Friday, February 17, 2006

No more excuses!!

One of Ford's biggest excuses for not bringing the new C-1 or Euro Focus to the North American market has been a combination of cost and price point. The cost of retooling the plants and the higher price that a new Focus would have to command. Well I see it this way, and I'm not alone. If you bring the new Focus here now, the increased interest will bring sales back up, and pay for the overhaul of the plants.

And if the price of the average Focus needs to rise, go right ahead. Remember this isn't the first time Ford's smallest car outgrew it's "Entry Level" position. In 1960 the Falcon was Ford's "Economy" car, but by 1970 it had grown in size and price, eventually becoming the Torino and being replaced at the bottom by the Maverick and eventually the Pinto. Even the Escort outgrew it's "Entry" position and Ford had to introduce the Fiesta/Aspire to fill in at the lower end of the market. So isn't it time that the Fiesta move into the Entry level slot? After all, that's what Honda and company are doing. The Fit, Yaris and others are bolstering their parent company's entry level position. So if the Focus is not longer the entry level car, then the price point can be raise slightly to reflect the shift. Not only that, but if it's not the bottom rung, you can bring the SVT and Cabrio models eventually as well.

Hell, as in the last post about B segments, use flexible production facilities to produce other models off the C-1 platform, such as the SAV and future crossovers. It's not rocket science, bring interesting product to market and people will buy it, use flexible production plants and you can respond to market changes quicker.

As I see it, Ford no longer has any valid excuse to not bring the C-1 Focus to the North American Market, and if Mazda variants are built on the same flexible assembly lines, the cost can be spread out. Nothing is impossible if Ford is determined. This wouldn't be the first time this company pulled itself out of a funk, it seems to happen every decade or so, and each time they pull some daring move, like the Falcon in 1960, the Mustang in 1964, the Maverick in 1969, the Escort in 1981, the T-Bird and Cougar Aero coupes in 1983, the Taurus in 1985 and Explorer in 1991. Ford is due for the next big idea, and they already have it. Part of being "inovative" is taking chances, and the right risks can pay off. You get nowhere by slashing costs and closing plants alone, new interesting quality product is what is going to save Ford Motor Company, nothing short of that will work.


Anonymous said...

Dodge is showing the Hornet Concpt, And Mazda showed the Mini Micro Concept 2 or 3 years ago. Gm is giving Pontias a Cobalt spin off , Puruit with SS Supercharged Motor. Ford should act quick and not be last to market with a fun hatch.


Big Ford Fan said...

Bob, did you see the Ford Faction? It looks a great deal like Dodge's Hornet (which is slated for Europe only at this point) and Nissan's cube. So it could have a future somewhere in Ford's global market, maybe even the US.

As for the Cobalt/Pursuit, the Focus ST could be a competitor, if it gets here fast enough. I do agree that Ford needs to respond to the Hot Hatch market.