Drive Type: rwd
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
If you want further proof that the auto industry is bouncing back, look no further than the empty lots and forecourts of your local dealership. According to a story by The Wall Street Journal, continued high demand for mainstream cars is overtaxing automakers' ability to produce enough models. Several dealers interviewed for the story are reporting two-week supplies as opposed to the typical two-month allocations.
With sales expected to hit 1.4 million units when August numbers arrive shortly and incentive spending down to its lowest amount since January, these limited supplies are pushing prices even higher. For example, according to the WSJ, the average price of a Ford Fusion is up past $26,000. Unfortunately, it's difficult for manufacturers to increase production quickly. If it invests in its facilities, as many manufacturers have done, it risks wasting cash if growth suddenly slows. At the same time, the momentum gained over the past several years could be short lived if vehicle supplies continue to dwindle. "Manufacturers are in a precarious situation," notes Karl Brauer, a senior director at Kelley Blue Book.
Low interest rates and a wealth of desirable features are also allowing customers to purchase more expensive vehicles while justifying their higher overall price tags, a situation that is compounding supply shortages. Even now, during the annual end-of-summer clearance season, deals on new vehicles are remarkably difficult to come by. According to the report, the Toyota Corolla is in a self-inflicted state of shortage, as Toyota clears out inventory in anticipation of the new 2014 generation arriving in dealers. Ford's supplies should rebound as Fusion production comes on line at its Flat Rock, Michigan factory. The Chevrolet Impala, Honda Odyssey, Civic, and Accord and Subaru Forester are also facing shortages.
As we told you about before, there were four episodes planned for the Ford Fusion GP campaign in Brazil, and the whole series has now run its course. The Ford ads pit Brazilian Formula One driver Nelson Piquet against English F1 pilot Nigel Mansell driving the new Fusion, the two coming together again after their partnership at the Williams F1 team ended in a miserable state more than 20 years ago.
They're lined up for you below, in reverse chronological order. You should watch number three first, though, as it adds a bit more spice to the NASCAR action in the fourth.
After 30 years of tuning performance cars and building racecars, Saleen is celebrating its racing heritage with a limited-production car line called SA-30. Based on the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, Saleen will only build 10 of each SA-30 model at a base price of $95,000.
For that money, buyers will get upgraded suspension, brakes and engines, and while the power figures have not been released for the SA-30 620 Camaro and SA-30570 Challenger models, the SA-30 302 Mustang will be the top performer with 625 horsepower. Each car will be painted up in a custom pearl white hue with black and yellow accents, and get white wheels shrouding yellow powder-coated brake calipers. Inside, the SA-30 offerings will all get a proper Saleen interior with black leather and white Alcantara on the seats, along with the expected smattering of SA-30 badges.
On all three SA-30 models, customers will have various options available to further customize their cars, including a rear-seat delete option that transforms each car's cabin into a race-inspired interior with a chassis-strengthening rear cross brace. Perhaps the coolest feature of all, though, is the Saleen Frost-Touch Glass that is an option on the SA-30 302 Mustang. Similar to the Mercedes Sky Control roof first introduced on the Mercedes SLK, the Saleen Frost-Touch Glass allows the Mustang's optional glass roof and rear window to be switched from transparent to opaque at the push of a button.