Kizashi Club

Your Kizashi Owners Club and Forum 

Non-Suzuki related topics. Anything can go here.
 #19167  by Moto
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:56 pm
It gets sort of hard given the situation.

Ron, I have a feeling your blood would boil if you worked where I do. :)

We spend millions and have zero to show for it. 70% or more of the low level staff has moved on to greener pastures while all of the managers have remained. (The ratio of staff to managers is about 1.6 to 2 depending on how you count it) We slowly keep getting contracts and have nobody competent to do the work so the managers just push paper back and forth in meetings for months until the budgets are all spent. At that time they toss a half baked plan together and ask the remaining low level staff to work for free to complete the project.

The project fails --> Low level staff get blamed for subpar work and then the government gives us another contract to keep us floating.

We should have been disbanded long ago or at the very least has a major top down layoff/restructure. Any none government assisted entity with the same problems we have would have failed two years ago.

Speak of the devil. I just got a call with a half baked plan while I was writing this.

The post above may give some indication of my near absents form the site for last few months.
 #19168  by KuroNekko
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:22 pm
Ronzuki wrote:Not the thread for a political discussion....my apologies for getting off-track.


No worries. It was bound to get political and it's obvious we have different ideologies regarding corporate bail-out (at least for the automotive corps for me).

Woodie has his views which are Libertarian, which is fine.
However, I would hate to see American companies get foreign-owned because Americans did not want to help just out of principle.

For example, look at the Brits. Jaguar, Mini, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Rover, MG, Land Rover, and Bentley. ALL are desirable and/or venerable auto companies that scream BRITISH, yet NONE are British owned.

Jaguar and Land Rover are owned by Indian car maker Tata. (Ironic given India was a British colony just a short time ago and now they own two iconic British brands.)

Mini and Rolls Royce are German owned by BMW.

Aston Martin was formerly owned by Ford and now owned in chunk by a non-automotive Italian firm.

MG/Rover is pretty much dead, but the brand rights are Chinese owned. The MG brand is starting to come back as a puppet of a Chinese auto company.

Bentley is owned by the Germans at Volkswagen.

As you can see, it's pretty sad. Not a trend I would want the even larger American auto industry to follow. In contrast, the Germans and Japanese are doing well. They are snatching up their competition or owning each other.
I am quite certain their respective governments make sure the playing ground is in their favor.

I can't think of a German brand owned by a non-German company other than Opel which is really more of a Euro badge for a GM car than a German car.

The Japanese have all bought themselves back from the Americans following the economic crash of 2008 and now are independent (Mazda) or part own each other (Toyota owning part of Subaru).

As China grows more powerful they will have a voracious appetite for American companies. China has already taken over American industry in terms of workforce and manufacturing. Now China is evolving as not only a workforce, but as a massive consumer market. Selling in the BRIC nations (yet not being owned by them) is the future of a successful American, Japanese, German, etc. auto company which will employ their respective people.
However, if the Chinese own the management and control the capital of once large and powerful American companies, then Americana will spiral down very quickly.
Just my opinion.
 #19169  by Ronzuki
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:14 pm
Actually, I have no problem helping out for the greater cause...the problem is these bailouts are not helping the greater cause, only special interests. The wholesale 'sale' of America has been going on far too long, and unfortunately, it's far too late to reverse the trend. PA has attempted to sell the Turnpike to Spain and the lottery to some outfit in England (seems like we're getting desperate aye?). ALL of my customers that are U.S. based are foreign owned companies...ALL of them but one. Their operations here are simply puppet shows. Ever here of Siemens? They are into EVERYTHING...all goes back to the motherland. Thomas & Betts (T&B) was a good old fashioned American company I can remember as far back as grade school...they've recently sold-out to a foreign conglomerate. Even one of the very few and last 'American' industrial control component companies, Allen-Bradley, has the vast majority of their components made all over the world, everywhere but here. Some may think this cold, and I really don't care, but, I have to laugh at commercials on the television asking for my donations to help a starving child in Africa...why on earth would I want to help develop the next dirt cheap labor pool to take even more jobs away from me, my family, friends and other Americans? Yep, you guessed it....industrial circuit breakers made in Africa have hit the shelves. Forget China...they're getting too expensive, India an Asia aren't far behind either. Think twice about those frozen 'beef' patties you buy at Costco or that drive-thru burger from your favorite chain grease joint...I had designed freezer controls for THE largest and fastest patty line I'd ever heard of. Later I came to find out where it was installed...correct again...Africa. Kind of impacts the American cattle ranchers as well I would imagine. Unfortunately we didn't get to actually build these freezer controls, because if was apparently far cheaper to have them built in India and shipped to Africa. So, our tax-paying American technicians out back in our American family owned company's shop missed out on that work. India quality wasn't exactly what you'd call stellar, requiring my customer to deal with the issues from his decision on-site ($$$$$). Somehow that never seems to figure in to the true and actual cost in the end.

Moto...my bloods been boiling badly even before NAFTA was conceived. Any idea how many foreign (non-North American) companies have built plants in Mexico so they can take full advantage of Rock-Star Bill Clinton's massive screw up? Hershey's chocolate even built a plant to send raw product back up here across the boarder...more American jobs lost, not to mention small companies like ours don't get the automation engineering and build work for plants in Mexico either. Apparently, as of late, there's been a bit of danger to their American employees traveling down there and corporate had suspended travel. That's a shame. Needless to say, I no longer purchase any Hershey's Foods products.

Sorry again, just couldn't help myself as I sit here doing nothing but cruising the forums in the middle of the day in the middle of the 'work' week.
 #21630  by KuroNekko
 Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:10 am
I went to another mall today that also had a Tesla showroom. They had two Tesla Model S P85s there except the silver one was a P85+. I follow Tesla news and models quite a bit but never heard of the Plus models. I was informed that these are P85s (top of the line models) with suspension upgrades. While they don't have different shocks (since they are adaptive) the upgrades include the bushings, stabilizer bars, etc. according to the reps. Tesla's website claims the tires are different too (2cm wider) and you get a bit more range from a charge.

Anyhow, the P85+ I sat in had some carbon fiber interior trim and a carbon fiber rear spoiler. It also had grey 21 inch wheels. Overall, a very sleek look and the best looking Model S I've ever seen (I see them about everyday in DC).

The reps in the store were very nice and quite impressed by my knowledge of the car. After all, most people in the showroom were asking herp derp questions like "Where's the engine?" and "What company makes Tesla?"
I was invited to take a test drive because they have a test drive car at the back of the mall. The rep stated that it requires a sign-up ahead of time, but there was no wait on a random day of the week during the day time. The tester is also a P85+; a car that does 0 to 60 in roughly 4 seconds and costs around $100,000.
I will plan on a test drive soon.

Here are some more pics I took today. It shows the interior dash which amazes most people, though personally I'm more impressed with the performance figures and the stunning exterior design though the interior is quite impressive as well. While the materials and amenities are not as refined as a luxury car, the interior is very comfortable and thoughtfully designed.

Tesla will be releasing the Model X next year which will be a SUV with AWD. It will feature 2 motors, one per axle. It is said to be around the Model S in price.

When the rich gobble up the Model S and Model X, the plan is for Tesla to release a Model "G" which will be around 30 to 40k in price. While not the performance EV that the Model S is, it will be a Tesla more people can afford.

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 #42910  by SamirD
 Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:37 am
So it's time to update this thread with something I never expected myself to ever do--test drive a Model S.

This is all my fault as my wife's new job would allow us to save a decent amount each month. She mentioned that with this savings can she buy a Tesla, and I said, as long as we save a good chunk each month, you can get anything you want. Note to any husbands out there--even if you mean it, never, ever say these words or they will come back to haunt you.

So we were looking at new places to live and the cost differences between a public transport commute with suburbial place vs a city place with public transport/car. The suburbial route saved almost a grand a month, so she brought up the Tesla again. I had no idea how expensive these cars were, but my first inclination was that I have no idea how to maintain an electric car besides the usual of brakes, tires, etc, and it could cost us more than the fuel savings in the long run. After a fairly heated argument, she suggested that we just go to a dealership and settle it once and for all. I agreed to go, fully expecting to punch a thousand holes in her theories of efficiency and cost savings.

Well, that's when my bubble was burst. As I stared at the bare chassis on display, I looked for parts that would wear or need replacement that I couldn't do--but there's not much really there! Just the motors, driveshafts, brakes, and tires. No brake fluid, no coolant, no oil, no power steering--none of that. The simplicity of the design intrigued me.

As I spoke more with the staff there and got into technical nitty gritties like how does the brake job differ from a traditional car, I was introduced to a rep that also spent time at a repair facility and was able to answer the hard questions. Lowering the car--can be done since traditional struts and springs. Alignments--the same as a regular car. Maintenance intervals--there are some with some high dollar service appointments, but on par with Mercedes and Porsche (both brands which I have first-hand experience with).

Finally, there was nothing left to do but to set up a test drive. At this point, I'd like to comment on the sales technique. This is NOT the usual car sales approach in the least. Instead, think of pharmaceutical sales reps or even Apple sales people (but Tesla's are better). They want to you understand their product more than buy one. The purchase will come by itself.

As KuroNekko very accurately noted, the build quality material-wise is not necessarily on par with other luxury cars in this price range. I most definitely agree that our Kizashi's leather seats actually have a nicer leather, although I can almost say that the Kizashi's leather is so nice that it exceeds the quality in my Porsche and Merc, so that's maybe an unfair comparison for the non-Kizashi cars, hehe.

But seriously, you can 'like' the feel of these materials but you won't fall in love with them at first touch. But what they are connected to is a different experience completely...

So I was able to test drive a blue p60 awd model s. This is basically a entry level model with awd.

The first thing you have to learn is to unlearn some of the things you've learned about cars driving normal ones. There's no 'starting' the car. There's no 'shifting' of gears. There's no 'ignition' key. This is a bit confusing at first so you just have to sit back and be taught to drive all over again.

The car is always 'on'. You simply 'wake it up' like it's in sleep mode. Gear shifting is done by a level that's like a turn signal. And depending on how you've configured the car, it will either roll forward when your foot is off the brake or it will just sit there. When the car is using regenerative braking, the rear brake lights turn on just like they would on a normal car even though your foot technically isn't on the brake pedal but just off the accelerator. Different, eh? Read on...

So how does it drive? Once you put your foot on the gas, it drives almost like any other car. You adjust the mirrors and press the gas and you move. You release the gas and if regenerative braking feature is enabled, the car begins to 'brake' by regenerating power. It's like like a golf cart, except you do have a traditional brake pedal that actuates traditional brakes as well.

The car is heavy, but no heavier feeling than my dad's 2002 s500. The handling is similar as well, although you can tighten up the steering instantly by choosing one of three settings. It would have been nice to see such a setting for the suspension dampening, but those are pretty expensive systems to have even on luxury cars so I understand Tesla skipping it.

Btw, all settings take effect immediately--no rebooting the car or turning it off and on. I can't recall if I could change everything while driving, but I do remember the steering was adjustable while driving.

So the car comes with Internet access. Yep, that's right. Pull up youtube and pandora and watch videos and listen to your favorite songs for free for life. There's no charge for the Internet at all--no monthly fees, no one-time fees, nothing. Talk about a great feature. It's pretty decently quick too where cell signals are strong. And with the large screen, you literally can have two browsing sessions visible at the same time like a dual monitor setup.

So back to the drive. So the acceleration is what everyone harps about so it was the last thing I wanted to play with. I wanted to feel the car and get a sense of its personality before pushing it. We were able to take it on a highway ramp as well as some smaller streets.

The instrument panel is a fully digital one like on most luxury cars these days. But it has features you probably won't see in the next 10 years on today's cars. I kid you not.

One of them is a real-time display of every other car around you. Yes, it's like that little car that everyone has in the dash now, except there's a shadow of every other car in relation to you and it's all in real time. The car knows where every car is, even if you don't. Freaky and awesome at the same time. And if you think that was cool, it also reads the stripes on the road and shows them in real-time. Yes, the car knows if you're drifting in a lane or too close to the side of the lane, even if you don't.

To the left of this is a very interesting gauge that shows exactly how much power you are using. Imagine a circular version of the Kizahi's instant mph bar guage--except that when you're slowing down using regenerative braking, it goes negative to show exactly how much power you've generated vs used. You think that's a great tool? There's a complete battery history that you can graph to see usage over a period of time. If you want to dive into the numbers of this car, it's all right there.

So after slowly leaving the mall parking lot and accelerating onto the highway, I was introduced to the ultimate cruise control--AutoPilot. This single feature that is available NOW is an order of magnitude in jaw dropping for anyone who's experienced it. It's on the cruise control stalk and activated by pulling on the level twice (vs once for regular adaptive cruise control). Once you do this, you're transplanted to the movie Judge Dredd (with Stallone) and the cars there that had a self-drive feature. The car knows where other cars are, what you set the cruise control speed to, where the lanes are, and just, well, takes it from there. I sat there with my hands in my lap staring at everything working in front of me automatically while my wife laughed hysterically at my complete and utter dazed and dazzled expression. And to take it one step over the edge--hit the turn signal and the car changes lanes--automatically. This alone is the single most revolutionary thing in automotive transportation imo. Not because the car can drive itself--but because it can also correct human errors that can lead to a crash before they even happen. But like all things, when misused, it can also cause crashes as some Tesla owners' experience has proven.

So now that I was familiar with the car, I gave it a hard tug on the steering wheel on a 25mph sharp exit off the freeway. While it did give a slight and expected squeak from all four tires, it still made the turn with absolutely no drama. You couldn't feel any nannys kicking in, nor did you you expect such touring class tires to ever have such grip. Unfortunately, this was the only opportunity I had to test the lateral limits. I would love to autocross the car to fully understand its handling.

But somehow fate handed me another opportunity to briefly push it once more. As we were finishing the back roads and heading back to the freeway, I almost missed the entrance to the freeway as we were entering a 5 way intersection and I got a bit confused. So by the time I knew which turn to take, we were in the middle of the intersection. I stabbed the brakes, gave the wheel a hard left turn, stabbed the gas and then turned hard right and left as we accelerated quickly on the twisty freeway ramp. By the time we got to the freeway, I had to slow down to merge with traffic. For such a large car, it handled the maneuver with grace. For a comparison to those with an awd kizashi, imagine the same handling, but with the car equivalent of 'muffin tops' of weight all around the car making it a bit boaty.

When I got back all I kept doing is saying 'autopilot engaged' every time I could have used it while driving the Kizashi. The Tesla has left the biggest imprint on me of any car I've ever driven--not because of the driving experience, but because of the overall package of the car you're driving. I've driven more fun cars on the driving aspect for sure, but the 'niceities' that the Tesla comes standard with are light-years ahead of anything out there right now. And that's what's sold me.

But then we looked at the prices. Leasing one starts out a whopping $750+/mo. Insurance is the same for a luxury car like a Porsche or Mercedes. Ouch. Unfortunately still a toy for the rich...for now. The new model 3 coming out may just turn the entire automotive industry on its head if it can do all this in a $40k package. I'm a believer now. Can't wait to have one of these someday.
 #42911  by Ronzuki
 Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:32 pm
Excellent recap of your experience Samir. I wonder, would $40k packaged version be as intriguing w/o all of the nifty stuff that would no doubt be removed, especially given that your driving experience of the $750/mo. version was somewhat 'boaty'?

The tracking the road stripe feature made me laugh though. Yeah, there's not too many stripes around where I live. Horseshoes, buggies and steel tractor wheels play hell on those. We're doing pretty good if they can keep a single yellow line visible down the center of the local roads. The state roads, well, they have issues with everything not just line painting.
 #42913  by KuroNekko
 Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:59 pm
I still like the Model S, but it's getting priced out of reach. About every 6 months, Tesla announces a higher spec version and then kills off the lowest spec offering, raising the starting MSRP. The Model S used to start around 60K but now, it's starting in the low 70's. Sure, you get a larger capacity battery and better specs, but it's now prohibitively expensive like an upper crust luxury car. While they probably justify these higher prices because of the upcoming Model 3 which would be around half the price, it's just rather sad to see the Model S getting further and further out of reach.

While I do like Tesla for many reasons, I think the future of EVs will largely be dependent on traditional automakers making more EVs and then eventually switching over completely (decades from now). GM is already selling their Bolt which is a 200+ mile battery EV. Nissan is working on their 2nd gen Leaf. VW is refocusing since the scandal with a huge commitment to EV and electrified powertrains. Toyota has finally conceded to the fact that they also need to get on board with EVs instead of their stubborn adherence to Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Hybrids. Hyundai is coming out with an EV, hybrid, and PHEV soon. Furthermore, it's these traditional automakers that will make all of the transition vehicles that I imagine many consumers will buy before fully switching over to battery EVs. Hybrids, PHEVs, and EREVs will likely get more popular and sold at a rate higher than battery EVs. Personally, it's these kinds of cars I'd want given the low cost battery EV commuting capabilities in addition to the range and travel convenience of an ICE. For these reasons, I don't think I'll be seriously considering any sort of Tesla any time soon. For me, the main reason to get a Tesla is the usable everyday performance, but even then, it's only really good at straight line acceleration to 60 MPH. It weighs as much as a Ford F-150 and is known to suffer on tracks and comparably priced ICE vehicles will outrun it at speeds over 100 MPH.
 #42929  by NiteRider
 Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:15 pm
The AWD variant of the Model 3 will most likely be my next car. Probably sometime in 2019.
 #42992  by SamirD
 Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:04 pm
Ronzuki wrote:Excellent recap of your experience Samir. I wonder, would $40k packaged version be as intriguing w/o all of the nifty stuff that would no doubt be removed, especially given that your driving experience of the $750/mo. version was somewhat 'boaty'?

The tracking the road stripe feature made me laugh though. Yeah, there's not too many stripes around where I live. Horseshoes, buggies and steel tractor wheels play hell on those. We're doing pretty good if they can keep a single yellow line visible down the center of the local roads. The state roads, well, they have issues with everything not just line painting.
That's kinda our plan--hold out for the cheaper version. That would still intrigue me since the tech of the self-drive and ultra safety features are what I'm really interested in vs it be electric or anything else. That would be safety at a whole new level. But by then will the german or japanese companies catch up? It's some serious tech that Tesla has a great lead on, but will the lead evaporate in the next 5 years.

I wonder about the road stripe also in winter as there's nothing but slush and snow and the stripes don't matter as much as the path that's clear. It would be nice to test drive again in winter...maybe that's something that will just have to be done.
 #42994  by SamirD
 Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:12 pm
KuroNekko wrote:I still like the Model S, but it's getting priced out of reach. About every 6 months, Tesla announces a higher spec version and then kills off the lowest spec offering, raising the starting MSRP. The Model S used to start around 60K but now, it's starting in the low 70's. Sure, you get a larger capacity battery and better specs, but it's now prohibitively expensive like an upper crust luxury car. While they probably justify these higher prices because of the upcoming Model 3 which would be around half the price, it's just rather sad to see the Model S getting further and further out of reach.

While I do like Tesla for many reasons, I think the future of EVs will largely be dependent on traditional automakers making more EVs and then eventually switching over completely (decades from now). GM is already selling their Bolt which is a 200+ mile battery EV. Nissan is working on their 2nd gen Leaf. VW is refocusing since the scandal with a huge commitment to EV and electrified powertrains. Toyota has finally conceded to the fact that they also need to get on board with EVs instead of their stubborn adherence to Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Hybrids. Hyundai is coming out with an EV, hybrid, and PHEV soon. Furthermore, it's these traditional automakers that will make all of the transition vehicles that I imagine many consumers will buy before fully switching over to battery EVs. Hybrids, PHEVs, and EREVs will likely get more popular and sold at a rate higher than battery EVs. Personally, it's these kinds of cars I'd want given the low cost battery EV commuting capabilities in addition to the range and travel convenience of an ICE. For these reasons, I don't think I'll be seriously considering any sort of Tesla any time soon. For me, the main reason to get a Tesla is the usable everyday performance, but even then, it's only really good at straight line acceleration to 60 MPH. It weighs as much as a Ford F-150 and is known to suffer on tracks and comparably priced ICE vehicles will outrun it at speeds over 100 MPH.
I think Tesla has finally figured out the niche that the car fits into, and thus is adjusting the prices accordingly. Insurance is on par with top luxury brands like Mercedes, BMW, and Audi as well as lease payments. Maintenance is even on par when you annualize it.

But even at 100k, the car has much more in driving tech than even the most advanced technologies from Mercedes, BMW, Porsche or anything Japanese. The best those brands can offer today is the ability to brake for you and variable cruise control, and that's it. Complete accident avoidance and self-drive capability right now are things that can't even be fathomed. That's what appeals to me about the Model S.

I think it will take more than cost savings to bring EVs to the forefront. I saw an excellent documentary on netflix last night called 'Revenge of the Electric Car' that documented a lot of what happened from 2008-2011 as it happened. Understanding what made the products from that era 'work' in terms of consumer acceptance as well as what's happening today gives you a good idea of what the future might hold.