AD #2508 – Mercedes Unveils New CLA, Ghosn Denied Detention Appeal, China Sales Fall For 1st Time In 20 Years

January 9th, 2019 at 11:47am

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Listen to “AD #2508 – Mercedes Unveils New CLA, Ghosn Denied Detention Appeal, China Sales Fall For 1st Time In 20 Years” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 6:37

0:30 Ghosn Denied Detention Appeal
1:10 Nissan Reveals Extended Range Leaf
2:48 Mercedes Unveils New CLA
3:42 Toyota Partners with Kenworth
4:29 China Car Sales Fall For 1st Time In 20 Years
4:59 FCA Nears Settlement with Justice Department

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29 Comments to “AD #2508 – Mercedes Unveils New CLA, Ghosn Denied Detention Appeal, China Sales Fall For 1st Time In 20 Years”

  1. ChuckGrenci Says:

    The new CLA looks pretty good. It has a nicely proportioned look and is quite svelte IMO. I would lose the black wheels and orange piping (but maybe that’s just me).

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    Sean: What’s that sticking up behind your head? Looks like a cowlick, but I suspect it’s part of your video gear. Surprised your camera person didn’t notice it!

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It will be interesting to see if the new CLA is any good. In most reviews, the old one came out worse than most cars from mainstream brands, costing a lot less. Also, in CR’s survey, the old one was in the bottom category in owner satisfaction.

  4. Drew Says:

    Good to see the CLA no longer has a droopy rump. Hopefully the change finds its way onto MB’s other sedans. Lincoln’s Continental can also benefit from a taller tail. Just my opinion… common with many other people’s.

  5. Ron Paris Says:

    #1Chuck: Very svelte, but I bet access to the rear seat under that roof line is a b#%&h!

  6. Larry D. Says:

    1 It looks good (exterior) and I agree, except for the dark wheels and the orange piping. The interior looks OK, but is sure not luxurious.

    3 This is a bargain basement Merc. To make it affordable, Merc sacrificed RWD, which is a deal breaker for me. The previous CLA looked good, like far more expensive than its price, but as they say in Texas, “All hat and no cattle”. Proper cars are RWD, especially if they aspire to be called “entry level (or not) luxury cars.

    A neighbor at the end of my block in my summer home, who has a fantastic house (he has a travle agency I believe) and used to have excellent cars before (a classic E300, then a 745 i, then an M5, and couple Golfs for the kid and the maid) fell on hard times, still has the house, but had to trade down to a black CLA. I believe it was diesel too, to take advantage of the prices there. The car is small, esp the rear seat. I think a C and esp an E would be a far better choice, and if you can’t afford them, really, what is so divine about the ‘new car smell’? You get a far superior vehicle if you pay the same $ to get a certified used E with low miles, rather than a new CLA.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    5 and after you access that rear seat, it sure was not the effort, it is tiny with negligible leg or head room. The CLA is for young families, you can put two or three 5-`10 year olds in the back but not adult men, unless they are jockeys or have lost their legs to diabetes.

  8. Larry D. Says:

    Given the cooperation between this show and Wards, I was fully expecting to see a segment today (maybe you will show it tomorrow) I got in my daily Ward’s email links. I have since deleted the email so I don’t have the link, but in summary, it said that the average fleet MPG of light vehicles sold in the US in 2018, *** despite*** trucks and SUVs being 69% of all sales, was actually much HIGHER.

    This is yet another amazing effect of the 140,000 extra Pure EVs tesla sold in 2018 over 2017, almost all Model 3s. They not only obliterated the negative effect of the truck-heavy sales, they substantially increased the fleet MPG over last year.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 It’s easy to option a CLA to over $40K, and according to most reviews I’ve read, it is noisy and rides poorly compared to an Accord or Camry that would cost $15 less. Of course, as you say, the CLA is less roomy than those cars or an E-Class, and probably less roomy than a C-Class.

    It makes no sense to buy a CLA, when you can buy a new Camry or Accord, or a used real Benz, all of which are much better, for a lot less money. Presumably, the new CLA will be a better car, but it will still be an expensive competitor to Toyota and Honda, more than a real Benz.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 Here’s the link to that article.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s an update about the published weights of the motorcycles tested by the Michigan State Police. I e-mailed one of the contacts listed in the report, and received this reply:

    “For the 2018 motorcycle test, we accepted what the manufacturer had sent to us, which was the 865 lbs. For the 2019 test, we actually weighed the bikes on the day of testing because of the large discrepancy in weight as you have mentioned.

    The 2019 test book is published and available on line. The actual weight of the FJR1300 was 689 lbs.”

    It sounds like Yamaha provided the wrong weight, or were including the weight of a rider.

  12. Larry D. Says:

    9 I don’t get the comparison with Camrys and Accords. I do not know anybody shopping for a merc who would compare it to any of these vehicles. Different segment. if you want an non-luxury mid-sized car, you get a Camry or, even better, an Accord. Who test drives an Impala and buys it instead of an S class? (and in this case, they are the same size, unlike the tiny CLA vs the E-class sized Accord).

    BTW the average price of a Camry or Accord, (actual transaction price) is well over $30k these days, maybe $35-40k if you get their excellent Hybrids.

    The rivals of the CLA would be the BMW 1 or 2 series (the one not RWD), or the Audi A3 or smaller Audis not imported here.

    I will be surprised if the CLA has any decent sales. But also I cannot comprehend why buy a CLA new when you can get two excellent S classes S 550 4matics from 2007-12 for the same $!!!

  13. Larry D. Says:

    10 Thanks, that was it. Impressive fleet MPG rise instead of a drop (if the Model 3 did not exist). And all that happened in a low gas price environment.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    Re the electric Harley, even at twice the price of the Zero bike, it is still cheaper than some other non-electric Harleys.

    However the EV Harley does not look much like any classic Harley, the retro look should make the price more palatable. It looks like a Zero bike with the “H-D” logo pasted on it.

    Classic Harleys are more like Jewelry than other bikes. For example, in the late 90s, when I had a project with Harley, they told me that it cost them $400 just to paint its gas tank, vs $180 which it cost to paint an entire Honda Accord at the time! Buyers did not seem to mind the extravagant prices of those Harleys.

    ANyway I do not expect the elecric bike market to be anything comparable to the EV sedan/crossover market. it will be far smaller, just as bikes in the US are a much smaller % of light vehicles sold.

    In other countries (India comes to mind) it is the exact opposite, bikes there are far more numerous than cars and trucks, and India would be the most needy place in the world to introduce some cheap EV Bikes for the masses, given they cannot see a foot in front of their nose from their truly HORRIBLE pollution.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 People who shop for cars, rather than for badges, might very well cross shop low end “premium brand” cars like CLA with Hondas and Toyotas. As far as the “average price” of Camry and Accord, the best selling versions of Camry are under $30K. A Camry LE hybrid I test drove, with sunroof and all of the optional safety gadgets, had an MSRP of ~$32.7K. Yeah, you can “load up” a Camry to the high $30s, but few are sold that way.

    Actually, the rival to a CLA would be a Kia Forte, or something like that. They are about the same size. The Kia is a little roomier. The CLA is quicker, but you can save about $20K with the Kia. Yes, I’m being facetious.

  16. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Kit, thanks for the update on the FJR’s weight; that makes a whole lot more sense. In fact, I went to the Yamaha website and looked it up, the FJR’s posted wet weight is 642, so 689 makes perfect sense (as equipped).

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For anyone who might be interested, here’s the link to the 2019 Michigan police car and bike evaluations.

    A 2020 Ford “utility” of some sort was quickest around the race track, and quickest in acceleration. Would it be based on the same platform of the upcoming Lincoln Aviator, which is longitudinal engine, rear-drive based?

  18. Drew Says:

    I wonder what kind of noise is broadcast from an EV motorcycle. “Loud pipes save lives.”

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 I’ve read that there are starting to be a lot of small electric, kind of Vespa-styled scooters in Indian and Chinese cities. That makes sense. Scooters have some storage space under the seat, and have more weather protection than most motorcycles. I suspect those scooters would have a top speed of 30 mph or so, and enough range for a day’s commuting. Then, maybe you take it into your apartment to charge it.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 To my knowledge, Zero motorcycles have no fake noise, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the electric Harley would. If it’s not standard, there will probably be aftermarket noise makers for them.

    Given the styling of the electric Harley, though, they are going after a different market than the “traditional” Harley rider, people who might not want noise.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    19 India and China are night and day, respectively, re numbers of cars sold, and also re electric scooters. In China there were thousands of electric scooters as early as 2006 when I was there. Since that time China has become the biggest new car market in the world by far. Far bigger than the previous largest market (the US). India’s new car market is a sad joke by comparison. India’s economy is 20% of China’s. Half a Billion Indians live without even electricity, even today!

    Indians misuse their 50 cc scooters to carry an entire family of 5 or more, hanging from the tiny bike like grapes. Fortunately the roads are such a joke there (with literally holy cows walking in the middle of the street along with countless pedestrians, and some trucks and cars, all moving at… 5 or 10 MPH)

    I was enthusiastic about the $2,000 Tata Nano when it was unveiled (before they produced it cutting corners and making it into a totally joyless ride) but it was snubbed by the Indians as a cheap car. I thought such a car would be an ideal replacement for those family-hauling 50 cc bikes, but Tata botched its execution, it was a miserable tiny super-cheap POS.

  22. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I have to disagree about loud pipes saves lives. Sure you can hear a loud motorcycle but almost never know where that sound is coming from. With the cacophony of noises out there when you are driving, it just complicates the equation of traffic, sounds and reactions to movement. Opinions may vary but that’s my take on loud pipes, and, (besides being a noisy nuisance). And I ride myself so I’m not pontificating without reflection to the issue.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve never been in India, but I’ve seen pictures of 5 or more people on one small scooter or motorcycle. Yeah, I’m sure Indian cites are well behind China in retiring their gas scooters, and I suspect a lot of them in India are still 2-stroke, like they were in Shanghai when I was the 24 years ago.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 I agree completely about loud pipes. Their main purpose is to create a market for hearing aids.

    I wish motorcycles came with bettor horns, though. An audible horn can be useful, when someone seems unaware that you exist, as they start driving into your lane, etc. The early ’80s BMW R-100 I had came with a good horn, but most bikes do not.

    I checked out the motorcycle test in the newer Michigan police vehicle tests, and the Yamaha FJR, again, had the worst braking. Since it weighs about the same as the BMW R-1250, and less than the Harleys, it really does seem that the ABS needs tweaking. Either that, or it comes with harder, less sticky tires than the others. The tires on the Yamaha FJR130 and BMW R-1250 were the same size, at least the same width, 120mm front, and 180mm rear. For 2019, they tested two BMW “dirt bikes,” an F 750 GS, and F 850 GS. Both have 853cc engines. Strange designations, there.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is another Bolt, from the company that brings us Jaguar and Land Rover, and brings/brought the Nano to India.

  26. Lambo2015 Says:

    #14 Harley Davidson saying it cost $400 to paint there gas tank vs $180 to paint a whole Honda Accord just tells me they have failed to develop a cost effective paint process. So they can justify their over-priced bikes because they are inefficient? Doesn’t make the case to spend more for me.

  27. Larry D. Says:

    26 I am not in the market for any motorbike and I am sure not Harley’s defense attorney. But it seems you completely misunderstood what I wrote. You are making all kinds of assumptions (such as the paint job on an accord is just the same as the one on the tank of a Harley) and reach all kinds of conclusions. It is as if you are talking to yourself. BTW Harley does NOT need 330,000,000 people to buy its bikes, it is not for everybody, it made enough profits selling to the few it did.

    PS “their”, not “there” gas tank.

  28. Brett Cammack Says:


    I seem to recall that Florida has a regulation that a motorcycle can be no louder than it was with its original exhaust system. With another bike week in the offing, I can state unequivocally they don’t enforce it, sadly.

    Not riding like a drunken buffoon saves more lives. Loud pipes are just an infantile way to shout “Hey! Look at me!!!”, IMO

  29. Lambo2015 Says:

    I didn’t assume anything Larry. You compared the two and I know they are most likely not of the same type of paint. HD probably uses a lacquer that requires it to be buffed out and hence the large labor involved.
    However having working a supplier paint shop that painted parts for BMW, Cadillac, GM, MB you can get a very good paint job without that labor if you have the right process. Again going back to their inefficiency. HD may not need millions of people to buy its bikes but I bet they would take it. And share holders would be happy at the profits if it wasn’t wasted on inefficient processes.