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Episode 562 – Raw Material Prices Rise, Mazda Bets on Diesels, Mitsubishi Cuts Lineup

January 21st, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:31

The price for raw materials used to make cars keeps going up which means the prices that we pay for new cars and trucks will continue to rise. The head of Mazda’s North American operations says the company will focus on diesels instead of hybrids. Mitsubishi plans to phase out all of the vehicles it currently builds in North America. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with Jim Farley, the group vice president of global marketing, sales and service at Ford.

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This is Autoline Daily for January 21, 2011. And now, the news.

RAW MATERIAL PRICES RISE (subscription required)
For a number of months now we’ve been tracking the prices of raw materials and if you’re in the automotive business you’re not going to like these trends. Prices for rubber are skyrocketing. Palladium and platinum, which are needed to make catalytic converters are shooting up. Same for copper. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that iron ore producers are raising their prices . . . a lot! And that, of course, is driving up the price of steel. In North America, hot-rolled steel prices are up 20 percent just since November. And as we’ve been warning here on Autoline Daily for months now, this is definitely going to start driving up the prices that we pay for new cars and trucks.

NAVISTAR BATTLES SCR
Fascinating fight going on in the heavy truck industry. Navistar, the big truck and diesel engine maker, is getting killed in the class-eight segment for semis. That’s because it bet on exhaust gas recirculation, or EGR, to control diesel exhaust emissions. Everyone else bet on selective catalyst reduction, or SCR, which uses urea. And that’s what truckers are buying because it’s cheaper than EGR. But Navistar accuses truckers of filling their urea tanks with water instead of urea to get around those controls. Urea costs anywhere from $3 to $5 a gallon. Bloomberg reports the EPA is going to issue new guidelines on truck emissions that could help Navistar. But right now the company is losing market share to Volvo and Freightliner which use urea to control emissions.

MAZDA BETS ON DIESELS (subscription required)
But while Navistar may be having problems with diesels, Mazda is betting on them. Whereas most automakers are going with hybrids, Mazda is not jumping on the bandwagon. According to Ward’s, the head of Mazda’s North American operations, Jim O’Sullivan says the company will focus on diesels instead of hybrids. The company has developed what it calls its Sky family of powertrains and says that its diesel engine combined with its efficient transmission can get up to 43 MPG on the highway, that’s 5.5 l/100km. Mazda doesn’t have any plans to introduce a hybrid but says it can if needed, thanks to a licensing agreement with Toyota for its hybrid technology.

FORD EXPORTING CARS MADE IN CHINA?
Yesterday we reported Chinese automaker Changan Auto will set up an R&D center in Michigan. Now, the China Daily reports the company is in talks with Ford, its manufacturing partner in China, about exporting Chinese-made Fords to emerging markets. However, a Ford spokesman denies the plan. The two companies build the Fiesta, Mondeo, Focus and C-Max vehicles. Ford may deny it, but it makes sense that it will happen at some point. In fact, you have to wonder when Chinese-made cars will come to the U.S.

MITSUBISHI AXES N. AMERICAN BUILT CARS
Do you hear that? That’s the death knell tolling for many of Mitsubishi’s products. The AP reports the company plans to phase out all of the vehicles it currently builds in North America. The Galant, Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder and Endeavor – all of which are assembled at its plant in Normal, Illinois – are getting dropped. Going forward, the company says it WILL keep the facility open by building a yet-unannounced global vehicle. But here’s my Autoline insight. Last year Mitsubishi barely sold 55,000 vehicles in the American market. I don’t see how they’re going to be able to keep that plant open. In fact, I don’t’ see how Mitsubishi can survive in the North American market.

ASTON MARTIN CYGNET
Aston Martin just announced pricing for the Cygnet, and I hope you’re sitting down. According to Autoblog, this tiny two-door starts at a wince-inducing, eye-watering, cringe-worthy £31,000! That’s almost $50,000 and TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS for a gussied-up Toyota iQ! Bringing to mind an Apple product, it’ll be offered in two colors at launch: Snow White and Magic Black. At that price you should be able to get it in ANY shade you want . . . like solid gold.

MCLAREN MP4-12C
In related news, another British automaker has also announced some pricing information. McLaren’s bodacious MP4-12C can be yours for about $230,000. Sure, that ain’t cheap, but it’s right in line with its peers from Lamborghini and Ferrari. Isn’t that an interesting juxtaposition? The Cygnet at 50 grand is a total rip off, while the McLaren, at nearly a quarter of a million dollars, is actually quite reasonably priced.

Coming up next it’s Travels with Farley, Jim Farley. Ford’s top marketing man.

Recently I got a chance to drive around southern France in the new Ford C-Max with Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, sales and service. As we drove through tiny French villages, through narrow twisting roads, we talked about all kinds of topics. It was a great conversation, and here’s a little taste of what that conversation was like, starting with advertising on cell phones.

You can catch the entire show, what we’re calling Travels with Farley on our website right now. And did you know, you can now watch Autoline on public television stations across the country? Check your local listings for Autoline in your area. And by the way, a big Autoline Thank You goes out to the folks at FremantleMedia North America who helped us with a portion of this week’s broadcast. Many thanks from the Autoline team.

And if you’re in the Washington D.C. area we have free tickets to give away to this year’s auto show. Just tune into next Tuesday’s Autoline Daily and leave a note in the comments section about the color of my shirt and we’ll contact you about the tickets.

But that brings us to the end of today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you Monday.

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

73 Comments to “Episode 562 – Raw Material Prices Rise, Mazda Bets on Diesels, Mitsubishi Cuts Lineup”

  1. HtG Says:

    Please John, not the brown with stripes one.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Doesn’t Autoweek have trademark ownership of “Travels with Farley,” even though it’s a different Farley?

  3. Brett Says:

    Shame about Mitsubishi. They make fine vehicles. We’re very pleased with both our 1990 Eclipse GS and with our 2006 Outlander SE.

    After the Outlander is paid off this November, I’ll be looking to finally replace the Eclipse and I’m going to be debating between the Lancer Sportback, the Kia Forte Koup SX, and the Honda Civic coupe.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW, Mr Farley: I do pay for internet service and TV service besides cell phone. I wonder if Mitsu moving out of Ill. is related to their recent hike in tax rates for business operating in that state? The Cygnet makes the smart car look like a bargain.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    pedro says:
    “I wonder if Mitsu moving out of Ill. is related to their recent hike in tax rates for business operating in that state?”

    According to what I read on the autoweek site, Mitsu is not moving out of Illinois at all. They are just going to make different products there with the idea of exporting some of them. See:
    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110120/CARNEWS/110129999

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mr. Farley seems to miss the obvious when comparing his “ecotech” gas turbo with a turbo diesel. The diesel uses only about 2/3 as much fuel. Even though diesel fuel is ~10% more expensive than gas in the US, the fuel cost of diesels is still lower.

    Farley is, of course, right in the the cost of the urea injection, if needed, can partly offset fuel savings.

  7. bob Says:

    That 100% PHONY baby Aston is such a damned fraud, it really Pisses me Off Royally.

    The damned car is IDENTICAL to the Toyota IQ you can buy for $15k. You can get FOUR iQs for the $ you get ONE silly Cygnet. The engine is identical and so is the lukewarm performance. The only diff is the interior. Big effing deal.

    Only a 100% USDA choice Auto illiterate chick with more $ than she knows what to do with will buy this FRAUD.

  8. bob Says:

    The stuffed shirts at Mitsu in Japan apparently do not have clue one what the US market wants. They wasted BILLIONS staying in the US market, it is like as if they are ashamed to admit defeat and get their sorry asses outa here. Fools…

  9. HtG Says:

    I thought the Signet was all about raising fleet average mileage for Aston Martin. Isn’t this the same game BMW is playing with Mini? If you think about how few Vantages actually get sold, you’ll see how few dingdongs it takes to dent the corporate average.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mitsubishi Outlander Sport seems to be the only desirable vehicle they have and it’s not available in this area, I did a quick internet search and there are none available.

  11. bob Says:

    # HtG Says:
    January 21st, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I thought the Signet was all about raising fleet average mileage for Aston Martin. Isn’t this the same game BMW is playing with Mini?

    One more reason to price the stupid little POS more reasonably, since if nobody buys it at $60k, the whole effort will backfire, won’t it??

  12. bob Says:

    PS Htg the MINI is totally reasonably priced, UNLIKE the idiotic fraud that is the Cygnet.

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’ve heard what Kit heard, that Mitsu was dropping their current models but would start building new models in their U.S. plants. Wait and see I suppose.

    I see a lot of new small cars wrangling for the market, but the bottom line is that most Americans just don’t want them; perhaps the devaluation of the dollar is purposeful in order to force/persuade the American public that those small cars are good for them (no matter what they might think).

    A big rise in steel prices is going to open up the door for alterative materials, i.e. aluminum and composites. Sure costs may rise, and will ultimately be passed onto the consumer, but 20% seems ludicrus. Interesting days ahead (for sure).

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    I find it interesting that Subaru survives and thrives while Mitsu has failed miserably and besides AWD their lineup are very similar and when you see comparison tests of mid and compact sedans you never see either of their offerings in those reviews, like they’re flying under the radar of mainstream cars.

  15. HtG Says:

    I agree bob, but just cannot figure out if I’m outraged or fascinated about the price tag. Experience tells me there are a few thousand customers for something so nuts.

    ps I also can’t figure why people pay so much for Apple gear, or lots of other things.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yep, remember: there’s a sucker born every minute.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Of course the Cygnet is silly and a ripoff, but if anyone is stupid enough to buy one, fine. I,d rather share the road with those than than the monster SUV’s that people with lots of spare money usually buy.

  18. bob Says:

    Why fascinated?

    The Apple analogy is good, isn’t Apple offering much more than the rivals?

    The Aston people did not even bother to upgrade the engine any. A better interior may be worth $5k, but not $45k extra!!!

  19. HtG Says:

    I’m fascinated because I don’t think AM is pricing the Sygnet without reasons. They must know a lot about their target buyers, their lifestyles. I recall a BMW exec reacting to some comparison of his cars with another maker’s, saying that paying more for the BMW brand had a certain value to their customers. Like people actually get a psychic benefit from paying lots. (my new W7 HP laptop costs 1G less than the comparable Apple. The internal parts are all the same. Is the software really so much better? I have used both, and prefer W7. Just fascinating)

  20. bob Says:

    The reason you, HTG, gave is not consistent with the pricing. If Aston wanted a small high MPG car to offset their low MPG cars, they would not price it so outrageously so that nobody with a brain would buy it, EVEN if one had the $ to buy 1,000 of them.

    They could well have BLUNDERED in the pricing. It would not be the first nor the last time an Auto Exec blundered in the history of autos.

  21. bob Says:

    And give me a break, htg, give me ONE example where a BMW is priced 3 times as much as any of its competitors, even if that competitor is far inferior to the BMW product. BMWs are mainstream cars, not exotics. But even most exotics have something to offer to justify their outrageous prices.

  22. bob Says:

    make it 4 times as much, for essentially the same car. There is no precedent in any autos I know.

    many makers have clone divisions, but which maker has a car that costs $15k as a Toyota and $60 as a lexus? The Lexus ES350 is a mere 5-10k more expensive than the corresponding Camry.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have an ipod touch, but when getting a “smart phone” a few months ago, I got an HTC Android device. I stayed with my old provider, (not att), but I wouldn’t have wanted an iphone anyway. Apple is too arrogant, with their non-standard connectors and non-replaceable batteries. Who needs that. Apple has some cool stuff, but buying it is, in fact, a little like buying an expensive European car.

  24. HtG Says:

    sorry to have been vague. BMW certainly doesn’t triple overprice their cars. All I meant was they recognized people actually valued a higher price tag; pay to pay more. Have you seen what women will pay for shoes, handbags or jeans? I would just like to know what AM is thinking; why not just tack on a few grand to iQ?

  25. bob Says:

    Even Lotus, it took the 1.8 engine from TOyota MR2, but then it developed a totally different car in the Elise, with far better handling etc, and sold it for about $50k vs the 20-25k of the MR2. That is 2 times as expensive for a far better car. Not 4 times for a better interior and an Aston logo up front.

  26. dcars Says:

    Before Toyota came along, Subaru was selling unique (all wheel drive)cars. Mitsu had good cars; however, they weren’t much different from everyone else’s products. I think Saturn lost it’s appeal when they stopped selling cars with plastic exteriors. I talked to many Saturn owners and everyone of them commented on Saturn not having the plastic bodies. Bob Lutz noted that It didn’t seam to mater how good the new models were no one was buying.

  27. bob Says:

    No, Mitsu never had the best cars. of all the Japanese makers, only Toyota, Honda and Subaru (for 4wd) were a tthe top pf their game. Nissans, Mitsus and Suzukis and all the rest of the sorry lot were as cheap as the domestics and as unreliable or even worse.

  28. bob Says:

    If not for Mitsu’s deep pockets in Japan and the huge egos of their CEOs, they would have left the US market 10 years and 3 debacles ago.

    Do you remember the fiasco when Mitsu aggressively lent $ to all kinds of losers that could not pay them off?

  29. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Mitsu is not moving out of US. New models will be built here for the US and other markets. They need the dollar based product.

    Well Mazda when are you going to offer the diesels? Were waiting…..

  30. Phil in Burlington Says:

    Hi John,

    It’s great that you’re offering free tickets to the Washington auto show, but how about speaking the the organizers of the Detroit auto show about getting some tickets to promote Detroit next year!!

    It’s a bit embarrasing that you have tickets for Washington and not Detroit, your home turf, don’t ya think?

    P.S. I drove to Detroit this past Sunday and attended the show – you’re right it was much better than the last couple of years. I made sure to take the “people mover” you alwasy show going past the GM hq and had dinner in Greektwon.

    Cheers,

    Phil in Burlington, Ontario

  31. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    As I recall, Mitsubishi entered the US market in partnership with Dodge. I bought a new 1980 Dodge Colt/Mitsubishi Mirage 2-dr hatch, 8-speed (4×2). We called it our “doomsday car” because of how far it would allow us to get out of Atlanta on a tankful of gas, if necessary. (Yes, the world was coming to an end, Jimmy Carter the first was at the end of his 4-year presidency, and gold was going to the sky back then too.) It was a fun, economical car, if you could put up with the carburetor lean surge at speed. In retrospect, their pact with Chrysler Corp should have been an omen for both parties.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    Unless Mitsu can come up with competitive models like the Outlander Sport, their days are numbered, they always lacked behind the other Japanese cars in mid-size and small cars and now with Detroit producing superior cars in that segment and with H/K in the picture also. I just don’t see how they can make it.

  33. Gary Paul Says:

    Well John,

    the seeds of Mitsubishi leaving the US were planted as soon as Daimler began to reduce it’s relationship with them as it began to cut off 2 of the 3 legs of its worldwide automotive stool (Mercedes Vehicles/Chrysler Vehicles/Mitsubishi Vehicles). Without Mitsubishi there to engineer & provide the platforms for some of Chrysler’s models (like the Sebring /Avenger). Mitsubishi just can’t cut it alone.

    Mazda’s commitment to diesels is at least partly because they don’t have the scratch to develop a hybrid vehicle and because as most of you know, a well developed diesel can obtain impressive mileage figures to meet upcoming increased mpg requirements. In addition, hunger for diesels will finally increase to sustainable levels if fuel prices hit and hang around $4 or more a gallon (It costs about $2500 to $3000–minimum–for a manufacturer to offer a diesel over a gas ICE & too many Americans just balk at that price difference unless their fuel savings can pay save them equivalent $$ within a few years). Lets hope Mazda has no troubles meeting emission standards as well since such vehicles would be more attractive than models like the Parallel Hybrid Electric Volt & the electric Nissan Leaf…

    And by the way, if fuel prices do start to hi t over $4 soon Chrysler in particular will be hurting bad as their Fiat 500 (much lighter) based models won’t be out for a while yet and the 18 speed A/T’s (just kidding—8-9 speed) being developed aren’t rolled out yet.

    I did attend the Detroit Auto Show and the Chrysler models indeed have much improved interiors as Chrysler poured their smaller resources heavily in that direction and it looks like the days of cheap plastic Mopar interiors are numbered. However, the speed with which they are moving, is very fast and whenever a company races to catch up like Chrysler is doing it often means quality issues.

    The Fiat 500 however was truly a cute, and pretty roomy for a little car. Even the back seat was OK for someone less than 5’9″. Instrument panel and interior materials were pretty good. Should sell well for a year or so and then Americans will drift to bigger vehicles unless gas prices skyrocket.

    A few Auto Show observations:

    Toyotas were generally disappointing especially with interior quality issues. Not bad but clearly down a couple notches from past models… Flashing evident on some door pieces and hard plastics, like they were inspired by the interior quality of a 2007 Dodge Caliber.

    The Volt Doors rattled @ the bottom when closed. Surprised at this!! On a car with a 900 year development time?? And the interior seemed just OK. Not too impressed. I’d be careful with ramping up production much past original estimates of 10K unless again fuel prices go way up.

    The Camaro/ Mustang both felt good in the driver’s seat. The huge A pillars are a concern but not the view out the windshield. Both vehicles still have windows “sills” that are too high–even with the seat at it’s highest setting. I filmed other folks getting in & getting comfortable and each guy had the top of their shoulders BELOW the window edge making arm out cruising quite uncomfortable. The rear seats are almost ridiculous in either. Why can’t they offer a rear seat delete option for the regular models (not just the Boss Mustang) & perhaps make some little pass through to the trunk?

    I liked the Ford C-Max size (yes a man and a high performance man at that, can appreciate and even desire a van for comfort and efficiency), and found the EPA fuel mileage ratings quite good (about 30 mpg on the highway), yet the folding middle row seats seemed to need better engineering as I they apparently could not fold flat or create a continuous load floor. Perhaps a fold out panel could solves such issues providing a bridge to help create a continuous smooth load floor.

    ….

  34. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    The Environmental Protection Agency granted a request from ethanol producers to raise the amount of the corn-based additive in gasoline for vehicles made for the 2001 model year and later.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-21/u-s-epa-said-to-allow-15-ethanol-fuel-mix-for-cars-made-in-2001-or-later.html
    Not good for my ’66 Mustang. Any suggestions other than going to a marina to get alcohol-free petro?

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The $50K quoted is not what the A/M iQ will sell for in the US. That comes from the conversion of pounds to dollars, not taking into account the VAT that is part of the British price. Still, the Cygnet will sell for a ridiculous $32K. (see: http://www.4wheelsnews.com/aston-martin-cygnet-coming-in-2010-with-a-price-tag-of-32000/)

  36. EAB Says:

    Everytime anyone mentions Mitsu in the marketplace I am reminded of the all time best AAH line EVER.

    I am paraphrasing, but basically Jason Vines said that Mitsubishi is the Terri Schiavo of North American car retailers. They have been on life support for so long but they just won’t let it die!! I was listening to the podcast and almost wrecked the car on that one.

  37. XA351GT Says:

    Sounds like Aston Martin has just “jumped the shark” They just threw away 50 years of credibility in one fell swoop.

  38. bob Says:

    KIT:

    The huge difference between 32k and $50k is NOT due to the VAT, which is a mere 20-23% in most of Europe, maximum.

    Many times Euro producers sell their cars in the US for FAR, FAR less than they do in Europe. Usually the diff is due to the VAT, but sometimes it is more than the VAT. Here, if the price without VAT was 32k, the 50k is more than 60% higher, or THREE TIMES the VAT.

    The $32k is actually not outrageous for the US markets, if the interior is truly as luxurious as any $200k Aston, and if it includes most of the options standard, it is competitive with a loaded Mini.

  39. bob Says:

    Another weekend, another Lame Autoline Detroit show… This one I can endire to hear (right now on the web), while last sunday I did not even bother with the silly 70s titled “Technotronocs” show.

    This show is not much better. Apparently these clowns the Auto execs like this Fartley dude, will not allow tough interviews, but instead have softball friendly BS chats, where people like Farley can tell silly stories like this stupid chick that claimed that the Siesta was “cooler than…. a LAMBORGHINI”. Yeah, right, stupid chick.

  40. bob Says:

    Auto journalists should be able to interview these Corporate CLowns (and their UAW clowns they are in bed with) exactly as tough-ly as the Katie Courics of the world are allowed to interview Conservative Politicians, ie lik eRABOD DAWGS, no softballs. After all, the Auto execs that BANKRUPTED GM and CHRYSLER and would have Bankrupted FORD TOO if Bill Ford did not admit he was a moron and brought ALAN MULALLY (who is now viewed as a GOD COmpared to the inbred clowns) who saved his ass,

    After all, many of these auto execs are more econ illiterate than… Sarah Palin!

  41. bob Says:

    Rabid Dawgs, I meant

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “$32k is actually not outrageous for the US markets, if the interior is truly as luxurious as any $200k Aston, and if it includes most of the options standard, it is competitive with a loaded Mini”

    I agree that 32K isn’t as crazy as 50K, but you have to get a “John Cooper Works” Mini to get that expensive, if we’re talking about the standard hatch body.

    I’ll be interested in seeing what the Cygnet interior looks like. It may be cool, but I find it curious that they would start out with a car that’s only a notch above a smart. It will drive much better than a smart, though, because it will have a real manual transmission rather than smart’s wretched single-clutch automatic.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    No, the Cygnet will probably have a CVT as the only available transmission. At least that’s the way the Scion iQ will be sold in the US.

  44. bob Says:

    To sell the Cygnet for $50k in Europe, the interior must be as luxusious as any $200k Aston. Then a couple can own a pair of “his and hers” Astons, one of which will be the real deal and the other, usually for the wife, will be the Cygnet, which is almost as short as the failed and infamous “Smart”.

    Most women I know hate large heavy vehicles, esp. to drive around town. The Toyota iQ-Cygnet dimensions will make backing, driving in traffic, and parallel parking a breeze when needed. If the exterior has all the Aston Logos, and the interior is really Aston-Rolls-Bentley quality, I can think of many affluent types living in or near large cities like NY, that would want one as their “car around town”.

  45. bob Says:

    CVT or auto also makes sense more than a manual, for a car usually driven in dense stop-go traffic in London or Manhattan and the like. Also since this car will be primarily driven and owned by women, many of whom have serious difficulty driving a stick, esp. the automatic for most of us pedal coordination when they shift.

  46. bob Says:

    I suggest the Cygnet will double its sales if a PINK color is also offered… ideal for MAry Kay representatives that will get it as a bonus instead of the usual pink elephant Caddys their mothers used to get.

  47. HtG Says:

    I’ve seen the Smart(not) cars parked on the upper east side of manhattan where their short length makes them look appropriate. Tucked in those loose ends at the corner just inside the crosswalk, those cars let their owners spend less precious time(the same as money) looking for a spot. I’ll expect to at least see the iQs showing up.

    As for Farley, I am reminded of what E R Murrow did to McCarthy. Just let the guy talk, and people will think for themselves. Being the bold journalist isn’t the only way to shed light. Also, no exec needs to talk to John if they don’t want to. I’ll watch this episode if only to follow the scenery; very clever Mr Farley.

  48. bob Says:

    In Europe, even the Toyota version of the IQ was far more expensive than the Yaris and esp. the even smaller Aygo. The Aygo even comes with auto transmissions there since 2005 or even earlier, which make it a good city car esp. for women. I know a Judge who drives a BMW 520 (the 97-03 model) and wanted to get an auto Aygo for her daily city commutes and errands.

    However the Aygo is not as reliable as all the other Toyotas, dealers tell me there.

    Still, if parking is your main problem, the iQ will do it almost as easily as the “Smart”, and of course will be twice the car than the Smart is, allowing not just 2 but 3+1 kid to sit in it, or a ton of groceries.

  49. bob Says:

    (I meant the Aygo is smaller than the Yaris, not the iQ, which is the shortest of the three)

  50. bob Says:

    “…The redesigned Yaris, which could arrive in the States as early as this year, will be Toyota’s first car in North America sporting one wiper, not two. Whereas Tata resorted to one wiper, partly to shave costs, Toyota did it to shave weight.

    By eliminating a second mount, wiper blade and internal actuators, Toyota cut about 1.1 pounds from the car’s weight. And every ounce helps fuel efficiency.

    And unlike Tata’s wiper, which remains fixed to the arm at a constant angle, Toyota’s employs a two-armed link system that allows the wiper to pivot independently and cover more glass.

    In fact, the overall wiped area is larger than in the current Yaris, Toyomura said.

    The new Yaris, called the Vitz in Japan, where it went on sale in December, isn’t the first Toyota model to get one wiper. The Aygo small car sold in Europe uses similar technology.

    Another change on the overhauled Yaris: The meter cluster migrates back in front of the driver and behind the wheel. (GOOD!!!) The current vehicle has center-mounted meters.

    The repositioning is supposed to make the Yaris more of a driver’s car, Toyomura said. It was also in response to U.S. and European tastes that favor the more traditional placement, he said.

    The updated Yaris, which is about 4 inches longer than the current incarnation, also gets more masculine, angular front fascia akin to Toyota’s iQ minicar…”

    From Automotive News

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    Bob, do you recall which other sedan had one wiper only which despite this, would clear more of the windshield than most double wipers could.

  52. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope Toyota brings the Aygo here, it is a lot better than the POS Smart, I however doubt it, unless gas shoots up to $5 a gallon.

  53. bob Says:

    Pedro,

    I remember at least the Mercedes E-class 1986-95 had just one big solid wiper. maybe other mercs had it, maybe also the 190 back then. I am not sure about more recent models.

  54. bob Says:

    Pedro,

    The Aygo is made in the same factory that a Peugeot and a VW (if I remmeber correclty) are also made, and they are clones of each other. The Aygo is priced very low even in Europe, but the Toyota dealers I know don’t like it, I believe it fails more frequently than a typical Toyota should, they recommend the Yaris instead.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “The Aygo is made in the same factory that a Peugeot and a VW (if I remmeber correclty)”

    It is made alongside Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 at a joint venture plant in Czech Republic.

  56. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Raw Material Prices will translate into higher consumer prices.

    The Dollar will collapse, as the Nation is about to sadly find out they cant prop up their materialistic lifestyle driving 3700+ lb proudcts, etc… with unlawful securtities, banking prop up schemes, and foreign debt holdings.

    The Europeans and Chinese are slowly dumping dollars, but they are about to find out they should get rid of the entire bag.

    Enjoy the Riot fires.

  57. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    What is it with Autoblog?

    Why is it everytime a small car comes out it’s always a “Fit Fighter?”

    THE FIT IS NOT THAT GOOD, DAMM IT!!!!

    I hate that car, because it garners such undeserved attention.

  58. bob Says:

    Just read in this week’s Automotive News:

    Mercedes to offer Full Hybrids on all its sedans C E and S class in Europe in 2 years, and in the US 6 months later. The S class will even be PLUG-IN hybrid.

    I wonder how much they will sell for in the US. If Merc does it to improve its fleet MPG, it wants to sell a lot of the hybrid versions, and to do so they have to be priced reasonably.

  59. rick Says:

    Go mazda Go!

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Instead of hybrids, Mercedes should offer more diesels in America, including 4 cylinder diesels in C- and E-Class.

  61. bob Says:

    Of course I agree they should offer the diesels. Especially if it makes more econ sense to them. it is amazing that the cost of making a Euro Diesel US-street legal is so high that they may be actually better off with the hybrids.

    On the other hand, IF the buyer does a lot of CITY driving, they will be far better of MPG wise with the Hybrid than with the diesel.

    And all of this, depending on the differential btw gas and diesel prices. So it is not that simple to recommend what is optimal for MERCEDES.

  62. rick Says:

    was wondering why i had`nt seen more of the stunningly beautiful i believe tomahawk semi`s on the road from international now my question has been answered

  63. bob Says:

    It is commendable that MAZDA has seen the light and is betting on Diesels, but the report is extremely poor in details, WHAT and WHEN will be offered in the US market?

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If you assume that there is some relationship between the extra cost of building a VW TDI and the sticker price, the TDI costs roughly $3000 more than the gas engine. At today’s fuel prices, it would take a few years to pay for the “diesel premium,” but it would pay for itself eventually, if diesel fuel stays at no more than its present ~10% price premium over regular gas.

    There is no way that it would cost nearly as much to “federalize” a Euro diesel as it would to do a hybrid. Just the battery of a Prius-size hybrid would probably cost more than the extra cost to make a VW diesel, or an M/B or BMW four cylinder diesel if they wanted to sell them here.

    As far as fuel economy of hybrid versus diesel, the best of the current hybrids, Prius, is clearly better than a diesel, especially in “stop and go” driving, but a Golf TDI did very well in Consumer Reports “real world” tests.

    Car CR “city” CR “highway”

    2010 Prius 32 55
    2010 Golf TDI 27 49

    As far as Mercedes, they are not interested in selling many cars in the US; they are interested in maintaining their “snob appeal” status. Otherwise, they would sell A- and B-Class cars, C wagons, 4 cylinder engines, etc., and not just the handful of big engine and over-equipped cars that they now sell in America.

  65. bob Says:

    “2010 Prius 32 55″

    You have mentioned that CR city number for the prius before, and I find it impossible to obtain unless you take the Prius on the TRACK like Car and Driver does with its test models.

    CR should publish the exact detailed conditions for which it obtains these city numbers for the prius, and until it does I will assume it is a TYPO, or a measurement error on their part.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    bob,

    I, too, would like to know the details of CR’s “city” test, but given the numbers they come up with for other cars, the 32 they got for the Prius is very believable, and is probably not a typo.

    While I don’t come close to “hypermiling,” I drive fairly economically, usually accelerating only fast enough to stay with normal traffic, letting off the gas when I know I will have to stop for a red light, etc. and I get only a little over 40 with my Prius for segments of driving that include lots of cold starts and short trips.

    CR’s “city” rating for other cars I own, or have owned recently are as follow:

    Mini Cooper Base, manual transmission 24
    Chevrolet Malibu Maxx hatchback 14

    I typically get low 30′s with my Mini in my version of “city” driving, and got in the low 20′s with the Malibu Maxx I sold when I got my Prius. These numbers all stack up “for comparison,” based on my experience.

    CR got 11 city from a 2003 BMW 745Li. I guess that is similar to your car, and, unless you have a lot of very short trips, many colds starts, or a lead foot, I suspect you normally beat that, just as I normally beat CR’s “city” numbers with my cars, both the Prius, and others.

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    This is a carry over from yesterday:

    ““2010 Prius 32 55″
    You have mentioned that CR city number for the prius before, and I find it impossible to obtain unless you take the Prius on the TRACK like Car and Driver does with its test models.”

    I, too, would like to know the details of CR’s “city” test, but given the city numbers they come up with for other cars, the 32 they got for the Prius is very believable, and is probably not a typo.

    While I don’t come close to “hypermiling,” I drive fairly economically, usually accelerating only fast enough to stay with normal traffic, letting off the gas when I know I will have to stop for a red light, etc. and I get only a little over 40 with my Prius for segments of driving that include lots of cold starts and short trips.

    CR’s “city” rating for other cars I own, or have owned recently are as follow:

    Mini Cooper Base, manual transmission 24
    Chevrolet Malibu Maxx hatchback 14

    I typically get low 30’s with my Mini in my version of “city” driving, and got in the low 20’s with the Malibu Maxx. These numbers all stack up “for comparison,” based on my experience.

  68. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sorry about the “re-pasting” on the same page.

  69. bob Says:

    “CR got 11 city from a 2003 BMW 745Li. I guess that is similar to your car, and, unless you have a lot of very short trips, many colds starts, or a lead foot, I suspect you normally beat that, just as I normally beat CR’s “city” numbers with my cars, both the Prius, and others.”

    I have both extremely short trips (1.5 mile each way, and at most 5 miles on weekends) AND cold starts every day.

    I have already said that I broke my record low this January when I got 9.80 MPG in 100% city driving like in the above poor conditions, BUT I also had to leave it on IDLE for extended times to recharge the battery after the car was garaged for almost 7 months and not used at all

    This STILL does not even BEGIN to justify the 32 MPG prius city. Fulkl Hybrids like the Prius do BETTER in the city than on the highway.

    I have said many times I drove the Prius II for more than 300 miles over 3 days (rented in LAX) and I got 52 city, 47 highway (at 75 MPH) and 62 and 69 MPG on country roads at 45 mph constant.

    I just can’t believe the CR numbers you cite, when the Golf gets an amazing 27 MPG CITY (amazing for a non-hybrid car!!!) WHILE the FULL Hybrid Prius, which was OPTIMIZED for city driving, gets an obviously erroneous 32. The prius, with all its engine shut-offs and regenerative braking etc etc, should do far, far better, almost double that 27! Which it DID when I drove it! (got 52 city in stop-go traffic in LA)

    This is why I will continue to assume that it is either a typo or a measurement error, OR that the way CR tests its cars city is like Car and Driver tests them on the track, burns rubber etc, which I doubt, so I put it as 3rd.

  70. bob Says:

    PS My BMW is not the 2003 Bangle-ugly model but its far more elegant predecessor, they may have the same 4.4 lt V8 but the 03 has a 6 speed auto while mine has a 5 and generally I expect the 03 to be about 1-2 MPG better in city and highway.

  71. bob Says:

    PS I also did not hypermile at all or follow trucks or any other such hazardous driving with the prius II either city or HWY.

  72. bob Says:

    But if you can replicate, or even get anywhere close, to the 32 City of the Prius, I would be very curious to see how you did it.

    As they say, who am I going to believe, Consumer Reports or my Lying Eyes? LOL…

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I get about 40% better mileage than the CR “city” number with my Prius. Similarly, I get about 40% better than the CR number with my Mini and did with my Malibu. Based on that, there is no reason to think the Prius numbers are wrong. The CR test is just very severe, and produces low numbers for all cars.