By on January 24, 2008

08focus_0409.jpgCleveland.com says Ohio state officials are downsizing their fleet. Of the state’s 350 new cars, some 50 percent will be the “more fuel-efficient— and less stylish” (ouch!) Ford Focus. Some government workers are bitching about the decision, claiming the Focus offers “less headroom and legroom.” Department of Administrative Services (DAS) spokesperson Ron Sylvester told them to go on a diet. "People concerned about getting their girth from a midsize car into a Ford Focus – we may be helping them think about reducing their girth a little bit." The big fish are not affected. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Attorney General Marc Dann are all “driven to work” in Suburbans. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner drives a Chrysler 300C. And Auditor Mary Taylor has a 2007 Jeep Cherokee. Ohio taxpayers should be pleased with their State Treasurer. Rich Cordray turned down a state car in favor of his very own beige 2006 Pontiac Montana minivan.

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33 Comments on “Ohio Civil Servants: The New Ford Focus Sucks...”


  • avatar
    Orian

    As an Ohio resident this is humorous and my mother-in-law works for the state. Too bad she isn’t forced to drive one.

    That said I wonder how much Ford bribes Ohio’s officials to keep their cars in fleets. Our state just spent close to $1 million to retro-fit all of the state patrol’s Crown Vics with fire suppression systems due to a couple of deaths from rear end accidents in recent years.

    Unrelated to the government an Expedition caught fire under hood and burned a family’s home to the ground a couple of days ago.

  • avatar
    jazbo123

    If they aren’t paying for them they really don’t have much to complain about.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I say Aveos are too good for them.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Jeep discontinued the state-side Cherokee in 2001.

  • avatar

    N85523: Jeep discontinued the state-side Cherokee in 2001.

    Tell Cleveland.com – that’s where I got the info. :-)

    “…Auditor Mary Taylor has a 2007 Jeep Cherokee bought by a predecessor…”

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    N85523: They probably meant Grand Cherokee…

  • avatar
    shabatski

    I say they strike a deal with TATA for some NANO’s. Then the civil servants can [be forced] to loose even more weight while help the budget.

    Foci aren’t bad when they’re free…

  • avatar
    AKM

    While i agree with the State’s decision to have more fuel-efficient models (and its rebuke of whiners!), where has the good ole’ “lead by example” gone?

    Sad that we live in a world where our “leaders” tell us what to do, but don’t do any of it. Come to think of it, it’s always been the case. Think Catholic Chruch circa 1500 A.D.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Glenn & Tom,

    Well, I need to see if Cleveland.com or the State of Ohio can direct me to one of these late model Cherokees. The Grand is too fancy for my tastes and the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited has too many doors for a Wrangler. I want a new XJ.

    I know the omission of the word “Grand” is petty at worst, but it goes to show the lack of attention to details that typifies much of journalistic community. Thank goodness for TTAC. Wish the rest of the media was as concerned with truth and details.

  • avatar

    … an Expedition caught fire under hood and burned a family’s home to the ground a couple of days ago.

    That’s only news if it was a plugin hybrid or EV.

  • avatar

    My recollection is that the Focuses have plenty of headroom.

  • avatar
    RayH

    I agree that they should be given more Aveos… If the state employees don’t like they vehicles they’re given to drive, then they should feel free to seek employment elsewhere, where they’ll give you a nicer company car.

  • avatar
    schempe

    While I have first hand knowledge that Ohio Civil Servants are whinners, I can agree with the fact that the Ford Focus does suck. I guess everyone can’t be Ted Stickland or Marc Dann.

  • avatar

    I know Rich Cordray so I’m not surprised. The way Ohio’s going next they’ll be forced to ride public transit…whoops, that’s right, we have no public transit!

    John

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    Hmmm, is the title of this article really fair? This site has already documented America’s love of large vehicles. Wouldn’t this same complaint come from any downsize? Someone who’s used to a BMW 5 would complain about it being swapped with a 1. Lexus ES with an IS. F150 for a Ranger, even.

    I’m not defending the Focus refresh, just tossing some balance into the mix. However, as an Ohio taxpayer, I’m all for a more efficient fleet.

    Oh, and on public transportation Cleveland RTA was Best in the North America

  • avatar

    Oh, and on public transportation Cleveland RTA was Best in the North America.

    True, I meant like statewide rail, etc.

    John

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    True, I meant like statewide rail, etc.

    Touche, even outside of Cleveland to Mentor and Strongsville is pretty weak… I don’t know how we beat DC and NYC.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    I believe the Expedition had the same fire-prone cruise control switch that F-150s had that Ford recalled millions of a few months back.

    Somebody around here has a saying, “Fords are not known for not catching on fire.”

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Would they allow Ohio’s finest a manual tranny option? Or better yet, a Honda Fit.

    Re: mass transit…
    Touche, even outside of Cleveland to Mentor and Strongsville is pretty weak… I don’t know how we beat DC and NYC.

    How about Toronto? There’s a fine system. Although the panhandlers seem worse than ever last time I visited…

  • avatar
    brettc

    The Jeep Liberty is sold as the Jeep Cherokee in Europe. I doubt that’s what they meant though. They probably just forgot the “Grand” part because newspaper writers are smart like that when it comes to accuracy.

  • avatar
    BabyM

    Ted Strickland is such an arrogant soul I’m surprised he’s not using a stretch limo.

    A further question for all the protectionists and populists in the current administration: why is the state buying made-in-Mexico Foci instead of built-in -Ohio Accords or Cobalts?

  • avatar
    hltguy

    Again another reason the resale value of the Focus, and American cars suck. Government vehicles do not instill confidence or interest in the general public to purchase one retail.
    Seems to me Ford is again harming their image on these kind of deals. Give the government employees past generations Malibus, or smart cars or scooters.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Don’t like their cars? Let them walk. Here is the headline story from this morning’s newspaper:

    “Cabinet told to look for ways to cut back” by Mark Niquette in the Columbus (OH) Dispatch on 24-Jan-2008:

    As the economy continues to slide toward a recession, state agencies are being told to find ways to cut spending after a new forecast yesterday said Ohio could face a shortfall of up to $1.9 billion in the next 1 1/2 years. Because the state Constitution requires a balanced budget, dealing with such a shortfall means either slashing state spending and services, raising taxes and other state revenue, or a combination of both.

    … Gov. Ted Strickland isn’t talking new taxes or steep spending cuts. Instead, he wants state agencies to identify spending cuts and other savings … a budget shortfall ranging from $733 million to $1.9 billion by the end of June 2009. At the high end, that would be 3.6 percent of the state’s $52.3 billion, two-year budget.

    When Strickland and the legislature approved the current two-year budget that took effect July 1, a $56 million surplus was projected by its end. But rising fuel prices, the fallout from the mortgage crisis, job losses and other factors have combined to affect state finances. By November, general-fund tax receipts were down $117.2 million from projections while spending was $188.3 million over estimates, and Strickland began warning of budget pain ahead.

    The state’s financial problems come as more Ohioans are in need of help. Federal statistics show that Ohio lost a net total of 15,300 jobs last year, including 13,800 manufacturing jobs. That was second-worst in the nation, behind only Michigan.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    They all should be driving Honda’s. Honda saved their state.

  • avatar
    jaje

    The Aveo gets worse mileage than the Focus.

    I agree that they should have considered Hondas but with Ford needed to off load overproduction into gov’t cheap fleets versus Honda actually able to get MSRP for their Civics – the price differential would be too much for the accountants to overcome.

    As for that Ford burning down someone’s house (there was a couple fires in my area from same defect). Remember that same device was installed in 16m Fords. They only recalled 6M. But – what’s to worry. They bought American!

  • avatar

    A further question for all the protectionists and populists in the current administration: why is the state buying made-in-Mexico Foci instead of built-in -Ohio Accords or Cobalts?

    This is another example of how “buy American” really doesn’t make sense anymore in the tradtional meaning of the words. “Buy Ohioan” would have brought about a look at Honda, and the state would benefit from it.

    John

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    I guess that one way to sell the hideous Focus…

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    BabyM:

    “A further question for all the protectionists and populists in the current administration: why is the state buying made-in-Mexico Foci instead of built-in -Ohio Accords or Cobalts?”

    Because they are too expensive. Besides…who cares where they are built?

    For me, it does not matter who makes it or where it is built. ALL that matters is if I am happy with MY purchase.

  • avatar
    scooter

    The Focus is built in Wayne, Michigan exclusively. All production moved there in 2004 to make room for the Fusion triplets. And before 2004 only the wagon and hatches were made in Mexico.

    While I am not crazy about my 2006 Focus it is fine car for fleet duty. So save the drama for yer momma.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Talk about a diet – the Tata Nano is just 60″ across. You’re going to need a smaller @$$ to fit into that car.

  • avatar

    no need to lose weight, starlightmica, the Indians were thoughtful enough to tell us “You fatties can just put one cheek on each seat!”

    Anyway, I just read a letter to the editor about the budget shortfall in Thursday’s Repository (the local Canton, OH paper) and the writer gave the same facts about the shortfall, but they also mentioned a “rainy day fund with 1 billion dollars in it” that Ohio has had to tap once before, or they had depleted it, but they REPLACED THE MONEY. So Ohio does have the 1 billion dollar rainy day fund if they need to tap into it again, and if that letter to the editor was correct.

  • avatar
    BabyM

    P71_CrownVic: I’m in total agreement with you — it doesn’t matter to me where the car is built–but there’s a whole raft of politicians in Ohio (Gov. Strickland and Sen. Brown among them) who run on a protectionist platform.

    scooter: You wrote: The Focus is built in Wayne, Michigan exclusively.

    Didn’t know that. Of course, to a full-bore Ohio State fan, having the state government buying made-in-Michigan vehicles is appalling!

  • avatar
    Optima

    If they are going to give them a piece of s*** like the focus, they might as well give them a Kia Rio!

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