AD #2950 – Are Big Grilles on The Way Out?; Hyundai Rehires Luc Donckerwolke; Mercedes May Use Geely EV Skateboard

November 2nd, 2020 at 11:54am

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Listen to “AD #2950 – Are Big Grilles on The Way Out?; Hyundai Rehires Luc Donckerwolke; Mercedes May Use Geely EV Skateboard” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 10:37

0:07 2-Speed EV Transmission Improves Range & Acceleration
0:41 Nidec Plans EV Motor Plant in Europe
1:02 Foxconn Reveals EV Skateboard
1:27 Mercedes May Use Geely EV Skateboard
2:02 Volvo Brings EV Motor Development In-House
3:36 Ford Expects 100K Active Drive Assist Sales in First Year
4:19 Execs Propose Transportation Policies
5:00 Hyundai Rehires Luc Donckerwolke
6:00 Is Giant Grille Fad on The Way Out?
7:32 INFICON Develops New Battery Testing Process

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40 Comments to “AD #2950 – Are Big Grilles on The Way Out?; Hyundai Rehires Luc Donckerwolke; Mercedes May Use Geely EV Skateboard”

  1. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Sean, I read the release on Ford’s Driver Assist and see that some of the activation (over the air features) are listed and explained, but my question is, will the actual feature (use) be a subscription service (like Cadillac changed to) or is it a one-time cost?

  2. Ziggy Says:

    I miss my 1980s clothes……….

  3. Dana Ford Says:

    Just my opinion, but I don’t think grilles are totally going away. I don’t believe there are enough natural resources available to support everything going to EVs across the board everywhere.

  4. GM Veteran Says:

    Will there be a monthly fee with Ford’s Active Drive Assist feature, like Cadillac has with SuperCruise?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Huge grilles are a styling fad on today’s ICE vehicles, not a necessity. This vehicle is certainly powered by an ICE, but doesn’t have a visible grille at all.

  6. Sean McElroy Says:

    @1 & 4 – We were told that it’s a one-time fee to unlock Ford’s hands-free system.

  7. Scott-in-Cleveland Says:

    Is the giant grille fad on it’s way out? Genesis just said “hold my beer”.


    The sooner the fad of gigantic grilles goes away, the better. I hate seeing them with 80% of the surface area blocked because it is unnecessary.

    I don’t think Faux grilles are necessary on EVs. Just better design. The front hump on TESLAs are weird and most likely for pedestrian safety requirements. It is just poorly integrated. It looks like the old trunk humps that were on lincolns from 30+ years ago when they had faux continental tire kits…just applied to the front end on Tesla vehicles. That stupid hump makes people think it needs a grille when in fact it doesn’t. Just better design integration of the pedestrian crash feature.

  9. Lambo2015 Says:

    I could care less about grilles and there size. A better question would be, With an EV do we really need a hood? I assume it provides some crash protection and aerodynamics, but I would think front ends similar to full size vans would make better use of the space.

    So whos going to be the first EV manufacturer to offer an interchangeable body that fits a standard skateboard. If most everything becomes drive by wire it would basically be an electrical quick-connect and turn your SUV into a sedan or into a pickup. Or at least they could sell a standard skateboard with a multitude of optional bodies even if interchanging isn’t so easy.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Short, or no hoods would give more cabin space, but less crash protection. The front under-hood space is not completely wasted, because they put a “frunK” there. Also, cars with no hood, like an Isetta would would look funny to most people.

  11. Phred Says:

    For styling and functionality just look at the 1963 Studebaker Avanti front end. It “breathed” cooling air from underneath the front bumper. The styling designers must ask your self “Does it look like a car or a brick?

  12. Lambo2015 Says:

    10 With all this new crash detection is crash protection as important?

  13. Larry D. Says:

    7 Genesis? Hyundai-Kia’s 15th attempt at selling a pretend-luxury vehicle in the US market? How soon before they go to the 16th, or just wise up and quit already? I am sure they have lost untold Billions cumulatively on these attempts.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 At some point, crashworthiness might not matter much, but for now, cars are still crashing.

  15. ChuckGrenci Says:

    @6, Thanks Sean.

    Grille or no grille, the styling could be good or bad; we have seen both with either. Some ICE have been styled with almost non-noticeable grilles and some BEV with apparent looking grilles so it really depends on the final look; proportions are more important than inclusion or exclusion a lot of the time.

  16. Sean Wagner Says:

    I’m entering the Citroen DS and Lexus SC in the grilleless sweepstakes.

    Autoline-Sean’s observation regarding fads is important.

    I’ve long thought that most would rather pass on being the last heard starting up a car – except if the notes emanate from one of the world’s great engines or a classic (which definitely includes say an MX-5).

    MERKUR Driver – what front hump?

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t much like the big mouth look of many of today’s vehicles, including my Camry, but that’s the fashion. At some point it will blow over, and we’ll see more of the look of the Camaro I linked in #5, and the Avanti. I’m waiting for fins to return. My first car, a 1957 Chrysler looked great. Well, I guess a little dated.

  18. John McElroy Says:

    #1. Cadillac will charge a monthly fee to use Super Cruise after a free 3-year service. Ford is going to charge a 1-time fee, no monthly fees.

  19. Lambo2015 Says:

    17 Don’t hold your breath on those fins Kit. The hey day of vehicle styling is long gone and the vehicles of today have become appliances of necessity. Its more about function and practicality than design. Only truly extravagant interiors make a vehicle stand out as the exteriors have become a blob of similar shapes and repetition. The large grill was an effort to stand out and as more adopt the design the less exclusive it becomes. They will be on to the next stand out feature soon.

  20. Lambo2015 Says:

    18 So Cadillac banking on most new buyers trading in their car within 3 years and capturing the second owners with the Super cruise fee. I wonder if they will offer a discounted rate if you subscribe for like 2 or 3 years rather than month to month.
    As the systems get better and will need updates I wonder if GM will maintain OTA updates as long as the subscription is current and if Ford plans to require fees to keep it updated like navigation used to be.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Three years should be long enough for the Cadillac buyers to know if they like the super cruise well enough to want to pay to keep it going. Three months is enough for me to know I don’t want to pay $20/month forever for satellite radio. I kind of like it, but not enough to pay for it.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 Yeah, I don’t expect fins to come back. I doubt if they’d even work well on the tall body lifted wagons that now dominate the market. Long, low cars are where they worked well for a few years.


    20) It will be like On-Star for most people. Fine if it is free but nobody wants to pay for it long term. I guess Cadillac has not yet learned this lesson from their failure of On-Star.

    Imagine trying to resell this Cadillac. You paid for the feature but can’t use it as a selling feature to to the next person because Cadillac invalidates its use. It would be like saying it has AC but just needs a “recharge”.

    So your already dismal Cadillac resale value gets that much more dismal. I like supercruise, but if that is an option that they want me to pay for, it will remain unchecked. If it is embedded in an option package with features that I want, I will simply get a BMW/Merc/Audi instead. I hate pay to play on my phone and it is absolutely intolerable on my car.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 Apparently enough people pay for Onstar, that it has kept going for 20-some years and counting. The Onstar hardware must be cheap, because they put it in even low end cars, which would have a very low subscription rate.

    As far as the semi-autonomous stuff, I suspect everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to market it. Do the Germans even have it, and if so, is it something you pay for in the price of the car, with updates forever? Just asking. I don’t know, but I don’t remember hearing much about Benz-O-Pilot, or anything like that.

  25. cwolf Says:

    Until EV’s have better range, we really don’t know how they will be used by the majority of buyers for the near future. IMO, they will still be considered a second car. Therefore, I believe the body style should be open to the imagination and not just aerodynamics for they all look the same.
    If driver assist packages are included with the vehicle I may find it useful, but not if it requires an endless monthly payment. It isn’t needed for in town driving and I bet most would feel uneasy using it.
    As you are aware, I just want the basics and let me be in control of the driving with simple, easy to use knobs and buttons that are not a distraction.


    24) No there is not a Benz-o-pilot just yet. My point being that I don’t need Supercruise and it was the only thing that differentiates Cadillac to the Germans. The only thing that would make me even consider any Cadillac. The only thing that would have gotten me into the dealership for a test drive.

    Them making it a monthly subscription service means that this feature is now worthless. Unless GM somehow convinces used car buyers that they need to pay monthly for Supercruise and that creates a demand. I have absolutely zero intention of educating buyers of a used Cadillac about Supercruise. That is not my job. I am not a free salesman for GM subscription services. It is an option of zero value to me now strictly because of their monthly service destroying resale value.

    So I might as well go to the Germans for a car instead since the one singular feature that differentiated Cadillac is now worthless to me because of their monthly subscription stupidity.

  27. cwolf Says:

    MERKUR, for what you will spend on maintenance for that German car, it may be cheaper to pay that monthly fee. I know a lot of folks with German stuff and not one ever left the service department for under $1000. I, too, like German cars, but not that much!

  28. FSTFWRD Says:

    Doesn’t Audi have some sort of ‘Super Cruise” on some of their high-end cars?

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 It looks like a number of car companies have system, more than I realized. Their capabilities seem to vary widely.

  30. cwolf Says:

    Really……, how many of you guys want to go somewhere and not do the driving? Take a taxi , it’s cheaper than owning a car.

  31. Barry Rector Says:

    In the discussion of new cars with grills, does it make my old 1991 Corvette back in fashion since it doesn’t have big radiator grills?? LOL

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Those disappearing headlights will make a comeback too. That would be a good cure for the polycarbonate lenses that turn yellow and opaque.

  33. Larry D. Says:

    Whatever the real reason(s) are, it vindicates my theory that you can always do better, REGARDLESS of your budget, if you buy USED. EVEN if you buy used from a DEALER. ANd my experiences buying two E class diesels from two different dealers have been very satisfying (before I would buy directly from the owner to save even more).

    If this continues and used car prices inevitably SKYROCKET, it will only show how wonderful anf efficient is the INVISIBLE HAND of the FREE MARKETS, and the market will reach a new equilibrium consistent with consumer preferences.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    33 the article only mentions those who work from home, who do not use their cars much, and therefore have a correspondinly less need to replace them, since they accumulate less miles.

    You can add to that those unemployed or retired who do not HAVE to commute, whose driving was NOT necessary, and may have cut back as they don’t visit restaurants, parks, museums, movies and theaters as much as they did before.

    BUT the article ignores the biggest component of NEW USED car demand, which is all over Europe, in hard-hit by the CV nations like SPAIN, ITALY, BELGIUM, FRANCE etc, the POOR switch from using mass transit, which they view as COFFINS NAILED SHUT, to buying a used car they CAN afford, whether they get it from a dealer, a private party, or, for the very poor, from the JUNKYARD.

  35. Larry D. Says:

    We already knew that FCA was buying hundreds of millions of $ worth of carbon credits from TESLA. Now Honda seems to need some help too, in Europe, and is also pooling etc with the Dominant WOrld BEV maker.

  36. Lambo2015 Says:

    26 I totally agree with you that GM making super-cruise a subscription service is a huge misstep. I’m sure some bean counter justified the decision and I’m sure it looks good on paper. It might even work to bring a constant revenue in for GM. The question they always fail to ask is at what cost? Sure they may have people love the feature and pay the monthly fee but they will probably have many more buyers that are turned off by this tactic.
    Most consumers expect to get all their options at the time of purchase and although Satellite radio and on-star worked on this premise I’m not sure driving features like this will be viewed the same..
    I truly expect there to be hackers that for a fee or a subscribe to their You Tube channel will provide a way to turn the feature on. Which I would think could create some sticky legal concerns for GM. If someone crashes while using super-cruise who’s responsible. Does it change if the feature was turned on by a hacker? Still same system. Not sure our legal system is even prepared for this.

  37. Ed Says:

    I hope that with all the crash detection/ mitigation systems, that they still maintain crashworthy builds. When I think of my first computer we got in 1979, the Apple II; and how it would sometimes freeze, then to the ones I got in 1992, to today. In 28 years I still have computers at work with all the latest and they have glitches and fail. And I’m Not in a 4 thousand pound rolling box moving towards other heavy moving objects without a system working for me. (Or offline as I roll to the edge of the cliff) . Things fail and need a backup, esp when your life may depend upon it.

  38. Lambo2015 Says:

    37 They have multiple fail safe systems in place. It isn’t like you have a single system that directs the car and if it fails you potentially die.
    I worked on electronic gas pedals and they have three potentiometers that all have to correlate to provide a signal to the throttle actuator. The system gets input from engine speed and vehicle speed and braking to determine correct throttle position. If anyone of those inputs do not jive with the what it should be seeing the system defaults to a limp mode.
    So with driving assist software they get inputs from a bunch of sensors cameras lidar and a whole bunch of decisions are made from all that input. So can it have a whole system failure? Maybe but I’m sure they have put the proper fail safes in place. Which is probably why the systems still recommend the driver be alert and have their hands on the wheel.. Which to me is why I wouldn’t pay for such a system. If I need to be alert and have my hands on the wheel I might as well just drive the car.

  39. Alex Carazan Says:

    EV’s have been in USA market for a decade and make up only 1.5% of USA sales year to date with no sign of mass sales growth. High cost, low range, long charge times, and little charge infrastructure are huge issues that EV’s have not fixed. Launch of many new EV nameplates does not solve these issues. Why Autoline and so many auto news sources and experts invest so much attention to EV’s? Almost like a technology push. Clearly little market pull by consumers. Gas is only $2.00 a gallon and quick to fill up. Few people care to go 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds for $80k to $112k. Isn’t it auto makers role to satisfy consumer needs? What value do EV’s provide end users? How many more years will this EV push go on? Do profits matter? Do volumes x profit per vehicle matter?

  40. Stephen Says:

    Geely bought 10% of Merc stock in an underhand way. Many said it was the Geely/chinese way of accessing western car tech way faster than developing it in-house. Merc was not happy so cannot see Geely forcing any design decisions on Merc. If Merc had to rely on a platform developed and owned by the chinese they would essentially be under the kosh of the Chinese government, the same government who wants to dominate the BEV market. All Merc gets out of Geely is an easier relationship in sells Mercs in China and cheaper chinese parts where Geely can make them to Merc standards. No Chinese car maker is even close to Merc in terms of engineering. Yes they are making progress in BEVs but are they competitive abroad without gov incentives and trade barriers. Nobody knows.