AD #1241 – Ford Changes Accounting Methods, Beyond the BRICs, Aston: No Hybrids for You!

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:53am

Runtime: 8:27

Ford is significantly changing the way it conducts cost accounting for developing new vehicles. Car sales in emerging markets could lead to the industry producing 100 million new vehicles annually by the end of the decade. Aston Martin’s CEO says you won’t see a hybrid in any of its vehicles anytime soon. All that and more, plus a look at Ram Trucks new 6.4L HEMI engine.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John while he’s still recovering from jet lag from his trip to China last week. But now on to today’s top stories.

Ford is changing the way it conducts cost accounting for developing new vehicles, all with the idea of encouraging product managers to introduce more new technology on its cars and trucks. Typically, American automakers charge the entire development cost for a new technology to whichever vehicle line uses it first. This discourages product managers from taking on that financial burden for their program. But now Ford is changing that practice. Speaking to a group of reporters yesterday at Ford’s World Headquarters, Hau Thai Tang, the vice president of purchasing, noted that Ford will now spread the cost of developing any new technology across the entire line of vehicles that will use it. He cites blind spot detection and self-parking technology as an example of how this has already been implemented. Here’s our Autoline insight. This is a significant change, and is a practice that is similar to how Japanese automakers do their cost accounting.

For the last decade the BRIC countries have led the growth in global automotive sales. BRIC, of course, stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. But now a report from the Boston Consulting group says we’re going “beyond the BRICs.” It says Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will have sales of 4.6 million by 2020. That’s bigger than the Russian market. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will have sales of 5.8 million vehicles, bigger than Brazil. Argentina, Colombia and Chile will hit sales of 2.9 million, which is getting close in size to the German market. Algeria, Egypt and Morocco will see sales top one million—still small, but representing good growth. All this shows that the global automotive industry is going to keep on growing and could come close to producing 100 million new vehicles a year by the end of this decade.

The UAW is receiving more pushback in its attempt to organize Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee. The union claims that over 50% of workers signed cards in support of representation. But that prompted a group of workers to circulate a petition saying that they were misled into signing them and that they don’t want the union. Now, the Detroit News reports that four employees have filed a federal complaint against VW, accusing the automaker of forcing workers to join a union, in order for the plant to build future models. Who knows what will happen but we’ll have more info about the battle in a future Autoline This Week.

And speaking of Autoline, we’re looking for your help to improve the show. Please go to and take a few minutes to fill out the survey. We’re looking for your input regarding the topics we cover and how we deliver our shows to you. Once again that link is Thanks for your help.

If you’re one of the people that think today’s supercars have too much technology stuffed into them, you may start to like Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez just a little bit more. When he was asked his thoughts about hybrid powertrains, like the ones used in the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari or the McLaren P1, he says “I am a purist and I think a sports car should have as low weight as possible. It should be as minimalistic as it can be and this does not work with hybridisation.” Dr. Bez goes on to say that these powertrains are also very complex and that electrical issues are the most common source of failures these days. Which is why the company will not be using a hybrid powertrain anytime soon and will be sticking with the likes of its gasoline powered V12 engines.

I’m sure we’ve all pulled up to the gas pump, at some point in time, while it was either raining or snowing outside and just wished that you didn’t have to get out of the car. Well that may be a reality soon. The folks over at the Husky Corporation have created this system that will automatically open the gas door then fill the tank. There are a few drawbacks though, it only works with a cap-less fueling system, we’re not sure if the driver can select the fuel grade from inside the vehicle or what happens if your vehicle has a fuel door that only opens from the inside. But, either way, I for one would welcome this system during one of our cold winter mornings here in Michigan.

Coming up next, a look at Ram’s newest gasoline engine.

The Ram Brand has only seen about 15% of its heavy duty truck customers opt for a gasoline engine, where the market average is about 30%. So the company decided it needed to add something a little beefier under the hood.

You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Ram just shoved the same 6.4 liter HEMI in its HD trucks that SRT already had in its lineup. But that’s not the case.

The new 6.4 liter HEMI is built in Mexico on the same assembly line as the 5.7 liter HEMI.

(Our overview of the 6.4L HEMI is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

And that’s it for today’s show. I’m Sean McElroy, thanks for watching and please join us again here tomorrow.

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64 Comments to “AD #1241 – Ford Changes Accounting Methods, Beyond the BRICs, Aston: No Hybrids for You!”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Aston Martin , Pagani , Koenigsegg and Donkervoort … truly the ‘ last men standing ‘ of the ‘ drivers ‘ super and hypercars being manufactured today .

    Thank goodness a few iconoclasts remain amongst the phalanx of homogenized , nannified , Cosmic Jellybean high end builders


  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    Boston Consulting Group

    Hmmmn .. sound like those folks may be dipping into the stash as well lately … because in all honesty .. their predictions are at best … delusional …

    Beyond the BRIC’s … yeah right … the BRIC’s are on the wane and have been for months so out of utter desperation and delusion lets see where else we can attribute all the future [ non ] growth in sales to in a vain attempt to keep a stalling worldwide economy from consuming itself

    That’ll work ;-)

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Aston-Martin guy says he wants simplicity, eschewing hybrids, etc., but what about manual transmissions? Do they have them, and if so, will they continue to offer them?

  4. Mike Says:

    I have often thought that if you wanted to point to the biggest problem with Detroit, it would be a finger pointed at the Accounting. Detroit no longer makes “parts” because the numbers had been set up to show that all the profits came from selling and financing the vehicles.Manufacturing made the vehicle, but finance made the profits. How you count the beans, really, reaally matters.

  5. HtG Says:

    There are no more sports cars*. Hi-tech performers will do just fine in their intended habitat, the cushy garage, taken out several times a year to see the sunlight. ABS, traction/stability, impact standards, sticky tires, and decrepit SOSs for drivers, that’s what I see.

    Remember, Peter D. dropped his 991. Remember.

    *Let’s go Hiroshima

  6. Bradley Says:

    Ford that sounds like a good move. Please remove all keypad door entry systems too, if they aren’t already.

    GM’s management of Saturn and R&D money is a good example of how not to be your own enemy.

  7. Tony Gray Says:

    Amen Dr Bez!

    I wonder how big that market really is for a gas engine in the HD market. Obviously big enough for Ram to go after it, but I ponder what the advantages are over a diesel in that segment.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The keypad door entry is Ford’s best feature. You can just leave the keys in the car when you go swimming. That is the one feature I really miss on the Grand Marquis I had for a short time, years ago. I wish my Prius and MINI had key pad entry.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7, The advantage is that the truck will cost about $4K less with the gas engine, and unless you drive it a lot, heavily loaded, you’ll never get that money back.

  10. Tony Gray Says:

    Thanks Kit. I didn’t consider that big of a price difference.

  11. RonE Says:

    I thought there was an earlier show that stated Ram was dropping the Cummings diesel and going with the Fiat diesel.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    3 – They still got em [ in some models ] … but will they continue having them ? No telling . But … errr … didn’t you just buy a C4 with a ‘ slush ‘ box ?

    So … hmmmn …. why the concern ?


    HtG – 5 – You’ve … you’ve ….. gone to the other side ??? :( ….. Say it aint so HtG … say it aint so

    And heck … much as I agree with PDL on most things … dumping the 991 isn’t one of them

  13. Bradley Says:


    Ugh, good point. My issue is it looks like the keypad is the same one they have always used. Larger then needs to be, bulky and cheesy 80s push-button looking.

    I have always felt that it was a prime example of how the Detroit brands try to retain customers by getting them addicted to a feature that has nothing to do with operating a car.

  14. HtG Says:

    12 The Hiroshima reference was to Mazda’s factory, which was saved from destruction due to a hillside that shielded it. I’m waiting to see the new Miata ‘sporstcar.’

    Everyone knows that. ;)

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Just curious about the Aston manuals.

    Yes, I just bought a C4 with a slush box, but when you buy a 17 year old car in mint condition at a good price, you can’t spec out the options.

  16. T. Bejma Says:

    In case anybody missed the trouncing that CR gave the new IS250 and the Q50…

  17. ColoradoKid Says:

    16 – And right back at ya

    Dealers to GM …. Dealers to GM … you’ve ___ed up again … are you reading GM ?

    Whats that saying about people ‘ working ‘ in glass houses not throwing boulders thru the windows at their competition ?

    BTW .. that is CR is it not ? Who’s opinions about much of anything these days have become totally and completely irrelevant … not to mention more than a bit ‘ influenced ‘ as well as ‘ biased ‘

    Yeah … I’ll be taking anything they say real seriously … or not ;-)


    HtG – 14 – Phew ! I was getting a little concerned there … phew !

  18. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 14 – and while you’re waiting … have a good drool over these bad little Dutch Boys … road legal automotive insanity personified

    Enjoy .. even if we can’t have them ;-)

  19. T. Bejma Says:


    Don’t try to change the topic again there CK. The subject was bad reviews of some new Japanese luxury cars, not how a GREAT truck can’t compete with $9,000 on the hood of the Ram/F150…

    Isn’t that a good thing that GM is NOT doing the same old thing (trying to move metal at the expense of profit)? Hmmm?? You always say that it is the same old GM and here is a perfect example that it is not. This is not any different than the pickup wars have always been. Last year it was GM with all of the rebates and Ford and Ram complaining. SSDD if you ask me.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s CR’s initial take on the CLA:

    They didn’t bash it too badly, but in summary, like many of us, they thought it not quite a Benz. It has too much cabin noise, and the ride is so-so, especially for a car that costs $36K tester. It also has poor visibility, not-too-good headroom, and the dual clutch transmission was sluggish in downshifting.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    On the Q50 they particularly disliked the steer by wire set up, no $hit, everyone and their auntie knew this was gonna suck big time and the suspension is now Lexus-like, I guess they figure they may sell more this way, NOT!

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    On the IS they did not care for the base 250 with its weaker engine and transmission and instead prefer the 350 with the 8 speed, they preferred the ATS and the previous 3 series, BMW needs to turn the clock back on both the 3 and 5 series.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22, I thought BMW might “turn the clock back” on the 1 series, and make it a sportier alternative to the 3, but instead, they are dropping it in the U.S. market.

    We’ll see what we get, other than higher prices, when the 1 returns, rebadged, as the 2 series.

  24. HtG Says:

    Actually, I’m spending considerable energy talking myself out of snatching a couple of used ‘sporty’ cars. My rationalizing superpowers are in a titanic-tea-cup struggle against my killjoy posse.


    I sat in the CLA AMG this weekend. This was the 40K version with leather. I’d say very nice inside, interesting surfaces and shapes. Rear legroom surprisingly good, however headroom lacked in back. I had to crook my neck(long torso me). This one didn’t look cheap at all, like one on the street that I had criticized.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    CR said in their short take on the CLA, that Mercedes has the best faux leather in the business. If one could assume it would hold up well, there would be little reason to pay $1500 extra for the real thing. In the CLA, you have to pay $3800 extra, because the “premium package” is required to get leather.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG, what color was the CLA that you sat in?

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Eliminate the 1 series cause it was too small and expensive for what you got, come up with the 2 charge the same as the old 3, raise the price of the 3 to where the 5 used to be and the new 5 to the 7′s price point and that put the 7 into Rolls territory, which is what the entry level Rolls really is, a gussied-up 7.

  28. HtG Says:

    26 medium grey. Also, the AMG package had some add-ons like a small rear spoiler, and the wheels were sculpted in exciting forms. The car was parked along other Merc sedans, and held its own beside them. The interior was mostly white. My sense is people are going to like it, and their kids will fit fine in the back seat.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s another report on the CLA:

    As with CR’s report, the things that stand out to me as bad, and not Benz-like, are cabin noise, and bad ride.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe when they start building them in Mexico, they’ll get better and address the issues of road noise and ride. So much for that much-heralded German engineering!!

  31. HtG Says:

    Interesting review about the harshness of the ride. Merc says it’s as intended. But I wouldn’t call the interior cheap, as compared to the GLK and CL coupe I’ve been in; just not quite in the same neighborhood. I’d agree with the rear door being a yoga asana, but those were tough journalists over there at USAToday.

    CL coupe is a lil’ bit o’valhalla

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For some reason, they are putting the “sport” suspension in all US-bound CLA’s. I don’t understand that. I’d think a lot of, or most of the market for the car would be “brand image” people who like the looks of it, and don’t mind the rear seat room compromises. I’d think most of them would be happier with the “luxury” suspension, or whatever they call it, that is standard in Europe.

  33. HtG Says:

    maybe Merc thought a tight ride would earn praise from the media?

  34. HtG Says:

    If I’m very unfair to USAToday, I’d ask if the DC area is the right place to appreciate a tight suspension. The roads are almost all straight lines, boooooorrrrrring, and conjested. I’d get irritated at a hard ride too, if there weren’t twisties. Who knows if they didn’t go to the mountains to the west.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    Wise advice indeed !

    Except errr .. the mega rich have already caught on and are boosting prices by the day … Oh well …. we’re screwed .. again


    CLA – Me drove – Me no like – Me thinks like the 1-Series , A3 etc … its destined for sales failure . First .. because we Americans as a whole do not seem to want a ‘ cheap ‘ Benz-Bimmer-Audi … and second … due to their size [ or in Audi's case it being too close to the Golf ] they are more than a bit .. irrelevant

    Nope … hit or miss on the CLA IMO …. MISS … big time … and .. from what I’m reading overseas …. the GLA aint gonna be much better when it gets here … in fact it may be worse …. then again if C&D’s preview of the 2015 GLK’s anywheres near accurate … that one’s gonna bomb as well . Fact is… Mercedes future’s looking a bit … tenuous at the moment IMO

    And yes .. the suspension in the everyday version CLA is more than just a tad harsh


    GM – OMG ! will miracles never cease ? A moment of common sense from the Temple of Delusion ..

    Todays press reporting GM’s considering putting an optional larger motor ( 2.0 and 2.0T ) in the Buick Encore .

    Damn ! Now there’s a thought . Take your current surprise ( to GM execs only ) sales star and stick a larger motor in it for those like myself who feel [ like its MINI Countryman competition ] that the current asthmatic four banger in the thing is more than a bit underwhelming

    Damn .. despite it being a rebadged DaeWoo even I’d have to give that a look should it happen !

    Damn ! A moment … be it ever so brief .. of rational thought from the folks at GM . Damn !

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    33 – to impress the kiddies

  37. HtG Says:

    Play’s With Cars’ DeMuro’s pretty funny, if you ask me. Good AAH candidate, if he can be pried away from his writing desk.

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit – BMW 1 Series no go away . Only moniker replaced by 2 Series badge . God only knows why . One more round I guess of BMW’s ‘ Rename That Car ‘ [ for no real reason ] game … go figure

    I will place odds though that before bringing over the 1 now a 2 Series .. BMW’ll be paying a whole lot of attention to see how the CLA and new A3 Sedan sales go .. not to mention seeing what kind of response the i3 gets … remembering there’s a slew of ICE’s and Hybrids ( as well as a Hydrogen model ) in the wings based on the i3

  39. HtG Says:

    CK,how did 6’3″ of dry linguini fit in the CLA?

  40. ColoradoKid Says:

    35 – ” due to their size ” … should of read ;

    ” Due to their size and price ”

    With both the CLA and the 1 – Series coming within a hares breath of their base model larger siblings …. more than one potential customer saying ;

    ” I could of had a C-Class/3-Series ” once the final numbers are tallied .

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    39 – 6’4″ ( pardon the pedantic moment ) … OK I guess … except .. I felt like I was enclosed in a capsule or something ..

    Suffice it to say without renting one for awhile I’m not convinced I’d like to take a long journey in one .

    SG wasn’t so thrilled either ( all 5’8″ of her ) … what’d you think ?

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked the MB UK site, and they have two CLA lines, “Sport,” and “AMG Sport.” The Sport version has “comfort” suspension, and the AMG Sport has “sports suspension,” which all US-bound CLA’s have.

    As expected, there are multiple engines, both petrol and diesel available, and both 6-speed manual and DSG transmissions, depending on which engine.

    I think the CLA will sell in the US, because of its general good looks, and the panache of the 3 pointed star.

  43. HtG Says:

    At 5’9″ I was quite comfy up front. Good sight lines and the dash was in the right place. Rear leg room was very good but headroom too small for me. Getting out required a foot contortion, and that was with soccer shoes on. Trunk was fine. I liked the surfacing on the various cabin interior pieces; kept the place from being dull. The lack of straight lines anywhere, inside or out, is a plus for me-it’s just odd.

    Sorry about the inch, CK. I’ll make it up to you.

  44. ColoradoKid Says:

    42 – CLA sales . We’ll see . Remembering that M-B hatchback sure was a bust when it hit our shores … not to mention the dismal sales performances of both the BMW 1-Series and the Audi A3 … but then again .. stranger things have happened

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38, Yeah, I guess they are going to even numbers for two doors, and odd numbers for four doors, except in some cases, like an odd looking tall hatch called X6, and maybe some I’ve forgotten.

  46. ColoradoKid Says:

    43 – What bugged the heck out of me more than anything though was both its actual as well as perceived size on the road in comparison to the GLK .

    Not to mention Franz has the AMG Sport Suspension … and yet the CLA in the US base trim CLA was a good 40% IMO harsher across the bumps and heaves of Denver roads ( not as bad as NYC mind you … but more than bad enough right now )

    Something about it … having driven multiple Benz’s since getting Franz ( including that SLS ) … just did not seem right about the CLA … can’t put a finger on it … but there was something .

  47. HtG Says:

    46 Doesn’t CLA have quite a bit of tumblehome? Maybe that made it smallish.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44, The 1 series was too close to the price of a 3 series, when comparably equipped. I was shocked when I walked through a BMW lot last spring, and saw 1 coupes, not convertibles, with stickers in the 40′s. Yikes.

    I test drove a C hatch when they were selling them, and, for the price, it didn’t seem to offer much. It had the supercharged four, and while peppy, it was not very refined, with more noise and vibration than I expected. Beyond that, just being a 2 door hatch isn’t good in the US market, at least for a “premium” car.

    Regarding the CLA, yes, we’ll see, but I think the looks and star will sell it, even though there are better front drive sedans for less money.

  49. ColoradoKid Says:

    47 – Kind of … yeah … hmmn … so you’re thinking thats whats creating the ‘capsule ‘ impression I had ? hmmm … maybe ..

    ” TumbleHome ” … seems to me there’s a composition in my CV by that title :o

  50. HtG Says:

    48 I’m also interested to see how they sell, Kit. A local MB dealer has 40(!) in stock, with prices running the gamut. And there’s another dealer not five miles away. At least supply won’t be a problem


    no matte how much I tried, I never could accept the looks of that car, or it’s price.

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    48 – I’ll hazard a guess that if anything it’ll be the GLA that sells well

    An yeah … go have a dealer run the numbers on the CLA and then compare them to the C-Class .

    Way too close for my comfort or potential interest

  52. ColoradoKid Says:

    50 – 1 Series .. agreed ! Eeech !

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    50, Hmm, having 40 in stock doesn’t sound good for so soon after launch, and they are advertising the crap out of the CLA.
    I’ll check it out when I get back to FL. There is a Benz/Audi/Porsche dealer nearby, which is a convenient place to take a look at those cars.

    Yeah, I never much cared for the looks of the 1 series either. It always looked pudgy, or something.

  54. HtG Says:

    like it’s speedo was too tight?

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    51, Yeah, you can get a C350 for $42K, and I’m sure a CLA can be quickly run up to that price with options.

    The zero option C350 wouldn’t have as many gadgets, but I’d much rather have the C350. It’s quick, quiet, and the mpg isn’t all that bad.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    54, Something like that.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    MT’s Frank Marcus reviewed the CLA and came up with a completely different opinion on this car, I did not realize that MT was so alike TV’s Motorweek.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I read Marcus’s article, and yeah, he sounded a lot like Motorweek. No mention of a harsh ride, except that he commented on how good the roads were in the test area in France. Also, no mention at all about cabin noise, which the CR and USA Today articles both mentioned.

    I figure if both CR and USA Today comment on cabin noise and ride harshness being out of character for a Benz, and for the intended market, there is some validity to those comments.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s getting to the point where I no longer trust most car reviewers, specially the ones that point out that econoboxes have cheap interiors and don’t accelerate or handle like a Porsche!

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re; cabin noise and such, a decibel meter is a lot more accurate than someone’s “opinion” on how quiet or noisy a cabin may be.

  61. T. Bejma Says:


    Actually C Kid, the Encore is a rebadged Opel Mokka that happens to be built in Korea. It was designed in Europe on the Astra/Sonic platform.

  62. ColoradoKid Says:

    Mercedes CLA … wagon ?

    Hmmn . Assuming there’s any truth to this .. as well as assuming they bring it here …… this ….. could be ….. interesting .. [ with a few suspension and interior improvements )

    Probably not interesting enough to get me in the door …. but interesting never the less


    61 – Oh for the love of ……… &5$#@ !!!!!! . Built in Korea ! Kind of .. well … more than just implies its a DaeWoo of one sort or another with a compact CUV/SUV body stuffed on top .. despite who may or may not of designed it . It says POINT BLANK that it is !!!

    Happens to be built in Korea . Yeah right . And Castro just happens to live in Cuba !

    Jeeze Bejma …. are you actually that seriously deluded or like your minders do you just assume we ( potential customers ) are really that stupid ?

    BTW Zippy …. all the press I’ve read about it say to a number … its a DaeWoo .

  63. ColoradoKid Says:

    See what I get for complimenting a GM product ?

    Lies , Smoke & Mirrors and BS from GM’s peanut gallery

    Sorry I bothered

  64. Brett Says:

    The only reason I can see that you’d rebadge the Series 1 BMW as a Series 2 is if you were going to slide a smaller, less expensive unit in under it as the new Series 1.