Episode 367 – Asian Car Sales Strong, STP & Armor All For Sale, Mazda Diesel Set For U.S.

April 9th, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 7:03

Car sales continue to remain strong in China and India. STP and Armor All are being sold off by the Clorox company, which owns them. Mazda will bring a diesel to the American market by 2012. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit about how Ford managed to improve its quality to the point that it matches or beats Toyota and Honda.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Car sales are screaming ahead in Asia. STP and Armor All are up for sale. And Mazda will bring a diesel to the American market.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, April 9, 2010. And now, the news.

Now that the company is fully profitable again, Ford is pouring on the investments in the Southern Hemisphere of the planet. The company is putting over $400 million into South Africa, $250 million into Argentina, and over $200 million into Brazil. The AP reports that in Brazil, Ford is redesigning the Ecosport SUV for export markets, the first time a Brazilian designed top hat will be exported by the company.

Two of the best-known consumer aftermarket brand names are up for sale. STP and Armor All are being sold off by the Clorox company (subscription required), which owns them. The Wall Street Journal reports that STP and Armor All have combined sales of $300 million and should sell for about $800 million. The Journal quotes one analyst as saying Clorox is selling off these brands because it’s “cleaning house.”

Even though analysts thought they’d slow down, car sales continue to boom in China. According to Bloomberg, passenger car sales hit 1.3 million units last month, a 63 percent jump. Sales remain strong thanks to government incentives for purchasing new vehicles.

And speaking of car sales in Asia, India again posted strong growth. According to Bloomberg, passenger car sales hit 1.5 million last year, a 25 percent gain and the largest gain in the market in six years. Sales were up thanks to a strong economy and the introduction of several new models. Although sales are expected to slow down this year due to interest-rate hikes in the country.

Part of the deal between Daimler, Nissan and Renault to share technology is that Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti will get four- and six-cylinder engines – both gasoline and diesel – from Mercedes. Auto Week reports that the G is getting a Benz diesel, but no word yet which one.

In related news, Mazda will offer a diesel-powered midsize sedan in the U.S. in 2012. The Detroit news reports the car will get 43 miles per gallon – better than comparable hybrids. The company promises it will cost less than a hybrid.

BMW is expanding its “Classic Center” and opening it to the public, giving owners of vintage Bimmers a place to take their cars for service or restoration work. The company offers a catalog of some 30,000 parts, reconditioned engines and other services. It estimates that there are at least 600,000 classic BMWs on the road today, roughly 10 percent of the pre-1980s cars built. Additionally, the company has established a Motorsports Division offering technical advice, parts procurement and restoration services for vintage competition BMWs and Minis.

Coming up next, a look at how Ford managed to improve its quality to the point that it matches or beats Toyota and Honda. It’s all about getting customer feedback into the design process.

On Autoline Detroit this week, my guest is Bennie Fowler, the Vice President of Quality for the Ford Motor Company. In the following clip he talks about how they get input from all over the company, and also make sure that customer feedback is available to designers, engineers and the manufacturing people.

You can catch that entire interview on our website at AutolineDetroit.tv.

Well, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to tell us what the letters CHMSL stand for. It’s a piece of safety equipment on a car that was introduced in the 1980s. And the correct answer is, CHMSL stands for Center High-Mounted Stop Light. And the winner is James Day from Wataga, Illinois. Congratulations James, you’ve just won a Autoline Detroit coffee mug.

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

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

83 Comments to “Episode 367 – Asian Car Sales Strong, STP & Armor All For Sale, Mazda Diesel Set For U.S.”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Let’s wait 7 or 10 years and check on those (as good as Accord or Camry) Fusions and see where they stand after 150k, 200k or more miles of use and if they’re still around and providing reliable service to their owners.

  2. Jim Sawyer Says:

    Love your optimism, Pedro!

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, like the old saying: You love me today, will you love me 10 years from now?

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    Having seen the subcompact Ford Fiesta yesterday up close, I think it will be quite a hit.

    Its exterior styling is far, far, far better than the current facelifted Focus fossil design of more than a decade old.

    its sales will sure hurt both the aveo and the cruze, the Fit, the Versa and the yaris.

    But it also depends on the price, Ford claimed the bare-bones Fiesta will go for $14k, but a loaded one will be a very steep $23k.

  5. Nick Stevens Says:

    Any car can do 100,000-200,000 highway miles in a few years in the sunbelt.

    it is a totally different story for a car to do 150,000 miles in the snowbelt, with short trips 2 miles each way most of the time.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    A Fiesta for 23k? I’d rather go for the more than proven Civic or Corolla over a questionable new model from Ford, no matter how “cool” it looks.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    I don’t expect many Fiesta Buyers to be mature, well-informed adults. I expect them to be teens bugging their parents for a Fiesta because of its looks. And secretaries. I see no need to buy one for myself, even as a second, city car. there are far better choices, new (PRius) or used ( 100s!)

    Who knows how many will get the base $14k and how many the $23k? If the huge increase in Versa sales is any indication, I’d bet many will go for the base version.

    PS the Fiesta is not a Civic-Corolla competitor, but a Fit-yaris one.

    The new Focus will be fighting Civics and Corollas, and it also looks quite cool.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    But at $20k it’s more in line with Civic than Yaris, correct? I don’t count Fit cause I think it’s overpriced for its class. Also Fiesta’s nicer than Yaris, Versa, Its more expensive. I also find the Civic drives as well as Accord of 10 years ago.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A base Fiesta for ~14K should be a decent value, if the car is any good. That’s a little cheaper than a base Fit. Granted, the Fit is probably a better car, but the Fiesta looks much cooler and should match the Fit in gas mileage.

    As far as a “loaded” Fiesta for $23K. I don’t think so. You can almost get a new Prius or a decently equipped Golf TDI for that money. Those cars will beat the Fiesta’s fuel economy, and have a lot more room.

  10. dcars Says:

    The Corolla should continue be a tough competitor in that class of cars. The Yaris on the other hand does not seam like a good car, it’s disturbing instrument panel and ugly looks will hold it back. I liked the original Fit but the latest addition seams odd looking. It starting to look like the Toyota/Honda lock on small and medium sized cars is in trouble.

  11. HtG Says:

    When I saw the Fiesta at the NY Show I heard the presentation by the product specialist. One thing I kept hearing was how many fancy features Fiesta came with. Sure the stripper goes for high 13K, but there is lots of electronics gear and the fit of the parts seemed great. I asked if the car on the floor was a production unit, and the specialist said that it was not. So can’t be sure what consumers will get. The exterior design also had lots of detail, stuff I associate with more expensive cars. Definitely not intended as a penalty box.

  12. dcars Says:

    Those classic Bimmers look great. I loved the results I got from Armor All, I hope the new owner doesn’t reduce the quality of this product.

  13. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    A base Fiesta for ~14K should be a decent value, if the car is any good. That’s a little cheaper than a base Fit. Granted, the Fit is probably a better car, but the Fiesta looks much cooler and should match the Fit in gas mileage.”

    The First Gen fit looked like an Aveo, but the 2nd gen has far better exterior styling, esp. up front. But it still is nose-heavy as are most FWD cars (long front overhang) except the Mini.

    “As far as a “loaded” Fiesta for $23K. I don’t think so. You can almost get a new Prius or a decently equipped Golf TDI for that money.”

    That’s true. Maybe the $23k has leather seats and all kinds of elecrtronics and sound systems, but it will not be a luxury car with varnished wood or anything, so it is very steep. You can get excellent, new, EPA large (not mid-sized, or compact!) sized Accords for that price.

    That’s why i expect the vast majority of Fiestas to be $14k base models. And when you can get a base versa for $10k, only the cute upscale exterior styling can justify paying 40% more for a car with less room inside.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    dcars Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    “The Yaris on the other hand does not seam like a good car,”

    Anyone considering a Yaris should check out the Scion xD. It is only a little more expensive than a Yaris, and is a better car.

  15. Nick Stevens Says:

    dcars Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    “The Corolla should continue be a tough competitor in that class of cars. The Yaris on the other hand does not seam like a good car, it’s disturbing instrument panel and ugly looks will hold it back.”

    This class (subcompacts) sells only a few copies in the US, maybe only 20% of the compacts or the mid-sizes. TOyota had some decent tercels a while ago, then the Echo was far uglier than any yaris, then the yaris. These are very lightweight cars, with no frills at all, tinny doors with little padding, but get very good city and hwy mpg. And for Toyotas they are not expensive.

    I disagree with you on the Fit though, the second gen looks much better than the boring first one that one could confuse with an aveo.

  16. HtG Says:

    Nick, how do you factor in higher gas prices to people’s selection of Fiesta? Mullaly is predicting higher prices which will make Fiesta more attractive. There is even a model that gets 40 highway.

  17. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Mazda’s experiment with a diesel should be interesting to watch. While mileage is very good (hybrid or better good), if diesel sales spread to other manufacturers, there is a chance that diesel fuel could/may get to be disproportionately more expensive than regular which would negate the very same thing it purports. Of course, equally interesting, will be whether diesel sales take off in the first place. Color me an interesting observer (at this point).

  18. dcars Says:

    Hi Nick, Interesting comments as always. I was impressed with the first Fit, I test drove one and it had a nice set of wheels and a “hotter” motor than the base. I liked it and was sad to see that Honda redesigned it.
    I had a rental Yaris four door sedan and couldn’t wait to get out of that thing.

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    “HtG Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Nick, how do you factor in higher gas prices to people’s selection of Fiesta? Mullaly is predicting higher prices which will make Fiesta more attractive. There is even a model that gets 40 highway”

    I think Mullaly is correct, as long as that 40 MPG model is reasonably priced. Note that the Cruze, which is larger (civic-cobalt sized) but not as cool or upscale styled as the new Fiesta, also can get 40 MPG, we will have to wait for the exact price points to guess at the sales of each.

    What we know is that it is very difficult to make a profit selling small cars in the US, and their volumes are insignificant (probably the reason why it’s hard to make a profit!).

    Of all the subcompacts, only the versa has decent volumes (13,000 a month last March), the others, Fit, yaris Aveo have dismal volumes.

    Compare these nos. to the 53,000 Civics sold in may 08, when gas topped $4. Consumers reacted in a huge way then, and the F-150 tumbled not just from no. 1 to no. 2 but to no. 5 (!!) after the Civic, Corolla, Camry and Accord.

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    Chuck, I am also very interested to finally see some competition to the Golf-jetta diesel from a similarly priced Mazda.

    Mazda only promised their diesels will be cheaper than the Hybrids, but how more expensive will they be from the gas non-hybrid 6? This will determine how many they will sell.

    And if Mazda does it, why can’t FORD also do it, after all many mdoels are clones of each other and the Fiesta will also be sold as a mazda 2 in the US later.

  21. Erick Says:

    Mazda should put that diesel on the mazda2.

  22. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Fiesta is too expensive for the Kids, well anybody under 23-25.

    Like the Fit, its going to be another Medicare Select Subcompact at that pricing. No really, the youngest person I know with a Fit is 37, and I know a lot of Fit drivers. The same Age Problem with the XD. Its not the features that are the problem with these cars, its the price for the features offfered. A Base Fit is worth $12K, not $15. Fits can go as high as $23K, and who in the hell is going to want a small car for $23K when they can get a MINI for cheaper with leather, etc.. at that? WHAT IS SO EFING GOOD ABOUT THE FIT THAT MAKES IT COST MORE THAN A CIVIC? I could see if this was like an Indian Spec Fit with leather or something, but its got Hyundai Accent Cloth and Plastic. Humm maybe that’s why Accent constantly spanks Fit in Sales?

    At least the Fiesta got that right. I do see a few young people buying Fiesta becuase some of the pricing is fair considering the equippment, but these arent going to be young Burger King Workers. These are going to be young 25-40 professionals making $25-$45K, and probably mostly Female, as the Fiesta looks too cute for its own good= girls car. The First time some chick puts Flower Graphics on the Fiesta, that guy credibility is cooked, and YOU KNOW ITS GOING TO HAPPEN!! Yaris is a SUPER Girls car now, after 73 Billion Tuning companies put Flower Graphics on it. Plus its Bubbly Styling is too cute, like the Fiesta.

    I see Guys buying Fiesta Sedans, and Turbo Hatches. The Fiesta looks great, but its not tough enough looking for most guys who are in that segment.

    Parents have no sense of job security these days. The Kids are getting used, something new and cheaper, or learn the value of work to get their own car like I did.

  23. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    For the price of a Fit: Forte, Elantra, Golf, Civic, are all better cars.

    The Fit isnt go, its NO!!! The Fit IS BY FAR THE WORST VALUE POSITIONED PRODUCT THAT HONDA/ACURA HAS. Civic=Better MPG and Costs less IN A C SEGMENT CAR!!!

    I used to love Honda, but that has been replaced by Ford. I like Honda, but its really starting to become tragically annoying.

    However, the CrossTour in which Most of You Hate, I know looks 20 Times better in real life. Its as ostentatious as the Magnum (Especially in Silver), just in a less desirable wrapper.

  24. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Honda’s problem is going to get worse, as they cheapen their cars to 15 year old GEO METRO PLASTICS like the Insight/CR-Z. They made the car cheaper, but they went back 15 years in plastic Evolution.

  25. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Fit is priced higher than the Yaris, Aveo, Versa and the various Kias and Hyundais because it is a higher quality AND very intelligently designed car.

    You are comparing a regular knife to a Swiss army knife, of course the latter will be more expensive. That does not make it a lesser VALUE.

  26. Nick Stevens Says:

    Honda’s problem no. 1 is ACURA, and the hideous styling of its cars. I can’t imagine Acura is making dime one in the US for years now.

    Honda’s own styling has been less than stellar after 1990, but it does not hurt the eye as much as the Star-trek inspired (?) Front ends of the acuras.

  27. Nick Stevens Says:

    MPG will be the new 0-60, but the products that will offer high MPGs are not yet on sale, it takes about 4 years for the brand-new designs that were done after the $147 oil of May 2008 to reach the showrooms. I would wait until then, if my present vehicle holds.

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Design is very very intelligent, but Im not seeing a quality Gap that justifies it to be priced higher than Accent GS, much less a larger Civic.

    Nick, like I said about that Next US Civic. It makes the controversial CrossTour look prety nice.

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Fit has the bes interior design in is class Currently, but for the price no!!! Or if they are going to charge it at that price at least make Alloys Standard on it or something.

    A $15,700 Fit with Auto Trans comes with Steel Wheels and Hubcaps. WHAT B SEGMENT CAR AT THAT PRICE COMES WITH STEEL WHEELS, ARE YOU EFING KIDDING ME, HONDA?!!!

    Oh yeah, the other Medicare Select Subcompact=Scion XD IS THE ONLY OTHER SUBCOMPACT BESIDES FIT THAT COMES AT NEARLY $16k WITH JUST STEEL WHEELS.

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    What a shame, as I hear Hyundai is looking into the idea of Forgoing Steel Wheels and Hubs on all Next Gen Cars with Alloys focused on style and or fuel economy.

    To think, all from a company that used to put Steel Wheels and Hubs on Sedans the size of a whale a few years back.

    Steel Wheels and hubs=Outdated 20th century tech, just like 6s in Midsized sedans.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    I find it amusing how much the Yaris is criticized by the auto media and motorheads, the car is simply an affordable, cheap to run and maintain, reliable way to get around with reasonable comfort. It’s like the old Beetle, no one bought the Beetle for comfort or luxury, it was just basic transportation, so is the Yaris. It has the least depreciation of ANY car being sold now. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it makes a good used car purchase because the prices have not gone down much since 2007 and for a bit more, you can buy a brand new one, as long as you don’t go crazy on the options. Around these parts, I see a lot of them. Corolla is out of range for certain people now.

  32. dcars Says:

    Hey Pedro,
    Sorry I criticized the Yaris, on a good note it did get me where I wanted to go for less than cab fare!

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HyundaiSmoke Says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    “For the price of a Fit: Forte, Elantra, Golf, Civic, are all better cars.”

    Base price of a Fit is $15,610 including “destination.” The cheapest Civic is $16,165, and doesn’t have hatchback versatility of the Fit. The cheapest Golf is over $18K.

    What makes Fit appealing to a lot of people is that it is a practical people and “stuff” hauler and it gets good gas mileage, but it is also fun to drive. While it doesn’t handle as well as a Mini, it handles very well, and, with a manual transmission, it has the best power train in its class.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Yaris is not a bad car, but others are better for similar money. The driving position of Yaris is not good; the pedals are too close and the steering wheel too far away for many people. Also, the instrument layout is a bit strange. Those who are shopping in this class who really want a Toyota should check out the Scion xD. It is a better car.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “And if Mazda does it, why can’t FORD also do it, after all many mdoels are clones of each other and the Fiesta will also be sold as a mazda 2 in the US later.”

    Right now, Mazda has a lot more of interest to me that they could sell with diesels than Ford, like the Mazda3 5-door and the Mazda5. Ford will soon have the Fiesta hatch, but right now, has nothing that I’d consider.

  36. Andrew Charles Says:

    Key cars missing from the B-segment in the US market:

    Honda City (sedan version of Fit)
    Mazda2 (sedan and hatch—coming soon)
    Mitsubishi Colt and Colt Plus (hatch and wagon)
    Volkswagen Fox and Space Fox (hatch and wagon)
    Nissan Note

  37. Andrew Charles Says:

    Neither the Yaris nor Scion xD (formerly the xA) hatchbacks are at all competitive subcompacts. designed really for a Japanese-market environment devoid of European competition, the Yaris is sized to match the Nissan March (Micra) and Suzuki Swift, not the class-leading European models. The xD (a.k.a Toyota ist and UrbanCruiser), is just a rebodied Yaris, and offers no more interior space despite its larger size. To put things in perspective neither has as much interior space as the new, minicompact Chevrolet Spark. The Yaris sedan (a.k.a Belta and Vios) is more competitive—with much a longer wheelbase it is a genuine B-segment contender—although it is helped by the fact that there are far fewer modern B-segment sedans (but a lot old and/or “cheap” ones). Aside from the Mazda2, Honda City and the new Fiesta, everything else is as old or older than the Yaris/Belta/Vios and due for replacement.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I really liked the “not for US consumption” Citroen C4 diesel I rented during the summer of ’08. It drove well, got great fuel economy, and seemed fairly roomy for its size. The displays were a little quirky, but that is to be expected in French cars in general, and Citroens in particular.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    I also criticized the yaris, even though I recommend other Toyotas to my friends. Still, it is an improvement over the Echo. it is not worth a carmaker’s time selling cheap models that can’t sell beyond a few thou in the US, especially if they have to spend millions to modify them to US standards.

    What this segment needs is one or two good designs at affordable prices that can have the necessary VOLUME of sales to be successful.

    The Detroit 3 have been losing $ on small cars for decades, and currently they can only build them in S korea or mexico, and even then I am not sure if they make a dime off them.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    HS said:

    “Nick, like I said about that Next US Civic. It makes the controversial CrossTour look prety nice.”

    I have not seen a single pic or even artist’s rendering of the new civic. is it a 2011 or 2012 model?

    Where did YOU see it, and if you did, give us the link. Past civics have looked quite good exterior-wise, both the current one and its predecessor, their coupes look sharp in silver too.

  41. Nick Stevens Says:

    Does it make any sense to buy a bare-bones new Yaris instead of using the same exact $ to buy a one-year old Civic or even Fit, with a far better interior, options, safety etc, and most importantly, you can take a 1,000 mile trip on the civic and come out rested, while the small lightweight yaris will not be as kind to your bones. How much will you save from the 1 or 2 MPG that the Yaris will be better than the civic? it makes zero sense to me.

  42. Nick Stevens Says:

    Despite the $8-$9 a gallon (US) gas prices in Europe, it amazes me that ads for cars do not highlight the MPG (or Lt/100 km) but the stupid Co2 grams per whatever emissions!!!

    I was looking at Autocar and they had a test of a BMW 120 Diesel which got 68 MPG (UK, make it 55 US) average (!!) and instead of making a huge deal of that, there they went again with the stupid CO2!

  43. Nick Stevens Says:

    Speaking of styling of Civics, there used to be a blue mettalic Civic coupe parked next to my car at work every day, and one day I saw there was a white car parked instead. Somehow from a distance it looked more angular than the current civic coupe, so I thought it was the new Kia Forte “Koup”, but coming closer, it was just another civic coupe! And I thought I can spot the type of a car from a mile away. I think it was the color that did it, it is amazing how different a car can look in white than in mettalic dark blue.

  44. Drew Says:

    Where are all the “BUY AMERICAN” patriots celebrating the fact that Ford is investing nearly a BILLION dollars in South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil?!?!

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “How much will you save from the 1 or 2 MPG that the Yaris will be better than the civic?”

    A Civic actually does BETTER than a Yaris in real-world highway driving as measured by CR.

    Yaris hatch automatic 38
    Yaris sedan automatic 41
    Civic EX automatic 43
    Civic EX manual 40

    The manual transmission Civic has much “shorter” gearing than the automatic, which explains the worse highway mileage than the automatic.

    The automatic Yaris sedan beat the Civic in “overall” mileage 32-28, which amounts to about $145/year in fuel costs for 12K miles.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A big advantage of Yaris over a Civic is that they sell a hatchback. Fit and Versa are better cars, though, if you want a hatch.

  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Civic may beat the yaris on the highway due to its lower sleeker profile, but around town I have seen some CR numbers where it did much better. Your overall $145 makes my point, it is not worth the meager savings.

    The last Civic hatches were quite cute, not sure what year, one could find excellent examples in the sunbelt and save a ton of $ due to the depreciation, and they are good for another 10 yrs and 100-200k miles with regular service and maintenance, a brake job or two and a timing belt.

  48. Nick Stevens Says:

    And these were the EX civic nos, these are the most expensive3 ones and weigh more than the base. there was a high-MPG Civic HF some years ago that had EPA 36 city/44 HWY when other civics had much less.

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Drew Says:
    April 10th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Where are all the “BUY AMERICAN” patriots celebrating the fact that Ford is investing nearly a BILLION dollars in South Africa, Argentina, and Brazil?!?!”

    GM and ford have been making and selling tens of millions of cars in Europe for Decades (Ford, Vauxhall, Opel), but even today, GM sold MORE cars in CHINA than in the US!

    And these were NOT $2,500 tata nanos but $30,000 Buicks!

  50. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Andrew, Colt is coming and will be here some time late this year.

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/mitsubishi-colt.html

  51. Nick Stevens Says:

    I wonder why is mazda offering the diesel only on the sedan 6 and not where it could be far, far more helpful and appropriate, ie, in its slow-selling -7 and -9 SUVs or crossovers.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    There are many buyers out there who just WON’T buy used anything on wheels. You can try to convince them that a used Civic or Corolla is much better than a new Yaris or Versa and they still want new. Around here, I see a whole lot of new subcompacts running around, long distances and depressed economic situation is the reason why many people have opted for these small cars as a commuter vehicle while keeping a larger more opulent one for weekends and such.

  53. Nick Stevens Says:

    “There are many buyers out there who just WON’T buy used anything on wheels”

    And there are far, far, far more that buy used.

    The used car market is 3-4 TIMES the size of the new car market. Look it up.

    I have no interest in convincing anybody to buy used, since this will further increase used car prices, and this year they have going up big time, even as the new car market has become smaller than even the Chinese market, and by 3 million vehicles.

    I particularly should not say too much about how huge the depreciation is in large luxury import sedans, where they lose up to 90% of their value by 7 years, and they are cheaper than even the cheapest new Kia, Versa, yaris or Aveo!

  54. Nick Stevens Says:

    Some predict $4 gas in the US again. In the UK, it has exceeded $9 a gallon. It would be interesting to see if the May 08 results, when the Civic, which sells only 20,000 a month these days, sold 53,000 and became the no 1 best seller, dethroning the F 150 after 20 years in the No 1 spot.

  55. Nick Stevens Says:

    ..if the may 08 results repeat themselves in May-June ’10.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have been saying for the longest time that used is much better that new, you just have to be careful where you buy and under what conditions, I believe a one year old car is a big question mark, simply because why would anyone trade in a year old car unless it had problems, was a rental or in some rare case the buyer decided to move upmarket and trade up, perhaps an extended warranty would be prudent. Carmax sells lots of rentals but they prep them up real nice and offer credit to those who have bad credit history. A lease-end would be good for a higher class model, but for cheaper cars, it’s a bit of a gamble.

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    April 10th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    “The Civic may beat the yaris on the highway due to its lower sleeker profile, but around town I have seen some CR numbers where it did much better.”

    The automatic Yaris sedan beat the automatic Civic EX sedan 23/18 in CR’s “city” test.

    That city test is pretty severe, since my Mini only measured 24 in the test, while I am getting 36 overall for my mixed driving with my Mini.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens says:

    “I particularly should not say too much about how huge the depreciation is in large luxury import sedans, where they lose up to 90% of their value by 7 years!”

    The more you say it, the more likely I will be to check out, and maybe buy one. I like trying different types of cars, which is the main reason I have thrown away a lot of money buying cars and not keeping them too long. I think a clean, few-year-old big Benz or BMW should be on my list of cars to drive for a while.

  59. HtG Says:

    Nick wrote a bit about Civic styling, so I’ll just add that my 02 coupe has a peculiar trait. When I park next to a late BMW 3series coupe, the two cars’ profiles are nearly identical. Lining them up bumper to bumper, reveals that while the Bimmer is a sexy thing, my little Civic looks more like homework assignment.

    I have also sat in the KIA Koupe and Volvo C30 coupe. I found it spooky how similar the interiors and ergonomics these cars are to my Honda. The dash and pillars all seem to be in the same places. Brrrrrr.

  60. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit,

    the 90% depreciation over 7 yrs is for the 6 and v8 sedans only, cooler cars like the 911 do not depreciate as much. I just checked them again today while waiting at the supermarket cashier’s, a 2000 911 (non-turbo) was 20-30k retail, while a 2000 740il, which cost more than the 911 new, is less than 12k retail!

  61. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# HtG Says:
    April 10th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Nick wrote a bit about Civic styling, so I’ll just add that my 02 coupe has a peculiar trait. When I park next to a late BMW 3series coupe, the two cars’ profiles are nearly identical.”

    This is true, if you see them from the side or rear, but not up front.

    ” Lining them up bumper to bumper, reveals that while the Bimmer is a sexy thing, my little Civic looks more like homework assignment.”

    The 3 is better up front where it has very little overhang, while the Civic as most FWDs seem to have too much of it.

    Another similarity btw Bimmers and Hondas is that both have a huge motorcycle tradition, which occured before they became big auto names.

  62. Nick Stevens Says:

    A one-yr old is always good to investigate. A rental is not necessarily abused. Do you abuse the cars you rent? And they check everything every couple days, they need to be as good as new all the time, so it’s not a big risk.

    The 1st yr depreciation is usually the deepest, but if you want to byu a much better car fro the same $, why not wait for off-lease 3 yr old cars. Typically they have only one owner, and the lease terms usually require them to take good care of them. And usually they will be certified used. with warranty etc.

    For older cars, the no of owners is important, but also the type. What is the chance if you buy a 7 series long version, that it was taken to the track and driven to the limit? Almost zero. But if you buy a used M3 (which will be quite more expensive than the 7, despite the fact the 7 was more expensive new), who knows how it has been abused.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve heard that they never change the oil in daily rental cars. If that is true, the engine might not last as long as in a car which has more frequent oil changes. Still, they don’t let them run out of oil, and some car companies’ suggested change interval is 15K miles, though with synthetic oil.

  64. HtG Says:

    Kit, that better not be true about oil changes. My fears are about the lessee that doesn’t bother; not his problem.

    When I had my Miata serviced, I was told that in Japan, oil is so expensive that owners just drain a quart of the old goo and add a fresh one. And that filter enjoys a biblical lifespan as well.

  65. Nick Stevens Says:

    This does not make any sense. For most 4 cylinders, you can get an oil change for $20 at Firestone. I am sure that a rental company can do an oil change on its own cars for even less. Given that many rentals to not do a lot of miles on business trips (airport to hotel to plant to airport), 100 miles a day average, it would take 150 days to change with synthetic, or more than two months to change with fossil oil.

    Rental cos like hertz have far bigger expenses than the dime a day or quarter a day regular oil changes cost.

    My rental Altima Hybrid had an oil leak (at less than 10k miles), and ran out of the stuff completely, they refused to send a towtruck when i called them, and asked me, despite my warnings, to return it from the hotel to the LAX Hertz yard because it was a short distance, and by the time I entered the yard the engine conveniently seized.

    I don’t know if the insurance paid them and they do not care, but they did have to give me a $100 certificate valid for a year. I take it with me on long trips in case my car misbehaves…

  66. Nick Stevens Says:

    The current 760iL V12 makes more than 500 HP, almost twice than an 95-01 740iL! The new, “smaller” but still huge, Rolls Royce Ghost uses a variation of the engine and the platform and many mechanicals. The 760 new is about 130-140k. Very few will be sold, but if old 7 V12s are any indication, you can probably sweep up one of these true supercars in 2018 for $15k!!!!

    The interior of these new 7s is also far superior in luxury than older 7s or S classes. It has hand-sticthed leather all over the dash and the doors in many places where the older ones had good quality plastic!

  67. Nick Stevens Says:

    Another idea is why not shop close to home. IF you live in a densely populated area, there should be a ton of cars for sale by neighbors, and you may know how good they are in caring for their vehicle.

    This also saves a ton of gas and wearout $ when you need to go see a car 50 miles away and come back empty handed having wasted 2-3 hours and a ton of gas.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It is just hearsay that they don’t change oil in the rentals. I haven’t heard that from what I would consider a reliable source.

    It would certainly be a cost savings for Hertz, Avis, et. al. not to change the oil; they keep the cars few enough miles that the engines wouldn’t fail if run 15-20K miles, as long as they don’t let them run out of oil. Still, I would think they’d change it, because if not, the word would get out in a way that could be confirmed, which would not be good for resale of the retired rental cars.

  69. Nick Stevens Says:

    I rent at Hertz usually, and they do not seem to be pinching pennies in any aspect of their operations. As I calculated above, the savings are trivial, and the risks if discovered would be huge. I am sure that even if they are reckless enough to do it, their lawyers will be all over them to stop doing it.

  70. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Before you guys start talking about Fiestas, and if youre considering one I beg of you to wait.

    Ill explain:

    1. In 6-24 months all US B-Segments are due for a replacement with Honda Fit and XD being the last 2 to get redone.

    2. Hyundai Accent, Suzuki Swift, and Aveo/Viva will have a lot more power and MPG than Fiesta. That will force Yaris, MINI, and Fit to follow suit.

    The Problem with Fiesta is that its a great car that should have been here, 2 YEARS AGO!!!

  71. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You guys want to see the 2012 Honda Sebring so bad. Here it goes.

    http://www.worldcarfans.com/109052219519/2012-honda-civic-speculation-begins/lowphotos#0

  72. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    John,

    Sweet AAH #50.

    I think if you can make a white design pop, it will pop in any color. It seems like GM and Hyundai/KIA from their spyshots, etc… are trying to go for that passion and effect. Make it look hot in white and you got it right. Just look at those Veloster and Aveo spyshots, and youll see what I mean.

    As a Former New Jerseyan, its OLD TAPPAN, NEW JERSEY, LOL!!!

  73. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think Mitsu made a big mistake when they took the Colt out of the US market, It had a pretty good reputation and it left a void in their line-up, Smoke why are you calling the Civic Sebring? is it because, like the endurance race itself, the Civic provides its owners with miles and miles of happy motoring? You can’t possibly be comparing it to the rental car king made by Chrysler that bears that name, c’mon man you know better than that.

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have a great idea for Fiat, take that Avenger, redo the front end and interior a bit, call it the Alfa Avengero and sell it to the Chinese for $40k. I mean if they fall for that POS Daewoo as a Buick for $30k, I’m sure they’ll buy that one too.

  75. Nick Stevens Says:

    Hey Smoke:

    Are you kidding me? All you got is this silly drawing and you claim you know how the new Civic will look like?

    Get real!

    Honda is extremely secretive about its new models and does not reveal them (in the sase of the last accord for example) until days before they are ON SALE.

  76. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS Many, many makers delay their US models when they git them on sale in Europe for year or years, and this is utterly unacceptable.

    I would never have bought the facelifted Focus which is essentially an obsolete, 1992 design, on sale since 95 or so, and would not have waited the two years for Ford to bring the new Focus here.

    Same with the Fiesta and the Cruze from GM, and the Golf from VW, they always delay them by a year when they have a new model. Very frustrating.

  77. Nick Stevens Says:

    PEDRO:

    The chinese build their excellent Buicks in China. They also rebadge daewoo aveos and the like as buicks, instead of as chevys in the rest of the world, but who told you that a daweoo costs $30,000 in china? They do not. for $30,000, the chinese get a buick that looks far better than the buicks made here, both outside and inside. only recently have US buicks started to look as good as the ones made in Shanghai.

  78. Nick Stevens Says:

    Chinese auto sales this year may approach the U.S. market’s peak levels of 2000 ..Sales rose 56 percent last month to 1.7 million cars and trucks, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

    The rise was fueled by strong demand for passenger cars, which increased 63 percent from year-earlier levels, to 1.26 million.

    “Passenger car sales turned out to be even better than earlier market estimates,” said Rao Da, general secretary of another industry group, the Shanghai-based China Passenger Car Association.

    “We are confident that China’s vehicle sales will surpass 17 million units this year, growing by about 25 percent,” he said.

    China overtook the United States last year to become the world’s largest vehicle market, with 13.6 million cars and trucks sold.

    The U.S. is recovering from its slump last year to 10.4 million light vehicles, down from a peak in 2000 of 17.4 million.

    From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100411/AUTO01/4110303/1148/auto01/Chinese-auto-sales-soaring#ixzz0kpFDE5BN

  79. pedro fernandez Says:

    Forbes just put out a report stating that GM still has quality issues with certain models, it seems the recent designs are better but the returning older models still have problems, from the very expensive Escalade to the cheap POS Aveo. It used to be that when a company built a model for a few years, the bugs were taken out and the quality improved, but I guess this doesn’t apply to the General, by the way, to sell a crappy Daewoo as a Buick is deceitful in my opinion.

  80. Nick Stevens Says:

    GM has priced the 40 MPG “Eco” Cruze only a few hundreds of $ more than the base Cruze.

    This contrasts with Ford pricing its unimpressive Fusion Hybrid a full $8,000 over its base Fusion. Who, if any, will ever recover the $8,000 Fusion premium because of a few measly MPG? And in real world tests, the Fusion Hybrid got not 41 but 34 MPG, as many as the Camry Hybrid, which is rated 34 (but the Fusion gamed the system to be rated an imaginary and largely unattainable 41 MPG EPA city!)

    IF all else is OK with the Cruze, I predict it will be a HUGE home run for Chevy.

  81. Nick Stevens Says:

    “by the way, to sell a crappy Daewoo as a Buick is deceitful in my opinion”

    Again, GM has bought daewoo, it does not exist as a brand name any more, and GM sells the models made in former Daewoo plants as CHEVYS in the US and Europe and all over the world, and in China as “Buicks” along with the far better and much more expensive Chinese Buicks built at SAIC in Shanghai.

    It is NO more deceitful to sell the Aveo as a CHEVY to you in the US than as a BUICK to some chinese guy.

  82. pedro fernandez Says:

    The point is:where Buick over here has been GM’s most reliable, albeit boring, car line, and Daewoo products have been horrific, it’s not right to sell them with Buick emblems when there’s nothing Buick about them. GM did buy Daewoo, but they still suck. They remind me of Hyundai 25 years ago. Aveo is the worst car in its segment by far and Suzuki has been using Daewoo products here and look where they’re at now.

  83. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Nick,

    The Source I know where that pic came from is usually 98% accurate about Japanese cars; especially secretive Honda/Toyota. Not worldcarfans, but the Asian places where that pic came from.

    Pedro,

    On the Sebring, Its the look. Its a drawing, but that Civic is not resonating well. Some of the comments people are making about it are absolutely a riot on the sites that pic can be spotted at.

    Its just a pic, and it may look better in real life, but the primary complaint from many people about Civic over the past 10 years is design deterioration.

    Hey, I used to be a Civic lover. Its not bashing. Honda just needs to do better.