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Episode 907 – Volt Gets a Jolt, Opel Astra Sedan, Test Drive: BMW 5 Series

June 8th, 2012 at 11:45am

Runtime: 7:43

General Motors announced it boosted the range of the 2013 Chevy Volt. Opel just showed off the sedan version of the Astra, which will make its world premiere this August at the Moscow Auto Salon. Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus, was fired because of some sort of improprieties with his conduct. All that and more, plus a look at the new BMW 5 Series.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and here’s what’s going on in the world of automobiles.

MUSTANG GOES GLOBAL
As we reported before, the next generation Ford Mustang is going global. Now WardsAuto.com says Ford is gauging customer interest in Europe, and so far the reaction is very positive. Though gray-market cars have made their way outside of North America, Ford never really sold the car in world markets, even though it’s been making the Mustang for 48 years. And yet the Mustang is still one of Ford’s most recognized nameplates around the world. You can be sure if the company brings it to Europe it’s going to sell it in other global markets as well.

VOLT GETS A JOLT
General Motors announced it boosted the range of the 2013 Chevy Volt. The extended-range vehicle now gets a combined equivalent of 98 miles per gallon, up from 94. And its pure-electric range is now 38 miles, 3 miles better than before. Engineers reduced a buffer that makes sure batteries maintain their life and also modified material used in the battery cells. GM says the batteries don’t drain as quickly, have better storage capacity and work better in cold weather. The only downfall is the Volt will take about a half hour more to recharge.

OPEL AIMS TO BOOST SALES IN CHINA
In an effort to offset declining sales in Europe, Opel says it wants to boost sales in China. According to Reuters, the brand is aiming to sell 30,000 cars a year in China, last year it only sold 5,000. Opel also plans to start exporting vehicles to Australia at the end of the year.

OPEL ASTRA SEDAN
And speaking of Opel, it just showed off the new sedan version of the Astra. Opel’s most popular compact car is also sold as a hatchback, wagon, and coupe. The sedan comes with plenty of powertrain options. Seven engines are available at launch, four gasoline and three diesels and a six-speed automatic transmission is also available. The Astra sedan will make its world premiere this August at the Moscow Auto Salon.

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DANY BAHAR FIRED
Last month we reported that Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus was put on suspension. Well, now his new bosses at the investment firm DRB Hicom made sure he was fired. Bloomberg reports he was dumped because of some sort of improprieties with his conduct, though no details have emerged over what that may entail. Bahar was working on a grandiose plan to introduce five new models in the next couple of years, but industry experts wondered how the tiny little sports-car maker could possibly pull off a feat that would have been impossible for more established companies like Ferrari, Porsche or even Jaguar.

TEXAS MAY INCREASE SPEED LIMIT
America is a big place. We have wide-open stretches of wide-open spaces. It’s always been curious why our speed limits are so low. Long-distance travel takes forever at 65 or 70 miles an hour. But all you speed freaks out there can rejoice because a velocity boost may be in the works in Texas. According to Fox News, the Republic could up the limit on a new stretch of toll road near Austin, the capital. Approved expressways in the state already have a top speed of 80 miles an hour – the highest in the country – but that could get a bump to 85, a move to help limit congestion. You know, cars are safer and more efficient than ever and I hope this is something other states consider for appropriate stretches of highway.

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Coming up next, a look at the new BMW 5 Series.

BMW 5 SERIES
(The BMW 5 Series review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Sales of the 5 Series are up only 7 percent in the U.S. market so far this year. But last month they shot up 34 percent. In fact, the 5 almost caught the 3 Series in sales, and the 3 has always been BMW’s top-selling model.

Before I sign off, make sure you check out RoundAbout tonight! The crew will be broadcasting a special Hall vs. Hall episode with brothers Jim and Bob Hall. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, Autoline.tv. This is guaranteed to be an entertaining show, so don’t miss it! Also, if you’ve got any questions or comments for the Hall twins please e-mail them to RoundAboutShow@gmail.com. Again, that’s RoundAboutShow@gmail.com.

And that’s wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and we will see you on Monday.

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79 Comments to “Episode 907 – Volt Gets a Jolt, Opel Astra Sedan, Test Drive: BMW 5 Series”

  1. HtG Says:

    I think you’re right about 4 bangers, John. My neighbor just got an X3 with the 4 rather than the 6 cylinder. She just loves how the motor makes the car launch. (hear what I’m sayin’?)

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I wish Ford’s ‘global vehicles’ would dole out some small diesel pickups in our direction for a change.

  3. Brett Says:

    I found the Saturn Astra 2dr quite appealing. I was sorry to see it die with the brand.

  4. Tony Gray Says:

    Couple of unsolicited opinions.

    1. I don’t know if I would trade off an extra half hour of charging time for a measly 3 miles more electric range.

    2. I really DO hope speed limits start getting adjusted upwards to reflect the actual design capability of the roads and the vehicles we now drive. And not just interstates either. Too many speed limits are artificially low all over the place because folks convince officials to take into account the lowest common denominator when it comes to drivers. Improve driver education, don’t cause the rest of us to suffer these ridiculously slow speeds.

    3. The new Bimmer 4 cyl Turbo is OK…but I still love the smoothness of the inline six. Just one of those intangibles that I think I would (and do) pay extra for.

  5. HtG Says:

    John has it right about higher speeds being acceptable on roads that have been engineered for it. Still, some stretches of 95 in NJ have waves in the pavement that derange a lesser suspension at speeds over 85. (looking at you, my dear Civic).

  6. Ron Paris Says:

    It’s time for BMW to bite the bullet and revise their model nomenclature system. With the increased use of smaller displacement engines and turbocharging, marketing a 2.0 litre four cylinder 5-series as a 528i is not only confusing, it’s downright disingenuous. Get real BMW!

  7. Jon M. Says:

    I’m with you, John; speed limits should be raised to such limits beyond the 55 and 65 still found on some interstates. Remember the old mantras speed kills, or stay alive, drive 55? The 55 MPH limit was also promoted to save gas. I always argued that stupidity not speed killed. But you are spot on with the latter mentality, cars are much more efficient today, not to mention laden with a plethora of safety devices to abate the carnage caused by so much ignorance.

  8. dcars Says:

    It’s hard to believe that Ford never sold the Mustang in Europe. The Mustang has a history of racing in Europe and was featured in Bond movies.
    Secondly; Why does Opel seam like it is never a part of GM? It has lived off of the parent company for so long but the employees and management never seam to follow the company line.

  9. C-Tech Says:

    I hope the adjustments Ford has to make for a European Mustang does not impact negatively on what we like about the Mustang in the U.S.

    Does GM sell the Camaro in Europe?

    Hopefully higher speed limits will not result in more or worse accidents. A higher level of driver training, road awareness, and perhaps regular car safety inspections will help significantly reduce accidents more than another (required) safety feature on cars and trucks.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    The few new 5 series owners I’ve spoken to are not too thrilled with their new rides, from engines to handling to quality issues, not happy campers for all their well paid money.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG did you ever have the displeasure of driving the NJ Pike before they repaved it a few years back, the bucking action of most vehicles I drove on that stretch near Newark made being airborne a thrilling ride.

  12. HtG Says:

    That’s precisely what I was referring to, Pedro, and a few exits south. I once went through there at close to 90, following a guy in a crown vic, and the Civic suspension just couldn’t keep up. Maybe a Bimmer is better, but at speed the suspension of your car had better match the road and your mass. Even today, north of Newark Airport as you approach the GWB, there are sections with ramps, turns, and bumps which are a challenge. You know the downhill right hander where 80 and 95 come together? If I ever get a clear run on that, I’ll probably get killed.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG in particular the truck side was the worst and did you ever take the Pulaski Skyway connecting Jersey City to Newark, I called it the elevated Pothole parkway.

  14. HtG Says:

    the truck side, my God. That’s where the Playstation kids need to go hairy ‘ride and texts.’ (for everyone else, the NJTP divides for a few dozen miles, forcing trucks and buses into their own parallel roadway)

    Never took the Pulaski, Pedro. I’ve heard that plans to demolish it are stymied by the costs, since that eyesore is built to the standard of a railway bridge. Of course, the defunct mall currently gracing the Meadowlands easily beats out the Pulaski for visual violence. (I warn y’all, don’t Google)

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Whic mall are you referring to HtG? is it in Secaucus? I remember the Hartz-Mountain condo complex there, it was one of the ugliest modern buildings I have ever seen

  16. HtG Says:

    It was called Xanadu, Pedro. It sits on the west side of the NJTP. It even has an indoor ski slope, or giant outdoor boner, depending on your perspective. A horror, for your eyes only, Pedro. I’m serious y’all!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/nyregion/deal-reached-to-expand-xanadu-mall-project-in-nj.html?pagewanted=all

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Given that energy conservation actually does make sense, for multiple reasons, speed limits on rural interstates should be set at the highest speed your vehicle will get, say, 30 mpg. If you can’t get 30 mpg under any circumstances, a speed limit of 60 would be appropriate. A system would need to be designed to allow higher speeds for lower mpg vehicles that are actually transporting more than one or two people.

  18. Brett Says:

    I’m all for higher speed limits, but not until the cars drive themselves. We are enthusiasts here and care about our driving. The average driver is a danger to themselves and others at the current speed limits.

  19. jesse Says:

    40,000 dollars for a VOLT is what’s killing that car.Nobody in their right mind would that much for it when there are PRIUS’S and other cars out there at 1/2 the cost that do almost the same thing and you don’t need to plug them in.What GENIUS at GM thought the general public would go for this should be put out there with the designer of the PONTIAC AZTEK!It may be a nice car and do wonderful things,but the average Joe/Jane doesn’t have 40 g’s to plop down on that car.I’d rather have a CORVETTE for that kind of loot.

  20. jesse Says:

    would pay..sorry,left a word out there..

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Xanadu? that is so 80′s anyway, who’s the genius behind that idea?

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG I had never heard of this mess, but being in NJ, I am not surprised, what a shame, it could have given Mall of America a run for its money, all people from the tri-state area could have been filing in through those doors.

  23. HtG Says:

    Dateline Malibu. Lindsay Lohan crashed a rented Porsche 991 into the rear of a truck this afternoon. Mercifully, body damage was limited to the car. See the pics. Of the Porsche.

    http://www.tmz.com/2012/06/08/lindsay-lohan-car-accident-porsche-hospitalized/

  24. Earl Says:

    #6…no question about it that BMW is misleading everyone with their labelling. The reason….they’re not sure of this engine being up to par. When they get this 4 banger running a little smoother they’ll do like Hyundai and let people know it’s a 2.0L turbo engine. They’ll no doubt call it a 520Ti.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    BMW started using meaningless model designations some time ago, using 528 and 535 for cars with 3 liter engines, etc. They do the same with cars not sold in the U.S.

    When BMW and Mercedes used model designations that actually indicated the engine displacement, I kind of liked it. To me, what they are doing now is worse than car names like XTS, MKZ, etc.

  26. HtG Says:

    TMZ scores the dope on Lindsay Lohan’s assailant, sorry the innocent truck driver that she rammed when she was incompetently hotdogging it on the PCH. John, when will Ray LaHood listen?

    http://www.tmz.com/2012/06/09/lindsay-lohan-crash-fault/

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    This woman’s life is a bigger wreck than any accident she may be involved in. One day we will read her obituary and no one will be surprised.

  28. HtG Says:

    BWTM!

    http://www.tmz.com/2012/06/09/lindsay-lohan-accident-truck-driver-video/

  29. HtG Says:

    LaLohan is not fine

  30. cwolf Says:

    I saw what I believe was a Fiesta,but could have been a Honda in Sandusky,Oh. So what,you ask? It was a hydrogen vehicle complete with special graphics! It was the second time I spotted this car and can’t understand where the driver dwells or where it refuels. I’ll be on the hunt in the future. Oh, Sandusky is between Toledo and Cleveland,so not the place one would expect to see a hydrogen car on the road.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf were you riding roller coasters at Cedar Point?

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that the Click and Clack radio show will be retired, I will miss these guys, they were both entertaining and informative, Sat mornings just won’t be the same without them

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #32,
    That’s sad. Listening to Car Talk has benn part of my Saturday morning for years.

  34. cwolf Says:

    Correction; pedro, I must have been high on something. The car I saw in Sandusky was a Fiesta, but ran on NG and not Hydrogen. My inlaw saw it too and called me this AM.

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Click and Clack will still do their newspaper column (at least all is not lost).

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tire question for anyone: would you feel a difference if the left front tire had quite a bit more air than the right one? I just checked my tires and the left front had almost 40 compared to 32 in the right one. Not guilty of this.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #36,
    I wouldn’t expect to feel much, or anything in a case like that. The tire with 40 would have only slightly less rolling resistance, so I wouldn’t expect the car to pull to the side or anything.

  38. HtG Says:

    Let’s pay attention to something important, Pedro. Linsay Lohan says that when she stepped on the brakes, nothing happened. So here’s what we need to find out; was she driving stick or automatic?

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Linsay was probably too busy texting to notice anything like a big truck in front of her.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    In her state of mind, I don’t even think she would notice the difference. Why can’t people like that hire some kind of limo or Town Car service? Every time this dingbat gets behind the wheel, something bad happens.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Luckily, she ran into a big truck, rather than someone on a motorcycle.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had an oil change and tire rotation and when I checked my pressure today, I found the left front at 40 psi while all the others were 30, I can’t believe this was an error, this place has a bad reputation and maybe they thought by doing that the car would pull and I would ask for an alignment.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    What kind of place did you get your oil change, Pedro? Was it an oil change chain, and independent shop, or something else?

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    A tire shop called Tires Plus, it’s a National chain and the amount of negative reviews online is staggering, I went for a $20 oil change special which included the rotation and another thing they do is use ONLY 5W15 oil which an old engine like mine goes through it like water.

  45. HtG Says:

    Pedro, you should check the tightness of the wheel nuts as well. Some of these guys just go nuts with the airgun. Interesting story; I spoke with the service manageer of a local dealership who said that the air pressure sensors in today’s cars have created a big headache since changes in air temp will set them off, and people may have to come in to get the warning light reset. Some days they’ve had a line of cars at the service dept. So what they do at this dealership is put 35 pounds of air in tires, just so low temps don’t set them off.
    -
    Yes it’s true I watched TMZ talk about LiLo’s collision. One thing they said on Friday is that the accident happened on the PCH in Santa Monica just north of where a ramp from Ocean Ave. joins the highway on the right, northbound lanes. Conceivably, LaLaLuLu changed lanes as the trucker was entering traffic, but then stepped on the gas rather than the brake pedal.

    Could happen,…but then I think that skank is easy on the eyes.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just got my last “free” oil change and tire rotation that came with my Prius. They did everything ok, except whoevet drove the car in and out doesn’t bother to pick up their feet. There were greasy smudges on the door sill, and on the door panel itself. This was at the Indiana dealer where I bought the car, but I encountered the same thing at a Florida Toyota dealer. I wonder if things are different at a Benz, BMW, or Lexus dealer.

  47. HtG Says:

    same thing just happened at my Ford/Mazda. I didn’t complain. Just shampood(?) the mat.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Funny, cause they put a paper mat on the carpet and then end up smudging the sill and panel which are not protected, maybe the luxo dealers make the guys wear disposable booties like they do in hospitals.

  49. Johndoe1 Says:

    jesse Says:
    June 8th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    “40,000 dollars for a VOLT is what’s killing that car.Nobody in their right mind would that much for it when there are PRIUS’S and other cars out there at 1/2 the cost that do almost the same thing and you don’t need to plug them in.What GENIUS at GM thought the general public would go for this should be put out there with the designer of the PONTIAC AZTEK!It may be a nice car and do wonderful things,but the average Joe/Jane doesn’t have 40 g’s to plop down on that car.I’d rather have a CORVETTE for that kind of loot.”

    Jesse,

    Congratulations. I could not have said it better myself.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They put a paper mat in my car too, to keep the mat clean, but smudged the sill and door panel. I get in and out of cars without my feet touching anything except the floor mat, so you’d think the people at the dealer who are 40 years younger than I am would be able to do that.

  51. Johndoe1 Says:

    I have been a loyal click and clack listener and puzzle solver (never got any one of their cheapo awards tho, apparently too many correct solutions), and I will be sorry to miss them.

    Now there will only be the “BS” in PBS, after they are gone (yeah, I know, it’s NPR, not PBS, but please don’t ruin the pun).

    Having said that, in recent years I would have them on but paqy less and less attention, as the show became much more entertainment than useful advice, and the callers were purposely selected to be ludicrous airheads than serious gearheads.

  52. Johndoe1 Says:

    Usually the cheapo oil changes are quick jobs that do not have the time to mess with your car and dirty it.

    I had one terrible experience when I changed the oil and filter of my Accord a decade or two ago, at a SHell station (had coupon) for peanuts, but the clowns did not secure the filter on the thing, and a mile down the road some fume or smoke was coming out of the engine. I stopped and went back to the station, fearing the worst, but they put it on right and no harm done except my scare.

  53. Johndoe1 Says:

    Re improperly naming BMWs and Mercs:

    I sympathize with the critical comments, but I also know why the makers refuse to name their cars just based on displacement.

    Today’s cars make twice the HP and torque (with the trubos etc) compared to cars only twenty years ago with the same displacement.

    Calling the 528 the 520T for turbo will not fly because BMW and others use “T” for their wagons! (Touring).

    I therefore think it is better to do a LAMBO and name the cars with their horsepower. If a BMW makes 553 HP, call it the 550.

  54. Johndoe1 Says:

    Earlier today (I am posting from Europe) I saw the latest US inventory numbers.

    Highlights, from memory, in case you care.

    Overall Industry inventory is a healthy 53 or so days, BUT if you break it btw cars and trucks, cars are lean with 43 days and trucks are unhealthy and bloated with 65+ days. No surprise when gas spikes.

    The onetime popular Chevy Cruze sucks with 80 days inventory, while its rival the FOcus is very lean at 32.

    The ungainly, way overpriced and impractical Volt, despite selling more than the Pure EVS (that’s like being proud your Aztec is not as ugly as your neighbor’s Edsel…LOL), it has over 90 days of intentory, and would have twice as many if not for huge fleet sales by Obama’s buddy, GE CEO Immelt, and many Government Fleets.

    The Koreans are extra-lean with 25 days, only BMW matched their record as of June 1.

  55. Johndoe1 Says:

    John Mc Elroy:

    Why did you call the 5 the “new” BMW? this model has been around 3 years or more. The only new thing was offering it in the US with the 2 lt turbo.

  56. Johndoe1 Says:

    And a question. Has anybody here ever watched this oft advertised “Roundabout” show? If so, were you able to listen to it more than two minutes? If yes, could you tell us what the hell it is about?

    PS good show last sunday with that excellent, econ literate critic of the Volt. And, John, nop, the Volt is not even remotely ready for prime time! It is just not enough for a creation of any engineering team, for a product to work when you start it! It has to make economic sense, and the VOlt makes NONE, even with a huge $7,500 subsidy.\

    And as your guest remarked, this $7,500 is given by the average US taxpayer, who makes $33,000 a year, to the average Volt buyer, who, according to the same Govt Stats, makes $170,000!!

    Talk about robbing the poor to pay the rich, Mr. Obama!

  57. Johndoe1 Says:

    One more thing, and it’s really important!

    My friend Michael Karesh has written an excellent, detailed review of the Prius C and it is far more favorable than that of COnsumer Reports!!!

    Getting 48 MPG with that amazing car was “terrible”, because he routinely got 60++, 70, and even 82 MPG!!!

    I am sure that if any of us buys this car and gets used to driving it intelligently (but safely, no need to hypermile behind 18-wheelers for a few measly extra MPG!), will match Michael’s AWESOME and far better than the bigger, more powerful Prius’s numbers, as common sense always told us it would.

  58. HtG Says:

    56 I sometimes watch RoAb. Friday’s show had the Halls, and they were on form. You gotta remember, this is a silly show on purpose. But even I wonder what a Bristol Number is.

  59. Johndoe1 Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/toyota-prius-c-should-allowances-be-made-for-cars-with-special-needs/

    Here is the link for Michael’s review.

    My conclusion is that the Prius C is an excellent little city car (that you can also take on an occassional highway trip), with BETTER interior than the very well selling Civic 2012, says Mike, AND with FAR BETTER MPG than even the regular, awesome Prius!

    On top of that, it is $4-5k cheaper.

    If they could make 4 times as many, Toyota would be able to sell every damned one of them.

  60. Johndoe1 Says:

    58: I know that the Halls in particular are purposely silly… or is it the onset of senility?

  61. HtG Says:

    Elder Bob, is a lost cause. Plenty of spare parts there.

  62. HtG Says:

    Seriously though, those boys have photographic memories. Mostly for bad movies.

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    #59 more reasons NOT to buy a Volt, even the Prius plug-in sales will be hurt due to this car.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think CR really messed up the Prius C review by nitpicking it to death, like it was some kind of expensive, luxo car.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #59,
    The Prius C is about $4K cheaper than a regular Prius, base MSRP, and about $3K cheaper adjusted for differences in standard equipment, as stated in Karesh’s article. Right now, since dealers don’t have any C’s in stock, the difference in transaction price, if you can find a C, wouldn’t be very much.

    The bottom line, is that the C is a great commuter car, if it has enough room for your needs, but the regular Prius is a better “road car,” and even gets a little better highway mpg than the C. They are both great cars, for what they were designed to do.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    #65 but Kit, for a road trip, would the Prius be your first choice? If you own one, fine, but I just don’t see spending more to rent one, since the Prius mpg shines in city traffic more than highway, long distance trips

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Friday I went to a car show in a parking lot of what remains of Delphi Automotive, the company I retired from. In addition to the usual 40’s to early 70’s cars, there were some new cars on display, mainly new cars with “new tech.” There was a Leaf, a Sonata hybrid, a Tahoe hybrid, a couple Prii, and a couple Volts. There was also one of the few existing EV-1’s.

    One of the Volts, it turned out, belonged to a recently retired Delphi engineer who has been a friend for many years. He is not just any retired engineer. He is very smart in the usual ways, but beyond that, a very creative guy. He realizes that the car is not going to saving him money, at least at today’s gas prices, but he “just likes it.” He plans to install a solar array to charge it, knowing that it is unlikely to ever be cost-effective, but he just likes doing such things.

    Some people spend a lot more than $40K for a 180 mph car that they will never driver over 80. This guy, and I’m sure other Volt buyers, buy them just because they like the technology, and the way they drive. In my friend’s case, it will also provide most of his transportation without a drop of gas, though he will be powering it with mostly coal until he has his solar array.

    Why the hate among some people for this car? Not everyone likes the same thing. Yeah, for “only” $15K more than a Volt, you can get a Corvette, but that’s not what some people want.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #66,
    When I rent cars, I usually just get the cheapest available. If I were renting a car what would mostly be a road trip, I’d probably try to get either a Focus or a Cruze. I’d like to see what those are like to drive for a few days.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    just went to Hertz website and they no longer carry Prius nationwide, only in a few cities. I guess they were not making, or maybe even losing money on these cars.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Actually, there are no companies renting these any more in Miami Airport, surprising!

  71. HtG Says:

    67. I think part of the hate stems from the human trait of scapegoating. Also, there’s an election on. Then there was that fire. And GM hasn’t won the PR war, by a long shot. It’s interesting, Kit, that your friend bought the car because he just likes it, and I agree with your points about high performance cars feeding owners’ fantasies. But it is very important that battery tech be invested in now, so that the performance and cost slope can eventually meet up with the necessity that will likely come. You can’t just snap your fingers if an oil crisis happens, or if asian economies boom. More, we and China are the Saudis of coal; so battery tech will have its domestic energy supply waiting. BWTM, there’s rich people in the USA, and they can pay.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    #71 to add I may add GM’s histoey of blunders and screw ups which is well documented, from the Corvair to the Aveo and everything in-between and now this Volt as well, I mean just compare how Toyota launched the original Prius compared to how GM handled the Volt.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    HISTORY

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Given GM’s history of releasing some “underdeveloped” cars, as recently as Solstice/Sky, I was surprised that the Volt turned out as good as it is.

    I don’t remember too much about how the first Prius was launched, but they must have done something right. That first Prius, based on the Echo/Yaris sedan, wasn’t something I considered buying, but it was a good first effort. With the second generation, they had something I liked, though I didn’t buy one until the third generation.

  75. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports the new Dodge subcompact will come from Latin America, more good news in the job market at home.

  76. johndoe1 Says:

    #67

    I really ‘hate’ when VALID criticisms of Ridiculous vehicles, that would sell even less than the pittance they sell now, if not for the highway robbery of $7,500 from low income taxpayer to the affluent Volt buyers, are purposely MISCHARACTERIZED as “hate” for an inanimate object such as the stupid Volt.

    So here goes once more, hoping Kit will open his eyes and read and understand why.

    “the Volt is not even remotely ready for prime time! It is just not enough for a creation of any engineering team, for a product to work when you start it!

    It has to make economic sense, and the Volt makes NONE, even with a huge $7,500 subsidy.

    And as John’s guest remarked, this $7,500 is given by the average US taxpayer, who makes $33,000 a year, to the average Volt buyer, who, according to the same Govt Stats, makes $170,000!!

    Talk about robbing the poor to pay the rich, Mr. Obama!

  77. johndoe1 Says:

    Kit |Gerhart wrote

    “Some people spend a lot more than $40K for a 180 mph car that they will never driver over 80. ”

    Absolutely wrong. Obviously you don’t know many who do.

    MANY owners of exotics that can make 180 MPH ROUTINELY take them to tracks all over the USA AND even in Canada (if they live in the east coast, there is a great one close to Montreal) and make full use of their awesome capabilities-and not just their top speed!

  78. johndoe1 Says:

    Kit Gerhart:

    The Prius C is NOT just a commuter car. It has plenty of space for four people and their gear. The C must have far more interior space than the oft touted Subaru-Toyota Coupe here.

    The Prius C can be the sole car of either a single person, a young couple, an older single or widowed person, who lives on fixed income and gas may be a big part of their monthly expenses, even a young family of three.

    The “Dumb” or the Scion IQ, not so!

    I also challenge your (and CR’s comments about the Prius being better in Hwy MPG than the Prius C. It depends on the speed. At lower speeds, the C should do better!

    Anyway, Michael Karesh’s review is devastating for the “Prius C Haters” (LOL!)

    The “Dumb” is a commuter Car!

  79. johndoe1 Says:

    HtG Says:
    June 11th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “67. I think part of the hate stems from the human trait of scapegoating. Also, there’s an election on. Then there was that fire.”

    No, no, and no. It’s d. NONE of the above.

    I find it interesting that those who point the faults of the late Pontiac Aztec are not called “Aztec Haters”…