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Episode 813 – Ford Profits Fall Short, BMW Offers Diesel for M Vehicles, Chevy Ecologic Stickers

January 27th, 2012 at 11:35am

Runtime: 8:30

Ford posted its financial earnings for 2011 and it was the company’s best year in over a decade but it still fell short of Wall Street targets. BMW will now offer a diesel engine for select M vehicles in Europe. Chevy announced all of its vehicles sold in the U.S. will have a window sticker explaining the environmental impact of the car. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about GM and Chrysler dealers who were forced to give up their businesses during the companies’ bankruptcies.

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Hello again, Murray Feldman here from FOX2 News, Detroit rounding out your week of Autoline Daily. And you know what that means, IT’S FRIDAY, January 27th, 2012! Yes, the weekend is nearly upon us. Here’s what’s going on in the automotive world.

FORD PROFITS FALL SHORT
Yesterday Hyundai had good financial news to report. Today, it’s Ford. The Dearborn-based automaker’s net income was more than $20 billion last year. That works out to a pre-tax operating profit of almost 9 billion bucks and it makes 2011 its best year since 1998! Ca-ching! But, and this is a big but, it failed to meet Wall Street’s targets. The fourth quarter was a bust. They reported over 13 billion in profit, but when you take out a non-cash accounting charge profit came in at just over a billion dollars for the quarter. Less than analysts expected. Trouble in Europe, floods in Thailand and higher costs for materials and commodities did them in. Still, the company will shell out $6,200 per worker in profit sharing. The company was solidly profitable in North America; it earned a healthy sum in South America; but it lost money in both its European and Asia-Pacific regions.

BMW OFFERS DIESEL FOR M VEHICLES
BMW is expanding its high-performance lineup. European drivers will be able to choose from four, yes, FOUR diesel-powered M vehicles, including oil-burning versions of the X5 and X6 crossovers, plus two versions of the 5 Series – a sedan and a wagon. The bodies may be different but all of these cars share the same all-wheel-drive system and the same engine. It’s a new tri-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Yes, three turbos. Output is 376 horsepower with a Mount Kilimanjaro’s worth of torque: 545 pound-feet. Look for the formal introduction of these M vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Again, these cars are a Europe-only affair. Sorry all you American BMW fans.

HYUNDAI CAN’T BUILD ENOUGH ELANTRAS
As I mentioned in yesterday’s show, Hyundai is on fire right now, especially in the U.S. The Elantra, its C-segment offering, just took home the North American Car of the Year Award at the Detroit Auto Show a couple weeks ago. Last year this little sedan stormed up the sales charts. But the company warns this year won’t be as good. Turns out, it’s too popular! Hyundai simply won’t be able to build enough of them to keep up with demand, and that’s a happy problem to have.

DAIMLER AND NISSAN TEAM UP IN MEXICO
Yesterday we reported that Nissan will build a new factory in Mexico, and according to TheDetroitBureau.com, Daimler plans to set up shop nearby. The two companies have been working together lately. Earlier this month they announced plans to build Mercedes four-cylinder engines in Nissan’s powertrain plant in Tennessee. According to sources, the new Daimler plant in Mexico will build small luxury vehicles for both Mercedes and Infiniti and could include both conventionally powered vehicles and electric cars.

ETHANOL DEMAND DROPS
The price of ethanol is falling in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, alcohol fuel is looking at its second year of decline because of oversupply, less demand, the end of a federal subsidy and an increase in corn prices. Demand for gasoline has dropped which means less ethanol is being used to blend it with the fuel. Some plants have been idled and those that are up and running have been doing so at a loss since December.

CHEVY ECOLOGIC STICKERS
Automakers love to brag about being “green.” But this is an interesting way to go about it. Chevy just announced all of its vehicles sold in the U.S. will have a window sticker explaining the environmental impact of the car. The label will have info about the environmental aspects of manufacturing and assembly, fuel-saving technology they’re equipped with and how 85 percent of the weight of the vehicle can be recycled at the end of its life. The Ecologic stickers will first appear on the Chevy Sonic and then on 2013 models later in the year.

Coming up next, who has John got in the studio this week? We’ll preview the latest episode of Autoline, right after this.

AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
Scores of GM and Chrysler dealerships were shut down when the companies went through bankruptcy. Of course, a lot of franchisees were NOT happy about this, to say the least. On Autoline This Week John has three dealers on to talk about the process and just how unfair and random it was.

Oh no, not so fast, John. We’re not giving that away here. To find out what she’s talking about you’re going to have to watch the show. Check your local public television listings for Autoline or swing by our website, Autoline.tv where you can watch the complete broadcast. Also joining McElroy in the studio for this program is Jeff Duvall of Duvall Automotive, based in Georgia, and Phil Painter from Painter Automotive. Check it out. It’s a really lively discussion.

And that’ll do it for Autoline Daily this week. Again, I’m Murray Feldman of FOX2 News, Detroit. Thank you for watching – or listening to the audio podcast. I’ll see you next time.

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

86 Comments to “Episode 813 – Ford Profits Fall Short, BMW Offers Diesel for M Vehicles, Chevy Ecologic Stickers”

  1. LS ford Says:

    Its hard to understand what the Darcars representative is talking about when most of these dealers financial statements clear over a million every year and sometimes into several millions. The only time they do not make money, is when the executive salaries deplete the funds. It is interesting to see how people reference the constitution every time there is a disagreement that there is no law to protect.

    Franchise law differs from state to state, but there is no god given right that the company must have a continuing franchise agreement. The fact is that if these business have excessive debts, then it is mostly the fault of their opperations, not the companies that supplied their product. The reality is that a smaller market of cars being sold in the US would dictate less sales points. Simple economics.

    Plus, take your million dollar an hour lawyers and get out of here. The folks shopping at walmart have bigger issues than your cries about the easy money being turned off….

  2. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    The administration ignoring the US Constitution and the rule of law in the auto (union) bailout? It must have been someone else! Bush or Nixon or sombody!

  3. James Says:

    re: Ford’s profits

    I’m always amused when a company’s performance falls short “of expectations”. Wall Street is the reason why America’s (and the world’s) economy is a mess. Wall Street analysts… after lawyers, the country could benefit from having a lot less of them around.

  4. ARHPG Says:

    Congratulations to Murray Feldman for an excellent job of filling in for John. Feldman is polished, self-effacing and composed, and is a natural for this type reporting — unlike some others that have filled in in the past.

  5. C-Tech Says:

    Just Curious, what constitutional rule was violated by cancelling a dealership (or any) franchise agreement? If you have a dispute about your legal contract, shouldn’t you take it to court instead of congress?

  6. C-Tech Says:

    I’m looking forward to the “ecologic” sticker that goes on a Corvette and Escalade.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re Autoline interview, that is what you get when you get govt money, govt interference as well, same happened to a lot of Chrysler dealers, I did not see that happening to Ford. Today I met with a used car broker, business would be better, but demand is higher than supply, I asked him what he got for his daily rounds and his frequent trips to the auction houses, a Prius, loves it.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    C tech: those you mentioned, along with all those other gas guzzlers will have a black skull as a designation.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford has shut down dealers too. There were too many small town dealers near my home in Indiana, and one of them lost their franchise, and not because they wanted to. This happened in ’06 or ’07, as I remember.

  10. C-Tech Says:

    @ #7 LOL !!! How about a baby seal and a club?

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC has an article on why it’s not a good idea to get an EV if you live in a condo or apt. That poor car has enough problems already now you can add another one: you leave it charging and someone unplugs it, “Sorry boss, I can’t go to work today, someone unplugged my Volt last night”

  12. C-Tech Says:

    Just one more question, if these dealers should get settlement, then will they be willing (or required) to share the settlement with the long-term salespeople, mechanics, and office workers who also built the business?

  13. LS ford Says:

    FYI – I believe many of the dealers were offered settlement agreements where they were compensated for their relinquish of the franchise. Not sure what value was used or how but these dealers all would have to sign an agreement to resign. SO if they signed the agreement, then what are they complaining about??

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    This morning, I drove the latest “toy car” in the U.S. market, a Scion iQ. Overall, it drove ok. The CVT worked well, and the noise level was high, only when you floor it and the engine goes up to 6000 rpm or so. The car felt a little “darty,” but maybe that is to be expected in a car only slightly bigger than a smart. It will hold 3 people my size (5’10″, 150#) well enough for short trips.

    Still, there is the question, why would anyone buy it, except to have something different. The sticker was over $16K, with steel wheels and no cruise control. Since Scion pricing is basically non-negotiable, you could buy a decently equipped Corolla for less. The gas mileage ratings are 36/37, good, but not exceptional for such a tiny car.

  15. wayne Says:

    I was extremely saddened when some of the Chrysler and GM dealerships had to go out of business. Some of them that went out had no logic about them being required to go out, such as one in Ogden Utah. This was a Dodge dealership that had been in business for 94 years! The Business was owned by the same family for the entire time frame! Then nearly 2 years later, a Dodge dealership located in Salt Lake City, about 40 miles away, awarded the franchise a dealership in a nearby town, only 3 miles away from where the original Dodge dealership was located!
    In my mind, Chrysler should have allowed the original dealership, the one that was forced out, to at least consider them to open the franchise in the small town only 3 miles from their original site!

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Sorry boss, I can’t go to work today, someone unplugged my Volt last night”

    The person with a Volt could still go to work, but not someone who had a Leaf.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I live in a condo with garages which have power, but it’s only intended for a door opener and a light or two. There have always been specific rules disallowing freezers and refrigerators on the “community power” to the garages.

    Recently, a new rule went into effect banning the charging of electric cars on the community power. I don’t know what size breakers the garages have, but it might be possible to plug in one EV charger on a circuit without tripping the breaker. You could run a cord out the window from some of the units to charge a car off your own metered power, but no one is doing that.

  18. Autos101 Says:

    Scion IQ: “Still, there is the question, why would anyone buy it, except to have something different.”

    Not just for that. There are other choices for the same $ with more room, but the Scion is almost as small as the “Dumb” and can seat at least one more person than the “Dumb”, so many buyers will buy it for its unbelievable ease of parking in congested urban areas.

    Of course, in many such areas, the best policy is to have no damned car, not if you have to pay $500 -$750 a MONTH to park the damned thing, like in NYC.

  19. Autos101 Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    January 27th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    “Sorry boss, I can’t go to work today, someone unplugged my Volt last night”

    The person with a Volt could still go to work, but not someone who had a Leaf.

    yeah, that person still can go to work, but will get an utterly dismal 37 MPG HIGHWAY. He could have spent one third of the ludicrous $41k and bought a Yaris and got even better HWY MPG.

  20. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    January 27th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    “TTAC has an article on why it’s not a good idea to get an EV if you live in a condo or apt. That poor car has enough problems already now you can add another one: you leave it charging ”

    IF you can. You may need 100 feet or 200 of extensions that every other driver in the parking lot will drive over, people stepping over it overnight and then SUING your ass off, and all kinds of other RIDICULOUS NIGHTMARES you do not need.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    I asked this used car broker to keep an eye out for a nice used Prius, with the amount of driving I do, it may just pay off in gas savings in the long run.

  22. Aliisdad Says:

    Wow…After watching today’s show, I turned over to watch the full Autoline show for this week online…What an “eye opener” this show is!! We lost a couple of dealers in my area, including one who had been here since the ’20′s I think…I don’t really understand what criteria they used to determine who to cut off when I see who was selected….I don’t have a lot of tears to cry for most car dealers, and what was done by the car companies might not have been illegal, but it sure stinks…
    However, my main concern is after listening to the dealers on the program is how corrupt our government was and even the auto dealers’ association people…It seems like administration answered to no one, including the congress, AGAIN!! Although it also sounds like the congress was not doing their job, AGAIN, as well!!
    You’ve got to watch this program..Another reason to vote out the corrupt bunch
    of a#%@#le’s running Washington!!!!

    p.p..Hate to be so political here, but this is AUTOMOTIVE political!!!!!

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #16,
    If I lived in NYC, I’d want to have a driver’s license so I could rent a car once in a while, but yeah, there is no reason to own a car there. I guess if you do have a car, though, a very small one like the iQ would be easier to park in some areas.

    The big advantage of the iQ over the smart, even if you don’t plan to carry a third person, is that the iQ drives decently. Even most CVT haters would take the iQ’s transmission over the smart’s any day.

  24. cwolf Says:

    @ tj, RE: ATS platform findings

    To learn more about the Alpha platform,I chose to review ass’y dwgs rather than the words of others. To be up front,I have to say this is not an easy task. Just one Ass’y dwg has a seemingly endless number of sub-ass’ys and ton more drawings within each of them.The platforms,themselves,can be described as being interwoven to add to the complication. Lets just say,after scanning 3 platforms, I had enough!

    IMO,both you and bajma are correct in your statements. Using better,stronger and /or lighter matl’s,a Holden platform design was copied from. A sub-assy from the Kappa platform you mensioned was in the Holden. The only major component I could recognize from the Kappa were the dbl. “A”arms. I could’nt put my finger on it,but there were differences in the arms though nomenclature was identical,so I ask our designer for his 2 cents. The peculiarities I noticed could be from the use of better bushings,seals or even fasteners. So yes,the Alpha is from the Holden/Kappa family if’n yer a knit-picker. Actually,the majority of stuff on the Alpha was ATS specific. Even the items listed above appeared to have been modified to some degree. So if’n ya look at it this-a-way,Bejma can boast. Look at it this way: If you had a special chicken,its egg would be unique from all others. But if the chickens diet varied,so would each egg. Depending how the egg is viewed,it can be seen as BOTH unique and different. Yer both winners,cuz I ain’nt do’in any more look’in!

  25. LS ford Says:

    Just watched the outraged interview. I think it was rather more of a interview with a Ricky Lake or Maury. This folks see very much to just hammer one view point with not much back up. I think I would refuse to read outrage as it puts money in a “tea party” like coalition. If the NADA is not helping, it means there is not much to be done.

    Also, to the details. The bailout money and tarp money was for the auto companies to stay in business. The closing of franchises is a seaprate issue from the bailout. Now if they want to make a point about unlawful termination then that is its own issue. Please do not mix the issues. There is no link between the two.

    After they became government motors, these continued consolidations “as they are called” were part of a process that started much earlier. Because of the government involvment, the US gov had to be a part of the discussions for terminations and considations.

    That means that the customer lists and sales all might be transfered to another dealer in the effect to increase the sale and service business of another dealer. This saves the companies money by less financial management.

    But lets not use the generalities of the issue to create a point to argue. The details of each of these deals, IMHO, were discussed over a few months. I do not think that this was an overnight “suprise” package!!

    As far as name plate and the “good name” preservation. I do not think that this tarnished any car dealer reputation.

  26. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    January 27th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    “I asked this used car broker to keep an eye out for a nice used Prius, with the amount of driving I do, it may just pay off in gas savings in the long run.”

    Can’t go wrong with that. And they have proven extremely reliable and batteries are not an issue. Did you specify how many years old or miles on it?

    How many miles do you drive a year (include the rental cars since you will probably drive the prius everywhere), 25,000? 30,000?

    Timing will be important, buy when gas prices are not too high because used prius prices (new ones too) are very volatile with gas prices.

  27. Autos101 Says:

    “The big advantage of the iQ over the smart, even if you don’t plan to carry a third person, is that the iQ drives decently.”

    In addition, the iQ will be far more reliable than the “Dumb” and probably do far better in a crash than the hard plastics on the “Dumb”‘s body.

    That third person becomes important in many cases, and not just for small families with only one child.

  28. Autos101 Says:

    I never cared for the dealers, but what happened to them by the econ illiterates of this failed one-term administration is outrageous.

    While I agree that they should significantly trim the total mumber of “big 3″ dealers so the remaining ones become as profitable as TOyota or Honda or BMW dealers,

    The WAY they did it, arbitrarily and witrh no compensation, sticking them with their inventory and them still having to pay their debts, is an outrage.

    10 more months!

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    101: about 20k, and that does not include the Orlando jaunts for which I rent a car. Civic hybrid batteries have not been as durable as Toyota’s I have already met 3 of those owners who had to have them replaced before 100k I have yet to meet one Prius owner who’s had battery issues. This one broker has thousands of used cars to choose from and the fact that he picked a Prius, even with all the highway driving he does, says a lot.

  30. Autos101 Says:

    Hey John or Murray: is the Elantra plant working all THREE SHIFTS and still can’t meet demand, OR are they just having one or two shifts? NOT clear in your text or your broadcast.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #28,
    This administration is by far the best we’ve had since Clinton.

  32. C-Tech Says:

    @ #29 I met a car salesmanager with a 1st, and 2nd gen Prius. I serviced the 1st gen (he bought it used for a few hundred and spent a couple grand for a hybrid batt replacement). He is considering selling the 2nd as it still has some value. The rengenerative brakes take a little getting used to, although I have heard they have improved the grabbiness.

  33. W L Simpson Says:

    60 odd years ago my dad gave me some good advice —–Live near your work !

  34. XA351GT Says:

    I will be attending the Philly Auto Show this weekend. I let you guys know what I think of the new offerings. Anything anyone wants to know about specifically let me know .

  35. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > Demand for gasoline has dropped
    > which means less ethanol is being
    > used to blend it with the fuel.

    If buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is really a problem, then declining demand for gasoline would be a good thing.

  36. Lex Says:

    If Hyundai is thinking it can not keep up with demand for the 2012 Elantra, maybe they should switch off production of another model to add capacity to build more Elantra’s. They should strike while the model is red hot!

  37. Autos101 Says:

    #31:

    This is the most CORRUPT, INCOMPETENT, CYNICAL BUnch of crooks administration EVER, or at least in the 20th-21st century.

    That’s what you get if you vote for a TOTALLY UNQUALIFIED clown, and an even worse (AWFUL Choice) VP, just because you don’t wann to be called a racist by 6the demagogues if you don’t.

    At least Nixon was COMPETENT.

  38. Autos101 Says:

    #31 These dishonest crooks lie every time they open their mouth!

    LOOK at the FIASCO of Warren Buffet and his secretary! THEY KNOW that most US citizens, being econ illiterate, will NOT understand their FRAUD!

    Obama mentions cap gains as if they are the same as INCOME!!!!

    IT IS NOT! I pay FULL Taxes on my INCOME, THEN i invest my $ AND PAY AGAIN, WHICH I SHOULD NOT PAY ONE PENNY, let aLONE 35%, On the cap gains!

    SHAMEFUL. CROOKS. WORTHLESS, CONTEMPTIBLE CROOKS.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #37,
    So you would have rather had Sarah Palin as VP? You’re more out of it than I realized.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #37,
    I never said Nixon was incompetent, but how about GW Bush? His gang invaded Iraq, just for fun, at the expense of tens of thousands of lives, and almost a trillion dollars from the U.S. coffers. Then, his friends in the insurance business came up with an expensive, inefficient, prescription drug plan, designed by and for that business. If they wanted a Medicare prescription drug plan, how about Medicare just paying for the drugs, saving about 20% of the cost that the insurance companies syphon off.
    Then, there were the irresponsible tax cuts. If you start a war, maybe you should think about how to pay for it.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #38,
    Capital gains, in many cases, ARE income for people who make lots of money, while contributing absolutely nothing to society. I, for one, think people who actually work for a living should not have higher tax rates than the idle rich who make millions trading investments.

  42. Autos101 Says:

    Somebody read the riot act to this Econ Illiterate Kit.

    My time is FAR too valuable to waste on a fool (or somebody who knows 100% he is utterly wrong, but just PLAYS DUMB).

  43. Autos101 Says:

    Legendary former GE CEO WELCH has said that there is one of the remaining Republican Candidates for Prez who is the BEST Qualified for the job in the last SEVENTY FIVE YEARS.

    It is obvious but to the brain-de4ads who that is. It would be a NATIONAL TRAGEDY if he is not nominated AND ELECTED in a landslide.

    It is ALSO obvious who the WORST qualified candidate the last 75 years has been.

    AND it is NOT One-termer Malaise Jimmy Carter (close second!) or G W Bush, as the pathological Bush haters would claim.

    NO, it is the CORRUPT TO THE BONE FOOL who has never had a REAL JOB in his entire life, you guessed it, OBAMA.

    Who gives billions to incompetent “GREEN” companies who somehow ALL happen to be MAJOR Obama campaign contributors.

    The STENCH of the UTTER CORRUPTION And INCOMPETENCE in this failed, one-term administration is so intense, I bet they can smell it in BEIJING, Obama’s Creditor to the tune of three TRILLION US DOllars…

  44. Autos101 Says:

    from autoblog, a BIG and NASTY surprise for FORD fans:

    “…According to the report, the model with the most fleet sales was the new-for-2012 Focus. A staggering 45 percent of Focus models sold last year were to fleets, which isn’t good for anyone, save the guy standing in line at the Hertz counter. ”

    Disgraceful.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    101 why do you suppose Ford is lagging behind in sales for both the Fiesta and the Focus? The latter is much better than its predecessor, so I think it has to be price, around here the much maligned new Civic and lackluster Corolla are all over the place while a new Focus (rentals excluded) is a rare sight indeed.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #43,
    The REAL PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIANS generally rate GW Bush in the 4th quartile, along with such notables as James Buchanan, Warren Harding, and Andrew Johnson. Carter is ranked better than that. It is obviously too early to know how history will treat Obama, but, so far, political science scholars consider him to be at least OK.

    You have your opinions, which seem to be in disagreement with actual scholars of U.S. history.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Excuse me from butting in, but aren’t most of those scholars left leaning? Because I clearly remember the Carter era and the feeling of malaise and despair was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    The right-leaning folks would say the historians are left-leaning, but they also say that Fox News and the WSJ editorial page are “fair and balanced.”

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as Focus, I like the hatch, except for the overly complex controls. The one I drove had the dual clutch transmission, which worked great, except that it was a little hard to drive smoothly at parking lot speeds. Still, I’d get used to it.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    I remember the “malaise” during the Carter era, and while the economy was generally not good at the time, it was good for my parents who had no debt and had recently inherited some money. They were able to come out ahead putting it in bank CD’s. Even though the inflation rate was high, the CD rates were high enough that they came ahead vs their cost of living, which did not include paying high interest on a mortgage.

    If you had no savings and wanted to get a home mortgage, those were not good times, given the very high interest rates.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Anyone who thinks Fox is “fair and balanced” needs to have their heads examined for parasitic infection. I cannot think of one single U.S. news source that is truly fair and balanced, they all have their agendas, Kit, I got married in ’78 and we could not buy any real estate because of the interests, only when they went down, we were then able to buy. Ford is pricing their cars like Honda, and Ford, you’re no Honda. Remember When Dukakis cut down Quayle when he dared compare himself to JFK during a pre-election debate?

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #51,
    Yeah, ’78, while a good time, financially, for retirees with no debt like my parents, it was lousy for younger people who wanted to borrow money.

    I remember that debate. It was Lloyd Bentsen who said it in a VP debate, but it was the year Dukakis ran.

    It’s probably too early to know about the real reliability of the new Focus, but if I were buying a car with the idea of keeping it for a long time, Toyota and Honda would top my list. I keep hoping the Focus hatch will do well, because it might encourage more companies to sell hatchbacks in the U.S.

  53. cwolf Says:

    Help me out here! Six,not 5 or 7,just 6 Bmw X5′s trannys failed during a three day period,due to a manufacturing problem. I could accept this white lie if it were an assembly problem. If it was a manu. prob., does this mean only six X5′s were produced in 3 days? I doubt it and think there is some “candy coating” going on. Just think,if this happened to a Merc you could now go to a Nissan dealer to get it fixed!

  54. HtG Says:

    Pedro, I’m here in DC, where I just got back from the auto show. I took a good look at the Dodge Dart rear end, since yo asked about the trunk. The top of the rear fender and the sail panel meet in such a way that you can’t see the top seem of the trunk from the side; only from the rear. I’ll have more on Monday, though in a couple of cases I think people told me too much.(sorry to tease ;) )

  55. XA351GT Says:

    @#31 Best at what exactly?? The best at doubling the national debt that took others 200+ years to accrue? The best at ignoring the constitution and Bill of Rights? -Those two ,yes I’ll agree.This puppet of the teleprompter and ALL the jackwagons in congress have totally screwed the pooch. They all need to see what unemployment is about 1st hand , but oh wait they don’t need to worry about that, because they will recieve their pay for LIFE whether they serve any more or not. As Nicholson’s Joker said ,”This town needs a Enaema.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    #54 HtG the point is they should have made it into a hatch, it looks like a hatch, why not go all the way, it kind of reminds me of the Olds Cutlass from the 1980 model year, they made the rear swoop down which made it look like a hatch, but it had a trunk, made no sense then, makes no sense now.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #55,
    The administration between Clinton and Obama is the one which set new standards for stomping on the Bill of Rights, and violating international law in regard to torture. They ran huge deficits, when they were handed surpluses, and set things up perfectly for the deficits to continue.

    I’m no huge fan of Obama either, but compared to Bush, he has done pretty well, or at least he had caused a lot less harm.

    If Romney gets the nomination, and avoids the temptation to pick a “Christianist” social conservative like Santorum as a running mate to “shore up the base,” I might consider voting for him. Given today’s Republican party, though, there will probably be a Santorum, Bachman, or similar in the ticket. Oh well.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #56,
    …and the car the Dart was made from is sold as a hatch, so it would have been the easy thing to do. They were just responding to the American market, thus the sedan. Also, they should have sold the car as an Alfa, which looks SO MUCH BETTER than the Dart.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    #58 Isn’t the Volt a hatch as well? I though we had an unwritten rule about NOT selling expensive hatchbacks in the US? I don’t get that “rule” at all SUV have hatches and some of them are in the over $50k range, they also have Merc wagons also equipped with a hatch.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Volt is a hatch.

    It seems bigger hatches with more vertical lift gates are ok in the US market, but not smaller ones, except for “specialty” cars like Prius and MINI. I looked at some pictures of the Alfa that the Dart is based on, and I think the hatch looks great. Maybe that’s just me, though.

    I don’t get the “rule” either, but maybe it is changing. We’ll see how the sales of Focus and Fiesta split out by body style over the next few years.

  61. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/have-you-priced-a-used-car-lately/#more-428516

    For decades, used cars were UNBEATABLE BARGAINS, esp if you bought directly from a private party.

    Worrship the Goddess of Depreciation!

    I have not bought a new or dealer-used car since 1983 (!), even tho I could easily afforrd several, not just one!

    But not any more! TTAC above claims that for RECENT vintage used cars, you may be be3tter off buying new (!!!)

    (I knew that this huge bargain used cars would someday cease to be so huge!)

    You can still do well if you buy used 2007 or earlier, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    I bet Pedro has read the article, but did he think that maybe 1. he should not buy a used Prius from any dealer (who will rob him of $1-2k minimum vs private party), but even

    2. Maybe he could wait a few months and get a brand-spanking new Prius C (Yaris sized) for only $19k and have even better REAL MPG!

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    101 my neighbor is selling his early 90′s Miata,for somewhere between $2500 and $3000 it is in very good shape and he recently had it repainted and replaced the top, my only issue is that it’s a stick and in this blessed So Fl traffic, driving a stick is no picnic, but I am tempted, I may also keep the Vibrolla for those days when I don’t feel like shifting. I have also looked in Craigslist for a Yaris from an individual seller, but they’re going for more than I think they’re worth.

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    101 I think it also depends what you’re looking for, cars like Fit and Civic sell for quite a bit more than an Accent or an Elantra, even though even those have gone up quite a bit in the last couple of years, just the old formula of supply and demand, except it does not seem to apply to the oil business, by all accounts demand is down but prices stay steady or creep up just based on news reports.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #61,
    They are now discounting 2011 Priuses where I am. Pedro, if you are considering a Prius, you should check prices on the new ones. Gas prices have been stable for a while, so now is a good time to buy high mpg cars.

    When the Prius C comes along, I suspect it will sell for MSRP for a while, even at today’s gas prices, because it will be something new, and will probably be a little “sportier” driving than the regular Prius. I’m looking forward to seeing what it is like.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I bought my Prius in the summer of 2010, I was pleasantly surprised at the value of my 2005 Malibu Maxx. I had planned to sell it outright, but after sorting out the actual price of the new car, the dealer gave me about 60% of what I paid for the Malibu with about 65K miles. Since I paid sales tax on the difference, I came out even better than selling the car for the same price.

    Maybe that doesn’t sound good, but, historically, you would get about 50% of what you paid for a 3 year old GM car with fewer miles. Maybe now, it’s even better to sell, and worse to buy a used car than in 2010.

  66. Autos101 Says:

    #62 The Miata is always tempting but it is not a practical car, if you have room for more than 2 cars in yoru garage, and in the sunbelt, yes, and if you can fit in it. I’m 6 1″ and could barely fit, but not recline. And forget trunk space.

    It is good to buy from a neigbor, your risk is minimal because you usually know if the car is in good shape.

    The wife of an old friend in Arlington VA had bought an Infiniti Q45 (the beefy 280 HP or so 1991) for $8,000 and drive it for several years, then it had problems (which Nissan does not?) and she (against her husband’s advice or not) bought a … “Dumb”! I asked him how they like it and he only said she enjoys the ease of parking it in Georgetown. They had a bare-bones old Jetta Diesel for many years too, and he drives an 89 BMW 7 series (if they can last 24 years, they can’t be that bad!!!)

  67. Autos101 Says:

    Yaris and Corollas and probably Civics are not cheap used. Expensive luxury cars are the best, after 7 years I bought mine for 15% what it cost new, not adjusted for inflation! (10% adjusted!)

  68. Autos101 Says:

    In that case, my suggestion of a new Prius C (if they don’t ask for more than the $19k it will go for) makes even more sense. And it has a CVT, not a manual (although I enjoy the manual in my little but very roomy hatch Civic 91)

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I enjoy driving my MINI with a manual, but I wouldn’t want to drive it all the time, even if the space were adequate. The Prius is very automatic, with auto temp control and “smart key,” and would be a very good only car for a lot of people.

    If I didn’t already have the MINI, I might be interested in that Miata. It would be fun, and it wouldn’t be my “only car” except for about one month of the year.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #66,
    Did you ask the smart, aka “Dumb” driver about the transmission? I guess that wouldn’t be nice:-)

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today I saw a Chrysler/Dodge dealer that had closed 2 yrs ago, right after its grand opening, will re-open with a new name, I don’t think it will bring more customers into the Chrysler brand it will just dilute the one remaining area dealer that was making a killing since there was no other outlet within at least 15 miles. curious to see if they will also carry FIAT,

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #71,

    That isn’t in Port St. Lucie or Fort Pierce, is it? A dealer there on U.S. 1 pretty much fits that description.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    No it’s down in Dade county,that dealer had just relocated to a spanking new facility 2 yrs ago and only lasted 2 mos. It’s been closed since. There are a few other abandoned dealers in prime real estate areas that are still empty, this recession has really been long and hard, Saturn, Pontiac and even a Hyundai/Mitsu/Isuzu mega dealer.

  74. Autos101 Says:

    Those inexplicably high sales in 2011 explained and DEBUNKED: From today’s AUTOBLOG:

    “Compiled using data from car-shopping website CarWoo!, the infographic tells us which automakers gave the most discounts last year, where they were given, who got them, and more.

    Which automaker doled out the most discounts? Jeep, which CarWoo! says was selling its vehicles at a 17.7-percent discount in 2011.

    Which automaker also posted the largest percentage gain in sales last year? BINGO! Jeep, whose sales jumped over 44 percent compared to 2010.”

    SO much for Marchionne-Castro’s alleged delicate genius. It boils down to a FIRE SALE?

    “Mitsubishi and Kia, which posted the second and third largest percent increases in sales last year, also make CarWoo!’s list by having offered high discounts of 11.7 and 12.1 percent in 2011.”

    I did not notice the Kia thing, but did notice the uptick in Mitsu’s DISMAL sales from their Catastrophic low sales last year. There is NO FREE LUNCH, folks!

    “Big savings didn’t always equal big sales, though. Infiniti, for instance, is on record offering discounts of 12.2 percent in 2011, but still saw its sales fall 4.8 percent.”

    Acura, Infi, and even Lexus: The small 3 luxury Japanese makers tried and failed, eventually, to the far superior German Luxury Makers.

  75. Autos101 Says:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/01/29/infographic-which-automakers-gave-the-biggest-discounts/#continued

    Here is the whole miserable l ot. Notice that FORD had HUGE discounts, 13+%, and STILL they could not even move the dismally few FOcuses they made, and had to sell 45% of them to FLEETS!!!! at even deeper discounts, you can be sure!

    All is NOT good in Detroit!!!!

  76. Autos101 Says:

    So that failed one-termer clueless disastrous Obama and his Gaffe-Machine Corrupt sidekick Biden better not mention the auto industry in their campaign speeches. Sales have been marginally up, but profits have been dssappointing, and at this rate, losses are not far away.

  77. Autos101 Says:

    Nissan is another Dog in the list, not just Infiniti.

    Nissan did not lose as many sales as TOyota or Honda, BUT how did it manage to sell its lousy cars?

    Almost 15% discounts, that’s why!!!

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    how long before automakers realize that car prices are just too damn high for the state of the economy, I’m rarely meeting any new clients who have purchased new, 90% of the folks I meet have bought used in the past 2 yrs, dealers love it cause the profit on used is way more than new. It is the manufacturers who are struggling, BTW today I had a client with a turbo 4 Genesis coupe, loves the thing, even got mods from Korea to customize to his taste, not a bad looking ride!

  79. pedro fernandez Says:

    Been looking locally at used Miatas and the price the neighbor is asking for is in the ballpark, don’t understand why they’re going for so little, compared to others, but then Miata is in a class by itself, a fun, affordable, RELIABLE roadster, but it is tiny and it would make a good second car, but as a primary car???? I may just stick with my original choice the Yaris hatch.

  80. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    January 30th, 2012 at 10:23 am

    “how long before automakers realize that car prices are just too damn high for the state of the economy”

    List (MSRP) prices maybe, but did you see the stats above???? Nissan actually sold them at 15.7% discount!!! WHich means that popular models may have got a 10% dicsount, but UNPOPULAR ones may well have got 20%+ Discounts!!

  81. Autos101 Says:

    Been looking locally at used Miatas and the price the neighbor is asking for is in the ballpark, don’t understand why they’re going for so little,

    I thought he was asking $2,500 for a car from 1993 or so, which cost $15,000 new. IS this too little? WHy? It could be a 20-year old car (the 93 model year starts in Oct 1992!). My 740iL is only 13-14 years old, and if you go to Cars.com, you can find perfectly good examples at… $5,000, or even less! AND the car cost $75k new! (and today more than $100k, for the V8 equivalent)

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    So the dealers are taking a beating on new and getting profits on used and service , again it depends on the car, try to get a discount on an Equinox or a Cruze, today I heard a radio ad for a $99/mo. lease on a Dumb but I do not remember the down payment, but it wasn’t very high either! Long way from their $2k+ over MSRP they were getting when they came out.

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    How long before we see a similar deal on a Fiat 500, I passed by a local dealer and the lot was overflowing with them. No takers, sticker shock to the max, $18k for a manual tranny, little POS. And that was not even the top of the line one, the convertible was around $28 grand, you lose $10k as soon as you drive out of there!!

  84. Autos101 Says:

    Miatas hold their value much better than any other Mazda or most other cars, because of their type (sports cars, roadsters, two seaters etc). Similarly a Porsche 911 is far more expensive used than a 7 series or an S class, both of which could well be more expensive NEW than the little 911.

  85. Autos101 Says:

    #82 Dealers always, historically, made their $ mostly from USED cars and Service, while new cars gave them a pittance of profit, 3-5% max, except for the occasional new hot model when they can fleece the customer, or a Prius when gas prices peak sharply.

  86. HtG Says:

    Miatas. In the course of buying a used Miata, I saw that each one is different than the others. Owners like to personalize the cars either in appearance or performance. Some cars have been raced. Lots of them are rusting. Most driver’s seat cushions are torn where the driver got in and out. Tops need replacing which is about 800 dollars. There’s about a million of them that were produced, so there’s lots of spare parts. Prices are seasonal and regionally influenced. If you buy one, you really need to know about that particular one.