GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Where Is Ford's Focus?
Thursday March 11, 1:54 pm ET
By Brian Gorman

If you're wondering why American automakers' share of the U.S. market continues to shrink, look no farther than the news that Ford Motor is licensing hybrid engine technology from Toyota.

Once again, Ford and the rest of Detroit are behind the curve. Back in the 1980s, Ford, General Motors (NYSE: GM - News), and DaimlerChrysler's (NYSE: DCX - News) then-independent Chrysler unit were slow to catch on to consumers' interest in fuel economy and quality. The Big Three played catch-up in the '90s and managed to rebound, particularly by tapping into Americans' love affair with SUVs.

Once again, though, Detroit is struggling. Just a decade ago, American automakers controlled 74% of the U.S. market; now, the figure is 60%. Ford should be feeling the most pressure, since Toyota displaced it as the world's second-largest carmaker by sales after General Motors.

With its hybrid technology lead, Toyota is likely to continue gaining ground. According to a company spokesman quoted in the Boston Globe, "Demand has gone through the roof" for the Prius hybrid, which Toyota rolled out in the U.S. in 2000. To meet the surge in interest, the company intends to increase annual production to 47,000 vehicles from its earlier plan of 36,000. Meanwhile, Honda Motor (NYSE: HMC - News) introduced the Civic Hybrid in 2003, and expects 2004 sales will exceed the nearly 22,000 sold last year. Ford, Chrysler, and GM, meanwhile, will finally sell hybrids to retail customers later this year.

True, Honda and Toyota are probably not achieving huge margins on their hybrid economy cars, and the Big Three's strategy of employing the gas/electric systems in lower-mileage vehicles has merit. But there's no doubt that for now Detroit has ceded leadership in the area to Japanese competitors, especially Toyota. Despite falling victim to complacency in the past, it seems that U.S. automakers still haven't learned that to win you have to innovate and take risks.

Full Story Here

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,389 Posts
I Agree! I grew up in the muscle car era. LOVE V8 muscle. Sometimes you also have to put your wet finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing. In Washington DC the wind is blowing in the direction of fuel economy (and I don't mean just 20 miles per gallon) and enviornmental quality. The big three are behind the curve again just like they were in the mid seventies. The USA does not and can not supply all the oil that it needs. Most of the oil is located in countries run by thugs. The American people have NO interest in using the Military to stabilize these countries. Weather we like it or not we either find a substitute for oil and then you can drive any kind of vehicle you want or we are going to be forced, just like Europe, into small fuel efficient vehicles because of the price of gas. You can stick your head in the sand and say it is not so but the new auto reality is comming and unfortunately Japan is in the lead again. If your a V8 horsepower freak get one while you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,853 Posts
I'm not exactly sure where I was reading this, but my understanding was that a significant portion of hybrid car buyers was not experiencing any where near the promised fuel economy savings from their hybrids. It could have been one of my delusional narratives, though I'm pretty sure I actually read it. Has anyone else read this?

Whether or not the above is true, I sure wish Detroit would get on the stick with hybrid technology. I'm skeptical that hydrogen technology, as exciting as it is, will be a reality by the end of the decade, as GM promises. It seems that there needs to be a bridge between the internal combustion engine and the hydrogen powerplant (or similar technology), and I'm afraid things like DOD aren't it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
And anyway this is incorrect. Ford is not BUYING technology from Toyota. They have several of their own patents on hybrid engine technology. It happens that the plant, Aisin AW, that they are suing to help produce their hybrids happens to be the same plant Toyota uses to build their hybrids. Ford had to licence some patent protected technology from Toyota, who more than likely shared the patent with Aisin. The Ford system is unique, but because they utilized the same parts supplier there was some overlap.

Read a real article.


Tuesday March 9, 4:26 am ET
By Edwina Gibbs

(Adds analyst comment, details)

TOKYO, March 9 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (Tokyo:7203.T - News) said on Tuesday that Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F - News) would use some of its hybrid engine technology, in a pact that underlines the Japanese auto giant's strong lead in eco-friendly gasoline-electric know-how.

Toyota, which recently overtook Ford to become the world's second-largest auto maker, is keen to see the overall market for hybrids grow while promoting its technology and expanding its hybrid lineup.

This is no longer true btw. Toyota did a recount and they are not number two.

It has said it might supply hybrids to other auto makers as part of its goal to produce 300,000 of the eco-friendly vehicles a year by the middle of the decade.

Under the agreement, Toyota's patents on gasoline-electric hybrid engine system control and emission purification have been licensed for use in Ford's own hybrid system, which is under development.

"Toyota's move with Ford today puts them one step closer towards achieving critical mass for their hybrid technology as well as enhanced prospects for meaningful profitability for the technology," said Kurt Sanger, an auto analyst at ING.

Toyota made its name as world leader in hybrid technology in 1997 when it launched the Prius sedan, the first mass-produced vehicle to combine a battery-powered motor and a gasoline engine, significantly reducing emissions.

The auto giant went on to sign a much broader hybrid system licensing agreement with domestic rival Nissan Motor Co (Tokyo:7201.T - News) in 2002.

Honda Motor Co (Tokyo:7267.T - News) is the only other auto maker to mass-market hybrid vehicles, and Ford is the only U.S. auto maker with plans to launch a true hybrid this year -- the Escape sports utility vehicle.

Ford said its hybrid system would feature more than 100 unique patents.

Purists have long questioned the U.S. auto maker's hybrid engine prowess after Ford reached an agreement in 2001 with Aisin AW, a Toyota-affiliated car parts maker, to supply Ford with key components for the Escape hybrid, which was first planned for 2003.


Toyota plans to roll out at least two new gasoline-engine hybrids in the U.S. market this year, including the world's first luxury hybrid, the RX400h sports utility vehicle. It is also considering a hybrid version of a new pickup truck.

Toyota has sold more than 200,000 hybrid vehicles to date and says its hybrids are profitable. Honda says it barely makes a profit while Ford concedes the Escape will sell at a loss.

Toyota's share price ended up 0.51 percent at 3,950 yen, on Tuesday, outperforming a 0.25 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average (^N225 - News).

U.S. automakers, notably General Motors Corp (NYSE:GM - News), have been vocal in questioning the merits of hybrid cars.

They have worked more aggressively to advance zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which are widely believed to be at least 10 to 15 years away from being commercially viable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Perhaps the demand for such a car is a novelty. What will they be thinking a few years from now when their so called "green" car needs a new set of batteries. Not only are they expensive but the heavy metals used inside of them are a wonderful polutant to the environment. Unless you have an infrastructure that is going to recycle these things which I doubt Toyota has in place, there doesn't seem to be any long term gain using this technology.

Having said this, Ford is opting to use this technology to assist in their troubled EPA figures for their truck fleet. I think this is a lame solution and in the long run the customer will eventually suffer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
Originally posted by tgagneguam@Mar 11 2004, 06:24 PM
I'm not exactly sure where I was reading this, but my understanding was that a significant portion of hybrid car buyers was not experiencing any where near the promised fuel economy savings from their hybrids.
I just threw it away, but in the current issue of Motor Trend...Blue Convertible Vette on the cover, in the Letters to the Editor, a hybrid owner specifically mentions his lack of mpg (sorry I can't remember Toyota or Honda). Seems like the mileage was on 40 mpg on an EPA of something like 60/50? The response from Motor Trend was pretty weak. Please post if anyone has it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Originally posted by 72lemanscvbl+Mar 12 2004, 08:50 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (72lemanscvbl @ Mar 12 2004, 08:50 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-tgagneguam@Mar 11 2004, 06:24 PM
I'm not exactly sure where I was reading this, but my understanding was that a significant portion of hybrid car buyers was not experiencing any where near the promised fuel economy savings from their hybrids.
I just threw it away, but in the current issue of Motor Trend...Blue Convertible Vette on the cover, in the Letters to the Editor, a hybrid owner specifically mentions his lack of mpg (sorry I can't remember Toyota or Honda). Seems like the mileage was on 40 mpg on an EPA of something like 60/50? The response from Motor Trend was pretty weak. Please post if anyone has it... [/b][/quote]
I don't know where I read it but I thought I saw that replacing the batteries on hybirds would cost 5 to 10 grand. Thet seems to me a HUGE expense considering the real world mileage most drivers get. Once people realize what the long term costs of operating these hybirds will be the fad will soon be over. For my money, I would rather drive a diesel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
Originally posted by mriordan59+Mar 12 2004, 03:21 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (mriordan59 @ Mar 12 2004, 03:21 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by [email protected] 12 2004, 08:50 AM
<!--QuoteBegin-tgagneguam
@Mar 11 2004, 06:24 PM
I'm not exactly sure where I was reading this, but my understanding was that a significant portion of hybrid car buyers was not experiencing any where near the promised fuel economy savings from their hybrids.

I just threw it away, but in the current issue of Motor Trend...Blue Convertible Vette on the cover, in the Letters to the Editor, a hybrid owner specifically mentions his lack of mpg (sorry I can't remember Toyota or Honda). Seems like the mileage was on 40 mpg on an EPA of something like 60/50? The response from Motor Trend was pretty weak. Please post if anyone has it...
I don't know where I read it but I thought I saw that replacing the batteries on hybirds would cost 5 to 10 grand. Thet seems to me a HUGE expense considering the real world mileage most drivers get. Once people realize what the long term costs of operating these hybirds will be the fad will soon be over. For my money, I would rather drive a diesel [/b][/quote]
I heard of an even better method. I heard it's possible for engines to run on a mixture of methane and gasoline. This would greatly cutback an gasoline consumption and wouldn't be too hard to implement. I don't remember where I read about it but I'll try and look it up later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
I recall reading an interview with a Honda representative, who admitted that his Civic hybrid averaged around 39 mpg, not in the 40's and 50's.

He said the EPA numbers for hybrids are particularly high because the EPA test cycle just happens to be ideal for hybrid efficiency. We're used to seeing cars that don't quite get mileage as good as the EPA sticker says (although many are very close these days), but the hybrids in the real world tend to be way lower.

And what's this line about "true hybrid" from the article above? Just who is deciding what a "true hybrid" is? Is there some SAE standard terminology I don't know about?

It's just a convenient way to dismiss what GM is doing with their mild hybrid trucks. Never mind they'll save way more fuel than a Prius will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
Originally posted by mriordan59@Mar 12 2004, 03:21 PM
I don't know where I read it but I thought I saw that replacing the batteries on hybirds would cost 5 to 10 grand. Thet seems to me a HUGE expense considering the real world mileage most drivers get. Once people realize what the long term costs of operating these hybirds will be the fad will soon be over. For my money, I would rather drive a diesel
This article talks about the cost of replacing hybrid's batteries.

They put the Civic's batteries at about $2000. They are under warranty for 8 years. The Prius pack costs around $1000.

$5-10K may have been battery replacement for a pure electric car. Hybrids require much smaller batteries.

This article also mentions the mileage they got with the Prius, Insight, and Civic, all well below the estimates.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/column...-civic.htm#more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
GM's position on new technology from my inquiry today:

General Motors has developed versions of many of its popular models that run on alternative fuels, including compressed natural gas (CNG), propane (LPG), and ethanol (E85).  These vehicles provide innovative solutions for fleet managers to meet strict U.S. EPA or Department of Energy mandates.

"Our alternative fuel vehicles are yet another reason customers come to us
for their many vehicle needs," said John Gaydash, marketing director for GM
Fleet and Commercial and brand manager for Alternative Fuel Vehicles.  "Our
portfolio of products features some of the highest fuel economy and lowest sticker
prices in these markets.  Furthermore, our alternative fuel vehicles typically qualify
for valuable government incentives."

Please visit the below site for GM's Alternative Fuel Vehicle lineup for the 2004
model year:

http://www.gm.com/automotive/innovations/a...tfuel/vehicles/

For more information on these vehicles and on GM's Alternative Fuel Vehicle fleet
and operations, see the program's upgraded Alt Fuel Web site.  The site includes
information such as the names of GM's Alternative Fuel Vehicle sales dealerships,
their phone numbers and locations, and infrastructure and refueling sites.  Please
visit:

http://www.gmaltfuel.com

The following links are among many detailing GM's industry-leading efforts in the
important areas of environmentally responsible manufacturing processes and products. We're sure you will discover we are doing very well, improving over time, and may have a model to put in your garage today!  Please continue your important environmentally sound vehicle research here:

http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/environment/

We appreciate our customers who are so passionate about such a vital area of our
future.  Your purchase of our current GM vehicles helps fund our research into these revolutionary technologies that will make the cleaner future both you and we envision, a reality that much sooner.  With over 70 vehicles in the GM portfolio, we hope at least one of our many Low-Emissions, high economy or alt-fuel vehicles will meet your needs today.  We thank you for your support.

If you would like additional information on GM's Alternative Fuels Programs, or
any production GM product, please feel free to contact GM at 888-462-3848, 7 days
a week between 8:00am - 11:00pm EST and one of our advisors will be able to assist you.

The Hy-wire concept car is the second stage of GM's commitment to define a totally
new kind of automobile. The first stage was the introduction of the AUTOnomy January 2002 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Their common revolutionary architecture combines hydrogen fuel cells with by-wire technologies. This completely original combination enables both AUTOnomy and Hy-wire to feature independent chassis and body units. AUTOnomy presented the vision. Hy-wire proves the concept in the world's first drivable fuel cell/by-wire vehicle. With Hy-wire GM further pioneers the new era of the automobile.

What is a fuel cell?
The fuel cell is the heart of Hy-wire's powertrain. Within each cell, the reaction
of hydrogen and oxygen forms water and generates electricity. When many fuel cells are connected together in a fuel cell stack, the electricity that is generated feeds an electric motor which provides enough power to propel a car. The only emission from the tailpipe is water. GM has 500 people working on fuel cell technology at its U.S. facilities in Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Warren, Michigan and at its research facility in MainzKastel, Germany. By preserving the environment and providing a path to using renewable energy sources, fuel cells definitely take the automobile into the future.

What is "by-wire"?
Forget all the constraints of a traditional automotive architecture: the steering
wheel and the pedals, the clutch and the gearstick, the steering column and the
rods. The by-wire technology, developed by the SKG Group, replaces all mechanical linkages between the driver's controls and the powertrain/chassis units with electrical cables. It makes possible the revolutionary architecture of the Hy-wire, with its independent chassis and body, connected via a single docking port. A command module called "X-Drive" takes the place of the steering wheel. This single unit fulfills all essential functions: to accelerate for instance, twist one of the handgrips. And squeeze it to brake. Revolutionary.

http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_te..._fcv/index.html

You could forgive the customer for thinking of it as a 285-horsepower portable
generator on wheels.  General Motors' parallel hybrid concept pickup truck can help power a construction site or campground with its pair of 110-volt electrical outlets. But it's also a fully capable V8-powered pickup truck that can haul and tow just as much as its rugged gasoline counterpart.  It just happens to get 10 percent to 15 percent better fuel economy.  Based on the popular Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized trucks, the concept hybrid truck features a 5.3-liter VORTEC V8 engine, the same as the conventional versions of the truck.  The hybrid propulsion package will be available as an option on GM's full-size pickups beginning in 2004.

Instead of a conventional starter motor and alternator, the parallel hybrid truck
features an innovative electric motor that is integrated into the drivetrain between
the engine and the transmission.  This provides starting power and the ability to
generate electricity and saves on weight and parts.

The 4.8 kilowatts of electricity generated by the system has plenty of potential
uses.  It can be stored in a 42-volt battery pack, used to support on-board electric
accessories, or employed to operate power tools off the pair of 110-volt, 20-amp
outlets located in the cab and bed.  GM has chosen to go with advanced lead-acid
batteries to keep the size and cost of the 250-pound battery pack reasonable.

The parallel hybrid truck's power steering runs off an electrically driven hydraulic
pump rather than the traditional belt-drive system.  This reduces weight and saves
on parts.  Similarly, an electric pump that keeps hot water circulating even when
the engine is off supplements the truck's heating system.  In cold weather, this
innovation will save considerable fuel.  When stopped at a traffic light, the vehicle's
gasoline engine ceases to run.  Its accessories continue to work on stored electrical power.  When the light turns green and the driver steps on the accelerator, the gasoline engine kicks in again.  The truck gets more out of each gallon of gas because the engine start/stop function and regenerative braking turn the motor into a generator as the truck decelerates.

General Motors Corp. will produce a full-size pickup truck featuring a hybrid powertrain beginning in 2004, underscoring GM's intent to remain the nation's fuel-economy leader.

For additional information please visit our web site at:
http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/adv_te...rids/index.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,013 Posts
Uh-oh...GM needs a hybrid car quick! I can already tell that the hybrid Highlander and RX400h (270hp and great gas mileage..wow!) are going to sell bigtime. Hopefully we get some GM hybrids soon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,258 Posts
I love how the articles about this always miscontstrue it as Ford running to Toyota for help. This is not the case. Ford and Toyota made a technology sharing agreement here to help produce more and better hybrids. This isn't about ceding leadership. But I guess the mainstream press is too dense to understand this concept.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top