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Episode 1066 – Daimler’s 2012 Earnings, Plastic Windows, Aluminum Prices to Surge

February 7th, 2013 at 11:49am

Runtime: 8:50

Daimler reported its earnings for 2012 this morning and the numbers are solid, but not anything like some other manufacturers. Automakers are making another run at using plastic windows, but they can pose some real issues. Carmakers are using more and more of one common material, but that is going to lead to higher prices. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Sean McElroy takes a look at the new 2014 Kia Forte.

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Welcome to Autoline Daily. We’ve got reports on new products, new technology, and the latest earnings, so let’s get to it.

DAIMLER DEPOSITS SOME PROFITS
Daimler reported its earnings for 2012 this morning and the numbers are solid, but not anything like the strong earnings we’ve seen from other automakers. The company sold 2.2 million cars, trucks, vans and busses for the year, up 4 percent. By the way, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars accounted for 1.4 million of the total. Revenue was up by 7 percent to about $140 billion. Net profit was up 8 percent to $8.5 billion. However, earnings before income taxes, or EBIT, actually fell 2 percent for Daimler, and at Mercedes EBIT fell 15 percent. Daimler’s board is expected to extend the contract of CEO Dieter Zetsche for another 5 years, but under his watch Daimler is falling behind BMW by almost any way you measure it.

RAM BACK IN THE VAN BUSINESS
Back when Dieter ran Chrysler he got the company to start selling the Sprinter van. Now that Dieter’s gone and Sergio is running the show, Chrysler is getting a new commercial van to sell. Meet the Fiat Ducato, I mean the Ram ProMaster. The unibody vehicle is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases and four body lengths. Powering comes from a 3.0 liter four-cylinder diesel or a 3.6 liter V-6 gasoline engine. Two transmissions are also offered, a six-speed automatic and an automated six-speed manual which uses an electro-hydraulic actuation system for gear shifts. Production of the ProMaster starts in the third quarter of the year at the company’s plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

RENAULT SCENIC XMOD
Renault is set to pull the wraps off its all-new crossover, the Scenic XMOD at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It gets more ground clearance, a new front end design and also boasts one of the largest interiors in its class with seats that are independent, folding and removable. It will feature Renault’s all-new traction control system called, Extended Grip, which allows the driver to choose from 3 different settings from a rotary control knob on the center console. The XMOD will be produced at the company’s Douai plant in France.

PLASTIC WINDOWS
Automakers are making another run at using plastic windows. That can take as much as 50 pounds of glass out of a vehicle. It also takes it out of the upper body of a vehicle, which lowers the center of gravity, and that improves handling.The 2014 Fiat 500L is one example of polycarbonate fixed side rear windows. Honda has also used them in the European market. I remember driving a Chrysler minivan test vehicle 20 years ago with plastic windows and they still have the same issues now is they did then. Plastic windows let a lot more road noise into the cabin. And while they’ve probably got this fixed by now, they can haze over just like you see many headlight lenses that look like they’ve got cataracts. Due to U.S. federal safety regulations, plastic cannot be used for door windows or windshields.

ALUMINUM PRICES TO SURGE
Speaking of materials, let’s talk aluminum. Automakers are using more and more of it, but that is going to lead to higher prices. Bloomberg reports that current aluminum prices are a third below what they were five years ago and that nearly a third of aluminum makers aren’t making money. But automotive aluminum usage is growing 5 percent a year and analysts say that will push prices up 30 percent by 2018.

LOUIS, MEET RUDOLPH
We’ve got a few more details on the Chevy Cruze diesel that will be sold in the American market. Of course, Chevy has sold half a million of these babies in other markets, so this diesel is well developed. It’s a 2.0 liter engine with 140 horsepower (110 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 NM) of torque. 0 to 60 mph takes 8.5 seconds, which Chevy claims is faster than the VW Jetta and comparable with other diesels available in the American market. It comes with a 6-speed automatic and is rated at 42 mpg on the highway. The price is $25,695, which includes the destination charges. And bravo to Chevrolet for quoting prices with the destination charges. Any other automaker that does not include destination is being dishonest in quoting its prices. BTW, if you want to get a lot more details about this car, tune in tonight for Autoline After Hours. Our guest is Josh Tavel from Chevrolet who will be able to answer all our questions.

2014 KIA FORTE
(Kia Forte can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Thanks for tuning in to today’s show, remember all you diesel fans, join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo tonight on After Hours when we’ll get a lot more info on the diesel version of the Chevy Cruze.

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109 Comments to “Episode 1066 – Daimler’s 2012 Earnings, Plastic Windows, Aluminum Prices to Surge”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    From yesterday’s comments: the Cruze diesel story on TTAC, I have been saying this for a long long time and get rebuffed every time, I can add and multiply as well as anyone with a calculator.

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    Daimler’s earnings being down a bit are due to slow sales in China : which many financial pundits today are saying should be a warning bell to any and all others doing automotive business on the Chinese mainland .

    Cruze ( and all ) Diesels ; Dollars and Cents ( sense )

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/if-youve-got-115-years-to-spare-the-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-makes-sense/#more-476648

    The dollars added up simply do not make sense . Conclusion ?

    Diesel Trucks in the US ? Absolutely

    Diesel passenger cars though ? Bad idea . Let the Euro’s delude themselves into thinking Diesels are a good idea …. while in fact they continue on the march to be …. more like us ( US – the rapid proliferation of SUV/CUV’s across the EU/UK )

    My ‘ Cruze ‘ diesel prediction ? Another sales flop in the making I’m afraid .

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro & CK: That really depends on the amount of driving,ie:lottsa miles makes it pay off over a shorter period.But for just everyday running around town,it’s just to expensive.PLUS,there are problems with the new and improved ‘clean diesels’ that once off warranty,can and do get expensive.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    If diesel fuel was priced like it used to be, below regular, then I can see the benefit, plus if you need to add urea as well plus 40 cents more than reg around these parts, it makes little sense.

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    @ Johnny M ;

    So whats with the current ‘ schadenfreude ‘ attitudes towards Daimler Benz of late : not to mention the over exuberance being displayed towards their German rivals .. BMW and Audi ?

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to the TTAC article the diff is 30 cents, around here it is more like 40 and even 50 cents difference, perhaps in one of those truck stops you could find a better price, but you’re gonna go out of your way?

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    No one has mentioned here the news yesterday that the father of the Prius came out saying EV’s are not “viable”. That’s like a dad calling his son a loser.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As most of you know I was really wanting a diesel pickup,compact one at that.Now,if they came out with one here,I wouldn’t touch one.A compact truck I could use,a diesel,I just don’t drive enough,or far enough to justify it anymore.Congrats to all oems who are now talking diesel,lmao,ya done lost this guys bidness,lmmfao.

  9. motorman Says:

    my son’s cruze eco shows high 40s MPG on the DIC running at interstate speeds. the diesel had better do better than that to justify the extra cost.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That is very disappointing that they are using the 2.0/automatic combination in the Cruze diesel, rather than the much more economical 1.7/manual. Yes, as TTAC and others say, it will not make economic sense for very many people, though, based on Euro fuel efficiency ratings, the 1.7/manual might.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7,
    I agree that pure EV’s are not “viable” as a do-everything car, but that doesn’t pertain to hybrids, which work very well as general transportation.

  12. Bradley Says:

    Toyota needs to combine the essence of a 98-2004 Tacoma, Quad-Cab, Subaru Diesel Engine and Subaru AWD.

    Get 35 Hwy MPG and incredible utility. Heck, I would sell it has a Subaru.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6,
    Where I got gas this morning on Merritt Island, diesel was 50 cents more a gallon, $3.949, vs $3.449 for regular. That’s almost 15%.

    For diesel cars to make sense in the U.S., they need to go for the smaller engines with REALLY HIGH MPG, and not worry about quick 0-60 times. The people who would buy these cars don’t care about 0-60 times. Many people buying the current VW TDI’s would rather give up a little acceleration, for the better mpg that some of the company’s smaller TDI’s would deliver.

  14. HtG Says:

    Compare the side view of that Kia Forte against the Dodge Dart. Which is which is which?

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    #14

    Gee HtG …. you’re not actually accusing KIA of Xerox design now …. are you ?

    Nahhh. Schreyer/KIA would never do that now …. would they ?

    Why … yes you are …. and yes he/they would ;-)

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    #8 So whats under consideration for the Branigan garage in the future then G.A. ?

  17. C-Tech Says:

    @ #14 HtG At first glance I thought it was a Dart too.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    The UK Cruze uses the 1.7 diesel and it gets really high mpg’s whenthe 70′s Rabbit diesel was getting over 40mpg no one complained about how slow it accelerated, whomever bought one, did so for the fuel savings,but back then diesel was cheaper than reg.

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Since my lady,as I found out,has been into prospecting most of her life.That changes my vehicular needs.I don’t need or want a full size PU.I will not buy a toyota or nissan (taco/frontier) as they are sadly lacking in under hood tech.I loved my 08 wrangler jk but the shear lack of quality and the constant recalls just got to me.The 12′s and 13′s are still pure junk,but upscale junk now so that would be a fall-back position for me.I’m interested in the new GM twins,but don’t know any of the specs as of yet.And my feeling are still butt-hurt from my less then stellar experience with my then new 07 colorado ext cab Z71 4×4.Capable when it ran,which wasn’t often.Also didn’t care for the pools (no exaggeration)of water in the footwells everytime it rained,and I live in the Pacific NW.So now that I took up every ones valuable time,the answer is…..I just don’t know right now.Whatever it will be,it should be my last hurray in this lifetime so I will “choose wisely”.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 1.7 Cruze is probably quicker than the ’02 Jetta TDI that I had, and my Jetta was quick enough. Yeah, I’m sure a lot of people would have considered it not quick enough, with its ~14 second 0-60 “sprint.”

    A friend had an ’84 Rabbit diesel, and it was too slow and noisy, even for me, but those took about 18-20 seconds 0-60.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the 1.7 diesel should be paired with the manual, but since Americans don’t buy manuals (early shipment Darts) it would be nuts for GM to sell it here.

  22. gary susie Says:

    I could have swore it was a Dart.

  23. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan – For your consideration ;

    To heck with the manufactures . Tell the greenies where to stuff it . Have one last final fling . Blow the kids inheritance ! Do the midlife crisis thing right and consider buying one of these ;

    http://www.icon4x4.com/

    You deserve it ! And living in the Pacific NW ( I used to live in Bellingham WA ) you’ll certainly have occasion to use it as well ! 8)

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21,
    VW has a fairly high “take rate” of manual transmissions with with their TDI cars, which would be the competition for the Cruze diesel, but yeah, a majority would want automatics.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23, Here’s a review of the CJ:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/automobiles/collectibles/27ICON.html?_r=0

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and the FJ:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/21/business/la-fi-mo-autos-saturday-drive-icon-fj40

  27. HtG Says:

    Yen on the move. Imagine the insider profits Mrs. Watanabe is earning. (no letters please, it’s a term)

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=USDJPY%3DX+Interactive#symbol=;range=5d;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #23 Leno did a couple of videos on those Icon’s.

  29. W L Simpson Says:

    I’m waiting for a medium CUV on a Tesla type
    platform,w/maybe,or not,a microgen emergency unit
    driven by compressed nitrogen. no bells or whistles —–34,900

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    And yet another nail in the E/V’s coffin ( sorry W L ) ;

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/better-place-proponent-of-e-v-battery-swapping-pulls-out-of-u-s-and-australia/?ref=automobiles

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should have used the 4.2 six from the TrailBlazer in the Icon FJ. It wouldn’t be as fast as the V8, but, especially since they are using Chevy engines, would be much more in the spirit of the vehicle, given that the original FJ used a near-clone of the old “blue flame” six.

  32. Ivan Sears Says:

    S it just me, or has the old “longer, lower, wider” mantra from the 1960′s been given new life recently. It seems everyone’s new models are longer, lower and wider than their predecessors these days. The new Kia Forte is just one recent example. So, when is Dinah Shore coming back?

  33. RonE Says:

    Re: Cost of Diesel vs. Gasoline.
    I saw this in the March issue of Car & Driver.

    The is a response letter to an article by Editor Eddie Alterman of C & D.

    Tom Frieder, Reno NV, wrote: “…When I owned two VW diesels, a fellow diesel driver informed me that there was this little known tax credit for diesel cars & trucks. and farm vehicles, the reasoning being that cars aren’t as destructive to the highway infrastructure. I saved my fuel receipts and got back about $175 – $200 each year”

    This is the first I have heard of this tax credit but I’m sure someone on this site can enlighten me on it.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to the EPA website, diesel powered vehicles purchased after Dec 2010 are no longer eligible for this credit. Funny, and now everyone and their uncle wants to sell diesel cars over here.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    Good catch Pedro . Ten points for research of the day !

  36. Jonathan Says:

    I look forward to the results from the impending vw Jetta vs chevy cruise diesel …

    Diesels usually get real world mileage that surpasses EPA test results unlike most gas or hybrid vehicles…

    Tq is fun too. I hope the public goes hog wild for the new cruise.

    It may cost more but the extra hp and 00 lb ft of tq can not be denied….

    Sometimes it’s not just the pennies that matter.

    Thanks for great reporting Sean McElroy!

    Great show

  37. RonE Says:

    #34, Thanks Pedro.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    #37 there is something in the IRS rules but I believe it’s only for non_highway (farming) use. Trucks and cars need not apply, unless you have a farm and claim the diesel you use for your car as diesel for farming equipment. (cheating on your filing)

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan

    Or alternatively … consider one of these ;

    http://www.orvis.com/intro.aspx?subject=9294

    Got to be honest … every time I look at this and the company making them’s website ….. I do start thinking seriously about ……. and then the wife steps in ;-)

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA, I guess they go for about $50 or $60k Am I right?

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oops I meant CK

  42. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 40

    Hee hee ! Thats OK pedro . If I can mis spell Bejma’s name for going on two months you sure as heck can grab the wrong moniker with me .

    From what I understand ( may have secretly placed a call or two ) yeah from around $40k on up for a fully done over one .

  43. shan Says:

    Wonder how many folks will accidentally fill their Chevy Diesel Cruze with gas. I think that model would be great for towing a small trailer. Did anyone notice those tiny brake rotors on the 2014 Kia Forte?

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember those Grand Wagoneers when they were new, and they were considered quite crude, in terms of refinement, as they neared the end of their production run in the early 90′s. Still, it’s understandable that they have a following. They kept their vent windows clear to the end. My ’86 VW Golf Cabriolet is one of the latest cars to have vent windows.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s is the inventory for those Wagoneers:

    http://wagonmaster.com/complete.htm

    Most of them are “woodies.”

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Unless you are really unobservant, you probably wouldn’t accidentally put gas in a diesel. The “car” diesel nozzles are noticeably larger than the ones for unleaded gas, the same size as the old leaded gas nozzles. The ones for trucks are really big, to flow lots of fuel to fill 100 gallon tanks quickly.

    I only used one of the “big rig” pumps once while I had my Jetta TDI, and got about 75 mpg that tank. It wasn’t that the car did that much better than its usual ~44 on the interstate. What happened, is that I had to barely squeeze the valve on the nozzle to keep it from constantly shutting off, and the pump, designed for high flow, greatly under-metered my fuel.

  47. HtG Says:

    44 see that Seafoam green one, Kit? I’d believe you if you said I had been in that exact one 30 years ago. So American.

  48. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit

    Yeah they were a bit dated by the end of their lifespan … but dang if they still don’t look great today ! Seriously you’ll never mistake a GW for anything else on the road .

    Talking to the guys who redo them they do claim their rebuilds drive a lot nicer than the originals … but I can’t say first hand . Found my notes from when last I called ( 2011 ) and they had a real humdinger available then for $39,500 . Still gotta say …. it was awfully tempting ….. awfully tempting

  49. HtG Says:

    46 lol on the 75mpg

  50. Dwight Barnes Says:

    This was posted late and might not have been read by most. It is another great opinion. All opinions welcome.

    Dave Foley Says:
    February 7th, 2013 at 12:25 am
    #73. PMD. So focused on being negative.

    For all the bla bla about gifting and all that stuff, if SM is the “Opportunist of the Century”, why isn’t PMD calling every single other executive the “Idiot In Charge Of The Century!!”?

    Who else was in a position to bail out Chrysler? Who else had a small car platform that could be adapted to NA market? Who else was interested in anything that was in the ‘pipeline’ enough to see it through to production, instead of just poaching the technology, and installing it on their own vehicles. No one, that’s who.

    Peter’s vitriolic replies to anyone that shows any positive comments on Chrysler completely undermine his own comments on not only Chrysler, but other manufacturers programs.

    I usually agree wholeheartedly with PMD’s assessments, but his latest attack on an AAH “GUEST!!” Dave Kiley who simply expressed his opinion, shows he is more focussed on being belligerent, than being fair. I’m sorry but a 2 line compliment in Peter’s post about the ‘true believers’, isn’t what anyone would call a fair.

    It’s odd that the bone of contention of PMD seems to surround SM’s and PG’s ego, and self promotion. First off, isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? Also, name me one auto executive that isn’t largely a self promotor. Everybody’s favourite exec Bob Lutz surely isn’t shy about it, now is he?

    Peter either needs to have a fistfight with SM, and PG and get it over with, or sit down and be quite when anything Chrysler comes up. He is undermining his own credibility by continuing to attack in this manner.

  51. HtG Says:

    50 I don’t find that comment anywhere except here, Dwight

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    OK folks . Time for the ‘ Kid ‘ to rise up in a bit of a rage both against Mr Barnes comment as well as in defense of our Pietro ;

    Mr Barnes ;

    Unlike PMD I am not restricted as to what opinions i might place in the public eye and being more than a bit of an insider when it comes to FIAT SpA and all their holdings … please allow me to rebut your claims in number 50

    Suffice it to say from what you’re saying here you in fact have very little or no clue what so ever as to the mess Marchionne’s making of both Chrysler and the whole of FIAT SpA ( with the exception of Ferrari as the Elkann’s and the Ferrari board won’t allow the stronz within a hundred miles of FIAT )

    You’ve obviously not paid attention to the Fact that Marchionne did not SAVE Chrysler … but was in fact GIVEN Chrysler by the US government .

    Obviously you’ve missed out on SM’s constant and consistent string of lies to both the US Canadian and Italian governments as well as their Unions

    Somehow the fact that the only reason Marchionne is still in charge of FIAT SpA is because the Elkann’s are too lazy to get involved and SM is well ‘ connected ‘ if you get my drift … both politically and otherwise ( though with Berlusconni’s exit Marchionne’s position of late has become rather tenuous ) has escaped you

    You may of also missed out on how SM at this very moment is trying to rip off the Chrysler UAW of its entire pension plan … just so he can access Chryslers current cash reserves for his own doing .

    As far as Chrysler ‘ coming up ‘ have a look at their REAL books just for a minute and then tell me how up and coming they are …. not to mention FIAT SpA’s which despite all SM’s lies and misdirection still show the World FIAT is all but DOA

    Oh and then inquire with the EU Bankers – Hedge Fund managers etc as to why every time SM requests an IPO for FIAT SpA they laugh in his face ( literally )

    Marchionne is in fact a two faced lying ego maniac who is damned and determined thru his own stupidity due to his lack of knowledge as to the running of ANY business to bring FIAT and Chrysler to extinction . Which he will accomplish in good time UNLESS the Elkann’s finally step up to the plate and decide to defend their inheritance .

    BTW I’ll lay odds should PMD and SM ever go toe to toe . PMD will take SM down in 30 seconds or less .

    Basta !

  53. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hey guys,thanx for all the suggestions for a new vehicle.I have seen a video of the icon just the other day.The one thing they have in common is they are big…..too big.Some of the places we will be going to would be a real tight squeeze for a full size reg cab,short box pu.That’s why the JK was such a great all purpose vehicle,and why I’m still pissed that they are still junk.It’s the perfect size for what we will do,and go,yet I do not trust ant jeep products anymore because of the poor build quality.It kind of narrows down my choices,at least right now it does.I would love to see the specs on the new Colorado.

  54. ColoradoKid Says:

    paragraph 2 should of read ;

    ” … within a hundred miles of Ferrari “

  55. G.A.Branigan Says:

    BTW,the mpg on my last silverado 4×4 both hwy. and around town matched that of the JK with the 3.8L v6.My chebby had the 5.3L v8.

  56. HtG Says:

    52 I didn’t want to take this bait, CK, but…

    Isn’t it the JEEPS and trucks that are making bank for the company? Not the small cars. And isn’t SM’s strategy to get to 5.5million worldwide units in order to be viable? FIAT got saved, too.

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan

    Damn those fools at JEEP ! You’re not the only one wanting but not buying . And things there are only getting worse the longer Marchionne’s running the show .

    Ugh ! Just the thought of that Suzuki SX4->FIAT 500L -> soon to be a JEEP turns my stomach .

  58. ColoradoKid Says:

    #56

    JEEP’s sales are down as well as their profits …. and the reason SM is trying to buy off the UAW’s pension plan stock at pennies on the dollar is so he can access Chrysler’s cash reserves to save FIAT SpA .. which the UAW aint agreeing to … therefore any claims that FIAT SpA has been saved are greatly over exaggerated .

  59. Dwight Barnes Says:

    CK

    As stated this is his opinion – obviously you have yours but – it is your opinion.

    All opinions welcome.

    Thank you very much.

    Dwight Barnes.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47, HtG, I like the seafoam green, and also the stainless steel wheel covers on that one.

  61. ColoradoKid Says:

    Mr Barnes

    Sorry … but those aren’t my opinions . Those are verified and very well documented facts .

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding Chrysler, I guess I’m more into cars, than the personalities involved. I like the 300 and Charger, for what they are, and I hope the ‘true believers’ PDL mentions can sustain their morale through through whatever is to come.

  63. HtG Says:

    61 he’s trying to start a fight, ck. Check the reference for his post, feb7 12:25am

  64. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    Thanks for the heads up ! I should of recognized that from his utter lack of verifiable into – misquotes and overly anti PMD bias

    Bait not taken .

    Molto grazie !

  65. G.A.Branigan Says:

    2014 Toyota Tundra:Nooz flash……..ain’t worth looking at,and the frame problems haven’t been addressed yet,the entire driveling is still untouched,and they stole a whole F150 interior and put it in their attempt at an all new tundra.An epic fail,or so it’s being said…..

  66. Dwight Barnes Says:

    CK
    Bait not taken ??

    It was the man’s opinion.

    I forgot – yours is the only one that is correct.

  67. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Tonights show was good…..real good.

  68. HtG Says:

    that was nutso, GA

  69. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    daimler-benz results for 2012. they are ok, but they have some serious problems facing them. they can reuse their slogan, “the best or nothing”, their real problem is that they are not perceived as special anymore. and this dates back to the first generation c-klasse. which was heavily criticized for its lack of perceived and real quality. similar to the e36 for bmw when it was launched compared to the e30.

    renault scenic xmod. another crossover for europe that will probably do rather well for renault.

    plastic windows? no thank you. until they can insulate from road and wind noise, and stay clear, not for me.

    aluminum prices. you bet that they will increase because of basic supply and demand. with the cafe standard of 54 mpg, aluminum will be employed in increasing amounts.

    chevrolet cruze 2.0 td. when it comes to diesels in america, as much as one wants it to come in the same trim levels as the gas version does, for right now it does not make much sense. this is a big question mark. if gm can have this a relatively successful car, then we may see more variants. this is a loaded car for the money. and apparently, this is the only way gm might make money on this. so, stay tuned.

    2014 kia forte. a nice vehicle. much more sober styling than the elantra. different engines. and that is ok. too bad the 1.6 turbo is only available as far as i know in the forte hatchback. and the greenhouse has similarities to the dart. every car in this segment has similarities in the greenhouse profile.

    dave foley says. i did not see that post either. however, if he did post it, he is not the only one who observed the last week. what “he” (in parentheses because i did not see it myself) said is basically correct. he did not comment on what pmd said regarding chrysler and sm, rather the manner in which it is being said. regardless of who you are, if you are making comment on a person, place, or thing with vitriol; and attack another person because they make a positive comment on said person, place, or thing; you attack them because they do not have the same “hatred” as they do (even though you may have a valid point), you automatically destroy any credibility in your argument. having said that, i do see and understand the argument pmd has toward sm.

    sm, chrysler and fiat. (1) the ecm is beyond his control. (2) of course the agnelli family is not going to let him near ferrari for that is the jewel in the agnelli empire. (3) of course sm wishes that he could transfer some of the cashflow from chrysler to fiat to solve fiat’s issues. no executive in his position would wish otherwise. (4) fiat has been in trouble for many decades. not because of design or engineering. but for administration and accounting. much like gm has been for decades. (5) i hope that fiat has a succession plan when mr. marchionne retires for all five of the companies under fiat control. (6) in relation to number 5, chrysler is more likely to go on and succeed than fiat. i do not see anyone within fiat auto or fiat industrial to succeed mr. marchionne. that is the real problem at the top. (7) what mr. marchionne has brought to chrysler is a measure of stability that they have not had for a decade. that is what he has brought for now. and a chance for chrysler to succeed. (8) fiat may have been given a “gift”, but they still had to put in money to see through the plans cerberus had for chrysler vehicles but refused to inject chrysler with capital

    oh, no fight started here. everyone’s opinion expressed here is respected by me. and mr. delorenzo, you do have valid points in your last post regarding mr. marchionne, chrysler and fiat.

    thank you autoline daily, autoline after hours, and thank you everyone. have a good night.

    regards,
    vrmchris

  70. vrmchris Says:

    oops, quotation marks.

  71. vrmchris Says:

    oops, same “hatred” as you do. proofreading after submission. smh.

  72. HtG Says:

    Morning Link

    coverage of F1 testing at Jerez, day one. 13min

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfAWmAlRs-c

  73. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG ;

    Autosport has it all live as it happens ….

    BTW … who or what it this vmchris as well as this Barnes character ? VM seems to only post well into the night … with some thoroughly annoying delusion that he/she/it is some kind of peace maker as well as an expert … on anything … and from what I found yesterday on the ALD search engine this Barnes character only seems to appear on the very rare occasion and always in a contentious mood towards one person or another .

    Any clues as to either ?

  74. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    PS; Duck my friend . Finding ” Nemo ” is looking like a major league N’orEaster blow and heading your way fast .

  75. ColoradoKid Says:

    Marchionne….. BWTM !

    How I forgot this little tid bit when rebutting Mr Barnes very uninformed comment ( now joined by vmchris’s even more uninformed comment ) is beyond me .. but here it is .

    In case anyones forgotten …… last November and again this January Marchionne came crawling on hands and knees to the Italian PM’s office … begging for a bailout from the Italian government ala the one France had just granted PSA

    The ‘ official ‘ take from that last meeting was the PM telling Marchionne a very loud .. NO .. along with the comment ” if you need money so bad … take it from your Chrysler holdings ” ( hence Marchionne trying to buy the Chrysler UAW’s pension stocks for pennies on the dollar so he can then by law access Chrysler’s reserve funds )

    The ‘ insiders ‘ take on the meetings was the PM almost fell out of his chair laughing , then throwing Marchionne out of his office saying he’d rather see FIAT SpA go bankrupt than throw one single more Italian euro away on a company with no future

    Basta ;-)

  76. HtG Says:

    Nemo is already here, but it’s Boston that will get it. Long Island will be out in the high winds. I hear there’s a thousand power crews prepositioned in the storm’s path.

    The Barnes guy may get me to take a few HyundaiSmoke type shots, but why encourage him? vrm is upfront

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CK, formerly tj seems to be rather critical of others, considering that he/she/it isn’t very upfront about his/her/its identity either.

  78. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit ;

    Glad you sussed that out … and hope you’ve seen a major change in attitude to go with it … especially as it pertains to exchanges between you and I ;-)

    BTW its not the anonymous moniker thats got me wondering/concerned and/or critical … but rather the odd posts by one at very odd hours ( vmchris ) and the fact that the other very rarely rises up only to try and create conflict ( Barnes )

    Anonymous can be a good thing on the Net these days ( e.g. HtG etc ) Odd and/or intentionally contentious is another kettle of fish indeed .

  79. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hope all these Subie drivers heed the warnings and stay home, best of luck HtG!!

  80. ColoradoKid Says:

    BTW Kit .. the he/she/it thing is in relation to the very androgynous stylings of vmchris’s writing , attitudes and comments .

  81. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hmmm…..I love a mystery.Morning all.

  82. HtG Says:

    78 HtG has powerful ‘frienemies,’ in ‘real life’ and you’ll find my name on the web if you’re lucky or wait till March

  83. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe vmchris posts at “odd hours” because of work hours, living somewhere other than the Americas, or, like me, is retired, and sometimes operates on a late schedule.

  84. ColoradoKid Says:

    testing

  85. ColoradoKid Says:

    Hmmn . Tried to explain the TJ /CK thing but the system squashed it . Maybe another time .

    Kit – I’m questioning not insinuating when it comes to vm

  86. cwolf Says:

    CK, I too heard the PM laughed at Marchionne’s request. I understand the UAW wanted to sell off a small amount of stock for the purpose of est. a fair value and he objected to the idea.

    Barnes doesn’t surface much anywhere. I am puzzled by VM’s writting style; I mean it is not like we have a set of standards we have to follow! Why can’t vm use caps?

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s a chance to meet a famous Cadillac hater, if you donate to the central Florida NPR station:

    http://www.wmfe.org/site/PageServer?pagename=anthony_bourdain_event

    Actually, I’ve heard that he is mostly over hating Cadillac, but still has issues with the Travel Channel.

  88. cwolf Says:

    Hey! As long as you were not HS in a prior life, you can be anyone you want and it’s fine with me.

  89. T. Bejma Says:

    #78

    “Major” change? Not quite…

    Still insulting (“uninformed”) and against any other opinion that is not your own. That sounds a lot like the old tj…

  90. Kit Gerhart Says:

    86,

    Vm’s post is mostly well written, except for not using caps. I’ve known people, including well educated people, who never use caps in e-mails, while generally using correct grammar, etc. I don’t do that, but I can sort of understand people doing it.

    Some of my posts here are from my smart phone, which makes it almost automatic to place a period at the end of a sentence, and capitalize the start of a sentence by hitting the “space bar” twice.

  91. pedro fernandez Says:

    #87 I’m no fan of this moron, he did a report from Cuba and he was not precise in his reporting of the situation over there, I can’t stand people who fail to be accurate when it helps their agenda.

  92. pedro fernandez Says:

    Anyone knows which ATS version is available for rental lots? we are doing our evaluation next month or late Feb

  93. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma ;

    I’ve not once insulted you as CK … whereas you’ve many a time lately called me ‘ clueless ‘ etc along with a few comments that slipped by the autocensor ( I’ve called you o that going on five times now btw ) And FYI T … its only on GM that we come to loggerheads . Other than that I thoroughly enjoy your comments and our exchanges and really do think you most likely a decent guy underneath the GM thing .

    FYI Kit …. admit it …. reading vm’s stuff there is something distinctly ‘ off ‘ about it . Something ….. errrr …. not right … at least the way it comes off on the Web .Well written would be the furthest description I’d use for vm’s post . If I were to receive a personal communication written that way by someone I did not know all my radars would be on full alert . Possibly for no good reason . But alert never the less .

  94. Kit Gerhart Says:

    92,
    I’ve heard that Hertz will have “Luxury” trim level, with the base 2.5 non-turbo engine. Of course, it could vary with other rental companies.

  95. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “FYI Kit …. admit it …. reading vm’s stuff there is something distinctly ‘ off ‘ about it”

    I agree, in the case of the later part of the post.

    The first part, about MB, plastic windows, etc. made sense, but it kind of went downhill from there.

  96. ColoradoKid Says:

    91 -All public personalities on mainstream TV & Cable use the media to promote their own agenda …. and in Bourdain’s case much of what he did was his own honest opinion ….. when … the Travel Channel let him express it without editing .

    I know the man personally . He’s as blunt in the real as he is on TV … but he’s also a paid professional with a full staff dependent on him that was forced by the network to make many a compromise. Which is why after the Cadillac debacle he told TC where to stuff it … and moved his show to CNN where hypothetically he’ll have more freedom .

  97. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – The ‘ Benz ‘ thing was more than just a bit inaccurate . As I posted yesterday all Benz’s current lack of sales numbers stems from the China market . And every financial pundit is saying that is the future for every other auto maker doing business there as well .

  98. Kit Gerhart Says:

    93, Vm’s post was well written in that it was mostly easy to understand, and had mostly proper spelling. There were sentence fragments, missing subjects, etc. as in a lot of other posts here.

    The no caps thing, to me, indicates a bit of laziness.

  99. pedro fernandez Says:

    When he did his report from Castrolandia, he showed an open air market where all kinds of foods were available for purchase w/o any limits or rations and also a home based restaurant that had all kinds of goodies available for diners to choose from, what he failed to mention once is the fact that both the market and eatery only accept the evil, imperialistic dollar, thus making it almost impossible for the general public to partake in, only tourists and those who get money from their degenerate relatives who fled paradise years before.

  100. ColoradoKid Says:

    BTW – And yes thank God I/we are back in Colorado … gone from KCMO…. for good . We’ve ” Run ( back ) to the Hills ” and we aint a goin nowhere anytime soon ! Home is where the heart is and despite my being a Joisey boy by birth and beyond …. CO is home )

  101. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding the “Benz thing,” but not related to vm’s post, or China. To me, that CLA is a big mistake.

    I really like some versions of existing MB cars that are not sold in the U.S., and I’d consider buying them, but I, pretty definitely would not be interested in the CLA. That car seems to be the wrong way for MB to move “down market,” if that is what they are wanting to do.

  102. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – As I said …. thats his opinion … not the full and accurate facts . Facts and TV especially of late being in diametric polar opposition .

    If I’d of been around here during that episode you can bet I’d of asked you what the facts really were . For the record Bourdain over exaggerated the ‘safety ‘ of traveling in Columbia more than just a bit as well . But ….again …. that was his ‘ opinion ‘ . Not the ‘ facts ‘

  103. C-Tech Says:

    @ #92 Pedro, here in Central FL., Hertz is using ATS, 3.6L, Auto. That is the one I test drove.

  104. Kit Gerhart Says:

    99, Thanks for the insight.

    I know Canadians who have gone to Cuba on vacation, and have really enjoyed it. I don’t know if they aren’t aware, or don’t care how different things are for tourists, compared to people who live there.

  105. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – You and I are in total agreement on that one ( 101 ) I’d much rather buy a stripped down E/U ‘ Taxi Cab ‘ version of an E or C -Class than the GLA – CLA or any of its upcoming derivatives

    What really makes no sense IMO is the GLK ‘ Off Road ‘ ( stripped a bit with better GC – lower price etc ) I can buy in Germany …. where there’s not a heck of a lot of ‘ Off Road ‘ to be had …. that I cannot buy here …. where there’s more ‘ Off Road ‘ than I could ever hope to drive in a lifetime .

  106. Kit Gerhart Says:

    103,
    It sounds like Hertz are renting different versions.

    From the tests I’ve read, the 3.6 auto is the best version, and is the one I drove at a dealer, and liked.

  107. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The C wagon with a diesel and manual, or maybe one of the 4 cylinder gas power trains is the Benz I’d like.

    Yeah, a “taxi” version of the E-Class would be a nice car. They might be able to sell it for not much more than they’ll want for the CLA, and I’d much rather have the “E.”

    I suppose they think the “off road” GLK would dilute the brand, but, to me, the CLA will dilute the brand a lot more than de-contented versions of their current cars ever could.

  108. pedro fernandez Says:

    Can’t wait for this review, we plan to go to the Keys and then take a jaunt into the everglades. I have a feeling this is gonna be one terrific ride, the last Caddy I drove was a 86 DeVille, YUK!

  109. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Is this CK’s next vehicle, the new, improved GLK?

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130208/CARREVIEWS/130209904?utm_source=DailyDrive20130208&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=image3&utm_content=20130208-2013-Mercedes-Benz-GLK350-review-notes&utm_campaign=awdailydrive

    AW mostly liked it, but those options can really add up.