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Episode 773 – Soave Swept From Fiat, Opel’s Three Musketeers, Volt’s Chinese Price Tag

November 22nd, 2011 at 11:45am

Runtime: 9:40

In a move that probably did not surprise anyone, Laura Soave was let go as head of the Fiat car brand in the American market.  Speaking of personnel moves, General Motors appointed its vice chairman, Steve Girsky, as the chairman of the supervisory board of Opel.  If you thought that the Volt is expensive here in the U.S., good thing you don’t live in China!  All that and more plus a review of the new Chevrolet Sonic.

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This is Autoline Daily for November 22, and here’s what’s happening in the industry.

SOAVE SWEPT OUT
In a move that probably did not surprise anyone, Laura Soave was let go as head of the Fiat car brand in the American market. Sales of the little Fiat 500 came nowhere near the 50,000 unit sales goal that Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set for the car. According to Ward’s, sales through October were only 15,826 cars. A key reason why Fiat missed its target by such a wide margin is that it was extremely slow to sign up American dealers. And that is why Laura Soave is being replaced by Timothy Kuniskis, who has worked at Chrysler for 19 years, most recently as head of Fiat marketing in the U.S. But here’s my Autoline Insight. Soave was handed an impossible sales goal. No way is Fiat going to sell that many 500s in the U.S., especially when the dealers only have one model in the showroom. They need at least three more models to bring in more customers. But even with that, I think Fiat would be lucky to sell 50,000 Cinquecentos in all of North America. But this is also indicative of Sergio’s MO. If something isn’t working, he doesn’t waste time. He gets rid of who ever is in charge and tries someone else.

GIRSKY MOVES TO OPEL
Speaking of personnel moves, General Motors appointed its vice chairman, Steve Girsky, as the chairman of the supervisory board of Opel. And just to make sure he’s got the muscle he needs, GM CFO Dan Ammann is joining him there, as well as the President of GM’s International Operations, Tim Lee. Opel needs to take drastic actions to get its costs and capacity in line with market realities. That means closing plants and laying off workers in Germany, and that is going to be a battle royale, hence the reason to give Girsky some backup.

UAW (STILL) TARGETING TRANSPLANTS
Now that the UAW and the Detroit automakers have reached labor agreements, the union says it’s going after those pesky transplants. The Detroit News reports that the UAW is training organizers for “informational picketing” at foreign dealerships. They’ll hand out leaflets explaining the benefits of joining a union, but foreign car dealers are hopping mad about that. They don’t want customers distracted from buying a new car.

BRING YOUR LITTLE RED CHECKBOOK
If you thought that the Volt is expensive here in the U.S., good thing you don’t live in China! The Detroit News reports that the Volt will cost more than $75,000 when it goes on sale in eight cities in the Middle Kingdom. Since the Volt is built in Detroit and exported to China, it gets hit with a hefty tariff, and it doesn’t qualify for a tax credit of nearly $20,000 for EVs. GM CEO Dan Akerson says if the Volt starts selling well in China, it will consider building it in the country. Well, at 75 grand it ain’t gonna’ sell at all!

WULING ‘ROUND THE WORLD
Three carmakers really dominate automotive exports from China: Chang’an, Chery and Great Wall. Not wanting to miss out on all the fun – and profit – SAIC-GM is challenging them with its VERY inexpensive Wuling vans. They’ll start building the Chevrolet Move in Egypt starting next year, assembled from knock-down kits, with a goal of about 5,000 a year. Very smart of GM and SAIC to compete against domestic Chinese automakers in emerging markets.

CHRYSCIA? LANCLER?
Interesting article from Bloomberg. Fiat is working on a common design language for sister-brands Chrysler and Lancia. The move is aimed at saving money and more than doubling global sales to 800,000 a year by 2014. The common design cues will have to work on wide-array of different vehicles, from subcompacts to minivans, AND in a number of different markets. That’s a VERY tall order. With the shaky economy and Euro-Zone debt issues, moving more metal in Italy, where Lancia sells about 90 percent of its cars, will be very, very challenging. That tells me the lion’s share of the growth will have to come from Chrysler.

Coming up next, a look at the Chevy Sonic, we’ll be back right after this.

2012 CHEVROLET SONIC
The subcompact segment has never been a bright spot for Detroit. The Ford Aspire and Geo-slash-Chevy Metro spelled this failure out with a capital “F.” But Motown’s latest B-segment offerings are revving things up. The Fiesta is a great choice and GM’s newest subcompact promises to atone for some of its past sins.

I’m talking, of course, about the Chevrolet Sonic. This spunky little car is available as either a sedan or hatchback. Either way, it hits the road with big-car features like a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, OnStar connectivity and a roomy, quiet interior.

When it comes to target markets for the Sonic, Chevrolet sees college campuses and urban areas, like San Francisco, as great opportunities because, according to their research, they’re home to the prefect kind of buyer.

And one thing these younger buyers will appreciate about the Sonic is its affordable price, just $15,000 for an entry-level model. That includes a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and 138 horsepower. A five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic are the two transmission choices.

More performance-oriented customers can opt for a one-four turbo. Horsepower is the same as the base engine, but it delivers a much fatter chunk of torque, with a peak of 148 pound-feet. For now, a six-speed manual is the only gearbox available with this engine. An auto will be available in the spring.

Safety is another key component of the Sonic. It’s something that was baked right into its architecture from day one.

The car’s safety ratings and fun driving dynamics are great news for buyers, and they’re things GM is very proud of, but that’s not all the company has to brag about. Right now it’s the only subcompact sold in the U.S. that’s actually made in the U.S. – it’s built in Orion, Michigan. The Fiesta can’t make that claim, nor can the Fit, Versa, Accent or Yaris.

The Sonic is the second in a trio of small cars Chevrolet is introducing. It’s a ‘bridge’ between the compact Cruze and the A-segment Spark, which should launch in North America in about a year or so. Reporting from San Francisco, California for Autoline Daily, I’m Craig Cole.

Another way Chevy is helping the Sonic stand out from the crowd is through personalization. It’s offering buyers a variety of different body graphics to choose from so they can really personalize their cars. The selection was created by GM’s design staff and can be added to any Sonic as a dealer-installed option.

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

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

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63 Comments to “Episode 773 – Soave Swept From Fiat, Opel’s Three Musketeers, Volt’s Chinese Price Tag”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    SOAVE SWEPT OUT

    Yeah right . Blame it on Laura , not the fact that the car is an over priced POS , 99% of the dealers salesmen are real ‘ Tools’ , Marchionne sent the wrong models and the fact that FIAT other than J’Lo hasn’t spent a dime on promoting the little dumplings .

    Methinks Mz Soave had been made the perennial ‘ Scapegoat ‘ to hide Stronzetto’s ongoing screw ups

    CRYSLANCIA

    Bet me these messes will sell as well in the EU/UK as the 500 does here .

    Common design language for two brands that couldn’t be more opposite if they tried . STUPID !

    Marchionne’s Madness Marches On ! Though I’m betting Stronzetto’s feeling the pinch in his back pocket now that his main a Gumba’s out of office 8)

  2. tj Martin Says:

    SCAGLIETTI

    A moments silence to acknowledge the passing of one of the last true Great automotive designers

    Arrivederci , your kind is sorrowly missed

  3. tj Martin Says:

    And last but not least

    Those of you with VELOCITY channel on your cable/satellite service

    Chevy 100 . Great show .

    My favorite part was the section where John Fitch was giving commentary that was directly contradicting the Chevy Commercial for the first Corvette . I was rolling on the floor in laughter .

    Spin Doctors then . Spin Doctors today . SSDD ;-)

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    They blame this poor girl when the whole cincocento car is a freaking mess, I’m convinced cincocento means manure in some country, btw my local Fiat dealer has a defibrillator with a tech on site so when people with weak hearts see the $18k sticker for the midlevel and $26k for the cloth top with the noisy, leaky, half-assed roof go into cardiac arrest. Funny at the end of the segment you talk about a car that is a better choice all around over the aforementioned 500

  5. HtG Says:

    NY Post obit on the king of NYC street food, Sabrett owner dies.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/man_behind_nyc_famous_sabrett_hot_PCsqDhX131ZvM5nHDObiqL

    __________
    Fiat. One does wonder if dealers will start to cheat on their pricing agreement by boosting the value they’ll place on your trade. They currently charge MSRP, but hey, c’mon.

  6. XA351GT Says:

    Maybe dealers didn’t sign up because they knew it would be a money pit. Until Fiat can prove it isn’t the same as old (unrealiable) It’s going to be hard to sell in big numbers. I tried one on for size in Feb at the Philly Auto show and felt I was sitting “on” the seat instead of in it. Felt like a truck seat from the late 60s early 70s. Other than a seat belt it felt like nothing was supporting you from sliding side to side . I think many people would find this unappealing in the day. The seats in my muscle cars have more support than these did.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why should we get excited about this Sonic, after all it is a Daewoo designed and engineered product made by a company whose history of home-made small cars include the Corvair,Vega and Chevette so I’m sorry to be pessimistic re. the Sonic and upcoming Spark! BTW I hope I’m proven wrong, I really do.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    The best dogs I ever had were Sabretts from a street vendor who changed the water in his hot dog cart as often as there have been government changes in Cuba.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    #8 New York City of course!

  10. HtG Says:

    Fiat and JLo. Does anybody remember the ads introducing Infiniti? Will the JLo ever wash off the 500? Who would put JLo on during a Jets game? Do they not know who watches the Jets? Isn’t it clear that Jets spelled backwards is nasty?

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder how many people JLow has managed to send to a Fiat Torture Chamber sales floor with those over the top ads?

  12. C-tech Says:

    Without the rest of the story about who made what decisions on Fiat, I see you “Haters”, as my kids say won’t quit. The 500 is not a bad car, nor is it designed to compete directly with the Sonic or Fiesta. It is a specialty car much like the Mini and hardly anyone compares a Mini to a Fiesta. I am curious why it was introduced in stand-alone dealers, during an extended recession, with no companion vehicles. There is probably another 5,000 in sales waiting for the Abarth edition (too bad they could not take advantage of the good reviews from Top Gear). Hopefully the new guy will take advantage of this debacle (remember the Corvette was a disaster intially!) and reduce sales expectations, perhaps introduce the Punta, and get more commercials which STAR the car and not Jenifer Lopez.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf, I’ve met a Corvette once and I tell you the 500 is NO Corvette, they shouldn’t even be in the same category

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I a say a fifty, not a fifteen a thousand; you a not a make a me happy Soave. Arrivederci, babe, you a out a here a. All flippancy aside, she was charged with a job; does anyone know that she did well despite failing to meet or even approaching the goal that was set, now that’s when we could comment with authority.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-tech

    Ahhhh my dear deluded site mate

    #1 Actually the FIAT 500 was and is directly aimed at the MINI Citroen DS3 (urp ) Sonic and the Fiesta by Marchionne’s and FIATs own admission

    #2 Good reviews from Top Gear ? I’m afraid not . On the show they tore the thing to pieces and the magazine is only vaguely nice , not positive about it

    #3 The First Corvette was a disaster initially BECAUSE the first Corvette was an under powered , over priced , ill handling POS

    #4 And …….. I had use of a 500 . Top of the line for FOIR days and some 150 miles . As XA351GT said above the seats are a joke along with every other aspect of the little turd . As much as KG might disagree the bloody Toyota Yaris for less money is by far the better car .

    #5 EVERYONE compares the 500 to the MINI INCLUDING FIAT

    As to why it was introduced in ‘ Stand Alone’ dealerships , that one’s simple

    Because Stronzetto Marchionne is a self deluded Ego Maniacal moron

  16. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    Having had a look see at the inner workings of FIAT USA during my shortened ( my choice ) relationship with them I can assure you 99% of Laura Soave’s ‘ shortcomings ‘ were due directly to the lack of Stock , Support , realistic marketing and budget coming from FIAT/Marchionne

    I’m not saying I like the lady . I do not . But place the blame on this one squarely where it belongs

    On Stronzetto Marchionne’s shoulders , narrow weak little things that they are

  17. C-tech Says:

    Go and review the Top Gear show about the Abarth

  18. Jon M Says:

    If the quality-sapping UAW dare hit a foreign brand auto dealership(s) in my neighborhood, I’ll make a special trip there just to tell the UAW where they can go…and how to get there! If you really want to see the quality of Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai suffer, just let the UAW have their way.

  19. C-tech Says:

    Drove the 500 and its ok in my opinion, sorry you did not like it, not the worse choice you can make. Porsche compares the 911 to school buses and pickup trucks – so what, you know who they are trying to reach.

  20. C-tech Says:

    The UAW did not sap the quality of Pontiac (Aztec), or Toyota (Corolla).

  21. Jon M Says:

    I hope GM really doesn’t expect the Sonic to atone for its sins. If they wanted to atone for their sins, they should have not begged the Government for bailout money–the worst sin by far–and let themselves fade into oblivion. It would have been the LEAST that company could have done to atone for their sins against me–and I’m only one person!

  22. Jon M Says:

    Well, John, I think your insight about Soave’s removal as head of the Fiat brand in North America is pretty spot-on. Although I don’t know much about Soave, it sounds like she got a raw deal. Still, pink slip-happy Sergio better think carefully before he so readily swings his ax, otherwise, he’s bound to end up getting rid of top talent for no good reason.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-tech

    “Go and review the Top Gear show about the Abarth”

    Yes and they said it was substantially slower , had less room in comparison to other cars in its class , had a cheaper interior , was too pricy for what was on offer and in fact Clarkson spent more time mocking the 500 than he did commenting on the car he was driving in the comparison test

    As to the Porsche Ad vs FIAT’s marketing strategy , I’m afraid you’re confusing Humor ( Porsche Ad ) with wishful thinking ( FIAT’s marketing )

    And again I didn’t just drive one , I had one for four days , so was able to give the car a complete look over including Highway , City , and town driving as well as being able to take the time to get past the cuteness of the thing and get down to the nitty gritty of whether or not the car was worthy of my participation in any further ‘ promotions ‘

    Despite the $$$ offered I came to the conclusion it was not . I wouldn’t place my name/work alongside that plonk for money or friendship , both of which were at stake

    ( FYI just as a reminder , my previous car was a MINI so I’m very able to make a clear comparison between the two . The 500 comes up crappers in comparison . For hardly any less money . Point Blank )

  24. Jon M Says:

    @ C-tech

    #20

    But the NUMMI plant wasn’t solely a GM plant.

  25. dave forslund Says:

    The European Fiat has trouble in America and the American GM has trouble in Europe!

    VW once said “Think Small” and it grew big, Fiat said “think big” (50,000 first year) and they ended up small.

    I think someone doesn’t like Timothy Kuniskis! The task at Fiat is a dream which could end up another nightmere.

    The U.S. smaller car market is growing in need but growing even larger in products available from manufacturers who already have name recognition in North America.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think you mean Pontiac Vibe, not Aztec. Also Geo Prizm for many years was GM highest quality vehicle next to the Le Sabre.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Gee thanks . Ruined my entire day . Snif . No more ‘ Dirty Water ‘ hot dogs next trip to the Big Apple . snif .

    :(

  28. tj Martin Says:

    Huey . Dewey and Louie now running OPEL . Considering the ” great job ” they’ve done at GM over the years , should we start making Funeral plans now for OPEL ?

    Or are they going to go begging to Merkel for some €’s like they did here in the US ?

    OOooops . Angie aint got no €’s to spare I’m afraid ;-)

    OPEL . Soon to follow in SAAB’s footsteps I’m afraid .

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #7,
    The Sonic is getting decent reviews for how it drives, and mostly good reviews for the ergonomics. Deawoo has made a lot of progress in their designs, from Aveo. To me, it all depends on how reliable the car turns out. I certainly wouldn’t want to be “the first kid on the block” to buy one.

    FIAT 500—Some people like the way it looks. It doesn’t drive great, but it drives decently, as least with a manual transmission. For those who like the car, it makes the most sense as a base “pop” model for $16K MSRP. Obviously, if you have only one car, a Corolla or Civic would be a better choice, both for cabin space, and an established record for good reliability.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe this is old news, but I just heard that they are going to build Chevy Equinox in the Spring Hill plant.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #23,
    A base 500 is ~$4K less than a base MINI. That’s more than “hardly any less money,” but I’d still buy the MINI over the 500. It’s a much better car. Also, if you sold the cars after a year or two, you’d get the $4K back that you paid extra for the MINI.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #24 “But the NUMMI plant wasn’t solely a GM plant.”

    But it was a UAW plant. That’s what C-tech was saying. It was a UAW plant that produced good quality.

  33. Jon M Says:

    @ 32

    Kit

    Yep. But product quality is only part of what makes the UAW so unnecessary for “foreign transplants”–and any other company for that matter. They weren’t and aren’t the only problem but they are a big part of it.

  34. Chuck Grenci Says:

    ‘We’ (most of our comment makers, me included) take pot-shots of a snapshot of the industry (the daily news, as it were). What we must (all) realize is the dynamic, of the industry, tries various strategies (some of which pan out while others don’t). We also, sometimes, use a sort-of, ‘pretzel logic’, or more correctly, ‘straw-man logic’ to make our points come across, which slants our reviews, and then after introducing our own prejudices, try to make our point; after this, then, we can appreciate the more level headed opinions (for the most part) of our host John McElroy (and also Peter D. on occasion).
    I shall step down from the soapbox and return you to your ‘already in progress’ diatribes.

    And a comment on the ’53 Vette; yeah, by today’s standards you might say it was a POS, but for it’s day, was, while underwhelming, pretty slick new technology (and after Zora did some of his handywork, well, good things began to happen).

  35. tj Martin Says:

    # 34

    “..And a comment on the ‘53 Vette; yeah, by today’s standards you might say it was a POS, but for it’s day, was, while underwhelming, pretty slick new technology (and after Zora did some of his handywork, well, good things began to happen).”

    Watch the Chevy 100 documentary and listen to John Fitch’s appraisal of the 53 Vette . In fact he states clearly he was shocked anyone at GM would think someone would buy one . Which … for the most part ….. they didn’t It was really really bad , which is why Chevy had to come back with almost a complete re-do , engine and all

    Compared to what was on offer from the Europeans the 53 Vette was in fact a very bad , expensive joke .

    The next one in line ? Now that was a completely different story

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Look at the “53 Corvette this way. It had about the same acceleration in 1953 as a new FIAT 500. I’m sure the 500 handles a lot better, though.

    I enjoy seeing C1 Corvettes at shows more than any of the newer ones, because they just look cool. Never mind, that, until the C4, Corvettes were not much more than factory built kit cars. If I ever bought a ‘Vette, I’d want a C5 or C6, because they are much better cars to drive, and not worry about, than the earlier ones.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For those who don’t know, the ’53 Corvette had a “blue flame” six and 2-speed automatic as the only available power train. The put 3 carbs on the engine, but it didn’t increase power very much.

  38. tj Martin Says:

    #31

    I dare you , anywhere in the US to find a ‘ Base Model’ 500

    I’ve had a few looks at the inventory , and I can tell you they’re few and far between with most retailing well over $20K and FIAT dealers reluctant to discount .

    Doesn’t matter what the base price is if you can’t buy one thusly equipped .

  39. tj Martin Says:

    #37

    The quality , fit and finish of the 53 Vette was abysmal as well . What we see at the shows these days are in fact much better than Factory New restorations .

  40. tj Martin Says:

    MINI Cooper Base price – $18,550

    FIAT 500 base price – $15,550

    Actual difference – $3,000

    Assuming you can ‘ find ‘ a base model 500 . Whereas at least you can order a MINI in base form

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    As of three days ago, FIAT of Melbourne, Florida had a red, base car with an MSRP of $16K.

  42. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    I continue to be amazed at the glowing reviews the Chevrolet Sonic is getting here and elsewhere. After all, I thought it was just a refreshened Daewoo product previously sold here as the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac Wave. Those vehicles typically received poor ratings for reliability and fuel economy. I know the vehicle is now made in the U.S., but surely changing the factory alone can’t change a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #40
    MINI Cooper base price: $20,200 maybe including shipping
    FIAT 500 base price $16,000 including shipping

    Difference: $4,200

    I don’t know where you came up with $18,550 for the MINI, unless it is from a several year old window sticker.

    Take a look at the MINI site at:
    http://www.miniusa.com/?cm=mcom_search_div#/build/configurator/mini-m

    I suspect you can order either car. I bought my MINI from stock, with 16 inch wheels as the only option.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #42,
    Sonic is a completely different car from the Aveo, and has different power trains, the same as used in the Cruze.

  45. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Bill Mitchell, the Father of the Corvette, Zora Arkus Duntov, the Savior of the Corvette; I still maintain the ’53 was good enough to start the sequence to what we have today. (Okay, I will give Ford credit for the Thunderbird that also helped save the Corvette because after the success of the Thunderbird, Chevrolet couldn’t drop the Corvette because of pride or maybe stubbornness; anyway, glad they did).

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Among other crudities, Corvettes had side curtains rather than roll down windows until the ’56 model year.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just found that ’55 was the second-lowest model year in production volume, with only 700 cars. I guess it took the Thunderbird, along with the V8 to get things going. Most of the ’55′s still had the 2 speed automatic, with a few having a 3 speed manual.

  48. tj Martin Says:

    # 43

    Take a look at the dealers inventory sites ! $3,000 !

    I don’t know where you came up with any of those prices as every resource I’ve looked at says you’re incorrect

    You’ve got an awfully odd search engine there Kit as this along with your M-B claims in the past haven’t even come close ! Better get that hard drive checked ;-)

    Yeah and just try and talk to your local FIAT dealer about ‘ Ordering ‘ a base 500

    Assuming he/she is polite enough not to laugh you off the Lot they’ll tell you ‘ Ordering ‘ any 500 is currently all but impossible . You ‘ suspect ‘ I know for a fact .

  49. tj Martin Says:

    Note to BMW/MINI USA

    RE; Ad idea

    Scene One ; 500 buyer drives off the lot in his/her brand new FIAT 500 with ear to ear grin

    Scene Two ; See said new 500 owner trying to shove luggage into 500′s so called trunk

    Scene Three ; See said 500 owner dealing with first Break down , waiting for a tow truck

    Scene Four ; 500 owner sitting in FIAT Repair Waiting Room saying to him/herself

    ” I could of had a MINI ”

    Thats on me BMW/MINI . Call it thanks for three and a half very happy years of MINI Motoring before the back gave out

  50. tj Martin Says:

    #43

    Oh and Kit . That $3,000 extra you’ll spend on the MINI ?

    Assuming the 500 lives up to its EU/UK reputation you’ll be spending double that on repairs for the 500 , never mind the differences in resale value between the two

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #48,
    It’s the MINI USA site. I’m comparing MSRP of the two cars, dumb a$$. I haven’t shopped for either one, since the MINI a few years ago, so I obviously don’t know what I could buy either one for. Neither do you.

    I suppose your “fact” of not being able to order a 500 is kind of like your “fact” that an inline 5 cylinder engine is smoother than an inline 6, and your “fact” that garbage dump gas is 100% methane. Give us a break, for once.

    By the way, I checked the MINI site using an Apple device. You should like that.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM still lags behind the Asians and Ford in 4 cyl. engines, otherwise they wouldn’t have used a turbo 1.4 as the optional premium engine in Cruze or Sonic, the 1.8 with more HP and torque should have been the “premium” power-plant. Fiat 500 is the Yugo for the 21st century.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #50,

    “Assuming the 500 lives up to its EU/UK reputation you’ll be spending double that on repairs for the 500 , never mind the differences in resale value between the two”

    You may be right on that, after the 4-50K warranty ends. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend the car to a friend, even if they liked the way it looks and drives.

  54. HtG Says:

    Questions on your experience driving the 500,tj. Did you push the car out to the edge at all? Like braking hard, quick changes of direction? Is the steering numb or vague? Can you steer the thing with the brakes or gas pedals? What’s the throttle response like? Maybe I should just schlep over to Larchmont, then?

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #52,
    It seems like everyone who drives these cars likes the 1.4 turbo better, because it has a broader power band and sounds nicer. Given the extra complexity, though, I’d want a power and/or gas mileage advantage, and there isn’t much of either.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, a turbo in an every day economy car is a big gamble and a maintenance nightmare. It’s ok in a performance car, but not a subcompact.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    So the Chinese jack up the prices of American goods with their tariffs and yet if we put some tariff on their crappy, dangerous tires, they go all egg fu young on us and threaten all kinds f reprisals, geez! Mac Arthur must be turning in his grave.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #56,
    I’ve had some turbos, and have one now in my ’89 van that I don’t drive much, but yeah, I wouldn’t want one in a car that I planned to drive 250K miles.

  59. HtG Says:

    57 Stilwell too. But hey, when they eventually pony up to save Europe, at least Marshall will rest.

  60. cwolf Says:

    I rode in a new Sonic to go out to lunch. For a small car it rode well,was very quite and was roomier than I anticipated. Forget all stuff written…Go out and drive one to see if it fits YOU and your NEEDS!

    pedro,ya just gotta stop inhailing those Havanas! You addressed me while the comment responded to was from C-tech.

    That thar feller who said the UAW would ruin the quality of them thar foreen makers is a dern fool! Heck,quality is one of them things engineered inta da car! We screw up reliability da most,but we is cutt’in back on da booze and refa, so itz gett’in betta. YOU BIG SMUCK!!!

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf sorry about that , I realized what I had done, but I am still worried about the red neck sheriff on route 66, BTW I suppose the UAW was also responsible for all the poorly built British cars throughout the years.

  62. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    If you’re poking in

    RE; The Phil Hill book

    Ugh ! What an inglorious end to such a life . Wins the only F1 championship by an American born racer , nobody knows or cares . Von Trips in death becomes more famous than Hill in life ( I had no clue of the Schumacher/von Trips connection ) . Career goes to pot .Winds up right back where he started , listening to classical music and restoring classic cars . Then Parkinsons etc to make his last days a bit of hell .

    Was it all worth it I’m asking myself , for both Hill and von Trips ? Ten years ago I’d of said yes . Finding myself in a similar position in my chosen profession today , I’d have to say definitely not . Call it a bit of midlife crisis , whatever but I’m no longer much able to see the point of all the sacrifice when in fact it ended up where I and Hill/von Trips could of been all along . To quote a Richard Thompson song ;

    ” The things we give up for the chains we left behind ”

    I knew this already , but isn’t it also a bit Ironic that both US F1 champions ( Hill & Andretti ) both won at the expense of their closest rivals lives ?

    Anyway thats it for me for today .

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL ( yes you as well Kit )

    Stay safe . Keep the rubber side down ( if you’re traveling ) and by all means DO eat too much tomorrow ;-) Might as well enjoy it while we can .

  63. HtG Says:

    I just got past the part where Hill sets a new fastest lap on the Nurburgring in the shark nose Ferrari. He did a 8’55″. Broke the 9 minute barrier. Hell, Jeremy Clarkson did that in a diesel Jaguar sedan. I grew up reading Phil Hill in R&T. You can ask what the purpose of sport is, and confront as Hill did, that you are serving other interests. Power and interest, if you read your Plutarch, like your neighbor Mr Truman. And I am seared by what Jackie Ickx said was his greatest accomplishment in racing; “that I am alive.”