AD #2789 – Oil Prices Collapse; New Cars Cost More Weeks of Income; Chevrolet Enhances Bolt EV

March 9th, 2020 at 12:05pm

Listen to “AD #2789 – Oil Prices Collapse; New Cars Cost More Weeks of Income; Chevrolet Enhances Bolt EV” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 8:18

0:06 Oil Prices Plummet
1:04 GM Breathes New Life into the Chevy Bolt
2:20 New Cars Require More Weeks of Income
3:29 Cadillac’s Merlettes and Couronne
4:15 Chevy’s Old Van Selling Strong
5:03 Maserati Loses Money Selling Expensive Cars
5:52 ADAS Repairs are Safety-Critical
7:40 Autoline After Hours this Thursday at 3 PM ET!

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46 Comments to “AD #2789 – Oil Prices Collapse; New Cars Cost More Weeks of Income; Chevrolet Enhances Bolt EV”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Those ancient Chevy vans are still popular as a basis for airport shuttle vans.

  2. Lambo2015 Says:

    That is pretty amazing that the Chevy Van would continue to sell so well. Guess it goes to show that when it comes to functionality and you need a box on wheels there really isn’t much that needs to be done to improve on that basic design.

  3. Scott-in-Cleveland Says:

    Re: Cadillac ‘Merlettes’…

    Some of you may recall when Cadillac came out with the Catera, it named one of the Merlettes “Ziggy”, named for the Cadillac that zigs…

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    I already saw gas prices drop below $2 a gallon last week. I think the fed tax is like 18.5 cents per gallon and state is 28 cents in Ohio so with .46 cents I cant imagine it will drop too much more.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I saw on the Chevy commercial site that they offer a 2.8 liter 4 cylinder diesel in some versions of the Express. That might make economic sense for vans used only in low speed, urban driving, if diesel fuel is fairly close to the price of regular gas. It probably wouldn’t ever make sense, though, at current fuel prices in my area, where diesel costs 30% more than gas.

  6. Thirsten Says:

    With regards to affordability, Americans are just buying too much car for what they can afford. 84 month loans just prove that. The average car today which is a 4WD SUV doesn’t compare with historical norms for the average family vehicle. Americans will have to learn to reduce their expectations and stop competing with the Jones.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 It’s time to increase the federal gas tax to about $1.50/gallon, to encourage conservation, and to help reduce the out-of-control deficits. Yeah, I realize that few here will agree.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 Exactly.

  9. Scott-in-Cleveland Says:

    I thought at one time GM was going to bring over the Opel Movano van to replace the aging Express. Now that they got rid of Opel, thats not an option.

  10. Thirsten Says:

    #7 Totally agree but you won’t see a penny increase from the current administration.

    With the rapidly slowing economy, I expect the deficit to set an all time record this year and no one seems to care. Certainly not the guy at the top.

  11. Clarence Zahrobsky Says:

    What is going to happen to the oil market when all these EVs hit the road ??

  12. cwolf Says:

    I can accept a larger gas tax as long as it went to road maintenance and such. But all too often these moneys are diverted towards other uses which are not related. However, the country does need a stimulus to deal with this market correction and not another Trump ploy to further lower corporate tax or for the wealthy 1%.

  13. cwolf Says:

    11) The oil market will adapt as EVs become more common.
    The present turmoil has to do with Russia’s attempt to make shale oil production in the U.S. more costly than the value of the oil itself.

  14. Roger T Says:

    Nice to see Chevrolet is improving the Bolt, this explains the fire sale they had a couple of months ago. What they are not addressing on this cycle is something simpler than extending wheelbase: exterior design. The current look is bland to say the least, ok for Europe but will never be successful with high volumes in the US

  15. Dave Says:

    how many bolts versus how many tesla 3s, how much for a new car compared to a 1953 Chevrolet that lasted 2 years before hitting scrap yard! cost per year. How long will a tesla or prius last?

  16. merv Says:

    excellent show and thank you gm vet

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 The Bolt is bland, but so are all of these hot selling crossovers, like RAV4, CR-V, Escape, Santa Fe, etc. If they can get the price of the Bolt down substantially, but not lose money, that would be great.

    15 I found that a 1953 Chevy Bel Air cost $1874, which would be $18,036 in today’s money. That won’t get you many new cars, but would buy a one year old Camry or Accord which would have about triple or quadruple the remaining life of the new ’53 Chevy.

  18. JoeS Says:

    17 Not to mention that the newer cars would be more comfortable, safer, faster and better on gas than the ’53 Chevy.

  19. cwolf Says:

    I’ll take the Bel Air. It wouldn’t cost that much to update the brakes, steering and needed things to make it a safe fun driver. Think about it, simple controls of real knobs and sliding controls without all the electronic bull crap. Brights on the floor board and a horn where it belongs( on the steering wheel). Also a bench seat with tons of room for 6 plus storage. Let’s not forget the cool factor!

  20. Bob Wilson Says:

    #15 – Dave asked, “How long will a tesla or prius last?”

    Our first, 2003 Prius lasted to 2018, ~210,000 miles, when the electric powered, hydraulic pump failed. Mounted on the firewall, it was not designed for repairs. We got a junk yard part but the third owner and cold weather made it an impossible to repair. Local shops would have cost more than the car. The traction battery was still strong.

    We have a Tesla Model 3 with 20,760 miles. Rated at 240 miles, our best estimate is 236 miles, ~2%, which happened in the first 3-4 months. Since then, no further degradation, ‘the plateau’. After that, older Teslas show a very low rate of degradation, 90% after 186,000 miles (see web link.)

    In contrast to the 2003 Prius, there is no engine block to limit access to brake and HVAC systems. Due to my driving screw-up hitting a curb hard, replacing the wheel bearings turned out to be trivial.

  21. Rector Says:

    John,
    The ADAS program was very interesting. There was a lot that I didn’t quite understand but it certainly was eye opening to all the setting to make the systems work correctly. Please thank your panel for participating.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 Was the electric hydrauliic pump for power steering on the gen 1 Prius?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 A ’53 Chevy would be cool to have, just for fun. Completely stock would be ok with me. You just need to accept that it has really crappy brakes and handling compared to modern cars, and drive accordingly.

  24. Larry D. Says:

    A. Oil prices plummetting would, ordinarily, be a huge GIFT to the economy of Europe, Japan, China (all major oil importers) and even the US (we are still a net importer of oil). The Saudis are morons to cut their noses to spite their faces. Hopefully the RUssians will play along and not go, together with the Saudis, to economic hell. Those who will benefit from this silly mess will be the nations that import a huge (if not 100%) of their oil needs, like Japan, most of W Europe, and even CHINA.

    B. Bolt changes. I don’t expect them to substantially increase the sales of this loser, even though all are welcome improvements. Even the longer version, a much needed fix, will make it look from a hatch to a minivan. Not a popular choice, which MEANS, and pay attention here, that GM will STILL not be able to sell these undesirable styles for Model 3 Money. PLUS the improvements must add to the COST of making the Bolt, in case anybody cares that GM be PROFITABLE not only in the SUV area.

    C. Maserati loses $? Well Well Well! Who woulda thunk of it! What a surprise, after shoving worthless POS with HORRIBLE, Lemon-grade reliability, for decades, down its customer’s throats, and then coming up with this lame contraption alleging it is an SUV, the “Levante” or Lavender or whatever ( nice lame name, BTW), now it loses $? Serves it right! I know at least TWO real people who had Maserati Quatroporte Lemons around 2010-11, and returned them for new POS from that worthless brand.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    D. New cars require more weeks of income. Surprise Surprise. But you forget to mention that the new cars of today are TWICE as much cars in every respect as the cars of 30 years ago!!! So you are comparing APPLES to ORANGES. So your comparison is INVALID. New Cars should DEFINITELY, if there is any JUSTICE, cost much more in weeks of income, than the primitive contraptions of 1990, most of which did not even have ABS, not to mention even Two airbags, their HP was really ANEMIC, their weight and space much less than that of today’s cars.

    An Accord in 1990 ws as big as a CIVIC today, and MUCH LESS powerful. I know, I owned an excellent Accord Coupe 1990 5-speed. The 2.2 made 125 HP and 137 lbft. THe thing was really weak, EVEN with the manual, and I found out when I took it out of flatland and drove it up the mountains around los Angeles, Barstow etc. I could sure have used DOUBLE its meager HP!

    E. Caddy Logo: I was always a fan of this logo, even tho I never noticed that it had those ducks or whatevers inside. I regretted when GM recently and foolishly dropped its best feature, the LAUREL LEAVES around it. I suggest they give the six ducks to a CHinese Restaurant and replace them with one eagle or something.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    7 I strongly agree, but NOT unconditionally. I am in favor of a $1.50 and even a $3 increase, AS LONG AS the CORRPUPT Congress and the Government cannot TOUCH that money, and waste and misallocate it, but instead it goes into its own hands-off account and used intelligently, AND that it is OFFSET by an EQUAL TAX CUT elsewhere so the economy does not SUFFER!

  27. Larry D. Says:

    17 Yeah, and all of us would wish pigs would fly. HOW could GM make $ of this loser??? The advertised $100 /kwh will not arrive until 4 years from now, when the Bolt will be 100% obsolete. Even if the $100 was here today, it would hardly make a dent (60kwh*45 (savings) is barely $2,500 vs the $9,000 (and now much more for the bigger, better Bolt) GM loses making ech one of them.

    Some people just do not understand that you cannot sell a hatch for $40k, even after it was proven you cannot sell a civic with no range anxiety (the VOLT) for $40k, when you can buy the non-EV for HALF AS MUCH.

    The Model 3 does NOT have this problem, as it is priced THE SAME and NOT twice as much as the 3 Series it easily BEATS in performance and of course “greenness”.

  28. Larry D. Says:

    I heard that there will be a “payroll tax cut” and the stupid markets are all giddy about it (they rose 1,000 points after hours-Dow). What is the big deal about this? Or is it just smoke and mirrors?

    The Payroll tax is our SS contributions, for those not already retired. So if they cut them, when will we make these contributions later? or will we never make them? The SS is already having great difficulty paying all these retirees. It sounds like insignificant and temporary relief to me. But of course I am not in the average person’s situation.

  29. Larry D. Says:

    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/803605146/overview/

    Out of curiosity I did a search for used Bolts below $20k in all of the USA and only 7 were below that price. The cheapest was $17k and had over 100,000 miles. Seriously??? i remember when you could get a NEW Toyota Matrix for that $. (a car that looks a lot like the Bolt).

    I also looked at the photos of the exterior (terrible proportions, really ugly) and interior (a joyless affair, with not just cheap hard plastics, but also the same silly WHITE plastics around the shifter that the Volt also had, which must have a ton of glare.

    I am actually surprised they were even able to sell the meager 16,000 units in all of 2019 ( for those not familiar with sales nos, the Model 3 sold more than that in a MONTH, and it does not lose $9,000 for each one sold).

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 We don’t need any tax cuts. The Trump/Ryan tax scam of 2017-2018 resulted in, or at least contributed to ballooning deficits, even during a time of great “prosperity.” Now, things will come home to roost in a big way with the Covid-19 disaster.
    28 Yeah, a “payroll tax cut” would make things even worse in the future, with SS already in trouble.
    27 What is the actual source of the information that they lose $9K on each Bolt? Yeah, it’s on the internet, along with a lot of misinformation, but what is the original source, and why would cost not come down, as it does for every other new manufactured product?

  31. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I could also support an increase in the Federal gasoline fuel tax but certainly not to the amount of even close to a $1.50; more to the order of a stepped increase of a quarter ultimately topping off at half a buck. This too should be fully vested in transportation and infrastructure repair only. Any further increases could be reassessed after a predetermined period of time. With the current use of fuel, even at a quarter dollar, you’re talking many billions in short order.

  32. Larry D. Says:

    The first gen EVs like the Leaf with low 100 or 150 mile ranges and low miles (half or less the 100,000 this Bolt had) were selling for $5,000-$8,000 used. The Bolt has more range, but also many more miles. How much, instead of the $16k minimum, would I pay to get one? Assuming I would be able to stand looking at it and driving it)? Maybe $8,000-9,000. Definitely not $10,000 and sure not… $16,000-20,000, which is what the 7 Bolts below $20k in cars.com went for.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25. D. The 1953 Chevy that would cost $18,036.30 in today’s money would have a 3-speed on the column, no power steering or brakes, and no power windows or locks. Radio and heater were probably optional. A/C would not have been available, even as an option. It would do 0-60 in 18.8 seconds, according to an article I found, though that was with Powerglide. The manual would be quicker. It would be fun to have one now, though.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 Apparently the people who have Bolts like them, and don’t want to sell them, so there aren’t enough in the used market to drive prices down. The person I know who has one likes it, including the appearance. It replaced a Honda Fit, though, so his tastes are not, well, typical for an American.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 The Fit is still “in the family,” with their son driving it.

  36. JoeS Says:

    33 You hit the nail on the head. No one would buy that as a new car now. We are all very spoiled.

  37. Larry D. Says:

    30 You have no clue in hell what you are tqlking about. After the so-called Trump tax ‘cut’, tax revenues went UP, not DOWN. BUT the Budget Deficits were even bigger, instead of smaller, because the CORRUPT Dems in Congress spend even MORE. THis is a NO-WIN situation, even if you tax a ridiculous 90% of a person’s income, those ClOWNS will spend that AND MORE, and the deficits will balloon even more. This is how the dems get losers to vote for them, by BRIBING them, and you can see it in ALL the dem presidential candidates, most of whom fortunately quit. Look at this IRRESPONSIBLE Warren, or Faux-ahontas, and her proposal to forgive all the student loans. Talk about UNASHAMED BRIBERY of the electorate. WHY does an MD with a $200,000 average student loan debt get ANY relief???? they make that in just a FEW MONTHS in their huge salaries, they do not even need to work a full year to pay them off.

    Not that you will open your ears and minds and realize the 100% TRUTH of the above, but hopefully others here will.

  38. Larry D. Says:

    34 WHO CARES??????????? You made that lame argument a ZILLION Times and it means Nothing.

    First, I have explained to you that few, if any, people do not like the cars they CHOSE to buy. It does no meaN THAT Many of them are really POOR choices, a sucker is born every minute.

    SECOND, many Bolts are NOT sold to ‘people’ but to that fraud “CRUISE” outfit at GM. These are PHONY sales to get rid of this utter DOG. Other sales go to state and local govs esp in the West Coast.

  39. Larry D. Says:

    There is also the question, if you raise the gas and diesel tax by $1.50 or any other significant amount, what will you do with the ever growing fleet of BEVs???? are these cars NOT using and damaging the highways? The outcry will be heard 100 miles above the earth if they do not pay their FAIR SHARE.

  40. Lambo2015 Says:

    33 Manufacturers can build a car in that $18k range. These will have the required safety equipment like ABS and airbags and probably have a radio and power brakes. Top 10 cheapest cars according to Motor trend.

    Kia Forte $18,715
    Kia Soul $18,535
    Chevy Sonic $17,595
    Honda Fit $17,120
    Kia Rio $16,675
    Toyota Yaris $16,555
    Hyundai Accent $15,925
    Nissan Versa $15,625
    Mitsu Mirage $14,990
    Chevy Spark $14,095

  41. Larry D. Says:

    40 Interesting list. The odd man out here is the Honda Fit, much better inside and out and more fun to drive, but priced quite low, comparatively. I see the Nissan Versa, which used to be the cheapest car at 10-11k a few years back, has creeped up to $15k, and has become the third cheapest after the Mirage and the Spark.

    Apart from the Fit, driving any of the other cars is probably a totally joyless experience, in addition to being an unsafe (little passive safety, even less active one) little car in today’s US roads.

    Despite being quite a bargain for what it offers, the Fit barely sells 5k units a month. Unless you have a way to force buyers to buy into this miserable segment of subcompact hatches, makers will be WISE to LEAVE this unprofitable segment, AND by doing that they will help the REMAINING offerings at least not lose that much!

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 “You have no clue in hell what you are tqlking about. After the so-called Trump tax ‘cut’, tax revenues went UP, not DOWN.”

    You have no clue in hell what you are talking about. Yes, tax revenues went up, as they always do during a “recovery,” but deficits went up much more percentage-wise. The Dems spent even more? Yeah, right. The Rs own the government. The senate and presidency are owned by the Rs, as was the house from 2017-2019. The Ds don’t have much power to spend money. You are truly clueless, as has been obvious many times here.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39 Tax EVs by miles of driving. There would be various ways of doing it, from checking odometers once a year, or at time of sale, to GPS with some kind of transponders. The systems would need to be hard to tamper with, but it could be done.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 Judging by what I see on the road, the Kia Soul is the best seller of that group. It, and the Fit probably have the most usable space of that group.

  45. Brett Cammack Says:

    42
    “Pseudo-intellectual bully” is the phrase that comes immediately to mind.

  46. JWH Says:

    Kit – You forgot to add RUDE to clueless.