May 17th, 2012 at 12:11pm
NHTSA is proposing that all large commercial vehicles, coaches and other buses be equipped with electronic stability control systems, just like cars. It’s estimated over the next three years Ford will come out with more new models faster than anyone else. Everybody knows Volkswagen makes cars, but did you know they’re also in the food business? All that and more, plus John McElroy sounds off on some internet nonsense.
Welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and do I have a rebuttal to an internet video that’s making the rounds. But that comes later in the show. Now, the news.
ESC FOR ALL
A few years back the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all new light-passenger vehicles in the U.S. must be equipped with electronic stability control by this year. Now the agency is proposing that all large commercial vehicles, coaches and other buses be equipped with the system, too. Research shows that ESC could prevent up to 56 percent of roll-over crashes and 14 percent of loss-of-control accidents. If it becomes law, the rule would go into effect two to four years after it’s enacted, depending on the type of vehicle.
WATCH THE FORDS GO BY!
A new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch says that over the next several years Ford will come out with more new models faster than anyone else. For models years 2013 through 2016, Ford will replace 26 percent of its lineup. But the company is not that far ahead of its competition. GM is next at 25 percent and Toyota is third at 24 percent, while the industry average is a 23 percent replacement rate. By the 2015 model year Ford will replace vehicles that make up close to half of its volume. The study also says Ford’s market share this year should jump from 15.3 percent to 16 percent thanks to new introductions like the Fusion, Escape, C-Max and Lincoln MKZ.
Uh-oh. Bad news for Fisker. Top secret investor documents have been made public, and they point to serious trouble inside the company. The most damaging revelation to surface has to do with production. The company’s new Atlantic model was supposed to start rollin’ down the line at the company’s plant in Delaware in the middle of 2013, but that date has allegedly been pushed back by another year! As troubling as this information is, some of the car’s other numbers are pretty impressive. The Atlantic, which will be priced between $50,000 and $60,000, should feature a 300 horsepower drivetrain, which is good for a zero to 60 sprint of 6.5 seconds. Tailpipe emissions are estimated at 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
A HERO’S FUNERAL
An outfit called Molinelli Design has created a very unique piece of automotive art. They’ve made a coffee table out of a crushed Ferrari. The sculpture has been likened to a dead hero in a coffin. I see what they mean. As grizzly as this sounds, I’m sure any gear head would be proud to have this piece of art in their home.
KETCHUP AND CURRYWURST
We all know Volkswagen makes cars. The German brand is best known for its iconic Beetle, but did you know it also makes ketchup, and sausage? I never knew this until I saw the article posted on Jalopnik. Apparently Vee Dub is in the food business, too. It mostly sells the condiment and currywurst at its factories, but they’re also available in supermarkets. Last year they sold nearly 5 million sausages compared to a paltry 3 million cars. The ketchup has been bottled since 1997.
Coming up next, I am going to debunk one of the stupidest internet videos that is making the rounds.
There’s a video on the internet getting a lot of attention. In fact, a number of you have asked me what I think about it. It’s about a guy who took a vacation in the UK where he rented a Volkswagen with a diesel that got 52 miles per gallon. He claims to have done more research and learned that other European diesels are rated as high as 78.5 miles per gallon. If you search for “VW Passat 78.5 MPG in the UK” you’ll find the video. He then rants about how we can’t get these cars because the Obama Administration won’t allow them for fear of losing tax revenue from gas taxes. He goes on to say a lot of other things, but too bad this guy has no clue what he’s talking about.
First off, he’s comparing U.S. gallons to Imperial gallons, which is what they use in the UK. And an Imperial gallon is 20 percent larger than a U.S. gallon.
Second, the European fuel economy figures he’s quoting would be substantially less if he used EPA figures, even if he used the exact same car for comparison. The European fuel-economy test cycle is an easy-breezy one, compared to the EPA’s adjusted FTP 75. And that’s one reason why you see eye-popping mpg numbers coming out of Europe. Also, European cars tend to be lighter than their Americanized versions because our tougher crash standards require more chassis and body structure. That weight advantage also helps boost European MPG numbers and performance.
Third, he’s completely wrong when he says VW makes most of the cars in the U.S. that it sells in the U.S. VW just started making the Passat here, it’s not even up to line speed yet, and it does not make 1.6 TDIs for export. The Passat is the only model VW makes in the U.S., period. He also claims Ford makes high-mileage diesel cars in the U.S. but has to export them because it can’t legally sell them here. That is completely not true. Where does he come up with this stuff?
The primary reason why diesel engines are not as common here as they are in Europe is that U.S. emission standards are substantially more expensive to meet than they are in Europe. For this reason, OEMs typically chose one engine displacement they want to emissionize for the American market. In 2014, when Europe goes to its Euro 6 emission standards, they will pull even with the EPA’s Tier 2 Bin 5 standard, at which point the U.S. and Europe can use the same emissions equipment, which will drive down cost substantially.
Diesel proponents in the U.S. forecast that diesel sales in the U.S. will double by 2015 and will easily outsell hybrids. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, VW and Porsche already sell diesels in the U.S. market. You can buy diesel pickups from Chevy, Ford and Ram and have been able to for years. The Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mazda will offer diesel models in the next year or so. Infiniti is looking into it as well. And if those vehicles sell well, you can bet that almost everyone else will jump in, too.
You know, normally I would just ignore this kind of video except that a whole lot of people are taking this seriously. Unfortunately this is just another maddening example of a know-nothing blabbermouth spouting urban legends on the internet.
Hey don’t forget to join me and the Autoextremist, Peter DeLorenzo, for a fantastic Autoline After Hours tonight with Ralph Gilles, the head of design for the Chrysler Group, and the head of SRT. We’re already getting questions for the Rapid Fire part of the show, so make sure to get your question in, too. That’s tonight starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Autoline After Hours.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.