Real Wheels Live.

Jul 18, 2014

The Washington Post cars columnist Warren Brown and guest Lou Ann Hammond will discuss the auto industry. Plus, they'll give purchase advice to readers.

I am considering the purchase of a new Kia product but have been wondering about wide spread "rumors" that Kia dealers have been telling new owners that they will not honor warranties if customers do not get their oil changed at 3,000 miles despite the manufacturer's claim that it can be changed and still be under warranty at less frequent mileage intervals. Perhaps you can be an automotive Snopes and confirm or deny this information? A formal statement from Kia of America would be very helpful.

Hyundai/Kia,s warranties are a major part of the company's marketing. I doubt seriously that Hyundai?Kia dealers will mess with that.

Good morning Warren and Friends


Carlist and Driving the Nation correspondents drove two hot fun cars this week. 


First was the 2015 Dodge Challenger and the new models 


Four Engines, Eight-speeds and up to 707 Horsepower: Dodge Announces Pricing for Its New 2015 Challenger Model Lineup


As Tim Kuniskis, President and Chief Executive Officer - Dodge Brand, SRT Brand and Head of Fleet Operations, Chrysler Group LLC, told DrivingtheNation, "if you like the vehicles of the past and the fuel economy of today, you'll love these cars" 


Starting later in the third-quarter, Dodge is unleashing the Most Powerful and Fastest Muscle Car ever, along with the most capable and technologically advanced Challenger lineup ever – with a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $26,995


New Challenger R/T Scat Pack features a 6.4-liter HEMI with best-in-class 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque, delivering 0-60 mph in the low 4-second range with up to 25 mpg highway with a starting U.S. MSRP of $38,495


New Challenger SRT 392 delivers 485 horsepower, plus new six-piston front Brembo brakes, 20 x 9.5-inch wide forged wheels, 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, three-mode adaptive suspension and all-new Drive Modes to personally tailor the driving experience with a starting U.S. MSRP of $45,995


America’s most powerful muscle car ever: all-new Challenger SRT with the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat engine, produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque and recently achieved an NHRA-certified 10.8 second quarter mile time (on drag radials), is available with a starting U.S. MSRP of $59,995


The second car was the ultimate driving machine, the BMW 435I convertible. As with any convertible there is less trunk space, as with any BMW the driving was wonderful. I can see why people think BMW owners are jerks on the road, but there is something so sweet and seductive about a car that feels like it takes control of the road, that it will do exactly what you want it to without any strain. 


The starting MSRP is $54,900 but the one I drove was $65,775. Up hill, around sweepers, it is just a lovely handling car. BMW has the i-drive right. 


Lastly, do you see gas prices going back up? Does the Ukraine/Russia Israel/Gaza tension make a difference? 


Let's chat about cars


Like me on facebook


follow me on twitter



Lou Ann Hammond

So Ram has a half ton diesel, Nissan is scheduled their pickup with a Cummins diesel in 2015 and Toyota pickup is scheduled Cummins diesel for 2016. GM is coming out with one in 2016 in their small pickup but not the half ton. How about Ford in the F150? Why have GM and Ford not put diesels in the SUVs?

The car companies will do whatever the market demands. That means Ford will not be left alone in the market without a diesel truck entry.

So GM's going to use its taxpayer-funded rescue from bankruptcy to shield itself from all the liability lawsuits from the negligence committed by the same people, in the same buildings, who are running things now. Okay, Warren, as Wilbon would say: Defend Your Girl.

get over it. you are stuck in yesteryear. the government has given away so much money since then but you hang onto this one crown and glory of yours. 

Barra is doing all she can to make sure this doesn't happen again but she can't let the company go bankrupt again. 

There is no perfect answer for this other than to try to make better cars. I've already said - if I were any car company I would only make cars that had key fobs from now on. GM is not the only car with recalls for this problem. They are not the only car with air bag problems. 

GM is going to have to do what every other company does when they have a major screwup - mea culpa and make it better. 

I do see this as a last chance in some cases, but the public will make that decision. 

What do you think of the new smart cars that were shown this week. What is the all-new dual-clutch transmission?

Smart seems to have worked out unacceptable (to American buyers) transmission problems. But the company might've lost its competitive edge in a market now crowded with good small cars offered at reasonable prices. We'll see.

I'm biased in favor of Audi, which seems to be doing a good job of twinning luxury with common sense. Audi offers more for the money.

Warren, have you driven both cars? Which do you favor and why? Thanks

I have driven the BMW 435i convertible and the Audi 5 convertible and I would favor the BMW 435 for drivability. The car feels like it has a waist that curves when you dance with her, she follows your lead and can stay with you in the rough spots. 

Warren, If you had your choice, would you prefer to live in and drive European cars which appear to be sportier, smaller, and faster, or the US, where cars are generally bigger, more comfortable, arguably safer, but take longer to get to market and are not as diverse? Vince in Vienna

That's a false argument. Not everything in Europe is good. Not everything in the U.S. is bad. It all depends on the product and the price.

I am currently considering the Accord Hybrid and comparing to hybrid versions of Camry and Fusion. Your thoughts? Also, the Accord Hybrids appear to be in short supply. Any knowledge for the lack of production at Honda?

I like all three but would probably buy the fusion energy plug-in hybrid because I can get most of my weekly driving on electricity and I have the ability to plug-in easily at night. 

Is the Honda hybrid just short in your neck of the woods or in California too? California has stricter emission laws and if a car company needs emission credits in one state they may sell more of those cars in that state. 

I am currently considering the Accord Hybrid and comparing to hybrid versions of Camry and Fusion. Your thoughts? Also, the Accord Hybrids appear to be in short supply. Any knowledge for the lack of production at Honda?

Thehybrid sales in the U.S. That means you might catch a break on hybrid availability anfd   Accord Hybrid is a high-demand car globally, which probably is why it is in short supply. Ditto the Ford Fusion, and Camry. But Automotive News currently is reporting a slump in hybrid sales in the U.S. Thaat means you might catch a break on hybrid availability and price.

Hiya Warren and Lou Ann: Have you drive the Audi allroad? How does it compare to the VW Jetta Sportwagen? Or should fix my old clunker and wait till next year and get the VW Passat station wagon? Thanks!

The Audi has a better interior. But I'd still fix my clunker and wait.

oohh tough question. 

I like both the all road and jetta sport wagon and I am sure I would like the passat station wagon as well. 

Because I'm a luxury kind of girl I would instinctively go for the Audi all road. I loved the way that car handled in the mountains. 

The Jetta sport wagon has an almost cult following and I think the resale value would be a little better because of it. 

I would still buy the all road.

Saw a BMW i8 the other day. Incredible styling and it's a hybrid. Unfortunately, out of my price range. I think it's over $130K.

Out of my price range, too. But I might consider the i3.

Lou Ann here: 

out of a lot of people's price range but a beautiful car. 

Last week you mentioned that VW indicated that they will be quicker to introduce their European models to the U.S. markets. Which models are likely to be first, and what will they be focusing on to realize improvements?

VW is pushing all things diesel and turbo.

Lou Ann here:

Here is the piece I put up on my site. Marc Trahan - and Martin Winterkorn - both confirm a B-class suv and, as Warren said - everything diesel.

We thank you all for joining us today. Thank you Angela Wong, Lou Ann Hammond, Ria Manglapus, Michelle Dawson. Be peaceful. Eat lunch.

In This Chat
Warren Brown
Warren Brown has covered the cars industry for The Washington Post since 1982.

On Wheels Archive

Real Wheels Live Q&A Archive
Lou Ann Hammond
Lou Ann Hammond is the founder and owner of the first privately owned automobile website Recently Lou Ann has developed an automotive and energy issues related website,, that covers a broader range of subjects than solely the automotive or the energy industry.
Recent Chats
  • Next: