Ford Thunderbird:

Let's Talk Cars: Ford's New Sales Incentive, and Why the Ford Thunderbird Never Made it Big

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Welcome to “Let’s Talk Cars”

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The summer sales slump for American Car manufacturers continues, and Ford is the latest company to come up with a new way to get buyers into showrooms. VehicleVoice contributor David Barrett and AutoPacific Senior Consultant Jim Hassock, sit down for another of their weekly chats and discuss whether Ford will see any traction with their new extended powertrain waranty.
AutoPacific Founder and President George Peterson tells the tale of his wife’s turquoise blue Ford Thunderbird, oh so beautiful and oh so dumb.
Plus we touch on the efffect fuel prices have on new vehicle purchases, the new continuously variable transmissions, and where the latest trend toward rear wheel drive sedans is going.
Show Rundown
00:53 Ford’s new extended powertrain warranty – VehicleVoice contributor David Barrett and AutoPacific Vice President and Senior Consultant, Jim Hossack
12:15 Continuously Variable Transmissions – VehicleVoice contributor David Barrett and AutoPacific Vice President and Senior Consultant, Jim Hossack
15:20 2002 Ford Thunderbird – Beautiful, but Dumb – AutoPacific President and Founder George Peterson


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Ford's Nancy Gioia – Hybrid Queen

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Nancy Gioia replaced Mary Ann Wright as Director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrids for Ford Motor Company in Fall 2005. Mary Ann nurtured the launch of the Ford Escape Hybrid and contributed to the understanding of hybrids different from Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.
We first met Nancy Gioia at the launch of the Thunderbird Roadster where she was the chief program engineer. She was open, friendly, conversational and a solid representative for Ford’s product development activities. She wouldn’t even rise to the bait that the T’Bird would not meet its sales potential because you couldn’t see out of it and because it didn’t have a retractable hardtop. Oh, well. The engineers can only implement the vision of others, right? (WRONG!)
Here is Ford’s blurb on Nancy Gioia…

Gioia Ford Blog.jpg

In its drive to become leader in “green” technology, Ford Motor Company has turned to one of its long-time engineers to lead the charge into a sustainable future. Nancy Gioia, Ford’s Director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrids, is committed not only to further development of the company’s hybrid vehicle portfolio, but also to raising the technology’s profile.
“The hybrids should be our generation’s Model T,” Gioia recently told The Detroit News, quoting her Uncle Harry, who continues to be a source of inspiration for her.
“He said the Model T became part of your life,” Gioia added. “They were more than just cars. You drilled wells with them. You drove them across your fields. Hybrids need to become part of people’s lives today.”
Gioia first became seriously interested in engineering as a high school student interning at Ford Motor Company. She changed her college plans from pre-law to electrical engineering, and upon graduation from University of Michigan selected Ford Motor Company over 14 other job offers.
“I don’t regret it one iota,” said Gioia, who is a native of southeast Michigan.
Gioia started her career at Ford in 1982 in its Electronics Division. “During the ’80s, vehicles went from having $200 worth of electronic components to having $1,200 worth,” Gioia recalled. “We’re seeing similarly rapid technology growth today with hybrid technology. It’s an opportunity to enhance vehicle performance and function while allowing us to get higher quality and reducing cost.”
Nancy’s career at Ford eventually led her to heading up the engineering team for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird and then as lead engineer for the company’s “lifestyle vehicle” group that includes the iconic Mustang.
“As a director I’m very participative and hands-on when my team needs me to be,” Gioia said, adding that she believes in including her team in decision making. “Ford’s hybrid team has some of best and brightest minds around. I have complete confidence in their technical breadth and depth.”
The only thing more important to Gioia than her work is her family. She is married to Tom Gioia, whom she met at Ford. They have a 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, in addition to a dog (Chloe) and two horses.


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