AD #1355 – VW Debuts Refreshed Models, Volvo Inflatable Child Seat, Low Gloss Paint Design

April 14th, 2014 at 11:36am

Runtime: 7:04

- Nissan Debuts Video Screen in Rear View Mirror
- Nissan Versa Refresh
- VW Reveals Golf Sportwagen “Concept”
- VW Jetta Refresh
- Chevy Cruze Refresh
- Volvo’s Inflatable Child Seat
- How Low Gloss Paint Affects Design

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily, where the news seems to be related to safety items and mild styling changes.

Nissan is the first automaker to offer a video screen mounted where the inside rear view mirror sits, in this case on a Nissan Rogue. It uses an LCD screen that is fed by a camera mounted on the back of the Rogue. Actually, the system allows drivers to toggle back and forth between a mirror or the video feed. But Nissan says the camera provides a wider, more unobstructed view than what you get with the mirror. Nissan says that on future models this system will give designers more freedom because they won’t have to compromise their designs or move parts of the structure that can block rear view visibility.

And in other Nissan news, the company took the wraps off the 2015 Versa sedan. The biggest change is the front end styling which now resembles other passenger cars in Nissan’s line-up. Interior upgrades include a new center stack, steering wheel and BlueTooth hands-free phone capabilities. It goes on sale later this week with a starting price just under $13,000.

Volkswagen revealed a concept version of the Golf Sportwagen which goes on sale early next year. But as you can see from the photos, it looks production ready to us. The wagon is built on the company’s MQB modular architecture and is lighter than the current model despite being a little longer and wider. Two powertrains will be offered, a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder which can be mated to a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The other is a 2.0L turbocharged diesel that can be matched to a six-speed manual or dual clutch transmission.

Volkswagen also refreshed the design of the Jetta but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the pictures. The interior also features mild trim update. Customers have a variety of powertrain options including three gasoline engines, a 1.4L turbo hybrid and a new 2.0L turbocharged diesel. The diesel Jetta is the first in the U.S. to use the company’s Modular Diesel design.

Speaking of face lifts, Chevrolet just unveiled a new front fascia for the Cruze.and while It’s an improvement over the current design, it doesn’t quite nail it. The Chevrolet studio seems to be struggling to figure out what it’s front ends should look like. We think that the best looking examples of what Chevy is trying to achieve can be found on the Impala and Traverse.

We told you that Volvo would be getting back to its safety roots and it is, but it may not be one area you would expect… child safety seats. The idea was thought up at the automaker’s Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles and features an inflatable design that can pump up in less than 40 seconds and then be deflated to fit in a backpack. The material was originally designed by the military for an inflatable airplane and can handle high internal pressures.

Don’t forget that we’ve got a crew going to the New York auto show this week. We’re going to be interviewing a number of executives there, and we’re interested in asking them your questions. Three of those executives include Mark Fields the COO at Ford, Pierre Loing, the head of product planning for Nissan North America, and Michael Sprague the head of sales for Kia Motor America. If you have some good questions you’d like us to pose to these executives, shoot them on over to We’ll pick out the best questions and get them answered.

Do low gloss paint jobs help or hurt the look of a car? That’s coming up next.

On last week’s Autoline After Hours we were joined by Chris Svensson, who is Ford’s design director for the Americas. We had a wide ranging discussion about design but one question I asked him was how satin finishes or what the Germans call frozen finishes can affect the design of a car. Here’s his response.

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

92 Comments to “AD #1355 – VW Debuts Refreshed Models, Volvo Inflatable Child Seat, Low Gloss Paint Design”

  1. alex wellington Says:

    What percentage of March Sales were cheapo fleet sales? Varies widely among automakers, from FOrd (the “Wurst”!) to Honda (the best!)

    Chrysler-23% (I’m surprised they are not higher!)
    Nissan- 20% (almost a domestic!)
    Toyota-10% (lower than I thought)
    Honda- 2%!!!!! (98% retail sales!)

  2. alex wellington Says:

    Exact Inventory numbers as of April 1: (60 days was once alleged to be “ideal” but far from optimal, TOyota, BMW, Merc, Lexus routinely do great with 40 day inventories or less)

    Viper- 306 days (but down from 412). Misery…

    Buick Lacrosse-166 days.. Not good!
    Buick Verano- 140 days (not much better)
    Caddy ATS- 153 days (the 3 series fighter? LOL!!!)
    Caddy CTS- 168 Days.. even worse
    Caddy ELR – 449 days ( more than a full year, 15 months!!!)

    Camaro-112 days
    Corvette- 23 days only! Makes sense…
    Cruze-59 days (pretty good)
    Silverado- 115 days (NOT Good!, especially since they have 100,000s in inventory, highest-volume GM vehicle, and a New one at that)

    These are the Facts, or, as Bejma prefers to call them, “GM bashing”…

    COmpare to:

    Lexus (all models) 37 days!
    Mercedes 49 days
    BMW 30 days (31 days incl MINI)

    And Industry total, DOmestics and imports, 63 days.

    And note March was a great sales month, so in a more average month, those high numbers above would be much higher.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think I like the old Cruze’s look (better); glad to see the other improvements though.

    VW styling, IMO: don’t offend anyone with ‘real’ style; vanilla only (offered). Not to confuse (anyone) my favorite flavor ice-cream is vanilla but not for car styling. ;)

    And as far as paint finish, make mine deep and shiny; no satin for me (belongs inside my house on walls). And again, JMO

  4. Jon M Says:

    I think it behooves manufacturers to make a feature like a rearview camera an option in which the driver can choose between a standard mirror and an LCD display. Indeed, it should be required to be able to toggle between views. I can see the benefit of a rearview camera, but I think it is primarily adding technology for technology’s sake. This is not unlike many hi-tech features being added to cars today. To be sure, a rearview camera could be useful, but hardly necessary. It’s one more way in which the good old fashioned method still works perfectly fine (if not better).

  5. alex wellington Says:

    VW styling (exteriors) were always far better looking than their competition, foreign or domestic. They are no-nonsense, form follows function, high-quality looking that one can even mistake for much more expensive cars from some angles (such as the current Passat and jetta).

    Compare to the current and past Subarus, most Toyotas, even Nissans and Hondas. (I will be charitable and not compare them to such awkward designs as the current Dodge Dart and the previous Dodge Avenger)

  6. alex wellington Says:

    After two crooked engineers are placed on paid leave, now the executives:

    “Two members of General Motors’ senior leadership team are leaving the company amid a crisis over the automaker’s failure to fix an ignition switch defect.

    Selim Bingol, senior vice president of public policy and communications, and Melissa Howell, senior vice president for human resources, will “pursue other interests,” GM said in a statement.”

    Neither of these clowns seem to be engineers or involved in manufacturing. Bingol was Akerson’s PR stooge, and probably Barra does not need or like his services. Howell probably found something better to do, I doubt if she was part of those who knew.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, there are two things the Cruze needs, a hatchback in the U.S., and a low option version of the diesel, with a manual transmission available. When Cruze gets a complete redesign, it needs to shed some weight.

    My favorite Chevy sedan front end is the Impala. The new Cruze nose looks ok, but no better than ok.

  8. Bradley Says:

    Ugh! The Golf Sportswagen or Jetta Sportswagen in the United States doesn’t need to be any bigger.

    I love the dynamics of my 2013 Sportswagen. It is a heavy vehicle, but the TDI makes it child’s play.

    For reference the 2013 Sportswagen is marginally wider than my 1999 Tacoma.

  9. alex wellington Says:

    PDL praised these S class ads and had this link to an ad which was not the one I saw last night on CBS. Peter used to be in marketing.

  10. Drew Says:

    #1 Alex… liars figure and figures lie. Be careful about quoting fleet sales. Full line OEMs like Ford, GM, and Chrysler are very successful in the truck segments. Part of that success comes from sales to small and medium sized businesses that buy multiple vehicles. Those sales are prosperous and are counted as part of the “fleet” category.

    If you want to pick a bone about fleet sales, focus on those OEMs who dump excess production into short-term daily rental fleet usage… where they quickly compete with new vehicle sales and destroy resale value (hmmm, that 1-year lease of a 2014 Charger/Challenger may have the same effect).

  11. Bradley Says:

    Speaking of VW…

    They sent me another survey and the one question that I gave them below average had to do with “feeling part of the brand.” It was also the only question that didn’t have a “tell us more” area.

    As I don’t feel part of the brand, I haven’t exactly pin pointed it. My guess is part of it has to do with VW TDI forums. I know VW has no control over the forums, but with my prior 4 cars (Impreza, Forester, Tacoma, Yaris), their forums seem so warm and friendly.

  12. alex wellington Says:

    #10 My facts are 100.00% Accurate. It is really simple. Fleet Vs Retail.

    I did not say all fleet sales are cheapo rentals, there are lots of other fleets. Still, makers make far more $ from RETAIL sales.

    Honda dealers are notorious cheapskates in particular, they historically gave meager discounts, if any. That is because Hondas used to be really TOPS in their segment.

    Honda is returning to its former greatness with the outstanding new FIT, the TRUE tops in its segment, even if the cheapo Versa and even the insignificant Sonic may still sell more units.

    I hope consumers will wise up and make the Fit a high-volume seller. I would sure have it in my short list, not for the US but especially for overseas and their $10 a gallon fuel.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Jetta wagon will be a little longer and wider, but it sounds like it should be a little lighter. With the lower drag, all versions should be more fuel efficient on the highway, the gas versions much more efficient, now that the mediocre 2.5 five cylinder has finally been retired.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9, The four word slogan was a recurring theme of most of the ads I saw. That may be why they, conveniently, omitted the CLA from the ads.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    M/B was one of the premier sponsors of the “Masters” golf tournament and aired the one referenced by PDL (as well as others); pretty good commercial.

  16. Bradley Says:


    Lighter and less drag are good things. But Bigger…ugh!!

    Is this going to be the new Sportswagen that comes with AWD to combat Subaru?

  17. Lex Says:

    Both the 2015 Chevy Cruze and Nissan Sentra are damn ugly IMO. I believe this is a conspiracy to push buyer into the next level of vehicle with a higher price tag. The Cruze should have a front clip similar to the Impala not the ugly Malibu! I must say that I am very disappointed with Ed Welburn and the GM Design Studio.
    The wrap around head and tail lights on the Sentra are aweful looking also IMO. I prefer what VW did to the Jetta in it’s refresh which is keeping the design almost timeless. What else would you expect from VW? Look how long the original VW Beetle remained virtually unchanged. It’s what is under the hood and inside the passenger compartment that counts!

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the new Fit should be better than the old one, and the old one was best-in-class, especially in packaging.

    We will learn how it sells, but since Americans buy cars in this category by price, the mediocre Versa will probably continue to outsell the Fit. A lot of people seem to overlook look the real cost of ownership for people who keep cars 5-6 years, rather than “keeping them forever.” In all likelihood, a Fit will hold its value well enough that, for those who keep cars no longer than 6 years, the cost of ownership would be lower than for a Versa.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16, VW, IMO, should let Subaru keep their AWD niche in car-height wagons. VW has Tiguan, for those who want 4WD, where it makes more sense, given the greater ground clearance.

  20. Drew Says:

    12 – Your “facts” are overly simplistic. As John Mac always says, this is a very complicated business. Please re-read my comments in 10 and be enlightened.

    Lex – I am willing to bet many more people agree with your “IHO” that the Cruze freshening (at least in photo) is not a step forward. But I suspect if GM did a VW-like freshening, GM would be criticized for not changing it enough. Has anyone else noted that dual standard? There is no standard definition of “timeless” or “stale”.

  21. G Thompson Says:

    #1 As a retired fleet manager for a mid-size utility I can offer this assessment; fleet sales to non-daily rentals offer OEM’s an opportunity to move product at a profit. In most purchases I found that the cost to us was around dealer invoice. We paid for the units when they arrived (no floorplan). Some units were more deeply discounted but not substantially so. It is an important part of their business plan and not loss leaders.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It is tough for a car company to come up with a front end “theme” that they can successfully hang on to for many years. BMW has done it, but who else, except maybe Rolls-Royce, which doesn’t count, given their extremely low volume.

    Even the closely related ’55-’57 Chevys had significantly different grills; there was no attempt to stick with a front end styling theme. Maybe there should be less concern about such themes now, except maybe for BMW.

  23. M360 Says:

    John -
    In regard to the front-end design of the current Chevy Impala, it is amazing how similar the Impala looks to the 2013 (and 2014) Honda Accord. You can to the website for Honda and Chevrolet and see for yourself. The only real difference between the 2 is the “hips” over the rear wheels on the Chevy. If you put a bowtie on the Accord you might not know it wasn’t a Chevrolet. I am NOT a fan of the front-end of the new Impala for that reason.

  24. M360 Says:

    2- Possibly the Silverado is in deep trouble, considering it is a new model and it is not selling very well. Ford must be laughing all the way to the bank.

  25. Mike Says:

    For Mark Fields: The public seems to blame the Unions and bad management for the bankruptcies of GM/Chrysler and the travails of Ford in the 2008-9 timeframe. What are your perceptions of the three top issues that led to this dramatic contraction?

    Follow on: What structural changes have been made to prevent this happening again?

    Follow on; What role do you/did you see for health care costs in this?

  26. alex wellington Says:

    #24 Interestingly, both the F 150 and the Ram had exactly the same, 84, inventory days (vs 115 for the new Silverado). I agree, it was a really bad launch, for a new pickup it is doing really poorly. I wonder if they are not already frantically ‘refreshing’ it like they did with the new Malibu last year.

    #25 I’m glad I’m not Mark Fields, but I will take the Q anyway. Regardless who the public blames, a major reason many other companies are daily left do die but the UAW – GM and Chrysler were not, is because of the tens of millions of $ the UAW leadership contributed, over the UAW rank and file frequent objections, only to DEM politicians. The Obama Admin and their allies in Congress could not be so ungrateful and let their incompetent contributors perish, would it now.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    No wonder I saw so many Sentra and Altima at the rental agencies I went to in the past 2 weeks, also saw 5 FOUR new Corollas in the Target lot near me today, only one was NOT the base model, appears buyers are avoiding the CVT and going with the archaic 4 speed instead, if they only realized how much more frugal the CVT is on gas!

  28. alex wellington Says:

    #22 Many well established companies, not just low-vol Rolls and more mainstream BMW, have distinguishing logos on their grilles that allows people to recognize their vehicles from a distance. Audi’s 4 circles, Porsche’s sloping hood with its emblem/coat of arms, Mercedes’s star and (actually two different) grille design, one with the egg crate and the other with the giant star in the middle). VW too.Also Jag, Range Rover, Jeep with its 7 vertical things etc.

    #21 Actually, If I were an automaker with a really good product that had not received a lot of good press, I would be willing to sell it to the rental fleets at a big discount, so that renters get a chance to drive it and see how good it is, and then drop by at their dealer and buy it.

    Given the huge amounts automakers waste on dumb, really dumb at times, TV ads, the above would be a far better way to spend their advertising billions. But only if they have superior product!

  29. T. Bejma Says:


    No, this is GM bashing

    “…days of inventory (smart consumers get its Cruze clone instead, I suppose)”

    and that was what I responded to (with more facts, BTW, not opinion, apology or spin) along with a factual statement that you bash GM at least once daily (go back and check).

    You may throw in the odd compliment when you can’t find a reason to complain, but it all get’s ignored by your constant jabs embedded in between your AutoNews copy and paste.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    The new Versa looks like a shrunken Sentra in and out which in turn looks like a shrunken Altima. Is this what you call “lazy design”?

  31. T. Bejma Says:

    It took some time, but it looks like AutoNews is finally explaining the whole story on the Ignition Switch issue…

    “At the time, many of the crashes now tied to faulty General Motors ignition switches looked like the predictable consequences of drunken driving, speeding or inattentiveness late at night. Some were a violent and tragic combination of all three.”

  32. Gary Purcell Says:

    John, I agree with you concerning the new nose on the Cruz. Tread carefully GM, the previous design was near perfect. The new one on the Cruz is not “Impala like”.

  33. T. Bejma Says:


    Silverado was up 7% in March over last year, so don’t give up yet.

    Overall the Silverado/Sierra combination is down about 7,500 vehicles this year compared to last but if you look at the data, the high end versions are up considerably, while the lower end V6 versions are the ones struggling so profits are not being affected.

  34. T. Bejma Says:

    Being a 2013 Cruze owner I have to agree with several on here that I am not liking the new design, however, I feel that the Impala/Traverse Grille only works on a big vehicle and would end up looking bad on the Cruze. I would really like this front end…

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    TB any chance of this becoming the future Camaro, or is it too small? how about making a four door version for this platform? I think it would be a big hit for GM. Nothing else in the market. I assume its RWD!

  36. Mike Says:

    Another one for Mark Fields: Of late, Ford sales in China have soared. What do you feel Ford has done “right” in appealing to the Chinese Consumer? What is different about the market for cars there? Are their plans/considerations for Ford to Export cars from China to North America?

  37. Jonathan Says:

    Sad to hear Mr JohnMcElroy Is not coming to the NY autoshow

    Welcome. Gary

  38. Bradley Says:


    I have driven a Cruze twice as a rental car. Both had a shimmy around 2k rpm. Do you have that with your Cruze?

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Give us a break. If GM and Chrysler had been allowed to die, even the Republicans, including the Bushies would have had a lot to think about, as they endured Great Depression II.

  40. T. Bejma Says:


    Mark Reuss really likes this concept and would love to have it go to production but I think those pesky beancounters are against it :-(

  41. T. Bejma Says:


    No Bradley, smooth all the way up to… shhhhh… GPS verified 120mph but I notice a shimmy at various RPM’s on practically every single rental car I get, and I rent about 2/month. It could have 500 or 15,000 miles and it doesn’t seem to matter. One was so bad in Memphis I had to turn around and bring it back because I literally thought I wouldn’t have any fillings left anytime I went above 50 mph.

    You have to wonder what kind of things these renters run into. Jeez…

    On a side note, I get to steer away from the rental car counter for a few months. While on assignment down here in Wentzville I get to drive a company Traverse LTZ. Nice ride but I can’t wait until July when I get to drive an early production Colorado/Canyon. Don’t worry G.A. – I will give you the whole scoop.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28, The bow tie says Chevy in the same way the three pointed star says Mercedes-Benz, and the interlocking rings say Audi. As far as actual grill design themes, it is hard for anyone else to have one as enduring as BMW’s.

    Regarding rentals, a week ago, while in the DC area, I was with a friend who rented an “old” Impala, who liked it, for a rental. It was quick, fairly quiet, and had a big trunk which we filled completely, along with the back seat (stuff, not people in the back seat.) It wouldn’t get him go out and buy an Impala, but it would make him say good, not bad things about Impalas to others who might be in the market for cars in that category.

  43. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TB: I be a waitin’ ;}>

  44. Bradley Says:


    Yea, I figured it was probably related to being a rental.

  45. HtG Says:

    Selim Bingol

    Can someone explain how losing its PR head during this ignition recall episode, with only an interum replacement, is a good thing for GM?

  46. cwolf Says:

    T.B.- The dealership gave me a 2.0 turbo Verano for the entire day. Comfort and fun in one midsized package. Ya-hoo!!!

  47. GaryPaul Says:

    Thanks fir your points #33 T. Bejma!
    Is that all the combo Gm pickups are down from last year March? Overall for the year it’s still significant for a newly designed set of trucks!

    hmmm..Well I still think there is considerable momentum to be gained by a serious front end change on the Chevy model full sized p/u’s.

    As I’ve indicated before, it would be great to see how the GMC and Chevy P/us are doing in sales separately instead of together as that would help answer the issues and help indicate that it is indeed a style issue—and that, the front end grill, headlights, bumper, etc is over 50% of the design problem. And that design “problem” isn’t that the trucks don’t look OK but that for a new updated truck they could have done quite a bit more to differentiate from the old 2013 models. I mean look at the 2014 Chevy Suburban front ends—updated and handsome yet different enough. Thus I believe that Chevy already has the new updated front end design in hand, right this minute, and will introduce it in only one model year after the 2014 design or they are sleeping at the switch…

    In addition GM is likely really trying to at least keep incentives down somewhat because of the upcoming 15′ Colorado which I think will strike for about $19999.99 (if they are smart–hah!–but the GM people in charge of pricing are NOT too talented from my observations! see below…) for entry priced models so that it will have considerable distance from the full-size p/u’s entry models. If they slathered too many incentives on the hood of the Silverado it would then hurt sales of the ultra tiny 4400 lb., 18-foot-long-same-size-as-full-sized trucks-from-1969 Colorado! (joking a bit here of course as I think these damn trucks are getting too BIG—especially for a homeowner who cannot access the bed from the side without standing on stepladders!)

    GM does–as we all know–often price their new stuff too high- –Is the culture changing in that area by the way? Why not start holding the guys who set these overly lofty prices accountable? Wouldn’t it be better to raise prices if any of their vehicles were selling so well that they could not keep up with demand, and had like .0023 day of supply? Why is this allowed to continue? Another example of the GM Cultural Ooze?

    As an example look at that Cadillac ELR. I mean isn’t it priced about $30,000 too high? I mean wouldn’t $44,995 sound waaaaay, way way better? Who are these people? Didn’t they see the Volt go from what $42500 to eventually hit $35K (before the $7500 tax reduction) bringing it $27500?

    Who are these guys—John–? Can you get a few GM price setting representatives together and do a half hour interview & ask them what is going on here? Right now GM will have to offer the largest hidden dealer rebate in the history of the known Universe to get any serious interest in these vehicles. Or perhaps you already have asked and were unable to get a straight answer?

    Has PDL commented on any of this (he probably has and i did not catch it!) irresponsible pricing policy at GM? Is anyone held accountable or is it UNACCOUNTABILITY MAXIMUS raising its head again where nobody in GM knows nothin’ about why something that doesn’t make sense is occurring over and over again?

    I recall John mentioning the price of the Volt in an interview with GM reps and the GM folks indicating that they were not losing any $$ on the Volt at that price (this was BEFORE the price was slashed to $35K)…Well they must be losing $$ on every one they sell then now! Unless they priced the things at least $7500 more than they should have! hmmm —Well I can accept GM losing $$ on the Volt if their goal is to develop a new technology and create a new image and continuously improve until the the product gained traction in the market. I mean Toyota has done that with the Prius! It did not make huge profit for them at the start! But didn’t they at least price their stuff right at the start?

    John please dig into this more and how the GM Pricing experts make their decisions!! This is a big problem for GM!

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    “And now for something completely different”.This is from 2010,and it was a press event for volvo and some of their autonomous automotive technology:

  49. cwolf Says:

    #45 HtG
    Do you think think this guy swept the dirt under the rug from day one?

  50. HtG Says:

    49 No, I tend to think the knowledge of the changes to the ignitions was buried within the organization; siloed, if you will.

    I think that GM needs strong leadership now if it’s going to keep the story from getting out of control. The PR boss is the one that speaks to the media, so it’s curious that Bingol leaves.

  51. PureMoose Says:

    JOHN…….is there a polish available that would give your car paint protection and a flat finish without the shine??

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    GA as someone noted the airbags did not go off, cause it missed the bumper and it crushed the fascia and the hood, just like it happened to me! But in all fairness, the car did stop!

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Any knucklehead who puts so many keys and heavy junk in their key chain deserve what they got!

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think GM has a pricing problem, especially with the ELR, but to a lesser extent, with the ATS and CTS. I like the ATS and CTS, but they should be cheaper, rather than about the same price as the 3 and C. That is what would help jump start the Cadillacs. Toyota priced the Lexus LS low to get it going, and it worked. Cadillac should do the same with its new designs, and adjust prices upward as the word gets out that these are, in fact, cool cars.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    More and more info comes out on the GM lock thing, but it hasn’t changed my thoughts on it much. Most of those who died “because of the locks” were speeding on twisty roads while drunk and/or stoned. Beyond that, it seems that about half of them were unbelted, greatly increasing the likelihood that knees, or other body parts would contact, and turn off the ignition after they run off the road into the “rough.” I’m ready for this to blow over, and I’d feel the same, regardless of the car company involved.

  56. G.A.Branigan Says:

    GM’s pricing problems are a topic of discussion on several threads on GMI.One of which is in regards to the upcoming Colorado in particular,that has my attention.One thing I did find out that I do not like for the Colorado is even with the 4×4 option,it will not have the ‘autotrac’ feature that I had on my last fullsize Silvey,yet it will be available on the canyon.We ain’t to happy about that news at all.

  57. T. Bejma Says:


    HtG – With Bingol being a Dan Akerson colleague from the telecom industry, I was pretty surprised that he stuck around this long. With the less than stellar handling of the recalls I am not surprised Mary/BoD decided to go in a different direction.

  58. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Yeah,it did stop,only after rear ending that loaded flatbed.I think the object of the exercise was to have the autonomous brakes stop it before it rear ended that rather large and heavy truck.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Let’s not forget, air bags are a “supplemental restraint system”. Seat belts are the primary safety device to protect occupants during a crash. Yeah, GA I was being farcical about the whole thing, seems like automatic brakes have improved since this video was made.

  60. Bob Aubertin Says:

    Satin or mat paint finish looks Great on a Rat Rod,but not on a new car.I would be curious to know how many new car factory orders are in the the pipeline as I write this comment? Oh, it would be nice to know by brand as well.

    Satin was a trend that was started in Europe 5 years ago, however we were doing it in the 40′s & 50′s on our hot rods.

  61. Bob Aubertin Says:

    #12, I would rather ride my bicyle on a bike path, than drive a Fit on an expressway and get rear ended by a Semi.This is a visual comment what do you think would be the end result.

    My opinion about small eco cars is,is your Life not worth more than the price of a gallon of gasoline?

  62. pedro fernandez Says:

    #60 why pick on the Fit alone? I can think of many cars in the class that would be very dangerous in a rear collision, specially with passengers in the rear seat, not safe for children. Ditto for the Fiat 500, Spark, Smart, name it. Even back in the day, the Geo Metro, a tiny hatchback with almost nothing between the menacing bumper of a truck and the rear passengers.

  63. alex wellington Says:

    #60 I have NO clue why you are addressing this to ME. You must be new here. If you were a regular, you would already know that I drive a 100% ACTIVE AND PASSIVE safe, NOT a dumb-ass Semi or SUV, BMW 740iL, which I bought in 2005 for HALF the price you can buy a new Fiesta or Hyundai Accent.

  64. alex wellington Says:

    #61 Excellent point, Pedro, you beat me to it. I noticed that he focused on the ONLY car in this segment that is truly Great, whether the buyers will be penny wise and pound foolish and buy more Versas instead.

  65. alex wellington Says:

    PS #60 Do you really think that any car will do much better than the Fit if rear-ended by a Semi? You obviously have no clue whatsoever. The POINT is, to have enough ACTIVE safety, ie, plenty of HP and a SERIOUS Suspension and world-class HANDLING so you can EVADE being rear-ended by a Semi, run over by a Tank, or what-effing-ever. And if you delude yourself that your Escalade or Crown Vic or Buick Park Avenue (yeah, right… what an apt name! LOL)or any other Neanderthal piece of junk “large car” you may drive, which does NOT have ACTIVE as well as full PASSIVE safety, you are just as dead meat as the smart buyer who buys the new Fit. Or, probably, much dead-er!

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I can imagine how matt finish cars would look when they are a few years old, and I suspect they would not look good. Any area that had been rubbed against would get shinier. If the car had been washed many times, there would be streakiness from where the sponge or cloth had rubbed on the paint, making it shinier. Also, wouldn’t it be impossible to repair, short of re-painting an entire panel? I could be wrong, but I’d think it would be much worse to repair than even “pearl white,” which isn’t easy.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60, 61
    The Scion iQ is the one that especially comes to mind.

  68. HtG Says:

    As one that’s driven a large box truck on the highway, let me say that cars look so vulnerable it’s scary. Like tin foil. When people cut in front of semis I cannot believe it. One place you won’t find me is in front of a big truck.

  69. pedro fernandez Says:

    If anything the new Fit would be safer in a rear end collision, now that they moved the gas tank below the front seats, can’t think of a safer place to put a fuel tank, well protected from all sides.

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    #67 HtG the reason they cut in is that they hope to get hit since most commercial trucks carry real god insurance, you know SUE SUE SUE. #66 Thanks, that one too!

  71. alex wellington Says:

    #66 The IQ (or lack thereof) sells probably fewer copies than even the… Caddy ELR and its 87 copies a month! Plus most buyers use it as a SMART substitute, pure city car.

  72. alex wellington Says:

    67 When I go on a long trip I try to enjoy it. No vehicle would feel more vulnerable on the highway, even that diminutive SMART, however, than your onetime Miata. But I assume you seldom used it, if ever, for long trips.

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know why Toyota doesnt stop selling that awful IQ and bring stateside the new Aygo that has been receiving so much positive press in Europe with its new Atkinson cycle 3 cyl engine, decent pep and excellent fuel economy and it looks cool too!

  74. HtG Says:

    71 The truth is that when I got the Miata I could hardly breath on the highway, such was the fear. I got so scared of my own limits that I took some driving instruction, but that only goes so far. I sold it a year and a half ago, actually almost two years. You’ll like this, AW; I had to pay capital gains tax on it.

  75. Bradley Says:

    A suggestion for GM, one way to get ahead of this bad PR is to state that by Jan 1, 2015 ALL GM vehicles sold in North America will have push button start. This eliminates all ignition questions, gives the customers something they want and inevitably GM’s line up would be going that direction anyway.

    Stop mending wounds, and make drastic changes to show this is a new GM.

  76. pedro fernandez Says:

    A neighbor sold his Miata really cheap and I was gonna go for it until he told me he was selling cause he got tired of the vandals doing a job on his cloth top every few months.

  77. pedro fernandez Says:

    #74 I thought the same thing but I wonder how many people are not keen on this push button start system, I did like it for the week I had the Altima.

  78. Bradley Says:


    I have known people state they aren’t a fan, but once they own it their opinion changes.

    Honestly, I have considered putting some kind of keyless/pushbutton entry on my house so I don’t have to dig for my keys. Because when I step out of the VW with my hands full, I always forget I need the keys out for the house.

  79. HtG Says:

    The push button is also a safety feature. In a crash there’s no key on the column to gash your knee. I think Chris Paukert said on AAH last week that Saab had their key on the floor because of the impact risk.

  80. alex wellington Says:

    #72 I may have mentioned it already, Euro Toyota dealers I know told me that the Aygo was not very reliable and they recommended the Yaris instead. It is not a real Toyota BTW, it is one of three clones, the other is a Peugeot and a VW, all made in some Eastern Euro plant

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The iQ sold a little over 4000 copies in the U.S. in 2013.

    FWIW, the iQ drives much better than the smart, because it has a normal CVT, rather than the smart’s awful single clutch automatic. Neither car makes much sense, though, unless the only place you have to park your car is on a small front porch.

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    #79 I am surprised about that, have not read anything online about it, that is one of the issues with Toyota now, they make cars all over the place, not like in the old days where just about everything came out of Toyota City, Japan.

  83. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like the convenience of keyless push button start, but with all of the complexity involved, I won’t be surprised if it will have more unintended turn-offs than with conventional keys. With millions of them on the road, and getting older, we’ll know in a few years.

    Also, you have to “know the code” if you want to intentionally shut off the car. My MINI has push button start, with an electronic thing that goes in a “dock” in the dash. You put the thing in the dock, depress the clutch, and push the button to start the engine. Then, under normal conditions, you push the button again to stop the engine. If you are rolling, however, pushing the button won’t stop the engine unless you hold it a few seconds.

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    True, millions of cars have been sold with ignition switches for decades and people have been hanging heavy crap from it for years but it happens to be clueless GM that has the problem with it, not even crappy Eastern European or Indian or Chinese cars, no siree, only good ole US made GM cars.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Aygo is made in the Czech Republic, and is also sold as a Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1. Except for reliability, it is probably a decent “city car,” much better than the smart or iQ.

  86. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why would Toyota risk losing their well-earned reputation for quality by getting involved with these 2 not so reliable brands made in a former iron curtain factory?

  87. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC has an article on how Toyota is trying to get a stronger foothold in the African continent, I suppose in order to get a jump on the Chinese companies coming into and taking over that market, reliable ruggedness is the one word that comes to mind if you want to be popular there, Toyota already has quite a presence there, replacing the venerable Land Rovers that ruled that market for such a long time.

  88. alex wellington Says:

    84 Wow, it’s worse than I remembered, I thought there was a Peugeot and a VW but it is not a VW, but a Citroen..

    86 Rovers are not the most reliable vehicles but yesterday’s inventory nos showed them to have the lowest inventories, US Auto Sales-wide. 20 days or some such really low number. That’s just Land Rover, does not include Jag.

  89. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah in Europe those vehicle go against the VW Up! or Polo or something like that, Overland Journal online has an article on the Toyota 75, and all purpose vehicle that could be sold here, but Toyota prefers not to, I think they’re being stupid not selling it here.

  90. alex wellington Says:

    Speaking of utterly unrealistic pricing of some GM Vehicles… while the hapless ELR sells a meager 87 vehicles a MONTH, The i3 will make 100 a DAY!

    “FRANKFURT — BMW has ramped up production of its i3 electric car to 100 vehicles a day, ahead of its launch in the United States this month, board member Harald Krueger said.

    “The United States will be the biggest market for the i3. Because of this, we have started raising production levels and are currently at around 100 cars a day,” Krueger said on Tuesday…”

    I believe the all-EV (no dirty gas engine) i3 goes for about half the ludicrous $75k pricetag of the ELR, a price audacity that is only matched by that of the ill fated Aston Martin Cygnet (Toyota IQ or lack thereof Clone), and the MINI Goodwood, that actually look cheap by comparison, at only $52-55k.

    And at least the floormats on the Goodwood and the Cygnet go “baah!” when you sink your tired feet in them!

  91. Kit Gerhart Says:

    According to a wikipedia chart, the Fiat 500 is the sales leader in Europe for cars classified as “A segment,” which includes some quite disparate cars, from smart fortwo to MINI.

    It seems that, for various reasons, like “buy local brands” sentiment, Toyota has not taken off in Europe like in most other parts of the world, so they probably don’t worry worry about hurting their reputation with decent, but maybe not-so-reliable products like Aygo et. al.

  92. Kit Gerhart Says:

    91, continued.

    If you combine the nearly equal sales of the three Aygo variants, it sold about 135,000 units for 9 months of 2013, leading the segment.