Monday, June 27, 2005
Fixing Ford, can it be done?
What is the future of Ford? What do you think they should do to save themselves? I was reading Bob Schulties' blog Cars Cars Cars! and his latest post; http://carscarscars.blogs.com/index/2005/06/fix_ford.html
got me thinking. So I'm dusting off the soapbox and having my say. And I'd like to know what you think Ford can do better. You can comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org Any feedback would be appreciated.
As much as I love Ford, they have very little going for them right now except the F series trucks. Thankfully the Mustang is selling much better than anticipated, but is it enough? 2006 could be a turn around year for Ford, with so many new products coming out. The new Fusion, Milan and Zephyr arrive in dealerships in September and October with pricing set competitively and future plans including All Wheel Drive and possibly Hybrid powertrains (probably adapted from the Escape.)
With Chrysler's new LH platform(300, Magnum and just released Charger) selling well and getting a lot of positive ink in the automotive press, Ford and GM are both rumored to be bringing new Rear Wheel Drive platforms to market. GM had canceled it's new platform from Australia and is now thinking about a "lite" version of the Cadillac chassis. Now rumors are buzzing around on different websites, that a version of the 427 Concept may be in the works (as well as a Lincoln version.)
The last I had read(Motor Trend Future Vehicles section) was that Ford was going to spend 1 Billion dollars on 'freshening" the Panther platform, that has been around since 1979 under the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis (Marauder) and Lincoln Town Car. Then they will spend an additional 2 Billion dollars to create a replacement by 2010. To stay competitive in the Rear Wheel Drive market, Ford will have to do a lot of work.
Or will they? In Australia Ford sells the Falcon/Fairmont family of cars, with four wheel independent suspension and some very powerful optional powerplants. Ford's Control Blade independent Rear Suspension can handle the 500 hp V-8 and turbocharged I-6(over 400 hp) in their FPV versions (think SVT down under.) Even if this car is not suited for the US market as some respected bloggers have told me, it does illustrate that Ford knows how to build what they need.
Don't even get me started on the Focus, what a sham, everyone but us gets a new great Focus and we get some freshened sheetmetal and loose the SVT Focus. When you're looking at the new Volvo C-40 think Focus Vignale.