EUROPE A TEMPLATE FOR FORD
Ford’s recovery in Europe will provide “a template” for a turnaround in North America, declared the automaker’s chairman and CEO, Bill Ford, during an interview at the Geneva Motor Show. Ford tried to quell mounting concerns about the pace of Ford’s North American revival, cautioning that the steps outlined in January will “take time to bite.” He also said that Ford has crafted a second-step, worst-case-scenario program of further cost-cutting, though he declined to reveal any details or what it would take to put “Plan B” into effect. One threat to the current plan is fast-rising incentives. General Motors recently revived its zero-percent financing campaign and while Ford has yet to match it, Bill Ford said “we can play in (this game) as long as we have to. We’ll be competitive.”
FORD BACK WITH FIRESTONE?
In other news, Ford said his company is working to rebuild its long-time relationship with tire supplier Bridgestone/Firestone, though that may take a good time to resolve the differences that rose up as the result of two recalls involving millions of Firestone Wilderness AT tires. The latest callback cost the automaker $3 billion and Ford said the automaker will “explore creative ways” by which Firestone may help cover some of those costs.
2002 Volvo Adventure Car conceptEnlarge Photo
2002 Volvo Adventure Car interior conceptEnlarge Photo
VOLVO GOES ON AN ADVENTURE
What better place to introduce a vehicle influenced by the Swiss Army knife than in Geneva? Volvo designer Peter Horbury compared the Adventure Concept Car II to the legendary tool, pointing to the prototype’s vast assortment of features. The center console, a sort of high-tech “utility belt,” contains a variety of pop-up high-tech devices, such as an MP3 player, a digital camera and a PDA. But in keeping with Volvo tradition, the show car also boasts an assortment of safety features, including four-point, criss-cross seatbelts. The look of the cockpit, added interior designer Jonathon Dale, was “inspired by Scandinavian furniture and the dynamic performance of a sports car.”
2003 Porsche Cayenne
PORSCHE CAYENNE AND MAYBACH MAKE BRIEF
You had to look quick to get a glimpse of two of the most eagerly awaited cars making their “debuts” at the Geneva Motor Show. DaimlerChrysler hid a prototype of its new Maybach ultra-luxury sedan behind a thick wall of glass and used only enough lighting to provide a sense of its basic shape. Porsche, meanwhile, projected a series of slides of its new Cayenne sport-utility vehicle. The automaker did offer up some previously secret details: there will be two versions of the Cayenne, which is the result of a joint venture between Porsche and Volkswagen. The Cayenne S will feature a 340-hp, 4.5-liter V-8, and will hit 0-100 km/h (62.5 mph) in 7.2 seconds. The Cayenne Turbo will pump out 450 horsepower and cut the take-off time to 5.6 seconds. Both vehicles will come with standard, full-time all-wheel-drive and the Porsche Stability Management system. “Like professionals playing poker,” Porsche wants to dole out just enough details to build interest before a full and formal roll-out at the Paris Motor Show next September, acknowledge CEO Wendelin Wiedeking. DCX intends to pull the Maybach out from behind the smoked glass in Paris, as well.