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What about the future of Ford Inc??

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  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Mazda made out big time from this merger. With out ford dough Mazda would never have gotten its new products to market in as a competative form as they are.

    Ford made out big time as well with Mazda's small engine expertise.

    Interesting to note that if you combine all of Ford's brands you probable have more 24 hour Lemans wins than any other manufacturor.

    I would like to see Ford do Max Value cars. The value of what you get should be greater than the price.

    Fords should also have cutting edge design and damn the old fogies.

    Mark
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    "...or at least I'll like them again once they do something about the Focus."

    I like Ford, too. I don't see why don't they just go and buy a bunch of Civics, tear them down and rebuild one using their own parts. That's what Lexus did with Mercedes back when Lexus was born. It seemed to work pretty good."
    -----------

    Actually Civic and new Golf/Jetta Copied the Focus suspension down to the last bolt.
    Civics are offered with rear independent Suspension ONLY in the US, they still have Torsion beam in the EU.. this is because there is much more variance in the EU compact market. With the few models in the US a torsion beam is a suicide (look at Cobalt)
    .
    Focus is suffering a lot right now.. the looks suffered, and while it has (not HAD) the potential to be great car, Ford cannot afford it. It needs to be selling this car, and not having a smaller model, means they have to sell it for 11k - base models. Focus was not built for such low price level.

    Right now we (Focus enthusiasts) are hoping Ford will speed up the plans to bring over Fiesta and EcoSport - 2 vehicles built on smaller platforms than Focus. This would allow Focus to move upscale where it belongs : 14-15k at base. .competing with Civics and Mazda3's..
    the 2008 edesign will be on the current platform, but that is not going to be a problem if it is done well.. the platform is very well designed, and actually the C1 platform (Mazda3, Volvo S40/V50 and new European Focus) only a updated enlarged copy of the C170.. the driving department didn't change much..

    Igor
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    Ford, and GM, need a bunch of simultaneous winners. Solitary winners, like 300, Mustang or Solstice, will not do. One, if you have only one winner, you tend to overproduce it, driving down its resale value and image. I read somewhere 25% of 300 production goes to rental companies! If you have multiple winners, all your factories are humming, and you're not overproducing any one model.

    Secondly, multiple winners give a halo to your whole operation. It's a lot like a baseball line-up, one slugger doesn't a team make, you need good hitters up and down to drive each other in.

    That was why, a year and a half ago, when GM, Ford and Chrysler were about to unleash their car offensives, (Ford labeled 2005 the year of the car, remember that!) everyone was so optimistic, because it was assumed most of these new cars would be hits. Instead, I counted only two solitary hits (300 & Mustang), and the results were very disappointing.

    So even if Fusion/Milan is a hit, it still needs reinforcement from elsewhere in the lineup.
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    I actually think Ford has been good in creating a lineup of winners, and now it has only 2 gaping holes in the lineup that are killing its halo: Focus and Ranger....

    If you look all of Ford Cars all are selling well/ have great rep..500 (mentioned above), Fusion, Mustang.
    On the SUV / Truck side, Explorer is loved, Escape conitues to do well. .and Expedition seems to be just a car that Ford needs but doesn't care too much about it, since there is not point in fighting the GM in this class. F150 is has no bad rep..
    the next year should make big progress in this. Not only willFord bring the Edge anbd the Sport Track, it will bring new engine, redesign the 500 and possibly start some teasers on Ranger, Focus and the upcoming small cars. However the truth is .. Ford Really needs a big hit in the compact segment -- a perceived great models - to finally win this war. And it will still be a delicate balance untill 2nd ot even third gen of hte current lineup untill the market will really embrace the new perception...
    Also realize that after next year there will be only Focus, Ranger and CrownVic in the lineup that are moe than 3 years old and have any touch or not-so-stellar past..

    Linc. / Merc. are not doing that well.. but they are not the core make, so FoMoCo can afford a little slack there. Plus while the progress is slower, every new model from FoMoCo even those for Linc/Merc have been well received...

    I believe GM has the problem here. The two makes that did turn around their image is Pontiac and Caddillac, but as important as they are, Chevy is the breadwinner for GM.. and unfortunately, only the new Impala made ripples, and it was cancelled by the failures of HHR and Cobalt... The new full size suv/truck lineup should help, but unfortunately the market right now does not care too much for them...

    Igor
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "Actually Civic and new Golf/Jetta Copied the Focus suspension down to the last bolt."

    Golfs had torsion beams a very long time ago. I think they've gone independent now, at least the GTI.

    Civics had wishbones front and back until '01, at which point the front went to struts. The European '06 hatchback is the only Civic (ever, or in a long time) to use a torsion beam. It's because it borrows a lot of parts from the Fit.

    In Europe everyone's trying to reach the Focus's handling/ride balance, but they're not really copying its suspension.

    I agree with everything else you say. It was a great car before the US facelift; now I think it's terrible. And it might not make sense to bring over the new one if it's going to compete with the Mazda3. Just like the Euro Civics, Accords, and Corollas are different, the Focus might have to permanently split. But that doesn't mean that the US Focus shouldn't be updated every 5 years!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "The European '06 hatchback is the only Civic (ever, or in a long time) to use a torsion beam. It's because it borrows a lot of parts from the Fit."

    It's because hatchbacks are used like utility vehicles overseas. They try to cram an awful lot of stuff into small cars. The compact torsion beam enables them to package the interior better. For example, the rear seats fold up (like the rear bench on the Ridgeline or Frontier), or fold down like any other hatch.

    I have no idea who started using beams first, but the use of the design has nothing to do with how well the suspension performs. It has to do with how well it fits.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Yeah, it looks like you're right. But I'll maintain that it was an easier decision for Honda to make due to the Fit parts bin.

    So in what way did Honda copy the Focus?

    And how did the American Focus become a $9000 special? (Just look at dealer ads in the paper.)
  • "Golfs had torsion beams a very long time ago. I think they've gone independent now, at least the GTI. "

    Last year is not a long time ago. Previous Golf had a torsion beam. I believe Golf introduced torsion beam when it debuted in 70s and it became standard for all Golf class cars. Problem with Focus is a cheap and plain interior and facelift actually made it look older. In all Ford cars there are some details that make the interior look cheaper than it actually is. In 500 e.g. it is door panels and steering wheel, in Fusion – radio unit and climate controls, in new Focus almost everything. Mercury has a slightly better interior but it is still rebadged Ford. They should differentiate it from Ford with actually higher quality and better-designed interior.

    Ford's tradition is not to redesign cars letting them to die in peace over time. But now they wow to change it and redesign cars every three years. We will see.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "and it was cancelled by the failures of HHR and Cobalt.."

    igor: On what basis is the HHR a failure? I have no idea how it's selling, but it seems to be a nice little guy, and a better execution than the PT Cruiser is. The Cobalt, I agree, is disappointing. They should have called it Cavalier II.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    nippononly: How many times has there been a behind-the-scenes decision at Ford to sell the cheaper shabbier product to Americans, because the premium product would cost more than Americans will pay for a Ford? How do they know? They've never tried.

    In a sense, Ford did try this during the 1990s. The Contour was more expensive than the Tempo it replaced, and the 1996 Taurus was more expensive than its predecessor. Neither model was a success, even though both were head-and-shoulders above the cars they replaced in build quality, performance and refinement. The Contour even received good reviews at the time for its ride, handling and overall balance (very European in feel for an American car of the time).
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Was the '96 Taurus the catfish one?
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    carlisimo: And how did the American Focus become a $9000 special? (Just look at dealer ads in the paper.)

    First, Ford badly fumbled the launch, allowing the car to become tainted by quality bugaboos and numerous recalls. Fortunately, Ford has straightened out the quality problems.

    Second, Ford allowed the car to become dated in the face of improving competition. Not bringing over the updated European Focus was a big mistake...even if Ford didn't realize immediate returns, a thoroughly updated Focus would have given the company a top-notch entry in a very competitive segment and added some luster to the Focus nameplate. The MBAs running Ford need to steal a page from Honda's playbook and make every effort to keep models fresh, even if it means the financial gains won't be recognized immediately.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Yes, that was the catfish Taurus. Regardless of what one thinks of the styling, it was much better built - and more reliable - than the previous generation.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "The MBAs running Ford need to steal a page from Honda's playbook and make every effort to keep models fresh, even if it means the financial gains won't be recognized immediately."

    Well, you're absolutely right, grbeck, that's exactly what they should do. It's easier in Japan though - where long term is long term, and not 1 quarter like it is in the US. In this country, if you didn't make more money this quarter than you did last quarter, Wall Street puts a "Sell" order out on your stock because you're going down the drain!!!
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    Both Honda and Golf/Jetta had semi-indepentent rear supension on previous models. In several comparos, this was highlighted as an asset of Focus.
    Focus has fully independent rear supention, that was and still is not common in Compacts, especially in the US. Both Golf and Civic now sport almost identical rear setup. While the Civic's doublewhishbone and Golf's torsion beam were not bad... competition with Focus brought them to simply adopt the same setup. Actually the current setup is so good the that the new Focus Platform (Mazda3, Volvo S40/.V50) basically leaves that part completely unchanged...

    And about the Focus price.. well first, the minimum factory invoice is around 11k. If a dealer is selling it at 9k it is their own loss... second Focus got so cheap, because it needs to compete as the bottom of the line Ford in the times when Ford badly needs to move cars. It is percevied as old and outdated and unfortunately, Ford does little to change that perception..The perception is the more upsetting, since under the cheap sheetmetal and plastic the Foucs has gorwn up into a much better car than it was before..
    The Duratec engine, better breaks, better transmission... all three were changed since the 2000 introduction.. so technologically Focus is competitive.. it just is not presented in such way right now..

    Igor
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    HHR is not perceived as a good new model.. it is a 5 year delayed response to PT Cruiser which was THE FIRST car based on the 48 Suburban...

    It might sell well, but it does not make Chevy look like it is moving forward. Unlike the new Ford models, that are somewhat revolutionay for Ford, HHR is not much of an innovation or change.. or at least does not seem to be perceived that way.. it is bussiness as usual from Chevy, so it fails to produce the perception of "winners" that was talked about.... it is not recognized as a GREAT or AWESOM small car that will make ripples... not at all.. People made a mental note that Chevy now has a copy of PT cruiser and it ended there....

    Igor
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I see what you mean, igor. The HHR to me, is one of the better things Chevy has to offer right now, in the car line. I think it fits their mission with a little more style than usual. But I see your point.
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    What I do not understand with GM, is that they have TWO great model lineups.. Both Cadillac and Pontiac are very well settled on their models and have a great reception from the market.. How come GM is completely unable to bring anythign from these models into Chevy.. somethign is horribly wrong there..
    Why can they work with Toyota and create Vibe, but then grab hold of Opel platform and butcher it into Cobalt.. Why Once they know how well the Vibe got received for its style, didn't they try to style the HHR in a similar way. Why does Chevy not have a platform mate of the G6 that would look equally well..
    this is what Ford has been doing well, but somehow GM manages to completely screw up.

    Igor
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Even worse though, is the Saturn debacle. Talk about how to kill a brand! It's completely off course from it's beginnings now, and a totally unnecessary brand - or else Chevy is.

    They need to drop Saturn, or
    Chevy, and GMC Trucks, or Chevy again, and they're on their way to killing Buick now, with these stupid new names on the same old cars.
  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    They need to drop Saturn, or
    Chevy, and GMC Trucks, or Chevy again, and they're on their way to killing Buick now, with these stupid new names on the same old cars


    Well, GM is going to do the opposite of what you think it should. It will move Saturn upscale, with the new Sky, Aura, and Outlook. Actually, Saturn's sales have been up lately, mostly because of the improved 2006 Vue. I can see Buick being dropped within 5 years, but Chevy and GMC are going nowhere.
  • catfish Taurus

    What the heck is a catfish Taurus? I never heard of that before.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,971
    that's a nickname that came out for the 1996 Taurus, which took the ovoid theme a little too far. Ford toned down the look a bit for '98-99 and practically erased it for the 2000 restyle. The front-end of the '96-99 models has a bit of a catfish look to it, with its odd little headlights and the low-mounted grille intake.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Well, it is almost universally true that new models are more expensive than the ones that preceded them. What I meant was actually stepping up in price POINT to come in as expensive as the same-segment models from the first-tier Japanese companies. Average transaction prices on the Focus are like $13K for instance, while the Civic does 20% better. In fact, Hyundai will surpass that $13K average any day now with the Elantra.

    I think if they had brought over the $18-22K Euro Focus and it had really been all that the European press claimed it was, people would have anted up. Maybe in smaller numbers. But also at higher per-unit profits.

    For an example today, look at the redesigned '06 Sonata vs the '06 Fusion. Once again, at any given price point the Ford is falling short, in a brand new model. A lot of the interior details are off, the power is off in the V-6, and so on and so forth. And since prices are about the same and the Hyundai warranty is a lot longer, this will result in another erosion of Ford's customer base as more folks defect to Korean brands for the next car.

    Could they have built a car $2K more expensive in which they caught all those details? I bet they could. Yes, then this model would have close to a Toyota/Honda price, and people would say wow! That is pricey. But the reviews would all say "Ford finally hits a homerun!" (well maybe not "finally", since the new Mustang was much-loved), Ford could advertise all the acclaim its new Fusion was getting, and cancel the endless cash rebates on this one model, thereby raising their profits from each sale.

    Instead, this brand new model is losing comparos right out of the gate as reviewer after reviewer damns it with faint praise. I have sat in it at the auto show, and I agree with them on the interior. Better than the Taurus, oh yes, but that wasn't much of a bar to vault.

    chuck: the catfish Taurus was the 1996 redesign that made the whole car look like a fish from face to gills. :-P

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    Instead, this brand new model is losing comparos right out of the gate as reviewer after reviewer damns it with faint praise. I have sat in it at the auto show, and I agree with them on the interior. Better than the Taurus, oh yes, but that wasn't much of a bar to vault.

    ------------------
    I do not think the future for Fusion is as bleak as you put it. The thing is currently Hyundai with al those advantages is still a hyundai and that is (at least in the midsize - prestige driven market) still a worse point than Ford.
    I agree that Ford needs to grow up and stop feeling it needs to win the market by underselling its cars.. Many of the models are/could be good enought to compete head to head with japanese... However I believe it would not be realitstic to do it with Fusion, ford has no foothold in the midsize market.. it needs to be cheap at first but good enough so gen2 Fusion can move as direct competition...
    They could have done hte direct competition with Focus, because Ford already had a strong footing in the market and a strong nameplte to just keep rolling. However even there they had 2 reasons not to do that
    1) As I mentioned in other posts, as a mass brand (unlike volvo and Mazda) ford needs something cheap to get the 'bottom line" buyers... With GM having both Aveo and Cobalt, thye needed to keep Focus cheap so the regular folk can buy it. If you notice Toyota has Scion and is bringing Yaris, Honda is brining Fit/Jazz ... Ford is Bringing Fiesta and Ecosport Unfortunately Ford does not have strong enough reputation to survive a direct price comparison.. lots of Ford buyers will simply go for the cheapest car with the same equippment.
    2) The EU Focus is not a godsent. the Platform is good, but so is the current one. The styling is criticizedas too bland... moreover, the EU focus is too expensive.. you cannot bring 18k compact when you have 17k midsize.
    Even the new Civic is cheapend from EU version so it starts below 15k.

    Fusion is not a bad car and it EXACTLY what ford needs right now. Even if fusion was THE best and most luxurious midsize out there, consumers would want it to be at least 1k cheaper that Accord.Camry because it is still Ford. And while Accord keeps winning comparso, Fusion is right up there with Sonata leaving camry eat the dirt..

    Igor
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    The Camry's still winning, despite it all. So it goes.

    I wonder if the Euro Focus and the Mazda3 are too alike to sell together. I still would've brought it over, but not without also bringing a smaller car (Fiesta). The Corolla and Civic are getting little siblings, and the Focus has the name to stay up with those two. Sad to see it become an Accent fighter.

    I hate to say this about the catfish Taurus, but even if other cars are obviously uglier, I find the Taurus more repulsive to look at. The truly ugly cars always have some coolness about them, but not the Taurus. And there are lots of them. Trying to be a mass-market car. With no good angle. The wagon's funky side windows are bad too. I just can't believe that car.

    But that's just me.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    I am with you on many points there, but thought I would mention that the 5 YEAR OLD Camry ate dirt, but the new model will be in showrooms in three months. Think Toyota will improve it?! :-P

    Maybe Ford could have "done a Taurus" with the Focus. That is, keep building the cheaper existing Focus trims to hang onto the price buyers in the $10-15K bracket, calling it the Focus Classic perhaps, and bring the new Focus over as well, priced $17-20K. Leave the over-$20K trims in Europe for a year or two. The Mazda3 has stickers approaching $20K and sells well, and it is a few years old already. The new Civic EX with NAV runs $21K+. Ford could do this, I am sure. It would be taking a step toward a better future, rather than the existing plan, which will keep them mired in mediocrity for another car generation.

    And I do take issue with one thing - the whole prestige thing. First of all, there isn't a whole lot of prestige that enters buying decisions in the midsize family sedan market, I don't think. But secondly, Hyundai is now pulling up to GM and Ford in the "prestige" department, and will be passing them in a few short years, at least in California. If the domestic twins are still pumping out the same old stuff five years from now, they will have missed their chance, and Hyundai will have passed them in the desirability column. While the Chinese will be offering a car for sale here that is 80% as good as the Ford for 50% of the price. With a better warranty.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    The Camry's still winning, despite it all. So it goes.
    -------

    Where did you see a comparo that had Accord, Camry, Sonata and Fusion where Camry did well..
    I saw 2.. one from Edmunds without Fusion
    and one in Car and Dirver with all 4.
    Accord won both, Camry lost both. Sonata and Fusion were in the middle.

    -----------
    I wonder if the Euro Focus and the Mazda3 are too alike to sell together. I still would've brought it over, but not without also bringing a smaller car (Fiesta). The Corolla and Civic are getting little siblings, and the Focus has the name to stay up with those two. Sad to see it become an Accent fighter.
    ----------------
    Yup the thing about Focus nameplate is right on spot. Once we get Fiesta future will ook better for Focus. second I do not thin kthere would be too much competition between Mazda3 and the Euro Focus.. they sell together in europe and they have different audiences. Focus on both sides of the atlantic is a family car.. while it has the 3door.. really it is bought for thr 5doo and wagon as family cars. Mazda has much younger audience and it is by far less plractical. Then you have Volvo that actually looks like the Focus, but it is premium in feel and price.. and comes as a coupe-cabrio besides sedan and wagon (and upcoming 3door).

    Igor
  • igor2igor2 Posts: 148
    3 things..
    ONE
    Camry is and even the 07 will be boring. I willimprove but camry buyers are not going to be excatly the same as Fusion buyers... Basically you have sonata/Camry are plush midsizes. Fusion/mazda6/Altima as mosre sporty - fun - midizes and Accord as the perfect midpoint... In my eyes the 07 is keeping up the boring trend.
    TWO
    There are many theories what ford should have done.. The Classic / New would be one... all in all Ford will be skipping a generation of Focus.. BTW do not discard the upcoming 2008 Focus... there is nothing wrong with the current underpiinings. If Ford does it right it will be a good car gain
    THREE
    Yes, Hyundai is pulling up, but with the Fusion Ford kept it still in "puling up" so Huyndai is still a little lower.. hence the better warranty and (for this year) stronge rengine, simply cancel out that disadvantage for Sonata in buyers eyes.. IMO

    Igor
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "Where did you see a comparo that had Accord, Camry, Sonata and Fusion where Camry did well.. "

    I should clarify. The Camry isn't winning into comparos, but it's winning in sales.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    "BTW do not discard the upcoming 2008 Focus... there is nothing wrong with the current underpiinings. If Ford does it right it will be a good car gain"

    True enough. Of course, by the time the MY '08 cars roll around, there will be a new Sentra, a new Elantra, a new Corolla, and even the new Dodge thingummy, Caliber? With a sedan to follow? And the Civic mid-cycle update will follow the new Focus debut by a year or less. Not to mention whatever GM might do with the Cobalt and Ion (maybe it's better NOT mentioned - it will probably be little or nothing anyway).

    Which is all to say there will be a huge OPPORTUNITY for Ford to once again make it just good enough, or not quite as good as, the competition. (Actually, when Focus debuted it was at least as good as the competition, but Ford can't afford to have that many recalls in a first-year model again for a very long time). Now whether they avail themselves of that OPPORTUNITY or actually make it a world beater is up to them. I am afraid folks at the top will still have the attitude two years from now that making it a world beater will turn it into a model that "Americans just won't pay that much for in a compact car", and go the cheap route.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

This discussion has been closed.