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LA Auto Show – Giugiaro & Mustang – a Spaghetti Western


There he was, Fabrizio Giugiaro himself taking over intro duties from Ford’s J Mays. English with a heavy Italian accent, Giugiaro went on about how Italian design could influence the American icon and how American styling themes were a bit away from current Italian thinking. “But I will try to make a silk purse out of this sow,” you could almost hear him uttering under his breath. Ah, yes, a spaghetti western worthy of Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone.

Ford Mustang Guigaro SV.jpg

Giugiaro and Ford Yield Italian Pony Car Concept
Ford retained Giugiaro’s Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.A to create a modern (and somewhat Italian) interpretation of the iconic American sporty car.
Mustang Guigiaro Under Hood.jpg

Crammed into a small venue in trendy north LA, Ford trotted out hors d’oeuvres and rent-a-talent to showcase their new concept car. Forgetting the tongue-in-cheek comments it could be that a cue or two from the Giugiaro Mustang concept could find itself into future Mustang designs.
Mustang Guigiaro F34 Blog.jpg

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2007 Ford Expedition Falls Short In Several Areas


As a completely biased Expedition driver, I feel it is important to comment on some of the design features on the new 2007 Ford Expedition that fall short. In fact, these are designs that fall into the category of “What Were They Thinking?”.

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Four Expeditions Over the Years
First a little history. I have had four Expeditions since 1997 – 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003. Each was on a two-year lease and performed great. All were 4x2s – two-wheel drive. Don’t need 4×4 in California. The first three Expeditions were the from the initial platform and the 2003 was all new with independent rear suspension and the power fold flat third row seat. In the first three, the first thing I did was remove the third row seat and stow it in the garage. The 2003 (and current) solution is so slick that every Mid-Size and Large SUV should adopt it.
Why didn’t I get a fifth Expedition? Well, even though I thought the Expeditions were exactly what I needed, I couldn’t bring myself to get another (or even a Lincoln Navigator). So, I leased a CAR and missed my SUV for the two years I had it.
2007 Expedition Limited 4×4 = $39,925 base MSRP
Ford was good enough to give us a 2007 Expedition Limited. This is the model with the body color grille and chrome wheels. The MSRP is $48,485 equipped with moonroof, reverse sensing system, navigation system, satellite ratio, power liftgate, rear entertainment system and load leveling suspension. So, what’s not to like? Here you have the ultimate Expedition with all the boxes checked. Should be perfect.

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Blowing Off the Lot – the Hot Sellers


Since we have identified the vehicles that have the longest days supply, we have been asked to show which vehicles have the shortest days supply. Which vehicles are so hot they just blow off the dealer’s lot? As with the slower moving vehicles where we arbitrarily cut off the days supply at 150 days, here we are using 50 days as the cut off point. The details are shown “below the fold”

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VehicleVoice#41 – Reviews of the Ford Five Hundred and the MazdaSpeed3


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There are very few things the 2007 MazdaSpeed3 and the 2006 Ford Five Hundred have in common, but here’s a comprehensive list. They’re both made by Ford. They both have four wheels. And they’re both up for review this week on VehicleVoice.

VehicleVoice contributor David Barrett starts things off with a look at Mazda’s brand new hot rod, the MazdaSpeed3, and finds out the operative word in the name is SPEED. There’s very little not to like about this racy little 5-door, from the breakthrough motor to it’s "Arrest Me" red paint job. But a word to the wise, all that horsepower can get you in torque trouble, and David can get you out with a few simple driving tips.

AutoPacific President George Peterson takes a look at the Ford Five Hundred this week. Decidedly different than the MazdaSpeed3, this comfortable, easy-driving sedan won the AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award and targets a very different audience than the Speed3 – an audience that just loves this car. Find our what George thinks in his review.

Show Runtime – 17:23

Show Rundown
00:27 David Barrett , VehicleVoice contributor reviews the 2007 MazdaSpeed3
07:12 George Peterson , President of AutoPacific reviews the 2006 Ford Five Hundred

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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2007 Ford Edge – Mustang of Crossovers


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


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.
Sentra 2007 FV Blog.jpg

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



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



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)



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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