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Hemi vs. Hybrid! Japan goes Tech, US goes ICE! Who's really winning??

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  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    is an organic outgrowth of a mid-engine chassis. It was never intended to be used on a front-engine vehicle, and as such was purely a styling gimmick.

    shifty: there are significant differences between an SC430 and Audi TT -- the SC is far from a carbon copy. Put the two side by side, and you'll see what I mean. In fact, the entire concept of the cars is almost totally different, in that the SC is a luxo-barge, while the TT is a minimalist coupe.

    The PT was a nice niche vehicle that outgrew its pants -- to the delight of its masters. Hoever, as has been noted, retro will only get you so far. And the problem with the PT is that it resonates primarily with those who remember the cars it was based upon -- the 30-40s Fords (in other words, baby boomers). The youth of the country remain unimpressed.

    As 6th so cogently observes, stlying and engineering are both evolutionary in nature, and borrow from many different influences. Newton didn't invent gravity, nor did he really discover it -- he just coined a word for it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,956
    Well sure, granted, every "discovery" is already known in that it was always there but the point is....nobody SAW IT...There was gravity long before Newton I betcha.

    Audi saw all the elements of a "new way" to be modern, and put them together into a smashing, highly influential design. It was THE boffo design of the 90s. Nothing but nothing got the media chattering like that car! The TT was (and still is) plastered on the covers of all kinds of architectural and Design trade publications. You won't see a Malibu or an Intrepid there. Not that they are BAD designs at all....but not ground-breaking.

    Maybe an SC430 isn't quite a copy of a TT, but without the TT I doubt there would have been an SC430 (maybe a good thing, come to think of it--lol!).

    But since we are talking in this topic about "winning" something in a BIG WAY, I don't think a pretty car here or a nice thingie over there is quite what it takes to dominate the 21st Century in car design and engineering. Audi f'rinstance is pushing on all fronts---styling, engineering (AWD and turbo systems)and driving experience. This company is not presenting the typical Big 2.5 "one trick pony' approach. Probably the closest American marque to an "all fronts" approach is Cadillac right now, with a great engine and magna-ride. It's not a TOTALLY impressive car but by American standards it is VERY impressive.

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  • I went to the Toronto auto show last week and saw Honda's cool display of their fuel cell car that can be bought and driven in Japan right now. Right after that, I went to the Chyrsler display. What did they have to challenge this technology? TRUCKS TRUCKS TRUCKS! GM and Ford weren't any better. If there is a fuel crisis in the near future, the big three will be done like dinner!
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Too bad the replacement A6, interior style especially, seems like a letdown.
  • to see Chrysler build that 1999 concept Charger RT with its 400+HP supercharged hybrid engine and Mazda RX-8-like four doors. Apparently the design was nixed because it was based on the outgoing LH platform, but word on the grapevine is that a new Charger concept will be unveiled soon. Who knows, this car may nicely incorporate the two technologies discussed in this forum in the form of a supercharged hybrid hemi powerplant! who can argue with that? yay! we're gonna save the world and burn rubber at the same time! yippee!!
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    one of the real attractions of hybrid technology -- it can be used to push fuel economy to its further limits, or as a power additive.

    I'm not worried about the Detroit3 keeping up with hybrid or fuel cell technology -- they just won't jump on the bandwagon until their boards decide it's a good business decision. Very far-sighted, those people, dontcha know....
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Ford will have the hybrid Escape out later this year, and, if I recall correctly, GM is selling hybrid pickups to fleet customers. But, at Ford's auto show displays, it never plays up the upcoming Escape hybrid, as it does the Mustang, Freestyle and Five Hundred, whereas both Honda and Toyota feature their hybrids front and center. Granted, Toyota hopes "green" customers will ignore all of those gas-guzzling V8 4Runners, Tundras, Sequoias and Land Cruisers as they make their way to the Prius. Judging by what I read in the papers, that strategy is apparently working.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Shift

       I don't see the connection between a SC430/TT. Looks like quite a reach.

       Grbeck

       You said oilier that Ford is staging some comeback or other? That the Ford Focus is "on track"? That it maybe moving forward in the market faster than GM? Here are some facts you should be aware of:
     
       - The Ford T-Bird is dead!

       - The Freestyle will bomb!

       - The Ford GT is outstanding! Better than a 360 Modena! But in the end, irrelevant to any "Turnaround".

       - The F-150 is a solid, if conservative, redo that will sell well for years. It too should be held seperate from any corporate turnaround.

       - The Mazda 3 is what a redesigned Ford Focus would be (Just MUCH better-looking!)! And the Ford Focus (as we know it) won't be redesigned until at least 2006!
         Any dynamic improvements over the Escort have been more than cancelled out by the negative PR of the cars infamously poor quality. So much for it being on track.

       - Ford is three companies:

       1. The F-150 and Explorer
       
       2. The "Time Bombs" (anything else they make, give the "Exploder" a pass)!
       
       3. The thoroughly derivative knock-offs at the Lincoln/Mercury dealers

       GM is re-hashing it's "Hip to be Square" styling, which has always been indigenous to Cadillac since forever anyway. If Cadillac EVER made a flowing beautiful design, I'd give them a dollar! But they can't so......

       Both companies are sinking into the abyss!
    Ford is just falling faster than GM at this particular point in time, burning market share like gas in a Triton V8!

       Whoever said earlier that GM can't manage itself and it's growing number of marques is paying attention!

       GM can't knock itself off fast enough! Buick and Saturn are dying. Olds is dead. Many current Chevys are seriously outdated (Impala, Silverado, Colorado is obsolete after 3-4 months?)

       The Big 3 are falling, and falling fast. It's just a matter of when we'll admit it.

       DrFill (DIG)
  • dat wuz me hoo sed dat about GM, but do i reely wanna agree wid yoo? hoo ha! jus kiddin!

    GM and Ford can't be in as bad shape as you make them out to be! Who's buying all those GM and Ford vehicles out there? I still have faith.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Count me in as another who thinks the TT's import has been a bit overstated. When I see a TT I think of a sleeker VW Bug from decades ago, hardly original. If Audi has enjoyed a saving grace, it's not the look of the TT but the overall package and value of the A4.

    IMO what the U.S. industry needs isn't high tech, it needs its own 1991 Lexus LS400. Something that is just flat-out confidence-inspiring. The CTS probably is the closest hit yet to such a vehicle but there's still quite a bit of room for improvement. The bottom line is that people don't want to pay big premiums for surface "innovation." Niches always will, the wealthy always will, but most others would rather that their $x go into quality engineering than advanced or showy engineering or styling.
  • that's how i feel about chrysler and GM these days--too many showcase or image cars which do nothing to help the bottom line or instill buyer confidence. how useful or relevant is a crossfire, or ssr, when the bread-and-butter cars in their respective line-ups are in need of fundamental improvements.

    it's like putting one 50 yarder thru the uprights during the half-time show, then showing everyone in the stadium replays of it on the jumbotron over and over during the rest of the game while you miss lots of easy field goals and conversions.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,956
    So close they probably need labels :)

    image

    image

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  • does that TT have some sort of aftermarket front airdam?
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    don't really show the differences, which are in the details -- the TT is very crisp, whereas the SC is very smooth. In person, the differences are obvious. The proportions are also quite a bit different when viewed directly from the side.

    Mind, I really don't care whether or not the SC mimics the TT -- I just don't think it does. Similar, yes -- but so are a multitude of other cars to each other (just look at all the cars with triangular taillights). Also, the SC is not exactly a high-production car, so ascribing excessive import to the TT's styling seems like a reach to me. Which other cars copy the TT's styling? And didn't the New Beetle precede the TT? (May be wrong on that one....)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,141
    in the fact that they're both small 2-seat playthings for people with nice bank accounts, but that's about it. The TT is almost symmetrical when viewed from the side. You could take the silhouette and chop it in half, and interchange the parts, and nobody would be the wiser. It's basically one arc centered on top of another, which actually screws up the proportions, because it makes the hood too short, or the decklid too long, depending on your perspective.

    For some reason, the SC actually makes me think of a cross between a Hyundai Tiburon and some of those GM personal-lux coupes of the 70's that had a few too many curves, something the previous-gen Tiburon had a bit too much of itself. Its proportions are totally different though, from the longer hood, shorter deck, windshield pillars that are more straight, a more close-coupled looking passenger cabin, etc. The SC also has an overall shape that kicks up towards the rear, like GM cars started doing in 1965.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    is easily the best-styled car from the 90s. I am surprised to see people arguing this...that car still knocks my socks off after 5 years. I think car mag editors pretty much universally agree with this. And yes, I think it is more striking than the PT.

    I would like to see GM save all the money they spent developing the rather useless SSR, and put it into really good engineering on the mainstream models they actually have to sell. Chevy already has Corvette, and the new one looks awesome, performs awesome, why have two halo cars? Can you imagine how the Malibus and Grand Prix of this world could be if that money had been spent tightening their QC, improving the interiors with better parts and style, and making them much more mechanically reliable and long-lived? THAT would be the way for GM to stop the slide and have all its 1970s customers back by 2015.

    In the meantime, the new Prius' unanticipated heavy demand has me thinking that HSD in the Toyota utes could well take off in the market as well, and hybrid might just consolidate its beachhead on our shores. If so, we will certainly see hybrid applications before 2010 that will increase power (with incremental fuel economy improvements) rather than just save gas, and that could be a very good thing. It would be the first time in 20 years that has happened.

    Gas has gone up about 25 cents a gallon since mid-January where I live. There will come a point where people care more about fuel economy in the vehicles they buy, although we have not reached that point yet.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,141
    over something that bears a striking resemblance to the mouse attached to my computer. It also looks an awful lot like a stubby Chrysler Thunderbolt. I guess what I'm saying is that I just don't see anything new or revolutionary in the TT's style. It's clean, and there's nothing really wrong with it, but if you take a fresh bar of soap and one that's been used for awhile, sit one on top of the other in the shower, you'll get the same basic shape after awhile.

    As for the hybrid thing, well gas has shot up a good deal in these parts, too, maybe about 25 cents a gallon, as well. I really felt it last nite when it cost me about $36 to fill up my NYer, although I did treat the sucker to Premium. I dunno if I'd ever get into a hybrid, because I don't think I really drive enough anymore to really see a cost benefit. Maybe though, as time goes on and the cost of the technology goes down, and they start putting the technology in bigger, more mainstream-looking vehicles.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    TT's influence was mostly on the interiors, not exteriors. Quick, can you name one sporty compact that does *not* have imitation Audi aluminum trim?

    Me neither.

    The TT single handedely changed the trend from wood (plood actually) to brushed aluminum/metal or some imitation.

    Even the F150 has it, and it's easily the best truck interior out there.

    It may not have been the first ever, but it certainly popularized metal interior trim. Funny thing is I think the TT's influence is greatly understated here.

    -juice
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,141
    that flat silver satin-y crap they spray on the plastics, like what they used to do on stereo equipment back in the 80's, before the black look came into style, or real brushed metal, like what's in my Grandad's '85 Silverado?

    I used to have a computer mouse here at work that had that silver satin junk on it. That stuff wears off with light speed.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Callmedrfill:

    I'm quite aware of what you cited. The demise of the Thunderbird is a blow to Ford's prestige and morale, but it hardly makes a dent in its profit outlook or prospects for recovery.

    As for your statement regarding the Freestyle - please learn the difference between a fact and a prediction. Your statement, "The Freestyle will bomb!" is not a fact, it's a prediction.

    The Freestyle has received good reviews in every publication I've read, and it was attracting lots of attention at the Harrisburg Auto Show. It's entering the one of the hottest segments of the market with handsome styling and a competitive price. That bodes well for the Freestyle's prospects, but neither one of us will know for sure until they start rolling off the assembly lines in Chicago. Which they aren't scheduled to do until later this summer.

    Why, exactly should the F-150 "be held seperate from any corporate turnaround?" Because it hurts your case? While its success is irrelevant to how the public views Ford's CARS, it is extremely important to Ford's corporate future. It brings home a large percentage of the company's profits. It's central to any corporate turnaround effort. Fortunately, not only is it selling well, but the public is buying the upper-level, higher-profit models in larger-than-anticipated numbers, further helping Ford.

    The Focus will receive a nice facelift and new engines for the 2005 models, which debut this spring. Consumer Reports reported a huge drop in problems from the 2001 models to the 2002 models (the head of Consumer Reports testing remarked it was one of the greatest year-to-year improvements he'd ever witnessed for a vehicle), and has recommended it based on the even better 2003 and 2004 models.

    It still offers great driving dynamics, a roomy interior, a wide selection of models and, for 2005, new engines and a new look. So I'd refrain from shoveling dirt on its grave just yet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,956
    Very few cars of the last 25 years created the media racket of the Audi TT. Maybe nothing like it since the 1965 Mustang.

    It's probably hard to appreciate because the design is actually pretty old now. Almost ten years since its debut, so our eyes are really not so impressed anymore. You'd have to line it up with 1994 cars to get the full impact I think. It was very startling and bold at the time.

    I wish an American company could pull something like that out of the hat right now. I don't mean LOOKING like a TT, that's pretty passe by now, but something that would inspire other companies to copy it. With or without Hemi, I don't care. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and good free PR, too!

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yup Andre, the cheap imitation stuff scratches easily. Gimme flat, matte black trim, any day. If it scratches you can just buff it out.

    Audi uses the real stuff, at least. A friend of mine bought a Boxster and you should have seen the prices on the trim appearance packages - I'm talking $5-6 grand!

    -juice
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    (but only barely so) I think the Altima sets the standard for family sedans. Would that the other carmakers would follow their example. (Unfortunately, it appears to be a difficult model to follow, judging by Nissan's own Maxima).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dunno, I think the outside looks OK but the Altezzas didn't catch on and will soon look dated. The interior just got an overhaul, so I don't think we can call it the standard.

    Right now I think the Mazda6 probably sets the styling standard for the mid-sizers.

    -juice
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    The ALtezza is Toyota's predecessor to the IS300.

    And while I like the Mazda, I still think the Altima's combination of elegance, smoothness and visual excitement still sets the standard. (My opinion, of course (whose else would I have?!!)
  • he may have just been talking about the "altezza" style tail lights that the altima has. The interior on the Altima is such a letdown compared to the rest of the car. Needs some work to be THE family sedan. As far a smaller, sporty sedan's I'd go with the Mazda 6, Larger I'd probably go with an Accord (despite the ugly exterior).
  • the new altima has a really nice interior now. looks completely changed from last year's.
  • hmmmm haven't seen it yet. I'll have to check it out at the autoshow here in two weeks.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,141
    the Altima still has a long and winding road to go before there's really anything nice to say about the interior. About the only thing I can say for it is at least you get cloth inserts on the door panels, instead of just cheap vinyl or plastic, like on some other cars. It's roomy and comfy though, I'll give it that much.

    Overall though, in terms of fit-and-finish, I'd rate it about the same as some of GM's older offerings. Not up to par with the new Malibu or Grand Prix, but better than, say, a Cavalier or the old Malibu, and maybe a touch above an Impala. They're definitely put together sloppier than a Camry or especially an Accord, which I think still sets the standard for gaps, tolerances, even sheetmetal, etc.

    Now the Altima's not shabby enough to scare me away...I actually like the car, despite all the things I'm picking on. When comparing cars in that general size range, I think it's one of the best looking. It's tall, yet hides that tallness much better than the Accord, Camry, or Malibu does. Another car in that size range I like the style of is the Stratus/Sebring, which nowadays, are probably the most low-slung of the bunch. But the moment I drove one, I was disappointed, whereas with the Altima I really liked it, despite the poor workmanship/materials, and engine that was loud at lower speeds.
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    I was just referencing the exterior styling, which I think is a highwater mark in sedans. Good performance, too -- much better than either Honda or Toyota.
This discussion has been closed.