AD #2571 – Hinrichs Frontrunner for CEO of Ford, Nissan Drops the Versa Note, Environmental Impact of VTOLs

April 10th, 2019 at 11:40am

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Runtime: 7:00

0:07 Hinrichs Frontrunner to Become CEO of Ford
1:06 New Study Shows Environmental Impact of VTOLs
2:09 Audi Expands Use of 3D Printing in Production
3:05 Ford to Form Joint Venture with Mahindra in India
3:44 Ford Plans to Turn Lincoln Into a Chinese Brand
5:03 McLaren To Debut New Grand Tourer
5:36 Handful of Unsold Lexus LFAs Still Left in U.S.
6:13 Nissan Drops the Versa Note

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36 Comments to “AD #2571 – Hinrichs Frontrunner for CEO of Ford, Nissan Drops the Versa Note, Environmental Impact of VTOLs”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    A. “ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF VTOLs” I find it sad that his truly silly study, comparing apples and watermelons,comes from a very wealthy U who is still regarded as one of the best in the US and even the World.

    When I was in Hong Kong for a week a few years ago, and on my way to a lecture at the U of Macau, I and some chinese colleagues who accompanied me, took the very fast catamaran, which of course is not a cheap transport mode, it burns a huge amount of fuel. An alternative would be a Helicopter ride, but its cost was not two or three but TEN times that of the catamaran. So it is LUDICROUS to make all these studies and measurements when the “Drone” mode is about ten times as expensive as the road or water mode.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    B. Lincoln to be a Chinese brand. SOunds about right… sad.

    C. McLaren Grand Tourer: sounds interesting, but I doubt it could compete on an ACTUAL Grand Tour 1,000 or more mile trip vs the cars that are BEST equipped to do so, which are BIG, HEAVY cars with a silky-smooth V12 if possible, but a big powerful V8 would do too, cars that have the interior ROOM you need to relax and STRETCH (and not just you but the two poor devils who have to sit in the back, unless this “grand tourer” has no back seat, and you also need an enormous TRUNK to carry all your gear. If you just need the car for a Sunday Afternoon drive, then you don’t need a “grand tourer” but a Miata or a Mini will do. Or a Boxster, still better.


  3. Larry D. Says:

    D. Nissan Drops the Versa. this is not even yesterday’s news, we discussed it several days ago. One question, the Versa Note you have in the video, the black one with the orange accents, is it the “Halloween Special”?

  4. WineGeek Says:

    If Lincoln made competitive vehicles in the US they could sell them rather than offering rebadged Fords. What a shame that Ford Motor Company continues to destroy itself by offering product that are not competitive from top to bottom of their product line. Personally I don’t believe that they can survive long term on the F-150 only. That seems to be the only product that is engineered well and is competitive. Good riddance to Hackett he was a disaster.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it, as far as the electric VTOL thing even having a range of 100 km, much less its being more efficient than ground vehicles. Airplanes are always less efficient than a properly designed ground vehicle in energy use per passenger mile, and airplanes compromised for VTOL would be even less efficient.

  6. Larry D. Says:

    E. Finally, in response to your request for questions to your Mazda CEO on AAH: WHy don’t I state it here and you can ask him, phrasing it in a more diplomatic way:

    “Mazdas are almost always very popular with Auto Journalists and the Enthusiast Mags and Websites, but their actual SALES in the USA are always from weak to lame to dismal, stagnating in a 1.4-1.8% market share range as long as I can remember. COmpare this number with Honda’s 9% or above share, Nissan’s 10%, and Toyota’s 13-14%. Is Mazda serious about the US market? if yes, what is it planning to do so it does not have half the sales of even poor little SUBARU?”

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There is no special technology involved in the 1000 mile range of the McLaren, just a big gas tank, probably 50 gallons or so. A Prius could be that “grand tourer,” with range to spare, with only a 25 gallon tank. The Prius tourer wouldn’t be too “grand,” though.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 Mazda’s lineup appeals mostly to enthusiasts, a small niche of the US market, while Subaru appeals to those who want 4wd trucklets, a large market in the US. I thought maybe Subaru had more dealers than Mazda, but from what I could find, both have a similar number, “over 600.”

  9. Larry D. Says:

    7. Using a tiny little non-luxurious, lightweight car is the 100% opposite of what you need for a Grand Tour.

    My 740iL (donated to charity in 2017 at 19 or 20 years old (a 1998 model) and 147k (mostly hard-driven stop-go miles) was one of the best cars to use on a “grand tour” of 1000s of miles, and the friends I visited, when they first saw the car, had exactly the above reaction (a high school classmate when I visited it in his NJ Home; he owned an old Miata and a used Maserati, BTW). Even better would be its V12 variant, and much better, a ROlls or Bentley with their extra 1000 lbs and genuine lambswool carpets and all that. AND before you tell me you can’t afford it, the Columbus OH dealer where I bought my 2008 E320, also had a Silver Spirit on sale for a mere $17,500 (asking price), which includes, as usual, a 3 month warranty.

  10. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I can see VTOL’s as a future viable form of transportation, but this will also be for the foreseeable future, transportation of the elite (rich). And even if this transportation gets any traction, the take rate will be so low that the environmental impact will be negligible. I put this type of transportation in the same genre of helicopters so I don’t see it as ground breaking either, maybe just an alternative.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Yes, I noted that a Prius wouldn’t be to “grand.”

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 Typo… That’s “too’ ‘grand.”

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Yep, such machines would be very expensive. Also, if there were very many of them flying around over cites, there would be mid-air collisions. Maybe modern technology could mostly avoid that, though.

  14. Bob White Says:

    Ford and GM are increasingly putting all their eggs in one basket. The Cadillac XT6 was specifically designed for the Chinese market and hasn’t been well received in the US.

    As the trace war escalates, both companies could end up being mortally wounded.

  15. Lambo2015 Says:

    I doubt VTOLs will ever become hugely popular for 2 main reasons reasons;
    1) (Noise) Even a 6 lbs drone is very loud. Living in L.A where the LAPD has no less than 6 helos and then multiple news outlets the constant fly-bys gets annoying. I cant imagine hundreds of these in the air.
    2) (COST) Great for emergencies or for the occasional trip by the wealthy but I doubt they will be reasonable enough for the average commuter.

    I doubt public acceptance will be an issue as many people look at flying as nothing more than a flying bus trip anymore. Certainly the FAA will have their hands is regulating them just like helos.

  16. Larry D. Says:

    F. Now (really) finally: Re Hackett’s huge mess at Ford: After wasting billions on the AV SILLINESS, and just firing his Mobility Chief, Hackett gave a talk at the Econ CLub of Detroit…

    “In a wide-ranging talk .., Hackett poured cold water over the industry’s once red-hot predictions that steering wheels will soon be as outdated as the hand-cranked starter.

    He also did something that’s become old hat for the CEO: Hackett appealed for the public’s trust in his vision, then went about envisioning everything.

    Spending a significant amount of time reminiscing about his stints at the University of Michigan (note: only in the Athletics racket!) and Steelcase (note: where he closed down the store and made them in CHINA), Hackett ultimately pivoted to his current role — one he said someone else could probably do better. That’s apparently what he told Bill Ford Jr. when the company chairman approached him for the job.

    “I thought there were better people to run Ford Motor Co.,” Hackett said. “And I asked Bill to think about it when he asked me. He did.”

    Oh Really, Hackett? Why didn’t you help your pal Bill then by offering one or two ACTUAL NAMES????

  17. Lambo2015 Says:

    I knew a few folks that owned Mazdas back in the 90s and vowed to never buy another, due to there were few aftermarket parts available and almost everything was a dealer item. (Overpriced parts) Not sure if that has changed or if many people care about that kind of thing.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 I’ve known two people who had Mazdas fairly recently, and both had some trouble with them. My sister had a Mazda 5 {the actual minivan), and had some transmission controller, and a couple other things go wrong, after it was off warranty, but at well under 100K miles.

    Two people I know currently have that ultimate niche car, Miata, and like them. As far as I know, they have had little trouble with them.

  19. Buzzerd Says:

    Wife and I really liked our C6 when we had it, thought it made a great grand tourer

  20. Larry D. Says:

    16, 17, 18, Mazda used to have a deal with Ford, and one of my colleagues bought a nice Mazda 6 which had the same employee discount as its Ford equivalent. It may have been a manual too.

    The Miata is a great car for short drives on curvy roads, but not for ‘grand touring’, since most people can fit in it but not stretch or recline to any serious degree, and its tiny trunk is 100% a joke. It is very popular with (esp petite) young women who don’t have the space needs an adult male has, and who appreciate its diminutive length when they parallel park it in urban shopping areas.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    One of the Miata owners I know is a not-too-small adult male, and he is reasonably comfortable in it. I don’t think he takes it on long highway trips, though. It’s the hard top, so it wouldn’t be quite as noisy as the soft top. It so happens that one Miata trim level is Grand Touring.

  22. GM Veteran Says:

    The main reason the eVTOLs make economic sense in some types of scenarios is that they cost much less than helicopters. Typical cost for a helicopter that carries two people plus some luggage starts at $1,500,000. Similar capacity eVTOLs will start at $200,000. When the acquisition cost, fuel and maintenance are all dramatically lower, they begin to make economic sense in many usages where helicopters don’t. UBER is predicting that urban hops in an eVTOL will cost about the same per mile as their luxury car rides do now. There are more than a dozen companies working on these craft now with plans to bring them to market in the next several years. The FAA is working hard on flight rules for them. They are coming folks!

  23. Larry D. Says:

    “one Miata trim level is Grand Touring.”

    I guess if the term “jumbo shrimp” is legit, so is … “Miata Grand Touring”.

  24. merv Says:

    Lincoln in China,never thought i would live to see that. I wonder if they propped up the brand here in N.A. with those fancy stores,if it would make a diff?

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 Yeah, the term Grand Touring for a car trim level is used rather loosely, especially when abbreviated “GT.” There was a Vega GT, Dodge Dart GT, (the old Dart with a slant six}, and more recently, a Kia Optima GT and Subaru Legacy GT.

  26. Lambo2015 Says:

    22 They may be coming but their practicality will still be very limited. Its not like Uber where if you’re in your suburban home and want a quick trip to work they cant just land them anywhere. I would think they wont even have the flexibility that’s given to life-flights to land in a parking lot. Typically the fire department or police have to set up a landing site. So it will be from very specific A-B trips that will only work for certain individuals.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 Lincoln is sold in a fairly fancy store near me, which it shares with Jaguar and Land Rover. I don’t know how they are doing, but they must be paying many tens of thousands of dollars a month in “floor plan” interest on all of the expensive cars they have sitting around. I go in there occasionally, to see what’s new. The owners have a DeLorean that is always there on display.

  28. Lambo2015 Says:

    26 Cont; I could see VTOLs being very popular for ski resorts that currently use helos, and in places where ferry’s are used to cross a body of water, or where an obstacle like a mountain or swamp makes the road trip much longer than being able to fly strait to the destination.

  29. Bobby T Says:

    The Studebaker GT Hawk was a nice car, though outdated mechanically

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 I remember TV ads for the Gran Turismo Hawk; they called it that in the ads. Studebaker were on their last legs by then, 1963-64 when I was in HS, but they still ran TV ads, at least on the Indy stations about 150-200 miles from the South Bend Studebaker plant.

  31. w l simpson Says:

    A Chinese Lincoln is going to be a chintzy piece of merchandise , just like everything
    ” made en chine” including the littlest Buick that I recently test drove in Alabama.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    w l, The littlest Buick, the Encore is not made in China. The larger Envision is made there.

  33. Larry D. Says:

    One final comment about the Miata, while the car mags claim it is more fun to drive than its Fiat Spyder Clone, from the point of looks (exterior styling), I have seen both the current Miata with its confused flares and bulges, typical bad Japanese design, and the excellent Fiat, and it wins hands down. And if it shares most parts with the Miata, it will not be typical Fiat (“Fix it again TOny!” (un)reliable.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Fiat version looks better, but by most accounts, the Mazda’s 2.0 NA engine works better than the Fiat’s 1.4 turbo.

  35. Larry D. Says:

    And finally, don’t know if it is a seasonal supply-demand thing, but yesterday was the first time in years that the prices at the nearby gas station were $2.99 gas = $2.99 Diesel.

    34 Sports car buying is an emotional purchase. I am not in the market for either of them, and I generally don’t like these recent turbos everybody seems to use, but if it is really bad, I would not buy either of them. The current Miata looks much worse than even the original Miata.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35 The Fiat 1.4 turbo is not “really bad,” but both Car and Driver and CR liked the Mazda engine better. It was a little quicker, and has more linear throttle response. I suspect Fiat would like to have used their 2.0 turbo used in the Alfa Giulia, but Mazda wouldn’t want Fiat to sell a far quicker Miata than their own.