Friday, December 16, 2005

Jerry Flint gives advice to Mark Fields of Ford

Over at AutoBLog I found a link to an article Jerry Flint wrote after attending a preview of new FoMoCo products including the Town Car replacement, based on the 500. I love it everytime I read another of Jerry Flint's collums on FoMoCo. Usually I am in agreement with much of what he says, but I always like add my opinion to his. Hey what do you want? It's a slow day for me. So here we go, first quotes from Jerry's "Memo to Mark Fields" then my comments.

Recent trends confirm that luxury cars are continuing to move to rear-drive. Of course, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus - the big names in big luxury cars - are rear-drive. But Chrysler (the 300) and Cadillac (the CTS) have found great success by moving back to rear-drive, too. The only large all-wheel-drive luxury car is the Audi A8, with only 5000 sales here this year.
With these facts, I have to ask: Why in the world would Ford want its next large Lincoln to be an all-wheel-drive vehicle derived from a front-drive car?

He's got a point there, with everyone else doing rear wheel drive, does Ford know something nobody else does? Is there a new Ice Age coming? I've said it before, as Mr Flint has, the 500 platform is a great chassis and the 500 a nice car, but it's not the propper replacement for the Town Car. What about the LS Chassis? Or better yet, what about the Australian Ford Falcon/Fairmont chassis?? Why if the industry turns left, does Ford turn right? Inovation is one thing, ignoring a proven route to sucess is another. Chrysler is make a mint on a rehashed Mercedes E class chassis, Doesn't Ford see the mistake it's making?

Ah, you say, why should I listen to this jerk instead of all these fine fellows here in Dearborn? How could that jerk know more than they do? Well, Mark, I learned about the auto business listening at the knees of Robert McNamara and Lee Iacocca, Ernie Breech, and Philip Caldwell. History proves that they knew what they were doing. The crew you're listening to led Ford from 25 percent of the market down to 17 percent.

Preach Jerry preach! I'm not finding anything so far to disagree with Jerry on.

Remember, these Ford managers are crowding the automobile graveyard with their decisions. Taurus and Sable, soon dead. Contour and Mystique, dead. Thunderbird, dead. Old Aviator, soon dead. Lincoln LS, dead. Blackwood, dead.And look at all the good products being left to die because they can't figure how to keep them up to date: the Focus, the Town Car, the Ranger, and the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis.

Well?? What will Mr. Fields response to this be?? So far Jerry is my new hero.

Ship Mazda production back to Hiroshima, Japan, from the Flat Rock, Mich., plant. That would free Flat Rock up to become an all-Mustang plant and open the door to Mustang variations, like a Mercury version. What's wrong with a Mercury Mustang? (oh Jerry, we were so close, what's right about a Mercury Mustang?) Somebody at Ford thinks another 50,000 sales would make money and that's against the religion at Ford? Fill up the Hiroshima Mazda plant and lower costs of the vehicles shipped here since the yen is so cheap.Stop worrying about radical solutions for Mercury. Ford spent 20 years trying to do that without success. I was there. Better men than you and I couldn't do it. Just give Mercury jazzed-up Fords. That will be enough for profitable operation for the company and the dealers. Don't try to give them really different platforms. Doesn't anyone remember the Turnpike Cruiser? Hasn't anyone noticed? Mercury sales are ahead of last year and that's after you are killing the Sable, and letting the Marquis grow old on the beach. So get them a Mercury Focus and a Mercury Mustang.

Oh Jerry, just when I though we were so in synch, here's where we part ways, sort of. I've addressed the Mercury Mustang question, and think that a new Cougar should be more.
I'm not sure Mercury needs a Focus, but a good small car would be a great idea. Rather than retype everything I've said in the past, click the links for previous posts;

Latest Cougar post;

Recent thoughts on Lincoln;

The last time I read a collum of Jerry's ;

One idea I had for Mercury;

Lincoln Mustang rant;

Lincoln rant from Sept. ;

The Mercury answer? ;

The Mercury queston? ;

You know, as I read these past posts to add them here, it hit me that I'm nuts. I don't think I'm dangerous, but who else would spend so much of his free time doing this? So, since I wrote it all, and put it here for you, there'll be a pop quiz, so read up.

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