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Friday, April 29, 2005

The Fusion is Ford's Future

Cars! Cars! Cars! ruminates on Ford's product lineup and future, pitching in an unflatteringly hacked Ford oval graphic. He seems to conflate the Freestyle and Freestar into one product, which is not entirely his fault, Ford marketing should be spanked for naming two cars under the same nameplate so closely. His basic point is good, though, that Ford hasn't been trying very hard in the car department.

This can be blamed on the management team of the 1990's. Back then, Ford was awash in cash from selling trucks and SUVs, gas was cheap, and people apparently didn't think cars were going to be that important in the future. The strategy for much of the domestic industry seemed to be to pump development dollars into trucks and SUVs, where the profit margins were, and use cars as loss-leaders, like CDs at Walmart. (Man, did they learn their lesson)

The Fusion and its brothers are critical for Ford in North America. If the Fusion doesn't sell well, Ford is as good as dead. Market share will continue to decline, and the business will become unsustainable, if all other trends continue.


NextGenAuto said...

I agree on the importance of the fusion to ford. It does seem to have several things going for it. First of all, even without incentives it will be an incredible value. Secondly, the styling if fresh and it is an attrative car. It's also based on the acclaimed Mazda6, so you can't go wrong there. Finally, It appears to have a nice amount of interior room. By the size of the rear doors, it looks like it will be comfortable for passengers back there. The interior quality (at least in pictures) looks great.

I judge cars by if i would buy them myself, and I would certainly buy this car.

Big Ford Fan said...

The Fusion seems like a fine car that is true. But doesn't anybody think that Ford relying on the Mazda 6 platform for so many new models is a dangerous thing?
The Mazda 6 is the platform for the Fusion/Milan and the Zephyr.
Then the Mazda Crossport, which itself is based on Mazda 6 mechanicals, will be the base for the new Lincoln Aviator and is rumored to be the underpinings for the Ford Fairlane if that ever makes it to production.
Isn't this just what GM does, getting one platform and then sharing it accross all brands?
Don't get me wrong the Mazda 6 is a great car, and I'm sure the Fusion will be too, but haven't we learned anything from past mistakes?

The Auto Prophet said...

It is a dangerous thing if there is something wrong with the platform--for example, the previous Mondeo, which was brought over as the Contour/Mystique ("mistake"), was just too small, especially in the rear leg room, to really catch on.

It is also dangerous if you make your cars too similar. If the Fusion, Milan, and Zephyr aren't different enough, then the Milan and Zephyr won't sell.

GM was the master of this, they would sell almost exactly the same car as a Pontiac, Buick, and Olds, with the exception of a few badges and minor other differences.

Big Ford Fan said...

Ford needs to diversify the models, that's for sure, and as you said, GM was famous for this.
Since you mention the Mondeo, why doesn't Ford bring that to the US?
And the Australian Ford Falcon range, the longer wheelbase Fairmont could be rebadged as a Lincoln to seperate it from the Fusion and Milan.

I love Ford, and think they should not rely on one platform for so many new models. Time will tell.