AD #2826 – New Mercedes GLA Highlights; Lincoln Axes Rivian-Based Electric SUV; Should Ford Consider a Merger?

April 29th, 2020 at 11:54am

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Listen to “AD #2826 – New Mercedes GLA Highlights; Lincoln Axes Rivian-Based Electric SUV; Should Ford Consider a Merger?” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 11:20

0:07 BMW Finishing Up Tests on New 4 Series Coupe
1:00 Highlights of Mercedes’ New GLA
2:01 Autonomous Shuttles Turned into Pizza Delivery Vehicles
2:40 Glickenhaus to Offer Porsche-Inspired Buggy Kit Car
3:06 Infiniti Invents ‘Carigami’ to Pass the Time
3:55 Dealers Reluctant to Stock Used Inventory
4:44 Lincoln Axes Rivian-Based Electric SUV
5:09 Ford Delays Autonomous Vehicle Service
5:35 Automakers Still Burning Through $1 Billion a Week
6:07 Analyst Says Ford Should Consider a Merger
6:26 Should Automakers Merge or Merge Operations?
7:40 Elon Musk Ready to See Quarantine End
8:04 Why Tesla’s Gigafactory is the Biggest

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37 Comments to “AD #2826 – New Mercedes GLA Highlights; Lincoln Axes Rivian-Based Electric SUV; Should Ford Consider a Merger?”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    if doj lets them, do both.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John, your idea of consolidating some powertrain parts among GM, Ford, and FCA makes sense to me. Keep the few engines that are the “soul of the brand,” and then use the best of the others. Ford has some good turbo 4s and V6s, while GM has probably the best of the non-turbo V6s. GM and Ford are already sharing 10-speed automatic transmissions, and Chrysler is building the ubiquitous XF 8-speed in Indiana. Use both of those, and phase out the other longitudinal automatics, like the still-used GM 6-speed. Similar consolidation could be done with the transverse engine transmissions. As you allude, except for buyers of pony cars, Corvettes, and trucks, few people know or care where the engine and transmission came from.

  3. WineGeek Says:

    John why doesn’t someone tell Elon to shut-up, he sounds so damn stupid.

    What a shame that Ford is now being talked about as a merger candidate. The original mass produced car in the US (some might say the world) is now run by a guy that honed his manufacturing expertise building file cabinets is now running down one of the iconic nameplates in automotive manufacturing. Talk about mismanagement its no wonder why Alan Mulally ran from there as quick as he could.

  4. Kevin A Says:

    I was under the impression that the big 3 had previously outsourced or consolidated components like axles, wheels, bumpers. Non-iconic engines and transmissions seems like the next logical step. As far as partners for Ford goes, VW seems more like a takeover than a partner. Someone like Renault or Nissan sounds better to me. Ford could provide trucks and Nissan has cars that everyone except Larry likes.

  5. Kate McLeod Says:

    About mergers: What Sergio said. A powertrain merger is a great idea.

  6. JoeS Says:

    GM consolidated engines back in the late 70s and it went over like a lead ballon. In the long run I’m sure it was a good move.

  7. DenMor Says:

    FCA, GM and Ford will never merge powertrains. That’s the heart and soul of a car and they don’t work well together.

  8. DenMor Says:

    To add to #7, the Ford GM transmission project didn’t go well with the 9 speed not even used by Ford.

  9. Phred Says:

    Your suggestion of sharing products …is right out of the old British Leyland “Badge Engineering”lay book that was also used by GM with the “corporate engine transmission” cost saving edict for Cadillac, Olds. Buick, Pontiac,and Chevrolet. How did that turn out?

  10. Barry Rector Says:

    I’ve heard you say that GM, Ford and FCA needs to work together on engine and transmission build and design. That makes a lot of sense to cut expense and still achieve the same goal. Why, why won’t they listen to reason? lol

  11. GM Veteran Says:

    It sure seems like Ford, GM and FCA could all use one set of 4 cylinder engines with a few different displacements (turbo and non-turbo). Same for the V6′s. I agree on the iconic motors.

    I recall that Chrysler, Hyundai and another automaker (Mitsubishi?), did a cooperative engine deal on 4 cylinder engines a decade or so back. I think it was called Global Engine Manufacturing (GEM). It didn’t work out too well. The engines were mediocre and I believe Chrysler installed most of them in their cars (Dodge Caliber, Jeep Patriot and Compass, maybe the Chrysler 200). The cooperative venture between GM,. BMW and Chrysler for a hybrid transmission didn’t work out well either. BMW never installed it, Chrysler used it in two SUV’s with very small installation rate, and GM used it in large SUVs and pickup trucks that cost a lot of money and did not sell. The warranty expense for that thing was horrendous because it never worked well.

    Maybe the lesson is that when its nobody’s engine or transmission, it suffers from top notch investment or engineering talent. Looks good on paper, but like many things it has to be managed well.

  12. GM Veteran Says:

    4 – Ford and VW already have a number of cooperative projects cooking and results so far have been very positive. I think more cooperative projects would be better than a merger. Two large companies with large egos is not a recipe for success – see also DaimlerChrysler.

    Renault is not in a strong position at the moment and has a large product overlap with Ford in Europe. Their ties to Nissan are significant, meaning a merger would be problematic, especially with Nissan’s issues.

    And, who says everyone like Nissan cars except Larry? Their styling is horrendous or forgettable, depending on the model and their vehicles are cheaply made. That is why their sales are down severely world-wide (even before Covid effects). They are not in good shape financially, so how would they be a good merger candidate for Ford?

  13. Phil Googin Says:

    Hi John!
    I generally watch your weekly tv show but the daily release is also interesting.
    In re: to joint engine use, GM already used this strategy. Remember in the 70′s when Your GM vehicle could have ANY engine in it. A Chevy with a Olds motor and the matching bolt pattern transmission or visa versa. In Canada a Pontiac/Parisien(SP) even had complete Chevy frames and drive trains, if I recall. You could tell because the frame was MUCH more narrow than a REAL Pontiac frame. suspension and drive train.
    I also know that Mitsubishi supplies their turbo motors to a whole host of other manufacturers.
    I guess if the manufacturers can blow it by their ignorant (ignorant as in unknowing not to be confused with stupid) customers, they will! Many have brand loyalty issues, including me! If I buy a performance vehicle I want the engine that “belongs” in that vehicle. If I’m buying a van or economy car I want it to get reasonable performance good gas mileage and be dependable. I wouldn’t really care what kind of motor it had.
    Just sayin’
    Thx for listening!

  14. jJWH Says:

    Merging powertrain operations – I’m on the side of those opposed as I also feel that the engine is the heart of a vehicle. I can also remember the days in the late ’60s (long gone) when those of us at Chevrolet considered Pontiac more of a competitor than Ford. Part of this was Chevrolet was about the same size as FOMOCO, & we also had friends from school at the Pontiac, & BOC.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 The current Chrysler “Tigershark” 4 cylinder engines are derived from the Chrysler/Hyundai/Mitsu “World” engine, and are still mediocre.

    GM got in trouble when the started to standardize their ~300-350 CID engines, and some people didn’t like it. Some were non happy about getting a Chevy engine in their Olds Cutlass, never mind that the Chevy V8 was probably better than the Olds one.

  16. David D Says:


    A good proposal. Why stop at manufacturing? There are some base Product Engineering areas that could also be consolitdate. For example, does a customer care how a door run channel operates or how a door trim panel is attached? Electrical distributions systems could commonize with connectors, how they attach, etc.

    Logistics would also be an area to review. The movement, warehousing, and scheduling of parts and dealer delivery of finished vehicles are all prime canidates.

  17. David Sprowl Says:

    few years back, achates power showed what appeared to be a better engine for most OEM applications. Their comment at the time was it was hard for any OEM to walk away from their large investments. Given Ford’s expierence with another now defunct diesel manufactuerer, that suggestion surely looks better on paper than in real life

  18. JoeS Says:

    11 There were a lot of Trans Am owners that were very disapointed that their car had Olds 400 as opposed to the Pontiac 400 which had more power.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Elon will probably say that he was just being sarcastic in saying that everything should open up immediately.

    If Ford actually merged with anyone, VW would seem to make the most sense. Ford is strong in big pickup truck in North America, and fairly strong in crossovers in N.A., while VW remains a relative small player. VW is strong in the rest of the world, where Ford is, at best, weak, and they don’t sell in some markets at all. With a combined VW/Ford, though, the question comes up of “how big is too big”?

  20. Mac Says:

    John, while I hear you in regard to the economic sense of consolidating powertrain businesses among the Detroit 3, it does harken back to the 1970s when GM introduced “inter-divisional assembly” to the brands. That marked the beginning of the end of any semblance of difference among the then-5 major GM brands within the model categories. A Pontiac B-body car became virtually identical to it’s Buick, Chevy, and Oldsmobile counterparts. While the economics make unquestionable sense, I have to believe it would lead to the homogenization of all models within a category of the 3 companies.

  21. Joe C. Says:

    Ford and VW already had a joint venture in Latin America during the late 70′s and early 80′s. the cars they produced didn’t sell well and were very forgettable. Hence it didn’t last. Saving CAPEX money is one thing but producing memorable cars that the public wants is even more difficult.

  22. merv Says:

    excellent show yet again, i really liked the giga factory low down,and getting people to to safety,should the need arise. I also like your idea of power train sharing between the big 3. The halo cars could keep their own in house power trains,but most of the rest could easily be shared.

  23. Albemarle Says:

    With the level of dislike and competitive arguing between FCA, Ford & GM, I think any merger would be a disaster. But, a takeover is a good idea. One company in charge, one culture becomes dominant and the others either buy in to the new status quo or move on. When you merge, you have everyone expecting that their way will dominate, a recipe for backbiting and complaining.

  24. Henry Leach Says:

    Agree with your opinion that huge efficiencies are low hanging fruit (consolidation of engines/transmissions ). Why not start with wheels? “Ya can’t put a Chevy wheel on a Ford, etc. etc”: maybe that would be a simple way to breakdown the centuries old mindset.

  25. rick Says:

    im all for vw and ford merging their powertrain operations. and while theyre at it,is there a need for an 8 cylinder engine anymore? let me answer that not just no but heavens no! look no further than the output of turbo 3,4,5,6 cylinder engines. or merge with nautilus engineering and achates opposed piston engines. for superior fuel efficiency and reduced emissions

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24. Apparently it doesn’t cost to much to make molds for wheels, given the hundreds of different aftermarket wheels. Probably a lot of Ford and Chevy wheels are made by the same companies, like Ronal, which also sells aftermarket wheels.

  27. JoeS Says:

    25 Eight cylinders? Absolutely! I’ll take an 8 with cylinder deactivation that run 70mph at 1400rpm over a turbo every day. When you lean on that turbo to get the V8 acceleration you want you are pushing the limits on that engine and reducing its life. If you do that a lot (which I do), don’t plan on keeping that vehicle for a decade and 150k miles (which I do). Cylinder deactivation equals the mpg playing field between a V8 and turbo 6.

  28. Bob Wilson Says:

    “Tesla reported Wednesday that it earned $16 million and generated $5.985 billion in revenue in the first quarter, results buoyed by improved automotive margins and reductions in operating expenses.” (see web source)

    Looks like taking the opposite advice of “Montana skeptic” and “Anton” has paid off again.

  29. Ctech Says:

    The problem with engine consolidation is that it seems no engineering group takes the time and motivation to produce a GREAT engine. Chrysler has tried with the alliance with Hyundai (the 1.8, 2.0, and 2.4L engines with lukewarm success, then later with Fiat’s Multi-air 2.0L and 2.4L engines. There are great 4cyl. engines, why not simply go to Honda and license the VTEC ? If I were head of Chrysler this is what I would do, perhaps in exchange for producing a mid-sized pickup in joint production and putting the Ridgeline out of its misery. Problem solved your welcome.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29. The “world engine,” later called “tigershark” was always mediocre, and it now has that complex multi-air system that seems to accomplish nothing. Yeah, Honda seems to have the best 4 cylinder engines as a compromise between power and efficiency, while using regular gas in most cases. The 1.5t “grows oil” in some cases, though. The BMW and M-B turbo 4s work well, but they recommend premium for both. I don’t know if they really need premium, though my sister uses regular in her Mini Countryman, with a lower power BMW 2.0, and it works fine, even though they recommend premium.

  31. FSTFWRD Says:

    @25 I for one would much rather have a normally aspirated V8 than a turbo V6 any day. Much less stress on the engine and it (non-turbo engine) should last forever. When the turbo itself fails, and they all seem to, one writes a big check.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31. It’s probably too early to really know the life expectancy of the Ford turbos in pickup trucks as they reach high mileage. The high volume 2.7 turbo has been around only about 5 years. Still, what’s the point? In CR’s tests, an F150 with a 2.7 turbo had essentially the same acceleration as a Silverado with the 5.3 V8. The Ford got about 10% better mpg “overall” in their tests, but if you need a turbocharger at 150K miles, the cost will eat up that fuel savings many times over.

  33. Ctech Says:

    @ #31, #32 The Ford truck twin turbo V6′s do seem to be reliable to the 150K-200K range so far. It does become an expensive problem if you do have a turbocharger failure prior to that. It is the same with the Chevy 1.4L (Cruze) or BMW 3.0L (3 and 4 series) from what I have observed.

  34. Ctech Says:

    @#30 The BMW premium fuel requirement is because they are tuned for maximum performance with premium. The ECM will adjust for regular 87 octane fuel but HP and torque is lower.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34. I never understood the need, or recommendation for premium for the very mildly tuned Mini S engine, only 189 hp from a 2.0 liter turbo engine. With not-uncommon 300+ hp 2.0 liter turbos, needing premium, at least for rated performance certainly makes sense.

  36. veh Says:

    I like the cut of Bob Galyen’s jib.

  37. wmb Says:

    A merger with the VW Group? I think not, but a strategic alliance, like what Nissan and Renualt had, may work. This way on the product front they can work together, where it makes since and saves money, but they are still independent companies. The only thing about this and even with the combining of the powertrains on the Big 3, are all the jobs that will be lost by the employees on the manufacturing side of such a move! Saving the company billions, off the backs of the line workers. To your point John, it may make since with the engines found in each automakers sedans and unibody CUV’s and crossovers, but this would NEVER work in their pick-up trucks, especially the full size trucks and SUV’s! ‘You mean to tell me that the only difference between an F-150, Silverado and a Ram is how the styled trucks body?!?! That would be like putting up different curtains on the same window!’ I think the truck faithful, where each automaker makes the most of their money and profits, would-Hit-The-Roof! Where these automakers would stand the most to gain and save money would be on BEV’s and vehicle electrification! Like you said, it is the future and that is a cost that is going to be a bitter pill to swallow! If the consumer doesn’t know what size their engine is, or who makes it (Jaguar will son use BMW engines and Aston Martins use Mercedes V8′s), would they care if the EV hard and software that motivated their Model Y, Mustang Mach E or ID3 were one and the same? The problem is if they would set their egos aside and go with best practice and work together.