AD #1229 – Audi to Move Downmarket, Volvo NA Axes CEO, Seinfeld Proves Comedy Sells

October 4th, 2013 at 12:23pm

Runtime: 6:49

In an effort to attract new buyers, Audi plans to move downmarket by offering A-class luxury. As sales plummet, Volvo North America axes its CEO and names a temporary replacement. Jerry Seinfeld says automakers need to rethink their advertising. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week in which Ford’s Jim Farley explains dealership WiFi will be used to learn more about you.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for Friday.

PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Are car sales slowing down in North America? The car companies don’t think so. Wards reports that they’re going to boost their fourth quarter production by more than 3 percent, adding another 127,000 vehicles on top of the 3.9 million vehicles they were going to make anyway. However Mercedes will cut production while Chrysler is cutting some truck production in Mexico.

OPEL ADAM OFF TO SLOW START
Opel is counting on the Adam to bring in new buyers, but the problem is, it’s just not bringing in enough of them. The website German Car Scene reports Opel only sold 41,000 Adams so far this year. In August it only sold a little over 1,200 cars. They say the problem is the base price of 11,500 Euros, or nearly $16,000. It’s just too much compared to the Fiat 500 or Volkswagen Up, which are 1,500 Euros cheaper. And just to give you an idea of how poorly the Adam is selling, Ford is selling about 22,000 Fiestas a month in Europe.

AUDI TO MOVE DOWNMARKET
Audi is making a big commitment to A-class cars, in the US market of all places. It’s coming out with a full line-up of A3’s that will start in the low $30,000 range. And Audi is going to offer them a full complement including a convertible, a sedan an SUV and a hatchback plug-in hybrid. But will Americans really buy luxury A-class cars? Scott Keogh, the president of Audi of America, believes they can. “When you have a strong brand,” he says, “people want in on that brand.” Audi believes that taking the brand down market will bring in a new generation of buyers to the brand.

VOLVO NORTH AMERICA AXES CEO
Volvo Cars of North America abruptly axed its CEO yesterday. John Maloney is going to be temporarily replaced by CFO Tony Nicolosi. I say temporarily because Nicolosi was named acting CEO. This shows how much turmoil Volvo is in, the fact that it doesn’t have a permanent replacement ready. So far this year Volvo’s sales in the US are down more than 6 percent, last month they fell over 8 percent, and that is the worst performance of any car company.

COMEDY CAN SELL CARS
One of our topics on Autoline After Hours last night was about car commercials and how they are just not getting the right point across. It sounds like comedian Jerry Seinfeld agrees. He says they are a turnoff to the customer, need to be completely retooled and to stop showing cars driving through the desert, since that’s not what most people do. Acura was one of those brands that needed to enhance its emotional ties with customers, so the company signed on as the sole sponsor of Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” web series. If you have not seen them on YouTube yet go check them out, they are very entertaining. The 59-year-old comedian’s main lesson to Acura is that humor is the ultimate advertising weapon and that you don’t sell the customer your product, you make them like your brand. So far this year Acura’s sales are up a little over 4 percent.

MULLER ORDERED TO PAY BACK TAXES
Saab’s former CEO, Victor Muller has been ordered by Swedish courts to pay back taxes he owes the country. This is not the first time Victor’s been in court over money problems. When he was Saab CEO he received a salary of about $1.25 million, which was written up as a reward for consultant work that he did and because the salary was recorded as a reward, it allowed him to skate around paying taxes. Muller says he is not subject to taxes in Sweden, so we’ll have to keep you updated on this story.

Did you know that automakers are looking at putting WiFi in their dealerships? But it’s not to make things convenient for you, it’s about tracking what you’re doing online. More on that right after this.

(The preview of Autoline This Week with Jim Farley is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Jim Farley, the Chief Marketing Officer at Ford is my guest on Autoline This Week. In the following clip he talks about why Ford wants its dealers to install WiFi in their stores, and it all has to do with keeping track of what customers are searching for online, with the idea of using that info to market digitally to them. Take a look.

By the way Karl Henkel from The Detroit News and Keith Naughton from Bloomberg are also on that show. And of course you can watch the entire show on our website Autoline.tv, except for late Friday night to early Saturday morning, when our server will be down for maintenance.

But that wraps up today’s report. Have a great weekend and please join us again on Monday.

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

84 Comments to “AD #1229 – Audi to Move Downmarket, Volvo NA Axes CEO, Seinfeld Proves Comedy Sells”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Audi already has a “downmarket” segment, it’s called Volkswagen! Perhaps Volvo should ax itself from the market altogether, SAAB is gone, we have survived it.

  2. Lex Says:

    Hi John,

    I agree with Jerry Seinfeld! Driving a car in a desert is an impractical way to exhault the fun to drive characteristics of a vehicle. Humor and Action are great themes to advertise vehicles. Acura should use the fact that their vehicles were driven by Shield Agents in the Averages, Thor and other Marvel Movies. It worked well for Audi when Tony Stark / Ironman drove a Audi R8.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Or Cadillac driving that ATS through those covered mountain roads at very high speeds in some God-forsaken place where most likely they don’t even have cars or even gas.

  4. Lex Says:

    I must say I was disappointed when I had my Subaru serviced at my local Subaru Dealership in southwestern CT. I brought my Mini iPad and was hoping to catchup on some Autoline videos and they did not have any WiFi for their customers. They did have a single old Laptop next to the service counter for customers to use. What would be the big deal to allow customers to have WiFi for those customers who BYOD like me?

    Subaru might be enjoying a sales boom now but when tech savy customers come in for service they might be disappointed at the amenities offered. An A-Class Audi Quattro would suit me fine!

  5. Bradley Says:

    “you don’t sell the customer your product, you make them like your brand”

    That is exactly my basis for criticizing the Detroit Brand’s commercials. It seems they don’t get that. Build pedigree in your products and sell your brand.

    —–

    Volvo – As I stated we just bought a VW SportWagen, my wife always mentions whenever we see a pre-Ford Volvo: “why didn’t we look at those?” She doesn’t understand how Volvo lost their way and Volvo no longer carries reasonably sized attractive wagons.

    A car company has to stick to their roots, Subaru will show the world “you can be successful without diluting your brand.”

    Yea, I wanted a Subaru, but Subaru has nothing that compares in size to the Sportwagen. Plus my wife thinks all Subarus look like SUVs. My wife wanted the AWD too, but since a 2007 Legacy Wagon type vehicle is not longer offered. Subaru lost out.

    Hmm..Doesn’t this sound like my wife bought the car and I supposed to be the car guy? I think marketing proved that the majority of vehicle purchases ultimately come down to the woman of the house.

  6. Bradley Says:

    #3 I hated those commercials.

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    Hee Hee ! Even ALD finds the Seinfeld article a revelation ! Two thumbs up guys !!!!

    ————

    News Updates ;

    Hang on to your hats gentlemen ( and ladies if there are any ) These get a bit ‘ bumpy ;

    1) NYC’s Mean Streets ‘ episode . The biker that got hit ? 17 traffic violations . No valid driving license . As well as participating in an illegal event the cops had already tried to break up . IMO should he not recover ? One less criminal loose on the streets

    2) TESLA’s stocks soaring ( downwards ) – Seems a ‘ Perfect Storm ‘ is what affected TESLA’s stock prices with the double barreled whammy of the CarBQ incident coming at the same time stock analysts had already downgraded TESLA’s investment potential

    And on TESLA as well ? As TESLA’s sales ( for the last 60 days ) and stocks are plummeting …. Elon Musk is whining his battery supplier cannot keep up …. hee hee … with ‘demand ‘ hee hee

    What part of ‘ reality ‘ does Mr Musk NOT comprehend ?

    3) And finally … Chevy truck sales . Just a few days ago Chevy was whining that their engine supplier couldn’t keep up with demand …. then a few days later the truth comes out that Chevy’s Truck sales are lagging … then today Chevy announcing major incentives to get those unsold trucks off the lots

    Seems Chevy’s leadership is having the same ‘ problems ‘ Mr Musk is when it comes to reality .

  8. HtG Says:

    So Acura’s plan has been to park a car on the street when Jerry walks by with his funny guest. On their way to the E-Type, the Austin-Healey, or the Miura that headline Jerry’s very very very funny short funny movies. Do they really want to go on after those acts?

    (this is the only comment I could allow myself to actually hit Submit for. I’m a much worse person in real life.)

  9. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro / Bradley – 3 . 6 – Hated those myself especially after being inundated by them during the Tour de France coverage . Which was worse between the excess CGI .. the idiotic dialogue … the meaningless settings …. or the ‘ Hipster’ dweebs in the car being up for debate

  10. HtG Says:

    I’ve had years of Wifi in Nissan, Honda, and a Ford/Mazda/Lincoln/Subaru dealers here in Westchester. It’ll be interesting to see what Farley means by Wifi.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Something just occurred to me, the “Americans” destroyed the Swedish auto industry, that is Ford and GM, to be specific, no act of congress in those cases.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    4 – Guaranteed once that legendary VW-Audi ( lack of ) reliability and hideous dealer service hit you smack dab in the face you’d be rueing the day you even considered the Audi …. oh … not to mention with the Audi you’d of paid Audi ( high ) prices .. both for the car and the repairs/maintenance …. for a barely tarted up VW with the Audi 4rings on its pretentious little snout

    I’m only hoping and praying Bradley’s recent acquisition ( VW ) becomes the ‘ exception ‘ rather than the rule … cause I kinda likes the guy ;-)

  13. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Just curious, do you watch the show on the video or read the transscript?

    Wifi in dealerships to track what you are doing.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    11 – Yup … in spades … we ( PAG & GM/GME ) sure as h-e-double toothpicks most certainly did kill off SAAB and all but destroy Volvo . To be fair …. GM did buy a lame duck when they purchased SAAB . But between the way they mismanaged the brand and the idiots they sold them to ( Spyker ) when a ‘ qualified ‘ buyer ( C.von Koenigsegg ) had already made them a better offer … yeah GM is responsible for the death of SAAB … as well as all the SAAB stories that led up to it

  15. Bradley Says:

    #12 ColoradoKid

    Ha! Thanks! Yes, I have a few reservations too, but right now the TDI is a joy to drive.

  16. kevin m Says:

    I AGREE WITH JERRY A WHOLE LOT CAR ADEVERTISING IS SUCH A BORE TODAY . THERE ARE NO CLEVER FUNNY LINES OR A IMAGNENATION ANYMORE FOR THAT MATTER . COMMING FROM A YOUNGER PROSPECTIVE THESE MARKETERS SHOULD GET THERE HEADS OUT THE SAND AND STOP PUTTING UP WALL AROUND THEM . AND START TO BE FUNNY OR CREATIVE AGAIN IN MY OPINON THAT’S WHAT MAKES PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION AND BRING CUSTOMERS TO YOUR BRAND IN THE FIRST PLACE

  17. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Other than a few specific instances, I found Seinfeld not at all funny. I tried to watch 6 or 8 episodes but just gave up. even his standup isn’t funny to me.

    Maybe it’s a new approach, but GM tried brand marketing several years ago with Ron, “Mr I didn’t really finish my MBA” Zarella. And we gave you the Aztec. Even though every clinic and focus group said don’t build it, he did anyway. He said once people got into it they’d love it. And he was right about that. Trouble was you couldn’t get many people in them. Those that had them were fanatics about them. We sold my wife’s Aztec about 5 years ago. I’ve yet to hear the end of that car, although we can pass one now without “I miss my Aztec.”

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW ownership is like one of those Hollywood marriages, great, exciting, fantastic, exhilarating for a few years and then the proverbial $hit hits the fan and they end up moving on to something else.

  19. HtG Says:

    Yep, right there. I did not hit submit. I can stew. I’m fine.

  20. HtG Says:

    18 though sometimes they just drive back into a familiar garage, and boom Woody’s your daddy.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    All of the car dealers I’ve been to in the last few years have had WiFi, but I thought it was as a service to customers, not as a tool to spy on me. How naive I am.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Woody may be his daddy, but I think Mr A borrowed Mr S’s tallywhacker for the night.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    I saw a report a month ago that stores will soon monitor where you go in the store by your smart phone and send ads to you, pointing out specific items and sales in the dept you’re at. Too much spying for my tastes,thanks! I’ll keep my stupid phone.

  24. HtG Says:

    21 A twist on the wifi at stores is that they’ll be able to know you’ve got an iPhone, and may be a little looser with your money. Seriously, as the internet of things rolls out, a person’s local environment will become aware of them and start making suggestions. Got Facebook? nope, it’s got you. Think of the databases Farley is trying to harness. He’s going to be buying data to support the dealer installations.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Bradley, I hope your VW serves you well. The Sportwagon TDI and Golf TDI are a couple of my favorite cars in the US market. I’d probably have one of them, if the dealers more better and more conveniently located, and if the brand had a better reputation. For me, the Prius is a better high mpg choice, but the VW’s are a lot more fun to drive.

    I think Volvo is going to sell a non-SUV wagon again in the US. It might be nice, but the brand has slipped so much over the last few years that few people will even check it out.

    My current VW, an ’86 Golf Cabriolet has been reliable. I drove it 50 miles last weekend, and it did fine.

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    WiFi

    Since when do we base our opinions of any particular car dealership’s service ( or much of anything else for that matter ) on whether or not it has WiFi ??

    Seriously …. has human kinds ability to judge and discern become so skewed by this Digital Virtual Reality world we live in that we now base our decisions entirely on Digital convenience ?

    Z’at mean ( Lex #4 ) you’d rather drink an espresso with all the flavor and appeal of battery acid because the Coffee Shop in question has WiFi .. vs buying a cuppa worth the price and effort from a shop that does not have WiFi ?

    Seriously ????

    Come on . Get your priorities straight . WiFi does not matter … Its the quality of the SERVICE that is what should be important

    [ see .. I'm no where's near as ' nice ' as HtG ... ]

  27. HtG Says:

    There’s lots of amenities at dealers now. If anyone’s hungry in the morning, I recommend Nissan. Bagels, donuts, coffee, tea, granola, newspapers, TV, sofas, tables.

    Why thank you CK, I am much obliged.

  28. ColoradoKid Says:

    24 – They can also now ‘ track’ each and every movement you make in the store … following you from dept to dept , rack to rack and cashier to cashier ( which will then also register your purchases ) to better judge in the future how to sell you even more .

    Hint ; Turn off both your AutoLocator and WiFi functions . In fact …. leave them both off when not using them … cause first and foremost you’ll save 15-35% of your battery’s capacity ( depending on the phone in question ) … and second … just let em try and track you .. unless of course you make/receive a call in the store … in which case … ;-)

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Now that so many people have smart phones, WiFi matters less than it used to, even for those who want to play with their electronic gadgets while waiting for an oil change. Whether anyone “needs” the WiFi or not, I’m surprised there would be any dealers without it, since it costs almost nothing for a dealer provide it.

    It is more complex, and expensive, though, for the dealers that want to spy on the customers.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27,
    Do all Nissan dealers have a good breakfast? Are they required to have it?

  31. Chuck @ GM Says:

    A lot of traffic reports are based on your cell phones, how fast moving along the freeway, stuff like that

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The upcoming Volvo wagon:

    http://www.volvocars.com/us/all-cars/volvo-v60/details/Pages/specifications.aspx

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    Mercedes Benz – Free…. Bottled water – Fresh fruit – Bagels n’ Donuts – Espresso machine ( its kind of lousy though .. but the receptionist will make it for you if you can’t figure the machine out ) – plain ol’ Coffee ( regular & decaf ) – Tea selection ( including ‘ herbal ‘ for the Herbs amongst us LoL) -complimentary Soft Drinks . Snacks ( both healthy and .. not so much ) Yes the dreaded WiFi .. as well as DSL for your laptop ( in case you’re smart enough not to use WiFi to conduct business on ) and the perfunctory TV set usually set on either the GOLF or one of the financial channels ( thank god none I’ve dealt with have had FoxNews on … phew ! )

    And you wonder why Mercedes repair and service prices are so high ? ;-)

  34. ColoradoKid Says:

    32 – Four inches longer than my GLK . Chinese owned . Still just a tarted up Ford underneath and about as Swedish as Egg Foo Young with a Bud on the side . No doubt as pricey if not pricer than my GLK … errrr … Takk Volve but errr … no thanks !

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34,
    Yep. I haven’t seen any prices yet, but I’m sure they are more than they should be.

    I’d expect the base version with FWD and a 4 cylinder turbo to be cheaper than a GLK, but I’d probably rather have a Jetta wagon with the TDI, and manual transmission, which would be a lot cheaper than the Volvo, get much better mpg, and probably be more fun to drive, even though it would be slower.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – 32,35 … Sigh … it is kind of sad though when you think about it . Especially remembering back to those built like a tank 240′s etc of old . Solid as a rock . Comfortable ( unless like me you’re over 6′ ) repairable for decades on end and reasonably for the era reliable . Not to mention …. very Swedish in every way , shape and form . Fact is .. looking at what Volvo’s morphed into over the last 20 years or so … its downright depressing . From automotive iconoclast … to over homogenized badge engineered pablum for the unaware and unconcerned ( about anything but the badge ) masses

    Ehh .. there’s more I could say …. but its just too depressing

  37. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I have a 2005 Jetta TDI and just turned 146k miles on the clock. No, issues. Just scheluded maintenance, most of which I do myself.

    I don’t think Audi is going down markets a much as expanding its offerings to include a small segment.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC has a piece on how European car makers are killing off the normally aspirated engine and replacing them with the horrible turbos, lazy engineering at its worst.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37,
    Yep, Audi is just selling more here, that they’ve been selling in the rest of the world all along.

  40. HtG Says:

    Wifi? We don’t need no stinkin’….

    Who keeps the info Ford dealers generate from the Wifi? Does it go to the dealer or to the OEM? Dealers are gonna love this, because who knows what the good folks at Dearborn want to measure? Hmmmm? Will the program extend to the test drives? I got a bad attitude.

    Which may explain why I got flipped the bird today for the first time in my automotive life. I’m in the middle lane of a highway on a straight approaching a nifty turn, when I spy in my rear mirror a SUV coming up quickly. No cars to either side or before me, so I watch the guy in the hope I can avoid being blocked when he gets by me and the turn comes up. So he passes on the right(!) just as we get to the turn, but I hold my speed because it’s a fun turn and I expect him to drop off. Nope. He matches me, driving quite fast for a Nissan Rouge. At the exit of the turn, I let him accelerate and pass me, at which time he reaches his arm out of his car and breaks my heart. Now I know better.

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    40 – So by that tale of woe and misdeeds we can now also assume @$&hats drive Nissan Rouges as well ….. hmmmn … Well … considering the moniker on the rump … yeah …. that fits … more or less … Rogue … @$&hat …. yup .. works for me

    —————————-

    37 – I beg to disagree … Audi , BMW and Mercedes have all been going rather ‘ downmarket ‘ … first in the EU/UK … and now here as well . And as much as on the surface this appears to be going well for them ( especially those badge engineered Audi’s ) … all bets by the experts are … its a move that sooner or/than later .. will bite them on the rumpus …. big time .

    Downmarketing is already financially killing the ‘ Luxury ‘ brands in clothing , footwear and accessories … and there’s no doubt it’ll do the same to the automakers as well

  42. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – 38 – Yup … except I’d call it cheap ____ engineering solutions .. not lazy .

    Heck any mechanically inclined half wit with a box of tools can turbocharge much of anything these days with little or no effort/engineering and even less money . Just hook up the plumbing . Pull out the ol’ laptop … punch in a few codes and off you go . Cheap horsepower in the short run that’ll cost you a small fortune in the long .

    But then again . What do the automakers care about the ‘ long run ‘ With all that built in pre – planned and engineered intended self destruction .. well … thats kind of the whole point …. to keep you buying more … isn’t it ? ;-)

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If customers pay extra for badge engineered cars, like Lexus ES, I’d think that would be good for the OEM’s. On the other hand, if existing customers of premium brand cars like the “down market” offerings, that could hurt the bottom line a lot. It’s probably not likely, but if E-class drivers check out the CLA at the end of their lease, and like it…

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK I think Ford’s turbo craziness will come back to bite them in the a$$ after these things start piling up miles and their warranties expire, do you agree? BTW I spoke to a BMW owner who admits that after the warranty expires, he bails out, almost guaranteed breakdowns and mucho money to make right

  45. ColoradoKid Says:

    44 – Well Pedro … BMW’s turbos ( MINI as well ) sure haven’t faired to well of late so there’s little reason to have much hope for Fords either … we’ll see

    ————

    43 – The difference being a Lexus buyer is 9 times out of 10 a former Toyota owner looking to move slightly upmarket … which makes both Toyota and Lexus look good albeit make the buyer look ( to discerning eyes ) a bit foolish

    Whereas a downmarketed Mercedes/BMW makes the manufacture in the long run look a bit … suspect .

    Audi ? Audi is the anomaly nobody … other than passing it off as trendiness/fashion can fully explain . I’ve seen full articles in the EU/UK press attempting to explain Audi’s excess badge engineering success and every one ends up being stumped by it all

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45,
    Yeah, Audi’s success is pretty crazy.

    To me, the CLA will be “interesting.”. I don’t like what they are doing, but if they get people to trade Camrys on CLA’s, and then E’s. Seems a risky plan to me, though.

  47. HtG Says:

    If upwardly mobiles are anything like me, they’re going to want the CLA. It’s a looker.

    Audi. Remember the days when Audi would advertise the 2 Year Test Drive?

    The design of the Audis is so cool. I live near a posh town where those things look so right. You look at the houses and streets there, and the Audis fit in so well. Better than BMW. Something very ‘uber’ about Audi design.(hint, think quality and understatement)

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect styling, inside and outside, are what make Audi successful. Both are very good. Audi makes a big, expensive hatchback, and it looks great. BMW makes an expensive hatchback, and it looks like, an X6.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    If only VW /Audi could get their reliability up, they would kill the rest of the competition.

  50. cwolf Says:

    I find the automotive news rather booring on Fridays and cause the comments to be filled with more BS. The possibility Toyota will can the Matrix and replace it with a Corrolla hatch is a much more worthy comment. And the C7 getting 28mpg hwy is an attension gett’er! IMO

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    50,
    In a few weeks, I’ll get to find out what mpg a C4 gets on the interstate. I’ll probably try both premium and regular, and see if I can tell the difference.

  52. HtG Says:

    Point That Finger

    Yes, baby! We’re number one in the world at oil and gas production. jab it.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/04/us-oil-natural-gas-production-russia-saudi-arabia

  53. HtG Says:

    Wow. Is it me, or was Farley fascinating on Autoline? Question, what’s a donut?

  54. cwolf Says:

    52
    Gee, does that mean the oil co. will no longer need to be subsidized? Don’t need Canada tar oil pipe line running through the mid-west aquifer region?

  55. HtG Says:

    Well, you see, cwolf, there’s this thing called the bottom line. :) You determine it by raising the top line and lowering the cost lines. If it only costs $1 to coerce(what am I saying), err influence the govt for every 10$ dollars you improve the top and middle lines, whatchoogonnado? amirite? And don’t take your foot off the pedal about offshore leases, either. Pipeline? You mean you like shut in black gold?

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,
    A classic song about being flipped off while driving:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRnrfmjmDPk&feature=youtube_gdata_playering:

  57. ColoradoKid Says:

    Driving simplicity at its finest ;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/automobiles/collectibles/adopted-by-neighbors-a-vw-camper-spreads-happiness.html?ref=automobiles

    When you look at how essential and elemental these things were that we crossed countries and continents in over the decades compared to the over laden , over optioned , infotainment ridden , excessively nannified even Soccer Mom vans to get around town in .. you’ll either ask yourself how it was we of old survived back in the day … or come to the correct solution we’ve de-evolved into a mass of InfoTainment addicted Safety Nanny wimps taking our kids with us .

    BTW the article over states the VW’s lack of performance a bit . Though no speedster I never had a problem keeping up ( in the slow lane ) or holding a steady 55-65 mph

  58. ColoradoKid Says:

    A soundtrack to read # 57 by ;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV4Ie6IcL0c

  59. ColoradoKid Says:

    55 – I’d like to suggest that we take the Federal Government completely out of the lives of all those in the Districts that voted these Tea Party quasi fascists in …. and see just how long they can survive .. seeing as how those districts are the most government subsidized districts in the lower 48 , Alaska and Hawaii

    [ betcha didn't know that little factoid now cwolf ... did ya ;-) ]

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    59,
    Sounds like a good idea to me.

    57,
    My sister had one of those, same year, and same color. She and a friend or two used it mainly to go to the Smoky Mountain area, and as a daily driver. Talk about space efficiency. In addition to the main beds, it had a hammock sideways behind the windshield for small children.

  61. cwolf Says:

    Yes, very interesting and hard to find out who/how much those few people are benefiting, I betcha. Hawaii,too?

  62. cwolf Says:

    I was reading about NG home refueling stations. They say within two years the install price will decrease from $6K to $500. The lack of refueling stations will limit the range a car/truck can be driven, but perhaps a good idea for a second car. If the use of CNG is anything like the availability of diesels in the US, that 2 years could turn into 10 or more or until interest fizzles.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    62,
    If I still lived in Indiana full time, I’d certainly consider a dual fuel car that would run on both CNG and gasoline. Even with limited, like 50 mile range on CNG, I could do 80-90% of my driving without gasoline. A CNG-only car, like the Civic, is only a little more useful than a pure electric. The CNG Civic has more range than most pure electrics, but still wouldn’t work for road trips, and it loses a lot of trunk space to the CNG tanks.

    It would seem that urban fleets will be the main market for CNG, and propane vehicles for the foreseeable future.

  64. cwolf Says:

    Not surprising, but interesting tidbit in the Nov. MT issue (RE: trucks,suv’s and vans). Most 5-yr. retained values hover around the 45% range. But Dodge/Chry values are 38-40%! Heck.. If’n ya got one, ya betta plan on keep’in it till the wheels fall off!…or the warranty expires(which ever comes first).

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    64,
    Do they have data by model, or just by mfg?

  66. cwolf Says:

    Kit: It is by model. EX: Chry T/C and Journey 39%,Durango 38%,Caravan 40%

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks. I guess they listed SUV’s and vans only, no cars, and only Dodge and Chry, no Jeep.

  68. cwolf Says:

    No, Kit, Jeep was listed seperately and faired much better: Compass,Gr. Cherokee & Patriot 45-47%. Wrangler/Limited 65%

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m surprised Compass and Patriot did that well. I would have expected GC, and especially Wrangler to do well.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just spent the day with the Cadenza and it is a nice vehicle, it’s got luxury features at a great price, but Kia is just not quite there yet, I’ve driven an Optima and the xtra $$ is just not worth it, this is a good effort but it can’t compete with the best in the segment, however you do get a lot of std features that cost more in other cars, my fellow tester and I agreed that the interior is really well executed with good quality materials and in 3 yrs it would make a very nice used vehicle for less than $20k

  71. HtG Says:

    What kind of driving, Pedro? Is the car tuned soft/sporty? Can it get out of its own way? Trail braking, yes/no/shutupHtG.

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mostly highway and some winding roads as well, it can take a curve pretty well, good acceleration for a 3.3 engine, feels light on its feet transmission is responsive, not a bad effort for a company that was putting out disposable econoboxes a few yrs ago.

  73. ColoradoKid Says:

    You know the World has gone ‘ virtually mad when …

    http://www.cycleworld.com/2013/10/03/harley-davidson-boom-box-infotainment-system/

    Even motorcyclists can’t live without their precious infotainment systems ..

    Eeesh !

    ———–

    Pedro – 70 – You need to place the KIA side by side with a Benz,Acura , Lexus,Audi, BMW before sticking to your comments about how well executed the interior of the KIA is . Cause …. it isn’t . Yes it has that immediate appeal factor just like the TESLA S does …. but once the details are taken in … quality of materials judged etc …. well …. then with the KIA you’ll see why they can charge so much less for more despite their manufacturing costs being as high or higher than everyone else’ s . They CUT corners . Deeply .

    With the TESLA S you’ll be outraged that Musk is charging ( pun intended ) that much for a so called luxury car of that low a quality and standards

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    I would not compare Outback steakhouse to Ruth Chris

  75. pedro fernandez Says:

    For the price of one of those MB’s or Beemers you can get his and hers Cadenza.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    73,
    Part of the appeal of my KLR650 bike is its low tech nature, which I like in motorcycles. Even though it is a 2011, it is almost nostalgic in having a carburetor, no gas gauge, and no clock. There is no way I would even want a radio on a motorcycle, much less all of the other “infotainment” crap.

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    My fellow tester, who has driven a hell of a lot more cars than I ever had, admitted that he would prefer a whole bunch of other cars, including his own Camry, to this, but towards the end of driving all day in different locations, he told me it was “growing” on him and was impressed with the way the interior was put together and the quality of the materials, but we also agreed of the resale value issue and it would indeed make a very nice used car in a couple of yrs for around $20k. with still plenty left in the warranty.

  78. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why a loud-ass radio on an already loud-ass motorbike, unless you want to achieve hearing loss at a faster rate?

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, how were the controls on the KIA? That is an area where I might like it better than a lot of today’s cars.

  80. ColoradoKid Says:

    At least Simon Cowell finally got one thing right ;

    http://jalopnik.com/simon-cowell-picked-the-best-car-imaginable-to-drive-ar-1441219940

  81. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro – 75 – What the _____ ?

    You looked at the base price of that Cadenza ?

    $35,100

    Thats smack dab in the range of the ATS … as well as the more expensive than the equal size M-B CLA ( crap … gonna have ta say this again damn it ) .. both of which I’d take in a heartbeat over the over priced over glorified KIA . Hell … I’d take the smaller BMW 1- Series over that KIA thingy and deal with the lack of room

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Cadenza is substantially bigger than the CLA, but that doesn’t make any difference, if you don’t need the extra room.

    If I wanted a biggish front drive sedan, the more I see, the more I suspect it would be an Impala. Base price is about $8K less than the Cadenza. Yeah, the base Impala has a ~200hp four cylinder, but even with the six, it can be bought substantially cheaper than the KIA, and the Chevy is roomier.

    I just saw a C7 “in the flesh” for the first time, and I thought it looked ok. It was in the showroom, with a sold sign on it, so I didn’t sit it in. It was an ordered car, white with black wheels, manual transmission, Z51 package, and some other package for ~$4K. MSRP was $60K.

  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the controls are all screen related which you know I don’t care for at all, my buddy was fine with it and he found it easy to use, I only saw two knobs for the radio, everything else you had to push a button, it had auto temp control which is expected at that price range, the interior was WAY too dark for me, all black soft touch materials and even the wooden accents was very dark as well, but it did ride fine and not floaty at all, the transmission downshifted easily when you needed to pass and there was zero wind and very little road noise

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    My buddy spent a week with an ATS and he says it’s superior to this in just about everything, so was the MKZ and of course, the 3 series as well.