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Chevy Volt priced cheaper than the Prius? Really? CNET FAIL

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Danny, Jul 29, 2010.

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  1. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder Staff Member

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    It's been a couple of months since I've seen a good example of bad journalism, but this article had my attention from the title: "Chevy Volt priced in the US: Cheaper than a Prius". This article was posted over on CNET UK's "Crave Blog", so at first I gave the title a pass thinking that the author is comparing the US price of the Volt to the UK price of the Prius. But the author never actually states what he is comparing the Volt and Prius pricing to, so the general reader is left to assume that he is comparing US Volt pricing to US Prius pricing. It's almost as if CNET's writer is comparing the UK £ price of the Volt (£21,000) to the US $ price of the Prius.

    The grave offense comes in the 3rd article where the author uses the post-tax credit Volt price of $33,500 to state that the Volt "undercuts its all-electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, by almost $2,000." By coming to this conclusion, the writer must be comparing the post-tax credit price of the Volt to the pre-tax credit price of the LEAF. About 3 minutes worth of Googling would have corrected that information.
    [​IMG]

    There are a couple of other small factual errors in the article, but overall this piece on CNET makes me wonder who at CNET is proofreading these articles before they are posted? Apparently no one.
    Source: CNET UK
  2. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    This will be a popular item in What Drives Us Ep.

    A lot of US auto writers are guilty of it as well, not regarding the price but the MPG. They are not aware that the US gallon is smaller than UK (imperial gallon). They don't know that the test procedures are not the same. So they report the tiny (Class A?) VW Polo Diesel gets better mileage than Prius. In fact, the mid-size (class C?) Prius under the same EU test procedure get better mileage.
  3. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    the truly sad part is that some people will be sucked into the fantasy/nightmare
  4. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    That is embarrassing... For the author of that article!
  5. dkit

    dkit New Member

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    Why everyone is so worked up? It is a cnet.UK after all. Not like any credible journalisme ever came from UK.
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Maybe he's comparing it to the Prius T-Spirit?
  7. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder Staff Member

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    They've amended the article a bit to be clearer and to fix some of the earlier mistakes.

    I still can't believe it made it out like that in the first place.
  8. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    I believe I'm correct in saying that in the US, car prices are quoted before any sales tax is added on?

    Over here cars must be advertised as on-the-road prices: including 17.5% VAT, registering the car, one year's vehicle excise duty (road tax), and a full tank of fuel.

    Even allowing for this difference, car prices in the US are always significantly cheaper than the UK. This can cause problems when adapting European models. Ford of America really screwed up the Focus when they cost-reduced it for the North American market - a number of problems were introduced, requiring recalls, that hadn't existed on the original car.
  9. Felt

    Felt Active Member

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  10. seftonm

    seftonm Member

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    Not sure which Polo you are talking about, but the Polo Bluemotion does get better mpg than the Prius. The Polo is a B-segment car.
  11. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    Yes, the Polo Bluemotion does consume less diesel than the Prius consumes petrol. The CO2 emissions are the same, while - as is usual for diesels - NOx emissions are higher than the Prius, and CO emissions lower.

    However, the sizes go Polo [A] - Golf/Jetta - Passat [C/D]. The Prius is a C/D-size car.

    Competitors:

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Column 7
    0 Segment VW Toyota Honda Ford Vauxhall/Opel
    1 Sub-A Fox Aygo iQ - Ka Agila
    2 A Polo Yaris Jazz (Fit) Fiesta Corsa
    3 B Golf Auris Civic Focus Astra
    4 C/D Passat Avensis Prius Accord Mondeo Insignia


    Of course the continuous creeping inflation of sizes doesn't help understand the segments. A current Polo is larger than an original Golf - hence the addition of the Sub-A segment. A modern Mini is quite large for an A-segment car.
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  12. seftonm

    seftonm Member

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    Interesting. I guess I was a class off with everything. I had assumed:
    Fox - A
    Polo - B
    Golf - C
    Passat - D

    Maybe our definitions in North America are slightly different from yours?
  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    I'm guessing "sub-A" is the "superminis" category... so they start with subcompacts.
  14. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

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    The industry doesn't generally use the lettered designations any more, but since that's what seftonm started out using, that's what I used - but from memory.

    In the UK, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders now uses:

    A - Mini (e.g. Smart fortwo, Ford Ka, Fiat 500, VW Fox)
    B - Supermini (e.g. Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz)
    C - Lower Medium (e.g. Ford Focus, VW Golf, Honda Civic, Toyota Auris)
    D - Upper Medium (Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Honda Accord, Toyota Avensis)
    E - Executive (BMW 5-series, Mercedes C- and E-class - Honda, Ford and Toyota have no entrants)
    F - Luxury Saloon (BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-class, VW Phaeton)
    G - Specialist Sports
    H - 4x4/SUV
    I - Multi-Purpose (e.g. Ford Focus C-Max, S-Max, Galaxy; Renault Scenic; VW Touran, Sharan)

    Segment A - Mini
    • Normally less than 1.0 cc
    • Bodystyle “miniature”
    • Normally two-door
    • Length normally not exceeding 3050 mm (10 feet)

    Segment B - Supermini
    • Normally between 1.0 - 1.4 CC
    • Bodystyle bigger than mini
    • Length normally not exceeding 3745 mm (12.5 feet)
    • Performance greater than mini
    • More variety of trims per range

    Segment C - Lower Medium
    • Normally between 1.3 - 2.0 CC
    • Length under 4230 mm (14 feet)

    Segment D - Upper Medium
    • Normally between 1.6 - 2.8 CC
    • Length normally under 4470 mm (14.9 feet)

    Segment E - Executive
    • Normally between 2.0 - 3.5 CC
    • Bodystyle generally bigger than upper medium
    • Normally four-door
    • Length normally under 4800 mm (16 feet)
    • More luxuriously appointed

    Segment F - Luxury Saloon
    • Normally upward from 3.5 CC
    • Most luxurious available

    Segment G - Specialist Sports
    • Sports coupés
    • Sports saloons
    • Traditional sports

    Segment H - Dual Purpose (4x4/SUV)
    • 4x4 off road

    Segment I - Multi Purpose Vehicle
    • 4x2 or 4x4 estates with a seating capacity of up to eight people

    As you can see, the definitions are a bit vague. The government don't use these classifications for anything, unlike the US EPA, and SMMT doesn't have a readily-accessible database of how cars are classified.

    Top five best-sellers in each segment, in 2009:

    Mini
    Hyundai i10
    Toyota iQ
    Vauxhall Agila
    Suzuki Alto
    Chevrolet Matiz

    Supermini
    Ford Fiesta
    Vauxhall Corsa
    Peugeot 207
    MINI
    Toyota Yaris

    Lower Medium
    Ford Focus
    Vauxhall Astra
    VW Golf
    Audi A3
    Nissan Qashqai [I would have thought this was an SUV but apparently not]

    Upper Medium
    BMW 3 Series
    Vauxhall Insignia
    Ford Mondeo
    VW Passat
    Audi A4

    Executive
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class
    BMW 5 Series
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class
    Jaguar XF
    Audi A6

    Luxury
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    BMW 7 Series
    Audi A8
    Bentley Continental
    Jaguar XJ

    Sports
    VW Scirocco
    Audi TT
    Mazda MX-5 [Miata]
    BMW Z Series
    Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

    4x4/SUV
    Honda CR-V
    Land Rover Freelander
    Ford Kuga
    VW Tiguan
    Range Rover Sport

    MPV
    Vauxhall Zafira
    Ford S-Max
    Ford C-Max
    Ford Galaxy
    VW Touran

    Segment shares:

    Mini: 3.4%
    Supermini: 37.2%
    Lower Medium: 26.6%
    Upper Medium: 14.2%
    Executive: 4.5%
    Luxury Saloon: 0.3%
    Specialist Sports: 2.3%
    4x4/SUV: 6.6% [sigh]
    Multi-Purpose: 4.8%

    As I've said several times, the Prius is really a bit big for the European market. Over two-thirds of cars sold in the UK are smaller.

    All information from "Motor Industry Facts 2010", http://www.smmt.co.uk/downloads/MotorIndustryFacts.pdf

    The Prius is definitely listed as 'Upper Medium':

    Table 7 - Lowest CO2 emitter in each segment

    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5
    0 Segment Average Lowest Make/model Low vs average
    1 Mini 115.6 0* smart fortwo EV -
    2 Supermini 131.9 98 Ford Fiesta/SEAT Ibiza -25.7%
    3 Lower Medium 147.4 99 VW Golf -32.8%
    4 Upper medium 154.4 89 Toyota Prius -42.4%
    5 Executive 177.1 127 Mercedes C Class -28.3%
    6 Luxury 250.3 178 BMW 7 series -28.9%
    7 Sports 201.1 0* Tesla -
    8 Dual purpose 207.1 129 Toyota Urban Cruiser -37.7%
    9 MPV 169.7 119 Citroen Nemo Multispace -29.9%


    Table from page 17 of SMMT Annual CO2 Report 2010.
  15. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    And maybe you should point out that Mini as a segment is not Mini as in the car!

    The original mini (1959-1995?) was tiny, whereas the newer Mini sold from about 2002 onwards is actually quite large for a small car here in Europe.

    Regarding the Polo Bluemotion. I get people try and compare this with my Prius telling me it gets similar mpg's. Indeed it does - but it is a couple classes smaller, gets 0-60mph in about 13.5 seconds compared to 10 seconds for the Prius and the Polo is a manual shift.

    It is quite an achievement to get such economy out of the car, but it certainly isn't able to be compared like for like.
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