Even though the 2013 Ford Fiesta is not as strong in overall sales as Ford first thought it would be when it arrived on our shores a few years ago, the tiny subcompact is succeeding in bringing in new customers for the company which should please the company as it fights for a sizable slice of the subcompact car market.
Want to see GM’s stock price recover to something closer to the IPO price or – gasp – closer to the price at which Treasury would actually break even on its bailout of GM? Perhaps the answer is addition by subtraction. Maybe it’s time for GM to cash in its chips in Europe and put Opel, Vauxhall, and Chevrolet (the Europe version) out of their misery and sell them. And if nobody wants to buy them (a very strong possibility), GM should wind down the businesses.
Popular wisdom in the car business is that it’s impossible to close underutilized assembly plants in Europe. Dozens of plants were closed in the U.S. over the past 10 years, and though the capacity reductions were no doubt painful for the workers previously employed at those shuttered plants, not to mention the communities around them that those workers lived in and bought things in, they did right-size the U.S. auto industry’s production footprint for the market share for the Detroit 3. The day of reckoning in Europe has eluded them so far, but it’s coming.
While I haven’t had the chance to devote time to writing for Autosavant lately, I have had the opportunity to spend plenty of time in airplanes, airports, hotels, and rental cars. Sadly, I’ve been covering way more miles lately on commercial airline flights than behind the wheel – the latter of which I would prefer.
Talk about a company’s dream come true: Ford and its fellow U.S.-based automakers are lobbying Congress in favor of a proposed Europe-U.S. free trade agreement. No surprises there: big businesses typically love agreements that lower trade barriers (though the companies were not universal in their praise of the recent free-trade deal with South Korea, or for a proposed one with Japan).
Though I rarely watch it anymore, I’m a fan of The Simpsons. Fox’s long-running animated sitcom about a “typical” American family is currently in its 24th season, so for 24 seasons, the show’s protagonist, Homer Simpson, never been respected. For instance, in April 2008, Ford’s then-head of product development, Derrick Kuzak, said that the Taurus would be shedding its “Homer Simpson” looks for “Superman” looks. Though the 2010 Taurus looked a lot more interesting than the car it replaced, I’m not sure which of the three should have felt more slighted – the Taurus (nee Five Hundred), Homer Simpson, or Superman (and lest I remind you, the man most famous for playing Superman on the silver screen during the 70s and 80s was a quadriplegic for nine years following a horse-riding accident).
Here at Autosavant, the Ford Flex holds a special place in our hearts. I’ve personally reviewed two of them, and we ended up getting one as a long-term tester (thanks to Kevin Miller making the monthly payments on it). The Flex was intended as Ford’s minivan replacement, since Ford waved the white flag several years ago with the death of the Freestar minivan. Though the Flex doesn’t quite live up to the potential of having the utility of a minivan with the style of a crossover, it’s a fine family hauler. We asked for an updated 2012 model to see if MyFord Touch ruins the Flex or improves it. Continue Reading →
Any Manhattanite worth a grain of overpriced, designer salt understands the value of making an understated, classy entry into a crowded room. By that logic, when the opportunity arose to test the Ford Focus Electric — which wears the same sheetmetal as the gasoline-powered Focus hatchback but packs substantial, though invisible whizbangery under its skin — I vowed to remain impartial. Could it make a statement, albeit a quiet one? Continue Reading →
I just completed a two-week test of the all-new Ford Explorer Sport. It was a revelation. The last time I spent two weeks with a Ford Explorer—or, indeed, any time at all with an Explorer—was in 1996. I rented a handsome ice-blue version of the then-innovative SUV and drove from my new home in south-central Texas to do some book readings and meet up with family members in Washington, D.C.. (Ah, those were the days. K Street! The Mall! Billary in the White House!) It took, if memory serves, most of three days, with stops on the way in Hope, Arkansas, where a cornucopia of kitschy Clintoniana greeted the visitor to the great man’s birthplace, and the following night in some dump in Tennessee whose name escapes me because I deleted it from my memory banks as soon as it faded into the distance; I remember a dank motel, surly desk manager, ominous sounds in the night.
Ford’s beleaguered MyFord Touch system will continue to live on, but Ford has tacitly acknowledged that it’s causing the company serious problems. Due to falling satisfaction scores, Ford is extending the warranty of MyFord Touch from 3 years/36,000 miles to 5 years/unlimited miles. The comparable MyLincoln Touch will see its warranty stretch from 4 years/50,000 miles to 6 years/unlimited miles. Warranty coverage on the system includes periodic software updates. In addition, Ford will make a software update available to owners to bring their systems up to version 3.5. This is the second major update that has been provided to MyFord Touch owners.
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