Autoline Daily

Subscribe - Podcasts Video Podcasts iTunes Zune RSS Audio & Other Options
Autoline Daily

Episode 793 – LaHood Against Hands-Free Ban, Montezemolo for PM? GM Stopping Noisy Brakes

December 22nd, 2011 at 11:10am

Runtime: 7:11

The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all mobile phones be banned in cars, even hands-free phones. But in a startling outbreak of common sense, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he does not support the ban.  Rumors are swirling around Italy that Luca di Montezemolo might run for prime minister.  GM engineers are working to eradicate noisy brakes.  All that and more, plus a look at the new Volkswagen Golf R.

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

This is Autoline Daily for December 22. And now the news.

KILLING US WITH SAFETY
When it comes to safety regulations, Americans seem to be more hysterical than anyone else in the world. The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that all mobile phones be banned in cars, even hands-free phones. But in a startling outbreak of common sense, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he does not support the ban. Back in the 1970s, safety zealots actually wanted regulations that would force everyone in a car to wear a crash helmet. Fortunately, that idea went nowhere.

OPTIMUS PRIME MINISTER
In Italy they seem to change Prime Ministers as often as the rest of us change our socks. Now rumors are swirling around the country that Luca di Montezemolo might run for PM. Luca is the president of Ferrari, and has been heavily involved in Formula One, which is probably the one of the best training grounds for political maneuvering, bribery, deceit, cheating and subterfuge. Forget about reading Machiavelli, Formula One is a much more instructive classroom if you want to be prince.

GM “STOPPING” BRAKE NOISE
STOP the presses! A few weeks ago GM announced it’s working to put an end to rusty brakes rotors through a special heating-treating process. Today, its engineers are looking to eradicate brake squeal as well. The company just announced it has patented a design for a new type of rotor. These discs have special metallic rings inside. The inserts are installed during the casting process, but surprisingly they’re NOT solidly fixed to the discs. This allows them to absorb vibrations, which cuts noise. Think of the design as a bell that doesn’t want to ring. GM’s quiet brakes are still under development, but look for this technology to reach the market in two or three years.

EXCITING NEWS! OH, WAIT . . .
The unpopular Honda Crosstour is getting some updates for the New Year. Front-wheel-drive models will now be offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Despite being paired with an antiquated five-speed automatic transmission, the fuel economy numbers jump to 21/city and 29/highway. That’s two to three MPG better than with the V-6. The Corsstour has been a sales dud and I think the company is looking for some kind of quick fix try and get more people to buy it.

TOYOTA’S 2012 REBOUND
It’s been a tough year for Toyota, with natural disasters in Japan and Thailand cutting into production and profits. But next year Toyota expects a 20 percent jump in global sales to about 8.5 million units. This year the company expects a little over 7 million in sales.

A LITTLE “RAY” OF SUNSHINE
Kia just introduced an electric version of its Ray for the Korean market, which the company says is the first production EV to be introduced in the country. It’s got a range of 86 miles and can be recharged in six hours on a 220V outlet. Top speed is 81 MPH and it moves from 0 to 100 km/h in 16 seconds. And as bad as that sounds, it’s actually better than the gasoline-powered version. When it’s traveling under 12 MPH, the Ray EV emits recorded engine noises to warn pedestrians. It will be produced on the same production line as the gasoline version, which Kia claims is a first for an EV maker, but maybe they’re not aware Ford is doing the same thing with the Focus. Kia plans to produce 2,500 units next year for use by government agencies.

A quick correction here. Yesterday we reported prices for the Tesla Model S and we said they included the $7,500 federal tax credit. They did not include the credit.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R

Don’t forget to tune in tonight for a special Christmas Edition of Autoline After Hours, the last show of the year. Join me, Peter De Lorenzo and David Welch as we play Santa Claus, handing out presents and lumps of coal for the best and the worst of 2011. It’s going to be fun and funny, so join us tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Autoline After Hours.

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

67 Comments to “Episode 793 – LaHood Against Hands-Free Ban, Montezemolo for PM? GM Stopping Noisy Brakes”

  1. Autos101 Says:

    Crosstrour 6 or 4: A dawg by any other name is still a dawg…

    Corollary:

    “Beauty is Ephemeral, but Ugliness, as well as Stupidity, is frigging FOREVER”

  2. Autos101 Says:

    Andrew: Why is this otherwise fine young man wearing a white shirt and even a tie in the middle of… the mountains of W VA???

    And why was that VW spokesperson like she had been starved and have just enough energy left to blabber at 0.5 decibel to themselves? And being a SPOKESPERSON by main profession? She looked (and especially sounded) pathetic. Where is her ENERGY and ENTHUSIASM about the frigging product she is PAID to tout????

    John McElroy: I strorngly suggest that you only have your OWN CREW give their UNBIASED opinion of the cars you present, and not allow these lame spokesmodels tell us how wonderful they are. You can keep them on, but you need to realize that, at least as far as I am concerned, I will not listen or take them seriously.

  3. Autos101 Says:

    That LaHood idiot:

    Is it just me, or does he look (every time I see his face) like Mister Bean’s older (and far dumber, let alone corrupt Porkmeister…) brother?

  4. HtG Says:

    A1, I also found that VW piece a little funny. Somebody cue Julie Andrews for the helicopter shot.

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Electric or ICE, do we really need another ‘box-car’? (rhetorical of course)

  6. Tony Gray Says:

    I like the way Andrew tucks in his tie. Reminds me of my old Army khaki’s….

  7. HtG Says:

    It is ON, kiddies!

    Chevy emailed me about a ‘game’ for winning a Sonic. I link below. Notice that there is a ‘game’; a standard marketing technique updated for the internet Pepsi generation. That this game involves social media. And what’s with the english accent? Is this a Mentos commercial, Joel?

    http://letsdothis.com/learn_more?evar1=eml_ch_son_hr_news_1211

  8. tj Martin Says:

    MONTEZEMOLO’S REVENGE (aspirations)

    Rumors my foot !

    Even HtG caught wind of this a week or two ago , so how much of a ‘ Rumor ‘ does one think this is ;-)

    The general opinion of Monte Z becoming PM isn’t exactly encouraging ….. but then again this is Italian politics we’re talking about

    ( kudos HtG )

    The truly profound political news here is Sarcozy and Cameron trading verbal blows to an extent that according to the pundits has not been seen since the last round of Franco/Anglo wars centuries ago

    Yet the markets continue to rise . Duck gentlemen . Duck and cover … FAST !

    Also you can add Renault to the League of Faltering

    For all the supposed increases in Auto sales in the EU , Renault certainly doesn’t seem to be benefiting

    And CHINA . Oh yes , the luxury car market is selling …….. at very severely Discounted Prices . Deeper than seen in any other market for years .

    Oh and poking around at the homeland news , it seems my Pet Peeve SRX is once again on the RECALL list . For tranny failures this time . Great car that Cadillac . How many is that for 2011 alone ?

  9. tj Martin Says:

    #5

    No we do not !!!!

  10. tj Martin Says:

    #7

    Just Say No !

  11. HtG Says:

    tj, you getting any scary story from your Zurich crowd? Are we all dead?

    ______
    F1. John got the F1 scene down alright. He did, however, leave out one thing. Action.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2077562/Flavio-Briatore-gets-hold-wife-Elisabettas-fabulous-figure.html

    This PR may be Flavio’s big plan to replace the small man.

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    No biggie on the SRX recall (an improperly routed cable to the tranny; tranny okay). Assembly line SNAFU; 20,000 vehicles I believe.

  13. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Hi John,

    I could have sworn I noticed that the Kia Ray EV had suicide doors on one side and standard opening doors on the other, so I replayed the segment and sure enough the pass side had the rear door handle at front of what appeared to be a sliding door, while the drivers side had a standard opening door. Is this two different versions of the same car or is this the first time I have EVER seen this arrangement on a single car? How interesting!

  14. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Hi John,

    I could have sworn I noticed that the Kia Ray EV had suicide doors on one side and standard opening doors on the other, so I replayed the segment and sure enough the pass side had the rear door handle at the front of what appeared to be a sliding door, while the drivers side had a standard opening door. Is this two different versions of the same car or is this the first time I have EVER seen this arrangement on a single car? How interesting!

  15. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Hi John,

    I could have sworn I noticed that the Kia Ray EV had suicide doors on one side and standard opening doors on the other, so I replayed the segment and sure enough the passenger side had the rear door handle at the front of what appeared to be a sliding door, while the drivers side had a standard opening door. Is this two different versions of the same car or is this the first time I have EVER seen this arrangement on a single car? How interesting!

  16. Autos101 Says:

    And here is the Econs 101 quote of the day

    “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

    – Winston Churchill

  17. Autos101 Says:

    KIa Ray EV and other boxy POS with god-awful plasticky interiors:

    Go to Landfill.

  18. Autos101 Says:

    “Kia just introduced an electric version of its Ray for the Korean market, which the company says is the first production EV to be introduced in the country. It’s got a range of 86 miles ..”

    NO IT DOES NOT.

    The correct version is

    “KIa CLAIMS that this POS, if driven like an old lady at a steady 55 MPH, MAY be able to go 86 miles on one charge. But if Driven NORMALLY, you’ll be lucky to get FIFTY MEASLY MILES out of the butt-ugly POS.”

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Si, and the Golf R can outrun whatever gringo car the border patrol is using, so it is perfecto for Coyotes, Si!!

  20. C-tech Says:

    Thanks for the info, good show today, regardless of the silly criticisms of some. John, where is the forum monitor?

    Best of luck to all the electric car producers, they will need it!

  21. C-tech Says:

    Now if Ray LaHood”s common sense move could spread through the NHTSA and EPA, we really could see some useful change.

  22. Autos101 Says:

    CTECH: You obviously do not have CLUE ONE who is the CORRUPT Porkmeister Ray Lahood. WISE UP. I have no time to educate you.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding the lead story, of developed countries, the U.S. has the LEAST regulation of electronic distractions not the most.

  24. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2011/12/22/2012-volkswagen-up-first-drive-review/#continued

    Autoblog likes the VW UP! Basic Transportation Econobox

    Claims it kicks the pants off the FIAT 500 and the “Dumb” FOrtwo. (No big deal anybody can do that!)

  25. Autos101 Says:

    “Regarding the lead story, of developed countries, the U.S. has the LEAST regulation of electronic distractions not the most.”

    That may explain why the Eurozone is going to hell… and is in even worse shape, much worse, than the $15 trillion in debt USA.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nearly all European countries ban use of hand held phones while driving. Regs on hands-free devices vary a lot.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks for the link, even they mentioned the fact that it has a quiet cabin, see, most people do like it quiet in there, gosh, I’m envious now! Will they bring it over here, after all they brought the god-awful Dumb and Fiat Cincomerda, why not this little jewel?

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #25,
    Maybe it explains why, in most European countries, driving is safer than here, even though the cars are smaller and the speeds higher.

  29. Autos101 Says:

    I knew you’d like the VW “Up!”, Pedro, but I was expecting that you’d predict it would have poor reliability…LOL

    Actually, even tho it is a featherweight 2,100 or so lbs, it’s much heavier than my 3-door 5-speed 91 Civic Hatch. Both cars are white with black stripes, but the Civic is much more smooth, lower and wider and longer than the “Up!”, but still with practically the same top speed (106 vs 107 MPH), but very agile around town in 3rd gear or 4th.. and probably has better interior as far as seats and doors, but the dash suffers from 80s design.. and I don’t have an RPM meter despite the 5-speed manual!

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    What we got here is an epidemic of texting and distractions by drivers, I see it every damn day, I have a near collision at least 2 or 3 times per week due to a distracted drive where I have to react quickly to avoid a collision simply because they were not paying attention, the law should be if it is proven that you were texting just before you got into a crash, you should be held responsible and ticketed for the accident

  31. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    December 22nd, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    #25,
    Maybe it explains why, in most European countries, driving is safer than here, even though the cars are smaller and the speeds higher.

    No, that does not explain it. What explains it is that, in Germany for instance, 16 year olds take 100, not 5, hours of Driver’s Ed, and their cars have no cupholders, and when their 16 year old girls drive off the parking lot they are PAYING ATTENTION and are not, like here, talking in their cellphone or whatever conrtaption they are holding.

    And of course in other EUro countries they have a FAR WORSE record than the US (deaths per 100 million miles stats)

  32. tj Martin Says:

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111221/ANE/111229975/1193

    Worth a read on how the demise of the Euro may affect the Auto Industry

    ———

    @ HtG – I’s in Lugano but the news she’sa no good !

    Internal bickering thats barely making the press , controversies galore , UK and France at each others throats , Renault so deep into the weeds financially its frightening , VW still being mum when it comes to their P&L’s , the FIAT Empire being …… well …. FIAT , M-B now to export E Class’s from China etc etc etc

    Being in a neutral country sure gives you a different slant on the news worldwide .

    Eeech :(

    ———-

    ( not so ) SMART ….. or is it ?

    Well if you want to see where the SMART is selling like hot cakes , come on over to CH . Geneva , Zurich Lugano you name it . They’re like rabbits , multiplying every five seconds . Most owned by folks with luxury and/or sports cars as their in town/city runabout .

    Seeing as how the Swiss are know for their intelligence , I decided to give one a go here . When I get back we’ll have to see WTH the differences are between the US and EU versions cause the ones here just aint half bad ! Damn fine little city toys in fact .

    Hmmmn .

    ————

    Oh but the cous’s RuF Cayenne Turbo ! Oh dear ! Oh my ! ZOOOooooom 8)

  33. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro #30: You beat me to it.

    It is clear that most drivers here in the US do not take driving even one quarter as seriously as they take it in Germany on the Autobahn, where they know that if they screw up, it will not be just a small fender bender for the insurance and the silly girl will exit the wreck scot free.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mazda 2 is a nice little car and it’s just not selling very well at all, as long as gas stays at this level, I don’t see the sales of this class going much higher, unless they can manage to keep them below $15k all these new subcompacts are going for close to $20k equipped the way people now expect their new cars to be.

  35. Autos101 Says:

    #34: right. The price of these Siestas, Fiestas and Fiascos are too high for their tiny size and low-rent non-luxury interior and puny engines, and their interior space is less than the average US family needs.

    In addition, their MPG is not much higher than cars in the next one or two larger classes, so why bother.

  36. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20111222/OEM11/111229959/1186

    If you have a subscription to Autonews, here is another article… the F1 race from Hell… where drivers are advised to go 37 MPH (no kidding).

    Maybe they should call it the… Camel Derby?

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mazda sells for less than Fiesta cause they went for the older 4 speed auto, smaller engine and more spartan interior with less electronic gizmos, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to keep costs down.

  38. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/

    Has two reviews, one of a very nice Non-US Hyundai 5-door hatch-wagon w a Diesel, getting great MPG even at 85 MPH,

    and the other is Mike Karesh’s review of the new improved and less “girlie car” VW Beetle, which may look much better on the outside, but it’s pricey and the dash plastics painted silver did not impress me much.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #31,
    I agree, that driver training helps a lot in Germany, the UK, and some other countries.

    My other post was a “silly” post to go along with your silly post saying that banning phone use while driving has caused Europe’s economic problems.

    I’m getting on an airplane, so will be taking a break from this.

  40. Autos101 Says:

    #37:

    4 sp auto! Geez, that’s so 70s-80s. Does it come with a 5-sp manual? then it could shave off another $800or so. (I doubt they’d put a 6 speed in there)

  41. Autos101 Says:

    #39: “My other post was a “silly” post to go along with your silly post saying that banning phone use while driving has caused Europe’s economic problems. ” (???)

    I don’t think I wrote any post claiming anything remotely like that, allegedly silly or not.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Manual on the Mazda 2, yes, but who buys manual anymore,? even in Europe, everyone now wants the double clutch stuff, no more shifting, only those enthusiasts who buy sporty cars. The new gen of “slush boxes” are not that slushy anymore and get mileage comparable and sometimes better than manuals.

  43. Roger T Says:

    Honda Crosstour 4 – this car reminds me of another SUV with contradictory styling and poor sales figures: the Pontiac Aztec. That car was as, er, strange looking as the Crosstour is today, but was plenty roomy and versatile. The Honda on the other hand seems that it tossed the utility bit from its mix as it looks like a tall compact car. Offering the Crosstour with a 4 cyl engine only makes it even less appealing, since they’re now tossing the sport bit from the recipe! So it can’t be called an SUV, maybe Honda will be happy just by calling it a “Vehicle” instead!

  44. Autos101 Says:

    One big reason the Crosstour looks ugly is that its front and back are totally mismatched.

    The half in the back looks smooth and round, almost like the Porsche Panamera butt, but the front is a big nose-heavy square that is totally mismatched with the rear half

  45. Andrew Charles Says:

    It may be the first time Phil from Burlington has seen the Kia Ray’s door arrangement, but it’s not new. Toyota’s Porte has used the same arrangement since 2004, and there may be another vehicle which does as well.

  46. Andrew Charles Says:

    Except that the Porte has only one door on each side, not the Ray’s two.

  47. HtG Says:

    has anyone seen a more obnoxious license plate than this one?: On a newish BMW 328, I saw this…

    MOMONY1

    note; the last 1 may imply somebody already had the MOMONY plate.

    (best plates I’ve seen were XDX on a Volvo wagon, and HRH on a Benz driven by an English woman. She told me I’d got it exactly right when I asked what it meant.)

  48. XA351GT Says:

    I think anyone witha 1/2 ounce of common sense knows that a hands free ban is impossible to enforce. To ban that you have to then also ban any talking between the driver and passengers also. Good luck with that.

    The GOLF e R looks cool but what will a AWD turbo set you back ? $35K ? , if so WRX buyers will still be WRX buyers. I’m taking a guess as that is their intended market.

  49. XA351GT Says:

    I’m really surprised that someone else hasn’t thought of how to quiet rotors before. When I had my rotors cut at the machine shop they wrapped large rubber bands around the disc to dampen the high pitch hum it emitted. Something to do with harmonics I think .

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re. #41,
    See #25

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mazda 2 isn’t the only car with a 4-speed automatic. Corolla and Matrix still use 4-speeds with the 1.8 engine. They seem to have done a good job selecting ratios, though, because the cars get competitive gas mileage.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #32,
    Do they sell smart cars in CH with three pedal manual transmissions?

  53. Autos101 Says:

    Those who gaze in crystal balls eat broken glass

    Automaker 2008 model year 2025 model year % Change
    Aston Martin 1,370 1,182 -13%
    BMW 353,120 550,665 56%
    Chrysler-Fiat 1,659,950 768,241 -54%

    Even the EPA Analysts are pessimistic abt Fiat-Chrysler!

    Daimler 287,330 441,786 54%
    Ferrari 1,450 7,658 428%
    Ford 1,770,893 2,224,586 26%
    Greely/Volvo 98,397 143,696 46%

    And rather optimistic abt Chinese Volvo

    General Motors 3,095,188 3,197,943 3%

    A rather miserable prediction for Government Motors, despite the dozens of taxpayer Billions it still owes us the Taxpayers.

    Honda 1,511,779 1,898,018 26%

    Apparently they assume Honda will sometime see the light… No word abt Acura

    Hyundai 391,027 845,386 116%
    Kia 281,452 460,436 64%
    Lotus 252 316 25%
    Mazda 302,546 368,172 22%
    Mitsubishi 100,729 109,692 9%

    I’d predict that Mitsu and Suzuki will be at ZERO by that year, but these idiots keep losing billions after billions in the US Market.

    Nissan 1,023,415 1,441,229 41%
    Porsche 37,706 51,915 38%

    Spyker/Saab 25,956 26,605 3%

    LOL… Strike one, fools!

    Subaru 198,581 331,692 67%
    Suzuki 114,658 124,528 9%

    Tata/Jaguar-Land Rover 65,180 122,223 88%

    These clowns may well be extinct too, by that year

    Tesla 800 31,974 3897%

    This must be the Rosiest Scenario! I predict they will be broke around the end of Obama’s failed Single Term, despite all the help he gave them.

    Toyota 2,211,500 3,318,069 50%
    Volkswagen 318,482 784,447 146%

    TOTAL 13,851,761 17,250,459 25%

    The total could be higher, but my individual expectations, as you see, are quite different.

  54. Autos101 Says:

    “HtG Says:
    December 22nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    has anyone seen a more obnoxious license plate than this one?: On a newish BMW 328, I saw this…

    MOMONY1″

    There may be more obnoxious ones, but this one is sure delusional. ENtry level BMW 3 series are eminently affordable and only imply an entry level management position for the owner.

    The plate would be far more convincing on a Bugatti Veyron (which costs 30 TIMES what the little 328 costs) or even a Rolls Phantom..

    The only 3 series that is expensive is the M3 Convertible hardtop. A colleague told me they bought two (for him and wife) expecting this may be their last cars, and paid about $80k for each.

  55. tj Martin Says:

    Well I’ll stick one up early today as its a bit of down time for us and we’ve got a busy evening ahead .

    ——–

    Autos101- Spied those figures myself today ( #53 ) on TTAC. Honestly the folks coming up with those numbers are on some serious hallucinogens . Either that or they’re terminally delusional . Ferrari selling that many cars in this economy . Hah! I say !

    —————

    @ HtG

    A little off hours fill in from my dire statements yesterday

    The EU from the view on high ( CH )

    BeNeLux – Probably the least reported and yet scariest region in the EU at present . Belgium has NO government to speak of at present . The Netherlands bill for years of extreme liberal thinking has come due . Luxembourg is turning out to be more Financial Dictatorship than Representative Democracy with one solitary individual running the show ( oh the poop thats hitting the fan there right now )

    Scandinavia – With the sole exception of Norway , the area is in rapid financial decline , with their Socialist Bill presently coming due and a strong extreme right gradually taking over

    Former Soviet Block countries – Looking bleaker by the minute with little or no hope of recovery anytime soon

    The PIIGS – Need I say more ?

    The BRIC’s – Looking long term like more Wishful Thinking than Reality when looking below the surface

    CH – The thing here is the ton of money thats finding its way into Swiss Francs , with banks doing business overtime . Good on one hand but bad for the Swiss franc as its threatening to become excessively high in price . Rumor remains that CH may intentionally devalue the Franc in order to maintain exports and tourism .

    In the mean time everyone here ( CH ) is looking at their Eu neighbors asking ” WTH were they thinking ? ”

    Seriously , as constipated as our Congress and Senate has been , the view from here makes the EU’s situation look even worse . And thats just the stuff I CAN tell you about .

    FYI – It looks like Monte Z is making more overtures today for political office . Honestly I knew and and think you did as well that the minute Monte Z crossed swords with Marchionne by calling for Sergio’s main ally , Berlusconi to step down was the minute Monte Z’s Ferrari days became numbered , revealing his long term intentions .

    That is all from the continental top o the world

    Ciao ! 8)

  56. tj Martin Says:

    #54

    My favorite personal plate , spied on a M-B AMG G Class .

    KSMYS

    That’s one way of dealing with ones potential critics .

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #52,
    I answered my own question. According to the smart Switzerland web site, the smart fortwo there has the same power train as in the U.S. as the only one available. If smart cars are, in fact, selling well in Switzerland, I guess the Swiss are much more tolerant of that crappy single clutch automatic than I would be.

  58. tj Martin Says:

    #57

    Or alternatively , maybe the SMART is just better suited to CH city streets and traffic .

    And despite what the spec’s may say , it does drive better here , so more weight or something else on the US SMART ?

    The US SMART I drove was a pile whereas like I said above the one here was a fun little City Only runabout .

  59. Autos101 Says:

    Euro “Dumbs” have start-stop that makes their MPG quite better than their surprisingly bad EPA MPGs without the S-S. And then of course they have the Diesel

    The Dumb was designed for Euro conditions-narrow streets, tight parallel parking and $8 gas. And it didn’t even make it THERE, lost $ for a decade.

    How the hell could it ever make it HERE?

  60. Autos101 Says:

    Another deranged prediction they made above:

    “Ferrari 1,450 7,658 428%”!!!

    REALLY!

    What do these EPA fools know that we do not?

    WHy do they expect Ferrari, which keeps its production so painfully tight and low to ensure brand exclusivity, to increase production by 400++%???

    Porsche might be believable to do that, but not Ferrari.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #59,
    No, they don’t have the diesel in the smart. The used to, but not any more, at least in CH and the UK, both of which I checked.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #58,
    Yes, the smart is better suited to CH and other European cities than here, but it would suit my purposes for local driving in FL, were it not for the awful transmission. Maybe they have made improvements. The only one I have driven was an early U.S. car.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #60,
    Ferrari might increase volume the same way Porsche did, by selling SUV’s.

  64. Autos101 Says:

    There is no need for such a ludicrous vehicle in FL. IN NYC maybe, but not much else in the US.

    It is ludicrously overpriced, you can get a 4-5 seater with even better MPG for that $.

    In addition, on the highway the MPG is TERRIBLE, as bad as that of a BMW 530, a friend who owns both a Smart with start-stop and a 2005 or so 530 told me that. Around town tho he claims he saves 65 euros a week by using the “dumb”, which he bought almost brand new from M-B for 9,300 Euros (a new Prius would cost him close to 30,000 Euros there)

  65. Autos101 Says:

    #63: I never read such a ridiculous idea being tossed around.

    LAMBO made a very exclusive huge Jeep 30 years ago or so, and they think of it again, but its sales were tiny and Ferrari people are no fools.

  66. Autos101 Says:

    Ferrari has no plans to expand by… 400% by 2025. Care to make it interesting? Like a $10,000 bet ala Romney? LOL.

  67. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    NTSB Went overboard with their recommendation, but before attacking LaHood, the correct question to ask is, Where is the data?.

    The latest data from real world driving (vs. simulators simulation) shows that the problems in technology distraction is when the driver looks away to manually handle their phone, e.g. texting, dialing, reading caller Id, etc. The conversation proved to be a non-factor.

    Now, anyone can compare the two methods of studies:

    1: a simulator study with couple of dozen volunteers being asked to do things that are not real and totally meaningless to them.

    2: A real world study following 100 user / car for more than a million mile doing what they do day in and day out.

    Which one would you follow? Simulators are great for training, but studies showed that they are not effective in duplicating the environmental or psychological symptoms experienced by drivers while driving in roads with actual traffic.

    The difference is obvious and those who chose to believe facts will go with the real world study that was carried out by Virginia tech, but those who like to explore and discuss the shades of gray can do whatever they like, but should stay away from science and chose philosophy as a field of discussion.

    I have used the Virginia Tech method, monitor drivers in real world driving, including myself, but instead of just seeing the problem, I used the information to create a solution that can be summarized as follows:

    1: Not all driver are equal. Give them the ability to do what they can handle based on age and experience and driving records.

    2: Not all drivers are in tiptop shape all the time. Detect the downturn in their capability and protect them from intrusion into their driving time

    3: Make sure the drivers start and stop extraneous activities with both hands on the wheel

    4: Give the driver reliable and simple controls on the steering wheel instead of cognitive hungry/hit and miss Speech Recognition or touch screens that mandates eyes off the road and hands off the wheel

    5: Give the driver meaningful information in plain human language instead of bells, whistles and flashy displays so there’s no need to look away from the road to investigate the meaning of these distractions.

    6: Give each driving type different capability. A Cab driver does not have the same needs as police officer so add help where critical activity is a must and restrict activity where it is not critical

    7: Keep the system on the phone or the web or the key so the driver can take their permission with them and not have it on a two ton phone in the car

    I finally applied for patents and build a demo since 2002 with regular phones. The results is iQ-Gateway, see www. iQ-Telematics.com.

    The system is not on sale so this is not an advertisement. It is simply an answer to stop the confusion caused by all of those that keep claiming that the sky is falling and do not do anything to try to prop it up. It is also a reminder to auto OEM and tier suppliers that they are putting the industry at risk of liabilities when they add toys without the only correct solution, iQ-Gateway.

    Best regards,

    Mouhamad A. Naboulsi, Metro Detroit Michigan.

    p.s. I am not talking about some super high futuristic technology. I finished my first prototype in 2002 using regular phones (i80 from Motorola), without Bluetooth or speech recognition. This is simple technology with smart system engineering.