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2007 Ford Edge – Mustang of Crossovers

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The introduction of the all new Ford Edge crossover SUV is arguably the most significant launch in the United States for the 2007 model year. It certainly is for Ford Motor Company. And, Edge brings the knowledge of Ford’s decades of SUV dominance into the equation. One Ford competitor has described the Edge as the “Mustang of Crossovers” meaning that Edge could have Mustang-like impact on the crossover SUV world.

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Ford’s Mark Fields Introduces the Edge in San Francisco

Ford invited VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents to review the Edge in San Francisco. They had a reveal in an Embarcadero-side park where Mark Fields, Ford’s North American Chief gave a brief synopsis of the importance of this new crossover SUV in Ford’s lineup. Fields turned over the duty of describing the details of the Edge to Geri Ward, Ford’s Edge Brand Marketing Manager. A former powertrain engineer, Ward brought technical knowledge with a marketing spin to her pitch.
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Ford’s Geri Ward – Edge Brand Marketing Manager


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2007 Nissan Sentra – Sentra in the City

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AutoPacific and VehicleVoice had the opportunity to evaluate the all new 2007 Nissan Sentra on the roads East of San Francisco Bay. The all new Sentra competes with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cobalt. For 2007, every major dimension has been expanded to meet American tastes.

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For the Record
Global development effort between Nissan and Renault. Delayed by about a year after bombing in USA product clinics. Went back to the drawing board to get it right.
Built at Nissan’s Aguascalientes Plant in Mexico: Plant underwent a $800 million upgrade to accommodate all new Sentra and all new Versa. 350,000 units per year capacity.
On sale October 12, 2006.
Target Customer: Echo Boomers – Generation Y between the ages of 18 and 29. Sentra needs to serve many purposes – going out with friends, carrying a bike, taking road trips, buying furniture at IKEA.
Strives to be Compact Class Benchmark
No longer a compact car aimed at the lowest common denominator customer, the new Sentra strives to be the benchmark of its class when it goes on sale October 12, 2006. While the Sentra slots into the Nissan car lineup above the all new Versa (which actually is larger in some dimensions) and below the all new Altima, the Sentra has grown over its predecessor in wheelbase (+5.9-inches), overall length (+2.3-inches), overall width (+3.2-inches) and overall height (+4.0-inches). Now the “compact” Sentra nudges the Mainstream Mid-Size Car in basic dimensions.
The Sentra has substantially more passenger volume than Civic, Corolla, Mazda3 and Cobalt. Similarly, it has a large cargo volume only slightly topped by Corolla and Cobalt.
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Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4×4 3/4 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on the Win by the Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – The transformer of pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Avalanche, scoops up a Motorist’s Choice award in the 3/4 Ton 4X4 segment. Owners rate the tough truck at the top of its class. Its Vortec® engines and versatility keep this full size pickup at the front of the pack.
IntelliChoice Analysis – IntelliChoice rates the Avalanche 2500 4X4 Cost of Ownership at just $48,906 over 5 years. Owners of the four-wheel-drive multi-tool keep factoring in the benefits, which more than outweigh the costs.


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Chevrolet Avalanche 4×2 1500 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4×2 1/2 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on Avalanche Win – Owner ratings of styling and image help propel the tough-looking Chevrolet Avalanche to the top of its class. Its flexible cargo area combined with its innovative mid-gate design make it the Swiss Army Knife of full size pickups. Power and acceleration provided by big V8 engines are icing on the Avalanche cake.
IntelliChoice Analysis – The Avalanche 1500’s Cost of Ownership over the course of 5 years was $42,431, $3300 less than comparable vehicles in its class. Factor in the amazing versatility and passionate owner base, and this is one huge Avalanche whose benefits snowball the competition.


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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4WD 1/2 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on Silverado Win –
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the top rated Full Size Light Duty Pickup with its win driven primarily by owner ratings of how easy it is to use. Silverado’s strengths include its ease of getting in and out, driver’s visibility, instrument layout and easy to use audio system. Its exterior size appears to be in the sweet spot among Full Size Pickups.
IntelliChoice Analysis – Always a strong competitor in the Full Size truck market, as well as within IntelliChoice’s annual “Best Overall Value of the Year” contest, the Silverado was a BOVY winner in 2005. Over 5 years, IntelliChoice rates the Silverado 1500’s Cost of Ownership to be just over $38,000, over $3000 less than comparable vehicles in it’s class.


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Chevrolet Silverado 2500 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 2WD 3/4 Ton (Also a 2006 VSA winner)

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AutoPacific Take on Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Win – The Chevrolet Silverado 2500 tops the 3/4 Ton Heavy Duty Full Size Pickup class. Not only did it win the Motorist’s Choice Award®, it also won AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award®. The Silverado 2500 achieves this performance with its strong image for reliability, durability and dependability. Among Heavy Duty Pickups Silverado owners give kudos for Fun to Drive including: power and acceleration, braking and handling.
IntelliChoice Analysis – What else can be said about this perennial workhorse of the industry? It is a reliable and powerful tool of the American economy. The Silverado 2500 was a BOVY winner in 2005, and over 5 years, IntelliChoice rates the 2006 Silverado 2500’s Cost of Ownership to be $39,611, over $1700 less than comparable vehicles in it’s class.


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VehicleVoice #36 – Ford's New CEO, Dip in Fuel Prices, Roadtrips

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Welcome to VehicleVoice – Episode #36

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This week, our VehicleVoice audio podcast has host David Barrett sitting down with AutoPacific’s Vice President and Senior Consultant Jim Hossack for a conversation about the state of the American Auto Industry.

Jim and David chat about dropping fuel prices and the sights seen from the window during a roadtrip through the Rockies, not to mention GM’s new warranty, BMW’s new hydrogen car (is it practical?), and how renting a Mustang convertible in the Yellowstone region is a lot easier than you might think. And that’s just the beginning!

Show Runtime – 15:04

Show Rundown
00:28 GM’s recent changes – Are they turning things around?
03:33 Ford’s New CEO – Will an outsider make a difference?
07:29 Gas Prices – Why are they falling and will Americans start buying big cars again?
09:55 BMW’s New Hydrogen Car – Will it sell?
11:38 Western Mountain Road Trip – What kind of cars can you see on the road in the Rockies?


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Lincoln Resurrects Town Car – For Awhile

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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.

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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.


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Is Ford Motor Company Ready for its Wings?

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The resignation of William Ford as Chief Executive of Ford Motor Company may be seen by some as the latest signal that the Detroit auto maker’s troubles are deep and varied. And while it’s easy to speculate from the gallery that supports the word processors of the media, it may be that Bill Ford’s latest move is a huge step forward for the company, its shareholders, and its customers.

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New Ford CEO Alan Mulally

Ford knew he had to step down. By his own admission, he was, “wearing too many hats.” But in the process of vacating his office, he handed the keys to a very interesting successor. Alan Mulally takes on the responsibility of CEO. Each step of this process was orchestrated by Bill Ford, who has been very clear that the status quo was no longer good enough and a global view to the market was required.


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VehicleVoice: Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #31

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VehicleVoice brings you an exclusive look at the brand new Shelby GT500! Here’s your chance to see this updated American classic. At 500 horsepower, it’s everything an American muscle car should, plus some.

We were on hand at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey, California for Ford’s formal introduction of the GT500, and even got an exclusive interview with the car’s designer, who happens to be a Steve McQueen fan. Really though, who isn’t? This is where VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett finds 500 American horses can rival some of the most beautiful Italian cars ever made. Don’t miss this exclusive video!

Show Features
Hau Thai-Tang, Shelby GT500 designer
John Clinard Ford Public Relations


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