Category Archive:

Lincoln in the Future – Design Themes


In early December, Ford hosted an event that allowed VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers to peek into the future for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. One of the more intriguing presentations had to do with the future design direction of their Lincoln brand.
Peter Horbury, a Brit credited with launching Volvo’s distinctive styling and now Ford’s North American styling chief, discussed the results of a design analysis of Lincoln’s heritage design cues. After evaluating coveted Lincolns from the past, the Lincoln design language was distilled into seven distinctive cues. The Lincoln MKR Concept Car seen at the 2007 North American Auto Show is the first vehicle to use all seven of the cues. In the future, every new Lincoln will incorporate at least three of these seven cues.
Based on the styling of the MKR, if Ford does indeed launch Lincolns using these design cues, they may have real winners on their hands. Now, can Alan Mulally find the money to bring these vehicles to market as quickly as they are needed?


Cue 7: Grille – Lincoln cars will have a distinctive split grille opening. There are several variations on this theme, each with a different grille texture. But Lincoln designers have evolved a face that at-a-glance will be identifiable as a Lincoln.
Cue 6: Cantrail – OK, we had never heard this term before either (it appears to be a terms used in railway car design), but this is the intersection point between the A-Pillar and the Roof. To convey an impression of strength, Lincolns will have a strong Cantrail.
Cue 5: Bodyside – Taking a cue from the famous Lincolns of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, Lincolns will have a clean, uncluttered bodyside. This not the vertical slab sides seen on these earlier Lincolns, but can have some curvature in it.
Cue 4: Beltline – Lincolns of old had relatively straight beltlines sometimes with a slight hop-up over the rear fender. This strong beltline often was topped with a chrome molding. Lincoln’s modern interpretation shows a more muscular haunch than on previous Lincolns.
Cue 3: Chamfer – Adding to the strong beltline is a break-line in the beltline surface aft of the front doors. This contributes to the muscular haunch idea.
Cue 2: C-Pillar – Lincolns have had a wide C-Pillar that projects a very strong, upscale image. This strong C-Pillar can be used in cars, crossovers or traditional SUVs.
Cue 1: Taillamps – A major identifying design cue for Lincoln is a distinctive taillamp design. Usually this has been a wall-to-wall design as seen on the Mark VIII.
More details on Lincoln’s design cues can be seen below the fold.

Continue Reading

Happy New Year – 2007


Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year from your automotive news and research providers at VehicleVoice and AutoPacific. We are looking forward to giving you even better car, truck, and industry coverage in 2007. There will be even more opportunities for you to express your opinions on automotive topics through VehicleVoice surveys.
If you have not yet joined the VehicleVoice automotive Internet survey panel, please click here and you will be linked to a very brief join-up survey.

Continue Reading

AutoPacific's Signature Image



AutoPacific’s signature image is an original work by Robert Blumhagen in Orange County California. Robert calls his style “California Realism” and that certainly is the case with the great paintings he has done over the years.
This classic Hudson conveys AutoPacific’s love for all things automotive from yesterday, to today, to the future.

Continue Reading

Happy Holidays from VehicleVoice

Happy Holidays!!

As we approach the year end of 2006, VehicleVoice would like to wish all of our readers and survey takers Happy Holidays and best wishes for a successful 2007.
There are over 60,000 of you now and you have helped make VehicleVoice one of the fastest growing automotive news sites since VehicleVoice was launched in November, 2005.
We look forward to continuing the dialog with you in the coming year.
Have a Great Holiday Season!
brought to you by

Continue Reading

LA Auto Show – LA Now the Real Deal


The Los Angeles Auto Show has lived in the shadow of the larger Detroit Auto Show – pardon me, the “North American International Auto Show” – for decades now. Through a folly of scheduling, Los Angeles and Detroit were always scheduled on top of each other in early January. Why more people didn’t opt for LA in January rather than Detroit was beyond us. But it wasn’t until LA moved away from the January date (which Detroit will keep because that is where the Detroit Auto Dealers Association wants it) that it has begun to reach critical mass.
Of course, VehicleVoice and AutoPacific crews were there to document the most recent LA Auto Show and determine if it has succeeded in separating itself from Detroit.
LA Gets International Sanctioning
For its “New Beginning”, LA received international sanctioning from the Paris-based Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA). This is a big deal because only two shows per continent can be sanctioned each year by OICA. But it is French, so who cares?

LA Moves Even Earlier in 2007 for 101th LA Auto Show

In 2006, LA moved from January to just after Thanksgiving. Press days were on the 29th and 30th with several companies throwing soirees on Tuesday evening the 28th. This moves LA five to six weeks earlier than Detroit and opens up the ability to trot out more concept vehicles and new vehicle introductions.
For the 2007 show, LA straddles the long Thanksgiving holiday with the show getting more attendance from the Thursday and Friday of the week when prospective show goers are sated with American football and avoiding the shopping malls like the plague. Good move, LA.

Continue Reading

Stuck to the Dealer's Floor – Inventory Numbers Tell the Story


Which cars and trucks are planted to the dealer’s floor? In other words, which vehicles take the longest to sell? Who cars? Why does it matter, anyway?
Well, while it may not seem that important to you, it’s critically important to the industry s a whole… from the manufacturese, component suppliers, dealers and quite a few financial institutions. First, if you know the time it takes to sell a vehicle, you know how much it is dragging on the dealer’s floorplanning costs. Floorplanning is the term for the amount it costs the dealer to finance the a vehicle in inventory waiting to be sold. If a vehicle has been hanging around for weeks, he’ll be more likely to deal aggressively to get rid of it. Also, vehicles that have high days supply may be less popular. From that perspective, they may be the ones you want to stay away from.

Continue Reading

Ford Taurus Laid to Rest – Dies of Neglect


The Ford Taurus ceases production during the week of October 23, 2006. Since the Taurus was launched on December 24, 1985 as a 1986 model year product over 7 million Tauruses have been sold. Taurus, over the years, is the second best selling Ford car after the Model T. What began as a bold move into contemporary automotive design was allowed to wither in the vine and eventually fade into a fleet-only product.

Taurus SV Blog.jpg

1986 Taurus Redefined the Mid-Size Car
The 1986 Taurus arguably rescued the Company following its early 1980s trauma and set a new direction for Mid-Size Sedans in the USA and world markets. Taurus quickly became a benchmark for competitive entries and even when competitors criticized its “jellybean” styling, they emulated it in one manner or another.
I was there when Ford used a Hollywood sound stage to launch the first generation Taurus. This “reveal” was the conclusion of a year-long string of teaser public relations leaks that helped guarantee that the public was ready for the Taurus and not surprised by its advanced new styling.
Taurus 1986 SV.jpg

Best of All Tauruses – 1992 Through 1995
Where the 1986 Taurus was an aggressive change, Ford research concluded that the original concept was right on target and the second generation Taurus was what many considered a mild evolution of the original car. Keeping the basic concept the same, Ford tweaked the Taurus and the result was perhaps the best of all the Taurus line – the 1992 through 1995 Taurus.
Taurus 1994 F34.jpg

Because the 2nd generation car was so evolutionary, the automotive media jumped all over it criticizing it for being too tame after originally redefining the Mid-Size Car. Ford management twitched at this criticism and vowed to break the mold again with the DN101 – the 1996 Taurus.

Continue Reading

Crystal Cove Concours Kaput – Goodbye Croissant Derelicts!


Today marks the final Saturday morning Crystal Cove mini concours in Newport Beach. Starting at 0700 each Saturday morning for years, Crystal Cove has become the spot for car owners and enthusiasts to gather over coffee and donuts on Saturdays. Unlike Donut Derelicts up Pacific Coast Highway that has a hot rod flavor, Crystal Cove had a exotic car flavor even though there were a few hot rods and classics thrown in. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents and many local auto industry folks were on hand to bid farewell.

Irvine Company Crushes Crystal Cove Car Event

CC Meguiar Thomas.JPG

Seen here is Barry Meguiar of Meguiar Waxes and Freeman Thomas of Ford. Meguiar is explaining what has gone on concerning the weekly Crystal Cove event. He describes typical Irvine Company “gestapo tactics” in shutting down the event. An approach to local upscale mall – Fashion Island – led Irvine Company to warn the retailers there not to discuss holding the event at Fashion Island.
What were the reasons for kicking the event out? Apparently there was too much traffic congestion. The Newport Beach Police said traffic was not a particular problem. The cars were too high performance and unsafe at speed. Newport Beach Police said that they had not given out an extraordinary number of tickets before, during or after the event for the years it has been held. And finally, the local residents complained of noise and congestion. Heck, the local residents were some of primary participants.
The event was over each Saturday at 9AM a full hour before the retail stores in the upscale Crystal Cove strip mall where there is a Starbucks, nice pastry shop and Trader Joes. The Starbucks and pastry shop will sorely miss the Saturday morning crowds – business they wouldn’t get otherwise.
Ford to the Rescue
Ford circulated flyers at the final Crystal Cove event and opened their Premier Automotive Group and Mazda Campus to the Crystal Cove enthusiasts. PAG and Mazda is adjacent to the Irvine Spectrum – another upscale shopping area, but without the oceanside ambiance of Crystal Cove. The Ford venue promises to be more spacious and more inviting… but I think it is on Irvine land as well.

Continue Reading

Good Bye Ol' Paint – Infiniti M45 Off Lease

Unlike many media/analysts, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staffers actually have their own cars. We actually go to dealerships and buy them just like normal folks.
Two years ago just as the lease was coming due on my 2003 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer I was driving through the local auto mall and rolled past the Infiniti dealership where they were having a fire sale on out-of-production first generation M45s. You remember the 1st M45. It was a Nissan Cedric/Gloria/Cima with “sporty” cues like a fast greenhouse and frameless door windows. The M45 had been put in the Infiniti lineup as a stopgap between the fading-fast I30 and the already faded Q45. Only a short-term proposition, Infiniti did what it could to differentiate the car and make it an “Infiniti” – did a pretty good job.

M45 F34 Blog.jpg

New Lease Chosen for Most Horsepower for the Buck
Frankly, I didn’t like the way the car looked, but the price was too good to pass up. Turns out I have gotten into the mode of leasing vehicles based on horsepower per lease payment dollar. The 340 horsepower for the M45 made the discounted lease they were offering a real deal.
M45 R34 Blog.jpg

The M45 was the 1st sedan I had personally had for ten years. The previous five two-year leases had been SUVs – one Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and four Ford Expeditions. Just could not bring myself to get sixth SUV for this iteration.
On the upside, the Infiniti was very, very fast. The V8 sounded outstanding at full roar. Handling was OK. The seats with temperature controls interfering with your inboard thigh were among the most uncomfortable in the industry for few years. They were shared with the G35 and FX and thankfully they have been replaced by better seats for its most recent cars.

Continue Reading

Lincoln Resurrects Town Car – For Awhile


As part of Ford’s semi-annual Way Forward plan, Ford announced that they will not cancel the venerable Lincoln Town Car after all. They made the sensible decision to move the Town Car from its decades-old home of Wixom, Michigan to the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis Plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.

LincolnTownCar Blog.jpg

You can see what we at VehicleVoice think/thought of Ford’s plans for Lincoln in our Lincoln commits suicide blog of August 24, 2006.
Keeping the Town Car around helps Ford’s revenue picture, keeps the livery business happy and increases the utilization of the St. Thomas plant (where Ford just dropped one of two shifts). Apparently, the transition from Wixom to St. Thomas is not as easy as many believed. There will have to be some substantial changes to the cars to accommodate all three on the same line.

Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

2018 NVSS

2018 New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey
By Invitation Only

Start Survey



Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice