AD #1544 – Mercedes Shifts R-Class Production, Acura Hits Milestone, Who Saves More Fuel?

January 28th, 2015 at 11:51am

Runtime: 6:21

- Mercedes Outsources R-Class Production
- GoPro Mount Standard on New Tacoma
- Plans for a New Mitsubishi Sedan Stall
- Acura Hits 2 Million Milestone In U.S.
- Detroit Automakers Fight Currency Manipulation
- Who Saves More Fuel?

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42 Comments to “AD #1544 – Mercedes Shifts R-Class Production, Acura Hits Milestone, Who Saves More Fuel?”

  1. Jim Bianchi Says:

    Re: GoPro mount for Tacoma – Will this provide video evidence of why so many pickup truck accidents start after the driver utters “Here. Hold my beer while I try …”?

  2. Bradley Says:

    The math is right, the final punchline is very misleading.

    The 18mpg Suburban still burns more fuel than either a Corolla or a Prius.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m not surprised about the math on fuel savings. For years, I have been pointing out that 2 mpg more or less is nothing, if you are starting out with 40 mpg, but 2 mpg is a lot if you are starting out with 10 mpg.

    To really save fuel, the person needs to replace the 2004 Suburban with a Corolla, or Prius, or Cruze, unless he or she is one of the few people who actually needs the capability of a Suburban.

  4. Bradley Says:

    Lets save 622 gallons of fuel by going from a Suburban to a Prius. :)

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1 The driver may want to turn off the sound recording of the GoPro .

  6. Bradley Says:

    I have finally seen more footage on the new Tacoma, and I do like it. At first the styling changes seem very slight. Although, I really would prefer Toyota and others would stop making their trucks look like semis.

    So if you don’t have a GoPro camera you have to live with an obstruction in your line of sight?

  7. rick bradner Says:

    - and of course, as always, this completely ignores the energy that goes into mining and refining the materials and actually building the vehicle.
    – the “consumer society” mentality is alive and well…

  8. HtG Says:

    Numbers from NADA

    My fellow nerdii might be interested in this YT vid from NADA. An Experian exec does a presentation on financing rates.

    Takeaways 1 financing is up because people aren’t using home equity like they used to. 2 Loan to value rares on used cars are at 133% 3 45% of Jettas are leased 4 a eeason loan duration is increasing is that cars last longer.

    ~30 min.


    Trade talks on the European side are taking place today also. The fun for HtG is wondering if my own Fun and Games are on the agenda. Real fun, but I’m mostly a mushroom in the process.

  9. Jon M Says:

    I was a little surprised to hear that the GoPro mount will be standard. Really, that many Tacoma owners use one? Toyota will make that standard, yet I’ll have to buy something such as a trailer hitch ball mount and trailer ball separately? I’m not saying trailer accessories should be standard, but why not just make the GoPro a dealer installed option and/or a separately sold accessory? There is nothing wrong with it per se; it’s just that I wouldn’t want that thing stuck to my window when I have no intention of ever using a GoPro.

    Oh, and while Toyota is making updates, I’d rather prefer they take their Entune system out back and shoot it!!!

  10. RumNCoke Says:

    Why doesn’t anyone factor in the cost in fuel and carbon emissions for getting all those nice imports over to this side of the ocean? My understanding is that the bunker fuel those car carriers burn is just about the nastiest stuff on earth.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    How about this guy I know who traded in his Suburban for a Tesla, now he’s really saving fuel! Or the Bohemian who retired, moved to Key West and traded his Caddy for a bicycle?

  12. Lex Says:

    I am glad to see that the Mercedes R-Class will remain in production and be manufactured by AM General for North America. Too bad Chrysler lost the rights and tooling to product the Pacifica which was based upon the R-Class. I always thought the R-Class and Pacifica had alot more sales potential in North America.

  13. David Sprowl Says:

    Not sure who’s fuel economy guide you used, but the 2004 US fuel economy guide does not give an combined rating only a city/highway numbers. P13 of the 2004 guide list the 2WD non flex fuel Suburban has numbers of 15/20. P25 of the 2015 list the 2wd non flex fuel at 16/23. At 12000 miles the savings in gallons would be 50/78 for the suburban. Now about your other comparison. Again the 04 guide does not give a combined rating. P8 of 04 list the automatic at 29/38. P13 of the 15 guide list the Prius at 53/46.Depending on your driving cycle one could save 187 gallons for fuel making the switch from the Carolla to the Prius and save 137 gallons over the truck. The highway cycle is a 23 gallon difference with the Truck saving more fuel. Also, are the driving calculations the same on 04 as they are in 15. Ya gotta watch them details.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 According to this site:

    It looks like it would only take about 16 gallons of fuel to get, say, a BMW 3 series from Germany to America.

    I’m figuring ~4,000 miles for 2 tons of car and “packaging,” on a cargo ship that gets 514 ton-miles/gallon.

  15. T. Bejma Says:


    I saw the 2016 Taco in the flesh at the NAIS last week and although I am not the most impartial ;-) I was very disappointed that they couldn’t even offer 4 wheel disc brakes and a boxed frame.

    I won’t even mention the polarizing front end styling because that is subjective and based on the amount of new 4Runners I see on the road in STL, some people like ugly…

  16. Martin Says:

    Guess that brings a whole new meaning to the term “AMG R Class”

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 Here are the comparisons, all converted to the current rating system. I used an automatic Corolla, because that is how most of them are sold in the U.S.

  18. BobD Says:

    More fuzzy math on Sean’s fuel-savings… I might follow the logic if the 2004 Suburban owner was upgrading to the 2015 and then scrapping his 2004 vehicle, but more than likely, that old vehicle will still be in service for another 10+ years burning extra fuel, so you also need to account for that fuel too (as well as the fuel burned by the 2004 Corolla) for the life of both vehicles.

    Regardless, gradually increasing the CAFE standards is good for society and hopefully “cheap” gas will not sidetrack the trend.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    AM General’s building the R-Class, rather than it moving to China, will at least partly make up for the additional supplier jobs that will be going to China as the result of Bain Capital and other equity firms “investing” in the supplier companies.

    Does anyone know if M-B plans to sell the R-Class in America again, or will the entire production be for export?

  20. Sean McElroy Says:

    #6 – From the driver’s point of view I would guess that the rear-view mirror would block the GoPro mount. And from the pictures I’ve seen without the camera in place it doesn’t look like the mount would block much of your view.

  21. Sean McElroy Says:

    #7 – We figured it could be surprising for some to learn that a 4MPG difference for a less fuel efficient truck could save more fuel over a year than a 20MPG difference from a compact car to a hybrid, which was the purpose of our comparison. I don’t know of anyone that breaks down the energy that goes into mining and refining the materials and actually building the vehicle, so that we could have added it to our comparison. Do you?

  22. Sean McElroy Says:

    #13 – We used, which also gives the combined ratings for vehicles and is what most people would expect to see in real-world driving.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 I’d like to know how much energy is involved in making the motors and batteries for a car like a Prius, but that information seems very hard to find. It must not be too much, though, or a Prius would cost more than it does. It’s easy to option up a Focus hatch to a higher price than a base Prius, which is well equipped.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, 22
    It looks like Sean used 4wd Suburbans and a manual transmission Corolla for his comparison. I used 2wd Suburbans and an automatic Corolla for the comparison I linked in #17. That explains the difference between the show and my link, if anyone looked at my link. Well, it explains the difference, except for the 51 mpg Sean gave for the Prius, which is the city, rather than the combined rating. The combined rating for a 2015 Prius is 50, not that it makes much difference at that mpg.

  25. Bradley Says:

    #15 The new 4Runner got my “John Deere” uncle to buy one.

    #20 Thanks!

  26. C-Tech Says:

    @ #12 A lot of early Pacifica and R-Class owners thought both vehicles engineers should be taken out back and shot. The Pacifica was a good idea which in practice was a jumble of 300M, Minivan, and E-class parts. The R-Class was too heavy, too slow, and for some too ugly.

  27. C-Tech Says:

    @ #1 LOL! Any relation to Patrick here in Florida?

  28. C-Tech Says:

    If Japan won’t allow open up their auto market, or food market, then why should the U.S. drop the “Chicken” tax on small trucks?

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose Tacoma will be very popular in Russia where a forward facing camera is almost a given when you buy any vehicle.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26. I thought they’d quit making R-Class, but I guess they are still making them in Alabama, and shipping them to China.

  31. XA351GT Says:

    What is that common core math your using? Bottom line is total gallons used not how much your saving over the previous vehicle owned. By “your math” I could own both the Corolla and the Prius and use still LESS fuel that new Suburban. Most of the people I see in those monster trucks and SUVs travel alone or with one passenger. They could use a smaller vehicle when they are not towing or hauling people or cargo. But they don’t I find that many use the size of those vehicles to intimidate smaller vehicles. I see it all the time in merge situations.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Sad, but true. Most of the people I know with big SUV’s never tow, and rarely carry more than two people.

  33. HtG Says:

    31 XA, aren’t you in Philly? If so I can confirm your impression, as a couple of years ago I witnessed a guy in an SUV merge right into a sedan in the midst of a traffic jam. Near the stadium on 95. The gal in the sedan was not for yielding.

    You guys should see the merging stupidity around here. People will time it so they both reach the same spot at the same time, again and again and again. Then they both have to slow down together too, like pairs figure skaters. I’ve learned to see it coming.

  34. XA351GT Says:

    HtG , correct I live in the Philly area. The home of the happiest people on earth. LOL

  35. Paul Says:

    Save more fuel is the stupidest comparison I’ve ever seen. In order to save fuel, people have to downsize. Like from Suburban to a CR-V or Escape etc:-. If 7 rows needed, like a Minivan or a Highlander etc:-. Compact car to a hybrid, you don’t save much. You sell your compact only when it’s time for a new one or you need an SUV. The debate going on is about people shifting from cars to SUV’s even if it is not needed. Not from one SUV to another SUV.

  36. Larry Skellion Says:

    Wow, usually your insights are intelligent and on point… Missed the mark by about 666 gallons! ;)

  37. Warren G. Webb Says:

    I’m not surprised by Nissan bumping Mitzu. sounds like the same story when they did the same thing that would have saved Saturn from being an orphan.

    with AM General building the R class I hope they aren’t represented there by UAW #5, the greedy ones that helped put Studebaker to pasture.

  38. A.W. Stevens Says:

    If I were to purchase a Mercedes vehicle, I’d choose a model built abroad by German craftsmen. That is part of it’s mystique, and what you pay the big $$$ for.

  39. David Says:

    I’ve never heard such a convoluted explanation of gas mileage. This is as bad an explanation as I’ve ever heard.It’s as bad as your $80 oil change that you came up with a few months ago when you can go to any dealer and get it for 30.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 They will be represented by UAW #5.

    It’s been a while since they “put Studebaker out of business.” They shut down in South Bend in1963, and quit completely in 1967. I suspect Daimler’s experience with the UAW at AM General will help determine how hard they continue to fight the union in Alabama.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 Maybe there is a “made in America” mystique in China, where the R-Class is sold.

  42. WineGeek Says:

    Sean your magic math may be quantitatively correct but qualitatively it is way off base. The overall goal is to reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned to reduce the production of pollutants. If a person truly needs the size and carrying capacity of a Suburban then yes the 2015 will get 4 MPG better a 28% increase in fuel economy. But if you take a Prius from 31 MPG to 51 MPG a 64% increase with a portion of that increase being generated with total electric or assisted electric the overall production of pollutants and the degradation of the air we breath is better served by less gallons being consumed.