AD #1197 – 400 HP Toyota Yaris, Comparing Full-Size Sedans, The Danger of 3-Shift Operations

August 20th, 2013 at 11:50am

Runtime: 7:56

Toyota shares more images of a concept it will unveil at the Frankfurt Motor Show, called the Hybrid-R. We take a look at who is doing the best in the U.S. full-size sedan segment. John McElroy shares his insights on the danger of adding lots of overtime and a 3rd shift. All that and more, plus on the newest edition of Autoline Garage we examine how air filter design could cost you $500.

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Thanks for joining us for another Autoline Daily. Coming up later in the show we have another Autoline Garage where we’ll be talking about $500 air filters.

KILLER B
Hey, who says hybrids have to be pokey cars with a milk-toast personality? We just learned more about a concept Toyota will unveil at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Called the Hybrid-R, it’s a Yaris with a 400 horsepower hybrid system. And it uses a supercapacitor, not a battery, to capture regenerative energy. Looks like Toyota is trying to broaden the appeal of hybrids… and the Yaris.

S IS FOR SUPERCAR
The Tesla Model S keeps racking up the awards. It just received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact it aced every one of the agency’s tests and is the highest rated car its ever tested. Since the Model S doesn’t have a big lump of an engine in front, it has far more crush space than the average car, and that helped it ace the test.

BIG WHEELS KEEP ON TURNING
There is a lot of action going on with full-size sedans sold in the U.S. market, so we thought it would be a good idea to see who is doing the best in the segment. It’s dominated by the Chevy Impala, which has sales nearly twice that of any full-size sedan. But that includes the old model which was mainly a fleet car. Let’s see where the new one settles in. The Ford Taurus is the second best selling, but the new Toyota Avalon is closing in fast and rocketing up the charts. In fourth place is the Chrysler 300, with sales essentially flat. Trailing well behind are the Nissan Maxima and Hyundai Genesis. The Genesis numbers, by the way, include the coupe because Hyundai does not break out those numbers from the sedan.

HOW OT CAN KILL QC
The Detroit automakers are running massive amounts of overtime and adding three-shift operations to keep up with market demand. They’re making a lot of money, but here’s my Autoline Insight: there’s a big danger doing it this way. When you run your equipment and line workers so hard, quality starts to slip. It becomes very difficult to do preventive maintenance, like replacing welding tips or paint booth filters, and making all the little adjustments that going into making defect-free cars. Using tag relief instead of mass relief means you have workers who don’t know the job as well. This is exactly why the Detroit Three stopped doing that twenty years ago. So it’s alarming to see them go back to doing it. I think it’s very telling that Toyota and Honda never use three-shift operations because it leads to quality problems. It’s time for GM, Ford and Chrysler to look at reopening plants rather than running so much overtime.

GOOD THINGS COME IN 8’s
Harley-Davidson unveiled the largest new model launch in the company’s 110-year history. The project, called RUSHMORE saw eight new 2014 models roll off the line that were developed using customer feedback. The company focused on four key areas of improvement: control, infotainment, style and feel. All new 2014 models, including the Project RUSHMORE bikes will roll into dealer showrooms this week.

NEW MITSU MIRAGE
Looking for a low-cost car? In the U.S. Mitsubishi just priced its new Mirage with a five-speed manual at $14,000, including destination charges. When equipped with a CVT the price jumps to just under $15,000. And its got the best MPGs of any non-hybrid gasoline car, 44 MPG on the highway with the CVT. The Mirage will hit dealerships later this year.

Have you ever heard of an air filter for a car that costs $500? That’s the topic on the Autoline Garage, coming up next.

AUTOLINE GARAGE – AIR FILTER DESIGN
Back in the good-ole-days, changing a car’s air filter meant little more than undoing a wing nut, popping the top cover off the housing and swapping out the filter itself, but that’s no longer the case. Here’s Sean McElroy with how newer filter designs can be real frustrating and cost a lot more money.

(Autoline Garage – Air Filter Design can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Ford may have got it right with 5.4 liter V8 but they got it wrong with the last generation Focus. It has a non-serviceable air filter that does not allow you to change the filter element itself, only the entire housing. We called up our local dealer and an original equipment filter assembly will set you back a little over $400 and that is for a non-PZEV car. A PZEV Focus will cost $515. However, for all you non-PZEV owners, we recommend you buy an aftermarket filter, they run between $215 and $285. Just be glad that these filters only require service every 100,000 miles… so start saving up those pennies.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching we’ll see you tomorrow.

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54 Comments to “AD #1197 – 400 HP Toyota Yaris, Comparing Full-Size Sedans, The Danger of 3-Shift Operations”

  1. Mike Says:

    Something worth mentioning is how hard all of that overtime is on the workers. 12 hours a day is just plain hard on the workers and the workers families. It leaves little time for much beyond eating and sleeping and going back to work again. The 7 days, 12 hours thing, for years on end, creates an awful lot of family problems. There needs to be some humanity in these decisions. Mike

  2. Frank Nelson Says:

    Anything past ten hours a day is largely non-productive. Sure, you can do it for a few weeks, but much past that, people lose their edge. I had to work seven days a week for about 19 weeks when I was a young man. My wife told me she wished I wouldn’t come home. It is hard on the family life.

  3. Steve Naugler Says:

    I wanted to point out that modern cars aren’t the only ones with unnecessarily expensive air filters. While I am sure there are others, the one that comes to mind was the original Chevy Vega whose Delco air filter assembly consisted of a metal housing that was crimped around the filter element. This was both needlessly expensive, but it also prevented you from easily checking to see how dirty the air filter was. There was an aftermarket air filter housing, I believe from Fram, that allowed you to change out just a much less costly filter element.

  4. Lex Says:

    Great Show Guys!

    I hope there are some OEM engineers who watch Autoline Garage and it’s insightful information.

    A cheap like the Ford Focus having a very expensive air filter replacement makes no sense at all. I too would not buy their products again.

    Elon Musk may seem to be crazy fellow, but he is sure not stupid when it comes to scoring high points with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Media. I do see the safety potentional of EV’s however the only thing holding down sales is cost and range anxiety. Elon will probably be the one to put a lawn mower size or tiny turbine size engine into his future vehicle which will run on almost any type flamable fluid to releave range anxiety. Solar Cells on the roof are still an option.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Looky here guys…Nissan is about to change the American world of 1/2 ton pickups.Eat your heart out GM: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2013/08/nissan-announces-next-titan-will-have-a-cummins.html

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the 3 shift production schedule, don’t these guys ever learn? one of the reasons my 1980 X car was such crap was due to the 3 shift, full speed ahead on the GM line which caused things like nuts and bolts to be skipped altogether by the line workers. When it was time to replace the air filter in my Corolla, I got K&N permanent filter for around $40. that was 15 yrs and 340K miles ago, quite an investment!!

  7. HtG Says:

    4 GA, I read that the guy with the Sierra LTZ truck got a new one from GM. Do you know how that went down or what was amiss with the original?

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 that is one nice looking engine there, G A

  9. T. Bejma Says:

    John McElroy,

    “It’s time for GM, Ford and Chrysler to look at reopening plants rather than running so much overtime.”

    I would not be so sure to bunch GM in with the other two with regards to overtime. GM sits in the best position right now as far as having available capacity for future growth based on this graph of utilization…

    http://wardsauto.com/plants-amp-production/tight-north-american-capacity-could-cap-sales-some-light-vehicles

    GM is at 80% while Chrysler is almost 100% and Ford is 105%, and this does not even include GM’s Spring Hill Plant which is being set up to build full vehicles again. Ford and Chrysler do not have any plants to re-open and no plans to build more [on a side note, I just drove by the spot where Ford's Wixom Assembly used to be, where they built Lincoln LS's and Ford GT's, and it is leveled].

    “Ford, Honda and Toyota are feeling the biggest crunch in meeting rising demand. Ford and Honda are on track to build to more than 106% of their available Q3 straight-time output and are expected to finish at more than 100% for the year. Toyota is expected to end the year at 99% of capacity, excluding its assembly line at Subaru’s Lafayette, IN, plant, which is maxed out building Toyota Camrys.”

    “Ford will add a third crew at the end of the third quarter at its Kansas City, MO, No.2 plant where it builds F-150 pickups, giving it seven factories on a 3-crew or 3-shift schedule. The auto maker does have excess capacity at its Flat Rock, MI, joint-venture facility, where it will add overflow Fusion sedan production from Hermosillo, Mexico, at the end of August.”

    “Outside of Flat Rock, Ford has few options in the near term to ramp up capacity if U.S. sales surge past the 16 million-unit level.”

  10. T. Bejma Says:

    #4

    “…it’s good to hear news like this because it implies Nissan is serious about significantly improving the worst-selling half-ton in the U.S. marketplace.”

    Going to take more than a diesel to go from worst to first…

  11. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG: No info was really mentioned as to the root problem,which may never know what all was wrong,but besides mechanical troubles,it also developed some electrical issues.The young man said that the dealership was buying back the truck,and they found a direct replacement for him,and he’s happy now.

    @ Pedro: Yeah,but the specs really shine,engine wise.Now you can see why I always said,”I’m not brand loyal”.If the oem doesn’t offer what I want,another most likely will.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR just gave a good review to the Cruze diesel, specially for those who do a lot of highway driving, WOW this is the second straight Chevy car praised by CR, I just hope those 3rd shift screw ups don’t mess up this streak.

  13. HtG Says:

    10 thx, GA

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think Nissan is giving the pickup truck one last gasp (before calling it a bust); the Titan hasn’t ever met expectations and has commanded ‘back of the pack’ status (since introduction). This may be their last best hope to crack the market (or at least create that niche) no one has given serious consideration to before now.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Titan is one of few Japanese nameplate vehicles that is consistently unreliable, and generally considered worst-in-class by reviewers. They need to make it better in the redesign, along with offering the diesel, if they want to improve sales significantly.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Chuck G: I look at it as the start of all oem’s here in this country finally offering us diesels. I’m sure with the dismal sales of the tundra that their next redesign will include a diesel option,and maybe even ford.GM satated not too long ago that we,as customers,don’t need a diesel 1/2 ton.Goodbye gm.You lost me as a customer now.

    Nissan had been working with Cummins for a number of years developing a isf 2.8L 4 cyl diesel.I’m thinking there’s a good chance that 2.8 might end up in an all new Frontier.Now that is something I would be interested in as I still don’t need,or really want a full size 1/2 ton.In short,my truck buying future is looking much better today,then it did just yesterday,and it will continue to improve for people like me.YESSS.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m with everyone else on the three shift and long shift thing. Even at the electronics facility where I worked, where most of the jobs were “easy,” at least physically, there were more mistakes made when we ran long shifts, “4 hours over” being common at times. As far as 3 shift operations, it depends on the nature of the operation. We had silicon wafer fabrication facilities which needed to run three shifts, by the nature of the operation. Car assembly plants aren’t conducive to that, though. The need some down time to properly maintain the equipment. You can’t do that properly while the lines are running.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    #16 so the advance in quality that has been achieved by the domestics is in danger of being hurt by this and having buyers avoid them all over again because of quality issues, do they need to be reminded that they all were close to collapsing just a few years ago, is their memory so short or are they just so damn greedy that they can’t see into the past nor into the future?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Diesel pickups:
    Sunday, I had a long conversation with a former co-worker who was in town for a couple days. Part of the conversation was about diesel pickups.

    He has a Silverado 2500 with the diesel and Allison transmission, which he uses to pull an Airstream trailer. The reason he likes it for that purpose is mainly that it “feels better.” By that, he means that it stays in higher gears, even when climbing minor grades, rather than downshifting a couple gears, engine screaming, as the gasser would do with his ~8,000 pound trailer. He figures the fuel cost is a little lower pulling the trailer, but, at today’s fuel costs, he will never save enough on fuel to pay for the price difference of the truck.

    He said, and as I’ve heard from others, with the truck empty and no trailer, it gets little better mpg than a gasser, but on more expensive fuel. A smaller diesel would do better empty, and it sounds like those are on the way, but those big diesels currently available only make sense if most of your use is pulling big trailers.

  20. motorman Says:

    ford knows that people who buy economy cars to save money will not spend the money to change the air filter even if it cost $5.00 so they put a quasi lifetime filter in the car

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Although the upcoming Nissan diesel titan will be a hit,of that I have no doubt,the V8 diesel is overkill for any 1/2 ton,imho.It is though,a beginning.For me,between the ram 1500 diesel,and the titan,I would go with the ram ONLY because it has a smaller diesel.

    6 cyl’s as opposed to 8: For diesels,you just don’t need 8 cylinders,6 works extremly well,and less cyl’s to feed,better fuel economy when running empty or not pulling,it’s a no brainer.The big 3′s diesel hp/torque wars of late are stupid,and pretty much useless.

    They all,in their close to original form did a damn good job.Being all pumped up now is just for marketing,and bragging rights,and nothing more.The new Ram 1500 diesel produces 420 ft lbs of torque @ 2k rpms.For a 1/2 ton,that is plenty of twist to do most anything they want to do within reason.And since I would keep it in it’s powerband of torque,I’m sure I would realize excellent mpg even in city driving.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21,
    Yeah, 8 is too many cylinders, even for for diesels larger than 5 liter. Diesels run at lower rpm than gas engines and, other things being equal, fewer cylinders give higher thermal efficiency due to lower combustion chamber surface area. 4 of 5 is probably the right number of cylinders for diesels for light duty pickups.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like I need to take a look under the hood of a current Focus. I have recommended the car to friends who don’t mind the transmission or operator controls, but I would want to warn anyone if current Foci have $400-500 air filters like the previous one.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Relax: http://www.autoanything.com/air-intakes/61A1846A0A0.aspx

  25. RonE Says:

    #23, Motorcraft FA-1908 air filter for 2012 Ford Focus, $15.99, O’Reilly Auto Parts.

  26. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > I think it’s very telling that
    > Toyota and Honda never use three-
    > shift operations because it leads
    > to quality problems. It’s time
    > for GM, Ford and Chrysler to look
    > at reopening plants rather than
    > running so much overtime.

    The above, is why I have long opposed any restrictions on availability of foreign cars to the road-going American citizenry. 30 years ago I opposed proposed local content laws, and one big reason is that I was tired of hearing stories of people buying American-built cars, i.e. some of Ford’s models, and having to take them back to the dealer 14 times in 13 months to fix things that should have been done right in the first place.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, 25
    Thanks, guys. I won’t need to check the air filter of the current Focus.

  28. cwolf Says:

    Unfortunately, the two-tier system forces workers to work many hours. Usually when someone becomes burned out mgmt does not force the issue. Also most state laws states that noone has to work more that 2 or 3 weekends in a row. Quality may slip having a three shift operation, but from a tradesman’s point of view, so does preventative maintanence. Due to the trend of wanting more output with fewer workers, PM’s have begun taking a back seat since the 2008 crunch. Never the less, I can honestly say the majority of workers at my plant are very quality conscious.

  29. T. Bejma Says:

    #18

    It is not just the domestics Pedro, look at the link I posted earlier. Nissan, Toyota and Honda are also over capacity. You would think that would explain their recent quality issues but Toyota and Honda were leading in recalls 5 years ago when the industry was making a lot less cars…

  30. cwolf Says:

    I could care less of the accolades bestowed upon Tesla,after reading about one of their suppliers. Off the cuff and as I recall, Tesla and Apple purchase rare earth minerals mined by S. Am. workers. The gorilla group FARR/FARC(?) controls the supply and has direct contact with these two companies. IMO, this is not a practice that should be condoned just to save a few bucks.

  31. cwolf Says:

    You are pretty sharp T.B.! A couple of co-workers took a job at the Honda plant a couple years ago. They once boasted of the O.T. they were getting, then became disgruntled with the many hours forced upon them. Isn’t there some adage that says you have to be careful of what you wish for?

  32. cwolf Says:

    Ford sales are on an up-hill stride and so are their troubles. Which will prevail by the end of the qtr.?

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30,
    I would never buy a Tesla. They cost more than I spend on cars and, even though they have way more range than other pure EV’s, they still come with range anxiety standard.

    Still, the S is very impressive for a low volume car from an “upstart” company. Most such cars are underdeveloped many ways. The S is not. The fit and finish is good, the NVH characteristics are good, and we now know that the crash test results are exceptional. It even handles well. If only this effort had been put into a more affordable, do-everything car, like a Prius that is quicker and handles better, but gets almost the same mog.

  34. MikeG Says:

    John, Where did you get your info on the focus air filter … cuz it’s wrong. I have an 08 and have changed the air filter twice in 80K miles. it has metal clips, was a breeze to do and cost around $30 each time.

  35. HtG Says:

    I guess Tesla has targeted a quite affluent person, beginning with its first sports car. What I’m paying attention to is their underlying tech and the charging stations they’re building. Another word for that is Infrastructure. If Tesla can leverage all its advantages in order to get more charging stations and license their car tech to other companies(or even make it possible for other EVs to sip joules from the stations) then we’re going to have something interesting. Cars from Merc and Toyota will be able to use the egg part of the chicken problem.

  36. Richard Says:

    Am I the only one who has a hard time understanding two of the most American automotive icons? NASCAR and Harley-Davidson. I simply cannot appreciate either. And can somebody tell me what is it exactly that is “new” about any H-D motorcycle? I think it’s time an American company builds proper sport bikes for a change. Buell had something going but H-D in their closed-mindedness never gave it the opportunity to really compete (what with those ancient V-twin lumps) and eventually killed it off before it could ever do itself any justice. One can only hope.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34,
    Yeah, beyond the car working well within its range limitations, the company is doing things to make EV’s at least marginally suitable for actual road trips. No one else is even trying to do that.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35,
    I was surprised that Buell didn’t sell well to all those Harley owners with more than one bike. I would have thought that they would have wanted a sporty bike within the HD “family” to go with their Road Hog, ElectraGlide, or whatever. I guess it didn’t work that way. Also, I thought that a Buell with the V-Rod engine might have had an appeal, but they never tried that.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    TB but the domestics are the ones who have had to come back from the perceived lack of quality and inferior models that have plagued them for so many years, finally you got Cruze and Impala and Sonic who can take on anyone in their class and they’re gonna risk losing their momentum so they can get production up, there is nothing wrong with having a shorter supply than we’ve been seeing in the last few years, why it may even put more money into the dealer’s pockets.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I visit hospitals once in a while and have seen a few Teslas parked at the doctor’s parking lots.

  41. HtG Says:

    specialists or admins, no doubt. Don’t get me started, Pedro.

  42. Buzzerd Says:

    Kit- Buell’s problem was at least partly due to bad build quality and don’t forget their core customer is a cruiser rider who has zero interest in a sport bike. The V-rod motor was considered far too heavy for a sport bike. Add in that Harley never fully embraced Buell.

  43. cwolf Says:

    Using the Tesla’s A/C in Florida is near an oximoron.

  44. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit:The Buell was based on the 1200cc (74ci) sportster.It has a very high center of gravity,and is really made for someone who into go fast,and is not too heavy.The vrod was just a weird looking attempt to attract the go fast sport bike crowd.I will tell you this,having been in that business since the 70′s,that the majority of harley riders don’t buy them to use as a road rocket.Maybe now they do but in my years,that was not the case.We always had some customers that had more money then sense and would insist on us building them a stroker,for street use.We did only after they signed a disclaimer because street strokers don’t last long,and we ain’t gonna eat it because they were idiots.Not speaking for the new bikes,but the old ones were built to give years of service,and more then enough lowend grunt for the rider and his ol lady.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42,
    The only “Harley” I’ve ever had was a Buell Cyclone, the cheapest one they had at the time, other than the Blast. It handled well, braked well, and was even fairly quick compared to the BMW “air heads” I was used to, but I never liked the vibration at idle.

    When new, it surged at low load because it was too lean, but a local shop had a fix for that. The engine was surprisingly smooth at a steady 65-70 mph. I had it for a couple years, and sold it to a guy who turned it into a drag bike.

    I would have thought regular Harley riders might have liked that Cyclone, or some of the pricier Buells as a second or third bike, but I guess I don’t know what most Harley riders like.

  46. ADK426 Says:

    Worth pointing out that your large car sales figures left out the Dodge Charger with more than 57,181 sales through the end of July, putting it in second place behind the Impala.

  47. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Again I can only speak about what was,and the majority of harley riders back in my days was a good heavy 2 up cross country bike.If you wanted fast,strip it down,rework the heads/exhaust and the ignition and cam.That was all you needed.Speaking of cams,we tried to steer our customers away from solid cams and go for a more aggressive hydraulic stick.Reason: the harley V twin is a low pressure/high volume oil system.When you run a solid cam and lifters,it adversely affects the overall oiling system,and does in fact shorten engine life.

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Carbs were usually changed from stock to the S&S Super E,or if was a big inch motor,the Super G model.Some basic jet changes for tuning and it was virtually bullet proof after that and would last for many years before needing to be rebuilt.Basic,simple,and a well proven performance mod.On exhaust mods,I hated drag pipes….still do.But if that’s what the customer wanted,they had to be 40 inchs long,no bigger ID then 1 3/4″.Anything bigger in diameter and they ran like crap,anything shorter then 40″ and you lost lots of torque.Best exhaust made for harleys? Thunderheaders,hands down the best 2 into 1 ever made,and not the most expensive either.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The “fix” to make my Buell run better was simply removing a plug that prevented adjusting the idle mixture, and then richening a little. The problem was at light load, so it was still partly on the idle circuit.

    G. A., do about 90% of Harley riders where you are run straight pipes or really noisy mufflers? They seem to where I am, both in FL and IN. Even the ones set up for serious touring usually have loud pipes.

  50. G.A.Branigan Says:

    You had a Keinen (sp) carb as most did.We called them coughing khenins.Most all riders had loud pipes of some configuration.Mine were straight back fishtails on some of my bikes,or thunderheaders on others.

  51. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kit, I’ll go along with your percentage of after market ‘loud’ pipes on Harleys’; also see this (in my area) for a lot of the other V-twins (regardless). Personally I like ‘stealth’ mode (the quieter the better).

    I’ve never owned a Buell but did take test rides on the Cyclone and the Lightning (a little vibration at idle) but sure smoothed out and pulled hard at around 2500 rpm (and up). Never could make a deal that didn’t feel like I was getting ripped off (my local dealer) and ended up getting an FJR-1300 instead (nice bike by the way).

  52. HtG Says:

    I gotta say, when you’re driving behind a pack of Harleys heading north from Rolling Thunder, the air is filled with more than noise and you get real quiet.

  53. Brett Says:

    Loud pipes are a pet peeve of mine. While owners contend that loud pipes are “safer”, I disagree.

    People driving automobiles are generally oblivious to anything that is not happening directly in front of their hood. Obnoxiously noisy pipes are not going to intrude upon their consciousness. Besides, most of the noise is behind the rider anyway, so it is of minimal utility to warn anyone in front of the bike, where it is going.

    I consider them a ego indulgence. “Hey, look at me!!” They’re also illegal by Florida statute. Aftermarket pipes are not allowed to be any louder than the factory pipes, by law, but nobody ever enforces it. Daytona Beach would be a ghost town during Bike Week and Biketoberfest if it were enforced.

  54. Piekar Says:

    Please change your video. The air filter design of the focus changed in 2008 to a standard flat panel filter.