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What on Earth is Tim shredding on this week?! (AutoComplete, Ep. 14)"High-octane" gas may not be a lie for much longer; Tim Stevens will soon be shredding on something you've never seen before; and the scope of the Takata airbag problem gets bigger (if that's possible).
[MUSIC] It's Auto Complete. Road Show's weekly podcast about the intersection of cars and technology. I'm Brian Cooley, Editor at Large. Tim Stevens, Editor-in-chief is off doing something you won't believe. We're gonna check him Kinda blew my mind. First let's get some of the news out of the way here. Let's go for our weekly visit to Tocata land I'm afraid where things blow up. Another death unfortunately is being attributed to these Tocata Airbags with defective inflators. This marks number 11. In a 2007 Siemens Civic, if your keeping track, Takata say that another 5 million cars in the US may have bad inflators that's on top of 24 million cars with a total of 28 million inflators that have already been identified and if you can believe it, the government says there may be as many as 85 million. Bad Takata air bags in general in the U.S. fleet and that's the big number, if they were to assume that every Takata air bag inflator is bad until proven good by factory documentation. This is turning into mind boggling stuff. Is my take away for you here. And also Ford has just launched one of the few formal recalls under the Tecate situation. 400,000 '04 to '06 Ford Rangers, so a specific model to add this week. '04, to '06 Ford Rangers, 400,000 of those are being now recalled for having bad Takata inflators that as we have mentioned, cause deaths and serious injuries in a number of cases. Now the other big grinding story diesel gate, kind of all quiet on the legal front going around right now with the whole VW, Audi diesel mess Out there. There's a change that is shifting though in the EU that is kind of seismic. A move now not yet baked where the EU the overall EU zone authorities in Brussels are moving now to say we want the ability. To do automotive recalls in the EU zone, taking it up from the nation by nation level, that is currently the practice. Now that's gonna have all kinds of political ramifications, in terms of how a given country feels about About the EU's role in that part of the world but for those of us that are following automotive, it be a major shift in how car makers can be brought to heel for cars that need a recall, especially if it's for safety and environmental, flagrant violations in that very important part of the world. By the way, if you're wondering where's the movie about dieselgate, that too is apparently now under production. A movie that is called Backfire is apparently in preproduction from a guy named Steve Kalafer who is two interesting things. He's a three time Oscar nominated documentarian. And he owns 17 car dealerships including the VW store in Flemington, New Jersey. If you're one of our New Jersey viewers, I think that's kinda halfway between New York and Princeton if I'm not mistaken. He's got a VW shop there. So, what do you know? A guy who comes from both sides of the industry Seems like the right one to make a documentary on this mess. How about keygate. We got so many gates going on right now. The GM ignition key situation. Seems like GM continues to be of made or less some degree of Teflon. The latest case to be dealt with by them is that they have continued To fend off in either dismissals or in settlements every case that is comes so far. We still waiting for that one that totally sticks, if any of them do, that sets sort of a bar for what they owe a given plaintiff, if there is serious injury or death cause by These ignition keys that pop out. Right now they've paid $2 billion total in settlements and penalties. But we haven't seen that watermark case yet, that says, here is the value to a plaintiff of a car with a defective GM key. Still waiting for that. An interesting push here but a number of car makers. That came out this week. The heads of many automakers, not all of them, but many of the automakers that sell here in the US made another formal appeal of the CEO's of auto insurance companies, the big ones here in the US market, saying, You need to get on board with us, to be another party That is helping to push, publicize, and urge owners to get their cars fixed when they are under recall. This has been a big issue. in general, anywhere between a quarter and a third of all cars that have a recall on them here in the US, don't get fixed. Don't get brought in for it and it seems to be one of the major pieces of low hanging fruit is simply compliance. It's a free repair. The car maker is more or less obliged to do it for a very long time, ten years typically after the recall is issued and yet people still don't get it done. A lot of it's because of communication and the automakers are urging the insurance companies saying, wait a minute, You're right there in the crux of so many people have to do to keep driving their car illegally. Can't you become another one of those who is shaking a stick at people to get them to get their car recall sticks, maybe even withholding approval of insurance, until those recalls are all closed? If you're of a certain age, you know that today's high octane gas, is not high octane gas. 91 like we have in the bay area, it's a joke. That used to be a regular. 93 is considered premium in many other parts of the country. There was a time when you could get 102 at the pump from Sunoco. Today's High octane gas really isn't but that may change. A number of auto makers in a very important society of automotive engineers panel that went on in Detroit a few days ago have said look we have to get to the point where we have 95 octane minimum as what is called premium. Or high octane gas. These were engineers in the power trained division from Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Chrysler all agreed and said yeah absolutely, we have to get higher octane gas cuz that will allow them to make higher and higher compression engines and a high compression engine compresses that Fuel and air mixture even more, even harder before detonating it tends to get more power out of less fuel with fewer emissions. Where do you go wrong there? You go wrong because with low octane gas you get really bad pre-detonation or spark knock that can damage the engine at the very least. It ruins the efficiency of the engine. So there could be a dawn of higher octane gas coming which we haven't seen that trend in decades. It's been going the other. direction. If you're looking for the new Lincoln Continental, it got priced this week. $46,000 base with shipping. Looks as though it's gonna be somewhere more to the mid to high 60s when you equip one nicely. and get one of the higher range engines we've been talking about. Before GT got priced this week as well, sorta kinda. It's going to be in the mid-400's Ford says. Not too much far a field from what people were expecting. They opened up a pre-order, well, really an application site. Unlike a preorder with Tesla, where you put down $1,000 for your Model 3. This is free, anyone can apply, for a period of time, to be allowed to purchase one of the first few hundred Ford GTs at 450 grand. However, you gotta tell them a good story. It's kinda like buying a house in the Bay Area these days. You gotta do A car buyer's biography and put together a book so they like you. Ford wants to see people who either have GT ownership history from the last GT. That's huge bonus points if you own one of the original GTs, but you're probably a given if you're one of those. And, as got a lot of ownership of Ford cars and Ford special performance vehicles. So basically, you've got to do a buyer's resume and then maybe they'll deign to sell you One of these new Ford GTs at that rather lofty price. Now I mentioned earlier that [UNKNOWN] is [UNKNOWN] something that you might not believe. This is sort of a weird mix of what Roger Moore wrote in the James Bond movie Spy Who Loved Me and a Snowcat. Tim, what on earth are you doing slash. [MUSIC] Hey guys, sorry I can't be with you this week. I'm up here in Toronto riding this thing. It's the DTV Shredder. It's a tank personal mobility device. It's kind of crazy. It's going to get kind of filthy with it tomorrow. Look for coverage of this on the site in a couple of weeks but coming up this week we've got a lot of great reviews. We've got the BMW X1 We have my review of the McLaren's 675LT. We also have our first impressions of the super hot hash the Ford Focus RS which I can't wait to drive myself. Lot's more stuff on theroadshow.com as well so check it out, but now back to you guys in the studio. [MUSIC] Okay, so if that's not enough Of what's coming up new on road show. Here's some more things you can find on the site right now while Tim gets that one baked. John Wong got an early ride in the S-Class Cabriolet along the Riviera, his life is obviously very difficult. Amy Hall, just back from Portugal where she got a ride in the latest of the new 718 Series Boxster with two engines. The base Boxster, which has a turbo four of course, as well as the S Boxster with a turbo four and yet. They're very different in their road behavior. She'll tell you why. And I just took an interesting look a few days ago at a completely reimagined Ford Explorer that becomes arguably the coolest hippest accessible vehicle for people that use a wheelchair. You can find that all All those pieces and more over at theroadshow.com. When we come back we're gonna take a look at Tesla's space lift. I'm curious, I'll say what I think of it, do you like it, and we'll also take a look at Tesla's recall when auto complete continues. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Back to Auto Complete, I'm Brian Cooley from the Road Show. Tesla got a facelift. This is unusual because Tesla really doesn't do model years. I mean they technically have them, for government registration But they don't count the new 16, 17, 15, what have you Model S, they just kinda keep evolving their cars. But here's one that you'll be able to spot very clearly. They've got a new face on the Tesla Model S as of this week. They unveiled it, I went online and kinda told a lot of folks, I didn't think it looked very good. A lot of folks go the other way, a lot of folks agreed with me, I think It's a very polarizing new look. It's got this sort of blank, thermal plastic front end like most cars he but of course they've gotten rid of the reindeer nose. That kind of black rounded pad in the front that, let's face it, was a Analog for a grill that the car never needed in the first place. SO I get why they say why do we have this here for? But to me it just looks kind of unfinished, kind of big, kind of too big just expansive smooth plastic. I think it's a little devoid of detail Even though they had that little Tesla spear across the top which I think saves it a bit. You know, everyone's gonna have their opinion on this. It's an interesting sort of small visual change in a company that doesn't make them very often. That's a big visual change to be honest. A Tesla recall model x which is of course still just getting into volume production. They had their first volume month In March beyond that it was basically, it was early production volume. It now has a recall this pretty serious on the third row seat. Apparently in some testing Tesla found that, that sit can fold up in a crash it's gonna a weak latch or an improperly engineered latch somewhere. So they're recalling them all to put a new latch in the third row, the way back seat, and said if you have one for now until you get it in for a recall don't put anyone back there. Seems pretty stark. This hasn't happened in the wild, by the way, only in their crash testing. No one's had a problem yet on the road that we know of. If you're waiting for a Porsche Macon, that's your Porsche dealer, and you're about losing your mind right now because the wait list has been long on these guys, things might ease up soon. A whole slough of Macon's,17's, just got released from some ports in the US where they were sitting for weeks waiting for final US emissions certification. So they are finally heading to the dealer There was some **** up there on getting that process, cuz cars should not get snagged at the port long if at all. Not because of this anyway, and yet a lot of these cars did. This is not part of the VW diesel gate thing, this is a separate issue, but they are now on their way to dealers and yet Macoun stocks are expected to be tight Basically throughout this year as I understand it. But the wait should get a little shorter and hopefully you've been waiting six, seven, eight weeks for yours, it might finally now be on the way. So when the dealer tells you that this week, they're not lying this time. Toyota on its way to Michigan. We've told you a couple times here about it. Toyota is spending a billion dollars on a major new effort to research autonomous cars and spending most of it at MIT and Stanford. This week they announced they're also gonna spread some of that love deservingly so at University of Michigan, at the UMTRI University of Michigan Transport Research Institute. So that's gonna be their third campus if you will in this massive US research effort headed up by [UNKNOWN] Who is one of the smartest guys out there in autonomy. Certainly he's emerging as one of the big thinkers in a place where Toyota had been kind of reticent to play. A year ago Toyota was saying the full autonomous car doesn't make sense to us. We just want to do some nice rich driver aids. Now all of a sudden they've turned on a dime, and they're looking to push hard on AI car to car, vehicle to infrastructure, and figuring out the logic of programming both the ethic and the AI learning of vehicles as they work through the world. So they've got really rich and in a hurry and they put a lot of money behind it so this new New center that they're going to be working on at Ann Arbor has the awkward name of the AACVTE, the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment. And again, their initial thrust there will be looking at V2V and V2I Legal communication. If you have the Geek Squad come to your house anytime soon, don't be looking out the window for the little black and white Beetle. Those are basically done. For the first time in Geek Squad history, they're changing cars. They're picking up something, I don't know, it's a lateral I think, they're moving from Beetles to Prius C's. Now the C of course is the little prius. A personal favorite of mine but it has not been that hot of a seller they are now moving to an order of 1000 of those prius Cs. They'll paint up the same way with the black and white fenders roof and door pattern there. By the way They said this is not a decision they made because of diesel gate. I mean, after all, they don't drive diesel Beetles, they drive gas Beetles in every case as far as I know. But they did interestingly say that VW's diesel scandal sped up their decision to abandon VW and go to Prius. I guess they don't want the stink of driving something that is involved in a scandal like that, even remotely touching them. That's How broad that one's bread. That's auto complete episode 14 for April 13th. I'm Brian Cooley, we'll see you next week, with the latest on news of the intersection of cars and technology. [MUSIC]