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01/08/2019 - 12:37pm How are sales?

How are sales?

01/08/2019 - 11:52am Additional info:  In 2018,…

Additional info:  In 2018, Camry sales were down 11% and Accord sales were down 10%.  Civic, also an all-new clean-sheet redesign in the last year or two was down 14%.  And those are all fantastic brand-new designs that have won all kinds of awards and get glowing reviews from the magazines!  Why in the world should Ford throw billions of dollars at a new Focus, Fiesta, or Fusion for the US market?  Especially when they already have a profitable and expanding SUV/truck lineup that they can usher those customers into instead?  Besides, Ford is in a better position than FCA or GM because they will still be making (brand-new) Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion for the rest of the world so they could always bring them back to the US a lot easier than if they needed to create them from scratch.  It still wouldn't be easy, but easier than what FCA or GM would have to go through.

01/08/2019 - 11:43am One more thing with respect…

One more thing with respect to sedans is that just because something is a sedan doesn't mean it's going to be fun to drive.  Does anyone enjoy racing around in an Impala or Passat (I've had two, they're not fun at all), or Malibu, etc?  We aren't lamenting the demise of M3s/S4s/GTIs/etc.  Most sedans are no more exciting than - shocker - the SUVs that are based on the exact same platform as said sedans!  In fact, my 19MY Tiguan has much more entertaining handling characteristics than my 17MY and 18MY Passats did, which started understeering with the slightest steering input.  The AWD Tiguan will rotate and move around based on different inputs and is much more involving.  Go figure.  And don't worry too much about sedans.

01/08/2019 - 11:39am Ford is also introducing the…

Ford is also introducing the new Explorer tomorrow which is Ford's version of Lincoln's Aviator.  Same platform, some shared drivetrains, both are 7-passenger vehicles.  

01/08/2019 - 10:27am Also, with respect to sedans…

Also, with respect to sedans take a look at Accord and Camry, the two most highly-respected and highest-selling midsize sedans for decades now.  Both of them experienced clean-sheet, ground-up redesigns in the last year or so.  Surely billions of dollars spent on all-new platforms and powertrains.  Sales for Accord were down ~20% in 2018 and Camry was down around 10% if memory serves.  Now why would someone like Ford or FCA or GM stay in the game when their sedans weren't as highly-regarded or as profitable to begin with?  And when the Big 3 are already known for making great trucks and SUVs.  At some point, you have to stop banging your head against the wall and go and make some money.  

11/27/2017 - 3:58pm Rachel sure does put out some

Rachel sure does put out some catchy tunes. Hopefully we haven’t hogged too many of the Baby Signing Time DVDs from the AADL. You know who to ask if you can’t find the ones you want from the library!

11/13/2017 - 12:28pm Totally.  I remember one of

Totally.  I remember one of our Aero professors specifically telling us to not even try doing the homework on our own - we wouldn't be able to complete it.  Told us to work together in a group and figure it out together.  Even if you were dragged along by your classmates with the homework, you still had to perform on the exams.  Most of your grade was determined by exams, so it didn't really matter if you copied answers for homework.

08/08/2017 - 3:57pm I love the 3-blinks feature

I love the 3-blinks feature on turn signals when you tap it but before you get to the indentation where it holds the signal on.  Makes signalling during lane changes easier to the point where there's no excuse for not signalling ever.  Most all new cars have this feature now, I believe, but it's taken a long time for that to happen.  Sadly, turn signals are still used infrequently.

Features that I thought were silly until I got them are push-button start and proximity keys.  They go hand-in-hand so that you don't ever have to fish your keys out from your pocket.  Love it.  I'd like to have remote start for the winter.

I've never driven a vehicle with front windshield defrost in the winter time but I think that would be a huge benefit, especially as someone who parks outdoors in MI.  If I could turn on that defroster and melt the windshield in less than a minute, that would be amazing!  

Rear-view cameras that replace the mirror mounted to the windshield with a screen (Cadillac is speardheading this, I believe) sound great because they get rid of all blind spots and you get a much better view behind.  I'd like to give that a try.

All in all it's an exciting time for technology in new cars!

08/01/2017 - 3:36pm Correction, it looks like

Correction, it looks like they posted small quarterly profits in 2016 Q3 and 2013 Q1.  I don't think that really changes anything, though.

08/01/2017 - 3:29pm Agreed on your points about

Agreed on your points about conventional automaker's profitability.  10% is pretty strong, and though larger vehicles (and especially luxury vehicles) can double that, most cars sold are nowhere near 50%, or even 10%.  

I don't think it's reasonable to discount capital costs for Tesla, though.  Their capital expenditures are necessary to produce their products.  In fact, I didn't think they were all that high considering they bought the former Toyota-GM factory for next to nothing.  All costs are important and count.  All the other automakers are in a constant state of building and re-fitting factories around the globe, too.  In fact, I thought we were supposed to believe that a saavy start-up with overworked recent-grads that work way harder than the rest of us should have much lower costs!

I can't find anything online about Tesla ever making a quarterly profit.  I did find that Musk claims that they will achieve profitability by 2020, so take that for what you will.

08/01/2017 - 2:50pm Not only do they not make

Not only do they not make 'peanuts per vehicle', they actually lose money.  They have yet to turn a profit in any quarter they've sold cars.  Somehow, Elon's force of personality keeps convincing investors to give him money even though he hasn't yet made them a cent of profit.  Tesla vehicles do have some great attributes, no doubt.  But they also have some glaring issues, and they all lose money.  I've now worked for two competitive companies to Musk's (Space-X and Tesla), and the fanboy adulation gets on my nerves.  That said, he has done a lot of impressive things; I just get annoyed when masses of people take it way too far and treat him like a god.  

08/01/2017 - 2:10pm "We ended up spending a lot

"We ended up spending a lot more than I care to even think about. "

Just imagine how expensive it would've been if Tesla had the crazy requirement to make a profit on it!  (Like every other company)

08/01/2017 - 2:08pm Just a note about the Volvo

Just a note about the Volvo announcement -- they said that they would only produce electrified vehicles, but that just means hybrids and EVs.  They won't make any conventional gas-only vehicles.  Every automaker offers hybrids so they could all make this announcement.  Wayyyy too many people got all excited and interpreted this as, "wow Volvo's only going to make electric cars.  Gas engines suck!"  Nope.

08/01/2017 - 1:12pm All that said, I'm still a

All that said, I'm still a little frustrated that the established automakers aren't farther ahead on producing battery EVs.  It makes sense though, given that most EVs are sold at a loss (including for Tesla!).  I'm eager for the day when EVs are commonplace and all automakers are participating.  Putting aside the snarky things people derisively say about the Big 3, you'd be crazy if you think companies like Mercedes, Toyota, VW, Hyundai, etc etc are going to let Tesla dominate.  There are hundreds of thousands of supremely talented automotive engineers the world over, many of them working in subsidized or financially advantageous conditions (Hyundai/Kia for example).  Tesla is not going to put anyone out of business, especially if the $120k Model X we had in our department for benchmarking purposes was any indication.  No two panels lined up, and I could stick my entire pinky finger between many of them.  I honestly haven't seen a car so shoddily assembled in many decades.  That was an eye-opener.  If anyone else did that they would be laughed at and derided as the stupid old dinosaur company that should've been put out of its misery long ago.  And they still can't make a profit???

08/01/2017 - 12:46pm The Model 3 is a big gamble

The Model 3 is a big gamble because, as few people seem to remember, Tesla has never made a profit.  So now they're going to ramp production way up (to be seen) and offer a much cheaper product.  If you can't make a profit with most of your vehicles being around $100k, can they really make this work at $35k?  And yet the stock price keeps rising and rising and....

07/12/2017 - 3:50pm Huh?  If it's a critique that

Huh?  If it's a critique that I didn't take it all the way up to redline, it's because my job depends on me not being reckless and attracting attention with how I drive our vehicles.  If you're thinking that taking a GT350 up to 7000 rpm is reckless, know that this was in first gear while merging onto a highway, so no worries.

07/11/2017 - 1:42pm Drove a 18MY Mustang GT350 a

Drove a 18MY Mustang GT350 a couple of weeks ago.  526 hp, drove it for around a half-hour.  Wild, wild engine.  Never had the opportunity to get it above 7000 rpm (8250 rpm redline) but it was already nuts at that point.  I can hardly imagine what it's like to take it all the way up.  

05/23/2017 - 4:13pm The platform is called CD6.

The platform is called CD6.  S550 is a particular model (Mustang, as you said).  That's the clarification, but I really shouldn't divulge any actual plans.  Other than to say that plans change almost daily.  For example, everyone knows about the 3.0L diesel coming in F-150.  I recall a two-day period two years ago in which that engine was in, then out, the back into the F-150 plans.  All in two days.  Regardless of what you recall seeing, things change frequently, that's all I'm saying.  

05/23/2017 - 2:17pm It's surprising how

It's surprising how frequently and enthusiastically the Taurus SHO comes up in these weekly threads given how few of them Ford sells.  Taurus and its platformmates (Flex, MKT) only stick around because they paid for their tooling a long time ago and the other platformmate (Explorer) sells really well.  

05/23/2017 - 1:55pm Fusion Sport has the 2.7L

Fusion Sport has the 2.7L Ecoboost V6, along with Edge and MKX.  MKZ, Continental offer the 3.0L Ecoboost (up to 400 hp).  No V8s other than Mustang and trucks, though...

05/23/2017 - 1:27pm Mustang is built on the CD4

Mustang is built on the CD4 platform.  Every other vehicle on CD4 is FWD or FWD/AWD, including, for example, Lincoln MKZ, MKX, and Continental.  And, Fusion and Edge.  'Platform' is a very elastic term but to your point, there are actually three Lincolns on the same platform! 

05/23/2017 - 1:23pm Navigator is RWD!
Also, plans

Navigator is RWD!

Also, plans change daily in this business; best to not make assumptions about what one sees at any given moment.

04/11/2017 - 12:02pm We got a 5-speed Suzuki Swift

We got a 5-speed Suzuki Swift in Ireland 4 years ago, and what a blast!  Driving a stick from the right side never became second nature, but the car itself was so tossable, free-revving, and slow enough so that I could really rail on it but still not be breaking any laws.  The little I4 was very smooth and fast-revving (I think it was a 1.2L).  Then after we took the ferry to Scotland we got a Kia hatchback of some sort in the next size up (Golf/Focus sized).  Not nearly as much fun as that little Suzuki.  I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Swift.

04/06/2017 - 12:46pm Exactly.  A golf clubhouse is

Exactly.  A golf clubhouse is not an educational/institutional building and shouldn't look like one.  This looks about as friendly as a UM hospital annex building.  Just does not fit the situation at all.  It certainly fits the UM architectural 'style', but that is not fitting for a clubhouse.

04/04/2017 - 4:00pm Fastest would be the 2000 BMW

Fastest would be the 2000 BMW M Coupe I bought as a fun/collector car in 2009, and the slowest would be a snail's race between a 97 VW Cabrio and a ~03 VW Jetta diesel.  I think the diesel felt better though, because of all of the low-end torque.  Of course, beyond 3000 rpm it fell flat on it's face, but in normal driving it felt quite strong actually.

05/17/2016 - 3:18pm Agreed JeepinBen.  I was

Agreed JeepinBen.  I was replying to 'Sports' who said, "The argument that my purchase helped anyone in Michigan is nonsensical."  I totally agree that the purchase of pretty much any car helps the American economy in some way, I just wanted to clarify this misconception that's been going around that since the Camry is made in the US, it benefits us all more than some Chevy that's made in Canada.  Not necessarily.  People seem to equate final assembly with the entirety of the auto industry.  Final assembly is a small part of actually making a car!

05/17/2016 - 2:56pm As an employee of Ford, I can

As an employee of Ford, I can tell you that none of our vehicles don't have at least some engineering done here in Dearborn.  Portions may have been led out of Europe, but we have way more resources here and because cars are so complex, Dearborn is heavily involved in at least some aspect of everything.  We are a very well-integrated company globally; most of my meetings are with people in Cologne, Dunton, Shanghai, Brazil, or Australia.

Your purchase absolutely helped Michigan.  Ford employs many tens of thousands of white-collar workers here and we are paid by profits from the global company as a whole.  And recently, nearly all of our profits have come from US sales, regardless of where the vehicle was built or where you think it was engineered.  Ford is a Dearborn company through and through, and every cent flows through this city.  Also, refer to my comment below about final assembly being but a small part of what's involved in producing a car.  Many thousands of well-paid (American) employees are required before a single component is ever made or assembled into a car.    

05/17/2016 - 2:46pm You are very incorrect.  Not

You are very incorrect.  Not only does Ford produce more vehicles in the US than any other automaker, the much-publicized shift of production to Mexico for the Focus is being replaced by the Ranger here in Michigan.  The Focus factory is not being ramped down or closing; it will produce something different than what it's producing now (and a vehicle that maybe, just maybe, Ford will actually make a profit on unlike the current Michigan-made Focus).

05/17/2016 - 2:42pm There's a lot more to making

There's a lot more to making a car than its final assembly.  There are a lot more people involved than the few thousand factory workers at the final assembly plant.  The department I work in for a Big 3 employer has over 100 engineers dedicated solely to determining fuel economy.  Tens of thousands of engineers, marketeers, finance people, etc etc etc, whose wages depend on sales of cars that may go through final assembly in Mexico or Canada.  Also, all of the company's profits go through their headquarters and get distributed from there, whether it be SE MI or Japan or Germany or wherever.  

Again, I can't stress this enough, the people involved in final assembly of your vehicle is just a small portion of the workforce required to completely produce that vehicle (and thus a small portion of who gets paid to produce that vehicle!).

04/19/2016 - 12:04pm I was just about to say the

I was just about to say the same, assuming that I'd for sure be the only person to do so!  Ideally, I would have spent the winter prior to the summer assembling the car in my garage.  I really hope I get the opportunity to do this someday!  

08/17/2015 - 10:25am John Beilein this past

John Beilein this past Friday, pumping gas at the station across from the DQ on Packard Rd in Ann Arbor.  A few weeks ago, Jim Harbaugh driving on Stadium Blvd, then a half-hour later after doing our grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, Jim Harbaugh again going the other direction in the same spot.  Last winter, Sandie from last year's Jeopardy Tournament of Champions at Grizzly Peak.

07/30/2015 - 12:20pm Nah, I was just out for a

Nah, I was just out for a walk anyway and don't want to get into a big whole thing with the team I root for.  Not sure if things would be any different this Summer/Fall.  I'll probably happen upon an outdoor practice again at some point.

07/30/2015 - 11:43am I like to call it 'watch from

I like to call it 'watch from the Stadium Blvd bridge sidewalk'.  

Seriously though, I only tried that one time last August while going for a walk and was told to move along after a few minutes by a guy down near the practice field. 

07/28/2015 - 10:41am I think the AMG cars in that

I think the AMG cars in that era were mostly of the supercharged V8 and V6 variety, so the V12s were of the more 'garden-variety' S600 and SL600 types.  Which is pretty much the same as today.  I prefer those to AMGs anyway since to me, Mercedes Benzes are about luxury, not so much sport.

07/28/2015 - 10:33am My contact was through the

My contact was through the Ann Arbor BMW/Mercedes dealership that I worked at in the late-90s/early 00s so I also got to drive a number of BMW M and Mercedes AMG cars.  But probably nothing compares to that short ride in the 575 Maranello.  A 2015 Mustang GT is probably pretty high on the list with a 0-60 time well into the 4's.

07/28/2015 - 10:22am Growing up around Ann Arbor,

Growing up around Ann Arbor, I had some contacts at Car and Driver magazine, and one time the then-road test editor took me for a ride in a Ferrari 575 Maranello.  A Ferrari V12 at full song on Jackson Ave is quite the experience!!!

Slowest car would be my great-uncle's late 50s Willy's Jeep that he mostly used as a farm implement and snowplow.  I don't think it had been registered for a few decades but we took it in the woods and such.

07/08/2015 - 11:59am Which street is it if you

Which street is it if you don't mind my asking?

07/06/2015 - 10:37am A sitting president comes to

A sitting president comes to town and he stays in some dude's apartment?!  What?!  Was Falk's apartment the second floor of the golf course clubhouse or something?  That would make a little bit of sense, but still.  I don't know of any other buildings surrounding the course where there might be an apartment other than in one of the houses on State St.  Were there no hotels in Ann Arbor in the 70s?  Bo or the the pres of the university couldn't share their homes?  I need to get this book just to figure out how this all came to be!

06/10/2015 - 3:42pm 1998 Volkswagen GTI, in 1998.

1998 Volkswagen GTI, in 1998.  Slow version, though -- 2.0L I4 w/automatic.  My dad worked for Volkswagen, and the company car perks he got (and still gets as a retiree) for the family were amazing.  Mostly because it meant a new VW every year for my brother, dad, and I, and included corporate fleet insurance.  I'm 33 and still have never had to get car insurance.  I can only imagine how much $$ that has saved me and my family over the years.  I'm on VW #18 now with one Audi thrown in there.  He was just a normal white collar office worker, not a manager, and is now retired.  I still can't believe the deal VW gives their employees!!

05/20/2015 - 3:31pm Karl Pilkington!  What a

Karl Pilkington!  What a treasure.  The Gervais/Merchant/Pilkington podcasts have accompanied me for countless hours of road trips over the last 5+ years!  

05/09/2015 - 10:05am Dentist or pharmacist. Good

Dentist or pharmacist. Good hours, can work anywhere, can have your own practice, and pretty high pay without the rigors of being a full M.D. That said, I'm pretty happy being an engineer.

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04/21/2015 - 12:31pm I think you'll respect it

I think you'll respect it when it walks away from an F50 to 60 mph!  

04/21/2015 - 12:11pm Yep.  I noticed you picked

Yep.  I noticed you picked the CTS V Wagon below.  Solid choice.  Wagons have at least as much utility as a large-size SUV, but in the case of the wagons we picked, are faster than just about anything short of a supercar in a straight line.  And not much slower on a track.  

Also, the Mercedes AMG Wagon has 4Matic all wheel drive.  It's truly the most impressive all-around vehicle I can imagine!

04/21/2015 - 11:54am Merc E-Class Wagon AMG.

Merc E-Class Wagon AMG.  Surprised to not see any BMW M cars on here, considering their excellent balance of space, utility, performance, and rarity.  If I didn't see any need to haul around a family, then it would be a 911 Carrera S.  The E-wagon has more than enough utility, tons of luxury, and so, so much power.  

02/13/2015 - 3:46pm I enjoy Dick Vitale as an

I enjoy Dick Vitale as an announcer, and Duke as a basketball program.

Attending football games is such a pain in the neck.  Takes all day, weather is usually bad, expensive, prevents me from watching other games, etc etc.  I enjoy attending basketball games much more.

I admire the Nebraska football program pre-Mike-Riley.  Doesn't bother me at all that they split our 1997 Championship.  Not their fault.

It annoys me when people complain about the high number of bowls.  Um, so don't watch.  It's college football, our favorite sport!  Why would anyone complain about there being more of it?  Do these people complain about getting frequent paychecks because going to the bank takes 10 minutes of your time?  If you like CFB, then don't complain about having the opportunity to watch more of it, especially during the holidays when we're at home with nothing else to do!

02/11/2015 - 12:03pm Writing that it's a bad idea

Writing that it's a bad idea is fine (and correct).  Threatening to destroy his future is different.

11/26/2014 - 11:55am We know that we don't have an

We know that we don't have an athletic director with one lick of experience in an athletic department.  That is the issue.  There are many options with experience and instead, if you believe the tweets, we landed on a retiree with no direct experience.  That's what we know, and it's frustrating when considering Michigan's resources and options.

11/26/2014 - 11:52am I believe that in this thread

I believe that in this thread we're discussing the implications of what Bruce Feldman and others have said is true - that Hackett is the permanent AD.  I don't care if the search takes a long time and he's interim for awhile.  But to just hand over the reins to him because he's already settled in the office and Schlissel doesn't want to deal with athletics is what bothers me (also a hypothetical, granted).

11/26/2014 - 11:40am [Dbl Post]

[Dbl Post]

11/26/2014 - 11:39am You know who might be even

You know who might be even more different than Dave Brandon?  An actual Athletic Director with experience being a successful Athletic Director!  Of which there are many with Michigan ties!  Why should we be in the position of 'hoping for the best' when we can just HIRE the exact description of what want???