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Old 04-01-2007, 12:41 PM   #1
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Hybrids killing mileage of non hybrids

Here the specs of The Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Chevy Aero from their prospective websites: (all were the smallest hatchback models with 5 speed trans)

Chevy Aero:

103Hp 1.6L
2343 lbs
37/27 Hwy/City

Honda Fit:

109Hp 1.5L
2432 lbs
38/33 Hwy/City

Toyota Yaris:

106Hp 1.5L
2290 lbs
40/34 Hwy/City

Compare this to the CRX HF and Metro XFi

CRX HF (depending on year)

62Hp 1.5L
1713-1967 (years 85-91)
56/50 Hwy/City

Geo Metro XFi

49Hp 1.0L
1753 lbs
58/53 Hwy/City

Obvously, if the auto makers wanted to, they could make modern versions of these high mileage cars. I wonder how much of this is showing their market research shows no one would by a low hp, taller gearing high mileage version of their current compacts, or if they do not want to release a low cost version of a non hybrid that can get as good mpg ratings as the Prius's or Civic hybrids. The Prius and Civic hybrids are larger, 4 door cars with over $20K price tags. Maybe as gas prices go higher, the market will decide and we will see HF versions of the Fit/Yaris/Areo.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:46 PM   #2
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I could never figure out why GM dropped their Metro/Firefly models. My guess it that 2001 was pretty much the year of the SUV (when the Hummers, Escalades, and Navagators were rampant), so maybe they just dropped the FE models to focus on higher profit vehicles. Then after summer of 2005, gas prices went insane and now decked-out 2004 Explorers are sitting on the used car lots with $14,000 price tags on them (less money than new economy cars).
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mrmad View Post
or if they do not want to release a low cost version of a non hybrid that can get as good mpg ratings as the Prius's or Civic hybrids.
That's my guess. What's the point of releasing an efficient car that has very small profit margins, for something like $15k, when it will just hurt sales of the profitable hybrid versions? Sure, anyone could build a small car with a 1-2L engine that weighs ~2000lbs and has a manual trans geared to get ~70mpg cruising at 60mph, but that would only hurt hybrid sales w/o bringing in much cash. The only cars that get reasonably low OD gear ratios nowadays are the larger displacement versions, which only serve to bring highway mileage up to the level of the fours.... For instance, the 3.5L version of the Chebby Malibu has a r+p/od(3.05/.68) ratio of 2.07 (I wish Toyota had an OD ratio this low, I'd be pulling ~40-45mpg highway np), while the 2.2L four cylinder has a much taller 3.63 r+p ratio, which results in an OD ratio of 2.5, and all but negates any advantage offered by going with the smaller displacement 2.2L engine since EPA highway mileage is the same. Manufacturers tend to build cars that perform the same in nearly all categories.
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:41 PM   #4
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Hello -

Interesting (?) side note. On the http://www.genvibe.com/ website for Pontiac Vibes, the members complain that that Vibe doesn't get any advertising despite being a 30/36 MPG "crossover" before the concept reached the mainstream.

The members think that the low advertising is to make sure that SUV sales don't suffer, and I tend to agree. When the gas prices were rising a few years back, Pontiac could have been pushing the Vibes MPG/crossover SUV factor to the hilt, but they didn't.

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Old 04-01-2007, 01:48 PM   #5
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The Pontiac Vibe is actually the Toyota Matrix. GM buys from Toyota, and rebadges in order to help meet CAFE standards and improve brand reliability ratings. They can't advertise 'em too much, since they aren't really a GM product, and "production" of 'em is fixed iirc.
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:09 PM   #6
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omgwtfbyobbq -

Quote:
Originally Posted by omgwtfbyobbq View Post
The Pontiac Vibe is actually the Toyota Matrix. GM buys from Toyota, and rebadges in order to help meet CAFE standards and improve brand reliability ratings. They can't advertise 'em too much, since they aren't really a GM product, and "production" of 'em is fixed iirc.
I know, but the Pontiac Vibe is assembled in Fremont Callifornia, UAW 2244.

But I didn't know that the "production" number was fixed. That would make sense in terms of answering the "crummy advertising" question. I need to research that.

Here are the Pontiac Vibe sales figures that I know of (very out of date!!!) :

http://www.genvibe.com/html/news/headlines.shtml
Quote:
Pontiac Vibe Sales
As of June 2006

39,082 Vibes Sold in 2002
56,922 Vibes Sold in 2003
58,894 Vibes Sold in 2004
64,271 Vibes Sold in 2005
17,353 Vibes Sold in 2006 (YTD)
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:06 PM   #7
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I'm pretty sure cross brand acquisitions are based on fixed orders, since GM may only need X units to help meet CAFE standards, but I could be wrong. There's always negotiating for more...
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmad View Post
\ I wonder how much of this is showing their market research shows no one would by a low hp, taller gearing high mileage version of their current compacts...

...or if they do not want to release a low cost version of a non hybrid that can get as good mpg ratings as the Prius's or Civic hybrids.
For the first part... I'm going to say it's significant. My girlfriends mother will not buy anything less than a v6 (I don't think she understands that displacement is semi independent of power output). Her reason is... she got in two accidents in I4 powered cars... Every time I hear it - I want to scream "how is that the engine's fault?!" In any case, if there's one person like that - there's another one out there.

For the second part - absolutely - and it's a doubled edged sword. We do want funds put into research for new battery technology etc. The only way to do that is to keep interest VIA sales (to both keep these running advertisements/examples in public view and to generate funds).

Unfortunately, we're near the theoretical max efficiency on our otto engines (mostly based on operating temperature). We can adjust gearing to a point - 70mpg would be great. But in my opinion, that's not a good goal. Aim for the stars and you'll land on the moon. I'd love to see an engine run at very high temperatures - and then effort put into reducing the consequences of emissions. So who's up for a titanium block and top head :P Of course, I'd rather see the effort put into battery and electric motor technology - turbines are much more efficient when it comes to power generation :P
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
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It's hard to build a car that can get 50mpg (or more) that the general public would accept. Because the car needs...

+110hp
Minimum 1.5L engine (2.0L is better)
The areodynamics can't look weired
0-60 in under 11 seconds
to end up weighing 2,600lbs so it will get a 5star crash rating
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:12 PM   #10
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to end up weighing 2,600lbs so it will get a 5star crash rating
You hit the nail on the head here.

Comparing the Fit, Yaris, or Aveo to the CRX HF or the Geo Metro is really comparing apples to oranges.

I have been equally upset in the past for the same reason, until I realized that the auto makers are at the discretion of many influences including the Gov't regulations, profit, and the consumers.

Consumers were not buying these gas sippers because gas was cheap(er) back then. There was also little or no profit. I know that my Honda Fit yielded almost no profit for the salesman, as he pointed out to me over and over again. Lastly, the safety requirements continued to become more and more strict. Because of this, weight is a real issue.

If people wanted aerodynamic vehicles, most of this wouldn't be an issue. I really doubt, however, that any of the major auto makers will be willing to take the hit and manufacture a tadpole shaped car that no one wants to buy.
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