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Discussion Starter #1
Hill all, this is my first post here and I felt compelled to join and post by the unbelievable (from my POV) negative reaction to the unveiling of the looks of the production Volt.

Guys, you don't need a Volt.

If you really were interested in the Volt because of the looks (or MAINLY because of the looks) of the prototype I think you better turn your attention to better looking and CHEAPER sport (or simil-sport) cars ALREADY available TODAY.
What are you doing here??

I come from Italy and over here (like in the rest of the Western Europe) paying 5 USD a gallon for "benzina" ("gasoline" for the Americans and "petrol" for the Brits) sounds like being in Wonderland... We are now paying around $ 8 per gallon and in recent times have touched a peak of around $ 9 per gallon (€ 1,58 per liter!).

The Volt really looks nice to me but even if it looked exactly like a Prius (which is OK but definitely not a good looking car to me) I would buy it without a second thought.
I am not looking for the best looking car I can afford, I am looking for the best fuel efficient vehicle (besides meeting my basic safety and comfort requirements) I can afford (and which makes the most economic sense taking into account its price)!

Toyota is selling the Prius in Italy from a while already but is not having any success and I suspect it's exactly the same in every other European markets they are selling in. The problem is not its looks, the problem is its economics, in other words its sticker price and... YES, ITS FUEL CONSUMPTION!
I am bewildered by the success the Prius is enjoying in the US and Japan and by the interest other similar Hybrids are raising over there. They are crap from my point of view.

Let me explain.

First of all, by European standards they are not small ("compact") cars like they are considered in the States, they are medium sized cars and the best selling sectors of the European markets are for cars actually SMALLER than the Prius (so the opposite "problem" as in the US).

Secondly, they are selling in Italy for around € 24.000 (as usual, the price in USD is just turned into Euro... :mad: ) and their fuel consumption is practically the same of cars € 10.000 cheaper than the Prius and that WE ALREADY HAVE IN EUROPE SINCE MANY MANY YEARS!

As an example, I have an Opel (yes, ironically, it is a GM!) Corsa 1.3 CDTI Speedtronic (the penultimate model) which is admittedly smaller than the Prius but it still comfortably seats (by European stadards) 5 people and is available in both 3 doors models (like mine) and 5 doors ones.
Well guys, it's a latest generation diesel and it's as clean and as quiet as a latest generation benzina/gasoline/petrol engine of comparable power and has much more torque and much better fuel consumption than them.
It does on average 47 MPG in real world usage (around 18.5-19 km/l) so just 1 mpg less than the published(!) figure for the Prius. It has A/C, ABS, traction control, Electronic Stability Control, power steering, power windows, powered and heatable mirrors, cd mp3 (I have replaced it with a 7" LCD touch screen multi-player though LOL), antitheft alarm, centralized door lock with radio remote, alloy wheels, metallized paint, automatic transmission (one of the very few in Europe, I have lived 2 years in the US and that's one of the "habits" I took there and have brought back home :) ). The cost? € 14.000......

BTW, the cost of a liter of diesel has for a long time been significantly lower than benzina/gasoline/petrol although in very recent times it has caught up with it and is now selling for just slightly less (it has even been more expensive for a very short while).

In summary, the Prius to me is a not good looking and too big car to me which is also too expensive for what you get and doesn't offer any particular fuel efficency in respect to what we have had available here in Europe since a long time. In short, and considering the unnecessary added complications (and possible added costs) given by the electric engine, battery, circuitry etc, it's crap.
As are all of the other comparable hybrids currently existing and planned for the near future.
The ONLY real interesting alternatives are the Volt and the other plug-in hybrids!
If 40 miles (64 kms) a day cover the normal daily needs of most Americans that's much more true here in Europe! Most of us here could really "set to zero" the monthly expense for our petrolio (oil) flavor of choice (BTW, diesel cars sell much more, here, than benzina ones) !
Seeing the attitude of many American posters and potential customers I really wonder why GM isn't selling the Volt in Europe first... :D
If they made even a slightly smaller Volt and guaranteed the battery for 10 years and 150,000 kms (93,000 miles instead of the publicized 150,000 miles which is an unnecessary high number for the European market) and priced it at no more than € 25.000 I bet they would make a killing.
Both of my parents, my sister, my brother and most people I know make less than 64 kms a day and a car like the Volt would really pay for itself very quickly especially when you consider the fact that they would make our overcongested cities cleaner and quieter. I bet the public subsidies and incentives to buy such a car would be pretty bigger here than in the US too so I really think they would sell like hot cakes.
I am one of the very few I know of who make more than 64 kms a day. My daily commute is 110 kms since I am getting a nursing degree and practitioning at a hospital 55 kms from my city (which also has a big hospital but unfortunately not connected with the uni). But I park my car at the employees car park and if cars like the Volt started selling here in good numbers I am sure that plugs would quickly be made available for the owners, probably even for free (given the relative small cost of the electricity compared to the social benefits of EV cars usage) as an incentive!
Heck, some plugs are already there!....... LOL!

In the end, we in Europe are already living, from a long time, in a $ 8-9 a gallon world and we are accustomed to smaller (not only for fuel economy reasons) and less powerful cars so a Volt here would see very little of this looks criticism nonsense and, if its sticker price is right, has the potential to really revolutionize the market of the good old overtaxed Europe...
 

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Well, if this is a true European opinion then the volt should be a success all the around the globe. In the US a lot of people are going to buy these cars and it doesn't really matter what they look like. Anyone who can afford one will have one. In Europe I would assume that people drive less per day than we yanks do...lol. BTW when foreign forum goers make threads they always seem like someone is pulling my chain because of the english being used. I also find it very interesting.
 

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Ciao Scossa... di dove sei? (quale citta')

Between the fact that it's been so long since I lived in Italy (Milano) that it gives me a headache to try to write in Italian and because it's an American board, I'll behave and not try to practice my Italian for the rest of the post.

Opel should have an e-flex vehicle for sale in Europe in the not too distant future, though if it's like the Volt it'll be between the size of an Astra and a Vectra... still a fairly large car for Europe.

One of the reasons the Prius is a darling of the fuel-economy set here is that we don't have many good diesels. Without companies making high-quality diesel engines like those from Fiat and VW (and perversely, Ford of Europe and Opel (GM)) no one was lobbying for lower taxes on diesel here, and as you already realize, fuel was absurdly cheap here for decades compared to its price in Europe. There isn't the same highly economical competition for the Prius that there is in Italy.

When I lived in Milano, I bought an old Fiat Tipo. I bought the 2.0, which some of the American readers will be shocked to learn was the "big" engine in a Golf-sized 5-door car, which was essentially a "family car" there. I bought it because I didn't have to drive a lot... I took the Metro to work. The 2.0 was so much cheaper than all the 1.4s people were selling, and it was in perfect condition, I just couldn't save enough money on gas to make it worth buying the more economical engine. This is backwards from the case in the US, no one wants the car with the small engine.

The problem I would've had with a car like the Volt in Milano is that I didn't have a box (a garage in "American") and lived in an apartment... I wouldn't have had a convenient place to plug it in to charge. I'm sure of this, because it had an electrical problem and I occasionally had to charge the battery. I bought a 20-meter extension cord at Brico and ran it down the wall of the building and across the sidewalk when the battery was dead!
 

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I think you hit the nail on the head why the Prius has such a zombie-like following in the U.S. There just aren't that many good diesel car options in the U.S. Now that the Jetta TDI has come out for '09, we will have a few more options, and supposedly in 2010, we'll have a lot more diesel models available.

I don't think it's a coincidence that GM will be selling an E-Flex Opel in Europe. Besides the high cost of fuel, a lot of urban centers (London, for one) is essentially banning conventional cars from the downtown area.
 

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I am bewildered by the success the Prius is enjoying in the US and Japan and by the interest other similar Hybrids are raising over there. They are crap from my point of view.
Welcome to the forum!

To answer the question about the Prius, it is because it is the highest fuel mileage car available to buyers in the US. I can't speak to the Japanese market. The Opel you have is not available to us, nor will it ever be due to the fact that it doesn't meet our smog, or pollution control standards. It also does not meet our safety standards either. In addition, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, which causes diesel powered cars to not be very competitive when comparing operating costs.

I can hardly believe that I am reading that an Italian is saying that design doesn't matter!! Practicality and function is more important?!! Are you sure you're not German or Swedish... maybe Japanese??!
 

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dav8or, you've obviously never seen a Fiat Multipla... or a Panda for that matter, if you're surprised that there are Italian cars that are more about function than form. The other difference Americans can't quite grasp is that many Italian families (and families in other countries in Europe) can only afford one car... so it needs to do it all. That's why the hatchback is king.
 

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dav8or, you've obviously never seen a Fiat Multipla... or a Panda for that matter, if you're surprised that there are Italian cars that are more about function than form. The other difference Americans can't quite grasp is that many Italian families (and families in other countries in Europe) can only afford one car... so it needs to do it all. That's why the hatchback is king.
Actually I have seen those cars. I've driven through Europe twice and have traveled most of Northern Italy by car. I know they have their share of goofy and boring cars. It was kind of a joke. Most of the Italians I have personally known are just so passionate about everything in life and design is one of those things they do very well. Their furniture, their suits and clothes, industrial design, their motorcycles, their airplanes, and a lot (but not all) of their cars are fantastic! If there is one place in Europe where they really understand how important design is on everyday life, it's Italy.

I also am fully aware of the typical European family's situation. It's one of the reasons I believe we should prevent the United States from being pushed towards just another nation trying to join the EU. I am a big fan personally of the hatchback, but even more so of the wagon. The wagon is what most people really want, it's just about the packaging. Here in the States, to sell a wagon, it has to be built like a truck and called an SUV, but that's all an SUV is, a big ol' wagon. I would love to see a wagon revival here in the states.

Once upon a time, not to long ago, you could walk into a Chevy dealer and pick a car and you had a choice of two door, four door, convertible or a wagon. Sometimes even a pick up! Now it's pretty much just a four door sedan or nothing. IMO, this is why the car has waned in public favor. No choices and very uninspiring. If not for the brilliant drive train, the Volt would be continuing this trend.
 

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Well, you're preaching to the choir about wagons... I've purchased only a single sedan in my entire life, and that was because the hatchback version was only available as a 3-door in the US, while you could get a 5-door version elsewhere. My current Subaru Wagon is the best car I've ever owned (at least in its first 55k miles or so, time will tell but it promises to continue to win that category.)

I never really understood the American wagon hatred... we had a station wagon when I was little (though a relatively small one, the AMC Hornet Sportabout... white, with blue plastic seats and a straight 6 with a 3-spd column-shift manual... great car for YEARS.) I never thought of it as dorky or uncool... if we weren't traveling far enough to be schlepping luggage, I could get in the way-back to escape my EvilOlderSister (this was before seatbelt use was common, mind you.) When we were traveling, the ice chest was always packed just behind the back seat to drinks and snacks were within reach, and plenty of crap could fit in the back before you thought about using the roof rack.

Branding of wagons as "uncool" gave us the minivan. I think about 10 minutes after the first consumer bought the first minivan, it was branded as uncool, but no one stopped to consider how much cooler the wagon was than the minivan, and the onslaught had begun. From the minivan the next step in "convenient cargo/family hauling" without feeling like your neighbor thought you were a dork was the stupid SUV. Growing up in northeast Texas, the SUV wasn't a new thing to me, it was just stupid. High cg, heavy, slow, dull... why would anyone want one if you didn't really need it? I just have to add it to the list of things people do that I fail to understand.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ciao Scossa... di dove sei? (quale citta')

Between the fact that it's been so long since I lived in Italy (Milano) that it gives me a headache to try to write in Italian and because it's an American board, I'll behave and not try to practice my Italian for the rest of the post.
Ciao GearheadGeek! Your Italian seems to still be very good :)
I am from Pescara in Abruzzo, on the Adriatic coast.

Opel should have an e-flex vehicle for sale in Europe in the not too distant future, though if it's like the Volt it'll be between the size of an Astra and a Vectra... still a fairly large car for Europe.
Yes I have read about Opel's "version" of the Volt and I really hope it will be smaller than the Volt. The Volt is still going to be sold in Europe, anyway.

One of the reasons the Prius is a darling of the fuel-economy set here is that we don't have many good diesels. Without companies making high-quality diesel engines like those from Fiat and VW (and perversely, Ford of Europe and Opel (GM)) no one was lobbying for lower taxes on diesel here, and as you already realize, fuel was absurdly cheap here for decades compared to its price in Europe. There isn't the same highly economical competition for the Prius that there is in Italy.
Yes a real pity and hard to understand...
My Corsa has a FIAT diesel engine (4 cylinders, 1.3 liter, common rail direct fuel injection, turbocharged) and other Opel/Vauxhall/Chevy models have FIAT and VM Motori (another Italian firm) diesel engines but AFAIK Ford Europe does develop its own diesels...

When I lived in Milano, I bought an old Fiat Tipo. I bought the 2.0, which some of the American readers will be shocked to learn was the "big" engine in a Golf-sized 5-door car, which was essentially a "family car" there. I bought it because I didn't have to drive a lot... I took the Metro to work. The 2.0 was so much cheaper than all the 1.4s people were selling, and it was in perfect condition, I just couldn't save enough money on gas to make it worth buying the more economical engine. This is backwards from the case in the US, no one wants the car with the small engine.
Yes, over here smaller cars and smaller engines keep their value much better than bigger cars and bigger engines! :)
And benzina (gasoline/petrol) cars lose their value much quicker than diesels... (which are also pretty tougher and last longer than gasoline engines)

The problem I would've had with a car like the Volt in Milano is that I didn't have a box (a garage in "American") and lived in an apartment... I wouldn't have had a convenient place to plug it in to charge. I'm sure of this, because it had an electrical problem and I occasionally had to charge the battery. I bought a 20-meter extension cord at Brico and ran it down the wall of the building and across the sidewalk when the battery was dead!
Since the Volt and cars like it will have their own chargers built-in the infrastructure needed is just a standard socket. I'm sure that as people start adopting this new technology sockets will be quickly made available everywhere.
 

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High cg, heavy, slow, dull... why would anyone want one if you didn't really need it? I just have to add it to the list of things people do that I fail to understand.
I don't fully understand it and I am married to one. My wife has owned two Hatchbacks and two wagons. When it came time for the next car, we went shopping and I was trying to nudge her in the direction of the Mazda 6 wagon, she finally turned to me and said; "The thought of driving another wagon for the next ten years makes me sick!" After that I let the wagon idea go. It's her car, her money and her choice. At this time the Toyota FJ Cruiser was getting ready for production and she fell in love with it. I told her to join a forum so that she could be informed and have a crack at the first one. As soon as they hit the American shores she was driving one of the first ones in the country. She still loves it dearly. I call it the Lumber Wagon. At least it has a 6 speed, but I would hate driving it every day like she does.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think you hit the nail on the head why the Prius has such a zombie-like following in the U.S. There just aren't that many good diesel car options in the U.S. Now that the Jetta TDI has come out for '09, we will have a few more options, and supposedly in 2010, we'll have a lot more diesel models available.
That's the part I can't fathom.
Until little more than 10 years ago few people in Europe were driving diesels, only those who made very high mileages per year.
Diesels were taxed much more than gasoline cars (the road tax was 4-5 times that of gasoline cars) and paid higher insurance fees.
Diesels were slower, noisy, dirty, with more vibrations and if not perfectly tuned they emitted black smoke.
Then in 1997 FIAT came out with the Alfa Romeo 156 JTD with the revolutionary Common Rail Direct Fuel Injection system which was invented by a German in the 60s and later adopted on most heavy commercial vehicles (trucks etc). FIAT researched and developed it and substituted the original mechanical control system with a fully integrated engine control unit which controls each single injector electronically and monitor and regulate every parameter of the engine.
The results were spectacular, the diesel engine became powerful, quiet, smooth, clean and even more fuel efficient!
Less than a year later Mercedes followed with their own common rail model and then everyone else did. It was at this point that European laws changed and the adoption of the diesel became widespread. Today and since a few years already, most of the cars (in every market segment!) sold over here are diesels.
The thing which I don't understand is why the US didn't mirror Europe's evolution ten years ago!!

I don't think it's a coincidence that GM will be selling an E-Flex Opel in Europe. Besides the high cost of fuel, a lot of urban centers (London, for one) is essentially banning conventional cars from the downtown area.
Same goes for Milan, for example. They have set up the same system of fees and passes to access the city center. Rome is planning to do the same too...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Welcome to the forum!
Grazie! :)

To answer the question about the Prius, it is because it is the highest fuel mileage car available to buyers in the US. I can't speak to the Japanese market. The Opel you have is not available to us, nor will it ever be due to the fact that it doesn't meet our smog, or pollution control standards.
That's just because they are especially set up so to make life difficult for diesels!
The five main emissions for petrol and diesel cars are Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Hydrocarbons and Particulates.
Of these five, a diesel car is better than a gasoline car in 3 of them, about the same in 1, and worse in 1!!
EU laws have different pollution limits for gasoline and diesel cars to account for these differences while the US laws absurdly treat both types the same applying what practically are the EU limits for gasoline engines to both gasoline and diesels engine!! If they applied the EU limits for diesel cars for both diesels and gasoline engines, gasoline cars couldn't be sold in the US!
DIESELS ARE, ON THE WHOLE, CLEANER THAN GASOLINE CARS.

It also does not meet our safety standards either.
Not true. The only significant difference between our safety standards is that in the US the law requires protection for passengers not wearing seat belts (whose use is compulsory everywhere in the EU) and that creates problems for the smaller (shorter) cars. Cars like mine (4 meters long) don't have any problem. Even the Smart, a microcar, could be sold in the US after it was lengthened a little (it is 2,70 meter!!).
Anyway, in Europe there are extremely fuel efficient diesel cars in ALL segments of the market (big and very big sizes, luxury, off-road and sporty ones included) with a very long list of makers and models. 90% of those could be imported without much more changes than the writings on the speedometer and odometer and the color of the turning lights' covers... :)

In addition, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, which causes diesel powered cars to not be very competitive when comparing operating costs.
From the EIA (US govt official energy statistics) website's data for mid september 2008 seems that diesel costs on average just 18.8 cents more per gallon in the US, that's around 5% more and diesels would be competitive even at around 25% spread!
Also, diesel engines are tougher and longer lasting (not to mention being more pleasurable to drive) than gasoline engines.
Anyway, there isn't any practical reason why diesel should cost significantly more than gasoline since the cost of the crude input to obtain diesel is LESS than that to obtain gasoline and the refining costs are only slightly more.

I can hardly believe that I am reading that an Italian is saying that design doesn't matter!! Practicality and function is more important?!! Are you sure you're not German or Swedish... maybe Japanese??!
Nope, my wife is 25% Japanese but I am 100% Italian... :)
BTW, on the Italian boards the reaction to the Volt's looks is very positive. Most of the people there didn't know the concept car and so are (RIGHTLY) treating the car as a family car whereas I think that most people here criticizing the looks of the Volt are (WRONGLY) comparing it to sport cars...
I have asked (and nobody answered...) where are, in the US market, all these American or (even worse) Japanese sedans better looking than the Volt????

I LOVE the Volt's looks but I would buy it even if it looked exactly like the Prius (which I don't like). Being freed by the crazy European prices for fuel is, today, definitely more important to me (and many others) than looks...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The other difference Americans can't quite grasp is that many Italian families (and families in other countries in Europe) can only afford one car... so it needs to do it all. That's why the hatchback is king.
Ahem... no :)

Italy has the highest number of cars per population in the world! :p

To be precise, it's in third place bu the first 2 are the Principality of Monaco and Iceland, very small states with a very small population (they have respectively 23,000 cars and 180,000 cars while Italy had last year 35,297,600 circulating cars...).

Maybe you have got that idea by staying in Milano, where, thanks to a very good and very cheap integrated public trasportation system (and very congested traffic...) the people residing in the metropolitan area can do with less cars per family than people living farther from the major cities.
In Milano (and the same goes for the other big cities) an integrated ticket costing 1 euro allows you to travel on all the trams and buses for 75 minutes plus 1 trip on the subway (line switching included).
There are weekly, monthly and yearly discounts plus even cheaper passes for students, the elderly and those with disabilities.
Public trasportation is heavily subsidized (like many other things...) in Italy and that's why I think there will be strong subsidies and incentives for truly revolutionary "green" cars like the Volt (there already are some, for example they can enter Milan's city center without paying, can use special lanes wherever there are, don't pay any road tax, get a € 2000 sticker price discount, can run on the days where there are traffic restrictions -due to alarm levels of pollution- based on the number of the license plates etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I also am fully aware of the typical European family's situation. It's one of the reasons I believe we should prevent the United States from being pushed towards just another nation trying to join the EU.
Definitely. Most Americans (and, on the flip side of the coin, most Europeans...) really don't know how good you have it in the USA...

I am a big fan personally of the hatchback
The reason they are so popular here is that our countries are much more densely populated, we have narrower roads and overcongested cities (and parking is a nightmare) so the best selling sectors of the European market are for cars SMALLER than the Prius (it's not considered a "compact" over here, it's a medium sized car) but the important point to make is that we are not giving up any comfort for that!
A couple of examples: my car is long exactly 4 meters versus the Prius' 4,45 (so 45 cms shorter, 17.7 inches) but it's the same width (actually my car is 1 cm larger than the Prius)! My wife's car is a diesel FIAT 500 (I LOVE this car's looks! :) ) which is 3,55 meters long so 90 cms (3 feet) shorter than the Prius but only 6 cms (2.3 inches) narrower!

There are Prius sized diesel cars and bigger and much bigger diesel cars but few people NEED them.
As a matter of fact, I hope that the Opel version of the Volt will be at least half a meter shorter because for most of the people big cars are a huge negative here! Considering that (exactly like in the US) most of the time there are only 1 or 2 people in the car what do you do with the bigger trunk (that's where most of the cut is usually made)? And, above all, what are the long hoods for??

With the hacthback design you make up for a significant part of capacity lost cutting the boot and, above all, the cargo space and modularity is dramatically improved and with 2 or 3 (thanks to asymmetric reclining back seats) people on board you can carry things bigger than what you could with much longer non-hatchback cars with a boot.
For example, in my "small" car (heck, even in a Panda!) I can easily carry a washing machine... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
At least it has a 6 speed
That's a pet peeve of mines here in Europe! :)
I have lived for a while in the US and have learned to love automatic cars.
I used to share the idiotic prejudices almost all Europeans have against it but once I tried it I could never go back to stupid manual transmissions! :)
As a matter of fact, once I moved back to Italy and I bought a new car I got mine with the automatic transmission option (it's the "Speedtronic" version of the Corsa) and I know only another 2 people driving automatic cars in my city of 40,000...
I must say that I am converting quite a few people and my brother's girlfriend has bought the automatic version of the new car she was about to buy, a Toyota Aygo (a small city car), after trying my Corsa :)

True, manuals are much more fun but most of the people most of the time are not driving (CANNOT) their cars that way...
Anyway, the Speedtronic transmission (like all the "robotized" transmission, a new breed of automatic transmissions) still has a "sequential" semi-manual mode and, one of the best parts, it consumes LESS fuel than the manual version and much less than the other types of automatic transmissions (CVT, the "classic" viscous ones etc).

I am glad that this stupid European fixation with manual cars will be another one of the things that cars like the Volt will take care of... :D
 

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re: Italians with one car... 'tis true that most of my Italian friends are from the urban areas of Milano and Firenze, so my perspective on that is skewed. And in Milano the car itself isn't the only expense, there's also the fuel to drive it (which you must buy anywhere, of course) and a place to PARK the thing.

I'm sure that robo-manuals (DSG, F1, Cambiocorso, Selespeed... choose your brand name) will eventually be the default transmission, because they offer the ease of use of automatics with the efficiency of a manual. It's at least tolerable, but the old-fashioned automatics with a torque converter bother me. Also, with as many odd little issues as my Tipo had, I was very glad it was a manual! ;) A manual tends to age a bit better than most automatics.

So, a Prius costs as much as the cheapest 159? There's no way on earth I'd choose a Prius over a 159, fuel mileage be damned! (Actually the 159 I'd want starts a little higher... the Sportwagon, and with JTD is higher still, but I'd make the sacrifice to have an Alfa over a Prius.) If the fates are kind, we'll have Alfas in the US again in a few years... and if the US$ stays as low as it is, Alfa may find it cheaper to build them here and ship them to Europe!
 

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diesel

There are a couple reasons that diesel hasn't been properly utilized in the states. First our refineries use a different process; which is geared towards making as much high quality petrol as possible. Retooling all the refineries would be unbelievably expensive. Second people seem to think diesels are still stinky, noisy, and rough running. Maybe 10 or more years ago, but not anymore. Lastly there is about $1 extra in tax applied to over the road diesel compared to petrol making it the more expensive option. The extra cost actually just about directly canceled out the extra energy density the last time I compared prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
There are a couple reasons that diesel hasn't been properly utilized in the states. First our refineries use a different process; which is geared towards making as much high quality petrol as possible. Retooling all the refineries would be unbelievably expensive.
Actually it's not that expensive and the proof is in the fact that US refineries have, in the last few years, been incrementing the percentage of diesel they make. Today they are making about 3 times as much gasoline than diesel but since their profit margins have being squeezed and they have a bigger profit margin on their diesel output (proof that diesel doesn't really cost more, it's is "made to cost" more...) they are now increasing the diesel percentage of their total output.

If the US decide they want to finally embrace diesel, the problem may be another. Diesel in the US is mainly used by heavy commercial trucks (whose diesel engines are much less sophisticated than today's diesel cars' engines) and is of a lower quality than the diesel refined and sold in Europe (for example, ultra-low sulfur diesel is not mandatory in the US until 2010 and its production has started just 2 years ago).

Second people seem to think diesels are still stinky, noisy, and rough running. Maybe 10 or more years ago, but not anymore.
Exactly, all of that is not true anymore since when in 1997 FIAT introduced the latest generation turbocharged and fully integrated electronic controlled common rail direct fuel injection diesels.

Lastly there is about $1 extra in tax applied to over the road diesel compared to petrol making it the more expensive option.
Yes, the problem is that they don't want (for some reason I have no idea about) modern diesels to be sold in the States and via laws and taxes they have ensured that latest generation diesels are practically non-existent in the US...

The extra cost actually just about directly canceled out the extra energy density the last time I compared prices.
Unless the total cost of ownership (I mean added taxes, cost of fuel etc) is around 25% more for diesel cars they are still convenient. In city-only use, it takes about 30% more...

And diesels are still more pleasurable to drive (very much higher torque) and much tougher (last longer).
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I'm sure that robo-manuals (DSG, F1, Cambiocorso, Selespeed... choose your brand name) will eventually be the default transmission, because they offer the ease of use of automatics with the efficiency of a manual.
Exactly, but the problem is that most Europeans don't seem to appreciate (mostly because they have never tried one!) the ease of use and incredible comfort offered by automatic transmission...

The problem is always the same, fuel here has always cost much more than elsewhere so since the first generations automatic cars had much worse fuel consumption than manuals they have never been adopted and people today still have the same prejudices about it...

It's at least tolerable, but the old-fashioned automatics with a torque converter bother me. Also, with as many odd little issues as my Tipo had, I was very glad it was a manual! ;) A manual tends to age a bit better than most automatics.
Electric cars like the Volt will finally mean the end of this age old debate... :D

So, a Prius costs as much as the cheapest 159?
A prius is in Italy € 26,250, the cheapest gasoline 159 is 24,400 and the cheapest diesel 159 is 27,000 (with a slightly better trim level)...

There's no way on earth I'd choose a Prius over a 159, fuel mileage be damned! (Actually the 159 I'd want starts a little higher... the Sportwagon, and with JTD is higher still, but I'd make the sacrifice to have an Alfa over a Prius.) If the fates are kind, we'll have Alfas in the US again in a few years... and if the US$ stays as low as it is, Alfa may find it cheaper to build them here and ship them to Europe!
I too love the looks of the 159! :)

159 fronte.jpg
159 retro.jpg
159 SW.jpg

And at the price of the Prius there are so many damn good looking cars to choose from... :D
 

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And at the price of the Prius there are so many damn good looking cars to choose from... :D
Absolutely! If I lived in Europe, I wouldn't buy a Prius either! Oh... wait, I live in America I didn't buy a Prius. Build that 159 into a E-Flex and I'd jump ship!!
 
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