AD #1954 – Diesels in Trouble in Europe, Chinese Envision Earns Top Pick, BMW Offers Airbag Jacket for Motorcycles

September 28th, 2016 at 11:35am

Runtime: 6:49

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Diesels in Trouble in Europe, Toyota Hybrids Up
- European Millennials Want Hybrids & EVs
- Prius Could Go All Plug-In
- Post Office Wants New Mail Trucks
- BMW Offers Airbag Jacket for Motorcycles
- Altima Getting Pushed from Nissan’s #1 Spot
- Chinese Envision Earns Top Crash Scores
- Nissan Invents Autonomous Chairs

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18 Comments to “AD #1954 – Diesels in Trouble in Europe, Chinese Envision Earns Top Pick, BMW Offers Airbag Jacket for Motorcycles”

  1. Mike P. Says:

    Glad to see your coverage of the postal long life vehicles replacement – most on the road look to be well past their prime even though they get “rebuilt” regularly. I believe there are actually two versions of the postal LLV’s. There is one based on the S10 chassis (the oldest version with a wide rear axle) and a “newer” one based on the older “right hand drive” Explorer chassis (a previous attempt at replacing the LLV S10 chassis version). You showed both versions in your story (look at the wheels for quick ID) as if they are both being replaced. The postal site noted that 142,000 long-life vehicles (LLVs) out of the 190,000 need to be replaced. Do you know if the Explorer chassis based vehicle are remaining?

    Thanks for the information but I expect more from Autoline than just rereading a postal press release. Add your automotive insights – that’s why we watch!

  2. RumNCoke Says:

    Ha! That’s a good one John. A leftover April Fool’s joke in September. Sign me up for an autonomous bar stool so I don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom!

  3. Lew Says:

    Autonomous chairs could be the next logical step toward autonomous cars if used properly.
    Using them for wheel chairs for example.
    Other practical uses than mere lazy uses should be at the top of the list.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Grummen postal trucks have first generation S-10 chassis, and many have “iron duke” engines, not the greatest, even when new. They are clearly showing their age now.

    Granted, the bodies of the old trucks have held up well to 30 years of road salt, etc., but wouldn’t it make more sense to use off-the-shelf vans like promaster city, transit connect or similar, which are made as RHD for other markets? They wouldn’t last 30 years, but would cost less than purpose-built vans, and would allow for a powertrain/technology update every 10-15 years, rather than 30 years.

  5. Lex Says:

    If the US Postal Service is not looking so good financially then why did they decrease the price of a first class stamp from 48 cents to 47 cents? I bet those pennies could have helped to buy those new mail delivery vehicles.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why not have the carriers park their vehicles and walk around the neighborhoods with a cart like they used years ago. We would save on gas and equipment and they would get healthier as well.

  7. Brett Says:


    If they were not burdened with an unfair mandate from Congress to fund their pension SEVENTY FIVE YEARS OUT, they’d have no issues at all.

    Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under the terms of PAEA, the USPS was forced to prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span – meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something that no other government or private corporation is required to do.

    From what I recall, the USPS went back to Grumman for more trucks, but Grumman, like any other aircraft mfg, had scrapped all of the tooling for the things when the contract wasn’t renewed/extended. Oops…

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I with you Lex, the Postal Service is doing okay (with the help of some of the private delivery services; i.e., they do final delivery for some of Amazon’s sales). The Grumman trucks have done stellar service; not cutting edge technology but they got the job done (and have lasted). I hope the replacements can be as good as the outgoing models.

    Anyone seen “Wall-E”, the movie; so now we can’t get our butt out of a chair and move to the next in cue; pitiful, just pitiful. Yes, might be useful for the walking impaired (but they mostly, already have a wheel-chair).

  9. Lisk Says:

    With the economy of scale of building 180,000 new vans and the lack of amenities these vans really need ( 1 seat, RH airbags only, no radio, etc.), $25,000 to $35,000 seems like a lot of money unless they all come with 2 or 3 government hammers. I like the idea of buying an off the shelf product, but I believe all of that product is procured outside of the USA, something I am not in favor of.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they build 180,000, but with no prospects for building more of them after that, the purpose-built vans would not be cheap.

    In any case, the idea of purpose-built vehicles, intended to last 25-30 years like the Grumman vehicles, doesn’t make make sense, especially now, with things changing so fast. Not only does technology change, but so does the use of the vehicles. Letter writing is dead, and many people, like myself, use auto-pay for bills, so there is much less “thin envelope” mail than there once was. On the other hand, there is a lot more parcel delivery, and the USPS delivers a lot of it, along with, and sometimes for UPS and FedEx. What will any aspect of mail vehicle requirements be 30 years from now? No one knows, but it will be different from now.

    Maybe they could get some RHD Dodge Caravans cheap. I think they build them in Canada for other markets. They wouldn’t last 30 years, but requirements would change enough that they’d be ready to replace them in 10-12 years anyway.

  11. Chuck Grenci Says:

    This is a good opportunity for the Postal Service to purchase a hybrid (with regenerative braking) for their fleet; when you talk about ‘stop and go’ driving they even make city buses seem like long haul vehicles. And if they can get a two hundred mile (range) vehicle, they could actually go with a full ‘electric’; talk about saving fuel costs.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    If they buy Chinese made mail trucks, I am moving back to Cuba

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Hybrids would be great for delivery runs where they stop every 50 feet at a mail box. I just read that the Grumman trucks get about 9 mpg in typical use. A hybrid could probably triple that.

    I suspect pure EV’s would have the range for many delivery routes. They could charge them overnight “off peak,” when they are not used anyway.

  14. kurtw Says:

    Wrt Buick Envision, it didn’t quite ace the IIHS tests: rated barely acceptable for seat Kinematics. The driver test dummy’s head’s sliding off airbag and hitting dash with its face (OW !!).

  15. Drew Says:

    I think USPS started using the old (solid rear axle) Explorer chassis about 15-20 years ago when they needed to build replacement delivery trucks.

  16. C-Tech Says:

    The USPS has been using Dodge Caravan Cargo Vans and lately Ram Promaster Citys’ to fill in for the lost postal vans. It will be interesting to see where those retired postal vans wind up. Can’t wait to see them customized.

  17. Stephen Says:

    I suspect that some hybrid powertrain is being tested. Ford might offer a ecoboost but most USPS would never get to boost required speed. Small diesels might be ideal but likely everyone would complain and it would probably mean having Adblue exhaust tech. In Europe we use Transit connect type Vans. Why not pair with UPS/Fedex and buy their vans with USPS livery. Those vans must be pretty reliable by now and both firms are trialing greener powertrains like CNG or hybrid

  18. Stephen Says:

    Just to update Autoline on how Diesel is fairing in Europe. Sales are only dropping marginally. Its the no1 fuel type in the UK/Ireland and Eastern Europe. Only that small Fiesta size cars predominate in Italy, Spain and France and they are usually petrol based counters this. Merc and BMW sell mostly diesel even in the 7-series and S-class. Until EU emission rules increase the cost of cleaning the exhaust gasses and thus the cost of the car vs petrol/hybrid then diesel will rule the day for “larger” cars and especially SUVs which are also selling as well as the US. Only London has a congestion charge based on emissions. Other European cities are just considering it more seriously now they know diesels are dirty. What we will see the every diesel car will soon come with Adblue emission filtering or else disappear. The EU has already given heavy warning to Eu car makers that the clock is ticking even if they can’t just wave a magic wand and impose stricter emission regs with zero prep.