Sunday, March 25, 2007

500 to Taurus etc..

There's been a lot of news about Ford since my last real blog posting. Things that are important to Ford and I haven't had much to say, until now. First I think the change of the 500 to the Taurus is a good thing. The name recognition of Taurus is greater and since the Fivehundred wasn't flying off dealer's lots, it certainly couldn't hurt. Both cars are bread and butter family sedans.
On the other hand, all of the speculation on a new SHO is nonsense. Ford had a good idea with the original Taurus SHO in 1989 and improved it in the second generation. But by the third generation of SHO the magic was gone. I know there are devoted SHO fans that will disagree, but the proof is in the sales history. Even though the SHO 3's V8 has been revised for use in Volvo ( and possibly Lincoln ) models, it's far from Super High Output anymore. Rated at 311 hp in the XC90 it's adequate but again just middle of the pack for small V8s. Ford would be better served by a Fusion SVT with a turbo 2.3 or direct injected 3.5. They won't put the needed power in a Taurus SHO model to make it worthy of the name.

Taurus X? Well again it can't hurt, so why not. The Freestyle is a great wagon, but the name was too close to the horrible Freestar and with it's initial 207 hp V6 it was underpowered and unloved. Now that the 3.5 will be installed, maybe the Taurus X name can redirect buyers to this capable CUV/Wagon.
A further option would be the Volvo/SHO Yamaha V8, just don't lable it SHO.

A more important model for Ford will be a full size rear wheel drive replacement for the Crown Victoria, like the Interceptor concept. Whether it's based on modified Mustang chassis or the Aussie Falcon is of little importance to me at this point. But a must have is an Independant Rear Supension like DCX and GM have/will have in their models.

Ford needs to recognize that Rear Wheel Drive is where many customers want to be. With advances in traction control and stability systems, and the requisite IRS these sedans are four season capable and more desirable. Ford has the parts and technology to make it work from their Australian Falcon/Fairmont models, why so late to bring that to the US Market?

It's really a shame what's going on at Ford, so much of it seems to have been avoidable. We're talking about a world power in the auto industry, a company that put the world on wheels in a very real way! Ford has some very good models on sale across the globe and some great concepts have been presented, but never come to fruition. Don't think that I"ve forgotten my Reflex obsession.
Seriously, it's tough being a Ford fanatic these days, especially when every "Bold Move" seems more like a feeble attempt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Bill Ford Jr is just like his (great-?)grandfather: "make as many as you can and paint 'em black. I'll be playing golf with Adolf if you need me".

It worked in a world without cars but it's not going to work in this one. Some companies can't figure out that names don't get old, cars do.

I also think they should find a split in market niches so that Mercury can stand out with their limited line-up.

And buyers of the Interceptor (that name should stay) should be given the option between IRS and solid axle. Any cop worthy of his badge will kill an IRS in a few years. Somethings need to stay heavy duty.