af773atmsp
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European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 6:01 am

While MPVs, wagons and hatchbacks are popular in Europe, in the U.S. sedans, pickup trucks, and SUVs are probably the most popular types of vehicles. There seems to be a strong presence of hatchbacks in America, but wagons are still pretty limited, and the only true MPV sold in the U.S. at the moment is the Mazda5 (we still have plenty of options for minivans but those are much bigger than European MPVs).

So with gas prices constantly getting higher and Americans looking for more efficiency will wagons once again make a comeback, and will MPVs be introduced to the U.S.? I don't have a lot of knowledge about what kind of road taxes European countries have, but aren't there certain taxes that make people want more efficient vehicles like wagons and MPVs? Will certain taxes in America be raised or introduced to convince people to buy more practical vehicles? Are there other factors that may convince Americans to look at wagons and MPVs over the usual crossover SUV?

As I'm typing this I'm looking at some cars from Volkswagen, Opel, and Citroen. I'm in love with their MPVs and they're definitely my practical dream car. Ford is introducing a Transit Connect MPV to America next year, but from pictures I'm not sure if its being marketed as a minivan or a commercial van.

A few of my favorite MPVs:
http://www.carautoportal.com/car-images/citroen/citroen-c4%20Picasso/citroen-c4%20Picasso-2008.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/VW_Sharan_(1).JPG

http://www.midlandsbusinessnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Vauxhall-Zafira-Tourer.jpg

And here is the 2014 Transit Connect:
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Braniff747SP
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 6:16 am

Out of all the great cars that they have in Europe and that we're screwed out of here in the US you go and choose the familymobiles? If I were going to import a Euro-only car there are many on the list before any MPV...
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BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 7:26 am

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):
Out of all the great cars that they have in Europe and that we're screwed out of here in the US you go and choose the familymobiles?

No kidding. I'll take an RS3 and M550d. Maybe squeeze a KTM X-Bow on the boat if there's room.
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blueflyer
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 8:16 am

I drove a Citroen Picaso as a walk-in, take-that-or-else rental from BRU a year ago. I was very surprised at how well it handles given its... unusual shape.

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):
If I were going to import a Euro-only car there are many on the list before any MPV...

None of them you can afford, until you get to the MPV I bet... So maybe that selection isn't so bad.
  
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garpd
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 11:12 am

Why MPVs? Is there some "must be big" thinking going on here?

In the UK at least, the smaller the engine and thus it's emissions, the less tax you pay and less fuel you need.
Which mainly translate into: Smaller Car = Less cost.

A 2009 onward Ford Fiesta will cost £30 to tax for a year for the 1.4 Diesel, £80 to £120 a year for the Petrol engines).

A 2012 Citroen C4 Picasso with the smallest diesel will cost you £125 a year to tax.

Bigger is not always better.
Of course, it depends what your circumstances are. If you have a large family, an MPV is a must.
But if you're on your own or a couple a Fiesta makes a lot of sense.

And before anyone say anything about "But the smaller cars are less well equipped". Think again.
Depending on the trim level you choose, most cars these days will be fairly equally equipped.
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Aesma
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 11:59 am

Taxes aren't unified in Europe but there is a framework, it's common to tax according to CO2 emissions for example (when in the past it was number of cylinders, displacement, or power that was the basis). All going in the same direction, the most frugal the car, the less taxed. In France we have a "bonus/malus" on top of that, in a narrow margin of emissions you don't get another tax, under it (mostly very small cars and electric cars) you get a bonus, and over it an increasing tax.

But the main difference is fuel taxes. More than half of the price of gas here is tax, making it twice as expensive as in the US. A pretty big incentive to only drive what you need, when you need it.
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af773atmsp
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 3:28 pm

The reason I bring up MPVs is because if someone in Europe wants a family car, or just a car that can carry more people and cargo than a regular car then a MPV is usually considered. In that same situation in America a SUV is the preferred choice over a minivan. The U.S. doesn't have gas prices like Europe or any taxes that I know of that make a MPV more attractive than a SUV. We are also a culture that for whatever reason, sees minivans as unattractive and the same would probably be said for MPVs. I don't how much better fuel economy MPVs get over SUVs, but if gas prices keep getting higher it may finally convince people to look at minivans or MPVs.

For whatever reasons wagons also haven't been popular in the U.S. It seems that if people want something bigger than a sedan then the next choice is a SUV even though with a wagon you get the same fuel economy as a sedan, but almost as much cargo room as a SUV.
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Boeing717200
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 3:32 pm

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):

Minivans not popular in the US? You should see my street. Don't by the exaggeration. Many people have SUV but must are in the mid size category. Very few people can afford the $60k+ gas guzzlers.

[Edited 2013-05-26 08:35:07]
 
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Polot
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 3:32 pm

Don't get fooled, the crossover market (especially small crossovers) is large in the EU and growing larger.
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 4:03 pm

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):
We are also a culture that for whatever reason, sees minivans as unattractive and the same would probably be said for MPVs.

Whatever reason? The reason is that they are lame.

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):
For whatever reasons wagons also haven't been popular in the U.S. It seems that if people want something bigger than a sedan then the next choice is a SUV even though with a wagon you get the same fuel economy as a sedan, but almost as much cargo room as a SUV.

I can tell you exactly why: it's CAFE and the gas guzzler tax. Those pushed out the wagons and ushered in SUVs.

People have to remember that before those laws were enacted, SUVs did exist. Pretty much every manufacturer made one: Jeep CJ and Wagoneer (possibly the first modern, kid hauling SUV), Ford Bronco, Chevy Suburban (at the time it was already about 40 years old), IH Scout, and Dodge Town Wagon. They were all utilitarian by modern standards, but they were trucks and trucks were for work. If you wanted to haul kids, you bought a wagon.

Once CAFE and the gas guzzler tax hit the scene, consumers were punished for buying the big station wagons they really wanted. The SUVs got around the regulations and manufacturers obliged by bringing more civilized and luxurious SUVs to the market, which were for all intents and purposes the same as the station wagons. That is how SUVs came off the farm and pushed out station wagons for trips to the school and the mall.

The moral of the story is that the consumer always wins and capitalism always wins so you might as well embrace it rather than fight it.
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Dreadnought
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 7:08 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
The moral of the story is that the consumer always wins and capitalism always wins so you might as well embrace it rather than fight it.

The moral of the story is that government screws up the market when they try to be too smart. A simple gas tax, along the lines of Europe, and all vehicles get hit equally, resulting generally smaller vehicles on average. But the US government went to CAFE, hitting some classes hard, some less, and exempting others altogether (light trucks being originally exempt because of the Farmers' lobby).

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Because of CAFE, station wagons, which used to be very common here have completely disappeared. I don't think any American manufacturer makes one anymore - the Dodge Magnum was the last. Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

Europe was smarter, and as a result they have a variety of good station wagons for sale. I used to own a BMW 540i station wagon which was awesome..
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MD11Engineer
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 7:25 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 5):
Taxes aren't unified in Europe but there is a framework, it's common to tax according to CO2 emissions for example (when in the past it was number of cylinders, displacement, or power that was the basis). All going in the same direction, the most frugal the car, the less taxed. In France we have a "bonus/malus" on top of that, in a narrow margin of emissions you don't get another tax, under it (mostly very small cars and electric cars) you get a bonus, and over it an increasing tax.

But the main difference is fuel taxes. More than half of the price of gas here is tax, making it twice as expensive as in the US. A pretty big incentive to only drive what you need, when you need it.

  

I just bought myself a Smart as a second car beside my Landrover Defender for local trips. I figured that 95% of the time I´m driving alone within 50 km of my home and I don´t need a 3 ton truck to go to work or to go shopping in the supermarket in the next smalltown (I´ll still keep the defender, so that I have something, which can get through the snowdrifts here in winter and which can haul a big trailer).
The additional bonus with the Smart is that, if I drive to a city like Frankfurt or Cologne, I´ll always find some parking space, while the Landrover is much too big to fit into the usual multistory car parks.
And it also makes a big difference if my car uses 4 liters of Diesel on 100 km or 10 liters.
And I don´t need a penis extension, so the little car does me well.

Jan

[Edited 2013-05-26 12:26:38]
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BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 8:04 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
A simple gas tax, along the lines of Europe, and all vehicles get hit equally, resulting generally smaller vehicles on average.

The only reason there should be a gas tax is to fund highway infrastructure. And when I say "highway infrastructure" I mean actual highway infrastructure, not diverting a bunch of it to subsidize money losing public transportation.

I'm okay with hitting cars with it though, even though they do little damage to roads compared to trucks. If the US wants to help save fuel, the way to do it is less government intervention via tax equalization between diesel and gas as well as matching European diesel emissions rules so those cars could be imported with minimum cost.

The point is that the only valid reason for a gas tax is because the government needs funds to maintain and build roads. Levying a tax (or similarly offering a tax credit) as punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
I don't think any American manufacturer makes one anymore - the Dodge Magnum was the last.

Actually I think the CTS was the last, but it appears that the new CTS won't have one.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

It's not really an option unless you're a lesbian anyway.
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Dreadnought
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 8:34 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

It's not really an option unless you're a lesbian anyway.

Hey! I like it. Probably the most generally useful vehicle on sale in the US. Reliable as hell, plenty of space for a family of 4, 4-wheel drive take you anywhere in any weather, plenty of space in the trunk, and much better mileage than any SUV.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Levying a tax (or similarly offering a tax credit) as punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

I disagree (to an extrent). Reduction of our dependence of oil imports is a reasonable national policy. And I would much rather do that by a flat tax per gallon of fuel across the board, then some complicated structure such as CAFE which tries to dictate what companies can build and what people can buy, which as you correctly point out, resulted in the SUV going from being the exclusive realm of hunters, fishermen, and farmers to replacing the more rational station wagon as the typical family car. A gas tax would have resulted in more European-sized cars.

One thing that I would very much like to see diminished is the US' extraordinary dependence on long range transportation by heavy trucks. I would like to see some sort of push to get long range cargo transportation to tranship - i.e. use trucks for the last door-to-door sections, but use trains for the bulk of the miles. All trailers would essentially be standard cargo containers which could be moved onto a train and back in a couple of minutes, like below:



But that can be the subject of another thread.
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BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 8:53 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 13):
Reduction of our dependence of oil imports is a reasonable national policy.

Reasonable policy for the government, but not reasonable for them to forcibly extend that policy to me personally. It makes perfect sense for the government to strive for better fuel economy for military and government vehicles, but I should drive what I want and not be punished for it. Adding on a tax because the government believes gas is not expensive enough is nothing if not a restriction on freedom.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 8:55 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

You do realize where a huge chunk of your money ends up every time you fill up at the gas station? And no, I do not mean Uncle Sam's coffer.
Textbook one-liners are great but reality is often more complex than that. It's infantile and naive to argue with "freedom" when reality is simply being wasteful with serious consequences. National security concerns should definitely have priority over compensation of deficiencies in someone's pants.
 
petertenthije
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 9:05 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
The moral of the story is that government screws up the market when they try to be too smart.

Not really, the morale of the story is that the US government is not that smart. But then we are told that all to often on this forum. 

In the Netherlands there is a similar system as described by Aesma in reply 5. These rules mostly apply to company lease cars, but then the majority of new cars is on lease anyway. Indeed the vast majority of new cars sold in the Netherlands apply to the lowest tax brackets. The applicable tax rate is based on the amount of Co2 a car makes, where the target is increased every year. This year the target is 96 gram Co2/KM for petrol and 89 gram Co2/KM for diesel. Next year the targets are 89/86 and for 2015 the targets are 83/83.

Plug-in (hybrid) electrical cars are tax exempt. Considering we have some of the highest taxes on car ownership the stimulus from a tax exempts car is very large. This shows in the sales figures as well. During the first few months of 2012 the Fisker Karma outsold the Audi A8, BMW 7-series and the Mercedes S-class. (don't have more recent data) The Opel Ampera is sold more in the Netherlands then anywhere else in Europe (May 2012 figures).
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BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 9:12 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 15):
It's infantile and naive to argue with "freedom" when reality is simply being wasteful with serious consequences.

I bought the gas, I'll be wasteful with it if I want to.
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Kiwirob
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 9:36 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):

Actually I think the CTS was the last, but it appears that the new CTS won't have one.

If they want to sell it in Europe, and they have said they will, they will need a wagon and a diesel, otherwise very few will buy it even if it is good.
 
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Aesma
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Sun May 26, 2013 11:39 pm

The gas tax in the US should go to fund all your fancy carrier strike groups and other costly military endeavors, since they're mainly used to secure oil countries and routes.

[Edited 2013-05-26 16:39:43]
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b787900
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 4:52 am

Quoting petertenthije (Reply 16):

I am just curious, why does everything in the US or elsewhere have to be exactly like in Europe/EU? I find that a little unsettling.

Here in Canada, when you purchase a car you only pay sales tax, registration fee, and a few other minor fees. There are no special taxes on top of that. None as far as I know (unless I am mistaken). It does not matter whether it is a large SUV or a smaller vehicle such as Ford Focus/Honda Civic. The insurance rates do differ depending on the vehicle, but that is the case in US, Europe and everywhere else.

I personally prefer 4 door sedans (Charger, Accord, Camry, 300, etc) over compacts, let alone sub-compacts, but that is simply my preference. I do not need the government to decide for me what sort of vehicle I should be driving. I appreciate the freedom of being able to purchase and drive what fits my wants, needs and interests.

Not everything has to be exactly like in Europe.

[Edited 2013-05-26 21:55:03]
 
cargolex
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 5:25 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
Once CAFE and the gas guzzler tax hit the scene, consumers were punished for buying the big station wagons they really wanted. The SUVs got around the regulations and manufacturers obliged by bringing more civilized and luxurious SUVs to the market, which were for all intents and purposes the same as the station wagons. That is how SUVs came off the farm and pushed out station wagons for trips to the school and the mall.
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Because of CAFE, station wagons, which used to be very common here have completely disappeared.

That's really not the case. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's revisionist history.

Factually speaking, the customers actually didn't want the big station wagons once they discovered something else - the Minivan. In fact, they were walking away from the largest station wagons, at first slowly but then in droves after 1980, for almost a decade before the November 1983 introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.

Indeed, full size cars as a whole got shellacked in 1974, and saw a moderate rebound in 1976 and 1977 - when the GM downsized B and C cars debuted and people bought up the remainder of the outgoing cars - everybody knew that cars that large were a dying breed. But after the 1979 oil shock and subsequent recession, sales of full size cars never really recovered. They continued to sell cars like this for a long time - the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and Town Car have only recently departed this mortal coil - but they would never recover to the normal positions they once had, when Ford and Chevy could count on the Impala/Caprice and LTD being one-two in the best seller list.

In the early 1980s people were still buying mid-size wagons - tons of Cutlass Cruisers and Fairmonts, but in those days the biggest wagons were on the wane, and that was largely down, again, to the price of gas, not the CAFE restrictions. For a small but dedicated group who wanted the big wagons, they were still available long into the CAFE era - the basic 1977 GM B-body wagons were available almost unchanged until 1990, and revised, somewhat modernized versions were available until 1996. GM even bothered to update them with OBD-II for 1995-6, and that's twenty years after CAFE. Ford's big Panther-platform wagons lasted until 1991.

In 1976, the last high water mark for the true full sized cars, Chevrolet sold 72,819 full size wagons (Impala/Caprice) and 64,721 mid-size wagons (Chevelle/Malibu). In 1979, they sold 124,615 full size wagons (Impala/Caprice) and 120,439 mid-size wagons (Malibu). All of these were smaller than their 1976 equivalents - and sales went up because the vehicles were better. We'll skip 1980 as that was a terrible year and go straight to 1983 - 53,028 full-size wagons (Caprice Classic), 55,892 mid-size wagons (Malibu Classic) - both outsold handily by the then-new Cavalier subcompact wagon, at 60,756 units. That was before minivans. In 1986, Chrysler sold 222,616 of its own minivans and 35,000 Mitsubihsi-derived Colt Vistas (a kind of mini-minivan).

In 1989, Chrysler sold 468,081 of its own minivans.

That's more than all the full-size wagons on the market that year (Buick Estate Wagon, Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Ford Country Squire, Mercury Colony Park, Pontiac Safari, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser) combined and more than double the year's sales of a certain new-to-Chrysler product - the Jeep Cherokee.

The fact is they were not that practical as driving vehicles even if they could load alot of stuff, not particularly desirable to all but a few, and they had a stodgy image of 1950s suburbia to overcome for many, many people. It's easy to look back on them now and see them as cool. They are. But they weren't always, or at least not to everyone.

Minivans were much more practical, and in the 1980s, after Chrysler found massive and instant success with those two models, the other manufacturers rushed to get their versions into production. We tend to think of Minivans as being a very uniform segment these days - they're all very similar to one another. But that wasn't the case back then. When a segment is new you see a bunch of different approaches - the same way the first generation of wide-body jets gave us the 747, A300, L-1011, and DC-10 - three different approaches to the concept.

Back then you had the more truck like Chevy Astro, the car-like ChryCo minivans, the Ford Aerostar, the commercial seeming mid-engined Toyota Van, which gave way to the mid-engined Previa, the miniature minivans like the Nissan Axxess and Mitsubishi Expo (and related Dodge/Plymouth Variants), the aging VW Vanagon, Mazda's half-SUV/half-minivan MPV hybrid. Alot of different approaches. The sign of a mature segment is when all the products are essentially the same. Today the only minivan that stands out from the crowd is the Nissan Quest, and not for good reasons.

People chose SUV's for a variety of reasons. One of them was that gas prices fell dramatically in the 1980s and SUV's spoke of manifest destiny and cool, Minivans on the other hand quickly earned the same stodgy reputation as grocery getters as their station wagon predecessors had. Just ten years after the minivan was introduced (in Europe as well as North America - for Europeans the first Minivan was the 1984 Renault Espace), it had become a very monolithic market and Minivans reeked of "Soccer mom." SUV's were more appropriate for your hunting buddy or for recreational activities - they'd been around a long time and were about the outdoors and adventure. They made people feel more interested in an attainable family vehicle. They did the same job as a Minivan but were much cooler and often more interesting.

In the summer of 1997, I could fill up my 455-V8 powered Pontiac Grand Prix, or my 403-powered Olds 88, for 97 cents a gallon. Historically speaking, that was less than a third of the price of gas in 1980, adjusted for inflation. Little wonder then, that people gravitated at that time towards less fuel efficient but "cooler" vehicles that did the same job as the minivan and the wagon. The wagon, by 1997, was virtually dead. The last of the traditional wagons were gone, and only one has been revived since (the now cancelled Dodge Magnum, which also sadly failed to sell).

You can make the argument that CAFE's designation of SUV's as light trucks helped them, because they were bound by less stringent regulations on mileage and emissions. But back then, when I was putting gas into my huge and decadent cars - I also had another GP, a big Eldorado, a Nova SS, some other big detroiters - nobody really cared that much about fuel mileage. If three vehicles were available, a station wagon, a Minivan, and an SUV, the buyers of the 1980s and 1990s were going to choose either the minivan or the SUV. And that's just how the consumers chose it.

Market forces at work.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):

Whatever reason? The reason is that they are lame.

I have news for you - that's exactly what people said about Mom & Dad's monster station wagon back in 1983. And in 1973, for that matter, when the cool cars were all personal/luxury coupes and everybody wanted a Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Cougar, or if they still wanted a little bit of the rapidly waning muscle car magic, a Satellite Sebring or a Mustang Grande. Back then, a station wagon conjured images of Dinah Shore and Levittown.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
the Dodge Magnum was the last.

I drove a Magnum right after they debuted, and I loved it. Still do. It was a great car - although it's practicality was limited due to the low height of the roof and the high load level. It was really almost a five-door hatchback. But a nice car and light years beyond the Intrepid it replaced. But the market did not want such a car, and that's why it was quietly dropped. In 2007, just three years after introduction, they struggled to move 30,000 units for the entire year. And that was before the recession. The numbers just weren't there.

[Edited 2013-05-26 22:40:54]
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 5:47 am

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 21):
Factually speaking, the customers actually didn't want the big station wagons once they discovered something else - the Minivan.

I think the minivan is largely a parallel phenomenon. If minivans were really what supplanted the big wagons, it doesn't really change the argument when people traded up from minivans to SUVs. They wanted something bigger and didn't care if it burned more gas, so that's what they got despite the government's best efforts.



Quoting Cargolex (Reply 21):
In the early 1980s people were still buying mid-size wagons - tons of Cutlass Cruisers and Fairmonts, but in those days the biggest wagons were on the wane, and that was largely down, again, to the price of gas, not the CAFE restrictions.

Again, this doesn't make the case for government regulation. You're just saying that rather than backfiring, CAFE just did nothing.
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cargolex
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:38 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):
If minivans were really what supplanted the big wagons, it doesn't really change the argument when people traded up from minivans to SUVs. They wanted something bigger and didn't care if it burned more gas, so that's what they got despite the government's best efforts.

In 1998, Chrysler's minivans outsold the Jeep Cherokee two to one. But by then, gas prices had been relatively low for 15 years, despite a strong uptick in 1990-1991 thanks to the Gulf war and events surrounding it.

Fuel prices were less of a factor for the average consumer. But consider that CAFE regulations had essentially done what they had set out to do, and more. You're contending that CAFE didn't do anything but steer people away from big cars, and that perhaps it only steered them into big trucks instead.

In 1975, when CAFE was enacted, most American cars got pitiful mileage. I have right in front of me a list of the most efficient cars being sold on the US market in 1974, as the legislation was being debated. The highest mileage traditional American car on the list is the AMC Hornet 2-door hatchback, with a 360 V8, at 17.8 mpg. It came in 43rd. In 49th place is the Buick Apollo 350 at a spectacular 14.7 mpg.

The Apollo and the Hornet - and I've driven both of these, 1974 models too - were compacts at the time, they were the economy-minded small-mid sizes, the equivalent of the Ford Focus today. Best sellers like the Impala and LTD were, in that era, single digit MPG cars.

The goal of CAFE standards was to raise the average fuel economy of ordinary vehicles. And it worked. But it also had some side benefits.

I don't know if you've ever driven a car from 1974 back to back with one from 1994. Let's take two average cars - that Buick Apollo and, say, a Ford Escort. The Escort weighs about 2/3rds as much, is almost as quick, handles far better, and starts every time regardless of weather. The switch to fuel injection in the 1980s as standard was largely mandated by CAFE and emissions standards. Carburetors couldn't do the job. In the 1994 car, you'll also notice a six digit odometer, where in virtually every 1974 car you'll find a five digit odo. What does the Apollo have going for it? Well, it's exponentially cooler, for one thing, but that's not really something an ordinary consumer is going to choose. For most people looking for transportation, the cars of 1994 were much better than those of 1974. And most of that was because the cars needed to be improved for a variety of reasons - some stemming from Emissions and some from CAFE and some from competition from cars from other countries that had more of a tradition of smaller vehicles.

The first fruit of CAFE was the 1977 GM B and C body cars. I've mentioned them before. Today they seem like antiques, but back then, they were a real change. They were the same size as the outgoing intermediates - the Chevelle and such. But they had as much space as the really huge full-size cars they replaced. They were lighter, they were smaller, they handled far better, and they were more efficient. Customers like them, preferred them to the cars they replaced even though they were smaller and had smaller engines. They just worked better. They were still big - but more logical. Work had begun on these cars before CAFE, even before Opec 1, because customers were lukewarm on the cars getting bigger, and they were absolutely monsterous by 1972, when initial planning began. They could not get any larger.

A year later, in 1978, GM's A-body was downsized, and customers liked those too, along with the Ford Fairmont, also introduced for 1978. There were some serious missteps on the way, but overall, having to meet these standards made cars better across the board.

In 1974, cars were built to last 100,000 miles. In 1994, they were still built to that, but they tended to last longer. In 2013, it's common to see cars that are not particularly used up - three, four year old cars - with 120K on the clock in western states. We're at a point where a typical lifespan might be 180,000-200,000 miles or more. That's remarkable for people like me, who's first car was a Triumph TR-6.

Consider that in 2013, the market once served by that Apollo and then by that Escort is now served by the Ford Focus - a car which will run rings around either of those old machines, is exponentially safer, more comfortable, and better in every way to drive - and gets 27 MPG city. 4 mpg better than that tiny old Escort and twice that of the Apollo.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):
Again, this doesn't make the case for government regulation. You're just saying that rather than backfiring, CAFE just did nothing.

I don't recall making a case either way, but since you asked...

I don't think you really understand what the goal of CAFE has been, and what it has done overall. You seem to think that CAFE was imposed to curtail choice. It wasn't. It was designed to make the entirety of the choices better - and it did. I drive old cars and new cars. I've literally lost count of how many cars I've had. I prefer old cars. But there is no way I can argue that the cars of 2013 are not better in every way but one than the cars of 1973. They are safer, they are faster, they are more efficient, they are more reliable, and they are more comfortable. The only downside is that they are much more complex. This is a result of improvements made by having to meet new regulations - not only CAFE but safety and emissions as well - and respond to customer demands.

For me, when I buy a car, I want either pure utilitarian practicality or something interesting. And that's reflected in my choices. I usually have one modern and one old car. In past years I used to have as many as six cars at a time. I don't feel any less free to choose what I want because of CAFE.

The goal of CAFE was to provide consumers with a better, more efficient fleet, and it did. And you can go right down to the dealer tomorrow and buy a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 that will be every bit as punchy as a a 1971 Hemi Challenger. It'll be faster, it'll be safer, it'll be more reliable, it'll last longer, it'll need less maintenance for sure (if you know anything about the street hemi), and guess what, it's about as profligate as it gets - 14 MPG in the city. But you're still free to buy it. In fact, it might not have been possible without the technological advances needed to navigate the CAFE requirements in years past. The performance numbers of cars like this are astronomical compared to the performance of cars from the pre-emissions, pre-CAFE days. In 1970, the numbers put up by a car like the Corvette ZR-1 (current) were pure race car numbers. You can buy a car at the dealer today that could win the 1970 LeMans 24 hour.

And don't think it's lost on anyone that the Challenger SRT-8, one of the worst MPG cars you can buy in 2013, is on par with one of the better regular American cars of 1974 in terms of fuel economy. Would you rather have 14 mpg in a 1974 Apollo or 14 mpg in a 2013 Challenger SRT-8? CAFE.

CAFE did plenty. And it isn't just cars that have a CAFE standard. The current CAFE standard for light trucks was formally phased in back in 1992 at 20.2 mpg and has since risen to 24.1 mpg. The first light truck standards were enacted in 1979 but the methodology was different until 1992. Until then, manufacturers could choose to meet the standard set for 2wd or 4wd versions of their products (unsurprisingly, they always chose the lower 4wd number). Even then, the standard was at least 19 mpg from 1986 onward.

To be exempt from the CAFE requirement, a truck made after the 1980 standard had to be above 8500 lb GVWR (until 2010 when regulations were changed). Not many SUVs are in that category - only things like the Hummer H1 and H2, Ford Excursion, and the largest pickups were exempt.

At the height of SUV mania ten years ago, the CAFE standard for light trucks was 20.7 mpg. In 1974, most trucks other than the six-cylinder work truck variety were in single-digit territory.

Now, when gas prices went up again, SUV demand dropped off a cliff, and has remained lower ever since. This isn't to say there is no demand - because there is.

But CAFE improved the vehicles, and it made each vehicle more efficient - and because of the processes needed to make the vehicles more efficient, we saw the side benefit of making the vehicles better overall.



[Edited 2013-05-26 23:47:13]
 
petertenthije
Posts: 3256
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:39 am

Quoting b787900 (Reply 20):
I am just curious, why does everything in the US or elsewhere have to be exactly like in Europe/EU? I find that a little unsettling.

Did I say the USA had to take our approach? I responded to a statement that the [US] Government made a mess of how they implemented vehicle taxes, and that this was typical for any Government intervention. So I explained our approach to car taxes and that it seems to have the desired result. That's all. Now if that is enough to get unsettled I would suggest you got to a forum populated by US / Canadian members only.  

Hell, in my opinion the Dutch road and vehicle and petrol taxes have gone waaaaay overboard. We pay more on taxes then any other country in the world when it comes to cars.
Attamottamotta!
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:56 am

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
You seem to think that CAFE was imposed to curtail choice.

It has had that effect. Also the gas guzzler tax which doesn't curtail choice but does outright punish consumers for purchasing something the government deems unworthy.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
It was designed to make the entirety of the choices better - and it did.

They would have gotten better anyway, but perhaps not in the same ways. A lot of the ways you can improve gas mileage can improve performance and maintain the same mileage. But with increasing prices, consumers don't need to be told that they should seek better mileage and manufacturers know that.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
In fact, it might not have been possible without the technological advances needed to navigate the CAFE requirements in years past. The performance numbers of cars like this are astronomical compared to the performance of cars from the pre-emissions, pre-CAFE days. In 1970, the numbers put up by a car like the Corvette ZR-1 (current) were race car numbers.

Cars had been getting better and faster for decades before the government stepped in. Market forces were making them more efficient even without government intervention.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
But you're still free to buy it.

Sort of. It comes with a $1000 gas guzzler tax.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
To be exempt from the CAFE requirement, a truck made after the 1980 standard had to be above 8500 lb GVWR (until 2010 when regulations were changed). Not many SUVs are in that category - only things like the Hummer H1 and H2, Ford Excursion, and the largest pickups were exempt.

The gas guzzler tax has a lower threshold.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
But CAFE improved the vehicles, and it made each vehicle more efficient - and because of the processes needed to make the vehicles more efficient, we saw the side benefit of making the vehicles better overall.

Those improvements would have come about anyway even without government intervention thanks to market forces.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 9:17 am

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
In 1975, when CAFE was enacted, most American cars got pitiful mileage.

A lot of truth and accurate history in these posts. Kudos.   

I'd forgotten about the Buick Apollo. My first car was a Pontiac Sunbird V6—it was a toss-up between that and the Ventura coupe. Shell unleaded was in the 50¢ per gallon range. Station wagons were still so popular back then, we had a small fleet of the Cutlass wagons for our Driver's Ed. cars in high school. Huge things for an 'intermediate'.
International Homo of Mystery
 
Kiwirob
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 10:38 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
Sort of. It comes with a $1000 gas guzzler tax.

People who can afford those kind of cars aren't worried about an extra $1000 in tax.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
Those improvements would have come about anyway even without government intervention thanks to market forces.

No really, sometimes it takes a push in the right direction to get the improvements through, CAFE was that push. IMO they haven't gone far enough and for a developed nation fuel in the US is still way to cheap, it should be at least 50 to 100% more expensive.
 
Mir
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 2:09 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 13):
Probably the most generally useful vehicle on sale in the US.

I'd argue the Volvo XC70 has that title, but the Outback is a very worthy contender. I'd consider buying one if I were in the market (and I probably will be in a few years, but the Volvo will likely be out of my budget).

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
mham001
Posts: 4179
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 3:49 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
If the US wants to help save fuel, the way to do it is less government intervention via tax equalization between diesel and gas as well as matching European diesel emissions rules so those cars could be imported with minimum cost.

The so called diesel tax argument is old and stale. And largely untrue. Diesel is taxed $.05/gallon more. On the other hand, a comparable diesel engine is spewing ~3 times the pollutants as a similar gas engine, except for CO2. Diesel should be banned in cars.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):
Reasonable policy for the government, but not reasonable for them to forcibly extend that policy to me personally.

When will you go put your life on the line securing that fuel?

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 23):
The switch to fuel injection in the 1980s as standard was largely mandated by CAFE and emissions standards. Carburetors couldn't do the job.

That in itself made CAFE worthwhile. Cars (and motorcycles) became instantly more reliable and easier to maintain. Who can forget the incessant carburetor rebuilds. Good posts Cargolex.
 
iakobos
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 4:34 pm

Quoting petertenthije (Reply 24):
Hell, in my opinion the Dutch road and vehicle and petrol taxes have gone waaaaay overboard. We pay more on taxes then any other country in the world when it comes to cars.

No but close, Denmark and Finland are squeezing even more.
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 4:42 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 27):
People who can afford those kind of cars aren't worried about an extra $1000 in tax.

First, that doesn't make it right and second, the Charger isn't that expensive of a car.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 27):
IMO they haven't gone far enough and for a developed nation fuel in the US is still way to cheap, it should be at least 50 to 100% more expensive.

And I think Red Bull should be 50-100% cheaper, but do you think that's gonna happen? Can I get the government to manipulate that market too?

If gas really should be more expensive, it would be. That's how economics works, and we all know that oil companies are holding prices down as a public service. Asking the government to come tamper with the economy just because you don't like it is ridiculous.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 29):
Diesel is taxed $.05/gallon more.

On the federal level. States sometimes widen the gap.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 29):
When will you go put your life on the line securing that fuel?

When somebody pays me a hell of a lot of money to do it.

Quoting mham001 (Reply 29):
Cars (and motorcycles) became instantly more reliable and easier to maintain. Who can forget the incessant carburetor rebuilds.

...so fuel injection would have become commonplace anyway.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
cargolex
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 4:48 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):

Cars had been getting better and faster for decades before the government stepped in. Market forces were making them more efficient even without government intervention.

Not really, no. Although fuel economy was less of a factor before WW2, most pre-ww2 cars got better gas mileage than their post-war equivalents. Although speed and reliability had been going up since 1925, fuel economy had largely been going down. The average car of 1959 - let's say a 1959 Ford - got appreciably worse mileage than it's 1929 equivalent.

But we're going further back than we need to there. In 1969 Chrysler introduced new full-size cars, popularly known today as the "fuselage" cars. In 1971, GM replaced it's full size lineup with a round of new cars - bigger than ever. Just about every design change from 1960 to 1974 resulted in larger, heavier, less efficient vehicles - with new cars at the bottom of the lineup - sometimes sourced from foreign companies like Simca or Mitsubishi - to cater to the demand for smaller European-type cars. In many cases those bottom-end ideas were not very good, or had some fatal flaws. Certainly the Vega, Pinto, and Gremlin couldn't match something like the Opel Ascona or Ford Cortina, cars that were available to these manufacturers but which they chose not to use, or use only tangentially (the Opel was sold here as the Opel 1900 from 1971-1974).

GM's first wave of downsized cars were so significant because they proved that the big cars didn't have to be slovenly and unnecessarily wasteful. They didn't have to have doors ten inches thick that weighed 120 lbs. each.

Market forces were there to demand that the car makers cater to those who wanted more efficient cars - but even those cars have been greatly improved by CAFE, because the across-the-board nature of such standards are meant to improve the entire pool.

The highest MPG cars in 1974 America were:

1. Datsun B-210 (35 mpg)
2. Fiat 128 (34.8 mpg)
3. Renault R17 (34.5 mpg)
4. Toyota Corolla 1200 (33.9 mpg)
5. Alfa-Romeo 2000 Berlina (32.1 mpg)
6. Honda Civic (30.4 mpg)
7. Lotus Europa (30.4 mpg)
8. Renault R12 (30.4 mpg)
9. Chevrolet Vega 2300 (30 mpg)
10. Toyota Corolla 1600 (29.8 mpg)

These are from that same list mentioned earlier, a test conducted by Motor Trend in March, 1974.

You'll notice that this is a motley crew indeed - the Lotus Europa, Renault 17, and Alfa were all expensive cars back then, and extremely rare. While the others are extremely basic vehicles in many cases - having driven the R12, owned three 128s, and having driven several of the others, these weren't exactly the same as plunking down your money on a Nova or a Chevelle.

Consider that there are dozens of cars now, practical cars you would actually want to drive, that get better mileage figures than this ancient top ten. That's what CAFE did. To attribute 100% of that change to CAFE is incorrect, but it was the CAFE standards that first essentially dictated a switch to electronic fuel injection, increased use of computer technologies to manage how an engine runs, and the use of Aerodynamics - something not entirely foreign in 1974 but definitely not part of pushing "the formal look" through the air bearing spring-loaded hood ornaments, half vinyl tops, and Waterfall grilles.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):

Those improvements would have come about anyway even without government intervention thanks to market forces.

Maybe, maybe not. But I think you need to stop trying so hard to suggest that government intervention is always a problem, always wrong, and in this case totally unnecessary.

Your contention that "it would have happened anyway without government intervention" lies on the concept that market forces would have driven Americans more toward European and Japanese cars and their higher mileages, and that American manufacturers would have adapted.

That's partially true. I have no doubt that if CAFE had not happened, we would have seen an increase in efficiency if only because of Opec II. But I don't know that we would have seen the across the board improvements that made all the choices better. CAFE cannot be totally credited with the improvements, nor can consumer demand. But we do know that a variety of early-CAFE era choices were presented to consumers for many years, and they chose other things.

But I digress.

If you go back to the years from 1945 to 1965, you'll see that most of the European market - and by extension the Japanese market, where many cars of the fifties and sixties began as licensed copies of European cars - was strongly shaped by - guess what - Tax policy and governmental intervention. Most of these policies existed in one form or another before WW2, particularly in the UK where tax laws favored long-stroke, small bore cars.

Two popular old cars you might see at a classic car show are the MGB and the Fiat Spider. In concept, these cars are very similar - and similar to the Mazda Miata. But under the hood, you'll notice that the MGB is powered by a long-stroke OHV engine, a torque surfing engine. The Fiat is powered by a high revving twin cam. That's down to the legacy of regional tax policies in the UK and Italy.

Americans who remember Renault when it sold cars here will probably remember quirky, small, often unreliable economic cars. But in 1938, Renault was building a few cars that were genuine rivals to the big guys like Rolls Royce. You've probably never heard of the Renault Nervastella or Reinastella and it's not so important that you have, but they did build them. After the war, Renault was nationalized. France enacted a taxation by displacement scheme similar to that of Great Britain only much more punitive. Cars over 3 liters were taxed to death - France effectively killed it's luxury and exotic car industry - arguably the finest in the world at that time. One by one, Delahaye/Delage, Bugatti, Talbot-lago, the post-war Facel, succumbed to the plutocrat tax. Manufacturers like Citroen and Peugeot, the big manufacturers able to adapt and primarily building family cars anyway, focused on smaller and more efficient cars. No French luxury car has really been taken seriously since then other than the Citroen DS Pallas and maybe the Citroen SM. I actually had a Citroen SM for a short time, but sold it when the bills got scary. No coincidence that France's only recent attempt at a car like that had a maximum displacement of 3 liters.

More important than the specific vehicles is that these policies - enacted all over western Europe and spread via licensing to Asia, Africa, and South America, set the tone for a global fleet of more efficient vehicles - the same vehicles you believe would have conquered here with or without CAFE. But they're still a result of government intervention.

Tax laws on displacement are still around although less arcane than they once were. In 1982, you could buy a Ferrari 208 - in Italy only. This smaller-displacement variant of the 308 was one of the more high profile tax dodge cars of that era. Not too many actually sold, but it was there. 155 hp from a 1991-cc V8.

That's not an argument for whether that is good or bad, btw.
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 5:04 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
In 1971, GM replaced it's full size lineup with a round of new cars - bigger than ever. Just about every design change from 1960 to 1974 resulted in larger, heavier, less efficient vehicles

...because that's what consumers wanted.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
Consider that there are dozens of cars now, practical cars you would actually want to drive, that get better mileage figures than this ancient top ten.

That's pushing it.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
but it was the CAFE standards that first essentially dictated a switch to electronic fuel injection, increased use of computer technologies to manage how an engine runs, and the use of Aerodynamics

All of that would have happened anyway.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
"the formal look" through the air bearing spring-loaded hood ornaments, half vinyl tops, and Waterfall grilles.

If that's what consumers want, that's what consumers should get even if it costs them a few MPG.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
But they're still a result of government intervention.

There's also the matter of practicality. But how is it fair that for decades Europeans were deprived of big cars, because their government decided they were bad? And a Camaro still costs upwards of $50k on the other side of the pond.

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
In 1982, you could buy a Ferrari 208 - in Italy only.

Now they sell next to nothing in Italy because the government has started harassing people in nice cars.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 5:09 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
But I don't know that we would have seen the across the board improvements that made all the choices better.

I think that a third influencing factor which needs to be considered was the introduction of more stringent emissions control devices in the 1975 model year. I'm not nearly as well-versed as you on the mechanics of such devices, but I recall that gas mileage went down as more stringent emissions systems were introduced. My memory may be faulty on this, but I thought the greatest advance in the use of fuel injection came with the introduction of catalytic converters. (Feel free to poke holes in my memory on all this, from nearly 40 years ago.)
International Homo of Mystery
 
Kiwirob
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:36 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 28):
I'd argue the Volvo XC70 has that title,

The V70 is a better car, I know they are almost the same but the V70 rides, handles and looks better than the XC70.



Should never have sold this car, damn being super fertile, I'll get another one when the new model arrives in 2015.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
And I think Red Bull should be 50-100% cheaper, but do you think that's gonna happen? Can I get the government to manipulate that market too?

I know someone who works at Red Bull it's an expensive drink to make, more expensive than cola, hence the higher price, plus people pay for it so why should they drop the price, supply and demand as you're so fond of saying. The US has some pretty terrible road infrastructure, with something like 10,000 highway bridges which need to be replaced, banging up the petrol tax would go a long way towards sorting the funding issue.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):

Now they sell next to nothing in Italy because the government has started harassing people in nice cars.

If Italians actually paid taxes instead of hiding them the govt wouldn't need to harass the people who don't pay. Tax avoiders are fair game if you ask me.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:49 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
Consider that there are dozens of cars now, practical cars you would actually want to drive, that get better mileage figures than this ancient top ten. That's what CAFE did. To attribute 100% of that change to CAFE is incorrect, but it was the CAFE standards that first essentially dictated a switch to electronic fuel injection, increased use of computer technologies to manage how an engine runs, and the use of Aerodynamics - something not entirely foreign in 1974 but definitely not part of pushing "the formal look" through the air bearing spring-loaded hood ornaments, half vinyl tops, and Waterfall grilles.

The European market has a wide variety of cars to day that are more efficient, offer a wider variety of engines (including diesel), use fuel injection and all the stuff you mention, and did so before such features became common in the US, and did it without CAFE, but with fuel taxes instead.

In fact, most of the European cars sold in the US are only sold with the largest and most powerful engine options. In Europe you can get a 3-series BMW with smaller engines (316, 318, 320, 325). But you can only get the 328, 330 and 335 here.
Forget dogs and cats - Spay and neuter your liberals.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 6:54 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 36):
In fact, most of the European cars sold in the US are only sold with the largest and most powerful engine options. In Europe you can get a 3-series BMW with smaller engines (316, 318, 320, 325). But you can only get the 328, 330 and 335 here.

Powerful cars in many European countries are highly taxed, like they should be in the US, hence the reason why Europeans favour BMW's and the like with 4 cylinder diesel engines.
 
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Polot
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 7:05 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 37):
Powerful cars in many European countries are highly taxed, like they should be in the US, hence the reason why Europeans favour BMW's and the like with 4 cylinder diesel engines.

And marketing and image is one of the primarily reason that BMW and the other German luxury makers have avoided bringing them here (at the least the gasoline 4 cylinders) although that is slowly changing ( thanks in part to CAFE!). Not government interventions or market desires. I'm sure most people would gladly buy a 4 cylinder BMW here, they would do what most Europeans do- check the badge delete option    , but BMW and the likes won't let them.

[Edited 2013-05-27 12:07:53]
 
Kiwirob
Posts: 9852
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 7:26 pm

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 32):
But under the hood, you'll notice that the MGB is powered by a long-stroke OHV engine, a torque surfing engine. The Fiat is powered by a high revving twin cam. That's down to the legacy of regional tax policies in the UK and Italy.

It that really the story, I would have thought it was more to do with cost than anything else, the MGA had a twin cam option but it was a very expensive motor to produce so it wasn't an option on the MGB.
 
MAH4546
Posts: 24519
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 8:27 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 36):
But you can only get the 328, 330 and 335 here.

The United States has the 320i, 328i, 328d, 335i and ActiveHybrid.

The variety of engines offered on U.S. cars is on a major upswing lately.

But keep in mind that one reason the U.S. doesn't get the smaller engines is because of how much cheaper cars are in the U.S. A BMW 320i costs roughly €25,000 in the States; while an Italy a stripped 316i (and that's with less standard equipment than a stripped U.S. model) is close to €31,000.

[Edited 2013-05-27 13:35:30]
a.
 
rwy04lga
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:21 am

RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 8:41 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 19):
The gas tax in the US should go to fund all your fancy carrier strike groups and other costly military endeavors

Said the man who would be speaking German otherwise.
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
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Aesma
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 10:38 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
There's also the matter of practicality. But how is it fair that for decades Europeans were deprived of big cars, because their government decided they were bad? And a Camaro still costs upwards of $50k on the other side of the pond.

It's fair because our governments looked at the commercial balance and didn't want oil to sink it, nor spend fortunes in buying middle eastern governments that later would bite our ass.

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 41):
Said the man who would be speaking German otherwise.

Doubt it, I studied it at school for 9 years and never got the hang of it. Besides Germany might have won the war (I'm sure the soviets and brits would argue that point) but that wouldn't mean they could actually occupy France effectively. Today we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first reunion of all resistance groups unified by Jean Moulin.

Besides, my 4 grandparents were born in 4 different countries not on the same sides of WW2, so I would not exist.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
BMI727
Posts: 11089
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Mon May 27, 2013 10:42 pm

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 35):
I know someone who works at Red Bull it's an expensive drink to make, more expensive than cola, hence the higher price, plus people pay for it so why should they drop the price, supply and demand as you're so fond of saying.

In other words, the market should set the price.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 35):
The US has some pretty terrible road infrastructure, with something like 10,000 highway bridges which need to be replaced, banging up the petrol tax would go a long way towards sorting the funding issue.

If they need to increase the gas tax to fund necessary projects, fine. But the gas tax should not be used as punishment, and I'll add some more caveats:
1. Infrastructure projects should have a significant local funding component. The locals who actually use the thing should have to pay a sizable portion of the cost, otherwise it's too easy to just say yes when Uncle Sam starts dropping off bags of money.
2. Stop diverting gas tax revenue to public transportation projects, other than things like buses using the same roads of everyone else.
3. Privatize viable portions of infrastructure (some airports and a smaller number of roads) and use the proceeds to fund other projects as needed. New infrastructure should also be constructed as public-private partnerships where possible.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 35):
If Italians actually paid taxes instead of hiding them the govt wouldn't need to harass the people who don't pay.

They weren't being harassed for not paying taxes. They were being harassed for driving a nice car.

Quoting kiwirob (Reply 37):
Powerful cars in many European countries are highly taxed, like they should be in the US,

Like hell they should be. Nothing like paying Lamborghini money for a BMW. Unless I'm reading something wrong, a BMW Z4 35is costs the equivalent of $198,000 in Denmark.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
mham001
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 12:40 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 36):
The European market has a wide variety of cars to day that are more efficient, offer a wider variety of engines (including diesel), use fuel injection and all the stuff you mention, and did so before such features became common in the US, and did it without CAFE, but with fuel taxes instead.

I don't think so. My '85 grey-market S-class had a first generation mechanical fuel injection system. Emissions played a big role in that as well, VW went Fi on the Rabbit and killed the Beetle because of emissions.

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 41):
Said the man who would be speaking German otherwise.

Nevertheless, he speaks the truth. The last three wars and several more future ones were/will be over oil. We don't rotate 2-3 carrier groups in the Gulf for love of Abdullah.
 
Boeing717200
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 1:04 am

Quoting mham001 (Reply 44):

Yeah man. We're flying high on that cheap Iraqi and Afghani oil!  
 
Ken777
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 1:23 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
The moral of the story is that the consumer always wins and capitalism always wins so you might as well embrace it rather than fight it.

Looking at the cars of today it sure looks like the Government has won in terms of safety, emission standards and fuel economy. The government won and therefore the consumers have won. Business actually had to pull their head out and do some modern engineering.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
The moral of the story is that government screws up the market when they try to be too smart.

They sure didn't screw it up when they set new safety standards. Seat/shoulder belts - great idea. Air bags - wasn't that considered a communist plot? Like fluoride in the water? Wonder how many lives those two government requirements have saved.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
And when I say "highway infrastructure" I mean actual highway infrastructure, not diverting a bunch of it to subsidize money losing public transportation.

Public transportation is simply a way a reducing highway loads and is a valid investment of Highway Funds.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Levying a tax (or similarly offering a tax credit) as punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

You want to drive a car on PUBLIC roads? I sure don't see you being punished for all the roads that have been built and made available to you. That is where your "freedom" is. It's amazing that you can't appreciate all that has been developed before for your use. All I see is winging because you have to pay a gas guzzler tax.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):
Adding on a tax because the government believes gas is not expensive enough is nothing if not a restriction on freedom.

Sadly we, as a nation, are not prepared to bow down to your individual demands for your personal freedom. Pay the taxes if you want to drive the cars. You'll be driving on roads that have been financed by previous generations paying their taxes so you are actually getting a hell of a deal.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 14):
It makes perfect sense for the government to strive for better fuel economy for military and government vehicles, but I should drive what I want and not be punished for it.

Sadly supply & demand impacts the costs of fuel for the country. Efforts to bring down consumption levels with laws and regulations AND incentives have a positive impact on the costs paid by the consumer. If you want to drive a hot rod then fine. Just get your wallet out

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 21):
Factually speaking,

Thanks for some very interesting comments.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
They would have gotten better anyway, but perhaps not in the same ways.

Like poor safety standards, high emissions, poor gas milage. But they would sure look flash.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
Cars had been getting better and faster for decades before the government stepped in.

Faster? My parents' '52 Ford could go as fast as the speed limits today. Faster isn't what is really needed.

Better? Are you kidding? Take a look at the collapsable steering shaft - that is one simple example of how the government demands for improvement were developed. In the old days that shaft was one piece of steel. A good head on impact and the steering wheel went right through the driver's chest.

And the engineering that would allow engine mounts to break and the engine to go under front seat pax instead of in their lap?

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 25):
It comes with a $1000 gas guzzler tax.

You want the car then pay the tax.

Personally I believe in tax incentives to provide better milage and emissions. And taxes for gas guzzlers.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 31):
When somebody pays me a hell of a lot of money to do it.

I think you missed a huge opportunity. Three years as a Naval Officer in Aviation, bit of seeing the world, learning real leadership and getting experience that companies like Boeing pay top dollar for. Cash over country is OK. We see it all the time in the US.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
...because that's what consumers wanted.

Or that's what consumers were told they wanted. You actually believe that consumers would have chased, say, that solid steering shaft in that pretty land yacht? They bought those cars

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
But how is it fair that for decades Europeans were deprived of big cars, because their government decided they were bad?

Post war Europe was a place with far more important priorities than making sure someone could buy a Lincoln or Caddy Land Yacht. Or an Imperial. they were hot stuff back in the day.

Of course some of those cars were physically too big for some of the smaller roads in "Old Europe".

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 33):
Now they sell next to nothing in Italy because the government has started harassing people in nice cars.

Harassing a tax cheat? IIRC when the program started they discovered far more tax cheats than they thought they would. I don't see the Tax Office easing off anytime in the future. What I can see is a computer based system where the cops can enter a license number, get the car details and see a "tax clearance" for that year - all in the file. The file would then get updated every year. The file could even be started when a new car is purchased.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 1:36 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 17):
Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 15):
It's infantile and naive to argue with "freedom" when reality is simply being wasteful with serious consequences.

I bought the gas, I'll be wasteful with it if I want to.

An answer to be expexted from 16-20 age bracket of the "me only me" generation. However, since you are always trying to enlighten us with your one-dimensional world of textbook capitalism I have thought that the idea of individual responsibility - in this case responsibility of not funding Saudis (and other Gulf-based sponsors of terrorism) more than absolutely necessary - would come as a natural to you.
Whenever in the US the sight of a soccer mom driving her Escalade or a Suburban with obligatory "Support our troops" sticker on its bumper is priceless.
 
BMI727
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 1:43 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
The government won and therefore the consumers have won. Business actually had to pull their head out and do some modern engineering.

Of course that ignores the first six decades or so of automotive innovation. The consumers don't need the government to tell them that seatbelts are good.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
Public transportation is simply a way a reducing highway loads and is a valid investment of Highway Funds.

No it isn't. Public transportation should support itself. If you can't support service via fares, you shouldn't have the service.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
It's amazing that you can't appreciate all that has been developed before for your use. All I see is winging because you have to pay a gas guzzler tax.

All I see is the government charging some people more for the same services. Not to mention that people who buy more gas pay more taxes anyway. Are you really going to tell me that a Viper does more damage to roadways than a Prius?

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
Like poor safety standards, high emissions, poor gas milage. But they would sure look flash.

If you ignore the fact that people like not flying through windshields, quite a few people are eco-friendly hippies, and people like saving money, that might be a plausible scenario.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
Faster? My parents' '52 Ford could go as fast as the speed limits today. Faster isn't what is really needed.

Doesn't matter what's needed. It matters what is wanted.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
You want the car then pay the tax.

Personally I believe in tax incentives to provide better milage and emissions. And taxes for gas guzzlers.

I shouldn't have to pay the tax. People who buy efficient cars already save money, they don't need money out of mine too.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
You actually believe that consumers would have chased, say, that solid steering shaft in that pretty land yacht?

A smart marketing person here and there, and you bet they would have. Volvo hasn't had trouble moving merchandise.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
Post war Europe was a place with far more important priorities than making sure someone could buy a Lincoln or Caddy Land Yacht. Or an Imperial. they were hot stuff back in the day.

Of course some of those cars were physically too big for some of the smaller roads in "Old Europe".

In other words, there are better reasons to drive small cars than because the government declares them sinful.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
Harassing a tax cheat?

Harassing people who drive expensive cars actually. Unless they happen to have an "I didn't pay my taxes" bumper sticker, it's just pure class warfare and profiling.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
The file could even be started when a new car is purchased.

Not when it's purchased elsewhere.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 47):
An answer to be expexted from 16-20 age bracket of the "me only me" generation.

You want to swipe your card when I go to the pump?
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: European Cars In The U.S.

Tue May 28, 2013 2:07 am

Quoting mham001 (Reply 44):
I don't think so. My '85 grey-market S-class had a first generation mechanical fuel injection system. Emissions played a big role in that as well, VW went Fi on the Rabbit and killed the Beetle because of emissions.

Uh, that wasn't first generation. Mechanical Fuel injection started appearing in the 50s. and electronic fuel injection just a few years later. the first truely effective and reliable electronic fuel injection system was the Bosch Jetronic system that came out in the late sixties Your Mercedes and all Mercedes built in the 60s, 70s and 80s that had an 'E' in the model name (like 280 SE, 350 CE etc) had electronic injection. That's what the 'E' meant.

Jetronic systems were also used by Porsche, BMW, and even VW. Yes, the Beetle had Electronic fuel injection available since the early-mid 70s.

The Beetle wasn't killed for emissions. It was killed because it was a 1930's design that had more than outlived its usefulness.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 46):
They sure didn't screw it up when they set new safety standards. Seat/shoulder belts - great idea. Air bags - wasn't that considered a communist plot?

Oh, they got silly sometimes. Remember the gawd-awful bumpers they mandated in the 70s and 80s? Regarding seat belts, they make perfect sense. Airbags I think are stupid - they serve no purpose if you are wearing a seat belt - it's just an expensive piece of kit that adds cost and weight to a car, hurting fuel economy, and will never help me, since I have worn seat belts religiously since I learned to drive, and I don't relish the idea of an explosive going off in my face. It happened to my wife once - she looked like she had been in a bar-room brawl. I think airbags should be banned. The only people it saves are morons who don't put their seatbelts on. Letting them die would serve humanity by eliminating stupid people from the gene pool.

The alternative to Airbags, you will remember, was the equally gawd-awful automatic seatbelt another contrivance that added weight cost and complexity. I hated every car I had to drive with that thing. And how many morons died driving around with the top part in place (because they had no choice) but did not buckle their lap belt, hit something and got almost decapitated as their body weight tried to go under the belt?

OK, rant over - you uncovered a pet peeve of mine.

But your example of auto safety is flawed, because it did not mess with a market. Sure, it added standards - that's fine. ALL cars had to have seatbelts, ALL cars had to pass a crash test etc. When I talk about screwing with a market, I am talking about structural changes, such as what governments do/did with the mortgage industry, student loans, telecom (I work in that industry and the regs involved would make you puke with rage) etc. And of course with CAFE, where the overall goal (reduce consumption) was laudible, but the method was overly cumbersome, complex to comply with, and arguably did not do much to help.

Do people truely think that, if CAFE had not been around, that we'd still be driving around with carburetors and 2-speed slushboxes? Of course not. Cars continually get better because people want their next car to be better than the last one, and they would rather not spend more on fuel than they have to (given their preferences of course - someone who is wants the excitement of a Lamborghini will be willing to pay the fuel bill).
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