Hooniverse Asks: What Other Lies Do You Think Automakers Are Getting Away With?

Lies
Lies, damned lies, and statistics, is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain among others, proving that prevarication is not a concept born of modernity. Volkswagen is perhaps the world’s biggest liar right now, having cheated its way through global emissions tests for a decade or more, but they are far from the only ones. In fact, just this moth Mitsubishi was caught having lied about their cars’ fuel economy. Less was made of that company’s fabrication however, since who the hell gives a rat’s rear end about Mitsubishi?
Still, with these corporate scandals having come to light, it makes you wonder, what else are auto makers attempting to get away with these days? What do you think are some of likely lies that car companies are trying to pull off right now?
Image: TheFreep

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  1. Kiefmo Avatar
    Kiefmo

    It’s a lot more subtle than blatantly violating the law, but I’ve often wondered what, if any, the environmental impact is of all of the battery production for hybrids and EVs. I mean, there’s been chatter since the inception of the Prius that the mining for the battery did more harm than the Prius’ good mileage could make up for, but was there ever actually an environmental study done to prove this?

    1. P161911 Avatar
      P161911

      Add in the fact that most electric generation in the US is coal fired plants and EV looks even worse.

    2. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      The subtlety relies on consumers’ pathological aversion to critical thinking, and obsessive love of easy answers. Any newly manufactured car will damage the environment far worse than keeping a used car going for another 5 years. “Oh, it uses less fossil fuels, therefore problem solved!” (See P161911‘s comment.)
      My easy answer? Just require manufacturers to provide 20 or 30 year service contracts that stay with the vehicle, not the owner, so the demand for new cars goes down and manufacturing them slows. Horrible for the economy, but maybe better for the enviroinment.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar
        Kiefmo

        Maybe Mercedes could return to making cars that last long enough to be heirlooms instead of being the softer alternative to BMW.

    3. Maymar Avatar
      Maymar

      I think the problem is there’s so many variables, and so many axes to be ground. Sure, there’s lots of mining involved in making a battery, but battery recycling has evolved, and there’s hardly zero impact in getting crude oil out of the ground.
      As far as the axe grinding goes, the only study I can easily think of is that one that claimed an H2 was more environmentally friendly than a Prius, but also presupposed the Toyota would be junked by 150k, while the Hummer would have a lifespan twice that.

    4. Van_Sarockin Avatar
      Van_Sarockin

      It’s a good question, and perhaps not an obvious answer. It’s a life-cycle analysis question.
      Making a car is a large-scale industrial enterprise. Many things need to be mined, refined, shaped, transported and assembled. There’s a lot of feedstocks, and a lot of bulk waste. A lot of process energy, and embodied energy, much less transport costs. There’s the energy and environmental issues related to operation and maintenance. And there’s also the environmental costs of disposing of the car, one way or another, at the end of its service life.
      When you look at the impacts of EVs and hybrids, they need to be weighed against those total casts and impacts of the life cycle of a gasoline or diesel powered car.
      This is one of many reasons why I prefer to purchase pre-owned vehicles. By extending service life, I’m avoiding all of the costs of making a new car, and helping to further amortize the costs of building this car.

  2. JayP Avatar
    JayP

    Ford was busted for the 32v Cobra when the performance didn’t match the HP promised. They pulled that crap back when the Mustang switched from the 302 Mod engine and the HP went down… Ford said the HPs were different or something?

    1. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar
      BigRedCaveTroll

      I was under the impression the 2003-2004 Cobras were under-rated, or do you mean the NA 32 valve Cobras?

      1. JayP Avatar
        JayP

        The 1999 Cobra 32v was supposed to have 320hp but was closer to 300… the intake had some manufacturing issues where there were little stalactites and stalagmites causing flow issues.
        After intake-gate, Ford started underrating.

  3. Kiefmo Avatar
    Kiefmo

    Temple of VTEC’s dyno testing of factory-fresh Accords indicates that Honda is a liar-liar-pants-on-fire about the crank horseponies of the earthdreams range of engines. This is the plot of the “189hp” four-banger paired with a manual:
    http://sohc.vtec.net/article_files/1136687/13AccordK24W1_6MTdyno.gif
    Either that, or they have engineered an incredibly efficient lineup of transmissions that slag off only about 5% of power between the crank and the road.
    Also, look at that torque curve. Electric. Can we finally put that bit about Hondas to rest?

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      So your saying the engine is being underrated?

      1. Kiefmo Avatar
        Kiefmo

        A-yup. Most reckon that Acura’s power claims are the true ones, when there’s zero difference in the engines themselves.

    2. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      Pshaw, clearly the Accord has basically zero rear-wheel-horsepower! 😉

  4. 0A5599 Avatar
    0A5599

    People don’t want trucks, they want to buy fuel efficient Chevy Volts. Of course, that was Government Motors saying that. Politicians don’t know how to tell the truth.

    1. Maymar Avatar
      Maymar

      Well, they want the efficiency of Chevy Volts when gas hits $4/gal, but they want someone else to buy them in the lean times (development and production costs be damned), and they really would rather have that efficiency in something massive (laws of physics be damned).

  5. JayP Avatar
    JayP

    Not as blatant as VW but every manufacturer games the fuel economy ratings.
    The other would be truck manufacturers removing anything not welded down to increase the GVWR.

    1. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar
      BigRedCaveTroll

      Thankfully most truck manufacturers are finally getting some accountability for towing ratings with the SAE’s new tow tests.

    2. engineerd Avatar
      engineerd

      Of course they’re going to game the system. It’s a defined profile that is used to get the EPA numbers. Any time there is a government-mandated system in any industry, people are going to find ways to make that system work for them. Corporations are just groups of people.

      1. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar
        BigRedCaveTroll

        I was listening to an environmentalist on NPR talking about a polluted river up in the Northeast, and I thought it was interesting that he didn’t blame the corporations which polluted the river, rather, he blamed the government for not regulating what the corporations were doing, because what the corporations were doing was completely legal under the current law (although they didn’t immediately know the effects of what they were doing). He argued that even though he was an environmentalist, he still recognized that a corporation’s goal is to make as much money as possible, and as long as that’s within the confines of the law it’s hard to blame corporations for pursuing that goal.

        1. engineerd Avatar
          engineerd

          Crap. I just agreed with an environmentalist. I’m going to go rethink my entire existence now.

          1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

            It’s ok. Just burn a tire and we’re good.

  6. smalleyxb122 Avatar
    smalleyxb122

    If they can, or think they can get away with it, they are lying about it.
    There are so many people involved in the creation of a vehicle, the common wisdom would be that it would be difficult to keep a secret.
    More realistically, there are so many people involved in the creation of a vehicle, it is impossible to keep them all honest. If you’re at the top of the chain, you don’t want to know. Plausible deniability is your friend.

  7. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    I thought Pinocchio was Italian?

  8. stigshift Avatar
    stigshift

    I’m just waiting for proof of it, but I suspect that at least some BMWs ARE equipped with turn signals…

    1. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      I think that’s still an aftermarket item. I’ve seen it, but very uncommon.

    2. stigshift Avatar
      stigshift

      Stay tuned for my in-depth exposee of Blinkergate!

  9. Citric Avatar
    Citric

    Not quite a car manufacturer, but Google’s insistence that its self driving car is never at fault every time it’s in an accident smells fishy to me. It might not technically be at fault, but when it’s getting rear ended all the time, one has to wonder what exactly in the behavior of the AI is causing people to crash into it.
    Though the whole “computer controlled cars will never crash!” narrative is total bull anyway.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      You can’t possibly know what you’re talking about. They’re Three Laws Safe.

    2. Batshitbox Avatar
      Batshitbox

      Well, computers never crash, right? So why would computer controlled cars?

    3. Kiefmo Avatar
      Kiefmo

      The kind of computers and software engineered for self-driving cars conforms to a different set of constraints than the $500 HPDellToshiba you get at best buy. They would be built to a standard heretofore seen only for aircraft glass cockpits (which cost up and over a million buckeroos to equip ONE plane).
      Everything can be made reliable with sufficient investment. The real advantages of self-driving cars will be seen when all cars are not only self-driving, but receiving instructions from a central datacenter that is managing all traffic, at which point the AI is resting, ready to take over if/when connection is lost to the datacenter. The AI built into individual cars will take over fully once the car leaves the datacaenter’s grid, or in the event of a failure. Additionally, cars will be able to communicate with one another in a emotionless way that doesn’t involve middle fingers, horns, brake and lane checks, and generally ruffled feathers.

    4. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      My day job is troubleshooting enterprise software for a company that has plenty of experience in the field. I don’t buy into the whole “driverless cars are perfect” thing either.

    5. Van_Sarockin Avatar
      Van_Sarockin

      Google’s business plan must be about banking all those insurance claims.

  10. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I think the most continual, widespread lie is, “We have not seen widespread reliability issues with the component/system involved in your warranty claim. The failure you experienced is an isolated issue.”
    Dexcool. Kappa differentials. Takata airbags. Ford truck brakes. They were all rare exceptions, over and over, until they weren’t.

    1. P161911 Avatar
      P161911

      Went through that with the fuel tank on the Trailblazer. Lots of recalls, but “no your VIN isn’t affected”. A couple of years later I get a letter: “you might have had to replace your fuel tank, we’ll pay for it, if you can provide proof in triplicate with all correct paperwork”.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar
        Kiefmo

        So far, Honda hasn’t given us much trouble with the stuffs that needs repaired under recall or extended warranty on our Ody. Fuel pump leaking, making fire a potential? Replace them all in all Odys, just shy of a million of them. Power steering pump dying at under 100k? That’s pathetic — extend the warranty on them to 110k, and ask no questions when someone wants it replaced. Don’t wait for it to sound like a FoMoCo unit.
        The transmissions are still a sore point for many, though. 40k is pretty pathetic.

        1. salguod Avatar

          Odys are still having transmission issues? I thought after about 2005 or so they had sorted that out.
          Our 99 had a transmission failure at 40K and again at 120K. Honda picked up the tab for both. When we traded it at 205K it was starting to act wonky again.

    2. Tiller188 Avatar
      Tiller188

      I do wonder whether there isn’t some intentional “right hand not knowing what the left is doing” going on there. If you have a big distributed network of dealers and service centers that don’t do a lot of notes-comparing, and the manufacturer’s corporate office isn’t totally forthcoming about sharing or spreading data to all dealers, and dealers aren’t especially motivated or encouraged to report everything all the way back to the manufacturer…

  11. StephaneDumas Avatar
    StephaneDumas

    I guess we’ll ask which automakers didn’t violated the law, throw the first rock.

    1. Citric Avatar
      Citric

      Nah, that looks like it had 100 designers, not all of them on speaking terms. Something with no designer would look more like this:
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/1992-1997_Daihatsu_Applause_(A101)_Xi_liftback_01.jpg

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        You know I can easily get on board with designless utility. Designed futility on the other hand…

      2. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar
        BigRedCaveTroll

        What car is that? It evokes zero emotions within me. I look at it and feel numb.

        1. Citric Avatar
          Citric

          Daihatsu Applause. Notable mostly for bad jokes about it being Lady Gaga’s favorite car, and also looking like they accidentally put a test mule into production.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar
            Sjalabais

            Also one of the cheapest somewhat reliable used cars a handshake and a case of beer can buy.
            http://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/auto?isSearchRequest=true&vc=Car&dam=0&ms=7000%3B2
            I guess in Rusty’s England, they will give you money to take one.

    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      No, it had a designer — just a vicious, sadistic, yet sadly pathetic one bent on torturing us all.
      http://statici.behindthevoiceactors.com/behindthevoiceactors/_img/chars/char_26472.jpg

  12. P161911 Avatar
    P161911

    Electric car range ratings are a farce.

  13. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
    Greg Kachadurian

    This was a while ago, but I remember seeing Land Rover ads that said something along the lines of “90% of all Land Rovers sold are still on the road today”. Heh. If you say so…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, but I think they’re counting all the ones on the shoulder.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      That is very interesting. For advertising purposes I’d rather have said they are still “off the road”…also, even without prejudice I’ve read about too many LandRover graveyards like this one:
      http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/features/a5652/malaysias-secret-land-rover-graveyard/
      So…no.

    3. ptschett Avatar
      ptschett

      Whenever I hear one of those claims I always mutter “the other 10% got all the way to the destination”.

    4. LEROOOY Avatar
      LEROOOY

      It’s true! Any place your wheels are touching is a road, amirite?

  14. neight428 Avatar
    neight428

    I always thought it odd that Ford spends a lot of effort noting that the F150 has been the best selling vehicle for eons when the combined numbers of the Chevy/GMC twins have been better. My conclusion is that they know that they are winning on a meaningless technicality, but that GM has a vested marketing interest in that technicality, so they won’t call them on it in their own marketing materials.

    1. engineerd Avatar
      engineerd

      I would argue that combining the Chevy/GMC numbers is the technicality. Those are two different trucks when it comes to counting sales, even if they are corporate twins.

  15. Van_Sarockin Avatar
    Van_Sarockin

    It makes you wonder what of their claims and stats you can believe, for any of them. And self-certifications seems to have a few glitches…

  16. salguod Avatar

    Is BMW still using “The Ultimate Driving Machine”? If so, I’d nominate that.

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