Posts from ‘Ford’
As we enter the age of autonomous vehicles filled with cloud-sourced entertainment and powered by solid-state batteries, it’s good to know that there are still a few relatively low-tech car features of genuine utility.
Comparing pickup trucks to Hamburger Helper may seem like a stretch, but I beg your indulgence as I explain myself. Here goes: The main purpose of Hamburger Helper is to help costly ground beef go further, at less cost. Thus, a meal that might have involved the expense of a pound and a half of meat might require just a single pound once augmented by the sodium-packed filler material that generally retails for around $1.39 a box.
by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The second-generation Ford Fusion made its debut as a 2013 model, and the midsize sedan received some significant updates for 2017. Most Fusion models cater to a practical and mainstream market, while the Hybrid and Energi plug-in models target efficiency seekers. Now, though, Ford has added something for those looking for more speed and a bit more excitement than run-of-the-mill sedans offer: the Fusion Sport.
To truly excite the passions of the American automotive media, you need news that strikes close to home. International news, no matter how significant, is generally met with indifference among many U.S. auto writers. General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and the GM board of directors opt out of the European, Indian, and South African new-vehicle markets—yawn. The Chinese government mandates that 12 percent of new vehicles retailed in China (the world’s largest new-car market) must be pure electric by 2020—whatever.
There is a lot to be said for good automotive branding, especially good engine branding. One of the better recent efforts in this regard is Chrysler’s resurrection of the Hemi name, as applied to a new family of V8 engines that debuted for 2003.
It’s not just about ROI any more.
Back in the 1970s, diesels became attractive for passenger vehicles due to their superior fuel economy, and in some cases, the lower price of diesel fuel. As diesels often cost significantly more than a gas engine – and also suffered from noisy operation and meager power output – it was a diesel’s fuel-cost savings over time that accounted for their appealing Return On Investment.
But lower per-mile fuel costs are no longer a diesel’s only attraction.
There is no longer space in the American new-car marketplace for vehicles with hoods and trunklids that consume more linear space than their passenger compartments do. While I know that the passing of the giant coupe was inevitable, I also lament that automotive designers no longer have a free hand with such large and expressive canvases.
Ford is doing it right now with a subcompact crossover (EcoSport) imported from India. Cadillac did it with a German import badged on these shores as Catera. Honda did it with rebadged midsize SUV (Passport) that was actually built by Isuzu.
I graduated from high school in 1983. The third year of President Ronald Reagan’s first term was pretty good to me—I spent the summer working full time at a service station, I starting taking classes at a local junior college, and I spent a considerable amount of time looking at, reading about, and talking about cars.