Episode 289 – Big 3 Upset At Japan, Spyker Bids On Saab, Big Toyota Announcement

December 11th, 2009 at 12:09pm

Runtime 8:14

The Big 3 are complaining Japan is discriminating against them with its cash for clunkers program. Exotic sports-car maker Spyker says it is bidding on Saab. Toyota will make a major announcement about expanding its hybrid vehicle lineup at the Detroit Auto Show next month. All that and more, plus a look at an ultra-efficient concept car from Volkswagen.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. The Big 3 accuse Japan of playing unfair. Now Spyker might buy Saab. And Toyota gets set to make a big announcement about hybrids.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 11, 2009. And now, the news.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are complaining Japan is discriminating against them with its cash for clunkers program. Bloomberg reports the American automakers sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative pointing out that none of the cars they sell in Japan qualify for Japan’s sales incentives. In the United States, of course, nearly half the new cars sold in the cash for clunkers program were made by Japanese automakers. Japan says its incentives apply to fuel-efficient cars and that it is not discriminating against foreign automakers. Foreign automakers sell fewer than 4 percent of all vehicles sold in Japan.

Even though we reported that Saab is on its deathbed, Reuters reports that a last minute buyer could ride to the rescue. While small exotic sports-car maker Koenigsegg dropped out of the bidding for Saab, now small exotic sports-car maker Spyker says it is bidding on Saab. Spyker is being backed by Russian tycoon Vladimir Antonov to come up with the money to buy Saab. Last year Spyker only made 43 cars with prices that top $300,000, and it’s a good thing it knows a lot about not selling many cars.

French automaker Renault might return to North America (subscription required). The Wall Street Journal says the company is studying the possibility but its decision will depend partly on how the Duster sells, a new crossover built by its Dacia subsidiary in Romania that goes on sale next year. The company is also considering selling vehicles in Southeast Asia as well.

Spending on automotive advertising had a huge drop off the first nine months of the year. According to the Detroit Free Press, automakers and dealers spent $7.5 billion this year compared to nearly $11 billion a year ago, a drop of over 30 percent. Despite the huge cuts, the auto industry remained the largest spender on advertising.

Ward’s reports that Toyota will make a MAJOR announcement about expanding its hybrid vehicle lineup (subscription required) at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The company is thought to be working on a hybrid version of its subcompact Yaris to challenge the Honda Insight. It’s also expected to expand the Prius lineup and maybe spin it off as a separate brand, but that’s just speculation. As part of the announcement, Toyota will showcase some all-new models as well as next-generation HEVs as well as other alternative powertrain technology like plug-ins and fuel cells.

If you’re sensitive, I suggest you fast forward past this story. Viewer discretion is advised. The A5 and R8 are two of the most beautiful cars on the road today. They illustrate Audi’s unique flair for design, but this doesn’t stop aftermarket companies from trying to “improve” things. Autoblog reports that a German tuner company called Hofele Design has done a mash-up of the two cars. They took an A5 and tried to make it look like an R8 by plastering all kinds of junk on it. Besides fake dual exhaust and a “unique” front fascia, it also sports a knock-off the R8’s signature side blade. UGH!

Coming up next, a look at an ultra-efficient concept car, we’ll be right back after this.

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show Volkswagen revealed a retro-themed concept car. No, not a rehash of the Beetle or Microbus, this looks to the recent past for inspiration.

It debuted an ultra-efficient vehicle called the One-Liter Concept, which is a remix of a similarly named car from 2002. It’s gets the name “one-liter” because it only takes about 1.4 liters of fuel to travel 100 kilometers, which works out to about 170 MPGs!

To get that kind of fuel economy the car is small and light. To cut wind resistance it’s narrow and low to the ground, with tandem seating for two passengers. To cut mass, the body is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Altogether the whole thing only weighs 840 pounds and has a coefficient of drag of just 0.195!

But Volkswagen wants to do more with the One-Liter Concept than just prove it can build an ultra-efficient car.

Getting carbon fiber into everyday vehicles is going to be a challenge because it’s so expensive. It seems to make more sense for VW to start at the premium end with Audi and work down to more affordable cars. But kudos to them if they figure out how to do it.

Powering the One-Liter Concept is a diesel hybrid drivetrain. It consists of a rear-mounted two-cylinder engine with a maximum output of – brace yourself – 38 horsepower. It also features an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack to augment the ICE. Amazingly, it only emits 36 grams of CO2 per kilometer!

If this fuel-sipping concept looks like the perfect car for you, Volkswagen is gunning to have it on sale a lot sooner than you might think.

Will Volkswagen be able to pull it off? 2013 is just a few years away, and if it’s serious about building the One-Liter Concept – and pushing carbon fiber – it has a lot of work ahead of it.

Ok, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to identify what car this is, based on its front end. And the correct answer is . . . it’s the Chevy Aveo. As always, we randomly selected this week’s winner from the pool of correct responses. And the winner is, Walt Timpe of Snoqualmie, Washington. Congratulations Walt, you’ve just won this collector’s-edition Autoline Detroit coffee mug.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

45 Comments to “Episode 289 – Big 3 Upset At Japan, Spyker Bids On Saab, Big Toyota Announcement”

  1. Jim Sachetti Says:

    Interesting news..

    If Toyota knows what it’s doing, it should no tbother to do a yaris hybrid as an Insight fighter, as the new Insight did truly miserably in the US market, and Honda had to scale down their sales target from 60-70k to 20k in 2009!!

    On the conrtary, the hugely successful prius line should be augmented by equally high-MPG (50s) versions, a wagon, a coupe or a convertible (although the last one I doubt it can get 50 MPG except with a hard top).

    The Prius of course is already somewhat of a wagon and somewhat of a 4-door coupe (but really a 5 door hatch) so Toyota needs to think hard of what exactly does it want to add to the Prius lineup.

  2. Jim Sachetti Says:

    As for the VW thing being produced? It may be impressive, at 170 MPG, but too impractical, with its two seats one behind the other, too long to compete with the SMART and others for city parking.. What is the niche for such a design? Salesmen who travel 3,000 miles a week? But they need some cargo room for their samples too?

    Maybe the final product will be an 80 MPG (3-liter, not 1-liter car!) but with 4 seats and a trunk, and sell competitively, so no super-expensive materials? But then it will not look at all like the concept..

  3. Tony Gray Says:

    I hate Walt Timpe!

    A judge once said that he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it. That Hofele Audi….THAT is pornography and should not be viewed…by anyone!

    The VW One Liter concept is much nicer than the 2002 version…I’ll keep my eyes on that.

  4. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    At a time of diminishing domestic sales, and with so many new models about to be introduced here, I find it incredible that companies that have been out of this market for years are NOW attempting a comeback. I predict they will only appeal to very few buyers that want something different, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Jim Sachetti Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    “If Toyota knows what it’s doing, it should no tbother to do a yaris hybrid as an Insight fighter, as the new Insight did truly miserably in the US market, and Honda had to scale down their sales target from 60-70k to 20k in 2009!!”

    You’re right. The Insight has less room than a Prius, but uses more gas. Such a deal!! The Insight isn’t enough cheaper than the Prius to make sense.

    If Toyota does a Yaris hybrid, it needs needs to be cheaper than the Insight and get better gas mileage. If it does those two things, it might make sense.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    The insight is much inferior to the Prius not only in size and especially MPG (!) but also in interior quality, it is very 80s, bad plastics and fabrics, very cheap, while the new Prius is really a fantastic car.

    I wonder if this is about just the US market or the Japanese karket where the insight did much better than here, I believe.

  7. Salvador G. Says:

    JohnMcElroy says:
    Autoblog reports that a German tuner company called Hofele Design has done a mash-up of the two cars. They took an A5 and tried to make it look like an R8 by plastering all kinds of junk on it.
    _______
    _______ JohnMc…. Killed it, Killed it, please… if you love Audi, end its misery now and killed it.

    Now that I got that out my system… I like the Idea of OneLiter car and not that I got something againts the concept but, I wonder how much weight can it hold before start loosing it’s 170MPG range and/or going uphill??? although; it is very nice looking design.

    Finally, not that I disagree with American Automakers, but if they feel Japan it’s being unfair with them, they should have said it BACK IN THE 1980′s.

    -

  8. Jim Thykeson Says:

    Japan not letting U.S. play in their ‘clunker-program’…did you think they would! Just like Germany made their ‘clunker-program’ for German marques Japan is following suit. Only our dumb-ass allowed the foreign brands to take part in a program that is supposed to bolster national brands. I know free trade, world trade, free-market economy all that crap is supposed to showcase our superior products, well guess what!, we’re getting that ass kicked from everything from paint to tires,tv’s, cameras, cars, airplanes, everything actually. You better start thinking about this protectionism stuff or prepare to go extinct!

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Jim Thykeson Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    “we’re getting that ass kicked from everything from paint to tires,tv’s, cameras, cars, airplanes, everything actually. You better start thinking about this protectionism stuff or prepare to go extinct!”

    We’re doing ok in airplanes. Boeing is still holding their own against Airbus, and US war planes are sold over the world. Airplanes are the the only manufactured products where the US does sell in the world market, except large earth moving equipment. Caterpiller is doing well internationally.

  10. Max Christensen Says:

    I think the Yaris would sell very well if hybrid-powered, only because it is a much nicer looking car than the Prius, and might possibly have a little more room. I know I’m probably in the minority, but I think the Prius is one of the world’s true “ugly duckling” cars. Meanwhile, the Yaris is actually not bad…..

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow, Jim is so right, if you don’t think so you’re in denial. Not even high end electronics or appliances are built here anymore, now they come from Germany, our industrial base which made this country so great is eroding more and more. Just building planes and a few heavy equipment pieces ain’t gonna cut it. Around construction sites, I’m seeing names like Hyundai and some other Asian brands. Free trade only seems to apply here, not in Europe and Asia. And I don’t see any politicians even mention this, it’s like a big cover-up.

  12. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I know Toyota is supposed to have a Yaris and Corolla Hybrid by 2012-2013. It will be somewhat competitive with our Rio and Forte Hybrids.

    Toyota does need to step those interiors up, becuase it seems like they are “Old GMing” themselves more and more by the day.

  13. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Entry # 12 is a good indicator that we have a professional ad man in this blog. Will you at least send a little check to MC Elroy for allowing this. I would have expected this from a Chinese car maker.

  14. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    And Max, I think the Yaris is great, but to say that it’s roomier than a Prius? or nicer? I don’t think many people would agree with you, although whey you compare the price of the 2 and the mpg’s the Yaris seems like the best choice if you just need affordable transportation.

  15. Jim Sachetti Says:

    “Jim Thykeson Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Japan not letting U.S. play in their ‘clunker-program’…did you think they would! ”

    Regardless what anybody thinks, the Japanese have answered the US Carmakers complaints, and claim they do not discriminate against anyone.

    Unlike the US CFC program that had a very low bar for the new cars (a ridiculous 22 MPG or higher!!!), the Japanese program requires that the replacementr is a high MPG car, and the US cars just do not qualify. It is their right to do so, just as it was our right to make this ridiculously low 22 MPG bar for our program, and we did it 100% on PURPOSE, hoping that consumers would replace 18 MPG POS SUVs with profitable (to Ford, GM and Chrysler) 22 MPG SUVs.

    But the US consumer did not or could not bite, they went in droves and bought small cars, and many of them were imports, in fact!!!

  16. Jim Sachetti Says:

    “And Max, I think the Yaris is great, but to say that it’s roomier than a Prius? or nicer? ”

    THis is SO ridiculous, that I will not bother to read Max’s post. First of, the Prius sells for twice the price of the Yaris, who the hell would comparison shop for a Prius and a Yaris? Give me a break, Max.

    But what does Max know? He drives around in three dodges, I wonder if he can recognize any Yaris on the street..

    And second, obviously MAx has NOT driven both the yaris and the prius, otherwise he’d know.

  17. Jim Sachetti Says:

    The yaris is a cheap, cheap looking car, inside and out, while the prius, especially the NEW prius, looks ABSOLUTELY GREAT. And it looks great to people with a brain and some automotive literacy, because its shape is not some silly art show, BUT it is SCIENTIFICALLY OPTIMIZED TO PRODUCE VY FAR THE HIGHEST MPG than anything that rolls, EVEN the ludicrous SMART (or DUMB) which is half its size and two thirds of its weight!!!

    The curves of the Prius are dictated by AERODYNAMICS, not bu GUCCI or whoever.

  18. Jim Sachetti Says:

    PEDRO:

    You are 100% WRONG about the CFC Programs in Germany and Japan.

    NEither nation has excluded any foreign cars from their CFC

    they do NOT have a nation limit but an MPG Limit.

    On the contrary, the corrupt US congress, in the pockets of the big 3, DID consider at first to do the CFC for US makers ONLY, BUT such a HUGE outcry followed from our Trading PArtners, including what WORKS, ie, threats of BIG retaliation, that they gave it up!

    They STILL tried to make it favorable to US makers by setting the bar ridiculously low, 22 MPG, BUT the consumers either could not afford the big POS SUVs, not with today’s economy and real estate values, or did not want the POS anyway.

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    Jim Sachetti:

    WHile I agree with your comments on CFC, the most important thing to note is that all CFC programs SUCK, they are arbotrary income redistribution NOT even from the rich to the poor (which to some would be some justification) but from all kinds of diligent Taxpayers to the failed and incompetent automakers (plus a few successful ones) and their Dealers.

    WHy pick and choose the automotive industry for this and not the FURNITURE industry? How about some cash for your dirty old Sofas and Couches and cofeetables?

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    Re Hyundai, the free commercial here portrays it as good value. And no wonder. The Korean currency the won used to be 800 to the dollar, but after the asian financial crisis went as high as 1,600, and now is still probably is at least 1,200 to the $. Most hyundais, all with the exception of the SOnata, are imported from their cheap S. korean currency home. So most of their value is due to the DEvalued Won!

    On the contrary, the Japanese yen and the euro have RISEN mightily vs the US dollar and it is a real problem for the germans and the Japanese to make any $ on imported cars here, except the most expensive, top luxury cars. That’s why all of them build as many as they can in the US and North Am in general.

    Another thing is how fast the Auto successes become failures and vice versa. Huyndai-Kia were in a hell of a lot of trouble a few years ago, there were management problems and miscommunications and cultural gaps between the US managers and their Korean bosses, and this resulted in mass firings of long-term US managers such as Kosmai.

    But two years later, it seems that Hyundai-Kia can’t do anything wrong, and it is largely due to clever marketing, warantees vs job losses etc, plus the value due to their undervalued currency.

    Honda used to be at the peak of the auto world also a few years ago, but now it has 80 and 100 day inventories. Another example of how things change fast in the Auto business. Toyota has its share of problems too.

  21. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    I find myself agreeing with both Jim (Sachetti) and Nick here. I must be Thor! (LOL)

  22. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Jim S. While it’s true that most Japanese buyers would not even consider an American vehicle, there are some models that would appeal to some buyers over there. But the fact remains that the Japanese government has practically made it impossible for any American car to be sold over there, disguised as mandated safety equipment, they have kept foreign makes from being sold there, while they have inundated the whole world with their cars to the point where they have driven domestics out of business, fair is fair and they’re not playing fair at all, and now the Koreans are following in their footsteps. Soon the Chinese will come here also and then you can kiss the domestic auto industry goodbye. The bonehead executives who let it get to this point will not suffer, it will the lowly assembly worker who either puts the car together or works for a supplier or even those who earn a living by working in support businesses surrounding those plants.

  23. Jim Sachetti Says:

    Pedro: The Japanese, the Germans and all the other CFC countries that have high MPG requirements that leave most US cars out of the program are fully within their rights, regardless of the consequences. That was my point.

    On the contrary, if the corrupt congress in the US ddi what it threatened to do originally, to have a CFC program that forbid Imports (or, worse, limited it to the Detroit 3 and excluded all the US-made COrollas, Civics, Accords, Camrys and another 100 models of imports made in the USA), there would be a TRADE WAR as the foreign nations would surely RETALIATE against the illegal measure.

    But, I agree with Nick, the most important point is that all CFC programs suck.

  24. Rick R Says:

    “The A5 and R8 are two of the most beautiful cars on the road today.”
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and my eyes behold two butt ugly cars.

  25. Salvador G. Says:

    TRADE WARR!

    Now that’s an idea I can get behind, but anyway; have you people consider that first of all – The cars that all american car-makers sell overseas are in fact produce overseas and most of the time their better than/if not as good/ as the cars produce by Japanese or Europeans (and lets be honest, the USA only the the cream of the crap when their sold here Vs the European versions)… So is Japan CFC fair or for that matter are Japanese trade laws fair to foreign car-makers, obviously not, BUT – Like I said before… That’s an argument U.S. car makers should had started back in 1980.
    -

  26. Nick Stevens Says:

    AUdIs may have other problems, but ugliness is not one of them. They are all works of art, inside and out, and have allegedly the best interiors of any mass produced vehicle.

  27. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Well Nick they also needed a Product that can get people to say “Well if they can make this technological showpiece, then I will trust that Accent, Elantra, Sonata.” The Genesis gave them that.

    That “Halo” car status was something Hyundai Lacked. Sure the rest of the line was great product, but they needed a product that could attract people to the dealers to get Americans to notice their other products. There were a lot of people ignorant about the company, including some of you I bet who thought Hyundai still made Excels or Excel quality product. The same thing with KIA and its Soul, a lot of people thought KIA still made Sephias, and Ford Fiestas.

    The Rising of the Yen, and falling of the Dollar helped a lot, but you cant deny the fact that Genesis and Soul attracted many people to the dealers who instead bought a Sonata, or Sportage.

    Speaking about cheap Labor costs, Korea isnt cheap enough for the Company as they fear the Sentiments displayed in this room about trade wars. Therefore, they are moving most of their factories out of Korea, and going to Local regional production. North American products made in North America, European Products made in Europe. As John Mc Elroy reported about 2 weeks ago Hyundai is moving their Accent/Rio production for the North American market to Mexico (which has me worried about build quality) They also are building a plant (Forte/Elantra) in Canada, and are looking for another site in Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, or Kentucky.

    They have to get more content in these small cars, and they have to go to cheaper forms of production to make that happen.

    Just a little more info.

  28. Pedro Fernandez Says:

    Autoline blog is brought to you courtesy of Hyundai/Kia, remember, if you buy anything else, you’re a big PUTZ. Hyundai/Kia “the ultimate getting around machines”

  29. Tom Martin Says:

    In my opinion, two seat commuters like the VW Concept would sell. I would buy one. I drive 40 miles/day each way by myself.

    I would even buy it if it didn’t have exotic materials and weighed 200 to 500 lbs more than the VW exotic, and wasn’t a hybrid. For me, all they need to do is keep the cost under $20K and exceed 50 mpg.

    In fact, once gasoline approaches $10/gallon, small one and two seat commuters may become quite common.

  30. Tom Martin Says:

    The Prius line needs to expand in both directions. Toyota needs to build a smaller Prius that gets in excess of 60 mpg.

    Toyota also needs to build a larger Prius minivan (SUV?) that is 18″ longer and 3-4″ wider than the current Prius that gets 35-40 mpg. There are millions of Minivan and SUV owners that would love to buy a $30-$40K SUV replacement that doubles their current mpg.

    Toyota has already announced a luxury version which is needed and will be sold by Lexus.

    And I guess it is OK to have hybrid powertrain options with more of it’s current Toyota and Lexus models.

  31. Max Christensen Says:

    @ Nick/Jim/Thor
    “THis is SO ridiculous, that I will not bother to read Max’s post. First of, the Prius sells for twice the price of the Yaris, who the hell would comparison shop for a Prius and a Yaris? Give me a break, Max.

    But what does Max know? He drives around in three dodges, I wonder if he can recognize any Yaris on the street..

    And second, obviously MAx has NOT driven both the yaris and the prius, otherwise he’d know.”

    I’m not sure which one of your 3 personalities really wrote this, nor do I care – but I do worry when you start answering yourself? Perhaps you should go visit a doctor?

    Anyway, you are correct, I have not driven either of these vehicles, and that wasn’t the point of my post located at #10 above. I simply stated that in MY opinion, the Yaris is a better looking car then the Prius. However, I HAVE sat in both of them, and at 6’1″, the Yaris does indeed have more headroom in both the front and back than does the Prius – thus my statement that the Yaris might actually be roomier. Overall, more room? Maybe not, but in headroom, the Yaris IS roomier.

    And yes, I know the Prius’ lines are dictated by aerodynamics – but it’s still an ugly little POS no matter what angle you look at it from.

    And one last thing Jim/Nick/Thor – the other week when someone asked what was parked in everybody’s garage, you NEVER did answer, did you? Why not? At least I’m proud enough of my Mopars and their heritage to tell you what I drive. What’s your excuse?

  32. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    Hey Christensen, you forgot to add me to your alleged “Thor/Nick/Jim” person…LOL

  33. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    “# Pedro Fernandez Says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Autoline blog is brought to you courtesy of Hyundai/Kia, remember, if you buy anything else, you’re a big PUTZ. Hyundai/Kia “the ultimate getting around machines””

    The height of the ridiculousness of this “Hyundai Smoke” character is that he suggested, with a straight face (?) that even Kit trade in his recently bought Mini for some Hyundai-Kia ugly piece of crap that drives like crap as much as it looks like crap! Ludicrous!

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    “TOYOTA is running overtime at all its North American plants to keep up with demand and replenish low supplies of vehicles.

    Responding to strong sales of its RAV4 small crossover, Toyota is hiring a second shift of workers for its Woodstock, Ontario, plant.

    “This is a vote of confidence that the market is recovering,” Ray Tanguay, executive vice president in charge of Toyota’s North American manufacturing and engineering group, said in a phone interview. Despite a soft market, RAV4 sales are up 3 percent through November.

    Toyota also is hiring workers for a second shift at its San Antonio factory, which will take over production of the mid-sized Tacoma pickup in July. Toyota is moving the Tacoma to Texas from New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, Calif., which the automaker is closing.”

  35. Nick Stevens Says:

    Hey Christensen:

    Stop pretending you do not know what THor drives, he repeatedly extolled the virtues of his 1998 BMW 740iL, a car that you would not even BEGIN to appreciate even if somebody gave one to you to drive daily.

    I also own a German v8 luxury sedan, and some mistook it for the 7 series because I added “performance”. But it is not a 7, and it is not even an Audi A8, a likely choice as well.

    I drive a 1999 Merc S-class 500, the very big and heavy 1992-99 model, the “Grand Edition” in black and tan leather. The car cost more than 100k new, and I bought it for $35k (down from 39k) from its owner with very low miles. Unlike Thor, who bought his bargain bimmer with over 100k miles and for $10k or so.

    Not that I had any obligation to tell anybody exactly what I drive or how big a house I live in, or whatever.

  36. Max Christensen Says:

    Nick/Jim/Jeff/Thor

    I didn’t say you had an obligation – but since you like to monopolize this forum, it seemed pretty gutless on your part to not participate when another member very nicely asked everyone what they drive.

    Quite frankly I could give a rat’s ‘you know what’ as to what you drive. I’m just curious as to which vehicle you will drive when you go in for your much needed doctor’s appointment?

  37. Nick Stevens Says:

    WHile the Chevy Volt is still pie in the sky, TOYOTA unveils the PRIUS PLUG IN!

    “In Japan today, Toyota officially launched its Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) lease program. Over the next six months, Toyota will be building and deploying 600 examples of the plug-in Prius for testing primarily in Japan, United States and Europe. The Japanese market will get 230 units, with 150 coming to the States and 200 going to Europe. The cars will be leased to government, commercial, and university fleets for field testing that help to gather more data on how PHEVs are used in the real world.

    To accommodate plug-in charging the Prius gets a 5.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack in place of the standard nickel metal hydride unit. The battery and associated charging hardware appear to be the only significant mechanical changes to the PHEV. The motor and other hybrid hardware are apparently carried over intact. Even with the standard motor, Toyota claims a maximum EV speed of 62 mph.

    On the Japanese JC08 cycle, the Prius can run about 14.5 miles before depleting the battery. It’s not clear what the performance level will be in EV mode and what sort of driving will trigger the engine to start up while the battery still has available power. Based on that driving cycle, the PHEV is rated at 72 mpg (U.S.) in post-EV hybrid mode which compares with the 50 mpg or so that we typically see in real use. Since the hybrid system is essentially unchanged, the 14 mile range is probably a bit optimistic. The combined efficiency based on a utility factor of .436 (43.6 percent of driving in EV mode) the Prius is rated at 134 mpg (U.S.). The PHEV Prius will undoubtedly get very good mileage, but we suspect that triple digits are unlikely for most people. During the presentation, Toyota also announced a target of retail sales for the PHEV of late 2011 at an “affordable” price.

    And I bet it will NOT ask the US taxpayer to subsidize each one to the tune of a LUDICROUS $7,500, as the bankrupt, failed losers at GM had the audacity of asking!!!

  38. Nick Stevens Says:

    CHRISTENSEN:

    Hey MORON!

    EFF OFF and Stop the personal attacks of other posters, but since you started the stupid thing, here goes:. YOu are dumb enough to admit what YOU drive, and you have proven yourself to be a 100%, USDA choice AUTO ILLITERATE, and an econ illiterate as well, as proven by you owning one of the WORST cars ever made, the Avenger, that 7/8 Charger wannabe, which I KNOW what utter POS it is because I had a stupid colleague accept it as a rental back in 2007 in CT. TOTAL POS! Not worth talking about it..

    EFF OFF again. I will not bother to dignify to any future POS attack post of yours with a reply.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    And PS earlier today, I told you in FULL DETAIL what I drive, and I believe thor long ago told us what he drives 1000 times. If you are so DUMB as to have forgotten what it is, it is YOUR problem!

  40. Max Christensen Says:

    Nick/Thor/Jim/Jeff

    My oh my, did I touch a nerve? Please tell me in what way I personally attacked any poster in here? You are the one who always sees fit to use the derogatory comments and names on everyone else, including our fine host John. You really should be ashamed……….. but then I guess that people like you never are, huh?

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    I got the crappiest car of all the bloggers here, a 98 Corolla with almost 300k miles on its second engine, damaged rear quarter panel, messed up interior etc But it runs, and I can’t wait to follow Mr Smoke’s advice and get into a wonderful, reliable, amazing piece of engineering from Hyundai/Kia

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Jeff, but that Accent is more reliable than the MINI.

    The MINI is the centerfold with all of the pomp and circumstance that comes with it but when you get to know her youll see that she’s nothing but fluff.

    The Accent is the Church Girl that is seen by most as a boring chick, but when you treat her the way she is supposed to be treated, she is the most fun in town, and behind that fun is a solidly good person.

    You dont get it Jeff.

    Well Pedro, yep Autoline is brought to you by HyundaiSmoke, but I cant help it when this company is about to produce the best car products ever, while you have guys like John Mc Elroy STILL comparing our products to a 2 bit falling apart make like Toyota(Im sorry, “Old GM #2″, an over the hill Baby Boomer Company like Honda. The Forte maybe not be as good as the Civic on the Ride quality front, but overall its a better car: More power, better interior layout, lower price, same fuel economy, I can keep going on and on. We dominate Reliability in the mass market brands, We dominate in US fuel economy, We dominate in value, we have a superior product value for every product segment.

    John knows it too, but his puppetmasters wont allow him to say it. So in that sense, maybe Autoline has not been brought to you by Hyundai-KIA Motors, but Brought to you by Honda Motor Co, Toyota-Motor Company, etc…..

    And we want MORE PRESS, MORE ATTENTION, MORE ACCOLADES, MORE AWARDS. We’ve earned them!!!

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    By the way our Products are like Chryslers, but if they actually made good products, and products people actually wanted!!!!!!!!!!! Hyundai=Chrysler KIA=Dodge. Just look at the sales graphs over the past 2 years. Look at how Hyundai-KIA Motors sales rise in correlation to Chrysler’s sales fall.

    Im just a Hyundai KIA Superfan who can see the value of this product!!!! No advertisements, just fanaticism.

  44. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Yeah, Im a converted Mopar-Chrysler lover who jumped ship over to a real modern product line.

  45. Gisellevzh Says:

    Den europeisk design bringer temperament prinsesse eleganse til canada goose norge salg , er det økende aksept i løpet av det dyktige årene. Til tross after stray ekstreme varmen , er Canada Goose Norge ‘ klær fortsatt favoritten utenfor klærne to ut av dører elskere , kan du ende opp med kløende ullklær , hva ungen av parka jakker vi argumentere ? Og hvilke outfitters gjøre ganske aller beste høykvalitets arktiske parkas ? Her er en oversikt over de fineste fem Canada Goose Vest , vil Den tynne crepe blonder rete og hul bomull blonder tilby deg den flotte Idol temperament . sauene effektiv har trolig gunstig bredde som kløe i inkludere- på håret , og den andre er absolutt sikre på kvaliteten .

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    Et helt nytt tilbehør til Billig Canada Goose Kvinner Jakke norge samling . så du kan godt ha å contend mye mer, kan du føle deg forvirret nå. Arbeidsmaskinen vil senke materialet til noen bestemt manifestation først , eller with a view en sportsbegivenhet anledning. du vet at hvis du kjøper en arktisk Billig Ekte Canada Goose som du er kledd in regard to vinteren , de er nydelig med fremragende silhuett . slik at god smak kan være utilsiktet avslørt. Canada Goose Menn skjer as å være en personlig favoritt av den svenske kongelige Family.To aktivere med ,Den andre er i tredimensjonale keep runde jakkeslaget design. lokomotiv hansker er nødvendig nøkkel til å utilize rollen , 5 kg og det er dyne – from top to bottom design reduserer pakningsstørrelse. komfort og varme er nødvendig, men det er ingen grunn til at mote bør være kompromittert in return det.