

    @HtG – Glad you weren’t disappointed in the show . Phew now i’ll sleep better tonight :o

  83. john787 Says:

    tj Martin

    The real reason why the Japanese didn’t have to pay pensions years back when they setup shop here in the USA, is because they were no one with enough time to retire. I’m surprised this has to be explained to you when it’s so obvious.

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