Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Two chalenges for Ford, that could easily be answered.

The Net has been buzzing with pictures and specs of Dodge's Hornet concept for Geneva. The possability of Chrysler's Dodge division having an exciting entry into Europe's hotly contested B Segment, with it's 170 hp 1.6l turbo 4 cyl, and it's Honda Element style second set of doors, is exciting. But Ford already has competative models in this segment, the Fusion (UK) Fiesta and Ka. But does Ford have something to go head to head with the Hornet?
And challenge #2 for Ford is set to hit these shores relatively soon. The Toyota FJ Cruiser, retro off roader, based on Tacoma chassis and engines. To me it looks like the old FJ with a weight problem, but is supposed to be a capable off roader. It's going to have a big V6 pumping out about 240 hp and proven mechanicals. So it's going to be a tough act to follow. Can Ford hope to answer these challenges?
Maybe, if they do it right. The Bronco concept has been kicking around for a little while, I believe it actually predates the FJ on the auto show circuit. And rumors on the Net, were that this or the EcoSport may come to the US. The concept shown was powered by a 1.4l Diesel with Hybrid capability. And while that's Green and great for public relations, would it be competative against the FJ Cruiser and Jeep's venerable Wrangler? I think a better Diesel option would be the 2.5L that Ford markets globally in the Ranger. And for real off road ability, it can't be built on Fiesta mechanicals. A shortened version of the new 4Trac/Ranger concept with real 4 wheel drive would be necesary. All the more reason I don't think Ford will build it. But the styling is there in the concept, a ready made winner. But it will need real off road credentials to compete, something the EcoSport/Fiesta chassis can't give it.
But this is another story, a ready made winner for Europe or the US. The Ford Faction concept, looks better than the Hornet and could easilly fit right on that new Fiesta/Mazda2 chassis. And with a Direct Injection/Turbo 1.6l I4 (like the one I talked about for the Reflex) could probably match the Hornet's power.

What do you think? Am I wrong about the Bronco?

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