Lincoln heading to China while Skoda heads to the US? (AutoComplete, Ep. 22)
Welcome to Auto Complete, the road show's weekly podcast about the intersects of cars and technology, I'm Brian Cooley, Editor at Large.
Joined again this week by Editor in Chief Chief Tim Stevens, and we kick things off now with a quick taste of what's new on Road Show at the roadshow.com.
Tim, you just had the enviable job of taking our a Huracan Spider.
What do you say about a car like that?
Man, it's hard to stop saying things about a car like that.
I tested the coupe version last year, and absolutely fell in love with it.
So I had the chance to test out the Spyder this year, It was, unfortunately, a very rainy week that I had the car so I didn't get to spend as much time with the top down as I would've liked.
You'll see in the video that I'm kind of bundled up because it was pretty chilly, too.
The V ten in that car is one of the best sounding engines on the road today.
And getting rid of the roof just makes it sound all the much better.
So it will have your head a little sore, but man its great.
So the full review is on the site now.
And that was kind of in that amazing sort of
Light blue, almost like a Mustang Mach One grabber blue, right?
The one I did for the launch was in that amazing kind of beautiful flat blue.
The one I tested for the full review was actually much more subtle metallic gray actually.
So it's a little bit more of a sleeper but it's pretty hard to hide the curves on that car.
I don't want a gray Spyder.
I want a loud color if I'm taking the top off.
Yeah, if you're driving a crazy car like a Lamborghini man, it's gotta be in a crazy color.
It's gotta be in a loud color.
Okay, Wayne just finished a ton of miles in the new Range Rover
3500 miles he did in this car, is that right?
Yeah, he cruised up the West Coast, all the way up to Portland I think it was, then back down again in SF and he also took that car and did some off-roading in it to check out how great the car is in the off-road conditions so we both get MU's video testing the car off-road and Wayne's review of the car going a long long way in the diesel so.
Some good coverage there.
We've also got MU's new review of the new TTS, which is restyled to look a little bit more like the Audi R8.
And she really fell in love with that car.
Although, that's in another boring color.
That's in a flat grey, which she didn't like very much.
So, she [CROSSTALK].
No way that is not her car.
TTS third generation, we are really loving the TT's and of course an S trim and third generation.
We all universally I think dug that car.
So some great cars to look at there at the roadshow.com, check those out.
Let's get into the news this week.
A pretty substantial hack occurred this week.
It's not the biggest car company in the world, Mitsubishi, but one of their Outlanders, the plugin-hybrid actually, was breached by a U.K. security company, going in through the car's built in wi-fi.
What do you make of all this Tim?
Is this a niche hack that doesn't portend a lot for the industry, or is this kind of sort of exposing a broad issue with cars in general?
I think that this is pretty indicative of some of the ignorance that a lot of these car companies have when it comes to security.
The thought that people probably wouldn't really try to hack a car like this because when you read the details of this hack, it's a pretty easy thing for someone to get into it.
The way it was set up, basically the car has its own wi-fi hotspot which had a very simple password on it If you just knew the length of that password they said it would take four days to do a brute force attack on that password.
So just four days of a normal computer processing to figure out what the password was on that car.
Once they had the password figured out they were able to very easily get in and do things Things like turning off the lights to disable the alarm which is probably the most trouble I'm seeing and it was actually, it was kinda shocking how limited the security was on this car.
So they weren't able to disable the ignition or cut the brakes or anything like that but still it was amazing how wide open the door was basically on this car.
And what is interesting is this seems to have operated mobile device to car direct, without going through the cloud or any telematic service.
Apparently this car is fairly unique in that it allows you to its app to access it, unlock it, check its climate and all that, through a direct Wi-Fi connection.
Yeah.>> Where most other cars, I think, go through the cloud.
So I guess that made this an easier hack?
It definitely did.
Most cars will have some sort or active modem, so a cellular connection within the car which has a lot of advantages namely that you can connect to your car regardless of where it is.
With this Mitsubishi had to be in wi-fi range to be able to connect to the car so your phone actually had to connect to it via a wireless hotspot in order to control the car.
That does make the car a little bit cheaper to run.
There is no ongoing cost for it.
So beta or anything like that.
It does open some doors, and it also makes it harder to shut them down, because if all of your communications are going up through the cloud, and they are basically being controlled by some sort of central server controlled by the manufacturer, they can detect these sorts of problems and kinda shut them down remotely, put in a quick fix, and prevent that sort of thing from going through.
But if you are talking directly to the car There's really no way for anybody to intercept that communication.
They have to provide an update to the car, which may actually entail going to the dealership to have that update installed.
Yeah, sort of like if it's just between a mobile device locally and a vehicle, then there's no adult supervision if you will.
So it can just be happening off in the shadows.
To any number of these cars, first now the word is out.
Now Mitsubishi is sending out their official reply to this tack which was done, again, by a UK security firm that said, while they investigate, which as far as we know they are still working on a fix or a patch.
They recommend anyone who's got an Outlander with the Wi-fi feature in the vehicle.
Can deactivate that Wi-Fi.
It's under Cancel VIN Registration, which is under your Mitsubishi app.
It's not even intuitive.
I mean, why doesn't it say something a little more logical?
No, that sounds pretty ominous to me.
I mean, that sounds like you're registering your car from existence or something like that.
Cancel VIN Registration.
That sounds like, wait a minute, I'm erasing my vehicle.
And this differ quite a bit by the way folks from the last fall's very notable hack of a Jeep by Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller where they took control of drive controls.
As Tim mentioned, this is kinda going after some feature controls and the alarm system, but they could not get
To the power steering rack, a drive-by wire throttle or anything like that.
But alarming and as if Mitsubishi needs one more thing on their plate right now.
Everyone we've been talking about the last few weeks on the show has been doing a dance and doing musical chairs with some kind of a ride or car sharing service except Fiat Chrysler.
They don't have a deal with a Lift or an Uber or any of those around the world.
But now they are apparently, reportedly pursuing a deal where they would do something with Uber, not so much in ride services but in supplying Uber with autonomous vehicles.
You think that there is a significant marriage here?
Is it, does this sound interesting or does it sound like a lot of smoke the FCA putting up to try and sound modern?
It definitely sounds like a lot of smoke to me, in fact in this Reuters report [INAUDIBLE] comes off as sounding desperate.
They said that he's been talking to Uber, he's been talking to Amazon, he's been talking to Apple, and basically trying to get in with as many of these tech companies as he possibly can.
I think the reason that they haven't made a big partnership with someone like Uber is because As we've seen it takes hundreds of millions of dollars or maybe even more to kind of get these companies to even get out of bed so I don't think SVA has that kind of money lying around for them to do that sort of thing.
And honestly them rolling up to Uber and saying, hey we'll give you free cars to kind of help develop this partnership, I don't think they're interested in that anyway.
They're developing their own autonomous cars we were talking about a couple of weeks ago Right now they are working with Ford anyway.
I'm guessing they purchased those cars.
So, I don't know that Uber really has a whole lot to gain from this relationship necessarily, but FCA defiantly needs some help, need some tech jobs, and I think that's what they are trying to get in some way or another, [LAUGH] anyway possible, without having to write a big big big check, which is what a lot of other companies have been doing.
Yeah, it just doesn't seem like Chrysler-FCA has got a lot that they bring to the party as being a technology innovator, that has some secret sauce or code, or electromechanical technology that Uber would like.
I mean, they're just basically bringing cars.
And you could say that all right, they've got the deal with Google, and maybe FCA has got the ability, or the right to say, okay once we get some Google technology we can bring that to you in Chrysler cars but I would think Uber would just be working on their own, which we know they are and just getting cars is the least interesting part of any kind of partnership like this.
So yeah, it seems to be, yeah desperate was the sound as we read a lot of his comments, or with everybody.
That's never good.
Suzuki's working with almost nobody right now, in the CEO's office anyway, cuz they don't have one.
Their CEO, which is one of the few who carries the company's name, this is Osamu Suzuki.
And this guy is a tough nut.
I mean, he's had a lot of partnerships with different car makers.
He's not afraid to pull punches.
If he's got an opinion about something, he says it.
He's a real tough, thorny dude, but he has now stepped down from the head of Suzuki because of the recent revelations that they were about five or six years into falsifying MPG tests.
These are the tests that they were doing indoors to avoid the effects of wind resistance.
And this is the biggest one we've seen yet of a Japanese executive stepping down In light of either emissions or MTG falsifications.
Suzuki is number four of the Japanese carmakers, by the way, a little under 3 million units sold last year.
For reference, compare that to Toyota at 10 million, so, relatively small by that respect but it's a pretty big story.
And Lexus, if you have a Lexus car made since '14-'15 or possibly '16, as we understand it You may have a bricked head unit, and if you do, Toyota says, well, we're working on it!
[LAUGH] Try to figure out how that happened.
Apparently Tim, an over-the-air update went bonkers.
Apparently it's a satellite delivered update which I find interesting, and apparently it may have broken on a number of cars and apparently wasn't written to self heal.
And so now a lot of folks have kind of nothing on their head unit we understand.
It sounds like this is one of those cases where if the firmware update was interrupted mid-flow then ultimately bad things happen and that's exactly what happened here.
I don't know if it's because it was delivered via Via satellite or delivered over means that are very easy to disconnect effectively.
But it's kind of a scary state that we're at a point now where you can have a pretty vital part of your car get bricked just because of an over the air update.
We're kind of used to that on phones, maybe waiting a day or two before you apply the new IOS update on your iPhone because worse things could happen.
But now it seems like you might be at that point with your car.
The problem is of course, these things are usually pushed to your car and you can't Wait for a day or two.
They pretty much go on there on their own.
So if you do have this problem, it's unfortunate, but there's really not a whole lot we can tell you to do right now except to be a little more patient.
Shouldn't something like this be written?
I mean with your experience in software, wouldn't you write something like this so it can never break?
It first has to all arrive on the car first And then make a copy of the previous image and then unload and then, aren't there a way to secure this so it always falls back to the last version?
Yeah, there certainly should be.
It should be the kind of thing where you can effectively create a dummy version and then kinda do a quick flop instead of having to absolutely overwrite something that's actually in use or vitally needed by the car, but that sort of thing does take time even if it is a quick swap from one side to the other.
It could be interrupted one way one or another with ignition timing out or maybe even a dead battery.
I don't know exactly what the circumstances are that's causing this.
They haven't given a lot of details on that.
It's one of those problems that [UNKNOWN] engineers have to deal with all the time.
We're talking about embedded coding and I would've thought that could have done a better job on this.
We understand a lot of folks are frustrated by this.
For what we know now, again, Toyota's working on a fix.
It may require, we don't know this yet, it may require you to go to the dealer.
Because of the flaw that's happened, the system may not be able to now reach out and fetch another correct over the air update.
That part of the code may be broken as well.
So, we'll be on top of this, of course, hopefully you'll hear before we do from your dealer.
As opposed to waiting another week, and I would hope that by the time we do the show next week they've got a fix on this, cuz a lot of folks are reporting they've lost NAV, they lost audio, at least radio systems, if not all of audio, and bluetooth.
I mean the whole thing is just gone down into what appears to be kind of a repeated reboot.
In most cases, that would be just infuriating.
So we'll get on top of that.
Yeah, we'll let you guys know what happened on that as soon as we hear more.
And we'll have it in the news, of course, at road show as soon as we hear word of that it'll be on our site at theroadshow.com.
Infinity wants to leapfrog the Germans and almost everyone except Tesla and become really kind of wall to wall in autonomy.
According to their president who was speaking at a automotive conference in China a couple days ago He pointed that some of the very advanced self driving in the Q50 right now will soon become defacto across their line.
They say that's gonna be the new baseline.
They're kinda talking about a level three light here where the car can handle as the Q50 does, distance to the other cars, speed, and pretty aggressive lane maintenance.
All by itself, that's basically level three, isn't it?
Yes, pretty much, probably, it sounds like these only works above 37 miles an hour.
What you could do complete southern back up again which
Would be one thing that you would obviously and maybe we'll have that coming.
But this makes a whole lot of sense, you know.
Once you develop these technologies The cost to roll them out is pretty limited.
The sensors you need in the car are relatively cheap, it's really the upfront development costs that's really expensive on these systems, and so if Infiniti's looking to differentiate themselves, as of course they all are, this would be a pretty good way for them to do so to roll this out across the line, and even if they made a standard feature across the line, that would be a pretty amazing thing.
I'm guessing there'll probably be a premium involved.
But even so, to have this available on all their cars, that'll be a great talking point for them and something that no else in the industry is offering, except as you mentioned for Tesla right now.
They can get right up into the rarefied strata pretty quickly if they were to do that.
So we'll see how fast they can actually put some meat on the bones on this sort of comment by their president.
When we come back, in a moment, we're going to have some more for you, including The latest sneak peek at the new Panamera, the world waits with bated breath for whatever is gonna happen with that very polarizing design as you know.
And some really cool wagons coming into the US.
That and more when Auto Complete continues.
Back to Auto Complete.
I'm Brian Cooley with Jim Steven, our editor in chief from Road Show at the roadshow.com.
Another sneak of the new Panamera, the first complete overhaul on that vehicle is coming Very soon, and we've now got a sneak peek of the rear.
I see charger bred with A7, [LAUGH] which isn't a bad thing.
No, not at all.
It definitely looks a little bit more purposeful, but it looks an awful lot like the Mission E concept that we saw last year, which of course was very much like the [UNKNOWN].
They're all electric, all wheel drive kind of supercar concept that they wowed us with and then Pulled it away and we haven't seen it since.
And so I think we'll probably see a lot of that in this car as well.
But yeah, it's being unveiled I belive on the 28th of this month.
So just a couple weeks away.
Yeah, not too long ago and take a look.
We got the shot over there at the Road Show, at the roadshow.com and it's a very different looking sort of, as you can see there, it's a very different looking sort of a tail light and a connecting LED strip across the two.
Pretty tasty stuff.
Oops, so I got the road show on right there don't I, okay [LAUGH] Such a good site I can't help but look at it.
It's amazing, really good site.
[LAUGH] Let's talk about some wagons, I always love talking about wagons, I love them and we've got the new Audi S4
Coming out and the question is, will we get the Avant, the sport wagon version of that?
The S4 is going to get a little more horsepower, a little more torque, as you might imagine.
Gonna be a 354-horsepower, 3 liter, bi-turbo V-6.
The question of whether we get the Avant or not is still up in the air.
As you can see from the photos that we're showing you there now
Audi's got a touch with little wagons shooting breaks.
They've just always done them well.
And I can't imagine this wouldn't do well in the US.
It looked fantastic but we haven't seen an Audi sport wagon in a while.
We've had the S4, the S6, the RS6, the RS4 we haven't had any of them in the Avant configurations, it's really frustrating because if you go to Europe you pretty much see wagons everywhere.
The sports sedan market is kind of limited compared to the sport wagon market, but here in the U.S of course it's all about sedans and so those of us who love our wagons.
are left usually wanting, and I probably wouldn't bet on the S4 Avant coming to the US, but we will get the new Sedan so, that's something.
One of our colleagues in our marketing department has the last generation 4 Avant, I believe, yes and it's a
It's down in the garage at Second Street.
I think you know the car I'm talking about.
And every time I see her I say, "When you're ready to sell, you let me know." THat's how I'm going to get my Audi Sport wagon.
I have an SCI wagon and I was lucky to get one right before they stopped bringing the Subaru SCI wagon to the US so they don't do that anymore either.
I'm going to be keeping that thing for a while, I think.
Damn the crossovers.
We have good word here that we can confirm is that the new Mercedes E-Class, the '17, which we covered as it got unveiled in January at Detroit.
We were at the event there when that was unveiled.
A lot of interesting technology around that car, but also the interesting part here today is they will be continuing the wagon in the new generation.
It looks really good as a wagon.
and this will be an E400 wagon and they're opening the door also to also doing an AMG version on top of that.
So Mercedes, keeping the standard flying for wagons on the E class side.
Lincoln may be soon building a plant in China where they are, you know Lincoln's still trying to find it's footing.
They've had some traction, as I feel it, in the last six months to a year.
But still trying to really find it's footing of where it has a great big hit in terms of model and in terms of market.
China may be that place, this is going to be a joining GM and VW who I think are the two biggest makers of cars in China who aren't Chinese brands.
I don't know anything yet that Lincoln would start using China as a design studio the way Buick does.
I think two of the Buicks now are Chinese designed as well.
Lincoln sold, I think about it was about 12,000 cars there last year in China.
That's about 10% of what they sold here in the US.
But Lincoln's got big goals.
They wanna be selling about 300,000 cars I think it is in 2020?
So they need to make a big step forward and being dominant in the Chinese market would be a great way for them to do so.
The new Continental I think would be probably a hit in the Chinese market in terms of the luxury appointments it's offering, and everything else seems to be squarely what the Chinese market is looking for.
So I think they could find some success, but of course by building in China they can save a lot of money on tariffs and things like that so this is a financially sound move for them at least.
Yeah, so the goal is 300,000, is that right?
300,000 by 2020 so that's about, they've probably got another, they gotta double it more or less from where they are now.
That's a lot.
They've already, they've increased by about 40% over the past couple years, so they're making pretty good progress.
And if the continental, it drives as well as it looks, maybe they can get there.
And then, last rumor we got for you here, and you know, it's fairly substantial, is that Skoda considering coming to the U.S. Now a lot of our viewers maybe just barely heard of Skoda, don't know the company.
It is sort of the old eastern block of VW.
It's a Czech based car.
Not that I wanna lay the, yeah, I don't wanna-
That's not a great [UNKNOWN].
Let's try that again.
Skoda is the Eastern block VW!
It's the cousin of Volkswagen.
A lot of the same platforms and parts.
It is Czech based.
But the new Skoda is not at all, I mean everyone's thinking about a Trebant right now as I'm talking about this.
Skoda was never quite at that level.
But it was definitely a lesser cousin.
But in the last number of years, it has not been a lesser cousin.
They're great cars when I've seen them.
I've got limited time around them, never driven one, but they look really nice when I see them in Europe and now they're considering coming to the US.
We know this because they recently trademarked automotive brand trademarks for Superb Octavia And the Yeti.
So trying to, which are three models they make.
Isn't Yeti something from Star Wars?
Yeti would be a success in perhaps portions of the Northwest where they have Big Foot sightings and things like that.
Maybe that's what it is.
[CROSSTALK] But the Yeti is a little crossover that's got kind of chunky sound and I think it could do pretty well in the US.
Skoda's, like you mentioned, basically a Volkswagen's value brand.
It has A lot of same driving character as Volkswagen but without quite as nice into your appointments but significantly less expensive in Europe and in the UK.
If they could come in the US and kind of bring some of the allure or some of the high quality aspirations of BMW at least but at must lower cost, I think they could be successful but theres a lot of conspiracy theories that maybe Volkswagen is going to pull out of the US market and Skoda is going to come in.
I think that may be a little either optimistic or pessimistic, depending on how you look at it, but that's one of the things that's been kinda bounced around is why [UNKNOWN] would come to the US.
I think that's probably not gonna happen, but I think they could do well in the US.
But we'll have to wait and see what the plan is.
Yeah, cuz VW always get knocked as being you know, competing with a lot of value makers like Toyota and Honda but at a higher price.
They had to cheapen and kind of dumb down the Jetta a few model years ago, got a lot of kinda guff about that.
This might be an answer to that.
So that theory that you're talking about, which is the central theory, is VW is so damaged in the US because of Diesel-gate that they might consider bringing in SCOTA to clean To clean the plate, if you will.
Yeah, I don't believe it either.
I don't think VW is exactly crippled.
I mean, I did a quick look at some numbers.
So far this year through May, VW is down 6% compared to the same period a year Here we go, and these fluctuate a lot during the season of the year.
Toyota by comparison is only down two percent.
You might say wow, big difference but BMW is almost 10 percent so far through may, and I don't think anyone's worried about BMW.
So these numbers in the auto business, they fluctuate a lot through the year, it's a fast changing game if you will.
It's one where I don't buy, like I don't think you do, the idea that VW is somehow fatally damaged or injured here.
Right, from what we know thus far anyway, I mean, if a dealer gave resolution and Volkswagen is basically sued into bankruptcy, well, then it may change things.
But as it stands, no, I don't think that people really see Volkswagen in kind of spit on it on the roads these days.
I don't think that we're gonna get to that point, either.
So I think VW is healthy enough to Continue on but a value option Volkswagen, you know that make sense in Europe but could make sense here too.
That's Road Show for this week, auto complete for this week I should say from Road Show at the Roadshow.com.
Stay on top of all the news and the latest reviews and our experiences with everything from the simple cars to Tim's Hurricane Spider at the roadshow.com.
In the rain no less, that's pretty cheeky.
A drop top open top, a Lamborghini in the rain, that's good living.
Keep it over 40 and you don't get wet.
That's the way it works.
That's right, you've gotta find the aerodynamic edge there, where it just whoosh.
Goes right over the dome.
All right folks.
Thanks for watching and we'll catch you next week.
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