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Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan

ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
Ford Futura will debut in 2005, as a 2006 model. Using a modified version of the Mazda6 platform, using the 2.3L I-4, 3.0L Duratec V6, as well as a 2.3L HEV hybrid version, that will debut later this year on the Escape Hybrid. Slotting between the Focus, and new Five Hundred, the Futura will push the Taurus into rental fleet only marketplace, while targeting the midsize sector...Since the Taurus is a larger, type of midsize.

Styling done by J.Mays, and looks quite classy and upscale in the marketplace. J.Mays (from VW) definatly gave the Futura an Audi look to it, and I'm sure it's interior will mimick that as well.

Any thoughts/opinions on the new Ford Futura?
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Comments

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    why did they bring up the lame name Futura again?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Futura was originally the name of a concept vehicle from way back when. And it was used as a trim level in one of the models. Today, the Futura is a trim level in the Ford Falcon of Australia I believe, if not maybe the Fairmont down there.

    Ford will be using quite a bit of F names on their cars, while SUV's will take the E names. While historic names such as GT, Mustang, and Tbird will keep theres. Focus, Futura, Five Hundred, Freestar, Freestyle...

    Mercury will also follow this, naming their vehicles with M. Hence, Mariner, Monterrey, Montego, Mountaineer, (M name for the futura based sedan not released yet)
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Too bad this vehicle isnt coming out until the 2005 model year. By that time, the Altima and Camry will be one MY away from a redesign, and the Accord only two. My point: I hope Ford really looks to leapfrog the competition with this one. Cause if they are looking to catch-up, they will quickly find themselves behind once again. But thats ok, I'm sure they can introduce at least 3 versions of the same car under different brands, and expect the customer to be none the wiser.

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    You would be amazed how many people I've intereiewed that had no idea what their car really was. Most common is Audi people not understanding how they share platform with the Passat, or the TT with a Golf.

    IN the future, will we see alot of niche, low volume products, and Fords method will be one of the functional and wiser. You'll have a few 400K+ vehicles, and have many other 100-150K offerings.

    Most importantly, do NOT expect the Futura to be a 300K+ high volume product, and surely Ford will receive negative media attention, because it's what they are acustomed to seeing. Already one article has been written, stating that the Aviator is a flop because it only sold 2400 units last month. Mind you, it's a vehicle that just debuted, and originally have plans to build 25-30K of them yearly. Yet the Lexus Gx470 sold the same amount, also debuted at the same time...and it's not getting THAT type of reaction.

    The Futura's platform will underpin numerous other vehicles. A Mercury sedan, an entry Lincoln sedan, and the Escape/Mariner/Tribute triplets will eventually fall into the platform years from now.

    Some might call this badge engineering, but ideally customers are growing tired of having a vehicle like the Camry, Accord, Taurus, and see them so frequently in the street. Styling will be different amongst all, and suspension settings, interior, NVH can be changed easily to make each one a bit different.

    Anyone whos driven an Escape and Tribute, can notice they both drive a bit differently. So thats a good example of what we will see in the future.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Ok with this post, I wasnt talking about badge engineering at all. What I am saying is that if Ford doesnt look to significantly advance the science/art of midsize vehicle design and manufacturing, by the time the Futura is out, they will likely be behind the 8 ball after only 1 short year. (If Toyota and Nissan stick to their product cycle).

    "IN the future, will we see alot of niche, low volume products, and Fords method will be one of the functional and wiser. You'll have a few 400K+ vehicles, and have many other 100-150K offerings"
    -I dont feel a vehicle selling 150K units a year is a niche vehicle. That seems like a pretty mass market number.

    "but ideally customers are growing tired of having a vehicle like the Camry, Accord, Taurus, and see them so frequently in the street"
    -Toyota and Honda are smart. I think the Accord and Camry will be atop the market for years to come.

    ~alpha
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    "Ford will be using quite a bit of F names on their cars, while SUV's will take the E names. While historic names such as GT, Mustang, and Tbird will keep theres. Focus, Futura, Five Hundred, Freestar, Freestyle..."

    What lame'butts' are working in Ford's marketing department? 500? FREEstar? FREEstyle? What sort of crap names can they think of next? How freaking lame can they get? Are they purposely trying to NOT sell cars?

    Why couldn't they dream up a cool name like

    Aurora
    Legend

    etc.

    cripes, I could do a better job in Ford's marketing dept. than those lame idiots.
  • navigator3740navigator3740 Posts: 279
    I notice the Aurora and Legend are both out of production......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Consdering the vehicle is 2 years away, at the end of the cycle for the current Camry and Accord, it's viable we think that way. Being late to the party. But the engineering process, and the sophistication of the platform, will be 2 steps ahead of them. Accord and Camry will continue to refine their current platform, one which already is quite old as it is.

    While Futuras will be completely new overall, and using engineering techniques that will enhance the cars overall structure, without burdening it. Sort of what has happened with the current Taurus, it's platform is quite dated and thru the years, the addition of more reinforcement, has made the car quite porky for it's structure to handle. Same issue with the Camry and Accord is expected.

    Futura's platform will also handle AWD, which we will begin to see in more products.

    I too think 150K units is quite many to be considered niche product, but actually I've been corrected by many sources pertaining to that. And "small niche player" is anything under 50K units as I've been told.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The Camry platform that debuted for 2002 MY is ENTIRELY new, as in, not related to the 92-96/97-01 generations (which used the same platform).

    I cannot speak for the Accord, as I do not know as much regarding Honda products. But I am positive that I read, both on Toyota's website at the time and in auto publications, that the Camry PLATFORM was entirely new for 2002. That doesnt strike me as old.

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Just like Ford states the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/ Town Car platform is totally new. In reality it's basic form dates back 30 years, it's just been re-engineered so much, that they claim it's new.

    No one has set priciple standards to describe what all new is exactly. I say, that if a platform is changed lets say 60%, then the original structure, then it would classify as all new. Or something along those lines for example.

    Yeah the Camry platform is all new (I would hope so), but it's linage dates back quite awhile. It's a very good platform actually, quite easy to tailor, and it's easily flexible which is why it's been able to grow thru time. But totally brand new, never have seen before, from scratch, totally disoriented from any other product, unique to itself, kind of new it's not.

    Actually, last one to have a truely, totally newly engineered platform, new to anyone, was the Altima and now the Maxima is using a variation from it.

    The Futura will feature a totally new platform (uh huh--New to Ford brand) it's linage started with the Mazda6, it'll just be lengthened and widen, but the original gene, is still the Mazda6 (JV Platform). Just like the 500/Montego will have an all new platform, BUT in reality, it's an extensivly modified Volvo P2 platform. Just how much has changed to classify it as "ALL NEW", depends on the marketing dept. being there's no real classifications to state that.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    FREESTAR

    Legend

    FREESTYLE

    Aurora

    FORD FREEBASER

    FORD FREERANGECHICKEN

    FORD FREELOADER

    FORD FREE BACON DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER (WITH THE PURCHASE OF EQUAL OR GREATER VALUE)

    I mean, Ford come on....put some freaking thought into it and come up with a real name for a car. Jeez, Bill Ford, I will work for you if you gimme a FREE MONDEO (5 sp plz) to drive around in. I know I can come up with better names than FREESTAR.

    Kia has way better names.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Your analogy of the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis to the Camry is laughable. Show me documentation indicating that the Camry platform is not all new. Its one thing for manufacturers to fib and tell you they have an all new design- but usually the trade press will see through it, like with the Mustang and how Car and Driver points out that its based on the 78 Fairmont/Futura. But when the Camry came out in Sept 01, C/D stated it was the first all new Camry in 10 years. If the lineage of the Camry is as old as you indicate, please tell me exactly how old it is.

    Regardless. Ford is dying. The alligence of the loyal will take them only so far, before they start killing off brands (cough cough Mercury) and realizing big losses on the balance sheet.

    ~alpha
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Ok bad analogy, but I was hoping you would understand it, in an extreme way....

    Thats why I stated, there's no real measure, as to how to indicate when a platform can be deemed "all new"... Just like there's a fine line between SUV,Crossovers,Trucks and how the EPA is having a hard time differentiating them, to be able to place them on new classes for fuel economy numbers.

    So if a publication is stating it's all new, surely enough of the platform was changed, to deem it all new, but how much really??

    Ford will not, and cannot kill Mercury. Without them, Lincoln would not be able to exsist. And many of their vehicles would not be viable, without the additional sales Mercury can account for. Between Lincoln and Mercury, there's 400K+, and they wouldnt pass that up. Volvo they bought in the black, and pretty much takes care of itself, while contributing to spread engineering costs by sharing safety and platform techonology. Jaguar they have invested 10 years worth, and is needed for more sophisticated engineering. Same with Aston Martin. Mazda is in charge of small engine development, and have been able to make it out of the red after 8-some years.

    Just takes a year or 2 to see the current progress. IN then in that time, another year or 2, to see progress that will be started in 6 months. AND THATS gonna be FUN from what I see. Right now, is when Mercury and Lincoln is looking bad... And it will for another year. But after that, things will only improve. Just gotta wait and see is the most I can tell you.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    In my opinion though, it speaks really poorly of Ford, in terms of position, historically, currently, and prospectively that "Lincoln will not be able to exist" (without Mercury). You don't see GM bundling Buicks and Caddys at the same dealership.

    Sure, in two years things may be better for Ford/Mercury/Lincoln, whatever. But will that be enough? Things will probably be better for alot of automakers: Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc.

    I apologize for getting so far off the topic, but my point remains: Of any automaker in the US market, I feel that Ford is in the least favorable position going forward, and faces great risk in maintaining their current market share in the next 5 years.

    ~alpha
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    Actually, I have no issues with Mercury being on line as a purveyor of rebadged tarted up Fords, as long as the interior quality is superior and the exterior tweaks are substantive enough to give the image of a 'special edition' Ford or something kinda unique. With so many other brands out fighting out there, there's not much need for Mercury to be anything other than 'another Ford outlet' for the Lincoln dealer. Just like GMC trucks in a way.....something to fill out the lineup for the dealer. Then Mercury can function as a niche brand and maybe have some high performance models too, and Ford can remain garden variety with cheap plastic interiors and the Mercury can get the nice leather, wood, plastic, etc. As long as they don't try to make Mercury a volumen seller or a high prestige brand they will be ok. Just make it an alternative to someone who doesn't want a garden variety Ford.

    As an example, maybe you can buy a Mercury Montego that has a killer interior and kick butt wheels with a really high grade chrome grille or something and maybe options like a manual tranny or AWD, brake upgrades, power sunshades, double sunroof, etc.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Actually so far this year, in comparison to last year, Ford increase market share up to 1.7% (last month April, they lost .01%) While GM has lost about 2.X% so far this year. Those numbers flashed in my eyes 2 days ago, so I'm going to try and look for that paper again. GM is is more effected by market share, than Ford is. GM has much more volume, when they lose 10% for example, of production for that month, thats not a few hundred vehicles like some other maker, but thats easily a few tens of thousands. So the push of getting rid of cars at huge rebates is cheaper, than idling factories for a long duration. Considering the UAW still gets paid 96% even if they are idled (I wont go there)....

    In relation to Mercury being a high volume niche, Ford has always been protective of what cars to give Mercury because it's afraid of just that. Even with the last Cougar...They killed the Probe which was selling well at approx. 80-100K units, so the Cougar wouldn't have competition. Their thinking back then was to give Mercury products to fill segments Ford brand didn't have. Obviously it's not the product you have, it's the customer class and demographics your catering too. The last Cougar did not bring much young buyers, into the L/M dealership. Lesson learned.

    Back to basics....Mercury's most stable sales in the past decade or 2 has been chromed clones of Fords, different trims, packages, etc. So they are going back to basics in that sense. Mercury at that time also had steady sales. Meaning, when there was a slow month, sales didnt drop as much. Whereas now, when they drop... They bomb... but lets not forget Mercury just has 3 products now. So when it drops 25% for example, it's really a few hundred units. NOT as massive as it might sound.
  • navigator3740navigator3740 Posts: 279
    Maybe GM should bundle up some of their product like Ford does with Lincoln & Mercury. The companies who are really on task with quality and stability make about 6 cars total, not 6 LINES of cars like GM does, and they seem to do it with more consistency. My 89 Civic with 170,000 miles on it is worn & torn, but still quite trouble free. I wouldn't count Ford out yet. I think Nasser just about tanked it, with a little more time, he might have succeeded, but it looks to me like it's been rescued in time, and I remember other times when blue has bled red, and come back.

    I remember the first time I rented an 83 Thunderbird in Maui. I was so impressed, I came home and bought a new 84, and drove that one 5 years. That was the beginning of a great era for Ford that stayed profitable and strong until Petersen & whatshisname retired, and Nasser took over, firing everybody in the company who understood cars and hiring a bunch of people from soap and steel companies. Oh well, I digress....

    Don't count Ford out yet.....I'm not.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Ah yes Jac The Knife.... He is majorly responsible for the issues we see today with Ford. The only credit I will give him, is buying Volvo (my opinion here). But thats pretty much about it.

    Cadillac is currently under-going, what was originally Lincolns first idea (during Jac's era). Transform the whole brand. Cadillac has taken it beyond that, and trying to compete with MB, BMW, Jag, Audi, Etc. Personally in my opnion, the benefit of "American Luxury" is that it's priced reasonable.

    Lincoln will not be following upmarket because it already has Jaguar in the area Cadillac wishes to compete. GM doesnt have any other brands. IN replacement, they will push Buick brand upwards, to fill the segment/price classes, that Cadillac is leaving in this transformation.

    Now, just my opinion here. Personally a luxury make SHOULD have RWD, so those DTS and STS better transform soon enough. YET this will leave Buick, with the same issue Cadillac had... Or maybe even worse. Many customers shopping for luxury vehicles in the $30-50K range, are not fond of FWD, Pushrod OHV V6 engines, Superchared or not, which I see as a problem. They are rectifying this a new engine to be used (3.6L DOHC) in the Rendezvcous and CTS. But Buick needs massive product overhaul to fill the shoes GM has given it.
  • navigator3740navigator3740 Posts: 279
    Couldn't agree more, Ant. I drove Cadillacs in the 80's, but they were slow enough that torque steer wasn't an issue. Once they brought out a decent engine, (the Northstar), the car was unmanageable under hard acceration. Nobody else builds FWD cars in the luxury segment except Volvo, who I was sorry to see go that way, but I figured it was a snow thing. Anyway, I have shyed away from FWD now since 97. I can't see Buick selling at the Cadillac level, but I guess we'll see. I'm glad Lincoln is staying reasonably priced.
  • gregagrega Posts: 31
    The 3300 lbs sled they use does NOT deform as all SUV frontends would do in a real crash since that is what they are designed for. To validate these tests why doesn't the IIHS use a real SUV (Ex. Ford Escape) and crash it into the side of a car and compare the results. That would be "real world"!
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