AD #2428 – Mercedes-Benz’s First Serious EV, Passenger Cars Continue to Plummet, Volvo’s Vision for Mobility

September 5th, 2018 at 11:44am

Runtime: 7:53

0:29 August Sales Strong, But Flat
1:18 Luxury Brands Hit Headwinds
1:54 Passenger Cars Continue to Plummet
3:04 Mercedes-Benz’s First Serious EV
4:44 Volvo’s Vision for Mobility Services
5:58 eTorque Boosts MPG’s
6:50 Piston Coatings Improve Efficiency

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41 Comments to “AD #2428 – Mercedes-Benz’s First Serious EV, Passenger Cars Continue to Plummet, Volvo’s Vision for Mobility”

  1. Kevin Anderson Says:

    Is Volvo’s Vision for Mobility Services an alternative to an RV, a hotel room or even an apartment? If you had access to free charging and you can work, entertain and sleep in this thing could vacation or even live in it? If you lived near a truck stop that offers food and showers, maybe.

  2. Buzzerd Says:

    The Ram e boost thing sounds interesting but is also a reminder of how hard it is to increase MPG on trucks. Sounds like a lot of tech in those trucks to gain 2mpg.

  3. Lambo2015 Says:

    E-torque is an application of Electrification that makes sense. No charging station needed, No Huge heavy and expensive battery required. No switching back and fourth between electric and gas. I’m sure the battery or batteries are more than conventional truck but not near the level of a hybrid.

  4. Wim van Acker Says:

    @ Cadillac: It pains me to see Cadillac on the fifth position in sales. It only beats JLR and Porsche. Love the Cadillac products, the dealerships are great, but all hardworking people involved need to win a long uphill battle after successive GM management teams have damaged that brand.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The mild hybrid system in the Ram sounds like a great idea, but it only ties the V8 competition. Maybe the Ram is quicker, though.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 Cadillac hasn’t recovered from the tarnished reputation from past products, but also, they don’t have the right product mix for today’s truck crazed America. I like the ATS, CTS, and CT6, but I won’t be buying one, or any of their competitors, for that matter. If I bought “premium” brand cars, they would certainly be on my shopping list.

  7. Larry D. Says:


    What was Ward’s estimate of Tesla sales for August?

    4, 6 Caddy has much better sedans than Lincoln, can compete with the Germans, but they were priced a bit too high and sales were not much.

    There is a whole lot of comatose minor luxury or near luxury makers that I wonder if they make a dime for their parent company these days

    a. Infiniti
    b. Acura
    c. Jaguar (almost all JLR sales in the US are LR’s)
    d. Caddilac, and last AND least,

    e. Lincoln.

    Tesla sales may now be greater than Caddy and Lincoln Combined, and teslas are not yet cheap mass production cars!

  8. Larry D. Says:

    I like the new Merc EV, the styling is smooth, I prefer the first front end, not the other that looks like a handlebar mustache.

    It all depends on the PRICE though, which we do not know yet.

  9. Larry D. Says:

    1 I think the latest Volvo nonsense is in line with their other nonsense. They do sell a few cars in Europe, but in the US their sales are pitiful and so is their reliability (one reason for the low sales, the other is asking $60k for a four cylinder, and I don’t care if it makes half a million HP at a billion RPM, I will never ever waste that kind of $ on a 4-cyl coffeemaker!)

  10. Larry D. Says:

    “INSIDE EV” site has not yet posted August Tesla Sales, but it did post some others, of interest.

    The Prius prime, with ACTUAL Aug sales of 2,071, did well compared to the Volt, which had estimated Aug sales of 1825, and esp the Bolt, which, now that Tesla 3s are available, plummetted to just 1,225 est sales.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    While sedans are clearly unfashionable in America, Tesla is selling Model 3′s way faster than they can build them. Mercedes may be doing Tesla a favor, but making their first serious EV a crossovery thing, rather than a direct competitor to Model S or Model 3.

  12. Larry D. Says:

    2 don’t fall into the MPG trap.

    2 mpg for a prius is nothing, up or down 4%,


    2 mpg for a full sized truck is up pr down 10-15%!

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 Exactly! I look forward to seeing some real world testing on the trucks.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 A 2 mpg improvement for a truck from 20 to 22 mpg saves 4.55 gallons per 1000 miles. A 2 mpg improvement for a Prius from 50 to 52 mpg saves less than a gallon per 1000 miles. Whether eTorque is actually cost effective, of course, will depend on how reliable the system turns out to be, and fuel prices over the life of the truck.

    To me, an Audi is still a Volkswagen, but I suspect that, to most Audi buyers, it is something much different, or Audi would be that high in sales among luxury/premium brands. Maybe most buyers don’t even know that an Audi is a VW.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Correction…. Audi would NOT be that high in sales….

  16. Larry D. Says:

    The numbers are just in, and they are VERY impressive:

    In August, Tesla sold 17,800 tesla 3s, 2,625 Tesla S’s and 2750 Model X’s

    This adds up to…23,175 units!!!!

    This is almost as high as ALL Mercedes models together, or all MAzdas for that same month of Aug!

    (Mazda total sales were 25,816 and Mercedes were 24,192.)

    Maybe next month Tesla will exceed both, the wy they are producing them!

  17. Wim van Acker Says:

    @16: interesting figures, Larry. So the 3 sales are 4,400 per week. Very impressive.

  18. Larry D. Says:

    14 there is sufficient product differentiation between Audis and VWs today, both in the mechanicals but especially in the interiors.

    When I gave my car to be transported overseas in Toronto, I had to return via an expensive one-way rental, they gave me a VW passat that looked great on the outside, and I was relieved I did not get yet another Hyundai Kia Nissan POS, but when I drove it, I was disappointed at the many cheap spots in it. Even the engine-transmission combi was not so good. It reeked of cheapness.

    Audis have great interiors, maybe the best in the business, and they always had great exterior styling too, (VWs are tastefully styled IMO also, exterior-wise)

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 The only time I serious looked at Audis was in the late ’90′s, when they still sold the A4 Avant here. At that time, the A4 shared a lot of powertrain parts, including the 1.8 turbo with VW’s. The interior of the A4 was certainly nicer that a same-year Passat, but they shared window switches, and some other visible parts.

    Yeah, there is less sharing now, but they still share the 2.0 turbo 4, and probably other powertrain pieces. Audi interiors are much nicer. It’s getting so AWD is mandatory in most of what Audi sells in the U.S.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 It looks like they are getting Model 3 production up near the target, and getting the cars to customers.

    Yep, various impressive, with 3 models, all of them pure electrics, and two of them cars, which “nobody wants.” Meanwhile, JLR sells less than half as many units, with about a dozen different models.

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I keep waiting for a “fire-sale” on passenger cars but don’t see it yet. Wondering if the manufacturers are just letting the car segment go, and letting it find its own niche while banking on their expansion of CUV’s to rule the day.

    There are some awesome passenger cars out there (and I’m a buyer) but waiting for that deal that is too good to be true.

  22. Lambo2015 Says:

    #20 Yea now we will start to see lines at the Tesla charging stations that have been empty for years.
    I wonder what Tesla has budgeted for maintaining and adding to the charging network.

  23. Larry D. Says:

    19 The test of badge engineering could be a ‘blind’ driving test, if you sit somebody in an Audi and then in a VW that comes close, most drivers would not confuse the one with the other. However, will they also figure out if they are sitting in a Taurus or a Lincoln MKS?

    20 The estimates for Tesla are for US sales in Aug, not for production, which is much higher than that, due to the considerable exports to Europe and elsewhere.

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    #21 Chuck I think you’ll see amazing deals on passenger cars coming off a 2 year lease as less people want a brand new car even fewer will be looking for a used one. That has to be hurting banks on the closed end leases.
    But once they discontinue a car and its on its last few months of production I would think the deals will be good.
    Its sad to see the Ford and GM relinquish all the small car sales to the imports but if they are losing money than I guess they need to do what makes sense.
    I believe that the small econo-box cars will stay around a while but that this shift to SUV/CUVs is an actual evolution of the auto and not just a trend.

  25. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #23 Larry, have you seen the new Avalon; wow, treading in Lexus territory for sure.

    #24 Lambo, yeah, the deals should be forthcoming, and Cadillac is on the cusp of a new sedan (CT5, perhaps) so I’m wondering how ‘it’ will do.

  26. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Will the Ram’s overtaking of Silverado be short lived as Chevrolet is just rolling out the ’19 Silverado? All the full sized p/u’s are so close to being better than ever that the race for sales will continue into the foreseeable future. Whose best; might not matter as brand loyalty is also fierce (though Ram has had an impressive conquest, in sales, in the last few years).

  27. Larry D. Says:

    25 the new Avalon and the LExus ES350 are clones. You already save $5-10K when you get the Avalon, if you can get past its weird aggressive grille. The full hybrid version, esp if you do lots of city miles, is the way to go.

    Toyota offers moderate incentives, about $2k per vehicle, while Honda and Subaru even tinier ones, around $1k, while the domestics and the luxury makers offer $4k and $5k incentives.

    IMO, if u r looking 4 bargains, no matter what your budget is, you can do so much better buying used. The used car market in the US is 3 to 4 times the new car market of 17 mill a year, so close to 65 mill cars!

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 GM hasn’t relinquished small passenger cars sales, at least not yet. The Cruze, Sonic, Spark, and mid-size Malibu are still around, for now. Probably some of them should go, though, because none of them sell too well.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 If a lot of people use the Model #’s for “road trips,” there will, indeed, but a capacity problem with the change stations. I suspect most Tesla buyers have other cars, though, and will use them for highway trips, and use the Tesla closer to home. I’m sure we will hear about it the first time a shooting occurs during a dispute about who’s first in line at a SuperCharger station.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 Dodge tripled pickup sales overnight, when they introduced the 1994 model, the first with the “big rig” styling, and have made inroads ever since. I suspect Ram’s outselling Chevy is temporary, with the 2019 Silverado just now showing up, but you never know. Appearance-wise, the Ram is my favorite, though the manufacturers wouldn’t care much about my opinion, since I don’t buy pickup trucks anyway.

  31. Lambo2015 Says:

    #29 Maybe Tesla 3 owners have a second car but they developed the lower cost 3 for the masses. In doing so are no longer marketing to the wealthy folks that bought model S and X’s.
    So this smaller EV with a still steep price tag in the 30 to 40K + range is going to appeal to people that have wanted a Tesla EV but could spend the 70K+ which tells me they may not actually be able to afford a second car for their long trips. They will expect this car to be their main and only transportation. Which means to me the charging stations will become a lot more of a necessity than they S & X owners who maybe did use their Tesla as a toy or second car and rarely traveled outside their battery range. Time will tell.

  32. Lambo2015 Says:

    31Correction Coundnt spend 70K

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Yep, time will tell. The 3′s built so far have been $50K or so, unless things have changed. If I live long enough for my condo to have chargers, I might consider one. It would work for all of my driving, charged at home, except twice a year trips of 1100 miles. You can rent cars for that, if you have only one car.

  34. Roger t Says:

    Wonder why Tesla US sales aren’t part of report?

  35. Larry D. Says:

    34 Tesla does not announce monthly sales nos. The ones I gave are estimates. But I agree with you that Tesla sales are a big story, given their very rapid growth, and I am surprised Sean and John said nothing about them so far. maybe they will talk about them in THursday’s show.

    Checking the sales nos of Tesla rivals, they seem to be very weak. BMW and Mercedes sales have gone down as Tesla 3 sales are up by huge percentages.

    I have read elsewhere that the 5 vehicles most often traded in for a Tesla 3 are the Prius (no surprise), the Leaf (also none), the 3 series (same price range. The Tesla 3 has been the only one 3 series rival, out of many other makers efforts, that seems to attract 3 Series owner’s attention!). The other two are the.. Civic and the Accord, traded in for a much more expensive Tesla 3.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    31 … “Which means to me the charging stations will become a lot more of a necessity than they S & X owners who maybe did use their Tesla as a toy or second car and rarely traveled outside their battery range.”

    Not necessarily. I can envision MANY who will buy a Tesla and use it not as a toy but to greatly reduce their commuting costs. Most people who do a lot of miles with their vehicles do so because of their long commute. Teslas with 250 and 310 miles range can satisfy a charge-free round trip for the vast majority of commuters, and for any weather conditions. these cars will be charged overnight in their homes (typically commuters with long drives are couples that work 100 miles apart and split the distance by buying a single family house midway between their jobs). if they can charge it for free at work, even better!

    It just happens that these pure EVs with their awesome acceleration and very low center of gravity are also a blast to drive, but they sure are not just toys.


  37. Larry D. Says:

    29 if intensive commuters, whose miles are mostlhy commuting miles, can do 100% of these by their Pure EV such as a Tesla, they do not need to buy another car. For the few occasions (I estimate them on average less than 5 per year) they need a long trip, they can rent the appropriate vehicle.

    This way it is far more efficient and far more flexible, since they can rent the type of vehicle that suits their long trip needs each time. If they go on a family vacation on the lake and tow their boat, they can rent a big Suburban or Expedition, without having to own these elephants all year long

  38. Lambo2015 Says:

    #37 That sounds great in theory but many people with boats or campers would have to be willing to pay their premium EV car payment along with their boat or RV payment and then be willing to add a rental expense to every trip that uses their boat or RV. Having been an avid camper and knowing that it isnt always planned weeks in advance I would be really upset to not be able to take a trip or use my boat because the rental company didnt have anything available. Or worse taking a week long trip having to pay for a SUV rental for 10 days that I only need to haul on the day up and the day back.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The few thousand people who regularly trailer big boats would not be likely candidates as “one car families” with a Tesla 3 being that one car.

  40. Lambo2015 Says:

    Yea Kit except there are 13 million boats registered in the US.
    Over One Million just in Michigan. Not to mention camping trailers and other towable items.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40. I had one of those boats, a Laser that I towed with a Geo Spectrum. I know multiple boat owners whose boats never leave a marina. Yeah, some owners of large boats regularly trailer them, but I suspect many more do not. I don’t have data to prove it.