AD #2598 – Mercedes Packs New Tech into Prototype, Ford Employees Preparing for Layoffs, Value of Content Comparison

May 20th, 2019 at 11:53am

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Runtime: 8:35

0:07 USMCA One Step Closer to Passing
0:43 Ford Employees Preparing for Layoffs
1:11 Alonso Fails to Qualify for Indy 500
2:13 Technical Details of Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid
3:36 Value of Content Comparison
4:25 Mercedes Packs New Tech into Single Prototype
5:54 Steel Will Play a Role with Cars in The Future

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38 Comments to “AD #2598 – Mercedes Packs New Tech into Prototype, Ford Employees Preparing for Layoffs, Value of Content Comparison”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    I have been questioning why police and mail delivery cars are not hybrids, given the time they spend idling, for 20 years. Mail Trucks are still from the time of Flintstones, but I’m glad to see that at least the Police Explorers are going hybrid AND are so affordable. (maybe Ford wants police depts to stop buying all these Dodge Chargers)

    In the mid-90s I served in the Financial Affairs Committee of my U. and I also questioned why the expensive buses used in the ‘free’ Univ. bus service between the 3 or 4 campuses had to be dirty diesels and not hybrids. It took them 20 years to convert them too.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    1 something did not sound right, so I checked, it was not the mid 90s but 1998-2001 when I was on that Committee, in 1995 there were no hybrids around.

  3. Larry D. Says:

    Ford is in the midst of an $11 billion “overhaul”

    I love the “Newspeak”. Is this how Hackett calls firing 25,000 loyal employees? an “Overhaul”? sounds more like a “MASSACRE” to me.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford has something even better for city police cars, but they are going to drop it soon. That’s the Fusion hybrid which gets almost double the mpg of the Explorer, and I suspect uses less gas while keeping the lights flashing and radios working when parked.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Alonso really seems to make all the wrong decisions about who to drive race cars for. Surely, he could have gotten a competitive ride with one of the established teams, but decided to go with McLaren, who hasn’t raced at Indy for years. I was surprised, though, that they couldn’t make the car work, since it is the same as everyone else is using.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess Ford doesn’t need as many employees, since they are getting out of the car business. The whole thing is sad to me, but I’m sure Toyota and Honda like their decisions.

  7. MJB Says:

    Sean, did you say that new Mercedes prototype has “heated seat belts”? REALLY?

    Mercedes is known for building unnecessary complications into everything – and now they’re trying to make even something as un-modifiable as a cloth seat belt a costly repair item.

    Not to mention, if it’s cold enough outside to even warrant a ‘heated seat belt’, wouldn’t the occupants already be wearing enough outer garments to keep any heat form said seat belt from even being felt? DUHH…

  8. ChuckGrenci Says:

    7, I thought the same, just because you can doesn’t mean you should (even on a demonstration vehicle); simply no need ever for a heated seatbelt.

  9. ArtG Says:

    7. They say they hope to encourage seat belt use but I think most people are doing so now anyway.

  10. ChuckGrenci Says:

    9, Thanks for the link, BUT after reading it it still didn’t explain why. They said for more compliance to wear the belt but failed to reach any logical argument towards that end.

  11. Drew Says:

    Let’s just call it like it is… Ford is firing thousands of loyal employees to free-up funds for:

    1. Bill’s pursuit of a legacy (the Train Station project),
    2. Foolish spending on various autonomy acquisitions (that intelligence could have been acquired through partnerships at a fraction of the billion-plus that was spent),
    3. Hackett’s error in prematurely exiting the car business (Ford is aggressively incentivizing Fusion hybrids because Fiesta and Focus can no longer carry the CAFE ball).

  12. Larry D. Says:

    11 This is what Bill Ford and his siblings, who, owning a tiny % of all Ford shares, still have a majority of the Voting Shares, got by foolishly hiring Hackett, formerly a…College athletic director, and later a Chairmaker who closed down the store and moved production to China (Steelcase).

    What, (if anything) were they actually THINKING?

  13. Larry D. Says:

    4 The Fusion Hybrid I was bribed $50 to drive a few Thanksgivings ago had a pitiful, non-usable Trunk. I believe recent hybrid sedans like the Camry and Accord have much more efficient designs and normal trunks.

  14. Lambo2015 Says:

    Certainly a heated belt was just throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks. However I do like the idea of the lighted receiver end, as they can be hidden at night. Find it hard to believe that MB would want the liability of a child safety seat. One of the main reasons Dodge got rid of their integrated child seat in the Caravan.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 The current Camry and Accord hybrids have regular trunks, with fold down rear seat backs. The traction battery under the rear seat cushion. The Camry has the 12v battery in the trunk. I don’t know about the Accord.

  16. Ed Says:

    12 the ford family have special shares, voting shares, any one can go and buy all the shares they want and still not have a say. And never will.

  17. Ed Says:

    12 the ford family have special shares, voting shares, any one can go and buy all the shares they want and still not have a say. And never will.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 The current Camry and Accord hybrids have regular trunks, with fold down rear seat backs. The traction battery is under the rear seat cushion. The Camry has the 12v battery under the floor of the trunk.

  19. Lambo2015 Says:

    The average amount of steel used in the manufacture of a vehicle is about 1 ton which is around $700. A 25% tariff would be $175 per vehicle. Which undoubtedly was passed onto the consumer. So I fail to see how that cost Ford or GM 1 billion dollars.

  20. Bob Wilson Says:

    Current seat belts ride up our necks like B movie villains trying to strangle us. We twist the latch end of the belt 3-4 times to get breathing space. Ask your next auto-professional if they are even aware of the problem?

  21. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Anyone else think that Merrill Lynch’s content comparison is way off base. You can list the dollar amount for each but you certainly can’t compare them with each other when M/L cherry picks what they are including in their numbers. Content should be content; including r&d only for autonomous makes comparison apples and comquats.

  22. Drew Says:

    21 – Chuck, I agree.

    20 – All of my vehicles (that have a B-pillar) have height-adjustable shoulder harnesses. We have no comfort problem (from my 4’10” mother to my 6’4” son-in-law). Twisting the belt increases your chances for serious injury as your body forces are distributed over a narrower section of the belt webbing.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20. I never had that problem. I guess at 5’10″, I am the right “average” height, even for non-adjustable belts like in my 1989 van. I’ve never driven a Tesla Model 3 or BMW i3, though.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1 Those Grumman mail trucks are real relics, with GM “iron duke” engines, and 3 speed automatic transmissions. Does anyone here know who maintains them? Does the postal service have shops, or do they take them to Chevy dealers with some mechanics a year or two from retirement, who are old enough to be familiar with the hardware?

  25. Larry D. Says:

    24 They now test 50 replacement trucks from 5 makers, even electrics, and hybrids

  26. Ctech Says:

    The Grumman mail trucks, the few that are left, are maintained by the USPS central garages or USPS local garages they Central Florida about half of the delivery vehicles are Dodge Caravans and Ram Promasters.

  27. Ctech Says:

    Sorry “they subcontract service and repairs to.” was left out.

  28. Ctech Says:

    I wonder if Mercedes is heating the whole seatbelt or just the metal end? The metal end does get cold in the winter and if the Florida sun hits your buckle just right, trust me it gets hot enough to burn.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 A Grumman truck still delivers to my condo most days, but occasionally they use a Caravan or something else.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d think they’d continue to want RHD vehicles for rural delivery, whatever they are. Maybe they can get RHD Promasters. The Fiat version would be made that way for the UK, and some other markets.

  31. ChuckGrenci Says:

    28, Ctech, the C&D article shows an infrared picture of the seat belt being heated. It is the whole seat-belt belt; I doubt the attaching latch is heated (nor should it be, but the belt being heated is not one of M/B’s great ideas either).

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Instead of heating seat belts, someone should work on pre-cooling steering wheels of cars parked in the summer sun.

  33. Larry D. Says:

    32 the obvious solution to this, which also cools the cabin while parked from the 120s and 140s to a livable temp, is solar panels on the roof/hood/trunklid that power the A/C for free.

    meanwhile, while Germany has decided to close down all its 84 coal-fired plants, Australia’s elections was a huge upset, labor, which was also in favor of limiting coal production, which is one of Australia’s few main exports, lost badly. (I am not sure if their “Green New Deal” campaign was headed by a 29 year old waitress named Cairo Occasional Cortex).

    As long as India keeps burning the coal, Australia and South Africa and maybe even the US is going to export it to them.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    33 In absence of this solar panel deal, as for the steering wheel, when I park it in the summer and there is no shade, on top of leaving the window 1/8th ” open, I carry a white towel and cover the steering wheel and the driver’s seat with it. Or one of these beach straw spreads with a silver back (sun reflecting). There are also windshield covers many companies hand out for free, advertising their products.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 The ~200-250 watts you could get from solar panels on the roof of a car wouldn’t be nearly enough to run the A/C continuously, but could add some “juice” to the battery of an EV or hybrid over the day. I can “remote start” my Camry to cool it down, but I never do. I use the white towel over the steering wheel on hot, sunny days, though. With the cloth seats, the hot seats aren’t an issue as with leather or vinyl.

    It looks like India needs a bunch of wind, solar, and nuclear power, as they rapidly increase use of electricity, with use of A/C expanding dramatically.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    35 500 million of the 1 billion or 1.2 bill indians do not even have electricity or toilets. Socialism has impoverished them to an extreme degree, and they seem to not understand Big corrupt Government is the cause of their misery. They have no $ to go renewable.

  37. ChuckGrenci Says:

    32,33 I use windshield solar shields which helps but the car still gets pretty hot but it will keep the steering wheel a little cooler than if just left exposed. I also have Vent-Visor so I can leave the windows cracked an inch or so to help with ventilation. (I once had an incident leaving the windows cracked using the Vent-Visor but won’t go into that too much but will say I had a bunch of micro sand throughout the cabin).

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 India may be poor, but tens of millions of Indian homes are adding a/c each year. Providing the power for them presents problems in multiple ways.