No. 866
September 28, 2016

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Editors' Note: If you have a comment, please include your name or initials (AND YOUR HOMETOWN TOO, PLEASE). We do not print email addresses. If you want to read previous issues, click on "Next Entry" on the bottom of each section. Thank you.



Sell enough SUVs and Crossovers and... what was the point again?

Regarding the news about Ford and its performance cars, I was wondering if BMW is in the process of throwing away its status of the performance king of mainstream cars. I remember that the 2002 was an absolute revelation. Now the current mainstream 3 series is just sad. In several extended rental drives in California both my wife (not a car person) and I preferred the Cadillac CTS. WTF? I know some people buy BMW because of the BMW performance aura even if the person doesn't even know what a performance car is. If BMW loses that aura, where is it? Nowhere good, for sure.

John Page
New Orleans, Louisiana


Wild World.

Those kids wouldn't know Cat Stevens from Ray Stevens.

Jacksonville, Florida

Motor City Blues.

I HATE the Detroit Auto Show. It stole MY show, my precious, my birthday gift.

First of all, who the hell wants to go to Detroit in January?

Second, in its EGO, it forced the LA Auto show to move from my birthday to two weeks before Xmas.

Ergo, instead of going up to LA after the mayhem of the holidays, around my birthday, enjoying a day with those bacon-wrapped hot dogs from the street vendors outside the hall and then walking through the hall and enjoying a break outside in the sunshine mid-day, we're supposed to go to LA two weeks before Xmas?

No way Jose!

The LA Auto Show should go back to where it was and what it was… beer, sunshne, a typically awesome Porsche display, warm sunshne and the biggest pre-sales event of the year.

The Detroit Auto Show can.... well... it happens on a cold day in Hell.


Irvine, California

Editor-In-Chief's Note: We think having the Detroit Auto Show here in January is stupid too. But, just for the record, the L.A. Auto Show, which used to be right before Christmas, is now right before Thanksgiving. -PMD


No coffee needed.

"Ford has announced that its lineup of performance cars – including Mustang, Focus RS, Focus ST and Fiesta ST – is selling well. ... And the machines are attracting younger and more affluent buyers to boot, says Ford." Huh, all without some boutique experience in NYC. Cadillac should take note, but they won't.

Regards from The Yoop, eh.

Mike Y.
Hancock, Mchigan


The End Game.

Looks like all of your rants about Sergio, FIAT, and ALFA are coming true. FIAT/ALFA Romeo of Dallas is closing today, 9/30/16. The sign says all service will be at FIAT of McKinney which is 28 miles north of here. I'm beginning to doubt if Guilia will ever make it to our shores.

Dallas, Texas



Kudos for your (belated) props for Subaru's marketing efforts and product offerings. It's been clear over the years that you didn't “get” Subaru or their loyal customers. But, as you pointed out in this week's Rant, Subaru “gets” their customers, in spades. There are few manufacturers in this space as closely attuned to their market, and whose well designed, if conventionally unattractive cars meet your own highest standard for “adherence to brand image”.

Rick W.
Park City, Utah

Editor-In-Chief's Note: Oh, I "get" Subaru and its customers just fine, thank you. Those heart-on-their-sleeves wearing people who are highly sensitive - and defensive - of their transportation choices have their place in this automotive world. But this just in: "conventionally unattractive" isn't a virtue and it's not something car companies should aspire to, under any circumstances. -PMD


EV Love Shack.

Glad GM made the Bolt with genuinely good (not ground- breaking but good) range, peppy performance and good handling (from what I read). GM Engineering can do impressive things (I like the way the Volt drives). But I'm confused about what GM plans to do with the car.

Surely the Bolt is a way for GM to hone their EV skills and demonstrate their technology is competitive with the best. But why this type of car and why a Chevy? As transport the Bolt appears to be a $30,000 (after credit) Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta. And even at $37,000 is GM going to make money on Bolt sales? If it's a tech exercise and harbinger of the future, why not do as Tesla and BMW did and start on the high end. Let Caddy have the drivetrain, or how 'bout throwing a bone to poor Buick?

And if I am a practically minded Chevy buyer with an itch to drive electric, I'd have to be concerned about what to do when I get near the end of the 240 mile range. I haven't heard GM is rolling out a network of “superchargers” as Tesla has and I read that the quickest charge available to the Bolt will take 30 minutes to add 90 miles of range. Frankly if I have a typical under 20 mile commute, I'd do better with a Volt – GM's old arguments for the Volt still have merit – most daily Volt driving can be done on battery. Maybe Chevy will open a chain of low priced cafes with charging stations… “The Chevy Shack, a quick recharge for you and your car”.

Mitch S.
Orangeburg, New York



Vacuous sound machines.

In my lifetime, the Matra V12 was the best sounding F1 engine. Followed by the Ferrari flat 12. Then the Alfa flat 12. And the Cosworth DFV had a nice bark. To me, the modern F1 Turbo Hybrid cars have no sound signature worth going to races for. And to me, the McLaren MP4/6 with the Honda RA121E V-12, gated shift lever, was the end of the era when it was made obsolete by Williams's latest. So next year, noise generators? Really? Wide, fragile, complex front wings waiting to ripped off? At least they are gong back to proper sized tires. I was happy with V12's and big block Chevy's in the Can-Am series. Call me a dinosaur, it is just what I like. These days I go to IMSA races when I am not working on my own projects. More diverse fields, even though turbo's are creeping in. I know that is what the manufacturers want, but I do not have to like it or pay money to watch.

Mansfield, Massachusetts

The commercial for the Buick remote app link has been played too often. Every now and then they instead show one for the new Buick Envision with a father lulling his tiny son to sleep with a ride in the vehicle, then the wife sees both the father and son peacefully asleep back at home. But the award for the MOST over-played spot, in my opinion, is the Lincoln ad which shows Matthew McConaughey driving a Navigator (I think) with the two dogs in back.

Christopher Popa
Chicago, IL


Ah yes, the noise. The sound of high performance engines is the calling card for the racers and the fans as you have said. I believe that is one reason NASCAR is still hanging on. I can still hear Fontana races from my front yard over 5 miles away. One of my first dates with my wife was to watch a NASCAR race at Riverside. Standing on the bridge listening to and then feeling the vibration as the cars passed under us was exhilarating. Lucky for me, my wife's Dad was a boat racer, so she loves a great sounding engine as much as I do. We frequently get our auditory stimulation at Long Beach Marine Stadium, the Colorado River, at various off road races, and Irwindale Speedway. Open wheel racing is never even considered.

Chris Cuzynski
Alta Loma, California

Trouble brewing.

In response to this week's Rant I totally agree. Especially about the NFL… however I see trouble “brewing” for the beer and auto industries unless the NFL or Network affiliates react. I'm a Pittsburgh Steeler fanatic and in this market 40 miles West of Pittsburgh in order to watch the game in 1080i you must watch the local CBS affiliate WTRF-Wheeling. However in Pittsburgh it is KDKA which is available on cable here in Follansbee where KDKA is in 480i to protect WTRF. Additionally when the Steelers play, the Fox game is blacked out. Here is the problem… the NFL Network RedZone is not blacked out. This occurred to me this Sunday when during the Steelers/ Bengals game during EVERY commercial break my sons frantically switched to the NFL RedZone for updates for the multiple Fantasy Teams they each “field”. In other words I'm not seeing any commercials and worse neither are the auto customers that I have raised. College took care of their beer brand preferences.

Follansbee, West Virginia

Formula scream.

In my Formula 1 racing company, any engine that doesn't sound like somebody tearing a bed sheet isn't a racing engine. No turbos!! Naturally aspirated only, which drives us to multi-cylinder, five figure RPM machines. That's what Formula 1 is supposed to be about. Too bad I don't have a Formula 1 racing company.

Wilmington, North Carolina


So now people are saying the Bolt is “too small” and 238 miles of electric range isn't enough. Did we all become cross-country furniture delivery people overnight?

Jim Z.

Editor-In-Chief's Note: There is a very vocal faction "out there" in WebVille that loathes American car companies. It doesn't matter how good the products are or how good the reviews and ratings are; these people live to denigrate American car companies at every opportunity. The Bolt is an outstanding product - however, it remains to be seen if Chevrolet marketers and PR minions can get the story out about the car's attributes in compelling fashion. -PMD


Vacuous Auto Marketing Schmoozefest About Nothing – VAMSAN = award-winning acronym! Bravo!

Jacksonville, Florida

Dumb. And dumber.

My nomination for the most laughable auto ad ever: The Toyota commercial where the two brothers are racing around the streets of Monaco, helmets and all, in Camrys. What were they thinking??!!

J. Sise
New York, New York