Ford

Hot news today is the arrival of the new Ford EcoSport. A bit of a problem with this news: it’s not exactly “news” because the EcoSport is Brazilian-developed and has been on sale in South and Central America since 2003. People I know from Brazil say it’s practically the car that saved Ford in South America, since it’s been a best-seller there since its introduction. They also say it’s a completely awful car, and that seems to fit in with the impression I’ve had of Ford since I can remember.

My dad had a 1966 Cortina. It was cold to sit in when my dad took me and my sister to school in the morning, since its windows wouldnt close properly. It was also rather thirsty and not that reliable. All I know is that my dad got rid of it rather quickly.

What bamboozled me growing up was how popular Ford cars were. Fiestas, Cortinas, Sierras, Escorts were all the rage, and I don’t really remember anyone I knew who didn’t own a Ford a some point or other. Of course, their huge popularity in Britain was due to the fact that they were assembled in Dagenham and that Brits have always had a tendency to buy rubbish cars just because they’re British (take Morris, Austin or any other British Leyland car, for example).

Ford’s usually get high marks when appraised by auto-journoes, but get rather bad reviews by people who actually drive them around for more than an afternoon in ownership surveys. Everyone I know here in Portugal who has a Ford usually isn’t too happy with it. My uncle bought a Focus when I bought my Volvo three years ago. Both were the same age and had similar mileage, and Volvo was even owned by Ford at the time, so they should have similar underpinnings. My uncle hates his car because it coughs up water mixed with oil, and comes apart, and the rear windows fall down when it rains, so he’s gotten rid of it. Same goes with every Escort, Mondeo and Fiesta owner I know. The only person I know who seems to like his Ford is a friend of mine with a 2004 Mondeo (probably because instead of a Ford engine it has a 2.0 litre Peugeot-Citroen diesel engine). BTW, I’ve driven it and let me just say how its interior looks like it was designed by apes.

And that’s probably the biggest gripe I have with Fords. If they make a good-looking car, there’s always some small design feature that ruins the whole thing. Take for example the current Focus. Those triangular vents on the front look like the designers ran out of ideas to compose the snout of the car. The Mondeo looks like it has a rounded brick for an arse. The Fiesta’s tail lights are too small and high, while its interior looks like a chintzy attempt to make it look like it’s sheathed in aluminium. The first Mondeo’s were too curvy in a way reminiscent of boring Japanese design. The first Focus had rear lights that looked like they been inserted into wounds in the car’s body, as opposed to looking like they belonged there.

I’ve never liked the Blue Oval. It’s stupid since it’s one of the only car manufacturer symbols that’s aren’t straight forward to draw by heart, with its pathetic 19th-century lettering. Perhaps what I hate most of all about Ford was how it was founded by an anti-semite who had his own staff beaten and shot and was a toadie to one of History’s greatest plagiarists.

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