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When will Ford stop? Options Packages and your rights as a consumer.

Paul Gagnon

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As we all know, most manufacturers are taking away standard features (ie: skid plates) and making them options. At the same time they have essentially ended the days of ordering an individual item. Everything is now a package. As if that wasn't bad enough!!!

I was driving a 2000 Expediton for the last week while I was away on business and I was appalled at what I saw. This was an Eddie Bauer Expedition, a $53,000 truck here in Canada. This vehicle did not have the power lock switch in the cargo area, the key did not have the double turn to unlock all the doors and, most annoying of all there was no lock cylinder on the passengers door !!!!!!!
mad.gif
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I wonder if Ford realizes that it is the small details that people are really impressed with when they go to look at a new vehicle?

I know that Ford is reading this, will they ever respond?. I can't be the only one who thinks that a truck that costs over $50,000 should have everything included.

I know that many of you probably remember when a cigarette lighter was an extra cost option. It seems to me that those types of things will be extra cost options again. But at least in the old days you could order options individually. When options packages first came out it offered a small savings but individual options were still available if you chose to order your vehicle that way. Just wait, cup holders will be an extra cost option that you can only get in a $3000 options package. That may be a little exagerated but it is probably not very far off.

We need to let Ford (and all auto manufacturers) know that enough is enough Options packages are not acceptable unless there is also a way to order individual options.

I may re-think buying a new Ford if I cannot option it exactly the way I want. You should think about it that way too. I am happy with all the Fords I have owned but with the cost of a new vehicle these days, brand loyalty only goes so far.

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Paul Gagnon
Calgary, Alberta
"No Brain, No Pain"
A page from my book.

Technically Velveeta isn't REALLY cheese... it's a cheese food...
The stuff that other cheeses eat... I guess.
 


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Stephen

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Oh I agree 100%. I stopped to look at a Sport Trac the other day, they had a 2000 Limited on the lot so I looked at that too. It was interesting what they have removed between 97 and 2000. The power antenna on mine is now fixed mast on the 2000. The Air ride is now rear only, as opposed to four corner. They added AWFUL fake wood appliques to the interior. Just little things like that that make a big difference in the long run.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
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97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 




98EBV8

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I remember seeing a '96 limiteds having those wood inserts like in the 2000 limited model. I think they put them back like they did with the glovebox lights.

I have heard that power antennas and the ARC are problematic and probably ditched them out for less customer complaints. I have heard that ARC ride is too stiff and too many people wanted to change the shocks, only to find out they cannot.
 




Stephen

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Nope, the fake wood from the factory was new in 99. I had a 95 Limited, and I have a 97 Limited, and I know someone with a 96, no faux wood. Personally I HATE FAKE WOOD. It looks AWFUL. Either put real wood in, or none at all.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
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97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 




BExplorer

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I agree with you all. Vehicule pirce as skirocket since 1994. I purchased back in 1993 a brand new Escort with no option(plain), it cost me about 11,000$(canadian that is). The 1994 modele year would sell for 3,000 or 4,000 more. Same car but different market(I think), because a survey at that time said that the mean age of the automobile park was about 10 years old, so manufacturers saw a possibility of increasing there price because consumer would soon be in need of a new car. Since then price are STILL raising for nothing more than the past years(my advice this is). A car is still a car, 1 motor - 4 wheels - 1 stering - and options we canot always choose. Trucks(and cars) are becomming object of luxury and soon it will be the priviledge of the rich to own a car. It seems to me that we are going back to the age before Henri Ford introduced the model T.

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BExplorer
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Peter Weber

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BExplorer, don't forget that the Explorer is an american vehicle build in St. Louis (I don't think Ford Canada builds Explorers). It is therefore priced in US dollars. The CDN$ has lost something in the neighborhood of 20-25% to the US$ since '93. When you figure that in, you probably find that Explorer prices have increased less (percentage wise) in Canada than they have here in the States.

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Peter
'99 Sport 4wd SOHC
 




Paul Gagnon

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial ">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Peter Weber:
BExplorer, don't forget that the Explorer is an american vehicle build in St. Louis (I don't think Ford Canada builds Explorers). It is therefore priced in US dollars. The CDN$ has lost something in the neighborhood of 20-25% to the US$ since '93. When you figure that in, you probably find that Explorer prices have increased less (percentage wise) in Canada than they have here in the States.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The price increase has very little to do with the exchange rate on the dollar. Automakers do not adjust their prices if the vehicle is sold in the same country as it is manufactured in. What it all boils down to is that we are getting screwed. There is no point sugar coating that fact. The whole point is that the price of cars has increased much more than the cost of labour and materials. At the same time the ability to choose how you want that car optioned has decreased. A large part of the increased cost is having air bags and anti-lock brakes as a standard feature. For me to replace my '92 XLT with and identical new Explorer would cost $42,000. That is way out of line. There are places where you can buy a house for that kind of money. Plain and simple, cars cost too much these days and as long as the automakers are making a profit they don't really care what their customers think about the price.



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Paul Gagnon
Calgary, Alberta
"No Brain, No Pain"
A page from my book.

Technically Velveeta isn't REALLY cheese... it's a cheese food...
The stuff that other cheeses eat... I guess.
 




Ray Lobato

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How soon they forget. It wasn't but 20 years ago that John Q public told the big 3 automakers that they were feed up with the poor quality and high prices and went out and bought Japanese. That's when they closed many of the plants and had to grind out a living like the rest of us had to. Now they are doing the same thing, charging more and giving us less. Be careful Ford. You don't want to make the same mistake again. Next time that Ford sign might be in Japanese

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Happy Wheelin'
Ray L.
97 XLT 4X4 4.0L SOHC
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Well let's all go buy a damnned Toyota!

On second thought, I'd rather walk.

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92 XLT
The Best Never Rest
 




Peter Weber

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Paul, are Explorers build in Canada? In my original post I stated that as far as I know Explorers are build in St. Louis. If they are build in Canada, you're right, the exchange rate shouldn't affect the price.
By the way, taking you're CDN$42,000 price and dividing it by the current exchange rate of 1.5 (1.497 as of today), comes out to US$28,000. That's below the base price of an XLT around here.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the government mandated items as being a big part of the expenses (and new ones are added all the time). I'm not trying to defend Ford (or any of the other car manufacturers), but those costs are not their fault.
Another big part is the popularity of the SUV's. But that's the price for having a free market. If something is in demand, the price goes up. SUV's are the highest profit margin vehicles Ford (or GM or DaimlerChrysler or whoever) are building. If they (the manufacturers) are raising the prices and we keep buying, maybe we should blame ourselves to some extent.
One final question. Are the imports (Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc.) cheeper. Don't think so. A base 4x4 Toyota 4Runner is $28,000, a base 4door 4x4 Explorer is just shy of $26,000, an XLT just below $29,000.

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Peter
'99 Sport 4wd SOHC
 




Stephen

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Oh I don't think it'll ever become the priviledge of the rich only to own a car again. Plenty of good cars at a reasonable price, its just that whats become a reasonable price is higher than it used to be.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
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97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 




The Godfather

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I think the main reason for all this is that people just don't care about cars like they used to. They don't care much about reliability beside the name, as Stephen said, they see toyota and think reliability even though all cars are about equal. If it gets them from point A to point B, that's all that matters. You can see it in the styling of all the cars. It's bland, not too many cars have style anymore. The cars from the 50's are beautiful. As for the options packages, it's more convenient for the companies to pump out a bunch of cars all the same than make one for every customer.

Stephen- How do you like your Lexus? My old man saw the new IS 300 in Autoweek and loves the look of it. Considering he paid $25k for a Taurus, $30k for a Lexus is pretty good.

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93 XLT 4 door
Big, green, and slow
 




Stephen

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I'm very happy with my Lexus. It is without a doubt the finest car I've ever owned. I had a Cadillac STS and several Lincolns before it and nothing compares to the ride, refinement, isolation, and quality of the Lexus. I've actually never driven another luxury sedan that I've felt beats the Lexus in most ways, and I've driven just about all of them. I got a chance to drive an IS200 (the european version). It was VERY fun to drive. I prefer it to the BMW 3 Series hands down, in looks and drive. The 3 has gotten fat, the IS felt taut, lean, and responsive, made the 328i feel like a boat. Not to mention, the pricing is GREAT. If your father is considering it he should go for it. Owning a Lexus has more fringe benifits than one would think. Free pick up/drop off for service, my car gets washed, vacuumed, waxed, and thoroughly cleaned out at every oil change/service (every 7500 miles on synthetic oil) free of charge (well, you pay for it in other ways), plus when I have the car serviced around the holidays I always find a gift in the passengers seat after the service rep drops it off at my office. Usually chocolate, gift certificates, one time I got a die cast model of a GS400. Its a remarkable experience, I reccomend it highly.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
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97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 




Stephen

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Are imports cheaper? Not anymore. Most Japanese vehicles have become so acclaimed that companies like Toyota and Honda sell their vehicles at a higher price than their American competition. Take the Taurus, you load a Taurus up and load a Toyota Camry up, the Camry will be about $2500 more expensive. Of course, everyone buys Camrys because they're "Oh so reliable and refined" Well, truth is, all cars are relaible now, sure the Camry will run longer, but if the Taurus is cared for properly, it'll be close. As for the refinement issue, I think the new Taurus is just as smooth and quiet. The Camry is a great vehicle no question, and people will pay for its reputation. The Japanese have themselves positioned in a niche that is actually pretty lucrative. This is especially true with their Luxury cars, namely Lexus because Infiniti and Acura aren't really taken seriously in the market. A car like the LS400 is priced higher than a Cadillac, but considerably cheaper than a BMW 7 Series or a Benz S Class. Thats VERY smart. Cadillacs have a not-so-nice stigma about them, so people who are really into luxury cars don't really consider them. BMW and Benz have such a reputation and history, a Lexus which has only been around 10 years, whether its better or not isn't going to succeed. When you could save $10,000 and sacrifice a little history and get a car that is as good or better, people take notice, like I did. The same is true for family cars, although not to such an extent.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
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97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 




Paul Gagnon

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial ">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Peter Weber:
Paul, are Explorers build in Canada?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I never said that they were. Did you read my post? I said that the price difference cannot be directly attributed to the exchange rate between Canadian and US dollars. And that the price difference has nothing to do with which country the vehicle was manufactured in.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial ">quote:</font><HR>
Are the imports cheaper. Don't think so.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Again I never said that they were. I said all automobiles are overpriced. I wonder why you are so quick to defend auto manufacturers who's only goal is to get ahold of your money?

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Paul Gagnon
Calgary, Alberta
"No Brain, No Pain"
A page from my book.

Technically Velveeta isn't REALLY cheese... it's a cheese food...
The stuff that other cheeses eat... I guess.

[This message has been edited by Paul Gagnon (edited 05-22-2000).]
 




Peter Weber

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Paul, not to be nitpicky, but you said "Automakers do not adjust their prices if the vehicle is sold in the same country as it is manufactured in", implying that if the vehicle is not sold in the country it's manufactured in, prices might be adjusted. Or that Explorers are build in Canada, and the exchange rate therefore is a mute point.
And my reference to prices of imports was not directly intended for you, just a general comment since imports had been brought up. I realize it looks like I was pointing it at you, but it was meant rhetorically.
I agree with you that car prices, especially SUVs, are high. But I also know how business in a free market works, I've owned a small one for 14 years (dealing with big business, not consumers) until I retired 18 months ago. If you can sell as many widgets (or even better, more) than you can produce at a given price, you raise the price. If you can still sell all of them, you raise the price again. Once you reach the point were sales fall off, you do not reduce the price, you throw in something extra (for car manufacturers that is a rebate) and market the h*ll out of it. That way you make money and keep the stockholders happy and the bonuses and stock options keep the employees happy and management employed.
If you detect this to be somewhat cynical
wink.gif
, you're right. Because to a certain extent I agree with you about car prices. But I still maintain that the final decision rests with the consumer himself. If you (not you personnally, in general
smile.gif
) don't like it for whatever reason, don't buy it.


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Peter
'99 Sport 4wd SOHC
 




T

test2

I think a lot of the problem stems from the fact that most people never "own" their vehicles. They either lease them and return them or they are paying the vehicle off for 3-5 years and trade it in when they have enough equity or when they finally do pay it off.

Not many buy a new vehicle and keep it for 10 years any more. Long term reliability means the car works well while it's being payed off, the 2nd owner doesn't count, and the enthusiast who wants to keep the car for a long time doesn't count either.



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Blaine Cooper

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Paul, regarding the cigarette lighter as an option...I just had to buy the wife a Chrysler Town & Country LX. Not the top of the line, but pretty close except for leather. Well, it comes with the lighter but the ash tray is $27.
 




Stephen

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Big Fords are comfortable, I just hate the old man stigma and the cheap interior parts. To me having a luxury car means

1. Having a car that is acclaimed as the best at something. (My LS is the quietest sedan ever built, the most aerodynamic sedan ever built, the fastest in class, and it always gets a good review, big Fords lack this.)
2. Having something that puts comfort above all else. (thats why I dont like BMWs. They're geared for handling, not ride)
3. Having something where engineering is so carefully, EVERYTHING is timed, and focus group tested. (even the retractable coat hooks in my car are designed to deploy at a certain speed, same with cupholders etc, big Fords lack here too).
4. Having something that is assembled with high attention to detail. (It takes three weeks to make an LS400 steering wheel by hand. The wood is hand laid, hand polished, leather is hand stitched. The seats are sewn by hand, all the wood is hand polished and hand shaped like the wood on the steering wheel, big Fords lack here too, as do all American cars, fake wood, plastic door handles...).
5. Having something that oozes quality.
6. Being treated like royalty when buying and servicing. (Lexus and Benz wrote the book on this, big Fords REALLY lack this aspect).
7. Having something most people can't afford. (not nice, but its true. Thats what sells most luxury cars).

There ya go, thats what it means to me. I actually look this stuff up about a car when I'm shopping. Its a little easier to be picky now than it was back in 1995 when I got my Cadillac, I'm in a better position to pay the entrance fee. According to statistics, I'm the average luxury car buyer too.

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Stephen Withrow
StephenLS400@aol.com
------------------
97 Explorer Limited 4X4 SOHC V6
98 Lexus LS400
 


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BExplorer

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Thanks Paul for defending my point, all I stated is that the price of vehicule is way too much for what we get. Wheater it's american or import. I own a 94 XL 4x4 4 doors, manual trans and for only option, cruise and air. Today it would cost me about 30,000$(still CDN dollars). All I get for that price is the same truck + air bag and different stilling. Again the big corporation is making big money with the little individual.

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BExplorer
94 XL 4.0 5 speed 4x4
 




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