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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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Comments

  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    Exactly!

    The point of this whole discussion is that Ford has neither profits, nor prophets.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    Scooter: Thank you for correcting my spelling. I try to profit from my mistakes. Have a great weekend.
    Euphonium ;)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "with perhaps a reprieve for Town Car in St. Thomas.."

    If my sources are not lyin' to me, there will be no reprieve. The current Town Car, CV and GM all have the fuel tank positioned in a place that will not pass DOT standards for 08 - so rather than re-engineer the cars, they're putting those resources into new product.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    The future of Town Car and Wixom, indeed died on the cusp of a new standard enacted three years ago.

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, (49CFR571.301), Title 49, Volume 5, Section 571.301, commonly referred to as FMVSS 301 allows for a complete change in crash standards, phased in, from 2004 for fuel tank safety. The law reads in part (section 5.5), that fuel tank spillage in a 81 km/h rear barrier crash: "shall not exceed 28 g(rams) from impact until the motion of the vehicle has ceased...and not to exceed a total of 148 g within a 5 minute period..." 100% of production must reach this goal no later than September 1, 2008, with manufacturers of less than 5,000 units getting a repreive through 2010. (The goal phased in at 40% for 2007, 70% 2008, and 100% 2009 model years). So its possible that 2008 could have been the last year for Town Car after a decade of production since this models inception in 1998.

    The Department of Energy, under direction of Presidential Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning & Review, calculates that the cost per vehicle is $5.08 for the modifications to each fuel tank (but not the overall design change), and that 4 to 11 fatalities will be avoided in average crash rates. The other factors of 301 allow for different types and speeds of crashes, both frontal, side, and rear, all falling within section 5.5 of 571.301. Section 6.2b sets the dateline for compliance. The bill was enacted in 2003---the very moment when the plans for Town Car had to be made to make 2007-8 production.

    Ergo, Ford Motor evidently would not spend the required capital investment to change the rear of the Town Car to absorb a 60mph impact with essentially minimal fuel spillage within 5 minutes after impact. Because to do so, they also would have had to spread the cost to Marquis and Crown Vic---those two cars Canadien made and thus not directly affected by the standard.

    The efficacy of the standard is borne out by the fact that it only takes .02 millijoules of electricity (the same level of static electricity released when you grab a metal doorknob after walking across a carpeted floor) to ignite gasoline vapor. The probability of vapor ignition falls to less than .03 or 3% that it WON'T ignite with even modest fuel vapor concentration---meaning that there is a 96.7% chance that it will ignite. So the FMVSS301 standard is designed to prevent vapor ignition, especially considering the higher level of electronic componentry now installed in cars (and why you should not talk on a cell phone when fueling a car!) that can cause fuel vapor and fuel ignition in a crash. And the increasing range of electronic frequencies used by cell phones, computers, and other devices that can effect a fuel tank. (I am well acquainted with this terrible reality, having had two cars ignite, one caused by looking under the hood with a flash-lite at nite when I smelled gas, and another when an unseen cracked plug wire ignited gas vapor around a new carburetor---both owners and cars survived!) This is especially important considering many vehicles now locate the battery in the rear of the car. Fuel vapor ignition was also cause for the explosion of an empty 747 centre fuel tank over NYC according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the FAA, causing an explosion, crash, and terrible loss of life.

    The standards are also being changed to coordinate with new hydrogen fuel tanks standards for duel fueled vehicles, and the new standards for personal water craft, snow-mobiles, and motorboats for 2008. The moment will come when cars are gasoline, ethanol, or hydrogen fueled and up to three crash resistant tanks must be onboard. The 301 Standard is designed to accomodate that eventual reality.

    While the DOE's calculations are $5 a car, that is a cost basis spread out over millions of units, it does not take into account the change in engineering required to the rear end of a car to prevent the gas tank from being dramatically effected in a collision. This, then, is what Ford Motor addressed in 2003 whether to re-engineer the Town Car and leave the bulk of the chassis alone. Obviously, if you are going to change 30% of the design for one standard, it is not cost effective unless your sales are increasing. TC sales were decreasing at a minimal rate, and the car was then 6 years into its production. All the more reason why a similar car to Chrysler 300 should have been built...

    ...but Mr. Fields has indicated today (07-31-06, Automotive News) that the next generation FMC products, Lincoln included, will utilise 5-7 speed transmissions within new drivelines to reach historically higher fuel economy and performance numbers. Perhaps a 'Lincoln Stilletto' with a DOHC engine, and 7 speed AWD transmission driveline, and an aluminum bodyshell is in the offing---fast, furious, and fuel efficient...all in one package.

    ...While Japan now makes more cars outside Japan and more here than in their homeland, there might remain a glimmer of hope that in this change, Lincoln can capitolize on a new future. As Lincoln goes...so goes the nation.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: U.S. Government Printing Office, Department of Transportaion, Department of Energy, House Select Committe on Transportation, Automotive News; Fuel Vapor Ignition Probabilities Calculations, MIT, SAE)
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Kenneth Leet, an 18 year veteran of Goldman-Sachs Mergers & Aqusitions branch in London had been brought into Ford Motor with the support of Board Members Robert E. Rubin and John E. Thornton. Mr. Leet's new office will be down the hall from Mr. Ford at the Glass House, allowing Mr. Leet will report directly to Mr. Ford. The announcement of this move expected today (08-2-06), and a harbinger of things to come.

    According to the WSJ, Mr Leet will put all options on the table for the Ford Motor Board. The 50 members of the 'Way Forward' Planning committee will be bypassed, or consulted indirectly, in this latest revision to Ford's plan for a return to profitability in North America. Ford lost its #2 position in July to Toyota: 239,969 sales (16.1% share) to Toyo's 241,826 (16.2% share) of the market. Ford Motor having declined 14.3% over 2005, while Toyota gained 11.7% in sales---allowing for the switch in fortunes. Perhaps the cloisene in the Ford badge should be changed to red.

    Will Ford merge with Fiat, a company planning to return to America with Alfa-Romeo? Will Mr. Leet put the "Cat" on the auction block---selling off Jaguar & Astons (whose fates are interlinked)---either to GM, Toyota, VWAG, or even Honda or Hyundai? Will the esteemed Mr. Leet put Ford Motor Credit up for sale, as Hertz was spun-off like Visteon before it? October 1, 2006 will tell, when the latest version of Ford Motor's plans for profitability: Way Forward II, is unveiled.

    Mr. Fields will be forced to play second fiddle to Mr. Leet's new score. With PAG having lost money in Q2 vis a vis 2005, (losing $835 a car), Mr. Fields former bailiwick will now seem to act as an anchor around his ankles, and perhaps his fortunes---Mr. Leet will surely listen to what the North American Operations President has to say, but realise that Ford must return to its core business to beat the competition---leaving Mr. Fields in left field. The "King" will listen now to a new ear.

    Like a rapier cutting through the winds of change, with Jaguar/Astons cut loose, Ford will have little choice but to lavish what cash it realised from Jaguar's sale on Lincoln---the pendulum coming back full swing. The success of Zephyr proving the brand is not dead (yet), and also must challenge the new advertising campaign at Cadillac and BMW for market position. Why any new Lincoln ought to be called "Stilletto"---for it must cut through the buyers minds and the market-place the garner attention and sales. What Mark S(tilletto) could surely stand for...all borrowing aluminum technology Ford has learned at Astons/Jaguar.

    Perhaps Mr. Leet will see, that Lincoln might still be saved on the cusp of all that was learned across the pond, and made to challenge Audi and BMW, and edge out Lexus and Cadillac. The bells are tolling for Lincoln...but now its Mr. Leet's Line that will tell.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, Automotive News, London Times)
  • Wow, Lincoln-Mercury's sales volume was down 35% over the last year. That's with Zephyr, Milan and Montego (forgot that one, didn't ya'?)

    Ford needs to pawn it's usless jewelry. Keep Volvo and Mazda and run like hell from the British Isles.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    In your opinion, why not replace the Town Car with the Jaguar XJ8 giving potential buyers a big change in style and a more numerous dealer network?

    The continuing education of dealer techs would cost less than taking a big loss on selling the Jaguar assets.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    IMO a big selling point to traditional retail Town Car buyers is that it is a domestic product. I don't know if replacing it with an import of much different qualities (and price) would succeed.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    ...is old-fashioned and out-dated, but it's dependable. I'd purchase a Town Car long before anything based on Jaguar. At least I could count on a Town Car getting me to and from work. Ford would be super-stupid to try that strategy. Why don't they simply follow the example set by Cadillac?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    If the current decision makers at Lincoln (and Jaguar) had any clue, Lincoln (and Jaguar) wouldn't be in their worlds of hurt. The big Jaguar sedan is now reliable and well-engineered. But what a boring body! It is as if the Ford influence said, "let's do a careful, timid update and run it by the focus groups," and then, well, there you go. Might as well have stayed with the old body and saved the money...like Ford shortsightedly has been doing for years. Changing the front, rear and interior on the same body is about as effective in generating sales, as Jaguar doing a total restyle no one notices.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Ian Robertson, CEO of Rolls-Royce admitted in a recent interview that he had wished that they had taken an even bolder course with R-R than the original Djordjevic/Cameron design. At the very least the controversial design gets talked about and noticed, and the big Phantom still has 'prescence' and pride-of-place, Rolls-Royce having decimated Maybach in the sales game, outselling its rival three to one world-wide since 2003. Mr. Callum, who has done so much to revitalise Jaguar, agreed that they had been preceisely that: "too timid" in their initial designs just prior to the new XK. People didn't notice the new cars, and thought they were merely the same olds ones...including the bad reputation that went along with older Jaguars. A former owner of one of the 'bad' Jaguars commented after switching to Mercedes: "They made it boring...and then there's all those cheap ones..." after she looked at the Jaguars, and off the Benz she went. My friend, a rather prominent individual in her career who spends her days working at the White House, also told me that: "I'd...never consider a Lincoln...". Too stodgy and old hat.

    QED. Mr. Leet has his work cut out for him, whilst being not too careful to step on Mr. Fields toes too harshly. "There are no new plans to divest our brands or invest in a new alliance" Ford spokesperson Thomas Hoyt commented in an interview by WSJ staffwriter Jeffrey McCracken (08-03-06). IN a lengthy article about the fate of Ford Motor it is made very clear that plans are indeed affoot to look at everything---all aspects of the business---and that nothing is sacrosanct. VWAG, BMW AG, and Toyota or Honda might well consider a phased buy-out of Jaguar/Astons. Leaving Lincoln alone to hold the challice at the high end of the market at Ford Motor.

    Clearly, Mr. Horbury's job just got a lot tougher. And Mr. Callum at Jaguars is going to have to defend his turf from expropriation or sale---one can imagine him going with the ship, if it leaves the Blue Oval. The realities remain that car dealerships for Lexus now spend as much for a showroom building as Rolls-Royce spent to build their Goodwood factory. Lincoln would have a long way to go to come back to the top of the cake. Lincoln & Land Rover would have to paired at some dealerships if Jaguars were sold off. One can only imagine the heartburn of Jaguar dealers who invested heavily betting on 200K volumes from Jaguar/Astons only to see it crash from 114K sales last year in 2005 to less than 41K sales this year. PAG will not make a profit for Ford Motor this year per their revised earnings statement---having lost an addition $100Mn plus, owing to pension liabilities. Mr. Field's former bailiwick shrinking, and may prove to be his liability as well. Mr. Leet will not waste a moment in pointing out that fact to William C. Ford Jr.

    Now we see that it would not be until 2010 that a new challenger from Lincoln could be made ready. Zephry/MKS will have to squeak by along with the median Town Car replacement from Chicago. It would be no surprise either that in failing to grasp a deal with GM, Mr. Ghosn plays the Ford Card and the next Lincoln is based from a Nissan!!!If Mr. Horbury either is faced with having to remake a Volvo or what-have-you into a Lincoln, he can't afford to make the mistake that Jaguars had: being too timid. Seems now that a radical solution is the only card left in the deck for Lincoln. Seems now that the fate of Lincoln truly is in the hands of the designers---not unlike the 1952 Model Year and 1961 all over again---why the Mark S seemingly was so important to Mr. Horbury to present to the public as soon as possible.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, Ford Motor Company, Rolls-Royce MotorCars Ltd, Automtive News, Edmunds Online, Car Design News)
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Too bad the Mark S (now MKS) is also timid, and little short of boring. It is neither a standout, nor a polarizing design, like 300 or CTS. It will do ok, like the MKZ will do ok. Lincoln and Ford need more than ok now. The latest recall, the competition, the recent spelling out of new models through 2010--with absolutely no surprises--are all conspiring to sink the management and then the company.

    Why anyone ever thought Bill Ford was the best choice after dumping Jac Nasser is beyond me. And all the changes made since 2000 only confirm that previous management was on a more rational course than the unimaginative bores in management and on the board now.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ...Bill Ford was brought in as CEO coupled with Mr. Nasser until WCF Jr. thought he could handle the job. Mr. Nasser's direct style eventually clashed with Bill Ford's more relaxed Gross Point verve. Nasser had the right idea: expanding Ford's reach to pass GM in the future. Had Ford maintained its position, it would have become America's leading producer---regaining its number one position. Nasser rubbed Bill the wrong way, and he was gone. Ford has lost 25% of its business since then.

    One would surmise that the Firestone Tyre disaster tilted public opinion against Ford, because they did not own up to their engineering failure and passed some of the blame to Firestone. Both parties were at fault. People would not subsequently give them first choice as a result, and they have lost market share at an alarming rate since then.

    One can't blame the Ford Family for wanting one of their own in the CEO's seat after the retirement of the very able Alex Troutman. Today, it is easy for those in the armchairs to think that Edsel II should have taken the reigns, rather than William C. But William Sr. pulled sway, and he could not help but put his son in the driver seat. We can't blame Mr. William Clay Ford Sr. for that---he would be less honorable for anything less than supporting his son. But that WCF Jr. has had bad council, advice, and luck, has been borne out by events.

    And now the whole fate of Ford Motor is now tied to Lincoln, and there can be no doubt about that. Whether Jaguar stays or goes plays a great weight upon what happens at Lincoln. It is only too bad that no champion other than MR. Horbury exists now for Lincoln.

    Mr. Leet may never have had any experience with Lincoln, nor any of the other storied cars from Ford Motor, having been in London for 18 years. But now men who have no feality to the marque have its fate in their hands, and a great part of their history. Great men build great designs, whether they be cars, buildings, aero-craft, or what-have-you. And that is what Ford Motor needs now. Just a few Great Men.

    DouglasR
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    "When Jaguar introduced the E type back in 1961...the whole world's jaw dropped...since then there had not been one--not one--Jaguar model where you've instinctively said: 'I gotta have one..." FT columnist John Griffiths quotes a former Jaguar owner. Griffiths makes the argument that regardless of the billions Ford Motor spent to save the Big Cat, the buyers have no love for the new products: "I'd just love to lust after one again..." Being middling and lackluster despite improvments in build quality, performance, handling, among other reasons Mr. Callum's Jaguar is now on the chopping block.

    Ian Callum needs 18 months before the new small Jaguar is announced: pushing Jaguar into the direction that BMW has already gone, and in-point-of-fact, where Rolls-Royce hasn't failed to tread: avant-guard and daring style evoqative of both the a new future while heeding the past---all without being dowdy. Dowdiness is what has killed Jaguar. They might drive fabulous, and they do, but in 2001/2 when the first impact of the Ford Motor investment was being felt, they lacked verve. That is what Mr. Callum, and for that part Mr. Horbury, must put back into Jaguar and Lincoln.

    Where the design and performance of the vehicle crosses the rational bounds and demands purchase. For that one needs, to paraphrase Mr. Lutz, I would call it: "Gutz" and Daring-do. The looks must get the driver past the threshold of the forecourt, and the baying and swaying of the salespeople, where the performance yeilds the expected surprise. For Jaguar it is one thing, but for Lincoln: it would be hard road to get previous BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus drivers to even look at a Lincoln.

    Bringing in a finance guy will not solve Ford's problems, any more than Roger Smith helped GM. Jaguar's long term designs are locked in for years, so anyone buying the brand would have to use Ford components until their own change-over (much like Rolls-Royce and Bentley using BMW parts between 1998-2003 while owned by VWAG). The knowledge gained with aluminum technology could be transfered to Lincoln, among many other points. The hard work to revitalise Jaguar would not be lost if re-invested in Lincoln.

    MKS would have to be re-engineered into a crash "Stilletto" program. Light-weight bodyshells, powerful engines, good weight balance, extreme handling envelopes beyond what Lincoln drivers have known. Brawn behind the muscle, coupled with some taut styling might do the trick. Mark S, ergo has not gone far enough if that be the solution. So that a new Lincoln would blow the doors off the 300 & V Series Cadillacs. If Lincoln could beat them at their own game, then there might be light at the end of the narrowing tunnel. Horbury must put the punch back into Lincoln.

    It will take the Gutz to do it: make a Lincoln worth lusting after. Ford Motor has very little to lose in such a strategy...with Toyota passing Ford even for one month in America means that time is beginning to run out. Toyota sold two cars in America in 1958 at the same time the '61 was being planned. Lexus has not been around that long vis a vis Lincoln, some Lexus dealers are spending $75Mn on showrooms, while Lincoln dealers languish, and Ford's fortunes seemingly to plummet.

    BMW AG will be high-lighting its designs and new award winning Leipzig factory in their latest advertisement campaign: pointing up the fact that Lincoln will not have its own state-of-the-art factory after Wixom closes. The stakes, however, now so high, that only the product will save Lincoln. Any new Mark S will have to be twice, if not three times as good as the competition. Messrs. Ford & Fields, Leet & Horbury will have to make us "love" our Lincolns again!

    DouglasR

    (Sources: FT; Ford Motor Company; Toyota Motor Corporation)
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I still can't believe how cool this vehicle is :surprise:

    Rocky
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    It's good that some poeople do really like it. There are those who even like the 500/Montego quite a bit. However, I would have preferred a bolder, more American look.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I can see why you prefer that. However this 27 yr. old likes the Acura-ish look and it might bring some youth like me to the tabel. ;)

    Rocky
  • ace35ace35 Posts: 131
    i agree with rockylee, Just because its american doesnt mean the car has to have a bold look at me style to it. Those types of designs usually do not age to well. The MKS has grown on me, it has a very elegant and graceful look to it. Very clean, muscular, and uncluttered. I think it will do Lincoln some justice as long as lincoln gets the powertrains, and electronic dodads correct. BTW, i feel this is the sedan lincoln needed like yesterday, however.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    ...certainly is an attractive car, but it really doesn't stand out in today's automotive world. I seriously doubt that people will look at it and say, "Wow - is that the new Lincoln?"

    I just spent Saturday at the big Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) meet in Macungie, Pa. On the showfield were a pristine 1963 Lincoln Continental sedan and two 1969 Continental Mark IIIs (one clean, the other a little worn).

    Those majestic beauties had the "wow" factor when new, and they still have it today. Lincoln's new offerings need to recapture the glory and sheer presence of those cars if it wants to make headway against Cadillac and Lexus. Sorry, the MKZ and MKS just don't cut the mustard, however nice they may be.

    They both strike me as thoroughly acceptable, competent cars that will quickly get lost in a brutally competitive market.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Let me tell you why replacing a Town Car with an XJ-8 didn't work for me:

    Price difference is about $20,000 for one.
    The Town Car is big and cavernous. The XJ-8 is a little tight unless you get the L version, or Vandan Plas, even MORE money.
    The Town Car is extremely dependable, virtually no repair needs, and if it does, the repairs are cheap. The XJ-8 is not as reliable, and repairs are a king's ransom to do.

    The Town Car is traditional body on frame construction, tough as nails, can be driven over curbs without damage. The XJ is not. Plus, the XJ has an aluminum body, which is difficult to repair if wrecked, and hard to find a body shop who does Aluminum AND much more expensive.

    There is no comparison between the two, have you ever seen a Jag Limo? Didn't think so. They are two completely different types of cars, two completely different types of customers.

    Which is why I considered Jag, but bought the Lexus. More comparable to the Town Car.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I agree with you. I guess it's better late than never I suppose. ;)

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I disagree with you. I think people will go "wow, is that the new Lincoln" :shades:

    Rocky
  • I think it will go more like "wow, is that the new Lincoln"
    "Or is it a 7 year old Oldsmobile Aurora, or maybe a Nissan Maxima or it could an Acura from a few years ago.. yawn"

    I guess "bold moves" is defined as boldly just copying everyone else's ideas.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I also disagree with you. :P

    Rocky

    P.S. I don't see at all the Olds Aurora styling. I do see the Acura-ish styling though. ;)
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I'm impressed with Lincolns gadgetology.

    http://media.ford.com/products/press_article_display.cfm?article_id=22294&vehicl- e_id=1372&make_id=93&CFID=2790640&CFTOKEN=16ac17facf268b1e-E6C44F61-1185-6933-5D- 3721EBC0368018&jsessionid=58306e78e055$9F$80$C

    Just some previews of Lincolns, new found technology and engineering. ;)

    Rocky
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    According to Automotive News staffwriter Amy Wilson, both Mark S and sister Ford Fairlane have been approved for production---while the whole of the British Brands may be sold off at Ford Motor. 2008-10 will see the new range, and MKS will have the carry the torch for Lincoln. Mr. Horbury has won his argument with the Board, and Mr. Callum at Jaguar/Astons will be hard pressed to keep his chips on the table.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: FT, Automotive News, Edmunds Online
  • td2td2 Posts: 3
    They need to modernize Lincoln like GM did with Cadillac. The problem is Jaguar, Ford will have to jettison this money loser which may doom Aston and Land rover. The sad part is that Aston and Land Rover are turning the corner and can add to the bottm line. It would be sad to see these emerging brands lose the mother ship. TD
  • td2td2 Posts: 3
    You really think they will get rid of all 3. I think that Land rovers and Aston new lineups will sell, it would really suck to get rid of them now that they are finally truning out appealing cars. TD
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Ford screwed up the Jaguar turnaround. The Type S was a good idea, but it initially did not have an interior befitting a relatively expensive car (and it was overpriced). To date, no significant restyle has been done in this very competitive field, and won't still be done before the 2008 model year.

    The expensive XJ re-do was doomed by the conservative styling. The T sedan could have made it if sales projections (and the price tag) had been at all realistic prior to its launch. Exchange rates of course do not help, but other European companies have been able to ride it out very well.

    Now Jaguar has stunning proposals for both the S and XJ sedans. It would be a shame if Ford gave up now, after belatedly learning their lesson about what a Jaguar should be.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    "Too bad the Mark S (now MKS) is also timid ... "

    Hmmm, from what I've read it's actually 'MK S'

    IMHO, the MK S styling is not timid at all. It's actually a good looking vehicle, tho the rear end should be restyled. But why should anyone desire an S80 in a somewhat different body, especially knowing that FOrd will dumb-down some of the safety features of the S80 in the Lincoln? (I have read some info that affirms that Ford is arguing for lower safety standards (in particular roof strengths) than Volvo builds their cars to.
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