Ford Wins NA Car and Truck of the Year

Greetings from the North American International Auto Show.

As I explained last week, I’m going to have a number of discussions about your taxpayer owned car company–GM–today.

But the big news of the morning is that Ford won both the North American car and truck of the year, with the Fusion Hybrid and the Transit Connect, respectively. I expect the sweep of the awards (it is just the third time one manufacturer has won both awards) will continue Ford’s success at changing its brand image.

The other big buzz this morning is the presence of a sizable congressional delegation, led by Nancy Pelosi, here to figure out what is going on with our auto industry. There’s a fair amount of discussion about that among both the car people and other journalists.

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  1. perris says:

    There’s a fair amount of discussion about that among both the car people and other journalists

    seems to me marcy, they probably know you and your work and will be happy to conferance with you and your expertise

    you’ll let us know I am sure!

    • BoxTurtle says:

      My bet is that if they see Marcy with a question on her lips, their security will form a solid circle around her target and chant “LA LA LA we can’t hear you” at the top of their lungs.

      Boxturtle (Which is more dangerous to a sitting politician: A terrorist or Marcy with a recorder?)

      • klynn says:

        Had that image in my minds eye as I typed my question! Not to mention headlines of, Politicians Run Laps At Auto Show because they are running away from Marcy!

        Too funny BoxTurtle

        BTW EW

        Any more news on Ford? Like the Focus and it’s future?

  2. JTMinIA says:

    I doubt that this makes any difference to many people, but in the most-popular form of amateur racing – viz., auto-crossing (which is, to be blunt, dodging orange cones in a large parking lot) – the long-time dominance of F-bodies (i.e., Camaros and Firebirds) was this year ended by a Mustang. Now, part of this must be credited to the fact that the best driver of Pony-cars, Sam Strano, who sells after-market parts for a living and, therefore, needs to drive (and win driving) the car that is most likely to get him the most business, has recently switched from F-bodies to a Mustang, but I still think this counts as another feather in Ford’s cap.

    With that said, I can’t help but point out that Pony-cars are in one of the slower classes for auto-crossing. It’s not like a Mustang beat a Lotus, M3, or Corvette.

    Edit: in case you’re interested, here’s a link to the results from this year’s national championship: http://scca.com/popup/raceresult.aspx?event=13555&file=854 Skip down to the results from F-Stock. Note that 18 of the top-20 finishers were in Shelby GTs. Note that all trophies were won by Shelbies. Two years ago, maybe one of the trophies in F-Stock was won by a Ford.

    • Petrocelli says:

      For 2009, Mustangs outsold Camaros, but I think that was largely due to GM not producing enough V8 Camaros to meet demand.

  3. scribe says:

    Seems reasonable that the owners’ representatives would stop by to see how managment is taking care of their property. Stopping by to kick the tires, so to speak.

    Not for nothing, back during the Depression when mortgages were made and serviced and held by the same local bank throughout their life, the banker who’d made the loan to my grandfather for the house he built and moved into in the spring of 1930 used to stop by every month or so, just to see how my grandfather was taking care of their place. That, and remind him of the bank’s string on his life.

  4. JTMinIA says:

    BoxTurtle –

    Your parenthetical question is not up to your usual standards. Around half of all politicians owe their jobs to the terr’ists, so it’s not even close.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Half owe their jobs to terrorists?!? But…but…but half owe their jobs to the Insurance lobby. That leaves no politicians for the banks. I think there’s something wrong with your math somewhere.

      Boxturtle (Though I supose there’s nothing stopping a politician from selling his soul twice)

      • JTMinIA says:

        As a dedicated FOX-watcher, I have no problem with polls or otherwise that add up to more than 100%.

        ps. my first car was a Chevy Monza with a 4.3 litre; I’m amazed I’m still alive given how fast that car was, coupled with a complete inability to turn (without snap-spinning)

  5. Chief says:

    I realize this is merely anecdotal and I have never owned a Honda, but my first car (49 Pontiac) through my 3rd car (64 Corvait0were GM products. Then a 68 VW camper, followed by more GM with secondary cars as VW bugs and a T-bird, into the 90s. By this time my standard and expectations regarding reliability had been set. I was in my fifties. Then I bought a 89 Merc Marquis (Ford product) and it ran & ran & ran. I got a 95 Chev Caprice and every little thing broke on it. I got a used year old 99 Merc Marquis (which I still have) and it ran & ran et cetera. I also have a 2007 Ford Focus with 45,000 miles and it runs & runs.

    Bottom line: I cannot see myself ever owning another GM product. The Ford products run & run. GM products require more maintenance than I can afford.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Perhaps I’m lucky. My first car was a 1974 Mustang II and it is the reason I will no longer even consider a 4cyl engine. Then I got a 82 Mustang GT. Transmission on that car was nothing but trouble and it felt cheap. But it was a road racer and that’s what I wanted. When the expenses got more than the price of a car payment, I got an 86 Mustange GT. Same set of transmission problems and other misc problems. The next car I got was a 94 Trans Am. I still own it, with 150K miles on it. Only mechanical gripe I got is that those darn electric windows seem to fail every 2-3 years.

      Perhaps I was lucky, but GM can build a car that will hold together.

      Boxturtle (No more Trans AM’s…Waaaaaaah!)

        • scribe says:

          I had one of those. It was a piece of shit. First, I had to replace the rear leaf springs after about 50k miles, because one of the leaves broke. Then the camshaft broke at about 90 mph. I saw lights on that dashboard that even the designers didn’t know were there.

          It was one of Ford’s prouder moments.

    • klynn says:

      The only reply I would give is the list of thoughtful questions about the excise tax brought up in Marcy’s posts.

      Let Krugman answer the questions.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I read the article. Really, he should know better than to kick Marcy before she’s had her second cup of coffee.

        And he should also have read the comments. IIR, the final groupthink was that he should have been more forthright in noting the conflict, there was no evil in the contracting process, he is a legit expert, and his data is as valid as his input assumptions.

        Pretty much what Krugman himself says.

        Boxturtle (Thus, he should be able to respond to Marcy’s list of questions)

          • bobschacht says:

            Although I am bothered a little by the nondisclosure issue, I’m bothered more by the fact that Gruber seems to have a monopoly on HCR evaluation on such issues as affordability, and that his monopoly is based on a secret simulation model that is not peer reviewed. We should not gamble billions of dollars of taxpayer money on such a slender reed.

            (sorry for mixing metaphors)

            Bob in AZ

    • bobschacht says:

      Krugman doesn’t appear to “get it.”
      The problem, in a sense, is not Gruber; it is an over-reliance by Congress, the White House, Krugman, and everyone else, on Gruber and Gruber alone, who in turn is using a secret simulation that is not open to peer review. Furthermore, there is the problem that everyone is citing Gruber as an independent, objective evaluator, when the fact is that he’s got skin in this game. That wouldn’t matter so much if Gruber was just one of many independent evaluators, but right now, his is the only game in town that is receiving any attention.

      Bob in AZ

      • meepmeep09 says:

        Thanks! If Gruber has been cast as The Keeper of the One Truth on modeling and simulation for feed-in to USG HCR policy development (a la the Wizard of Oz), then that is a problem.

      • bobschacht says:

        Jane has sent out an email asking us to sign a petition calling on Obama to “come clean” on Gruber and anyone else receiving public money to push HCR.

        Here’s what I added in my signing statement:
        “I respect Professor Gruber’s professional accomplishments, and his simulation model makes an important contribution to the debate about health care reform. However, he should not be the only evaluator. His simulation model is secret, and has not been subjected to peer review.

        To properly evaluate health care reform, we need a process that is open and transparent, not relying exclusively on one evaluator with a secret method that is not open to peer review.”

        Bob in AZ

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    OT Whine – After I said all those nice things about my trans am, the fuel pump just died. And since it’s in my garage, I get a tow bill too. Looks like you folks are going to have to put up with me all day.

    Boxturtle (Not fool enough to try to replace the fuel pump on that car)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Electronic. Located on top of the fuel tank. You gotta take off the muffler and hope it and the fuel pump come off easily. Otherwise, you have to drop the fuel tank.

        Some of the things they did to get that car closer to the ground do NOT help come repair time.

        Boxturtle (My wife hates the passenger seat because of the bump for the converter)

        • Petrocelli says:

          The only way I’ve heard of this being done is by dropping the fuel tank.

          Which is better than some Che-Vee cars, that have the fuel pump inside the bloody fuel tank …

          • john in sacramento says:

            Toyota’s are inside the tank too (not sure if they still are)

            Changed one a coupl’a years ago in my old p.u. Wasn’t so bad; jacked it up and took out all the bolts; dropped the tank down; popped it in, and was ready to go

            On the other hand, depends on how much gas you have in the tank. If it’s full, or half full … notsoeasy

              • skdadl says:

                Speaking of gas, I finally just read Krugman, plus Jane’s amazing response and much of the conversation that followed.

                I’m really shocked at Krugman. That was no kind of reasoned response to anything; he was just pulling rank — academic privilege, fame privilege, whatever kind of privilege he thinks he has and apparently, absurdly, cares about — on EW and a lot of very hard-working people here. Jane’s response is fantastic — I can never believe how fast and how incisive she is when these things happen, but I guess she’s had a lot of practice and she must be angry by now. I sure am, even from a distance.

  7. skdadl says:

    OT, but I know how much EW admires Carol Rosenberg’s reporting from GTMO and how closely others follow this story, and I need some help in interpreting this report.

    For years, the Pentagon has shielded them from public scrutiny: few people have seen alleged teen terrorist Omar Khadr’s shrapnel-clouded blind eye, confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed on his knees in prayer, or the shy grin of Yemeni Suleiman al Nadhi.

    The Miami Herald has collected portraits that offer a rare glimpse at war-on-terror captives inside Guantánamo — a snapshot in time before some are moved to the United States for trial, and others are released.

    I read the part that I’ve put in bf there, and I thought there was going to be a link to the Herald’s collection — yes/no? But I can’t find one. What is Rosenberg telling us? The Herald has the photos but they are not publishing them? I mean, I can understand that if it’s so, but I genuinely can’t tell.

    What’m I missing?

    • Jim White says:

      There’s a video embedded in the Herald article; it has the photos in it, along with some very moving narration. I put up a diary this morning about that article and other aspects of today’s 8th anniversary of the first prisoners going to Guantanamo.

      • skdadl says:

        Thanks, Jim. I finally figured it out for myself, that it’s better to go to the Herald site than the Palm Beach whatever. *blush*

        On my way to read your diary now, but I’m still not entirely clear — is that video the most that we’re going to see of the photos? I understand why the Red Cross can’t release their full collection, but the Herald obtained theirs from the families, who presumably agree to their publication. I mean, obviously, I’d like to see a collection of as much as we can see.

        • Jim White says:

          I think they ran the KSM photos a few months ago. I’m not sure about the rest and whether they will release them, but I agree that it appears the Herald went directly to the families for permission.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Just to be clear for those who have never spent time in Washington. Nancy Pelosi and others attending the auto show heightens the drama. Greater understanding is what their staffs accumulate before and after such events.

  9. bobschacht says:

    My original cars, for the first decades of my adult life, were all Volkswagens. Those were the days when a Volkswagen engine was expected to last 150,000 miles before an overhaul was needed, by which point the cost of the overhaul was about equal to the market value of the car.

    When VW stopped making station-wagons, I switched to a Toyota Corolla wagon, then to a Camry. Finally, in 2005, I switched to a (used) Ford Focus wagon, and I’m currently driving the most recent model of the Ford Focus wagon. Unfortunately, they have retired the FF wagon from the line-up, so my next car is unknown.

    So my question for Marcy is this: What’s the best (the words “cheap” and “economical” come to mind) compact wagon on the market that I should look for?

    Bob in AZ

    • Petrocelli says:

      Ford will be bringing forth a model based on the Focus, which is similar to the Mazda 5 – a mini- crossover with 7 seats [for midgets, no doubt].

      • skdadl says:

        {{{Petro!}}} I have missed you. I thought the barbeques had got you … or sumpin’.

        Isn’t it great to be on holidays until March? *wink*

        • Petrocelli says:

          {{{ skdadl }}}

          I’m all BBQed out … at least for another 5 4 days or so. *g*

          Wanna bet Iggy lets this opportunity to turf the HarperCons slip away ?!!

  10. john in sacramento says:

    Marcy:

    The other big buzz this morning is the presence of a sizable congressional delegation, led by Nancy Pelosi, here to figure out what is going on with our auto industry. There’s a fair amount of discussion about that among both the car people and other journalists.

    Prolly looking at the new CERV (Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle) models (for use in a neighborhood near you?)

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/01/military-vehicles-on-display-at-the-detroit-auto-show/1

  11. pseudonymousinnc says:

    When VW stopped making station-wagons

    ITYM stopped selling them in the US.

    The Transit Connect’s a nice bit of design. Focus platform, so really the successor to the old Fiesta/Escort panel vans, which had been to Europe what the light pickup (Ranger/S-10) is to the US.

  12. bmaz says:

    I am Borat and make digital genius!!

    Okay, I have no fucking clue where this post went or how it got back. All a complete mystery. Enjoy it while you can; posts are fleeting things ya know!

  13. PJEvans says:

    I remember hearing how my father, while we were on a trip to Yosemite, stopped and moved the fuel pump from one end of the tank to the other, because it wasn’t pumping well in its usual location, as we were going up the grade ….

  14. mjvpi says:

    I was holding off buying a Pius, so that I could buy an American made car. The Ford Fusion sounded like it might be the thing that I was looking for. My dealer finally got one in. The whole thing was made in Mexico.

  15. fatster says:

    AIG, autos offset Treasury bank bailout profits

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. taxpayer profits from bank bailout investments are being offset by estimated losses from American International Group and automakers and mortgage payment cuts for struggling homeowners, a U.S. Treasury report showed on Monday.”

    Link.

  16. fatster says:

    O/T: Bernanke strikes

    Federal Reserve Seeks to Protect U.S. Bailout Secrets

    “The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history.”

    This is before the US Court of Appeals in Manhattan.