AD #1319 – Mexico Set To Be #1 U.S. Exporter, Taurus to China, Audi Teases New TT

February 21st, 2014 at 11:49am

Runtime: 6:41

- Mexico Set To Be #1 U.S. Exporter
- Taurus to China
- China Hits 250 Million Vehicles
- Golf Gets Plug-In Hybrid
- Audi Teases New TT
- OnStar’s Future Plans

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where our job is to keep you up to speed on what’s happening in the global automotive industry.

MEXICO SET TO BE #1 U.S. EXPORTER
Mexico is booming when it comes to manufacturing cars, so it’s no surprise that the country is set to overtake Japan in exports to the U.S. A study from IHS Automotive estimates that Mexico will export about 1.7 million cars to the U.S. this year, about 200,000 more than Japan. And by next year, Mexico is expected to pass Canada as the top exporter to the United States.

TAURUS TO CHINA
Reports out of China say that Changan Ford is going to start manufacturing the Taurus in the country. In addition to the 3.5 L V6 and 2.0 L turbo currently available in the Taurus, it will reportedly get a 2.5 L turbo just for the Chinese market. The base price of the car supposedly will start at $50,000, almost twice as much as it costs in the U.S. Ford has been on a roll in China, growing faster than most other established manufacturers.

THAT’S A LOT OF CARS
Speaking of China, it just passed another milestone. The latest figures show there are now 250 million motor vehicles running around on the roads in the country, about the same as in the United States. Ten years ago there were only 24 million passenger cars registered in the country. Today there are 137 million, with the rest being commercial trucks and busses. We think in 10 years time, China could double the amount of cars that are in the country.

GOLF GETS PLUG-IN HYBRID
Worldwide, Volkswagen’s Golf is offered in gas, diesel, CNG and electric versions. And now the company is set to show off a plug-in hybrid option, called the GTE. The car uses a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder paired to an electric motor that’s powered by a 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It can be driven 31 miles and hit speeds of up to 81 mph solely on electric power. Not much is changed in the way of styling, it does feature wheel sizes from 16 to 18” and comes standard with a 6.5” touchscreen. Look for the Golf GTE to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

AUDI TEASES NEW TT
And speaking of Geneva Motor Show reveals, Audi teased some sketches of the new TT. This will be the 3rd generation of the sports car and from the pictures it keeps the overall styling of the models that came before it. But the front grille and headlights take on the look of the Sport Quattro Concept the German automaker has been showing off lately. Not many other details were released but we will make sure to get them out to you as soon as we learn them.

Coming up next, a look at how OnStar plans to evolve in the future.

AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
On Autoline This Week the topic is all about OnStar, GM’s telecommunications network. In the following clip, Terry Inch, the Chief Operating Officer at OnStar, explains how the service will evolve over the next few years.

(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Also joining John for that show is Matt Roush from CBS Detroit Radio and Mike Wayland of MLive.com. And, of course, you can watch that entire discussion right now on our website Autoline.tv.

But that’s a wrap for today’s show. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

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

79 Comments to “AD #1319 – Mexico Set To Be #1 U.S. Exporter, Taurus to China, Audi Teases New TT”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the Mexico news, is this how you solve the immigration problem?

  2. Todd T Says:

    TT is definitely Teutonic in appearance. Fits the character of the brand and isn’t cluttered with unnecessary bits and pieces. Restraint is obvious, and it will end up being a design that ages well. I hope the rings on the hood vs the grill remain in the production car.

  3. Alex Wellington Says:

    1 The more job opps they have down there, the less they will seek them up here.

    I am actually surprised that immigrations has not ceased already, because our alleged low unemployment in the USA hides the fact that tens of millions of Americans were discouraged and left the labor force. FEWER Americans work today, despite a 20 million higher population than back then, than when Obama took office Jan 20 2009!

  4. Alex Wellington Says:

    Remember a few days ago when our resident Unpaid GM apologist was really excited about TOYOTA having a record number of recalls in 2013?

    And remember when I replied that at least the Toyota recalls did not kill six people, like the GM recalls of 778,000 Cobalts and other assorted junkmobiles?

    It turns out it is even worse!

    “What did GM know, and when did it know it?”

  5. Alex Wellington Says:

    PS 4

    I was able to post the link finally:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/21/gm-knew-about-fatal-chevy-problem-decade-ago/

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s incredible to me how a poorly designed ignition key system could cause such a catastrophic condition that lives were lost! The one Cavalier I rented for a week (due to a car theft) was one of the worst driving experiences I ever had, could not wait for my older, more beat up Camry to be found and fixed.

  7. Bradley Says:

    OnStar.

    I liked the Radio Shack Super Ad that stated “The 80s wants its store back.”

    GM, the 90s wants its in car emergency/infotainment system back.

    I have heard the arguments on here, about maintenance, warm fuzzy voices and even how OnStar will play audio from Marty McFly when you hit 88mph.

    It doesn’t change the fact; the features it offers can be obtained countless ways.

  8. Bradley Says:

    #6

    I agree. Why airbag deployment is tied to engine start is beyond me?

    If a certain level of G force is detected, electrical power is available, and occupants detected those air bags should deploy.

  9. Drew Says:

    It seems the Cobalt issue is from from excessive weight on the driver’s key ring. The extra weight causes the ignition switch to not have a robust wiring connection. If the wiring is “open”, all systems treat the vehicle as if it is “off”… meaning no air bag protection.

    It is hard for me to relate to this as my key ring never has more than 3 keys on it.

    Ignition switches typically are commodities and shared with many other vehicles. We my not have heard the last of this one.

  10. Jon M Says:

    #4 Alex

    Do you suppose Mary Barra and other top brass at GM will have to testify in front of Congress amid a whirlwind of nonstop media sensationalism over the issue?

  11. Alex Wellington Says:

    #10 In my dreams…. Why would this Dem Administration and the Dem Senate who bailed out these clowns in the first place, try to give them a hard time?

  12. Alex Wellington Says:

    PS Jon M (10), tell that to the parents of the victims.

    You would not say what you wrote, even if you are a paid or unpaid GM apologist like our other one,

    if one of the six people needlessly killed was YOUR daughter, YOUR Son, or, especially, YOUR ONLY CHILD.

    Think about it.

    “One Death is a Tragedy. A Million Deaths is a Statistic”

    –J. Stalin.

    As

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I am sure a lot of people make the same mistake of having a heavy set of keys and other crap hanging from the ignition switch, leave it to GM designers to make it a dangerous thing.

  14. Jon M Says:

    Oh no, my point was look at the difference in how the media and government reacted. There has been barely any media attention about GM’s latest recall that killed six as a result of a definite, known issue. Yet only an accusation of unintended acceleration was all that was needed for a conviction in the media/government with Toyota. But there was no hype of sensationalism about that (note the sarcasm).

  15. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I wonder what other gm models,and other oem’s used the same switch…

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #5, etc.
    Does anyone here know exactly what the issue is with the switches? Do they just turn more easily than most, so they can turn off if there is a lot of weight hanging from the “left” side of the key, or does the switch, itself, open up? Also, are these switches unique to GM cars? From what we’ve heard, it sounds like they are, but there is an awful lot of parts sharing among car brands. Rear view mirrors look alike on some Toyota, GM, and VW cars. I suspect they are all from the same supplier.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the issue of suppliers and the different quality that they produce for certain manufacturers was brought up in an Auto Line after dark show where someone explained that the supplier can build different quality parts depending on the specs set forth by the OEM. And a close relation between the 2 is crucial.

  18. HtG Says:

    16 Kit, I learned that Boxster ignition cylinders also fail due to heavy weight key chains. The fix is to install a new part, which a DIYer can do. I don’t know if it’s the same weakness or if the consequences are the same.

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It seems the bean counters once again prevail.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I searched around, and found a couple articles indicating that the switch can just turn off with extra weight hanging from it, or when hitting big bumps. Here’s one:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20140213/BUSINESS/140213007/Heavy-keychains-6-killed-GM-cars-faulty-ignition-switches

    The article mentions that with most recalls, people haven’t been killed because of the problem, but they pointed out that people WERE killed with the Ford/Firestone thing where Ford told people to under-inflate tires for a better ride, and the tires failed.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Car companies would like the way I treat ignition switches. I normally use the key with absolutely nothing hanging from it. That’s with older cars that have regular keys. My two newest cars don’t have ignition keys, as we know them.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I do the same as you do with the keys!

  23. Drew Says:

    19. I don’t think we can blame the beanies on this one. Some customer-use conditions are hard to anticipate. Thirty-eight years ago when Ford started designing the Panther platform, police agencies did not leave the rear corner of theie cruiser hanging out in a lane of high speed traffic. Yet, Ford’s fuel tank was in a safer location than the competitive Caprice.

    Perhaps the greatest tragedy (err, hypocracy) occurred when a certain former NHTSA administrator (JC) forced air bags into production before the technology was fully developed. OEMs warned about the risks to children. Years later when the tragedies became documented, JC was the amongst 1st to criticize.

    It is too easy to be a Monday Morning Quarterback. It is much harder to be the engineer who has to optimize multiple attributes with multiple constraints. Their hearts and minds are in the right place… after all, their own sons and daughters drive cars, too.

  24. Alex Wellington Says:

    I have several keychains and only one of them has only 2-3 keys. THree of them have car keys in them, incl the one with the 2-3 keys. I never realized that ignition switches are so sensitive to the number or the weight of the keys in the keychain, especially if that weight is barely a pound.

    Doesn’t this point to poor ignition switch design? It is ludicrous to tell people to have key chains with just 2 keys and nothing else in them, instead.

  25. Brett Says:

    It’s tragic that you can sell three-quarters of a million automobiles and be pillories because it’s not so utterly fool-proof that six people are killed in them.

    Let’s be outraged that auto manufacturers sell vehicles that allow people to drive around lowered railroad grade crossing arms, too.

    Thoughtless, greedy, b*****ds…

  26. Alex Wellington Says:

    23 I’d never blame the engineers, but the dumb beancounters who count corners and the lawyers and accountants who unethically collude to do the first grade math to see if the expected cost of litigation settlements is lower than the few dollars per vehicle to fix a million affected vehicles.

  27. Alex Wellington Says:

    25 in the Pinto fires, Ford beanies and lawyers did the math and found out that the expected cost of settlements was much lower than the measly $30-50 (about $150-250 in our dollars)to actually FIX the problem by recalling all affected Pintos, so they decided to let them burn, passengers and all.

  28. Alex Wellington Says:

    14 Sorry I did not see what you meant. In that case, I fully agree with you, there is a ton of anti-Toyota sentiment (Toyota ENVY anybody? GM? LOL) especially in the greater Detroit area.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23, 25, 26,
    Probably part of what happened, is that the switch designers tried to cater to the people who complain about the “key turning too hard.”

    The problem I have with car companies now, is that they put all of this “infotainment” crap in the cars, which should be used only with the car stopped, and in park (but with the airbags active.)

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Yeah,I remember that firestone deal with ford.Sidewall issues if I remember it right.Back when I was 17 I had a 65 1/2 Mustang k model rag top.It came with firestone tires and I did have a sidewall blowout on the right front tire.Of course that was way before the other thing,but I have never bought firestone tires as a result of that experience.

  31. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I still maintain that cheap/dangerous ignition switchs falls to the bean counters.The designers are pretty savvy on what materials etc to use,but the ‘beanies’ seem to always look for the cheaper route.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A couple friends have HHR’s with the same switch. I want to see what the switch feels like, when you turn it. I’d guess that it has softer detents in the “run” position than most. Also, I’ll find out if they have had issues with the switch, and if they are worried about it.

  33. Mike Says:

    23. I spent most of a decade in Detroit designing bits and pieces of things. I can honestly say I never saw anyone deliberately making bad decisions. Yes, some of things did not turn out as well as hoped, but the hearts and minds of the working engineers were in the right place and working hard to make it as best as possible.

  34. Brett Says:

    27 people died in Pinto fires. Granted, it was an unseemly episode, but it was also forty years ago. Read “The Reckoning” if you have not.

    Disclaimer: I owned a 1971 Pinto and bought my step-daughter a used 1974 Pinto when she graduated from UCLA. She and her husband finally sold it in 1993 after driving the wheels off of it. I found them to be decent, reliable vehicles, negative hype aside.

  35. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 33,Mike: Engineers do a very good job on most stuff,some mistakes but that’s to be expected.The beanies however only look at cost,and make cuts to increase profits.For example,the Jeep JK; there are aftermarket companies selling front end bolt kits to replace the undersize grade 5′s with grade 8′s of the proper size.This has been going on since 08 or 09,to correct a definite problem.Not a word about this from the factory.The bean counters always try to save despite the safety factors.Engineers know what size and what grade of bolts to use for any given component on a vehicle.Whether it gets the right hardware is a different story.

  36. Bradley Says:

    #33

    “deliberately making bad decisions”

    No one sets out to make a bad decision from all perspectives. All decisions at some point serve at least one perspective well.

    The first bad choice was only recalling a portion of the ignitions that had the problem. This I am sure was a good decision from the perspective of minimizing risk with the smallest cost. The realm of probability has now made it a bad choice.

    Then the next bad decision was not accounting for heavy key chains. This could have been a simple oversight or a choice to save money.

    At some level every decision is a good decision, just not across all categories of cost, safety, company image, etc.

  37. XA351GT Says:

    Hey that’s a nice looking Ford at the end of the 1st segment , oh wait it’s a Audi? Sorry the grille fooled me . What is this now 4 or 5 brands with that shape. Come on guys ,quit playing follow the leader.

  38. Alex Wellington Says:

    Accord vs Camry: Who was the real best seller in 2013? !

    TTAC reveals, it was actually the ACCORD who topped RETAIL sales:

    “Although the Honda Accord finished second to the Toyota Camry in the official sales rankings, Honda is touting the Accord’s dominance in retail sales, which accounted for 98 percent of overall Accord sales.

    By contrast, Bloomberg reports that Toyota’s retail mix for the Camry was 84 percent, with 342,007 Camrys ending up in the hands of retail customers. The Accord sold 360,089 units at retail.

    Retail sales are more profitable for auto makers, and contribute to better resale value, but many OEMs rely on fleet sales to move inventory…”

    I repeat my opinion that the current Accord is a great vehicle for its segment. No wonder it dominates it.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38,
    It looks like the main people who hate CVT’s are the “journalists” who write about cars, and always complain about them. A large majority of those Accords would have CVT’s, so actual buyers must like them just fine.

  40. Alex Wellington Says:

    39 have not test driven this Accord w any transmission, so I have no personal experience w the CVT. Do they charge extra over the manual for the CVT or is the CVT the default tranny?

    I was going thru Autoblog and found this lengthy article about Musk’s economic analyses and big gamble with the gigafactory in Nevada making batteries. He expects a 30% cost drop, due to econs of scale, and that’s how he can sell the smaller Tesla (new SUV/CUV?) for much less than the S

    That’s a huge gamble. I hope he knows what he is doing real well.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2014/02/21/sun-wind-could-power-tesla-gigafactory-ev-batteries-nevada/#continued

  41. Alex Wellington Says:

    An even more impressive number than the Accord sales was that of the CR-V which (I believe for the first time) topped 300,000 in 2013, and became the third cash cow for Amer Honda, after the No 1 (Accord) and quite close in numbers to the second (Civic)

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A manual is standard on the lower trim level 4cylinder Accord sedan. CVT is an $800 option. All top trim 4 cyl Accords have the CVT. The V6 sedan is automatic only, with a conventional automatic.

    It almost seems that they want an excuse to kill the Accord coupe with a manual transmission The 4 cylinder manual coupe is available in only one color, black, and other choices seem very limited.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,
    I don’t know what to think about Tesla’s long-term prospects, but they have already done better than any other “upstart” car company of the last 50 years or so, except for very small makers of very expensive cars, like Koenigsegg.

    It’s tough to start a new car company, as DeLorean, Bricklin, and earlier, Tucker found out.

  44. Alex Wellington Says:

    42 I’d not shell out the $800, I’d rather have the manual, if I went for the base 4.

    I’m surprised they would offer that coupe in black only, what is it the Model T? I used to have a 1990 silver coupe 5 sp. bought from 1st owner in 94 w 68k miles for $6500, kept till 2008 when I donated it (rusted but drivable)

    W 125 hp/137 lbft and 2822 lbs, it was too underpowered (and noisy if one had to downshift to 2nd gear to climb even modest hills.).

  45. Alex Wellington Says:

    43 I agree. Delorean and Bricklin were flakes. Tucker was a bit better but ran into all kinds of troubles. Back then the Detroit 3 were much more powerful too, and could act to eliminate the newcomers.

    Tesla probably lost $ on their first try, the Roadster, but it seems they learned their lessons and seem to have plenty of funding to install all these superchargers, build huge factories etc.

  46. Alex Wellington Says:

    Ford-incentives on the Fusion to curb inventories. Was the 2nd plant premature?

    From Autonews.com

    “DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has been raising incentives on the Fusion sedan to help clear out growing inventories, just months after it started building the car in a second North American plant to keep up with demand.

    In many parts of the country, the Fusion is now offered with zero-percent financing for 60 months plus $1,000 cash back. Ford also is offering leases with no money due at signing and no first payment, or discounts of as much as $3,000 for buyers who decline the financing and make a trade-in.

    Dealers and analysts said they are the most generous deals on the Fusion since the current generation was introduced in 2012.

    “The car is selling, but not as fast as they’re building them,” said Larry Taylor, the owner of Beau Townsend Ford in Vandalia, Ohio, and a former member of the Ford dealer council. “They’ve buried us.”

    Taylor said he has sold 17 so far this month and has 90 more on his lot, plus 100 more on the way.

    Ford had a 97-day supply of the Fusion as of Feb. 1, up from 84 days a month earlier, according to the Automotive News Data Center. …”

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46, They need to sell the wagon in the US. Yeah, I seem to one of few Americans who likes car-height wagons.

    https://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&client=ms-android-sprint-mvno-us&source=android-browser&q=ford+mondeo+estate#biv=i%7C2%3Bd%7C2KBxxPlDxtSX8M%3A

  48. Alex Wellington Says:

    The new wagons are the “small” CUVs (CR-V at over 300k, Escape (new) also did well, Equinox, RAV4, etc. The segment must be the third or fourth largest after Pickup Trucks, Midsize Cars (Accord Camry Altima Fusion etc), and maybe compacts (Civic Corolla Cruze Focus etc)

    I bet Honda loses $ on the Accord coupe, Camry had a coupe in the 90s but abandoned it by 97.

    They can bring a Fusion Wagon but I doubt it will solve their inventory problem, plus it would cost them tens if not hundreds of millions to develop a US-spec one.

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    Total sales numbers vs actual numbers bought by regular customers is puzzling, does Honda and others make it difficult or impossible for rental fleets to buy them or are the rental fleets looking to get the best discount possible? I have a buddy whose hobby is to rent cars for reviews, he can never find a Honda and seldom can he get a Subaru either.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, I like the long load floor of Fusion/Mondeo size wagons, and I like the good highway mpg that goes along with car-height, rather than tall wagons. I’m in a small minority in the US, though, and I’m sure it would not make sense for Ford to make a Fusion wagon for NA, or import it from Europe.

    49, I suspect the daily rental companies shop mainly for price, and Honda doesn’t play that game.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Usually Enterprise will have certain models available at locations that are near a particular brand in order to please those customers who wish to rent the same brand they own, whenever a free loaner is not available.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, Yeah, Honda probably doesn’t make money on the Accord Coupe, but it seems they want it that way, given the limited color choices, etc. They probably don’t want it to sell, so they can have an excuse to drop it.

    I just checked the web site for Accord coupe’s only competitor, the Altima coupe. It is available in a few colors, but is available as 4 cylinder automatic only.

  53. Alex Wellington Says:

    Honda are cheapskates, they never bothered with fleet sales. They also are stingy at the dealerships, they don’t offer you any large discounts unless they are up against the wall.

    When I rented cars a lot (1995-2010) I’d go to Hertz and hope they had a Toyota. the GM (from Avis) and Ford vehicles were all quite problematic, and the one time they convinced me to rent a Nissan ALtima Hybrid instead of the Prius I intended, it developed an oil leak with few, if any miles on, I called them and warned them about it (LAX Hertz), they told me to drive it to their place despite the leak, and I barely got it in their lot before the engine became one solid thing from the lack of oil. Apparently they did not care, (their insurance would pick it up?), but I did, and got them to compansate me with a $100 certificate which I used to rent a Malibu next year (2010) for a long trip, using AAA, the $100 covered the full 3- day rental plus a full tank of gas. I got 33 MPG overall with that Malibu, I believe, which was rather upscale inside but drove indifferently..

  54. Alex Wellington Says:

    I remmeber in Florida in 95 I had a project with Lockheed Martin in orlando and we rented non-descript Detroit cars I do not remember, but I do remember the… students in the team somehow managed to rent an upscale VOlvo with nice leather inside!

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s the manual transmission Accord coupes, in particular, that have no, or little color choice. It’s Model T black for the 4 cylinder manual. With the V6 manual, you can also get red or dark grey.

  56. Alex Wellington Says:

    The Accord (and other FWD) V6 has way too much power for a FWD vehicle. The available 4s have much more power than they used to have and are hopefully adequate.

  57. HtG Says:

    56 the traction control is in command. Your gas pedal is the functional equivalent if a suggestion box. Not a lot to worry about. (Yeah, sometimes I get cranky)

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56, Yeah, the current Accord 4 is quicker than my MINI which, at least to me, is quick enough.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My Spirit R/T was probably about the ultimate torque steering front drive car. You definitely needed to hold on to the wheel when it came on boost in the lower gears.

  60. HtG Says:

    I think I’ve liked the Accord Coupe for at least a decade. The current interiors are as much as I could ever want. Gimme a V6 w/ manual and I’m getting arrested.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60,
    I’d like the Accord coupe if I wanted a “luxury” replacement for my MINI. Too bad about the colors, though. My MINI is red with white roof, but with the Accord, I’d probably want white or silver, neither available with the manual.

  62. Alex Wellington Says:

    60. 290 HP is a ludicrous HP for a FWD car. For cars of that HP, a RWD version would have far superior performance. Watch Top gear once in a while, they always emphasize that.

    61. Not even the Acura equivalent is truly luxurious, while the Accord is just good quality, soft plastics, good fit and finish, but not real luxury. But one advantage over the MINI would be a huge back seat.

  63. Alex Wellington Says:

    57 Traction control in command? Not much “Freude am Fahren!” (this is how they say “the Ultimate Driving Machine” in the old country)

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    62,
    Yeah, an Accord is not luxurious compared to a big Benz or a Lexus LS, but compared to a MINI it is. In addition to having a lot more cabin space, it is significantly quieter, and rides better. The MINI has much sportier handling, though. To me, they are both great cars, for what they are.

    I certainly agree that RWD is better than FWD for a performance car, but today’s higher powered FWD’s, with their “driver aids” do pretty well. My Spirit R/T had a peaky turbo, and no traction control, limited slip diff, or even ABS, but was fun. It definitely had its quirks, though.

  65. pedro fernandez Says:

    The word luxury has been thrown around a lot in real estate, hotels and such and now in the car world too, cars like Cadenza, Avalon and such are now considered luxurious, to me you gotta go top tier like S or 7 or in the extreme cases of Rolls and Bentley.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    65,
    Luxury has “trickled down” a lot over the years, in features and in performance, and in areas like quietness. A 1949 Cadillac was as luxurious, and about as quick as cars came at that time, but didn’t even have power steering, and was about 5 seconds slower 0-60 than a Prius. It was very roomy, though. Except for cabin space, today’s Corolla would be luxurious in comparison.

  67. Alex Wellington Says:

    The 7, S etc are clearly luxurious; the E class, and A6 and the 5 series also, but the industry draws the line in the 3-4 series, the C class and the A4 as near-luxury, where also the ES lexus and the Acuras belong.

    The Accord was never considered as a luxury car. nor was the Camry. The ES I have been in, are camry clones with some luxury touches and at the same time acres of plastics right next to the gorgeous wood, which makes them confusing, and not truly luxurious.

  68. Alex Wellington Says:

    You can order almost every car with leather SEATS, so that alone can’t define luxury. but if the leather includes double-stitched areas in the doors and dash where plastics used to be, it is a step. But polished, real, and real-looking wood veneer is a prerequisite for luxury too. And I don’t think the Accords of today have much of that, if any.

  69. HtG Says:

    I’d say I can feel all manner of gradations in
    luxury. All the way up to Rollers, I see luxurious touches, but also cheap elements. I wonder which people pick up on what. Rollers absolutely wow me, but I can still remember seeing an exposed, cheap Phillips head screw driver on the A-pillar of a sporty car some years ago. Unbelievable bean countage.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    67,
    Yeah, an Accord is not a luxury car in the usual sense, but in functionality, it is luxurious compared to most cars of not too many years ago.

    To be considered a “real” luxury car, you need wood and visible stitching, and non-cloth seats. Curiously to me, though, vinyl seats are now considered ok for $60K luxury cars like E-Class and 5 series. I still like cloth seats, but they are hard to come by in “premium” cars.

  71. pedro fernandez Says:

    A car to be considered luxurious needs leather seats, dash, door panels, etc. should have a top notch sound system, power everything, quiet. supple ride, plenty of power on demand and a set and forget climate control system.

  72. HtG Says:

    Isn’t it also about how you’re treated at the dealership? How the place looks? How the carco looks after you once you’ve bought the car? I remember with our Infiniti it was a bit much. (Didn’t mind the loaner cars when we got service, though)

    Well, I guess I won’t be watching any Daytona 500 tonight. Thank you very much, Mother Nature

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They are now running at Daytona, and the rain moved 100 miles south to my area.

  74. Alex Wellington Says:

    Come on guys, Every car today feels more luxurious than almost every car from the 80s,

    BUT the classes in autos are widely agreed upon and by no stretch of the imagination are Accords and Camrys luxury cars.

    As I said, even the c class, 3 series, A4, ES and that Acura Accord clone are not considered pure luxury cars but near-luxury, a separate segment.

    This is agreed upon all the major auto publications, that’s how they compare cars etc.

    71 and polished wood veneer. Real and realistic looking too, makes quite a diff.

  75. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW absolutely, just look at the current Camry compared to the ’86 I had, besides the name, they have nothing in common as far as driving dynamics and interior appointments, and I guess when you factor in inflation and how much more safety and comfort has been added, the price diff is not that much.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    74, Yep, the classes are generally agreed upon, but there is less and less reason to buy luxury, or near-luxury cars, when Camrys, Accords, and Impalas are so luxurious in ways that matter the most.

    The wood and leather would be nice, but I suspect that after a while you get used to it, just as I have gotten used the the great river/lagoon view from my condo. It is still nice, but not “wow” nice, like it was when I moved here 10 years ago. Doesn’t familiarity work the same way with the cabin decor of true luxury cars? Well, maybe it would never get that way with a Rolls-Royce.

  77. HtG Says:

    76 this

    I’ve gotten bored of the most stunning coastal scenery after a few days. Though once you get used to leather and quiet, you’re going to feel it if you go back down to a plastic buzz box, even if the finishes are ‘piano black.’

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    77,
    To me, the biggest single thing that would make a Prius better would be to add quietness. It’s not even particularly noisy, but quieter would be better. Yeah, it’s slow, and doesn’t handle well, by today’s standards, but for what it was designed for, that doesn’t matter. You can get leather in a Prius, but I didn’t want to pay for it, and to me, it seems out of place in that car.

  79. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think you’re right Kit; many ‘journeyman’ cars today can be had as luxurious (even as they are clearly not luxury cars). This perhaps, keeps the luxury makers ‘on their toes’ to provide what a (current) luxury car is.