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Old 03-15-2007, 10:02 PM   #21
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It seems to me the little Suzukiclones, Sprints, and whatnot never really caught on.
That's because those Americans who want efficient cars want midsize cars with decent size that get good fuel economy, not unaerodynamic econoboxes with small engines that get good fuel economy. And given what technology is there, their demand is perfectly reasonable. Hence, the Prius hybrids are selling like crazy, while the less efficient Ford Fusions, Chevy Malubus, and the like aren't near as successful. Gut the hybrid drive out of the Prius and put a 150-180 HP V6 in it, and it would still get a large FE improvement over other midsize cars due to its efficient body design.

Americans don't want to sacrifice to get good economy, and by addressing aerodynamics(something automakers haven;t done near as good of a job as they could), they don't have to.

Even still, given that those who want the more efficient cars usually buy cars second hand, the Suzukiclones, Sprints, ect. have really kept an impressive amount of their resale value at $2.50-3.00/gallon gas. Where I live, they don't last long at all on used car lots if they are in good condition and fetch large amounts of money. Last sumer when I was looking for a Metro that passed emissions and was in good condition, I quit looking after I found many examples fetching $3,000 on up when their KBB value was much lower and the sellers were not negotiating price. The cars ended up being sold eventually. The upper middle class that buy new cars avoided them like the plague when they were new.


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I think it is easy to blame car buyers. Just because something doesn't eat up a big chunk of your budget doesn't mean you have carte blanche to waste it.
For the working poor and lower middle class, fuel costs eat up a huge portion of disposable income. But this segment of the population is the one that usually can't afford a new car, and often buy those that the upper middle class filteres down through the 2nd hand market.

What the consumers want is very clear, with huge waiting lists and price premiums on hybrids and relatively FE cars like the Civic, while SUVs and large trucks languish for months in dealer lots. The Big 3 are in the rut they are in because consumers don't want their products because they are too high maintenance and too inefficient. The public therefore gravitates to the foreign products that have only incremental improvements over the domestics. Are Honda and Toyota going to turn over their SUV and pickup production plants so they can produce more efficient Civics and Corollas and meet all the demand for them? Probably not, given where the higher profit margins are at.

The public can only buy what is there.

If someone were to tomorrow release a midsize or full size car with a low Cd that had an engine with horsepower expected of cars today, which got FE similar to a Geo Metro, there'd be a huge waiting list. But then the market for every other design that is possible to sell in-between this is compromised, and so too is the market for other cars under the same brand.

The automakers aren't simply going to roll out the best product they can as that wouldn't maximize the return generated on all of their R&D costs and their new hypercar would be competeting with other cars in the brand. This is a huge no no when it comes to maximizing profit.

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However I know that considering the big picture and not just oneself is too much to ask of Joe and Jane Dirt... I mean, Public.
Joe and Jane Dirt are overworked, underpaid, overtaxed and generally are so fatigued that it is near impossible to pry them from the TV on their time off. If I were in their situation, I'd probably be the same way. Their inaction will come to haunt them in the future, but it is unfair for anyone to place the bulk of the blame on them. They buy the products the auto industry wants them to buy, and not necessarily what they want to buy because what they want to buy usually hasn't been allowed to enter the market(eg. EVs, for instance).

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I am nonviolent, but then again, I don't consider self-defense violence, and I don't consider destruction of corporate property to be violence.
These acts are violent by definition. The difference is that in the first, you are not the initial aggressor, and in the second, you are not harming a person. But I agree that both of these acts usually are justifiable. Many within the peace movemenmt believe they are not.

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Most of my activist friends are direct action eco-anarchists in groups like Earth First! or Root Force. I'm definitely not the "sit down and start singing John Lennon" type.
this I am glad to hear.
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Old 03-16-2007, 11:45 AM   #22
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Hello -

At the end of the day they're all corporations, aka amoral economic institutions whose only goal is a greasy buck. In California, Honda was on the list of corporations that were fighting the tougher emissions standards. Toyota is basically the "GM of Japan", so why wouldn't they agree with the Big-3? I forgot the posting on the "story of Honda" that someone else cited. To succeed, Honda had to sell it's soul. It's all the same. We're all just Soylent Green (money) to them.

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Old 03-16-2007, 12:10 PM   #23
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...

These acts are violent by definition. The difference is that in the first, you are not the initial aggressor, and in the second, you are not harming a person. But I agree that both of these acts usually are justifiable. Many within the peace movemenmt believe they are not.

...
I really agree with you. The violence part is very complicated to me because it is part of the "trap" that the authorities are setting for you. An MLKing vs Malcom X argument.

I see peaceful protests as necessary because they are reflections of the "conscience" of the nation. When we as a nation actually do the right thing, it is usually because of long years of fighting for it.

The effectiveness of the protests are diminished today because the media is more corporate controlled than ever. Just like the cops that beat you up because of their cop-culture conditioning and their need to make a living, the journalists are self-censoring because they want to keep their jobs.

But the protests still stand as historical facts that need to happen, and they fall within the "comfort zone" of people who are sympathetic with your world view.

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Old 03-16-2007, 04:51 PM   #24
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Toecutter -



I really agree with you. The violence part is very complicated to me because it is part of the "trap" that the authorities are setting for you. An MLKing vs Malcom X argument.
But when there are 60k pigs on the street beating peaceful protesters with permits like they were during the FTAA demonstrations in Miami in '03, it makes me realize that peace only goes so far. The media claimed that we were rioting in '03 and was always citing the professionalism of the MPD and expressing how grateful they were for the MPD keeping the city safe from the people who were responsible for the '99 Seattle WTO revolution. After seeing that firsthand, I don't consider it bad to throw a brick at a cop in body armor who wants to kick the crap out of you for expressing yourself legally.
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Old 03-16-2007, 05:09 PM   #25
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Old 03-16-2007, 05:12 PM   #26
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But when there are 60k pigs on the street beating peaceful protesters with permits like they were during the FTAA demonstrations in Miami in '03, it makes me realize that peace only goes so far. The media claimed that we were rioting in '03 and was always citing the professionalism of the MPD and expressing how grateful they were for the MPD keeping the city safe from the people who were responsible for the '99 Seattle WTO revolution. After seeing that firsthand, I don't consider it bad to throw a brick at a cop in body armor who wants to kick the crap out of you for expressing yourself legally.
The indescriminate unlawful killing of an innocent victim by a pepper-ball shot in the eye on October 2004 comes to mind ( Google "victoria snelgrove" ). I recall working at a place next door to fenway at the time.

Mindless thoughtless violent rioters (not protesters) were met with the mindless thoughtless thugs of Boston's finest. I fault both sides with inexcusable and barbaric atrocities.
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Old 03-16-2007, 05:45 PM   #27
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repete86 -

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But when there are 60k pigs on the street beating peaceful protesters with permits like they were during the FTAA demonstrations in Miami in '03, it makes me realize that peace only goes so far. The media claimed that we were rioting in '03 and was always citing the professionalism of the MPD and expressing how grateful they were for the MPD keeping the city safe from the people who were responsible for the '99 Seattle WTO revolution. After seeing that firsthand, I don't consider it bad to throw a brick at a cop in body armor who wants to kick the crap out of you for expressing yourself legally.
I know. They can get away with that because no one is covering it for what it is, good old fashioned state sponsored oppression.

I don't really have a good answer for you.

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Old 03-16-2007, 05:57 PM   #28
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Are you surprised that Toyota is in on it?
Yes and no. Yes because they risk muddying their hard-earned green hue. No because they currently have a competitive advantage over the big slackers. Among other strengths, their products generally have superior FE. If new regulations mandated that all other companies also had to have better FE, Toyota could lose one of their key marketing assets. They know that the big 3 are too stupid to do it on their own.

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The Big 3 are in the rut they are in because consumers don't want their products because they are too high maintenance and too inefficient. The public therefore gravitates to the foreign products that have only incremental improvements over the domestics. - (emphasis added)
Exactly!. Toyota (and other Japanese makers) set out around the early 70's to be just a little better than the stodgy big 3. At that time, the big 3 believed in planned-obsolescence through making inferior products. When one of their products wore out, they counted on consumers not asking questions, instead just buying a new one.
Ford, GM, Chrysler, and AMC all operated this way fearing that if they didn't, the market would shrink. Toyota planned to simply grow in marketshare with a 5, 10 and 20 year plans. Leaders of the big 3 have never been able to see beyond the next 10 minutes.
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Old 03-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #29
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Right!

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Yes and no. Yes because they risk muddying their hard-earned green hue. No because they currently have a competitive advantage over the big slackers. Among other strengths, their products generally have superior FE. If new regulations mandated that all other companies also had to have better FE, Toyota could lose one of their key marketing assets. They know that the big 3 are too stupid to do it on their own.
Now we're getting somewhere. It's predicted by the end of the year that 'Yota will pass the General in sales by the 4th quarter, making them a new #1 in 8-decades (read: eight). Since more people these days seem to want size and not FE, Toyota (as usual), has figured out what's most profitable for them. In the meantime, their lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles is at stake. We know the return on investment is much smaller on a Yaris than an Tundra, so they need to sell more of the Yarii to profit. It all makes sense...if more options are available from other manufacturers, then that cuts into their margin.

But the question remains, where is Honda on this one?

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Old 03-16-2007, 09:32 PM   #30
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The big three are just flat out idiot's. It took Ford,,, 10 years to do a knock off K Series Honda motor. The big three are a working example of the lazy *** way America does things. I mean Yota just put the ownage to the big three with the new Tundra. And to cap it off Yota has been telling them for at least 3 years. We are going to build a better truck than you. Well they did it. And then Yota can out produce and sell them on large, med, and small cars. Hybrid and standard.

Ive basically given up on American auto company's. Fact is Ive just about given up on American company's and production period. I will never buy another car built in America again! I have pretty much given up on Honda's built in America or Canada. I will only buy J, UK, or Mexican Honda's from now on.

As for Honda. They have them selfs between a rock and a hard place. Right now they are bragging about being the most FE car company in America. But they are loosing market share. And they are loosing some of the faithful to other company's. Be it cheap FE cars or High End Super Sleds. And the Ridgeline is a joke.

Lets start at the bottom end. Fit and Civic. Fit is a failure in this part of the world. Nobody wants one at all. The dealers are only taking what Honda tells them they have to take. And fighting to not take those or dealer trade them to the east or west coast. Yaris is selling 3 to 1 here against Fit. Fit would be doing better if they had made it the heavy duty Civic wagon with a R-18. It sure wouldn't have hurt the car any.

Civic is just flat out in trouble. Honda's hybrid design really kinda sucks. IMA looks more and more like something GM would have done. The Si's are fun little cars and honestly... Driven right will get about the same mpg as a R-18. I believe Honda's huge failure is the R-18. I think it was meant to be the next VX class super engine. Then the Hybrid, Smug thing took off and they gutted the lean burn out of it and raised the compression. I honestly believe if Honda had offered the R-18 as intended it would have gutted there hybrid efforts. I think the marketing and admin levels in the company should be physically hurt over this move. Stoning them would be to good.

Accord IMO is a wonderful car. The wife and I really like our 7th gen a lot. I don't like a auto tranny in a car of that size or smaller. But everything else about it is near perfect. ( Well except build quality ) The next Accord has to be a smash hit. Its going to have to offer all of Accords classic angles of marketing and something new. Its going to have to be able to offer great mpg and brute force. And I hate to say it,,, but Honda is more than likely going to have to enter into NASCAR with the next Accord. Or suffer some more loss of market share. Race on Sunday,,, Sell on Monday,,, it does work. I for one hope they at least do a hybrid right in Accord or possible offer a R or K series lean burn in the Coupe or Sedan.

There truck and SUV offerings seem to be set. And they appear to be quite proud of them. Its a shame Ridgeline is such a UTE. I don't expect it to last.

Acura needs to wake up. Shuting down RSX in favor of Civic? Who knows. TL will always be the super Accord. TSX is kind of lost in the mix. And RL is a failure over all. Its been a hard sell from the start. RL is going to have to go V-8 to meet the elitist needs and NSX is going to have to be the new super duper giant killer or it will fail. There SUV. Its a SUV with a turbo. Big Whoopee ( for me anyway )

The fact is we as consumers aren't going to see the car's we want to see for sometime if ever. Sure a lot could be done about aerodynamics. But I for one am not going to drive around in a car that looks like a double dong on wheels.

I have thought and fought hard on areo mods for my Civic. And short of making it into a Asian lower rider it isn't going to happen. I could put a under tray on it, smooth out the nose. ( here comes that dong look ) Wheel skirts on the back, french the tail lights. Put skinny Centerlines on it. Light the fender wells, play mexican music and run multi color window tint and get a whole 2 mpg more out of it. Aint going to happen. Just like Honda isn't going to put a 5 or 6MT tranny in the HCHII.

The Asian and whats left of the UK auto company's have the ball in there court. Either they will kill the American big three or flat out own them. Either way it doesn't matter to me. Because I'm never buying any of there junk again anyway. They have lost me as a cust. forever.

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