Episode 995 – Europe Exports Lower Gas Prices, App-Happy at Ford, First for Chrysler-Fiat

October 18th, 2012 at 11:55am

Runtime: 8:20

Find out how Europe’s continued financial woes are lowering gas prices in the U.S. See who is at the Ford-front of in-car technology. Chrysler and Fiat expand their partnership in unique way.  It’s a first for them since they joined forces in 2009. All that and more, plus John looks at Ford’s hot new BOSS 302 Mustang.

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Hello to all you automotive industry enthusiasts, welcome to Autoline Daily. We’ve got some good updates on new cars, new technology, and the latest news.

As the European car market continues to melt down we’re seeing some strange things happen. Mercedes is heavily discounting cars, an average of 12 percent, and offering nearly $4,000 more on trade-ins. BMW is shifting tens of thousands of cars it meant to sell in Europe over to the U.S. On top of that, gasoline refiners in Europe are going to start shipping excess gasoline to the U.S. Bloomberg reports that 19 oil tankers have been booked to ship gasoline just for the last week of October. The U.S. could get over 800,000 barrels of gasoline a day from Europe, and that should start driving down prices. I saw gas for only $3.33 this morning, nearly 50 cents cheaper than it was just a couple of months ago here in Michigan.

Cascada is Spanish for waterfall, but in automotive parlance it translates into Opel’s latest convertible.  This midsize drop-top is roughly the same size as an Audi A5.  Inside it has room for four passengers and a raft of premium features to keep them comfortable – things like heated and cooled front seats, Nappa leather and an adaptive suspension system.  The fabric roof can be tucked away in just 17 seconds – less time than it takes to listen to this story.  As for performance, the Cascada’s base poweplant is a one-four turbo that should be familiar to you Chevy Cruze owners out there.  A 2.0-liter diesel is offered as well.  But the top engine is a 1.6-liter turbo gasser with 170 horsepower.  Manual and automatic six-speed transmissions are available.  Pricing and a sale date have not been shared.  To my jaundiced eye the Cascada really seems more Buick than Opel.  I wonder if they’ll offer it in the ‘States.

With its SYNC system the Blue Oval has been at the Ford-front of technology.  The company is pushing these high-end features down to mass market vehicles, which would’ve made Ol’ Henry proud of this technological populism.  The move is part of CEO Alan Mulally’s push to make Ford more Silicon Valley and less Rust Belt.  AppLink, a feature of SYNC, currently offers motorists 13 different apps they can use in the car, including things like Pandora, Twitter and Yelp.  More are in development.  Naturally, the challenge is to make these features easy and SAFE to use while driving, which has not been an easy task.

Ford has implemented marketing strategies like teasing the new Explorer on Facebook or giving away 100 Fiestas to social media members before it went on sale. But where did they get these strategies from? Chief of Marketing at Ford, Jim Farley, confirms that he took inspiration from the video-game industry. He’s using what the video-game industry calls a “slow-burn approach,” which teases a vehicle well before it’s on-sale date. Farely notes that 20 percent of Ford’s marketing budget is for pre-launch projects.

MOPAR PUSHES TO GO GLOBAL (subscription required)
Mopar, Chrysler’s in-house parts supplier, will be jumping on a ship to Europe. For the first time since the Fiat-Chrysler partnership was formed a Fiat vehicle, a small CUV called the Panda will feature Mopar parts and accessories. Mopar has had a growing presence in Europe since the Fiat-Chrysler merger in 2009. The CEO of Mopar, Pietro Gorlier, says that sales of original equipment parts and accessories in the U.S. have doubled since then. I find it fascinating that Fiat is using Mopar and it shows how they really want to grow that brand globally.

Recently I got a chance to test drive the Boss 302 Mustang. You can get my instant impression right after this. Plus, we have some fun things to announce about tonight’s Autoline After Hours.

That car is not only a blast to drive, it just sounds so good. Yes, there may be something old fashioned about the internal combustion engine, but when they’re done right they sure can give you a good gut feel.

On Autoline After Hours tonight we have a great enthusiast joining us. Hau Thai Tang is not only one of the ultimate gear heads in the industry, now he’s the head of engineering for Ford’s global product development. He’s also bringing some die-cast models of the new Focus ST to give away, so make sure you learn how you could win one of them. Plus, my super outrageous Autoextremist co-host, Peter De Lorenzo has come up with a trivia quiz so that a few lucky viewers can win an Autoextremist t-shirt. Now that’s something that even I would want to win. So tune in tonight starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and if you can’t make it at that time, don’t forget you can always catch it later at Autoline.tv.

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

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22 Comments to “Episode 995 – Europe Exports Lower Gas Prices, App-Happy at Ford, First for Chrysler-Fiat”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I hope gas prices go down here in my area which is still over 4 bux a gallon.

    Man,I would love to drive a new boss 302.My days of shifting,unfortunately for me are over.But,I can still enjoy watching others wail the crap outta one.

  2. Lex Says:

    I would love to see gasoline at $3.39/gal here in New York. The lowest price in my area according to GasBuddy.com is $4.099 if you pay cash!

    In the current Presidenial Debates regarding the Economy, if in 2008 you had a car that got 12mpg when gas was around $2.00/gal your annual fuel cost was $2,000.00 on 12,000 miles per year. Today, If you purchased a new car that gets 24mpg and gas is around $4.00/gal your annual fuel cost is still $2,000.00 on that same 12,000 miles per year. However you have now had to incure the cost of a new higher effiency vehicle. In my way of thinking we are no better off now then we were four years ago.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hopefully, Ford will let the Mustang remain a car, even though most other Fords have become smart phones/video games.

  4. aliisdad Says:

    That Opel Cascadia would be a great Buick..I hope it comes to the US!!

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suspect Mustang will as well be infected with the PC bug when the new model comes out!

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And other news; heard that the C7 (Corvette) has been announced to begin production late ’13 as a ’14 model. Current C6 production will cease Feb’13 and be shut down for approx. 6 months for retooling. An announcement of the new gen Chevy (GM) V-8 is scheduled for 10/24/12 (next Wednesday). First installation set for the Corvette with later install for the GM pickups. What is expected is the new D.I. (direct injection) V-8.

  7. Julius Lambert Says:

    GM needs to DUMP the OLD push rod concept and get on with DOHC,VT,VC.The market is leaving this OLD Tech in the DUST.Just look @ BMW,far less CIs and whip ass power.An 8 speed dual clutch would be nice.Come on GM.

  8. M360 Says:

    If that Opel Cascadia comes to the US as a Buick, I hope it doesn’t ride and drive live a VW. If I want a VW, I’ll get a VW, not a Buick.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM’s pushrod V8′s get comparable mpg to other’s OHC engines of comparable power. That is what matters with large displacement engines, as long as you aren’t racing in a catagory where maximum displacement is specified. Remember the Impala SS and Mercury Marauder? In most tests I read, the “low tech” Chevy with its pushrods was faster, and got as good of gas mileage as the “high tech” Marauder.

  10. Chuck @ GM Says:

    John – Where’d you find gas for $3.33??

  11. XA351GT Says:

    That glorius noise of the BOSS 302 V8 is why I hope there is always a place in the market for a V8 . Nothing sounds as good as awell tuned exhaust on V8. That rumble in the seat of your pants when it idles and kick in the seat of the pants when you stomp the gas. I know there are turbo 6s and 4s that will eat most V8s ,but they’ll never sound as good. Face it most 4s sound like a bad case of gas. 6s always sounded like tractors with loud exhausts. V10s nad 12s sound okay but lack that low end rumble.

  12. HtG Says:

    LATimes reporting that GM will hire 3000 workers from Hewlett-Packard. These people were already doing work for The General. The article doesn’t say if these people are all engineers, but then there’s also some news about Einstein in the piece.


  13. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > The U.S. could get over 800,000
    > barrels of gasoline a day from
    > Europe, and that should start
    > driving down prices. I saw gas
    > for only $3.33 this morning,
    > nearly 50 cents cheaper than
    > it was just a couple of months
    > ago here in Michigan.

    If global warming or any other consequence of carbon dioxide buildup in our atmosphere is for real to the point of justifying 54 miles per gallon CAFE, then cheap gas won’t solve our problems.

  14. JonHotmail.com Says:

    Awesome show! That boss 302 is a real beauty!

    Who knew I was a ford fan.

    Keep uP the great work and tell Craig we say hello

  15. Andrew Charles Says:

    Julius, pushrods and side cams are not the only “old tech”—DOHC systems were in use decades before GM introduced pushrods. GM has even toyed with twin-cam and 4-valve pushrod systems, for the same reason that Honda used pushrods in at least one of its Formula 1 engines—to save space, in GM’s case to reduce engine height, and in Honda’s to reduce the width of its flat-V F1 engine. While GM’s V8s are relatively thirsty compared to the best German V8s (with 7- and 8-speed transmissions), quite a few smaller DOHC V8s use even more fuel. Pushrods are not obsolete, they are a technical solution to a specific problem.

    Talking of obsolete technologies, are the proponents of opposed-piston engines really suggesting we go back side valves and all their inherent problems? Even though Fairbanks-Morse still markets and updates their opposed-piston diesel engine, what they build and sell are conventional MAN and Pielsteck engines. Although their were plenty of fans of FM’s opposed-piston shark-nose locomotives, the railroads weren’t among them.

  16. Brett Says:

    The Fairbanks-Morse opposed piston diesel is still an incredibly successful power plant in Marine and Oilfield applications. It works best at tasks where it runs with a load at, say, 80-100% of its capacity. That’s why it was such a revered unit in the submarine corps during WWII. They ran for DAYS flat out running from Hawaii to off the coast of Japan.

    That’s why it really wasn’t successful as a railroad prime mover. Locomotives don’t have that sort of duty cycle.

    It still has the record of being the longest produced internal combustion prime mover in history.

  17. Philip Says:

    Am I the only one who feels that it is getting more dangerous on the roads because cars are getting more and more high tech gimickry installed in them? Really, internet access? Do you want the person in the car next to you using his/her Twitter account while driving? Or taking their eyes off of the road to mess with a touch screen interface just so they can change the radio station or adjust the climate controls? I will ONLY buy a vehicle that uses knobs & dials for the audio & climate control. You can adjust these easily without taking your eyes off the road.

  18. Philip Says:

    #16 Sorry, that should have been ‘Knobs & buttons to adjust the audio & climate control.’

  19. HtG Says:

    You’re not the only one. I sold my Miata (partly)because I became fed up with the dangerous and discourteous behavior of drivers in my area. There’s enough people on the roads who just don’t care, are distracted, or think that because they drive a high performance luxury auto they’re elite enough to own the road. (then there’s also the matter of my actually learning how to control a car to the point that public roads are revealed as a bore, and that I got my price for the Miata)

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Those Fairbanks-Morse engines were always interesting to me, but I never saw the point, except that, being two stroke, they should be powerful for their size. The idea of two crankshafts geared together using bevel gears sounds suspect, but they worked well for submarines, and are still used in ships and stationary applications.

  21. Brett Says:

    Railroad & Railfan magazine did a great two-part article on the Fairbanks-Morse engine. Cleared up a lot of the mystery about them for me.

  22. Jock Vargo Says:

    Why is there no news of the large amount of gasoline coming to the USA from Europe. Is it really true? Is it just another scam by the oil companies. At 800,000 barrels a week equals over 1.3 gallons or close to 6 millions a month. Shouldn’t we know about this in the news?