Thursday, September 22, 2005

AutoWeek, says mini MPVs to be wave of future, replacing sedans, is Ford ready?

If you click the link and read AutoWeek's article on the future trend towards mini MPVs and away from sedans*, some may wonder what Ford can do to counter this wave of new competitors. Well if you've read my blog in the past, you will know the answer to that. Bring the European Ford Fusion or it Brazilian brother the Ford Ecosport here into the US.

* I'm not sure I see this trend being as big a movement in the US, but Ford is poised to compete in any event.
Toyota's Scion brand has two mini MPVs, the Xa and Xb, the Xa is too ugly to post here, but here is the Xb. This little box on wheels is intended to apeal to the youth market, yet I see mostly middle aged people driving them. But their 1.4L I4 does give them impressive fuel economy to go with all of that useful room. The Fusion/EcoSport also has a 1.4 L I4 that gives it very good fuel economy.
The EcoSport version is available with all wheel drive, for those ocasions you want to wander off the pavement.
Now this is DCX's replacement for the Neon, and will out power the Fusion/EcoSport, but below you will see the South American EcoSport R, showing a very sporty side to this mini. Ford could install the 150hp motor from the Fiesta ST, or supercharge for even more power.

The R trim EcoSport is a natural Scion fighter. Give it some power, 4 wheel disc brakes and the body kit.
The Honda Element another one aimed directly at the youth/active lifestyle market. Basically a CRV with different body panels, rubber floors and waterproof seats. The Element seems to have hit the mark closer than the Scion.
But slap your surfboard ontop of an EcoSport and enjoy the option of all wheel drive.
Jeep has two concepts, this the patriot and another the Compass, both based on the Caliber concept, have been well recieved at the Frankfurt show. A departure from Jeep's Trail Rated legacy, the new Jeeps are based on the Dodge Neon replacement.
If Ford gets caught out in the cold on this trend, it's simply for a lack of vision. They have the platform and parts available to compete with all of the new and future MPVs.


Dotty Gale said...

You mean my goat is passe?


Big Ford Fan said...

No fear, your GTO isn't passe' it's just not a Ford :)

Like I said in the post, I don't believe these mini MPVs will ever truly replace sedans or coupes on American roads, but they will be a larger part of the product mix.

Coupes like your GTO have been loosing favor with the public over the last decade, because of limited utility. People expect their vehicles to serve multiple tasks now. So peronal luxury coupes and performance coupes have shrunk down to just a few models.

Good luck with the Goat, even if it isn't a Ford, it's still a cool car.

Midnight Magnum said...

Dodge seems the nicer design here, yes I might be alittle biased as I have stated earlier my preference for the caliber. The Mitsubishi concept is even nicer.