Episode 957 – Euro Regs Go Too Far, BYD’s Compact Comes When Called, Camaro’s Weighty Issue

August 24th, 2012 at 12:03pm

Runtime: 10:50

European automakers say the 2020 emissions target will add a hefty increase to the price of cars — we’ll tell you how much. BYD has a car that comes when it’s called — for only $10,000! Camaro’s chief engineer explains away the criticisms of the sports car’s weight problem. All that and more, plus Seamus McElroy has an overview of the new Ram 1500!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for Friday, the 24th of August. I’m John McElroy, and here’s the news.

The European Auto Manufacturing Association, a group that represents automakers, says the European Commission’s CO2 emission standard is too much of a burden for carmakers. The 2020 CO2 standard calls for an average of 95g/km. Automakers say it will cost over $1,800 per car to meet the new target. Automakers are also upset over a free-trade agreement with South Korea and a proposal for one with Japan. They say it will lead to more South Korean cars in Europe but not more exports from Europe to South Korea. Automakers are worried the same thing will happen if a free trade agreement with Japan goes through.

Chinese automaker BYD just introduced its all-new Surui compact sedan, and it offers a really cool feature. Using the key fob you can pull a car out of a tight parking spot. The car only has a top speed of 2 kilometers an hour but it can move in any direction. And the operator must be within 10 meters of the car. Not bad for a car that’s priced between $10,000 and $15,000.

On our television program Autoline This Week my guest is Raj Nair, the head of all product development at Ford. As you may remember, Raj took over for Derrick Kuzak who retired from the company this year. One of the many topics we cover in the show is how and why Ford is going to be using carbon fiber in its vehicles later this decade.

(This clip is available here.)

In that clip I said Ford has to reduce the weight of its vehicles by an average of 750 pounds. Actually it has a range of 250 to 750 pounds depending on the size of the vehicle. We cover a lot more topics in this show, including CVTs, electrics, fuel cell cars, autonomous technology and more. You can watch the entire show at Autoline.tv, or check our home page for a list of public television stations that also carry the show.

On Autoline After Hours last night, Al Oppenheiser, the chief engineer on the Chevrolet Camaro took on critics who say the car is too heavy. He pointed out that it is longer and wider than a Ford Mustang because that produces a car that can corner faster. It has an independent rear suspension for better handling, and it comes with bigger wheels, tires and brakes. Add that all up and it comes to about 280 pounds, which is close to the difference in weight between the Mustang and the Camaro. So he makes a very eloquent argument that the extra weight is worth it.

The all-new Ram pick-up truck is going to hit the showrooms any day now, and we’re finally allowed to tell you what we know about it. That is coming up next.

(For our full overview of the Ram 1500, please watch the video version of today’s show.)

The big changes are under the hood and inside the cab.

The 2013 Ram 1500 is standard with Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.6 liter V-6 and mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It offers 305 horsepower to go along with 269 foot pound of torque. And it can run on both gasoline and E85. With the 4×2, its fuel economy is 17 MPG in the city and 25 on the highway.

It’s also available with a 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 which will initially be paired with a 6-speed automatic but later it will be available with the 8–speed automatic. That, plus cylinder deactivation and other improvements boosts its fuel economy 10% compared to the outgoing model. But the HEMI is still just as capable, with 395 horsepower and 407 lb.-ft of torque. And depending on the set-up it can tow up to 11,500 pounds while the V-6 is rated at 5,630 pounds.

And rounding out the engine line-up is a 4.7 liter V-8 that comes standard with the six-speed automatic.

When driving above 62MPH, the air suspension system will lower the truck automatically by about half an inch, to improve aerodynamics in order to get better fuel economy.

As I mentioned earlier, the company also focused on improving the interior.

Some of the lower trim levels are bit darker in the interior than before so it won’t show the wear and tear as easily, since these are the models most likely being used for work. But the upper trims offer lighter colors. And the Longhorn edition uses real wood in the steering wheel, doors, and center stack for a more upscale look.

The starting price for the 2013 Ram 1500 is $23,585.

Think you could earn a fortune if you ran your own dealership? Tonight at 8PM Eastern Time you’ll have your chance. The RoundAbout show is holding a special Game Night where you can play a game of Dungeons & Dealers with some of RoAb’s regulars like Jim and Bob Hall. To play, you first have to register. Just visit the RoundAbout section of Autoline.tv to sign up and get all the info you’ll need to join in. Again, that’s tonight, 8PM Eastern at Autoline.tv.

And that wraps up this week’s reports, please join us again Monday as we help you keep track of the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

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

28 Comments to “Episode 957 – Euro Regs Go Too Far, BYD’s Compact Comes When Called, Camaro’s Weighty Issue”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    That Chinese car looks like a Corolla with a Cruze interior, they should have called it Cruzolla, btw I for one wold not stand in front of it while the remote control moves it. Note to Camaro guy, both your can the Mustang need to join weight watchers.

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Ever being a GM (Chevrolet in this case) fan for just about forever, I’m not buying the weight explanation given by Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser; I know of no racing venue in which less weight is not actively being sought. It may require the added extra weight for the attributes he described, but other reductions needed to be found (to get that ‘puppy’ closer to the competition). And in getting the overall weight lowered, those weight causing features, would work even better. I do agree that they (Chevy) has make that ‘heavy piece’ dance like a light-weight (just don’t buy the explanation).

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee, what’s with my spelling today? the Challenger also needs to join that weight loss plan, I realize they all come from platforms too big for a “sport” car, but jeez!

  4. HtG Says:

    Jeezus, do I like seeing a Camaro on the road.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    4 you do? I rather like the 1st gen Camaro myself. I just saw one last Sunday, guy got out and cranked the window shut, and it had a real nice sounding exhaust note, sweet!!

  6. Ed Says:

    Nobody likes to go on a diet, or to know you are too porky, however anyone who does work on the weight reaps the benefits, Camaro is in denial, like someone in the line at the burger joint, getting a double cheese, double meat, with large fries , and then a tankard of “diet soda” nobody is fooled, and your “skinny jeans” all stretched out of proportions, version for version, does the Camaro beat the mustang in , handling, cornering , mpg, across the board? Ed

  7. Duke Says:

    Has anyone noticed how Chrysler/Ran have totally adopted/copied the Eddie Bauer look (from Ford’s F-series and Explorer from way back) on all the Ram pickups used for adverts?

    And now I noticed that they have copied the same “perforated” bars in the grill.

    I guess that is very flattering that they are copying Ford to such a degree, but geez, a little creativity on their part might go a little farther towards their own identity.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sergio must have gone to the Shanghai business school.

  9. C-Tech Says:

    I drove a new Camaro ZL-1 (automatic) fresh off the trailer last night. OOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!. The weight concern (250 lbs) is nit-picking. There are other items which need to be addressed in the next generation. That magnetic-ride suspension is great. Please work on visibility in the rear and the seats could be more comfortable (see BMW).

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s understandable that the Camaro is heavier than the Mustang, and Challenger heavier than Camaro, never mind the. IRS in the Chevy and Dodge. The bottom line is that all three are too big and heavy. These are supposed to be sports cars, or at least sporty cars.

  11. HtG Says:

    I recall Mustang’s chief engineer appearing on AAH answering a question about weight. He was asked what he thought the ideal weight for Mustang was. He said that he was on a crusade to get weight out.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    The problem with all these “muscle” cars is that they’re built on big, heavy chassis and I guess it’s hard or too costly to make them smaller (no auto engineer here) or perhaps unless the Detroit 3 all agree to make them smaller and lighter, no one is willing to go first and then suffer the Kizachi effect.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM had the opportunity to use the Solstice/Sky chassis and make some interesting variations of it, but for reasons only they know, they discontinued the whole thing

  14. W L Simpson Says:

    Pedro, one of the prettiest pics this olwrench ever saw was a
    complete Solstice rolling chassis. Somebody send
    me one for a screensaver

  15. Gary Paul Says:

    To me these late model Camaro SS, Challenger R/T, and the Mustang GT are essentially like traditional “muscle cars” or even full-sized autos but which are styled like the traditional “pony cars” were styled (the short deck, long-hood look first popularized so impressively with the 64 1/2 Mustang). A muscle car was originally a mid-sized rwd platform usually equipped with the big V8 engine from its division, like the original 1964 389 GTO. —In fact the Challenger is so heavy it qualifies as a 2-door sport coupe version of the full sized Dodge Charger but with its own interior and exterior style!

    Now I understand that the these vehicles needed to utilize platforms that were rather large in order to control the costs that manufacturers incur when developing unique platforms, just as the original Mustang used the Ford Falcon “bones” to act as a foundation and keep development costs in check. But that does not mean that the high weight of these machines is a Jim Dandy aspect of their development. I understand it, yet I look forward to moving these vehicles to considerably smaller platforms with the next big updates. And it isn’t just about their capabilities on the road because other elements come into view as vehicles grow huge, such as the effect of the weight on fuel mileage.

    Yes they are all good vehicles and solid engineering took place to create their sporting demeanor, and there is nothing wrong with a powerful sporty big machine.

    —But do most Mustang owners want vehicles this large and heavy? As popular as the Camaro has become I think it would attract a few more customers if it were 300-400 or more pounds lighter. Many folks like these big machines, yet with the upcoming fuel mileage requirements, the manufacturers are going to be creating vehicles significantly lighter than these as well….

    just my 2 cents…

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    just looking at the specs, the Solstice, while being smaller in every dimension than the FR-S, had the same curb weight, that’s gotta be lazy engineering, I’m sorry!

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    #15, that would depend on whether or not they will have V8′s in them or will they only have V6′s and turbo 4.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #15 Gary; pretty much ‘nailed’ it. Originally there were two distinct classes of cars (that are being discussed); muscle cars and pony cars. Today, they are being lumped together as ‘muscle cars’, and probably rightfully so because the pony’s have gotten big (midsized big with big engines). With the new gen Mustang, I think you are going to see a size reduction, and conversely, I believe the next gen Camaro will be built on the ATS platform (I think I heard that rumor somewhere) so I’m guessing the next from Ford and Chevy, we’re going to see cars in the 3500 pound range (at least I hope so).

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve read several places that the next Camaro will be on the ATS platform. That sounds good, as far as size and weight reduction. I hope it doesn’t mean a big price increase.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Such a big company like GM with all its international variants cannot afford to design a smaller RWD platform that could be used in any of their markets, I find that disturbing, there is your result of the FWD madness that swept the industry 30 yrs ago.

  21. Gary Paul Says:

    Regarding the downsizing of these modern “Pony Cars”: Yes all of them will be downsized with the next generation (2015 model year for the Mustang starting April, 2014). The Dodge Challenger is supposed to go the way of the dodo bird with a new SRT(?) Barracuda taking its place on a MUCH lighter platform shared with Fiat. But if it is an SRT model, expect no models with just moderate performance.

    The Mustang GT will lose at least 200 pounds (down to about 3400lbs.) and the Camaro SS perhaps 400 lbs. so they should weigh about the same in these guises, I am guessing.

    The next Camaro and Mustang will offer V8s at least in the US market. The Mustang is supposed to have 4-cylinder turbos as the base engine (instead of the 3.7 V6) and quite possibly for all markets including the US. It seems logical to me that a truly “Lincolnized” (is that a word? :-) ) version of the new Mustang will be eventually rolled out like Mercury once rolled out a nicely done 1967 Cougar based on the Mustang platform.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Went out in torrential rain and high wind to see how the ole Vibrolla would handle the elements and I was amazed that it did better than the sister’s Journey under much worse conditions than we had the week b4, I guess it has to do with a lower center of gravity or better aerodynamics.

  23. HtG Says:

    A guy from Houma, LA whom I worked with years ago advised never to buy a car from New Orleans since it had likely been under water.

    We’ll see soon.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Also they tell you not to buy from the snow-belt states either, I remember when I used to live in Jersey, a couple of used car dealers I knew would travel to Fl to get their cars from auction there, lots of rental cars there.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, snow belt cars are much worse, rust-wise, than Florida cars, except for cars that are actually driven into the ocean at Daytona and New Smyrna. I see 20 year old cars in Floricda with paint that is dull and falling off from the sun, but they rarely have much body rust where there is paint. Many 15 year old cars in Indiana have significant lower body rust from the road salt.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, I’ll take sun damage over rust any day, also up north, components take a lot of abuse due to extremely freezing weather and potholed roads specially in urban areas.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, it looks like Isaac moved way west of earlier projections, so you probably didn’t get too much. It’s not looking so good, though, for the gulf coast farther west, at least according to the latest national hurricane center projections.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    No, we just had some gusts and lots of rain, even though if you believed the local TV stations, the apocalypse was coming, this is gonna affect the refineries on the gulf coast and the off-shore drilling, there goes another spike to gas prices, which is more scary than the actual storm!