Episode 1099 – No More Aussie Auto Show? New Subaru N.A. President, 2014 Buick LaCrosse

March 26th, 2013 at 11:42am

Runtime: 8:48

Uh-oh, looks like Australia could be left without any auto shows, as one just got canceled. Subaru just promoted its COO and CFO of America to president of the company’s American operations. Buick released pictures of the new 2014 LaCrosse. All that and more, plus how one automotive supplier is changing its engine components to help meet the upcoming fuel economy regulations.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, have we got a lot to get to today, so let’s get to it.

Uh-oh, looks like Australia could be left without any auto shows. There was supposed to be an International Motor Show in Melbourne in June but it got cancelled due to declining attendance and weak support from automakers. That leaves Sydney as the only city with an auto show, but it’s in danger of being cancelled, too. Actually Australia’s auto industry has always gotten more attention than its size would suggest. With a population of around 23 million people, it’s more than 10 million people smaller than Canada or even California.

Subaru just promoted Tom Doll to president of the company’s American operations. You might remember him from our coverage of last year’s LA Auto Show. He will also retain his current positions of COO and CFO of Subaru of America. Doll got this promotion because since 2008 the company racked up four record sales years and its market share in the U.S. doubled.

Buick released pics of the new 2014 LaCrosse. It has new front and rear LED lighting, a slew of new safety features and can be equipped with what Buick calls an Ultra Luxury Interior Package. Mechanically, however, the car is pretty much a carryover model. Since its introduction in 2009, the LaCrosse sold over 500,000 units making it the most popular Buick model.

In other GM news, last week we learned that the Cadillac CTS would be getting a new twin-turbo engine. And now Cadillac released images of what the new version looks like. Very interestingly it picks up a lot of the design cues from the smaller ATS. Cadillac sure is developing a very strong family resemblance between its models, a page that comes right out of BMW’s design book.

Hollywood movie stars rarely appear in car ads because it’s considered just too much of a commercial sellout for their carefully crafted public images. But actually that only seems to apply in the American market. Outside of the United States it’s a different story. Brad Pitt is a paid spokesman for Cadillac ads in China. And now the Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation just signed Nicolas Cage to become the spokesman for the Shen Bao brand, which are cars based off the old Saab platforms that BAIC bought a couple of years ago. Marquee actors like these would never be caught dead hawking Hyundais or Chevys in the U.S. no matter how good the money is.

Everyone knows the Tata Nano is the cheapest car in the world, but there are a couple of cars in China that come awfully close. Right now the cheapest car in China is the Jiangnan TT, which is a copy of the old Suzuki Alto, and has been in production unchanged since the early 1990’s. It sells for only $2,865. That’s more than the Nano’s base price of $2,500. But the Jiangnan TT comes with standard features not found on the Nano, like a passenger side mirror, a radio and two, yes two windshield wipers. But the Zotye automobile company just came out with an updated version of the TT. Meet the Zotye Z100. Kind of a good design that seems to mix design cues from the Scion iQ and the Chevy Spark. But progress doesn’t come for free. The Z100 is priced at $3,828.

Coming up next, a look at how the new fuel economy standard is changing engine components, we’ll be back right after this.

The fuel economy regulations for 54.5 mpg by 2025 are ramping up quickly, and it’s not just automakers that are designing new technologies to meet those standards. So are parts suppliers. Autoline Daily correspondent Sean McElroy has an report on how one company is responding.

(Interview with KSPG’s Chairman and CEO, Dr. Gerd Kleinert can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Thanks for that report, Sean. And that wraps up today’s show, please join us again tomorrow, and on Thursday tune in for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Ken Kelzer, the Chief Engineer for the all-new Chevrolet Impala. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.

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

54 Comments to “Episode 1099 – No More Aussie Auto Show? New Subaru N.A. President, 2014 Buick LaCrosse”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose Australia’s auto market got so much undeserved attention because of their preference for RWD vehicles and how many folks wish we could have here. Even now we hear talk of bringing over some of those platforms over to the states.

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    Cadillac CTS – The photos are all over the net today .

    My reaction /opinion ?

    From the front 3/4 view … could Cadillac’s design team tried any harder to copy verbatim the new Mercedes E-Class ?

    Has GM forgotten the view from the rear really does matter ? ( on the CTS its flat out boring )

    In profile ? …… zzzzzzZZZZZZZ

    Cadillac’s designers seem to be on a pendulum of late …. swinging from Stealth Bomber radical .. to dullsville ATS /CTS .. missing the good stuff in between entirely

    So Cadillac … World Class ? Hardly . Perhaps the top of the pile with the domestics …. but in the World ? …. An also ran on the best of days … irrelevant on the rest . BMW- Mercedes -Audi -Lexus- Infiniti can all rest easy …. nothing to be concerned about from Cadillac … as always


    Pedro – The Aussie auto industry is on the verge of collapse .. so other than the last couple of left over bits coming our way as Chevy’s etc … we’ll not be seeing anymore RWD’s coming from the land of Oz any longer . The Aussie market has gone completely over to the Japanese …

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    So I guess Mad Max now has a good reason to be mad!

  4. Bradley Says:

    “COO and CFO of America to president”

    I love Subaru, so this criticism isn’t specific to them, but having so many high ranking titles on one person-seems so wrong for many reasons.

  5. HtG Says:

    Having Subaru’s CEOCFOCOO all at one desk seems like a good deal for ALD.

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 4 & 5

    So whats next for Doll to look forward to then ?

    Supreme – Omnipotent – All Encompassing Holy Emperor of Subaru ?

    Got to agree whole heartedly with Bradley . There’s something fundamentally wrong about that many titles on one mans shoulders


    #3 Word on the street is …. Mad sold off his Ford … bought a completely psycho GT-R and is happier than the mans ever been :o ( sorry … couldn’t resist )

  7. T. Bejma Says:

    If you really want to talk about a lazily done, boring want to be performance luxury car, AutoBlog just took out the Lexus IS-F and they were less than impressed…

    Poor psuedo-manual shifter…

    “I found myself really needing to shift up a beat or so before I would have expected to in order to account for the lag in the transmission.”

    “…it does make it harder to squeeze out those last rpms before having to shift up.”

    Lame, behind the times interior…

    “…it does feel immediately behind the times when compared with more recent Lexus interiors.”

    And even got ripped for it’s single cup holder…

    “How in the hell did the overlords at Toyota sign off on a front cupholder setup this bad?”


    Again, CK jumps the gun on a CTS that has not even been driven by anyone in the media. Just like he was wrong about the ATS, I have a good feeling he has missed the mark on the CTS as well… ;-)

  8. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma – Did I say word one about the CTS’s performance ? My comments were all about its pastiche looks .

    Speaking of which .. just when did GM’s designers start taking Cut & Paste Xerox design lessons from Hyundai/KIA anyway T ?

    As far as the ATS I’ve been dead on correct on that from day one . World Class it aint … and never will be . Decent … but not even in the same ballpark as BMW-Mercedes -Lexus – Infiniti .

    And errr … wanna place a wager that ‘ dull ‘ new Lexus IS in any form outsells the ATS by a country mile ?

    As to the cup holder issue … thats because the overlords at Toyota /Lexus are more concerned about QUALITY & RELIABILITY than insignificant BS like how many cup holders a car has ;-)

    BTW I’ve driven the IS-F . AutoBlog is psychotically deluded on this review .

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The first generation IS was kind of cool, at least the “SportCross” hatch version. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the cut for the second generation, or the third.

  10. T. Bejma Says:


    Looks are subjective, as you are well aware CK, but if you read the majority of the over 450 comments on AutoBlog, over 90% are positive…

    CTS definitely has ATS styling cues (headlights) but looks far different than it’s little brother. Kind of like the difference between a 3 Series and a 5 Series…

    ATS has been reviewed by every major automotive publication (and even some not so major) and been heralded as being as good as the 3 Series (better handling, not as much room), better than the MB and way out classing the Lexus and Infiniti. Strong sales are proving it.

    The IS better get going in sales since it only sold less than 28,000 units last year…

  11. HtG Says:

    Anybody know how the brand management game works for actor celebs? I’ve hear Richard Dreyfus and Peter Coyote and Jeff Bridges do voice over work, but seeing a moooooovie star in a spot? I don’t think Allan Konigsberg has any trouble doing ads in Japan for a little walking around money, but why is this destructive to the brand in the US?

    Where’s Peter?

  12. Bradley Says:

    My only comment about cup holders is statistically speaking how many times will the driver have a passenger. Then of those times what is the likely hood they’ll both have beverages. It will happen, but not too often.

    The comment was about a cup holder. It may be dead on, but that means NOTHING else stood out in this person’s mind. What does that say about a car?

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As I usually have no dogs in the car opinions dept.I do have to say this: If I were to want a car,it would have to be comfy and laid back,and American.Having said that,I like the Buick LaCrosse much better then any of the caddies.Btw,is Buick still ‘merican?

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    All current Buicks are ‘merican, except the Encore mini tall wagon, which is Korean. The previous generation LaCrosse was Canadian.

  15. Bradley Says:

    I think there are a lot of OPEL designs in Buick’s lineup. Too me OPEL may be GM, but its not Detroit GM.

  16. T. Bejma Says:


    Regal is still built in Oshawa (Toronto, Canada)
    LaCrosse – Fairfax (Kansas City)
    Enclave – LDT (Lansing)
    Verano – Orion (Lake Orion, MI)

  17. T. Bejma Says:


    LaCrosse – Epsilon – Designed in China, same basic platform as Malibu, XTS – No Opel variant

    Regal – Exactly the same as Opel Insignia execept for some trim

    Enclave – Designed and built in the USA – No Opel variant

    Verano – Delta II platform – Jointly developed by Korea and Opel – Opel variants – Cruze/Astra

    Looks like 50% Opel…

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14, 16,
    The NTHSA site shows Regal and LaCrosse being built in both the US and Canada. See:


  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    What ever happened to that Buick plant that made the Regal and had won a bunch of awards for excellence and efficiency when it first came online?

  20. ColoradoKid Says:


    Suffice it to say more than one celebrity over the last decade has been severely burned by automakers when ‘ endorsing ‘ or even being seen driving any one particular car … both in the film and music business …. so a lot of ‘ So Much the Wiser ‘ celebrities are taking a very dim and cynical view of participating personally in an automotive ad . For the non-discerning bunch …. they just take the money and run … but for those who care about their image …. NO is becoming the standard answer


    #12 The REAL question you should be asking yourself here Bradley is … ” What does that tell you about the reviewer that he’s so overly obsessed with such a minor detail as cup holders ”

    Tells me the guy gives not one hoot about driving , handling . performance , substance and engineering and in fact is all about the accessories .

    BTW the cup holders in the MINI … stink .. yet you’ll never hear anyone including me ever complain about that now … will you .


    #10 Since when have I ever succumbed to the Tyranny of the Masses T ?

    Greatness T .. is achieved by Individuals & Iconoclasts …. not Sheep following the Flock .

  21. ColoradoKid Says:


    And the Encore ….. is built in ……. Korea ! Eeesh !

    Here’s the timeline reactions of my reading the review of the Encore in last Sundays NYTimes T ;

    Hmmmn …. good looking design
    OK built in Korea .. bummer but lets move on
    Nice dimensions .. I’m beginning to maybe like this
    You get what kind of mpg for what size and hp engine ?!?!
    When did GM start building UK style Asthmatic motors ?
    It costs … How Much ?

    Never mind . SSDC from GM … as always ;-)

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “BTW the cup holders in the MINI … stink .. yet you’ll never hear anyone including me ever complain about that now … will you .”

    Yeah, I guess they do kind of suck, but I never thought much about it. They hold a small McDonald’s coffee, which is all I ever use them for, other than my phone, which stays in the cup holder, unused, while I’m driving.

  23. ColoradoKid Says:

    Bradley & T Bejma

    re; Cup Holders

    Want to take a guess how many cup holders there are in my 2011 GLK ? ( which is by all definitions a CUV/SUV )

    Two . Actually , technically there’s only one ….. best part is I just had to go to the garage to make sure …. because in reality for me cup holders Do Not matter ! Its the C-A-R …. I care about – paid good money for and drive !

    My attitude being : drink your ____ latte’s , Mochachino’s , energy drink , bottled water etc when parked or at home … but when in the drivers seat ….. D-R-I-V-E the damn car ! FYI .. I keep a water bottle in the one ‘ official ‘ cup holder for those dry days when a sip or two at the stoplight is advisable just to keep hydration at a normal level … this being Denver and all

    Cup holders . Indeed !

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do Porsches, other than Cayenne, have cut holders? The last I knew, 911′s and Boxsters didn’t, but it’s been a while since I heard that.

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    Auto Show Essentials

    What every serious – discerning GearHead absolutely needs to attend any new car Auto Show ( or even read a car magazine or watch most automotive TV ) these days ;


    Peter …. you really need to , manufacture , package ( say in a discrete leather or oiled canvas bag ) market and sell this as a complete kit to any and all who truly care about the cars themselves rather than the plethora of hype that surrounds them . Sign me up for the first one mi amico… check books in hand 8)

  26. C-tech Says:

    @ # 20 What celebrities have been burned by car companies in the U.S. ? As I think of it, I don’t see many actor/actresses behind recruited for auto commercials. In the U.S. it seems we go for the sports superstars to be associated with our cars.

  27. George Ricci Says:


    Is the new CTS a ground up redesigned that will benefit from all the light weighting ideas that went into the ATS or is a refresh of the old CTS?

  28. ColoradoKid Says:


    From what I’m seeing on the 2013 Porsche site …. only the Cayenne and the Panamera have them …. though if you look online at venders such as Pelican Parts there seems to be a few after market cup holders available for the 911 and the Boxster/Cayman twins . Honestly though … I’ve never even paid attention to whether they did or not other than in the Cayenne and Panamera . Guess we know where my priorities lie … and yours I’m suspecting as well

    #26 To quote Number Two ( and HtG )” that would be telling ” … and perhaps reveling more about myself than I chose to here ;-)

  29. C-tech Says:

    As far as Tom Doll at Subaru, no doubt he deserves it with Subaru’s performance, however are we sure it’s not just a cost cutting move since no vacancies were backfilled?

  30. T. Bejma Says:

    Slow day today that a comment on cup holders can generate so much traffic. Take it no one read the article because at the beginning of the cup holder section was this disclaimer from the author…

    “This is a completely tiny, annoying-car-writer bitch, but I can’t help myself…”


    NHTSA needs to update their information – old LaCrosse (pre-2010) was assembled in Oshawa and Detroit Hamtramck and now only in Fairfax. Regal (pre-1987) was assembled at Flint, Michigan, Arlington, Texas, Framingham, Massachusetts, Fremont, California, and
    Pontiac, Michigan but was in Oshawa since 1988


    Pedro, that plant is the Oshawa, Ontario Plant. It is one of the best we have for quality and efficiency, unfortunately the increased value of the Canadian dollar and the high labor rates mean it probably is not long for this world…


    Encore is actually an Opel with “UK style Asthmatic motor” the Mokka, which, like most tiny SUV’s is taking over the market in the UK from the Shooting Brakes. Think of it more like a market test vehicle since we have exactly 0 competitors in this market so it would not be wise to invest in all of the tooling/suppliers/etc. to build here.

  31. T. Bejma Says:


  32. T. Bejma Says:

    Looks like the “long post server problem” is back…

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    Marchionne’s Madness Marches ever Onward

    Told you it was only a matter of time ( and a look see UK way ) Now the little emperor thinks his ” Dead Man Walking ” Alfa Romeo brand can compete with Mercedes and BMW against their E-Class and 5 Series respectively .


    Pazzo … plain and simple

  34. cwolf Says:

    Bloomburg says, since 2009, small car sales of Ford and GM have gained market share from 29% to 36%. Despite all the negativity, I guess the American brands are becoming more favored regardless of the continent of their competitors. Just as the ATS continues to take sales away from BMW, there is a reasonable chance for the new CTS to do the same. Sometimes the truth is just too hard to accept!

  35. bobek Says:

    To the Colorado Kid….yes the Cadillac will be world class … not all people buy German or Asian… The made & owned GM & Ford are excellent products & can compete with anyone…they too are global companies…I feel the new CTS ATS XTS…are very much Cadillac styling…don’t know why your anti GM/Ford ?
    I personaly could care less about luxo/pricey vehicles …Porsche/BMW/Mercedes

  36. bobek Says:

    To the Colorado Kid….yes the Cadillac will be world class … not all people buy German or Asian… The made & owned GM & Ford are excellent products & can compete with anyone…they too are global companies…I feel the new CTS ATS XTS…are very much Cadillac styling…don’t know why your anti GM/Ford ?
    I personaly could care less about luxo/pricey vehicles …Porsche/BMW/Mercedes

  37. DanChester Says:

    Celebrities may avoid APPEARING in car ads, but there is a long tradition of well-known actors lending their voices to TV and radio advertising, particularly of the brand-building variety. Not that there is anything wrong with that…

  38. XA351GT Says:

    Yeah I’m not surprised by the satement that the auto shows are in danger in Oz. As CK stated the market in Oz has been swamped by the Japanese and Koreans. Also with their domestic manufacturers all ,but disappearing national pride in their auto industry has taken a huge hit and to be honest if all we had here was Foriegn branded cars at the shows I’d stop going as well. I know I’m a dying breed that still has a desire for v8 powered cars that don’t look like a toy. Ford Au will be all but gone by 2016 by what I’ve seen in the press and GM Holden will be making no cars acually designed in Oz just building rebadged Chevys and Opels. Damn sad as they have built some great cars and to know that they’ll be gone is a bummer and I hope not a sign of what is to come here.
    Also there has been a all out blitz by the government and police in harrassing classic car owners . To the point where many are contemplating selling the beloved cars ,because of the hassle they are getting. They have what is called a Anti Hooning law. Which if the cops wish can confisicate your car for nothing more than chirping your tires at a stop light.

  39. C-Tech Says:

    Does anyone besides myself crack up at the new Buick “Dinosaur” commercials, considering the dinosaurs Buick built (and some still consider they build now)? Never mine what we built in the past, just look at this thing we’re building now, is that great marketing or what? :)

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #18, 30
    I’m surprised the NHTSA site is incorrect, but I’m sure you are right about the new LaCrosse being built only in Fairfax, and not in Oshawa.

    I remember seeing window stickers on the early samples of the current Regal indicating that they were from Germany, but production then moved to Oshawa.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:


    I’ve been seeing a lot of GLK ads lately. Are they trying to sell GLK’s, or are they just trying to get people into the dealers and sell them more expensive M’s and GL’s?

  42. ColoradoKid Says:

    F1 Team Orders

    A pretty good explanation and history of ;



    Kit – 41 – GLK sales have been on a steady incline since late fall 2011 and MBUSA wants that trend to continue … especially with the upcoming Diesel version etc . But of course … should someone decide to move up ( in size ) to the ML , GL or the upcoming G Series I’m sure no one will complain . ;-)

  43. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – Forgot to mention ….. there’s also rumor of an AMG -GLK in the works as well … just a rumor mind you …. but one backed up by a fair amount of facts …. not for me though … I value my license as well as low insurance rates …. both of which would go out the window if I went that route . I’m happy as a clam with the AMG appearance and handling package thank you … and so is the wife ….. and the accountant/checkbook ;-)

  44. HtG Says:

    You’ll want to have some reserve for when the performance version of the CTS becomes available, CK. Yes. ;)

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The GLK seems to be, by far, the best value of what M-B sells in the U.S. The base MSRP of the RWD GLK350 is only ~$2K more than the C250, which has a 4 cylinder turbo that is truly underwhelming compared to the competition from BMW, and maybe even from GM and Ford.

    The C350, with the same power train as the GLK is ~$4K more expensive than the GLK. I suppose the C350 has more standard equipment, but still, the GLK seems a good value, as U.S. market Benzes go.

  46. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – All I can say is we’re loving our GLK …


    HtG – 44 – So what ……. you want me to lose my license and superior insurance rating ? Some freund :o


    How Marketing & Perception trump Reality and Fact ( in the automotive industry )


    Seriously ….. you Do Not want that distinctive ‘ Fender’ sound in your in car or home audio system …. at all ….. for your electric guitar amp ? … you betcha …. for CD MP3 etc playback …. not in the slightest …. guaranteed

    Marketing and Badges trumping the facts …. again …. ( ” No Brow ” in action HtG …. when the story trumps reality and in fact becomes the reality )

  47. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I prefer my Carvin vintage belair halfstack ;}>

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That schematic at the top of the TTAC article sure didn’t look very “premium,” even for back in the day. That single ended output is what you would have in a basic console radio-record player of the late 40′s, or yes, one of Fender’s more basic guitar amps.

  49. HtG Says:

    CK’s Book Club

    Check out “Finding the Next Steve Jobs” by Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and ChuckECheese’s. It’s a short about creativity in individuals and organizations. He worked with SJ and Woz since the early days. What he says about passionate, creative people and setting them free does sound a lot like what Peter D. bangs on about. And it’s short.

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    Cadillac CTS

    The reviews are in . More … is the key word . Not better . Not improved …. just …… more ( and why is the CTS being longer than a Benz a good thing ? )

    Also it seems GM/Cadillac’s marketing mavens have discovered Marchionne’s Kickapoo Joy Juice supplier …. now claiming they’ll increase Cadillac sales x 3 over the next couple of years ( thought where after having read the transcription I’ve got no clue )

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 49

    It shall be added . Molto grazie 8)

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    48 Single ended is the whole point behind the ‘ Fender ‘ tube sound . You want that bit of distortion … even at the cleanest setting … have a look at the new Fender tube amps as well as the multitude of boutique amps ( Carr , Matchless etc .. which are very expensive ) and you’ll see nothing has changed . The schematics are just as simple etc

    Fact is electric solid body guitars sound a bit thin and nasally without that ‘ value added ‘ distortion…. which is why anyone with a solid state or modern tube hybrid buys a ton of pedals . To compensate for that thinness

    A case where ‘ better ‘… in reality …. isn’t ;-)

  53. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Heard about the CTS; bigger….yes (but also 200 lbs. lighter, a good thing), offering the TT 3.6, at 420 hp with 8 speed (also a good thing). You pay you money and you take your chances; don’t like Cadillac? (there are plenty of other options, but for me, it’s on my short list).

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I looked up that “Champ” amplifier, and it looks like it was Fender’s lowest power amp, which is what I expected. Most of their amps, like the Dual Showman, Bassman, etc., had push-pull output stages. You can see the two output tubes next to the rectifier tube in the picture of a Bassman in the TTAC article.

    Most of the clipping-induced “tube sound” of old amps is in the early stages, not the output stages, which were push-pull on the more serious Fender, and other amps. In the 60′s, I built the preamp section of a Dual Showman for a friend. He used it with an Eico power amp, and JBL D130F speakers in a cabinet he built himself.