AD #1614 – New Shelby GT350 Details, Synthetic Superior to Leather?, BMW Posts Q1 Earnings

May 6th, 2015 at 11:56am

Runtime: 7:13

- BMW Posts Strong Q1 Earnings
- Freightliner Tests Autonomous Truck
- Synthetic Superior to Leather?
- Why JLR Avoids India Import Tariff
- New Shelby GT350 Details

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42 Comments to “AD #1614 – New Shelby GT350 Details, Synthetic Superior to Leather?, BMW Posts Q1 Earnings”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I never liked leather for car seats, I do enjoy the aroma it gives off when new, but then it goes away and it requires a lot of upkeep, otherwise it gets bad over time, give me a nice comfy cloth anytime.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Robo trucks out on the open road make a lot more sense than cars in an urban, heavy traffic scenario. It would take care of the fatigued driver issue, the most common reason for truck accidents and deaths.

  3. HtG Says:

    Shelby GT350

    Holy Mother of Hell

    Miata Pre-Order

    Still lots of automatics available, boys. ;)

  4. HtG Says:

    2. Man would that be great if truckers could relax their eyes and attention from time to time. That these folks are also trained and regulated gives me more confidence in making the rigs autonomous.

  5. RumNCoke Says:

    Here we are fascinated with the technology of autonomous vehicles. But the real battle is going to be with the lawyers. What commercial carrier is going to make a leap of faith and be first to implement autonomous or even semi-autonomous trucks?

    Call me old-fashioned but having that semi rig rumbling along beside me on the interstate without a human at the wheel gives me the willies.

  6. Jon M Says:

    Autonomous semi truck? Hmm, I’m thinking something more akin to autopilot on a commercial airliner. Wisely, a driver would still need to be in the driver’s seat to takeover when necessary, but can otherwise do what he/she can to pass the time. And while I am not and never have been an OTR or local truck driver, I don’t imagine I would be so enthusiastic about sitting in the driver’s seat finding ways to pass the time while on autopilot.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In the AAH, Mr. Busse mentioned that “named” vinyl, like Alcantara, goes over a lot better in expensive cars, than just calling in vinyl. MBTex is ok in a $60K E-Class, but “vinyl” probably wouldn’t be.

    I forget what they called the vinyl seats in my MINI, but it was something other than vinyl.

  8. buzzerd Says:

    @Rum. We see Lots! Of bad rig drivers in this town so I don’t have a problem with the auto pilot when it comes.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, Yeah, cloth is the best material for car seats, and what they make now lasts about forever. For whatever reason, though, cloth is considered “cheap,” even when it looks good.

  10. buzzerd Says:

    any time they pre face the word leather with another word it isn’t leather, like genuine Corinthian Leather.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like they are going all out with the GT350. I’m sure it will be fast, but for what it will cost, I think I’d rather have a Cayman or Corvette.

  12. HtG Says:

    You may have spoken too soon, Kit. Peter D. ranted today that 18 months after the Ford GT comes out it will, “…be joined by a limited-production, mid-engined Corvette. How cool is that?”

    Sounds like the man knows something.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:


  14. Mike Says:

    I have done development work on the use of leather on various surfaces inside the vehicle. Leather is a perfectly terrible material in terms of durability. It dries out, it splits and it cannot withstand UV exposure. A convertible is a particularly bad place for leather due to the sun load. All you have to do is take a walk through the boneyard. The leather on cars 6-10 years old is almost always in far worse shape than the various cloth or leather like materials.

  15. Bob Wilson Says:

    The remaining 3 of 4 unionized drivers might object.

    Of course all contents have to be on pallets so the robot fork lifts can load and unload trailers. Add robot clerks and customers and we’re ready for Terminator IV.

    Bob Wilson

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to TTAC reports, Porsche Macan is the HOT vehicle now, I remember reading all the terrific reviews when it cam out and it was barely selling, I guess its time has come. Word of mouth advertising?

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    One of the ‘must have’ things in a car or truck is heated seats.I see now where there are more vehicles without leather,that have heated seats,that is a good thing.On the pmcw I want,the SLT pkg has heated front seats,cloth,no leather.The worst of the leather seats is the perforated ones.When cleaning and treating,you can never get it all the way out of those damn perforations….never again.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 I’m still leery of vinyl, regardless of the name used, because of my experience with it in the 60′s and 70′s. At that time, it would rarely go more than two or three years without cracking. Now, I’m sure, it is much better, and stays flexible much longer. So far, so good with my 2010 MINI, though it has had an easy life, garaged most of the time, and not many miles.

    It seems that leather does ok if kept out of the sun. The leather in my ~100K mile ’96 Corvette is still in good shape, but the car has generally been garaged, except when driven. The leather, and probably the rest of the interior would be a mess, if it had been parked outside in the sun for its entire life.

    As far as I’m concerned, cloth is by far the best material for car seats, but it is seriously out of fashion, at least in “upscale” cars in America.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 They perforate the leather seats to make them more like cloth.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t think anyone would buy a “luxury” car without leather seats, it’s a given nowadays. But I agree, a nice cloth, sprayed with some Scott fabric protection spray is the way to go.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A surprising number of Benzes and BMW’s are now sold with vinyl seats. They do a very good job with the vinyl, though. Check out the stuff in a new E-Class. It’s pretty nice, and as people have mentioned here, it will probably outlast leather in normal use.

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I had the vinyl seats in all of my 60′s/70′s cars and never once did I have a problem with them ripping or bunching up etc.They looked good too.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 Maybe my 60′s and 70′s cars were parked in the sun too much. Mine were Chrysler, but friends with GM and Ford vinyl also had them crack after a few years, usually at seams and stitching. They would just lose plasticity and get “brittle.”

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    So did the top of the dash on most cars, the sun really does a job on car interiors in So Fl.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The sun does a job on car interiors, even in Indiana, and it would be much worse in So FL.

  26. HtG Says:

    Is there a production based reason why leather goods are expensive, or is it that consumers think its high end? It seems like we have a surplus of cow skin. Maybe this is what Busse was getting at when he said it was important to come up with a good name for a material. Like Alcantera.

    (I’ll take leather over anything else. Maybe that’s just childhood trauma from sitting on black vinyl seats in a convertible after it baked in the sun. Yiiiiiiiowwwwww)

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think the main reason leather stuff is expensive, is because people like it, though the actual processing may not be cheap.

    I thought white was a good color for vinyl seats. My ’74 Duster had it, and I liked the way it looked with the metallic green paint. White would have been especially good in convertibles, where it gets the direct sun. In the ’60′s, you could get your vinyl seats in a choice of about 10 colors. I miss that in today’s cars.

    Now, only a handful of mostly expensive cars offer interior colors other than black, grey, or tan. Those that do offer another color, like red, seem to require that you pay ~$2000 extra for leather to get the color. That is the case with MINI, Mercedes, and Dodge (Challenger). Corvettes have leather standard, and you can get a red/black interior.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    An additional tidbit about today’s “marketing.” To get red seats in a 2 series coupe, you have to get leather for $1450, and also the “Sport Line” for $2200. That seems a lot of money, just to get red seats, but people are willing to pay that price.

  29. HtG Says:

    Yeah, that’s the thing about packages. The carcos know what you want and then squeeze you to buy extra stuff. Didn’t it used to be we could buy the options we wanted? I remember that and I’m not even that old. But it does make sense from a manufacturing angle that a batch of cars of a given trim level all come down the line together. It must have been a nightmare when one unicorn followed another. There are some Honda S2000s that have the all blue or largely red interiors, and they’re either spectacular or horrific depending on your preferences. I miss the colorful interiors of the past.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems to me that the use of packages is mainly to sell people stuff they don’t really want, and to make it easier for dealers to have “the right car” for a potential customer. Back, when many people ordered cars, it was much different.

    My parents ordered a 1966 Dodge Coronet, which I later bought from them. There were at least 7 available engines, 3 transmissions, 3 or more rear axle ratios, power steering or not, power brakes or not, 4 trim levels, with a choice of several interior colors, about 20 paint colors, etc. Oh, and there were 2 and 4 door sedans, hardtops, convertibles, and wagons.

    There would have been millions of build combinations, but all of the factories seemed to be able to manage orders, even when computers still had vacuum tubes and relays (ok, maybe exaggeration about the computers). When you ordered a car from any of the “big 3,” you would usually get it in 6 weeks or less.

    There were a few mistakes, like blue cars with green interiors, though maybe they would let you order one that way.

  31. HtG Says:

    Good times, Kit. There was something so exciting about getting the exact car you wanted. I remember my father receiving his Buick and seeing there was some extra option on the car which he hadn’t ordered. Keeping a straight face as he ‘got all hot’ about it was good training for me. (Lots of fun stuff as a child accomplice. The one time I wasn’t there he got an orange Chevy Monza with a tan landau roof! HS :) )

    But I recall T Bejma commenting that rolling a batch of identically trimmed out cars down the line improved quality. Maybe that’s a good trade off.

  32. cwolf Says:

    I’ll take leather any day over vinyl. Based upon my many years experience as an automotive upholsterer, vat dyed leathers are long lasting and supple. Leather conditioners do the job, but the enzymes in egg whites work just as well. The problem with vinyls are, in so many words,a plastic. Over time the vinyl becomes harder, yet the backing remains elastic, thus causing cracks or separation. I think cloth inserts are better than cloth seats because the foam seat structure flattens as the cloth stretches out of shape.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Yep, the quality is much better now, amazingly so, given the complexity of today’s cars. Even my “worst of the bad” MINI has been reliable.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 I’m “wait and see” on today’s vinyl. It’s still like new on my MINI, but the car is low mileage and only 5 years old, and is usually garaged when not driven.

    I like cloth, even though I have only one car with it. That car is low miles, only 70K, but is 26 years old, and the cloth seats are like new. My friend’s cheap Sunfire has 220K miles and is 13 years old, and the seats look almost like new. Both cars are usually garaged, which helps a lot, regardless of seat covering.

  35. HtG Says:

    Here’s a NYT piece on autonomous drive work at the Navy. There’s a video. Let’s remember that the ‘Internet’ was a DARPA funded project, as was Google. Yay the military!

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ironically, the military is more interested in dealing with climate change than many in the U.S. government. I’ve read that the Navy is building higher piers at the Norfolk facility to deal with rising sea level. I suppose some in Congress may be in a quandary about this. They generally support the military, but are climate change deniers.

  37. C-Tech Says:

    Many luxury cars and suv’s come with vinyl seat covers although they do not label it vinyl. MBTex, Morokide, Corinthin, or whatever it is called it is better than in the past. Personally as long as it is heated it’ll take after a hard day’s work.

  38. C-Tech Says:

    Correction: Personally as long as it is a heated seat i’ll take it after a hard day’s work.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37, 38. I just checked their web site, and MINI calls it leatherette. How refreshing.

  40. C-Tech Says:

    So does Volkwagen call theirs leatherette.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 Yep. They call it Leatherette on their web site. At Mercedes, it’s called MB-Tex.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    BMW calls it SensaTec
    Cadillac calls it Leatherette
    Lexus calls it NuLuxe

    It looks like Audi has leather as standard, even in the A3