As the industry prepares for the first major auto show of the 2013 season, automakers have gleefully announced their plans for the show’s press preview days.
“Mazda is going to have the loudest pre-press-conference music in the history of the Los Angeles Auto Show,” said spokesbraga Jeremy “Bev” Irons. “We’ve got an all-new 600,000-watt sound system with 155 speakers, one for every victim of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. Believe you me, when the our press conference begins, every Angeleno from Simi Valley to Seal Beach is going to know it.”
Toyota issued a pre-show press release saying it plans to debut a new billion-watt lighting system that, according to spokesbulb Moe Tehterball, “will make the California sun look like a guttering candle.”
Tim Gogetter, spokesman for Infiniti, said Nissan’s luxury division was planning a unique entertainment spectacle. “Remember those dancers we had for the G37 Convertible reveal that everyone said were really annoying? Well, they’re back — only this time, we’re going to set them on fire.”
Ford remained tight lipped about their LA show plans, but Autoblopnik was able to get the story from a junior PR staffer, who spoke on the condition that we not tell his boss he tried to sell us a bag of oregano before realizing we were journalists.
“So, like, we’re going to have this animatronic Mark Fields, and it’s going to look exactly like him, except it’ll have, like, two or three hairs out of place. And the animatronic Mark Fields is going to start doing the press conference in Mark’s voice, and just when people in the audience are all like, ‘Whoa, dude, like what’s up with Mark Fields’ hair?’, the real Mark Fields is going to come out on stage and be all like ‘I don’t think so!’ and then he’s going to shoot the animatronic Mark Fields with a bazooka, and it’s going to explode and flash drives with the Ford press kit are going to rain down, like, everywhere. I don’t get it, but my boss says that anything having to do with Mark Fields’ hair will get like a thousand stories on Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars, so, like, whatever, dude.”
When asked what new vehicles and concepts would be appearing at the show, none of the company representatives with whom we spoke had any comment.
Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”
The diesel community, already reeling from the low 14:1 compression ratio in Mazda’s new Skyactiv-D diesel, were absolutely gob-smacked when Mazda announced that they are developing a new ultra-low compression diesel engine.
The new Skymaster-Z engine uses an 8.5:1 compression ratio, so low that it requires an auxiliary electrical spark system in order to maintain combustion, and requires fuel that is more volatile than standard low-sulfer diesel. Mazda engineers have calibrated the engine to run on ordinary 87-octane gasoline, but this requires retimed single-pulse injectors and a more complicated intake system that premixes the fuel and air in a relatively constant ratio, as opposed to the variable mixture and power-cycle injection used by traditional diesels.
According to Mazda Chief Engineer Ashiro Nakahonda, the Skymister-T engine’s low compression ratio eliminates the need for a turbocharger and allows use of lighter components that can spin faster, raising the redline to 7,000 RPM. The new engine also produces significantly less noise and vibration than a typical diesel and has a markedly different emissions footprint, allowing it to meet 50-state standards with a standard catalytic converter and without the use of an AdBlue-type additive. The trade off is a 75% reduction in torque and higher fuel consumption. The prototype two-liter engine reportedly develops around 140 horsepower but only 135 lb-ft of torque, returning the equivalent of approximately 30 MPG in the EPA city cycle and 40 MPG in the highway cycle when mounted in a C-segment-size car. “While these numbers are not typical of an ordinary turbodiesel engine,” Nakahonda says, “we believe they will be adequate for the American market.”
Diesel nuts who worry about this sort of thing have expressed concern about the lack of upper-cylinder lubrucation due to the engines’ rapid combustion and reduced fuel stratification, but Nakahonda is confident the Skymassive-F engine will achieve a 180,000 mile service life.
Irked at not having anything more technical-sounding to say, Mazda spokesman Jeremiah Burns vamped, “While the Skymatic-P engine does have some trade-offs compared to conventional diesels, we are confident that the lower noise and ease of fuel availability will appeal to American buyers.”
Mazda plans to offer the Skymackerel-Q engine in its popular Mazda3 compact, offsetting its additional cost by making the interior even cheaper and crappier.