Today on The Morning Dump: European customers can no longer order popular small Ford Focus and Fiesta models, Porsche updates the Taycan, Volvo forecasts flat sales. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Ford Pumps The Brakes On Focus, Fiesta Orders
It was genuinely a sad day when Ford announced discontinuation of the Fiesta and Focus in America. For years, we’ve watched longingly as Europeans get sensible hatchbacks and hot ST models, cars that do everything most people need cars to do without being excessive. While we still can’t buy new Fiesta and Focus models, we can now at least commiserate with Europeans, for Ford is reportedly closing order banks across the pond.
According to news outlet Automobilwoche, an arm of Automotive News, Ford is transitioning to pre-built Focus and Fiesta models to get through the chip shortage, a very American strategy that’s sure to piss off anyone interested in a unique spec.
“Due to the good customer demand, however, also due to the production situation, we currently have delivery times of up to 12 months in some cases for various model series,” a Ford spokesperson told Automobilwoche.
“We closed free order availability for our dealers on the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta, among others, some time ago,” the spokesman said. “However, we are offering available production volume to our dealers in the form of pre-specified units based on customer demand.”
Honestly, it’s a bit of a shame to see European production transition to an American “buy whatever’s on the lot” mentality, even if just for the short term. I guess it’s safe to say that the new car market really isn’t out of the woods yet, so expect that to play havoc on the used car market for some time to come.
Porsche Updates The Taycan
Another model year brings another round of updates for Porsche’s electric masterpiece. While over-the-air updates are a big draw of connected cars, the 2023 Porsche Taycan takes things one step further by offering hardware changes in addition to software changes.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about massive hardware changes here. The panoramic roof can now be made from variable-opacity electrochromic glass, the Taycan S Aero wheel design adopts a dual-tone finish, while prewiring for dashcam installation is also available. See? Fairly mundane. However, software changes are a little bit more extensive, and they promise to make their way to other Taycan models as part of a software update.
Battery preconditioning has reportedly been improved in order to speed up charging, while the front motor on dual-motor models now deactivates in Normal and Range driving modes for the sake of efficiency. Other upgrades include an all-wheel-drive display for dual-motor cars, wireless Android Auto, regenerative braking setting memory, and tweaks to the infotainment UI and heads-up display. While Porsche claims these software updates will roll out to all Taycans, no timeline has been given as of today. Honestly, I’m curious to see what impact deactivating the front motor will have on the range of dual-motor cars. It may not offer much of a change, but even the potential for a few more miles of range would be greatly appreciated.
Volvo Sales Aren’t Looking So Hot
Another month, another mixed-bag report from the new car side of the industry, this time from Volvo. According to Reuters, the Swedish carmarker experienced a mixture of pain and profit last quarter, with the best-case forecast for the rest of this year ending with no year-over-year increase in sales.
In fact, an overall sales dip is quite likely. While Volvo has massively benefited from the listing of Polestar and the Swedish automaker sees supply chain issues easing, full-scale output likely isn’t on the table. Let’s see what Reuters has to say.
“However, due to the time lag between production and retail deliveries, those improvements are not expected to result in an increase in retail sales during the calendar year,” the company said.
Volvo Chief Executive Jim Rowan said the company would “keep an eye on” consumer sentiment, not least due to higher inflation.
Ah yes, that all sounds very pragmatic and realistic. Very plausible forecasting from the Swedes there. Consumer sentiment will be a huge one to watch, especially as the era of dirt-cheap auto credit comes to a close. Higher APRs and reduced consumer confidence could very well translate to fewer sales. While this could help tip the scale slightly back towards consumers’ favor, reduced demand also means reduced supply.
Aston Martin Has A New Logo
It’s a bit of a strange era for Aston Martin right now. The British brand is gearing up its most diverse lineup ever. It’ll consist of mid-engined sports cars, front-engined sports cars and GTs, SUVs, a little bit of everything for the modern era. Well, a modern era requires a mildly modernized logo, so Aston Martin has put its own tasteful new twist on its iconic winged logo.
I normally can’t stand simplification of logos, but I feel like this one works. Unique fonts and style elements are largely retained, and the decision to remove one detail line in order to enlarge the wordmark is a smart branding decision. Best of all, you really need to look close to notice the differences, but they make a world of difference in terms of legibility. That’s the true mark of a good design update to an iconic logo, when the improvement is a subtle and honorable one.
Expect dealer materials to switch over to the new logo in the next six months, with the first car wearing the new badge debuting next year. In addition, the new logo should end up in Formula 1 at some point, a pretty big boost for the new branding.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Wednesday, everyone! We made it to the middle of the week. We listen to a lot of music in cars, from stacking CD changers to shuffling a Spotify playlist. As summer driving season is in full swing, I’d love to know what you’ve been listening to lately while on the road.
Lead photo credit: Ford