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Mercury Mariner



  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,148
    regfootball, wrong topic for that line of conversation! I Don't Like SUVs, etc., is custom-made for that.

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  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Stability Control System will be as a late option on the Aviator, wait a few months.

    Blackwood was the answer to a question no one really asked. A truck with an unusable pick-up bed. Then what's the point?

    The Marauder project is to test a few things out (which we will see in the future). It's a niche product and sales are as they expected, and they are making money off of it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    for what it's worth, I followed the Blackwood closely with my dealer - even went to the "private showing" of the two concept models they toured around the country to guage interest. My wife thought I should buy one, and I might have. But it was the worst execution I ever saw! Here you had this really different truck, albeit somewhat useless with only 2WD available and a useless bed as ANT says, but it was a real head turner. On that basis alone, some of us morons would buy one and hope it became valuable someday. My dealer had orders for about 100 of them after that show. Then like A YEAR later, they finally make a few of them, well by then, the orders had cancelled down to 20 as people bought other trucks, got tired of waiting, had second thoughts, etc. When the dealership got their first shipment and started delivery, about half of those who had hung in there waiting would go in for deliver, notice the truck was 2WD, and say, "Oh, that won't work for me", and switch to an Navigator, or just walk. In the end, my dealership was stuck with 10 of those boat anchors on the lot, and had to discount them $9,000 to move them off. Well, that pissed off everybody who had paid above sticker to get one initially, big time!

    So, I don't know if it was so much the product. Clearly, it was never intended for mass appeal. But if they had got them out there when they said they would, add 4WD and a tan interior, I think they may be around today. But, what do I know?
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Sometimes it's risky to buy such "niche vehicles" at first. Many from the "OH I have to be the first in my block to own one" crowd usually get burned. At first they pay over sticker, for the exclusivity (Same that occured with the Tbird), just to have the vehicle suffer a sales death, then have it massivly discounted.

    From the beginning, I knew the vehicle would fail. Mainly because of it's "Only black" exterior, next you had limited versatility on it's pick up bed. If someone wants a "trunk" that large, they would buy a Town Car, or Navi. Then the exterior wood-look stickers, surely didn't appeal to me. And lack of 4wd. They stripped the vehicle of what a truck should be... Versatile !

    I would think, if they would have gone with just doing a 4dr version, of the F-150 (Supercrew), have 4WD as an option, and throw in some toys not available on the F-150, they would have done much better. For those who went ga-ga over the pcik-up bed set up, should make that an optional item.

    At least not much was lost (just face) from this mistake. Considering the vehicle is really an F-150 with a Navi grill, the lose on investment wasn't much.

    Now in regards to the Mariner, It surely won't be THAT strict of a niche vehicle. The Blackwood focused too narrowly on a specific customer, one which didn't answer the call. Whereas the Mariner will feed a much broader niche.... the "I want a Ford, but tired of the same look" niche...
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    ANT, you state:
    "The Marauder project is to test a few things out (which we will see in the future). It's a niche product and sales are as they expected, and they are making money off of it."

    However, on page 34 of the May 2003 issue of Car and Driver:

    "Mercury estimated it would sell 12,000 to 18,000 Marauders in 2002. Instead, this muscle car turned out to be anemic- just 2910 of them were sold, and that was with a $3000 cash back deal. Do you think people found out a V6 Accord is quicker?"

    What? Is Car and Driver just flat out lying? If they arent, how is Ford making money selling 2910 examples during the Marauders 6 month sales period in 2002?

    Since this is a Mariner board:
    Car and Driver, p 28, July 2003

    "All right, we're kind of stretching on this one, but then, so is Mercury. The Mariner is just a gussied up Ford Escape that won't go on sale until Fall 2004 as a 2005 model. What exactly is taking Mercury so long to get it out is a mystery. We include it in this coverage because it looks pretty good for a small ute all dressed up in Mountaineer-like garb. The interior, with sassy satin aluminum trim, actually kind of upscale- for a Ford escape."

  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    The Marauder sales are "just as expected". I meant to say "As I expected", I.... They... My mistake.

    The consumer who wants a Marauder, really WANTS a Marauder. They will not cross shop and buy an Accord. Granted, if the person just wanted simple "speed", they would buy a Mustang, or WRX, etc. Numerous other cars can be had, at more affordable prices if speed were the case. My realistic sales numbers for this vehicle is pegged at 8000. A manufacturer can state they which to sell 100,000, but manufacturer's are becoming very optimistic. GM being one of the biggest optimistics.

    The Marauder is about RWD, V8, muscle sedan power on body on frame construction. Trying to hark back to a past where the Impala once played. Unfortunatly it's not executed as I wish it were. There's numerous things I dislike about the vehicle, and the overall results. Personally, I believe Ford should use the 4.6L DOHC engine, and place it in the Town Car and give that car some dignity for the price it's commanding. Hmmm maybe this is what the Marauder is testing.....

    Any which way, even if sales are bad, the vehicle makes money. Just think that engine used to be used on the Mustang Cobra, Continental, Mark8. Those factories need to be kept up and running, so using the engine on a Grand Marquis, giving bigger wheels, and some part upgrades, will not break the bank.

    The Mariner is taking "long" (depends how we view it) because originally the car should NOT have been mentioned as early as it did. But to keep the auto-journalists happy, and all these wallstreet analysts from downgrading Ford stock, Ford was pressured into releasing such information, earlier than expected. To prove to people, that there's a transformation going on.

    As for the Mariner project, the vehicle will use a 2.3L I-4, which is currently in use in the Mazda6i and Ford Ranger. That engine is already being phased into the Focus Zx3 Power Premium coupe for Mass., CA. and NY. Making 148HP and 152 TQ. That engine will be phased in to most of the Focus models next year (2004). But retooling the factories to build this engine, will take time.

    You can't stop 2-4 engine factories all at the same time, to retool for one engine configuration. So being the Focus will receive that engine first, the Mariner will need to wait it's turn. Which is why we must wait "that long" for the Mariner. The Escape will receive the 2.3L I-4, before the Mariner as well.

    Why do the Focus and Escape get special treatment? They are heavy seller's, they need the attention or they get rediculed by auto journalists. Why can the Mariner wait? Because it's a new product for Mercury, how can they complain, whine, over something that's not sitting in their dealership yet.

    Remember, you and I know what's going on in the marketplace because we are educated about these topics. To regular Tom,Dick and Harry, they might have no idea and will just buy what they see at the dealership AT that time, without any knowledge of what's to come in the future. The only downside is knowing, waiting, and anticipating.

    Do you know for how long I've been waiting for the 500/Montego project to finally debut. Do you understand how I've had to wait 4 DAMNED years to see it's final results? Let alone, waiting to see people's reaction towards that project. Talk about irony !! After the 500/Montego debut, then the Futura will be the next one I'll be anticipating for. And it has only just begun...
  • daytona3daytona3 Member Posts: 24
    From the pictures that I saw, the Mariner looks like a great vehicle. I like the look of the Escape, but I think the Mariner takes it up a notch. It has a more sophisticated look on the outside, but has an absolutely beautiful interior. I hope it makes to the market pretty much as is.

    I thought I would never be looking at a Mercury, but the upcoming models look sharp. Now, if only Ford could brand it as a sophisticated performance brand - with power and suspensions that a Ford may not get. Ford better not let this Mercury revival go down the drain in a few years. I think there could be some untapped potential in Mercury that a Ford, Lincoln, or even Mazda just won't have.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    From what you saw, yes that's what you will be getting. As for performance.... The most you'll see is them offering engines standard, that would be optional on the Ford counterparts. Hence the Monterey's 4.2L stand alone engine, while the Freestar will have a 3.9L as standard.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    Looked at the Mariner pix, read a little bit about it. Some thoughts on it and Mercury from a guy whose first 2 cars were Mercs in the '60s: a 64 Monterey conv and a 67 comet cyclone convt and who recently was forced to sell his beloved old 65 Park Lane convt:

    1) I wish somebody at Ford would SERIOUSLY make over the Mercury brand into something special. Warmed-over Fords just ain't gonna make it.
    2) If you're just gonna warm over the Fords, why bother unless you're going to give them something unique/distinctive to hang their hats on.
    3) Badge engineering at it's worst I think is the Taurus/Sable combo and the Contour/Mystique.
    4) Platform sharing at it's best: Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type. Honda Passport and Acura MDX. This is the kind of thing that needs to be done. Tweaking the grille and tailights to me is a total waste of time and effort.
    5) The Mountaineer? Closer to badge engineering than platform sharing but a start.
    6) Mariner? I've just seen the pix, but it looks like a better differentiation - looks upscale where the Escape looks cheap. A reasonable job, but that's just based on 3 pix.
    7) Marauder? Someone said Accord V6 is faster? In what respect? MM does 0-60 in under 6.5 doesn't it? Accord with that #? I doubt it. Please point me to pages showing this info if you've got it. MM was a great idea. Just what I've been saying - something to distinguish Mercury from Ford. Yet the execution left much to be desired. Using the Crown Vic rear end? Bad. Using 'after-market' guages - Mickey Mouse. 4.6L? Well, I had a Mark8 with the 270hp version of this V8 and the thing was a rocketship. Great/smooth engine. Lack of low-end torque a problem? Yeah, I guess, but wouldn't be that big a deal for me. Black only? Big problem. That went out with the Model T I thought. I saw a blue MM yesterday at dealer. Had a lt grey interior. It looked really sweet.
    8) Mercury brand overall? Who the h decided in the 80s with the intro of the Sable that Mercury was a car for women??? I noticed right away back then that they were marketing it to women, and thus assuredly alienating some men. This is the brand that James Dean drove? That had the Marauder, the Cyclone, the Eliminator ... in the 60's/70's??? Why market-out 1/2 the population? And they're STILL doing it today. Witness comments above in this topic about Mountaineer being designed so your dress wont get caught? Puh-lease. And the Mtneer does NOT offer a 4WD system, only the AWD, which is pretty much useless for anything other than driving in the rain. WHY? Why can I get a 4WD Explorer, but only an AWD Mountaineer? It makes me wonder if Merc can reinvent itself this way. Badge engineering? Marketing to women? And, a woman in charge of the division? (Please don't call me any names, I just don't see Merc regaining a lot of it's former machoness while being shepherded by a female, that's all.)

    I could go on, but I better stop.

    BTW, ANT14, thanks for a lot of great, and accurate from what I know from other sources, information.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    I forgot to rant about the new 'Monterey'.

    Putting that name on a mini-van is blasphemy! They shoullda thunk up something new, or used the relatively unknown, forgettable 'Montego' name for the van and name the car the Monterey.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    There's still one "un-named" sedan, based on the Futura. I cringe to wonder what that will be named. Consumer group testing hasn't concluded that just yet.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    7) Marauder? Someone said Accord V6 is faster? In what respect? MM does 0-60 in under 6.5 doesn't it? Accord with that #? I doubt it. Please point me to pages showing this info if you've got it.

    Car and Driver, July 2002 Mercury Marauder Road Test PAGE 89

    0 to 60: 7.5 seconds
    Quarter Mile: 15.5 sec @ 91 MPH
    Street Start 5-60: 8.0
    30-50 Top gear: 3.4 seconds
    50-70 Top gear: 5.0 seconds

    Car and Driver, October 2002, Accord EX-V6 Road Test PAGE 50

    0 to 60: 7.0 seconds
    Quarter Mile: 15.5 sec @ 92 MPH
    Street Start 5-60: 7.2 seconds
    30-50 Top gear: 4.0 seconds
    50-70 Top gear: 4.1 seconds

    Looks like the Accord has the big American muscle car beat in 4 of the 5 tests, and by quite a large margin on the Street Start, which is more representative of real world acceleration than the 0-60.

    I have no idea where you saw "under 6.5 seconds" for the MM, but if you remember, I'd like to see those stats. Car and Driver seems to usually extract maximum performance from mainstream vehicles, as compared to Motor Trend, R&T, or Consumer Reports.

    Are those pages good enough for you or would you like me to find another source?
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    I agree with many of your points. This isn't the direction I wish Mercury would take, but at this time, and company transformation, it's the one that works best. I too at one time, wanted Mercury to feature vehicles that were not re-badged Fords, but from other vehicles Ford has around the world. Such as the Mondeo, Falcon, etc. Sort of, what Merkur was, but back then it was just not the right time for it.

    But because of costs, and Ford's transformation into using more european inspired performance, it wouldn't be feasable. As in, what makes those vehicles great, will be implemented into Ford's light up soon enough.

    I also studied the idea of making Mercury's, higher performance versions of Ford's. At that time (before my time) I've heard that is what WAS a Mercury. But it overlaps with Ford's SVT program, so it wasn't possible. So Ford reverted back to what made most sense (economically) for them, and what has worked much better for them in the past....and that is badge engineering.

    There's a few things that are being studied and tested with the Marauder project. Once that results of that comes thru, and Mercury tests a few other vehicles, then they will be able to carry out their next mission. Right now, their most important mission is to just GET vehicles, later on they can worry about the other details.

    Elena Ford has done well in pushing more Mercury vehicles, it's just too early to tell being it has just begun.

    Something that I abhor, is Ford's managment indecisions or concentration of carrying out a plan. Hence, everytime a new designer/stylist/leader/top personel enters a divison of Ford.... ALL these ideas are calculated, marketed, surveyed, re-calculated, meditated, etc. When finally they begin to move on with their plans, there's a management switch, and all those ideas are trashed. Then more time is spent on finding the "next mission".

    Lincoln just suffered this issue about 2 year's ago, which places them in the position they are in now. Their brand mission has been tuned, and the steps have been taken. But originally Cadillac's idea to go upmarket, was really Lincoln's. But because of management issues, Jac Nasser's catastrophy, that was not to be. So Lincoln is now facing another mission...American Luxury vehicle, at affordable prices for american's. But it's confirmed, Lincoln WILL NOT go upmarket.
  • hammyztshammyzts Member Posts: 9
    I think the Mariner is a solid product for those members of the car market who feel they want somethign a bit nicer than an Escape. The Escape has a nice ride and all, but with all the cladding, roof racks and step bars, it looks like a regular SUV, not a car you would take to, lets say a nice restaurant or country club. People like SUVs that don't act or feel like an SUV. In the Mariners case, this will be the best of both worlds. It will have a high perfoming engine and soid ride feel, but it will have nice paint, and no gray plastic and X-Terra inspired roof racks. Also, the interior is much better. We have to remember that Lincoln/Mercury is now one entity. They are pushing a new advertising campaign with all their SUVs lined up, showing that there is something for everyone who is looking for a nice SUV. If you look at the lineup though, it is two Explorer based SUVs and the Nav. By adding the Mariner to this equation you essentially have one of everything. This is a good move. People will go to the dealerships and be shopping for a lincoln lets say. They then find the Nav too big, and the Aviator too pricey. They then go home with a Mountaineer. The same can be said if you feel the the Mount. is styled too modern, then you take the Aviator. The list goes on and on. Two companies with similar buyers, and two, small vehicles lineups equals one large, diverse, and ultimately nice lineup of cars.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    4) Platform sharing at it's best: Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type. Honda Passport and Acura MDX. This is the kind of thing that needs to be done.

    Are you sure the Passport and MDX share platforms? Maybe I've missed something, but the original Passport was a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo, and I was quite sure the MDX is built on the Odyssey minivan platform......

    That being aside, you make a good point about rebadging..... It can be taken too far with too little value. Like your 80's Oldsmobuick.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I think he meant Pilot/MDX.

    Motor Trend (JULY 03) on the new (not really) Mariner:
    "While this upscale-division Escape features the same cool, brushed aluminum-look front and rear fascia and interior details of the Mountaineer, there's enough Ford-like sheetmetal here to show the limitations of badge engineering".

  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    There's only so much you can change on sheetmetal work. Asking for each body panel, and invest on it's own stamping, wouldn't allow the Mariner to be that profitable. So sheetmetal that's common on many badge engineered vehicles are the roofing sections, and door panels. (You could add some side cladding a 'la Pontiac).

    This doesn't distract from Mariner's simple mission. It's a styling sophisticated touch, alternative to the evergreen and common Escape.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Member Posts: 1,046
    Yes, you're right Passport = Rodeo.

    I was thinking of the Honda Pilot but couldn't come up with the name. And I think you're right, both the MDX and the Pilot are loosely based on the Odyssey. All 3 different and well-done.

    I think those 80's, 90's and still existing cars are also known as 'chevtiacoldsbuidilacs'
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    that's a good one! I used to call them CPOBC, because when I worked on my cars, I would pull a part to replace it, and CPOBC (ChevroletPontiacOldsmobileBuickCadillac) would be stamped on damn near everything! Nothing really wrong with that, they all do it, until the cars became so similar there was no reason for the brand identity anymore. Became a joke.
  • jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I wouldn't buy one. For the money, I could walk over to a Land Rover dealer and buy a stripped down Freelander. Also, if the Mariner costs 26K, shouldn't you just buy a Honda Pilot LX instead? It's roomier and more realiable.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Sure, if you LIKED Honda, but I haven't seen a Pilot on the dirt for under $35M around here.....
    And although I own a Civic, I don't enjoy driving it or any Honda really. No fun. Haven't driven a Pilot, but I expect it to be as much fun as the Odyssey it's built on.

    The Freelander is cute as a button, and I like them. But Rover has quality issues......
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Freelander has major reliability issues. Luckily next generation Freelander will use the next modified Escape platform, and 3.0L V-6 considering the Freelander's 2.5L is so sluggish.

    The Pilot is in another category (midsize, 8 capacity) and the direct competitor would not be an Escape/Mariner (small sized, seats 5). IN fact I wouldn't even place the Explorer itself as a direct competitor being it's truck-based.

    But if there's $26K to spend, then there's various options. If space and people capacity is a premium, obviously someone would pick a lower trim level Pilot, or even Oddysey for that matter. If it weren't a priority, then they would have the CRV itself to choose from.

    All manufacturer's price their vehicles in a way where at certain price points, you can have a stripped version of a larger vehicle, or a better equiped version of a lower vehicle. And this comparison is just that. But there's many out there who aren't in it for the size, or capacity, and just want a decently sized SUV, without the fuel milage or size penalties of the larger offerings.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    I think the Freelander is good looking myself...but I hear it's unreliable.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Yes, very unreliable. Land Rover will require a few years of Ford ownership, to clear it's kinks out. Just as Ford did with Jaguar, that itself started to improve within 3 years, and after 9, Jaguar rated a few times on top on reliability ratings (tied with Volvo one year, I believe 1998, don't quote me).

    Next Freelander, I believe will use a new platform shared with the future Focus. I have to check on that...
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    With a Focus? Not the Escape? Wow.......
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Opps, that leaked. Yes it was to be Escaped based (confirmed 2 years ago), but that idea has been rethought a bit. The current Escape is based of a modified Mazda 626 platform. That vehicle has obviously been replaced by the Mazda6, hence, it's best to start with a new platform for flexible manufacturing, which in turn, lowers overall development costs. Common sense dictates building various vehicles based on the same platform, along the same assembling line, allows for Ford to make more money on that project.

    So if you look at Ford's platform family, you would think... "Hmmm then how about a Mazda6 based Escape"... Could be. But at the price point the Escape starts, base model's wouldn't make much money from using such a platform. Evidence is with the base Mazda6i starting around high $19K, we would need to push the Escape's pricepoint LOWER than that, hence, not economically correct considering an Escape's range is between $17-26K.

      Anything lower than that platform, would be next generation Focus platform. Same one debuting under the next Volvo S40/V50, Mazda3 to be introduced this fall. And Volvo is planning a smaller sport ute off this same platform (Xc50). (This I can confirm)

    Another reason not to use the Mazda6 platform for the Escape replacement is because Ford will introduce in 2006 as a 2007 model.... an SUV based on the Mazda6 platform, slotted between the Escape and Explorer, that will allow for 3 rows of seating. Think smaller Freestyle, at a lower pricepoint. (this I can confirm and is definate) This one is one of those "10 vehicles based of Mazda6 platform" announcement they made some months ago.

    The platform/vehicle strategy for their upcoming vehicles is rather simple. You have their large 500 sedan, then platform alternative CUV the Freestyle. Then let's work one tier down, you have Mazda6 based Futura, CUV, and next minivan on the similar platform. Then bottom tier you have Focus, and platform alternative SUV Escape. And if Ford would like to go down another notch, they could introduce the european Fiesta with platform alternative SUV Fusion (S.A. Ecosport). Latter example depends on a few other factor's and nothing that can be confirmed at this time.

    What COULD occur, is having a 5 passenger/2 row Mazda6 based Escape, with a lengthed 7/8 passenger/3 row Escape Extended within the same grouping. (like Chevy Trailblazer, EXT) BUT Escape uses a 4x4 system making it SUV like, whereas the Mazda6 based CUV will be AWD, taking away the "ute" part of the vehicle. I cannot yet confirmed if the next Escape is Focus based, but the details are there to state so, this project is still a bit off from being finalized.

    Where this "CUV/SUV" slotted between the Escape and Explorer, is headed depends how it'll be named E=SUV like F=Car like. Which is evident in the Freestyle, it's more CUV because of it's platform, as well as it's name. It's a CLUE as to it's positioning. You can think of this new Ford CUV as a car based alternative to the Explorer, NOT that the Freestyle isn't already, but at a lower pricepoint. Think Pilot/Highlander as it's main competitors.

    As for Freelander, Yes confirmed by the media actually, it's next generation Focus based.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    Thank you SOOOOOO much for giving us all this info.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    I LOVE minivans. Monterey is a cool name for one. I like minivans because they have great features, luxurious interiors available, lots of passenger and cargo room, and EXCELLENT exterior styling.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    For GM in coming years=Cadillac=sporty, Buick=luxury, and Chevy, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer, GMC, Isuzu, and Suzuki=standard. For Ford=Ford and Mazda=standard, Mercury, Lincoln, Land Rover, and Volvo=luxury, and Jaguar and Aston Martin=sporty. For Daimler Chrysler in coming years=Chrysler, Maybach and Kia=luxury, Mercedes-Benz=sporty, and Dodge, Mitsubishi, Jeep, and Hyundai=standard. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are a bit more obvious. Oh and for Volkswagen=Lamborghini and Audi=sporty and VW and Bentley=luxury.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I think that might be an oversimplification in some cases, nothing is ever that cut and dry.

  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    That totally lost me, it's like a blind nun driving a Tercel down a hill without brakes.

    What exactly is this post pertaining to? I didn't comprehend it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Nice metaphor, ANT
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    what brands are intended to be: such as sporty, luxurious, or standard. Re-read the message and see if u understand and or agree. I'll re-write Ford's here. For Ford in coming years-Ford and Mazda=standard, Mercury, Lincoln, Land Rover, and Volvo=luxury, and Aston Martin and Jaguar=sporty. Do u agree, ANT a.k.a some kind of Ford employee. (That or he's purposely trying to make us think he is)
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    You have luxury, and non-luxury. And to what degree automaker's prefer to take their respective vehicles, it's up to them. Ford has a bit of everything in almost every segment, and you'll have cars that cater to different demographics, depending upon what the market wants.

    As to how they are positioned, Sport/standard/etc. depends on the persons point of view. As example, some might see the base I4 Passat as standard, while VW is general is perceived as standard offerings, yet others will argue their 4 year warranty (that will definatly be used) dignifies them as being luxury, yet some of their vehicles could be seen as sporty. That same dressed Passat W8 that they consider luxury, is really just a base $20 basic Passat with some dressing and flavor on it with a $35-40K ticket. So even in trim levels, that formula might not work.

    Now as to what people "peceive" a brand, is all up to them. Personally I think the Lexus Es330 is a dressed up Camry and I would refuse to pay extra at that. YET other's believe beause it has a "L" in the hood, and their butt is licked at the dealership, that they are special. It's all perceived notions.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    And to defend my VW point I said in VW's future it will be considered luxury. The ES300 has a way more stylish design and a 100 times more luxurious interior than the boringly spartan Camry. Ford at this point only has only luxury auto and that is the luxury convertible Thunderbird.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    There is a great picture of the new Ford F150s top-of-the line interior in the newest (Aug?) issue of Car and Driver, and man, is it impressive. I will certainly be interested to see if its tactile qualities are as good as they appear to be in the photo. Granted, this is probably the $35K version, but even so, I finally have been convinced of what you are saying all along- that Ford is REALLY trying to improve its interior aesthetics and quality.

    I'm still not sold on the future of Ford, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I hope the F150 does well for the brand, but it seems a lofty goal that they want to sell 1 million units its first year out, given last years sold shy of 900,000.

    It will be interesting to see which pickup- the F150, the Ram, or the TITAN is dynamically superior. I've been really impressed by the TITAN thus far (again, only paper impressions).


    (ANT, your email addy is not listed on your member profile- if you have a moment PLEASE drop me a line at either jmc415@hotmail.com or jcolacur@ethus.jnj.com- I will be graduating at year's end, and would like your take on careers in the automotive industry. I will not ask unnecessarily specific questions, as I recognize the limitations you may have in what can be said.)
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Liberty, If that's how you perceive it, then your the kind of buyer VW wants. As for many others that do not perceive it that way, then they rather go to another brand.

    Alpha, The interior you saw was probably the Lariat version. It has wood with aluminum, satin/nickel finishes. Although the wood will obviously be critisized for not being real. But for the lesser versions, other trims, configurations, touches are available. Ford is tripling it's investment costs on interiors.

    Last year sales on the F150 I believe were 871,000, their highest was the previous year around 941,000. I doubt they can accomplish 1MIL this year, but next year when all factories switch over to the new F150, then It could happen.

    So you want a career in the automotive industry, yikes... Which sector? :-)
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    What sector do u want?
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    UNLESS it looks a darn lot better than the Phaeton, Touraeg, and next Passat. Plus the Touraeg looks ugly inside. I believe VW should stay non-luxury as Audi fills the luxury and sport spot in Volkswagen AG.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    IMO, the only reputable auto journalists out there are those that hold basic or advanced degrees in Engineering, which I do not have. However, I would be quite content in new project/new business development eval. for the major carmakers. I'm going to be graduating with a Finance degree and minors in Econ and Spanish. So, I'm looking for a job in Finance, but am actually also interested, perhaps to a higher degree, in Sales/Marketing.


    PS- I still the Mariner will tank. It will be way too far behind the mechanical/refinement 8 ball by the time it comes out, classy interior or not.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Well, it won't be the Pushrod & live axle company (GM) that will out-engineer it.
  • ANT14ANT14 Member Posts: 2,687
    Alpha, you might have better luck with sales and marketing. That's the best way to learn a company internally, at that point, your able to grow into numerous sectors, if they wish to employee you at a higher position. Engineer might be beneficial, if it deals with products itself, designing, etc. But you will notice, sales and marketing makes everything possible, to REACH the designing and development stage. Without that sector, not much else gets done.

    So at first, starting from that sector on, might be more beneficial, and your able to infultrate other sectors of the company, much more efficiently. Engineering degree might NOT hurt, but I would start that maybe as an after thought, IF I would see the manufacturer might benefit by me possessing that degree.

    Also, once your inside a company, just ask around... Who has what.. Who had what to get where? Who slept with who, etc. And that way your able to direct your degree, to where it might be needed most.

    The above pertains to the manufacturer itself. Outside that realm, the vehicles itself might have outside "help" by hiring marketing companies to handle their accounts. Sub-contracted work you might say. And then you have FAR outside involvement, like maybe marketing and sales, OF a supplier, THAT builds/develops parts, for certain automakers. Such as Delphi, Visteon. And you might be able to start there, Maybe as you gain experience, you might be hired even by some manufacturer's themselves, and have other opportunities, within the organization as well.

    Overall it's very vast, from the manufacturer, to the suppliers, to the marketing, to the consumer survey groups, to far outsiders like auto-journalists, etc. Or extreme senarios, you could be lobbying Congress, to implement stricter gas, or emmissions. So there's much to take into consideration.

    Just do a list of what you can, and cannot deal with. Personally, I'm NOT a people person. I rather hide in an office in the corner, than having to deal with people directly. Therefore, I would look at a senario that I do not deal with people head-on. I also lack patience and tolerance. Therefore projects that involve others, that might compromise my patience and tolerance, I rather just avoid. SO that's something I would take into consideration as well.

    Corporate world in general, is all about hypocrisy, butt kissing, and connection. Some (like me) can act the part quite well and play very P.C., now it all depends how much your willing to deal with, before it infringes on your own personal beliefs.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    Did ANT's long post about auto careers bore you all too (J/K, LOL!)?
  • hammyztshammyzts Member Posts: 9
    Libertycat, you just might be the most annoying person on this entire website. I'm sorry if I am offending you, but you hardly contribute anything yet post constantly. If I am the only one that thinks this, then sorry. But seriously, Liberty, your little responses have got to go.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    LOL, just a statistic I thought you might be curious about.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I greatly appreciate your insight and should have thanked you earlier--- Thank you. If you ever have time to drop me a line in an email, possibly with greater specifics and reasoning behind the opinions you have expressed, that would be great. If not, no biggie.

    Back to the Mariner: well, theres not much to say. Its a pretty Escape.

  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    I agree, the Escape is bland and the Mariner is beautiful! I read that the V6 will standard in Mariner but I guess it will not be according to more recent articles. I wish it were. With a four cylinder, the Mariner will be way TOO close to Escape/Tribute. Soon, this platform will be like the Ascender/Trail Blazer/EXT/H3/Envoy/XL/Bravada/9-7/Rainier platform. Wow! I got them all! LOL! All GM will need is a Cadillac, Suzuki, Subaru, Saturn, and Pontiac version to spread the platform across all its brands. GM is something else.
  • libertycatlibertycat Member Posts: 593
    But I really love having you in all the Ford/Lincoln/Mercury discussions. I've never seen you in a Jaguar/Volvo/Mazda(I know Ford doesn't own all of it)/Land Rover/Aston Martin discussion however. Do you ever go to these Ford branded discussions?
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