Some businesses have learned to use this free tool as an integral part of their business. This Wall Street Journal article features a roofing company using it to give estimates, but landscapers and pool maintenance companies can use it a marketing tool to find clients.
Friday, 27th of July, 2007
Thursday, 26th of July, 2007
But at a time when Chrysler and GM were rapidly coming up with ways to add SUVs to their lineup, you have a bizzare situation where you walk into a Ford dealership and you have the choice of five completely different sedans. For most automakers two to three is enough - compact, mid-sized, and full-sized if you're bold. Of course since Taurus doesn't start with an "F" we would expect that it would get dropped soon, and indeed it was gone for 2007. But now they had a new problem - when one of the millions of people out there with a Ford Taurus walks into a Ford dealer and wants to trade it in for something, they're going to be a little confused as to what car they're supposed to be looking to replace it with. Even though the Fusion is a nicely engineered vehicle, it really looks like a kid's car - not exactly a Taurus replacement. Move one step up, and you have the big Five Hundred, which may be a little too big, too heavy, and too slow for many people (3.0L V6 towing almost 4000 pounds of car). They're better off walking across the street and buying an Impala. Or worse, an Accord or Camry.
Ford finally realized there was no amount of marketing on the Fusion that could offset losing Taurus customers, and worked out a compromise to their F-car strategy - for 2008 they renamed the Five Hundred to the Taurus. Fortunately, Ford also had a new V6 engine to allow it to compete with everyone else - the 3.5L Cyclone. They even have something for you if you're trading in your Taurus wagon - the Taurus X is going to be a facelifted Freestyle, also with the Cyclone.
That leaves us with one last question - what's going to happen to the Crown Victoria? Well if you go to the Ford website, the car is no longer available. Apparently for 2008 it will be available for fleet sales only - which makes sense because there are a lot of orders still to be won there. But Ford is going to rest with the Five Hundred/Taurus being their flagship sedan, powered by only one drivetrain choice, a 3.5L V6. When Chevy did this with the Impala, they had some tricks up their sleeve, like the supercharged L67 from the Grand Prix. Then they took that a step further and adapted the small block V8 to a transverse mount.
So what's Ford going to do? It would surprise me if they can pull off a GM and adapt a V8 truck engine to transverse mount. The solution - the TwinForce Cyclone. While GM has had a history of using superchargers to boost power on a small engine, Ford's had a bit of success with turbochargers, usually with Mazda (or more recently, Volvo) expert help. (The turbo Mustang, Probe, and Focus come to mind.) Ford's going to put two turbos on the Cyclone, producing 430 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Welcome back Taurus SHO.
Tuesday, 24th of July, 2007
Here's a piece from last week - If you're concerned about global warming, or the general idea of human behaviour altering our climate, let's start by asking the Chinese to stop firing rockets into the sky to control the weather. They've gone as far as to guarantee no rain during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But we're not just talking about a few weeks of the summer of 2008 here - this is what's more disturbing:
Monday, 23rd of July, 2007
If my life consisted of just the regular people in life - home, family, friends, and work, it's blissful. (Both the old and the new work, those are pieces of good news.) But it's the other people that I don't know in this world - the people in their cars, in the store, and in the theatres - that seem unable to pass me by without taking a bite out of me. An observation - most people bite back, and we live in a rat of a world where people have a habit of biting people they don't know just because they don't like something about them.
I can see why some people subscribe to the model that life is about winning a little here, losing a little there, and it kind of evens out in the end. An attachment to that model is that if you win a little more than you lose, you get ahead in life. While I don't exactly live by this, I do see how it can enable you to sleep peacefully at night, especially if you have an economics/political science background. Eventually the accounting catches up with you, though, as you start to fully realize all the losses you've never accounted for, and you have to find a different model. Perhaps you've fallen asleep by then.
Picture - Enough said on the distraction. Let's move on now with a picture of a TD04 turbo.