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Episode 768 – Survey Says: Americans Want Fuel Economy, Fiat 500 Failing, 2013 Ford Mustang

November 15th, 2011 at 1:00pm

Runtime: 8:35

Consumer Reports conducted another survey asking Americans if they are in favor of higher fuel-economy standards, and guess what?  Of course they are!  Sales of the Fiat 500 are going slow in the American market, in fact Ward’s data shows there was a 30 percent decline in October compared to September.  Ford is making some big changes to the Mustang for the 2013 model year.  All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.

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This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, November 15th and here’s what’s going on in the industry today.

LIES FOR LIARS
Consumer Reports conducted another survey asking Americans if they are in favor of higher fuel-economy standards. Well of course they are; 93 percent said so. But then come the lies. 56 percent of Americans said they WILL buy a hybrid or electric car. And 81 percent said they’d pay extra to buy one. Why do I call these lies? Because Consumer Reports has been reporting these results for years. Yet, hybrids account for 2 percent of new car sales, while gas-guzzling luxury cars and big SUVs continue to sell strong. The lesson in this is don’t believe what people tell the pollsters. Instead, watch what they actually buy.

FORD ≠ FUEL ECONOMY
Speaking of fuel economy, Ford says that two-thirds of Americans don’t believe the company has fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford’s vice president of marketing, Jim Farley, says that perceptions of fuel economy greatly affect how an automaker can price its products. He says Ford needs to boost the public’s perception of its fuel economy so it can raise prices. Even though that perception has improved, Farley says Ford has a long way to go.

FIAT’S FAILING 500
Sales of the Fiat 500 are going slow in the American market. Ward’s data shows there was a 30 percent decline in October compared to September, so Chrysler will suspend production of the 1.4-liter engine, which powers the 500, for the next two weeks. The company laid off 30 employees at its engine plant in Dundee, Michigan. Here’s the problem. Fiat kind of blew the launch. It still doesn’t have all its dealers up and running, and besides, with only one model in the showroom, not enough people are coming in to shop the brand.

EMPTY COFFERS
Earlier this year the U.S. Treasury Department said losses from the auto bailouts would be around $14 billion. Now with a big drop in GM’s stock price, the agency has revised its estimate. The Treasury now says it expects the loss will be over $23 billion.

GOOGLE MOTORS?
It’s no secret, Google is developing autonomous cars.  The internet-search giant has been testing them out in California and a fleet of modified Toyota Priuses has been cruising around the Bay Area for some time now.  But a curious paragraph in a New York Times article makes it sound like Google will build its own vehicles, and do it in the U.S.  It makes sense for the company to update existing cars to add autonomous functionality, but to actually manufacture its own vehicles sounds absurd.

2013 FORD MUSTANG
Ford is on a roll with the Mustang.  It seems a year doesn’t go by without it getting some big upgrades.  The iconic ponycar was redesigned in 2010. Then, for 2011, it got a host of minor enhancements plus a brand-new powertrain lineup including a reborn 5.0-liter V-8.  And Ford is at it again for 2013.  The car’s styling has been reworked.  It gets new technology including an information display that shows all kinds of parameters like 0 to 60 times, cornering G’s and braking performance.  On GT models the five-oh gets a nice bump to 420 horsepower.  Two new colors are even available – “Gotta Have It Green” and “Deep Impact Blue.”  But the biggest story here is the Shelby GT500.  It gets a brand-new 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 that delivers a staggering 650 horsepower with 600 foot-pounds of torque!  Ford claims it’s the most powerful production V-8 engine in the world.  Amazingly, it’s exempt from the gas-guzzler tax.  Top speed should be more than 200 miles an hour.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow afternoon for our LIVE coverage from the LA Auto Show. We’ll give you a walking tour of what’s being unveiled on the floor, as well as some great interviews with some of the top automotive executives attending the show. That’s tomorrow starting at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It.

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Motorman wonders, “Why are not the auto companies working on more natural gas power vehicles since the USA has lots of cheap natural gas?? Could it be that with a natural gas compressor in your garage to fill your car, the state and federal government would have no way of collecting road fuel tax?” Motorman, it’s up to the people to buy these vehicles and they simply are not buying them. First, it’s hard to find gas stations that serve natural gas. When I test drove a CNG Civic I discovered the closest natural gas station I could find was 20 miles away. Second, those CNG vehicles are really expensive. A CNG Civic is about $7,000 more than a base gasoline version.

Denis saw our story on how Chinese automakers seem to be following part of Mao Tse-Tung’s military strategy and says: “This is how the how the Chinese Communist central planning committee directs their corporations, in order to beat the capitalists at their own game. Ironically, the Western brands are assisting in their own demise, by their substantial transfer of capital and technology to the Chinese auto industry. This strategy is clearly outlined in Sun Tzu’s, ‘The Art of War.’” Denis, I think that automotive trade issues with China will become a major global issue later in this decade.

T. Bejma is ticked off at people putting down the Chevrolet Volt because one caught on fire. He says: “This one caught on fire 21 DAYS(!!!!) after being hit by a side impact sled!!!!” Good point. This was a crash-test car that was severely damaged, but passed the crash test and was left to linger in the bone yard, and then it caught fire. The root cause definitely needs to be uncovered, but I would not say that there is a problem with the Volt.

XA351GT is not very impressed with the new Toyota Camry. “For having 90 percent of the parts redone it doesn’t look much different than the last Camry. It’s boring, reliable and will sell by the truck load to those that only care about going point A to B.” You’re probably right, it will sell well. But will it sell as well as it did before? My guess is that Toyota is going to have a harder time holding onto that No. 1 slot with the Camry.

Don’t forget that you can subscribe to Autoline Daily so that it automatically arrives in your e-mail box every day. You can also get our announcements of special programming that will be appearing on the Autoline website. Just go to Autoline.tv, scroll down the home page and look for the banner that says Daily Email. Best of all, it’s free.

And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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107 Comments to “Episode 768 – Survey Says: Americans Want Fuel Economy, Fiat 500 Failing, 2013 Ford Mustang”

  1. jesse Says:

    That new Mustang sounds like a winner!I’m loving these HP wars!It’s the late 60′s all over again only with much better technology!I’m thinking I may become a FORD owner rather then getting another Corvette or CAMARO ZL1.Keep up the good work boys!~!!

  2. Tom Says:

    Of course the Fiat 500 is falling flat on its ugly face! It is BUTT UGLY!! Who’d drive that thing???

  3. Jeff Myers Says:

    No surprise on the lack of interest in the Fiat 500. It’s too small to be of any real use except pure transportation, it’s a brand that doesn’t have a true presence in North America yet, and it’s curb appeal will lure a very niche buyer at best. Echos of Smart Car?

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Fiat 500 is not going to compete with MINI, so they shouldn’t try to sell it like MINI, with only a handful of dealers. The car doesn’t compete with anything else Chrysler has, so why not sell it at most, or all Chrysler/Dodge dealers?

  5. HtG Says:

    I read that Consumer Report poll just as brutally. People want higher mileage cars so they can save money? I wouldn’t call them liars so much as dim. Hey, let’s just put all the burden on car makers to give us everything and then we won’t pay them for it. I’d like to hear what carmakers think about their customers. Just once.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    I disagree on the Camry, it will do as well as the outgoing model specially if the new Accord continues Honda’s march into oblivion with another disappointing inferior replacement model.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 yeah, that makes sense, let me spend more money up front so I can save some gas in the long run, that is why the new Mazda 3 won’t work out because in order to get the much heralded Skycrap technology, you have to buy the top of the line model, which puts you into the price of a higher class of car.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #6,
    I agree on the Camry. While the new and old don’t look much different, the new one actually has a nicer interior, and it gets better gas mileage.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    NEW SHELBY

    Damn ! Makes me wish I didn’t love and live in a snow zone ( as well as planning a move back to an even deeper one ) Me likes ! 8)

    FIAT 500 ( Failed to Launch)

    Ahem . Kudos please . I predicted this from the day I first saw them in the UK press , reinforced the idea once I’d driven one and have been railing against the StronzettoMobile ever since .

    Trying to pawn off a re-bodied econo car as a competitor to the bespoke platform MINI was a stupid idea from day one .

    Then again …. this is Stronzetto Marchionne we’re talking about ;-)

    CONSUMER REPORTS LIES

    Ahem ! Kudos again for moi I’m afraid . I was the first to say it about CR publicly and been their biggest critic since my car buying experiences of late dealing with CR .

    Everybody lies . Including Consumer Reports

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The amount of extra money people will pay for mpg depends on the price of gas that day. If gas goes up to $5/gallon next week, Priuses, Fusion hybrids, Escape hybrids, etc., will sell like crazy, and at above sticker price. If gas drops to $2.50, monster SUV’s will have a huge resurgence in sales.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit have you seen the new Camry in person? they did away with the exaggerated fenders and “I’m on steroids” look that I did not find too appealing at all, I prefer the more subtle look, I think they must have been looking at Audi and not at Mazda when they redesigned this new one.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Note to CR: PEOPLE LIE!

  13. Jon M Says:

    John, you are spot on with your analysis of the consumer reports survey. It makes me wonder just who they’re surveying to get such inconsistent survey-to-market results. How has C/R not noticed this inconsistency? This is supposed to be a reputable magazine with expert reports, so why do they continue with something that clearly is not achieving whatever objective they have in mind? Personally, I found not interest in a survey that contradicts real-world results. Besides, what else does it do but just show how people lie? As if you need a survey to know that!

  14. tj Martin Says:

    $23 Billion US Tax Payers dollars , flushed right down the drain to the automakers.

    Along with the $1.28 Billion Obama handed over to TESLA and FISKER , as well as the $Billions he’s dumped into every other Green waste of money lately.

    Nice . Real nice .

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #11,
    I’ve seen it, but I guess I didn’t pay as much attention to the exterior styling as you do. I like both the new and old ok. The interior in the new one stood out as being nicer, though, at least in appearance.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding the CR stuff, people say they want higher MPG if they aren’t told that means smaller, and more expensive cars. Similarly, I guess they say they will buy hybrids, if they aren’t aware that when the same car is available as hybrid and non-hybrid, the hybrid will be substantially more expensive.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    The new Camry is like the original LS in refinement specially with the V6, the reason so many people go for it is that they feel they’re getting a near luxury car for the cost of a regular one.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    #16 How many times I’ve heard people say “I love that old Rabbit diesel with its 40 plus mpg” Yeah but would you actually buy one like it now? smelly smoke and all.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    # 10

    Not me I’m afraid . Along with the other multitudes who’ve gotten wise to the Oil Companies tactics , along with needing to keep said Hybrid for a minimum of TEN YEARs to compensate for the extra cost vs gas savings , as well as wising up to the fact that far too much of the so called Green’s statements being as much if not more hyperbole than the Head in the Sand far right trying to deny any problems

    Truth be know , most the so called ‘ Green Agenda ‘ is in fact just another in a long list of ploys to get the $$$ out of yours and my back pockets

    I made the decision this last April , when it comes to buying a car .

    I Will Buy the Car I want and to H – E Double toothpicks to whom and whatever group doesn’t like it

  20. Jim Taylor Says:

    CR readers are NOT a nominal cross-section of middle America. The tend to be the non-emotional “dorks” (and I say that kindly as a subscriber and son of a subscriber) who probably ARE the Prius and Volt buyers. They tend to be more wealthy than average, more comfortable with advanced technology and more environmentally conscious than average. I expect most CR readers have as much interest in cars as refrigerators.

    Consumer report readers are no more a nominal cross-section of the automotive public than your readers are, John! We are technologically knowledgable, engaged, interested and, of course, extraordinarily good looking!

  21. HtG Says:

    CR. I’ve taken a couple of phone surveys, so I’d like to hear the sequence of questions that were asked. These surveys ask more than a couple of simple questions. Did CR ask people how much more they’d pay for a car that got ’10′ more miles per gallon if it meant it would take so-and-so many years to earn it back? Did they ask people what they would do at certain gas price levels? Has anyone seen the actual questions?(hint; if you have caller ID you can see that strange number calling you for a few days. It may be a survey since getting a specific phone number helps to randomize the sample. I recently took a survey on purpose, and found it was the regional electricity company asking all kinds of questions about nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. It was a very extensive interview, covering technical and political matters that I doubt your average genius knows much about. So I wonder what CR also asked.)

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just read a report by CarMd.com and Toyota comes out # 1 in the least money spent for repairs of all brands with Corolla getting the top spot and followed by surprise, surprise Hyundai. Honda, Ford and GM rounded out the top 5

  23. motorman Says:

    #14 but look how many union voter jobs your taxes saved. i know that everyone who has a job at GM and chrysler will vote for obama in 2012.if romney is the repub candidate i can see the ads now,if he was president instead of obama you auto workers at GM and chrysler would not be working.

  24. MJB Says:

    @6 – Sorry Pedro, but I think Johnny Mack may be right on this one. Camry rales will not likely match those of the outgoing model, but for one key reason he failed to mention (this time around):

    Kia/Hyundai.

    ‘Nuff said.

  25. MJB Says:

    OFF-TOPIC, but somehow never off the radar:

    http://editorial.autos.msn.com/5-things-your-kids-wont-learn-in-drivers-ed-%e2%80%94-but-should?icid=autos_2094

    This piece is so right. Except my man writing it simply didn’t have the walnuts to call a spade a spade. At the conclusion of each of the 5 ‘reasons’, he refuses to conclude that “Yes, this IS an issue!”.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #18,
    A friend had two Rabbit diesels. They were smokey, stinky, clattery, and SLOW, but they got good mileage for that time. I could hardly believe the refinement of a 1.9 TDI when I first drove one, and I suspect the TDI gets better mpg than the Rabbit diesel got.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    #24 Only time will tell, but if the economy does not pick up, people will be spending their money more carefully, which usually translates into safer, well established brands and models.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect the CR question was very simply worded, and did not get into things like how mucg you’d pay, etc.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #19,
    Keep in mind that Priuses, and some other hybrids hold their value very well, so there is not a ten year payback. This is especially true if you sell the car when gas prices are high.

  30. HtG Says:

    @25 MJB, now you’ve gone and made me sad. I agree with the author’s worry that driver aids are eroding skills. I saw it first hand at SkipBarber driving school, as young people had to brake at the limit without ABS. There was blue smoke all over the place as they tried and tried to modulate the pedal pressure against the feedback from the car. I’ve been driving non-ABS cars for 30 years, and the module was a piece of cake. It’s like these kids are driving in a different language.

    But I also think it’s not practical to teach the masses how to drive in extreme circumstances. The money spent on forcing driver aids onto all cars seems to me to be well directed. And anyone that wants to learn the real deal can come up with a grand or two which will uncannily show them that they don’t need a high priced hormonal hoonwagon to have some fun.

  31. MJB Says:

    @30 HtG

    Yeah, it’s a double-edged sword, all this technology. It does in fact make driving safer. The numbers don’t lie.

    But it’s definately happening at the expense of every driver’s ability.

    BUT, they said the same sorts of things back in the day when calculators started being allowed in the classrooms (kid’s will get dumb), when Word Perfect introduced us all to auto-correct (people will forget how to spell), and probably when Otis invented the braking system that made vonventional elevators commonplace (folk will become lazy).

    Conclusion – as much as I hate seeing basic driving skills errode (many of which were never even there to begin with for the vast majority of knuckleheads on the road), all these automotive technological wonders and advancements are a necessary evil.

    btw, does errode have one ‘r’ or two? Hmmmm… Where’s that darn auto-correct?

  32. HtG Says:

    Laughably lame parallel parker that I be, I admit I’d like to have a rear view cam.

  33. SpicyMatzahBall Says:

    CONSUMER REPORTS LIES

    Edmunds CEO Jeremy Anwyl testified to Congress with the same position John takes on this, refuting a Maritz survey. Anwyl gets a laugh from Congress members too.

    http://youtu.be/hNHM2_kHuJ4

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The survey says, and I quote CR’s web site:

    1) Eighty-three percent of survey respondents say they’d be willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient car.
    2) A majority (56 percent) say they will consider an electric or hybrid for their next car, but only 16 percent are thinking about a diesel.
    3) Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) would consider buying some type of hybrid or electric car if they become more widely available over the next 15 years.

    Note that 56% said they would CONSIDER an electric or hybrid. They didn’t say they would BUY one as today’s article indicated.

  35. MJB Says:

    @33

    Incredible, the depth of white-wash covering the eyes of the general public on this issue (and so many others that I shall not bring up here).

    Simply amazing.

  36. SpicyMatzahBall Says:

    There’s often a disconnect between market research and the real world. The whole process of how questions are asked, how respondents interpret the questions, and how data is reported becomes a lot like the telephone game. I don’t need a study to tell you a lot of people will consider something that sounds good but they know little about; but they’ll get cold feet when they learn that it will cost them a lot more money.

  37. Kate McLeod Says:

    Hi John,
    You seem to be on a negative campaign against Consumer Reports. I’ve know the CR crew for many years and they are honest, dedicated engineers and support staff whose entire focus is helping the consumer. That the consumer lies isn’t their problem, yet the way the post was worded felt like you were out to get them. They’re great and the consumer needs them.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #36,
    Exactly. Most of these 56% probably haven’t been car shopping lately, or seriously enough to know what’s on the market. They could very easily say they would “consider” an electric or hybrid, but when they find that they don’t make F150 hybrids, or that Camry hybrids cost a lot more than regular 4 cylinder Camrys, etc., their level of “considering” decreases quickly.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #37,
    I hope, and assume that John’s leaving out the word “consider” in his post was an oversight, and not deliberate.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think people would rather spend their money to get luxury touches in their cars rather than higher MPG’s.

  41. HtG Says:

    Great clip SpicyMB. Some of our keen colleagues may be able to discern from the camera angle exactly which side of the divide the Congresswoman was seated on. Little story? My BiL told me once about kidding friends on congressional committee staffs about the stupid questions being asked of witnesses: To which he heard, yeah that’s true, but give us some better questions to give the reps.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    I let my wallet speak for me, (that’s when my wife is not around)

  43. MJB Says:

    @40

    You got that right. Most of us do want to at least FEEL LIKE we’re moving up in life as we get older. It’s this crowd who fits the bill of your sentiment exactly.

    If a buyer’s got an extra $3,000 to $5,000 to toss at a car purchase, my bet is they will opt for an upgrade to a nicer vehicle with better luxury appointments over the exact same class of vehicle they’ve been in for the last 6 years, but with better gas mileage.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #40,
    That is the case with many people, but while I tend not to pay extra for many “gadgets” in cars, I sure get used to them, and like them. My base Prius has “keyless start,” or whatever they call it, with a thing that doesn’t have to leave your pocket to unlock and lock the doors, or make the car go. It seemed silly when I got the car, but now that I’m used to it, I miss not having the same thing on my MINI.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey Kit, Lexus vehicles come with that feature and sales people always like to point it out as a “luxury” feature, and here we have the Prius, an eco-friendly car, NOT a luxury car, which also has it.

  46. HtG Says:

    @45 The push start bobo is also available on the lowly Versa. I think that what is marketed here as a luxury feature was put into European cars as a safety feature. The idea is that there is no key in the steering column, so in a frontal impact the driver’s knee doesn’t get scalloped by the edge of the key.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @45,46
    Probably Prius is about the cheapest car that has keyless start as standard equipment, but it will “trickle down” to where nearly all cars have it within a few years.

    At some point, it gets as cheap to put a certain “feature” in all cars, to simplify build. That’s probably why you can’t get cars with crank windows any more. If most of them will have electric windows, it’s cheaper to make them all that way.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    HTG but the Versa and most other cars don’t come with the key that automatically unlocks the car and lets the driver in without pushing ANY buttons, just by having it in your pocket, It’s a cool feature until it breaks down.

  49. tj Martin Says:

    # 43

    Darn tootin MJB . Ya aint jes whistlen Dixie on that thar comment .

    @ Kate McLeod – If you’re in so tight with the CR bunch you might want to bang on their door and clue them into the plethora of inaccuracies and dated info they’ve been spewing out of late , along with their excessive bias and pathetic system of poll taking

    Simple fact is , Mz McLeod , that CR has become totally and completely out of touch with reality as well as the man on the street : existing in a synthetic Ivory Tower of their own making

    @ 46 The Start button gizmo is just another bit of marketing hype to convince you somehow you’re in a Race Car , not the lowly , albeit decent Econo car you’re actually in .

    FYI . No pretentious Start Button in the Benz my friend , so the safety argument falls to the wayside

  50. tj Martin Says:

    # 48

    The Benz doesn’t come with that bit of pretentiousness either , assuming the owner is fully capable of inserting a key into the ignition and turning it when desiring to start

    So I guess REAL luxury doesn’t need pretentious fluff to impress the potential buyer .

    Hmmmmn

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ahem, TJ remember I have no power anything, remote trunk lid nor even a working windshield spray, so I have learned to live without all these modern conveniences,even when I rent a new car, I still use the keys to open the doors and trunk. Old habits are tough to break.

  52. HtG Says:

    Here’s a link to an old Edmunds piece on Keyless pushstart. They write that one consideration for MB is that requiring a key in the steering column makes theft harder. They also write that pushstart is easier for people with arthritic hands.(we are getting older. not me, though) But I do recall reading about the safety angle for Europe.

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/going-keyless.html

  53. HtG Says:

    off off topic. TJ, I just heard a piece by John Mackey called ‘Breakdown Tango.’ Know anything about this person?

  54. cwolf Says:

    @ HtG Re#46: Just out of curiosity,How does the Knee get “scalloped” by the edges of the key when it IS in the ignition? Never-the-less, can one also conclude if the roach clip that often dangles around the rear view mirror is replaced with the those large fuzzy dice,from the 50-60′s, will the head be better protected from being cut by the mirrors edge? Gunna talk wiff some of da home boys to get me some of dem dice real soon!

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #49,
    You have to pay about $600 extra to get keyless start in a Benz, at least up to and including an E-Class. It seemed a little silly to me, but I like it, as long as it keeps working. I suspect you would like it too.

  56. cwolf Says:

    While I’m at it,maybe add’in sum curb feelars would add some style,too and I wouldn’t have to hang my white stick out the winda ta get home!

  57. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    John Mackey is a new one on my radar , but here’s his website if you’re interested ;

    http://www.ostimusic.com/

    As far as having a bit of luxury , well you’ll be my age as well some day at which point you’ll appreciate a tad bit of comfort , especially if you were lucky enough to burn thru your Automotive ‘ Bucket List ‘ while you were still young enough to enjoy them

    Gotten the Phil Hill book yet ? Every chapter is a gem .

  58. tj Martin Says:

    # 55

    Actually Kit , I had Keyless start in the C6 , Cadillac SRX and Infiniti FX35′s i rented during our multiple trips the Denver over the last three years : to manage a family members care and it drove me batty .

    Call me crazy but I do not like having a key in my pocket unlocking the doors and setting the car up to start just because I’m within 10 yards of the thing

    Nope Keyless Entry IMHO is a waste of money and a major annoyance . IMHO

  59. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Listening to Mackey’s ” Break-Down Tango” ( aka Redline Tango ) on youtube as I’m typing .

    Good stuff . Nice catch ! Molto grazie

  60. HtG Says:

    54,59, I think the problem with keys in the past was that they were simply a metal flange. When a driver accelerates to the dash, maybe submarines, people got stabbed. Look at today’s keys, they have a rubbery case with blunt sides. I don’t know if this is to make them less dangerous, but it looks it.

    ___
    I heard the Mackey piece on Q2

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #58,
    With my Prius, the door doesn’t unlock until you touch the handle.

  62. HtG Says:

    how does the car know it’s you, Kit?

  63. cwolf Says:

    The article I read about Fords fuel economy stated Ford polled is owners. The owners did not say Fords were not efficient. They said they were unhappy with the mileage they were getting. I think there is a difference. My tiff is believing vehicles mpg ratings can/should be determined by actually driving each vehicle under city and hwy. conditions rather some bogus ideal set-up. Put those numbers on the window sticker and I would be a tad more happy.

  64. Dr. GM Says:

    Ford complaining about their fuel economy image. Didn’t they just release information about the new fire breathing mustang? Wonder why we have such an opinion about ford and fuel economy? Maybe they should complain after they release more information about larger engine upgrades to the King Ranch pickup too? Timing could be better guys.

  65. tj Martin Says:

    KIt & HtG

    The whole keyless thing

    That was the problem i had especially with the C6 and the SRX , was never really being sure ( can’t see the locks from outside ) whether the car had unlocked itself or not . Maybe like the Prius they operate only when the handles lifted , but I had no clue and sure as heck wasn’t going to read the 300 page manual to find out

    That and I really do not like the key in the pocket while driving schtick either , but I also hate talking cars ( GPS ) as well so maybe thats just me .

    And yeah Kit . Even if they did operate like the Prius how’s the fool thing ( the car ) know its you ?

    @ HtG – I figured you heard him on Q2 but i still appreciate the heads up . Just found out if I upgrade to the iPhone 4G ( I’ve got the 3G ) I can get the free WQXR and Q2 app , so’s i can listen to them in the car ( Benz has the cable in it ) I’m considering it .

  66. tj Martin Says:

    5 1/2 months gone by of the 6 month trial subscription to Sirius XM

    I’m not impressed . Far too many repeats of the same song , sometimes within 4 hours

    If they want my business they’ll have to toss a major discount my way or I’m letting it drop at the end of the free period .

  67. cwolf Says:

    What a coincidence tj,I let my Siris lapse,but for different reasons. There are too many channels and varieties,and my fav. oldie cop shows for me to worry about repeats. For me, it’s the cost! A couple hundred a year,then so much a month! I’m waiting for a call or card offering a discount.

    Don’t need to go keyless,but I love the Auto Start in the winter. Warms the car and defrosts the windows before walking out the gate.

  68. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    The new Mustang options look good. I hope Ford keeps this trend up on all new models in the future, making small meaningful upgrades every two to three years between major overhauls. Even if that means the major overhauls are further apart. I feel it keeps things more interesting.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t even want stop/start in my car, I hope there is a way to deactivate it.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #62,
    I have the electronic key thing in my pocket.

  71. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I don’t really know how start/stop operates,but the reported mpg gain caught my eye eventhough I do little of it going to work. Is it a “one more gadget thing” that turns you off? That would be mine.

  72. Aliisdad Says:

    I am sorry to see how bad the Fiat is doing since it really is a pretty cool little car…
    I drove one while waiting at a dealer a month or two ago, and it was a fun little car..It seemed well built and was pretty good handling…The 500 really does seem small though, so I doubt that it would be a good “everyday” car; however, it would be a perfect weekend getaway car…Might have to travel light, though, since luggage space is pretty limited, yet it is in the small sports cars, too…I kind of had high hopes for FIAT in the US, so it seems too bad that they choose this model to start here…Also, I agree that most dealers were not really ready, yet…In fact, the local dealer did not have “new” 500′s because they had to buy them and put them on the lot as “used” brand new cars!?!?! They explained this and I think it had to do with the establishment of the FIAT studio..but I am not really clear on the details…Bottom line is the FIAT seems to have made a few mistakes getting re-established in the US…Hopefully, they still have a chance to start again!!

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #64,
    Yeah, if someone else has the key and knows what car it goes with, they can get in the car and drive it.

  74. cwolf Says:

    My wife has auto seat adjustment. She likes it. I can do without. I have electric seat recliners,but for as often as I use it,I could do with a manual. I once had a Taurus with an Insta -Clear windshield. It was a useful novel, but I could do without. My wifes Edge has an auto lift-gate. Now that we are older and the wifes arms ache at times,it is a plus for us. Nice when carrying groceries. I think tj has remote folding mirrors. I think this is way over the top! As he would say; Theeeept!

  75. XA351GT Says:

    I saw my 1st Volt in the real world today parked in the QVC lot next to where I work. Took a walk and looked at it. It’s a nice looking car ,but no way would I EVER spend the money they want for it. Itll never pay it’s self off. Until E/Vs cost as much as comparable ICE cars and equal their range they are a lame duck in the market I don’t care how bad CR trys to sell it.

    I’m beginning to see more Fiat 500s on the raod in my area ,but like the Smart I find for their size the mileage doesn’t add up. Cars of their size need to reach 50 MPG to offset the lack of space they offer for passengers and packages.

  76. XA351GT Says:

    I have a question about start/stop tech. What happens if you have your lights on,heat/AC ? If the car stops running so does the charging system.So if your stopped in traffic with your lights on don’t you run the risk of killing the battery if your stopped a long time? Also If your engines shuts off no heat or AC so I can see that being uncomfortabe as well. If you have these items on does the car automaticly stay running??

  77. XA351GT Says:

    Finally Ford has corrected those ugly a$$ taillights on the current Mustangs.

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    XA supposedly the AC works with electricity but I am sure in the Fl heat and bumper to bumper traffic, the thing ain’t gonna work, its one of these thing that look ok on paper and when you get out in the real world, hot, humid, rainy heavy traffic and you have no AC to clear up your windows,NICE

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, #50,
    You might be interested to learn that keyless start which you call “that bit of pretentiousness” was first used by Mercedes-Benz, albeit in the S-Class, but it soon became available in lesser models as an option.

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @cwolf #73,
    Did your insta-clear windshield work well? I was living in Indiana when that became available, and it looked very appealing. I figured everyone would have it within a few years. Instead, Ford dropped it. Was there a problem with it?

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #75,
    The lights would not be a problem, nor would the heater, during stops of no more than a few minutes. The A/C would probably not work, though, with a basic start/stop system using only a 12 volt battery. Most “full hybrids” have electric A/C running off the big battery, so it keeps working, but I doubt if anyone runs an A/C compressor with the 12 volt battery.

  82. Brent Burrows Says:

    A 650 horse Mustang! WOW! Those are some very impressive numbers. Its all going back to the great Chevy vs. Ford horsepower wars of the 60s. Its happening all over again, and thats not a bad thing. The new ZL1 will have to get a major upgrade after just one year if it hopes to outrun this new Mustang.

    Love the show and keep the news about the Pony cars coming.

  83. tj Martin Says:

    AUSTIN F1 IMPLODING

    Looks like the ‘Jersey ‘ boys were right ;

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/construction-halted-at-formula-one-grand-prix-racecourse-in-austin/?ref=automobiles

    But then again , Jersey boys are always right . But you guys already know that , don’t you ! :o

    ( anyone not rolling over in laughter right now is missing out on the joke )

  84. tj Martin Says:

    # 78

    Yeah maybe , but unlike everyone else Benz is smart enough to keep it an option , with an available ‘ delete ‘ box if its included in a package . Most Benz owners I’ve met so far ticked the ‘delete ‘ box if they ordered new

    Believe me I understand the appeal ( well actually I don’t ) , it just doesn’t ( appeal ) to me in the slightest .

    I do think its rather pretentious to offer this option in an Econo box though , because as you must , know they shaved some quality off something else probably more important to keep the said equipped Econo box at a specific price point

    No matter what companies like Hyundai would have you believe ;

    ” There is no Free Lunch “

  85. HtG Says:

    tj, I got past the part where Ferrari says how much he cares about door gaps!

  86. tj Martin Says:

    KEYLESS ENTRY question

    So Kit

    Here’s the question I’ve had every time I’m stuck with a rental that has keyless remote entry ;

    Assuming you are standing within the prescribed range of the remote , what is to stop someone else from jumping in the car ahead of you , starting it and taking off before you get to the door ?

    Sound paranoid ? Think about that for a minute . If the car thieves ‘ know ‘ which cars come with the option , don’t you think they’d come up with a strategy like that to steal more of them ? I would if i were them .

  87. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Glad you got the book .

    Enjoying it I hope .

    I’m in chapter 4 , taking this one slow as I don’t want to just burn thru it

    Yeah that was Enzo to the tee . Damn the paying customers , race one full ahead . He was a pip . But ….. at least he was an authentic maniacal genius of a pip .

  88. HtG Says:

    when I was a kid my father took me to the Chinetti store in Greenwich. They let me sit in a Dino and shift the gears, fantasy style. I had no idea.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #83,
    It would be nice if MB had a “delete” box for more significant things, like AWD on the E wagon, but that’s MBUSA.

    As far as keyless start, it would not cost much to do, now that it has been figured out, but it is a very expensive option, $650 on a GLK. That is significant, even on a fairly expensive car. I like “KEYLESS-GO” as MB calls it, but I wouldn’t want to pay $650 for it.

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #85,
    If I am within range, someone can open the door and get it, but the car won’t go unless the key thing is inside the car. At least that’s the way it is with my Toyota.

  91. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #87

    Did the same only with one of the cousins ( not the swiss bunch obviously )

    You can blame the Italian grandfather for my all things Ferrari ( until lately ) fascination . He brought a diecast of one of their F1 cars back from a trip to Italy in 64 . Thats when i ‘ discovered ‘ old copies of R&T at the Flea Market ( Amish had a complete section so parents went every week to stock up on hams etc )

    Next up was the movie ” Grand Prix ” and poof , i was hooked , racing gokarts a couple of years later while playing music

    Damn I hate what Ferrari has become . More ‘ Marketing & Merchandising ” than about the Cars . Which have become pretentious F1 wanna be’s instead of great GT’s

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Something that I do consider a little silly is “push button start” that still requires you to put an electronic gadget in the dash, as with my MINI. That is slower, and less convenient than inserting and turning a key. I’m used to it, and it doesn’t really bother me, but it doesn’t make much sense.

  93. tj Martin Says:

    #88

    That like I’ve said before , is the American consumers fault , not MBUSA . Every time they’ve tried offering up a ‘ Budget ” Benz the sales fall flat .

    Face it Kit , you and I are probably two of the maybe twenty potential M-B customers that would go for a more basic Benz .

    Heck I’d of preferred the ‘ Off Road ” package GLK offered in Germany myself ( makes no sense why they don’t offer that here in the Land of Off Road )

    But thats the way it is .

    The overwhelming majority of American M-B customers DO NOT want stripped down Benz’s

    You and I being the minority no company these days can afford to cater to .

    Doesn’t mean we’re wrong . Just means we’re the extreme minority

    > Keyless entry – So I wonder if thats how it works in the cars I’ve rented with it . C6 SRX and FX35 to remind you

  94. HtG Says:

    @90 as I read the account of Chinetti working with Ferrari to develop their brand in the post-war US, I thought about what the current company is doing in Asia. Couldn’t Ferrari be repeating their strategy of catering to a newly wealthy powerhouse?

  95. tj Martin Says:

    #91

    In the MINI it makes some sense . The whole interior theme is about being ‘ cute ‘ and lets face it , the little pushy starter button , silly as it may be is … ‘ cute ‘

    So IMHO its consistent with the overall design

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #92,
    I’d guess that all of the keyless go systems would require the “key” to be inside the car for the car to move. I’d think it would take some tricky antenna design to make is work as intended, but they seem to have it pretty well worked out.

  97. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #94,
    Yeah, the MINI key thing and button does go along with the styling interior theme of the of the MINI.

  98. tj Martin Says:

    #93

    Ahem . And what Economic Powerhouse in light of all thats coming to the surface lately would that be ?

    No , Montezemolo has simply taken a page from Harley Davidson , going the extreme merchandising route ( SheikMaranello Land and the Ferrari Pit Experience in a mall near you [ EU ] being the worst examples ) as well as sucking up to the image conscious who keep there cars all of a six month average and never drive them , at the expense of building genuine GT’s

    I wouldn’t mind if they were offering a bit or two for the idiot , keeping the rest of the line as authentic GT’s . Even the occasional merchandising bit would be OK

    Problem is they’ve gone way too far overboard , yet are still deep into the ‘RED Zone ” financially in spite of ‘ Selling Out ” as they have .

    So now no Class or Profits and Beiberlicious and Paris of the Hilton’s toodle around in the cars . When of course nobody really knows .

  99. tj Martin Says:

    add to #97

    IMHO both Beiber and Hilton ( along with a few others ) only purchased the cars to ‘ Pose ‘ in for the press .

  100. tj Martin Says:

    #95

    Having decades of experience with remote and wireless , you’d be surprised how simple the technology really is .

    Its actually harder to keep the systems ( be they IF RS etc ) from not extending their range beyond the desired distance , and in fact in spite of the technology they often do . More often in fact then the manufactures would like to admit

  101. tj Martin Says:

    # 99 should of read RF not RS

    Notha cuppa coffee somebody please

  102. tj Martin Says:

    …. and IR

    Sheesh . Make that two . Cups o Java that is .

  103. HtG Says:

    97 now that was a rant LOL

  104. tj Martin Says:

    #102

    Why yes it were 8)

    Thank you very much ( takes a bow ) No no …… you’re too kind … thank you very much .

  105. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    RE; FERRARI THEN AND NOW Pt II

    This just came to mind .

    The single biggest difference between Ferrari of old and the current iteration is this ;

    Back in Enzo’s day , he had built the cars he wanted to build , rarely if ever catering to the market and even when he did ( the California being an example ) he still built them the way he wanted to ( not always a good thing )

    Then on occasion , if he thought the celebrity both important and classy enough : and … classy enough …. he’d cajole the celeb into buying one ( or two or three ) and on the very rare occasion offer a discount ( history shows more often then not he upped the prices for celebs )

    Today Ferrari builds all their cars to cater to the Celeb and Celeb wanna be’s crowd these days that’ll buy one , gives them away on occasion to them and couldn’t care less if they have any class at all .

    And then there’s that SheikMaranelloLand , $400 powered by Ferrari Hair Dryers , Cologne ( if you want the genuine Ferrari cologne , buy a bottle of Aqua de Parma which Enzo used and Montezemolo now owns ) etc

    The term ” Sold Out ” comes to mind , especially amongst the true Ferrari aficionado .

    I’m speaking of the road cars in this rant of course

  106. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #99,
    The trickiest part would seem to be making the car “start” only when the key thing is inside the car. I’ve done a little experimenting with my Prius, and if the key is in my pocket and I’m right next to the car, I can reach through the open window and the start button does nothing. If I hold it up higher, even with the center of the window and about where the window would close, it will start. If I hold the key about two feet outside the car, and at window height, it will sometimes, but not always start. That’s probably about as good as they can do with it.

  107. MJB Says:

    @ #73

    Yes, but what’s different about your scenario than how a car would be stolen using a key?

    Thief get’s remote entry fob, steals car.
    -vs-
    Thief gets key, steals car.