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Live by the sword, die by the sword.

SUVs Deadlier Than Cars

It appears that all of that steel protecting you from the great unwashed car drivers becomes your enemy once you become upside down.

Not to mention that driving a land yacht is yawningly fun. :)

Speaking of Landyachts Red. Josh and I were in his Burple Brute ('08 GMC Denali XL) Friday night. We were on 610 coming back from The Volcano and I was driving. Josh shows me how the new supercharger kicks in on it, and we were doing 110mph from 65mph in what felt like 2 seconds. I felt safe at that speed even with all the Navigation and TVs in it, I will agree with you that flipping upside down would be another matter for me. That is why I like it low and slow in my Beast, which I am supposed to now have back by Tuesday. SIGH!!!

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In a somewhat related development, traffic fatalities are way down this year, apparently due to high gas prices.

While miles driven have declined 1.8%, fatalities are down 9%. Lower speeds and a big drop in discretionary travel account for most of the drop. Late night bar driving has declined, as people cannot afford to drink, or drink at home. In other words, fewer people driving 110 in their Denali equals fewer deaths. ;)

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Is that the Chevy Cruze? Just reading that name makes my eyeballs bleed.

Yeah...I think that may be the name of it. It is the Cavalier/Cobalt replacement.

Have there been significant changes in safety and emissions standards over the past two decades? I thought the major safety requirements were introduced in the 1970s and 1980s, as were catalytic converters. I really do think that the reason cars today get worse mileage is that they are a lot bigger and more powerful.

I don't know when exactly the standards were legislated into being....sometimes they'll pass a law but compliance won't be required for a decade or more. Numerous safety and emissions improvements were implemented during the mid 90s. Dual airbags were required for 1994. Side impact standards had to be complied with starting around that time, and they got tougher as the years progressed. OBDII was required to be in place by the 1996 model year.

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All this small car talks saddens me...

Is a lovely V8 or V10 the new Rolex?

Don't be sad! It's way too soon to be nostalgic for the big 'uns. First of all, no manufacturer is going to totally eliminate production of big engines since it is still too soon to tell if the current market for small cars is a passing fad like in the 1970s. I think the only SUV lines that have been eliminated are oddballs like the Chrysler Aspen. Bringing in more small cars just means more choices for people who don't necessarily like megatrucks.

Second, if you want powerful cars look at what's new this year, like this

nissan_gtr_05.lowres.jpg

and

19-chevrolet-camaro-concept.jpg

Speaking of the new GT-R, how much do you want to bet that Toyota will revive the Supra to compete with it?

Yeah...I think that may be the name of it. It is the Cavalier/Cobalt replacement.

You know, I am surprised they would be dumping the "Cobalt" name after just one generation.

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Speaking of the new GT-R, how much do you want to bet that Toyota will revive the Supra to compete with it?

I've never thought of Toyota to be the type of company to do things just for the sake of bragging rights.

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I've never thought of Toyota to be the type of company to do things just for the sake of bragging rights.

I wouldn't think of it as doing it for bragging rights as much as just competition. There isn't a niche where Toyota doesn't have a vehicle. It just struck me as odd that they would be leaving this one unfilled after all the publicity that Nissan has received for the GT-R.

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I wouldn't think of it as doing it for bragging rights as much as just competition. There isn't a niche where Toyota doesn't have a vehicle. It just struck me as odd that they would be leaving this one unfilled after all the publicity that Nissan has received for the GT-R.

Most likely give something to the Lexus line insted of Toyota so they can justify the price.

Edited by TJones

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That GT-R puts the T in Terrible (looking).

I have no love for that beast and the one armed sheet metal tech who threw it together.

I am sure the inside is cool though.

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Most likey give something to the Lexus line insted of Toyota so they can justify the price.

Yeah, but the Supra name has the brand equity, as they say, so my guess is that is what they would use. Maybe give Lexus a badge-engineered job. Besides, Lexus is all about luxury, not sportiness.

That GT-R puts the T in Terrible (looking).

I have no love for that beast and the one armed sheet metal tech who threw it together.

I am sure the inside is cool though.

That's what I thought when I first saw the spy shots, but I have to admit it has grown on me. To me it looks tough and direct, without all the Bangle overkill of a BMW. Except for the front fender, that is.

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Most likely give something to the Lexus line insted of Toyota so they can justify the price.

Yeah...hence the ongoing development of the LF-A.

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The Supra will return, however not as a GT-R competitor. Simply as a 350Z class vehicle.

Lexus will not bring the LF-A to production, even though the car is almost entirely through the development cycle.

Lexus will instead focus on "green" initiatives. In fact, a new hybrid sedan will be coming out in 2009.

The GT-R may not be the best looking vehicle out there, but thats not what its strengths are. Have any of you seen the Top Gear review of the car on the track? (Not the bullet train race).

The car is insane.

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Preliminary, and probably California only:

BMW's Mini brand plans to have electric cars on U.S. roads by next summer.

Mini USA Vice President Jim McDowell said Tuesday that the company is deciding whether to lease or sell the vehicles and where they'll be available. He wouldn't say how far the electric car will be able to go on a charge.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D92305IG0.htm

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The Supra will return, however not as a GT-R competitor. Simply as a 350Z class vehicle.

Makes sense. It always was in that class in the past.

Lexus will not bring the LF-A to production, even though the car is almost entirely through the development cycle.

Lexus will instead focus on "green" initiatives. In fact, a new hybrid sedan will be coming out in 2009.

You work for Toyota/Lexus corporate?

The GT-R may not be the best looking vehicle out there, but thats not what its strengths are. Have any of you seen the Top Gear review of the car on the track? (Not the bullet train race).

The car is insane.

That review was HILARIOUS. The car wore out his neck!!

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Would Lexus not bring out the LF-A to counter the new Acura NSX?

It does seem close to production-ready.

lexus-lfa-spyphoto-1.jpg

lexus-lfa-3.jpg

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Lexus has a bit of a timing issue. With the release of the IS-F, Lexus was positioning themselves to truly compete with the //M, AMG, an other high performance German divisions. However, on the other hand, with a corporate mandate that all of their cars will be hybrid by a certain date (I cannot remember, I think 2012), they are also going for "Green".

With $4 gas, and buyers flocking towards more efficient auto's, they are re-thinking how many F style cars they introduce. Its hard to be "Green" while introducing a gas guzzling supercar.

At this point a corporate decision has not been made, however, it is looking less likely that it will be released.

One important thing to remember is even at the $100,000+ price tag, Lexus will never make their money back on their development costs. This would have been a "look at what we can do" car for Lexus, not a profit maker.

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With $4 gas, and buyers flocking towards more efficient auto's, they are re-thinking how many F style cars they introduce. Its hard to be "Green" while introducing a gas guzzling supercar.

Like I said earlier: The V8/V10 is the new Rolex.

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Any other Acura fans on the board?

flipper

On and off. I owned an 02 TL Type S for 3 years, but the transmission troubles pushed me away from them again (though I was happy to take Honda's check to buy it back). My partner used to drive a CL Type S, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and was sad to see it discontinued. Even though they are as common as 3-series, I love the current TL, and am really worried about the redesign (the new TSX looks too much like an Altima for me and the TL will likely have the same fate). I don't quite get the direction that Honda is going with their styling, especially with the new 09 Mazda 6 coming out with a fine look.

I do like the current MDX, especially the interior.

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Anyone see the "coming soon" electric car dealership? We were driving down Dowling the other day and spotted it:

Houston Electric Cars

2745875145_cbfa9b7ec8_o.jpg

Aside from the poor grammar and sentence structure, this is quite interesting. There's quite a bit on YouTube on this car as well. mY commute is about 6 miles each way, and given how much gas our Cross Country chugs, this might be a great second car.

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Anyone see the "coming soon" electric car dealership? We were driving down Dowling the other day and spotted it:

Aside from the poor grammar and sentence structure, this is quite interesting. There's quite a bit on YouTube on this car as well. mY commute is about 6 miles each way, and given how much gas our Cross Country chugs, this might be a great second car.

It is limited to a whopping 25 mph and they claim the battery pack lasts 3 to 5 years. That kind of performance for $20k....I think I'll pass.

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A car that runs on compressed air:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6138972/ (something like over 100 mpg)

041004_minicat_hmed_6a.hmedium.jpg

The MiniCATS three-seater compact, a commercial version of a prototype showcased at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, will be priced at $9,850. The CitiCATS six-seater sedan will retail for $16,000.

By consuming much more energy from the power plant than it delivers on the road, Krause said, it could even do as much environmental damage as some gasoline cars.

Krause's organization pushes a much simpler recipe for cutting greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from vehicles. If consumers ditched their SUVs and four-liter guzzlers and chose engine capacities reflecting their real needs, he said, fuel consumption would drop by a third.

I have to agree with the last paragraph. I keep trying to tell people to invest in that 1996 e-bay Chevy 50 mpg Metro... no takers.

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The GT-R may not be the best looking vehicle out there, but thats not what its strengths are. Have any of you seen the Top Gear review of the car on the track? (Not the bullet train race).

I haven't seen that. Where did you see it? I watch Top Gear every week on BBC America, but they're re-running stuff from 2005 I think right now. That's one of the best shows on TV.

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I haven't seen that. Where did you see it? I watch Top Gear every week on BBC America, but they're re-running stuff from 2005 I think right now. That's one of the best shows on TV.

Season 11 just ended. Pick up the episodes at www.finalgear.com

If you are unfamiliar with bittorrents, hit up BitPump Its very simple to use.

Edited by Mr. Chenevert

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Season 11 just ended. Pick up the episodes at www.finalgear.com

If you are unfamiliar with bittorrents, hit up BitPump Its very simple to use.

Thanks! I'm familiar with bittorrents (my new network drive enclosure has it built in), but I hadn't seen Final Gear before. Very, very cool.

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Would Lexus not bring out the LF-A to counter the new Acura NSX?

It does seem close to production-ready.

lexus-lfa-spyphoto-1.jpg

lexus-lfa-3.jpg

Told ya Lexus would get the new Supra !!! :DB)

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I haven't seen that. Where did you see it? I watch Top Gear every week on BBC America, but they're re-running stuff from 2005 I think right now. That's one of the best shows on TV.

FinalGear.com is awesome for Top Gear and 5th Gear torrents (I use uTorrent for downloads). You get the entire episode, not the overly edited BBCAmerica version. And do check out 5th Gear. It's the Motorweek of European car shows, but it is still better than anything we have here! I stream them via Vista media center to my Xbox360...picture quality is very good using Transcode360.

ETA, IMO the best Top Gear episode is the Winter Olympics episode from (I think) a couple of winters ago.

Edited by travelguy_73

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So has anyone looked at the 1-series convertible?

Well equiped they end up almost as much as a 3.

Never seen one on the street, but from the pictures it doesn't seem to be much of a looker.

Here's the new US Ford Fiesta:

fiesta2.jpg

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So has anyone looked at the 1-series convertible?

Well equiped they end up almost as much as a 3.

I just bought two new BMWs. A 650i for myself and an M3 Coupe for my business partner. We looked at the 1-series for him (his wife will be driving the smaller car most of the time) and didn't like it. It felt extremely cheap.

I hate BMW after my last experience with them, but I love the 650, so I was willing to suck it up for this one.

Looks like I'll be driving it more over the next week or so since I have to take my QX56 in to the shop tomorrow to get it checked out after using it to chase down the guy who t-boned my neighbor about three hours ago. Yeah, it's an SUV, but curbs, trees, shrubs and drainage ditches do still do damage. At least my friend is ok, though his Accord is totalled. With luck, the truck will be ok too.

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Told ya Lexus would get the new Supra !!! :DB)

There is still a "Supra" project being developed by Lexus. The LF-A is position to compete with the Mercedes CL, BMW M6, Jaguar XK-R, Maserati GT (which I almost bought rather than my 650, but after the problems I had with my QP, I opted to get away from Italian for a bit), and other ultra-luxo GT cars. The 125k price bracket is what they are after. The LF-A is far from a replacement for the hideous and pointless SC430.

Gladly, it seems Infiniti is reviving the Q series and taking aim at the 7-series BMW (soon to launch the new generation), S-Class (just recently launched), A8 (up for a refresh in a couple of years) rather than the mid-market it was targeting before. I suppose it had to since the Lexus LS went from a 45k luxury Toyota to 140k fully loaded. I looked at the LS before I picked up the A8L, and while it is very nice, it had no soul, no passion, didn't even feel "floaty". There was just no feeling at all. The gadgets weren't cool enough either.

When it comes to cool gadgets, Infiniti has everyone beat. The nav/entertainment system in my QX56 is tops and is a major reason I chose it over the Escalade.

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I just bought two new BMWs. A 650i for myself and an M3 Coupe for my business partner. We looked at the 1-series for him (his wife will be driving the smaller car most of the time) and didn't like it. It felt extremely cheap.

I hate BMW after my last experience with them, but I love the 650, so I was willing to suck it up for this one.

Looks like I'll be driving it more over the next week or so since I have to take my QX56 in to the shop tomorrow to get it checked out after using it to chase down the guy who t-boned my neighbor about three hours ago Yeah, it's an SUV, but curbs, trees, shrubs and drainage ditches do still do damage. At least my friend is ok, though his Accord is totalled. With luck, the truck will be ok too.

I'm suffering a bit of auto-envy! You're probably right about the 1-series. It's probably overpriced.

What was last experience with BMW? What think you of the new 7-series?

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I'm suffering a bit of auto-envy! You're probably right about the 1-series. It's probably overpriced.

What was last experience with BMW? What think you of the new 7-series?

I had an issue where my last BMW was in the shop for 180 days of a two year lease and they wouldn't replace it, I couldn't get them to do much of anything really. I did get a lot of Z4s as loaners though, which I THRASHED. When you're as big as I am though, it is funny being seen in one. Even funnier seeing me get in/out of one with the top up. I likened me exiting the Z4 with the top up to the scene from Ace Venture 2 where he exited the Rhino. That was pretty much it.

Anyway, four clutches, two transmissions, two drive shafts, some electrical problems and a gas padel that broke as the vehicle was entering a feeder road later, I finally got Marvin Zindler involved and he managed to get me a 5k discount off my next BMW. I didn't end up using that discount because I went through a 3rd party auto broker for these two most recent BMWs.

As far as the new 7-series, honestly, I'm not sure. I *LOVE* the new S-Class and next year I will be getting a slightly used S65 (I'm waiting for them to take the massive depreciation hit that AMG models do -- from $198k to $100k in 10 months with 10k miles makes it acceptable for me to actually buy used). That said, I'll be looking at the new 7 with an open mind. The current 7 isn't big enough for me. I'm too tall, too fat, my shoulders are too broad and my legs are too long. Even in the back seats, my head hits the roof. If they make the new 7 more American athelete friendly, I could be tempted. I've gone through 11 cars in the past few years with five currently (two of which are in my business partner's garage), so it isn't unlikely that I wouldn't pick one up if BMW actually made it fit me.

My next purchase, hopefully, is a 1964-65 Lincoln Continental Convertible sedan (black with white top preferably, everything working and in great shape). That is my current dream car.

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I had an issue where my last BMW was in the shop for 180 days of a two year lease and they wouldn't replace it, I couldn't get them to do much of anything really. I did get a lot of Z4s as loaners though, which I THRASHED. When you're as big as I am though, it is funny being seen in one. Even funnier seeing me get in/out of one with the top up. I likened me exiting the Z4 with the top up to the scene from Ace Venture 2 where he exited the Rhino. That was pretty much it.

Anyway, four clutches, two transmissions, two drive shafts, some electrical problems and a gas padel that broke as the vehicle was entering a feeder road later, I finally got Marvin

Eep! I'm just really dubious about BMW quality. A friend had a new 5-series with electrical problems that couldn't quite be fixed. He was so frustrated he traded the thing in after about a year. However, looks-wise I think the new 7 is a big improvement over the current iteration.

My next purchase, hopefully, is a 1964-65 Lincoln Continental Convertible sedan (black with white top preferably, everything working and in great shape). That is my current dream car.

Get the 1961!! And let me borrow it!! Pleeeasse!! That's about my favorite car ever.

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Hey, does anybody know what to do about this? It's still very much alive. Not even paralyzed.

Will a vet remove it for free? Or am I going to have to kill it, rip the torso from the wing, and then dig out the fractured part of the wing with a straightened out clothes hanger?

img00002is2.jpg

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Hey, does anybody know what to do about this? It's still very much alive. Not even paralyzed.

Will a vet remove it for free? Or am I going to have to kill it, rip the torso from the wing, and then dig out the fractured part of the wing with a straightened out clothes hanger?

img00002is2.jpg

drive backwards exactly one mile/hr more than you were traveling upon initial impact.

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I just finished a pretty interesting car book: "Cars for Comrades" by Siegelbaum. It is a history of cars in the old Soviet Union, Zil, GAZ, VAZ etc, but also covers road building and auto factories.

siegelbaum.cars.gif

My favorite Russian car (a ZIL):

CrazyZil.jpg

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Hey, does anybody know what to do about this? It's still very much alive. Not even paralyzed.

Will a vet remove it for free? Or am I going to have to kill it, rip the torso from the wing, and then dig out the fractured part of the wing with a straightened out clothes hanger?

img00002is2.jpg

your chili is getting meatier.

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It looks to be exponentially more useful than any other Hummer product :)

flipper

Much easier to turn into a tactical, at least.

But you're right -- I was only in a Hummer once and the astounding lack of headroom was a real turn-off. I couldn't imagine how anyone would haul anything but groceries in that thing.

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GM and Chrysler are in preliminary merger talks.

Why? Who can say?

Having worked for an airline, this sounds familiar. If you cannot provide a product people want, and make money doing it, then surely if you are even larger you can achieve some sort of economies of scale that you couldn't when you were simply "large." Not sure how this merger of equals will do anything positive for either shareholders, customers, or employees. Cerberus would be wise to say "no thanks." Or perhaps Cerberus, from a strictly financial aspect, would be wise to cash out and feed Chrysler to the wolves.

Chrysler has very little in the way of US product offerings that appeal to people right now...at least those that value fuel efficiency. GM is on its way back, IMO, so if it can just make it through this rough spot, I can definitely see light at the end of their tunnel. No real opinion on Ford, except that they have award-winning European offerings, but couldn't get their head out of their collective arse to realize a change in car-buying priorities was on the way, and continued to think Explorer, Expedition, and Navigator, when they should have been thinking Mondeo, Focus, and Ka.

"We lose money on every one, but we make it up in volume"

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Having worked for an airline, this sounds familiar. If you cannot provide a product people want, and make money doing it, then surely if you are even larger you can achieve some sort of economies of scale that you couldn't when you were simply "large." Not sure how this merger of equals will do anything positive for either shareholders, customers, or employees. Cerberus would be wise to say "no thanks." Or perhaps Cerberus, from a strictly financial aspect, would be wise to cash out and feed Chrysler to the wolves.

Chrysler has very little in the way of US product offerings that appeal to people right now...at least those that value fuel efficiency. GM is on its way back, IMO, so if it can just make it through this rough spot, I can definitely see light at the end of their tunnel. No real opinion on Ford, except that they have award-winning European offerings, but couldn't get their head out of their collective arse to realize a change in car-buying priorities was on the way, and continued to think Explorer, Expedition, and Navigator, when they should have been thinking Mondeo, Focus, and Ka.

"We lose money on every one, but we make it up in volume"

The rationale behind mergers are always economies of scale and savings, but they rarely work out as intended. If I were a GM shareholder this is about the LAST thing I would be wanting management to focus on at the moment, since the immediate concern is avoiding bankruptcy. The amazing thing is that even after the government guaranteed loans, GM is rumored to be going to the Fed to try to borrow directly there. Not only would it be a first for the Fed to be turning into a commercial bank, but why on earth is GM out there trying to borrow money that it would spend on a merger?

Ford is looking to commonise a lot of its cars with the rest of the world, so you can expect to see Fiestas and Mondeos in the next couple of years. Not the Ka, however.

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Having worked for an airline, this sounds familiar. If you cannot provide a product people want, and make money doing it, then surely if you are even larger you can achieve some sort of economies of scale that you couldn't when you were simply "large." Not sure how this merger of equals will do anything positive for either shareholders, customers, or employees. Cerberus would be wise to say "no thanks." Or perhaps Cerberus, from a strictly financial aspect, would be wise to cash out and feed Chrysler to the wolves.

Chrysler has very little in the way of US product offerings that appeal to people right now...at least those that value fuel efficiency. GM is on its way back, IMO, so if it can just make it through this rough spot, I can definitely see light at the end of their tunnel. No real opinion on Ford, except that they have award-winning European offerings, but couldn't get their head out of their collective arse to realize a change in car-buying priorities was on the way, and continued to think Explorer, Expedition, and Navigator, when they should have been thinking Mondeo, Focus, and Ka.

"We lose money on every one, but we make it up in volume"

I guess the pundits on CNBC expressing their fear that GM would not make it through 2009 was just fear mongering, then? GM, and for that matter, Detroit in toto, are in dire straits. With credit being the life blood of the auto industry, both for financing factory conversions and stocking showrooms, not to mention financing consumer purchases, the current credit freeze runs the risk of wiping out the Big 3. Yes, they finally saw the light on continuing to rely on gas guzzlers in an era of $3-4 gasoline. But, it takes money to convert the fleet, and this is the worst time to have to do it.

Add to this the possibility that the entire auto industry may collapse in 2009, and the light at the end of GM's tunnel just may be a freight train. I hope this is not the case. While few people have criticized GM as much as I have for their idiotic reliance on outdated and unsustainable products, to lose the largest manufacturing company in the US, even if it is their own fault, would be devestating.

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The rationale behind mergers are always economies of scale and savings, but they rarely work out as intended. If I were a GM shareholder this is about the LAST thing I would be wanting management to focus on at the moment, since the immediate concern is avoiding bankruptcy. The amazing thing is that even after the government guaranteed loans, GM is rumored to be going to the Fed to try to borrow directly there. Not only would it be a first for the Fed to be turning into a commercial bank, but why on earth is GM out there trying to borrow money that it would spend on a merger?

Ford is looking to commonise a lot of its cars with the rest of the world, so you can expect to see Fiestas and Mondeos in the next couple of years. Not the Ka, however.

Car manufacturing firms are oligopolistic. Eliminating any one of them would be a really big deal to all of the others. If you're an executive in one or the other of the weakest most vulnerable firms, it may make sense to merge so as to eliminate redundant product lines, then to divest assets and cannibalize market share. Many of the executives get to keep their jobs, but because the management team would be shaken up, taking on a different culture under new ownership, they may be more effectively able to deal with union opposition. They may even take the opportunity to try and break the unions outright.

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So we went to the LA Auto Show this past weekend. Used to go to Detroit, but LA has proven to be formidable competition, and the weather is so much nicer than DTW. Anyway, just because things are a bit slow today, I thought I would share my personal hit and miss list from the show. I kept the list short...there were many more!

Hit:

(1) Volkswagen CC: An MB CLS for half the price. Visually stunning and, if the crappy VW dealer network doesn't ruin it, then VW has a niche hit on their hands

(2) Nissan 370Z: The freshened styling looks very nice, IMO. What doesn't work on the new Maxima works well here.

(3) Infiniti G37 convertible: Another hit for Nissan. This thing is drop dead gorgeous in person.

(4) Honda Insight concept: So very Prius-looking, but lovely nonetheless.

(5) Hyundai Genesis coupe: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Koreans have certainly learned this trade. Hyundai has made incredible strides in a short amount of time, and the Genesis sedan and coupe show what this automaker is capable of. I hate to say it, but the Big 3 could learn a thing or two.

(6) Kia Soul: I love the direction that small cars are going: funky, efficient, and customizeable. R.I.P. Cobalt!

3057218442_29411bc71a_o.jpg

Miss:

(1) BMW 7-series: The current one is atrocious, and this one is only marginally better.

(2) Nissan Cube: While I like the overall idea, this one is sort of cartoonish. A Scion for teenage girls?

(3) Lexus RX350: A terrible redo. I don't like the direction Toyota styling is taking.

(4) BMW X6: I still don't get it. Got to have some fun with it at a ride-and-drive and, while it drives very well, it is horribly impractical and overpriced.

(5) Acura TL: Ugly from every single angle. They took a wildly successful near-luxury car and ruined it. Being a former TL owner, I am deeply sadened by this new generation. The TL, TSX, and RL are so ugly that they make the 7-series look good.

3056380875_dc352e41fa_o.jpg

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Man, I am so jealous.

The VW CC is nice enough, but I wasn't set on fire with desire for it.

The 370Z also looks nice, but my eyes keep getting drawn to the taillights.

Why didn't Honda just re-badge Priuses instead of copying it line for line? Surely they could have thought of something original.

I'm not getting it with the Genesis. I think Americans will be turned off by the funky beltlines.

Kia Soul - I agree with you!

7-Series. Haven't seen it on the street yet, but in pictures it looks like a huge improvement over the current version. Here's hoping they do as well with the 5-series.

Nissan Cube. Agreed. It looks like a toy car they could give away as a premium.

BMW X-6. I can't think of enough bad things to say.

TL. You're right, nice car that was beat with an ugly stick. They could easily improve things a bit by taking that thing off of the grill.

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