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The Current State of the US Auto Market

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    >Talking about tires in relation to reliability is an insult

    Please save the lecture. I wasn't talking about reliability: I was talking about tires. Thank you. :)

    This message has been approved.

  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    the uselessness of those chat windows. It's actually pretty fraudulent to have a pic icon with a first and last name assigned to nothing more than a computer program..
    It's insulting.


    Anyone else remember Eliza, back in the mid 60's? It was a computer program, and was actually a lot smarter than the bots the car dealers are using. Makes me wonder why they bother, there have to be much better solutions available and for not much money. All in all, I have to agree it's a little insulting.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    I rented a 4-cylinder Avenger with 4-speed automatic several months ago and didn't think it was as slow as you described. I found performance, ride and driving dynamics to be very adequate for the price they're selling for. Sure, there are significantly better midsize choices, but they cost more than what you'd pay for an Avenger. The main drawback of the Avenger, as has been pointed out, is comparatively low fuel economy.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,943
    edited August 2013
    You know our thread about how you never see cars broken down on the side of the road anymore?

    We did a little day trip today and on the edge of town (Taos) a couple were waving what looked to be a halter and rope. I slowed and rolled the window down, thinking maybe a horse was on the loose. Turned out they needed a jump so I pulled into the driveway kind of area and helped them get going. Older Subaru with 240k on it (and only one head gasket done by a prior owner).

    A little while later there was a 70's VW Beetle dead on the shoulder of a T intersection and he was pushing it to a driveway where someone had pulled over to help him.

    Later in the day we were on the "high road" and saw something that brought lots of memories back. An 80's Silverado was going up a grade pulling a travel trailer and it had pulled over - it was steaming to beat the band. I remember having to do that in the 60's in normal cars, towing nothing.

    My wife was thinking there's a lot of poor people driving beaters here in NM, but I think we have as many folks struggling in the UP - it's just that old cars don't rust away in the Southwest so you can keep driving them. Our Quest fits right in, lol.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    edited August 2013
    Here is some info on the ytd market for hybrids and full electric. GM leads with the Volt but Toyota owns hybrids.

    Largely through the expanded lineup of its three gas-electric Prius models, Toyota holds 70% of the U.S. market for nonplug-in hybrids. Ford is second at 13%, according to hybridcars.com.

    The automaker sells 12 hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric models in the U.S.

    While Toyota is a global leader in conventional gas-electric hybrid sales, it lags General Motors, Nissan and upstart electric car maker Tesla in sales of fully electric cars.

    So far this year, Toyota has sold 5,031 Prius plug-in cars and 517 battery-only RAV4s, compared with 11,643 for Chevrolet Volt, 11,703 for Nissan Leaf and 10,401 for Tesla Model S.

    If the Volt had the appearance factor of the new Impala, I'd bet sales would surge!

    Where are those new Impalas?
  • Toyota is smart not to spend money developing an all-electric car, since there seems to be no battery technology on the immediate horizon to make them any better than they are. Maybe in 10 years?

    In 1920 an electric could go about 40 miles on a charge (at the general speeds common for the time)

    In 1998 an EV-1 could in theory go 100 miles

    In 2013 a Leaf can go about 80 miles and a Tesla about 200.

    For a century of trying, the EV really hasn't gotten very far, or very cheap either.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    But an electric today can do a lot more in performance and high feature content than those early EV's.
  • True and they're great for certain applications but EVs have not overcome the marketing obstacle of "range anxiety", nor will they for at least another decade IMO. Basically I think they need to go 300 miles no sweat, day or night, warm or cold weather, at normal commuter speeds.

    Otherwise they will remain a tiny niche market---which some automakers may want to occupy anyway--you know, like competing for market share against the passenger car diesel market.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,943
    I think the "push" is to help the automakers meet CAFE requirements, or maybe some emissions requirement. But building them is a good technical exercise and some stuff will surely filter over to regular cars, like seamless start/stop gizmos.

    Third hand info, but supposed a guy here in NM drove over to Arizona and the charging stations he planned to use on his return trip were non-existent. So it took him a couple of extra days to get home, relying on the kindness of strangers and their 110 outlets.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    I disagree. I think they make a perfect second vehicle for a lot of people whose second car is primarily driven around town.
  • We don't disagree at all---I also think EVs are perfect for limited use, as you described. It's no coincidence that the Leaf sells best in the city of San Francisco---a tough place to park, high gas prices, heavy slow traffic, yet most things you need are within a 15-20 mile radius. The only downside for owners would be that electricity is not cheap here, so in the "real world", probably an EV costs you just as much as a hybrid to drive.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    -The only downside for owners would be that electricity is not cheap here, so in the "real world", probably an EV costs you just as much as a hybrid to drive.-

    That's why Toyota made the smart play into Hybrids first. GM blundered with full electric instead of investment in hybrids as a main driver into this market.
  • Exactly ---once hybrid/electrics develop to the point where a plug-in hybrid can go 75 miles on a charge, EVs are going to be a dead duck.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    With everyone getting into everyone else's space, it'll be interesting to see whether Tesla will offer plug-in hybrids, in addition to EVs.
  • Tesla will have to offer plug-ins, or pull a very big rabbit out of a very big hat that doesn't appear to exist at the moment.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    If they did, it is almost like an entire additional company, and would send the wrong message to their present target buyer. Use gas in a Tesla!? Blasphemy..

    Who knows though..they might have no choice..
    Like you say, it'll be interesting watching them.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited September 2013
    Adding a plug-in hybrid, or a regular hybrid, would put Tesla Motors into direct competition with the world's largest manufacturers. For this reason, and, as you pointed out, the message it would send, I don't think they will do it.

    Also, The company would need to issue new stock to diversify into new propulsion systems. Tesla stock would most certainly take a hit, because of the investment a totally new powertrain would require. A decline in the stock, in turn, would limit what they could get from a new stock offering.

    For the reasons cited above, I think Tesla is boxed in. Either EV works for them in a big way, or they'll remain a niche player. A major breakthrough in battery technology could change Tesla's status very positively. As Shifty has stated numerous times, there are no signs of such a breakthrough. There have been times, though, when major breakthroughs, or game changing applications using current technology, have come out of left field.
  • Given all the global brains that are working on battery technology for various purposes, including space exploration---if you explore all the current literature and discussions, some new miracle battery tech is simply not out there right now.

    Tesla could certainly add MORE batteries to increase range, but man, that gets $$$.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    Tesla stock would most certainly take a hit, because of the investment a totally new powertrain would require. A decline in the stock, in turn, would limit what they could get from a new stock offering.

    Yes, but there would be an element of mitigation as part of the equation cuz there would be those investors who would feel a bit more confident with hedging their investment in a stock because of the hybrid diversification. Whether or not that would be enough to offset the purists, who knows..

    And of course that sorta brings also us to potential newer battery tech scenario..No doubt Tesla would be right there with bells on, but that same new tech would also then be utilized by the likes of Nissan and even Toyota too. Toyota especially, would have the bucks to bring them up to speed and really put the competitive squeeze on the other two..
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,346
    Tesla could certainly add MORE batteries to increase range, but man, that gets $$$.

    And would raise the CoG and overall handling dynamics their present platform has.
    A hybrid of course would do that too so is just an additional obstacle.
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