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Episode 1042 – 2012 Car Sales, Autonomous Technology Update, Refrigerant Debate Heats Up

January 4th, 2013 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:40

Car sales figures for the American market in 2012 are out, and they ended the year with a bang. Two manufacturers will demonstrate their autonomous vehicle technology at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. DuPont-Honeywell’s A/C refrigerant failed Daimler’s safety tests, but one company is sticking with it, all the same. All that and more, plus John McElroy reveals the identity of the vehicle he found rusting away in the woods while out skiing.

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Wow, we’ve already come to the end of the first work week of the new year. Time’s a wastin’, so let’s get to today’s news.

US CAR SALES ROCKET AHEAD
Car sales in the American market ended 2012 with a bang. Sales shot up more than 13 percent in December, with the SAAR hitting 15.3 million units. The top 5 gainers for the year were VW, up 35 percent, Toyota up 26 percent, Subaru was right on its heels, Honda was up 24 percent and Chrysler was up almost 21 percent. The bottom 5 performers were Mitsubishi, down a whopping 27 percent, Suzuki, which announced a couple of months ago that it’s dropping out of the American market was down almost 5 percent, Volvo was up only about 1 percent, GM was up less than 4 percent and Ford up just over 4 percent. The total market for the year grew by more than 13 percent, so even though GM, Ford and Volvo saw their sales go up, they actually lost market share. According to Ward’s, total light vehicle sales for the year came in at 14.4 million vehicles. All in all, sales were up 1.7 million vehicles over last year, and that folks is a really impressive improvement.

AND NOW, FOR MY NEXT TRICK…
But, you know, there’s a difference between the number of cars that get sold and the number that actually get registered. Last night on Autoline After Hours, Anthony Pratt, the forecaster for the RL Polk company, which tracks registrations, said that every year the number of cars that get registered come in about 100,000 vehicles lower than the number of sales the automakers report. By the way you can watch that entire show right now and we get into some of the reasons why registrations and sales never match up. Even so, no one really knows what’s happened to those cars.

AUTONOMOUS UPDATE
Here at Autoline we’ve been talking up autonomous cars for a number of years, and now the technology is starting to achieve critical mass. At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Lexus and Audi will demonstrate their autonomous vehicle technology. Lexus is teasing us with this very brief video of a LS 600h equipped with driverless technology. And the Wall Street Journal reports that Audi will show off a car that can find a parking space and park itself without a driver. As you know Google is testing autonomous technology using a Toyota Prius but both companies say they are developing the technology separately. Look for more details about Lexus’s and Audi’s cars next week.

REFRIGERANT DEBATE HEATS UP
Yesterday we reported that Daimler said it would not use the new A/C refrigerant called 1234yf that was developed by DuPont-Honeywell, because it failed Daimler’s own safety tests. But GM says that it is sticking with the refrigerant after it, along with Honeywell and a group of 13 other automakers, conducted additional crash tests and computer simulations. It passed their tests with flying colors. GM currently uses 1234yf in the Cadillac XTS, the European version of the Chevy Malibu and will convert most of its vehicles to use it in the next five years.

BARN FINDS
Two days ago we showed you these pictures I took out in the woods while I was cross country skiing in one of the state parks in Michigan. I found this rusted out car and asked all of you to help me figure out what it is. The clearest clue of how to search for this is the name Spitfire cast into the top of the cylinder head. We got a ton of people commenting on this and I especially want to thank Htg, Drew, Patrick, Steve, David, Tom and there’s even more of you out there who determined that it is most likely a 1953 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe. How it got out there in the middle of the woods, we’ll never know. But I sure appreciate everyone helping me in trying to figure out what it is.

So which automaker is going to win the coveted North American Truck and Utility of the Year Award? That is coming up next.

NA TRUCK AND UTILITY OF THE YEAR
(NATOY can only be viewed of the video version of today’s show.)

On Autoline This Week I asked a couple of my fellow jurors on the North American Truck and Utility of the Year to come on the show and talk about the finalists for the award. Joining me for the show are Tony Swan from Car And Driver.com and Michelle Krebs from Edmunds.com. We got into all the plusses and minuses of the three finalists, and also talked about some of the vehicles that did not make the final cut. But at the end of the show I put them on the spot and asked them to name which one will actually win the award. Here’s what they had to say.

The actual winner will be announced at the Detroit auto show on January 14, but you’ll remember a couple of weeks back we asked all of you to vote on the finalists and most of you also chose the Ram pick-up, so I bet that’s how it comes out. And of course you can watch that entire show right now at our website, Autoline.tv.

And that wraps up today’s show. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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

83 Comments to “Episode 1042 – 2012 Car Sales, Autonomous Technology Update, Refrigerant Debate Heats Up”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Recall number 2 2013

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/g-m-recalling-54700-vehicles-because-of-roll-away-danger/?ref=automobiles

    Oops . Looks like GM’s trucks are disappearing from underneath their owners noses just as mysteriously as they’re disappearing from GM’s inventory claims

    ALD – Love the Sold vs Registered segment . Finally the truth is revealed . Whats being claimed as sold by the manufactures more often than not being just that . Empty non verifiable claims .

    Come to think of it …. wasn’t BMW just last November caught inflating the numbers by claiming their company owned and titled vehicles as ‘ sales ‘ ? Why … yes they were .

  2. HtG Says:

    on one of the Porsche forums a guy wanted to start a class action because he felt warranties were being shortened by such mystery selling. So what’s happening out there, CK?

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    #2

    I’m not quite grasping the question at hand HtG . And a link perhaps ?

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    It is also possible for it to roll away from your driveway taken by a fearless thief who would only react to the end of a double barrel shotgun aimed at his puss.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sayonara Mitsubishi, TV’s gone, cars gone. end of an era.

  6. HtG Says:

    3 The guy says cars were being ‘sold’ before customers actually bought them for real. But that the warranty period had actually begun at the date of the first ‘sale,’ so owners were being defrauded. I don’t think the guy was getting anywhere, and he was on Rennlist.

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    My favorite Sold vs Registered incident involved Canada and FIAT . Last year FIAT was making some ludicrous claims as to how many 500′s they had sold in CDN ……. except ….. the numbers FIAT claimed they’d sold were in fact substantially more than the numbers the Canadian Government had stated were actually imported .

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    If any of these robo-cars can find a parking space in Manhattan I will forever change my mind about this subject, I always had a hell of a time trying to find one when I live near NY except on early Sunday mornings.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5,
    Mitsubishi are still selling REALLY BIG SCREEN TV’s, but not much else in the U.S. They are DLP rear projection. See:

    http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com/tv/WD-92840

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    #6

    That sounds to me like either a false claim by the guy in question or perhaps more likely a dealership who’s sales practices are somewhat …. err….. questionable ? That certainly isn’t Porsche America’s M/O

    Ahhh…. but here’s a funny one you’ll appreciate HtG . It seems Lapo Elkann’s ( one of FIAT’s heirs/owners ) girlfriends expensive jewelry was stolen while they were on vacation over the holiday . And who does Lapo call for assistance in the matter > Former Italian Prime Minister and friend of Marchionne … signor Berlusconi . Cause ….. errr…. guess who Mr B’s ‘ connected ‘ with ;-)

  11. Oakcabin Says:

    John,

    A friend of mine sent me this unique video of a Barn Find vehicle at the Waters Edge. I really enjoyed the Chrysler barn find article you did, you should add more of these to the show. Click on this link:

    http://www.dump.com/boatramp/+

    Keep up the good work !

  12. Mike Says:

    Let’s see…100K “lost”…divided by 15 million sold….equals 0.6%. Hardly enough to affect bragging rights.

    Mike

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit that is quite old technology by today’s standards, isn’t that the one with the rapidly spinning wheel? lots of problems down the line

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ # 6:
    If that’s the case,they must be sold as ‘used cars’….right? How can they sell them as new,but with a diminished warranty? Somethin’ somewhere is wrong with this picture….

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12,
    It’s old technology, but it’s still being used for a lot of front projectors, including most of the the ones used at theaters with non-film projectors.

    They can use one DLP chip, if they use the 3 color spinning wheel. You can get rid of the wheel, but using 3 DLP’s and lens systems. Both have their advantages. With the one chip, color wheel setup, you need only one lens system, so color registration is not an issue. With 3 chips/lens systems, you get rid of the mechanics of the rotating wheel.

    A friend has a ~7 year old, 72 inch Toshiba DLP TV. Even compared to today’s flat panel TV’s, the picture quality isn’t too bad, but he’s had a lot of trouble with it, mainly light bulbs. It is the only product for which he has ever bought an extended warranty, and it has worked out in his favor.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13,
    The “time” warranty starts when the car is sold to the first actual customer, even in the case of some “demos” that my sister has bought over the years. You lose some of the “mileage” part of the warranty, if you buy a demo, or other car sold as “new,” but with some miles.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12,14,
    Even Mitsu admits that they just picked out a niche in the TV market, very large screens, at bargain prices, for the size. I’d expect those to go away in the next couple years, as prices come down on 80-90 inch LCD’s, etc.

    I’d expect DLP to be around for much longer, though, for high powered front projectors. Those DLP chips can “take the heat” of very large light sources needed for big theaters better than other current technology for digital projectors.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On the ‘over-reach’ of car sale reporting; it would be interesting to know if they were across the board (all manufacturers, as in some universal cause) or specific automakers (dealing the cards from the bottom of the deck). I kind of would like to know who and if anything sinister was behind the variances. (though I’m sure sinister is probably too strong a word; creative accounting comes to mine) :)

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And congratulations to all who figured out the 1953 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe; I didn’t have a clue.

  20. cwolf Says:

    It is evident why the foreign transplants chose the southern RTW states, but how long will it last? In the last six months two more Johnson Control Plants in Ala. have become unionized by the UAW. JCI and Faurecia automotive parts plant are in Cottondale. The UAW also represents workers at part manufactures ZF Industries in Tuscaloosa, JCM(Johnson Control)in McCalla and Inteva in Cottondale. These plants supply parts or components to the Mecedes-Benz plant in Vance,Ala. Health care and wages were the main issues.
    Given the fact that suppliers have been the first ones targeted by the manufactures to reduce costs, how many more part suppliers will adopt the UAW in the near future working for the other manufacturers? Could it be possible the UAW is deploying a “going through the back door” tactic to eventually unionize Honda,Toyota,Hyundai and the rest? I guess the UAW has been silently busier that one thought!

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, Mexico is just So of Texas, no UAW there, only tacos and Corona.

  22. cwolf Says:

    pedro, that too can change! Mexican workers for Flex-N-Gate in Puebla just kicked out the corrupt union officers of CTM(Mexico’s labor federation) and ELECTED their oun union officers. This is a real “stick in the eye” of Volkswagen, who has been a bed partner of the corrupt CTM. It resulted in no more 14-hour work days, unfair terminations, poor treatment,management lack of respect for safety and for the workers and rigged pay schemes. To sum it all up; people everywhere are demanding a fair days pay for a day’s work and to end the slave practices that lead to UAW’s existance and continued need to have a united work force.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did you read today’s report that the 100 richest people in the world made $280 billion with a B more this past year than the year before. Oh well, so much for everyone biting the bullet, some get to bite the lobster and the caviar even more.

  24. cwolf Says:

    pedro, this is far fetched,but what if several construction tycoons offered immediate low interest loans to the home-owners and small businesses affected by Sandy in return for the rebuild;I mean doing a good job? It sure would be a good way to help your neighbor and still make a handsome profit.

  25. G.A.Branigan Says:

    There’s a difference between making a ‘handsome profit’ and today’s norm of an ‘obscene profit’ at the cost of others sorrows.

  26. Julius Lambert Says:

    The US auto mfgs talley of sold units is @ the end of the assembly line.So if there is a 100K gap to registration,they are in mfg’s holding yards,dealers lots,ETC,ETC+FUZZY @s,A.
    What happens if an EVENT hits one of those large holding yards,like HAIL,tornadosETC?Those units are not registered to anyone at that point.If the mfg hauls them back into their secret shops and repairs them,they are damaged goods.How do they market such units?Insurance companies may not be involved because NO REGISTRATION of RECORD.

  27. Julius Lambert Says:

    Also try to find any record of such an event,with the guys that check the HISTORY-PETER TRACKs of an auto.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #25 Amen , brother!

  29. T. Bejma Says:

    Sorry to rehash yesterday’s “discussion” but I was off the computer today visiting with my newly widowed father…

    [CK]“Please name one single solitary part on the ATS other than the body and the badge along with a couple of interior details that is not from GM’s multinational parts bin”

    1. Cast aluminum strut towers
    2. Magnesium engine cradle
    3. 5 Link independent rear suspension
    4. 200 hp, 2.5l DI 4 cyl longitudinally mounted
    5. Aluminum brake booster
    6. ZF Steering Rack
    7. Vibrating seat lane departure warning
    8. Performance Algorithm Liftfoot, or PAL
    9. Martensitic Steel subframe rails
    10. Bose Active Sound Management system

    There’s 10 off the top of my head.

    The ATS weighs 200 lbs less than the BMW 3 Series. Do you really think that the GM parts bin, that has rightly been criticized for being bloated could trim down to the legendary 3 series curb weight? There are more new parts than I could list here that are brand new on the ATS.

  30. HtG Says:

    I’m sorry, T. Bejma. My condolences

  31. C-Tech Says:

    T. Bejma, my condolences also. Don’t worry about C.K. you’ll never convince him otherwise.

  32. Dwight Barnes Says:

    Isn’t it time for the ColoradoKid to say “Good Bye” again. It was so nice while he was gone.

    Dwight Barnes.

  33. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    mr. t. bejma,

    my condolences to you as well.

    regards,
    vrmchris

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Condolences, TB, and I hope your father takes it well.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    T B ditto for me.

  36. RonE Says:

    T B, Condolences to you and your family.

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    T.B.

    Condolences from me as well . Lets drop the Cadillac – ATS thing for a bit and deal with some common ground instead

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    >> HtG

    Got an idea for your dream car quandary ;

    You like classics
    You seem to want a Porsche
    You obviously love drop tops
    You’re dealing with the contradiction of Heart vs Head

    So how’s about this ?

    Either a Uses BECK or an Intermeccanica Speedster . Classic styling – modern mechanicals – you’ll have more fun in one stuck in traffic than you’ll ever have in a Boxster on the open road – a bit of exclusivity is guaranteed … for a reasonable price tag – the majority of the POC accepts both at their events etc – need A/C now problem …. VintageAir and others can meet your needs – your insurance agent and mechanic will hate me but your banker will love you

    The only problem being people who buy them new rarely let them go … for the above reasons

    My personal favorite ( and what I have my sights on should a friend decide to let his go ) are the BECK’s .The Inter’s are more luxurious but the BECK’s are far better performers . For me once I track one down its Outlaw 356 conversion time por moi ! But even leaving them alone …. they’re magnificent . Just get the VW motored ones and leave the Subie powered ones to the rubes .

    Think about it mien herr

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    Just to be clear gentlemen . I am in no way giving in on the Cadillac argument . far from it , but rather showing some consideration for TB’s current situation , especially in light of the fact that my household has been dealing with the same for the last three years and mat be doing so again this year as well .

    Thank you

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC does however continue its anti-ATS rants, now it’s the instrument cluster, nice in the dark, ugly in the light, sort of the girls that used to date me.

  41. HtG Says:

    38 oh those Becks; reminds me of my crush on Lee Remick. Moss spoke about the original as his favorite car to drive because he could so easily steer both ends. Check out this photoset I made at LimeRock classic event this summer. There’s some shots of another 550 copy and the real thing, too. Sir Sterling was there; darn strong looking guy.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76985302@N03/sets/72157631472303200/

  42. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Great pics HtG,now…….what th’ hell is a ‘Beck’ besides being a great guitarist..

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42,
    A brand of not-too-great German beer.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today I passed the 350k mile mark, this gives a new meaning to the word USED, btw waiting for a green next to a Volt, he got going first cause he had the left turn arrow and it was eerie not to hear ANY sound as it moved along, windows open, no A/C hypermiling, I suppose.

  45. Rafi Jaan Says:

    NATOY:

    If US Federal Regulations classify cross-overs and minivans as “trucks,” why is there a prejudice against these vehicles for not being “actual” trucks? I find the comments of you and your guests (on Autoline Detroit) on why the RAM should win questionable and confusing. If the RAM is to win because of it being an innovative truck, then I would also consider the Mazda CX5 as equally innovative. The CX5 weights LESS than an Honda Accord and returns far BETTER fuel economy, all while being a cross-over SUV (or truck, as its classified). Plus, the CX5 drives better than any other SUV in the market, is a 5-star safety rated vehicle and offers the choice of both manual and automatic transmissions. Put all that together, to me, the CX5 is the clear winner. If it doesn’t win the Truck of the Year award, then another award should be created to award it as the most innovative vehicle of the year. Period.

  46. T. Bejma Says:

    #44

    pedro – As long as the Volt has charge, it does not matter if the the A/C is on and you are flooring it with a car load of people, it is silent. No hypermiling required. The only times that the ICE engages while driving are when you are going over 80 mph, climbing hills or have run out of charge.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46,
    Does the ICE always run when going over 80mph, even if the battery isn’t run down? I guess I didn’t go fast enough to know that when I drove one last summer.

  48. T. Bejma Says:

    I stand corrected, it is 70 mph.

    This is from MotorTrend, but it still isn’t clear if the ICE is on all the time…

    “…when going above 70 mph in charge sustaining mode, and the generator gets coupled to the drivetrain, the gas engine participates in the motive force. GM says the engine never drives the wheels all by itself, but will participate in this particular situation in the name of efficiency, which is improved by 10 to 15 percent.”

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    46 what I meant to express is that the driver was trying to get the most out of the batteries by not using the a/c, I didn’t even hear the radio on, this way he will get the most range b4 the engine kicks in, the weather here was not hot enough that you needed the a/c on, like it typically is.

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A.

    Beck & Intermeccanica are both builders of the finest 356 , 356 Speedsters and 550 Spyder ‘ Resto Rod ‘ replicas on the planet . Google both and droll over their websites .

    Better than the originals ( mechanically ) and a joy and a hoot to both drive and own .

    An ‘ Outlaw ‘ 356 BTW is a well modified 356 ( 911′s are ‘ outlawed ‘ as well ) which the first was done by Dean Jeffries of hot rodding fame

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    #45

    Because in fact there is no such ‘ Federal ‘ regulation as to what constitutes a ” Truck ” That is decided on a State by State basis by the DMV in each State and sometimes even county…. and ……. a Truck is a Truck is a Truck and an SUV or Xover ( unless its a Body on Frame SUV full on Off Road ready ) Aint !!!

    Period !

  52. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 45: There is no way in hell the cx5 is a truck,at least not in this country.Here we use trucks for both work and play,and when equipped with 4 wheel drive,off road work and play.Putting some suv’s and crossovers in the ‘truck’ category is something done by people who don’t know and understand the difference.Just because they have automotive cred don’t mean they know everything or their word is law.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is a federal classification of “cars” and “trucks” for CAFE purposes, and those classifications appear to be used to determine catagories for NACTOY candidates.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For these awards, we could have about 5 catagories for “trucks” and 5 catagories for “cars,” but do you really want to do that? If body-on-frame is the determining factor, I guess a Crown Vic would have been a “truck,” and a Jeep Commanche a “car.”

  55. HtG Says:

    If I remember right, it was sometime in the 1980′s that congress legislated that SUVs would be trucks. At that early date, the industry knew that the category was going to be huge, but it was a late night deal which got it done. MI senator Riegel was a principal mover, making a deal with his colleagues. Of course the NACTOY award is silly, it’s based on a monster size loophole designed to get around mileage and crash standards. And it made for a profitable category for the industry. (I’m relying on first hand history from someone who was there in the Senate at the time, but I may have made an error describing what went down)

  56. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Condolences T.B., sorry for being late; I was on the road (N.J. to S.C., long day) yesterday.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    55,
    That’s pretty much what I remember, only it might have been as early as the 70′s.

    It any case, yeah, these awards end up being pretty silly. To a lot of people on this forum, and elsewhere, the only thing they consider a “light truck” is a pickup. If only pickups qualified for the award, there would be no candidates for the award most years, because a vehicle needs to be a major redesign to qualify. Maybe there should just be a “North American Vehicle of the Year,” with all four wheeled vehicles under a GVW of a 8000 pounds or so competing against each other.

    Otherwise, to satisfy those who don’t consider crossovers to be “trucks,” you’d need to have a category for pickups, crossovers, body-on-frame SUV’s, and vans. Then, to be “fair” with cars, you’d need a category for sedans, coupes, convertibles, wagons, and hatchbacks.

    Oh well. I guess most of us agree that these awards, as they exist, end up being pretty silly.

  58. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Agreeing with Kit; ‘vehicle of the year’ probably makes more sense. Car and Driver lists the ten best of the year, again arbitrary, but allows for both cars and trucks. MotorWeek has multiple winners, by category (that they set up), and lists these. Who knows for sure but keeps discussions going (though arguing is part of the mix too).

  59. Brett Says:

    I doubt Mitsubishi is going anywhere immediately. They just made some drastic, and very smart, moves with regard to their product line and where things get manufactured.

    By producing the Lancer and Outback Sport domestically at their plant in Normal, IL and dropping the Galant, Endeavor, and Eclipse, they are avoiding the Yen value issue, focusing meager resources on improving their best products, and leveraging a huge capital investment made over decades in a large, efficient, and highly automated production facility with a skilled workforce.

  60. C-Tech Says:

    I believe the panel should create more categories. If it were me there will be Car of the year (Coupe, sedan, hatchback, station wagon), SUV of the year (CUV, Large/Med./Small SUV defined by offering 4wd), and Truck of the year (bed or cargo area offered). Never mind what the Government decides, remember Heinz Ketchup was once a defined as a vegetable by the government.

  61. C-Tech Says:

    Perhaps there is not enough budget for more categories?

  62. C-Tech Says:

    @ #59 If you cannot name the 2013 Mitsubishi line-up, how can there be that much hope? Hint: which one does not belong: Lancer, Outback, Outlander, i-MiEV ?

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and we car people wouldn’t like having 3 trucks of the year, and only one car. I still would go for “vehicle of the year,” with first and second runnersup.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    MW along with Cars.com and USA Today did a mid size sedan comparo but they had to be less than $26k to qualify, Malibu did not qualify. Accord won by a slim margin, last yrs winner, Sonata, did not make the cut, is GM trying to outdo Ford by charging a premium for a car that is competing in a very tough segment? Good luck to them!

  65. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Trucks doesn’t necessarily mean pickups,although that is usually what comes to mind first.Body on frame would be a good compromise with a minimum weight of 3600 lbs I think.

  66. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mitsubishi and Suzuki should be the featured cars in the TV show The Walking Dead, very fitting indeed!

  67. HtG Says:

    We’ll see if a NACTOY victory for ATS gets the attention of the target buyer. Will the dealers be up to speed on meeting the expectations of today’s luxury buyer?

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    That would depend on the dealer, the local Caddy dealer years ago made their showroom really nice and upscale while the Lincoln dealer could have been selling Kia or Hyundai.

  69. HtG Says:

    Autweek had this piece a few days ago on the dealership experience. John covered it from Frankfurt. Notice how it’s thought that avoiding ‘commoditization’ is the intention of treating this segment’s buyers very well. I also heard a Porsche vp talking about the importance of developing the Brand. Interesting world, Planet Luxury.

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130102/carnews/130109998

  70. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Personally,I feel very strongly that anybody that ponies up for a vehicle over 30k should get special treatment from the dealership.Luxury brand or not……money is money,and more people buy at around the 30k area I’m willing to bet.Why not show the middle class……..some class.

  71. C-Tech Says:

    @ #64 The MSRP of a new base Malibu is $21995 according to Chevrolet’s website. I suspect when that comparision was done the only available Malibu was the mild hybrid Malibu Eco.

  72. C-Tech Says:

    Part of the problem with dealerships in U.S. is that in most states there are laws which prevent manufacturers from owning dealerships. The laws were designed to protect the family-owned dealers from being run out of business by by manufacturers 60-70 years ago. Now there are a lot fewer single-franchise dealers and many dealers are large multi-franchise operations and corporate entities. If you are a manufacturer it is difficult to force dealers to reinvest in renovations and update buildings. Ford in a pilot program tried to buy and run dealerships in Indiana to try and control the final customer interaction and were quickly blocked by the state legislature. That is why with so many older dealerships, Ford, Chrysler, and GM have so much variance in building design and amenities compared to Toyota, Honda, and Nissan which has had certain design standards in place as new dealers (or dealerships have been sold) have been built. I have not been to many Hyundai or Kia deals so I cannot speak about them first hand.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    C tech I think you are correct about the Malibu not being available for review for that reason, but it’s a bad excuse. Lots of people watch this show and Chevy didn’t do itself any favors by missing out on the comparison, specially since, like the Fusion and Honda, it was a new model for 2013. I also feel that you should be able to order your vehicle online the way you like it and have it delivered to a nearby dealer, who would then charge a fee for arranging the pickup and prep. This way, everyone would get the same price

  74. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 50: Okay CK,you kicked my butt with the Beck 356.Damn fine….pardon the drool.I’ll check out the other one shortly.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    73,
    Yeah, that was a result of the, what I consider a mistake, of introducing the new Malibu as the mild hybrid before the other versions.

  76. ColoradoKid Says:

    Looks like I’m not the only GM detractor out there ;

    http://jalopnik.com/5973720/

    Actually I’d say I’m pretty kind ( not nice mind you ) when it comes to GM’s present and future products .

    Oh well . Like the wife and the Cadillac owning neighbor said during a discussion we were having this weekend ” I guess GM simply either does not want or need our business ”

    #74 No ‘ butt kicking intended mate . Just wanted to pass on some good stuff is all ;-)

  77. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan

    While you’re wiping up yesterdays drool …. check out these guys . The absolute ‘ Kings ‘ of ‘ Outlaw ‘ 356′s . If you’re into Hot Rods and Sports Cars like me : this is automotive Nirvana on four wheels

    http://www.emorymotorsports.com/outlaws

    Also google Urban Outlaw / Magnus Walker for the ex pat king of the 911 ‘ Outlaws ‘ as well

    PS; Next round of paper towels is on me ;-)

  78. Rafi Jaan Says:

    Everyone, my comments about NATOY (comment 45) was just to argue that if the CX5 is nominated for the truck category, then it should be considered one. Not voting for it to win would be like Oscars nominating a music video for film of the year, and then voting against it for not being a feature film. They should either create a new category or vote for the CX5 it being such an outstanding automobile (and all the reasons I mentioned in my original comment).

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here is a great video of the GM Heritage center:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=endscreen&=R=1&v=RvVmDsWnMOk

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    76,
    So there are other GM haters posting in a comment section. So what? You can finder haters of everything, if you look for them.

  81. Brett Says:

    #62

    I only mentioned the vehicle models that were discontinued at their domestic plant and what was being manufactured there.

    It was not intended to be a listing of their current product line.

    I stand by my original statement.

  82. Broge Says:

    Mitsubishi and Suzuki
    The sun is setting of the land of rising sun. The new horizon is China

  83. Broge Says:

    Expiring patents are the real reason for refrigerant changes. Dupont likes to keep their customers.