We keep watching the hand wringing of automotive enthusiasts (of which we are a member) about the manual transmission fading from the American vehicle fleet. Over the years, we have been proponents of automatics especially when they have become so efficient. Based on AutoPacific research we have the data and here are the tidbits.
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What are We Thankful for This Year? From my chair in Detroit, things are bleak whether GM, Ford, or Chrysler get any loan money or not. I’ve returned from last week’s Los Angeles Auto Show, where grilling of the Detroit Three leaders by Congress was more discussed than the product on the ground in front of us, or so it seemed. Lots of opinions have been shared, some informed and some not. There are several elements of the debate that seem to be overlooked (sales decline a minimum of 2.5 MILLION units this year is not affecting only the Detroit makers, next year is going to be worse, business decisions that look unwise in the rearview have been severely compounded by a credit freeze and housing market crash, elements not in control of any automaker.), but that’s all I’m going to say about that today.
So the word about the auto industry just keeps getting worse. With Congress mulling over the fate of the proposed aid package to the domestic automakers, we are also at the start of the 2009 auto show season. It’s going to be an interesting series of auto shows over the next few months, that’s for sure.
Media days for the 2009 LA Auto Show start this Wednesday, and it’s already going to be a somewhat pared down show in terms of new introductions, at least from the Domestic automakers. GM and Chrysler have already announced that they’re postponing LA Auto Show launches until January for Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. Still, look forward to a slew of new launches from the various import makes…and their spins on how they will stay relevant in these depressed times. Look for our coverage starting this Wednesday. Till then, [...]
AutoPacific, VehicleVoice’s parent company, just released its latest sales forecast numbers for the current year and beyond. We all know by now just how bad this year’s sales have been so far. It’s so bad, in fact, that the sales slump we saw earlier this year due to skyrocketing fuel prices almost seems like a happy memory compared to the much more dire and long term problems we are now facing. Indeed, it looks like the industry’s in for a long, hard road ahead.
A Sensible Recommendation? Yes, In Fact At the close of the Audi Mileage Marathon we talked about last week, Audi of America’s Executive Vice President Johan de Nysschen took a moment between results announcements and meet-and-greets with a few Hollywood celebrities to make a plea to the political structure. Mr. de Nysschen called for a lowering of diesel tax. Good, lowering taxes I like, though for a racing fan like myself, I was more impressed with Audi American Le Mans Series and Le Mans drivers Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, and Dindo Capello than Mario Lopez or Brooke Burke. But that’s just me, and I digress.
I just finished the fourth leg of Audi’s Mileage Marathon, a coast-to-coast demonstration and competition drive for the best fuel economy from a range of Audi TDI clean diesels. The drive started in New York City on October 6, ending in Santa Monica on October 19. I joined the crew in Las Vegas, which included driving through Monterey, California, and the chance to see the Audi R10 TDI cars take 1-2 in the final American Le Mans Series race of the year at Laguna Seca, their ninth consecutive victory.
A diesel winner. A nearly silent, dominating race car. The undertaking allowed attending Audi engineers, designers, and product planners to take a deep dive into the extremes of American driving conditions, from a crowded New York City street through the Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks at Sedona, Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes (from altitude of minus 282 feet [...]
Is there no end to the bad news this year? Mortgage crisis. Sky-high fuel prices. Financial institutions dropping like flies. A steadily warming planet. And of course, rapidly declining auto sales. The last time things were this bad, disco was in, aesthetics and design were taking a huge leap backwards, and we were all driving ugly, emasculated, smog-controlled cars that were a sad echo of the fast and passionately styled cars of just a few short years past. Yes people, I’m talking about the 1970s, an era that Jalopnik.com, one of our favorite fellow automotive blogs, refers to as the Malaise Era.
Last week, General Motors wrapped up its centennial celebration. If one thinks about GM’s prominence on the world landscape, it’s easy to see just how significant of an event this is. Even if you’ve never owned a GM vehicle yourself, think about the company’s impact on the American and global economies and its products’ impact on popular culture. Can you imagine an America where Chevrolet didn’t exist? What if there had never been songs about GTO’s or Cadillacs? How about a world where the word Camaro was simply French slang for “friend” or a Corvette was just a small gunboat used to escort convoys?
Imagine a world without GM. It’s harder than it sounds.