果然，随后不久传来了消息，福特汽车公司（Ford）的交通连接面包车（Transit Connect van）也已获准在同一时间用作出租车。福特可谓出租车行业的巨无霸。其维多利亚皇冠（Crown Victoria）多年来一直是纽约黄色出租车队的中流砥柱，而其交通连接面包车也获准在其他大城市如波士顿、费城和芝加哥投入使用。基于其雄霸一方的规模经济优势，这款车可能会在纽约获得足够多的公众支持，推翻日产的独家经营方案。毕竟，不久前纽约在远为重要的：任期限制问题上也曾改变主意。
Honda's marketing mess
The auto industry has been buzzing about Honda's apparent loss of understanding of the U.S. market, a failure dramatized by Consumer Reports' failure to recommend the best-selling Civic for the first time in years. Earlier in August, I commented on Honda's apparent insensitivity to customer needs.
Now Honda has made the surprising but understandable decision to hire a former Chrysler executive as its marketing officer. It's surprising because Honda is one of the most insular companies and rarely goes outside to hire top executives; understandable because who better to understand the American customer than an American marketing executive?
In reporting on the announcement, Automotive News shed some light on the disarray at Honda. The Japanese carmaker separates product development, product planning and marketing from auto sales. In other words, the people who are closest to the customer don't get a seat at the planning table.
V-8 engines: Decline and fall
Recently I posted a death notice for most V-8 engines on the grounds of rising gasoline prices and growing concerns about climate change. The comment was directed at Detroit, but the latest obituary comes from Toyota.
The company revealed that it is dropping the V-8 option from the 2013 version of its flagship sport sedan, the Lexus GS. The stated reason was that V-8s represented only 10% of all GS sales. But when you discover that the only alternative to the standard V-6 is a V-6 hybrid, you understand in which direction the industry is headed: better fuel economy and less torque.
Nissan was pumped when its modified van won a competition to be named New York City's official taxi beginning in 2013. But as I wrote in May, the checkered history of other high-visibility transit projects should give it cause for concern.
Then came news that Ford's Transit Connect van has been certified for taxi use in the meantime. Ford (F, Fortune 500) is the 800-pound gorilla of the taxi business. Its Crown Victoria was a stalwart of the city's yellow cab fleets for years, and the Transit Connect is approved in other big cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. With scale economies on its side, Transit Connect might generate enough public support in New York to overturn Nissan's exclusive arrangement. After all, the city not long ago changed its mind on a far more important issue to its citizenry: term limits.
The failure of Saab's new owners to gain take-off speed isn't unexpected, but it pains car lovers everywhere who admired Saabs for their individuality and pluckiness. Now comes word that some of its dealers are ready to throw in the towel. CEO Victor Muller still hopes to finance the company until mid-October when a Chinese distribution deal kicks in, but in today's economic environment nobody is holding their breath.