Episode 264 – GM Keeps Opel, U.S. Car Sales Slide, New Honda Accord Crosstour

November 4th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:39

In a stunning reversal, the board of directors at General Motors decided not to sell Opel. Sales of new cars in the U.S. market in October fell 3 percent compared to a year ago. All that and more, plus a first look at the new Accord Crosstour from Honda.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. GM decides to keep Opel after all. Car sales slide in the American market. And a first look at the new Crosstour from Honda.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, November 4, 2009. And now, the news.

In a stunning reversal, the board of directors at General Motors decided not to sell Opel. The company cited an improving business climate in Europe and its own financial recovery as the reasons why it decided to keep Opel.

Here’s my read on what happened. GM never really wanted to sell Opel, but didn’t have the money to restructure it, so it decided to sell part of it. But once it saw how the governments of Germany, Belgium, Spain and England were ready to provide bailout money, once it saw the concessions the unions were ready to make, and once it realized it had the money to pull this off, it decided not to sell. The thinking probably went, “Why should we let Frank Stronach at Magna and Oleg Deripaska at GAZ get a piece of this deal? We don’t need them. Let’s keep it.” At least, that’s what I think.

Sales of new cars in the U.S. market in October fell 3 percent compared to a year ago (subscription required), but were up a fraction compared to the previous month. The annualized sales rate for the month was 10.4 million units. Ward’s reports that the market share changes amongst the biggest automakers show that GM gained a point of market share, Ford gained 0.6 points, and Chrysler lost 3 points. Toyota was unchanged, Honda lost 0.1 points, Nissan gained 0.4 points and Hyundai gained 1.2 points.

Yesterday Ford announced that Joe Hinrichs, it’s VP of Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs will be promoted to Group VP and President of its Asia Pacific and Africa operations. John Flemming the Group VP and CEO of Ford of Europe will add Mr. Hinrichs role to his current position.

More teams dropping out of Formula One. Now, according to Reuters, Toyota will leave the series. The team spent an estimated $300 million a year since joining F1 in 2002, and never won a race.

Quick quiz, what’s the most popular kind of battery used in hybrid vehicles? If you guessed nickel-metal hydride you’re wrong. According to Ward’s, it’s actually lead acid (subscription required). Sales of vehicles equipped with start/stop systems are booming in Europe and they use special versions of lead acid batteries. Of course run-of-the-mill wet-cell batteries won’t hold up to the stress of constantly restarting the engine and running accessories when it’s shut off. Micro hybrids use 14-volt systems with special programming to stand up to the challenges.

If too much just isn’t enough, we might have the perfect pickup for you. A company called Dunkel Industries showed off a humongous truck at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. According to Pickuptrucks.com the behemoth is 32 feet long, eight and a half feet wide and nearly 12 feet tall! Its bed is can hold a full-size car and there’s a spot to park dirt bikes on top. Inside there’s enough room to sequester a jury. I’d hate to see the fuel bill for this thing.

Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the new Crosstour coming from Honda.

Extending the model line of a vehicle is not only a good way to keep the model fresh but also boost sales. Honda tried that with the Accord, introducing a hybrid version but that didn’t go so well. The company is giving it another try with Accord, this time with a CUV version called the Accord Crosstour.

From a styling stand point, the only thing the sedan and Crosstour have in common is the Accord name. Here is the senior product planner for the Accord Crosstour, Lee DaSilva, comparing the two.

In addition it’s longer than the sedan, has more cargo room and also has a different grille.

The Crosstoour offers an optional system called Realtime 4WD that sends power to the rear wheels only when traction is insufficient for the front.

Like the sedan the Crosstour is equipped with the same 3.5-liter V6 and five-speed automatic. To help improve fuel economy the engine features cylinder deactivation, which can run on three, four or six cylinders. The base model gets 18 MPG in the city and 27 on the highway. With the four-wheel-drive version, fuel economy in the city drops to 17 MPG and 25 on the highway.

The Accord Crosstour will be built at Honda’s East Liberty plant in Ohio with foreign and domestic parts. The company is aiming for sales of 40,000 a year. Pricing starts at just over $30,000 for the two-wheel-drive version and a Crosstour with four-wheel-drive and navigation starts at nearly $37,000.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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52 Comments to “Episode 264 – GM Keeps Opel, U.S. Car Sales Slide, New Honda Accord Crosstour”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Hey, where are the ads for the next Autoline After Hours? Is the Mercury girl coming or not?

  2. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Do you suppose Honda was trying to build a poor man’s X6 with this Crosstour? It’s looks are definitely polarizing, I kind of like it, and also like the X6. Then again I like Buicks.

  3. Nick Stevens Says:

    It really pains me to say this, as a long-time Honda fan and owner of two excellent Hondas (civic hatch 5-sp and accord coupe 5-speed) since 91, but the grotesque Cr4osstour is not just butt-ugly, it is a totally idiotic design.

    Instead of making a simple Accord wagon with the pefrectly adequate 4-cyl engine as the base engine, they make this monstrosity, 500 lbs heavier than the wagon would be, far LESS volume inside, due to the dumb styling, and far less MPG!

    And if they made the wagon, they would sell 100,000s of them, not a measly 40,000 (and this may be wishful thinking!) and barely make any $ off it.

    Honda learned nothing from the failures of the equally ugly Element and Ridgeline, (you may include most recent ACURAS to that list!)

    And the (onetime the butt of jokes) Koreans are eating its lunch!

    But to see the extreme stupidity of the crosstour, Honda already makes the CR-V, which has MORE interior room front and back and in the trunk, AND gets much better MPG, at a FRACTION of the price of the stupid crosstour!

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS pedro, the crosstour looks nothing like any Buick.

    And even tho I like Hondas and not buicks, I have seen the new Buick Lacrosse and it is the exact opposite, it is REALLY good looking!!!

    And the new lacrosse is FAR, FAr better looking than the old lacrosse! Front and back! The old one had an idiotic crease in the back that looked as if somebody had hit it (rear-ended it!). The new one is perfect on the outside.

  5. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Nick: I’m sure they were going for the X6 look, too bad cause like you say Honda became world class by designing simple, functional cars. But now it’s like a race to see who comes up with the funkier designs. Station wagons have become old-fashioned, but I still think there’s a market for them. Remember the original Odyssey? It is to this day, one of Honda’s most desirable vehicles.

  6. Dave Says:

    Looks like Honda is going after the Toyota Venza, which I like but I dont see alot of them on the road.

  7. dcars Says:

    I own a honda Accord, but give another ugly vote for the crosstour. So when does the rioting start in Germany over the Opel deal?

  8. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Venza makes a little more sense than the Crosstour, it is more wagon like, probably has more room inside, which is the reason people buy these things, and it comes with a strong 4 cylinder engine which is amply sufficient, and costs much less than the crosstour. It is not very good looking, but not as ugly as the Xtour.

    The BMW X6 is another idiotic design, it is even worse than the Crosstour, as it is much heavier and has zero room in the back seat, a joke really. And unbelievably expensive.

  9. Nick Stevens Says:

    Dave: The crosstour is more like the poor man’s BMW x6. The venza is more of a crossover-wagon.

  10. Roger T Says:

    GM would have been crazy to let go of Opel, no wonder. Opel is the current source for Chevrolet designs around the world and it would have been a suicidal move to hand it over.

    Regarding the Accord crosstour, Bmw tall hatch and Acuras of late, these companies too need a wake up call to the reality that people only buy ugly cars when they are deep discounted. Remember aztek?

  11. Jim Sachetti Says:

    I agree with almost everybody here, GM did very well to keep Opel if it can afford it, it is much, much more important than, say, is Saab for GM or Volvo for Ford. And Roger T is absolutely correct re deep discounts needed to move ugly products.

    Honda is the most cheapskate of all the majors and offers the smallest incentives, so I guess they will reduce production and then just kill the stupid Crosstour, like they killed both the Insight Coupe (00-06) and recently the very slow-selling Accord v6 hybrid (!).

  12. Alex Kajdi Says:

    If GM is keeping Opel does that mean there Saturn will continue? Saturn’s are just rebadged Opels anyway!

    The Crosstour by Honda is a BIG mistake! Honda has a good line up already. The only exceptions are the lack of AWD on the Odyssey, the entire styling of the Element needs a more stylish and less boxy revamping and the CR-V needs more damage resistant front and rear bumpers.

    Who wants a large Honda sedan that gets such low MPG numbers? Take the nose of the Crosstour and slap it on either the CR-V or Element. The Element is way over due for a makeover! I had found on the Internet a beautiful drawing of a small CR-V / Element size vehicle which I mailed to Dave Mendel at Honda Design Studios for a possible next generation Element. Dave never even responded. I will email the picture to you so you can take a look at the design and influence Honda to use it as a possible next generation Honda Element.

  13. Brilliant Ideas of a Engineer Grad » Blog Archive » Fast Thursday links Says:

    [...] http://www.autolinedetroit.tv/journal/?p=6656Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the new Crosstour coming from Honda. Extending the model line of a vehicle is not only a good way to keep the model fresh but also boost sales. Honda tried that with the Accord, introducing a hybrid … [...]

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I am really glad to see that GM will keep Opel, given that Opel is where all of their good car designs come from. I hope this “deal” doesn’t fall through.

  15. Dr. Michael Merenstein Says:

    I bought an Olds Intrigue, they went out. I bought a Pontiac GTO, they went out. Next, I was waiting for a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid. I don’t think Saturn is staying. That would ruin my batting average(GO YANKEES!)

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the CrossTour were available with a 4 cylinder/manual transmission power train for the low $20K’s, and if it got the same gas mileage as a 4 cyl. manual Accord sedan, I might be interested. I really like hatchbacks, and I’ll even put up with a certain amount of ugly for the right package. Unfortunatly, the CrossTour is going to be an exceptionally ugly hatchback, with price and gas mileage of an SUV.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Alex,

    The Element has the same kind of attraction as the original Scion xB, and tends to appeal to the same people. They need to keep Element “funky” looking. If they don’t do that, they might as well just drop it, because a “normal” looking Element already exists in the CR-V.

  18. Alex Kajdi Says:

    Dear Kit Gerhart:

    I am looking for that drawing which I spoke about previously. It is Funky in a Wild Animal Kind of Way! Correction the name of the Chief Designer I sent it to was Dave Merck.

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Too soon to tell but it looks like GM holding on to Opel will be a win/win.

    That monstrosity at SEMA is ridiculous; hopefully it is just a one-off and never sees the light of production.

    Toyota leaving F1 is lamentable (just because a team is leaving) but there will be others to take its place including an American team next year. (perhaps Toyota was expecting some sort of competitive concessions, like they in all likelihood got from NASCAR when they went stock car racing; didn’t happen) This is just my opinion and is a bit of conjecture on my part.

    Production numbers are for the most part encouraging (ignoring Chrysler of course) and hopefully on a nice steady course of incline. It would do the auto industry good to have a stablility they haven’t seen for a while.

    The CrossTour is uglier than the Venza (and expensive too). While styling is subjective, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not a knockout by any stretch of the imagination.

  20. Andy S Says:

    Americans have had a hard time accepting 5-door hatchbacks for the past 25 years. This is unfortunate bacause 5-door hatches offer a great balance of fuel economy and versatility. You can get the versatility (and more) in a Cute Ute, but the brick-like aero extracts a fuel economy penalty. The real shame is this latest generation of tall 5-door hatchbacks (BMW, Acura, and Honda) may cement America’s close-mindedness. Perhaps the Audi sportback and the Fiesta will prevent the American mind from slamming completely shut on 5-door hatches.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Andy S Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 2:41 pm
    “Perhaps the Audi sportback and the Fiesta will prevent the American mind from slamming completely shut on 5-door hatches.”

    I’m looking forward to the Fiesta. It should be a great car it it makes it from Europe to North America in anything resembling its original form. I’m also looking forward to the return of TDI Golfs, which should be available in 3-door and 5-door.

  22. HtG Says:

    Toyota, BMW, Honda, Bridgestone. All left F1. And today Pirelli said they would not become a spec tire supplier to F1 because they only want to develop technology relevant to actual road driving sales.

  23. paulstewart Says:

    In last weeks Automotive News magazine they showed the Honda Accord wagon from Europe that’s to come to N.A. very late next year as a Acura and it looks GREAT !!!

  24. Richard Sutherland Says:

    GM keeping Opel is going to be a positive for them as they start to recover. Now what about Saturn? Will they announce that they announce they are keeping them too? Saturn used alot of Opel engineering and design and brought alot of euronean influence to US GM models. Saturn would also be a positive for GM too.

  25. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    So now AP says the c4c plan did little for fuel economy since old pickups were traded in for new ones that get marginally better numbers and Sergio says Dodge to be revamped with 4 new models which will all have Fiat engines. Very appropriate name for Dodge now, cause buyers will be “dodging” these Italian-Americans POS.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    paulstewart Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 2:58 pm
    In last weeks Automotive News magazine they showed the Honda Accord wagon from Europe that’s to come to N.A. very late next year as a Acura and it looks GREAT !!!

    Too bad they are going to call them Acuras, because that will an an extra $5K to the price tag.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Richard Sutherland Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    “Saturn used alot of Opel engineering and design and brought alot of euronean influence to US GM models.”

    The Astra which was imported as a Saturn for a year or two was an Opel, and the Aura has some of the same Opel architecture as the Malibu. The other Saturns didn’t have a lot of Opel in them.

  28. paulstewart Says:

    Kit Gerhart, your right 100 % But , man it looks really good. There going the cheapest way to TRY to save the Acura Brand by importing it and changing the front fascia. I wished it was a Honda too. I thought the most recent generation of the Honda Accord and it’s look were bad, but the Crosstour takes the cake. It makes the new front-ends of the new Acuras were look good too. And they look bad.

  29. Sean Walsh Says:

    John,

    What’s your take on the ABC News investigation of the Toyota acceleration issue and the claim it’s more than the floor mats. Do you think they have something or are they trying for a sensational story to boost ratings? My wife has a 2004 Camry and is very nervous now.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sean,

    Your wife should not worry, and just remember that the brakes will overpower the engine every time. That is the case, even in high-powered cars.

  31. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    As a long time Toyota owner, I have noticed the new accelerator pedals are indeed longer, reaching almost to the floor, any improperly installed or aftermarket mats, in particular those heavy weather proof rubber types will creep forward and interfere with the return spring action of the accelerator. The older models like mine have a pedal that has about an inch or more of clearance under the accelerator, even then I had one of those heavy rubber mats catch the accelerator and lurched the car forward, I immediately slipped the gear shifter to N and adjusted the mat when it was safe to do so, but I can see a driver panicking in that situation.

  32. C-tech Says:

    Looking at the Crosstour, the American manufacturers need all the help they can get, thanks, Honda.

  33. Andrew Charles Says:

    The Saturn Vue was also produced as the Opel Antara, and the Sky as the Opel GT. Some recent Opel models are being sold as Chevrolets (Latin America), GMCs (Middle East) and Buicks (China and soon the US). The new Astra would have been sold in the US as a Saturn, but not enough buyers were willing to pony up for the current model, and the exchange rate made it almost impossible to make money.

    GM diplomatically failed to mention that EU competition chief ruled that financial aid from Germany could not be tied to the sale to Magna, as the German government had insisted. With the support of other European governments with GM plants and their unions, and the EU curbing Germany’s excessive nationalism it should be no surprise GM has said “no deal”. Many in Germany however have failed to get the message and want to punish GM for not selling.

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    “The Astra which was imported as a Saturn for a year or two was an Opel, and the Aura has some of the same Opel architecture as the Malibu.”

    The corresponding Opel to the Aura and the Malibu was the Vectra, one size above the Astra.

    ” The other Saturns didn’t have a lot of Opel in them.”

    Which others? The only other new Saturn was the new Vue, which is also an Opel-based model (the old Vue was not), I forget the Opel name.

    Only the fatass Crossover 5,000 lb Saturn Outlook was not a rebadged Opel.

    Bob Lutz admitted that the US Astra would be a failure, because, as he said, it was overpriced in the US for its size, AND they did not spend any serious AD money to introduce it to the buyers. Very, very few people outside groups such as this one, have a clue what the hell an “Astra” is.

  35. Nick Stevens Says:

    # Kit Gerhart Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    “paulstewart Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 2:58 pm
    In last weeks Automotive News magazine they showed the Honda Accord wagon from Europe that’s to come to N.A. very late next year as a Acura and it looks GREAT !!!

    Kit replied:

    Too bad they are going to call them Acuras, because that will an an extra $5K to the price tag.”

    Right, they seem to be trying to save Acura…

    But if they developed a wagon, a non-obese, smoothly styled, I-4 Wagon, from the current Accord (whose I-4s make 190 HP! Far more than the … 177 HP the old Mercedes 3 lt 6 was making until 1991!),

    That wagon would actually be much bigger (longer, wider and why not taller) than the Smaller Euro-spec Accord wagon, and would be an even bigger hit with US families.

    But Noooo, they had to design this obese $30,000 monstrosity with less useful space instead!

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# C-tech Says:
    November 4th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Looking at the Crosstour, the American manufacturers need all the help they can get, thanks, Honda”

    Really? Why should Detroit worry about this obese, butt-ugly, and way overpriced and overpowered niche vehicle? They have far bigger threats to worry about. I would put KIA and HYUNDAI in the first place! The Koreans can undercut Detroit not only on quality and styling and practicality, but also on PRICE and WARRANTY. BIG TIME.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    November 5th, 2009 at 7:31 am

    “Bob Lutz admitted that the US Astra would be a failure, because, as he said, it was overpriced in the US for its size, AND they did not spend any serious AD money to introduce it to the buyers. Very, very few people outside groups such as this one, have a clue what the hell an “Astra” is.”

    Also, they waited until the Astra they sold as a Saturn was at “the end of the line,” rather than selling it when it was a newer design. If Saturn were to survive now, the new Astra might do better, but they would still need to build it somewhere other than Western Europe to sell it here profitably. Also, it would help if they offered some of the more interesting power trains they have in Europe, rather than the “least common denominator 1.8l they chose.

  38. Jim Sachetti Says:

    Anybody saw Sergio’s 5-year plan, for which he wasted 7 hours of the nedia’s time? It’s ill conceived and ludicrous. The new Chrysler-Fiat will have WAY too many models, and obviously none of them will do well. Similar to the problem GM had for decades, but much worse!

    And re-badging Fiats and calling them Dodges is another stroke of Genius…why would one bother to call a Fiat by an even worse name, and make the consumer mad when he realizes he is being fooled again?

    I am afraid Chrysler-Fiat will die a slow and painful and very expensive death… if we keep giving them billions…

  39. Michael J. Brown Says:

    I’d like to call this Honda Crosstour “butt-ugly”, but I promised myself I’d reserve that dubious distinction for just the Pontiac Aztec. Darn!

  40. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    As Sergio talks about Dodge, we get a recall from the govt. saying that the front wheels could fall off from certain Challengers. Fiat/Chrysler, a match made in automotive heaven.

  41. Tom Says:

    Cross Tour is nice.

    But I like the Acura TSX wagon coming up. The Cross-tour is just too big. And in Canada it would probaly cost 10k more than the American version.

  42. dave Says:

    Why do some of you trash the Fiat name plate? Fiats have been around forever and one of the biggest companies world wide. When Fiat brings the 500 to the US it will sell like hot cakes, if it is at a good price. I was hoping the Fait just wanted the dealer network of Dodge to bring Fait back to the us.

    I know of a lot worse name plates out that people pay big money for, Land Rover, Jag, etc

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Jim Sachetti Says:
    November 5th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    “The new Chrysler-Fiat will have WAY too many models, and obviously none of them will do well. Similar to the problem GM had for decades, but much worse.”

    Unlike GM in the past, Chrysler/Fiat will be selling all of these cars at the same dealers. It doesn’t cost much more to call a 300C a Chrysler, a minivan a Dodge, and a Wrangler a Jeep than to call all three Chryslers, as long as you have a single dealer network.

  44. Dave Says:

    thats if Fiat bring all there cars and keeps all the Chrysler / dodges. I would think that is will be Fiat small and mini cars, what they do well, and Fiat Tech in the others to make them better.

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# dave Says:
    November 5th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Why do some of you trash the Fiat name plate? Fiats have been around forever and one of the biggest companies world wide.”

    So has GM ans Chrysler, but they are bankrupt. FIAT always made very UNreliable, cheap cars, with cheap parts (fortunately). They are the worst dog of European Automakers, worse than Renault-Nissan and even than Peugeot-Citroen.

    ” When Fiat brings the 500 to the US it will sell like hot cakes, if it is at a good price. ”

    If it is at a low price, they will lose $ on every one of them. Like the SMART, it will be too tiny and opverpriced for US tastes. A NICHE vehicle, it will not sell like hotcakes at all. The SMART was lucky to be introduced at a time of $4 gas, but last month it was down 70% (!!!), and its sales are negligible.

    “I was hoping the Fait just wanted the dealer network of Dodge to bring Fait back to the us.

    You never heard any horror stories from US Fiat owners in the 70s? The 128 Fiats that rusted thru in 2 years? Very forgettable, and at the end both Fiat and Alfa had to leave the US market in defeat.

    “I know of a lot worse name plates out that people pay big money for, Land Rover, Jag, etc”

    FIrst, these are both Luxury brands, the4 exact opposite of FIAT, and both are British, and we know what POS cars the Brit Auto industry made. No wonder they went broke even after all UK companies united in British Leyland in the 70s.

  46. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    November 5th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Jim Sachetti Says:
    November 5th, 2009 at 8:32 am

    “The new Chrysler-Fiat will have WAY too many models, and obviously none of them will do well. Similar to the problem GM had for decades, but much worse.”

    Unlike GM in the past, Chrysler/Fiat will be selling all of these cars at the same dealers. It doesn’t cost much more to call a 300C a Chrysler, a minivan a Dodge, and a Wrangler a Jeep than to call all three Chryslers, as long as you have a single dealer network.”

    Not really. This is far from enough to be profitable. You are forgetting the huge additional marketing costs to make the consumer aware what the hell each of these low-volume models are. COmpare and contrast to Honda, Toyota, and maybe even Ford, who make only ONE of each, and everybody knows what an Accord, a Camry, a Corolla and a Civic are.

  47. Dave Says:

    @nick
    Now you are complaining about Fiats back in the 70s and 80s, well GM and FORD and DODGE made crap in the 90s and some of there products are still junk. hyundai was bad in the early 90 now look at them, things change.

  48. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Fiat left this market and never came back because Americans are picky about quality and reliability and they just could not compete. And as they have grown around the world, they have not risked coming back here until now, of course, disguised a Dodge vehicles. It would take a miracle for this to succeed, when there are much better choices out there. I however see continued growth for Kia/Hyundai at the expense of other more established brands.

  49. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    PS I believe if you check the internet, Fiat is close to last in quality in European studies, some things just don’t change.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Chrysler brand/model names are, in many cases, for “baby boomers” like myself. Dodge Charger and Challenger, and Chrysler 300 are names from the late 50′s and 60′s, and go along with the current cars so named. If Chrysler survives long enough to become an “automotive appliance” company like Toyota, and the nostalgia thing that brings us Camaros, Challengers, Chargers and 300′s disappears, there would be no reason for Chrysler to use more than one brand name, except for big pickup trucks.

    As far as the Fiat 500, it is not a Smart-class car. It is an A-segment car much closer in size to the BMW Mini.

  51. Jim Thykeson Says:

    The worst thing about losing domestic brands is eventually you’ll be ‘hooked on’ everything thats made elsewhere. This country can’t continue to be consumers of foreign goods without having ‘good’ jobs, not meaningless, entry level paying jobs that barely pay enough for food and shelter. When that fat segment of middle-class jobs fades away look for the real recession to begin. Whether you like them or not, the domestic auto industry was a mainstay of middle-class jobs. Throwing them away is like cutting your nose off in spite of your face!

  52. Edward Lipman Says:

    So I guess that the Saturn Sky / Opel Gt will live on ?
    Good news for some friends of mine who race a T1 Sky !