Ford Updates Escape Software Amid NHTSA Investigation

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Ford's Escape is no stranger to recalls, but despite a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation of sudden loss of engine power on certain versions of the Escape and Fusion and Mercury Mariner and Milan, the agency is not issuing a recall.

According to the Detroit News, more than 10,000 vehicle owners complained about the loss of power on model-year 2009-13 vehicles equipped with 2.5-liter and 3.0-liter engines. Ford issued a "Customer Satisfaction Program" and sent notices to affected owners in January instructing them to bring their vehicles in for a software recalibration. NHTSA opened its investigation in February, and although an official recall wasn't issued, Ford said it will update the software in 1.6 million affected vehicles as well as extend the warranty coverage on the affected parts to up to 10 years and 150,000 miles.

Check out the full story from the Detroit News here.

Manufacturer photo

By Jennifer Geiger | March 4, 2014 | Comments (0)

Mitsubishi Galant Prices Tumble in January

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Late-model used-car prices dipped slightly in January 2013, dropping about one-half of a percentage point ($101) from December 2012 to $22,662. However, a number of models saw significantly steeper declines. Leading the way was the Mitsubishi Galant.

The now-discontinued family sedan saw its average asking price drop 12% to $13,993, a decrease of nearly $2,000. Other models that have recently met the chopping block — the Mercury Milan and Mazda CX-7 — also saw some of the largest price drops of the month with declines of 4%.

Another Mitsubishi model, the Lancer compact car, saw the biggest price increase of the month with a 5% ($841) jump to $17,672. The Chevrolet Corvette saw the second-largest increase with a 4% rise but the largest dollar jump of $2,528 to $59,017.

The chart below details the top 10 used cars from the 2010 to 2012 model years with the biggest price drops — as well as the 10 with the biggest increases. To be eligible for the list, a model had to have 500 cars in Cars.com's national inventory.

By Mike Hanley | January 28, 2013 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2010-11 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan

2011 Ford Fusion

Ford is recalling 128,616 2010-11 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles with 17-inch steel wheels because the wheel studs may fracture, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, multiple stud fractures could occur at the wheel location, and the driver may experience vehicle vibration or wheel separation, increasing the risk of a crash. The recalled vehicles were built between April 1 and April 30, 2009, and Dec. 1, 2009, and Nov. 13, 2010. You can see when your car was built by checking a label affixed to the driver-side doorjamb.

Owners will be notified the week of Jan. 24. Dealers will inspect the rear brake disc surface and replace the discs at no charge if necessary. The lug nuts will be replaced on all four wheels as well. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 or NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

By Dave Lee | December 9, 2011 | Comments (0)

2011 Kia Optima Earns Five-Star NHTSA Rating

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The 2011 Kia Optima received an overall rating of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new crash-test rating system, the agency announced today.

Read Cars.com's Full Review of the 2011 Kia Optima

The Optima’s overall composite score is composed of a five-star frontal, five-star rollover and a five-star rating for the combined side pole and barrier tests. The side barrier test is an area where other vehicles have shown weakness with the safety agency’s new testing format. The side pole test simulates a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.

By Colin Bird | March 3, 2011 | Comments (0)

Incentives on Defunct Mercury Brand Tick Upward

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Retail production of Mercury vehicles ceased nearly a month ago, and now Ford is getting down to the business of ridding itself of any leftover inventory for the defunct brand. The remaining Mercury dealerships are on a deadline to move the metal before the end of 2010 when their Mercury franchise agreements will be terminated.

To flush out the remaining inventory, Ford has increased retail incentives for the Mercury brand drastically for November. Until this month, the 2010 and 2011 Milan, Milan Hybrid and Mariner all offered $2,000 cash on the hood, which was the same as its Ford counterparts. Now all three have up to $3,500 on the hood, nearly 60% more money back than what’s offered on the identical Ford Fusion and Escape. The 2010 and 2011 Grand Marquis now get upward of $5,500 cash back.

The aggressive incentives are supposed to help Ford expedite the shutdown of Mercury by the Dec. 31 deadline, according to Automotive News. Ford spokesman George Pipas told Automotive News that there are fewer than 10,000 Mercurys left in the inventory, which amounts to a 35-day supply. Currently there are nearly 4,000 Mercurys on sale on Cars.com. Below you’ll find the remaining deals on all Mercury and Lincoln inventory. Most of these incentives are good until Dec. 31.

By Colin Bird | November 10, 2010 | Comments (2)

Retail Mercury Production Ends This Sunday

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Production of Mercury cars and SUVs for retail customers will end this Sunday, according to Ford. On that typical day of rest, the last retail 2011 Mercury Mariner will be built in Kansas City, Ford spokesman George Pipas said. Mercury production will continue until the end of the year, but those vehicles will go to fleet operators such as Hertz and others, not into customers’ hands.

With the end of retail production so near, you’d think incentives should be great on Mercury vehicles. But to the contrary, they’ve actually gotten worse.

By Colin Bird | September 29, 2010 | Comments (11)

Mercury's Inventory Shrinks as Brand Nears End

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Since our last report, Mercury’s inventory on Cars.com has notched down slightly as the brand prepares for its disbanding by the end of the year. 

Cars.com’s national inventory for Mercury has dropped nearly 9% in the three weeks since we last reported on it. There are 4,611 vehicles available online. A greater portion of the inventory is now 2010 and 2011 models. 

This isn’t stale inventory, either, just in case you think dealerships aren’t updating their Mercury inventory on Cars.com. Forty percent of the Mercury vehicles on our site were posted since our last report, which means a bit more than 40% was also taken down during the same time. 

Meanwhile, incentives for buying a Mercury haven’t changed that much, except for an extra $500 in bonus cash for the 2010 Mercury Mountaineer. You can check out those incentives at the bottom of this post. It’s interesting that the 2011 Milan has nothing but $1,000 cash back, but that is the same promotion for the 2011 Ford Fusion, so I guess they’re trying not to step on anyone’s toes. 

In July, Ford built 4,105 new Mercury vehicles 1,748 Mariners, 1,269 Grand Marquis, 787 Milans, and 301 Mountaineers and Mercury still outsold Lincoln by nearly 20% in total volume in that same month. The constant attrition rate of Mercury inventory is a good reminder that the brand is still alive, at least for now. The last dealership orders for the Mercury brand will end sometime this month, according to Ford. After that, the automaker expects that most dealerships won’t have any new Mercury vehicles to sell beyond the end of 2010.  

By Colin Bird | August 25, 2010 | Comments (0)

No Big Incentives for Dying Mercury

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If you thought the announcement that Ford will cease production of new Mercury cars and SUVs by the end of 2010 would lead to lavish incentives, you’d be wrong, at least as of today. Mercury’s current incentives, which are good through Oct. 4, include 0% financing for 60 months on the 2010 Milan plus $1,000 in bonus cash. This is a good deal, but it is not a fire sale.
 
Most of the inventory on Cars.com are 2010 models (4,699 vehicles out of 5,067), and we list each model’s current incentives below. We expect the overall inventory to decrease slowly as we get closer to the end of the year, despite the company still producing new cars. However, it’s unclear whether larger incentives will be offered.
By David Thomas | August 4, 2010 | Comments (3)

Nine More Cars, SUVs Earn Top Safety Pick Status

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety added a new test for roof strength to its Top Safety Pick award requirements, so it takes more time to test every new car. As the institute continues to test new vehicles, new Top Safety Picks are named.
 
Today, IIHS announced nine new picks all from the 2010 model year, including some brands’ top sellers.

Ford did well with the Fusion sedan and its twins, the Lincoln MKZ and soon-to-be-put-to-pasture Mercury Milan, getting the nod. The large three-row crossover Ford Flex and its Lincoln MKT twin also earned the award.

The Audi A4 sedan and Q5 SUV joined the company’s smaller A3 as award winners. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is the fourth VW, and the Hyundai Tucson became the third Hyundai to get the Top Safety Pick nod.

For those keeping score, Ford now has seven vehicles that have earned the award. Toyota and Lexus have six, Subaru and Chrysler five, GM and Volvo four, Kia three, Honda two, Mercedes-Benz two and Nissan one.

By David Thomas | June 9, 2010 | Comments (0)

Ford Might Kill Lackluster Mercury Brand

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We take our time when it comes to writing about web reports on major product changes because they usually don’t pan out. That’s why when Bloomberg first reported that Ford is considering ending the Mercury brand, we thought “ah, likely story” and kept looking for holiday gas prices.

Then CNBC’s Phil LeBeau followed up with his own sources who also say Ford is working on a phase-out plan for the midlevel brand that fits awkwardly between Ford and Lincoln marquees.

This is somewhat surprising news as Mercury products have always delivered cheap profits to the Blue Oval. Perhaps Ford has seen the relatively recent success GM had culling its brands from eight to four. It likely also has some support from Lincoln-Mercury dealers, who will be most affected by this move. There are 292 stand-alone dealers, and they likely don’t have the footprint to handle selling the volume of the Ford brand, which would replace Mercury.

If Ford does phase out Mercury, the only product that Lincoln doesn’t already have a version of is the Mariner compact SUV, which is based on the Ford Escape. Ford would have to expand Lincoln’s lineup with at least one less expensive or smaller product than the MKZ sedan that currently sits at the bottom of the brand’s lineup and starts at $34,225.

Perhaps a production version of the Lincoln C concept based on the new Ford Focus would work.

What types of new cars would Lincoln need to make up for the loss of Mercury?

Ford to Phase Out Mercury Model: Sources (CNBC)

By David Thomas | May 28, 2010 | Comments (18)

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