John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

RoAb #112 – Ram-Raiding BroAbs

January 8th, 2012 at 9:54pm

Ram-Raiding-Autoline

Coming up on RoundAbout . . . fuel prices are set to double in one unfortunate country, find out where, right after this.  GM is throwing Saab owners under the bus . . . like they didn’t deserve it already for buying one.  And we pit two panelists against each other in a fight to the death in another installment of VERSUS.  Stick around for all of this hoopin’ and hollerin’, only on RoundAbout!

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Play RoundAbout Episode 112

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Featuring: Josh Lewis, Colin Bird, Jeffrey Ross, Eric Trytko, Michelle NaranjoCraig Cole and Ben Sanders

Video after the jump!

RoundAbout records LIVE on Fridays at 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT. Visit RoundAboutShow.com and click Watch Live to watch our webcast and look in on all the antics.

 

Show Notes

Nigeria to end gasoline subsidy accounting for 25 percent of government spending
Do you think fuel prices are too high where you live?  Well, be thankful you don’t call Nigeria home!  In case you’re not in-the-know, this coastal-African nation is one of the largest oil producers in the world — in fact, it’s No. 1 on the continent.  It also has MASSIVE fuel subsidies, which account for roughly A QUARTER of the government’s total expenditures.  Bloomberg News reports President Goodluck Jonathan — yes, that’s his actual name — is gunning to put a stop to this.  He wants to reinvest that money in big infrastructure projects like roads and power plants.  Sounds like a good idea, but it could spell trouble for motorists.  In the nation’s capital of Abuja, one liter of unleaded gasoline costs about 65 naria — 40 U.S. cents.  When the subsidy rug is pulled out from underneath drivers the price is expected to MORE THAN DOUBLE!  Not unexpectedly, the move in proving unpopular with Nigerians.  The moral of the story?  Don’t bitch about fuel prices because they could be much worse.

Interesting Factoid: Despite producing sooooo much oil, Nigeria actually imports 70 percent of its fuel products because of inadequate refining capacity

GM Sends Incentive Offer to 70,000 Saab Owners
Like it or not, GM had a BIG hand in the death of Saab. In the proverbial “death by a thousand cuts” GM, in all likelihood, was probably responsible for 967 of the gushing red wounds. As a final F*** you to the the hapless Nordic automaker, General Motors has decided to poach Saab’s former customers, who are now, officially, a people without a land. According to Jalopnik, who intercepted the communique, GM has sent out some 70,000 incentive offers to abandoned Saab owners. What are these AMAZING deals, you say? Owners — who presumable enjoyed Saab’s unique Swedish look and quirks — can swap out of say a Saab 9-3 for a….. Buick Lacrosse, and oh hey! you get $500 cash back. Not if you want the very popular Equinox, Volt or new Buick Verano though, then you’ll have to settle for $250. These incentives, which are really no better than most of GM’s current national incentives, represent that final 1000th cut into Saab’s already hemorrhaging abdomen. Well done GM.

Woman sues cop for ticketing her then asking her out
So you’re driving along, minding your own business. Then all of a sudden, you’re getting pulled over. “Drats,” you say to yourself. If you’re a woman, you get your cleavage ready and the tears to turn on. If you’re Evangelina Paredes, this works against you. She was written a ticket costing her $132 last October. The ticketing officer, Chris Collins, took it upon himself to apologize in a note left on her car. Oh, and said note also asked her out. Hubba-hubba. This has gone horribly wrong for him, because now he’s being sued by Ms. Paredes, saying that he violated her rights, as well as causing her “great fear and anxiety,” or lawyer speak for, “I’m full of it and just want some free tax paya dollas, y’all!” The note is horrible, though. Mr. Collins wrote on it, “I know this may seem crazy and you’re probably right, but truth is I have not stopped thinking about you since … I don’t expect a girl as attractive as you to … even go for a guy like me, but I’m taking a shot anyways. But hey, I did cost you $132 – least I can do is buy you dinner.” That’s the only bit of the note that’s been published, if there is any more. First off, never write how bald and ugly you are when stalking a girl, she’ll know it’s you immediately. Secondly, who really cares that this cop wanted to ask her out?

Chevrolet will sponsor modernized Disney Test Track
Finally, a GOOD car story coming from the Dangle State. No strippers, no ticket-hungry cops and, especially, nobody shaving their “no-no” spot. After 13 years of offering the Test Track ride, GM  and Disney World will be creating an all-new ride by the end of this year called the Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot. Hey, who hasn’t wanted to mix roller coasters and test cars at some point in their lives? No Eric, I said test cars… not PRESS cars! In preparation of this new attraction, the current ride will shut down in April.

Runaway car parks itself in neighbor’s garage!
It’s every driver’s worst nightmare . . . at least if you car isn’t a total shitbox.  You come out of a store and you whip is missing.  That’s just what happened to one man in Australia.  His TWO-DAY OLD car was AWOL after a 15-minute shopping trip.  As you’d expect, he telephoned the local constabulary and they started an investigation.  They looked and searched for days, but to no avail.  The vehicle was gone without a trace.  Come to find out, the vehicle had ROLLED across the street and INTO a neighbor’s garage where the door closed after the car crashed into it.  And there it sat, for 17 DAYS.  Conveniently, the homeowners were on vacation.  When they returned they noticed it looked like they’d been broken in to and called the police.  Well, low and behold, there sat the stolen car, just as pristine as the day it left the showroom.  The moral of the story?  Make sure you put it in park!

Top 10 Worst Selling Vehicles of 2011
Relatively speaking, 2011 was a good year for the U.S. auto industry. With car sales up 10% for the year, and new models like the Chevrolet Cruze entering into the pantheon of top 10 best sellers, it was an overall good year for automakers, especially the Detroit 3. Still, there were some models that had a horridly bad run of it. In a blog entry from Autoblog, which weeded out high-performance/luxury a partial stillborn models from the list, the publication outlined the top 10 worst selling, mainstream vehicles for 2011. Such models include, the now dead, Mazda Tribute, which sold a whopping 2,696 units. Other winners include the Acura ZDX, Hyundai Azera and Subaru Tribeca. Acura could only muster, barely 1,000 Acura RL sales for all of 2011. What you’ll notice about this list is that it includes a lot of models that are really old, or uninspiring looking or represents a model that doesn’t quite fit with the marketing ethos of its respective brand, for instance the luxury Cadillac pickup truck, the Escalade EXT, or the $70,000 Toyota Land Cruiser.

NC woman crashes into store for a case of beer
This happened in Burlington, NC, about 80 miles from my home, where a woman, obviously annoyed that her local convenience store was closed, crashed into it with her pick-em-up truck… then going and helping herself to a new case of beer. The woman, Kara Fitzgerald Overman, was arrested only a mile from where the crime happened. The crash happened around 1:42 am on December 28th. As the story points out, in England this sort of thing is called ramraiding. In North Carolina it’s called a Friday night.

Volvo V70XC Dakar edition
Growing up, I spent the majority of my time being shuttled around in the way back of a ’78 Chevy Caprice station wagon while I spent most weekends of my teenage years off-roading in some wooded area in The Middle of Nowhere, Michigan. As if to sum up the first 20 years of my life into a single car picture, Hooniverse.com found this beautiful Volvo XC70 that was apparently prepped for the brutal Dakar Rally. At first, I thought this jacked-up station wagon was just an awesome photoshop, but after checking out a few of the build pictures of the monster Volvo, I want it… in the timeless words of Veruca Salt, “I don’t care how, I want it now!”

 

Amazon.com Pick of the Week

GoPro Hero HD Camera

 

Versus

Pick #1

Pick #2

Bonus Round – Pick #3

 


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