Daily Edition: Jan. 30, 2006

January 30, 2006

New Expedition Gains EL Edition

Ford's new Expedition will come in two versions when it goes on sale in the fall, the company announced last Friday. The new full-size SUV will come in standard and EL extended-wheelbase editions, with the larger Expedition EL delivering 14.8 inches in additional length and 24 extra cubic feet in cargo volume. The EL model also rides on a 131-inch wheelbase, some twelve inches longer than the standard Expedition. It also has its own floor pan, rear glass, fascia, and headliner.

All 2007 Expeditions sport an updated powertrain, revised interior seating options, and tough new styling that telegraphs the SUV's relationship to the new Ford F-Series trucks. The engine is Ford's 5.4-liter V-8, pushing its 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque out through a six-speed automatic transmission. Tow capacity is 9100 lb, and a newly developed independent rear suspension is matched in front with an updated front suspension.

Inside the new Expeditions have split second-row seating that uses one lever to flip and fold the outboard seats for access to the available third-row split bench, which Ford says is comfortable for adults taller than six feet. It also folds flat into the load floor, optionally with electric assistance. Wider-opening rear doors on the EL model grant easier access to the back, Ford promises, while a Centerslide section to the second-row bench moves forward up to eleven inches for easy access to a child seat.

Cabin comforts include an available 340-watt AM/FM audio system with MP3 capability and an in-dash six-CD changer with six premium speakers, plus a subwoofer and an input jack for MP3 players. Sirius and a DVD entertainment system are options. A power liftgate is optional, while stability and roll control are standard on both the Expedition and EL models. Dual front airbags are standard, while a three-row curtain airbag is optional.

 

Bush Nixes Aid for GM, Ford

President George W. Bush has finally said out loud what most believed he had been thinking - that the current administration isn't interested in trying to bail out the domestic automobile industry.

"I think it's very important for the market to function," he said in an interview in Thursday editions of The Wall Street Journal.

He added companies need to manufacture "a product that's relevant" and that his administration has discussed new fuel technologies with the nation's top two automakers.
"As these automobile manufacturers compete for market share and use technology to try to get consumers to buy their product, they also will be helpingAmerica become less dependent on foreign sources of oil," Bush said.

Asked whether he had talked with the chairmen of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., the president said, "Not about their balance sheets. And I haven't been asked by any automobile manufacturer about a bailout," the President added.

"I have been very reluctant," Bush said, cutting off his sentence. "I'm mindful of the past where at one point in time, a predecessor of mine was faced with that same dilemma. I would hope I wouldn't be asked to make that decision."

Bush Nixes Aid for GM, Ford (1/30/2006)
Automakers respond: we didn't ask.

 

TCC Drives: 2007 ToyotaCamry

2000 Ford Artic Explorer Sport Trac Concept

2000 Ford Artic Explorer Sport Trac Concept

What's probably the most common car on U.S. streets isn't a Chevy or a Ford, but a Toyota. The Camry has been the best-selling car in America for eight of the past nine years. More than ten million Camrys have been sold since 1983, when the model was first introduced, and the majority of those have been sold in the U.S.

With each new Camry much improved, and an even better value it seems, expectations for the new '07 model are high.

There's also the issue that the Camry is just so darned good and efficient at being a comfortable, economical, trouble-free sedan that it has come to be viewed as an appliance, and has gathered descriptions, according to Toyota execs, like "bread-and-butter," and "dad's car." And driving a Camry sort of lends itself to an "I don't care about cars" anonymity. Is the Camry boring, or is it just too darned good?

That was the challenge: how to bring more style - and a little more driving enjoyment - to the Camry without alienating any of Camry's very loyal customer base.

2007 Toyota Camry (1/30/2006)
Ready to spoil a new round of frugal family buyers - and keep its best-selling title.

 

TCC Drives: 2006 Volvo C70

2000 Ferrari 550 Marenello

2000 Ferrari 550 Marenello

The question's a classic one from you civilians to us automotive-journalist types. If you had $40,000 to spend on a new car, what would you choose? Well, it depends, we answer faithfully and ambiguously. Do you want a coupe for all-season practicality and good looks? Or does the idea of having a convertible before all your hormones dry up and you start shopping for emergency-alert jewelry have its own logic? How about something with four seats in case you develop unexpected friends?

Volvo's C70 answers these questions neatly. You don't have to choose, because the C70 is a four-passenger convertible with a retractable hard top. Think of it as two cars in one, they ask politely, since the new C70 fills the space of former Coupe, which left the U.S. in 2002, and the Convertible, which went off into the Swedish sunset in 2004.

Though folding hardtops are nothing new, they're in new vogue since the Mercedes SLK was born. Not only will the Volvo join the crowd, but so will BMW and Chrysler with coming versions of the 3-Series and Sebring. Pontiac's $29,000 G6 Convertible arrives at nearly the same time as the C70, in April of this year.

2006 Volvo C70 (1/30/2006)
Two in one for four. Don't worry - there's no math quiz afterward.

 

GM Asks UAW for More

General Motors is looking for help from the United Auto Workers and is hoping the union can deliver it soon, given the company's deepening financial crisis.

The auto giant already has received critical concessions from UAW on healthcare. Now it is looking for more assistance in encouraging more GM and Delphi workers to accept buyout offers and retirement.

Richard Wagoner, GM's chief executive officer, said last week during a conference call following the release of the automaker's 2005 financial report that the company is talking with the union about ways to speed up the company's restructuring.

The discussions revolve around putting in place an accelerated attrition program that would encourage workers to quit or retire sooner rather than later, he suggested. "We think it makes sense" for the company and the union to reach an agreement sooner rather than later, Wagoner added.

GM Asks UAW for More (1/30/2006)
Company needs more concessions to fix finances.

 

Study Boosts Ethanol As Fuel

Carmakers interest in building vehicles that run on alcohol got an important boost last week when a new study published in the magazine Science indicated that making motor fuel from corn actually can save energy.

For years, supporters of the ethanol-based fuel have been ensnared in a running debate over whether turning corn into alcohol really saves fuel. The essential argument against the wider use of ethanol as a motor fuel was that the process of corn into alcohol ultimately consumed more energy than it saved.

Academics, farmers, the farm lobby, energy companies, environmentalists, and carmakers were all ultimately dragged into the debate, which has grown in consequence as the price of oil has jumped to recent highs.

The findings of Alexander Farrell of the University of California-Berkeley basically dismantles the arguments of ethanol critics, who had claimed that making ethanol was "negative" net energy - producing it took more energy than it created.

Study Boosts Ethanol As Fuel (1/30/2006)
Emissions study finds it's not "negative" on energy.




  

POLL RESULTS

Bill Ford 2006

Bill Ford 2006

Ford's "Way Ahead": Truth In Advertising Or No?

12.7%       Yes, it's truth in advertising - they know what they're doing.

30.4%       No, It's just a new bandage on an old wound.

41%          Maybe - let's give them a year to see.

15.9%       I'm sorry, you said a left at the Chevron station?

Get more poll results




  

FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases

PRNewswire

Just a reminder that the deadline is rapidly approaching for the Detroit Press Club Foundation's prestigious 2006 International Wheel Awards. Entries must be postmarked or sent through parcel service by Tuesday, January 31st. Rules and entry details for these prestigious awards, honoring excellence in automotive journalism, are available at http://sedoparking.com/search/registrar.php?registrar=DRSI&domain=icnpr.net, at http://www.wheelawards.com, by calling project cochairman, Steve Purdy at 517-655-3591 or through any ICN member.




 

Name Symbol Last Change
Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.86 -0.10 (-2.02%)
Autoliv Inc. ALV 48.51 -0.54 (-1.10%)
AutoNation Inc. AN 22.39 +0.10 (+0.45%)
ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 15.98 -0.17 (-1.05%)
American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 18.67 +0.51 (+2.81%)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP 5.06 -0.13 (-2.50%)
BorgWarner Inc. BWA 55.04 +0.15 (+0.27%)
Cummins Inc. CMI 99.91 +5.99 (+6.38%)
Dana Corporation DCN 4.39 +0.03 (+0.69%)
DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR) DCX 56.85 -0.42 (-0.73%)
Dura Automotive Systems DRRA 2.22 +0.01 (+0.45%)
Eaton Corporation ETN 66.85 +1.33 (+2.03%)
Ford Motor Company F 8.65 -0.02 (-0.23%)
General Motors Corporation GM 23.80 +0.75 (+3.25%)
Gentex Corporation GNTX 16.98 +0.85 (+5.27%)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber GT 18.87 +0.57 (+3.11%)
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) HMC 28.18 +0.12 (+0.43%)
Johnson Controls Inc. JCI 69.99 -0.62 (-0.88%)
Lear Corporation LEA 25.30 +0.65 (+2.64%)
Magna International Inc. MGA 73.34 +0.33 (+0.45%)
Motorola Inc. MOT 22.50 -0.45 (-1.96%)
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR) NSANY 22.47 +0.07 (+0.31%)
Sonic Automotive Inc. SAH 23.56
Siemens AG SI 92.27 +0.16 (+0.17%)
Sirius Satellite Radio SIRI 5.87 +0.05 (+0.86%)
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 102.44 -0.36 (-0.35%)
TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 25.50 +0.30 (+1.19%)
Tower Automotive Inc. TWRAQ.PK 0.067 -0.003 (-4.29%)
United Auto Group Inc. UAG 38.09 +0.17 (+0.45%)
Visteon Corporation VC 5.13 +0.19 (+3.85%)
XM Satellite Radio Hold. XMSR 27.47 +0.07 (+0.26%)
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