AD #1841 – Tesla Model S’s 1st Facelift, U.S. Green Car Segment Shrinking, Lexus Still Wants That Human Touch

April 13th, 2016 at 11:40am

Runtime: 7:08

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Tesla Model S Gets a Facelift
- VW Retools Transparent Factory
- Bentley Shows Future Interior Concept
- U.S. Green Car Segment Shrinking
- Ford Spiffing Up Technical Campus
- Lexus Trains Workers to Use Sight & Feel

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19 Comments to “AD #1841 – Tesla Model S’s 1st Facelift, U.S. Green Car Segment Shrinking, Lexus Still Wants That Human Touch”

  1. MJB Says:

    Note to Bentley: Pick a different butler to show in your hologram. That guy’s the spitting image of Lurch from The Adams Family.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t part of the uptick in plug-in hybrid sales due to the new Volt coming to market?

  3. Rob Says:

    LEXUS: Its amazing to me how auto marketing groups regurgitate common industry practices as something only they do and present it as innovative and new.

    As for training an operator to sense gaps and how many bolts they pull from a bin. (obviously created by an engineer that has never worked on a floor), Do the same job for an 8 hour shift and the you’ll quickly learns exactly how many bolts your pulling from a bin.

  4. David Sprowl Says:

    Green car sales slipping? The term “green car” is ever changing. Compared to 20 years ago today’s average car is greener. Compare today’s cars to those built in the ’60s or early ’70s and everything built today is a “green car”. In my observation green is never going to be green enough. It appears to me that “green car” is nothing more than a sales tool used by some to force the US away from imported oil. Nobel goal to be sure. It has always been a cost to move our society. We either have used hay, coal/wood, electricity, or oil. Pick your poison, but there are always going to be emissions of some kind.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As long as gas stays around $2/gallon, hybrid sales will languish. There are always people, myself incuded, who just “like” to get good gas mileage, but expensive gas is bigger driving force in hybrid sales.

    The Prius has its own virtues, in addition to high mpg. The hatchback utility, and generally good space efficiency are appealing, along with the smooth, unobtrusive power train. The utility, along with moderate pricing, help Prius to dominate the hybrid market.

  6. Lex Says:

    The lose of the nose cone on all three Tesla models is a big mistake.

  7. Drew Says:

    I saw the new Prius out on the road last week. It left an impression – that Toyota’s CAD/CAM computers went berserk and the design team lacked the guts to abort the resultant design. IMHO, it is Aztek ugly.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Prius will look mainstream, like the 2004-2015, after there are a few hundred thousand on the road. Yeah, it looks a little strange, but so did the ’04, when it hit the market.

  9. Bob Wilson Says:

    Kudos for including numbers in the Green Car table as percentages can be misleading. So my Web page link is to a table with all the raw numbers for the past four months. However, a lump of coal for “. . . mainly due to a 30% drop of the Toyota Prius.”

    The reason is the RAV4 hybrid came out this past quarter and has seen sales skyrocket:
    1430 – Dec 2015
    1973 – Jan 2016
    2462 – Feb 2016
    3073 – Mar 2016 (now third highest in list)

    We think the RAV4 cannibalized Prius v (the big one) sales.

    Two other observations, this past quarter saw the end of the Gen-3 Prius and initial sales of the Gen-4. So we’re seeing a transition between models with the sales numbers:

    10153 – Dec 2015
    6333 – Jan 2016
    7169 – Feb 2016
    8130 – Mar 2016

    There was the steel plant explosion in Japan that halted Prius production for a week.

    The 2016 Prius in North America is not perfect. Some of the six bundles did not include desirable options (i.e., 110 VAC inverter, e-rear wheel drive, automatic braking for any of them.) Best of all, the small sun visors and styling ensures we don’t have to worry about the lead-footed taking our Prius away and driving up the cost.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, the downer of the gen 4 Prius, is that the under-floor storage tray in the back is gone, at least in the one I saw.

  11. Ziggy Says:

    I think it is pretty funny that they tout the number of nerve endings in the human hand and then have the workers wear gloves, I’m sure that doesn’t mute any feeling at all.

  12. FSTFWRD Says:

    @4 Well said, couldn’t agree more.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of “green-ness” of cars, I’ve wondered about the environmental impact of manufactuing cars like my Prius, both the batteries and motors. Apparently the energy needed is not too great, or a base Prius would cost more than a fairly basic Camry, etc. As far as other environmental impact, real information seems hard to come by.

  14. John Says:

    No one I know likes the look of the new Prius. I’m guessing it is hurting sales. I hope the Tesla rethinks their front end design. Maybe not a faux grill, but the cars need something to replace the blandness.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think Toyota may have been paying too much attention to non-Prius owners when styling the new car. Non-owners say people buy Priuses to “make a statement,” but actual buyers, including myself and a few friends, bought them because they get great gas mileage, and have great utility. We didn’t buy them for they way they look. If they could have kept the same utility, improved the mpg, made it drive better, and made it more “generic” looking, maybe they should have done that with the new Prius.

  16. Lex Says:

    I agree with you John #14. The nose cone on the Model S is a signature component of the front end. It should be place on all three models. It is the perfect place to hang a front license plate from it’s lowest section.

  17. Bob Wilson Says:

    #13 – The false ‘green-ness’ challenges trace back to a discredited and withdrawn, Sunday Mail article. It used 1970s photos to claim the Prius traction batteries caused the Sudbury nickel mine to look like the moon, 30 years earlier. It also neglected that 1% of the nickel went into Prius batteries with the vast majority going into high temperature metals. After the Sudbury lawyers contacted the Sunday Mail, the lie was withdrawn to be replaced by rumors used to fool the unwary. (FYI, I still have my shovel looking for landfills full of Prius batteries because they have so much recycle value!)

    #15 – exactly, MPG is another car feature like paint color, seat covers, or the audio system … car ‘bling’. Wanting better fuel efficiency is different from buying it. So when someone criticizes the ‘styling’, it is cover like saying,’I don’t like you and you’re ugly.’

    We are seeing early 2016 Prius buyers whose styling skepticism evaporates when filling the tank saves the cost of dinner … stimulus–response.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville AL

  18. Rob Says:

    #17 For many people their car is nothing more than a mode of transportation.
    There will always be people who care about getting a few more MPG over driving a good looking car. Honorable? Maybe. For me a vehicle is like wearing a nice suit. The Prius would make me feel like I left the house with plaid shorts a striped sweater flip-flops and a fanny pack.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #17 – Thanks for the info.

    #18 – Driving a Prius, or Corvette, or MINI make me feel like I’m driving a car that I like, each for different reasons.