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Auto blogFri, 15 Nov 2013 15:45:00 EST
One is a member of the Detroit Three and the maker of the Mustang, Fusion, Explorer and F-150. The other is an admitted loudmouthed, drunk-driving, crack-smoking mayor in Canada. Unfortunately for one, it shares its name with the other. Yes, Ford Motor Company is going to great lengths to keep its iconic Blue Oval logo from being appropriated by supporters of besieged Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
At a United Way event earlier this week, some of Mayor Ford's fans showed up with shirts that featured the automaker's logo with the words "Ford Nation," on them. Naturally, Mayor Ford signed them. FoMoCo was quick to issue an unhappy statement:
"Ford did not grant permission for use of its logo. We view it as an unauthorized use of our trademark and have asked it to be stopped," spokesperson Jay Cooney said. There was also a statement from Ford of Canada's Twitter account after a user alerted the company:
Roush Performance offers a whole raft of parts for folks looking to tune their Ford Mustang and F-150 models, and now Focus owners can start getting in on the hotted-up action, too. Owners of the 2012-13 Focus and 2013 Focus ST can now get a Roush cold-air intake system, and ST owners can also opt for a high-performance cat-back exhaust.
Although all of these components are now available for order, the parts will ship sometime in July; no word yet on pricing. Down the road, Roush will also offer styling upgrades for the Focus as well as performance tuning upgrades such as engine controller, suspension, wheels and tires. Scroll down for a quick video of what the Focus ST exhaust sounds like, as well as a Roush press release.
Pots and kettles, glass houses and stones - that's a little of what we appear to have going on in the European car market. New reports say that that three European automakers have registered their opposition to a loan deal that PSA/Peugeot-Citroën is working on with the French government. Peugeot's finance arm, Banque PSA Finance, is struggling with its debts and has been downgraded by Moody's to its lowest investment-grade classification, one step above junk. This makes it more expensive for a potential buyer to finance a car through Peugeot. The last thing Peugeot needs is more difficulty selling cars in the tough European market, and the situation will only worsen if the bank's credit worthiness takes another hit.
A deal being worked on would have the French government offer €7 billion ($9B U.S.) in bonds to guarantee the bank's loans, which would give the institution some breathing room to manage its debts and lower its interest rates. Outside of that, a group of banks would provide other, non-guaranteed loans to the bank to further help its position. In exchange for state help, though, the government wants seats on Peugeot's board for worker representatives and a government liaison, along with factory and worker guarantees. The Peugeot family would maintain control of the company.
So what we have is government assistance being provided to a car company's finance arm, akin to the way General Motors' GMAC (now Ally Financial) and Chrysler Financial got help in their time of need. What we also have is Ford and Renault, and Germany's State of Lower Saxony, the second-largest shareholder in Volkswagen, voicing their concern about the proposal, because they say it could create an unfair competitive advantage for Peugeot. Everyone in Europe's down market is fighting for every sale, and if Peugeot gets help to keep its auto loan costs down, it figures to help buyers choose Peugeot or Citroën.