AD #2513 – Nissan Equips Altima With Snow Tracks, Hyundai Updates the IONIQ, Tesla Slashes Workforce

January 18th, 2019 at 11:43am

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Listen to “AD #2513 – Nissan Equips Altima With Snow Tracks, Hyundai Updates the IONIQ, Tesla Slashes Workforce” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 8:16

0:27 Tesla Slashes Workforce
1:00 Nissan Cuts Jobs in Mississippi
2:12 Hyundai Updates the IONIQ
2:54 Ford Creates Camper Version of The Transit
3:37 Nissan Reveals NV300 Concept
4:00 Nissan Equips Altima With Snow Tracks
4:51 Wards 10 Best Engines

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33 Comments to “AD #2513 – Nissan Equips Altima With Snow Tracks, Hyundai Updates the IONIQ, Tesla Slashes Workforce”

  1. Bradley A Says:

    Nissan’s Altima AWD overheats if you turn off traction control. Apparently you get an indicator and you are supposed to pull over. It appears people turn off the traction control because on a snow covered twisty roads it really retards power.

    Therefore it sounds like the Altmima’s AWD system is strictly only for the occasional snow flurry.

    No concept show car truly reflects the production car, but its marketing and Nissan hopes the treads draw attention to the AWD Altima.

    So I think its a little misleading. If Subaru did it, I wouldn’t think twice. As Subaru’s AWD works all the time.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just played the Wards 10 Best Engine discussion, and while it was interesting, it brings up questions. Why would a fuel cell car even be considered? Almost no one can buy one, and almost no one would have a place to fuel one if they had it. Also, they loved that variable displacement engine in the QX50, but CR found it to provide mid pack performance, and mid pack mpg, with all of that extra complexity.

    I get the impression that the people who pick these engines, while liking actual virtue in powertrains, also like technology for technology’s sake, even if it doesn’t provide any benefit.

  3. Larry D. Says:

  4. Larry D. Says:

    2 My link was posted in 3 before I could comment on it. A more interesting article in Wards today sheds some light on what VW wants to do with its new big EV investment.

    After saying it is bullish but cautious (=not saying anything), they clearly believe that Tesla has cornered the “luxury” EV market and VW will go for the more affordable EV segment. This will not put them in competition with either Tesdla or their other German EV offerings from Porsche, Audi, and later Merc and BMW.

    Re Tesla job cuts, I read somewhere it has 45,000 employees. I know it sells lots of EVs outside the US too, but 45,000 is way too many for a company with barely 1-2% market share. it seems there is plenty of fat there, not sure if in engineering, clerical or managerial ranks. It is also possible there are some temps that were hired to do re-work when they had production/quality issues, if they are no longer needed, it’s a good sign.

    Re Tesla’s next Q profit report, earlier Musk had said they would make a profit in Qs where they don’t have to make loan repayments, and losses when they do.

    Re fuel cells, not only Wards takes them seriously but also Toyota and Honda. I have no clue why. For 30 years, I have been hearing promises that Fool’s Cells are 10 years away, which tune was changed later to “just 2 years away”. Yeah, right.

    I put next to zero value to all these employee of the month, engines of the year, top ten lists and the like, whether they come from the COTY crowd or Wards or even Motor Trend and Car and Driver. Especially for the car mags, who live and die by the ads, former editors have confessed that they would not dare say all the bad things they saw about the cars they tested, fearing that the makers would pull their ads out.

  5. Larry D. Says:

    4 I meant it was changed from 10 years away to 20 years away (for Fools’ Cells)

  6. Roger Blose Says:

    WOW, wards has not researched the Ford Coyote 5.0 engine very well. Just look at all of the consumer complaints that Mustang owners are having with this new engine. Engine ticks, rattles, short blocks replaced, long blocks replaced, adding oil additives, car buy backs / lemons everywhere….just look at any of the Mustang website everywhere for this huge issue. I personally have new Mustang and my engine is devoid of all of these issues and I love it. I must have lucked out but I still took out an extended warranty to cover myself with all of these Q/C problems.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 Honda has ~27,000 employees in the U.S., and produces 555,734 cars a year in the country, and they also build some of the engines here. Yeah, Tesla seems to have a lot of employees for the number of cars they build, but all of their engineering would be in the U.S., while probably only a little of Honda’s is. I assume the Nevada battery factory employees are included in the 45,000. Overall, though, I suspect Tesla uses a lot more people to assemble cars than a company like Honda, GM, or Toyota would.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 The Wards guys just went by their impressions from a few hundred miles of driving, and the Coyote 5.0 would impress in that regard.

    Also, I suspect they are quoting mpg from the dashboard readouts of the cars, which can vary substantially in accuracy. Over thousands of miles, I’ve found the readouts in a 2010 Prius and a 2010 Mini to be 5-6% high, while the one in the 2016 Corvette is pretty accurate, only ~2% high.

  9. Ziggy Says:

    If you are interested in getting in a vehicle with tracks and having some fun check out these amphibious all terrain vehicles from mother Russia at, they go in sand, mud, water, and yes, even snow. Unfortunately you will have to travel at least to the UK as they don’t sell them in the US yet due to not meeting our EPA emission regs, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long because they have installed a Honda engine in their smallest vehicle, the Scout, and that is rated compliant for US consumption.

  10. JWH Says:

    #7 – While I don’t have the numbers, Honda has a large R&D facility in Raymond, OH (near Columbus). They do a substantial amount of engineering there included the current generation NSX. The last I knew Honda built more vehicles in North America than in Japan.

  11. ChuckGrenci Says:

    When I saw the Altima with snow tracks I thought of the Model T that had ski’s on the front wheels and the track on the driven wheels. So nothing really new (and I’ve seen those same Snow Tracks on other vehicles years ago); still, the Altima could/would be fun if you had a place to use them.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 I read something about those a while back, and a few have found their way to North America, though not “officially” imported.

    Being strictly off-road machines, I’d think emission regs wouldn’t amount to much. The last I knew, 2-stroke snowmobiles were still being sold in the U.S. I wonder if the Tinger machines are not sold because of other reasons, like ease of turning over, or something like that.

  13. Bob Wilson Says:

    Hydrogen operating economics don’t make sense. Even made from natural gas, hydrogen still retails for ~$16/gal equivalent because of the handling and has less energy than the natural gas. In contrast, charging at home, our plug-in hybrid electric cars are 1/2 the cost of gas.

    We also shop at merchants who offer free charging (any offers of free gas?) Only 3d party, external chargers (aka. EVgo, VW Electrify America, Blink) are 3-4x the cost of gas. But is more affordable. costs about $1.50/gal equivalent: $3 for two hours, ~50mi, 12.5 kWh (30 A @208 VAC, NEMA 14-50.) Found at interstate truck stops between cities, they are great for affordable, if a two hour break, intercity travel. ShorePower is used by semi-trailers to avoid running their diesel engines when parked at night.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Tnx for info.

    Honda assembles 1.2M cars/year, 1.4M engines, and a lot more in the U.S.

    They make a lot of stuff in the U.S. with those 31,000 employees (updated number from #7). Yeah, it looks like Tesla is not using their 45,000 employees too efficiently, so it’s understandable that they are reducing the numbers.

  15. Ziggy Says:

    12 When I inquired about buying their larger machine a while back, the Track, they said the only one they could sell in the US was the smaller Scout due to emissions regs, the Scout getting ready to adopt the Honda V twin instead of the standard Lifan engine. The Track model uses a Chery in line 3 cylinder engine from China that isn’t EPA certified for sale in the US. Their competition, the Pelec, is for sale in the US because they already have the Honda engine in a model called the Mini III, I test drove one over the Christmas holiday when we traveled back east to south Jersey, they have a dealership in Philadelphia. I don’t think it will be too long before Tinger starts selling in the US unless like you say there is some other reason they can’t come here, but I haven’t heard anything about something like that and I follow that industry pretty closely.

  16. Larry D. Says:

    14 I am sure the comparison is inappropriate, for many reasons:

    TESLA does everything, including producing the cars, distributing them, selling them in its own Tesla Stores (with all kinds of sales and finance and service employees!!!) and even makes its own Batteries in the Gigafactory.

    Honda makes the motors (in the US?) and just assembles all the 1,000s of parts together in its Ohio Plants, mostly by Robots. Its US cars have huge US content, which implies huge inputs from US suppliers. If you ADD all these jobs the comparison will be much closer.

    Tesla still has too many workers because its assembly line is not fully automated. Musk some time ago said something about their robots not doing a good job and switching to humans instead. If he wants to profitably make the $35k model 3, however, he needs to fix these robots so they can do most of the job. Unless he makes all the $35k Teslas in China (and I know this is the general idea, they will make the cheaper priced cars in his huge plant there) he has to automate.

  17. Larry D. Says:

    In related news, I have often expressed my concerns about an disorganized development of the US Supercharger network, with each maker installing their own for just their own use and huge redundancies and shortfalls occurring as a result. However, this article addresses exactly this problem, and not in EV-friendly CA, but at that bastion of dirty gas cars, the home of the onetime Big 3, Michigan!

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 Yes, I’m sure the comparison is inappropriate. Tesla assembles about 300K cars a year and makes a lot of batteries, while Honda assembles in the U.S.:

    1,208,000 Cars and Light Trucks
    1,406,000 Automobile Engines
    1,131,000 Transmissions
    1,988,000 General Purpose Engines
    581,000 Power Equipment Products
    74,000 ATVs
    82,000 Utility Vehicle Engines
    52,000 Side x Side Utility Vehicles
    43 Aircraft
    78 Aircraft Engines

    I suppose some of those 45,000 Tesla employees are assembling electronics, which Honda probably buys, but as we both seem to agree, Tesla has too many employees for the number of cars they build.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    I posted this very important link twice (one link in each post) and both times it was not posted.

  20. Larry D. Says:

    18 I hate to re-type my comments on that link, but it addresses my concerns of every maker installing superchargers for its own buyers only and creating inefficiencies and redundancies. However, not only EV-friendly CA but even the complete opposite, MI of the dirty gas big 3 fame, is (above link) creating a PLAN for superchargers correctly placed, and using (good use) the VW penalty $ it got to build them.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    17 Whether you understand that the comparison is hugely inappropriate in a TON of ways, or you are being sarcastic and keep going at it, comparing apples to watermelons, I am not 100% sure. I also do not have the time needed to set the record straight. If you think I would be impressed by the various numbers Honda got (which, after 20 years, cannot make a successful, Mass-produced Hybrid), you are mistaken.

    You insist to compare a tiny company, which, as recently as two years ago, had a 0.1% marker share in the US (2016) and in 2018 it got 1,000% increase to 1.1%, and in 2019 on track to achieve over 2% in the US alone, and is the only AMERICAN Automaker to successfully sell its vehicles overseas as well.

    This is like somebody comparing the USA in 1800, with its tiny 10 million population and incredibly tiny $10 million budget as well, to the British Empire at the same time. Absolutely POINTLESS. If you know your history, you would agree.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 You really like to get nasty, even though we agree that Tesla has more employees than they should.

    BTW, Honda makes a very good mass market hybrid, the Accord hybrid. It matches the excellent Camry hybrid in both performance and gas mileage.

  23. Lambo2015 Says:

    Not really surprised that Tesla is reducing head count. I mean Elon expected to do much of his assembly using robots and when he realized that wasn’t going to work they switched to manual operations and added labor. So it only makes sense that a few months in they can cut 7% as they became more efficient. They had to throw bodies at the process and now have had the time to actually do time studies and balance the work.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 …and I suspect they have made some progress with getting the robots working.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    back to Tesla vs Honda. I said the comparison is apples and watermelons, not just oranges, for many reasons.

    First of, Tesla and Honda are not in the same industry. Tesla makes no dirty cars, and Honda does not sell ANY pure EV in the US.

    In its own market, that of pure EVs, Tesla dominates everybody else by a mile. For those of you who are paying attention to the sales numbers and what happened in 2018, ALL the huge growth in EV sales was from Tesla, a huge 120,000 or so units net increase, most due to the Model 3. Most others did not even try, or tried some joke compliance vehicle (Mitsu EV, Smart EV, Focus EV, Fiat E 500).

    The only serious rivals to Tesla were Nissan with the ugly 1st gen Leaf and its tiny range, it sold more leafs world-wide than Tesla sold EVs so far, and GM, who invested billions on EVs but got most sales from the failed (because it has been discontinued by GM) Volt, than from the pure EV Bolt.

    Near future, there are very expensive EVs by the Germans and one by Jag, who will sell a pittance. Car and Driver had its latest issue, had articles about the Audi E tron Wagon, this hippo weighs close to 6,000 lbs (!) and has a BASE price of $75k (so with options and after discounts, $80-85k), will not threaten the Model 3. Same for the Jag EV and the coming Porsche Tesla S fighter.

    Which leaves only VW as the only serious major automaker with a plan to mass produce EVs and challenge Tesla from the lower end. It sure will be a thrill to watch what happens.

  26. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Reading Elon’s company update ( read the whole thing via the show link) shows optomism, pragmatism and also maybe some warning. Elon realizes he is still on an uphill battle, so with that being said, I think caution should be shown.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just read an Autoweek article about VW’s EV plans, and the MEB platform will be rear motor, rear drive, the first such configuration for VW brand since the Golf superceded the air cooled Beetle. The platform can be stretched in every direction to make a lot of different type vehicles, like the MQB platform used for ICE cars
    There will be 4wd versions, using a second, smaller motor in the front.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just heard another ridiculous Ford ad about “military grade” aluminum. The ads must work, but I find them disgusting. There is 5xxx, 6xxx, etc. aluminum, but “military grade?

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Bud Light cans are also made from military grade aluminum.

  30. Larry D. Says:

    I was able to read the article without a paid subscription. This is the third most important market for the Model 3, after China and the USA.

    However Tesla claimed in its Q3 newsletter that the “midsized premium sedan market” (where they see the Model 3 competing) in Europe is twice as big as the same segment in the USA.

    I wonder when they say “Europe” if they mean the entire continent or the EC. Norway, which is not in the Eurozone, is even more EV friendly than China or CA, and I would think they are already getting everything.

  31. Larry D. Says:

    The Editor of Autonews in his weekly editorial highlights GM’s plant closings and the protests from UAW in US and Canada and from politicians as well.

    There was another article which I can’t find now, with some BS story about Ford’s VP Farley (formerly a Toyota sales cheerleader), who, after publicizing his mechanic abilities and after hours activities, claims he is now converted to EVs. Ford has not sold a single EV in the US in a long time, and its previous offering was the weak, very short ranged Focus Electric. The Ford-VW agreement may allow Ford to use VW’s coattails and its new serious EV effort.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Farley and F-150 EV:

  33. Larry D. Says:

    32 This was in the news a few days ago. Stranger things have happened than a pure EV full size pickup. Will it be pure electric or plug-in? There is already a plug-in Aviator and an Explorer Hybrid but I never saw a test of either, or even their detailed specs. (not that I am in the market for any of the above).

    I guess if they sell close to a million F 150s a year, the vast market includes some tiny demand for a pure EV F 150.