Episode 919 – Japanese Auto Production, Ford F-150 Limited, Ford Taurus Fuel Economy

June 26th, 2012 at 12:01pm

Runtime: 9:07

A strong yen continues to drive auto production out of Japan  as Toyota and Nissan announce planned production cuts. Ford releases the F-150 Limited, the new top o the line truck is set to cost more than the Platinum Edition’s $44k price tag. The Taurus is set to get a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine to help Ford’s large car achieve 32 MPG highway. All that and more, plus a look at the Audi allroad.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. It’s Tuesday, June 26, 2012. I’m Scott Burgess from AOL Autos filling in for John today. But let’s get to the news.

Yesterday we reported that Toyota will shift some Yaris production from Japan to France to offset the strength of the yen. Reuters reports that it’s part of an effort to cut production in the country 10 percent by 2014 to 3.1 million vehicles. But Toyota isn’t the only Japanese automaker slashing production in Japan. Nissan will trim production by 15 percent to 1.1 million from 1.3 million units.

Ford just released information on the 2013 F-150 Limited, the upscale version of the pick-up truck. It comes standard with features like SYNC with MyFord Touch, satellite radio, HID headlamps and rain-sensing windshield wipers. It also features 22 inch polished aluminum wheels and is only available as a SuperCrew four-door cab. The F-150 Limited is powered by a 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine. The F-150 Limited goes on sale this fall.

And speaking of new Ford product, the company announced that the 2013 Taurus equipped with a 2.0 liter EcoBoost will deliver a class leading 32 miles-per-gallon on the highway. Its combined rating is 26 miles-per-gallon. Look for the 2013 Taurus in dealerships later this summer.

And make sure you check out this week’s LIVE webcast of RoundAbout.  The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time this FRIDAY. I was on the show a couple weeks ago and it’s definitely worth tuning in for.  It’s Burgess approved.  This week they’re doing a special all-fan show – YOU get to set the agenda, so get in the chatroom.  Again, that’s this Friday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time for RoundAbout.

Last Thursday we told you about Audi elevating its top marketer, Scott Keogh, to president.  Well, Autoline DAILY caught up with the new chief of Audi of America at a product drive in Colorado, which we’ll have a report on in a few minutes, and he told us how he intends to keep the momentum going for this white hot luxury brand.

And stay tuned for a look one of the new products that Audi believes will continue that growth…its the all-new version of the ALLROAD.

Forty MPG is becoming more and more common nowadays. Less common is hitting that mark in a large car. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid joins the 40 MPG club this year with an Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder combining its share of  200 combined horsepower. The Nickel-Metal Hydride battery and electric motor do the rest. The Avalon has three driving modes ranging from eco to sport that change the efficiency and performance settings of the powertrain. However, sport mode still doesn’t make sense on a hybrid outside of the 24 Hours of LeMans. The 2013 Avalon loses some length and heft as well compared to the 2012 model. The loss in mass helps fuel economy, although the hybrid’s battery packs only give it a 22 pound weight savings compared to the old model.

It’s a great American tradition to ignore the Check Engine light in one’s own car for as long as possible. Sometimes rooted in the belief that it will just go away, this vital part of American culture can come back to haunt drivers as small repairs manifest into costly fixes. According to CarMD, a maker of automotive diagnostic tools, drivers in Wyoming pay the most to fix their neglected Check Engine lights. In general, Western states paid more for their car fixes, while eastern and midwestern ones paid less.

(The Audi allroad review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

And that wraps up today’s show. Again, I’m Scott Burgess from AOL Autos. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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

38 Comments to “Episode 919 – Japanese Auto Production, Ford F-150 Limited, Ford Taurus Fuel Economy”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Spoke to a veteran car repair shop owner who is concerned that independent centers like his will be forced out of business by car OEM’s and their overly complicated new cars, one of his techs has a 4 yr old BMW 5, warranty expired, all sorts of warning lights and everything stopped working, their scanner could not give them a definite fix, so he was forced to go to the dealer who simply changed a bunch of electronics and other parts, total cost $2500 bucks. His own cars are all over 5 yrs old and he says he does not want any of the new stuff coming out now.

  2. Jon M. Says:

    I trust the 40 MPG claims by automakers about as much as I trust Congressmen to actually look out for the interests of their constituents. I would guess that all but the most MPG-obsessed achieve a number celebrated in fuel economy much more than in age. But it’s all the rage in the industry right now to claim such lofty mileage ratings. And just like a politician stumping for votes, automakers will do anything to justify such a claim—no matter how likely in the real world.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Only those with enough patience to take a long road trip and maintain the optimum speed for maximum mpg will reap the benefits of such lofty EPA numbers, I cannot do that, on my most recent trip, driving a Journey, fully loaded with A/C on and not even keeping up with traffic ( I was doing 70, most were passing me) got pretty mediocre mileage numbers, not anywhere near the EPA estimates for the hwy.

  4. GPL Says:

    “But it’s all the rage in the industry right now to claim such lofty mileage ratings.”

    If the manufacturer runs the test per the standard and that’s the number they get, what other number should they claim?

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Only when 7 and 8 speed transmissions become the norm, will you be able to achieve those MPG numbers that they’re throwing around so much these days.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Manufacturers may advertise their EPA highway ratings too much, but those numbers are easy to achieve, if you drive mostly steady speed, and not too fast. I consistently beat the 37 mpg highway rating of my manual transmission MINI, with a mix of some short trips, and moderate speed highway. If I go 75 mph on the interstate, I get 35 mpg or so. That’s no big surprise, or it shouldn’t be. The average speed of the test is 50-some miles an hour.

    Also, most cars match or beat their EPA highway rating in CR’s highway test, which is done at a steady speed of 65 mph. I suspect there are no cars that will beat their EPA highway rating at 80 mph, except maybe an E-Class diesel or something like that. High speed increases aero drag, and costs mpg, especially with high-drag vehicles like SUV’s and pickups.

  7. Jon M. Says:

    @ #4

    I’m not implying bold-faced lies; rather if they can find tricks to hit the magic number, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some of the automakers do that. It seems to be the ultimate mileage rating to hit in order to keep people from changing the channel when their advertisements interrupt a program. The true mileage, of course, varies greatly upon so many variables. But that doesn’t sound good in an advertisement, and would really rain on such a parade.

  8. C-Tech Says:

    Your mileage may vary. If you expect the claimed mileage numbers then you must drive like the EPA cycle.

    Why do the western drivers pay more for their repairs? Do they drive more? Are there vehicle inspection programs in western states? Few repair centers?

    With the improvements in the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee, is it really better to have the Audi Allroad over the top of the line Jeep or Ford?

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is little doubt that manufacturers try to optimize shift points, engine tuning, transmission gear ratios, etc. to maximize EPA numbers. In some cases, they probably compromise real-world mileage a small amount by doing that, but it’s the name of the game, both for advertising purposes, and for meeting CAFE.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Allroad is a slighly jacked up AWD station wagon, kind of like a Subaru Outback. The GC and Explorer have tall bodies. I suspect they appeal to mostly different people.

  11. Chuck@GM Says:

    The EPA number is useful for comparison, and you can get that number as others have explained. It’s useful for comparison because all cars of similar type drive the same course, speed, and all other things the EPA specifies. So if you’re shopping for a Malibu type car, all other Malibu type cars will have run the exact same course and the exact same speeds etc. So if one buys a vehicle with better mileage than the rest, you have a reasonable expectation that vehicle will get better mileage when you drive it than the others. How much better is dependant on too many variables, but mostly how you drive, where you drive, and climate.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t really think that someone is gonna choose a mid-sized car based on mpg’s. Let’s say the Malibu gets slightly better mpg’s than an Accord, but when it’s time to trade it in, the Honda is gonna be worth quite a bit more, the extra money you may have saved on gas will be wasted with a lower resale value on the Chevy.

  13. C-Tech Says:

    @ #10
    I understand the Allroad is more of an off-road A6 wagon, but what I mean at these prices would someone consider an Allroad as an alternative to the Explorer Limited Platinum or Grand Cherokee Overland?

    @ #12
    Although you may not choose a mid-sized car based solely on mileage, it may be a deciding factor if you see all other things being equal. Considering how close the mid-size competition is, Honda and Toyota may not have such a wide gap in future used car residual value. Already a 2-3 year Fusion or Malibu is worth nearly as much as its Camry or Accord competitor all equipment and mileage being equal. Many dealers sell a good used 3 year old Malibu within 30 days now.

  14. C-Tech Says:

    @ #10 It seems the only direct competitor to the Allroad is the Volvo CrossCountry.

  15. Duke Says:

    A neighbor of mine bought a Prius when it first hit the streets. At the time, Toyo claimed 60 mpg city / 51 mpg highway. What she ended up finding out (which has been verified by countless forum posts) is that the onboard computer in the car is programmed to provide high mileage numbers that may exceed the miles per gallon the car actually achieves.

    She found that her Prius (she is not a hot-rodder like many Prius owners and more in the realm of one of those people that many of have #*%&@# thoughts about when we are driving) consistently got around 34 miles per gallon – far below the sticker information and hype.

    She took her Prius into the dealer for a check-up and was initially told that she was getting 46 miles to a gallon, which was less than the amount claimed by Toyota for city driving but still not all that bad. The service technician even activated the onboard computer for her — to prove his point.

    That was what the computer said – 46 miles per gallon. So she asked them why it is that when she divided the miles from fill-up to fill-up (she kept very exacting records) by the gallons that she had put in, she ended averaging 34 or 33 miles a gallon. Initially the service technician told that she probably had done her math wrong, however, in the end, the service department manager finally admitted that she was right – that she was getting 34 miles to a gallon and could only explain it by saying that was the number that Toyo had programmed into the car’s computer.

    I wonder how many people depend on the mileage numbers of their the onboard computers instead of actually keeping fuel usage/miles driven records – when they boast about the mpg their car is supposedly getting?

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    34 is bad for a Prius, I used to get 32 in my Corolla when it was in its prime, now that the engine is old and lost compression, I can only get 28.

  17. shan Says:

    Too bad most people can’t afford the Audi Allroad and that Ford 150 Limited, both 50k plus….lol.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    When your looking to purchase a new vehicle, and comparing EPA mileage stats, the most important thing (for most buyers) I would say is that the numbers are in ‘the ball park’ and use other dynamic attritutes to make the final decision.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The trip computer on my Prius reads about 5% high, which seems to be fairly typical of what I’ve seen with cars of various brands.

    As far as actual calculated mileage, I have averaged about 47 mpg for the first 18K miles with my 2010 Prius. Going 75 mph on the interstate drops it to about 44, but my “mixed” local driving typically yields around 50. To get only 34 with a Prius would be hard to do, unless every trip is under a mile, and from a cold start.

  20. cwolf Says:

    I went over my milage log to compare variances with what some of you shared. First,and this is the first time I noticed,the variance in my 2010 Milan with 140K miles is greater when using the winter blend than with the summer. At present,my calculated mpg was 32.3 mpg and the car read 32.8. At the last of the winter blend, calculations were 30.6 mpg and the car read 31.7. Does this follow suit with any of your findings?

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf that is damn good mileage on a car of that size and weight!

  22. cwolf Says:

    What is a hoot to me is the fact my avg, speed to work is 72-75 mph and from work avg. is 78-83 mph. If A/C is used mpg losses are only .6-.9 mpg!

  23. cwolf Says:

    Sure wish T. Bejma was around. I’d like to know whats going on with the ATS. Wonder if he’s in China?

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Do you use syn oil, K/N filter, low resistance tires? what is your secret?

  25. cwolf Says:

    The Lincoln dealer changes my oil every 8-10 K miles with their 5W20 semi synthetic,but they remark how clean it remains. That is why I drive a bit futher between changes. I had the rotors flashed and pads replaced at 85K and I needs it again. I can tell I’ll need to replace front struts in the near future and replace the belt idler arm/brg. Might buy another set of rubber before winter hits,but there still in good shape at present. My secret is modest accelerations and coast,rather than break,when I see slower traffic ahead. I also inflate my tires 2psi over recommended,but reduce pressures to normal during the rainy season. I also keep the body and underside washed and/or waxed and I desperatly try not to fluxuate my speed

  26. cwolf Says:

    Added to #25: I will never buy low resist. tires! Too costly and don’t last. I prefer high mileage rated Michelin quiet touring tires. But the Goodyear Assurance I have on now is proving an equal except they are a little softer in the side walls.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s good mileage. I assume it’s a 4 cyl. If it is the V6, it’s REALLY good mileage for the speed you go. My Malibu Maxx only got 28-29 on my trips between IN and FL.

    I never separated winter from summer, except for individual talks, but what you see is interesting. It’s hard to know if it’s the gas, or just the difference in mileage you get because of colder cold starts, wheel bearing grease that never gets as warm, etc.

  28. cwolf Says:

    Kit,I’m most certain more additives are added in the Winter to reduce polutants which hover low in cold air and in my past 3 work cars could tell the difference on the first tank full.

    I feel like buying something different for my next car. I am reserving caution to put more into my investments and as a result I have become more liquid than I would like,but those dollars are lessening in value due to inflation. My heart tells me to hedge no further than the Fusion hyb.,yet the C-max has become in my view. But I sure would like to over come frugality by buying an ATS. Gosh,What a fun way to go to work! I damn myself for the way I was raised to be dollar wise and frugal for to have an ATS as a high mileage work car seems just too decantent. I think I may need you fellas input when this time comes.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cwolf, it sounds like your driving is almost entirely highway, so, if you get a Fusion, the regular 4 cylinder might be more cost effective than the hybrid. At least it appears that way with the current ones. In their 65 mph highway test, CR got 38 mpg with the regular 4 cylinder, and 40 with the hybrid. The current V6 Fusion returned a much worse 31 in that test.

    In the CR city test, though, the hybrid does much better than the regular 4 cyl, 25 mpg for the hybrid vs 15 for the 4.

    The ATS should be a fun car, and should get decent mileage, but will be pricier than the Fusion.

    I like the C-Max, since it’s a wagon, but I suspect I’d rather drive a Fusion or ATS on a 200 mile/day commute. I suspect the C-Max will be noisier, and not ride as well as the others.

  30. cwolf Says:

    Kit,I think we are on the same wave-lenght in considering a hyb. vs a reg. 4 cyl. I have one 40 mph jaunt about 2 mi. and two others 11-12 mi long total @ 50-55 mph one way. Thats about 30 mi. round trip that could utilize the hyb. if Ford’s claim of 57 mph speeds using bsttery. I haven crunched any numbers,but it may surpass the break even mark in approx 2 years. The ATS is not much more than a hyb. $34K for a basic ATS vs a $30K fusion hyb.. The ATS may not do as well in snow,but my ol’Torino Elite was rear wheel and I made it just fine…with snow tires on the rear. I need more of a push,one way or the other,reguarding this brand of car I thought I could never afford…and as a work car! I find Caddy reliability iffy. Just my luck if I was to own one, it would be a piece of crappola.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would be nice if someone did a well controlled steady speed mpg test at 75. That would be a useful tool for someone buying a car that will be used mainly on the interstate. I don’t expect CR to do it any time soon, because they do their highway test on a regular highway in the north east, where the speed limit is no more than 65.

  32. Earl Says:

    # 5….7 and 8 speed transmissions are on their way and the main thing is that the 3 highest speeds be overdrive. There’s still a lot of 6 speeds out there that have only the 6th as overdrive. The Toyota Camry has 5th and 6th. The Hyundai Genesis has 6,7 and 8th as overdrive and if I recall the Chrysler 300 has it only on 7 and 8. Car & Driver publishes this when they do a car review….take a look at the specs. of the car being reviewed and you can see the transmission speed ratios.

  33. kurt Says:

    Thnx for A4 allroad review, but that model’s demonstrator at our local Audi dealer rode hard, had cheesy metal transmission tunnel trim that gouged the right leg, and a drivers’ seat back boring into my spine no matter how I set lumbar support. And are 45 series tires _really_ up to rough roads? I’ve seen potholed roads sideline many Euros with blown ’45′s, while 55′s and up sail through. Promising, but needs work.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I did such a test on my son’s old 95 4 speed Prizm, no A/C, cool Fla Jan day, closed window at 65 and got 34 mpg.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, how did you do it? Did you use a trip computer, or drive a lot of miles so you could actually tell from a fill up? CR puts a flow meter in the gas line and measures actual fuel flow.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    just calculated based on gas used and miles driven, not very scientific but I do recall keeping the RPM in the 2500 range, I took US 27 which has lower speeds than the Fl Turnbahn.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My Prius seems to have a convoluted path from the filler to the tank, making it hard to get consistant fillups. I can usually get almost another gallon in after the nozzle kicks off, but it seems that how full I can get it varies, even if I take my time. I guess I don’t trust one 450-500 mile fillup, but I have good data for 18K miles, albeit with mixed driving. It is easier to get good individual checks with the MINI. It’s easier to get it “full,” and its being thirstier than the Prius makes for more accurate one tank or partial tank checks.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    kit I’ve noticed that the pump you use makes a difference as well, a slower pump will fill you up to the top better than a fast one, anyway they say once the pump stops you should not try to force more gas into the tank.