Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Want a cleaner car? Avoid German and Japanese brands!

by Jerome a Paris Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 06:33:01 AM EST

From this report (2 page pdf press release) by T&E.

Of course, it is easier for manufacturers focusing on smaller cars to meet the targets, but that's the whole point: bigger cars pollute more, full stop. And Volkswagen foray into big SUVs and top of the line cars shows (conversely, Mercedes' move towards smaller cars like the A and B-series is paying off, but they start from far away).

The goal is to reduce absolute levels of pollution, not relative levels. Smaller cars across the range are needed.

Finally back at the office this morning... My email box was so full that I was forbidden to send any messages out before having cleaned it up (too much space used...)

I'll be back to speed in the near future...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 06:41:55 AM EST
You make the point I suspected when I flagged this report in the Breakfast yesterday. I suspected the math on each car manufacturer would be somewhat muddled because the smaller cars simply balance the bigger ones, and a big reason why manufacturers are doing poorly is because of an increased production of SUV and look alikes.
by Nomad on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 06:44:56 AM EST
I cannot find a comparative US report, but just a few years ago, only Ford and Toyota of the above first ten, had a US market.  The Ford rating seems suspect to me, given US current mentality and the amount of SUVs and trucks they produce.

Is there still a big production difference on EU models of same brands?

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 08:14:05 AM EST
If you're talking about the Ford rating in the chart, it seems pretty clear that this is European Ford, which sells an almost completely different line of products than American Ford.
by asdf on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 10:17:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That´s what I thought, which tells us, if Ford can do it in Europe, WTF is stopping them from achieving it in the US?  I never saw a Ford Ka there and Fiesta equivalent, Festiva, practically had no advertising.

The design and tech exist, the production process exists, but maybe only, oil-poor-and-space-dense, European consumers "demand a supply" of low-emission cars.

I don´t quite understand how this fraud falls through the cracks of a global market without some greenpeace, or other, kicking their butts.

Just plotting out loud.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 12:45:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ford (and GM and anybody else) could provide smaller cars to the U.S., but there would have to be demand. Which there isn't, at least not much. Here are some statistics from May 2006 (can't find more recent, but these will do for this purpose):

                    FORD BRAND MAY 2006 U.S. SALES

                            May Month        %           May CYTD        %
                           2006    2005    Change     2006      2005   Change

    Crown Victoria        5,721    6,897    -17.1    28,906    30,704   -5.9
    Five Hundred          8,204    8,977     -8.6    39,012    40,492   -3.7
    Taurus               16,786   20,502    -18.1    83,287    92,879  -10.3
    Fusion               14,940        0       NA    57,398         0     NA
    Focus                20,391   18,047     13.0    80,559    82,963   -2.9
    Mustang              15,559   19,721    -21.1    72,119    81,541  -11.6
    Thunderbird               0    1,121   -100.0       469     5,719  -91.8
    GT                      155      117     32.5       890       242  267.8
      Total Ford Cars    81,756   75,382      8.5   362,640   334,540    8.4

    Freestyle             6,236    6,084      2.5    29,569    28,677    3.1
    Escape               16,699   14,038     19.0    74,978    73,217    2.4
    Explorer             16,717   19,539    -14.4    77,205   105,925  -27.1
    Expedition            7,248   13,243    -45.3    34,381    48,999  -29.8
    Excursion                 0    1,233   -100.0       965     5,902  -83.6
    Freestar              7,953    7,957     -0.1    28,634    40,153  -28.7
    Econoline/Club Wagon 16,834   16,860     -0.2    74,876    75,721   -1.1
    Ranger                9,628   11,098    -13.2    41,076    49,503  -17.0
    F-Series             70,175   74,494     -5.8   334,725   335,269   -0.2
    Low Cab Forward         327        0       NA     1,520         0     NA
    Heavy Trucks          1,082    1,195     -9.5     5,810     5,636    3.1
      Total Ford Trucks 152,899  165,741     -7.7   703,739   769,002   -8.5

      Total Ford Brand  234,655  241,123     -2.7 1,066,379 1,103,542   -3.4

80,000 Focus, that's good. Also about 80k Taurus and Mustang, not so good. Also about 80k Explorers (big SUV, but not the biggest), bad.

And 335,000 F-Series pickups.

by asdf on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 01:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This gives me analyses, ratios, charts, rants, %ages and comparisons for a week:  arrrggghhh!  There are tv series on the connotations of the names alone.

The last phrase makes me sick because the F250?, in truck and SUV form, is as obscene as a __ hummer, in power, size and intimidation factor, yet most of the usage is driver-only.  The truck to car ratio is 2 to 1 and I could go on an oil-retard-in-the-plains rant, because trucks are used as cars, or rolling toolsheds (by chavs).

They have discontinued production of the thunder!bird, but they make the almost-custom and power-stoopid GrandTorino?.  It would be interesting to see their cost justification for that move, but I won´t.

Apparently, the tire-exploding Explorers of the 90s are now becoming less popular, but I just wish they brought back the Pintos and the Gremlins.

I wonder what happened to their Probe wagon that looked like a suppository on wheels.  I must stop this.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 06:40:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do find it rather discouraging that as global warming and environmental damage reach ever higher levels, we are still talking about cars.
It's like campaigning to reduce the amount of lead in bullets so they don't hurt as much when they kill you.
by bil on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 10:30:09 AM EST
You are ideally right, yet cars are a reality that won´t go away.  Discussing them ad nauseam may be necessary until they are produced with solar panel roofs and sails on top.

I have been onecarless for five years, but I am still constantly tempted.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 05:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cars are not useless, but they're often overkill, and sometimes outright counterproductive.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 07:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know your handle means 'car' in Danish?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 07:27:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The other issue would be product reliability.  Personally, I will never buy another Ford (US or European made) or Fiat owing to past horrors. Junk is wasteful also.  However, my first choice of transport would not be the Japanese Hondas that I've become accustomed to over the past 25 years, but a horse or something else simple to maintain that uses renewable energy.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 12:28:46 PM EST
Horse. Simple to maintain? <wipes tears of laughter from eyes>
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 12:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see your point - and can appreciate the hysterical laughter.  Horse culture, simple sounding for the uninitiated like myself - but yes, I can imagine a horse is a headache to care for.  My daughter learned to ride but spent most of her time caring for the horse.  Nevertheless, picture me reminiscing about the dearly departed Fiat Strada(Fix It Again Tony) I once owned!  That car had a skin disease, like a baby's cradle cap, in addition to bad wheel bearings, a blown head gasket (with warped heads), an air conditioner that didn't cool and couldn't be repaired, a broken speedometer electronics and cable, a chronic overheating problem and leaking coolant, all in the first year.  When I complained about the air conditioner, the dealer told me to "just crack a window."  Two years after my tragic mistake, Fiat left the US for good.  Less than a year after that, we bought our first Honda.  My neighbor was the regional GM Buick representative.  He came over and told me that Hondas were fine, but the engine would only last about 40K miles!  Twelve years and a hundred and ninety thousand miles later, I actually kissed that car goodby when I traded for another Honda.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 08:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Food: requires either about .5 hectare+ 0.5 per animal or growing, drying, transporting and storing it. If your horse is working anyway hard you need cereal supplements as well. The land requires maintenance to keep it reasonably low on parasites.

They'll need to be shoed and have their feet trimmed regularly, not to mention worming them and at least occasional grooming - some horses hate not being reasonably well groomed.

Then they may need protecting from the worst of the weather, or proper stables if you don't have land, and that means cleaning up after them and providing bedding. Then you need tack to ride them with or a cart for them to pull.

How hard you have to work depends on the horse: highly bred animals will go lame or get ill at the drop of a hat, while many pony breeds and working farm breeds are far, far more robust. But they still need all of the above to some extent if they're going to work and their welfare is to be looked after to a reasonable level. The difference in robustness between our two horses, both Irish draught types and much younger "better bred" horses is remarkable - my horse is middle aged and in the five years I've known her I don't think I've seen her miss a days work for anything other than accidental wounding. The horses with lots of thoroughbred in them are nowhere near as strong - neither are the highly bred ponies.

There's a reason everyone embraced the motor car as soon as they could!

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 10:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great info Colman. I'll keep it in mind should I get rid of the Hondas and retire to more genteel surroundings.  My father and mother, both still living, grew up in the era of horse drawn transportation.  Seems incredible. Both lived on small farms and their only way of getting around for many years was by horse, or less ceremoniously, by mule.  My father recalls the first family Ford, a model A, purchased by his stepfather.  Its cost new was $400, and it came wrapped in paper.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 11:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think "bicycle" might be the word you're looking for...
by asdf on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 01:36:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This site rejuvenates and inspires me, plus it has more bike knowledge than I have ever seen.


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 06:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For bike knowledge, try http://www.sheldonbrown.com
by asdf on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 10:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • It's ordered by improvement.  This disadvantages manufacturers who built cleaner cars in 1997.  For example, look at Seat at place 10, who would be at place 3 in absolute terms.

  • You cannot compare a Mini to a SUV, because larger cars emit more.  While you concede this, you miss that it's wrong to point fingers at manufacturers who build what their comsumers wan't.  If you want to to celebrate your moral superiority, point fingers at consumers.

  • The table is useless for CO2-conscious consumers.  That's because said consumer isn't interested in the average emissions of the whole fleet, he rather wants to know if a Mercedes A-Class emits more than a Toyota Camry, not caring what an E-Class or a Landcruiser, which he would never have bought anyway, would have emitted.
by ustenzel on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 08:09:53 AM EST
There are other points,
  • Polk is a marketing company, probably US-based, paid by manufacturers and trade groups, so the data "could" be skewed.

  • Making a choice from a 2005 chart, should be better than from an 8-year old one.

  • The consumer vs. manufacturer discussion may be a chicken and egg one, like people vs. government.

  • I will remember the gist of this table for future use, even though I´m not buying a car, because it does show CO2 compared to all options.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 09:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think every producer of cars can produce cleaner, only... they really don't want it. The question is why?
About twenty years ago we (a friend and I) where studying on `acid rain' in Europe and more specifically in Belgium. As most people know one of the sources of acid rain is the emission of NOX by cars. At that time (late eighties) we have some contact with people of the Ford company at Genk (Belgium). The told us the are working on a lean Burn motor that would have a average usage of 1l for 100 km. Suddenly they said us that the program was stopped, the research budget must be used for the development of the hybrid car. Why? A electric car is always less energetic efficient than a lean burn motor. Even if the electricity is produced by renewable sources. (how much solar and wind power installation would we need to produce all the electricity for all the cars in Europe?).
So they must be other forces that stopped the programme of the lean burn motor. Why isn't it now very actual, because off the high energy prices?  I did not understand.  
by velaga on Sun Oct 29th, 2006 at 11:26:10 AM EST
Because lean burning creates more NOx.  To get the nitrous oxides under control, you need an NOx storage catalyst, which dies from sulfuric compounds, and low sulfur gasoline wasn't available until very recently.

Strange, how reality sometimes intrudes on what you really want, isn't it?  No need for a conspiracy theory.

by ustenzel on Mon Oct 30th, 2006 at 09:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]