Episode 1070 – PSA Posts Big Loss, Not-so-Better Place, Plants Nearing Maximum Capacity

February 13th, 2013 at 11:52am

Runtime: 9:12

PSA posted its financial earnings for last year and the numbers were as bad as we were expecting. Better Place is the company that sets up stations where batteries for EVs can be swapped for a fully charged one, or at least it was. In another sign the auto industry in the U.S. has recovered from the recession, car plants in North America nearly hit 100 percent capacity utilization last year. All that and more, plus host John McElroy gets to some of your questions and comments in today’s edition of You Said It!

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Welcome to Autoline Daily, let’s get to the news.

PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen posted its financial earnings for last year and the numbers were as bad as we were expecting. Sales of fully assembled and CKD vehicles reached 2.9 million units, down 17 percent from the year before. Revenue came to about $72 billion down over 5 percent. And the hit really came on the bottom line. In 2011 PSA posted a net profit of about $764 million. Last year that plummeted to a loss of $6.5 billion. And remember PSA received $400 million from GM last year to partner up on vehicle development programs, so that makes these numbers all the worse.

Uh-oh, things aren’t looking good for Better Place. That’s the company that is setting up stations where batteries for EVs can be swapped for a fully charged one, or at least it was. The company is winding down its operations in North America and Australia. It will focus on Denmark and Israel instead because of a better infrastructure and more demand. Due to Better Place’s decision, Renault is delaying the launch of its Fluence EV in Australia.

In another sign the auto industry in the U.S. has recovered from the recession, car plants in North America nearly hit 100 percent capacity utilization last year. According to WardsAuto, a number of automakers started running 3 shifts which pushed capacity utilization to 97 percent in 2012. Mexico had the highest rate at 124 percent, Canada followed at 99.6 percent and the U.S. was third at 91 percent. The general rule of thumb is the break even point for the industry is 80 percent capacity utilization. Anything above that is pure profit.

Sales of Mitsubishi vehicles have been terrible in the U.S., but its North American chairman, Gayu Uesugi, says they’re staying put. For the first time since 2005, the Japanese automaker will be advertising in prime time TV, with ads set to begin in June or July.

One of the most iconic sports cars in history celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the Porsche 911. It first made its debut as the Type 901 at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963, has sold over 820,000 units and Porsche claims the 911 has notched two thirds of its 30,000 race victories.

We’re always on the lookout for rare, old or just plain strange cars that you, our viewers, find out there in the world. We call ‘em Barn Finds. This week’s selection comes from Gary Magarian who took a photo of this royal blue looker in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “It appears to be British,” he says, “but what make is it, and when was it made?” Well, we figured it out, but can you? Send us your best guesses, and we’ll reveal the correct answer on Friday. Don’t forget, if you find a car or anything else automotive-related that you think would make a good head-scratcher for Barn Finds, send it our way. Just e-mail viewermail@autoline.tv.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

Jeff Perry heard our report on BMW selling Husqvarna and says, “I grew-up saying it: Husk-uh-varna. But in recent TV commercials in the U.S. it’s pronounced: Husk-varna.”

Buzzerd pipes in to add, “John – it’s not HUSQ-A-VARNA, just HUSQ-VARNA. People always want to add an A in there.” Yeah it’s almost impossible to pronounce without adding an A in there. To go from the K sound to the V sound your tongue, throat and mouth have to transition from a glottal stop to a voiced fricative. That transition hard to do without exhaling which can sound like adding an extra A. Sorry, but I studied linguistics in college.

Don From NJ, “Saw the Alfa Romeo 4C and it looks good. But I see prices between 40,000-50,000 Euros for a 230hp 4 banger. If I were a meat eating American I think I would rather have a Corvette Stingray and then proceed to beat the little Alpha that couldn’t, in everything, including a lower monthly payment. What say you John?” Well, as my mother always taught me, that’s why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Different people have different tastes. I’ll wait until I taste both the Alfa and the Vette before I decide which I like better.

Will Beck is not at all impressed with the Chevy Cruze diesel. “All this talk about economy cars with diesel power has got me shaking my head. A $25,000 dollar Cruze? Burning a fuel that costs 70 cents a gallon more! I would buy a natural gas Civic before that.” Will, do the math. Right now the price of gasoline in the US, on average is $3.55 a gallon. Since diesels get 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable car with a gasoline engine that means diesel fuel would have to be over $4.60 a gallon to be at a price disadvantage. So if it’s 70 cents more, that would come to $4.25 a gallon, meaning it’s still cheaper to run a diesel. As for natural gas, go price out a Civic GX. It’s about $7,000 more than a gasoline Civic.

David Pate also weighed in saying, “The Chevy Cruze diesel costs $25,695 and gets 42 mpg highway and only comes in automatic? The Chevy Cruze Eco costs $19,680 and gets 42 mpg highway and comes in a 6-speed manual, and gas is ALOT cheaper than diesel. I don’t see the diesel selling.” Well, David did do the math and has a pretty strong argument.

JogBird was not impressed about the new Mini GP. “$40,000 for a Mini? ahahahahahaaaahahaahahahaa,” he says.

Admiral Ackbar is not at all impressed by GM’s use of shape memory alloys in the new Corvette. “Smart materials seem like a waste of time. Just use a small electric motor or a passive sort of flapper vent. We don’t need no stinkin fancy metals! Probably cost a fortune to replace.” Admiral, these SMA’s can package into much tighter spaces than an electric motor and they weigh a lot less. My prediction? You’re going to see a lot more applications in the very near future.

Cargogh liked our reports on the ACIS ignition system from Federal Mogul and how you can touch the spark. He says, “I learned the old ‘hold here and here’ trick with the spark plug from my older brother 45 years ago. ‘Knock you to the ground’ just reminded me of the evil grin he cast while reaching for the push mower’s starter rope.” Cargogh, I think we all know exactly what you’re talking about. And thanks again everyone, for your letters and comments.

And then, remember to join us tomorrow night for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be John Davis, the chief engineer on the Ford C-Max Energi. So, join me and the Autoextremeist, Peter De Lorenzo for some of the best insider information in the business.

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

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

108 Comments to “Episode 1070 – PSA Posts Big Loss, Not-so-Better Place, Plants Nearing Maximum Capacity”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    J.D. Power Reliability survey ;

    As always – Lexus #1

    Mercedes -Well Above average at #5

    BMW & Cadillac – Below average ( beware C-tech with that X5)

    With the likes of VW-Audi , Jaguar , Land/Range Rover , Chrysler and JEEP lurking at the very bottom end of things

    No surprises I’m afraid .


    As to PSA … well ….. no surprises there either in light of the French government last week all but approving a PSA bailout plan which includes some of the harshest austerity measures ever placed on an automaker by a Government when bailing them out .

  2. Wim van Acker Says:

    John, you said: “The general rule of thumb is the break even point for the industry is 80 percent capacity utilization. Anything above that is pure profit.”

    John, the OEM has to pay its suppliers (roughly 70% of revenue per car)and all materials it purchases itself to build the vehicle. So not pure profit.

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Jeep is right where it should be,at the bottom of everything.

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    Alfa Romeo 4C’s price tag ;

    $60,000 – $85,000

    Which means you’ll be lucky to get out the door for less than $75,000 .

    Much like its older sister , the Maserati based 8C no doubt : A joy to behold . A pain in the wallet – And not exactly a lot of fun to drive – but great for the well heeled poser who doesn’t know any better – Pass

  5. Wim van Acker Says:

    Barn find: a Jensen CV* Mark III Coupe?

  6. Wim van Acker Says:

    I meant: Jensen CV8 Mark III Coupe

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re: To Mr. Beck who would buy a CNG Civic over a Cruze diesel

    They both cost about the same, ~26K, but….

    With the Civic, you lose most of the trunk, you lose half of the range, and you can’t buy fuel many places, so “road trips” without lots of advance planning would be a non-starter.

    With the Cruze diesel, don’t lose any trunk, and you increase the range by about 30%, to ~600 miles per fillup, and you can easily find fuel,

    If you never go far from home, and have a fueling station in your garage, the CNG Civic could make sense, but as a “do everything” car, the CNG not much better than an EV.

  8. ColoradoKid Says:

    Yup ! A Jensen 63 CV8 it is . Nice catch WvA !

  9. Wim van Acker Says:

    #8: thanks. Looked up more info on that car, which I only saw on photos in the past: it was apparently the first Chrysler powered Jensen, with a 383 cu in (6.2 l) engine.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The JD Power dependability survey info is here:


    Scroll down to see the bar graph with the results by brand.

  11. Ron Paris Says:

    As for the Barn Find Jensen, check this out:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGbXJtQSE6w

  12. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    Ugh more financial numbers. John no more please! I almost fell asleep at the beginning of the show.

    Mitsubishi is going to advertise? What exactly? They have no products people will buy!

    Thanks for ansereing my question!

  13. JohnA Says:

    I too vote for the Jensen CV8.

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Wow,Chevy has a much higher rating then GMC.Go figure…

    Jeep,4th from the bottom.If they still allow the ‘special lunch breaks’,maybe jeep can replace land rover at the very bottom.There Jeep,something easily attainable for you.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lexus is so much better than the rest of the pack because they’re built in the same facilities and with the same suppliers that used to be Toyota cars. Jaguar is up and down like a yo-yo, recently they were near the top, now back down again, VW continues NOT to improve despite what the UK websites claim of superior reliability.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA Jeep lags because people take them off road and that causes all kinds of issues, don’t you think? BTW I don’t know what car that is, but I can predict that it has been in the repair shop quite a bit!

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Maybe the UK is getting the Tuesday through Thursday cars,and the USA gets the Monday and Friday dregs.

  18. ColoradoKid Says:

    #16 On road .. off road … doesn’t matter …. JEEP’s break … on a regular basis . Fact is with the Wrangler you don’t have to drive it at all . Just let it sit in the garage and wait for the rear suspension to fall off .

    #17 Nahhhhhh…. its much simpler than that G.A. ! They ( JEEP and JLR ) hire from the same ‘ gene ‘ ( or should that be ‘ jean ‘ ) pool ;-)

  19. GM Veteran Says:

    Well, CK brushed over the JD Power results pretty quickly. And here is why. The summary included some positive news for GM, which CK would not want to pass along due to his highly biased perspective. But for the rest of the gang, here are a couple of quick excerpts of what Power reported.

    “While both domestic brands and imports have seen increases in reliability, the once-pronounced gap between the two is narrowing. General Motors, for example, has received four segment awards for dependability, with honors going to the Buick Lucerne, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Sierra HD.”

    “Overall, Lexus ranks highest in dependability among all nameplates for the second year in a row. Toyota’s luxury division racked up just 71 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Porsche (94), Lincoln (112), Toyota (112), Mercedes-Benz (115), Buick (118), Honda (119), Acura (120), Ram (122) and Suzuki (122).”

    Wow, Buick comes in higher than Honda and Acura! Lincoln in third place, tied with Toyota. No wonder CK brushed over this so quickly.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    So if Jeeps back in WW II would have been as crappy as the ones today, we may all be speaking German today?

  21. Lex Says:

    Who at GM authorized the $400 million to partner with PSA? Off with his head! If you backout the $400 million GM gave to PSA, PSA lost $6.9 Billion last year. GM has a very bad habit of throwing good money after bad. Remember the FIAT Fiasco! GM should have simply invested that $400 million into it’s supplier base to improve the quality of materials used in it’s own vehicles.

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Nothing could be further from the truth.Jeep has many models (all are junk)and most are not designed for off road use,even if they have that dumbass ‘trail rated’ badge on them.Most people who buy jeeps do so because they ‘used’ to be tough and dependable in any weather,road conditions etc.The only jeeps that are designed for some off road use is the JK wranglers,and that doesn’t cover every trim level either.The only one specifically designed for off road use is the Rubicon model.Although most are extremely capable off road the rubi is king of the pile.I have had 3 new jeeps over the past 10 years and never needed to mod any of them.Of course I don’t go rock crawling either.It just ain’t my thing.Old mining trails and logging trails is where I go and a bone stock JK does just fine.The quality of parts is poor,as well as the fitment of those parts.Electrical glitchs,overheating of the auto trans,even the new 5 speed autos are having problems when coming out of 4 low.The 6 speed manuals have been,and continue to be junk,as the clutchs etc are.Hell they (jeep) just finally extended the warranty of the fuel tanks for the 07 and 08 (maybe higher too)due to the faulty in neck valves would malfunction and blow back gas all over you,and you couldn’t even fill up.Driveline noise and vibration on brand new JK’s just leaving the dealers lot.You wouldn’t believe the multitude of problems right from the factory Pedro.The list goes on too but I won’t,lol.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    The 3 Chrysler brands are near the bottom, I guess having Sergio Mussolini’s office next to the engineering dept has solved nothing! @GA: re-badged Jeeps don’t help matters either. Chrysler abused the Jeep name by using it in sub-par, Caliber-based crap.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA they may not be designed for off-road use, but many people buy them thinking that they can indeed, then they find out that they cannot handle the terrain

  25. Lex Says:

    When will we see solar panels integrated into the roof of your average car or truck? The Obama Administration could give those failing solar companies a new infusion of cash to retool for the automotive or marine applications. This would work well in the Southeast and Southwest regions of the country and on the ocean and water ways.

    I like the idea of John and Peter bringing in vehicle line product specialists on AAH. However, I must say Mr. Tavel from the Chevy Cruze camp should have brought in a new Chevy Cruze Diesel to the studio for that interview.

  26. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I believe WvA got it right, Jensen CV8 Mark III Coupe.

    Question, what does it mean when a factor runs at over 100% capacity? I know what happens when a sewage treatment plant runs at over 100% capacity… it is not a pretty picture.

  27. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Sorry, factory not factor.

  28. HtG Says:

    22 now that was a rant, GA. Auburn Hills salutes you.

  29. dcars Says:

    I think I can understand why GM wanted to partner with PSA, It’s modular platforms were probably second only to VW. I think the only question is if GM can acquire them with out getting involved with the French government.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    #22 That deserved an audience with Pope Sergio and demand an explanation and an apology for such a catastrophe coming out of a auto plant under his leadership.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Dcars based on the latest VW JD Power results, calling PSA platforms second only to VW is not such a glowing accolade.

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    My signature on a popular JK online place is “F*** the factory”.

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ahem Mr GM Veteran …. seeing as how I drive a Benz … which looking over the numbers is well ahead of anything GM … especially Cadillac …. not to mention so is Porsche ( which is strange ) methinks I was simply posting the basics .

    Kit was then kind enough to put up the link and well … don’t go making false assumptions and starting conflicts when in fact there are none to be had ……


    BTW Anyone at all surprised at the Hyundai/KIA twins lowly placement on the reliability charts ? I’m not !


    dcars – GM doesn’t have much of a choice . It was their bad getting involved with PSA to begin with …. any blind idiot could of seen what was coming in regards to PSA’s financial future back then ….. and now GM’s ( once again ) got a good dose of egg on their face and are going to have to deal with the consequences therein .


    As to G.A.’s JEEP rant …. may I add that a friend who worked at one of the local JEEP dealers when I lived in KCMO told me in any given month JEEP Wranglers were coming off the delivery trailer left and right with obvious , serious and blatant problems needing to be resolved before placing them on the showroom floor

    BTW G.A. Thanks for the ” don’t by the JEEP ” advice back when I was making that decision . Between you saving me a ton of stress and a bundle in migraine meds …… and HtG’s advice on the color choice ( did ya see my thanks from last night HtG ? ) the wife and I are driving the perfect car ….. for us at least .

    So molto grazie to you as well good sir

  34. ColoradoKid Says:



  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – BTW . Thats Emperor Marchionne to the likes of you and I good sir :o

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People seem to be forgetting this, but there is not that much difference among the bulk of the brands in the JD Power results. If you remove the two clear outliers at the top, Lexus and Porsche, and remove the two outliers at the bottom, Land Rover and Dodge, you find that the bottom ranking of the remaining brands has only .66 more problems per 100 cars, than Toyota and Lincoln, which are tied at number 3. That’s not much.

    As far as Jeep, yeah, they are near the bottom, and G.A. has had bad experiences with them, but I know several people who have them, mostly in Indiana, and they haven’t had many problems.

  37. dcars Says:

    Hi Pedro, Modular platforms are the issue. I don’t care for VW, but they are making lots of cash using this technology. GM wanted all of PSA’s platforms and they got most of them at a bargain basement price. They couldn’t engineer their own modular platforms for as little as they paid PSA. GM’s problem is what to do with Opel now that they have PSA.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lincoln is most likely due to their low numbers, Kit is right, but still you have to wonder about VW and their quest for world domination with consistently bad showing in JD and CR as well, not to mention all the horror stories I’ve heard from VW owners.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    #37 precisely, you would think this way should produce better and more consistent quality since there is so much platform sharing, but it doesn’t. At least not in the States, I don’t know about Europe.

  40. Todd T Says:

    Quote: “David Pate also weighed in saying, “The Chevy Cruze diesel costs $25,695 and gets 42 mpg highway and only comes in automatic? The Chevy Cruze Eco costs $19,680 and gets 42 mpg highway and comes in a 6-speed manual, and gas is ALOT cheaper than diesel. I don’t see the diesel selling.” Well, David did do the math and has a pretty strong argument.”

    All of the math? Cruze Eco delivers 138 horsepower with 148 lb.-ft. of torque. Cruze diesel delivers 148 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s 10 more horsepower and a whopping 110 more lb.-ft. of torque, and it’s delivered pretty much below 2,000 RPM. Cruze diesel also has an overboost feature capable of increasing torque up to 280 lb.-ft. for as long as 10 seconds for additional passing power.

    Indeed they both are rated at a HWY mileage of 42, however the diesel does it with an automatic transmission, so again to make the comparison valid you would have to compare auto-to-auto, which changes the number for the ECO to 39 MPG.

    Only real world driving will determine which one comes closer to actually delivering on the numbers, but given VW’s long history of doing just that with TDI, my money there is on the diesel as well.

    Comparing prices of a manual with an automatic is apples to oranges. The price of an Eco Automatic is $21,685 (including $810 freight, which has been included in the quoted diesel price), not $19,690 (which isn’t even the MSRP for a manual ECO either, it’s 20,490). We also, don’t know if the equipment levels are the same, or if there will be more features as standard on the diesel than their are on the ECO. Either way, using price when it’s an unknown quantity is dubious.

    Diesel is more money, and in reality it would probably end up a wash long term in terms of absolute costs. But, I am certain the diesel will be more satisfying to drive. Shame on GM for not making that point more valid by offering a manual transmission option.

  41. HtG Says:

    33 I saw it, CK. Did you see me turn red? BTW, is Franz named after FK?

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    #40 if the diesel engine provides more years of reliable life to the Cruze, then it is worth it, I’ve seen many Merc diesels from the 80′s drive on for half a million mile or so.

  43. ColoradoKid Says:


    # 1 GM doesn’t ‘ have ‘ PSA … they’re engaged in a very costly partnership with them which btw can be dissolved at a moments notice by either PSA or the French government .

    #2 Had GM’s decision makers been paying attention they’d of known PSA’s platforms are not selling …. at all … because they are not competitive …. which is why PSA is in such dire straights . So why GM wanted them is beyond all ( including the EU and UK press’s ) comprehension

    #3 What GM will do with OPEL is what they’ve done with everything from Olds and Pontiac right down to SAAB . One way or another they’ll shut the doors on them . While the Australian government shuts Holden down for them

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    This report once again proves that Land Rover repeat buyers are certified masochists.

  45. ColoradoKid Says:


    Ja ! Herr Franz Klammer ! Seeing as how we knew we were moving back to CO – the Austria connection with Vail – Franz’s white as a high country snowstorm as well as AWD – and FK was Niki Lauda’s favorite athlete of all time ( with Niki being my fav F1 driver )

    I thought the moniker quite apposite . As did the wife .


  46. Duke Says:

    Has anyone here ever filled out a JDP survey?

    Just wondered as I have purchased more than 25 brand new vehicles and I cannot ever remember receiving a single one from them.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve filled out one or two, but it’s been years, the 90′s at the most recent. While I was working I bought a lot of new cars, increasing the chance of getting a survey. I remember getting one which asked questions about what I did, and didn’t like about the car. The other one, or maybe two, was just about “did it break”? The surveys would have been for GM cars I had, but I don’t remember which cars.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If GM wants to “shut the doors” of Opel, why did they want to keep it, when they had the opportunity to get rid of it?

  49. C-Tech Says:

    Hello everyone. Tonight 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L and BMW X5. Ruled out everything but the Equinox last night (just ruled out that Chevy dealer). Pedro, the Journey was ruled out because of style (her) and I could not find a used one with a 3.6L (me). My friend has a loaded Journey R/T and loves it. I like the latest G.C. and my friends have not seen many problems with it. C.K. I will take your advice if things get that far.

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    #46 – Nope ! I’ve never even been asked .

    #48 Its ‘ business ‘ Kit . Think about it . Once again though I’m betting you already know the answer ;-)

  51. C-Tech Says:

    Last I checked Mitsubishi is down to 3 vehicles and a handful of dealers. I don’t think they are ready for prime-time?

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    C-tech – One last …

    You know what ? Before the final decision is made …. give the GLK a once over and see what you and the wife think . It might just fit your needs … and you’re in that league with the X5 anyway …. so why not give it a go . One does get over the stigma of that Three Pointed Star on the snout after awhile …

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mitsu still has the Lancer EVO.

  54. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ C-Tech: Beware of used Grand Cherokees.Just because it has the new penastar v6 don’t mean squat.Chrysler is having problems with the penastar one of which is faulty heads that are loud (ticking) and piss poor mpg/power drops etc.The dealers will not change the head until it throws a code,then,according to the factory they just do a reflash until it finally throws another code.Then they will replace the faulty head.BUT wait….there’s more…..some of the replacement heads are faulty too.Beware my friend..

  55. G.A.Branigan Says:

    here C-tech,and this is just one of many:


  56. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #36 Kit

    Absolutely agree with you (and John has also made similar evaluation on the ‘Show’). Move the decimal place over two spaces (to get the per vehicle defect rate) and there isn’t a huge difference in most of the brands.

  57. C-Tech Says:

    A series of minor problems and someone from Jeep handling complaints on the forum, I can live with that G.A. Better than some other manufacturers.

  58. C-Tech Says:

    2 #52 C.K. the GLK is nice, however it still has to be in the under $30K price range. The 2 M-B dealers here don’t have 1 there yet. HtG, If I had the funds, there would be a NEW GLK 350 with 20″ rims (her choice) with a bow wrapped around it tomorrow instead of flowers. Still got 2 in college.

  59. T. Bejma Says:


    The Top 10 in Europe for 2012…

    1 Volkswagen 1,613,913
    2 Ford 953,174
    3 Opel/Vauxhall 838,206
    4 Renault 816,933
    5 Peugeot 795,839
    6 Audi 705,739
    7 Citroen 674,688
    8 BMW 641,378
    9 Mercedes 598,301
    10 Fiat 582,995

    If you look at the data, instead of relying on opinion, PSA and Opel are competitive and are selling…

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    @ TB do you know if GM at any time had plans to make a small, rwd sports sedan out of the Sky/Solstice platform?

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    cTech Journey is not supposed to have any style, after all, it is based off the Avenger which in turn is based on the Caliber, that is one loooong stretch of the platform.

  62. HtG Says:

    You shouldn’t be listening to me, CTech, but there’s 15 GLKs in my area being sold by CarMax. 2010 models with around 35K miles, mostly for around 29 thousand. CarMax ships.

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    This Pentastar engine problem only seems to be affecting a few samples, but it makes you wonder about long term durability and what happens after the warranty expires, you’re stuck with a very expensive repair. What is wrong with these companies? this is supposed to be their bread and butter engine for years to come and they mess it up, whatever happened to extensive, grueling abusive testing that is supposed to point out any possible design or manufacturing issues b4 it gets to the customers and puts your future engine in the “avoid” category

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    So Jeep says that their Wrangler brings you closer to nature? Yeah, specially if it breaks down in the middle of no-where and either you freeze your bee-hind or get eaten by wolves.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you combine Peugeot and Citroen, they are a solid number 2 in sales. They are too Euro-centric, though, for making money in today’s market.

  66. C-Tech Says:

    @ #61 LOL !!

  67. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The Pentastar as it stands right now is definitely NOT the panacea that Chrysler had hoped it would be.The problem with the faulty heads isn’t shown right away either in most cases.From as little as 4k miles to over 20k before the dreaded “tick of death” rears it’s fugly head.Then you still have to do the factory dance as I described in a previous post.A disappointment I no longer care to endure with any of their products,including the rams.

  68. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 60

    Come on Pedro . You know they already do . And its called the _________ __ __ __ ( sorry almost forgot I’m trying to keep the GM conflict thing to a minimum …. but there might be three letters in the above blanks … one of which might be an ‘ A ‘…. there might be an ‘ S’ in there as well …. though we know they’ll all deny it .. shhhhhh… keep it to yourself Pedro . No need to disturb the ‘ status quo ‘) ;-)

    # 59

    Mr Bejma . Come now good sir lets not play the numbers manipulation games here . Vauxhall and OPEL are two complete and separate entities and should not be counted together when the sales numbers are totaled up . As well as you don’t lose some $6.5 billion dollars ( PSA ) when you’re in any way shape or form .. competitive or selling . P&L’s don’t lie . Whereas sales numbers constantly do .

    And finally … Kit re- JD Power numbers ;

    A win is a win is a win … be it by a hair or a country mile . Though even I’d be the first to admit the gap between First ( Lexus ) and Fifth ( Mercedes ) is huge ( 71 vs 115 )

    And like I said … a win is a win is a win …. with 12th and below being no win by anyones standards .

  69. ColoradoKid Says:

    #66 C-tech

    If the wife’s a wantin it ….. ya oughta look into it . Look what I found in my own backyard ! And thats just one of the three dealers inventory ( four if you count Boulder ) in my area ;


    FYI Mercedes of Denver ships as well and I’d be glad to check it out first hand if you’d like . Seriously .

  70. ColoradoKid Says:


    And ……


  71. W L Simpson Says:

    Suppliers are the life blood of auto manufacturing, but they are to blame for low reliability numbers.

  72. T. Bejma Says:


    Would like to here your explanation on how Opel and Vauxhall are two totally different entities when they are rebadged and re-handed (RHD/LHD) versions of the same car? They even call them the same (Opel Astra, Vauxhall Astra, Opel Adam, Vauxhall Adam) and build them in the same plants.

    Here is a friendly challenge. Name one Vauxhall that does not have an Opel variant?

  73. T. Bejma Says:


    No, Pedro, the Kappa platform that the Solstice and Sky were built on was discontinued. It wasn’t really that good of handling platform anyway so no one is sorry to see it go. Any new small rear drive vehicle would be on the (U.S. only – since we have the only small RWD vehicles that GM makes) Alpha platform used for the ATS and the new Camaro.

  74. cwolf Says:

    @ C-Tech
    The Kidd’s recommendation of the GLK is 100% solid advice. Except for the price, it is hard to find a fault. If you haven’t forgotten about your retirement nest egg, perhaps the Equinox should be your next alternative. These ARE the two best choices. And as far as 20″ rims go; admire them on someone elses car. Low profiles ride like crap, cost too much and do not wear well.

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Vauxhall Victor? No, that was from the 1950′s.

  76. cwolf Says:

    Maybe Lincoln is deserving of its spot. My Ford family and friends buy nothing but Lincolns of all models and I can’t think of a time when they were in for a service repair which was not routine. I, too, am a Ford brand guy but why Lincoln has been more dependable has me stumped!

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GLK is great, except for the price, and it’s not as roomy as some of the competition. It looks great, though, and the powertrain is great, except being kind of thirsty, and wanting premium gas.

  78. cwolf Says:

    Kit, if you can afford the price, the rest becomes moot. Everything else is top notch in my book. The shape of the rear hatch allows it to carry things my wife’s Edge cannot and without the blind spots! My wife’s Edge has been fault free for the 60K or so miles, yet I hate it as much as she loves it.

  79. cwolf Says:

    There was mension of Hyundai’s ongoing increase in quality the other day. Where does it show one the list? Hyundai/Kia is junk and it is unfortunate the buyers are fooled by the pretty good looks and hype. And to think Honda is closing Japan shops to move them to Korea.

    By the way: Watch the car sales over the next few months. Flat at best.

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree, and you can even get it without AWD, which is what I’d want if I ever got an SUV, since I no longer drive in ice and snow.

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    #73 TB I was just wondering if GM had ever thought of doing more with that Kappa platform than the low volume roadsters that were built on it, GM should develop a global small RWD platform from which they could do both coupes and sedans with 4 cyl turbos and European handling.

  82. G.A.Branigan Says:

    here is something I just pulled from a popular jeep forum,with no names,posted today:

    Hey everyone. Well after having a 2010 that was a disaster, I got a 2012 that was sooo much better. UNTIL, my boss got a call from the dealer he has been using for parts for over 15 yrs. He was told that the 12s are starting blow up with about 30k on them. The blow blue smoke and then it blows more and then finally blows ups. Mine was blowing blue smoke on start up aqnd for about 2 mins after start up. Its like the rings were going or bad valve guides. I was told to unload it before the dealer wont take it as a trade in. This dealer already had about 12 jeeps there, either blowing blue smoke or the motor completely blown up with no salvagable parts.

    Needless to say 2 days later she was traded in. I got myself a nice Black with red stripes fully loaded 2012 Challenger srt8 6 spd. Soo much happier. Kinda disappointed with Jeep but hey what can ya do. Will hardly be posting now but I shall steer my buddies with jeeps here. Site has a lot of usefull info on it.

  83. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The 12′s he’s referring to are the 3.6L Pentastar.

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    G.A I am sure that Sergio and his crack (ed) team of engineers are on the case and will have it corrected just in time before the zombie apocalypse hits us.

  85. G.A.Branigan Says:

    You mean ‘ON crack team’….right?

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, a win is a win, and there was one really big winner, Lexus, which was 23 points ahead of 2nd. place. Most of the rest were pretty closely bunched together, except for Land Rover, which was a very solid last place.

    I don’t buy cars based on the JD Power numbers, or I wouldn’t have bought a MINI, which is well down the list. I haven’t had any trouble with mine, though.

  87. C-Tech Says:

    Well her final decision was the 2007 BMW X5 with 55K on the odometer. The deal maker 1.) $24K price out the door with the service contract (C.K.) 2.) the dealership amenities, free car washes, nice bright and clean surroundings, no balloons (looks professional). The only thing I had a quibble about was the tires, they were good, but not the run-flat tires which it should be equipped with. Hopefully the 3.0L oil leak comes before the service contract expires in another 60K.

  88. T. Bejma Says:


    I wish Pedro! The two 2 door concepts (True something and 180 something) from last year are in the lobby at the GM Tech Center here where I work – taunting me with their awesomeness!

  89. T. Bejma Says:


    Congrats C-Tech, X5 is very nice! I can give you some tips on water pump and timing belt replacement ;-)

  90. C-Tech Says:

    Zillions of buttons and gadgets in this thing, but I think I prefer my Cherokee if (when) the storm hits.

  91. C-Tech Says:

    @ #89 IT HAS A BELT!?!

  92. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Congrats C-Tech.I hope you and your wife have ALL trouble free miles,and even more smiles.Good show old boy ;}>

  93. T. Bejma Says:


    Just kidding ;-)

    They are chains now. Was just thinking about the fun I had replacing the belt in my 85 e30 325…

  94. Phil Says:

    I don’t understand why the first choice for GM would be to put a diesel in a small car where the difference in economy between it and its gas counterpart is so small that it doesn’t make economic sense as other viewers have pointed out. Surely putting a smallish diesel of about 3 to 4 litres in a half ton pickup or SUV would yeild more bang for the buck and would be better suited to towing than its gas counterparts with traditional 5 to 6 litre V8 gas engines.

  95. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It looks like RAM may win the whole 1/2 ton enchilada:


  96. Phil Says:

    Hi John,

    Interesting that you say you studied linguistics. I have often noticed that you alternate between calling your show “otto-line” and “ow-tow line”. You also sometimes refer to your co-host as Peter “dee” Lorenzo and Peter “Del” Lorenzo. Did you realize you were doing this? Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always loved the shows – just noticed this from time to time.

  97. C-Tech Says:

    @ #94 What happened to the Cummins V-6 ?

  98. HtG Says:

    Very nice, CTech. Enjoy it.

  99. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hope she likes it.

    You lucked out in getting regular, rather than run-flat tires. The non run-flats give a better ride, and less road noise. I wish my MINI had not come with run-flats.

  100. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ C Tech: Look for the Cummins V6 Diesel in the new and improved and not released yet……..2015 Nissan Titan.

  101. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Not being ‘brand loyal’ I’m happy that Ram is coming out with a diesel 1/2 ton.Long overdue imho.

    I was hoping that Chevy would have been the ones to do it.I say that because I really like the Silverado 1500 Z71.Far better then what ford or anybody else (including ram….for now)has to offer,for my needs and tastes.

    Now maybe the new Colorado might have a diesel,and being a mid-size it would indeed kick everyones pickup truck making asses.I can only hope that the powers that be at GM might read this and do sumthin about it.

  102. pedro fernandez Says:

    C-Tech why would you want run-flats I’ve read a few negative reviews on them. Very stiff sidewalls and short thread life among the complaints.

  103. Kit Gerhart Says:

    98 They still make the Nissan Titan?

  104. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Sure they do.But….ya don’t see many of them around do you? I’ve never seen even one?

  105. pedro fernandez Says:

    They are as rare as Eskimos in Key West, I’ve seen a few around here.

  106. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’ve seen some (read:not many)of it’s smaller stable mate the Frontier though.Another example of letting a small truck slip away and blame us for not buying an antiquated mid-size.Toyota should listen up as well.Looks like they successfully missed the boat once again with their poor excuse for a truck….tundra.Or as some call it,the tunDUHH.

  107. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I see a few of them, but they sell so few that I don’t understand why thy continue making them.

  108. Ramón Rivera Says:

    Oh, I was beat to it but still wanted to say the mystery car is a Jensen CV8!