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(Detroit News)   One of the Big 3 finally builds a decent vehicle, only to have production hamstrung by supplier it helped bankrupt   ( divider line
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30652 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Oct 2005 at 3:41 AM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2005-10-21 09:57:58 AM  

Saabs are GM cars.
2005-10-21 10:00:58 AM  
Wait, that headline said decent vehicle, then TFA talks about a Ford. Fark that.
2005-10-21 10:02:42 AM  
"One of the Big 3 finally builds a decent vehicle..."

A few former cars:

'96 Chrysler Concorde with 140,000 miles. Woulda still been driving it had some a-hole trucker not ran a red & totalled it. Bastard!

1984 Chevy Citation with 200k miles - $300. Drove it for two years and never did anything but change the oil & battery.

'87 Ford Tempo. 140k miles. Most reliable car I've owned.

Current car: '94 Chevy Corsica - 120k miles. Runs like new. Very low maintenance & 30 mpg. Paid $1000 for it.

In my book, a car that runs with few problems for over 100k miles is pretty decent.

/doesn't get the American car haters
2005-10-21 10:03:20 AM  
Oh, and I'm 6'3" 280...

And you seem to spend way too much money on cars. I think the two of you have owned more since 2003 than I have my entire life.

I'm just sayin'...
2005-10-21 10:08:36 AM  
i've had three fords. i've liked all of them.

1966 ford mustang v8 convertible (my first car)
1986 tempo (bought for $200) ran like a top
2002 ford focus (my current whip)

now im getting ready to buy my fourth...i was actually looking at the mercury counterpart to the fusion.

/everyone drives differently
//everyone has different taste
///oh yeah...japanese cars aren't any better
2005-10-21 10:12:28 AM  
Guinness4Strength: Oh, and I'm 6'3" 280 and have very little comfort issues driving the Elantra. I drive it to work almost every day.

durn tootin'.

/6'3" with size 14 feet, Elantra works just fine for me
//have you found the 3-way lumbar control on the left side of the driver's seat?
///slashy fun11!one
2005-10-21 10:12:40 AM  
Memorys, I was made in mexico a few time while in the navy. nuff said.
2005-10-21 10:14:00 AM  
"I know what the problem is. It's a Ford. Know what that stands for? 'Fix It Again, Tony!'"
"Dale, that's Fiat."
"'s Ford."
2005-10-21 10:21:46 AM  

whole point of the article is being missed--car made in Mexico while American company that supplies parts goes bankrupt, due to offshoring of jobs to Mexico.


C&A did not go bankrupt because of off shoring jobs. They went bankrupt because they were operating under contracts with the OE's(GM, Ford, DCX) that were not profitable do to increases in raw material costs. Also there was some sketchy accounting and a lot of bad debt from roll-ups that they werent going to be able to pull off. Also, the parts in question that are coming from C&A are coming from a MEXICAN plant that C&A owns in MEXICO. When the contract was initially bid, the entire project was slated for production in Mexico(partly due do the ridicules wages and legacy cost paid to UAW workers). No your roll
2005-10-21 10:24:58 AM  
Screw Ford.

Why is the supplier in bankruptcy? Could it be the final result of years and years of having their margins cramped by customers like Ford, who are always demanding lower prices ala WalMart? So the entire industry has finally stepped on it's own dick. fark 'em.

It's also hard for me to feel any patriotic fervor about a product made in Hermosillo, even if it says "Ford" on it. Now, if there were a problem with production of the Accord (Marysville, OH) or the new Hyundai Sonata (Mongomery, AL) then I > be a bit concerned.
2005-10-21 10:38:58 AM  
[image from too old to be available]

Mazda 3 and 6 are sexy.

zoom zoom.
2005-10-21 10:41:42 AM  
To the Detroit automakers who brought us planned obsolescence:

Sit down. You had your chance.
2005-10-21 11:01:19 AM  
Side note, the ford plant by my house that made the F150 and Wind/Freestar is being half dismantled. They started a couple days ago tearing down the F150 side.
2005-10-21 11:01:51 AM  
I've had two Fords:
1988 Ford Aerostar (the mexivan, as I called it)
2000 Ford Focus (zx3)

I love my Focus, and if I were to buy another car... it'd probably be a Focus SVT...
2005-10-21 11:05:13 AM  
MucasPlug: it'd probably be a Focus SVT...

I've heard bad things about engine longevity on those things... and they're sadly no longer made.

That said, a friend of mine has an '02 SVT hatch, and it is RIGHTEOUS. Can run circles around my elantra and my roommate's golf. I dig the euro-style hatch utility also; I can't stand how now the high-performance Focus is the sedan.
2005-10-21 11:15:15 AM  
I drive 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Least reliable piece of shiat I've owned. American cars suck. It's on its second transmission, third full overhaul of the brake system, and second stereo. All of the problems were caused by bad design. I would get rid of it, but I can't even get a good trade on a used Honda Civic. Mercedes might be the only good company that has a partnership with one of the big three that is still any good.

Volvo is owned by Ford. Saab by GM. The only way I would ever buy one of either is if the model was produced before the company was purchased by one of the big three.
2005-10-21 11:20:16 AM  
As I repeat like a million times on Fark and elsewhere, high-mileage cars are illegal in the United States.

You should stop repeating that; it is a lie.

New cars that aren't certified as meeting our emissions and safety and equipment standards aren't allowed to be sold here. You can partly thank Ralph Nader, who ironically ran for President on the Green Party ticket, for that.

Mr. Mileage-Fanatic, please meet Mr. Safety-Fanatic and Mr. Enviro-Fanatic...

Oh- you mean I can buy one of these in Canada but not in the [irony]Land of the Free [/irony]??

That Daimler-Chrysler chooses not to market the Smart here is not the same thing as it being banned. Besides, you can buy one. There is an independent importer that is bringing vehicles over and converting/certifying them for U.S. sale.
2005-10-21 11:28:42 AM  

That Daimler-Chrysler chooses not to market the Smart here is not the same thing as it being banned. Besides, you can buy one. There is an independent importer that is bringing vehicles over and converting/certifying them for U.S. sale.

I would think that buying a CDN one would do the trick too due to the harmonizing agreements.
2005-10-21 11:30:06 AM  
My friend drives a 1998 Ford Ranger light pickup, does all the maintenance on it himself, and has zero problems.

I drove a 1982 Volvo 240DL for 280k miles, no problems with regular maintenance.

I also drove a 2003 Honda Insight Hybrid. The interior cheap plastic, cloth seats, etc. The engine and powertrain were well-built as far as I could tell (only put 21k miles on it), but the body was absolute crap. Yes, it was Shiny!, but it was plastic and sheet aluminum. I had to put $6,000 in body work in two years into it -- about $4k due to "environmental conditions" (a small rock being kicked up, gouging the fark out of the hood, cracking the windshield [the Volvo took much bigger rock hits with only a tiny fleck out of the windshied], etc.) and about $2k for a low-speed fender-bender which the Volvo would have just shrugged off. Crumple zones suck.

I've since sold the Honda and bought a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300D turbodiesel. I'm looking at running it on vegetable oil/biodiesel. It gets about 27/35mpg, but diesel in the SF Bay Area is more expensive than premium. *shakes fist*

I'll gladly buy a Ford or GM car, once they make ones that don't suck. Honda and Toyota have been refining their designs for the Civic and Camry for years. Ford hasn't. I like Ford/GM vehicles because parts are common, cheap, and one can easily do basic mechanical work on them...I've found that Hondas have more and more computers, and it's harder for your "average joe car mechanic" (i.e. me) to tinker with them.

C'mon American Car's not that hard to design a car that doesn't suck. The Japanese, Koreans, and so forth are able to build reliable, cost-effective cars in America (Hyuandi has a plant in Montgomery, Alabama, for example), so it won't be that hard or that expensive for you to do it. Just streamline the process, make things more efficient on your assembly line, and build cars that don't suck.
2005-10-21 11:51:09 AM  
Mr. carrot

The deal with the Hyundai (or Kia, or any super-long term limited warranty) warranty is this:

They are perfectly happy to give you 10% off your next automobile purchase for your limited warranty 7 or 8 years down the road when your car has a catastrophic failure. It's called "keeping it in the family" and it is a very powerful selling tool. Now that you've bought into the scheme, you're trapped. How else could you get your "value" out of your warranty? Not by going to a different manufacturer, that's for sure.

\cue haha guy.
2005-10-21 11:53:26 AM  
2005-10-21 11:55:58 AM  
Much like everything else, there are good American cars, and bad American cars. When I finally finished college, I got a used Grand Am, and loved it as soon as I drove it. It had decent handling, and good gas mileage. I put 175K + miles on it before I had to store it for six months while I'm away. In the five years that I've owned it, Ive had to put maybe two grand worth of routine maintained and repairs.

On the other hand, when I travel, I'm often stuck with a Ford Tarus, and that think is like driving a couch. It doesn't have any road feel to it, handled like a brick, and sucked gas through a fire hose.

Currently I'm renting a Nissan Sentra, and while I don't mind the gas mileage, I do hate the lack of power, and leg room.
2005-10-21 12:13:59 PM  

I would think that buying a CDN one would do the trick too due to the harmonizing agreements.

My wife is a Canadian. When she got her green card, she was able to move all her stuff including her Canadian-purchased car here. However, the law said that the car had to be brought into compliance if there are any major differences between the U.S. and Canadian versions. Fortunately, VW sends pretty much the same vehicle to Canada as the US. So, the only differences were the metric speedometer, and international symbols (rather than words) used on some of the idiot lights. These were considered to be minor issues, so we didn't have to do anything except fill out some forms. This was in 2002.

I did read a couple if years back, when the exchange rate was more favorable, Americans were buying cars in Canada because the same car was cheaper and driving them back. These "gray market" cars aren't legal, but most of thhe owners were not caught. The automakers were getting their dealers to crack down on them, denying them warranty coverage. If you see Intrepids with "Chrysler" rather than "Dodge" badges on them, that is not owned by a Canadian licensed in the U.S., you're probably looking at one of these cars.
2005-10-21 12:14:11 PM  
2005-10-21 04:59:39 AM gwowen

The Mondeo was a good car. The US equivalent (Contour) never took off the way the Mondeo did everywhere else...

I have to agree, and I'm sad that Ford didn't stick with it (the Contour) in the US market. My dad had one that he bought almost new (18k mi) and drove it to 100k with zero problems, just the normal maintenance (oil changes, battery, tires, brake pads). My brother is now driving it at well past 100k and, while it's had a few hiccups, there have still been no major repairs. Plus the thing was a hell of a lot of fun to drive. Under 3000 lbs, manual trans, independent rear suspension, and reasonably stiff springs/shocks for a 'merican car. Also the interior didn't feel as cheap as most other domestics of its time.

/still prefer japanese/german, but have an unexplicable love for Ford too... especially their SVT vehicles...
2005-10-21 12:14:21 PM  
It's sad and/or funny that the much larger Ford Escape hybrid does better in fuel economy than this midsize sedan. I realize it's not a hybrid-- but seriously, folks-- can't we build a small car that at least keeps up with the Escape Hybrid in this department? It's not like you're trying to match the Prius here.

24 city / 31 hwy
36 city / 31 hwy

Good on them for such a well-designed hybrid system, but I can't believe they couldn't do any better with the car. After all, the escape is shaped like a brick, and highway driving operates almost exactly the same in a hybrid and a conventional car (ie gas engine, running all the time)-- so why can't a smaller, more aerodynamic car manage to win *at least* on the interstate?
2005-10-21 12:15:23 PM  
Ford estimates it has lost thousands of customers in recent years because it didn't offer an entry-level midsize sedan

WWWWHAT? Have you driven a ford lately? Or Ever? Last few rentals I drove were new Ford POSs. The thousands of customers they lose are driven off by low quality, low mileage, low performance, ugly, stupid, badly designed cars which continue to suck. Ford should be put out of our misery. They should have gone out of business a long time ago.
2005-10-21 12:15:24 PM  
Puuuhleaze.... a Tiburon vs a Mustang!?!?!?!

[image from too old to be available]


[image from too old to be available]

Here is a better analysis from a sports car point of view.

Mustang = RWD
Tiburon = FWD = Not a sports car

Props to Mustang

Tiburon has 170hp 180lbs
Mustang V6 has 210hp

HUGE props for Mustang w/ over 23% more power

It's fair to like the tiburon, but it is not really comparable to a Mustang. The Mustang is a RWD sports car (best ordered w/ the V8). The tiburon is a FWD econobox with some silly body effects to make it look sporty. Sorry.
2005-10-21 12:16:08 PM  
SMART cars to be sold in the U.S. In near future
Link (pops)
2005-10-21 12:16:28 PM  
Galland -
"The last decent American vehicle I had any respect for was the Ford Fiesta made for the American market. It was simple to repair and cheap. My cynical side says this is why they killed it off."
HAHHAHhahhahahhah hah hahahhahhhahhahahh!
Oh my, that was a joke right. They killed it off because it was a pile of trash, plus it wasn't American (heck most Japanese cars are now more American than American cars). No one wanted the darn things. Though I thought if they were 4x4 or rear wheel you could make a hell of a dune buggy with it... after an engine swap with a honda 1.8turbo and some safety mods.

Roy_G_Biv, thank you for schooling Christmas shoes. For some reason he gets off on always posting the same shiat he knows is wrong.

"The Fusion is arguably the most important new passenger car Ford has launched since the Taurus in 1985"
Taurus was crap on wheels for much of it's production. Shouldn't take almost 20 years to get a car model going that works. So many recalls on those things it isn't funny.
2005-10-21 12:17:27 PM  
...well, nevermind. link doesn't work for a popup. copy/paste
2005-10-21 01:00:40 PM  
fusion = mazda 6
focus = mazda 3, volvo s40
2005-10-21 01:26:26 PM  
Actually, the American focus is still the shiataty old platform.

The European focus is based on the Volvo s40, and wont come to the US for a couple of years.
2005-10-21 01:47:20 PM  
OK, for all you Ford bashers out there, let me set the record straight here. The fusion is on the same platform as the Mazda6. Drive a Mazda6, and you'll get a good picture of how the Fusion will drive. All the reviews that I've seen have said the same thing, it FEELS like a Mazda6 with a little extra weight. That's a very good thing. I've driven the Mazda6 and I loved it. The interior is set to be the highest quality interior Ford has put out in YEARS, better than the best you can get from any Japanese automakers (and holding its own with the Germans). MSN's reviewer said it compared DIRECTLY to Audi in terms of interior build quality. In fact, his only complaint was that the interior rear-view mirror was larger than most, and it occasionally blocked the view of stoplights.

You can read more here:

so... until you know all the facts, don't be prejudicial douchebags and bash American cars just because they're American.
2005-10-21 02:16:05 PM  

all i have to say is you've obviously never driven a new Tiburon, and if you have, and you still think it's not as good as a Mustang V6, you need to learn how to drive like a man. persoanlly, i love all things RWD, but a Mustang barely counts. if you know how to cut it lose, the Toburon will take a corner faster than the 'Stang will.

numbers rarely tell you anything about how much fun a car is. that's whay i'd take an RX-8 over a 350Z any day.

hell, my ex-girlfriends old Protoge 4-banger was infinitley more fun to drive than my old V6 Grand Am. it's all about the twisties and the dipping.
2005-10-21 02:21:21 PM  
This thing will blow an engine due to bad head gaskets like my now VERY sold off Windstar did at 31,000 miles while on vacation.

I wouldnt own another ford if you paid me to.....

\sticks with Altima (work) and old vw convertible (weekends)
2005-10-21 02:23:55 PM  
Ummmmm.... point of order.

People are not bashing American cars because they are American. They are bashing them because they have been BURNED by American auto makers before. It's the crappy quality and lack of support that makes people bash them, not their nationality.

For example, my shiatty Firebird had really poor paint. the black paint got all spotty and started to come off. GM would NOT stand behind it even though the problem was common. (There is now a class action suit against them). When I got it, it leaked around the T tops. They tried to fix it 4 times before it stopped. (I am talking a stream of water, not a few drops). It rattled, it broke down, it just plain sucked. Last GM for me for a while thanks.

Similar stories seem common for Fords my buddies have owned(except the ones built for them by someone else). Bad quality, poor fit and finish, etc.

Meanwhile my friends with Japanese cars seem to be laughing last.

The last car I bought was a Nissan 350Z. So far I have about 30K HARD miles on it and it is still perfect.

If American car makers want to stop getting bashed they just need to CONSISTENTLY make cars that do not suck out loud. Get the quality up. Make them handle like they were designed less than 50 years ago.

// Actually my Dodge Truck has been pretty good.
2005-10-21 02:29:20 PM  
First American car I've liked in a long time. 25+ years of German and Japanese vehicles only. Figures it's made in Mexico......
2005-10-21 02:31:12 PM  
FlatEarthSociety, I am sorry but FWD just doesn't do it for me. Torque steer just sucks. I have actually driven a Tiburon and it was ok, for a FWD car, but it still had the defects commonly found in a FWD platform, twitchy steering under acceleration, torque steer, and strange handling in a turn. The track times may be good, but the feel still leaves me cold. It's about more than numbers.

I am not a big Mustang fan. The chassis is pretty low tech. To me the Mustang is more of a muscle car than a sports car unless you get one of the models with the independent rear suspension. (none yet on the new platform)

In the low-power Tiburon vs Mustang V6 arena it almost doesn't matter. But with performance that low I would be more swayed by looks/style and the Tiburon just looks like a riced out civic to me. The Mustang has sort of a classic muscle car look and more room inside.

Presonally I wouldn't bother with the stang unless it was the V8.

As for the RX-8 vs 350z, I had to go with the Z because I wanted the convertible.
2005-10-21 02:31:21 PM  
What I loved about our 1999 Ford Taurus (90k miles) is that once we paid it off, we had to channel the money into monthly repairs: brakes, rotors, something in the front end that was warped, fuel injection problems etc. By the time all that was done the transmission went out and it was burning a quart of oil a month and they wanted 2000 more to fix it than the car was worth.

Now have an Accord and peace of mind.
2005-10-21 02:33:36 PM  
drknightarcher , I hear yah.

I just can't imagine how Ford sold so many Tauruses (Tauri?). I know it is inexpensive, the but the first time I drove one it was hate at first impression. The oval motiff just added insult to injury.
2005-10-21 02:41:14 PM  
CanSomeonePleaseKilltheChristmasShoes Call me when you get into an accident with dsmo's Durango.
2005-10-21 02:45:08 PM  
The my 1994 windstar had the same engine that the taurus had. The head gaskets tended to crystallize and warp in high heat (we live in TX, was driving thru NM when the head gasket and subsequent rod explosion inside engine block occurred}.

Of course, we didnt find out this till a year later, was reimbursed for the first engine splat. But, no one thought to fix the NEW engine that they put in. It had the same problem and blew up again a year later. Given, it was my bad that I didnt snap to that fact myself.

But, we also had to take it in for 4 other recalls, including one fine morning where I woke up to about 12 gallons of gas in my driveway from a foot long crack that developed in the gas tank.

Never seen a bigger steaming pile of cowshiat in my life.
2005-10-21 02:47:25 PM  
Damn, I'm getting old in my Friday afternoon....clarify:

We didnt get the recall notice on the engine defect till a year later...
2005-10-21 03:18:25 PM  
After owning many Fords in the past including an 87 Mustang GT (first new car), 93 Escort GT (Mazda drivetrain), 96 Probe GT (Mazda drivetrain) I would buy another Ford product. Oh wait, I just did. I took delivery of a new 05 Mazda 6 Sport Wagon, V6 5 speed back in July. Very happy with it so far, it drives like a sports car (albeit w/ FWD) gets decent mileage and will swallow virtually anything with the rear seats down. Being a first-time homeowner this is very useful. Nothing against SUV's but if I'm going to drive a vehicle that gets 12MPG it's going to be REAL fast. Oh and the 6 is built at the same AutoAlliance plant that my Probe was manufactured at.

The Fusion is OK, personally I'd never buy a car that's made in Mexico. The front reminds me of my wife's G35x and the rear lights are a ripoff of the first gen IS300. I hate that "chrome tails" look.
2005-10-21 03:36:55 PM  
THX 1138-

Smart cars are coming to the US. There is a company in Calif. by the name of ZAP I believe, that is importing them and making the necessary mods to make them legal here.
2005-10-21 03:58:14 PM  
SpectroBoy: FlatEarthSociety, I am sorry but FWD just doesn't do it for me. Torque steer just sucks.

All the reviews I have seen of the Ford Fusion have been amazed at how little torque steer there is...
2005-10-21 04:01:27 PM  
mmsdrummer: The European focus is based on the Volvo s40, and wont come to the US for a couple of years.

It's the other way around, actually: The Volvo S40 and U.S. Mazda 3 are based on the European Focus (The C1 platform was developed by Ford of Europe), which is the best selling car in England.
2005-10-21 04:06:14 PM  
raygundan: It's sad and/or funny that the much larger Ford Escape hybrid does better in fuel economy than this midsize sedan. I realize it's not a hybrid-- but seriously, folks-- can't we build a small car that at least keeps up with the Escape Hybrid in this department?

The Escape is a crossover SUV -- based on a car platform. As such it is already much lighter than other SUVs, and as a result it get exceptional gas milage for an SUV, especially the hybrid (the best in the segment, actually).

It's better to compare the Fusion against the Camry and Accord (both of which it is a little larger than): The same city mileage (what was it, 24?) and only falling a few MPG short of the highway milage (31 vs 34), with the same power (160HP).
2005-10-21 04:25:59 PM  

You're quite correct-- the Camry and Accord are much fairer comparisons. Of course, why *they* can't stack up to the hybrid Escape bugs me, too.

The Escape hybrid was #9 and #10 on the top-ten list of fuel economy for 2006 models. It was the only american model listed, and everything except for a manual corolla was either hybrid or diesel. Meaning the Escape beats the Focus, Fusion, non-hybrid Civics, Accords, Camrys, non-manual Corollas, etc... Why are there no conventional cars with good fuel economy?

I'm not saying the escape's not a brilliant piece of engineering. I'm just surprised nobody else can touch it without going hybrid, even when they're working with much smaller vehicles.

/Keeping my 40mpg Civic HX
//Sad that model disappeared for 2006
///Economy like the first hybrid civic for $5K less.
2005-10-21 04:35:24 PM  
Right now I'm driving a slightly modified 2001 Nissan Sentra SE (new brake lights, CD player, rear speakers and cold air intake). I believe it's pushing about 150-160hp.

It's literally the best car I've driven in my entire life. Prior rides were:

1987 Ford Tempo
1997 Pontiac Grand Am SE
1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra S

Although I do miss the power of the Sierra (3.1L 220 hp). But it gets far better gas mileage. Oh yes it does.

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