Ford told its Asian concept Start shows design agenda

Ford Car Company showed the Ford Start, a concept car for Asia, for the first time in North America Wednesday at the Ward's Auto Interiors Conference in Dearborn.
J Mays, Ford’s group vice president of design and chief creative officer, said the Ford Start minicar illustrates Ford's design priorities.
While Ford Car Company has not decided whether it will produce the Start, Mays said it is true to the Ford brand, is different from other cars in the Asian market and is meaningful to the customer.
"What we did ... was creating a car with warmth and charm and a car that you can bond with," Mays said.
The Start's three-prong steering wheel and analog-styled gauges keep it true to the Ford brand, Mays said. The car's fuel-efficient, turbocharged 1.0-liter Eco Boost engine provides meaning and value to consumers looking for top fuel economy. Those attributes would help the Start connect with the fast-changing tastes of young Chinese consumers.
Ford debuted the Start at the Beijing Auto Show in April. Mays said Ford's overall design goal is to create cars that are, at a minimum, fun to drive.
"People purchase products because they are prepared to spend part of their life with it," Mays said. "It is an emotional relationship."
Ford's design direction is a change from the recent past, Mays said, when some of the automaker's cars were criticized for bland styling.
"Five years ago, we were a commodity," Mays said.
That changed, Mays said, with the global adoption of Ford's European design language called kinetic design for almost all of its vehicles. Kinetic design, characterized by flowing lines, makes a car look like it is moving even when standing still.
Some of those cars design cues are on the redesigned Ford Taurus. They are more prevalent on the Ford Fiesta r subcompact car that goes on sale this summer, a redesigned Ford Focus compact car slated for production this year, and even the Ford Explorer SUV that is to be revealed this summer.
"If you look at the design language on the new Explorer you will see a connection ...with kinetic design," Mays said.
Mays said he strives to design cars that people fall in love with for their looks, value and reliability.
"Love is really what you are looking for," Mays said.

BYD claims $40,000 E6 passes all U.S. safety tests

Nearly everyone has been skeptical of the claims put forth by BYD  electric car from day one. From outrageous range estimates, to production dates that simply couldn't be met and prices that seemed far too low to be reasonable, there's been reason to doubt the company for some time. So with a bit of reluctance, here's the latest announcement from BYD's public relations manager, Du Guozhong, in which the automaker claims the company's E6 electric vehicle has passed all U.S. safety tests including battery-related assessments. We don't have any validation that points to actual test results, so needless to say, take BYD's claim with a bit of caution and a shaker full of salt.

The company also threw out a few more tidbits of information, including claims that BYD would like to bring the E6 to the U.S. at a target price of around $40,000. BYD hopes to have the E6 ready for U.S. consumption before the end of the year, though this seems doubtful. Again.

Electric Nissan Leaf to be victim of heavy dealer price gouging?

Nissan Leaf set the price of its upcoming electric car Leaf at an almost unbelievable $25,280 after incentives. The announcement pretty much shocked in the automobile industry and Nissan has stuck to it. Questions poured in almost immediately asking how Nissan could possibly price the electric Leaf so low. Others wondered if Nissan would lose money on each Nissan Leaf sold and some were even eager to know how much the battery pack cost to produce.

Well, Nissan has answered those questions, but one still remains: How can dealers be prevented from price gouging customers to guarantee that the price of an electric Nissan Leaf won't skyrocket as soon as it hits the lot? To this, Nissan has no answer. The company told that it releases a manufacturer's suggested retail price but has no control over individual dealer pricing.

So here's our question to you. Would you willingly pay over sticker price to be one of the first to own a Nissan Leaf or will dealer gouging immediately drive you away? Also, how much more is the  Nissan Leaf's zero-emissions status worth to you? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below