Episode 688 – Ford and Chrysler Q2 Numbers, Waste-Heat Recovery, Toyota in Hybrid Hot Water

July 26th, 2011 at 11:50am

Runtime: 8:34

Ford and Chrysler both reported second-quarter earnings this morning and the results are somewhat mixed.  An innovative new technology developed in Australia allegedly reduces fuel consumption by 7 percent while slashing engine wear by 96 percent.  Toyota is being accused of patent infringement on its hybrids . . . again.  All that and more, plus another power-to-weight comparison, this time with V-6 ponycars.


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This is Autoline Daily for July 26, 2011. Here’s what’s happening in the auto industry right now.

Ford and Chrysler both reported second-quarter earnings this morning, and the results are somewhat mixed. Ford sold 1.5 million vehicles which earned it $35.5 billion, up $4.2 billion from a year ago. But it posted a net profit of $2.4 billion which was down by $201 million. The problem is on the finance side. While the company’s automotive operations boosted their pre-tax profits, its financial services saw its profit drop by $284 million. Ford boosted profits in North America, but dropped ever so slightly in South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company mainly blames higher commodity costs, something we’ve been warning about all year.

Chrysler sold 486,000 vehicles which earned it $13.7 billion, up 30 percent from last year. But it posted a net loss of $370 million. However, that was mainly because the company spent $551 million to pay off the U.S. and Canadian governments. Otherwise, Chrysler would have posted an adjusted net profit of $181 million. And Chrysler’s operating profit was almost three-times higher than a year ago. Not great financial reports, but not bad ones, either.

WASTE-HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEM (subscription required)
Automakers are always looking for ways to make the internal-combustion engine more efficient. One innovative new technology developed in Australia can allegedly reduce consumption by 7 percent while slashing engine wear by 96 percent!  No, it’s not snake oil; it’s a waste-heat recovery system.  Installed in a vehicle’s exhaust system, it’s designed to rapidly bring the engine up to operating temperature by heating the oil. The faster an engine warms up the less fuel it consumes, wear it suffers and emissions it releases.  Reportedly, one automaker has adopted the Over7 waste-heat recovery system as it’s called, and is installing it on its next-generation engines.

Uh-oh, Toyota is being accused of patent infringement on hybrids . . .again.  Bloomberg reports a company called Efficient Drivetrains Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, claims it has an exclusive license to use certain technologies developed at the University of California.  The patents in question deal with how power is drawn from a battery.  Naturally, Toyota denies these claims and is looking for a court ruling declaring it didn’t infringe nothin’. Toyota was also successfully sued by a company called Paice.

Speaking of hybrids, the batteries sure do last a long time. According to Ward’s, Ford  bought back some Escape hybrids equipped with nickel-metal-hydride batteries, including ones used in taxi fleets that accumulated over 250,000 miles. Engineers found that the battery cells still had 85 percent of their original capacity. And of the millions of cells that have gone into all of Ford’s hybrids, only five have failed. The odds of one failing are about the same as a person being struck by lightning.

And speaking of batteries, to help alleviate range anxiety with electric vehicles, AAA announced it will deploy roadside-assistance trucks with the capability to charge EVs. The trucks can provide level-two or level-three charging and will charge depleted EVs in 10 to 15 minutes, which AAA says should provide enough juice to drive three to 15 miles. A pilot program begins this summer across six cities in the U.S., but AAA anticipates offering the service throughout the country in the future.

Coming up next, it’s time for another power-to-weight comparison! This time with ponycars.

As promised, we’re doing more direct power-to-weight comparisons, and the next segment we’ve honed in on is ponycars . . . more specifically, entry-level, V-6-powered ponycars.  We’ll get to the eights later.

We’ve collected vital statistics on the important cars in this segment and optioned them as closely possible.  These are the cheapest SIX-CYLINDER versions available from their respective manufacturers.  No options or extras included.

On the docket we have the Chevrolet Camaro LS, Dodge Challenger SE, Ford Mustang and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec.  All of them are equipped with manual transmissions EXCEPT the Challenger.  It’s auto-only with the V-6 engine.  Also worth noting, the Genesis comes standard with a turbo four-banger.  Getting into a six-cylinder model is a $4,500 price premium.  It’s a rare day when a Hyundai isn’t the best value in a comparison test!

Front and center each car delivers more than 300 horsepower and in this department the 2011 Camaro is No. 1 by a narrow margin, with 312.  As for torque, the Mustang takes top honors narrowly edging out the Chevy with 280 pound-feet.  None of the cars have a big advantage in output; the real deciding factor in this comparison is weight.

Straining the scales at more than 3,800 pounds the Challenger is the biggest, roomiest and consequently heaviest car here.  The Camaro is not far behind.  Mustang and Genesis are featherweights by comparison, clocking in at hundreds of pounds less than the Dodge and Chevy.  Let’s see what that means to the power-to-weight ratios . . . surprisingly, they’re all pretty close.  The Genesis Coupe has the best score with the Mustang right on its heels.  Predictably, the Challenger is the worst off, but again, not by a lot.

The story is much the same when it comes to pounds-per-pound-foot of torque.  Look at those numbers.  Even with six-cylinder engines these cars are performance machines!

As for fuel economy, the Mustang takes the gold, stickering at 19 around town and 29 on the highway.  Amazingly, the Genesis delivers the worst numbers despite being the lightest car in this comparison.  And this just shows you how fast things change in automotive business.

Hit the link in today’s show notes on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, to download an Excel file with even more numbers.  Find out how these machines stack up against each other in a variety of other categories like specific output and pounds per dollar.

Join us on Thursday night for Autoline After Hours. We’ll have Jay Baron, the head of the Center for Automotive Research and Mark Perry from Nissan who is the lead executive on the LEAF in the U.S. market. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the industry.

That’s today’s report, thanks for tuning in.

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

48 Comments to “Episode 688 – Ford and Chrysler Q2 Numbers, Waste-Heat Recovery, Toyota in Hybrid Hot Water”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Followup on yesterday’s I-14 two stroke diesel:

    “Some facts on the 14 cylinder version: Total engine weight: 2300 tons (The crankshaft alone weighs 300 tons.) Length: 89 feet Height: 44 feet Maximum power: 108,920 hp at 102 rpm Maximum torque: 5,608,312 lb/ft at 102 rpm Fuel consumption at maximum power is 0.278 lbs per hp per hour”

  2. LS ford Says:

    Sounds to me, the best AAA assitance you can offer to EV’s might be a flatbed wrecker. 3-15 miles total charge? How much gas does the truck use to generate that much power to only go that far?

    Does not seem that environmentally friendly anymore…..

  3. LS ford Says:

    Maybe a better option for ev cars is removable floor boards? Then you can flint stone it home….

  4. tj Martin Says:

    Long Haul Hybrids ;

    I’ve no clue where FORD is coming up with those statistics on the lifespan of Hybrid ( and E/V ) batteries as the word on the street ( Ford Toyota & Honda mechanics ) is 24 -36 months with 48 being the limit for reliable 100% rechargable batteries .

    Sounds like a bit of hyperbole and wishful thinking on Fords behalf to me ; (

  5. tj Martin Says:

    V6 Pony Cars

    To heck with the statistics on paper , take a look at the stats on track & street .

    There’s only one clear choice . Buy the Mustang and leave the Pretenders in the dust .

  6. Phil in Burlington, Ontario Says:

    Hi John,
    I understand that the first Saab 9-4′s are being delivered and sold as we speak. These are the Mexican made, GM supplied SUV’s based on the Cadillac SRX. What is going to happen to the thousands of these cars in the pipeline (at dealers, in transit, at the factory and parts at suppliers) if Saab folds? Would GM sell them as their own? What’s your Autoline insight on it?

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Congrats Sergio and his clan: once again, a Chrysler product comes out last in a study, this is beginning to look more and more like a pro-Hyundai website, I guess smokey got what he wanted and has move on to somewhere else, nyuk nyuk nyuk!!

  8. Steve Says:

    As much chance as bing hit by lighting? My house got hit last night. I now need to replace my well pump. This is the second time that I had to replace the pump from a lighting hit in the last five years. John…could you pick a comparison with a little better odds?

  9. LS ford Says:


    The word on the street, is that for hybrid batteries or just pure EV’s? I long suspected that battery life would be an issue and the cost for replacement as well.

    What warranty do they offer on the battery elements?

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Steve: How about winning the lotto?

  11. HtG Says:

    @7 Steve, I’m playing the Mega for you tonight. Do you live in a Castle on a mountain or something?

    @4 maybe the batteries were doing well at high mileage, while still being fresh chronologically. These were taxis, no?

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Excellent point HtG, you need long-term testing, not just high mileage.

  13. SalvadorG. Says:

    Great Show & Thanks for the file JohnMc, although; You didn’t include your formula for power to weight comparison! (ooh! wait) I got it. Thanks.

    I can’t help but to think that the car with the most potential is the Dodge, with a car with that amount of weight to drag it down to be so close to the competition, can someone get chunky a diet?

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ LS ford

    #8 Hybrids mostly . All the E/V’s main problems w/their batteries so far has been that Self Igniting , watch your Pricy E/V morph into the most Expensive BBQ you’ve ever owned . Hot Dogs Marshmallows and Nomex casual wear not included . Perhaps HtG ( # 10 ) has a good point though as to why Ford numbers on their hybrids are coming out so much higher.

    Either that or Ford is laying another Snow Job on us . Like that never happens from the Majors .

    Nahhhh . They’d never lie to us . Would they ? :(

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    A reminder . Chunky ( Dodge Challenger ) is still the well out of date M-B E Class underneath , so until Chrysler can come up with the funds ( he laughs in light of the Italy/FIAT revelations he posted yesterday ) to create a bespoke platform Chunky is destined to be in dire need of Weight Watchers :o

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    IMHO all these “pony” cars need to go on a diet, if the tendency to make cars bigger and heavier continues in this segment as well, we may end up calling them “hippo” cars.

  17. ralph engelbrecht Says:

    Has any of the hybrids needed their battery replaced and if so how much did it cost.

  18. Jon M Says:

    A Korean brand car in a pony car comparison test! My how the automotive world has changed; not that you need a comparison like this to realize that. It just goes to show how all things automotive remain remarkably ever-changing. I wonder how long it will be before Hyundai enters the world of NASCAR? I sure can wait.

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The ‘Pony’ cars are what they are; part performance, part nostalgia, part bravado, part bench racing. A lot of these purchases are ‘loyalist’ buys (meaning older guys reliving their past), and of course there are the new buyer too. I agree they are all overweight (part government standards, part new/latest doodads). The next Camaro is already rumored to be on a smaller platform (which should help a lot), and the new Camaro is supposed to get another hp bump (to 323 for 2012, so the hp wars are still going stronge).

  20. HtG Says:

    No way I’m alone on this one; but when a Camaro or Challenger goes by I want to explode. Genesis coupe? Not………So……..Much.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    This segment needs to attract the new gen not just the old farts who are trying to get Viagra on wheels, I was involved in a conversation among young guys (24 to 29) and most of them said they would like one of these pony cars in the future, but all were put of by their weight creating a drag on performance, interesting was that no one said the V8 was their top engine choice, most agreed the V6 was “good enough”. BTW I expressed my preference for the Mustang when asked for my opinion.

  22. Jesse m. Says:

    Hyundai’s warranty on their hybrid components is 10/100. Including battery pack, transmission and all that. 74 mph on electric only.on another note, I was just looking over the zl1 camaro coming out. Having had several corvettes, most recently an 08 coupe, that power to weight thing is s biggie!!550 ponies at 3800 lbs if that’s it’s weight isn’t bad!!

  23. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    @ SalvadorG

    A reminder . Chunky ( Dodge Challenger ) is still the well out of date M-B E Class underneath , so until Chrysler can come up with the funds ( he laughs in light of the Italy/FIAT revelations he posted yesterday ) to create a bespoke platform Chunky is destined to be in dire need of Weight Watchers :o

    I meant, Chunky by comparison; besides that’s kind of unfair, the Challenger is the oldest amount the four.

    These are the kind of cars that can’t wait for next Gen’, except the Mustang which will probably come with a solid rear axle, even 50 years from now.

  24. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    # 15

    You never fail to bring a good laugh on my friend :o

  25. Tom L Says:

    Question. Which Pony car sounds the best?
    That’s what you want with a Pony car. Right!

  26. Martin Says:

    I’m with LS Ford, doesnt anyone else see the irony in the combustion engine AAA truck coming to the rescue of the EV? While the roadside assistance call is “free” with your membership, maybe AAA should send out a bill to the EV driver after the call to purchase carbon offset credits for having to run the service truck out to rescue them.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    GLK 1600 mile road trip review ;

    I’ll keep this short ( I can hear you laughing HtG ! )

    First – it was interesting that 700 miles of driving ( KC – Vail ) proved less stressful driving in the GLK than flying into DIA ( 90 minute flight ) renting a car , then driving the last 110 or so miles . I think that says as much about the current state of Airline Travel as it does about the GLK

    Second – 700 miles in the GLK felt like 50 miles in the MINI Cooper . Not a huge surprise but ….

    Mrs Tj – She absolutely loved the car , drive etc. Several times she had to look over at the speedometer to see how fast I was going .

    MPG – Going to Vail ( uphill ) 21.6
    Back to KC ( very much downhill ) 26.7

    Both legs including some City/small town driving . The Vail leg including all our driving around to events etc .

    My overall assessment . If the GLK’s reliability is half as good as driving it , this will be the best car I’ve ever owned . Its just the right size , has more than enough power , handles great ( kicking an X5′s tail in the mts ) gets reasonable milage . Well I could go on but suffice it to say its the ” Just Right ” car for us

    The most amazing thing about it is how it somehow isolates you from the stresses and strains of driving , yet continually keeps you involved .

    As to the seats , its interesting ( and good) that they are very comfortable when your posture is correct , but punish you for slouching .

    Finally its so obvious after a medium long road trip how EVERYTHING Mercedes Benz puts into the car is ALL about driving it . Then making it look as good as possible . e.g No Fluff and a perfect example of Automotive Shaker Design mentality

    PDL may claim M-B is being pretentious when acting like they’re on top of the world , but spend a bit of time in one and you’ll realize there’s no pretense involved what so ever .

    Unlike many of their competitors M-B has learned a thing or two over their long history , both from their success’s and their failures .

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ SalvadorG

    “… except the Mustang which will probably come with a solid rear axel , even 50 years from now ”

    Most likely but the best part is it’ll keep kicking all the others tail ends ( along with more than its fair share of Euros and Exotics especially in its Shelby and BOSS 302 guises ) while keeping that rear axel .

    God i loved watching the BOSS 302 splatter a BMW M3 !

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj you are absolutely correct when you mention that a larger, more substantial car is SOOOO much better than anything small, no matter what brand it is. A wallowy ride is just as tiring as a too-stiff one,road noise and constantly correcting steering is also very tiring and makes any trip feel much longer.

  30. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    Most likely but the best part is it’ll keep kicking all the others tail ends ( along with more than its fair share of Euros and Exotics especially in its Shelby and BOSS 302 guises ) while keeping that rear axel .
    God i loved watching the BOSS 302 splatter a BMW M3 !

    Well, I guess we just have to disagree on that one.

    tj, don’t tell me that you saw that rig Ford’s comparison of a BMW M3 vs the new Boss 302??
    Oh! please don’t tell me, you buy Ford’s ridiculous rig competitions?

  31. HtG Says:

    Ah the GLK review has arrived. How’s it rollover on quick direction changes compared to the Mini? When spoiling the X5′s day, did you get it up on the limit? How’s the steering feedback? What’s up with the seats; at 6’4″ do you think you’re outside the 95% on a German car? Have you mastered the in-car gizmos yet?

  32. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Continuing the UAW discussion from AD yesterday, and Peter’s Rant of this week, is it possible that Ford’s hourly employees just might be better off without Mr. King and UAW representation? Many large companies without unions treat their rank and file employees fairly. How can UAW goon-like external interference at Ford possibly promote the teamwork necessary for maximum success for all parties?

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Geeze HtG one would almost thing you were considering buying one for the extent and depth of your questions .

    Well here goes ;

    1) Direction changes compared to the MINI . Well it doesn’t ” Feel” as quick as the MINI but in actual fact the GLK may be a bit quicker . Counterintutive I’ll agree but there you have it .

    2) Did I hit the limit during my run in with the X5 . I’m still learning the GLK but I’ll say not even close . No tire squeal etc

    3) The seats are bloody fantastic . And at 6’4″ aren’t many Germans right there also ? ( most in Europe mistake me for either German Swiss or Dutch …. only being 1/8 right on one of them . Swiss )

    4) In Car Gizmos – Surprisingly more Apple than PC . Once you get the basic functions down the rest is a cinch .

  34. tj Martin Says:


    # 28

    Oh no my friend I saw it with my own very eyes . Watched the very same BOSS 302 make a fool out of a 458 as well . That is one serious piece of machinery in spite of Fords publicity bs

  35. tj Martin Says:

    Muscle/Pony Cars

    So here’s the question I’m surprised no one here is asking ;

    When is the NHRA going to get it thru their thick little heads that everyone is sick of watching outdated Pontiac GTO’s etc and revamp the Pro Stock Class to bring in the new age Camaro , Challenger and Mustang ?

    Seriously , what part of the revitalization of the Ford/Chevy/Dodge wars does the powers that be in the NHRA NOT understand ?

  36. HtG Says:

    @31 I definitely like that GLK, inside and out. Stylish but understated. Quiet quality. Looks good on women, too, as you are aware, tj.

  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Oh yes Mrs Tj cuts quite the figure behind the wheel of the GLK …. yes she does .

    FYI I’m loving the car more every day I drive it . Like you said understated yet ……..

    And believe me you’ll look just as good driving it in Shorts , tennies , baseball cap and a novelty T Shirt as you will with a Black Armani Suit
    Persol 714′s and a royal blue silk T shirt ( wife thinks I look like Francesco Quinn when I put on the Ritz )

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    I also have a close kinship with my Vibrola, we’re both aging ungracefully. Thank god, no misfirings , yet.

  39. HtG Says:

    off topic/afterhours note for you tj. If you’re interested in Amy W., here’s a BBC radio special


  40. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    EEEeesh !!! Give me some credit will ya ?

    Amy Winehouse ??? Me ??? The only real surprise with her is what took her so long to kick off ! Why anyone put up with her consistent garbage ( canceling shows , passing out after the first song , being unable to sing a single note etc) is beyond me except being the cynic that I am guessing everyone assumed she’d kick the bucket early and they’d all make a killing ( which they are ) after she died .

    Now Gabriel Kahane . There’s genuine talent HtG . Hmmmn .

  41. HtG Says:

    have you heard Back to Black, tj?

  42. SalvadorG. Says:

    tj Martin Says:

    Oh no my friend I saw it with my own very eyes . Watched the very same BOSS 302 make a fool out of a 458 as well . That is one serious piece of machinery in spite of Fords publicity bs

    Where? Give that 302 performance specs. because the Ferrari 458 has 570hp and last time I check the 2011 Boss 302 comes around 440hp, so give me the run down that is not BS.
    Heck. Give me the YouTube link.

  43. Tom L Says:

    Tj.. Yesterday John reported that a company, JBI, came up with the process to turn plastic into oil-fuel. I think this is a lot of bunk… What do you think?
    I do think Amy Winehouse was a good singer.. Drugs and booze did her in.

  44. stas peterson Says:

    So AAA sees enough big bucks coming in to afford buying and outfitting 100 special recharger trucks, with fees from all of the eco-wienies who get stuck by the side of the road when driving, or rather NOT driving, their LEAFs.

    A single service call ought to be about $50-75 bucks. So the green fruitcakes sure saved a lot of money with their electric roller skates.

    I wonder how much precious fossil fuel was wasted driving a big, heavy, truck with a ton of batteries, around to give them a few watts of power? Probably more than they saved in a year whizzing around in their EV whirligigs.

    PT Barnum was right. “There is a Sucker born every minute and a Slickster to shear them …”

  45. cwolf Says:

    Radio reports Nissan is to invest 6 billion in china. Saying it has recovered quicker than other Japanese brands,it wants to capitalize on the chance to increase its 4% of the china pie to 7% expectations. Thoughts of exports to places like Indonesia and surroundings would generate from these new operations Also,because of the U.S. slump,they believe better profits lie elsewhere; There is truth in that belief,but I wonder where and for how long?

  46. XA351GT Says:

    Pedro @19 ,
    One big factor that they aren’t considering is nothing compares to that V8 roar. The extra 100HP also makes a big difference. These are guys that havce obviously never had a V8 . If your buying a pony car why waste the money on a V6 for only gaining a mile or two of MPG I’d rather have that wonderful roar.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    XA these guys all currently own either 4 or V6′s Asian brands so the fact that they’re actually talking American pony cars is a big deal when just 4 or 5 yrs ago they would have never considered such cars.

  48. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    @ 45 cwolf,

    i read that report as well. to answer one of your questions, the profit outlook is very short term. why? high taxes in the asean countries. when a bmw x1 can cost almost 90.000 us dollars in malaysia, you have to wonder if nissan can export from china given the limited volumes that the asean countries generate each year.

    the fact is north america is the most profitable region on planet earth for any car maker due to low overall taxes and low overall costs. yes, low overall costs for a given market. why else for a long time until recently, every car maker’s biggest share of their profits (after accounting for currency exchange rates) was in north america?

    but in nissan’s case, i wish them well in their pursuit of “power 88″. it may be just as bad as toyota’s previous pursuit of “global 10″.