Episode 588 – Jaguar/Bertone Concepts, More Diesels in Europe, New Safety Systems Needed

February 28th, 2011 at 12:06pm

Runtime 8:20

Jaguar along with Italian design firm Bertone is pulling the covers off two concept cars at this week’s Geneva Auto Show. Diesels are making a comeback in the European market where they had been losing market share. Researchers say safety systems in cars need to be specifically engineered to protect obese and older people in crashes. All that and more, plus John compares a Chevy Silverado with a 5.3 liter V-8 versus a Ford F-150 with an EcoBoost V-6.


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This is Autoline Daily for the last day of February in the year they call 2011. And now, the news.

The press days for the Geneva auto show are taking place this week, and Jaguar along with Italian design firm Bertone are pulling the covers off two concept cars. The first one is called the B 99, a compact four-door sedan that’s constructed entirely of hand-made aluminum panels and other premium materials, like soft Italian leather and exotic African wood. Under its long hood the B 99 features a “full-hybrid long-range power system,” but the company gives no specifics as to what that entails. The other car Bertone is showing off is a full GT2 race version of the B 99.

And keeping in the European market for the moment, Fiat is rebadging a number of models from Chrysler to sell as Fiats and Lancias across the continent. In fact, it’s dropping the Chrysler brand-name in Europe all together. So now the Chrysler 300 becomes the Lancia Thema. The Dodge Journey becomes the Fiat Freemont. But Bloomberg reports that analysts in Europe aren’t expecting much in the way of sales. They point out that re-badging efforts have never really gone anywhere and they only expect incremental sales. But, Fiat does get a number of new models out of this that didn’t require any new capital costs.

And there’s a change going on in the European market. Diesels are making a comeback. While diesels are very popular, they had been losing market share. But Ward’s reports that through November of last year diesels grabbed nearly 52 percent of the market, up from 46 percent in recession-crippled 2009. In January they hit nearly 56 percent. As fuel prices go up fuel economy becomes a bigger and bigger issue for motorists. However, the popularity of diesels could change in the near future. Euro 6 emissions regulations require new aftertreatment systems which add significant cost to the engines plus gasoline powerplants keep getting more efficient.

OK, now to China where there seems to be big problems at BYD. It shot into the headlines a couple of years ago when Warren Buffet invested in the company, and when BYD chose Los Angeles as its North American headquarters. The company claimed it would soon start selling electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the United States. But this morning the company’s stock plummeted on the Hong Kong exchange amongst rumors its was laying off half its sales staff. Now China Auto Web reports that BYD only sold 33 of its e6 electric car, and most of them were sold to one of its own subsidiaries. And it only sold 417 of its F3DM plug-in hybrid. Even so, none of this phases the company’s chairman Wang Chuanfu. He sticks to his prediction that the little company will be the biggest in China by 2015 and will become the world’s largest automaker by 2025. I’ve got a word of advice for the Oracle of Omaha: short the stock!

The U.S. population is getting older and heavier and researchers say safety systems in cars need to be specifically engineered to protect them in crashes. According to Ward’s, seatbelts and airbags are being reworked so they can protect the different sizes of obese people as well as older people who are more frail. Seatbelts need to be wider and stronger than they are currently to protect obese people. Look for inflatable ones to be used for this, too. Also, airbags are being worked on that inflate based on occupant size, weight and position. It’s a problem that’s not going away anytime soon, currently over a quarter of the U.S. population is obese and it’s growing at a rate of half a percent every year. And today there are 40 million Americans 65 and older. That number will more than double by 2050.

Lots of telematics news today. First up, GM announced that OnStar more than doubled its subscriber base in China to more than 200,000 users. OnStar began providing service in China in 2009.

In Europe Ford announced it will bring SYNC to the continent starting next year. SYNC will first be offered in the new Ford Focus and the company expects that up to 2 million vehicles will be equipped with it by 2015. The system can perform 10,000 commands in 19 different languages.

And Kia announced it is partnering up with Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, to develop telematic services in Europe. Later this year Kia will offer its version of SYNC called UVO in certain models in North America.

Would you buy a V-6 engine for your full-size crew-cab pickup truck? Or would it have to be a V-8? That is coming up next.

Ford is rolling out its EcoBoost technology across its product line, from some of its smallest cars, up to its full-size pickups. But truck buyers love V-8 engines, and that made me wonder if they’d buy a 3.5-liter V-6, even if has twin turbochargers. So recently I got a chance to test drive a Chevy Silverado with a 5.3-liter V-8 versus a Ford F-150 with an EcoBoost V-6. Both trucks were pulling heavy trailers, and here’s what I found in driving them.

If you want an F-150 with the EcoBoost V-6, Ford will charge you about $750 over the price of the 5.0 liter V-8. I think once people test drive this engine Ford is going to sell more than I would have originally expected.

Don’t forget to tune in to Open Line tonight for some of the best discussion on cars that you can get involved with. Join host Michelle Naranjo tonight starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, on Open Line.

And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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43 Comments to “Episode 588 – Jaguar/Bertone Concepts, More Diesels in Europe, New Safety Systems Needed”

  1. shan Says:

    John,…….Whatever happened to the Hummer brand? Seems to me it would benefit greatly from an innovative engine like the Ford Eco-Boost engine or the upcoming OPOC/Navistar engine. A very bold and aggressive design mated with a greener power-train.

  2. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    While I completely understand the increase in elderly drivers and the needs they have, I think catering to the OBESE is ludicris. Next we have to make adjustments to the safety of a car for tall people or an ethnicity. When does it ever stop. If you’re to fat to get behind the wheel TRY WALKING!! You may lose a few pounds.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Hummer brand died a well-deserved and unceremonious death after the sale to a Chinese outfit fell through. The sooner the existing Hummers, with their 3 foot high bumpers, are off the road, the better it will be for the rest of the road users. The bumpers of Greyhound buses are more friendly to other vehicles and their occupants that H2 bumpers, not to mention those of the few H1′s that were sold.

  4. Dave Says:

    I know people that have Turbo boosted engines in small cars, Speed 3 and HHR SS. They only get about 22 mpgs in city / mixed driving in a small car. Wait until the new ford F-150 owner starts getting into the boost and the thing is very VERY bad mpg. One thing is that when boost goes up the mpg goes down FAST. In the real world I dont think the F150 turbo will get any better mpgs than the V8..may be worse.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    John,comparing a gm 5.3L V8 to a 3.5L ecoBoost with twin turbo’s isn’t exactly a fair comparison.
    The EcoBoost will kick it’s ass everytime.Not that I care but the base numbers aren’t even close.The ecoboost is more like a diesel in it’s flat low rpm torque curves etc.Why did you waste your time with this one?

  6. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    By the way, for you HKAG haters.

    According to Hyundai at it’s 25 years in the US press statement, about 70% of all Hyundais ever made and sold in the US are still on the road today.

    If Im sure about my history, it took the Japanese 30 years to get that far.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Ford turbo is quicker than the Silverado 5.3 in a well-publicized test towing a 9000 pound trailer, but real world gas mileage is hard to come by, so far.

    Of course, towing heavy trailers is the one application where the huge diesels actually make sense in pickup truck. If I were actually using one of the gas trucks for towing 9000 pounds, I think I’d rather have a V8, than a turbo with parts glowing red any time you are climbing a grade. I guess time will tell how well the Ford turbos hold up, over the long term.

  8. Simon Jowett Says:

    Chrysler has not completely withdrawn from Eurpoe. The Chrysler barand will contuinue in the UK and Ireland and is going to be supplemented by Lancia’s rebadged as Chryslers.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’d have to know a lot more of the particulars between the Chevy and Ford to give the nod to either. Final drive ratio, equally equiped, weight differences, ride quality, real world gas mileage, etc. Not saying the Ford wouldn’t still take the top slot but I would need to evaluate the whole package. Plus, I’m a Chevy guy, so guess which one I’d pick anyway. :)

  10. Mike Dale Says:

    If I am not mistaken, the F 150 with the new ecoboost engine is still only at 19 mpg city. There is a long long way to go to 35.5 by 2016. What rabbits still are available to pull from the hat to get to that level of fel economy will be interesting to see. My bet is that we will see a lot of materials engineering being used to take out weight. Now might be the time to buy a Magnesium mine if you have a little spare cash.

  11. JT Lambert Says:

    Remember,any time you pump OXYGEN into or onto something a lot of fuel in used up .In the turbo situation,if the fuel in leaned out ,there will be holes burned in the pistons .Your mirror will look like NASCARs hot rods blowing white smoke out of the rear.So if you’re going to pump oxygen plan on visiting premium grade fuel pumps frequently.They are great up in the mountains,low o2 in the air.

  12. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    American Auto Industry after a Dollar Collapse= Austin, Heally, BMC, JLR, MG, Rover, etc… :D

    Well except FoMoCo and maybe Cadillac, but international forces will suck them up too eventually just like JLR, and MG.

    Hey, We owe the world a ton of money-Trillions that we will never be able to pay back if every American paid 100% of their income in taxes for 35 years.

    Our internaitonal loan officers will be here to pick up our weak companies soon enough.

  13. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Italians are the first collectors in the form of Chrysler.

    Who Knows GM= Guangzhou Motors?


  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ve said it b4 and I’ll say it once more that BYD car they keep showing there is such a carbon copy of the previous gen Corolla that I don’t understand why Toyota’s lawyers haven’t tried to sue them. it’s only fair they send us the crappy Fiat 500 and we send them the almost as crappy Journey. Tit for tat

  15. Mike W Says:

    John -
    The preformance of the Ecoboost Ford V6 over the Chevrolet V8 is certainly one issue, but don’t forget about the better gas mileage with the Eocboost Ford V6, also. I think the Ecoboost system on the Ford V6 is going to be a big problem for Cheverolet and Chevrolet will loose sales to Ford.

  16. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That’s the consequences of a currency collapse- look what happened with the Brit makes after the Pound Sterling ended it’s 200 year reign as the standard bearer of the world in the mid 1970s.

    The Oil crisis hastened the fall of the Sterling, and if say we were to have a Saudi Revolution. Yeah, I can see the consequences of that Hastening the fall of the “Old” US Dollar as the world currency standard.

    Hey, Im warning you guys.

    GM really needs to think of an emergency contingency plan if they really needed to dump: Buick, GMC, and Chevy quickly. The government is definately not going to bail you out either.

    Yeah, tough choices will have to made, and you’re going to have to dump Chevy if push came to shove. Come on, you cant dump Cadillac. Are you kidding me?

    Cadillac- The brand that created the standard operational template for all cars in the world even to this day can not go into the ash bin of history DO YOU HEAR ME!!!

    You keep Cadillac at all costs.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The combined, city, and highway ratings are all one mpg higher for the Ford F150 turbo than the Silverado 5.3. The numbers I looked up are for 2WD versions of both trucks. The numbers are:

    Ford F150 3.5 turbo–16/18/22 city/combined/hwy
    Chevy Silverado 5.3–15/17/21 city/combined/hwy

  18. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Then you can Keep your Holden, Vauxhall, and Opel Stake, and create a new world order brand without name stigma. Without the dealers either(yeah like it our not you’ll have to get rid of say 70% of your dealers). You can treat it like a fresh start company like an import, that’s actually an import as opposed to some hippie company trying to trick people (Saturn).

    That’s the catastrophic scenario, which I think will occur considering the severity of the problem if say America devolves into Yugoslavia 2.0, but I could be proven wrong with the best case scenario (Im willing to accept if I were wrong), and you’ll just have to get rid of Buick and GMC and call it a day.

    It will happen and GM will have to act. The question is how bad. This will happen in say 12-18 months.

  19. Brett Says:

    Turbos improve volumetric efficiency. If you can make a 3.6l V-6 that can outperform a 5.7l V-8 and only use 90-95% as much fuel under full load conditions, I’d say you’ve accomplished an improvement. If it uses 80% as much fuel under normal use, then it’s one heckofa improvement

    Now, if one can go 285,000 without any major engine service like my stepdaughter’s 350 V8 Silverado, it’ll be very impressive indeed.

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The rearend gear ratio for the 5.3L GM is 3:42 with a 6 spd auto.Has the Eaton G-80 auto locker rear diff.

    The 3.5L ecoboost for towing would be either 3:73′s,or 4:10′s.Both could be had with either an open diff,or limited slip.If it is a 4×4 it would then have the electric locker if the off road pkg was ordered,if not what I said above applies to the best of my knowledge……or memory ;}>

  21. SalvadorG. Says:

    1. Is it me or that Jaguar/Bertone looks a little too much like a Merc.?? (a couple of Mercedez actually)

    2. I would love to see the 200pound crash test dummies car manufacturers will start using now, not to mention the old people crash test dummies that cause unintended acceleration.

    3. I never been keen on a car company (in this case -Ford Motors) using another car company vehicle to prove that theirs is better…
    Ford has done this before as I recall, with the Lincoln MKS last year VS the big bad European V8s racing down a mountain. (Sooooo! I smell a Ford Motors rat)

  22. Tom L Says:

    Guess what will be new 2012.
    A VAT tax for good old USA at 15%, to pay off there debt!!!

  23. Phil in Burlington Says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your real world, seat of the pants comparison of the Ford Ecoboost and Chev V8. My thoughts relate to the ecoboost compared to any V8 whether Chevy, Ford or Ram. While acceleration is an important factor, and mileage is only 1 mpg better with the V6 (ie a draw), a typical buyer would also want to consider reliability and maintenance. How expensive is it going to be to service two well used turbo’s (if you tow) compared to a naturally aspirated V8? Would the fact that the V8 is working less to move a trailer the same distance not make it last longer at lower cost in the long run?
    I think that old axiom “there’s no replacement for displacement” may still have some truth to it in this case.

  24. Tom L Says:

    Re: Turbo’s
    I had a 1991 SAAB 4cyl turbo with 260,000kms on it and no turbo problems

  25. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Every American male should at some time in his life own a red pick-up truck with a V-8. Maybe Ford can adapt the “noise-maker” system (to be mandated in electric and strong hybrid vehicles) to mimic the music of a big V-8 in their 6′s.

  26. cwolf Says:

    It might be good for fiat to rebadge chrys. in the European market. If the proper models are chosen,Fiat could increase their reliability and customer satisfaction ratings. But as far as I am concerned,Fiat can keep their cars on the other side of the pond.

    I like the looks of the Jaguar. Its lines have the graceful lines that an older model had that I remember. I’d never buy one,but always thought they looked classy.

    Even with the new system requirements,I hope EU diesel sales continue to rise. Adds a sliver of hope they may become a worth while venture in the US because of the added requirements. I won’t hold my breath though!

    We ALL must be getting tired of learning yet another safety feature just has to be added to our vehicles for safety sake. Now it’s fat people! Phooey!! Will this bull crap ever end?

    John, your truck comparo was a waste of time if you think these truck savvy guys would gain anything from you drive around a go-cart course.But if you had fun, we can understand;I suppose;if we have to;I guess.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With the V6 turbo, you’d have 6 rod bearings, wrist pins, etc. doing the work of 8, but my concern regarding long term reliability would be the turbochargers themselves. They would not be cheap to replace, and the Ford six has two of them.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe the new Euro diesels will meet US specs. If so, we might get more of them in the US.

  29. cwolf Says:

    @ Kit: Didn’t know the Ford had 2 turbos and yes they are not cheap to replace. If it eases you, I spoke to a Ford tech. and to my main mechanic, who has 2 diesel dump trucks. He is also pals with many fellas with the same. Too early to tell about the F150 or SHO turbo,but my friend has only one recollection of turbo trouble(in a dumper), but it was over 10 years old and well beyond its first O/H. Never the less,prolly like you, I’d like to see a bit more historical data.

  30. Alex Kovnat Says:


    We can’t help getting old, but we CAN help getting too fat. Instead of burdening ourselves and our cars with wider and more expensive seat belts, the obese should LOSE WEIGHT! We need for obese 11 year olds to get out from behind their computers and exercize! Not to mention not eating those horrid supersize Big Macs.

  31. Guy, Lakeland, FL Says:

    Hello John, About if the pickup buyers will get a V6… Ford will have to prove a little more reliability in the turbo engines before the pickup buyer will get one. I have a 2010 Ford Flex with the 3.5 V6 Ecoboost and I already have one turbo replaced at 22,000 miles… If I could buy a F-150 I would definitely get the 5.0 V8.

  32. HtG Says:

    Do very fat people benefit from wider seat belts because a wider strap doesn’t squeeze as far into soft flesh when there is a violent deceleration?

  33. jb Says:


    you need to interview mazda engineering on there new euro6 diesel coming to na. mazda claim there euro6 diesel engine will cheaper to produce than euro 5 diesels.


  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Bob in Atlanta Says:
    February 28th, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    “Every American male should at some time in his life own a red pick-up truck with a V-8.”

    I had one, (not red though) because everyone around me had a pickup truck, and I never saw the appeal. I found it to be good for hauling dirty stuff that you don’t mind being stolen, but not so good for clean stuff that you would rather not have stolen. I transport more of the latter. Also, the pickup was a gas hog and didn’t handle very well, compared to a car.

  35. Andrew Charles Says:

    Talking about diesels, Mini does not use the PSA 1.6 anymore—they have a new BMW diesel for the One D and Cooper D and a fwd version of the 2.0 D from the 1-series and 3-series for the Cooper SD.

  36. C-tech Says:

    Many Ford techs are looking forward to the turbo replacement as a way to put their kids through college.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Motorweek spent a whole segment explaining how to take care of a car’s tire press control system. I thought cars were suppose to becoming easier to take care of?

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mini SD.should be cool, if the engine does,t add too much weight up front and compromise handling. It will be pricey, though. I read a 4400 Euro premium over a gas Cooper S.

  39. M Campbell Says:

    Ford does not have a very good track record recently with their truck powerplants, just Google to learn about the spark plug nightmares with the 3 valve engine. The plugs are as likely to shear off in the head as they are to come out.

    For a truck buyer who is as focused on total cost of ownership as they are on capability, that does not do good things their bottom line.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do the plugs used in the Ford engines have a smaller thread diameter than most plugs?

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    This last report on Ford truck engines reaffirms my lack of trust in most of this new-fangled, unproven in the real world, technology that most people are so willing to quickly embrace. Same with turbos, they HAVE ALWAYS had durability and maintenance issues so now all of sudden these problems are in the past, no longer true. BS, I say, gimme an honest-to-goodness simple, proven drive train anyday. ex. I would choose the 1.8 non-turbo Cruze engine over the 1.4 with the turbo and accept the lower mpg and power.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Most techs I’ve spoken to have told me they prefer GM over Ford and Chrysler when it comes to basic engineering and durability issues, and this goes back for as long as I can remember to the 60′s. GM lost a lot of its reputation when they decided to dive too much into FWD.in the 80′s. Before that they ruled in the full size and mid size market.

  43. M Campbell Says:

    @ Kit #40
    Yes. The arrangement of the third valve in the cylinder head necessitated a decrease in the shank size of the plug.