Episode 953 – E15 Challenge Rejected, Mulsanne Concept, Ranger Owners Switch Brands

August 20th, 2012 at 11:45am

Runtime: 7:11

A federal appeals court rejected challenges to prevent the increase of ethanol in gasoline. Bentley just previewed its latest automobile at the Pebble Beach Concours, the Mulsanne Convertible Concept. Many Ford Ranger owners are switching to other brands including Chevrolet, Toyota and Nissan. All that and more, plus guest host David Kiley of AOL Autos shares a few of his thoughts on the car business.

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I’m David Kiley from AOL Autos kicking off another week of Autoline Daily. Thanks for joining us this lovely Monday, the 20th of August, 2012. We’ve got a lot of news to get through, so let’s get rolling.

A federal appeals court rejected challenges to prevent the increase of ethanol in gasoline. Earlier in the year the Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of E15, gasoline with 15 percent ethanol in vehicles built after 2001. Currently there’s 10 percent ethanol in gasoline. According to the Wall Street Journal, groups representing the oil and auto industries as well as food companies fought the new rule but their challenge was dismissed because the appeals court ruled they had no legal right to challenge the decision.

Car sales in Japan are up big this year thanks to government incentives to buy new cars, but Bloomberg reports the subsidies are about to run out and analysts expect sales will plunge too. In the first seven months of the year, sales are up over 50 percent in Japan but once the incentives end analysts expect sales to fall 20 percent next quarter. But the drop in sales isn’t expected to hurt Toyota too much thanks to strong sales in the U.S. and emerging markets.

Bentley is readying a brand-new drop top. The British brand just previewed its latest automobile at the Pebble Beach Concours. The Mulsanne Convertible Concept promises to deliver everything you could want in an open-air flagship. Based on the handful of sketches released this car should be a real looker. It’s long, low and imposing. The company calls it “the world’s most elegant and sophisticated convertible.” At the prices they’re going to charge it better be. Its cabin seats four adults and was supposedly inspired by high-performance power boats. I hope that doesn’t mean they used fiberglass! But maybe it does mean it is amphibious.

The recently departed Ford Ranger was ancient, crude and far more popular than it should have been. Arguably the reason for its popularity was its size. It was the last truly small “compact” pickup, smaller than Toyota Tacoma and GM’s Canyon. The competition had grown bigger over the years, but Ranger remained junior sized. Now that Ford has stopped building the Ranger buyers are looking elsewhere. The Detroit News reports some of them are stepping up to the larger F-150, and even the Transit Connect, but many are moving to other brands including Chevrolet, Toyota and Nissan. Ford has a brand-new Ranger it sells in other markets around the world. Why can’t WE get that?

Now for some commercial-trucking news. As we mentioned last week, Meritor WABCO is introducing some interesting new products. Adaptive cruise control is a feature that’s just starting to become mainstream on passenger cars, but the company is making a push to integrate it on heavy trucks. Its OnGuard system incorporates a number of different technologies including collision warning, automatic braking and crash mitigation functions. The system can warn drivers of an impending accident and apply the brakes to stop the truck or at least lessen the damage of a crash. It incorporates audible, visual AND haptic warnings. In demonstrations, OnGuard worked shockingly well, stopping a tractor trailer safely and without driver involvement. It was also impressively accurate, with no false positives. It wasn’t beeping and buzzing at the guardrail or nearby trees. OnGuard is expected to cost between 26-hundred and 28-hundred dollars for fleet customers.

Coming up next, a few of my thoughts on the car business.

I love the car business.

Roughly 24 years ago I was working for a magazine and they told me I had to cover fashion, retail, tobacco and packaged goods. That last one means companies like Colgate Palmolive and Procter & Gamble. For about six months I wrote about toothpaste, razor blades, liquid soap, diapers and yes…even feminine hygiene products.

I wrote a bit about cigarettes and a story or two about fashion and cosmetic brands I knew nothing about.

This past weekend we had the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a crazy few days of displaying and celebrating super expensive collectible cars, admiring them or auctioning them off at prices that approach campaign checks for Mitt Romney’s campaign from casino moguls.

We also saw the culmination of The Woodward Dream Cruise, the working man’s Concours d’ Sixpack and potato salad. The most gorgeous cars Detroit has ever turned out driving up the main drag in Detroit and up through its Northern suburbs. Mustangs, Camaros, Hudsons, Caddys, Packards, Lincolns and even lovingly restored Oldsmobiles and Plymouths from as recently as the ’80s that are somehow now, if not super collectible, old friends worth sitting down with. Best part about the Dream Cruise is that everybody is welcome without buying a ticket.

I just want to take a minute to thank the people who made all these cars possible for us to drive, love, polish, wax, trade, fix, accessorize…and most of all write about. The engineers, designers, dreamers and visionaries. It’s a great business with lots of interesting characters, fabulous vehicles, and an industry that is the backbone of the country. And writing about it…and getting paid for it…. beats hell out of writing about tampons and toothpaste for a living.

Anyway, that’s the end of the line for today’s show. Again, I’m David Kiley of AOL Autos. Thanks for your time and I’ll see you around!

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

64 Comments to “Episode 953 – E15 Challenge Rejected, Mulsanne Concept, Ranger Owners Switch Brands”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tampons and toothpaste? I don’t even wanna go there, good career move there, David!

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    E 15? mechanics everywhere are jumping for joy!! business will be booming.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    No wonder Ranger owners are going away from Ford for replacements. While today’s Tacoma and Frontier are not small, they are a lot closer to Ranger than an F150. I bet those former Ranger owners are amazed at the refinement of a Tacoma.

  4. Tony Gray Says:

    The rear fenders of that Mulsanne remind me of a mid 70′s Monte Carlo.

  5. Bradley Says:

    They aren’t as profitable as full-size trucks and yes it’s harder to make something small meet safety standards. In reality, compact trucks fit into suburbia better than full-size trucks and can fulfill most truck owner’s needs. The question is which automaker will be first to reopen this segment? Maybe eager Hyundai or VW will see the opportunity.

  6. mike Says:

    Ethanol in gasoline – my understanding is that not only does it decrease power but it damages the engine, wearing it down prematurely. Every industry is opposed to its use, but the government wants to increase the allowed amount. WHY? Guess they want Americans to have to replace their vehicles sooner.

  7. HtG Says:

    Here’s a piece from Reuters about carmakers efforts to protect their own rolling computers from hackers. Hint; Ruh Ro


    Yes, David, the computer industry is also quite a bit more compelling than a few others.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Actually, a Toyota Corolla will fill most truck owner’s needs. Most pickups are used to carry one or two people around town, and to go grocery shopping.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    #7 Kit you forget that for many, these pickups are an extension of their manhood. VROOOOOM VROOOOOM

  10. HtG Says:

    8 I’ve driven pickups for work purposes and on military bases: It is impossible not to feel like a bad ass in these things. But I still wouldn’t want to drive a truck just for show.

  11. C-tech Says:

    Doubt E15 will cause too many problems in most cars and trucks today. The greater concern for most owners is how to afford the repairs on their 2002 and earlier vehicles.

    @ #4 Tony you are dead on. I had to look twice.

    Is Ford surprised at losing customers who liked the size of the Ranger? It’s a truck, it fits in a older garage, its easy to park, it’s cheap to own and operate. That is why these trucks became popular in the first place!

    The OnGuard system looks impressive.

    I have seen my income drop in the car business, the barriers to entry for auto repair are higher for entry-level mechanics than ever, but there is something special about taking something that is broken and fixing it – making it better. I admire the great engineering that goes into great cars, and I curse the short-sightedness which goes into poor cars. We salute you Mr. Kiley (and those behind the scenes at Autoline!)

  12. buzzerd Says:

    Once they got rid of 7 and 8 foot boxes there wasn’t much reason to buy a small truck. The mileage is barely better, they don’t cost much less and don’t hold their value as well. I would consider a small ext cab truck it I could fit a motorcycle in the back but if I can’t I might as well get an SUV.

  13. Dale Leonard,Lakewood Oh Says:

    Great Job Dave. I completely enjoyed it. A whole lot better then being forced to listen to Craig Cole who thinks he’s a young version of John McElroy. If he is doing the daily I just click it off. Hope to see you,or anyone else,soon.
    PS: I also hate Tampon ad’s,too !!!!

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    My local Enterprise got a couple of BMW 3 series on the lot, I may indulge myself for my b-day and rent one for the weekend, I wanna see what all the fuss is about.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:


  16. Jon M Says:

    Sounds like you paid the price to get to write about autos, David. Even though you didn’t have to even mention that you wrote about tampons, thanks all the more for NOT telling us what you wrote about them!

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, it could have been worse, like adult diapers, Depends.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For my occasional need to move a motorcycle or lawn tractor, etc., I use a 4 by 8 tilt trailer, which didn’t cost much, and I can pull with almost anything. I don’t need an expensive, gas hog pickup truck for such things. I pull the trailer with my old van, but my Prius would do the job, and may get a hitch if I sell the van, which I may do.

    Yes, I know a lot of people just “like” pickup trucks, whether they have a need for them or not. I know several such people.

  19. HtG Says:

    13 Craig, don’t you listen to Mr. Leonard. Some of us here like you fine. Now go on and buy yourself a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Does Enterprise have any manual transmission 3′s to rent? I’d enjoy renting one of those for a day.

  21. Tony Gray Says:

    Pedro, if you rent one be sure it has the Sport Package. IMHO it makes a world of difference. When my 335i Coupe was in for routine service on two occasions I was provided a loaner. The first was a 328i with sport package and the second time was a 335i without it. I would have chosen the 328 hands down over the more powerful car. The seats and handling make that much of an improvement.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    No only auto, as it is, it will probably get plenty of abuse from those who believe in the ads, although it is a nice car, they want $115 per day, I think it may be more fun to rent a Stang ragtop (same price) instead and enjoy this hot, cancer-causing, late Aug Fl. sun, it’s just that I’ve never driven one and it should be fun to take it down to the Keys and that overseas highway.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tony its’ the run of the mill 3 series, I’m afraid, no sports package.

  24. aliisdad Says:

    It is kinda sad to see the Ranger leave the US market…I always thought it was a neat little truck, and it was very handy for those who don’t really need a larger pickup…Hopefully, at some time, we will get a similar pickup from Ford like the ones they are producing elsewhere..Hey, what about “ONE FORD”??
    We used to have a lot of small pickups to choose from, and they were just plain handy..
    I also wonder if something like the Ute or smaller “ElCamino” kind of vehicle could be produced to meet this need…They make good second cars and are great to have when you need it for home chores and “goin’ fishin’”…Anyway, I hope there will be a market for this kind of small pick up and manufactures will supply them to the US…

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s what I expected. I suspect a manual, or even a car with the sport package would get abused a lot more than a basic 3 series with automatic. Still, it would be a fun car to rent for a day.

  26. guybob Says:

    groups representing the oil and auto industries as well as food companies fought the new rule but their challenge was dismissed because the appeals court ruled they had no legal right to challenge the decision.

  27. HtG Says:

    26 You need to have legal standing to sue. That is, you need to argue that it is YOU being harmed by the rule. IIRC, some years ago the EPA was sued over emissions rules, but the suit was dismissed because the Supreme Court said the plaintiff did not have standing. More simply, I can’t sue you because you damaged somebody else’s property. I think

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they start selling E15, I hope E10 continues to be available. Of course, maybe E15 won’t hurt anything anyway. There was lots of gloom and doom when E10 became the norm, but my two 80′s cars, and even my 70′s lawn tractor are doing fine on E10. The only vehicle I had trouble with was an old BMW bike with shellac-covered cork floats, which I replaced with brass floats.

    Maybe what I have now would be ok with E15, but I’d rather not have to find out, just in case.

  29. Chuck@GM Says:

    It’s my personal opinion, the corn lobby (or whatever lobby) just had a better lobby than auto. That explains the inexplicable in my alleged mind.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t like corn oil or syrup in my diet, nor in my car, but it is almost impossible to control either.

  31. Mike Shipley Says:

    I have owned several Rangers,which have been discontinued. I now drive a Sport Trac,also discontinued. Those of you waiting on a Ute, don’t hold your breath.. it’s based on the Falcon, soon to be… discontinued.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    #31 there is always used, my friend.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Corn syrup has replaced sugar in soda drinks, and most everything else that is sweet and non-diet.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    I look at it this way: If the car maker stops building something I want or like or need, I will not put money into their pockets for something I don’t really like, I’d rather buy used instead.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, I actually look for soda drinks that have cane sugar instead of corn syrup, they are readily available, plus I use maple syrup for my pancakes, it’s a little pricier but well worth it. Its the prepared stuff you have no control over.

  36. HtG Says:

    34 Agreed, Pedro. When I look at what’s available I’m disappointed that I can no longer get a car without driver aids. For me, driving is about control and responsibility. I understand that for the community it is totally correct for drivers to be nannied by computers and automatic trannies, especially on 400hp cars driven by fantasists. I guess I’ll still be useful to the industry as long as I keep servicing my Civic.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    all these things were put in place to supposedly prevent accidents, but it seems that I see more and more accidents caused by distracted drivers with their stupid cell phones. I wish I had a dollar for every driver I see going slow in the left lane while yapping away on the phone.

  38. HtG Says:

    hold your breath, it’s coming. Doesn’t the XTS have a system to stop the car if you’re gabbing your way into a pizza face? Also Volvo has something that works up to a certain speed. For me the day the music died was when Ferrari stopped making a manual transmission. I’m more interested in the industry than the cars or driving them.

  39. Jerzjt Says:

    Kotek never needed a bailout….recession proof!

  40. Jerzjt Says:


  41. cwolf Says:

    Do any of you remember the short term car rental where one gets the car at a certain location, then leave it when you are finished? Anyway… I saw a guy from Ill. driving a Prius in Toledo,Oh! I’m not sure if this was the intent for the use. Sounds like it could be an expensive drive.

  42. cwolf Says:

    #40: kotex may not have been in need of a bailout,but in that business there are always strings attatched !

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Kotex is made by Kimberly-Clark, which makes all kinds of recession-proof products, like Kleenex, and, more importantly, toilet paper.

  44. Duke Says:

    Just remember to do your research before buying used. Take for instance, that “refined”
    Tacoma that was referred to above, make sure it is not from the period of 9 years that have failing frames (’95 to ’04).

    That small pickup market has declined substantially in recent years and two of the players are from extremely protected home markets. It would be interesting to see if anyone (including commentator Kiley) could really build a viable business case for any company (except, of course, those from highly protected home markets) investing in this particular very small and declining niche – even when you already the product (available elsewhere).

    That, of course, is not to say that Ford won’t see that it is worthwhile to re-enter this very small market in the future.

    If we ever reciprocate the trade policies of Germany, S.Korea, Japan and China (to mention just a few), they would be in deep do do.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, people might not need cars or TV’s or fancy restaurants but they will need TP, BTW last week I heard a travel expert saying that travels bookings are up quite a bit, seems like Americans just will not give up their traveling, no matter how crappy the economy gets. #44 Oh I know, as a matter of fact, I’ve decided that when my car finally craps out, I will get a model from the same generation maybe a couple of years newer with a lot less miles and in better condition.

  46. Tuck&Roll Says:

    John, do you need to make an uniformed wise crack about Mitt. Come on man!

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, some Toyota pickups had frame rust problems, especially where they dump salt on the roads by the megaton.

    BTW, all, or nearly all U.S. bound Tacomas sre now made in Texas, and are more American than all the Ford products that come from Mexico.

  48. cwolf Says:

    Does the Ford C-max have a chance with you Prius guys? The EPA certified the C-max for 570 miles,120 more miles than the Prius. And the combined mileage for the max is 47 mpg vs 42 for the prius. The icing on the cake is that the max costs $1300 less! From what early reports say,the c-max is faster, drives much better and has a longer & faster speed on just battery power. Are you sold yet?

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    Not for me, cwolf, why take a chance on a new model and technology when the Prius already has millions of miles of reliable use throughout the world? besides Mullaly and company have had issues with new technology like double clutch trannies and that I am going insane Ford touch thingy!

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The C-Max is being compared with the “big” Prius V rather than the one like mine, which has an EPA combined rating of 50 or so.

    If I were in the market for a bigger high mpg car, I’d definitely check out the C-Max. I’d want to wait a year or two for some reliability data, but what I here sounds good.

    It seems that the Prius V should have a larger power train, like the one used in the Camry hybrid, at least for highway mpg. I suspect the Prius V will get better city mpg than the C-Max, but we shall see.

    As far as max speed or range on electric only in a non-plug-in hybrid, I don’t care. Mpg is what I care about, but if a car is quicker and gets the same or better mpg, that’s a positive.

  51. cwolf Says:

    pedro, Ford hybs have been problem free to date and the 2.ol Atkinson non-turbo is also pretty good. You’re not a Prius guy,anyway! I think Prius has a serious competator. Did ya also read that Ford’s lil’3 banger is engine of the year?

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …but if the C-Max has the gawdawful, non-intuitive controls like a lot of recent Fords, I wouldn’t consider it. My Prius has a kind of unusual control layout on the console, but it is easy to figure out and use.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Engine of the year? but in 5 yrs will it be the pain in the a_ _ engine of that year? The Prius is in my dream garage, don’t you know?

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    I like the controls I have now, thankyouverymuch! I can tune my radio or turn on and adjust a/c without taking my eyes off the road.

  55. cwolf Says:

    Kit, did’nt Ford reconfigure their info/radio controls or is that only for the new Lincolns?

    pedro,you’re a Toyotaholic! If’n ya don’t ease off those Asian things,they say your eyes become permanent narrow slits,get cravings for poisonous blow fish sushi and carry a camera everywhere you go! Your Cuban bros might make fun of you.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You can avoid myford touch in some Fords, but the last I knew, you couldn’t get a radio tuning knob in any of them. I’ll have to check out the latest Fords, Toyotas, and Hondas. They sell all of them at the same store where I bought my Prius in my home town in Indiana.

  57. W L Simpson Says:

    Real gas costs me 10% more, gives 20% better mileage on my 2010 2.4 Terrain.

  58. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    AOL Autos? Aren’t they owned by the Puffington Host?

  59. jesse Says:

    So we get less gas mileage with 10% Ethanol and somehow politicians think 15% is better??My god these people are absolutely nuts.CORRUPT,and totally nuts.

  60. Jerry Hightower Says:

    I’ve been saying there’s a market for the smaller Ford Ranger (not the new Australian Ranger) ever since the demise of the Ranger was announced. Ford only dropped it because they make more money off the bigger F150. If the F150 got 50 mpg I wouldn’t buy it because it’s too big and sits up too high. Ford’s lame excuse of the two trucks (Australian and F150)being close to each other is just that, an excuse. Look at the difference between the Focus and Fiesta. Not much differance. C’mon Ford, wake up. I’m gonna hate going to one of your competitors.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    E15 would give 1.5-2% less mpg than E10 which gives about 3% less mpg than pure gas in today’s cars with closed loop mixture control. Ethanol has very high octane rating, but you can’t take advantage of that unless you set up an engine to run only on ehanol, like Indy cars.

  62. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I can see a 20% difference between 100% gasoline and E85; I’m with Kit, 3% between E10 and all gasoline.

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf you got me wrong, I did not say anything about Toyota, I said I like my controls simple and intuitive, I don’t like fiddling around or taking my eyes off the road to change the radio or a/c my sis’ Journey has a cd player that needs you to push 2 diff buttons just to insert a disc, ridiculous! you should just have to insert the damn disc and let it play automatically.

  64. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW cwolf: ever tried fried bananas and rice and black beans with sushi? delicious!!!