SEARCH BLOG: AUTOMOBILES and POLITICS
There are national politics and corporate politics. Sometimes, they work together to prevent anything from actually happening. For example, the U.S. government has its own set of regulations for vehicles and the European nations another set. You can make a car that is perfectly acceptable in Europe and it will draw millions of dollars in fines if you import it to the U.S.
Large U.S. automobile corporations are focused on the bottom line. If it takes several hundred dollars to convert a small European sedan for the U.S. market, conventional corporate wisdom is to build something different that is designed specifically for the U.S. market. So, you get two automobile companies under one banner with limited sharing. It is also great for "empire builders" within these corporations.
Under Alan Mulally, Ford's CEO since September of 2006, this may change. Vehicles from Europe won't actually be imported from Europe. They will be built somewhere in North America. The first of the cars may be a small vehicle that will replace the present Focus... a competent, but unexciting vehicle.
Still, I wouldn't hold my breath to see these coming to the U.S.:
I'm sure Mr. Mulally would love to bring in many European models into a U.S. marketplace that is rapidly changing toward vehicles the Europeans have.
Ford Europe released the latest on its redesigned Mondeo, which premiered in lights of lime during last year's Bond vehicle "Casino Real." It played an airport rental car, which won't necessarily different from the real European Mondeo. But the first manifestation of Ford Europe's "kinetic design" language is too well designed to be relegated to rental hell. It's debuting in Geneva in four-door, five-door and wagon models, ahead of sale this June.
2008 Ford Mondeo[maybe it will show up as a new "Taurus"]
He'd probably start today... if the U.S. government started thinking globally as well.Of course, some of those wouldn't sell here anyway because they have small, efficient, powerful, turbo-diesel engines... and the government has helped ensure a shortage of diesel refining capacity... or haven't you noticed that once-cheap diesel now sells for about a 20% premium over gasoline?
The government wants you to conserve fuel... and makes that as difficult as possible...