Report: Trump Considering Blocking Importation Of German Luxury Automobiles

According to reports, President Trump is preparing to go to war against luxury German cars.

According to reports, President Trump is considering what would amount to a complete ban on the importation of German luxury automobiles:

President Donald Trump is hoping to block German luxury carmakers from the U.S. market, according to an exclusive report by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Citing several unnamed U.S. and European diplomats, the weekly business magazine reported that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron last month he would maintain his trade policy with the aim of stopping Mercedes-Benz models from driving down Fifth Avenue in New York. The report didn’t give any further details on what policies would be used to effectively ban the premium carmakers.

The report comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Commerce launched an investigation into automobile imports to determine whether they “threaten to impair the national security” of the U.S. That could lead to tariffs of up to 25 percent on the same “national security” grounds used to impose metal imports charges in March.

More from The Hill:

President Trump wants to impose a total ban on the imports of German luxury cars, according to a new report from CNBC and German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Several U.S. and European diplomats told the news outlets that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron about his plans last month during a state visit.

Trump reportedly told Macron that he would maintain the ban until no Mercedes-Benz cars are seen on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Shares of Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen were lower on Thursday, shortly after the weekly German business magazine published the report.The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

The report comes a week after Trump ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate auto tariffs and probe whether car imports are a danger to national security. A similar national security argument was used when Trump placed steep tariffs on aluminum and steel imports in March.

It’s worth noting that this is just a report at this time and that there is no indication yet that this will be an actual Trump policy. The first point that comes to mind, though, that it’s entirely unclear what legal basis the President would have for either banning the importation of cars from an American ally or impose tariffs that are so high that they effectively amount to ban. If it does happen, then one supposes that the Administration will seek to justify the move on the same basis as the new tariffs on aluminum and steel, which the President is basing on national security and the need to protect American industry in the name of national defense. That argument is weak in the case of aluminum and steel, especially coming from sources such as Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and only a fool would claim that imported German luxury cars are a threat to national security. It’s also worth noting that this action, whether it takes the form of a ban or a tariff that would be so high that it would effectively amount to a ban, would have no impact on cars built by German automakers at plants located here in the United States. In that context, it is worth noting that every German automaker has at least one manufacturing facility located in the United States. Volkswagen, for example, has a plant in Chattanooga, Tennesse, although it doesn’t appear from the available information that any of its luxury Audi models are assembled there. BMW, meanwhile, has one of its largest production facilities in the world located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as anyone who has traveled I-95 in that part of the country can attest since the massive plant is visible from the highway. Similarly, Mercedes-Benz has a large manufacturing plant in Vance, Alabama. These factories manufacture many of the more popular German luxury vehicles sold in the United States, but not all of them.

With that in mind, David Kiley at Forbes makes these observations:

In theory, a 25% tax on all imported vehicles could prompt foreign automakers to build additional factories in the U.S., but not if the companies sense that the policy will be lifted by the next President, or even the next Congress if the Republicans lose. They have already made investments in plants overseas that make the products exported to the U.S.

Nonetheless, the uncertainty of the Trump White House has made investors nervous. In recent weeks. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, Volkswagen, and BMW have together shed $20.2 billion in market value, with Volkswagen now valued at about $93.4 billion, Daimler at $77 billion, and BMW at $64.2 billion.

Given President Trump’s past statements, Germany can’t ignore the noise. “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the US. Terrible. We will stop this,” Trump said last year. He also talked about a 35 percent tax on every German car brought into the U.S.

One Mercedes-Benz executive who spoke on background said, “I think you will see more communications from us about how much we have invested in the U.S. and how much we continue to invest.” The same executive continued, “Our leadership is very active behind the scenes, but we aren’t going to take on the President in public.”

Even if this proposed tariff did lead to the expansion of manufacturing plants in the United States, it would be several years at least before that could happen due to the time and cost it would take to locate appropriate places for the facilities, build them, and get them up to speed to the point where they would be able to roll cars out to the consuming public. In the meantime, it’s entirely possible that a new Congress or a new President would act to reverse the tariffs. Additionally, it’s worth noting that, even if we could know in advance that this is what would happen in the event the President action, this is not a sufficient justification for the kind of crippling tariffs that the President is apparently considering. Moving in this matter, especially against a strong American ally, would only further alienate the United States on the world stage, worsen our relationship with an important ally, and harm American workers and consumers both because of the tariffs themselves and due to whatever retaliation the Germans will inevitably engage in to respond to such a massive tariff. Once again, this Administration is making unwide economic choices, and doing so in a manner that is guaranteed to harm American national and economic interests.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Economics and Business, International Trade, Politicians, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    So how is this supposed to save jobs in China?

    More seriously, if the Cheeto is going to plunge the world into a recession, I’d rather he do it now, the better to strip the GOP of power in Congress.

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  2. Mister Bluster says:

    …and only a fool would claim that imported German luxury cars are a threat to national security.

    Just who are we talking about here?

    “I thought that when I won I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a healthcare bill on my desk — ” Pud the Magnificent

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  3. michael reynolds says:

    Is Ivanka looking for some trademarks in Germany? Or is Trump hoping for a Trump golf course in Bavaria? The only way this makes sense is if Trump is looking for the Germans to buy him off like the Chinese did. As economics it’s moronic. As a pander to his yahoos it’s probably zero sum.

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  4. CSK says:

    “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S. Terrible. We will stop this.”

    “See Spot. See Spot run. See Dick and Jane.”

    Well, at least we know what his reading level is.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    “Who knew healthcare would be so hard?”

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  6. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s probably less about trademarks than it is retaliation for Ivanka getting booed at the Women’s Summit in Germany in April 2017.

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  7. MBunge says:

    At the risk of making this more than a stroke fest over how much Trump sucks, Germany has failed for years to meet its NATO treaty obligations on defense spending and actually spends a smaller percentage of its GDP on defense than Portugal or Norway.

    In addition, I believe the U.S. has its second biggest proportional trade deficit (among advanced economies) with Germany. According to U.S. trade figures, exports to Germany and imports from Germany in 2017 combined to total $170 billion with a U.S. trade deficit of $64 billion. For comparison, U.S./UK trade in 2017 totaled $109 billion with the U.S. actually running at $3 billion trade surplus. We also did $556 billion in combined trade with Mexico in 2017 with a trade deficit of only $71 billion.

    I know I’m going out on a limb here but I think those facts might be somewhat relevant to any discussion of U.S. trade policy toward Germany.

    Mike

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  8. de stijl says:

    What possible reason is there for pursuing this action? I am super perplexed.

    We are also starting a trade wars on multiple fronts for no reason that will hurt us, our economy and ordinary folks. Logically, there is no reason for me to be perplexed, but I still am anyway.

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  9. de stijl says:

    @MBunge:

    At the risk of making this more than a stroke fest over how much Trump sucks, Germany has failed for years to meet its NATO treaty obligations on defense spending and actually spends a smaller percentage of its GDP on defense than Portugal or Norway.

    The bold part is actually a lie. They have not failed to meet any current obligation. And they have until 2022 to meet that future obligation. They are not in breach on any formal or informal obligation. Your red herring is very, very red. And it is a herring.

    In addition, I believe the U.S. has its second biggest proportional trade deficit (among advanced economies) with Germany.

    SFW? That, again, does not breach any obligation they have with us. It is mostly the result of relative currency values.

    If what you said was actually pertinent, why would we place a tariff on German cars? You can’t explain the why, so why would I expect you to able to explain how it benefits us at all. You are motivated to to explain it away because it really doesn’t make any sense at all and it hurts your brain to acknowledge that fact.

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  10. de stijl says:

    @MBunge:

    I know I’m going out on a limb here but I think those facts might be somewhat relevant to any discussion of U.S. trade policy toward Germany.

    It isn’t.

    Worse, you know a.) It’s isn’t true, and b.) it isn’t relevant.

    The reason you say you are “going out on a limb here”, is that you know these “facts” “might be” “somewhat” “relevant”, is that some part of your brain and the raw, inflamed stump of your conscience know it isn’t true.

    Re-read what you wrote. You couldn’t really commit to what you said because you know it is BS and a smoke-screen. You couldn’t drape more qualifiers around that sentence if you tried.

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  11. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    While you’re out on that limb, please provide a cogent explanation of the following points:

    1) What exactly does the fact that Germany underspends on its defense have to do with trade policy?

    2) Please list the exact reasons for the trade deficit with Germany and explain how they will be affected by this measure.

    Take your time.

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  12. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    1) What exactly does the fact that Germany underspends on its defense have to do with trade policy?

    Revenge.

    2) Please list the exact reasons for the trade deficit with Germany and explain how they will be affected by this measure.

    The euro is considerably weaker than would prevail for a capital intensive economy like Germany had it operated within a sovereign currency. Tariffs, by raising prices paid by Americans in USD, puts downward pressure on the dollar relative to the currency of the counterparty. The EU can respond with their own tariffs but they won’t be as effective because the U.S. is much more closed.

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  13. de stijl says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    …the fact that Germany underspends on its defense…

    Germany does not underspend on its defense per any NATO agreement or understanding. I was wrong before, the 2% of GDP on defense target is not effective until 2024 (effectively 2025), not 2022. I apologize for my error – my memory was faulty.

    I think you’re being facetious in accepting MBunge’s framing and trying to give him enough rope. Do not even grant him that.

    He knows it’s BS which is why in the same comment he offered it up, he backed away from it. He is BS’ing and flinging poop against the wall desperately one piece actually sticks.

    tis a big, bright red herring. A dodge. Utter BS. Treat it as such.

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  14. al Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    At the risk of making this more than a stroke fest over how much Trump sucks, Germany has failed for years to meet its NATO treaty obligations on defense spending and actually spends a smaller percentage of its GDP on defense than Portugal or Norway.

    Germany is often falsely and often unfairly criticized on the defense spending issue.

    I’ve often wondered what would happen if Germany said to America, ‘You don’t like our level of defense spending? Okay, you’re free to leave. Vielen dank.’

    The fact is, we have many very important military bases in Germany, and what we do over there does not all accrue to the defense of Germany, in fact much of it is vitally important to America’s strategic interests well beyond Europe, and on into the near and distant Middle East. Germany should call the bluff – America definitely would not leave.

    Trump is ensuring, to most of our friends, that having America as a partner may not be worth putting up with the current erratic, uninformed, and unreliable American governing majority.

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  15. de stijl says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Revenge.

    Currywurst-eating surrender monkeys (although it did take The Red Army storming the Reichstag for them to surrender. Those dudes were hardcore.)

    Like Freedom Fries, bratwursts will now be called Milwaukee Dogs by right-thinking ‘Muricans.

    Surrender by Cheap Trick

    https://youtu.be/1sAm5UCJ9vA

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  16. Matt says:

    Once again, this Administration is making unwide economic choice

    I’m guessing that’s supposed to be unwise?

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  17. de stijl says:

    @Matt:

    “Unwide” is what the cool kids now use instead of “narrow.”

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  18. CSK says:

    Somewhat OT, but Melania Trump will not be accompanying her husband to the G7 nor to Singapore.

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  19. EddieInCA says:

    For me this would suck, because I drive a Mercedes Convertible (SLC) and my wife has a BMW Z4 Convertible. Our “together car” is a VW Tiguan.

    Oh. Wait. No. It won’t affect me at all, because my cars are mine and paid fully paid for. Yay!

    There is a reason people drive Benzs, Beemers, Audis, and VWs. They tend to be great cars. Overpriced? Maybe. Awesome? A whole lot of Yes! I’ve owned a Cadillac CTS, and a Lincoln Aviator. Give me the German cars or the Japanese cars any day over the highest end American cars.

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  20. Tyrell says:

    “Have you driven a Ford lately?”
    Indeed the automobile landscape took a huge turn the other month when Ford announced the jaw dropping news that it would continue to manufacture only one car – the Mustang. It’s other lineup will be trucks and SUV’s. Some say that this could be a problem if high gas prices return. Yet many of the SUV’s get over 30 mpg.
    Will the other manufacturers do the same? Are the days of the sedans and coupes over?
    Top cars that I remember:
    1963 Chevy Impala SS: a beauty, with a 327 cu. in. engine, 2-4 barrel carb, and 4 speed Muncie trans.
    1964 Ford Galaxy fastback: Ford’s best race car
    1969 Mercury Cyclone: had the most powerful engine at that time – Ford’s Boss 429 with 600 horsepower
    1971 Pontiac GTO: The sound of its powerful mill could be hear blocks away and would quicken anyone’s pulse!
    1970 Olds 442: a classic in anyone’s book
    1972 Dodge Magnum RT hemi – style and raw power. No wonder Petty won so many races.
    “We build excitement” Pontiac (never understood why Pontiac went out. The G6 and G8 are good cars. Pontiac was turning a profit)
    “See the USA in your Chevrolet”
    “What wins on Sunday sells on Monday”
    The golden age of the US automobile. No foreign manufacturer could touch them in terms of performance and style.
    Watch – 1969 Atlanta 500

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  21. Warren Weber says:

    Just a couple of questions.

    1) Is there a German marque that is NOT considered a “luxury” brand? I had my doubts about VW, but I’m finding myself reconsidering.

    2) Has VW been forgiven over their cheating on diesel emissions tests? I thought that was a huge deal, but I haven’t heard much about it recently.

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  22. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Oh. Wait. No. It won’t affect me at all, because my cars are mine and paid fully paid for. Yay!

    Replacement parts will come from where?

    @Tyrell:

    Notice that your list stops at 1972?

    Yet many of the SUV’s get over 30 mpg.

    Some electrics do and some hybrids.

    American made light gas-powered SUVs are quite less. The light and “efficient” gas 2018 Ford Escape gets ~23 mpg. http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/escape

    What do you think makes mpg standards rise? Is it manufacturers, or governments?

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  23. de stijl says:

    Gah! I had three quotes, even tho simply two were nyms from this very thread I was replying to.

    so split versions is:

    1.

    @EddieInCA:

    Oh. Wait. No. It won’t affect me at all, because my cars are mine and paid fully paid for. Yay!

    Replacement parts will come from where?

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  24. de stijl says:

    2.

    @Tyrell:

    Notice that your list stops at 1972?

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  25. de stijl says:

    3.

    @Tyrell:

    Yet many of the SUV’s get over 30 mpg.

    Some electrics do and some hybrids.

    American made light gas-powered SUVs are quite less. The light and “efficient” gas 2018 Ford Escape gets ~23 mpg. http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/escape

    What do you think makes mpg standards rise? Is it manufacturers, or governments?

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  26. Timothy Watson says:

    @michael reynolds: It makes perfect sense when you remember that Trump is a paid agent of the Russian intelligence services and his assignment is to cause as much damage to the United States and its allies as possible.

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  27. Slugger says:

    Folks, has Trump said this publically? Has he tweeted this? Let’s not get too excited till we actually see some action on this or any other thing. Will this happen? Will there be a summit in Singapore? No one knows! We have elected Andy Kaufmann; what he says is mostly distraction while a accomplice lifts your wallet. Lewis Hamilton will drive a Mercedes in Austin this October.

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  28. An Interested Party says:

    Good grief, could it get anymore banana republic than this? And the saddest part of all of this is that there are millions of people in our country like the idiot MBunge who proudly cheer on this Orange Blob…who could have guessed that the new GOP foreign policy is to trash our allies and cozy up to our enemies…Reagan must be turning over in his grave…oh wait, his administration sold arms to Iran, nevermind…Eisenhower and Roosevelt must be turning over in their graves…

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  29. george says:

    I’m guessing this is someone else’s policy initiative. I find it hard to believe that Trump cares about trade deficits (or even understands what they mean), let alone a trade war. More likely someone has convinced him this is a good idea for Trump, Inc (as Reynolds suggested), either in prestige and/or financially. Possibly someone with stakes in a big American steel company.

    Which might mean that someone else might talk him out of a trade war, by dangling a bigger carrot in front of him. National issues aren’t part of this for Trump (and I note that most conservatives think a trade war and these tariff’s are very bad news, so I don’t think its a conservative issue either); his going back and forth on it shows the same thing, he’s trying to figure out what is best for him, without wanting to put the effort into figuring out what’s involved.

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  30. Tyrell says:

    @de stijl: As I said, the “golden age”. There were some good cars after that: Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado, Olds Tornado, Chevy Camaro IROC, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, 1984 Ford Thunderbird, and now the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang.
    Around 1972 was when the oil companies started pulling their junk.

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  31. de stijl says:

    Can you think of on American car 1980 – 2000 you go out of way to drive again? There a a few, but it’s a small list. Usually, the best you could hope for was that “This doesn’t -entirely- suck.”

    I drove a ’76 Olds Omega form 1980 – 1986 or so. It was like driving the car version of Art Supply or Jefferson Starship. I hated that thing – I let Bud-Eyed Scott drive it on dates (when it was fully insured). BES was a really sucky driver.

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  32. Andy says:

    @de stijl:

    There have been various 2% goals going back to the 1990’s. None of them have been binding and even the latest one (a response to Russia’s military annexation of Ukraine) is still primarily aspirational as it is not legally binding on NATO member states. But the fact remains that 2% has long been a goal, even if only an aspirational one, and it’s one the Germans have not met, still don’t meet, and aren’t likely to meet for the foreseeable future. According to the Germany government’s own budget estimates, Germany will not meet the 2024 “deadline” for the 2014 2% agreement – in fact, defense spending is projected to decrease in terms of GDP after 202o to around 1.2%. And a lot of stakeholders in Germany (notably the SDP) are firmly against raising defense spending to 2%.

    So this isn’t some illusion that MBunge made up – the asymmetry when it comes to NATO capabilities is growing worse and not better. Maybe you are fine with subsidizing European security – there certainly is a legitimate argument to be made that doing so benefits the US enough to make it worth it – but many people would like to see NATO be able to do basic operations without the US doing most of the heavy lifting.

    Finally, this is an issue that predates Trump and will continue after Trump is gone. Will Trump’s hard-ball tactics work? I doubt it.

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  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    On my way to semi retirement, I worked for a while at a BMW car dealer. The dealership employed about 100 people at, I’m estimating, an average wage of ~$65000/year. The banning of German cars or the imposition of punitive tariffs would likely cost 50-60 of those employees their jobs.

    At a state level, car dealers are among the most politically powerful business groups. At the Federal level, not so much, since the Feds seldom dabble in the issues that most concern the dealer. That would change if Trump acted against the German auto manufacturers.

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  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Around 1972 was when the oil companies started pulling their junk.

    How did this get past the smut filter?

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  35. de stijl says:

    So, basically, Germany is fully compliant with all NATO obligations both formal and informal? Is that correct?

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  36. Warren Weber says:

    @de stijl: “Can you think of on American car 1980 – 2000 you go out of way to drive again?”

    Challenge Accepted.

    Quite a few come to mind.

    The C4 Corvette ZR-1.

    The Fiero Formula.

    Thunderbird Super Coupe.

    Cadillac Seville STS.

    Dodge Viper.

    Ford Taurus SHO.

    The late 70s and early 80s were Dark Times, but things got better pretty quickly. Hell, even an Mustang SVO, Camaro IROC, or a Firebird Formula could be interesting.

    You wanna get really oddball? Dodge Shelby GLHS.

    That enough, or should I go on?

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  37. Gavin says:

    I think this is simply about Trump being 100% a con man — and assuming everyone else is as well. He isn’t smart enough to understand comparative advantage – he actually thinks all deals have only one winner.
    This is like trying to explain regression to someone who can’t comprehend more than one factor and one order in any equation..

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  38. de stijl says:

    @Warren Weber:

    Like I said “it’s a small list.”

    I agree 2000 was a bad and inaccurate upper limit. I was foolish.

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  39. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Andy: Straight forward question: How does the placement of US bases on German soil impact the NATO goal of 2% GDP?

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  40. de stijl says:

    Just saw that I wrote “Art Supply” rather than “Air Supply”.

    I suck at editing. Those two letters change everything.

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  41. Warren Weber says:

    @de stijl: Come on, dude. Confess. You’d love to take a spin in a Dodge GLHS. A Dodge Omni (basically a clone of a first-generation VW Rabbit) worked over by Carroll Shelby, with a turbo motor, just to say you had.

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  42. de stijl says:

    @Warren Weber:

    You got me, but on one condition – it is a small list! But, I do ‘fess. I have to. You got me.

    But your American bait car is a re-worked German car! If I’m busted, you are too!

    Why do we suck at suspension?

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  43. Andy says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    That is difficult to answer for certain, but in my opinion, US bases incentivize Germans (and others) to spend less on defense than they otherwise would. Not only because of the direct capability of US forces stationed there, but also because having an American presence acts as a tripwire. It ensures the US has skin in the game. This is why South Korea still wants an American presence and it’s why Poland desperately wants a permanent American presence. Note that Poland doesn’t want a NATO base, it wants an American base.

    @de stijl:

    Germany is compliant with its formal obligations, it is not compliant with the long-standing and agreed 2% goal.

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  44. de stijl says:

    I’m watching Into The Badlands and I looked up whether the young woman in the Skittles “Skittlepox” ad (“Are they contgeous?”) was the same person as Tilda (Ally Ioannides). They aren’t.

    I was kind of disappointed. That would have been cool.

    Skittlespox ad: https://youtu.be/FjJpdDJHFuA

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  45. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    You mean the 2024 goal?

    It may not be true, but it seems like you are carrying water here.

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  46. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Warren Weber:

    1) Is there a German marque that is NOT considered a “luxury” brand? I had my doubts about VW, but I’m finding myself reconsidering.

    At least in Latin America VW is a middle to low end as a car manufacturer can get. 😉

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  47. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @de stijl:

    @Matt:

    “Unwide” is what the cool kids now use instead of “narrow.”

    supergreen.

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  48. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    Say Republicans had a goal that in 2024, fully 30% of US Republican House and Senate members will be women. Is it proper to boycott them now if they fail to meet that goal today?

    This seems to be your stance.

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  49. Mister Bluster says:

    The most exciting ride I ever owned was my 1963 Corvair. The one Ralph Nader wrote about in Unsafe at Any Speed.
    Got mine in 1970 for $100 and some weed I had grown in the backyard.
    The entire floor had rusted out and been replaced by a piece of 3/4 inch plywood bolted to the body with the stock front and rear bench seats screwed into the plywood.
    There was no kind of seal between the wood floor and the metal body so when it was raining water would splash up into the passenger compartment and on gravel roads it would fill with dust.
    The heater ran off the exhaust manifold so had to keep the windows open some to let the engine fumes escape in the winter.
    One of the repairs I remember making was to replace the generator. Try as I might to remember how to put it back together when I was done there were several nuts and bolts and other pieces that I had just removed that I could not figure out where they went.
    Turned the key and it started right up. Threw the extra parts in the trunk in front and test drove it around the block.
    Ran like a sewing machine.
    Everything Nader said was true. More than once if I took a left turn a little too fast the two passenger side wheels would come up off the road. Scared the motor oil out of me the first time it happened.
    Longest road trip I took it on was 2400 miles. With my cat.

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  50. Liberal Capitalist says:

    BTW… I purchased a GM: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. I have seen the future, and I am loving it!

    240 miles on a full charge, costs about $5.00 to charge it up. Awesome acceleration, great interior space.

    2017 Car of the year, and built in Lake Orion, Michigan, with US union labor.
    https://uaw.org/uaw-made-chevrolet-bolt-named-north-american-car-year/

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  51. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’ve pulled my junk sine 1972.

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  52. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Not supergreen, super-inclusive.

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  53. Warren Weber says:

    @de stijl: That was the dawn of the World Car. The ZR-1 was worked on by Lotus and Mercury Marine. The Mustang SVO had a Ford of Europe engine. Yamaha made the Taurus SHO engine.

    Oh, and I was mistaken — the Omni/Horizon looked like a Rabbit, but it was actually based on a car from Simca, which was Chrysler of France. So it’s still based on a European car, just not the one I said. Sorry about the error.

    I picked the Dodge just for the sheer outrageousness of the design — that little crapbox was outperforming contemporary Mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds. But if you want all-American, how about the Cadillac STS or the Thunderbird Super Coupe? Gorgeous cars, superb performance for their era, and all-American.

    Hell, if you can get over the whole “firetrap” thing, the Fiero Formula was also impressive.

    For sheer absurdity, though, I gotta stick with the GLH/GLHS.

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  54. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    That was a good story well told.

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  55. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..good story well told.

    Thank you.

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  56. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Andy:

    US bases incentivize Germans (and others) to spend less on defense than they otherwise would.

    Agreed, on that point.

    What I’m trying to understand is if the German govt is credited (for NATO 2% goal purposes) for permitting US military occupation.

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  57. de stijl says:

    @Warren Weber:

    When American cars got good again, they were picking up traits of Asian and European cars. They weren’t just upping HP and torque again after that weird interregnum. Fit, suspension, feel, comfort, drivability. The Honda Civic is a semi crap car, but it taught us how things should be / shouldn’t be. It behaved the same way and at the same level of performance for more than 4 years in a row. It didn’t disintegrate like a two week melon. The body trim didn’t fall off for no reason.

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  58. Andy says:

    @de stijl:

    This seems to be your stance.

    You would seem to be wrong then.

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    What I’m trying to understand is if the German govt is credited (for NATO 2% goal purposes) for permitting US military occupation.

    No, countries aren’t credited for hosting forces. Secondly, the US military occupation of Germany ended in the mid-1950’s.

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  59. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    You would seem to be wrong then.

    What are you saying, then? Germany is currently complying with NATO agreements and obligations even under your interpretation. What part of my comparison do you dispute? Are you saying that a past agreement that has been superseded still applies? That’s the only way your carefully unstated assertion makes any sense. The *current* goal is 2% by 2024, Do previous goals still apply?

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  60. JKB says:

    Everyone is focused on the tariffs, but could this gossip presented as news be associated with these companies doing business with Iran?

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  61. de stijl says:

    @JKB:

    Does ZTE sell phones in Iran?

    Good lord, you are a pathetic know-nothing. You don’t want to hear this, but you are truly a “why bother?” person.

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  62. de stijl says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    2017 Car of the year, and built in Lake Orion, Michigan, with US union labor.

    I have an affinity for tiny cars. I’ve been thinking Fiat 500, Fit, Mini. Maybe even a real micro like SmartCar. I will check the Bolt before committing. Do they sell Tata Nanos here?

    Lightly used – something that grandma drove down to the hipster brewpub tasting room / vaporium on Sunday mornings,

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  63. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    There is a state road in northern Montana. I have to Google it, BRB, Highway 2, I think.

    No idea whose car – not mine. Probably a rental because we were coming back from a car camping trip to NW Montana and no one wants to those miles on a car they depend on for daily shit.

    Cut Bank to Williston. Mid August weekday. You see an oncoming car every hour or so outside of towns. Towns are clockwork about one per 45 minutes. Outside of town it is one driveway every few miles.

    It is shockingly empty. It is rolling land to almost badlands. Semi arid. Semi barren.

    You roll down the window just to stick your arm out and let your right hand figure out aerodynamics like you were 7 years old again. The sky is massive, almost painfully so.

    It is so empty and so huge.

    Slowing down to 35 to roll through the next town is an insult to your soul. I don’t want your prosaic town.

    I want vast nothingness. I want to feel tiny and untethered and ephemeral. I want to watch the sky and the horizon and my hand sketching possible wing shapes and angles of attack. Don’t stop, just go. Hit Williston and scooch north a bit and then east.

    Flatter land but even emptier still. Left hand now – I’m driving. Drive-ways every 10 miles and often you can’t even see the house anyway. Towns are an hour, hour and a half interruptions. In between nothingness. Massive world and tiny me.

    Then we hit Grand Forks and the sun went down and we took I-29 down to 94 and the real world hit back and I got normal sized again and we were suddenly four hours from home / so “do we crash in Fargo tonight, or push on?”

    We pushed on home.

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  64. rachel says:

    …The sky is massive, almost painfully so.

    It is so empty and so huge.

    That’s why Montana is The Big Sky State.

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  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So when do the Trabants and Ladas start showing up?

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  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: No, I see it more as that there is no compelling reason to believe that they will meet a 2% goal 5 years into the future that they have failed to meet during the previous decade. Got no dog in this fight, though, so carry on…

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  67. Andy says:

    @de stijl:

    What are you saying, then? Germany is currently complying with NATO agreements and obligations even under your interpretation.

    I won’t repeat what I wrote, which was give a short history of the 2% goal. You’ll note I never mentioned it was a rule (including the latest iteration, which was more formal but still non-binding) and that it was more aspirational. Still, the Germans, and the rest of NATO, have agreed with it. The Germans, and the much of NATO, haven’t, aren’t and are unlikely meet that goal despite this commitment.

    It’s not something we can (or should) take them to court with, but it’s not nothing either, nor is it a “lie” as you’ve tried to make it out to be. It is a non-binding political agreement that Germany will likely not meet (especially if the SDP has their way), and as such, any country, to include the United State, has every right to treat that political commitment as they would any other.

    Here is President Obama talking about the same issue in 2016:

    I want to take this opportunity to commend Greece for being one of the five NATO allies that spends 2 percent of GDP on defense, a goal that we have consistently set but not everybody has met.Greece has done this even during difficult economic times. If Greece can meet this NATO commitment, all our NATO allies should be able to do so.”

    And here is the NATO General Secretary in 2016:

    In 2014, NATO leaders agreed to stop cuts in defence spending. And to increase spending to at least 2% of GDP over the next decade. One year in, the picture is mixed, but it is encouraging. In 2015, defence cuts were close to zero. Five Allies now meet our guideline on spending 2 percent of GDP or more on defence. 16 Allies actually increased in real terms their defence spending in 2015. These are promising first steps. But we have a long way to go.

    This isn’t something Trump and MBunge made up. It’s a real commitment, even if it’s a non-binding one.

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  68. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    More than once if I took a left turn a little too fast the two passenger side wheels would come up off the road.

    Three choices here:
    1) You meant right turn,
    2) The car was right-hand-drive (making the passenger side the left side), or
    3) The car was even worse than Nader said.

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  69. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:
    I had an ’80 or ’81 Olds Omegrot, the GM X Car front wheel drive version. It was supposed to be an Omega Brougham, but it was only a Brougham because the Omega badges fell off. My employer had a really attractive company supported lease program and the Olds dealer was the only participating dealer within 50 miles of me. Then 6 months later the company went bust (the Reagan/Volker recession*) and offered a lease buyout that I couldn’t turn down, even though by then I hated the car. Had the tranny rebuilt at 70,000 because the shift forks wore out because for gawd knows what reason GM lubed the manual box with automatic tranny fluid. Traded it in after that for a new VW Sirocco, which was like a whole new world.

    I had the tail of the Omegrot come out on me while braking lightly around a freeway ramp. I’d done some FWD racing, so I caught it, said “that’s odd”, and drove on. A couple of little old ladies died that way. GM paid big after they found the memo from some VP asking what idiot put the oversize brakes on the rear. (Actually, they had to in order to meet the parking brake specs. Apparently by 1980 rear drum brake parking brakes were still something of a mystery to GM, even with the pedal operated parking brake which no car with a manual tranny should have.)
    _____
    * Reagan had a recession big time, Bush I had a recession, Bush II had the Great Recession. See a pattern here? See any reason to think Trump won’t carry on the tradition?

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  70. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @de stijl:

    I have an affinity for tiny cars. I’ve been thinking Fiat 500, Fit, Mini. Maybe even a real micro like SmartCar. I will check the Bolt before committing

    As a former Yugo owner (twice, intentionally!) and a Mercedes A-class when I was in Brazil (http://mercedesblog.com/ingeniously-compact-20-years-of-the-mercedes-benz-a-class/)… I LOVE cars that are small on the outside and surprisingly large inside.

    That is the Bolt. It is the Tardis of autos.

    If you are in an electric friendly state, you will find it to be affordable. (rebates: Fed $7500, Colorado $5000, Costco $700)

    Best part: the maintenance is basically to rotate tires every 7,500 miles. Massive savings on all that other “stuff”.

    In comparison: my wife’s 2004 Audi A4 Quattro Cabriolet has a 75,000 mile maintenance due. Quote price: $3,000 at the dealer.

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  71. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ugh, Trabants. I was in West Germany when the Wall fell and within a few days the sidewalks were littered with broken-down Trabants. I think the East Germans just drove them west to die. Maybe they figured after reunification they’d all get issued a spiffy VW or something.

    Seriously, though, those things were a hazard to navigation on the Autobahn. They’d barely do 60 MPH downhill with a stiff tailwind thanks to their 600cc two-stroke motor producing all of 25 hp.

    They were terribly dangerous to drive, too–their construction, such as it was, had no concept of safety. If they got hit, they’d just disintegrate, since the body was made of Duroplast rather than steel, and front-end collisions could result in fireballs because the fuel tank was mounted above the engine…see, the Trabant didn’t have a fuel pump, the fuel/oil mixture was “fed” into the carburetor by gravity.

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  72. Mister Bluster says:

    @Franklin:..3) The car was even worse than Nader said.

    3) This is the correct answer.
    If we agree that most American vehicles are left hand drive (silly term because most drivers are right handed) and US Mail trucks are right hand drive then my 1963 Corvair had the steering wheel on the left side aka drivers side as you are sitting in the front seat looking out the windshield.
    The passenger side is the right side of the car as you are sitting in the front seat looking out the wind shield.
    When I made a left turn (e.g. driving north turning west) it was the wheels on the right/passenger side that came up off the pavement. Not the wheels on the left/drivers side that I was sitting on.

    We also must take into account that as screwed up as that Corvair was it was not designed to run with a plywood floorboard.

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  73. MarkedMan says:

    I’m a small car guy myself. I think they are safer in the hands of a good driver than a big boat any day, while conceding that if you are in an accident it’s better to be driving a barge. My two end points for this are a 2005 Mini Cooper and a humongous white Chevy three row SUV of the generic white rental variety. The Mini proved it’s worth when I entered a descending radius turn at about 55mph on a two lane mountain road, no shoulder, just giant jutting rocks on one side and a fatal slope on the other, and a panicked NYC matron was in the process of executing a three point turn in the very apex of this curve and was perpendicular across the road in her giant SUV. Decent reactions combined with great handling, fantastic ABS brakes and an amazingly short stopping distance brought me to a stop with my bumper inches from her drivers door.

    The Chevy Whale [TM], on the other hand, was rented so I could drive a bunch of consultants to a potential job site in Queens. Despite NYC being flatland that thing wallowed around like a hippo riding a unicycle. I swear that when I changed lanes on the (admittedly potholed) highway at normal flow-of-traffic rates, it travelled side to side on its so called suspension as far as it did up and down. And the steering wheel seemed to be connected to the front wheels via a tangle of rubber bands and spider webs, with a seemingly random amount of input required before the vehicle would respond and then that response might be anything from a gradual sashay to a wild lurch. God, it gives me the willies just thinking about it.

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  74. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:…Montana

    Haven’t made it to the State of “Oro y Plata” yet.
    Sounds a lot like US Route 50 between I-15 at Holden UT and I-80 near Reno NV.
    I have run it once in each direction.

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  75. michael reynolds says:

    I have an open mind on American cars, but every time I rent and end up with an American car I come away disappointed. I drive a Mercedes which is setting the bar high, but I also drive my daughter’s Kia Sportage and that is an amazing car for a mid-price SUV. I rented an Infiniti recently – wonderful car. Used to have a Toyota RAV – very good car, though mine was a 6 and the 4’s I’ve rented are just not as good. The only American car I’ve driven lately and enjoyed is the Mustang convertible, but it’s still sloppy compared to the Benz or the Kia.

    American cars have clearly improved, but they aren’t the equals of the Germans, Japanese or Koreans. It’s very hard to catch up in a race once you fall behind. Detroit made a series of tragically stupid decisions over the years, self-inflicted wounds they have not yer recovered from and may never recover from.

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  76. george says:

    American cars still aren’t (with perhaps a few exceptions) at German, Japanese, or Korean levels. But oddly enough, American half-tons (or pickups if you prefer) are – which is handy for those of us in rural or semi-rural locations, where you need a half for day to day activities (hay to the cattle etc).

    And in fact, despite the typically rough use (hauling heavy loads on rough roads and fields), American half tons have great durability. Which makes me wonder if they’re designed and manufactured completely independently from the cars, which fall apart if someone looks at them too hard.

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  77. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Andy:

    US military occupation of Germany ended in the mid-1950’s.

    Well I should have said “hosting”…, but the question remains.

    If Germany allows the US to use their sovereign lands as a military base, shouldn’t Germany be given some credit for that usage?

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  78. de stijl says:

    @gVOR08:

    I called mine Charlton or Smegma. Usually Smegma.

    My lord, that ’76 Omega was a shit car. The body trim just fell off to the point that I had to just yank the door “treatment” all the way off cuz it was embarrassing. Then I had to the yank other side off so it was balanced out even though that side actually preserved it’s adherence way better. Bug-Eyed Scott got laid in that car – that takes moves and moxie, good on him. There was a lot to overcome, that car was anti-erotic, aerotic, anerotic, dys-sexy, I don’t know the right form.

    That car was the antithesis of arousal, it negated the very concept of sexual congress. I did okay in Charlton cuz he was mine and I had an actual GF at the time, but for others, only Bug-Eyed Scott crossed the Rubicon. Oddly, Bug-Eyed Scott was not a handsome man himself. His name was not mere word play.

    Parts fell off that thing like apple tree petals in May.

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  79. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Montana is my favorite travel-to state. It contains multitudes.

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  80. Andy says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    If Germany allows the US to use their sovereign lands as a military base, shouldn’t Germany be given some credit for that usage?

    In my view, no, because Germany benefits from that usage both in terms of security and finances.

    It also doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s like arguing that I should pay less in taxes because I have a full-time police officer protecting my house. Yes, I’m giving up a room in my house for a police officer, but I’m also collecting room and board from the police officer, which increases my income, and I’m getting all the benefits from his/her protection.

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  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Agreed. The last one that I drove was some variety of Cadillac they rented for me (I can’t keep their models straight since they went with this split personality thing), and I wasn’t impressed. It was comfortable enough, but the interior still had that GM “Made out of recycled toothbrushes” hard plastic thing going on. It just felt a great deal cheaper, materiel quality wise, than a car in that price range should feel. I wasn’t impressed.

    I have the M760, and the wife has an XJL. If you haven’t looked at those lately, give them a whirl. Jaguar has come a LONG way. Nothing American made really even comes close to European build and material quality.

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  82. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I rented an Infiniti recently – wonderful car.

    I’m on my fourth Infiniti. I love those cars. The only issue I’ve ever had with any of them was the “check engine” light coming on once, whereupon I received an e-mail from my car telling me I should tighten its gas cap a little more. The “check engine” light went out. Pretty cool.

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  83. gVOR08 says:

    Saw an article a few years ago talking about marketing SUVs. It was enough to make you believe Freud was right after all. All about mine’s bigger’n yours and sitting above people. A lot of it has to do with insecurity. I need this three ton monstrosity I can’t park to protect me feel safe and strong. Like some car magazine said, no one ever bought an SUV because they were confident in their driving. Part of it is the macho styling, particularly the grills, which seem designed to scare people out of your way. (I see one of those things my reaction is here’s a guy I can bluff.) This styling is now carried over to sedans, especially Cadillacs. I though I was the only one who has a negative reaction to this stuff, but I saw a German explaining why American cars aren’t popular in Europe. Had the perfect phrase for it, “kampfhund blick“, “attack dog looks”. Maybe Europeans aren’t as insecure as we are.

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  84. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have an open mind on American cars, but every time I rent and end up with an American car I come away disappointed

    Seriously, test drive a Chevy Bolt. It was designed by GM’s South Korean engineering & design team, so it’s a solid machine.

    Fit and finish is great, and the warranty (battery 8 years, etc.) is great.

    Likely, it will blow the doors off the Mercedes as well. (electric drive, immediate torque, etc.)

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  85. michael reynolds says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Likely, it will blow the doors off the Mercedes as well.

    It may well. I’m impatient with the automatic transmission on the E350. What I love is the precision, the way I can know exactly where it will stop, where it will go, and it’s very pretty. I spent too much of my life nursing rusted-out Dodge Darts and VW bugs, and once I had money and had put my legal issues behind me, I marched into the Mercedes dealership and bought an S Class. I had a serious emotional relationship with that car. Now I have the smaller, more modest E cabriolet for which I have great affection but not the love I had for my S.

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  86. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What I love is the precision, the way I can know exactly where it will stop, where it will go…

    Regenerative mode with the Bolt (“L” on the trans) has one-foot driving. Let off on the gas, it decelerates and recharges the battery. Of course, that will limit the cost and need of future brake jobs, but the experience is very zen.

    But I get it… having a start in near poverty, getting the luxury ride is a phase that happens. My German vice was Porsche. My current vice is a 1969 Vette Convertible. I go through a lot of cars… since I don’t drink, I can spend the extra on cars that I want to play with. (And yes in the early days there were Saab’s and others… there was once VW Bus that I rescued, then decided that I just don’t like them. 🙂

    But the Bolt? Just a great car. You will be surprised.

    But I’m looking forward to an electric 2+2 convertible and a functional AWD (like an Element).

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  87. Matt says:

    @de stijl: Have you driven a high end corvette in the last 10 years? They are quite good and have been kicking ass in various race classes and on the Nuremberg. Big bang for the buck.

    @gVOR08: I have no doubt you’re right about that. What does that say about me when I’m over 6 foot tall and drive a small two door Honda?

    I’ve had about a few weeks worth of experience driving a decently sized SUV. There’s a huge difference in how people react to the SUV vs small honda. For example I get cut off a lot more in the Honda. People are far quicker to road rage when I’m in the honda etc. I’m pretty sure it’s going down like gVOR08’s post. They see a small “weak puny” car and they feel empowered. Well that is till I get out of the car and their attitude shifts 180 degrees almost instantly.

    I have have been on the receiving end of some really weird rage in that car (the small Honda). I had one dude freak out because I was driving 20 mph in a school zone that had a 20 mph speed limit and not a single kid in sight. He got so upset he got out of his car and walked up to mine at a stop light. I drove away and he followed me a few blocks to a store (my original destination). I didn’t feel like suffering a fool so I just got out and tried to go about my business. He looked at me and just kept on driving by…

    Never had anything like that occur when driving the SUV.

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