AD #1316 – MINI Goes Dutch, Wanxiang Wins Fisker Bid, Germany’s Top 10

February 18th, 2014 at 11:51am

Runtime: 6:29

- MINI Goes Dutch
- Wanxiang Wins Fisker Bid
- New Ford F-150 Seats Lighter
- GM to Restore Sinkhole Corvettes
- European Market on the Mend
- Germany’s Top 10 Sellers
- Peugeot’s All-New 108
- Corvette Uses Nano-Technology

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where we work to keep you on top of the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

BMW announced it will start building the new MINI Hatch in the Netherlands of all places. The car will be built under contract at VDL Nedcar, a facility that used to be part of a joint venture between Volvo and Mitsubishi. The MINI Hatch is also produced at the company’s main production site in Oxford, England. In addition to the U.K., MINI’s are also built in Austria.

Well, it’s official. China’s largest auto supplier, Wanxiang, now owns Fisker, thanks to an auction bid of $149 million. As you may remember, Wanxiang bought A123 Systems, the company that supplied Fisker with its batteries, so you can see where this is going.

The new Ford F-150 is 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor thanks to its aluminum intensive body. But that’s not the only area where Ford cut weight on the truck. It was able to shed 30 pounds just from from the front seats with the use of high-strength steels. The automaker enlisted help from about a dozen heavy-set men to get in and out of the trucks to test and improve the durability of the seats. The end result was a lighter seat along with a tougher leather that can help them withstand a constant beating.

Last week we reported about a sinkhole that opened up at the National Corvette Museum and swallowed some one-of-a-kind Corvettes. Well Chevrolet has taken matters into its own hands and will have the cars restored at the General Motors Design studio. Autoline’s Executive of the Year Mark Reuss is spearheading the project, while VP of design, Ed Welburn will oversee the restoration. And no doubt about it, those cars are worth it.

The European market is starting to show some signs of revival. The European automobile manufacturers association, or ACEA, says new car sales were up 5.5% last month. That’s the fifth month in a row that European sales have gone up. Analysts are not calling this a rebound, instead they say the European auto industry is now moving from survival to revival.

Speaking of Europe, the German market is one of the most important in the world, with over 3.2 million vehicles sold there. But do you know who the major players are? When it comes to selling passenger cars and light trucks, the Top Ten list of automakers starts with the Volkswagen Group, which dominates the market with 38% market share. Then there’s a big drop down to Daimler. BMW and GM are kind of close in sales, but the GM number includes about 24,000 Chevrolets, so look for Ford to surpass GM this year as Chevy gets yanked from the European market. Thanks to Dacia, Renault just squeaked ahead of Hyundai and Kia, which are surprisingly strong in Germany, beating out all the Japanese automakers. The Fiat group and Toyota round out the list. Even though sales were down last year, Germany remains a big and very profitable market to be in.

1. VW AG 1,215,000
2. Daimler 377,000
3. BMW 266,000
4. GM 242,000
5. Ford 223,000
6. Renault 161,000
7. Hyundai 157,000
8. PSA 122,000
9. Fiat-Chrysler 96,000
10. Toyota 78,000

Source: Ward’s

Yesterday we showed you Renault’s New Twingo, now it’s Peugeot’s turn to show off its all-new small city car, the 108. For the first time the car will be offered in either a hatchback or retractable fabric roof configuration, which are available in 3- or 5-door models. It can be powered by one of three 1.0L 3-cylinder engines or a more powerful 1.2L 3-cylinder engine, which are mated to either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. The all-new 108 will make its debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Chevrolet Corvette has used fiberglass body panels ever since it first went into production in 1953. But the newest version of the car uses a new type of fiberglass. It’s one of the tech secrets that Autoline got the Corvette’s chief engineer to talk about and that’s coming up next.

A lot has been written about the technology in the C7 version of the Corvette. But not everything. We recently got the chief engineer on the ‘Vette, Tadge Juechter, to tell us how they’re using nano-technology in the body panels to make them lighter and stronger.

(Interview with Tadge Juechter about Corvette nano-technology can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

You know, I’m still not sure we’ve dug up all the info on the new Corvette. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion there’s still more to learn about it.

Anyway that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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53 Comments to “AD #1316 – MINI Goes Dutch, Wanxiang Wins Fisker Bid, Germany’s Top 10”

  1. Wim van Acker Says:

    @John McElroy: your comment “…in the Netherlands of all places.” sounds condescending to me.

    Please take note of the following facts:
    1 the Netherlands has one of the most productive economies in Europe (GDP per capita 5% higher than Germany)
    2 it is located close to large population centers with high purchasing power in Europe (Germany, France, etc.), to which it is connected with excellent highways (there is no word for pothole in Dutch), railways and waterways
    3 the education system is very good: Dutch high school students rank tens of positions higher than Americans in math and sciences, the average Dutch person speaks several more foreign languages than Americans

    “Of all places”, really?.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    #1 maybe now the quality and reliability will improve on the Mini

  3. Bradley Says:

    That is great. Corporate GM taking ownership of repairing those Corvettes.

    Who owns the National Corvette Museum? My guess is, GM does.

    It’s definitely best that GM do the restoration.

  4. Alex Wellington Says:

    1. I believe John Mac may not write his daily scripts himself, maybe he has some writer to do it for him, which might explain the poor choice of words.

    My youngest first cousin, same first and last name as me, lives and works full time in Amsterdam, with wife and two young kids. When our other cousins mention our name, they always ask for clarification: “The American or the Dutchman”? It is always convenient when my travels frequently require me to stop over in Amsterdam, to have him wait for me under the giant Panasonic screen at the airport in his bare-bones (interior) but very cute little 320 Station Wagon from 2004 or so, take me to his house and I can shower, have lunch, take a nap, and go back to the airport, rested and fresh, for my next flight.

    PS you forgot to add that it is actually the Dutch, not the Germans or the Norwegians or whoever else you might think, that are the tallest people in Europe. (and probably the world too).

  5. Alex Wellington Says:


    Interesting numbers, and comments you made on German Sales. Some (like VW’s predominance) I fully expected, others (the Japanese being less than… Hyundai) I did not.

    But here is another observation. Ford and GM bleed billions from their Euro Operations and don’t know what to do with them. It is amazing that these two mass market, non-luxury car makers sell far fewer cars in Germany than both Mercedes and BMW!

    But it would be far more embarrasing to the public relations people at GM and Ford if you had the breakdown as to how many, IF any, of GM and Ford sales in Germany, were actually Caddies and Lincolns.

    I expect a handful only, compared to 266,000 and 377,000 for the two big German luxury makers.

  6. Wim van Acker Says:

    #4 You are right, tallest in the world on average. I left that out since I thought that may be less relevant to counter John’s “of all places” remark :-)

    Some more:
    4 Very low deficit
    5 Compared to the U.S. low debt level in terms of % of GDP; ah well, every country except for Greece and Italy have that
    6 Exports are, just like Germany’s, 50% of GDP notwithstanding high labor cost, high energy cost, etc.
    7 one of the world’s lowest corruption index
    8 and … ranked as “happiest” people in the world

    I am done, now.

  7. Wim van Acker Says:

    #4 Oh, and look at the medal count at the 2014 Winter Olympics of this country with 17 million inhabitants:
    1 Germany 15
    2 Norway 18
    3 Netherlands 20
    4 Russian Fed. 19
    5 United States 19

  8. Alex Wellington Says:

    #6 Actually, all the surveys I have seen have the Danes, not the Dutch, as the “happiest”, and from comments I heard, this is only because they don’t have high expectations and are happy with their modest lives.

  9. Lex Says:

    Now that GM is pulling Chevrolet out of Europe.
    What are GM’s plans for Opel? Will GM back fill Opel with some Chevy product rebadged as Opels? What ever happned with that Chevy / Manchester United Sponsorship program. Will that be nullified or transfer to Opel?

    It was a big mistake to take Chevrolet across the pond when GM already had a huge investment in Opel and other smaller brands in Europe.

    Platform and model sharing between divisions is great for purchasing and manufacturing but making in-house brands complete against one another is bad IMO. I still think General Motors itself would do much better as a global brand than all of the divisions it supports.

    Ford is Ford around the world, the same for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes Benz, BMW.
    There are no General Motors stores. The divisions being supported by the parent company are sucking the life out of it when times are lean. A consolidation to no more than three or four brands world wide is needed. The formula adapted by other OEM’s are Economy (entry level), Premium (asperational) and Luxury. There is just far too much duplication of products and effort under the GM umbrella.

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    Wim Van Acker & ALD

    ALD’s ” In the Netherlands of all places ” comment being perfectly appropriate and quite apposite as well I might add in light of the fact that the Netherlands overall history of automotive production [ Spkyer , the Volvo dreck built there etc ] is anything BUT … stellar

    Simply stated … other than the more than Brilliant Donkervort’s .. when it comes to cars ;

    If you’re Dutch … you’re not much … at all thank you

    Sorry Wim … no insult intended .. and FYI the wife’s 1/2 Dutch … but history tells a lengthy tale of woe when it comes to automotive manufacture/production in the Netherlands … or need I remind you of the … very daf … DAF ?


    Mr Wellington – 8 – How right you are … Hollands ‘ happiness ‘ quotient needing more than a healthy puff of ‘ smoke ‘ if’n you get my drift … to keep even the hint of a smile on those very very Pillarized ( Wim’ll know what that means ) Dutch


  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    7 – Ha … even the wife’ll tell you … the only thing on the world stage the Dutch ARE any good at … is Speed Skating

    Not much to brag about … seeing as how they’re losers on every other front

  12. Alex Wellington Says:

    Actually if you read my comment (8) more carefully I said that it is the Danes, not the Dutch, that come up the happiest in all the surveys, and it is them (the Danes) who are happy because of low expectations.

    #9. Lex: You are very right in your observations re GM using all kinds of different names while every serious Automaker uses just one name around the world.

    I add the ancient “Vauxhall” brand GM uses in England, while Ford is still Ford as is everybody else there.

  13. ColoradoKid Says:

    i3 Review … coming up in …. oh … about 2-3 hours or so … my running on ‘ Dutch ‘ time this morning ;-)

    [ sorry Wim ... cheap shot ... but sometimes i can't help myself .. just ask HtG ]

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    12 – I did … my comment reflecting that .. assuming #12 was aimed at myself … I was agreeing with you ya know !

  15. Lex Says:

    @8 Did everyone already forget about the healthy 18 month old giraffe ” Marius” kill in front of school age children at a Copenhagen Zoo and fed to the lions? I wonder if the “Danes” are happy with themselves now!!!

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    12 – The ‘ Danes’ happiness btw is not based on ‘ low expectations ‘ .. but rather in the security of knowing all their health care and education needs are paid for … and if the bottom should fall out on them there is a ‘ Safety Net ‘ in place to catch them

    Danes in fact have anything BUT … low expectations .. for themselves or their children … and if you knew anything at all about their presence on the World Economic stage [ design - high tech - banking - literature - pharmacy etc ] … you’d know a whole lot better than to make such an over generalized and uninformed comment

  17. Alex Wellington Says:

    16 you are quite wrong.

    It is a well known fact that it is the Danes, not the Dutch, are the happiest, and also that it is based on their low expectations. I did not come up with this stuff myself.

    I also do not agree with you at all re your derogatory and clueless comments about the Dutch.

  18. Alex Wellington Says:

    In a 2013 Forbes ranking, it is actually NORWAY which is no 1, followed by the Swiss, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand.

    This is a different survey than the official ones from couple years ago that had the Danes first.

  19. Alex Wellington Says:

    THIS is the official survey, United Nations, that puts the Danes on top (from the Huffington and Puffington post, not my favorite site, but they can’t mess with this one)

    “The happiest people in the world apparently reside in northern Europe, according to a 156-nation survey published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

    Released Monday, the 2013 World Happiness Report ranks the happiest countries around the globe, with Denmark, Norway and Switzerland leading the pack”

  20. Phil Hopewell Says:

    Hi John,

    I just got my first look at the new 2015 Nissan Micra at the Toronto Auto Show this past weekend. It is being promoted here as the cheapest new car for sale in Canada at about a double-double under ten grand. It’s made in Mexico but apparently its not going to be offered in the States.
    It sure looks similar to the Twingo and 108. Is it related?
    Phil Hopewell


  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    BMW i3 Review [ in four parts ]

    The car ; BMW i3 Extended Range BMWUSA demo car w/ Tera World package – Solar Orange – Parking & Tech Assist packages – 20″ wheels / summer only tires .

    Part 1 – Exterior

    From the photos the i3 appears to be a bit .. trendy and slightly cute … like a squared off , taller MINI .. but in the Carbon Fiber its anything but .

    Its overall appearance being quite dignified and mature , having quite the presence and cache on the road [ having watched it both coming and going ] and while being immediately recognizable from a distance … its a car that draws minimal attention to itself . Its small footprint and overall size somehow disguised by the design . From afar looking bigger than it really is.

    Like the very best of Danish design ( a theme I’ll be returning to on the Interior segment ) the i3 is .. modern – contemporary .. very sculptural … and yet at the very same time .. Familiar – Comfortable – Practical and Quieting

    And …. NO GORAM BLIND SPOTS !!! None !

    Suffice it to say .. from a design perspective .. the i3 IS the spiritual successor to the ubiquitous and well loved 2002 .

    Fit & Finish – Extraordinary sums it up . Though made from CF and composites it gives the impression of having been hand carved out of solid billet aluminum . The feel and sounds equaling the fit and finish . Close a door … and it clicks [ rather than clunks ] Open one and it feels as solid as a rock

    In comparison … the i3 makes the TESLA S look like a Kit Car .. the Nissan LEAF a child’s toy .. and the EV wanna be VOLT look exactly like what it is . A Chevy Cruze with a bunch of Pep Boys add ons stuck on with crazy glue and Elmers Cement

    Pt 2 coming up ; Interior

    ( any questions please ask after Pt 5 has been posted

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    meant after pt 4 …. ugh !

  23. HtG Says:

    Keep em coming,CK. (Make sure to write a draft then paste onto the browser, lest your text get gobbled)

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    BMW i3 Review

    Pt 2 – the Interior

    Suffice it to say .. with all the trendy materials being used [ hemp - eucalyptus wood - wool - carbon fiber etc ] and all the sculptural elements the i3′s interior has all the potential in the world of being OTT , wretched excess , overly busy , trendy wendy personified .

    But the reality is quite the opposite . Like the afore mention exterior design the Interior is once again like the very best of Danish Design . Modern – contemporary – very sculptural and angular …. All while being utterly cosseting .. comfortable .. familiar and completely intuitive . So no gee gaws for the sake of gee gaws . Just excellent design from top to bottom … back to front

    The interior space … is .. amazing for a car this size . At 6’5″ and the wife at 5’8″ we both fit comfortably in the back or front seats . Both spaces feeling airy and light … rather than cramped or tight . Lots of head room etc . It reminds me of the best of ITAL designs finished products . Making the most interior room out of minimal exterior dimensions

    My one and only complaint ? I really could do without the iPad wanna be on the center of the dash . Not a deal breaker mind you . But …..

    Next up – Pt 3 – Driving impressions

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    .. and since things seem to be so slow today

    BMW i3 Review – Driving Impressions

    Since my time with the car due to scheduling conflicts [ theirs and ours ] was very limited .. I’ll keep this segment short and sweet

    Right off the bat … unlike every other Hybrid [ sorry Kit ] PlugIn Hybrid , EV wanna be and EV [ including the TESLA S ] …

    The i3 DOES NOT drive like a Boat Anchor on wheels . It is in fact light to the touch .. quick .. nimble as a MINI … yet solid and planted . Taking curves like a MINI .. while remaining as stable and solid as most luxury cars . Yes gentlemen … its that solid and planted to the ground

    HtG asked about the noise . Ghostlike … whether on smooth pavement or over pot holes and speed bumps … the car is almost unnerving and counterintuitive to drive [ as in is this thing really moving ? } .. all while being in complete control .

    But … until I’ve had the full test drive I’ll withhold any further opinions . Suffice it to say though … for the moment .. I am completely and utterly impressed

    coming up Pt 4 – Conclusions and …

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    Sheesh things is slow today . Here’s the last of it

    BMW i3 Review – Conclusions Thoughts and …

    First .. full discloser .. I am perhaps one of EV’s single most adamant critics

    The i3 is the one and only example of what a manufacture can do when they design an EV from the outset as an EV .. rather than converting an ICE design to EV [ including the TESLA S * } with all the inherit compromises that entails

    As well as designing an EV to do what the one thing an EV is very good at [ Urban and Interurban commuting ] rather than once again compromising the design in the vain attempt to make an EV … any EV into an all around capable automobile

    And like the McLaren F1 that BMW participated in … the i3 is an earth shattering Game Changer when it comes to EV’s … that each and every manufacture should be lining up to purchase for themselves so as to learn the multiple lessons that the i3 is capable of teaching them

    And as I’ve said in yesterdays ‘ teaser ‘ .. IF … and I do mean IF the EV has a Future.. any future at all ( and I still have serious doubts that it does ) … the i3 is that Future … plain and simple

    So .. will we get one ? That all depends

    1) As y’alls probably gathered .. the wife and I are By the Numbers people when it comes to large purchases /leases .. And … seeing as the numbers still are not in [ from BMW financial .. the dealership or our insurance carrier who at present has no ratings for the car ] .. we’ll need to see how it all adds up

    2) We really need that full test drive before making a decision

    3) I still have some concerns about all the CF , Li batteries etc

    But is it on the table at present ?

    Damn right it is ;-)

    * Much as the likes of Kit Gerhart may not accept it .. and as loath as Elon Musk is to admit it … the TESLA S is built on the BMW Z8 platform licensed from BMW just as the Fisker Karma is .. both having been designed around the Z8 platform by Henrik in order to save money for both Fisker Automotive as well as TESLA Motors

  27. HtG Says:

    i3 questions

    1. Do you have a place at home to charge the car? Or one at the Undisclosed Location?

    2. Lease or buy?

    3. Does SG have the ‘gotta have it’ feeling?

    4. Why not just get new wheels for the Matrix? That would be the green eye shade decision, I guess.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, 10 etc.

    The Dutch invented the belt CVT. Some consider that good, now including Honda and Toyota.

    CK, you seem to be gaining new love for carbon fibre.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yes, I know there is Z8 DNA in the Tesla S. What is wrong with that?

  30. HtG Says:

    29 how can that be? The Tesla is built on a skateboard like pallet, filled with battery packs.

  31. HtG Says:

    Great Designing Dutchmen

    Rem Koolhaaas, architect
    Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect
    Some quite influential people.

    Don’t let SG get down about Holland, CK. ;)

  32. HtG Says:

    Anton van Leeuwenhoek, father of microbiology
    Vincent Van Gogh
    Simon Schama, historian


  33. HtG Says:

    Robert Moog, synthesizer pioneer
    -sounds Dutch

  34. HtG Says:

    Piet Mondrian, abstract painter, HtG fave

  35. HtG Says:

    Bernard Haitink, conductor and violinist

    Almost done Ben, this is off the top of my head

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG ;

    1) Yes at home and SG … thanks to Obamaclaus … at work as well

    2) Lease !

    3) Amazingly …. she’s not like that about anything … those ‘ Dutch ‘ genes [ e.g. cheap ... and you thought our people have that reputation ] coming into play anytime the price tag exceeds say .. $1000 or so

    4 ) Methinks a) SG wants a nicer car [ and its about time she had one ] and .. b) We’re both about at the end of the line with Toyota and their current state of affairs /customer service .. c) We can afford it … and with her commute being so short … shes the one in a million that should consider an EV as a possibility

    As to 31 – She loves the Holland that was … but despises and refuses to go back to what it has become . As to architects … its Peter Zumthor we’re both huge fans of

    As to 30 … Nope … aint no Skateboard underneath … thats pure Elon propaganda … its the same Z8 the Fisker uses .. plain and simple


    Kit –

    1) Did you not read that I am concerned about the CF in the i3 .. along with the Li’s ?

    2) Using an ICE platform for an EV … as well as a Hybrid / PlugIn Hybrid … is on the best of days an utter compromise that all but negates any gains made and does not make full use of the technology being introduced .

    You .. as an engineer … and of all the people here … should know that better than anybody

    Simply stated … if you want to do a new technology right … you’ve gotta do it from the ground up !

    Not doing so is like those pretentious arses building so called ‘ Green ‘ 10,000 sq ft homes … They aint . green .. in any way shape or form

  37. ColoradoKid Says:

    35 – yeah and the Netherlands used to have some of the best bicycle racers in the World as well … but like so much else over the last 30 years they’ve thrown that down the sewer as well .

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Well .. thats all for me for today

    Hope you enjoyed/appreciated the review .

    I’ll do a follow up after a full test drive has been had


  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36, Thanks for the review. Regarding the CF, it seems a major change of heart the you would even consider a car so CF intensive.

    Yes, it is a lot different packaging large batteries, than packing an ICE powertrain, so while the S shares DNA with the Z8, a lot of the lower body structure is much different.

  40. HtG Says:

    i3 costs estimate

    If the monthly lease cost is about 600 then that is 20 a day to pay for the car, and 20/a 3 mile round trip means about 6.50 per mile. That’s a lot of chocolate.

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    “Automotive News
    February 17, 2014 – 2:00 pm ET
    DETROIT — The number of dealerships in the United States last year remained relatively flat, with pockets of increases. But with a recovering economy driving sales higher, the average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership surged…”

    Wasn’t I just having the discussion the other day with a certain “classic” 7 Series owner about what would happen if there were less dealers and how the improved economy is helping those who are left? Or maybe that was just my imagination.

    And for those that think that somehow there will be consequences if I say something negative about GM, I present my Fusion review (as always, my opinions are my own and do not represent my employer)…

    Last week for my rental car in St. Louis I decided to pick a sharp looking, white Fusion SE with black leather interior and a sunroof. I will not go into a long, drawn out stroking of Ford as someone likes to do with Bimmers, but I will say: In most ways it was much better than the Malibu. I always liked the Aston Martin look of the Fusion better than the ‘Bu but hadn’t spent much time on the inside. Although there were several fit and finish problems that would have bothered me if I owned the vehicle (a curse from being in Quality) the overall style was very nice. The seats were extremely comfortable and my 6’3″ frame fit nice. I really enjoyed the EcoBoost engine as well. Nice and peppy. It is not surprising that they are selling well. As a Lincoln, it is lame, but as a Ford – Nice package.

    I did have some complaints that may sound jaded, but are legitimately lacking…

    - Suspension was very mushy. Try taking an exit/entrance ramp at anything slightly above the recommended speed and you are going to wish it had training wheels to keep you from tipping over.

    - Cabin noise – Even my Cruze is MUCH quieter. If the radio has to be higher than a 5 to hear it when driving on the highway at 65, that’s too much noise.

    - No automatic headlights – This bothered me tremendously. Driving mostly GM vehicles I have gotten used to the fact that every one, down to the Spark, has them. It can’t cost that much Ford, and besides, it is a great safety feature.

    - No autostart – In a vehicle with leather and a sunroof, I would expect autostart. When it is 0 degrees in St. Louis – I NEED autostart.

    Overall, if I were in the market for a midsize sedan, this would be at the top of the list (after I put an aftermarket autostart on it), well above the Malibu. The Malibu is quieter and drives better, but those Fusion looks make up for it.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    i3 question, repeat from a couple days ago.

    Did you run down the battery to where the gas engine ran, and if so, how much did you hear it?

  43. Alex Wellington Says:

    31 Lesser known Dutchmen

    TJ Bejma (and on his father’s side, most likely from north Holland)

    and, statistically (LOL)

    Colorado Kid

    (if the alleged 6′ 5″ is no fishing story)

  44. Alex Wellington Says:

    Thanks for the detailed review of the i3 (even though you did not fully test drive), CK.

    I have not read other reviews in the mags in detail, because the exterior styling is too ‘avant-garde’ for me. It’s not easy on the eyes like the MINI but I believe it handles just as well or better due to the low CG.

    I also expected it to have a ton of interior space thanks to the square, tall and wide design, even tho it’s short.

    PS I don’t believe the i3 and the Tesla S (almost twice the price and much larger and much longer range) will compete much with each other.

    Nor will the i3 compete with the boring looking Volt, or its ridiculously overpriced, very slow selling ELR,

    or that aqbomination, the product of a passionate affair between a very large pig and a bathtub, the Nissan Leaf, no matter how many tens of thousands of $ Carlos takes off its price.

  45. Alex Wellington Says:

    Ford Fusion

    This is one of very few new vehicles I have actually test driven. FOrd paid me $50 to bribe me to do so, and on Black Friday a year ago I went and drove the Hybrid.

    The car is stylish on the outside, mediocre inside. The style results in less space in the back, and the hybrid in a very poorly shaped, much smaller than regular, trunk.

    Needless to say I did not even get close to the alleged 47/47/47 MPG. I got 30 at best, but was not hypermiling it.

    The engine was noisy and unpleasant sounding.

    They offered me a price that sounded reasonable, but later on comparison it did not so much.

    This segment is ruled by the Accord, the Camry sells a few more but is not as attractive. The Altima is impressive in 44 HWY but I don’t trust Nissan quality. The Passat looks like a much pricier car from the outside, the Diesel is the way to go, actual 51-53 HWY!

  46. Alex Wellington Says:

    Only about half of Caddy Dealers care for the ELR

    From today’s Autoblog:

    ” According to a report on Edmunds, only about 56 percent of the brand’s 940 dealers have signed up to carry the premium plug-in hybrid.

    As much as we’d like to see the more affluent among us driving on electricity, we can certainly understand the dealers’ apparent lack of enthusiasm.

    The article cites costs of up to $15,000 for tools and training to sell the ELR.

    Show floor real estate is another consideration for dealers who aren’t enthusiastic about sacrificing space for a for a vehicle with initial sales – just 46 units nationwide in the first two months, but that volume is expected to increase – that are as mediocre as our first drive impressions…”

  47. HtG Says:


    It must be me, but I’m not comfortable inside Fords. I feel cramped by the dash and find all the interior shapes off putting. The exteriors are great. Purely subjective, I know. I’m much happier inside GM cars.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s not just you. I feel the same way. Also, the technology for technology’s sake is a real turn off to me.

    I still think the Fusion looks great, even though it’s been on the road for a while now. We’ll see how that goes as there are even more of them. I’m getting a bit tired of the Hyundais, now that there are quite a few of them.

  49. T. Bejma Says:


    Maybe I have just tired of the Chevy interiors and like it better because it is “different” to me…

  50. Alex Wellington Says:

    The problem with the Fusion is its rear seat headroom especially, which is the price you pay for the styling.

    I originally liked the styling a lot, but later thought it does not look as good in the sedan as it would look in a coupe version, or in the Mustang. And using the Aston grille clone on the Transit Connect is downright silly.

  51. 97Sentra Says:

    Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was German.

  52. 97sentra Says:

    And DAFs had CVTs over thirty years ago…long before Audi and Nissan took them mainstream.

  53. Lawrence Says:

    Ah yes John, it’s Wahnxiahng, back at it, putting Americans to work again, as the first Chinese automaker located in the U.S..