Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why it's difficult to be a Ford fan at the New York Auto Show

So, I fnally got to the Javits Center this Friday and while I'm sure you've read about everything on AutoBlog and Jalopnik, but here's my take on the show in general and Ford's offerings in particular. It's getting tough be be enthusiastic about FoMoCo these days. I can take a positive spin and say how nice the Edge/CX9/MKX are, how really impressed I was with the Volvo C30 and how cool the Lincoln MKR and Ford Interceptor concepts looked. The concepts were well received by the crowd, even after a week of the show being open to the public. But as hard as I tried, I just couldn't become one of the sheep and ooh and aah at the Interceptor. It's just a shame really. As the spokesman stood on the rotating turntable dazzling the crowd with specs like "330 hp from the 5.0 Cammer engine" I could not help but want to puke my guts up when he with a straight face tried to excite the crowd with " and underneath, you'll find the Mustang multi link rear suspension with solid rear axle. What??? Hold on, solid rear axle?

And the story got no better at the turntable for the new Shelby GT500KR. An improved multi link rear supsention and solid axle. And for the incredible markup we can expect from dealers over list price, you get only about 25 more horsepower, a different hood and other minor improvements. So let's guess that the list price will be about $50k and that like the GT500 dealers will shaft you for another $20k. If you're gonna screw me like that, at least kiss me first!
In 2004 when the 05 Mustang was rolled out and I saw it at Nashville Super Speedway for the 40th Aniversary celebration, I like many was so excited to see it, that I appologized for FoMoCo's failure to equip the Stang with an IRS. The rationalization was that at the lower price point for a Mustang GT it was the best bang for the buck you could get! Well that was 2004, this is now.
And in this market if Ford tries to bring the Interceptor to market without an IRS then they deserve to go down the toilet. Seriously, Chrysler/Dodge have the 300/Magnum/Charger all with more power and IRS. GM is bringing the Pontiac G8 with more power and IRS. Ford sells the Falcon/Fairmont in Australia with more power and IRS. See what I'm saying?
Ford will be signing their own obituary if they bring a rear wheel drive sedan to market here in North America without an IRS! I hope to god that someone at FoMoCo can see this.
I will go further with this, if FoMoCo does come out with a RWD sedan and it doesn't have IRS like every one of their competitors, then I will never buy another Ford Branded product in my life! And I will advise anyone who asks to follow my lead. If they want to die a misserable death, so be it! But they can't say they didn't see the trends in the market place or that they couldn't design an IRS that would work. They have no farther to look than the Control Blade IRS used in Australia!


Anonymous said...

The Shelbys were designed for straight line performance and besides an IRS that can hold 500hp is going to cost. Remember the 03-04 Corbra's, they have IRS and they are the weak link in the drive train. Infact many owners have switched to a solid axel to handle the higher power levels. IRS is good for auto cross, but in drag racing solid axels are the way to go, sorry.

Big Ford Fan said...

Actually you are mistaken, Shelby Mustangs were NOT designed for straight line performance, but for road racing. From the begining in 1965 Carol Shelby always intended Mustangs with his name on them to be road racing machines.

As for an IRS that can "hold" 500 hp, Ford already has one in the Australian Falcon. Not to mention that GM and Chrysler have them under current and future models.

I remember the 03/04 Cobras well, and anybody who bought one just for drag racing wasted their money. I was lucky enough to see several going around the road course at Nashville Super Speedway in 04 for the 40th Aniversary of the Mustang. That's what those cars are meant to do.

Don't be sorry, be sorry for Ford. When buyers flock to better equipped more powerful vehicles from GM,Chrysler and even Hyundai.