Say it ain’t so, Ford. And autonomy isn’t even logical.
I learned to drive a stick at the age of 8, and it seemed such a magical experience to me. These days there are still options for people who want to shift gears and toss their machine into a corner or two on their way to work. Maybe you choose the back way to the grocery store for a little blast of excitement. The goal of better fuel economy with good power has yielded some downright fun cars; turbos are now common, and “quick and sporty” can also get good mileage when you don’t bury the gas pedal. A heel-toe downshift coming into a set of esses in a nimble car is a little slice of heaven for me, which is why I'm so upset to hear Ford is only going to have two cars by 2020. Ford’s cars have always been for the masses, save for a few special Mustangs, but lately I thought its cars were in a good place: ST, SHO, RS. I guess I will soon have only memories of when Ford made a fun selection of driver’s cars. MATT NEUBAUER
WELCOME TO THE MATRIX
There is a multibillion-dollar industry in video gaming and virtual reality. The grail of virtual reality is increased tactile and experiential sensations to best simulate the control of (substituted) reality for the user. Meanwhile, the goal of autonomous vehicles is to improve efficiency in transportation while eliminating the necessity for a user to control and derive feedback from external reality. Will that allow us more time to purchase substitute virtual reality experiences? If so, where is the efficiency in that? Is it all about in-vehicle marketing? When is it counterproductive to our personal autonomy? Creating improved efficiency in traffic flow and vehicle movement through flexibility, crash avoidance, routing, interconnectivity, swarming, and streaming emulations should be a more rewarding, useful, and desirable goal for time-challenged self-drivers than a bland dystopian autonomous A-to-B transport experience.
El Dorado, Arkansas
The advent of fully autonomous cars will usher in an age where the government and insurance companies can tell us when and where we can drive and will give them the ability to turn off our choices with the simple push of a button. You can bank on it. No longer will we be able to take a Sunday drive to nowhere through the backwoods or quickly turn around to go back and see the oddity we just passed. Exploration and purposely getting lost will become things of the past. The entire car culture, including customizers, parts stores, and media offerings like yours, will vanish, as will many jobs related to the automobile industry. That all sucks. JAMES DeLEO
I enjoyed Cumberford’s analysis of the new Volkswagen Jetta (“By Design,” May) but disagree with one comment: “That early connection with Turin flowered for VW with the brilliant Giorgetto Giugiaro design for the Golf in the early
’70s.” The Golf was a great design and a commercial success, but the Giugiaro-designed Mk 1 Scirocco was much more striking. I owned two Mk 1 Sciroccos and still love its design.
I just finished reading the Klaus Bischoff interview in the May issue. In Silicon Valley, prior to making an investment in a startup company, we often ask the employees if they are “eating their own dog food,” meaning, are they/their associates using the solution they’ve created? Herr Bischoff is obviously choking it down. The Jetta debadged could be a Honda, a Toyota, a Chrysler, or any of an assortment of brands. It defines bland. On top of that, my wife and I both need new cars this year. We decided to put VW and all its subsidiaries in the penalty box for the next 10 years. When you lose our trust in your company (via the clean diesel issue), all you can do is a mea culpa (still waiting) and take your medicine (10 years). Anyone want a used high-mileage Porsche 911 and Audi Q7 at reasonable price? G. CRAIG VACHON
MORE ON MODEL 3
I usually try to find something good on a new vehicle, but this Tesla Model 3 is not my idea of a wellthought-out plan. The instrument panel is a total afterthought. It looks like someone left their laptop open and bolted it on. For the money spent for this car, the Chevrolet
Volt is much easier on the eyes than Tesla’s toy. As for the exterior, well, if that's the Design of the Year, then we are in trouble. Just makes me like my ’17 Mustang EcoBoost all the more.
One last take on the Tesla Model 3 featured on your March/April cover: When I first saw the head-on photo of the car, it looked familiar. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but it finally hit me. From that front view, if you replace the slanted headlights with round ones, you’ve got a duplicate of Renault’s 1960s answer to the VW Karmann Ghia—a Renault Caravelle.