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About cmattson

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  1. http://beforeitsnews.com/motor-junkies/2013/02/morgan-stanley-auto-product-guidebook-reveals-gm-future-product-onslaught-2459254.html Rumors of new product: 2013 - Buick Verano Hatchback 2013 - Chevy Orlando 2014 - Redesigned Caddy SRX 2014 - Possibly a Chevy Trax (small SUV) 2015 - Possibly a Caddy Fleetwood as a Ciel/S-Class fighter 2015 - Volt CUV Take it for what you will.. I just stumbled across it and am passing it on/floating it in case someone knows more and would care to share..
  2. Highlights: -GM to invest $500 million in its Ramos Arizpe plant in northern Mexico to produce a new line of engines as well as a new vehicle. -the new line of engines are V-8's with SIDI -expected 9% improvement in gas mileage over current engines -Assembly of the vehicle, which wasn't named, is set to begin in the last quarter of 2011. Link to WSJ article The article interests me in several ways: 1) The obvious one: YOU UNGRATEFUL SOB'S. WE SAVED YOUR ****'S LESS THAN A YEAR AGO. WHY ISN'T THIS INVESTMENT BEING MADE IN THE U.S.?!? 2) This article must be referring to the gen-V family of small blocks (5.5l)? The only other V8 you could possibly consider is the Ultra-V8: but I think that thing is dead-and-buried. Just let it go man. 3) What is that unnamed vehicle? Buick Verona( <- I *hate* this name )? Chevrolet Spark/Beat?
  3. Oldsmoboi - congrats on the ride. I test drove a Milan hybrid about a year ago and was wildly impressed. I'm envious! I'd be willing to bet 90% of the sedan-driving public wouldn't even know they were driving a hybrid if they drove one of these cars. The only items I noticed on the hybrid that were different from the conventional powertrain: 1) 'Starting' the car didn't provide you with the audible noises you traditionally expect. I know this one is obvious - I'm only mentioning it because it's such an odd experience if you've never driven a hybrid before. 2) The car feels a tad heavier when you are quick into the corners. You wouldn't even notice this unless you drove the regular 4-cyl back-to-back with the hybrid. 3) Because of the battery placement, the hybrid doesn't offer the rear-seat pass through into the trunk. 4) The Milan I drove would give you a low-growl type of noise when backing up down a hill (yes, I really tried like hell to make this thing hiccup in ANY form or fashion -- this car's hybrid system is virtually flawless). I know GM's approach is to leapfrog everybody with the Volt instead of playing catchup - but I think a cost-effective Volt could be 10-15 years away - while the something like Ford's Fusion/Milan hybrids are borderline cost-effective TODAY. GM maybe making a huge mistake in this market-space. Time will tell.
  4. I've driven the Milan hybrid -- it's remarkable. Well-deserved for Ford. Wish GM had something in this ever-growing segment to counter it.
  5. I keep pondering the 'value' in purchasing a hybrid and I think I've boiled it down to this: Even if it takes 4-6 years to break even, most people finance and own a car for 4-5 years anyhow. Would you rather have your money go to Ford or Exxon-Mobil? Maybe a hybrid isn't such a bad proposition after all. Comments?
  6. Forgot a couple of important details: Price on the hybrid, as tested: $31,300. North Country Ford has it listed as $30,923. Link has photos: http://ncford.lutherauto.com/New-Inventory...toryId=27839798 Link to sticker: http://fordlabels.webview.biz/webviewhybri...&orgid=3562 Hybrid gas mileage is 41/36 Conventional Milan I4 mileage is 23/34. Is the hybrid worth it? The math probably says no: 90% of my annual 22,000 miles in highway. I get roughly 28 or 29 mpg (about 1-2 mpg less than epa) on my G6. Figuring the the conventional I4 and the hybrid: Conventional: 32 mpg on 22,000 miles = 687 gallons/year Worst-case Hybrid: 34 mpg on 22,000 miles = 647 gallons/year Best-case hybrid: 41 mpg on 22,000 miles = 536 gallons/year As best, I'd save 151 gallons/year. Gas at today's $2.59/g = $391 savings/year Gas at Mpls' high point of $4.09/g = $618/yr If you take the current $1700 hybrid tax credit away from the $30,900, you'd still have a car roughly $2500-$3000 more expensive than a loaded I4 Milan. At the savings listed about, it would take you anywhere from 4-6 years to break even.
  7. INTRO I *always* go to the auto show; the exception being the year by son was born (he would've been 3 weeks old at the time). I end up sitting in virtually every model and make at the auto show. My 2003 Suburban has been a very trusty vehicle. It's accumulated very little miles (68,xxx), but it is starting to get old. With that in mind, I decided to make a point of looking at Ford's Expeditiion - just to get an idea of how it compares to the new Suburban (and my existing old model). Turns out I couldn't find it on the floor, so I stopped at the Ford kiosk and asked 'one of the bobos'. Turns out I was talking to Ford's auto show coordinator; fresh off a flight from Dearborn. Turns out that they didn't have an Expedition at the show; they had scaled down production with the high fuel costs and were switching production to another facility. That combo-platter meant they just didn't have one available to get to my local Mpls Auto show. At this point, he asked if he could acquire my contact info (name, address, e-mail). He wanted to e-mail me a Ford test-drive eCertificate. Take a test drive of a new Ford before 5/31 and I'd get a $50 MasterCard from Ford. I recieved the e-mail, and being a typical male, left it sitting in my archived mail folder until last Friday, 5/29.. when I visited the "North Country Ford Mercy Lincoln" dealership to test drive a Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan; which had peaked my interest from my viewing of them at the autoshow. DEALERSHIP: "Sales Consultant" Alex Mohanna met me walking the lot. I introduced myself, told him that I wasn't interested in buying a car right now, was interested sometime in the next 18 months, and wanted to drive a Fusion or Milan. I told him my preference was the I4 or hybrid as I have a lengthly daily commute. While he disappeared to get the keys, I walked the lot and looked at the rest of the Fusions and Milans they had. They had about 8 vehicles (total). Not sure if that's because they are selling that fast or if production hasn't ramped up, or if that's a combination of those two. Alex came back, started up a Metallic Black Milan hybrid and drove it over to where I had wandered. He hopped out and told me to look him up when I got back. He took my printed eCert e-mail and had it filed out with all of the details by the time I had brought the car back. He was pleased that I liked the car and made no attempt at selling/negotiating -- basically taking me at my word that I wasn't interested in purchasing a car right now. I was very impressed by his casual approach. Kudos to North Country and Alex Mohanna. 2010 MERCURY MILAN HYBRID: EXTERIOR: One of Merc's distinguishing features over the Fusion is the availability of metallic paint finished in multiple colors (black, red, blue, white). The metallic black finish of the car I test drove was particularly striking. It looked classy. Overall, the 2010 Milan hasn't dramatically changed from the 2009 in appearance. Still has the waterfall grill, but it now has more of a chrome accent. The car's styling has been refreshed, not redesigned. It you liked the appearance of the old one, you'll probably like this one as well. INTERIOR: The Milan had black leather seats with tan accents. Tastefully done. Comfortable and supportive. Center stack isn't anything special, but it isn't bad either. Very functional. The center stack has plenty of buttons (think: radio controls (w/sync and Sirius), driver and passenger hvac controls, heated seats, etc) and I could see where a new owner could feel that it's a bit 'cluttered', the controls are logically placed and I think that within a month of ownership, you'd have no problem navigating them. I didn't play with the sync system (sorry!). Controls have a nice feel to them and are silky smooth in their operation. NOTHING feels cheap about this car. Even the power sunroof seems to (quietly) glide open. The closest thing I could find to a 'dislike' was the plastic covering the center stack. It didn't seem cheap so much that it seemed cheap-as-compared-to-everything-else-in-the-car. First impression of the car is 'wow'. My brother owned a loaded 2006 Milan Premier V6. It was a nice car - but it wasn't a car that felt like a true luxury car; it felt like a Ford Fusion with leather seats and a sunroof. The new Milan FEELS like a luxury car. The door shuts solidly, the lack of interior noise is one of the first things you notice. Controls glide like silk. The car is noticeably improved over the previous generation. The Milan was outfitted with Ford's object-detection system. Lights embedded in your side mirrors illuminate when someone is in your blindspot. Back up within a certain number of feet (seemed to be somewhere around 2-3 feet) of an object and a tone chimes to let you know there is something behind you. Both systems worked well; weren't intrusive and did their job w/o issue. DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: Turn the key forward, the dash lights up and that's it. The gas motor doesn't turn over so there is no audible que to tell you that the 'car is on' other than the dash lighting up, the radio turning on, and the air blowing. Put it in gear and it pulls ahead like a conventional gas-powered car. Stomp on it, feather the gas, slow down, speed up. Come to a stop. All of it feels normal. If it wasn't for the gauges, you'd have to really work to determine whether the engine is on or off, whether you are electricaly propelled or gasoline propelled. It's really that seamless. Truly fantastic. The gauges make you feel like you are driving a video game - and it's fun. Dual color, HD LCD screens flank your center speedo. When you turn the car on, the gauges cascade outward away from the speedo. Cool visual. A gauge indicates if you are in EV mode or not. Another one depicts a tree. Drive frugally and the tree sprouts more leaves. Beat the tar out of it and it looses leaves. When you shut the car off, the gauges 'collapse' back into the speedo and you are presented with a report on your trip: miles, time, average fuel economy. Sounds flaky? It's actually quite fun. The electrically assisted 4cyl seemed quite zippy. I currently drive an '06 G6 with the 2.4l - and the Milan has more acceleration than the G6 (but not considerably more). It's certainly not V6 like, but it's not a dog either. The steering is light - as you could expect from electric steering. It's very similar to my G6 - so I felt right at home navigating with it. The car is heavy with the extra hybrid components. You don't notice it as much with braking, but you can feel it push out in the corners when you take a few fast turns. It's not terrible, it's just not the hybrid's strong point. The trunk was truncated in depth. I'm guessing the batteries are housed behind the rear seats, eating up a bit of the trunk. You could easily fit multiple suitcases in the trunk, you just aren't going to have the full space of a conventionally powered Milan, or the access that fold-down rear seats would offer you. OVERALL: I was *extremely* impressed by multiple things about the car. Because of the seamless transition between EV and gas and the battery having a 10yr/150k warranty on it, I'd have little reservations about buying this hybrid. Other than price, this really is a no-compromise hybrid. The fit and finish work on the car is nothing short of excellent. My expected 5-10 minute test drive turned into an hour and a half, where I brought the car home, had my wife drive it, etc. It's that stunning. First Ford I've ever thought seriously about purchasing. It feels light years ahead of my G6.
  8. My chief problem with Pontiac is: The G3, G5, G6, Torrent, Solstice and Vibe are ALL cheap knock-offs of vehicles that you can buy from other divisions (or Toyota). What does Pontiac have that is unique to the US/Can market? The G8. 1 out of 7 vehicles. The G3 and G5 are totally mismatches for the market that Pontiac is supposed to target. Worse than that is that the G3 and G5 move the Pontiac brand identity in the EXACT opposite direction of the ideal Pontiac direction. These missteps take a DECADE of vehicles, press, and marketing to overcome. Don't believe me? Here's a preview of the yet-to-be-released 2012 Caddilac BLS that mentions the long-dead Caddilac Cimarron: http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com...adillac-bls.htm Buick has the Enclave, the Lacrosse and the Lucerne. The Buick crossover is completely unnecessary with the combined BPG channel having access to the GMC Acadia - but given that mistake, at least the vehicles themselves fashion themselves after a psuedo-lux identity. If one of them must go, my preference would be for Pontiac to survive and for Buick to fold. Let's be practical: all decisions about GM's future must consider cost. GM doesn't have the luxury of deciding this any other way. Would it be cheaper to restore Buick's image or Pontiac's?
  9. Not really news, but: 1) It's interesting 2) It's about GM and it's not depressing (figure we needed a break from the doom & gloom) Enjoy! http://www.askmen.com/entertainment/specia...al_feature.html
  10. Questions to ask: The cost of getting rid of Pontiac Killings Oldsmobile cost GM a percent of market share AND it cost GM an estimated $1b to negotiate the closing/transitioning of dealerships, etc. Since GM has combined the dealership channels of GMC/Pontiac/Buick, would closing a "Pontiac" really cost much at all? If Buick had cars to attract potential Pontiac purchasers (something GM would need to work on the timing of), how would the dealerships be affected--other than signage? Marketing materials are a non-factor: that crap gets updated practically every year anyways. The cost of closing a Pontiac may not be too bad--certainly not as costly as Oldsmobile turned out to be. Getting rid of Saturn Can Saturn be sold? With Saab, Hummer, and Volvo all on the market at the same time, selling Saturn would depress prices even further. I'm not sure Saturn could be sold for anything near it's worth. Since GM (smartly) managed Saturn dealership growth, most cities have just a handful of Saturn regionally-based dealerships. Being that the volume of Saturn dealerships are small, could a Buick/GMC dealership network absorb Saturn dealerships remaking themselves into Buick/GMC dealerships? Worse case scenario is that GM ends up buying back some of dealerships and shuttering themselves. The sale of Hummer/Saab Can the sale of Hummer/Saab offset some of the loses of the above-mentioned items? How sweet would it be for GM to shed itself of FOUR brands at a small-compared-to-Oldsmobile-net-cost? Personally, I'd target VW/Audi for Hummer. VW/Audi doesn't have a large US-presence in SUV's. Here's a lux/premium brand that fills a market-space for them. GM could contractually provide platforms & powertrains for the Hummer brand as necessary for as long as a purchaser would require.
  11. One more thing to ponder: Does GM need to find a way to bring a Camaro-derivative to market to justify the expense of the platform/buildout/engineering? I can easily see the Corvette/Cadillac XLR selling with enough profit margin to see the Corvette/Cadillac XLR existing as is (plus giving GM the benefit of having a world-renouned 'halo' car). But what of the Camaro? I'm afraid to say it, but with GM's cash-crunch, how can GM justify a single Chevrolet-only-sports-car? Unless the Camaro sells well in volume, how can GM justify it's existence? What about a turbo DI-2.0l three-quarter-size Camaro-hatchback that finds life as a Monza? As much as I love the Firebird/Trans-Am names (& their history), the last thing I'd want to do is burden Pontiac with another "me-too" type vehicle. How about a Caddy sports car that is less "over-the-top" than the XLR?
  12. GM *does* need to clean up it's dealership mess; but it starts with giving each surviving brand a target market and STICKING TO IT (see Pontiac G3/G5 or Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia for details). They cannot distinctly market each brand uniquely because they've (1) lacked consistancy in defining each brand, and (2) too many brands force overlap far too easily. I'd argue that besides GMC, only one of the following GM brands survive: Pontiac, Buick, Saturn, Saab. 1. Saab is the easiest to get rid of. Sure it's quirky/semi-unique, but it's lack of volume and non-GM-heritage would make it the first for me to get rid of. Being that it's semi-unique and has a non-US presence, I'd put it up for sale as opposed to shuttering it. 2. Saturn. The choices start getting tough now. Forget the fact that Saturn has practically a all-new lineup of vehicles. It's a high-cost, stand-alone brand with low-volume that never took off with the public. If you closed Pontiac and Buick instead of Saturn, you'd leave GMC all alone. The GMC brand wouldn't survive. By default, you'd need to combine GMC with Saturn (expensive) or shutter GMC (something GM would be hesitant to do). GMC is a premium vehicle that gets a premium price, despite most of it's vehicles typically sharing 90-95% of it's underpinnings with it's corresponding Chevrolet nameplates. That's profit GM can't afford to lose. GMC won't be 'left alone" and that means Saturn is the odd-man out. 3. Pontiac. The Solstice and G8 are nice; but it just isn't enough. The G6 is a weak/mediocre/rental-grade offering (I should know: I own one). The G3 and G5 sealed it for me: the Pontiac brand has been given watered down, weak GM rebadges for far too long. It will take far, far too much money to change public perception otherwise. Great history, sad to see it go, but at this point, GM can't afford to spend money for the next 2 decades to repair the damage of recent years. My case for Buick/GMC: 1. Buick is building a name for itself in an emerging market: let overseas growth fuel Buick's rebirth here. 2. Buick would slot itself between Chevrolet and Cadilliac: a middle-luxury class of cars. GMC would do the same for SUV's, crossovers and trucks. You now have a clear brand identity: entry-level Chevrolet, near-luxury Buick Cars/GMC trucks and full/premium luxury Cadillac. 3. Buick could 'absorb' the best of Pontiac/Buick/Saturn better than Saturn or Pontiac could. Saturn doesn't have an identity at all--despite years of trying. Unfortunately, Pontiac has an identity: Hertz, Avis, National, Alamo. Product plans: 1. Completely kill Pontiac G3/G5/G6 2. Pontiac G8 becomes a Buick Regal (bonus: V8 trim revives "Grand National" designation). This ultimately kills the Buick Lucerne. 3. Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky gets an upgraded interior and is reborn as a "Buick Wildcat" 4. Chinese built sedan becomes Buick Invicta, killing existing Buick LaCrosse/Pontiac G6/Saturn Aura. 5. Buick Enclave/Saturn Outlook just goes away; lets sales go to the more popular GMC Acadia nameplate. 6. Next-gen Opel Astra is brought over as a Buick Astra. Buick would then: Astra, Invicta, Regal, Wildcat GMC would have: Terrain (Vue/Equinox clone), Sierra, Yukon/Yukon XL, Acadia That would be a more-than-well rounded lineup of competive vehicles under the Buick/GMC dealership sign!
  13. Wow! An article from TTAC that's just a speculative, steaming pile of !@#%$? Who'd have thunk it? If I've got this right, this TTAC website has a 'Death Watch' on a company that's been running for what, 2 years? 3 years? During that time frame, GM has (tenatively) addressed every mess from legacy pension obligations to wage concessions, Fiat, and Delphi. All the while, every vehicle they put out has been increasingly better and better. Witness the every increasing change in sedans from the 2004-2007 era Chevrolet Malibu to the award winning Saturn Aura to the current generation Chevrolet Malibu. Each one incrementally better than the last. How about the CTS? The Corvette? The competitive w/the BMW 5-series Pontiac G8? How about a 37mpg Chevrolet Cobalt - that can best the gas milage of a Honda Fit - while delivering way more hp and torque. Powertrain tech. that mighty Honda doesn't have (6-speed transmissions) and a looming industry-changing vehicle in the Volt. It's a shame GM had to lay down $38b to fund pension obligations - but long term, it sheds them of a almost-$5b/year cash drain. If they can extend themselves into 2010 to realize the gains of the new UAW contract, GM may finally be able to say they've turned the ship around. What will TTAC be at then? Death Watch #104683? At the point you reached >50 entries in that series, don't you think you've lost a bit of credibility regarding an iminent 'Death Watch'? Just sayin'
  14. 1) & 2) How is this any different from people reporting 'only' 38mpg in their Pruis? As with any car: mileage will vary with how you drive it. 3) Mercedes and BMW did not contribute any engineering input to the 2-mode hybrid system. Their contribution was 'cash'. As for the "and I think the Volt shows that they haven't quite learnt that yet.", how exactly is the Volt showing that? It isn't even on the street yet! Last note; the 2nd generation BAS system hits the road next year. It has a larger battery, and at low speeds, it assists acceleration (and all for a slim price tag). Heck, your tax credit almost *completely* pays for the mild hybrid system. How can you go wrong with that?!?
  15. Where have I been? Just hang'n out, acting cool (it's not working, is it?). Actually, I've been busy at work for the most part. I'm still a hyper-enthusiast, browsing various auto sites multiple times/day -- I just haven't been posting as much. Anyways, here's a snippet from a wsj article dated Mar. 1 of this year: Full article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1204330528...=googlenews_wsj

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