AD #1439 – Russia to Retaliate? Right Looks so Wrong, The Inspiration for GM’s EV-1

August 19th, 2014 at 12:05pm

Runtime: 8:39

- Russia May Set Up Import Ban
- UAW Makes Progress with VW
- RHD Mustang Looks Weird
- U.S. to Mandate V2V Technology?
- Mopar’s Jeep Hood Decal
- Citation IV Inspires EV-1
- You Said It!

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In today’s show, the UAW is actually making headway at VW… the car that inspired the design of GM’s EV-1… and why NHTSA really likes V2V technology.

And we start out the show today in Russia, which faces more sanctions from the West over its belligerent actions with Ukraine. So Russia is considering retaliating by banning imported cars from the West. Up until recently Russia represented a fast growing car market, with sales of 3 million vehicles a year. However, since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, the economy stalled and car sales plummeted. Reuters reports that Western automakers with assembly plants in Russia may be exempt from any ban and all the major automakers have factories there, except Mercedes-Benz. Analysts say that any ban would help Russian, Chinese and Korean automakers, and they say Mercedes would be especially hurt.

Earlier in the year the UAW narrowly lost an election to unionize Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But the union isn’t giving up. Last month the UAW created a local union to represent workers in Chattanooga and now says there’s nearly enough members for VW to recognize it as the exclusive bargaining agent for the plant. The UAW’s secretary-treasurer, Gary Casteel, says at least 670 of the approximately 1500 workers have joined the local union, which would have been enough to win that vote earlier in the year.

After half a century Ford finally decided to sell the Mustang globally, in over 120 countries to be exact. And now its giving us a peek at what a right-hand-steer Mustang looks like. Boy doesn’t it look odd to see no steering wheel on the left hand side of a Mustang? We’ve seen plenty of right-hand-steer cars, but its just weird to see this on a Mustang.

Before we get to autonomous cars, connected cars will be on the road. The U.S Transportation Department is writing rules that would mandate V2V technology. It sites data from NHTSA that V2V could prevent nearly 600,000 accidents a year, save about 1,100 lives. The technology may cost less than $200 and could potentially be retrofitted to used cars. The biggest obstacle is that the auto industry needs more access to the radio spectrum for vehicles to communicate with each other.

It seems like you can customise just about anything these days and Mopar has a cool kit for Jeeps. Trish Hecker, the head of marketing at Mopar, showed us this cool new hood decal for Jeeps. Owners can select a map of their favorite trails, create their own topographical map, or even a satellite view of their neighborhood. The hood decals, which are made by 3M, are designed for 2007 to 2015 Wranglers, 2011 to 2015 Grand Cherokee’s and the new Cherokee. Customers can have the dealer install the decal or they can do it themselves. The decals cost under $300 bucks, plus installation charges if you have the dealer put it on.

OK, time to jump into the Way Back Machine. I was going through my files and came across some photos I took at the General Motors Tech Center way back in 1984. Anyone remember this concept car? They called it the Chevy Citation IV. It was primarily a study in aerodynamics. Note the flush glass, covered headlamps, rear wheel spats and the extremely long rear end. At the time GM thought something like this might be in production in the 1990’s. And you know what? They may have been right. I think this car helped set the styling tone for GM’s electric concept car, the Impact, which came out in 1990. It ultimately went into production as the Saturn EV-1. The Impact looked frumpier because they didn’t have the length to give it longer, flowing lines, but a lot of the lessons learned on the Citation IV ultimately did make their way into production.

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

Brett has something to say about Lexus’s newest vehicle. “The NX has quite a ‘schnozzola’, doesn’t it? Is this more fallout from the pedestrian safety laws? Or are those only in the EU and this is simply an exercise in bad taste?” No, that schnozzola has nothing to do with pedestrian safety laws. That’s just the new look of Lexus, and it’s actually the one part of that car that I kind of like.

Rafi Jaan is clearly a gamer. “Yes, finally you mentioned Gran Turismo 6, the very reason the Toyota FT-1 was created. The car was a virtual machine first and then got the approval of Akio Toyoda to be built in the real-world as a concept of a Future Toyota (FT). It’s likely to be the next Supra. Cannot wait to drive the new one in GT6. The other version drives amazingly well with a very responsive and powerful engine.” You hear that Toyota? Your video game car is a smash hit!

cwolf is not impressed by Continental’s new TPM, tire pressure monitor. “Who in their right mind would want a tire sensor in the tires as long as you have a $.99 tire ga. and two good eyes to see when the tires need replacing or rotated? What is this world of cars coming to; certainly not for the enthusiast!” Cwolf, I tend to agree with you, but remember, TPM’s are mandated by the U.S. government. Automakers have to install them, and the Continental system, which is baked right into the tire, eliminates a step in the assembly process for automakers.

G Thompson wants to correct us. We said the 2015 Ford F-150 with its new 2.7 liter engine will be the first pick-up truck with stop-start. He says, “Ford is not first with start-stop… the first GM hybrids had it.” He’s referring to the hybrid versions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. And he’s right, they were the first with stop-start. By the way, those hybrids have been a total flop. Last year GM sold a total of 169 hybrid trucks.

Mike says, “I did enjoy the Dream Cruise. Fabulous things doing what they should do: i.e. drive up and down the road and turn heads. That said, it was hard to look at some of those vehicles. UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED! Nader was more right than we care to admit. It was a reminder of how much better/safer/more fuel efficient cars have become on our watch.” It’s true, the steering, the handling, and the brakes in those old cars are nothing like we have today. And that’s how it should be. After all, we’re talking about a half century of technological progress. Even so, those old muscle cars are still beautiful to look at.

Thanks for all your letters and comments, we truly appreciate getting them all. Also, don’t forget to join us this Thursday for Autoline After Hours. Audi has one of the most interesting technologies its bringing into its dealerships to help its techs make sure that customer cars gets fixed properly. They call it ART, I call it an i-Pad on a Segue, but it could completely change the way that techs keep up with all this technology coming into cars.

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

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11 Comments to “AD #1439 – Russia to Retaliate? Right Looks so Wrong, The Inspiration for GM’s EV-1”

  1. C-Tech Says:

    With a right-hand-drive Mustang, the rural Postal delivery drivers will have a REALLY cool delivery car instead of the usual Jeep or box truck!

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “RUSSIA WANTS TO RETALIATE”?, hell, they’re the aggressors (but I guess that’s how politics works.

  3. HtG Says:

    Aston Martin and NHTSA

    I’ve been reading Aston’s petition to NHTSA for why two of its models should be exempted from the upcoming side impact standard. (I woke up a bit early). Aston writes that due to the global financial recession beginning in 2007 they were not able to fund development of the standard some models, and that the two models in question(DB9 and Vantage) were originally intended to be phased out before the new regime. Now, Aston wants NHTSA to let them sell an estimated 670 of these cars, under an exemption for significant financial stress. Aston cites how Ferrari got an exemption in the 00′s partly because of the economic effect to its US operations.

    It’s a fascinating glimpse into Aston’s business problems.(Aston had originally wanted this petition to be confidential, but NHTSA said no) Check the date on the application; Aston had asked for an exemption in July of 2013, and NHTSA still hasn’t answered even as the new regime begins in a couple weeks. Now that’s pressure. 14pages


  4. Bradley Says:

    The TPMS on our Jetta Sportwagen helped us get home from a six hour drive this weekend.

    Just as I was pulling away from my bother’s house to start the journey the warning light appeared. I got out and the tires looked fine, but with a tire gauge I quickly learned one was leaking air. So at every stop I topped it with air until I could finally get the tire repaired.

    Some TPMS will tell you exact pressure of each tire. The system on the VW is a less expensive system that uses the ABS to derive tire pressure.

  5. Tripp Terry Says:

    Russia ban? More like – no, we are not allowing you to buy any US made light or heavy trucks and we won’t supply repair parts.

  6. Todd T Says:

    Those analysts on Russia clearly aren’t considering the corruption in Russia. Mercedes sales will not drop one bit.

  7. John McElroy Says:

    @Todd T You’re right, all M-B has to do is grease some palms. And besides, by banning Benzes, they will only become all that more desirable.

  8. Bradley Says:

    Oh the EV-1… If only GM could have kept that initiative going and creating a visible direct connection to the Volt. I think the Volt would be even more successful.

  9. Enn Norak Says:

    Sounds to me like Russia wants to reduce imports to help prop up its ailing currency.

  10. Ross Francis Says:

    Ford Australia converted a few hundred 65 and 66 Mustangs and later contracted Tickford to convert Mustang Cobra’s between 2001/03
    These were all sold as factory RHD.

  11. cwolf Says:

    If you can recall my input regarding the UAW’s options a few months after the voting results at VW,I was right on the money. The decision to locate a union hall in the area was a wise move on UAW’s part and instilled a much needed sense of confidence in doubting VW workers. At this point, I believe will be recognized.
    Don’t forget about the MB Alabama plant, either. I hear there are some rough spots to deal with, but I sense there is a coordinated plan developed built upon the idea giving the worker more representation. We’ll see about that one!