We’ve discussed the importance of scale countless times on this website. La Tribune takes a brief look at Ford, Volkswagen and PSA and the different ways they are working to achieve economies of scale in one of the toughest markets in the auto industry; the C-Segment.
Tag: ford focus
The most satisfying parts of this job isn’t the constant flow of new cars or the luxury vacations with colleagues who never learned how to hold a kinfe and fork properly. It’s watching them look for a sacrificial lamb to offer up to the Gods of The Wobble and then see it survive the slaughter, only to maintain its death grip on the market. In this case, I’m referring to the banner year that the 2012 Honda Civic enjoyed, prior to its quick mid-cycle refresh.
Like their products or not, Ford has been on a roll. It all started when the blue oval financed their metamorphosis by mortgaging everything that wasn’t nailed down a year before the bankocalypse. Next came a wave of new products like the Astonesque Fusion, Prius fighting C-MAX and the Euro-derived Fiesta and Focus. Ford’s recovery plan hinges on unifying their worldwide lineup rather than making unique vehicles for every market. Ford calls this plan “One Ford,” while I call it “Ford’s Euro love affair.” The latest warrior in the Euro invasion is none other than the Ford Kuga, you’ll know it as the new Escape. It would appear Ford’s timing couldn’t be better since they just lost the small-SUV sales crown to Honda. Can the European soft-roader take back the crown? Or has Ford gone too far by ditching the boxy Escape for world-wide homogeny?
Up till now there hasn’t been a “real” Prius alternative on the market. Sure Honda has the Civic and Insight, but their real-world MPGs can’t hold a candle to the green-car poster child and Honda’s IMA hybrid system is far from smooth and refined. The Volt is more of a novelty with its lofty price tag and the last time we tested one we revealed a lowly 32MPG average when running gasoline only. This brings us to the blue oval. Despite Ford using essentially the same technology as Toyota for their hybrid systems, Ford resisted creating a dedicated hybrid model. Until now. Meet the 47MPG 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid. Of course we’ve all heard the news that the C-MAX doesn’t hit 47MPG, so click-through the jump to find out what we averaged and whether or not that should matter to you.
“Take BMW. In the near term, they will have nine entries in the compact segment. This is basically our heartland,” he told me on the sidelines of the Paris auto show. “With the brand reputation they have, you start to have a massive problem.”
-Gunnar Herrmann, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Quality
The introduction of three-cylinder (and even parallel twin) engines in subcompact and compact cars is a much needed dose of whimsy and engineerng prowess is a segment that is crippled by terminal homogeny. Although we don’t get the Fiat TwinAir powertrain, Ford’s 1.0L 3-cylinder Ecoboost will be coming to our shores, and by the time it goes on sale here, we’ll already have the tools to extract some more juice from the sub-1000cc engine.
Today, we’re trying something new. Alex is doing his review in video-only format. Let us know how you like it.
You’ve got to give Sergio Marchionne credit for at least one thing: he’s a masterful negotiator. The Italian-Canadian FIAT exec bluffed General Motors into paying $2 billion for the right to NOT buy the Italian company. He went on to acquire a controlling stake in Chrysler for no cash. Instead, FIAT agreed to provide the auto maker, hollowed out by Daimler and Cerberus, with powertrains and platforms. Three years after that deal, Chrysler has introduced the first car developed for North America around FIAT innards, the compact Dodge Dart sedan (pre-production review).
Last year I recommended the Hyundai Elantra Touring for those who “want a simply designed car that’s easy to see out of, capable of toting a bunch of stuff, solidly constructed, and fun to drive.” A replacement was on the horizon, and I wondered if it would retain the ET’s increasingly uncommon strengths. Well, the 2013 Elantra GT is now here, and it performs well enough to rank above other new compact Hyundais. But what about its predecessor?
We’re still waiting to get the final February sales numbers on all automakers, but one emerging story is that the Ford Focus has finally outsold its domestic rival, the Chevrolet Cruze.
Throughout 2011 and January 2012, the Cruze led the Focus, with the Chevy beating the Ford last year by a substantial margin (231, 860 units for the Cruze versus 175,709 for the Focus). Last month the Cruze did 15,049 units versus 14,440 for the Focus. This month, independent analyst Timothy Cain is reporting that the Focus finally bested the Cruze. Chevrolet moved 20,427 Cruzes versus 23,350 for the Blue Oval’s small car.
Ford is touting a 115 percent year-over-year gain for the Focus, having sold 10,879 Foci in February 2011, but their fleet percentage back then, according to TrueCar, was just 1.6 percent.. One year later, it’s closer to 20 percent. February wasn’t even over when Ford started sending out press releases claiming that Focus sales are on pace to double this month compared to February of 2011. With reports of Ford Focus fleet sales hovering around 45 percent, we thought that it would be worthwhile to look at the fleet/retail breakdown for the Focus and Cruze in 2011, as a means of providing a bit of context . (Read More…)