TTAC News Round-up: Elio's Already on Thin Ice; Magna and Getrag Seal Their Deal, No Normal Buyer

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

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.

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

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

More by Aaron Cole

Join the conversation
5 of 17 comments
  • Kendahl Kendahl on Jan 07, 2016

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

  • Corollaman Corollaman on Jan 07, 2016

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jan 07, 2016

      @wmba 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.

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.