AD #1704 – Conti Tests Dandelion Rubber, Costco’s Unique Business Model, Defender Pedal Car

September 18th, 2015 at 11:46am

Runtime: 7:06

- 3D Printing Market Set To Explode
- Continental Tests Dandelion Rubber
- Jaguar Aggressively Prices F-PACE
- Land Rover Defender Pedal Car
- Costco Doesn’t Profit From Car Sales

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43 Comments to “AD #1704 – Conti Tests Dandelion Rubber, Costco’s Unique Business Model, Defender Pedal Car”

  1. Jon M Says:

    Costco’s business strategy is anything but unique. Many firms will sell a certain product(s) or even operate subsidiaries at a loss in order to drive up revenue of another product or business segment. Hotel chains such as Hilton and others do this with timeshare vacation resorts. Most operate at a loss, but continue in order to drive up guest stays at hotels. For Costco and other such companies, it’s just the cost of generating membership revenue.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    VW actively cheating on emissions?

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    LMAO….what are they smoking at land rover these daze… must be good ;}> 10k for a pedal car…with no radio?

  4. Kiki Says:

    If Continental wants to come get the dandelions, I’ve got at least a dozen tires growing in my lawn.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Why them sneaky buggers.Here’s a thought,VW designed the emissions equipment on their diesels so cheaply that they won’t hold up on everyday use,and drive up the under warranty repair costs? So the software turns it off except for testing.Like I said,just a thought.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think many, but not all of them would be the last of the diesels sold without urea injection. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this.

  7. Rob Says:

    Doesnt Land Rover know kids dont use pedal cars anymore. They would rather drive the full sized one on their video game.

  8. MJB Says:

    It’s great that Conti’s finally found a way to mass-produce tires from dandelions. George Washington Carver developed two rubber mixtures back around the 1920′s. One using milkweed, the other from petroleum and sweet potatoes:

    So, Sean, you going to trade up for that F-Pace? I noticed from your recent wheel & tire detailing segment that you drive a Jag yourself. From the looks of those wheels, it’s a series 4 or 5 XJ.

  9. Mike Ma Says:

    3D printing is a possibility for precision components that are difficult to manufacture either through cast molding or milling because you don’t jump to 3D unless there’s a benefit except to say you use 3D printing.

  10. Mike Ma Says:

    Jaguar deciding to aggressively price their F-Pace says that they are uncertain about their product and the competition because you’ve got to imagine that Bentley had no problems with pricing the Bentayga.

  11. Sean McElroy Says:

    #8 – Nah, no F-PACE for me. Mine is actually a 2000 S-Type. Would not get another Jag unless I got a good deal, like I did with my current one.

  12. MJB Says:


    Not necessarily. Don’t forget, Bentley has never even threatened a descent from the rare air of the high-end lux strata. While Jag very much has. (Can anyone say X-Type or S-Type?).

    Now that Jag is down here with some of us commoners, they’ve gotta keep a portion of their offerings within reach.

  13. MJB Says:

    11. (care of 12)

    Didn’t mean that in a negative way there, Sean (S-Type comment) ;) Didn’t see your comment until after I hit ‘submit’ on mine.

  14. Sean McElroy Says:

    #13 – No worries. I take no offense. When I bought my car I found the original window sticker and it went for just under $50,000. I was very surprised. Kind of a crappy car for that much money, especially by today’s standards.

  15. Drew Says:

    The key to buying a Jaguar is to buy a 2-year old Jaguar. Let the 1st owner take the steepest part of the depreciation, yet still have residual warranty for peace of mind. I bought my 2005 XJ8 Vanden Plas 8 years ago for $0.30 on the dollar. It has been a great car for the money. My only compliant is the same complaint I have about every European product – requires pricy premium fuel.

    Perhaps a good “garage” story can be – “How can you tell if you can get away with regular or mid-grade fuel?”

  16. HtG Says:

    VW emissions

    I cannot believe what I’m reading. Holy crap.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I kind of like the S-type, though near $50K in 2000 would have been way too much money. They depreciated nicely, though, to your benefit, Sean.

    The X-type, though, was kind of the Cimarron of Jaguars. Most Americans weren’t aware, because the car it’s based on was not sold in the U.S.

  18. HtG Says:

    Ho-ly CRAP!!

    “Just In Time” for the Frankfurt show too.

  19. MJB Says:


    Drew, you chose wisely. That generation of XJ8′s were very good performers (reliability-wise and all). It was after Ford had several years of ownership to turn quality issues around in a very big way.

    I actually considered that generation XJ8 at one time, but my wife was convinced it was more of an older guy’s ride.

  20. BobD Says:

    On the VW emissions cheating, interesting that a company would try to pull the same stunt that landed most of the US commercial diesel engine manufactures in hot water about 10 years ago. As I recall, the ECUs were program to recognize the standard EPA duty cycle and switched to special calibrations when detected to give better numbers. The interesting part was that “everyone” was doing it, although I don’t recall that the EPA ever proved there was a conspiracy.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 The owner’s manual for my MINI (non-S) says “premium fuel recommended” or similar wording, but says 87 can be used without damage, but with a possible loss of performance and mpg. I normally use premium; getting near 40 mpg, and driving it about 6K miles a year, the cost difference is minimal, but I’ve tried regular, and can’t tell much difference.

    I, too, would like to hear Sean’s take on this subject.

  22. HtG Says:


    My cynical mind wonders what an independent lab was doing testing VW diesels. I note that Ferdinand Piech got pushed out of the company a few months ago by allies of Winterkorn. Both men had to know.

    Cynical thought, I know.

    But still. Holy moly.

  23. HtG Says:


    I’m still in shock.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yep, hard to believe.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15, 21 I’m still toying with getting a new Corvette, and I’ve checked out the owner’s manual. They say something similar. They are big on “top tier” gas, though. If you use regular, I guess it should be “top tier,” which has detergents which should help prevent the carbon deposits common to GDI engines.

  26. HtG Says:


    Is this story the reason the CFO was made chairman rather than M. Winterkorn? From what I’ve read VW fessed up to the deed, so EPA has had some time to decide what to do. It could be so did VW.


  27. HtG Says:

    It even sounds like owners of affected cars have nothing if the cars cannot be made compliant.

    Maybe they have a fraud argument.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe they would be compliant with the “special tuning” they use during the test, but would lose 20% of mpg and 30% of power, or something like that.

  29. HtG Says:

    Or lose reliability and longevity. Can you imagine the looks on peoples’ faces at Honda and Mazda which struggled to get their own diesels US compliant?

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I bet some people are now carefully looking at the V6 diesels used in Touareg, and some Audis.

  31. HtG Says:


    I’m thinking the new Prius will get such better mileage because of supercapacitors. Toyota has been using this tech in their LeMans prototype, and last year their team principal said they’d look to get this tech into Prius. From what I’ve read about supercapacitors, they can harvest more braking energy because they’re quicker charging than batteries. I guess this energy can be pushed into the battery during mainly ICE modes. (sorry if everyone already knows this angle)

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Interesting. I suspect supercapacitors, and all capacitors,have a much higher charge-discharge efficiency than batteries. The electronics would be more complex, with the continuously changing voltage of capacitors, while the voltage of batteries is fairly constant. With today’s technology, though, you can make electronics do what needs to be done.

  33. HtG Says:


    Here’s piece from Bloomberg on how a clean air group in Germany had the curiosity to get testing of VW diesels done in the States. VW had many months to come up with explanations and fixes before they fessed up to US regulators. No wonder the CFO was made chairman.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they are doing something similar in Europe… Diesels are probably more than half of their sales there.

    On an unrelated note, the F1 season got at least a little more interesting, with Ham breaking, and Ric running well.

  35. HtG Says:

    Today, M. Winterkorn apologized for breaking the public’s trust and said VW will commission an external investigation. This thing has to be a blow to the Germans who are so proud of their engineering.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Does anyone know what is “activated” only for the emissions test, and not in normal driving? EGR? It wouldn’t involve the urea, because it wasn’t used in the first few year of Golf/Jetta 2.0 TDI’s.

  37. cwolf Says:

    I wonder how many buyers will be turned off from buying VW products or will feel differently about diesels? This had to go pretty far up the food chain to get this approved, but will anyone get any time for this huge deception? I have doubts.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like VW diesels, but it is almost unbelievable that a huge company like VW would do this. They have moved down a lot in my “favorite car company” rankings.

    As far as how much it matters, it depends upon where the car is. In smog prone places like L.A., it matters a lot. Where I am, not so much, but such a devious attempt at flaunting the raw rather p!$$es me off.

  39. HtG Says:

    The Bloomberg article says that VW tried to come up with BS explanations and fixes when EPA came to them. That’s astonishing. EPA will be righteously irate at this deception. You don’t lie to the Feds. I’ve signed sworn statements and also sued the govt. I know, you do not f^ck with them.

    How arrogant do you have to be not to have fear?

  40. HtG Says:

    Let’s hope most VW drivers were canny enough to lease rather than buy. I saw a diesel Passat and a Golf on the road today. I wondered if they knew yet.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    VW to halt sales of 4 cylinder diesels in the U.S. VW stock is down 19%. I still haven’t found anything about what the “fix” will be, but we can be sure it will reduce power, mpg, drivability and/or all three.

  42. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Here’s the article:

  43. Brett Says:

    Honestly, I think the S-type is a better rendition of the LS platform than the Lincoln LS was. That thing was an absolute yawner. Sort of a Toyota Avalon without the panache or reliability. :)

    The only X-Type worth a mention would be the sportwagon version, principally because I have a thing for wagons and it’s a nice size.

    I was hoping that I’d be able to roll on an off-lease 2005-2007 XJ8 back then, but that was before I stepped unwittingly off the fast-track, financially and landed in Daytona.