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Old 07-19-2011, 04:48 AM   #141 (permalink)
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Might want to run it out to 2010, like the production figures, too. And of course it'd also be interesting to see a chart of the top oil-consuming countries (or regions, counting the EU as one entity).
There are a couple of issues with that idea :

- Putting everything under the EU flag is contraversial here - UK is 50/50 on we like / dislike the EU. I think it needs major reform and cutbacks, not a stupid new expensive palace for the unelected president.

- Putting everything under the EU flag historically would be tricky as the EU has grown since the 1980s by quite a bit.

- I would need data. If there is a source where it can be downloaded I could attempt to use my "l33t data skillz" on it. Can I reiterate that I really really really .... really hate excel and I haven't had time to learn R - yet.

But I do know databases.

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Old 07-26-2011, 05:50 PM   #142 (permalink)
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...I'm just lamenting that they ALL could've been making 40+ mpg vehicles already, instead of being "forced" to do so by Government EPA mandate.
Personally I say, it's about time. In a few years I can buy a lightly used car that has excilent FE.

I think the main problem till now has all been power to weight ratio. Engines have gotten much more efficient in the last 25 years BUT since gas was cheap and Americans had money to burn in general, the not only increased the overall size and weight of the cars, they also gave them even more HP/lb to boot. Americans have lots of toys that require towing and dragging along. The result of delivering what Americans wanted was big powerful cars and declining gas mileage. You can try but you will not beat the laws of physics! I have been watching the car trends for years, shaking my head. Compare the 1st gen. Honda Accord to the latest for example. 90's Toyota trucks were failry complact, very capable trucks. Now, Toyota doesn't even sell a small truck..

Now they are offering smaller lighter models with more refined gearing to combat climbing gas prices. The new fuel efficient SUVís are built on a car platform rather than a truck and the have more gears to allow a small engine to run at optimal rpm all the time. My new Sentra has a CVT (continuously variable transmission) with infinite gear ratios in between the high and low limits so it can seamlessly maintain ideal gearing at all times. This does make a big difference as the EPA mpg for the CVT was actually lower than the manual.
I plan on moving to the mountains in the future and a 2wd pickup wonít do very well. I love the Nissan Xterra in every way other than the very sad FE. I am waiting for something better to come along. A capable 4X4 for deep snow/off roading that can maintain a 25MPG overall average. A hybrid 4X4 would be nice (and not one the size of a bus Ö GM) or maybe just something a bit smaller. So far I am inclined to pick up a Subaru AWD. I will wait and see if someone will make what I am looking for. Iím sure I am not the only one.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #143 (permalink)
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If only they would import the Suzuki Cultus 4x4 with the pickup variaton or reintroduce the Samurai. Can't do the Samurai, the Naders killed it over the tip over scream, no more tippy than any midrange vehicle on Monster Mudder tires, and we Never see them on the road do we? And diesel cars from anywhere can't come in as they can't/ won't pass the PPM emissions test. Never mind that they are so small that they produce tiny amounts of exhaust. GI'm going to buy an older mercedes or vw when I can find the money and use blended used motor oil for fuel. Just made 300 gal for dad's truck cost about $1.85 a gallon. We're taking a 4000 mile trip and intend to buy no diesel to pull the 26 ft gooseneck.

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Old 07-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #144 (permalink)
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How about (federalisable straight off) :

- Fiesta 1.25, or 1.4 (same engines as in Japan which is stricter than US, or smaller versions of engines in US).

- Yaris 1.0, or 1.3 (same as above)

- Focus 1.6, or 1.8 (same as above)

I keep reading (TTAC mainly ) Americans need more performance than the rest of the world.

Sorry, 8ollocks.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:19 PM   #145 (permalink)
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I smile and laugh every time a big SUV zooms past me in my rolling couch. I'm getting around 30 mpg, while they're lucky to break 20. Every time I have passengers they comment on how comfy my car is, and how spacious it is. Having ridden for extended periods in giant SUV's that had less room than my car, I don't see the point for what they're used for.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:35 AM   #146 (permalink)
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Detroit has not built a sports car since the Ford Thunderbird and Chevy Corvette of the late '50s.
Ooohh them's fightin words!!
Contingent, of course, on how you and I define "sports car".
For me, "sports car" means what Europeans call a GT car, i.e. fast, good on a winding road, and a wee bit impractical. My favorites are the coupes (non-convertible), with Ferrari berlinette of the 50s and 60s essentially defining the breed. Honorable mention goes to Porsche's 911 and its lineal successors.

The most common counterdefinition I have encountered is "small sporty convertible", typically British, with the center of cultural gravity around any number of Triumph, MG, some Jag and perhaps Healey models. In a word, roadsters, which market was revived/captured by the Miata.

I cannot see the T-bird fitting either definition comfily. I see it as a precursor of that purely American confection, the pony car. I class pony cars as a subset of that even more quintessential American vehicle, the muscle car.

If we choose definition A, which being mine, is obviously and definitively correct , and restricting myself to major US makes, I would allow all Corvettes, especially the solid-rooved ones with the manny tranny, perhaps disqualifying the C3 and pre-1992 C4 on grounds of general automotive execrability.
Then there's that venomous reptilian ten-cylinder Dodge thingy, especially the GTS with its rakish coupe roof. Admittedly it is a grotesque, defining one boundary of the GT-car envelope, with or without the leakish cloth top.
Niche products but still available at the dealership: the AC/Shelby Cobras (60s) and the brilliant Ford GT40-remake of a few years ago. Pure sweet GT, all the dinoflagellates and twice the caffeine.

If we choose definition B, would you allow that Pontiac Solstice weirdness? Personally I think it's uglier than a hatful of toads, but it is a domestic roadster.

(I hope you take this in good fun as I intend it.)
cheers apo
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:16 AM   #147 (permalink)
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Ooohh them's fightin words!!
Contingent, of course, on how you and I define "sports car"....

(I hope you take this in good fun as I intend it.)
cheers apo
The original Thunderbird (or maybe the warmed up version of that car) was regarded as competitive against European GTs of the mid 50s, it scared Jaguar's management quite a bit when it appeared - it cost less than the XK120/140 and went faster and handled quite well. Unfortunately Ford moved the 'Bird into the late 50s-60s "good life" so it got fat and lazy, if not slow. By the 1970s most Europeans would consider the Bird to be a pretend sports car, like the Mustang of the time.

The Cobra was a development of the AC Ace although Shelby himself states the contribution of AC as being minimal. It was meant as a racer and not a GT.



The GT40 was also British, a development of the Lola GT prepared with the idea of beating Ferrari at Le Mans after Enzo refused to sell his company to Ford in the 60s. Again a racer and not a GT.



I would regard the Vette as being a competitive sports car compared to products from the rest of the world today. I don't know C-numbers too well but there was a period during the 70s when the Vette brand seemed to be dead like the Thunderbird, but they got their act together with the 84 model onwards and gradually improved the ride and handling a lot from there - the 1990s model wouldn't knock out your fillings like the 84 would and the engines started appear like they were designed in the latter half of the 20th century and not the first half.

For the money there is little to compete with it, but outside North America it just doesn't sell at all. If you are in the position to afford a high performance GT like that would you buy one with a Chevrolet badge on it - which has no status at all here - or one with a prancing bull or horse or a 3 pointed star ? That tapped of course there are cars with less appealing badges which do sell well - the new Skyline from Nissan for example.

The Viper/GTS was competitive too in terms of performance and handling. Unlike the Vette though the style was too over the top, too much trying to ape the Cobra instead of making something truly different and new, and far far too big. They could have improved it I suppose, and it didn't really rebuild the Dodge brand to any great extent.

I'm sure some will immediately think of Muscle Cars being in this category and certainly in terms of straight line speed they would probably match if not beat some quite exotic machinery of the time. Although they are part of American car culture their influence on the world stopped at the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. The same is true of the modern versions - the Mustang, the Camaro etc. I can't help wonder why Ford retained the live axle under the Mustang except for costs.

The Solstice seems to have been a victim of timing, it would have been interesting to see if it could compete with lower end GTs like the Porsche Cayman / Coxster but again it was NA only so we won't know.

EDIT - that was fun and just opinion
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:19 AM   #148 (permalink)
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PS - of course if you move away from the major makers....

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Old 08-05-2011, 09:28 AM   #149 (permalink)
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Maybe we can get a crew together and visit our OEMs and ask them what the hell is wrong with them.
I know what's wrong with them: the execs are overpaid, and they are overpaid and pampered to such a high degree and for so long that they have no idea- or at best, a dim recollection- of what life is like for their customers. So they have idiots on staff that attempt to understand the customer via surveys, consultants, and focus groups- how can I say what this is like... it's like the blind leading the blind. It's like watching Dumb and Dumber. It's like The Emperor's New Clothes. It's like... you know. So these insulated-from-reality decision makers are all sitting around in meetings getting spoon-fed these ignorant and largely ficticious numbers (like their average customer for x product earns $90,000/year- right. Maybe half that. ) and woe be the one that questions anything or comes up with a renegade (non-yes-man) idea or comment.

Anyway, these people don't even have familiarity with their products anymore, as they don't ever have to buy one or maintain it or wash it or anything. They lack personal investment in it. Think any of them change their own oil? Hell, ENGINEERS don't even do that anymore. They spend their time in airplanes (and yachts and whatnot); remember when the execs FLEW private jets to Washington to plead poverty and beg for TARP?

A lot of these guys in mgmt and marketing have never had an original idea in their lives and they wouldn't know a good idea if it smacked them upside the head. What they do is pop their heads up outta their gopher holes and see what the competition is doing and copy, copy, shamelessly copy that and try to match them move for move. Pretty much a herd mentality sort of thing.

So in those circles the almighty dollar reigns even more supreme than it does in the peon circles. Everything revolves around chasing the dollar- which, to a large degree, it has to BUT it shouldn't be at the expense of other good things like quality, reliability, maintainability, ECONOMY... the kind of things that matter to people who don't have new company cars thrown at them for free every year and have to buy their own gas. But that is a foreign concept, or a discarded one since it interferes with maximum dollar extractions from the customer.

And as long as enough customers go along with it there is not much incentive to change.

And then there is the enthusiast press...
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:31 AM   #150 (permalink)
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And as long as enough customers go along with it there is not much incentive to change.

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