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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hits and misses of the Detroit auto show
Our guide to what's hot, what's not — and what's just plain cool
Detroit News
by Scott Burgess
January 13, 2011



For a show with so many important vehicle debuts, there are still lots of people calling the North American International Auto Show boring.

Those people are wrong. There may be a good dose of spinach autos — cars and trucks that are good for us but don't necessarily whet our appetite to go fast — but there are definitely a lot of hits at the Detroit show, which opens to the public Saturday.

From the BMW 650i convertible — perhaps the most beautiful new vehicle on the floor at Cobo Center — to the GMC All Terrain 2500 HD Concept, one of the potential monster trucks that could crush everything else in its way, there are lots of hits. And there are a couple of misses, too.

Hit : The Ford Vertrek Concept So this is the future of the Ford Escape; it's a future that looks good. The Vertrek Concept could pass for a hard-core, off-road five-passenger people hauler. It's got strong lines drawn throughout its body and some of the coolest wheels on any car. Plus, as it spins around on the display, you can stand in one spot and enjoy a 360-degree view.

Miss:The Chevy Sonic Sorry, Mr. Hedgehog, changing your name from Aveo to Sonic and crinkling a couple of pieces of sheet metal doesn't change a so-so car into a great one. Worse yet, there are so many gems on the Chevrolet stand, including the Camaro convertible, the Corvette and the Silverado, that the Sonic looks wimpy and underpowered even without turning a key. It may keep Chevy in the subcompact segment, but it's nothing people need to gather around and gawk at.


Full text with all the hits and misses (none of the latter was Ford's :) ) at the link
 

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Awesome review!

My contempt for Government Motors products stems for my indignation that Government Motors took the LAZY route to their rescue. Any two bit operation with government capital infusion can file bankruptcy and exit it. That doesn't take any competence or skill. In the 18 months or so that we've seen from Government Motors' products, we see an emerging pattern - rebadging Opels as Buicks and a constant string of underwhelming performance in products. Honestly, has anyone at Government Motors really looked at the Camaro's interior and come away IMPRESSED with it? Has anyone from Government Motors bragged about the trunk opening on the Camaro and justified the design of the hinge and huge sheetmetal area that is used to contain it and NOT THOUGHT about RUST ISSUES? Has anyone driven a Chevrolet Equinox in daylight and NOT wondered what the buttons say? Has anyone opened the trunk of the Buick Nash, er, LaCrosse and not noticed how much space is consumed by those hinges? Has anyone with credibility sat in recent Government Motors products and MARVELED at how space efficient the designs are for interior space?

The problem with Government Motors (and it filters down to its products) is that there has been no SYSTEMATIC CHANGE in operations and development systems. Government Motors used bankruptcy to amputate the most cancerous limbs it had only to not remove latent cancer cells in its torso and head. The who's who of Government Motors managers that sank the company are still there - some of them elevated to higher positions of power and the CEO of Government Motors isn't bright enough to trim Alan Mulally's toenails. Government Motors design is a mishmash of caricatures - whale mouth Buicks with a hodge podge of body side detailing - Chevrolet has some of the ugliest front ends on the market with a lack of character - grills placed too high on the body to mask the fat and thick designs of the sides and excessively high belt lines - a styling trend even Chrysler has abandoned as Charger and 300 belt lines were lowered in 2011. Across the board Government Motors styling is moribund - chevrolet trucks look like 1990 trucks and Cadillacs have lingered with a styling philosophy I have noted is Arts and Scientology because it is a mess of creases and disjointed intersections. And the interiors of Government Motors products, while improved from Dollar Store versions, are simply assembled poorly with panel mismatches that showcase a reason their UAW workers should have been unemployed. Yet, even when the new Chevrolet Snuze trumpets fabric on the dash, they seem to forget that with fast angle windshields, you allow MORE light to enter the interior and onto the dash - dry rot and fabric fade will render the Snuze's fabric dash a complete disaster in five years. And those low rent models with vinyl inserts will end up cracking like a bad furniture paint job in the same time. But this is what you get from a company paying lip service to quality and soft touch surfaces - they don't use common sense in design and in development.

With regard the new Sonic, it is a wretched product - the exterior looks like something from 1990's Suzuki and that interior is a complete joke. Of course Government Motors is suggesting that the Sonic is more spacious than a Ford Fiesta, but what would be the point of owning one if you have to close your eyes because you can't stand the cheap interior design? And it is hard to imagine Government Motors finally getting serious about chassis and engines when it has rolled out product after product that is underwhelming in handing and engine performance. It seems that Government Motors spends more time restating engine horsepower numbers than it does actually building a better engine. And it uses that 1.4 liter turbo pos engine as an advertising weapon trying to fool people that having a turbo-charged engine equals performance. Sadly, like the VaporVolt, hybrid badges, and promises to have learned their lessons from the passes, Government Motors' words are hollow, deceptive, and are quickly becoming laughable. A turbo-charged Chevrolet Snuze could be trounced by a 1960's Chevy II in performance. But we must be impressed that the Snuze gets such great gas mileage. But let's not linger on that mileage too much because the Snuze gets five miles per gallon better highway gas mileage than the VaporVolt.

Sadly example after example of Government Motors' efforts come up as third rate efforts when compared to Ford's latest efforts. And while Ford was lambasted for both mortgaging every asset and having huge cash burn rates during 2008, we can now see that the cash burn was put into product and engines and into chassis that handle better than anyone's, ride better than anyone's, and feel more expensive than anyone's.

An honest assessment of this year's Detroit Auto Show would be a complete miss by every Government Motors product because they are all hot air products and no substance. In short, Ford took two months to write their term papers and Government Motors did theirs burning the midnight oil on the day it was due. Both may appear at first glance to be great works, but when you sit down and study the end result, you see how much vapor is in the Government Motors effort. And sadly we are financing this vapor production.
 

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I will grant you the name, but, watch it outsell the overpriced cute fiesta.

As for Ford, that whole big mouth kinetic theme is getting old. It needs to evolve.

That is my opinion
It might, but then again, I bet the Sonic comes in cheaper.
 

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Hit: The Dodge Charger RT. Beautiful, especially in metalic red with a black interior.

Miss: The Ford Explorer. For a big vehicle (bigger than the Taurus X that shares it the platform with) it's third seat left a lot to be desired. Very disappointing. Dodge's Durango felt much roomier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hit: The Dodge Charger RT. Beautiful, especially in metalic red with a black interior.

Miss: The Ford Explorer. For a big vehicle (bigger than the Taurus X that shares it the platform with) it's third seat left a lot to be desired. Very disappointing. Dodge's Durango felt much roomier.
Gladly the jury for the Truck of the Year award in NAIAS disagreed enough to give the nod to the Explorer ;)
 

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Gladly the jury for the Truck of the Year award in NAIAS disagreed enough to give the nod to the Explorer ;)
I agree 100%. The Durango is a capable and competent SUV...but it is still following the classic equation, just adjusted to fit on a Unit Body Platform. The Explorer is a much more comprehensive redesign of an icon of American motoring. It features more revamped technologies and electronics...a dramatic improvement in fuel efficiency...and a stylish vehicle. All of these combine with the quality of execution to make a more well rounded and comprehensive package. Yes, the Durango can out tow the Explorer thanks to that Hemi V8, but the Explorer really addresses the actual needs of its customers who really don't know how to use all of the vehicles towing capabilities or don't need to...which is what the vast majority of owners polled have all stated to Ford.

Both the Durango and the Explorer are great vehicles...the Explorer I feel really earned the title of North American Truck of the Year...but the Durango has to be proud of a close Second Place Finish. What both vehicles really win at though, is proving that the SUV can truly adapt and modernize, to once again be a relevant and practical vehicle for consumers.

Those are my two cents...what's yours?
RG59061
 

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It might, but then again, I bet the Sonic comes in cheaper.
Actually, I would like if the Sonic was cheaper in price, the Fiesta is too expensive for how small it is IMO... I hope the Sonice is noticabley bigger.


Few things I would like to bring up to Scott Burgess.

1.

"Sorry, Mr. Hedgehog, changing your name from Aveo to Sonic and crinkling a couple of pieces of sheet metal doesn't change a so-so car into a great one"

Ok well good thing GM changed much much more than just "a couple piece of sheet metal" The Sonic is a brand new car and has nothing in common with the current Aveo... The platform, powertrain, suspension, interior and exterior are all different and brand new.. If your going to trash the car you might as well know whats going into it... Never mind Corvette engineers helped tune the suspension. Yep, just like the old Aveo only with crinkled sheet metal and a new name! ;)

2.

"the Sonic looks wimpy and underpowered even without turning a key"

O and the Fit, Fiesta, Venza and Yaris dont? Look at the segment this car is in... The Sonic is one of the most if not the most aggressively styled cars in its class at the moment... If you think its looks "wimpy" then what do you call the Fit, Venza and Yaris? And actually the car isnt underpowered, the 1.4 Turbo should do just fine...
 

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Hmmm... Left Lane News feels very differently about the Sonic, naming it "Most Suprising" and "Best in Show"

Most Suprising
Since Chevrolet’s last effort at a subcompact was the butt of its own jokes, it doesn’t take much to improve things in our eyes. But the Chevrolet Sonic manages to combine impressive style with a high-class interior and a powertrain that works pretty darn well in the larger and heavier Chevrolet Cruze.

Watch out Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta. The Sonic might not be quite as spunky, but it sure looks and feels grown up....

Best in Show
...We drooled over the Porsche 918 RSR and we could barely keep our hands off of the BMW 1 Series M, but let’s face it: The Sonic reinvents the subcompact car segment that we thought Ford and Mazda were in the process of dominating. A turbo four with a six-speed stick, a chassis tuned by the Corvette team and an interior with show car-style goodies make the Aveo but a distant, unpleasant memory.

http://www.leftlanenews.com/leftlanes-lucky-7-detroit-show-award-winners.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmmm... Left Lane News feels very differently about the Sonic, naming it "Most Suprising" and "Best in Show"
The difference is that while Burgess is candidly offering his opinion LLN is regurgitating Chevy's press release.

"A chassis tuned by the Corvette team" reminds me when in the 1980s Lada was touting that their dreadful Samara was engineered by Porsche. If anything, it was proven then is that when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design a Sonic (damn! this would have sounded so much better if only GM would have kept the Aveo name).

Don't get me wrong, I love LLN and have a good friend writing for them but is clear that after all that happened, they felt they needed to give the nod to GM on something . . . and it is not like they liked the Verano. In LLN's opinion the Verano tied as "Most Disappointing" with the dreadful new Passat.
 

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The difference is that while Burgess is candidly offering his opinion LLN is regurgitating Chevy's press release.

"A chassis tuned by the Corvette team" reminds me when in the 1980s Lada was touting that their dreadful Samara was engineered by Porsche. If anything, it was proven then is that when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design a Sonic (damn! this would have sounded so much better if only GM would have kept the Aveo name).

Don't get me wrong, I love LLN and have a good friend writing for them but is clear that after all that happened, they felt they needed to give the nod to GM on something . . . and it is not like they liked the Verano. In LLN's opinion the Verano tied as "Most Disappointing" with the dreadful new Passat.
yea sure they did...

LLN doesnt have to give GM anything, their little smear campaign didnt do anything to hurt the Volt, the car won every single award it could and is off to good start in sales, the leaf isnt even close (and its cheaper).

and the Sonic name is better than Aveo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
and the Sonic name is better than Aveo...
I think in this case the one name is as good as the next. Aveo, Sonic, Sonic, Aveo . . . the are very equal. What I am saying that my assertion that " . . . when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design a Sonic" Would have sounded much better and to the point had it read " . . . when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design an Aveo"

What is this "LLN Volt smear campaign" you are talking about?
 

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I think in this case the one name is as good as the next. Aveo, Sonic, Sonic, Aveo . . . the are very equal. What I am saying that my assertion that " . . . when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design a Sonic" Would have sounded much better and to the point had it read " . . . when asked Porsche engineers will design a Lada, and when asked Corvette engineers will design an Aveo"

What is this "LLN Volt smear campaign" you are talking about?
my bad, I got them confused with inside line...

Im still not getting why LLN felt they had to give the Sonic "best in show" that makes no sense to me...? care to explain and give actual proof?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
my bad, I got them confused with inside line...

Im still not getting why LLN felt they had to give the Sonic "best in show" that makes no sense to me...? care to explain and give actual proof?
If I had a proof I had offered, I said it was clear not that I knew if for a fact. It is my opinion. This opinion though is based in the fact that the Sonic is not a remarkable vehicle by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't even look that good.

Is it a better car than the current Aveo? . . . of course. But is it best in class? . . . well at least (IMO) it doesn't look the part but we wont know for sure until the test drives pour in. Maybe the magic pens of the Corvette engineers worked their magic and this thing is a real blast to drive. It sure has its work cut for it with the formidable driving dynamics of certain competitor known by the name of Fiesta.
 

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If I had a proof I had offered, I said it was clear not that I knew if for a fact. It is my opinion. This opinion though is based in the fact that the Sonic is not a remarkable vehicle by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't even look that good.

Is it a better car than the current Aveo? . . . of course. But is it best in class? . . . well at least (IMO) it doesn't look the part but we wont know for sure until the test drives pour in. Maybe the magic pens of the Corvette engineers worked their magic and this thing is a real blast to drive. It sure has its work cut for it with the formidable driving dynamics of certain competitor known by the name of Fiesta.
Sorry man, but if you have no proof thats a pretty far-fetched statement for me to believe... And just because you dont think its remarkable doesnt mean the people at LLN didnt. So again, why even make something up like that?

And honestly, if the Sonic is noticeably bigger than the Fiesta than I think it has more than enough to take it on... I agree, the Sonic is nothing amazing, but what car in this class is? Sonic will have more than enough to compete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry man, but if you have no proof thats a pretty far-fetched statement for me to believe... And just because you dont think its remarkable doesnt mean the people at LLN didnt. So again, why even make something up like that?
How ridiculous. Whenever someone has an opinion that is not in accordance to yours then that person is necessarily a hater. Well whatever, I do think LLN felt that it would be nice to throw a bone GM's way simply due to the fact that there is still has a substantial amount of our money gambled in their success and that they had nothing good to say about GM's other big launch, the Verano.

By the way far or near fetched, no one is asking you to believe anything. I am simply saying what I believe. If you don't like it argue it but the name calling is frankly getting old.
And honestly, if the Sonic is noticeably bigger than the Fiesta than I think it has more than enough to take it on... I agree, the Sonic is nothing amazing, but what car in this class is?
. . . the Ford Fiesta, of course.
Sonic will have more than enough to compete.
Lets hope so . . .
 

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How ridiculous. Whenever someone has an opinion that is not in accordance to yours then that person is necessarily a hater. Well whatever, I do think LLN felt that it would be nice to throw a bone GM's way simply due to the fact that there is still has a substantial amount of our money gambled in their success and that they had nothing good to say about GM's other big launch, the Verano.

By the way far or near fetched, no one is asking you to believe anything. I am simply saying what I believe. If you don't like it argue it but the name calling is frankly getting old.

. . . the Ford Fiesta, of course.Lets hope so . . .
If the Fiesta was bigger, I would agree... I just think its too small, expensive and not practicle enough. One of the main reasons why I think the Fit still outsells it.
 

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If the Fiesta was bigger, I would agree... I just think its too small, expensive and not practicle enough. One of the main reasons why I think the Fit still outsells it.
When your buying a sub-compact car...no one buys them for "who is bigger". Thats is not high on the sub-compact buyer's list. Its pretty simple to realize why too...

What does matter is Fuel economy and quality.

...I am not including the Versa in my figuring because they firesale them with that $9995 base price.
 
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