Tuesday, June 30, 2009
And Lincoln has done their homework. I'm not a fan of big SUVs and I'm a huge fan of Station Wagons, so I'm impressed and overwhelmed by the MKT.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Jim Farley, FoMoCo's GVP for Marketing talks about Ford's response to the "Cash for Clunkers" legislation, Ford has opened a website, linked in title, called LetFordRecycleYourRide.com where you can learn more about what the program is about and what Ford products qualify.
If you qualify, you had better act fast! And that's a big "IF" as to qualifying. From what I've heard and read, your "clunker" has to be at least 8 years old (2001) but no older than 25 (1984) and the new vehicle's new fuel rating compared to your clunker's will determine how much you'll get. I've heard the reason for the no older than 25 years, is the effect of lobbying by classic car groups. And to me that makes sense, how many people have 25 year old cars and would be in the market for a new car? Let's not crush all those "classic" civics, GLCs and Celicas.
Seriously, if I saw someone trying to scrap and 84 SVO I'd be crying. But hey, if you really want to scrap that Z/28, go ahead. And while you're at it, cut off the mullet.
Friday, June 26, 2009
And this ladies and gentlemen is why traditional media, be it print or digital, fails us.
From Top of the line to Bottom of the range, FoMoCo goes after tech savy buyers who want quality. From MKT to Fiesta with Sync and more
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So, I'm watching Autoline After Hours online tonight and there's tons of Diesel talk! And anyone who's read my blog over the years will know I love the idea of Diesels. For several reasons.
Once out to Queens, we were given access to engineers and marketing people who've working so hard to re-invent Lincoln. Detailed presentations and then access individually. I was impressed by Dan, the Engineer behind EcoBoost. I'm sorry to say I do not remember his last name, but we had an interesting discussion about the future of EcoBoost, no I didn't get any scoops, but I did bounce some ideas off him to see what reaction I'd get. The entire Lincoln team were outstanding. Once we were fed and satisfied we had picked their brains to our satisfaction, we were teamed up and set loose with a car and directions. Think scavenger hunt or rally, 2 drivers, one car, a varied route and and let's not forget the toll money. I started off in the MKZ taking first turn behind the wheel, then my co-driver took over after our first stop. It was nice talking to him and getting a journalist' view of different subjects. We both agreed that since I'm not traditional media and not dependent on advertising dollars from the manufacturers I am free to rant and rave as I will.
It was a long day and very educational. Not just about the cars, but about "automotive journalist" also. Now I'm not going to reveal the name of the journalist or who they write for, but I was gobsmacked by the following exchange.
And let's just start off with this, the new MKZ goes way beyond just a mid-cycle refresh.
And there's little that feels "entry level" inside either. All of the interior panels are completely new. Nice soft touch materials, new guages with a very nice lighting feature. Of course the guage cluster moves with the wheel, which means that anyone, no matter how tall or short ( like me ) can see the speedo and set up a comfortable driving position.
A very clean center stack with reasonably easy HVAC and Audio controls, flows int a very useful center console. Everything felt just right. It was easy to set the power seat, mirrors and wheel for any driver. The seats were very supportive and comfortable. Our travels brought us from Queens Botanical Garden through bumper to bumper traffic, then up to quaint Westchester villages on a mix of highway and twisty back roads.
The navigation screen, which I needed for some of these winding county lanes, was at the perfect height for viewing, with no problems viewing, no matter which way the sun was shining.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Ford gets DOE loans, not "Bailout" money, GM & Chrysler didn't becaause they weren't "viable companies"
This money will be used to further develop more fuel efficient cars, including Battery Electric and Plug In Hybrids. But there's more, it will be used to develop technologies that will reduce weight across the model lineup. You can read the article linked in the title at Edmunds.com Green Car Advisor. And more at Car Scoop
Here's FoMoCo's statement from their website;
DEARBORN, Mich., June 23, 2009 – “Ford Motor Company is proud to be among the first automakers deemed by the government to be among the best companies with the best technologies in American manufacturing and fuel efficiency. This green partnership between Ford and the U.S. government will help accelerate the development of advanced technologies for even better fuel efficiency and emissions. Ford is absolutely committed to fuel economy leadership with every new model we introduce. In fact, we plan to invest nearly $14 billion in advanced technology vehicles in the next seven years. Our partnership with the Department of Energy also will help retool our U.S. plants more quickly to produce fuel efficient vehicles and help meet the new, rigorous fuel-economy requirements.”
I've been critical of Electric, Hybrids and especially Plug In Hybrids, but they are part of the new reality. And with the improvements FoMoCo has made to the Escape and the new Fusion Hybrid I've become a fan. Many of the faults have been addressed and the Fusion Hybrid's 41 mpg city just can't be argued with. I'm also a huge fan of the other technologies such as EcoBoost and the weight reduction.
But let's be very cleaar, this is not a bailout! I especially found this line concerning GM & Chrysler amusing; Both companies applied for financing last year but their financial distress disqualified them from consideration in the first round of financing. The $25 billion program is only open to viable companies.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I seem to be alone in missing the moonroof, an option I've had inseveral cars. But a couple of years ago Ford decided to offer the glass panoramic roof, nice! But, it doesn't open. And it has a sunshade so your chrome dome doesn't get third degree burns. But it doesn't open! So, it's back.
Even the Hyundai Genesis Coupe has a moonroof. I'm going to have to check GM and Chrysler to see if the Chalenger and Camaro have moonroof options. Glass roof, big deal.
And in further farce news, there's a 45th Aniversary Lee Iacocca special edition Mustang.
Not from FoMoCo, but from Galpin Ford in So Cal? Special body kit, only 45 to be made, blah blah blah..... Who cares? I'm sure they'll sell every one of them, but who really cares, other than the few collectors.
You know what, if you want to send me good news about the Mustang, tell me they're finally going to put a 21st century suspension under the rear.
If you want the latest news on these two "special" Mustangs, visit AutoBlog, Jalopnik or one of the media sites listed in sidebar. I'm waiting for some REAL Mustang news.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Much like the last "unique" Mercury Models the Cougar and Capri, one based on Euro Mondeo and the other Asutralian Ford Capri (Laser or Mazda 323). But with the Fiesta, Focus and Transit Connect all on their way to Ford dealers next year, what's left?
And then we found out it wasn't stolen, the idiot had just parked illegally and the car was towed away. And then there were posts by said idiot saying he found the car in an impound lot, but the NYPD wouldn't give it up, He even took photos of it in the lot. So, how did this soap opera end?
No tweets from Scott Monty, no updates on the major blogs, nothing I could find on Google or any other site. So, reluctantly I checked the idiot's webpage and it seems that back on May 29th he did what seems to be his last Fiesta Movement post. Yes the car was stolen, no the NYPD were not conspiring against him or incompitent or evil. The idiot had given them the wrong plate number. And that's why the Fiesta didn't show up on their system. But he got the car back on May 29th, without any mass protest or spontanious party at the impound lot. No fan fare, no muss no fuss, the idiot got the car back.
Now, I should point out that when I say he posted his last Fiesta Movement post, I don't know if he's out of the program, I just mean that I endured scanning through his site and can't find anything related to the Fiesta or Movement since May 29th.
I know the Movement's agents are supposed to be trendy, hip, internet savy folks who at the same time generate buzz for themselves and by extension the Fiestas, but why not even a whimper about how this resolved itself? Could it be that when it was "stolen" it was buzzworthy, but when the agent is an idiot it's not?
I debated posting a link to him or his video and I decided he's too stupid for that and I'm just not that nice.
Douglas Brinkley, author of "Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress," which I read several years ago, commented also, pointing out Henry's first auto company Detroit Automobile failed.
And let's not forget Government involvement in the 40's, when after Edsel Ford passed away and the US Navy released Henry Ford II from service to come back and run the company.
Interesting piece. I personally think that the real question should be how would Edsel or Henry II view curent events. Edsel was a greater businessman than his father and Henry II saw Ford through some of their toughest times also.
Henry Ford was capricious and without his offspring FoMoCo could have been history as long ago as 1927 or again in 1943.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Then I saw him all over the boob tube, Real Time with Bill Maher and the Daily Show.
But I was too lazy to find a proper YouTube clip. Well, I have to thank Chris Moody of The Cato Institute for sending me the link to the embeded YouTube clip below.
Friday, June 19, 2009
If I did win the lottery, the MKZ would be my new daily driver, that's how much this car has impressed me. I liked the Zephyr name better, but what's in a name.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Has the brand that once used the tag line "Sign of the Cat" become the paradoxical Schrodinger's cat ? Are they dead but nobody has looked into the box? How many Mercury models are on offer today and how many will there be next year? I believe there are technically 5 today, Mariner, Mountaineer, Sable, Grand Marquis and Milan and next year there will be 3? No Sable, no Grand Marquis.
While Ford execs like Alan Mulally do promotional tours with the very handsome new Taurus, there's no Sable? From day one there were always the Taurus/Sable twins. But that's always been a major problem with the brand, most Mercury models were twins of Ford models. I believe you have to go back to the early 60's to find a unique Mercury powertrain and the last unique Mercury model not shared with Ford or Lincoln was actually a Mazda based Australian Ford.
At several websites and forums I've heard speculation about a new Euro Focus based Mercury model coming in a few years, and they point to the Lincoln C concept. But Mercury hasn't had a compact model since the Capri and before that the Tracer, both Mazda based. Mercury never got a Focus variant like the Lynx twin of the Escort.
Mercury is dead, but nobody noticed. I don't car that the dealerships are still open and they trickle a few cars out the door, the brand is dead.
Someone from Ford Motor Company landed on my blog after doing a Google search for 78 Thunderbird mpg ? Who looks up the mpg of a 31 year old car? And of course I've blogged about my 78 T-Bird and posted pictures of it many times, so of course if you do a weird Google search for Ford related items, I'm going to show up.
I get visitors from all over the globe, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the UK and of course all over the United States. I get people doing Google searches for Ford models like Orion, Ikon, Bantam, Courier, Everest, Ka and of course Ranger and Mustang.
I amuse myself to no end sometimes, but what really amuses me is how some folks find me.
Of course I hope they'll come back, but damn who Googles 78 T-Bird mpg?
The real reason the 05 and forward Mustang doesn't have an IRS, let's do away with the lies and excuses
Of course you have to keep the live axle if you're selling to rental fleets at discounted prices and then force feeding your dealer network those rental rejects a year later.
Jeff's blog post! I can always count on Jeff at drivingenthusiasts.net to clear up any mistakes I make on this subject. Jeff's knowledge is encyclopedic.