The Truth About Cars » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 13 Sep 2014 17:39:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Ford’s Final Ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fords-final-ute/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/fords-final-ute/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:52:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911170 The Ford Falcon Ute will bow out for 2015, alongside its Falcon sedan sibling, and Ford is preparing a final edition to commemorate the end of an era. The last Falcon Ute will come with a 4.0L I6 making 260 horsepower. A turbocharged version of this mill is also available, and bumps power up to […]

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The Ford Falcon Ute will bow out for 2015, alongside its Falcon sedan sibling, and Ford is preparing a final edition to commemorate the end of an era.

The last Falcon Ute will come with a 4.0L I6 making 260 horsepower. A turbocharged version of this mill is also available, and bumps power up to 362 horsepower. Both manual and automatic transmissions will be offered. The Ute’s final redesign follows an update for the Falcon sedan.

Ford’s Australian manufacturing arm will shut down in 2016, with arch-rival Holden ending its own operations a year after that. The Ute is considered an icon of the Australian motoring industry, which has now largely collapsed in a short time frame due to a strong Australian dollar and shifting market conditions.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Comet Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-comet-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-comet-sedan/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910282 With a Ford Maverick sedan as yesterday’s Junkyard Find, it seemed only right that we follow up with the Maverick’s Mercury sibling (which I photographed in the same junkyard, on the same day). Today’s Malaise Era Ford is rough but more complete than yesterday’s car, so let’s crank up >one of the few good pop […]

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03 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith a Ford Maverick sedan as yesterday’s Junkyard Find, it seemed only right that we follow up with the Maverick’s Mercury sibling (which I photographed in the same junkyard, on the same day). Today’s Malaise Era Ford is rough but more complete than yesterday’s car, so let’s crank up >one of the few good pop songs of 1977 and study this phenomenon.
06 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’77 Comet’s straight-six engine, which is a 200-cubic-inch unit making about 7 horsepower (actually 96) or an optional 250 (which made just 98 horses but quite a bit more torque than the 200), required patience on the part of the driver, especially with the AC on.
09 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Comet had a somewhat sportier-looking grille than the Maverick, and the base sticker price for the six-cylinder sedan reflected such upgrades by being 70 bucks higher than the Maverick’s.

The only economy car with a little cougar in it.

01 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Ford Debuting Self-Unparking Technology In 2015 Edge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910658 Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go. Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the […]

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Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go.

Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the crossover to parallel-park in those tight spaces, but be able to pull itself out. The system can also do perpendicular parking, such as the sort found at your nearest supermarket. An array of sensors — four up front, six in back — use echolocation to find objects and obstacles, allowing the crossover to calculate how best to get itself out of a rock and a hard place.

In addition, the Edge will have lane-keeping technology and adaptive cruise control, both using a combination of cameras and radar to safely guide the crossover from the house to the office and back.

All of the above will be available to consumers when the new Edge arrives in showrooms next March.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Ford Maverick Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1973-ford-maverick-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1973-ford-maverick-sedan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909754 There was once a time when Mavericks (and their Mercury Comet siblings) were among the most often-seen vehicles on American streets. Being such a cheap and homely car (and built during one of Detroit’s build-quality low points), however, the Maverick just wasn’t loved enough for many examples to be spared from The Crusher when they […]

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11 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was once a time when Mavericks (and their Mercury Comet siblings) were among the most often-seen vehicles on American streets. Being such a cheap and homely car (and built during one of Detroit’s build-quality low points), however, the Maverick just wasn’t loved enough for many examples to be spared from The Crusher when they got a little frayed around the edges. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’73 Maverick four-door.
07 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI shot this car in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard, and thus it has little (if any) rust. It shows signs of having spent decades outdoors, so there’s plenty of vegetation stuck to the body and everything is well-bleached by the sun.
03 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo air conditioning, but there is a rear defogger.
12 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone grabbed the engine, which probably now lives in someone’s work truck.
06 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe vintage of the cassette tapes inside indicates that this car was parked for good in the middle 1980s.
16 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToo bad nobody made a drag racer out of this car.

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Piston Slap: Why So Uncool Minivan? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-uncool-minivan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:07:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908561   Josh writes: What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not […]

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1972 Ford Carousel (photo courtesy: forum.chryslerminivan.net)

Josh writes:

What is the deal with minivans? I was thinking the other day that as an outdoor person, minivan’s are perfect. They have lots of room for people and gear, AWD (in some cases), lots of roof space, and better MPG’s than an SUV. But apparently I can’t own one because they’re not cool. I could get a wagon though. Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?

Will minivans ever be cool to own?

Sajeev answers:

What’s the deal with minivans? From public perception, CUV popularity, fleet usage, etc. the “uncool minivan” is indeed a sad reality.  But there is plenty to love here on TTAC, from the Farago era to something brilliantly Baruthian.  My second favorite rental vehicle was the 3.6L Pentastar Caravan: it was quick and comfortable with chassis/suspension/steering components ready to play. No surprise, my fav rental was a white 2011 Crown Vic. But I digress…

Isn’t a minivan just a super-sized wagon?  Not really, even if they (kinda) ended the station wagon era. Uncool minivans are a radical rethink: eschewing the traditional notions of the family wagon and the creepster’s van with the adoption of a modern front-wheel drive layout (Aerostar and Astro notwithstanding) for maximum utilization of a traditional two box design, while adding the styling of a family sedan/wagon for curb appeal. Supposedly the Chrysler minivan’s early concepts were lifted from Ford’s work in the early 1970s: possible since Lee Iacocca famously left FoMoCo after butting heads with Henry II far too many times, and took some design staffers with him…though that’s the subject of some controversy.

Will minivans ever be cool to own? Keep in mind the Minivan was and remains an enlightened design: that will attract people. Just like so many Pistonheads go nuts over vintage wagons these days (especially with wheels you’d expect on a restomod ’69 Camaro), the uncool minivan will come back to win our hearts.

Until then, who gives a crap what people think? Go buy one and brush off the haters, no matter what they say!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Super Piston Slap: Thrifty Texans Trump Tailgate Theft? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/super-piston-slap-thrifty-texans-trump-tailgate-theft/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:39:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907985   Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote: “Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.” Yeah, not quite… Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose […]

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(photo courtesy: hardworkingtrucks.com)

Yesterday’s post on Texas Tailgate Theft definitely struck a nerve with this Native Texan, especially the NCIB’s Quote:

“Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.”

Yeah, not quite…

photo 1

Just a little trip to my local Home Depot.

Yup, a hose clamp…well not just a hose clamp, but that’s for later.

Thanks to TTAC commentator, Editor in Chief of another blog and all around nice guy, Mr. Lyndon Johnson (yes, really) for planting this seed in my mind. He posted a photo on Facebook of a rusty hose clamp around the tailgate hinge of his Ranger. It instantly made sense: even if you don’t have a few of these rattling around, why the hell wouldn’t you spend $3 for these?

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Hose Clamp PROS: Cheap, easy to install, readily available and slows down a would-be thief to the point they’ll look for another tailgate to swipe. And its an extra measure of protection, even if you have a lock in your tailgate release handle. (As they aren’t too hard to punch out with a screwdriver, too.)

(photo courtesy: pickupspecialities.com)

Hose Clamp CONS: The expensive-ish aftermarket alternatives are more theft resistant. And the clamps are kinda ghetto-trashy ugly, if you care about those Vellum Venom type of design hang ups.

Here’s how to narrow the gap between the clamp and the lock: level the playing field with a bit of silicone adhesive.  You know, the stuff you already have in your garage.

photo 2

It’s not rocket science: coat the screw head and clamp’s threads in the stuff. It’s an extra level of complication, and as the night photo shows, a bit more complicated to comprehend. It’ll certainly drive a thief nuts trying to scrape that crap off.

Only to then need to unscrew the clamp. And finally lather-rinse-repeat on the other side. Or just leave my rig alone, find another Texan not wise to the hose clamp + silicone trick.

Now you know what I know: what say you Best and Brightest? Should all truckers spend $3-4 on this anti-theft modification?

 

 

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1988-merkur-xr4ti/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1988-merkur-xr4ti/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905209 The Merkur XR4Ti (turbo-Pinto-engined Ford Sierra XR4i to you European types) wasn’t selling so well by the 1988 model year, but enough were built that I was able to find this example in a Northern California wrecking yard. In fact, this is just the second XR4Ti in this series, after this ’89 from two years […]

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09 - 1988 Merkur XR4Ti Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Merkur XR4Ti (turbo-Pinto-engined Ford Sierra XR4i to you European types) wasn’t selling so well by the 1988 model year, but enough were built that I was able to find this example in a Northern California wrecking yard. In fact, this is just the second XR4Ti in this series, after this ’89 from two years back.
122-UG-IMG_8386Quite a few of these cars compete in the 24 Hours of LeMons, in spite of their well-known proclivity for breaking down early and often under the strain of endurance racing.
05 - 1988 Merkur XR4Ti Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWithout the distinctive double spoiler, the ’88 and ’89 XR4Tis don’t stand out from the crowd quite as much as the earlier cars.

Perhaps this car would have sold better in the United States if the Argentina-market advertising had been used.
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Junkyard Find: 1988 Mercury Tracer Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1988-mercury-tracer-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1988-mercury-tracer-hatchback/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905001 Here’s a rare one! We’re familiar with the 1990s Mercury Tracer that was a Mercury-badged Ford Escort (which was itself a Ford-badged Mazda), but the 1987-89 Tracer was a rebadged and left-hand-drive Ford Laser, a crypto-snazzy Australian version of the Mazda 323. They sold in very small quantities in the United States, and so it […]

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09 - 1988 Mercury Tracer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s a rare one! We’re familiar with the 1990s Mercury Tracer that was a Mercury-badged Ford Escort (which was itself a Ford-badged Mazda), but the 1987-89 Tracer was a rebadged and left-hand-drive Ford Laser, a crypto-snazzy Australian version of the Mazda 323. They sold in very small quantities in the United States, and so it took me a moment to identify this example that I spotted last week in a Denver self-service wrecking yard. As an excellent example of “rare ≠ valuable,” it seemed worthy of this series.
19 - 1988 Mercury Tracer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot even 65,000 miles on the clock. Perhaps it sat in a garage for most of its life, barely emerging onto the street.
14 - 1988 Mercury Tracer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt was running in 2006, though, because there’s a Colorado State Parks pass from that year on the windshield.
04 - 1988 Mercury Tracer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinVaguely sporty-looking yet late-80s generic.
16 - 1988 Mercury Tracer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mazda B engine, used in everything from Kia Rios to Mazda Miatas.

Just the car for a night of wrestling!

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Capsule Review: Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-ford-fiesta-1-0l-ecoboost/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904473 No alloy wheels. No automatic transmission. No fancy infotainment system. From the perspective of the Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost really doesn’t have a lot going for it – at least that’s what Kamil Kaluski thought when he tested a 4-door sedan earlier this summer. The three-cylinder Fiesta is certainly an odd duck. That’s part of […]

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No alloy wheels. No automatic transmission. No fancy infotainment system. From the perspective of the Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost really doesn’t have a lot going for it – at least that’s what Kamil Kaluski thought when he tested a 4-door sedan earlier this summer. The three-cylinder Fiesta is certainly an odd duck. That’s part of its charm.

2014-Ford-Fiesta-Ecoboost-rear-3q

Due to scheduling circumstances, we spent just 36 hours with the newest Fiesta, but it was enough to get a general idea of what this car is all about.

In late 2012, Ford held media previews for the 1.0L Fiesta with European-spec cars, but it took nearly 2 years for the car to hit showrooms in North America. In between those two events, we learned that a 1.0L Fiesta with the 6-speed Powershift automatic gearbox was canned by Ford for failing to meet NVH and driveability targets. Ford was similarly vague about sales targets, refusing to give an exact number for the 1.0L.

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Our powers of deduction indicate that a major product planning shift was required for the change to a manual-only 1.0L car. Cognizant of the fact that a three-pedal configuration would restrict sales of the car to a certain demographic, Ford was subsequently unable to amortize the cost of the engine’s certification over a greater volume of sales. The apparent solution was for the 1.0L to be a lower trim “SFE” package with the increased cost of the 1.0L engine offset by the lower equipment levels.

Aside from the missing automatic transmission, the 1.0L does not have alloy wheels or the revised Fiesta’s MyFord Touch system, which might be missed on a subcompact car that costs $18,285 (less a $750 dealer incentive that is available in many markets). The upshot for Ford? Bragging rights. At 43 mpg on the highway, the 1.0L Fiesta is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle on the market. For enthusiasts, it gives them an interesting and quirky alternative to the usual slate of subcompacts.

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The centerpiece of the SFE is the 1.0L Ecoboost, a turbocharged triple making 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, a gain of three ponies and 13 lb-ft over the standard 1.6L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. Even so, this isn’t any kind of performance oriented option package, though it does accelerate quicker than the lethargic 1.6L mill. While the Ecoboost engine in the Fiesta ST gives you the grunt to accelerate even when you’re one gear higher than you ought to be in, the SFE requires constantly shifting to maximize the tiny turbo mill’s low-end torque. Your reward is a reserve of real, usable shove that can be called upon to shoot through gaps in traffic, while merging and overtaking on the highway no longer you to cross your fingers and hope for the best. The 5-speed transmission is neither vague nor particularly engaging, with long throws and a shift quality typical of most transverse gearboxes. The abundance of torque at low rpms and the clutch’s high engagement point make it an ideal candidate for someone to learn how to drive a manual transmission on – whether that’s a friend, family member or someone buying their first stick shift car.

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The SFE’s handling characteristics involve a similar set of tradeoffs. The electric power steering is sharp, speedy and direct, though the chassis is marked by excessive bodyroll, a soft suspension and tires that are as sporting as the captain of the Mathletes. One can only wonder how the SFE would fare with some lighter alloys, halfway decent rubber and the Ford Racing Handling Pack. Even so, it’s hard not to be charmed by the off-beat three-cylinder thrum, pointy steering and a performance envelope that is entirely within the grasp of the average driver (and the limits of the law).

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Lacking the MyFord Touch system available in other Fiestas, the SFE makes do with the basic SYNC system, which was tougher to master than one would expect. The regular SYNC unit is a maze of buttons, knobs and menus that never quite makes itself transparent. Previously, the MyFord Touch system was the lesser of two evils, but a series of improvements to its response time has made it the preferred choice on Blue Oval products. Unfortunately, the SFE doesn’t really give you a choice.

Understanding the value proposition for the 1.0L Fiesta is a bit puzzling. As Kamil noted, the lack of an automatic transmission or a rock-bottom sticker price will alienate the vast majority of North American subcompact buyers. But that may not be the best way to look at the three-cylinder Fiesta. Instead, think of it as a taste of the small-displacement economy cars that were once restricted to the other side of the Atlantic, and a test bed for future applications of boosted three-cylinder engines. The efficiency, character and quirkiness are just bonuses.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gasoline for this review. We didn’t use very much gas.

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A Look At Europe’s Top Selling Brands By Country http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-europes-top-selling-brands-country/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-europes-top-selling-brands-country/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904657   From the Twitter account of Bob Flavin comes this map of Europe, overlayed with each country’s best-selling auto brand. Volkswagen, along with Skoda (and to a lesser extent, SEAT and Audi) are far and away the dominant force in Europe, with Fiat, Renault (and Dacia) trailing behind. Regionally, Audi is popular in wealthy enclaves […]

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From the Twitter account of Bob Flavin comes this map of Europe, overlayed with each country’s best-selling auto brand.

Volkswagen, along with Skoda (and to a lesser extent, SEAT and Audi) are far and away the dominant force in Europe, with Fiat, Renault (and Dacia) trailing behind.

Regionally, Audi is popular in wealthy enclaves like Monaco, while Skoda dominates in Central Europe. Dacia is abundant in developing countries as diverse as Romania, Moldova, Morocco and Algeria while Fiat is tops not just in Italy, but Turkey and Serbia as well – countries where Fiat builds vehicles locally.

Popular brands in North America, like Ford, Toyota and Honda are much smaller players in the continent. While the Fiesta, Focus and other nameplates enjoy widespread success throughout Europe, Toyota and Honda are much smaller players. And most tellingly, none of the PSA nameplates (Peugeot and Citroen) are present. Or Hyundai/Kia, for that matter.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: My Brother’s Keeper http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/vellum-venom-vignette-brothers-keeper/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/vellum-venom-vignette-brothers-keeper/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 12:41:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904169 Reader Request: discuss the Lincoln Mark VIII, preferably the second generation’s modest restyle. He likely didn’t care for my reply, as it follows my disapproval of the Original Testarossa versus that rolling abortion that disrespectfully ended Ferrari’s most iconic series. Then I parked beside a 2000 Mercury Sable on a fine Houston evening. Allow me […]

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Reader Request: discuss the Lincoln Mark VIII, preferably the second generation’s modest restyle. He likely didn’t care for my reply, as it follows my disapproval of the Original Testarossa versus that rolling abortion that disrespectfully ended Ferrari’s most iconic series.

Then I parked beside a 2000 Mercury Sable on a fine Houston evening.

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Allow me to explain with Lincoln-Mercury fanboi facts. The 1993 Lincoln Mark VIII was an avant-garde reinstatement of Lee Iaococca’s “Thunderbird designed by a guy named Vinnie” : blending delicious proportions of the 1989 Thunderbird, sculptural elements of the 1993 Ford Probe and the once-mandatory Continental DNA of the once-relevant Lincoln Brand.

The 1996 Sable, avoiding the ovoid pitfall of its Taurus sister ship, went four door Mark VIII: right down to the elegant roof and slender tail lights!

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Both the redesigned Mark VIII (1997) and the redesigned Sable (2000) took the original idea and milquetoasted it hopes of regaining lost sales. Neither worked, literally.

So let’s go back to the parking lot.

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These brothers couldn’t be more different, even if they are the same. How did the original coke-bottle remain appealing (if you like American luxury coupes) while its younger brother got married, had a family and multiple failed careers after 1999?

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When these two brothers meet their maker, bodies reincarnated into crap we buy at WalMart, their souls will uncomfortably meet in heaven. Those two kids lived unique lives, but they know there’s no escaping the genetic connection. Blood is always thicker than water.

And the Cain and Abel reference? That’s more for the bloodbath between the Testarossa and the 512M. That’s gonna get ugly: 512M ugly.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

 

 

 

 

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Capsule Review: 2015 Ford Ka (Brazilian Market) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2015-ford-ka-brazilian-market/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:30:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897922 The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career […]

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The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career and became irrevocably divorced from the European car in its second generation. Now, designed and developed by Ford Brazil (with some help from the European unit), the Ka, in its third generation, sets out from the tropics in its eventual quest to become an integral part of the One Ford strategy (sales in Europe, from a UK beachhead, should commence in the fall of 2015).

This time around the Ka will be Ford’s cheapest offering, nestling under the Fiesta. Though it is shorter than its cousin, its wheelbase is exactly the same. The new Ka is taller and a hair wider, offering a greater sensation of roominess in its interior. If front seat space is comparable, the back seats have been placed further back and due to the high roofline, four non-NBA sized people can sit in good comfort, especially by segment standards. As in everything else in life, this decision brought with it a definite drawback: The 257 liter trunk is the smallest in its category. While not such a problem in Western Europe, were cars like this are viewed as urban runabouts, it definitely could be  blight for the Ka’s career in much of the rest of the world. In these markets, a Ka is expected to pull family duty and the trunk is tight for a family of four come vacation time.

The new Ka is also a very interesting statement on how Ford sees the Brazil and other developing auto markets. In Brazil the car starts off at 35,000 reais, whereas some competitors are offered at 25,000 reais. When equipped like the Ka, however, Ford’s pricing becomes competitive, maybe even aggressive. Features like assisted steering, air conditioning and power windows have become the new norm, and the Ka’s equipment levels are commensurate with its price. Ford claims they want the retail sales title and will have to sell over 10 thousand cars a month to reach their goal.

For that amount of money the Ka offers the items mentioned, but extras like electronic brake distribution, hill holder, Sync and even its version of an emergency call system, the first for any car in Brazil. Other sophisticated items like ESP are offered depending on version, and a first for the small car segment in Brazil.

Stepping inside the car, besides the roominess already mentioned, the care taken in its finishing is immediately noticed. While hard plastics are the norm, they are decently assembled and different textures and color are duly appreciated. Internal design and layout is inspired by what is seen in the Fiesta. Cubbies to put modern life’s unavoidable accruements are offered generously and Ford claims there are 21 of them, though I didn’t notice all of them. However, there are more places to accommodate stuff than in the Fiesta and most competitors. Overall impressions are good.

Stepping back out to see the design, the car’s height is readily apparent. As confirmed by the tape measure, the car is and looks taller than anything else in the segment. As it is relatively short and wide, to some the car will look fat. To my eyes it doesn’t seem so, but the height is a bit of a challenge. The front fascia clearly follows Ford’s Aston Martin-inspired ideal and is still a very nice look. The side profile is also eye pleasing, with a high belt line that Ford managed to make not too intrusive as sightlines are good. The car’s worst design element is the back. Comparing to the front and even its profile, it is demure to be sure. Maybe even too timid for what the front suggests.

Mechanically, the car begins to stand out to the enthusiast. The car uses a naturally aspirated, 1 liter, 3 cylinder, 12 valve, flex fuel version of the engine already on sale in Europe and North America, but without the turbocharger. It features variable valve timing in both the intake and exhaust, and other tricks like separate cooling for head and block.  The crankshaft is built so there is an angle between flywheel and pulley, a simple solution that eliminated much of the bothersome vibrations inherent in 3 cylinder engines without having to resort to extraneous measures. Ford also promises low upkeep costs. For example, the engine features an oil bathed chain that requires no maintenance for 240,000 kilometers. This small power plant produces 80 horsepower using Brazilian gasoline or 85 ponies should you choose to fuel it with ethanol. This makes it the most powerful naturally aspirated 1.0 liter engine in Brazil and, quite possibly, the world.

The best part about driving this engine is its refinement. It pulls very progressively from 1500 RPMs up to redline. Couple that with its long fifth gear, and it’s a comfortable cruiser at speed. The sprint to 62 mph is done in about 14 seconds, which is very good in the category. Were it not for a certain sluggishness in its response, and the existence of the new Volkswagen up! (which also uses a 3 cylinder 1.0), this could be considered the best 1.0 in the Brazilian market, bringing heat to some of the 1.4 and 1.6 liters available. Though smaller, the up! is undeniably faster and even more economic. It also sounds better, though it vibrates more than the Ford.

The first Ka had a kart-like ride that enthusiasts appreciate (myself included). The back for example always threatened to let loose in curves if the driver hesitated in accelerating. The new Ka does not touch that level of sportiness, but its manners driving fast or slow are impeccable. The suspension does not allow unnecessary roll, yet manages not to be uncomfortable. Handling is precise, the electric steering is very light in urban driving and becomes heavier the faster you go (though still numb compared to hydraulic setups), noise and harshness are contained and I didn’t notice any squeaks and rattles from the finishing. Again, probably the best suspension available in small cars in Brazil, were it not for the up!.

The new Ford Ka is a well-rounded, relatively sophisticated modern car. Offering space (at least for passengers) and an undeniably modern, efficient and fun ride and engine, it is poised to become a sales leader in places where small cars are appreciated. It is on sale in Brazil and the sedan version, the Ka+, will begin sales next month. It will soon be exported to other South American markets. It will also be produced in India and sold all over the world. It is a shame North Americans will probably not get it because it continues Ford’s tradition of offering advanced and pleasant small cars.

ka sedan back ka hatch white ka hatch side ka hatch interior ka hatch back ka sedan profile ka sedan new 3 cylinder engine

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Ford Could Build Next Generation 4-Cylinder Engines In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-build-next-generation-4-cylinder-engines-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-build-next-generation-4-cylinder-engines-canada/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:17:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899258 Ford is deciding between Windsor, Ontario and Mexico for the production site of its new 1.5L and 1.6L four-cylinder engines. As many as 5,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created for the former hub of Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector. The Windsor Star is reporting that the new engines would be used in the next-generation […]

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Ford is deciding between Windsor, Ontario and Mexico for the production site of its new 1.5L and 1.6L four-cylinder engines. As many as 5,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created for the former hub of Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector.

The Windsor Star is reporting that the new engines would be used in the next-generation Ford Fiesta, which is slated to be built in Thailand. According to the paper, gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains all have the potential to be built at the two engine plants, which currently produce the low-volume 5.0L Coyote V8 and other engines for heavy-duty trucks.

Funding from Canada’s federal government is expected to be a key factor in the deal, with the Ontario government already earmarking $385 million for the two plants. Unifor, the union representing Canada’s domestic auto workers, has also apparently given $150 million worth of concessions to secure the new investment.

 

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Employee Files Charges Against UAW, Ford Over Dues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/employee-files-charges-uaw-ford-dues/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899074 Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now. Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from […]

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Though it won’t be until next September when Detroit Three employees in Michigan will be able to opt-out of paying dues to the United Auto Workers, one Ford employee has gone ahead with legal action to recoup some of his dues now.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford tool-and-die maker Todd Lemire, with legal help from the National Right to Work Foundation, has filed charges against both the automaker and the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board on the objection to using a portion of his dues to support the Democratic Party, invoking his Beck rights to claw back $98 of dues over the past three months thus far.

If successful, the legal action would pave the way for others who don’t want to pay dues beyond core union activities, if at all, prior to the September 15, 2015 expiration date of the UAW’s current contracts with the Detroit Three. After that date, new contracts would allow all workers in Michigan the right to opt-out of paying any dues, the result of the state legislature’s passage of Michigan’s right-to-work law in 2012.

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Ford’s Also Readying A Prius Fighter, But Don’t They Already Have One? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fords-also-readying-prius-fighter-dont-already-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/fords-also-readying-prius-fighter-dont-already-one/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:31:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897482 Our Ford sources have confirmed a Reuters report that claims Ford is readying a new lineup of dedicated hybrids to take on the Toyota Prius. The new range, set to debut in late 2018, will ride on the next-generation C-platform that underpins the current Ford Escape and Focus. Dubbed “C240″, volume has been pegged at 120,000 […]

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Our Ford sources have confirmed a Reuters report that claims Ford is readying a new lineup of dedicated hybrids to take on the Toyota Prius.

The new range, set to debut in late 2018, will ride on the next-generation C-platform that underpins the current Ford Escape and Focus. Dubbed “C240″, volume has been pegged at 120,000 units annually, with production taking place at the Wayne, Michigan assembly plant.

In addition to a range of bodystyles, both regular hybrid and plug-in versions are set to be offered. Although much talk has been made of the distinct nature of these new vehicles, Ford already offers the C-Max as a hybrid-only vehicle – though the C-Max was originally set to be offered as a gasoline-powered minivan in varying lengths, with 5 or 7 seats.

The C-Max was originally offered with the 1.6L Ecoboost and 2.5L I4 engines, but in between its 2011 debut and its 2012 on sale date, Ford pivoted to a hybrid-only strategy. TTAC sources claim that Ford’s $5.9 billon loan from the government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program was used to convert the C-Max (and its assembly facilities) into a hybrid-only offering that would ostensibly offer Ford numerous regulatory benefits (in the form of an increased CAFE rating and regulatory credits) as well as a unique marketing edge.

Although look is more akin to the larger Prius V, the C-Max is Ford’s de facto Prius competitor, by nature of its hybrid-only powertrain and odd (for North America) shape and footprint. But sales have been modest, with 35,000 units sold in 2013, and questions regarding its fuel economy figures, coupled with disgruntled owners, have hurt its image. Perhaps Ford is looking to launch a clean sheet Prius competitor backed by a clean-sheet design and marketing effort.

 

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Piston Slap: Blogging about Engine Bogging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-blogger-bogging-via-engine-load/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-blogger-bogging-via-engine-load/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:02:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895034   Pat writes: Hi Sajeev, I have a question about driving style that I’d like to pose to you and the B&B. Part of my highway commute is a steady 2 mile grade. With a running start of 75 mph, my 2007 Mazda B2300 slows to about 62 mph by the top of the hill […]

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(photo courtesy: surftherenow.com)

Pat writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a question about driving style that I’d like to pose to you and the B&B. Part of my highway commute is a steady 2 mile grade. With a running start of 75 mph, my 2007 Mazda B2300 slows to about 62 mph by the top of the hill when I keep it in 5th gear, with the engine turning about 2000 rpm. I can maintain 70+ if I drop into 4th and floor it, but I’m a cheapskate at heart. My question is, is it really more efficient to lug up the hill in top gear, or am I just kidding myself and doing irreparable damage to my engine?

As an aside, I recently traveled to Vietnam and I noticed that all the cab and minibus drivers upshifted extremely quickly. Typically they were in 4th gear by about 15-20 mph, and really lugging the engine (I rode mostly in Toyotas). Besides the obvious lack of quick acceleration, any downsides to this kind of driving style? How much gas could be saved?

Thanks!

Sajeev answers:

How funny: I noticed the same problem in India.  Be it Maruti, Toyota, Honda or Hindustan Ambassador, you’d hear a horrible “chug” of engine bogging on a regular basis.  It keeps stressed out drivers from “unnecessary” down/up shifting in dense urban conditions, if that was the point.

Unless we’re talkin’ about a friction-challenged road starting from a standstill, never intentionally engage in engine bogging!  Each engine/transmission/body combo handles loads differently, there’s no magic boggy-RPM number: the unique sound of engine bog is all you need to know. Depending on the severity of the bog’s shake, this increases clutch wear, damages motor mounts and maybe even stresses the weakest link in your reciprocating parts (crank+rods+pistons).

In your case: bogging up a 2 mile grade kills fuel economy.  Being that low on the torque curve combined with massive throttle inputs means you’re burning fuel with little return on investment.  Clutch wear?  Probably not. But accelerating near your torque peak (3750 revs) gets you up the hill with the most efficiency (least throttle input) so you can spend more time “cruising” on flatter terrain at lower rpms, sooner. More to the point, 3rd or 4th gear is your friend, my friend son!

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

Perhaps your (presumably stock) Mazda needs the SCT tune (low-octane) and modest intake/exhaust plumbing modifications of my Ranger. Its your sister-ship, ya know.  The volume of low-end torque below 3000rpm increased dramatically to the point that 2nd gear with steep parking garage grades was doable, and almost worth the extra throttle input. Almost.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Ford Will Build Next-Generation Fiesta In Thailand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-will-build-next-generation-fiesta-thailand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-will-build-next-generation-fiesta-thailand/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:31:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895426 Nikon cameras, condoms and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the only three products that come to mind when I think of “Made in Thailand”, but starting in 2017, we’ll have another to add to that list: the Ford Fiesta. According to TTAC sources, the next-generation Fiesta will be built at Ford’s Rayong, Thailand assembly plant, and exported […]

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Nikon cameras, condoms and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the only three products that come to mind when I think of “Made in Thailand”, but starting in 2017, we’ll have another to add to that list: the Ford Fiesta.

According to TTAC sources, the next-generation Fiesta will be built at Ford’s Rayong, Thailand assembly plant, and exported to America. Even though the current car is built in Mexico, Ford is apparently not making any money on US-spec Fiestas (instead, they are profiting on Fiesta sedans sent to South America). Moving assembly to an even lower cost assembly location should help Ford increase profitability on their smallest passenger car, which has seen a 7 percent drop in sales year-to-date.

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Ford, Chevrolet Begin Labor Day Battle Weeks Early http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895386 Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season. Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective […]

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Ford Labor Day Sale 2014

Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season.

Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective lines, to Chevrolet offering deferred payments for the first 90 days for select models. Rather than wait until closer to Labor Day, however, Ford launched the first attack back in late July; Chevrolet kicked off its campaign last week.

The end game? Regain lost ground in sales from the first half of 2014. Ford lost 1 percent of its share of the market, dropping to 14.8 percent in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, Chevrolet fell from 12.9 percent to 12.5 percent in the same period comparison.

Other combatants in the end-of-summer sales battle include Toyota offering 0 percent APR for 60 months on a handful of models, Nissan presenting 0 percent between 36 and 72 months depending on the model chosen, and Dodge giving buyers 90-day deferments on 2014 and 2015 models through Labor Day weekend.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Cadillac’s SEAT In Ibiza http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-vignette-seat-ibiza/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-vignette-seat-ibiza/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:35:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893250 One interesting thing about living on-campus at CCS was the precious little available to purchase within walking distance. Such is the life of a car-less design student in Metro Detroit. That’s until a friend took me to a Meijer Hypermarket in the ‘burbs: a new world of “stuff” entered my cloistered world. Cheap but nice […]

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One interesting thing about living on-campus at CCS was the precious little available to purchase within walking distance. Such is the life of a car-less design student in Metro Detroit. That’s until a friend took me to a Meijer Hypermarket in the ‘burbs: a new world of “stuff” entered my cloistered world. Cheap but nice stuff, with an intrinsic value far higher than its retail price.

Which leads to our subject: a current-gen SEAT Ibiza (visiting from down Mexico way) I met on a business trip to Austin. Fear of getting shot by the owner in mind, I only made time to analyze this VAG derivative at the all-important A-pillar.

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Yes, the Ibiza is a beautiful little car: logical enough lines with a genuine sheet of glass on the A-pillar to continue the greenhouse’s sleeker-than-my-size look without resorting to junky plastic filler panels.

And it’s cheap: base price (including current incentives) is £9995, just under 17 grand. The Mexican version starts at 201,900 pesos, a little over 15 grand.

(photo courtesy: http://www.jimfalk.com)

Contrast with the Cadillac XTS’ standard DLO FAIL at a juicy $44,600 asking price: the world at large gets “cheap but nice” stuff while we’re still cramming bean-counted, badge engineered platforms down our collective throats. Granted the badge engineering’s less obvious than the days of Robert Farago’s Deathwatch screeds, but the fail remains.

And when you can’t avoid it, distract everyone. To wit:

(Cadillac website screenshot)

It takes big, Cadillac-grade, money to make it right: so many of our mid-size, full-size and luxury sedans embrace DLO FAIL, lacking a platform with the requisite space between the front axle and the dashboard (dash-to-axle ratio) to actually look appealing. And instead of masking up the cheapness with pride (sheet of glass) we get that little black plastic triangle.

Because in no way is a Cadillac as good as a SEAT Ibiza.

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To be fair, such fail is available in cheaper European cars. Plus we get the affordable Focus Fiesta in its fail free glory…which isn’t the point.

The point: if the world makes many DLO FAIL free vehicles for under $20,000, there’s no excuse for expensive vehicles not to follow suit. Either with more glass (cheap) or a better dash-to-axle ratio (expensive). All of them, no matter the country of origin.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

 

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Ford do Brasil Unveils New Ka Hatchback, Sedan For Global Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-brasil-unveils-new-ka-hatchback-sedan-global-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-brasil-unveils-new-ka-hatchback-sedan-global-markets/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893082 Last week, Ford do Brasil unveiled the new Ka and Ka+, set to be built and sold (almost) worldwide in short order. Just-Auto reports the city car will come in both five-door (Ka) and sedan (Ka+) formats, with power to the front coming from either a 1-liter 12v TiVCT or 1.5-liter 16v Sigma flex-fuel three-pots. […]

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2015 Ka

Last week, Ford do Brasil unveiled the new Ka and Ka+, set to be built and sold (almost) worldwide in short order.

Just-Auto reports the city car will come in both five-door (Ka) and sedan (Ka+) formats, with power to the front coming from either a 1-liter 12v TiVCT or 1.5-liter 16v Sigma flex-fuel three-pots. The 1-liter, in particular, will be assembled in Brazil at Ford’s Camaçari factory, while both Kas will roll off the line at its São Bernardo do Campo plant.

The Ka was developed in the country with the help of engineering teams in Europe and the United States, and will be assembled in China, Thailand, India — where Ford of Europe will likely receive theirs — and South Africa.

2015 Ka 2015 Ka 2015 Ka+ 2015 Ka 2015 Ka

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Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Fairlane 500 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1970-ford-fairlane-500-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1970-ford-fairlane-500-station-wagon/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888105 We haven’t seen a Ford Fairlane in this series since this ’65 sedan, way back in 2010. We see station wagons here all the time, of course, the last couple being this ’66 Toyota crown and this ’86 Nissan Maxima. Our most recent Detroit station wagon Junkyard Find was this ’72 Pinto (or this ’60 […]

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18 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe haven’t seen a Ford Fairlane in this series since this ’65 sedan, way back in 2010. We see station wagons here all the time, of course, the last couple being this ’66 Toyota crown and this ’86 Nissan Maxima. Our most recent Detroit station wagon Junkyard Find was this ’72 Pinto (or this ’60 Valiant, if you don’t consider the Pinto to be a proper Detroit station wagon). This ’70 Fairlane is rare indeed; I can’t recall having seen any midsize Ford wagon of this vintage on the street or in the junkyard for many years.
17 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of nostalgia for the big American family wagons among some of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, though most of those cars are the full-sized machines built on the Galaxie/Impala/Fury/Ambassador platforms, not the smaller midsize ones such as this Fairlane. My family never had a station wagon, preferring the Chevy Beauville passenger van as our family-outing-mobile.
10 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWindsor V8 with an enormous AC compressor, the same thing you saw under the hoods of millions of Fairlanes, Montegos, Torinos, Cyclones, and Rancheros of the era.
01 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one took kids to soccer practice 40 years ago.
05 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGuam pride!
06 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not rusty and wouldn’t be a huge challenge to restore, but the love of old wagons among Generation X types hasn’t translated into much real-world willingness to spend money and time fixing them up.

The ’68 was an earlier generation of this platform, but it had the same “action size” as the ’70.

01 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Detroit Three Operations Hindered By Flooding http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/detroit-three-operations-hindered-flooding/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/detroit-three-operations-hindered-flooding/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889722 Nearly 4.6 inches of rain fell over Detroit Monday, flooding several areas throughout the city and grinding operations to a halt for the Detroit Three. Automotive News reports General Motors closed its Technical Center Tuesday due to flooded highways and power outages. According to representative Katie McBride, the closure affected 19,000. She added that some […]

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detroit flood of 2014

Nearly 4.6 inches of rain fell over Detroit Monday, flooding several areas throughout the city and grinding operations to a halt for the Detroit Three.

Automotive News reports General Motors closed its Technical Center Tuesday due to flooded highways and power outages. According to representative Katie McBride, the closure affected 19,000. She added that some employees returned later in the day to work second-shift, and that other parts of the center will reopen dependent on repairs needed. No other GM facility closed due to the weather.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles representative Jodi Tinson reported that four of the automaker’s Detroit plants — Jefferson North Assembly, Sterling Heights Assembly, Sterling Stamping and Warren Stamping — were all severely affected by flooding and road closures. In addition, a car carrier loaded with Chrysler 200s was stranded when flood waters reached its position on Mound Road near I-696 in Warren.

Ford representative Kristina Adamski said production was slowed Monday evening in five of its plants in the area, with supplier delays affecting the automaker’s plants in Chicago and Louisville, Ky. She added that production returned to normal Tuesday.

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Capsule Review: 1964 Ford Cortina http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-1964-ford-cortina/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-1964-ford-cortina/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:45:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888841 Most of my writing on this site is centered around the “clash of civilizations” – the eternal debate over whether American or European cars are superior in qualitative, if not quantitative matters. But among all those reviews of new European and American cars, or my sordid tales of living with old American iron in Europe, it’s easy […]

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cortina2

Most of my writing on this site is centered around the “clash of civilizations” – the eternal debate over whether American or European cars are superior in qualitative, if not quantitative matters. But among all those reviews of new European and American cars, or my sordid tales of living with old American iron in Europe, it’s easy to forget that today’s European cars are in fact quite similar to the American ones. At least compared to what they’ve been in the past.

To prove my point, I borrowed my friend’s 1964 Ford Cortina. This car is quite special to me, being one of the old European Fords I loved in my late teens and early twenties – I took them as a substitute to the classic American cars, which were out of my reach then. My grandfather used to own a Mark I Cortina just like this one, although it was replaced by a Polski Fiat 125p before I was even born.

But more importantly to you, my dear readers, is the fact that the Cortina is representative of the typical European family car of the epoch, one of the most popular cars in Great Britain and sold in large numbers in other countries as well. You can even trace exact lineage from Cortina to 1980s Sierra to the Mondeo – which, when the new generation finally comes, will be identical to the USDM Fusion.

But back in 1964, its USDM equivalent would be the Ford Fairlane. While the Fairlane was 5,002 mm (197“) long, hulking sedan riding on a 2,934 mm (115.5“) wheelbase, with a 2.8-litre straight six (145hp) as a base engine (a 4.7/289 c.i. V8 with 271hp was available), the Cortina was a different beast altogether. A fairly sizeable car for Europe of its time, it boasted a stately 4,274 mm (168.25“) of length, riding on 2,489 mm (98“) wheelbase. Under the hood? A 1.2-litre four. That’s 73 cubic inches, or a bit less than a typical American motorcycle of the time had. Horsepower? A whopping 65 ponies.

And it doesn’t stop here. Just look at the list of optional extras. With Cortina, you could buy things like heater or a fan as extras. Or a fancy DeLuxe model with a real chrome grille, instead of painted one. The Fairlane? Power steering and power brakes were not only available, but very common, as was the automatic transmission (Cortina could have one, but it was extremely rare). You could also order power steering, power brakes or even air conditioning – something basically unheard of in Europe of that time.

On paper, it would seem that the American car beats its distant European cousin on all fronts – and usually by quite a margin. But what about reality? Did the British Ford make up for the tiny size and missing horsepower by its sophistication and precise handling?

The very first thing you will notice once you sit behind the Cortina’s huge wheel is the sheer emptiness of the cabin.You are sitting in a car quite a bit smaller than today’s Focus sedan, and you feel an unusual roominess. For the passengers in front, it can probably feel even roomier than today’s Mondeo/Fusion. There is no huge center console, no wide door pockets, no deep buckets. Just you and a lot of empty space. Also nice is the fact that you can actually see outside, as the roof is supported by slender pillars instead of massive columns used in modern cars.

cortina10

The flip side of all this? A bit of discomfort, caused by total absence of ergonomics, as well as any comfort equipment. Nowhere to put your keys, wallet or a phone. And probably also the quite unpleasant fact that once you crash, even just a little, you will die a horrible, painful death.

Obviously, this car isn’t equipped with a modern, fuel injected engine with array of sensors and a computer to decide about things like the air/fuel ratio. Today, we take for granted that once you turn a key in the ignition/press the starting button, the engine starts purring evenly, with no hesitation

cortina6

Here, you have to pull something called a “choke” to increase the air/fuel ratio, so the cold engine actually starts up. And you have to do a bit of magic with the right amount of gas during starting, or maybe a few “pumps” of the pedal before you turn the key. Once the engine gets warm enough, you have to remember to switch the choke off again, or else you’ll “flood” the engine. And no, there is no “idiot light” to warn you that you’re running on choke for too long.

But other than the carb-related wizardry, the Cortina’s operation is fairly straightforward. Step on the clutch, find first gear – yeah, in this case, you have to really find it, with a gearstick the length of a small fishing rod – and go.

Once on the move, you’ll notice much of what you have probably expected. The Cortina is very slow, but from behind the wheel, it feels like you’re driving awfully quick. The engine and transmission are noisy, the car doesn’t feel very stable and isn’t even that comfortable – it is much less comfy than you would expect with a softly sprung suspension and tiny wheels with narrow, tall tires.

cortina5

You probably also wouldn’t be surprised by the fact that driving this car requires some muscle – the brakes and the steering are not power-assisted. Braking from higher speeds, as well as turning in slow speeds, is a pain in the ass. When braking, you’re usually concerned whether you will stop the car at all and not about your tires blocking and losing grip. And similarly, at speeds over 50mph, you need to pay real attention to ensuring that you won’t just go off the road.

However, there is still one surprise. With all the current jibber-jabber about the electric power steering systems being devoid of feel, and the preceding hydraulic ones being much superior, we tend to think that old cars were magically connected to the driver, talking to him and signalling the ever-smallest changes of grip underneath the wheels.

But I have some bad news for you. With old-style recirculating-ball type steering, you can just quietly forget about “steering feel”. And without the power steering, even more so. The helm requires some strength to turn, has some play and doesn’t really tell you much about what’s happening underneath. Did I mention that the steering wheel is friggin’ huge? Otherwise it would be impossible to turn around or park, without the power steering. But if you just imagine things like going sideways with this thing, well, it’s really, really terrifying.

cortina1

This is probably the biggest surprise I encountered during my drive. Arguably, the modern car offers more driver involvement in some respects. While the new cars, with their electric steering racks, unswitchable ESPs, fat tires and absurd limits of grip are scary to drive fast simply because you have to go extremely fast to really feel any speed, the Cortina is scary to get even close to the limit, because its controls just don’t offer you enough control to ensure that you don’t kill yourself. It’s not fair to extrapolate the difference in progress between the various eras. The cars from eighties or nineties were truly the exception instead of the norm. In those two decades, it was fairly normal for a ordinary car to be truly communicative, to be easy to drive on the limit, and to provide immense fun. The gap between the 1960′s and the 1980s versus the 1980s until now provides us with a window where we can view the extraordinary progress made in terms of driving dynamics.

That’s not to say that the Cortina isn’t fun. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys, as they would say in the sixties. I would add that it’s more fun than barrel of angry, rabies-infested monkeys. And probably as likely to kill you. You will not want to go near the limits of grip – not because it’s hard to find, but because it’s very easy to find. And when you get there, it may be too hard to ensure that you won’t die a fiery death. It reminds you of the times when just getting your car at the (today’s) speed limit and going somewhere required skill. Our current speed limits were drawn up in the era of the Cortina, and viewed in that light, it seems crazy that we have never re-examined them.

Even so, the Cortina is a wonderful little car. It made me think about getting something slow and simple and old for myself again. But most of all, it’s a testament to how much the automobile improved in the last 50 years, and that we all should be immensely grateful for that.

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Ford, UAW, Wounded Warriors Team Up For Veteran Welding Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-uaw-wounded-warriors-team-veteran-welding-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-uaw-wounded-warriors-team-veteran-welding-program/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889281 Much like Jaguar Land Rover’s own program, Ford is training military veterans for apprenticeships and entry-level civilian positions in welding in the auto industry and beyond. Detroit Free Press reports the program, a partnership between the automaker, the United Auto Workers and Wounded Warriors Family Support, will teach welding to eight selected veterans of Enduring […]

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Wounded Warriors - Ford-UAW Veteran Welding Program

Much like Jaguar Land Rover’s own program, Ford is training military veterans for apprenticeships and entry-level civilian positions in welding in the auto industry and beyond.

Detroit Free Press reports the program, a partnership between the automaker, the United Auto Workers and Wounded Warriors Family Support, will teach welding to eight selected veterans of Enduring Freedom, Desert Storm and Desert Shield in a six-week course beginning this week. The course is being taught at the UAW Ford Technical Training Center.

The ultimate goal of the program is to send veterans into a profession where some 290,000 skilled welders will be needed by 2020, as explained to the students by UAW vice president James Settles Jr.:

The worst thing you can do is train people with the expectation they’ll get jobs and they don’t get jobs.

Aside from welding, Wounded Warriors founder and president Col. John Folsom is also looking into a 10-week machining course.

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GM Will Set Base Curb Weight For Its Truck Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-will-set-base-curb-weight-truck-lineup/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888617 The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload. Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500 long box

The next time you visit a Chevrolet or GMC showroom to check out a full-size or mid-size pickup, you may find the truck’s curb weight to be heavier than once advertised. That’s because General Motors has decided it will no longer remove items to make payload.

Autoblog reports GM will commit to a base curb weight for its Silverado/Sierra and Colorado/Canyon twins after a number of complaints regarding its and Ford’s practice of removing items — spare tires, radios, jacks, center consoles — to lower curb weight for a boost in maximum payload capacity. Representative Tom Wilkinson says the move will bring curb weight on par with other truck makers for easier comparisons when consumers go truck shopping. Heavy-duty trucks will also have a base weight, though those numbers have yet to be finalized.

However, GM and everyone else says the truck’s Tire and Load Label should be consulted over curb weight ratings when it comes to maximum payload capacity. Meanwhile, Ford will continue use its temporary decontenting methods to determine curb weight.

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