AD #1796 – Nay Sayers Forecast Financial Doomsday, NHTSA Considers AI a “Driver,” Chevy Trax Gets a Face Lift

February 10th, 2016 at 11:36am

Runtime: 7:42

- Naysayers Forecast Financial Doomsday
- NHTSA Considers Artificial Intelligence a “Driver”
- Chevrolet Trax Updated for 2017
- Ford Tests Wearables on Assembly Line
- You Said It!

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37 Comments to “AD #1796 – Nay Sayers Forecast Financial Doomsday, NHTSA Considers AI a “Driver,” Chevy Trax Gets a Face Lift”

  1. MJB Says:

    Question for you, John. Do you ever see a day (no matter how far into the future) where steering wheels are no longer required in (fully autonomous) cars? Even if only in purpose built vehicles?…

  2. GM Veteran Says:

    Regarding the Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS, in their press release Toyota said that all Scion models will be rebadged as Toyotas starting in the 2017 model year, except for the XB which is being discontinued. So, it would appear that the FRS and Subaru BRZ will continue on and may even have to fight harder for production units once all of the Toyota dealers are selling the FRS.

  3. Lex Says:

    Great Work Chevy on the Face Lift for the TRAX!
    What about the power plant? Can we expect that the Trax will get a Volt Power Plant in the foreseeable future?

  4. Lex Says:

    I would love to see a Delorean with and electric drivetrain installed. Maybe John can sent Sean to Humble, Texas to give us a insider look at the Delorean factory.

  5. marshy Says:

    I let this go the first time but now I have to comment: I can’t reconcile the math on the 0.1 sec per employee yielding 300k more units for Mazda. I’ve done time studies and line balancing in my career:

    In an 8 hours shift there are about 430 working minutes. A 45s cycle time yields a theoretical 570 cars/shift but reality is closer to 525 on a great day. On two shifts that is over 250k units per year from the plant.

    I fail to see how 1 tenth of second per employee would net 300k in production across the corporation. Mazda is about a 1.5 MM per year company. How can you claim a 20% output increase with a 0.1s/45s increase?

  6. Buzzerd Says:

    I like the Trax facelift but what it really needs is a decent motor and apparently the drivetrain is the same so it doesn’t even get the updated Cruze motor.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2 Also, the tC is being discontinued. It would have been gone, even if Scion had continued.

  8. marshy Says:

    I think its a missed opportunity to rename the FRS to a better Toyota badge – Should have gone all-in and called it the FT or GT 86 like in other markets. FRS sounds…well awkward.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    The xB disappeared last year and this year it will be the tC. This reminds me of when Saturn went bye bye, very nicely maintained showrooms gone to waste, at least Toyota did not spend the millions upon millions that GM did to design and engineer their offerings.

  10. Michael S Says:

    John, I am surprised that the Datsun 240Z (preferably 1971) did not make the list! I should have weighed in sooner.

  11. Rob Says:

    “The artificial intelligence system for autonomous cars will be considered to be a driver.” What does that mean? That for state laws saying a driver much be behind the wheel they are covered? Still doesnt address who carries the insurance or who gets ticketed in an accident.

  12. Bob Wilson Says:

    I understand Takata airbags are whacking Daimler and VW pretty hard. Given the VW cheat-diesels and now suspect Daimler, the airbag recall is ‘Strike Two.’

    I hope Thursday’s show will deep dive into how these two hits are going impact VW and Daimler.

    Bob Wilson

  13. LS Ford Says:

    So with respect to replica cars, I think many cars will still be subject to manufacture copyright law. Just because you can make a Lamborghini, does not mean that Lamborghini will let you. I had a friend that made legal countach cars, but Lamborghini came after them to stop operations. Ferrari did the same thing with Miami vice. I would not expect to see cars being remade under this legislation…

  14. John McElroy Says:

    #1. I believe we’ll see cars without steering wheels or any other driving controls before the end of this decade. But those autonomous cars will first be limited to “geo fenced” areas and roads with 25 mph speed limits.

  15. Rob Says:

    #12 I agree with your statement however I dont believe that manufacturers should be able to prevent replica’s. (even though they do with a team of laywers that milk small companies into submission)

    If a company wants to start building/selling replacement panels for any vehicle it should be no different that offering their version of any other component. If I can develop a replacement hood for half the price of the OE I should be allowed to offer it. Its a free market and original design shouldnt mean you’ve cornered the market on replacemnt parts.
    Especially since the OE’s now mark up replacement parts 600%.

  16. John McElroy Says:

    #5. Marshy, excellent question! We shot your letter off to Mazda and hope to get an answer.

  17. HtG Says:


    Aren’t line workers going to feel a dissed at having a cyber monitor on their body for every moment they spend in the factory? I’d feel like my basic human rights were being encroached upon if my every movement were being made into some metric for an engineer to optimize.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since “everybody” seems to be cheating on diesel NOx emissions, and it DOES MATTER in big cities, as evidenced by air quality in a number of European cities, maybe large numbers of diesel cars is truly a bad thing, at least in urban areas. It seems that it is not easy to clean up diesels.

  19. MJB Says:


    Sorry Rob, but I’ve gotta pick this bone.

    I’m no IP attorney, but I’d say that making a couple of replacement parts is a far cry from making exact (or darn-near exact) total replicas of automobiles – from a patent or copyright infringement standpoint.

    Just look at the art world for instance. Don’t think for one moment that Thomas Kinkade doesn’t get royalties for each duplicate print sold of his original works.

    True enough, the OEMs are ripping us new ones every time they sell us parts, but to say they don’t have a right to halt attempts to replicate the vehicles they spent hundreds of millions (each) designing, developing, testing, etc. is a bit of a stretch.

    And (though this is a slightly different case) let’s not forget what happened a few years ago to that Chinese mfr. who Ford caught trying to bring a virtual duplicate F150 to market.

  20. HtG Says:

    17 Perhaps we now know why the other carcos were silent about vw. If this Merc thing is true, all of them need to be held up by the tail and perused.

  21. Rob Says:

    #18 I can agree that an exact duplicate should not be allowed. However I own a 2001 Lamborghini Diablo kit car and is no replica. Its fiberglass and has a GM running gear. The body manufacturer was pushed out of business by Audi. Building a kit car is a hobby and I wanted something unique. It will never be confused for the real thing nor do I care. I love the looks and I can get my parts from autozone.

  22. Rob Says:

    #13 John you mean you dont see me getting my pizza delivered by a driverless car? What a gimmick, I could see people ordering a pie just to see the driverless car show up.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 Rob, do you know if VW is going after the makers of Porsche 356 look-alike kit cars? I see them every summer at shows, but I don’t know anything about the makers.

  24. JWH Says:

    #21 – Kit – Not totally sure, however, there are many kit/replica vehicles out there today. has a fairly lengthy list.
    In addition, congratulations on your new vehicle. Did you find one you liked on dealer lot? I’m currently waiting for TPW to be assigned to my order.

  25. JWH Says:

    Apologize – Previous post should have referenced #23.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 I ordered my car. I didn’t have much luck trying to track the build, but it took about 6 weeks from order date to delivery.

  27. MJB Says:


    Funny you should mention you’ve got a Diablo kit car. That is actually the one car I do wish to someday have in my stable – specifically the SE30 or VT Roadster variation.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Interesting kit car list. There is a lot more available than I realized.

  29. Rob Says:

    #23 Sorry Kit Im not sure about any other kit manufacturers. Just used to be on many kitcar forums and for many years Lamborghini didnt seem to bother anyone as long as the model was out of production. Then when Audi took over everyone got C&D letters. Ferrari has always been protective of their designs and then you have on the other end of the spectrum Cobra which you can probably find a half dozen manufacturers.
    I guess I feel like once a vehicle is 10 years old the design should be public domain.

  30. OMEGATALON Says:

    Chevy appears to be getting aggressive in their approach in bringing new designs and products to the consumer.. as Chevy didn’t wait very long before offering a convertible for their new C6 Camaro and now after just a year on the market, the Trax is already getting refreshed; you’ve got to applaud Chevy especially if the Trax gets the new 1.6L turbodiesel that’s scheduled for the 2017 Chevy Cruze.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Trax should have a little more motor than the old 1.4t, but probably most people buying such vehicles don’t care. Trax will probably get the new 1.4t in a year or two, though.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    With everything that’s coming out, with Benz joining VW in cheating on emissions, one wonders if any of these diesels meet regulations. It might be telling if there is a long delay with the release of the new Cruze diesel.

  33. XA351GT Says:

    Chuck I like your choices for the Aussie Falcons .but you left off the best of the bunch The XA . They all shared the same shell. The XC came with a different dashboard layout compared to the XA/B . Aside form front sheet metal they are the same shell. The XB/C use the same style tail lights There was a 4th variation of the shell that was more modified and called a Landau. There was only 22,067 2 coupes made between 72-78 in all 4 versions. the Landau only had 1385 example produced from 73-76. When John had Jack Telnack on After Hours he expressed how he thought the Falcon was best car he ever helped design. I obviously agreed . I imported my XA in 2000. I had been enchanted with the car since 1st seeing it in 1980 in Mad Max.

  34. MepCoRe7 Says:

    Your comment about what to do with the VW TDIs that would be bought back by VW. We are talking about 600K vehicles here in the states. If only half go out and by a new car that could mean an extra 1.5% of new car sales for the year.

  35. Earl Says:

    That new Trax looks great, Wouldn’t that be something if it had about 20% more power than the current Trax

  36. Marshall Says:

    I still do not understand where this big push for self driving cars is coming from. Why after 100+ years the sudden urgency to take driving out of the hands of humans? Our infrastructure is not ready or designed for that.

  37. stephen Says:

    Daimler like many makers were caught up in the airbag recall. Lots of car makers were (even toyota) so its not like the VW scandal. Also the EPA checked out BMW and Mercedes on their TDI engines and they all passed emissions (note all had adblue tech unlike lots of the cheating VWs-one of the reasons a University looked into VW in the first place). As per Autoline, their diesel sales have not fallen.
    As to where to put the recalled VWs, Russia, India and much of the middle east and perhaps any semi-stable African country would love to have what is way cleaner, safer, advanced, repairable cheap car offers than what most drive at present. How many Russian (or former Soviet) Lada owners would swap for a cheap diesel VW. India might balk with its city smog but thats with the large stock of truly dirty cars on the road. Cuba might be interested in a few thousand and middle eastern car buyers now realise that its either a cheaper to run car than the gas guzzlers they own now or less money for all the other spending they could easily afford. Maybe we offer a VW for every ISIS fighter to give up. All the US ones have Air-Con (useful in Syria). Maybe Saudi Arabia and Iran for all their female drivers..