OnStar to show up in retail stores, Chrysler backs away from hybrids and electric cars, can technology end crashes in intersections, and we drive the new 2011 Ford Fiesta--was it worth the wait?Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) Episode 180 SHOW NOTES
Ford is making its 2011 Fiesta even more festive with new interior and exterior accessories and graphics. Ford's new accessories include a rear roof spoiler, which is exclusive to the hatchback, and a four-piece, race-inspired body kit with a sculpted front air dam, side skirts, and a sleek rear valance.
Ford is also giving you the option to add custom graphics by Original Wraps, which lets you choose the size and design of body-side graphics from a portfolio of images. Original Wraps has more than 18 designs to choose from and they are available in several colors, and include … Read more
It has proven itself to be a fun little ride. It even sort of defeated a super car. Now, the upcoming 2011 Ford Fiesta earns bragging rights at the pump with an EPA-certified fuel economy of 40 mpg highway when equipped with Ford's PowerShift automatic transmission.
To achieve this level of efficiency, Ford started with the Fiesta's new 1.6-liter Duratec engine. We found that this 120-horsepower mill was no neck-snapper during our First Drive, but it does feature an assortment of fuel-saving technologies including variable camshaft timing, aggressive fuel shutoff on hard deceleration, and a more efficient … Read more
We've driven the Ford Fiesta and we know that it's a fun little subcompact, but is it a Lamborghini slayer? Probably not, but that's the tongue-in-cheek tactic that Ford's latest promotional video for the tiny hatchback takes.
Hosted by YouTube star Brittani Louise Taylor, the video starts with a drag race that, with about a 400 horsepower difference, ends about how you'd expect. But this is a Ford promo video with a series of Fiesta-centric tests, so you can guess that things ultimately work out for the little guy. Check out the goofiest shootout you'… Read more
HIROSHIMA, Japan--Mazda Motor is bumping up the North American launch of the 2011 Mazda2 by about two months to meet dealer demand for the five-door hatchback.
U.S. and Canadian dealers now will get the car in early summer instead of late summer as originally planned, said spokesman Garett Carr. He did not give a specific launch date.
"Since the Mazda2 made its debut at the Los Angeles auto show last December, we have had a tremendous response from consumers and dealers," Mazda Motor Corp. President Takashi Yamanouchi said at the Canadian International Auto Show last month.
The … Read more
Ford has been working with a tactile robot arm to evaluate the feel and appearance of surfaces and controls in its vehicles in a bid to make the testing process less subjective and more scientific.
The Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics, or RUTH, has been used for several years at the automaker's European Research Center in Aachen, Germany, to check the interiors of the European versions of the new Focus and Fiesta, versions of which are coming to the United States in 2010.
Ford says it's the first carmaker to use a robot like RUTH, which is … Read more
Remember when the bottom dropped out of the economy and everyone was screaming for small, inexpensive, and fuel efficient cars? Well, they're here; and they're in Los Angeles.
Small cars ruled the roost at the 2009 LA Auto Show, with marquees such as the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda Mazda2, and the VW Up Lite attracting a lot of attention and stealing the spotlight from bigger more powerful cars.
I was driving along the other day and saw a lime green Ford Fiesta--a car that is not currently available in the US, but which launched recently in Europe. It's combination of good looks, driving fun, and low prices has quickly made it the second-best-selling car there after the Golf.
Ford is planning to bring the Fiesta to the US in 2011, an excellent move, as we need more good "economy" cars here that are not boring and/or ugly. Ford is doing an interesting viral/social campaign ahead of the launch. It has engaged 100 "… Read more
For years, style was absent without an excuse from American subcompacts. But the days of slab-sided, no-frills hatchbacks may soon be history.
For decades, something was missing in the small cars designed, built and sold in the United States. It was gone for so long that most American consumers probably didn't know what it was.
But to Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group's chief designer, the missing ingredient was obvious. U.S. subcompacts lacked emotional appeal.
"Small cars of the past were not necessarily done with passion," he said.
Generations of Detroit designers seemed to say: No one buys a small car for its styling, so why bother? Uninspired, appliancelike econoboxes? What else did you expect?
American subcompacts had none of the attributes found in the cool, quirky and even elegant small cars created elsewhere in the world, from the original BMC Mini to the first Peugeot 205 to the modern Citroen C3.
U.S. automakers were forced to churn out small cars to raise corporate average fuel economy averages, so they could keep selling big trucks. Small-car design? An oxymoron.
But consumer preference has shifted -- the result of higher gasoline prices, new fuel-efficiency standards and concern about climate change.
"Small cars and vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines have been on a steady increase since 2004," said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.
U.S. fleets must average 35.5 mpg by 2016, compared with 25.3 mpg this year. Combined with stricter emissions standards, it means the number of small-car nameplates for sale in the United States will increase.
And when a market segment gets crowded, automakers must rely on styling to set their vehicles apart from the crowd.
"It's not business as usual for small cars here anymore," said Moray Callum, Ford Motor's design director for cars.
The expanding lineup of new small cars means styling will get a lot more creative and appealing, just as it did with mid-sized cars recently. (Think of the modern Chevrolet Malibu, the new Ford Taurus and the current Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.)… Read more
Check out the latest episode of the cult hit. Tom Dickson, of Blendtec, and Ford Fiesta Agent Ryan Dembroski go for a test drive in the 2011 Ford Fiesta and blend.