The Auto Industry Has Lost A True Innovator

CNN is reporting today that auto industry icon Lee Iacocca has died. He was 94. He is credited as having played a major role in the creation of the Ford Mustang and the Chrysler minivan. As someone who has driven Ford Mustangs since the early 2000’s, I am grateful for his inventions.

The article reports:

Born Lido Anthony Iacocca in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on October 15, 1924, to Italian immigrant parents, he would go on to lead two major American car companies.

Iacocca started working at Ford Motor Company in 1946, and was a major figure in the development of the Ford Mustang — the first vehicle of its kind. He was named president of Ford in 1970, but was fired by Henry Ford Jr. in 1978.

“I began my life as the son of immigrants, and I worked my way up to the presidency of the Ford Motor Company,” Iacocca wrote in his 1984 autobiography. “When I finally got there, I was on top of the world. But then fate said to me: ‘Wait. We’re not finished with you. Now you’re going to find out what it feels like to get kicked off Mt. Everest!'”

He was then hired by Chrysler Corp. in 1978 and became the company’s CEO in 1979. He is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy.

Iacocca urged Congress to authorize the Treasury Department to guarantee $1.5 billion in bank loans for Chrysler. Chrysler needed the bailout to survive back to back recessions in the early 1980s. Chrysler repaid the loans early. Treasury made money on the stock it received as part of bailout packages.

With the help of more fuel efficient and competitive products such as the so-called K-cars — which included the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant — Chrysler became strong and profitable again.

Iacocca led Chrysler during an era in which Asian and European imports first started to take a significant share of the US automakers’ portion of the American car market.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, my husband was commuting 50 miles to work each way. We owned a significant number of K-cars during that time. I hope Lee Iacocca is spending his time in heaven designing a new breed of sports cars for angels to take for a spin!

He was truly an American success story.

Happy Birthday, Mustang

This week Mustang turns 50. She looks pretty good for her age:

Yes, I know that’s a 2010, but that’s the picture I like!

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line about Mustang’s birthday (with a few comments on her history).

The article included the question, “Which gives off more air pollution, a 1969 Mustang parked in a driveway with the motor off or a  2013 Mustang, roaring down the road at 60 mph?”

The answer is surprising:

If you’re very clever (or keep up with Matt Ridley), you’ll know the answer is that the parked 1969 Mustang gives off more air pollution, in the form of unburned hydrocarbons evaporating through the old-school carbuerator and unsealed gas tank caps (among other places).  A good object lesson in the advancement of engine technology.  And the fact that the real heroes of environmental improvement were engineers with pocket protectors more than hippie environmentalists.

Amazing.

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What Are They Doing To My Car ?

When I bought my latest Mustang convertible two years ago, I planned on keeping it forever. I added a number of accessories that I normally would not put on a car. Detroit has just convinced me that I made the right decision.

Yesterday the American Spectator posted an article about what Detroit is about to do to the Mustang. It’s not pretty.

The article reports:

Ford‘s new “Evos” concept features gull-wing doors, a rounded, aerodynamic body, and a smaller design clearly inspired by Europe. When Ford officially unveils its new Mustang in 2014, company insiders insist it will embrace this visual transformation.

More pertinent than its changing look will be its changing feel. Rumors abound, to the chagrin of drag racers, regarding the introduction of independent rear suspension. The five-liter engine supposedly morphs into a two-liter one. There is even talk of a hybrid Mustang.

This is the rendering of the new Mustang from their Facebook page. It took me a few years to get used to the look of the 2010 Mustang, but at least it looked like a traditional Mustang. This just doesn’t look right. And just for the record–my convertible is a six-cylinder. On the open road, it gets about 24 miles per gallon. If America would develop her own energy resources and stop cowtowing to OPEC, that wouldn’t be a problem.

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I’m Really Not Making This Up !

1999-2004 Ford Mustang photographed in Washing...

1999-2004 Ford Mustang photographed in Washington, D.C., USA. Category:Ford Mustang IV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A group called Strategic Vision posted a story last week reporting research they did regarding which members of which political parties purchase which cars.

These are the results:

Democrats:

1. Honda Civic Hybrid
2. Volvo C30
3. Nissan Leaf
4. Acura TSX Wagon
5. Ford Fiesta sedan

Republicans:

1. Ford Mustang Convertible
2. Audi A8
3. Mercedes GL
4. Ford Expedition
5. Ford F-­‐150

I laughed when I read this–I drive a Ford Mustang Convertible. An article at Power Line, which reported the results of the study, concluded:

All of this adds up to one more illustration of the fact that it is a heck of a lot more fun to be a Republican than a Democrat.

I agree.

 

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On A Personal Note

2010 Ford Mustang photographed in Fort Washing...

Image via Wikipedia

For anyone who has been reading this blog for a while, I would like to update you on the rear window defogger on my Mustang Convertible. As you recall, the Mustang is a 2010 and had less than 14,000 miles on it when the defogger stopped working. The dealer told me that it was not covered by warranty and that I would have to spend $2000 out of pocket to replace the top. I was not happy with that answer and wrote to Ford. Initially Ford was not particularly helpful, so I wrote to the state Attorney General Consumer Affairs division and the Better Business Bureau. I did contact Ford again before I filled out the paperwork for the Better Business Bureau. The customer service person I got was very helpful, but the problem was still unsolved. After I contacted the Better Business Bureau, Ford called me to schedule an appointment with a “Ford Engineer” at the dealership. The rear window defogger is now working. The total cost to me was $7 (I put gas in the loaner car).

What have I learned from this? All future work on the car will be done at a different dealership–had I not pursued this, I would have spent $2000 that I don’t have and didn’t need to spend. The Better Business Bureau is there for a reason–don’t be afraid to contact them if you have a legitimate problem with a business. The Consumer Affairs division of the Attorney General’s office was also extremely helpful. As consumers, we do have certain rights, but we need to be willing to exercise them.

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