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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:57 PM
Original message
Ford heralds slow demise of SUV (BBC News)
(See, this is why the U.S. Auto Industry is in such trouble, Ford is still "considering spending $1bn (523m) on plants to produce more hybrid vehicles." If this guy is typical (totally out of touch with reality) the U.S. Auto Industry is in BIG trouble.)

Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK

Ford heralds slow demise of SUV


Large sports utility vehicles (SUVs) will go out of fashion because of environmental worries and demographic trends, a top Ford executive has said.

Mark Fields, who runs Ford's US business, said consumers would move away from SUVs to smaller cars in what he characterised as a "tectonic shift".

With an eye on future trends, Ford is considering spending $1bn (523m) on plants to produce more hybrid vehicles. The investment, yet to be finalised, would be in its home state of Michigan.

Green message

Ford is talking to the state's Economic Development Corporation about incentives that would allow it to build new facilities in Detroit, home of the US car industry. Beset by falling sales in the US and rising costs, Ford is planning to cut 30,000 jobs - many of which will go in Michigan.

(more at link) <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4777303.stm >
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smtpgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Too little, too late for US Auto makers
After owning a gas-guzzling PT Cruiser, no more american cars.

Those bastards are selling this vehilce as a "tall wagon or small SUV"

WTF!!!!

The PT Cruiser is on a Dodge Neon Chassis. MY BAAD!!

Next car Acura RSX or a Scion tC
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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. PT Cruiser's suck gas? I did realize that.
Another thing that I think is being neglected, in the Scion ads, Scion is part of Toyota!

They should at least mention that, don't ya think?

I would have wanted a Scion years ago if they had known that.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I used to want a PT Cruiser until somebody who had one told me
that he only got 20 mpg. On a GOOD day.
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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. That was intentional
Toyota has had a rather stodgy image for the last decade or so (how often did they change the Camry?). Scion is their effort to chase a younger market that may be turned off by their "parents' cars".

And yes, Scions are basically rebadged Toyotas. The little hatchback and the box-on-wheels are Toyotas previously available in Japan. The TC is a nice little sports car. A 2.4l motor, good gas mileage, and a ridiculously cheap price. Can't go wrong with that.

And the PT Cruiser is a shitty car.
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holboz Donating Member (641 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. My PT Cruiser fell apart, piece by piece
I traded it in for a Toyota. I only had it 18 months and it was in the shop 4 times. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.
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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Actually, they re-style the Camry about every 5 years, which helps...
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 12:52 AM by Up2Late
...keeps the costs reasonable, and the car reliable.

And are you calling the MR2, Celica GT, and the Supra stodgy?

Yeah, the Supra was so stodgy that the U.S. Government prohibited it's sale in the U.S. without a 155 Mph speed limiter on it because it had so much power, and probably because it was putting the Chevy Corvette to shame.

I'm not sure what happened to the MR2 here in the U.S., I think they couldn't keep up with the domestic demand for it or something.

It's a conspiracy I tell ya! :evilgrin:
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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 01:01 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Toyota was concerned about its older-skewing image
Not enough kids driving Avalons, I guess.

And, while the Camry is a good car, it doesn't really scream "chick magnet".

By the time the tC came out, the MR2, Celica and Supra were long gone.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. My Camry wagon is 16 years young and still going strong
We just got rid of the 24 year old Tercel this summer, and will probably replace it with a Honda Fit. Japanese cars get good mileage their whole lives.

Sorry if they're not chick magnets. :shrug: When I spend that kind of money, I want lasting quality. For "fashion" I can buy shoes or a dress.

The CEOs of the US auto business are murdering their own industry with short-sighted stupid decisions, imo. My heart goes out to the blue collar workers who devoted their working lives to building cars and trucks, only to be betrayed by the bosses.

Hekate

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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
16. All Chrysler products are shitty cars. Cool to look at, pain to own. (NT)
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
15. Scion's "mind space" between itself and Toyota is deliberate.
> Another thing that I think is being neglected, in the Scion ads, Scion is part of Toyota!
> They should at least mention that, don't ya think?
> I would have wanted a Scion years ago if they had known that.

Scion's "mind space" between itself and Toyota is deliberate.

They're trying to attract a different audience than has been attracted
recently by the Toyota brand; they're trying to not make people think
"Family Camry" and instead think "youth", "vitality", "iPod", "cool", etc.

Tesha
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LordLovesAWorkingMan Donating Member (272 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. American cars simply suck.
Mainly because the big 3 just don't get it. They are so busy looking for the SUV that will prop up their business that they don't even try to make money by making appealing, well-built, fuel-efficient cars.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. too true ....
.... a nice car but .... I have a friend who just got one .....
a 4 banger and it gets 15 MPG in the city and short hops?
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
17. Really? I never thought of them as "gas-guzzlers"
Especially considering that it's not that big a vehicle.
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lithiumbomb Donating Member (217 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
8. well it's a complicated issue really
There's more to it than the US makers not being in tune with what the public is interested in. That's certainly a component, but they're simply not currently structured to make money on small fuel efficient cars. The Big Three (or 2 1/2 depending on how you view Chrysler) lose money on all the small cars they make for sale in this country. Let's take the Ford Focus for example. Introduced in the late 90s worldwide, it was a well engineerd and well received car. In Europe this is a family car, sold for a family car price. In the US, that class of vehicle fits in to a lower price point. They're not family cars over here, they're economy cars. Ford is able to make money on the european Focus (or maybe they aren't) when it's sold for the equivalent of 20k US dollars, but for the US market it has to start at about 12 grand. Even though it's made in Mexico, they still lose _thousands_ per unit sold.

Since the big 3 have heavy comittments to their health and retirement plans from when they were much larger companies (remember GM alone was once 50% of the US car market), they needed to build profitable vehicles to stay solvent. So they put all their development towards SUVs, making 10-20k on each one in profit. They can design the best compact car on the planet, but if they lose money on each one, there's no point.

There is obviously a market for small efficient cars in this country though. However I suspect Ford and GM will have to go through a bankruptcy first to relieve themselves of their financial commitments before they can make them profitably. They have not been healthy companies for quite some time, even when they were still making a profit.

Sidenote on hybrids-
Hybrids are expensive cars to make. They do _not_ make money for their makers yet. This is one reason Toyota pushes versions of the Prius that approach 30-35 grand. More options means more profit. A more cost effective way to save money on gas is to buy a Toyota Yaris (40mpg highway) for about $12k.

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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. "...Ford Focus...Introduced in the late 90s worldwide...??? WHAT???
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 01:38 AM by Up2Late
The Ford Focus has been around a LOT longer than the "...late 90s!!!" I was called the Ford Escort, they just re-named the same car and put a different trim package on it.

The Escort has been around since the 1968 in Europe and 1981 in the North American market!

Here's a link to a history of the Escort/Focus, from a place that sells performance parts for 2nd and 3rd generation Escorts/Focus, which had evolved into a great little car. I rented one of the Escort GTs back about 1996 and that was one hell of a lot of fun to drive!

<http://www.escortfocus.com/html/history.html >

<http://www.escortfocus.com/index.html >

The history of the Escort illustrates almost perfectly what's wrong with Ford, once the car evolved into a great little car, they killed it. Couldn't have it taking drivers away from the SUVs they wanted to sell at a much hight profit margin.

Ford and GM have Great small cars that they sell in Europe, why they don't sell them here, I have my theories.

You really need to shut off FOX "news" and do some Google-ing(sp?), repeating the Fox "news" talking points like how "...Hybrids are expensive cars to make..." just don't fly here.
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lithiumbomb Donating Member (217 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
21. not really
The Ford Focus has been around a LOT longer than the "...late 90s!!!" I was called the Ford Escort, they just re-named the same car and put a different trim package on it.


The Focus is not the Escort, it replaced the Escort in the late 90s, like I said. They're the same class of car, but not the same car at all. Different platforms. It's like saying "The Taurus was never introduced in the mid '80s, its really a Ford Falcon! " The Mk 1 Focus (which we still get) is the CW170 platform. The final incarnation of the US market Escort was a Mazda based platform sold with both Ford and Mazda engines. The rest of the world gets a different Focus than we now get, C1 platform, shared with Volvo S40 and Mazda 3. Ford expects to reconverge the US and european model Focii for the 3rd generation model around 2010 or so.

The US and European model escorts were never the same car except in name. The original US escort was a similar basic design to the new FWD European escort at the time (3,5 door hatch, wagon) but the shared parts between the two was virtually nothing. The 2nd gen US escort moved to a Mazda platform in the 1990s, and remained on it until it was retired.

You really need to shut off FOX "news" and do some Google-ing(sp?), repeating the Fox "news" talking points like how "...Hybrids are expensive cars to make..." just don't fly here


That's pretty insulting don't you think? Toyota gets a huge amount of positive press from their Hybrid cars. But their money makers in this country are their mid-size cars and SUVs.

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mikedaul Donating Member (26 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. actually, the focus was introduced in 1998...
While the ford focus did replace the escort in that model segment, it is/was NOT just a new body on an old chassis. The US version of the Focus uses the c-170 platform:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_C170_platform

While the european focus has been updated to use the c-1 platform:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_C1_platform

The US focus will be updated to the c1 in the 2010 model year.

The focus is currently the best selling car in the UK, and in 2001-2002 it was the best selling car in the WORLD.

I drive a 2002 SVT Focus, and I love it. It is very sporty, handles great, gets great mileage (average around 28) and it is a hatchback so I can transport large quantities of crap around in it :)
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Ragin1 Donating Member (60 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. Saving money on gas
A more cost effective way to save money on gas is buy a 1986 Honda Civic 1.3 litre, for $700, and get 48 mpg. :^)
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Idylle Moon Dancer Donating Member (421 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. they're not THAT reliable, or are they?
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
18. After the government has subsidized them so much, I can't believe that
they're turning to the state for money & incentives to build hybrid factories.


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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
19. Seen it all before.
America has specialized in making giant pieces of shit since 1973. Periodically, gasoline prices kill demand for these pieces of shit, whereupon the automakers take the opportunity to steal money from the Indians and raid the employee pension funds. Then they re-badge some reliable, economical, foreign-made cars as their own and charge an extra thousand or two bucks to the idiots who think they're buying American. Then, when gas prices come down and the companies become profitable again, they skimp on modernization and retooling--after all, why bother when you can count on the feds to pay for it later?

The thing is, I don't think they're going to get away with it this time. I doubt we're ever going to see another oil surplus, and we certainly won't with a couple of Texas oilmen as our fascist dictators.

Won't that be a lark, to see American auto executives lining up right alongside the union autoworkers they've spent all these years fighting?
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krkaufman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
20. Just what I've long-suspected ...

    Ford is talking to the state's Economic Development Corporation about incentives that would allow it to build new facilities in Detroit ... Ford is planning to cut 30,000 jobs - many of which will go in Michigan.
The Big Three (Two?) will keep draining every last drop out of their gas-guzzling SUV profits, and then will come looking for a government bailout to help them shift to a more realistic product profile. Any bailouts should be handled as loans, and the US people should be repaid.
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lithiumbomb Donating Member (217 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
23. on subsidies
FWIW I'm not a fan of handouts necessarily. But the Asian and German car companies have established plants in this country by using handouts from the state and local governments where they hope to build their cars. So with that system in place, I don't think it's out of the question for the american car companies to ask for similar assistance. Lame? Sure. But Toyota, Honda, BMW, Kia, Hyundai - they all got them too, and they're all in much better financial shape than Ford or GM. (The Mercedes plant in Alabama predates the purchase of Chrysler, of course got subsidies to locate there, and at the time they were in good shape, but arguably are a bit fragile now).

Unfortunately the american car companies are not rolling around in cash at the moment. There's a very real possibility that both Ford and GM will go bankrupt in the next two years. It's a situation of their own making, but no one wants to see the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
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