There's a Future in Your Ford, Still
Earlier this year, FoMoCo assembled a panel of “futurists” and “trend spotters” from academia, nonprofit organizations and the private sector to identify trends that could impact future product development. While people who’d never read Wired might say Ford needs to put out the fire in the kitchen before they make blueprints for a new bedroom, it’s also true that those who do not see the future are condemned to flashing double zeros on their VCR– I mean DVD-R. Anyway, at the risk of clouding Ford’s crystal ball, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a couple of potential news releases as a rough guide to future automotive trends…
Hummer H7 Debuts General Motors have finally unveiled their latest Hummer model, the H7. The H7 is Hummer’s first front wheel-drive SUV, sharing its basic platform and drivetrain with the Chevrolet Aveo. Bob Lutz, GM’s 107-year old Vice Chairman Emeritus, spoke enthusiastically about the new model: “The H7 shows Hummer’s firm commitment to improving fuel economy while providing all the off-road capability our market studies show the typical Hummer buyer needs.”
The H7 comes standard with 18” chrome wheels, nine inches of ground clearance, running boards and a snorkel-style air intake for its 1.2-liter hybrid diesel engine (licenced from Briggs & Stratton), along with five cup holders capable of holding Starbucks’ new gigantesco latte. Options include brush bars, a skid plate package, parking assist and hands-free cell phone. Prices are expected to start in the low-to-mid-20s, and fall from there.
Bill Ford's Operation Called a Success The Ford Motor Company announced today that former Chairman Bill Ford recently completed a highly experimental medical procedure. According to company Press Secretary Haki Yamomota, Mr. Ford’s radical new spine transplant was a complete success. Ford, who surrendered control of the family-owned automaker to CEO Alan Mulally immediately prior to its sale to Toyota, is already making some “bold moves.” “His digestion is obviously in working order,” Yamamoto said. “He’ll start making tough decisions any day now."
Ford’s rehabilitation will continue with a special regimen of tasks designed to help him stand on his own two feet. “He’ll begin by telling his valet what he wants to wear for the day, without being able to change his mind, delegate the decision, fire or change the job title of any member of his domestic staff. From there, we hope he’ll figure out something to do with Ford’s two remaining Brands.”
Porsche PU Hot on the heels of the successful Panamera sedan, Porsche AG has released concept drawings of a new pickup truck designed specifically for the American market, based on its next-generation Cayenne SUV. “The partial success of luxury vehicles like the Escalade EXT and the Lincoln Mark LT just about proved that Americans will buy anything with a pickup bed attached, regardless of price, utility or need,” claims Werner Schnitzel, Chief of New(ish) Product Development. “Our research clearly shows that there’s a market for a luxury-performance- off-road pickup truck for owners who’ve already bought our sports car, SUV and sedan.”
Schnitzel said the prototype Porsche pickup has been tested at the legendary Nürburgring race track, where it removed large pieces of privately owned exotic cars without incident. Schnitzel denied rumors that Porsche was developing an amphibious performance-speedboat-off-road-delivery van.
Car & Driver Names 100Best In response to Motor Trend’s new “Car of the Week” award, Car and Driver released their “100Best” issue today. Editor-in-Chief Portly Emmental explained, “There are so many good cars out there today that restricting ourselves to ten vehicles didn't make any economic sense.” The winners included everything built by BMW and Honda, along with a token Chevrolet and Chrysler. In a totally unrelated press release, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. announced that the words "Special Advertising Section" will now appear on the main cover of the magazine.
BMW Rebuffs Criticism of iCan’tDrive155 BMW went on the offensive today in response to the criticism aimed at their new control system, referred to by its detractors as iCan’tDrive155. The new voice-activated system operates everything from the glove box door operation to steering, and only responds to commands in perfectly inflected German. BMW claims the device was designed to make BMW's the ultimate hands-free driving machine. Owners report that the “hands-free” part of the system works fine, as they can’t figure out how to get the doors open.
Rejecting the complaints, spokesmeister Dieter Badenhoff stated “We know what is best for BMW owners. If they are unwilling to learn the proper operation of the system there’s nothing we can do.” In other news, the BMW's legal department has been granted a restraining order prohibiting anyone working for The Truth About Cars website to move any closer than 100 feet from any vehicle produced by BMW, or use any word rhyming with "bunt" in any product description.
The Truth About Cars Begins Toyota Death Watch Editor Robert Farago says he began the series due to the large number of Chinese built cars stealing market share from domestically-produced Toyotas. "It's only a matter of time," Farago said.
We offer these predictions in the hope it will help Ford develop a clearer vision of the automotive future. It’s at least as accurate– and much cheaper– than calling the Psychic Friends Network.
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