AD #1468 – Ram Boosts EcoDiesel, F1 Racer to Make History, Daimler Labor Chief Wants UAW

September 30th, 2014 at 11:45am

Runtime: 7:44

- Ram Boosts EcoDiesel Production
- Formula 1 Racer About to Make History
- Daimler’s Labor Chief Wants UAW
- Nissan Prices NV200
- Mustang Nail Polish Winner
- You Said It!

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Diesel pickups selling better than expected, Formula One’s youngest driver ever, and how the UAW wants to get in the door at Mercedes-Benz.

Last week we reported that Chrysler is boosting production of the Ram 1500 to keep up with demand. And now we’re learning that will also include more diesels. The company says the diesel version of the 1500 is such a hit with consumers that it will boost its diesel production mix to 20% of Ram’s total production. That’s right, one out of every 5 Ram 1500 that is built will now be equipped with a diesel. And by my back of the envelope calculation that will bring in more than $200 million in extra revenue for that truck.

Do you remember what you were doing at age 17? I do, and it was nothing like what 17-year old Max Verstappen is about to do this Friday. He will become the youngest driver ever to take part in a Formula 1 race when he hops in the cockpit for Torro Rosso at the Japanese Gran Prix. Some of you may remember Max’s father Jos, who used to race in F1 for Benetton. But his son Max is more than 2 years younger than the current title holder for youngest-ever F1 driver, Sebastian Vettel.

The UAW is really starting to work with its union counterparts in Germany to win gain representation at German-owned factories in America. The UAW has worked very closely with Volkswagen’s labor representatives. And now it’s doing the same thing with Daimler. The head of labor on Daimler’s board of supervisors, Michael Brecht, says he wants UAW representation at the company’s Mercedes plant in Alabama. CEO Dieter Zetsche says its up to employees if they want to join a union. But of course, legally, he’s not allowed to say anything else. Clearly Mercedes does not want the union in that plant or it would have happened years ago under DaimlerChrysler, when the UAW was actually on the board of directors.

Nissan just announced the price of its NV200 commercial van. When you include destination charges the base price is just under $22,000. And that puts it $1,370 cheaper than the Chevrolet City Express, which of course is just a version of the Nissan van with a different badge on the nose, and the OnStar button on the rearview mirror. So does the cheaper price mean Nissan will outsell Chevy? Probably not. Chevy has about 3,000 dealerships in the US market versus about 1,000 for Nissan. And that kind of reach will definitely give Chevy an advantage.

Last week we asked you to come up with clever names for paint jobs on cars, all inspired by this OPI nail lacquer pack that Ford put out in commemoration of the new Mustang. And we got some pretty clever names. C-Tech came up with a bunch of names, but I really liked “Super Trooper Black and Blue” for the Ford Crown Victoria. Sam submitted this one for the 2nd gen Cadillac CTS-V, a Black Diamond Tricoat color nail-polish called: “Midnight Diamonds” Rollingart dxb came up with the idea of a red nail polish called “Montezemolo’s blood by Marchionne.” Oh, you wicked people! But I had to pick one and I chose a blue color that Drew came up with called “She’s the Boss.” And of course, that’s in recognition of all those great Boss models, even though, as he points out, no Boss Mustang should ever be a “chick car”. Drew, get us your address and we’ll send you this nail lacquer kit that Ford gave us as part of its introduction to the new Mustang.

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

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

Wael Al-Rihawi saw our Autoline After Hours about the story of how the small block Chevy was developed and wants to know, “What is going to happen to the small block Chevy? Are we going to see the discontinuation of such a legacy? Are we going to see GM taking the same road as Ford?” I think we will be deep into this century before GM gives up on the small block. And I don’t see GM going as heavily into turbochargers as Ford. GM’s small block V-8 probably costs around $1,000 less to manufacture than Ford’s 3.5 liter EcoBoost.

2Kriss2Kross has an opinion that I bet the rest of you agree with. He has this comment on Cadillac naming its upcoming full-size sedan the CT6. “Cadillac, just bring back real names like Seville, Eldorado, Deville, and Brougham. Enough with the alphabet soup!” Like I said, i bet most of you agree with that.

C-Tech has a question about hybrid cars. “Has the market reached its saturation point? Perhaps continued expansion means offering a hybrid suv at a competitive price?” I think you’re on to something. The hybrid segment in the US market is shrinking. That segment needs more models, and a greater variety of them if it is to get back to growing again.

XA351GT says, “Those 3D printers are awesome. I wish I was smart enough to use one. The possibilities are endless. It would be great for my 1/18 model making. Now if they were cheap enough and I was smart enough I’d be in business.” XA, these things are pretty easy to use. And you can get simple 3D printers for as little as $600, depending on what you want to make. I’ve seen grade school kids using them, so don’t be scared off.

dan878 wants to know, “Isn’t the new Jetta diesel now getting the same mpg as the Chevy Cruze diesel?” Good question, and it turns out that the Jetta gets better fuel economy in the city, the Cruze gets better fuel economy on the highway, but the combined number is definitely in VW’s favor. the Jetta diesel is rated at 36 miles per gallon combined, while the Cruze is rated at 33.

And that wraps up today’s show. Don’t forget to tune in Thursday when we’ll be posting new car unveils from the Paris Auto Show. If you subscribe to our daily newsletter, you will not miss one of them. You can sign up for free and keep up to speed with the latest new cars coming out at the Paris show.

But that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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15 Comments to “AD #1468 – Ram Boosts EcoDiesel, F1 Racer to Make History, Daimler Labor Chief Wants UAW”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Ramping up diesel production at Ram is a no brainer.There is great pent up demand for diesel in this country,especially for full size half ton pickups.Wait and see how many diesel midsize gm trucks fly off the lot.

  2. HtG Says:

    Maxi Moxie

    Settle down geezers, Max is only driving in a Friday practice session. Whipping up the controversy over his age is exactly what caffeinated sugar sauce marketer Red Bull wants in order to get the attention of the other seventeen year olds, who aren’t driving race cars all day long. Yeah, that and asking Selena Gomez for a date is what they’re also not doing.

  3. HtG Says:

    And another thing.

    The talk this week in F1 has been about making the cars harder to drive. Even Alain Prost said maybe they should return to a ‘proper’ F1.

    The rumours this week are that Honda’s engine makes too few ponies and is too thirsty. Decisions, decisions, for Fernando Alonso.

    Like anyone cares

  4. Lex Says:

    I have been out vehicle shopping with the Mrs.

    I see no improvement in the 2015 Honda CRV! The visibility is terrible. The Backup Camera helps a little but what about adding the Accord’s “Lane Watching Camera” to the passenger side on all Honda vehicles especially the Pilot?

    The Disappearance of the roll top panel over the center console is a gigantic mistake. The gear selector needs to be relocated, maybe to the steering column or somewhere else to free up real estate on the center IP. I have an idea, why not combine the radio/navigation and upper screen into one screen like in the Acura RDX? The RDX has a combined screen with a hood over it to improve visibility an functionality. This would free up space on the center IP! There is no need for two screens.

    The front and rear fascia’s are poorly executed and not pleasing to the eye. Honda needs to look at the Audi Q5 and Q7 or BWN X3 and X5 for inspiration for the CRV and Pilot.

    A softer rounder appearance with some fair is needed to improve the overall look of these two vehicles. The females in my circle hate the look of the CRV(calling it unattractive) and the Pilot (bulky and boxy). The new MDX is no improvement over the previous model. The styling of the previous MDX should have been shifted to the next generation Pilot. The spy photos of the 2016 Pilot show not a hint of improved styling.

    Let face it people buy Honda’s for there reliability, dependability and price. I believe there should be more IMHO.

  5. RumNCoke Says:

    Well I still think my tribute to Lt. Frank Drebin is a pretty good name. I mean, really, who wouldn’t like “Nice Beaver”?

  6. Lex Says:

    “BWN” should be “BMW” and “fair” should be “flair”.

  7. Lex Says:

    Is the additional $1370.00 on the Chevy City Express over the Nissan NV200 due to the adding of the OnStar system functionality?

  8. HtG Says:


    That’s what NV2000 Taxi cabs going around NYC remind me of. Badass.

    Most people thought they were horrendous, but nope.

  9. MJB Says:

    I’m late to the party on the rapid prototyping / 3D printing conversation, but here’s my $0.02.

    You are correct John, that actually “using” a 3D printer doesn’t require much know-how at all. The problem, however, lies in generating the content to BE printed. The ONLY reason elementary schoolers can do it is because they are feeding the printer pre-made 3D models.

    The prototyping machines can only spit out what you feed it. And if you don’t already have a 3D model (not a physical model, but a computer-generated model) to give it, it can’t produce a darn thing! In order for one to produce say, a replacement interior trim piece, a valve, a door handle, a brake pedal, or any given doohickey, one must first build a 3D model of it using one of a handful of 3D software capable of spitting out the proper file format for the printer. (I know because I use one such software on a daily basis creating architectural 3D models)

    Without the ability to use a 3D software for creation of your own custom parts, OR access to a library of all the parts you may wish to output, having a 3D printer is about as useful as your dog having the keys to your car.

  10. aliisdad Says:

    The NV2000 looks like a pretty nice small van, but it is pretty goofy looking… In fact, a lot of Nissan styling has been kind of strange for a lot of years, now.. Kind of turns me off to what are probably some really good cars and trucks.. I will admit, though, that the NV2000 looks a little better in the red color shown in the pictures on today’s show; and the price sounds really good… I think I will go down and check it out in person…

  11. HtG Says:

    Slow Views Day, huh

  12. cwolf Says:

    #11 not very interesting happenings in the auto world of late. not much to comment on either that hasn’t already been beaten more than an old rug.

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Saw a Chevy Express (on the road) traveling either to or from Florida; it looked quite a bit better than the NV200 (picture). Subjective I know but in my eye it looked better. And as far as the price difference I will reserve judgement till when equipment comparisons can be done (side to side).

  14. Bob Aubertin Says:

    Hey Lex,
    Why don’t you buy a Real CUV like the Jeep Cherokee with a 9 speed auto,Way better looks,more room and it’s an American Icon.Jeep also offers a Trail Rated version if you want to go off-road on a fishing trip.

  15. Lex Says:

    No Thanks Bob.

    The CUV is for the wife. I have my sights on a real SUV the 2015 Range Rover.