AD #1292 – Ford Eyes Mobility Services, Eyes on Design Winners, Is the EPA Anti-Diesel?

January 15th, 2014 at 11:36am

Runtime: 7:01

- Ford Eyes Mobility Services
- Eyes on Design Winners
- Is the EPA Anti-Diesel?
- U of M & Michigan Partner on Autonomy
- GM Names New CFO
- GM Pays 1st Dividend in 6 Years
- Autoline Supplier Symposium Preview

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, where we bring you the kind of information you need to figure out where the automotive industry is headed.

And here’s an example of the kind of news you’re not going to find elsewhere. Yesterday, while speaking to reporters and guests at the Detroit Auto Show, CEO Alan Mulally talked about the future of mobility. He cited how in Hong Kong you can use one pass to ride ferries, subways, trains and busses. And he let it drop that he sees Ford playing a role in developing mobility systems in the future. That makes me wonder, if, somewhere down the road, the company would ever consider changing its name from the Ford Motor Company to the Ford Mobility Company? Mulally did not elaborate on his statement, so we’ll have to dig further to learn more about how Ford thinks it could play a role in providing mobility services.

Every year at the Detroit Auto Show several dozen automotive designers from different companies from all over the world walk the show and then vote on what they think is the best concept car and the best production car that are making their global debut at the show. It’s actually part of a charitable event sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, which helps people who are visually impaired. They call it the Eyes On Design award and last night they announced their selections. The finalists for the best concept car at the show included the Toyota FT-1, the Kia GT4 Stinger and the Volvo XC. And after studying them all the designers chose the Volvo XC as the best concept. The finalists for the best new production car at the show were the Ford Mustang, the Ford F-150 and the Mercedes C-Class. In the opinion of the designers, the Mustang is the best new car at the show. These are becoming very prestigious awards in the design community because when designers from other car companies choose your design as the best in show, that really means something.

Here’s another great tidbit that I picked up at the auto show. When the EPA calculates the fuel economy on a car, it assumes that people drive 55% of the time in the city and 45% of the time on the highway. That’s how the EPA has always calculated fuel economy. And yet, the US Diesel Coalition points out that the EPA’s own data shows that’s not how people drive anymore. Today, they drive 57% of their time on the highway and only 43% in the city. And, the Diesel Coalition points out, using that formula would substantially boost the fuel economy numbers for diesel powered vehicles. It says the current calculation unfairly understates diesel fuel economy and overstates the fuel economy for hybrids. The Diesel Coalition wants the EPA to change its formula, but I say, don’t hold your breath.

Recently Michigan became the fourth state in the union to approve autonomous vehicle testing on public roads. Yesterday Governor Rick Snyder announced a partnership between the state and the University of Michigan to accelerate the use of driverless vehicles. The school is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to simulate an urban environment to test connected and automated vehicles. They are literally going to create a fake city with building facades, sidewalks, crosswalks and all kinds of traffic signs. The idea is to test the technology in this Potemkin village instead of out on real roads. The University says that by 2021, Ann Arbor, Michigan could become the first U.S. city with a shared fleet of autonomous vehicles.

General Motors announced that Chuck Stevens will replace Dan Ammann as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer starting today. Ammann is being promoted to company president. Prior to his new role, Stevens was CFO of GM North America.

And speaking of GM finances, the company announced that it will pay a quarterly dividend on its common stock for the first time since 2008. GM will pay shareholders 30 cents per share at the end of March. And that should help the company’s investment rating.

As you know we’ve been webcasting live from the Detroit Auto Show and today we’re kicking off the second annual Autoline Supplier Symposium. This webcast will give you a really good look into the issues that suppliers are facing and coming up after the break we’ll let you know the people who are coming on the show today and the topics that we’ll be covering.

Starting at 2 pm eastern time today we’ll launch our second annual Autoline Supplier Symposium from the floor of the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit brought to you by our signature sponsor Ford. I’ll be interviewing executives from both the suppliers and automakers, and we’ll kick it off with a visit from Hau Thai Tang, the head of Purchasing at Ford, which buys $100 billion worth of parts and services every year. We’ll have a panel organized by the OESA, the Original Equipment Supplier Association, about the looming tooling shortage that could cripple the North American auto industry, which comes from a study conducted by Laurie Harbour and she’ll be on that panel. Next we’ll look at some of the innovative technology coming out of Canada in materials utilization and connected cars. That panel was organized by the Canadian Consulate in Detroit, and finally we’ll have a panel organized by Inforum that we’re titling, “The Easy Growth Is Over, Now What?” And that addresses how suppliers will deal with a rate of growth that is already slowing.

Again, we get going right here at starting at 2 pm eastern time today, so I invite you to tune in.

And that wraps up today’s report.

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50 Comments to “AD #1292 – Ford Eyes Mobility Services, Eyes on Design Winners, Is the EPA Anti-Diesel?”

  1. HtG Says:

    Hey John, could you get Hau Thai Tang to talk a little about what an F150 made out of aluminum means for purchasing? The other day in one of Autoline’s Cobo floor interviews, I think I heard an exec talk about the recycling value of the aluminum in the truck. huh? And how will purchasing protect the company from price fluctuations, long term high volume contracts?

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    Couldn’t they just test the autonomous cars in some sections of the Motor City that are already abandoned? Spend the cash cleaning up the area instead of creating a Hollywood movie set or MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) site.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    # 2 they might steal the very expensive robo-cars and there will be no robo cop to stop it! I guess the Diesel group have never traveled down my way, over here there is so much expressway traffic that you’re better off just staying on surface streets and save yourself the tolls.

  4. ColoradoKid Says:

    C7 Z06 revisited ;

    Full discloser [ and to be fair ] I’m as equally disappointed with Porsche’s new GT3 as I am with Chevy’s ‘ pretend ‘ Z06 . Yeah yeah .. I’ve read the propaganda … the friends associated with the Porsche press have tried to convince me otherwise … but the simple fact is .. like the new Z06 .. the new GT3 has gone down the ‘ Easy to Drive for Anyone ‘ route as well

    Now easier to drive for a daily drive ? Sure … thats absolutely a good thing . But for an ‘ Exotic ‘ ?

    Well …. IMO making an ‘ exotic ‘ easy to drive for anyone … takes the ‘exotic ‘ right out of it [ except the ' exotic ' price tag ' ] .. and for me its NOT about the money you spend … but rather the ability needed to drive the thing . Exotic cars should and need to be ‘ Other ‘ to both drive and to own .. regardless of the price

    So in conclusion …. IMO these new ‘ Your Aging Gram can Drive One at 85% ‘ so called exotics ( including all new Ferrari’s AudiGhini’s etc ) are like …

    Arranging a seriously hot date with Ilaria Pozzi for a wild weekend in Monte Carlo … but ending up at your local Denny’s for Sunday Brunch with the ‘ Girl Next Door ‘ instead

    Aint nuthin ‘ exotic ‘ about it …

    Sermon over . Bagels & Coffee in the narthex …

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    Diesel and the EPA

    Of course the EPA is anti diesel .

    Why ? Simple . Because ;

    A) They are the most inefficient … out of date and behind the eight ball agency in the Federal Government

    B) Their minders are all Pro EV [ no money to be made from diesel for the politicians/decision makers ]

    Therefore … the EPA is anti diesel .

    Well that …. and all the heavy particulates diesel emits .. not to mention all the pollution problems diesel has caused thru out the entire EU/UK where diesel cars have proliferated for the last 2-3 decades ..

    Ahh … yes …. here it comes … CK’s favorite axiom .. now applying to diesel as well …


    Sum up ? Diesel in F/S trucks as well as F/S SUV’s …. a good thing

    In passenger cars ? A very very bad thing indeed ;-)

  6. HtG Says:

    4 yup. My own long time complaint about high performance cars is that in most instances they’re as pleasurable as an evening under the covers with Paulina Porizkova, talking strictly baseball stats with no monkey business aloud.

    Ilaria Pozzi, ha. :)

  7. ColoradoKid Says:

    So when’s GM gonna pay the US tax payer back for the $10 billion we lost on the deal ?

    ( and why do I get the funny feeling everyone here’s Googling Ilaria Pozzi ? ;-) )

  8. Tony Gray Says:

    I think we now know why they don’t allow us to post pics on this forum!

  9. ColoradoKid Says:

    6 – IP – If yer gonna go wild and exotic … might as well go as wild and exotic as you can … IMO …

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    8 – I knew it !!! I just knew it !!!

    Shame on me … well …. ha ! :o

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ilaria does not seem to have anything to hide!!

  12. HtG Says:

    9 it’s the self restraint you need to master, which makes driving powerful cars so upsetting.

  13. Lex Says:

    #2 – Tony Grey,

    I agree with you about not wasting money on a fake city to drive autonomous vehicles around.
    The Governor in Partnership with Detroit Officials, The Federal Government and Private Industry should take this opportunity to revitalize the abandoned areas near the city’s center. I would suggest building low to middle income housing and create an incentive (Tax Free)zone for manufactuing companies and suppliers to join the revitalization of Detroit. Why is the Packard Plant still standing abandoned looking like it is about to fall down. The Governor of Michigan should review the history and take a tour of the South Bronx in NYC. The South Bronx was a wasteland in the 1980′s. Now it is thriving! The area around CO-Op City has massive investment by major retailers. The same can be done it Detroit if the City’s Leadership have vision. It’s time to put the “motor” back into The Motor City!!!

  14. buzzerd Says:

    4- so you’ve decided that a couple of cars no one outside the factory has driven yet aren’t any good because of some accent thinking, not un expected really.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The EPA numbers under-report diesel mpg, and over-report mpg of hybrids, and certain gas turbos, etc. That is a good reason for anyone truly interested in mpg to check CR’s mpg results for cars they are considering. Yes, I know some people don’t like CR, but they provide the only real “second source” of fuel economy data available in the US. From my experience with various cars, their numbers correlate pretty well with what I get.

  16. HtG Says:

    The simcity idea has some great strengths, like letting you do experiments that are too dangerous on public roads. If cars are going to deal with human craziness, darkness, rain , etc., let tests happen in a controlled environment. Also, the cityscape is going to change, in that sensors will proliferate and may be linked to cars. The street lab lets you try out many systems.

  17. Lex Says:

    I believe GM should repay our Federal Government the 10+ Billion Dollars it lost on the Bailout and subsequent GM stock sale.
    These repayment funds could be used to fund the revitalization of Detroit over a ten year period. The direct hit to GM’s bottom line would be One Billion Dollars a year for the next ten years. This would buy so much Country Wide and especially Midwest “Good Will” that GM could demonstrate enormous Corporate Leadership which I believe would translate into increase popularity and sales. I think Peter D would agree that GM could once again be “The Heartbeat of America”.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    #16 what about street peddlers who cut between cars at intersections, two wheelers who ride between lanes and creep up to the front at a red light, how on earth are these robocars supposed to be able to “see” them and avoid them, what about emergency vehicles that have to take a red light or stop sign?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, Better yet, end the billions of dollars a year in corporate welfare to the oil companies. GM may still need the money to get/stay on their feet, but Exxon-Mobil certainly doesn’t need it.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit the EPA also shows the mileage that they have gathered from normal folks, even though I don’t know how accurate or reliable they could be, I read someone getting 34mpg hwy on a Corolla like mine, with a 3 speed, I don’t believe that for one minute unless he was doing 40 mph

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, those type of things will make it VERY DIFFICULT to make autonomous vehicles that can truly mix with traffic, as we know it.

  22. HtG Says:

    18 that’s the point. Today a sexy gal in tights placed her life in my hands by walking in my lane and with traffic. Never knew I was there. How does car deal with these imbeciles?

    Nice legs btw

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve looked at some of that data, and for most vehicles, there isn’t enough data for it to average out and be meaningful. The last I looked, only one MINI like mine, my MINI, was reported. I only reported once, with the overall average for my first 5000 miles or so.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 18,Pedro: Not to worry,the law offices of,”Bendover and spredum,llc” will always be there to help ya’s ;}>

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Diesel passenger cars have the same advantages, and disadvantages as diesel light trucks. They get about 30% better mpg with fuel that takes only about 10% more crude to make. The emissions are harder to control, though. Diesel cars were in widespread use in Europe before low sulpher fuel was mandated, resulting in damage to buildings, monuments, etc. from the “acid rain.” Now, with low sulpher fuel, that problem is mostly gone.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    G A do they have offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico as well?

  27. donfromnaples Says:

    EPA and Oil Companies have too much invested and too many outside pressures to allow diesel to overtake hybrid sales (i.e. VW outsold all but Toyota brand hybrids in 2013). Also, diesels costs less to manufacture, yet is taxed higher. GDI engines produced by Kia and Hyundai both have increased emissions, yet this is under publicized.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t this what Ford means by getting into the “mobility” business?

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    In this age of ever fattening Americans who can’t even walk anymore (look at Disney) perhaps they’re on to something there, combine that with robocars and voila!

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 26,Pedro: Relax my friend,they have law offices everywhere there is a buck to be made by any meanz,they don’t care ;}>

  31. ColoradoKid Says:

    Lessee now … buy a TESLA S and it can ;

    Burn you to a crisp while driving it

    or ….

    Burn your house down while you sleep

    And yet … TESLA stocks keep going up … Elon’s still claiming his cars are safe … and the deluded faithful remain delusional

    But fear not ! CK’s Nomex Formal Sports and Casual Wear Emporium has a special on this week for the at risk TESLA owner . With every complete Nomex wardrobe we’ll throw in CK’s optional Full House sprinkler / fire suppression system … and .. a half dozen fire extinguishers for only $199.95

    Hurry … while supplies last only

  32. XA351GT Says:

    I watched yesterdays show coverage. The Toyota FT1 is awesome and the FCV. Well lets just say the letters WTF fits it a lot better, Wow. That thing is butt ugly. At 1st I thought it was a Nissan, but they actually came up with a couple pretty nice looking ones in IDX .

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    To me, the Fit is my favorite car at the show, now they just need to make enough of them, so dealers won’t rip off customers who want to buy one and they’re hard to find due to short supplies. I think it will send the Fiesta back to Mexico.

  34. HtG Says:

    I think the camerawork on Autoline’s Cobo coverage has been exemplary. If you know what I’m saying ;)

    Also, Fit oohyeah

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33, I read that they are going to build the Fit in Mexico. Hopefully they can keep the quality up.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Fiesta, Fusion, Fiat and now Fit, what is it with Mexican-built cars and letter F?

  37. cwolf Says:

    Now that my driving distance to work is near 20 miles round trip, I find having a diesel cannot be justified. And to think a diesel engine will outlast the car and any desire to own it for that long should be enough reason to kill anyone’s interest. There is no reason for gas to be at $3.74/gal. levels, but no doubt some will convince themselves into a diesel.
    I like the New Fit, but you know how I feel about foreign brands. It is becoming more clear to me that a car about the size of a Cruze will best serve my needs,yet I’m feeling some discontent to what is available. If it was offered in a hatchback I may be more excited, or if it’s Buick clone had the same offering. I sure wish I could make up my mind! Did anyone notice this Ford product guy did not include one in my wish list, even with the Z-plan? My GM discount vs the Ford one will have weight,but I say again, I am loosing interest in Fords. My gut just tells me so.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf but it’s made in North America, and we’re all one big happy NAFTA family, we eat tacos and drink Corona and tequila so why not a Mexican built Japanese brand?

  39. cwolf Says:

    Mr. UAW, Bob King, is pushing ahead with the idea of increasing dues 25 percent and claims the workers what it! Hog wash! I and many others have a growing discontent with the extreme lack of support given to the workers at my plant. All the focus is being placed on unionizing the transplants; and in a hap-hazard way,in our views. There is growing talk to kick the whole lot out during the next election and to such extremes as developing a works council,instead, or changing unions. All I have to say is that the UAW is doing nothing for the workers at my plant and is conducting itself like an extension of the company. Now why would any UAW worker want to pay more for less? I just canceled my PAC donation and tell my reps where they can PACk it every time they get too close to me!

  40. cwolf Says:

    Pedro, I find it a joy to be taunted about my hang up with American owned CC’s from guys like you. Never the less, I am pissed that Jim Beam sold out to the JAPanese. Isn’t there anything American anymore that’s not for sale?

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    No! I expect someone will buy the Statue of Liberty some day!

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    cwolf, as we all know, the auto industry, and everything else, has changed incredibly. When I started working for GM in 1977, they were making lots of money, and the UAW could get about whatever they wanted in the contracts. Now, The UAW workers do a little better than those at the transplants, but not much. Unions like the UAW helped create the “middle class” in America, but it is disappearing quickly.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41, Maybe France will reclaim it. I wouldn’t blame them, given the way so many Americans constantly bash France, especially Americans who have never been there.

  44. dcars Says:

    Any body want to bet that the money for the “US Diesel Coalition” comes almost entirely from Germany.

  45. HtG Says:

    I hope you’re not implying that VW might be trying to use regulation to help them reach their US sales goal.

  46. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Both AutoWeek and Peter D. declare the ZO6 best in show (Detroit ’14) and give the reasons why unlike an earlier post, which just spewed prejudice (and maybe some envy) denouncing the effort. Kudos to Corvette for bringing new fuel to the fire (sports car wars) on the street and on the track (C7R).

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46, I just read PDL’s latest, and yikes, so much negativity. I guess that’s why I don’t read his stuff very often. I suppose he is mostly right, though, which is kind of sad.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit I don’t read PDL so what DOES he like in the auto market today? any ideas? I must be such an easy fellow to please, today I sat inside a client’s new Corolla and I was very impressed with its interior. Looks light years ahead of mine.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s hard to know what PDL likes, if anything. The thing he seemed to like the most at the Detroit show was the big Cadillac concept that was first shown months ago. I don’t know what to make of his hatred for certain people in the industry, especially Ackerson. There are others that don’t like him, but still.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Carbuyer UK just tested out the Infin Q50 and they loathed the steering and it wasn’t even the wire version, they mentioned that it was even worse!!