AD #1350 – GM Strategy Hurts Barra, New Seat Material Repels Dirt, Are Telematics Profitable?

April 7th, 2014 at 11:51am

Runtime: 6:51

- GM Strategy Hurts Barra
- Ferrari-Powered Alfas
- Ram Introduces the Heavy Duty Black
- Mopar ’14 Challenger Sells Out Fast
- Johnson Controls Seat Material Repels Dirt
- Lexus Teases Production NX
- Will Hyundai Ever Profit from BlueLink?

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily.

GM STRATEGY HURTS BARRA
Well GM’s strategy of how to handle this ignition switch recall is starting to blow up in its face. The automaker is becoming the punch line for comedians all across the United States. Jon Stewart viciously attacked GM on The Daily Show, and the opening skit on Saturday Night Live made GM CEO Mary Barra look like a know-nothing buffoon. When popular media starts attacking you, you know you have a public relations disaster on your hands. While the average citizen does not pay much attention to the national news, the country sure knows what its comedians are saying. That’s what makes Mary Barra’s testimony in front of Congress so dismaying. It’s as if GM’s lawyers told Barra, “Just sit there and let them punch you in the face.” That may be a good legal strategy, but when the critics start making your CEO look like an incompetent fool, it hurts the company on multiple levels. Mary Barra still has one more chance turn this around. That’s when she reports what GM’s own internal investigation turned up. She needs to talk tough and come out with all guns a-blazing, because right now she’s becoming the laughing stock of the nation.

FERRARI-POWERED ALFAS
We’re starting to learn how Sergio Marchionne plants to turn Alfa Romeo into a globally competitive luxury brand. Alfa will use Ferrari engines to power some of its high-end models. Bloomberg reports that Alfa plans to launch a new line of rear-drive sedans and SUVs in 2016 with the top versions getting Ferrari engines. Also, to boost its reach worldwide, Fiat plans to sell Alfa vehicles through Jeep dealers outside North America.

BLACK IS BACK
And speaking of Chrysler, last year Ram introduced an all-black version of its light-duty pick-up called the 1500 Black Express. And now the company is offering a version of it for its heavy duty trucks. As you can see from the picture the whole exterior is bad-ass black. The Ram Heavy Duty Black is available now with a starting price just over $43,000.

MOPAR ‘14 CHALLENGER SELLS OUT FAST
And in one more Chrysler related item, the Mopar ‘14 Dodge Challenger sold out in one day. Of course they’re only selling 100 of them. And if you’re not one of those lucky 100 remember you can still make your own version through Mopar’s parts and accessories.

NEW SEAT COVER COATING
The new Ford F-150 will be equipped with tougher leather seat covers to help them withstand constant abuse but another solution may have been this new coating from Johnson Controls, called FreshPer4mance. It can be applied to all seat fabrics and repels dirt and liquid, and protects passengers from microbes and static. Seats with the coating can simply be wiped clean with a cloth, making it ideal for people with kids, commercial or even rental vehicles.

LEXUS TEASES PRODUCTION NX
Back in March we told you that Lexus would be making a production version of the LF-NX Concept that it would show off in Beijing. Now the automaker is giving us a look at what the NX crossover will look like. You can’t see much from the teaser image but it will be interesting to see what the final product looks like ‘cause that concept looks like it as heavily over designed.

Coming up next, we need to figure out if car companies can make money or not on all this telematics technology.

On Autoline After Hours last week, our guest was Barry Ratzlaff, who’s in charge Hyundai’s telematic system, Bluelink. During our conversation I asked him if automakers will ever find out a way to profit off telematics and here’s what Barry had to say.

(Comments from Barry Ratzlaff are only available in the video version of today’s program.)

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

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

78 Comments to “AD #1350 – GM Strategy Hurts Barra, New Seat Material Repels Dirt, Are Telematics Profitable?”

  1. Kate McLeod Says:

    I think Autoline is being far to critical of the way in which Mary Barra is handling this disaster. What was she supposed to do in front of Congress? As the representative for General Motors she is responsible to the workers, to the owners, to the shareholders. Make one wrong move in front of those buffoons in DC and they’ll make mincemeat out of you–unless you are from the oil or financial sector in which case they will give you a pass. I saw the Jon Stewart piece. Big deal. It wasn’t that funny. And since when do the lives of the GM workers and what happens to that company hinge on Jon Stewart? Mary Barra is GM’s CEO. She is also GM’s chance to change behavior. And anyone who has tried to change behavior knows how hard it is. Certainly her predecessors weren’t going to even consider making the kinds of changes that will be required in the future to make this company competitive and viable. She apologized. She took responsibility and when she knows the full extent of what happened she will lay it out on the table for all of us to see. This “mistake” goes back over a dozen years. And it will take time for the person who has been CEO for three months to assess the situation.

  2. Jon M Says:

    @1

    Remember Kate, GM is part of corporate America. You know the sector with a reputation for anything but full disclosure. So how full an extent she lays out remains to be seen or known. Granted she wasn’t at the helm while this issue was ensuing; nevertheless, her performance was less than stellar. I watched some of her testimony and from what I saw she did terrible. At least twice she “didn’t understand” a simple yes or no question that she was repeatedly asked. It is, as John pointed out, not helping Ms. Barra’s or GM’s public image.

  3. M360 Says:

    Instead of questioning Mary Barra, too bad Congress didn’t put Dan Ackerson under the microscope to see what he knew and when he knew it. That would be interesting. Mary Barra is a scapegoat for the Old GM.

  4. Tony Gray Says:

    The hearings were more grandstanding. Since most lawmakers are lawyers, they knew darn well Barra wasn’t going to taint the internal review by making comments before the investigation was over. There should have been a reasonable time given for her to complete that and THEN she could have come in and answered with good situational understanding.

    Nobody got anything out of those hearings…except needy comic writers.

  5. Jon M Says:

    …”‘cause that concept looks like it is heavily over designed.” Quite the understatement, John. But at its professionally put!

  6. Jon M Says:

    Pardon me…But at least it is professionally put.

  7. dcars Says:

    Does Mary Barra have the personality of other car makers CEO’s like Carlos Gossin, Martin Wintercorn, or Alan Mulally. Even Akio Toyoda has shown a willingness to fight for his position and company. She may have been a brave choice, but time will tell if she is the right choice.

  8. Buzzerd Says:

    Why does Stewart show matter? cause he has a huge following and made GM look pretty bad, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t good for the shareholders or management.

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kate: I totally agree.It is obvious she has intentionally been thrown under the bus.As for the comics,who really gives a damn what they say,they are not sitting in her seat at the head of GM,as well as the hot seat in congress.As for akerson and putz,they need to be asked questions in the hearings.

  10. C-Tech Says:

    Jon Stewart ‘ s very good explanation of the ignition switch problem and G’S non – fix is what people are talking about. This is what makes GM and what the head of GM looks bad. If I were Mary Barra I would get booked on the Daily show after the investigation and explain what happened and why it won’t happen again on my watch

  11. aliisdad Says:

    I have to feel for Ms. Barra because she has been thrown into a very difficult situation that she evidently was not fully prepared for although she may be very good at her “normal” responsibilities as GM management… I just hope that she is not just a scapegoat or promoted before she was ready for “political correctness” reasons… Clearly, none of us can know, and all we can do is speculate..
    Whatever the reason for her choice, she is the head of GM, and I have to feel empathy for her…It must be awful to finally reach the top of your profession, and she had to be good at her work at GM to get to that level, and then have this happen just as you are getting into your new job… Yes, I have to feel sorry for her.. I really do hope that the “rats” at GM who let this situation happen are not just “using” her while they go off untouched by what they did, or did not, do!!
    I will leave you with one little piece of history… In the 1930′s car makers were beginning to put in “safety glass”, and a reporter asked the head of GM why they were not doing it… His answer was “…it is just a matter of profit”… Looks like the “GM culture and tradition” is still alive and well!!

  12. Buzzerd Says:

    I think you nailed it C-Tech

  13. alex wellington Says:

    10 Good suggestion. But I bet Barra’s lawyers are terrified in case she blurts out something incriminating.

    Congress should also grill that clown Akerson and his pitiful predecessor Rick Wagoner and other failed GM CEOs on whose watch, or lack thereof, this disgraceful disaster occured.

  14. alex wellington Says:

    BTW John, as usual, excellent analysis on Barra’s and GM’s problems. The regulars here have a lot to learn if they listen to you daily.

  15. HtG Says:

    I’d say that one unavoidable risk for GM is that the ignition issue seems easy to understand. Journalists, consumers and comedians can seize upon an idea and think it’s all very simple. I recall saying so right here a couple of weeks ago, and before the DC hearing. One thing that didn’t happen at those hearings is that Barra avoided being argumentative or less than deferential; she should get some credit for that and so should her PR people like Bingol and Ferguson.

    I also read that Claire McCaskill was on one of the Sunday shows, saying there may be criminal liability for GM. Going on a Sunday show elevates the issue in an even greater way, as all the ‘serious people’ will deign to sit up and listen as they peer between their slippers.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    All this GM fiasco will just add more ammo to those who keep saying that anything out of Detroit is absolute crap! I met a couple on Saturday who just purchased a Cruze b4 the whole recall thing was announced and now they’re very upset with the fact that after many imports, they went back to an American brand.

  17. HtG Says:

    Oh yeah, GM has hired a crisis consultant who worked for Clinton during the scandals. This could be good or bad, but it shows they’re already doing what Autoline suggests. I’d like to see their polling.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    HtG, I like your observations and evaluations in your post #15; it is a shame that if: the higher ups’ threw Mary ‘under the bus’(still to be determined), that so many (journalists/politicians/comedians) hopped on that ‘bus’ and cast unwarranted dispersion, distorted all her answers from Mary (who was under enormous pressure with no/not enough data or authority to release that data) and who was just trying to respond to an untenable situation. How she responds, after the investigation and after GM then takes a stand, from then, I will judge her reaction. Walk a mile in her moccasins before getting on that said unenviable bus.

  19. C-Tech Says:

    Its time for mary Barra to call on her inner Iaccoa. If Lido is still around, she might want to call him personally.

  20. alex wellington Says:

    19 That utter clown Iaccoca was the best (really, the worst!) snake oil salesman of all time. I can’t believe people actually fell for his BS about the execrable K-cars, an utter POS that he had the gall to tout and dare the buyers, if they find a better car, to buy it.

    Why, virtually every other car was infinitely better than the accursed K-cars!

    I remember, painfully, one of these POS K-cars with a BENCH seat up front, which was not even split, so whenever the proverbial “little woman” drove that POS, the unfortunate Male passenger would have his knees Ruthlessly CRUSHED at the dashboard! Insufferable!

  21. alex wellington Says:

    18 I hope I have read ENOUGH already of remarks pitying innocent little Mary Barra crying all the way to the bank to get her utterly undeserved $15 million a year (plus a ton of benefits!).

    Please try to understand that she is a 30+ year GM insider and upper management, and not just that, before she became CEO she had the critical (for these investigations) job that Mark Reuss has now.

    I am 99.99% sure she knew everything and just in case she did not, it is also unacceptable, because she seems to be asleep at the helm.

    I hope she does much better at her next public appearance, and if she cannot, she better stay in her office and do some real work for a change.

  22. HtG Says:

    21 I am 100% sure Barra was truthful in her testimony. I’ll tell you from my own experience, AW, when one signs a document or speaks to an agent of the US, you don’t mess around. It’s very scary and you speak carefully: it’s my first rule-make only true statements.(now the clever will perceive where the wiggle room might be, like maybe remaining silent as your opposition makes an error because you didn’t share some info because PAYBACK. Oh that’s sweet. I’m going to have a giggle fit right now)

  23. cwolf Says:

    Think what you may, but Iaccoca pulled Chry out of the toilet at the time. Wad-up with the bench seats and the lil’lady? There would be no reason to have the seat adjusted for her, rather than the driver. Duh!! In larger cars, bench seats are more practical. I wish I could get them.

    As of yet, customer attitude is not reflected in sales. I think those who have become cautious will ultimately realize GM has a lot of good products which stand in no ones shaddow.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have been driving new cars in the past 2 weeks and I am amazed at how restricting they are, as far as being able to move around and use it as a mobile office as I do with mine, I have to sit in the back seat in order to be able to do what I could do in my driver’s seat, also using my arms to get things back there and retrieving things as well is quite a chore, I also miss those bench seats and dislike the current crop of huge center consoles

  25. cwolf Says:

    Bench seats went out of style about the time FWD advocates promises of flat floors for more leg room was the reason. So what did we get?…. Oversized consoles to cover the shifter and front seats so narrow, half the populations butts overhang or are smooshed between the console and door panel. By moving the shifter from the steering colm. to the console prolly saved a few bucks, but doing so sure defeated the purpose of it all.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20, 23, 24
    Maybe Iacocca over-touted the wonderfulness of K-cars, but he had some great product ideas, like a “sporty” Falcon, better known as Mustang. Also, the Chrysler minivans were, to a large extent, his idea. They were great vehicles for the time, and the first generation Caravan I still have works great, for what I use it for. Yes, AW, it would not be good in a crash, but neither is a motorcycle, and I ride those.

    As far as bench seats, in a K-car, they would be good only for a driver and two kids or small adults, but for larger cars, they would still make sense, especially split benches so you can adjust for a small driver and larger passenger(s). Speaking of bench seats and minivans, you could get a bench seat in first generation Chrysler minivans. Mine has buckets, but no console. I have a small plastic/rubber bucket “console” in my van, that I had used in my ’74 Duster.

  27. cwolf Says:

    Kit, speaking of Falcon. They were a pretty neat car for the time. I sure would like to have a Ranchero version to build upon! I don’t know why this memory remains vivid, but: I remember mom and I getting a ride from my Aunt Dot in her white Falcon. I sat in the middle. I’m not certain what captured my attension most; Aunt Dot shifting that column 3 speed or the 1 1/2″ ash that extended from her Lucky Strike, but never dropped while shifting! Crazy huh?

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf we’re just 2 middle aged fools who believe some things in the past were better than the new stuff that they shove down our throats, I swear if I could find a midsize car with a bench seat and no console, I would jump on it.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    Is anyone at Lear listening to comments #23-#27. Add the new seat coating and you have a wonderful option for a malibu or cruze, fusion or focus, accord or civic.

  30. cwolf Says:

    pedro, we’re “has beens.” I’m afraid bench seats, side vent windows, a radio and air conditioning consisting of just two simple knobs and a slide control are just memories for guys like us. How many times did you accedently flip on the brights when turning on the blinkers? The little push button on the floorboard that turned on/off the brights was nuff for me! My wife says I resist change. I say,”If it is’nt broken, don’t fix it.’

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Other than Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, the most recent car I know of that offered a bench seat was the first generation Avalon. Now, if you want a bench seat, you have to get a pickup truck, and probably special order it that way.

  32. C-Tech Says:

    Perhaps Ms. Barra was thrown under the Suburban (GMC does not build buses anymore, but perhaps they should look into it), but now it the time to put the proverbial bus driver’s hat on and go to work.

  33. C-Tech Says:

    The S4′s spell check/suggestion box is killing me.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf I am driving an Altima while I look for a replacement for ole reliable and it has so many freaking controls incl keyless entry and engine start button and I wonder what it will cost to repair all that crap when it goes bad, you can’t even open the trunk manually if the electrics fail, only plus it’s the seamless CVT with plenty of passing power even though it is only a 4 cyl, it feels a lot more powerful than the 2 V8 my family owned in the 80′s

  35. cwolf Says:

    Yeah, C-Tech, it was called Scotch Guard in the Ol’days. As for leather, egg whites are the best. They don’t clog the pores, yet keep the leather supple.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 I don’t miss the floor switch for the brights, because you couldn’t work it and the clutch at the same time. The first car I had with the high/low switch on the turn signal lever was a ’70 Beetle, and that was a change from the past that I liked. Some of the more recent changes, I could do without.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    There was an article in TTAC about Fiat bringing an automatic Abarth and Fiat 500 turbo cause “young people don’t drive stick” well of course they don’t that would mean they would not a hand available to text and dial their blessed mobile phones, besides in a time where the car does everything for you electronically, going back to a manual would be considered old fashioned crap!

  38. C-Tech Says:

    @ #27 Cwolf I know the feeling. My vivid memory was the 1st time riding in a BMW 2002 while visiting L.A. with my mother. Her friend had a maroon 2002 and at 11yrs old I had never been in a car like it. When I had a chance to get a used 320i I jumped on it.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I do like the high lights controlled by the stalk, just like a handle for the e brake, unless you have a truck with a bench seat, this Altima has a foot e brake, I had not seen one of those in a long time.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW I looked online locally and there are no BMW M1 anywhere to be found, I guess if you were lucky enough to get one of those cars, you struck gold.

  41. C-Tech Says:

    The first autonomous vehicle should be a city bus. If Google can make that work autonomously, then I may be more accepting of a car.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like a hand e-brake with a manual transmission; it’s useful for starting on hills. Other than that, I don’t much care. I never use the e-brake anyway.

  43. C-Tech Says:

    With the advent of the electric e-brake, you (ha ha)no longer need to learn to hold it on a hill with the clutch.

  44. w l simpson Says:

    Among us car guys at least, Barra’s return to the hot seat will be the most watched of this young century. I sincerely hope she’s got the balls to let the chips fall where they may.

  45. T. Bejma Says:

    #31

    You “has beens” can still get a bench seat in the Impala “Classic”

    http://wot.motortrend.com/2014-chevrolet-impala-last-passenger-car-to-drop-bench-seat-option-should-it-269211.html

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45, Can individuals order a “classic” Impala with a bench seat, or are they sold only to rental companies?

  47. alex wellington Says:

    #45 Is the chapo Rental-Only Impala called a “classic” now? LOL!

    PS Yesterday as I was reaching my driveway I spotted a white car with a Chevy Bowtie parked, could only see its rear, and from a distance I assumed it was a Cruze, but it turned out to be the “New, Improved” Impala (Not the Cheapo Rental-Only “Classic” Impala).

    PS2 If you got to have a bench seat (I assume it is always by necessity, to carry that extra pesky passenger) and never by choice!), then, For The Love of God, Please Always get a SPLIT Bench Seat!!!!! Read and Learn from that Truly God-Awful K-car I wrote above!

  48. HtG Says:

    Beating on Barra

    I have to think that the reps in DC knew perfectly well that Barra was going to say some of their questions couldn’t be answered until Valukas’ investigation ended. Before these public hearings, people like GM’s Bingol and Ferguson will have spent lots of time with the committee staffs, answering their questions. When a rep or senator then publicly asks a question of Barra, they already know how she’s going to reply. And when they line up to get that same answer, ‘I cannot answer yet,’ I see a public flogging with low personal risk for the questioners. The congress can force you to appear, even if you’re not to have much to say. Barrra knew she was going to be pummeled.

    I’m still stunned by Toyota’s billion plus fine and admission that they lied to the US over their throttle sensor. That’s a huge loss of face for them. Bit we seem to have moved on.

  49. alex wellington Says:

    #47 Of course you realize that if you drive a car with a bench, HANDLING and any semblance of Driving Pleasure are words foreign to your vocabulary, and really unknown.

  50. HtG Says:

    Crxn

    But we seem to have moved on.

  51. alex wellington Says:

    48 Why don’t you get a crush on the SNL beauty that played Barra on the sketch? She is much younger, and far better looking than Barra. You are getting really tiresome with your really, really lame defense of Barra. ANY other woman would GLADLY (if the silly conspiracy theories with no evidence are true) take the fall for GM and get a minimum (just for one year) $15mill plus benefits. Will you ever give me a break here? No you won’t! You are beyond help.

  52. HtG Says:

    51 I think I said Barra took a beating. The same as Reuss would have, if he were in the chair. Obviously GM has been wounded. (But perhaps you don’t recognize the little show going on right here? ;) )

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As with all of these “congressional investigations,” this one is just grandstanding by the congress people, and will accomplish nothing. Congress should worry more about the 13 domestic quarrel shooting deaths A DAY, rather than the 13 deaths in these cars over 10 years, most of which were more the result of other factors than the switches, like speeding on twisty roads while drunk.

    Regarding recalls, I just received the notice for my Prius, regarding the software re-programming to keep from overheating certain power transistors. I have had no hint of a problem, either from warning lights, or of the car not driving properly. I’ll be taking it in Thursday. I hope the “fix” doesn’t break anything.

  54. T. Bejma Says:

    #46

    No, Kit, fleet only, but I am sure they are available, I see the fleet only Chevy Captiva’s all over the place without the rental car barcodes.

    #53

    That is the way recalls work Kit. Usually only a small amount of vehicles will ever see the issue but all of them need to be corrected anyway. Having really good controls at the supplier and the OEM can limit the amount. GM had a recall a couple years ago that was only for 12 vehicles because there were such good lot control. This, of course, was not the case back in 2001-2005.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The last person I’ve known who wanted a bench seat in a car is an older, tall, and mildly overweight man. He has a Cadillac DTS with the split bench. He may end up keeping it for the rest of his life, as long as it keeps going, because there is nothing new available that he would rather have.

  56. T. Bejma Says:

    More reasons why the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain are tops in their class…

    “Only two of nine 2014 model-year midsize utility vehicles evaluated in the most recent small-overlap frontal crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an insurance industry-financed organization, earned the highest rating of Good: the Chevrolet Equinox and its GMC twin, the Terrain.

    Only one model in the class, the 2014 Toyota Highlander, which was tested late last year, received an Acceptable rating. Three midsize S.U.V.s received Marginal ratings in the test: the 2013-14 Ford Explorer, the 2013-14 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2014 Toyota 4Runner. Three vehicles received Poor ratings: the 2009-14 Honda Pilot, the 2014 Kia Sorento and the 2007-14 Mazda CX-9.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/automobiles/chevrolet-equinox-gmc-terrain-lead-their-class-in-small-overlap-crash-test.html?hpw&rref=automobiles&_r=0

  57. alex wellington Says:

    My April Fools Day X9 and X11 post was of course a joke, but the 9 Series Ultra-Large Flagship Sedan-Limo apparently is not!!!!

    From Today’s AN:

    “BMW will preview its ..extra-long-wheelbase 9 series ..will take on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach, which itself is production ready and is set to debut in a matter of months.

    The 9 series will be positioned alongside the Rolls-Royce Ghost in BMW’s global lineup, and is expected to feature packaging and interior appointments similar to that of the S600 Maybach while building upon the design language recently seen in the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe, unveiled at the 2013 Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance in Italy last May.

    The 9 series will be based upon a new lightweight modular platform codenamed G11, which will be shared with a number of upcoming BMW and Rolls-Royce models. The new platform is expected to offer considerable weight savings, reducing the weight of the next-generation 7 series down to the weight of the current 5 series. The G11-based 7 series and 9 series are both expected to go on sale in 2016.

    BMW has been without a halo sedan since the departure of the 1995-2000 E38 BMW L7, an extra-long-wheelbase luxury car based on the 7 series.

    (Note: I have some photos of that one. It is much longer than even the long version of the 7, like my -same model range, E38- 740iL)

    The L7 featured a short inserted section from the B-pillar and backwards, buying the rear seat passenger more legroom and an optional powered partition window between the front and rear seats.

    The 2001 BMW 7 series was not available in this version, though that didn’t stop a number of coachbuilders and armorers like ArmorTech and Transeco Bremen from offering something similar.

    The current F01-generation 7 series has not raised the stakes beyond what was offered in the 2001-2008 E65 in terms of interior space, being offered in standard and long-wheelbase only.”

  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I am old, but not heavy or tall and I still would love to get a bench seat, I am looking for a Tacoma vintage mid to late 90′s but they all have bucket seats and I need extended cab as well, also looking at a Tercel, but not many around.

  59. alex wellington Says:

    56 Give me a break. I was a fan of the Equinox AND the Cruze, still am, but the only reason it did well in the test is that it is a PORKY vehicle, 500 lbs heavier than the TRUE champion in this segment, the AWESOME Honda CR V.

    I do not expect you or your ilk to ever appreciate it, though. You can claim that you post your own opinions here, But common sense tells us that you do not.

  60. alex wellington Says:

    58 WHY?????? Are you totally out of your mind? And what happens when you carry a much taller person in the passenger seat? Will he have to crouch like a prisoner in Cambodia’s “killing fields” to fit?

    WHY would anybody prefer the god-awful bench to a SUPPORTIVE Bucket seat is 100% BEYOND me.

    I am talking for your own, personal vehicle. Not for a schoolbus or something!

  61. T. Bejma Says:

    #59

    CR-V is in a different segment.

  62. alex wellington Says:

    Puff! There go GM’s and Ram’s profits. In centive Wars!

    “Though Ram knocked Chevrolet off the monthly sales throne for the first time since August 1999, the brand is ready to reclaim their part of Truck Mountain by offering incentives and extending their annual Truck Month into April.

    Automotive News reports brand vice president Brian Sweeney threw down an additional $1,000 on the hoods of 2014 Silverado double-cabs in pursuit of “the heart of the pickup market.” Furthermore, Chevy’s second Truck Month boosts incentives offered last month, dropping a maximum discount of $8,974 into the bed of the Silverado 2500 HD crew cab or $8,162 for the light-duty double cab V8 model.

    Lease offerings were also boosted for the reclamation battle, as one email from a Northeastern United States gave details for a regional lease agreement of $269 per month with $1,900 due upon signature; the Ram’s terms were $259 per month, but with a higher down payment of $2,999 upon signature.”

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    AW it is mostly a work vehicle, bucket seats are more of a hindrance, I need the extra space of a bench seat for my work, I am hating these new rentals with their huge center consoles that intrude into my space and make it impractical to do any work inside the vehicle. Tercel and Taco= simplicity and durability.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57, I don’t understand why BMW would waste their money on that 9 series. Its sole competitor would be the Maybach, which hasn’t been such a hit.

  65. HtG Says:

    57, 64

    China

    3,3,3

  66. HtG Says:

    The number 9 is associated with the emperor in China.

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    Man, this used car market is CRAZY!! I can get a used Corolla much cheaper than an Echo, an inferior car in every way (except mpg’s) just because of how many are available and the fact that the Echo gets better mileage. BTW ditto for the Fit vs Civic

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    65, 66, That explains it. The senior party members who don’t want something as conspicuous as a Roller, will go for the Niner.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh my, Mao must be turning in his grave if he could see what his dream has become, a bunch of pseudo-capitalists driving Western cars and living la vida loca.

  70. alex wellington Says:

    66 Yes. And number 8 symbolizes financial success. The 2008 Olympics started in Beijing on 8/8/08!

    69 Mao is not in any grave but in a frigging Mausoleum in Tian An Men square. I stayed in CHina more than 33 days and was in Beijing for more than 3, and saw a ton of stuff, but that POS Mao’s remains was one BS tourist sight I deliberately ignored.

    The only reason that this econ illiterate mass murderer of 65 million Chinese (more killed than Hitler and Stalin combined) still rears his ugly head on all Chinese bank notes is that he is only the Second person in all 5,000+ Years of CHinese History that succeeded in UNIFYING the Country, 2,000+ years after the first Emperor also achieved this.

  71. alex wellington Says:

    71 Oh, PS did our resident GM apologist posted the bad news about the brand new Impala? No? Why am I not surprised. In his own mind he is fair and balanced, however!!! (I will not post them myself, I will first give him a chance to come clean. Maybe John Mac Will tell us about it anyway, in 25 mins)

  72. pedro fernandez Says:

    I rode an Impala briefly the other day and it was as plush as any luxury car I have ever been in. seating position was horrible, the driver had trouble seeing out the thing.

  73. alex wellington Says:

    Worth noting also that BMW is NOT presenting the new 9 Series super-limo in any US or Euro or Japanese auto show, BUT at the Beijing Motor Show at the end of April!

    How have the times changed!

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    Does this mean that the capitalists are giving up on the West??

  75. HtG Says:

    Who’s the Middle Kingdom all over again, yo!?

    Xinhua

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    The East will rise again, Mao should be happy, even though they did not use his beloved Communism to get there, but instead they used his dreaded Capitalist system to make it, who would have predicted that when Nixon first visited there?

  77. alex wellington Says:

    74 Not entirely, it just means that public perceptions of China as just another dirt-poor, economic failure like India, are quite wrong.

    76 I have read a book about Mao written by his own personal doctor, Dr. Li, who came from a wealthy, non-commie (anything but!) big well known family in China, and who had studied in US Universities! He said Mao admired US-educated physicians and would never use a commie-educated one on his sorry carcass!

  78. alex wellington Says:

    75 Whadda u mean “again”??? CHina’s name in chinese, (Zhong Guo), ALWAYS meant “The Middle Kingdom” (or Middle State, Nation or Empire, it is not restricted to kingdoms)