[ Music ]
>> All right, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to
Editor's Office Hours. You're looking at my arch
nemesis here at CNET, Brian Cooley --
>> I used to be the brother from another mother, now I'm
going to arch nemesis. I don't know what happened.
>> It switches. It switches --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> -- on the other side of the planet somehow. I don't
know what went on there.
>> You might be on my good side, we might be related --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> I really POed him off, and [Inaudible] never come
>> Oh, really, really POed off
>> I don't know.
>> Anyways, B. Cooley here in the house. We're going to
be here taking your questions. He just came back from
the La Auto Show last week, so he has a lot fresh on his
mind to talk about. Also you know, you can ask him
questions -- or you might see his mug in Best Buys and
in Costcos if you really paid attention.
>> All too often.
>> See a little too much, unfortunately --
>> That's what it is. That's what it is.
>> That's why I'm so angry.
>> You want to be seen by the frozen shrimp too. That's
exactly what it is --
>> I want my sample, whatever, the little cheese, I want
to see my face [Inaudible] --
>> You want the frozen foods, the little goodies.
[ Inaudible audience comment ]
>> Below us is where you guys interact with us. It's
our chat box. On your right side, this is where you
submit your questions. And we need your questions so
that -- well, actually we [Inaudible] --
>> Boy, do we. We have two right now. So get on in
>> We have two, and one of them is not even a question.
But one of them is a two-part question [Inaudible] --
>> Oh good, okay, that will help.
>> Anyways, up here in the box create a user name,
password, and enter an e-mail. Maybe some of you guys
are already eating your Thanksgiving meal.
>> Wow, I hope.
>> But please, we're going to enjoy this. We're going
to savior this.
>> This is the Wednesday before -- the Tuesday before
Thanksgiving, so it's a big travel day, right?
>> Yeah, totally. Totally. Okay, anyways --
>> Or they just hate us.
>> Yeah, we'll just jump into this a little bit. How
was -- you go to a lot of these auto shows. What, I
guess stuck out in your mind -- we won't talk about
specific cars yet or things you saw. But what stuck in
your mind a lot at the LA Auto Show this year.
>> Well, first of all this show came during the -- one
of the worst weeks of headlines ever for the car
business. This is when they were all going to
Washington out of Detroit and saying -- pulling out
their pockets, saying we're done. We are done in a few
months if you don't cash us up. So this was the
overarching theme, and so when you went to, like -- it
was sad, baby, [Inaudible] went to Hummer and there was
nobody there. I could have fired a cannon across the
Hummer area and I wouldn't hit anybody except a bunch of
Hummers. So it was really stark, how many people
weren't at General Motors and the Hummer area in
particular. The imports, though, did really well. We
had hot cars from Nissan, we did have a hot release from
Ford. And a lot of, you know, a lot of the usual green
cars. These car shows are full of cars with new power
plans. Here's a new hybrid, here's a new diesel, here's
a new electric car vision. So you had a lot of that.
But it was a very uneven show. It wasn't as
buzz-worthy, or as buzz-filled, I should say. The
energy was kind of low. And the floor in some places
was real, real open. You can camp out, man, and no
one's going step on you.
>> Do you think that's partially because of the gloom
and doom, things weren't looking so great that some
people just chose not to go.
>> Yeah, a couple things are going on. First of all,
it's the bigger economic issue. A lot of people who
would have gone, bloggers who are travelling on their
own nickel can't afford it. And they're saying, you
know what, I've got to cut back right now. I've got to
wait for the big show which is Detroit coming up in
early January. Or you know what, this is just a doom
and gloom show. I'm not going to go. And clearly a lot
of companies that exhibit sent way less people. So you
don't see a lot of the booth babes hanging out, like you
>> That's probably the most unfortunate part about this.
>> Right? So it's like --
>> [Inaudible] -- the booth babes.
>> So much of the show was just quiet. And that was
kind of the overarching theme. But you always get good
cars out of LA. LA's one of the up-and-coming big
shows. It's challenging Detroit for number one in the
U.S.. It wants to be the big show. It's not there, but
they're working on it.
>> Is it -- is it because, I mean Detroit is where all
the plants are. But what's LA trying to do to elevate
>> LA has got the cool. Detroit does not have cool.
Detroit has heritage as a show, heritage as an
automotive city, of course. But then again, that's
yesterday. I mean, Detroit is not looking good these
days, as an industry [Inaudible] -- so I think the
pendulum swings, maybe LA and New York become the big
shows and Detroit recedes. Especially if two of the big
car makers in Detroit go out of business, there's not
going to be as much reason to have a show there. So
we'll see how things play out.
>> Okay, cool. We'll start jumping into -- we actually
have a few more questions, thanks guys, we appreciate
that. We have this question from Nzeneljuin [Phonetic]
and this is the two-parter. The question is how would
you go about buying a new car or used car in these
current times, and then we'll answer the second part of
>> All right, so buying a car right now, because the
economy is so tough, first of all line up your
financing. I mean, it's boring, it's not a very fun car
topic. But that's what it gets down to. You've got to
be able to pay for a car before you can buy a car, of
course. So go shop around your bank, your credit union,
and the dealer that you're interested in buying a car
from. Because some of the dealers have financing still,
through what's called their captive financing. In other
words, you go buy a Toyota, and Toyota finances it. You
go buy a GM and GMAC finances it, even though it's a
separate company now. But other dealers have a harder
time with what's called captive financing. So find out
who's got money and who's actually lending right now by
talking to the dealers that you're looking at. But
that's the first thing. And the second thing is decide
if you want to buy a car that's valuable in its price
and its greenness, what combination -- here's when I
mean. If you can justify buying a pick up truck right
now, and I'm not casting any aspersions on everyone who
does, you're going get a scorching deal. If you go to
buy a Prius or a Civic right now, you're dead in the
water. You can't find a mini coop right now. I mean,
you can't find a Corolla, or barely. I mean, they're
going off lots as soon as they roll off of the truck.
So you've got to start strategizing about what's truly
available that I'm not going to have to get into a
bidding war to buy. Yeah, I may be getting a green car
that saves me money every time I pump it up. But what
if I have to get into a $3,000 bidding war to buy it.
How many years will it take for me to bid that back down
in gas savings. So -- and I'm not saying go buy a big
fuel-thirsty car to get a cheaper car, but if that's
what you need anyway, you're in clover right now. If
you need to get an economical car for real, you've got a
problem. They're hard to get.
>> I remember seeing there was a news story maybe a few
months ago, this guy was selling his Geo Metro, and it
was going for like, double -- like, 70 miles per gallon
or something like that.
>> Right. It was a really high mileage, little skimpy
little crap car. But everybody wanted it. Yeah, it was
on eBay or something.
>> It looks like an egg -- yeah, it looks like an egg,
the Geo Metro. I mean, you -- if someone -- if I kicked
you while you're on the road that car would tip over.
>> You're dead, you're dead.
>> If I -- [ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Forget it. [Inaudible] kicks, forget it. It's over.
So these are some of the things to think about as well
as, you know, the usually tips. I did a video, in fact,
about buying a car online. You can check that out on
CNET TV, just look for buying a car, search for that, it
will come up. Those are my personal steps that I use to
buy cars. It's not every step, but it's a good set to
get you thinking about what the resources are on line.
>> Excellent. Okay, cool. Oh, here's the follow up
question from Angenelin [Phonetic]. Did you two have
the showdown yet after the do not crave and CNET Live.
>> No, we're still planning that one.
>> I'm waiting for a response.
>> I'm just saying.
>> See, I'm -- I'm kind of a lay back in the cut and
wait for this guy to forget about it kind of thing.
>> I brought you -- I brought you here, you know, just
as a way to extend the olive branch.
>> Then I come out of nowhere -- now see, it's all
[Inaudible] that's why -- that's why it hasn't happened
because it's all love. It's all love. When you get
right down to it, you know, we're at the same table at
>> I didn't invite you to Thanksgiving.
>> I noticed that.
>> You didn't get my invitation.
>> You know what, it's on again. It's back on. You
didn't invite me to Thanksgiving you son of a --
>> Okay. Here we go. Here's a question from
pyschoneeka1980 [Phonetic]. Hey guys, I heard
Chrysler's auto display was pretty upsetting next to
Ford and VW. What was the best display, in your
opinion, and who brought the best cars.
>> Okay, so you mean the display on the actual show
floor, not display in the dash board. Yeah, Ford had a
lot of good buzz because Ford had the new Mustang which
has been revised. It's basically a looks thing, so the
interior and the exterior have been redone nicely,
because -- I don't know. What do you think of the
current Mustang. Is it a cool car, or is it a sort of
>> I mean, I think its lost its cooler edge because
we've seen that model. To me, it hasn't been redesigned
enough to kind of bring that cool -- it's like once you
start staying the same for a while, you're kind of like,
okay, I've seen it, I've done that, do I really care any
>> Yeah. And it's currently a retro car as we know it.
Really harkens back to the original Mustang in its
current shape. So either you get a mid '60s, which a
lot of people don't, or as Ford is thinking, you know
what we're going to keep aging with our audience and
keep chasing people who originally fell in love -- which
means you're selling to a 50-year-old dude right now.
So, you know, that's like, that's a different market --
>> That's like Cooley's market --
>> -- almost Cooley's market. [ Laughter ]
>> So we didn't -- we didn't see a dramatically redone
Mustang where you're going look at it and say, oh, dude,
that's going to take on anything on the road with -- in
terms of its cool factor. But they made it more aero,
they made it look more like a modern car but it still
has lots of Mustang cues, and most importantly, I'm big
on interiors. The interior is much more lush now. It
was really a tacky looking car inside with some cheap
plastics. It was like they put it together with Legos,
it was like, this is wrong. Now it's kind of -- it's
really very nice inside. So I was impressed by that.
Ford always has a lot of buzz. Volkswagen got green car
of the year. Their Jetta TDI which is their turbo
diesel got the green car of the year award, awarded by a
place called Green Car Journal. That gave them buzz
right off the bat, so they owned that. The car that is
also getting does from them is the Volkswagen CC. Which
was originally called the Concept Coupe. They shortened
that down to the CC. It's the laziest naming I've ever
heard of in my life. At least come up with a new name
for it when it goes to production, but they didn't. We
just did a video on that, it should be up on CNET TV.
Like, if it's not up now it will be up tomorrow if
you're watching us now. And it's a slick-looking car.
It looks kind of like the VW Fayten that they had out
for a while, that really high-end car that nobody
>> Nobody could get.
>> And now they have this car which is that kind of
elegance. Because you don't think stylish with VW. You
think kind of cool, you think kind of --
>> You think kind of cool, consumeryish or, like --
>> Or if it's one of the hot Rabbits or hot Golf, you
know, it's like, okay, that's cool in a real simple,
clean way. But you don't think elegant for VW. They're
trying to rewrite those rules and be thought of as a car
that you drool over. Not buy solely with your logic.
>> Last time I checked, you weren't getting chicks with
>> No, you will never get chicks with a VW. Can you
imagine? I mean, here you are, like , in a black
four-door Jetta, that's real hot.
>> You might have better luck with the Geo Metro.
>> You might. At least she goes, hey, he's really
green, he loves the Earth.
>> As opposed to he bought this brick on wheels.
>> Those 11-inch rims, sexy.
>> Love all you Jetta owners, by the way. We're not
saying anything about those who own them.
>> We're just messing around.
>> You bought a good car, you just --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Okay, here we go. Here's another question. This is
from Enzineljuin. What are your views on the Big Three
>> You know, more than my views are the views of people
who actually in the Detroit industry. I talked to a lot
of them over the last week or so, especially at the
show. And here's what I got. You've got the three
companies there in Detroit, and there are three
different slots. Ford, gold. Because they did a $23
billion -- basically a loan, they mortgaged the whole
house -- middle to early middle of this year. And so
they put a bunch of money in the bank when it was still
around. So Ford's good until further notice. Chrysler,
I don't want to be the one to move markets, but everyone
I talked to said Chrysler is done as we know them today.
They'll get split up into parts or just go poof.
They'll split into parts. There's value in Jeeps,
people still like Jeeps. And that's a unique, iconic
brand. But all that other Chrysler Dodge cars, even the
Challenger which is hot but it's just one car, low
volume, can't save the company. So I heard a lot of,
like, you know, flush Chrysler. And the one that's a
wobbler is GM. A lot of folks say GM probably will make
it. They were split on whether they deserve to, but
they said yeah, it will probably be around. They've got
a few cars that are good, they've got to strip down to
the number of cars and brands that matter. Do we care
about Buick? Do you care about Buick? I don't care
>> I don't know, I'm not 50 years old.
>> Yes, and do you really think -- do you really think
Tiger Woods drives a Buick?
>> No, hell no.
>> So what is that whole message they're trying to give
us that Buick is a cool, up scale Lexus fighter. No
it's not. It's a Buick. It's a good car. And that's
the other thing here is the American cars are really
good cars. I don't think we're even close to getting
that message across. They are I think every bit as good
as the imports in terms of quality and engineering and
all of that. Yeah, they're different, but I think
they're every bit as good of a smart purchase, but they
don't have that message in our heads. We don't aspire
to American cars as much as we do to imports. They
don't get our blood pumping, and they don't have the
momentum that the imports have right now.
>> How do you think that changed, though. Where --
because you always -- even my parents, like, oh, they
like to support import cars that are made in America.
So that's how my family rolls, right? So where do you
think the change really happened where, you know,
imports just basically overtook the whole idea that
American cars aren't quality.
>> This took place when you were still zygotic. I
remember in the -- I think it was 1980 -- if I have that
right, 1980 --
>> I was alive in 1980.
>> Were you really?
>> I can assure you of that.
>> That's cool. Oh, you look [Inaudible] my young man.
>> I was just alive.
>> Right on. The savvy ninja here to my left. But when
the BMW 320 I, the first three series came out which
replaced the BMW 2002, everybody's mind changed about
imports. That was the hottest car in the world. Now
look, it still is. I mean, we love the three series.
>> Without a doubt.
>> That was one of the big turning points. Before that
in the '60s you had, you know, people who were first
turning on to Volkswagens and cars like them. Little
Renaults, little Datsuns which are now Nissan, little
Toyota Corollas that were around. But what's really
happened here is the imports have stayed on message.
They build what they build. BMW has always done what
its done. Honda has always done what its done. They
build efficient, smart car that's handle well. But you
know what a Honda is, what's a Chevy? A Chevy has been
different things over different decades. It hasn't been
on message. And they have a broad range of models. So
the message hasn't been clear and they haven't been on
point. This gets into more marketing than car buying,
to be honest, but if I say Chevy, you don't have an
immediate gut level feeling. I know what that is. If I
say Honda, you know what a Honda is. A Honda is -- it
means certain attributes. A Chevy doesn't, a Ford
doesn't. That's part of the problem with the Big Three
is that they are in a way too big.
>> Okay. Excellent. Now we have some car-specific
questions. I, you know, you have a lot more car
knowledge than I do --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> The worst I can do is look stupid, and it's happened
before, so --
[ Laughter ]
>> Tom, can you help me out with it -- [ Multiple voices
>> Here we go.
>> This question is from Ivan. A very -- any mention of
the Ford Kuga coming to North American shores in the
next couple of years.
>> Yeah, one of the European Fords and there's a lot of
buzz. Ford's cars in Europe are very different than
ours, I don't think anything of them are in common with
our cars here. Maybe some of the platforms are, but the
actual cars, no. And the Kuga is one of -- this is not
saying Mercury Cougar with a lazy mouth. The Kuga,
K-U-G-A -- is one that is expected to come to this
side. The current Ford management wants to bring
European Fords over. What I'm hearing now is that they
may do so under the Mercury brand, because Mercury is
supposed to be a higher aspirational thing, and they see
those European cars as, to be honest, they're right,
looking more sophisticated and more desirable. So it's
possible that the Kuga arrives as the new Mariner, you
know, the Mercury Mariner is kind of that -- it's an
exact duplicate of the Ford Escape, just with a
different grill and a couple of trim items. So this
kind of a cross over could do really well in America. I
don't know why Ford has such a hard time bringing those
cars here. It shouldn't be that difficult, but I know
there's a lot of manufacturing I'm leaving out when I
>> Okay, this guy is -- I shouldn't say guy, guy or
girl, Oilburner2008 -- this person --
>> That's a guy. No chic is going to call herself
>> Okay, anyone, if it's a girl, please let us know.
>> Please let us know, but I don't think it is.
>> Okay, what significant diesel vehicles were on show
in LA, and do you think this technology will finally
take off in the U.S..
>> Two major diesel stories I mentioned are the Jetta
TDI got green car of the year. That was obviously a big
story. Just a really great, straight forward car. 31
city, 41 highway on a little diesel engine that gets
great torque. And I want everyone to understand the
difference between horse power and torque. Horse power
is what you think you want, torque is what you do want.
Horse power, put pretty simply, is how fast you can go.
It's kind of a -- it's more related to top speed than
anything else. Torque is how fast you accelerate. We
like acceleration. I don't need to go 130 miles an
hour, don't care. But I want to get to 60 like that,
because that's fun, or 30 to 40, or 40 to 70. That's
torque. Diesels have gobs of torque, way more than gas
engine cars. So you think a diesel is slow. In fact a
diesel is the most fun car to drive when its turbo
charged. I rent them all the time when I'm in Europe at
the automotive shows there, and I'm just grinning the
whole time. You step into that pedal at any RPM and any
gear, and whomp! You're just, like, oh! The little but
squats down and you just go. They're really cool.
>> What was that sound effect you did?
[ Laughter ]
>> That's the diesel squat sound.
[ Inaudible comment ]
>> -- accelerates.
>> Whomp! So that was cool. The other car that was hot
diesel-wise was the BMW 335 D. It's the three series.
It's basically a 335i, which is a high-trim in line six
twin turbo three series, but take out that engine, put
in a diesel engine -- I think it's a six, although I'm
not sure, it might be a four, I should know that -- and
you end up with a very cool car which is, you know,
three series are kind of big cars now, they're not a
little car any more. So they work for a lot of people.
Great power. Again, the diesel attributes, incredible
torque and acceleration. Quiet, clean, diesels don't
smoke and rattle any more to speak of. Problem is they
want 45 grand for that guy. Which is getting up there
for a three series, unless it's an M. So it's priced
high. They don't expect to sell a lot. They expect to
make a lot of money on every one they sell. So those
are the two diesel that's really stood out in my mind.
>> Okay, one thing that is behind the scenes. You've
been, geez, test driving cars forever. Does it ever get
old for you?
>> No. It never gets old. It does -- the cars
sometimes get old, but the experience doesn't. What I
mean by that is a lot of cars are more alike than they
would have been 10, 20, 30 years ago. I've got a lot of
old cars. I've got a bunch of '60's rides, and you
know, I see how distinct cars were, and every decade
they get more and more alike to the point now where,
yeah, you look around you can't tell one car from
another. It's not you. Cars are very similar because
regulations, insurance, and the realities of
aerodynamics and fuel efficiency and all that -- plus
they all share parts suppliers -- means that they have
to be conformed into this funnel, if you will, of
circumstances. They all have to come out of this narrow
end about the same in many ways. So the bumpers have to
be in the same place otherwise they can't pass federal
bumper standards. Insurance companies want all kinds of
other things done a certain way. Regulations tell you
where the lights have to be, how high the lights can be.
They can't be too high or too low. You can't have a car
that has a really big open chin like a lot of the early
Cameros had just two little bumperettes, and a big old
grill in the middle. You can't do that any more, for
the most part. Because the car is going to be too
easily smashed, and the insurance companies will rate it
too high, and the rates to insure it will be too high.
So all kinds of things like that make cars like alike.
So that gets a little old sometimes, which is why I
really get excited about the cars that are distinctive.
You know, when you get into, like, an Audi R 8.
>> I was just going to say it.
>> Hello -- when that came in I went down to the lot to
see it. I was like, oh my God.
>> When you get into the -- we just had the 370 Z in.
Get into that and it's like, yes, this is a distinctive
>> Or when you do go drive an Audi which has the kind of
grill I was just describing. A big old cow-catcher in
the front that looks really massive and cool. How did
they pull that off without it being a total insurance
red flag? You know, power to them, they did it. So
when you see a car company come up with a distinctive
car, it's that much more interesting. But cars do get
very similar these days.
>> So favorite car test driven so far.
>> Oh, people ask me this all the time. I would have to
say I think it was this year that we first saw the 335i,
it might have been late last. That's a great one. I'm
a big fan of the Audi R 8 that I mentioned. I really
love the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S, which we have never
had one in before. Best manual gear box and clutch I
have ever driven to this day. There are so many, the
Nissan G T R was great, but unlivable. I could not have
that car for three days without needing a chiropractor.
You know, it goes on and on.
>> We're doing a video, by the way, I'll do a top five
video by the end of the year on my top five cars this
>> Way to plug it.
>> That's the way to look at it.
>> Okay. Awesome. Now here's a question from Manatook
[Phonetic] I'm guessing he's asking about the car
manufacturers. Are they really on board with electric
hybrid cars or is it just a lip service.
>> I think they're on board. Electric cars are starting
to bubble up as the next big thing. Diesels are kind of
a next semi-big thing, but I don't think -- I don't
know, but I don't think they're going to become the next
big wave of cars. There's too much prejudice, in this
country at least. Different thing in Europe. The
electric car really gets people exciting. People in
this country don't get excited about a diesel. They
should, but they don't. It's like that story is already
written for them. But the electric car is futuristic,
it's high-tech, it's really clean. Never mind we have
to generate the power somewhere else and burn coal or
something somewhere else to make the power. But
everyone tells me it's still a cleaner way to make power
for cars. So I think the electric car is on the cusp of
being the next big thing. And these car companies are
not stupid. They know that. They know they can
motivate you to get interesting in electric cars.
>> Now that's the whole green thing.
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> It's the green thing.
>> Yeah, if they all went diesel they'd have a hell of a
mountain to climb. We've got to erase the old
perceptions and then get them to buy a diesel. Whereas
there's nothing to erase with an EV. People are already
going there. And then the hybrid thing is in the
middle. The plug in electric hybrids are going to
become -- the factories are going evolve their hybrids
to being plug ins. Which means you have go a lot
farther on electric only before the gas engine has to
kick in. That's a natural evolution of the hybrid, I
think that's definitely going to happen. But the true
electric car I think -- I think these companies get it,
if they get it at all. Look at BMW, they have no
electrics on the drawing board. The mini is, that's one
of their brands. So that might be their electric play.
So some companies are electric, some companies are still
hanging on to diesel, but in general, I think most get
>> I think the most frustrating thing about this green
movement is that Prius drivers are the worst, because
they're -- most annoying drivers I've ever --
>> Always trying to get the highest MPG by
feather-footing the gas pedal, right? Feather-foot it
all the way. It's like, oh stop it. I know you're
trying to keep your car in electric, but I'm trying to
make this green light. And they're crawling because
they don't want the gas engine to kick in, right?
>> You know -- even on the freeway, you know if there's
a Prius two cars ahead of you.
>> Because everyone's going slow. Because Prius owners
know it's the game you play. And I fall for it too.
Whenever we have a hybrid that we review, the game is
how long can you keep it running before the engine kicks
in. It's fun. It's like a video game. But you play it
with your foot instead of your hands.
>> Oh man.
>> But it's, yeah, it is annoying. But it's true.
>> Prius are great for the environment --
>> They're great. Love the Prius. Legendary car.
Rewrote the book on [Inaudible] but wow are they
annoying to drive behind. Hey, I want to show a video.
There was a really cool interface that we saw --
>> Yes, let's do it.
>> -- Mercedes, you know, they call their touch-screen
interface that brings everything together Comand
-- spelled with one M, go figure -- they have a new
version, prototype, called My Comand, which does audio,
entertainment, navigation, communication, phone, all of
it via IP. There's nothing on a drive in the car.
There isn't even a phone. Leave your phone at home and
uses [Inaudible] to make your calls. It's a prototype,
but it looks real, I think it's maybe a couple years
away from show room. So check out this look we have at
the Mercedes My Comand system.
>> Auto makers just keep getting better and better at
interfaces, perhaps none more so than this prototype
from Mercedes called My Comand. Now we already love
their latest generation of Comand interface, but check
this out. All Internet-based. Look at the categories
here. Your media, yeah, you can rip music to the hard
drive of the system, but you can also stream Internet
radio. YouTube video. Again, it's all IP. Go to the
web. Well, that's obvious. You've got web access to
any of the resources out there, from Google Search to
restaurant reservations to hook-ups for events. If you
go over here to communications, your phone is voice over
IP. Again, everything Internet. If you head over here
to your navigation, of course, who do you think --
Google Maps including street views. You can actually
see what -- where you're going looks like before you get
there. Can you get your head around this? Now it's all
a prototype right now, but notice how it's running on
standard Mercedes hardware in this demonstration.
Nothing too space-age here. Now again, this is all an
engineering demonstration, not slated for production
yet, but Mercedes says they will be watching the
emergence of 4 G networks in particular. LTE, Y Macs,
those guys, for ubiquity, and then this is ready to take
center stage, they say.
[ Music ]
>> Okay, very cool stuff. Cloud -- cloud coming to the
>> Yeah, no DVD, with GPS data, which cars have today.
Or it's on a hard drive. No cell phone connected via
Bluetooth. I mean, we're talking -- no phone. It's
just going VoIP out of its own firm wear. Media, just
reach out to your library in the clouds -- hopefully by
then iTunes and Mercedes will cut a deal where iTunes
will just be coming right through the interface of the
car, just like you can hit your iTunes library over the
network now, browse libraries, all that. This is a very
cool vision that makes sense to me. I mean, why would
you want physical -- like today, a lot of these cars
have hard drives. And so the idea is you're going have
your music on your machine, you've got your music on
your iPod, an then you're going to rip another
collection of music to your car's hard drive? I don't
want to manage three collections. I don't need that.
So the car makers kind of need to get with it and
realize the cloud is where everything is going. And
this is the first car maker I've seen to truly
demonstrate that. That's very hot.
>> It's also the first example where I can actually not
rip on Google's Street View. Because I rip on if
someone's going to go to a location, bust out their
phone, and go, am I here?
>> Am I here? [ Laughter ]
>> Yes, I'm here. No one does that crap.
>> Yeah, Street View is weird. What do you -- what do
you use Street View for?
>> To try to find you on there, walking --
>> Walking with that bottle in the brown bag. I know
what you're thinking. Street View for me is just a
curiosity tool. What does that area look like. That's
it. What's the real use.
>> In my car --
[ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Yeah, definitely.
>> Because there, then you will know where you're going
and you will recognize it when you get there. Because
in a car you're moving at a fairly good speed, and you
know you could easily miss something you could drive by.
If you've already I.D.ed the street, okay, it's got a
red sign with a long driveway. I'll know it when I see
it. That's pretty cool.
>> Yeah. Excellent. Okay, we're going to be wrapping
up in the next few minutes, so you guys throw in your
questions. We're going to take this question from
psychonika1980, hey Brian and Brian, if GM is putting
out great cars like the Malibu and others, why are they
doing so poorly in the market. What is killing GM.
>> A lot of it is perception. In terms of why we're not
buying their cars -- by the way, we buy a lot of their
cars. The Big Three are -- I don't have the exact
number, but they're roughly 50% of the U.S. market.
That's nothing to sneeze at. It's not like they have
this little sliver of the U.S. market. They have a huge
market. But unfortunately it doesn't work that well as
a business. The profitable cars, the trucks and SUVs
where they make up to $10,000 per copy don't sell for a
damn right now, as we know. And the little economical
cars like the Malibu, and, like, Honda Civics and those
kinds of cars, you know, in many cases they have the
profits in the hundreds per unit. That's a big
difference, from something like a Lincoln Navigator,
where you make $10,000 on a car. So that's part of the
problem. A lot of it is just business, though. Legacy
union deals and stuff that isn't even related to cars.
But in terms of the car part, our image of General
Motors cars is not as sexy as it is on the imports, or a
Ford, or of Chrysler. We just think about them
differently because they have a lot of baggage, they've
done a lot of dumb cars, especially in the late '70s
through the late '80s, there was a lot of junk coming
out of Detroit. They kind of, you know, dug their own
grave there. But they have great cars. Malibu, great
car. Every time I rent a car I rent an Impala. I love
the Impala. As an everyday car, a regular old
full-sized sedan, it's my favorite. I love that car.
So they build great rides, but most people agree it's a
matter of their business structure is wrong and their
perception in the public is just flawed.
>> I used to never care about a GM car, but the Camaro,
that's -- the Camaro is that -- [ Multiple voices
>> Which hopefully is still coming out, by the way. We
think it's unkillable. They recently cut way back on
their R and D to conserve cash and stay alive. But we
think the Volt is unkillable. Obviously, that's the
future for them. And the Camaro, which is, you know,
it's a weird one. It's going to get a lot of buzz, but
nothing green about it.
>> Yeah, no, it's not made to be.
>> It's not supposed to be.
>> You can't make a green Camaro.
>> Don't laugh. There is buzz that they might put a
four cylinder in it -- [ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> And that -- who -- what Camaro fan would get that
>> I know. And it's like -- but think of all the people
who buy mustangs, even today, the last mustang I think
you could still get an inline six or a four -- it had
some little putt-putt motor that was available, and that
was the bulk of sales. And so people do buy --
>> [Inaudible] getting it for the looks [Inaudible] -- [
Multiple voices speaking ]
>> Because you don't really know what's under the hood
unless you try to get some guy off the line.
>> You're in traffic, you know, who is ever going to
know. You're all bumping along, it's like, whatever.
So yeah, you know, a four cylinder Camaro will sell,
just not to you or me, luckily.
>> All right, this is a good follow-up question since
you mentioned the bolt -- the Volt -- this question is
from Investigatorcraig [Assumed spelling]. Brian, do
you know if there's a firm price for the Volt. I've
heard a range from 30 to 45 K. Thanks, Craig.
>> Yeah, the ballpark we're hearing is that it's a
$40,000 car, but there's been no conformation of that.
So yeah, you're in the right ballpark, you're following
the same rumors we've all been hearing. The question
is, is that base or is that well equipped; big
difference. Because that could change it five to seven
thousand either way. Secondly, what's the MPG going to
be. The EPA has never really rated a car like the Volt.
The Volt is an electric car with a gas engine on board
as a generator. That's all it does. The gas engine
never powers the wheels directly. It has no drive
shaft, no gear box for that, nothing. So how does the
EPA rate that? Do they rate it when its running with
the gas engine on, charging the battery. Do they rate
it when it's only running on electric. How do you rate
a car like that when you've never seen one before. What
do you do with that. The EPA could make or break that
car. They could give it a 45 MPG and it's dead. They
can give is a 150 MPG and it's the biggest story in
autodom when it arrives. The word on street is it's
going to be about 100 MPG rating, which is great. But
it's still going to be a 40-plus thousand dollar car,
that may buffer that. I don't know. It's really --
it's really hard to say. And the Volt with GM's
problems, we still get nervous about is it going to come
out at all. Is GM going to be around for the Volt to
arrive. That's the bigger question.
>> Okay, last question. This is for you, B. Cooley.
What's the deal with Tesla, have they found a solution
to their gear box problem.
>> Yes, as a matter of fact I was just in a Tesla
yesterday, Monday. And we took our first drive in the
final version of the Tesla rode sister, which has what
they call power train 1.5 which is their existing
electric motor which they've had in there from the
beginning, the same basic motor. But now they have a
Borg Warner [Assumed spelling], single speed -- it's not
a transmission because there's only one speed. It's a
gear box. Just to distribute power from one motor to
two wheels. And they say that it is so tight and so
right on that it added about 22 miles to the range of
the car. So now you get 244 miles on a single charge,
which is up, like I say, about 20-some odd miles from
where it was. And of course, it's just stupid-fast.
Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. All that torque I was
talking about is available from one RPM. Where gas
engines have to get up to around 3,000 or more RPM to
have full torque. Electric motors have all their torque
at 1 RPM, all the way, almost, evenly to the top. So
this is a wicked-fast car.
>> Drives great. I was impressed by the ride. I
thought it was going to ride like a roller skate. It's
actually nicely compliant, but sporty. The best way to
say how it rides, it feels like a new pair of sneakers.
That kind of springy thing that you like for the first
three or four days, you know? And it feels like, wow, I
love this, this is really cool. It makes me feel like
I've got great energy, you know? It rides like that.
So I was very impressed, but it's really tiny inside. [
>> For me.
>> It would fit me.
>> It might fit you. Yeah, yeah. If you're a normal
height, if you're over six feet it's a little snug. And
it's not this way -- it's tight this way. So it doesn't
matter, you know, if you're five foot zip but you're
kind of a little portly little dude, you know, you're
not going to like that car. It's snug inside. So it's
a matter of width to me more than height. Legs and
everything was fine, but it's, you know, it's like going
to the Malibu Grand Prix. You know, you get in that
little car --
>> You're going to stop working out, you know, decrease
the size of your thighs.
>> Oh yeah, right. Yeah. I've done that plenty lately.
Don't worry. So that's as narrow as I get.
>> All right guys, thanks so much for coming out.
Again, Editor's Office Hours will be here next week on
Tuesday. Ken Sherman will be in the house. We'll be
talking about new phones for the holidays. So 11:30
a.m. west coast, 2:30 p.m. east coast time. We'll see
you there. Thanks for coming out. Be cool.
>> My pleasure.
>> All right -- [ Multiple voices speaking ]
>> All right, see you guys.
[ Music ]
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