Last post on Jun 07, 2008 at 5:54 PM
You are in the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis
What is this discussion about?
Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Sedan
#133 of 152 $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline...
Mar 06, 2008 (12:31 am)
and the recently enacted 35 mpg by 2020 law are what will finally sink the CV/GM/TC. I'd be really surprised if production continues beyond the '09 model year. By then, there will be enough late model, low mileage used ones on the road to satisfy the ever diminishing demand. For proof, look at resale values for the '03-'07 models. Not very good, and proof that demand is declining.
Think about it; expensive gasoline will make these cars, rugged as they are, uneconomical for law enforcement and taxi service. For limo-type service the Taurus/Sable/(new for '09) Lincoln MKS will be better overall choices in the expensive gas era.
#134 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline... [hpmctorque]
Mar 06, 2008 (9:14 am)
expensive gas era. ??
That gas is expensive is no more true than it was 40 years ago when it was .35 a gallon.
If your income has not risen at least 10 times in the last 40 years, it is not the price of gas that is the problem.
Everything else has gone up. Why should gas be exempt from price increases?
#135 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline (euphonium)
Mar 06, 2008 (10:42 am)
Well, you make a good point there, but from what I've read, oil at $103/barrel just surpassed the old record established in '81, in inflation adjusted terms. I suppose much depends on how you want to look at it, but I think record high - and rising - gas prices will prove to be a strong headwind for the old body-on-frame big Fords.
I don't presume to know where gas prices will top out, or whether they'll stay high, but it's a virtual given that demand from China, India, and other emerging countries will continue to support relatively high prices.
#136 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline... [hpmctorque]
Mar 07, 2008 (11:31 pm)
You're right, the CV/GM/TC trio probably won't continue beyond the '09 model year, and definitely not past the '10 model, but it's not due to the gas mileage. It's due to another short-sighted decision from the ivory tower's executive round table. I'd be one of the first to admit that the Panther Trio in it's current configuration, is too long in the tooth to be a viable long term product offering. I just happen to believe that a nice facelift, a mild interior re-do, and a few up-dated gizmos would allow the old girls to soldier on for another 3-5 years (providing a sizeable up-tic in sales), until a new (worthy) rwd replacement could be brought to market. There hasn't been a significant face-lift in a decade, so they were long overdo, yet kept selling pretty well given the lack of attention afforded them, if you ask me. But alas, the time has come to bid adieu. Ford decided to move away from rwd platforms, in favor of fwd & awd. At the same time, GM and Chrysler developed a newfound affection for rwd, especially for their higher end cars, as did Lexus and Infiniti. And we all know what BMW, Jag and Benz feels about rwd; even Audi is moving to a rear-bias to their Quattro AWD system (especially for their high performance cars) to more simulate rwd predominant balance. And now, even Ford has recognized that it needs to re-develop more rwd offerings (duh!), and have started looking at their new Australian rwd platform for a possible North American adaptation. My question is: Ford, why give up your rear-wheel drive market to your competitors (even if for only a couple years), only to have to come back later and spend lots of money trying to win it back? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Sounds like another of those famous Ford blunders in the making to me.
Oh, and by the way hpmctorque, have you looked at the fuel economy ratings on the Taurus/Sable and even the Fusion/Milan/MKZ (no #'s on the MKS yet) compared to the CV/GM/TC? There's only between 2-4 mpg difference. And while that can represent a 10-15% improvement, many people would gladly trade that small of a difference for the other benefits the old Panther-girls offer. Things such as balance, durability, ride quality, stability, handling, safety, lower NVH, lower maintenance (especially front-end work), etcetera. When I take my Town Car on a road trip, let's say an 800+ mile round trip from Napa, CA to Los Angeles or Las Vegas. I average upwards of 21-22 mpg for the trip (and I average about 75+ mph trip speeds). Once I rented a Ford Fusion V6 for a trip to Las Vegas, thinking I'd save a lot of gas money. I only averaged 24 mpg for the trip, the ride quality while nice for a small car, was not even close to my Town Car. A lot buzzier, plus I felt a lot more exhausted and wound-up when I got there and when I got back home. The extra $13.00 I saved on the round trip (about 4 fewer gallons of gas $3.19 per gal), wasn't worth the lack of comfort, frustration and stress that came with the smaller, buzzier confines. What some people don't take into consideration is that those smaller, higher revving engines have to work a little harder than the loping, long legged, large car V8 engines when it comes to hill climbing and passing. And I don't believe they come anywhere close to the big, slower turning V8's when it comes to longevity either. I'm convinced that my Town Car's life expectancy is easily 250,000 or even 350,000 miles or more. I'd just like an updated version as would a lot of other people I know and talk to. And as far as gas goes, most of the big, comfy car buffs, like me, don't mind spending $200 - $250 a year in feeding costs for the benefits of a traditional, full sized rwd luxury car. Also I'm of the mind that there's no substitute for extra steel around you if in a major accident (say Town Car vs Accord in a head-on).
As for as law enforcement is concerned, there is no substitute for rugged, well balanced, reliable, durable and economical (maintenance & repair wise). Suspensions, steering racks, transaxles (transmissions), tire wear, cooling systems, and more on the Taurus for example, would cost law enforcement agencies far more than the additional fuel charges of the Crown Vic cruisers. California Highway Patrol (and other state's trooper agencies), along with large municipal law enforcement agencies (like L.A.P.D. and L.A. County S.O.) have intensive endurance testing programs for their police cruisers. And year after year, the old fuddy-duddy Ford Crown Vic just keeps on coming out on top, in spite of it's age and weaknesses. Besides, when you're responding to an officer in distress' call for back-up, or when in pursuit of a fleeing felony suspect (jumping over curbs & bottoming out on road dips), I don't think anyone is too concerned about another couple miles-per-gallon. Besides they're the government, they just pass the costs on to us. Taxi services are just as concerned or more about durability, longevity and maintenance costs, which once again tend to favor the good ole Crown Vic. And as far as limo & livery services are concerned, how many front wheel drive stretched limo's have you seen lately, even Cadillac DeVilles (DHS); they're almost as rare as stretched Hummers. Even the livery trade doesn't want fwd cars. They cost too much for maintenance & wear, reliability & durability is far worse, and comfort & ride quality is nowhere near as good. Next time you see a few limo drivers take your own unscientific poll, you'd be hard pressed to find 10% of the owners & operators who'll disagree with that. These people are business people, they don't buy Town Cars because they're all Lincoln enthusiasts; they buy them because they are the best product & value on the market for what they need. My question is: Why, why, why Ford, would you give up this market that has become your birthright, only to have to try and fight to get a piece of it back later? I just don't get it. The MKS, as nice as it is, will not really replace the Town Car with the limo & Livery market, sure you'll see a few stretched MKS' and executive livery cars (sort of a fashion statement, like a stretched Navigator). I think the Chrysler 300 will probably get the lion's share of that market, and Cadillac is working on a full size rwd vehicle that I'm sure will eventually take a piece of that market as well. When Ford does finally bring a viable rwd car to market 4 or 5 years from now, they'll have to fight to get back into that market, which will be expensive; and do you really expect Chrysler and GM to just hand their market share back to Ford, or do think they'll fight like the dickens to keep it?
#137 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline (euphonium) [hpmctorque]
Mar 08, 2008 (1:50 am)
The biggest reason oil is so high, is that among other things, it's priced in U.S. dollars. Have you noticed the beating the U.S. dollar has taken lately? It takes more U.S. dollars to buy just about any foreign commodity, or to take a vacation abroad, or just about anything else. It makes coming to America, or better yet buying up America very cheap for foreigners. If our currency were to strengthen by say 20% over the next year, oil prices would drop back to about $85/barrel or so. And then there's also world unrest in oil producing regions, there's heavy speculation, fear based hoarding, emerging markets competing for resources (India & China), and then there's manipulation by OPEC and the oil conglomerates. No doubt it's demand driven as well, and we need to become better stewards of our resources and the our children's futures.
Unfortunately, I believe we're being treated like drug addicts. The drugs are oil based products (gasoline, diesel, heating oil, etc.), the consuming public are the addicts, the oil companies are the pushers, and the oil producing nations are the growers & suppliers. The unfortunate part is that the government is in partnership with the suppliers and pushers, and their take is the taxes on the oil and gas. We need to change our habits, yes; but we need to take our nation back. Many of the billions our government is spending on the war in Iraq could be better spent on shoring up our infrastructure here at home, investing in the education of our youth, and subsidizing and partnering with U.S. auto makers, universities and research industries, in developing alternative technologies and sources of energy that would lead to our becoming energy independent. Now that I consider is in our national security interests. Unless the grand plan is to annex Iraq as our 51st state. Then that would solve our energy independence for a long time into the future, and P. M. Nuri Al-Maliki can become governor and the Iraqi people would be U.S. citizens; at least then we'd have a lucid reason for needing to clean up the mess we've got over there.
But as my friend euphonium was saying, it's not just the price of gas that's the problem, it's also the price of everything else (a lot of it tied to the price of gas) and the fact that incomes have not kept pace with inflation. Here in California, back in 1971. I was a young man with a young wife and new-born baby. Gas averaged about 35 cents p/gal (under 25 cents during gas wars), minimum wage was $1.65 p/hr. (fortunately as a young management trainee I was making a whopping $675 per/month), my rent on a small 2 bedroom apartment was $125 p/mo, and a good sized Baby Ruth candy bar was 10 cents. Today, gas is $3.50 per gallon (10x incr.), min. wage is $8.00 p/hr. in California (less than 5x incr.), a friend owns the building that my old apartment is in and he rents that same apartment for $1850 p/mo. (almost 15x incr.), and I saw a similar sized Baby Ruth candy bar in a convenience store the other day for $1.40 (14x incr., they call it a jumbo size now). Gas at 10x the 1971 price seems very high to most people (myself included), but as euphonium was saying, it's not as bad as with many other things or as bad as it could be. Hey 14x or 15x increase on gas would put us easily at $4.90 - $5.25 p/gal. (inflation adjusted of course). Just be glad it gas is a better bargain than Baby Ruth candy bars. And let's not consider the inflation rate of higher education, taxes, or health care. Then gas would really look like a bargain. Fortunately my income increased by about 25x 1971 rate, but it sure don't feel like I'm 25x better off, in fact I know I'm not. I wish it were 1971 again, things were so much simpler then.
#138 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline (euphonium) [peetiedog]
Mar 08, 2008 (1:04 pm)
$675 X 25 = $16,875 a month for income. That is great in my book. I like to see others do well. Congratulations on your success.
#139 of 152 Re: $4 & $5/Gallon Gasoline (euphonium) [euphonium]
Mar 08, 2008 (3:03 pm)
Maybe I should've said almost 25x, but it doesn't feel like 25x. Keep in mind, I live in California, you have to make twice as much to live half as well. Yea, I guess I'm still doing pretty well, all things considered; but my partners (the state & federal governments) are taking a much bigger slice of the pie than they used to. My taxes will choke a horse to death.
#140 of 152 Despite the
Mar 09, 2008 (8:04 pm)
difference in the dollar, there si still a part of me that believes the if (when) the US economy takes a cyclical downturn, we will be buying fewer things from China...when we buy fewer things they will be making fewer things and there won't be as many employed Chinese to buy that expensive gasoline...without the demand from Chindia (China and India, not my phrasing, but quite accurate) gas prices will fall, IMO, simply because Arabs can't eat it...or, put another way, if the US sneezes, China will get the flu...
Any thoughts on this master theory of mine???
#141 of 152 Re: Despite the [marsha7]
Mar 09, 2008 (10:19 pm)
Great theory, in theory; but in practice, the theory won't work, at least as far as Chindia (catchy, I like it) goes. The biggest problem is that most things that are made in China and India, are not made here; and if they are, the prices are much higher. And most Americans will almost always choose the cheaper product, rather than vote with their wallets for their own American industries & American workers. Most domestic manufacturing sectors have long since been decimated by foreign countries, like Japan, Taiwan, N. Korea and the Philippines. Now here comes China, India, Vietnam and Mexico to finish the job of making the United States totally a consuming market, with virtually no production ability of our own. When we decide to demand American made products, demand that our government require a level playing field or else we'll subsidize our own industries; yes require quality from those producers, but be willing to pay a little bit more to buy home grown; THEN we will be able to start turning this ship around. We've got to stop out-sourcing everything off-shore. If we don't, their won't be many people left here in the U.S. with the ability to buy their stuff anyway, because our people will not have jobs. And guess who those people are? Our children and grand-children! Soon we'll be like most 3rd world countries, a 2 class system: the rich 'Fat-Cats' and the poor 'Down-Trodden'. There won't be any middle-class here anymore, the new middle-class will be in the emerging markets like China and India.
As far as lowering gas prices, we need to work on our consumption habits and becoming energy independent, or like I said before, annex Iraq and make them the 51st state. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Free-Market System, but our energy dependence on foreign oil is fast becoming this country's #1national security issue. That and fresh potable water will become the cause of wars that our children will fight in the future. So get ready. We need to demand that our political leaders take some of the billions and billions of dollars being spent on the Iraq war and on propping up other countries, and spend it here at home subsidizing education, clean air & water, new technologies, and alternative sources of energy. Then, we might stand a chance of competing against Chindia. Just one man's observation. But enough said on that, what can we do to get Ford Motor Co. to bring new world-class rwd replacements for the CV/GM/TC to market, and to give the current Panther trio a significant facelift/re-engineering job, so they can soldier on another 4 or 5 years until the new replacements are ready?
Oh, and that old addage "When America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold", well that'll soon be gone if we don't watch out. Soon it'll be "When America sneezes, it just means she's catching a cold"! The handwriting is on the wall, and we'd better heed it's warnings. It's sorta like the famous question that Ebenezer Scrooge asked the Spirit of Christmas Future, "Are these visions of things that must be, or of things that might be?". Hopefully we aren't going the way of many of the dominant empires of old, like the Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires. WE'VE BEEN WARNED!
Mar 10, 2008 (9:42 am)
While I am not an automotive engineer, somehow I cannot believe they cannot update and tweak the current Crown Vic platform/chassis with a 275-300 HP V6 or V8 engine that gets decent gas mileage ( most of the newer cars do not break 30 mpg, so it is not like their engineering is space-age) and update the interior for minimal expense into, say, the early 2000s (not yet 2008) and a little new sheetmetal on the outside...if they can badge engineer at GM, Ford can take a safe and paid-for platform, add some updates at truly minimal expense, advertise a family sedan with safety and decent mpg, and an interior that would attract somebody other than a 60-plus adult...if younger folks can like a CTS/DTS/STS, why can't Ford change some interior design and sheetmetal to not look like your grandfather's Model T and keep the car???
Once again, Ford's strategy never seems to make much sense to me...