Still, it seems odd that Ford wouldn't at least mingle in images or teasers of the 2005 Mustang, a car the young men watching the pre-game will actually be in a position to buy in the fall. It's not the first iffy advertising move made by Ford Division chief Steve Lyons. Last year, Lyons introduced "If you haven't looked at Ford lately, look again," ad slogan. It was meant to play off the infamous "Have You Driven a Ford Lately" tagline of yore, but has come a cross as an apologetic "please pick me" plaintiff cry in Ford's Centennial year, a year that should have had a more prideful, celebratory advertising tenor. And while the F-Series launch can hardly be criticized, the success of the advertising has come from the enormous media weight put behind the ads. The ads, always created by J. Walter Thompson's Detroit office, themselves have been fairly hum-drum considering the importance of the vehicle launch. As far as the super low-volume GT car goes, some dealers can earn the honor of selling the GT by winning a customer service satisfaction survey, and other GTs will go to the highest-volume dealers. The rest of the nearly 800 GTs that will be sold this year will go to dealers chosen from a lottery system. The company plans on making around 3500 over the course of two and a half years. The GT commercial will be shown again during the Ford Championship at Doral, which will be broadcast on NBC in March. It will also air during the American Idol finals, set for May on the Fox network. — Jim Burt
2005 Ford GT by Marty Padgett (10/20/2003)
Rich in history, richer in speed.
CEO Pitches Diesel as "Clean, Fast Fun"
Diesel engines have become a "clean, fast and fun-to-drive" alternative to gasoline in internal-combustion engines — says Dr. Kurt W. Liedtke, chairman and CEO of Robert Bosch Corp, whose parent Robert Bosch GmbH manufactures key components and systems for the fast-growing number of diesel engines used on European vehicles. Addressing the Automotive News World Congress, Dr. Liedtke said Robert Bosch's new common-rail system reduces emissions by up to 20 percent. Future after-treatment technology, combined with advanced diesel particulate filters, will remove nearly 98 percent of the particulate matter in emissions.
Declaring that "clean diesel" achieves about 30 percent better fuel economy, Liedtke said this adds up to nearly 30 percent less fuel costs annually for the average driver. In a statement that "greens" will receive warmly, Dr. Liedtke said diesels will also help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas. Conceding that hybrid engines will gain popularity, mainly in congested urban traffic, Dr. Liedtke pointed out that hybrids and fuel cell engines still will not alter the status of internal combustion engines as the majority powertrain between now and 2025. The Robert Bosch case for wider use of diesels is bolstered by their greater torque — up to 50 percent above conventional gasoline engines, and the development of fuel economy booster gasoline direct injection. From 20 percent of the European market in 1997, diesel engines now account for 44 percent, said Liedtke, plus nearly 70 percent of premium luxury brand sales. By contrast, diesel sales in the U.S. account for only three percent of total vehicle sales and one percent of new light vehicle transactions. But, by 2015, according to Liedtke, who is based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, diesel sales will take 25 percent of the U.S. market.
Liedtke's talk did not refer to the U.S. diesel-engine fiasco of the early 1980s, when GM offered diesel engines on a number of higher-priced brands. Motorists were plagued by hard-starting engines, especially in wintry weather, smoky exhausts, and foul odors from the front end. Times have changed, as diesel power will be offered this summer on Chrysler's Jeep Liberty SUV. Chrysler says it is considering dieselizing the Town & Country for Americans if the Liberty sells well stateside. —Mac Gordon