Episode 674 – Ghosn’s Earnings Revealed, EcoBoost Popular in Europe, E-15 Label Introduced

June 29th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:48

Carlos Ghosn, the head of Nissan and Renault, raked in almost $11.5 million dollars last fiscal year, which makes him the highest-paid executive at a Japanese car company. Ford is working to increase capacity at its plant in the United Kingdom that builds four-cylinder EcoBoost engines because demand is so high in Europe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued fuel-pump labels for E-15 – gasoline that’s blended with 15 percent ethanol – which warn consumers not to use E-15 in vehicles older than model year 2001. All that and more, plus guest host Peter De Lorenzo shares his latest compressed auto thoughts in social media speak.

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Welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily, this time for Wednesday, the 29th of June, 2011. I’m Peter De Lorenzo, Commendatore of Renzo Motors and I’m looking to round up a few good auto executives. Or at least that’s what I’ll be doing Thursday night . . . but more on that later. Right now I’m filling in for John McElroy, so let’s get to the news . . . from way downtown, BANG!

E-15 LABEL INTRODUCED
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued fuel-pump labels for E-15 – gasoline that’s blended with 15 percent ethanol. The orange and black labels inform consumers about which vehicles can use E-15 and also warn against using E-15 in vehicles older than model year 2001. This includes motorcycles, watercraft and equipment like lawnmowers and chainsaws.

GM PARTNERS WITH WESTPORT INNOVATIONS
Speaking of fuel, General Motors is teaming up with Canadian company Westport Innovations to develop advanced natural gas engine technology for light-duty vehicles. The two companies will collaborate to develop engine controls as well as emissions and performance strategies.

GHOSN’S EARNINGS REVEALED
In completely unrelated news, Bloomberg reports Carlos Ghosn, the head honcho of Nissan and Renault, raked in some 982 million yen last fiscal year. That’s almost 11 and a half million dollars, which makes him the highest-paid executive at a Japanese car company. I guess it pays to be on top! That figure includes his salary as well as stock options.

JUDGE RULES AGAINST CHRYSLER
Earlier in the year Chrysler sued a Michigan retailer called Pure Detroit for selling t-shirts with the “Imported from Detroit” tagline Chrysler used in its popular Super Bowl commercial. And now the Detroit Free Press reports a judge ruled against Chrysler, which means Pure Detroit can keep on selling t-shirts. The judge says the automaker didn’t prove it would suffer any irreparable harm and that consumers wouldn’t get confused where the shirts are coming from. However, Chrysler says they will continue pursue all avenues to protect the “Imported from Detroit” trademark.

ECOBOOST POPULAR IN EUROPE
Ford’s EcoBoost engines are brilliant. The twin-turbo V-6 in the Taurus SHO, F-150 and other vehicles is superb. The four-cylinder offerings are excellent, too. McElroy’s been raving about them for months. Europeans have noticed Ford’s hard work as well. They’re snapping up EcoBoosted vehicles in record numbers. In fact, the company is working to increase capacity at its Bridgend plant in the United Kingdom. It’s already manufactured 50,000 1.6-liter EcoBoost fours since the engine became available late last year. This powerplant is offered in six vehicles ranging from the Focus to the Galaxy MPV. I can’t wait until these things become more available in the U.S.

FORD WILL CLOSE AUSSIE ENGINE PLANT
In related news, The Australian reports Ford plans to shut down its engine factory in Geelong, Victoria within the next five years. The company decided AGAINST investing some 100 million Australian dollars to upgrade the aging inline-six it builds there. The powerplant WILL NOT meet Euro 5 emissions without expensive changes. The only vehicles that use this engine are the Falcon and the Territory SUV. Without higher volumes the company can’t justify the investment. Imported V-6s and I-4s will pick up the slack. One Ford for better or, in this case, worse.

Coming up, I share my latest compressed auto thoughts in social media speak, and you get to check out our draft contest for a chance to win mega prizes.

Now that the short-attention-span generation has taken over the world and the internet has distilled our daily lives down to a series of talking cat videos, vacuous celebutards and maniacal conspiracy theorists, we are reduced to a day-in, day-out slog made of blips, burps, bites and an occasional cogent thought every, oh, couple hours or so.

So here’s to the minions, the gamers, the coddled and the entitled, the I-don-t-give-a-damn-just-ask-me hordes who want the world broken up in 140 character bits because anything more is just too tedious to contemplate. So here’s a snapshot of the current state of the auto biz in digestible 140 character morsels, just for you.

Enjoy it. Or just watch America’s Got Talent some more and it won’t matter anyway because by then your brain will have truly turned to mush.

Audi: Wins Le Mans for the 10th time in 12 years and their street cars just keep getting hotter. The state of the automotive art right up in here.

BMW: Still builds great stuff (see M3) but their focus? Ugh. Messing with FWD + crossovers? Just build a genuine successor to the 2002 and shut up.

Chrysler: Uh-oh, Sergio’s moving Fiat’s command and control center to Auburn Hills of all places, just don’t tell the Italian politicians or unions.

Ford: Alan Mulally named “2011 Chief Executive of the Year” by his peers. Even executives outside the business know Alan is The Man.

GM: Akerson’s got the bit in his teeth but he has alienated his own troops Big Time. Please get him a copy of “The Penalty of Leadership,” stat.

Hyundai: Pure unbridled automotive ambition, Korean style. And yet, for the most part, they deliver. Every time. Will they make mistakes? Count on it.

Lexus: The Pursuit of Blandtastic Perfection has been costly. When you’re the equivalent of rolling white bread your options become severely limited.

Mercedes-Benz: They still believe the automotive universe revolves around them. The reality? It’s just another car company chasing any niche that sticks.

Nissan: The LEAF won’t save the company (shocker), but 8 percent of the global auto market in six years? Uh, how about no frickin’ chance in hell, Carlos?

Porsche: Cars like the 911 GT3 4.0 and 911 GT2 RS suggest that there’s still enough sports car juice to stay cool with the hard-core faithful. Whew.

Toyota: Chastened and reinvigorated? Or profoundly arrogant and set in its ways? I see signs of both so ask me in twelve months. A giant “we’ll see.”

VW Group: Still on a Dr. Piech-led, double-timed death march toward total world domination – or oblivion – depending on which way you look at it.

So there you have it, folks. The current state of the auto biz (revisited) in 140 character bursts, if you’re into the whole brevity thing that is.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

As I alluded to at the start of the program, in about 19 hours or so I’ll be schooling my fellow wannabe car company owners in how to draft a first rate auto team. Because that’s when we’ll gather to conduct the first annual — we hope — Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft. Tune in and watch me and my brand spanking new car company – Renzo Motors – show my compatriots how it’s done in the big, bad automotive world by cherry-picking the very best talent in the business. Damn it, I feel sorry for those guys, I really do, because they’re not gonna know what hit ‘em by the time I’m through. Oh, it’s ON.

And if you’d like to not only match your wits with us — which shouldn’t be hard — and win some cool prize packages from our friends at Chevy and Hyundai, then go to bitly/autolinecontest and find out where to send your picks and see some of the great stuff you can win. But you’ve got to hurry and get them in before we start the show tomorrow night to qualify.

Again, that’s the first annual Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft. Be there or be somewhere else — preferably on a beach enjoying an umbrelled beverage.

I’m Peter De Lorenzo from Renzo Motors, the home of Epic Machines and Memorable Moments. See you Thursday night.

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

26 Comments to “Episode 674 – Ghosn’s Earnings Revealed, EcoBoost Popular in Europe, E-15 Label Introduced”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Peter, you left out Honda, is this to say that Honda doesn’t matter anymore? BTW I can’t wait for those Ecoboost engines to get old, start breaking down and giving technicians and owners plenty of headaches, and making those used cars that have them drop in price like lead.

  2. HtG Says:

    Hey, who was that guy? He sounded just like the AutoExtremist when I read him online.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    If E15 becomes the norm, what the hell am I to use in my Vibrolla? Is this the govt’s way of forcing people to buy newer cars??

  4. dcars Says:

    Ok here’s something to have some fun. Here are the cars that the Autoline Folks will build with their dream team of executives, the categories in order are: Mini(M)- Sub Compact(SC), Compact(C), Midsize(M), and Large Car(L)
    Peter D Motors: Dodge Viper – Nothing else maters

    David W. Motors: (MS)- Mazda Miata,(C) Mini Copper, (M)Mini ClubMan, (L)Mini Countryman

    John M. Motors: (MS)Honda Fit(SC) (C) Chevy Cruze (M)Hyundai Sonata (L) Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

    Jim H. Motors: (MS)- Toyota Yaris, Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit, Ford KA, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, (C)Chevy Cruze, Toyota Corrola, VW Golf, Ford Focus, Honda Civic (M)- Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibu and the Ford Fusion (L) Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala, Chrysler 300………

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Peter, you seem to really love those Ford turbos, but why? What do they buy you beyond extra complexity? In the case of the V6, at least, they don’t deliver much, if any better fuel economy than naturally aspirated V8′s of similar power.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    In this age of over-complex everything, a simple, uncomplicated, easy to work on engine would be like a breath of fresh air. Maybe even a 4 cyl diesel.

  7. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    Peter,One epic broadcast today. Awesome.!!!!

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In the case of diesels, a turbo is almost a necessity. If you have ever driven an older, non-turbo VW diesel and a TDI, you’ll know what I mean. The old ones were slow, noisy, smoky, and didn’t get as good of fuel economy as the TDI’s that make twice as much power.

    With gas engines, I’m less convinced of the reason for turbos for “non-performance” vehicles. A V8 powered Lexus LS gets better gas mileage than a Lincoln MKS that weighs the same and has similar power. The MKS has AWD, which you can blame for the 5-10% worse gas mileage, so that makes the engines a wash.

    With the two engines in the Chevy Cruze, the 1.8 non-turbo and the 1.4 turbo make the same power, and the turbo gets only slightly better gas mileage. The little turbo is more “pleasant,” though, in its sound and power delivery.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Good show Peter; I don’t have to agree with everything you said, do I? (I’m with you on most though). I will definitely be tuning in to the ‘automotive draft’ (if it’s anything like the sports draft………….seems some of the lower picks end up being the stars though, hmmmm

  10. GPL Says:

    Kit,

    In the F150, the output of the turbo V6 is almost identical to the 6.2L V8 and the tow and payload ratings are identical, but the boosted engine is rated 16/22 mpg vs. the 6.2′s 12/17. That’s an increase of mpg by 33% city and 29% highway. That’s not insignificant.

  11. GPL Says:

    pedro,

    It looks like we’re going to have to scrap all of our pre-2001 for newer ones. I guess we’ll have to replace all of our lawn mowers and string trimmers with electrics.

  12. John Says:

    Re: “General Motors is teaming up with Canadian company Westport Innovations to develop advanced natural gas engine technology for light-duty vehicles.”

    GM, How about a Silverado 1500 or 2500 4WD Bi-Fuel Pick Up and a 2500 Full Size Bi-Fuel work van for contractors.

    Using CNG will put downward market pressure on Oil prices and Oil Speculation, increase consumer disposable income, generate small business jobs, and slowly turn this double dip recession economy around.

    This can not happen fast enough.

    GM , this is a good step in the right direction,

    Thank You.

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Loving the GLK . though you’d like to know . Best dealer experience ever . Sure I paid more for it , but I did with Audi as well and got Bupkiss from them . Genuine Service ! What a change of pace ! PDL you really haven’t a clue what M-B is really all about from your sound byte comment .

    @Kit – # 5 & #8 . Aren’t those two in direct contradiction to your stance in our previous Turbo discussions ? A little logical consistency would be nice .

    @ ( CNG ) John

    You might just want to take the time to read the NYTimes Articles recently on the realities of CNG before you continue on with your endless tirades about the subject

    Here’s just one of many;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/us/27gas.html?scp=4&sq=natural%20gas&st=cse

    Might have a look or two at The Economist as well as the WSJ . Hmmmn .

    Seems all the Hype and Hyperbole about CNG is just that . Hype and Hyperbole . Along with a healthy dose of cow manure !

    Well I’ll leave you all back in the good hands of ( CNG ) John and H/S . Thought I’d just pop in for a visit .

  14. tj Martin Says:

    Ooops . Sorry . Almost forgot .

    A little Fran Lebowitz before I take my leave .

    A paraphrase if I may

    ” The Only Truly Green Car [ cab ] is a Pedestrian ”

    (In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s ill conceived attempt to associate Mz. Lebowitz with the new NYC Green Cabs )

    Ultimately when you think about it that says it all in a nutshell !

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, re.#13,
    I like turbos in cases where they “buy you something.” That seems not to be the case with the Ford turbo vs. the V8 in the Lexus LS, and there is only minimal advantage in the case of the turbo engine in the Cruze.

  16. HtG Says:

    WHA HEY!!!!!!!!!!! tj’s back in town

    Did you see this piece on Lebowitz’ Checker?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/nyregion/fran-lebowitz-in-her-checker-cab-nyc-characters.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=fran%20lebowitz&st=cse

    missed ya tj, hope you drop in more. Too quiet, lately.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @GPL #10,
    It looks like the real competition for the Ford V6 turbo is “other people’s” V8′s. In the case of pickups, the Chevy 5.3 gets only one mpg worse rating, both city and highway, than the Ford turbo. The Ford has a little, but not much more power.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, in the case of airplane turbos, you are able to maintain takeoff power at altitude, which means higher cruising speed. There are tradeoffs, though, in fuel consumption and engine wear, since you are running the engine at a higher CONTINUOUS power setting than a non-turbo version of the same engine.

    Also, tj, return sooner next time.

  19. John Says:

    Thanks for that link. I do not read the NYT, but I really enjoyed the specific “facts” and details like:

    “The e-mails were provided by several people to The Times under the condition that the names of those sending and receiving them would not be used. ”

    When evaluating energy markets with econometric models that create supply and demand graphs, there is always one thing that overrides the best models.

    “A change in Technology”. throws out all previous assumptions and econometric models.

    “Hydraulic Fracturing” is the latest petroleum technology that is a “Game Changer”.

    There are many anti CO2, pro electric car, elements out there that will try to make a lot of noise to undermine the benefits of “Hydraulic Fracturing”, but they can not “un-ring” this bell.

    “Hydraulic Fracturing” will make petroleum and natural gas reserves available that were not cost effective to access before.

    This new technology will go global.

    Here are some facts about “Hydraulic Fracturing” that is here to stay, for those that deal with fact not fear.

    http://www.api.org/policy/exploration/hydraulicfracturing/index.cfm

    Time will tell.

  20. XA351GT Says:

    It seems everyone is high on diesels . Can I ask a stupid question ? Why? Where I live in SE PA diesel is currently $4 @ gallon. Regular gas is $3.57. A $.42 difference or 10 1/2 % . Now does a car with a diesel engine get 10.5% better mileage than it’s gas powered twin? Because it would seem that the limited availability of diesel ( not all stations carry Diesel here)would seem to offset anything other than a really big difference in mileage. Plus that added cost of diesels over their gas twins is also a negative. Can someone point at what moment of ownership that it pays off based on fuel costs and purchase price considerations? This is the reason that hybrid/evs are not going to take off. Not to mention maintainence costs of diesel over gas.

  21. XA351GT Says:

    E15, great another bunch of BS. I’m sure there will be another product out there to counteract the effects of the alcohol on engines that can’t use it. To run my collector car I need premium fuel, lead additive , octane boost,now alcohol blocker. Probably costs me over $5 a gallon because all this horsecrap.

  22. HtG Says:

    X, if you are going to compare gallons of gas and diesel, keep in mind that diesel contains 15% more carbon for burning into CO2. So maybe it should cost more. The ability of a diesel engine to get an added boost out of its higher compression seems to me the only reason to favor it as a national policy. (really though, what a bunch of scrapple. Lighter smaller cars, take fewer trips for milk)

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    XA351GT says:
    ” Now does a car with a diesel engine get 10.5% better mileage than it’s gas powered twin?”

    No, the diesels get 20-50% better, which is most of the appeal of diesel cars. There are only a handful of diesel cars sold in the U.S., some of them, like the BMW 3 series having a too-big diesel for best fuel economy, but even the BMW diesel gets 22% better in Consumer Reports “overall” mileage in real world driving, and 28% better in the EPA highway rating. The VW Golf diesel gets 50% better in CR’s overall rating, and 37% better in EPA highway.

  24. John Says:

    Re: NYT and Natural Gas article

    The New York Times’ Fracking Fail
    By Mark Green | Tuesday 28 June 2011

    “America’s natural gas reserves offer enormous potential both in terms of energy security and economic growth. And America’s natural gas companies are committed to developing these resources responsibly and having a conversation about responsible development. We only wish the Times, and others, were similarly committed to a responsible debate. ”

    http://blog.energytomorrow.org/2011/06/the-new-york-times-fracking-fail.html

  25. XA351GT Says:

    Thanks Kit, that’s what I was wondering. Good info there. Just checked the VW site. The Golf gas is $1100 cheaper than the diesel model, but gets a average of 6MPG less so in 184 gallons of fuel the cost equalizes and then goes in favor of the diesel.

  26. John Says:

    John McElroy agrees.

    Oil’s Price Always Comes Down
    By John McElroy
    WardsAuto.com, Jun 17, 2011 9:02 AM

    “a new drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing is the mother of all game changers. Texas wildcatters figured out a way easily extracting natural gas and oil from shale. Using high pressure water and sand, they fracture the shale, releasing trapped gas.

    As a result, the U.S. has added 100 years of natural gas use (at current rates), and the price of natural gas has fallen to nearly half from its peak in 2008. ”

    “So far, fracking has been done mostly in the U.S., but it soon will spread to the rest of the world. Before this decade is out, we are going to see vast increases in the amount of oil and natural gas available. And this will have enormous implications for the auto industry and policy planners.”

    http://wardsauto.com/commentary/oils_price_down_110616/

    Excellent article John McElroy. Good work.