AD #2524 – Ford Updates Focus to Fit Large Dog Crates, U.S. Sales Down in January, Ed Welburn’s Design Regret

February 4th, 2019 at 11:41am

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Listen to “AD #2524 – Ford Updates Focus to Fit Large Dog Crates, U.S. Sales Down in January, Ed Welburn’s Design Regret” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 7:35

0:09 U.S. Car Sales Down in January
0:44 Tough Month for Luxury Brands
1:23 Employee Ideas Saved Audi Millions In 2018
2:48 Ford Redesigns Focus to Fit Largest Dog Crate
3:32 Nissan Won’t Build New SUV In Britain
4:23 Ed Welburn’s Biggest Design Regret

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31 Comments to “AD #2524 – Ford Updates Focus to Fit Large Dog Crates, U.S. Sales Down in January, Ed Welburn’s Design Regret”

  1. Sean McElroy Says:

    *Note* Dog shown in video is not an Irish Wolfhound.

  2. Barry Says:

    New music! Nice.

  3. ChuckGrenci Says:

    The AAH with Ed Welburn was a very good espisode; two thumbs up. GM could still benefit from Ed’s insights but Ed has moved on and into other ventures. Best of luck Ed; good luck with your current endeavors.

  4. Larry D. Says:

    1 For sure. Good show, Sean, as always.

    You say, “Even though GM and Ford no longer post monthly sales numbers, Wards provides a good estimate of what they sold.”

    Possibly true for these two, but for Tesla, the estimates are all over the place.

    Wards claims less than 19k but Autonews (which perhaps has a more crude estimating method) puts them at 31,900, way higher than even Mercedes.

    But you are absolutely right in your observation:

    “..And the most impressive of all was Tesla, which outsold every luxury and premium brand in the market, except for Mercedes. And that is an astonishing accomplishment.”

    And I may add, like Reagan often used to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    Now that Tesla is running with the big dogs, I hope somebody tells Musk to start reporting monthly deliveries and end this guessing game!

  5. Kate Mcleod Says:

    I haven’t watch Ed’s interview but let me guess. Does it start with an “A”?

  6. XA351GT Says:

    Out of curiousity are Tesla’s numbers based on units sold , delivered or built? Are they still filling their backlog for Model 3 orders? Or have they caught up and are delivering immediate sale vehicles?If they are still filling the backlog I wonder what it will look like once they have. Do they have the sales at the stores to maintain the current pace?

  7. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Sorry for the aside, but this link is for Kit or others interested in what is going on inside an F1 transmission (this one from 1997, but still):
    https://autoweek.com/article/car-life/look-magic-box-peek-wizardry-formula-1-transmission?utm_source=DailyDrive20190204&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=image-center&utm_content=body&utm_campaign=awdailydrive

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 Thanks, Chuck. That was interesting. I have a question that you might be able to answer. Is there a clutch somewhere, or do you just “grind” it into first gear from a standing start? It was interesting to see one off-the-shelf part, the Bimba pneumatic cylinder.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 They still have a backlog of people who made deposits, and are waiting for the elusive $35K car, but you can order, and get fairly quick delivery of a more expensive car. It looks like if you want “nothing but black,” inside and out, you can order a $44K car.

    https://3.tesla.com/model3/design?#battery

    The $35,950 is not real. It assumes a $3750 tax rebate, and $4300 in “gas savings.” The actual price for the cheapest one you can order is $44K, excluding taxes and fees.

  10. merv Says:

    so the Irish wolfhound wasn’t available?

  11. GM Veteran Says:

    As an employee of Oldsmobile working directly with the dealerships at the time of the launch of the Cutlass Supreme, I cannot agree with Ed in total. He is selling his efforts short. The Cutlass Supreme was very attractively styled on the outside and there was a lot of enthusiasm pent up among the dealerships for this new car. The interior styling was very similar to what the old body style had and was a major disappointment and a total disconnect with the cool, futuristic styling of the exterior.

    But that was not enough to sink the car. The real problems were in equipment. The nice looking wheels were in ridiculously short supply and the other available wheels were really unattractive. The Super Stock wheels that looked so good on previous Cutlass Supremes did not turn out well for this car at all and the dealerships did not want them on the lot. Sadly, they had to take them since the others were in such short supply and this really negatively affected the exterior look of the car.

    Then there was the engine. The W-body cars were quite heavy and the 2.8 liter V6 had very little power. The previous Cutlass offered a V8. Driving the new version with the V6 was very underwhelming. After a year, a 3.1 liter V6 became available with a little more torque and it helped but it was still not a very quick ride.

    And finally, the pricing. It was significantly more expensive and people just did not see the value. GM had a dedicated assembly plant for each brand of W-car when two would have sufficed. Just part of the GM arrogance of the era. GM management thought anything with Cutlass on it would sell, but they were wrong. They took a long time to post the first rebates on these cars when they were common on nearly every other vehicle on the market. GM lost a lot of money on the W-car project and lost their dominance of the midsize market with this gamble. The Ford Taurus was hot and the imports were tough competitors.

    One more problem. It took nearly two full years to launch the four door version. Clearly this is where the market was going, but GM management kept looking at the success they had in the past with two door coupes and did not take stock of the market changes that were clearly happening all around them. This trend was so strong that Ford, two years earlier, did not even produce a two door version of the Taurus.

    Honestly, exterior styling was the least of the Cutlass Supreme’s problems. Don’t beat yourself up Ed. You did a great job on this car. GM management decisions were responsible for this failure.

  12. JWH Says:

    Re: Ed Welburn – Very good comments & insight from Mr. Welburn. I find his candor admitting what he felt were mistakes from his past very refreshing. A very good designer & class individual.

  13. John McElroy Says:

    #6. Ward’s does a very good estimate of Teslas delivered to customers.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 I thought those FWD Cutlasses looked just fine, but yeah, the 2.8 engine was really underwhelming in that heavy of car. Also, weren’t those the cars that didn’t have real seat belts, but took advantage of a loophole in the law that allowed a shoulder belt mounted to the door without a lap belt to be called a “passive restraint”?

    A friend had Grand Prix with the 3.4 V6 with lots of gears, belts, and camshafts. It performed well, but had a lot of problems. Did Olds use that engine for a while, or just Pontiac?

  15. GM Veteran Says:

    Kit, you are correct. The Cutlass also had the “loophole” passive restraints when it launched. They were a joke and most people did not use them as they were designed to be used.

    The Cutlass also had the 3.4 DOHC V6. It did have a fair amount of power, but it was a very complex engine with a number of known issues.

    The Cutlass Supreme also offered a high output Quad 4 with a 5-speed manual trans. It was not a popular combination but was actually kind of fun to drive. I had one as a company car. Almost none of my dealerships wanted to keep one in stock.

    Fun fact: the coefficient of drag on the Cutlass Supreme International Series (the sportiest model) was .295. That was the most aerodynamic car on the market when it debuted, even though it did not look as slippery as some others.

  16. Mac Says:

    I had an ’88 Cutlass Supreme as a company car, was ordered prior to the production build. When it arrived, it had to be towed off the trailer at the dealership — wouldn’t start. The dealer spent 3 days figuring out what was missing and ordering a new ECM among other fuel system parts just to get it running. Once I got it, it was a pleasant car to drive. Not spectacular, but on Midwest highways, very adequate and pretty quiet. The all-electronic gauge cluster — an option — was fairly far ahead of it’s time.

  17. Clem Zahrobsky Says:

    that car was designed to compete with the aero fords taurus on the NASCAR circuit

  18. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Ed was referring to the disappointing styling of the Cutlass in regard to the “bubble cars” of the era i.e., Taurus,Audi 5000. I test drove a Monte Carlo with the 3.4 and while it might perform in the higher rpms, it was weak unless turning revs.

  19. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Kit, I found a video on F1 clutch; it almost looks like a motorcycle clutch and about the same size. It has a basket of clutch plates and friction plates; basically just for starting car’s motion.

  20. Tony Gray Says:

    First Motor Trend TV announces the end of FantomWorks and now new music on Autoline! My OCD is gonna kick in!

    Gotta turn on Wapner…

  21. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Link for F1 clutch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrSufAwjNyQ

  22. Lambo2015 Says:

    I wonder if the deep freeze that hit most the Midwest and East-coast had any affect on January sales. Don’t imagine many people interested in car shopping in negative temps.

  23. Lambo2015 Says:

    So Tesla is considered a luxury brand? I would agree for the model S and X but the majority of their sales were the model 3 and I’m not sure that falls under premium brand just premium price.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, 21. Thanks, Chuck. I found something similar, after posting #8. It was from before the hybrid era, but they probably use similar clutches for launch now, or maybe more than one of them with the hybrid system.

  25. Len simpson Says:

    I experienced the Cutlass mentioned . That interior made a deep & lasting impression. Be interesting to know what happened to that supplier.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19, 21, 24 The video I ran across showed actual clutch parts from a pre-hybrid Red Bull. The clutch was mostly carbon fibre, and was small, about 5 inch diameter, hard to believe with all the power that goes through it.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    https://syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/1776973-inside-f1-cars-the-technology-application-and-importance-of-a-formula-1-clutch.amp.html

  28. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Part of my facination of F1 and most other motorsport is the technology; thanks for the link.

  29. John McElroy Says:

    #23. Most Tesla Model 3′s that have been sold are priced over $50,000. That definitely puts it in the luxury category.

  30. Lambo2015 Says:

    #29 Under that thinking then Ram could be considered a luxury brand with most of their trucks being price between 40 and 60k. The criteria should be more than just price.
    Was just saying that I’m not real sure the model 3 can be considered a luxury car on anything other than price.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 It seems that the term “luxury brand” is used for expensive performance brands, like Lamborghini, whose products are far from “luxurious” in the traditional sense. Yeah, Lamborghini is much more extreme in both price and performance than a Model 3.