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Auto blogThu, 19 Sep 2013
History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.
Now, in 2013, Jaguar is planning a new 3 Series challenger based on the platform previewed by the C-X17 Concept, while Ford is attempting to take the latest Mondeo upmarket. The moves have both brands recognizing where, why, and how the X-Type failed. "It didn't look mature or powerful or anything. It was just a car," Jaguar's current head of advanced design, Julian Thomson, told PistonHeads. Basing the X-Type on a front-drive car while giving it styling that was meant for a rear-driver lead to proportions that "were plainly wrong," Thomson told PH. Ford's European head of quality, Gunnar Herrmann, added that the X-Type was "a fake Jaguar, because every piece I touch is Ford."
For what it's worth, the X-Type's successor in the segment will sport rear-drive, with plenty of input from Ian Callum. Thomson described the new model, which would challenge the 3 Series as having, "Big wheels right to the ends of the car, low bonnet, short overhangs, very low cabins." Sounds good to us.
We all remember the financial crisis that began several years back. At its core was a splurge of subprime lending for housing loans. The housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market. Apparently, those types of loans still exist in the automotive industry, and the market share for these types of "nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime," loans has grown 13.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.
According to an Automotive News report, high-risk lending expanded to 24.8 percent of total loans in Q3, up from 21.9 percent for this time last year. As this level increased, average credit scores of borrowers dropped to 755, down from 763 a year ago. In that time, the average financing amount increased $90 per vehicle, to $25,963.
At 818, Volvo maintains the highest per-owner credit score, while Mitsubishi has the lowest, at 694. The highest rate of borrowers was at Toyota, with 14 percent of the market, followed by Ford with 13.1 percent and Chevrolet at 11.1.
Mark Fields' travels on the friendly skies will soon be a relatively personal affair, as the new CEO at Ford will be required to resume air travel via the company's private planes. Fields caught plenty of flak in 2007 for flying on the company's dime to visit his family in Florida. He's since flown commercial.
According to Ford spokesperson Susan Krusel, who spoke to Bloomberg, Fields (pictured above right, with Bill Ford, Jr. at center and Alan Mulally at left) will switch to private travel "for safety and to maximize his availability for company business." In addition to his new travel arrangements, the 53-year-old exec's salary and bonuses have been revealed.
Regulatory filings by Ford revealed that Fields, whose first day in the big chair was July 1, will receive a base salary this year of $1.25 million and he'll be eligible for $3.5 million in bonuses, both of which are lower than Alan Mulally's $2 million salary and $5.88 million in bonuses received last year. That's also lower than General Motors CEO Mary Barra's alleged $1.6-million salary and considerably less than Sergio Marchionne's $3.19-million fixed salary from Fiat. Despite falling short of other CEOs, Fields' new pay still represents a 33-percent increase over his pay as Chief Operating Officer.