AD #2413 – Is There More to UAW & FCA Scandal? Did Saudis Influence Musk? New Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel?

August 14th, 2018 at 11:47am

Runtime: 6:54

0:33 More to UAW & FCA Scandal?
1:10 Saudis Told Musk He Should Take Tesla Private
2:18 Hydrogen Fuel Breakthrough?
3:11 VW’s Electrify America Launches TV Ad
4:21 Pricing for Ford Ranger Announced
4:53 Ford to Launch New Performance Vehicle
5:15 Mid-Size Pickup Truck Sales
5:43 Nissan Frontier Sales Keep on Truckin’
6:04 Honda Ridgeline Sales Way Down

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51 Comments to “AD #2413 – Is There More to UAW & FCA Scandal? Did Saudis Influence Musk? New Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel?”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    With the full sized pickups getting bigger and bigger I think there is still room for more midsized pickups. For those that want a pickup, but not the ‘hugeness’ of the evolving crop, the midsize looks pretty good. And maybe even room for a smaller pickup (like in the days of old; 1970′s and ’80′s); probably yes.

  2. XA351GT Says:

    I think the Mid-size truck market will grow. As there are diehard Ford and RAM/Jeep buyers that will stick with their brands. I would expect them maybe to take a few sales from the bigger brothers than that many from the other manufacturers . I guess we’ll see this time next year.

  3. Bradley Says:

    Bill and Ted need to go back in time and bring back all the 2004 Toyota Tacomas they can.

    I applaud Ford for bringing back the Ranger, but its still too big.

    I am now curious about the rumored Focus based truck.

    The Honda Ridgeline is a great truck. Its too expensive and too big. A CRV based pickup would be selling a lot better.

  4. XA351GT Says:

    Chuck, that’s why I am more than happy with my 1998 F150 regular Cab short box 2WD . So much so that I just had a new crate engine installed after the last one went 223,000 miles and if not for a stuck spark plug would have rolled on even farther. I don’t want or need a 25 foot long truck that is a PITA to try and park and is more than I really need . It’s just my wife and I , so there is no need for a 4 door cab . I can haul or tow any thing that I might need to , so why get something that just wastes space and money?

  5. Larry D. Says:

    The Ranger is priced right… one of the few things Ford did right lately… (getting rid of all its cars at a time when gas prices increased by a whole dollar just in the past 12 months was a monumental blunder) but with options, I wonder what a popularly optioned Ranger would go for, I’d guess at least $32k, which is still below the average actual price people pay for a new vehicle these days.

  6. Buzzerd Says:

    I really like all the mid sized trucks until you get to price. The full sized trucks have some great cash incentives and the mid sized generally have little to none. Bang for the buck full sized is the way to go until the mid sized market cools enough for manufactures to start throwing some cash their way.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    I used to be very skeptical of Tesla, and one reason was its mindless fanatics on social media, but then I saw the achievements of SpaceX and also the unbelievable success of the Tesla S (and now the Tesla 3, despite all the problems). Musk is no mediocre inbred Detroit CEO. He could be the Henry Ford and the Thomas Edison of the 21st century, combined.

    So far his rival EVs are not priced attractively. Nobody is willing to pay $42k for a Volt, when a Cruze on which it is based costs half as much. Nobody wants an cheap, bulky hatchback like the Bolt, not if it costs as much as a.. 3 Series!!! Get Real, people! No wonder nobody buys these vehicles, while people wait 3 and more years for a Tesla 3.

  8. Buzzerd Says:

    @7 well somebody does cause they are selling are they not?


    Read an article elsewhere that Musk stating funding was secured by the Ssudi Arabian fund was based on next to zero fact. There is a difference between “in talks with” and “funding secured”.

    It will be interesting to see what the SEC does with this and how the 2 lawsuits play out in court. My personal belief is Musk was intentionally trying to manipulate the stock market as a way to punish the short sellers since his most recent tweets were all about his hatred of short sellers.

    If true, I hope it backfires and the board gets rid of Musk. He has gone from the best spokesperson to a PR disaster for Tesla.

  10. JoeS Says:

    #3 How about a Focus based truck with an extended cab just big enough for a couple of grocery bags behind the seat – skip the jump seat, a bed big enough for 2 bikes and with the 350hp all wheel drive Focus RS running gear

  11. Lambo2015 Says:

    UAW I’m sure will be looking for potential back pay for its employees back as far as they can trace. This could get real expensive for FCA.

    The Hydrogen break through sounds great but Ammonia can be extremely dangerous a small leak can cause a person to pass out. How the refilling is handled would be interesting to know.

    The Honda Ridgeline sales being down prove to me that an Elcamino/Rancharo vehicle would not do well. I agree a smaller pickup truck market is out there but not on a car chassis. I think Ford may find their Focus based small truck fail if not given some decent capabilities. Honestly if you offer a small truck that has no more capability than most SUV/CUVs of similar size than why would anyone buy it? The only purpose I can think is your hauling mulch or something messy that you wouldnt stick in the back of your SUV.

    Even Chevy’s turbo 4cyl slated for the full size truck will likely have minimal sales. The entry price will be attractive to some but the resale will be dismal. Like trying to sell a used Camaro with a V6. Very few people want them and even fewer want a used one.

  12. Drew Says:

    I’m still gasping at Ranger pricing. $40 for a 4×4 Lariat is stout. I could understand that price if it had the Diesel engine from the Transit.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 A Bolt, being a hatchback, is much more utilitarian than a Model 3, and costs much less than a 3, as they are now being configured. The 3 is much flashier looking, though.

    Wouldn’t there be a market for at least ONE company to make a basic, regular cab version of their “midsize” pickup? I had a regular cab, short bed S-10 with the 4.3 and 5-speed manual. It actually was kind of fun to drive, especially after I put low profile tires on it. These current huge, long trucks would not be fun to drive, at least to me. Even the shortest version of the current Colorado is a long as a Crown Vic/Grand Marquis, and the big trucks are 24 feet long.

  14. Keith Meintjes Says:

    How do you make ammonia? You mix nitrogen and pure hydrogen at 500 C and 300 atmospheres, and wait. So, to make ammonia you first have to make hydrogen. I agree that ammonia has a high hydrogen content and may be easier to transport than pure hydrogen, but this does not seem practical to me.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Where does this ammonia come from that will be used to come up with hydrogen? The commercial process for making ammonia uses natural gas as its raw material, and reacts it with nitrogen it the air to come up with ammonia. What is the point of doing this, and then going through another process to “take apart” the ammonia, all to run an extremely complex vehicle. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    10 Ridgeline’s poor sales just says that people who buy trucks want them to be “trucky.” The vast majority of pickups never haul anything or tow anything, but people “like” them, and for a lot of those people, the truckier the better. I agree that a modern day El Camino/Ranchero probably wouldn’t sell very well, at least in today’s market, not because it wouldn’t have the capability most buyers need, but because it wouldn’t stoke the ego in the right way.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    For me,a midsize pickup is all I will ever need.Were I to buy a fullsize PU,it would be a reg cab/short box/4×4. Just like my last one,(2011 Silvey Z71).

  17. Larry D. Says:

    #9 Musk and Tesla have marge numbers of enemies, and the most obvious ones are of course the DEALERS who are not allowed a piece of the pie, since Tesla sells their cars directly to the customer. Over at Automotive News, where most of the subscribers are dealers, the anti-Tesla fake stats are legendary. Automotive news placed Tesla US sales in June at 6,000 (and they call it, with a straight face, an ‘estimate’, when before the mass-market Model 3 they ALSO had ‘estimates of 6,000. And whoever believes that number, I got that bridge in Brooklyn to sell them. WARD’s far more accurate estimate was 9,317, if i remember well, but I suspect that number is still a lowball estimate. AND this is US sales ONLY. I bet Tesla sells just as many to the rest of the world.


  18. Larry D. Says:

    12 I am fully aware of the advantages of hatches, but there are far more important things than that. AND when you can get a hatch for half of what the Bolt costs, why bother? ALSO, the Bolt is NOT cheaper than entry level 3 series models, and of course there is the outstanding 2 and 1 series that are just as capable as the 3 and also cost less than the bloated Bolt.

    There is no comparison between the Bolt and the Tesla 3 either, no matter how much GM PR types would love it.

    But the proof is not in your preferences but in the sales numbers, the Volt lost GM billions and sold meager amounts, and so did the Bolt, and there is not much you can do about the sales numbers, they are facts.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    Finally, a number Gary Vasilach may feel free to use in an upcoming AAH.

    $ 3,000,000,000 and counting.

    Solution: this is the amounts of money greedy investors and Hedge Fund managers have lost SHORTING Tesla Shares.

    Keep up the good work, guys!

  20. Larry D. Says:

    14, 10: The Second generation Ridgeline looked mainstream, but its sales flopped just as badly. Maybe truck buyers do not consider a truck with the Honda logo, because of its fame as a maker of tiny little very fuel efficient hatchbacks, and especially that diminutive 1st gen Insight hybrid.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 I was saying that the Bolt is cheaper than a Tesla 3, as they are now configured. Yeah, the base price of a 320i is a little less than a Bolt.

    Yes, you can get a hatchback for half the price of a Bolt, just as you can get a very nice sedan for half the price of Tesla S. The S is a hatchback, though, which adds to its value :-) You do pay extra for BEV cars, and will continue to, until and unless batteries become much cheaper.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    20 The tesla 3 has a wide price range, and its low-end models, which are not made yet, will cost 35k, which is 7k cheaper than the Bolt, while it is a far larger car, different category, and should actually be FAR more expensive than the Bolt. Buyers know all this and this is why the Bolt failed and the Tesla 3 has half a million people lined up to buy it. The tesla 3 is a proper 3 series fighter (although following a very different avenue) and I have seen stats that compare the sales numbers of the Tesla 3 vs its rivals (not the Bolt, but the C class, the 3 series, the A4, and the like) and they are going down as much as the 3 is going up.

  23. George Ricci Says:

    CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan says, “We are effectively undoing the Haber-Bosch process [which has traditionally been used to transform hydrogen into ammonia], starting with hydrogen from a source, where you take nitrogen out of the air and make ammonia, which we think helps transport hydrogen over long distances and long time scales.”
    “We extract hydrogen out of ammonia, and using our membrane we can extract it,” Dolan continues, explaining that as the process is a chemical one that can be fuelled by renewable electricity, it is considered a low-emissions process.

    Where do they get the hydrogen in first place? 95% of all hydrogen is made by burning fossil fuels. So much for Zero emissions!

    So you make ammonia and then transport 10′s of thousands of gallons to refueling station. Ammonia is both caustic and hazardous in its concentrated form. It is classified as an extremely hazardous substance in the United States. The permissible exposure limit is 25 ppm, and lethal above 500 ppm. Would you want to be near this stuff while it is being transported or while it is at a refueling station?

    Where is the refueling station going to get renewable electricity, the roof is not big enough, and they admit that the process to go from ammonia to hydrogen still has emissions. So what have you gained? It NOT Zero emissions and your exposing lots of people to a dangerous chemical.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The base price of the Bolt is $37,495, and discounts are available. The base price of the Model 3 is $35,000, but the ones being built so far are closer to $50-60K.

    Yes, I agree that the Model 3 is a BEV competitor to 3 series, C-Class, et. al., rather than Bolt. The Bolt is for people who want a small crossover that you plug in, and that market is not too big, at the current price. Sales have been only about 1200/month. If the price comes down substantially, they would sell a lot more of them.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    24 Sorry, the Bolt is no crossover. If it were, maybe its sales would be far greater. The Bolt is a tall hatch, but does not have the ground clearance of the crossover. When it looks like a hatch, you can’t price it at $40k when you can get a non-EV hatch for half that price. Only a fanatic who ignores the economics would buy it.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    24 PS GM is losing $ both on the Bolt and on the Volt. When they are losing money at this lofty price, they can hardly make it “substantially” lower. In addition, both Tesla and GM soon lose the $7,500 credit (it will become half that, then half again), one more reason why there will not be a next generation.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 What, exactly is a crossover? It’s a tall hatchback or wagon. That’s what a Bolt is. It’s dimensions are about exactly like a Honda HR-V. Is that not a small crossover? A traditional hatchback, like Focus, is lower. The Focus hatch is 5 inches less tall than an HR-V or Bolt. OK, I guess as with many things, people have different definitions of types of cars.

    25 Yes, they can’t lower the prices substantially, unless the main driver of manufacturing cost, the batteries, decreases a lot. At $20K, Bolt would sell well for use as a commuter car. At near $40K, no way.

  28. Lambo2015 Says:

    Kit I would say what many have said for as far back as when the first EV rolled out the door. Very few people are going to be swayed into buying a BEV until 1) It cost within 10% of a ICE car of similar size. Recharging stations are available and charge in a similar time-frame. and lastly they can get similar performance and range. EVs are not there on all those categories regardless of hatch, crossover or Tesla name.. They may achieve a few of those traits of a gas car but not all.
    Honestly I believe that the shift to SUVs and away from cars will help EV’s as people get accustom to paying 60K for a vehicle then the EV comes a lot closer to being price competitive. Assuming it doesnt take a bunch more money to make a electric SUV vs a car. I believe Tesla has proven that to be the case.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since I have multiple cars, a A BEV would probably be one of them IF I had a place to charge at my condo, and IF a Bolt-like car cost a lot less. I wouldn’t care about charge stations. I would use the BEV only for driving within range of home, and drive something else if going farther.

  30. XA351GT Says:

    I’m okay with Tesla selling direct and bypassing the thief network ,ooops I mean dealers. Seeing how dealers greed has more than helped some models failure and that is a direct problem for manufacturers . recent examples are the 2 seat Thunderbirds. When they 1st came out everyone that wanted one was greeted with a $5-7000 mark up over the sticker. Result , people said no way and the model didn’t sell. Coupled with quality issues on the ones that were sold the model flopped. Same thing happened with the SSR ,already $11K higher than was originally stated the dealers marked them up even more. There are a lot of examples of hot models being cooled off by dealer greed. So tesla keep doing what your doing.

  31. Lambo2015 Says:

    #28 That is great that you can afford to do that but you are part of a small percentage of the population that can afford/justify buying a premium priced vehicle for just in town run around and have a second vehicle for trips outside the EV range. Usually if a family is doing that the second car is used shared with the kids or a pick-up. Its hard to spend 40+k on a EV then buy a reliable car for trips which typically means that car isnt very old either and over 25K.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Many, or most American families have two cars. What I said was, if a Bolt was NOT premium priced, it would work well as a commuter car, IF I had a place to charge it.

  33. Lambo2015 Says:

    29 I agree but wouldn’t consider it completely dealer greed. They charged what the market would bear. As long as folks are dumb or rich enough to pay over the MSRP then of course they are going to charge more.
    I mean if I was a dealer and could sell a car to anyone for sticker but some guy is willing to pay 10k over sticker well its his.
    I agree that stinks because anytime a OE builds a limited edition or special make like the ones you mentioned they get priced out of the reach of many people.
    But the revenge is when they offer a car like the hellcat it sells over sticker cause of its 707 HP and then they release the Demon a year or two later with 808HP. Bet those that payed over sticker on the hellcat wish they would have waited..

  34. Bob Wilson Says:

    My web link is to Insideevs that track sales so for July:
    14,250 – Model 3 (Wards reports +9,000)
    1,984 – Prius Prime
    1,475 – Chevy Volt
    1,440 – Honda Clarity PHEV

    The secret Tesla advantage is the SuperCharger network that makes long distance driving practical (use Plugshare to compare SuperCharger versus other fast DC chargers.)

    So I drove our BMW i3 in EV to Manchester TN to try a new VW Electrify America station. It worked but at $0.30/min., it would cost ~$9.00 to reach Nashville versus ~$6.00 in gas. In contrast, a Tesla SuperCharger is much faster and more affordable.

    Talking about fast, search YouTube for Tesla vs. drag races and you’ll find a lot of traditional cars, not all but the majority, being shamed. Speed and handling up-sells a lot of Prius and other hybrid owners for a Model 3. Musk mentioned five trade-in cars in the Q2 – 2018 earnings call.

    The Model 3 has the range to drive to family members but it adds two hours. When the Fort Smith AR SuperCharger comes online, it will be equivalent to our plug-in hybrid BMW ($29k) and Prius Prime ($28k.)

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The local Ford dealer has had a GT350 for a year, marked $10K over MSRP. So far, no one has bitten. I hope they never sell it. I suspect you can drive 50 miles and get a current model year GT350 for MSRP, or order one and get exactly what you want.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 I’m wondering how things will go when there are 500K Model 3′s on the road, and there are two hour queues at the SuperChargers. It might get ugly, with gun fights, etc.

  37. Eric Brunner Says:

    I wonder if part of the impression people think 0f trucks as being big is the absurd jacked up height that they have. We bought a new ’17 Suburban last August to replace the trusty ’81 we had for many years. Here in Ontario, you have to buy the 4WD version otherwise there is no resale value so it has that raised level like the pick up trucks. My understand though is the 2WD version is just as high although I have never seen one. The truck is great but I wonder how much better it would handle if it was lowered to a reasonable level. Too bad GM does not offer such a version. Would also certainly be easier to get into as well as not have to get special drop level hitches for my trailers! How did this jacked up body trend start anyhow?

  38. Bob Wilson Says:

    #35 – “. . . how things will go when there are 500K Model 3′s . . . ” It won’t be a Tesla problem because embedded in the Tesla price is the SuperCharger capital cost.

    Unlike the EV pretenders, the SuperCharger network was part of the Tesla plan from the beginning. From CEO Mary Barra: “We are not actively working on providing infrastructure [for the Bolt EV].”

  39. Larry D. Says:

    26 Well, I sure did not coin the term Crossover, nor do I like to use it, but it is NOT a Minivan (and the Bolt look more like a small minivanny hatch), in fact it was designed expressly to not look like a minivan so that the Soccer Moms who drive it do not look old.

    More seriously, the Crossover is a vehicle with some Ground Clearance, and preferably AWD or 4WD, which is very useful in the Snowbelt.

    The ground clearance makes entering and sitting in it much easier for the aged people who are the fastest growing demographic all over the world. Minivans and tall hatches like the Bolt have a high-er seating position than the elegant, low hatches of the past, but still not high enough for today’s consumer needs.

    The consumer will buy what best helps them, and currently the “new Wagon” is the crossover, small, medium or large.

    PS the Crossover should also look like a Jeep or other Off-Road Vehicle, even though it has little of their capabilities.

    It’s not hard to explain current trends. WHat surprises me is how people are willing to commute 120 miles a day in fuel hungry pickups and full size SUVs, even though gas prices have gone up a full $ in one year.

  40. Larry D. Says:

    33 the supercharger net is sure a big plus, but many buyers focus on the price and what they get for it, and the Tesla 3 looks like a bargain, not only compared to the Volt and the Bolt and the like, but also compared to the conventional mid-size performance or luxury sedans in the same price range. This is why the Tesla 3, to the dismay of Musk haters, is eating sales and market share from all these, the C class, the A4, the Volvo something in that size class, etc, even the 3 Series.

    This was done before by the Tesla S, and it was an amazing achievement, when it topped all the premium luxury cars in its price range (close to or a bit higher than 6 figures), its sales far exceeded those of the S class, the 7 series, the A8, the XJ Jag, the domestic equivalents if any, even the Lexus LS, and to some extent the category below that ( E class, 5 series, A6 etc)

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 An HR-V has one inch more ground clearance than a Bolt, and offers AWD, so that makes it a crossover. Actually, I’ve heard the Kia Soul referred to as a crossover. In the end, perception is everything, as in “looks like a Jeep ”

    36, Bob. Are you saying that the SuperCharger network will expand quickly enough to handle all ofthe additional cars, with Model 3 production at around 300K/year?

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 Yep, the Model 3 certainly looks like a bargain, when/if they start selling base cars for $35K. I’d consider one at that price, if I had a place to charge it at home.

  43. joe Says:

    Answer to 7 Larry D: GM doesn’t sell nearly as many EV’s as they could because they do not advertise these cars. The quality and engineering is tops on these cars. GM is not ready to go full blast with them. When they are, you’ll know it.

    The bottom line is Tesla gets away with murder! If any other auto did this kind of stuff, they’d be in serious serious trouble.
    Time will tell if Tesla is as great as you think.

  44. Larry D. Says:

    41 Why in the world would you choose the HR-V that nobody buys in the US? The CR-V in contrast was the top selling crossover for many years. because you tried, of the 100 or so crossover models, to find the one that least looks like one and the bloated Bolt can favorably compare with it? And other crossovers have far, far higher clearance than the HRV AND the CRV.

    Let’s not play games. Most buyers can use their eyes and decide if a crossover looks like a Jeep or like their Aunt’s Minivan. AND I doubt any will ever believe that the Bolt is a crossover. Again, just look at the sales numbers. The Bolt has failed.

  45. Larry D. Says:

    43 GM and Ford and FCA’s EVs are far inferior to what can one buy from Tesla for not much more. The sales numbers prove my point.

    The most insulting, egregious blunder GM made was when Cadillac took the VOlt and made it into a “Caddy” coupe and tried to sell it for $75,000, FOUR times what the actually much more utilitarian Cruze goes for.

    Buyers may be silly, but not THAT silly. The Volt Caddy failed the most miserable way than any failed EV or Plug-in. I do not even remember the alphanumeric name that fraud was given.

  46. Larry D. Says:

    43 NO, time has already told that Tesla overcame HUGE odds and obstacles and TRIUMPHED.

    As for bankrupt GM, give me a break. At least the Government has not yet picked my pocket to bail it out like it did GM and Chrysler.

    I suggest that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44 Why not use the HR-V? I used it because I happen to know someone who has one and likes it, and after looking up the dimensions, I found that it is very close to the same size as a Bolt. As far as “nobody buys them,” they sell about 100K a year in the U.S. A lot of vehicles sell in smaller numbers than that.

    The CRV is much larger than a Bolt, which is why I would not use it in any kind of comparison. How does a Bolt look like a minivan? It is much smaller, even than my 1989 short wheelbase Caravan, which is much smaller than today’s “minivans.” Also, minivans have sliding doors.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45 The biggest problem with the ELR was that it was way overpriced. Before the price was announced, I expected it to be maybe $55K, still kind of high for what it was. When they announced ~$80K, I knew immediately that it didn’t have a chance.

    Cadillac still seems to be overpricing their vehicles, at least the cars. They should undercut the price of competitors from M-B, BMW and Audi, but they are about comparably priced, at least the MSRP.

  49. FSTFWRD Says:

    I really like the Ridgeline, it suits my truck needs perfectly at this time in my life. It has Honda fit, finish, and quality. The real problem is that Honda does not supply enough inventory in all trims and colors. My local dealer has two black ones that have been sitting for weeks. Black is a hard sell in So Cal. Most people seem to want a vehicle within days and are not willing to wait for a dealer to find one or order one in the trim level and color they want. so I will probably wait for them to get one that I want or maybe a new Ranger, we’ll see. My two pennies.

  50. Larry D. Says:

    The HRV as I said has done terribly in sales, so obviously people do not consider it a crossover. AND still it has 1 full inch more clearance than the Bolt (assuming the Bolt has 6 inches, that’s 15% more).

    The Bolt does not look anything like the HR-V. Not that I find the HRV attractive. It looks more like the very ugly, ill-proportioned subcompact crossovers the Buick Encore and the Chevy trax, or, on the Ford Side, the C max.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Jeez…. I didn’t use the HR-V comparison because of sales numbers. I used it because the HR-V is a non-EV I’m familiar with, which is very close to the size of the Bolt.

    For what it’s worth, the HR-V with its “terrible” sales outsells a number of its closest competitors, including CX-3, Kona, Trax, Ecosport, and probably others.