Here's the Thing

This may be a very good time to buy a full-sized SUV

(November 2009) We crunched some numbers. We ran some figures. Eventually, our theory proved out — Buying and driving a full-size SUV costs less today than when gas was $2 per gallon. That's a generalization, of course, but one that can't be made about mid-size sedans, compact cars or crossovers, all of which cost measurably more to operate today.

The news is not good at Chrysler, General Motors

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(November 2009) We are a little dismayed at the state of affairs at two of the three domestic automakers. Chrysler's seemingly unstoppable slide into automotive obscurity continued with a 25  percent drop in sales from November 2008 to November 2009. It continued a precipitous 2009 drop from 2008 sales, now measured at 38 percent with just a month left in the year.

A practical adjustment to window stickers

(November 2009) has submitted a recommendation to make new car window stickers more useful to car shoppers by highlighting usage costs rather than miles per gallon numbers.

The recommendation was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy and available for viewing at

Loose floor mats a potential problem in any vehicle

(August 2009) The vehicle testing team at has confirmed that it is possible for the floor mats of essentially any vehicle to dangerously interfere with its accelerator pedal, as is suspected in the recent Toyota and Lexus accidents that generated a huge recall and many news headlines.

The testing team recently reviewed the floor mats of vehicles in its test fleet. Out of the 12 vehicles inspected, three floor mats were out of position, and two additional vehicles had broken floor mat attachment mechanisms that could allow the floor mats to move out of position at any time.

While the plan may not be totally workable, at least Chrysler has a plan

By Al Vinikour

(November 2009) We had never seen Sergio Marchionne in person, and other than the fact he looks like Jonathan Pryce, we didn’t know much about him except his role in Fiat over the last five years. He doesn’t have the larger-than-life image that Lee Iacocca may have had but his “everyman” appearance and deadpan self-deprecating humor and quick mind automatically command respect.  He doesn’t suffer fools wisely and we would image that working for him could be quite stressful – but a job some would fight to keep.

It seems to be business as usual for the United Auto Workers

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(November 2009) It's a bit disconcerting that just as Ford announces it is profitable once again — showing us that private automotive enterprise can succeed under good management — that the unions are threatening to derail this new-found momentum. These are the same unions that played a role in leading General Motors down the path to government ownership.

Edmunds finds that Cash for Clunkers cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold

(October 2009) has determined that Cash for Clunkers cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold. Nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold during the Cash for Clunkers program, officially known as CARS, but analysts calculated that only 125,000 of the sales were incremental. The rest of the sales would have happened anyway, regardless of the existence of the program.

White House disputes Edmunds' analysis of clunkers program

By David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

(October 2009) Washington — The White House said the influential automotive news Web site's harsh analysis of the impact of "cash for clunkers" was "faulty" and "implausible." Edmunds shot back that the White House was "shooting the messenger."

Edmunds said cash for clunkers cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold. Nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold during the $3 billion cash for clunkers program, officially known as CARS, but analysts calculated that only 125,000 of the sales occurred as a result of the program.

CNBC Squawk Box and the future of new-car sales

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(October 2009) One of the problems facing cars companies as we approach the second decade of the 21st century is that they are building their products too well. Reliability is too high. Cars on a whole last longer without major repair. Change the oil at regular intervals, make sure fluids are maintained, and get the prescribed 10,000, 30,000 and 60,000 mile checkups. That's a recipe for 10 years of mostly trouble-free driving.

Cars are simply lasting too long. Wait a second, you say, isn't this a good thing? Of course it's a good thing, a great thing, from the consumer's point of view.

Chrysler may not make it another year

By Douglas A. McIntyre 
From 24/7 Wall St.

(October 2009) Rumors, credible rumors, are beginning to circulate in the car industry and the automotive press, that Chrysler may not make it another year primarily due to its falling sales and growing financial losses at partner Fiat. Chrysler sold a 62,197 cars in September down 42% from the same month last year. The figure was down from 93,222 in August when traffic to dealers was pushed up by the ”cash for clunkers” program. Chrysler’s problems may only be beginning and, if so, Fiat, the ”managing partner” among Chrysler’s owners may not be able to keep the American company intact.