AD #1267 – Tesla Stock to Continue Slide, Bio (Fuel) Diversity, Honda Unveils New City

November 27th, 2013 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:53

- Tesla: Puts or Calls?
- Infiniti Steer-by-Wire – 10 Years of R&D
- Bio (Fuel) Diversity
- Honda Unveils New City
- You Said It!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Thanks to the Thanksgiving Day holiday here in the US, we will be off for the rest of the week. And there will not be an Autoline After Hours program tomorrow night, either. OK, now let’s get to the news.

And we start off today with a simple question. Should you buy Tesla stock, or short it? A new study from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch says the recent fires involving the Model S isn’t the biggest threat to its stock value. The company’s stock peaked at over $190 but has tumbled down to about $120 today. Merrill Lynch says the stock will continue to slide, not because of possible recalls involving the fires, but because Tesla’s sales goals are unrealistic. The report says Tesla would need to sell around 350,000 cars annually by 2020 to justify its current value and concludes that the company’s price objective should be $45. So the short sellers should have a field day with this report, but remember, Tesla stock has defied all logic and the bears got slaughtered last time around.

We’ve told you about the steer-by-wire system on the new Infiniti Q50, but we only recently learned that it took 10 years to develop that technology. Most automakers would have given up long before that. Amazingly, engineers at Nissan spent 70% of that time just trying to get the feel right. They wanted a 1:1 ratio where the input at the steering wheel was the same as the output at the tie rods. They were ready to give up several times, but through sheer perseverance they got the system right. It’s a complicated and costly system, with three redundant ECU’s controlling the steering. In time Nissan hopes to eliminate two of those ECU’s, but in the meantime they wanted a back-up system to the back-up system. One day, Nissan believes all cars will use steer-by-wire.

A study commissioned by automakers and oil companies says Europe needs to do more to increase the use of biofuels that are not made from food crops. By 2020, by law, 10% of the fuel used by EU nations must be biofuel. The report says Europe needs to do more. It says advanced biofuels could become as much as 20% of the market by 2030 if the EU takes those steps. This is all about reducing smog and CO2 emissions. The EU recently delayed a 2020 CO2 target of reaching 95 grams per kilometer because German automakers said they couldn’t reach the standard by then. I keep saying, the easiest solution is to take the carbon out of fuel and bio-fuels are the fastest way to do that.

The Asia and Oceania Regions are key markets for Honda, especially for sub-compact cars and that’s why the Japanese automaker just unveiled the 4th generation of its City sedan in India. It’s based on the Fit and will be powered by either a 1.5 liter gasoline or diesel engine. Although only one image was released you can see that the next-gen car gets a new front fascia design and a stronger bone line running down the side. The City is scheduled to launch in India in early 2014 and will eventually be sold in 60 different markets around the world.

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

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

drew has a couple of questions about the new Colorado. “1. Why was there a 1-2 year market lapse with the old Colorado? 2. Other than new skin and less competition, what makes this version more likely to gain consumer interest and succeed?”

The old Colorado never sold that well and the decision to drop it came out of the bankruptcy planning. The new one is more likely to succeed because GM is dead serious about being competitive in the compact truck segment in the US.

Kit Gerhart says: “It’s nice that automakers are working on fuel cells, but I’m not sure what the point is, when there is no fuel for them. I guess that might change when there are unlimited quantities of free electricity to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. I’m not holding my breath, though.”

Nope, don’t hold your breath because this is going nowhere. Look, automakers are only coming out with fuel cells and battery electrics because government regulations around the world are forcing them to do so. Take those mandates away and almost every automaker would drop these programs this afternoon. I keep asking, how many infrastructures can we afford? An EV infrastructure, a hydrogen infrastructure, and CNG and LPG? Pick one because that’s all we can afford. Oh, but before you pick that one, we need to go spend all that money to fix our road and bridge infrastructure.

HtG is wondering, “Do you know anything about how long hydrogen will sit in a tank before it evaporates away?”

Well, if its liquid hydrogen, it will boil away in about two weeks time. And that’s in a cryogenically protected tank with the hydrogen stored at 400 degrees below zero. Yes, boil away, because it boils at room temperature, and that’s why those fuel tanks are so horrifically expensive. That’s why automakers are looking at other ways of storing hydrogen, such as a gas, but then you give up energy density.

Bradley wants to know, “Why did GM pull the EV1 off the market and destroy the inventory? There are a few conspiracy theories. 1. GM became afraid of pioneering a future of simple low maintenance vehicles. 2. GM received BIG money from BIG oil to walk away.”

Big Oil bought off GM? C’mon, let’s get serious. GM dropped the EV1 because it was losing money on every one it sold. But I think GM management gave up too easily. The car was only sold in California and Arizona, it was never offered overseas where it would have found a more receptive audience, and they could have offered a small 3 or 4-cylinder gasoline engine instead of the batteries and sold enough to keep the program alive.

ndyt says, “South America runs on ethanol. Why can’t we?”

Well, let’s be accurate. Brazil runs on ethanol, not South America. But your point is well taken. Whereas in the US you hear ethanol opponents complain that E15 will ruin engines, you can’t buy gasoline in Brazil that is lower than E22. So the answer is we can run on ethanol, but it’s become such a political hot potato in the US that the program is not making any progress.

GM Veteran opines that, “Ron Burgundy generated additional attention, but I hardly think those ads are responsible for the sales increase alone. The one thing they have done is to create a lot of press for Dodge ad executives!”

Actually, you can thank those ads for the burst in sales for the Durango. Sales were sort of languishing until the day those ads appeared, and then sales took off.

Thanks for all your letters and comments, we truly like going through them all.

But that wraps up today’s show. For all of you in the U.S., please enjoy
the Thanksgiving Day holiday and I wish everyone else a great week. And then please join us again here next Monday.

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156 Comments to “AD #1267 – Tesla Stock to Continue Slide, Bio (Fuel) Diversity, Honda Unveils New City”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    TESLA ;

    Hmmmn . Lets see now . Stocks falling . Leadership jumping ship . Pathological liar on the best of days . Delusional at its worst . Parasite of the American tax payer . And now ….. Vampire as well ;

    Hmmmmn . Methinks I smell a TV series in the making . Hmmmne ….. ‘ Interview with an Automaker ‘ ? … ‘ NostraMusku ‘ ? …. ‘ Br Te ‘ ? ‘ CK the Vampire Hunter ‘ ? …. ;-) …Hmmmmn ….

    Oh AMC ….. y’all listening ?

  2. Bradley Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    And now … assuming all is ratified …. GM etc will be able to sell cars to Iran …. legitimately

    Anyone else feel like history is repeating itself ?

    As in Chamberlain’s ‘ treaty ‘ with Hitler back in the 30′s ?

    Hmmmmmmn …

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    2 – And back at ya !!!

    Actually though …. in light of the schedule this year … lets call it ;


    Mazel Tov ! :o

  5. HtG Says:

    Front Runner

    What you really want to do with Tesla stocks or options is be a big bank and get order flow info a pico second before the other guy. And if you can’t figure out buy low/sell high, just pay off an exchange to let your order jump the line.

    You’re welcome, turkeys. Gobble or be gobbled.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If I had Tesla stock, I’d certainly be selling it, not that I ever would have bought it.

    The Tesla cars are niche products that will never be mainstream, and that the niche for very expensive commuter cars will fill quickly. never mind that they are clearly the best pure EV’s on the market.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hmm… Nissan thinks that all cars will be steer by wire some day.

    Talk about complicated stuff, for nothing. Turbo engines that don’t work as well as simpler, non-boosted engines make more sense than steer by wire.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just about anything I own that uses Li Ion batteries have failed already and had to be replaced, phone, laptop (2) shaver and all w/o the heat or bouncing that a car has to endure, it makes you wonder how reliable these things are gonna be even after a couple of years.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I’ve always believed Carlos Ghosn looked and acted like Mr Bean on crack!

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    5 – Any bets Mr First [and soon no doubt to be many more ] TESLA exec that just jumped ship dumped all his TESLA stock when it peaked and then ran as fast as his feet could carry him to get as far away as possible from Elon’s grasp ?

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    7 – Yup … and a hearty Thanksgiving +1 to ya as well !

  12. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Airplanes have been using fly-by-wire a very long time, since way before Nissan started playing with it. Why did it take 10 years?

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Pointless waste of time to develop this stupid technology and NO one in their right mind is gonna copy it, I remember when Acura introduced 4 wheel steering, they said the same thing, only GM used it on some of their trucks.

  14. Mike Says:


    Help me with the chemistry here. Biofuels would include Ethanol and Methyl (wood) alcohol. Ethyls is CH3CH2OH. Plenty of carbon in that. Methyl when it burns is CH3OH + 3 O2 → 2 CO2 + 4 H2O. Looks like that has carbon too. Maybe it is that it is locked up in Cardon dioxide? The question is how does the Biofuel thing remove the carbon from the chemistry?

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Help me out here guys, isn’t the new Fusion based on the European Mondeo??

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would remove some carbon, both because ethanol and methanol have a lower carbon/hydrogen ratio than gasoline, nominally C8H18, or something like that, but also because growing the biomass removes some CO2 from the atmosphere.

    By the time you are done processing the biomass into fuel, though, all bets are off, as to whether most biofuels reduce carbon emissions at all.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 Yes

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    #17 thanks, Kit some idiots at TTAC said I was wrong, that the current European Mondeo is still the old model and the Fusion will become the next Mondeo, so stupid! it’s the other way around.

  19. HtG Says:


    Plus add in the energy needed to make and transport gasoline. Distilling uses electricity.

  20. Steve Henderson Says:

    I think it was Car & Driver recently showed the Tacoma 4 dr that was being introduced – again. Problem was that gas mileage & cost was right up to the full size Tundra. I’ve been a GMC Sierra owner since 94 and love my trucks but I can’t understand GM bringing out a low selling product again by saying they want to keep up with competition? Was it competition that forced the closure of the GM truck plant in Dayton, OH? Just curious what GM small truck sales compared to full size GM trucks.

  21. cwolf Says:

    Debbie Stabenow(D-Lansing,Mi.) has been a long time supporter of the automakers and the UAW, but has split with them over the EPA decision to lower ethanol use. After her trip to Brazil, she thinks a 30% CORN ethanol rate is quite doable. But, why a food source and why did the senator specify the use of corn? Could it be Sen. Stabenow chairs the Senate Agricultural Committee? Hmmmm…..

  22. Phil Says:

    What? No autoline or autoline afterhours fix for four whole days? What are we to do?? ;)

  23. Chuck @ GM Says:

    I was not in a position to know why these decisions were made. I am just expressing my personal opinion based on what I see. And the history is more complicated than this, I am just putting down the readers digest version. Wiki and other places on the net document GM’s electric car history starting with the Gen 1 “PreView” to accomodate CARB’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate. “PreView” went away and the Gen 2 EV1 came on. The ZEV mandate influenced the timing of changes. The EV1 went away and the Gen 3 aka Volt came along. From what I can discern, the Volt has everything they really wanted but couldn’t get from the EV1. 1)Get away from lead acid batteries, 2)Eliminate range anxiety of a pure electric vehicle to name a couple. There are many similarities as you might expect between some features that were on the EV1 that got carried over to the Volt. For instance braking regeneration, or making the electric motor a generator during braking and converting the kinetic energy of the vehicle into electricity.

    While the implementation is vastly different between the EV1 and the Volt, a lot of the basic concepts are the same in both vehicles. IMO the EV1 evolved into the Volt, so the EV1 has never really gone away. It just looks different than before and works a whole lot better.

    Hopefully that helps to understand the change as I see it. GM is not afraid to pioneer new areas, GM has a long and storied history of pioneering changes. It may begin with the electric starter back in the day to Rick Wagoner demanding the hydrogen vehicle to take the auto out of the environmental discussion long before anyone else was talking about it to todays innovations. But it probably won’t do much to dissuade the the “bought off by oil” conspiracies.

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    Chuck@GM – 23

    To put this very succinctly , blunt and to the point .

    GM’s very distant past of innovation and invention ….

    …. has absolutely nothing to to with GM’s recent history of the last 40 odd years

    Adapting the GM line of Excuses & Blame Shifting does not in any way help GM’s cause either . Its becoming a tired old story no longer worth repeating . Simple fact is …. GM has become over the last 40 years … irrelevant .. and soon to be inconsequential as well …. unfortunately

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    18 – Precisely why I refuse to join in on the conversation at TTAC …


    12 – Because …. to put this in question form ( my being a firm believer in the Socratic method ) do you have any idea how many backup systems are required by the FAA in order for aircraft to have Fly by Wire ?

    Thats why ( ask Kit .. he’ll know the exact number )

  26. HtG Says:

    bet, CK? Magnetic shocks are good enough for Ferrari. I don’t know why you’re not impressed by what GM can do at a price, like with C7. That’s engineering right there.

  27. ColoradoKid Says:

    21 – Nice bit of deducing there cwolf ….very nice indeed ! Though to add to her motivation … y’all might want to have a little look as to where the good lady might have a good portion of her money invested as well … wink wink ;-)

  28. ColoradoKid Says:

    26 – And you really believe the GM hype that the system Ferrari uses is the same one as GM’s ?

    Ahem mien freund …. to put it bluntly …. not hardly … not even close actually

    And errr …. are you sure it was GM that even created the system … and not some outside contractor ( foreign ) operating on a Work for Hire basis ? ….. wink wink ….. hint hint …. ;-)

  29. ColoradoKid Says:

    28 … cont …. oh …. btw … almost forgot … GM paid Ferrari to use Ferrari’s name in those GM Magnetic Shock ads …. quite handsomely as well from what one hears …… ;-)

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    28 … bwtm .. as well as … that one was debunked about the time those ads were still running . Quite succinctly as well as I remember

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28, Delphi, the parts division spun off from GM developed the active suspension used by GM, Ferrari, and probably others.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A description of MagneRide:

  33. T. Bejma Says:


    Steve – the Moraine, OH plant never made “trucks”, they built the S10 Blazers and then switched to the midsize Trailblazer. The S10′s and Colorado/Canyons were built in Shreveport, LA. Midsize trucks have never been high volume in comparison to full size. The current leader in the segment, the Taco sold 140K last year, compared to 750K F150′s in the US and Canada.

  34. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – re; Innovation

    To be fair though HtG …. lets face the simple fact . The last two truly ‘ innovative ‘ cars to be manufactured were in reality the Porsche 959 and the McLaren F1 road car

    The one’s technology ( 959 ) has been used and improved upon pretty extensively

    The other’s ( McLaren F1 ) NO ONE …. including McLaren themselves has learned a damn thing from since the car stunned the automotive world

    As to the Magnetic Ride thing …. one last thing …. suffice it to say there’s a vast difference between having created the patent …. and owning/licensing it .. Nuff said on that contentious bit of GM Smoke & Mirrors ;-)

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Delphi fully developed the MagneRide system, and a lot of the design of the controllers was done at the division where I worked, in Kokomo, Indiana. The hardware was made in Delphi facilities, and was used in some Cadillacs and Corvettes, starting in the early 2000′s.

    That part of Delphi is now owned by BWIGroup in China, as of late 2009. Oh well.

  36. Broge Says:

    Perhaps you should report on just how much taxes are paid towards the Highway fund and how much they spend. Some reports say only 1/3 ever makes it to road and infrastructure.
    The rest to the general fund.

  37. HtG Says:

    I’ll concede some ground for the sake of argument. But to develop a technology to the point that it can be mass produced at a price, is in itself an engineering high mark. Cars are a most interesting case of mass production exigency. It’s the same with Apple, who acquire tech and then develop it and figure out how to make billions off millions of copies. It’s impressive.

  38. Brett Says:

    Why does the term “confirmation bias” keep running through my mind reading the comments here?

  39. ColoradoKid Says:

    Mazda Miata/MX5 rumor mill

    Jalopnik etc are reporting the next gen Miata/MX5 may weigh as little as ….. 2024 lbs

    Hmmmmmn ….

    HtG ! Think anyone’d give us s deal if we went in and bought two at the same time ? I’d come back east for that ( stopping off at MV before driving back home ) …. and methinks SG might just like something a bit more fun on her side of the driveway

    2024 lbs . Wow . We’ll see how that’n pans out


    Brett – 38 – Why does the phrase ” I aint gettin paid fer this … I got better things to do … so do your own goram research from now on ” … keeping running thru mine ?

    Tell you what though . The MINUTE anyone wants to pony up for my consultation fees …. I’ll give you more ‘ confirmation ‘ than y’all really wants to deals with . As the movie quote goes ;

    ” You want the truth ? …. You can’t handle the truth ”

    [ no insult intended or insinuated ]


    Now gentlemen ….. the slopes is calling … SG’s on her way back home … time to take off soon … it is the holidays ..[ for some of us more than one ] .. so see y’all on the flip side …. e.g. Monday


  40. T. Bejma Says:



  41. T. Bejma Says:


    Research? Hahahaahahahahaha!!! Now that’s funny!! :-)

  42. T. Bejma Says:

    Hey HtG -

    Sorry for the off topic, but I am looking at getting my daughter a Surface for Christmas. Looks like some good Black Friday deals on the original. Should I go for the 2 or get the better deal? Thanks!

  43. HtG Says:

    TB, I’ve had the Surface for over a year and still wrestle with the question of ‘would I recommend it.’ I saw that $199 price, and man is that a value. Surface is so well built, and elegant at what it does well. So you see where I’m going, TB. In all this time, Microsoft still hasn’t gotten the browser working well enough. It’s quite slow, especially on a few popular sites. But as a word processor, music device, file storer, etc. it’s great.

    It truly depends what your daughter intends to do. Just as the Surface without the keypad keyboard, it’s not as good as some of the cheaper tablets like the nexus7 or Apple mini. The chrome books are also fantastic and cheap, and have google docs for writing papers. And the chrome browser is great. For $200 Dollars, the intel Atom based chrome books are a shocking value( though, no touch screens).

    It depends what your daughter wants to do with tablet, TB.

  44. C-Tech Says:

    “One day, Nissan believes all cars will use steer-by-wire.”

    Only if the safety laws are changed so the mechanical back-up system is not required. I don’t see how Nissan’s system saves weight or cost, and I suspect it is equal in steering feel or feedback to a good conventional steering system, but much more expensive. I can see steer-by-wire being used in a autonomous vehicle.

    Will the first commercial autonomous vehicles look like our current vehicles? The current driver controls will only be redundant in an autonomous car. Could we see the return of the front bench seat? Rear-mounted engines? Does an autonomous car need 2 headlamps? Will passengers get “car-sick” more often in these vehicles?

  45. C-Tech Says:

    Pedro did you get your wires straight?

  46. C-Tech Says:

    Happy Holidays to ALL!

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    She is going from a Kindle Fire HtG and wanted a laptop. I think a laptop is overkill for her right now. The other daughter has an iPhone so I got her an iPad Mini. Was seriously looking at the Chromebook, but got my hands on the Surface and was VERY impressed. I agree, the Surface does seem well built and very elegent.

    So if she is doing some school reports, lots of browsing and some games would you recommend the Chromebook?

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes, even though the net was no help, I looked at various diagrams for a 98 Corolla engine and they did not match, finally I was able to clean away the grit from that part of the engine and see the numbers, I had messed up on 2. It ran, but roughly, now no more hesitation and a little more oomph

  49. HtG Says:

    47 I hate to say it, TB, because I find the Surface w/keypad to be really elegant. But the browsing experience makes me want to sell it on eBay almost every day. My chrome book experience was the opposite: it is so dead functional and simple. For a young person it’s going to do it all and not be too precious. The intel based ones are real cheap, but the Samsung one in grey costs about 50 dollars
    more. Chromebooks would seem to fit your use case. Unfortunately,, the HP chrome book isn’t currently on sale because of a charger fault. And Surface is kind of precious(another reason I hold onto mine.)

  50. XA351GT Says:

    Why? Do we need fly by wire steering? Mechanical systems have worked fine for over 100 years on cars and even longer on other vehicles. All this does is add cost and complexity to already over complicated vehicle. It will become required for mechanics to have a degree in computer science pretty soon just to change a light bulb on a car.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Funny you are talking about Chromebooks. I played with one at a Best Buy a few weeks ago, and really liked it for web browsing. Then, today, I got a rather interesting email from Microsoft pointing out the bad things about Chromebooks, like lack of direct printing, and inability to run MS Office. Also, they dwelled on ad targeting by Google. I’ve never tried a Surface, but it sounds like it should work well for a lot of people. I’m already using too many different operating systems and don’t need any more gadgets, so I won’t be buying one.

    I mainly use a Mac, but have a Windows 8 laptop, for some software that is not available for Mac. I’ve learned Win 8 to the extent necessary to “get by,” but, to, it

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …to me, they made Windows 8 “too different” from XP and 7.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Steer by wire would be a necessary part of an autonomous vehicle, but for cars with human drivers, you’ve got to be kidding. What’s the point?

  54. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Steer by wire makes perfect sense in airplanes, ships and other vehicles where there is an appreciable distance between controller and moving surface(s); on a car, not so much.

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    There is a video of what they claim is the new Mustang on Youtube and if it’s correct, it’s quite a disappointment, still too long and bulky with too much rear overhang for the “world” market they’re going for, esp. Europe.

  56. XA351GT Says:

    Pedro, I read that the new Stang will debut on Dec 5 on Good morning America . I’ve seen so many renderings and supposedly spy shots that I’ll wait until the actual car is officially announced to make my opinion. Ford really needs to get this right. For many reasons. It’s the 50th anniversary, They are now trying to make it a world car so a lot more at stake than usual, If they screw up it’s a 10 year mistake . As that seems to be the time between total redesigns. Also and maybe most important, It is now the only rear drive architecture in the company. Well at least when the Falcon dies in 2016 ( A stupid move IMO) .
    The reason I feel the death of the Falcon other than the obvious reasons I have are. Ford NEEDS a RWD sedan as another choice in the line up. As old as the Crown and Town car were people loved them and still do. That would have left a platform available to continue the Falcon ute which would have been the perfect replacement for the Ranger that many people miss. A true Small pick up. Making that platform a worldwide offering would have given them the volume to continue. Personally the Mustang ONLY chassis make s little sense business wise.

  57. HtG Says:

    Tell me you didn’t say that, Elon.

    Musk is tweeting a snarky link to a USA Today story on a Honda fire risk.

    ‘Don’t actually mean to knock Honda — their cars are solid — but the park outside (or yr house might burn down) advice was awesome’
    ‘..but only if you like your house “Honda recalls Fit for fire risk, says park it outside’

    Is Elon insane? Being so petty about a window regulator fault is pathetic compared with his issue. Gloves are going to come off, now. I’m certainly not above picking on a bully.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Also, in addition to the distances from the operator controls to the control surfaces in large airplanes and ships, the forces required are large enough that they are essentially “fly by wire,” even if there is a mechanical connection. The power assist would be so great, that it would easily override anything the operator could do manually, if the assist messed up.

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, smokers are a fire risk in their cars too, let’s just ban smoking in cars as well!

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    It’s amzing how they’ve managed to put a lid on this Mustang project without any real good spy shots, all these shots are just speculation, from the one that almost looks like the current version to one that look nothing like it and more European designed.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    55, 56
    I suspect the new Mustang will still be “made for America,” and will be a world car, only in that they will offer it for sale in other markets as a niche vehicle. A big-engine, small cabin car like a Mustang is not going to sell in large numbers in Europe.

    If they build an RHD version, it might sell ok in Australia and New Zealand, though the total car market for those counties is not very large, so that might be hard to justify.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    59, Sounds like a good idea. A few days ago, a cigarette thrown out the window of a car in front of me almost came in my window.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just searched articles about the new Mustang, and yeah, in several cases, the pictures shown didn’t look much alike. It appears that we will actually learn something, in seeing the real 2015 Mustang on December 5.

    Whatever it looks like, it will set off a fire storm of comments among the Mustang faithful, some of whom want the car to remain full-on retro forever, some who want it to become a two seat sports car, and everything in between.

  64. HtG Says:

    Ford has been tweeting the countdown to Mustang’s introduction. Here’s the address,

  65. XA351GT Says:

    Kit @ #61 Don’t forget that the UK , South Africa, Japan and some of the other Asian countries use RHD. So the market could be there, but I wonder for how long. There is a huge desire for old Mustangs in Oz/NZ which by law have to be converted to RHD if they are too new.

    I agree with about the Mustang faithful, they will have no problem giving Ford a earful if they don’t like the car. This is the same group of people that persuaded Ford from committing suicide with Mustang back 1988, when they let it be known that if they proceeded with a FWD Japanese based car they would be done with the Mustang and Ford forever. The result was the Fox Mustang hung around another 4 years and out sold it’s would be replacement(the Probe) every year by a fair margin.

  66. T. Bejma Says:


    Have to agree with CK – Elon is nuts!! [and desperate it seems]

  67. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Agree that Elon is nuts, however, it is intrinsically more dangerous for the Fit as it can self combust (sitting idle); the Tesla, so far, requires an intrusion (of the battery) for combustion to occur. Still, in my mind, it is the pot calling the kettle black.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, I don’t think that Ford wants the Mustang to just be a “niche” vehicle outside the US, there is no money in that, they need to balance it in a way that will be appealing to Europe and Asia w/o pissing off the traditional US buyer, imagine if they go to far to please the East and end up losing the US fan base! Oh, plus no massive recalls or fires either.

  69. HtG Says:

    to; Elon Musk, boss
    re; tweeting while drinking

    Did you realize when you tweeted about Honda’s fire hazard, that you implied it was justified, and that the same logic applies to our cars? Hmmm? If you’re going to tweet while sipping the pinot noir, at least get drunk enough to know you’re too drunk.

    cc; the whole wide world

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Something to be said for window cranks,right HtG? If I lived in a sparsely populated area, I would have a manual for sure, damn overcrowding!

  71. cwolf Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Betcha the stang remains its character, yet a lil’shorter and wider.

    The Miata weight loss and power increase will make it sweeter than the last. But didn’t I read that it is still 200 lbs. heavier than the original?

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mustang would be a smaller “niche,” as far as market share potential in the UK, Japan, and probably SA, than in Oz or NZ, but a few thousand here and a few hundred there would add up.

    XA, do you know if there are plans for an RHD Mustang? I think I remember reading that there were, but not sure.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It should do well in the U.S., as long as it’s rear drive and you can get a potent V8, even if it goes away from retro styling. Going too “modern” in styling would pi$$ off some of the faithful, but they’d get over it, if they find out that the new one drives well.

    I don’t think they will go too far at making the Mustang a world car. The last attempt at doing that, the Probe, didn’t go over so well as a replacement for the Mustang, even though it was a decent car, for what it was.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Also, they should offer all versions of the Mustang without MFT. Most people who buy Mustangs want a CAR. If they want a smart phone or tablet computer, they will buy that separately.

  75. HtG Says:

    71 cwolf, I’ve heard plenty of numbers about the next Miata’s weight, all the way down to 1800lbs. Put about 150hp in there, and that’s a hoot. Even just turning and slowing down is funner.

  76. XA351GT Says:

    Kit, Yes the plan for the RHD version of the Mustang was the plan from the start with this new car. Another reason I feel for the inevitable death of the Falcon. From what I’ve read about the size of the car it sounds like it will be size wise closer to the Fox Mustangs. Supposed to considerably smaller than the current car which nearly mirrors the original .

  77. XA351GT Says:

    Let’s hope the new Miata isn’t a pig on gas like the current car is. I was shocked when I saw the EPA figures on such a small car.

  78. HtG Says:

    my mileage was pretty funny, XA, though I chose to blame my foot.

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The EPA numbers for the Miata are worse than I realized. A manual transmission C7 Corvette has a better highway rating than any version of the Miata. The Miata has better city ratings, though.

  80. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Corvette was missing from that link. It should be on this one, in case anyone is interested:

  81. HtG Says:

    In defense of mistake, it was geared very low, so it ran high revs on the highway.

    BTW Detroit, entertaining my Lions loving, Michigander BiL for the next couple hours. You’re welcome ;)

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like Miatas are still geared low, running 2740 rpm in top gear at 60 mph, according to CR’s chart. A MINI, with a smaller engine, is only running 2530 rpm at 60 mph.

  83. HtG Says:

    My ’96 was at ~3k at 60mph. It needed one more gear.

  84. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t think Ford is capable of building one single vehicle w/o throwing in that MFT. Too late to stop that tsunami of a mess.

  85. Kit Gerhart Says:

    MFT is optional, rather than mandatory in some cars, like low end Fiesta and Focus. Hopefully, it will be optional in all versions of the new Mustang, but I’m not holding my breath.

  86. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, if you don’t order this, what do you get instead?

  87. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s been a couple years since I sat in one and checked the controls, but as I remember, the non-MFT Focus had fairly user friendly controls for the HVAC, with knobs and buttons.

    I remember the radio controls being less good, with buttons being spread out a lot, and some of them kind of far away. Also, the radio didn’t have a tune knob. Even my MINI has that, though the radio controls are generally not too good on the MINI either.

  88. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For those interested in Elon Musk’s “other” adventure, see:

    About 6 minutes and counting from now..

  89. pedro fernandez Says:

    It makes little sense why someone would spend extra money for this convoluted MFT system, unless Ford puts it in most cars and people just accept it, and since they’re smarter than other Ford owners, they think that they can figure it out!

  90. RonE Says:

    Pedro, When I bought my 2012 Ford Focus SEL 2 & a half years ago, the MFT came standard only on the Titanium model. I guess I could have ordered the MFT but I had already heard too many negatives about it.

  91. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that most cars in stock have MFT. Also, you have to get MFT to get certain other options, like a fancier radio in a Focus.

    If you order a car, at least a Fiesta, Focus, or Fusion, you can avoid MFT, if you want a lower trim level. You can even get a Fiesta or Focus ST without it, at least if you order a car.

  92. RonE Says:

    91, Kit I did order my Focus and with no options. The SEL model I have came well equipped. About the only difference between it and the top model Titanium, is the Ti has the MFT, satellite radio, 17 inch wheels and a little fancier trim. I’ve been very pleased with this car. It has a nice relatively quiet ride, comfortable seats, and good gas mileage. Initially, I had a couple recalls including the DCT. They reprogrammed it and replaced a clutch assy. It shifts smoothly and I don’t hear the clunks or grinds that have been reported by other owners. The DCT has adaptive learning, so I’ve been told. Regardless, I’m pleased with its performance. I’m a conservative older driver which translates to I’m easy on my vehicles.

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    92, Ron, I drove an early Focus of the current generation, and I generally liked the way the DCT worked, except that it was hard to drive smoothly at parking lot speeds. It felt like just desensitizing the throttle might help, or other software tweaks. Do you know if they have changed software, to help with that specific issue?

  94. Bradley Says:


    It would be absolutely amazing if the EV1 (whatever preview and EV2 are?!?!) has any connection to the Volt. That suggests a level of cohesiveness and organization that GM has never demonstrated.

    This is the same company that starved Saturn of R&D for 10+ years, because they believed Saturn was so advanced it didn’t need the R&D. Then gave us the ION was R&D started back at Saturn.

  95. Brett Says:


    Translation: “It’s all about me.”

    I don’t recall mentioning you, now, did I?

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Before the EV1 arrived, I thought of an EV as a faster golf cart, with no heater, no AC, and maybe sliding, rather than crank down windows. The EV1 project was to change all that, and was a “real car” in every way, except for the obvious issue of driving range.

    As much as anything, it was an exercise in new technologies. It was one of, if not the first car to use electric power steering, and probably the first car to use electric A/C. It had what Mercedes now calls “keyless go,” and other technologies that were very new in the early ’90′s, but are now becoming mainstream. Also, it effectively used regenerative braking, an obvious thing to do in a car with batteries, but not easy to do in a seamless way.

    93, Yeah, there is little direct transfer of of hardware from the EV1 to the Volt, just as there is little direct transfer of hardware between a C4 Corvette like mine, and a C7. In both cases, though, they are “spiritual descendants” of each other. In one way, the EV1 could be considered “higher tech” than most of today’s EV’s and hybrids. It used an induction motor, rather than the permanent magnet motors now used in most of them.

  97. RonE Says:

    93, Kit, What you experienced at slow speed in the Focus you drove was rather common back when the car was first introduced. I don’t know if Ford has changed the software for the DCT, but I do think it has been tweaked. Also, according to posters on the Focus Fanatics website, the more miles you put on the car (not highway), the smoother the DCT performs. Since I have had my car 2 and a half years I fall into that category. I haven’t experienced any shuddering at parking lot speeds in a long time. Like I mentioned, I’m very pleased with my Focus. But also, I’d be less than honest if I said I didn’t have any concerns about future failure of the DCT. IMO Ford could temper those concerns be extending the warranty for the DCT.

  98. Kit Gerhart Says:

    97, Maybe the “adaptive learning” helps with the slow speed characteristics after a while.

    I suppose the long-term reliability of Fords DCT is still kind of an unknown. VW’s DCT’s have been reasonably reliable, but need frequent routine maintenance, by today’s standards, I think 60K miles. They are wet clutch, while the DCT’s Ford uses in Focus and Fiesta are dry clutch.

  99. cwolf Says:

    kit, speaking of CVT maint., can I assume this would be costly to replace? I also thought the expected life was 100K for VW’s.

  100. cwolf Says:

    I read this pit fall on an EU site acouple days ago and now find the news has spread here about the effects of DI engines with a turbo.

    Clearly, everything comes at a cost.

  101. HtG Says:

    Now that’s interesting. The article didn’t specify what made the particles so dangerous.

  102. Kit Gerhart Says:

    99, I haven’t heard the price, but I would expect them to be expensive to replace.

    Also, after posting #98, I found that the recommended service interval for the VW DSG is 40K miles rather than 60K. I suspect the reason, is that the clutches that run in the transmission oil would generate a lot of particles, thus the frequent oil and filter change intervals.

    I don’t know what the recommended service intervals are for belt CVT’s, like Nissan, and now Honda are using a lot of. I’m sure the transmissions are expensive to replace, though.

  103. HtG Says:

    So, does the first VW lessee have to cover that? (Sorry, I’ll mood)

  104. Kit Gerhart Says:

    100, 101
    I hadn’t heard that before. It doesn’t sound good, though, with the rapidly increasing number of GDI engines.

    As I expected, the particles are mostly “soot” from unburned fuel, and very small particles are what cause health issues. This article discussed it some:

  105. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe most of the leases are for 3 years and 36K miles, so the next person gets stuck with it.

    If I ever get another VW TDI, I will certainly want the manual transmission, if they are still using the same high-maintenance automatic. VW DSG’s do drive well, from my one experience of driving one in a GTi a few years ago.

  106. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit one thing I don’t quite get about CVT is that most reviews I’ve read complain about constant high revving engines at speed, so how exactly is a CVT a gas saver? And yes, I have spoken to a couple of techs, one of them a transmission specialist and they both told me that ALL CVT will eventually need belt replacement and on some models, labor costs are very high. Even the transmission oil they require is much more expensive than traditional ones.

  107. HtG Says:

    The small size of the exhaust particles is what I was thinking. But ain’t it ironic that more completely burning the carbon chains is a potential health issue.

  108. HtG Says:

    106 I think of trannies, engines and software as a unit, optimized for whatever the engineers are tasked with. So maybe higher revs in one place are balanced by efficiencies elsewhere.

  109. cwolf Says:

    The fine particulates emmited from a gas engine far exceeds that of a diesel, per the report. The Europeans already use a filter to trap these types of emmisions in their diesels at a reasonable cost. Therefore this info is nothing new, so why haven’t manufactures acted in the U.S.? The drive for cleaning burning cars with high mpg’s seem to be in conflict with one another. Maybe they shouldn’t give up on motors naturally asperated.

    Guess any incentive to consider a CVT just went down the toilet!

  110. cwolf Says:

    Off current subject: When rolling out the MG out of the garage,with flat tires,after 25 years, all four inner tubes inflated and continue to hold the same presure! Is this hard to believe, or what???

  111. HtG Says:

    It’s just the internet, cwolf. I’ ll believe what I like!


    That’s some charming car you’ve got.

  112. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 100,Cwolf: I read a few years ago that diesel oems were experimenting with different compression ratios….because it was found that the usual very high compressions found in most diesels produce MORE of them nasty particulates then their lower comp counterparts.Interesting that the same thing applies to gassers.Thanks for the link ;}>

  113. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Today’s CVT’s would be programmed to set gearing and throttle position for best efficiency for acceleratiing and climmbing, etc., based on the position of the right pedal. It seems that a lot of people don’t realize that engines are more efficient at making extra power when spinning fairly at fairly high rpm. At constant speed, with light power load, the CVT’s will “gear up” for low rpm.

    The “ECVT” in my Prius has no clutches or slipping belts, which I like. I don’t think I’d want a varying belt CVT, at least on a car I planned to drive a lot of miles. Maybe they last 300K miles, though, and I just don’t know it.

  114. pedro fernandez Says:

    However, when I hit the highway with my 3 speed, my mileage is horrible, too high revs. Around town, lower revs=much better mpg’s. Shouldn’t the same apply to the CVT equipped cars?

  115. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that low revs are always good at low load, like going constant speed. When accelerating and climbing, engines are more efficient at higher revs. The newer transmissions with lots of gears, and the newer CVT’s have a wide range of ratios, and can gear for efficiency under all conditions. With your 3-speed, I suspect the top gear is not high enough for good mpg at highway speed.

  116. pedro fernandez Says:

    Absolutely no, I feel that at 35 mph it’s already on 3rd, so any speed above that is all engine RPM, definitely, not a good highway cruiser by any means, unless they highway is a 60mph secondary road. But I have driven a lot of cars in the past with a 3 speed as well and never had this issue.

  117. Kit Gerhart Says:

    By “high enough,” I mean geared where the car is going faster relative to engine rpm. I think I’m not explaining myself well.

  118. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Higher, like having a 4th or 5th gear “higher” than your 3rd gear.

  119. pedro fernandez Says:

    You are explaining very well, the lack of a 4th or better a 5th gear stinks, my son’s FR-S with its 6 speed is barely doing 2500 on the tach at cruising speeds.

  120. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If your torque converter clutch happens not to be working, that would hurt your highway mpg even more, because you would have the “slippage” of the torque converter, even at highway speed. It is probably working, though, or you would have noticed a difference when it first quit working.

  121. cwolf Says:

    It has taken me awhile to figure out why no one has much to say this A.M., but I think I know! You fellers are stewing in the corner awaiting the resurection of the Saab! Let’s be honest with yourself and admit it. Your dreams of having one of these icons in your driveway will come soon enough. I bet TB is removing the Chevy emblem off his Cuze in anticipation of adhering it to the lid of his 9-3.

  122. pedro fernandez Says:

    121 No, not really!

  123. Kit Gerhart Says:

    121, No Saab fetish here.

    My phone contract is up and I can get a new phone cheap, so I’m trying to figure whether to get a new phone, and if so, which one. I’m sure CK would have a recommendation.

  124. HtG Says:

    Trying to recover from a four day home invasion/T-day hostage siege.

  125. pedro fernandez Says:

    Myself trying to recover from clash inside my tummy between US turkey, stuffing and Cuban rice and beans. Not a good mixture.

  126. cwolf Says:

    I’m glad everyone survived the Thanksgiving feast. But if’n ya order a Saab, it will be like having turket twice!

  127. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, are you talking about the pre-GM Saab or the post one?

  128. Bradley Says:


    The difference with the Corvette is they never stopped selling them. Furthermore, GM was very outspoken against the Prius when it was released. Something about seeing Prius(s) littering the highways with busted batteries. Interesting how that never became a reality.

    At a minimum GM marketing and GM engineering have consistently created a perception that they simply do not know what the other is doing.

    IMO-GM marketing will do anything to sell a car and GM engineering is forced to work with limited resources and forced to focus on short term solutions.

  129. cwolf Says:

    pedro, the Swedes are firing up the production line for the 9-3 next week.

  130. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems that GM has, for the most part, come up with good cars lately, but yeah, the marketing has been less than stellar. Add to that, the hate from a lot of people regarding the “bailout.” I personally know two people who Fords in the last two or three years because they wanted an “American car” from a company that wasn’t bailed out. One is still very happy with the previous generation Fusion hybrid, though the buyer learned that it wasn’t so “American” after, coming from Mexico. The Taurus buyer, though, has been heard say “for that money or less, I could have had a (fill in the blank) including Avalon, and now, the new Impala.

    And yes, Ford’s engineering and marketing have worked amazingly well together, especially with the “EcoBoost” ads, which are working so well at selling underperforming, overly complex engines, that we now know may be an environmental disaster.

  131. Kit Gerhart Says:

    129, I wish them well, but I suspect it is a lost cause. The car they are building is basically a mainstream front drive sedan, but will be pricier than most of the competition. Also, by now, aren’t all of the dealers gone?

  132. Kit Gerhart Says:

    130 I sure wish we had an edit function. Sorry about the typos.

  133. C-Tech Says:

    I thought we were done fixing new Saabs, its still hard to get parts for the old ones. Who pray tell is going to sell them?

    Reading the Bob Lutz book Bean Counters vs. Car Guys, he says there was a fair amount of technology carried into the Volt from the EV1 program. Apparently the engineers were still developing an electric car even after the EV1 was killed, and some of the technology from the hydrogen car was used on the Volt. After seeing one at 50K miles still holding up well, my opinion of it is improving.

  134. Kit Gerhart Says:

    133, Maybe they will just sell the Saabs in Sweden, directly from the factory.

  135. cwolf Says:

    Saab will sell to their “homeies”, but I read a Chinese Co. has already placed a large order.

  136. cwolf Says:

    If you think about it, Saab can’t do much worse than Lincoln. Heck, at least there are those European faithfull and, unlike Lincoln, have pre-production orders,even if its from China. If ten new Lincoln purchases are made in a month,they would claim a 50% rise in sales!

  137. C-Tech Says:

    Cwolf, before you write off Lincoln they do sell a fair amount of MKT’s to the livery trade (limo, black car) as replacements for the Town Car. They even put the Town Car emblem on them.

  138. cwolf Says:

    C-Tech, I like Lincoln,but let’s get real! Lincoln cannot convey themselves as a luxury brand, then show their potential customers they depend upon fleet sales. Lincoln has depended upon the MKZ, but I’ve been seeing a lot more MKS’s, which start at only $3,000 more. I see a few MKX’s and very few MKT’s and no Navigators! So what does Lincoln have coming?; Only the MKC. If this is the best Lincoln has to offer, you don’t need too many tea leaves to predict its future at the rate they are going. Lincoln styling and interiors are gorgeous, but they are too heavy,too full of “I’m not sure” technology,too cramped and now, almost forgotten they exist! And that is too bad!!

  139. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, the MKT is ugly, and the rest of what they have isn’t worth the price premium over the Ford version. Mulally instituted a “One Ford” vision and killed Mercury. He needs to either kill Lincoln, or start coming up with cars worthy of the name. A $50K Taurus, AKA MKS, isn’t it.

  140. cwolf Says:

    I am surprised by the number of new Taurus I’ve seen over the past several weeks and can’t understand why! I can appreciate Mulally’s vission of global platforms, but that doesn’t mean everything has to look and function alike. This idea reminds me of Hitler’s vision of the peoples car the “beatle” and we know how that turned out! At present, Ford sales are doing well, but for how long? Ford’s problems are multiplying day by day. Their gamble of wooing buyers, specifically the younger generation, with tech gadgets they have not mastered is not gaining them positive reviews. Nissan is now focused on reliability and this would be good for Ford to adopt before $hit hits the fan. I honestly believe Ford is loosing control of its product and suppliers.

  141. cwolf Says:

    I don’t often go out on a limb for fear of falsely convincing someone of my thoughts based only upon my senses; But I will this time. I believe technology advancements are growing faster than the manufacturers and suppliers can deal with. Add to this that R&D is probably under staffed and hurried. Then there are the suppliers, who are fewer, asked to do more for less, workers under paid and over worked. And let us not exclude that many of these parts and pieces all come together at some assembly line and expected to reliably meld together. I think we are seeing something isn’t working right!
    Having Henry Fords vission in mind, I think US workers need to be paid a higher wage, hire more employees to dampen the demanded O/T,give R&D more clout and not exaggerate the products produced. In my view, because other products are included with the trade agreements with autos, the agreements continue to be unfair and imballanced. In short; I see it has been counter productive the US worker has compromised /adjusted wages to compete with those of other trading nations. I think it critical we establish a fair pay scale and trade based upon our economy and and let the others follow our trend. I hope you agree it is time to think about all the you and me’s who are the U.S. and let all the polititians and lobby groups they play second fiddle.

    Now, Ill have that last beverage before supper! Amen.

  142. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think that Lincoln will be eliminated once Mullaly is gone, he doesn’t want to have 2 nameplates killed off during his watch (even though they’re both Ford re-badges) History will look at him as the CEO who eliminated 2/3 of Ford.

  143. HtG Says:

    I read a couple of days ago that the board of Microsoft recently met, and they narrowed the field of CEO candidates to Mulally and an internal candidate. Some others are also being considered. I won’t be surprised if there’s some kind of arrangement where Mulally and a more comp-sci tech guy both lead. Like at Intel where there are two leaders working as a team. But then, I’m only a little bit behind cwolf tonight.

  144. HtG Says:


    Did anyone read the NYT article on making clothes in the US? It’s not clear what consumers are willing/able to pay for, made here or abroad. With clothes, you wonder why people need all the rags they shlepp home. I recently bought a 10 dollar pair of jeans at Walmart; I’m not sure what to think. What are rugged jeans supposed to cost?

  145. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I am now an “occasional” user of windows, and as such, I don’t much like the significant difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8. Would this have happened had Mulally been CEO? I don’t know.

    While Ford, to me, has way “over-technologied” under Mulally’s watch, it’s anyone’s guess what he’d do with an actual technology company.

  146. HtG Says:

    I’ve become comfortable with W8 and RT, but I totally get why lots of people get an aneurysm from them. In any event, Microsoft is now saying that the future won’t have three versions of Windows, PC, RT, and phone. My sense is that learning to use a new operating system, whether in cars or computers, is hindered by being old enough to have learned an earlier way of getting things done. Plus, in cars you’re also driving and the system/chip is a couple years old compared to the latest whizbango in your hand.

  147. HtG Says:

    With my iPhone I can listen to BBC newsradio, KUSC classical radio, while getting directions from Google. And I’m using a little cable to connect to my aftermarket head unit. Maybe the carcos should step aside?

  148. cwolf Says:

    HtG, can you imagine if we were together, both 3 sheets to the wind, and concocting our combined words of wisdom? No more tonight…I just can’t stand the excitement pondering the replies. CK, eat your heart out!

  149. HtG Says:

    One story before…

    My DC based Michigander BiL, who’s most informed about matters, tells me that the area around the capitol, including Maryland and Virginia, is referred to as the ‘DMV.’ And that kids under 30 don’t think dept of motor vehicles when they hear it.

  150. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree. Phones become obsolete in a couple years, and, hopefully, cars will last a lot longer than that. Car companies should concentrate on car things, and let Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. do these other things. It could be useful for cars to efficiently interface with these other devices, though.

  151. HtG Says:

    Infiniti steering

    Check out these sentences from Inifiniti’s description of their steer-by-wire. You choose what to feel and the car also keeps itself in a lane. I know the automobile operator primate is the major source of losses, but this is starting to feel like being coaxed into a padded cell by a bowl of fruit.

    ‘Direct Adaptive Steering works by electronically transferring the driver’s input to the front wheels where a high-response actuator drives the steering rack. By eliminating the mechanical losses that can dull the responses in conventional systems, steering response is faster and vibration at the steering wheel is eliminated. All this is achieved with a level of feedback from the road that is central to every Infiniti’s performance feel.’

    ‘A further benefit of Direct Adaptive Steering is that it comes with Infiniti’s latest driving technology, Active Lane Control. This is unique in using the steering system to keep the car between motorway lane markings, “magnetizing” the car to within its lane and reducing the need for continuous steering input owing to crosswinds or minor camber changes in the road surface.’

    I’m looking at the bit about “eliminating the mechanical losses that can dull the responses in conventional systems,” and am reminded of the similar thing Porsche engineers said about electric steering; that the mass of the electric steering motor damped out vibrations from the wheels. Porsche now synthesizes steering feel just like Infiniti. It makes me think that there really is no way to overcome the numbness of electric assist systems, and that the gameboy solution is optimal. (cf. BMW generating voom-voom sounds in the M5)

  152. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Infiniti says that steering response is “faster” with their servo motor system. Really? If you turn the steering wheel in a regular car a half turn in half a second, the steering will go to a certain position in half a second. If Infiniti’s system is “faster,” will it guess what you want to do, and go to the same position in a quarter second? That doesn’t sound good to me

  153. HtG Says:

    Maybe what they mean is that you actually can turn the steering wheel faster with their Infiniti system. If you test a current electric system, and really give the wheel a quick spin, you’ll feel resistence from the motor. If Infiniti has separated the front rack actuator from the driver’s sensor/actuator, then maybe the slowness is reduced.

    Honestly, I haven’t figured out how to relate to this new era.

  154. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, you wouldn’t feel the power steering not keeping up, like I did when autocrossing my ’74 Duster.

    I haven’t felt electric power steering not keeping up, but then, I haven’t autocrossed my Prius. I’ll have to check and see what happens if I turn the wheel very quickly.

  155. pedro fernandez Says:

    Variable power steering is something I don’t care for if its based on engine and not vehicle speed, I have that happen to me a few times when I step on the gas, to change lanes for example and the steering becomes unexpectedly hard as if I were driving at highway speeds, not a good sensation at all, if it were based on actual vehicle speed, this would not happen.

  156. Kit Gerhart Says:

    153, I checked the “speed” of the power steering in my MINI, and it can keep up, even if I turn the wheel quickly. I haven’t checked the Prius yet.