Episode 707 – Flywheel Breakthrough, Adios Dakota, Ford and Toyota Team Up on Hybrids

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:24pm

Runtime: 7:41

Ricardo announces a breakthrough in flywheel technology for hybrid cars that don’t need a battery. We bid farewell to the Dodge Dakota, which ceases production tomorrow. Ford and Toyota team up to develop hybrid trucks. All that and more, plus we look at the latest refresh of the Cadillac SRX.

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This is Autoline Daily for August 22, 2011. And here is what’s going on in the world of the automobile.

FORD AND TOYOTA TEAM UP
Ford and Toyota announced this morning they plan to join forces. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on codeveloping hybrid systems for rear-drive pickup trucks and SUVs. The idea is to share the costs in developing these hybrids. The two companies are also going to collaborate on telematic platforms, to potentially standardize their Bluetooth, Wi-fi and security protocols and work on issues of driver distraction. Toyota and Ford still have to complete the details of how they’ll work together, so we’ll see how far it goes. Several years ago Toyota and GM made a big announcement on collaborating on future technology, especially fuel cells and nothing ever came of it.

SPIN MEISTERS
Ricardo, the well-known powertrain development consultancy, announced this morning that it has come up with a breakthrough in flywheel technology to make hybrid cars. Flywheels store energy as kinetic power, in this case a flywheel that spins at 60,000 rpm sealed in a vacuum. Ricardo has come up with a way of sealing the vacuum unit permanently and magnetically coupling the flywheel to a transmission, resulting in a smaller, lighter unit that doesn’t need maintenance. Flywheels potentially offer a way of making hybrid vehicles that do not use batteries.

ANOTHER MARKET DOWNGRADE (subscription required)
Ward’s says it expects sales to slow in the U.S. market in August, and has lowered its forecast for the year. However, its forecast is still higher than many other forecasting firms. Ward’s says sales for the year should come in at 12.8 or 12.9 million units, down from the 13 million it had predicted earlier. It also expects GM, Ford and Chrysler to post stronger sales compared to August of last year.

ADIOS DAKOTA
The Dodge Dakota pickup is getting the axe. Production is scheduled to end tomorrow. The Dakota was never a big hit and last year only 13,000 were sold. Earlier this year Sergio Marchionne hinted the company plans to replace it with a unit body “lifestyle” vehicle instead of a body-on-frame one. Think of something that hauls motorcycles and snowmobiles, not heavy loads. This idea is nothing new. Honda does it with the Ridgeline; Volkswagen used to offer a Rabbit-based truck; and even Chrysler sold models built off the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon, known as the Dodge Rampage and Plymouth Scamp.

SEDONA REPLACEMENT DELAYED
Kia’s updated Sedona minivan has been delayed to 2013 or maybe a little sooner. Ward’s reports designers are still evaluating the styling of the KV7 concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this January. They think it might be too polarizing for buyers, that and the current Sedona, which dates back to 2006, is still selling well. In other Kia news, the latest version of the company’s large sedan, the Cadenza/K7/Amanti depending on where you live, is NOT scheduled to come to America, at least not yet. This probably has something to do with the rear-wheel-drive concept it’s showing next month in Frankfurt.

Cadillac unveiled the stunning Ciel at the Pebble Beach Concours last week. But before a stunner like that shows up in the showrooms, Cadillac still has important work to do on its existing products, as Andrew Justus is about to report.

GM’s resurrection of Cadillac is movin’ right along.  The brand is firing on all cylinders right now, and dreams of bigger opportunities.  With the latest on one of its most popular products, here’s Autoline Daily Correspondent Andrew Justus.

Cadillac launched the SRX in the midst of GM’s financial woes a few years ago, but today with sales steadily climbing, GM’s top luxury brand is ready to take on the segment leaders, this year, armed with a new engine package.

And that’s why Cadillac turned its engineers loose on upgrading the chassis, rear shocks as well as refining the calibration o f their top-level computer-controlled suspension.  But the new engine is the big story with its direct injection technology, great fuel efficiency and muscle.

Confident in its top-flight vehicles, Cadillac is ready to once again establish itself as the leader in the luxury car market.

And to take that challenge challenge to the big boys in the luxury market the 2012 SRX is just another step in that process.  WIth the XTS — its new large sedan — coming next year and the smaller ATS not far behind, that’s when Cadillac will be better prepared to make its overall sales move.

From Santa Barbara, California for Autoline Daily, I’m Andrew Justus.

Thanks for that, Andrew.

And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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70 Comments to “Episode 707 – Flywheel Breakthrough, Adios Dakota, Ford and Toyota Team Up on Hybrids”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    In guess not even Sergio’s magic wand could not save that POS Dakota, what’s left in the segment? only Nissan and Toyota?

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    When GM lets their engineers loose on other occasions, they came up with the Vega 140cid engine, the diesel 350 and the Caddy 4-6-8 disaster. Please don’t give these guys too much looseness.

  3. tj Martin Says:

    Marchionne’s Madness

    Now he’s back pedaling on his deal with TATA ( Barons )

    His constant waffling , back pedaling etc . Boy doesn’t that make you want to run out and buy a handful of Chrysler Stock as well as at least two Chrysler/FIATs for you and the Wife ?

    I hope not !

    TWO QUOTES for the day ;

    Peter Brock on E/V’s – Hybrids

    ” The whole ‘ Green ” thing is going to be another gigantic crater in the World ”

    ( from a man who knows a thing or two about the auto industry )

    From Maxim Engle on Government in Industry ;

    ” If it were up to the Governments to create the iPad it would weigh 50 pounds and cost $45,000 as well as not working very well ”

    ( he’s CDN by the way )

  4. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    #2

    Nice one !

    Cadillac Ciel

    ( or as I’m calling it , the Cadillac McMansion )

    Question : Has anyone noticed in the press released its a ( urp hack cough ) Hybrid ?

    That aside ….. explain to me …… anyone ……

    WTH is so GOOD looking about a Rolls Royce Phantom with a bunch of pretentious Cadillac ” Stealth ” lines and an over sized Cadillac Grill glued on ?

    And don’t feed me the ” Its Different ” line

    There’s a lot of things that are different that look like ____ in the World

  5. tj Martin Says:

    @ Pedro

    re #2

    Remember the Cadillac Pininfarina ?

    Eeech !

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    It doesn’t make sense for Ford to share with Toyota (at least not in the full size truck arena). Why would Ford share their superior lead in full size trucks, especially to probably the worse vehicle in the segment (albeit the Titan is worse). I wouldn’t think Ford would want to give the Tundra any ‘traction’ in the last bastion of strength still held by the U.S. automakers (though the big three are catching up in some of the other segments). Toyota may be all smiles upfront (but ruthless behind the scenes after they find out what they are ultimately after).

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    You see Tj? improvements have come to the SRX and you jumped the gun and got the MLK instead, Now aren’t you sorry? remember patience comes to those who wait. (wink-wink)

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On the Ciel:
    I still think it is just a styling exercise and not meant for production. However, perhaps the underpinings are also an exercise (but this exercise is to experiment with what will be the future Cadillac ‘signature’ vehicle.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow!! you learn something every day, I had no idea Ford was superior over Toyota in full size trucks, I know they sell a hell of a lot more, but superior technology???

  10. Buzzerd Says:

    I think for a new small truck to be a success in this day it needs to have an 8′ box option. I know many people who loved the two wheel drive dakotas for hauling motorcycles or as delivery vehicles but it seems the box’s on trucks get smaller every year and less and less useful.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Obscure and rare car that was. I don’t know much about it, was it a mechanical mess? It did look nice!!

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Toyota pickups (of not too long ago); camshafts breaking, under bed rusting out, only a half ton entry level vehicle. Up until the last iteration (which is pretty good), the previous products were fair to poor.

  13. MW Says:

    Cadillac and “total flop” appear to be synonomous. Who can forget the Cimarron in 1981 – the Chevy Cavalier with leather seats. Or, the Allante in 1990, the convertible that stuck in half-up position when it was raining Or, the Catera – the German Caddy that really never was a Caddy in the first place. Remember that GM Junk? What’s next? A new Caddy diesel we should all try? Gimme a break!

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    you forgot the Caddy Nova er. Seville. from the malaise era.

  15. Mike Says:

    John,

    To clarify your comment on the Dodge Dakota never being a big hit…in the mid-90′s Dodge was selling 9-11,000 a month retail as the alterego to the Ram, and at one point had a 40% female purchase rate for those that didn’t want the big rig,and the first R/T truck for the gofast crowd. 100K+ of any high margin product is good business. If it wasn’t for the Dakota, the original ’97 Durango would have never been and that vehicle also did very well. Somehow the segment and support for these vehicles turned which is why they were down to the numbers they are. Ford is still building the Ranger which begs the question… do they know something about the market that Dodge may not? RIP Dakota.

  16. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    # 11

    Were you asking about the Cadillac Pininfarina ?

    If so , calling the CP a mechanical mess is a bit of an understatement .

    Disaster comes closer

    It was one of those : oh it might be fun getting you there …. but definitely have a back up plan for getting back …. kind of a car

    FORD full size vs Toyota ;

    Saying the Fords ever had superior technology would be a massive overstatement

    For the first couple of years Toyota had it full size trucks on the market , the Ford was more reliable , due in part to its simple , reliable and straight forward technology .

    Which come to think of it IS exactly what somebody NEEDING a full size truck ( Farmer Tradesmen Craftsmen etc ) needs

    But alas its the Urban Yuppie buying most of the full size trucks these days ( anyone else’s city got this new Hollywood Customs Rap Gangsta Banga full size custom truck thing going on , or is that some stupid KC anomaly ) so needs and the market changed and Toyota got its reliability up to par .

    But ….. is it ( Toyota Full Size P/U ) as dependable and easy to fix as a good ole V8 no frills F150 ?

  17. tj Martin Says:

    I keep forgetting the ” official ” name for the Pininfarina designed Cadillac was the Allante .

    And the Caddy ” failures ” keep on comin

    Lest you should all forget my abysmal 14 day experience with the SRX

  18. HtG Says:

    I hear Cadillac is looking for a new spokesman, tj.

    How do you think they should promote the twisty chassis that will come standard with the suicide doors?

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh yes Allante, the beautiful, solidly built convertible that took on the best from Germany and became a joke. Same time as the Chrysler TC another great feat of international engineering cooperation.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A lot of people here seem to be really obsessed with what GM did 30 years ago. This is 2011, not 1979, and GM has a lot of good products now.

    As far as Toyota pickups, the current Tundra is competitive with everything out there. Ford sells a lot, but that doesn’t mean anything, except that they sell a lot. It will be interesting to see how all these twin turbo V-6′s are doing at 250K miles.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Caddy also had a 1954 Pininfarina model which I got confused with the Allante. the Allante was nothing more than a Sedan DE ville with a different body.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    I remember when the Tundra first came out replacing the smaller T100, it sent the domestics back to the drawing board to match the level of cabin refinement and car-like ride the Toyota brought to the segment. Those rust days are long gone with Toyota. As far as the new GM engineering prowess, let’s just wait to see how the current power-trains will hold up with years of use.

  23. W L Simpson Says:

    The book, “all corvettes are red” is an excruciating account of product development.
    Looking at that particular phase of automobile manufacturing , it,s amazing that some wetdreams ever make it past the computer screen/drawing board or clay buck.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I had a ’99 Dakota, and it worked well, except being a gas hog. With the next generation, they quit offering standard cab and, I think, they quit 8 foot beds. Over the last few years, they just ignored Dakota completrly, using the same mediocre engines, etc.

    Ranger sells as well as it does, in spite of its crudeness, because it is the only “compact” pickup left, and that is what some people want.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW whenever I read any report about trucks being used in foreign, 3rd world countries, the Japanese are the preferred choice due to their durability and the fact that they hold up to bad roads and spotty service and or gas quality. The American brands are not common because of their gas guzzling ways.

  26. MW Says:

    You forgot all the great GM products that are just around the corner. The only problem is, they are ALWAYS just around the corner!

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Toyota and Nissan should shrink their midsize trucks here but I think they fear that they won’t sell at all and the investment is not warranted

  28. tj Martin Says:

    SAAB Story

    Here’s what a dealerships years supply of SAAB inventory looks like today

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/this-is-what-a-years-supply-of-saabs-looks-like/#more-408252

    Methinks SAAB has officially become a ;

    ” Goat Rodeo ”

    ( look it up . its a great term . some of you ex military may be familiar with it

  29. tj Martin Says:

    #18

    Smart acre !

    Never again !

  30. tj Martin Says:

    Who ever MW is Me Likes this Guy !

    :o

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    They should chance the name to SAAD

  32. tj Martin Says:

    #25

    That has more to do with Toyota having a simple , small ( the REAL FJ’s ) Diesel than the American offeringc not being tough or good enough .

    Oh but for the REAL FJ series to come to America .

    @ Kit #20

    What I’m obsessed with is GM designing Blind Spots into a Fish Bowl , the entire Cadillac line up being a very baaaaad joke on the American public that buys them , the VOLT being the biggest automotive scam in recent history ( at the tax payers expense I might add ) along with GM constantly doing a Half ____ed job on every car they’ve made in the last 20 years .

    FYI Cadillac – Our realtor in Denver had an Escalade . Was in the shop at a minimum of every other month for major repairs

    In spite of my warning him off he replaced it with the SRX this year

    We both now have 2000 miles on our 2011′s . The Score for warranty and repair in that 2000 miles ?

    Tj’s 2011 M-B GLK – 0

    Realtors 2011 SRX – 10 ( yes you read that right , 10 !!!! . In 2000 miles )

    FYI the Cadillac SRX has now spent a total of three weeks out of service between the different issues . In 2000 Miles !!!

  33. HtG Says:

    ring ring, ring ring. Uh, hello Mr tj? Hi, this is Cadillac PR. Where are you right now? Exactly where is that? Now, don’t move.

    (really though, what’s been braking on the Escalade? Any repeats or not fixed in the first places?)

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford and Toyota have a long history of “sharing” hybrid technology. The power train of the Escape hybrid is a similar design to that of a Prius, so Ford and Toyota worked out arrangements to share patents. Ford is using the no-transmission/planetary power splitter that Toyota developed, and Toyota got the use of some Ford patents for diesel and direct injection stuff.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj,
    Cadillac by no means has a monopoly on blind spots. How about that FJ Cruise you almost bought?

  36. tj Martin Says:

    Here’s who I’m supporting for the 2012 presidential race

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/business/media/stephen-colberts-pac-is-more-than-a-gag.html?ref=business

    Heck with all the wanna be comedians in DC maybe a real one could do a better job :o

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Blind spots to the rear, blind spots to the sides (A pillars), distracting nav and radio/climate controls, it’s no wonder we have so many freaking accidents and now Volvo comes to our rescue with cars that stop by themselves if you neglect to do so. Ain’t technology grand?

  38. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit -# 36 Good point , fair enough But thats one car in the lineup , not the entire inventory including the Camaro convertible

    @ HtG /// Hello …. that you Mr Caddy PR person ? You don’t have that much money so take a long walk off a very short pier . Unlike Bob and Jimmy I won’t sell you my soul for any price . Bye bye now … hanging up !

    ( Back to reality though , no all different issues on the Escalade )

  39. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    You’ll be glad to know the Radio/CD/Climate controls on the GLK are as simple as any old school car could be . Knobs and buttons unless you’re wanting to perform major changes in the system . And ……… I skipped the Nav schtick . I HATE it when a car talks to me and keeps insisting I do X when there’s a Detour saying do Y

  40. HtG Says:

    @37 Last week when I called the Honda dealer about the buybackbonanzapalooza, I chatted with a gal on the phone. She said she was just learning how to drive stick, since she wanted to buy the CRZ(which she claimed was a girl car). Anyway, and I think you guys will like this, she said one thing about stick that she was discovering, was that she couldn’t shift and text at the same time. Oh boy. Mamma mia. Pour me another one, bartender. It’s over, Johnny.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well TJ, that makes sense since MB was made for high speed autobahn cruising where 2 seconds of eyes off the road and you go a few hundred yards, which makes me wonder what the hell BMW designers were smoking when they designed the dreaded and universally panned I-Drive system. HtG re 40 not to mention the make up and the hair and all the things chicks do to make themselves look pretty when the rescue guys scrape their faces off the windshield.

  42. tj Martin Says:

    #40

    Oh gee whillakers , does that mean poor little Muffy might have to pay attention and actually DRIVE the car rather than the car be an unwanted distraction to her Text/Tweet/ Facebook lifestyle ?

    I’ll add one to HtG’s great little tale;

    Check the CAR site ( carmagazine.co.uk ) the next time they do an article on Self Drive cars .

    To a number something like 85% of the commenters there will reply with a ” Hey Great that means I can completely forget about responsible driving , get as drunk as I want and Tweet/Text/Facebook the whole time ”

    What is wrong with this current flock of youngins anyway !

    And what’s wrong with the Bus/Taxi/Train/Subway that they need a self drive car to maintain their Online Lifestyle ?

    Like the world would come to an end if they ignored it all for a day … or two ……. or three ……… or better yet .. learn what REAL relationships are about and just leave the whole mess alone

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wish someone would invent some kind of inflatable device to put in your rear bumper to absorb the shock of one of these texting geniuses that overcrowd our roads and place our necks and asses in danger every time we go out in our cars

  44. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro #41

    Exactly the reason why I didn’t buy the M-sport X-3 even though it was a better deal $$$ wise ( BMW giving me a better trade and a better price on the car to keep me ” In the BMW Family ” )

  45. tj Martin Says:

    #43

    Personally I prefer a well armed Rocket Launcher but society does tend to look down on such solutions . Never could figure out why
    :o

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @tj re. #39,
    It’s nice to know that MB puts “normal” controls in some vehicles. In the last Mercedes I was in, an S550, you need to consult the owner’s manual to know how to operate anything. What a waste, in what is such a fantastic car in most ways, not that it is worth anywhere near the $90K that it costs.

  47. tj Martin Says:

    #46

    Right you are ;

    The further up the line , price wise you go in the ” normal ” Benz lineup , you’re right , everything gets out of hand , more difficult and harder to use . Compared to even the most basic BMW electronics though the S Class controls are a cinch .

    Brother do I ever hate BMW’s iDrive or what ever the heck they call it !

    But I’d have to respectfully disagree on the S550 ( or any of the S Class ) not being worth the price of entry .

    Hate to say it , and even five months ago I never thought I would but ;

    There IS Nothing Like a Mercedes Benz

    Now the Maybach ? Thats another entirely different story indeed . Not worth the price of entry being an understatement

  48. HtG Says:

    On flywheels. I recall almost twenty years ago, reading about a flywheel technology being developed by the founder of Compaq. It’s time for this, especially as a start-stop mechanism. I just wish the EPA and DOT would give the car makers mileage credit for this stuff.

    Kind of wonder though, what happens when you try to turn a car with a spinning mass. That’s a lot of angular momentum BTW, for all you low riders.

  49. HtG Says:

    Maybach. During Christo’s installation in Central Park a few years ago, he had a Maybach chauffeuring him and his wife around the park; even had the thing going empty. I guess it was part of the concept of freedom to do whatever you want with your money.

    http://www.maybach-manufaktur.com/world-of-maybach/art/christo-and-jeanne-claude

    What’s all this associating your premium brand with the arts? BMW, Maybach, Fiat500

    (he he)

  50. tj Martin Says:

    #49

    ” What’s all this associating your premium brand with the Arts ”

    Oh come now HtG !

    You know the answer as well if not better than I do .

    To promote your premium brand as being something those with good taste and artistic tendencies will want to buy .e.g.

    Support the Arts , Support our car company .

    Not sure how well that works though .

    But the FIAT 500 ? Premium ?? According to who ? Mr Bean !

    Speaking of premium brands , you ever gonna spill the beans on that editor being chauffeured around in a GLK ?
    :o

  51. tj Martin Says:

    EEEEeeech !

    Had a look at the Maybach Artists link .

    Can’t say I’m too impressed by the stable they’ve ( Maybach ) attracted

    I mean Christo is bad enough …… but Julian Schnabel ?!?!?

    No wonder Maybach can’t give their cars away .

  52. HtG Says:

    Didn’t Laura Soave have some kind of installation at a downtown studio during the NY Autoshow? In the early nineties I remember Lexus plopped down a car at a music festival. There’s that BMW art car(Koons is it? I love his quote about his creative process, ‘I sit in front of the screen and something metaphysical happens.’)

    Yeah, moneyed barbarians need to be educated on what to like.

    (did I tell you that Barry Diller drives a Maserati convertible, tj? Bet he turns heads in that thing)

  53. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Who the bejeebers is Barry Diller ?

    I do like it when the car I own is sponsoring some good event I want to go to and passes on all kinds of freebies , discounts , opportunities etc ( hint hint )

    FYI I do get a kick out of all the BMW art cars . In fact the Bimmer Koons did is the only thing I like of his

    Peter Greg’s M1 being the best of the lot though not officially a BMW Art Car

  54. Lex Says:

    My is Kia’s updated Sedona minivan has been delayed to 2013? The KV7 concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this January looks very similar to the New Nissan Quest. The Quest has had poor sales record.

    All Kia has to do is slap the Sorento’s front and rear clips on to the existing Sedona and you will have a winner! Do not waste money on reinventing the minivan just add value items at a great price, like AWD option, in-vehicle entertainment packages and interiors using high quality materials. Stow’n'Go seating for the second and third rows would be a great too.
    Consumers in the market for a minivan are waiting to see what Kia / Hyundai are coming out with. Kia take my advice, a Sedona which I am describing will sell very well!

  55. GPL Says:

    “WTH is so GOOD looking about a Rolls Royce Phantom with a bunch of pretentious Cadillac ‘ Stealth ‘ lines and an over sized Cadillac Grill glued on ?”

    To me the Ciel just looks like the late 60′s DeVille ragtops.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cadillac_DeVille_Convertible_1968.jpg

  56. HtG Says:

    I like the art cars, too. I’m just being a little snide about the marketing to the Rich methods of premium car makers. They’re adding art world cache to the iron, at least in the minds of one audience. Like when a sexy young thing stands next to car in the ad.

    Afterhours OT. Some years ago I was talking to a violinist in the Met orchestra. He told me the american audiences didn’t quite get that some operas were OK to laugh at(The Gambler). That the librettos on the seatbacks had made it apparent to the performers that the audience now actually knew what was happening. (lots of stories in this pocket, tj)

  57. HtG Says:

    @53 Who the bejeebers is Barry Diller?

    He runs IAC, created Fox TV, and is not getting away from responsibility for this building…

    http://www.iachq.com/interactive/content.html

    (may I infer from your question about Diller that you didn’t catch my drift about his car, tj?)

  58. GPL Says:

    I’m not so surprised by the Toyota-Ford cooperative on hybrids. Both hold patents that would be beneficial to the other. Combining efforts reduces overall cost for both. They cooperated successfully on tech before. They share a common enemy, GM, arguably more so than with each other.

    Toyota’s full-sized are unlikely to pose much threat to Ford’s volume. The Tundra/Sequoia haven’t made much of a dent in the market. Toyota obviously has a lot of hybrid tech knowledge and allegedly a lot of influence with suppliers for hybrid tech components. Without that Ford could have a hard time sourcing parts.

    Ford’s sales volume potential is higher in full-size, rear-drive products, which could significantly reduce common component cost for Toyota. Ford seems to have a head start on efficient ICE’s for trucks (ecoboost). Ford perhaps also shouldn’t be sold short on hybrid tech knowledge. Note that the Fusion Hybrid, which I believe was an in-house design separate from the Escape’s cooperative with Toyota, scores much better EPA numbers than Toyotas equivalent, Camry Hybrid.

    There is a lot of potential upside for both companies without much market segment conflict. Toyota loyalists will still buy Tundras and Ford fans will still buy F150′s, but if the product is good they may poach some buyers from Chevy/GMC.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #47,
    I guess what something is “worth” is in the eye of the beholder. Except for the controls, the S-Class is fantastic. It’s fast, quiet, and probably has the best ride/handling compromise of any big sedan out there. BUT, the Lexus LS costs about 25K less, and has equal comfort, better controls, and, to most potential buyers, drives as well. In the end, given US speed laws, SUV’s blocking passing lanes, etc., a Prius is as fast between Indiana and Florida as either the Benz or Lexus and, being a hatchback, the Prius is better for carrying some types of cargo.

  60. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I think maybe macaroni is setting the stage for a jeep truck.You guys know,the one they showed the world back in 05,and didn’t build,and the same one they rolled out earlier this year (painted yellow)that they say they are not going to build.Ol’sergio macaroni and that dood manley from jeep love to play games.Who knows,maybe if they work hard at it they can go bk again.

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    Good call G A,and if they offer a diesel they should do well, I remember the old Jeep pickups they were tough as nails

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Truck people” always hate unibody, but those unibody Commanche pickups were actually pretty good for their time.

  63. Mike Says:

    A couple of years ago, I went to a Ford dealer and told him I wanted a 4 cylinder 5 speed manual Ranger, XLT with A/C. He told me “nobody buys that truck” Wrong, I am here and I want one. I almost had to beg him to look into to his computer to find one. Since then, it has rolled up and down the highway at nearly 30 mpg. No repairs in 120K miles so far. Yes, it tows my sports car when I want it to and yes it hauls enough dirt and rocks to keep my lady gardener happy. What it didn’t do is to make big profits for Ford. I am guessing that is why they are killing the Ranger. I’m not sure what they are complaining about; they spend nothing to advertise it and have done much of nothing to improve it since first released in 1990. Talk about product neglect.

  64. C-Tech Says:

    The first and second generation Dakota were a great mid-size pickup. I had a 93 with a V-8. Never got stuck, hauled everything including the kids. A real workhorse. The smaller Ranger was fun and less gas thirsty. The Dakota just got too big and expensive, too close to a full-size pickup without the performance. Perhaps reborn on a Wrangler frame, with the 3.6L V6 and Diesel engine as an option.

  65. C-Tech Says:

    The Cadillac Ciel looks good. It has elements of the 65 Cadillac Deville. It will be a great limited production model.

  66. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    # 59

    Admittedly unless I were living in Germany or CH with a long daily commute the Benz S-class would have little or no appeal to me as a potential purchase .

    But then again neither does the big Lexus . Wonderfully built car but it is as the Euros would say a bit of a Fridge on the automotive excitement scale e.g. BORING !

    But would I chose a Lexus IS over a Benz C- Class, the only other Benz I’d consider right now ( well OK I do like the SLK but its a bit impractical ) ? Well a few months ago I’d of said yes . Now ? Definitely NOT . An ISF over an AMG C Class . Maybe but what do I need all that power for in light of the C -Class’s already outstanding amount of go ? (C350 )

    @ HtG

    #57 I’ve got no clue what you were on about

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wouldn’t consider either the IS or C-Class, because they don’t sell wagons here. Also, the only available power trains in the C are really gas hogs for a car that size. The C350 is peppy, though.

    The 3 series wagon is kind of nice, but not appealing enough that I’d want to pay the price. Also, while not as bad as the big BMW’s, the controls are pretty bad.

  68. Dave Says:

    There is alot of comments about Caddys from 20, or more, years ago. Every car company has a good and bad cars. I love my 2010 CTS 3.5 wagon and I dont hear any problems with “newer” caddys.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Dave, the CTS wagon is cool. I don’t know how many they are selling, but I hope it is enough to make it worth their producing it.

  70. Jonathan Says:

    While I am a bit behind in my viewing, I feel it is important to note the fantastic, professional presence of Andrew Justus. Polished, smooth, a great addition to the reporting team!