Good Wednesday morning and welcome back to The Autopian’s yet-to-be-renamed morning news roundup. On tap for you today: Ford will pay you to go away, then it may pay its European plant to go to BYD; Tesla’s Autopilot is slipping in the ratings; and the electrified Honda Civic is back. Let’s do this thing.
Cash For Broncos
Think the auto industry’s supply crunch is over? Think again. Ford debuted the insanely popular Bronco at a very unfortunate time — right in the middle of the pandemic — and that’s kept a lot of models from reaching buyers’ driveways. The automaker has a bunch of Bronco orders it needs to fill, and now it’s going to pay you cash money if you consider another Bronco trim level or switch to another model entirely.
Automotive News explains it thusly:
That excludes the Mustang Mach-E. I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing: get a $2,500 cancellation discount and then a $7,500 EV tax credit for that car, right? But no, it doesn’t work that way. Probably because the Mach-E is facing similar supply and demand challenges. Sad.
Here’s what Ford has to say about the matter:
“One of the primary challenges and why we’re talking this morning is: Ramping up hardtop production with our supplier partner Webasto has been a bit more challenging. We’re still not where we need to be on volume and quality on the two and four-door hardtops.”“Embarrassed to say, but we did catch this early, and we’re doing the right thing. During pre-delivery inspections, we found out that these molded-in-color hardtop roofs didn’t meet our standards,” Marentic continued before making it clear that this issue does not impact the top’s functionality.
“It causes, and could cause, an unsatisfactory cosmetic appearance. So what we’re doing — we need to do this right — we’re replacing all hard-top roofs for customers who have either taken delivery, as well as those that are waiting at dealers … and then we’re also going to replace all the roofs that have been built and awaiting final release at the Michigan Assembly Plant.”
“It’s cosmetic, or could be cosmetic,” Marentic made clear, saying owners can keep driving and “posting the way they’re posting and showing what this vehicle is capable of.”
The molded-in-color nightmare continues for The Blue Oval. -DT]
Ford’s German Plant To Build Some Dreams Instead?
Officials from Ford‘s management in Germany are planning to travel to China next week to discuss the potential sale of a plant in Saarlouis, where vehicle production is slated to end in 2025. Ford produces its Focus compact model there. Terms of the deal, including a price, couldn’t be learned.
The talks are still in a preliminary stage, and a deal may ultimately fall through. In addition to BYD, Ford is also talking to other manufacturers, including Magna International Inc., a Canadian contract auto manufacturer, and financial investors, who could potentially join with a manufacturer, the people said.
[…] Selling the Saarlouis plant would mark another step in Ford’s efforts to overhaul its European operations and shift completely to electric vehicles. It would also be a major step for China’s electric-car industry, which has begun expanding into European markets.
Another Hit For Tesla’s Autopilot
Of 12 systems tested by Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that evaluates products and services, Ford Motor’s BlueCruise was first, followed by General Motors’ Cadillac Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance.
Tesla, which was second in Consumer Reports ratings in 2020 behind Super Cruise, fell to seventh, the group said.
“After all this time, Autopilot still doesn’t allow collaborative steering and doesn’t have an effective driver monitoring system,” said Consumer Reports Auto Testing director Jake Fisher in a statement.
Honda Civic Hybrid Returns
We reported last April that Honda had launched a hybrid version of the Civic hatchback in Europe, and speculated that the car would also come stateside to fill the gap left by the discontinued Insight sedan. We’re not sure yet exactly how Honda will adjust the European car’s powertrain, which consists of a 2.0-liter inline-four and two electric motors that combine for 181 horsepower, for the U.S. market. But we can only hope that its output comes closer to the 204 horsepower offered by the closely related hybrid setup in the 2023 Accord hybrid.
The new Civic is an exceptionally good car. If they keep the Civic Hybrid’s price reasonable, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better daily driver than that.
The Flush (For Now)
Why doesn’t Tesla fix Autopilot? All these Model 3s crashing into swimming pools lately, it’s getting tiresome.
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