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Old 02-20-2012, 06:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

Today gentle reader let me talk to you about the little dance that is played between journalists and contacts at major auto companies. In an ideal world any journalist could contact the appropriate company spokespeople and asks questions and get answers. In the real world, the companies pick and choose who they will answer predicated on a myriad of factors that include such things as that persons pull within the industry AND how pleased they have been with their writings in the past. If you ream Ford on something don't expect to hear from them anytime soon. To be expected I suppose.

The point is journalists tread carefully with their words, and we the eager EV buying people may have to factor that into the equation. Consider this article that broke the delay story over at MLive. No mention of the word delay at all. Well played Ford.

Consider now if you will this post by Eric Loveday. Eric is top notch writer on the EV scene. And he rightly points out that Ford has essentially delayed the launch of the Focus EV. Previously Ford had stated "We will be rolling out to the remainder of our initial markets starting in Spring 2012." September is considered very late Spring by many.

For those keeping score this is really the second delay. See this post for info about the first. In the first delay Ford very cleverly declared that there was no delay and it was just a confusion over wording and intentions. I bought it, hook line and sinker, but I've come to realize that the story was a dead fish.

Let us now look at Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield's article on GreenCarReports. Nikki is one of my favorite journalists on the EV scene by the way, her strong interest in things EV shows with her insightful reporting on the issue.

Observe kind reader how Nikki approaches this recent announcment of a delay.

Quote:
"That’s quite different to what we’d initially understood Ford’s plans to be, so we reached out to Ford to make sure we’d understood things correctly."
Different to what we'd initially understood Ford's plans? See how Ford has trained us? When they change their plans we now have to assume that it couldn't possibly be a delay, clearly we erred in our understanding somewhere.

Quote:
Specifically, we asked Ford to give us details on its initial sales numbers, comment on Tinskey’s comments about availability, as well as details of when pre-orders were expected to open outside of new York and California.

“We are still on track to ramp up Focus Electric retail production and availability in the first half of this year followed by 16 additional markets later this year,” said Ford spokesman Wesley Sherwood in an email last week. “We are not providing specific sales projections but continue to believe all-electric vehicles will be a small portion of the electrified vehicle mix for some time. Our initial orders are in line with this projection.”
Eric and Nikki's reporting is extremely fair to Ford. They could have easily have come blasting with headlines such as "Focus EV delayed for second time, is this car ever coming?" Would love to have access to the people who get to drive the eight yes count them eight Focus EVs that were delivered in 2011.

So what does this delay mean? I have no idea. Is there a problem with the vehicle? Certainly makes one wonder. Is this just Ford waiting to see which way the electric winds blow? Since we STILL do not have official EPA numbers on the Focus EV I would guess that those delieveries are not official retail sales?

If the thing works it appears to me Ford has a winner on their hands, which is why is difficult to understand the delay unless there is some issue. And as a prospective buyer Fords strange moves have me reconsidering if this is indeed a vehicle I want to plunk down 40g on.



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Old 02-20-2012, 07:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charged Up
So what does this delay mean? I have no idea. Is there a problem with the vehicle? Certainly makes one wonder. Is this just Ford waiting to see which way the electric winds blow? Since we STILL do not have official EPA numbers on the Focus EV I would guess that those delieveries are not official retail sales?
I wonder if it has something to do with the 2 test Volt fires. That cost GM plenty, as this initiated a major recall of about 8,000 Volts*. Now, that's high tension. (sorry)

Ford is using a similar battery - heating/cooling system as the Volt. While I've never read any comparison where Ford's design is subject to the same hazard, they may be buying time, and redesigning that system to avoid a major recall.

*
http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/ ... 20241.html
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Old 02-21-2012, 12:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GKalkas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charged Up
So what does this delay mean? I have no idea. Is there a problem with the vehicle? Certainly makes one wonder. Is this just Ford waiting to see which way the electric winds blow? Since we STILL do not have official EPA numbers on the Focus EV I would guess that those delieveries are not official retail sales?
I wonder if it has something to do with the 2 test Volt fires. That cost GM plenty, as this initiated a major recall of about 8,000 Volts*. Now, that's high tension. (sorry)

Ford is using a similar battery - heating/cooling system as the Volt. While I've never read any comparison where Ford's design is subject to the same hazard, they may be buying time, and redesigning that system to avoid a major recall.

*
http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/ ... 20241.html
Yup the "product enhancement" going on at Chevy on the Volt may have factored into the equation. On the other hand I think not, because the location of the Ford battery would appear to make it less susceptible in the type of crash that caused an issue, namely the Side Pole Impact Test.

If this is the case, why not state "in light of the Volt issue we are reexamining safety with the battery before proceding." Instead they feed us dung and tell us it is roses. "We are right on track with the ramp up..." Huh?
Ford's glaring refusal to give out timely and accurate info on the Focus EV causes me to think there are issues. Although I of course have no reason to think that other than the delays, and their stony refusal to acknowledge them as delays.

They could end speculation if they would just be more fourthcoming.

Undoubtedly they have their reasons. As propsective Ford Focus EV buyer, I would like to not be kept in the dark.



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Old 02-21-2012, 06:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

I had an electric Focus on order here in New York, but canceled the order because of the delays, and ordered a Leaf mid-January. I think there is a good chance the FFE range is significantly worse than the LEAF, and as a result they are reworking the battery pack or something similar. It has a smaller battery than the LEAF and the aerodynamics don't look as good as the LEAF's (to my untrained eye). My LEAF is supposed to be here end of March. So Ford IS losing orders due to the delays.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranss12
I had an electric Focus on order here in New York, but canceled the order because of the delays, and ordered a Leaf mid-January. I think there is a good chance the FFE range is significantly worse than the LEAF, and as a result they are reworking the battery pack or something similar. It has a smaller battery than the LEAF and the aerodynamics don't look as good as the LEAF's (to my untrained eye). My LEAF is supposed to be here end of March. So Ford IS losing orders due to the delays.

I hear ya. I really like the look of the Focus EV, the electronics package, and the liquid heating/cooling for the battery, but starting to wonder if this vaporware is every going to materialize.



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Old 02-21-2012, 05:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

As a long time Ford customer/former employee I really don't see Ford's behavior regarding the FFE any different from any other vehicle that they have delivered. They usually are very mum about any information for a vehicle until it goes on sale. This case makes it appear more severe because it does keep being dragged out (at this rate when my ICE Focus lease is over I MAY be able to get a FFE! LOL).

As with most Ford vehicle introductions you get:
- Ford reveals the new vehicle at some car show 6, 12, or even 18 months ahead of time
- 6,12, or 18 months of no new information (perhaps some social media "game" to increase awareness of the vehicle)
- The vehicle goes on sale.

Having played that waiting game in the past I know that it is incredibly frustrating on the part of the consumer, but it is what it is...

(Wonder if the PHEV Fusion will also be delayed--initial announcements say 1st Qtr 2013).

Just my $0.02.



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Old 02-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

It is obvious Focus EV has been delayed - from initially announced "end of 2011" to what looks like end of 2012. I wonder whether it is going to be a MY12 or a MY13 vehicle.

We can speculate on the possible causes.

If I were a betting man - I'd say they have got a very low level of interest (i.e. orders) - forcing them to make some changes to the car - perhaps moving the battery to a different location to give a little bit of the trunc back to the user.

I hope it won't be cancelled.

This also throws Energi plans into question. Will C-Max Energi really come out "fall" of this year ? That puts it at the same time as FFE. Any delays in Energi will make the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV look attractive to me.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmueller065
As a long time Ford customer/former employee I really don't see Ford's behavior regarding the FFE any different from any other vehicle that they have delivered. They usually are very mum about any information for a vehicle until it goes on sale. This case makes it appear more severe because it does keep being dragged out (at this rate when my ICE Focus lease is over I MAY be able to get a FFE! LOL).

As with most Ford vehicle introductions you get:
- Ford reveals the new vehicle at some car show 6, 12, or even 18 months ahead of time
- 6,12, or 18 months of no new information (perhaps some social media "game" to increase awareness of the vehicle)
- The vehicle goes on sale.

Having played that waiting game in the past I know that it is incredibly frustrating on the part of the consumer, but it is what it is...

(Wonder if the PHEV Fusion will also be delayed--initial announcements say 1st Qtr 2013).

Just my $0.02.
I agree that stony silence after product reveal is par for the course. I have not noted that the delay and then deny you are delaying is normal behavior for Ford. If it is I think they can find a better strategy



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Old 02-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: No Focus EV Till Sept? How Bad Is This?

I think this is poor strategy by Ford - actually I think it is an implementation problem rather than actual strategy. They have to keep people excited - if they go cold for months & months, people just move over to something else. Part of the reason Leaf & Volt have managed to get a loyal following is that they were able to keep the prospective buyers engaged - and also deliver when promised (or say within 2 months of promise).

Ford needs to get the prototypes out to journalists to drive & write about. This is something that all companies do for even normal ICE cars. For something groundbraking like a plugin, they have to do even better. Take the car on a test drive throughout the country - like GM & Nissan did.

The total silence from Ford is baffling to say the least.
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