Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Michigan Speeding Warning

Update: Yep, a hoax. I should have tried Google, as suggested. Here it is from the MSP directly.

I got this email forwarded to me, one of those friend-of-a-friend chains that goes through a hundred people and winds up in your inbox. I don't know if it is reliable, so take it for what it is worth. If anyone can comment on the truthfulness of this chain mail, please comment.

Subject: Heads Up in Michigan.

Heads Up, In February, Michigan will launch a 30-day speeding ticket

The state estimates that 9 million dollars will be generated in
speeding tickets. 1 million will go to pay state troopers overtime.

There will be 50 state troopers on duty 24/7 patrolling the
following highways AND MORE!

I-75 North and South
I-94 From Ann Arbor to Port Huron
Entire length of I-96 & I-696
I-275 North and South
M-10 Lodge Fwy

Now, 5 mph above the limit can justify a ticket, and every state
trooper is supposed to pull a car over and write a ticket every 10
minutes. They have issued 30 brand new unmarked Crown Victoria
cruisers and they are bringing all their part timers on full time.

* Wear your seat belt,
* have nothing hanging from the rear view mirror,
* do the speed limit - use cruise control if you have it,
* no cracks in your windshield,
* and use your turn signals!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ford Canada Ad Misfire

This news item caught my eye in my daily auto news scan: Ford Apologizes For Ad Campaign.
What could it be? Another dead cat? Too gay? Not gay enough?

The ad in question used the phrase "Drive it like you stole it", displayed on a bumper sticker stuck to an Escape. You would think the problem was that it encourages aggressive driving (of an SUV no less, shocking!) but apparently what got the Canadians hung up was also its glorification of car theft. From CBC Canada:
“You look at that and you think, ‘what were they thinking?’” said John Douglas, Manitoba Public Insurance Inc. vice president of public relations and corporate affairs. “Auto theft is a high-profile public issue in Winnipeg and in every major city across Canada. We’ve all had issues with vehicle thieves driving recklessly and endangering people.”

Apparently, our manly lumberjack northern neighbors are rather sensitive. The Winnipeg Free Press online poll shows that the majority of online responders are in fact offended:
Poll Results
Did you find Ford's 'Drive it like you stole it' ad offensive?
Yes 56%
No 44%
Total Votes: 1666
I think the Canadians are being a bit too sensitive on this one. But someone at Ford marketing should be smacked with a wild salmon, because the whole premise is stupid. You don't drive an Escape "like you stole it", you put on flannel and hiking boots and you go run over some endangered fauna on the way to your lumberjack camp and hunting lodge. The car you might aspire to drive fast is the Mustang GT.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

CAFE Foreshadowing: GM Kills DOHC V8

The Edmunds news blog InsideLine has posted that GM has decided to cancel its future DOHC V8 intended for Cadillac, apparently to concentrate on its direct injection V6.

There may have been any number of reasons for this decision, and I am guessing cost was a big factor. GM probably decided it could make more money on its high-tech V6, while getting better fuel economy numbers as well.

As the new CAFE rules ramp in, I expect we will see a move away from V8 engines in cars and light duty trucks. I predict the automakers will try to meet the early CAFE standards in approximately this order:
  • By adjusting powertrain mix. This is relatively easy and can be done now. Push consumers towards smaller engines, swapping I4s for V6s and V6s for V8s. Build fewer large engines, and bundle them with expensive options, to increase sticker price (and reduce demand). The I4 will become the most common powertrain in small and mid-sized vehicles. Timeframe: now.
  • Adding technology to up-market engines. A base "appliance" sedan will be sold with a naturally aspirated I4 in the 1.8-2.5L range. The sport or luxury model would get an I4 with lots more power from turbocharging, direct injection, and other currently available tricks. Timeframe: 3 years out.
  • Reducing weight. This one is tricky because doing it too aggressively can cause higher crash fatalities, one one hand, or dramatically increase vehicle cost on the other. Aluminum unibodies are fine if you are building $60,000 Jaguars, but they are not currently feasible for a $25,000 family car. Low hanging fruit include going to aluminum engine blocks and more high-strength steels for bodies. I think you will also see some tricks with interiors, such as thin mesh seats. There will be a move away from large, low profile wheels towards lighter weight designs. NVH may suffer as sound insulating materials are pared down to a competitive minimum. Timeframe: 3 years out.
  • Reducing size. To reduce weight, and still have decent performance from a smaller engine, the key is to build a smaller vehicle. I expect more designs like the Honda Fit, where a high roof and upright seating position is used to compensate for a reduction in length. Large vehicles will still be built, but they will be up-market and low-volume. Timeframe: 5 years out.
In summary, what I predict is a more severe stratification of cars between economy and luxury, starting in the next 5 years or so. Most people will drive smaller cars with less powerful engines than they are used to buying now. People with more money to spend will be able to flaunt V6's and V8's, and larger body styles. Old school muscle cars like the Mustang and Camaro will be low volume, high price toys for wealthy (or very determined) buyers.