Happy Halloween


Light Reading

 There's an article on Netscape Autos about What Makes a Great Car.

 If you like to sit in it, even when it's not running--or always turn back to give it one more glance after you've parked it and are walking away--it's a Great Car.


How To Save Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Mercury

 It's too late for Plymouth and Oldsmobile, but there's still hope for Mercury. The division can still be saved before the realities of business drop the guillotine on another marque, and the answer is staring Ford right in the face. It's the 2005 Ford Mustang.

 It's a strategy that has served Harley-Davidson well. The hottest segment in motorcycles are cruisers, bikes styled along the lines of the '50's machines. The closer the machine emulates that style, the more successful it is.

 Ford has been trying for years to make Mercury work (80's Capri, 90's Capri, the last Cougar), but has never hit the target. The basic premise is to sell a vehicle that is similar to the Ford model, at a higher price. The only way to achieve this that I see is to go in a new direction from what's been done in the past, and it means heading towards the past.

 Imagine a Ford 500, except retro-styled. The basic platform remains the same, but the styling is a virtual copy of the Mercury models from the 50's. The cost savings would not be as great as the current models, as the exterior and interior would be different from the Ford, but the potential to make a larger profit is greater also, and they'd be targeting the market group that Mercury is looking for.

 Mercury could become the Harley-Davidson of the automotive world. It can't do any worse than what's already been done with the marque.

Maybe, Just Maybe

 Autoblog has actually seen a Ford 500, and commented on the styling. Apparently it actually does stand out, and that's good news. Ford could really use a boost, and it's really an advanced vehicle (AWD and CVT) that probably deserves praise. Of course, an enthusiast is going to notice a new vehicle, the real test is how the general public percieves the vehicle. It certainly won't have the impact of something like a Chrysler 300 or Dodge Magnum.

Return Of The King?

 Toyota's new advertising slogan is Moving Forward, and while it lacks a certain flair, it's still acceptable. The Toyota website has had a slight redesign to go with the new slogan, and there's a new feature there, PlanetKaisen. Kaisen is Toyota's way of doing business, and it roughly translates to continual improvement. Nothing really revolutionary there, but if you go to the site and take the Kaisen test, one of the questions is truly thought provoking...

 Toyota enthusiasts have longed for the day when Supra will once again roll in America. Not content with the current performance vehicles in the Toyota lineup, like Celica GT-S and Matrix XRS, Toyota loyalists alway want more. When was the last year Supra was built and sold in the U.S.?

 I think it's a hint that the Supra is returning, finally. There's no hard evidence yet, but I'm leaning towards a debut next year, probably as an '06 model.

 By the way, the answer is 1996, and I scored a 9 out of 10 on the quiz.
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