Episode 818 – Mazda Posts Loss, Toyota Expects Record Sales, Fiat 500L to Debut in Geneva

February 3rd, 2012 at 11:40am

Runtime: 9:06

Mazda reported its latest financial numbers for its most recent fiscal quarter and the results don’t look good. The company’s revenue fell by 17 percent and its losses exploded. Toyota believes its going to come roaring back this year and sell almost 9.6 million vehicles. Fiat announced it will unveil a four-door version of the 500 at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Isaac Bouchard reports on the 2012 BMW 3 Series.

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This is Autoline Daily for February 3, but best of all, of course, it’s Friday. Well we have mixed news coming out of Japan today.

Mazda reported its latest financial numbers for its most recent fiscal quarter and the results don’t look good. The company’s revenue fell by 17 percent and its losses exploded. Its operating loss jumped four-fold and it posted a net loss of $1.4 billion. The company also revised its outlook for the year and predicted that losses would be five times higher than it originally expected. Mazda is actively looking for a new automotive partner as it and Ford continue their slow-motion divorce.

But while Mazda struggles to fix its business, Toyota believes its going to come roaring back this year and sell almost 9.6 million vehicles. That could put it back in the Number One slot in terms of global vehicle sales, but in any case it will be a real horse race between Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. Toyota’s sales forecast includes its subsidiaries. Daihatsu, which makes small cars, and Hino, which makes heavy trucks, are expected to sell a combined 1 million units.

Speaking of companies that used to be part of Ford, Jaguar-Land Rover is talking with Chinese automaker Chery to partner up. According to Bloomberg, the companies have applied to create the joint venture and are awaiting a decision from the government. By building vehicles in China, Jaguar-Land Rover will avoid import tariffs. The company expects China to become the second-largest market for Land Rover and the third largest for Jaguar this year.

Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus is looking for a partner. No, no, not THAT kind of partner, he’s in search of a merger or a buyer for the British sports-car maker. It seems the brand is in a bit of a financial pickle. Last summer he mentioned they were searching for outside investment, unsubtly dropping Toyota’s name several times. They probably need the cash to fund all of the projects they’re working on including the new Elise, the Esprit, Elan, Eterne and a brand-new V-8 engine. Right now Lotus is owned by Malaysian automaker Proton.

To say Fiat’s North American dealers are hurtin’ is an understatement. They desperately need more products to sell. As it stands, the Cinquecento just ain’t cuttin’ it. Reinforcements in the form of Alfa-Romeos have been pushed back, making their position all the more difficult to defend. But help is on the way. Fiat is readying a four-door version of the tiny hatchback, the 500L. It publically debuts at the Geneva Motor Show early next month. The 500L is expected to go on sale in Europe in the fourth quarter of the year, no word yet on its availability in North America.

Companies love advertising during the Super Bowl because of the large audience it attracts. And no one spends more on Super Bowl ads than the auto industry. According to a new report from Nielsen, automakers more than doubled their spending last year. Over the past five years the industry has spent over $170 million which is $45 million more than beer companies, who are No. 2 on the list.

I’m Isaac Bouchard from Big Sur, California with big news about the all new BMW 3 Series. That story, coming up next.

John, I’m here at historic Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey, California to check out the all-new BMW 3 Series. As the owner of a current 335i I’m very particular about this car. Let’s see what BMW has done to the 3 Series.

This latest 3, that BMW designates as the F30 is over four inches longer than my car. And although in the broad sense it looks a lot like it, there are things that make it more unique and modern such as the three-dimensional kidney grill elements that they’ve done. Also, they have new model lines that are differentiated by such things as the fog lamp that the air intake surrounds here.

Let’s face it, even a sport sedan like the 3 Series earns its keep as a daily driver . . . but that’s not enough. Not only does this car have to perform on the street, but for a guy like me who takes his 335i to the track several times a year it’s important that it can hack it in a place like Laguna Seca . . .

Whether at the racetrack or along California’s fabled Pacific Coast Highway the 3 excels. They’ve managed to make it technologically contemporary and more environmentally benign without losing the soul that makes it such an iconic and important sports sedan to enthusiasts like me. From Big Sur, California I’m Isaac Bouchard for Autoline Daily.

Thanks for that report, Isaac. Be sure to check out Autoline This Week, where my guests include Jim Farley from Ford, Reid Bigland from Chrysler, and Mary Barra from General Motors. You can watch the show on our website, or check out your local public television listings.

Well, the weekend is around the corner and as usual the Autoline network has one last trick up its sleeve. RoundAbout host Craig Cole has all the latest car news you DON’T have to think about.

That’s right, and speaking of weekend, we’ll be talking about the Simca Week-End with our guest, Bob Hall. We’ll find out if this 1955 convertible makes the cut on Bob’s top-10 list of French cars. Look forward to that and a lot more including our newest segment where our panelists play product developer and the audience decides who wins. It’ll be loads of fun.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thank you ever-so-much for watching. We’ll see you back here again on Monday.

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134 Comments to “Episode 818 – Mazda Posts Loss, Toyota Expects Record Sales, Fiat 500L to Debut in Geneva”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yesterday we read that Mazda’s sales were up by 68% in Jan. Today we read that they’re losing money, so what is the secret to making money in this business, Don’t sell too many cars, just sell them for a bigger profit than anyone else???

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Carnac the Magnificent says: “Won’t sell either” Question: “What is the Fiat 500 L?”

  3. tj Martin Says:



    What’s next ? GM claiming if you buy a FORD truck you’ll die ?

    Oh but wait . That IS Chevrolet’s SB Ad ( jalopnik )


    MAZDA – First they’re way ….. up !

    Then they’re way ……… down

    Creative bookkeeping if you ask me pedro


    FIAT 500L that in fact isn’t a 500 – Marchionne’s madness marching ever on


    LOTUS merger – No in fact LOTUS’s current owner wants to dump the company … because …. surprise surprise LOTUS is losing them a ton of money ( who’d of figured ;-) )

    In reality this is Dany Bahar’s desperate attempt to salvage what has been at best a pathetic career of loses and hype

  4. Jonathan Says:

    Issaic did a great review of the angry bird 3 series BMW..Nice car and a great review….the new two liter turbo model is quite reminicent of the original 2002 tii… still why its face continually reminds many of the angry bird game is beyond fans..

    Still a great vehicle I’m sure and I look forward to the turbo 4 shootout of the BMW 328 and the upcoming cadillac ATS !!

    Have a nice weekend and thanks for all your efforts. Autoline.tv rocks!


  5. tj Martin Says:

    # 2 According to the news releases …. the 500L is in fact a rebodied Punto built in one o those former Soviet block countries

  6. MJB Says:

    Did anyone else besides me find that one Mazda ad in the equestrian setting (female jockey brushing down her horse) to be a bit of a stretch?

    Oh yeah, right. Because, after all – what well-heeled, prize horse owning millionaire would want to be seen tooling around in a Bentley Mulsanne or Merc S550?

    Nope… Mazda

    laughable! :)

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Toyota will rise again, I have no doubt about it, they just have to let the others shoot themselves in the foot or should I say, feet. BTW I have seen more new Camrys in a month than I’ve seen just about any other new car.

  8. Lex Says:

    Maybe Elon Musk should buy Lotus since the Tesla Roadster is built on a Lotus chasis.
    This way Elon can hedge his investment in Electric Vehicles by also have a product line and manufacturing plant that can built gasoline power vehicles if the whole EV idea goes BUST!

  9. Lex Says:

    The Fiat 500L is an awful idea and name. Marchionne should be investing in Chrysler models and manufacturing since as John McElroy stated of Autoline After Hours the “Chrysler is supporting Fiat”. The “Journey” nameplate sounds better that the 500L.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s AW’s take on the 500L:


  11. Autos101 Says:

    At least the 500 was cute. The 500L is positively UGLY in the back, looks exactly like the butt of a cheapo Fiat PANDA.

  12. HtG Says:

    So they’re going to make the 500L in Serbia,…of YugoSerblia? This is ringing some bells. Hmmmmm

  13. Autos101 Says:

    #10 That’s IT? a mere, lousy, insignificant 2 and a half inches longer than the extremely short 500? and they call it an “L”?


  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems like Lotus is biting off a lot, developing their own V8. I know it’s a “pride” thing, but a small car company like Lotus could spend their money better it other ways, and buy a V8 if they want one, like they do with their other engines.

  15. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Toyota will rise again, I have no doubt about it

    Neither do I, but Toyota should worry about LEXUS. it is going the way of Acura and Infiniti.

    Look at the AWESOME new 3 series. Today’s broadcast said NOTHING about its UNBELIEVABLE stats and fuel economy.

  16. Aliisdad Says:

    I actually like the look of the 500L much better than the “coupe”..However, I have to admit that I have always had a thing for small “wagons”…Wish that body style was more popular here in the US..It would be nice if it was just a little larger, thought…

  17. Ed Says:

    Toyota asked suppliers about 3 years ago for a 30 % reduction in cost, so by now customers are getting the results, won’t be long till they catch on, service bay here we come!

  18. Lex Says:

    Who stated the divorce proceeding between Ford and Mazda? I have not owned a Ford in over thirty years. I once considered buying a Mazda Tribute for a short time since I like SUVs and it was more stylish that the Escape.

    The Ford Tag line “Have you driven a Ford Laterly?” is one that I can definitely respond “NO” too! I like Alan Mulally but I think Ford will be lost when he retires.

    I know Peter D is hip on the new products coming out of Lincoln but isn’t it a little bit too late? The only Lincoln’s I see in my area are Towncars and executive taxi’s. Mercedes, BWM, Audi are the luxury cars of choice. The Lincoln nameplate sounds old and tired.

  19. Lex Says:

    @ # 16 Aliisdad,

    If you like wagons check out the Hyundai 40i wagon. I wish these where available in the US. They have them in Europe. I watched a petty German Girl tooling around the German Country side in one. Imagine a New Azera or Sonata with a wagon body. This would take a bite out of Toyota Venza sales.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think that AW article is wrong about the 500L only being 2.4 inches longer than the regular 500. I think it’s 24 inches longer, which makes more sense. They said the “L” is 163 inches, and the 2 door is about 140 inches long.

  21. Autos101 Says:

    #20 They probably are wrong. Really amateurs.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should just drop all the Lexi except the LS and IS, and do a serious update on the IS, and add a wagon. I guess they need more than that to keep the dealers going, though.

  23. dcars Says:

    In reference to Fiat’s failing dealers, in western New York, our local dealership group that owns the fiat brand has moved some of his 500′s to his Chrysler dealership. I think it’s a smart move, he’ll probably sell more from that locations then his very small Fiat Boutique store.

  24. HtG Says:

    Yes Kit, the 500L is 162″ compared to about 140″ for the 500.


  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and here is Top Gear’s take on the 500L:


  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 500L is going to come from Serbia, but, hey, there are EXPENSIVE cars coming from former eastern bloc countries, like Cayenne and Q7 which are built in Slovakia.

  27. Autos101 Says:

    #22 The LS sells very few copies. One way to increase them is to offer it with an i6 or v6, but it will still sell about 1,000 or so. BMW did very well with the 7 when it offered an ‘entry level’ 740i which has the same 300 hp 6 that the 3 and 5 series have.

    The IS also sells much fewer copies than either the C class or esp its target, the 3 series. I know of no maker who built a serious 3 series competitor.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    It’s too bad a bout Mazda and Ford. I don’t see that many Mazda’s nor Mitsu’s around as I used to.

  29. Autos101 Says:


    Serbia and Slovakia or the Chech Republic are worlds apart. The Czechs built serious cars (and Weapons) at SKODA before WW II even.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    I really like the BMW 3-series. Rather than building a “3-series fighter” other brands should hope to design and build a car AS GOOD as the 3-series (and 2002).

  31. Autos101 Says:

    #30 ? difference between a 3 fighter and a car as good as the 3?

  32. Autos101 Says:

    I wrote “I know of no maker who built a serious 3 series competitor.”

    The C class does not count, it is targeted to a different buyer, more luxury and comfort and less performance oriented

  33. W L Simpson Says:

    The beauty of a Beamer 6 has always been the low end torque in high gear, like a TDI.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I was in Czechoslovakia for a couple weeks in ’92, a few months before Czech Republic and Slovakia became separate countries. There were a lot of interesting, to a westerner, pre-VW Skodas. Many of them were small, rear engine cars, and a few older front engine Skodas looked like bad copies of Ford Anglias or something. There were a few Trabants, but the Skodas were much better than that.

    Today’s Skodas are mostly badge engineered VW’s, but at a better price.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As bad as they were, Serb cars of the 80″s (Yugo) were probably better than Skodas at that time.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cadillac, with the ATS, is going to try to build a 3 series competitor, but it sounds like their job just got tougher, given the reviews of the new “3.”

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    By pushing the 3 upmarket, will BMW have to do the same to the 5 and 7, or was this done to separate the 3 from the 1 series and thus help sell more of the latter? I guess they new 3 will send all imitators back to the ole drawing board, God, I’m dying to drive one of these cars for a couple of hours!!

  38. Autos101 Says:

    #34 The Skoda was just one car maker in the Czech Republic, there was a more upscale, very weird looking Czech-Slovak car, the TATRA, (named after the local mountains) today they are collector’s items.

    Communist Skodas were primitive, but pre-WW II Czech cars were far superior than anything out of Serbia (at that time, there was nothing really the Serbs produced)

  39. Autos101 Says:

    #36 the small Caddy has already one problem, its tiny trunk (about 10 ft3 vs the usual 15-16). People buying 4 door vehicles usually need them to carry at least 4 people and their luggage.

    CWOLF: Don’t reply to this like you did the other time suggesting I don’t buy the small caddy. I never intended to anyway. But even tho I did not like the current 3 I drove for a day (it was a 328Xi auto), I am much more attracted to the new one, if priced reasonably.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember seeing a few Tatras when I was there, and yeah, they were weird looking. I suppos the party bosses drove them during the communist era.

    Now, as before WW II, Czech and Slovak cars are better. Skoda is VW, generally considered the best of the “mainstream” Euro brands, while Zastava is still building Fiats.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    About a year ago,on this website both Mr De and Mr Hall stated that you couldn’t go wrong purchasing any of the new cars available from any of the automakers, well my sister’s long running brake issues with the Dodge Journey took a turn for the worse today, I had to pick her up along with my nieces cause the brake warning light went on and she found braking compromised, so I had to drive my 14 yr old, 332k mile Toyota with its original braking system (pads-shoes not included} to pick them up while they towed away the car to the dealer, let’s see what BS story they’re gonna give her now, I advised that she seek out legal help to force this company to either give her a new car or buy back this one at the original price( lemon law)

  42. HtG Says:

    show your sister this, Pedro.


  43. HtG Says:

    look at this paragraph on how the Lemon Law Works, Pedro.

    If the vehicle has been back to the service agent for repair of the same recurring problem at least three times, the consumer must give written notification by certified, registered or express mail, to the manufacturer (not the dealer) to afford a final opportunity to repair the vehicle. Check the warranty book or owner’s manual or other written manufacturer supplement for the address given by the manufacturer. A Motor Vehicle Defect Notification form may be used for this purpose. Click here for the Instructions and Motor Vehicle Defect Notification form. Upon receipt of the notification, the manufacturer has 10 days to direct the consumer to a reasonably accessible repair facility, and then up to 10 days from delivery of the vehicle to fix it.

    You go the manufacturer.

  44. Autos101 Says:

    #41 Hall is a silly flake. I never had any respect for him. De Lorenzo is much better, but he is emotionally too invested to the domestics, his father was a GM bigwig etc.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks HtG we need to move on this, this has become unbearable and unacceptable, I warned her NOT to buy ANY Chrysler product since she had bad experience with the 97 Caravan but since everyone kept saying that now ALL cars are so well built and reliable, she took them at their word. What pisses me off is that they don’t stand by the product they sell you!

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    This is the second time in 18 mos the brakes have failed, but it has taken 3 mos to get the rotors from the manufacturer, me thinks this dealer is full of it, she has to deal directly with Dodge, I guess.

  47. RS Says:

    Fit vs Fiat

    Not sure how this comparo will format but here are Top Gear’s Fiat numbers (in metric) compared to the Canadian Honda web site for the Fit…

    Fit Fiat
    Length 410cm 414cm
    Width 169.5cm 178cm
    Height 152.5cm 166cm

    Centimeters don’t mean as much to me but, since most of us are familiar with the Fit, at least it gives some idea of the size of the 500L.

  48. RS Says:

    # 41, 45, 46

    I have had similar experience with Chrysler products and even worse treatment from GM. Ford, on the other hand, has never treated me badly – but I know people who have sworn to NEVER buy another Ford. I am sure we could fill books with past horror stories from all three of the Detroit mfgrs.

    30 years of Hondas and still impressed.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    Looking at the drawing of the Fiat L, it should be Fit vs Fat or how to use space efficiently. No one can beat Honda at that game.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    RS but this is what happens to people who don’t listen to reason and let emotion dictate their purchases and decisions, instead of common sense.

  51. rick Says:

    mazda took WAY! too long to bring fuel efficient sky stuff to market. now with everyone else being fuel efficient. its not getting any attention its falling on deaf ears. someone tell sergio mazda and lotus are are looking for partners.

  52. C-Tech Says:

    @ #31
    Most cars which are promoted as “3-series fighters” are too often just similar in price, size and features as the BMW. They do not have the attention to detail, quality, and attitude like BMW. The M-B C-class is as good as the 3-series, with a different attitude. M-B does not promote the C-Class as their “fighter” .

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mazda has three cars that I like, the Miata, 5, and 3 hatchback, but I’ve never had any of them. They would have had a better chance of selling me a car at some point, if they had more dealers. Generally, I don’t like to have to go 50 or more miles to the nearest dealer if something goes wrong. I made an exception with the MINI, but it was a car that I really wanted.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve had good experiences with Chrysler cars, but my most recent one is the ’89 Caravan that I still have.

    I’d take a chance on a Charger or 300, if I wanted a biggish rear drive car, but none of their front drivers do much for me, even without Pedro’s sister’s problems.

  55. Autos101 Says:

    We now know what’s the chance that Pedro’s sister, Pedro, their families, their co-workers, and everybody they know and have talked to them about this lemon Journey,

    the chance that any of these people (unless he or she is a masochist) will buy another Dodge or Chrysler Group Product, Ever.

  56. Autos101 Says:

    #47 RS your #s are WAY off for the Fiat, it is MUCH narrower.

    The regular 500 is (WIKI)

    Length 3,546 mm (139.6 in)
    Width 1,627 mm (64.1 in)
    Height 1,488 mm (58.6 in)

    I have no reason to believe the L is any WIDER, only LONGER.

  57. Autos101 Says:

    #47 I bet your inflated width for the Fiat includes the mirrors.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Top gear says the 500L is 414cm long, 178cm wide and 166cm high.

    It seems to be a different car from the regular 500, but with the same nose. The 500L is probably to a regular 500, what a MINI Countryman is to a MINI Cooper, a different car, but with some family resemblance.

  59. Autos101 Says:

    #58 could you post the link?

  60. Autos101 Says:

    could be. I know they increased every dimension in the COuntryman to make the proportions similar to the ones of the regular Mini. It’s probable that Fiat is copying them in the L.

  61. Autos101 Says:


    As much as I was impressed with the new 3 Series, this ridiculously overpriced Hybrid 5 is far inferior to its diesel variant, and got in real life a lousy 25 MPG, much less than the 31 EPA average.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    See #25

  63. HtG Says:

    Do car companies think about winning back burned customers like Pedro’s sister? Even decades after the fact, I’m still wary of some brands.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that none of these “upscale” hybrids buy you much.

    From the article, it looks like even BMW only claims a 16% improvement in mpg over a 535, but you’d probably get a 30% improvement with the diesel, or more. If you are willing to give up some power, the 528 with the new turbo 4 would probably beat this hybrid too.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to be pretty tough to win back customers. I know people who still won’t buy GM, because their ’73 Vega was a POS.

  66. HtG Says:

    It does make you wonder what the size of GM’s addressable market is. Did you hear the guy on AAH talking about people that got messed up in the 70′s and 80′s?

  67. Autos101 Says:

    The average Vega buyer, if he or she was 45 in 1975, is already 82 now, and chances are he or she is either in a home or dead and does not need a car anyway.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The couple I’m referring to were in their 20′s, and it was their first new car. I agree that most Vega customers are probably out of the car market, or will be soon. People who bought the 80′s cars would be a bigger problem for GM.

  69. Bob e K Says:

    Gee it sure is nice not seeing any remarks from tjMartin….it’s like a breath of fresh air from his opinions !

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    I remember my 68 Beetle fondly even though it was a crude, loud, slow thing which would probably be banned from being sold nowadays. I also remember my hand-me-down 71 Ply. Valiant, much better, no mechanical issues whatsoever!

  71. Autos101 Says:

    I remember my first bicycle very fondly. I’m not old enough to remember my first horse and buggy

    I may one day collect these spartan classics, but i SURE would not drive them on the highway today. They are unsafe at any speed, offer you neither passive nor active safety, your best bet is to think you are riding a scooter, not a real car, and drive as defensively as you can (and preferably not on interstates!!)

  72. Autos101 Says:

    and forget necessities or luxuries, they do not even have the most elementary comforts the cheapest Kia has today.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My ’86 VW Cabriolet and ’89 Dodge Caravan would be a lot safer than an old Beetle or Valiant, but I still drive more carefully in them than with my newer cars with air bags, etc.

    I am obviously not safety obsessed, though, as I ride two wheeled motor vehicles.

  74. Autos101 Says:

    My 21 yr old Civic is a bit like that. No A/C, all manual windows and seats, not a single airbag, no ABS, but at least it has a decent 5-speed and a 1.35 lt I-4 with 75 HP which is probably double that of the original Beetle, and has about the same feather weight at 1,875 lbs. I really want to replace it, it is useless on a warm or smoggy day in town, but it is so bare bones and so old, it will not get a decent price, and it has only 50k miles!

  75. HtG Says:

    Why not sell it on Craigslist or Ebay, just for the experience? Take pics, write a description, see who’s interested.

  76. Autos101 Says:

    it will not fetch more than $1-2k. Not worth it. Better keep it even if I buy another, or give it to my brother-in-law who does a ton of miles and lives in a mild climate (no hot humid summers)

  77. Autos101 Says:

    it does not even have a frigging Tachometer, and its ancient Pioneer cassete player has issues (while the radio can be heard well).

    I should replace it with a CD player and even put an aftermarket A/C in it ( the latter will cost as much as the car is worth, and people who have done it told me it sucked)

  78. cwolf Says:

    Mazda has been struggling for quite some time,but their cars are over-all pretty good. My in-laws 6 has been trouble free so far,but I have trouble with its fender flares. The 5 I rented served the purpose well,had good fuel miles and the price is right. My son’s 3 is a fun driver and the perfect size for a new driver. My tiff with Mazda is its poor body integrity. Not sure about the 6,but just push against any body panel of a Mazda and you’ll sense something is missing…like strength! The 3 had to have body panels replaced twice,so I have personal experiences. Thank God fpr insurance.

  79. cwolf Says:

    @ pedro
    You had mensioned the Yaris before so I paid more attension to the AW review this A.M. The new one seems like a decent car in the segment. The mpg’s are shy of others,yet it was said it was more comfortable. I still view the Fit as a better unit and the discounts may be quite attractive.

  80. cwolf Says:

    There is no doubt,the 3 series is a beautiful car. I still prefer the size of the older models and don’t know why everytime any car gets an undate,it seems the cars always get larger and larger?

  81. Autos101 Says:

    the current 3 is underwhelming. I’d never bother with it.

    But The new 3 with the turbo 4 and the 36 MPG HWY (GAS, not diesel!!!!) looks AWESOME on paper. I’ll wait to see the CR and Car and Driver reviews.

    Mc ELroy and his young assistants told you practically little of its Awesomeness, BUT I had posted all the details the previous day here.

  82. Autos101 Says:

    The fit is a much better looking and especially far more intelligent design inside than the Yaris or any other car in that segment. If they are also discounting it, it’s a bargain.

  83. HtG Says:

    81 That new 3 does indeed look very good in the flesh. The photos I’ve seen do make the hood look bulbous, but in real life I think BMW carried it off well. Also the forward slope of the front end reminds me of Bimmers from the 70′s and 80′s. I believe I sat inside the luxury version of the 3 at DC, and was impressed. It’s faultless, right down to the inlaid wood on the dashboard having the small imperfections you’d expect of something handmade. The current 3 does feel a lot like the 5 series I’ve known.

    Tough to see how the car won’t succeed.

  84. Autos101 Says:

    #83 The car looks better than the current 3, but I was referring to its awesome HP-Torque-MPG combination, really unbelievable and a huge leap over the current 3. But as I wrote, I’ll wait to see the C&D and CR tests. It’s good that they have upgraded the interior, I liked the 1999-2005 3 better than the current one.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Fit is the best of the segment, if you need space. If is even kind of sporty to drive. I would have gotten one instead of my MINI, had I needed the space.

    The main down side of the Fit, is that the manual transmission is a 5-speed with a too-short top gear for highway driving.

  86. Autos101 Says:

    I looked at the Top Gear article abt the 500L and it is a far larger car than the 500. it is a useful 5-door hatchback or small wagon, but it did not retain the clean lines of the 500. The rear window seems copied from other recent, non-retro Fiats. If they price it too high, it will not sell well.

  87. Autos101 Says:

    In Europe they even have a hybrid Fit. It looked big from the back, one i saw parked.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m wondering if the 3 series wagon will still make it to the U.S. when it gets redesigned. Does anyone know? For 2012, the sedan is the only “new” 3 series, at least for now, in the U.S.

    The 335d is going away, but understandably, given that the new turbo 4 gets better mpg, at least in EPA ratings. I’d like to see one of the 4 cylinder diesels, preferably with a manual transmission, that they sell in zillions of “3′s” in Europe. That would get seriously good mpg.

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 500L also needs more motor than the 1.4. The base 500 I drove, even with a manual transmission, felt kind of slow, and the the 500L can’t help but be substantially heavier.

  90. pedro fernandez Says:

    C wolf: I see they finally did away with that stupid center speedo design that made no sense except for the bean counters who tried to save a few bucks when they build the right and left hand drive models. On the negative side too many electronics added to the new models, I like it simple!

  91. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My MINI has a big, round speedometer in the center. The original Mini had a center mounted speedo for the same reason as the previous Yaris, to simplify making both RHD and LHD versions of the cars, and the they put one there in the new car as part of the “retro” theme.

    Thankfully, the MINI also has a digital speedometer in the tach housing in front of the driver. Had the center speedo been the only one the car had, I probably wouldn’t have bought it.

  92. Brett Says:


    Pedro, it’s funny you mention the Valiant in such a fond fashion. Chrysler pissed off and alienated a whole bunch of loyal Valiant/Dart/Duster owners when they sold ‘em the new Aspen/Volare. Now THERE was a legitimate P.O.S.

    I think everybody has a positive memory of the Valiants and Darts.

  93. Brett Says:

    r.e. Mazda profitablity

    I think they are suffering from the value of the Yen, no? Do they still mfg here? They shared, I believe, the Flat Rock MI plant with Ford where the Probe/Mazda{somethingorother} was made is no longer producing Mazdas? Is everything now imported from Japan? That would be brutal for them.

  94. Brett Says:


    I agree, CWolf. I’d still like to find one of the small 1980′s 3 Series cabrios for knocking around town in. It is called Daytona Beach for a reason. One ought to have a beach car even if it’s a 30 year-old beater. :)

  95. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit today on MW they tested the new Mini coupe, John Cooper edition going for over $30k, wow, that is a lot of moulah for such a car, WAAAAAY overpriced IMHO! and then they show the new Yaris, equipped the way most people would buy it, it’s around $17k Geez!! what is happening to the price of new cars? that was the price of a Corolla just a few years back.

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You can really run up the price of the price of a MINI with options, or by getting the “hot” versions, especially the JCW. A base car equipped like mine is about 20K, MSRP with 16 inch wheels as the only option. It is pricey compared to a Yaris or Fit, but, given various factors, including good marketing by BMW, MINI’s have held their value exceptionally well.

    Still, if you need to carry more than two people, and much stuff, the Fit, and the new Yaris are much more practical cars. Also, I would expect the Honda and Toyota to be more reliable, though I have had no trouble with my MINI during the two years I’ve had it.

  97. Autos101 Says:

    The Mini Coupe is weirdly styled, the Mini convertible version has far cleaner lines and does not look silly as the coupe does. But the Convertible is way too tiny for me to drive down the highway and feel safe.

    I feel safe in practically no convertible, but if I had to buy one I’d sure get one with a METAL retractable top, which really gives you 2 cars for the price of one, a solid regular car and a convertible, except neither has a decent TRUNK.

    Recent Hondas have NOT been as reliable as past ones, as HtG has often said here. Similarly Corollas made in the UK and sold in Europe are very common there, many people I know have them, they look strong and solid unlike flaky Corollas in the US with soft suspensions that drove fast but felt as light as a feather and equally directionless, but they had reliability issues, the ones made in the UK.

  98. Autos101 Says:

    #95 I could not watch the show, what kind of mixed loop MPG did MW get with the Yaris?

  99. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My MINI hatch is red with white roof and mirrors, which I really like on the car. I saw a coupe with that combination, though, and it really looked strange. I don’t like the looks of the coupe, but it is best in solid black, which helps make mask the weirdness.

    I’m not sure why they made the new coupe. It’s only barely lighter than the regular hard top, and it looks odd. You could gain the ~3-4 cubic feet of extra cargo room just by taking the back seat out of the original car. If they’d sold it that way, that is probably what I would have bought. I never use the back seat.

    I haven’t seen the “roadster” version of the coupe “in person,” but I like the way it looks in pictures. Still, if I were looking for a small two seat convertible, I’d probably get a Miata, which is about the same price for a base car.

  100. Autos101 Says:

    Maybe the Mini COupe is designed as a “chick car” in the sense that the old Mercury Cougars were Thunderbird Clones, only weird looking, and in their case I know for a fact that they were targeted at women buyers.

  101. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, that could be. I’ll have to see who’s driving when I see one on the road.

  102. HtG Says:

    Kit, is your Mini a red and white tribute to Indiana University and Mr Bobby Knight?

    I’ve seen one of the new coupes on the road, and felt it definitely challenged the road presence of my Miata. It’s quite a statement car.

    As to getting a Miata, Kit, perhaps you wait a year or so for the new lightweight model? (the word is the next one will weigh 700lbs less than the current car) nudge nudge wink wink

  103. Kit Gerhart Says:

    No, my car is not a tribute to Bobby Knight. In fact, I went to Purdue, IU’s big intrastate rival.

    I’m not planning to buy a Miata, at least not any time soon. The MINI is still fun, and I have my oldish VW Cabriolet for fun when I’m in Indiana. That sounds coo, though, if they are going to make the next Miata lighter. Things usually don’t go in that direction.

  104. HtG Says:

    I hear it’ll have the same interior space, use high strength steel, and go back to a 1.6L engine. Taking 700lbs out of a 2400lb car, that’s stunning. Sound like fun?

  105. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Definitely sounds like fun.

  106. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1700 pounds. That is light, in Geo Metro territory.

  107. pedro fernandez Says:

    101 I believe it was around 33 or 34,average, not the 38 highway that the EPA states, these shows should do a highway only test and a city only as well and then average it out. But the engine puts out the same HP and torque, yet the car is heavier and bigger, Toyota is fixated on that same 1.5 engine. BTW don’t you find the whole Super Bowl Silverado ad controversy kind of childish? Come on Ford, grow a pair and learn to take a little criticism, you sure laid it on GM plenty times for the bailout. This Ford Vs Chevy truck thing will never end, the Tundra has surprisingly fallen flat even though I believe they make the most reliable, well built truck out there.

  108. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The pickup truck market seems to depend on brand loyalty, more than any other segment. Were that not the case, Tundra would do better.

  109. cwolf Says:

    Some of you guys better stick with cars and keep your thoughts of trucks to yourself. Tundra reliable–whatta joke! Is this the same Tundra that has had bad welds on the drive shaft? Or the one with defective propeller shafts? Perhaps the Tundra that in a rather short time the frame rusts out? The only Tundra I know should only haul bamboo and rice in their oun country!

  110. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I know someone who has an ’04 Tundra which was recalled for a possible frame rust problem, but I also know someone with a 2010, the next generation, who loves it, and has had no problems.

  111. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, time will tell how reliable the 2010 Tundra turns out to be.

  112. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf just LOVES Toyotas, eh? BTW Mr Eastwood forgot to mention in the Super Bowl ad that most Chrysler products are not even made in Detroit.

  113. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro: “101 I believe it was around 33 or 34,average, not the 38 highway that the EPA states,”

    That sounds 100% consistent with 38 or 40 HWY. They do a mixed loop 150 miles, (I wonder if the route is well defined tho.)

    And NO, I did not watch the Stupidbowl, I never watch any team sports these days, and I was spared the moronic Ford vzs Chevy ads.

    And as far as the idiotic Pickup Trucks, I wish they will (all of them that are NOT uses as they should, as Pickups) transform into 50 MPG Priuses.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, CWOLF.

  114. Autos101 Says:

    The whole world uses Toyota pickups, look at any dirt road in any continent.

    You don’t see ANY…. allegedly “tough” F 150s or Silverados there…LOL

  115. Autos101 Says:

    PS CWOLF: Is your Ford ConFusion Mercury Clone also built in MEXICO at starvation wages?

    And don’t tell me about the alleged Ford “profits’ returning to the US. that’s 100% Pure BS. FOrd is owned by people and mutual funds ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    Wake up and Wise Up, and spare us the RACIST “rice” references, punk!!

  116. Autos101 Says:

    Well, I just saw the Chrysler Ad with Clint Eastwood in the Detrpit News on the web. What a load of irrelevant BS!!!!

    Still, it was hailed as a good ad. I bet the same clueless idiots that liked the Eminem ad will love this one.

    HOWEVER, things are MUCH MUCH Worse than even I thought.

    STUDY this article from the WA POST.

    It is SERIOUS.

    As for CLint, I am a big fan of his, but he should stick to acting and directing and hot have silly words put in his mouth for a few measly (million) dollars.


  117. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to Clint’s ad, we’re at half time? Really! half time of what? Obama 2 term presidency? The decay of the Western economic power? Chrysler’s come back at the helm of Sergio Casronuovo? Can someone please explain this to this dummy!

  118. pedro fernandez Says:

    Got a call from a former colleague who 4 yrs ago. against my advise, bought a Saturn Aura, well good thing she got an extended warranty, has had engine, electrical and now transmission failure. So much for “they’re all the same now” BS. got close to 110k miles.

  119. HtG Says:

    What we have here is a failure to communicate, Pedro. You see, just like in last year’s advertisement avec Monsieur Marshall Mathers, Olivier Francois du Fiat will employ la logique Cartesian et francaise to explique l’Amerique to us dumb and fat Freedom Fry stuffing pommes de terre. Le Get It? C’est systemique.

  120. HtG Says:

    You can go va de ferre foutre big time now, Sergio. A hole.

  121. Autos101 Says:


    I think Bob does an excellent job of explaining the HUGE MESS the Western World, living BEYOND THEIR MEANS for decades, is now in.

    Some of this is inevitable. If CHina does not screw up its march to Capitalism with another bloody fool-mass murderer like Mao,

    the US will be in the position the UK was after WW II.

    That’s what happens when one nation is five times the size of its rival.

    It was true in USA vs the UK and it is true in CHina VS the USA in the future.

  122. Autos101 Says:

    pedro fernandez Says:
    February 6th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    “Got a call from a former colleague who 4 yrs ago. against my advise, bought a Saturn Aura, well good thing she got an extended warranty, has had engine, electrical and now transmission failure. So much for “they’re all the same now” BS.”

    We should never have bailed out these utter losers at GM. Even after their bankruptcy, they LEARNED NOTHING, and are repeating the same mistakes.

    I was rooting for the Cruze, hoping, as a taxpayer, that it would be this great hit, but the reviews from both CR and Car and Driver (and the like) were not enthusiastic. Same with most other domestics. And the Cruze high sales during the troubles in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami are over.

    If it wasn’t for that failed Obama admin OWING big time to the UAW bosses for the tens of millions they contributed to his campaign, he would not have bailed out GM, it would have gone broke as it should, and perhaps learned something from its failure.

    But now? Look at the CLUELESS GM CEO, that utter auto illiterate Akerson. He is not even (as Mulally is) a Manufacturing guy, who the hell did he know at the Obama admin to get this most crucial job?

  123. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG now that makes more sense than hiring MIA and her hyper-extended middle finger to “perform” at the “Big Game” Can”t say the S B words otherwise I have to pay the NFL a usage fee! 101 Capitalism without basic human rights and freedoms is very iffy. Just wait till the Chinese car makers learn all they can and throw out the despicable Western companies, then we’ll see what happens.

  124. Autos101 Says:

    123: I am aware of all that, but you need to compare the UTTER HELL under MAO with today’s PEACE AND prosperity in CHina.

    And as the great DENG Hsiao Ping said,

    I don’t care if the cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.

  125. pedro fernandez Says:

    Will someone explain to me the point of the Chevy Sonic ad? Is anyone actually gonna run to their nearest Chevy dealer after seeing that ad and put a down-payment towards one of these??

  126. Autos101 Says:

    #123 it is 100% in our interest that CHina continues to prosper, after all the US can’t be the LOCOMOTIVE that rescues the World Economy (including OUR collective behinds) every time. Sooner or later, CHINA will HAVE to do that or we are ALL SCREWED.

    You need to seriously compare the USA vs the UK in 1900 and China vs the USA today. SAME Thing.

  127. Autos101 Says:

    #125 haven’t seen the ad but did see Jan sales in its segment, and the Sonic did better than any of its rivals, incl the FIesta, the Yaris, and even the AWESOME HONDA FIT!

  128. pedro fernandez Says:

    True 101, seems like all countries are trying to pull ahead into prosperity except the freaking Castro brothers who have not realized that the cold war has been over for many years now, and are still preparing for the inevitable imperialist Yankee invasion.

  129. HtG Says:

    Here’s a Hyundai ad that ran in Canada. Try blaspheming in the US.


  130. pedro fernandez Says:

    #127 Don’t get that at all, even now the Fit continues to be the BMW 3 of that segment, no one can quite get it right, even the new improved Yaris comes up short. And further puzzles me as to why Honda missed the mark so badly with the iconic Civic, after all, the Odyssey and Pilot are still class leaders.

  131. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That was a cool car ad.

  132. Autos101 Says:


    The Sonic is new, hence the interest. We’ll see how it does later, if GM has to put $3,000 on the hood to move it or not.

  133. Autos101 Says:

    #130 Not just the Odyssey and the Pilot but especially the CR-V which sells more than both of these combined, and the brand new CR-V is also good.

    We did go over the Civic debacle, it was a botched job from day one, the new civic came out 2-3 years late, they usually replace them every 4 years, but this time the new Civic was too obese, so they sent them to the drawing board to make it skinnier, and they did not have the time to do a great job. But then again, you got all these POS Acuras…

  134. Autos101 Says:

    #129 That sasquatch was way too small, aren’t they supposed to be 10 feet tall or sth? They could have at least got an NBA dude with high heels…LOL