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Episode 1096 – VW TN Urged to Join UAW, Subaru’s First Hybrid, Jeep Reveals Moab Concepts

March 21st, 2013 at 11:47am

Runtime: 5:36

The head of Germany’s IG Metall union sends a letter to VW workers in Tennessee urging them to join the UAW. Subaru announces it will introduce its first production hybrid at the New York Auto Show. Jeep unveiles six new concept vehicles at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari that are equipped with off-road parts from the Mopar catalog. All that and more, plus today’s host Todd Lassa gives his thoughts on the company culture over at General Motors.

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Hello and welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Thursday the 21st of March, 2013. I’m Todd Lassa from Automobile Magazine. Let’s get to today’s news.

UAW GETS IG METALL SUPPORT
It’s looking more and more like Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee could be represented by the UAW. Earlier in the week we reported that VW management is considering setting up a works council for its employees that could work in tandem with the UAW. And now Reuters reports that the head of Germany’s IG Metall union sent a letter to VW workers in Tennessee urging them to join the UAW. There are still some hurdles to clear but this would be a big victory for the UAW.

EV OWNERS WON’T BE BACK
Electric vehicles aren’t selling that well around the world and a new report suggests it will be hard for automakers to keep EV customers. About one-third of Japanese EV owners say they won’t buy another one, according to a new study from McKinsey and Company. The respondents say they bought an EV because of the green image of the cars, government subsidies and enjoyable test drives, but they don’t want another EV because of higher electric bills and a lack of a charging infrastructure. The researchers say this could be a problem for the U.S. as well, especially since federal tax credits will eventually run out.

CAMARO SS TO DEBUT IN NEW YORK
We’ve got a few more teases ahead of next weeks New York Auto Show. Chevy released this picture of the front end from the 2014 Camaro SS. No other details were shared but the company says the new model will have the most significant updates since the fifth-generation Camaro was introduced a couple years back.

SUBARU TO INTRODUCE FIRST HYBRID
Subaru announced it will introduce its first production hybrid at the show, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. As you can guess from the name, it’s based on the company’s XV Crosstrek crossover. The company didn’t share many details other than the hybrid system was engineered by Subaru and like all Subaru’s it will be equipped with all-wheel-drive. Subaru also revealed that it will unveil an all-new performance concept car in New York but we’ll have to wait until next week for the details on that.

JEEP REVEALS MOAB CONCEPTS
And speaking of concepts, Jeep unveiled six new concept vehicles at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari that are equipped with off-road parts from the Mopar catalog. Each variant has been upgraded to withstand the punishment of off-road traveling with everything from performance upgrades, to skid plates and larger wheels and tires. While these are just concepts, Jeep has been known to devise a package based on the vehicles it shows off at Moab.

A recent announcement from General Motors has me wondering if the company’s culture has really changed since emerging from bankruptcy. That’s coming up next.

GM’S COMPANY CULTURE
A rare positive effect from the 2008 Lehman Brothers’ collapse, the subsequent GM and Chrysler bankruptcies and Ford’s downsizing is that North American automotive production capacity has declined since 2009. Even when U.S. sales were in the 17-million range, NAFTA capacity for foreign and domestic makes, estimated at 21 million per year, was far too high. Now European automakers are fighting governments and unions in hopes of rationalizing production capacity like automakers have here.

So what’s NAFTA auto production capacity right now? No one seems to know for sure, though some news from General Motors indicates it hasn’t declined as much as we thought.

At the launch of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala in San Diego last week, GM announced it will continue to build the old model, to be called “Impala Limited” and sold only to fleets, like its Captiva CUV. Even Ford has finally put the Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car to rest.

The front-drive Impala got a major facelift for 2006, but is basically the same car that premiered for the 2000 model year. The Chevy Impala Limited seems like something that would have been sold to GAZ or ZIL, if the Soviets were still around.

As a fleet-only car for the U.S. market, it reeks of the sort of thing you’d only expect from the Wagoner-era Old GM. It raises questions about whether company culture has really changed, like Ford’s and Chrysler’s.

And speaking of General Motors, we’ll have John Manoogian II, a former designer at the company on tonight’s episode of Autoline After Hours. With John out of town, the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo takes over hosting duties. He will be joined by Gary Vasilash from Automotive Design & Production and the one and only Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics. So tune in tonight at 6PM eastern time at our website Autoline.tv for the best insider discussion in the industry.

And that’s it for today’s show, once again I’m Todd Lassa from Automobile Magazine, thanks for watching and I will see you here again tomorrow.

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

60 Comments to “Episode 1096 – VW TN Urged to Join UAW, Subaru’s First Hybrid, Jeep Reveals Moab Concepts”

  1. Bradley Says:

    Finally a Subaru change that isn’t simply diluting Subaru to increase sells.

    Hybrid XV a win for me. It is has dimensions similar to a 2008 Forester and hopefully it will get high MPG.

  2. darkguy Says:

    It’s obvious that GM’s culture hasn’t changed.

    New Impala and the Cadillac XTS share too much in common same old tired badge engineered company

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    EV buyers don’t even want EV’s anymore, can you imagine what will happen to their resale value? quite a diff from satisfied Prius owners, and the new GM is like the old GM, nothing changes over there, meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    EV’s would become more popular if there were places to charge them. For now, the people who have a place to charge them, those living in a house in the suburbs, are in places where EV’s work least well. EV’s are best suited for use in cities, except that there is no place to plug them in.

    GM should send the tooling for the old Impala to somewhere in the developing world where people need cars, but aren’t yet very particular about how good the cars are. China is not such a place, though, as VW is learning.

  5. Lex Says:

    Great Job Todd Lassa!

    I believe Pure EV’s have a very limited customer base all around the world. The Chevy Volt is the best example of a EV with a range extender ICE backup, but the ROI (Return on Investment) is simple too long and the vehicle price including government rebates is way too high for the average customer.

    I understand that OEM’s want to recoup R&D cost within a product specific short life cycle but this leads to non adaption and product sales failure.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    4 Kit too big for most parts of the world, would not sell there either.

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – EV’s would be more popular …….. if they WORKED …. which they do not .

    ———

    Japan’s going Hydrogen – Damn the torpedos … to heck with the trends ( EV’s & Hybrids ) Japan’s going Hydrogen ….. big time ( TTAC) BMW & Mercedes following suit ( actually partnering with the Japanese on hydrogen )

    _______

    While Subaru finds itself a day late … a dollar short and late to the party as always with their Hybrid bit of pretense .

    Overall Worldwide reaction to the Subaru hybrid being ;

    They Should of Built a Diesel instead .

    ——

    Bill Ford mentors John Elkann ??????? ( FIAT heir – Detroit Free Press )

    Tell me please ….. anybody ….. what part of Bill Ford’s mind does not understand past relationships go out the window in the business world when you’re in direct competition ? Also … what part of Bills understanding does not comprehend that in fact neither of the Elkann’s want anything to do with running FIAT SpA ? Lapo’s too busy doing his fashionista illicit kickapoo joy juice/trips to the cathouse thing …. while John’s much too busy with his own company ….. as well as his questionable dealings with Murdock the Younger .

    What is wrong with this country of late ?

    From businessmen to Politicians … we mentor our enemies – hand them cash and entire companies – invite them over for Tea & Cookies ….

    ….. all while kicking their own ( US employees citizens neighbors … e.g. us ) smack dab up the backside !

    Truthfully …. we haven’t just lost the plot ….. we’ve forgotten what the book even is

    ——–

    Lastly … to end on a positive note ;

    A Happy Birthday to Ayrton Senna …. you are missed … in the paddock and elsewhere

  8. ColoradoKid Says:

    2014 Chevy Impala

    All signs on the horizon are saying that like its predecessor ….. it’s sales will be dependent on 75% Fleet Sales …. assuming the Rental companies even want them

    Chevy wants the numbers down to 70% … but snowballs have a better chance surviving in Dante’s Inferno than that ever happening .

  9. Lex Says:

    The Chevy Impala Classic is an example of GM wanting capitalize on it’s past investment into that platform which is ideal for fleet sales and generate substantial profit on older technology.

    The only reason Ford did not do this with the Crown Victoria is because they wanted to improve their Brand Image and only have product that meet or beat their competition’s products.

    However Ford could have kept the Crown Vic as a solely purpose build vehicle for government and law enforcement with guaranteed annual sales by incorporating new technology into the vehicle.

    I do not see the need for local law enforce to running around in Ford Explorers. The Ford Explores Police Edition must be much more profitable for Ford then the Crown Vic, but what about the additional cost of purchasing and annual operation of the Explorers for municipalities with limited budgets?

  10. 12345678 Says:

    #1 Really? Subaru is coming to the hybrid party 15 years too late. Furthermore, look at its photo. here is a face that only its mother would love. And “hopefully” is the right word you use re the MPG. Subarus are AWD and therefore, as you should expect, get far worse MPG than cars of the same weight and HP with FWD. And if y ou have the turbo, this thing guzzles gas, if driven spiritedly, like a V8!

    #2 You got it exactly, 100% right. The exterior and maybe the interior too, look different, but the engine and mechanicals are the same between the $60k+ (price as tested!) XTS and the $30k Impala. What a ripoff!

    And further proof that nothing has improved at the New GM, it is just as bad as the bad old GM, and kudos to Todd Lassa also for pointing it out today, that the new Impala is just like the unacceptable Old impala. Only at GM would the managers approve of such a “new” model. A tradition of Mediocrity, not Excellence.

    #3 I fully agree, and actually, even if used EV prices go rock-bottom, they are so unappealing to me, I will still not buy one even at bargain-basement prices.

    #4 Good points! You can recharge an EV where you don’t need it, but you need it where you can’t recharge it (downtown). But in fact, you really don’t need a stupid EV in the city, just walk or take the metro or the bus!

    And look at Lex’s comment,#5, very true, it is not just the lack of recharging stations, it is such a poor choice economics-wise, even with the $7,500 tax credits, that for most bnuyers, the EVs or ‘extended range EVs” like the Volt, will never recover their investments.

    #6 the only places EVs may make sense are very tiny nations with short distances. Israel, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Monaco, the Vatican! But the Vatican is so tiny, you don’t even need a bike, you can easily walk from one end to the other in half an hour!

    #7 Does anybody know what breakthru, if any, happened to these loser Hydrogen cars, that all of a sudden all these makers decide to waste good billions after bad billions on them?

    #9 GM may want to be much more careful, or it will lose even the Fleet market, if people like myself, who frequently rent on business trips, make a point to not rent these god-awful vehicles, even if it means that they have to be stuck with a Camry or a Corolla instead?

  11. C-Tech Says:

    The Impala Limited smacks of the old strategy of the “Malibu Classic” and Malibu. All it does is confuse consumers and dilute the brand. Ultimately those tired old / new Limiteds end up competing against the new Impalas in the customers mind. What is the definition of insanity?

  12. Ckernzie Says:

    Although I agree that pure EV’s are not ready for prime time and similar issues haunt them in North America remember the study comes from Japan that is not EV friendly. Electricity costs are very high, nowhere to park let alone charge and traffic in the cities is horrible leaving some EV owners stranded with dead batteries I’m sure. Japan is very trendy and if that many people are saying they won’t buy again then EV’s are toast in that market.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    If having fleet only vehicles is such a great idea, why doesn’t anyone else do it? I don’t know of any, the closest was Ford with its CV which was the champion of fleet sales and their big mistake was not replacing it with a proper RWD platform, the Taurus cop car just doesn’t cut it, maybe they could have brought it from Down Under to save on R&D costs.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    12345678

    ” Does anybody know what breakthru, if any, happened to these Hydrogen cars ………… ? ”

    Yes … I do

    No …. I cannot say ;-)

    Though IMO I do think perhaps they’re jumping the gun just a tad …… but for the long view ….. its the future of the automobile : be it ICE or Fuel Cell …. which funny enough BMW was saying all the way back in the 90′s with Mercedes following suit

    ——-

    C-Tech ; Insanity = When you keep doing the same thing over and over again thinking the next time the results will be different :o

    GM’s MO in a ‘nut’shell !

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    CKernzie – You might want to also take into account that here in the US as well as the EU and the UK ALL the utility companies are at present being strained to the point of failure with the current electricity demands being placed on them … with zero remaining capacity for EV’s – no plans for future growth ( or the money to do so ) as well as Nuclear Plants closing down worldwide … widening the gap between demand and capacity even further … without EV’s being a factor

    So please …. tell me just where EV’s do have a future in light of the hard core facts on offer ? I’ll tell you where . Amusement Parks and the Golf Courses …. period !

  16. 12345678 Says:

    http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-bmw-3-series-gran-turismo-first-drive/

    I know everybody and his mother-in-law are developing “3 series fighters”, but I was never a big fan, except perhaps of the 1999-2005 models. I have driven the prior gen 3 in the 328xi awd version with an auto tranny and it was not much fun. Give me RWD and a manual anytime.

    Also, the 5 series GT was a bloated flop and did not sell well.

    However, BMW may have got it right with the 3 series GT, it looks far better than the 5 GT, and it has the useful hatch design for more cargo and passenger space than the coupe.

  17. T. Bejma Says:

    “As a fleet-only car for the U.S. market, it reeks of the sort of thing you’d only expect from the Wagoner-era Old GM.”

    Why?

    This is one of the most useless pieces of journalism I have seen on this site. At least explain yourself.

    TTAC and their commentors could come up with many positives about this concept:

    - Keeps resale value high on the new model
    - Keeping factories running

    And the only real disadvantage being that if a customer’s only experience with your brand is a old model.

    As I recall the Malibu Classic was able to achieve positive results being fleet only.

  18. 12345678 Says:

    #17 LOL Your denial takes the Olympic Gold. You should at a minimum state that you are working for GM.

    In fact, I have googled your name and came up empty, so most likely you are posting under a false name, you are not a GM engineer, but actually one of these paid GM interns or other junior staff, which you yourself mentioned once, whose only job is to write positive comments about GM and its models.

    There was absolutely nothing improper with Todd Lassa’s courageous and truthful report, and he should be congratulated for doing it, even though he knows that may cost him access and preferential treatment in testing future GM models for his magazine.

    So Todd Lassa is a “Profile in Courage” in my book.

  19. T. Bejma Says:

    Looks like Dan Akerson’s visit to DC went well…

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130321/AUTO0103/303210438/GM-CEO-tells-lawmakers-company-thriving?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6,
    Yep, that’s true, but mightn’t they be good cars for “party members” in Cuba? Those ’57 Chevys must be rusting out by now, with all the salt spray.

    7,
    EV’s do “work,” but with the obvious limitations of range and places to recharge them. I’m sure you know that, or I’d think you would.

    I see quite a few Impala police cars in urban areas. That would be a good use for the old Impalas, if they sell them to departments at good prices. Police departments, at least in areas where I am, tend to “use up” the cars, so the used ones wouldn’t really be competing with the new Impala.

    It seems that a lot of people here are hating on the new Impala, but I don’t get it. Yeah, it is not “exciting,” but what is its real competition? Taurus. They are priced about the same, comparably equipped, but the Chevy has much better user interfaces. I’d buy if over the Taurus for that reason alone, and suspect the Impala is better in other ways too. We’ll find out in a few weeks when they start showing up at dealers.

  21. T. Bejma Says:

    #18

    You must be new around here because all of the regular contributors know that I do work at GM.

    Apparently you need to work on your Google skills…

    https://www.google.com/search?q=T.+Bejma+general+motors&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS528US528&aq=f&oq=T.+Bejma+general+motors&aqs=chrome.0.57j60j65j60l2j62.4570&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=T.+Bejma+general+motors&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS528US528&ei=x1tLUea6M6q9yQH69IHQCQ&start=10&sa=N&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.44158598,d.aWc&fp=72025e3e6220f422&biw=1163&bih=635

    Didn’t say it was inproper, just useless…

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18,
    Huh??? He has always said he works for GM, but, to my knowledge, he never said he was an engineer. His degree is in business administration.

  23. HtG Says:

    14 Hydrogen

    You know but you cannot say, CK? Are you Marlon Brando in The Formula? A new catalyst for converting the new fracked methane gas into hydrogen? Maybe you could just pantomime the secret?

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hydrogen will always be a pipe dream, until there is an unlimited supply of free electricity to electrolyze water.

    Even then, there is the little issue of handling liquid hydrogen at -400 degrees, or compressed hydrogen at 4500 psi. Even if you don’t mind those little issues, the stuff takes up LOTS OF SPACE. You lose most of the trunk in a CNG Civic, and it takes even more space to store the same amount of energy with hydrogen.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the poor folks in Cuba would give up some redundant body part for one of these much-maligned Impalas, new or used.

  26. C-tech Says:

    @ #17 As a tech in the field, many of those Malibu Classics wound up as used cars to 1st time or young buyers who had various problems with them (intake manifold coolant leaks for one) and swore they would not buy another Chevy. If this pattern repeats then GM will have an uphill battle trying to get another generation back. It just seems to me to be a short-term decision with possible long-term consequences.

  27. Bradley Says:

    #10
    Subaru already has a Diesel, just not in the states.

    Toyota is a controlling shareholder of Subaru, it would be fair to assume Subaru’s hybrid benefited from this relationship.

    MPG is what matters, and an AWD Subaru with high MPG is a win for me.

  28. T. Bejma Says:

    #26

    The 3.5 V6 was prone to many different ailments but KBB shows that it got 8.6 out of 10 by consumers which doesn’t seem to bad…

    http://www.kbb.com/chevrolet/malibu-classic/2008-chevrolet-malibu-classic/lt-sedan-4d-consumer_reviews/?intent=buy-used&vehicleid=196995&category=sedan

    The current Impala has the lowest Warranty cost/incidents of any vehicle we make so there shouldn’t be a problem with reliability.

  29. HtG Says:

    I still don’t get Todd Lassa’s argument about GM culture and the Impala Limited. Wouldn’t the old GM have sold a stripper version of the new car and jammed the channel? Isn’t this the opposite?

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG what they did now was the same as with the Classic, they made a new version of the Malibu for sale to the public and kept the old, and according to some better, version and called it the classic, now instead of Impala Classic, we get Impala Limited.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26, 28,
    That 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.9 engine family seemed to have intake manifold problems its entire life. I’ve known people who had problems at low miles, but a guy in my condo has one with 250K miles who has not had a problem. Anyway, that engine is now retired, except maybe in those rental Vues, whatever they call them.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I thought of it. Captiva.

  33. john897 Says:

    How can the writer equates the new GM to the old GM culture, because GM is keeping the old Impala just for the rentals. I think it’s a smart move for GM to do this. No matter what GM does, there is always someone to criticize what GM is doing. I’m sure if writers looked closer, many things could be found with Toyota to criticize about.

  34. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – There’s just some ‘ insider ‘ info I’m not free to divulge … if’n you get my drift ;-)

    And anyway … you never told me who the GLK driver was either now …. did you ! ( lol )

    —-

    Kit – If it ( EV’s ) does not function in all the ways an automobile needs to ….

    It Does Not Work …. period

    Excuses are for politicians teenagers and children .. not engineers and manufactures

    Unless of course one is willing to admit EV’s are NOT automobiles …. which of course no one will do cause then absolutely no one would buy them

    And errrr…. not to be condescending / insulting or anything … but you really need to get up to speed and into the 21st century when it comes to hydrogens future .. cause your info is dated and a bit behind the eight ball …. if you catch my meaning

    Fact is BMW – Mercedes- Toyota – Nissan/Renault wouldn’t be going down the hydrogen road ….. at their own expense I might add ( seeing as how no government including ours will subsidize or support it as they are with EV’s … ) if they didn’t KNOW point blank there was a future in it .

    Just because ObamaClaus and the ( not so ) Big Three are clueless when it comes to hydrogen ( hell … what has that bunch gotten right of late ? ) doesn’t mean its not real … and on its way

    ——-

    T Bejma – #21 – Think about it for a second ….. you’s a smart guy ….. you’ll suss it out .. wink wink ;-)

  35. HtG Says:

    AH

    Here’s a comparison of GT-86 with Renault Clio RS for you, Pedro. Via Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe. (check out his adventurous shorts!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUlNvovXtVc

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – #22

    Jeeze !!!! You mean to tell me I’ve got more engineering education/knowledge than T Bejma does ?????

    (2nd undegrad degree in Acoustic Design /Sound Recording & Engineering )

    He sure had me fooled :(

    ——-

    T Bejma – You’re in deep doo doo now son ! ( just winding you up a bit T … but I will keep that bit of info in mind for future discussions ;-) )

  37. HtG Says:

    35 maybe you can help out with explaining how the Acura quiet wheels work, CK. My best guess is they have Helmholtz resonators spinning around the axles. Got a quick exp of Helmholtz? Got a quick exp of Helmholtz exhausts used in F1 now?

    I’m all eyes

  38. C-tech Says:

    @ #28 First, that is not a link to a Malibu Classic, but the newer style 2008 Malibu LT. Second most of those fleet (Not-So)Classics had the 3.1 or 2.2 engines. Between engine problems, ign. lock cyl. problems, and fuel pump problems in the 2000-2005 Malibu Classics, its no wonder Toyota and Honda took over the #1 spot in sales and hearts and minds of the U.S. public.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    #34 HtG I’d love to take the GT-86 on a winding road like that one, but we got none like that around these parts. And if they did the limit would be 35 or less.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #33, CK says:
    “Kit – If it ( EV’s ) does not function in all the ways an automobile needs to ….

    It Does Not Work …. period”

    CK……

    NO car “works” as an only car for everyone. A Corvette or Miata “doesn’t work” if you need to transport more than two people. A 911 “doesn’t work” if you need to transport more than 4 people, two of them being rather small. A GLK “doesn’t work” if you need to transport more than 5 people, or need to tow a 10,000 pound trailer. Yes, a pure EV “doesn’t work” if you need to go more than a certain distance without recharging it for a certain period of time. ALL vehicles are “niche” vehicles, but some niches are much larger than others.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #33, and additionally, CK says:
    “And errrr…. not to be condescending / insulting or anything … but you really need to get up to speed and into the 21st century when it comes to hydrogens future ”

    There are certain aspects of the natural world that you may not understand. Hydrogen does not exist in its free state in significant amounts anywhere on earth. It takes lots of energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Extracting hydrogen from methane is pure idiocy. You had might as well just burn the methane, but there are issues with that too.

    Natural things are as they are. Hydrogen, even in liquid form, has very low energy density. If your GLK were powered by hydrogen, even liquid hydrogen, you would lose the cargo area, and probably the back seat, if you wanted a range of 500 miles. That’s the physics of the whole “hydrogen economy” myth.

  42. XA351GT Says:

    I wonder if that Subaru HiPo concept will be a AWD STi version of the BRZ ?

  43. T. Bejma Says:

    #35

    Will keep that in mind if we are ever in a discussion of sound pressure level and how to win your local Mobile Electronics Competition Association (MECA) or International Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) contest… ;-) Right back at you Buddy…

    May not have the book smarts of some but I have learned way more in my 27 years in the Auto Industry then I could have ever have at school. Some of the worst Engineers I have ever worked with had the most diploma’s on the wall…

    #37

    Sorry about the wrong link there CK. I will be the first to admit that what we were making in the early 2000′s was a real mess and damaged our reputation severely and in some cases it was irreversible. We are not living in the past anymore and some here may not believe it, but there have been and continue to be dramatic changes in the way that we do business. I can cite several examples of major changes that do not get a lot of press but are keys to a bright future for GM…

  44. T. Bejma Says:

    Sorry, meant C-Tech instead of CK re: #37

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31,32
    I looked it up, and Captiva uses the 2.4 GDI 4 cylinder and the 3.0 liter version of the very good 3.6 now used in a lot of GM cars. It looks like the 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.9 liter pushrod V6 has been completely retired, at least in the U.S. market.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42,
    TB, you say “I will be the first to admit that what we were making in the early 2000’s was a real mess.”

    Those early 2000′s GM cars weren’t that bad. A friend has a much-maligned 2002 Pontiac Sunfire, twin of the Chevy Cavalier, and it has been a great car, reliability-wise. The car now has 190K miles, and the only major repair, if you call it major, was a bad motor mount, about a $300 repair. The engine, the “old” 2.2 has been stone reliable, as has the transmission. The A/C works perfectly, and has never been recharged. It has had two front brake jobs, one rear brake job, two replacement sets of tires, and one replacement battery. That’s it. Not even Toyotas and Hondas do much better.

  47. W L Simpson Says:

    “My” EV will have inwheel motors,small batt pack
    that is 2 generations away, and a very small
    constant duty ICE or gas turbine driven alternator. most of this has already nicely been done , but the Capstone turbine was cost prohibitive.—– there is hope.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I looked up Capstone turbines, and was surprised at how big and heavy they are. A 30 kw turbine-generator set weighs over 1100 pounds, and is 70 inches tall. Maybe a lot of that size and weight is in the cabinet to quell noise, but that is BIG for a thirty-some horsepower unit.

  49. Bradley Says:

    #45
    I agree with what you are saying about GM’s on paper reliability. However, things like noise, vibration and interiors seems to go down hill quicker on GM products and other Detroit titles.

    My almost 15 year Tacoma doesn’t have a single rattle.

  50. T. Bejma Says:

    #45

    Yes Kit, I realize that there were some good ones, but the number of bad ones back then was WAY more than we have now, based on our Warranty data.

  51. T. Bejma Says:

    #48

    And on VW’s…

    “Whenever we post about a Volkswagen, comments about reliability (or, more specifically, the lack of it) inevitably follow. So few will be surprised that, with the latest update to TrueDelta’s car reliability stats, the 2012 Passat again received subpar marks. Though the big sedan’s score is better than earlier, it remains considerably worse than most other 2012s. Digging through the repair reports, a common cause emerges. Ignition coils aren’t failing. Nor are window regulators. Instead, the most common problem for these cars happens to be rattles.”

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/car-reliability-stats-updated-passat-problems-pinpointed/

  52. HtG Says:

    Did you guys hear Jim Hall last night on AAH? He said that people in their twenties simply don’t care where a car was made. They’re neither for no against the domestics.

  53. 12345678 Says:

    #19 I heard Captain Queeg’s visit went well in the news today, and was totally surprised. I bet he was not talking to members of Congress with even clue one about the Auto business.

    In fact, I wonder in what way, if any, is Akerson any better than the disastrous Wagoner? The answer is, in no way, at least Wagoner rose thru the ranks and knew where the bodies were buried at GM.

    #22 I got the impression that he was an engineer, both from his comments on specific models, and also from his dismissal of Rick Wagoner as a “finance type”. If he is not, too bad, but it explains a lot..LOL.

    #24 I agree. There is little need for hydrogen cars anyway. In another article in Autoblog, I read about the immediate and far greater promise of 18-wheelers with LPG or even CNG. They are going at it in earnest now, and if many convert, this should lower gas and especially diesel prices soon.

    #27 Everybody and his mother in law have Diesel versions of their models in Europe, my point was only about the US market. And I repeat, if you have AWD, it will 100% screw the MPG. There is no magic formula about it.

    #29 I thought you were a big fan of Todd Lassa and even treated him as “one of us”, to use your exact words. What happened? But I do get his comment on the Impala. After all the positive articles that TB pointed out, Todd was the little boy who dared say that “The Emperor has no clothes on!”, ie, the new Impala is mechanically identical, zero progress, not even a new engine, to the bad old Impala.

    #33 it is clear from your post that you are just speculating about Hydrogen, so don’t call it “FACT”, there is no fact whatsover in it.

    #42 The “worst engineer” is better than the “best MBA”. I have both backgrounds, and cringe at the way the MBAs have been grossly overvalued by industry, while the Engineers, perhaps due to their modesty, end up with mediocre salaries. if there is any justice, engineers should be paid twice what they make, and MBA’s half, and they would be still overvalued.

    #42 If a car has decent reliability it does not mean it is an acceptable, decent vehicle overall. The Cavaliers-Cobalts-Sunfires were poorly designed cars, with third-grade interiors, crude shifters, which, even if they worked, felt terrible (the 5 speed manuals). I was given a ride back in summer 2003 in our computer guy’s Sunfire, and it truly stank. Rubbermaid inside, crude engine, noisy, not fun to drive, and of course the styling was juvenile.

    On the subject of cheap, inferior versions of a maker’s cars sold to daily rental fleets:

    I am not sure that this made so much money when it was done with the Malibu Classic. if it did, then which models caused GM’s bankruptcy, TB? I doubt it was the Silverado. Seriously.

    Also, it is a terrible idea to sell a boring, crude model to the rental fleets. You should do the exact opposite, sell them your best new models, so you get a ton of free advertising from the tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of renters who are positively surprised by the experience!!

  54. Bradley Says:

    Yes, AWD hurts MPG. Didn’t think that was up for debate.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG hey good news finally a factory supercharge kit for the FR-S only a bit of a problem, it goes for $26k each, must buy a minimum of 2, however, I’m sure we could sell one of them.

  56. HtG Says:

    You’re kidding me. But if you want to go faster, spend a grand with SkipBarber.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    No kidding, look it up on TTAC today

  58. T. Bejma Says:

    #53 re: #29

    I missed Todd’s review of the new Impala, all I saw was slamming the old version. Where was that?

  59. 12345678 Says:

    #58 I went back and read the transcript, and you are right, I did not read it very carefully, and got it wrong because he referred to the facelift and I wrongly thought he was talking about the new model, which is indeed a facelift…LOL

    Sort of like that TV station in Germany that broadcast Chancellor Kohl’s new year’s message but instead used last year’s new year’s tape and nobody noticed.

    Todd was too harsh to compare the old Impala to the Soviet Auto models, I have taken rides in it and it is not at all that bad. It’s not even ugly, like almost all Subarus (and quite a few Toyotas!) are. But it is sub-par.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    53,42,
    My friend’s Sunfire is decent transportation, nothing more, and nothing less. People like to bash those cars, but other than being a little thirsty compared to Corollas and Civics of that time, they are not that bad. The one I’m familiar with has not only been reliable, but the interior has held up very well. The seats are still in good shape with no rips, etc., at 190K miles. His car is an automatic. Yeah, the manuals didn’t shift very well, at least the earlier generation when they were called Sunbird. As far as noise, my friend’s Sunfire has less road noise than my MINI, but ditching the run flat tires might help that a lot on the MINI.