Focus sales soar, Ford worries about traffic and China stiff-arms the world in the Dash
What we're reading this morning about Ford selling cars, Ford worrying about selling cars and China strong-arming foreign automakers again:
Ford says Focus sales hit 20,000 in February [Ford] Car shoppers aren't waiting for gas prices to rise before shifting their purchases, if Ford's pre-announcement of a boom in Focus sales is any sign. Last year the automaker sold about 10,000 Focii in February; this year's total will more than double that. Ford says much of the growth comes from demand for more expensive versions of the 40-mpg sedan — and that manual transmissions account for nearly 7 percent of sales. Can't beat that with a stick.
Bill Ford Jr. says plan now for future traffic jams [Associated Press] Meanwhile, Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. says the world's roads are becoming so congested automakers and tech firms will have to address the problem unless they want to see sales plunge. At a mobile technology conference in Barcelona, Ford will say automakers will need to push for several new methods of cars communicating with each other to lessen jams — possibly including some limited self-driving capability.
Chevy plans "Office"-like ads for dealers [Auto News] Chevrolet's next national ad campaign will be built around a set of characters in a fictional dealership meant to evoke sitcoms like "The Office" and "Parks & Recreation," meant to make dealerships seem like fun places to hang out, like "Central Perk" but with less overwhelming desperation. Characters not yet in the scripts: screwball next-door neighbor, cranky downstairs landlord, meddling parents living across the street.
Global carmakers miss out on China's $13 billion official fleet [Bloomberg] In a bid to boost its domestic auto industry, China has all but barred vehicles from foreign brands from its list of cars that can be bought by government agencies — a move that would hit Volkswagen, General Motors and other companies hard. One expert suggested the list could be amended to include joint venture brands; another said local officials will still demand to be seen in Audis rather than an FAW.
Bertone Nuccio concept set for Geneva [Evo] To mark its centennial, Bertone will showcase the concept above at the Geneva Auto Show next week: the Nuccio, named for the son of the company's founder. Powered by a 430-hp V8 mounted behind the driver, the Nuccio's meant to recall glorious models such as the Lancia Stratos.