By on August 29, 2013

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We’ll make this short and simple. Derek Kreindler’s forthright review of the new Lincoln MKZ was posted a month and three days ago. Immediately after the review went live, Derek’s next press loaner from Ford was canceled with no reason given. All further requests for Ford press loaners in Canada have been denied. On August 6th, I sent an email to Ford’s head of PR in Canada.


The email read like so:

Christine,

My name is Jack Baruth and I am the recently-appointed editor-in-chief of The Truth About Cars.

Two weeks ago we posted a review of the Lincoln MKZ that detailed significant quality and execution flaws with our test example.

It is my understanding that since the review was posted, our Canadian editor Derek Kriendler has had his previously scheduled Ford media loaners canceled. Furthermore, he has been advised that he will have no further access to Ford vehicles. I have also heard from sources within Ford media operations in the United States that Derek is on some sort of “blacklist”.

I find it rather difficult to believe that the second-largest North American automaker communicates with the press by mysteriously canceling loaners and “sending messages” through third parties. It’s passive-aggressive to a contemptible extent.

I’d like to confirm with you that no such action has in fact taken place and that there has been a misunderstanding. While I can certainly empathize with the concerns that have been voiced to me about the review, I’d rather handle them in a conversation that through some juvenile idiocy where Derek can’t get anybody at Ford to return a phone call and as a consequence he test-drives random MKZs from dealership inventory and photographs their numerous and sundry quality flaws for, oh, I don’t know, once a week for the next two months.

We stand behind the review as written but given the generally positive press we have provided for Ford products from the Shelby Mustang to the Flex Ecoboost I am surprised at this reaction. If, in fact, it is a reaction and not simply a misunderstanding.

I received no response to that email. I have called Christine twice since then, have been sent to voicemail twice, and have not received a return call. We’ve given Ford nearly a month to respond to our inquiries or to communicate with us in any way, shape, or form. No response has occurred.

It should be noted that during this episode, we received an invite to the Ford Fiesta ST program here in the United States, sent an American writer, (Matt Fink) and reviewed the vehicle. We also participated in the Boss Track Attack program and will be bringing you a review of that program in the near future. (Hint: it’s fantastic.)

As I noted in my email, this sort of passive-aggressive response is beneath a manufacturer of Ford’s stature. Unfortunately, it’s par for the course: when GM blacklisted me five years ago, the way I found out about it was by arriving at the airport to a canceled flight. GM’s PR people simply sent me to voicemail and threw my emails away. I finally got the scoop through a phone conversation with another journalist who was told to “give me the word”. When I was re-blacklisted by GM two years ago, the way I found out about it was through a rumor, apparently spread by GM personnel, that I’d crashed a CTS-V during a press event. The truth was that I shortcut Turn 16 as described here. Although there was grass in the lower grille of the car, there was no damage and the car continued to participate in the event, as did I, with no difficulty or confrontation involved. Not until I got home did I hear that I’d never be coming back. We have a word in Ohio for “men” who behave in that manner, but insofar as TTAC is family-oriented to a certain extent I won’t mention it.

You could argue, and I am certain that some of our argumentative readers will argue, that insofar as Ford of Canada refuses to directly inform me that TTAC has been blacklisted, that we have not been blacklisted but in fact simply are no longer scheduled for press loaners or events. To me, it’s effectively the same thing. I’ve been informed that a major Canadian newspaper is also enduring the “silent treatment” for an uncomplimentary MKZ review. If we can find out more, we’ll tell you.

While I can certainly understand that certain parties at Ford might be upset by our review, insofar as it pointed out numerous flaws in the MKZ that had gone unreported elsewhere, the proper way to address these concerns would be by contacting us and discussing the concerns. Was the MKZ loaner defective for a reason? Was it a pre-production car? Had it been abused or quality-tested to death? We’ll never know, because Ford’s actual response has been to attempt to punish Derek.

Ford of Canada may be under the impression that we will beg to have our access back at any cost, including the cost of sacrificing our integrity. Ford of Canada may be under the impression that TheTruthAboutCars can be intimidated or bullied into giving positive reviews to Ford products regardless of the merits of those products. Ford of Canada may be under the impression that TTAC can be manipulated through passive third-party communications and unspoken threats. They are mistaken on all counts. This site was founded because one man, Robert Farago, would not be silenced. It will continue to provide the truth about cars to the readers. This isn’t Motor Trend. We work for you, not for Ralph Gilles or Geoff Day or Terry Rhadigan or Christine Hollander. We are committed to bringing you the truth. When a Ford product is better than great (step forward, Boss 302) we’ll praise it. When it’s pretty good (hello there, Fusion Ecoboost) we’ll share that with you. When it’s not worth the money, we’ll tell you — and we did.

We’re hoping for a swift resolution of this issue with Ford of Canada. In the meantime, feel free to share your concerns with this attempt to punish the truth at Ford’s Facebook page. And if you see a Lincoln MKZ out in the wild looking like it needs some quality control, feel free to send us the picture. Perhaps a dozen photos of misaligned fuel doors will convince Ford that TTAC isn’t out to get them. Failing that, it might convince them to fix the fuel doors. We’d settle for that.

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250 Comments on “TTAC “Blacklisted” By Ford Of Canada Due To Excessively Truthful MKZ Review...”


  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    It’s the Flying Vagina all over again!

    • 0 avatar

      OMG – you STOLE my words…

    • 0 avatar

      I’m almost afraid that if I keep berating Electric vehicles and openly stating that the XTS has a better interior than the Model S, that Tesla won’t let me drive the Model X again, or make a video for my youtube :-(

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        In my International Auto Show take a seat experience, I find that:

        The Cadillac DTS had the most comfortable seat in a car, if not anywhere, that I have ever sat in. It had loads of legroom, it was heaven.

        The Cadillac XTS has rock hard over bolstered seats with gimmicky moving stuff that I couldn’t get comfortable on, it has a giant plasticky wall jammed in between the seats that bangs into my knees, it has an enormous phony leather dashboard crammed with screens and all sorts of junk. Rear legroom doesn’t come close. Not to mention it looks like a deformed Lacrosse, while the DTS looks like a proper Cadillac. Interior wasn’t as bad as the Taurus, but not as good as the 300.

        Just my experience, its possible the power wasn’t fully hooked up to mess with the lumbar as necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Well, hmmphh, I can honestly predict that Jack Baruth does not have his picture glued into the ‘Typical Lincoln Owner’s’ diarama, on the Ford marketer’s desk, next to the golden retriever. And: hooray for that!!

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “Well, hmmphh, I can honestly predict that Jack Baruth does not have his picture glued into the ‘Typical Lincoln Owner’s’ diarama, on the Ford marketer’s desk, next to the golden retriever.”

        If Lincoln wants any chance of survival Jack is the kind of person that Lincoln needs as a typical owner.

        Speaking of, I’m kind of surprized that Jack didn’t bring up his Town Car in the e-mail to Christine Hollander.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m sure that Ford’s mindset about the Panthers is that (former) customers should just get over them.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Ford got a huge backlash from former employees in Canada by spouting off how the new Taurus and Explorer police interceptors are here to “get the job done”, just mere months after the Panther cars ended production. If their former employees were treated in such an indignified way, just imagine a customer who still has a Panther. As far as Ford is concerned, the Crown Victoria never existed.

    • 0 avatar
      challenger2012

      If my memory serves me, I remember and online Car web site who had an editor who blacklisted people who made comments, he did not like. I was black listed, under a different name, for bringing up how closed the Japanese Auto market was. How much time passed before he was replaced?

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        The difference is that Lincoln quality control is in fact atrocious, while the closed japanese market-myth stll has no foundation in reality. Consumer preferences and domestic suppliers catering to these preferences better than US imports does not a closed market make.
        And please don’t start with currency, no government has enough weight and firepower to control global currency markets.

        • 0 avatar
          challenger2012

          Closed Japanese market a myth? Show me a non-Japanese Auto maker that builds in Japan? You find GM, Ford, VW, MB, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, and Kia/Hyundai all building cars in counties all over the world, but not one foreign auto maker has figured out how to build cars in Japan. What are the odds of that? By the way 14 auto parts executives have been convicted of price fixing in the USA, almost all are Japanese. Do you think the two could be related? The cozy relationship between the Japanese government and domestic car makers combined with the auto parts business that Al Capone would have used as a business model, might be the real reason not one foreign auto maker builds in Japan? And as far as US auto importers, I am writing to you from Rugby, England.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I congratulate you on having the most single-issue, laser-focused hot button I’ve ever seen on the internet from anyone who can write complete English sentences.

            You make jihadis look like slackers.

            What’d them lousy nips do to you, man?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Japan certainly has non-tariff barriers, some of which are a matter of circumstance and others that are indicative of their efforts to reduce foreign competition.

            But if all of those barriers were removed tomorrow, they still wouldn’t do a lick of good for the US auto industry. US domestic market vehicles are not well suited for export to Japan (or, for that matter, most of the rest of the world.) Does anyone honestly believe that F-150s have much of a place on Japanese roads?

            The Europeans, particularly the Germans, would benefit from a lowering of barriers. But they don’t believe that such a thing will ever happen, which would explain why they oppose an EU-Japan FTA.

          • 0 avatar
            challenger2012

            Mr. Kenmore. I do not dislike the Japanese. I worked for Yokogawa (Japanese company) for a year. What I dislike are lies being passed as facts, or someone’s personal bias being pushed as the word of God. The Japanese have closed their market, while given total access to other nation’s auto markets. I support free and fair trade, something that does not exist in the Auto market of Japan. This has cost jobs in Europe and North America. If what I am writing is a lie, I am more than willing to be shown my errors.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Energy source known as Challenger2012:

            Earth has offered her most rational and detailed arguments in earlier discussions with you, yet you remain steadfastly insistent that up is down, black is white.

            We have no option but to maintain our preparedness as we monitor your orbit.

            We hailed you today only to advise that we are resolved to avoid hostilities so long as you make no further advance into our planetary system.

            Have a good one,
            Earth

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            Maybe building cars in a ultra high-cost country, with a shrinking population who are not to keen on foreign cars anyway, does not make economic sense? No, that can’t be. Has to be a conspiracy.

            Also, I’m not sure if the absence of local production is a valid proof for a closed market. If the Japanese market was so closed, it would be an incentive for foreign makes to produce there in order to circumvent restrictions, like they currently do in Brazil.

  • avatar
    afflo

    So, these blacklistings by Detroit are a regular occurence here? Do you have similar issues with Asian and European automakers?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Ask Jack about his Panamera review.

    • 0 avatar
      zagatozee

      http://jalopnik.com/5760248/how-ferrari-spins

      Chris Harris calls Ferrari on some crazy practises and gets himself blacklisted.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      A friend and former colleague of mine was actually fired from Czech edition of Autocar magazine for writing a negative review of an Alfa 159, pointing out interior quality issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I’ve been reading TTAC for quite a while, and I’ve never heard them mention such an issue with a Japanese or Korean manufacturer.

      Europeans, yes. Americans, yes. Asians, no.

      (Does that mean it’s just not something in the Asian carmaker cultures? Or that it just manages not to happen to TTAC? No idea!)

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Personally I appreciate the honesty in car talk (especially TTAC). I’ve given up reading reviews by the major magazines. They are rarely critical of cars to ensure their advertising revenue continues and they have full access to test any vehicle they please.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      This is why Consumer Reports & TTAC are approximately only sources I bother with regarding reviews of new vehicles.

      (I love other vehicle related sites, such as Hooniverse & Curbside Classic, but they don’t have dedicated & regular feature reviews on new product per se).

      I endorse the “review via rental car” approach that Jack Baruth has cleverly engineered as an end run around despicable automaker blacklisting, even though particular makes and models can’t be easily sourced in this manner.

      I’ll be purchasing a new vehicle within 2 to 3 years, and there are few things I find more loathsome than manufacturers that are so intolerable of criticism of their products that they find it justifiable to blacklist any publication or reviewer due to anything staying within the realm of non-malicious criticism of vehicles, whether by highlighting poor driving dynamics, particular flaws or design/manufacturing defects with specific makes/models, or poor treatment of consumers of their products.

      I want the bought-and-paid for automotive fluffers (Loh, Robinson, Swan, etc.) to be relegated to the ashbin of history, as they are a pox on the cause of providing consumers access to unvarnished, unfiltered, genuinely useful & truthful information “beyond the basic specs.”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You use a lot of “that”(s) when you’re angered!

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      I noticed that too.

      Kudos to TTAC for standing up to Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @Skink

        +1

        I’ll definitely be thinking about this type of response from Ford, the next time I’m in the market for a vehicle in a segment where Ford competes.

        Also, how horrible is just not responding to communication? How long can it really take to respond to an email, or make a quick phone call? How irresponsible and just unprofessional.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    “Your reputation proceeds you”?

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Welcome to the era of breaking up with somebody via text message. Unfortunately, that’s just the way business is conducted these days. I’m not sure it’s so much passive-aggression as it is that nobody has the stones to deliver bad news anymore.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    four more years! four more years! seriously all I had in my mind while reading was jack standing in front of the US Flag like Patton. In somewhat relevance, I’ve been blocked on FocusFanatics and syncmyride.com forum for questioning ford several times about the headliner quality issues in my focus and how now that I am over 50k and its falling apart again I will have to dish out 400.00 to fix it for another 6 months, while over at syncmyride I continued to question why no word was given about the reasoning to include applink on 2013 and not 2012 foci even though it is the same radio. My respect as started to wain with Ford, even more so now that I’ve taken a job with Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The answer I got for the AppLink was “because”. The early 2012 Foci have more than their fair share of dumb QC issues. I’m not going to go into the problems I experienced. My C-Max and Focus ST from the same factory have been flawless though. I drove the ST less than a year before selling it, so it didn’t get too much wear.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        but there is no difference besides software flash in the hardware for applink its total bs if their complain is QC issues

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree. It is bs. Thats just the answer I was given with no real follow up. It’s even more baffling that they can’t get AppLink working on every car. Why the Explorer, Flex, and Edge can’t have it is ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            kjb911

            One Ford indeed… *climbs into 2014 Camaro SS and peels out*

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well you work for Chevy so I would assume you would drive one. The Cruze, Suburban, and Corvette are the only Chevys I would buy.

            I can’t get over the Hot Wheels Camaro I see every day when I drop my daughter off at daycare. It makes me unreasonably hate all other newer Camaros.

          • 0 avatar
            kjb911

            haha I was very gung-ho Ford (was more of a Pontiac fan than chevy) but this job was a great opportunity in the middle of hell that I call my now former job. I like the Hot-Wheels edition but am baffled on how for 14 they dropped yellow and orange from the exterior color choice and axed the orange interior package. Granted the refresh is definitely better looking and supposedly they are bringing a blue interior package, but no word on hot wheels model yet. It will be interesting to see if GM can keep the ball rolling with the release of the Impala, the refresh of the Malibu, and a new Cruze with hatch option for 2015 to steal from Ford’s thunder especially with quality. My Focus has slowly started to irritate me as the parts age a lot of quality control issues that I never get an answer for have crept up after I hit 50K from the aforementioned headliner, to the door panels that rattle at any hint of base to the bluetooth microphone place right above the sunroof with no filter to block wind noise

  • avatar
    rpol35

    F’em! They should blacklist themselves for building such a turd and letting Cadillac simply roll right over them.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Absolutely! So, the folks at Lincoln (Ford) read TTAC. Good, there’s been a lot of good suggestions here on how to fix Lincoln, I’m glad they read them, but the cowardly way they snubbed Derek… Well, people that build weenie faux-luxury cars like the MKZ must be weeniewannabes who really don’t need to “black-list” themselves, everyone who doesn’t buy the car because of it’s insultingly transparent fakeness has already done just that

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The MKZ has received many negative reviews. Edmunds was arguably even harsher than you guys:

    “Instead of trying to game the media, Lincoln should have designed and engineered a better car. To be successful in 2013, an entry-level luxury sedan needs a top-grade cabin with plenty of space and tidy integration of the latest technology. It should have a compliant ride quality and a smooth, refined drivetrain that pours on the power without going overboard on fuel consumption. And in all these critical areas, the redesigned 2013 Lincoln MKZ comes up short…

    …Ford says this MKZ is the future of Lincoln. The car that will save it from suffering the same fate as Mercury, Plymouth, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. But if this is the best Ford can do, we say Mulally, Fields and Farley should just cut their losses and get the headstone ready.”

    Perhaps the staff at the Canadian FoMoCo branch office need to grow some thicker skins.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I think you put that rather well with the first words of that quoted paragraph. Instead of trying to game the media, which is exactly what the boys of Lincoln were told to do while Ford figured out WTF its doing with the brand. What’s truly ironic is that we know it, they know it, but yet when asked to play the media game give and take with us, they decline and take their ball home with them. This is what you’d call, the Almighty Wizard Effect, to not look behind the curtain. This strategy didn’t work with GM ten years ago, didn’t work with political hopefuls in the past six years, and is definitely not going to work with a savvy crowd that actually, dare we say it?, appreciate cars.

      I was willing to give the MKS a break. To take a look at it on my own as my experience may be different than Jack’s, but after this, they can get bent.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        This is presumably a make-or-break car for Lincoln. Unfortunately for them, Ford corporate gave them just a fraction of the money that they need to implement a full turnaround.

        In effect, Lincoln has been ordered to take family cars, and to transform them into luxury cars on a shoestring budget, while moving away from badge engineering. That costs money that they weren’t given to spend. At best, that’s expecting too much. At worst, it’s cynicism raised to an artform.

        At a certain level, I can understand the frustrations of the PR department. In the battle against the Germans, Lincoln is the Polish army; the situation is that hopeless.

        • 0 avatar
          Monty

          I’d take that a bit further – at least the Polish Army fought back. I’d compare the Lincoln Motor Company to the French Army, which rolled over like a submissive dog.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I would say that Lincoln has done an admirable job when you consider the size of their budget.

            However, that does not mean that the results are all that admirable. They were provided a billion dollars to revamp the entire lineup. They probably needed four times that much to do the job properly.

            Ford corporate isn’t that serious about Lincoln. Under the One Ford plan, there is no benefit to be derived from a brand that lacks international potential.

            And in any case, it pains me to say that the sedan is becoming less relevant by the day. At the rate that things are going, midsized family sedans will also become a low-volume niche product that will fulfill the role of providing cost amortization to crossover-oriented platforms. The future belongs to taller vehicles, and that’s where the investment dollars should be going.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Pch-

            Your point about sedans being a cost amortization for crossovers is already the case at Ford. The Focus and Taurus sedans are afterthoughts compared to the hatchbacks, MPVs, and crossovers built on similar platforms. The only Ford sedan that doesn’t get outsold in the US by its crossover cousin is the Fusion. Who knows what will happen once the Edge is redone.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            I wouldn’t give Lincoln that much credit. I get that they don’t have development money to build their own cars. So it’s reskinned Fords or nothing.

            Their reskins, other than maybe the MK whatever their version of the Flex is, don’t even achieve the presence of the rental cars they started with.

            There’s no boldness. No heritage. No flag. Nothing at all.

            How much did Chrysler spend to turn the old 300 into the new 300? Into the Challenger? Reskins don’t have to fail like that.

          • 0 avatar
            cornellier

            @Monty When is TTAC going to bring in filtering so people can hide this kind of wank. (Please excuse any offence to trolling bigots worldwide).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “How much did Chrysler spend to turn the old 300 into the new 300?”

            That comparison doesn’t work well to describe this situation.

            The Chrysler Group products such as the 300 are built on platforms inherited from the Daimler era. Chrysler had no choice but to find ways to squeeze more life out of what it already has; it coudn’t have done things differently, even if it wanted to.

            Ford doesn’t yet have those types of platforms to donate to Lincoln. And since Lincoln offers little profit potential, there isn’t much reason to develop one (although one would hope that the future Mustang could provide that oppportunity later.)

            Cadillac is chasing the Germans with unique RWD cars, and I’m willing to bet that effort will prove to be a failure. Cadillac isn’t a global brand, but the US market is no longer large enough to support a standalone luxury brand. From a business standpoint, Ford is making the better decision.

  • avatar

    Its a True item, Ford here in Canada should be ashamed of this, in fact orders like this would have had to come from Detroit Head Office as Ford here in Canada is nothing as compared to Detroit Head Office!

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    If you want better reviews, make a better product. I will say though that my wife’s 2013 Fusion Hybrid, built on the same assembly line, is screwed together pretty well, but it wasn’t built until late June, after Ford shipped a bunch of cars north to examine the defects of the cars coming off the line.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    This is one of the advantages in the way CR does reviews…they’re not dependent on press fleet access. They buy off the lot and review. Maybe we need more media outlets to do that in order to preserve integrity, if this is the sort of thing manufacturers pull.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      This is why Consumer Reports & TTAC are approximately only sources I bother with regarding reviews of new vehicles.

      (I love other vehicle related sites, such as Hooniverse & Curbside Classic, but they don’t have dedicated & regular feature reviews on new product per se).

      I endorse the “review via rental car” approach that Jack Baruth has cleverly engineered as an end run around despicable automaker blacklisting, even though particular makes and models can’t be easily sourced in this manner.

      I’ll be purchasing a new vehicle within 2 to 3 years, and there are few things I find more loathsome than manufacturers that are so intolerable of criticism of their products that they find it justifiable to blacklist any publication or reviewer due to anything staying within the realm of non-malicious criticism of vehicles, whether by highlighting poor driving dynamics, particular flaws or design/manufacturing defects with specific makes/models, or poor treatment of consumers of their products.

      I want the bought-and-paid for automotive fluffers (Loh, Robinson, Swan, etc.) to be relegated to the ashbin of history, as they are a pox on the cause of providing consumers access to unvarnished, unfiltered, genuinely useful & truthful information “beyond the basic specs.”

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ve gotta wonder how they can buy as many cars as they do each year, and not have some of their shoppers be recognized. (Or does the “buys a new car every damn year” apply here?)

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    This is so stupid. It’s a very good way to lose all the goodwill that Ford has built up after the bailout fiasco. Do they figure that taking their toys home in a snit will garner them praise?

    Goodbye and good riddance!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It may be stupid and incomprehensible for the rest of us, but automakers take criticisms of their best efforts very seriously.

      Because ttac is such a widely read site, not only by fans and enthusiasts, but also by representatives of ALL automakers selling in North America, a less-than-favorable review of their best efforts reveals weaknesses to their competitors.

      I’m glad to see ttac get back to its Farago-roots of telling it like it is, warts and all. For a while there, the UAW-planted shills and manufacturer-planted PR people were spinning things like a top on ttac, aided and abetted by the know-it-all trolls who criticized anyone who was not enamored with a vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Dimwit

        But it is obvious that this was far from their “best effort”. I can see getting blacklist for slamming a vehicle that is fine but just not to taste. You don’t like small 4 door sedans? Then don’t trash it. Don’t even review it. Hand it off to someone else to do a proper review. I’m sure everyone will think that’s fair.

        This wasn’t that. The car had serious flaws, both in design but mostly in execution and there were pictures to prove it. Ford would have been far, far wiser to own up to it and just say that there had been a line error. If they were really smart, they would have sent another car over to rereview and that one would’ve been gone over with a fine tooth comb! By shooting the messenger it certainly sends a message but not one favourable to Ford.

        In the old days of limited access and long lead times the manufacturers could get away with games like this. It’s now 2013. Digital media reigns. Instant communication is de rigeur. PR firms are going to have to get on top of this stuff or all the money in the world spent on ads won’t be able to cover the stink.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        No offense intended, but as I only discovered this site last year and have never heard it mentioned anywhere, is TTAC really that widely read? Honestly that gives me hope in humanity since it is miles ahead of any other car site I’ve seen (or the large majority of any genre of journalism lately).

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I found this site when I was shopping for a new car and I was looking for some honest un-sugar coated reviews, all my google searches lead me here

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            If you wanted UN-sugar, you came to the right place. Check out this review from six years ago, when Farago was still in charge:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/09/pontiac-grand-prix-review/

        • 0 avatar

          GM’s Mark Reuss has commented here. I know from talking to other executives and the reaction I get from PR people is that TTAC is read within the industry. Just look how many informed insiders comment here.

          Also, the site is influential in the automotive journalism world in a couple of ways. We’re regularly read by others in this particular biz. Jalopnik often links to us in their Must Reads (a classy move on their part considering the criticism we sometimes send their way and I know that Matt Farah’s Smoking Tire podcasts mention TTAC or our writers on a fairly regular basis.

          The second way the site is influential in the autojourno world is this partial list of publications where current or former TTAC writers have contributed:

          Autoweek
          Motor Trend
          Road & Track
          Car & Driver
          Hemmings Motor News
          Wall Street Journal

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I can understand the blacklist. As a manufacturer, there really is no point to providing media vehicles to a news source that is going to lambast your product. I think Chrysler had blacklisted Top Gear at some point. TTAC wasnt the only news outlet to blast the MKZ though, although much of criticizm I am aware of was really directed at the Lincoln brand more than the quality of the vehicle. The reality is they cannot keep the product out of your hands, they can only control the media vehicles, so it is really a pointless endeavor for a manufacturer to blacklist TTAC to avoid a bad review.

    I suppose from the manufacturers perspective, by blacklisting media outlets deemed “haters”, at least they are not paying your expenses to generate a negative review. That I can certainly understand.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I agree to an extent, but it isn’t as though all TTAC does is bash Ford. If every company who released a bad product, which then got an understandably bad review, blacklisted media outlets as a result, we would have very few reviews of any type left.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      The way I read this is that the issue isn’t that TTAC is being blacklisted – it’s that FoC doesn’t have the balls to face them and confirm it.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I personally didn’t enjoy TTAC’s MKZ review. The tone of the article struck me as nick picking, and in the end we still didn’t really know how the car drove. You should take a lesson from John Davis of Motorweek, whom has the ability to slam a car with tact and brevity. It’s a great skill set to develop, and would be welcomed in future reviews.

      Translation (without tact): Are you stupid!?! Feeling sorry for yourself, for something you caused yourself? Your move first TTAC: say you’re sorry.

      • 0 avatar
        SayMyName

        C’mon, now, be honest. Have you ever seen John Davis or Motorweek “slam” anything? Their so-called reviews are harmful to diabetics.

        The MKZ isn’t a terrible vehicle, just woefully inadequate for its pricetag and intended mission – as Derek and innumerable other reviewers have pointed out.

        • 0 avatar
          Blackcloud_9

          Personally, I love Motorweek but I will agree with you their reviews are generally pretty “soft”. I’ve learned to read (hear) between the lines of their reviews. If there is something they don’t like about a car, like gas mileage or handling, it is usually sandwiched in-between a couple of things they do like.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            John Davis/Motorweek enjoy a lot of perks from the manufacturers they review. Public funding is only part of the bennies that carry them.

            I DVR Motorweek every Saturday for viewing on my schedule, but I don’t assign them as much weight as CR or ttac.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          “Their so-called reviews are harmful to diabetics.”

          Quote-of-the-day!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Motorweek doesn’t go further than a mild zest of lemon when they totally hate a car. Any negative thing is always backed up with four positive things. I’ve seen tons of their reviews dating back to the early 80s, and all of them have been filled to the brim with fluff.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          While MotorWeek reviews have always skewed positive, they used to be far less saccharine. Recall that they used to finish each review with lists of “MW Hits” and “MW Misses” for each car. See, for example, this 1988 review of the Maserati Biturbo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF5RjmEGgc8

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Agreed 100%. Slam the car allright, but i actually didn’t like Derek’s review. It read like a rant, not a vote of no confidence.

        Pch101 quoted Edmunds above… drilled the car, but with a certain degree of class, outlining the issues rather than emotions. I’d say that’s the way to go.

        I hate to say this, but there’s a lesson for TTAC here. And before you judge me for saying this. screw Lincoln MKZ in its current shape.

      • 0 avatar
        David Walton

        Can you please elaborate on WHY slamming a car with “tact and brevity” is a skill set to which we should accord value?

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          Because people won’t take you seriously if you’re tactless and bloviating.

          Was that even a serious question?

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Yes.

            Derek is neither tactless nor prone to overlong, bloviating reviews.

            The original poster’s tone implied that slamming, criticizing, negging, etc. a car without appearing to do so was valuable.

        • 0 avatar
          WaftableTorque

          David, I only bring up Motorweek because they can complain about a car well. The article in question seemed to be clumsily handled.

      • 0 avatar
        potatobreath

        For John Davis, nearly every car he tested did not have enough gauges in the instrument panel. He could make people like a Lumina or a Cavalier.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, I hate to be a nitpicker, but it’s nit, as in the larvae of lice.

      • 0 avatar

        “tact and brevity”

        You mean like saying the Panamera was a nice sedan?

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “The tone of the article struck me as nick picking, and in the end we still didn’t really know how the car drove.”

        Because the capsule review was primarily about build quality, not driving dynamics.

        It didn’t purport to be a comprehensive review in detail (though the lack of specific mention, good or bad, of handling, suggests that it handles just-like-a-Fusion).

        He did complain about transmission lag and shift lag, though.

        Build quality is something that matters when it’s notionally a luxury car, with a luxury car price.

        It *cannot possibly* drive so well that the build issues are justified at that price; the issues he highlighted would make me wary of a $25k Charger or Camry, let alone a $47.6k MKZ.

        (Ford Canada, if they thought otherwise, should have written back saying so, and explaining how the build issues weren’t Real Problems or Had Been Fixed.

        A silent blacklist and never replying?

        Sarcastic Classy.)

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      If you’re afraid that the press is going to lambast your product, maybe you need to re-think your product. If you hand someone a bad product, and they tell you it’s bad, is it your fault for creating a bad product, or their fault for daring to tell people that you made a bad product?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        There are always going to be people who don’t like your product. Just look at the Tundra pickup truck, as an example. The numb nuts panned it!

        When it came out in 2007 it was so far ahead of its competition that everybody compared themselves to it in ads on TV. The Tundra turned the pickup truck world upside down in 2007. Still, the numb nuts panned it!

        Now everybody’s got what Tundra had back then, except for that marvelous, that magnificent, all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC 5.7-liter V8. And yet, the numb nuts are still panning it.

        I’m certain that there must be people who love the MKZ as much as I love my Tundra.

        As CJ in SD wrote, “Detroit brands are more satisfying when you don’t know what you’re missing.”

        Maybe the criticism of the MKZ was well-justified and potential buyers may have been made aware of the fact that there was better out there.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          As long as Chevy and Dodge don’t switch to DOHC, they will be doing fine.
          Toyota could go a long way by getting rid of the inefficient and heavy DOHC setup.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I think there is a place for pushrods. There always was, and there always will be.

            But after my 1988 Silverado and my 2006 F150, I know what I like, and it’s that Tundra 5.7-liter engine.

            You haven’t lived until your hear that big boy spin up going up the mountain on US82 with a trailer loaded with 4-tons of brick and mortar. That 5.7 has a soft whine instead of the clanging and banging, moaning and groaning, screaming of the pushrod engines I used to have.

            That 5.7 has a lot less weight than the cast-iron GM 350 and Ford 5.4 over the front wheels and it makes MY tundra handle a lot nicer, sharper and crisper, without all that nose diving and plowing around sharp turns.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Is the Toyota DOHC V8 really that heavy? For reference the Coyote V8 that is used in the Mustang and F150 weighs about the same dressed as the LS engine in your Hummer, both are right around 440 pounds (well the all aluminum LS engine)

            Also define inefficient; Power Density? Packaging? Mechanical Friction? Et Al.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          “Now everybody’s got what Tundra had back then,”

          What?

          Everyone has a tailgate that can’t support a load properly on it? No I don’t think so.

          Everyone has ergonomics that are just flat out laughable? No I don’t think so.

          So what did Toyota exactly bring to the pickup game? Nothing more than what Nissan did. Hence why it’s not a “game changer”, and sells no where near the 200K “bulls eye” that Toyota set out.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The fact that the Tundra sells at all in the US should be surprise to any analyst since the Tundra attracts a unique clientele — a clientele that knows exactly what it wants and is willing to pay more for it.

            No matter what numbers the Tundra sells, each is one less sale for Ford, GM and RAM.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You think so? I think the people who buy Tundras might be people who weren’t sure they were ready to trade their Corollas in on a pick-up, so they got the Tundra

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Speaking only for myself, what got me hooked was the test drive in a 2010 Tundra 5.7. It was so nice, I hated to get out of that Tundra.

            I had driven my 2006 F150 to El Paso, TX, on business and decided to drop in on the Toyota dealer that had sold us our 2008 Highlander.

            (Besides, I had to pee real bad and the dealership was right there where I was driving on I-10.)

            They remembered me alright. And the salesmanager who had closed the deal on our 2008 Highlander jokingly asked me, “When are you going to trade that Ford and get into a decent truck?”

            Hmmmmm. He said, “name your poison”. “Try it, you’ll like it”, so I got into the nearest 2010 Tundra from where we were standing on the lot. The key was already in it since it was a tester.

            He didn’t get in, which surprised me, but he told me, “Take it for spin! I’ve got too much to do.”

            I took it for a nice spin on I-10 and around the area, and by the time I got back, I was hooked.

            But the dealership wasn’t ready to deal with me. It was their way or the Highway. They had padded the MSRP with all sorts of totally useless crap like Silicone Sun Protection, etc.

            But I knew what my new truck would be for 2011 as I drove home in my 2006 F150 rattle trap.

            I’m damn happy with my decision to buy the Tundra, but more so because of that excellent 5.7.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            While I think the Tundra is a fine truck, many times I hear on TTAC that the market knows best, and its “Detroit fanbois” that argue when the sales are not there but they insist the product is fine; its just perception. Is you unabashed support for the Tundra just the same thing? BTW, you do better when you write your own thoughts, not the regurgitated tired opinions of someone else.

          • 0 avatar

            One funny Tundra story I heard was from a friend who lived in NYC and was fairly avoved city dweller. He drove an old Eclipse and tumbed the nose at the stupid rednecks. His wife drove an econobox of some kind, albeit relatively new. All that changed after the hurricane. During the flood he escaped the city in a truck of a neighbour. So he went and bought the baddest a** Tundra he could swing, just in case. I asked why Tundra, and apparently he could not bring himself to look at F-150 even now, so this was a compromise with his conscience. I really wanted to mention that Tundra is made in Texas, but decided not to be a d*ck to the shaken man.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            golden2husky, if “BTW, you do better when you write your own thoughts, not the regurgitated tired opinions of someone else.” was meant for me, these really are my true feelings about the Tundra. I owned both a 1988 Silverado AND the 2006 F150 at the time I test drove the 2010 Tundra 5.7.

            But don’t misconstrue my current enjoyment of my Tundra with some kind of misguided loyalty. If Tundra is forced to drop the 5.7 in the future because of EPA and CAFE mandates, I’ll step up to an F250 with the biggest V8 gas-motor I can buy at that time.

            Ford makes the best HD trucks on the planet — no doubt about it. Most of my Traveling Elks brethren drive them, and those who don’t, wish they did.

            Pete Zaitcev, yeah, I was surprised at how well that “Imported from San Antonio” Tundra was put together.

            When I picked it up at the dealer it had not been prepped yet, still had the plastic on the seats and the stickers all over the glass. I told them I would take care of it when I got home, “just give me a full tank of gas.”

            You know, I have never had to go back to the dealer for anything. It gets used every day and I use it often to haul respectable loads with it, up mountains.

            That Tundra does everything my 1988 Silverado and my 2006 F150 did but the Tundra does it better, smoother, and with more comfort and finesse than either of my former trucks. I have more than 50K miles on it now. Still no problems, so far.

            The OEM tires wore out faster than I expected, or maybe I don’t wear them all the way down to the carcass before replacing them. But a new set of Michelins took care of all that.

            Yeah, all things being equal, I’d buy another Tundra in a heartbeat. Storm or no storm.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            HDC: not a reference to the Tundra; I agree it really is a good truck. I refer to your recycling of CJ’s comment, that’s all. The essence of your feelings is delivered better when you frame the thoughts yourself. Kind of like when Mikey writes. You can almost see him speaking as he writes….same for you…no offense meant.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            golden2husky, no offense taken.

            And as far as CJ’s quotable quote: it’s noteworthy. It’s is concise and to the point, and expresses an entire concept succinctly. A word-smith could not have done any better.

            I am an avid collector of notable quotable quotes and have amassed and huge collection.

            We are often bombarded with great things that our leaders and other great men have said, like Abraham Lincoln, who wrote in his personal diary when he was struggling, “I will study and be ready, and maybe the chance will come.”

            How about quotable quotes from everyday kinda people? They’re no less important than the big wigs.

            When choosing to comment on this site or others, I put down what I think and correct the misspellings before I hit the “Submit Comment” button.

            I don’t re-read, restructure or otherwise re-evaluate what I have said. I communicate a thought without first verbalizing it. IOW, I don’t put a whole lot of thought in it beyond what I want to state.

            In the interest of brevity, I have been known to miscommunicate because I did not expound on my thoughts. I’ve been called on that several times by very astute individuals, and they were right.

            Then again, this is ttac. Informative as ttac is, submitting a comment is not a matter of life or death, profit or loss, like the White Papers I used to write in my advisory capacity. Those took a lot of constructive thought and vocalization.

            I’ll be gone for a while starting next week. We’re going to spend time in Wyoming at a family gathering and family-business strategizing sessions.

            With no internet access other than my wife’s S4, I won’t be surfing except to pull up some apps while on the road to see where the nearest gas&sip is. I’m going to miss relaxing with ttac articles.

            We’ll be taking the Grand Cherokee for this trip. My 16-year old grand daughter will be using the Tundra to help her other grandfather (Tom) with moving to his winter ranch at a lower altitude.

            (That girl has become extremely fond of my Tundra……)

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Better than GM trucks where the tail gate falls off.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The only thing that MotorWeek is good for is proving that the British model for public television is superior to the American one.

      TopGear can say what it likes because it’s too large for automakers to ignore. In contrast, MotorWeek’s reviews have all of the veracity of a wet poodle with a broken leg because PBS’s tiny low-budget car show doesn’t have enough power as a media outlet to take on the PR departments of the major automakers.

      In light of J. May’s comments about Lincoln not being a true luxury brand, I have to wonder what his fate will be. Perhaps he’ll find himself with enough spare time on his hands to have long lunches with Joel Ewanick and that aspiring CEO who was just fired from Renault for dreaming in public.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As I see it, TTAC is having a hard time living down their past. Ford would be wise,to note the dramatic change here at TTAC. I’m writing as one that’s been here since the beginning. These days TTAC is certainly living up to its name. The “Truth”,however distastfull some may find it, is what this site is all about

    In the last few weeks TTAC has been fair,and balanced. Something that was lacking in the past.

    Jack, Derek.. Do what you need to do to maintain the momentum,and build on what you started a few weeks ago.

    If Ford or anybody else doesn’t want to read the “truth”, well,thier loss!

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “TTAC is having a hard time living down their past.”

      They sure do. Within days of that MKZ review, “TTAC Staff” assigned a negative meaning to an intentionally ambiguous Alan Mulally quote about China and then set up a straw man so they could imply he was anti American.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the MKZ review had nothing to do with the blacklisting.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Not that I would have bought a Ford in the first place because of their blatant fuel economy lies when they know the truthful numbers. But now they’re blacklisting a site that has a lot of eyes on it on a daily basis.

    Seems like Ford is run by a pile of petulant teenagers that don’t like to hear any criticism. You built a turd and tried to pass it off as a premium car and it failed.

    Ford management: don’t be a bunch of little girls. Fix the problems and then beg/ask TTAC to re-review the new and improved model (now with properly aligned panels!) and everything will be okay. And don’t blacklist them because that’s just stupid and pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The same could be said about the NEW!, IMPROVED!!, BETTER THAN EVER!!! GM.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @HDC

        Just as Toyota makes some not great vehicles, GM makes some pretty good cars. Reading through your comments I always find myself confused with you: on the one hand, you’re a huge Toyota fanboy. On the other, you sound like a great person.

        I sat in a Venza, a vehicle I find to be REALLY attractive, and I wanted to cry at how bad the build quality was. Same with the new Avalon. Likewise, my Chevy Equinox is a pretty decent vehicle for the money, but the fuel efficiency is a joke. Each brand has ups and downs.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          tuffjuff, I am only a Toyota fan when it comes to our 2008 Japan-built Highlander and MY 2011 Tundra.

          The Highlander was our first-ever new foreign car and the Tundra hooked me in 2010 when I test drove one and had to drive home in my 2006 F150 clunker.

          It was like stepping from heaven and into hell! That much of a difference, but at a price. Nothing comes free. I could have bought a 2011 F150 for around $29K but chose to pay almost $35K (all in) for my 2011 Tundra with fewer options. Sometime less IS more, even if it cost more.

          I’ve been very lucky with both the Highlander and the Tundra but I would not advocate buying anything else Toyota made in the US with parts furnished by US suppliers.

          My wife’s got three younger sisters who bought North American-made Highlanders, a 2009, a 2010 and 2011 model and they do not compare to our 2008 in fit, finish, quietness, comfort, ride, handling, and all have been recalled for one thing or another. No need to go there.

          I’ve got friends who were instrumental in me buying that 2008 Highlander for ourselves, and those same friends swear by their old Toyota products, but have sworn off the new crop from Toyota. I kid you not.

          As far as me being a great person? I’m not. If someone is not a member of my family (blood or married to blood) or an otherwise close friend, I steer clear of any and all.

          Over the decades past, people have proven themselves to be the worst things on this planet.

          And because of my past life experiences I have become a firm believer in doing unto others BEFORE they do unto me.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Interesting – my parents just got a new Camry hybrid.

          And the interior is beautiful and seemingly very well assembled, in my “sat in it while we drove around town” time in it.

          Makes me wonder if it’s a per-plant issue or what?

          (I’m generally pro-Toyota and anti-GM, myself, but I’ll happily admit that some of those GM cars are quite handsome or provide excellent value.

          Disclosure: The only GM car I ever owned was a Geo Metro, which means it wasn’t really a GM car. I loved it, though. Go, Suzuki.)

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The new ‘yotas are a letdown, IMHO, in terms of interior quality. Just the look and feel screams “cheap!” And that’s just sitting in one at the auto show! Last year, the new Camry wasn’t as good as the outgoing Accord! And this year, I was shaking my head as I got out of the new RAV4 and Avalon!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ve been in a new Rav which was a rental. The interior was so cheap that I was offended.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Corey, I have an Equinox rental currently, and honestly, I am shocked at how much more refined it is in terms of ride quality, interior quietness, and biggest shocker of all, steering feel, compared to either the RAV-4 or CRV.

            It also has a much larger rear seat than either, and the front seats are remarkably comfortable.

            Ait has 14,000 miles on the odometer, it tracks straight and true, has NO rattles, and feels like it’s two classes of premium above the RAV or CRV, IMO.

            The 2.4 liter is also a revelation to me, especially given my past views on the poor level of refinement of old GM 4 bangers.

            I loathe CUVs in general, but this Equinox is a revelation, given the trim I am was given can probably be purchased new for around 22k, and it’s more solid, quiet and comfortable than vehicles I’ve driven that cost 8k more.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      @brettc;
      As the father of a little girl who routinely stands her ground, speaks her mind and takes her lumps I’d ask you to consider if you really meant “don’t be a bunch of pillow biters.” It’s not gender specific, ageist or aimed at a specific sexual orientation, and manages to be MUCH more offensive.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Eh, Fords just a bunch of wimps these days, its why we get no Fiesta ST coupe.

  • avatar

    Quote: Perhaps a dozen photos of misaligned fuel doors will convince Ford that TTAC isn’t out to get them.

    Perhaps delivered to them directly, yes.
    Perhaps.
    However, a dozen photos of misaligned fuel doors published on this site will probably further convince Ford that TTAC is out to get them.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It may have been an effort on the part of the UAW assemblers to deliberately throw a monkey wrench in the works with their shoddy assembly.

      Hey, it’s happened before! No doubt it will happen again, and again, and again, until they all get paid what their CEO gets paid and their employer has been driven into bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        faygo

        @highdesertcat :

        did you miss the part where the MKZ/Fusion are built in Hermosillo, where there isn’t UAW representation ? and where traditionally, they’ve had better quality results when building the same product as a UAW plant (C170 Focus being the last time they were building the same product) ?

        other than the fuel door issue, nothing in Derek’s review is a quality issue. if something breaks or wears our prematurely or wears poorly, that’s quality. if you don’t like the way something looks or feels, it’s craftsmanship. if you don’t like the function, it’s a poor design.

        the people in the plant (whether they are in a union or not) control the degree to which they execute the assembly plan they are given for the vehicle they are asked to build. if they do their job, you get exactly what the engineers and designers intended.

        please also note that this should not be taken in any way as an endorsement or dis to union or non-union assemblers, it’s a pet peeve of mine when “quality” is thrown out in discussions.

        the provenance of the car Derek had isn’t clear and might indeed have been a non-Job #1 car, or been damaged previously. the people who prep cars before they are given to anyone to drive are likely in hot water as well if the fuel door fault was something they knew to be looking for/checking. this sort of thing has happened in the past – go look for Motor Trend’s first drive of the current Explorer. they got a preproduction car and torched it, while noting that even if the pre-production issues were not present, they still didn’t like it. there was accompanying change in company policy as to what sort of vehicles were given to who, when. a re-tested Explorer to Job #1 spec didn’t fare much better in the next MT story IIRC, but they seem to selling reasonably well, so who knows.

        (edit as hadn’t finished my thought and hit submit for some reason)

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ hdc….with all due respect sir. Contrary to what you may believe,the assembly line worker has very little input to build quality.

        Ford sets the standards. Ford supplies the material. Ford supplies the tools. The Ford assembly processs is monitored, and inspected. In my 36 years working in all aspects of car build, I maybe saw 5 examples of deliberate shoddy workmanship. They were all isolated incidents,and were dealt with harshly.

        I know of a few cases where the discipline,was NOT handled by management. However,it was handled, and the culprit didn’t try it a second time.
        Its been five years since I last saw the plant floor. The culture was changing then. People tell me now,that I wouldn’t recognize the place. I believe them.

        If Ford allowed an inferior product to go to the dealers? Then it the management at Ford that should shoulder the blame.

        Certainly not the hourly,and low end salary workers,that were merely working with the tools given to them.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        How’s that UAW Mexican Labor coming along? Oh that’s right, it doesn’t exist.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Hey, you guys don’t miss anything. (LOL!)

        I have to cop a plea to trolling here, and by God, it worked. Some people actually fell for it.

        Just checking if anyone was reading my rants.

        Faygo and SC5door, you guys I can understand, but Mikey!?

        Mikey, you should know me better than that! We’ve been on these boards seems like forever.

        Actually, what happened was: I was upgrading my buddy’s Garmin online because his PC is too old, and while it was grinding away, out of sheer boredom, I thought I’d give a peptalk for the Mexican UAW brethern perusing this site.

        In retrospect, I didn’t think ANYONE would take me seriously! And least of all Mikey.

        So please forgive me and blame my indiscriminate reference to the Mexican UAW affiliates on the balky-ness of Garmin’s lengthy update routine.

        Yes, I knew where it was made.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @hdc…Okay, you got me Dude!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It did put a sh!t-eatin’ grin on my face…

            I don’t know what possessed me. Maybe it’s time for a vacay.

            We’ll be going to Wyoming for a family gathering and family business-strategy next week for a couple of weeks, so maybe I needed to get my mischievousness out of my system with this topic.

            Hell, maybe it was just Garmin’s update routine that made me blow a gasket and spring a leak.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Does anyone know wth the lower grille is asymmetrical for? I can’t stop noticing it now.

      http://media.caranddriver.com/images/12q4/488202/2013-lincoln-mkz-awd-grille-and-badge-photo-490190-s-1280×782.jpg

      Sorry for the moderate irrelevance of the comment

      • 0 avatar
        faygo

        my guess is that the auto cruise control sensor is here when specified. and the open space isn’t required for cooling, so it’s blocked off. the amount of actual air which modern cars need to cool and intake air for combustion is very small, but you often end up with way too much of a “grille” blocked off for aero reasons.

  • avatar
    Monty

    I posted on the Ford of Canada FB page, and linked to this article. Let’s see how long it stays up.

    Rather than be petulant about the review, it would behoove Ford, and other manufacturers, to acknowledge and correct flaws as illustrated by reviews such as this.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I dont think its necessarily “Ford” or “GM” per se… its more their PR and the failure of management to correct this behaviour… I deal with PR people and seriously, these nutcases are up there with HR and Law as far as petulant scumbags go

    what does it take to get into PR? what sort of personality gravitates towards this profession? what sort of qualifications does one need?

    dont hate Ford, hate the game

    I look at it from Ford’s angle. Someone greenlighted this $50k piece of shit. They gotta ride this all the way to the very end. They’re in the business of selling this pile to as many wood ducks as possible. Good luck.

    It puzzles me how this happens in 2013 it really does.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I just hope this gets sorted out before the 2015 Mustang gets released! Anyways…amateur hour on the part of FMCoC. Surely they teach in business school these days that the only thing worse than bad press is bad press about a bad reaction to bad press.

  • avatar
    wei

    … Kriendler is the guy who did the Range Rover 2013 review?

    It might not be a “journalistic integrity” issue as much as “tone”.

    I remember that RR review because it kind of irritated me (and believe me, as a longtime Range Rover owner I am used to hearing people talk crap about my car ALL THE TIME, so it’s not the mere fact he didn’t like it. Though his apparent inability to distinguish between wood and plastic did not help his case either. Oh, and a couple of months after that he writes a glowing review for a Toyota offroad vehicle because going offroad is apparently fun… and he reveals he’d never actually done any offroading before, which might have been worth mentioning in the RR review).

    • 0 avatar
      romanjetfighter

      +1. It might not have been what he said, but how he said it, particularly for that one MKZ review. I’m not a Lincoln or Ford fanboy, by the way.

      I mean, look at what’s on the blogs today. Guy who works at Ford says Lincoln’s not true luxury. Lots of honest, candid stuff said about Lincoln even by its own guys.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      If they feel that way, there are two dozen easy ways to contact me or our owners about it. I’d discuss those concerns with FoC any time they felt like it.

      • 0 avatar
        wei

        well in that case, the question might become “who owes what to whom?”, as in, ok there are 2 dozen easy ways to contact you, but what’s in it for them/should they bother? You owe them nothing, but neither do they owe you anything, maybe?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It would be appropriate to offer an explanation as to why TTAC is blacklisted.

        • 0 avatar

          Who owes what to whom. Easy question. A journalist owes an obligation to tell the truth to his audience. A journalist does not owe an obligation to the auto company to ensure continued access to product, cushy overseas trips to scenic Italian towns, luncheon buffets, etc.

          However, access to all those luxuries can be denied if the journalist rips a car. It’s a quid pro quo, and it’s unspoken, but the relationship between not ripping a product and continued access is clear.

          The automaker owes an obligation to its shareholders to maximize profit. It is difficult to maximize profit by building crappy cars, typically.

          Those are the obligations we are dealing with here. I hope that’s helpful.

          • 0 avatar
            Chicago Dude

            ” A journalist owes an obligation to tell the truth to his audience.”

            If you aren’t paying for it, you aren’t the customer.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Audience and customer aren’t the same thing, though.

            If you’re a “journalist” you owe your audience truth – and sell ads to your customer as a side effect of maintaining that audience and its trust.

            If you’re a hack whoring for pageviews, you serve your customer (the ad buyer) first, and meh, the audience will sort itself out.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Why is talking about going offroad important in a RR review? Do people who buy them new take them offroad?

      • 0 avatar
        wei

        (1) I did.

        (2) if you can get a car with a top speed of x mph and you never take it close to x mph, does that mean you should not have got it?

        (3) would you like a Ferrari?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Fair enough. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have bought it. It’s a beautiful car that I would love to own. I could say the same for any 4×4 truck/jeep sold in the US. How many really go offroading?

          I drive a 5000 lb, 360 HP, borderline ugly Lincoln (its growing on me). I’m not in a spot to critique vehicle buying decisions of other people, even if I love my MKT.

          And if I bought a new Ferrari, I would certainly track it. The last Ferrari I drove, a 1967 275 GTB, I would not track.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      That Land Rover review seemed more than fair to me. A bit snarky, but fair.

      The Land Rover is amazingly impressive offroad (I did the hey-this-is-cool demo loop they had set up at MotoGP Laguna Seca), and if Land Rover wanted to loan me a press car, I’d test it that way… :) But still, is it any better off road than a beater Land Cruiser or Wrangler?

      Yet for on-road use, it is nothing more than a way of saying “I spent $100K on a car, and not necessarily a very good car at that.” Its bought for pneumatic blond trophy wives to get groceries at the local store, and for that, its a bloody waste.

      • 0 avatar
        wei

        It did not seem fair to me at all – the thing that really stuck in my head was that he complained about the ride, which strikes me as ridiculous.

        I’m a not-young (I wouldn’t actually say *old*) person with a flabby backside that evolved over the years to be highly sensitive to discomfort, and the one thing I felt was unarguable about the Range Rover (e.g. you can get into heated discussions between RR owners as to whether a RR is extremely unreliable, very unreliable, or unreliable), is that the ride is good. I gave a lift to a friend of mine last week and he’s already said he’s planning to get one himself, because and I quote “it’s better than a Bentley or a Rolls” (I’ve never been in any so I wouldn’t know, but by reputation, I believe that Bentleys and Rolls have good rides?).

        oh, and that he complained about “too much plastic” in the interior. I wish it used MORE plastic, not less. There’s damn wood and leather everywhere and I’m bound to scratch it up. I’m looking at my order brochure and there’s 3 options for the wood and I think his demo unit had the “space age” looking type of finish which I’m thinking wasn’t wood-like enough for him to recognise (either that or his lack of offroad experience extends to the identification of trees. Snark is tolerable, yes?)

        I’m not happy with his review because if I’d never tried a RR, reading that review, I would never have bothered checking it out at all (and that’s the thrust of his review of the 2013 RR – go read it again. He’s effectively saying that a RR is not worth buying under any circumstances. In such a case, why even bother checking it out in the showroom?), and that would be a crime because I really, really like this car.

        I’ve had it 2 weeks and I’ve already put over 7000km on it. Yes LR has problems (I’m going to be sending it in next week so that my dealer can deal with the bits that British Union labour had been working on too close to their lunch break), but I do not regret putting money down on this.

        Land Rover offers a product. People you or me may not like actually want to buy that product, for whatever reasons they may have. Are LR supposed to REFUSE to sell it to them? “get the hell out of my store! I’ll only sell this to you if you pass my taste test!”.

        There’s tons of photos of BMWs, Porsches etc. parked in wheelchair-access lots, straddling multiple parking lots etc. on the internet. Clearly, there are assholes who choose to buy BMWs and Porsches in order to show off. So, no reason to buy either a Porsche or a BMW then?

        LR is still a business and if the market demands X from them, are they really supposed to refuse to supply it?

        If idiots are buying something and not using it to its full potential, hey, they’re effectively subsidizing *me*. I won’t complain. I should want more of them to buy it!

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          “Too much plastic” cracks me up. In my wedding boudoir it may be offensive. Maybe not.

          But in my car I’ve proven irresponsible enough that more plastic is better.

  • avatar
    mored

    All that I can say is keep up the good work!

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    While I will agree this could have been handled better by Ford, the article was very critical. It makes broad statements about the MKZ programme as a whole when it is very possible the one car Derek received was flawed. I have seen and driven an MKZ myself and do not share Derek’s view on it (if we are to judge based on one experience with one car). Fit and finish were very good and everything worked very well. It drove and handled excellent. I am by no means a Ford fanboy. Far from it. Just calling it as I saw it.

    Don’t get me wrong, these things absolutely should have been pointed out but I think it could have been done so more eloquently. I am sure Lincoln/Ford is open to criticism and commentary so that they can rectify a problem. Outright blasting them won’t yield the warm fuzzies.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      There are two indictments that readers can glean from DK’s article:

      1 – The product itself is deficient (or at least that particular product)

      2 – If it’s just that particular product, Ford of Canada still has egg on its face for failing to “control the message,” so to speak concerning the car – they allow a journalist to drive a deficient example and then stonewall the journalist when he does his job – reviewing the car. Shameful.

  • avatar
    graham

    I thought the MKZ review was rather tactless, and it read like a “no win” situation from the start. So no surprise that TTAC is getting a time-out.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      I thought Kreindler’s review ok. It was full of exasperation. As someone who likes domestic cars, we want them to succeed. When they fail, they’re a failure of *us*, of our country.

      When Toyota fails, I could care less but they rarely put a foot wrong and when they do fail, they dont do it in an embarrassing fashion like this.

      I feel embarrassed for them, its that bad.

  • avatar
    racer193

    I think a workaround is in order here. Setup a website called the truth about ford motor company with the premise of being all ford all the time with nothing but raving reviews. Then setup test drives and publish the truth here and the false but rave review on the truth about ford. Except for my location and crappy computer skills I could be your man….

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    You’re being ignored because you misspelled “canceled.”

    Spell it the Canadian way and you may receive a response.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    This reminds me of a recent magazine comparison test…don’t remember which one. I think the candidates were an Avalon, Maxima, Taurus and something else. They wanted to include an MKZ but apparently Lincoln thought that their car was too good to compete with these vehciles and declined the test.

    I don’t get it….American vehicle manufactures seem so arrogant, yet they are trying to make a sales comeback at the same time. Way to go Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      To be fair, those cars are all bigger than the MKZ and from Toyota, Nissan, and Ford, not Lexus, Infiniti, and Lincoln. Would that magazine include an ES in that review?

      • 0 avatar
        crtfour

        Well maybe Lincoln should try putting the MKZ against Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac, etc and seeing what happens…..

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The segment chosen will be the dependent variable of how badly Lincoln looks. Their sedans are not competitive, even if I would take either the MKZ or MKS over a non-V CTS. The new CTS will be a different story and I really like the ATS. The MKX is just as meh as any other mid-sized luxury CUV. The MKT is actually the most competitive of the bunch on the road, but people can’t get over the styling. Its the only Lincoln product that is actually above average. The Flex does almost everything the same though.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I seem to remember an Azera being involved, but I may be wrong. As if Lincoln would condescend to compete with a Hyundai! Even though they don’t make a car that can compete with the Genesis or Equus.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      Actually, it was the Taurus they thought was “too good” for the test. It was the Avalon, Azera, Maxima from MotorTrend.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Car and Driver said the MKZ AWD “made freeway control joints feel like divergent tectonic plates” the seats were “narrow and hard” the steering “too numb” the brakes “mushy” and “the car does not generate a suspension of disbelief”. Blacklisting TTAC won’t solve Lincoln’s problems.

  • avatar

    I wonder if some of this comes from PR/Management inexperience with the interwebs. They may be thinking that TTAC is niche enough that they can blacklist a Canadian journalist for a negative review, and the consequences will simply be isolated to the people who find out off the TTAC website. The truth, though, is that many of our favorite auto sites have become interwoven, and this will carry over to sites that might have more or different traffic, and consequently get blown up into a huge ordeal for Ford. Perhaps, eventually, it gets into print in the newspapers or enthusiast/trade magazines. It appears Ford is so embarrassed by the Lincoln brand, they simply don’t know how to directly address the press about the product – and that just leads to cowardice, avoidance, and passive aggressive behavior.

    If you had criticized a Ford model, I really don’t believe they would have been so touchy, since one negative review wouldn’t sting so much. However, the Lincoln brand is in such dire straits, and has become such a sore spot, they don’t want any more truth right now.

  • avatar
    old fart

    That’s a badge of honor , keep up the truth.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    The review was pretty harsh (but mostly deserving), I commented at the time that Lincoln wouldn’t be letting TTAC review their cars again anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I think their current path is a smart one.

    Sure they are not making a mid sizer. But, consider this. They would have to invest a good chunk of change and still hope someone would buy it. Doesn’t sound like smart business to me.

    Right now they seem to focusing on what they can build. Even if they sell less they can make money without a mid sizer investment cost weighing them down.

    The mirage looks interesting and gets great Fuel Economy, and lots of features for a cheap price.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Still say that they should build MKZ and MKS at Wixom, MI (although I guess that is more accurately arguing that they never should have closed Wixom.) Anybody who owns a Wixom Town Car will know what I’m talking about.

    RE: The Blacklist – Jack if they aren’t responding then you need to make good on your threat. Pull the trigger and make it happen until you get an official word of some kind. Even if that word is to stay: “We are whinny teenagers who aren’t your friend anymore because you sad bad things about our toy.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Wixom would have been nice but besides the obvious closure of Wixom, it would imply Lincoln is a brand again and not a trim package inside of FoMoCo… which it clearly is not.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I miss Wixom so much. I know plenty of friends and customers that worked there. They all have nothing but good things to say about it, and hate working a Rouge or elsewhere in comparison.

      Wixom Assembly was the first assembly plant that I took a tour of back when I was in high school. It was an amazing place that was a paradise for a panther driving high school kid. It was the shrine of the king panther.

      My buddy transfered from Wixom to a parts wharehouse in Colorado back in 2004ish. He set the record for parts sorted on his second day.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      What threat would work? The Uncle Lincoln Steak House let you eat their 16 oz. gourmet steak for free, and since they drowned it in gravy, you trash the place to all your friends. Real restaurants don’t pour gravy on steaks! How can they compete against the BMW Food Experience or the Audi Goody chains? In fact, you would rather eat at Mama Kia’s or Papa Toyota’s instead (which is the ultimate insult to a foodie). It’s nothing but Mama Ford’s Fast Food Joint repackaged.

      So now you’ve come back asking for more free food, and Uncle Lincoln somehow ignores your requests. You get upset, because your older sister and Ted the grade 12 quarterback who’s been in the pants of every school girl you lusted over gets free food there. They gush over their food, and don’t seem as critical as you are. You promise yourself you’ll never sell out like they have, and you have lots of friends from the school Anime club who will boycott Uncle Lincoln’s joint, and that you’ll call it as you see it.

      All your anime club friends agree around the TV as they wait for yesterday’s episodes to be subbed and torrented. No one will take you seriously if you don’t have a 24 oz flagship steak. And real steak should be cooked on a rear driven charcoal grill, not a front driven natural gas skillet. Dedicate a chef and kitchen area (spending big $$$ they don’t have) to only cook for the Lincoln-Continental breakfast menu.

      So in the end, what exactly have you accomplished? The apology to Uncle Lincoln is still the first place to start. It isn’t a transgression that you gave a negative review, but that you tried to change what’s on the menu and now realize you don’t have that kind of leverage.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        “I’d rather handle them in a conversation that through some juvenile idiocy where Derek can’t get anybody at Ford to return a phone call and as a consequence he test-drives random MKZs from dealership inventory and photographs their numerous and sundry quality flaws for, oh, I don’t know, once a week for the next two months.” – Jack Baruth

        That would be the threat I was referring to.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The threat I was referencing is Jack’s threat to let Derek do rental reviews of the MKZ at one per week to point out quality issues.

        I actually would like to see that because he could likely tell us if the quality issues have improved. A neighbor of my in-laws has a 2.0H (Hybrid) MKZ in that brilliant white color that many luxury makers seem to offer. It appears to be just fine in assembly quality. I don’t see a popped open gas door on it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I love that diamond white color. People tell me I’m old when I point it out though. The new IS looks good in it.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            My wife calls that “old man white.” Sometimes I’ll point out a big old luxury car to her and she’ll say: “Just don’t get one in old man white.”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Haha, old man white.

            Tell you what, some family friends got an 05 S80 in that color, and it looks brilliant, especially with the revised tail lamps they used on the later models.

  • avatar
    laphoneuser

    I just read Derek’s MKZ review for the first time. It was harsh and tactless, bordering unprofessional (and I could give two s***s about this car, as I would never even CONSIDER purchasing it, since I prefer small sport sedans of Japanese or European origin). I get that it was a “capsule review”, but to say “Most cars seem to have one redeeming feature that saves them from the depths of vehicular Hades. This has none” doesn’t seem right. As a true lover of automobiles, I can always find something specific I like about a car, even if I don’t like it overall. The review came off like a childish tantrum, and while I share in the disgust of a product priced that high suffering from such quality issues, I still think the review could have been truthful (which is what I love about this site), without being the beatdown that it was.

    I can certainly understand why Ford would want to have nothing to do with TTAC after that one.

    That being said, giving you the silent treatment is immature, and pointless. There are obviously better ways of handling the situation. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    You TTAC guys can rent Fords/Lincolns from Avis/Hertz?Enterprise if you want to drive them for review. A Lincoln runs about $175 for a day, what’s that to guys like you?

    My own observation is that Ford has a good vehicle lineup, whereas Lincoln is just another trim level for Ford models.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    FoMoCo would be wiser to respond to the real (or perceived) criticism with a simple “Given the existing platform and current constraints the model is in, what would you do differently?”. Asking for feedback is the better way to handle the situation as the reviewer (in this case DK) either has to come up with a constructive remedy for his analysis or hangs himself on his reply.

    I echo Laphoneuser’s thoughts, a blacklist is immature and accomplishes little. If anything it just gives the blacklistee a motive to further excoriate the blacklister.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      “Given the existing platform and current constraints the model is in, what would you do differently?”

      Simply producing quality parts as currently designed and assembling them in a manner exhibiting pride of workmanship would be a start.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is true and could be used as an effective response. I haven’t read the DK review in awhile but I think he was critical of things beyond the subpar build quality. Pch101 made an interesting point above, Ford chose not to invest the money in building unique models, so it was re-skinned Ford or nothing. So if Lincoln designers chose to go with a panoramic sunroof that didn’t really fit the car well, there was little they could do without altering the sunroof itself, there wasn’t money or time to properly correct the rear of the car or its windshield.

  • avatar
    saabophile

    As I said when the article came out, it’s all about tone. You can give something a bad review but this ” review” and the one about the 200 by that new dude were not reviews they were bashes. It’s all about tone and the tone sucked. I agree with the others that you should apologise to Ford, not for giving it a bad review but the tone. I appreciate TTAC’s take on things but your tone needs work.

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    Keeping aside that Derek Kreindler’s review wasn’t exactly tactful and the fact that the current MKZ is a bit of a whipping boy around here…

    Jack, this article reeks of hypocrisy!

    Seriously, and I typically LOVE your work (usually skimming till I see those with your name on them.)

    But come-on. Ford Canada is acting childish by passive-aggressively blacklisting TTAC? How about TTAC is passive aggressively threatening Ford to gain access by running daily posts about the poor quality of the MKZ and/or instigating its reader base to post on FORD’s facebook?

    TTAC had the high ground until that.

    Or put another way…

    “TTAC may be under the impression that Ford of Canada will beg to have access back [if we don’t run MKZ bash posts daily]. Ford of Canada may be under the impression that TTAC can manipulate [it] through passive third-party communications and unspoken threats [via FaceBook].”

    Granted there should be an open dialog between journalists and automakers. FORD shouldn’t just take their ball and leave the playground. But telling FORD to come back or you’ll tell on them, is a bit childish too, no?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The best thing I can say is that I was highly displeased when I sent the email. The first few drafts of it were even less polite. I don’t like bullies and Ford Canada is playing the bully here, to put it mildly.

      I’ve said some very complimentary things about the MKZ in the past. I’m a Lincoln owner. I was glad to have Derek’s review as a counterpoint to the positive statements I’ve made about the car. Yes, it was harsh, but if you paid $50K for the thing and nobody warned you about the problems. isn’t *that* harsh?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “but if you paid $50K for the thing and nobody warned you about the problems. isn’t *that* harsh?”

        Excellent point.

      • 0 avatar
        rainless

        No Jack, they are not playing the bully. Yes, they might be acting unprofessional by not communicating clearly, but they are not playing the bully.

        I really appreciate the reviews here, but I do not understand where this sense of entitlement for review cars comes from. We all know, that the auto”journo”-car manufacturer relationship is weird. But it is pretty much self-evident that any manufacturer will make a unilateral decision on providing press cars based solely on whether they think doing so will earn them money.

        Now, I understand that Ford might be making a mistake here, because TTAC review of their products are generally favorable. So they might have taken a decision that is good for them short term, but bad for them long term. But a bad business decision doesn’t equal some kind of injustice you seem to feel being the victim of here. A bully is someone who deprives you of something you are entitled to. You are not entitled to receive a press car every week.

        Of course that is unfortunate if you want to report on “the truth about cars”. But I’m surprised that you still seem to be surprised every time it happens.

  • avatar

    Ford’s loss.

  • avatar
    sparkyandsimba

    About 1 year ago I stumbled upon this website. This story reminds me of why I every single day pull and read every story posted. Thank you.

  • avatar
    French_toast

    Kudos for TTAC to standing up for the truth! That is why I came back to TTAC after their
    new management and have just about stopped reading Autoblog, which is just about
    propaganda for any automaker other than Mitsubishi. It’s nice to have a source of auto
    news that is unbiased and will give an honest review. The only other ones I can think of are
    consumer reports, and possibly Top Gear (they are pretty critical some times.)
    In support, I turned off AdBlock while on TTAC

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There are several other sites, but none as incisive as ttac, nor as well read by the industry as ttac.

      I know at least 20 men who rarely, rarely if ever!, comment on ttac, but read the articles religiously, every day.

      Every one of these guys is either directly affiliated with, or has some tangible connection to, the US auto industry, be it in local or regional sales, service, advertising, or market analysis supporting purchasing inventory or dealer ownership.

      If it gets a less-than-favorable review on ttac, it gets people’s undivided attention.

      And that’s NO BULL!

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Highdesertcat
        That is my experience exactly (re: the 20 men). Ttac has more swing than credited for that’s for sure.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          tedward, yes, ttac has a lot of swing in the industry and people who matter are the ones who visit and read the ttac site.

          Those are the people that matter because they take in what the B&B offer with their feedback through their comments, and take it back to the movers and the shakers of the industry.

          You know, it’s like taking the pulse of what’s hot. Who cares about what’s not? Clearly, the MKZ in the review was not.

          At one time I was affiliated with the industry so continuing to read ttac articles is more of a habit I can’t break than anything else.

          Besides, most articles are very entertaining and riveting for anyone even remotely interested in what’s happening in this industry.

          I’m glad to see that the new management has done much to quell the distracting trolls and UAW-plants that used to roam freely in the comment section to where the discussion now is centered around essence and substance instead of bullsh!t and hype.

          You can always tell which commenters fail to dazzle us with brilliance but instead baffle us with bullsh!t.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Baruth has been blacklisted Porsche, and utilized that moment to declare his independence from he world of bought-and-paid-for auto journalism (you all know what that is, whether full page glossy magazine ads as a core source of revenue, or flying, wining, dining & golfing “auto critics” to product review “events” in lush settings).

      Assuming Jack is totally committed to the new style he’s somewhat pioneered -to the best of my knowledge no one else publicly declared counter-warfare against a manufacturer for being blacklisted, and then proceeded to do a series of reviews using rentals, friends’ vehicles, relatives’ vehicles, etc. – I commend him, and I actually believe there MAY BE A VIABLE BUSINESS MODEL taking this approach, that separates it in a very clear way from most of the competition.

      I, for one, have little interest in reading boilerplate puff piece reviews of vehicles, written by compromised “critics.”

      And yes, John Davis of Motorweek damn near recommends every single vehicle he’s ever “tested.”

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Never have forgiven Top Gear since they trashed a ’71 Cutlass Supreme in one of their “torture tests” by drilling a hole in the top, filling the poor thing with water, and driving it around! (The “winner” of this competition was a ’96 Caprice wagon whose f-ed up electrical system was making the dash look like a Christmas tree! The idiots are lucky that an airbag didn’t spontaneously go off in their faces!)

      The ’70-’72 A-bodies are really fetching nice ca$h, there’s tons of NOS and third-party parts available that will make those cars into better-than-factory, and the example that T/G USA junked, IIRC, while not a Barrett-Jackson blue-ribbon example, could have been made into one with moderate effort, or could have just been a nice restomod or weekend toy with maybe a new set of gaskets, maybe a reupholstering of the interior, you get my point! No frame-offs or anything drastic and expen$ive needed—the car was in no way a basket case! Such a waste!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

    This is the sort of pre-internet thing companies used to get away with.

    It’s naive of Ford to think TTAC wouldn’t report the story’s development. Or maybe they just don’t care, since the average Lincoln buyer isn’t reading TTAC.

  • avatar
    cardood

    Dear Ford,

    Be careful of what you do/say to people who buy ink (and high speed internet connections) by the barrel.

    Keystrokes. And done.

    c|d

  • avatar
    ajla

    Lincoln has been blacklisted by customers for a few years now.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    … slightly off topic, but thanks for turning me on to the Flex Ecoboost review and commentary. We sprung for one last year through a long, long process of elimination that included everything from F150’s to Acuras, Lexi, Jeep Grand Cherokee’s, Acura again, X5’s, Touregs and Acuras just in case we missed soemthing. The Flex was a late, left field entrant based on my previous year of rentals from DFW that had impressed me, though I never expected my wife to go for it … Wagon, Minivan and domestic averse that she is.

    Suffice to say, she was sold pretty quickly and we like it more and more as time passes. In fact, I’d say a lot of people we know like it a lot more than they expect but there’s something that scares them in the combination of unconventional looks / wagon / technology. In this respect I am coming to see the Flex as a transformation vehicle for Ford – a clear sign of where they want to go and who they want to be.

    I believe that for the ’13 refresh in addition to the polarizing My Ford Touch (a big selling point for us) the brakes were upgraded to remedy the issues touched on.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Flex and MKT are great vehicles. The ’13 refresh on the Flex is awesome, especially in Limited form. Enjoy that ride, hopefully Ford keeps the product around so others can enjoy it too.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    Ok, I’m a PR person (don’t hate me – I started out as an economist so NOW you can hate me!) and can’t quite figure this out, as Ford has good PR people. Sometimes executive fits of pique overrule PR guidance, believe me. But…If the PR folks thought this was a good idea then Ford needs to make some changes ASAP.

    I thought the MKZ review was harsh but fair. TTAC and the other blogs don’t pull punches, and the folks in Dearborn know this. As Jack points out, the site is largely well disposed towards Ford and has said good things about the Fusion, Fiesta, Focus etc. (and this is how Ford thanks them for basically inventing Panther Love?)

    FoC should have asked for a second chance and a second review (take Derek to Pearson and have him pick an MKZ at random from a rental lot) or invited Derek to come down to Dearborn, or at least Oakville, and talk to the Lincoln guys mano-a-mano. Would’ve made for a great article and probably a greater understanding. Lincoln admits they are on a journey, and I think the TTAC guys really do want this storied marque to ultimately succeed.

    Why didn’t they do this sort of thing? Bad reviews still hurt, and the kneejerk (and wrong) reaction is to Make Them Pay. I wonder how Toyota feels about Jalopnik’s review of the 2014 Corolla? Don’t say they don’t care; they do. The PR folks have to tell the execs what was reported, and keep in mind (1) most senior execs don’t like to hear bad news (good ones do), and (2) most PR people are not exactly Profiles in Courage (good ones are, indeed must be).

    Personally, like Jack I expect better of Ford. I think the company is on a great path and has many great products. They can and should take the higher road. They should realize TTAC readers are largely knowledgeable and will make up their own minds about any new car. We all like the reviews here because they are independent and credible, but it is always One Person’s Opinion and read as such…They can be wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      definitely the #1 comment in this thread. Thank-you for the insider’s perspective. It’s always an added bonus when someone from the trenches posts here – just another reason to love TTAC.

      perhaps you could draft a letter to Ford of Canada’s PR department reiterating your comment above. Play the good cop to Jack’s bad cop.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I agree, I love it when we get posts from insiders, it really gives you perspective, but if car makers are that concerned about what’s written about them this reaction is very short-sighted. There’s an old saying “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” Ford, instead of snubbing journalists should be wooing them. Ford isn’t hurting Derek, he’ll go on to write about another car, but can Ford afford to alienate every journalist that writes a negative piece about one of their products? I don’t think a copy of this comment needs to go to Ford, chances are they’ve already read it

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Speaking of insiders, where has our Ford salesman gone? I can’t remember his name; of course I numbered our kids so that helped.

          I always found his perspective interesting. He was never an apologist; just the facts, and he would admit the weaknesses….

          Wish he’d come back.

          Anyway, this is a cheap shot by Ford. I love TTAC, and they shredded the Outback a few years ago. I took it as a perspective, and TTACs test drive and mine were quite different. I bought one anyway….

          I did look at the Escape BTW…it drove quite well, but the distance from the base of the windsheild to the dash edge, the Star Wars graphics, and finally the MFT ruled the Escape out early in my hunt.

          Ford needs to step away from the ‘impressive’ electronics and concentrate on the overall visceral experience. They’re not that far away.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “Speaking of insiders, where has our Ford salesman gone? I can’t remember his name; of course I numbered our kids so that helped.”

            NulloMundo (I believe) and yes he was open and honest about the product and he knew the product. (Wish I could say that about more salesmen.)

            Although Nullo did own (as his personal car) an Kia Amanti. That always made me chuckle.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I noticed something disturbing on the new Escape the other day, when I saw one in the parking garage. The windshield sprayers are d@mn near the center of the hood, way too far down! Now I can’t focus on anything else when I see them.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You get used to them

          • 0 avatar
            Truckducken

            Did you take the Escape on the highway? I rented one recently and had to go turn it back in – the banging and bucking at each interstate expansion joint was horrific. I’d never notice these joints in most vehicles, let alone get a week-long headache from them. Could it have just been my specific vehicle, or is this how the suspension is tuned on the Escape? It reminded me of the 80’s trend of eliminating suspension travel in order to boost magazine skidpad numbers.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    For Ford you must use magic words like “game-changer” when you review their products:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/the-nine-worst-ford-shilling-uses-of-game-changer-in-recent-automotive-journalism/

    Derek did that to near unanimous reader derision w/ the Fusion but Ford I’m sure was happy. Then he strayed off the reservation w/ the MKgradeZ.

    Put “game-changer” in all Ford reviews and they’ll let you have all the gratis rental cars you want.

  • avatar
    idm3

    Blacklisted because someone told the truth about the Lincoln MKZ? big deal.

    Everybody knows the MKZ is not that great. In fact, the only one who gave this car a positive review is AutoWeek, and that was from the Chicago hotel valets they invited to drive. The writers themselves panned the car. And nobody was blacklisted.

    What do you expect from a company whose only priority is how many F-Series trucks it can sell?

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Calling your “site” excessively truthful is $$$king hilarious. I prefer checking out cars myself and I can honestly say….TTAC writers have effectively (and eccessively so) convinced me to never ever buy a Porsche unless I’m into paying, pain and suffering.

  • avatar
    kkt

    Being blacklisted indicates you’re doing something right. Thank you, Jack, Derek, and TTAC, and carry on.

  • avatar
    prndlol

    I remember the review, it read like a smug jerkass wrote it. I’m not surprised Ford of Canada shut off the pipeline.

    • 0 avatar

      Derek’s tone was inappropriate indeed, but the issue in question is the passive-agressive way in which Ford Canada chose to do business. It is entirely in their right to be peeved and take punitive action, but the childish pouting and kremlinistic secrecy has got to stop. I would be satisfied with Ford writing to JB that they chose not to do business with Derek.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Okay, I guess I’ll be the contrarian and say I think Ford is doing exactly the right thing. When they give someone a car for a week they are entitled to have a serious review published, even if it’s harsh and tells everyone the car is the worst in its class. But the review needs to be serious about the car being leant and not an emotional rant about Lincoln in general.

    There was nothing in the MKZ review that actually needed possession of a car for a week to write. It could have just been an editorial based on walking around a dealership for a few minutes.

    And they have nothing to gain by trying to explain themselves. They give loaner cars to people who write serious reviews and have decided that MKZ review didn’t rate. Nothing more to explain, really.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Yeah, but then they run the risk of ttac actually halting Ford reviews, or linking to this mess everytime they have to risk enterprise in order to get one. Ttac ranks high on more than enough searchable car reviews for this to be considered an “own goal” on Ford’s part.

      plus now they look unprofessional and pretty. Never a good look.

  • avatar
    hands of lunchmeat

    i dont know how ford of canada does PR for new vehicles, but a good friend of mine found out how they treat loyal customers when he had a new Ecoboost F150 that went through FOUR motors without them really doing a damn thing about it besides keeping his truck for weeks on end and causing additional damage to it.

    http://www.f150forum.com/f70/first-time-my-eco-blew-up-208912/

    the best part is how the thread got locked after the admins claimed there was a lot of ‘hearsay’, when he was essentially covering fords ass.

    In the end, it aint nothin new.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Okay, that’s it. No more Ford products for me until they iron this out. Seriously. I refuse to support a car company that engages in this type of behavior.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    White Shadow…..

    Agree. Well, so much for the new F150 was going to order.
    RAM 1500, here I come.
    Was it worth tossing $40K out the window, Fordy baby?
    Tell your PR people to grow up and be a man. Oh, wait…..

    ——————–

  • avatar
    OurOofie

    I’ve noticed that with most car reviews that are overly negative, it’s ultimately about the writer (or the publication) and not the car. You know, look how clever I am, “I used aplomb and nonplussed in the same sentence.” That kind of thing.

    That being said, the TTAC Lincoln review was not like that. Other sites have said the MKZ is less than great. Edmunds essentially said “If this is Lincoln’s best effort, get the headstone ready.” AutoTrader said the interior isn’t up to the task, the exterior is “Polarizing” and there are better cars for the money. Motor Trend copied the Edmunds story about tires and Cars.com dislikes the MyLincoln Touch, but uses phrases like “as of late” to sound more smarter n stuff.

    I think automakers are starting to become sensitive to reviewers that consistently run their stuff down. The PR folks likely see press loans as essentially another way to create an ad about their car. If you’re not on board with that, they probably won’t keep giving you vehicles. It’s not journalism, I think you guys should stop pretending like it is.

  • avatar
    mr.cranky

    I guess that they don’t like the truth?

    Right now, Ford is the only domestic that I’d consider buying a vehicle once. I don’t know how they did it but I like the 2008-2011 Focus generation and most of my Fords have been reliable, even if they still fell apart. To be fair, my Ranger (and the Escort that I had too) is 16 years old.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Moral: when attempting to sell expensive goods or services in the modern age remember that all outside communications (or conspicuous lack of) should be considered public facing. The only justification for antagonizing anyone is in service of a deliberate branding strategy (rude waiters, exciting brand rivalries etc.)

    An organization like ttac has none of those worries, indeed thrives on escalation (checking comment totals… Yup). On the other hand Ford has billions to play with and ttac presumably does not. So, win some lose some.

  • avatar
    JD321

    It’s simple really…They realize that you need them more than they need you…They are silently/childishly letting you know that “You are either with us, or your fer the turr-ists”. The silent treatment lets you know that you have to change your ways and lie for them without having to state it to you…Like a cheap “parenting type” or girlfriend trick. Amoral brat sociopath “journalists” (are there any other kind??? ;) that lie big-time for them might just get mentioned in one of their TV car ads…Like “Motortrend says Ford makes the best cars on Earth by giving us the Bestest award”. You can’t buy that kind of exposure. Subaru isn’t going to mention in their TV ads “TTAC says Tribeca looks like a flying vagina”

  • avatar

    I wish I have Christine’s email address.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I always suspected that automotive journalists pulled their punches when it came to new vehicles. The old saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” is what has happened here. Ford Canada has chosen to hit TTAC on the nose with a rolled up newspaper for crapping on their carpet.
    Lincoln has been a joke for an interminable period of time. Selling luxury cars has become much more sophisticated than changing the grill, adding some badges and going to a better grade of cow carcass. It may of worked pre-internet but no more. GMC with Cadillac figured that one out a while ago.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If telling the truth gets you banned by Ford, then that is on anyone that defends Ford. They know their market, and it isn’t people that are open to honest reviewers.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @CJinSD – It depends on what one is defending. Defending the Pinto would be in line with your point but defending the Boss Mustang is not.
    Blind loyalty to the badge regardless of flaws is as stupid as blacklisting a journalist for telling the truth. That applies to any badge, brand, company, marquis, religion or country.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Jack Baruth
    I really like your approach to journalism.

    My job entails me to write technical reports, we have to be honest and most important of all, factual and concise. We do get contacted by people concerned about some of our reports, because it benefits them, but it’s for very few eyes only.

    The problem TTAC has is the world is your oyster and everyone can digest your words. You can win or lose, but never compromise your integrity and sincerity.

    If Ford Canada doesn’t like it, tough, you will have the support of many. Keep it up.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Jack Baruth
    It it is good to see that you will not allow your integrity to diminish.

    Reporting is different than being an advertiser for the auto manufacturers. The problem is for years many ‘journalists’ have bowed down to the manufacturers to maintain their position.

    In the end it is the consumers who lose out by the leverage the manufacturers have over the journalists. I always thought that a journalist has a ‘code of ethics’ in which they operate by.

    But, money is money and this is what causes these journalists not to report accurate/factual articles, their pay and perceived stature is more important than the consumer they are supposed to represent.

    Manufacturers play on this very human emotion………..greed.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      what business doesn’t use this leverage over those with the “reporting” responsibilities?

      Look at the White House itself. IF any reporter started getting to close to digging for a real answer or pressing a bit to far against the planned manipulation of the press outing, the hammer comes down. The next thing the reported realizes is his/her seat has been moved to the rear if allowed into the press room again.

      You wanna get invited to all the fabulous DC dinners, parties and events filled with all the power players? Then start towing the company line. Start writing pieces that make the in-crowd look good.

      I test drove the MKZ. Nice little car. Not impressed with the 3.7 and the 2.0 seems like a bit of a let down since it was available in the Fusion. I think the MKZ would have been better with a more worthy bragging rights powertrain.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I realize I’m not in the automotive journalism industry, and I realize there was a good amount of perfectly justifiable indignation.

    That being said, from the outside looking in, the letter sent to Ford of Canada probably wasn’t the highest available road to take. It’s always fun to poke the petty salarymen of marketing departments in the public eye, but wouldn’t it have been far more fun to send a completely conciliatory letter written in a completely professional manner? Perhaps beg a bit to discuss how the review failed to meet Ford’s expectations of affection, take notes on those expectations, and THEN post those expectations for everyone to see? Now THAT would have stirred the pot and made the industry take notice.

    I like the letter. I probably would have written something like that letter myself. But at the end of the day, that letter is just showing-off to us, and we don’t really matter that much. Exposing a corporate weasel might have been far more impactful. Perhaps a stab a this was done behind the scenes that we, the readers didn’t see. If so, kudos.

    I cannot stress how much better this site is as of late and given recent management changes. Perhaps there are fewer articles with 200+ replies, but the context and content have improved in dramatic fashion. However, and speaing strictly from the point of view of an outside observer, I see the two greatest strengths of this site are the bare-knuckles number crunching of the real data that auto makers try to hide, and the lightly varnished but honest opinions of products. There’s only so far these two strengths can grow before an inevitable limit is reached. Now, if these two strenghs need to work better in tandem and grow into more investigative journalism taht really hits home and effects real change, then that’s something that could really blow things out of the water.

    just an opinion.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I like TTAC. I read scan it every day for stories I might like. Most I don’t. But when a great one is available, I latch on and learn a lot and enjoy reading some of the better veiws from some of the key long term posters.

    But let’s get real. Nobody outside the room cares. I mean, really…how many folks purchase cars based upon what professional sites say? I bet a tiny teeny do. Not even measurable. We are legends in our own minds.

    OK…how many HERE even purchase a car based upon anything at all reveiwed? Not one.
    Every single buyer goes out and test drives..and then makes a purchase based on something as silly as the color! The “look”. The image…what others will think about the purchase.

    But nobody purchases a car because TTAC or Car n Driver…or any review says.

    Point in fact…everybody loves the Mazda drive. Nobody buys them. Why? Beause nobody sees enough dealers to drive into and if they are not on the road to be seen, they are out of the thought process. There is no shelve space awareness as we used to say in the retail consumer products business. If you don’t have a “wall” of brand look…you won’t do as well with your one facing as the 35 colorful facings from PnG.

    Give it a rest. So you pissed off Ford. But do you really think the marketing department has the professional reveiwer in mind when it devises a multi million dollar campaign?

    Uh…don’t think so.

  • avatar
    ufomike

    I just read the MKZ review and I am not surprised that Ford is pissed off at you guys. Yeah, I get it the car sucks but you really decided to flay it alive. Just a few observations from my perspective (and I havent owned a Ford product in almost 20 years).

    1. The story about the dealer – Its not the car you are reviewing, so why include it? Didnt make sense to me unless you wanted to show that Ford / Lincoln QC is not doing their job overall and just embarass the brand. IMO it would have been enough to say that the car you reviewed had crappy fit / finish.

    2. Did you have to compare it to an old Chrysler? Surely this car cant be THAT bad. Just say that the feature is clunky / slow / whatever.

    3. Would have helped if you wrote more than one sentence about the “MyLincoln Touch system” or at least linked to a review where you describe its flaws in gory detail. I have no clue, for example, what makes it so horrible.

  • avatar
    Trev Limiter

    If you hurry over to Ford of Canada’s Facebook page, you might get a glimpse at my post before it’s deleted: https://www.facebook.com/FordCanada

    I encourage you to post your own opinions to its page, too.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Actually I want to hear about a lame dealer, and a lame car. I have liked the looks of the Lincoln MKZ but I’ll never buy one now.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @TrailerTrash – people do look at tests and reviews. I do all of the time but I also look at the test parameters and that helps validate the results. I look at a test or shootout to see how the vehicle fits what I want. For example: A pickup having the fastest 1/4 mile time or 0-60 might put a truck in first place in a shootout but if it rides crappy or can’t crawl out of a wet paper bag in 4 wheel drive, I’ll pick something else. It is all information to be collected and filtered through ones own wants and needs check list.

  • avatar

    Hang in there, Derek!

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Bottom line for motor vehicle reviews is that they are read by both prospective buyers and the suppliers. As a buyer, I don’t give a fig about the suppliers. I find reviews designed for buyers, like those from CR and TTAC, more useful. Most other reviews are effectively sales promos that emphasize the good points and ignore the rest.

    This is why I really appreciated the TTAC review of the latest Lincoln. Weak engine. Poorly executed design features. Shoddy build quality. Quite expensive. Plus, to my eye, the grille is hideous looking. Next case! No need to waste any more time on this one.

    Ford management might reflect on the fact that when they spit in TTAC’s face, they are also spitting in the face of potential customers who rely on CR and TTAC for information. My grandmother taught me that the customer is always right, even when he is wrong, within limits, of course. TTAC is miles away from those limits.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Good work on calling these weasels out. My 3-year old twins love watching Elvis movies so I recently purchased a box set of 17 of the king’s finest films. Last night, after everyone went to bed, I put in “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is”, a concert documentary from 1970.

    In one of the scenes, it shows Elvis pulling up to the studio for rehearsal. He is driving a triple-black ’70 Continental. Could you picture that same scene today with the biggest star on the planet driving an MKZ with the fuel door flapping in the wind? I didn’t think so.

    Lincoln is so lost.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Go visit Graceland, you’ll see which name plates were king of the world in the 60s and 70s. Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes Benz, and Rolls Royce.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Dan, don’t forget Jag-ooo-ar (the E type).

        [I recently caught the re-run of Clarkson’s over the top but extremely entertaining tribute to it on its 50th anniversary, and the list of Hollywood A listers, big league musicians and other jet setters who had to have one was impressive.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Bummer that Ford blacklisted Derek. Is this the same Ford that stopped importing the MKZ due to quality control issues?


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