Autoline Daily

Subscribe - Podcasts Video Podcasts iTunes Zune RSS Audio & Other Options
Autoline Daily

Episode 1091 – Fisker Calls it Quits, International’s CNG Semi, China Scraps Clunkers

March 14th, 2013 at 11:03am

Runtime: 8:00

Henrik Fisker abruptly resigned from the car company he started after unspecified disagreements with the executive management team. International, the big truck maker, now offers the Transtar Class 8 semi that runs on CNG. Pollution continues to be a problem in China, and the country has a plan to get the highest polluting cars off the road. All that and more, plus we take a look at how fish behavior is helping Nissan develop its autonomous technology.

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: BorgWarner, Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher | YouTube

Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Coming up later in the show we’ve got another cool barn find, but first let’s get to the news.

FISKER CALLS IT QUITS
Henrik Fisker abruptly resigned from the car company he started after unspecified disagreements with the executive management team. We suspect he resigned rather than get fired. Fisker Automotive is in deep financial trouble after a string of unlucky breaks and no doubt the financial backers of the company want drastic changes. It is very difficult to start a brand new car company unless you come to the market with some dramatically new and different technology or process. Fisker relied on styling to break into the market and that’s just not enough. Even so, we’re sad to see him fail because you have to admire him for how far he got.

CHINA LIKES CNG…FOR THE U.S.
One of China’s largest private companies plans to create a network of natural gas stations in the U.S. for heavy-duty trucks. According to Reuters, ENN plans to build 50 stations this year alone in the U.S. It teamed up with a small Utah company called CH4 Energy and the two created a joint-venture called Transfuels. They plan to build around 500 stations in the U.S.

TRUCK FLEETS EYE CNG, LPG
There is a lot of interest in the United States of running trucks on compressed natural gas or liquid propane autogas because truck fleets can save a boatload of money. We’re going to be doing a lot of reporting on this in the weeks to come. International, the big truck maker, now offers the Transtar Class 8 semi that runs on CNG. A cost calculator on International’s website shows that a fleet can save well over $150,000 in fuel costs over the life of the truck. For fleets that run their per-mile operating costs to the penny, this is a windfall. Check out the link in today’s show notes to see how much truckers in your area could save by converting to natural gas.

UNDER-RIDE GUARDS SCRUTINIZED
And speaking of semi-trucks, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S. is calling for stricter requirements for under-ride guards on the back of trailers. The agency tested trailers from the 8 largest truck manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. A 2010 Chevy Malibu was crashed into the back of the trailers at 35 MPH at three different off-sets: full-on, 50 percent over-lap and 30 percent over-lap. At full-width every trailer passed and only one failed at 50%. However, with the 30 percent over-lap test only one trailer passed. In 2011, 260 people died in the U.S. in these types of accidents.

I MUST CRUSH YOU
Pollution continues to be a problem in China, so the country is trying to get the highest polluting cars off the road. There is a new standard coming May 1st that says if a car fails a mandatory inspection three times in a row it has to be scrapped. Cars are required to be inspected once every other year for the first six years from the date of purchase, then once every year for the following four years, and then they have to be inspected every six months. If someone does not get their scheduled inspection they risk getting a fine of about $32 and three points on their license.

IS THERE SOMETHING ON MY FACE?
You know, this Barn Finds segment, where you send us the cool cars you see, is really starting to grow on me. And this next pick is “treemendous.” Gordon Garside sent us this car-turned-terrarium, which he discovered on some “semi-rural private property” north of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Gordon knows what it is, but do you? He says it isn’t uncommon to see these vehicles running around at local antique car shows. But as he notes, based on the size of the tree, this car hasn’t moved in some time and won’t be going anywhere too soon. Tell us what you think this is in the comments section of today’s show and we’ll reveal its identity on tomorrow’s edition of Autoline Daily.

Coming up next, Nissan is playing around in Silicon Valley with what look like toy robots. Actually it’s all about autonomous cars.

NISSAN’S AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY
Every time you turn around another automaker is announcing it’s getting into autonomous technology. Nissan is the latest and it put out this video to explain how it’s developing this technology.

(Nissan’s autonomous technology can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Join us tonight for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Klaus Busse, the head of interior design at Chrysler. This will be a fun show so tune in to catch me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for some of the best automotive discussions that you can listen in on.

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

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

93 Comments to “Episode 1091 – Fisker Calls it Quits, International’s CNG Semi, China Scraps Clunkers”

  1. Mike Says:

    Hey John,

    It would nice if you could post the barn finds somewhere on your “printed” page. The company email doesn’t like videos because they take up so much bandwidth. I enjoy the barnfinds but find it difficult to watch the videos to see what they are.

    Mike

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    How To Succeed in the Automotive Manufacturing Business

    Confuse the _____ out of your consumers

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/psas-brand-strategy-lets-make-a-peugeot-sandwich/

    Someone remind me …. why was GM hooking up with PSA ever even considered a ‘ good ‘ idea again ?

  3. GM Veteran Says:

    Why is a Chinese company building CNG gas stations in the U.S.? They don’t have an excess of natural gas in China, they aren’t building any stations there and it sounds like they don’t have any other business interests here. I guess they just have money to burn!

  4. M360 Says:

    Looking forward to your AAH show tonight, John. I would like to hear from your guest what differentiates an interior for a “luxury” car from the rest of the crowd. Some carmakers seem to feel all a their luxury cars need to have is leather seating surfaces and automatic climate control. What about switchgear that is not flat, but gives a look and feel you don’t find elsewhere? What are the basaic requirements of luxury brands
    from Chrysler?

  5. Bradley Says:

    Nissan Eporo is a cool story.

    It would be interesting to see a robot added to the group, a black sheep. It would be programmed to only do laps around the track. Ignoring all the other Eporos and see how the school of fish can mitigate the outcast.

  6. HtG Says:

    Got gas?

    Here’s a Reuters piece on how Japan is developing an enormous off shore resource of gas frozen in subsurficial water. Wouldn’t they love to get part of their fleet off gasoline and help deal with their nuclear risks?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/12/us-methane-hydrates-japan-idUSBRE92B07620130312

    3 China

    It sometimes feels like China looks at us as a third world country, where they can come in with massive money and buy, rather than steal, resources. The wild card may be who develops LNG ports which will unlock our supplies; that’s going to raise domestic prices to world leves. :(

  7. HtG Says:

    Busse on AAH tonight

    I’d like to hear some talk about the potential for weight savings that come from interiors. How much do those seats weigh, again?

  8. ColoradoKid Says:

    The Year of Delusional Thinking

    Looks like Luca de Montezemolo’s gotten into the 3M’s and Akerson’s Kickapoo Joy Juice supply as well

    Now he’s claiming Ferrari is a ” more powerful ” brand than Apple ( NYTimes )

    Yeah right Luca . Cause every 15 year old out there is so in love with cars and Ferrari in particular … and doesn’t lust after an Apple of one kind or another

    Delusions are truly running rampant in this industry of late … aren’t they ;-)

  9. ItsmeBill Says:

    After burning through $193,000,000.00 of our money, I feel little admiration for Fisker. Probably we’re lucky they didn’t get the whole $528,700,000.00 they were promised.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    #6 HtG haow can they help but not think that way, just look at any photos from our former great industrial North and you’d think WW3 had broken out there, the other day I saw a piece on Camden NJ, some of the streets have holes so large that they look like mines had gone off and it looks like London after WW 2.

  11. Lex Says:

    Nissan’s Autonomous Technology robots look alot like that female robot “Eve” in the Disney Movie Wall-E. I wonder who inspired who?

    Henrik Fisker was doomed from the beginning because he thought that if he produced a high end electric vehicles he could succeed. This business plan could not sustain nor even grow a Car Company. The Chinese will scoop up all of Fisker’s technology and probably produce a repurposed high volumn currently ICE powered vehicle into a EV-Hybrid for mass consumption in China and later around the world.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I still think they need to worry about things other than cars to curb pollution in China, things like coal power plants, “dirty” factories, and 2-stroke scooters and mopeds.

    It looks like CNG trucks won’t be taking over the roads in Florida any time soon, but they may eventually. For now, of course, they plan is to use them mostly for local runs. Going from New York to LA is way out of the question, given the locations of CNG stations at this point. From the International Trucks web site, it looks like the CNG trucks will need to make a lot more “pit stops” than diesels, with a fuel capacity of only 75 diesel gallon equivalent, but they will be cleaner, and cheaper to run than the diesels.

    It looks like the engines are probably based on diesels, but with spark ignition. I couldn’t find anything about compression ratio. I’m curious about that.

  13. ColoradoKid Says:

    Lex – ‘ Eve ‘ came first …. by a long shot

    As far as Fisker’s Failure ….. guess the countdowns begun on Musk and TESLA then as well by your reckoning … which I completely agree with btw

    ———-

    HtG – Two things . WTH happened to Windsor’s show this week ? Aint no where’s to be seen … snif :(

    China – Like to take a guess on average how many attempted cyber attacks on our infrastructure – corporate world – government per week are coming from just two Chinese military bases ? ( no …. this is not classified )

    100,000 . That we know of ;-)

    So … yeah … we’re not only Third World in their eyes … but their enemy as well

    —–

    Pedro – #9 – +1

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect the Chinese are building the CNG stations in the U.S., because there is money to be made in building CNG stations in the U.S. I doubt that it has anything to do with using CNG in China.

  15. HtG Says:

    12 Windsor’s show is on YouTube. Just type his name. But the show is really just The Flying Lap, his old show. And the sound quality is abominable.

    China-one question that gets downplayed is who is really in control over there. Does the party really rule the military and security services? Now, this would be classified.

  16. MJB Says:

    Thst Barn Find looks like a VW Beetle to me.

  17. dcars Says:

    CNG cost $1.25 per equivalent gal. of regular gas. It isn’t difficult to figure out why people are changing. Local fleet trucks are changing and NY is considering installing quick fill stations in our toll highway stations. Most of WNY’s trash haulers have made the switch.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: The whole north east is eaten up with outrageous taxes from sales tax to property/school/state/county/township/all utilities and off the hook social programs and whatever else I forgot about.Fixing roads ain’t gonna happen because those that handle that tax money mismanage same as both houses in dc.

  19. runner Says:

    Looks like a Jaguar sedan from 50s- Mark V-VII

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16,
    CNG is good for short haul trucks, school buses, and trash trucks. Even if there were more stations, it would be less good for over the road trucks and cars, because it takes so much space to carry much fuel. The only CNG car on the market, the Civic, loses half of its range, and most of its trunk.

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    CNG

    Question is ….. where’s all this CNG going to come from ?

    Fracking …. who’s safety is at best ( according to USGS etc etc ) questionable ?

    And how is the lack of energy obtainable from CNG question going to be answered ?

    Not to mention having known a few long haul truckers in a professional status …. how’s the time needed for extra multiple fill ups going to be addressed ? ( Time is money for a long haul trucker )

    Sorry …. but IMO CNG ( as well as LPG ) is just another in a long line of pipedreams and desperate delusions in an attempt to answer the oncoming transportation dilemma facing this Nation as we obsessively avoid the obvious solution

    Mass Transportation and Increased Rail .

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan

    #17

    Especially VT ! Where you have the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation – 60% of roads are not paved – 90% of households do not have city sewer/water – the police ( including the State Police ) do not answer the phone between 1 am and 4am – where you as a middle class type cannot get medical help even if financial catastrophe strikes – whereas a poor person can get his/her gender change operation paid in full by the state – where your child pays full tuition at any state college or university – whereas that poor persons kid can get a full boat ride from the state to attend college in say … Aruba ( true story ) ….. and by the way ….. 80% of VT natives get at least 55% of their income under the table therefore paying zero taxes on it

    American Socialism in action … in VT .

  23. Cliff 59 Says:

    The Barn Find appears to be a “Morris Minor”, a somewhat popular vehicle at one time in those parts.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The hood closure of the “barn find” looks like a Beetle, but the apparent turn light position does not. The opposite is the case with the Morris Minor. I don’t think it’s either, but am still trying to figure it out.

  25. HtG Says:

    Barn Find, It’s a stumper!

    I’ll say Beetle, because Morris Minors had broad front grills. And Beetles had rear engines. Of course, ALD aficionados will demand the year for this model. Beets me! :)

  26. 12345678 Says:

    BMW put out a press release about the forthcoming 328d. It is 180 HP, 280 lb-ft, and should get well above 40 MPG in real driving, and possibly over 40 MPG EPA. This is a smaller diesel than the prior 335d, but it should be more than sufficient HP and esp torque for this size vehicle.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26,
    It they import the wagon, with a manual trans, I could get interested.

  28. 12345678 Says:

    #27

    See the full press release at Autoblog.com.

    Don’t remember seeing anything about transmissions,

    but manuals are no longer so better than automatics as they were 20m years ago, when they provided both better performance and far better MPG.

    Today’s 7 and 8 and who knows how many speed autos, with manual options of some kind, are far superior to the 5 and even 6 speed manuals of antiquity. And I doubt that many drivers will ever bother using the manumatic option, as a well-selected use of the gas pedal usually tells a smart auto tranny what you want, andit delivers it.

  29. HtG Says:

    Kit, I know, I know

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28,
    With smaller diesels, there was a significant difference in mpg as recently as around 2007, when VW last sold the 1.9 TDI in America. The autobox was a torque converter unit, I think 5-speed, and the manual got a lot better mpg. VW now uses DSG in the automatic TDI cars, and they get the same mileage as a well-driven manual. If BMW uses a torque converterless dual clutch automatic, that should be the case with their diesels too.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    #18 GA don’t forget all those manufacturing jobs that helped built this nation have now moved abroad and we’ve been left with abandoned buildings, unemployment and despair, and an ever increasing government welfare system.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked the BMW UK web site, and found the 320d, the one they will, curiously, call 328d in the U.S., with the automatic gets slightly better mpg in the Euro cycle than the manual. I guess the only reason to want a manual would be that I like driving manuals, and it would cost a little less.

  33. Moe Says:

    56 to 62 Morris Minor. No center divide on the windshield so it isn’t earlier.

  34. W L Simpson Says:

    I wonder how much horsepower that tree powered Humber has.

  35. W L Simpson Says:

    http://www.dieselpowermag.com/tech/0905dp_natruell_cng_conversion_kit/viewall.html

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Recall Update

    Honda this time

    183,000

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/petition-by-owner-prompts-recall-of-183000-honda-vehicles/?ref=automobiles

    Sheesh ! So now anyone can mandate a recall ?

    —–

    Kit – When the likes of Porsche drops manuals on their new GT3 … you know the manuals days are all but over ….. unfortunately

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – Here’s something to add to todays indigestion

    Top Five Us companies with a majority of their cash assets invested overseas ;

    1) GE – $108 billion
    2) Pfizer – $73 billion
    3) Microsoft – $60.8 billion
    4) Merck – $53.5 billion
    5) Johnson & Johnson – $49 billion

    So even when they’re here ( jobs ) ….. they’re not here completely ( assets )

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 37 source – WSJ

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    how can these cars apply their own brakes unless they have computer controlled braking, you know. where you step on the brake and the HAL 6000 aboard sends a signal to the brakes to make them stop and HAl hates you and slams on the brakes in the middle of the highway as you’re being followed too close by an 18 wheeler, or maybe it’s one of those push button emergency brakes things?

  40. HtG Says:

    39 Got milk and cookies, Pedro? Check out this article on the coming computerization of cars. The article is about open standards beating out proprietary systems. It hurt me too much to read of this horror, but I don’t see why cars will escape the Matrix. Enjoy…

    http://embedded-computing.com/articles/automotive-source-drives-innovation/

  41. gary susie Says:

    Barn find looks like Morris Minor.

  42. ColoradoKid Says:

    I just had a creepy though to end the day ( thanks a lot brain ) I thought worth sharing . Alert though … this is pure conjecture .. not opinion , speculation or fact .

    China & CNG

    What if ….. the real reason China wants to get their paws into our CNG stations has nothing what so ever to do with profit ….. but rather to finally get some inroads into the only aspect of our economy so far they’ve been unable to infiltrate …

    Namely …. our infrastructure .

    Hmmn .

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    # 42 Hey C.K. how about ShanghaiShortie as your new name, I will be Juan Hung Lo then.

  44. HtG Says:

    “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown”

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    #40 if I had my way, I’d get a mid 90′s Accord, arguably the best Accords ever made, even though they’re almost 20 yrs old, I still see a bunch of them on a daily basis.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36,
    MINI may be one of the last to sell manual transmissions in the U.S. They currently have the highest, or near the highest take rate for manuals.

  47. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > Mass Transportation and Increased Rail.

    Yep …. with CNG transit buses and LNG-electric railroad locomotives.

  48. Mooki Says:

    Barn find looks like an Austin A40 c.1950, might
    be my first car. I wondered what happened to it.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, trains should be a good application for CNG or LNG fuel. You can just add a few extra cars to carry it, and refuel when facilities are available, even if there are few locations to do so.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Read this AM that electric car racing is coming to Miami, that must sound like an attack by millions of bees. so they pit for tires, and battery swap?

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that Toyota may use the GT 86 platform to make other RWD, small cars like a sedan and coupe to take on BMW, I think that wold be a smart idea, an affordable, RWD driver’s sedan like the old 2002 and 318 used to be.

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM in the ( not so good ) News

    The Impala’s coming up lame everywhere but MT .

    The Good ol Boys Club cronies have taken over GM’s marketing and advertising

    (TTAC Reuters etc )

    Same old GM … Same old ____ …. Different Year …. Same inevitable result ….. Fail !

    ———

    CNG/LPG

    Once again oh advocates of the gas ;-) …… where’s it all gonna come from ?

    Don’t even go down the fracking road with me …. I’ve read the USGS papers …. seen first hand the damage created by fracking ( KS ) … seen what fracking is capable of with underground aquafers .. read what NOAA’s opinions are on the mater .. etc

    Oh wait . I get it . Its not in YOUR town … and as long as it isn’t you couldn’t give a ______ as long as your tank is full

    The ” Not In My Backyard ” syndrome coming to the fore perhaps ?

  53. Feldman Says:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/chevys-new-impala-cant-outrun-the-critics/#more-481334

    If you thought it amazing how the old Malibu was so much better than the new one, Captain Queeg and the geniuses at GM did it AGAIN! The new Impala could not even go above the very low bar of the primitive old Impala!!!

    The Resident paid GM propagandists will of course vehemently deny this. So who will you believe, them or your lying eyes?

    RE the BMW 328d and Manuals vs Autos:

    I remember that even in the late 90s, BMWs got better MPG with the autos than with the sporty manuals, and this was done on purpose, they were geared appropriately. People who buy a Manual BMW care about performance, not fuel economy.

    20 years ago, if you got the manual, you saved $1000 or more over the automatic (a significant 7-10% for an economy car), you got far better perforrmance, AND better MPG. It was WIN-WIN-WIN.

    In addition, the automatics of the time were primitive and just GOD AWFUL, especially those horrible 3-speed jobs one got at rental cars such as the Accursed Ford Contour (on which the geniuses at Jaguar-Ford based the Jag X-type loser!!) I had the misfortune to rent as late as 1999 in Phoenix.

    Today I am not sure if you still save as much with the manual, and automatics have become so infinitely better, (plus if you really like to shift, almost all of them have some kind of manual option), that very few makers offer manuals any more.

    Re the BMW328d. if this is identical to the Euro 320d, it should have STELLAR Real MPG. That 320d is a car highly esteemed in Top Gear and other circles. I can understand why they will not call it 320d here. BMW and Merc have stopped using the numbers to indicate capacity, and use them to show the HP, performance, or overall superiority of the model vs the old one. And with turbos all over the place, it is fair to stop using the numbers to indicate cubic ccs or inches.

  54. ColoradoKid Says:

    50

    BMW and Toyota are in a cooperative agreement … so I kind of doubt Toyota will take aim at its new found partner

    And seeing as how the ToyotAru twins aren’t exactly selling gangbusters ( a case of the reviews being over the moon while sales remain stagnant ) its hard to believe Toyota will be stretching the platform further anytime soon

    As to the EV Formula racing ….. give it a year …. it’ll be gone

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK maybe oem’s are finally listening to customers and making changes, diesels coming here and more RWD, driver’s cars? we can only hope.

  56. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – I was thinking more along the lines of perhaps ;

    Shanghai Slim

    Peking Mountain Man

    or…… Kung Fu Cowboy

    :o

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    or ….

    Sitzmark Ming !

    ;-)

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    #52 Gee, MT was also very excited about another all-new GM car back in 1979, that was gonna change the auto industry, funny how history repeats itself.

  59. HtG Says:

    52 be careful with references to Lord Jack. He hasn’t driven the car, yet automatically takes the usual TTAC shot at Todd Lassa. And Todd’s one of ours.

    Stick Shift. Is it really about just changing gears, or about controlling the machine? I know, nobody’s listening.

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    How about Fu-King the Great?

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    52,
    Most cars that still offer manual transmissions sell them for about $1K less than the automatic, regardless of the price of the car. There are exceptions, though. The last I knew, a manual and automatic Corvette were the same price. In many, or maybe most cases, you get your money back you paid for the automatic, and then some, if you sell the car after 5 years or so.

    Yeah, the main reason to buy a manual is because you like driving them. That is why I got a manual in my MINI, and might be inclined to get a manual if I bought a 320d, oops, 328d in America. I won’t be surprised if they sell the BMW only as an automatic, but can’t find any information on that yet.

  62. Feldman Says:

    #58 TTAC were absolutely right about GM being in a coma before it went broke and was bailed out. Few, if any, other auto sites got that. And none of these people (like Todd) are “one of ours” what do you mean?

    Anyway, I just post the link. Did you read his article? Did you catch any inaccuracies? Laess uns wissen dann!

  63. T. Bejma Says:

    #51

    “The Impala’s coming up lame everywhere but MT .”

    Anyone but MT even drive it?

    Google search says NO…

    Care to site a reference of a bad Impala review?

  64. T. Bejma Says:

    Never mind, read the next post…

  65. T. Bejma Says:

    So, to sum it up:

    MotorTrend likes the Impala
    Yahoo doesn’t like the Impala
    TTAC piles on (as usual) with Yahoo and shuns MotorTrend as “liking the Volt”

    Typical day in the Armchair Auto Industry Expert’s World…

    I am going to go back to building cars…

    Oh yeah, BTW, just bought a 2013 Cruze LT2 1.4L Turbo Manual yesterday for my new daily driver…

  66. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Good for you T,I hope it serves you well.Of course we do expect a full review when you’ve put a few more miles on it ;}>

  67. T. Bejma Says:

    #65

    Of course G.A. and as [almost] everybody on this site knows, despite my employer, it will be impartial.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’m confused I was under the impression the new Impala was going to be RWD, now I read it’s not, seems like it’s just an improved version of the previous gen. So this is not the same as the police Caprice?

  69. HtG Says:

    61 Readers of Autoextremist got years worth of dire warnings about GM, and its potential effects on the wider economy.

    Todd Lassa appears regularly on AAH and AutolineDetroit. (you may want to read some more fiction, otherwise I will continue to confuse you)

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    67,
    It’s basically a stretched Malibu, but offers more gadgets like adaptive cruise, and offers the V6.

  71. ColoradoKid Says:

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130315/AUTO01/303150387/Obama-wants-2-billion-vehicle-technology-research-funding?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    Somebody please tell ObamaClaus we’re all ( US tax payers ) sick and tired of funding / subsidizing / bailing out / extending grants and loans etc to any and ALL automakers … for any purpose .. as they to the number all come up Snake Eyes when we do !

    ——–

    T Bejma – I likes ya an all …… but errr ….. not being able to see the forest for the trees as you are …… impartiality isn’t exactly one of your …….. ahhh ….. hmmn ….. errrr …. strengths with GM .

    Fact is when it comes to GM its not even in your repertoire

    Also I’ll place serious odds that Impala is the pos everyone assumes it’ll be

    And then there’s that issue of GM’s Old Guard – Head in the Sand ( I’m being kind with that one ) – Couldn’t markets heaters to Siberia if their lives depended on it – Marketing Mavens .

    Seriously T . Get the CV in order and take your talents elsewhere … anywhere …. somewhere other than GM .. before its too late …. for you and them ;-)

    Take some advice from those idiots in marketing T

    ” Find New Roads “

  72. Feldman Says:

    #68 I am well aware, I listen to all AAH, and remember him appearing. That still does not make him “einen von uns”. In addition, tell me when he has ever said anything memorable. (if he did , I’d remember it).

    SO the crappy new Impala is NOT RWD? Then it’s really dead meat, destined for Hertz and Alamo. I hope GM actually makes a dime selling it to the fleets.

  73. Feldman Says:

    Any Cruze is 1,000 times better than the stupid, stupid Dolt, which now GM gives away at $199 a month and still few take it!!!

  74. ColoradoKid Says:

    #69

    e.g. Its an over complicated – heavier – wider- longer version of a not bad – but basically mediocre car – with a critter on its snout then ?

  75. ColoradoKid Says:

    Hydrogen

    So as of today VW-Audi ( Winterkorn ) says … No !

    Whereas the Toyota/BMW alliance is saying hell yes !

    ( TTAC )

    Methinks the cracks are beginning to show over VW-Audi’s way that HtG and I have both spoke of on numerous occasions

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    A stretched-out version of a lesser car to turn it into a higher level class in order to save money is not a good idea, GM did it when they stretched out the X platform to make the A, Chrysler did it with the K-car back when and now again with the Caliber=Avenger=Journey derivatives.

  77. T. Bejma Says:

    #75

    The XTS has been getting great reviews (other than CUE) so the chassis is proven already…

  78. Feldman Says:

    #76 RIDICULOUS. The XTS is a pathetic Impala, complete with a TINY wheelbase for its length. Do you know why the hell they choose to make the car look like a 250 lb mother-in-law with size 6 shoes? Do you really save anything by continuing with these pathetically short wheelbases? It sure cramps interior space when the wheels are in the middle of the car instead of AT THE ENDS.

  79. C-Tech Says:

    @ #75 My understanding of the new, full-sized cars for Chevrolet: RWD – Chevy SS (from Australia) FWD Impala ( Caddy XTS chassis with fewer bells and whistles) Not a stretched Malibu.

  80. C-Tech Says:

    @ #77 It sells well so the ROI is good. You do want the taxpayers to get their money back right?

  81. pedro fernandez Says:

    I could never figure out why ALL vehicles should not be given the longest wheelbase possible, especially FWD, where there is no drive shaft to be concerned with. More room, better ride, it’s a win-win situation every time.

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    78,
    Malibu is built on the short Epsilon II platform. Impala and XTS are on the long wheelbase Epsilon II. All are about the same width.

  83. C-Tech Says:

    @ #80 more wheelbase more money to produce is what I have been told. There is a certain pleasing proportion to wheelbase and front/rear overhang, so I don’t totally disagree with you Pedro, or should I say Corolla Khan Fu?

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    Toyota did it with the Camry, turning it into the Sienna and the Avalon, so has Honda, using the Accord platform to make other vehicles, so if done right, it can work out and save a ton of R/D money, imagine if they had to develop a whole new architecture for every single vehicle produced.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    82,
    I don’t know why it would cost more to make a car with a longer wheelbase, especially an FWD one.

    Basically, with a shorter wheelbase, you trade rear seat room for trunk space, and vice versa. A Crown Vic has a very short wheelbase, and small rear seat for a car its size, but has a huge trunk. A 7 series has a long wheelbase, and a roomy rear seat, but a small trunk for a car that large.

  86. pedro fernandez Says:

    The more spacious passenger compartment and the better ride quality more than makes up for a smaller trunk, if you need lots of trunk space, don’t buy a sedan. There are loads of perfectly capable cross overs and SUV’s out there to choose from.

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    86,
    Those last Crown Vics were probably designed to be taxis and police cars, so they made them that way. A lot of the taxis, at least in NYC, had the same stretch as the longer Town Cars, so they had both big trunks and adequate back seats.

  88. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Other discussions aside, XTS with an 18 cubic foot trunk (largest or close to it in its class) also touts fine interior room: http://www.cadillac.com/tools/comparator/compareVehicle.do?pvc=152&snType=model&year=2013

  89. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Sorry, after the link, pick dimensions.

  90. Feldman Says:

    87: I don’t know if there were several different Crown Vic Taxi models with different rear leg room, but the Crown Vic taxis I rode in the Wash DC area a couple years ago had TERRIBLY SHORT rear leg room and overall rear space. Utterly unacceptable for such a long whale, and the problem is AGAIN the pitifully short WHEELBASE, 112-115 inches for various Crown VIcs over the decades, despite their huge 212 inch length!

  91. Feldman Says:

    #85 The 7 series and the S class are not family cars, and trunk space is not a priority.

    The 7, especially my “L” version, has ENORMOUS, Limo-sized Rear leg room. Its trunk is the same or maybe a little smaller than the trunk in the 5 series, despite the fact that the 5 was and is much smaller than the 7, but perfectly adequate.

    I once had to haul a family of four from the airport, that came over from Europe for a 6 month stay to do a post-doc with me. We managed to fit everything in the 740iL, the husband rode in front with me, and the wife, two young kids (they brought kid car seats from Europe too!) and a vast number of luggage in the trunk and in the very spacious rear seat. The car was probably 5,500 lbs, almost 1,000 heavier than it usually is, and the driving dynamics showed it, it felt huge and unshakeable as it went on the highway at 70-75 on the cruise.

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    90,
    They made 6 inch stretch Crown Vics, and most of the CV taxis in NYC seem to be the stretch ones. See:

    http://ophelia.sdsu.edu:8080/ford/04-10-2008/vehicles/commercial-vehicles/speciality-vehicles/taxis/taxicabs-117p.html

    They would have been 118 inches long.

  93. fj40 Says:

    The Nissan autonomous technology is really cool but I fear the day when we start seeing on the showroom floors. What’s going to stop the Local, State & Federal Governments from using this technology against us? Correct me if I’m wrong but I would think it has some sort of a GPS and speed monitor. That would be all the Government would need to track and control all of our driving. Our driving rights are slowly being taken away.