AD #1933 – China Zaps EV Start-Ups, Auto Industry Loses Credibility, Regulators Want Big Trucks to Drive Slower

August 29th, 2016 at 11:51am

Runtime: 7:00

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Not So Fast
- China Zaps EV Companies
- No One Trick Pony
- Colorado Adopts Cadillac V6
- FCA Wants Deal with Samsung
- Auto Industry Loses Credibility

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44 Comments to “AD #1933 – China Zaps EV Start-Ups, Auto Industry Loses Credibility, Regulators Want Big Trucks to Drive Slower”

  1. WineGeek Says:

    I travel a lot up and down the Interstates particularly INT 95 on the east coast. Lately I have noticed that major carrier drivers are much saner drivers than many independent truckers. Most of the major carrier trucks I’ve seen lately are running with traffic. This could be partially due to the tracking info many major trucking firms have on most cabs now. By contrast many of the independent trucks I’ve seen are racing at substantially higher than safe speeds and changing lanes like a teenage boy chasing a blonde.

  2. rick Says:

    all interstates need to be 3 lanes in each direction with amount of truck traffic on interstates now, slowing trucks down 3 lanes in each direction a must.

  3. Mark Says:

    First they want to regulate the speed of trucks. Next they will regulate your car.

    If it saves money, truckers would do it themselves and improve their profit margins.

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I still don’t understand gm’s decision to swap one high revving v6 for another.Going from the lfx to lgx,they are still car engines.Although the gm midsize twins,they are trucks and are sold as such.

    They have the all new 4.3L v6 which by gm’s own words,is strictly a truck engine.It also happens to have afm.Yes,it will fit in the engine bay.So I still don’t get it.

    No surprise that the auto industry has little to no credibility after all the crap they still pull.And the dealers are even worse.

  5. Drew Says:

    No consumer product is more complex or more regulated than the automobile. Some of the examples cited by John reflect non-flagrant adjustments due to variations of interpretation whenever such extreme complexities exist, while other examples are very egregious.

    For example, Ford’s HEV label followed legal/regulatory test procedures, but did not align with customer usage. So, Ford re-stated the label for customer satisfaction purposes. I can’t caste Ford with the same brush as VW’s diesel scandal or GM’s ignition switch.

  6. Gary Says:

    Let trucks drive at the speed of other traffic. As it has always been shown, it’s not speed that kills but rather the variation of speed. If we really want to improve road safety, I suggest having mandatory rest periods for truck drivers during the two rush-hour periods. Trucks and cars do not mix well on crowed roads. Eliminating trucks during rush-hour would also improve traffic flow dramatically, improving fuel economy for the cars during rush-hour and for the trucks during the off-peak hours.

  7. aliisdad Says:

    I agree with G.A. about the car industry’s lack of credibility and the reasons for it..
    For most people, their perception of the auto industry comes from quick news bites on the broadcast news that are not really long enough to tell the full story; however, I think it is their experiences with dealers that really gives them their personal and lasting perception of the auto industry… The experience with the dealer comes first even before a “hands on” experience with a specific make… The way you are treated at the dealer is really your only really “personal” experience to judge the whole industry upon…
    The most rude and insulting experience I ever had was a an Audi dealer, a Subaru dealer actually added a statement for me to sign to promise to give them the highest rating when the company contacted me for a survey (I left and told the sales manager that if they would actually ask me to lie to their own company, I sure did not want anything to do with them, and I walked out!!), and the home dealership of one of the largest dealers in the country kept changing numbers within the contract to change the bottom line (which most people not used to quickly reading full contracts would probably not notice, and the list goes on…
    Another “trick” is to try to make the customer wait and wait while they go for approval or another reason to wear the customer down… Also, the hard sell push only makes angry and I leave, but it must work, or they would not do it… I just wonder why so many dealerships are so dishonest and rude…
    Now, be fair, though, I have had some good, pleasant buying experiences at a Mercedes, Jeep, and a different Suberu dealership which a friend then went there and purchased a Subaru although it is miles from where we live…
    It seems to me that car companies and especially their dealers should stop looking at the short term and try to develop loyal customers who have good impressions of them and will stay with them for many future purchases…

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Weren’t Ford’s and Hyundai’s gas mileage tests done in-house, and suspect? To me, the tests should be done at EPA labs, not by the car companies.

    Also, the tests themselves should be changed, especially the highway test which is done at too low of speed to be meaningful at speeds people drive on the interstates. Probably the car companies like the test, though, because it favors trucks and SUV’s, whose mileage drops a lot more than cars when driving faster.

    I’m still don’t find the GM ignition switches to be as “defective” as many people let on. As long as you don’t hang a bunch of stuff from the key, and wear your seat belt so your knees don’t hit the key when you run off the road, the switches seem to work fine, at least for people I know who have cars with the switches.

  9. ToddT Says:

    Trucks and speed: NHTSA has a good idea here, don’t know how it will stick though. Another good idea, that makes this work, is restricting trucks from left lanes on freeways. It’s one of a few intelligent California highway regulations.

    China will never understand that government manipulation of industry to sort the wheat from the chaff is no where near as effective as allowing competition to do it for them. Good thing too, as our economy would be screwed if they ever did.

    Auto Industry credibility: at an all-time low, with regulators, but not consumers. Still not at levels of distrust with consumers as the period of melting engines in Vegas, and Pinto’s becoming BBQ’s–but getting very close.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My most pleasant car buying experience in a long time was with my Corvette. I ordered the car, getting the employee/retiree price, and didn’t have a trade. Also, for GM employee purchases, dealers are allowed to add on a maximum of $100 or so, for “document fees,” or whatever they call it. The bottom line, was that no negotiation was involved with the purchase.

    If i’d had a trade in, or had been a regular retail customer, by experience probably wouldn’t have been nearly as pleasant.

  11. C-TECH Says:

    I believe that a consequence not taken into account is with slower trucks we will need more trucks on the road to deliver the same tonnage in a timely manner. More trucks does not equate with safer roads and better overall efficiency.

  12. Lex Says:

    My pet peeve with truckers is when they travel in convey in the middle lane on a three lane highway during rush hour(s). They leave no room for you to leave the left lane cross into the middle lane so you can then enter the right lane for your up coming exit off the highway. You need to either slow way down and follow the convey or just stick it out in the right lane for far longer than is necessary to make your exit.

    I believe 75 mph is a good max speed for trucks. This number is dependent on the particular stretch of highway the truck is traveling on and the designated speed limit on that highway. Law Enforcement has really been stepped up on the highways in suburban New York of late. Their presents on the shoulders has really reduced the speed of traffic. You still get those an occasional speeder who weaves in and out of traffic. This is especially dangerous during rush hour.

  13. aliisdad Says:

    …oops.. Not sure if I made it clear the way I wrote it, but our friends went and purchased their new Subaru from the out or town dealer after we bought one there and told them about what a great purchase experience we had there… A good experience creates great “word of mouth”, and free, positive advertising for the dealership and car company.. I have always wondered why the car company/dealers don’t see it that way?!?

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 G.A., I agree that the 4.3 would be a good engine for the Colorado, but I’m wondering if they use the 3.6 because it is “like what the competition uses,” and they think that is what customers want for the smaller trucks.

    Offering both V6s would be nice, but it would cost considerable extra money to do the packaging, get another engine certified, etc.

  15. C-TECH Says:

    There are 2 credibility issues to be addressed. The manufacturers don’t seem to be able to lobby congress and work well with government agencies that regulate them. The general public deals primarily with dealers who are not under their complete control. Sadly good dealers are not always rewarded with higher sales.

  16. Drew Says:

    The Ford f.e. Test followed the EPA procedures. But the EPA procedures did not reflect the greater real world sensitivity of HEVs to weather extremes and higher highway speeds.

  17. Lex Says:

    Did not GM get into trouble decades ago when they cross switches brands engines into other brand vehicles. We had a ’79 Pontiac Trans Am with an Oldsmobile 403 engine powering it.
    This did not make sense at the time. Pontiac was the performance division at GM and Oldsmobile was the near luxury division. It did not make sense then or now.

    Why doesn’t GM unbrand their engines by make (Cadillac, Chevy, Buick or GMC) in the same way Honda uses “Earth Dreams” and Chrysler uses “Pentastar or Hemi” as family types of engines? Ford has Eco-Boost and SVT. GM could use “Rocket” for is performance engines and “EcoTec” for it’s economy engines. This would make it less confusing for consumers.

  18. Buzzerd Says:

    Truck speeds- if we look at Europe for a practical application many of the countries have a blanket speed limit for any vehicle pulling a trailer of 80 km/hr. Italy’s speed limit for vehicles by on the autostrada is 120 km/hr, same for Austria and Germany has unlimited areas for much of their autobahn so the speed differentials are at the very least large and can be huge.
    On the other hand most of North America requires that you need only a pulse to get a license so there’s that factor also.

  19. jack576 Says:

    How anyone can say when trucks drive slower than cars, it become dangerous.
    Trucks in many case block cars in the faster lane and some will stay there prompting cars to make dangerous maneuvers.
    By requiring trucks to drive a bit slower will make the roads safer and more efficient for all!

  20. Drew Says:

    Lex, I think the engine branding issue was the use of Chevrolet engines in Oldsmobiles (remember, Olds created the engine brand name Rocket V8). This occurred in the early 1980s, and was compounded by diesel V8s that failed due to the use of weaker gas engine blocks and Cadillac V8-6-4 engines with dubious cylinder deactivation controls and poor refinement. Those 3 engine failures started Oldsmobile’s demise and sent Cadillac into a 3-decade recovery trip.

  21. c-web Says:

    Lower mandatory Truck speeds.. wow… shades of the ’75 National Maximum Speed Limit.. when NHTSA mandated that the maximum speed limit be set to 55mph. If I remember correctly, when NHTSA analyzed the data, there was an obvious drop in fuel consumption… but what they did not figure on was the substantial drop in highway fatalities. This was reportedly tied to the car/truck speed differential. Are they (NHTSA) seriously considering going back to that well.. with the intention of reducing highway fatalities? Why not enforce the drive to the right.. except when passing rule?

  22. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I have the LGX engine in my XT5; in a word and with the 8-speed transmission it is sweet. My XT5 weighs approximately 4000 pounds and ‘moves’ with exuberance; I believe it is a good match for the Colorado. With VVT (variable valve timing), cylinder deactivation and start/stop (don’t know if the Colorado with have that), this engine is one for the ‘ages’. I had the 4.3 in my S-10 and it was a very good engine, but time marches on, and the technology in the 3.6, can not be denied.

    Part of the auto industry lacking credibility is due, and in fact, a response to the pressures of the government and with the pressure of meeting regulations. Not saying it’s right (no, in fact it is wrong), but what I think we are seeing, is the auto companies trying to take the easy way out (and getting caught).

  23. Drew Says:

    Jack576 -With very few exceptions, trucks need to stay out of the left lane. Exceptions include making room for a merging vehicle (if only 2 lanes in the direction of traffic) and to move over for emergency vehicles in the right shoulder.

  24. aliisdad Says:

    It does seem to me that the closer in speed ALL vehicles go would be the most safe… The real problem is on steep hills when trucks slow down IN THE FAST LANE!! I travel through some low mountain passes often, and see slowing trucks pulling over to the fast lane to try to pass even slower moving trucks, and often with very little warning to faster moving cars… Then, they go slower and slower, often slowing to 20-30 MPH IN THE FAST LANE of a very busy interstate highway… While this often results in many red brake lights and “flipped birds” out car windows, it is really VERY unsafe… Sometimes, I almost think some drivers think it is fun to do it; regardless, it is very unsafe and tells me that a similar speeds work the best, and a left lane should only be used when reasonable…

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Most American drivers don’t know the concept of proper lane discipline. With proper lane usage, as you normally see in Germany, traffic can flow well with a wide range of vehicle speed. Unfortunately, you don’t need to know how to drive to get a license in the US.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 GM’s last “branded” engines were the Cadillac Northstar, and Olds Quad 4. People also called the 231 CID V6 a Buick engine, clear to the end, though GM called it other things, like 3800 for at least the last decade of its life.

  27. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Part of the problem with trucks, and their speed, is that over the years, power has been improved (so much) that they can almost match the speed of the typical car. Back in the old days they were so much more under-powered that they relegated themselves to the slow lane (more times than not); now they typically compete for the passing lane when they encounter slower trucks that are in their way too. I also see their side of the argument too; time is money (especially for the independent operators) so a speed reduction cuts into their profits.

  28. Kate McLeod Says:

    That’s quite a list. Nine companies altering the truth or just lying flat out. Not surprising in the time in which we live. Just very discouraging.

  29. Phred Says:

    The call for the trucking and bus companies to “slow down” sure sounds like the old tune “I can’t Drive 55″. The trucks need to travel at the speed of the main traffic flow to be even close to safe. The “bad behavior” of the car driving public of cutting off trucks and jumping in front of trucks right before “off ramps” is a daily accident waiting to happen here in the Los Angeles area. Maybe the answer is the new collision avoidance technology for the car.

  30. Druff Says:

    As a driver of a straight truck freightliner myself it would seem more dangerous to go slower than the traffic around me. As a rebuttal to Lex on the comment of driving in the middle or (left lane on a 2 lane highway) if all the cars would get onto the highway doing the proper speed I would stay in the right lane. Cars don’t understand that it takes a mile to get back up to speed after a car slows you down, just in time for the next onramp.

  31. Terry Says:

    Leave speed limits to the states. Federal laws driven by NHTSA for speed limits aren’t necessary nor wanted.

  32. motorman Says:

    Forget speed limiters for trucks. Pass a law that says if they can not maintain the posted speed limit they have to stay in the right hand lane. The problem with trucks is they try and pass each other when the speed difference is less than 1 MPH and they back up traffic and cause wrecks because you have to jam on the brakes when you encounter this as they are blocking both lanes

  33. FSTFWRD Says:

    @29 “Unfortunately, you don’t need to know how to drive to get a license in the US.”
    Well said, couldn’t agree more.
    As for trucks, the new ones are very fast, and I don’t have a problem with the way truck drivers proceed. I just don’t like the clueless drivers out there that really don’t know what their doing.

  34. gary susie Says:

    I have bought 3 cars in the last 4 years from GM dealers. The experience was pleasant. You just had to be informed on what the price by checking out ads True Car and Car fax. Also check out the ads in the paper. W We arrived at a fair price right away and was out the door in a very short time. I have nothing but good to say about their service department too.

  35. BobD Says:

    In Indiana on Interstate roads, trucks have a 65 mph speed limit while cars have a 70 mph speed limit. Cars and trucks can also be ticketed for driving in the left lane if they are impeding flow, regardless of the speed limit (e.g., even if you are driving over the speed limit in the left lane, you can still be ticketed if traffic is backing up behind you). My observation is that most trucks (especially fleet-owned trucks) obey the speed limits. With that said, there are several studies that have concluded one of the main factors in safety and deaths on interstate highways is differential traffic speeds, especially in hilly areas. The death-rate factor has a very exponential curve which starts out flat and starts to curve upward at about 10 mph. By 25 mph delta, the death rate is something like 10 times greater. These studies are mainly used to justify road design that exceed standard federal highway grade requirements (i.e., they try to balance the extra costs to design a lower grade road vs the number of expected deaths a steeper grade will cause due to slower trucks being rammed by faster cars).

  36. BobD Says:

    Like Kit, I always have a pleasant buying experience because I’m a retired GM employee. I spec out my vehicles on line, walk into the dealership and hand them the spec I want ordered and tell them to call me when it is in. The price is fixed, the dealer document fee is $75 and the salesman I work with does all the paperwork rather than being shuttled off to some financial closer (or is that hoser). Why dealer can adopt the same “system” for their retail buyers is beyond me. If I had to interface with an idiot salesman and play the typical negotiation game, I’d probably buy a lot fewer cars. I’ve helped friends buy retail and it is a pathetic experience.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 It seems that way too many people don’t know what acceleration lanes are for, which is to accelerate up to the speed of traffic, and blend in. My Prius is one of the slower cars now sold, but it will easily get up to 75-80 mph on most on ramps. Even my substantially slower 1.9 VW TDI would. You just have to push down on the right pedal.

  38. BobD Says:

    I suspect the LGX 3.6L is used in the mid-size pickup for better fuel economy and NVH characteristics. Yes the LV3 4.3L engine has more torque, but most buyers for the Colorado/Canyon are not doing a lot of towing, and if they do plan to tow a lot, then there is the 2.8 diesel option (or buy a Silverado). I have a 2015 Colorado with the LFX 3.6L and it is a very nice engine and get very good fuel economy (over the last 18 months, I’ve average 26 mpg combined and it will get 30+ on highway driving a reasonable speed). So the LGX with an 8-speed automatic would be an even sweeter ride. Clearly it will be segment-leading.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 The LGX would spend more time spinning in the lower gears when climbing, with a heavy trailer, but if it is smooth and quiet, and gets decent mpg, what difference does it make?

    The thing I remember about “high rpm engines not lasting” involves motorcycles. When the Honda 750 four came out in 1969-1970, the local BMW dealer said “those things won’t hold up, and will wear out in 20,000 miles. It turns out, that the Honda engines would last at least as long as a BMW, and much longer than the low rpm Harleys of that time.

  40. Victor West Says:

    I travel across country a lot. West of the Mississippi most trucks max out at 65. East of the river truckers drive faster. In Ohio truckers drive the legal speeds. Cross in to Kentucky and they drive faster. Can anybody say “enforcement”?

  41. W L Simpson Says:

    For intown driving , nothing tops a low rev long stroke inline 6, like most old Beamers ns & my izuzu powered Envoy. My old 671 jimmy powered wrecker made towjobs a breeze—- Torque !

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41 If your Envoy is 2002-2009 model year, the engine is the GM Atlas six, which was also made in 4 and 5 cylinder versions.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_Atlas_engine

  43. Rafi Jaan Says:

    I know that, usually, truck drivers are better-trained than most other drivers on the road. However, physics can’t be ignored and so it makes sense that vehicles that are larger and, consequently, have longer stopping distances should be regulated to lower speed limits.

    Trucking companies may not like the lower speed limits but if NHTSA’s research proves, undoubtedly, that it saves fuel and, more importantly, makes the roads safer, then I think they and all of us should side with safety first.

  44. NormV Says:

    No Cadillac JdN news on the new XTS coming out?