Random Thoughts... [Automotive Edition]

Der Stig

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If it's at or close to 100k, $3k engine out headgasket job is imminent. Also, if it has the 4 speed auto, runaway.
 

93Flareside

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If it's at or close to 100k, $3k engine out headgasket job is imminent. Also, if it has the 4 speed auto, runaway.

Sister sent me a link. It has 96k on it and the 4 speed.

Guess the 2012 soul she linked is better.
 

Spectre

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It looks like VW had a go at designing a Ford...


That's because the guy that designed the VW B5 and New Beetle, setting VW's entire design language, went to work for Ford as their design chief.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J_Mays

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Sister sent me a link. It has 96k on it and the 4 speed.

Guess the 2012 soul she linked is better.

Glass head gaskets, glass transmission - there's a reason that person is selling that Subaru at this point. Yeah, the Soul has the potential to be much better.
 

gaasc

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I reckon that if that six-window design had been given to the Crown Vic, we would still have it to this day.
 

Labcoatguy

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Thinking about my last two rentals. If I had to choose one to buy, I'd much rather have the Charger R/T than the Jag XE.
 

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I reckon that if that six-window design had been given to the Crown Vic, we would still have it to this day.

The Aero-body Crown Vic had a not-dissimilar six window design. People were unconvinced.



Also, the CV exited production because the US introduced new, almost ridiculous rollover safety standards for cars and Ford couldn't justify the money to redesign the car and the chassis yet again. They also thought the new Taurus would take over from it in terms of sales... which appears to have been in error.

Until they have a proper RWD big sedan again, I don't see Ford doing well in the full size car market for the forseeable future.

Also, every idiot who says that a RWD sedan won't sell and a FWD/FWD-biased/based-AWD car is the way forward should be pointed at the Chrysler LX cars. Those are still selling very well despite the idiots at Ford and GM who've been saying a rear driver won't sell since before the CV went out of production.





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Thinking about my last two rentals. If I had to choose one to buy, I'd much rather have the Charger R/T than the Jag XE.

Given that the prices aren't really all that different, that's pretty much the conclusion everyone seems to be coming to.

Or, more specifically, for the price, people would rather buy something (almost anything!) else.
 

Mitchi

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It looks like VW had a go at designing a Ford...


That's because the guy that designed the VW B5 and New Beetle, setting VW's entire design language, went to work for Ford as their design chief.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J_Mays

It really does look like very much like a VW... if you put your finger on the headlights of the Ford, it looks pretty much identical to a B5 Passat:



It's so funny how designers have their own design language and keep putting them into different manufacturers while switching those.
 

CraigB

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Yup, the greenhouse is exactly what I was seeing as VW.

Meanwhile, after something like 5 years, I've got this piece of crap running and driving. Though there's no seats and there are a few things that need adjusted.

Edit: Walk around vid of it running: https://youtu.be/Nfcr64gW6uU

 
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prizrak

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The Aero-body Crown Vic had a not-dissimilar six window design. People were unconvinced.



Also, the CV exited production because the US introduced new, almost ridiculous rollover safety standards for cars and Ford couldn't justify the money to redesign the car and the chassis yet again. They also thought the new Taurus would take over from it in terms of sales... which appears to have been in error.

Until they have a proper RWD big sedan again, I don't see Ford doing well in the full size car market for the forseeable future.

I had this conversation with a friend not long ago, Ford is basically running a bespoke RWD chassis for the Mustang that they pretty much aren't using anywhere else. Why not use it as a platform for a big RWD sedan perhaps made by Lincoln?
 

CrzRsn

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Bought myself a new book



Only leafed through it so far, but there are some really cool projects laid out in great detail - lots of interviews with former employees and scans of company documents. Learned that they built a Boss Bronco in 1969 with a 351W done up by Shelby. By the looks of it, Kar Kraft was the predecessor to the predecessor of the office I work at now.
 
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gaasc

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Also, the CV exited production because the US introduced new, almost ridiculous rollover safety standards for cars and Ford couldn't justify the money to redesign the car and the chassis yet again. They also thought the new Taurus would take over from it in terms of sales... which appears to have been in error.

Until they have a proper RWD big sedan again, I don't see Ford doing well in the full size car market for the forseeable future.

Also, every idiot who says that a RWD sedan won't sell and a FWD/FWD-biased/based-AWD car is the way forward should be pointed at the Chrysler LX cars. Those are still selling very well despite the idiots at Ford and GM who've been saying a rear driver won't sell since before the CV went out of production.

That is the bit that I don't get. Fleets would buy six digits of these every year across their two brands. It's as guaranteed an income stream as white Ford F-150 XL's. By 2010 or whenever the rollover standards were announced, the Formal-roofed vic would've been in production for 12 years. I find it very hard to believe that the tooling wouldn't have been paid several times over. Hell, one source that eludes me right now tells me that bits of the floor were still from the 1979 LTD Crown Vic.

The conspiracy nut in me remains skeptical.
 

Spectre

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I had this conversation with a friend not long ago, Ford is basically running a bespoke RWD chassis for the Mustang that they pretty much aren't using anywhere else. Why not use it as a platform for a big RWD sedan perhaps made by Lincoln?

I've been wondering that for a long time now. Especially since there's a car company out there that's already done something similar - Nissan. Nissan initially developed the FM platform for the Z33 350Z but used it for the Infiniti G35/V35 Skyline just prior to producing the Z33, so they were already well ahead of Ford in that respect - but Nissan didn't stop there. Then they decided to spread the platform out quite a lot more across their premium brand. Here's a list of FM-platform cars, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Nissan Skyline/infiniti Q50 V37-series
Nissan Skyline/Infiniti G35 V35,V36-series
Nissan Fuga/Infiniti/M35 Infiniti M45/Infiniti Q70 Y50, Y51-series
Nissan 370Z Z34-series
Nissan 350Z Z33-series
Nissan Stagea M35-series
Infiniti FX/Infiniti QX70 SUV
Infiniti EX/Infiniti QX50/Nissan Skyline Crossover SUV
Nissan Elgrand E51-series ( not front-mid, but same platform )

Yes, they put that chassis under sports cars, sports coup?s, sport and luxury sedans plus SUVs. They even made a minivan out of it! Additionally, the R35 Skyline/GT-R is on the PM platform, a further development of the original FM platform. That is a *lot* of cars on one platform.

So what does Ford have on the Mustang platform? Just the Mustang. What do they have in their luxury brand? A bunch of FWD and FWD-biased/based-AWD cars. And despite doing something really stupid by rebranding all their cars Q/QX a few years back and destroying their brand equity, Infiniti is still eating Lincoln's lunch. Nearly every other volume luxury car brand has RWD vehicles and of the non-new ones (like the Genesis brand) only Volvo and Jaguar don't outsell Lincoln. Hell, even ACURA, which isn't a real luxury brand, is eating Lincoln's lunch.

Being Acura Lite isn't working for Lincoln. The new Lincoln Continental, if it's supposed to be a volume seller, isn't selling for shit - it will be doing well to crack 16K sales in the US this year. Lincoln needs RWD cars *bad*.

And there the Mustang platform sits, unused. Along with the last Falcon platform from Ford Australia.
 
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Labcoatguy

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So what does Ford have on the Mustang platform? Just the Mustang. What do they have in their luxury brand? A bunch of FWD and FWD-biased/based-AWD cars. And despite doing something really stupid by rebranding all their cars Q/QX a few years back and destroying their brand equity, Infiniti is still eating Lincoln's lunch. Every other volume luxury car brand has RWD vehicles and of the non-new ones (like the Genesis brand) only Volvo and Jaguar don't outsell Lincoln. Hell, even ACURA, which isn't a real luxury brand, is eating Lincoln's lunch.

Being Acura Lite isn't working for Lincoln. The new Lincoln Continental, if it's supposed to be a volume seller, isn't selling for shit - it will be doing well to crack 16K sales in the US this year. Lincoln needs RWD cars *bad*.

And there the Mustang platform sits, unused. Along with the last Falcon platform from Ford Australian.
I get the feeling somebody at Lincoln, Acura, or Volvo has a poster of Audi sales figures on the wall and tries to convince themselves that you can make it huge in luxury without dedicated RWD.
 

Spectre

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That is the bit that I don't get. Fleets would buy six digits of these every year across their two brands. It's as guaranteed an income stream as white Ford F-150 XL's. By 2010 or whenever the rollover standards were announced, the Formal-roofed vic would've been in production for 12 years. I find it very hard to believe that the tooling wouldn't have been paid several times over. Hell, one source that eludes me right now tells me that bits of the floor were still from the 1979 LTD Crown Vic.

The conspiracy nut in me remains skeptical.

They had just completely redesigned the frame for the MY2006 car, changing to a hydroformed frame and going to a wider axle in the back along with correspondingly wider wheel flange mount distances in the front. That hadn't been cheap and the regulations told them that they not only had to do that again to provide additional body retention (remember, it is body on frame) but they would have to create a completely new body for it and crash-qualify the resulting vehicle. That's not cheap.

Making it worse was the fact that while they were selling in excess of 100K Panther platform cars per year to fleets, they weren't exactly very profitable. A fleet or police Crown Vic went for about or under $35K. Even if you allow for body tooling depreciation it wasn't that cheap to make any more because for many things it was the only vehicle still using certain formerly commodity parts. On top of that, there was no price elasticity in the market niche so they couldn't charge more for the replacement. The reasons there were no elasticity in the niche:


Available 2006, could be had for $26K for a V6 fleet model and sometimes under $32K for a V8 police model.


Announced 2009, more spacious, price around $35K.


Available 2007, starting price about $34K.

Ford back in 2009 took a look at these cars, took a look at the regs and decided they couldn't justify (to themselves) the expense of modernizing the Crown Vic yet again when they couldn't charge more for the vehicle. Now if they'd been smart, they would have made a new platform to compete with these vehicles in the civilian arena as well as the fleet/police world... but instead, they decided that the new Taurus would be good enough and that police and fleets would buy them. In 2009 Ford announced that they would be pushing the Taurus as the replacement.

Reality had a different vote and Lincoln is languishing as a result. Not many people wanted the Taurus, police car or not, and the Lincoln version hasn't done a lot better. People *are* buying RWD larger cars and RWD luxury cars, contrary to what Ford leadership apparently still thinks.

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I get the feeling somebody at Lincoln, Acura, or Volvo has a poster of Audi sales figures on the wall and tries to convince themselves that you can make it huge in luxury without dedicated RWD.

If this is so, I would like to know what drug that person is taking so that I can avoid ever having contact with it. Most of the people that are going to buy FWD-based/biased-AWD sport/luxury platforms are going to buy Audi, and they're not likely to buy anything else.

Then again, just like our community's Ford engineer can't seem to understand why the standard gearshift on the Mustang's M82 manual transmission is garbage and needs to be replaced by a good aftermarket shifter to get an acceptable driving experience :p I have read that Ford/Lincoln planners do not understand why their FWD sedans aren't selling as they find them acceptable in their market spaces.
 

Labcoatguy

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If this is so, I would like to know what drug that person is taking so that I can avoid ever having contact with it. Most of the people that are going to buy FWD-based/biased-AWD sport/luxury platforms are going to buy Audi, and they're not likely to buy anything else.

Then again, just like our community's Ford engineer can't seem to understand why the standard gearshift on the Mustang's M82 manual transmission is garbage and needs to be replaced by a good aftermarket shifter to get an acceptable driving experience :p I have read that Ford/Lincoln planners do not understand why their FWD sedans aren't selling as they find them acceptable in their market spaces.

See also: Lexus RX, Lexus ES. Is the market really that saturated? Maybe in terms of brand perception.
 

Spectre

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See also: Lexus RX, Lexus ES. Is the market really that saturated? Maybe in terms of brand perception.

Eh, the ES is fading - but pretty much the RX has its niche locked up. I say that these aren't cars or real SUVs, though, but more like the old "tall wagon" idea more than anything else; the people buying the modern incarnation of tall wagons care a lot less about driving dynamics than people buying sports cars or luxury cars. (If this were not the case, Cadillac's 90s-2000s FWD coupe/sedan efforts would have been far more popular than they were.) Even with that idea permeating the niche, the X5 and X3 each outsell Lincoln's best seller in the space, the MKC - not by the smallest of margins, either. The rear-drive Merc GLE almost outsells the MKC and MKX combined. The top ten vehicles in this class are divided between 6 front drive or front drive based vehicles and 4 rear drive/rear drive based vehicles. None are Lincolns.

 
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