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Hemi vs. Hybrid! Japan goes Tech, US goes ICE! Who's really winning??

drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
edited March 23 in Honda
   Toyota and Honda build Market share and record profits.

   'Yota will sell over 50k Prius, and will have Hybrids on every model within 3 years!

   Nissan buys Toyota Hybrid system, and learns how to make cars fast and sexy!

   
   Mazda makes hit after hit, with 3, 6, and RX-8, but all with small engines!

   On the other hand, Chrysler will put a Hemi in Neon if the SRT sales slow! Jeep and Dodge will become Hemispheres!

   GM will throw 200+ HP at Cobalt, 400HP at CTS, and who knows how much at Escalade with V12!

   And Ford is so dazed and confused, there is a Fire Sale on their Market Share, with future duds like Freestyle and 500 rocketing to Rebate Hell!

 
   Are the "Big 2, Maybe 3" swinging for high profits now on Steroid -injected $40k SUV's, to fund a more ballanced counter-attack in the future for market share lost?

  Will Japanese Hybrid power nullify US Big-block V8s with similar power AND better economy?'

  Can Detroit stop losing share by throwing more power at the problem?
 
 
  Will super-hybrid powerplants make the big-block V8 obsolete?

  Your thoughts.

  DrFill (DIG)
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Comments

  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    have been used by many other carmakers than just Chrysler (Alfa Romeo, for instance). The engine that popularized the name "Hemi" was the 426 Hemi from the mid-60s, and a fantastic engine it was. It defined a whole class of drag racing (Top Fuel), and continues to do so today.

    However -- the new hemi has almost nothing to do with the 426 design, other than the hemispherical shape of the heads. It is purely and simply a marketing ploy by Chrysler, and while I don't blame them for using it to sell cars, it means absolutely nothing in practical terms.

    As for a showdown between hybrids and V8s, V10s or V12s, I believe there is none. In fact, hybrid technology will almost certainly be used to enhance the performance and economy of ALL engine configurations in the very near future. That is certainly Toyota's plan, and GM and Ford are not far behind.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    the Hemi was introduced because, at the time, it was the design that developed the most horsepower out of the crappy low-octane fuels that were available at the start of the '50's. For their size Mopar Hemi's did pretty good with the hp-to-displacement ratio. When the first Chrysler 331 Hemi was introduced for 1951, it had 180 hp. That year, Cadillac's V-8, also a 331, only put out 160 hp! When the DeSoto 276.1 Hemi was launched for '52, it produced 160 hp. Oldsmobile's "Rocket" V-8 in that year was produced in two configurations: 145 hp and 160 hp. I'm guessing the 160 hp was with a 4-bbl? Anyway though, it took a 303.7 CID engine to do it!

    The main things that killed the original Hemi were weight and cost. The Hemi design had two sets of rocker shafts, which ended up giving them those huge, heavy heads. The wedge-head engines that started phasing in in 1958 were lighter and cheaper to build.

    Interestingly, I think the current Hemi is loosely based on the old wedge-head smallblock V-8. It has the same stroke as a 360, 3.58", and the bore center spacing is the same. The angle between the intake and exhaust valves is also much tighter, so they don't have the big, bulky heads like the Hemis of days gone by did.

    Another interesting tidbit is that, while the original Hemi was phased out do to its cost to build (I think the 426 was phased out mainly because of insurance costs), the new Hemi is actually cheaper to build than the 4.7 OHC V-8! And that engine, in turn, is cheaper to build than the old 318/360 (5.2/5.9) Magnums that were around until just recently. Funny how things work out like that.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...that the Japanese manufacturers aren't exactly going all green. The Accord makes 240hp, the Titan's V8 has one of the highest HP in it's class, Nissan's also rolling out the HUGE Armada and QX56, and the Tundra doesn't exactly sip gas. Hybrids are simply hype at this point. It remains to be seen if the average consumer will go for them or if they'll distrust the "new" (to them) tech.

    The Japanese PR teams are waaayyy better than the American ones, which is why we think of the Prius and Civic Hybrid when we think of the Japanese, and not the Sequoia and Armada.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    One, GM and Ford ARE FAR behind. Even behind Nissan and Chrysler when it comes to engine tech!
      
       Two, let's hear what is the public perception between the advances in engine tech and market share of the japanese to the engine size, power, and cost of the Americans.

       Are the Americans selling market share for profit per unit ($35k Durangos and $40k Rams, $50k CTS?)? Will this help or hurt them 5 years from now?

       This isn't the Hemi Board. Let's keep it to market significance and how this helps American companies vs the Japanese.

       DrFill
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    The Accord V6 also gets 30MPG.

      Honda can squeeze 240Hp out of less than 2 liters.

      Lexus will sell a 300HP RX400h with somehwere around 30-35MPG.

      Nissan will use Toyotas system starting in 2 years!

      Mazda can make 230+HP out of a 1.3 liter wankel!

      What is the US response?

      340HP station wagons?

      DrFill
  • I would agree that a great deal of this argument hinges on marketing. Also I'd like to suggest that there is a cultural issue here, that is, what the Japanese like vs. what the Americans tend to like (or are used to).

    Being a very monolithic culture, the Japanese might tend to all get on the same train when it comes to preferences, at least relative to the American who is trained to "be different together". Certainly the Japanese seem very respectful of high technology in every form possible. Possibly (just speculating here) part of this comes from realizing that technology played a large part in their near-destruction as a nation. (not going to make THAT mistake again!).

    So I think Americans are much more mistrustful of technology than the Japanese, and less willing to embrace it suddenly and completely. It has to grow on us, bit by bit, gadget by gadget. We'll debate among us for 6 months whether to buy a NAV system but I'd guess to the average Japanese buyer who can afford it, it's a no brainer.

    Pushrods are great for people raised on low end grunt and pickup trucks and Daddy's old muscle car. The Japanese don't really have a rich automotive past to reach back to and replicate year after year. What can they do for retro?---make 2 cylinder air cooled cars with chain drive again?
  • as far as japan goes, many of the UJMs (universal japanese motorcycles) from the 70s and 80s that you used to be able to pick up around town for a song have been bought and exported back to japan where they are highly sought after as collectibles. this also applies to american muscle cars, and lowriders (impalas from the 50s and 60s especially). japanese retro begins in the late sixties, whereas here we still have pristine cars dating back to the model T era, and lots of stock and custom hot rods from the thirties, forties, etc

    btw shiftright, according to your theory, don't you think the japanese would have become as mistrustful of technology as the americans since it was a burgeoning technology that enabled the devastation of hiroshima and nagasaki?
  • Oh, man, I would think it very unpleasant to drive an American car in japan. it must be a real pain.

    As for japan's view of technology, it's very hard for me to pontificate abou an entire country , but if I were defeated by an opponent I would tend want what he had, not what I didn't have. I always thought that the only thing Native Americans needed more of 150 years ago was artillery.

    Given how the Japanese have embraced so many American technologies (and even some of our governmental system albeit without much choice, it's true) I don't think they fear them , no. I think they want to forget the past, much like americans did after the war. Americans didn't care for "old cars" in the 50s, they junked them by the millions.

    This romance we are having with the past seems to have been born because Americans looked at their cars from the 1980s and were pretty disgusted with them. Also Hollywood spawned some of the frenzy of the collector car market. The Japanese, on the other hand, had all the right stuff for a global market in the 1980s, and after some false starts, good products for America, too.

    So it's been a one-way street as far as high-tech in cars goes, for the last 25 years. The japanese and europeans developed what we call the modern car today, not us.

    But I think it's changing. The pushrod engine is probably doomed anyway except for commercial. People are already regarding them as old fashioned and cheap. If they didn't we wouldn'teven be having this conversation, right?Yyou must have been inspired by things you saw and heard.

    So it's a marketing and cultural thing. People don't want old fashioned stuff unless they are forced to make do with it. I'd venture that a Corvette with a twin ohc motor would sell one-half again as much, but it would cost more and it wouldn't go any faster. So GM doesn't do it, but it should anyway, for reasons that have nothing to do with speed or HP.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    if they had Sarin or battlefield nukes when the US Cavalry came calling, we'd all be hunting buffalo still.

    As for the hybrids vs the hemi, I think the winner will be....

    no peeking now....

    almost there...

    yes, the consumer. if you need to tow, you'll have an engine choice with good growl on the low end. if you don't, and you drive short distances, you're going to get someplace between 40 and 60 mpg and like it.

    pick what suits your fancy, and have fun.
  • 30 years ago, light and fuel-sipping Japanese 4 bangers were Johnnies-on-the-spot when gas prices shot up and EPA and CAFE regulations emasculated the American fleet of land yachts. Heavy, thirsty, and low hp behemoths were no match for the nimble Japanese invaders. And why were the Japanese cars the way they were? Well, because they were built for their home market where gas was pricey and where a big car mentality had never gotten a toe-hold.

    Fast forward 3 decades: N. American prosperity is rising, gas prices are a relative bargain, and even monstrous V8s are getting fuel economy figures akin to those of the Japanese 4-bangers of yore. Sure, hybrids are a neat idea but are they anything more than a novelty right now?

    Not in other parts of the world where gas remains expensive and where the electricity is affordable and its supply is widespread and reliable. Or where emissions are a concern (provided, of course, that we don't look at how the electricity is generated in the first place). And those conditions, by the way, don't co-exist everywhere. But they do exist in Japan and could right here in N. America if Middle East or OPEC politics take a bad turn (now, how unlikely is that?). Regardless, these factors already exist - or have a reasonable chance of occuring soon - in enough places that any manufacturer interested in being a global competitor should be heavily involved in developing alternative fuel technologies. And if it happens here in a sudden bang - as it did 30 years ago - US manufacturers better be poised with a proven product already on the road. Or else history will indeed repeat itself.

    GM, for one, has been researching and developing hybrid and fuel cell technologies for years and, in fact, has an accord with Toyota to share some of these technologies. It just isn't commercializing them yet. GM has been reluctant to introduce hybrids because they're pricey, the demand hasn't been there and because it views hybrids as a stop gap solution - a brief step on the way to fuel cell technologies in which GM is investing rather heavily. But, now that Toyota and Honda have created a demand (albeit small) for hybrids - and with recent studies showing that a robust hydrogen distribution network (on which fuel cells rely) is still some ways off - GM will be joining the "stop gap" parade:GM says lower gas price may curb demand for hybrids
  • Probably the consumer will have any number of choices for powerplants, depending on their needs---much like they used to choose the number of cylinders.

    As for torque and all that, basically the bottom line is for gas engines is displacement per cylinder, not engine design so much. Could a flat, ohc Subaru engine tow 10,000 lbs.? Sure why not, if it's got enough cubic inches.

    If you take away the cost factor (which is certainly a consideration) the "old tech" has no significant advantage for the consumer I don't think. One could have argue "simplicity and ease of maintenance" 20 years ago, but now that all seems to have leveled out. Maybe rebuilding pushrods would be cheaper, you could say that.
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    I am not sure why you assume Toyota / Honda are ahead of everyone on the tech front.
    Part of the point of this discussion is to point out the different focus of Domestic vs. Foreign manufacturers.
    Is Hybrid tech necessarily better than improving the ICE alone. Thats a big debate alone, and I would refer you to the discussion on this board "Hybrids are they up to the chore"
    As far as engine technology goes I believe GM makes Corvettes with a 5.7L V8 that is rated at 29 MPG hwy. That is as good or better than almost every midsize sedan with engines that have half the displacement.
    GM is also incorporating DOD (displacement on demand) into all their V8's and some V6s. This essentially shuts down half the cylinders when not needed, thus improving gas mileage.
    Now as far as hybrids go; refer again to the hybrid discussion regarding actual gas mileage owners are getting. From what I've read most owners are getting 40-45MPG from the new Prius that is rated at 60/54.
    Granted 40-45 mpg is great but if I bought a vehicle and got 75% of the advertised MPG rating, I'd be a little upset; especially if that vehicle was bought mainly because of the advertised MPG rating.
    GM has hybrids trucks available now, today, to fleet buyers. GM however is only advertising about a 10 % MPG gain. These trucks will be available next year to the general public.
    As far as statements like, "Honda can squeeze 240Hp out of less than 2 liters."
    Yes this is a great accomplishment, but not truly unique. Many makers could make engines to produce similar numbers, but they chose not to because of the performance trade off's for real world driving. The S2000 is the only car using this engine, and there are only 10-20K of these cars sold per year. There are many reasons Honda does not put this engine in the Accord. It would certainly fit easily in the same place that the Accord's 4 cyl does. It just wouldn't perform worth a damn in a 3500 lb car in daily cruising. Very few people drive their cars running the engine to the red line, esp. if that line is at 9000 rpm.
    Just because their approaches to tech improvements are different, doesn't make 1 necessarily better than the other.
  • Probably this perception of Japan being higher tech is only relative to the US hanging on to old tech with modern updates. The "next new thing" is what fascinates people in highly industrialized countries, and whether it is really better or not is usually not the determining factor in its success in the marketplace.

    Everyone is throwing away their "old" cell phones to get camera phones.

    Camera phones! does it make it a better phone. Is it a better camera? Don't think so.

    But people sure have the urge to buy one, and when they do, they find a certain "electronic status" in that I think.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...really buy a car based on the technology used in the engine? I don't think there's really an "electronic status" with car engines. As far as engines go, people determine if they like how it delivers power and the sound it makes doing so. And as much as Car and Driver loves the S2000 at the track, in day to day driving your average driver would likely prefer that old pushrod 3800 to that peaky 2.0 liter high techer.
  • What the S2000 does is bring high tech status to its "lowly" sedans. It's a "halo car", showing what the company can do. The car magazines aren't writing page after page after page about the pushrod 3800 and how innovative and exciting it is.

    So all this PR rubs off in the marketplace. People want modern, up to date products, even if they can't really judge them very well. A Braun coffeemaker looks a lot slicker than a Mr. Coffee, but they both make coffee.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,575
    all that "halo car" hype anymore, though? I thought the buying public was supposed to be smarter than that nowadays, and that any status of a halo car went the way of "win on Sunday, sell on Monday". Chevy has the Corvette as a halo, while Dodge has the Viper and Ford has the T-bird, to a lesser extent. None of them seem to be doing much good for the model lineups for the masses, though.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...with the halo affect of the S2000, but most people (barring us hard-core enthusiasts), wouldn't know anything about the engine. They'd just know that it's a cool looking car, has 240HP (or even just that it "goes fast"), and that Car and Driver likes it.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    You see the forest through the trees!

       GM is betting on the "Fuel Cell" horse as THE technology of the 21st century. Toyota/Honda are betting on Hybrids.

       Toyota has several hundred Fuel Cell vehicles here and at home being used by business in fleet service. So it CAN proliferate that medium. They seem to be using that tech as a fall back.

       GM has some plans for Hybrids in the Silverado, but is at least 5 years behind the Japanese as far as market penetration. Ford is the closest domestic to realizing a true "Green" car in the current idiom.

       My point is by the time the domestics get one, Toyota will have ten. Fuel Cells? When will a consumer pick up one of those? That tech needs a whole new infrastucture to fly!

       Hybrid sales will likely double AGAIN this year, TRIPLE next year!

       I'd say Hybrid tech IS better than fuel cell because it WILL SELL RIGHT NOW!

       
        Catam

        DOD engine management has been used by GM for decades, it is OLD tech.

        Variable Valve Timing is getting old, and GM is just starting to get bthe hang of it now!

        DrFill
  • i don't think most consumers are too interested in the way the engine in their car works, only that it's fairly reliable, quiet, and decent on gas. the mazda millenia offered an amazing miller cycle engine, and though it's a great piece of machinery, i dare you to find a qualified mechanic who could work on it.

    technologies that become popular for whatever reason thrive, while those technologies which do not, regardless of whether they are superior or not, wither and die. witness VHS versus Betamax back in the day, or DVD versus Laserdisc.

    I think hybrids are a natural next step because they are a progressive technology, requiring less adjustment than a fuell cell powered car.
    let's call them a transition technology.

    in france or japan, you cannot use a payphone with coins any more, you must buy a prepaid telephone card with a magnetic strip on the back. it seems logical to implement this technology here in NA as well, as it would cut down on vandalism and the extra costs associated with regular coin retrieval, but how would you phase it in without disrupting everyone? it would require an entire new phone network across the country. the logistics of introducing a new technology are staggering.

    the conversion of the EEC to the Euro currency is a great example. It required all participating countries to take an entire working day off to make the transition. Just imagine the problems at the smallest level--making change for the customer down at the local convenience store.
  • Variable valve timing was introduced into America 24 years ago by Alfa Romeo, so yeah, I think it's about time for GM to get on the stick with that.

    Maybe consumers don't know much about engines, you are right, but don't you think you'd be hard put to find many consumers who would say in a survey that beyond a doubt that American automakers are "in the forefront of technology"? I don't think that's the box they would check. And so, it seems likely that if a majority regard American cars as somewhat technology-retarded, that they would also tend to think the best and newest technology comes therefore from foreign shores. And I think they are right...maybe not on a case by case basis, but overall, they are right and pretty well-informed on the reality of the situation at present.

    If you look at a modern car today, and list its features, like electronic fuel injection, dohc engines, active suspensions, 5 and 6 speed transmissions, variable valve timing, variable intake runners, drive by wire, electronic power steering, smart cruise control, radial tires, AWD systems, highly efficient turbo systems that really work, hybrid power systems, etc etc----these were all put into production by foreign companies first.

    If you took the computer management systems away from a 3800 V-6 Buick, you are basically looking at a 1948 engine. That is both remarkable and "long in the tooth".
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