Five and a half cars we'd take home from Geneva (AutoComplete Ep. 8)The top five cars from Geneva auto show -- and one we wouldn't. What the first Google car crash means, and how to order that new NSX.
[MUSIC] Hey everybody, welcome to CNETs Auto Complete from Roadshow. Chris Pocket, managing editor. I'm Brian Cooley, editor at large. Tim Stevens is off shooting something fantastic. So we're gonna hold down the fort here at the Geneva Auto Show. Our 26th Geneva edition. Chris let's start out with the cars that we think people should know about. Of our favorites that are also of great import. We're right by one of them over here the Hyundai Ionic. People talk about Prius killers all the time. Yeah. They have ever since Prius found success. this maybe the first one to have a real crack at it because it's a three-pronged approach. It's got a full on electric model, it's got a hybrid plug-in, and then it's got just a straight up hybrid so it covers the entire water-front. The thing looks pretty good, it doesn't scream weird electric alternative car from its looks. The Prius still looks like you're making a point. This car kind of looks kind of like just the nice little compact car A nice new Hyundai base. Like all alternative cars for some reason the but ends way up here, high. I don't know why. Can't they make an alternative car where the but comes down but they don't. So I was agreeing with you on that. This could be the single biggest thrust against Prius that's credible. Notably their prediction is Will be the number two electrified car maker in a few years. They still won't claim that they can knock Toyota off their throne. Well, I think that's a wise move. There's a lot of years that the Prius has grown not only in terms of volume, but mindshare. But in recent years, it's had a tough go of it. There is a new prius now. And I guarantee Hyundai would have loved to release this car a year ago ahead of the new car. Yeah the timing would have been more advantageous. And this two dollar gas here in the United States they're all struggling a little bit. Doesn't really sell that well. No. Standard Prius does. So that was a big trend story in terms of cars that are really going after a major king of the hill. Toyota CHR, this is roughly in the same bucket of people that are shopping. It is. It's definitely a funkier approach And maybe not so eco-minded. They will have a hybrid model here in Europe but it's not guaranteed for the US. And in fact what we're expecting is a traditional two liter four cylinder normally aspirated engine and a CVT. So this is a model that was supposed to be a Scion, but Scion recently closed. That's right, this is one of the migrations that came over to Toyota. Yeah, that's why the name doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Toyota. And the aesthetics don't make a whole lot of sense for Toyota. That's what I was wondering. It doesn't look like a Toyota. And then you reminded me because it wasn't intended to be when it came through design. Well, in all fairness Akio Toyoda, the CEO, has been talking about shaking up design for a long time. And he's done that with Lexus having a new style But it hasn't really done it as successfully with lower end models in Toyota and this will give them a use entry into a very hot segment with models, the Honda HRV and the Nissan Juke so. Juke don't get me started. [LAUGH] You and I are Wagner guys. We are. It's a home run. It is it is gorgeous and you know we gave The XC90, which has the same architecture underneath, the same scalable production architecture, and the same powertrain technology. Largely we give it a Road Show Shift award for our vehicle of the year, we love it, the aesthetic of it are gorgeous inside and out. The Infotainment is a solid updated [UNKNOWN] Yes. It's just, it's a smart product. And the wagon line's on On it. Most Americans are not into wagons. There were an SUV crossover bunch. But this is one that looks so good, that I think some Americans will actually consider it and say, yeah it's not as tall and utilitarian as I might like, or chunky and outdoorsy as I wanna pretend I am, but damn that's a good looking car. It is. And I would expect for it to spawn a chunkier XE version with a little more ground clearance. Yeah. A little more cladding. To kind of get the people that are in between the traditional upright SUV like the XC90 and a normal wagon. I would hate to see them do that, it's so damn pretty the way it is. Grand Sport Corvette. This kinda came out at the last minute as the show was opening. What can you tell us about that? So there's been a lot of white space between the standard Corvette Stingray which is about 55 grand. A bargain. Yeah, and the Z06, which is a bargain in its own right, and that's in the early 80's. 80, 82. Okay. So there's a lot of space there. And so what they've done is, they brought back the GranSport, which is a name with 50 years plus of motor sports history. And it's basically a Stingray in terms of motor, but a ZL6 in terms of everything else, from the aerodynamics to the cooling, to the brakes. So, it's sort of a half-way house, but it's track oriented. It's normally aspirated. It's probably very tunable. We don't know what the pricing is going to be, but it looks like, you know. Figure it will slot Pretty cleanly in the middle, right. Yeah. Okay, grand sports app for the Vette fans. You've got a middle ground with having to go ZO6. Very polarizing Maserati came out here. Their entry into premium SUVs, I mean everyone premium got to be doing an SUV. LaVant or LaVante. LaVante. LaVante. Well. What do you think? [LAUGH] We've been waiting for this car for so long. And by so long I mean, do you remember the [UNKNOWN] concept, not the recent one but the original one? No, I don't think I do. That was 2003. That's why I don't. 2003 which is before Porsche did the Cayenne, they had a SUV concept. And since that time, so they had a chance to be in really early. At the end of this craze and sort of set the tone. [LAUGH] Instead they're really late. Instead they're late. And there's still a lot of vehicles that are coming out right now that haven't even hit the market. Things like the F-Pace from Jaguar. Yeah. Nice looking car. Nice looking car, but now the market's crowded. They're gonna have to fight for mind share and Based on the sedans that I've found recently not to be that exciting to drive. Yeah, we weren't crazy about the Ghibli. No. It was a bit let down and this one we think has some kinda polarizing looks from certain angles. Yeah. But that can work in the SUV market. Yeah, you're right, and like I say, you gotta stand out. Stand out one way or the other. This will be their best seller. No question. This is a pretty short order. Yeah, this is just like an SUV, right? Right. Because that's where the market is. It's the damnedest thing. That was the Cayenne effect we saw. Everyone laughed at the Cayenne, again this is hard to remember now, it was so many years ago No one can imagine the Cayenne not being a center model for Porsche but when it first came out, boy. A lot of people were like, what? What happened to Porsche? Yeah. The, the self-anointed purists were all upset. Yeah. [LAUGH] That was so. The same way they were with the BMW X5. Self-anointed purists, yeah. Yeah. But now, it's the backbone of the company. Yeah. That and, Macan, I mean, those are your backbone cars. It is basically a crossover and SUV company that also has some sports cars, if you want to take a brutal hard look at. And yeah not a word from Maserati as well. Well and as long as they continue to turn out gorgeous products elsewhere. And this is the financial backbone and it sells. Yeah. That's okay. It's got a nice interior. It's got a modern twin turbo V6. The all wheel drive system they have is not bad. So it could be a very nice vehicle. We will live. Here's my prediction. You see it online right now. Or whenever we get this. We will live to see a Ferrari SUV. It wouldn't surprise me. I actually believe that. Yeah and they will swear up and down right now that will never, ever, ever happen. But the market says otherwise. I want to wrap up our show wrap on the cars here before we go on to the rest of this weeks news. The one that i love. And it's going to be a heartbreaker. The Kia Optima Wagon. Europe only, as far as we can tell. They haven't said, no US, but they haven't really mentioned US, as I understand it. What a pretty affordable wagon that would be. It's a gorgeous car. It plays on the styling language beautifully of the sedan. Beautifully. It's got nice utility and it would be more affordable. Most of the station wagons, what few exist are all in premium segments because they can absorb the small volume because they've got the margins to make that happen. Mercedes, BMW, V90. But then if we could just get the Accord Wagon, I thought, the one Europe has had many times, pretty car. It's basically a former Acura Wagon in our market when we had it They just [UNKNOWN]. I've got one in my garage. Do you? I have a TSX Sport wagon. I'll be damned. So you just [UNKNOWN] require here. Hopefully you're with us. Let's [UNKNOWN] the mother news. We've got here going on this week away from Geneva so everyone go and set quite to be a bad day when a soft driving car have its first [UNKNOWN] that it causes. Then the headline will go run amok and the public will go I'm None of this anymore. Well it happened, Google's self driving car, one of their RXs, not one of their little bubble cars, had a minor, minor fender bender in Mountain View where Google is headquartered. It apparently saw some sandbags, freaked out about those. To avoid those it sort of airently moved away too much and scrapped a bus at low speed, single digit mile per hour, no one hurt. Barely any damage. However, Google says yeah, that was us. Our code didn't handle the situation right. No injuries, no harm, do you think people are gonna look at that and say this isn't gonna work. Or Is the public ready to give it a little bit of slack? I think they're ready to give it a little bit of slack. There will be the hand ringers, there's no doubt. Yeah. But the reality is this was, if you're going to have to crash a vehicle at some point, this is probably the ideal scenario. Because It was very minor, it was very slow speed. And they came out and said look our car's learning. And it made a bad bet in the way that human's will make a bad bet. I know the key is that they came out right away. They never tried to bury the story or wait to process. As far as we can tell, immediately when it was reported, they said yeah, our code was off a little bit. We fixed it. We continue to move on. Now it's easy to say when nobody was hurt. When this happens and there's an injury, or let's hope not, a fatality from a self-driving car, it's gonna be a different introspection. But right now, the first one, we've broken the seal, if you will, on the self-driving Update on Dieselgate. We have so many of our viewers who write in and say, I've got one of those cars. What do you know about a fix? The big class action suit with so many people, hundreds of parties that are suing for so much money in federal court. They had a hearing. It says March 24th, VW must come back with a plan to satisfy The class, so that's the big one there with the class. This is not the same as EPA and carb saying what's the fix, and that's also not the same as DOJ saying we've got to figure out your penalties. So the three big prongs, I wish we had more specifics for people about the fix. It's been a holding pattern and there's so many different parties that are involved. And it's been a process that I don't think has been handled terribly well by Volkswagen from a PR standpoint. And it's going to drag on for months and months. Unfortunately for our viewers, we just won't have the answer, I think, right away. No, this may be a story that literally forms and resolves Across this year. I think we're gonna have this done by summer. No. I mean, first they have to get this fixed. They've gotta be approved. They've gotta be accepted. Then they've gotta be done across 600,000 cars in the US market, mostly Volkswagens. That's where we are on that. It's our latest. Every single episode, we bring you the latest on Dieselgate, and always aim it toward what's gonna happen with your car. Nissan has a telematics app for their Just about every car maker seems to these days. We just showed you it in our Leaf video for on cars about a week or so ago. They just disabled it because it turns out it was so easy to hack. As I understand it, we haven't tried this ourselves and we can't now, all you needed was the vin number of the car to set up an account to control one. That's almost not hacking at that level, right? I mean that's. That's not even hacking. The vin number is in the windshield. Yeah. I mean you don't have to break in the car to To get that. Now you couldn't drive the car or take over controls like in that Jeep hack that Chris Valesek a while back with Charley Miller. But you could turn on or off the HVAC, which can drain your battery pretty badly. **** up someone's commute. And read their driving history based on the energy screens, so a little bit of a privacy invasion. So that was the big problem there. They've got it as of today, here on this Wednesday, in the Geneva Auto Show, the 2nd, there is not patch yet. It is still disabled. You can still go to the web portal for your car if you want to do telematics on your lead I don't know if it's coincidence, but this is probably the lowest rated automotive app we've ever looked at. It gets an average of 1.5 stars on Android or Apple. That's brutal. It's hated. Damn. So maybe it's no surprise. Before we take a break, speaking of securing cars, IDC, which is a very big and respected research analysis company, did a big survey of car makers. Their suppliers do sell them their gear, and some European drivers and found that it's only gonna be one to three years, and they're admitting this basically, before all those kind of holes like in that leaf app are sealed up. Basically auto makers are apparently not taking cyber security in cars very seriously in the last few years despite rolling it out. So we get a lot of questions about Are they doing enough about securing cars that they connect them? Yes, given the long gestation period for cars in general to develop them, I'm not surprised that it's two or three years they have to go back and look at. Because people aren't really talking about car hacking to a great extent a few years ago. It's just in the geek community. There was no mainstream awareness. Fairness of it. And again, the G-Pack by Valasek and Miller and now this Leaf thing and there's been a few other major highline ones. They've got everyone's attention, all of a sudden. And by the way, we're still waiting for later on this year. The feds are gonna release their first guidelines of what should be secured in the world of cybersecurity in cars. It will be very vague to start. A framework that they're working with automakers. But even that isn't We're gonna come back in a minute, continuing Auto Complete. We're gonna tell you about the Cadillac dealer that may not be in your neighborhood much longer, when Auto Complete continues. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] Back to Autocomplete Bryan College with Chris Walker. This is episode eight for March 4th. We are coming to you, as you can see from the Geneva Auto Show which you've been coming here for the better part of a decade, right? It's my favorite auto show. Me too. And the most walkable, it's neutral ground, and there's all kind's of dreamers here, right? From the supercar dreamer's to the eco car guy's. You know, some would say they are luxury cars. It's just a great [CROSSTALK] That's the thing here. That's the thing. You get more seven figure cars here. There's my Geneva. And it's kind of hard to portray, even in coverage, is you can walk around for the better part of an acre, and bump into nothing but boutique makers who take super cars and go add a million dollars in upgrades and conversions to that. They buy Lamborghini's as raw material and redo them from the ground up. They do. It's crazy. It's a twist thing. It is. They love to do that. Crazy people. God love them. [LAUGH] Let's talk about Cadillac now, bring it a little bit further down. If you've got a small Cadillac dealer in your smallest town. Cadillac said maybe you won't have them for long. Their boss, Johan De Nysschen. De Nysschen. That was a tough one to pronounce. Mister De Nysschen says the small dealers that are often twined with a GMC or a Chevy, which they don't like anyway, but they think that those may need to go virtual. Which means they have no stock and they pull from a regional center. It's actually a very modern Current idea is kind of Amazonesque. But these dealers are not interested in not being a dealer anymore. Well that's true and it'll be very hard to get those small dealers out of the picture. Because every state has different franchise law agreements. Right. Very difficult to take away dealers from people. I mean you saw that with the bankruptcy for General Motors. And you've seen that when you have to shed an entire division how difficult that can be. And there are standalone Cadillac dealers of all sizes. So that makes it more problematic than something like Mercury closing and Lincoln staying open. Yeah, just taking a brand away is one thing. But saying, look you're no longer Go in to our dealers. That is tough. Franchise laws get in the way. What they want to do instead is do these virtual dealers saying, well, if you're a small town dealer, do your Cadillac stuff by having digital materials, iPads, virtual reality Big goggles, we'll create the medium. Don't have people come to the showroom to look at the iPad with you, that's stupid. Go to where they are, their business, their office, make appointment's after dinner or whatever it is. Show them the material's whatever it is, iPad Pro, put on Oculus Rift, what have you and as we've mentioned no stock which is a big problem in the American market. You know European's are use to ordering their cars. Absolutely. I think it's the same in Asia. Here in the US we want to go down on Saturday. And bring something home. It's a paradigm shift in the way that we buy cars. But it's probably a smart thing for the auto maker. They get to lean out their dealership base which is still too big. It is, right? They're still a little over dealered so they get to take care of that. They have a newer high tech approach which makes them look more sophisticated as an auto maker. It allows them to probably build fewer variants of cars that are just gonna sit around. And on some level it keeps dealer stocks way down. If there's still franchises and they only have one or two cars in stock for a test drive, I think that could be an interesting way to go. That's the thing, you still have to have some cars for test drives, at least one of each major model. But some of these dealers, one of the stats I saw in Automotive News is there are 90 dealers out that that sell 50 or fewer cars a year. Whoa. That's very low volume. Wow. I mean, that's- You need to be selling a Pagani or something in order to make that work, right? Right, that's the kind of volume, right? [LAUGH] Yeah. Where that, where that works. Well, the, you know, the other interesting thing about that is, I think it's a really long term view because, if you move to Level 4 autonomy, where you don't even need a steering wheel. It's just, it's a livingroom on wheels. All you really need to know is that the livingroom looks the way you want it and it's comfortable for you. And you can figure out a lot of that virtually, in a way you don't need to know about the steering feel or any of that stuff. No you don't. And at that point you just have to have book of the modern interiors at the local showroom. You go sit in the thing, you can look at the looks of it on digital materials. And you're right, the whole idea of test drive, doesn't matter so much, when and if we get to level 4, 5, and 6 on autonomy, which I believe in. I'm not sure the Cadillac owner is going to be the first to go there, that's not necessarily the youngest, most tech forward group they're trying to work on now. Sure, but they've been trying to push in that direction. Johan comes from Audi. That's something that's new and frankly it's an interesting message to be coming out of General Motors whose been kind of been fighting tough by tooth and nail with their model and showrooms. Yeah, okay. So, we'll see where things go with your local [UNKNOWN] It's more than about a small town Cadillac story, it's about the future of retailing. That's why it's so interesting. It could be the seeds of a broader trend of ways of selling cars at more dealers than just that. Uber is a transportation company. We get that. But they are in the future looking like almost more than that. An autonomous driving advocate and research funder, and even executor of research. They're going to expand a center in Pittsburgh, working with Carnegie-Mellon. Interesting, not in Silicon Valley. Pittsburgh, not Mountain View. I mean a whole lot of interesting, hey, wait a minute, not everything happens in Silicon Valley cues here. And they're actually gonna do a dig here. They're going to expand a big physical center to autonomous vehicle real field testing. I think a lot of folks don't maybe quite yet realize how serious Uber is about autonomy. Well look, that's their number one cost, right, is employing drivers. And it's also their number one paying point in terms of image. So if you remove those things you're a lot further down the road. And the efficiencies from that. Like you say the cost of drivers is primarily their cost. If that were to go away and And this whole insurance issue goes away because now you kind of make more of a separation from taxis. You have less complaints from the cab and a licensed cab business when you're actually an autonomous company. You have a different set of hurdles in perception, but you're no longer a head on competitor. Yeah. That's a whole different technology you're putting out there all of a sudden. A car that will not be self driving, cuz that would defeat the point, the new NSX Orders just opened days ago before we did this show now. You can go to the Acura NSX configurator at nsx.acura.com and actually build and configure a real one. Not just look at prototype specs. 170, 215k I think are how the final prices work out. I'll take two. [LAUGH] Yeah I'll take two. And on your card, I'll take two also. We've got two pieces coming up from Emmy and Tim. What's our coverage plan here? Emmy's actually going to check out the factory. A lot of people don't remember that this super car is built in Ohio, of all places. Marysville. Yeah, so she's gonna go check out how they build this high tech hybrid super car. And Tim is going to get the chance to drive the car. Once again, he had an early drive of it in Tokyo, but it was very brief of a prototype car. He's going to get a fuller street drive of that vehicle and we're going to take a look at it in the context of the original NSX. Nice. Nice. So we're going to have both cars side by side. That's pretty cool because between the new NSX and the old NSX you've got about everybody in the auto world is in the fan camp of one or the other, or both. There's almost no one who's untouched by one or the other. Their NSXs. So this is the universal story of life. Absolutely, and we may even have a treat with a pro driver. Okay, go to a hot shoe in there with Tim. I would like to see Tim actually turn pay on the track. Never seen that but there has to be a bar at which even he scares. He's really poised. [LAUGH] I know. [LAUGH] Terribly so. All right folks, for Chris Pocket, Brian Cooley, that's Auto Complete episode eight coming to you in the Special edition here from 2016 Geneva Auto Show. Talk to you again in a week, with all the latest news in cars and high tech driving. [MUSIC]