The Truth About Cars » International The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:03:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » International Piston Slap: When RON met PON…Mon!!! Mon, 25 Feb 2013 12:00:46 +0000

Brian writes:

Hola! First off, love the site, long time listener, first time caller. I recently had the amazing opportunity to act as chauffeur for my good Chilean friend Diego’s road trip through Patagonia. He had access to a little four banger 1998 Daihatsu Feroza (Rocky in the US) but did not know how to drive. So I gladly I wrestled this thing around Southern South America in a circuit of just over 3000 Kilometers that took us south on Chile’s famous Carretera Austral (dirt roads cutting through the Andes) and back north through Argentina’s Route 40 (very similar to route 66 in the US).

Ten days, two ferry rides, a flat tire and a dead battery along the way, but totally worth it for the amazing landscapes we traversed and experienced.

I was surprised to see that at almost every gas station we stopped at in both countries, the lowest grade octane available was 93, which being from the US I assumed was for fickle sports car engines and old ladies who don’t know any better. My question is, is this true of most countries outside the US and what are the benefits of putting high grade gasoline in an econobox?


PS:  Included are two photos of the little green devil, I feel in love with her but unfortunately couldn’t fit her in my suit case on the flight back. So maybe a question for another day is, what is the financial feasibility of purchasing a car in another country instead of renting and then shipping it back to the US after your trip? Auto-tourism?

Sajeev answers:

Well, if I fell in love with my decal-less “16 Valve EFI” Ford Ranger, I can totally relate.  Financial feasibility of shipping cars like that?  None, but importing them as an antique (over 25 years old) is somewhat feasible but still challenging.  Perhaps an update on my imported Ford Sierra is in order. And while a Merkur XR4ti is no substitute for a proper Ford Sierra Ghia 5-door, I’m guessing that isn’t true about the Feroza-Rocky: just get a US-Spec Rocky.

To your other question, a simple answer: regional octane ratings fit under the RON, PON, or MON systems. You didn’t see “our” 93 octane gas, most countries in South America use a different octane rating system. I mentioned this once before to an intrepid Piston Slapper in Pakistan, and the same is true here.  Per Wikipedia:

“Chile: 93, 95 and 97 RON are standard at almost all gas stations thorough Chile. The three types are unleaded.”

So odds are the gas you saw/smelled was closer to “our” 87 octane, not 93 octane. But don’t take my word for it, listen to your fellow TTAC readers:


TTAC Commentator John R writes:

Visiting the parents in Panama and I had to grab a photo of this. Gasoline a bit dearer, but you have choice between 91 and 95(!!!) octane. Diesel is also relatively cheaper…depending where you are Stateside.

Also, as a side note:

Just from driving around US metal is sucking major wind down here. Korea and Japan (in that order for good reason $20k for a Civic basic!) are run it with Peugeot, Fiat and Skoda picking up the scraps…Skoda! The typical luxury suspects are here also but with Cadillac being nonexistent. One wonders if they are even being sold down here. What is a bit more interesting to me is that I see a lot more of the Infiniti EX than the G. The Qashqai is in well represented for good reason – its a real looker. Seriously, I want a Qashqai. If the Rogue didn’t already look homely enough…


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GM CFO Young Named VP for International Operations Mon, 14 Dec 2009 15:00:31 +0000 Another lifer sticks around

For all the criticism that’s been leveled at GM’s finance operation, the firm’s most recent CFOs have yet to pay much of a career price. Previous CFO Fritz Henderson was promoted to the CEO’s spot by the presidential auto task force, and Automotive News [sub] reports that current CFO Ray Young has just been named VP for International Operations. Young’s departure from GM’s finance unit has been something of a foregone conclusion since GM exited bankruptcy, with reports of his imminent departure in the Detroit papers of record going undenied, and a recent acknowledgment that a search was on for his successor. In light of GM CEO Ed Whitacre’s ongoing game of executive whack-a-mole, it was tempting to believe that Young was on his way out, but apparently GM CFOs are pre-sprayed with teflon.

Instead, Young will “lead the International Operations Finance organization, in addition to other international operating responsibilities that will be further clarified in the near term,” according to GM’s statement. With development-leading divisions like Opel and Daewoo gasping for cash, these international operations are now in as much or more trouble than GM’s well-bailed-out US operations. Whitacre may be keeping the GM lifer around with a strict house-cleaning mandate. Meanwhile, at last week’s Fastlane webchat, Whitacre noted that the search for a new CFO was nearing completion, and that Young’s successor could be named within the next several weeks.

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One Percent Of GM China Worth $85m Fri, 04 Dec 2009 16:02:38 +0000 A little more green would have been nice...

Fresh details on GM’s Asian wranglings are coming in, and it seems that SAIC paid The General a mere $85m for the one percent needed to control the joint venture. GM’s Nick Reilly tells the New York Times:

the 51 percent stake would give S.A.I.C. the right to approve the venture’s budget, future plans and senior management. But the venture has a cooperative spirit in which S.A.I.C. has already been able to do so… S.A.I.C. wanted to have a majority stake to consolidate the venture in its financial reporting

Which is about as credible as the conclusion that the Shanghai and India deals are going to provide GM International with a meaningful amount of cash with which to rescue its European and Korean divisions. As it turns out, the Indian deal isn’t going to translate into free cash for GM. GM and SAIC will set up a joint Hong Kong-based investment company, which GM will give its Indian operations and SAIC will fund with $300-$530m, bringing its overall value to $650m.

Reilly explains the value of the India venture thusly to the WSJ:

SAIC’s participation helps GM “defray or share large investment” required for the India push and help the partners achieve results faster, Mr. Reilly said in a conference call with reporters. It also allows GM to market more products in India that had not been “envisaged in our GM-only plan,” particularly ultracheap micro minivans and buses that GM makes with two Chinese partners.

But here’s the rub, as explained by Reilly:

The long-term goal of the Hong Kong investment company will be to expand into other emerging markets. But the initial management structure will be in India, while any expansion into other emerging markets would be managed from G.M.’s Asian headquarters in Shanghai

Though this partnership will not be without its value, the idea that this sale will actually help GM International’s cash position is suspect at best. The $85m for the one percent of SAIC is clear cash, but it doesn’t begin to scratch $413m recently spent on Daewoo’s share offering, let alone the estimated $5b needed to restructure Opel.

So what is the real payoff for GM? Possibly a larger stake in GM-Wuling, although Reilly says “we don’t have anything to announce on that, but SAIC has been very supportive in discussions around that.” The only thing looking like a real benefit from this deal is only hinted at by Reilly:

GM also has been “able to achieve some funding for other activities [in China] from the Chinese banking sector, which would have been difficult to do on our own,”

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