Episode 892 – ESC for Trucks and Buses, Watch the Fords Go By! Ketchup and Currywurst

May 17th, 2012 at 12:11pm

Runtime: 8:42

NHTSA is proposing that all large commercial vehicles, coaches and other buses be equipped with electronic stability control systems, just like cars. It’s estimated over the next three years Ford will come out with more new models faster than anyone else. Everybody knows Volkswagen makes cars, but did you know they’re also in the food business? All that and more, plus John McElroy sounds off on some internet nonsense.

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Welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and do I have a rebuttal to an internet video that’s making the rounds. But that comes later in the show. Now, the news.

A few years back the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all new light-passenger vehicles in the U.S. must be equipped with electronic stability control by this year. Now the agency is proposing that all large commercial vehicles, coaches and other buses be equipped with the system, too. Research shows that ESC could prevent up to 56 percent of roll-over crashes and 14 percent of loss-of-control accidents. If it becomes law, the rule would go into effect two to four years after it’s enacted, depending on the type of vehicle.

A new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch says that over the next several years Ford will come out with more new models faster than anyone else. For models years 2013 through 2016, Ford will replace 26 percent of its lineup. But the company is not that far ahead of its competition. GM is next at 25 percent and Toyota is third at 24 percent, while the industry average is a 23 percent replacement rate. By the 2015 model year Ford will replace vehicles that make up close to half of its volume. The study also says Ford’s market share this year should jump from 15.3 percent to 16 percent thanks to new introductions like the Fusion, Escape, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ.

Uh-oh. Bad news for Fisker. Top secret investor documents have been made public, and they point to serious trouble inside the company. The most damaging revelation to surface has to do with production. The company’s new Atlantic model was supposed to start rollin’ down the line at the company’s plant in Delaware in the middle of 2013, but that date has allegedly been pushed back by another year! As troubling as this information is, some of the car’s other numbers are pretty impressive. The Atlantic, which will be priced between $50,000 and $60,000, should feature a 300 horsepower drivetrain, which is good for a zero to 60 sprint of 6.5 seconds. Tailpipe emissions are estimated at 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

An outfit called Molinelli Design has created a very unique piece of automotive art. They’ve made a coffee table out of a crushed Ferrari. The sculpture has been likened to a dead hero in a coffin. I see what they mean. As grizzly as this sounds, I’m sure any gear head would be proud to have this piece of art in their home.

We all know Volkswagen makes cars. The German brand is best known for its iconic Beetle, but did you know it also makes ketchup, and sausage? I never knew this until I saw the article posted on Jalopnik. Apparently Vee Dub is in the food business, too. It mostly sells the condiment and currywurst at its factories, but they’re also available in supermarkets. Last year they sold nearly 5 million sausages compared to a paltry 3 million cars. The ketchup has been bottled since 1997.

Coming up next, I am going to debunk one of the stupidest internet videos that is making the rounds.

There’s a video on the internet getting a lot of attention. In fact, a number of you have asked me what I think about it. It’s about a guy who took a vacation in the UK where he rented a Volkswagen with a diesel that got 52 miles per gallon. He claims to have done more research and learned that other European diesels are rated as high as 78.5 miles per gallon. If you search for “VW Passat 78.5 MPG in the UK” you’ll find the video. He then rants about how we can’t get these cars because the Obama Administration won’t allow them for fear of losing tax revenue from gas taxes. He goes on to say a lot of other things, but too bad this guy has no clue what he’s talking about.

First off, he’s comparing U.S. gallons to Imperial gallons, which is what they use in the UK. And an Imperial gallon is 20 percent larger than a U.S. gallon.

Second, the European fuel economy figures he’s quoting would be substantially less if he used EPA figures, even if he used the exact same car for comparison. The European fuel-economy test cycle is an easy-breezy one, compared to the EPA’s adjusted FTP 75. And that’s one reason why you see eye-popping mpg numbers coming out of Europe. Also, European cars tend to be lighter than their Americanized versions because our tougher crash standards require more chassis and body structure. That weight advantage also helps boost European MPG numbers and performance.

Third, he’s completely wrong when he says VW makes most of the cars in the U.S. that it sells in the U.S. VW just started making the Passat here, it’s not even up to line speed yet, and it does not make 1.6 TDIs for export. The Passat is the only model VW makes in the U.S., period. He also claims Ford makes high-mileage diesel cars in the U.S. but has to export them because it can’t legally sell them here. That is completely not true. Where does he come up with this stuff?

The primary reason why diesel engines are not as common here as they are in Europe is that U.S. emission standards are substantially more expensive to meet than they are in Europe. For this reason, OEMs typically chose one engine displacement they want to emissionize for the American market. In 2014, when Europe goes to its Euro 6 emission standards, they will pull even with the EPA’s Tier 2 Bin 5 standard, at which point the U.S. and Europe can use the same emissions equipment, which will drive down cost substantially.

Diesel proponents in the U.S. forecast that diesel sales in the U.S. will double by 2015 and will easily outsell hybrids. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, VW and Porsche already sell diesels in the U.S. market. You can buy diesel pickups from Chevy, Ford and Ram and have been able to for years. The Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mazda will offer diesel models in the next year or so. Infiniti is looking into it as well. And if those vehicles sell well, you can bet that almost everyone else will jump in, too.

You know, normally I would just ignore this kind of video except that a whole lot of people are taking this seriously. Unfortunately this is just another maddening example of a know-nothing blabbermouth spouting urban legends on the internet.

Hey don’t forget to join me and the Autoextremist, Peter DeLorenzo, for a fantastic Autoline After Hours tonight with Ralph Gilles, the head of design for the Chrysler Group, and the head of SRT. We’re already getting questions for the Rapid Fire part of the show, so make sure to get your question in, too. That’s tonight starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Autoline After Hours.

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

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27 Comments to “Episode 892 – ESC for Trucks and Buses, Watch the Fords Go By! Ketchup and Currywurst”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Thanks John for the ‘debunk’ of that morons tirade; you did it much more eloquently and comprehensively than a lot of others (that might have tried), especially me. When I first saw the video my B.S. meter was pegged (and I chose to just delete and try to forget), glad you took the bull by the horns and responded accordingly.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    The Big three only offer diesel engines in their 3/4 ton configs. While I would like a diesel engine in my truck I do not need the 3/4 version, nor do I want to pay the extra insurance.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just hope that the VW food is more dependable than the VW cars.

  4. Ron Paris Says:

    The fact that the guy in the internet video opens by stating that he drove his rental VW 2100 miles in 2.5 weeks and isn’t sure whether it was a Golf or a Passat raises an immediate red flag for me!

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Not a subject on today’s or any show (that I can remember) but I saw, for the first time, incentives for the Fiat 500. I guess it is not doing too well in the market. Personally I’ve only seen 3 (in my Charleston, SC) vicinity, but it looks as other areas are not making up the difference (and they are now in ‘unload’ mode); the incentive was 1500 dollars (pretty high IMO), with 500 of that as student incentive. Just an observation as I really don’t know how well they are selling.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow, the mid size segment is really gonna be interesting in the next 12 to 18 mos with new offerings from just about every manufacturer and Nissan aiming for #1 and VW increasing Passat production in the US, it should be interesting to see who will be the leader in sales for that all important market segment. Once again looks like Chrysler will be out of the running, their 200 and Avenger are just too weak to compete.

  7. HtG Says:

    One also wonders how diesel sales in Europe would look if the tax policies didn’t favor them. Don’t hold your breath for similar laws in this land of liberty.

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    As gasoline prices have eased (over the last month; elections in November, coincidence, I’m not so sure), might-en it be a good time to raise fuel taxes (they will be quickly assimilated, percentage wise when they again take their upward spiral) and earmark (making them untouchable) and use them for road/bridge/infrastructure improvements. If not now, when; it would, though, take someone bold enough to propose the ‘right’ thing to do. (not sure of many/any, in DC, with the ‘nads’ though)

  9. HtG Says:

    8 Chuck, how many sugars did you put in your coffee, just now? Raise,….a tax? In….an election year? (spit take)

    In my own little corner of heaven I am informed that the govt agency I control, err deal with, stops basically doing anything in June during an election year.

    (I’m just teasing about the first thing, not the second)

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #9 to HtG

    I occasionally get a case of the ‘logics’ (and the right-thing-to-do, sometimes), meanwhile knowing there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell, but I shine up my armor and try to slay those ‘dragons’ (at least figuratively) as a frustrated ‘Don Quixote’ of sorts.

    Used to work for the Federal gov’t myself (now retired), and while we did some really good stuff (worked at a Veteran’s Admin. Hosp) saw a lot of shinanigans as well. I know of what you speak. :)

  11. Chris Chow Says:

    Hi John,
    Did you actually write the script about the Ferrari coffee table? I’m a ‘gear head’ and I think the so called “artist” has completely missed the mark. In fact, I question whether he/she is even an enthusiast at all. I’m willing to say the “artist” doesn’t even like to drive! You even said “dead hero in a coffin”. Dead heroes belong in a mausoleum, not in your living room! As a bonafide car enthusiast that actually DRIVES his pride and joys (Yes, I have multiple vehicles[2007 Z06, 1987 Buick turbo Regal, IS350, etc,] and sorry I referred to myself in the 3rd person), I would rather see an original fender or other vehicle parts under glass. What he did was revolting. Please pass me the shovel!

  12. MX5Bob Says:

    The other issue with that moron’s video is that the tax on diesel is higher than the tax on gasoline by about 5 cents comparing the national averages for both. 49.5 cents for gasoline, 54.6 cents for diesel. Even diesel cars achieve twice the market penetration as hybrids, they will still be a small percentage of the light vehicles on the road.

  13. darren Says:

    Here’ what $530 million gets Americans in Fisker jobs at Delaware plant.photos

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Your tax dollars at work folks, just like shiny new barely used bridges and roads going nowhere.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I received that video from an Obama hating acquaintance, and checked out the VW web site. The 78.5 mpg Passat is a 1.6 TDI for the Euro extra-urban test which returns very high numbers. The Brit’s 2.0 TDI, very similar to the U.S. TDI Passat returned 70 mpg in that test. That is a pretty good 58 or so, after correcting for the Imperial vs U.S. gallom difference. Americans would really whine and sue a lot about not matching the mileage ratings of their cars if we used the Euro system.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As was said in post #2,only 3/4 ton and larger pickups has a diesel option.The majority of pickups in my neck of the woods are 1/2 ton or smaller.The latter is the segment that really needs a small diesel.As far as jeep putting a diesel option back on the table for the luxobarge grand cherokee….big yawn.Try offering that diesel in the JK and watch sales take off.Ford…Chevy,bring in a diesel ranger and a diesel colorado and which ever one I like better….I’ll buy it.Don’t believe me? Offer it and I’ll be there.

  17. RonE Says:

    …rants about how we can’t get these cars because the Obama Administration won’t allow them for fear of losing tax revenue from gas taxes.

    Doesn’t this guy know that Obama has mandated 54.5 mpg for new cars by 2025?

  18. Dave Says:

    Regarding the European fuel economy video, “You go John! “. The interweb is full of idiots with opinions, and most people think it’s true if they hear it on the web. Thank you.

  19. C-Tech Says:

    @ #6 Pedro you really hate Chrysler

    @ #11 I agree with you Mr. Chow about the furniture. The Ferrari engine (I think) table on TopGear is much more impressive.

    Thank you John for your concise rebuttal.

  20. Todd T Says:

    #7 HtG
    How do tax policies in Europe favor diesels?

    While in Germany, (the largest European market) it’s true the tax on fuel is lower for diesel, it is also true that the much higher licensing tax levied against cars with diesel engines more than makes up for it. In fact, unless you drive more than 40,000 KM a year, chances are you’ll pay more in taxes for owning a diesel. Most people buy diesels these days because they LIKE them.

  21. Todd T Says:

    #7 HtG
    How do tax policies in Europe favor diesels?

    While in Germany, (the largest European market) it’s true the tax on fuel is lower for diesel, it is also true that the much higher licensing tax levied against cars with diesel engines more than makes up for it. In fact, unless you drive more than 40,000 KM a year, chances are you’ll pay more in taxes for owning a diesel. Most people buy diesels these days because they LIKE them.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People also buy diesels because they get about 30% better fuel economy than gassers, if the diesel is the right size for the car. As far as cars in the U.S. market, this is only the case with VW TDI’s.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Where did you hear/read that it costs more to license a diesel car in Germany? I had never heard that, and I haven’t been able to find anything to that effect in searching.

  24. Earl Says:

    #5, Re: Fiat 500. Too little car and too much money. I’m not surprised that they’re putting 1500.00 on the hood to get rid of them. I’ll bet they will bump that up to 2000.00.
    Take a look at a Hyundai Accent,already 3000.00 cheaper and 138 HP as compared to 98 and to get that mighty 98 you have to put premium gas .
    I suspect a person looking at this size a car will cross shop an Accent,Yaris,Fiesta and maybe an over priced Fit but not a 500.
    Chrysler shipped their first batch of 500′s fully loaded with options. They got away with this with big cars and vans but have had their heads handed to them with these entry level cars.
    I know a young lady that after looking at the price label on the window just up and walked away without talking to a salesman. I suspect she just about had that ‘heavy danger to the pants’ feeling’.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    OK, I found that a diesel car costs 306 Euros more to register in Germany than a gas car. If that is a one-time thing and you keep cars very long, you would easily get it back in fuel savings, even if you don’t drive a lot. If it’s an annual fee, you’d have to drive more for the pay back.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the Accent is about $3000 cheaper MSRP than the 500, but by the time you get it comparably equipped with A/C, power windows, keyless entry, etc., the difference is small.

    I agree that the 500 is a niche car, but if you like the way it looks and don’t mind the lack of space, it’s an ok value, as long as you don’t load it up. It appears that, to my surprise, it is even reliable according to truedelta and others.

    FIAT/Chrysler blew it by loading up the early cars, and trying to sell it at a limited number of dealers like MINI. That didn’t work well, and they should have known better than to try that approach.

  27. Truman Lewis Says:

    You know John:
    If we took the internet with a grain of salt — we would soon deplete the world of salt.
    Thanks from OKC.
    PS does Tru-TV hate Detroit, they way they show your city is degrading to it and the good folks that live their. (talking about a show on their network called “Hardcore Pawn”)