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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Hottesting Debuts from Beijing
It might seem easy to ignore the Beijing Motor Show. After all, it is halfway around the world. But the Chinese auto market is growing quickly. In fact, it surpassed the U.S. in 2010. The auto show in Beijing is getting bigger, too.
This year’s debuts mark a new pinnacle in BMW luxury sedans, a wildly powerful version of the VW Golf and even a thinly-veiled concept preview of a utility vehicle to come from Lincoln.
Check out our Top 10 cars of the Beijing Motor Show and see all the cars that didn’t make the list here.
Lincoln has announced that the 2014 MKX will introduce a tree-based alternative to fiberglass for its interior parts.
Since its founding in 1936, Consumer Reports has become the go-to source for shoppers. From new refrigerators to bottles of wine, Blue-ray players to homeowner’s insurance, if it’s on the market it’s likely the non-profit organization has scientifically tested it. Of course the consumer watchdog is probably most famous for its vehicle reliability ratings.
Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
While Audi is famous for their quattro all-wheel drive system, Lincoln is the only domestic luxury car brand to offer every single product with an AWD option, and buyers are leaning strongly towards having all 4 wheels powered on many of their products.
Lincoln reports that 72 percent of MKT buyers and 62 percent of MKX buyers opt for AWD, which makes sense on a crossover-like vehicle. Meanwhile, 46 percent of MKS customers and 25 percent of MKZ shoppers check the all-wheel drive box. Even the Navigator, which is based on a truck platform, can be had in rear-drive only, with 62 percent of buyers choosing AWD.
We suspect that many of the AWD buyers are situated in the snowbelt states, since the extra money – anywhere between $1,850 to $6,890 – might cause buyers in warm regions to re-think the AWD alternative, even though certain models with Ecoboost engines come bundled with AWD.
After a long period of neglect by parent company Ford, Lincoln is expected to launch three new products within the upcoming years to complement their current lineup, with a small crossover, compact car and a version of the Ford Explorer joining the ranks.
The new small Lincoln, tentatively known as the MKC, will be based off the Ford Focus platform, and be motivated by a 1.6L Ecoboost 4-cylinder engine, and is said to be inspired by 2009′s Lincoln Concept C (pictured above), which used the same powertrain. Don’t expect such outlandish styling, although the hatchback style is certainly a possibility.
The rumored MKD crossover will supposedly be based on the new Ford Escape, and since that car was previewed by the Ford Vertek concept at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, we’re also optimistic that the sub-MKX size crossover will be a winner, especially in the all important fuel economy stakes. The MKD has been confirmed as a future product, however Ford has not trademarked the name, leading to speculation that it could wear a totally different moniker.
The final rumor, which has the longest odds of all, is the return of the Lincoln Aviator, a slow-selling SUV based on the Ford Explorer. Ford’s new Explorer appears to be pretty well received, and there are rumors that the Aviator could be revived as a 7-passenger SUV that would serve as an alternative to the MKT. On the other hand, there is little to substantiate these rumors and so far this should be considered merely conjecture.
[Source: Ford Inside News]
With the New York Times erecting a “pay wall” around their online section, many web enthusiasts are crying foul at the venerable paper’s decision to abandon the online modus operandi of making information free.
But 200,000 of the Times’ best customers will be eligible for free access (worth about $150) thanks to Lincoln, which is sponsoring the program as part of its corporate communications strategy.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time with our media partners looking for ideas,” Connie Fontaine, manager of U.S. Lincoln marketing communications, told Advertising Age. “Our brand is one that has a lot of great news and a lot to say but isn’t always heard. The Times did bring us this idea and we thought it was really relevant to the brand for a lot of reasons. The type of reader we’ll be able to engage through this program is a thought leader.”
Lincoln feels that the people interested in the online section of the Times are the same kind of customers who would be interested in a new Lincoln – as opposed to the old guard print crowd who may err towards a Town Car, specifically a chauffeured black example. As for the Times, well, 200,000 digital subscribers is a drop in the bucket considering their readership numbers, and with any luck, the program will be mutually beneficial for both parties.
[Source: Advertising Age]
Ford announced a recall of their trucks and crossovers – including 23,688 Ranger pickup trucks – because of a fuel line near the throttle body shield that could leak fuel and cause a fire, and an electrical system that might short out and, well, cause a fire.
Ford is recalling 8,022 Edge and Lincokn MKX crossovers, as well as the entire F-series range, because of the electrical issue. The Ranger models affected by the fuel line issue are all 2010 models, built between October 2009 and May 2010 at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota.
No problems have been reported yet, but Ford knows it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially in regards to their cars bursting into flames.
With 200 of Lincoln‘s 1200 dealers staring down a possible termination of their franchise, an upcoming dealer meeting will provide little comfort to retailers of Ford’s luxury brand, as the Blue Oval will not share upcoming product details with Lincoln’s sales force.
Even though Ford is aggressively targeting Lincoln dealers with a demand for a $2 million showroom renovation program, the company hasn’t given much information on the 7 products expected to debut over the next few years that are supposed to reinvigorate the Lincoln brand.
Ford is recalling both the Edge crossover and the Lincoln MKX luxury crossover due to an electrical short that could lead to a fire. The vehicles were built during a 6 day window, and also includes certain Ford F-Series trucks.
Dealers will inspect a component known as the body control module, and replace it if necessary. The recall will begin on January 10, 2011 and owners can contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Lincoln is about to launch their new refreshed MKX crossover, and the most significant changes come with regards to gas mileage. Fuel economy is a class leading 19mpg city/26mpg highway, despite having a 3.7L 305 horsepower V6 under the hood.
Of course, most consumers will notice the new corporate schnozz, which is much more striking than the outgoing model. With its roots on the Ford Edge platform, the MKX should be a good choice for those looking for a smaller crossover without stepping up to the twin-turbocharged , 7-passenger MKT – or its 15 mph city/19 mpg highway fuel consumption.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Want to know where a car is made? Look at the VIN.
The All-American Impala: Made in Canada
During President Obama’s press conference last week when he announced that Chrylser would file for Chapter 11, he asked Americans that if they were looking to buy a car, to look at American cars. The “buy American” philosophy drew harsh criticism from the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which pointed out that buying American doesn’t necessarily mean buying a car from an American brand.
“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” AIADA President Cody Lusk said in a statement. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”
On that note, there is one way to tell exactly which country a car is manufactured in – the VIN number. That’s right, that odd 17-digit sequence of numbers and letters found on the dash under the windshield (and in numerous other places on a vehicle) holds the key to a vehicle’s country of origin.
Many VIN numbers, actually start with a letter. Those that start with a “J” are built in Japan and those with a “K” are from Korea. Most of the rest, however, aren’t so intuitive. VINs that start with a “W” are from Germany, while an “S” signifies England. Swedish cars get a “Y.”
The United States, Canada and Mexico all use a number system, with American-made cars using a VIN that starts with the number 1, while Canadian-made cars use a 2 and Mexican made cars use a 3.
The number of American vehicles made outside the U.S. is actually quite significant, while many “foreign” cars are built in American. In fact, one of America’s best-selling vehicles (and one that is also typically American) is actually built in Canada – the Chevy Impala.
Other made-in-Canada cars include the Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Made-in Mexico cars include the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Chevrolet HHR. And as for the the Chevy Aveo sub-compact, it comes from Korea.
On the flip-side, there are plenty of Japanese (and even some German) vehicles built in the U.S. of A. Some of the most significant include the high volume Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the Honda Element and Toyota Avalon are also U.S. products. Nissan builds several models in the United States while BMW manufactures the Z4 as well as the X5 and X6 in South Carolina.
… The more you know…
[Source: La Times]