For Sale By:Dealer
Drive Type: Rear Wheel Drive
Newcastle, Wyoming, United States
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.
The evolution of automotive marketing has undergone a number of strange phases. Few, though, match the strangeness of the 1930s to 1950s, when automotive marketers turned to cookbooks as a means of promoting their vehicles. Yes, cookbooks. We can't make this stuff up, folks.
This bizarre trend led to General Motors distributing cookbooks under the guise of its then-subsidiary Frigidaire. Ford, meanwhile, offered a compilation of recipes from Ford Credit Employees (shown above). The cookbook-craze wasn't limited to domestic manufacturers, though. As The Detroit News discovered, both Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen got in on the trend, although not until the 1970s.
The News has the full story on this strange bit of marketing. Head over and take a look.
I'm not overly inclined to professional jealousy, as a rule. Sure, I go a bit green around the eyes when Ramsey draws the 911 GT3 trip to Weissach, Harley is tapped-in to drive a completely stunning Porsche 911 by Singer, or, you know, Drew Phillips gets to shoot a Lamborghini Veneno in the middle of a desert like some sort of sheik. I hate you guys...
Honestly though, one of the new car events that dug me the most, was when our Steven J. Ewing got to fling the Ford Fiesta ST around some hot corner of Europe. What goes around comes around, I suppose, as Mr. Ewing himself espoused an envious nature of the Focus ST trip that came before.
The good news in all this covetous intra-office behavior? All the cars mentioned, and specifically the Fiesta ST, are just wonderful to drive. I can say that with more confidence than ever now, having joined Ford for a good bit of Fiesta-flinging myself. In my case, the locale was slightly more pedestrian (Michigan not Portugal), and the car in question was the five-door version of the Fiesta ST that we get here in The States, as opposed to the three-door number they get across the pond.