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Crude oil is now at $47.89

by Ziks511 / December 4, 2008 8:06 AM PST

assuming I remembered the figure correctly from CBC Newsworld.

And it turns out that this is "a bad thing" because it hurts the investment community who were boosted by the pain of the vast majority of consumers in the US and the rest of the world. Capitalism is very confusing. What is good for people generally, seems to be bad for the top 2%.


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And, as predicted
by Angeline Booher / December 4, 2008 10:38 PM PST

...... interest in the car that had a months-long waiting list, the Proius. has waned as gas prices fell.

So, as has happened in the past, car buyers once again will be forgetting those high prices at the pump.

Speakeasy Moderator

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Very few really want...
by EdHannigan / December 4, 2008 11:55 PM PST
In reply to: And, as predicted

one of those stupid little things. The only reason they ever sold was because they are perceived as being economical and "green". What people really want is SUVs, minivan and pickup trucks.

The common wisdom about what's wrong with the auto industry, as being purveyed in the media is way off.

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What people really want is SUVs, minivan and pickup trucks
by JP Bill / December 5, 2008 3:26 AM PST

They never learn. ( the big 3 I mean)

That sales drop has hit foreign manufacturers as well, but they simply have more cash on hand to weather the storm, said Kim Korth, president at IRN Inc., an automotive consulting firm.

While the Big Three ?took too long to get their act together,? their primary problem is not product quality, she stressed.

Instead, ?they?re caught in a situation where they have not yet learned how to make money on small cars,? which are increasingly popular, Korth noted.

Meanwhile, trucks and SUVs are becoming less popular, but the Detroit Three are stuck with factories designed to build them and not easily converted to other vehicles, several sources said.

The plans the three companies submitted Tuesday aim to shrink their operations to fit the new reality. GM, for example, proposes a shift toward more fuel-efficient vehicles that involves the closing of several plants, sale or elimination of several brands and the closing of many smaller dealerships.

Besides, with bigger SUVs being far more profitable so long as they were popular, American manufacturers simply haven?t put much emphasis on smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles until recently.

?They just haven?t been on that playing field for a long time,? said Neal Oddes, director of product research at Edmunds. com.

The Detroit Three are vowing to put a new focus on smaller vehicles as part of their bailout proposal, but the industry?s image appears to be an obstacle to getting Congress to act.

I don't have a suv, a minivan or a pickup truck. I see lots of people driving a suv, a minivan or a pickup truck with no passengers or load in the back and say to myself,

I wonder why they haul all the extra metal and plastic around?

Perhaps because that's what the Big 3 are pushing.

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Why I luv my p/u
by Willy / December 5, 2008 11:30 AM PST

I drive a p/u because it does everything I want it to do besides getting me from point A to B. No car could handle the needs I have for a p/u. Yeah, I may drive it empty many times but when its full it isn't dragging it bottom and handles well. I can throw things into the back and dump this or that and not worry of the dings and bangs it may cause, it's a work truck. The only car I ever liked was a VW Rabbit, diesel but if it ever had a problem it was always something special(it rarely did) and it was simple, nothing fancy. As for the p/u I can actually work on it and not drag it in to the garage. Too often a car cramps my hands just trying to figure how to remove anything. Of course i drive a car, but then I'm dirty or ragged and hate to plop my derriere into the nice car. -----Willy Happy

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Sold mine after 20 years
by James Denison / December 5, 2008 7:53 PM PST
In reply to: Why I luv my p/u
bought it when it was 5 years old in Texas, drove it through about 15 different states, then all over Crete, and finally back here. I didn't sell it, but found someone when it was 25 years old and qualified for antique tag status who would take and fix it up for himself, gave it to him. Figured he'd have more money to work on it, and I saved $500 insurance per year by no longer keeping it. I'd moved over to a Caravan instead.
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do you realize
by James Denison / December 5, 2008 8:41 PM PST

a standard pickup is sometimes as light as a standard car? A small pickup may weigh same or less than a small car. I'd check on a Ford Ranger, basic model for weight and compare to car.

2008 Ford Ranger 3030 pounds

Toyota Camry "green" Hybrid 3680 pounds

That's 650 pounds extra weight on the "green" car than on that "heavy" pickup.

The Chevy Silverado, regular size pickup, base model at 4453

It weighs 773 pounds more than the Toyota car. As I recall, the 2001 Dodge Dakota I have which my daughter drives mostly weighs about the same as that Toyota Camry, but I'm sure everyone thinks it weighs much more when viewed side by side. I know it's weight is between 3500 and 4000. Ah, just found it, the base model is 3378 and the SLT which we have is 3611 pounds, which is comparable to that "green" Toyota Camry.

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Just what you need
by JP Bill / December 5, 2008 8:49 PM PST
In reply to: do you realize
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by James Denison / December 6, 2008 10:55 AM PST
In reply to: Just what you need

Look how few were sold. GM is selling off the model to some other company I think, even before the latest financial situation came up. The bad news is parts will cost whoever owns one of those a lot in future years. Best to buy mainline vehicles for cheaper cost on upkeep, especially if you have to drive it more miles than first intended due to personal economic conditions unforeseen at time of purchase. I hardly think the Hummer qualifies as rubrum to judge GM by on their vehicles manufactured since it's such a small part of it all.

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RE mainstream and parts
by Roger NC / December 6, 2008 11:43 PM PST
In reply to: Hummer

I've a 1999 Taurus, which I believe was a huge seller, but I can't buy a new electric mechanism for moving the seat back and forth. And how much more "mainstream" can a car be?

Originally introduced in the 1986 model year, it has remained in near continuous production for more than two decades, making it the fourth oldest nameplate that is currently sold in the Ford lineup

Buying electrical parts or entire seat from a junkyard is problematic because of the absolutely no guarantee of any kind on electrical parts.

So I'm stuck with a car that runs pretty good, but I can't adjust the driver's seat anymore. Since the part (as far as I've found out) isn't made by any third party companies, and Ford is not supporting this year model part anymore, basically Ford regards my car as ready for the junk yard for parts I guess.

I've enjoyed this car overall, but this leaves bad enough taste in my mouth that it may well incline me not to buy a Ford next time. I know, that's ridiculous, but it's so.

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So yours is 13 years into the model run,
by drpruner / December 6, 2008 11:49 PM PST

which should make your part a "mature" one. I should think there would be some out there, but it seems not.
BTW that would have been a reason for buying a manually-adjusted seat, but that's not always practical. You may have wanted another feature which came only with a certain package, or maybe you and your wife wanted a seat-memory feature. Anyway, good decision at the time, rendered a "bad" one by A. P. Sloan's disciples.

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Bought an electric seat because
by Roger NC / December 7, 2008 9:21 AM PST

that was what was on the 3 or 4 program cars on the lot at the time.

13 years? 1999 model so is ten years old, old but not ancient. I don't know, but I have to wonder if the seat was changed the very next year since the car continued.

I can probably find one in the junkyards, but I'd have to put it in there to test it I guess before I agreed to buy it. Then either live with different color seats or pay quite a bit to have it reupholstered to match.

Anyway, cars that most of the car last 10 to 20 years but you have to live with one part or another not working is bad too.


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maybe you can...
by James Denison / December 7, 2008 2:23 AM PST

....get a regular front seat with manual adjuster and put in there instead? Should be about 4 bolts accessible from under the vehicle which removed allow the seat to be lifted out. I've removed them before when installing a new carpet in some cars I fixed up years back. Not that difficult, may have to take out back door which involves popping that seat off first.

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Actually I asked the service manager
by Roger NC / December 7, 2008 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: maybe you can...

at the dealer would a manual fit, and he didn't know and never got back in touch with me.

The issue I would suspect is the electric plug, not the bolts. If you don't plug it up, the seat-belt light is always going to be on. Also, my car seems to have a safety switch where you can't lock the doors with the engine running and no one in the front seats. If the manual seat has a simpler plug than the electric one, you'd have to find a wiring manual and cut and splice the wires to satisfy everything.

Didn't really want to buy a new one right now, even with the great deals out there since I just bought a small house, moved in and still trying to get all straightened out. Probably going to end up buying a new mower too, since a half acre of grass is a bit much with a 21 inch push mower.


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by James Denison / December 7, 2008 2:50 PM PST

you could probably put in some short wire pieces to act as jumpers in the plug end to close circuits where required and tape it over or silicone goop on it to hold them there. Way to check if manual seat will fit is look underneath on car's floor pan and measure the distance between the usually 4 bolts that holds the seat in, then compare. Another option is a sports replacement type of brand new seat from a speed shop. Some people like them better than the original.

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2000 power car seat
by James Denison / December 7, 2008 3:35 PM PST
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drill down and find it
by James Denison / December 7, 2008 3:52 PM PST
In reply to: 2000 power car seat
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Well, I'm happy with the 20 mpg on my 2002 Dakota,
by drpruner / December 6, 2008 10:23 PM PST
In reply to: do you realize

but the Silverado weight is misleading. People out here drive full-size pickups because they need the frame strength, unlike the city slickers who just want to overwhelm the company parking lot. Happy

I do recall that my '85 Mazda pickup (= Ford Ranger) was a peppy little thing, with the standard four.

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Isn't it amazing how...
by James Denison / December 7, 2008 2:26 AM PST

...some people see trucks when they are running empty on cargo with only one person driving, but don't seem to take note of the other trucks which are hauling some cargo, or hauling a piece of equipment? The SUV's are probably the heavier ones, but typically the problem with pickups has been a lack of weight over their rear wheels except when hauling cargo.

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Worst driving experience I ever had was in my father's
by Ziks511 / December 7, 2008 11:19 AM PST

brand new Econoline with no interior fixing. Both on normal roads and especially on snow-covered multi-lane highways it was a *****. The back end was loose all the time, and in the snow I fish-tailed for 120 miles back to home in Maryland in the middle of a snowstorm. Talk about your white-knuckle flights, I was totally petrified the whole way, but I survived as did the vehicle.


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(NT) Throw some sand bags in back or haul concrete sacks, get it
by Willy / December 8, 2008 1:03 PM PST
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It's a good thing
by critic411 / December 5, 2008 3:46 AM PST

that you don't like pick up trucks

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Rear wheels: Especially out here, where many
by drpruner / December 7, 2008 3:55 AM PST
In reply to: It's a good thing

have brush and deer guards on the front. You can load stuff in the back, but of course that hurts the mileage.

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Also, Prius sales have been down for a while...
by EdHannigan / December 5, 2008 12:19 AM PST
In reply to: And, as predicted
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Even at $4.00 a gallon,
by critic411 / December 5, 2008 1:40 AM PST

what was the "payback" time on those cars?

Did a many of those cars get purchased only when there was the tax credit???

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Even without the financial troubles...
by EdHannigan / December 6, 2008 9:35 PM PST

Car companies might be victims of their own success. In the last 10-15 or so years quality has gone way up. It's nothing to be able to rack up 200K miles on a car nowadays, so they don't need to be replaced that often and there are lots of quality used cars available.

One of my cars is a 12 year old Lincoln Continental which I bought for
$1500 (fifteen hundred!) two years ago. It runs perfectly and for the most part all the "luxury" features work fine. It's a gas guzzler and I don't drive it very often, but even with $4 gas I am betting it is more economical than a Prius. And with the cheap gas now, I am inclined to drive it more often.

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Not sure what your point is...
by EdHannigan / December 6, 2008 10:32 PM PST
In reply to: more economical?

what I am saying is that when you factor in what I paid for the car, plus what I am paying for gas, over the time I own it it would cost less to operate than If I had bought a far more expensive Prius.

Now, a Prius owner might make it up in trade-in value at the end. Might.

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That's a good point. My brother-in-law manages
by drpruner / December 6, 2008 11:41 PM PST

a dealership (so far!), and he says the payback numbers are not always what we think. At a fully-amortized $1500 you're well advised to keep the Lincoln, especially if you need the roominess.
We just got a 2008 Malibu from him (ex-rental), and when I told him I was surprised to find I liked the car he said, "They're all good cars these days."

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What will happen, if it doesn't die....
by EdHannigan / December 7, 2008 12:20 AM PST

is that one year it won't be able to pass the emissions tests as they get more stringent.

Or something will break that's not worth fixing. But hey, I'm not out much, plus I get to drive a Lincoln.

I don't need the roominess. My main car is a more sensible Mercury Sable. And when I have to, I cope fine with my wife's Camry, but that's as small as I'd want to get.

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THREE cars?! Whaddya, a CEO?
by drpruner / December 7, 2008 12:54 AM PST

"Get to drive a Lincoln." Hah! Happy
Anyway, don't the emissions folks leave older cars alone where you are?

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