Episode 671 – EVs in the News, J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, VW TAP Concept

June 24th, 2011 at 11:50am

Runtime 9:01

Lots of news about electric cars. Think, the electric-car company out of Norway, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says the LEAF will be profitable by 2014. And GM just unveiled an electric version of the Beat in India. Ford dropped to 23rd place in J.D. Power’s latest Initial Quality Survey, after being the highest-rated non-luxury brand last year. Volkswagen just demonstrated a semi-autonomous vehicle that it calls the Temporary Auto Pilot, or TAP. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with Derrick Kuzak, the head of all product development at Ford.


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This is Autoline Daily for June 24, 2011. And now, the news.

Lots of news about electric cars today. Some good, some bad. First, the bad. Think, the little electric car company out of Norway that used to be owned by Ford, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Over the last 20 years the company only sold 2,500 electric cars, according to Bloomberg.

GHOSN: LEAF WILL BE PROFITABLE (subscription required)
But that doesn’t phase Carlos Ghosn at Nissan. He tells the Wall Street Journal that the Nissan LEAF will be profitable by 2014 and will become one of the most profitable cars that Nissan sells. Yet, Nissan and Renault have recently delayed plans to open battery manufacturing plants in the United States and France. The companies blame the delay on technical issues.

Meanwhile, Fisker is hiring about 120 employees at its assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware. These are the first engineers, technicians and line workers who will make what Fisker is calling Project Nina at the former General Motors plant that used to make the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The Project Nina car will be an extended-range electric midsize luxury sedan.

And General Motors announced it will demonstrate an electric version of the Chevrolet Beat in India. It uses a 20 kWh battery pack that weighs 270 kilos and powers a 45 kW electric motor. GM says this is part of a program to try and make electric cars more affordable.

Here comes yet another step in the advancement of autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen just demonstrated a vehicle that it calls the Temporary Auto Pilot, or TAP. Think of it as cruise control that also can steer a vehicle. The system can drive up to 80 miles an hour or 130 kilometers an hour. The driver can override the system at any time. TAP consists of radar, camera, and ultrasonic-based sensors supplemented by a laser scanner and an electronic horizon. I keep saying, autonomy is the next big automotive breakthrough.

INTERNET RADIO EXPANDS INTO CARS (subscription required)
But in the short term, internet radio is a biggie. TuneIn, one of the most popular internet radio streaming services, is expanding into automobiles. According to Ward’s, TuneIn, which is already available in 2011 BMW and Mini models in North America, is discussing deals with other auto companies. It’s also the most downloaded paid music app on iTunes. It’s software aggregates more than 50,000 radio stations in 140 countries. You can type in an artist you want to listen to or search by genre on your smartphone or tablet. In BMW’s case, the service is integrated with its iDrive system. However, TuneIn faces tough competition from similar providers as well as satellite radio and customized internet services like Pandora.

J.D. Power just released the latest Initial Quality Survey, which measures problems reported by drivers during the first 90 days of ownership. The big news is what happened to Ford. Last year the automaker was the highest-rated non-luxury brand in the business. Now it’s sitting in 23rd place. Complaints about its MyFord Touch infotainment system in the new Edge and Explorer dragged it down. But it’s not just the blue oval. Across the board grumbling about in-vehicle technology was up 18 percent, and surprisingly so were powertrain problems. Toyota surged in the survey compared to last year and its Lexus division took top honors. Some of the other brands that did extremely well include Honda, Acura and Mercedes-Benz. But be careful people, did Ford’s quality really plummet? No. Just like Toyota’s quality did not plummet the year before. Sometimes these surveys can be like popularity contests.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. Brazil is Chery’s No. 1 overseas market. Sales in the Latin American country are up a staggering 414 percent from 2010, though the numbers are not that big, 13,600 vehicles through May of this year. Even so, I wonder how long the Brazilians will tolerate a flood of Chinese cars. If they’re building them locally, no problem. Otherwise, you can expect Brazil to step in and protect its domestic auto industry.

Ford keeps saying its going to do more to differentiate Lincoln from the Ford brand. But specifically, what are they going to do? We have Derrick Kuzak from Ford coming up after the break.

Derrick Kuzak, the head of all product development at Ford, is my guest on Autoline this week. In the following clip from that show he talks about some of the specific technology that is going to be exclusive to Lincoln.

You can watch that entire interview on our website right now. By the way, in the U.S. and Canadian markets you can find Autoline on a lot of public television stations. We’ve been holding a contest each week this month where people can win a copy of Bob Lutz’s new book, “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters,” by sending a letter to your local public television station requesting that it carry Autoline. And the winner of the last book we have to give away is Amado Arceo III who wrote in to WDCQ in the Flint, Michigan area. Thanks Amado.

We’re almost at the end of today’s show, but one more thing before we go.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

46 Comments to “Episode 671 – EVs in the News, J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey, VW TAP Concept”

  1. Steve Says:

    Your right on both counts. It doesn’t JDP doesn’t NECESSARILY mean you build a bad car. But who outside of the industry or watchers of the industry knows that? And JDP may be something of a popularity contest, but heaven help your sales if you don’t cut it.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Based on the latest JD Power survey, VW should concentrate on cars that fix themselves, instead of driving themselves, perhaps they would do a little better in future surveys.

  3. John Says:

    I think there will be a strong market for Normal and Traditional vehicle controls.

    These Techno-Geeks should keep their hobbies to themselves.

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    So I guess satellite radio isn’t enough? And BMW’s complicated Idrive isn’t complicated enough? WTF……over.I’ve had sat radio for years and it’s just fine,in fact it’s great.There is no shortage of selections/genres etc.So if you want to hear some Neal Younf and your driving a Bimmer is it no longer cool to slip in your favorite cd?Or mp3 player?Now you can type it in?Cool…..and all that while driving.More proof that geeks lack common sense……sigh.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Got news for these idiotic product designers, most kids are plugging in their smart phones/Ipods into their car radios, they don’t bother with Sat radio, HD radio, RADIO. Period Otherwise too busy texting, talking, crashing.

  6. HtG Says:

    All this silicon shtuff is going to be either broken or obsolete by the time these cars are a few years old. And cost a franking fortune to fix. Still, I’ll be happy if Jack the Exec has his in-car-cluster driving for him as he hurtles toward Phil and Tina arguing over the merits of Lady Gaga.

    When I think about VW making cars autonomous at 80mph, that’s when I wish I had become a lawyer.(note to the curious, look into ARM Holdings. They’re at the center of world of chips.)

  7. John Says:

    Investing Time learning these different vehicle software interfaces, is a demand on drivers/buyers Time that they do not want.

    HIDE the Software BEHIND an intuitive knob or control that you can use without taking your eye off the road ahead.

    Don’t put the same screen data on a heads-up display either.

    If you can’t control your marketing department geeks, then make an option with a “geek-port” for them to access the hundreds of pieces of data that a driver does not need to operate a motor vehicle.

    Then vehicle manufacturers won’t be risking the lives of anyone in the path of these distraction filled toys.

    Have vehicle manufactures gotten to the point where they do not recognize common sense and vehicle safety due to driver distractions?

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Every time John says that autonomous vehicles are the future, makes me think he’s not really a car guy, if I want someone to drive me, I’ll take a cab.

  9. HtG Says:

    here’s a scenario for you, Pedro. You’re driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway approaching the apartments. Traffic is bumper to bumper because the Yankees are going around the bases in their wheel chairs. It’s raining. Do you want the computer to handle the fun for you? Well, do you? Car Guy?

  10. len simpson Says:

    Re: Think——oddities have limited appeal. It might be fun to study the purchasers.
    SCI FI long ago predicted autonomous taxicabs , w/no driver.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well I don’t live nor plan to ever visit that area as long as I live, I however do not want some freaking computer driving me across the 7 mile bridge to the Keys or the busy Fl Turnpike heading to Orlando, my PC crashing is enough for me, if I crash I can only blame myself.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like Chevy is taking the right approach to controls on their newer cars. Cruze has controls that are logical and intuitive, and from what I’ve read, the upcoming Sonic will too.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    HTG what ever made you think I lived in the Bronx, my kind are everywhere now it’s not like it was during the West Side Story era!! Tony, Maria and clan.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit are you referring to the lights on the left stalk, the wipers and washer on the right and the cruise and radio on on the wheel? That is one thing that appealed to me about Japanaese cars, no matter what brand or model you got in, you knew right before you got behind the wheel where all the vital controls were.

  15. HtG Says:

    @13 my apologies, Pedro. I thought you once wrote you lived for a time in the NY area. Don’t cut me, amigo.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Used to live in NJ and went to Yankee stadium a few times by subway I could not drive in NY too laid back for that I much prefer a nice quiet nearly empty back road.

  17. HtG Says:

    @16 Pedro, are you trying to tell me that you don’t get a thrill out of dueling it out with cabbies going up 8th avenue? From 18th to 96th with maybe one stop, if you don’t whack a delivery guy. You guys in the middle don’t know what’s good times mean.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have enough to deal with here in sunny So Fla with the distracted, the demented, the delinquents and the ding-bats, thanks anyways.

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The new Sonic got a pretty good report from Autoweek; heads and tails above the Aveo and said it should be competitive in the segment. A little too small for me but might be a player if gas continues to rise.

    John Mc may be right about autonomous vehicles but I don’t think they will get here my life time (I’m 60). So, I’m guessing, they might be an up coming ‘great thing’ but I don’t suspect that they will be the ‘next’ great thing.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @pedro #14
    Yes, what you mentioned, and the simple, user-friendly HAVAC controls.

  21. John Says:

    Re: Free Market vs. Cattle Prod approach

    When did the Free Market business principle of “Find a Need and Fill It” get replaced with a Command and Control Marketing mindset. Did it evolve from federal safety requirements, EPA mandates, California CO2, or CAFE regs?

    So now the Cattle Prod has moved to the dashboard.

    From Motor Trend:

    “Vindicated: MyFord Touch Syncs Ford’s J.D. Power Numbers”

    “Here’s the deal. If you want to change radio stations or the climate control, you need to know certain words. Words that Ford figures an owner ought to learn easily after driving the car for a few days or weeks. Auto pundits’ complaints don’t count, because we don’t drive the Fords long enough to learn the right words.

    Want to change the station? Don’t tell MyFord Touch “change the station.” Tell it “audio. Radio. FM 101.9.” Or something like that. The two- or three- or four-step voice controls remind me of when you call a huge corporation and have to press buttons on your phone through five or 10 prompts before you figure out there’s no way to reach a real human being.

    That’s not the problem with MyFord. The problem is, the redundant non-voice controls have been made hard to use, in order to encourage you to use MyFord Touch. It’s safer, you see. Though it’s not, when you find yourself yelling and swearing at the nice voice-activated lady hiding in your dashboard.


    “The problem is, the redundant non-voice controls have been made hard to use, in order to encourage you to use MyFord Touch. It’s safer, you see.” = “Command and Control” = “Cattle Prod”

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I hope all of the rental car companies will avoid buying these Fords for their fleets.

  23. cwolf Says:

    Alot of pros and cons have been shared about systems like the “MyFord Touch.” But what what I find amusing is that the average “Joe” usually does’nt change radio channels more than a few times during a trip. Since there are at least 6 pre-set buttoms on every radio,why does anyone need to learn a specific lingo to talk to a stupid radio when the stations you most like are at a simple push of a button?
    The same concept holds true for temperature controls. Is it really that important to know that the temp is exactly 67 degrees @ 3 bars of fan speed when a slid mechanism and control knob does the same thing with less effort and prolly more reliable? I,personally don’t want, nor like, my dash board looking like something found in a Boeing aircraft and as confusing. And for future cars that drive themselves; I can only thank God it won’t be in my life time!

    By the way, how did Hyundai do in the rankings?

  24. cwolf Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci: I haven’t read the Sonic review,but I hope it has a good following of those in this niche. Engrs. I use to work with that moved to work on this project stated,themselves, that the interior was better, yet still sub-par. One of the bigger problems,they noted during the developement, was with the control stem/arms on the column breaking. Perhaps items such as these have been corrected.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hyundai 11
    Kia 19

  26. cwolf Says:

    tj: Did you run out on us and allow some runt get the better of you, or did that new GLK break down already and can’t make it home?

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There are a few surprises at the lower end of the JD Powers list, at least to me. Scion is below perennial bottom feeder Land Rover, and just above MINI. Not surprisingly, Dodge, VW, and Jeep are near the bottom. The spread from “industry average” to last place Dodge is not really that great, 107 and 137 problems per 100 cars. Lexus was best at 73 followed by Honda at 86.

  28. cwolf Says:

    Kit: Seems like a many of the complaints were tech. or calibration problems. From what you have read, does Hyundai/Kia follow in this pattern or something more specific?

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I didn’t see any details on Hyundai and Kia, just the numbers. They were bad only when compared to Lexus and Honda. They were one and six “problems,” respectively worse than the 107 ave. per 100 cars.

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That’s a drop on the initial quality Kit, but the Sonata did have those steering “problems” in the beginning.

    I think Hyundai/KIA will have a few problems for a year or so. I can see their growing pains. They need 2-3 additional factories in North America to just keep up with demand.

    It’s almost getting to the point to where they are turning people off, because of inavailability.

    Ford will be fine, that’s if they can get their New World Order Anti Car Police State tech in check. It’s great to have tech in cars, but if it’s going to contribute to the sociopathic control freak agendas of the real rulers of this world, then no.

    If you want to have free cars away from the sociopathic exploits of control freaks then buy Asian, for now.

    We will see how long this lasts, but like I said yesterday we are planning an insurrection, and the car companies better not comply with the evil dooers.

  31. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    We dont want it to get like Hong Kong, where all new cars are now forced by the Chinese government to be mandated to have a government issued tracking device.

    Yes, you have too much control, and if you dont give it up then we will have to burn things to the ground.

    We want:

    - No Drug Tests for Jobs.
    - No Credit Checks for jobs.
    - No Driving Record Checks for Jobs.
    - The end to the war on Terror- WE WANT OUR AIRPORTS BACK!!!
    - The end to Strict EPA standards on air so cars can be able to get better MPG.
    - No Red Light Cameras, Speed Cameras, and a national end to Police department quotas for tickets.
    - We Demand for the TSA to be disbanded.
    - We Demand to Socially Re-engineer America so we can have Diversity everywhere and in every single genre.
    - We want an immediate end to every single war.
    - We want a military futurization (not modernization).




  32. cwolf Says:

    @Smoke: Why don’t you go practice your “Goose-step?” As long as there are creatures like you, abortions will never become illegal!

  33. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    - We Demand every time a Cop uses a tazer or a gun or even puts their hands on a suspect they are given an immediate UNPAID suspension. IF THESE COPS DONT STOP THEIR CRAP AND VERY SOON WE WILL RIOT.

    - We’re tired of the police arresting people, putting their hands on them, breaking their cell phones and camera equippment for taking pictures and filming video of their traffic stops.

    We thought Obama was going to provide this “Change.” There’s no more waiting guys, because there were people ready to riot over Bush, AND I WAS ONE OF THEM.

    Obama or Nobama, revolution and insurrection are inevitable now. The window of opportunity to change is gone.

    If I was a Baby Boomer or even Gen Xer with a boatload of retirement and savings in my bank this is what I would do:

    - Take it all out of the bank because it’s better to lose 30%-50% of it now than 60%-90% of it when it all comes crashing down. MOST OF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO RETIRE. GROW UP, GET THIS IDEA IN YOUR HEAD RIGHT NOW AND GET OVER IT!!!
    - Use that Money and treat myself to a sweet “comfort ride.” Like the car you have been wanting to get, but never wanted to splurge on before.
    - Get my Spritual house in order.
    - Consider a Firearm.
    - 6 months worth of healthy food and clean water for yourself and those you care about.
    - Put the rest in PHYSICAL Silver and Swiss Franks- Gold will not provide safety despite what the ads tell you. The New Currency will be based on Gold, and they will rip you off (no rob you) in exchange. Stop Listening to these advisors who steer you towards Gold/Sivler IRAs, etc… If they give you that advice, RUN!!! RUN AS FAR AND AS YOU CAN AND AS FAST AS YOU CAN FROM THEM!!!
    - You will also need small denominations of silver (coins) to protect yourself from Hyperinflation.
    - Get that house paid off or consider an apartment.

    I tried to warn you, but I guess you wont listen to “the Kids.” I’ve been talking to you guys for a grip now, I care about you. Consider the advice with at least an open mind (tj).

    The economy is not getting better. It’s not going to fixed anytime soon. It’s going to get much much much worse, and we’re not buying the lies and half truthes anymore. So grow up and stop lying to yourselves, and protect yourselves. Please be chartiable too, because it will bring you good luck.

    And leave that: Liberal, Libertarian, Conservative, Moderate crap at home. This is about your future survival as a human being in America in freedom or slavery.

  34. HtG Says:

    Smoke, you definitely want to check into the JFL.

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You guys may think I’ve just gone plain loco, but I have a talent in spotting future trends, and winners and losers.

    That’s why I’m rolling with the Koreans and you’re rolling with whatever else you’re rolling with- except Ford, and small set of brands.

    You Japanese lovers have another thing coming if you think Japan is going to come back- THEY’RE LIKE GM, FORD, AMC, CHRYSLER IN THE 70s THEY DONT HAVE IT, THEY DONT HAVE ANYTHING IN THE TANK- THEY ARE DONE AND THEIR ECONOMY IS DONE TOO. That country is going to be a tragedy as bad or even worse than ours.

    Trust me, most people lack my foresight. I’m always that guy who says, “Do what you want, but ok you’ll be sorry.” Then I’m right, even if it’s works out initially.

    Didnt I say SAAB was cooked 2 years ago? They got a buyer and were initially successful, but the long term forces= SAAB has ZERO chance.

    I think Hydrogen is a pipedream for cars, but not for planes. Nobody will listen to that however, and waste Billions on Hydrogen R&D for cars though.

  36. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The same with these Aftermarket/Tuning companies. Most aftermarket companies will not be able to survive this coming storm, but that’s karma. They had a shitty business model focused on “living for today” and whats “stylish for today.” Instead of what looks nice catered to the customer’s taste and what is going to be a good value for the customer. Their parts were way way overpriced, and they put all of their eggs in the Japanese/German/GM basket- which in the coming storm will be definate recipe for suicide.

    and then had the nerve to treat Korean cars and their drivers like 3rd world refugees.

    Many of the established aftermarket companies will try to jump on the Korean band wagon, but after years of putting juvenile wings, spoilers, crappy fiberglass body kits that fall apart if the wind blows the wrong way, and fart cans on bland Hondas/Acuras, Toyotas/Lexuses, GMs, etc… they will fail. Besides, Most of that stuff just doesnt look right on a Korean car anyway, and others are just so bland whats the point of purchasing them.

    No, no, new aftermarket companies will form to service the Korean and Chinese cars, and I’m trying to form my own. The Koreans would be better served if they financed new Aftermarket companies ran by true grassroots Korean car lovers with new ideas, and who are willing to explore and even screw up from scratch.

    A lot of the companies the Koreans are contracting out for big jobs do good work, but for the small stuff you can tell they aren’t true Korean car lovers in their work.

  37. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    - Small jobs

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    Scion results surprise me, they’re built in Japan, but by a Toyota partner, not Toyota itself.headline in JD Power report read: 2011 Initial car quality declines considerably, this is the kind of news this industry can do without, are they lapsing back into mediocrity?

  39. John Says:

    Is the Ford customer retraining strategy on their complicated vehicle controls a form of Indoctrination ?


  40. John Says:

    Microsoft was famous for this. Get the customer to INVEST HUGE amounts of TIME “learning” their software interface, then they will not want to spend more time relearning a competitors software interface.

    Derrick Kuzak, Group VP, Global Product, Ford stated that Ford wants to upgrade the software in their vehicles on a ongoing six month basis.

    No thanks.

    Maybe the customer “retraining” at the dealership to relearn the vehicle control system is a form of “Classical conditioning”.

    Does Ford really want to treat its customers like “Pavlov’s dogs” ?


  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect Ford did all this electronic crap to try to “one up” their mid-market competitors, and be more like the expensive Germans with their complex, non-intuitive controls.. It would keep me from buying the Fords. I-drive, etc. would also make me less likely to ever buy a used, expensive German car, even though I would like to experience the power trains and chassis performance of the Germans.

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, Scion has never been good- just like Nissan.

    However, the secret Japanese (like the Germans) apply is “Quality by Association.”

    Meaning that, just because it’s a Japanese (or German) car people will assume it’s a quality product when the stats for most of their brands say otherwise.

    If it wasnt for Toyota/Lexus Honda/Acura and Mercedes people would realize the truth that Japanese and German cars as a whole are POS.

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Ask any Nissan/Infiniti or MINI/BMW Owner. They automoatically assume their car is going to be a good product because it’s Japanese or German, when in all reality Nissan/Infiniti and MINI/BMW have been in the Basement of the JD Power Long Term vehicle Dependability Survey for a decade now.

    Outside of myself and most other Korean Car Militants/Activists/Early Adopters, many less visible Korean car owners and the brass at Hyundai/KIA North America still have an undeservedly Humble attitude about their cars, when in all reality they should be a lot less humble.

  44. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Koreans and their owners in Korea areactually starting to gain more confidence now.

    I’m proud of the Koreans and their owners in Korea, but the Americans…… Not so much except for the activists/Militants/Early Adopters.

    You can tell HMA isnt as confident, because of their options packages. Hyundais equippment to most Americans seems sweet, and in a way it is sweet.

    But, if you seen the Hyundais they sell in Korea, and for cheaper prices than what us Americans pay for them they are like WOW!!!

    Korean Accent is much better equipped than even the US Elantra, but that’s a secret they dont tell you here.

    The Europeans get better equipped Hyundais and KIA than Americans get and they still Bitch about it.

    Hyundai/KIA does an “Old Ford” but not totally. Ford offered current day Equippment in Euro cars, and then sent Americans 3rd world quality cars. Hyundai/KIA offers luxury car company features in even the smallest of cars in Korea and Europe now, but sends us cars that are surely better than others in the class but barely premium enough to fit the “upmarket” image.

  45. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Note: Genesis is more expensive in Korea, but Accent at the price it comes here, comes with sweet packaging in Korea for about the same price.

    Speaking about Winners, Chery is a brand to watch. I see some character in that brand- a future Toyota perhaps, but time will tell.
    I’m more bullish about TATA, however. In fact I see another Hyundai in those guys. They have kinks, but a young car company with that much character is going places.

  46. John Says:

    RE: Oil Prices vs. U.S. Consumer Spending vs. QE3 vs. IEA1 …

    Why can’t we just deal directly with the problem of excessive oil speculation ?

    From: Bloomberg.com

    “Oil Falls on Outlook for Slowing Demand; IEA May Release More Stockpiles”
    By Rachel Graham and Ann Koh – Jun 27, 2011 5:26 AM ET

    “The Federal Reserve is unlikely to start a third round of quantitative easing, known as QE3, when a $600 billion purchase program ends this week, Jan Loeys, chief market strategist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., told Susan Li on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.” The world’s biggest crude user may release oil stockpiles to drive prices lower and stimulate consumption instead, he said.

    “Instead of QE3, we have IEA1, which is the release of strategic oil reserves,” Loeys said. The IEA’s decision “is really pushing oil prices down and will provide a good boost to consumption in the second half of this year,” he said. ”

    “Hedge Funds

    Hedge funds cut bullish bets on oil to the lowest level in more than six months. The funds and other large speculators reduced wagers on rising prices by 14 percent in the week ended June 21, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly Commitments of Traders report. Bullish bets have dropped 46 percent from a March 8 record amid disappointing U.S. economic reports on employment and housing. ”