AD #1652 – Truck War Heats Up, Renualt Unveils New Large Sedan, ZF Develops Composite Spring

July 7th, 2015 at 11:51am

Runtime: 5:49

- Silverado Outsells F-Series in June
- Toyota’s Hamp Resigns, No Prosecution
- GM Mid-Size Twins Get Thai Power
- Renault-Nissan CEO Sees EVs Becoming Mainstream
- Renualt Unveils New Large Sedan
- ZF Develops Composite Leaf Spring

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48 Comments to “AD #1652 – Truck War Heats Up, Renualt Unveils New Large Sedan, ZF Develops Composite Spring”

  1. Dan Turnpaugh Says:

    If diesel fuel was cheaper than gasoline, I would think sales of the GM midsize trucks with Diesel engines would be a lot higher than they will be with gasoline being under $3 – $4 a gallon.

  2. MJB Says:

    Could Chevy’s sales coup of the F150′s market dominance have something to do with styling?

  3. Albemarle Says:

    I think there will be a lot of upset engineers at GM when they see these ads. They have been badly boxed into a corner by their own marketing department! Prejudices have been proven.

    Do we read into this that GM engineers don’t have the ability to make a good aluminum truck? Or is this a sign that GM knows aluminum will NEVER be good for pickups?

    Sorry boys and girls, GM doesn’t do aluminum and never will. It’s for wimps. What about that casting from Cadillac you loved, John?

    I predict these ads will have a shorter life than a fruit fly.

  4. Lex Says:

    Any chance that the 2.8L Duramax 4-cylinder diesel-powered engine make its way under the hoods of the next generation GMC Terrain or Chevy Equinox?

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of pickup trucks, I just received the CR with tests of the new F150. They tested the 2.7 and 3.5 turbos. They test all pickups as crew cab/4WD. I guess that is how a majority of their pickup buying readers get them.

    Overall, they ranked both Fords below the Ram and Chevy. The Ford with the 2.7 got one mpg better than the Silverado 5.3 V8, and two mpg better than the Ram V8. The Ford 3.5 turbo got the same mpg as the Chevy. The Ram diesel beat the 2.7 Ford by 3 mpg.

    The thing that surprised me in their tests, was that “jittery ride, and lackluster handling and braking” were listed as “lows” for the Ford. I would have expected its lower weight to help in those areas. Even the small turbo performed well, though, being slightly quicker to 60 than the 5.3 Chevy. The Ford is ~400 pounds lighter than the Silverado as crew cab, 4WD they tested.

  6. Bradley Says:

    I would be curious to know who is making the most profit on truck sales? Sure GM might sell more units, but are they sacrificing profit?

  7. Lisk Says:

    Interesting that ZF is making a big deal out of a composite transverse leaf spring. Corvette started using them in 1981 and every Corvette since 1984 has had them front and back. The Astro van replaced a standard live axle leaf in 1985 for the composite one as well. In 1981, the metal spring weighed 41 lbs vs. 8 for the composite one, a bit more that 13% ZF is claiming. Also, do all Golfs have a rear sway bar? Mounted the way there are, a transverse leaf spring does little to influence the side to side control.

  8. marshy Says:

    Re the composite leaf spring – hasn’t a version of this been used on the ‘vette and other race type vehicles in various configurations? The use of it as the lower member have varied over the years but I don’t think this is much of a new idea.

  9. marshy Says:

    @Lisk – beat me to it!

  10. marshy Says:

    @Kit – I wonder if as efforts to reduce truck sprung weight will start to effect ride as the suspensions will have to have a different (higher) spring K-factor due to the ratio between the curb weight and gross vehicle weight fully loaded increasing.

    Think empty dump truck banging down the road as an extreme example.

  11. Victor West Says:

    I California this morning I saw ARCO diesel at $2.98 and gas at $3.31. Diesel has been lower than gas here recently.

  12. Drew Says:

    I suspect a transverse composite leaf spring may replace a Panhard rod (that lateral link that keeps the axle assembly in place).

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Yep, the lower sprung weight would work against ride quality, for a given intended load capacity.

  14. MJB Says:

    @5 “The thing that surprised me in their tests, was that “jittery ride…I would have expected its lower weight to help in those areas.”


    Ever notice how your car always takes bumps better on a full tank of gas, or when you’re carrying a full load of passengers? The lighter a vehicle is, the more you’ll feel road bumps.

  15. HtG Says:


    That is a despicable legal system they have in Japan. When the police can lock up such an important executive of Toyota and then release her with no charges because of insufficient evidence your political economy has its head up its ass. And when Hamp also resigned her job, this only hurts Toyota more and makes them look like impotent toadies.


  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5, 14 I should have been more specific and separated the parts of what they said. The part that surprised me was the “lackluster handling and braking.” I would expect lightness to be a virtue for those, but not ride quality in a vehicle designed for a certain payload.

  17. T. Bejma Says:

    Both gas and diesel are running about $2.60/gal here in the St. Louis area…

  18. John McElroy Says:

    7 & 8: Composite leaf springs are not new, but are not common. As Lisk mentioned, the Corvette has had them for nearly 30 years. The Mercedes Sprinter van also has a composite transverse front leaf spring. Audi is supposed to introduce composite coil springs any day now, probably on the A6. ZF says the way it mounts its transverse fiberglass spring will make it act like an anti-roll bar, unlike the way it’s mounted on the Corvette.

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I believe there is some trepidation concerning Ford switching to aluminum (body); this will probably pass, and sales will probably, eventually rebound, but there surely is a real difference in sales of late, and that’s what I am attributing it to.

    Diesel and regular is pretty close in price around here; those who want diesel will buy diesel, even with a price premium; at least if it isn’t to extreme.

    That Renault sure has Chrysler 200 cues (at least in my mind); probably not a bad thing either.

  20. Bob D Says:

    I suspect part of Ford’s higher inventory is a lot of the old design they produced at the Kansas City plant with the staggered launch. Perhaps Ford did such a good job of convincing buyers that the new aluminum trucks are so great, no one wants the old ones. I believe Ford just got the Kansas City plant up to volume with the new version, so it may be six months before all the old trucks are purged from inventory, then we will be able to see if Ford’s big gamble paid off, or if GM’s strategy of playing it safe with the full size pickups and adding volume with the mid-size was the right move (I’m betting on the latter).

    On the Colorado/Canyon and 2.8 L Duramax, I believe these will be in very high demand, but it will be hard to tell because even the gas models are in such short supplies. I just talked to a salesman yesterday and he said 90% of their Colorados are sold before received and they have none on the lots after nine month. I queried the six local dealers inventory for a Z71 4×4 Crewcab (their highest volume configuration) and there was exactly ONE in all of Indianapolis. The salesman said the Wentzville plant is running three shifts and have temporarily suspended their van production there to boost Colorado/Canyon volumes, but still are way behind the demand.

  21. Lisk Says:

    John, the 81-96 Corvette (plus the steel sprung ones back to 1963) had the rear leaf spring attached to the rear hub assembly via links unlike the 97-current cars where the spring is attached to the lower control arm. The spring not only supported the car, but actually controlled most of the fore/aft movement of the suspension. As for use as a stabilizer, the spring centers are mounted in such a way that deflection on the left does not influence the right. If it did, wouldn’t it disrupt the handling at each bump?

  22. wl simpson Says:

    Don’t understand why pickups got so big.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    #22 in order to accommodate bigger buyers.

  24. Earl Says:

    #23….bigger buyers as in girth. Or buyers that frequent the local trough…aka the local buffet.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:


  26. HtG Says:

    23-25 come on now, let’s play nice. I do however note the increasing height and width of cars today. There’s more than one reason for that.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Not applicable in Europe, however! America continues to be the big vehicle capital of the world. Even though automakers have been “downsizing” since the early 80′s. Off topic, I had a Whopper Jr today for the first time in many years, they should rename it baby Whopper instead. Unless my hands and mouth got bigger in the last couple of years!

  28. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ W/ Simpson: The reason for full size pickups getting so big had to do with CAFE regs,or so I’ve been told.Irregardless,it is still stupid having them so damn big,imho..

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why can’t they make a smaller F150 and then make the subsequent line up (F250 F350 F450) larger and larger for people who really need a big truck.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 They make them bigger, so it will be harder to meet CAFE? Or are the “bigger vehicles have different rules” rules already in effect?

  31. C-Tech Says:

    I saw a picture of this leaf spring suspension years ago, it was offered as computer wallpaper by ZF. I always thought in an accident the vehicle will be undriveable if hit on the side at the wheel.

  32. C-Tech Says:

    Size creep is nothing new. Cars increased in size from the 60′s to the 70′s.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I see a circa 1988 Chevy pickup, or the Ford with the bed that blends into the cab, they look small compared to the new ones. They didn’t look small when they were new. Also, as recently as 10 years ago, most pickup trucks were, well, pickup trucks, not stretch limos with a box in the back like today’s “crew cabs.”

  34. HtG Says:

    I saw an old Ford Ranger today. Someone’s going to make one of those happen again.

    Hey, who saw HtG on the TV yesterday in DC?

    Justasking ;)

  35. HtG Says:

    TV news, to be clear

  36. HtG Says:

    Not getting arrested

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    At a Clinton rally?

  38. XA351GT Says:

    I like the Renault design over the Nissan. The sides of the Maxima are just too busy.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 The obvious place for Great Wall to enter the U.S. market. Buy the Diamond Star plant from Mitsu for a penny on the dollar, and build crude, but cheap small pickups. People would buy them. They were buying crude not-so-cheap Rangers clear to the end.

  40. HtG Says:

    You’d be surprised, Pedro, at the picutre quality iPhone Facetime is capable of. The trick is focusing on the camera man.

    trans. Not a Political event

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of surprising picture quality, today I received a quad copter I ordered from Amazon. It cost $60 with everything you need, except 4 double A batteries for the transmitter. It has a camera that takes still and video, and writes to an on board sd card. Considering the price of the thing, the picture quality is surprisingly good. The flying machine is pretty basic, flown visually, but with lots of help from gyros to make it easy. Sorry, way off-topic.

  42. HtG Says:

    Cars are truly becoming more and more like computers. Same technologies and business cultures overlapping.

  43. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Oh nooo Kit,say it ain’t so…

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, with so many people demanding new vehicles with every single convenience gizmo, do you really think there is a market for such a de-contented truck in the US? Even the Elio will come with std a/c. Even BMW today announced that most likely there won’t be anymore manual 3 series.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44 If the price is low enough, I’d think there would be a market. It would probably need AC, though.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 2 series has replaced the 3 series as a driving machine. The 3 series, at least the convertible, has become the official ride for trophy wives blocking the passing lane while texting. Sorry about the stereotypes that don’t always fit, but it seems that way in my part of FL.

  47. HtG Says:

    46 Caution, Kit. Yesterday, I was merging and had to accommodate a gal in her X5 as she matched my speed and then drove into my lane(yes, put two wheels into the merge lane) as she looked down at her phone. Green X5, btw.

    “Autonomy now!” as George Costanza’s father might have said.

  48. Brett Says:


    Don’t knock trophy wives. :)

    I’m celebrating 16 years with mine this Friday!