FORD’S PERSONNEL COUP – AND OTHER NEWS

The former Scion chief, Lexus boss, and Toyota marketing guru for North America, Jim Farley has been swept off his feet by Alan Mulally at the Ford Motor Company. Any old Scion boys – any old Toyota or Lexus boys, too – surely know how to market a car. We also know they’re used to marketing good cars, so we’ll see how the 17-year Toyota vet cuts it at Ford. Toyota North America’s Jim Press left for Chrysler a while ago, and Deborah Wahl-Meyer left Lexus marketing to take care of those duties at Chrysler, as well….

Jaguar will slightly re-do of the X-Type, but they know North Americans don’t care. So they won’t bother importing it here in 2009….

Renderings of Audi’s M-B CLS fighter have been circling. The A7 quite clearly plays to the age-old theme of longer, lower, wider….

You’ve been wondering what a Pontiac G8 would look like if it were built as a wagon… I just know you’ve been curious. Well you should be. And you should also be desirous. For a hint, check out this Holden VE Sportwagon. Remember, the G8 was designed from the get-go as the Holden Commodore, Buick Park Avenue (China), and Chevrolet Caprice (Middle East), and for different places come different needs. Australians want a wagon, and they get a good one….

Expect the Fiat 500 to win the Car of the Year competition. Peugeot’s 308, the Ford Mondeo, Kia Cee’d, Mazda 2, Mercedes-Benz C-class, and Nissan Qashqai are also competing. The 500 is a genuinely good car, oh-not-boring-at-all, despite the fact that it’s a pure retro remake. The Pug and Kia compete in the small family hatch segment, the terrific Mondeo is a class above. Mazda’s entry has been lauded for losing weight – not that it was obese. But weight loss truly is the most efficient way to, well… gain efficiency. The Qashqai is seen in North America as the Rogue, basically. We all know the C-class as Benz’s entry level sedan…..

The Ford Five Hundred was a dull, big, boring, dowdy sedan. It was weak under the hood and suffered from poor transmission choices. Ford changed its name to Taurus, a name North Americans are familiar with. The Taurus was a star for Ford 20 years ago, but eventually became the default rental car choice. Ford also happened to upgrade the engine and create a much better vehicle. GoodCarBadCar gave its take on the name-game-and-blame a while ago, but here’s some sales info: Sept/06 was not a good month, but the Five Hundred did sell 6,054 units. There were just 3,562 Taurus’ sold last month. That’s also down from the month before; August saw 4,482 unsuspecting buyers bite. (Poor folks, the car is decent, but it’s just so boring.) Ford watched sales in July of 2005 hit 13,555.