Sunday, October 25, 2009

Step 1 build it in the US, step 2 sell it in the US..Ford to build Kuga in Kentucky, export overseas

Good news, Ford is planning on building the Kuga cute ute here in the US. Louisville Kentucky to be exact. Taking advantage of the weak dollar and lower labor costs (?) here in the United States, Ford Motor Company will start to produce the Kuga compact SUV here in 2011.
Initially they'll be built for export to overseas markets, but of course it's been rumored that the Kuga will replace the capable but not exceptional Escape. I've been looking forward to this for a while. But there's one question I have....
What about a Hybrid version? The Escape Hybrid would be sorely missed if it was lost when the change to the Kuga platform. Although the Kuga is offered with a 2.0 TDI Diesel engine overseas, it's unlikely that Ford will offer that fule sipper here on these shores. Regardless, Hybrids are Green Credentials that lead folks into a brand. It's my hope that Ford will Hybridize the Kuga eventually.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why can Allan smile? Cause Ford too the "Way Forward" and he's not taking a pay cut! Government Motors (GM & Chrsyler) Execs take 25% pay cut...

Sometimes it's good to be the king. Well, maybe not king, but at least not a Government Motors exec. Alan Mulally can smile here for several reasons, the biggest reason of course is that unlike crosstown rivals at GM and Chrysler, he's not being forced to take a massive pay cut.

And before I hear anyone moan, let's remember that Bill Ford vowed not to ake any compensation until FoMoCo turns a profit and and that FoMoCo didn't take TARP money.
No Government Bail-out means you can earn executive compensation. Sure CEOs of big companies make too much money, but the boys at Ford seem to have earned it his year!

No bail-out, no bankruptcy, no foreign takeover, yes new products, yes improved quality, yes new technology, yes you can keep your money. Simple as that folks.

Read the Detroit Free Press article linked in the title. Go Ford!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gas prices have some who switched to small cars experiencing buyer's remorse, wanting more from econo boxes?

So, I've been reading posts at AutoBlog (linked in title) and The Auto Prophet about American Buyers who switched from traditional large vehicles to smaller vehicles when gas prices spiked who are now experiencing buyer's remorse, wanting more power and space and features.

Now that gas prices are "low" they aren't happy with their Honda Fit, or Toyota Yaris.
Economy cars in the North American market traditionally don't come well equipped, unlike Europe. I know this from shopping around back in 2006 when I bought my Mazda 3.
Also in 2005 when we were getting a coupe for my honey.

So, maybe FoMoCo is going to be in a good position with new Euro offerings coming over the next 18 months? Ford already offers a good amount of technology, with their SYNC system available on Focus and everything above that. And unlike some other economy offerings, Ford offers factory leather, moonroof and other "luxury" options across the line, although good luck finding economy models optioned that way on dealer lots. But that's not really Ford's fault, it's American consumers who dictate what's on the lot. And most Americans don't want to pay over $17k for an "economy car." Not when you can get a nicely equipped mid-size sedan for a little more coin.

Product mix on dealers lots over the next 18 months is going to be interesting to say the least. Now that gas is "cheaper" again will Americans slide back into their old habits? Will SUV and larger vehicle sales start to pick up? And what happens if fuel prices spike again?

I'm not your typical American consumer, I like smaller vehicles, but I want the features you'd find on larger vehicles as well. After owning my Mazda 3 these last couple of years, I wouldn't consider a new vehicle without heated leather seats, a premium sound system and moonroof. And I'm not adverse to paying near the $20k pricepoint for that combination. But will Americans follow that course? And can manufacturers meet the new expectations ?

The new Fiesta and Focus from Europe are capable, well equipped, relatively frugal cars but in Europe consumers expect to pay for that combination. Can American consumers make the leap?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My next Ford Dream....

Back when I started this blog, my stated "dream" was the 2005 Mustang, the Pony V-6 version in Windveil Blue to be exact, but while I'd love to have a Mustang, my automotive needs and priorities have changed over the years and my new "dream" is the Kuga, which should be the replacement for the Escape.

Where the hell has MyFordDreams been? Don't worry folks, all 3 of you, I'm back...

As any regular reader will know, I'm not an Automotive Journalist by trade, although high horsepower, high rpm equipment is a regular part of my life. And I haven't posted anything since August 24th, but I'm back and I'll be posting more soon enough. Here's a brief glimpse into my life, I'm an Engineer, not like The Auto Prophet mind you, I'm more like the Casey Jones type of Engineer. And over the last few weeks I've been involved with a work project that will be ongoing over the next year or so, the redesign and retrofit of my powerplant. So, bear with me folks, life is complicated for those of us who don't get paid for this. For those that may be curious, that pic is me standing in front of a Steam Turbine, 600 hp that runs between 1500 and 48oo rpm, one of three we have in our plant.
I've also been trying to retrofit myself in a way. I've been on a diet and am quitting smoking, so no crap or I'll twist your head off and ... oh never mind, I'll be fine, no need to fear the blogger.
In September I did manage a little down time, even dragged my pastey butt to the beach. Damn kids kept trying to drag me back into the water, but what can you do.
I am happy to read all the good news about FoMoCo, the uptick in sales caused by Cash For Clunkers, the new product ramping up, the public perception improvement of the company, it's all been very promissing. Not so much over at Auburn Hills, Chrysler is in a world of hurt with no light at the end of the tunnel in my opinion. Guess that's what happens when you build truly boring mediocre cars and get bought by the taxpayers and Italy's house of crap.
It's my opinion the Chrysler won't last five years, the new Ram brand is obviously an attempt to position Dodge trucks for future sale. Jeep will get a new home also, but you can kiss Dodge and Chrysler goodbye. Another pair of "orphan brands" for the history books.
GM will survive, they'll even be fair competition for Ford, but they'll never be the giant they were. And looks like Japan's GM (Toyota) is in for a world of hurt as well. Of course all the Japanese are worried about Hyundai ( and their in house little buddy Kia )
But oveall I'm happy with the direction Ford is moving in although I see room for improvement ( that's sort of what I do .)