Thursday, September 15, 2005
I had a ride in a Rover 75 this morning while (or whilst?) on a trip to Cambridge. It was blue/grey colored with a petrol v6. Cambridge is a beautiful small city north of London with a population of around 100 thousand. One of my goals in life is to buy a Rover 75, either used, or perhaps in Chinese guise. It really is a great looking car, the size is just right, only eccentrics drive them, and the engineering is by BMW. And they're incredibly cheap right now as well. I guess the equivalent would be a British expat buying a Buick LaCrosse while living in America.
A few posts ago I commented on how luxury brands were viewed by the British and Europeans in general. "Big Ford Fan" asked how Ford was viewed by the British. It is actually viewed quite well, with the European spec Focus considered very highly by the public. Ford is the best selling brand in Britain, and as I said before, many Europeans don't even realize that Ford is an American company. And in a sense it isn't an American company, but a wholly owned subsidiary in Europe that develops its own cars. It undoubtedly borrows a lot of parts from the American part of the company, but the engineering and design are usually American. Other than the Ford GT, I can't think of an American engineered Ford currently on sale here. Well there is the Maverick, or what is known as the Escape in the US. I have not seen one since I've been here.
I was at a conference this past week that had nothing to do with cars, but in the midst of schmoozing with people at the conference, I inevitably brought up cars, and how people felt about them. Vauxhall, which is really Opel, which is really GM's subsidiary in Europe has a poor reputation, even though the new Astra has been well received. VW, Ford, Renault, Peugeot are the powerhouses for the middle and lower classes. There are many Peugeot 206s in London, including a few on my street. (I realize I photographed a while back a 206 and said it was a 307, my bad.) I've peeked into the cabin of a few, and they look decent. If something comes between my dream of owning a Rover 75 (like rationality), I would consider a Peugeot. As an ex-pat, I think owning a car I could get in America is a little silly. And my last car for the past four years was Japanese, so I think the odds are that I will purchase a European marque. Of the three French brands, Renault, Citroen, and Peugeot, the only one I find attractive is Peugeot. The other two are just too ugly. And if I had a little more money, I would love to own an Alfa. I really think for the money they are the best looking cars on the road. Though maybe not the best cars overall.
More in a couple days...
The fact is that Ford was one of the first global auto manufacturers, having had plants in Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and South America for many years, before anyone had coined the term "Global."
Ford owns all of their global units, and does allow them in Europe and Australia, to design local market cars. In Africa and South america, there is not much local design, with the exception of the EcoSport.