How Ford And RAM Are Screwing Up GM's New Truck Launch

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1st Gear: Chevy Really Should Have Brought Some Breakfast


The 2014 Silverado is a big deal for truck buyers and a bigger deal for GM, whose goal of reaching higher profitability depends on getting the right price for their, in theory, most profitable vehicle.

So what's the problem?

The Ram Ram and Ford F-150 are getting older, and thus they have a bunch of 2013 products to push out the door at much lower prices.

Automotive News has the full story, but the important part is you can get a similar Ram Ram or Tundra or F-150 for much cheaper.

Dealers are desperate for a little cash on the hood so they can move these trucks, with supplies at certain Texas dealers hitting 120-to-170 days. GM wants the dealers to sell the new Sivers and Sierras based on their merits, which is hard to do when the dealer next door will give you an admittedly inferior Nissan Titan for two boxes of EasyMac and a smile.


This reminds me of a Whataburger commercial where a guy walks towards an office building while the narrator, in his booming Texan voice, explains that if you're late you should just go to Whataburger and grab a few bags of breakfast taquitos. That way, you're not the late guy, you're 'the guy who brought breakfast.'

The Sierra/Silverado is last to the party, the least you can do is bring some biscuits and gravy


2nd Gear: Banks Forced To Stop Dealers From Discriminating


Discrimination is still common in lending practices and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is clamping down. Or, rather, they're making banks send what Bloomberg is calling 'nasty grams' to dealers.

The guidance takes aim at a practice the agency refers to as "dealer mark-up" and auto dealers call "dealer-assisted financing" or "dealer reserve." Under the system, banks function as indirect lenders, allowing dealers to add points to the interest rate and pocket the difference. The consumer bureau said that one way for lenders to comply with guidance would be to pay flat fees to dealers instead of varying interest rates.
Consumer groups, including the Durham, North Carolina-based Center for Responsible Lending, charge that the financing practice gives dealers an incentive to move buyers, including members of minority groups, into more-expensive loans.
In a statement issued after the bureau's guidance, the dealer association said indirect lending is "convenient and competitive" for consumers and said the agency was basing its theories about discrimination on unreliable statistical methods.


Yes, the star are 'skewed.' Totally but that. No car dealer would ever discriminate ever...

3rd Gear: Hyundai Can't Catch A Brake


The full-sized Hyundai Genesis sedan is a nice value and an attractive, albeit unremarkable, choice for someone looking for a comfortable luxury vehicle. Unfortunately, the AP is reporting that anyone who owns one of the 40,000 or so cars better keep an eye on the brakes.

The agency has received 23 complaints of that drivers had to push harder than normal on the brake pedal to make the car stop. One driver crashed into a stopped vehicle while another had to use the emergency brake to stop, sending the car into a spin.


If you happen to be heading towards a nitroglycerine factory while transporting a load of fireworks and are unable to stop in time… yada yada yada… fiery death.

4th Gear: This Guy Might Be The Next UAW Boss


Bob King's successful term as prez of the UAW is coming to end in nine months, and secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams is likely to be the next guy in charge according to the Freep:

Several UAW officials and other UAW insiders told the Free Press that Williams is widely viewed as a leading candidate to become the union's next president because of his achievements as regional director, the respect he has earned over the last four years and his ties to the administration of President Barack Obama.
In addition, Williams has played a key role in the UAW's organizing efforts with Asian and German automakers. In 1989, Williams negotiated the union's first contract with Mitsubishi Motors at the company's Normal, Ill., plant. He also was part of the team that negotiated contracts with Caterpillar in 2011 and 2004.
In 2007, Williams played a central role in then-Sen. Barack Obama's upset win in the Iowa caucuses that launched his successful presidential candidacy, according to his official UAW biography.


5th Gear: How To Save Money On EVs


Everyone focuses on batteries with EVs, but much of the costs are in the 'power electronics box' that converts DC from the battery to AC for the electric motor/s. As Karl Henkel reports, this is a huge cost second only to the batteries to themselves.

For instance, Ford has reduced the number of battery cells — which together comprise a battery pack — in its hybrid vehicles from more than 250 in the last production model of the Escape hybrid (discontinued in 2012) to just 76 in the new C-Max and Fusion hybrids.
But increasing efficiency of the battery is only part of the story: The power electronics box is responsible for transferring as much of the current as possible without wasting or losing energy. Ford's most recent production-ready box transfers 93 percent of the energy.
"You want a box that is really efficient," Sankaran said. "Otherwise in every process you're losing energy."


Reverse: Ford Loved Edison

On this day in 1929, the 50th birthday of the incandescent light bulb, Henry Ford throws a big party to celebrate the dedication of his new Thomas Edison Institute in Dearborn,Michigan. Everybody who was anybody was there: John D. Rockefeller Jr., Charles Schwab, Otto H. Kahn, Walter Chrysler, Marie Curie, Will Rogers, President Herbert Hoover—and, of course, the guest of honor, Thomas Edison himself. At the time, the Edison Institute was still relatively small. It consisted of just two buildings, both of which Henry Ford had moved from Menlo Park, New Jersey and re-constructed to look just as they had in 1879: Edison's laboratory and the boarding-house where he had lived while he perfected his invention. By the time the Institute opened to the public in 1933, however, it had grown much more elaborate and today the Henry Ford Museum (renamed after Ford's death in 1947) is one of the largest and best-known museums in the country.



Neutral: Which New Truck Would You Buy?
US-only, none of those awesome Thai Ford Rangers. Photo Credit: AP Images

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