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Episode 805 – Eurozone Troubles, Five-Door Cinquecento, Jeep’s Red-Hot Wrangler

January 17th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:38

All the world is watching the Eurozone right now, and the news is very pessimistic as consumer confidence plummets and unemployment rises.  But maybe some new product will help.  Fiat will introduce a five-door version of its scrappy little 500 at the Geneva Motor Show in March.  A great bit of news for Chrysler: it can’t keep up with demand for the Jeep Wrangler.  All that and more, plus a look at Mazda’s Skyactiv technology.

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This is Autoline Daily for January 17th and it’s time to track the latest developments in the automotive industry.

EUROZONE TROUBLES
All the world is watching the Eurozone right now, and the news is very pessimistic. Bloomberg reports consumer confidence is plummeting, unemployment is rising and the economy is slowing. Obviously, this is bad news for car sales. Last year registrations fell 1.4 percent to 13.6 million units as four of the region’s top five markets contracted. Fiat, PSA and Renault had the largest declines of all automakers.

CINQUECENTO WAGON
But maybe some new product will help. According to The Detroit Free Press, Fiat will introduce a five-door version of its scrappy little 500 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. No details about the vehicle are known, but it would certainly have to be stretched to accommodate the extra openings. The Cinquecento wagon – our name – will also be offered in the U.S., where it would hopefully boost sales of the slow-selling model. The company moved just under 20,000 of the little guys last year, less than half of what it planned.

JEEP’S RED-HOT WRANGLER
But while the Fiat 500 fell flat on its face, Chrysler can’t keep up with demand for the Jeep Wrangler. According to the Toledo Blade, the company will increase production by 100 units a day at its Toledo Assembly plant, the only location that builds the Wrangler. Sales of the Wrangler were up 30 percent last year, and that’s just counting in the American market.

A CALL TO PRIVATIZATION
There’s an interesting article on the China Car Times that argues that Chinese automakers need to be privatized in order to succeed. Almost all carmakers in China are state owned and the author argues this hurts them because they listen to the government more than they listen to their customers. They expanded recklessly because of cheap loans, they lack accountability and they rely too much on profits created by joint ventures with foreign automakers. Until things change, it’s likely to get worse for domestic Chinese brands because consumers just aren’t interested in them. Last year Chinese domestic brands were down 3 percent while foreign brands were up 5 percent.

TOWN-HALL MEETING
There’s a public hearing being held in Detroit today on the 54.5 mile per gallon fuel economy standard. A number of people have asked me if I would attend that meeting, but I’m not going. Why? For what? The hearings are over populated with environmental and labor leaders and the same old tired list of activists, and we already know what they’re going to say before they even say it. You’ll hear a lot of blah-blah-blah about how the American people are solidly in favor of higher standards, and that they demand more hybrids and electric cars, despite the fact that this is the very same public that does not buy very many hybrids or electrics. To me, it’s amazing to watch the environmental and labor public relations machines crank up to get in the news. The UAW which never, ever contacts me on anything has bombarded me with e-mails to try and get me to attend. Same with the Environmental Defense Fund. You know, maybe I’d go if I thought I would learn something. But I don’t need another lesson in the attempted brainwashing of the American public.

Mazda has a suite of technologies called Skyactiv. It’s kind of a dumb name, but it involves an interesting approach to boosting fuel economy. More about that after the break.

RACE TO THE TOP
Automakers are in a race to the top . . . the top of the fuel-economy charts. From downsized, turbocharged engines to hybrids, they keep one-upping each other. Despite all the high-tech stuff available today, the good ol’ internal-combustion engine still has A TON of life left in it, and that’s the route Mazda is taking.

I’ve actually been test driving a 2012 Mazda3 five-door this week, but it’s got a manual transmission, not the automatic they just talked about. It’s a nice, simple car, but maybe a little bit underpowered.

Autoline is going to be webcasting LIVE from the Washington DC auto show next week, where we’ll be talking with some of the top regulators and legislators in the nation’s capital. We’ve also got some free tickets to the show to give away. If you live in the DC area and want to attend the show, shoot us an email to viewermail@autoline.tv. I think we’ll limit two to a customer and get your request in early because these things tend to go fast.

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

150 Comments to “Episode 805 – Eurozone Troubles, Five-Door Cinquecento, Jeep’s Red-Hot Wrangler”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Way to tell it like it is John.

  2. MJB Says:

    Very much off topic, BUT…I acquiesce, John.

    This past summer you test drove the Audi A8 (I’m pretty sure it was the A8). Part of your take-away on the automobile was its stunning, high-quality interior. You stated in no uncertain terms that Audi had achieved the finest interiors of any other automaker. A statement I respectfully questioned in a forum response. In fact, I believe you even called me out on my comment in one of the “You Said It” pieces.

    Well… my wife and I visited the Detroit Auto Show just last night – (I know it’s the NAIAS now, but it will always be the Detroit Auto Show to me) and I got a chance to sit in the flagship sedans of each luxury brand. Had I not had a chance to sit in the car to see and touch for myself, I would still have been skeptical. But the jury is in (for me) and Audi does indeed hold the crown for best interior. Better than Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti, Cadillac, Lincoln & Jaguar, imho.

    That said though, I think I still might prefer the LS460L (for purchase). As much as I LOVE the A8′s interior and front end, the rear end is a complete and utter let-down. It has no more allure than the rear end on the A4. In fact, imho, the A4′s is a tad more appealing than that of the A8. That should not be so. And it probably would not irk me as much if I didn’t find the overall design of the rear quarter so ‘flat’ and ultra conservative on ALL the current Audi sedans. Not to mention, there is just too much eye and finger candy in the back seat of that fully loaded A8. I’ve got two knuckleheaded, toddler-age boys. And the LAST thing I need is for them to be back there breaking off knobs, buttons and other assorted doo-dads. So maybe in another 5 years I’ll get a car chocked full of all those extra niceties.

    The only Mercedes that really lights my fire (was) the previous generation CLS. What they’ve done with the 2012 CLS is just plain freakish. The S550 doesn’t do it for me (aesthetically). Never has. BMW flagship sedan, same thing. Just not quite ‘there’ for me. I eschew the new flagship Jag styling. I have no real interest in the Lincoln or Cadillac flagships. And Infiniti lost me a long time ago.

    One note on the Cadillac CTS coupe, whose styling I love so much (irregardless of obvious blind spots). I was SO disappointed upon getting inside the car and closing shut the door (a test I do on all autos – because, whether it should or shouldn’t is kind of beside the point – but the sound a door makes when it is closed from inside the cabin is, in my minds eye, indicative of it’s overall quality). I had just gotten out of the LS460L, where I was treated to a textbook exercise in how a luxury car door SHOULD sound and feel when closed shut. That every-so-reassuring ‘thwumphh’ creating a vacuum-like seal, shutting out everything around you. The Cadillac CLS coupe door literally reverberated, ricocheted, and ‘bounced’ inside the door-well when pulled shut. At that point I lost all interest in even checking out anything else the interior had to offer. I even shut it standing on the outside and watched as is ‘ricocheted’ a good two or three times. The door on my 19-yr old SC400 closes with (much) more reassured firmness than that! Shame on you, Cadillac!

    Anyway, just wanted to say John, you were right. Audi interiors rule!

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, I see your point (about avoiding the Town Hall Meeting), plus you’re going to get your fill, of the same, when you go to the Washington Auto Show. Good luck there.

  4. Autos101 Says:

    MJB:

    Good points. Everybody (John, Peter et al) are gushing and waxing lyrical about the A8, but it is the most undistinguished Flagship Luxury car out there, the exterior, purposely or not, looks identical to an A6 or an A4, EVEN to a trained eye, let alone to the clueless orthodontists who shell out the $100k or more to buy it! ANd the gaping mouth grille looks real bad, the previous ones were better.

    Even tho I drive a classic (not the bangled successors!) 98 BMW 740iL, I don’t much like the current 7 either, the S CLASS looks much better esp on the exterior, and feels plenty luxurious inside, but the CLS never did it for me, all hatr and no cattle, an overpriced E class everybody calls beautiful but I fail to see it. MAybe because I am a staunch believer in FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION.

  5. T. Bejma Says:

    #2 MJB

    Did you compare the door closing on the CTS Sedan? The Coupe, like all Coupes has a MUCH larger door than a sedan (like the Lexus). A lot harder to get quality sound when you are swinging almost twice as much door. Your comparison is Apples to Oranges.

  6. HtG Says:

    John, perhaps the UAW didn’t tell you about the buffet? Pigs in a blanket, ginger ale, triscuit, Pepto. Come on man, bring stuff back for Craig Cole! Are there no bags or pens being handed out?

  7. MJB Says:

    #4

    I actually like the grille (a lot). It’s the rear quarter that keeps making my BLAND-ALERT buzzer go off.

    Regarding average Joes who see these cars, let me give you an excellent for example.

    So my wife and I were at the show yesterday and we’d just gotten out of the Escalade (she’s looking for a 7-passenger SUV – currently leaning VERY heavily toward the Audi Q7-S). we then walked by the Suburban/Tahoe displays and I pointed out to her something that I figured she (and everybody else on the planet) already knew – that the Escalade we just got out of is built on the Suburban/Tahoe platform. They are sister vehicles.

    I nearly fainted when she turned to me and said with every bit of honesty and innocence you could imagine, “I didn’t know that.” I said, “Baby…You GOTTA be kidding me. You mean to tell me that you’ve never once looked at a Tahoe and said to yourself that looks just like am Escalade, but with different tail lamps???” She says, “No.”

    I was absolutely FLOORED!

    And THAT, people, is your average consumer. THAT, people, is why you will only score points with your arguments about how little sense it makes to spend $10k extra on an ES over a comparibly equipped Camry. We are the only ones who care. The general public does not.

  8. MJB Says:

    #5.

    Unfortunately I did not check out the sedan.

    But much to the point I made at the end of my initial piece – my 19-yr old Lexus SC400 (which is a coupe, and has a door that is quite likely heavier than that of the CTS coupe) STILL closes with resounding solidness.

    Of course, if you’ve ever seen the door hinge assembly on that car, you’ll understand why. It is literally a work of art. The door only opens to about a 40degree angle, Lexus designed the hinge to cant the top of the door downward and out (away from the shoulder) as the door is opened. Therefor, instead of needing say, 80degrees of opening to get a person into the car, the SC uses considerable less. And the sheer heft of the hinge lets it perform the dynamics it does with precision even 19-yrs later.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    EUROZONE TROUBLES

    Hmmmn . Lets see now …….. how many months have I been saying this .. along with HtG ?

    Nobody ever listens , no matter how many times the FACTs vindicate my posts

    ——-

    JEEP – Along with how many times have I stated that JEEP is in fact Chrysler’s ONLY shining star and its only hope for survival ?

    ——-

    VW-Audi-Porsche – No ‘ Baby ‘ exotics for you ( worldwide ) they’ve all been put on ice . Gee I wonder why ? Could it possibly be partially what I’ve been saying about the EuroZone all along as well as what I’ve continuously been posting abotu VW-AG’s multiple woes

    Nahhhhh. Tj’s never right ( hint hint T.Bejima )

    ———

    FIAT 500 Wagon – Hmmmmn . lets have a look here . 500 isn’t selling worth a damn . Station wagons don’t sell in the US ..

    (scratch scratch )

    YUP ! Marchionne’s Madness Marches On !

    8)

    ——-

    Audi A8 – There was a time when the A8 , especially in its S8 guise was one heck of a car ……. when it worked ( which wasn’t often ) Now its just another Also Ran trying to compete with the likes of Benz’s S Class and the BMW 7 Series and doing so rather poorly if I do say so myself .

    ——–

    Cadillac – Why do we even bother to mention them anymore when Quality is Job # 24 ,3849 @ Cadillac … innovation is a word they’ve never heard of …. badge engineering is their solution for everything .. Reliability is some foreign language not spoken at Cadillac …. and overcharging in comparison to their competitors for much less quality is the norm

  10. Autos101 Says:

    #7 the grill is truly terrible, and the same applies to that gaping mouth of the MAZDA, which looks like a whale shark.

    But Audis are NOT a serious alternative to M-B and BMW for two hyge reasons,

    1. their ABYSMAL reliability. EVERY DAMNED SINGLE OWN ER of Audis I ever met, and I met DOZENS over the decades, had horror stories to tell, and

    2. They are too close to VW. same problem Lexus has with the Camry, the Highlander, and other $10k-$15k cheaper versions of the ES and the RX etc..

  11. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    I’s coming to yer defense on this one

    The doors on the brand new ( all of 254 miles ) SRX I rented awhile ago . Sounded cheaper and clunkier than the wife’s Matrix to close …. the gaps were ludicrous for a car of that price and well ………. you know the whole story .

  12. tj Martin Says:

    #10

    Amen . I was one ( Audi S4 Avant owner ) and can concur completely

  13. HtG Says:

    oh tj, have I got a Fiat story for you. But I can’t say it over the tubes without burning some folks.

    As to Europa, I’ll have a special visitor soon, giving me a little on the ground insight from a high perch. (er, hint hint)

  14. Autos101 Says:

    #7 do you really need a 7-passenger SUV and not a 7 passenger 28 MPG Honda Odyssey?

    I don’t know how many miles you will put on that thing, but if you are shopping new, buy a DIESEL (X5 diesel or GL merc if you can afford it).

    But I would still get the outstanding Odyssey. Not even the Pilot (which is a very popular Honda 3 row SUV)

  15. Autos101 Says:

    #12 the latest victim is a colleague who owned an Allroad for two brief years. Utter piece of junk! Now he owns an Odyssey and is very, very happy.

  16. MJB Says:

    #10 – Grille – Eye of the beholder.

    I do agree about the Mazda grille though. Slap a giant set of bucked teeth on it and Tha-tha-tha-tha-that’s all folks!

  17. Autos101 Says:

    #16 a pity, because the rest of the Mazda looks quite good.

  18. HtG Says:

    A link to a briefing on Skyactiv.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBJliy4Udh4

  19. MJB Says:

    #14

    Dogg…. You are NOT serious!

    I will say this one time and one time only.

    NO SOCCERMOM MOBILES are going to be parked up in MY driveway….EVER!

    Minivans are totally and completely out of the question. This is not a topic up for debate. Some people don’t mind and have no issue with them. Not gonna happen up in my crib.

    Completely irregardless of function and utility, hell will freeze over, satan will regain his position in heaven and the Detroit Lions will win a Superbowl before the word “minivan” occupies the same sentance with the words, “I own a”.

  20. T. Bejma Says:

    #19

    Have you taken a look at the Enclave for a 7 passenger alternative to the body on frame truck SUV’s. Much better ride with unibody construction and the I (at 6’4″) can actually sit in the 3rd row…

  21. MJB Says:

    :) :)

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I hope they give the 5-door 500 a little more motor. If they don’t, it will be like the MINI Countryman, too much car for the motor.

  23. MJB Says:

    #20

    I like the Enclave. But it’ll be a stretch getting the wife to get behind the wheel of a Buick. It’s still the old-person brand in her mind.

  24. MJB Says:

    #10

    Is the reliability on Audis STILL in the tank?

    Wow, guess we’ll have to reconsider that Q7.

  25. Autos101 Says:

    #19: GROW UP. You have been WARNED. Gas prices are, for this time of the year, at VERY HIGH levels. I hope you have $10,000s to waste on gas every year, or that you will only do a few miles with that breadvan on stilts.

    AND DO Look at the Odyssey. it is the KING in its segment and has been since the full size Odyssey was introduced in 2001 or so.

    OR at least get the DIESEL SUVs, UNBEATABLE high resale value.

  26. T. Bejma Says:

    #23

    Still have the Acadia and Traverse that are on the same platform.

  27. Autos101 Says:

    Note that the 500 wagon will be made IN SERBIA at the same plant that made the INFAMOUS YUGO!!!

  28. HtG Says:

    27 as long as the rear defroster keeps your hands warm while you push…

  29. Autos101 Says:

    Enclave, Acadia etc too obese and less interior room than the Odyssey or any other minivan for that matter.

    Wasteful designs that will be DINOSAURS in the higher CAFE Era where they will operate

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, 23,
    It sounds like you have image infatuation issues. No minivans, even though the Odyssey might best serve your purposes, and no Buicks, because they are an old peoples’ brand. I guess “image” is what sells a lot of cars, though.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, only one recent car really has stood out as having bad door sounds. That is the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. Those cars must have started the use of the term “tinny” in reference to door sounds.

  32. tj Martin Says:

    EV’s & Mullaly

    Read this ;

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/15/ford-s-alan-mulally-on-the-plug-in-electric-car.html

    Any catching the Irony here ? One one hand , here’s Mullaly rightfully saying that E/V’s-PlugIns are not ready for mass consumption .. the infrastructure is not there etc etc

    Yet ….. yet ….. just last week Mullaly’s stuffing FORD’s new entries into the E/V PlugIn Fray ………. promoting the very thing he’s now saying we do not need .

    Oh please . Do someone remind me why it is Mullaly is such a wonderful and fantastic CEO as he speaks with forked tongue out of both sides of his mouth at the same time .

    ———

    @ Kit – Hint . The 500 Wagon will be more Clubman than Countryman . The Countryman competitor from FIAT is on the boards and coming this way all too terribly soon . All with the same underpowered asthmatic engines ( pun intended )

    ———

    @ HtG – A subtle hint mien freund ;

    IF YOU’RE NOT GONNA TELL THE WHOLE ______ STORY .. THEN DON’T TELL ANY OF IT !!!!!!

    Grrrrrr !

    Having said that though ;

    I’ll be interested to see what your Cous has to say bout the EuroZone Woes , but in light of my two being Very Grey Phantoms ( they …… errrr …. don’t work for a CH bank they ……… errrrrr…… own one . Been in their side of the family since 1901 )

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #27,
    I’d heard that the plant in question was bombed out of existence during the NATO intervention in ’99 or so.

  34. MJB Says:

    #25 – It matters not. No minivans. We get by just fine with sedans (and soon to be, SUVs) thank you.

    #30 – Yep.

  35. Autos101 Says:

    Maybe it’s a different plant, #33, but I am sure the 500 wagon will be made in Serbia.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “@ Kit – Hint . The 500 Wagon will be more Clubman than Countryman .”

    Yes, I’m well aware of that, but the power/weight of the stretch 500 will be more like that of the Countryman, if they use the same 1.4 engine.

  37. tj Martin Says:

    #19

    MJB – For what its worth , I’m with you on the No Soccer Mom Car zone issue .

    Hades will have to of frozen over twice , the second coming come and gone , and an Edict from God himself demanding me to do so before I’ll ever buy a Soccer Mom , godawful …… I shudder at the thought …. Mini Van of any brand or ilk . Unless of course its an air cooled VW MicroBus , but thats a different story entirely

    ( “What a strange ….. strange trip its been….. ” )

  38. tj Martin Says:

    #36

    No it’ll be the same as the Clubman

  39. Jerzjt Says:

    Can you run another 100 Wranglers off the liner per day without sacrificing quality?

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    The current 500 has a lower power/weight ratio than the Clubman, and it is safe to assume that the 5-door will be heavier, making the power/weight lower yet.

    Until we know the weight of the “big” 500, we won’t know its power/weight, but it will be approach that of the non-turbo Countryman, if they use the same, 101 hp engine.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Everyone should know by now, but SUV’s are the current soccer mom mobile of choice, and have been for several years.

  42. MJB Says:

    #40

    Perhaps, but when an entire class of vehicle has to be pubbed like this ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql-N3F1FhW4 ) there is obviously an image issue to be dealt with. These issues don’t shadow SUVs.

  43. Autos101 Says:

    #40 true, and not just soccer moms but young women too.

    I see plenty of them with X3s when i go for an oil change at the dealers, and they have not clue one about autos.

  44. Autos101 Says:

    41: SUVs=DINOSAURS. Why would you prefer a RHINOCEROS to an ARABIAN HORSE?

  45. Autos101 Says:

    they will go the way of the 60s and 70s muscle cars after the two oil crises.

    And the muscle cars were a whole lot fun to drive than the 6,000 lbs rhinoceri.

  46. MJB Says:

    It’s all in your perspective, Autos.

    Gas prices are not a concern to all of us.

    Cornering and agility are not of concern to all of us.

    SUVs = Dinosaurs? Not according to sales figures they don’t.

  47. HtG Says:

    In the last couple of months I’ve been seeing more GLKs driven by hot mommies. Maybe it’s the discounts, but it is quite a nice image.

  48. Autos101 Says:

    OH YES, #45. You have forgotten what SUVs (which are NEITHER Sports NOR utility) were selling back in 2000-01. TOday they sell a PITTANCE of what they did. The EXPLORER used to sell 450,000 a year!!! Now a far better Explo can’t sell a third of that!!!

    Stick a fork in them, they are done.

  49. Autos101 Says:

    and study your history as well as the sales nos. Look what happened at the far superior (to SUVs) and far more fun Muscle Cars of the 60s and 70s.

  50. Autos101 Says:

    Pickup Trucks and SUVs should be bought by those who actually need their features, and not those that could do with a coupe or a Wagon.

  51. GPL Says:

    The minivans outnumber the SUV’s amongst the moms at my kid’s soccer club. It’s the soccer dads that drive the SUV’s.

    When it came time to scale up our family hauler I resisted the minivans for likely the same reasons as MJB, but eventually shopped them. For interior volume for the $ and MPG, they just can’t be beat, but ultimately we didn’t need so much volume as just a few more seats for occasional use, and finding a good, used minivan with the tow rating I required was nearly impossible, so we ended up in a 3 row CUV.

  52. Autos101 Says:

    #50 there are several smaller wagons if you don’t need a full size van. Mazda 5, now the outstanding Prius V that is becoming a huge sales success, and others.

  53. MJB Says:

    #47-49

    Autos, Autos, Autos… :)

    There you go doing that liberal thing again. Trying to tell people what they “should” and “should not” buy. Why don’t you run for office, my friend?

    If I can afford it, I will buy whatever I darn well please. and the likes of anyone who disagrees with said purchase can just look away as I drive past them.

    I don’t care what society says best suits my “needs”. I will drive precisely what I like. That’s the beauty of being in America.

    On those sales figures… I’m only saying that just recently “truck” sales figures eclipsed “car” sales figures. Even if that was only from one single month, that doesn’t sound like a cry for help from the ‘gas-pump oppressed’ general public to me.

  54. Autos101 Says:

    and of course the excellent Jetta Sportwagen Diesel (hope they also come out with an even larger Passat Wagon diesel)

  55. Autos101 Says:

    52 you REALLY do not understand.

  56. Autos101 Says:

    so fuggedaboutit.

  57. Autos101 Says:

    And don’t make me laugh, there is NOTHING LIBERAL about me, I am 10 times a BETTER CONSERVATIVE than you will EVER (Irepeat EVER) be.

    and look the damned word up:

    CONSERVATIVES CONSERVE.

    LIBERALS WASTE.

  58. GPL Says:

    Autos101,

    Re: Mazda5 and Prius V, neither of those can tow squat. We actually looked at the Mazda5 early on anyway, but with the third row up, the cargo space is gone. Need both sometimes. The Prius V wasn’t available at the time, but that’s only a two row, is it not?

  59. Autos101 Says:

    If you want to tow, #57, forget the Prius V, and get a DIESEL, any Diesel. Even the Jetta Sportwagen can tow something. If you have serious towing needs, then an SUV or Pickup is absolutely a legitimate choice that makes sense.

    But a secretary living alone and driving a big SUV or a Pickup to work every day is as Liberal and Wasteful a spectacle, and as anti-COnservative (and anti-conservationist) as it will ever get.

  60. GPL Says:

    Re: Jetta Sportwagen, again, not enough seats.

  61. MJB Says:

    #56,

    Apparently we just “don’t understand” each other then.

    I’m done talking to you, Autos. Your fuse is just way too short. You need to go get a grip.

    Tone it down, my man. Quit walking into toothpick fights with a machette.

    What’s next from you, another “EFFING” bomb?

    I’m out.

  62. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    re; GLK’s

    Funny here in KC the majority seems to either be folks our age and older , or very stunning 20 somethings . Hmmn .

    @ MJB

    re; # 60 And errr ….. this surprises you ….. errrr ….. why ?

  63. tj Martin Says:

    SUV’s As Soccer Mom Mobiles

    The big ones ( with third row seats ) ? Yes .

    Well except they are Cowboy Cadillacs as well , not to mention Gang Banger / Rapper Mobiles , Cars of the Stars ( rock that is ) Tow cars for R/V’s , Off road adventure vehicles , along with about a hundred other monikers

    GLK’s – X3′s – FX35′s etc ?

    Not hardly . No room for the rugrats !

    Whereas MiniVans WILL ALWAYS be the car of choice for the soccer/church lady mom .

    A Chick mobile ? Again ….. not hardly

    Lets put it this was Autos101 . Don’t go racing a GLK , 4matic or not in the Magnificent 7 , unless you’re in need of being severely embarrassed by a Chick Mobile . Better not be taking on any X3′s either ;-)

  64. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    Amen , should of read you say this first

    Damn Right , Buy what ever the _____ you want and ENJOY it I say . Honestly there’s not been a moment of regret / guilt since buying the GLK and in fact if anything I’m now finding myself laughing every time I watch someone my size ( 6’4″ ) or there abouts cramming his/her self into some Micro/ MINI 500 /Civic / Prius what ever whilst I gracefully waft in and out of the GLK effortlessly .

    And after the EPA’s revelations last week that 73% of the Worlds pollution is in fact coming from Electric power plants and not cars ?

    Well Heck ! I’m riding on a tidal wave of Moral Superiority Knowing I’m not using any extra electricity to drive my car

    Rock On MJB . Or Disco ….. if you must 8)

  65. Autos101 Says:

    TJ: the 7 is not an off-road vehicle. If you meant that I would waste my time racing a… GLK on PAVED roads, why would I do it?

    To prove the obvious? That after a few seconds, you would not even SEE the back of thew VASTLY Superior 7?

    Don’t make me laugh.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “But a secretary living alone and driving a big SUV or a Pickup to work every day is as Liberal and Wasteful a spectacle, and as anti-COnservative (and anti-conservationist) as it will ever get.”

    Sorry, but it’s today’s version of “conservatives” that drive the pickups and large SUV’s to carry one person around. Today’s American conservatives are the anti-conservation crowd in today’s politics, as you should know.

    As far as buying what you want, yeah, that’s what people do, and then they whine a lot when gas goes up a few cents a gallon.

  67. Autos101 Says:

    #61 Suit yourself. It is not that I learned one damned thing I did not already know, reading your posts.

    And yes, I do have a short fuse with SELFISH people who really do NOT understand that gas is NOT like any other expensive item you can buy.

    UNFORTUNATELY, due to the exact same DAMNED LIBERALS and Treehuggers, we cannot develop our VAST domestic fossil fuels, incl unconventional OIL and GAS, and have to spend HALF A TRILLION $ A YEAR that we DO NOT HAVE, but borrow from CHina, to give that half a trillion every year to those who HATE OUR GUTS, the medieval clowns in Saudi and Iran, who use that $ to KILL US.

    Makes a whole lot of sense, right?

    Lenin said, that the capitalists will sell him the rope to hang them,

    BUT in OUR Case we are 1,000 TIMES DUMBER!

    WE ACTUALLY GIVE THE THUGS the $ to buy the weapons to kill us!!!

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “And after the EPA’s revelations last week that 73% of the Worlds pollution is in fact coming from Electric power plants and not cars ?”

    ….but that pollution is not concentrated in the middle of the large cities, like pollution from road vehicles.

  69. Autos101 Says:

    #66 NO, these are NOT conservatives. They may vote Republican, but I would care less, that does not make them CONSERVATIVE.

    As I said,

    CONSERVATIVES CONSERVE.

    LIBERALS TAX AND WASTE

    And this is not a matter of opinion. it is the DEFINITION.

  70. Autos101 Says:

    And I mean ECONOMIC Conservative, Social Conservatrives like that extreme right wing clown Santorum, he voted against RIght to work an in favor of the corrupt unions. SOME conservative…Laughable.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That “unconventional” oil is really great, given that you have to burn all the natural gas in Canada just to separate the Canadian tar sand oil from the sand.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #69,
    OK, most people who identify themselves as conservatives in America, are mostly anti-conservation to the extreme.

  73. Autos101 Says:

    IF gas was properly priced, to reflect its Internal as well as its external costs, people would make RATIONAL decisions and not waste. BUT it is not, it is SUBSIDIZED TO THE HILT, our Defense budget in particular is spent to protect the oil import lanes for us and all the freeloader clowns in Europe, if we add that to the price of gas, it goes well beyond $6 a gallon, AND if you also, as you should, add the enviro damage, it should go for $9 a gallon.

    But that assumes a RATIONAL World, not a nation $15 TRILLION in Debt to china to sustain an UNSustainable lifestyle.

  74. Autos101 Says:

    #72 Few of these are ECON COnservatives worthy of the title. Most are SOCIAL con servatives, religious fan atics and the like.

    I have been a registered Democrat since the first time I had to register in 92 to vote in the primaries, but have NOT voted Dem since 1998, actually since 1992 since I did not vote in 96.

    There is NOBODY in today’s DEM party that is not a SHAMELESS DEMAGOGUE except of course Lieberman who is a dem in name only.

  75. Autos101 Says:

    But Bill Clinton, setting his personal behavior aside, still makes plenty of econ sense. Add him to Lieberman above.

  76. Autos101 Says:

    #71 it is lauughable that LIBERAL Canadians DO IT but for us we really should not, and we should continue borrowing half a trillion dollars a year from the chinese and give it to those who want to murder us to buy their oil.

    You make a whole lot of sense.

    NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #76,
    Maybe we should CONSERVE, and we wouldn’t need the tar sands oil, or so much from the middle east. Yes, gas is way too cheap.

  78. HtG Says:

    I remember years ago, when I would do field work in oil/gas, how it would kill me to see people get wound up about small differences in gas prices. The blood, sweat, tears, broken countries, exploited people, and military might that goes into filling peoples’ tanks was so out of proportion to the 1.70 it used to cost for gas. But they wanted those trucks and SUVs, and that’s where the big profits were for car makers. If the world economy gets through the Strait of Hormuz over the next few months, and emerging economies keep growing their taste for driving, I expect the balance of supply/demand to get those pump prices into Volt territory. Maybe even Fiesta will sell.

    exciting times

  79. tj Martin Says:

    @ Autos101

    0-60 GLK 6.9
    0-60 your 740iL 7.0

    Handling GLK exceeds the 7 both in dry and wet

    Top Speed GLK 155 mph ( Limited )
    Top Speed your 740iL – 140 ( assuming it still can )

    So …. you’re right ! Why would you waste your time when you know damn well the GLK’s gonna clean your Magnificent 7′s clock on any surface

    Want to talk about Dinosaurs ? You’re driving one 101 . Hate to clue you but as much as I despise Cadillac’s there’s nary a model on the showroom floor that doesn’t out tech your 7 in each and every way.

    Now don’t get me wrong 101 , the old 7′s a nice ride . But …. it doesn’t exactly leave you much room to be criticizing others when it comes to performance , mpg , handling , technology etc etc .

  80. tj Martin Says:

    #68

    Oh dear ,, Mr Gerhart are you ever ill informed . And just WTH do you think all that Electricity is getting used ? The farms ? And WTH do you think those Electric Plants are located ? The Moon ?

    Its the Cities using the power and the power plants are smack dab in the City !!!!!

    Here’s a little statistic to chew on while you’re happily banging away on your computer Kit

    Ever heard of a ” Link Hotel ” ? They are converted warehouses apt buildings and yes hotels that now house computer Servers Links etc …. and thats all ….. no people … save for the guards and occasional service folks . Every major city has a minimum of ten !

    How much energy does said Link Hotel consume you ask ?

    Average Wall Street High Tech office building = 6 watts per hour per square foot

    Link Hotel power usage = 100 watts per hour per square foot 24/7/365 ….. no down time

    FYI that smoke you see in every city pluming above the buildings ? Power Plants .

    Thats what you saw in Denver , not a freaking paper mill ( there are no paper mills on the front range )

    Ugh . You’re in need of a reality check when it comes to Emissions , Pollution ( and its sources ) Carbon Foot Print etc

  81. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Gentleman’s bet

    IF the Iranians are dumb enough to close the straights I’ll wager within five days China will be down their throats so fast and hard they’ll think they’d been hit by a Nuclear Weapons arsenal .

    With Russia , the EU etc to follow .

  82. HtG Says:

    81 wasn’t chess invented in Persia? It’s mistakes that worry me. And Bibi.

    80 I can’t recall the number, but a load of energy is used running the internet. And it’s increasing faster as the mobile web spreads. How many facebook goobers do you think wouldn’t prefer to look askance at the powerful car they almost just walked into.

  83. tj Martin Says:

    ” Maybe we should CONSERVE, and we wouldn’t need the tar sands oil, or so much from the middle east. Yes, gas is way too cheap.”

    OK Kit . You first . So start selling off all the extra cars ( 1 per person only ) the second home , the RV , all the R/C planes , cancel all the road trips , etc etc etc . Oh and then move to a smaller home , dump the computers ( see Link Hotel post above ) all the PDA’s GPS’s , get a bike , start walking etc

    No ? Thought not ! Oh its fine to demand Conserving to the likes of myself with an SUV , but ask you to do the same and I’m sure you’ll come up with a 1001 excuses why it should all be on me and not you .

    Sorry Kit . Life don’t work that way except in the most Lefty Liberal of Delusional DreamLand .

    Either we all do it , or you’ve got no right to ask/demand the likes of myself to do so .

  84. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Who’s Bibi ?

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #80, tj says:
    “Its the Cities using the power and the power plants are smack dab in the City !!!!!”

    The coal plants that make the worst pollution are not in cities, and in most cases, are not even near cities. The ones in Indiana are on the Ohio river, miles away from the closest cities.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #83,
    I conserve in ways that doesn’t adversely affect my lifestyle. Also, you might be surprised how little electricity I use. High density housing like my condo doesn’t use much energy to heat or cool.

  87. tj Martin Says:

    #85

    Of course they are Kit . Of course they are .

    In your dreams . Coal or not there are Power Plants in the heart of each and every City in the US BECAUSE they’re old and were placed close by for convenience and to lower power loses from longer lines .

    Which is the flip side to the ones outside the City . think thats a benefit Kit ? Every mile of transmission line diminishes the amount power arriving to its end source – thereby creating a need for more power per usage to be created – therefore creating even more pollution – that in fact does find its way to your City …. Indianapolis included !

  88. tj Martin Says:

    #83

    ” ….I conserve in ways that doesn’t adversely affect my lifestyle”

    And there we have it in a nutshell . The true and accurate Mindset of the Self Centered Extreme Liberal Left in your very own words Kit ( jeeze you fell for that like a ton of bricks in like no time flat )

    Hey then you’ve got nary a complaint against myself or anyone else’s conservation ideals .

    But FYI Kit . Your Condo is in FL . Thereby demanding mucho A/C on an annual basis . So don’t fool yourself Kit you’re using the watts up like a hungry hog in a pool full of corn

    Hypocrite

  89. HtG Says:

    84 Bibi Netanyahu.

    On car energy. Doesn’t the math work out that it’s better to improve the mileage of the worst first? A five mpg improvement from 25 to 30 is worth more than from 40 to 45. Also, so what if someone has a Maserati that they drive a few thousand miles a year, compared to the minivan schlepping all day long?

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #87,
    It creates a little more greenhouse gas to have the power plant away from the city. I creates a lot more coal smoke in the city, though, if you have the power plant in the city.

  91. tj Martin Says:

    # 89

    Ahhh … the voice of reason . At last . Ahhhh.

    But ……. wait ……….. we wouldn’t want to crimp said Mini Van schlepping soccer moms lifestyle ….. now would we ? ( why yes we would as a matter of fact )

    Really want to conserve ? And lower pollution in one fell swoop , taking away a bit of recreation , but in no way realistically diminishing anyones lifestyle ?

    Ban all ATV’s PWC’s Off Road non road worthy vehicles , recreational airplanes ( talk about gas consumption ) as well as all recreational power boats ( even worse )

    Like that’ll ever happen . No folks like Kit would rather rag on the obvious , though irrelevant target then go after the real culprits

    Did you ever hear this one HtG ?

    All the consumption/ emissions from so called Eco Tourisism per annum is five time that of one years worth of

    F1
    WRC
    LeMans
    MotoGP
    WSBK

    ( that includes transportation fuel used power consumed .. everything it takes to run a season )

    Scary and hypocritical all at the same time wouldn’t you say ;-)

    ( never heard him called Bibi BTW )

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #88,
    You are so full if it, as usual. My electric bill for my condo is about $40/month, when I am there. When I’m not there, the usage is about 10 kwh/month with the water heater and fridge off, and the A/C set at 82 so it will run occasionally to keep the humidity down.

    My unit is in the middle of a 5 story building, and doesn’t take much to either heat or cool.

  93. tj Martin Says:

    #90

    Best have a little talk with your local National Jewish Respiratory Care hospital on that Kit .

    You might find ( like this is any surprise ) that once again..

    You Are So Very Wrong and misinformed

  94. tj Martin Says:

    #92

    You have a monthly electric bill for $40 bucks in FL like I’m paying $1.50 for gas in MO .

    I’ve got relatives in FL . I know better . Last time you saw a $40 electric bill Lyndon Johnson was president .

    Care to try again there Kit ?

    Justifying your selfish and hypocritical , as well as misinformed views that is ?

  95. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #91,
    The easy way to reduce oil consumption by 30% or so, would be to have a reasonable mix of personal use vehicles, like most of the rest of the world.

    Motorsports don’t use much, except for the spectators going to the events. Boats, ATV’s, general aviation, etc., don’t use much either, compared to road vehicles. Using more efficient vehicles is the easy way to greatly reduce oil usage.

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #94,
    I’ve had enough of your shit. I could should show you the bills, if I had a way to do it, but you wouldn’t believe that either. I pay the bills, so I know how much they are. Yes, I set my A/C higher than most people, at 78. That makes a huge difference. I’m in the MIDDLE of the building, with two floors above me. That also makes a big difference in A/C usage from being on the top floor.

  97. HtG Says:

    I’ve started reading Yergin’s The Quest, whose topic is the present and future of enegy. So far it’s been a high level summary only, but I cheated and read a late chapter on electric cars. Yergin writes that Carlos Ghosn didn’t cut the electric car group years ago because those guys were so impressive. But Ghosn is saying that it will be ten years before EV make economic sense, with battery tech being the rate limiter. Here’s some more number from Yergin;

    -the most optimistic estimates for 2030 new car sales of EV and PHEV range from 10 to 32 percent

    -and total EV and PHEV gets to 14 percent

  98. HtG Says:

    crxn I meant to write, Ghosn didn’t cut the electric car group at Nissan when he turned around the company.

  99. tj Martin Says:

    Well Kit like MJB with ‘ Bob’ I’m calling it quits for today

    As always there’s no talking sense with someone who refuses to deal with reality , living in a world of his/her own imagination , unable to comprehend that facts that surround him .

    So keep on living the delusion Kit

    Just quit making demands of the rest of us UNTIL you’re ready to live up to them as well .

    Like you really need to have two houses , god knows how many cars , an RV , plethora of R/V toy airplanes , all those road trips etc etc etc

    As I said Kit . Do WTH you want with your own life

    Just don’t you dare try to criticize others until you’re willing to live up to your own damn standards .

    But first . Get at least a small clue . So’s you’re not coming into a nuclear war with a paper clip ;-)

  100. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Gotcha !

  101. HtG Says:

    Yes, tj. I am reading it on the Schnook, which saves trees from unwanted huggers, but caused a server somewhere scenic and far away to spin its hard drive and heat up an Intel chip which had to be cooled using even more energy.

  102. tj Martin Says:

    BWTM

    Between A/C TV Internet Lights Appliances etc etc

    Like i said Kit the last time you saw a $40 monthly Electric bill was when the Vietnam War was a current event

  103. HtG Says:

    dingit! Ben, we need an edit function on the comments. I blew that line about tree hugging in 101.

  104. tj Martin Says:

    @101

    HtG . You’re not here condemning others for their choices so you using the Nook , though I find it a bit funny , doesn’t bother me in the least .

    I may razz you for it , but like I said , you’re not coming down all high and mighty cause I prefer books …. so all is well

  105. HtG Says:

    I’m also making fun of me, tj. The Schnook, actually I switched to the Kindle Fire, is a very quick way to get books. I like physical when there’s a strong reason, such as a photography book.

  106. tj Martin Says:

    @101

    But … just FYi . In spite of the extensive A/C units to cool each and every servers room in said Link Hotel ….

    …. the average temperature is well above 84 degrees on average

    Those Link Hotels are scary . Each room , as they all belong to different companies also has its own power generator in case of black out . So if there’s 100 rooms there’s 100 ( sometimes more as some companies have up to three back ups as well ) gas generators on the roof

  107. tj Martin Says:

    # 105

    Well at least you moved to the better unit , though the iPad would still of been the best choice .

  108. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    So now you’re Kindlefied

  109. HtG Says:

    106 I apologize for knowing this, but currently a new class of servers are being developed which will use much less power and take up a fraction of the space. If you want, check out Calxeda. (disclosure, ARM is involved)

  110. HtG Says:

    Fire is cheap, and I wanted to see how the Amazon servers worked. Fire is good for vids too. I affectionately call it my Swindle, since it is a buying machine.

  111. cwolf Says:

    Ooops!…my mistake. I thought this was a car show..not a rerun of the republican bebates.

  112. Brett Says:

    MJB

    You should steel yourself and try an Odyssey just for a lark. Friends have told me that they really move with that V-6 in ‘em.

    I hear the new Tahoes are something good. It’s a shame Ford doesn’t have anything new in the three-row segment. I understand the new Escape is gonna be sweet, though.

    I thing that discussing politics on this site should be banned. It doesn’t do a damned thing to improve the signal to noise ratio here, which is normally fairly decent.

  113. T. Bejma Says:

    Who said the Hot Rod is dead…

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2012-chevrolet-camaro-zl1-test-review

    This would wipe up ANY 60′s/70′s muscle car both in straight line acceleration and especially in the corners…

  114. cwolf Says:

    #113 Bejma: Maybe we should lable you the “Hyundai Smoke” of the GM world (yuk-yuk).
    Awesome car,really! But one of the pumped up Mustangs will rival it and has front and rear glass that will let you see where you’re driving.

  115. HtG Says:

    a Caterham chases a Ferrari. Hey, anger happens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jGi-Vi6UVw&feature=g-vrec&context=G235b1ddRVAAAAAAAAAQ

  116. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #99,
    Let me explain, not that you will believe me.

    I have a 50 foot floor, a 50 foot ceiling, and two 50 foot walls between me and my neighbors who probably keep their apartments cooler than mine. I only have two 25 foot walls to the outside. Therefore, I don’t use much A/C.

    I have a thick wall, high efficiency refrigerator.

    I don’t have the TV on all the time.

    A cable modem doesn’t use much power.

    A lot of the time that I’m posting here, as now, I’m using a smart phone which doesn’t use much power to charge.

    I’m about 1/2 mile from the ocean, and a 2-3 mile wide intracoastal is next to my place. It does’t even get that hot here, rarely over 92 or so.

    In summary, you really like to accuse people of lying, when you just don’t have a clue.

  117. Kit Gerhart Says:

    and tj, what, exactly, is an “R/V toy airplane?

  118. T. Bejma Says:

    #114

    GM Smoke??? I don’t like it ;-)

    Big difference is that I actually work at GM and am not a hired fan boy. You know GM actually has employees whose job it is to visit discussion forums and blog sites to address concerns and help customers with their complaints. Maybe I should get a couple of them to help me out here against tj/101… ;-)

  119. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #99,
    …oh, and tj, you must have been using some kind of chemicals to hallucinate that I have an RV.

  120. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #118,
    I have defended GM here from time to time, and even the Volt.

    My biggest recent complaint with GM is that they don’t have a hatch or wagon version of the Cruze in the U.S.

  121. XA351GT Says:

    Wow ,that 5 door Fiat 500 is butt freaking ugly.

  122. T. Bejma Says:

    #120

    Yes, I know, thanks Kit!

    It would be nice if we could get a couple different versions of the Cruze (I really want a Coupe!) unfortunately wagons sell so poorly here, I don’t see it happening. Don’t know about the hatch… That would align it more with the Focus… Hmmmmm… Makes sense.

  123. Autos101 Says:

    “Smart. Mercedes-Benz has just instituted a $99/month lease for its Smart brand. How long before you get a Smart car thrown in for free when you lease a new E Class? The Oblivion Express has just left the station, folks. Smart will go belly-up in this market within eighteen months if not sooner.”

    Peter De Lorenzo may have an idea here.

    How about we expand it to sales, not just leases.

    You buy a C-class, get a “Dumb”

    Buy an E-class, get two “Dumbs”, dumb and Dumber

    Buy an S-class, get three “Dumbs” (yeah, you guessed it, … and dumbest)

    Buy a $200k S-class AMG, get 5 of these little buggers.

    That ought to explode “Dumb” sales by 900%…

    (but don’t ask me about Profits)

  124. Autos101 Says:

    Beima: “You know GM actually has employees whose job it is to visit discussion forums and blog sites to address concerns and help customers with their complaints.”

    Oh God this really sounds PATHETIC, and a gross misuse of our tax $. Typical bad old GM

    And why would you need to defend against me? I used to be a very vocal cheerleader of both the CRUZE and the EQUINOX, to the extent that TJ (erroneously) thought I was implying they were perfect, while I only commented on their sales successes.

    BTW, I just finished supervising a grad student that shall remain unnamed, who worked with the VOlt team, and his or her supervisors will also remain unnamed. At the end, the student accomplished nothing but I did pass him or her “for effort”. Same student had failed in the same course a year before.. so it may have been his or her fault..

  125. HtG Says:

    A1, on AAH last week, we learned that the car makers in general monitor chat and comment. So if you want to let Joel or Pete know what you’re thinking, just holler!(can you believe Peter was reading? I thought he was cool)

  126. Autos101 Says:

    125: Why wouldn’t I believe Peter was reading? Is he a CEO of a FOrtune 500 and has no time for this stuff? No, actually I don’t think he does anything but chat at AAH and write his column.

  127. Autos101 Says:

    PS HtG I had started reading my complimentary copy of “The Quest” last Fall but soon got bored with it and had many other things to do, so I stopped after 100 or so pages. I liked “The Prize” and the “Commanding Heights” much better. The trouble with the Quest is that it deals with current events and he sounds more like a damned journalist than a serious historian or economist.

  128. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #123,
    The thing I don’t understand is why they don’t fix the smart’s one big problem as a “city” car, which is the transmission. They’ve been building them for, what, 15 years. While a tiny car like that is not for everyone, there is a niche for it, even in North America, but that niche is a lot smaller than it needs to be, given the unpleasantness of the way the transmission works, which Daimler refuses to address.

  129. Autos101 Says:

    #128

    The thing that is even harder to understand is why they decided to import a car designed for Europe’s narrow streets and parallel parking, in the US which has neither of these problems, on average. ANd after they blundered and imported it, WHY did Sergio Macaroni blunder again, learn n othing from the errors of his competitors, and make the same mistake and import the ridiculous, tiny and fuel inefficient (lower MPG than cars far bigger!) Fiat 500.

  130. Autos101 Says:

    125: Joel Who? Do you mean Joel Ewanick of GM? I doubt he himself reads this forum.

  131. HtG Says:

    127 that’s my first impression also, A1. But I’d like a review anyway, and Yergin’s authority helps me sort things.

  132. HtG Says:

    130 just a little baiting on my part. ‘Pete’ meant Pete Farley.

  133. Autos101 Says:

    These guys have people, dozens minimum wage people, (hopefully they are not paid more) to waste their time monitoring forums and praising GM and FOrd.

  134. HtG Says:

    what’s the value?

  135. Kit Gerhart Says:

    129,
    If the transmission of the smart worked better, they’d sell more of them as third and fourth cars to people who just bought an E-Class or S-Class.

    The 500 is more like a “real car” than a smart, but FIAT doesn’t have the panache of Daimler, without which, they wouldn’t sell any smarts at all.

  136. Autos101 Says:

    #135

    No they would not. THese people can take mass transit or a cab when they want to go downtown, the “Dumb” was designed for places like NYC BUT the optimal policy if you live in N YC is NOT to have ANY DAMNED CAR. (Garaging it alone is $500-$1,000 a MONTH or so!!!!!)

  137. Autos101 Says:

    134: ? Too vague. R U talking to yourself?

  138. Autos101 Says:

    The 500 is inferior to the far more intelligent, reliable and even smaller on the outside, Scion-Toyota IQ. ONly a few Retro-lovers will buy the 500.

  139. HtG Says:

    I do see a few 500s around. One had an older gent driving, with the license plate, NONNO, which means ‘grampa.’

  140. Autos101 Says:

    After the Warranty expires, Grampa will change the plate to “MISERIA”, as in “Porca Miseria!”

  141. Autos101 Says:

    “Wagons don’t sell well here”

    Actually, with all these soccer moms hating to be seen in Minivans, this produces a rare opportunity to lure them from obese, inefficient, wasteful 3-row SUVs to efficient, roomy, tall Wagons, preferably with a diesel or e-assist gas. Gas prices being way too high for this time of the year, and forecasts of them exceeding $4 when the driving season begins, would help a lot, IF you had the product ready.

  142. Autos101 Says:

    From the WSJ, relevant to the discussion here yesterday:

    Canada and the U.S. trade economic places.

    Oh, for the bad old days, when Americans could poke fun at Canada for its economic policies. Nowadays, Canada has it all over the U.S.

    Take the contrasting political reaction to proposed pipelines to carry oil from Alberta’s oil sands.

    In the U.S., the Obama Administration has sat on a permit for the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline that would create thousands of jobs, break a supply logjam in Cushing, Oklahoma, and carry the oil to refineries along the Gulf Coast. President Obama may soon kill the Keystone XL now that Congress is forcing him to finally make a decision.

    Then there’s Canada, where private companies want to invest $5.4 billion to build a Northern Gateway Pipeline that would carry Alberta oil to ports in British Columbia. Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, recently blasted the “radicals” trying to block the project.

    Mr. Oliver said the green movement’s “goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydroelectric dams.”

    He said the greens “attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.”

    These groups are willing to “sue anyone and everyone to delay the project even further” to the point it becomes “economically unviable.” Sounds right, if a tad understated.

    Canadians are at least as environmentally sensitive as Americans, but they realize the economic folly in failing to exploit abundant their national energy resources. They also realize it’s possible to balance energy production for economic growth with environmental protections.

    The Northern Gateway Pipeline is especially important for Canada given Mr. Obama’s hostility to the Keystone XL. If the U.S. shuns Alberta oil, apparently preferring imports from Venezuela, then Canada needs to reach export markets in Asia. “I think it is essential,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said recently, “based on what’s happened with Keystone XL.” Whoever thought the day would come when Ottawa would be more pro-growth than the U.S. government?

  143. Autos101 Says:

    Production of the Prius C

    I always thought that they will sell as many as they can make, but until now I did not know how many they WILL make. TTAC provides some facts:

    “The compact hybrid Prius C went on sale in Japan (where it is called Aqua) last month. If you would buy one today in Japan, you would get your car some time in late spring. Toyota already has orders for more than 60,000. In order to not let the line grow longer, Toyota is cranking up its assembly lines at the Kanto Auto Works in Iwate Prefecture.

    According to The Nikkei [sub] Toyota will make around 20,000 units of the new car this month, but will increase production to some 30,000 units in in February and March.”

  144. GPL Says:

    Autos101, how well do you think the Prius C will do in the US?

  145. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From what I’ve been reading, the Prius C will be at least as well equipped as a current Prius 2. The C will have one feature my car doesn’t have, bluetooth connectivity, and will have standard features like “smart key” that you don’t normally see on an under $20K car.

    I think it will sell like crazy. The price is great, and it looks more “normal” than a regular Prius, an advantage to some people. Unfortunately, its looking normal compromises the aerodynamics, so its highway mpg is projected to be a little lower than the current Prius. It will be marketed as a “city car,” though, thus the “C,” so the highway mileage of “only” 46 mpg won’t be a big deal.

  146. GPL Says:

    I will happily admit if I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it. The trend in the US, comparing similar vehicles from the same mfg (to minimize statistical “noise”) is the larger the better up to midsize. Camry > Corolla > Yaris. Accord > Civic > Fit. Fusion > Focus > Fiesta. The exceptions are generally where the larger model is older and/or lackluster by comparison. (Cruze > Malibu).

    By that logic, unless the Prius C offers something better than the Prius, its sales potential in the US is somewhere below it, and the Prius doesn’t sell anywhere near the volume of the aforementioned midsize or even compacts. So from where are these Prius C sales going to come? Is there some untapped market of Americans that are waiting for a really small hybrid?

  147. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #146,
    The big thing the Prius C will offer is a $4K lower price than a regular Prius. At $19K, sales might well come from Corolla, Civic, Fit, Elantra, etc. Yeah, those cars are bigger, but there are a lot of people who rarely use the space anyway, especially if they have more than one car.

    In a few months, we will see what happens. Of course, it will also depend on the price of gas when the C hits the market.

  148. Autos101 Says:

    GPL Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Autos101, how well do you think the Prius C will do in the US?

    I think it will do very well, but it will do even better in Japan due to its smaller size, price and engine, I expect it to displace regular prius and other maker’s cars in Japan, and also do OK here but not as well as the bigger Prius.

    Above assuming it only gets 5% better MPG than the Prius (53 vs 50) and not 60 or so as I thought originally. Also, if gas prices rise, it will do extremely well here.

  149. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    #146,
    The big thing the Prius C will offer is a $4K lower price than a regular Prius. At $19K, sales might well come from Corolla, Civic, Fit, Elantra, etc.

    the obvious target is the cheap honda insight hybrid

  150. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #149,
    Yeah, the Insight is an obvious, but small target. Insight sells about as well as, what, Fiat 500? It will be interesting to see if Honda tries to improve the mpg, and other aspects of the Insight, or if they just quietly kill it.