One-Third of Vehicle Mix to Feature Alternative Powertrains in 2025

Tim_Dunne

Tim Dunne

By 2025, it is likely that more than one-third (36%) of new passenger vehicles in the world market will be equipped with alternative powertrains, according to a forecast from J.D. Power’s strategic partner LMC Automotive. That means that some 30 million of about 110 million passenger vehicles forecast to be sold in 2025 will rely on alternative powertrains and alternative fuels.

A majority of this group of fuel-efficient powertrains (17.5%) are expected to be hybrids—those passenger vehicles incorporating hybrid gasoline/electric powertrains (HEVs) such as the Toyota Prius and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which rely on both electric batteries and a gasoline engine, such as the Chevrolet Volt. Plug-in electric hybrids will account for a 5% share and gasoline/electric hybrids will make up 12.5% of the product mix. Only 2.5% of the world’s passenger-vehicle mix will be electric vehicles (EVs), such as the pure electric Nissan LEAF, in 2025. Continue reading ›

Honda Goes After Share in India with Diesel Entries

Honda Group is getting ready to renew its competitive position in India’s passenger-vehicle market by introducing a slew of diesel models, starting with the soon‐to‐be‐launched Amaze sedan and Brio hatchback.What’s notable is that most Honda models will be equipped with a diesel engine. The only exceptions may be the Civic compact car and Accord midsize sedan.

Ammar Master

No doubt, Honda expects sales to improve in a big way with the launch of its diesel versions. However, LMC Automotive is more cautious since the government has sent a strong signal towards eventual deregulation of diesel prices in India. Admittedly, India’s government has not announced a price increase in diesel fuel, but it has put the onus on oil marketing companies to raise rates gradually in small proportions to bring them in line with global prices. As a result, the 40% price difference between petrol (gasoline) and diesel will slowly change over the course of the next year.

Diesel Amaze and Brio Hatchback to Launch in India Market

Having said this, we agree that having a diesel option is a must in India. Honda, therefore, is on course to correct a major disadvantage in India. We think combined sales of diesel versions of the Amaze and Brio models could make up about 60% of overall volume. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about Mobility—Now and in the Future

Auto industry panelists discuss mobility with Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal (right) at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive conference.

Auto industry panelists discuss mobility with Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal (right) at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive conference.

Mobility is a term that has been gaining attention in the auto industry. The current focus is on the viability of alternative vehicles—especially electric vehicles (EVs)—and the future focus explores mobility technology including smarter, semi-self-driving vehicles. Joe White, senior editor at The all Street Journal, led a panel discussion with auto executives and a California dealer principal at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference with an objective to look at mobility and to separate reality from fantasy.

Moderator: Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal

Panel members:

Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.

Mark Del Rosso, COO, Audi of America Inc.

John Mendel, Executive Vice President, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Peter Hoffman, Dealer Principal, Sierra Autocars, Inc.*

*Sierra Autocars, Inc. is s a family-owned dealer group based in California’s San Gabriel Valley, and includes seven stores and 10 franchises: Acura, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Jeep, Mazda, Ram and Subaru.

Panelists’ comments on the need to have a balanced portfolio that includes fuel-efficient vehicles, including those with alternative powertrains, and their ideas about consumer interest in EVs, alternative powertrains and semi-self-driving cars are excerpted.

Joe: Let’s start with the here and now. By 2025 the auto industry’s fleets have to average 54.5 mpg—you are not waiting until 2024 to start this process. How are customers receiving the technology and the engineering ideas that you are putting into the marketplace to move toward that goal?

Al: No car manufacturer is going to get to 54.5 mpg without alternative fuel vehicles—whether it’s electric, fuel cell, or whether it’s natural gas. Nissan is heavily involved in the electric vehicle (EV) and that is one of the platforms moving forward that is going to have a big presence in the auto industry. I would say that from an electric perspective for us, our customers love it. The one limit right now is the range. As the technology expands, and you get greater range from the same power packs, I think it will open up a tremendous audience that isn’t there today. Continue reading ›

Diesel New-Vehicle Owners Are More Satisfied in India APEAL and IQS Studies

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

New-vehicle owners of models powered by diesel engines are, on the whole, more satisfied with their new vehicles than are owners of conventional gasoline-powered new vehicles, according to results in both the 2012 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study and the 2012 India Initial Quality Study (IQS).

In our recently released 2012 India APEAL Study, the gap in satisfaction scores between owners of diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles has changed significantly during the past 4 years. In 2009, the average index score among owners of gasoline-powered vehicles was 3 points higher than among owners of diesel-powered vehicles. However, in 2012, the APEAL average index score is 22 points higher among owners of diesel vehicles than among owners of gasoline vehicles. In addition, overall satisfaction among owners of diesel-powered vehicles averages an APEAL index score of 839 (on a 1,000-point scale)—which is 24 index points higher than among owners of gasoline-powered vehicles (815). Continue reading ›

The Politics of Diesel in India are Complicated

Ammar Master

It is never easy to run a government in a socially and economically sensitive society, especially when that government is dependent upon a number of allied partners with diverse and often different viewpoints on almost every issue.

This is the precarious position of India’s government, which is led by Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), after his administration decided to implement a number of long overdue reforms including a 14% hike in diesel fuel prices in mid-September.

A multi-party coalition has broken apart after a major partner, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, decided to withdraw its support for the current government. Ms. Banerjee is the same leader who protested against the construction of Tata Motors’ Nano car plant in her home state of West Bengal, which forced the automaker to abandon its production plans in the state.

Admittedly, Ms. Banerjee is not alone in this latest disagreement. Several other opposition parties have also criticized the government for its decision to not only increase the price of diesel, but also to allow foreign direct investment in the retail sector. On the streets, opposition parties and trade unions have protested across India against the government. Schools were shut, while road and rail transport were disrupted in several areas. Continue reading ›

India Vehicle Owners Report More Problems with Vehicles

Mohit Arora

Overall vehicle dependability with cars and light truck models that are between 2½ to 3 ½ years old declines this year mainly due to an increase in problems related to vehicle engines and the driving experience categories, according to our 2012 India Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). Among the nine categories* measured, engine and driving experience categories account for more than 40% of the problems reported by vehicle owners.

At the industry level, overall vehicle dependability in India in 2012 averages 225 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is an increase of 30 PP100 from an average 195 PP100 in 2011. A lower PP100 score reflects higher quality and dependability in our study, which is based on evaluations from more than 7,800 original owners of new vehicles purchased in 25 cities in India between July 2008 and September 2009. Continue reading ›

OEMs in India Plan to Invest in Popular Diesel Powertrains

 

Ammar Master

Vehicle makers have revived their plans to invest in diesel engine manufacturing facilities in India after the Indian government decided not to implement any additional tax on diesel-powered vehicles in the Union Budget 2012‐13 that was announced earlier this year. The decision to further invest in manufacturing is being driven by the strong demand for diesel-powered vehicles, which account for nearly half of all passenger vehicles sold in India, suggests Ammar Master, senior analyst, LMC Automotive*. Excerpts from a recent perspective in partnership with J.D. Power Asia Pacific on diesels in India:

“The main reason behind the strong demand for diesel-powered vehicles is the cheaper price of diesel at the pumps. In fact, the price gap between diesel and gasoline (petrol) has widened by as much as 40% since the government deregulated gasoline in June 2010.

As a result, the unexpected surge in demand for diesel vehicles caught India’s largest vehicle maker Maruti Suzuki off guard and the company lost sales. Continue reading ›

Frankfurt Auto Show to Feature Green Innovation and Technology

Mike Omotoso

One of the more influential and oldest auto shows in the world is Germany’s Frankfurt International Motor Show, which started in 1897 with just 10 models on display in a Berlin hotel, and now showcases hundreds of automaker production and concept models in an Exhibition Center in Frankfurt am Main and is held every other year. This year’s show, which is the 64th event, features the theme, “Future Comes as Standard.” According to a number of media reports, automakers and exhibitors will be focusing on the elements of consumer technology and green innovation in their introductions and in their concepts.

Press days for the September 15-25 event in Europe begin tomorrow. Some highlights of several significant models and automakers to appear at the show include:

Toyota Extends its Prius Family in Europe and for the US Market

Toyota plans to sell the plug-in version of the Prius hybrid to retail customers in the US starting in early 2012. The Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will use a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery and will have an all-electric range of 10 to 13 miles. The Prius PHEV can reach 60 mph on electric power only, Toyota claims. The hybrid battery for the Prius PHEV is supplied by Panasonic Electric Vehicle Energy, which is a joint venture company owned by Panasonic and Toyota. In the United States, the Prius PHEV is expected to be priced at about $4,000 more than the conventional Prius gasoline-electric hybrid. The version shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2011 had a 1.8-liter gasoline engine mated to a fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT). The hybrid battery in the Prius PHEV powers a 50-kW electric motor. Continue reading ›

Concessions in New CAFE Proposal to Have Positive Impact

Kevin Riddell

The White House has made a couple of important concessions to automakers in the 2025 fuel economy proposal that doubles CAFE standards to 54.5 mpg. President Obama announced the revised proposal last Friday, July 29.

The first concession is that fleet fuel economy increases for light trucks and SUVs will rise at a slower pace than the requirements for cars during the first few years. Since trucks are generally much heavier than cars, it requires more adjustments to help them go further on a tank of gas. Two good examples are the Ford Edge midsize crossover and Ford Fusion midsize conventional sedan, which are both based on the same platform. However, with the V-6 powertrain option, the crossover’s curb weight is over 600 pounds higher than the car’s, making significant fuel economy gains much more difficult to achieve for the Edge.

Trucks continue to make up a high percentage of US new-car sales (50% of new light-vehicle sales through June 2011, according to our Automotive Forecasting Division’s analysis). This trend continues in the face of higher fuel prices and increases in the CAFE requirements over the last couple of years. Continue reading ›

Diesels to Help GM, Others Meet Stricter Fuel Economy Rules

Mike Omotoso

Recent news reports have indicated that General Motors has decided to sell a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car in the US market. Reportedly, the diesel powertrain will help boost Cruze fuel efficiency to 50 mpg on the highway, based on several wire service reports. In June, Chevrolet sold nearly 25,000 new Cruze compacts with conventional gasoline powertrains, and it was one of the best-selling models in the US market.

GM to Offer Clean Diesel Powertrain

We know that General Motors’ diesel engine will use a common-rail direct-injection system, and it will be a clean diesel. In fact, all diesel passenger cars sold in the United States must be clean diesel, and ultra-low sulfur diesel has been sold across the country since late 2006. As news reports suggest, it will be two or three years before a diesel version of the Cruze can be sold here because it has to be re-engineered to meet US emissions standards. Continue reading ›