By on January 7, 2016


Regulators may rain on Elio’s parade even before they got started.

That, Volvo takes a serious stab at full-size luxury conventional wisdom, the big get bigger and Ford’s hybrids only go so far … after the break!


Elio may be out, before it was even in

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a change to their rules that could prohibit fledgling Elio Motors from producing a roadworthy car — assuming they can produce a roadworthy car.

Green Car Reports wrote that safety administrators are considering a rules change that would prohibit three-wheeled cars from registering as motorcycles, an important distinction that helped Elio evade some car-like safety regulations.

If approved, the measure would make three-wheeled cars such as Elio’s design significantly more expensive and could force the nascent automaker into the ground before it can mass-produce its first car.

Location Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

Pilot Assist standard on new Volvo S90

The Detroit Bureau reported that Volvo will make standard its semi-autonomous driving features in the new S90 sedan when it goes on sale this year.

The system, which costs about $1,800 on the Volvo XC90 SUV, can drive the car with minimal driver input up to 80 mph on the S90. The system only works on well-marked roads, similar to Tesla’s AutoPilot feature.

Volvo’s S90 goes on sale later this year.


Magna finalizes purchase of Getrag

Magna International announced this week that it had finalized its purchase of transmission-maker Getrag for $1.9 billion.

The purchase makes Magna the world’s second-largest supplier behind Germany’s Bosch. Getrag produces about 4 million transmissions annually for automakers such as Ford, Volvo, Daimler and Renault. Getrag also has significant business in China, one of the driving factors for Magna’s purchase of the supplier.

The purchase last year was one of a flurry of mega-deals between automotive suppliers.


Mitsubishi gives up plans to sell Normal plant

Mitsubishi will abandon its plant to sell its Normal, Illinois plant to another automaker and will attempt to solicit another buyer outside the automotive industry, the automaker told Reuters (via Automotive News).

The automaker announced last year that it would shutter the plant, and lay off most of its remaining workforce as it moved production of its cars back to Japan.

In 2014, the plant produced nearly 70,000 Mitsubishi Outlanders, but its production was down significantly from its heyday in the 1990s. Only 250 workers from the plants workforce of 1,000 remain to make parts until it completely closes in May.


Don’t plan on a C-Max ST anytime soon

Ford CEO Mark Fields told the Detroit News that the automaker doesn’t have any plans to make a hybrid performance vehicle anytime soon.

“Never say never, but right now that’s not in our plans,” Fields told the Detroit News.

While the C-Max ST would be awesome is unlikely, it does leave unanswered whether the Ford Mustang or future hyper-performance vehicles like the Ford GT will ever see electrification. Fuel-saving tech like turbocharging may only go so far on popular vehicles like the Mustang — electrification may be in the mail at some point.

Hell, if it’s possible on an F-150

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

17 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Elio’s Already on Thin Ice; Magna and Getrag Seal Their Deal, No Normal Buyer...”

  • avatar

    I can understand Ford’s thinking on the C-Max ST. Considering that anybody (other than Porsche) who comes up with a hybrid finds their efforts are judged solely by its mpg’s, trying to do a performance hybrid would be guaranteeing brickbats from both sides. The car would simultaneously have nowhere near enough horsepower, and the gas mileage wouldn’t be impressive enough.

  • avatar

    “But the NHTSA believes consumers that buy these vehicles “are likely to assume” that they have similar crash protection to cars–even though they are much less substantial.”

    Or, in the words of George Carlin, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

    I don’t know whether the Elio would have actually gone into production if this reg hadn’t been passed. It’s nearly certain that it won’t if it is passed. Protecting dumbasses from themselves so that they can raise lots and lots of dumbass kids is a major reason why we can’t have nice things.

  • avatar

    Another 3 wheeler that was going to revolutionized the auto world fails. I’ll spare you all another sarcastic remark.

    • 0 avatar

      Technology and tires have made three-wheelers viable. Although I don’t see them as much more than two-seat vehicles it seems a shame to practically cut off any avenue to affordable, all weather transport for one or two people.

  • avatar

    Please, for the love of God, edit these things before you hit submit. These typos, and outright murders of subject-verb agreement, are extremely distracting. This reminds me of your AutoGuide cousins who never met a sentence they didn’t want to destroy.

  • avatar

    Somebody let Hollywood know.
    They can start on the script for “Elio, the Man and His Dream”

    Of course gas at $1.65 a gallon probably isn’t causing their mailbox to fill up with deposits these days either.

  • avatar

    The Mitsu plant story is certainly as forecast by the B & B.
    Not much market for UAW organized auto plants these days.

  • avatar

    I’ve contacted Paul Elio for a response to the proposed rule change. I’m also trying to get a copy of the full text, not just the published abstract. Offhand, it’s possible that the rule change would not affect the status of the Elio project for at least a couple of reasons.

    The abstract discusses “passenger-car characteristics such as fully enclosed cabins, hinged doors with roll-up windows, steering wheels, and side-by-side seating.” Now I want to see the actual wording of the rule change but that “and side-by-side seating” might give Elio an out. Yes, they have all that other stuff, but the Elio has tandem seating. Also, the word “and” was used, not “or”, which leads me to believe that NHTSA thinks the seating configuration is a critical determinant.

    The other point is that Elio Motors has claimed all along that their vehicle would meet MVSS for cars. It will have airbags, side impact protection and crush zones. One issue we’ve reported on here at TTAC is that some of the standard impact tests for four wheel vehicles won’t work with the Elio because of the outrigger front wheels and narrow fuselage. Paul Elio told me then that they were working with NHTSA to come up with an appropriate test procedure.

    Finally, the company has been lobbying NHTSA to create a third category of motor vehicle called autocycles.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you for the further explanation. I’m quite interested in the Elio. That has nothing to do with the Hayabusa just sitting in the back of the garage.

  • avatar

    The headline gave me the initial impression that Magna would be considered an abnormal buyer.

  • avatar

    From the first time I heard of the Elio, I figured it would not be a safe vehicle, I expressed this and was shut down as a pessimist.

    • 0 avatar

      Bikes aren’t safe either.

      There was a kerfuffle about the polaris three wheeler not long ago. Texas said it was a car because it had a steering wheel instead of bars and (I think-maybe) side by side seating. Evidently 49 other states didn’t care and they negotiated their way through Austin. Sounds like this is more of the same. I guess the feds are determined to keep us from killing ourselves. I wish them luck as we are quite inventive in that way.

    • 0 avatar

      Elio Motors. Since 2008. Giving hope to America!

      No product yet, but Chief Prophet and Guru Paul Elio takes home $250K a year for leading the credulous to Nirvana.

      Send in your deposits, commandeth he, and 41,000 sheep have each contributed at least $200 to the cause.

      Not enough, so crowdfunding went looking for more bux, and sure enough, even more gullible folk were found to contribute $37 million in pledges, $12 million more than they were expecting.

      How many nitwits are there out there? Ask Ponzi, he didn’t even manage to plumb the depths of human gullibility.

      Elio is now making outrageous statements that IAV, a consulting engineering company who is designing the Elio engine, makes engines for Mercedes! Who knew? Not only that, they “did” the Bugatti Veyron engine! Ferdi Piech will be surprised.

      Safety? Pshaw. The safest it could be. Fuel economy, with wheels flapping out in the breeze? Up to 81.4 mpg, better than a motorcycle. Price? $6800 plus options, but not more than $10 grand. Less than a decent ATV. Autonomous driving and electronic safety suite? Missing in action. $186 million? What the US government is forecast to hand over to Elio for being so darn ecological and saving buying foreign oil. Overhead? Paying for that disused GM facility they have in Shreveport, or did they actually manage to snag that place? 2016? When the Elio is finally available to cruise the highways and byways. 2020? When everyone in the USA will be a millionaire, and beer and ice cream becomes free.

      Almost eight years of utter BS and counting. Sure, you can dream, but it helps to have both feet on the ground instead of inhaling helium and floating away on zephyr breezes. Pass the bong, dude, and make sure you come good on that pledge! Money orders not accepted.

      • 0 avatar

        If making a salary while getting a startup going is a scam, well, then a lot of startups are scams.

        Paul Elio told me that he’s put more money into the company than he’s taken out of it. How true that is I have no way of knowing, but that’s what he said.

        Regarding IAV (which competes with companies like Mahle, Cosworth, AVL, Roush and other engine developers – you think car and motorcycle companies do all that engineering in-house?) they’re controlled by the VW Group, so it’s quite possible they did work on the Veyron W16. Here’s what Wikipedia says about them:

        “IAV GmbH (German: Ingenieurgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr, literal Engineer Society Automobil and Traffic), abbreviated to IAV, is an engineering company in the automotive industry, designing products for powertrain, electronics and vehicle development. Founded in Berlin in 1983 by Prof. Dr. Hermann Appel as a university-affiliated research institute, the company employs over 5,000 members of staff, and supplies automobile manufacturers and component suppliers. In addition to development centres in Berlin, Chemnitz and Gifhorn, IAV operates at sites in France, United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and the USA.

        Clients include the Volkswagen Group, BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Fiat, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Porsche and Toyota. Component manufacturer clients include Robert Bosch GmbH, Delphi, Continental AG and ZF Group.

        As of 2013 the shareholders of IAV GmbH were:

        Volkswagen Group – 50%
        Continental Automotive GmbH – 20%
        Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG – 10%
        Freudenberg & Co. KG – 10%
        SABIC Innovative Plastics B.V. – 10%”

        All along I’ve said that there is ample reason to be skeptical that the Elio trike will ever see production, but that there’s no reason why they can’t do it if they raise enough money.

        I am somewhat skeptical about the fact that they’ve said that the $25 million or so they hope to raise from stock offerings will be used to build 25 prototypes. While it’s not unusual in the car industry for a one-off concept vehicle made by Metalcrafters or AAT to cost a million dollars each, in a run of 25, they shouldn’t cost near that amount each. That’s one of the questions I plan on asking Paul Elio next Tuesday at their press conference.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • DenverMike: So it doesn’t help to go 80 to 90 MPH? Then my mileage is better than I thought. It’s...
  • mikey: I’m a Canadian…Back in 2015 I traded in my 2008 Mustang for a new 2015 … To finish the deal...
  • dukeisduke: Probably because I’ve been using Microsoft’s Chromium Edge, instead of Google Chrome.
  • golden2husky: ILO – you have worn out the woke bit…try something new.
  • Zackman: Hello, guys. It’s nice to be back. My truck only has two doors, regular or standard cab, remember...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber