Archive for the ‘Images’ Category

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Ford’s Focus is the Little Car that Could

March 29th, 2008 at 3:00pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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Despite what the critics predicted, the new Focus is turning out to be a big hit for Ford.

Everybody I’ve talked to in the design community absolutely hates the look of the new Ford Focus—including people on the Ford design staff. I’ve also heard all kinds of enthusiasts criticize Ford for not bringing the European version of the Focus over here.

But it’s a good thing that Ford didn’t listen to the critics. Sales of the new Focus are off to a great start. In fact, it’s even outselling the new Chevrolet Malibu despite all the accolades that it’s getting.

I think there are several things going in the Focus’s favor. It’s a well-recognized name, it has fresh styling (even if the critics don’t like it), and the Microsoft Sync system has given it a cool factor that is bringing ‘em into the showrooms.

Ford Focus Front 3/4 Ford Focus Interior Ford Focus Rear 3/4

Click an above image to see more photos of the Ford Focus.

 

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Will Suicide Doors Make a Comeback?

March 28th, 2008 at 9:00am

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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After a lot of false starts, will suicide doors make a comeback?

For years now automotive designers have tantalized us with concept cars that use suicide doors. But up to now no automaker has had the guts to commit to put them in production.

That’s partly because of the name. In the United States, at least, doors that are hinged at the rear are called suicide doors. The feeling was, in an accident, if the doors popped open, it would be easier for passengers to be ejected from the car. And they used to be pretty popular up until 40 years ago. In fact, JFK’s Lincoln had suicide doors.

But designers haven’t given up on the idea. They want to bring it back and the new Opel Meriva in Europe might be the first to do so. You watch, if Opel really does put them in production you’re going to see a bunch of car companies rush to the market with suicide doors.

Small Front 3/4 Small Side Profile Small Rear 3/4

Click an above image to see more photos of the Opel Meriva.

 

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: 2008 Mazda 5

March 11th, 2008 at 6:00pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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Click the above image to see more photos of the Mazda 5.

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They say the minivan market is going away, but don’t tell that to Mazda.

If you ever get a chance to see the original Chrysler minivan you won’t believe how small they look. But today there’s nothing mini about minivans — in fact, most of them are downright huge.

The Mazda 5 on the other hand is a people mover that’s very close in size to the original Chrysler vans. It has sliding doors, seating for six and for 2008 Mazda completley restyled the front-end and added LED taillights while inside they redesigned the center console and instrument cluster. Mazda also added a new five-speed automatic transmission and recalibrated engine to deliver better fuel economy — up to 22 city and 28 highway.

The original minivan is what saved Chrysler from disaster and the Mazda 5 is doing the same for Mazda.

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Click an above image to see more photos of the Mazda 5.

 

ROAD TEST: 2008 Pontiac G8

March 4th, 2008 at 3:33pm

Front 3/4

Click the above image to see more photos of the Pontiac G8.

For years GM ran itself as a loose collection of separate divisions instead of as a unified, global company. But now they’re finally turning away from this unproductive system so they can improve their efficiency and reduce costs. This strategy of working together is best exemplified by GM’s Australian subsidiary.

Holden is in charge of developing rear-drive passenger cars for the entire corporation, except Cadillac. And it’s impressive to see how they’ve managed the development of products for so many different, global markets.

The new rear-wheel-drive architecture that was developed Down Under is the basis for the Buick Park Avenue that’s sold in China, it underpins models sold in the Middle East and Europe and it’s the foundation of the all-new Pontiac G8. Even more models are rumored to be based off this platform as well, including the Camaro.

We’re finally seeing GM’s strategic plan come together, that is, running the company as one, coordinated entity, rather than as a collection of regional fiefdoms that do their own thing and duplicate a lot of effort. And the proof is in the pudding.

The new Pontiac G8 has all the right ingredients that make a great car. GM started with a tried-and-true recipe for a big, rear-wheel-drive, four-door sedan. Then they garnished it with head-turning style and enough performance to put a smile on anyone’s face.

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Click an above image to see more photos of the Pontiac G8.

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AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Ford Transit Connect

February 15th, 2008 at 9:00am

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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One of Ford’s most popular commercial vehicles in Europe is immigrating to the United States.

Next summer Ford will bring in the Transit Connect. It offers customers the cargo space of a commercial van and the maneuverability of a small car.

transit-connect00.jpgThis isn’t the big Transit van that looks like the Dodge Sprinter, think of this as a Focus-sized Dodge Sprinter.

It’ll have a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine matched to a four-speed automatic transmission that gets 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway, which is way better than any full-sized van.

Ford hasn’t announced pricing of the Transit Connect, yet. But in Germany it sells for about €13,000 — or right around $19,000. If Ford can bring that vehicle to our market at that price well, that’d be vantastic.

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Click the above images to see more photos of the Transit Connect

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Ford Edge Sport

February 12th, 2008 at 9:00am

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

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Click the above image to see more photos of the Edge Sport.

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Ford is building on the success of its Edge crossover by launching a factory-customized sport version.

Ford sold more than 130,000 Edges last year, enough to make it the best selling crossover in the country; not a bad showing its first year the market. But for 2009, Ford is offering an all-new Sport model.

It differs from the regular Edge in a number of ways. First, it has a body kit with side skirts and bumper appliqués. The headlamps and tail lamps have both been tinted and the interior has an etched metal finish on some the trim pieces and suede-like inserts on the seats.

The Edge Sport rides on standard 20-inch wheels, while massive, “22s” are optional. And also the largest wheels ever mounted on a crossover vehicle, according to Ford.

On the downside the Edge Sport doesn’t get any real performance enhancements, which is too bad since it could use some go to match the show.

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Click the above images to see more photos of the Edge Sport.

AUTOLINE ON AUTOBLOG: Best Kept Secret at the Detroit Auto Show

January 18th, 2008 at 2:44pm

In Partnership With
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Cadillac CTS-V
Click the above image to see photos of all the winners

The Detroit auto show gets unbelievable international coverage from thousands of journalists, and they’re all hoping to come out of the show with some kind of scoop. But with everyone attending the same press conferences and interviewing the same executives, that’s practically impossible to do. And yet, this year they made it easy for me to get my own scoop, because most of the media ignored what may be the most important design awards in the industry.

They call it the Eyes on Design award, and it attracts the top . . .

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Time-Lapse Video: The New Autoline Set

January 3rd, 2008 at 6:19pm

Before and After

After months of negotiating, designing, deciding and sweating, we’ve finally and completely revamped and restyled the set of Autoline Detroit. The entire collection, from the structural trusses and backdrops to the futuristic Aeron chairs come courtesy of furniture distributor WorkSquared, a certified dealer of Herman Miller furnishings. I’d like to give the hard-working folks at WorkSquared and Herman Miller a hand for all they’ve done for us, but I think a standing ovation would be much more appropriate. We couldn’t be happier with our new studio arrangements, and I think you’ll agree, it takes Autoline to a whole new level. Thanks, guys.

To show you how much better the Autoline set has become, we’ve created a time-lapse video of everything being assembled.

The Flash Player is required to watch Autoline. Download Flash.

Runtime: 1:25

Here are a few photos of the new set. Click the thumbnails to see a larger image.

Wide View of the Set John Takes the New Desk for a Test Drive Looking at Autoline’s New Table
Autoline’s Producer and Host Front View of New Autoline Set Upshot of the Autoline Desk

And what better way to celebrate an all-new set than with an all-new guest. Like smashing a bottle of Champagne on the prow of a ship, the Autoline set has been christened with the taping of its inaugural episode. Kicking things off is first-time guest Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Company. Of course we think the new set is really snazzy, but even Mr. Mulally thought it was worthy of a few photos.


Shutterbug Alan Mulally A Fun Bunch
Hello Down There Alan and John Executive Profile

AUTOLINE ON AUTOBLOG: DARPA Debrief

November 8th, 2007 at 2:27pm

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DARPA Urban Challenge 2007

Click above image for more photos from the DARPA Urban Challenge

The DARPA Urban Challenge wrapped up this past weekend and it has to be one of the most exciting automotive events I’ve ever attended. There was an electricity in the air. You could feel the energy. It was almost like being at a Formula One race, but with an aura of real importance to it.

I think everyone there realized we were witnessing history in the making, like going to see one of the first flights of the Wright brothers. To me, this race proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that. . .

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