Business Week Fulfills "Airport Magazine" Promise, Flubs Ford Story

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
business week fulfills airport magazine promise flubs ford story

Oh my, where to begin. A no doubt well-intentioned David Kiley at Business Week writes in this issue about the new Ford Fiesta in ECOnetic trim. “The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can’t Have” is generous enough to accept that the Fiesta ECOnetic would actually get anything close to 65 mpg (we previously questioned the real-world drop for this model from MPG friendly European testing. Our pot shot guess was that it would be more like 44 in real life). Wherever the final number lands, it’s fantastic, though far less impressive for a tiny diesel engined car with low-rolling resistance tires. But attention-grabbing headlines aside, Mr. Kiley goes on to point out that Ford just “can’t afford” to sell this car in the U.S. You see, ” At prevailing exchange rates, the Fiesta ECOnetic would sell for about $25,700 in the U.S.” That’s a rookie error; direct currency conversion should never be used to calculate what one car would cost in another country. If so, a BMW 328i might cost us Yankees $52,000. While the theme is correct: the ECOnetic’s diesel engine, made in the UK, would be too pricey to import, Kiley suggests that Ford just can’t afford the $350 million to build a factory to produce it for North and South America. Perhaps that’s true, though the novelty-sized Capital One card in Mark Fields’ office might contradict it. But more likely, Alan Mullaly isn’t stupid. Americans and even South Americans are not interested in diesel cars. South America pumps millions upon millions of barrels of oil for cheap petrol out of the ground. Brazil runs on ethanol. And the US is the US. Credit where credit’s due. In this case, it’s not Ford’s bank account to blame; it’s their common sense.

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  • Jurisb Jurisb on Sep 05, 2008

    Quasimondo- yes I would bother, I want to drive an American car engineered and designed in US by Americans, I want to watch LCD engineered in US and check time on a watch engineered in USA by a US manufacturer. That`s what I damn want. I want a car with high fit and finish, reliable and modern technologically.I consider myself probably more American than you do, because I want to fight for your country back . So perceive my criticism as an awakening call! Get your country back to your people!

  • Kkop Kkop on Sep 05, 2008

    Estimated future price in the Netherlands: 18,750 euro This probably includes 19% vat + an additional tax, makes for a net price of about 12,579 euro Now convert to dollars (at 1.45): $18,240 Add tax (7%), makes for a final price of $19,516 Not too bad, IMO.

  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.
  • Stuart de Baker Chris! When asked for car advice, I just ask 'em what they want out of a car. And I have my prompts: fun to drive, safety, economy, longevity (I have Consumer Reports annual auto issues going back so I can help people with used cars, too), road trips vs in town, etc, and what sort of body style do they want and why. (If they want an SUV because they think it's safer, I'll suggest they consider large sedans, but if they put major emphasis on safety, I'll check the latest safety stats for whatever cars might satisfy their other desires.
  • Stuart de Baker I don't speak to Jeeps and I don't approve of driving off road, especially in places like Utah where the vegetation won't come back for years.
  • Kanu Actually, I think this makes a certain amount of sense.The average age of light vehicles in operation in the US is now 12.2 years. This means that the typical useful life of a light vehicle is around 25 years.The big virtue of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is that the infotainment system in your car uses the relatively up-to-date technology of your smartphone rather than the vintage technology that existed when your car was built.But the useful life of EVs is nowhere near 25 years. It’s more like 8 years. That’s when the battery needs to be replaced, and that’s when you discover that the price of the new battery is more than the market value of your eight-year-old car with a new battery.So if your EV has built-in infotainment technology, that technology will still be relatively up-to-date when your EV goes to the scrap yard.
  • Deanst I like most things Peugeot recently, along with Skoda wagons and, for practicality’s sake, a Toyota Corolla hybrid wagon. And the Honda e.