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RIP American Cars

Old 05-13-19, 01:30 PM
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RIP American Cars

Kind of old news, but Ford is axing all but Mustang and "a new Focus Active crossover", Chevy is chucking the Volt (but I guess not Bolt), Cruze, Impala, Buick LaCrosse, and Caddy XTS and CT6, Fiat Chrysler is losing the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.

They will all be doubling down on Trucks and SUVs, and I guess to various extents electric/hybrid cars.

https://www.marketplace.org/2018/11/...-selling-cars/

How are they going to meet CAFE standards this way?
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Old 05-13-19, 02:31 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpor...e_fuel_economy

So, did the Republicans BLOW IT!!!!! Big Time?

Holding Washington by hostage, and being unable to roll back the economy standards. Now with the Democrats in control of the house, and the Oval Office and the Senate on the line, it is doubtful they'll get a repeal through.

At the bottom of the Wikipedia article:
Currently, the CAFE penalty is US$55 per vehicle for every 1 mpg under the standard.
So, say a car comes in 10 MPG low, then the fine per car is $550... a big chunk of change, but still small enough that it could get lost in say a $20K to $80K price tag of the vehicle, as just another tax.
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Old 05-13-19, 02:56 PM
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They are building the vehicles that people want.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:03 PM
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So, say a car comes in 10 MPG low, then the fine per car is $550... a big chunk of change, but still small enough that it could get lost in say a $20K to $80K price tag of the vehicle, as just another tax.


Agreed. I wonder if it would be productive or counterproductive to require passing the CAFE penalty on to the consumer as a line item in the sticker price (like I assume is required for the gas guzzler tax). Productive would mean car buyers are incentivized to buy cars with better fuel economy; counterproductive would mean car buyers are educated about CAFE and its implications, and energized to tell their legislators to overturn it.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
They are building the vehicles that people want.
True enough, but is the national fleet that America wants illegal?
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Old 05-13-19, 03:17 PM
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The US Auto Industry has been struggling for years.

When one looks at the history...

Say a 1960's or 1970's US car vs an equivalent Beetle or Honda Civic. The US Cars had better finish, better safety, etc. But, of course, not quite as good mileage. Mini Morris? Fiat 500? And, the US cars had good overall reliability for the era (obviously improved).

Bring that forward 50 to 70 years, and all the vehicles, US, and foreign are much better polished overall. And, much more EXPENSIVE.

The foreign cars have improved considerably with SAFETY.

Yet, for things like fuel efficiency, the USA has very much stagnated.

And, in many things the foreign manufactures have surpassed the US manufactures in:
  • Safety
  • Overall Reliability
  • Ease of Use
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Styling
I'm not quite sure what is left for the US Manufactures.

I don't think it isn't that the US buyers aren't buying small cars. They are. They're buying a lot of them. Just, they aren't buying small cars manufactured by "The Big Three".

I was going to say not US manufactured cars, but a lot of the "imports" are actually largely US manufactured, to the point that things like tariffs likely hurt the "Big Three" more than the foreign vendors.

I think the US market is stratifying now more than ever.
  • Big Utility/Small business/Worker/etc
  • Big "posers"
  • Sports Cars??? Probably not a lot of them??? Foreign sports cars are nice, but VERY EXPENSIVE.
  • Average
  • Small/Fuel Efficient
Those middle "Average" cars are the ones that are suffering. And, the USA has been falling further and further behind with the Fuel Efficient cars.

Mercedes/Smart, of course has also stopped making their US Gas Smart. They still are making an Electric Smart.

I've been surprised at the number of hybrids that have come out in the last couple of years.

And, I think the hybrids are really what is killing the conventional cars. Why purchase a SMART micro car when one can buy a Toyota Prius with more capacity, and better fuel efficiency?

Of course, SMART made the decision not to bring the Diesel SMART to the USA which should have put them in a class of their own for fuel efficiency.

Chevy, of course, crushed most of their Chevy EV1 cars, and decided to try to compete with mid-range cars with their Chevy Volt, and skipped competing in the micro car market. And, gave it somewhat of retro styling, rather than meeting more modern lines.

I have troubles believing cars that are selling say 10,000 to 100,000 a year just aren't selling enough to make it worth it to manufacture. Or cars that are being manufactured overseas can't be modified to meet US standards and be brought in at that say 10K to 50K level.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post

Agreed. I wonder if it would be productive or counterproductive to require passing the CAFE penalty on to the consumer as a line item in the sticker price (like I assume is required for the gas guzzler tax). Productive would mean car buyers are incentivized to buy cars with better fuel economy; counterproductive would mean car buyers are educated about CAFE and its implications, and energized to tell their legislators to overturn it.
I have to wonder if the tax would get repealed entirely within 10 years if it was thrown in the face of the consumers.

It is much easier for the consumers to sit at home and wave their AL GORE flags, and feel good about themselves while they go out and buy their Broncos and Blazers.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I have troubles believing cars that are selling say 10,000 to 100,000 a year just aren't selling enough to make it worth it to manufacture. Or cars that are being manufactured overseas can't be modified to meet US standards and be brought in at that say 10K to 50K level.
I dunno man, an automobile manufacturing plant is a really big investment, even if you're really only talking about body and chassis (and engine?), and most of the other parts are standardized/outsourced/shared with other models.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I dunno man, an automobile manufacturing plant is a really big investment, even if you're really only talking about body and chassis (and engine?), and most of the other parts are standardized/outsourced/shared with other models.
Perhaps.

One major issue is that US Safety/Emission standards have never been merged with foreign standards.

Amber tail lights vs red tail lights?

If a company could meet 99% of both standards, then they would simply have to pull cars in one direction or the other for final fitting.

Of course, the USA could also attempt to join the international standards (and perhaps help give input to the development of the standards). This would help with both importing and exporting vehicles, and be an overall benefit for EVERYONE, companies and consumers alike.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...le_Regulations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federa...fety_Standards

Could a small company produce 10,000 cars a year and remain profitable? That would be about 30 finished cars a day. Perhaps merging 5 different models to push it to 50,000 cars, or 150 a day.

The problem may be dealing with variable consumer demand.

So, say one goes from 10K to 100K, then one starts adding shifts, running through breaks, and building more equipment do deal with increasing demand. Outsourcing. And, of course, increasing prices (supply and demand).

On the other hand, going from 100K to 10K is much more difficult for a company to deal with. Cutting shifts, stopping use of secondary production lines, etc. At some point, they can't slow their production enough. So, they have to either go through all the development to bring out something NEW, or shut down completely.

Could the big multinational companies supplement the slow factories with foreign models? So, for example, Ford could bring the Ford Courier (yes, it still exists), and add a US Courier to some of their slower production lines.

It would mean having to design their production lines to deal with multiple models by either alternating (say 2 months of Ford Focus cars + 2 months of Ford Courier cars + ?? ), or designing a merged production system.

Hmmm... Rumors indicate that the Courier may come back... sometime. More Pickups in the USA?

Perhaps some of the shutdowns will be dealing with retooling, but that will still be very EXPENSIVE.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Of course, the USA could also attempt to join the international standards (and perhaps help give input to the development of the standards).
lol, that'll happen right after US joins the Paris Climate agreement
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Old 05-13-19, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
True enough, but is the national fleet that America wants illegal?
Why should it be? Regulate desire for the size of vehicle with the natural price of gas. Make alternative more attractive like better public transit. and even better idea, incentivize companies to allow people to work from home.No reason why most people need to go into the office today. Make it more attractive for companies to haul by rail rather than truck. Make urban living more affordable and more attractive. There are a lot better choices than taxes or limiting people's choices. . You just need to use your imagination.

I drive well far less than 10K a year. Why should I not be able to buy whatever vehicle I want and not be punished with excessive taxes?
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Old 05-13-19, 05:09 PM
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This thread has probably already crossed the line in to P&R (and that's fine by me)

I'm totally on board with switching focus from miles per gallon, to miles per year. Pushing down on the latter will also exert pressure on the former, but get more at the root of the problem. Simplest way to do that is to tax gas more, but 'natural price of gas' is a very arguable concept. Americans are used to cheap gas, and consider gas-taxation at European levels 'unnatural'.

Most of your 'Make...' statements would involve you (and me) being hit with additional taxes, although 'excessive' is subjective.

Incentivizing telecommuting sounds great. My company is very stodgy in that respect, maybe if it made an obvious impact to their bottom line it would help change their minds.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:28 PM
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We just need to switch fuel sources and mpg will cease to be a problem.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
This thread has probably already crossed the line in to P&R (and that's fine by me)

I'm totally on board with switching focus from miles per gallon, to miles per year. Pushing down on the latter will also exert pressure on the former, but get more at the root of the problem. Simplest way to do that is to tax gas more, but 'natural price of gas' is a very arguable concept. Americans are used to cheap gas, and consider gas-taxation at European levels 'unnatural'.

Most of your 'Make...' statements would involve you (and me) being hit with additional taxes, although 'excessive' is subjective.

Incentivizing telecommuting sounds great. My company is very stodgy in that respect, maybe if it made an obvious impact to their bottom line it would help change their minds.
Can we figure out how to do a progressive gallon tax?

100 gallons gas per year = tax free.
101 to 200 gallons of tax a year = taxed at $2 per gallon.
201 to 300 gallons a year = taxed at $5 a gallon.
301+ gallons a year, taxed at $10 a gallon.

Allow very limited business exemptions.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:43 PM
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Actually, thinking of my progressive tax. It would certainly be possible to implement. Whether or not it would be accepted would be another question.

Essentially ever car in the USA has a license number and a registered owner.

Give each "registered owner" an allotted amount of fuel.

When one pulls up to the pump, punch in the license number, and it pops back with the tax rate.

One would have to deal with spouses, living in common, adult children, etc. But, figure out all the exceptions, and the system could be built.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:47 PM
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It's certainly an interesting possibility, a lot of people would rebel at the big brother/privacy issues of tracking everybody's annual mileage.

Also, would have to design so that it doesn't incentivize buying extra vehicles per household so each license plate gets no-tax gas.

Also, consider that with many large cities facing affordable-housing crises, it is the poorest people who have to live the furthest out, and would get hit hardest by taxes on large mileage (or any kind of gas tax, really). But exemptions could be made so that low-income tax filers could get their gas tax refunded to them.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:49 PM
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Also an interesting feature that you conceive of it as x gallons/year vs x miles/year. Of course that makes sense since it would be assessed at the pump. But I would have initially thought of taxing cars that are driven more than 10-15Kmi/y. But if it is attached to gas volume, that incentivizes cars with better fuel economy.
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Old 05-13-19, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
This thread has probably already crossed the line in to P&R (and that's fine by me)

I'm totally on board with switching focus from miles per gallon, to miles per year. Pushing down on the latter will also exert pressure on the former, but get more at the root of the problem. Simplest way to do that is to tax gas more, but 'natural price of gas' is a very arguable concept. Americans are used to cheap gas, and consider gas-taxation at European levels 'unnatural'.

Most of your 'Make...' statements would involve you (and me) being hit with additional taxes, although 'excessive' is subjective.

Incentivizing telecommuting sounds great. My company is very stodgy in that respect, maybe if it made an obvious impact to their bottom line it would help change their minds.


Why does it always mean more taxes? We can make things more affordable by reducing taxes and or rewarding folks that want to build affordable housing with tax insensitive. We can also replace legislation that stifles development with common sense legislation that promotes development. .
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Old 05-13-19, 05:54 PM
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They are already proposing a $1000 per car tax/fee for electric cars in Chicago since they don't use gasoline.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Also, would have to design so that it doesn't incentivize buying extra vehicles per household so each license plate gets no-tax gas.
That is why I suggested using the license to track, but tying the tax to the owner/driver.

But, there is the obvious issue of dealing with a household. So for example, in many families, if driving together, one person will typically drive much more than the other. Kids? Teen drivers?

Does a single person household get essentially 2500 miles free, and a 4 person household get 10,000 miles?

Of course, this would naturally encourage the single person to buy smaller more efficient vehicles, and the families to get vehicles appropriate to the family size.

Urban vs rural?
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Old 05-13-19, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Berg417448 View Post
They are already proposing a $1000 per car tax/fee for electric cars in Chicago since they don't use gasoline.
Oregon already has snuck in higher taxes for both electric cars and fuel efficient cars (Prius, etc)

But, I don't think it is that high.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Berg417448 View Post
They are already proposing a $1000 per car tax/fee for electric cars in Chicago since they don't use gasoline.


I would rather see it on miles driven and I have not problem with that. Though it should be minimal to incentivize people to use electric. Perhaps no extra fee on lesser of a fee for those that use hybrids.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm not quite sure what is left for the US Manufactures.
Multi-function tailgates on gynormous, cushy "pickup trucks."
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Old 05-13-19, 06:12 PM
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Just the perfect time for increased tariffs on car parts and $3-4 gas prices!
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Old 05-13-19, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Multi-function tailgates on gynormous, cushy "pickup trucks."
So, dropping one product at a time. What will be left?

It is only a matter of time until the Tundra knocks the F150 off its block.

The point is that there is no reason why US Manufactures can't make copies of the Prius, or Insight, or ....

Heck, it won't be long until the Gen 1 Insite and Gen 1 Prius patents will be expiring.

That would only leave the US Manufacturers about 20 years behind!!!!

If the companies are losing money by selling 100,000 of any one model at > $20K each ($2 Billion+), then they need to figure out how to make that profitable, rather than just dumping that $2Billion revenue.
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