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Episode 835 – China Gets the Lead Out, Boom Times for Trucks, Holden Commodore LPG

February 28th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:36

China is “getting the lead out,” and this time it’s an American company that’s in trouble. Indicators say the boom times are just getting started for heavy trucks. Holden starts production on an LPG version of the ever-popular Commodore. All that and more, plus we walk around the Scion iQ with head honcho Jack Hollis.

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This is Autoline Daily for February 28th, and now, the news.

GET THE LEAD OUT
And it’s lead-acid batteries that are in the news. China shut down a plant owned by Johnson Controls in Shanghai, saying lead emissions from the plant poisoned 49 children who live in the area. Johnson Controls disagrees with those conclusions, saying it operated well below local and national regulations. Is it just me or does it seem that China is getting very good at prosecuting foreign companies? Meanwhile, JCI says that the cost of lead-acid batteries in the U.S. will be going up (subscription required) by a few dollars because of tighter regulations on lead emissions at battery factories.

GOT MILK?
Interesting aside here. Back as recently as the 1970s, when lead brazing was commonly used to join the roof and rear quarter panels in cars, the men who worked in the body shops were given a glass of milk to drink after their shift. The theory was that the milk would wash the lead out of your body. I don’t know where they ever got that idea, but by the early 1980s lead was banned from body shops in the U.S.

TRUCK BOOM JUST GETTING STARTED
We’ve been following the heavy commercial-truck market here at Autoline Daily because of the astounding growth that segment is going through. And it looks like the good news is only getting started. A study from the Boston Consulting Group says that the market for commercial trucks with a gross-vehicle-weight of at least 3.5 tons will be booming in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. There are roughly 5 million of these trucks sold worldwide today. That’s expected to jump to 6.8 million by the end of the decade.

LPG HOLDEN COMMODORE (subscription required)
Holden, GM’s Australian subsidiary, has just started production of an LPG-powered Commodore. WardsAuto reports this large car has been extensively re-engineered to run on liquefied-petroleum gas. In Australia, domestically produced LPG is 30 percent cheaper than gasoline. The LPG Commodore has a modified 3.6-liter V-6 engine, with a special fuel-delivery system and a 12.2:1 compression ratio. LPG has a high octane rating. Output is 240 horsepower with 235 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy on the Australian driving cycle works out to 19.9 miles per gallon, or 11.8 L/100km. Fuel is contained in a 22.2-gallon aluminum tank that does not limit trunk space. The LPG option is about 37-hundred U.S. dollars, but buyers can apply for a 21-hundred dollar tax credit. Not only is LPG cheap, it has much less carbon than gasoline.

MOPAR EXPANDING GLOBALLY
Chrysler’s Mopar brand is expanding into more and more markets. It just landed in China and the United Arab Emirates, and now it’s got South America in its sights. The Motor Parts division just set up shop in Argentina and Brazil, stocking tens-of-thousands of fixins’ to support the company’s Chrysler, Jeep, Ddoge and Ram brands there.

KIA K9
A few weeks ago we saw sketches, now Kia released photos of its new flagship sedan. This rear-wheel-drive K9 goes on sale in the Korean market in the first half of the year. But is Peter Schreyer, Kia’s designer taking the safe road? We think the K9 kind of looks like a soggy Infiniti M with a Bengal butt. The front-third could have been stolen from Maserati. We’ll likely have more details on this car next month once the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors.

The smart fortwo has been a miserable sales failure, but that’s not stopping big automakers from making more small cars. Coming up next, Jack Hollis from Scion takes us through the new iQ.

Can you sell dinky little cars in big volumes, especially in the American market where small cars historically have done poorly? Scion thinks you can. And that’s why we have none other than Jack Hollis, the vice president of Scion to take us through the car.

(This content only available in today’s video)

I liked everything about the iQ except its continuously variable transmission. I felt it took away from the driving pleasure. But other than that the iQ is a good little car.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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

79 Comments to “Episode 835 – China Gets the Lead Out, Boom Times for Trucks, Holden Commodore LPG”

  1. HtG Says:

    GM reaches for second with Peugeot, iQ needs an airbag where your cranium meets the bumper, and Danica Patrick crashes again. I’m feeling kind of hostile, right about now.

  2. tj Martin Says:

    GM buying into PSA

    For those who haven’t seen it , read the link I left this morning on Episode #834

    To sum it up BBCA is saying GM will be buying a Minimum 7% of PSA , with options etc to purchase more . Bloomberg etc are running similar stories though not with the voracity of BBCA’s coverage .

    ———-

    An AUTOANARCHIST OPINIONATOR ;

    Giving Government money to ANY of the Big Three , for any reason is like loaning a Compulsive Gambler $100,000

    The Question won’t be will he/they throw it all away on a bad hand

    The only real Question is ;

    When will he/they throw it all away on a bad hand ?

    ——-

    One has to ask of GM ;

    What part of the lessons learned over the last two decades HAS NOT taught GM they’re incapable of running their own house , never mind someone else’s ?

    And what part of the entirety of Lotus/ SAAB / Opel etc debacles of the last 30 years hasn’t taught GM they are most definitely NOT capable of sustaining / never mind growing an overseas business arrangement ( other than Badge Engineering someone else’s platforms )with another car maker ?

    —-

    One here in trying to justify this move by GM made reference to PSA making ‘ Good ‘ products , using their relationship with BMW to back up his claim . Well …..

    #1 BMW-PSA’s relationship is an agreement to cooperate , purchase and trade technology ….. not a purchase of PSA shares ( BMW isn’t that stupid )

    #2 The PSA motors in the MINI have in fact been majorly gone over by BMW before they ever see a MINI’s engine bay ( wanna bet GM won’t be doing the same? )

    #3 PSA’s sales are down some 50% for 2011 ( NYTimes)

    #4 Massive Falling sales and market share indicate , by all standards , that PSA Does Not make a good product : and in fact hasn’t been competitive for the last five years in the EU/UK ( CAR AutoCar )

    This has been your AutoAnarchist Opinionator . Good Day and Good Luck ! ( we’re all gonna need it )
    ;-)

  3. tj Martin Says:

    #1 – Well then HtG …. Be my guest and join the AutoAnarchists TJ rants party for 2/28/12

    It’d be nice not being the only one

    But the Danica thing ? And this surprises you for some reason ?

    Danica CrashPatrick ? Only topped by Juan Pablo CrashToya ?

    Really ?

    ( PS; Wanna hear something funny ? Spellcheck doesn’t even question Danica CrashPatrick ! :o Hee hee ! Even Spellcheck knows she’s a car cruncher )

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Danica needs to have a special helmet to protect that cute face of hers otherwise, no face, no money from ads, cause she sure ain’t winning any races, maybe she should try soap box racing.

  5. Jon M. Says:

    It sure seems like a risky move by Scion to me. Imagine that the Little Tikes’ Cozy Coupe inspired Smart Fortwo has been anything but a sales success. If a car isn’t going to be practical even in some small way, it ought to at least be kind of fun to drive, or have an appealing design. The MX-5 Miata is probably the best example of this. But if people can confuse their car with their child’s (or the neighbors’ kids) Cozy Coupe, then automakers probably out to reconsider the whole idea.

  6. HtG Says:

    Danica. I was talking to some driving instructors/race drivers last summer about DP, and all agreed she was really about the marketing rather than winning. Anyway, if it brings more attention and money into the sport, that’ll pay salaries. And she looks pretty good.
    _______
    GM PSA. I can’t help but wonder if the govts in Europe are the keys to this puzzle. Opel/German and PSA/French. Why hasn’t John made this all ‘perfectly clear.’ (BTW, how’d you vote today John?)

  7. HtG Says:

    Did everybody but me already know this? Mercedes will integrate Apple iphone’s ‘Siri.’ Hook it up and the car’s screen shows what’s on the phone too, and of course Siri will tell you where the nearest Fendi store is. (cheap shot, I know)

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2012/02/mercedes-benz-to-integrate-apples-siri-for-hands-free-commands.ars

  8. aliisdad Says:

    Wow, I seem to have strange tastes, I guess, since I really like most of the cars that they pan the styling on in the press…I really like the look of the Kia K9!! It kinda of makes me think of a nice Audi…Have to admit, though, that that new Kia grill looks a little different on the K9…It will be interesting to see it in the flesh, but I think it is a much more classy look than the “sister” model Kia that everyone went wild over…
    Also, in the Holden story, it was interesting to see the pictures of Holden models…Why, why, oh why does GM give us such crap in the US when they make stuff that looks that great in other markets?!?!??! I admit that they have been improving a lot, but if they had brought in the cars they sell in other markets a long time ago, they would not have had the bankrupcy/bailout problems and would still be competitive…Also, let’s build the “el Camino” ute vehicle; they already have the tooling in Holden…Why not just scrap the crap, bring in the existing tooling, and build these cars for a world market (…including the US!!)..
    There may be reasons that I don’t understand, but I sure see nice cars in other places made by the same US companies that we don’t get here…People are hard on the US companies for selling cars that are not competitive, but they do it elsewhere..

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the US, this Kia is gonna be no more successful than the VW Phaeton was or the Amanti for that matter.

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    re- M-B Apple hookup . Old news mien freund . Even my 2011 GLK can get an upgrade to do the same .

    re- Danica CrashPatrick – She’s got the same problem as Scott Speed and Ken Block( head )

    If they’d spend half the time perfecting their Craft as they do their Makeup- Clothing – Image and Attitude they’d of all been World Champions by now .

    ——

    @ aliisdad ;

    ” Why, why, oh why does GM give us such crap in the US when they make stuff that looks that great in other markets?!?!??! ”

    Been asking the same myself for months here . On the Utes as well .

    Holden of late seems to be GM’s last bastion of creativity and reasonably intelligent design … even if they are for what ever reason losing Market Share in the Antipodes

  11. HtG Says:

    Lead. From a Chinese website. (apropos, no?)

    “If you want to prevent excess lead levels in the blood, then your diet is extremely important. Milk in particular greatly helps to prevent lead poisoning. In actual fact, lead-manufacturing workers protect themselves by drinking milk. Lead cannot be dissolved or absorbed when it combines with milk protein. Moreover, the calcium found in milk can also extract lead traces hidden deep in the bones and expel it out of the body through urine. “You can use calcium as a means of ‘competing’ with lead by expelling it from the body, only if you have enough calcium. If you include two bags of milk in your daily diet then you’ll certainly be able to effectively fight off lead”, according to a prominent professor of the Nutrition and Food Safety department of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”

    http://www.echinacities.com/china-media/prevent-lead-poisoning-drink-more-milk.html

  12. HtG Says:

    tj, does your GLK link the iphone screen onto its own?

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kia K9…………woof, woof. This wasn’t a good marketing strategy; if it’s a good car, it might get away with it (the name), if it’s (a dog, pun intended), it hands the critics a most perfect opening to chastise the car/name/brand.

  14. Lawrence Says:

    Would a guy have to sit it out in the car, waiting out the 30-40 lap repair that included a rear axle assy? But Danica was a trooper and didn’t seem to complain.

  15. tj Martin Says:

    NASCAR moment

    I do believe ….. if memory serves me correct …. that according to the ” Days of Thunder ” standard …

    Juan Pablo Montoya may have reached NASCAR perfection

    Having hit everything he possibly could thats on track during his tenure at NASCAR

    Well ….. maybe he hasn’t hit a Grid Girl yet ……. so maybe not

    Ehhh. Give him another season or two . He’ll get there

    8)

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “#2 The PSA motors in the MINI have in fact been majorly gone over by BMW before they ever see a MINI’s engine bay ( wanna bet GM won’t be doing the same? )”

    The PSA motors in the MINIs are THE SAME as the ones in C4s, 207s, etc., and, at least the one in my car, was made in France. PSA and BMW jointly designed the engine, and both use it.

  17. Lex Says:

    I was hoping Danica Patrick would be in the top ten at Daytona until that Cole nit-Witt in car # 88 bumped her from behind causing her to run into the wall. Cole needs to learn how to safely approach a woman from behind! His poor drafting/pushing/driving skills caused her to have that crash.

    Why doesn’t GM reorganize Opel into the Holden Business Model. Better yet combine Opel with Holden since Holden is coming up with innovative products and forget about PSA.

  18. MJB Says:

    That Jack Hollister is a VP like no other I’ve ever come accross. I like his enthusiasm. He seems like someone who was yanked straight off the showroom floor only yesterday after having spent the previous decade doing car dealership commercials and promotional events.

    On that Scion IQ: it is cute. But my goodness, no wonder they developed the first ever rear window curtain airbag. Did you see how close those rear headrests were to the rear window? You’d being doing good to fit a finger in between them. YIKES! Even a little 10mph rear-bumper tap from another car in a parking lot would be enough to send somebodies dome through that glass. JINKIES!

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A certainly agree that GM’s purchasing of PSA shares makes no sense, but as with BMW, sharing technology might make sense.

  20. tj Martin Says:

    #12

    If’n I was to purchase and install the iPod/Pad/ Phone integration kit

    Which …. I will not …. seeing as how I won’t even leave my iPhone on when driving and see no need to own an iPad/Pod

    Point is ….. I could

    But I won’t

  21. HtG Says:

    15 Montoya. It appears he’s also made a practice of hitting the buffet table.

    Seriously, when’s he going to do some winning? Is he just latin america marketing?

  22. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Eleven air-bags are too many, and for the IQ not enough; there is/are no crush zones in a vehicle of that size (adding a balloon in your face/side/rear will do little to alleviate trauma) from being hit from any angle in that car.

  23. Brett Says:

    The Scion iQ is appealing, but I need a vehicle that will hold an acoustic guitar, a small amp, a mic stand, a speaker stand, a music stand, a small mixing console, an oak tv tray to hold the mixer, and a powered linear array PA speaker, plus all the assorted cables, mics, etc.

    The 2006 Outlander I’ve got is overkill. I could haul three times the stuff I’ve got. The new Kia Rio5 looks too highly styled to be space efficient. I guess the Kia Soul is about the best fit, although the Kia Forte 5-door isn’t bad looking, if a little too large.

  24. tj Martin Says:

    #16

    We been down this road already …. remember Kit ? And you yourself admitted after looking the info up that all the specs ( HP Torque etc ) were different between the MINI and Pugs

    Remember ? Sure the bits are from PSA but if’n you’d bother to take a MINI factory tour or even buy the book you’d know the engines come in kits ( pun intended ) which BMW then modifies ( FI cam timing etc ) changes out some internals as well as does a complete QUALITY check before assembling and installing in the MINI

    So again Kit ( and please do remember this time )

    The engines in the PSA’s and the MINI’s are SIMILAR …. not the SAME .

  25. tj Martin Says:

    #23

    Buy a MINI . Ask me how I know that’ll work

  26. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think Juan Pablo has assimilated quite well into the fraternity know as NASCAR. He is a good driver, has had some success and has overcome (for the most part) the prejudice he has encountered. It wasn’t too long ago when the same resistance to acceptance was encountered from any driver not from the south (let alone a driver of not this country).

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the MINI engines were “kits,” wouldn’t BMW assemble them in the UK, at a MINI/BMW facility? Just asking. My window sticker says the engine was made in France, and the two major sources of foreign content are United Kingdom, 35%, and France, 25%.

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    re; JPM

    He’s got the same ailment as Danica , Scott and Ken . With the addition of waaaaayyyyyyy tooo much partying … even by NASCAR standards

    There is good reason why McLaren – Williams et al from F1 sent JPM packing

    Tons of Talent and Promise … with ZERO discipline

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #25,
    And if you have a little more “stuff” than tj, the upcoming ClubVan might be what you need, if you can get by with a two passenger. car.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In spite if his “issues” in F1, and in general, I expected JPM to do better than he has done in nascar.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Blah blah blah …

    The PARTs are manufactured in France and ASSEMBLED /MODIFIED in Oxford . That’d be Oxford UK . Which IS a BMW owned and run plant . With BMW techs etc galore .

    READ the book / take the tour and quit arguing on a subject you’ve already admitted you were wrong about in the past

    Similar but NOT the Same .

  32. tj Martin Says:

    #30

    ” In spite if his “issues” in F1, and in general, I expected JPM to do better than he has done in NASCAR ”

    Then you really were not paying attention during JPM’s F1 career

    ;-)

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    ” All Prince four-cylinder petrol engines for Mini and BMW are produced at the Hams Hall Plant[74] near Birmingham, United Kingdom, which has around 800 employees.”

    From your favorite source of information . Wikipedia

    Just so’s we’re on the same page

  34. HtG Says:

    maybe you know the answer, tj. Did Ron Dennis tell JPM to ‘step off’ after he crashed his teammate for, what was it, the second time? He was nutso. (or was it too much Cali sparkle dust?)

  35. Dave Says:

    My sales manager just picked up his new iQ last week (been on sale in Canada for a bit now, they started becoming really available the last few weeks) to replace his Smart ForTwo. Overall he really likes it. I didn’t drive it but did sit in it for a minute (I’m 6’4″ and fit pretty well in it), and it reminds me a lot of the Yaris. To me they really screwed up in two areas. First it should be a two seater, there’s no way anyone is going to be comfortable in that back seat, and there’s zero room for anything else if you have people in the back, that just wastes some of the already little useable cargo space it has. They also dropped the ball on colours (or “colors” if you prefer!). If it’s meant as a fun, youthful car (and I gather that’s the target market), it should have colours to match. Aside from that orange in the piece you can choose from white, silver, grey, black, greyish blue, and deep purple. There really should be a red, yellow, Toyota’s speedway blue, maybe a funky green, things like that.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #34,
    That is a case, where wikipedia is wrong. If my engine were assembled in the Hams Hall plant, my window sticker would say that the engine was made in the UK, not in France.

  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    When RD was asked he gave ‘ Lack of Discipline and not being a Team player ‘ as the official excuse .

    IMHO it was the above + plus those Cali ‘ Blizzards ‘ along with way too much attitude and far too little working on his game . All Partying and Zero Work makes JPM the Crash King of F1 and now NASCAR as well

    Why the NASCAR teams keep him …. other than marketing appeal to the US Hispanic community as well as to potential South of the Border Sponsors is beyond me

  38. W L Simpson Says:

    when i started in the trade, lead was state of the art body filler. that’s why early customs were called “leadsleds”

  39. tj Martin Says:

    #36

    Yes Kit

    Wikipedia is wrong

    The MINI book ( ” MINI; 50 Years ; Rob Golding ) is wrong

    CAR in their MINI Factory article was wrong

    The MINI documentary was wrong

    The MINI factory( factories ) tour I took was a mirage

    Only Kit Gerhart isn’t wrong

    But wait !!!!

    Ooops . By your own admittance when we went down this road before Kit Gerhart is wrong as well

    You’ve got some real issues when it comes to being Wrong now don’t you Kit ;-)

  40. HtG Says:

    this isn’t going to get settled on this board, gentlemen.

  41. tj Martin Says:

    #35

    Wow ! Thanks for the 1st hand report

    +1 from me with the addition that Toyota should of also jumped on the Obvious and created a Tie in with Apple on the iQ , which would of guaranteed them at least some additional exposure to the burgeoning Apple community

    e.g. Buy an iQ and get a discount on any Apple product from your local Apple Store : as well as have the iQ …. i ( Apple ) ready from the get go .

    Seriously … what part of iPod – iPhone- iPad- iQ didn’t make sense to the marketing mavens at Toyota ?

  42. W L Simpson Says:

    be fair guys, Danica can drive, she’s just being
    invited out of the boy’s clubs. The overhead shot
    plainly shows her being tapped into the infield.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just e-mailed MINI and asked where my engine was made. I will report back what I hear from them.

    When I was working in the auto industry, with GM, if the window sticker on a car listed the “country of origin” of the engine or transmission as a certain country, that was where the engine or transmission was assembled. Maybe that has changed, and I’ll gladly let everyone know if I find that my engine was built somewhere other than France, as the window sticker says.

    BTW, I just looked at the northamericanmotoring.com forum, and some of the JCW window stickers say the engines are from Germany. I suspect that means they were ASSEMBLED in Germany, not that the parts were made in Germany. The parts in the JCW engines would mostly be from France, just as with the other MINI engines.

  44. Brett Says:

    #25

    As soon as a new Mini cost the same as a new Soul and don’t require Premium gasoline… :)

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #40,
    BTW, I don’t doubt that some of the engines 2007 and later MINI engines were assembled in the UK. Maybe they were early on, like when the wikipedia article and the Rob Golding book were written.

    Anyway, I’m waiting for an answer from the people who built my car.

  46. tj Martin Says:

    #43

    Thats what I’ve been SAYING all along Kit

    Jeeze ! Parts manufactured in France . Engines ASSEMBLED in UK and maybe Germany though I’ve never seen that before .

    Do I NOT write in clear concise English or do you just read what you want to read and ignore whats really being said ?

  47. tj Martin Says:

    Surprised no one caught on to this bit of news ;

    http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2012/02/2012-annual-auto-issue-best-and-worst-road-test-scores.html

    Corvette … best American car . By CR’s standards at least

    I’ve said it all along .

    The C6 is the ONLY thing GM has done right in the last thirty years

    ——

    FISKER

    Out of respect ( for pedro and myself ) I won’t put up the link but on Autoweeks website Fisker is announcing its newest bit of ;

    Vapor Ware

  48. tj Martin Says:

    #44

    Fair enough

  49. W L Simpson Says:

    Hyundai , Alabama, receives rough cast eng blocks
    & finishes the machine work & eng assy there
    The tour doesn’t allow much time passing by that area.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,

    I don’t think you read my post very well. BTW, it was #44, not 43.

    Anyway, if the engines assembled in Germany are listed on the sticker as being from Germany, why are the ones that you say are assembled in the UK listed as coming from France, as with my car?

  51. dcars Says:

    The GM/PSA doesn’t appear to make any sense at all; unless GM plans on closing Opel, yet is still represented in Europe by PSA….
    I bet GM is kicking itself now for closing the Medium duty truck range.

  52. 012345 Says:

    I’m sorry, I’m actually laughing right now LOL, that Scion iQ really cracks me up (I can’t believe I’m able to write this) that is the most piece of work LOL tons of features and space LOL HAHAHA!! for sixteen thousand bucks LOL I’m a goner Later.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #48,
    The Corvette scores best of American, and the Wrangler scores a solid worst of all cars. Apparently people who buy Wranglers know what they are getting, though, and that’s what they want, because Wrangler scores pretty well in CR’s “owner satisfaction” rating. 72% of Wrangler buyers answer “definitely yes” to this question:

    “Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?”.

  54. tj Martin Says:

    And HONDA falls off the charts ;

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/honda-cedes-top-spot-to-subaru-in-consumer-reports-study/?ref=automobiles

    Ooops !

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    That Fisker is guaranteed to keep tailgaters away!

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    Volvo # 6 after the Geely purchase, this is shocking indeed, Honda is not really doing that bad,I am surprised about Mazda, now if they could turn this into sales! This does not jive with the JD Power study which had all the Chrysler brands near the bottom of the pile

  57. HtG Says:

    CR. what’s up with Mercedes? huh?

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    Subaru’s improvement could have something to do with the Toyota partnership, Mazda’s rise related to the Ford divorce?? Oh boy here come the Ford Fanaticos!!

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Those CR ratings of manufacturers include both test results and reliability survey results. Chrysler would really be hurt by test results of Wrangler, Liberty, and Avenger, while everything Subaru and Mazda sell would do at least “ok” in the tests. FJ Cruiser is probably the only Toyota that got a bad number in the tests, but, like Wrangler, the people who have them like them.

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR is definitely reliability-biased in their reporting, one example is the Highlander, which is lambasted by just about every reviewer for not being as good as the competition except for quiet cabin and being reliable. Also the Odyssey beats the Sienna in just about every review I read, not at CR. Ditto for CRV over the Rav 4 and so on.

  61. cwolf Says:

    I don’t know a thing about PSA or Opel,for that matter,but I have been inquiring different folks in the UAW about what they hear. It’s scattered at this point,but GM feels compelled to seek greater opportunities in the Euro market. I believe the plan is two fold. First combine the best from both makers. I guess PSA has a good diesel and the brand has/had been a good seller,even in arab markets. Second, I surmise there may be a chance the two will be combined. Perhaps this will get GM off the hook for contract liabilities,a means to close unneeded plants and to rebargain union contracts. Remember King has a seat on the GM board. One guy believes his higher-up saying in passing that King had contacted several Euro makers. For sure,this one will be a good one to follow. Will he make a positve difference in that industry or will he sell out those union members to increase membership with lower paying jobs?

  62. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,O Says:

    Scion IQ alias Toyota Smart for 4

  63. cwolf Says:

    Me likes the Holden,esp the wagon! All are very nice looking. I even like the LPG idea: too bad we are not more aggresive in this area considering the growing gas prices.

  64. C-Tech Says:

    Wow what a race. JPM’s accident I don’t think was his fault. If your car had a major failure at 100+ mph even Dale E. Sr. would have trouble keeping it straight.
    Danica needs to find a way to stay out of accidents otherwise Go Daddy will have to cough up a lot more sponsor money.
    @ #47 In 30 years at GM? I think the 87 Grand National Regal was pretty good. Anyone else ?

  65. C-Tech Says:

    For thode who do not know history they are doomed to repeat it. Will this PSA deal look similar to the Fiat deal from the 1990′s where Fiat walked away with 2 BILLION?

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM is like Kim Kardashian, both need to get married, no matter what the consequences.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #61,
    A car has to be at least “average” in reliability for CR to recommend it. The Odyssey beat Sienna in their road test evaluation, but the Honda is not recommended because is was “worse than average” in the reliability survey. The bad spots were squeaks and rattles, body hardware, and power equipment.

  68. XA351GT Says:

    Scion LOW IQ, WTF really another closed top golf cart. A car that small that doesn’t get 45 MPG is a joke. 16K ?, wouldn’t 10K for that 4 wheeled coffin. He calls out 4 models ,but no mention of the FR-S , only the best thing they have to offer, genius.

    GM , are you out of you minds? You dumped Saab because they were a money pit so now your going to get in bed with this loser, again genius.

    Danica , really wish i could bash her ,but every wreck she had was due to another drivers inability to drive.

    Montoya , WTF were you thinking? You roar out of the pits fly past the jet dryers, lose it , damn near BBQ the drivers of the truck. You sir need to kicked out of motorsports for stupidity beyond the call .

  69. XA351GT Says:

    Ctech #64 really you don’t see anything wrong with driving at over 100MPH under caution with safety vehicles on the track? There was no reason for him to have drive that fast . They were not going back to green any tiime soon with those trucks on the track. Instead he delays the race 2 hours ,destroys a multi million dollar repaving job and nearly killed the track workers. yep I don’t think it was his fault. jeesh.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #58,
    The thing that probably hurt MB the most, was that 3 of the 6 models for which they had data, were “worse than average” reliability. Most of their cars came out pretty well in CR’s evaluations, but not at the very top. The S-Class, for example got 86 points, while the Lexus LS got 99. Their evaluations include all kinds of things that some people would care about, and some would not. From the reports, it looks like the big Benz lost points to the LS because of complex, non-intuitive controls, a smaller trunk, and reliability. The Benz was a little quicker, but thirstier than the Lexus.

  71. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The iQ, at 36 mpg, has a better city EPA number than any other non-hybrid. That’s 3 mpg better than a smart.

    The iQ costs too much, if you buy cars by the pound, but is a decent city car, if that is what you are buying it for. I drove one, and, unlike a smart, it drives decently. The back seat is tolerable for one adult, but yeah, it doesn’t seem very safe back there, even with the air bag.

  72. HtG Says:

    Kit, how does CR define ‘reliability?’ Do they mean quality?

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #73,
    They send a survey to subscribers, and ask a question which is roughly, “have you had a problem you consider serious because of cost, inconvenience, etc.” You answer the question regarding a bunch of different areas of the car, from engine mechanical to paint/trim, to squeaks and rattles. They somehow come up with ratings from much better than average, to much worse than average, for each category, and have an overall rating for each make, model, and model year. They now need at least 100 cars of a model before they publish reliability ratings.

  74. RonE Says:

    Re: GOT MILK? Johnny Mac, I worked for many years at an aluminum smelter. Workers there would flux the holding furnaces with chlorine gas. If someone inhaled the gas because of a malfunction or some other reason, the employee would be taken to first aid and then be given a couple of cartons milk to drink. I think the reason for the milk was to coat the esophagus and provide a soothing effect in case there were any burns.

  75. C-Tech Says:

    @ #69 Was JPM driving within the rules? Yes, he was catching up with the rest of the pack wihich was moving at about 70 mph. Was his driving line away from the jet dryer? Yes. Did he have a major failure which caused the car to spin? Yes. If you don’t like the guy, fine, but this was an accident, not a mental failure. Blame the trans builder.

  76. XA351GT Says:

    Ctech well lets just say with agree to disagree. I don’t see the need to race around to catch the pack when clearly they were not going back to green while those trucks were on track. Also it was said that they were looking at rear of the car during his pit stop for a bad vibration. So again this a good decision to drive at over 100 MPH why? The real classy thing was he never even looked back to see if the guys in truck got out.

  77. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > I don’t know where they ever
    > got that idea, but by the early
    > 1980s lead was banned from
    > body shops in the U.S.

    A real intellectual frustration was when lead was no longer allowed in solder for electronics. Now, the electronics industry has to use tin solder which melts at a much higher temperature than lead-tin eutectic solder. In addition tin solder forms whiskers. And, it costs more.

  78. Shane Crilly Says:

    GM is rescued from the abyss with the proviso that they divest themselves of house brands, Pontiac and Saturn; Hummer; SAAB and biggest of all Opel.
    They pretend to sell all of the Brands, but no deal ever goes through, but the beknighted SAAB and I fear that was set up to fail.
    Fast forward to the present and Opel loses how many billion? So what is GM’s response? They want to buy another European brand in jeopardy.
    One of the smartest companies in history seems to have gone off the rails.

  79. Brett Says:

    JPM had an equipment failure. He’d already pitted a 2nd time for a bad vibration under acceleration. Something broke (I’m guessing the spider gear in the diff) and locked the back wheels. He was trying to catch back up to the pack after going nearly a lap down because of the second pit stop. He was told to drive it and to assess what was wrong. I hold his crew chief with greater responsibility than JPM, really.

    #47

    For the past thirty years, the only GM product I would consider for even a second would be one of the 3/4 ton pickups. My favorite pickup of all time is the 1969 C-10.

    I guess the truck market is different enough from the car market that the product engineers were mostly able to keep the corporate bean-counters at bay and produce a decent vehicle. Chevrolet/GMC combined outsells Ford by quite a bit. I guess they don’t mind giving up the bragging rights.