Episode 774 – Mazda Manufacturing in Mexico, China Catching Up in Safety, Used Car Market Strong

November 23rd, 2011 at 11:30am

Runtime: 7:45

Mazda is moving production out of Japan to Mexico because of the strong value of the yen and the number of free-trade agreements Mexico has. Chinese automakers are starting to learn how to make safer cars. The Geely Emgrand EC7 and the MG6 were awarded four stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests. The used-car market in the U.S. remains strong and in some cases second-hand vehicles are not depreciating in value. 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 November 23, bringing you the latest news in the automotive industry.

Japanese automakers are getting hammered by the strong yen, so they’re moving production out of Japan to low-cost countries. Mazda’s CEO, Takashi Yamanouchi, says they’re moving to Mexico because it has so many free-trade agreements. Mazda decided not to go to Brazil, which has one of the fastest growing car markets in the world, because Brazil’s free-trade agreements only reach 6 million car buyers. Mexico’s free-trade agreements reach 40 million car buyers which is about the size of North America, South America and Europe combined. As you know, Mazda is abandoning its plant in the United States because the U.S. only has free-trade agreements with 17 countries, while Mexico has FTAs with 41 countries.

Up to now Chinese automakers have failed to receive high marks in European crash tests. We’ve shown you this clip of a dummy’s head nearly being decapitated in a Landwind crash test. But it looks like Chinese automakers are starting to learn how to make safer cars. The Geely Emgrand EC7 and the MG6, were awarded four stars in the latest Euro NCAP tests. And testers believe that it’s only a matter of time before Chinese cars are receiving five-stars in tests.

Chrysler dominates the minivan market in the U.S. with the Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan. But the Detroit News reports the company will drop the Dodge version in the U.S. when the next-gen minivan debuts in a couple of years. However, in Canada, the Chrysler Town & Country name will be dropped. That’s because the Dodge Grand Caravan is more popular in the Great White North, outselling the Town & Country 10 to 1. In the U.S. the Town & Country traditionally outsells the Grand Caravan 2 to 1.

USED CAR MARKET REMAINS STRONG (subscription required)
The recession changed the automotive industry. No doubt about it. From the bankruptcies in Detroit to how people buy cars, the business just ain’t the same. And that hubbub really impacted the used-car market where prices are shockingly strong. According to Ward’s, in some cases, second-hand vehicles are actually NOT depreciating in value. Blame it on supply and demand. When the economic downturn hit, it gutted new-car sales, taking away between 3 million and 4 million of them. That means there is a much smaller pool of used cars available today. With the soft economy more people are going the preowned route to save money, hence the strong demand and high prices. And according to one analyst, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up. Prices are expected to increase by a few percentage points early next year.

No surprise here. J.D. Power has found users are DISSATISFIED with navigation systems. Poor routing, “address not found” errors and difficult-to-use interfaces topped the list of complaints. The research firm found that NAV systems from Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Toyota – among others – filled out the bottom of the list. Two bright spots were the new Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. They placed first and third, respectively in the owner survey. And I’d have to agree. I absolutely love the Garmin-supplied system Dodge is using.

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

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

A lot of you had a lot to say about Fiat dumping Laura Soave. Tj Martin says, “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.”

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

Phil in Burlington, Ontario writes in to say, “I continue to be amazed at the glowing reviews the Chevrolet Sonic is getting. 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.”

You’re right Phil, just changing factories isn’t going to make that much difference. But the Sonic is a completely redesigned car compared to the Aveo. And while I don’t think it’s as good as some of those gushing reviews would have you believe, it’s actually a pretty decent small car.

We reported that BMW bought SGL Carbon to make carbon fiber cars and that prompted Tom Kowaleski, the outgoing vice president of BMW North America to write in. “Just to clarify, BMW originally purchased an 8% interest in SGL Carbon at the time we began the joint venture to build a plant in Moses Lake, Washington to manufacture carbon fiber to be used in the new BMW i3 and i8 vehicles beginning in 2013. Today’s announcement was that the company increased its stake to 15%, rather than it being an initial purchase. BMW was the first automaker to take the equity stake in the company.” Thanks for the correction, Tom.

A few too many of you, in my opinion, wrote in to praise Peter De Lorenzo for filling in for me while I was at the Los Angeles auto show last week. Chuck Grenci says, “Thanks for helping John out this week, Peter.” LS Ford says, “Bye Peter. Funny how he hosted the show from a cockpit.” And W L Simpson says, “Good week, PD, John better watch his six.” Watch my six? Hey, Heyyyyyy!”

Thanks for all your letters and comments, we get a kick out of reading them. A programming note here. We’re taking the rest of the week off for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. That also means no Autoline After Hours tomorrow.

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

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


84 Comments to “Episode 774 – Mazda Manufacturing in Mexico, China Catching Up in Safety, Used Car Market Strong”

  1. LS ford Says:

    Was my comment interpretted as a compliment???

    ROTF LMAO!!!!!

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I never saw the point of paying thousands of dollars for an in-dash nav system, even if it worked well, when you could get a Garmin for under 200 bucks. Now, there is no point in the Garmin either; my smart phone does it all, at least in the U.S. The next time I go to Europe, I might still want to take the Garmin, though.

  3. jesse Says:

    I use to drive for a living in the NY METRO AREA so nav is useless to me.If I did need one,70 or 80 bucks for a Garmin,tom tom or whatever would do the trick.Sat. radio gives me all the traffic info I need anyway these days.

  4. tj Martin Says:


    Garmin – Somewhat better , but not really

    Smart Phone Nav – Worst of the bunch by a long shot

    Buy a map !

    All GPS Nav systems have an average error rate of between 1 block and 2 miles ; with the Portable systems ( e.g. Garmin TomTom ) having the lowest % of errors per usage and Smart Phone’s ( iPhone , Blackberry , android etc ) having the absolute highest.

    Add to that almost anything can affect your Nav systems accuracy , regardless of type , including Weather / Sun Spots / Magnetic Fields nearby / AirForce One being within a 2 mile radius / Microwave Antennas etc etc etc

    As well as the Autolocator function on your SmartPhone eating up another 25-30% of your batteries power reserves .

    ( ref. including Overland Journal , several Bicycling , Boating and Motorcycling magazines along with Govt studies etc )

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    In dash Nav., expensive yes, but being integrated is a lot more convenient. The OEM’s need to offer these at more realistic prices though. As far as accuracy, for the most part (in my experience) in-dash Nav in my STS and a portable (I-Way by Lowrance); pretty darn good.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My experience with my ~4 year old Garmin, and my Android phone (HTC EVO) is good.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, my phone eats up power when using the nav, so I leave the charger plugged in.

  8. Lex Says:

    I am waiting for the first OEM to offer a non-dedicated central display screen that is first a rear backup screen, and otherwise allows you to directly connect with your smart phone as an option. These elaborate and costly in-vehicle entertainment systems like My Ford Touch and others can be difficult and very distracting.

    If I need directions, I use my smartphone. If want to hear my playlist, I use my smartphone.
    I need to contact with the office, family or friends, I use my smartphone.

    The OEM’s are putting way to much effort and cost into these systems. Just put in a multi-purpose touch screen and becomes an extension of your smartphones screen and your sales with soar.

    The sales of the OnStar Rear View mirror for Non-GM vehicles has been dicounted form $299 to $199. This must mean that their is no real market for these things. Sell an On-Star APP for either your iPhone or Android Device which allows your smartphone to communicate with your vehicle, no matter the manufacturer, and display vehicle diagnostic information and all other popular features On-Star has to offer.

  9. Lex Says:

    “As you know, Mazda is abandoning its plant in the United States because the U.S. only has free-trade agreements with 17 countries, while Mexico has FTAs with 41 countries.”

    Mazda is closing it’s plant in the USA – Boycott Mazda Vehicles!

  10. C-tech Says:

    I’m with LEX today. My 2 year old Blackberry/AT&T nav. works fine. If there is a break-in and they damage the new in-dash units it is VERY expensive to replace.

  11. Lex Says:

    Chrysler Town & Country only in the US!
    Dodge Grand Caravan only in Canada!
    Marchionne is really screwing up Chrysler & Dodge!

    The current crop of Chrysler & Dodge Minivans are refrigerators with wheels. Bring back the rounder minivan design of the late 1990′s, early 2000′s before the Boxy Design. Also bring back the shorter “Regular” wheelbase model.

  12. C-tech Says:

    C’mon Lex, Hopefully Ford will continue to built at the Flat Rock plant even after Mazda goes. Considering Mazda sales I wonder how much longer they will be here anyway?

  13. Lex Says:


    We give them all our technology on a silver platter what were you expecting? Whether it takes two years or two hundred years their master plan of world domination has been set into motion. Bye Bye Chevy, Hello Geely!

    New Song: We Love Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Our Geely! HA-HA-HA!

  14. HtG Says:

    In car tech. Right now there is a transformational wave going through computing which is deeper than our phones and computers. Low watt, high performance chips and systems on a chip are becoming available that will make computing ubiquitous. Cars are one place we’ll see it, whether it’s something the driver sees or is an embedded chip making the car work. The battle is between the Intel and ARM ecosystems, and will play out over the next few years. Personally I hope ARM wins ($$). Right now Nvidia is coming out with a quadcore processor(it actually has five cores) that will blow away today’s tablets and phones. Audi will use Nvidia chips. I read that Toyota is working with Intel. I don’t see any way today’s impressive in car system won’t be kruft pretty soon. (Hint to iphone people, wait for the next one)

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the used car shortage and price increase, did we all forget the automotive destruction known as C4C and how many good, usable vehicles were needlessly destroyed?

  16. Bob e K Says:

    #13 Lex…..I don’t think the Chevrolet division will ever disappear…there are still people dedicated to buying American….lots of them….Geely LOL

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ if you want to hear about a turkey before Thanksgiving please read an article in a thing called Amplifier re JLow and the Fiat commercial, those two phonies were made for each other!

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m sure a few decent vehicles were destroyed due to C4C, but the ones I saw at the back of the Chevy dealer in Indiana needed to be destroyed. Nearly all of them were really rusted, worn out pickup trucks.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t the Mustang made at Flat Rock, along with the Mazda 6 or something? Maybe Mustang will stay there a while longer.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that they should bring back the short vans. My short, gen I Chrysler van is close in in every dimension to a Mazda 5. It’s about 176 inches long, 70 inches wide, and weighs about 3300 pounds. The current Chrysler vans, Sienna and Odyssey are all around 200 inches long, 78-79 inches wide, and weigh about 4500 pounds. My, how “minivans” have grown.

    I’m sure my old one would not be too good in a crash, though.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @ Lex

    RE; #11

    And why pray tell does this surprise you in the slightest , Marchionne’s Madness screwing up everything he lays his hands on ?

    No one ever listens . Snif

    As to the China thing , I’ll believe their cars are safer when there’s been extensive and unbiased testing done . Till then I’ll assume like almost everything China builds , they’re still Death Traps/ Population Control devices


    @ pedro – #16- Why would you want to ruin my Turkey Day with info like that mi amigo ? J ( urrrrrrrrrp ) Lo and ( belch ) FIAT indeed !


    @ HtG – Oooops ! Looks like yer Mazda’s coming under the gun now . Shame on them . Bad Mazda !

    FYI – Did you here about the Mercedes Benz executive that was tossed in jail by an over zealous Alabama cop because he happened to not have his passport handy when said cop pulled him over for his ….. Rental Car not having correct I.D ?

    The Benz guy is just another victim in a very long line due to Alabama’s OTT immigration enforcement .

    And people ask me why I refuse to live south of the Mason – Dixon line e.g. Boss Hog Country . Heck , living in a ‘ Border ‘ State is bad enough , believe me .

    FYI Scrape up yer lazy tush :o and get yourself to one of the Gabriel Kahane concerts with the Orpheus ( Kahane is composer in residence ) You’re missing out on a serious up and coming artist mien freund !

  22. tj Martin Says:


    Everything is getting ‘ bigger ‘ these days when it comes to automobiles Kit

    Yesterdays Size 14 is todays Size 6 from sub compacts to full size P/U’s and everything in between

    Nuts I’ll agree , but thats how it is these days

  23. tj Martin Says:


    I wrote about this back when it happened , but in the first couple of months of C4C two Aston Martin DB7′s , assorted Bentley’s etc , all in working and good condition were crushed under that mindless and over zealous program . More ‘ quality ‘ cars followed until someone started cracking down on what was really eligible .

    A very Ill Conceived program to say the least .

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I read about the Benz guy. He didn’t have his passport or German driver’s license with him, but I suspect it was pretty obvious he hadn’t just walked across the border from Mexico.

    And Alabama is trying to get MB and others to build more factories in their state. They seem to be taking an odd approach.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Come on TJ you gotta admit the f___ing 500 breaks down during the commercial shoot, that is hilarious! Reminds me of my Alfetta test drive where a radiator hose busted stranding me and the salesman blocks from the dealership, Jenny of the block’s 500 breaks down in da hood, Jenny gets her ass mugged by her “people” Jenny don’t care cause she is tough Newyorkrican.

  26. RS Says:

    Add the 2012 Acura TL GPS to your list of overpriced “junque”

    I thought I would finally have the “real thing” when I bought the builtin unit.

    Its time estimate for a trip is consistently at 150% – 200% too long
    The POI database is dismal
    Support from Acura is non-existent

    Honda blames the problems on the supplier (whoever that is!) and shows NO interest in correcting the problems

    My Garmin $120 is a joy to use and extremely accurate. From the opinions already expressed, I guess I am not alone!

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I used google maps nav on my HTC EVO today, and, as always, it worked well.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    My google map works 98% of the time, and it don’t cost me nothing!

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Yesterday my brother and I had to make a road trip to a city neither of us is familiar with.With my 6 month ‘free’ subscription to onstar ‘turn by turn’ nav a thing of the past (they want 38 bux a month for it…not happening).I had to use my new nav system.Very sophisticated high end system.I looked up the address on google earth,then wrote down the directions on a scrap of paper then off we went.The new nav system worked with perfection and precision and arrived 10 minutes early.Okay guys,it was fun and I could have printed out the map…….my printer decided to give up life,but I do have a supply of pens and paper ;}> Happy Thanksgiving to all of ALD,and of course to all who frequent this august forum.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Same to you and yours G.A.

  31. Geelong Vic Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to John, Peter D, and the entire staff of Autoline Daily. Thank you for all for the delightful program content that we readers have throughout the year. Best Thanksgiving wishes to all of the Autoline readership, and greetings to all in OZ.

  32. RS Says:

    With the Acura system, I would arrive about 35 minutes early on a 2 hour trip. Not helpful!

  33. cwolf Says:

    @tj-if yer still around! Please state your home address. An early X-mass gift awaits you. Knowing how much you love music,you will recieve from one of your bestest pals,Berlusconi,his latest great love songs! And just for YOU!

  34. Andrew Charles Says:

    Chinese carmakers don’t merely lack experienced engineers—that just means it will take them longer to develop all-new vehicles themselves. At present most rely on experienced vehicle engineering firms such as Porsche, Pininfarina, Ricardo, AVL, Lotus, Italdesign etc. But if the cars are being engineered by experienced firms, why the poor ratings? What the majority of Chinese manufacturers lack is generous development budgets, the kind that pays for iterative finite-element analysis and extensive testing of the vehicle structure and protection systems. Most expect to spend around $300 million for a development program that includes 3 unrelated vehicle families and a half-dozen models. The good score for the MG6 should be no surprise—compared to other Chinese OEMs SAIC has M-O-N-E-Y, and they’ve poured development resources into a very few models, rather than sprinkle it around on dozens of models and engines.

    I’m more surprised about the Geely Emgrand—the company has appeared to be overly ambitious in its development plans, although not so much as some other Chinese OEM’s. Apparently they really have been spending the big bucks on the latest models. I wonder if sales growth can keep up with expenditures. If you make $3000 net profit per vehicle, then to earn enough to spend the $1billion required for a new vehicle program, you need to sell around a 333,000 vehicles in 5 years, 67,000 vehicles a year, or more than 5,000 vehicles a month (worldwide), per platform (you can see why, without related models to share costs, GM needs strong export sales for the CTS, which doesn’t always make those numbers in the US). I don’t see the Emgrand making those kind of numbers anytime soon, which is why Geely needs Volvo.

  35. tj Martin Says:

    Austin F1


    Sign a contract under ‘ their own ‘ terms .

    Yeah right , just WTH do these Texas yahoos think they’re dealing with .. the France family / NHRA etc ?

    Their own terms with the ‘ Poison Dwarf ‘ Ecclestone .

    Heck we’ve got a better chance of getting tax payers money back from FIAT/ Chrysler than Austin has of getting anything from Uncle Bernie under their own terms

    @ Andrew Charles

    Well I suppose one can dream can’t one ( China EVER building quality ANYTHING that isn’t being overseen by a Western company .)

    FYI AC Geely /Volvo’s quality is in the dumps

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Met a Chevy service adviser and I asked him about Volt/Cruze he told me a few Volts have been sold by them and none have gone back for service and good thing because no one in the service staff over at that dealer has taken the Volt service seminar yet, so if any Volt comes in for service they have to send the client to another dealership, NICE! and as far as the Cruze he personally does not recommend the turbo due to the increase maintenance and future repair issues that could arise from a new turbo system that has been unproven in long term use, a friend of his got a 1.8 Cruze instead.

  37. tj Martin Says:


    Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee !!!!!!




    Mercedes Benz today has confirmed the Maybach will go away as of 2013 , but will remain in production till the new S-Class which will be released in multiple wheel base lengths ( including a new mega S to replace the Maybach ) is out .

    Finally ……. at least one automaker is showing a modicum of common sense . Figures it’d be the oldest ( 125 years this year ) of the bunch .


    @ pedro

    Gee pedro , do you mean to tell me said Chebbie dealer service advisor is confirming all my arguments AGAINST Turbos ?

    Golly what a surprise . An honest service advisor ( well OK that much is a surprises ) saying Turbo’s require more maintenance and repair .

    What doesn’t anyone listen to me mi amigo ?

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ I almost peed in my pants when I read the Fiat JLow story the other day, I can just see the director freaking out on the set: “Where’s the F___ is that Tony guy? Get him over here right away” “No Tony? what do you mean no Tony? That F ing Marchione and his crappy Fiats!! I’ll bet Spielberg never had to put up with this S____t before he made it big” TJ don’t feel bad, Ron Paul doesn’t do well in the presidential election either. TJ since the R R Ghost is built off the 7 series and even has the same engine, don’t you feel like it is also a rip off? Like the Maybach?


  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ did you read that Mazda’s got an alternator system that saves 10% gas by shutting off the alternator when there is enough charge in the battery? sounds to me like more complexity that will end up breaking down, costing the consumers more $$ to fix and negating whatever money you may have saved in gas

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro, #35,
    Have they had actual failures of the 1.4 turbo, or does he just recommend against them because of concern regarding long-term reliability? I’ve had four turbos and never a problem, but I haven’t put a zillion miles on any of them.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they “shut off” the alternator using a clutch similar to those used for A/C compressors, it should be reliable. Many cars constantly cycle the compressor on and off, and the clutches rarely fail.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit A/C compressors need to cycle on and off, believe me, I learned the expensive way, alternators do not, my gripe with that is that the unit will need replacing quicker than a normal unit, same as the starter motor on one of these cars with stop/start and the money you save on gas will be later spent on the mechanic, as far as the 1.4 turbo he says there’s been no issues with it at his dealership, it is only because of the long term reliability issues and the buyer does like to hang on for a long time. See I’ve only had 11 alternator replaced in all this time and miles and yet the gasket between the engine and trans-axle is leaking again, I had it replaced 5 yrs ago, this time I’m making sure I get a genuine Toyota part, not some after market crap.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, A/C compressors cycle much more frequently than the Mazda alternator would be likely to cycle. I would want the clutch to last as long as the alternator if I had something like Mazda is planning, and with “light use” of the clutch, I’d think it would.

    As far as start/stop, I wouldn’t want it if the starter worked like a regular starter, engaging a gear on the flywheel. Unless they really did something special, I’d expect that to have long-term reliability issues, and I’m not sure I’d want to hear a regular starter used that way. The new Chevy/Buick “eAssist” mild hybrid uses a belt driven motor-generator that starts the gas engine, and should be much better.

  44. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Murphy’s Law – The more complicated they make it the more it’ll break . Now once reliable Mazda’s jumping on the Technology for Technology’s sake Bandwagon . God forbid they should do something intelligent like making cars lighter to raise the MPG .

    Nahhhh. Just throw more junk at them and let the service department deal with the complaints


    @ pedro

    RE Rolls Royce ( they’ve all got BMW bits from engines to suspensions underneath by the way )

    Sure its another exercise in Badge Engineering , like the Maybach was , difference being everyone knows what a Rolls Royce is/was in spite of it being a Bimmer underneath whereas even most Germans are clueless as to what the heck a Maybach is/was

    e.g. Rolls/BMW can pull the wool over everyone’s eyes whereas Mercedes little magic trick blew up in their face .

    Either way though I HATE BADGE ENGINEERING ! I really really do . From anybody !

    As far as politics Pedro , like I’ve said before ;

    The only thing that scares me more right now than another Four Years of Obama is Four Years with ANYTHING the Republicans have on offer right now .

    Eeeesh . That IMHO Makes a Stephen King movie sound like Disney on Parade in comparison

    I’m voting for Stephen Colbert . How could he possibly do any worse , not that he stands a bats chance in Hades of winning

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “See I’ve only had 11 alternator replaced in all this time and miles”

    Was that a typo, and did you mean 1 alternator? I assume so.

  46. tj Martin Says:

    Ooops . Looks like my Kit comment on the Mazda should of been directed at senor Pedro

    Mea culpa

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    BMW has a new diesel you would really like. It has 2 turbochargers, and what AW calls an “electric turbocharger” which sound like an electric supercharger, not turbo. In any case, that is too much “technology,” even for me, and I don’t mind having one turbocharger on an engine.

  48. tj Martin Says:


    In all the cars my wife and I have owned over the decades we’ve only had one alternator go bad . Including my Italian Stalions , Mrs Tj’s undegrad Chevette ( eeeeee) etc

    The one bad one was on the Mrs 92 Corolla and Toyota , in spite of it conking out six years after the fact replaced it free .

  49. tj Martin Says:

    # 46

    In light of the fact that at this point in time EVERY Turbo BMW makes , including the MINI S’s is morphing into a mobile BBQ I wouldn’t go near the thing

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Typo indeed, only once thank you very much,and original starter, I calculate it has operated without a hitch approx 57k times since I’ve had the car; back to the Chebby service adviser, these guys can’t even afford to buy new so he has used SUV’s picked up dirt cheap when people bring them in for trades at a time when every body was dumping them due to high gas prices, but as he told me, even at $4 gas, it’s still cheaper than 2 car payments every freaking month for 6 yrs.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Talk about complexity, I read that the Veyron has like 4 or 5 radiators, leaks, anyone?

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m a weirdo but I enjoy TTAC reports on junkyard finds that appear almost on a daily basis, It show where we’ve been and where we’re at also. Like the latest one with a junkyard where 1/3 of the cars there are Taurus/Sables and almost no Camry or Accords at all.

  53. tj Martin Says:


    Be the first in your neighborhood to own a BMW Triturbo Five Series .

    Guaranteed to Roast a full Moose , Forty Turkey’s or 1000 hamburgers in 20 seconds or less , with a three second start up time .

    Line it up next to your neighbors VOLT and you can have thirty pies and pizza’s baked up simultaneously

    YesSireeee Bob this is the deal of the decade . So y’all come down to Burnin Barry’s BMW & VOLT dealership before your neighbor beats you to it .

    1 Free FIAT 500 to the first ten customers that sign on the dotted line . ” Tony ” not included

  54. tj Martin Says:

    VeryGoneWrong’s radiator count

    Ten . Count em . Ten !

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    10? That’s more than the number of girlfriends Hefner’s had in the last 5 yrs! You forgot that “hot” little POS Nano.

  56. tj Martin Says:


    Yup . Ten ! Three just for the engine ! Even the A/C gets its own

    Compare that to this ; http://www.koenigsegg.com/

    ….. which is stealing Veyron’s records left and right and you quickly understand just how Over Engineered & Technology for Technology sake the VeryGoneWrong really is

    Fact is compare the VeryGoneWrong to the Bristol Fighter T and you’ll really understand where the nickname came from

    VW went Very Wrong , choosing the most complex instead of the Best route to take with each and every problem encountered as well as the design of the car .

    Find my Caddy SRX review from last year , I think I included my run in with a Veyron racing an Audi S5 with the Audi running circles around the Veyron in the CO mtns because the driver couldn’t see thru traffic and the beast is so damn wide

    It was pretty pathetic . A $56,000 car spanking a $1.2 million one with a miserable handling POS SUV ( the SRX ) able to keep within viewing distance .

  57. Andrew Charles Says:

    Long-term reliability problems of turbos sounds like a typical mechanics’ myth, based on problems from over 20 years ago. GM may only have been selling the 1.4 Turbo in volume since 2009, but the 1.6 Turbo and 2.0 GDI Turbo have been used in volume since 2006, and the old cast-iron 2.0 Turbo has been in use for almost a decade. They are also run well within their limits—both the 2.0s can reliably produce over 300 hp. GM is confident enough in their reliability to offer increase powertrain warranties as even as turbo models proliferate.

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope so, for the sake of the company. I find it interesting that Ford calls it “ecoboost” and not turbo.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The only turbo engine I had any problems with was the very low production “turbo III” in a Dodge Spirit R/T. The problems were not with the turbocharger, though. It needed a head gasket (coolant to the outside, not into cylinders) and it broke a timing belt. My 22 year old 2.5 turbo in my Dodge minivan it doing fine, though it only has 70K miles.

  60. tj Martin Says:


    Hee hee hee hee hee

    The revolting VOLT

  61. tj Martin Says:

    #58 continued

    ……. strikes again and again and ………

    Nobody ever listens !


  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s my week to meet car related people, today a Chebby tech with over 10 yrs experience who owns 2 Toyotas and admitted to me that the Cobalt and Cavalier were the biggest POS’s he ever had to work on and the Cruze is a huge improvement, but he still won’t buy one. I asked him if they had installed a fire suppression system just for the Volt and he failed to see my sarcasm, oh well!

  63. cwolf Says:

    I think Mazda hit on something good by developing an “on demand” alternator, using a simple capacitor to store needed energy. There are too many EL gadgets on cars today,but this one is purely simple to do. I like it better than “start/stop”, only because there are very few stop lights along our daily travels; We don’t even have a stop light in our town!

    I would prefer not to have a turbo under the hood,but only because of the lack of reliability data and negative comments. Except for the smallest of cars,in the future,I don’t think there will be an option but to have a turbo. It’s like anything else: Don’t beat the hell out of it,and it will usually serve the purpose without problems.

    Battery fires in the Volt is getting a lot of attention,but I think it’s getting over-blown. IMO,batteries are no more dangerous than a gas tank or fuel cell. Finding a better way to protect them in a crash should’nt be too tough. GM is already working on an auto-shut-off or energy depletion device. The problem definitely has to be resolved,but I think there are too many people too quick to cry Wolf and ony a fraction ever road in a Volt,let alone own one.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A friend has a Sunfire, the same thing as a Cavalier, with 170K miles and very few problems. While they are not “driver’s cars,” I don’t think the ’95 and later Cavalier, Sunfire, Cobalt are nearly as bad as people let on. I’m sure a Corolla or Civic is better, but those GM products were ok.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, if you have a crashed electric car, you should keep it away from anything you care about.

  66. cwolf Says:

    I was just looking at the front of the new Alfa Giuletta;WOW! I really like that Toledo,Oh made car. Sad to hear its beauty is only skin deep.

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    I rented a 2 door Cavalier when my car was having body work done in 2002 and I thought it was horrible, I couldn’t wait to get my older, 100k+ mile car back from the shop, I could not understand why someone would buy something so poorly designed/built>

  68. cwolf Says:

    pedro,the Cavalier was a kids car.It may have been a POS, but they viewed them as “cool” and affordable. Much to my surprise,I still see many of these around–all rusty,blowing oil and sounding like an untuned mower, but still moving. How much $ have you put in the Vibrolla over the past year to keep her running? Is there a limit before you consider buying another car?

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    Only tires, brakes, alignment no repairs at all now I have a leak in the gasket separating the engine and transaxle I already had it repaired once 5 yrs ago, if I do repair it again I’ll be sure to get the Toyota part and not some after market crap. If I was making monthly payments, I’d be much worse off. Today I drove the sis’s Journey with its messed up brakes and I’m thinking 18 mos. 16k miles and brakes already done twice and it still shakes when you step on the brake, I prefer my POS long time paid off Vibrolla even with its vibrator alter ego.

  70. cwolf Says:

    Ya,pedro,seems like the ol’girl has a deserving place in the garage/driveway for some time to come. I prefer using factoty parts too. I have had very good luck with the high end NAPA products,but I find there is something about those “automotive box stores” that makes me feel uneasy. I’m sure there are a lot of China parts thrown across the counter.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    specially when it comes to parts that are hard to get at, like seals and gaskets,pumps and such where the part is only a few dollars but the labor to replace it is hundreds of dollars, you gotta go with the best you can buy otherwise it’s pay me now or pay me later

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think part of why people bought Cavaliers and Sunfires is that they were cheap. Also, the 2 door versions were kind of sporty looking, but the “sporty” was only skin deep.

    My friend paid about 10K for his 2002 Sunfire new. It has auto trans, A/C, cruise, sunroof. It does not have keyless entry, and has crank windows. The only major problem in 170K miles was a failed motor mount, about $250 to fix at a private shop.

    Pedro, what did you dislike about the Cavalier compared to your Corolla? I’m curious.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    It just felt like a tinny, cheap car even though it was new and had few miles, I remember it rattled, and did not have a good ride, seating position was also too low for my liking, I like to have a good view out of whatever I’m driving.I recall having my then buddy a car fanatic test it out and referring to it as a POS. I also did not think much of a PT Cruiser I once rented, nor an Accent (seats). I loved a Volvo 240 even though it was already growing archaic and was soon replaced, I found it as solid as a tank and it gave me that carved out of one piece of stone feeling I had read so much about

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Interesting. My friend’s Sunfire does not rattle, but yeah, the seating position is kind of low. The cloth interior has held up very well, though. It is garaged when not driven which helps on that. Also, the seats are kind of soft for my tastes. Still, it has served him very well. He could easily afford a new car, but plans to keep the Sunfire to “see how long it will last.”

  75. pedro fernandez Says:

    My wife owned a Chevette for a while and it wasn’t bad for that time, underpowered and not a long distance cruiser (same as both my old Beetles) but not bad basic transport for the time period. Perhaps having only two doors which eliminates that B pillar makes the car less stiff and more prone to rattles and body flex. Honestly, till the Camry, every car that I owned had some kind of rattle, I always thought that it was a given, unless you bought a luxury car and even then………..

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys, TTAC has this segment on Corvettes crashing into each other while street drag racing, kinda of funny, do you suppose these are just bad drivers or is the Vette so quick and light that it just gets “overdriven” by some over enthusiastic drivers?

  77. cwolf Says:

    pedro, the guy on the left could keep the car straight,but the other idiot must have mistakenly turned his wheel without the intent to do so. The only good thing that came of it is that I didn’t feel a thing and don’t have to pay the price for such foolishness!

  78. cwolf Says:

    I just returned from my friends shop who just sold 2 old Mustangs to his friend and car collector. I tagged along when they drove them to his home. This guy had 16 classics stacked on rakes in his garage! I noticed a 54 vette in pristine condition,as well as a 63 split window and a second 1-2 yrs newer. A 64 GTO,2 Camero ss”s,an early Shelby Mustang and a Ford GT. Though under cover, I could make out a couple Chry. products. I couldn’t see everything,but it was like entering a car paradise! Not bade for a 45 year old guy who drives a dump truck,eh? This fella buys lesser value collectables for $10-20K,restores them,adds all the original stickers, then sells them at Auburn. The profits are used to buy the cars he can’t afford on his oun. Can’t recall the price for a particular vette,but he paid $90K for one and $110 for the other. Talk about having the perfect hobby!!!!

  79. cwolf Says:

    For those of you who enjoy Vegas,I was told touring the Shelby operations there a “must see” thing to do. I was told the place is HUGE and has a 20 mo. waitig list! I’m going out again in Jan. or Feb. and already have it on my list. I guess there is no shortage of Mustang “Nuts” willing to part with there money!

  80. tj Martin Says:

    Hee hee hee

    This’n says it all


    @cwolf – Shelby museum , Boulder CO , two thumbs up and much better

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    Then why do they keep making it and why do people keep buying it? my in-laws re built their kitchen with high tech, appliances and now they don’t know how to properly operate cause they’re old and technoignoramous, but, they wanted the “best” so there, they got what they wished for.

  82. tj Martin Says:


    Hee hee hee . The cartoonists seem to be inadvertently aiming at the auto business of late

    @ pedro

    re; # 80

    Same reason they keep buying Smartphone’s that talk , cars that blow your nose and burp you in the morning and TV’s that supposedly do everything EXCEPT get you to the show you actually want to watch ( Time-Warner being the worst what with one channel being on ……… get this …….. 4-5 different places )

    Because almost everyone including some from ALDTV are convinced Technology MUST be the path back to EDEN , and not understanding that there is NO FREE LUNCH and that in fact in 99.9999 % of the cases , the problems new technology supposedly SOLVES are exceeded by the number of problems said New Technology creates

    Rant over .

  83. tj Martin Says:



    Watched a show this weekend on the Earthship Houses in NM , one of which we’ve spent some time in ( Dennis Weaver’s to quell HtG’s incessant curiosity )

    Funny how the builders and designers rant on and on about being off the grid , independent and not needing outside assistance when owning one , when in fact the systems to make an Earthship function are so god awful complicated that in fact you’ll need a bevy of technicians 24/7 just to keep the damn thing running ;-)


  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    This being the 3rd trip to the dealer for the same brake issue with the Journey, we’re gonna start looking into the Fl lemon law which says that if after 3 times the same problem cannot be fixed, there is a remedy, I think a new car or most of the money back, maybe now she’ll come to realize that A Chrysler-built product is not a very wise choice.