The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries

Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries
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Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries

1st Gear: 2012 Should Be A Very Good Year For Auto Sales
According to the AP, just three years after hitting a 30-year low in 2009, U.S. auto sales are poised for a second straight year of growth — the result of easier credit, low interest rates and pent-up demand for cars and trucks created by the Great Recession. The sales forecast bodes well for the industry's continued recovery and for the broader American economy. And global sales? They're expected to be up like 6.7%! So, you know, yay!


Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries

2nd Gear: Fisker Says Everything's Fixed With Those Pesky Batteries
Fisker Automotive announced today that a majority of all customer cars and dealer-held vehicles affected by the recall involving A123-supplied battery packs have already had brand new battery packs fitted or the confirmed repair to the hose clamp assembly undertaken and are back in service – just 2 weeks after Fisker was first made aware of the issue. Which isn't that hard considering they only had to fix countless handfuls of cars. Because that's all they've delivered so far.


Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries
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3rd Gear: New Lincoln MKZ Concept Headed To Detroit Auto Show
Ford's Lincoln brand will showcase a concept — it's a lightly-veiled version of the new MKZ sedan — at next week's 2012 Detroit Auto Show. They see it as a major step to compete more effectively in the growing luxury market. We, on the other hand, worry that the brand still doesn't have the resources it'll need to do that. You'll see for yourself in just a couple of days.


Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries
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4th Gear: Volvo Expects U.S. Sales To Jump Because Saab's Gonna Die
Speaking of sales and brands living off the decay of others, Volvo's new CEO John Maloney told Automotive News he expects to increase its U.S. sales volume to more than 65,000 vehicles for the year. That's about a 25% increase over 2011′s 53,948 sales. Thanks Saab, for dying!


Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries
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5th Gear: Fiat To Drop Panda-Like Compact MPV At Geneva
According to Autocar, Fiat's next major new model will be a compact MPV targeted at the Vauxhall Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso and Ford B-Max. It's called the Fiat Ellezero, and will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show this spring ahead of an expected 2013 launch, its six-window styling bears a clear resemblance to the new Panda, while the nose treatment will share similarities to the Fiat 500. It'll also be reskinned as a Chrysler for the UK. For the U.S.? Unknown.


Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries
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6th Gear: December Was Actually One To Remember For Auto Sales
And speaking of auto sales, December was certainly one to remember as Bloomberg tells us light-vehicle sales in December, set for release tomorrow, may have run at a 13.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, up from the 12.4 million pace a year earlier. While the rate may trail the 13.6 million seasonally adjusted pace in November, typically a slow sales month, the number of units sold increased in December, according to the average of five estimates. Must have been all those damn red bows.


Reverse:

⏎ Should BMW Return To Formula 1? [BMW Blog]

⏎ Quotables from notables. [Automotive News]

⏎ Riding Shotgun in Ford's Next Shogun. [Car & Driver]

⏎ India's flashy new rich drive luxury car boom. [Reuters]

⏎ Chrysler, Ford, Toyota Score 100% On LGBT Workplace Equality. [The Car Connection]

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⏎ Japan's killer quake top story of 2011. [Automotive News]

⏎ Britain gets New Special Edition of 2012 Mitsubishi Shogun SUV. [CarScoop]


Today in Automotive History:

Michael Schumacher, who won a record seven Formula One (F1) world championships, is born on January 3, 1969, near Cologne, Germany. In a 16-year Formula One career that began in the early 1990s, Schumacher's numerous F1 accomplishments also included records for most Grand Prix victories (91), most pole positions (68; the most favorable place to start a race, the pole position is awarded to the driver with the fastest qualifying time for the race) and most career points (1,369; an F1 driver earns points based on where he places in a race). [History]

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Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries

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Illustration for article titled The Detroit Auto Show, a December to remember, and Fisker's fixed countless dozens of Karma batteries

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DISCUSSION

Christmas morning.

A childless couple in their late-twenties/early-thirties - both lawyers - sit beside the tree and begin to open presents. The wife picks up a small gift labeled as hers and opens it.

"It's...it's a cell phone!" She says, feigning surprise. Her old Nokia was on its last legs.

"Not just a cell phone...a smartphone!" The husband corrects, pleased with her initial reaction.

The wife stares at the phone. "Is isn't an iPhone, is it?"

"No...it's a Samsung Galaxy Nexus somethingorother. It's an Android phone. The Verizon rep said it's better."

The wife continues to inspect the phone from every side. "Huh. Well, I kinda wanted an iPhone."

The husband sighs impatiently. "Well, I saved the receipt, so we can take it back and get you an iPhone."

"I mean, that is kinda what I asked for, even though I told you I wanted to look at phones together. Why would you let yourself get boondoggled by the silly rep? Was she a woman?"

"I, er...well, yes, but that hardly—"

"—Don't ever listen to the reps, honey," the wife interrupts, matter-of-factly. "All they ever do is try to sell you something you don't want. I know, I used to do it. And next time, I want to be present for a purchase like this."

"Okay. You - you're right. You're absolutely right. We'll get the iPhone."

"Now we'll have to wait in line at the Verizon store for half a day, thanks to your short-sightedness." While saying this, the wife accidentally switches the phone on, and the "Lexus December to Remember Theme" begins to play.

"Oh shit, what'd I touch? Who's calling me?" She looks at the caller ID, which displays her husband's number. "Why are you calling me? What is with this horrible ringtone?"

The husband reaches for the phone. "That's...forget it. It's nothing. Give me the phone." He tries to take it from her, but she tightens her grip. "Don't you know what that song means?" he asked, giving up.

"No. I hear it sometimes when you're watching football. Why?"

"Just open the next gift," said the husband.

"Why are you being so short with me?" The wife asks, distressed, as she throws the phone back in the box.

"I just haven't had coffee yet. We should have made coffee first." He hands her a smaller gift box. "Here, open this."

The wife opens the box and finds a Lexus car key.

Her eyes widen, but she isn't smiling. "What...what is this? You...bought a fucking CAR without discussing it with me?"

"I thought it would be romantic!"

"What is wrong with you? You bought me a fucking Lexus, sight unseen? Kelsey has a Lexus. I fucking hate Lexuses!"

"Lexi," the husband corrects.

The wife drops the key back into the box and turns her back on him, crossing her arms. "I...I don't think this is working," she says quietly, after a moment of silence. "I want a divorce."

The Lexus ringtone starts up again.

The husband snatches the Lexus key and stands up. "Bullshit. I want some fucking Starbucks." With that, he storms out the front door.

Tears start to well in the wife's eyes as she sits on the floor with crumpled wrapping paper. After a large, ragged sigh, she takes one more look at the smartphone, suddenly perks up, and runs out after her husband as he's starting the car.

"I GET IT!" She yells, waving her arms at him gleefully, then entering the car. "I GET IT! You got me a Lexus and a Nexus! Like LexisNexis!"

He slams the steering wheel with his palm. "Finally. Took you long enough!"