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. Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:41:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags. The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in […]

The post NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Takata-jpg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags.

The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in addition to those already recalled.

The first act in bringing the named parties to trial will be a formal demand letter issued to all concerned. Upon refusal, the NHTSA will file a suit against each party in U.S. District Court, a process that could last for months, if not years.

The die was cast when Takata rebuffed the agency’s request earlier this month to expand its recall efforts beyond high-humidity locations in warm climates around the United States, including Florida and Hawaii.

The post NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/feed/ 9
The Ford Transit: America’s Best-Selling Commercial Van In November 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-transit-americas-best-selling-commercial-van-november-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-transit-americas-best-selling-commercial-van-november-2014/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961817 In November 2014, for the first time in its six-month North American existence, the full-size Ford Transit was America’s best-selling commercial van. A number of special circumstances made the Transit’s sudden rise to the top of the leaderboard possible, besides an increase in the number of available Transits and, yes, increased demand for the Transit […]

The post The Ford Transit: America’s Best-Selling Commercial Van In November 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Ford TransitIn November 2014, for the first time in its six-month North American existence, the full-size Ford Transit was America’s best-selling commercial van.

A number of special circumstances made the Transit’s sudden rise to the top of the leaderboard possible, besides an increase in the number of available Transits and, yes, increased demand for the Transit itself.

First, sales of its predecessor, the traditional best-selling Ford E-Series, declined 59% from November 2013 to just 4151 units in November 2014. The E-Series’ decline was an anticipated one, but it had been averaging 7748 monthly sales over the Transit’s first five months.

Second, the Chevrolet Express slid 23% to just 4478 units. Had Express volume remained level – it’s up 3% year-to-date – at 5779 units, it would have clearly been the top seller for the fourth consecutive month. Sales of the Express’s twin, the GMC Savana, fell 53% to just 716 units.

Third, the attention typically generated by the Transit’s top-selling rivals was more divided than usual. Ram had its best ProMaster month in that van’s 14-month tenure with 3290 sales, 76% better than its previous best month. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter volume was up 26%.

U.S. commercial van sales chartFinally, the smaller quartet of vans, which for the first time included the Nissan NV200-based Chevrolet City Express, was up 36% to 5050 units, thereby grabbing 19.3% of the overall category, up from 14.9% a year ago.

Yet while the stars aligned for the Transit’s best-selling performance, we must expect that any Ford commercial van will become a dominant commercial van. Still, does the Transit have what it takes to pick up where the E-Series left off? The E-Series has been a massive seller for Ford in the United States, and even in this surprisingly fruitful month for the Transit, total full-size Ford commercial van sales slid 11%. Transit Connect included, Ford van sales were down 10%. The Transit has a long way to go if it’s to ever sell like the E-Series. The old van averaged 138,000 annual sales in the decade leading up to 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post The Ford Transit: America’s Best-Selling Commercial Van In November 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-transit-americas-best-selling-commercial-van-november-2014/feed/ 47
Junkyard Find: 1965 Ford Thunderbird Landau http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1965-ford-thunderbird-landau/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1965-ford-thunderbird-landau/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=960825 A perfectly restored example of a 1964-66 Ford Thunderbird is worth plenty. A beat-up example, even a non-rusty California car, on the other hand… well, it’s one of those cases where you can start with a thousand-dollar car, apply 15 grand to get it into pretty nice shape, and end up with a car worth […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1965 Ford Thunderbird Landau appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
05 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA perfectly restored example of a 1964-66 Ford Thunderbird is worth plenty. A beat-up example, even a non-rusty California car, on the other hand… well, it’s one of those cases where you can start with a thousand-dollar car, apply 15 grand to get it into pretty nice shape, and end up with a car worth $9,500. This cruel math is the reason that today’s Junkyard Find was spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back.
22 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe body is rough (though not rusty) and the interior smells like a mixture of mildew and Porta-Potty, but this car still has much to offer someone restoring a nicer T-Bird.
06 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow this is a proper landau roof!
11 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMy ideal car interior would combine mid-60s Thunderbird and mid-80s Subaru XT controls. Throw in some early-90s Chrysler Whorehouse Red velour and it would be perfect.

01 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1965 Ford Thunderbird Landau appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1965-ford-thunderbird-landau/feed/ 76
Two-Tier Wage System Targeted For 2015 UAW Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961777 2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007. The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing […]

The post Two-Tier Wage System Targeted For 2015 UAW Negotiations appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Dennis Williams

2015 is only 15 days away, which means new contract negotiations between the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers are coming, the main focus being the elimination the two-tier wage system implemented in 2007.

The Detroit News reports the UAW’s hourly members are calling for the abolition of the system, which has done nothing but “cause a divide” up and down the roll “on both sides of the aisle,” per Local 2209 president Brian Hartman.

There may be trouble within, however, as Tier 2 employees receive bonuses and profit-sharing checks in lieu of being on parity with Tier 1 workers. The former may not be so willing to see lowered or disappeared bonuses just to level up to those making more, while the latter would like to not only see the system die, but to gain a raise in pay — including the restoration of holiday and cost-of-living adjustment payments — in so doing.

Other issues on the table for 2015 include securing overtime pay after eight hours per day — instead of overtime after 40 hours per week — ensuring all employees receive a defined pension scheme, and hiring temporary employees for permanent positions after 90 days.

The environment for the negotiations will be different compared to those held since 2007: UAW workers at General Motors and Chrysler Group will be able to strike for the first time since 2011, while non-union employees now have the right to remain as such via Michigan’s right-to-work law. UAW president Dennis Williams hasn’t focused too much on the right-to-work situation, believing that if one does their job in representing those under their care, the people would give their undying support to the leadership.

The post Two-Tier Wage System Targeted For 2015 UAW Negotiations appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/two-tier-wage-system-targeted-2015-uaw-negotiations/feed/ 46
Editorial: Ford Is At Risk Of Missing The B-CUV Boat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-ford-risk-missing-b-cuv-boat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-ford-risk-missing-b-cuv-boat/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:37:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961441 Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade. Honda HR-V. Mazda CX-3. Nissan Juke. Fiat 500X. There’s little doubt that the B-segment crossover is about to explode in North America. So, where is Ford in all of this? Ford markets the Ecosport in a number of world markets, from Brazil to Europe to India, as a smaller CUV that […]

The post Editorial: Ford Is At Risk Of Missing The B-CUV Boat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
800px-Ford_Ecosport_-_Mondial_de_l'Automobile_de_Paris_2012_-_003

Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade. Honda HR-V. Mazda CX-3. Nissan Juke. Fiat 500X. There’s little doubt that the B-segment crossover is about to explode in North America. So, where is Ford in all of this?

Ford markets the Ecosport in a number of world markets, from Brazil to Europe to India, as a smaller CUV that slots under the Kuga (which is our Escape in world markets). One would assume that given the “One Ford” program that is supposed to harmonize vehicles for sale across different markets, the Ecosport could quickly and easily be brought up to spec, both in terms of regulatory compliance and the level of content that North American buyers expect.

Only Ford planners know the real answer, but two immediate hurdles stand out. First off, the 1.0L 3-cylinder Ecoboost is the main powertrain in many markets. This may suffice in the BRIC countries and other markets where displacement-based taxation make big engines a burden, but North Americans would need something more powerful and more refined. The lack of an automatic option in our market doesn’t help either.

Ford would also have to find a suitable manufacturing location for the car. Since this is a fairly low-margin product, Mexico would likely be the only NAFTA country that would allow for profitable manufacturing of the Ecosport. Otherwise, it’s got to be imported from India, Brazil or Thailand, and that means shipping costs and potential tariffs, even though labor costs will be much lower.

The next-generation Fiesta is said to be coming from factories in Thailand, so perhaps that will give Ford a chance to bring the Ecosport over here. Given that the Escape is one of the top players in the compact SUV space, bringing over the Ecosport seems like the right move for Ford – assuming the numbers make sense.

The post Editorial: Ford Is At Risk Of Missing The B-CUV Boat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/editorial-ford-risk-missing-b-cuv-boat/feed/ 162
Trucks, SUVs Best Premium Sedans In Over $50K US Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961313 Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days. TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm. […]

The post Trucks, SUVs Best Premium Sedans In Over $50K US Segment appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-ford-f-150-in-detroit-rear-side-view

Keep those Benzes, BMWs and Audis in the garage, son: $50,000-plus trucks and SUVs are where it’s at for the ballers and players these days.

TrueCar says trucks and SUVs account for six of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States market, specifically the segment where transaction prices of $50,000-plus are the norm.

The biggest of them all? The Ford F-150, whose projected 2014 volume of 189,776 “will likely surpass total U.S. volume of luxury car benchmarks including BMW’s combined 3, 5 and 7 Series sales or total deliveries for the Audi brand this year.” The Blue Oval will see revenue of $10.8 billion from those high transactions, making up a third of an estimated $33.2 billion for the overall F-Series portfolio.

The demand for looking California and feeling Minnesota is helped in part by a recovering U.S. economy, improved vehicle quality, and a growing supply of cheap gasoline, which is helping the $50,000-plus transaction segment, as well: approximately 8.1 percent of total 2014 sales will transact at that level, up from 6.6 percent in 2013.

Finishing out the podium per TrueCar is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram truck lineup, with sales of 76,266 at the $50,000 transaction level, Mercedes taking third with its E-Class at 67,006.

TrueCar 2014 50K USD Transaction Table

The post Trucks, SUVs Best Premium Sedans In Over $50K US Segment appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/trucks-suvs-best-premium-sedans-50k-us-segment/feed/ 247
Surprise: The New Ford Mustang Is A Hot Ticket http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/surprise-new-ford-mustang-hot-ticket/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/surprise-new-ford-mustang-hot-ticket/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:09:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=960753 Ford reported in November 2014 the largest number of Mustangs sold in any November since 2006. With 8278 sold last month, year-over-year Mustang volume jumped 62%. It was also the best month for the Mustang since May of this year, when monthly U.S. Mustang volume jumped beyond 9000 units for just the third time in […]

The post Surprise: The New Ford Mustang Is A Hot Ticket appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 ford mustang at factoryFord reported in November 2014 the largest number of Mustangs sold in any November since 2006. With 8278 sold last month, year-over-year Mustang volume jumped 62%.

It was also the best month for the Mustang since May of this year, when monthly U.S. Mustang volume jumped beyond 9000 units for just the third time in 23 months.

Yet, “best since 2006,” doesn’t sound nearly as good to the Mustang fan base as, “nearly twice as popular as Camaro,” does it?

Although sales of the Chevrolet Camaro are up 5% through the first eleven months of 2014 and will rise beyond 80,000 units for the fifth consecutive year, Camaro volume slid 13% in November as the Mustang’s big gains were accompanied by a 51% Dodge Challenger sales increase.

2014 looks to be the Camaro’s year again – the Mustang hasn’t outsold the Camaro since 2009 – as the Ford would need to outsell the Chevrolet by nearly 6600 units in December to top the year-end standings.

Auto
November
2014
November
2013
%
Change
11 mos.
2014
11 mos.
2013
%
Change
Chevrolet Camaro
4,385 5,068 -13.5% 79,669 75,552 5.4%
Dodge Challenger
4,157 2,757 50.8% 46,673 48,590 -3.9%
Ford Mustang
8,728 5,376 62.4% 73,124 71,459 2.3%
Total
17,270
13,201 30.8% 199,466 195,601 2.0%

The Camaro’s 13% November decline resulted in 4385 sales, just 228 more than the Challenger managed. The Mustang didn’t quite double up the Camaro’s total – the Ford’s sales were only 89% stronger than the Chevrolet’s.

But the conclusion, a predictable one, is obvious: a brand-new new sixth-generation Mustang was wildly more popular than a fifth-generation Camaro that’s been around since 2009. Inevitably, the Mustang is a hot ticket: Ford says Mustangs spent an average of just eight days on dealer lots in November 2014. It’s currently America’s 29th-best-selling car. The Camaro ranks 26th.

And what about those eight-year-old figures? Ford sold 10,230 Mustangs in November 2006, a 7% decline from the 11,030 sold in November 2005. Oh, the blissful state of going it alone. The Camaro and Challenger were nonexistent back then.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post Surprise: The New Ford Mustang Is A Hot Ticket appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/surprise-new-ford-mustang-hot-ticket/feed/ 29
A Plethora of Parading Pintos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/plethora-parading-pintos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/plethora-parading-pintos/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 20:35:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949745 Start the YouTube video player. Click on the settings icon in the menu bar to select 2D or your choice of stereo 3D formats Would you miss a parade of 50 Ford Pintos (well, 47 at least)? The cute little subcompact, oft demeaned as a fiery death trap due to lawsuits and controversy over how […]

The post A Plethora of Parading Pintos appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Click here to view the embedded video.


Start the YouTube video player. Click on the settings icon in the menu bar to select 2D or your choice of stereo 3D formats

Would you miss a parade of 50 Ford Pintos (well, 47 at least)? The cute little subcompact, oft demeaned as a fiery death trap due to lawsuits and controversy over how and where it mounted the fuel tank, does have its enthusiasts and for the past three years they’ve gathered for the Pinto Stampede, a car meet and fund raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. This year the Stampede was held in Dearborn, Michigan and the proud Pinto pilots (alliteration is my friend) were reserved a special place of honor at the Ford Product Development Center employees’ annual car show on the lawn in front of the PDC.

Not only was the Pinto club specifically invited by the Ford Motor Company to participate, notwithstanding the car’s reputation, the city of Dearborn provided police cruisers to escort dozens of Pintos and handful of Mercury Bobcats (the Pinto’s now very rare badge engineered cousin) as they paraded from the historic Dearborn Inn hotel to Ford’s engineering complex on the south side of Oakwood Blvd, just across from the Henry Ford Museum.

Conceived by Lee Iacocca as Ford’s response to the sales of inexpensive imported cars, particularly the VW Beetle. By the early 1970s, Toyota and Datsun had established beachheads on the U.S. west coast and Honda was getting ready to introduce its first car that wasn’t a microcar, the Civic. Though over 3 million Pintos were sold, it’s regarded as one of Iacocca’s failures and the model name itself has become a bit of a punchline, a perennial “worst cars of all times” candidate.

The Pinto was in production from 1971 to 1980 and nearly every iteration in the decade long run was represented at the PDC show, including a couple of very 1970s looking Pinto wagon version of the custom van craze, complete with porthole bubble window. By 1972 the 5 mph bumper standards started ruining the original runabout’s trim and attractive styling, but that didn’t seem to affect sales that much, which peaked at almost 480,000 units in 1973. What did affect Pinto sales were lawsuits and the attending controversy over deaths attributed to gas tank punctures in collisions. A 1977 article in the left wing Mother Jones magazine charged that Ford knew about the fuel tank issue early on and decided, supposedly based on a cost/benefit analysis that calculated the cost of wrongful death lawsuits, that it would be cheaper to not fix the car and just pay off the survivors.

Over 100 lawsuits and even criminal homicide charges filed against Ford Motor Company by the state of Indiana in 1979 permanently tainted the Pinto’s reputation. However, in 1991, law professor Gary Schwartz published a 46 page analysis of the Pinto and the lawsuits in the Rutgers Law Review and concluded that Ford wasn’t as negligent (or worse) as is generally thought and that the Pinto wasn’t, at least statistically, a fire trap. You can read Schwartz’s paper here. A look at the case from a business ethics standpoint can be seen here. An overall look at the Pinto and it’s troubled history can be seen at the Automotive News.

Mercury Bobcats have got to be very rare these days. Full gallery here.

Mercury Bobcats have got to be very rare these days. Full gallery here.

Perhaps appropriate for a car associated with fire, part of the Pinto Stampede actually included a drive to hell and back. Hell, Michigan that is, a small town about 50 miles west of Detroit.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

The post A Plethora of Parading Pintos appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/plethora-parading-pintos/feed/ 29
Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959081 Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system. Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones […]

The post Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
SYNC 3

Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones and tablets. The system also offers day and night settings, reduced complexity, and better voice recognition.

Speaking of smartphones, users can connect theirs via SYNC 3’s AppLink, allowing them to control their smartphones through voice commands. The latest version of AppLink can automatically discover music and news apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio Auto and NPR One.

Software updates can now be achieved via Wi-Fi: once a user links the system to their home network, updates can happen while the car is parked in the garage or on the driveway.

Finally, users can dial 911 via the subscription-free 911 Assist service, which uses a Bluetooth-connected phone to call first responders in the event of an accident, and providing detailed information location, whether airbags were deployed, how many seat belts were used, and the type of crash that occurred.

Owners can expect SYNC 3 to arrive in the 2016 model year, with full replacement by New Year’s Eve 2016. Lincoln will have a slightly touched-up version for its customers, as well.

SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3 SYNC 3

The post Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/feed/ 71
Ford Focus RS Coming In Limited Quantities, Imported From Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-focus-rs-coming-limited-quantities-imported-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-focus-rs-coming-limited-quantities-imported-europe/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:57:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958561 Ford confirmed that the Focus RS will be sold in North America for the first time ever. But it won’t be built here. As we previously reported, the Focus RS will likely not be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant that builds the other Focus models. According to a Ford source, it won’t fit down […]

The post Ford Focus RS Coming In Limited Quantities, Imported From Europe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
ford-focus-rs-2009-01

Ford confirmed that the Focus RS will be sold in North America for the first time ever. But it won’t be built here.

As we previously reported, the Focus RS will likely not be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant that builds the other Focus models. According to a Ford source, it won’t fit down the line at MAP. That means it will almost certainly be built in Europe, and imported in limited quantities.

The Focus RS will feature a 2.3L Ecoboost engine, all-wheel drive and be priced a couple of thousand dollars higher than a loaded Ford Focus ST3. But it will also be sold in very limited quantities.

The post Ford Focus RS Coming In Limited Quantities, Imported From Europe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-focus-rs-coming-limited-quantities-imported-europe/feed/ 77
Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957306 Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications. Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five […]

The post Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014-ford-fiesta-sfe-ecoboost-front-side-view

Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.

Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.

As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007.

The post Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/feed/ 36
Holden’s Loss Is Ford’s Gain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/holdens-loss-fords-gain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/holdens-loss-fords-gain/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 21:26:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956962 With Holden set to lay off hundreds of engineers as it shuts the doors of its Australian factories, Ford is looking to grow its ranks. The Blue Oval is set to hire 150 ex-Holden engineers to help develop cars for the Chinese market. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Ford will grow its vehicle development […]

The post Holden’s Loss Is Ford’s Gain appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
ford-escort-china-1-550x357

With Holden set to lay off hundreds of engineers as it shuts the doors of its Australian factories, Ford is looking to grow its ranks. The Blue Oval is set to hire 150 ex-Holden engineers to help develop cars for the Chinese market.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Ford will grow its vehicle development headcount from 1050 to 1200 employees. By contrast, Holden will retain roughly 10 times fewer engineers when they end Australian production in 2017.

While Ford is also closing its Australian plants in 2016, Australian will serve as a regional hub for vehicle development. Holden’s engineers have experience working with small cars built in Korea by GM Daewoo, as well as premium large cars like the Falcon and Territory. The broad range of experience will serve Ford well, as it looks to adapt everything from compacts like the China-only Ford Escort to an all-new range of Lincoln products.

The post Holden’s Loss Is Ford’s Gain appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/holdens-loss-fords-gain/feed/ 15
Review: 2015 Lincoln Navigator http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/review-2015-lincoln-navigator/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/review-2015-lincoln-navigator/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 13:30:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948177 Long-time followers of my racing adventures, if there are any, will know that my trips to Houston have been less than perfectly satisfying and/or marked by misbehavior. By contrast, my stint behind the wheel of a 944 Turbo in the LeMons Gator-O-Rama was probably my sanest Texas trip in years. It didn’t hurt that I […]

The post Review: 2015 Lincoln Navigator appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
navi15

Long-time followers of my racing adventures, if there are any, will know that my trips to Houston have been less than perfectly satisfying and/or marked by misbehavior. By contrast, my stint behind the wheel of a 944 Turbo in the LeMons Gator-O-Rama was probably my sanest Texas trip in years.

It didn’t hurt that I wasn’t driving a Kia with the bumper ripped halfway off but rather a vehicle that, like David Bowie’s stage outfits, only works in one place, but perfectly so when it is there.

That place is Texas and the vehicle is the revised-for-2015 Lincoln Navigator. Our august founder, Robert Farago, would have started his review by reminding all and sundry that this SUV is, fundamentally, a 2004 Ford F-150. While that’s true, as the former owner of a 2003 Discovery 4.6 and its straight-outta-1970-Range-Rover underpinnings, I’m not necessarily inclined to damn it simply because it’s not based on the most modern vehicle in the segment. So let’s give the Navigator a chance to stand or fall on its own merits.

Start with the looks: the maxi-MKC front end is a distinct improvement on the faux-Continental, MKX-derived look that marked the current Navi for its first seven years on the market. Although the idea of the 2007 Navigator’s styling was sound, the execution had Ford doing a last-minute flip-flop on the brightwork and the dealers were very far from being happy with it. Remember, as always, that the dealers are the true customers in the eyes of the manufacturers. If they don’t like, it’s no good, and they most definitely did not like the “Continental” Navigator. The new tail is extremely distinctive and had plenty of people in Houston parking lots inquiring about the ‘Gator’s price and availability.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Lincoln Navigator and its direct competitor, the Cadillac Escalade, are depressingly crass exercises in marketing that demean everyone involved in their design, production, and consumption — as long as you live on the East Coast or in San Francisco or in my remarkably reserved hometown of Powell, Ohio. In Texas, by contrast, these are just trucks with some gingerbread, fundamentally no different from the Suburbans a-la-LTZ and loaded Expeditions all around them on the freeway. They don’t even feel or look particularly large in context with the F-350s favored for grocery runs by the Houston-Dallas crowd. After a week spent looking up at people in other trucks, this Navigator started to seem like a remarkably restrained and tasteful effort.

It helps that over the course of three generations this big SUV has become remarkably easy to operate and maneuver. It’s Volvo-square and chock-full of glass windows so parking in tight spaces is a surprising breeze. The rearview camera is as good as one could wish for and the park sensors are neither lazy nor hysterical. Steering effort is on par with my dear departed Town Car and all the controls provide feedback that is high-quality by domestic-truck standards. I’m currently spending a lot of time driving a late-model GMT900 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 around, which gives me a bit of perspective on what’s out there. Compared to that GMT900, this Navigator is superior in all respects. Compared to the current Escalade? Well, it’s less expensive at the very least, by a full eleven grand base-trim-to-base-trim.

My test vehicle had two particular virtues over above its predecessors. First, the Ecoboost six, which returned 16.2mpg over the course of about 900 miles and was perfectly matched to the needs of the vehicle. Compared to a Tahoe 5.3 it might as well be an F-106 Delta Dart, but of course you’d be comparing it to the six-liter Escalade. Which it still whips and a I have the results of a late-night stoplight drag in Cy-Fair to prove it. The Ecoboost is just enough motor for this thing and most importantly it doesn’t feel soft at low revs the way the GM LS truck engines do. Don’t think of this as a big Grand Cherokee SRT-8 competitor; it has neither Sturm nor Drang. It’s just a nice luxury truck that happens to be properly motivated.

navi

Apologies for the stock photography, as all my shots of the Gator’s interior feature a healthy helping of autumn Texas mud. As supplied, with the “Reserve” interior package, this truck closely approximates an actual luxury automobile, from the quality of the leather on the seats (outstanding) to the fit and finish of the dashboard (pretty tight for a body-on-frame automobile). The capacitance-touch sliders that frustrated and impressed Ford drivers in equal measure over the past few years are replaced here with chrome rocker switches. Given the massive available dashboard space in this very wide vehicle, the net effect of the small chrome buttons and restrained labeling is one of mid-fi stereo equipment.

Speaking of… I never quite got along with the THX sound system, but everybody else who heard it thought it was dynamically spacious and whatnot. When the vehicle is stopped, you can make it produce the “THX Sound” at ear-splitting volume. Quite fun, really. The associated MyFordTouch system finally works at the speed we expected back in 2010 and I never experienced any failures to operate or MFT blackscreens over the course of about nine hundred miles behind the wheel. The double-LCD instrument panel was similarly flawless. It’s really a bit of a coup to make a vehicle of this vintage work just like a new MKZ in this respect; I assume that there’s a completely modern set of fiber optics wrapped around the Navigator’s innards.

Wind noise is very mild, the ride is pretty good and very short on “head toss” thanks to the independent rear suspension that also allows a low cargo floor, and conversation between the rows is both easy and pleasant. The original Navigator was a pretty ridiculous — as in, it deserved ridicule — effort, but this one benefits both from the vast improvements on the base Expedition and the diligent effort spent on differentiating it from said Expo. My chocolate-brown test example just felt expensive inside and out. The paint sparkled. The chrome trim was solid and durable-looking. It’s no longer an F-150 with a cap and a crosshairs badge.

As a replacement for an Audi A6 or something like that, the Navigator works very well, assuming you live in Texas or Oklahoma. If you live somewhere else, you’re likely to find the sheer size and bourgeois visual aggression of the thing a bit over the top. But on its home ground, the big Lincoln is just as appropriate as a Citroen C6 would have been on the Paris autoroute. It has virtually no direct competition, insofar as the Cadillac and Lexus both cost a lot more and the Germans aren’t nearly as massive. It’s not economical but if you run something like a V8 S-Class you won’t do any better in most circumstances and on long freeway trips at 85mph — Texas, remember? — the Lincoln could return 20mpg easily.

With all that said, I would never buy a Navigator. Not in a million years. I have one major issue with the vehicle, and it’s this: As a short-wheelbase four-door, it makes no sense. The Navigator L is the one you want. The massive increase in usable space for passengers and cargo comes at a very low cost and it turns this truck from a curiosity to a genuine double-duty superstar, able to carry plywood or passengers with aplomb. It tows better thanks to the long wheelbase, too.

The era of Navigators standing-in for Town Cars or Taurus-based Continentals is nearly over, thanks to fuel prices and social perceptions. The Lincoln of the future is the hybrid MKZ or a thoroughly revised RWD Conti, neither of which will ever come close to the sheer massiveness of this truck. Still, if you want to drive something like this, and you can afford both to purchase and to operate it, why not?

The post Review: 2015 Lincoln Navigator appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/review-2015-lincoln-navigator/feed/ 161
Piston Slap: Flat Plane Crankshaft Design? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-flat-plane-crankshaft-design/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-flat-plane-crankshaft-design/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:37:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956042   GCH writes: Sajeev: Could you/somebody please explain what a “flat plane crankshaft” is in the new Mustang GT350, and older Porsches and Ferraris? I have seen numerous references to it online and in print but nobody, including Wikipedia explains it in non-calculus terms. Sajeev answers: Dumbing it down sadly glosses over hundreds (thousands?) of […]

The post Piston Slap: Flat Plane Crankshaft Design? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

My 98 booming with a trunk of funk, Don’t Believe the Hype. (photo courtesy: Ford)

GCH writes:

Sajeev:

Could you/somebody please explain what a “flat plane crankshaft” is in the new Mustang GT350, and older Porsches and Ferraris?

I have seen numerous references to it online and in print but nobody, including Wikipedia explains it in non-calculus terms.

Sajeev answers:

Dumbing it down sadly glosses over hundreds (thousands?) of salient details in casting technology and/or computer-aided design. But I left Engineering school for a reason, so let’s simplify: rest a flat plane crankshaft on a table and it’s flat like a sheet of paper.

Ford Powerstroke 6.0 crank (photo courtesy: mkmcustoms.com)

Ok, maybe not “paper flat” with those boomerang counterweights at the ends…but compared to the crossplane crank in most V8 passenger vehicles?

Capture

LS9 crankshaft. (Photo Courtesy: General Motors)

Crankshafts, like damn near everything else in our lives, benefits from the KISS principle. A flat plane crankshaft has the potential for significant weight savings to optimize a motor’s moment of inertia and more even firing to benefit the exhaust stroke, allowing for more revs/horsepower. And that unique sound!

But NVH control is a problem: hence widespread adoption of crossplane crankshafts.

Which means flat plane crankshaft-ed Mustangs shall be completely pointless moot when trapped, idling at a red light in American surburbia…which is precisely where 88.7% of Mustang GT350s shall live. 

The stock Coyote V8 is a better option, cool/brag factor aside. Why? Because it’s got a damn good crank, and here’s 8000+ reasons why:

Click here to view the embedded video.

When comparing modifications side-to-side, will a modified GT350 rev harder and make more horses than a similar GT?  Probably.

Will it, in the process, lose valuable low-end torque needed on the street?  Probably.

So go kick some GT350 ass with the Mustang GT’s phenomenal aftermarket support, of which many retain the factory warranty. Come on Son, were you expecting breathless PR boosting for Ford’s latest hot one from TTAC?

 

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.

The post Piston Slap: Flat Plane Crankshaft Design? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-flat-plane-crankshaft-design/feed/ 64
Nair: Ford Hard At Work On F-150 Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955650 Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix. Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was […]

The post Nair: Ford Hard At Work On F-150 Hybrid appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Ford F-150

Losing 700 pounds may not be enough in the fuel economy for the 2015 Ford F-150, as plans are being made to add hybridization to the mix.

Detroit Free Press reports global product development boss Raj Nair stated the automaker was “working very hard” on the hybrid system for the F-150, but that it was too soon to go into detail on when it would hit showrooms or how the system functioned.

Regarding diesel, Nair said that fuel prices — already falling below $2/gallon in a few spots in the United States — are making such a thing tough to bring about, that even a hybrid system would pay for itself long before a diesel F-150 could. That said, if the demand is there, Nair believes Ford could tap into its diesel portfolio to make that model happen.

Speaking of fuel prices, truck marketing chief Doug Scott said he didn’t think sales of EcoBoost models would be dampened by cheap fuel, citing customers’ choice to buy an EcoBoost F-150 for the performance as well as fuel economy.

The post Nair: Ford Hard At Work On F-150 Hybrid appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-hard-work-f-150-hybrid/feed/ 40
Ford: Market Share Declines Will Continue Near-Term http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-market-share-declines-will-continue-near-term/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-market-share-declines-will-continue-near-term/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955033 Things are rough for Ford on Truck Mountain, with ground lost for the fourth consecutive month in November in a market-share situation that isn’t about to improve any time soon. Automotive News reports sales fell 2 percent last month compared to the same time in 2013, with its market share in the United States diving […]

The post Ford: Market Share Declines Will Continue Near-Term appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015-ford-f-150-front-side-view-in-snow

Things are rough for Ford on Truck Mountain, with ground lost for the fourth consecutive month in November in a market-share situation that isn’t about to improve any time soon.

Automotive News reports sales fell 2 percent last month compared to the same time in 2013, with its market share in the United States diving to 14.3 percent from 15.3 percent in November 2013. The 2014 average holds at 15 percent, compared to 2013’s 15.9 percent through the first 11 months, while Ford experienced declines year over year every month this year except July.

One of the hardest-hit models was the F-150, which is undergoing its transition to aluminum, and affecting market share in so doing. 2015 models began shipping the week prior to Thanksgiving, with a handful arriving garages thus far. Vice president for U.S. marketing John Felice says inventory of the outgoing model remains sufficient, but adds that the company is maintaining a “delicate balance” with incentives until enough of the new trucks arrive on the lot. Overall inventory is at 79 days, down from 88 in October, and 89 in November 2013.

Throughout the range, every car model posted a decline in November except for the Mustang, whose sales jumped 62 percent that month, and the Police Interceptor Sedan. SUV sales fared better, with a 15 percent increase, while Lincoln posted a 21 percent boost, linked completely to the success of the MKC. Finally, the Transit reclaimed Flower Shop Lane this month, moving 373 more units over the Chevrolet Express.

The post Ford: Market Share Declines Will Continue Near-Term appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-market-share-declines-will-continue-near-term/feed/ 44
Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Econoline 300 Camper Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-ford-econoline-300-camper-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-ford-econoline-300-camper-van/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953217 After yesterday’s 1972 Mercury Junkyard Find, it makes sense— in some circles— to stick with model-year 1972 vehicles this week. With that in mind, here’s a very biohazardous second-gen Ford Econoline that I braved without benefit of a space suit. I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch hantavirus, scabies, or dioxin poisoning, but it’s still too […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Econoline 300 Camper Van appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
24 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter yesterday’s 1972 Mercury Junkyard Find, it makes sense— in some circles— to stick with model-year 1972 vehicles this week. With that in mind, here’s a very biohazardous second-gen Ford Econoline that I braved without benefit of a space suit. I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch hantavirus, scabies, or dioxin poisoning, but it’s still too early to know for sure.
22 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the big, industrial-strength one-ton version of the early front-engined Econoline.
19 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBuilt in Long Beach by the now-long-defunct (as far as I know) Sierra Vans.
11 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1998 newspapers indicate a van that sat for quite a while.
07 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHowever, the 2005 calendar on the stove might mean more recent habitation. Perhaps the newspapers were serving as insulation. It’s a shame to see a perfectly good propane stove go to waste— a little scrubbing and it will be 19% less disgusting than it is now!
10 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRVs in junkyards manage to combine lots of sharp edges with the smell of human feces. Yucko! Since this is in California, chances are that dozens of black widows (and maybe a rattlesnake or two) await as well. Normally I’d stay far away from this thing, but journalists have to face danger now and then.
15 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn 1980, Ford stuck millions of these decals on the dashes of automatic-transmission-equipped vehicles, in hopes of warding off future lawsuits in the infamous “park-to-reverse” fiasco. If they’d been made to recall all the affected vehicles, it would have involved at least 23 million cars and trucks.

01 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Econoline 300 Camper Van appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-ford-econoline-300-camper-van/feed/ 55
Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Monterey Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-monterey-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-monterey-coupe/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953081 After seeing this ’72 Ford LTD Brougham coupe a few months back, it seems fitting that I’ve spotted the Mercury sibling to that car at the very same San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. The images of this rust-free 42-year-old big Ford coupe should result in bitter tears flowing from Sajeev’s eyes, not to […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Monterey Coupe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
08 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter seeing this ’72 Ford LTD Brougham coupe a few months back, it seems fitting that I’ve spotted the Mercury sibling to that car at the very same San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. The images of this rust-free 42-year-old big Ford coupe should result in bitter tears flowing from Sajeev’s eyes, not to mention much wailing and gnashing of teeth among Rust Belt Ford lovers who haven’t seen such an unoxidized Mercury since the start of the Ethio-Somali War. Here we go!
10 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinActually, this car isn’t quite as cherry as it looked at first glance, despite the straight bumpers and not-particularly-bashed bodywork.
06 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s due to the engine fire that ruined the underhood area and much of the dash.
12 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, compared to replacing rusted-out quarter-panels and floors, how hard could it be to fix this damage?
01 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin50 years in AAA! It’s a safe assumption that the original owner of this car drove it until it caught on fire.
05 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhy buy one of these instead of a same-year LTD? You got much more rococo with the Mercury!
14 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s hope that someone salvages those nice bumpers, grille, and taillights before The Crusher eats this car.

W.C. Fields was a popular counterculture figure of the late 1960s/early 1970s era, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.

I’ll bet the original owner of this car was a fan of the “Road Hogs” sequence of If I Had a Million.

01 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Monterey Coupe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-monterey-coupe/feed/ 22
Midsize Aston Fusion Is Ford’s Bright Car Light http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fusion-still-fords-bright-car-light/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fusion-still-fords-bright-car-light/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:27:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950257 Ford division car sales in the United States are down 4% in 2014. The automaker’s eight-nameplate passenger car lineup, including two Lincolns, is down 3.8% over the last ten months. Imagine how much worse it would be without the Fusion, sales of which have risen 6.2% to 263,431 units this year. After the Fusion broke […]

The post Midsize Aston Fusion Is Ford’s Bright Car Light appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ford Fusion sales chartFord division car sales in the United States are down 4% in 2014. The automaker’s eight-nameplate passenger car lineup, including two Lincolns, is down 3.8% over the last ten months.

Imagine how much worse it would be without the Fusion, sales of which have risen 6.2% to 263,431 units this year. After the Fusion broke its 2011 sales record last year, 2014 is bound to be an improved year again, as the midsize Ford is on track to break through the 300K barrier for the first time ever. The last time a Ford car generated more than 300,000 U.S. sales in a single year was with the Taurus in 2005, the year the Fusion went on sale.

Exclude the Fusion from Ford’s passenger car sales equation and year-to-date car volume at the Ford brand would be down 9.9% in 2014.

C-Max sales have fallen 23% compared with ten-month results from 2013, the C-Max’s first full year on the market. The Fiesta is down 9.6% compared with 2013, the nameplate’s best year so far. Focus volume has fallen 6.8% this year after sliding 4.6% in 2013. The Taurus and Taurus Police Interceptor are down 20.4%, a loss of 14,179 units. The Mustang, in a very public replacement phase, is down just 2.6%.

An aging product lineup is a clear cause of disappointing results, as is Ford’s decreasing interest in boosting volume through fleet sales. The Fiesta, though refreshed, has been on sale since the end of 2010’s second-quarter, and there are newer, more spacious subcompacts available. The Focus has been facelifted for MY2015, but that will be its fourth model year. The Taurus competes in a dying segment, and there are far fresher faces there, as well. As for the Mustang, a genuine volume producer for the Blue Oval in America, a far more drastic decline would have been understandable.

Ford Fusion. Picture courtesy of netcarshow.comMeanwhile, over at Lincoln, MKS sales have tumbled 24.5% in 2014, the car’s seventh – and worst – year of availability. MKZ sales are up 9.7% this year but have decreased in each of the last five months, falling 13.8% since the beginning of June. Lincoln sales are up 9% during that five-month period thanks to extra sales from the new MKC, 8615 of which have been sold since going on sale in May.

Low volume from the majority of FoMoCo’s cars have been countered, though not completely counteracted, by the Fusion’s strength and by strong utility vehicle sales. (The Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, MKC, MKT, MKX, and Navigator have combined for 620,759 year-to-date sales, up 2.9%, compared with 688,981 total Ford/Lincoln car sales.) The Fusion is America’s fourth-best-selling midsize car, and its share of the segment has grown from approximately 12.1% during the first ten months of 2013 to 12.8% in 2014.

Fusion volume has increased by 15,398 units in 2014, compared with 24,246 extra Accord sales 20,008 extra Camry sales, and 9176 extra Altima sales. Overall midsize sales are stagnant; Fusion volume is up 6.2%. It leads the fifth-ranked midsize car, Hyundai’s Sonata, by nearly 83,000 units.

Among Detroit brand cars, regardless of size, nothing sells as often as the Fusion. The Chevrolet Cruze comes closest, with 232,403 units so far this year, a 9.7% improvement.

As for the pleasure the Fusion brings the Ford brand, consider this: 36.5% of Ford brand car sales in the first ten months of 2013 were Fusions. That number has shot up to 40.3% in 2014. Over the last six months, Fusion volume has improved 13.3%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post Midsize Aston Fusion Is Ford’s Bright Car Light appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/fusion-still-fords-bright-car-light/feed/ 41
Ford Sources Say Derek Is Wrong About New Ford GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:25:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951097 Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. […]

The post Ford Sources Say Derek Is Wrong About New Ford GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
ford-racing-debuts-new-ecoboost-v-6-race-engine-for-daytona-prototype_100442361_l

Bob Lutz is not the only one who is “often wrong, never in doubt”. When I penned my Ford GT editorial, I had a pretty sound case for believing that the latest reports of a successor to Ford’s supercar were little more than clickbait. By usually reliable sources inside the Blue Oval seemed to concur. And then I got a phone call from someone who is placed highly enough to know.

It turns out that our sources didn’t initially see any indication of a new GT program because it’s not being done through the usual channels. It will be a *very* limited product car, of around 300 units, and built by a third-party like Multimatic. Power will come from a 3.5L Ecoboost, to maintain a connection with Ford’s sports car racing program. The car will be priced as you’d expect a limited-production 300-unit halo car to be priced.

N.B. The identity of the source checks out, but there is still the chance that it could all be a bunch of BS misinformation. However, I felt it prudent to put this on the public record in case I am wrong. My obligation to you, the readers, comes before my own pride/ego.

The post Ford Sources Say Derek Is Wrong About New Ford GT appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ford-sources-say-derek-wrong-new-ford-gt/feed/ 43
Editorial: Look To The Future For Further Ford Fuel Savings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-look-future-ford-fuel-savings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-look-future-ford-fuel-savings/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950129 With its unprecedented shift to an aluminum body for the next Ford F-150, the Blue Oval appeared to be pivoting towards a serious improvement in fuel economy. But with the release of the official EPA figures, the newest truck appears to offer only modest improvements. Ford’s own release stresses a comparison between the new truck […]

The post Editorial: Look To The Future For Further Ford Fuel Savings appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
30-mpg-600x421

With its unprecedented shift to an aluminum body for the next Ford F-150, the Blue Oval appeared to be pivoting towards a serious improvement in fuel economy. But with the release of the official EPA figures, the newest truck appears to offer only modest improvements.

Ford’s own release stresses a comparison between the new truck and the 2008 model equipped with the now obsolete 4.6L V8 engine. One could make the argument that Ford is attempting to show how a returning customer might see significant gains from his old, V8 truck versus a brand new Ecoboost V6 rig. But Ford also didn’t compare the figures to the outgoing 2014 model, which is the typical convention.

That may be because the gains, on paper, are modest at best. Of the two carry-over engines, the 3.5L Ecoboost now returns 17/24/20 mpg (city/highway/combined), versus 16/22/18 mpg for the 2014 model. The 5.0L now gets 15/22/18 mpg versus 15/21/17 mpg. And the Ecoboost engines are notorious for doing well on standard EPA tests, while delivering lower results in real world driving.

If Ford’s past product rollouts are any indication, we will see incremental improvements over the next few years. A 10-speed automatic, due within the next 1-2 years, is sure to add further improvements in fuel economy. A new V6 diesel engine, set to compete with the Ram 1500 and its 28 mpg highway rating, is also said to be in the works.

 

The post Editorial: Look To The Future For Further Ford Fuel Savings appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-look-future-ford-fuel-savings/feed/ 117
2015 Ford F-150 Pulls 22 MPG Combined, 12,000 Pounds Of Boat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-ford-f-150-pulls-22-mpg-combined-12000-pounds-boat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-ford-f-150-pulls-22-mpg-combined-12000-pounds-boat/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950017 So, how many miles per gallon did the 2015 Ford F-150 gain for the trouble of losing 700 pounds by gaining an aluminum body? How does 22 mpg combined sound? The 4×2 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivers 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 19/26/22 rating bests the 2008 […]

The post 2015 Ford F-150 Pulls 22 MPG Combined, 12,000 Pounds Of Boat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Ford F-150

So, how many miles per gallon did the 2015 Ford F-150 gain for the trouble of losing 700 pounds by gaining an aluminum body? How does 22 mpg combined sound?

The 4×2 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivers 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The 19/26/22 rating bests the 2008 model with the 4.6-liter V8, which brought a rating of 14/19/16 to the party.

Aside from the 2.7-liter mill, the F-150 can be had with a standard 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost, or 5-liter Ti-VCT V8. Horsepower ranges from 282 for the V6, to 385 for the V8, while torque comes at 253 lb-ft for the former, 420 lb-ft for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

As far as towing boats and hay are concerned, the larger EcoBoost 4×2 pulls the most at 12,200 pounds, whereas the 5-liter V8 edges out the EcoBoost with a max payload of 3,300 to 3,270.

Per Ford, new models are being shipped to dealers now, though special orders will be delayed until February.

The post 2015 Ford F-150 Pulls 22 MPG Combined, 12,000 Pounds Of Boat appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/2015-ford-f-150-pulls-22-mpg-combined-12000-pounds-boat/feed/ 222
Piston Slap: The Looooooong Cult of Panther Love? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cult-of-panther-love/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cult-of-panther-love/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:48:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948985   TTAC Commentator Nick 2012 writes: Archangel of the Panther Platform – A nice looking 2005 LWB Lincoln Town Car with only 107,000mi popped up for sale at a nearby dealer with a what-I-hope-to-be-optimistic $8,000 asking price. As any follower of the good book of fat Panther Love(tm), I keep my eye out for a […]

The post Piston Slap: The Looooooong Cult of Panther Love? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

Because SedanLimo. (photo courtesy: forums.vwvortex.com)

TTAC Commentator Nick 2012 writes:

Archangel of the Panther Platform –

A nice looking 2005 LWB Lincoln Town Car with only 107,000mi popped up for sale at a nearby dealer with a what-I-hope-to-be-optimistic $8,000 asking price. As any follower of the good book of fat Panther Love(tm), I keep my eye out for a good one on the local boards.

I took a new position a while back that has me commuting about 65mi a day – about 90% interstate. Going from my comfortable, competent Accord to the extremely comfortable TC would cost me about $10/week in increased fuel costs if I exclusively used the TC (which I wouldn’t do).

For a number of reasons – weekend trips to the lake, grandparents needing a real car with room for car seats, traveling to-from LeMons build sessions, conveying gravitas and refined taste when showing up at friends’ houses, hoonage, and taking stress of the DD Accord that is accumulating mileage like a space shuttle, a third car would be a nice thing to have, even though I’m aware it is probably cheaper to just run the Accord into the earth.

But I miss the cult of Panther and secretly want one and all the fun parts my kids and I could bolt on it. Also, my folks would probably use it somewhat regularly. In my first ‘third car’ experience, they were happy to informally allocate running costs as they used it a lot more than they thought. My Dad’s Focus just isn’t the kind of freeway ride he wants at his age, so I think he’d secretly be rooting for this purchase.  Long term, it might be an appropriate car hauler or cart hauler if Jr is interested in such things.

The LWB is more than I planned to spend for a third car, but not an unreasonable amount. LWB models with well in excess of 300,000 miles seem to go for no less than $4000-5000 on eBay. As long as its not wrecked, I’m figuring that the thing wouldn’t depreciate much if kept in good shape.

Which leads me to my questions:

- Am I self rationalizing about the depreciation and would it be better to scoop up a Marquis/Vic/regular Town Car when one hits the sweet spot for me for less than half the price?
- How much better are the 2003s than the earlier models?
- Does the LWB body bring any special challenges or limit tasteful aftermarket modification?

– anything to look out for with these?

I think the dealer is selling this through the wrong channel and I’m hopeful it’s going to not attract a lot of foot traffic at a retail car dealer.

Sajeev answers:

Well this archangel certainly thinks the LWB Town Car (black on black, if possible) is totally the way to rise up the ranks in the cult of Panther Love. But since most of our readers are of the boring “ZOMG Panthers are horrible” crowd, let’s keep it brief. To your questions:

Am I self rationalizing about the depreciation? : It’s a safe bet that LWB Town Cars (and Marauders) with good paint/interiors will hold their value well.  Not true for other Panthers, but it is The Great American Sedan: even for GM guys looking for a newer ride.

How much better are the 2003s than the earlier models?: they are still “skinny” Panthers (skinniest is 1998-2002, especially 1998), as the 90-97 models (especially 1995) are the Fat Panthers in terms of fit/finish and overall lack of bean counting in everything from dashboards to the number of Lincoln-y tail light clusters.

But the 2003 model has significant chassis (hydroformed bits, aluminum bits), steering (rack and pinion) and electronic upgrades that make them better…even without yesteryear’s plush ride and creature comforts.  They are still better because they soaked up engineering advancements over the years. Except journalists say the Panther hasn’t changed much since 1979, they’d rather not do their homework and shame FoMoCo for neglecting it to death

…what a load of trash! 

Does the LWB body bring any special challenges or limit tasteful aftermarket modification?: Suspension, engine, transmission, etc are all the same.  Honestly they look better than the short wheel base model, I don’t expect any challenges. Even the rear stereo controls are probably compatible with aftermarket stereos, as they have conversion harnesses that work with auxiliary controls (normally the ones on the steering wheel.)

Anything to look out for with these?: Be careful of how awesome you feel after owning a “skinny panther” Lincoln Town Car. But seriously, check for normal wear and tear and the condition of the transmission and ATF.  Everything else is pretty robust, even if a module goes bad, replacement bits are cheap and plentiful.  Also try not to go nuts with Panther Love modifications after you do an SCT engine/trans tune, because that’s one of the few bang for the buck modifications that’ll work.

I think the dealer is selling this through the wrong channel: Wrong!  You think fleet buyers don’t look for cars in your corners of the Interweb? You think their employees don’t have buddies in the fleet car trade that are foaming at the mouth for it? Be it Panther, Land Cruiser, or whatever automotive poison, the fanbois are all over the web looking for it.

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.

The post Piston Slap: The Looooooong Cult of Panther Love? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cult-of-panther-love/feed/ 99
Tales Of Redesign Timing: Two Traditional Detroit Products Get Refreshed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:04:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948721 Ford’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre […]

The post Tales Of Redesign Timing: Two Traditional Detroit Products Get Refreshed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Explorer 300 sales chartFord’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre stage.

At the same auto show, the 2015 Chrysler 300 also appears quite similar to the outgoing model, although the changes underneath are perhaps more thorough. The exterior, while not wildly different, is certainly altered to the point that you’ll know the difference.

These two redesigns of two prototypical Detroit products with wildly different backgrounds occur at very different life stages for these product lines as the two vehicle lines head in opposite directions.

The Explorer, which has not been a true truck-based SUV for years, carries on with one of the most successful and iconic SUV nameplates in history. The 300 initially grew out of Mercedes-Benz “partnerships”, but as a vast, rear-wheel-drive car, it probably represents America’s big sedan history more accurately than any other vehicle currently on the market.

2016 Ford ExplorerBut while the Explorer is America’s fifth-best-selling SUV/crossover nameplate and sales have risen 9% this year, the fifth consecutive year of improved Explorer volume, 300 sales are tumbling. Sales of the big Chrysler fell 18% last year, a loss of 23,023 units. 300 volume is down 9% through the first ten months of 2014. It’s currently America’s 42nd-best-selling car. It ranked 14th in 2006.

Like the 300, the Explorer doesn’t sell like it once did. As recently as 2002, Ford reported more than 400,000 Explorer sales in America. The nameplate then decreased in volume in seven consecutive years.

Nevertheless, these two vehicles are on different tracks travelling to different destinations. America’s passenger car market is hardly growing despite steady increases in the size of the overall new vehicle industry, and the 300 is just one of many big cars with falling sales. Azera, Taurus, Impala, Avalon, LaCrosse, and the 300’s Charger twin are all down this year, as well.

2015 chrysler 300The Explorer, on the other hand, is part of a utility vehicle sector that’s rising 12% this year, earning more than 470,000 extra sales for the industry over the last ten months.

A new 300 isn’t going to return Chrysler to the days of 140K annual sales rates, nor will a facelifted Explorer cause Ford to sell more than 400,000 per year.

One redesign stands a chance at stemming the tide; the other should help maintain its heady position.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

The post Tales Of Redesign Timing: Two Traditional Detroit Products Get Refreshed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/feed/ 30
NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

The post NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
takata-corp

While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

The post NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/feed/ 22