AutoPacific is up and running as usual. Two years ago, we sold the Automotive Futures Center in Tustin and began working from our homes. The stay at home directives have not really made our work life any different. Our New Vehicle Satisfaction Study is in the field and we are expecting results in a few weeks. Our person-to-person field research – product clinics and focus groups have been put on hold. A clinic scheduled for late March was pushed back to late summer, if then. We have been fielding online surveys, interviews and focus groups. Working with our clients, we have developed techniques to help them determine the dynamics of the market and also ways to accomplish virtual product clinics.
Ford Sedans Gone When Ford announced years ago that it was dropping sedans, the industry gasped. In the November 18, 2019 issue of Automotive News the monthly summary of North American production showed goose eggs for Ford sedans for the first time. Zero for Fiesta. Zero for C-Max. Zero for Focus, Zero for Fusion, Zero for Taurus. Since the Lincoln MKZ is built alongside the Fusion, it too shows Zero. The only 4-door sedan left in the Ford Motor Company lineup is the Lincoln Continental. One interesting data point on the chart is a last gasp surge in production for the Ford Flex. Ford produced almost 3,000 Flex XSUVs in October. That is more than twice the rate in September.
Using 2018 production as a comparison, Ford has dropped 365,345 units from its production. All are “cars”; [...]
The reveal of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E shows that Ford is finally serious about entering the electric vehicle space. They have chosen to introduce an electric crossover SUV with the styling DNA of the Ford Mustang pony car. The performance specifications and price positioning of the vehicle appear to be spot on. At first, the Mach E will be eligible for the federal $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles. It appears that Ford has not missed a trick with its new electric XSUV.
Ford just officially announced what the industry has known for years. The Ford Flex has been discontinued following its eleven year run. 2019 is its last model year. I owned two Flex models. A 2009 Flex Limited and a 2011 Flex Limited with EcoBoost. While the 2009 was an outstanding vehicle, the EcoBoost powertrain in the 2011 transformed the product. It was extremely fun to drive. It was one of those vehicles that you could just think of where you wanted to be on the freeway and, voila, you were there.
They used to call them "ASAP Running Changes". That is what the all new 2020 Ford Explorer needs in relation to its high volume base 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. While the powertrain, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, feels pretty good. All of the goodness is dampened by engine noise. This needs to get handled before word gets out that the high volume XLT is a noisy alternative in the competitive SUV wars.
The all new 2020 Lincoln Corsair is based on an entirely new front wheel drive platform shared with the Ford Escape compact crossover SUV. While Corsair is based on the Escape, there is now significant differentiation between the two vehicles. The Corsair is much more upscale than the Escape. Its design is elegant and materials are top notch. It’s powertrain choices are a significant step up. At-a-glance, Corsair has design DNA from the all new 2020 Lincoln Aviator.
Lincoln tops AutoPacific's 2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Research winning top brand, Navigator top luxury SUV, Nautilus luxury crossover SUV. More coming with all new Aviator and Corsair by the end of 2019.
Cadillac enters the 7-passenger premium brand crossover SUV market with the 2020 Cadillac XT6. With a distinctive Cadillac front end, but otherwise conventional styling, XT6 will not offend anyone. The interior package is generous and comfortable. Finally, Cadillac gets a 7-passenger SUV with a fold-flat 3rd row seat. That is a big, big deal.