AD #2631 – Ford & VW Partner on EVs and AVs, Daimler Once Again Cuts Profit Forecast, Industry Upheaval Underway

July 12th, 2019 at 11:40am

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Runtime: 6:59

0:07 Ford to Use VW’s MEB Platform
1:13 VW Invests Billions in Argo AI
1:51 Industry Upheaval Underway
2:56 China Proposes to Reclassify Hybrid Vehicles
3:43 Harley LiveWire Owners Get Free Charging
4:52 Daimler Once Again Cuts Profit Forecast
5:46 Toyota Needs Workers to Build the Highlander

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59 Comments to “AD #2631 – Ford & VW Partner on EVs and AVs, Daimler Once Again Cuts Profit Forecast, Industry Upheaval Underway”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe Toyota should have built that plant in a metro area, with a lot of people looking for jobs, rather than a small town in Southern Indiana. Just a thought.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    China’s decision makes total sense, hybrids do not deserve just as many negative points as ICE vehicles. Not only is this 100% fair and will reduce pollution, in addition, not everybody is suited to have a pure EV. Many many more drivers with charging problems ( the residential high rises in Shanghai are 50 and 70 stories high and dense like trees in a forest, where will all these people charge their EVs???

    Ford and VW are throwing billions out the window. It is less than 20 years from the debacle, and this time the consumer is clearly NOT interested in Inferior Pure EVs and not at all interested in AVs!!!

    So you are right, Sean, the industry will sure change, but maybe not the way you envision. Humpty Dumpty Hackett’s lawyers will ensure he gets his own $ 57 million when he is unceremoniously fires, after he bankrupts Ford, just like Mark Fields, when he was fired, and Mark actually did not bankrupt the company.

  3. Clem Zahrobsky Says:

    Toyota Needs Workers to Build the Highlander. Could that be because as you stated above the industry will not look the same in 10 years ??

  4. Larry D. Says:

    “The car is slated to debut in 2023 and Ford expects to sell 600,000 of them over 6 years”

    Rest assured there is ZERO chance of that. Make it more like 60,000 and even at that they should feel lucky. NO EV maker outside the Almighty Tesla has achieved such numbers, and the proposed VW EVs are quite underwhelming, with the possible exception of that tiny SEAT 20,000 Euro thing-IF they are able to make it and sell it at that price without losing their farms.

  5. Larry D. Says:

    I have seen two attractive (both in shiny black) Pickups, a VW called the AMAROK and a Mercedes with some alphanum name nobody remembers (except it was a diesel). The VW one was fairly large for Europe, about the size of a Ranger or a GMC Canyon. I wonder why VW did not imoport it in the US.

  6. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I’m thinking that Harley Davidson should offer two years unlimited charging, and even with that, I think it will be an uphill battle and not gain too much ground.

    And with China, lighten up on the mandates somewhat and attack those coal operated generating stations. I’m not saying quit your goal for EV’s, but open up another front for reducing pollution.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    To put these ridiculously high EV bike prices in perspective, back in 2006 Shanghai Campuses were full of EV scooter bikes, very popular with the women students who rode them in pairs, the one in the back holding an open.. umbrella to protect them from the sun as well as the rain, and they cost the equivalent of $500 (!!!!!). Right, 500, not 5,000, much less 10,000, 20,000, and 30,000.

    To put this in some more perspective, you can buy the top of the top S class, the AWESOME AMG S 65 with all the options, a $240,000 car new, for $30,000. With 640 HP and 738 lbft Torque from its divine V 12.

    Seriously, HArley? You think I would ever blow my hard-earned $30,000 on your EV bike, when I can have the above for just the same amount???? Which, in my book, is worth 100 times more than the bike???

  8. Lambo2015 Says:

    On the industry upheaval; Notice that the partnerships are GM (US) with (Japan) Honda, Ford (US) with (Germany) VW, and Chrysler (US/Italian) with (French/Japanese) Renault/Nissan. They need to position the companies to compete globally to get economies of scale on EVs. So when the costs come down it will be interesting to see how these partnerships last.. The only one not going outside their country Daimler and BMW. So I wonder if that will be of any advantage to them.

  9. Larry D. Says:

    8 interesting observation. In addition, all the companies you list with partners make mostly affordable cars, while Merc and BMW are in the luxury segment, where the number of units will be small anyway and no major econs of scale are possible.

  10. Lambo2015 Says:

    7 Exactly on the Harley EV. So other than folks like Keanu Reeves or Jay Leno the sales will be dismal. So if you want one wait till after they hit showrooms and sit for about two years and when Harley finally cuts their losses and sells them at a huge discount you can maybe justify one. Yet Harley wonders why they are losing customers.

  11. XA351GT Says:

    Harley will have a lame duck on their hands. I don’t see many spending 30K for a bike so they don’t have to buy gas. Seeing as most bikes even Harleys achieve 50+ MPG the price of fuel would never offset the price. Also they are limited in range . My parents used to ride theirs hundreds of miles a day on the weekends they even rode it 800+ miles to Ill. to visit my Uncle. Not only is the high price and low range a detraction. there are other companies like Fuell who will offer a EV bike for less than 1/2 the price. Oh and Harley knows the guy behind the project well, Eric Buell.

  12. Lex Says:

    I was looking at the new 2020 Toyota Highlander and realized it is just an over stylize of the previous generation before the huge grill included in the facelift. The only improvement was to the center console / IP and Toyota will finally offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

  13. Lambo2015 Says:

    9 Yeah I don’t think it would benefit Daimler or BMW to partner with anyone else. Most of the partnerships are to share a platform that can be sold worldwide. They will likely develop a premium priced EV and that would cut out partnering with the likes of GM, Ford, FCA, Nissan, Honda and Toyota. I could see them joining Bentley or another high end manufacturer like Ferrari but yea their scale and price limits who they could partner with.

  14. Lex Says:

    Toyota should have considered Lordstown Ohio.
    I understand their are many experienced former UAW workers living in that area.

  15. Lex Says:

    The Autocratic German’s (Daimler & BMW) always stick together when a battle is on the horizon.

  16. Danny Turnpaugh Says:

    Maybe Toyota had a vehicle built in lordstown like I did, so I could understand not moving there for those workers.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7,10 For less than half the price of the Harley, you can get a Zero electric bike which works very well. With any electric bike having only a little over 100 mile range at highway speed, their main use will be within range of home, charged at home. I don’t see the “free charging” incentive with the Harley being much of an incentive, especially with the machine costing $30K.

    7 The electric scooters with 15-20 mph top speed, and 20 mile range are for commuting on campuses, while the Zero, and upcoming Harley electric motorcycles are fairly high performance motorcycles, that will be bought more “for fun,” than for much practical use. They, of course, can be used as any other regular motorcycle, within their fairly limited range. The Zero I test rode a few days ago had build in provision for charging from a standard 120 v outlet, which should charge its 14.4 kWa battery in 8 hours or so. Some of the bikes were set up to charge from standard public chargers, for much quicker charging. Still, these bikes are not for riding from Florida to Sturgis, or anything like that.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 Did you have a Vega?

  19. Danny Turnpaugh Says:

    #17 it was a Pontiac sunbird, built on Saturday night/ Sunday morning about 3:00 am. Badging was missing on 1 side but was on other side. Rear view mirror was so high on windshield the sun visors couldn’t be pulled down, it was a mess. GM quality has improved a lot my 2018 Silverado is great.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 I had an ’82 J2000 wagon that had a lot of problems, engine, electrical, and body, but then had an ’84 that was pretty reliable, and decently assembled.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM drops Equinox/Terrain diesel.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    I should have never bought that Pontiac 2000 in April 83, not because it was unreliable, apart from some ridiculous fit and finish issues the first 7 years were problem-free, but because of the lousy 5 sp transmission, the weak engine, and the fact I could have bought a far better car with the same $, used, OR spent an extra 2 or 4 k over the 8k MSRP and got at least a civic or an accord. In fact my father (who is not an auto expert by any stretch of the imagination) suggested I buy a BMW when i started on my present job, despite the fact he thought Mercedeses had something special and aristocratic about them (which 30 years later when I owned a couple I found to be a correct observation).

  23. Larry D. Says:

    21 PS despite all that I was quite happy with it when I had it, as are most people who buy their own cars, they choose them for whatever reason, or they know no better. So the fact that somebody has bought a (insert vehicle model) and tells you how happy they are with it, means very little. How many people today tell you they hate what they bought? In my experience, 1 out of 100, and only after the Buick Chevy Blazer clone did 150k miles and started having very expensive repairs. That guy never bought a domestic since, but also bought no domestics before that Buick Rainier which he got at a huge discount.

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    22 Individual car ownership opinions are so subjective. You’d be lucky to find anyone that dumped 100k on a car then admit it was less reliable than a 30K Buick. Pride gets in the way of being completely honest. Besides once a vehicle has 150K miles on it, the way it was driven and cared for will have a much bigger impact on its reliability than who manufactured it. I’ve owned some cars that were historically bad (Pontiac Fiero) but I had no problems with mine that were not self induced. I destroyed a clutch drag racing. So I drove that car hard lots of times and it never broke down for anything. I would say for the most part all the auto manufacturers have raised the bar and are very close when it comes to quality. Maybe not on materials, craftsmanship and fit. But quality from a reliability stand point. Even Kia offers a 100k mile warranty.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    23 no, this example of the guy who paid 100k and had a lot of problems is not the rule. The vast ,majority of buyers buy what they want and are happy with it because a. they wanted that car, and b. and most important, they know no better! And that includes my experience, after a fun to drive but very expensive to fix 4 year old Passat wagon e sp m anual, I got the new Pontiac 2000 and was happy for most of the 11 years I kept it. Then I got the excellent 4 sp Accord Coupe, a 4 year old car, for less than what I paid for the Pontiac (even without adjusting for inflation) and noticed how much better it was than the Pontiac. then in 2005 the 740iL was no comparison with any of the cars I owned before, vastly superior. The two Merc E class diesels are very different than the 7 but in many areas they are better.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It’s funny how “journalists’” opinions of cars vary. Doug, the youtube guy, calls the ’01-’08 BMW 7 series “the best luxury car ever,” while the same car was on Time’s list of “50 worst cars of all time.” Reality is somewhere in between. The car would drive very well, but its first generation iDrive was almost universally panned.

  27. Larry D. Says:

    Doug has no clue. the 02-08 7 was so awful looking that buyers in 2001 were getting leftover 1995-2001 (E38 like mine) models instead.

    The 02-08 had a bit more HP than E38 (the V8 had as much as the old underpowered 5.4 V12), was 2″ taller ( this should help rear headroom for me), had a controversial i drive which I bet I would like but the average orthodontist who buys a 7 new is tech illiterate and could not use it) etc.

    But above all it was the styling. It was awful, and even its successors never recovered, even the current 7.

  28. Larry D. Says:

    25 Actually, Kit, I posted Doug’s youtube and it is MY E 38, 1995-2001 Magnificent 7, NOT the 2002-08, was the ‘best luxury sedan ever” (which I would correct as “Luxury performance sedan”.

    So I need to correct you in 25, it is 100% the opposite.

    here again is Doug’s video:

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 Yep, I stand corrected on the gen of 7 in Doug’s video.

    As far as early iDrive, it didn’t get much love from anyone, orthodontists or otherwise. I’ve never used it, but since evaluations were almost universally negative, I doubt I would have liked it.

  30. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I enjoy reading about all the high end vehicles but generally if I’m happy with my pick, I’m happy. And if ever challenged by someone who might say, you don’t know what your missing, well that’s correct; I don’t, and I don’t fret about it either. Sometimes ignorance ‘is’ bliss, and when it comes to a vehicle I’m good with it (most of the time).

  31. Larry D. Says:

    29 This reminded me of a visit to a dealer with my thesis advisor when I was a grad student, there was a Porsche in the lot, it was not even a 911, must have been one of these failed, unpopular 924 or so, and he refused to test drive it. His excuse was that he would like it too much and he could allegedly not afford it, and would be miserable. TO which I replied, if you had a chance to have sex with a supermodel, would you turn it down just because you may not get another? Makes no sense.

    I want to know the best in every area of life, including cars. Especially if it is either dirt-cheap or totally free, as the test drive above.

  32. ChuckGrenci Says:

    30, I catch your drift (I agree) but that can sometimes be a curse too. I rode in a ’69 Z-28 back in ’69 (we got adventurous and it was really something special, especially for the time). I have pined for that vehicle ever since. Glad I got the ride but lament having the experience too; and since, unable to fulfill that again in my life, I consider it a double edged sword. Oh, happened again in ’70 with a 340 Challenger; another story, not quite as yearning but still I still think about it, a lot. ;)

  33. Larry D. Says:

    I looked around Youtube to see if Doug also did a review of the ‘bad’ 2002-2008 7 series but he had not. In the search, I found this review, apparently there is a series testing cars 6 months later to see how they are doing.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 I have test driven, and owned a lot of cars, but the only “flagship” car I have driven was an S-Class, before they called them S-Class. I think it was a 450SEL 6.9, or something like that. It was many years ago, and the main things I remember about it was its being fast, roomy, but wallowy.

    I should probably drive a newer S, 7, or A8 to see what it’s like. I’m sure I would like the quietness, which would be great on highway trips, but I suspect I’d still rather drive something else for my short trips. If nothing else, I’d rather use 1/3 as much gas, and make half as many stops at gas stations (with the Camry hybrid|.

  35. Larry D. Says:

    33 A colleague from SC who used to drive a Camaro berlinetta in the 80s got a 6.9 ( don ‘t know for how much but I bet 1/5th of its price new), he was amazed with it, it had cloth seats and not much HP but a ton of torque. 286 HP and 405 Lbft, almost exactly the torque of my 320 diesel.

    checked its US price when new in 1977m it started at $40,000 in 1977 ( almost Rolls Royce $, the Silver Shadow was $43,200 then) but was less luxurious inside even than a Caddy.

    I doubt any Merc ever ‘wallowed’, they don’t have that very light steering domestics and lexuses have, but for handling, BMW always feels much better, you can take high speed turns and always be amazed how the thing never loses its composure, as if it’s on rails.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    33 besides the quietness, the trip comfort is always enhanced by longer wheelbases and heavy weight, which the flagships have (my 7 was actually longer than that 450 SEL 6.9 and had a much shorter 116 ” wheelbase). When I was given a ride in a Scion Xa, to Columbus to get my 320, the very lightweight car felt like the wind would sweep it off the highway at any time.

  37. Larry D. Says:

    35 correction it was the S 450 that had the much shorter 116 ” wheelbase. The 740iL had 121″+

  38. Larry D. Says:

    33 and then there is the much higher safety which I think most people undervalue when they buy all these small cars. range and how often you fill are even better with the diesel, both the E320 and especially the amazingly efficient 2014 E 250 (which you can probably get now for less than $15k), but also the 2012-13 S 350 diesel.

    When I fill the tank it shows over 710 miles range, but if I drove pure highway, it would probably show 800. The S bluetec would not be much worse, it is only 300 lbs heavier andhas the same engine, tweaked a bit to give more HP and torque. You can find those for about 15-20k also

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 I’m pretty sure the 6.9 I drove had leather seats, but my reference for both quickness, and “wallowyness” was probably a six cylinder Plymouth Duster with “heavy duty” (stiffer) suspension. A Buick or Cadillac of the same era would have been much more “wallowy” than the big Benz.

    The ~4400 pound Benz, with 286 hp, was quick, for the time, but a lot of today’s 4 cylinder mainstream sedans have higher power/weight. Even a Camry hybrid has only slightly lower power/weight.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 Yeah, those diesels, with good mpg and a big tank have great range. I get about 550-600 miles per fillup with the Camry, regardless of the type of driving. The Corvette, of course, does much better on the highway, going 450 miles with safe reserve on the highway, but only about 300 with a mix of mostly short trip/city.

    Did they ever sell recent, like 2006 or later S-Class in the US with the diesel?

  41. Bob Wilson Says:

    Tweaking my Tesla Model 3, cross-country model for cruise speed vs trip speed including charging (see web link.)

    Cruising at 73 mph => trip measured 61.4 mph
    Distance 85.5 miles each way, total 171 mi
    Charging on each segment, total 26 minutes
    Cost $7.18

    GOOD; FAST; CHEAP – pick two. The Tesla Model 3 is GOOD and CHEAP. It isn’t as fast as our BMW i3-REx using the gas engine, 4.3 gal premium $12.90, but this EV is quite affordable, $7.18.

  42. Larry D. Says:

    39 As I thought I mentioned already, they did sell an S class Diesel (Bluetec) around 2012-13. When I was looking for diesels in 2016-17, these did not sell below 30k, even with some miles. The hybrid S400 could be found for much less. It had a tweaked version of my 3.0 lt diesel. There was also a 4.0 lt diesel but it was not imported in the US. you can see one labeled 350 CDI in the trunk in this video

  43. Larry D. Says:

    a CARS.COM Search shows only 21 S diesels 2007-2019 in all of the USA.

  44. Larry D. Says:


    1. why did you need spend half an hour to charge the 3 for such a short trip???

    2, I can’t believe the 3 is slower than any BMW i3.

    3 just focusing on the fuel cost in no way proves the car is cheap. you need to figure the total cost/mile over its lifetime including depreciation, maintenance, insurance etc

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    41 I checked the EPA gas mileage site, and found that they sold the S350 Bluetec in the US from 2011-2013, but only with 4WD. How stupid is that? The reason you’d buy the diesel is fuel economy and range, but the only way they sold the diesel was compromised.

  46. Larry D. Says:

    44 as you can see the loss to fuel economy and range vs my smaller, lighter E class is almost negligible! 4WD is essential and necessary for those who shell over $100k to buy this car, maybe $120k with options, whether they live in the snowbelt, OR if they don’t, but use it for those long trips x country to visit their kids and grandkids or other friends and relatives (assuming many buyers would be comfortably retired). This is not a sports car. And safety is a far higher priority to those who paid $100k to buy it than fuel economy.

    Another advantage of getting the diesel vs the more expensive S550 gas is the better towing ability AND especially the trouble free engine which does millions of miles in taxis all over europe. No gas engine M-B has would be as reliable.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 4WD fetish is a purely American thing. You can buy an RWD diesel S-Class or E-Class wagon anywhere in the world, except the US, and maybe Canada.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45 The tow rating for the S-Class in the US is zero, regardless of the engine, but I bet it’s not zero elsewhere. I’ll try to look it up later.

  49. Larry D. Says:

    46 so what? People will buy what THEY want with THEIR own money. And the loss in fuel economy is truly negligible, in the remote case those who paid $100k – $120k for an S bluetec would care.

    And older S class cars did very poorly in the snow w RWD. A colleague of mine complained about his 1990 300 SEL he bought new for $60k in april 1990. I used to tell him he could buy an LS400 with a v8 for almost half the $ and he hated me for it. But he kept the Merc until last year, 26 years in MI winters.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In the UK, the tow rating for the S is 2100 kg with the 3 liter diesel or 4 liter turbo gas.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48 Actually, it’s hard to know what people want, when it’s not even offered for sale. I suspect M-B would sell more E wagons in the US, if 4WD weren’t mandatory. Lets face it. The Europeans get all of the good stuff from M-B and BMW, like RWD wagons with manual transmissions. Yeah, most people would disagree.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @ChuckGrenci, should Vettel retire from F1? He seems to have been making a lot of unforced errors the last year, or two or three.

  53. buildmore2doors Says:

    I don’t know about Vettel retiring but I definitely think Haas should get rid of at least one of their drivers, probably Grojean, and replace him with an American driver. This would put his team mate on notice not to wreck the other and maybe pick up some points for the championship. Maybe Haas will replace them both in 2020.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Haas have had a really bad year, partly the drivers, like today, but things don’t seem to be going well other ways either.

  55. stephen Says:

    I laugh at Autoline saying that autonomous driving is almost here and all the car makers are in big trouble. The leader in this is Google, who may or may not sell the tech to other car makers (who won’t have to then do all the millions of miles of testing as Google has done). Every car makers can easily intro adaptive cruise/lane keeping etc at present. This is not the reason for partnerships- its what Tesla has done and it scares them silly if Tesla can cut costs further and intro more models. Think of a Tesla that can offer a model thats the same as an LS Lexus/Large SUV/Hatchback. Tesla has already gutted the US sales of the Merc E class/BMW5/Audi A6 with the S. They cannot copy the battery tech and nobody has the scale unless the partner up. They need scale to make the platform and non battery engine parts (alternator/lightweighting materials etc). If they want to have any hope in hell of selling in volume to make any tiny profit then large partnerships are needed so Bentley and Rolls Royce is not big enough. Note to US car buyers- Europe car makers have no choice to move to EVs- Dieselgate meant no EU country trust any Euro car maker not to be gaming the car tests so its EV or nothing and lobbying is not going to work anymore. The message is start launching EVs cars now or find yourself locked out of the most profitable EU car markets (France-Germany-UK)

  56. ChuckGrenci Says:

    @Kit, 51 I’m thinking similar with another unforced error at Silverstone. It just seems that the “edge is off the blade” and perhaps not coming back. And also related, and even with Leclerc doing fairly well, I believe the Ferraris have once again fallen behind the M/B with the Red Bulls catching up (to Ferrari, still not Mercedes).

    And my take on Haas is the team (the car), and their drivers (both) may just not be up to snuff. Alone with the racing there was also some news that they might be losing their principle sponsor. Seems a storms a brewing over at Haas.

  57. ChuckGrenci Says:

    @54 There has been a lot recently about “scale” and while that can be important isn’t yet IMO the most important factor. The raw materials and building complexity of batteries is just keeping the bottom line (to produce) high. Tesla has scale but them batteries are still the limiting factor of making a mainstream electric affordable to the masses. Paraphrasing from a couple years back: ‘It’s the batteries stupid’ (the word “stupid” is not meant that anyone that comments on EV’s is, just the generic meaning that that is the principle object that needs to be focused upon)

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A couple batteries I bought for electric model airplanes cost $868 per kWh. The car companies are getting a very good deal, compared to that.

  59. Lambo2015 Says:

    54 & 56 I think that scale has a lot to do with the partnerships. Its difficult for any of the Domestics to develop an EV specifically for EU or even China. Just as manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan would and have struggled to capture the US market. So these partnerships are more about getting with another manufacturer that will share a platform allowing the likes of GM and Honda to build an EV that can appeal to US customers and Japanese customers without the full development costs being rolled into a singular model.
    However as Chuck said in my opinion its really going to come down to whoever develops the better battery and that could be better in price or storage ability. That breakthrough will change everything and put that manufacturer in a position to dominate the EV market. So the partnering is hedging their bets and increasing their chances of being with a manufacturer that develops that better battery.
    Will probably have a similar effect that Tesla has had on the market.