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Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, Engine, Alternative Fuels, Diesel, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan
#1 of 504 Hemi vs. Hybrid! Japan goes Tech, US goes V8! Who's really winning??
Feb 16, 2004 (12:48 pm)
Toyota and Honda build Market share and record profits.
'Yota will sell over 50k Prius, and will have Hybrids on every model within 3 years!
Nissan buys Toyota Hybrid system, and learns how to make cars fast and sexy!
Mazda makes hit after hit, with 3, 6, and RX-8, but all with small engines!
On the other hand, Chrysler will put a Hemi in Neon if the SRT sales slow! Jeep and Dodge will become Hemispheres!
GM will throw 200+ HP at Cobalt, 400HP at CTS, and who knows how much at Escalade with V12!
And Ford is so dazed and confused, there is a Fire Sale on their Market Share, with future duds like Freestyle and 500 rocketing to Rebate Hell!
Are the "Big 2, Maybe 3" swinging for high profits now on Steroid -injected $40k SUV's, to fund a more ballanced counter-attack in the future for market share lost?
Will Japanese Hybrid power nullify US Big-block V8s with similar power AND better economy?'
Can Detroit stop losing share by throwing more power at the problem?
Will super-hybrid powerplants make the big-block V8 obsolete?
#2 of 504 Hemispherical heads
Feb 16, 2004 (12:55 pm)
have been used by many other carmakers than just Chrysler (Alfa Romeo, for instance). The engine that popularized the name "Hemi" was the 426 Hemi from the mid-60s, and a fantastic engine it was. It defined a whole class of drag racing (Top Fuel), and continues to do so today.
However -- the new hemi has almost nothing to do with the 426 design, other than the hemispherical shape of the heads. It is purely and simply a marketing ploy by Chrysler, and while I don't blame them for using it to sell cars, it means absolutely nothing in practical terms.
As for a showdown between hybrids and V8s, V10s or V12s, I believe there is none. In fact, hybrid technology will almost certainly be used to enhance the performance and economy of ALL engine configurations in the very near future. That is certainly Toyota's plan, and GM and Ford are not far behind.
#3 of 504 Originally...
Feb 16, 2004 (1:50 pm)
the Hemi was introduced because, at the time, it was the design that developed the most horsepower out of the crappy low-octane fuels that were available at the start of the '50's. For their size Mopar Hemi's did pretty good with the hp-to-displacement ratio. When the first Chrysler 331 Hemi was introduced for 1951, it had 180 hp. That year, Cadillac's V-8, also a 331, only put out 160 hp! When the DeSoto 276.1 Hemi was launched for '52, it produced 160 hp. Oldsmobile's "Rocket" V-8 in that year was produced in two configurations: 145 hp and 160 hp. I'm guessing the 160 hp was with a 4-bbl? Anyway though, it took a 303.7 CID engine to do it!
The main things that killed the original Hemi were weight and cost. The Hemi design had two sets of rocker shafts, which ended up giving them those huge, heavy heads. The wedge-head engines that started phasing in in 1958 were lighter and cheaper to build.
Interestingly, I think the current Hemi is loosely based on the old wedge-head smallblock V-8. It has the same stroke as a 360, 3.58", and the bore center spacing is the same. The angle between the intake and exhaust valves is also much tighter, so they don't have the big, bulky heads like the Hemis of days gone by did.
Another interesting tidbit is that, while the original Hemi was phased out do to its cost to build (I think the 426 was phased out mainly because of insurance costs), the new Hemi is actually cheaper to build than the 4.7 OHC V-8! And that engine, in turn, is cheaper to build than the old 318/360 (5.2/5.9) Magnums that were around until just recently. Funny how things work out like that.
#4 of 504 Let's not forget...
Feb 16, 2004 (1:56 pm)
...that the Japanese manufacturers aren't exactly going all green. The Accord makes 240hp, the Titan's V8 has one of the highest HP in it's class, Nissan's also rolling out the HUGE Armada and QX56, and the Tundra doesn't exactly sip gas. Hybrids are simply hype at this point. It remains to be seen if the average consumer will go for them or if they'll distrust the "new" (to them) tech.
The Japanese PR teams are waaayyy better than the American ones, which is why we think of the Prius and Civic Hybrid when we think of the Japanese, and not the Sequoia and Armada.
#5 of 504 Two tings
Feb 16, 2004 (1:59 pm)
One, GM and Ford ARE FAR behind. Even behind Nissan and Chrysler when it comes to engine tech!
Two, let's hear what is the public perception between the advances in engine tech and market share of the japanese to the engine size, power, and cost of the Americans.
Are the Americans selling market share for profit per unit ($35k Durangos and $40k Rams, $50k CTS?)? Will this help or hurt them 5 years from now?
This isn't the Hemi Board. Let's keep it to market significance and how this helps American companies vs the Japanese.
#6 of 504 Mirth
Feb 16, 2004 (2:04 pm)
The Accord V6 also gets 30MPG.
Honda can squeeze 240Hp out of less than 2 liters.
Lexus will sell a 300HP RX400h with somehwere around 30-35MPG.
Nissan will use Toyotas system starting in 2 years!
Mazda can make 230+HP out of a 1.3 liter wankel!
What is the US response?
340HP station wagons?
Feb 16, 2004 (2:21 pm)
I would agree that a great deal of this argument hinges on marketing. Also I'd like to suggest that there is a cultural issue here, that is, what the Japanese like vs. what the Americans tend to like (or are used to).
Being a very monolithic culture, the Japanese might tend to all get on the same train when it comes to preferences, at least relative to the American who is trained to "be different together". Certainly the Japanese seem very respectful of high technology in every form possible. Possibly (just speculating here) part of this comes from realizing that technology played a large part in their near-destruction as a nation. (not going to make THAT mistake again!).
So I think Americans are much more mistrustful of technology than the Japanese, and less willing to embrace it suddenly and completely. It has to grow on us, bit by bit, gadget by gadget. We'll debate among us for 6 months whether to buy a NAV system but I'd guess to the average Japanese buyer who can afford it, it's a no brainer.
Pushrods are great for people raised on low end grunt and pickup trucks and Daddy's old muscle car. The Japanese don't really have a rich automotive past to reach back to and replicate year after year. What can they do for retro?---make 2 cylinder air cooled cars with chain drive again?
Feb 16, 2004 (3:21 pm)
as far as japan goes, many of the UJMs (universal japanese motorcycles) from the 70s and 80s that you used to be able to pick up around town for a song have been bought and exported back to japan where they are highly sought after as collectibles. this also applies to american muscle cars, and lowriders (impalas from the 50s and 60s especially). japanese retro begins in the late sixties, whereas here we still have pristine cars dating back to the model T era, and lots of stock and custom hot rods from the thirties, forties, etc
btw shiftright, according to your theory, don't you think the japanese would have become as mistrustful of technology as the americans since it was a burgeoning technology that enabled the devastation of hiroshima and nagasaki?
Feb 16, 2004 (8:19 pm)
Oh, man, I would think it very unpleasant to drive an American car in japan. it must be a real pain.
As for japan's view of technology, it's very hard for me to pontificate abou an entire country , but if I were defeated by an opponent I would tend want what he had, not what I didn't have. I always thought that the only thing Native Americans needed more of 150 years ago was artillery.
Given how the Japanese have embraced so many American technologies (and even some of our governmental system albeit without much choice, it's true) I don't think they fear them , no. I think they want to forget the past, much like americans did after the war. Americans didn't care for "old cars" in the 50s, they junked them by the millions.
This romance we are having with the past seems to have been born because Americans looked at their cars from the 1980s and were pretty disgusted with them. Also Hollywood spawned some of the frenzy of the collector car market. The Japanese, on the other hand, had all the right stuff for a global market in the 1980s, and after some false starts, good products for America, too.
So it's been a one-way street as far as high-tech in cars goes, for the last 25 years. The japanese and europeans developed what we call the modern car today, not us.
But I think it's changing. The pushrod engine is probably doomed anyway except for commercial. People are already regarding them as old fashioned and cheap. If they didn't we wouldn'teven be having this conversation, right?Yyou must have been inspired by things you saw and heard.
So it's a marketing and cultural thing. People don't want old fashioned stuff unless they are forced to make do with it. I'd venture that a Corvette with a twin ohc motor would sell one-half again as much, but it would cost more and it wouldn't go any faster. So GM doesn't do it, but it should anyway, for reasons that have nothing to do with speed or HP.
Feb 16, 2004 (10:39 pm)
if they had Sarin or battlefield nukes when the US Cavalry came calling, we'd all be hunting buffalo still.
As for the hybrids vs the hemi, I think the winner will be....
no peeking now....
yes, the consumer. if you need to tow, you'll have an engine choice with good growl on the low end. if you don't, and you drive short distances, you're going to get someplace between 40 and 60 mpg and like it.
pick what suits your fancy, and have fun.