AD #1122 – Radio to Follow 8-Track? OEMs Miss CAFE Targets, New Mercedes Unimog

April 29th, 2013 at 11:59am

Runtime: 7:40

Some experts predict car radios will go the way of 8-track and cassette players. According to preliminary data, the auto industry will meet CO2 emission targets, but not all OEMs. For all you off-road enthusiasts out there, Mercedes unveils its new Unimog lineup. All that and more, plus we take a look at a new bridge construction technique.

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WHello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. We’re glad that you’re back with us today.

Will automakers get rid of radios in cars before this decade is out? That’s what some experts are saying. They predict car radios will go the way of 8-track and cassette players. They believe drivers will access their favorite radio stations through the internet via their smart phones and stream it to their car. But others aren’t so sure. They point out that in the U.S., 90 percent of people age 25 to 54 listen to radio weekly, and it is the top choice for in-car entertainment. Also, over the air radio is free, versus cell phones that can have expensive data plans and sometimes iffy wireless coverage. You know,, this would be a good topic for another Autoline poll. Maybe we’ll get that in tomorrow’s show.

According to preliminary data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the auto industry will meet CO2 emission targets for the 2012 model year. But some OEMs missed their targets and face fines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Daimler, BMW, Chrysler, Fiat, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche and Volvo all missed their Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE targets last year. In 2011, automakers were fined over $25 million for not hitting their CAFE numbers.

The European car market is cratering, sales are shaky in South America, soft in South Korea, and dropping by double digits in Japan and India. Even so, Ward’s reports that global vehicle sales in March came to more than 8 million units. Though the total was down ever so slightly from a year ago, strong sales in China, the U.S. and even an uptick in the U.K. kept car plants humming all around the world.

Earlier in the year, the Secretary of Transportation in the U.S., Ray LaHood announced he would step down. Now the Obama Administration is set to replace LaHood with Anthony Foxx, currently the Democrat mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Foxx, 42, does not have a background in transportation, he worked as a lawyer before entering politics. Foxx still must be confirmed by the Senate, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t get approved.

Toyota just pulled the wraps off the 2014 4Runner. The redesign gets a new exterior look, and added interior refinements. Check out the meaner looking front facia. They want you to believe this SUV means business. It also gets a new instrument panel and an optional 3rd row for 7-passenger seating. All models are equipped with a 270 horsepower V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

And for all you off-road enthusiasts out there, Mercedes unveiled its new Unimog lineup. The all-terrain vehicle gets more visibility thanks to a panoramic cab, new multifunction steering wheel and better HVAC system for improved airflow. It also features a new traction drive system that allows the driver to switch a hydrostatic transmission, which allows the vehicle to climb very steep grades, at speeds up to 31 miles per hour. Variants can be had in 4 or 6-cylinder engines that produce anywhere from 156 to 354 horsepower, while still complying with Euro VI standards. New vehicles will begin to roll off the line in September.

You’ve seen NASA transport the space shuttle from its hangar to the launch pad. Well, now road construction crews are using a similar kind of transporter to build bridges far faster than we do today. More on that, right after this.

A lot of you saw the show we did with Kirk Steudle, the head of the Michigan Department of Transportation. On the show he talked about new construction techniques for bridges. We already showed you the Bridge In A Backpack approach. But that is for building smaller bridges. When it comes to building big ones they have a different approach. Take a look.

(Clip from Autoline After Hours with Kirk Steudle can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

I just love looking at these innovative ways to make bridges. As the United States starts to rebuild its creaky infrastructure, innovative ideas like this are going to accomplish it far faster and cheaper than anyone thought possible.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for making Autoline Daily part of your day and please join us again here tomorrow.

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44 Comments to “AD #1122 – Radio to Follow 8-Track? OEMs Miss CAFE Targets, New Mercedes Unimog”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I was playing word-association when I saw the new 4Runner (from Toyota); my take…….’doofy’. Anyone else?

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    Steal my Mercedes ( for any reason ) and you WILL get caught ;

    Who’d of guessed Mercedes Benz would wind up being a tool in the fight against terrorism ?


    Mercedes Benz Unimog – That thing is so completely and utterly insane …. in the very best of ways …. ;-)

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    #1 The Edsel of Toyota’s ? Eeesh . Called my 98 ‘ Odie ‘ after Garfield’s pal …. hmmmm … thats the best I can come up with

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    The Honda FIT … that isn’t so ‘ fit ‘ after all .

    44,000 recalled today

  5. HtG Says:

    BBC has this report on how Big Data is learning about traffic flows in metro areas. Imagine this combined with autonomous cars.

  6. HtG Says:

    4 Interesting about the Fit. A set tires different from the ones the stability control system was designed for led to miscalculations on the road.

  7. pedro fernande Says:

    That is one ugly front fascia on the 4 Runner, Anthony Foxx, Jamie Foxx, Red Foxx what’s the difference? they know nothing about transportation, they just all come from Kenya, well at least Red had his beat up truck I suppose these new bridges will all be built in China and then shipped over here?

  8. Bradley Says:

    What is the lifespan of these new bridges?

    Heck, even the concrete used in new freeways isn’t as good as it was in the 60s/70s. I drive on a freeway that is half untouched since its orginal construction in the 70s to some that was created in the last 10 years. The newest section is constantly being worked.

  9. pedro fernande Says:

    No spares, no radios, what’s next? No back seats? I would not be surprised that rear seats will be an option in the future

  10. Tony Gray Says:

    A friend’s son is graduating as a civil engineer this month from The College of New Jersey. He is a good egg. I think our future transportation design is in good hands, if he is indicative of the new crop of young engineers.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Any car company that quits installing radios in their cars does so at their peril. Internet streaming audio is not a substitute. It costs money for the data, and even for those who don’t care about money, there is that little problem in that it has unpredictable drop outs, even with the best of phone/data carriers.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The telematics of the type that helped find the Bomber Benz is nothing new. OnStar, and other systems have had that capability for years.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Not to mention there is more ‘no service’ areas then there is ‘service’ areas in our big country for streaming etc.Once again,it’s lack of infrastructure for whatever new tech…

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Let me ‘freshen’ that cup of cafe for ya’s.I’ll just pour in some good ol AFFORDABLE diesel options.There,doesn’t that taste better?

  15. ColoradoKid Says:


    # 9 – +1 x 1001 … squared

    #12 – Yeah but it aint nearly as good … is ten times slower and by the time OnStar would of gotten their act together Dumb & Dumberer would of been long gone on to their next target

    Three guesses why I know that ;-)


    G.A. Branigan – 12 – :o

  16. Lex Says:


    That new Toyota 4Runners looks like the designer blended the previous 4Runner with a FJ Crusier. The Designer most of not enjoyed being assigned to this project because this vehicle looks damn mean and ugly! I bet the interior looks just as bad. Scratch that vehicle off my shopping list!

  17. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @13 – Do you have some data to back that 10x up, or are your numbers your impressions? Just asking.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    These trucky SUV’s are a dying breed anyway. Toyota are just doing the weird styling to try to create a niche of the 4-Runner.

    I’d think it would make more sense to do an update to the FJ for that niche. The current FJ is a very good off roader, but has horrible visibility, and is too “rough around the edges” for today’s market. With a proper update, it could make the 4-Runner completely redundant.

  19. C-Tech Says:

    They are building a new stretch of highway here in Orlando. I have passed by the site of the new overpass for about a year watching construction creep along. As long as this is safe a durable, the new techniques as shown can could fast enough.

    I don’t see free (to the user anyway) radio going away too soon. Now internet / smartphone radio may very well kill satelite radio (are you listening Howard Stern?.

  20. C-Tech Says:

    @ #17 Sorry, that should be “As long as this is safe and durable, the new techniques as shown cannot come fast enough.”

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chuck @ GM … I assume you meant #15 ?

    If so …. think about who the wife works for …. no insult intended ….. can’t say more ….. nuff said ;-)


    Kit – What I for one wish Toyota would do is send over a ‘ civilized ‘ version of the REAL FJ …. as its smaller … and even more off road capable than its Tonka Toy FJ ( Cruiser ) namesake

  22. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – A link to the FJ 75 I spoke of . Its the P/U version but it comes in full SUV ( albeit very back country ) guise as well ;

    Civilize this thing a bit as well as bring over the P/U version and I’d bet Toyota’d have a winner on its hands

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s a pretty serious looking machine. It would be a very good competitor to Wrangler, as is, but would probably take a lot of work to make US legal.

    My sister had an old FJ Land Cruiser, I think a ’74. I’m not sure why she wanted it, except to have something different. It had a near-clone of a Chevy “Blue Flame” six for power. It was very crude, but would be very capable off-road. I remember helping take the top and doors off, for the summer. That top weighed a ton, but would probably hold the thing up if your rolled it.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Owners of old Land Cruisers have a crush on their vehicles, it’s old Toyota at its best, although kind of thirsty for a six cyl engine

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    # 4 this is crap, so in other words you have to keep buying that type of tire as long as you own the car in order for the stability control to work properly?

  26. HtG Says:

    25 Enquiring Minds do want to know more about this bug.

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I like that fj-75 pu.Put in a US compliant crd,the mandatory safety crap and even I would pony up for one.Kit,you wanna know why you see nothing (mostly)full size pu’s? It’s because the oem’s here don’t want us to have smaller size (and profit) trucks….that’s all.Notice how they blame the buyers,or lack of buyers so they dropped them.The tacoma hasn’t had any kind of meaningful upgrade since around 05,the s10 is gone,no more ranger which sold like hotcakes for the most part.And,as most of us older pu owners,we want a smaller capable and fuel efficient truck.Just can’t get one here.Both the taco and frontier are the only 2 choices and they both are old enough now to vote.Sigh….

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    I was looking at the Google map for Beijing, China and the smog is so bad you can’t even make out the buildings, plus no Google car has gone there to map out the place, open society indeed!

  29. cwolf Says:

    pedro, Just think; While you were Googling Beijing, their manufacturing is down and car sales are slower. Imagine what it’s like on a bad day!!!

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe their smog will decrease along with factory smoke which causes it in the first place.

  31. aliisdad Says:

    The new Toyota looks like a “Mitsu”!!

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect there are a lot of cars whose stability control would be affected if you use substantially diffetent tires. Would the stab control on a Prius work right if you replaced the decidedly low grip, low rolling resistance tires with high performance summer tires? I don’t know for sure, but I would not expect the stability control to work normally.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I remember my sister mentioning her FJ being a gas hog, even though the standards of that time were pretty low.

  34. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > And for all you off-road enthusiasts
    > out there, Mercedes unveiled its
    > new Unimog lineup.

    The Unimog has great off-road mobility, provided that the soil is strong enough to support the weight of the tires bearing down upon it. But when you start dealing with sand or soft soil, at the very least you need a central tire inflation system to temporarily reduce tire pressure. But when the going gets really bad, nothing on wheels beats a tracklaying vehicle.

  35. David Sprowl Says:

    Hmmm the rafio gone the way of the dodo? Maybe, but as was pointed out those data plans are costly when compared to over the air transmission. I can see a future where cell phones come with a radio built in. Shoot the last one I had came with an FM radio app. Put that into a cell unit and allow the driver to plug/set the phone into the dash and you have the radio nav function built in without having to engineer the telematics. SO yes I can see that day coming and right soon.

  36. T. Bejma Says:


    Apparently the MB system does not have the ability to DISABLE THE VEHICLE, like ONStar or the pursuers would have stopped the vehicle WHENEVER THEY WANTED instead of just following a GPS signal. Would have been a lot faster apprehension had the idiot bombers stole an SRX…

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They probably weren’t thinking very much, or they’d have stolen a very non-conspicuous car, like a silver Camry. Any Benz stands out a certain amount, even an M-Class like the one highjacked.

    It’s good that the bombers didn’t think of certain things, or it would have taken a lot longer to catch up with them.

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 35: That would require the use of a smart phone.Not everybody has one,or wants one.

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    36 – sorry … but ;

    A) OnStar would of taken so much time just to access the morons would of been long gone and probably stolen another vehicle by the time OnStar had gotten its act together

    B) The MB system … can disable the vehicle …. there were very distinct reasons why it wasn’t done immediately … but you might take notice of the fact that the media has reported the SUV ran out of gas when they were caught up with ….. not long after they’d just filled the thing up ….. wink wink ;-)

    C) Sorry T but the combination of West German technology and efficiency ….. along with a healthy dose of former East German Stasi ‘ Big Brother ‘ mentality makes the MB system a formidable and devastatingly frightening system in comparison to OnStar


    Satellite vs Radio

    Had the Satellite ( Sirius /XM ) in my GLK for free for the first six months …. hated the channels ( most oriented to the 25 and under crowd ) … the constant and daily repetition of the same pieces over and over again …. the lousy reception in many areas …. along with constant drop outs ….. So when the six months was up I canceled it …… and yet still got phone calls every day … sometimes up to five times a day from the company despite constantly demanding they stop calling me for almost 90 days ….. and finally had to get both my Lawyers … the FCC and the State Attorney General in on the picture to get the damn phone calls to stop

    If thats what I’ve got to look forward to assuming Radio does go silent …… I’ll play CD’s when I want some tunes in the car


  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, not everyone has or wants a smart phone, but also, the radios built into phones don’t work nearly as well as car radios. They will probably get better, but I don’t see them replacing a regular radio in a car any time soon.

  41. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Sirius/XM…..had for free when I bought the new nox last year.I have not and will not renew it,way to expensive,too many dropouts etc.The turn by turn nav that gm has is awesome,but wayyy too expensive to renew.Stupid money compared to a garmin/tomtom etc.

  42. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Had Sirius for three months (after purchasing a CPO Caddy STS), let it expire due to high yearly contract, was offered 6 months for 25 dollars (took the deal), end of deal and got the hard-sell to renew, asked for the 6 for 25 again (said they couldn’t do that, cancelled subscription, about two weeks later offered the 6 for 25 again; Sirius, get serious. You see Sirius radio (billing) complaints all the time in the car forums. sheesh

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    I rented a car (Sonata) 2 yrs ago, it had Sat/Nav radio (never used it) a sunroof (never opened it) remote keyless, (nope) only thing I loved was….cruise control, yeah baby!

  44. Brett Says:

    re: Stability Control
    I am my vehicle’s stability control system. I could care less what the onboard systems think of my tire choices.

    re: Radios
    I just replaced the factory AM/FM/CD unit with an AM/FM/Media unit. It has a USB port, a SD card port, and an Aux In for a portable audio device. It cost me $50, delivered from China off eBay. Works great.

    Carole listens to the radio while bopping around town and, on trips, I can either jack in the iPhone with Pandora One, or put the 8 gig SD card on “Random Play” and hear an broad, dare I say ‘eclectic’, assortment of music from the hundreds and hundreds of MP3s stored on it.

    No more mucking about with CDs! Love it.

    I don’t see radios disappearing, but I do see mechanical media hardware disappearing, pronto.