1) What do you think of Ford’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly?
Hmm what are those efforts? Please tell me. Falcon has some of the worse fuel economy going around. Ford has done a reasonable job with the LPG falcon, however they never went full monty on it, it is atleast now not just a aftermarket patch job, but still not a very well thought out varient. Wheres the LPG injection not some half assed carby. All thats going to go to waste because government wants to tax LPG and thus any benifits as a green fuel get tossed out the window because no one will buy the bloody things.
What other enviromentially friendly initatives do they have except power deficets? They sell a hybrid here? Are they working like mad to improve fuel consumption, cut weight, improve transmissions and gearing, improving aerodynamics? They are going to fund my steam car project? What about a direct injection diesel engine? Nah, thought not. MKII would have been a good time to do something for economy and enviromental issues but instead they chucked in a few freebies which actually increased weight and fuel consumption.
2) Do environmental issues (such as fuel economy, pollution, manufacturing processes, etc.) influence your decisions when buying an automobile? And if so, how?
Yes, fuel economy matters if you pay for fuel. Even if you don't it means you got to keep pumping the stuff in, which is worse cause of that tiny falcon fuel tank. I think everyone understands the benifits of having your car use less fuel, its a clear easy to understand concept. Emissions is another issue entirely, which I don't think is fully understood by the general public or the government. Emissions is someone elses problem, Australias a big country mate.. we scoff at the sea rising 5 metres in our lifetimes. Still plenty of land to live on.
As for myself, I buy what I can afford and I can fit into. There is no real economical/eco friendly car I can fit into anyway even if I can afford it moot point for me. I have no options.
3) What if any responsibility should auto makers have for the environment?
If your turning out 100,000 things a year for domestic comsumption you should be a bit concerned about where the buggers are ending up. Following Holdens lead and using long life catalitic converters with stainless exaust on all cars would be a start. Atleast as the cars get old they won't be noisy smoggy things and most of the emission stuff will still kinda work. This also lowers running costs because you don't have to toss your old exaust out in 4 years where it proberly ends up in land fill. Non return fuel lines are another way to cut evaporative emissions. Seems kind of odd to use petrol to cool the engine, then put that hot petrol back into the tank, so eventually a fair deal of it is gas, so next time you fill up, which is not long with a tiny falcon tank and a big falcon engine, it all goes into the atmosphere.
Ford Australia seems to have pretty much done nothing about enviromental issues. And if anyone tries to sell me on Ford US, go over there and tell me about the Exploder, Expedition and F trucks. If a greeny ever needs to show a picture of whats wrong in the world.. They will show those. Excellent..
Last decent effort Ford Australia did was back in the early 80's from memory when they had a Factory backed team in the Shell Milage marathon competition, which I'm sure was done for publicity value only.
That took out the title and I belive it remains the record in australia, however the Shell milage competition is kaput so I don't even think it makes it valid anymore. Proberly on leaded fuel anyway. The competition when bust because no manufacturers in Australia were interested in it (HA!), and school teams kept beating them! (HA) My own time at school I helped assist defending our record, even against the million dollar factory backed Honda team with matching midgit driver, all flown out from japan. Doesn't matter anyway, press only cares out impractically stupid solar cars.
Ford have marginally improved economy on various models, but a BA doesn't use much if any less than a 4.1 injected six from 1980.
If Australian manufacturers were serious about alternative technolgies, physicist like me with practical and proven backgrounds in combusion efficency, with fantastic ideas and prototypes for alternative energy transport and wouldn't be mindless applying for science sales positions. I would have some magical dream job with about 500 other people in some united initative for australian manufacturers and compoent suppliers make real, practical solutions and improvements.
Funny you mention this, somebody at the www.ls1.com.au
forums recently bought up the problem of Australian cars and poor emissions. Maybe go ask him what he thinks..