Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ford Fusion "Flash" concerts, proof I'm old

I had seen postings on BlueOvalNews about Fusion "Flash" Concerts, but didn't know what they were. So I have to admit being "old" and out of touch. I can live with that.
"Flash" Concerts are shows that are held on short notice and in this case free to first come first served basis.

This is an attempt to appeal to the "Youth" market I guess. This and having Funkmaster Flex give a Fusion the treatment and give it away. I really hope all the money spent on these promotins pays off. The Fusion could be a make or break model for Ford. But how many Gen Y buyers are looking for a 4 door sedan?

AutoBlog has great pics of new Ford Iosis show car for Europe

This amazing show car is a new Ford! John Neff over at AutoBlog has a nice bunch of high quality photos and the press release from Ford. While this is not going to be a production car, it is a glimpse of Ford's future trends for Europe.

It looks fantastic, sort of like a Jaguar coupe streched into a sedan. While I don't see it as a mainstream Ford for the US market, this would make a great start for Mercury. Styling like this with the Lincoln LS chassis and V-8, would make the perfect model for Mercury to stand out and compete against Lexus, Acura, Infinity and Chrysler.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

With fuel prices soaring, isn't it time for a Diesel Ranger and Explorer?

With gas prices approaching $3 per gallon and the possability that it could go much higher, isn't it time that we started to think about Diesel engines as well as Hybrids? Ford sells Diesel versions of the Ranger overseas and would be wise to consider them for the North American market as well.

The Explorer is a major vehicle for Ford and as it grows larger it grows thirsty. Now available with the Mustang's 300 hp 4.6 L V-8 and the base 4.0 L V-6, the best milage you can expect from an Explorer on the highway is around 25 mpg, even with the V-6. Now imagine if you could achieve 30-35 mpg and still have the power needed to move the beefy wagon.

I read an article on AutoBlog the other day, where two drivers took a Lexus Hybrid SUV and a new Mercedes Diesel ML SUV across country. The Mercedes achieved around 35 mpg.
Just think of all those commuters that drive Honda Civics because of the fuel economy. Now add the reliability of a Diesel engine. And for the tree huggers, there is the option of getting your own Bio-Diesel still and having the ultimate "Green" vehicle.

Hell, all those soccer mom's SUVs smell like french fries anyway from the happy meals.
Maybe a Diesel Focus would sell well against the new VW Diesel models coming our way as well.
Just food for thought.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dan Lienert of Forbes is looking for enemies

This idiot from Forbes writes a review of the Mustang and is picking a fight with Ford and Mustang Fans from the very begining. Obviously someone doesn't have a clue. He starts off by saying how the Mustang works on paper, but for just a little bit more, you could have a Lexus or Acura. Now, I'm no genius, but why would you compare a sports car to a 4 door near luxury car?

I'm sure this guy is hoping on this article creating a little buzz for himself. I'm not a fan of Forbes magazine, but this article seems to slip the rails of reality. Read it to be amused, I did.

Great article over at BlueOvalNews

New article at BlueOvalNews, I've said much of this before, but it bears repeating.
The author comments on lack of style for the FiveHundred, asking if we can expect something more like the 427 concept. He also comments on the Focus, something I've bitched about to no end. Interesting read.

Fusion launches with incentives as a result of Family Plan pricing

The new Fusion is set to arrive in Ford dealers any day now and will be one of the most important cars for Ford in the last 20 years. The Fusion which will be positioned between the FiveHundred and the Focus, as a replacement (with FiveHundred) for the venerable Taurus.

Now with all the buzz around the Fusion, because of the new NASCAR version, you wouldn't think that Ford would introduce a new model and slap incentives down right away. But because of the summer's Family Plan pricing, the Fusion will indeed need token incentives. While the Family Plan will not include the Fusion, they will be offering a matching down payment of up to $500, with an additional $500 bonus if the car is financed through Ford Motor Credit.

According to the article linked above, Ford is debating on extending the Family Plan beyond it's September 6 deadline. In my humble opinion, Ford, GM and Chrysler need to end the promotions and focus on the new year. Endless incentives and programs should not sell cars, quality and inovative design should.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

BBC's Top Gear on Discovery Channel, review of Ford GT

I was watching the Discovery Channel on Wednesday night the latest episode of Top Gear and they were reviewing the Ford GT supercar. From the comments by Jerremy Clarkson, it's obvious that this episode is months old. He was obviously gushing over this car and saying how he was due to get his soon.

Now if any of you follow the car blogs, you know that Mr Clarkson received his GT and loved it. You also know that he returned it to Ford after three attempts to get the alarm repaired and that he agonized over the decision.

If I paid $212,000.00 for my dream car and it had problems, I would have made Ford replace the car or repair it. And if I were an autmotive journalist like Mr Clarkson, I would use that to my advantage in pressuring Ford to make things right. So we now know two things, Mr Clarkson is a better man than I and Ford are a bunch of boobs for selling him his dream car and then not caring enough to make it right.

When I get my Mustang, you can be sure that you will hear any complaints right here, if there are any problems.

If you squint it looks like a GT350H

A second choice in color scheme for me would be black. Take a look at this photo and then squint. Can you see a hint of 1966 Shelby GT350H ?

I know black is a pain to keep clean and I don't want the stripes on the blue one, but this could work.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wagons Ho!

In the latest issue of AutoWeek, the Escape Road focuses on Station Wagons, in particular Country Squires. Take a trip down memory lane, click the link to go to AutoWeek.

My Uncle John had a series of Country Squires when I was a kid and for long road trips, my parents would swap cars with him. We would load up a family of 7 and all our lugage and drive all over the east coast.

I don't know why Station Wagons became un-cool, Baby Boomers feeling insecure I guess. But I'd love to see the Country Squire name come back on the new FreeStyle or the concpet Fairlane. Wood siding and all, wagons can be cool.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A more detailed review of V-6 Mustang I drove Monday

To be fair to Ford and have a little fun, I've decided to write a more detailed "review" of the 2005 Mustang I drove on Monday. I drove around Westchester county to several Ford dealers to see about test driving a new Mustang. With no luck I returned home for lunch and checked the Internet trying to locate a dealer that would allow me to actually drive a Mustang.

I found David Ford in Blauvelt New York, Rockland county just over the Tappan Zee Bridge. I called them and spoke to a sales manager who told me they had 10 or so V-6 Mustangs if I wanted to drive one come on over. About 30 minutes later I pulled up to the dealership. This dealership recently changed hands, and is under new management as well as ownership, and is undergoing renovations as well. I met a salesman, who I sat with and talked to for a few minutes and for the first time that day, met a salesman who knew what I was talking about when I asked about the Pony package for 06.

He went and got a plate and then brought me out to the lot, where a 2005 Mustang Deluxe Coupe in redfire with the parchment interior in cloth. This particular car was a "program" car, more than likely a returned rental, with about 14,000 miles on the odometer. I got in the driver's seat and told the salesman I would not "beat up" on his car, to which he replied "Do what you have to, so you get a feel for it." So I backed out of the spot and headed for the main road. Once to the curb, I punched the accelerator and the car took off with a nice squeal from the rear tires. The V-6 and auto tranny felt powerful and confident, no hunting for the right gear, and a nice rumble for a 6. I followed his directions towards a nice twisty backroad and got a feel for the handling. Not bad for a base car, better than I remember my old Mustang. The power was comparable too. My 91 Mustang LX 5.0 Notchback Coupe, had the 225 hp V-8 a T-5 manual trans and the 3.08 rear axle ratio. This Mustang has the 210 hp V-6 a 5 speed auto and 3.31 rear axle ratio. Once back on the main road, I was able to open it up again and before returning to the dealer's lot, had the car up to 80 without any problem from car or salesman.

Once we pulled back onto the lot, it was time to walk around and kick the tires. The major complaint is the quality, or lack of, with the cloth interior. The Cloth felt wrong, cheap. Not what I expected from a car costing $20,000, that's for sure. And remember I just spent a couple of weeks test driving economy cars with my better half. The plastics on the interior seemed well enough and the seats were comfortable and supportive. I liked the stereo and A/C controls. The rear C-pilar causes a minor obstruction when backing out of a spot, but I've seen worse.
I liked the split fold rear seat and trunk space is something I'm not used to in a Mustang.
Overall quality seemed very good, even for a used rental car.

I will probably buy from a dealer near my house, but for people that are looking David Ford seems like an excelent dealer. Visit their webiste to check them out. They have a large selection (huge) of new and used Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles including "program" cars.

Now the Mustang I am buying will be a Pony package, which will have the GT "inspired" suspension and the T-5 manual trans, so I'm expecting even better handling and performance, more on par with my 91 Mustang.

I can't wait to get it, I love the new Pony package, it completes the look of the new Mustang perfectly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Randall at Autoblog has Mustang, day 2

Randall H of AutoBlog reviews the new Mustang GT droptop day 2.

Goodbye Lincoln LS

Introduced in 1999 the Lincoln LS is going away after 2006. That's a crying shame. This rear wheel drive sports sedan preceeded the Chrysler 300 and it's siblings and is a great car. Sharing it's chassis with the recently departed Thunderbird and the soon to be redesigned Jaguar S type, it had a choice of V-6 and V-8 power, independant rear supsension and attractive styling.

When it came out, the 3.9 L V-8 was rated at 252 hp, and in Sport trim was a very competent handler. The same V-8 in 4.0 and 4.4 liter versions is the top of the line powerplant for Jaguar and Land Rover. With some development work overseas this powerplant really puts out some respectable power, with supercharged versions putting out nearly 400 hp. The best the Lincoln saw was 283 hp.

What went wrong here? A well balanced chassis, a powertrain with potential, attractive styling. This car should have really flown off the showroom floors. With the supercharged powerplant from Jaguar, this could really burn up the road behind Cadilac CTS V-Specs and Chrysler 300 SRT8s.

Ford should have made this one work. It's hard to believe they only sold 14,000 of these last year and the best year was about 50,000. Sad, very sad.

Even sadder is word that the Wixom plant where it is built will more than likely be closed. The T-Bird was built there and is no more and they are moving Town Car production to another plant. So 1,800 employees have an uncertain future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Randall at AutoBlog gets a Mustang GT Convertilbe for week.

Randall H of AutoBlog gets to drive a new Mustang GT Convertible for a week. How can I arrange that? Randall writes well, and I'm going to be checking each installment to see what he thinks. And I'm insanely jealous. Who's ass at Ford do I have to kiss to get a Mustang for a week? Hell it was difficult enough to get a dealer let me drive one.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Finally test drove Mustang

OK, so I finally after months of looking took today off and went to several dealerships in my area to try and test drive a new Mustang. As my readers know I've been drooling over the new Mustang since I first saw it in April of 2005 in Nashville, at the 40th Aniversary celebration.

Since then I've been weighing my options and even had a sort of reader poll on which Mustang I should get, the GT or the V-6 Pony. Many readers, said "Get the GT, you'll regret it if you don't" and I was leaning that way myself for the same reason.

But like it or not kids, my mind is made up and although some of you may not like it, I'm going to get the V-6 Pony package. Now before you boo too loud, think about it. The Pony package gives the V-6 the GT suspension and 4 wheel disc brakes. On top of that, the apearance part of the package is great, a new grille and fog light treatment and the spoiler.

Now today I drove an 05 V-6 Mustang with an auto tranny and you know what? That car is quick and handles well. Now this was not a Pony package car, so the handling should be even better than what I drove today. But what really surprised me was how powerful the V-6 felt. 210 horsepower is nothing to be laughed at. My 91 LX 5.0 Mustang had only 225 hp.

So it's the V-6 Premium in Windveil Blue, with medium Parchment Leather interior, Pony package and Interior Upgrade package and 5 speed manual transmision. I got a price from one dealer of just under $23,000. Now I saw a Windveil Blue GT Mustang today at one dealer that was sold, and the sticker price was just under $27,000. So for the $4,000 I'll save not getting the V-8 and the lower insurance, I can live with less power. I'm not a kid anymore and don't feel the need to race. The V-6 moves on the highway and will get marginally better fuel economy, as well as cost a lot less monthly. Sure I've compromised, life is a compromise, and this one was easy.

I don't think I'll notice the lower horsepower as I'm driving down the highway with 6 CDs loaded in the stereo, the A/C on and my chubby ass in those comfy leather seats.

Couple of notes on the shopping experience here;

Ford sales people don't know dick about what they're selling, I ran into more than one salesman today, who had no idea what the Pony package was. I talked to one fellow who I won't name, who knew next to nothing about not just the Mustang, but several other cars in his showroom and the new Fusion. If you sell these cars, you should know about them boys, be ready to answer questions and be honest. I know it's easy to make fun of car salesmen, but that's not my fault, it's theirs. The guy I bought my 91 Mustang from had sold shoes before cars and was fired by the time the car was in for it's first service. If I knew as little about my business as these boobs, I'd be looking for a new job, probably selling cars.

The cloth interior in the Mustang is absolute crap, I've had better interiors on many less expensive cars, including my 91 Mustang and my 88 Festiva. The leather is great, well worth the extra cash.

Mustangs are very scarce and nobody wants to let you drive one. Their loss though, because I will buy only from a dealer that lets me drive the car. If they take the time to do that, they let the car sell itself.

Update: In all fairness to Ford, I should point out that the Mustang I drove was a used car, a returned rental. So I'm sure that when new the cloth interior is better than what I saw (not much better.) I'm just disapointed that the cloth used seems so cheap. For a car that costs over $20,000.00 the cloth interior should be nicer. But the rest of the car was fantastic, so my solution and yours if you buy, is the leather interior.

One step closer to myforddream !!! A very generous reader ,who happens to work for Ford, has sponsored me for an X-plan discount. I am so psyched, it's amazing, that someone who doesn't know me well, only from my blog, would do something so cool :) So in upcoming weeks, you can look forward to posts concerning the purchase and hopefuly quick arrival of my new Ford Mustang Pony !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2005

AutoProphet drives the Fusion and other new Fords at track day event writes about it.

The AutoProphet was at a Ford track day event, similar to Mazda RevItUp and GM AutoShowInMotion, and relays his impressions on the Fusion/FiveHundred and the event in general. Definitely worth the read.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thanks to Ben K from down under for the photos

Is it a new Mercedes? No! A new BMW? No! It's a Ford boys and girls from down under!

Now look at these photos and ask yourself why this isn't the New Lincoln. Thanks to Ben K a new friend from down under for sending these great shots.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Randall at AutoBlog discusses the new D-3 platform Lincolns, but dreams of a rear wheel drive Lincoln

Randall H formerly the owner of NextGenAuto and now a writer for AutoBlog, discusses Ford and their plans for Lincoln basing many of their new models off the D-3 platform (FiveHundred/VolvoS80&XC90) including a possible new Continental. Randall writes well and I like his stuff, go check it out. Then come back to hear me rant about Lincoln's dismal future if this plays out.

The last production vehicle to carry the Continentall name was basically a stretched Taurus with a V-8. Not one that inspried and emotional response and I'm thinking sales either. I know a guy who had one and they were not great cars. So what does Ford want to do to Lincoln now? Well they want to borrow platforms from Mazda and Volvo and have a bunch of front/all wheel drive cars that nobody will want. They want to drive the stake through Lincoln's heart.

Don't get me wrong, the new Zephyr looks like a great car and with the new 3.5 V-6 and all wheel drive may be able to compete with entry level luxury cars available. But to switch the entire Lincoln line up to front/all wheel drive seems to be swimming against the tide.

Cadilac has been reborn with their new models (mostly rear wheel drive) and Chrysler is enjoying brisk sales of their new 300/Magnum lines. BMW and Mercedes have avoided front wheel drive and sold very well. Lexus and Infinity even have rear wheel drive vehicles. So why would Lincoln want to repeat Cadilac's mistake of going for front wheel drive across the board.

The Volvo S-80 and it's XC-90 crossover stablemate are fine vehicles, there's no doubt about that. And giving Lincoln one or two vehicles with front/all wheel drive is a good thing. But the talk of stretching the D-3 platform to build the new Town Car is foolish. Lincoln is bringing out the new Zephyr on the CD-3 (Mazda6/Fusion) chassis to give themselves a near luxury or entry luxury product, that's wise and may work. The new D-3 car, I had hear was to replace the Lincoln LS, that's dumb. I think Ford really screwed the pooch on that one. The LS, built on the same platform as the Jaguar S Type, had real potential and could have really challenged Cadilac's CTS (including V-Spec) had Ford given the car more power.

Ford needs to develop a new rear wheel drive platform for the US market. The Australian Falcon/Fairmont could be the source, or a completely new chassis. Some people online, talk of a new platform based on the new Mustang. Hell, something's got to be done.

I think the LS platform should be refined and adapted. It's already got IRS and a V-8. Shove the supercharger from Jag under the hood and let's have some fun blowing away Caddys

New Falcon in Australia, and why it should come here.

Found this link and article on AutoBlog. AutoBlog wonders why Ford doesn't bring this here.

Maybe the FiveHundred isn't underpowered after all?

One of the biggest criticisms of the new FiveHundred/Montego and FreeStyle has been the power of the 3.0 V-6 rated near 205 hp. But the car has tested well in comparison test, as far as 0-60 and passing. Now this new article shows how different testing regulations are going to cause many Japanese cars to be reevaluated and have their ratings lowered. The Toyota Camry coming down from 210 to 190 hp. Maybe the critics have been too hard on Ford?

Maybe some of those smug pro japan auto journalists and pundits need to think again?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Autoweek's take on future Ford models

Click the link and read AutoWeek's article on future Ford models. Not much of it is new, most of it has been written about here. Some of it is very interesting. After you read their article, come back and read my take on it.

It's a long one and my repsponse will be too;

OK, first AutoWeek says that the Fairlane concept is switching from the Mazda CD-3 platform to the Volvo D-3 platform. That's a good thing, making the proposed "people mover" a little larger. I wonder how different the production model will look from the concept

The CD-3 platform is going to be a key platform for Ford over the next few years, the new Fusion/Milan/Zephyr are based on this platform which is under the Mazda 6 and crossport models. This will also underpin the new Edge/Aviator crossovers coming to Ford/Lincoln over the next few model years.

The D-3 platform which was developed for the Volvo S-80/XC-90 models is the base for the new FiveHundred/Montego and Freestyle from Ford/Mercury. AutoWeek discusses how Lincoln will use this chassis and a stretched version for new models by 2010, including a possible new Continental. While I like this chassis and it can use the Yamaha V-8 that is in the XC-90 as well as allow Lincoln to have all wheel drive available, I'm not sure this is the wisest move.

Below the chart showing what AutoWeek understands will be the roll out from Ford over the next few model years, they go into more detail. They start off by talking about Ford's need to bring an entry level car below the Focus and discuss the possability of a Fiesta based car. I've been saying Ford should be doing this for months. The Fiesta could compete against the Korean and Chinese vehicles as well as Scions from Toyota.

They go on to say, that Ford will "redesign" the US Focus instead of bringing the European Focus platform here, saying that it would be too expensive. I don't blame AutoWeek for repeating the bullshit they hear from Ford. I blame Ford for the nonsense. How can the platform be too expensive if it comes here as the Mazda 3? I can't wait to see how they "redesign" the Focus and hope somebody will compare it to the European Focus. Is this a repeat of what happened with the Escort? Ford really killed that car in the US.

Fusion/Milan/Zephyr are discussed, without any real new information. They mention the 3.5L V-6 coming to the Zephyr and possibly not the Fusion/Milan. All these models are being built in Mexico. I've said it before and will say it again, while I wish Ford luck with the Zephyr, I feel it will bomb like the Verailes did in the late 70's. Why isn't Ford trying to compete with Chrysler's 300 ?

FiveHundred/Montego are next on AW's list. They mention that both will be freshened in 07/08 and the FiveHundred will receive it's new three bar grille. Also criticism of the car's lack of power will be addressed by the use of the new 3.5L V-6. The CVT will be dropped in favor of a new 6 speed auto. That's great news, I thought the CVT was a little too gimicky and feel it keeps people at arms length. Overall I think the FiveHundred is a fine car, although I wish they had gone for a different name, like Galaxy or Fairmont.

AutoWeek discusses Ford's unclear path for the Panther platform cars, Crown Victoria/ Grand Marquis/ Town Car. they say that a replacement for the Marquis could be pulled from the D-3 platform. Speculation that Ford could freshen the current sheetmetal in 2009 or let the platform die at decade's end are also mentioned. They mention speculation about using the slightly smaller Australian Falcon/Fairmont chassis has quieted down. Now most of you will know my feelings on this. Ford has to keep a fullsize rear wheel drive chassis for many reasons, not only fleet sales of Police units and cabs/limos, but because every other maker is bringing out full size rear wheel drive models. Look at Chrysler's success with the 300/Magnum/Charger lines. GM is on again for bringing the Zetta platform, including a possible Camaro modle before the end of the decade. Ford has a great platform in Australia and I'm not saying build the cars, there, import the design and build it here. With rear wheel drive and four wheel independant suspension this is a natural to compete with Chrysler and GM. Also with a little development work, the cars built on this platform could have all wheel drive as well. Ford of Australia builds the Territory on this chassis and that's a crossover wagon, much like our FreeStyle.

AutoWeek goes into more detail on Licoln, but that's been addressed above. They then have quick notes on the GT supercar and the possability of the Shelby GR-1 being released in 2008. I think these cars have little to do with Ford surviving so I have no real interest in either. Don't get me wrong, if I win the lottery I want one of each, but neither is going to be a boost to Ford's profits.

AutoWeek mentions the Brazilian EcoSport, but they fail to mention that it's available with all wheel drive. I've posted on this neat little SUV before and feel it could be a real competitor for the new Korean and Chinese models as well as Scion. Again built on the solid Fiesta platform.

AutoWeek goes on in the next few paragraphs to discuss freshening the Escape/Mariner and the Edge/Aviator and the FreeStyle/Meta One crossovers. Not much news there. Same thing with the Explorer/Mountaineer which have been redesigned for 2006.

Next comes the Epedition and Navigator which are to be redesigned for 2007 and gain a stretched version to compete with the GM Suburbans. A new 5.5 L Diesel V-6 is mentioned for Expedition and F-150, but it may be delayed until 2010. I'll keep my eyes open for news on that. A Diesel could go a long way in this segment as fuel prices approach the $3 mark and by 2010 will be much higher.

Next up is the new Sport Trac, which is coming out in 2006 as a 2007 model and will have an SVT variant with powerfull V-8 and AWD. I've never been a big fan of the Sport Trac, but this new version looks good.

The Ranger get's a paragraph and AW says that Ford will redesign it for the 2010 model year;

"After languishing for more than a decade, the Ranger is scheduled for a redesign. The next Ranger is expected for the 2010 model year. The current Ranger was redesigned for the 1993 model year.
But Ford's plans to redesign the Ranger have been delayed several times. As a result, Ranger sales are faltering. Suppliers are not counting on Ford to stick to this schedule either. If Ford goes ahead, the next Ranger could be a world pickup, shared with Asia and South America. The next Ranger likely will have a crew-cab option"

Anyone who's read my blog knows how important the Ranger is to me and how important I believe it will be to Ford. I want to point out to AutoWeek and my readers, that the current Ranger is a "world" pickup, already sold in many markets around the world (including crew cab models.) Don't they do their homework? Or is it too dificult to go to Ford's website and check this out?

AutoWeek, than gives a few words to Ford's fullsize trucks saying a redesign and restyling are due in 2009 for F-150 and Lincoln LT. Ford SuperDuty trucks can also expect a redesign around the same time.

And I want to quote AutoWeek on this ; "The workhorse van is expected to continue with no major updates for an indefinite period" Of course they are talking about the Econoline, which has changed little in the last decade or more. See my earlier posts on Ford's global van the Transit.

Lastly AutoWeek discusses minivans or "people movers" like the Fairlane, and the demise of the Freestar/Monterey. Ford will rely on their new crop of crossovers to fill the gap left by their departure from the minivan market. The Freestar has been a major disapointment anyway. GM is also pulling back from minivans in favor of "people movers" or crossover wagons.

Not a lot of news in this article and I've discussed most of these points in past posts, but worth the read.

Additional rant ; something was bothering me about AutoWeek's article where they discuss the Ranger. They state that the last redesing was 1993. I'm hoping that was a typo, because my memory puts it closer to 2003 (actually I think it was 2001) when the Ranger got new front sheetmetal and the new SOHC 4.0 V-6. I think that's enough to consider it a "redesign" and I believe there were other changes.What year did the Ranger switch to the torsion bar front suspension? I beleive that was after 1993. Maybe some of these changes were considered "evolutionary" but there were some major changes over that decade between 1993 and 2003. One of the guys I work with has a 2003 Ranger and he parks it next to mine (1999) from time to time and the differences are obvious. I don't want to pick on AutoWeek, but some of their errors are surprising for such a fine magazine. If there is anyone who considers themselves a Ranger expert, please comment and tell me what you think.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Piston Slap and flying spark plugs

Recently I stumbled across a couple of articles on BlueOvalNews and AutoBlog concerning two issues; Piston Slap and spark plugs blowing out of heads on Ford and other maker's full size trucks.

I will post links to the relevant articles and websites here;

Now if you've returned from reading those articles, I'll have my say.

This is just unbelievable. The Big Three rely heavily on full size truck sales, especially Ford. The thought that they could release vehicles with defects like these is absolutley scary. The Piston Slap usually shows up in the first 20,000 miles of operation and should be covered by the 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty. But the spark plugs shooting out of your Ford V-8 can wait until the 50,000 mile mark, after the basic warranty is up.

Just to keep their market share in this segment, Ford and GM should replace any motor damaged by either problem for free. Could you imagine being the owner of a late model Ford F-150 and not long after the Piston Slap starts, your spark plug blows out of the head. If it were me, and Ford didn't replace the motor, I would drive to Dearborn and set the truck on fire in their parking lot and call the local TV news to cover it.

If your bread and butter is Full Size trucks, you should do them well. Until I here about Toyota and Nissan having the same problem with their trucks, I'm going to assume Ford and GM (as well as Chrysler) are not doing their job. If I get my Mustang and either of these problems occur, you can be certain that I will be busy posting about it and emailing every auto magazine and website I can.

Come on boys (GM, Ford and Chrysler) get your act together. Hell even Kia is going to be selling trucks in the US soon. Do you see the frieght train bearing down on you yet?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Reader participation part of the month

I've been writing about what I think Ford should do and asking for feedback, but haven't recieved much. So I'm wondering, what may boost response. I've decided to ask some simple questions and see what responses I get from any of my readers. Feel free to comment here or email me at

What is your favorite Ford or partner vehicle(s)?

How many Ford or partner vehicles have you owned over the years ? (list if possible)

What are you looking for in a new Ford or partner vehicle?

Do you think Ford can recover from this downward trend?

Do you have pictures of Ford or partner vehicles that you would like to share with me and my small number of readers?

Do you currently drive a Ford or partner vehicle and if yes, what model ?

All photos can be sent to

Friday, August 12, 2005

Do you remember when?

Do you remember when Ford had the best selling car in America? It wasn't that long ago.
The Taurus through the 80's and into the 90's was the class leader. Camry and Accord were struggling to catch up as was GM. At one point Ford had the best selling truck(F serires), compact truck(Ranger), midsize sedan(Taurus) and compact (Escort). The Mustang always sold well compared to it's competition Camaro/Firebird even during the Mustang II years.

So what happened? How did Ford loose the confidence of the buyers? I know that some of those sales were fleet sales, but that doesn't explain the situation. Why did Ford allow the Taurus to degrade to the point they need two models (FiveHundred/Fusion) to replace it? How did the Focus, a great little car, loose market share the Escort held? Even though the trucks do well, why is Ford letting the Ranger rot in a stagnant funk?

What should Ford do to reclaim it's once high position? What do you think? What do you want to see out of a new Ford lineup? Should some of the models I've discussed(Fiesta, EcoSport, Falcon/Fairmont) be introduced to the US market? How about some of the concepts we've seen(427, Continental, Makr X) should they be brought to market? Is a rear wheel drive car like the Chrysler LX platform important for Ford? What about the Panther platform, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, Marauder and Town Car, are they important?

I don't know how many people actually read this blog, but if you are a regular reader, I'd love to hear your opinion. Either post a comment here or email me directly at

I think I've made my position clear, Ford has the tools to fix the problem. What do you think?

Can Ford sell 1 million F Series trucks this year?

CarBuyer's Notebook asks if Ford can surpass their own sales record and sell 1,000,000 of the F Series trucks this year. Found this on BlueOvalNews.

The question could be asked, does Ford need to blow out the trucks to meet the goal? To sell that many, they will need to be heavily discounted, but the Family Plan and now True Blue Pricing may help with the goal.

26 years as the best selling vehicle in the world, soon to be 27.

Jalopnik discusses Ford possibly bringing in Fiesta from Mexico

Some members of the Fiesta platform family, on top is the Ford EcoSport mini SUV, next is the Fiesta ST150 sport version, then the Ford Puma a sporty 2 door sold in Europe for a few years and last is the Ford Ikon, sold in South America, Asia and parts of the Middle East.

Any of these would be great additions to Ford's product mix, especially considering the flood of vehicles we can expect from China.

I would like to see the Fiesta and the EcoSport here right now.

Sad story of woman's death after jumping out of moving Ford Escape

I hate to speak ill of the dead, but read the article linked above and ask yourself how stupid this woman had to be. In a tragic case, a 53 year old woman jumped from her moving vehicle as did her teenange son. The report says that her accelerator got stuck, so she bailed out.

Wouldn't she have been safer if she stayed in the car? Doesn't the Escape have airbags?
She should have jammed on the brakes and put the car in neutral. Sure the engine may have blown, but she would be alive. She put her life at risk as well as that of her son and the driver of the truck that her vehicle hit after she bailed out. It's a tragic loss of life, but maybe somebody else will read about this and know not to jump from a moving vehicle.

How much you want to make a bet her family sues Ford? Stupidity reigns in this country and the lawyers are there to profit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

History of Ford Blue Oval logo on

I found a link at the AutoProphet for and they have a little history of the famous blue oval logo. thought it was interesting. Check it out.

Funkmaster Flex's giveaway Fusion revealed

The giveaway Ford Fusion given the treatment by Funkmaster Flex and his crew. I like it, not sure I would buy one yet, but it looks nice. Go over to BlueOvalNews to check out a full gallery on the Fusion.

Ford Edge, I must have been asleep at the wheel, didn't catch this one.

Nice looking, similar to Aviator concept. Based on Mazda platform. Somehow I missed this. Click the link to see more. Blue Oval News, talks about the photo getting out to mutliple sites ahead of Ford's wishes. I guess this will be the new Freestyle?

Ranger vs Frontier, Forbes compares and comments and then I rant again.

Forbes magazine article asks, why the Nissan Frontier doesn't sell as well as the Ford Ranger, since by their estimation it's a better truck. They point out that the Ranger has been the class leader for sales over the last 18 years. Forbes also wonders why Ford doesn't redo the Ranger to compete with the growing "Compact" truck models from the competition.

OK, here I go off on a rant. Anyone who has read my blog, will know what a great truck I think the Ranger was and could be. Just look at the recent posts below and see what the Ranger could be. The PhotoShop photo from BlueOvalNews shows a handsome truck that could easily compete, based on Explorer chassis. And while it is only a PhotoShop image, it's possible. Imagine a Ranger with a 3 valve 300 hp 4.6 L V-8, that would put Ford at the top again.

GM's new Canyon/Colorado pickups (and their Isuzu clones) are based on the chassis for the new SUVs Trailblazer/Envoy ( and SAAB, Buick, etc..) These larger GM trucks have crew cabs like all the competition and with the 5 cylinder engine put out 220hp. Now it won't be long until GM offers their 275 hp Inline 6 in this truck to compete with Dodge's optional V-8 and the likes of Nissan's 265 hp V-6.

So why does Ford allow the Ranger to just die slowly? Forbe asks why Ford sells twice as many Rangers and then says that it's because they are heavilly dicounted. Possibly, but one other factor could be the tremendous Fleet sales of Rangers. Drive down the highway and see how many base Rangers are running around with corporate logos on them. Telephone companies, exterminators, car parts distributors, cable TV, maid services and lawn care companies, the list goes on. Rangers are being propped up by cheap fleet sales. In the southern states Rangers are also good transportation for people looking for cheap reliable transport and for kids wanting to modify them. Rangers are popular with the NOPI TV crowd and lowriders. But in the more profitable end of the pool, Nissan, Toyota, Dodge and GM are doing better with their crew cab, 4x4 "compact" trucks.

But the Ranger was the king of compact trucks at one time, and could be again.
One of the biggest mistakes Ford ever made was the Explorer Sport Trac. Instead Ford should have released the Crew Cab Ranger that they sell all over the glove. GM even had a crew cab on the S-10 pickup. To be in this class, you need to offer a crew cab and a more powerful optional engine. Ford's been relying on full size trucks and SUVs for too long in North America. With the price of fuel, that's going to be unwise. The Ranger is offered with a very good diesel engine around the globe, why not here? And don't tell me it won't seel, just look at what's going on with the new Jeep Liberty diesel model, they can't build them fast enough.

Ford, give the Ranger it's due, the truck has done well for you and us as consumers, don't let it die this horrible death. Will Ranger become one of those names that has to go into the vault only to return when people have forgotten how low it sank?

The new Sport Trac is fine, but it's not going to sell in the numbers that a Ranger would.
Why is the Ranger still a sales leader around the world?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Do you have what it takes?

BlueOvalNews is looking for writers.

Do you think you're up to it? I'm not sure myself. I've been told I do a good job with my humble little blog, but that's by friends and family. I'm just a regular working guy who writes what I feel like. But if you feel you want to try, click the link and contact them.

Could you be the one?

Yankee Mustang

The AutoProphet talked about this today and I googled a photo. Ford painted up a bunch of new Mustangs in Yankee pinstripes as some sort of promotion.

I agree with AutoProphet, the stripes don't look good on the car. But they should sell in New York. I saw one at Scarsdale Ford on Central Avenue in Scarsdale NY just north of Yonkers if anyone wants to go lay down their hard earned cash.

New special Ranger model for Europe, why not here?

Ask yourself why the Ranger is the best selling truck in it's class in the UK? Could it be that Toyota and Nissan don't sell trucks in the UK? Nope, think again, it's because the Ford Ranger is the best value in it's class.

Take a look at the picture and click the link to see why I've been saying from the begining that the US deserves this version of the Ranger. Ford, are you listening?

Check out Photshop work at BlueOvalNews Forums, some nice work

This is one of the PhotoShop photos over at BlueOvalNews Forum, and you know what, I love it. This should be the new Ranger. I know I accidentally posted the same picture twice, but I like it that much. Click the link to see some of the other great work.

New reader working on XR-8 research

Well, Rob a new reader from the UK is doing some research on the South African Ford Siera XR-8. Can anyone help him out? He's got a lot of the information he needs, but could use some good quality photos also. If you have any knowledge of these fantastic South African Fords or photos, please e-mail me at or post a comment here. I will forward all info to Rob, or he may post his email in the comments section.

Just like when I was looking for information on the Wankel rotory powered Mustang, another Ford Fan is seeking assistance. Can some of you help him, like you did me?


Reader submitted article from below.

Click the link to read article on Family Plan deals the big 3 have been running.

Save money on insurance with Mustang? Apparently so.

Ford did their homework with the Mustang and now it can pay off in unexpected ways. As a result of the new design, the cost to repair collision damage has gone down and the safety has gone up. Not only that, by using the door handles from the Mazda 6 parts bin, the Mustang is more difficult to break into than before. Read the article and see how the Mustang could be a bargain in more ways than one. Unexpected dividends I'm sure .

Farm find

This past weekend, I went to a new friend's farm in the Poconos for a relaxing weekend away from work and responsability. And to my amusement, in the corner of the property was this Big Blue Lincoln sitting waiting for me to climb all over it.

It hasn't been on the road since 98 or 99, but is in nice shape. With a clean up and a little rehab it could be a fine car. The interior is 70's blue crushed velvet and the engine is big. I couldn't find much information on the car, but do know that for the right price it could be yours.

If anyone has any interest in the Lincoln, email me and I will put you in touch with the owner.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mr. Flint of Forbes discusses Ford

I found this article linked at BlueOvalNews. Jerry Flint an industry analyst discusses his views on Ford's short comings and "fuzzy" future. I don't agree with everything, but it's an interesting read. Click the link, read his article and then come back.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I will be out of town for a few days

OK, so I'm taking a vacation, long weekend, and don't anticipate posting from Thursday until Monday or Tuesday. So if you are looking for interesting reads, click on the header to go to my link page and check out the following great blogs;

AutoBlog , several guys, but Randall has always been a great read

The AutoProphet, an industry insider who has intersting posts, sometimes non automotive

CarPundit, a guy from Boston, that is mostly automotive, but always interesting

CarsCarsCars!, I may not always agree with them, but always enjoy their blog.

The AutoMuse, a very interesting Automotive blog, mostly dealing with legislative and insurance issues, but the author gets to review the ocassional car and writes well.

Blue Oval News, the unofficial Ford Employee site, with inside news and great links, Brad Barnett's site, devoted to everything Mustang with an amazing amount of information on upcoming Mustangs.

Jalopnik, this guys interesting

These are the blogs, I check on a daily basis, and are very often inspirations for my own postings. And if you don't feel like reading those blogs, then may I suggest you go to Blogger and start your own. Then let me know so I can read it daily also.

See you all next week,

First "Family Plan" and now "True Blue Pricing"

OK, so first it was the "Family Plan" Ford's version of Employee Discounts ala GM and now they announce "True Blue Pricing" click the link to BlueOvalNews above.

Is any of this really going to help raise Ford's market share? Or is all this just stealing future sales? The guys at CarsCarsCars! point out that right now the discounts seem to be hurting Used Car sales and possibly resale values.

And with the True Blue Pricing, Ford is "realigning" prices to reflect actual selling price as oposed to MSRP. Ford isn't alone in this GM is doing the same. Can "no haggle" pricing be far off? The big three aren't the only ones who haggle on price, my honey just bought a Honda(I know it's ot a Ford, but it's not mine, so don't give me grief) and they were squirming at the dealer offering discounts to move cars.

I don't claim to know what the answer is, but my opinion is this, build more intersting cars with better perception of quality and they will sell. The Fusion/Milan/Zephyr will be big indicators of Ford's ability to get out of this tailspin.

UPDATE: a reader points to a link in their comment. To make it easier for others to see that page, I will post a link above in new topic.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Brad at has updated info on 06 Mustang

Another picture of the Pony V-6 Model

Picture of 18" Bullit wheels for GT in 06

Brad stays on top of the Mustang and manages to get the best pictures and info.
I wish I had his friends, but luckily I have his URL

Click the link for updated info on 06 Mustang

Check one fan's idea of what the future Fusion SVT should look like

Click the link to see what one fellow over at Fusion Unleashed thinks the future SVT version of the Fusion should look like. Maybe Ford should listen to this guy or better yet hire him!

BlueOvalNews, pics of 2006 Explorer

For those that are interested, there is a very comprehensive gallery of photos of the 2006 Explorer. And the first shot I've seen of the new Navigation system. Click the link above or go here; and while there, check links to other info on Explorer as well as product guides for 2006 models.

They also have extensive information and links for the Fusion/Milan/Zephyr