Ford Closes European Order Books On Focus And Fiesta Small Cars

Morning Dump Ford Fiesta

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

2021 Ford Focus St Outdoor 02
Photo credit: Ford

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

Taycan 4s
Photo credit: Porsche

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

V60 Cross Country B5 Awd, Onyx Black
Photo credit: Volvo

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

Aston Martin Wings Badge Production 07
Photo credit: Aston Martin

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.

The Flush

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

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56 Responses

  1. I still have some time on my Sirus XM trial that I’m enjoying until it runs out. I like the service ok but not enough to pay for it. I’m mostly shuffling between the Lithium station (90’s alt & grunge, though it does tend to stray), 1st Wave (mostly 80’s New Wave), Ozzy’s Bone Yard (Metal), and Tom Petty’s station (I never knew how much his guitarist Mike Campbell sounded like Tom). If the signal cuts out at the drive-thru ATM or in a car wash, I’ll switch it over to my playlists off my phone which is a mix of Super Chunk, Johnny Cash, Dinosaur Jr., ZZ Top, Nirvana, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Franz Ferdinand, and some Daft Punk for good measure.

    1. I felt the same about SXM until about 8 months of successive attempts to get me to join after my trial ended, it finally made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse.

      Like in the order of metal money per day. Absolutely worth it, esp as you can stream on your devices too.

      If you haven’t already, check out the other stuff in the mid-30s alternative area – 35 and 36. Same idea as 33 and 34, just 21st century stuff.

    2. I have, for several years now, paid $60 a year on an annual basis. Each year when it’s about to roll over to the $17.99/month I just call and ask them to pay $60/year up front and they always “check” to see if the promotion is still available to me, and it is. After taxes and royalties it’s about $73, which is totally worth it as I use it in the car and also listen via browser at work.

  2. My 4 year old keeps singing The Wellerman, which prompted me to find an old CD from a defunct Canadian group called Cuillin that’s very “sea shanty adjacent.”

    I was unaware my cars CD slot is actually a 6 disc changer previously.

    Otherwise it’s classic country.

  3. Like many my age, I didn’t hear it when it first came out, so I’ve got “Running Up That Hill” going fairly regularly on my playlist.

    Other than that, I’ve been trying to get back into country. Not the Nashville Pop pap that gets churned out by the port-a-potty full, but some of the more independent acts. Turnpike Troubadours, Charley Crockett, Flatland Cavalry, Corb Lund, Greensky Bluegrass, and last but definitely not least James McMurty

    If you haven’t heard Choctaw Bingo by Mr McMurty, give yourself a listen. Man knows smalltown America

    1. I was around for the original, but I actually like the Meg Meyers remake from 3 years ago a little better.

      (and somewhat surprisingly, it’s not getting much play, unlike say when the popularity of Weezer’s Africa boosted the Toto original as well)

    2. I was around for the original Running, but I actually like the Meg Meyers remake from 3 years ago a little better.

      (and somewhat surprisingly, it’s not getting much play, unlike say when the popularity of Weezer’s Africa boosted the Toto original as well)

  4. Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, U2, Naked Eyes, Paul van Dyk, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, The Cure, Erasure, OMD, New Order, Joy Division, KLF and so on. I got old and so did my music.

    Here in my car
    I feel safest of all
    I can lock all my doors
    It’s the only way to live in cars
    Here in my car
    I can only receive
    I can listen to you
    It keeps me stable for days in cars

  5. Regarding the Focus/Fiesta situation it’s sad to hear of the continuing inevitable slide towards nothing but crossovers for normie transportation. In 2018 I got my Fiesta ST new for a song (under $20k out the door in California) and it has been a wonderful four years of ownership. It has been very well put together, zero problems, nothing but normal maintenance items for expenses, and it has been a giant blast to hoon. I consistently get the giggles every time I experience that perfect neutral-to-slight oversteer balance at the limits.

    1. I’ve got a boring old ’10 Focus SE that I love.

      She’s easy to live with and work on, plenty competent/fun on the road, and just the right amount of Ford period-specific cheeseball foolishness (e.g. boy racer style black on white gauges and fake aluminum trim) to make me happy. And it fits easily in every single parking space.

      It really says something about a car line when even mass-market everyday versions can be enjoyable. I’ve always respected how the European market is a bastion of that ethos, so I’m saddened to see what looks like new writing on the wall.

    2. If the government would close the EPA fleet loophole for AWD vehicles, it would be reasonable for automakers to sell cars again. It doesn’t help that it’s hard to feel safe in a car with all these jacked-up vehicles on the road, and that the wage freeze has been a problem way before inflation.

      Corporate leaders are going to run us into a permanent recession with their massive wage packages with no concern for actual consumers. History repeatedly shows that you need a solid middle class for economies to thrive.

  6. I’m not sure why, but my last two long drives were soundtracked mostly by The Marshall Tucker Band.

    I knew they had some good stuff, but I never realized how much of their catalog I like.

    (A few Allman Brothers tunes and similar crept in along the way, too.)

  7. My driving records this year so far have been Rosalía’s ‘Motomami’, Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul’s ‘Tropical Dancer’ and the eponymous debut album by Wet Leg. I have also found myself going back to Kelly Lee Owens’ amazing 2020 album ‘Inner Song’ quite often.

    When I’m driving at night I just put on Burial’s entire discography on shuffle.

  8. With my usual ride in the shop (I get it back today!), I have been listening to FM radio. Specifically, I have been listening to local classic rock station KKGL 96.9 The Eagle. They got my support after responding to criticism about a pride-theme logo by saying they would keep it up longer and didn’t need the sorts of easily offended fans who had a problem with it.

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future Ford discontinued all cars in Europe and only offered SUVs/CUVs/trucks, regardless of how well small cars were selling. The auto industry has gotten so large that it can ignore entire segments of customers and force customers to only have available what the industry wants them to buy, and not necessarily offer what the customer inherently wants. Throw in relentless advertising(billions of dollars worth) over the decades to manipulate consumer tastes and create “needs” for the products offered, combined with bribing government officials(called “lobbying” in the U.S.), and it’s little wonder why the modern automotive landscape is so dismal. In the U.S., whenever the industry goes under when consumers decide they don’t want what is offered(as was the case with large SUVs/trucks clogging dealer lots post 2008 crash), the industry repeatedly gets taxpayer-funded bailouts.

    It’s little wonder why Tesla has grown so much and gotten a cult following. They’ve actualy offered something different. Their cars are generally substance over style, which is an extreme rarity in the automotive landscape and a niche that has gone unfulfilled for many decades, at least when it comes to cars the middle class and upper-middle class can afford. They offered electric cars while for decades the auto industry argued no one would ever buy them, and Tesla couldn’t keep up with demand. Now the rest of the industry is scrambling to catch up. People want efficient, reliable, economical cars that aren’t penalty boxes, and Tesla mostly delivered(albeit their quality control could use some improvements).

    This desire for inexpensive performance coupled with efficiency and low fueling cost can also be noted in cars that retain their value on the used market. Used Toyota Corollas/Camrys, and Honda Civics/Accords retain their value extremely well on the used market. Most people can’t afford new cars, and have to settle for used, and this is a tell regarding what most people truly want to drive. Inexpensive, efficient, reliable, economical to operate, with fun driving dynamics. The antithesis of that, oversized heavily-feature-laden luxury vehicles with high maintenance costs, rapidly lose value on the used market in contrast, another tell.

    The reason new penalty box cars don’t sell well is that they are STILL priced beyond the means of the average people that would otherwise buy them. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and don’t even have $1,000 in savings, so a sub-$20k Mitsubishi Mirage is still out of reach, and a used Honda for $10k makes more sense. If that used Honda got 80 mpg instead of 35 mpg, it would appeal even more to your average person. Unfortunately the upper 20% that can afford to buy new are driving the market, and to them, money is less an object and they greatly prefer style over substance in order to flash their wealth around, or at least imbibe the perception of said wealth.

    Europe’s gas prices are so much higher than those in the U.S. that substance becomes more important than style to buyers. But even then, the auto industry refuses to deliver the most efficient/reliable vehicles it can for a given amount of cost, utility, safety, and performance. Planned obsolescence still reigns supreme. Eventually, this could be the death of most of the auto industry altogether as the world’s resources become more scarce, barring of course, repeated taxpayer-funded bailouts to keep them alive. In the U.S., China is likely to eventually take the majority of the auto industry over, that is, unless the established manufacturers continue to lobby(bribe politicians) for stricter regulations to keep inexpensive competition out, which they undoubtedly will. A sub $20k EV with 200 miles range and Ferrari-like performance is doable 10 years ago and really isn’t rocket science, and eventually some Chinese company is going to realize this and put such a thing out.

    1. “force customers to only have available what the industry wants them to buy, and not necessarily offer what the customer inherently wants”

      “The reason new penalty box cars don’t sell well is that they are STILL priced beyond the means of the average people that would otherwise buy them. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and don’t even have $1,000 in savings, so a sub-$20k Mitsubishi Mirage is still out of reach, and a used Honda for $10k makes more sense.”

      It sounds like automakers are responding to the inherent wants of the people who actually buy new vehicles.

      People who buy bigger used cars do so because they can’t afford a new version of that car. There isn’t some hidden desire for small cars out there waiting to break through if only someone will finally offer them what they finally want. For a century, Americans have consistently voted with their wallets for larger vehicles with more power. Now that those vehicles are capable of better efficiency than ever before, there’s even less tradeoff and even fewer reasons that a small car makes sense. Europeans are starting to figure out the same thing.

      1. I don’t like large cars and there are plenty of people like me. These companies want to stop building compact cars because the profit margins are much smaller. I get it, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for new, cheap, small cars. Buying a new car is usually a much better deal than buying used. It’s usually easier to finance, you get a warranty, you get the latest technology. All of that shouldn’t be kept from people of modest means.

      2. “It sounds like automakers are responding to the inherent wants of the people who actually buy new vehicles.”
        Sure, but this is because only the wealthy can afford new cars due to the ever expanding income gap in America. In Europe, the average new car buyer is still middle class or at least concerned with economy and resale value.
        Even here, they seem to prefer selling things people don’t really want: My coworker wanted to buy something vaguely sporting but is now getting an X6 M40i (or whatever that horror show is called) instead, because the leasing deals are simply staggering.

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  11. Havent found anything particularly summery to get into yet this summer, but over the past few weeks have been listening to the new(ish) albums from Belle and Sebastian, Foals, IDLES, Röyksopp, Wet Leg, and the Streets

  12. Ahhhh…. my ride was built in 05, with mechanicals going back to 03 and electronics going back to 92.

    Ive got a single disk Cd Plr going with a bookbag behind my seats with 2 Cd “books”. I got Country = Jerry Reed, Walyon Jennings, Johnny Cash. I got some Stones, The Who, U2, Fleetwood… all kinds of stuff.

    Been into Stranger Things.. and since this world is VERY nearly The Upside Down… I wish I had some more Synthwave ( besides Depesche Mode and INXS.)

    I dont use my device while in my vehicle.

    I dont stream anything to my vehicle. (The concept of having a device, thats attached at my hip to draw in music from a satellite or shortwave towers for my enjoyment. No, I think I will rather put a CD in.)

  13. Ford is doing the opposite over here, built to order only for the Maverick, and they want to do the same for the rest of their lineup.

    Don’t forget, Ford quit using the PowerShit and went back to a regular automatic after they stopped selling them here. They did it on purpose to sabotage small cars in the US market.

  14. In the car right now I’ve got a couple early Zeppelin CDs, and the Dead’s Closing of the Winterland. Still can’t find my Foghat Stone Blue CD-yeah, it’s cheesy 70s rock, but that bluesy bass does just drive me.

    I do a fair few miles in the work van, so my Clapton Blues Pandora channel serves me there: set the cruise, bop & smile

  15. Single disc player in my car and a big book of CD’s in the back (man I’m glad people don’t steal CD’s anymore).
    Lately I’ve been on a steady rotation of three albums that will never get old to me.
    The Beastie Boys “Ill Comunication”
    Polyphia “New Levels New Devils”
    Snarky Puppy “We Like It Here”

    So so good!

  16. >I’d love to know what you’ve been listening to lately while on the road.

    After a cross-country move (upstate NY to NorCal) made possible by Arch Enemy’s complete discography occasionally punctuated by our cat’s angry mrrrrowls (he really, *really* hates car rides), 100% of my driving has been volunteering to drive my wife to/from work just to get some wheel time.

    She’s an indie gal and I’ve never grown out of my high school metal phase, so we decided to meet halfway and listen to CHVRCHES. Since then, I’ve caught myself humming Get Out a little too often…

  17. >I’d love to know what you’ve been listening to lately while on the road
    I’ve been doing a lot of night driving for errands and relaxation since it’s been too fcking hot to leave the house during the day. When I leave after dark, I have a bunch of synthwave playlists on spotify queued up. I’ll listen to anything with 80’s John Carpenter vibes while I’m under the highway streetlights, doubly so if it has a sax solo in the middle.

  18. When I had to unexpectedly replace a car, I got a 3 month SiriusXM trial and it was my companion on a road trip to the Lane Museum (among other places). Figured I’d let someone else program the music for a bit. Still not enough variety in the playlist on normal days. But they did do a great job on Ringo Starr’s birthday.

    Normally, though, I have my curated playlists on my devices (iPod Touch and my cell phone). Sometimes I want a specific decade in popular music. Sometimes I want happy. Sometimes I want heavier and loud and I have playlists for it.

    1. Same here. I’m a very moody person and sometimes just want a particular sound at a particular time. Even the themed stations tend to move away from that at times. I also don’t want to hear people jabber on. I like a little info about songs, performers, or albums; but I can’t stand them trying to be funny when they’re not. It’s why I haven’t really listed to terrestrial radio in years either.

  19. I put my iPhone on shuffle and see what comes up. The mix is varied, Heavy Metal, The Entertainer, Redfoo, DeadMau5, Lone Ranger theme, Command and Conquer music, Baby Metal…..

    I have a strange set of musical tastes.

  20. I’ve been on a ’90s alt-country kick recently. Lots of Wilco, Jayhawks, Golden Smog, Grant Lee Buffalo, stuff like that.

    And just last week, I was introduced to a fantastic band called The Night Flight Orchestra, who sound like you took the best parts of ’70s arena rock, and the best parts of ’80s MTV, and distilled them down to their essence. It’s an homage that doesn’t sound derivative at all, but sounds like it could be a record from 40 years ago you just never heard. Wonderful stuff.

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