AD #1712 – FCA in Trouble Again, BMW’s Skinny-Priced Tires, Today’s Tech Could Save 10K

September 30th, 2015 at 11:57am

Runtime: 9:39

- FCA Faces More Penalties from NHTSA
- BMW’s Low-Volume, Low-Priced Tires
- Ford Brings Space Innovation Down to Earth
- Saving 10,000 Lives Using Today’s Tech
- John McElroy Responds to Your Comments

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37 Comments to “AD #1712 – FCA in Trouble Again, BMW’s Skinny-Priced Tires, Today’s Tech Could Save 10K”

  1. WineGeek Says:

    Those advanced driving assistance systems are expensive because they are almost exclusively available only as part of the most expensive option packages on vehicles. When I bought my new Outback the Eyesight system was only $700, a real bargain, for all of the most recommended safety features, BUT it was only available as part of a $3,000 package. I found this to be the same on every other care I looked at.

    So expensive yes and no if the manufacturers unbundled the safety features they might be more widely adopted.

  2. Todd T Says:

    By this time next year, people will not even remember there was a scandal with VW and emissions cheating. I actually think the winner will be VW. This whole episode has finally exposed to a mass audience that VW has cars that get amazing fuel economy AND have great performance. VW will fix the emissions issue (my expectation is they will go the AdBlue route, at least for the US market cars). Cars will go back on sale, and all the predicted doom of diesel will fade into the sunset.

  3. HtG Says:


    BBC has a piece on european emissions testing, and a photo in the piece shows that lab testing includes turning off the lights and air conditioning. So did vw’s cheatware need to see lights off and no aircon in order to be activated? Is this how EPA fooled the system into switching between modes? It’s not as if NSA and Mossad co-designed the vw cheatware.

    scroll down a little

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The only ‘bad light’ that’s shining on diesels right now is those put out by the vw group.I don’t see how that would affect any other oems that offer diesel options.

    Next up will be the turbo gassers,that I feel are even worse in real life driving situations.

  5. Mike Ma Says:

    FCA’s situation sounds almost like the old adage, no good deed goes unpunished; FCA said that they were the ones to inform NHTSA of the under reporting and now NHTSA will conduct a full investigation on FCA with a big fine to follow. Then again, FCA was between a rock and a hard place because if FCA had allowed the NHTSA to make the discovery on their own; it wouldn’t have been good for FCA either.

  6. MJB Says:

    On the car color topic, I realize (as was pointed out) that dealers stock mostly silver, gray, black and white vehicles these days. And that most people buy from what dealer’s got on the lot. But unless someone is in desperate need to walk out the door with keys in hand same-day, this is still no excuse for settling for more sedate colors.

    I’m no psychologist, but I know this much about human nature: People will do what they WANT to do (for the very most part).

    If people really wanted more colorful vehicles to drive, they’d be driving them. It’s my belief that the vast majority of folk simply don’t mind driving these colors, and furthermore, didn’t want a more ‘lively’ color badly enough to wait for it to be special ordered or shipped in from another dealer lot.

    I know it can look like a ‘chicken & the egg’ quandary. But I’ll bet money the chicken is only stocking the lots with these colors because the eggs are too easily accepting of them.

    Same thing with manual trannies. It’d be easy to conclude that people don’t buy them anymore because dealers don’t stock them. But the truth is carcos don’t make as many these days because most new drivers don’t want (and can’t drive) them.

  7. MJB Says:

    6. cont.

    Let’s just face it, people are getting more boring :)

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The gap has been closing between gas and diesel fuel economy, and it is harder to make diesels clean, re. NOx emissions, a serious issue in some metro areas. Even without the VW revelations, diesel cars have moved down in my desirability list. I still like them, but the urea fluid is one more expense and inconvenience to deal with. Now that points are long gone, and spark plugs last forever, gassers have essentially no routine maintenance, except for oil changes.

  9. Lex Says:

    I agree “if advanced driver assistance systems were more widely adopted, they could have a big impact as well. Because a vast majority of crashes are caused by human error, it says that these systems could prevent 28% of all crashes and save nearly 10,000 lives each year”.
    The problem is that the OEMs look at these items a profitable additions on upper trim levels instead of safety repetition improvers or enhancers. It will happen that these safety items will be incorporated into all vehicles like seat belts and power windows.

  10. XA351GT Says:

    I’ve always liked black cars currently own 3 My Mach 1 is white ,but when the restoration happens it will be bright liquid silver w/black stripes. The wife’s car is silver. We’ve been looking at new cars and the color she favors is gunmetal.I love a black car they look great for the 3 minutes or so after they are washed. She wants to go gun metal as it shows the less dirt of silver or black (2 of the other choices) She reuses to ever drive a white car ( says she doesn’t want to drive a refrigerator LOL. There are other colors for this particular model, but she wasn’t fond of them. I like blue ,but they never seem to carry a shade that I like . Red cars look good ,but seem to attract unwanted police attention( AKA arrest me red) Yellows, Orange, and Green only look right on a small percentage of vehicles.

  11. Lex Says:

    The VW Fiasco will definitely help Prius sales.
    Mazda might gain a small portion but as for Luxury Audi buyers I see Tesla winning big time.
    If Elon Musk would have had the Model 3 near completion he would be receiving hundreds of reservations for the Model 3 which is going to sell around $35K.

    I have a Tesla Super Charger Station within a mile of my house. I will definitely be waiting patiently for the Tesla Model 3 or if the need for a new vehicle becomes greater definitely for a CPO Model S or X.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 The way to get the systems in all cars is for government to mandate them, which would result in the usual cries of “government controlling my life.” It’s a no-win situation, assuming the technology really does prevent crashes.

  13. MJB Says:


    I remember when airbags became required equipment in all vehicles, but I didn’t follow what red tape or push-back (if any) there was surrounding the decision to mandate them. I also don’t know what the average additional cost was back then (’80s). But I think we can all agree, that’s one safety feature that, if left up the public to decide whether or not they want to add another $1,200 (or whatever) to the sticker price, there’d be fewer people alive right now to talk about it.

    Guess I’ll get in my ‘refrigerator’ after work today and drive home ;)

  14. MJB Says:


    My last car was ruby red (Black Cherry Pearl, to be specific). But after it got totalled in a freeway hit & run, the only other identical car around at the time was at a dealer all the way in L.A. I didn’t want to do a 33hr road trip to get it home. So I settled on a Moonlight Pearl (pearl white) one with limo tinted windows in Florida – driving just 18hr home instead.

    That pearl white was always a color I liked the LS430 in – but the limo-tinted windows really sealed the deal for me. First white car i’ve ever owned.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like pearl white, with a red interior. I also like regular white with a red interior, but somehow, I’m not a fan of grey cars, especially dark grey. My Malibu Maxx was light metallic grey, AKA silver, with a black interior. I liked it ok, but not enough that I wanted the same color again when I got the Prius, which is Toyota Corporate Metallic Red.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My 1989 minivan is one of the later non-airbag passenger vehicles sold in the US. I don’t remember if air bags were an option when I ordered the car, but if so, I didn’t want to pay what it cost.

  17. Buzzerd Says:

    Around 2008 I went to buy a Pontiac Vibe, we wanted to order one and were willing to pay the $1200 extra for the side impact air bags. It turned out we were to late to order one and the next years Vibe got a refresh and standard side impact bags.
    I do’t see much value in frontal air bags- if you’re wearing your seatbelt I’m not sure what value they have, but side impact bags can definitely save you life.

  18. MJB Says:


    Come to think of it, my ’91 Acura Integra had no airbags either.

  19. MJB Says:


    I haven’t studied crash safety videos or anything, but I think you might be surprised just how much damage can still be done with only a 3-point seat-belt restraining you in a full frontal collision. Don’t forget, your torso can (and does) still become easily dislodged when you don’t have that right shoulder constrained as well.

    Not to mention the fact that most women sit MUCH closer to the steering wheel than men. Almost to the point of practically being perched atop of the darn thing.

    My point being that a seat belt isn’t going to keep those individuals from face-planting square into the steering wheel – due to the short distance they’d have to travel in a front crash.

  20. Lisk Says:

    16 & 18. In 1990, passenger cars had to have either a driver’s side airbag or passive safety belts as standard.

  21. MJB Says:


    Not “active” safety belts?

    Because my Integra had active restraint shoulder belts in the front seats. They came down and across automatically when you started the car. Most people hated that feature. I loved it and hated that my next coupe didn’t have them! And I never had the least bit of trouble with mine even after 273k miles.

  22. Lisk Says:

    21. Those were passive belts, meaning you didn’t have to put them on; it was automatic. Active belts are ones you have to buckle by yourself.

  23. HtG Says:

    ADAS and safety

    So if consumers aren’t willing to spend on safety tech, is that why carcos combine them with coveted and pricey luxury features? Spoonful of sugar?

    I read years ago that the stop/start button was introduced in europe as a safety feature. Taking the key off the steering column meant that in an accident the key wouldn’t gouge the driver. Wasn’t the button touted here as a luxury thing? (Oh, and don’t anyone even whisper that the button makes it possible for older people with arthritis to start the car more easily than turning a key. Shhhhh, no old people cars to see here, folks!)

  24. Buzzerd Says:

    @19 – oh no doubt they can prevent injuries but I question there effectiveness at saving lives if you are belted. As a firefighter I’ve been to a few auto collisions and have seen what can happen with out side impact bags, especially with smaller people.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 I remember, as a 5 year old, that my aunt’s ’49 Cadillac had push button start. You still had to put a key in the dash and turn it on. I think 1949 was when Chrysler started using the “twist against a spring to crank” arrangement, which everyone copied in a year or two.

  26. cwolf Says:

    I listened to a Bob Lutz interview given at the Tesla X intro. Diesels and electrics remain in his disfavor because he believes the new technology for gas engines in the near future will exceed what both have to offer. I have to agree.

  27. Ziggy Says:

    Looking sharp there young man! Don’t see you in a suit much on the Daily.

    How soon before the tree huggers start to hassle the TDI owners about polluting the air with their cars and pressuring them to somehow prove they have taken care of their car’s emissions problem? Is VW going to issue stickers that can be afixed under the TDI label that proclaims to the world that the owner has done “the right thing” and gotten it fixed?

    Thanks for a great show, you and Sean and the rest of the crew do a great job of keeping us informed on the latest in the auto industry and it is trully one of the highlights of my day to watch your report. Keep up the great work!!

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 I guess I am a “tree hugger,” up to a point, and would hope that TDI drivers in LA and other smog-prone areas would have their cars cleaned up. I realize, though, that in sparsely populated areas, especially where it is always windy, the NOx emissions will be disbursed to where they don’t matter. I would hope that both owners, and governments, would take this into account.

  29. HtG Says:

    28 agreed. I can’t help but check out the tails of vws to look for the telltale TDI lettering.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29. Me too, on the TDI emblems.

  31. Ron Epple Says:

    #25, Kit, I was in the Army in the early sixties and had a ’48 Chevy Coupe with the starter on the floor.
    Re: Favorite color for cars. A few years back when I last toured the Corvette factory, black was the #1 color desired for Corvettes. That may have changed now. I thought red would be #1.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    29 me three. Look at those driving the TDI’s and I look at them with a sourpuss face.

  33. HtG Says:

    31 what’s a sympathy face look like? Man!, those people got hosed.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    The same face a sobbing baby makes.

  35. BobinAtlanta Says:

    Kit@25: My 1950 Ford (my first car) had push button start. You had to turn on the ignition with the “square” key first. Or you could hold a quarter against the back of the ignition switch – under the dash – and hit the start button to go. No key required!

  36. HtG Says:

    The aftermarket security system on the Miata turned the cruise control button on the dashboard into a start button. Turn the key in the steering column, then the cruise button. Total badass.

    (sorry Andres, now the internet knows how to steal ‘your’ car ;) )

  37. Chuck Grenci Says:

    At least for the Chevy Cruze diesel urea addition is not hard nor expensive so it shouldn’t be a negative to acceptance. Here’s a U-Tube link (if interested).