Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shawn wants the GR-1 and Reflex, and so do I

Shawn, a regular reader and commentor on this blog, in a recent comment on the Kabura, says he'd like to see the GR1 and Reflex built. And I agree, although I don't see the GR1 coming too soon.
In a way, the Reflex seems like the "Mini Me" of the GR1, especially in the silver. But it's a lower cost gamble for Ford, since it's underpinnings and powertrain are taken from Ford's European B Segement Fiesta. Building both the GR1 and Reflex would give Ford bookend performance models for the Mustang line.
The Ford GT, was a hell of an image boost for Ford, coming out just after the Centenial celebration. This car, who many lament over it's production end, was never really supposed to be a permanent addition to the lineup. It's expensive to produce and buy and limited in it's apeal. And when I say limited in it's apeal, I mean usefulness. Let's face it, everybody loves the looks and the performance. But it's not a car you can take to the country club or a night out. It's a toy for the very rich, and a bargain at $150k. But Ford originally said it would have a short run, and eventually be replaced by either the "Cobra" V10 roadster or the Shelby GR1 coupe.
The Mustang is an iconic model, with varying levles of performance, from the Base 210 hp V6, 300 hp GT and the 450 hp Shelby GT500 coming soon. Ford seems to have most of the bases covered with the Mustang, but it doesn't really. Ford needs a hot hatch type of car, like the SVT Focus that's gone, or even better the Focus ST from Europe (and the rest of the world.) And Ford could us a sporty sedan, like the rummored SVT Fusion. Ford has had them in the past, with the SHO Taurus or SVT Contour. A Reflex could be Ford's first rung on the performance ladder and the GR1 could be the top of the line.
Ford hasn't really had a head to head competitor for the Corvette, despite the original T-Bird or Shelby Cobras and GT350/500 Mustangs. And the new Corvette is an amazing package, you have several levels of performance, from the base 400 hp to the top of the line Z06 with 500 hp. And the Corvette, has decent lugage capacity for a 2 seat sports car, while still being able to run with Ferrari (in the case of the Z06.) With base prices south of $50k and topping out well under $100k, it's a tough act to follow.
Dodge gave it a shot with the Viper, which has asphalt busting power and handling, but not as practical as the Vette, and only a match for the Z06 at a higher price. The ride is harsher and although it's still on the market, it's not as practical as the Vette and not as fast as Ford's GT.
But Chrysler isn't just sitting back, they've shown this Firepower concept, with a V8 instead of the Viper's V10, and a little bit more luxury than race car.

When Ford gets their act together, the GR1 could be a model they want to consider. Bring out the Reflex now, and work toward the GR1. Sure they'd have to sell 100 Reflex for every 1 GR1, but both could be success in their own way.

1 comment:

TheFordBlog said...

I have a feeling that the GR-1 will go into production eventually. It's a good looking car.