AD #2626 – Battery Costs Hurting BEVs Competitiveness, New Ford Explorer Impressions, Fiat Committed to U.S.

June 28th, 2019 at 11:48am

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Listen to “AD #2626 – Battery Costs Hurting BEVs Competitiveness, New Ford Explorer Impressions, Fiat Committed to U.S.” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 8:43

0:07 FCA Execs Play Musical Chairs
0:26 Fiat Committed to U.S. Despite Huge Sales Drop
1:05 Inteva Develops New Material Made from Scrap
1:55 Battery Costs Hurting BEVs Competitiveness
3:21 Detroit Automakers Seek Cost Savings from UAW
4:15 New Ford Explorer Impressions
6:50 Why EV Startups Are Moving to Detroit

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98 Comments to “AD #2626 – Battery Costs Hurting BEVs Competitiveness, New Ford Explorer Impressions, Fiat Committed to U.S.”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    “But have you ever heard of Bordrin. Quadrobot or Bollinger Motors?”

    I’ve heard of Bollinger, but I am not intertsted to learn anything about it. All three above will either be bought by some fool soon, or they will go bankrupt first. or both.

  2. Kevin A Says:

    So if FIAT is committed to the US market, why aren’t they the best performers in the segments they are in? The FIAT 500 has (relatively) lousy gas mileage and room (and or course, poor quality). FIAT could have done better by selling rebadged Mazdas, like Toyota does.

  3. Larry D. Says:


    Apparently the ego of some idiots at FCA, the idiots that decided to bring back this utter garnage brand Fiat, the cheapest of the cheap in Europe, back to the US market where it never belonged, is more important than the $ BILLIONS (US, not Canadian!) it has been BLEEDING FCA.

    Lutz wants the GM SUV profits to bail out GM’s FAILED, UGLY Bolt and its kin, and the FCA idiots steal Billions from JEEP’s profits to keep FIAT in Intensive Care in the US.

    4,100 sales in 5 months for the US market AND for a low-cost brand like FIAT is just LAUGHABLE. I bet nobody made that point at your interview with that FCA Type.

    So that everybody knows what we are talking about, the above means 800 FIAT sales a MONTH.

    When a bRand whose cars are 10 and 20 times as expensive, MERCEDES BENZ, sells 25,000 and 35,000 EVERY Month in the US alone.

    This is just plain LUDICROUS. NOT in a good way, like Tesla Ludicrous mode (satisfied, Albemarle? You got your Tesla mention of the day). In a REALLY BAD WAY.

    FCA shareholders should all be indignant.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Fiat Miata looks better than the real one, at least to me, but I agree that it makes no sense to sell Fiat in the US, especially forcing dealers to have separate showrooms, as they did.

  5. Lambo2015 Says:

    3 The truly sad part is that they will likely electrify the 500 and assume that will boost sales. When they already have pitiful sales making it twice the price will not help but cost FCA millions.

  6. Larry D. Says:

    4 I think most people, incl. myself, will admit that the Fiat Miata is far better looking than the current Mazda Miata, who may have kept its weight close to the tiny 1990 original, but has ruined its styling in many ways. Still some reviews say the Miata is more fun to drive than the Fiat version.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    5 Huh??? The E 500 had existed for a decade almost, remember the late great Sergio telling buyers NOT to buy it, beause each STUPID Fiat E 500 cost him $15,000 in losses? I remember it as if it was said yesterday!

  8. Lambo2015 Says:

    7 Oh! Well I have never heard or seen a E 500. Didn’t know they already made that horrible mistake. Doesn’t surprise me. How many of those have they sold in the US

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 Yeah, most reviewers say the Miata drives better, because of its 2.0 N/A engine, as opposed the the 124′s 1.4 turbo. Fiat has an engine that would be great in that car, the 2.0 turbo used in the Alfa Giulia, but understandably, Mazda doesn’t want the Fiat version to be substantially faster than their own.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 I don’t know how many they have sold, but it was/is available only in certain markets, as a “compliance vehicle.”

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8,10 The Fiat 500E is sold only in CA and OR, according to Car and Driver.

  12. Lambo2015 Says:

    Battery Costs Hurting BEVs Competitiveness. ??
    That’s news to anyone.

  13. ChuckGrenci Says:

    The Fiat 500 retains a presence in the U.S.; that may well be all that they (Fiat) want to do sans sales. If they leave again, they’re toast, which may be moot, but it they leave they’ll probably never (never say never) return.

    ICE’s, BEV’s and other ‘electrics’; goodness gracious, head over to Autoline After Hours. Oh my goodness was a great edition this week is (with James Martin). This show is so packed with insight and information you wouldn’t think some of this info could/would be revealed, it is definitely worth your time. I give it two thumbs up; but you decide.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 I’ll play it now. I missed it when live.

  15. Larry D. Says:

    13 I was planning to look at AAH tomorrow morning, too much going on here lately.

    Did FCA sell Ferrari? It still owns Maserati of the god-awful reliability and Alfa, these two seem to have a far better chance of making any $ in the US than FIAT. Of course they cannot approach Ferrari in profitability.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 I just listened to AAH, and it was great. Everyone seems to think mild hybrids will be the next big thing. GM was doing them 15-20 years ago, and I’ve never been impressed with the small mpg or performance gains from them, but they are apparently cheap to do. They certainly have a big advantage over a regular stop/start system, in that they wouldn’t prematurely wear out the starter and ring gear.

    15 FCA spun off Ferrari in 2014 or 2015. I don’t know much about the arrangements, but the late Sergio was involved with both companies after the split.

  17. len simpson Says:

    makes no sense to haul around a half ton of batts , when a 48 v w/ice gen will do a better & cheaper job

  18. len simpson Says:

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 With a top speed of 60 mph, it should keep up with normal traffic up to 45-50, and would work in a lot of urban areas, including the Florida beach town where I spend winters.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If these 48v EVs are sold in the US, they need to have special licensing. We don’t need cars like that on the interstates that will only go 62, and less uphill or into the wind. They’d be fine in many urban areas, but not everywhere.

  21. Bob Wilson Says:

    Munro & Associates list EV motors at $385.80 (Tesla induction) to $830.44 (BMW i3). No pistons, connecting rods, valves, cam shaft(s), fuel injectors, fuel pumps, starter motor, oil pump, crank shaft, engine block, cylinder head(s), catalytic converter(s), muffler(s), exhaust pipe, oxygen sensors, intake manifold, air filter, gas tank, clutches, transmission gear sets, or oil pump. EVs have much smaller radiator and coolant pump. Their AC and heaters work without running an engine.

    Munro lists battery packs at $9,716.23 (BMW 22kWh) to $13,331.43 (Tesla 75 kWh). No maintenance required with second life as home energy storage. Recycling, to recovery the original elements, is waiting on enough batteries wearing out which is taking a long, long time.

    With 746 W per hp, a 48 V battery needs, 746 / 48 = 15.5A, for one hp. So a 10 hp load would need 155A. A 48 V system won’t cost much but it won’t do much either. But it is perfect for an electric AC, steering, and power brakes.

    The web link is my trip report to the Munro & Associates, EV conference.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    ” $9,716.23 (BMW 22kWh) to $13,331.43 (Tesla 75 kWh)”

    Iknew Tesla had an advantage in battery cost, but not such a HUGE gap.

    BMW above would scale to 44,165 per 100 KWH

    TESLA to just $17,775 for same huge 100 KWH battery.

    Why wonder that Tesla sells ten times the cars other EV makers sell?

  23. Larry D. Says:

    a tiny 48 volt car would be perfect around town in the US and in my summer home for short trips and commuting the 26 miles one way to downtown.

    Alternatively a plug-in hybrid with a better EV range (80-100 miles) and no range anxiety would do the job of both the long trip car and the 48 volt one.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 It would seem that a plug-in hybrid would be an ideal “do everything” vehicle for a lot of people, but none has ever sold too well. The Volt, especially 2nd generation, has adequate plug-in range for a lot of people’s commutes, with 53 miles of electric range, and then ~350 miles of range on gas, at an ok, but not Prius-like 42 mpg combined EPA rating. The Prius Prime has less electric range, but better mpg on gas. Volt and Prime are quite different in one way, though. The Volt operates as an electric car, until the battery is run down, with the gas engine never running. The the engine in the Prime runs any time you press the right pedal very hard, regardless lf the state of battery charge.

    Maybe it’s time for someone to combine the best features of a Volt and Prius Prime and, of course, make it a fashionable CUV, instead of a car.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    24 The volt is out of the question for me and probably the prius prime too. A LS600h was a far better try but had a tiny EV range. A Merc S 500 or 550 Plug-in with better EV range would be ideal.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The LS and S-Class hybrids/plug-in hybrids were both kind of useless exercises, with not very good mpg, and/or almost no electric only range. Given the actual market of cars like that, why did they make them?

  27. Larry D. Says:

    26 Obviously, because I like them far, far better than the lousy Volt and the low-rent prius prime.

    And I revise, on second thought, my interest in the tiny 48 v. My life is worth far more than that to move around in such an unsafe vehicle.

  28. Larry D. Says:

    PS what Volt are we talking about? GM has discontinued it.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 Mercedes has also discontinued E320 diesels in the US market, but you have two of them.

    27 Yeah, your earlier comment about the 48v mini car seemed curious, considering the many times you’ve commented about small cars, old minivans, etc. as being not safe enough.

  30. Larry D. Says:


    1. I only wanted ONE Diesel, for the summer home. They are really hard to find, as most owners know little about how great they are and prefer the gas versions in the USA. I have said many times that the first one which I got in Oct 2016, had a black interior and I later thought it would become too hot there in the summer, so in April 17 I bought the second, (both required a 8 hour round trip) which is brilliant white with a light beige interior. SO the one I am stuck with in the US would not be my choice if I bought it expressly for the US.

    But what does any of this, which I have explained many times, have to do with the utterly unattractive and discontinued Volt which lost GM billions and billions???

    Just because Mercedes does not offer a diesel E in the USA (YET As you should know it offers these SPLENDID vehicles all over the world) any more, does it mean it is a total loser like the Volt???? (not to mention way overpriced for what it offers??) Makes zero sense.

    “considering the many times you’ve commented about small cars, old (40 years old!)minivans, etc. as being not safe enough.”

    Which is a 100% valid comment, but one has to get hit, like I was, driving a 1845 lb Civic hatch, see it totaled, and while I did not break any bones or major organs, I had muscle/tendon ruptures and pain for 2 months, to appreciate it.

    If I would shop for a 2nd car in the US, a top of the line S 65 AMG V 12 would be quite satisfying. These are even more rare than the diesels, but still I could get one (almost 200k new) for less than you paid for the Camry with the new car smell (which according to some analysis is 80% cheap plastic and 20% disinfectant).

    Or I would take a bigger risk and get a Rolls or, for better handling etc, a Bentley.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 An S 65 AMG would be cool to drive once in a while, but would not be a very good alternative to a Camry hybrid for regular use. “On general principles,” I’d rather get 40+ miles per gallon of regular for my short trips with stops, than about 8 miles per gallon of premium, like the V12 Benz would get. Also, It’s nice to go 500+ miles per trip to the gas station. Tnen, there’s maintenance.

    Actually, the older Benz I’d most consider getting, would be an RWD AMG E wagon like the youtube guy has. That would be kind of fun to drive, and would work well for carrying model airplanes.

  32. Larry D. Says:

    The even rarer Grand Touring Coupe version, $30,000

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 I saw one of those a couple years ago, and had to look it up to find out more about it, like the nature of the engine used, and the price when new. There wouldn’t have been many of them built, but they wouldn’t need to sell many for 190K 2006 dollars, to justify building them.

    Why do they depreciate so fast, unless they are really, really unreliable? It would be a really cool 3rd car for occasional use, even with the 11-18 mpg EPA numbers.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    What do you really miss if you buy a 2007 S class for $12k vs a 2014 for $40k (CPO) or new for 6 figures?

    A comprehensive answer

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 Are you asking my opinion? If so, here it is.

    With the 2007, you wouldn’t have a warranty, but you might be able to buy one. You would have fewer gadgets, but maybe not much that I’d care about. The ’07 would probably be thirstier, and maybe slower, for the most similar powertrains. Without looking at them closely, I don’t know how they would compare, as far as user friendliness of controls, cabin decor, etc.

    To me, the biggest downside of buying a 2007 car, whether a Benz or a Chevy, if it’s been in Indiana, Michigan, etc., would be that it would have 12 years worth of damage from the road salt. It might not show yet, but it would in a few years. If I were actually buying a car like an S-Clas,, a 4-5 year old CPO would probably be most likely, unless I happened onto an older one in exceptional condition, at a good price.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    35 I posted it before I actually saw it. I also like the 2007-2013 (I’d not buy a 2007 anyway, but a late year model with as many miles as possible, so most are highway miles, and this makes 100% sense for me since I would not drive it more than 3k miles a year.

    The good thing about flagship (even mid-range) luxury cars is their owners really take good care of them and many don’t drive them in the winter at all, and if they do they wash the salt away. In any case, one only has to do that when the weather warms up, in the cold salt does little damage.

    I put both of my E diesels on the lift at their dealers and proved that they had no rust even though they were driven in the snowbelt.

    One can buy extra warranty for any car but I would not recommend it, these cars are made to last. I was told to expect $2k/year in maintenance and repair for the 740iL and from 2005-2018, only one year, 2016, had more than 2k expenses. I would gladly pay $2k/year if I saved $70,000 over new when I bought it.

    The diesels have never needed any repair, only routine service, oil changes, one battery ( the 2007 battery on my 2008 was replaced this June for only 150 euros), a new set of tires (got $500 discount when I bought the car to allow for that), and oil/filter ($219 for the 2007 at the dealer in the US, and a mere 80 euros at a good local mechanic here). Both will need brake pads, my 2008 in 4,000 km and the 2007 when I return to the US (it already made some noise when I hit the brake before I left in May).

    I should not tout used luxury cars too much for people will wise up and drive their prices up.

    PS a colleague of mine bought two CPO low-mile Merc SUVs, an ML and a GL, both for around $30k, and unwisely shelled out $5k for an extended warranty, then took one for service and told me he had to pay (dealer) $1,500, and the worst part is none of that was covered. He does a ton of miles, long commute, easy on the cars (highway on cruise control) so he still saves a ton of $ over buying new, and has good luxury and even better safety for his big family.

  37. Stephen Says:

    Most research on plugin hybrids shows that buyers rarely plug them in as the range on E is so short and that official fuel efficiency is fantasy land, with most buyers, even when they plug them in, not getting anywhere near the savings in fuel they should expect.
    The UK has just announced that PHEVs will no longer receive any government grants or help that did cover hybrids-pHEVs and EVs. Now it will be EVs only. Many PHEV buyers bought them to avail of the government incentives (parking-city access-lower road taxes-state incentives) and never plugged them in. Holland showed the same research results. So PHEVs and hybrids are likely to be a dead-end apart from raising each car makers official average fuel consumption hence BMW-Merc just launched PHEVs en masse at their recent Geneva-Frankfurt motor shows. Since the UK cut the subsidies- sales have fallen 34%. European car makers bet on diesel and lost. Toyota-Lexus bet on hybrid and that can only prolong the damage. So its EVs or maybe Hydrogen.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 With the exception of Prius Prime and Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid, most plug-in hybrids, if run only on gas, get substantially worse mpg than regular ICE versions of the same car. That totally defeats the purpose of them, so it’s good that governments are backing off from subsidizing them.

    I’m surprised that hybrids aren’t more popular in Europe, except that the best ones are from Toyota, which is not big in Europe. If VW made good hybrids, I’d think they would sell, if the price premium were not too big, but as we know, VW are going all in with pure electrics. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

  39. Larry D. Says:

    38 Hybrids were popular in Europe if their owners live in large cities where odd and even numbered cars are not allowed in the city center on alternate days, but if you have a hybrid you can use it every day. A close friend and former student here, an executive in a passenger transport co, has the Lexus RX 300 or 350 H and is quite pleased with it.

    The reason they are not more popular is the availability of dirt-cheap diesel subcompacts, using diesel fuel which is 20% cheaper than gasoline (or more), making them a no-brainer. Except maybe if all your driving is stop-go city. If there were too many of these drivers, I’m sure they would make more Hybrid diesels.

  40. Larry D. Says:

  41. Larry D. Says:

    “Ram pickup deliveries jumped 56 percent to just over 68,000.”

    Now you know why GM stopped reporting monthly sales. Not only does the above record sales obliterate the Silverado, they are pretty close to those of the F 150!

    Other June sales are being announced today and tomorrow

  42. Lambo2015 Says:

    41) 56% jump over last month, quarter or last year? Anyway around it though that’s pretty good for Ram. Makes me wonder if the folks that used to be in charge of the caravan got moved to Ram because they seem to be paying particular attention to how their trucks are being used and have offered features that are very customer driven. Something they did well with the minivans.

  43. Larry D. Says:

    tiny, cute, but $32k is found to be ludicrous for such a tiny car.

    42 Comparisons are and should always be year over year.

  44. Larry D. Says:

    43 Actually this was 32,000 POUNDS not $. Make it $45-50k for the tiny, low-range EV.

    Dead on arrival as far as the US market is concerned.

    Other June sales, BMW, 35,000, Merc, 30,000, Lexus, 23,000, and lousy Fiat, less than…. 1,000!!!! (almost as low as Maserati’s 925 units. Alfa less than 2,000, and Porsche above 5,000!

  45. cwolf Says:

    I noticed quite a few new Rams around here in northern/central Ohio. Those who I spoke to said the main reason why they made the buy was because the others cost about $7-10K more. A good number said Ford salesmen didn’t give in much unless it was a loaded model; esp. on the Ranger.

  46. cwolf Says:

    There must be 10-15 Merc., BMW’s and others of kind around me and most everyone leases because of the high costs of repair after the warranty expires.
    A few fell in love with their older models and have kept them say repairs are much heftier than $2K/mo.. They claim it’s one repair after another costing thousands just for new ball joints, brakes/rotors, tie rods, ect.
    Larry, I think you are full of bologna!

  47. Larry D. Says:

    46 HAHAHAHAH!!!!

    Who should I believe, my own EYES or cwolf’s FAIRY TALES????

    PS You have NO CLUE why people LEASE. it is NOT the repairs (HINT). Lok it up.

    PS2 the CPO and USED market is 4 TIMES the size of the new car market, Dr. Clueless. There is a good chance many of the Mercs you see are CPOs, off lease, that the smart buyers buy, those with the million dollar homes. The fools who buy knew have to live in hovels like yours.

    YOU seem to eat way too much bologna, and of course you are the one who is FULL of it. Watch your heart.

  48. cwolf Says:

    Larry, I have been on this site for many years and have had to experience a few “know it all’s and have only the best. Guy’s , like yourself, often morph themselves using different names but usually fade away after time. If only you were more truthful and honest with yourself would others find you more accepting and tolerant of the many boasts you make about yourself. Please, just be real!

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Ram trucks get very good reviews for ride, quietness, general user friendliness, interior and exterior appearance, the things that matter to the 90% of pickup buyers who never haul or tow anything. They are so-so on mpg, in spite of the mild hybrid system, maybe because they are heavier than the others. Time will tell how reliable they are, long term.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 Except for the price, I like it. The linked article says that in the UK, the MINI-E, with similar range, is only 24xxx pounds. The Honda is on an ev-specific platform, and rear drive which is cool, but near 50% more money?

  51. Larry D. Says:

    50 I also like the simple and clean and cute exterior styling, have not seen the interior but hope it has also returned to Honda Simplicity and high quality.

    BUT, Price is everything. I will never shell even half of the $50k to buy this little toy with its little boy short range.

    It’s just like that Caddy ELR Volt clone (in fact, smaller than Volt, a coupe with much less space) for $75k while the Volt was $40k and the Cruze $20k, by far the best choice for those willing to drive such a tiny, unsafe vehicle.

  52. ChuckGrenci Says:

    51, I won’t argue that the ELR was not the right product and certainly not a bargain (or even worth the price), it had a certain uncanny beauty in my eye and had it been less expensive, might have even been a consideration for me and perhaps others. It was very nice inside and again gorgeous outside (my opinion) but was just another of Cadillac’s mis-steps that they seem to continue to trip upon. 55 thousand might have made a difference, but for one reason or another and the fact that GM didn’t make a commitment to support the voltaic platform, both cars were pulled.

  53. Lambo2015 Says:

    43 That Honda has the right idea with the smaller battery with less range keeping it lighter and specifically an inner city commuter car. However with that smaller battery and less range the price should reflect that. It doesn’t.
    Again as I’ve said before EVs will do a lot to help clean up the pollution of large metropolitan areas and it makes sense to build the EVs for that specific use. I can foresee many EVs that will never be driven outside their home city.
    As much as the manufacturers try to make the EVs sound new age and latest tech and almost futuristic to help justify their price. Many people still view electric as it should be the cheaper version of transportation.
    Up until recently if you wanted an RC car you could buy the cheap electric one that took batteries or spend the money and get the gas powered one. Even today if you wanted a weed trimmer you could get the cheap plug in electric or for three times the price you can get a gas trimmer. The interesting thing is the battery cordless trimmers are still on par or less than the gas trimmers. Same for the 40V push mowers. They are priced very competitively with their gas counterparts. For those applications battery makes sense as many folks do not winterize their gas lawn equipment correctly and have trouble starting them every spring. Plus they don’t need to run a real long time. Even if they die early its not like your stranded you just switch batteries or finish later. With these things conditioning the public to expecting battery products to be close in price they will continue to expect cars to do the same. IMO

  54. Larry D. Says:

    Lee Iaccoca passed away at 94. I was never a big fan of his, especially as a salesman. I credit him with the Mustang and the Minivan, whether he was the one or not, but the image of him selling cars with the “If you find a better car, buy it”, this is exactly what I did after seeing a god-awful K car with a bench seat.

    This reminds me of some fool from India, a student (either bachelors or masters) of mine in the 80s, who asked me to write him a recommendation letter for the Harvard Business School.

    I asked him for more info about himself,and he sent me some material, incl. a copy of his application.

    I was amazed at his answer to a Q as to which three books he would take on a deserted island. He answered with 1. a book by Ghandhi (OK with me), the popular book by Iacocca at the time, (meh..mostly BS) and… Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”!!

  55. Larry D. Says:

    Number 1 (by a mile), TESLA Model 3, 21225
    2.TESLA MODEL X, 2725
    3.TESLA MODEL S, 1750
    4. BOLT, 1659
    5. PRIUS PRIME 1,144

  56. Larry D. Says:

    “…Data on last month’s European car sales is trickling in, and the first countries reporting numbers point to Tesla gaining further ground in key markets such as Norway, where booming sales of the Model 3 meant that 45 percent of all cars sold in the country in the first half were electric, and the Netherlands, where Tesla registrations in June surpassed 2,500.

    In Denmark, 426 Teslas were registered in June, more than quadruple the total for all of 2018.”

    Coming up next, Cwolf says EV sales are a hoax and Joe says the moon is made of blue cheese.

  57. Larry D. Says:

    “..VW intends to offer 14 electrified models in China this year.

    By 2028, more than half of the Group’s planned 22 million electric cars will be produced in China.

    VW has joint ventures in China with FAW Group, SAIC Motor and JAC.”

    22 MILLION EVs in 9 years>?>>!!!!!!!!

  58. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Lee Iacocca was an icon and was a positive asset to the auto industry. His thinking was generally astute and positive and he should be remembered favorably by his peers. Rest in peace Lee; I believe you deserve it.

  59. Brett Cammack Says:

    Mr. Iacocca might not have been such an iconic figure in the industry if not for the talent and skill of Hal Sperlich.

    Still, I respect the man’s career in the business.

  60. Lambo2015 Says:

    Mr. Iacocca had tried to build the minivan while at Ford but they stonewalled the project. After taking over at Chrysler he launched the Caravan and also acquired American Motors and Jeep. I was never a fan of the K-cars in fact didn’t care for much of anything Chrysler made in the 80s. But he did manage to turn them around. Some may also not be aware he was appointed by President Regan to raise money for the refurbishing of the Statue of Liberty.

  61. Larry D. Says:

    June sales

    Ford F series 79,426
    Ram pickup 68,098
    Chevrolet Silverado 47,089

    As I suspected, RAM is much closer to the F 150 than to the Silveradl

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    54 Bench seats were available in K cars for the same reason they were recently available in Toyota Avalons; a few people wanted them. Yeah, it was probably a mistake in both cases, because it made for some hard to sell used cars.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57 VW has been big in China for more than 25 years, that I know of. They seem to be very good at doing business there. Will EVs start replacing all of those Santana taxis?

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60 The idea of a front drive minivan was pooh-pooed by many when it first hit the market, but it wasn’t long before potential buyers discovered, and liked it. By today’s standards, the first generation vans like mine are crude and noisy, but even now, they drive decently, ride pretty well, and use space efficiently.

  65. Kit Gerhart Says:

    53 If the battery powered lawn gadgets had 4-6 hour run time, like electric cars, they’d cost more than gas versions.

  66. Larry D. Says:

    63 The last time I saw Santana Passats was in 2006. In my 2013 and 2016 visits, I did not see one of these. I bet they have already been replaced by far more recent models.

    VW has set high goals before, in the US market they wanted to sell 800,000 a year, they still managed to sell 600,000 (VW group). So a rough extrapolation shows that while they will not make 22 million, they may get away with 16-17.

    The Q arises, as these huge numbers are built, will the supply-demand laws be repealed, or will the costs of some raw materials and components go up or skyrocket?

  67. Larry D. Says:

    64 it was just a tall wagon, and not even a RWD one. I liked the idea from the start because it gives you more cargo/pass volume for the same sheetmetal. If there were no aerodynamic and width and height constraints, the ideal cargo van would be a cube or a sphere. Still, I rode in these 80s Chrysler vans on many occasions and they were not comfortble, they were cramped even in the front seat and especially in the 2nd row

  68. Larry D. Says:

    62 A bench front seat is a huge sacrifice for the driver. If one routinely carries more than 5 passengers, one should consider 3 row wagons or suvs. Even the middle passenger in the 2nd row has a miserable time on long trips on most cars. Six pass cars should have a 2+2+2 configuration, for decent comfort.

  69. Kit Gerhart Says:

    67 The short WB 3 row versions were pretty cramped in the 2nd and 3rd rows, but not in the front, as far as I’m concerned. The 2 row, short WB like mine have the 2nd seat farther back than the 3 row short, so have decent rear leg room. The long WB, 3 row ones, which became available in 1987, have decent room in the back, and you can put the longer, 3 position seat in the 2nd row position, if you are going to not use the 3rd row.

    The seats in all of them were not the greatest, too soft with few adjustments, but I drove mine from Indiana to Washington, down to the CA Bay area and back to Indiana, and it was comfortable enough. My sister drove one all over the continental US with 3 passengers and 2 dogs, and for the time, it was a great vehicle for such things.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    68 A guy I knew with a bench seat Cadillac DTS got it that way, because of a bad leg that was more comfortable splayed out to the right, where the console would be in the way with the “bucket” seat versions. The front seat in that car was split, though, with the two sides individually adjustable, better for passengers in both the front and rear. I don’t remember if the split was 50-50, or something else.

  71. Larry D. Says:

    69 Even later, larger Chrysler Minivans had uncomortable middle and third seats. The Odyssey ( the original large Odyssey from 2000 or so) had a far better, more upscale interior and more comfortable seats. of course all these, as well as those in Escalades and Navigators, are far inferior to the passenger seat of the late model Town Car and, of course,to the thrones all four seats in my 750iL were (although the rear headroom was not adequate for me unless I slumped in the sear, in contrast to the limo-sized legroom that should be sufficient for NBA centers.

    People with handicaps are another story, custom-made fits should work best for them. By coincidence, as I left the beach after my evening swim at sunset yesterday, and used the open air shower (really two hoses, but more convenient than an actual showerhead for local cleaning of seaweeds and feet), there was a boy next to me who could not have been more than 15, who had an artificial leg. At first I thought the plastic cover was part of a wet suit, but when I looked at the feet it was obvious it was artificial. Not sure if this was the result of an accident (most likely) or a disease.

  72. Larry D. Says:

    The Prius V is offered as a 3 row hybrid in Japan but not in the US. I think if they lengthened it by a foot or two it would not only have even better aerodynamics and lower drag coefficient but also would have three comfortable rows of seats if used by only two passengers each row. Moreover it would make a perfect airport taxi, if needed with an optional rack on the roof.

  73. ChuckGrenci Says:

    My last front bench seat was in my ’84 Chevrolet Celebrity Wagon; that was one comfortable seat. That vehicle did multiple S.C. to N.J. trips and just about as many S.C. to TX trips with two young children, packed to the gills and was exemplary for a young family.

    Also had a ’95 Grand Caravan, granted it was second generation, but was spacious and comfortable enough for that same growing family; maybe the ‘grand’ part of the equation made the difference. Certainly no regrets on either of the above vehicles.

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A Prius V would be very tight three row vehicle and, presumably, would have little cargo space behind the third row. The V was dropped from the US market after the 2018 model year. It uses the gen 3 Prius powertrain. A friend has one, and gets about the same city mpg as with the gen 2 Prius it replaced, but the V gets significantly worse highway mileage. I guess it’s too tall and/or wide.

  75. Larry D. Says:

    74 I specifically said a not a Prius V as it is but lengthened by a foot or TWO. Read my full post again for more important details. It does not look taller or wider than the regular, still it is quite good if it can match the Prius 2 MPG, which gave me over 50 MPG in LA in 2009 over a mix of 320 miles. It would be ideal for an airport taxi but also for many current minivan owners who don’t want all the space of a 4,400 lb Odyssey but could sure use better MPG.

  76. Larry D. Says:

    I checked the Prius V, it is not wide at all, but fairly tall at 62-63:. My 3 row version, as I specified it, would be 193 or 215″ (!!!) long, a HUGE vehicle where 6 passengers would sit like KINGS and with a huge cargo space behind them, so head room would be ample even for the 3rd seat.

    “Wheelbase 2,780 mm (109.4 in)
    Length 4,615 mm (181.7 in)
    Width 1,775 mm (69.9 in)
    Height 1,575–1,600 mm (62.0–63.0 in)”

    The Prius is just as wide, almost as long (!!!) but not as tall.

    Wheelbase 2,700 mm (106.3 in)
    Length 4,570 mm (180.0 in)
    Width 1,760 mm (69.3 in)
    Height 1,470 mm (57.9 in)

  77. Larry D. Says:

    76 correction, my 3 row version would be 182+12=194″ or 182+24= 206, which makes much more sense than the above Town-car long 215.

  78. Kit Gerhart Says:

    75 I read your full post. The V is 3 inches taller, and an inch wider than the gen 3 liftback using the same powertrain.

    Did you read my full post? My friend’s V matches the gen 2 in city mpg, but not highway mpg. As I remember, he said the gen 2 got about 44 mpg, and the V about 39 on trips between the Seattle area, and central Indiana, probably going 75+ much of the time. Still, the difference between 39 and 44 amounts to nothing, about 15 gallons for that ~5000 mile round trip.

    One of the few time I’ve used Uber was from Houston IAH to downtown Houston, and the car was a Prius V. It is a great Uber car for the driver to make money, and also reasonably comfortable for the passenger(s).

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    76,77 Do they stretch the wheelbase 12 and 24 inches, or increase both the rear overhang and the wheelbase?

  80. Larry D. Says:

    79 my preference would be to put most of the increase in the wheelbase which should make it even more spacious inside. The long version may even have the rear wheels behind the 3rd seat. The highway 39 MPG is excellent for a car 62-63 inches tall. Those hybrids are bought for people who do enough city miles. The shorter 194 will be perfect for soccer moms taking teams of kids around town and suburbs all the time. the longer would make a good airport taxi, there still are airports with a mostly city stop-go drive to downtown. half an inch or one inch width difference is noise. The main diff is the height, which the Prius 2 sorely needed in the back seat (headroom, I had to suffer there a couple times)

    BTW The Ukrainian police uses Prii. I had been advocating for hybrids for police for more than a decade now and got objections from actual cops with this and that excuse. In the US they could use a bigger hybrid like the V or other. Most police cars spend most of their day idling. Perfect for Hybrid.

  81. Larry D. Says:

    PS my gen 2 rental from LA to San Diego and back at also 75 MPH got 47 MPG in April 2009. That was just the car computer indication.

  82. Larry D. Says:

    Speaking of stretches, I saw a movie (in german) about Stasi, the E German secret police, and it featured many stretch Volvos used by E German bigwigs. Almost the whole production went to E Germany (200-300 cars) and many were in fairly good shape at the fall of the DDR.

  83. Kit Gerhart Says:

    82 I wonder what happened to them. They’d be rare collector cars, if any still exist.

  84. Larry D. Says:

    There was even an airport limo.

    As for where they are now, out of the 300 or so exec limos made, I bet a few are in museums and maybe half survive in private collections. If interested, a trip to Berlin would be a start.

  85. Larry D. Says:

    And this raised roof wagon that served as ambulance (white), taxi(yellow) and even hearse (black). there were a lot of those in Sweden back in the day.

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    85 Did Volvo build them, or did “coach builders,” like now build limos and hearses in the US?

  87. Gene E Says:

    Out of 86 posts, Larry D is responsible for 39 of them.
    Shame that he has so much going on lately that he doesn’t have time to correct the rest of the former users and readers of the comment section.

    The amazing thing is when he asks a question and then answers it for himself.

  88. Larry D. Says:

    87 Apparently you have much more time, since you bother to count who posts how many posts here.

    We aim to please. I will be glad to refund all your $ (grand total $0.0). Will it be cash or check?

    PS Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If you dont have the intellectual curiosity or capacity to benefit from all the LINKS I posted, JERK, and be GRATEFUL that I bothered to post them, at least SHUT THE HELL UP.

    Or are you so web illiterate that you cannot even click on a link?

  89. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sedans may make a comeback.

  90. Larry D. Says:

    89 I doubt these arbitrary conclusions very much. Millenials do not have enough $ to buy SUVs so many (who, foolishly, insist on a new car) buy cheap sedans like the Nissan Sentra (which did very well in June, even though Nissan did NOT), and even Altima, which are also deeply discounted, and the soon to be discontinued sedans from Ford and GM, which are also offered at fire sale prices.

    THis obviously does not even begin to prove that they ‘love’ sedans. They barely like them.

    I drive two 4,000 lb, 190″+ long, 58″ high sedans that are really good looking, but next time I go to IKEA I will have a very hard time putting three bookcases in the trunk, while I could very easily do it with any SUV, and I could even easily do it with that `1,845 lb, 160″ long, 151″ high (very low roof) Civic Hatch we bought new in Dec 91 and drove until it was totaled on Aug 15, 2016.

    SUVs and Crossovers are the new wagons. They have far more utility than sedans, hence the U in the SUV.

  91. Larry D. Says:

    89 cont. Even if gas prices rise, people (except in the flagship luxury segment) will still prefer Crossovers and SUVs. They will evolve, become more fuel efficient using hybrid, plug-in, diesel or combinations, or even pure ev, but they will continue to have those useful shapes and will not become sedans, no matter what these journalists claim, without much thought.

  92. Larry D. Says:

    PS Also note that many sedans, esp Nissans, are dumped to FLEETS, at dirt cheap prices, incl the daily rentals. And note that when I wrote my first reply I did not notice the link was, by a huge coincidence, a Nissan site~!!!

  93. Kit Gerhart Says:

    91 Crossovers will need to evolve into, well, station wagons/estate cars to become as fuel efficient as sedans, especially at highway speed. A Camry hybrid gets 39% better EPA highway mpg than a RAV4 hybrid using a similar powertrain. The difference would be even greater in real world highway driving at 75+ mpg.

    Regarding real world efficiency with a sedan, I filled up my Camry yesterday, 597 miles of mixed driving with everything from short trips to stores and restaurants, to 80 mph driving on the interstate. It took 12.3 gallons to fill it, for 48.5 mpg. It will take a lot more than a hybrid powertrain to come even close to that with a tall, lifted wagon with oversize tires.

    92 Yeah, it was a Nissan site, no doubt biased; I thought that would be apparent from the get go. I ran across it from an Autoweek or C and D email newsletter.

  94. veh Says:

    Does anyone know if WWJ is going to have their business breakfast event at Woodward again this year? Nothing on their website yet

  95. Larry D. Says:

    93 first of, you should compare total MPG, not HWY MPG. No car does just highway, and if it did, it would be stupid for it to be a hybrid, carrying a second powerplant that is not needed.

    Second, there are far more important considerations than that. In my short Hondas, many times when I entered the car and had to sit deep in the seat, my knee hurt. People, both young and especially the old, appreciate very much the far greater ease of ingress and egress of the crossover and SUV. They do not want wagons. They want tall wagons with a high seating position. They shorter people also desperately need the much better view from the crossover. I could go on and on, to just explain the facts of the last 25 years of the switch from sedans to SUVS.

    Even here in Europe with $8-$10 a gallon gas, unthinkable numbers for the US, people are moving to crossovers and SUVs.

  96. Kit Gerhart Says:

    95 The EPA combined rating of the Camry hybrid is only 30% higher than for the RAV4 hybrid. That’s still significant, at least to some people. CR hasn’t tested the latest RAV hybrid yet.

    I agree about the hybrid offering little benefit for a vehicle used only for highway driving. The Camry hybrid does only 8% better than the non-hybrid 4 cylinder in CR’s highway test. The difference is 30% for the EPA highway test, but that test is less pure highway, with speed changes, etc.

  97. Kit Gerhart Says:

    from #95 “People, both young and especially the old, appreciate very much the far greater ease of ingress and egress of the crossover and SUV. ”

    How do all of these people get out of bed, and get up from sitting on a kitchen chair, or a toilet.

    also from #95 “They shorter people also desperately need the much better view from the crossover. ”

    Huh? What does driver height have to do with anything? Nearly all of today’s vehicles, not just Benzes and BMWs, have seat height adjustment, so people of about any height can have the same line of sight from a car.

  98. Brett Cammack Says:

    I’d still like to see a contemporary 5-passenger SUV beside a 1955 Chevrolet BelAire and have a “measure off” for hip points, hood height, etc. I’ll wager that there is more commonality than with a contemporary sedan.

    I think that today’s SUV is a reincarnation of a form factor that was broadly liked, and with good reason.