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Ford Five Hundred/Mercury Montego

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Comments

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Ford can't afford another fiasco like the '96 Catfish Taurus. Which is why they're going extremely conservative on this car. Sure, the automotive press may not rave over it, but they're not the ones Ford has to impress. Heck, the Automotive press bashes anything that doesn't handle like a Corvette, even if the vehicle was designed to take old ladies to church potlucks! If Ford can convince the "unwashed masses" who by Camry's and Accords as fast as Japan can crank them out that this is a good car, the public will care less who Ford copied stylingwise. Personally I think it's a boring car, but a boring car is exactly what Ford needs right now if they're to take sales leadership back from the Camry.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    and take it back through retail sales and not be another "rental" king. even when the taurus was winning its sales titles, it was because over half of its sales was due to fleet sales. not good for prestige and resale value. but isn't this car suppose to be more upscale than a taurus and therefore be too expensive to ever win a sales title. by the way, it's taking ford way too long to come out with a redesigned taurus.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    ...Is ready to forsake the Taraus, once the darling of their fleet. They're pinning their hopes and dreams on the new 500 (I still say they should have called it the Galaxie or the Fairlane. 500 is so bland). If the 500 turns out to be a winner, I expect Ford will discontinue tha Taurus all together, decontent the 500, and use the Mercury nameplate to sell the more upscale, expensive version of the vehicle designed to go for the upper-middle class, while the Ford version would take on 4-banger base model Camrys and Accords. After the wonderful '96 redesign, Ford pretty much screwed up any brand equity associated with the "Taurus" nameplate. It's got the "rental car" stigma, and it's time for Ford to move on. In a way, really, it's sad that what was once the number 1 car in America has come to this. But like any great athlete that's over the hill, it can't win any more Super Bowls, and for it to keep coming back year after year with nothing but past greatness to go on would be foolish. It looks like Ford has the new generation of MVP all star in the new 500. As much as I like Fords, I hope this one works. The company has really worked to get models like the Focus and T-Bird launched with as few glitches as possible, and hopefully, this car will be the one where those efforts pay dividends. This is Ford's big gamble to get back on top, and I think they've got all their ducks in a row on this one.
  • rbentonrbenton Posts: 30
    My take on the 500 it is, a better looking Avalon, hopeful a competent design. My worry is with the transaxles' since both of them are jointly developed by ZF. In my opinion I just don't trust the ZF Ford combination. Given that both companies have a record of producing transaxles' that don't last long in the hands of American driving conditions and maintence habits. Blue Oval news had a Feature on how Ford is dismantling their powertrain development work force. So Ford is giving up fixing their current problems. Instead they are bringing ZF to do their work, I see this as a way to cut development costs of a vehicle in bean counter sort of way. This is supported by reports massive cost increases with no improvement in quality control. One only has to look the dismal repair record of ZF 4 HP18 and ZF 4HP 22 Transmissions. These trannies seldom last more 70-100K no matter how they are driven and maintained. Basically they are as failure prone as AXOD and A604 from Ford and Chrysler respectively yet are 2x-3x more expensive to fix. So given Ford current lack of quality control in the name of pleasing stockholders dividends (ie Ford Family and other big wigs) and ZF repution for overpriced and underengineered crap, I have no cofidence in reliabilty of the 500 until it proves itself to be as Reliable as a Nissan Primeva (Infinti G20). Enough Ranting about Found On The Road Dead Again!!!!!!!!!
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Good golly I hope not!

    I had two blow out sidewalls on my '73 Mercury Montego...a lot of fun!
  • stormdavystormdavy Posts: 83
    Does anyone know where the designer of the infamous 'catfish' Taurus is today? Still with Ford? I'm interested in factual answers, or if you can suggest a better place to post. Thanks.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    i have some info posted in the taurus topic....his name is doug gaffka, but i don't know where he is today.
  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    He is still at Ford. Believe it or not, I think he did most of the design work on the new Thunderbird. He has also been promoted.

    I would suggest anyone interested in the story behind the 96 Taurus, read a book called "Car" Its a behind the scenes look at the entire development process, and why they designed it like they did.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    WHY did they design the 1996 Taurus as they did? As I already have enough tormented nightmares in my sleep, I'd rather not know the origins of the Oval Demon.
  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    The reasoning went something like this. They wanted to capture import buyers. Market research showed that even if they built a car that was equal to the Japanese competition as far as quality/performance/etc., the import buyers would still not buy it unless it was priced much lower. The one place they thought they could beat the Japanese though and get these buyers was through design. Much of the success of the 86 Taurus was its cutting edge design. So they wanted to achieve that again. So they set out to build a car that was better then the Camry, and better looking then the Camry.
    Obviously, when you go for a design that is not conservative, you run a risk. It could be a big hit or a big dud.
    I think the lesson here is that you don't do the risky crazy designs on mass market family vehicles, but rather on niche vehicles or youth oriented products. Notice the very evolutionary changes in the new Explorer and Expedition. They weren't about to make the same mistake.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Well, Ford seems to have done pretty well with the Forty-Nine concept and the T-Bird. Do you think they might take the risk of bringing back some cues from the '55 Fairlane for a mass-market vehicle, now that they've tested the waters? They don't have to do anything as drastic as a modern '59 El Dorado, but round headlights & taillights, a big chrome grille (as long as it didn't look too busy), and a rather subtle body crease the shape of the chrome trim on a '55 Fairlane would have a car than would not alienate the mass market, and still give it a bit of old fashioed charm most imports seem to be lacking. Toyotas and Hondas seem to lack any emotion at all. Mustangs and Firebirds seem to say "Get outta my wat or I'll kick your ---!" The new T-Bird and the VW Beetle seem to have, happy, cheerful personalities. Ford needs to give this car a look that has personality, not just something that is different for different's sake.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    to some extent the 96 Taurus was to be a copy of the Oldsmobile Aurora.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    The Japanese gave up on sport coupes in the US in the late 1990s, thus leaving the road open for outdated Mustangs and Firebirds.

    The Taurus as a copy of the Aurora? Ooops... something went wrong there!

    The Five Hundred appears to be naught but an impersonation of the Passat.
  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    Where do you get that from? They don't look anything alike, they are in different segments, and I've never heard anything about the Aurora being a benchmark for the Taurus.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I don't think that boring car or copycat is the recipe for Ford. And reason of Accord and Camry success is not that they are boring, but proven reliability and top quality.

    BTW there is a comparo test in the last Motor Trend where Taurus was the dead last after Impala, Altima, Accord and Camry. I agree that Camry is the best of the bunch, though if Ford would copy Camry, I would rather buy Camry.

    Of all the bunch Camry and Taurus have a lot of similarities according to the test, up to the point that Toyota has implemented New Edge design better than Taurus (though starting with ovaloid extremist car it is almost impossible to make a car complying to the New Edge philosophy without full redesign). If Accord, Altima and Impala has one contingent of buyers who like more sporty cars, Camry and Taurus have the different contingent who like more comfortable, smooth and refined ride.

    What Ford could do, to make a more conservative Taurus and more avantguard Mercury, so everybody would be happy. And it has to match quality of ride, braking and steering of Camry. And get rid of exposed screw heads, low quality and bad looking door seals, front bench seat philosophy, that makes sacrifices in ergonomics. Gauge cluster though is well made and easy to read, lacks the modern look with mechnical odometer and doesn't even have transmission mode indication !
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    Ford was looking to emulate the molded look of the Aurora, but could not directly copy the character lines of the Aurora. Somehow the oval window theme got worked in there as well. And, the Taurus itself was smaller in wheelbase than the Aurora, therefore its proportioning is not the same.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    nothing particularly wrong with this i don't think......


    image


    what Ford was trying to copy off the Aurora was the rounded look, grilleless front and dropping tail. Also the fender flaring, except Ford tied the fender flaring together across the entire length of the car with a rounded character shape that goes through the door handles.

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Reg, geocities doesn't allow linking pictures to outside sites. We can't see your picture.
  • fwatsonfwatson Posts: 639
    Quote: "geocities doesn't allow linking pictures to outside sites. We can't see your picture"

    Right click on the red x. Click on "Properties.

    Copy the URL and paste it to your URL address line.

    Hit Enter.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    sorry about the screw up guys.....

    i did finally see that after much cursing about how geocities doesn't let you link.

    I did have it working for awhile.....nothing major, just a picture of my SHO after a wash job. Kinda irrelevent to the discussion, kinda sho-ing off a bit.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Since we're showing off,


    image

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    nice Tbird BTW....I had a 95 Tbird, it was a nice car.

    My point from the last photo is that even though Ford had many design successes in the late 80's and through the 90's, one could argue that the original Taurus was to an extent a knockoff of the Audi 5000, and the 89 Tbird was an interpretation of the BMW 6 coupe.

    So I don't think that necessarily means any sort of A6 knockoff for the 500 would be bad. The Tbird and Taurus still maintained a unique identity while drawing some on the cars its emulated.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    Ford let some "artsy-frtsy" lady design the dash for the 1996 Taurus. Her insperation was old TV found at garage sales. One doesn't design cars from TVs!

    The messy dash was one of the worst looking ever. The 2000 was what the 96 should have been, 2 years later it's already outdated.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    there are two separate but similar dash layouts for the 96-99 Taurus. The floor shift models is a slightly different look, but is nicer and sportier. The basic models with the column shift are quite yucky.

    The dash colors used in the 96, 97, and 98 models were also quite dreary. My 99 with the floor shift and tan colored dash is a big improvement in looks over a 96 with bench seats, column shifter, and wierd plastic color.

    I only bring it up because I don't think most people have seen a 96-99 Taurus dash with the floor shifter.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Why Ford is so dedicated to the bench seat ? Isn't 5 people capacity enough. I also cannot imagine how three adults can fit into the front bench and it is not too safe to boot. I never seen in my life three people sitting in the front bench. It is one of contributors to Taurus image as a rental machine.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Anyone with a girlfriend will tell you exactly why bucket seats will never, ever be as cool as bench seats.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    So thats why married couples are buying Cords and Camrys ?

    Or put it other way, thats why reproduction rates are so dramatically down after imports become major players. In Europe population is shriniking in alarming rate, there were no bench seats and column shifts since 70s.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    it can work with bucket seats too, the filly just needs to work on the flexibility a little bit.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    People say the column shifters are old and passe on a US car. But, in a Honda CRV, it's 'cool'.
This discussion has been closed.