Episode 346 – Toyota Complaints Skyrocket, U.S. Could Profit From Bailout, Car Prices in China Rise

March 11th, 2010 at 12:10pm

Runtime 8:46

Complaints against Toyota are skyrocketing.  GM CEO Ed Whitacre says the company will repay its bailout money early and the U.S. government could even make a profit.  Car prices in China continue to rise.  All that and more, plus a look at one potential cause of unintended acceleration.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines.  Complaints against Toyota are skyrocketing.  GM says the government will make a profit on its bailout.  And we explore one potential cause of unintended acceleration.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, March 11, 2010.   And now, the news.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the complaints against Toyota are now pouring in. Ever since a widely reported accident involving an off-duty California policeman in a Lexus took place last year, sudden-acceleration complaints against Toyota have skyrocketed.  It’s the herd mentality, a socially recognized phenomenon.  Now Toyota owners are actively looking for problems in their cars.  I’ll make a prediction here.  In the next quality surveys from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power, I’ll bet that we see a surge in complaints against Toyota quality.  By the way, we’ll have a report later in the show exploring one possible cause of unintended acceleration.

In a move that could dramatically improve the public image of General Motors, CEO Ed Whitacre says the company will not only pay off its $8 billion in government loans early, when it does its IPO and starts issuing stock later this year, the government could make a profit.  In fact, a substantial profit. Whitacre says the government will make a lot of money and that the bailout will prove to be a really good investment. I’ve got to believe this would placate the critics who call it Government Motors, and would do wonders for GM’s public image.

The Chrysler Group named Laura Soave, 37 years old, to lead the revival of the Fiat brand in North America. Soave will report to Sergio Marchionne and will work with the brand CEOs to fully integrate Fiat into the marketing, sales, service and dealer network. Prior to joining Chrysler, Soave worked at Volkswagen of America as the General Manager of Experiential Marketing. Before that she worked at Ford.

Volkswagen reported its net income fell 80 percent in 2009, though it had nothing to do with Laura Soave leaving the company. According to the AP, VW earned $1.3 billion, or around 960 million Euros, last year. And things weren’t any easier for VW’s German colleague, BMW. The AP reports BMW’s profits fell 36 percent to 210 million Euros or about $286 million. Both companies expect profits to grow again this year. I’d point out that even though these are big drops, they were still profitable in an abysmal year.

And speaking of Volkswagen, the company still has the goal to pass Toyota and become the No. 1 in the world by 2018. According to Bloomberg, VW wants to set a sales record this year and so far it’s on track to do that thanks to growth in China and Brazil.

We’ve reported on this before, but car prices in China are creeping up.  According to Bloomberg, they increased nearly 1.5 percent last month compared to February 2009.  Some analysts think the prices will come down as automakers increase production to meet STRONG demand in the country. Sales are absolutely scorching right now, but look for them to cool off in the coming months.

We’ve got some spy photos of upcoming product to share.  First up, it looks like Mercedes is working on a refresh of the C-Class.  It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot going on here – maybe just a restyle of the front fascia and some other tweaks.

Next, we’ve got pics of the Opel Astra Sports Tourer, which looks like a station wagon version of the car.

Lastly, someone has finally managed to grab a nice shot of the next-generation Dodge Charger’s interior.  The dashboard has a swoopy look to it and a large swath of silver trim.  At first glance it looks like the center console and shifter carryover from today’s car but this may just be a test mule so there’s no way to know for sure.  Thanks to our partner Autoblog for all of those pictures.

Lastly, in related news, Ford is expected to unveil its brand-new police interceptor in Las Vegas tomorrow.  There’s no word on what it’s based on so your guess is as good as ours.  The obvious choices seem like a beefed-up Taurus SHO or maybe even an Australian Falcon, but who knows?

Coming up next, a look at one of the potential causes of unintended acceleration, which simply comes down to driver error.

We get to test drive a lot of different cars here at Autoline Daily. And we decided to take advantage of that to test out one potential cause of unintended acceleration. Take a look.

Interestingly, when I first discovered how I could easily hit both the gas pedal and the accelerator at the same time, it was almost dusk outside. When I looked down at my feet, I would have sworn that my foot was on the brake and not the gas. And while this doesn’t explain every incidence of unintended acceleration, it proves how easily this problem could simply be driver error.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Coming back for a cameo appearance is Jason Vines, with his analysis of how Toyota’s been handling its problems from a public-relations standpoint. That’s tonight at 7:00.

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

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

67 Comments to “Episode 346 – Toyota Complaints Skyrocket, U.S. Could Profit From Bailout, Car Prices in China Rise”

  1. Tim Holt Says:

    Concering the brake / accelerator pedal being hit at the same time. It is also a problem with the Ford F-150 P/U. I’ve had this occur a coulpe of times on my 2005 model, it SCARES THE HELL OUT OF YOU! First time I hit the wall of a building, the second time was the worst when I almost went through the front of service station / store, if it hadn’t been for a large metal gaurd in front of the building that stopped the truck.

  2. Mark Says:

    John, you need a new video clip to show when you discuss China auto sales. I keep seeing the same female salesperson in the yellow tie about two times a week!

  3. motorman Says:

    i have never been inside a toyota but don’t they have a ignition switch to shut off the engine like other cars?? seems to me you could just shut off the engine if the engines keeps accelerating or am i missing something ??

  4. HtG Says:

    I’m with Mark on some of the B role John. The clip that gets me is that Bridgestone ad mid-show. When the driver goes over the nail for the thousandth time (miss it!) I have a 50/50 record of hitting my mute button. But I still hear that, ‘Wheww’ inside my brain.

    Keep it comin’

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Don’t like the ignition push button, makes it harder to shut off engine in an emergency, overly large center consoles have pushed the accelerator closer to the brake. Why are these car execs so narrow minded? Toyota wanted to overtake GM, they did, now they have a crapload of problems, now VW wants to overtake Toyota, are they blind or stupid or do they think their quality is so impeccable that they will not falter as Toyota has?

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I have little doubt that driver error is a large percentage of the toyota problem.And as someone had already pointed out,those that drive an automatic equipped vehicle using one foot on the brake and the other on the throttle need to relearn/improve their driver technique.That doesn’t explain away everything,but I think it will be proved in a court,jmho.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    maybe people should take driving far more seriously than they now do in the US. Their Coutnerparts in Europe that regualrly a nd safely go on long trips at 120 ++ MPH on the autobahn, would not even think of cupholders, and for decades the most expensive Euro cars did not have them even as an option, and only after US demand they finally put them in. Driving a car with flip flops or ski boots on is another invitation to disaster, and has NOTHING to do with anything wrong with Toyotas or Audis or whatever.

  8. LEX Says:

    I agree with your reasoning about some of the reported incidents of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles maybe due to driver error.
    I wear size 12 EEE shoes and whenever I need to drive my In-Law’s 2002 Subaru Forrester my feet hit both (gas & brake) pedals when I press down on the brake. I bet if I got into a Prius the same would happen. It would be great if your staff could gather measurement data from the OEM’s so that a comparison of distances between the gas and the brake pedals in other similar vehicles could be done.

    I bet their are lawyers out there working over this type of data right now. No matter how this plays out Toyota is going to be taken to the cleaners whether it is a electronic, mechanical and.or pedal distance design issue with their vehicles.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Pedro, you observance of being number one and your conclusions seem to be of a ‘pretzel logic’; the two can’t be linked logically (being number one and having a death wish). GM did come tumbling down (but they were number one for a long, long time). Toyota was just coincidence (now if VW does make it to number one and then they come crashing down; then we’ll talk).

    I’m glad GM is on the right track (and the return on investment will meet fruition); don’t think we’re going to see any return on the money lent/given to the banking industry (but I hope I’m wrong on that).

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Question for anyone with a push button start: when you shut off engine, does the steering wheel lock automatically as soon as you shut off or is there some other mechanism involved? Steering wheels locks are useless anyway, thieves bypass them w/o any problems.

  11. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >In a move that could dramatically
    >improve the public image of General
    >Motors, CEO Ed Whitacre says the
    >company will not only pay off its
    >$8 billion in government loans early,

    Didn’t Chrysler pay off its loan guarantee early too?

    In any event, the sooner GM can become General Motors instead of Government Motors once again, the better. We don’t need the President of the United States telling any corporation who its president, CEO or other officials should be.

  12. Tony Gray Says:

    I just hope this is not the death knell for performance vehicles with manual transmissions.

    Even though the new Dual Clutch Transmissions are able to provide lightning quick gear changes, some folks just LOVE the ability to three pedal a car around, including the art of matching revs for downshifts by heel and toeing. (Yeah, I am aware of the Nissan Z Car’s automatic rev feature.)

    I always brake with my RIGHT foot in manual cars and my LEFT foot in automatics. Go figure. I am guessing that most of these folks are having problems with automatics, so the easy, ZERO cost solution is to get them to do the same. No way to accidentally hit the gas and brake at the same time with your LEFT foot.

    I suppose we will soon be driving cars with go-kart controls with the gas on one side of the footwell and the brake on the other….

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Chuck: if I’m not mistaken, VW was the #1 importer before the Japanese invasion, so losing top spot would be nothing new for them. Next invasion will be the Chinese. At first, quality will be bad I suppose, so they need to either improve or they’ll go the way of the Yugo. Low price will only last for a while, before people start realizing it does not pay to buy a cheaply made car.

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Pedro, I concur with your last statement. I was referring to VW’s quest for number one worldwide. (I would think the goal for any of the major manufacturers would be the top banana).

    And calling driver error on the pedal placement issue is only half correct. Some of the fault is in its design (just too close to each other). Big feet abound. :) So now that Toyota has shaved the accelerator pedal, they need to shave the brake pedal as well.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Chuck, not necessarily so, a lot of car makers are happy just to be in business and to make a decent profit, ginormous sales offer no guarantee of big profits. just look at the Detroit 3, even when sales were good their profits were not that great due to all their expenses and the cash back offers, even now GM has $3k cash back on a new Malibu. Nothing changes. That would be a good question for Mullaly, are you willing to sacrifice some quality to be the #1 auto maker?

  16. Steve Says:

    Your explanation of the toyota pedals doesn’t not show a driver error as much as it points out poor design.

    Your assessment that Toyota’s quality ratings will go down because people will be actively looking for problems in their cars. Doesn’t this level the play field for Detroit three? I was always amazed that back in day when the Detroit three would re-badge a vehicle the Japanese name plate would always rate high. Are this days coming to an end?? Lets hope so.

  17. dcars Says:

    Hi John, I disagree with the “driver error” issues that were mentioned in today’s video with the Toyota pedal locations. No one can design a car to take into account ski boots and no feeling in someones legs but car manufactures must take into account pedal locations for different markets. Human factors in engineering are a part of the design process that manufactures must consider. Cars have to be designed for the intended market they serve. Americans are usually bigger people than other locations in the world thus bigger feet etc…. It is difficult to design cars and it’s even more difficult if they have to meet the demands of the entire world. Pedal locations and plane can be an issue if they are not correct for the intended market.

  18. Salvador G. Says:

    I have an AAH Question.
    Why not Automakers/ or in fact the dealers, provide driving schools??
    so people can learn how to properly drive these cars OR – or to check if people can actually properly drive these cars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT07_JbnKWQ

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://automobiles.honda.com/mile-makers/story.aspx?Story=825

    Anybody wants a little 1988 Honda CRX with 550,500 (and counting) miles looking like new?

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://automobiles.honda.com/mile-makers/story.aspx?Story=783

    Or an Accord like my old 1990 with 917,000 miles, and in MAINE at that?!!!

  21. Nick Stevens Says:

    http://automobiles.honda.com/mile-makers/story.aspx?Story=614

    This one in Las Vegas has only… 800,000 miles..

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Being able to stop a runaway vehicle with just the brakes depends on the condition of such brakes. I’m sure if they’re almost gone, it would be next to impossible to stop. Besides as much as I like Toyota, they’re not known for having the best brakes in the industry, just read any test review, usually the brakes are one of the worst things these cars have. ps with today’s economy, I’m sure most people put off replacing worn out pads as long as possible.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Holy durability, Batman. The blue one looks almost new, the 2003 has almost a million miles in just in 7 years? does that guy ever leave his car? wonder how many times he has replaced the battery pack?

  24. Wes Says:

    Watch the Police Interceptor Reveal LIVE Friday, March 12, 2010 at 11:30 AM EST, 8:30 AM PST: http://www.fordpoliceinterceptorreveal.com/

  25. Nick Stevens Says:

    In seven years, he may still be with the original battery. it is not a matter of miles.

    PS They got so many on that site, I was skipping many with over 700k after I posted the 916 and the 800k..

  26. Jim Taylor Says:

    How is it that a Prius under “unintended acceleration” could not stop itself with it’s own brakes overcoming the engine, but a 4000 lb. police car could overcome the Prius engine AND it’s own inertial and stop BOTH of them?

    Car and Driver had a great test of this phenom that I’ve not seen discussed anywhere, including a 540HP Roush Mustang with the accelerator floored vs it’s own brakes. It STILL stopped itself. A Prius can’t?

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess that expensive police car that John wasted a whole show on is DOA?

  28. Jamie Curry Says:

    I have the same problem when I drive my wife’s 2009 Subaru Forester. I find that the gas pedal and the brake pedal are to close to one another. I have size 13 shoes, so I find myself catching the gas pedal when i brake. I drive a 2004 Toyota Matrix and have no problems.

  29. Nick Stevens Says:

    The exotic one, It never sounded like it had a chance, so i bet its developer got a ton of millions of $ in Stimulus $.

  30. Alex Kovnat Says:

    Regarding Tony Gray’s entry regarding performance cars with manual transmissions:

    A big problem with manual transmissions is, during a gear change you tend to get a brief “puff” of exhaust gas pollutants which makes it difficult to meet increasingly stringent emissions requirements. With so called “automatic manual” transmissions (i.e. non-planetary gear layshaft transmissions where the dog clutches are manipulated automatically instead of manually), we can attain the mechanical efficiency of a manual transmission along with the advantages of an integrated system that will proactively and simultaneously manipulate the engine and transmission together. The goal should be to minimize or better yet, eliminate emission “puffs” while providing the smoothest possible performance.

  31. Wayne Says:

    Since I have a bad habit of only covering about 1/2″ of the brake pedal with my foot when braking, I did my own check of the 2 vehicles we own (both Chrysler products). With my pickup, it was impossible to contact the gas pedal with the brake pedal fully depressed as there was sufficient difference in the “planes” of the 2 pedals. Our van is a different story, however. Both pedals could be depressed at the same time. Not sure if this has anything to do with the van having adjustable pedal positions or not??? I will certainly be more careful when driving the van from now on.

  32. Donfromnapels Says:

    If driver error could explain away unintended acceleration, then other manufacturers would be in the mix as well. Consumers who drive non-Toyota makes would have reported similar problems since pedal lay out and location is similar. I think this is a weak defense. I do not feel that such a defense would have been offered if Chrysler was experiencing this problem. It seems to me that many are attempting to jump to Toyota’s rescue despite clear evidence that Toyota ignored known issues like unintended acceleration and braking difficulties.

  33. Dave Forslund Says:

    Hi John,

    Your comments regarding GM’s fuutre profitability and being a wise investment: It isn’t difficult to make a profit when all of the debts have been either eleminated or reduced through bankruptsy. And then for the CEO to accept a plentiful pay package!?!?

    As a past GM stockholder who lost his entire investment in GM, I feel downhearted when you rave about what a good investment it will be, because it will be at mine and many others.

    I am happy that some Americans will have kept their jobs, but let’s not gloat about such grest profits they intend to make. (Don’t make me cry.[ha! ha!])

  34. Dave Forslund Says:

    7th line down…..mine and many others “expense.”

  35. Nick Stevens Says:

    I agree with Alex’s comments.

    Fortunately, while it used to be that one got a manual for performance and better fuel economy, today;s 8 speed autos (or even a lowly 5 speed one) provide just as good, or better (in the case of some 3 and 5 series models) fuel economy than the manual.

    The unacceptable automatics were the 3 and even 4 speeds you found and may still find in cheap rentals.

  36. Dave Forslund Says:

    Hi John,

    RE: Your comment on GM’s return to profitability.

    It isn’t difficult to return to profitability when one’s debts have been eleminated or reduced by bankruptsy.

    While GM’s prospects look promising and an IPO on the horizon, remember that a lot of people lost their entire investment in GM stock. The IPO will only give them additional billions of dollars at the previous shareholders expense.

    I am happy that many people had their jobs saved by the bankruptsy, but gloating about big profits, certainly doesn’t make the ex-shareholder feel good.

  37. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Dodge Charger Interior Design= A Blatant Copy of Current Gen Accent and Elantra Interior.

    The Gauges and upper Center Stack (Except the silver trim that flows into center stack)=Accent. They even copied the damm Vents.

    The Lower Center Stack and area/w Gear Lever =Elantra.

    ITS AN OUTRIGHT BLATANT COPY, BUT IF HYUNDAI DOES ANYTHING WE GET ACCUSED OF COPYING. YET, NOBODY EVER SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT THESE GUYS OR ANYBODY ELSE.

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Remember when HMA CEO John Krafick stated that they are tired of being Accused of copying?

    WELL, HYUNDAI OWNERS ARE EFING TIRED OF IT TOO!!!

  39. Roger T Says:

    Comon, let’s get real for a minute. Every reasonably maintained car, from econoboxes to supercars, will have beefier braking power than acceleration. Plus, brakes have a mechanical actuation, so even if your Ferrari tries to take off on you, just push on the brake pedal – and OF COURSE – shift it to neutral. It’s insane people talk about the problem and neglect to mention how stupid the ones that actually died are – so you can think of calling 911 and you can’t hink of braking hard and shifting to neutral???
    Anyways, regardless of all this insanity, this was a good wake up call to Toyota. I, as a not so satisfied Toyota owner myself, am glad people and the media are realizing these are not wonderful, unbreakable machines. In fact, my Toyota and Honda are the most expensive cars per mile I ever had.

  40. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2010/03/patent-designs-of-chevrolet-sedan-with.html?utm_source=feedburner

    By the way if this design is a Next Gen Malibu like they say it could be GM is going Toyota=Dull as Dishwater.

    However, this could be next Gen Impala, as that is the next large sized sedan on their pipeline. Impala is due to replaced within months, you know.

  41. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Then Again GM is the new Toyota, and Toyota is the New “Old GM”.

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Great, new police car so the cops can use it to do evil, but in 2010′s style. One of the top 3 reasons why I dont drive domestics is becuase they make police cars, and in my eyes the cops are the bad guys.

    They will probably have in dash Tazing as an option, NICE!! Bastards!!!

  43. Wayne Says:

    WOW! This chat area is getting more and more bizarre!!!!

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Evil cops, superior Korean cars, Toyota, Honda, GM Ford, BMW, Mercedes all suck, Welcome to the bizarro world of Hyundai’s top ad man.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Tony Gray says:

    “I always brake with my RIGHT foot in manual cars and my LEFT foot in automatics.”

    Interesting. I thought I was the only one who did that. I routinely switch between auto and manual cars, often on the same day, and I always left foot brake with the automatic.

  46. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Actually, Toyota and Honda only suck. GM, Ford, BMW, Merc are quite fine. Korean cars are superior to most out there (The new ones make Japnaese cars look like Chinese cars or the Korean Cars of old-Toyota and Honda would have to charge Lexus and Acura Prices to even provide Competitive Next Gen products), and Cops are truly evil. Not only Evil, but they take 25 hours to come too, and then when they come they treat you like the criminal. What an EFING waste on my tax dollars.

    Yeah, a Bizzaro World. Not created by me however. It’s just how it is, plain and simple. As a young man, this is my inherritance.

  47. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I have been comparing New Korean VS Japanese. The Koreans are more on the German Planet. The Americans are more on the Japanese Planet. German=Premium. Japanese=Econoboxes. Im glad the Koreans finally have their eyes on the ball, and gone away from that Japanese Econobox Direction.

    What’s even more wild is that they can provide a Germanic feel at the borderline illegal prices they are charging at that, while at nearly the same price the Japanese put out more “Dull as Dishwater” crap, and continue to do so.

    Like Ive said before, I have Next Gen Camry pics, and it that’s the same old boring Baby Boomer crap they are going to put out there the more people are going to buy Korean, American, and German its that simple.

  48. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Next Gen Yaris is a Joke to boot, I have pics of that too. That Aveo is going to eat its lunch, Royally.

  49. C-tech Says:

    Ok Smoke, time to go with the nice men in the white suits to get your medicine.

  50. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I told you guys about How Good the Sonata was Going to be, and you thought I was Crazy and Bsing you. Im a Total Spy, I know what the hell Im talking about when I say something.

    Most times I actually understate the potential of a car good or bad to trick you up.

    Ive seen the Yaris and Camry, its worse than nothing to write home about ITS SO DAMM LAZY OF TOYOTA IT EVEN PISSES ME OFF!!!

  51. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    From what I know about Toyota’s future Products, THIS COMPANY IS IN BIG ASS TROUBLE.

    Next Civic Sedan is Ghastly looking, the Hatch is Sweet by the way. The Sedan is the seller, and this 2011-2015 Model is going to be by far the WORST LOOKING CIVIC SEDAN SO FAR SINCE 2000.

    If you thought EN (2001-2005) Civic Looked bad.

    If you thought the FN (2006-2010) Civic looked bad.

    Wait until the next one Fan boys. Now that crap takes the cake.

  52. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    If you thought the CRZ was bad….. Wait until the Civic. That’s all I have to say about Honda and the POOP its been putting out.

  53. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Anybody who buys next Gen Civic over Forte or Cruze will be an absolute idiot, or a Die Hard
    Fanboy.

  54. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I HAD ENOUGH OF YOU TOYOTA AND HONDA LOVERS, AND ITS TIME FOR MY DAILY QUESTION:

    When will this Toyota/Honda “Excellent Quality” Hoax be exposed?

  55. Dan Clemons Says:

    John, that was one of the best shows you have ever done! I agree that most acceleration issues are simply driver error. Another reason I don’t buy it is because you can easily turn the engine off by holding the Prius start button for 3 seconds. Show me where drivers have used their emergency brakes to stop the car. Regular brakes do work when accelerating. Lastly, what about putting the car in neutral?

    For the most part, I think this is driver error.

  56. Nick Stevens Says:

    Cars cannot be made totally idiot-proof.

    NONE of this unintended crap happened with MANUAL transmissions, as John Observed.

    Listen to Auto After Hours, Max and Smoke.. I could not have said it better myself…

  57. dcars Says:

    I can see the headlines now: Toyota blames current problems on driver error. They are willing to provide free lessons on how to drive their cars! Class topics:
    Accelerator and you, no over sized shoes please!
    Brake Pedal, Press here to stop. Right grandma.
    Trunk Use, not for mobsters anymore.
    Turn signals, turn-off after turning.
    Rear View Mirrors, More than just for applying make up.
    Special Toyota Topic, Washing machines, power drills and Mixers, your home appliances and their differences.

  58. T. Bejma Says:

    Honda is not the only maker with Million Mile vehicles…

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/mans-chevy-1200-miles-from-million-mile-mark.html

  59. T. Bejma Says:

    “Kit Gerhart Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 9:45 pm
    Tony Gray says:

    “I always brake with my RIGHT foot in manual cars and my LEFT foot in automatics.”

    Interesting. I thought I was the only one who did that. I routinely switch between auto and manual cars, often on the same day, and I always left foot brake with the automatic.”

    I also do this and almost on a daily basis between my Cobalt SS/SC and GMC Acadia…

  60. T. Bejma Says:

    “HyundaiSmoke Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 7:41 pm
    http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2010/03/patent-designs-of-chevrolet-sedan-with.html?utm_source=feedburner

    By the way if this design is a Next Gen Malibu like they say it could be GM is going Toyota=Dull as Dishwater.”

    That is the new Malibu. I saw the foam model. It looks MUCH better in 3D. It’s so nice that when I first saw it I thought it was unfair to even compare it to a Camry or Accord. Way classier!

  61. Nick Stevens Says:

    Even the current malibu has good exterior styling (better than the Camry’s) but that alone apparently was not sufficient to move it in camry or accord kind of numbers. Why are we already talking about the NEXT malibu? The present styling-model has not been around more than a couple years!

  62. HtG Says:

    Nick, you may be aware that on Honda manual cars, one needs to depress the clutch for the ignition to engage. Could be even the set of manual drivers
    intersects with the Doofus, as far as Honda is concerned.

    dcars, very funny. Your thoughts on ‘backing up’?

  63. Nick Stevens Says:

    “T. Bejma Says:
    March 12th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Honda is not the only maker with Million Mile vehicles…”

    It is not impressive if one has one or two million mile vehicles, I am sure most makers have one of these. And if it is a taxi or a diesel or both, it is much easier to attain.

    (Honda sells no diesels nor taxis in the US)

    What is impressive is when you have THOUSANDS and thousands of REAL owners write their stories of high miles with no problems, like in the Honda site. Honda developed the site quite late, and copied it after a site that MEr4cedes used to have (but which I was unable to find on the web right away).

    80% (!!) of all Mercedeses sold in the US in the late 70s-early 80s were DIESELS, so it was quite easy to find many mercedes owners with several hundred thousand or even a million miles.

  64. Nick Stevens Says:

    “HtG Says:
    March 12th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Nick, you may be aware that on Honda manual cars, one needs to depress the clutch for the ignition to engage. ”

    Of course, I am still an owner of a Civic hatch that is much ligher than your miata and can take 2.5 times more people, with the driver able to stretch, and at 44 MPG higway actual. And before that, you know I opwned a 1990 Accord coupe manual from 94-08

  65. HtG Says:

    As you know Nick, a car may be light, but Center of Gravity and Yaw Moment of Inertia strongly affect vehicle dynamics. Miata!

    And surprise! I also have a Civic which gets 43@75. OK, maybe I do some drafting to get that figure.

  66. dcars Says:

    Toyota Driver improvement program.
    Class Topics continued:
    -Backing Up in your Toyota: Don’t ask don’t tell our school policy.
    -Personal Hygiene and Washing your Toyota.
    -Secrets and Lies, what to tell family about unintended acceleration.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG Says:
    March 12th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    “Nick, you may be aware that on Honda manual cars, one needs to depress the clutch for the ignition to engage.”

    I suspect all current manual transmission cars require you to depress the clutch to crank the engine. Do you mean that with a Honda, you don’t get ignition with a non-running engine except with the clutch depressed, so you can’t push start it?