AD #1944 – BMW & VW Expand Charging Network, Dealer Creates Service Assembly Line, Ford Bullish on Autonomous Cars

September 14th, 2016 at 12:02pm

Runtime: 5:34

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- Household Income Jumps, So Could Sales
- Ford Bullish on Autonomous Cars
- Dealer Creates Service Assembly Line
- On-the-Go H2O
- Ford Reduces Focus Complexity
- BMW & VW Expand Fast-Charger Network

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27 Comments to “AD #1944 – BMW & VW Expand Charging Network, Dealer Creates Service Assembly Line, Ford Bullish on Autonomous Cars”

  1. Marshy Says:

    30 combos for any car is impressive. 3 trim lines * 8 colours is already 24.

  2. Lisk Says:

    Are public charging stations going to charge comparable costs per kw as you can charge at home. If not, shouldn’t that have a big effect on the e-mileage ratings these cars offer? Doesn’t the EPA rate the comparison based on a fixed cost per kw? If you can charge it at home for $6, yet a public charging station charges $9 or $12 for the same charge, wouldn’t that lower the e-mileage ratings?

  3. Drew Says:

    The calculation for combinations does not include paint. But 4 trims with some having 2 body styles and 2 transmissions gets you into double digits. Add optional leather, moonroof, nav, and/or safety pack gets you easily to triple digits.

  4. Lex Says:

    300 build combinations is still too much for a single vehicle. I believe that limiting the number of tiers within trim levels for a specific vehicle is a good thing. Didn’t Henry Ford say “You can your Model T in any color as long as it is in black”! Well this was his way to speed up production because the black paint dried the fastest. As Marshy pointed out in Response # 1 “that between color(8) and trim (3) you already have 24 choices. OEMs need to build more flexibility for Dealers to install specific options into vehicles based upon consumer desire and wants. If the IP Electronics were plug and play and all a dealer or manufacturer had to do is enable a particular feature with a plug in module or unlock code I believe this would draw in customers to their products. Use this as an example: You purchase a vehicle with Apple Carplay available for an additional dollar amount or subscription fee.
    Similar to what GM does with OnStar. You the consumer decide if you want that particular feature or not. You trade in the vehicle after three years and the next owner wants Apple Carplay. All the dealer has to do is enable Apple Carplay with a unlock code specific to that vehicle for a fee or subscription and the second owner is now happy with his or her purchase. The in vehicle electronic supplies more than 50% of the users experience in any vehicle. Giving the consumer what they want will generate good will and bring them back to your dealership again and again. Retrofitting a vehicle with a backup camera or navigation should not be a big deal. The MMI (Man Machine Interface) is the best place to start and has the most potential flexibility for giving the consumer what they want.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In the 1960′s, there were millions of build combinations. Then, it went to 200,000, as interior color choice, powertrain choice, body styles, and most individual options went away. Now, there will be almost no choice at all, at least with Ford, and the other OEM’s will no doubt follow suit. How depressing.

  6. Arcade Mike Says:

    #4 Lex, Ford already does that in some models. I have a 2011 F250 and I wanted the factory trailer brake controller. The wiring was already there and after just popping out a coin tray and plugging in the controller all I had to do was get the dealer to turn on the option in the computer. The uplifter switches were the same to. Harness was already in the dash so the installation was a snap. The same goes with cruise control, ford sync, and others.

  7. Lisk Says:

    Honda used to be the model of simplicity when it came to car ordering. When the Accord came out (1976), you could get an automatic or a manual. They had dealer installed “kits” for options like air conditioning. The cars were made to have the kits go in seamlessly and in just a small amount of labor. Brands like Toyota had Port Installed accessories (AC, Radios, Wheels) that were priced on the window sticker to lower the import taxes.
    I went to Honda’s website and now there are seven different Accords.

  8. Drew Says:

    If anyone is listening, I’d like to opt for the new technologies, but Marketing forces me into leather trim series. Listen very carefully now, I DON’T WANT LEATHER SEATS! I don’t care if they are heated and cooled, I want cloth seats with the ability to opt for goodies like nav, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, big bright wheels, etc.

    Oh, let me guess… no one is listening.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, back then, most buyers ordered their cars ala cart and you waited weeks for it. Now with today’s impatient public, they must have it now, not even tomorrow. I remember when I bought my Toyota in 86, I had to wait 2 days so they could bring it from another location and prep it, unacceptable in today’s world.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 Yep, true. I’m more of the patient type, and have ordered nearly all of the GM and Chrysler cars I’ve had, most recently, the Corvette.

    While you have more choice with a Corvette than most cars, the choice is still limited. Unlike most of today’s cars, I could get red seats with the “base” 1LT trim, but individual options are few. For example, I would have liked “home link,” but that would require going to the next higher trim level for ~$5K. It’s not that inconvenient to use my regular door transmitter, so I passed.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 Years ago, I was considering a Honda Civic, but didn’t trust the dealer to install A/C, so I didn’t buy it.

    Honda is still more “no choice” than most car companies, except that they still sell coupes. The 4 cylinder, manual Accord Coupe has the Model T color palette, though, any color you want, as long as it is black. You can tell that they want an excuse to kill off the Accord Coupe, and manual transmissions.

  12. OMEGATALON Says:

    Autonomous cars would give people greater freedom and independence because just because an individual may be considered under the law as being too old to drive, ownership of an autonomous vehicle could restore the freedom they had when they were younger; the same can be said for handicapped or the blind as they can tell their car of where they want to go and the autonomous car would act like a chauffeur.

  13. OMEGATALON Says:

    Public charging stations is reason for why a car like Chevy’s Volt should be more popular than it is because you’ve got the ability to cut power cords with it’s gas engine recharging the battery and hopefully Chevrolet engineers will possibly borrow battery technology from their Bolt EV to increase the Volt’s battery range further.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Correction: For 2017 model year, three paint colors are available on the 4 cylinder/manual Accord Coupe, black, dark blue, and white.

  15. OMEGATALON Says:

    Chevrolet engineers will make their Bolt EV rechargeable via DC to reduce charge time, Chevy should update their Volt to be capable of being recharged the same way as a 10-15 minute recharge time to get another 40+ miles would make the Volt more popular.

  16. BobD Says:

    Like others above, I almost always order my vehicles to get just the options I want, and no more. Limiting build combinations may save a little money in production (I find it very hard to believe the $300/car number), but I suspect it will turn a lot of buyers off. Either you end up with a “base” model with no options, or a much more expensive vehicle with “convenience” packages that have a lot of things you don’t want, and decide to buy elsewhere. This sounds like a very bad idea and once implemented by Ford, in five years, someone from marketing will push the idea of shifting back to unbundled options that will generate $300 more profit per car in allowing customers to add just what they want (quoting BurgerKing, “Have it your way”).

    On a related subject, GM has switched to a lot of “Dealer Installed Options”. Many of these (like all-weather floor mats) are actually just tossed in the trunk at the production plant so the “fulfillment center” is still integrated, but others like optional wheels make absolutely no sense. Rather than installing the optional wheels on the production line, they install “dummy” steel wheel (but not the same as the baseline steel wheels, os you have not reduced configurations). Then the real wheels are shipped to the dealer separately. The dealer has to un-mount the tires from the dummy wheels, re-mount them on the optional wheels, balance and install the new wheels, then ship the dummy wheels back to the production plant for re-use. How can this be efficient, all in the mantra to reduce production configurations and complexity?

  17. BobD Says:

    I don’t know that the customers are “impatient” as the reason for not ordering the car the way they want it. I think it is more of their dealers (and especially salesmen) discouraging that method, as they would rather have their commission today, rather than a month from now. I suspect most buyers don’t even know they can order a vehicle just the way they want it. The other issue with ordering vehicles is there is no price guarantee or sales incentive guarantee at the time of ordering, as those items are all based on the price and incentive on the day of delivery (or at least that is the way it is with GM). I don’t know of any other business that has that pricing model when you custom order something.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I too am miffed that we can’t order off a ‘menue’ of the things we really want,including colors etc.Black/varying shades of grey and silver/white/and various shades of red/and the crappiest colors of blue,solid and metallic.

    Then there is the black,or grey,or black and grey interiors.How depressing that is.You have to go up one or more trim levels to get various shades of brown.Again,depressing…

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 Yep, for we “patient” people, the biggest reason not to order a car, is that there is no choice, even if you do order it.

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “Household Income Jumps”; unfortunately almost before the first increase in income is realized, prices have already escalated. Now that’s a little sad. Whether car sales increase (or not), the extra income will help with a future car purchase; how much, debatable (and better than not getting the ‘bump’).

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17, 18 etc.

    Pedro is certainly right, though, that a lot of people want it “now.” I know a number of those people.

  22. W L Simpson Says:

    Again—-Current EVs are too heavy & complicated. fewer batts , constant duty linear generator , no plugin,4 motor drive system is the needed wave of the future. Kiss kiss kiss
    Also—sweep dial gauges have been kept around about 10 years too long , but I see hope, here & there.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 Pure EV’s are as simple as cars get, mechanically. There is a motor geared to the wheels, with a one-speed gear reduction and no friction elements. Is four motors, a generator, and a gas engine “simpler”? I guess I don’t understand. It mainly, sounds like a way to may a complex, but inefficient hybrid. Can you explain?

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I think Mr.Simpson is referring to range,and range anxiety.A hybrid like the Volt removes that out of the equation.In those terms,it is simple,imho.Too many places in our big country will not be covered with quick recharging stations.I think ;}>

  25. David Sprowl Says:

    Honda a few years back attempted something very similar to Ford. Their twist was to Limit trim levels and colors and interior packages. Dealers would simply keep a few “test” models on the lots and you would have your new car in a week. Floor planning at the dealership level meant more profit for the dealer and limited build meant quicker response time from the factory. Anyone ever see the program? I flunked in a few short months. Everyone else had cars on the lot that could be bought now and not in a week. The masses still do not trust dealers to install (where is Scion anyway)

  26. veh Says:

    A few years ago Ford made a big deal about reducing F150 build combinations…whatever happened to that? Seems like they’ve gone the opposite way, and the positive things you say about reducing complexity for the Focus would be even more desirable for the F150

  27. Russ Says:

    I am amazed no one commented on the recycled water idea. Do people who have no access to clean water drive a (new) air conditioned Ford? What an absurd statement: “but think of the impact a system like this could have in a country with little clean water”!

    Unbelievably narrow-minded statement — sounds like something Trump would say.