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Episode 1025 – LEAF Name Dumped in China, PSA Workers Protest, Chrysler Pays Bonus Early

December 3rd, 2012 at 11:48am

Runtime: 8:18

Nissan is changing the LEAF to a different name in China, the Venucia C30. As if it didn’t already have enough problems, Peugeot workers are protesting the company’s plan to shut down a plant in 2014. Chrysler pays the remainder of a $3,500 bonus to hourly workers earlier than needed, perhaps to gain favor with the UAW. All that and more, plus we take a look at Ford’s first plug-in hybrid, the C-MAX Energi.

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Hello and welcome back to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Thanks for joining us, let’s get to the news.

WILL MARK FIELDS GET PASSED OVER?
Mark Fields, the COO at Ford, is likely to become the CEO when Alan Mulally retires sometime in 2014. But Ford has not confirmed that Fields will replace Mulally, and that has sparked speculation amongst some in the analyst community that someone else will get the job. Here’s my Autoline Insight. Ford has to be careful that it doesn’t turn Alan Mulally into something of a lame duck. If everyone got the idea he’s on the way out and Fields is really in charge, it would undermine Mulally’s authority. Mark Fields is also going to take over Mulally’s famous Thursday morning Business Process Review meetings and the company has to make sure that Mulally doesn’t just become another piece of furniture in the room. Plus, by leaving some ambiguity this puts pressure on Mark to perform, to prove he can get the job done globally. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe the board of directors isn’t yet convinced that Fields is their man, but I bet that Fields still gets the top job.

LINCOLN, NOT THE MOVIE
At the LA Auto Show, Lincoln emphasized its heritage with a collection of classic cars. And this morning Ford announced the brand is going back to its original name from 1922, the Lincoln Motor Company. Lincoln will also launch its largest advertising campaign with its first ever Super Bowl ad. Speaking of heritage, did you know that the Lincoln Motor Company was started by Henry Leland, the same guy who started Cadillac?

In case you still have not seen them, we have two great webcasts that we did out in LA, including a bunch of interviews with some of the top executives in the industry. Plus we have the new Volkswagen Beetle Cabrio and the 3-cylinder Ford Fiesta as two of the top guests on Autoline After Hours. Be sure to visit Autoline.tv and check ‘em out. And, you can still vote in this week’s LA-themed Autoline Poll by clicking the link under today’s show. We’re asking you which automaker you think walked away as the biggest winner of the auto show. Cast your vote and we’ll review the results tomorrow.

NISSAN DUMPS THE LEAF NAME IN CHINA
Nissan is changing the LEAF to a different name in China. Meet the Venucia C30. Venucia is Nissan’s home-grown Chinese brand, C30 is what they’re calling the Leaf. The car will be built in China but we don’t know when it will go on sale. Looks like this a sign that Nissan is still worried about Chinese consumers boycotting Japanese cars. By making the Leaf look like it’s a Chinese car, Nissan can protect the big bet it’s made on EVs in the world’s largest car market.

FORMEZ VOS BATAILLONS!
As if Renault and PSA didn’t have enough problems with the meltdown in Europe, now their workers are walking off the job. Peugeot workers are protesting the company’s plan to shut down a plant in 2014. Renault workers at two factories are protesting the company’s demand to cut production costs. But if these workers think this is a problem, wait until these automakers are really forced to become competitive. I think their troubles are just getting going.

CHRYSLER PAYS BONUS EARLY
Chrysler will pay each of its hourly workers a $1,750 bonus. It’s the remainder of a $3,500 bonus. The first half of the bonus was paid after Chrysler and the union agreed to a contract. But here’s the kicker. Chrysler is paying that bonus earlier than it has to, and doing it right before Christmas. Here’s my Autoline Insight. I think Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to play nice with the UAW. Remember, he’s negotiating with the UAW VEBA trust to buy back its shares in Chrysler. And he’s probably looking towards contract negotiations in 2014, when the ban expires on UAW strikes, which was part of the bankruptcy agreement.

FORD C-MAX ENERGI
(Video of the Ford C-MAX Energi can only be viewed in the video format of today’s show)

Ford is clearly going after the Toyota Prius with the C-Max. In fact, in some of its TV ads Ford openly makes fun of the fact that the C-Max gets a better fuel economy rating than the Prius V. Ford knows Toyota has a massive lead in the hybrid segment and is trying everything it can do to wrestle some of those sales away.

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

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76 Comments to “Episode 1025 – LEAF Name Dumped in China, PSA Workers Protest, Chrysler Pays Bonus Early”

  1. Bradley Says:

    I like a lot about the C-MAX. It is on my short list, hopefully Ford Touch, etc. doesn’t interfere with the experience and usability. It is probably worth mentioning, it is the only Detroit nameplate on my list.

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The Lincoln Motor Company.Well,whatever they want to call themselves,they still don’t have a viable product that the public wants.”Big toothy grin”,lol.

  3. jesse Says:

    I still say that Ford blew it with Lincoln.Starting back in 98 when they redesigned the TOWN CAR to it’s current form.They lost a lot of customers to Caddy.I was in the limo biz for 20+ years in New York,all through the late 70′s,80′s and into the 90′s, and I can attest to the fact that the LINCOLN TOWN CAR is as reliable as any Euro make out there,including Lexus and Mercedes!The 1990-1997 Town Car is a work of art with the exception perhaps of the 91 and it’s new at the time motor issues.300,000 NYC driving miles and the car didn’t even break a sweat!My 07 is not quite as comfortable as the 90′s versions I had,but it’s nice anyway!Cater to the elderly with the Lincoln town car and you will have a hit on your hands again.

  4. Bradley Says:

    #2 Exactly. When either people from Lexus or Toyota talk about their cars, they don’t mention what is common between the two brands. In fact, it is hard to recognize what is shared. This is a good thing. The recent Ford execute on After Hours kept zig-zagging between brands. I don’t want a badge engineered Lincoln.

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 2 +1 and allow me :o

    Seeing Lincoln’s 2013 offering on CBS Sunday Morning doing nothing at all to quell my skepticism about the brand . IMHO a Camry with a funny looking grill .

    Maybe Ford should let Lincoln go and focus ( pun intended ) on getting some good products that people actually want at a reasonable price on the market under the Ford banner . Which to date they’ve not done such a great job of

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    #3 – The ‘ Town Car ‘ even though no longer made and now being a bit long in the tooth ( well used ) is still a superior and reliable Limo/Luxury car IMO

    IMO dropping the Town Car as well as letting JLR have the LS platform ( oh the possibilities that platform still has seeing as how the Jaguar XF and all its variants is still built on it ) being Lincoln’s two major mistakes

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    The real world tests on the C-max which show a lot less mpg’s than the advertised numbers plus Ford’s overheating issues with the Fusion and Escape will assure that the Prius will continue to be the leader in the Hybrid class.

  8. T. Bejma Says:

    Re-Badging everything under the Ford roof with a Lincoln badge and diluting the brand was their biggest, by far, mistake…

  9. HtG Says:

    Sighted moving on the open road, one black Cadillac ATS.

    Until I saw this car roll by I didn’t get how the lines from the front corner tops flow back toward the doors. It makes the thing look long, confident, and bold. That thing struts.

  10. Lex Says:

    I agree with #8 T. Bejma, Ford and Lincoln need to totally separate for Lincoln to be successful!

  11. HtG Says:

    Yes Montvale, your drivers are arses. Check out these high achievers in the UK

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9719283/Fatal-M1-crash-caused-by-high-speed-race-witnesses-claim.html

    Was it also raining? Yes

  12. Jeff Says:

    And yet again – another ugly Hybrid. Though a little more conventional in looks than the Prius family, will manufacturers soon clue into the fact that many of us don’t buy these cars based purely on esthetics?

  13. Lex Says:

    Will we see a Grand C-Max in the U.S. market?
    I am not a fan of the three level grill on the C-Max. Ford needs to adopt the New Fusion or New Fiesta Hybrid (Aston Martin-ish)grill to all of it’s products including the New Escape. The current three level grills do not convey a sleek front clip design to these vehicles.

  14. Lex Says:

    Nissan is foolish to rename the Leaf in China.
    If the Chinese are going to boycott a vehicle because of it’s OEM’s headquarters, then what will U.S. OEM’s do if a trade war begins between the China and USA? China is still a Communist Country and they do as the national party tells them, so be aware. Our investments (manufacturing plants and technology) in China could one day be used against us.

  15. guybob Says:

    THERE IS STILL HOPE FOR ALL OF US “CAR GUYS”
    I JUST SAW A NICE BRIGHT GREEN 1960 EDSEL STATION WAGON WITH FUNKY WHEELS AND A SURFBOARD ON TOP!! I HAPPEN TO LIVE IN THE NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAINS 400 MILES FROM THE OCEAN. SANTA IS BEING KIND TO SOMEONE!!!

  16. C-Tech Says:

    John, Looking good on CBS This Morning!

    All the marketing and re-naming you do at Lincoln will not change the DeLorenzo fundamental fact: You Need Great Product! The new MKZ looks like good product, but probably not enough to take many Lexus, BMW, or even Cadillac customers. MKT fits into its own niche. Dropping the Town Car gave an entire market to the Chrysler 300 and Avalon. Perhaps a call to Jaguar, creating a joint venture vehicle, may be in the interest of the Lincoln Motor Car division.

    Many Chrysler employees are loyal to the brand so a fair amount of those bonuses will come back to Chrysler as end-of-the-year sales.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe Lincoln’s re-inventing themselves is the last hurrah, before they drop the brand.

    Yeah, they should have never dropped the Town Car. It needed a refresh, but in spite of its crudeness, solid rear axle and all, it had a following among the “older set,” and made a great limo.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #12,
    I don’t think they plan to sell the Grand C-Max in the U.S. any time soon. Maybe they should, though.

    Yeah, those two- and three-level grills look like they couldn’t make a decision on what to use, so they use all of them. The new Fusion looks great, and that front end would work well on other cars too.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys you forget that Ford dropped the Crown Vic, a much more popular and money making car for them, so the TC had to go as well to make room for the fiery new turbo 200 hp, 4 cyl marvels of human ingenuity.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The MKZ should compete well with the Camry-based Lexus ES, for those who like its styling, and don’t mind MyLincoln Touch.

    I don’t see it really competing with much else. CTS and the Germans are a whole different market niche.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG,
    Are the NYC cab companies buying up used Crown Vics, or are they actually going to use those Datsuns?

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    Cadillac ATS review ;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/automobiles/autoreviews/wielding-a-classy-chassis-knocking-on-bmws-door.html?ref=automobiles

    Too bad the conclusion isn’t as good as HtG says the looks are as well as the first part of the review .

    Every review I’ve read to date coming to the same conclusion . That being the ATS is a Dollar ( or ten ) Too Much and a Chassis/Drivetrain /Quality Too Short in comparison to its intended target : the BMW 3 series .

    Once again proving the axiom ” If you try to compare anything you’ve made to BMW you’ll come out the loser in the end ”

    Do what you do well Cadillac .. offer an alternative of your own … and get the BMW Envy stars outta your eyes . You’re not even in the same ballpark .

  23. HtG Says:

    20 best I can do, Kit. Check out Taxi of Today; They get choices. It is weird seeing Camrys or Priuses though.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/media/totweb/taxioftomorrow_taxioftoday.html

    To my eye, that Nissan will look fine on the streets, even though it photographs real bad.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22,
    Thanks for the link.

    Yeah, the Nissans will “look like taxis” once there are a lot of them on the road, just as Crown Vics now look like taxis, and look like police cars.

  25. Ckernzie Says:

    John for a second there I thought you were going to say that Lincoln was going to go back to real car names and drop the alphabet soup…nope. How the heck does changing to ‘Lincoln Motor Company’ help?? If this is what Lincoln thinks ‘change’ and ‘new direction’ means then stick a MKnife in Lincoln, it’s done!

  26. C-Tech Says:

    @ #20
    Kit, I cannot speak for NYC, but in my travels through Central Florida, there is a used car dealer who is now buying and specializing in Crown Vic’s and Town Cars’. He buys and renovates the Town Cars for limo / black car duty. The Crown Vics are popular for cabs and some buyers who put a lot of miles on their vehicles (independent salespeople and couriers).

  27. HtG Says:

    I was interested in what John’s interviewee at Lincoln in LA said about the importance of history. If I heard right, the brand’s heritage is valued by its owners. I know that my own perception of cars is moved by where they’ve been, for better or worse. (At the NY show, Lincoln was displaying the little car made for young master Edsel. It was drawing crowds and looked fine. Don’t know if the history thing is what was on Lincoln’s mind.)

  28. WineGeek Says:

    I’ve been looking at the C-Max Enegi as an alternative to a Prius Plugin but the rears eat is a joke. Why can Toyota offer a highly efficient car with reasonable accomodations while Ford’s efforts fall short in accomodations. I’d rather buy the Ford but the interior accomodations are lacking. My wife has driven a Prius for almost 5 yeasr and loves it now that we are ready for a new one I had hoped to purchase the Ford…so sad!

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 28: As much as it pains me to say this,American OEM’s unfortunately ‘just don’t get it’.They get so close then blow it bigtime.As to why they do this is still unclear to me.It is however very sad,imho.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Using the “build” section of Cadillac and BMW’s web sites, it looks like the cheapest ATS turbo is about $2800 cheaper than the 328i. Cadillac gives an $1180 credit if you get the manual transmission, while BMW charges the same. The NYT article quoted the price for the automatic. The ATS can get very pricey, though, as can a 3-series. The one I drove a couple months ago was a top trim level, AWD V6, and was in the mid-40′s, but it doesn’t have to cost nearly that much.

    From articles I’ve read, the turbo/manual power train in the ATS just doesn’t work quite as well as the one in the 3-series, but in the Road and Track test, the ATS stopped better than the bimmer, and was faster in the slalom and on the skid pad. It looks like Cadillac still has a little work to do, but they have a very good start. Also, the V6/automatic will probably be the best selling version, and it works very well, even with only 6 speeds in the gearbox.

  31. T. Bejma Says:

    #22

    You still have to give them props for getting SOOOO close in their FIRST try!!

    http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/cadillac-ats-vs-bmw-3-series-bmw-southern-152700891.html

    This review sums it up best:

    “…it’s sort of unreasonable for Caddy to expect to roll in and displace the champ on the first try.”

    But some parts are definitely there…

    “Certain aspects of the ATS execution, like the handling and brakes, are world class. Around a tight course, the ATS had no problem hanging with the 335i, and I definitely prefer its steering to that of the 3-Series.”

    Seems in the same ballpark to me…

  32. ARHPG Says:

    I agree with John McElroy that Mark Fields will almost surely be the new CEO at Ford, but there is something not quite right. Fields is certainly an accomplished auto-industry executive with loads of experience both domestically and abroad, but he seems to lack something of a global-strategic vision, a sort of *je ne sais quoi.* He is very ambitious, loyal and a focused Ford executive—and he says the right things at the right time—but he lacks that special quality of strategic experience and vision. Fields will be a good COO, but Ford needs to find another Alan Mulally for CEO if the company is going to continue its great success story.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #28,
    It looks like Ford doesn’t do as good of job of packaging as Toyota. The C-Max is only two inches shorter than a regular Prius, but appears to have a lot less floor length behind the back seat, and probably less rear leg room. The Prius V is 6 inches longer than a regular Prius, and nearly all of that extra length goes into the back seat and cargo areas.

  34. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A Branigan . +1

    T.B. – As to the ATS and being ‘ unreasonable ‘ in expecting them to live up to BMW’s standards first time out . Its not first of all . Fact is this is round what ___ of trying to go head to head with the 3 Series ? As the NYTimes article clearly states an ATS costs as much if not more then its BMW equivalent as well as it Was Cadillac from the initial announcements of the ATS that forced the BMW comparison into the public eye . Now that its time to ‘ Put Up or Shut Up ‘ the ATS is coming up more than a bit short on Cadillacs initial claims . Perhaps in future Caddy would be better served with a dish of humility rather than coming out from the get go with a lot of overly hyped and exaggerated claims their products cannot live up to ?

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Lincoln is treading water and using some smoke and mirrors until they can get their products up to snuff in the market they reside. Stay tuned, but they are not there yet.

    The ATS (depending on whose review you choose) is better in most areas than the Bimmer (3) or the M/B C; Cadillac didn’t just benchmark, it raised the standard in many cases.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    #35 – From all the reviews I’m reading the ATS can barely compete with its Japanese equivalents ( Lexus IS . Infiniti G35 etc ) never mind having ‘ raised ‘ the bar over BMW and Mercedes . Anyone saying that is expressing the epitome of hyperbole .

    The less biased more reliable reviews all saying to a number that the ATS neither lives up to its price tag or its marketing . Oh they say its pretty decent . But none saying its better than any of its its competition . The REAL test will be once the EU/UK magazines get their mitts on the ATS seeing as how despite all Cadillacs marketing hype Cadillac sales in the EU have been abysmal .. at best . Because nothing Cadillac makes can live up to the competition its being put up against .

  37. HtG Says:

    Colo, I just read that NYT review. The ATS was very well rated, I thought. It even rotates when you trail brake? How often does a reviewer write that? Why does the reviewer think a Cadillac needs to be priced below a BMW? Because they need to bow and scrape? The pricing is a statement communicating attitude and quality.

  38. dcars Says:

    I hope the new LMC has better luck than the old LMC/BLMC. I think Cadillac’s latest Limo is a hit. I must be getting old!

  39. Chuck Grenci Says:

    No hyperbole, just stating some of the reviews I’ve seen; your statement of “not in the same ballpark” sounds more biased than my statement. The biggest negative hit on the ATS seems to be CUE; I don’t know enough about that but as far as interiors, Cadillac supposedly trumps the competition (I know subjective) but Caddy can certainly play with the big boys.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just read three articles comparing the ATS and 328i in turbo/manual transmission form. They said the ATS handled better, stopped better, and looked better. On the other hand, the power train in the 328 worked better. The Bimmer’s engine sounded better, and performed well over a wider rpm range, and up to (and beyond) the red line. Also, the testers said the BMW’s shifter worked better, and they found the ATS’ CUE system hard to use.

    I didn’t look up tests comparing the ATS to the Asians.

    As far as price, it depends on how you equip the cars. The cheapest ATS turbo manual is about $2800 cheaper than the cheapest 328i, and the cheaper ATS is better than the ones tested by the magazines, because it doesn’t have CUE. Still, the tests I have read certainly indicate that they have work to do on the turbo/manual power train, but in most other ways, the car actually does compete well with the 328.

    See:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/comparison/2012-bmw-328i-vs.-2013-cadillac-ats-premium

    and:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/review-2013-cadillac-ats/

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    #36

    Would love to know what reviews are “less biased” and how that conclusion was made. Everyone, especially in the automotive field is biased. Try and find a good statement about GM on TTAC or a good review on any American made car in Motor Trend. If nuns started reviewing cars then I would believe they are unbiased, until then the only review I believe is the seat of my pants. And I will be especially of armchair reviewers on here spinning their dislike when they haven’t even driven, or even sat in the car…

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I found it interesting that, in the TTAC article, Michael Karesh actually liked the standard non-turbo 2.5 reasonably well. Here’s what he had to say about it:

    “It’s tempting to write off the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (a new generation Ecotec) as suited only for people who care nothing for performance. But, facing the lowest expectations, it actually performs well enough in the ATS that in the north Georgia hills I didn’t find myself wishing for one of the others.”

  43. M360 Says:

    Back in the mid-1990s, a Ford executive once stated that the Town Car needed a new name if they were going to sell it in the mid-eastern part of the world. Some of Ford’s customers from that region thought that “Town Car” meant it should only be driven around town, which meant in the big cities. The Ford guy actually knew of someone, quite wealthy, and who put his Town Car on a railroad car and shipped it from town to town, so he could use the Town Car “in town”.

    From that bit of wisdom, I can only imagine why the name Town Car disappeared from the Lincoln lineup.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Actually it used to be called the Continental Town Car, should have just left it Continental, brought it upmarket and be done with it.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Continental name was used mostly for top-of-the-range cars, and would be a fitting name to use for a future flagship for the brand, if there ever is one. I hope they don’t decide to use that name for the next generation Navigator.

  46. Alex Kovnat Says:

    As we all know, Ford is using a 1.0 liter, in-line triple as the prime mover in the Fiesta.

    In line 3 cylinder engines are nothing new. Triumph, the British motorcycle manufacturer, has been using them for years. Also, I remember Chevrolet used a 3 cylinder 1 liter engine for their smallest car, the Geo Metro, in the 1990 timeframe.

    Here’s a publicity idea for Ford and Triumph: Arrange for one of Triumph’s liter-size in-line triples, to be on display next to the Ford Eco-boost 1-liter 3-cylinder engine, at the Detroit auto show coming up next month. Perhaps even, pose one of Triumph’s motorcycles powered by the former, next to a Fiesta.

  47. cwolf Says:

    Colorado, maybe you’ve been trying to interpret the reports on the ATS to justify your personal dislike for GM on the whole. I have to agree with the majority of the others that overall reports have been on the positive side. I have driven all offerings except for the 2.5 liter and have been unable to find one between Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio. The one outstanding and unforgetable trait of the ATS is its handling. It is simply superb!

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t think the Triumph had cat converters or a/c units and had to carry a ton and a half of metal and cargo. Re the ATS at least GM has the guts to build something to compete with the Germans, Ford won’t even build up their Lincoln brand.

  49. cwolf Says:

    I’m not sure if the fire troubles of the Escape share any correlation with the C-Max. And claims of experienced lower mpg’s was also admitted to be a result of hard driving. Still, it was also reported that the C-Max had better mileage than others tested. Not as roomy as the Prius-V, but ample and more fun to drive by all reports.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve had three three cylinder engines over the years. They were in a Chevy Sprint, predecessor to the Metro, and in two bikes, a BMW K75, and a Triumph Legend. Triumph and BSA used triples in the 60′s and/or 70′s. The Triumph was called Trident. I forget the name of the BSA. The new, reborn Triumph is big on triples, including the huge, 2300 cc Rocket Three, along with smaller ones.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m anxiously waiting for CR to test mpg of the C-Max. Whatever any of us might think about CR car tests in general, I thing they do a good job of testing gas mileage, “for comparison purposes.”

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    Have you driven a turbo manual? That’s the one I’d like to check out, but most dealers don’t have them.

  53. HtG Says:

    51 They’re coming out a bit later

  54. T. Bejma Says:

    #52

    I heard they were tweaking the switchgear to eliminate the common theme that despite being equal to or better on almost everything else, it isn’t quite up to the Bimmer.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Velocity TV has a show on how they developed the new Optima, I find it very interesting when you get to see the behind the scenes of all the work that goes into designing and engineering a new car, BTW if the ATS has a mechanical, metal water pump rather than the Beemer’s plastic, electric one, it’s a better car in my book.

  56. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Subaru also sold a 3 cyl car years ago.It was the ‘Justy’and it also had a cvt as an option.I drove one on a very short test drive.I didn’t like anything about it at all,and I generally like subies.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    53, They should test it soon. Dealers, at least in Indiana, have had them for a month or so.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56 The Justy was probably the last non-AWD car sold by Subaru in the U.S.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    #57 Kit now they got the BR-Z

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that VW led the field in US sales for Nov with 30% increase over Nov 2011, I guess those Vw dealers are gonna have to hire more techs to keep up with demand. Don’t US buyers care about reliability any more?

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the last until the BRZ.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I meant “last FWD.”

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #60,
    VW has some unique products, most notibly, the TDI’s, and they aren’t THAT bad, at leadt from my experience. I had one as recently as an ’02, and had no problems during the four years I had it.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    By all accounts, VW are well-built and solid cars, I just don’t understand why they come out so bad in surveys by both CR and JD Power, I had 2 Beetles back in the days and both were bulletproof as long as I owned them, perhaps it was the fact that they ere such simple, uncomplicated machines, with so little to break or go awry.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Fiat and smart had really big increases. Of course, when you you start with almost nothing, a few sales make a big percentage gain.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes I have been seeing a lot of new smart cars including delivery use with graphics all over them, also seen quite a few 500′s and even a fair share of IQ and Sparks as well

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve seen some 500′s recently, and in those, to me, ugly colors that really make them stand out. I’ve seen almost no iQ’s or Sparks, though. There is one smart at a condo near mine, that I see almost every day. It i driven regularly, because I see it in different parking places. I still find it hard to believe that they don’t either offer a better transmission in the smart, or discontinue the car.

  68. 97 Sentra Says:

    Something is not right at Ford. Too many recalls, and now overheating of the 1.6L turbo? Do they not test their products thoroughly? Something this trivial should never happen to a global player. There are major QC problems at the blue oval, just as I was warming up to them again…..

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    At this rate, Mullaly will never be able to retire w/o leaving a mess behind.

  70. T. Bejma Says:

    Ford also at the bottom in reliability…

    http://www.insideline.com/ford/ford-hits-major-pothole-with-2012-consumer-reports-reliability-survey.html

    In my opinion it looks like they are losing focus (no pun intended) on what they used to call important – Quality is Job #1. The kept the One (Ford) and dropped the Quality. Too much work trying to cut costs at the expense of the customer.

    GM is working on cutting costs and platforms, but going about it more slowly and methodically, hence the lower margins, however, at the same time they are keeping the customer in the forefront…

    http://wardsauto.com/auto-makers/gm-accelerating-quality-improvement-initiative-amid-platform-globalization?NL=WAW-06&Issue=WAW-06_20120920_WAW-06_258&YM_RID=thomas.bejma@gm.com&YM_MID=1341138

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    #69 simple, too much new technology all at once, mainstream turbos, double clutch tranny, complicated infotainment and climate control systems, ok for high end cars, not so on entry level ones.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    When Ford has problems with the Explorer, Escapes catching fire ditto for Fusion and issues with Focus and Fiesta as well, so they’re left with Mustang and F 150 being the only truly reliable vehicles in their line-up. Mullaly better go back to the drawing board and put some gonads-breaking dude in charge of getting this crap fixed.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A problem for Cadillac could be CUE. CR doesn’t like it, nor do some other testers who have commented on it. You can get an ATS without it, but CUE is mandatory in the XTS, a car that would generally appeal to older people who might not want even the best of complex “infotainment” systems.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford needs to put 6-speed manuals in Focus and Fiesta. Then there would be a good alternative for those who don’t like the dual clutch automatic. The current 5:speeds, available in lower trim level Focii and Fiestas has too short of top gear, hurting highway mpg, and making the engine sound too “busy” at highway speed.

  75. pedro fernandez Says:

    Does Caddy take the chance in pushing away old customers by attracting young ones? This is a mistake there is lots of old money, not a lot of young ones. besides of all the young guys I know who have that kind of money, none of them would consider a Caddy, BMW, Porsche, Audi. Acura even but Caddy? Not around these parts.

  76. Bob Aubertin Says:

    Hey C-Tech,

    How dare you mention the “300″ in the same breath as the Avalon(the upscale Camry with a Fusion facia).Toyota only can dream of copying such a Great looking ride as the “300″.