Weekend Head scratcher

Weekend Head Scratcher: What Is The Future Of Limos and Livery Cars?

In his write-up on the new Town Car-replacing livery version of the Lincoln MKT, Jack Baruth takes on the practical issues at stake, writing

I’ve put plenty of miles on both the MKT and the outgoing Town Car. Make no mistake, the MKT is quieter, faster, more spacious, and possessed of a vastly superior level of interior technology. If you told me that I would need to run one up a curb at sixty miles per hour for the purpose of avoiding a wandering falafel vendor across 110th Street, however, I wouldn’t think twice before reaching for the old-style keys. Ford has their work cut out for them.

Well, livery fleet owners think Ford’s got its work cut out for it too… but not for the practical wear-and-tear reasons that Jack points out. No, the problem, according to the owner of one Chicago-area limo company [via AN [sub]] is that

What I heard from most people is that they’re dissatisfied. It’s mainly the appearance, which is a crossover vehicle. People are used to what they consider a luxury vehicle for their clients and this has got a bit of a van styling to it.

Yes, as is so often the case in the great automotive discussions of our day, aesthetics trump all. And in this case, the shallow critique might actually be fairly valid. Not only is the MKT seen by some as being “unrelentingly grotesque” (to borrow a phrase), but limos are typically the most traditional, conservative vehicles on the road. Though clearly the better vehicle, would a baleeen-grilled crossover impart the same sense of timeless gravitas as a black Town Car? Another limo fleet owner encapsulates the issue with a rhetorical question:

When you say limo, I know what that means now, but will it mean the same thing a year from now? Will I be thinking about the Lincoln or will I be thinking about all kinds of vehicles?

Well, is the MKT up to filling the Town Car’s shoes? Or will limo and livery buyers look to a more traditional replacement (hello, Chrysler 300)? Is the livery car’s conservative image about to be blown wide open, or is it more resilient than that?

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Should Fiat-Chrysler Be An Italian or American Company?
Though the the impact of nationality on the auto industry may be fading, the issue couldn’t be more central for Sergio Marchionne and his Fiat-Chrysler…
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Weekend Head Scratcher: Why Aren't Compact Cars Youthful?
Well, the problem isn’t so much that compact cars aren’t youthful… it’s that the buyers of compact cars are surprisingly un-youthful…
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Weekend Hypothetical: What Would Happen If You Woke Up To $5/Gallon Gasoline?
Remember this hilarious photoshop? Remember when gas cost upwards of four dollars per gallon? We’re not trying to predict anything or depress anyone, b…
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Weekend Head Scratcher: Who Won't Survive?

As this is both the end of the week and the beginning of the year, let’s reflect, scratch our heads and ponder: Who won’t survive 2011? Car brands never die, they just go to a new owner. (Not always…) So let’s make that: Who won’t survive 2011 with the same owner?

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Should Toyota Buy, Sell Or Hold Tesla?
Having ignored the first wave of EV enthusiasm, Toyota turned to Tesla in the aftermath of its recall scandal as an investment that could potentially catch i…
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Weekend Head Scratcher: Will 2011 Be "Year Of The Chrysler"?

I’ve made no secret that if I wanted one of Detroit big 3 to succeed it was Chrysler. I’m not really a Ford fan and any affection I had for GM got killed off with Bob Lutz’s insane ramblings. Chrysler was always considered the most broken. Heavily dependent on fleet sales, woeful reliability and bleeding money. Then Chapter 11 came and I thought it was game over for Chrysler. Until recently.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Rick Wagoner. Was He All Bad?

History is written by the victors, or so the saying goes. You lose, not only do you get beaten up in real life, but also in the history books. Few losers come much bigger than Rick Wagoner. The man who oversaw the last slide into Chapter 11. Yep, there wasn’t much love out there for “Red Ink” Rick. Until a few days ago.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: The Worst Car Executive Of All Times?

The world of business all has their fair share of career bullshitters, and the car industry is no different. So this week’s Weekend Head Scratcher is this: Who do you think was the worst car executive ever?

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Weekend Head Scratcher: A Total Pig?

Over the past few weeks, I was surprised by the responses to my “Weekend Head Scratchers” (WHS). It seemed that you lot liked them, a lot. This is why I kept writing them. Throughout the week, I’d be sitting at my desk or asking myself for ideas, trying to get inspiration for the next WHS. I felt like a priest trying to tie something in the news to his next sermon. Then, I did something bad. I jumped the shark. Last week, I created a game for the week WHS, where we played “ Fantasy Car Maker” whereby you had to create your own car company by buying car brands from around the world and justify why you bought them. It flopped, big time. I bet you don’t even remember seeing it. But that’s what happens when you believe your own bullsh*t! Well, for this week, I’m going back to basics and keeping it simple.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Fantasy Car Maker

This week’s “Weekend Head Scratcher” is a little different. It’ll require quite a bit of thought, so pay attention! This week we’re going to play a little game I created. It’s called “Fantasy Car Maker”!

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Which Car Is Underrated?

After the amount of replies by the B&B, spitting venom at the cars they loathed with a passion, I decided to inject some needed positivity to TTAC. We’re often accused of being negative and downbeat, so here goes my attempt at being positive.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: Which Car Is Overrated?

Michael Jackson is overrated. There! I said it! You’d be surprised how much trouble that statement has got me into. Not that I’m a stranger to saying stuff that gets me into trouble. If were to say “I think the Rolling Stones” are overrated, most people would shrug and say “Fair enough”. If I were to say “The Beatles’ music isn’t seminal”, most people would say “To each their own”. But every time I say “Michael Jackson’s music all sounds the same and is overrated” people look at me, as if I’ve murdered their children. I just don’t understand this reaction. Why is Michael Jackson above criticism? I mean, Michael Jackson? Is it really THAT blasphemous to question the music of the Mr Jackson? Anyway, this isn’t “The Truth About Music”, it’s “The Truth About Cars”. And it’s this, quite frankly, lack of credulity which gave me inspiration for this weekend’s “Weekend Head Scratcher”.

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Weekend Head Scratcher: You're My Number 1

When assessing things to buy (especially with your own money) people have different priorities. For instance, when buying a TV, some choose a bigger screen over feature (“I’m never going to use ALL 4 HDMI sockets!”). Likewise, when choosing a holiday, most people think destination is the most important criterion. But some people think the destination isn’t important as long as it’s family friendly, or the food is good, etc. Can you guess what this weekend’s “Weekend Head Scratcher” is going to be…?

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  • Dave M. IMO this was the last of the solidly built MBs. Yes, they had the environmentally friendly disintegrating wiring harness, but besides that the mechanicals are pretty solid. I just bought my "forever" car (last new daily driver that'll ease me into retirement), but a 2015-16 E Class sedan is on my bucket list for future purchase. Beautiful design....
  • Rochester After years of self-driving being in the news, I still don't understand the psychology behind it. Not only don't I want this, but I find the idea absurd.
  • Douglas This timeframe of Mercedes has the self-disintegrating engine wiring harness. Not just the W124, but all of them from the early 90's. Only way to properly fix it is to replace it, which I understand to be difficult to find a new one/do it/pay for. Maybe others have actual experience with doing so and can give better hope. On top of that, it's a NH car with "a little bit of rust", which means to about anyone else in the USA it is probably the rustiest W124 they have ever seen. This is probably a $3000 car on a good day.
  • Formula m How many Hyundai and Kia’s do not have the original engine block it left the factory with 10yrs prior?
  • 1995 SC I will say that year 29 has been a little spendy on my car (Motor Mounts, Injectors and a Supercharger Service since it had to come off for the injectors, ABS Pump and the tool to cycle the valves to bleed the system, Front Calipers, rear pinion seal, transmission service with a new pan that has a drain, a gaggle of capacitors to fix the ride control module and a replacement amplifier for the stereo. Still needs an exhaust manifold gasket. The front end got serviced in year 28. On the plus side blank cassettes are increasingly easy to find so I have a solid collection of 90 minute playlists.