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Old 03-30-2012, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ford Adds Efficiency Engineers and Dell Model Of Production

Two news items out yesterday. First, the advanced engineering center in Dearborn, Michigan will be the center around which it consolidates its efforts to develop hybrids and other electrified vehicles.

Second. Although Ford had hinted at this before, it is stating flat out now that it does not intend to have dozens of Focus Electric sitting around on lots waiting to be bought. “Ford dealers across the US will boast one demonstration vehicle and customers will then be able to order the car and receive their model within around four to six weeks.”

It is kind of an eye brow raiser because the reality is that large chunks of the car buying public does NOT buy cars this way. One can’t help but wonder if Ford will lose out on sales, if Nissan Leafs are available in every flavor, right now, right down the road.

The suggestion is that this is a cost savings measure for Ford, but the Nissan Leaf is $2000 to $5000 less so at this point they don’t appear to be passing on any cost savings to the buyer. Ford’s feature set is better in my opinion, but not sure how widely this opinion is shared, and even for me it is not clear that it is $5k better. In my view this is more a revenue propping measure, than a cost saving measure. By maintaining a strict supply, they do not have to discount to move stagnant inventory.

The only new revelation was that “a European launch is also slated for later this year” According to Mike Tinskey at Ford. How cool is it that? Two mass produced cars are going to be built in America and sold in Europe? I REPEAT CARS BUILT IN AMERICA WILL BE SOLD IN EUROPE. First the Volt. Now the Focus Electric. It is no coincidence that it is electric vehicles leading this importation train to Europe.

Props to DWF1. He had speculated that “it is doubtful Ford has "sold" any Ford Focus Electric Vehicles (FFEV) to the general public.” And so it is “after successfully delivering the first wave of vehicles to commercial partners, such as Google, Florida Power and Light and Microsoft, late last year.”

This promise of 4 to 6 weeks from order to delivery is nice, but is clearly not being implemented in the first wave. DWF1 tell us that “I ordered my FFEV 11/29/11. I have a VIN number, I am told it will be delivered early April (2012)” Ditto for me. I ordered March 25, 2012 and was told to expect an October 2012 delivery.

“Ford research shows that consumers are more apt to buy electrified automobiles if it takes less than four years to recoup the higher vehicle cost, assuming gasoline costs $4.50 a gallon.”

Ford isn’t saying that the cost of their vehicles can be recouped in 4 years, they are saying that is their goal for the future.

“It would take 12 years to break even on a Chevy Volt with gas at $4 a gallon, auto research group Edmunds.com said. Both Ford and Edmunds.com assume the average consumer drives 15,000 miles a year.”

Not sure why Ford would bring this up, since the Volt and Focus EV both start around the same price.

Regardless, Edmunds bases that number on some faulty assumptions. Among which is the fact that Edmunds only managed to drive on electricity 43% of the time. That percentage ranks them 655 out of 687 on http://www.voltstats.net. Put another way 654 managed to do better, and many of them bought their cars halfway across the country. The fleet average is over 71%. I put 18300 miles on the Volt in the first year, and 92% of those were electric miles.

More typical for the average consumer would be the results from Kiplinger’s which showed that a Volt could make up the cost difference in just over 5 years if gas were $3.50 and rose 3% per year.

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news...ctric-vehicles

http://www.freep.com/article/2012032...nd-hybrid-team

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...,2414660.story
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ford Adds Efficiency Engineers and Dell Model Of Product

Marc Lee - Monday is 4/2/2012... You can bet you will be reading my post later in the evening. I am hopeful I will receive good news, but frankly, I would have expected some calls by now, so I am doubtful. You will hear the results of my phone conversation with the dealer.
My order has definetly been clouded by the terrible lack of information. As a businessman whose is acutely aware of today's need for customer service, it is astounding to me the lack of customer information provided by Ford and their dealerships with this new automobile.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ford Adds Efficiency Engineers and Dell Model Of Product

Yes I am very curious to see how your delivery plays out. Which reminds me, how long did it take to get a VIN after you ordered?

Clearly Ford wants to keep a tight lid on this rollout. I can understand wanting to "control the story," but keeping a customer in the dark is not good. Part of what built the camaraderie over at http://www.-gm-volt.com was tracking and talking about the vehicle in production and delivery. People were engaged and talking about their vehicles months even years before they had them on hand.

This is I suppose a natural result of something Bob Lutz has complained about often. There is a taciturn inclination in the auto industry. He says the thinking is "just don't say anything to screw it up." The problem as he points out is that you give up the opportunity to communicate something meaningful. He was talking about how they communicate with the press, but what we are dealing with here is a result of this mentality. In this case the opportunity to begin bonding the customer with your company and the car itself and other owners is squandered.

Look forward to your post. If it is ok with you I was thinking to post it to the associated facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/fordfocuselectric
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ford Adds Efficiency Engineers and Dell Model Of Product

[quote][ how long did it take to get a VIN after you ordered?
/quote]

I ordered 11/29/2011 and received my vin # 2/21/2012. Approximentaly 9 weeks into the order.

You may post anything I post up on this public website. I have seen the Ford Focus Facebook page, however, I was unnerved at how few people comment or even like the page. Once again a failure on the part of Ford to promote this product.

I have read numerous times how "low key" they want this roll out to be. Perhaps that is good thinking on the part of Ford after witnessing what the Volt went through.

Were I a dealer, believe me, when that first FFEV was delivered there would be a big news release. Now don't think I am feeling chinched by Ford, but I kinda am

I am so proud of my effort environmentaly, economically, technically, etc... It just seems the mind set of the public and the nation has turned south on environmental issues. Believe me when that Greenland glacier slids into the ocean there will be some mighty surprised and dead people. We have the time, we just don't have the political and personal will to do what needs to be done. (Don't mean to be political, but that is one of the reasons I am purchasing this automobile.)
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