AD #1492 – Ford EcoSport in Raptor Costume, Meet the Ram 700, Aston Granted Exemption

November 3rd, 2014 at 12:53pm

Runtime: 7:12

- Meet the Ram 700
- Aston Martin Granted Exemption
- Cerberus Is Back
- Another Takata Recall
- JLR Puts Chery Under Hood, Not On Top
- Ford EcoSport in Raptor Costume
- Achates Engine Becoming Cost Competitive

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50 Comments to “AD #1492 – Ford EcoSport in Raptor Costume, Meet the Ram 700, Aston Granted Exemption”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Would it be ironic if CFA comes back to the smaller pickup market and offers the smallest (in segment) vehicle after they led to the demise of the small pickup in the first place when it introduced the Dakota (mid-sized), which then led to the others, in segment, into making theirs too big as well. Then they come back with the smallest; brilliant or at least fortuitous. Crazy, this automobile business.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Another car-based “pickup”? Didn’t anyone learn from Honda with their failed Ridgeline? Someone should buy the old Toyota pickup assembly equipment, add a modern drive train and set up a factory somewhere to crank them out, they will sell very well.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2, The Ridgeline hasn’t done well for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is pricey and thirsty. Also, it doesn’t look too great to most people. The Jeep Comanche was “car based,” at least unibody, and it sold reasonably well.

    If this Ramlet sells at the right price, I’d expect it to do ok.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think it’s Fiat derived, South America built stigma will keep many from buying into it, including, I suppose, our own G.A.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4, Yeah, if it’s Fiat derived, that might not be so good.

    As far as where it’s built, Americans buy F150′s from Mexico, but maybe Brazil is a little too far south.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think the new “improved” Fiat has not changed many people’s minds about their crappy reputation.

  7. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Your right Pedro.I have no need for a fullsize,or a real compact pickup either.The new GM midsize trucks suits my needs to a T.That’s why I wait for the diesel.However,I can see a need for the compact,especially those who won’t be towing anything more then a small utility trailer with maybe some lawn equipment,or painting stuff etc.Just light duty usage.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit and Pedro: I have to wonder how many Americans are really in th’ know of where their vehicles are built,and,do they care?

  9. aliisdad Says:

    #4, The Jeep Comanche had a frame and separate cab/bed configuration, and it was a fairly serious “tough truck”, especially opposed to the Fiat in the story.. That said, the Fiat “RAM” might be just the thing for many of us who don’t need a large truck but sometimes need to haul some bark dust or a lawnmower to the shop… Also, I think the new GM twins are really too big, although smaller than their full size trucks, and do not really meet the needs of many of us like the old Ranger or original Japanese small pickups did… Of course, I don’t know for sure, but it sure seems to me that there are a lot of folks who would really like a small pickup… They would be perfect as a “second car” that has some utility when needed for many families who don’t really need a large, trades pickup…

  10. Bradley Says:


    Definitely. A 1998-2004 Tacoma sold today with a few modern additions would sell.

    Given the lack of options…if this “Ram” was sold in the states. It just might tempt me.

    I would sell it as a Fiat. Sure, Ram has built a great name for itself.

    Ram people will know it is really a Fiat, and Non-Ram people would be just fine with Fiat nameplate.

  11. aliisdad Says:

    #10.. Good word… I really agree!!!

  12. Jonathan Says:

    The jeep Cherokee is selling excellently and it’s a car based cuv…..

    No reason a pickup type vehicle can’t do the same.

    Hondas idea was good. I’m sure second generation or quite possibly a more truck based company will produce a market segment leader.

  13. MJB Says:

    John, is that Achates engine in any vehicles today, or is it still in the development stage?

  14. MJB Says:

    I might add that I have not yet watched that AAH show. I’m sure my question is answered there…

  15. Brett Says:

    I’d go for one of those Strada/RAM 700s.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    #12 People don’t use pickups the same way they use CUV’s That is why some still prefer the truck based ones like 4 Runner instead for real off-road use.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, A lot of Americans don’t know, but a few years ago I ran across one who didn’t know, but cared. He was about as “buy American” as they get, and he didn’t know that his Ford pickup was from Mexico. He didn’t take it too well when I pointed that out to him. This was a few years ago.

    Actually, most F150′s are assembled in the U.S., but they also build them in Mexico, and some build combinations come from there, or at least did a few years ago.

  18. HtG Says:

    The Smalls

    Today I drove alongside an old Tacoma on the highway, and man is that a small truck. It’s not even as big as a lot of today’s sedans. I don’t know what year it was, though we sure have come a long way.

    But yesterday I saw an ORANGE Porsche 918 coming at me on the highway. That thing is tiny and ORANGE. I never expected to see one in the wild.

  19. HtG Says:

    Aston Martin

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that NHTSA made them wait so long for a decision. I’m familiar with this behavior myself. You don’t want to have to explain it to the judge, do you guys? But seriously, at least in one department there’s a queue and you can only get bumped up if there is some kind of urgency. /sarcasm

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG the basic Tacoma reg cab was small, had a small 4 cyl and I still say that it would sell well for both personal and commercial usage, pool cleaners, couriers, other small businesses that don’t need much room but want something easy to maintain and reliable.

  21. Sean McElroy Says:

    #9 – I’ve never heard wood chips called bark dust before. I like it and will be using it from now on.

  22. w l simpson Says:

    My 02 Sierra stepside only has 102k . Still mint,from an arm’s length. All current trucks are too big .
    Notice how many times “China” appeared in John’s dissertation? China rules.

  23. Don B. Says:

    That Ram 700 reminds me of the Subaru Baja. Hey does GM still own the patent on the mid-gate?

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just got the news that Tom from the Click and Clack cartalk passed away today, I enjoyed listening to him and his brother for many years, he will be missed.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC just reported on new car sales for Oct and Chrysler continues to be on a roll, which proves that people will buy new and skip stagnant metal, not realizing the stuff that has been around for a while is a lot more reliable since all the bugs have been taking out.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, I’m sorry to here that. Car Talk is a great show, entertaining, and sometimes even informative.

  27. Bradley Says:


    Yea, it looks like a Baja on Red-Bull.

    There are many “mid-gates”, I think the Baja even had one.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit how long do you suppose Chrysler can continue with the same platform for the Charger/Challenger/300 before it begins to show its age? Do you suppose they’ll then switch to an extended Giuletta platform? That will be a big mistake IMO

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28, I’d expect them to us that platform at least 3-5 more years. While it’s old, the platform still works, and the cars are a bargain compared to any other big rear drive cars sold. Chrysler is doing well now, but it’s hard to see that continuing far into the futer. Their best products are the ones with Benz DNA, and I doubt if any more of those are forthcoming.

  30. HtG Says:

    Holy Hyundai

    Hyundai Kia just got fined 100million and will lose 200million in carbon credits for having misled consumers about mileage. Biggest fine in 50 years. Jeezus

    Talk about losing face. Yipe

  31. HtG Says:

    DOJ and EPA are saying that the company systematically inflated mileage results. My lord, no wonder Kravchik got canned*. He must be sick

    *fall guy for Korean overlords?

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG any bets on whether this is gonna affect sales? I doubt it. Kit I agree, I just don’t see them spending tons to develop a RWD platform, unless they can use it world-wide.

  33. HtG Says:

    32 My ‘expert opinion’ is that the country’s pretty focused on the midterm elections and Ebola hysteria ( right now, Pedro. But wow, that’s embarrassing to have Holder and the EPA administrator saying you systematically misled the public about mileage. Not just a big booboo.

  34. HtG Says:

    Where’s Jeff Bridges sh*t eatin’ grin now?

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, I wonder if Ford will be next. Some of their ratings seem suspect, and not just the hybrids.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    Remember about a year ago where Hyundai claimed 40 mpg on just about all their cars in their ads? They were throwing around that 40 mpg all over the place. I just love how EPA does not do any fact checking and just repeats like a parrot, whatever the OEM claims.

  37. HtG Says:

    They can’t check every car, can they? The system is set up to let OEMs self report. But with spot checks, and don’t be wrong or “systematically mislead the public.” wowza

  38. cwolf Says:

    I have seen my first new Canyon(GMC) on the way home. Boy is it bigger than I expected and twins the full size in looks! Sure it’s nice, but I think something the size of the ol’Ranger would be more fitting. The large tires gave it more ground clearance than should be, for a mid-size. These builders are putting way too many hormones into their products!

  39. cwolf Says:

    Has anyone heard of any heads rolling at Takata? How in the heck did this company get away with peddling this crap without question?

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37, As far as I’m concerned, the EPA should test all of them. Let the car companies pay for the additional test facilities the EPA would need. It would cost them about what they spend on advertising in a day.

  41. yakrider Says:

    John, Please don’t be encouraging people to disconnect their Takata airbags. NHTSA or some other auto regulatory agency needs to do a risk analysis for disconnecting the airbags or leaving them alone until they can be replaced. Airbags are a major safety item and should not be disabled until a risk analysis determines that is the correct decision.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the old days, these Takata execs would just commit hara-kiri, but of course this is a whole new world, no one takes responsibility for anything anymore. So much for superior Japanese products.

  43. XA351GT Says:

    I like the little Ram and the ECOsport. Bring them on.

  44. GLE Says:

    Rescind the airbag and tire monitor statutes…Enforce the seatbelt laws and ban cell phone usage by drivers….That should lower prices on vehicles and reduce fatalities as well as damages.

  45. dcars Says:

    I don’t understand, Cerberus owned Chrysler for about two years in the worst economy this country has ever experienced and it was the new Cerberus Management that was to blame? Before them Daimler turned Chrysler into a basket case of a company yet has escaped any blame. GM’s management who were continually in control and lost 90 Billion yet they were a victim of a bad economy. I guess every indusrty needs a scape goat and not a mirror.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44, Unfortunately, we need the tire monitors. Americans are exceptionally negligent of things like checking tire pressure, and making it worse, you now need a pocketful of quarters to air up your tires. A mandate we need, is for any place that sells gas to have free air for tires.

  47. G.A.Branigan Says:

    One place for the epa to check would be the mpg claims for the ford egoboost engines in their f150′s.I haven’t heard of anyone coming close to the epa estimates,even some were soft pedaling and tried to hypermile….no go.

  48. Brett Says:

    If cars were autonomous, they wouldn’t crash and need to be built like bank vaults, or have supplemental restraint systems. Energy efficiency would climb significantly due to the weight savings.

  49. Lawrence Says:

    Might those JLR engines be a product of Chery-AVL development, i.e. Acteco?
    The precedent might be Fiat’s use of them.

  50. Bob Wilson Says:

    The Achates engine is as interesting as their sales approach is dumb. They wrote an editorial complaining about charge stations, EVs, and the Prius when they really need to look at the top 10 vehicles to find a technology demonstrator. We did (see link.)

    They need to build a 2.4/2.5L equivalent demonstrator engine and one or two transmission adapters. Then pick one or two from the top 10 list to re-engine and offer as an after-market kit.

    Our choices are the Honda CR-V (23,722 Sept sales) or Toyota RAV4 (22,724) as neither has a diesel offering. This avoids the “Big Three” pickup ‘not invented here’ yet has high enough sales to be visible. Use separate transmission adapters for each but only one needs to be fully converted and then EPA-style tested.

    This would demonstrate their engine volume and fuel savings. Offering an “Up Engine” kit, one that can fit in a popular selling SUV would make a serious statement. The “Big Three” would have an ‘in your face’ but more importantly, the other manufactures trying to break into the top 10 list would see a game changer and win-win opportunity.

    Although it appeals to some prejudices, trying to push this advanced engine as an alternative to EVs, plug-ins, and the Prius is a losers’ game. These cars are less than 3% of the market, no volume, and we agree gas prices are shrinking their share.

    It is unlikely “The Big Three” who already have diesels are interested in licensing Archates and neither Honda nor Toyota are known for buying someone else’s technology. But there are a dozen or so smaller manufactures who would love to take a bite out the ‘top 10′ models if Achates is as good as they claim.

    Bob Wilson