Monday, March 24, 2008

Jalopnik has updated FoMoCo Aussie Falcon/Mustang rumors...

Jalopnik has a piece ( linked in title ) about the latest resurgance of rumors that Ford will use the Australian Ford Falcon as the base for the next Mustang and other rear wheel drive vehicles like the Interceptor. Nothing really earth shattering here, rumors like this have been floating around the net for quite a while. Jalopnik refers to an article in the Detroit News by Bryce Hoffman.
With the emergence of real competition from Hyundai, Chrysler and GM, all with IRS as oposed to the Mustangs live axle, this is something that has been common sense to everyone. Hell I've written about this so often I'm not even going to bother linking to past posts, it would take too long.
The Aussie Falcon just got a redo, but has had the Control Blade IRS for several years. The currency situation makes it expensive to import the cars to the United States, more so that when I suggested it several years ago. But the Detroit News article says they're moving "development" to the US, not importing actual units. The chassis would be developed here in the US, used for the future Australian Falcon, new Mustang and Ford and Lincoln branded sedans. No mention of Mercury there? As Jalopnik points out that's a glaring omission.

A new Mustang and a new Rear Wheel Drive sedan for Lincoln and Ford is good news.
But the artilce says it will be 4 years until they reach market, will that be soon enough?
And what about CAFE requirements? I've said before that the 2.0 EcoBoost I4 should go in the Mustang as the base motor, but how about the Sedans? Well, FoMoCo has the direct injection V6 for them. I'm not sure a V8 is even needed, except for top of the line showcase models.

What about Mercury? Well, I've said before that Mercury should be reimagined as an outlet for Ford Import models like the Mondeo. The Fusion does well for Ford, but as nice as the Milan is and it's sharp, maybe a premium could be charged for the imported Mondeo? I know that the next Mondeo and Fusion should, according to what I've read online, be based on the same platform, but until then, give Mercury dealers something unique.

How about the Ford Kuga as the next Mercury Mariner? Until these platforms are under a US Ford product, use Mercury to bring them here and that can justify the premium prices.
Just my 2 cents.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What caught my eye at the New York International Auto show.

First I want to mention the shuffling of FoMoCo brands on the floor. Jaguar and Range Rover were moved to the back of the room. I'm sure this has nothing to do with FoMoCo selling those brands to Tata. I've been going to the New York show since 1977, when it was still over by Columbus Circle in the Colessium. I've missed the show less than 4 times in the intervening 31 years. This is my Haj, my pilgimage if you will. And I remember when Hyundai was downstairs with the trucks, where Kia is today. And I also remember when that's where Hyundai deserved to be. Well, now they're upstairs with the big boys, very close to FoMoCo, where they deserve to be.
The Genesis Coupe is amazing in person. I've read the specs, seen the videos at AutoBlog and seen all the images online. But walking around it, touching it and crawling all over the outside, because the doors were locked, left me wanting one very badly. I saw the Mustangs, sure, every flavor of them. The new Bullit, the Shelby GT500KR, the Saleen and the Pink Warrior. But I'd buy the Hyundai.

Sure the styling is derivative and maybe not too inspiring. Without getting inside, it's hard to say if the interior will feel cheep. Haven't driven it yet, that's for sure. But it's handsome, the prices being talked about are right on the money and without a doubt the IRS and 2.0 Turbo Direct Injection putting 212 hp to the ground through a 6 speed manual speak to my soul and my wallet.

The Dodge Challenger was getting a lot of attention. Not just the 2 Hemi versions. The V6 SE was getting a lot of looks and why not, it looks great. The V6 is a 3.5 putting out 250 hp and 250 lb ft. The bad news for Dodge is that a 4 speed auto should not be the only transmission for the base. And what price for the SE? Hardly seems smart to bring this out against the Hyundai. But compared to the Mustang? What the hell. At least this has an IRS.

News of the Transit Connect Taxi all over the net, but no mention of the 2 other Transit Connects on the floor. This one loaded with musical instruments and the other fitted out for a contractor. I sat in it and was very impressed. I was dismayed to overhear somebody saying that because it was built in Turkey they were sure the quality would be poor. Ignorance abounds. I personally think that if they put the Hybrid drivetrain in this it would be the best Taxi ever and even the non-Hybrid version would be great for small commercial duty.

Seeing the Verve Sedan concept was inspiring, and people seemed interested. Nobody was tripping over themselves to get to it, but there was good traffic.

I'm sure FoMoCo would love to say the same about this, the Explorer America concept.
Yep, another CUV. Ford was loaded with CUV and SUV, Edge, Escape, Flex, Taurus X and the Lincoln MKT. This is the explorer that may use the 2.0 EcoBoost as it's base. The spokesmodel was saying that the EcoBoost was going to put out 275 hp. And why can't that go to the Mustang?? And the Explorer has an IRS, why can't a Mustang?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why buy a Mustang? When will FoMoCo see the light?

Back in 04 when I went to Nashville for the 40th Aniversary of the Mustang and saw the 05 up close and personal I was amazed. The rebirth of a great car! And I bought FoMoCo's line of crap that an IRS would push the price up and keep the Mustang from being competative. It didn't bother me that the base Mustang engine would be the 4.0 V6 from the ranger with 210 hp or that the GT's 4.6 V8 was only putting out 300 hp. But that was 04 and now in 08 Ford had better wake up and smell the coffee!
Ford has an IRS that can handle the power, look no further than their Australian Falcon range.
The Control Blade IRS has been available down under since before he current New Mustang came to market. And now with real competition coming from Detroit and Korea, all with IRS by the way, what does FoMoCo offer us? Not much from where I'm sitting.

Take a look at David that will slay Mustang. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe coming next year.
The V6 model will have over 300 hp meeting the Mustang GT on power and pricepoint, but with the IRS the Mustang so sorely lacks. And what really kills me is the base engine for the Hyundai will be a Turbo Direct Injection I4 putting out 212 hp! Oh and by the way it will also have the IRS. I've been saying for a whle, that FoMoCo needs to put an IRS under the Mustang and when I first saw the power of the MazdaSpeed3's 2.3 Turbo Direct Injected I4 I said SVO Mustang! I'd read online that FoMoCo will use the upcoming 2.0 EcoBoost I4 as the base engine for a future Explorer, great news since it will be putting out well over 200 hp, but why can't that be the Mustang's base engine?

Even GM sees the light! Check the article here at AutoBlog to see how Bob Lutz is suggesting that they could put a 2.0 Turbo Direct Injection engine in a version of the Camaro. And why not, if it's the new Cobalt SS turbo putting out 260 hp!

And what does FoMoCo have in store for us? A new Bullit Mustang and a mild refresh in 09?
I have some advice for them, get the Control Blade, put it under the Mustang, take the 2.0 EcoBoost I4 make it the base engine for the Mustang, take the Turbo Direct Injected 3.5 stuff that in the Mustang and if you insist on a V8 make sure that has 400 hp!
It's frustrating being a Ford fan, it really is. I wonder if Dearborn has any clue what they're doing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Verve, Fiesta, Mazda 2 talk...........

There's been a lot of Verve/Fiesta/Mazda2 talk on the net recently, especially over at AutoBlog.
Much of it is promissing news. The US will be getting a version of the small Ford that the rest of the world has made a class leader. Styling cues from the Verve concept will show up on the production unit. Well, it's about time. As gas is expected to reach US $4 a gallon this summer and every other auto maker ( except Chrysler) has something in the pike.
Ford will bring a version of the Fiesta and Mazda will bring the 2. And word is that Mazda may bring a Diesel! Story linked in title from AutoBlog. Happy days right? Well............

Sort of. Ford seems to be avoiding hatchbacks and hasn't said anything about Diesels. But it is a move in the right direction. I've said from day 1 of MyFordDreams that Ford has the product to compete with anything the foreign automakers can bring here, they need look no further than their overseas showrooms.

I can't understand Ford's not bringing hatchbacks to the United States. Don't get me wrong, both the Ford and Mazda sedans are fine looking cars and I know that the market seems to favor sedans over hatchbacks. Something that I'm confused about to be honest.
The trunks on these small sedans are less useful than a traditional hatchback, but Americans don't like Hatchbacks or Station Wagons. I've had many types of vehicles over the years, from small hatch to full size pickup and from my experience small hatchbacks make the most sense.
I'll explain, we at the MyFordDreams homestead own several vehicles, my Mazda 3 hatch, the Ford Ranger pickup, an Isuzu Rodeo and a Honda Civic Coupe. Now which vehicle do you think is used most for shopping, vacations and just going out with friends? The Ranger is great, with it's 4 wheel drive and 6 foot bed it's my choice for snow storms and trips to the dump. But it only seats 2, gets not so great milage and well it's not that comfortable driving for 6-8 hours. The Rodeo is a little more comfortable, but just as thirsty and not easy to park downtown. The Civic is great! Good economy, easy to park, fun to drive, but would you want to climb into the back seat in a suit? How about that trunk, how many bags of groceries do you really think you can get in there? What about big parcels? I got a new TV recently, do you think we could just pop it in there? Not a chance! The car we use most, for everything is the Mazda 3 hatchback.
Going downtown to see a Broadway show? Easy to park, easy for 4 adults to get in and out of, comfortable, great milage and really fun to drive. Why do you think they have that stupid Zoom Zoom campain? Going shopping? Pop the hatch and you can load all the groceries you want in there. Got a big TV? drop the seats and it'll swallow most boxes easily. Vacation? Same thing, fit as much luggage or people as you'd need.
I dream of something with 5 doors a Diesel and a 6 speed manual transmission, I hope Ford can bring me something along those lines. And if not Ford hopefully Mazda. My ultimate would be a new Ford Kuga with a 2.0 TDI, but if Mazda would bring their Diesel version of the CX-7 from Europe I'd settle for that. I'd even settle for a Kuga with a 2.0 EcoBoost gas engine. Igor has stated that the Kuga will be the new Escape, will it come with a manual trans?
I like the Fiesta/Mazda2 sedans, but could I live with them? Not as easilly as I could a decent hatch.