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Episode 1054 – Germans Eye India, New Mercedes Tech, Honda’s First Plug-In Hybrid

January 22nd, 2013 at 11:19am

Runtime: 6:01

After striking out in China, Germany’s luxury carmakers plan on introducing small hatchbacks in India. Mercedes-Benz just introduced new technology that warns drivers when they are driving the wrong way on the road. On sale now is Honda’s 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, the first of its kind for the company. All that and more, plus fill-in host Peter De Lorenzo gives his thoughts on what GM just doesn’t get about marketing the Corvette.

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Hello and welcome to a brand new episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Tuesday the 22nd of January and I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, filling in for John. But now it’s time for the news.

GERMANS EYE INDIA
After striking out in China, Germany’s luxury carmakers plan on introducing small hatchbacks in India. According to Bloomberg, the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW 1 Series will be available by the middle of the year in India. And Audi may introduce the A3 in 2014. The companies hoped the hatchbacks would become popular in China, as they are in Europe, but the Chinese want large luxury vehicles. So now the Germans are turning to India to sell small premium cars.

YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!
And speaking of Mercedes-Benz, the company just introduced new technology that warns drivers when they are driving the wrong way on the road. The system uses a camera to identify “Wrong Way” signs, and then issues audible and visual warnings to the driver. It debuts in the new S- and E-Class and will migrate to other vehicles afterwards. For now it’s only available in Germany but Mercedes says it’s developing the system for use in other countries.

HYUNDAI’S SALES SLIP IN SOUTH KOREA
Hyundai and Kia have been one of the most successful automakers the last several years but they struggled last year in an unexpected place, South Korea. According to the Wall Street Journal, Hyundai and Kia’s combined sales dropped a little over 2 percent in its home market because of more competition from imports. Lower tariffs from new free trade agreements helped imported cars reach 10 percent of sales. And it’s likely to get even tougher for the Korean automakers since the tariffs will be eliminated over the next several years.

HONDA’S FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRID
Honda just introduced its first plug-in vehicle, the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid. It’s powered by an all-new 124 kW two-motor hybrid system that’s mated to a 2.0 Liter 4-cylinder engine. It has an EPA rating of 115 mpge in full electric mode and a combined gasoline fuel economy of 46 mpg. The 2014 Accord Plug-In is now available in select markets and comes with a suggested retail price just under $40,000.

Coming up next, a few of my thoughts on what GM just doesn’t get about the Corvette.

CORVETTE MARKETING: WHAT GM DOESN’T GET
Now that the smoke has cleared from the frenzy of the Detroit auto show – and the scintillating debut of the new Corvette – it’s time to take a hard look at Corvette from a brand image and marketing point of view.

As I’ve said repeatedly, there are only two cars (and car names) in modern American automotive history that qualify as true icons in this business. One is the Chevrolet Corvette. The other, of course, is the Ford Mustang.

I’m going to focus on the Corvette today. Even though the Corvette has been around for 60 years, the Corvette has been on the chop list more than once. Students of this industry are already familiar with the monumental battles between the True Believers like Harley Earl, Zora Duntov and Bill Mitchell and the “suits” at GM who not only didn’t get the car but couldn’t be bothered one way or the other. That the Corvette has survived in the hostile environment created by the vacuous bean counter-driven “culture” – or at least what passes for one – at General Motors is a small miracle unto itself, and a tribute to the True Believers who kept it alive.

But the brand-spanking-new-generation C7 Corvette should fix that, right? You would think so but despite all of the hoopla surrounding the intro of the new Corvette, and all of the glowing words coming from within GM and from the assembled media, the same black cloud hovers over the Corvette that has always been there.

A cloud of indifference.

This cloud hangs in the air like a bad dream and it’s best exemplified by the prevailing attitude of GM upper management that ultimately the Corvette sells itself, and now that they’ve committed the funding for the development and launch of the C7, they can move on to other, more important things.

Yes, I won’t deny that GM has gotten better of late at image wrangling when it comes to the Corvette, but can you imagine what another manufacturer would do if they had an icon like the Corvette in their product portfolio?

Any other manufacturer would use the Corvette as the tip of its technological spear. But GM? Remember, the Corvette sells itself. This management attitude can be distilled down to this: why invest money in something that’s a niche, something we don’t sell that many of to begin with?

I can’t think of a more egregious example of people doing less with more in this business than what GM has done – or to put a finer point on it; hasn’t done – with Corvette. It’s a complete travesty when it comes right down to it.

Tomorrow, in Part II, I will present my plan for fixing the Corvette… and more.

But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Once again I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, thanks for watching and I will see you again tomorrow.

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55 Comments to “Episode 1054 – Germans Eye India, New Mercedes Tech, Honda’s First Plug-In Hybrid”

  1. Bradley Says:

    I like your thoughts Mr. Lorenzo. Everyone wants to talk about how GM has changed and I am sure it has. However the C7 doesn’t demonstrate that, nor does bringing a bunch of cars from other (foreign) markets to the United States and passing them off as Detroit based designs.

    The warmest I felt about the Corvette was the story about the C5 and how it was developed in secret from executives. At least that was the buzz I remember.

  2. Art991 Says:

    Although plug ins are important for car companies to say “Look we have one too” — Honda needs to get back to work on design – even the redesigned Civic is horrible.. the new accord while better – lacks any kind of style.. look at the 3/4 rear.. its awful.. just like the z shape on the oddessy. It looks off? And same goes for Acura.. what are they thinking? Spend more time on design and less no “MEE TOO” Honda. And this is said as a Honda fan.. my S2000 is embarrassed when we go to the dealer for service intervals.

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Peter De: Thanks for voicing what I have been thinking about the C7.BTW,the C7 looks much better in that silver or gun metal gray color then the red that they showed at the debut.

  4. W L Simpson Says:

    I’m an ol C2-er & my view of the C7–indifferent.

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    For a behind ‘behind the scenes’ look at Corvette (and when it almost died), you might want to read “All Corvettes Are Red” by James Schefter. This book is the story of the C5, its gestation, trials and tribulations and the ‘true believers’ that made the C5 so much better than the C4, which it replaced (and IMO, the C4 wasn’t too shabby either).

  6. HtG Says:

    I see Corvettes racing At LeMans and ALMS, read about that GrandAm thing. Isn’t this stuff marketing? If you go to an ALMS race, you’ll see Corvette luring people into the Chevy display; and I have the T-shirts to prove it. Corvettes are advertised like Porsche and BMW on ALMS races.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4,
    The C4 was so much better than the C3. The later C4′s were the first Corvettes to be genuinely competitive, performance-wise, with the best from around the world, for 1/3 the price. Some earlier ‘Vettes could be made into successful race cars, and were fast in a straight line in stock form, but the C4 was the first to be well rounded, in stock form.

  8. Bradley Says:

    #5

    I may pick that up. But, I’ll be honest, my performance heart beats for Skyline GTR, Supra, EVOs, etc.

    “Refinement, sophistication and performance” over all out RAW POWER!!

  9. motorman Says:

    i am not a car expert but as a 78 year old owner of 11 new corvettes since 1959 every one has been a better corvette. waiting on #12

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why should GM suits treat the Corvette any different from the way Chrysler treats the Viper?

  11. dcars Says:

    The thing that is great about the Vette is:you may hate GM for selling you a Citation or a Saturn, but you’ll still know what the Vette is; and love it all the same. I told a few people that I went to the Auto Show this weekend and the first thing they asked was did you see the new Vette?

  12. Ivan Sears Says:

    The only issue I have with the C7, is whether I can afford one! Otherwise, I do not disagree with Mr. Delorenzo’s comments. But, as a 40 year Detroit auto industry engineering veteran, Corvette is not the only brand that has been short changed a bit, or a lot.

  13. Richard Tait Says:

    The marketing department at GM needs to be wiped clean and a fresh set of people put in their place. I wouldn’t even put the new folks in the old building, lest the new comers catch the old disease. They botched the current Malibu (by launching the idiotic hybrid first); they botched the Silverado/Sierra (that’s only partly their fault because the designers did an excellent job of doing nothing to an ugly design and rehashing it with words like “bold” and “fresh”); and they botched the Corvette (by releasing it in a poorly directed online broadcast). I NEED to see Bob Lutz back in his rightful place. Running things at GM.

  14. C-Tech Says:

    For all the fans of Corvette out there, please remember the reason GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, VW, etc. build cars is – to make money. Investors are looking for a return on investmest. If you believe Corvette has been short-changed, tomorrow’s comments should enlighten us and GM management on how to increase GM’s return on investment in this icon. The Thunderbird, America’s other more successful sports car at the time, left the category for a higher return on investment.

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    C7′s appeal to younger market ?

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130122/DETROIT/130129980

    And in addition to Pietro’s most excellent commentary …. as well as a continuation of my BMW Bobsled post yesterday

    An Opportunity Missed ;

    Had GM and its so called marketing mavens NOT missed out on the opportunity to work with the US Bobsled Team both in designing the new sleds and sponsoring the team ,, calling the new sled the C7 as well …. here’s what just one Ad Campaign could of looked like …

    C7 Technology and Engineering . Winning on the Road – Track and now the Ice as well

    BWTM ; One last missed/blown marketing C7 opportunity .

    Corvette/GM just announced they’ll be racing the C6 this year … not the C7 .

    Why not just put it up in a neon sign and say to the entire World ;

    ” Not Ready For PrimeTime ” GM should of waited to reveal the C7 until it was ready to roll on and off track .

    And does GM Need those overseas sales all the above will no doubt kill off ?

    At 12,000 sales per annum over the last few years … you’re darn tootin they do !!!

  16. Next Says:

    Love the comments about the Blue Suits at GM.

    Amen. The US auto industry needs less bean counters, and less telecom minds, and more people that live and breath cars, that understand that it’s more than numbers…its a passion.

  17. ColoradoKid Says:

    C7 final rant ;

    Yesterday our erstwhile GM champion was saying the C7 can hold a couple of golf bags ….. like thats a good thing ;

    Here’s the inventory I stuffed into a C6 when I had an extended use of one a few years ago for one trip alone ;

    2 x Victorinox XL duffles
    2 XL Victorinox carry ons
    1 portable file box ( dealing with family legal issues on trip 0
    2 x brief cases ( Victorinox as well )
    2 pair Karhu ‘ Shorty ‘ back country’ SnowShoeSkis
    2 sets of poles
    2 pair of back country boots

    And the wife in the passenger seat ….. with room to spare I might add . HP Snow tires on the car . Was a total hoot driving to and from the resort ( 14 days ) as well as around the area .

    So another nail in the coffin of the C7 . GM has diminished once again its ability to be a daily driver .

  18. HtG Says:

    Question for Peter DeL.

    Can you explain why the C7 slow reveal was not the way to go? Why would a ‘Corvette ex machina’ event have been better?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Has anyone said anything about how the cargo hold of the C6 and C7 compare? Not really.

  20. QuietStormX Says:

    What is the problem with Corvette marketing? Is it that they don’t do it like others, say the asians with flooding the marked on In my point is nothing special. The Corvette sales it’s self period for it’s performance and price compared with other who try and tink. Those others don’t have manual transmissions in their performance Cars. When you want something as stylish as the new C7 you dream about them and not the others. With the others you have to beable to have the salery and more and pay someone to work on your rides, then you with the GM Corvette and much cheaper. GM dosent have to really market the Corvette like others compared to the old dog Ford Mustang with it’s old chassie and huge wide 5.0L DOHC engine and can’t really go around curves well with it up front.

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    T.B. provided this link two days ago; seems similar in size and function as the C6:

    http://imageshack.us/f/207/vettetrunk.jpg/

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13,
    I agree that the launch of the Malibu with only the mild hybrid was a mistake. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a mistake to even make that power train at all. It gets barely better mpg than a 4 cylinder Camry, but costs significantly more. Meanwhile, the serious hybrids in that class, the Camry and Fusion hybrids, get much better mpg.

    As far as Silverado/Sierra, I think they look just fine, and so do some friends who actually buy pickup trucks. Not everyone wants their light duty pickup to try to look like a Kenworth.

  23. QuietStormX Says:

    OK ALMS, that is huge marketing and the Corvettes racing around the world. Not Ford Mustang. Old Ford Mustang, why people are buying them is crazy. Wait until new models with todays tech and performance.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People buy Mustangs because they are relatively cheap, if you don’t over-equip them. Young women with cell phones attached to their heads buy them if they can’t afford a 3 series.

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    #24 Precisely ! With the addition of even the cheapest Mustang available still being a pretty entertaining ride .

    It probably doesn’t hurt either that Ford makes no attempt to over hype the Mustang … letting the car – performance and styling speak for its self

  26. Jonathan Says:

    The new corvette is smoking hot. The looks and the total performance of the stingray is off the charts.

    New corvette photos everyday is cool even if according to Peter GM is screwing up!

    In case any of you did nt know Peter doesn’t have fond relations with mr ackerson and a few of his minions….

    I thought the GM executive on the corvette marketing during the auto line after hours was masterful and a fine young gentleman.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Guys, you seem to forget that the Camaro battles with the Mustang, the Vette is in competition with the Viper, I’d take the Vette w/o any reservations over the competitor any day! Why doesn’t Ford once and for all fix the handling issues with the Mustang and it’d be game over for the competition. Every single review I read praises the car in a straight line, but eventually you have to turn the wheel.

  28. ColoradoKid Says:

    #20

    At a currently estimated $60 – 75K base price … along with the insurance premiums your agent will hit you over the head with …. as well as no matter how much they may of improved the C7 mechanically over the C6 the extensive and expensive repairs it takes to keep a Vette on the road .. saying the C7 will in any way be a bargain to keep over its competition is a bit naive if I may with no insult intended .

    #18 IMO all ‘Slow Reveals ‘as well as the plethora of ‘ Teaser’s used lately by auto companies should all be placed in the circular file …… once and for all .

    Brother … the more I read Pietro’s comments today the more I’m in agreement 150 % Plus …. and the more steamed I get under the collar about the C7 – GM’s inept marketing department and strategies – along with the abject and utter cluelessness of those in charge of the above .

    Where does GM hire its marketing department lately Graduates from that stalwart Pennsylvania center of higher learning … Whatsa Matta U ? ;-)

  29. ColoradoKid Says:

    #27

    Ahem ! May I remind you Pedro ( or perhaps inform you ) that the ‘ new ‘ Viper is in fact the Mercedes AMG SLS in Viper drag ?

    Also the point is ( the one Pietro is making as well ) is that the Mustang and the Corvette ARE the only Automotive Icons the US has left on the table . The Viper still considered a bit of an interloper … so thats why the comparison .

    Jonathan – Whether Pietro has a problem with Ackerson personally or not ( and who in their right mind does not have a problem with Ackerson )is besides the point . Like it or not both Pietro – myself …. along with AW etc etc are simply stating the facts of GM’s unending ineptitude as well as utter cluelessness as to what its gonna take to get the C7 out of the Vette’s current sales doldrums

  30. T. Bejma Says:

    So, PDL, how does Ford do such a better job marketing the Mustang and even though you didn’t mention it as an icon (even though it is for Chrysler), as Pedro mentioned what about the marketing for the Viper?

  31. The Autoextremist Says:

    Some of you have some interesting and valid comments, and some of you, well… you don’t understand a lick about marketing or brand image. And that’s okay, but implying that I don’t? You just sound silly.

    You need to read my column about the Detroit Auto Show and see what I have to say about the new Corvette. I have plenty of good things to say about the car, but two specific areas of criticism.

    In tomorrow’s column – and on tomorrow’s Autoline Daily – I’ll have much more to say about how GM has squandered the image of the Corvette when they’ve had a golden opportunity to do otherwise.

    And, as a point of clarification, it’s not Corvette Racing’s fault that the C7 isn’t racing this (2013) season. There is a new rules package coming in 2014 for GT racing both in the U.S. and internationally, and the new C7 is being groomed for its racing debut one year from now in the unified ALMS/Grand-Am series, at the Daytona 24 Hours. It’s under construction right now, and a testing program for the new C7R racer will begin this spring.

    PMD

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    #30

    The Viper ? Hmmmn . Gee . Let me think . Cause right out of the box they showed the Viper R alongside the Viper for the masses ? Cause maybe they had the Viper ready and willing to roll from the get go whereas GM is still playing ‘ Spy Camera ‘ , guessing games and slow reveal with us pretending the C7 is ready for primetime ? Cause maybe with the Viper they’re letting the car speak for itself … rather than coming out of the gate with at present a raft of unsubstantiated claims …as well as more than a fair share of braggadocio . Cause … and this is pure speculation mind you based on my experiences with the earlier Viper as well as the SLS ….. that the ‘ new’ Viper ‘ absolutely is a major improvement over the old …. whereas the C7 despite GM’s hype …. is still a Question Mark in any thinking and discerning purchasers mind ?

    Ya think ? ;-)

    An old adage from the Music and Art World . ” The more extensive and drawn out the marketing ; The less substance the art/product /music is bound to have ”

    ;-)

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    @ Pietro – Corvette Racing should of at least showed the C7-R alongside the road going version as Viper did …. even if it was without all its mechanical underpinnings . They’ve known what the rules are … have for quite some time and could of easily had at least a C7-R prototype on the stage to show they’re serious .

  34. aliisdad Says:

    Very interesting comments, today, and a lot of “right on” comments!!
    Along with #13, I wonder about GM’s marketing department (and yes, I do come from a marketing background)..However, we don’t really know what goes on at GM internally..They may be doing the best they can based on corporate directives…
    Another problem is that GM has produced mostly junk in the last 40 years or so, and they still had to try to sell it the best they could…Now, that may be changing, especially with the Opel designs that now are creating some competitive designed cars but with American “tweeks” to sell in the US..If this continues, and the quality has really improved, eventually they will win some people back with a decent marketing program…
    It is kind of sad that GM took so long to change things to compete and allowed others to take away their overwhelming market share they enjoyed prior to the ’70′s…Despite the books that have been written about the reasons for this decline, I still don’t understand why management took so long to act..Anyway, you have to feel for the poor marketing group at GM trying to sell Citations, Aztecs, and Cimmerons…They probably did there best with what they had to work with…
    From what I see (of course, as an outsider) in the automotive news, it seems like GM had better find its direction and SOON..Don’t waste this opportunity to market your new cars that people might actually want…It might take a while to win people like me back who have been stung serveral times by your poor quality, but you need to find a marketing path and stay on it…This is the best chance you at GM have had in many years; don’t blow it with poor management and/or marketing plans that you keep changing before people get a chance to “know you again”..

  35. RS Says:

    Enjoy the comments but…”should have” not “should of”. If it needs to be abbreviated, “should’ve”

    Picky, picky, picky!

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Another problem is that GM has produced mostly junk in the last 40 years or so, and they still had to try to sell it the best they could…”

    Not really. Sure, they had some junk with the X cars and the early J cars, but most of what they’ve had the last 40 years has been competitive, or nearly so, with other products on the market.

    When I worked for GM from 1977-2001, I had a lot of GM cars, and the only one that was a real “lemon” was a first-year J2000. Even the Citation I had was reliable while I had, and, luckily for both of us, was reasonably reliable for the friend I sold it to.

    What GM now has is at least OK, and some is better than just OK. Yeah, their marketing sucks, but maybe that will change with a little advice from PMD. We can hope.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    My extended family had Bonneville, Nova, Malibu, Delta 88 and 2 Pontiac midsize (wagon,sedan) and were not bad cars. ’86 Caddy, Bad, my 1980 Xcar, bad, Olds Ahieva, crap, Corsica, super crap. some hits and some misses.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I had a Beretta that was good while I had it, but I never see them, or Corsicas on the road now, so they must have had some “age related” issues. They made them into the early or mid 90′s, so you should see a few on the road.

    The second generation J cars seem to have been pretty good cars. My friend has had great service from his, with almost 200K miles, and I see a lot of them on the road.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Honestly, Kit this Corsica that was bought second hand by my aunt was a POS, I had never been in a car that size with that rough suspension that made the whole dash feel as if was about to fall off whenever you hit any bump and at the same time had really bad handling. Used a lot of gas and had lethargic acceleration with its 3.1 V6.

  40. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’ve had really good luck with Chevy 1500 Silverado’s with one exception and that was a new 1995 that was a real pos.Maybe a monday thing….

  41. buzzerd Says:

    @28- Insurance may be expensive where you live but for me it’s pretty cheap for my C6 and I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to the “extensive and expensive repairs it takes to keep a Vette on the road” but it sounds l like you don’t either.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    #40 G.A. GM trucks and SUV’s are among the most reliable American vehicles, I know a gut who has 4 Silverados for his exterminator business and they’re all good and reliable, only buys Chevy trucks, I also have one neighbor with a Trailblazer and he loves the thing, those GM V8 engines and transmissions are hard to beat.

  43. Dan Clemons Says:

    GM just doesn’t get it when it comes to the Corvette. It’s the only GM car in my garage and will likely be the only GM car in my garage.

    Peter gets it right again!

    Dan

  44. C-Tech Says:

    @ #17 Let your final rant be your final rant.

    @ #27 Given the simple but refined, strong, and cheap SRA suspension in the Mustang compared to the Camaro, I think the Mustang does just fine.

    @ #28 The cost of maintaining and insuring a Corvette is less than that of a comparable Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, M-B or BMW. I might add the Corvette will probable be more reliable.

    @ #15 I don’t understand the preoccupation with the U.S. Bobsled team. Sponsoring it would be a feel good story for about 5 minutes and forgotten in the U.S. I doubt anyone can name a current member of the U.S. Bobsled team besides the smokin’ hottie LoLo Jones. Give a new Corvette to the MVP of the 2015 superbowl.

  45. cwolf Says:

    I’m axious to hear Peters marketing fix for the Vette tomorrow. After reviewing production numbers, I noticed a trend repeating itself. Production peaked in 1981 @ 41K units, dwelled to a low in 1997 @ 10K units, then seemed to average about 35K units from 1997 thru 2009. After the collapse, production fell to approx. 12K to date. So is Peters sense of genius going to stimulate production beyond the prior 41K unit peak of 1981, return to the steady 35 units/yr from 1997-2009 without amassing so much marketing capital that it exceeds any benifit? Don’t be fooled by thinking any amount of commercialized gloating is going to increase sales beyond the present 12K units any time soon, given predictions of a paultry 1%GDP may fall upon us during the mid of the 2013. I’m sure Peter was a competent marketing guy during his hay day, but these days are over for the near future. Devoted Vette owners are not fools, nor will they go away; they will buy again when their finacial situation is on more solid ground and all the marketing gimmmicks won’t change their minds one iota. So are Peters ideas directed at swaying the many Vette competitors to buy a C7? If so, I’m sure these added sales will far exceed the marketing costs and notoriety gained. Given the benifit of doubt, it’s best to wait until tomorrow. And this is my rant for the day.

  46. ColoradoKid Says:

    I for one think we can pretty much sum up GM’s attempts at marketing the C7 the same way we can sum up everything GM’s done of late ;

    ” Good Enough …… isn’t good enough anymore ”

    Fact is the World has moved on and if GM expects to keep up / pretend to be World Class / Compete with the World around them..they darn well better step up to the plate ….. Big Time … or the results will be obvious . Extinction . Plain and Simple

    Come to think of it . Thats been GM’s problem for the last thirty odd years ;

    Head in the Sand Syndrome

    Rant over .. till Wednesday

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    #44

    re;#28

    On the cost comparison …. agreed … but its still damn expensive

    On the reliability I wouldn’t place any bets on that …. having friends owning all you’ve mentioned .

  48. C-Tech Says:

    @ #45 Agreed!

  49. C-Tech Says:

    @ #47 I’m a tech, you’re not, worked on it, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Trump card!

  50. Alex Kovnat Says:

    Re the Corvette, I’d like to make a proposal:

    Equip the C. with a powerful alternator/motor, not only so much for making a Corvette hybrid but also, to provide electric power for traction motors driving the front wheels, so as to provide 4 wheel drive when you need it, like on slippery roads. Also, if you put more torque into one front wheel than the other, you can control steering dynamics to create less or more understeer (or perhaps even oversteer), depending on what you want at any given moment.

    If you use the front wheel traction motors for regenerative braking, you can meet some of your car’s electric power needs when going downhill. And, if you provide room for batteries or ultracapacitors, you can provide launch assist. The idea is not so much to improve what is already the Corvette’s more-than-adequate acceleration, as to reduce power demand on the engine during vehicle launch and thus, reduce fuel consumption a little.

    What would I call this version of the Corvette? How about CorVolt? I know I’m making a few people’s eyes roll to the ceiling, but …. what’s wrong with ideas as mischievous cherubs tweeking our cheeks?

  51. C-Tech Says:

    # @50 Call Lutz, that’s a drivetrain to save Fisker.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #39,
    My Beretta had the 2.2 four cylinder and 5-speed manual. It had adequate power, and got decent mpg for the time.

  53. john 878 Says:

    It’s quite obvious Peter De Lorenzo does not like GM. I know when Ackerson first took over, nasty things were said about him. Now it’s with the new Corvette, where most of the media are raving about. Peter, can you not say anything good about GM? I think GM should get a littler praise for improving what already was a great product. I know because I own a new Corvette.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    More than disliking GM, I think Peter is just frustrated that they aren’t doing some things better than they are. I feel that way too.

  55. john 878 Says:

    I failed to mention about GM’s marketing, it needs a lot to be desired. The TV ads are inferior over the competitors. Ford and the others are blasting GM with exaggerated ads. GM should expose Ford and let people know Ecoboost is nothing more than DI/turbo-charging which Ford was years late into the game with it and gave it a name Ecoboost. It should have been called “EcoBoast” instead.LOL