The 2013 Ford Mondeo, aka our 2013 Fusion, was supposed to hit UK showrooms around this time, but the launch has been pushed back to September, so Ford can work out some quality-related bugs prior to its on-sale date. (Read More…)
As a “glass-half-empty” kind of guy, I would need a minute to think about the most fascinating story I’ve ever written, but could easily tell you about the most infuriating. That dubious honor goes to the Facebook launch campaign for the 2012 Ford Explorer.
Did you think $27k was a steep ask for a non-premium-brand compact car? How does a $40k Focus grab you? That’s a good four grand over what Nissan wants for a Leaf (and about $2k more than a loaded Leaf), and about $12k more than the Mitsubishi i (all before available tax credits). On the other hand, we don’t yet know if Ford can claim an EPA-certified range advantage over the Leaf (both Ford and Nissan initially claimed 100 miles, but the EPA dropped the Leaf to 73 miles). In any case, if you want the most expensive Focus ever built, or the first Blue Oval-badged plug-in, Ford’s started taking reservations online… but like any good insanely-expensive-for-what-it-is product, you need more than money to bring home an Electric Focus. Specifically, a little patience and an address in one of the following communities:
Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York City, Orlando, Florida,Phoenix, Tucson, Portland (OR), Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Virginia, Seattle, or Washington, D.C.
But only California and New York will get a Focus EV this year… the rest will be waiting until Q2 of next year. And the remainder of the US market could be waiting even longer, as Ford has not yet announced a full rollout date. But then, a little exclusivity never hurts when you get above the $40k price point.
You know it’s time to say “Toto, I don’t think we’re in traditional journalism any more” when fanboys get better access than industry rags. In a story picked up by Automotive News [sub], myfocuselectric.com commenter whitgallman showed the auto media what can be done if you just send a few emails… as long as you make it clear that you are only interested in buying a car, not embarrassing the program. Because then, instead of languishing in some disinterested inbox, your emails actually draw a response, like this from David Finnegan, Electrified Vehicles Marketing Manager at Ford:
For the first few months of production, we will be concentrating on California and New York. Our dealers in those areas will be the first to have their retail orders scheduled and receive the Focus electric. We will be rolling out to the remainder of our initial markets starting in spring 2012.
Well, that was news to Automotive News [sub], which had been told (along with everyone else) that the Focus Electric was supposed to launch in “late 2011″ in 19 US markets. So what happens to Focus EV intenders in Chicago, Detroit and Seattle (among others)? Per AN [sub]:
As for the rest of the country’s markets, no word yet from Ford, so the best advice is to be patient.
Uh-huh. We’ll send some emails ourselves, but we aren’t holding our breath for Ford to admit that, say, buying the Focus EV wholesale from a supplier may not have been a great idea. Or that there are problems with the batteries (again, hypothetically). But there I go thinking like a “traditional journalist” again…
We don’t just want it to be seen,” said Jeff Eggen, Ford’s car experiential marketing manager, speaking about the Fiesta’s appearance in “Diaries.” The idea is to “have a second element or a third element” rather than just a placement on a TV program, “where we can engage with the fans outside of the show with additional content
While AdAge raves over Ford’s “product placement plus” marketing scheme for the Fiesta, actual customers for the Mexican-built subcompact are starting to get testy. The Fiesta’s Facebook page is home to several customer complaints about slow delivery of Fiesta, and Ford has already sent out $50 Mastercard gift cards to waiting customers. But in the letter accompanying the gift cards, Ford blamed hurricanes for Fiesta delays… and it turns out there’s more to the story than that. The Freep reports that 6,000 Fiestas were delayed last week due what Ford’s Mark Fields calls “a part-quality issue.”
The Fisker Karma hybrid sedan may be debuting in about two days and counting, but what does a debut mean? According to the Detroit News, Fisker spokesfolks are already saying that
the “first few customers” will get Karma vehicles by the end of the year, with full production to start in the first three months of 2011.
In other words, we’re afew days away from a Potemkin launch, in order to keep the Department of Energy from looking like a misinformation peddler. The DOE said the Karma would be on sale this summer way back when it lent Fisker $530m. Whoops!
We won’t be nationwide by end of 2011. By that time we expect to be shipping vehicles to Canada, Europe and several markets beyond those we’ve already announced.
[The nationwide launch date is] all still work in progress and will clearly be dependent on the ability of the production facility to ramp up as planned and all those kind of things. I’m not in a position to tell you by X-date we will be nationwide. I will tell you we’re heading towards national distribution and theres no question about it
Volt Communications Manager Rob Peterson (first quote) and GM Director of Volt Marketing Tony DiSalle (second quote) tell gm-volt.com that the previous 2011 date for the nationwide rollout of the Chevy Volt isn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, if you’re in California, Michigan or Washington DC, your Volt should arrive by 2011. Be sure to tip your congressional representatives, folks! Luckily, though, this video proves that the Volt will be more than up to the challenge of eating the Nissan Leaf’s dust.
Apparently these press images were embargoed until tomorrow… and yet here they are. But who, you might ask, would risk being boarded by Volkswagen commandos in order to deliver these images to the huddled masses, yearning for a a glimpse of the new blandness? Oh right, it says Auto Express on the picture. According to the embargo-running Brits, this is the first Jetta to be more than a Golf with a trunk: thanks to VW’s new modular architecture, the wheelbase has been extended for more rear-seat legroom. More details when Volkswagen is good and ready, likely sometime tomorrow.
When GM CEO Fritz Henderson promised Congress he would run the nationalized automaker with complete transparency, we knew he was full of shit. How could anyone expect New GM to do anything but lie, misdirect, prevaricate and obfuscate when the same Bozos that ran it into the ground were still large and in charge? Which GM dealers are canned? Which GM dealers have been resurrected? Why? Who is the GM executive (other than Fritz) who earns more than $500,000 per year—that the company refuses to name? What are the internal targets that GM says it’s meeting? Why did the company overestimate sales of some of its key models in its November press release? Why did Fritz and CFO Ray Young promise a 2010 GM IPO without the Chairman’s approval? And so on. To that list, add this from the AP: “But GM postponed the Cruze’s April build date about three months, said Mark Reuss, GM’s vice president of global vehicle engineering. The company, he said, wasn’t happy with the Cruze’s performance, especially with the six-automatic transmission. ‘No one was thrilled with where it shifted, how it shifted.’” Well that’s the first I’ve heard of that. And while it’s nice that GM is putting our money where it’s mouth is in its desire to ensure the Cruze’s “flawless launch,” what the hell happened? And why wasn’t anyone fired for it? Oh right, GM.