Episode 1088 – Emerging Markets Cool, Nissan’s Management Moves, All-New Transit Models

March 11th, 2013 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:28

Over the last several years, automakers boosted car sales globally thanks to explosive growth in emerging markets, but now some of those markets are starting to cool down. In an effort to boost electric vehicle sales, Nissan is making some management changes. Ford announced the introduction of two all-new Transit models. All that and more, plus John McElroy gives his insight on how a former GM exec ended up on the board of directors at Toyota.

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Now let’s get to the most important news that’s happening in the global automotive industry.

Over the last several years, automakers boosted car sales globally thanks to explosive growth in emerging markets, but now some of those markets are starting to cool down. Though the final count is not yet in, car sales in India could fall for the first time in a decade. Through the first 11 months of last year, sales hit 1.7 million units, a decline of 5 percent. And last month in Brazil car sales dropped over 5 percent compared to the year before. However sales are up close to 6 percent overall for the first two months of the year in Brazil.

Last week, Toyota made a lot of management changes. And today it’s Nissan’s turn. In an effort to boost electric vehicle sales, the company is putting its Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, in charge of its EV business. Other notable changes include promoting its head of global marketing communications, Simon Sproule, to Director of communications for the Renault-Nissan Alliance. And Jeff Kuhlman was promoted to Vice President of Nissan’s global communications.

Range anxiety may be the largest hurdle that any electric vehicle has to overcome. The folks at BMW are trying to leap that hurdle by developing a program that would provide a free gasoline-powered loaner car to purchasers of its i3 electric vehicle for trips longer than the EVs 80 to 100 battery only range. A BMW spokesperson also says an optional 2-cylinder gasoline scooter engine is available as a range extender at a cost of about $4,000. The i3 will hit showrooms in the first quarter of 2014.

Ford announced the introduction of its all-new Transit chassis cab and cutaway models. The chassis cab features an enclosed cabin with a bare frame that is ready to accept an aftermarket body module and the cutaway model has an open rear portion of the cabin that can be paired with shuttle or school bus bodies. Either model can be had in three different wheelbases with gross vehicle weight ratings of 9,000 to about 10,500 pounds. The Transit chassis cab and cutaway will be built at the company’s Kansas City assembly plant. And in other Ford news, a report out of Road and Track confirms that the 4-cylinder EcoBoost Mustang will be coming to the U.S. and it may not even be the base engine.

Say, how did a former executive from General Motors end up on the board of directors at Toyota? That story, and it’s a good one, is coming up next.

Earlier in the show we touched on all the management changes at Toyota last week, including the appointment of former General Motors executive Mark Hogan to Toyota’s board of directors. Hogan is only the second non-Japanese ever appointed to the board, and the first non-Toyota employee. Here’s the backstory to this development.

Mark Hogan was a rising star at GM. After starting at the Electromotive Division, he was awarded a scholarship to get his MBA at the Harvard Business School, and then went on to work at GM’s New York Treasurer’s office. For more than half a century, a Harvard MBA and a stint in the Treasurer’s office was THE definitive career path for all of GM’s chairmen.

Hogan started moving up the ranks at GM and when it formed its joint venture with Toyota, what they called New United Motors Manufacturing, Inc., more commonly known as NUMMI, Hogan was one of the first GM executives assigned to go there. Toyota also sent one of its rising stars, a guy named Akio Toyoda. The two worked closely together and formed a lasting friendship.

Years later Hogan was assigned to GM do Brasil, where he put his knowledge of the Toyota Production System to practice, making GM do Brasil one of the most efficient operations within the company. Hogan also laid the groundwork for a revolutionary approach to vehicle production, involving modular assembly, with the modules made by suppliers. They called it Blue Macaw and it dramatically cut costs.

Based on that success Hogan was called back to the ‘States and assigned the task to figure out how GM could make small cars profitably in America with UAW labor. He borrowed the same ideas from Blue Macaw, only this time named it Project Yellowstone, and announced his intentions to implement it in GM plants in Lordstown, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan.

But then-UAW president Steve Yokich, a combative and in my opinion, a mean-spirited man, went ballistic. He spoke derogatively of Hogan demanded that GM fire him. Sure enough, GM muzzled Hogan and hustled him off to some made-up new venture called e-GM. Supposedly it was a new effort to harness the internet to make GM more competitive, but no one at GM, not even Hogan, could clearly explain what e-GM was all about. He hung around for a while, but then left the company. The e-GM effort was quietly shut down after that.

I always wondered what would have happened if Hogan had been allowed to make Project Yellowstone work. Maybe the company would still have gone bankrupt, but who knows? Maybe it would have not. What we do know for sure, is that Toyota is going to be the beneficiary of Mark Hogan’s knowledge and experience, something that is going to help Akio make the Japanese automaker become an even fiercer competitor.

Anyway, that’s how I see it, and that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for watching, and please join us again tomorrow.

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98 Comments to “Episode 1088 – Emerging Markets Cool, Nissan’s Management Moves, All-New Transit Models”

  1. Bradley Says:

    Great information about Mark Hogan, I hope he can benefit Toyota.

    Mark Hogan is probably on a short list of GM people that truly learned something as a result of NUMMI.

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    Emerging Markets Cooling

    Hate to say this …. but …….. errr……….. told you so !

    All one needed to do to see this one coming was look at the rampant instability of those emerging markets governments

    BTW ; Guaranteed …. it’ll get even worse down the road ;-)


    2015 Mustang – One rumor and conjecture after another . Best thing to do IMO is just wait till the ‘ Official ‘ announcements are made . Its all getting too weird out there when it comes to the ‘ new ‘ Mustang .

    Which is …. errr … why I was ignoring it all in the first place


    BMW’s Range Anxiety Solution .

    Hmmmn . The EV ‘ solution ‘ that in fact ….. isn’t ! ( one at all ) Too bad BMW’s being’ forced ‘ down the EV ( dead end ) Highway by Germany’s and the overall EU’s governments …forcing the likes of BMW to come up with ridiculous solutions like this to even approach viability

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    TESLA in the news

    Here’s a big surprise ( not ! )

    The Model X has been delayed …. for at least a year . Good to know things are still SNAFU / SSDD over MuskWorld way .

    ( talk about a waste of tax payers money !!!! )


    NBC Sports F1 coverage

    From what some recent announcements are saying I may have been a bit premature : needing to withhold judgement and give it a chance . Fingers crossed . We’ll see

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It’s always been obvious (even to me) that GM had it’s head up it’s ass a…..LOT.But letting the former head-honcho of the UAW intimidate GM out of a venture that MIGHT have saved it from BK is THE STUPIDEST thing I’ve heard to date.What the hell is going on over there,(gmhq)?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    BMW is going to have their own version of a Volt, sort of.

    The BMW, with its scooter engine of ~60 hp would run out of steam if driven wide open, but should do the job in normal driving. I suspect it will be thirsty, though, even more so than the Volt, when running on gas, as there will be no direct connection from the ICE to the wheels at any time.

  6. Lex Says:


    Great story on Mark Hogan. I wish him much success at Toyota.

    I myself really like the new Rav4 and Highlander V6. Too bad the new Rav4 does not have a V6 engine option. Toyota needs to up the horsepower on it’s 4 cylinder powerplants as close to 200hp as possible like it’s competition.

    The Transit Chassis Cab nose would look great on a Ford Minivan. Any mention by Ford of re-entering the full size minivan market with an Eco Boost powered Freestar, Windstar or EcoVan?
    The Transit Connect is just too commerical and boxy IMHO.

  7. HtG Says:

    I thought this Yokich story happened some years ago, before the Financial Faceplant of 08. If it’s what I’m thinking, this affair with Yokich changed my understanding of the UAW. But hey, it’s not like the Red Brigades.

  8. Feldman Says:

    #5 it’s really sad to see an otherwise GREAT company that makes GREAT cars (that few, even among its owners, can appreciate how really good they are), is wasting its time and millions developing a “BMW Volt”.

    On more serious matters:

    You heard John’s sales reports in February, where the domestics did K and even gained back some valuable market share?

    Well, that’s NOT the Whole story.

    A far better indicator of their profitability is to see the percentage of their sales that is RETAIL (and usually profitable) vs the % they have to dump to FLEETS at cutthroat prices:

    AND the so-called DOmestics are the WURST (pun intended) in Retail %!

    Here are the hard numbers:

    HONDA: 98% of their sales were RETAIL sales. The Cheapskates at Honda apparently don’t even dump the ugly Acuras to Hertz!

    Toyota: 86%
    Hyundai-Kia: 85%
    Nissan: 79%

    and then GM 75%
    Chrysler, 68%, and LAST AND LEAST
    FORD, 67%!

    Mulally has to give all those god-awful Lincolns away to somebody, and that somebody is Alamo Rent A Car!

  9. ColoradoKid Says:


    Here’s my take on what GM has been for going on decades .

    They are like a Kentucky horse racing stable …… full of a majority of thoroughbred horses ( engineers etc ) that have to a number either been hobbled ( legs tied together ) tethered to an old lame nag ( one of the old guard lame employees or incompetent newbies ) or worse yet …. hitched up to some broken down wagon ( projects like the VOLT ) that has no hope of succeeding

    So who’s to blame IMO ? Each and every CEO – CFO – COO ( and whatever other O’s they may have ) for the last 40 or so years … as well as …. and perhaps especially …. GM’s incompetent Board ( bored ? ) of Directors … with what few exceptions there were … having been voted/bought out before they had a chance to do any good .

    Fact is this probably won’t be the only ‘ poaching ‘ of good talent from GM’s stables by the foreign manufactures . Fact is I hope TB becomes one of their numbers ….. sooner than later ;-)

  10. Feldman Says:

    The All-important Inventory numbers for March 1 are also in, and they are very interesting!

    While BMW has only 41 days (down from 52 Feb 1) and Daimler-Benz only 45 (48), the domestics are NOT doing well AT ALL:

    Chrysler: 71 (87)
    Ford 70 (85)
    GM 79 (95!)

    Compare to TOYOTA (42 days only!) Obviously “The Toyota Way” has STILL not penetrated the thick skulls of the domestic Executives and planners. BILLIONS are wasted, and then Billions more when they have to get RID of these inventories by slapping $5k and even $10k on the hood of their POS!

    If you are curious about specific models, here is a taste. (first number is days as of March 1, the second, days inventory as of Feb 1, 2013)

    Fusion-40 (58)
    Escape 55(68)

    F-150 95 (111!!!) THIS Must be KILLING Ford, since this is the best selling vehicle of any kind, and its inventories MUST be HUGE. You can thank GM and the Silverado for that misery…

    Lincoln: 109 (130) DISMAL
    Silverado: 92 (113)
    RAM: 100 (117)

    Buick: 94 (115). Regal, 135 (199!) The dogs are sure not eating the lousy dogfood, no matter how Bejma spins it!

    Caddy: Same story! total, 109 (124), and
    ATS, 106 (147),
    CTS 120 (141), and the WURST is the “big” one,
    XTS: 143 (163)

    Malibu-87 (94): Dismal, compared to its competitors!

    Accord-51 (57)

    Volt-105 (121) pretty poor, but no surprise here (LOL)

    That’s enough typing for now. You can find the detailed stats at Autonews.com data center.

  11. ColoradoKid Says:


    BMW – Blame Frau Merkel as well as the EU government for mandating EV’s on the German manufactures

    The Numbers – So … vas ist das numbers/statistics fer das wurst ( eating ) crowd ? e.g BMW – Mercedes – Audi- Porsche ?

  12. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: Yeah,I know it’s been going on for years but I just don’t understand the intentional ‘blinders’ they have been wearing,as other oems seem to share.I ask you,and everybody this question; The oems are quick to SAY they listen to their customers,yet SHOW that they don’t.Do they do the same thing to their bored ;}> of directors? Their shareholders? Do they continually ‘baffle them with bull$hit’ or does the stupidity start at the very top then trickle down? Also,has any oem every really asked some of their end customers,(that would be us) what they really think,or need,or like to see improved etc,without the use of a ‘filtering’ poll taker,survey company? Just basically asking the man in the street so to say? I have never had a dealership really ask me what I thought about different models etc.My uses and so on.

  13. T. Bejma Says:

    Regal is competing against the VERY WELL RECEIVED Verano.

    MB inventory numbers are bogus as shown in my reference last month when every single vehicle had EXACTLY 45 Days…

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sorry, but in spite of the constant upheaval in management, GM is doing some things right.

    They have competitive products in most market segments. Except for Cadillac, they have much more user-friendly controls than their Dearborn rivals. The have the only big pickups that don’t try to look like a Peterbilt, a good thing to many people.
    Their luxury division, while not a Benz or BMW, is doing infinitely better than their across town rival.

    It seems that people here are having so much fun bashing GM, that they don’t even want to consider the positives, and there are some positives.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and a mildly positive review of Chevy’s latest Korean:


  16. DonC Says:

    The anti-union bias is astounding. Assuming that your claim that Hogan had his career derailed by the opposition of a union official is accurate — and it seems that taking the presidency at a small company was more important — your claim that this is a UNION problem is absurd.

    Unions don’t like lots of things. It’s the job of management to stand firm when it makes sense to do so. If anything this buttresses the notion that Rick Wagoner was a horrible CEO who could never figure out when to hold them and when to fold them.

  17. C-Tech Says:

    @ #14 For the domestic auto companies, there will be no satisfying some people.

    Personally I am looking forward to the next generation Mustang, with the turbo-4 and IRS. I almost bought a SVO back in the mid-80′s but opted for the GT because it was less expensive and more speed options were available.

  18. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    No son… your Mercedes numbers are what is bogus . On the ground … in the stats …. you name it …. try and find a M-B dealership with excess inventory .


    Kit – It is more than a bit difficult to focus on GM’s minority of ‘ right moves ‘ when the majority of what they’ve been doing has been coming up Snake Eyes


    Fleet Sales ( Rental Car Companies specifically )

    Its been interesting in my personal experience how those Fleet Sales can both play for and against the manufacture in relation to future sales

    In the Cadillac SRX’s case …. the first two days of a ten day rental I was thinking I needed to consider buying one …. whereas by the end of that ten days I was looking for a cliff to run it over so no other poor slob would get stuck renting it

    In the Mercedes GLK’s case ….. first couple of days I wasn’t altogether convinced I should consider it ….. whereas by the end of the again ten days I was reluctant to give it back ( to Hertz ) and began the discussion here ( to get my head beyond the three pointed star syndrome ) that ended up my putting one in my garage as well as being perhaps the best new car and beyond experience I’ve ever had

    Ten days vs ten minutes … or even a couple of days can make all the difference in the world .

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: GM also has the best off road pkg’s out of any other pu oem in the USA.And that is always a major concern to me,and a deciding factor for that last 2 pickups,with maybe a 3rd coming up.Of course GM has some positives and is generally (no pun intended)going in the right direction,but wasting a ton of money in the process.That would be ‘our’ money btw.

  20. Duke Says:

    Kit: “It seems that people here are having so much fun bashing GM, that they don’t even want to consider the positives, and there are some positives.”

    I agree – in fact, many seem to hate everything American.

    I often wonder what would happen if the U.S. adopted a reciprocal trade policy with our so-called trading partners. Specifically, with Japan, S.Korea, and Germany (whose markets are VERY protected from our products).

    What if that reciprocity were to include import delays, inspection, hurdles and quotas, or would include foreign ownership of factories etc?


    John, what are the German companies, specifically MB and BWM doing to meet CAFE and will they be able meet it in 2 years? Audi is presumably going to ride in on their corporate coat-tails of VW.

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    C-Tech – Yeah the SVO was a winner ( performance and handling wise ) The stupid thing Ford did was selling it as a Mustang( w/Sierra underpinnings ) vs as a Ford Sierra … and then to make matters worse … create that horrid travesty Merkur brand to sell the Sierra as what it was intended to be

    Had Ford placed the Sierra on the market as a FORD ( priced accordingly ) and not done the SVO ( or Merkur ) I’d bet they’d of had a winner on their hands … especially in light of all the great evolutions the Sierra went thru till its final demise , including AWD etc .

    As far as the 2015 Mustang though ? Like I said …. I’ll wait till the ‘ real ‘ thing has been revealed …. but either way I’m betting the 4T will be a sales flop … in a big way I’m afraid ;-)

  22. Feldman Says:

    ” ColoradoKid Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 12:15 pm


    BMW – Blame Frau Merkel as well as the EU government for mandating EV’s on the German manufactures”

    You are damned right here. And as much as I take Merkel seriously (compared to the utter buffoon that ruled Italy especially the lame socialist that rules France), she is guilty of an ENORMOUS, Huge error in judgement when she decided to close down all of Germany’s NUKE plants!!!!

    “The Numbers – So … vas ist das numbers/statistics fer das wurst ( eating ) crowd ? e.g BMW – Mercedes – Audi- Porsche ?”

    You mean fleet sales? They did not have %s for the Wurst Zone, but I’d guess they are as low as Honda’s 2% fleet sales, if not lower.

    “13 T. Bejma Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Regal is competing against the VERY WELL RECEIVED Verano.”

    DOg ate your homework again, TJ? Where did I hear this from you before? I remembered, when you said that the ATS competes with the CTS.

    So whose fault is this, Bejma, if not 100% of the clueless so-called planners (blunderers would be more accurate) at GM, who REPEATEDLY pit one of their many, slow selling models against another of their slow selling models?

    YOu guys are beyond hope and not only are you going broke soon, you will pull the rest of the industry down with you. Thank you, Obama Genius for saving this utterly incompetent giant…

  23. ColoradoKid Says:


    Mercedes Benz and BMW already meet … and in fact will exceed the CAFE standards what with BMW’s MINI brand and Mercedes SMART ( not ) … and with the new raft of goodies coming from both …. no worries as far as CAFE is concerned for either

    As far as a reciprocal trade deal between the EU and the US … aint you been payin attention ? Its being signed as we speak ( NYTimes WSJ Bloomberg etc etc ad nauseam ) And much as I hate to say this … its probably once again …. the domestics that’ll suffer ….. as they have with NAFTA

    As far as China/Japan/Korea though ? Hell will freeze over before they’d even consider discussing it .

    But seriously Duke …. you’re not gonna try and play the ” Foreign Manufactures have all the Advantages in the US ” card now ……. are you ? Cause that one become a Moot point some twenty years ago I’m afraid .

    ( in case this has slipped your notice as well Mercedes Benz and BMW are increasing their production in the US whereas Ford and GM have been closing plants left and right in the EU ….. with even more in the pipeline for the future )

  24. Feldman Says:

    “Duke Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Kit: “It seems that people here are having so much fun bashing GM, that they don’t even want to consider the positives, and there are some positives.”

    I agree – in fact, many seem to hate everything American.”

    You are BOTH CLUELESS and I DEEPLY Resent your accusations. When somebody criticizes an operation that is in truly poor shape, it DOES NOT mean that the critic “HATES” anything. Instead of encouraging the underachievers to SHAPE UP and BENEFIT from the Criticism, YOU Instead encourage them to DO NOTHING and worsen their troubles!

    If there is any bigot here it is those that will NOT EVEN CONSIDER any “imported” brands. This is in fact LAUGHABLE because these people consider a Ford Fusion or Fiesta made in MEXICO by MEXICANS as an “Amurican”car, while they would never buy a Honda Accord, even though they themeslves admit its latest model is a great car, even though it is made in OHIO, USA by PROUD American workers who do not go boozing and doing drugs on their lunch break like those CHRYSLER UAW types, who were not even laid off!!!

    THEY, not WE, are the “Haters”. AND as far as I was concerned, I was NOT just critical of GM but ALSO and even more so of FORD which is relying on FLEET SALES much more than GM, AND Mulally, after many years, is approaching retirement AND has a CANCER in LINCOLN that he seems unwilling to DEAL WITH.

  25. HtG Says:

    Feldman, do you have any info on the effect the bailouts had on the consideration GM and Chry got? Will divestment alter peoples’ attitudes?

  26. Bob Aubertin Says:

    Honda Accord takes their styling cues from VW & Hyundai Genesis.

    The 2013 Honda Accord has the Facia the 2013 VW Jetta and rear tail lights from the Genesis.Case in point, the Japanese & Koreans copy their designs.

    Whilst, the American & European car companies are Very Avant Garde with their Awesome designs.

  27. Feldman Says:

    ” HtG Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Feldman, do you have any info on the effect the bailouts had on the consideration GM and Chry got? Will divestment alter peoples’ attitudes?”

    (As usual) I’m not 100% sure what u mean. I know there are some buyers that will only buy a Ford (or an import, maybe) and not GM or Chrysler, because the last two were bailed out (Chrysler, twice!). I have no data to show what % of all buyers that group is. Is this what you asked?

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today I saw a mint condition, original Mini outside an apt complex, I wanted to ask the guy if he had good life ins, those things are small and vulnerable in today’s world of behemoth trucks and clueless and absent minded drivers.

  29. HtG Says:

    exactly. I was wondering if there were figures for how the bailouts harmed the brands.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, Feldman says:
    “You are BOTH (Duke and me) CLUELESS and I DEEPLY Resent your accusations.”

    No, “Feldman,” you are the one who is often clueless. A prime example is that you don’t think the wide availability of affordable, high mpg diesel hatches and wagons in Europe has anything to do with the Prius not selling well in Europe.

    Yes, the new ATS is competing with the soon-to-be-replaced CTS, and the Malibu competes with the soon-to-be-replaced Impala. We’ll see how things sort out after the new ones arrive.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There has been a big Mini show/cruise in at Cocoa Beach the last few years, and most people do, in fact, drive the old Minis to the show. I suspect they tend to drive more carefully than when driving a modern car, as I tend to ride a motorcycle more carefully than I drive any car.

    I know people who are “boycotting” GM and Chrysler because of the bailouts, but others are not buying Fords because of their bragging about not being bailed out, even though they were lucky to get by a few years earlier. I don’t have any data on the number of people in each group, though.

  32. Feldman Says:

    #30 NONSENSE. What I reported today is 100% FACTUAL. The clueless ones is those who will post later and say “60 days inventory is ideal”. If they are 88 years old and retired, I can understand them. If not, they are TRULY INEXCUSABLE to now have a clue in the world about LEAN MANUFACTURING.

    AS usual, YOU got SOME NERVE. We all know you are a die hard supporter of this DISASTROUS Administration, Kit.

    You will never ever be honest with yourself and admit that the only reason OBAMA botched the GM bailout the way he and his goons did, is PAYBACK to his UAW supporters for the tens of millions their leadership contributed to him, over the objections of MANY of the UAW Rank and file.

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    Bob Aubetin

    ” Whilst, the American & European car companies are Very Avant Garde with their Awesome designs ”

    Which car and on what planet would any of the current American cars be considered either Awesome … Avant Garde ( you might want to look up the definition of that word ) or even original ?

    Honestly the only vaguely original designed vehicles in the US manufactures current line would have to be the P/U’s – Ford Mustang – JEEP Wrangler’s and perhaps the retro wanna be new Camaro . Avant Garde though ? Not even a contender in the bunch

  34. Feldman Says:

    #33 I thought of replying to bob but he seemes so clueless, I did not want to waste much time.

    However, to prove one more way the accusations hurled against me alleging I always badmouth the “domestics” are 100% WRONG,

    I can give you several domestic models that I sincerely believe they really look good, from every domestic maker:

    1. Chrysler 300, Dodge CHarger and Challenger: the trio are the ONLY Domestics with long, 120″ wheelbases, RWD, and short overhangs, and mainly because of that they REALLY look good.

    2. Any Caddy, despite the fact that their current styling is long in the tooth, it still looks good, despite their short (for their length) wheelbases, and

    3. The AWESOME new Aston-Martinesque FOrd Fusion.

    Note-The above is just on exterior styling.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:


    A lot of the reason folks are staying away from Ford was the revelation a couple of years ago that though they received no direct bail outs they did get a multitude of Government guaranteed loans etc .

    Another IMO is the fact that they’re putting out some truly great products …. which are unfortunately over priced in comparison to the competition

  36. HtG Says:

    33 Is avant-guarde even a goal when so many customers want grey appliances, or when the people with money just want to look respectable? And I’ll never forgive the regulators for these sperm whale front ends foisted upon us so that a few pedestrians don’t get killed. Ooooh, HtG cry a river

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I happen to know a lot of non-union GM and Delphi employees who would not have their jobs, had McCain won the ’08 election, and certainly most of the UAW rank and file are very glad that GM and Chrysler are still around.

  38. Drew Says:

    To #8 Feldman — Please be careful when jumping to conclusions about % of sales to fleets. OEMs with a strong full-size pickup and van portfolio will naturally have a higher percentage of sales to fleets because fleets are often defined as mukltiple sales to the same owner/operation. Fleet sales to commercial accounts like utility companies and managemenet fleet services can be just as profitable as regular retail sales. Fleet sales to daily rentals (Avis, Budget, Hertz, etc.) were the kind of sales that reduced resale values because OEMs would dump excess production to the daily rentals, who would flip them to the used vehicle sales in few short months (often within the same model year).

    So, I’d like to see the % of OEM sales to daily rentals. On this measure, I see a lot of mass brands in the daily rental inventory (except Honda and the Germans).

  39. Feldman Says:

    ” pedro fernandez Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Today I saw a mint condition, original Mini outside an apt complex, I wanted to ask the guy if he had good life ins, those things are small and vulnerable in today’s world of behemoth trucks and clueless and absent minded drivers.”

    Yes, the MINI is small, but actually it is much larger than the truly tiny original MINI, where I had the misfortune to get a ride in its back seat (designed for kids 6 or younger) when I was 20 years old.

    Well, at least the handling in the MINI may provide some active safety and he can hopefully evade an accident scene. But passive safety is also important. That’s why I like my 740, it has a ton of both!

    “HtG Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    exactly. I was wondering if there were figures for how the bailouts harmed the brands.”

    I doubt there are figures, and I would guess if there were, they would not be very significant. CHrysler sales have been growing nicely, and Lincoln is goinf down the drain, so I don’t see much benefit for FOrd.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you had actually read pedro’s post, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT AN ORIGINAL Mini, not a BMW MINI.

    ….and you call me clueless.

  41. Feldman Says:

    “Drew Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    To #8 Feldman — Please be careful when jumping to conclusions about % of sales to fleets.”

    I did not jump to any conclusions, the data speak for themselves and need no help from me.

    ” OEMs with a strong full-size pickup and van portfolio will naturally have a higher percentage of sales to fleets because fleets are often defined as mukltiple sales to the same owner/operation.”

    I was aware that the numbers I gave from Automotive news are total sales to fleets, not just to the daily Rental cos. But I bet the other fleets never pay MSRP, let alone more (for hot models!)

    “S I see a lot of mass brands in the daily rental inventory (except Honda and the Germans)”

    I have rented cars for business over the years regularly, and would notice a huge number of domestics, which are really the default option. I usually did not like to rent them (or Nissans, which were also visible in the daily rental fleets), and had to make a special request to find me a Toyota, in the absence, as you said, of Hondas or German makers.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The original Mini probably has more rear seat room than the non-Clubman or non-Countryman BMW MINI, but the new one is, of course, much safer, both in crashworthiness, and driving dynamics.

  43. HtG Says:

    Mercedes CL and CLS. I’ll call those avant garde.

  44. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I guess I’m a bigot as I won’t consider anything other then the American big 3 when shopping for another truck.And,I don’t care either.Right now though,and even being on Ford’s X-plan,they have no 1/2 tons I’m interested in at all.And as of this past weekend,Ford has increased the X-plan discount on the F150′s.I don’t know when that started but late last year I looked at them and the discount was around 1500 bux or so for what I was looking at.Now it’s around double that.Despite that though,they gots nuttin I want.

  45. Feldman Says:

    #40 thanks for the correction, I DID “actually read” Pedro’s comment, but I should have read it more slowly. I re-read it now and u r correct, it was an original. I don’t mind you biting my ankle, BTW, but don’t make it a habit.

    I too saw an original Mini (not totally mint) last summer and sorry, but I liked its actual wood and leather interior far better than the plasticky inerior of the new MINI, which may be much larger, and has great exterior styling, but its interior could use help become a bit classier. And they should ditch that “mother-in-law special”, the gigantic speedo in the middle of the dash.

  46. Feldman Says:

    #44 G.A.Branigan Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I guess I’m a bigot as I won’t consider anything other then the American big 3 when shopping for another truck.

    You may be relieved to know that you guessed wrong, you were not the one I had in mind. And you admit below that you DID consider them, they just are not good enough in this segment. Toyota and Nissan failed in Pickups, and Honda and the Germans did not even try to compete in it.

    “And,I don’t care either.Right now though,and even being on Ford’s X-plan,they have no 1/2 tons I’m interested in at all.”

  47. ColoradoKid Says:


    Here’s what I think about the bailouts ( that both GWB & Obama were responsible for ) The condensed version ;

    #1 Right off …. Chrysler should of been left to die . FIAT can’t save themselves … Chrysler’s been in the ‘ weeds ‘ since the 70′s .Conclusion ? Good money thrown after bad and a crisis waiting to happen … again . A waste of money if there ever was one … with giving Chrysler to FIAT being beyond stupid … regardless of the job losses that would of been incurred had we let them die . All helping Chrysler has done is delay the inevitable

    #2 GM should of been the only one to be bailed out ……. BUT ……… multiple restrictions limitations etc should not of only been imposed …. but strictly reinforced …. as they were during the WPA era .e.g. Screw up once …. and you’re gone ! ( same should of been done with the Banks and Financial institutions receiving bailouts )

    That …… is the main fault of the Obama/GWB bailouts . Both were too liberal with the terms of the bailouts ….trusted GM ( and the banks ) to do the right thing when in fact it is against human nature to do so without the proper restrictions etc .

    And now ….. with GM having run amok since the bailout …. not learning a thing in the process .. going from one major blunder to another .. I’m afraid GM is becoming ;

    Too Big to Get Out of Its Own Way

  48. Feldman Says:

    ” HtG Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Mercedes CL and CLS. I’ll call those avant garde.”

    They may be avant garde, but I still don’t like them. I know I am a minority as many are gushing about how great the CLS looks, but to me it does not, it is a more expensive E class with much less room inside.

    There are plenty of Mercs I like, though, even going all the way back to the awesome 1936 convertibles, and recently the E class (86-95 especially) and the S class (current and even the huge-looking 92-99) and several SLs and the “SEC” coupe pre-1992.

  49. W L Simpson Says:

    GM is not called GuvmntMtrs, for nothing , since they so closely resemble Foggy Bottom in their attitudes & operation

  50. ColoradoKid Says:


    At the risk of starting another war here

    re; Chrysler’s sales numbers/increases

    Place those so called increases into the context they were drawn from . The current numbers are being compared to the absolutely worst sales year Chrysler has ever experienced . Look it up !

    Conclusion ? When placed into their appropriate context those increased sales numbers of Chrysler become a major league : albeit pathetic joke …. business wise speaking of course .


    Phew …. nuff fer me today … maybe even too much . Till the morrow

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, hopefully they will dump the “mother-in-law” speedo with the next generation MINI. It looks silly, and that space could be used for something else. At least they also have a digital speedometer in the tach housing. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have bought the car.

  52. Duke Says:

    CK #23 “As far as a reciprocal trade deal between the EU and the US … aint you been payin attention ? Its being signed as we speak ( NYTimes WSJ Bloomberg etc etc ad nauseam ) ”

    I guess it boils down to a different level of reading comprehension and semantics. “Its being signed as we speak . .” is a bit different than negotiations are in progress IMO.


    Maybe a free-trade agreement – later next year. This IS 2013, isn’t it?

    “That is why trade representatives on both sides of the Atlantic have said they could reach a formal agreement by the end of 2014.”

    “Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler, said a trans-Atlantic trade deal still had “a long way to go.””

    And most analysts agree of the importance that

    “…a trade accord ideally would harmonize safety requirements and emissions standards, so that the same car built in Europe could be sold in the United States, and vice versa, without modifying bumpers, headlights and other components.”

    A real stumbling block IMO – do you see EU adopting OUR standards? Or the U.S. rolling back our standards to EU’s?

    I hope that you understand that there is a difference between reciprocal trade and free trade.

  53. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Well…..at least foggy bottom has good music…

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The business prospects for Chrysler may not be good, long-term, with the FIAT tie up, but I like some of their products.

    The 300/Charger are bargains, as largish RWD cars go, and they work quite well. Also, the GC and Durango seem to be ok. Then, there are the minivans which, if reliable, would be as good about as good any vans on the market for the intended purpose. They should start making the short ones again, though.

  55. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 46: In truth Feldman there wasn’t much to consider with the full size toy and nissan.Old tech engines trans,ancient styling,and the overall capabilities just aren’t there.Here’s something,the nissan titan was supposed to get a v6 cummins diesel this year.They said now that they have a big change coming in my 2014 (probably a much needed refresh + diesel) which was blown out of the water by RAM no less.AND I think toyota was going to do the same thing,but waited too long to be ‘bold’,imho.So,where does that leave GM? Not sure,no specs on the all new engines have been released yet,and there is still talk of a diesel 1/2 ton.Then there is the GM midsize twins that have eluded almost all spec as to what will be and not be,including talk of a 2.8L diesel for them too.No talk that I’m aware of for the toyota tacoma or nissan frontier’s immediate future.Both have fallen far behind in engine tech as well as styling etc. and show less then stellar sales.The taco is still selling basically because they own the segment…..for now.If the GM midsize twins are built better then what they are replacing,look for them to kick some serious mid-size ass….jmho.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “A real stumbling block IMO – do you see EU adopting OUR standards? Or the U.S. rolling back our standards to EU’s?”

    They’d be rolling back some standards, and we’d be rolling back others, if U.S/EU standards were made the same.

    The area where I’d like to see U.S. standards “rolled back” to match Euro standards would be emissions standards for diesel cars. In most locations in the U.S., I’m sure the current Euro diesels would be fine, even if there were a lot of them, and, presumably, CA can still set their own standards, if the Euro diesels are too dirty for LA.

  57. T. Bejma Says:

    Chrysler, Ford and GM are just three of 16 major global automakers competing in the U.S., but they employ two-thirds of America’s autoworkers, purchase nearly two-thirds of the auto parts manufactured here, produce 55 percent of the autos assembled here and conduct most of America’s auto research and development.

    Why do Chrylser, Ford and GM contribute so much more to our economy? Because they conduct the bulk of their engineering, manufacturing, marketing and finance work here. FOUR OUT OF 10 Chrysler, Ford and GM employees are based in the U.S. At Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai/Kia, BMW, Mercedes and VW (the seven largest foreign automakers), only FIVE IN 100 employees are based here. That eight-fold difference translates into millions of U.S. jobs and tens of billions of dollars in parts sales, R&D and capital investment each year.

    So don’t feel too proud of yourself if you buy one of those “Amurican Made” Accord, Camry or any other foreign brand…

  58. T. Bejma Says:


    “A real stumbling block IMO – do you see EU adopting OUR standards? Or the U.S. rolling back our standards to EU’s?”

    I work in product development at GM and can tell you that the EU standards are MUCH more extreme, in fact, when it comes to pedestrian protection and it would be them rolling back to adopt our standards…

  59. Drew Says:

    To #41 Feldman – There aren’t many retail customers who pay MSRP either. The point is that we need data for % of sales to daily rental fleets. I see lots of different brand vehicles at the dialy rental lots – including Toyotas, Nissans, Hyundais, and Mitsus – not just GM, Ford, Chrysler.

    Some daily rental exposure can be good for a brand as a way to get a future prospect into the product. So, daily rental vehicles are not the strippers models of yore. But excess sales to daily rental companies will hurt brand equity as the short-cycled resales undercut the price of new vehicles.

    John and ALD staff, I thought we were to be more civilized in these postings. I have noticed a decline in the past few weeks.

  60. T. Bejma Says:

    OT but kind of appropriate with the recent discussion of the City of Detroit…

    Some of the biggest crooks in Detroit Government are now behind bars for a LONG time…


    Doesn’t fix the City but at least it should send the message that if you want to be corrupt in Detroit, you will get caught and be put away…

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Doesn’t the EU have different, and maybe stricter lighting standards too?

  62. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 60: Now if the feds would do the same thing to congress etc…..

  63. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes, you are correct Kit, forgot about that. The EU requires expensive “auto-leveling” devices on their headlights that keep the beam in the optimum range even if the car is overloaded. Good catch Kit, that will add a lot to the cost of the vehicle…

  64. RonE Says:

    Re: 61, My sister had a Mitsubishi Diamante, early ’90s model I believe, that had the auto-leveling device for the headlights. At the time, I though that was really cool.

  65. HtG Says:

    Off Topic

    SkipBarber school is offering a one day driving school at LimeRock for 750 dollars. The best money you can spend on a car.

    I just wish Skip would stop offering discounts on the racing school.

  66. Julius Lambert Says:

    Way to go GM,bowing to the THUGs in the MAFIA.Invest all the time,funds and talent into this rising star that many upper crust were scared of their positions,then you SQUEZE him out,to a BIG COMPETITOR.
    You guys need to check your shorts.

  67. cwolf Says:

    Good show today and stiring comments. But to believe Hogan was axed because of the UAW is totally NUTS!!! When is ONE board member so influential? Let me just say I am in fsvor of Hogan’s achievements,but it was others, not the UAW prez. who had a sharper axe to grind. Steve Yokich just opened the door for others. Geesh!!!

    Kidd, you are right on the mark about the Mustang; The 4 cyl. won’t go no where and, yes, Ford is asking a premium price for all its models and is making a profit because of it. All auto manufacturing in the EU stinks, but, mark my words, Ford willand IS positioning itself to come on much stronger in the EU as the market improves.

    GM has a strong line-up of competitive cars which hold their own. Any viewed over-lap will straighten itself out during the next phase change and buyers understand the differences. American brands are regaining lost market share and to predict any notable change is premature if not foolish.

  68. T. Bejma Says:


    The (cordial) voice of reason…

    +1 cwolf

    My favorite new quote…

    “The less people know, the more they yell.”
    — Seth Godin

  69. HtG Says:

    68 ‘If you wish to keep a secret, do not let it be known that you have a secret.’ -French cultural attaché, (yeah right, “cultural attaché”)

  70. T. Bejma Says:

    Good one HtG! +1

  71. T. Bejma Says:

    Good one HtG! +1

  72. XA351GT Says:

    Geez ,4K for a scooter engine? What are they smoking at BMW and they better start sharing. Does anyone really wonder why EVs are doomed? They are going to charge a fortune for it and then charge you 4K more for a vespa engine so you don’t have to push that POS home.Just stick a fork in these things until they can make them cheap and competetive mileage wise with a ICE .

  73. cwolf Says:

    My bro-in-law bought a 2013 fully loaded Ford Explorer. Way too many toys for me, but the adaptive cruise control captured my attension. As I pulled in and out of traffic, the undeterminable deceleration and acceleration,was a horific turn-off. After adjusting the sensitivity(lag time between my car and the car ahead), my in-law aasked me to try again. Boy what a difference! The sharp breaking due to the car ahead,turned into a coasting. And when I pulled into the fast lane, the cruise control automatically met the speed I had originaly set. In summary; I suppose if one took the time to master all of these options,the could be found to be a “must have.” Guess they are not my cup of tea! My scariest moment was to trust this device when the car ahead came to a sudden stop at the stop light and I did not have my foot ready on the break. The Explorer did suddenly break and I am so…o glad it did. Thank God for seat belts!!!

  74. RonE Says:

    Re: EV’s. April 2013 issue of Road & Track, Tesla S: “…the Model S isn’t just the most important car of the year. It’s the most important car America has made in an entire lifetime.”

  75. HtG Says:

    73 this is the kind of comment that this comment board is about

  76. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @74: Road & Track?? More like road & crack.They have completely lost it.

  77. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You get a generator and some electronics to go along with the scooter engine, and it’s a $10K scooter that the engine comes from. Still, it seems a pricey “option.”

  78. G.A.Branigan Says:

    10K should at the least get a diesel..

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Actually, the $10K BMW scooter is not much more expensive than the Honda counterpart, the SilverWing, which is now $9270 MSRP. I have an 2003 SilverWing, and the 2013 is little different, except the new one has ABS. The ‘Wing is a great machine, except for the so-so suspension. That is probably the main area where the BMW scooters might be better.

  80. T. Bejma Says:


    You know it is pretty amazing with all of the praise on this site about the “Toyota Way” that they could not generate a higher profit margin (in a banner year coming off the Tsunami effect) then the red headed step child of the site – GM…

    2012 4Q Profit Margins

    Toyota = 1.2%
    GM = 1.55%
    Ford = 4.38%

  81. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Here ya go T: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/volt-worlds-best-selling-ev/

  82. ColoradoKid Says:

    Small US Trucks coming back ?


    That’ll make G.A. a happy camper …. errr… maybe


    Current Debt still owed by GM to the US tax payers after the recent government stock sell off ?

    $20 Billion

    Price of GM stock needed for the US tax payer to break even on the remaining shares ?


    Current value ?


    At GM’s current profit to loss ratio …. their stocks still rated as Junk etc ?

    Aint never gonna happen . We’ve ( tax payers ) been screwed ….. again


    Mr Bejma

    Ahem . May I once again remind you that despite economic crisis’s….. Tsunami’s …. their ongoing financial conflict with China … excessive recalls in the US ( for operator induced errors ) etc etc etc

    Toyota Does Not owe the Japanese people some $20 billion dollars . Fact is …. they owe the Japanese government /tax payers ……. bupkiss

    So ….. still care to try vainly to criticize the ” Toyota Way ” ?

    Thought not ;-)

  83. ColoradoKid Says:


    Show you how stupid TTAC can be.

    The VOLT …. IS NOT AN EV Goram it !

    Its a freakin extended range Plug In Hybrid

    Sheesh . Now even TTAC’s gone all stupid on us !

  84. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: Lmao…..I know.TTAC is not one of my favorite sources of info,but when I seen that I had to pass it on.I’m bad…..

  85. ColoradoKid Says:


    First MW …. then MT …… C&D soon followed…. CR’s always been ‘ questionable’ at best .. …. CAR’s gone to hell in a hand basket ….. then R&T …. now TTAC ….. who’s next on the Gone Stupid – Sucking Up to the Manufactures and to ___ with the Facts list pray tell ?

  86. HtG Says:

    The BOJ sure can blow a profits tailwind, though…


    I do love me some redheads, TB

  87. T. Bejma Says:


    Toyota does owe the Japanese Government SEVERAL MILLION YEN for artificially keeping the value low to allow them to better compete globally (reference HtG’s link a few days ago with the Yen to Dollar an amazingly FLAT LINE in this volatile world economy)…


  88. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    No son …. the entire Japanese manufacturing industry across the entire board as well as every other Japanese company that does business overseas owes a big vote of THANK’s to the Japanese Government for keeping the yen’s value low

    No monies changed hands ….. no cash wound up in Toyota’s ( or anyone else’s ) bank account …. therefore


    Care to try again ?

  89. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    BTW … if you don’t think the US government has been keeping the dollars value at artificial levels since 9/11 … then y’all aint been payin attention ;-)

  90. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Small trucks: Yes CK,it does make me happy,with the exception that the oems are still trying to pin the poor sales of the smaller pickups on us,the consumers.That is wrong on every level.When the oems started putting upgrades and higher tech,better engines etc into to the higher profit fullsize,they only did cursory refreshes for the less profitable small trucks.That only carried so far and people like myself stopped buying something that had,in comparison,very old tech.That is especially true under the hood.

  91. T. Bejma Says:


    Of course it is not an actual exchange of funds, but it is a BIG advantage that we do not have here…

  92. HtG Says:

    We also know that the US Fed was supporting the auto industry, among others, by buying commercial credit notes until 2010.

    No credit, no nuthin’ for nobody

  93. G.A.Branigan Says:

    When I bought my new 07 Colorado it was,for me,the perfect size.The Z71 4×4 pkg worked great,when it worked.Without going into the whole story here again lets just say it was the single worst vehicle,new or otherwise I had ever owned,and believe me I have owned a lot.That is why GM stopped making the colorado/canyon.name a electrical problem,they had it,mechanical? They had it,leaked like a sieve,yup.Abs pump shorting out and locking all 4 corners? Common everyday occurrences.Not low quality……NO QUALITY.

  94. HtG Says:

    Another quiet subsidy is the 70% US ownership of Ally financial. Let’s be real and aver that such backing makes it easier for Ally to sell their paper in the market, and thus provide credit to buyers of cars.

  95. Kit Gerhart Says:

    82, 90
    When these new smaller pickups arrive from GM, they should NOT use the Colorado and Canyon names. They either need new names, or maybe they should use something like S-10 and Sonoma.

    Lets face it. The Colorado/Canyon monikers don’t have such a good reputation, considering the last trucks with those names were a rare case of the new ones probably being worse than the ones they replaced.

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #82 and others,

    My share of that 20 billion dollars GM owes the government is 67 dollars. I, for one, feel that I am getting a very good deal with that “investment.”

    If the “bailout” had not happened, ~2500 good jobs would have disappeared in my home town in Indiana, and I wouldn’t have been able to give away a home that I will want to sell in a couple years.

  97. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I agree.The bad taste that still exists with currant/former owners will be hard to get rid of,or overcome.S10′s:had 2 of them over the years and both were excellent and offered no problems.Both of course were 4×4′s with the 4.3L V6 Vortec.Damn good driveline….

  98. HtG Says:

    96 In 2009 as markets were evaporating, did it make sense to let giant concerns go down? This is still ongoing with the reluctance of DOJ to charge big banks like USBC with money laundering and violating bans on banking with Iran. It’s just that people hear the word ‘taxpayers’ and make up their minds. The economic fact is that deficit spending is what needs to be done to help markets recover, and it’s been happening in every category, not just auto.