Episode 675 – June Sales Lookin’ Good, State Governors Question CAFE, Toyota Prius v

June 30th, 2011 at 11:41am

Runtime 8:52

June sales in the U.S. market will be announced tomorrow and almost all the analysts are predicting it will be a decent month . . . at least by today’s standards.  Michigan’s new Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, initiated a letter that was sent to regulators in Washington D.C. questioning the proposed 56.2 mile-per-gallon standard.  14 other state leaders followed suit.  Around 85,000 hybrid drivers in California will no longer be able to drive alone in carpool lanes.  All that and more, plus a look at the new Toyota Prius v.


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This is Autoline Daily for the last day of June, 2011. And now, the news.

June sales in the U.S. market will be announced tomorrow and almost all the analysts are predicting it will be a decent month . . . at least by today’s standards. They’re forecasting that sales will come in at an annualized rate of 12 million, up from last month’s 11.8 million. Ford is sticking with its forecast that the year will end up higher than that, somewhere between 13 million and 13.5 million. The forecasters say that Nissan, Chrysler and General Motors will post very-strong increases, and in that order. But Bloomberg reports that sales of trucks and SUVs are very soft, while small car sales are strong.

No matter what figure it ends up at, the U.S. federal government’s upcoming CAFE laws are going to be tough for automakers to meet.  Understandably, the regulations have many folks in the business worried.  And according to the Detroit Free Press, many state governors are concerned as well.  Michigan’s new Republican leader, Rick Snyder, initiated a letter that was sent to regulators in Washington questioning the proposed 56.2 mile-per-gallon standard.  Altogether 15 governors signed on and sent the letter to Capitol Hill.  It calls for reasonable standards that won’t derail the industry’s recovery.  The gang of governors is also concerned about the job losses these stringent rules could cause as well as how they could impact the economy.  Astronomical CAFE numbers like these are going to make new cars even more expensive than they are today.  The Center for Automotive Research pegs the additional per-vehicle cost of a 62 MPG standard at anywhere from $3,700 to $9,000!  Hold on to your wallets, folks!  The future is going to be an expensive place.

One of the perks for owning a hybrid in California is being taken away. According to the Detroit News, around 85,000 hybrid owners will no longer be able to drive alone in carpool lanes. California introduced the incentive back in 2005 in order to get people to buy hybrids, but officials say they’ve met their goals and want to make way for electric vehicles.

Earlier in the week we reported that Holden’s future is in doubt because the Australian government ended incentives for automakers, but Ward’s reports that GM management and government officials met in Washington D.C. in order to mend fences. Both sides came out of the meeting saying it was beneficial and both were optimistic about GM’s future in Australia because it’s an important market for GM. But there were no references to Holden’s chairman Mike Devereux saying the company may no longer build in the country because of political flip-flopping and not receiving funding.

They say that when the check-engine light comes on, you better get ready to write a check. And according to a company called CarMD, which maintains a diagnostic database of trouble codes and repair costs in the U.S. market, the highest-cost states for car repair are in the West, while the lowest tend to be in the Midwest. The most costly states are Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California and Nevada. It says the lowest-cost states are Washington D.C (which, of course, is not a state), Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Repairs range from an average of $421 in Arizona, to a low of $265 in D.C. CarMD analyzed about 80,000 repairs to come up with these numbers.

Coming up next, a quick look at Toyota’s brand-new Prius v.

We all know the phrase “bigger is better.”  Well, Toyota took that conventional wisdom to heart with its Prius hybrid.

The new upsized version of the Prius, known as the “v,” is certainly bigger than the original.  And while more space is its biggest feature, it also delivers some unique Prius touches like the “shark fins” on the headlights that manage airflow and other options.

The Prius v is a whole lot like a regular Prius. It looks like one, it drives like one, except for one big difference.  It’s a whole lot bigger.  It’s longer, it’s wider, it’s taller and it holds over 50 percent more cargo room than a regular Prius.

This additional space comes at a price, the Prius v’s combined fuel economy is 42 MPG, while the standard Prius gets about seven miles per gallon more.  The additional weight, combined with a nearly identical driveline from the regular car also leads to diminished performance from the v, though it’s unlikely many Prius shoppers will be disappointed by their inability to do burn-outs in the grocery store parking lot.

The Prius v is the second in a line of four for the Prius family.  That family will next year grow to include a plug-in electric hybrid and a Prius “c,” which of course stands for “City” and will be a little bit smaller.  For Autoline Daily I’m Andrew Justus.

Tonight’s a big night on Autoline After Hours. It’s the first Automotive Fantasy Draft where we’re picking the top automotive executives for four brand-new car companies that we’re creating. Me, Peter De Lorenzo, Ed Lapham from Automotive News and the irrepressible Jim Hall have created our own car companies and will choose which automotive executives we’d want running our companies. And if you think you can guess who any of us will be choosing, you could win some great prize packages from our friends at Chevy and Hyundai.  Just go to bit.ly/AutolineContest for all the details but you better get your picks in before we go live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time or they won’t count.  And then check out the AAH Draft at our website – AutolineDetroit.tv. And here’s a taste of what it’s all about.

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34 Comments to “Episode 675 – June Sales Lookin’ Good, State Governors Question CAFE, Toyota Prius v”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just how do the feds expect those lofty mpg numbers to be achieved,when even hybrids don’t get there? Poppycock, I tell you!!

  2. HtG Says:

    Why would car repairs be least expensive in the nation’s capitol? To hear my brother in law tell it, there’s two kinds of cars in DC. Those that the owners never touch, and those that mechanics never touch because the owner does all the work. Go to the Autozone in Northwest and you’ll see a parking lot dotted with cars being worked on, and all the empty spots heavily stained from spills. The haves and have nots, meet the free market system.

  3. HtG Says:

    Here’s how I do my part to keep repair bills down. I got a check engine light on the Miata during a particularly humid and wet time. So I went to an internet forum for info. I found out that I could cancel the code if I disconnected the battery, and that the engine’s hesitation could be caused by the spark plug wires having gone bad. So I called my Miata specialist(whom I discovered through the net) to order new OE wires. Problems solved, no dealer or mechanic involved.

  4. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    How do the Fed’s determine these fuel mileage guidelines…..With a Dartboard????????

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    my check engine light in my Vibrola has been on for over 5 yrs, I don’t see any resulting issues. Scanner give codes pointing to the cat but I’ve had it tested and they tell me it’s ok.

  6. ckernzie Says:

    Looking in from the outside I’m continually stunned at how the US government is hell bent on destroying the domestic automobile industry (and the country) through socialist big brother legislation. It’s almost as if the bailouts happened only to keep GM/Chrysler alive so that they can be tortured in some kind of American self-mutilation. PLEASE stop the insanity down there it destroys freedom, affects things outside your borders and favours foreign automakers!
    If you must, raise the gas tax to drive change but stop these suicidal tendencies.

  7. Ron Paris Says:

    No more HOV lane priveleges for hybrids in Calif.? OH NO!! Next thing you know they’ll be taking back the gold stars (bumper stickers) bestowed upon syncophant early adopter Prius drivers by the powers that be in the Golden State. Is there no justice in the world?!

  8. steve Says:

    “but officials say they’ve met their goals and want to make way for electric vehicles.”

    Can’t wait till they get a hold on my medical!

    I was talking with my son the other day, and it occurred to me the people who would migrate to the EPA are the very environmental wacko’s who want to destroy the auto.

    Not that we don’t need to take better care of the planet, we do. But not at the expense of the economy, to the detriment of our way of life. Like Global Warming, it’s more hype than anything.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    We’re sacrificing ourselves here to save the planet while other countries continue destroying it, China and India with pollution of all types, Brazil and other countires killing the rainforest, Japan wiping out the whales, etc

  10. shan Says:

    @HtG, consider yourself luck this time, you will surely be going to the local repair shop with your tail tucked, once you have a real problem. It will happen. a common issue with the Miata is blown head gaskets and front wheel bearings going bad. Good luck on those ;)

  11. HtG Says:

    shan, thanks buddy! Actually, I’ll be going to the Miata Hospital next week for some prophylaxis to the tune of 1G. Timing belt, water pump, tensioners, hoses, fuel filter, etc. 115K miles and going strong, so far. Actually, the engines last and last. Wheel bearings, oh my word, just like on the Civic recently. What shall I do?

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do efforts to wean ourselves away from having the world’s most wasteful fleet of personal vehicles equal “taking away our freedom”? I don’t think CAFE is the way to do it; I’d rather see gradual increases in gas tax, but America’s having about the highest incarceration rate in the world is a more significant loss of freedom, than the possibility that it might cost more to drive a huge vehicle you don’t need.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I personally don’t see why we need to have gas guzzling SUV’s to get around, when a 4 cyl Crossover will do the same w/o much sacrifice, I have been driving 4 cyl cars only most of my life and have never had the “need for speed”, so I guess even when gas was cheap and plentiful I’ve always been environmentally conscious.

  14. John Says:

    @ 6 ckernzie ,

    It has to do with progressives.

    I found someone who gave it some thought back in 2005.


    Friday, April 01, 2005
    Why Do “Progressives” Hate Cars?

    “I say: Control, and environmentalism. If we don’t have cars, we would have to rely on the state for mass transportation. We would mostly live in clustered communities, with a high population density. We would be easier to “herd” in both the physical and sociological sense if we lived cheek by jowl. The government’s costs would be lower, in providing services, and so more services could be provided. Urban communities also use less resources, in terms of oil, steel, rubber, etc.”


    My thought is that the auto industry is being used by progressives to further their agendas and to limit personal freedom for the “collective good”. (theirs not yours)

    Your car is an extension of your personal freedom. (and a great tool to monitor and control you…)

    Command and Control Communism via. CAA, CAFE, NHTSA…Government Regulation.

    Intentional Destruction of the U.S. Economy is another subject. But, the progressives “End Game” is the “Cloward Piven Strategy”.

    That is what you are watching happen now.

  15. HtG Says:

    I pulled Pedro last week, and spoke to a stranger on the road. Riding back to NY from DC on the bus, the gentleman sitting next to me was a commercial pilot, who was into cars. His wife drove a 90′s era big Lincoln with lots of miles on it. Her reason? She liked having that big car around her as protection.

    I can’t blame people for feeling safer in a big car. I do get scared in the Miata, if I’m honest.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re. #14,
    People are stereotyping a lot to say that “progressives hate cars.” I am a progressive, politically, by about any definition used in the US, and I like cars.

  17. Phoenix Mark Says:

    @ pedro,

    Here is Maricopa county (Phoenix and more) you have to get your car emission tested every two years (after the car is 5 years old). Check engine light on = failed test and you can’t license your vehicle.

    I have a 99 Acura TL, the code also pointed to cat, and/or bank 1 exhaust leak, and/or ignition fault. I replace the spark plugs (under $40) problemed solved.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    We used to have inspections here too, got too expensive for state I guess, but in my case what can I do? the scanner says cat converter, the muffler guy says it’s good. One scanner said O2 sensor, changed it, 2 day later engine light on again, replaced the charcoal canister, gas cap, tune-up, fuel filter, still nothing, what’s next? dump the car, because of check engine light, I know of a few people who have same problem and they march on, with no apparent drivability problems.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    The previous Toyota I had also spent the last 4 yrs of its life with a check engine light, not even replacing the engine did any good, I’m starting to think this is a problem with old cars and if you live in an inspection state, you are s—- out of luck!

  20. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > No matter what figure it ends
    > up at, the U.S. federal govern
    > ment’s upcoming CAFE laws
    > are going to be tough for
    > automakers to meet.

    What really annoys me is that the Barack Obama who’s behind demands for 60 miles per gallon CAFE, is the same Barack Obama who’s decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is driving the price of gasoline downward.

    If buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is so serious a matter as to justify 60 miles per gallon CAFE, then why should we desire cheap gas? Let’s face the facts: You can talk until you’re blue in the face about how the world is coming to an end from global warming, but NOBODY is going to buy a small car when gas is cheap, out of eco-altruism. It has never happened. Its never going to happen.

    Recent increases in small car sales are happening because of >$4 per gallon gas prices. If you drive the cost of gasoline down by releasing oil from the Strategic Reserve, you will destroy the only incentive people have to buy small cars or reduce their carbon footprint in other ways.

    So while lower gas prices are convenient for me personally and for everyone else, if carbon dioxide is that big a deal, it would be better for us to let gas be expensive. Or even, make it more expensive via a carbon tax on fossil fuels.

  21. John Says:

    @ Pedro 19,

    The code that the check engine light OBDII computer generates and saves reflects the point of view of the computer.

    There is very often another problem(s) that is(are) causing the computer to generate that code.

    A lot of check engine codes are emission control related. One example is a torn rubber hose that is downstream from the mass air flow sensor can generate a “lean” engine code. First reaction to a lean code would be a lack of fuel, when the problem is too much air.

    Take the code along with the specific vehicle info and search the forums…

    A Toyota mechanic has seen your problem before, but that is how they make their money…

    Good Luck.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    The last couple of mechanics I saw for this basically told me that if the mileage is good, drives ok, no hesitation, no smoke, starts in a jiffy, then just let it be.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro, I’ve heard black electrical tape suggested as a fix for check engine lights, especially on older cars that are running well.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit pray tell: where would this tape go? cover up the check engine light? Or a more technically savvy use for it? I’ve been waiting for the damned bulb to burn out but it won’t.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro, nothing high tech, just to cover up the light. This is not a “recommended” procedure, but for an older car that runs properly, gets the expected gas mileage, and the exhaust doesn’t smell funny…

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe I can get a small happy face to stick over the light.

  27. ckernzie Says:

    The patently failed CAFE legislation reincarnated IS an attack on freedom, on consumers and on the domestic auto industry. Environmental jihadists and finger snap politicians are attacking the auto industry at every turn telling them what should be manufactured and telling us what we should drive or manipulating the market to favour the ‘alternate fuel de jour’ or trendy transportation conveyance with no concern as to what consumers actually need or want. These comrades among us blame the car for everything bad in our society both real and imagined while trying to box us up in their California-esque urban utopian vision that has no relevance for vast swaths of the rest of North America.
    What America really needs is to choose an intelligent progressive fuel tax that would almost immediately reduce the size of nation’s vehicle fleet; reduce dependence on foreign oil; reduce harmful effects on the environment; repair roads & bridges; and promote market driven alternate fuel solutions. Fuel taxation preserves We The Peoples’ freedom to buy whatever vehicle they wish from manufacturers who are not told what to build or import by the government or special interests but by the free market. The economy will adapt and it will be less harmful and more effective than any CAFE style legislation. Coming from a high tax market, believe me the majority of people will choose fuel economy as a primary differentiator without being told by big brother what’s good for them and the manufacturers will cater to that market because that’s where the $$$ is not because of some draconian legislation that favours foreign competition. Please America wake up before it’s too late and you hit the ditch!

  28. Ivan Sears Says:

    The government can “force” the car companies to try to meet the mileage standards, but it cannot force the people to buy them. It is that simple. California’s CARB has tried to “legislate” the impossible for years. And for years, decades even, they have repeatedly had to back off one item after another. And, while I do believe they drove some level of innovation, there are limits to physics. With today’s technology, I am not sure I personally want a vehicle that will actually achieve 56.2 mpg, carry a minimum of 4 adults, etc. Wasn’t that the “smart for4″? Oh, and “smarts” don’t achieve that mileage yet, either. And I wouldn’t have one if it were given to me. Good luck with this Uncle Sam!

  29. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    I watched about 5 minutes (all I could stand) of the Automotive Draft AAH show. I felt like the designated driver at a happy hour party. Hope others had a more positive experience.

  30. HtG Says:

    remember those nerd only parties you didn’t get invited to in high school, Bob in Atlanta?

    Though we did learn that Jim Hall’s brother Bob was the ‘biological father’ of the Miata. Really, he was working at Mazda, where he came up with the idea and evangelized for it.

  31. Alex Kovnat Says:


    You are right on!

  32. shan Says:

    Sound like a O2 sensor that’s bad. If it’s a corolla, check the one in the intake manifold and the one in the exhaust system, near the catalytic convertor.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    ckernzie, Ivan, et. al.
    I agree that CAFE is not the way to get a more efficient vehicle fleet. Gradually increasing fuel taxes over time, in a way that would allow the car companies and drivers to adjust would be much better. Unfortunately, that process should have started about 38 years ago with the first oil embargo, but it obviously didn’t.

    To say that all regulatory action regarding the car industry is ludicrous. How bad would the air have had to get in LA and other cities before car companies would have cleaned up emissions on their own? Pretty bad, I suspect. The auto makers had to be dragged, kicking and screaming all the way, as they cleaned up car exhaust, and guess what? Within a few years, we had cars with clean exhaust, while making more power and using less fuel.

  34. John Says:

    @ Kit 33,

    The problem is we are approaching “diminishing returns” with technology and the limits of the laws of physics.


    My problem is how the “regulatory action”(s) is(are) being used to push a progressive agenda in the name of green, clean air etc.

    Cowards hide behind lies.

    The deception is transparent, arrogant, dishonest, and is destroying peoples incomes and lives in the process.

    These arrogant liars “think” they are more intelligent because they control the media, and have been able to brainwash elements of the population, the “useful idiots”.

    Common sense regulation without the Communist agenda is what is needed.

    The tail will not wag the dog, and there will be a fight when the rest of the population wakes up.

    The liars will lose.