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Techshake Exclusive: Lincoln Product Plan Update
Sep10

Techshake Exclusive: Lincoln Product Plan Update

By Charles Krome

In my recent piece about the evolution of Lincoln, I fixated on what seemed to be a surprising comment from Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president for global sales, service and marketing. In a in Automotive News, [sub req’d] he is indirectly quoted as follows: “Lincoln’s future products will stay in the $35,000 to $55,000 price range, Farley said.”

My basic thought here was that this would put a serious damper on Lincoln’s aspirations in the luxury segments. I mean, a fair number of those segments host vehicles that start north of $55 large, and a Lincoln price ceiling at that level would preclude competing in some important luxury spaces.

So, while I climbed up on ye olde soapbox in that piece, I also reached out to Ford for some clarification, and this morning, Lincoln’s communication manager, Christian Bokich, reached back.

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Is Lincoln Abandoning the Luxury Segment?
Sep10

Is Lincoln Abandoning the Luxury Segment?

By Charles Krome

Surprisingly, the answer is “yes”—at least if you believe Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, sales and service. Farley was providing some hints about Lincoln’s future direction in a  [sub req’d], and he had plenty to say about how the loss of Mercury will be Lincoln’s gain.

The focus will be on providing stronger differentiation between Ford and Lincoln products, a longstanding and ongoing problem exemplified today by a quick comparo between the division’s crossover cousins, the Edge and the MKX. Even with the 2011 models, with their vastly different grille treatments, there’s no disguising their shared roots. And the situation with the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ isn’t that different. (Note that in the accompanying photos, I’m showing a 2010 Fusion and a 2011 MKZ; it was oddly (?) difficult to find similar profile shots of each from the same model year.)

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Is Suzuki Succeeding in the US? Road & Track Thinks So.

By Chris Haak

Call it naïveté, call it giving folks the benefit of the doubt, call it whatever you want to.  But as a long-time buff book reader (I subscribed to Motor Trend continuously between 1987 and July 2010, or about 23 years), I never paid much mind to critics that accused media outlets of providing favorable editorial coverage for certain manufacturers and vehicles in return for advertising dollars.  Is the Motor Trend Car of the Year award driven by the best car, or by the best advertiser?  I’d always assumed that these magazines would take the high road and provide a fair and accurate description of the industry and its vehicles so that their readers could make informed choices when considering how to part with their hard-earned money.

But sitting at the breakfast table this morning with my newly-arrived October 2010 Road & Track, reading a single paragraph almost made me spit out my Cookie Crisp cereal.  At once, this single paragraph caused me to completely discount nearly everything else that I had read and was about to read in this magazine, and indeed, in many magazines.  The paragraph in question is found in R&T‘s “New Cars for 2011” section, a 28-page spread that highlights the changes to 2011 model-year vehicls with nary a critical comment.  That in and of itself is not reason to raise eyebrows, as “buyer’s guides” that tiptoe around a car’s shortcomings are certainly nothing new, but here’s what raised my hackles.

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Review:  2010 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab 4×2
Sep08

Review: 2010 Toyota Tundra SR5 Double Cab 4×2

By Roger Boylan

The logic of people who are neither builders nor ranchers driving full-size pickup trucks in lieu of cars escapes many. I know it escaped me for a long time, even after I’d been living in Texas, world capital of pickupdom, for many years (after all, I’m an ex-New Yorker, and for a long time hardly even got the point of cars). But I finally get it: for a smallish family, a big, high-riding pickup can serve as a cut-rate SUV. Whereas a Toyota Sequoia, for instance, starts at $39K, a Double-Cab Tundra, the Sequoia’s truck cousin and platform mate, can be had for $26K. My test vehicle, which I have to thank for this revelation, was, in fact, one of these: a 2010 Tundra Double Cab SR5.

Its arrival was timely, obviating the need to subject our aging domestic fleet (Jag S-Type, Chrysler PT Cruiser) to the rigors of a road trip. Our daughter had recently started her college studies in Dallas, a drive of some 250+ miles from the Boylan demesne in south-central Texas. Over the Labor Day weekend, to help settle her in and provide her with a brief but intense dose of parental fussing for old times’ sake, my wife and I loaded up the Tundra and drove up to the big D.

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To Infinity and Beyond?: Tim Allen to Voice Chevy Cruze Spots
Sep07

To Infinity and Beyond?: Tim Allen to Voice Chevy Cruze Spots

By Charles Krome

Chevrolet is one of those brands that’s known nearly as much for its advertising as it is for the actual products that bear its name. Not only do its hits—like “Baseball, hotdogs, etc., etc.” or “Like a Rock”—have a tendency to become part of popular culture, but its misses get a surprisingly amount of coverage, too. Just witness the kerfuffle over the division’s move to drop the term “Chevy” from its marketing efforts and put the focus on “Chevrolet” proper.

This attention has been concentrated even further recently, since Chevrolet, as the General’s high-volume brand, bears the brunt of the responsibility for turning around General Motors as a whole. Buick, GMC and Cadillac no doubt sell some nice vehicles, but the Chevrolet Silverado alone moved more than 34,000 units in August, a number that topped total GMC sales by more than 15,000 vehicles. Looked at another way, the big pickup outsold Cadillac and Buick combined by roughly 4,000 units.

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