Posts Tagged ‘ford’

mazda1While they currently plug away at pushing the new 3 model and announcing how much of a loss they’re expecting to run at for the next year or two, Mazda are still pushing out new models and developing a contender for the smaler car market. Problem is, do the dealers know about it?

Take, for instance the supposedly-forthcoming Mazda1. It’s been testing in France for a while now  – I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled while on my frequent sojourns in Paris – and is rumoured for launch in 2011. A small, city car that could take on the KA and 500 could do Mazda the world of good. 

Yet, when I spoke to a dealer in Sussex about the Mazda 1, there was an uncertain response. Others I’ve spoken to don’t even know about it. Clearly it’s evolved beyond the funk-tastic sketch below to the metal of the motor being tested so isn’t a figment of the motor presses imagination. If it was I think it’d have a much more powerful engine. 

mazda1

So, could the lack of communication between corporate and dealers – not just in Sussex – be one of Mazda’s issues that needs addressing to secure a healthy future?

I remember reading how much Ford used to talk to dealers about what they wanted in the 70’s when developing new cars and Lotus launched the Evora this year after their new CEO realised that dealers wanted a car they could actually sell rather than a giant supercar. 

Perhaps the coming 18 months will see more awareness overall outside of the motoring press, but surely if you’re in the trade you read the relevent press… it’s a strange one, no?

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There’s a lot of activity this week to suggest that Ford have finally been paying attention to what car buyers want – remember my post about asking for the Focus? – and are actually preparing to show the balls to offer ‘small’ cars in the States.ford focus us

I say ‘small’ because over here in the UK we consider it a mid-range (with two models below it) car but, from Sussex in Kent to Sussex, New Jersey the Ford Focus changes in catergorisation and becomes a small car. Regardless, this is good news.

A Focus RS in nice ‘Frozen White’ has been seen nestled up against the pavement in Detriot this week as a member of Ford seems to be using it as their daily runner. We’ve had it since last March and in a lurid green at that, but if it’s being used by Ford then chances are it’s gonna be available to the public.

Then there’s the news that the folks at the Blue Oval are dropping $550 million to convert a truck factory to build the Focus there in 2010 with electric versions in 2011.

Have enough people said ‘YES, YES, YES’ to the Focus RS or have enough celebrities given lip service to the hybrid idea for Ford to finally take the Focus to the road in the States? It’s certainy looking that way, is America now ready?

While the turmoil of the economy throws prices up and down like so many juggling balls by a clown on a trampoline, it’s unfortunate that because of the shits in exchange rates, the UK prices for new Fords are set to rise. It’s due to the fact that most of Ford’s costs are incurred in Euros and our good old Sterling is just too weak at the moment  – trust me I feel it every time I visit Paris.

New KA: still cheaper

From 1st April (I wish it was an April Fools) the blue oval is expected to cost an average of 3.75% more than it did before. Some prices will be rising by up to £1000. It’s easy to point fingers and damn the execs for this but it really is a fight for survival in the auto market and it’s not too huge a rise. 

Let’s look at this from a devils advocate pioint of view for a moment. Take the new Ford KA, it’s now going to cost £7,995 when in 1999 it was £8,020 – the equivelant of £9,424 today. Cars are still cheaper overall than they’ve been in the past, just not so overwhelmingly cheaper. 

It would be nice to think that Ford are alone in this but I sincerely doubt it’ll be long before other marques soon rise slightly. Let’s hope that once this current shambles we call an economy settles down and the exchange rates return to normal, there’ll be a drop in prices accordingly. 

Let’s face it, if we know that the raise is due to the Pound to Euro ratio, there’s going to be a lot of questions when the quids are in again and Ford keep prices up. If…..

Another amusing ad that won’t air in the UK – I don’t know about the US, I get a feeling it’s from South Africa – especially as we don’t get the car here…

I’ve never heard of the original, let alone the new Ford Ikon but at just 4 seconds it becomes clear that whoever is doing Ford’s ad campaign on this one knows how to get attention: girls, bikinis, sun… shark!!! 

It’s a strange thing that, while this ad isn’t overly controversial, sexist or even rude, I doubt it would play over here, it’s like we’re becoming too PC. Although this ad does seem to say more about the intelligence and cunning of a shark more than it does that of the new Ford. What do you think of this ad?

Sold! 

I wish. This is the 2003 Mustang GT concept, a one-off, unimaginably rare and one of 3 different concept vehicles that are going to be auctioned off by Ford next month. 

ford mustang concept

It’s not part of a plan to get some more money flowing through the ailing company, instead Ford will be donating the funds from the sale of this beautiful motor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

I know it’s for a good cause but I wonder if they’d take a fiver for it… I saw a Mustang on the road over here the other day and it’s still a rare sight to me but as a sucker for the old muscle cars it’s delight.

You may or may  not have noticed from these very pages that there’s a cynical element to my personality. One which MTV seems determined to arouse every morning before I leave for the office. 

Yesterday morning I found myself getting more agitated than usual. Yes, I know these are repeats. The ‘storyline’ focused on some kid who had the most dilapidated used Ford Escort you’ve ever seen. Only it turned out to be two of them glued together. The whole thing was so bad and unsafe the glorious team at The Place They Had To Bleep Out to stop advertising for them ended up giving him a brand new car and ‘Pimping’ that out instead. 

Now my problem with this show is three fold. Firstly: I’ve owned lot of old cars and I’ve NEVER let them get into such a bad state even when I’ve barely been able to make rent and yes I rely on my car as much as the people on the show do and ferry numerous members of my family around in them as they so often get the sympathy vote with. I get the very distinct impression that people are getting their hands on the worst cars they can find, making them even worse and then sending an audition tape to the network. If you genuinely rely on a car as much as most of them claim to you wouldn’t let it get so bad. And, if you let your car get in such a bad state do you really deserve a new one? It’s like giving an alcoholic a new liver.

The second is how badly and obviously set up the reactions are. You know that bit where Xzibit knocks at the door of the ‘unkowing’ lucky driver lives and they jump out, bounce up and down, scream “oh my gOd,” hug him and reveal a nicely set up mic-pack on their jeans where the film crew have been there ahead of time and wired them for sound?

honda civicThe other reason I get irked by this show is that it seems to be giving off completely the wrong message. It’s not aspirational in the sense that it’ll encourage people to get their car done up, it’s sending out the message: let your car fall to pieces, we’ll pick it up and turn it into a boy-racers wet dream and stick a fish-tank in the back and a pc in the dashboard so you can check your emails in the car park. No element of get things sorted for yourself, just let it all fall apart someone else will fix it for you. What if people started doing that across their lives. Their is no Pimp My Finances for those who just go into bankruptcy hoping a famous rapper will come along and give their bank account gull-wings and a gold-tinted cheque book. 

Though I did like the one with the Honda Civic that they gave Lambo doors but why do they insist on putting games consoles in every car? Who really wants to sit in their car playing Call of Duty?  

Am I alone in my cynicism on this or should I just change my morning viewing habits?