Thursday, March 30, 2006

What I want from Ford

What do I want from Ford? I think I want what most people want, quality vehicles that give me decent performance while still achieving reasonalbe fuel economy. I'd also like a little style and practical packaging. I look at Ford products today and there's not a lot of excitment. I see models that are becoming old and dated, and new models that are just limp. With the exception of the Mustang and trucks, Ford's line up is just boring. The Focus is a capable car with decent performance and economy, that can be had for a fair price, it just seems dated and unexciting. Now my opinion of the Focus is no doubt influenced by the fact I know Ford has a newer Focus and Focus based models in Europe and around the world. The Fusion is nice, a great value with good performance and economy with either the I-4 or V-6 engines. Styling on the front and sides is distinctive, clean and crips, but not exciting and the rear end is bland. It's an important car for Ford, but just needs a little something. It woudln't hurt to have a new rear end, something that's not quite like a 94 Honda. The 500/Freestyle are great vehicles, but dull as white toast and tea. The overall design of the 500 seems like an Audi on steroids, or VW Passat, just a bubble. The FreeStyle fairs marginally better, but I guess for their segment that's fine. The Crown Victoria? Oh come on, it's a dinosaur, it has no soul, no character and a chassis that's 27 years old. The Crown Vic has only 239 hp, 50-100 less than major V8 competitors and bested by some V6 models. So what do I want from Ford?
I want a little excitement. Some nice body lines, and a nice capable chassis. What about a Reflex? This looks quick sitting still. It has some life to it.
With many competitors coming to market with small SUVs and Crossovers, what about the Faction? I've mentioned recently that I'm seriously considering buying a Dodge Caliber. Why would a true blue Ford fan not bye a new Ford? Because there's nothing that really excites me. Now if a Focus or Fiesta based Crossover like this were on the market and I could get it with the same equipment and for the same price as the Caliber, I'd jump all over it. Especially if it was a 3 door like this, or even only half door in the rear. This is a muscular looking little vehicle. It doesn't need to have huge power to be hit.
How about the Iosis concept, that is the face of future European Fords? It's Kinetic design is sleek and sexy, not like "Dave" the bland guy next door look that Ford has in mind for the US. If Ford is looking for a brand identity, this should be it. If Ford sold this Iosis based on the Fusion or 500 chassi, they would be selling like hot cakes.
And some niche models are good, like this Bronco concept. Ford needs to take some chances like Chrysler has over the last few years. Build a new production facility with flexible platform capability. Take the European Ford Fiesta platform, build the mass market 3 and 5 door models, but also build the Reflex, Bronco and Fraction all in the same plant.

Can Ford afford to loose long term customers like myself? They have the concepts and overseas models to draw from. It's about time for a bit of a revival at Ford. It can't all be about full size trucks and SUVs.

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