Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jerry Flint sets his gaze upon FoMoCo again

Jerry Flint is at it again, setting his gaze on FoMoCo and sharing his sage wisdom. So of course that means that I have to comment on Mr Flint's comments. It's not possible for me not to, there's something about him, that drives me to do it. It's not that I don't respect him or his opinion, I do. So today Mr Flint is commenting on Ford's slaughter of modles since 2000. Now go over and read Mr Flint's article and then come back here to see how we match up.
Anyone can kill a model or two. But look at the list. There are so many at Ford. Is it any wonder the company's in trouble?

Go Jerry Go! Off to a good start.

Taurus (to die soon) How Ford let this happen is a disgrace, the #1 selling midsize car in the US. And as reported everywhere, it's outsold both of it's replacements over the last few months. Ford now needs to relight that fire.
Sable (the Mercury Taurus, dead already)
Well, I was never a big fan of the Sable, but at least in early versions there was differentiation. In the end they were indistinguishable.
Thunderbird (The only Ford anyone turned to see, dead)
This was a crime, the Thunderbird was an awsome car, that dealers first abused by overcharging for, and FoMoCo made no improvements on. They kept it around just long enough to reach the 50 th birthday.
Lincoln Blackwood (Who approved this and is he still at Ford?)

What the hell was FoMoCo thinking? I hated the Blackwood from day 1.
Lincoln Aviator (not bad but gone anyway)

Never a big fan of huge SUVs, the Aviator was my favorite. An Explorer with 300 hp and all the bells and whistles. And I thought the new Aviator/MKX was good, but should have kept the Aviator name.
Escort (remember the Escort? 400,000 sales)

The Escort was never one of my favorites. I remember back in 87 when I was shopping for my first new car, I looked at the Escort and the smaller Festiva and bought the Festiva because even though it was the bottom rung of the Ford ladder it was a better car. But how do you let it just degrade the way they did?
Ford Contour (the $6 million baby, the failed transplant)

I must have been one of the few that liked the Contour ( Mondeo elsewhere around the globe) especially the SVT version. But the Escort had grown almost as large and the Taurus was a better value.
Mystique (the Mercury Contour)

Another ditto car, not enough different styling to matter.
Continental

This one was just crap, I wasn't sorry to see it go. The Taurus of the Lincoln world, even with it's V-8 it was slow. And how many of these do you see dragging the ground because of faulty air bags?
Excursion (the bigger they come…)
This was a rolling male enhancement (trying to keep it PG) that surpisingly I saw drove by liliputian women more than burly contractors. But jeez, there's got to be a limit to how big these things get, right?
Lincoln LS (this car was murdered)

Preach Jerry preach!! This was an amazing car, initially a little underpowered, recieved minor improvements and was then abandoned. What a crying shame. This is the car that should have afforded FoMoCo a chance to elevate the brand, instead they went the SUV/truck route. This same chassis supported the T-Bird and Jaguar S-Type, the S-Type recieved all the improvements this deserved, including supercharged 4.0 V-8 making 390 hp.
Mercury Cougar

Based on the Contour/Mystique with a very stylish coupe body, this was just not given a chance. It was left in the background for several years and just needed a couple of extra ponies under the hood. Now it seems that Gen Y and others have taken this orphan under their wings, as I've seen quite a few of these at car shows and cruise nights givne the tuner treatment.
Mercury Villager

Just a rebadged Nissan Quest, a half hearted effort to give Mercury unique content. But both the Mercury and Nissan vans were poor competitors in the shark tank that is mini van market.

That's thirteen vehicles, and I may have missed some. I've never seen anything like it. And we know there are more to come. The Ford GT is going, and I suspect the Windstar minivan and its Mercury sidekick, the Monterey, are not long for this world. When the Wixom, Mich., plant closes I suppose the Lincoln Town Car will go. And I've never been able to figure out the plan for the Ford Freestyle, which is the new crossover (though it looks just like a station wagon) built in Chicago. One day it's going to die, then it's going to live, then there's to be a Mercury version, then there's not. I've lost track and stopped trying.

Jerry nails some good points here, the FreeStar/Montery are doomed, and Ford is reportely pulling out of the Mini Van market, opting to bring out the new Fairlane MPV/CUV instead. It's a case of FoMoCo admitting it can't compete in a segment. Funny that they offer so many nice Mini Vans/MPVs in Europe, the Galaxy and S-Max being the best examples.

Your former top-selling vehicles like the Focus and the Ranger have problems today. They are dying out there. Don't just sit there, fix the problems!

I'm right there with you Jerry, the Focus and Ranger are the latest examples of FoMoCo's unwillingness to give support to what were class leading models. It's a sad state of afairs.

Hold on, I got through one of Flint's pieces without disagreeing? Well it happens sometimes.

Ford are you listening? Mr Flint has yet another wake up call for you.



7 comments:

J G Halmayr said...

I drive a '94 Ford Escort LX, one of the best cars I've ever owned. Why Ford would abandon the name Escort and switch to Focus makes no sense to me. My mother buys a Toyota Corolla every 4-5 years, she doesn't even bother to test drive anymore, she's that confident in the Corolla. If she was a Ford customer she wouldn't know what to do. Is the Focus the same thing as the Escort? If you don't know anything about cars, then it must not because it has a different name. It's a small thing, but it does open the door for her to shop around. The Accord and Camry are the market leaders because they are continually refined, not renamed. It works the same for the F-150. Ford's acting like no one's in control, and everyone's afraid to stand up and take a chance. The company that rocked the world with the original Taurus can do better!

Joel A said...

Oh! This must be new. I'll have to check it out.

Dotty Gale said...

Probe! What ever happened to the Probe?

Big Ford Fan said...

Dotty Gale, the Probe went the way of the Dodo. Originally intended to replace the Mustang it was canceled as the Coupe/Hatchback market shrunk. An early example of FoMoCo's reliance on Mazda it was based on the MX6/626, the predecessor to the 6 and was the first car built at the plant they now build Mustangs at.

Anonymous said...

what about the Mercury Marauder?
207guy

J G Halmayr said...

The Probe morphed into the Mercury Cougar. It was another iollconcieved attempt to make the Mercury brand relevant again by offering a car that didn't match the rest of the line up. No one goes to Mercury looking for a sporty coupe, so the car was doomed from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Nissan Quest was just a rebadged Mercury Villager.