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Episode 1097 – GM Closes Opel Plant, MKZ Back on Track, Hyundai’s Sports Coupe Concept

March 22nd, 2013 at 11:45am

Runtime: 6:52

General Motors is moving forward with plans to close its Opel plant in Bochum, Germany. Sales for the Lincoln brand are down almost 25 percent through the first two months of the year, but that could change now that one vehicle is back on track. Hyundai just revealed renderings of a luxury sports coupe concept it will unveil at next month’s Seoul Motor Show. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about how the automotive industry can attract more female talent.

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Hello and welcome to another new episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Friday, the 22nd of March, 2013. I’m Todd Lassa from Automobile Magazine filling for John once again while he is out of town. But now the news.

GM ACCELERATES OPEL PLANT CLOSING
General Motors is moving forward with plans to close its Opel plant in Bochum, Germany after workers rejected a cost cutting deal. Earlier in the year, the company and union leaders agreed to a plan that would keep production at the facility until 2016, in exchange for a wage freeze, other cost cutting changes and also would have kept about 1,200 jobs at the plant beyond 2016. But workers rejected the deal in a vote yesterday, so now GM will close the plant next year and eliminate 3,300 jobs.

FORD AGREES TO SEVERANCE PAY
But it probably won’t be cheap for GM to close that plant. Earlier in the week Ford announced it will pay 4,000 hourly workers, $750 million in severance to shut its plant in Genk, Belgium which builds the Mondeo.

JAPANESE LOSE YOUNG BUYERS
After years of trying, it looks like the coveted younger buyer is finally turning to Detroit and South Korea and away from Japan. Bloomberg News reports that according to both R.L. Polk and Edmunds.com, the gains have come in the smaller and midsize car segments where Detroit, at least, had always struggled. But now with snappier, more fuel efficient product, retail registrations for the Detroit 3 along with Hyundai & KIA are up with 18 to 34 year old buyers and down with Japanese automakers. But before Detroit and Seoul start popping the champagne, Japan still dominates youth retail sales by a significant margin…but at least it’s a start.

HEAVY TRUCK SALES SLOW
Meanwhile, the road isn’t as smooth for the big rig set. The Wall Street Journal reports from the annual truck makers’ trade show in Kentucky that many believe sales of heavy-duty trucks have peaked. Last year’s sales of just over 272,000 were short of projected goals and this year they expect to drop another 10,000. The reasons? Not only is the average length of a haul shorter, but trucks are carrying lighter weight packages, have better routing and are rarely empty, improving productivity of existing vehicles.

MKZ BACK ON TRACK
Sales for the Lincoln brand are down almost 25 percent through the first 2 months of the year, due largely in part to production delays with the MKZ. Vehicles built at the company’s plant in Mexico were then shipped to its Flat Rock plant for additional inspection and repairs. Ford has never specifically addressed what the problem was. However, the company says the MKZ’s are no longer being shipped between the two plants and inventory should be back to normal by the end of the month.

HYUNDAI’S CONCEPT SPORTS COUPE
Hyundai just revealed renderings of a luxury-sports-coupe-concept it will unveil at next month’s Seoul Motor Show. It’s the ninth concept designed by Hyundai’s R&D Center in Korea, which is reflected in its name, HND-9. The concept has a turbocharged V6 rated at 365 horsepower that is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai says the HND-9 represents an evolution of its fluidic sculpture design that may travel down into production models.

Coming up next, a look at how female executives are mentoring young women in the auto industry.

WOMEN AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY
It’s not easy getting young people to consider the auto industry as a career, especially women. On Autoline This Week, John talks with a panel of women, both professional and at the university level, to discuss how the industry can attract more female talent. Here’s a clip from that show.

(The clip from Autoline This Week can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

You can watch that entire interview right now at our website Autoline.tv.

But that wraps up this week’s episodes. I’m Todd Lassa from Automobile Magazine, thanks for watching and I will see you next time.

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

76 Comments to “Episode 1097 – GM Closes Opel Plant, MKZ Back on Track, Hyundai’s Sports Coupe Concept”

  1. Bradley Says:

    I think the fact the younger generation does care about where a car is made, is more of a social studies headline than an automotive.

    Just like the younger generation will buy fewer cars for varying reasons. One of the largest being cost of ownership as a percentage of income.

  2. Bradley Says:

    ugh shoudl be..doesn’t care

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think the bigger question, with MKZ, is whether after inventory gets healthy whether sales will be up to expectations (at Lincoln); I think not (but that’s going to be the biggest question.

  4. HtG Says:

    Where’s the investigative reporter to find out what’s being repaired on those MKZs?

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Where is John Stossel when you need him? Perhaps this could explain why the Mexican built VW have such dismal reliability numbers, funny thing is that the last gen, Mexican built Fusion has been a pretty good vehicle.

  6. C-tech Says:

    I wonder if the Japanese companies might be losing the youth market due to today’s youth not having strong credit and/or weaker earnings? The domestics and the Korean companies seem to have more flexible credit policies.

  7. C-tech Says:

    @ #5 I have faith in Mexican factories, its the VW/Audi engineering I find questionable over the long term.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    #6 Nah, I just think that the Japanese have lost their edge in most every aspect, engineering, quality of the product, innovation etc perhaps the Koreans are now the new Japanese, and in a decade or so the Chinese may fill in that spot, if the price is right.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7,
    Yeah, both Ford and Chrysler have gotten decent quality from their Mexican plants. VW, less so. The New Beetle has been especially bad, both in CR’s surveys, and in the number that show up to be fixed at a shop in Kokomo, Indiana.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    I read today that the new Passats being built in the new state of the art Tenn plant are dismally unreliable, you look at that plant with its almost military style work ethic and you wonder how could this be?

  11. 12345678 Says:

    Yesterday it was TB that complained about the show (the Impala etc) today it seems it is my turn.

    What is all that BS about pushing more women to enter the auto sector. Is anybody giving women a hard time to enter the auto business? Those of you who work in the industry, did you see even the least bit of evidence that the work environment is at all bad for them? And, as I guess, it is not, and on the contrary, they are given every possible break, at the repeated expense of far better qualified male employees, the question is obvious: Why waste their time and out time doing it?

    And it is not even symmetric. Why isn’t the Government and/or the appropriate CEOs actively recruiting heterosexual males in the High Fashion business, or, more obviously, in the Nursing profession? Why is it ok to have few males in one industry and not ok to have fewer females in the other?

    And after all, while there may be a few women that are really good at things automotive, there are extremely few who actually CARE about this industry, for cars or trucks, just as there are very few heterosexual males that care about shoes or purses! So why pressure the women to enter a sector they really do not care about?

    That segment was really unbearable to watch. But having said my piece, I will stop here.

    Correspondence:

    #60 from yesterday, Kit claimed the Sunfire-Sunbird-Cavaliers were decent transport etc.

    They were pretty fuel efficient with the rough-shifting manual, but probably much less so with the auto. MPG was not their problem. They were probably more reliable than the Chevette, but not up to Corolla-Civic standards.

    And speaking of the Civic in particular, I see no reason anybody would buy the Cavalier-Sunfire at that time, and not the far, far superior, far more refined, more fuel efficient, and far better resale-value wise, Civic. Not to mention also far more fun to drive, far better handling, with its double wishbone suspension, and the like. Give me a single reason other than ignorance, one would opt for these cars. Price? no, since the resale and the fewer repairs would amply compensate for the $1-2k more you paid to buy the Civic. Then what? Only if you restricted yourself to the domestics, or were pressured to do so.

    #10 and others: Pedro Fernandez’s favorite topic is the alleged VW unreliability in one or more plants, and last time he also claimed VWs also have poor quality. The two words are not the same. For example, the Cavalier-Sunbird had god-awful quality, materials, plastics etc, but were reasonably reliable. VWs may be perceived as unreliable in some places (like the USA), but their quality is top-notch, excellent interiors, great exterior styling (FAR better than any Toyota or Nissan or even Honda), and, above all, for a FWD car, they are even more fun to drive than a civic. Their handling is legendary.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11,
    won through ate said:

    “Give me a single reason other than ignorance, one would opt for these cars. Price? no, since the resale and the fewer repairs would amply compensate for the $1-2k more you paid to buy the Civic. Then what? Only if you restricted yourself to the domestics, or were pressured to do so.”

    My friend bought the Sunfire for a number of reasons. First of all, he worked for GM (is now retired) Yeah, maybe that is a lot of it, but…. Secondly, price was a major reason. His car, which has auto, A/C, cruise control, and a sunroof, is equipped exactly as he wanted, including the crank windows, and it cost at least $3000 less than a similarly equipped Civic coupe. If you are going to drive it 250-300K miles, resale value doesn’t matter. Fewer repairs? Yeah, my friend has probably been lucky, but has had very few repairs. I know Civic and Corolla owner who have had more repairs at fewer miles, but they may have been unlucky. Anyway, my friend also likes the “juvenile” styling. Some do, and some don’t.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I would prefer to have a lower quality,but reliable car than a high quality one that always needs fixing and in the case of European brands, costs more for parts and repairs, ideally you would want both quality and reliability or a reasonable compromise where I think the Japanese brands were a hit in the states, reasonable quality and excellent reliability, unfortunately the Buick and Chevrolet I had were neither well built nor reliable.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    @12345678

    Hate to drop this little bomb on you but Pedro’s right and you’re dead wrong when it comes to VW’s overall quality or or reliability ,both of which are crap worldwide.

    I’m afraid good sir you’re confusing ‘perception’ and fact when it comes to VW-Audi.

    The ‘perception ‘ being all is good …. Reality being you and your service manager will become well aquainted should you be naive enough to fall for VW-Audi’s hype and deception ;-)

  15. HtG Says:

    As it’s quiet today, I’ll post some auto related links.

    A short piece on how Nvidia is supplying computer chips to the auto industry. Nvidia designs the chips used in tablets and phones, but has a so called foundry actually make the chip. This business model is now common, unless your name is Intel. Cars are getting ever more computerized. (Yup, I have shares in Intel competitor, ARM Holdings)

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2256753/nvidias-automotive-tegra-chips-use-a-special-tsmc-flow

    Also, Jen-Hsun Huang, chief at NVidia is a car guy.

  16. HtG Says:

    Kustom Kars and Kilos

    Here’s a long piece from Wired magazine about the practice of building secret compartments into cars. Surprise, drug transporters have led excellence in the marketplace.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/03/alfred-anaya/

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just to clear something up, I don’t believe VW makes “cheap” vehicles at all, they all dirve and handle very well and have nice interiors and use top notch materials, however for whatever reason that they can’t seem to be able to improve their reliability, at least in the US, continues to be dismal. You read about all their lofty plans for the future and how they want to be #1 in the world, instead they should concentrate on making them at least as reliable as the industry avg, right now according to both JD Powers and CR, they’re below such avg.

  18. C-tech Says:

    Just some anecdotel evidence to add to today’s show about women in auto engineering. A friend of mine met his wife at GMI. She went on to work as an engineer at Ford. She basically was pushed into working on smaller project parts that her team was working on, although very bright and knew her stuff. One of the smaller projects was keeping track of the progress her team was making and being the liasion to the other engineering groups. This kept her away from the “man’s” work. She was able to develop a software program that kept track of her teams progress as well as the other teams which helped management understand the bottlenecks and gave them more precise completion times. For this she was awarded a bonus. Unfortunately (in my opinion) she got tired of fighting the old boys network and decided to leave the automotive industry for medical development. These are the types of people the industry needs “inside” not outside.

  19. C-tech Says:

    @ #16 The drug dealers favorite used to be the Magnun.

  20. EdK Says:

    When I worked at GM the management couldn’t do enough for the women in our groups, anything they asked for they got including work sharing so they could raise their kids and work at the same time. And if you were an attractive woman everyone tripped all over themselves trying to help you out, so when I hear women in the auto industry crying about how hard they have it I just laugh and think that they must be the poorest workers in their areas because my experience has been that women in general are treated a lot better than the guys I worked with.

  21. Admiral Ackbar Says:

    ZZzzzzzzzzzz sorry I fell asleep during that AutoLine Detroit clip. How boring! I’ll make sure NOT to watch that episode. John it really seems like you have given up the show used to be interesting and have a variety of segments, now it’s just 30 min of yacking. PLUS, you just did a show on this women in the car business stuff. Did you forget this one http://www.autoline.tv/show/1631

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    Here’s a news Bombshell

    The ‘ cough ‘ new JEEP Cherokee ……. that isn’t …… a JEEP that is !

    Its an Alfa Romeo in JEEP drag

    ( TTAC . Jalopnik et al )

    Marchionne’s madness marches ever onward

    ———

    MKZ It aint ( back on track ) till the sales start coming . Till then its just another Lincoln bit of wishful thinking

    ——-

    C-Tech – 19 – In the UK its stolen S4 and RS4 Avants … speed and room ya knows 8)

    —————

    Friday Afternoon Video Break

    Mike Hawthorn , a Jaguar D Type … an in car trip around the 1956 LeMans course …. does it get any better ?

    http://bangshift.com/blog/ride-along-with-mike-hawthorne-as-he-laps-le-mans-in-a-d-type-jag-circa-1956-with-his-commentary.html

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    #22 So CK let me get this straight, they went from the excellent Daimler-derived architecture to the POS Fiat one? Sergio is indeed cookoo after all, how long before they mess up the 300/Charger as well with some inferior Fiat FWD platform?

  24. C-tech Says:

    @ @23 No Pedro, the new Jeep Cherokee is based on stretched Fiat chassis. Think a competitor to the Ford Escape or Toyota Rav4 sized. The Grand Cherokee is still a less expensive M-Class.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Patriot and Compass are based on front drive platforms too. The only Jeep with any Benz DNA is the Grand Cherokee.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks for clearing it up, maybe Sergio still has some sanity left in him! Can’t be worse than the old Caliber-based Patriot or Compass. The Daimler Chrysler divorce was indeed very beneficial for the latter, they got to keep those great platforms, that even though are not the latest, are still world-class and help make those vehicles derived from them, very competitive.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23,
    I’m a bit concerned about Charger/300 too. Those cars have been around for a while, with no huge changes. Still, if they are smart, they can use that basic platform for another 10 or 15 years and be ok. The have no competition in the “affordable RWD sedan” segment. Consider how long Ford used their “Panther” platform, which wasn’t nearly as good as the Benz platform of 300/Charger/Challenger. Ford could still sell Crown Vics to police departments, if they would build them.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit Ford gave up the police market by ending the Panther line-up, the Taurus is just not as good from every review I’ve read, the new Caprice and the Charger will dominate that market for years to come. SUV’s are just not good for city patrol, they’re ok out in the rural areas, however.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28,
    I find it interesting that I see no, zero, Taurus police cars, but I see some Impalas in city use. The Taurus should be at least a little better, but I suppose it costs a lot more.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Not having a v8 option doesn’t help the Taurus either, besides having AWD which zaps power from the V6, Chargers with the hemi and the Caprice’s V*8 option are a plus for police depts. cops do not want to be outgunned or outtorqued.

  31. cwolf Says:

    The MKZ slow down was due to supplier problems. I guess cars were stockpiled at the plant waiting for a simple side molding. Of course there were other supplier issues. They say production is now back on course,but I doubt it will matter too much. Again, a day late and dollar short.

  32. HtG Says:

    Really, cwolf? It’s all about a side molding?

  33. cwolf Says:

    HtG
    You may get a better or different read than I did if you log onto todays “Detroit Free Press”. I only do a quick scan in the A.M., yet believe you’ll find it in the business section.

  34. cwolf Says:

    HtG, try this:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130321/BUSINESS0102/130321044/Ford-Lincoln-MKZs-headed-to-dealers-following-slow-launch

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to Ward’s, Ford did not go into details on what was the problem with these cars. hush hush usually means they don’t want the public to know, I wonder how many buyers would be willing to buy these “corrected” models? Come on Mullaly, speak up, why all the cloak and dagger BS?

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    From this article and the rush rush in Hermosillo, looks like worker fatigue could be the problem, more siestas for Ford Hermosillo workers are needed.

  37. cwolf Says:

    I don’t know about worker fatigue, pedro, but at only 100 units per week mabe they were taking a long lunch with those Crysler workers!

  38. Earl Says:

    It looks like GM called the union’s bluff and are closing the whole thing down. Ford bit the bullet first in Europe and now GM. Does this tell me that one Company is a leader and another is a follower.

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    No …. Pedro is partly correct in that yes the GC uses a Benz platform by now the deluded little emperor has begun his quest to have ALL future JEEP’s based on FIAT platforms …. or should I say Suzuki ( as in SX4 ) as thats what ALL the FIAT/ Alfa SUV/CUV’s are being built on ….

    Sheesh .

    Oh and btw …… the Cherokee never has been … and should never be in the same boat as the RAV4 etc ….. until now that is … with madman Marchionne at the helm

    So fear not Pedro ……. he’s still mad /deluded … your assessment is correct

    ———-

    MKZ – A failure in the making . Rebadged Ford Lincoln prcie tag ugly snout = loser

  40. ColoradoKid Says:

    #24

    And again …. thats a Suzuki SX4 underneath the Cherokee …. built in the former Soviet bloc ….. and now appropriated by FIAT SpA for all its future SUV/CUV’s …… including ……… coming sooner than one would wish ….

    …… the Wrangler ….

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    #38

    No …. it means both no longer have a clue how to do business in the EU/UK …… as GM and Ford keeping closing them down ……. Mercedes BMW VW-Audi keeping increasing production …. thats the message that needs to be placed at the forefront

    Yanks ( us ) – 0

    Germans – 10

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro often sites VW apparently being kind of the “gold standard” of mainstream cars in Europe, while presumably more reliable Toyota and Honda don’t do so well. After checking the Toyota UK web site, I think I know part of the reason. It’s the product.

    Toyota’s most direct competition for VW’s best selling Golf, is Auris, the hatch version of Corolla in Europe. For a start, I suspect Europeans like the appearance of the wagony looking Golf better than the Auris. Then, there are the power trains. Golf has a much wider selection of engines and, by the numbers, they seem to work better. Auris offers only one diesel, a 1.4 litre making 90 hp, while VW has 105 hp 1.6 and a 150 hp 2.0 litre TDI’s. Then, there is the ~200 hp TDI in the Golf GTD. Anyway, VW’s 1.6 gets about the same mpg on the Euro cycle as Toyota’s 1.4, even though it makes significantly more power. The same mpg/power trends follow though with the gas engines.

    It seems that Toyota just doesn’t try as hard in the Euro market, as they do in North America.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,
    Being built in the former Soviet bloc must be good. Porsche gets a lot of money for their Cayenne.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe I’ll soon get a chance to see the MKZ interior. I first saw the car at the New York show a year ago, but it was locked “for our safety” or some such thing. Then, a couple months ago, I saw one at the nearby dealer when I drove by, but stopped later to check it out, and it was gone, being driven by a visiting “factory rep.”

    This has to be the longest “rollout” ever for a new car, given that the one at the show a year ago was supposedly a pre-production sample, built on the actual line, or so I was told.

  45. HtG Says:

    Kit, I talked my way into a 15 second sit in the driver’s seat last year. It has a different architecture from other cars I’ve sat in, in that there’s a strong horizontal sweep from the dashboard back along the center console. It felt like sitting in a motorboat, the deck sweeping back along the sides. I didn’t have long enough inside to tell much about the materials. Have to keep your word, eh? (At the time I was there some POS had been going from car to car in the show, slashing seat cushions. Lincoln got hit, but not the MKZ. You could really see how furious the Lincoln people were, but I think the overall effort was to keep it quiet)

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45,
    I guess they kept it quiet. I didn’t hear about the seat slashing. I was there, I think, Wednesday.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    #42 ditto for Lexus in Europe, it is seen as a reliable but boring and poor handling Asian Luxury wannabe, even the excellent LFA was ridiculed for being after all, a “Lexus”. Apparently Europeans don’t put reliability as high up as we do in the states, in the case of the UK however, just about anything they sell there is acceptable (as long as it’s European) Even this Dacia brand get favorable reviews and being from Rumania, former iron curtain country, I doubt they’re any good.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess the LFA was too reliable, and thus, too boring to be a proper exotic.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Dacia is Renault’s Skoda. Renault isn’t noted for stellar reliability, and I would expect Dacia to be a notch down from Renault.

    Well, I guess the Renault F1 engines are reliable enough, except for those pesky alternators.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    For the size of that country, there are sure a lot more brands in the UK than here, you got all those European brands like SEAT, Dacia, Renault and on and on,with the Chinese on their doorstep as well. I have to think that with diminished sales and so many brands to choose from, the sales numbers cannot be very high at all.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    #37 cwolf TTAC reports that the Hermosillo plant is working on 3 shifts to meet Fusion demand, if I know my people, that’s 2 too many shifts (just kidding) I know they bring in fresh troops for each shift!

  52. stas peterson Says:

    Your comment that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a ML in disguise is wrong. If anything the ML is a copy of the Jeep GC. Engineering for the twins was done in America at Jeep, best offroad engineers in DCX.

    Just like the “all new” Mercedes benz V6s are essentially PentaStars. Once again the PentaStar was developed for both in America by Chrysler engineers. After a year on the market, the Mercedes versions emerged from the third duplicate factory to Trenton North, in Europe.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    #52 not according to Wikipedia and not according to everything I’ve read in auto publications, just recently I heard someone at CR say that Chrysler got a nice settlement from the Daimler divorce, both the 300/Charger platform and the one for the Grand Cherokee, both Daimler engineered and developed platforms.

  54. C-tech Says:

    @ @52 Lets just say that BOTH M-B and Jeep/Chrysler got what they needed out of the pairing. The shared engineering costs have been spread over a larger number of vehicles being sold under both brands.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    What I’d read about the Chrysler and Benz engines, they started out developing the engines together, but diverged substantially to have engines for their own purposes. Chrysler ended up with a 60 degree engine, better for transverse mounting. Benz went with a 90 degree engine, which they use only in longitudinal applications. There would be numerous other differences by the time they were done.

  56. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Malaysia Grand Prix; pretty good racing until team orders stopped the racing (before the end). Alonzo pulled a bone-head move on lap 1, continued the error in lap 2 and took himself (unless ordered to stay out) out with a broken front end. Massa ‘soldiered’ on for a fifth.

    Even as this race is over and ‘in the books’, discussion and controversy will follow this one, at least until China (in two weeks).

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, it sounded like Rosberg wasn’t happy. China’s in three weeks.

  58. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Thanks Kit (yeah, three weeks), my bad. Oh, and Webber wasn’t too pleased either.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    58,
    I’m reading more about Vettel/Webber now. Some “intrateam discussion” here.

  60. ColoradoKid Says:

    Malaysia GP

    The ‘ Ted Mac Amateur Hour ‘

    From both the teams…
    ….the pit crews….
    ….an especially the drivers

    The tire situation ? Pirelli should be ashamed of themselves … the new tire compounds are abysmal …. or …. just another in Ecclestone’s ‘ Puppet Master ‘ attempts to manipulate the racing …. take your pick

    Good racing ? Not from this F1 fan of some 49 years . More like the ‘ Keystone Cops ‘ in race cars and pit uniforms .

  61. ColoradoKid Says:

    INSANITY …. of the very best kind ;-)

    And perhaps the best use of a Corvair engine ever

    http://theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/norm-grabowskis-custom-corvair-sick-as-hell-six-pack-on-2-wheels/#more-31584

    To end on a positive note

  62. HtG Says:

    Just finished watching F1 in KL. I’ve never seen drivers looking so upset. Nico was misty eyed, being interviewed. He said he was an employee of Mercedes. Ross Brawn was asked about how Nico was not ‘chuffed’ and said he wouldn’t have expected it. Mercedes had a fuel issue during the race as they hadn’t calculated such high speeds for the race. Seb V. was claiming responsibility for his mistake, saying he understood the team’s order but just didn’t do it. Claimed to be at a loss for words. Webber looked gutted in the ante-room to the podium stand. No one was happy in there, not MW, SV, or Newey. During the race DC was describing the relationship between MW and SV as quite cool.

    Bernie will be delighted.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    61,
    Cool project.

    Years ago, a guy I knew up north put a Porsche 356 engine it a slash 2 BMW bike. I think he used the BMW drive train with little machining needed to put it together. I doubt if you see those engines used that way now.

  64. HtG Says:

    Oh, and Christian Horner said that their drivers were being permitted to race until the last pit stop. At that point, it was supposed to be Webber, as the team didn’t want racing between the drivers to damage the tires, letting Mercedes through. Horner is some professional, judging by his calm demeanor in this this track side interview.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    62,
    I suspect things would have really been, well, interesting, if Vettel had taken out both team cars while ignoring team orders. As things worked out, I suppose it will blow over in a few days. RB is not going to fire a guy who is arguably the best active driver in F1, just as Ferrari gave Schuie a pass on some of his antics.

  66. HtG Says:

    Formula 8/10th

    Here’s a link to the complete transcript of the post-race press conference from KL today. Good stuff.

    http://www.yallaf1.com/2013/03/24/malaysian-grand-prix-post-race-press-conference-full-transcript/

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the link, HtG. No one in that photo looks very happy.

  68. HtG Says:

    I think the drivers are calling out the sport’s management. Driving significantly below their capacity is a waste of their careers. When Nico was interviewed he looked devastated at having been told to hold position behind Lewis, as though he were being deprived of his reason for being in the sport.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The dealer now has MKZ’s, three that I saw. Base MSRP is about $37K with shipping, and the ones sitting there were about 43K. All had the V6. Availability of the V6 should help them get some people to pay the extra $8-10K for the MKZ over the Fusion.

    I haven’t sat in it, or looked at the interior closely. I’ll do that when a certain salesman is there who doesn’t mind talking to me, even though he knows I’m not going to buy what he sells.

  70. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG

    F1 … a couple of things

    #1 Team orders have been part of the sport since day one …. even to the point in the past of drivers in the lead being made to hand over their cars to their team mate who was in better position for the overall championship ( re; Stirling Moss etc )

    #2 Rosberg was told to hold back because his and Hamilton’s fuel load was too low to finish with the correct amount left for testing …. so Rosberg’s just whining for whining’s sake

    #3 Having said that the Vettel situation was at best a different kettle of fish ….. but regardless … the contracts do state point blank … ” Thou must never contradict orders from the pits ” and its not the first time Herr Vettel has done so

    #4 But …. the biggest travesty of the weekend was the grid penalty applied to last weeks winner Kimi Raikonen … for his non existent ‘ blocking ‘ of Rosberg during qualifying ( I watched it ten times … it never happened

    But despite all I’ve just said …. lets face it ….. the ‘ Sport’ was taken out of the sport of F1 the moment all the artificial aids ( DRS KERS )- mandated tire usage – manipulated tire compounds – ludicrous technical regulations ( which have slowed down nothing ) and rapid fire regulation changes as well as interpretations were introduced .

    Das Puppet Master Bernie Ecclestone has created a ‘ Show ‘ … gradually removing one element after anther of the ‘ Sport’ from F1 .

    ” No Brow ” in action ….. pont blank …. no use denying it …. F1′s rapidly becoming the international open wheel NASCAR … which is to say its rapidly approaching Professional Wrestling ethics and programing

    P.S . You really NEED to read the book HtG ; ” No Brow ” by John Seabrook …. its where the entire world is heading … from sports – to classical music …. and right down to our discussions here … e.g. the automotive industry … where the ‘ Story ‘ is more important than the facts ….. ‘ Style ‘ trumps substance …. and the ONLY thing that truly matters ….. is making money

    :(

  71. ColoradoKid Says:

    #69

    For that kind of money …… bet me nine out of ten customers after looking at it head down the road and buy a Lexus – Mercedes – BMW – Audi – Infiniti instead ….. heck …. for that much I’d buy the ATS before shelling out $37 – $43k for a rebadged Ford with a hideous looking snout and the pretense of being a Lincoln

  72. HtG Says:

    test

  73. HtG Says:

    What’s up with these server spam settings? I can’t post a long one.

  74. HtG Says:

    sorry, CK, the server won’t let me answer 70.

  75. HtG Says:

    70. CK, I read No Brow some years ago, but your understanding of the term may differ from my recollection. I thought NB was an observation that we had lost distinctions between high and low, but that this wasn’t purely bad. The elites may need to settle down. What do you mean when you refer to that book?

    F 8/10
    Kimi grid penalty. DC, who was in KL, said that in speaking to the race stewards there was cockpit communication and telemetry that showed Kimi to have been in the wrong. This in despite of what DC said the video evidence showed.(remember how I watch the show)

    The Show. This morning Paul Hembrey said Pirelli would consider changing the compounds by no later than Bahrain. I think they went too far, making drivers truly circulate in circles, not drive according to their ability. Time for Bernie to go into real estate, full time?

    Nico. Ross Brawn may be in the crosshairs, now. Nico’s argument is that if he had been allowed to pass, he may have been able to pressure the RedBulls into damaging their tires. Check out sites like Crash.net and YallaF1.http://www.yallaf1.com/2013/03/25/civil-war-looming-at-mercedes-after-team-orders-saga-in-malaysia/

    Vettel. We’ll see what’s in his contract, but Webber’s not long for F1 so his leverage is limited.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    71,
    I, too, would certainly buy one of “the others,” or even a Fusion before I’d buy an MKZ, but I expect the MKZ to sell reasonably well. There are still people who want to “move up” from a Ford to a lincoln, never mind that they aren’t actually moving up much. Look at how well the Camry-based Lexus ES sells, mainly to people who want to “move up” from a Toyota.