AD #1119 – Toyota Remains on Top, EVs Carbon Footprint, Diesels in Victory Lane

April 24th, 2013 at 11:48am

Runtime: 8:36

First quarter sales are out, and Toyota outsold two other global automakers to retain its top spot. The CEO of Maserati agrees with a new study that says the carbon footprint of EVs may not be better than gasoline powered cars. Mazda scores its first victory using the SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine in the Mazda6. All that and more, plus host John McElroy responds to your questions and comments in this week’s edition of You Said It!

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Welcome to Autoline Daily as we’ve managed to make it through the first half of the work week. Well, it’s earnings season as automakers around the world tell us if they made or lost money over the last three months.

And we start with Ford, which posted pretty strong results. Worldwide sales of vehicles increased 10 percent to nearly 1.5 million units. That pushed revenue up by 10 percent which came close to $36 billion. However, the company’s operating profit dropped 6 percent due to losses in South America and Europe but its net profit jumped by 15 percent to more than $1.6 billion. All in all, a pretty good performance for Ford.

But at Volkswagen it’s a different story. Even though its numbers are bigger than Ford’s the bottom line numbers all going in the wrong direction, and not by a little bit. Even though VW managed to sell nearly 5 percent more vehicles, more than 2.3 million units, its revenue dropped 1.6 percent to just over $60 billion, and that drop suggest the company is heavily discounting its cars. But here’s where the real news is: VW’s operating profit plummeted by 26 percent and its net profit fell 38 percent to about $2.5 billion. VW is still solidly profitable but those are very big drops from the year before.

Speaking of first quarter numbers, Toyota outsold GM and Volkswagen. Toyota says it sold 2.43 million vehicles, including its subsidiaries, Hino and Daihatsu. GM sold 2.36 million units and VW rounded out the top three, hitting 2.3 million in sales around the world during the first three months of the year.

Electric vehicles are seen by many governments as the best solution to help the environment. But as we recently reported a new study from Norway says the carbon footprint of EVs may not be better than gasoline powered cars. That’s why the CEO of Maserati, Harald Wester, says governments need to consider how the electricity to charge batteries for EVs is created when passing regulations. Wester claims that the average power station in Europe produces 86 grams of CO2 for an EV to travel one kilometer. In the U.S. it’s 110g/km and in China it’s 191g/km. And of course, there are gasoline powered cars that do better than that and at far lower cost.

On Monday, Mazda scored its first victory using the SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engine in the Mazda6. They did it at the famed Road Atlanta track in Georgia. It was just the 6’s fourth race using the engine and the first time ever for a diesel-powered car to win a Grand-Am competition. Mazda also took third place. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the production version because Mazda says more than half the components in the race engine are shared in the street engine.

The commemorative poster for the 26th annual EyesOn Design classic car show just came out. This year’s theme is “Revolution over Evolution,” which depicts a 1948 Tucker sitting in front of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford mansion. And even the poster is Revolutionary. It has an Augmented Reality feature that allows viewers with a smartphone to access brief remarks about the artist, the car and the home. The EyesOn Design posters are always created by noted automotive artists. This one was done by Steven Macy.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

Ramón Rivera doesn’t like the way Sergio Marchionne pronounces his name. I used to pronounce it Mar-key-own-nee until I learned he pronounces it Marsh-ee-own. And I know this for a fact because it was Marchionne himself who told me. Anyway, Ramon says, “This new pronunciation of Marchionne sounds to me like a scheme to sound more American and therefore win US hearts… please don’t use the new pronunciation, it sounds like name-murder to me!” I don’t know Ramon, as someone who has been correcting people all my life on how to pronounce my last name correctly, I’ve always tried to pronounce names like the people themselves pronounce it. You know, I used to say Porsch, now I say Porsche-uh, because that’s how Ferdinand said it.

Paul Phelps wonders why car dealers would want to sell hybrids. “My dealer indicated there’s a large investment required for a dealership to be allowed to sell these vehicles. They have to train their mechanics, buy special test gear and install a charging station before they can order vehicles that there is little market for. Why bother?” Paul, to make money! The back shop is where dealers make most of their profits. Having said that I can understand if a dealer is in a market where hybrids don’t sell well that they may not want to invest in all that equipment. But whether it’s diesels, carbon fiber, or electronic infotainment systems, dealers have to invest in the know-how and tools to service them.

HtG Says: “Please John, how about a feature on this week’s SAE meetings you were involved with?” He’s referring to a panel I moderated last week at the SAE show with a bunch of motorsports experts on whether racing is relevant to to the automotive industry. It was a superb discussion, but it was also a 2-hour long session. As the moderator I wasn’t able to take notes or record it, and so as good as it was, and believe me it was good, we really don’t have any pictures or video or record of what was discussed.

Brett has something to add to all this discussion about opposed piston engines, like from EcoMotors and Achates Power. “Fairbanks-Morse has produced a highly regarded, opposed-piston diesel engine since the 30s. They used the heck out of them in diesel submarines during WWII and are still favorites today where an engine is required that runs full-time at 80% or more of its rated load and is dead-nuts reliable.” Bret, thanks for that info. I had never heard of Fairbanks-Morse before, and it’s cool to see that the U.S. Navy is still using opposed piston engines that can trace their roots back 80 years.

Speaking of engines Tim Burns wants to know, “Hey John, any updates on the rotary engine?” He’s referring of course to Ernie Brinks, the guy we showed you last year who made some intriguing modifications to a rotary engine that could boost its efficiency significantly. All I can tell you is that he did have a meeting with Mazda to share his findings. But I do not know if that is going anywhere at Mazda.

Thanks for all your letters and comments, even we learn from all of you! Before we go, don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours live tomorrow night at 6 PM Eastern time, for some of the best insider information in the business.

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

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36 Comments to “AD #1119 – Toyota Remains on Top, EVs Carbon Footprint, Diesels in Victory Lane”

  1. Jim Taylor Says:

    “VW sales up, profits down”. I noted a month or two ago there were a whole bunch of Passats at one of the rental locations I was at- and in fact I ended up with one (and was thoroughly unimpressed- it was like an American interpretation of a German car).

    The cows have come home to roost- to mix my metaphors. Rental car companies are looking for the mostest for the leastest and VW’s strive to be #1 in unit volume is going to cost them profits.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe VW needs to reduce their in-house employment, and use more outside suppliers like other car companies. I guess that may be a mixed bag, though. Toyota and GM have both done that, and while Toyota makes a lot of money, GM went bankrupt.

  3. HtG Says:

    Rating Racing’s Relevence for Road cars

    And I quote Paul Hembry, Pirelli F1 sporting director,…

    “As it is a very dramatic and significant net cost to the business, we have to justify why we are here,” he added. “So we need to have visibility, we need to have a profile, otherwise quite frankly we won’t be here.”

    He’s talking about why Pirelli don’t make tires that last and why Bridgestone left the sport.

  4. Bradley Says:

    John, I agree with you opinion on pronunciations, but even in Monday’s episode you pronounced Hyundai like Sunday.

    Yes, Hyundai had a commercial telling all us Americans to do it, but I am pretty sure the Koreans do not pronounce it like Sunday.

    Sorry for making a mountain out of a mole hill.. :)

  5. Todd T Says:

    Carbon footprint of charging EVs is only part of the environmental bad news of this technology. The carbon footprint of manufacturing an electric car is nearly double that of producing a conventional ICE powered car (lithium free batteries powered EVs are a little less). You’d have to drive an EV nearly 80,000 miles to just have an “equal” carbon footprint, and that is ONLY if you charge with non-fossil fuel sourced electricity. Short-term; IE now, EVs do nothing to reduce greenhouse emissions, and in fact may be exacerbating the situation (let’s just say there is a greenhouse situation). Short-term solutions for government to have made an intelligent investment, would have been bio-fuels for conventional ICE vehicles, especially bio-diesel.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Related to yesterday’s show. Here is another review of the Alfa which the Dart is based on:

    They rank the Giulietta 4th of 5 “premium hatches,” with the Mercedes A-class being number 5. The Audi A3 was first.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I try to accommodate if a person, or company pronounces their name a certain way. Some of these preferred pronunciations don’t make much sense, though. For example, exactly how do you get “farv” out of Favre?

  8. HtG Says:

    While I’m sure Chrysler’s leader has had enough of this topic, I’m reminded of the time I went to the French consulate for a visa. The guy at the desk pronounced my name Vichy style, to which I responded with my own Americanized manner. Then he repeated himself.


  9. Wim van Acker Says:

    John: when explaining the flip side of clean EV’s (the polluting way of generating electrical power) footage of a working electric power plant was shown to illustrate how dirty those are, with large white plumes. Just so you know: those large plumes are clean, evaporated water from the cooling towers (those wide towers used to let warm water drip down like rain and cool down and partly evaporate on the way down).

    The real smoke stacks (the thin ones) did not show any “dirty smoke”. The pollutants are invisible (CO2, mercury etc.)

    As a side note: cooling towers lead more often to misunderstanding: when North Korea claimed to dismantle a nuclear facility a few years ago, footage of the imploding nuclear reactor was shown and everybody seemed to be very happy. What was shown on CNN and all other news outlets was the destruction of a small scale, simple and old cooling tower. To be rebuilt in appr. 8 weeks. Just some musings of a (former) chemical engineer).

  10. Bradley Says:


    They want to forget that in the early Henry Ford days Detroit was beyond polluted. Centuries of refinement have allowed the ICE to be as clean as it is.

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    Three Strikes and You’re …….

    GM’s got woes galore worldwide today , what with the ongoing strike at the Bochum , Germany plant and todays announcement GM Brazil’s on strike as well

    Doesn’t exactly bode well for the General now … does it


    EV’s Carbon Footprint -I’ve been saying this for three long years …. along with many others yet it takes a Norwegian study to finally drive the point home ? BTW that study doesn’t even take into account the carbon footprint created by the manufacturing of EV’s … which when you do makes the picture even uglier

    EV’s not only do not solve any problems …. they are part and parcel major contributors to the situation … and a problem unto themselves


    What the Subprime Auto Buyers are Purchasing .

    Have a nice long look at the number of FIAT-Chrysler/Dodge products Dominating the list …. then tell me how well FIAT-Chrysler/Dodge is doing

    Ye of doubt and little faith !

    What was that Sun Tzu saying ? ( Art of War )

    ” Sit on the riverbank long enough and the bodies of your enemies will come floating down it ” ( his advice on patience )


    TOYOTA – Sales down 7% ….. yet still #1 by a long shot … nuff said ;-)

  12. GM Veteran Says:

    Re #1, Its also telling that VW laid off 500 temporary workers at its brand spankin new American assembly plant when they deactivated the third shift. This tells me that Passats are stacking up at the dealerships. The rental car lot report you provide further adds to the fact that maybe this “American Passat” wasn’t such a good idea after all. I predict sales will continue to slow unless they ramp up the incentives.

  13. ColoradoKid Says:


    With a last name like mine and a Multi Lingual wife I’ve long since gotten used to mispronounced names and words and no longer even take notice

    So no worries with me ALD


    Major Mercedes Misstep ; Just in case any of you think I play favorites when it comes to criticizing auto manufactures ;

    The logical result of a Premium brand badge engineering a low level vehicle in the name of increased sales IMO …. Many more missteps like this could cost Mercedes a plethora of sales down the road

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They need to make Passat wagons there, and maybe CC’s.

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    VW – One last since there seems to be some interest

    Suffice it to say ( and HtG can confirm this ) VW-Audi’s REAL and actual causes for their financial woes are buried so below the surfaces as to make all the speculations we can come up with add up to an abject exercise in Futility ..

    e.g. Even those of us that know :-) …. still barely know the half of it …. German business practices and especially VW -Audi’s making Swiss Bankers look absolutely transparent in comparison

  16. GM Veteran Says:

    CK, just because sub-prime buyers are buying Chrysler products doesn’t equate to any kind of negative on the company. First, you have to understand prime vs sub-prime definitions. The vast majority of Americans are in the sub-prime category and all that means is that they do not meet the very high parameters to be classified as prime. Your source even admits its by no means a complete list. All in all, this doesn’t add up to anything. All mainstream automakers pursue the sub-prime category of buyers very aggressively because that is where the volume is. I guess you could say that Chrysler is more successful than most of the other makers at selling their aging vehicles to this group while they work on the replacements.

  17. Brett Says:

    “The name is Fronk-en-steen!”
    (forgive the phonetic spelling.)

    Follow up from the other day regarding Fairbanks Morse:

    That engine has been in continuous production longer than any other internal combustion engine.

  18. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM Veteran – 16

    A Subprime buyer is defined as someone that cannot qualify … therefore afford a conventional loan ….. and the fact that Chrysler and GM are going out of their way to attract Subprime buyers through both their own and outside ( Ally Bank ) financial departments says more than a LOT about how both’s sales are fairing .e.g The only thing bringing those buyers their way IS the fact that they’re ( GM & Chrysler ) are the only ones foolish enough to chose to do business with them after every other manufacture and loan company has turned them down flat

    Did the Real Estate bubble teach you nothing !!!!!

    Take a minute …. breath … and read up on the subject ( subprime loans ) before jumping all over my posts …..

  19. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – Most definitely …. the Theater of the Absurd ….

    Ein was für niedriger Abfall meiner Zeit

    Ourfeetarethesame ;-)

  20. T. Bejma Says:


    Bochum not on strike, just scheduled to close at the end of 2014 because workers couldn’t agree to new terms. Takes care of some extra capacity in a region that is sliding further into economic turmoil. Sounds like a good thing to me…

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    20 Wrong again my friend …. unfortunately … Bochum’s ‘ declared ‘ strike is what forced GM’s hand in closing the plant …. and Bob King’s there right now trying to negotiate a settlement to prevent that .. which according to Auto Motor und Sport he has a bats chance in Parma of accomplishing


    Italian Lessons ( for auto commentators and enthusiasts )

    re ; Marchionne

    Just called the cuz’s and the uncle …. heres the scoop

    Ramon’s criticism as I suspected was unfounded

    The chio in Marchionne can be pronounced any one of the following three ways depending on what Region of Italy ( Italy being extremely regional in their food , pronunciation and language ) one is from ;

    A semi hard CH … as in March — March ee onee

    A soft CH as in Marsh — Marsh ee onee

    Or as John has done — a hard C ( with an H ) as in Mark …. Mark ee onee

    So the only real mistake being made .. if there is one is Sergio dropping the onee and replacing it with ‘ own ‘

    His name …. his pronunciation ….. and perhaps that pronunciation happened when Marchionne’s family immigrated to Canada ( not uncommon at all btw )

    Personally though …. I’ll stick with Stronzetto … or take G.A.’s lead and go with Macaroni

    Basta …..Va bene’ …. Ciao 8)

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s pretty amazing that they still build those Fairbanks Morse opposed piston engines. Railroads didn’t use them very long, because they were high maintenance, and high fuel consumption compared to other engines.

    I suppose the current market is for replacement in boats, and stationary applications.

  23. T. Bejma Says:


    Regardless of the semantics, closing a plant, reducing capacity in a way over capacitized region IS A GOOD THING, not bad!

  24. C-Tech Says:

    @ #11 Looking at the list and reading the aricle, it seems Kia and Nissan are in the same boat as Chrysler. No Cadillacs’ on the list so there shoots your GM/Cadillac theory. Once the car is sold and financed by whatever company it is out of the manufacturer’s control. Hey how about a list of the top ten cars financed by credit unions? That will be as relevant.

  25. C-Tech Says:

    Hey John (and staff) how can you order an Eyes on Design poster?

  26. cwolf Says:

    Considering how bad things are in Europe, I wouldn’t count out King’s efforts to reopen the Bochum negotiations just yet!

    If one is aware of all the financial institution’s practices, it should be evident the lender could care less which brand is purchased. Business is business and to imply that GM or Chry. goes beyond any of the others is nothing more than a guess. If one can recall the Euro’s have done a fair job at fudging sales numbers. Let’s not forget how all the VW group has retained it’s volume…..,by giving all their profitds away!!! Now this is pure desperation!

  27. Brett Says:


    They were unsuccessful it locomotives because they really were not suited for the application. Too much idling, and lower throttle settings.

    They carbon up badly when not run at 80-100% for long periods. That’s what makes them great for marine applications, stationary power, etc. It’s why they were great in diesel subs, they could leave San Fransisco and run flat out to Hawaii without any stress on them.

    When the FM locomotives were scrapped, their prime movers were snapped up as valuable pieces by marine and oil field suppliers.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So are they still being bought for new installations in significant numbers, rather than just replacements?

  29. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I couldn’t ‘leave it alone’, had to see one for myself; here’s a link to a Fairbanks Morse 32D:
    I’m thinking EPA wouldn’t be happy (at least with this one). :)

  30. HtG Says:

    19 thx, ck

  31. HtG Says:

    I just stumbled upon these films from Lincoln at Vimeo. It’s 6 shorts wherein Lincoln Motor Company says, ‘Hello Again’

    Anybody seen these before, on tv maybe? How are these supposed to be found? Who is supposed to find it?

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That is an interesting video. In addition to being smokey, it would have been REALLY LOUD with those short, straight pipes.

    Would it have been normal for it to run hit-and-miss style or on one cylinder at light load, or would the engine in the video have “special controls” for doing the demonstration?

  33. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kit, I think the cylinder activation is progressive; appears number 3 maintains low speed with 1&2 coming on next, then 4. Sure has a lot of mechanical (pumping) noises as well. Love some of the old stuff (running); always amazed of how things were done (back then).

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve been to an antique engine show in Portland, Indiana a couple times, and there are always a few single cylinder “hit and miss” engines running. One of the times, there was a big diesel on a tractor trailer bed; I don’t know what it was. It could have been an FB. I don’t know if they ran it. At least I didn’t see/hear it run.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 30

    Methinks the idea is you’re supposed to have your nose well stuck into Social Media .. e.g. Facebook . Tumblr , Twitter etc in order to easily ‘ access ‘ those …. Thats the newest pathetic IMO trend in ‘ Cynical Marketing ‘ Making the ‘ end user ‘ feel like he/she has some privileged and exclusive access to yet another bunch of mundane ‘ Spend Your Money Here ‘ videos

    The saddest thing being not that companies are doing this …. but rather than so many consumers are buying into this hype Hook , Line & Sinker

    You know up until recently I’ve blamed the corporations etc for the rapid decline of quality – cynical marketing – badge engineering etc …. whereas especially after this week I’m rapidly becoming convinced 99.999% of the blame falls firmly on the consumers shoulders ….

    Hmmmn ;-)

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chuck Grenci

    re; Old stuff running

    Right over my head at least once a week ….. a P40 Warhawk … P51 Mustang and an F4U Corsair ….. individually and sometimes together .

    Talk about a symphony of sound from back in the day . I especially love it when the P51 comes down low enough to hear that superchargers whine …. 8)