AD #1625 – Hyundai’s First PHEV, Back Up a Trailer Like a Pro, Mobility Services Affect Sales

May 21st, 2015 at 11:46am

Runtime: 8:40

- Hyundai’s First Plug-In Hybrid
- Back Up a Trailer Like a Pro
- Fiat Shows Stylish New Sedan
- Mobility Services Affect Car Sales
- Blood, Sweat & Beers
- You Said It!

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31 Comments to “AD #1625 – Hyundai’s First PHEV, Back Up a Trailer Like a Pro, Mobility Services Affect Sales”

  1. Steve W Says:

    Fiat has shown it is capable of making stylish attractive cars, why don’t they sell them here? It makes no sense!!

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Back up assist (from Ford); pretty slick (especially for the non-pros out there). Personally I’m pretty good (practice doesn’t always make perfect, but why be lousy). In addition to having to turn opposite (when backing a trailer) you also have to anticipate (somewhat) where you want the trailer to go (if you wait to turn beyond a certain point (approximately 45 degrees) the car/trailer can’t recover, and like Sean said: Jack-knife.

  3. Jon M Says:

    I think the Pro Trailer Backup Assist is an interesting idea, but would take some getting used to before I could keep my hands off of the steering wheel and controlling the vehicle myself. All these new “driver assist” features make me wonder sometimes what the next generation of drivers will be like. While some features may be useful, whatever happened to driving SKILLS of even the most basic kind? You know, like keeping a vehicle within a lane, watching what’s in front of you, and even checking you mirrors. It’ll be a small wonder if autonomous vehicles become the norm; who will know how to drive 10, 20, 30 years from now?

  4. Lisk Says:

    The trailer back up assists is a great idea, because when it comes to backing up a trailer, I am the worst. This is the problem with these “make it easy” assists because if I am not capable of the task of backing up a trailer, should I be on the highway pulling one in the first place?

  5. Sean McElroy Says:

    #1 – We like the styling of that Fiat sedan as well. I know it’s an uber competitive segment, but it seems like it could sell well this side of the pond. As long as it could pass safety and emission requirements.

  6. Dan Turnpaugh Says:

    I want to the cars drive themselves in a auto race like the Indy 500 or a formula 1 race, that would be very interesting.

  7. C-Tech Says:

    Fiat dealers need more models, import that sedan asap!

  8. HtG Says:

    6. I’d also like to see race cars doing more of the development work on future technology. They make a big enough effort telling us that racing is the proving ground for tech, let’s see them do it. How about developing super lightweight and cheap materials, rather than this expensive carbon fiber tech. That would really be useful.

  9. MJB Says:

    #3. Jon M.

    Quote: “…who will know how to drive 10, 20, 30 years from now?”

    Answer: no one (but us).

    I keep screaming this myself. But then I take a step back and think about life before the calculator. How many people back in the day of the abacus swore up and down that the hand-held calculator would permanently warp and render useless the minds of every kid coming out of school. Same thing with spell-check and the absence of cursive handwriting in grade school. But the calculator, spell-check and keyboard-typed dialog are so ubiquitous world-wide now that there really is not much need for the ‘basics’ that preceded them.

    Would I prefer that everyone knew how to handle a car in a skid, brake in an emergency without locking the darn things up, drive on snow and ice with a rear-wheel drive vehicle, parallel park on the first attempt, back into a parking space or garage with speed and precision, use their turn signals, use the left lane for passing, etc., etc., etc.? Yes.

    But I’m afraid the world is about to be baptized with yet another ‘hand-held calculator’.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 As long as people are driving cars it would be nice if, for a start, Americans knew the concepts of keeping right except to pass, and using turn signals. As long as we have poor, or no standards for getting a license, nothing will change. Yeah, I am in a frustrated mood after just doing another 1100 mile trip from FL to IN.

  11. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hey guys,I seen my first fiat 500 yesterday while I was on I5 south.I was driving my wifes Kia Soul.I think the Soul might be a bit bigger.

    As the world of technology grows,we as old pharts,not so much anymore.Back when we were kids,most of us had to learn to drive a manual trans,the most common then was the 3 on a tree.

    Now kids are afraid of a manual.Slide rules were mandatory back in high school for drafting/mechanical drawing classes.Then cam the hand held calc,then the pc/laptop,now it’s all available for your favorite smartphone etc. ‘The beat goes on’,but not so much for me anymore.

    @ Kit: Glad ya made it home safe and sound,if not a bit rattled,lol.

  12. HtG Says:

    I’m frustrated just sitting here. You took the Vette up, Kit? People don’t just get out of your way in that thing? No wonder I get no respect. Last week a guy blocked the two lane highway for miles as he paced a van in the right lane. He noticed me behind him and made hand gestures via his mirror that I should get back. –Then he brake checked me.– No joke, but I kinda saw him getting ready to do it. Older guy too.

  13. WineGeek Says:

    I hate all the surveys and studies that really don’t make any sense. Sure if there is car sharing there might be a few less cars sold, but overall the people who are sharing (unless they live in New York City) will eventually buy cars to get around outside major metropolitan areas. All of these predictions are guesswork as in other industries.

    I remember when the computer industry was growing like crazy in the mid to late 80s and the predictions were for exponential growth ad infinitum, but that didn’t happen and the companies making these predictions folded and went away. It’s all guess work even for companies with big names like Deloitte… anyone else want to take some baseless guesses.

  14. Drew Says:

    John, I think you are missing a fundamental truth about traffic flow that autonomous vehicles cannot overcome. Traffic flow is a lot like fluid dynamics. Only so much volume can pass through a pinch point. It does not matter what kind of jockeying goes on behind the pinch point.

    Now, if you claim better queuing behaviors result in faster speeds through the pinch point, then I can agree with your assertion. But I suspect autonomous vehicles are less likely to drive at those faster speeds and maintain today’s tight trailing distances. So the flow volume may not change, or may be worse. It’d be nice to see data from a real trial experiment.

  15. MJB Says:

    #14.

    A bit to your point, Drew, the ‘accordion effect’ (or whatever it was john coined it) will not go completely away until 100% of the cars on the road are autonomous.

    Anybody ever heard of the “weak link”? That would be a single human driver at the head of 100 autonomous ones. Can you say, “autonomous accordion”?

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 Yep, I took the ‘Vette. I think I get a little more respect than in the Prius or Mini, but not much.

    While there seem to be a lot of sociopaths on the road who just like to disrupt traffic flow by blocking passing lanes, a lot of people either are oblivious to what is going on around them, or just don’t know the basic rules of the road that people in parts of the world, like Germany, with real driver training, almost automatically follow.

    I guess the best test for the “oblivious” part would be to drive a big rig tractor, and see if people would get out of the passing lane when followed fairly closely.

  17. aliisdad Says:

    Yes, YES, let’s get that FIAT here in the US….and some of their other models, as well!!!!
    Frankly, I am a little confused as to FCA’s direction in the US.. Do they have a viable plan?!?! The initial talk of more models and integration still seems a ways away, and what about those dealers who invested in FIAT “studios” who have only the one FIAT model… When I drive by a Chrysler/Dodge dealership, the cars on the lot make me think I’m in a “time-warp” because it looks like the same cars that were there a number of years ago!! They can only make so many versions of the same models for so long before buyers will want something “new”.. To be fair, though, they have done a pretty good job of marketing what they do have for quite a while… It just seems to me that some of the FIAT designs adapted for the US market tastes could really help FCA’s dealers/customers in the US…
    Of course, I am not familiar with the new FIAT shown and described in the Autoline story, but it looks like it would probably be a competitive model.. It sure looks good and contemporary to me..

  18. HtG Says:

    15. One wonders how many autonomous cars, of whatever level, it takes to start influencing traffic flow and safety. I’m sure plenty of parking lot dinks are avoided because of the sensors already on bumpers and blind spot indicators sure make me calmer as I pass someone.

    Hey John, I caught the end of AAH, and eagerly await your driving impressions of the new Miata. I’m saying that thing is the reincarnation of the Ferrari Dino spider. What did you think of the interior?

  19. HtG Says:

    Dino spider

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dino+spider&rlz=1CAZZAC_enUS636US636&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&imgil=_6OKAU_TkPerhM%253A%253B03cYaeDbUeR7IM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fen.wikipedia.org%25252Fwiki%25252FFiat_Dino&source=iu&pf=m&fir=_6OKAU_TkPerhM%253A%252C03cYaeDbUeR7IM%252C_&usg=__vqxe295kMwlSzUVEUv7U2yOWbU4%3D&biw=1366&bih=633&ved=0CCgQyjc&ei=sD9eVcLlMdOXygSn84HwDQ#imgrc=_6OKAU_TkPerhM%253A%3B03cYaeDbUeR7IM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fcommons%252Fe%252Fe3%252FFiatDino2400SpiderFront.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fen.wikipedia.org%252Fwiki%252FFiat_Dino%3B1765%3B1069

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 Would Americans buy a Fiat sedan, no matter how good it might be. I doubt it, because of the reliability reputation if nothing else. People buying front deive sedans buy Toyotas and Hondas. Passat is best in class in some ways, but it doesn’t sell well, partly because of the sparse dealer network, but also because of the (non) reliability reputation.

  21. Buzzerd Says:

    Ford’s back up thingy- no thanks, I’m quite capable. Backing a trailer is more than just knowing which way to turn the wheel and I wonder if this new stupid thingy ford has will do more harm than good, I’m thinking of people not paying enough attention to front end swing and causing damage.

  22. Ian Says:

    People will rent Uhauls and other trailers as they need to. Something like Ford’s system will help make it better for them. As for Autoline readers, of course no wimpy help system is needed and is just further confirmation that the world is deteriorating quickly and they had better keep their Fred Flinstone mobile in good shape for when the upcoming technology apocalypse occurs.

  23. FSTFWRD Says:

    I see value in the Ford Back-Up Thingy. I can back up a trailer very well as it was a skill I learned many years ago when I was 16-18 years old. But I remember many times sitting in our boat at a boat ramp and I would have to send my wife or a friend to retrieve the truck and trailer to pull the boat out of the water and this person is not always the best at it. Yes, some people are ok on a wide ,uncrowded ramp, but when the trailer needs to be placed between two others, it’s another story. Would I be a buyer? Maybe, maybe not, depends on price.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t see how the Ford trailer back up thing would help much; you’d still need to do the right thing to make the trailer go the right place, etc. This might me a good application for autonomous driving. It is at low speed, so damage from software glitches would be minimal, and the system should have an easier job than in some regular driving situations. Maybe cameras on the tips of the mirrors would handle most vehicle-trailer rigs.

  25. Rob Says:

    Ford’s back up assist is a great option. Backing a trailer is much like the skill of parallel parking, which everyone should know how to do but some people will forever struggle with.
    I agree with Jon that all these features leading toward autonomus vehicles can dilute driving skills, but did power brakes and power steering help or hinder peoples driving skills? Technology will hopefully level the playing field for those that need the help.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Power steering and brakes would have reduced people’s arm and leg strength, but maybe not affected driving skill one way or the other.

  27. HtG Says:

    In a country where driving is so necessary, how high a driving skill standard do we really want to have? Even Kimi Raikkonen runs out of talent at some point.*

    *or forgets not to drink and drive. Man, people are going to be driving drunk a lot in the future.

  28. Rob Says:

    #26 Cornering a car without power brakes and steering is much different than with them and did take a bit more skill, as does stopping a car without ABS or driving in snow without traction control. All these improvements require less of the driver and put the burden on the vehicle. Many people will find those skills to be lost over time but I think the cars will be safer than without them.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 The last car I had without power steering was a Geo Spectrum, AKA Isuzu I-mark. It steered hard, for a car that size, but the steering ratio wasn’t much slower than similar cars with PS.

    My ’64 Dodge Dart without PS or PB had relatively slow steering, and the brake pedal was high, but cornering being much different that with PS and PB, I guess I don’t understand.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    Well 20,000 cars rented in Orlando so far this weekend, 60 towed back in accidents. So far so good.

  31. Rob Says:

    29 Not sure how to make it anymore clear. The point was modern advancements such as PS/PB ABS and TC make driving easier for the driver to keep control of the vehicle where they othrwise might not have ben able to. So to say that we will become less skilled drivers may be true it can also be said that those folks that cannot or never have pushed a car around a track will never have those skills so any help techology can provide will hopefully help level the skill-set.