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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • TS - Think you're missing the point. People want versatility. Versatility is the selling point for minivans - it has to be as they are a compromise in almost every other way. People don't want to have to buy or borrow a cargo van when one vehicle will do it all. Look at the popularity of the quad cab pickups and the Avalanche - one of the few times GM really went out to be innovative. The DC vans will be huge hits. You could be right about the seats being uncomfortable - however I've sat in DC's current second row buckets and second row bench, they are nothing to write home about. Unless the seats are horrible - people will overlook them for the versatility. Usually the driver's seat is the only important one as that's likely to be the person forking out the money.

    The only way DC can screw this up is if they price the fold flat seating as an expensive option. Definitely a possibility with their track record. If they make it standard equipment, they can't miss.
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    If DC can remove 2.4 engine and instead use 3.3 engine, and make the third row seat hiding as a standard at their short base van, I believe they will steal a lot of buyer from Mazda MPV, subside of Ford. I hope I have chance very soon to sit on those seats in DC van.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You can get the 3.3 engine now in the short wheel base DC minivans.

    I do not think that DC will be implementing the hiding third row seat in their short wheel base vans, as there may not be enough floor space room behind the seat to put the well in on the short wheel base versions. I guess we will find out early next year when they introduce these features as an early introduction of the '05 models.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    No, I don't think I am missing "the point" whatever that means. I simply am offering my opinion. I personally have no use for folding second row seats, and neither will thousands of other minivan buyers. If you and others do, great.

    I have a pickup that will haul anything that would fit in the back of any minivan, regardless of how many seats fold flat, so there is no appeal to me. And since a large majority of minivans owner's second vehicles are trucks (they are, after all, the largest percentage of vehicles sold in the US ) neither will they. It's nice that DC offers it, but it's not going to grab the lion's shre of the minivan market based on that feature alone.
  • Just saw the photos and read the article on the new T&C. Looks almost identical to the current one, so the $400 million they spent on the '05 must have all gone into the new folding seats. And it said the second row folding seats will only be offered on the long-wheelbase, more expensive models. I was underwhelmed.

    The Freestar and '05 Chrysler/Dodge vans just seem to be "freshening" an old model. Improvements, yes, but nothing revolutionary - unless you need the extra space for hauling. And don't most people haul "people" in these things? Seems to me the attraction of a minivan is it's people-carrying capacity, not it's hauling capacity.

    I tend to agree with Schramm - features and benefits are nice, but only if you are going to use them. I can't imagine a situation where I would need to put enough stuff in the minivan to require folding the second row of seats - but then I am also own a pickup. A lot easier to throw stuff in there - especially if it's dirty, like gardening stuff, that you wouldn't want inside your minivan anyway. Chrysler still has a spotty reputation for quality - I don't see Honda or Toyota losing a lot of sleep. Honda will figure out something to trump the American minivans - they always do.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    I get a big empty in my minivan with the 2nd row bench removed (I actually threw it away). I can get 4x8 sheetrock or plywood in there or a washer/dryer, etc. Lockable, and out of the weather. About the only thing I miss by not having a pickup is the ability to shovel dirt in it from the top (I put a tarp in it for shoveling dirt or leaves in it from the rear hatch).

    I can't topload my buddy's pickup for dirt or leaves either, since he has a cap. So he can lock his stuff up and keep it out of the weather :-)

    If my middle row hid in the floor, I'd still have a 7 passenger van. Mine's a 5 person one now.

    Steve, Host
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    We have had a Dodge minivan in our family for 19 years now (only two of them and we are still on the second one a '96). Both are short wheel base versions-Chrysler didn't have a long wheel base version in 1985 yet.

    It is really hard to match the overall flexibility of a minivan. Take all the seats out( or fold them in the near future) and you have a cavernous flat area of space-very useful when going to the lumberyard, or taking your college student kids to and from their dorms and apartments. Throw in some drop cloths or cardboard and you can haul junk, trash, firewood, landscape materials, etc. You probably wouldn't believe some of the stuff I have hauled over the years.

    Mileage in the minivans is not going to be as good as sedans or small station wagons, but it is certainly better than the SUV or pickup truck option, and only the largest king cab pickups or oversize SUV's can match the people hauling or cargo volume capacity.

    Minivans also handle much more like a car than a truck, and are fairly manuverable as well, even in long wheel base versions.

    In short, for a lot of families, it is the nearest you can get to a do everything vehicle if you don't need any off road capabilities, which most people never do, even if they have an off road capable vehicle.

    Easy to see why they continue to have a lot of repeat customers.

    I think the second and third row hidden seats are really going to keep DC in the lead in sales, and maybe even grab market share back. Despite what you read in these sites and others there are a lot of very happy DC minivan customers out there. Many may have bolted to the competition mainly because of the rear seat fold away feature that DC has not had until the '05 models come out. Throwing in hideway second row seats is just icing on the cake to add even more flexibility.
  • TS

    I'm not disagreeing with your comments regarding the practicality of the seats. In 15 years of minivan ownership I think I took all of the seats out exactly once. The real point isn't whether the second row folding seats are a great idea, or even a practical one. The point is whether it helps DC sell more vans. Your same comments were made about the Odyssey's folding rear seat years ago as just a gimmick that most people wouldn't want. Now every major minivan maker except GM has spent millions to put them in, because Honda had a huge selling advantage they couldn't get around. DC tried to ignore it in 2001 and look what happened to their market share.

    The folding middle seats will give DC a huge selling advantage and the next redesigns from the other companies will have it as well (except for GM which of course nobody can understand).
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    Chrysler isn't just "throwing in" the second row folding seats.

    If you read their press release, they expect the new seats to "bring a $1,000 premium" over the current model, assuming that, because of this unique featerue, people will be paying more to get it.

    Time will tell, but I'm betting Chrysler is seriously mistaken. Second row folding seats have limited appeal, and even moreso at $1,000 a pop. If there had been huge demand, someone would have done it by now, considering minivans have been around for 15 years.

    For the once-every-other-year occasion I might want to haul a sheet of plywood or a washing machine, I'll wait for a sunny day, borrow a friend's pickup, give him $20 for gas, and pocket the $900 and change.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well the facts are, with much more serious competition in this market than in the past and all the competitors going to fold away seats (Nissans also have fold away second seats but they don't drop completely below the floor), DC had no choice. To trump the competition they "threw in" the second row folding seats that give you a completely flat load floor. True DC is certainly going to try to command more money, as it costs them more to build in these features. However, Honda and Toyota have been able to command more money on their new vans and seem to be doing well-and I don't believe it is solely because of their perceived better reliability. Foldaway third seats are the one feature DC has not had that people find very appealing, and adding the second row foldaway feature just makes DC vans that much more flexible. You've got to realize that a lot of the market for these vans is as suburban kid and stuff haulers and many of the trips are done by women who cannot easily pull and reinstall removable seats by themselves.

    As long as DC keeps their short wheel base versions without hidden seats, they will still be able to get the buyers looking to keep their costs down, thus covering the entire market more completely than any competitor. When we go minivan shopping again in maybe 2-3 years, we will have the choices we need from DC, be it the under $20K basic van to the loaded Town and Country, probably pushing $35K.

    I dont't fault DC for doing more than the competition. So many times the traditional big three auto companies are accused of doing less than they should to match or surpass the competitors, it's good to see, at least this time, that DC is very aware of what most minivan customers will want and is raising the bar.

    By the way, minivans have now been around over 20 years, not 15, with the introduction of the 1984 DC minivans, but the serious competition didn't arrive until Honda's current generation, I believe in about the 2000 model year. Until that time, all the players were playing catchup to Chrysler.
  • You're wrong, badgerfan.

    Honda and Toyota's better quality and reliability over Chrysler is not "perceived", it's fact.

    Take a look at JD Powers inital and long term minivan quality and satisfaction scores over the past 10 years. Honda and Toyota are always in front of Chrylser - this is based on actual owner data. Nothing "perceived" about it.

    You say that Honda and Toyota command more money (meaning no discounting) for their minivans but it's not due to better quality.


    If both Honda and Chrylser offer folding third-row seats, and Honda can sell their minivan without resorting to rebates and discounts that Chrysler (and Ford) needs to, then why would people pay more for an identically-equipped Honda or Sienna - if it's not for better quality and reliability? Not to mention Chrysler's resale values falls through the floor compared to Honda and Toyota. To what do you attribute that?

    Chrysler hasn't sold a minivan without a rebate in a decade. The public has been conditioned that when you buy a Chrysler or Dodge minvan you get a rebate check as standard equipment. Adding more folding seats isn't going to change that.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You have misquoted me. I repeat below what I said:

    "Honda and Toyota have been able to command more money on their new vans and seem to be doing well-and I don't believe it is solely because of their perceived better reliability."

    Now, where in that statement did I say that Honda's and Toyota's perceived quality had nothing to do with their premium prices? All I said was it is not solely due to their perceived quality. Certainly quality, perceived or real(and their limited production volume cababilities) is partially responsible for their price premium. All I was saying is that the feature of storable third row seats is a very important reason for buying Honda or Toyota minivans, not just the quality issue.

    Part of DC lower resale is their lower initial new price, as well as the fact that DC sells a huge amount more minivans than Honda and Toyota, thus there will always be larger supplies of used minivans, and lower prices.

    As a consumer of these minivans, what's so bad about them being affordable, either new or used? I could care less about resale, I know that if I keep my vans long enough they will all be worth nearly nothing, so I am ahead by paying less up front. Remember the money I saved up front will not depreciate! No need to keep buried in monthly car payments by buying new every 3-4 years.

    You can go ahead and buy your overpriced Honda or Toyota if you want. I'm glad you feel so generous to line their pockets with your money.

    Well, this has certainly gotten off topic. My case is closed. Back to discussing Freestar if you wish.
  • Agree completely. It's great to see a domestic company actually trying to get ahead of the competition instead of scrimping along to try to almost catch up (Freetar). DC has some quality history baggage that has permanently cost them some customers, but not as many as they will line up with the new seats as long as they don't price themselves out of the market. People want versatility and the "best" whether it's a truck, sports car or almost anything else for that matter. So sad that Ford and others on this board still don't understand what sells. For sure they could learn from Ford what doesn't sell.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    "Part of DC lower resale is their lower initial new price, as well as the fact that DC sells a huge amount more minivans than Honda and Toyota, thus there will always be larger supplies of used minivans, and lower prices.
    As a consumer of these minivans, what's so bad about them being affordable, either new or used?"

    By that logic, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi minivans would be the most valuable used minivans on the market. But no? Perhaps you underestimated demand in the equation. Used prices are inversely proportional to customer satisfaction. A product that has satisfied a customer is less likely to be replaced by a competitor's product. So not only are more used DC minivans introduced to the market, they are introduced at a faster rate than Honda/Toyota. More satisfied customers keep their vehicles longer. And as demand for DC vans decreases, both used and new prices drop. Now you could certainly argue that this logic is in error, and Consumer Reports and JD Power are part of the Japanese Corporate Conspiracy, but then Chrysler's own sales data, which shows the Japanese taking Chryser's market share for the past 20 years, would also be part of the plot.
    Honda and Toyota's premium prices are due ENTIRELY to their "perceived" quality.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Spartanman, I agree, and as I've stated earlier (long ago), this is just enough to get the Freestar by till it's next generation. Chrysler is doing the same, by adding more versatility, and improving a few other factors. And even GM is doing the same, improving what they have, and add some more versatility into the equation.

    But (as I mentioned long ago when this forum opened up). Look at the economic scale and how much money can be relocated to do a totally new minivan from scratch. Then development money isn't an issue, let's take into consideration factories that have "promised products", WHAT and HOW they are able to build. And you will see it's much more complicated.

    Let's ponder something....Design a van ! Give me a current exsisting Ford platform. Give it engines that are readily available from Ford's parts bin, with items that you would like to see. And try not to break the bank (development costs) when you design this vehicle together. And I'll let you know if it's workable or not.
  • The saga of our crummy paint has ended. After numerous inspections and heated phone calls, the epic has ended. Today, I picked up a new Mercury Monterey from a very nice Lincoln-Merc dealer.

    See my post on the problems page for details.

    Thanks again for your patience and support!

    Trainboy - Randy
  • Hey Richard, we exchanged our Freestar for a Monterey which has the message center. I played with the buttons on the way home and mine does not monitor oil level. It checks brake fluid, coolant and fuel levels.

    It does not check oil level, but why bother? With the last 4 Taurus's and 4 Windstars, I never added oil between changes, which we do at 4K miles. I ran each vehicle to about 80K-90K miles without oil additions between changes. If you don't see oil on the ground, don't worry if you change the oil on a normal basis and you don't go over 75K miles. We always use Jiffy Lube which reports if the oil is low when the car comes in for a change.

    New cars are a lot tighter. My old Crown bus used to take a gallon of lube oil every 400 miles; it held 12 gallons in the pan. From full to add on the dipstick was 3 gallons.

    Count your blessings...
  • Perceived quality is what is paramount. We have a bunch of image conscious folks buying what is perceived to be the best. I agree that Detroit suffers in the first 3 years, maybe more. My opinion is that most of those image conscious folks trade their vehicles in 2-3 years, because they like bragging about the payments they are making.

    So we just traded in our '96 Windstar. It had 82K miles and we had no major repairs; two speed sensors for the ABS system and about $500 over 8 years. There was a catalytic convertor under warranty and that was about it. We paid $25K and got $4k on trade-in; 26 cents per mile for cap reduction, which isn't bad for the beast. I would have liked to trade it sooner and I feel that we would have done better, but we were waiting for the side canopy air bag on the '04 Freestar/Monterey.

    We hear lots of input from folks about new cars that compete with Detroit. We drove an '04 Toy Sienna, which we had some concerns because of the premium gas and bogus transmissions. Warranty is great but reliability and lower operating cost is better in the long run for rural folks that keep vehicles longer that our image conscious city brothers.
  • I found out this past Saturday that Ford had discontinued monitoring the oil system though the message center. They just didn't erase it from their owners manual. Your right it's no big deal,just that it was a feature that I thought was worth keeping. I liked being reminded to change my oil. They discontinued not only this feature but the lumbar seats and a number of other features that were standard on my limit Windstars and I had to add as option, if they were avaiable.I do like my Freestar, it's going to give me a lot more room for my trip down to Florida where we spend the winter.Besides the price was right I got D pricing because my grandson works for Ford.
    Thank Randy for sharing your thought with me.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I think you're right, and maybe Ford was right in not investing too much into the Freestar. I initially criticized the Freestar, but sales data shows the minivan market shrinking while competition increases. It's likely to continue in this direction as more small SUVs and crossover vehicles are introduced. A lot of people want the minivan's versatility without the "soccer mom" look, so maybe it's smartest just to try to maintain market share with a minimum investment.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    That's certainly not the only mistake Ford has made on an owner's manual. My grandmother purchased an Escort new in 86. The vinyl packet holder for the owner's manual read "QUALITY IS JOB 1: EMPLOYE INVOLVEMENT." Raised some doubts about the commitment to quality which, after 10 years of ownership, were confirmed. ;)
  • Richard, pick something easy for you. My company van is owned by G.E., my employer. The require a 4K mile oil change interval, not 5K like Ford. So we use that interval for our personal van as well.

    If you are going to Florida in the winter, I bet you don't change your own oil. Once we get past a certain age, that facet of vehicle maintenance doesn't have the appeal that it had when we were in our 20's. I haven't changed my own oil in about 27 years.

    You have to select your interval, 4k, 5k, etc. Then stick to it. It is really easy; 4k is like election years and 5 k is easier, if the thousands divide by four or five, then it is time for a change.

    What is more important is enjoying your new van!

  • Lets do the math.

    150,000 vans per year. Rebates and incentives costing $4000 per vehicle. The price you have to pay to get someone to buy your vehicle instead of the market leader. I come up with $600 million per year of incentives. Thats what it cost Ford to unload their Windstars. Now they are going to pay the same to unload Freestars for how many more years until the "really improved van" is here. Why not put the rebate money into an all new design that sells on its merits instead of scrounging around the parts bin to see what is available. They did it with the F150 - why not their other products? If you think Ford is saving money on the Freestar, you need to rethink the numbers. The bottom line hasn't been good for Ford for years and they are the first to say that incentives are the problem.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    Let's do some more basic math.

    Ford and DM both vastly overprice their vans and then resort to rebates and discounting to sell them. Funny thing is, they end up out the door at right about where Honda has the Odyssey priced at MSRP.

    In 2000, I paid $27,998 MSRP for an Odyssey EX. I looked at a similarly equipped '00 T&C, with an MSRP of $32,600. With the rebate and discounts at the time, the price out the door the dealer quoted me would have been right at $28,000.

    When I decided to trade in the Oddssey four years later, I got $16,500 in trade (right about what Edmund's TMV said it would be). According to Edmunds, the TMV trade amount on the T&C would have been $13,487.

    So, over 4 years, the net cost, from a buy/sell standpoint, to own the Honda was roughly $11,498. The net cost to own the T&C would have been $15,013.

    You stated "You can go ahead and buy your overpriced Honda or Toyota if you want. I'm glad you feel so generous to line their pockets with your money."

    Obviously, the T&C would have cost me over $3,500 more then the Honda in the end. So, which van is overpiced now?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Spartanman, it would cost Ford much more to close down the factories or keep them idled since they have contracts in the related factories producing these vehicles. Unions are the main factors why they are grabbed by the ball and can't do much monetarily.

    Secondly, the platform, engine, and the majority of components items which have been paid for LONG ago, therefor the minimal amount that was invested was for touching up, and improving some items here and there. And this doesn't mean that because a vehicle generates $XXXXXX amount of money, that it'll be reallocated toward it's own model. This is a situation where they steal from Peter, to pay Mary.... as in, the profits from this vehicle will probably go to improve/develop various other vehicles.

    But again, Ford doesn't have a platform, or engine, to allow for a totally new model to be developed. That, union issues, etc. are reasons why the redo was limited. New one will debut in around 2006-2007.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    In my opinion, if you're paying $28K for a minivan, you're just buying way too many bells and whistles.
  • ANT -

    Ford stock price in 1988 - $14
    Ford stock price today - $14

    At what point does a company stop spinning its wheels with band-aids and shortcuts? I don't understand the Union excuse. The factories are there, the workers are ready, why not design a modern vehicle that sells. That keeps everyone employed and happy. The shortcut approach inevitably leads to a loss of jobs and factory closings no matter what the UAW negotiates.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I'm not making excuses for Ford. I also agree their Freestar falls short and they should likely have put the money in to redesign it completely rather than bandaid.

    However, look at all the money Ford has spent in recent years with virtually all their SUV line and this year their F150 line. New Futura and 500 coming out for next year and other crossovers. So with exception of their minivan, there has been and is a lot of virtually new product in the pipeline for Ford. So the whole product line has not been "bandaided". Freestar has just gotten the short end of the development budget stick. GM has yet to work any wonders with their minivans to date either, with much more vast resources.
  • Well, IMHO, - how many "bells and whistles" people want on their cars and trucks and how much they want to pay, is thier own business. Buy what you want, let other people buy what they want.

    But anyway - just heard Honda says that thier '05 minivan will not only have 2 rows of folding seats, but they will have a "power" fold up/down option as well, going Chrysler one better.. Also, they will offer the 270hp VTEC from the Acura, and 2 flip-down DVD players, which will allow viewing of either the same, or different DVD's. And it's an all-new frame-up design, not a warmed-over model like the Dodge/Chrysler or Ford.

    I would imagine this will peak enough people's interest to wait another 6 months after the new Dodge/Chrysler comes out to see if the Honda is a better alternative, and will negatively impact Chrysler's hopes of taking the lead anytime soon.

    There goes the "$1,000" premium...
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    If Honda builds what you say, then all 3 Japanese makers have come out with new-from-the-ground-up minivans by next year, while 2 of the 3 US makers are serving leftovers. And cold ones.

    It will be interesting to see what GM is coming up with with the new platform Uplander/Montana/Terrazzo minivans next year. Atleast they won't be doing what DC has done with the folding 2nd row seats - putting a fresh slice of ham in between two slices of stale bread.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Last I looked, DC never lost the lead in sales. While their market share has eroded,(due to the Japanese finally getting their own act together on this market segment) they still have a much larger share than all the others.

    Just amazing the anti DC bias being posted.

    Current DC minivan platform is genuinely very good all around. One of the best handling minivans and very quiet and smooth, available in two wheelbases and three engines. First with sliding doors both sides of van, optional power sliding doors and rear tailgate. Covers the under $20K market up to the luxury loaded end.

    Add the fold away flat floor seating in both rows and they have just about all the features needed to compete vigorously in this segment.
  • I've begun researching minivans to see what I can afford and what opportunities a minivan offers over our two-Accord situation. I lean toward Honda because I'm familiar with their sedans (owned 3 to this point).

    As I research, I just keep racking up a higher price as simple things are added (roofrack, privacy glass, etc.). Is there a basic minivan that's reliable and between $20 and $24K? By basic, I mean that my kids can manually slide a door closed, I can manually adjust the driver's seat, and I can navigate to my destination (I'm a mapmaker by profession). Just give me space, seating flexibility and reliability!

    Any suggestions?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Find your way to Best minivan value for $25,000?.

    (You must hate the never-ending mapping puns and I'm sure you've never heard that one before <g>)

    Steve, Host
  • I'm glad you didn't tell me to "Get lost!"

    BTW: there's a mapping company that uses the slogan, "Maps to swear by, not at." I always thought that an enterprising automobile manufacturer could purchase that slogan and use it to their marketing advantage.

    Anyway, I've subscribed to the topic you suggested. Thanks!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "It will be interesting to see what GM is coming up with with the new platform Uplander/Montana/Terrazzo minivans next year."

    Actually it's the same platform as before, just a bit modified. And it NEEDED it, since it didn't do very well on some government crash testing. So GM's minivan's will also be a warmed over version, as the Ford and Chrysler minivans will be.

    "The factories are there, the workers are ready, why not design a modern vehicle that sells. That keeps everyone employed and happy. The shortcut approach inevitably leads to a loss of jobs and factory closings no matter what the UAW negotiates. "

    As I mentioned earlier, this wasn't a priority during this product cycle. The resources aren't there for Ford to have developed something from the ground up, they are concentrating on numerous other vehicles that will allow them to attain higher profits. The Freestar, just as the Ranger, is a vehicle that profits even if lesser amounts are sold because it's tooling and engineering are well paid for.

    Unions may have their people and their factories to work in, but if consumer's aren't buying the product they need to scale back some of them. Notice the current news of how the Futura (higher profit model) will be assembled in Mexico, while the Focus (smaller profit) be allocated to Wayne, MI.

    In Union negotiations, you usually have some clause that requires them to stay up and running even if a vehicle isn't selling well. While idled worker's receive 95% of their paychecks. And/or some factories promised vehicles, while local governments give incentive to manufacturer's, for producing in their city/state. Numerous other factors come into play, but as an example... some of the better run plants in the U.S., are non-unionized such as Toyota's.

    Sometimes it makes you wonder, if the vehicle someone might be selling, is something they are putting their heart and soul into, or just something to shut consumer's up, the city/state, and the union worker's.

    BUT the reason why a manufacturer might actually go through all this issues and offer even a warmed over offerings, is because survey's have shown that these same buyer's, will grow up into a more profittable vehicle, such an SUV next time they purchase a vehicle. Specially in the minivan market that isn't very loyal overall.
  • Yeah because James Padilla - the President of NA operations aquired Mexican citizenship recently commiting himself to Mexican government . Thats why high profit vehicle goes to Mexico. They have to move headquarter there too and cut their salaries.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    I think GM's putting a lot more effort into their new minivan line-up that either Ford did with the Freestar or Chrysler with their '05.,view.spy?artid=19199&amp- ;pg=1
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    So far from what I have read, it seems as equally the same. I'm fully aware of everything that was upgraded, changed, modified, etc. on the Freestar, and from the few things that have been leaked on GM's, it's almost the same.

    Or some issues where Ford has placed more emphansizes (interior noise insulation, or offering a larger engine) could be counter-acted by GM's effort of changing the exterior moreso, and/or extending the platform.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    While the Honda minivans are priced about $27,000 and Chrysler about $35,000 (before rebates) you have to consider that Chrysler minivans offers much more than Honda. Simple things like heated mirrors; 10-speaker audio system; power liftgate; power passenger seat and memory seating; 3-zone auto climate control; and so much more, they are not available on Honda's Odyssey. And most of them weren't available at the last generation Toyota Sienna. Now Toyota catched up, and it seems that Honda will do the same.

    270 hp for the new Honda Odyssey? Sounds a lot. Most people don't need that much. I would suggest for Chrysler to add the 250 hp engine from the Pecifica into the redesigned '05 Town & Country. Honda is always on top with engines. I also believe the new Honda's will be much quieter, as the current generation is far from the best.

    Take in mind that Chrysler never thought of a 2005 redesign. The actual redesign was due in about 2006-2007. They didn't need a really new design since they redesigned already in 2001, and you don't need a new one in 3-4 years. And they are also looking very good - actually the best on the market IMO. But Ford and GM needed badly a new design. Ford's design is still from 1995, and GM 1997, and are really dated. The only reason Chrysler is "throwing in" the new features is to compete with the new minivans.

    And they are not throwing in "just" folding seats. They're adding much more safety to compete with Ford's 5-star safety ratings; And for the first time they added a rear parking aid which was never available on Chrysler/Dodge; The already quiet van will be 16% quieter to compete with the new Sienna; And some more minor upgrades. So it should be an excellent minivan.

    About the uncomfortable folding seats, Chrysler is going to offer a new kind of cushions into the seats, so it will be more comfy - at least that's what they say.

    So we will have to wait and see - it's due next march ('04) as a '05 model.

    Back to the Freestar.
  • ANT

    I guess we're in agreement on what Ford's doing. The only difference is you seem to think its either acceptable or justifiable due to various constraints. I just look at what has happened to their stock performane and market share over the past 15 years. Whatever it is the're doing isn't working. Continuing on with products like the Freestar just guarantees more of the same. If I was still a Ford stockholder, my question would be: Do you ever plan to reach a point where all your vehicles are class competitive, and if so, what year would that be? Or put another way, with your market cap down to $26 billion and stockholders equity down to $8 billion, even if you wanted to start being competitive across the product line, can you afford it?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Well first off, I would ask what exactly is the goal you would wish for Ford to have? And at what point will the pinnacle be reached where "just enough and doing better" will change your perception. As in, what will it require from Ford's part, for you to believe that they are doing something about anything?

    Let's flash back about 2 years ago.... if now your not satisfied with what they have done so far, I can imagine back then you would have been livid. I'm not trying to convince you either way, just showing you an alternative thought that explains the current issues. Ford is one of the largest corporations in the world, you can't expect for problems to be rectified overnight, and there's definately other priority involved during this restructuring as well. Then just a non-competitive (as seen by a few) model.

    If we will go down the list of dissapointments, I would add Town Car, for it's archaic foundation, lack of power, and luxury cache. Or the Ranger which is being kept unchanged till 2007, because that TOO isn't a priority vehicle (yet sells at a profit, and #1 seller at that). Or the Taurus for not being as compeitive as could be. Or for them having killed the previous Tbird to replace it with an expensive 2 seater. Etc.etc. But little by little, these issues are being addressed.

    Plus I'm not at all complaining about their stock, I bought quite a bit when it hit their low of 6.XX a year ago and just sold them all a week ago at 13.XX, Merry Xmas from Ford !!
  • ANT

    No need for me to respond further. They fact that you sold your stock at 13 makes my point better than I ever could!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    That's why I bought it at such a low, because I knew it would rebound. The stock is now at 14+ and I wanted to keep it since I know it'll continue to improve, but it was imperative that I had a new LS before the end of the year and wanted to pay for it in cash, therefore I had to sell some stock :( Not all though....
  • I never felt that oil changes were difficult. I stopped doing them about six years ago.I started doing them when I was younger and for some way to save a buck while we were raising our eight kids. I could change oil and save 75% of the cost. Believe me we could use it then. As I became more successful I could well afford to have it done but continued to do it out of habit. I might still be doing it if I was physically able.
    I got your point Randy. Didn't mean to bend your ear.
    Believe me when I say that I'm enjoying my Freestar and looking forward to our Florida trip HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,104
    A reporter is hoping to interview someone who is planning to buy a new vehicle in the next three months. If you are interested, please respond to [email protected] by January 1, 2003 with your name and daytime contact information.
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director


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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    My Edmunds Vans newsletter arrived this morning and reports that the Freestar's bumper test came back "marginal." Be careful backing into poles....

    Steve, Host
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The bumper's might be too soft, but the vehicle earned a Best Pick by Institute for Highway Traffic Safety.

    Released today Dec 19th....


    ARLINGTON, VA -- The redesigned Ford F-150 pickup truck and Ford Freestar minivan each earned the highest overall rating in a recent series of 40 mph frontal crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both vehicles, which are 2004 models, improved compared with their predecessors. The previous F-150 model was rated poor, while the redesigned 2004 model F-150 earned a good rating and the added designation of "best pick." Ford's previous minivan, the Windstar, was rated acceptable, while the new Freestar earned a rating of good and also is a "best pick."
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Obviously this isn't an issue that hasn't gone un-noticed. Just like Airbags that could implode for no reason, or ABS breaks that apply themselves without notice, or transmission modules that will shift you to 1st gear while doing 80mph's.

    Like all the above, there's safety measures taken within the computer's diagnostics system to determine if there's an issue. Each second, hundreds of thousands imputs are being measured, tallied, calculated (on not only Stability Control Systems) but everything from engine ignition, to compression, to cylinder firing taken into account.

    Mercedes now has brake-by-wire systems in some of their vehicles. A majority of new vehicles are implementing Drive-by-wire technology....As in, there's nothing connecting you, to the mechanism, and it's all done by computer's. Even Saturn Ion has electric steering, as many of these new Hybrids.

    And with most of these safety systems embedded into the safety systems themselves, they will alert you of a problem and de-activate themselves. And depending on the manufacturer, they each encode the vehicles main computer to "DO" something, to counteract any problems that might cause a safety issue.

    Although I do agree, when time for repairs come in, it will be pricey, but how many buyer's really keep a car longer than 6-8 years? I believe that Mercedes buyer that has the brake/drive by wire system will probably not keep it more than 3-4 years.

    And I also see alot of these idiotic driver's who slam the gas and hit storefront, then blame it on..."the car just accelerated itself" (an accident that usually happens for the 70+ year old crowd for some ODD reason)....

    But remember what the manufacturer's have printed on their manuals. These are safety systems that compliment the driver's driving. As in, use it at your own risk, and do not depend on it. These systems make good driver's, better, but it does not make bad driver's better in any sense. And since the adoption of ABS and Airbags, a rise of "stupid accidents" have risen because of people depending on these systems, and expecting miracles from them as well. I forgot which publication researched a report on that, with the similar point.

    And let's look at another point...if some of these driver's are "merged" into on-coming traffic, or placed in harms way, let's think of how good their driving techniques will become, when they try and get out of the way?! (joking here) Although personally, some of the best driving manuever's I've done have been avoiding accidents, moving out of harm's way, etc. So it can be looked upon as something positive.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    My local paper had a nice spread about the good Freestar crash test results this morning, complete with the "no intrusion" photo. Funny how the net headlines I saw the other day concentrated on the bumper tests.

    Steve, Host
  • Ant, I usually agree with you on things, but I think you are missing something here. It is true that not many original buyers keep vehicles 6-8 years, but having a vehicle fall apart magically after that date does affect the original buyer where it hurts, in the pocket book. If a vehicle gets the label of "self-destructs in x-miles" you sure can factor that into the trade in/resale value.

    When we ordered our Freestar and then later selected a Merc Monterey, I purposely stayed away from the traction control stuff. As I have said before, the main problems that we seem to have with the Windstars were wheel speed sensors, which cause an annoying ABS light to flash or the speedo jumps around the dash. Either way, I agree about limiting unneeded accessories like traction control.

    Honda, Toyota and Nissan have good resale values and I believe this is partly due to perceived long term reliability. This is something the big three need to work on, even if it is perceived.
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