AD #1483 – BMW Gets Plastic Windows, JLR Expanding Too Fast, Recalls Crippling Takata?

October 21st, 2014 at 11:56am

Runtime: 8:11

- Eau Rouge Tells Infiniti “Eau No”
- Tata Takes Manufacturing Expansion Too Far
- Takata Reeling from Recalls
- BMW Concept Gets Plastic Treatment
- Ford Drops EV Price by $6,000
- You Said It!

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57 Comments to “AD #1483 – BMW Gets Plastic Windows, JLR Expanding Too Fast, Recalls Crippling Takata?”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I, for one, hope governments never allow polycarbonate windows on cars. It’s bad enough that with cars that are parked outside in the sun a few years, the headlights only emit about half the light as when new, but that’s not nearly as bad as not being able to see out of the windows.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yep, you’re right on there, Kit. This would be a disaster, as it stands now, cloudy headlights are already a safety issue with most modern cars and most drivers are oblivious to it.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Wondering what the cost difference there is between glass and poly-carbonate; also what about scratching. Poly-carbonate (even with hardness treatment, as used on eyeglasses, etc.) are not going to resist the external elements as well as glass (and even glass scratches under those conditions). I’m thinking dusty, gravelly, as well as other abrasive conditions compounded with surfaces that use wipers (front and rear windows) are going to be even more problematic.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Regarding the airbags recall, I saw the list and there is nothing listed before 2001, don’t those vehicles count any more? Also wonder if those bags have an expiration date, where they just won’t go off at all in a collision?

  5. Rick Wakefield Says:

    You mentioned on today’s show that your tracking how many people click on the Show Transcript to determine how many people just read the Transcript and how many watch the show.

    Well, I might be skewing your numbers by both reading the transcript and then later watching the show also.

    Don’t how many others do the same but probably not enough to matter.

  6. Tony Gray Says:

    Hey John, don’t automatically assume that I ONLY read the transcripts when I open the link. Most of the time I watch and follow along, or I go back into the transcript to read over a portion that I may have not completely understood.

  7. MikeB Says:

    On the subject of believing what that dash is saying about MPG’s although you say it might be off a little bit I would say more than a bit. I always 0 out my tripometer so that when I fill up again I have the miles that I put on the car at that time. Although the dash is saying 22 MPG I actually get 20.7. This is in a Honda Pilot. I take the mileage and divide by the gallons shown on the pump and I have the actual MPG and I don’t need the EPA equipment to get the truth.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I usually just read the transcript, except when it is noted that there are items that are only in the video.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    3, I’d think a polycarbonate windshield was last about 10 minutes with wipers in use, before it became cloudy.

    While glass can scratch, it is hard enough that it doesn’t scratch easily. Overall, glass is a great material for windows, being unaffected by UV, and inert to all chemicals, except HF.

  10. marshy Says:

    I’ll echo the wear concerns regarding the non-glass front glass surfaces.

    …and while I’m at it, John, if you are looking at changes, this comment engine could use an overhaul to permit replies or quotes to posts and up/down voting. Take a look at for an example of what I mean.

  11. marshy Says:

    re the focus sales –

    I think that the venn diagrams of people who are looking to buy a compact car that doesn’t commute 25+ miles one way and who have the money/luxury expectations for a second or third car that doesn’t need to go long distances is a very small coincident area.

  12. Lex Says:

    JLR has some great looking vehicles currently.
    The one I am waiting for is the new Range Rover Discovery Sport. I remember when Peter D. would talk so fondly about the Range Rover Evoque. The new Discovery Sport will have a very board appeal at it’s lower price point. I do agree that JLR might be moving too quickly and aggressively in the number of new plants it intends to build around the world. The NAFTA Region and China are good bets and see how sales go from there.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    This JLR construction binge may be a bit premature, the jury is still out on the quality and reliability of their new offerings, if they turn out to be a bad as the old stuff, sales will again plummet and those factories will sit idle for years to come.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If Ford wants to sell more electric Focii, in addition to lowering the price, they need to, uh, make them available. They only sell them in a very limited number of locations.

  15. MJB Says:

    I echo every comment made about not replacing glass windshields with poly-carbonate.

    I know the headlight industry has come a long way in finding the right mixture that will yield a durable lens that retains its clarity, but it’s still plastic, which means that a windshield made of that stuff WILL SOMEDAY cloud up! Not to mention, all it takes to help it cloud prematurely is someone using the wrong cleaning product on it.

    And let’s not even talk about the potential safety issues of having non-breakable plastic windows. I know i’m in the extreme minority on this one, but carry in my glove box a window pane breaker – for the off chance that I end up sliding off the road into a lake or ravine. At least glass windows can be broken out in case of an emergency like that.

  16. Lisk Says:

    Takata in trouble over recalls? I say too bad for them. They produced a product that doesn’t perform and is potentially dangerous. Remember the Firestone/Bridgestone debacle? People avoided Firestone tires like the plague when the issue was maintenance as much as it was a quality issue. And people didn’t just quit buying the affected size and type, the avoided them all for the most part. Also remember the 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am and the GMC Syclone/Typhoons? The were built by a company called PAS (Performance Automotive Systems) and in 1993 they built some CNG trucks for GM that had “fibreglass tank corrosion” (deterioration) that had the fill valves popping out. GM bought back every truck and replaced them with a conventionally fueled vehicle. When PAS got the bill, they had no choice but to fold up.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John Mc.
    I agree that checking gas mileage from gas station fillups, especially a single fillup, can be off some, and that you need to account for odometer error. You need to check mileage over several fillups to get an accurate check. When my Prius was new, I checked the first ~10,000 miles of fillups, and accounted for the (small) odometer error, and found that I averaged 46 mpg and change. I did the same with my MINI, and got 37 mpg and change. It’s been about 3 years since I did those “extended” mpg checks.

    Yes, most people don’t do that, and I certainly agree that, unless special instrumentation was on the trucks you drove, the factory readout was all you had available. I don’t know, but I’d guess that most manufacturers “cheat” on their readouts, but probably by about the same amount. At least I’ve found that the readouts on my more recent cars, checked over thousands of miles, have been about 4-5% high. That has been the case with an ’06 Chevy Malibu, a ’10 MINI Cooper, and a ’10 Prius.

  18. Todd T Says:

    Focus EV could very well see success with lower price, especially if combined with a low lease price. The Fiat 500e is a good comparison here. Car isn’t that distinguishable from the regular 500, but a low price and very low lease deals have brought purchasers who would only marginally consider an EV before.

  19. John McElroy Says:

    It was none other than Csaba Csere who convinced me that dashboard mpg readouts were about as accurate as you can get without going to full instrumentation. He said most the readouts were fairly accurate, with some exceptions. Here’s a link to a story he did on it:

  20. aliisdad Says:

    I am very pleased with the website and the offerings you have for viewers… I enjoy both the video and transcript parts of the daily reports.. Change may be in the works, but it is really good as it is now…
    Also, Autoline After Hours just gets better and better.. I have been watching since it began, and the only thing that I feel would make it better would be to make it about
    THREE HOURS long!!!!! Seriously, it is an amazing great program and a “must see” for anyone interested in automobiles.. Thanks!!!

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW just introduced the Golf EV and their claim is the fact that it doesn’t try to look like an EV as the others do, so it should appeal to more buyers, HA. did they not look at the Focus EV sales numbers b4 introducing that model here??

  22. GLE Says:

    I for one appreciate the readable transcript….Being stuck with a dial-up connection to the interweb, it takes about 30 minutes to download a 30 second audio/video snippet.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    #19 my recent time with a new Sentra showed that I got about 38 mpg using the ECO mode and driving in a conservative manner, most reviews I’ve read on that car rate it at the low 30′s.

  24. GLE Says:

    As far as polycarbonate glass…My nose appreciates the loss in weight, but I have found that even with proper care and the hardness application for my eyeglass lenses they are hard pressed to last over 2 years without consequences.

  25. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I watch the show via video (first) but may go back to the transcripts for review (especially if I am in the process of adding a reader comment (so I can fact-check what was stated in the first place). As long as I can get to the transcript it doesn’t make too much difference to me how I have to get there (though it is a little more convenient if the transcript is revealed from the start).

    John, I remember reading that same article by Csaba Csere (certainly one of Car and Drivers more credible editors or guest columnist in this case I believe), and while not absolutely accurate, you’re numbers were certainly great estimations of what you observed (and reported). With so many variables (to consider) in any case, in order to bring your ‘numbers’ to light, you did the most prudent comparison that was available to you. Even gallons used and mileage observed is wrought with pitfalls (as it doesn’t take much, when filling, to be off by a half gallon of fuel from tank to tank.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, Thanks, John, and thanks for the link. From the article, it looks like the mpg readouts on cars Csaba checked were “optimistic” by about the same amount as my cars.

    I wonder how optimistic the “appallingly optimistic” speedometer is on his BMW. The speedo on my MINI by BMW is about 4% high, but I’ve seen much worse, especially on motorcycles.

  27. Max C. Says:

    I read the transcript rather than watch the video simply because I work in a busy office cube and I really don’t want my boss coming up behind me as I’m watching a car video on my screen. It’s much easier to hide it when just doing the transcript.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I checked the ~10K miles on my Prius, I went the whole distance without reseting the mpg readout I used to check its accuracy. It sounded like Csaba Csere averaged the readout numbers for his 56 individual fill-ups in his BMW. With the 56 fill-ups, the results should be about the same as going the entire distance without resetting the readout.

  29. HtG Says:

    Plastic windows and sunroofs would do a lot for handling

    I wouldn’t mind a 1.5x or 2.0x button to speed up the video. I read the transcript because I’m so impatient.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Remember how VW used to advertise having glass rear windows in their convertibles, so you could still see out after they were a few years old?

  31. dcars Says:

    Any one know who won the Presidential Limo contract? Bids were due August 29, 2014.

  32. Enn Norak Says:

    If I had to select a plastic material for windows, then Lexan would be my only choice but I would never actually buy a car with plastic windows. Plastic scratches easily and anything made of plastic that I have ever owned has eventually cracked or yellowed with exposure to sunlight.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, It seems that there is no good plastic for car windows. Lexan is strong, but yellows and gets cloudy after a few years in the sun. Acrylic doesn’t yellow much, but is not nearly strong enough for the application, and scratches even easier than Lexan, which scratches much more easily than glass.

  34. Bill W Says:

    I read the transcript only about 99% of the time. I read Autoline here in the office where I work for a Tier 1 supplier. I don’t play the video b/c I would need headphones; it’s too easy to disturb others in the cubicle farm I graze in.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 the same company that built the Pope mobile? #32 They can save weight by other means, more aluminum, perhaps, leave the glass alone, plastic is not the answer. Look what it’s done to headlights.

  36. J Hundertmark Says:

    #5 & #6 – John – I agree with the comments regarding the new link – While I watch/listen to the show each day, I read the script after watching/listening. Since you’ve made the most recent tweak, I have to access Autoline Daily to be able to read the script, as opposed to following the now NG link in the daily email.

    In addition, for the comments regarding fuel economy – If you record the data on actual fuel ups over many thousands of miles, it does become very accurate. Understand using vehicle readout since it is very convenient. Would question accuracy from one vehicle to another due to manufacturer propensity to skew the data.


  37. HtG Says:

    33 yes, weight can come from many places, but windows are high mounted mass that influences weight shifts. Having a lighter upper half of the car would improve acceleration, braking and turning. If you take a look at the original 911, all the heavy bits like the motor and suspension pieces(it used torsion beam suspension) were at or below the wheel axle line.

    But then, if people really wanted to do their part to reduce weight, they could drop some weight themselves

  38. cwolf Says:

    Plastic windshields/windows are not good, from my experiences. They may not scratch easily, but they develope fine swirle marks which are finer than a spider web. During my upholstery years at dealerships, I polished scads of windshields( mostly in the body shop). Buff a tad heavy on the worst areas definitely changes the optics on the inside; The thickness is no longer uniform! Did ya ever look through a plastic window in a convertable after a few years? Headlights from behind are a real killer once they become hazed. I’m sure the weight reduction might improve handling,HtG, only if you take turns and curves at much higher speeds nearing insanity or having a death wish.

  39. cwolf Says:

    During my upholstery years which got me through school, I could tell when a new model had all glass windows. When the cars sat in the very cold, then brought into a deaders warm polish shop, they would burst into smitherines if the windows were not partially opened when acclimating. Sounded like a shotgun going off!

  40. HtG Says:

    38 cwolf, take a look at the press release link in the show notes. They say coatings will deal with scuffing, that handling and accel will improve, that the better insulation of PC over glass will save battery power, and that easier shaping of PC relative to glass will have aero benefits.

    I can tell you from experience that when I put the 45lb hardtop on my Miata, it took that mass a whole lot longer to change directions at any speed. Though I have no comment about my possible excesses, speedwise.

  41. HtG Says:

    oK, I’ll comment. If the tires aren’t complaining around a turn, the whole day is ruined for me.

  42. HtG Says:


    So I saw one of these MV-1s today in NYC.

    The name is Mobility Ventures. These things transport people who use wheelchairs. Thing looks pretty neat, like a London taxi.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The thing that would seriously concern me about polycarbonate windows, more than scratching, is that they would turn yellow and opaque after a few years, like PC headlight lenses. Maybe they can somehow fix that, but they don’t seem to have done it yet with the headlights.

  44. donfromnaples Says:

    Ford and BMW are both currently testing Lexan windows with UV-protecting layers can prevent hazing under years of sunlight. Don’t think for a minute that plastic windows will be used until at least 10 years of anti-hazing can be warrantied. The initial cost is twice conventional glass windows.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42, The MV-1 is made in Mishawaka, Indiana in what was probably a Hummer plant. At over 5000 pounds, the vehicle seems really heavy, even for having wheelchair loading equipment, but I’m sure that would add significant weight. It uses the Crown Vic powertrain. I guess the company gets a really good deal on hardware that is too obsolete for Ford to use in any of their own products.

  46. cwolf Says:

    If a sound deadner is sandwiched between panes,why can’t they compromise? A glass outer and a plastic inner.

    HtG, the way you describe your driving habits, I don’t think fuel economy is a primary concern. :>)

  47. HtG Says:

    Eau contraire, mon friar

    I just don’t slow down.*

    *I exaggerate for the internet, cwolf

  48. cwolf Says:

    Now that work is only a 12 minute drive, instead of 1.5 hours and live in a swanky neighborhood , driving a Lincoln (when wife allows), I’ve become a “cruiser.” But when I said I drove the 86 miles to my old place in 63 minutes, I wasn’t exagerating for the internet, HtG. Must be how bad you want to get from point A to point B!

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41, HtG, you might like a Prius. It doesn’t take much to make the tires complain, so entertainment is easy to achieve:-)

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, Swanky neighborhood… I now understand the MKZ, rather than a Fusion, Cruze, or Corolla. Yes, I realize that the Lincoln has nicer cabin decor, and is probably quieter.

  51. MJB Says:

    #39. Interesting… So the all-glass windowed vehicles would do this?

  52. Enn Norak Says:

    #39 & #51 – very interesting indeed. Back in the day, long before retirement, my quick de-icing trick during cold Canadian winter mornings was to simply throw a bucket of hot water on my car windows so as to avoid having to spend time scraping off frost and ice in my driveway. I never cracked a windshield in the process. Auto glass is sufficiently resistant to thermal shock.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe Tata’s backup plan is to build a lot of Nanos, if they aren’t able to sell all of those expensive cars they plan to build.

  54. Dan Busch Says:

    Dave like (most people) doesn’t get it. Diesels are about the amount of resources used per mile, including the energy used in the production of the fuel. It is not solely about out-of-pocket expense. Of course, the oil companies could give us a price break that acknowledges it’s cheaper cost of production – don’t hold your breath on that issue until there are enough diesel vehicles on the road to create some completion among resellers.

  55. BobD Says:

    On MPG displays, my GM Cruze ECO routinely reports 44+ MPG on a tank (I drive conservatively and mostly on highways) but in comparing fuel used on the display verses the actual amount needed to fill the tank, it is always about 10% low which means my MPG reported is 10% over estimated. The dealer says there is no way to recalibrate the fuel used sensor and that the display is for “reference” only. My guess is that all of the displays lean towards the favorable side.

  56. funride Says:

    Please discontinue the background music while you are delivering Autoline Daily.

    I want to hear every word undistracted.

  57. John Says:

    Please track how many people play the video files rather than the reverse (tracking the transcript). I miss getting the show transcript in my RSS feed and am far less likely to visit the site I’m not looking at the RSS feed.