AD #1297 – IIHS’s Rigged Test, Hyundai is Ready to Rumble, BMW’s Counterattack

January 22nd, 2014 at 12:02pm

Runtime: 9:14

- IIHS’s Rigged Test
- Koreans Are Small Car Kings
- Hyundai is Ready to Rumble
- BMW’s Counterattack
- Barn Find
- You Said It!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily where we strive to keep you up to speed on the most important developments in the global automotive industry.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its crash results for 11 minicars and criticised automakers because only one of those cars, the Chevrolet Spark, was able to pass one of its tests. It’s called the small overlap test, which smashes the far left or far right corner of the front end into an immovable barrier. The IIHS only began using this test in 2012 and it caught most automakers off guard. In fact, that’s a big problem the auto industry has with the IIHS. The Institute sort of sprung this test on them without enough fair warning. Some automakers, Honda, Subaru and Volvo, picked up on the fact that this test was coming and started designing their cars for it, but all the other automakers that Autoline talked to never saw it coming. Here’s my Autoline Insight, the IIHS is being disingenuous in testing cars it knows full well were never designed for this test, and then blaring out headlines to the world that they failed the test. If given enough advance warning automakers can incorporate the necessary structure into their designs to pass this test without too much additional cost or mass. But if they have to go back after the fact, the opposite is true. If the Institute wants to influence design so that the industry builds safer cars, it needs to be far more transparent and provide crystal clear notices. And then it should give automakers enough time to incorporate those changes into their designs before they start testing them.

Speaking of small cars, which car company do you think sells more of them in the American market than any other? I thought it would be Honda, or Toyota, but no! Hyundai-Kia sold far more small cars than anyone else last year. The Korean brands sold 564,000 Elantras, Velosters, Accents, Souls, Fortes and Rios. Then came Toyota with 434,000 Scions, Corollas, Prius C’s and Yaris’s. Honda sold 399,000 Civics, CR-Z’s, Fits and Insights. GM is fourth on the list with 368,000 small cars, Ford with 305,000. Interestingly VW, with 238,000 sold finished ahead of Nissan with 252,000. All told there were 2.9 million small cars sold in the US last year, up 4.5% from the year before. But since the total market was up 7.5%, small cars actually lost market share.

Speaking of Hyundai, we’re still scratching our heads why it dropped former CEO John Krafcik. But its new CEO Dave Zuchowski is already working on his plans to get the brand growing. Hyundai’s market share fell last year from 4.9% to 4.6% but Zuchowski tells Autoline he feels that number could grow to 4.7% this year thanks to new product. The new Genesis is coming in the first half of 2014, while the new Sonata hits in the second half. He also points out that it’s very important, at least symbolically, for Hyundai to get back to a 5% market share like it had in 2010 and 2011. Zuchowski says that in 2015 and 2016, Hyundai’s product cadence will start to look more like it did during those record years.

Last year Mercedes just barely beat BMW for the luxury sales crown in the U.S. So how will BMW try to claw its way back? Ludwig Willisch, the head of BMW North America, tells Autoline that 75% of X1 and 320i customers are new to the brand, and that he expects the upcoming 2 Series, which will be priced similar to those two vehicles, to do the same thing. Moreover, Willisch says dealers are telling him the new i3 electric vehicle is already bringing new customers into BMW showrooms. The i3 goes on sale in April and maybe it will convince shoppers to buy other BMW’s as well.

OK, here’s one for you trivia buffs out there. What car do you think this is? When I first took a glance at it I thought it was a Nash Healey, but it’s not. We can tell you that it was shown at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show. I think we know what it is, but I’ll bet by tapping into the collective knowledge of the Autoline Daily audience we’ll get this nailed. Shoot us an email, or leave your thoughts in the comments section of today’s show. And we’ll reveal what we think it is in tomorrow’s show.

Speaking of getting your comments, coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for your feedback!

dcars wants to know, “Is my math right? VW/Audi sold about 600,000 cars in 2013. To hit their target they have to sell an additional 400,000 cars per year. Do they have enough dealers to sell that many cars and which car company is going to fold to allow VW to sell that many cars?”

Your math is right, VW/Audi/Porsche, remember Porsche is now part of the group, sold 608,000 cars in the US market last year. How are they going to push that to the group’s goal of 1 million by 2018? That means they have to increase sales by 80,000 cars every year for the next five years.

C-Tech wants to know, “How do the wheel shutters work on the new F-150?”

Great question. Ford showed the idea on the Atlas concept truck. The spokes on the wheels would actually close up at highway speeds to reduce drag, and then open up at lower speeds to increase brake cooling. But even though early press reports said this would be on the new F-150, it’s not, which suggests it didn’t provide that much of an advantage.

jack878 says, “Can Ford really lockup the aluminum supplies? I think that’s illegal. That’s controlling its competitors by wrongful means. I can not believe Ford can do that.”

No that’s not what is happening. Ford merely ordered so much aluminum over the next few years that there’s no more capacity for anyone else who wants to build aluminum trucks in large volume. Alcoa says anyone else who wants to do that better give it a three year heads up. Speaking of the F-150, it’s going to be a major topic on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. We’re going to be debating the pros and cons of Ford’s approach, especially compared to GM’s strategy of launching compact trucks.

XA351GT watched our coverage of the Detroit auto show and says, “The Toyota FT1 is awesome and the FCV….well let’s just say the letters WTF fit 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.”

XA, I completely agree, that Toyota FCV is an incredibly badly designed car, and the IDx looks so good. And as you heard in my interview with Nissan’s Jose Munoz, he wants to use the platform from the Rogue to build the IDx and build it in Tennessee.

Brett saw our report that the city of Hamburg in Germany wants to ban all cars from its city center by 2035. He says, “Before dismissing it out of hand, perhaps we should see what the result of Hamburg’s experiment turns out to be. It might show a path to a better urban future or it might serve as an example of what not to do.”

You might be right Brett. I said this is a crazy idea because we’re on the verge of having whisper quiet, zero emission, autonomous vehicles that could be even better than mass transit. But maybe we ought to see what Hamburg comes up with.

Thanks for all your ideas, comments and questions, we truly like hearing from you.

And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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69 Comments to “AD #1297 – IIHS’s Rigged Test, Hyundai is Ready to Rumble, BMW’s Counterattack”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I feel that crash test is not fair, this simulates hitting a stopped vehicle in front of you and such vehicle will give upon impact, not a stiff, unmovable structure like the test is simulating

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I cheated (okay, did a Google search), the barn find is a Chrysler Special show car at the 1954 Detroit auto show (archived photo from Car and Driver).

  3. HtG Says:

    What, no report on how I froze off my optional parts shoveling snow this morning? ;)

  4. Todd Says:

    That is nuts… I wonder if the IIHS is doing that on purpose or if the lack of transparency is just due to poor communication practices?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The offset crash test is probably somewhat relevant, because most “head on” crashes are corner-to-corner, rather than truly head on. Still, as John says, the car companies should have been warned that the test was forthcoming.

    I assume that it was just luck that the Spark was designed in such a way that it passed the test, while the others failed. If the designers actually had offset crashes in mind, we need to give GM Korea, AKA Daewoo, a few points of extra credit.

  6. Tim Achterhoff Says:

    Chrysler concept coupe with body by Ghia.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    #3 “Optional parts” would depend on what particular entertainment industry you could partake in!

  8. MikeS Says:

    There seems very little doubt that the failure to give automakers adequate notice, thereby inflating the failure rate, was intentional. This seems to be a pattern these days where government agencies want to demonstrate that they are “on the job” by rigging situations and picking the low-hanging fruit for political impact. Just look at how JP Morgan is being milked by the SAC for wrongdoings committed by Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, both of which the government encouraged/forced JP Morgan to acquire in order to stabilize the financial system.
    The public would be much better served if these agencies did their jobs honestly and diligently rather than politically.

  9. RumNCoke Says:

    I think the Barn Find is a Chrylser Ghia which was a styling exercise between The Pentastar Boys and the folks at Ghia in Italy. They probably heard that the T-Bird was coming and were hoping to take some attention away from it.

  10. Roland Martin Says:

    I don’t intend to teach you guys math, but 238K (VW) is unquestionably smaller than 252K (Nissan).

  11. HtG Says:

    Beats me

    Isn’t the IIHS pop quiz story pretty dated? Why the interest?

    I observed that Hyundai settled claims over their 40mpg figure about a week before Kravcik left the company. And this happened over the holidays, but a few weeks after JK had shown John his new offices during the LA show.

    Why talk about this stuff now?

  12. T. Bejma Says:


    I’ll bite HtG… What was in the iPod?

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Huh, Mike? The IIHS is NOT a government agency. It is made up of private insurance companies.

    IIHS stands for “insurance institute for highway safety.”

  14. Bradley G Says:

    Barn Find- John it looks like the Chrysler Ghia Concept to me.

  15. Mike S Says:

    The IIHS, disingenuous? You think so? How did Subaru and Volvo hear of the test? I think because they WANTED to hear of it. Really, is it any great mystery that a substantial number of crashes happen in the way their test demonstrates? I think not. No, automakers know of the kinds of crashes which happen every year. I applaud the IIHS for telling the world which vehicles pass this “new” test. Someone has to do it, and am glad they are.

  16. HtG Says:

    12 Ahem, TB. It’ an iPhone.

    (Science Friday)

    But it’s so cold here, the streets and stores are deserted. NY wimps

  17. Mike N Says:

    Given that this is one of the most common head-on crashes that occur, I can see where IIHS may be remiss in not using this test BEFORE the present day.

    However, to say that IIHS is trying to rig the test is absurd. First of all, it has NOTHING to gain by doing so. Second, the argument must be made that automakers should have been designing their vehicles to perform well in this relatively common crash all along. And third, anyone who thinks a small, light, car will perform as well as a larger vehicle in this kind of crash has no knowledge of elementary physics.

    This is one reason there are no more small pickups on the market…can you imagine submitting my 1986 Toyota extended cab to this?

  18. Mike N Says:

    As for the sales figures, let’s add Scion and Lexus to the Toyota score and see where the figures are, since we decided to combine Kia and Hyundai.

    I’d mention add Acura to Honda, but that would only increase Honda’s total by 10. ;)

  19. Mike N Says:

    Apologies…I did not see that Scion was already included above.

  20. Ron P Says:

    The barn find-Would it be a Packard Clipper

  21. George Ricci Says:

    Is a passing score on any IIHS test required for a vehicle to be sold in the US? When the IIHS develops a new test, do they work with the government and the auto industry to get consensus that the test is truly representative of accidents in the real world?

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For anyone interested, here is what the IIHS has to say about itself:

  23. RON Says:

    Barn find !Chrysler ghia . Ithink the bodies were built in Europe !

  24. MJB Says:

    That test should not carry as much weight as it does, as the only real-life impact situations that match it are plowing into the rear of a stationary semi-truck trailer or the side of a brick house.

    Any vehicle being collided with would have its own crumple zones and recoil from impact, resulting in less damage done to the test vehicle. Not to mention, that crash barrier imposes a blunt 90° corner. How many vehicles are people going to collide with whose front fenders meet that criteria?

  25. Bradley Says:

    Yea, hitting against an immovable barrier is unrealistic.

    Yea, I saw that too.

    GM’s Compact Truck strategy?!?!?! They don’t have one. The Canyon/Colorado may be the smallest truck on the market, but it is still a mid-size truck.

    Dear Ford,

    The aluminum F-150 is Brilliant. When can I get an aluminum Ranger (Compact Truck) and get 35mpg?


  26. Steve Weintraub Says:

    Why blame the IIHS because they didn’t tell the Auto manufacturers they had to build safer cars. If they had known of this test, they would have built them? This is something they should be doing all along!!

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The barn find:

    It’s got a hemi.

  28. HEB Says:

    Barn Find appears to be the GS-1 Concept by Ghia

    1953 Chrysler Special Coupe – Sold for $334,365 versus pre-sale estimate of $325,000 – $375,000. Coachwork by Ghia; one of 18 built; unrestored and very original.

    It might even be this two tone Green one?,12317/1953-Chrysler-GS-1-Ghia_photo.aspx


  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27, That link is about a ’53, but the barn find is a ’54. Sorry.

  30. gary susie Says:

    Looks like a Packard to me.

  31. HEB Says:

    Barn Find,

    How about this one Kit, it is a 1954?


  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – Not enjoying the winter weather we sent you ? Hmmnn .. :o


    Korean Small Car Kings … and about to be booted outta the Canadian market place …. because of course trade agreements with Korea are so fair … and …

    .. unlike the US .. the Canadian Government .. as well as the CDN divisions of GM and Ford … are sick and tired of it all

    Funny .. wonder hows come the US GM and Ford aren’t on the front line with this as well ?

    Oh yeah … thats right …. GM’s pouring millions into getting the TPP fast tracked … and Fords too busy selling cars and trucks …. never mind

  33. ColoradoKid Says:

    Bradley – 25 – + 1 … especially in light of revelations that Chevy’s ‘ new ‘ Colorado … is just a recycled ‘ old ‘ Colorado in a new party dress … TB will deny it to the hilt … but thems the fact .. not the propaganda … But errr … does you really wants to pay them there inflated Aluminum insurance prices about to be instated .. not to mention over inflated repair bills and a distinct lack of shops that can fix it ?

    Do yerself a favor … buy a Tacoma …. you’ll be much gladder you did .. guaranteed … The Off Road – On Road – Mid size Reliability King …. by a country freaking mile and 3/4′s … and unlike the Chevy … it wont burn your house down ;-)

  34. Buzzerd Says:

    I believe the IIHS HAS tested vehicles for an offset collision, that represents most head on situations, for a while now but this is a new test. Called the small over lap it differs from the offset in that you are impacting the car outside of a vehicles main structure making it very difficult to pass. And when most vehicles can pass this one they’ll figure out a new one.

  35. Drew Says:

    The ugly truth about the IIHS test is their mis-leading claim of it being a safety test. IIHS measures both structural deformation and dummy injuries. Nearly evey vehicle that has been tested has received “good” scores for dummy injury values. This gives insight to IIHS’s motivation… to reduce property damage. That is, the stimulus for the test came from developing a test to encourage OEMs to redesign vehicles with bumper beams that better protect vehicles in corner impacts.

    But the physics of the test are flawed. The energy of a high speed impact with a rigid barrier that misses the frame rails cannot be absorbed by a wider bumper beam. So, the connundrum is to add more mass to the vehicle. Remember, IIHS loves heavy vehicles. But it remains to be seen if larger vehicles can ever absorb the high speed energy of a rigid barrier. How will IIHS ever declare such vehcles as unsafe when they fail the SORB test?!?!? Kool Aid anyone?

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Colorado is NOT the old Colorado. The new one is five inches wider, so how can it be? Also, it has completely different power trains, dumping the overly thirsty, lethargic 5 cylinder, and the big four that was also too thirsty.

    I agree that the new Colorado is too big to make a lot of sense, unless it substantially undercuts the bigger ones in price. It remains to be seen how that will go.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The old, moderate overlap test is 40% of the width of the car into the barrier. The small overlap test is 25% of the width of the car.

  38. Buzzerd Says:

    Common Kit, different frame, different drive train, , different cab , interior….. It’s the same vehicle, we’ll in some worlds it is.

  39. John W Says:

    IIHS has had the 40% frontal offset test since 1995 so OEM’s have been designing to that. The 40% was with a deformable barrier and new test is a 25% offset with non-deformable barrier. I think the non-deformable barrier is not real world; if simulating head on collisions w/ another car at 25% offset it’s more realistic to stick with a deformable unless we’re simulating hitting Mack trucks

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38, Exactly

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    39, Using a 25% offset with the cars crashing into each other might be a good test, but it would use up a lot more cars.

  42. Bradley Says:


    I like the Tacoma, it is just too big. I had a 1999 Tacoma until last September when Toyota bought it back under the frame corrosion warranty.

    I miss having a truck. My snow blower is busted and it won’t fit in the Sportwagen or Yaris. I refuse to own a 3rd vehicle, even if it got me a truck. I’ll probably drive the Yaris a few more years then buy a cheap 2004 Tacoma or maybe a used antiquated Ranger.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    You should consider getting a small utility trailer, and putting a hitch on one of your cars. I have a 4×8 tilt trailer that weighs about 200 pounds, which can be pulled with any vehicle on the road. It comes in handy, at times, like to take my old lawn tractor for repair.

  44. GaryPaul Says:

    I used to study US manufacturers offerings sold in the USA especially during the 50′s and 60′s, & with your added details, John, it was not too hard to identify, especially with the internet these days. The show car was a 1953 Chrysler Ghia Special concept car, also known as the “Thomas Special” (named so for the export division head of Chrysler). There were 3 versions of the Ghia Specials, one for 1952, this second one for 1953, and then there was then a 3rd version of the Ghia Specials called the GS-1, made for 1954 (I don’t know why it wasn’t called the GS-3). These vehicles were designed by Virgil Exner (chief of Chrysler styling) but built by Ghia of Turin, Italy. There are many websites explaining details such as at the, indicating the Chrysler chassis used , the interior, the Hemi engine, etc.

    Let me know if i made any errors!

  45. Bradley Says:


    Yea, I haven’t thought about that. Thanks!

    Barn Find!

    Is this some elaborate indirect publicity scheme for Fiat/Chrysler? Its goal to help show us Americans that Chrysler and Italy have a long relationship.

    I have no idea what is Chrysler. Talk about a Zombie car company.

    Would I buy a Fiat that had roots all the way back to Italy? Yes, but I won’t buy a badge engineered Chrysler with a Fiat underneath.

    Now…that Ghia is fine looking car.

  46. HtG Says:

    I’ll bet you guys have seen this Corvette, as bodied by Pininfarina.

    When I walked up to it at a Concours d’E., the only way I could identify it was because the interior was stock Corvette.

  47. ColoradoKid Says:

    Michael Schumacher Update

    ( from an MD’s rather than the press’s perspective )

    This is one of the more accurate appraisals of MS’s most likely current status … as well as prognosis for the future I’ve read .

    Full discloser … its none too positive be forewarned

  48. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 47 – Why yes I have in fact [ I used to be a huge Pininfarina fan since way back ]

    Fact is there’s a whole raft of Pinin reworked American Iron in their past … more than a few of which its a crying shame the US manufactures chose [ foolishly ] not to manufacture

    Fact is … the Big Three to a number .. might of been a whole lot less behind the Eight Ball if they had …


    Bradley – 45 – +1 … again !!! You’re racking em up today now .. aint ya ;-)

    Making amends for past wrongs perhaps ? :o ( humor most definitely intended )

  49. HtG Says:

    47 Yeah, I saw the Mail article and the blogpost earlier today. I’m feeling now like it’s not so bad to speculate on MS’ condition, since he’s a public figure and it seems the understandings doctors have about his prognosis are based on past experience with other victims of brain trauma. It’s harsh to say, but it sounds like they’re going to be keeping him alive for a long time.

  50. ColoradoKid Says:

    42 – Cross yer fingers there Bradley … Rumors deep within the company are saying a true compact truck – seriously off road capable truck … the Toyota Hilux is on its way to the USA … to put Chevy in their place once and for all in the P/U market place … IF that is … the rumors can be believed . But I’m kind of betting they are ;-)

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – 49 – I just hope and pray the SOB MD’s and his family don’t make him into a Science Project …. but instead chose to let the man go in dignity should the time arise . He deserves at least that .

    Nothing bugs me more than keeping someone around .. just for the sake of keeping him around …

  52. Cristian Says:

    Are cars designed to pass safety tests or to save people’s lifes?!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current “world” Hilux has grown a lot, and would be rough around the edges for most Americans’ tastes, but would be a great addition to the US market, at the right price.

  54. T. Bejma Says:


    One single piece of proof that supports your claim that the new Colorado is the old Colorado? ONE SINGLE SOLITARY PIECE OF PROOF? ANYTHING!?!?

    That should be very simple, even for you….

    I didn’t think so…

  55. HtG Says:

    Spark and IIHS

    Has anyone sat in the back of the Spark? Want to get rear ended? I dare you, as I found it nauseating even indoors. I can feel it right now.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the Spark wouldn’t protect passengers too well if it backed into the barrier at 40 mph, or was rear ended.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    Spark=old Geo Metro, rear seat is a suicide chamber, we’ve come a long way baby! NOT

  58. Tom Tyson Says:

    1953 Chrysler Ghia GS-1, designed by Virgil Exner and built by Ghia.

  59. mike smith Says:

    barn finds how about cadillac eldorado

  60. Enn Norak Says:

    My guess is that the barn find is a Hudson Italia.

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Hilux is coming to the US, for aftermarket accessory companies to measure, so they can make stuff to sell to Hilux owners around the world. It is very unlikely that the Hilux will actually be sold in the US. See:

    The current Hilux is about the same size as a current Tacoma, only the Hilux is heavier.

  62. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Perhaps the prudent thing to do (vehicle safety testing) is for the IIHS to survey the top leading causes of critical injury accidents and declare, which standards need to be updated (by manufacturers) to meet these challenges. Changing tests arbitrarily (by IIHS), without lead time, and to make headlines that they are on the forefront of vehicle safety, is just not in the interest of public safety. I.E. Okay class, we are going to have a test on our reading assignment for next week: NOW.

  63. Bradley Says:


    I 100% agree.

  64. Bradley Says:


    Good link, I drool whenever I see Hilux pictures. Although it isn’t as small as my 1999, it is smaller than the Tacoma.

    Chicken Tax! Go Away!

  65. HtG Says:

    Would someone please suggest a way to think about the Chicken Tax without being off-puttingly cynical?

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Look at the dimensions in the article linked in #61, or look it up elsewhere. The current Hilux is the same size as the current Tacoma. Both have “grown” a lot over the years.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m saying they are the same size if comparing comparable apples to apples. The Hilux uses only one wheelbase, with different size boxes depending on the cab type.

    Yeah, the Taco is longer, and has a longer wheelbase, in the extended and crew cab versions, but has a longer box. The Taco is shorter, and has a shorter wheelbase in the standard cab version, but has a shorter box. Both the Tacoma and Hilux are the same width.

  68. Bradley Says:


    Does the Chicken Tax have feelings?

    I don’t understand your question.

  69. Steve Henderson Says:

    IDX tail section looks like the old Avanti