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The Current State of the US Auto Market

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  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    edited September 2013
    I agree andre. Not really a huge difference between the best and worst.

    I went out on a limb and bought a Ram. I simply like it more than the other pickups. If I wanted the most reliable truck, I would have bought a Tundra. If I wanted the best mileage I guess Chevy is the way to go (v8 anyway), and for performance/towing/hauling, the f150 is probably the best bet.

    I simply don't care for the Tundra, great powertrain, but the rest of the truck doesn't do anything for me. I don't like the styling of the Chevy inside and out (personal preference), and while I do like the f150, they're everywhere and they're a bit dated now.

    Honestly, as soon as my wife and I hopped into the Ram Laramie and took it for a drive, we were sold. I simply love the interior. It's comfortable, and I feel like could get in it and drive all day.

    An update of FE, this week I've driven 111 miles, averaging 20mph (been dropping off and picking up kids at school), and it's been in the mid 90's, so I've been idling some while in line. I'm averaging 13.7mpg, which I'm satisfied with. The same scenario in the Expedition would have been 11-12 mpg, maybe less. Overall I've got 400 miles on the Ram and my average has dropped to 15.8 overall this week.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Exactly. What's the "average" bar really set at anyway? "Average" could in fact be "very mediocre", with the highest ratings not much more than "high mediocre" therefore.

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Is your Ram a 2WD or 4x4? It's an extended cab, but not a full 4 dr 6 seater right?

    I'm curious about the process when it goes from 4 cyl to 8. What speed on the hwy with A/C on will it do this? Do you happen to notice if there is a more common gear that it's in when it does this more often? What about around town? If you do not drive aggressively, does it basically drive around on 4 cyl all the time?

    Does anyone know if these MDS engines have some big miles on them yet without any longevity issues whatsoever? Honda, for example seems to have some teething issues with their V6 and I think they have ever since they offered one. The issue I hear now is oil consumption, but not sure how widespread that is. If it is only a few isolated cases, then seems odd to me. With oil consumption issues, you would think that there is a design problem that would involve huge numbers unless it was a faulty part that can be zeroed in on from a specific batch of lot/VIN numbers.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    edited September 2013
    I've got a crew cab, 6'4 bed 4x4 which seats 5.

    As far as MDS goes. It seems to kick it any time your light on the gas up to about 70 or so regardless of the a/c being on.

    I particularly notice it at slow speeds under 30 because it has a funny burble from the exhaust when it kicks in at low rpm. So I notice it kicking in more around town than at highway speeds. Under 70mph it goes to 4cyl mode anytime the terrain is flat and at a steady speed. I've even noticed it in 4cyl mode at low speeds while gently accelerating.

    I seem to be getting 21-23 mpg on the highway if I stay under 70 running about 1,500 rpm or so. Driving in town it rarely goes over 2k rpm with light throttle. I'm amazed at how quick and smooth the transmission shifts while accelerating. It doesn't seem to reach 8th gear until about 50mph or so.

    It appears the hemi and gm engines with MDS/DOD are reliable. I've heard of many of these engines capable of very high mileage.

    Yeah, honda has had issues. The v6 in my dad's 09 Accord has been taken apart twice for oil burning issues. Seems the problem is more likely if driven in a manor that MDS kicks in a lot. That may explain why it seems to be more of a problem in the Accord vs. the Pilot or Oddy.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I hope she likes it. The one I picked up yesterday had 6K more miles than the ad showed, and the seller gave me $500 more off because of it. So I have an '09 with auto, cold AC (and boy did I need it yesterday), CD, FM, PW, PDL, 57K miles, new brakes in June, good tires, for $5,501.00. Three months left on the 5 yr./100K powertrain warranty (includes cooling and wheel bearings as well as engine and trans). I wish I could've found one built in August '09, but can't be too choosy. ;)
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    IMO, that's a smoking deal!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,258
    > I wish I could've found one built in August '09, but can't be too choosy.

    How did you find this one? That's a great price.
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    Several people have already pointed out that there is only about an 8 points difference (possibly 9) between the best and the worst. My biggest problem is with the way the graph is laid out, or "scaled".

    If the person creating the graph had chosen to show a range of 0 to 100, then the differences would be very hard to see. Very hard. Instead, he (or she) chose a scale of 74 to 90. This tends to accentuate the differences, out of proportion.

    It could have been worse. Choosing a scale of 78 to 88, for instance. The bottom two would be very, very small. Tiny even. Whereas the very top one entry would have been gigantic.

    This is an example of what I call "lieing with numbers". Or, as Mark Twain said, "Lies, damn lies, and statistics".
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The Cobalt was on eBay. It was the only one I noticed that didn't have a reserve and ended in the middle of a weekday workday. ;)

    The seller told me they have 30 Cobalts to list and mine was one of the first.

    It was a fleet car, but he was able to include with the car the maintenance records back to the beginning.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited September 2013
    GM tried unsuccessfully to sell Opels as Saturns, so it looks like its Buick's turn at the wheel...

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/09/11/reviewed-opel-concept/279890- 3/
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    In the 50's and 60's Buick dealers often sold Opel as well as Buick. Might make more sense to sell some of this Opel stuff as an Opel rather than downgrading the near lux image they have tried to give the Buick line. I can only see things like this tiny coupe and Encore bringing Buick's consumer image lower - contrary to what I thought GM's goal was with Buick going more upscale???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Buick *is* upscale in many foreign markets. Foreign buyers have no idea of Buick's history or reputation.

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    But the bulk of the profits still come from the NA marketplace.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,754
    I find the engine in my son's 2007 Cobalt to be smoother than the turbo 4 in my cousin's RDX. .

    Well I hope it's smoother than the turbo 4 in the Cruze I rented recently. Talk about a growler.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited September 2013
    The 2.2 in my Cobalt is literally so smooth at idle, one cannot tell it is running. That is no joke.

    So it was a Turbo you rented? I seem to remember correspondence here where you weren't sure it was a 1.4 or 1.8, but I don't recall for sure.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,258
    edited September 2013
    > you weren't sure it was a 1.4 or 1.8,

    Odd, how if an engine makes noise while someone's driving it in a US branded car that is awful. If a Honda or toyo makes noise while being driven in the same way, it's quality. Gotta love 'em. God bless them.

    I have to admit that my 3800's make noise while running. Especially if driven more aggressively than I usually need to accelerate, I can actually hear the exhaust. However, I could hear the neighbor's Acura(s) when he would acclerate gently down the road from his driveway, and those are V6's. Of course, Honda's having some troubles with their VCM so maybe that's the excuse.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,853
    But the bulk of the profits still come from the NA marketplace.

    I'll disagree.

    Buick sells about 2.5 times the number of vehicles in China than in the North America.

    August 2013:

    North America: 27K units
    China: 68K units
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    But are you sure about the profit margins? New plants over there, much lower selling prices> I'm sure their cost of goods sold is lower in China, but it still has to absorb corporate overhead and the Chinese labor rates have been sky rocketing lately.

    But the biggest risk I think is when China steals their technology, plant operational capabilities and processes, and drawings. Then the state will facilitate a Chinese firm to build similar product cheaper with gov subsidies and eventually erode Buick over there. China may act capitalist, but the gov is Communist which means in economics they are still thugs. By the way, where is the Chinese bailout money for GM?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,853
    But are you sure about the profit margins?

    No I'm not and since GM doesn't tell us, we have to make some assumptions. I can make an educated guess that when one is selling 2.5 times more product, it takes quite a bit of additional cost to reduce GP that much.

    The Buck Excelle is the top selling car in China - it's the Verano here. They sold 250K of them in 2012. The US Equivilant is the Verano and they are on target to sell 50K this year.

    Let's assume 10% gross profit.

    Excelle: 250K x 16K base price x 10% = $400 million.
    Verano: 50K x 24K base price x 10% = $120 million.

    It may not be perfect, but it's an educated guess.

    But the biggest risk I think is when China steals their technology, plant operational capabilities and processes, and drawings. Then the state will facilitate a Chinese firm to build similar product cheaper with gov subsidies and eventually erode Buick over there.

    Yes that happens in China but the one thing they can't copy is the Buick brand. It's the top selling auto company in China and is popular among the affluent and upwardly mobile Chinese. Keep in mind that the Chinese favor American brands often eschewing cheaper Chinese brands for names such as Ethan Allen, Apple and Pampers.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    "I have to admit that my 3800's make noise while running. Especially if driven more aggressively than I usually need to accelerate, I can actually hear the exhaust. However, I could hear the neighbor's Acura(s) when he would acclerate gently down the road from his driveway, and those are V6's. Of course, Honda's having some troubles with their VCM so maybe that's the excuse. "

    The 3800 we had sounded and felt crude compared to any Honda, Toyota, or even the the 3.5 Duratec in the Taurus.

    When I ride/drive in any Honda/toyoa v6 vehicle, I always notice right away how much smoother they are comparedthan the domestic v6's I've sampled. My MIL's Camry v6 with 200k miles is noticeably smoother and quieter than my wife's Taurus. Same goes for my dad's v6 Accord. I now some people aren't as sensitive to those areas as I am and I realize that alone don't make the asian makes infinitely better. As I've posted a few times, my dad's '09 Accord V6 has been torn apart twice of VCM oil consumption issues.

    What's weird is the 3.5 in my wife's '13 Taurus doesn't sound as refined as the one in the '11. Particularly at idle, it's not nearly as quiet. I know Ford added independent variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams. Which ironically make the engine feel a little more peaky. It seems a bit slower at lower rpm, but once it revs past 4k it will pull pretty hard.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    There is absolutely no question but that, overall, German and Japanese auto manufacturers have the smoothest and most sophisticated engines. Probably now for 25-30 years. American brands have been playing catch up.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    I know you can play all kinds of accounting games based on taxes, etc. But I doubt that Chinese vehicles have the same profit margin rate as domestic ones primarily because they are still absorbing the higher fixed costs from the relatively new plants they are being built in. The other issue that comes into play is product mix. For example, Buick is selling a lot of high margin Enclaves here that I'm sure bring in substantially more profit margin than a Verano. I do agree about the current prestige factor of a Buick in China, but remember there was a time when brands like Buick and Cadillac had prestige in the US too. I think some brands like BMW may already be cutting into Buick's prestige factor over there as well.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    you'd think so, but not according to this article:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/why-chinese-buyers-love-buick-2013-4

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  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,754
    So it was a Turbo you rented? I seem to remember correspondence here where you weren't sure it was a 1.4 or 1.8, but I don't recall for sure.

    I had taken a picture with a coworker which I saw later and the car was in the background and the Cobalt was an LT. I believe that's a 1.4 turbo, correct me if I'm wrong.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,754
    Odd, how if an engine makes noise while someone's driving it in a US branded car that is awful. If a Honda or toyo makes noise while being driven in the same way, it's quality. Gotta love 'em. God bless them.

    You're conveniently pretending that there is no difference. I have had a VW, Honda, and Mazda with 4 cyls that were much less harsh than the Cruze I'm comparing to. As an aside, I just had an Altima rental (4 cyl I presume) and it was fairly bad, too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,041
    Well there is 'engine song" and "miserable thrashing sounds"---however, you are right in that this is a very subjective type of rating. Porsches and Ferraris are noisy, for instance.

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  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 5,626
    I believe that's a 1.4 turbo, correct me if I'm wrong.

    The Cruze LS has the 1.8L NA engine; the LT1, LT2 and LTZ all have the 1.4L turbo.

    I've got the cousin to uplanders Cobalt - Saturn ION - with the 2.2L Ecotec. Good engine, reasonably quiet. Getting 25-27MPG on mostly city driving.

    95K on it and going strong.

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,853
    edited September 2013
    I know you can play all kinds of accounting games based on taxes, etc.

    Trying to do the best I can making educated assumptions. If you have more specific data, please share. China outsells NA by 2.5 times. In order for North America to out earn China would mean that that the Chinese models have to be 60% less profitable. I highly doubt that is the case.

    For example, Buick is selling a lot of high margin Enclaves here that I'm sure bring in substantially more profit margin than a Verano.

    And in China Buick is selling a lot of high margin GL8 mini-vans that high powered business executives prefer to drive. Those retail for $45-60K.

    I do agree about the current prestige factor of a Buick in China, but remember there was a time when brands like Buick and Cadillac had prestige in the US too. I think some brands like BMW may already be cutting into Buick's prestige factor over there as well.

    Buick is playing in the premium segment and targets upwardly mobile professionals. BMW is in the luxury market which is where Cadillac is trying to play - and not doing too well. BMW does well with the 5 and 7 series as their target customer has a chauffeur.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,823
    high powered business executives

    Gee, I'd fit right in. I should apply for one of those "token" American jobs to lend credence to some GM supplier over there.

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  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    edited September 2013
    "Odd, how if an engine makes noise while someone's driving it in a US branded car that is awful. If a Honda or toyo makes noise while being driven in the same way, it's quality. Gotta love 'em. God bless them"

    The only thing "odd" here is your generalization...

    By your logic the sounds made by a Mack truck and a Yamaha motorcycle are equally pleasing/displeasing?

    Try revving out a J-series Honda V6 sometime, it's smooth, refined and linear and doesn't sound like it's going to explode.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVA1zuQ-IgA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXNOFmBCy7Y

    Conversely, "Try" and rev out a 3800 for instance (I mean "try" because anything over 4 grand sounds like a cement mixer with marbles in it IMO).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjOAQ5rijqg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FapMOd27_0k

    And add a Supercharger?

This discussion has been closed.