Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Ford: "We'll finally crack the compact market with the new Focus"
Dieselstation Car Forums > Parking Lot > The Car Garage
Pages: 1, 2
Diesel
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ford believes it can finally crack compact market with refreshed Focus



Ford Motor Co. thinks it finally has a chance to crack the small-car market, and not a moment too soon.

This fall Ford will begin selling the second generation of the Focus, a compact that hasn't fared well against some of the stiffest competition in the auto world. The new model, available with an optional interactive speech-recognition system developed with Microsoft Corp. and called Sync, will have to offer young shoppers a clear advantage over a Honda or Toyota, aside from a discounted price.

"Small cars historically were bought because they were economical,'' said Rebecca Lindland, auto analyst for Global Insight Inc. of Lexington, Massachusetts. ``The latest compacts and subcompacts tend to have sexy features like Bluetooth,'' a wireless technology that gives hands-free control of cell phones, e-mail and other electronic devices. ``Cars have to be iPod-friendly and cell-phone-friendly'' in order to appeal to young buyers, she said.

Since much of the competition is headed in the same direction, Focus's speech-recognition system will have to be as good if not better. If it doesn't work well, Focus loses a potential advantage. But if Sync clicks, the feature could be a reason to consider Ford, a brand that has little or no cachet with the young.

Full Makeover

Focus also boasts a new body style, interior and improved four-cylinder engine. Fuel economy is projected at 37 miles a gallon on the highway, and in the high 20s in the city, about 10 percent higher than the version it replaces. The retail price of Focus starts at about $13,700.
But style, performance and fuel economy may not be enough to distinguish the new one. Thus Sync, which operates from a computer embedded in the dashboard. Ford hasn't yet announced its price.

Jim Cain, a Ford spokesman, said ``the speech-recognition feature is the killer app. You can, for example, speak to your iPod and order music or individual songs or artists in an easy conversational tone. The software is something else, it can understand Lucy and Ricky,'' referring to the characters in the old TV comedy with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who spoke English with a heavy Cuban accent.

I hope Cain is right. Ford plans to offer the feature in every Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle over the next two years.

Say What?

My impression of speech-recognition software products for cars is mixed at best. Some programs hardly work, while most others are no better than mediocre. I have yet to encounter one that's truly dependable, consistent and easy to use.

The debut of Ford's original Focus was almost a non-event in 1999. Back then, the automaker was riding high on profits from Explorer sport-utility vehicles and F-Series pickup trucks.

Focus seemed like an afterthought, doomed to also-ran status in competition with the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and other small cars, most of them foreign makes, with better reputations. This was familiar territory for Ford, which had for two decades produced cars such as the Pinto, Fiesta and Escort, which had been outclassed consistently in terms of quality, style and image.

Ford now is paying the price for investing too heavily in lumbering truck-like models while paying too little attention to cars. General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group likewise have suffered by giving cars short shrift.

Lagging Behind

Though Ford pitched the Focus as a model with an international vibe, sales were just so-so, and ratings from the likes of Consumer Reports couldn't match those for the Civic or Corolla. (In Europe, a more expensive and fancier Focus sells well.)

Eight years later the stakes have risen in the U.S., where buyers are migrating to lighter, smaller vehicles with better fuel efficiency.

Worse for Ford, it is saddled with plummeting sales and ballooning deficits and is running out of time to prove to consumers that it should be taken seriously as an automaker.

Ford also is hoping that buyers won't recall, or won't be aware of, the quality deficiencies that plagued the early days of the Focus. Even if they do, dealers can mention the June 6 announcement by J.D. Power & Associates, a quality-rating company, that said Ford brands scored four the of the top 10 places in new-vehicle quality.

Lingering perceptions of Ford as a second-rate brand may require extraordinary genius to overcome. That's why the automaker put the Focus advertising account up for bid. Ford's longtime advertising agency, WPP Group Plc's J. Walter Thompson, the incumbent, is among the agencies invited to bid for the business.

If Focus's hip electronics create some buzz, all the better. Apple Inc. was floundering six years ago before introducing the iPod, and it made all the difference in the world.




BAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.. yeah right Ford. Not with THAT Focus you won't. Maybe if you gave us the European one.. we can start talking.



mung35
I'm sorry. The idiocy of American automakers baffles me. If they keep doing shit like this, they deserve to be absorbed by the Japanese counterparts. I'll be pissed if the government pulls a Chrysler for these morons.

Why the hell don't we get the European focus? Which idiot on the marketing/product/development side thought we'd like this... what are we buying that looks like that Focus?

BAH! Capitalism. Survival of the fittest. Ford is the retarded midget with a fork near an open outlet.
Phix
QUOTE(mung35 @ Jun 26 2007, 03:13 AM) *
I'm sorry. The idiocy of American automakers baffles me. If they keep doing shit like this, they deserve to be absorbed by the Japanese counterparts. I'll be pissed if the government pulls a Chrysler for these morons.

Why the hell don't we get the European focus? Which idiot on the marketing/product/development side thought we'd like this... what are we buying that looks like that Focus?

BAH! Capitalism. Survival of the fittest. Ford is the retarded midget with a fork near an open outlet.

Did you hear that? Sounded like... yeah, a nerve-- nay, an ARTERY just completely EXPLODED in fiber_optic from sheer RAGE!
Tony Two Shoes
I have one serious question that rides on Mung's post. Why do car companies act in self-destructive ways? Are they just that concerned with the immediate bottom-line? Do they just employ incompitant people? I can't imagine that FoMoCo consists of a bunch of idiots. Or do they have accountants running the show? (I'm gonna get flamed for that one! smile.gif ) I mean, do they have people running the show that don't know the first thing about an automobile?

What gives? That thing looks like a fugly Saturn.
fiber optic
QUOTE(Phix @ Jun 26 2007, 02:15 AM) *
Did you hear that? Sounded like... yeah, a nerve-- nay, an ARTERY just completely EXPLODED in fiber_optic from sheer RAGE!


Most of the members here don't like Ford and I don't lose a wink of sleep over it. "Oh no he doesn't like the cars I like whatever will I do?!"
tune
Lol at your lame US Focus.

Surely if there were accountants running the show, they'd realise by now, they'd make more money from selling the same, dare I say better, European version. Obviously I'm not backing that up with sales facts and figures, it just seems it would be that way.
clarkma5
QUOTE(fiber optic @ Jun 26 2007, 05:26 AM) *
Most of the members here don't like Ford and I don't lose a wink of sleep over it. "Oh no he doesn't like the cars I like whatever will I do?!"


99% of these members here will happily give Ford respect when they produce a more competent, attractive, or interesting vehicle, as they have done repeatedly in the past and will surely do many times in the future. But honestly...is this really that defensible?
fiber optic
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jun 26 2007, 08:49 AM) *
But honestly...is this really that defensible?


Please clarify.
moe
My question is this, would it have cost Ford more money to retool their American factories to build the second generation Focus, or completely redesign the first generation, a car which isn't sold anywhere but North America? I personally believe the former would have been more cost-effective. They would've had a newer car on their hands. Also, if I remember correctly, the Focus was well-recieved in N. America upon its launch, they just didn't bother updating it in the face of fresh competition...so I don't know what all this talk about "finally cracking the compact market" is all about.
White RSX
QUOTE(Tony Two Shoes @ Jun 26 2007, 03:59 AM) *
Why do car companies act in self-destructive ways?

Because its a market that has to bring new ideas in on a near-yearly basis. Its that constant changing and improving that makes things become more and more out there. As companies grow and develop they need to constantly try to head off their competitors in several different markets. "Economy", "Safe", and "Affordable" are our buzzwords, believe it or not. The "Compact market" in North America isn't sporty, regardless of what you want to believe.
Mitlov
I'm hoping that maybe after the Saturn Astra shows that quality European-market compacts coming from a domestic maker CAN succeed in North America, Ford will finally give in and bring the Euro Focus here.

If I recall correctly, Ford loses money on every Focus, but sells them to bring their corporate average fuel economy down to CAFE requirements (because so many of their sales are half-ton pickups and truck-based SUVs). Building a super-cheap car helps mitigate the short-term loss from this strategy. But it doesn't fix the overall problem--that Ford offers good trucks and SUVs but crappy small cars that aren't nearly as appealing as the competition.

With the market moving back towards small cars, Ford needs to sell a compact that people will buy because they want it, not just because they can afford it. The Euro Focus could be that car.
White RSX
The fact stands that nearly every person in the market for a North American Focus just isn't a car person. I don't disagree that there is a need for the European Focus, I just don't see us getting it because at the end of the day, the American market likes bling bling, not vroom vroom.
clarkma5
WRSX, while it's true that the european focus isn't necessary from a performance standpoint in our market, it IS necessary from a refinement, feature, and design standpoint. The focus, even facelifted twice, is simply a generation (approaching two generations) behind the front-runners in the market, and the american people don't want obsolete things.
dukenukem
At the very least, dont make it look this ugly !
Diesel
This is what Ford needs to give us.

Fiesta ST




Focus ST




new Mondeo to replace the Fusion



and BY GOD replace the Taurus with something more exciting. like the Iosis.
clarkma5
Umm diesel, the Iosis is what turned into the Mondeo. The Taurus is a much larger car, and word on the street is, being based on an improved Five Hundred, is that's it's actually pretty good; at least, competitive in its segment against the Azera and the Avalon.
Mitlov
Ford needs a big, soft FWD car. Buicks and Avalons are big sellers in places like southern Oregon, though I'm sure they're as rare as dinosaurs in the San Francisco and LA metro areas. The new Taurus looks like a good entry.

I agree with the European Fiesta and Focus for the United States. Ford, like many of the domestic makers, is pretty weak when it comes to the ever-more-popular compact and subcompact markets.

I disagree that the Mondeo should replace the Fusion. The Mondeo would be a niche car in North America, much like the Mazda6 or TSX. It wouldn't have the spacious hip room, giant trunk, and isolating ride that your typical midsize car buyer is looking for. At the end of the day, the Camry is the best-selling car in the United States. That's what most buyers are looking for. The Fusion is a much better Camry-fighter than the Mondeo, from what I've read about both. If Ford is going to bring the Mondeo, it should be acknowledged as a niche car aimed at enthusiasts who need a family car. I see it as either a Mercury or a Mazda.

Ford should hurry up and get the Interceptor to production (ditto to the MKR). Or bring the Falcon here from Australia. Despite increasing concerns about fuel economy, more people are interested in RWD cars than five years ago. Chargers/Magnums/300s are EVERYWHERE here. The Crown Vic is absurdly ancient and utterly uncompetitive. If there's any trouble with making large RWD sedans meet CAFE standards, introduce an optional diesel engine.
GTR
QUOTE(Tony Two Shoes @ Jun 26 2007, 04:59 AM) *
What gives? That thing looks like a fugly Saturn.


lol he's right, it looks like my neighbour's Saturn ion. dry.gif
I bet Ford's not gonna go anywhere with that model, let alone break the compact market with that.
Razor
Every time I think about how Ford gives its good cars to OTHER countries than the one they are FROM, it just makes so pissed at all the dumb fat Americans. I can almost remove the blame from Ford for seeing what they are serving on the homefront. Same goes for the other American companies that cater to other countries and shit in our mouths.
Mitlov
Just for the sake of comparison:





Who again is going to crach the compact market in 2008? And I agree with the guy who said that the new Focus looks like an Ion.
clarkma5
I rather like Mitlov's idea of bringing over the Mondeo as an enthusiast-aimed Mercury exclusive...not only is he right about it being at an odd size for our market, but it's exactly the sort of thing that Mercury showrooms need. Failing that, badging it at a Ford and tossing into the growing "econoluxury" ring against the Jetta, 3, etc. may be a good option.
mung35
Sigh... you'd think the company responsible for the assembly line would actually take a moment to think how they could re-invent the market. I mean personally I don't care that Ford builds crappy cars. At the end of the day, Toyota makes crap too. Only difference, Toyota can move it off the lot in mass quantities at a good price.

I blame management. Fire 'em and get German/Japanese consultants.
Mitlov
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jun 26 2007, 05:29 PM) *
I rather like Mitlov's idea of bringing over the Mondeo as an enthusiast-aimed Mercury exclusive...not only is he right about it being at an odd size for our market, but it's exactly the sort of thing that Mercury showrooms need. Failing that, badging it at a Ford and tossing into the growing "econoluxury" ring against the Jetta, 3, etc. may be a good option.


Hell, why not just turn Mercury into "European Fords for the North American market"? GM saved Saturn in about 18 months by turning it into Opel-lite. Now the brand actually has promise (and is the most appealing GM brand for me now). Aiming Mercury at enthusiasts and Euro-philes would differentiate it from Ford and bring some competitive niche models to North America, while costing almost no R&D money and using existing dealer networks.
Tony Two Shoes
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jun 26 2007, 08:21 PM) *
Hell, why not just turn Mercury into "European Fords for the North American market"?

Hey, there's an idea. I think this would work out. Ford needs to a way to justify the extra cost of selling better cars here. And what better way than to go with the American tradition of badge engineering? (I'm being serious. I am not being sarcastic or a smart ass.)
White RSX
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jun 26 2007, 03:58 PM) *
Ford needs a big, soft FWD car. Buicks and Avalons are big sellers in places like southern Oregon, though I'm sure they're as rare as dinosaurs in the San Francisco and LA metro areas. The new Taurus looks like a good entry.

Uh? Lincoln?
Mitlov
QUOTE(White RSX @ Jun 26 2007, 08:14 PM) *
Uh? Lincoln?


Either more expensive than or smaller than most of the large sedans I see around here. Curiously, the Azera hasn't caught on here, because it's exactly the sort of vehicle (and price range) that I'm thinking of.
bing5500
QUOTE(Tony Two Shoes @ Jun 26 2007, 10:35 PM) *
QUOTE(Mitlov)
Hell, why not just turn Mercury into "European Fords for the North American market"?


Hey, there's an idea. I think this would work out. Ford needs to a way to justify the extra cost of selling better cars here. And what better way than to go with the American tradition of badge engineering? (I'm being serious. I am not being sarcastic or a smart ass.)


One word for this idea: Merkur...
tune
What market is the Fusion in?
clarkma5
QUOTE(tune @ Jun 27 2007, 05:42 AM) *
What market is the Fusion in?


It's a North American car to compete in the mid-sized family car market against the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, etc. etc...though it is significantly cheaper than the first two.
Mitlov
And to clarify, the European Fusion and the North American Fusion are completely different.

European:


North American:
Mitlov
QUOTE(bing5500 @ Jun 27 2007, 12:03 AM) *
Hey, there's an idea. I think this would work out. Ford needs to a way to justify the extra cost of selling better cars here. And what better way than to go with the American tradition of badge engineering? (I'm being serious. I am not being sarcastic or a smart ass.)
One word for this idea: Merkur...


And I don't mean to take credit for an idea that wasn't originally mine. Motor Trend referred to the new Mondeo with Volvo's T5 engine and a 6MT as "What a Fine Merkur this would make." And that got me thinking. But it could work.

If I was running Mercury, here is what I would offer (all based on current Ford products to limit R&D costs):

Mercury Tracer = European Focus, in various body configurations.
Mercury Mystique = Mondeo in both sedan and wagon configurations.
Mercury Villager = Mondeo-based minivan for people who don't like the Flex and want a more traditional Odyssey/Sienna competitor.
Mercury Cougar = Mustang-based RWD four-seat sports coupe with modern exterior lines (think Riviera concept), independent rear suspension, and an upgraded interior.
Mercury Sable = exactly what is offered now.
tune
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jun 27 2007, 03:18 PM) *
It's a North American car to compete in the mid-sized family car market against the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, etc. etc...though it is significantly cheaper than the first two.

Right, in Europe the Mondeo is in the same market as those cars. But I suppose 'mid-sized family' in America is equivalent in 'extra-large family' in Europe, so you have bigger Accord's, Camry's and 6's.


Mitlov
I knew about the difference between the Euro and NA Fusion's. Your Mercury Villager equivalent could be the Ford Galaxy, C-Max or S-Max?

Galaxy


C-Max


S-Max
Mitlov
QUOTE(tune @ Jun 28 2007, 12:31 AM) *
Right, in Europe the Mondeo is in the same market as those cars. But I suppose 'mid-sized family' in America is equivalent in 'extra-large family' in Europe, so you have bigger Accord's, Camry's and 6's.


I believe our 6 is the same size as yours, as is the Legacy, but we do have a bigger Accord. In USA-speak, the Legacy, 6, Chevy Malibu, etc are at the smaller end of midsize (but are still called "midsize"), the Accord/Camry/Fusion/Sonata are at the larger end of midsize. People don't use the term "large sedan" until you're talking Ford Five Hundred/ Toyota Avalon / Buick Lucerne / Hyundai Azera.

QUOTE
Mitlov
I knew about the difference between the Euro and NA Fusion's. Your Mercury Villager equivalent could be the Ford Galaxy, C-Max or S-Max?

Galaxy


The Galaxy is the biggest of the three, right? I think the Galaxy could make a good Mercury Villager in my vision of Mercury. The other two are too small for the United States market, in my opinion, at least for a few more years.

EDIT: here's a gallery for the Galaxy. Great looking minivan. And being a seven-seater with five individual fold-flat rear seats in back, it's perfect. This is exactly what the new Mercury Villager would be in my mind. http://www.netcarshow.com/ford/2006-galaxy/
clarkma5
The C-Max/S-Max could compete well in the niche market that is currently occupied by the Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo, but the Galaxy would be a better bet as a volume seller.

I'm glad that we could solve Mercury's woes in this thread, guys. Good work. tongue.gif
Mitlov
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Jun 28 2007, 12:06 PM) *
The C-Max/S-Max could compete well in the niche market that is currently occupied by the Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo, but the Galaxy would be a better bet as a volume seller.


But since Mazda's in the Ford family, I think a Mercury C-Max or S-Max would just cannibalize sales from one Ford company to another. Maybe when everyone is selling small people-movers, a Mercury S-Max would make sense, but it doesn't when you already own more than 50% of a market.

QUOTE
I'm glad that we could solve Mercury's woes in this thread, guys. Good work. tongue.gif


I know. We're super. I'm waiting for a call from FoMoCo right now. If nothing else, they gotta have better health insurance than my firm wink.gif
Synesthesia
Good thoughts Miltov...interesting to read. And that Galaxy is damn good lookin'.
clarkma5
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jun 28 2007, 12:10 PM) *
But since Mazda's in the Ford family, I think a Mercury C-Max or S-Max would just cannibalize sales from one Ford company to another. Maybe when everyone is selling small people-movers, a Mercury S-Max would make sense, but it doesn't when you already own more than 50% of a market.


Sure it does. A third car in a two-car segment will increase the size of the segment, which means more buyers. Sure you'll cannabilize some of the 5's sales, but you'll be ahead overall.
Mitlov
Not to shamelessly bump my own tangent, but I realized what the new "Mercury Cougar" should be. An RX-8 with a V6 (naturally aspirated as a base, and either turbocharged or supercharged as an option) wedged in. Sure, you lose the 50/50 weight balance, but you're working with an excellent-handling, front-mid-engine, RWD platform. It'd fit with the rest of the new Mercury models much better than a tarted-up Mustang.
clarkma5
I don't think that really works Mitlov, on several levels. For starters, I'm not sure a V6 would physically fit, secondly, Ford doesn't have a good V6 designed for longitudinal mounting, and third, the RX-8 is due to be replaced or killed soon.
mung35
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Aug 9 2007, 10:34 AM) *
Not to shamelessly bump my own tangent, but I realized what the new "Mercury Cougar" should be. An RX-8 with a V6 (naturally aspirated as a base, and either turbocharged or supercharged as an option) wedged in. Sure, you lose the 50/50 weight balance, but you're working with an excellent-handling, front-mid-engine, RWD platform. It'd fit with the rest of the new Mercury models much better than a tarted-up Mustang.


That's quite funny... I was just thinking last night how I would buy the RX-8 if it had a normal (non-rotary) engine. Either a turbo-4 or NA 6-cylinder.
dukenukem
What it really needs is a big friggin V8!
clarkma5
QUOTE(mung35 @ Aug 9 2007, 12:16 PM) *
That's quite funny... I was just thinking last night how I would buy the RX-8 if it had a normal (non-rotary) engine. Either a turbo-4 or NA 6-cylinder.


I can definitely see the RX-8 with the turbo 2.3 from the MS3 and MS6, if it weren't for the practical problems.
Synesthesia
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Aug 9 2007, 05:45 PM) *
I can definitely see the RX-8 with the turbo 2.3 from the MS3 and MS6, if it weren't for the practical problems.


That'd be cool. Mazda did such a good job with the RX-8. Why is it destined to go?
Mitlov
QUOTE(Synesthesia @ Aug 10 2007, 01:30 PM) *
That'd be cool. Mazda did such a good job with the RX-8. Why is it destined to go?


Long in the tooth. There's rumors of another rotary coupe currently in the works, so it's not like they're giving up, they're just moving forward.
Mitlov
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jun 26 2007, 06:21 PM) *
Hell, why not just turn Mercury into "European Fords for the North American market"? GM saved Saturn in about 18 months by turning it into Opel-lite. Now the brand actually has promise (and is the most appealing GM brand for me now). Aiming Mercury at enthusiasts and Euro-philes would differentiate it from Ford and bring some competitive niche models to North America, while costing almost no R&D money and using existing dealer networks.


Oh, snap:

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/07/22/mercury...lay-out-euro-i/

QUOTE
Mercury has been languishing over the last several years with badged-engineered products barely distinguishable from their Ford brethren. As the market shifts towards smaller cars with higher fuel efficiency, there may be a golden opportunity for the Mercury brand to actually prove its worth as Ford's outlet for European-designed vehicles for the American market. In a move akin to what General Motors has done with Saturn, importing Opels to the U.S. in an attempt to revive the marque, Ford could bring its highly-desirable Euro-only models to the States badged as Mercurys.

According to unnamed sources, the New York Times is suggesting that Ford will begin manufacturing six Euro-spec models right here in America at plants formerly used to produce F-Series trucks, SUVs and vans. We'll have to wait until this Thursday before any official announcements are made by the Blue Oval, but that gives us some time to speculate on which Kinetic-infused products are on their way. That's what the comments are for -- have at.
fiber optic
I was really hoping for the Australian Fords. I realize it requires a lot of crack to be smoked to think the American car buying public would suddenly give up on the quest for MPGs for a little style, good ol' fashioned torque, and RWD awesomeness.

At least it could give Mercury a reason to exist outside of Fords we already had with a different badge. The most 'highly-desirable' Euro model is the Focus right? But they said we're to get that one in the future anyway. Are there others that are desirable? Mondeo?

My problem is that fuel economy isn't my #1 concern. sad.gif
Mitlov
QUOTE(fiber optic @ Jul 22 2008, 11:32 AM) *
I was really hoping for the Australian Fords. I realize it requires a lot of crack to be smoked to think the American car buying public would suddenly give up on the quest for MPGs for a little style, good ol' fashioned torque, and RWD awesomeness.


But does Ford Australia have any interesting cars besides the Falcon? GM brought one Holden (the G8) and is moving towards bringing the entire Opel lineup. I could see Ford do the same thing--bring the Falcon as a flagship sedan, but then bring the new Fiesta and Euro Focus and Mondeo and Kuga and and C-Max.

QUOTE
At least it could give Mercury a reason to exist outside of Fords we already had with a different badge. The most 'highly-desirable' Euro model is the Focus right? But they said we're to get that one in the future anyway. Are there others that are desirable? Mondeo?


Considering how good other Euro Fiestas have been, the new Fiesta is a contender for most fun-to-drive subcompact ever, and will do so with a level of refinement which Americans associate with much larger cars.

The Ford Mondeo has won a ludicrous number of awards, was co-winner of Top Gear's car of the year, and was so badass that James Bond even drove one in Casino Royale. When's the last time Bond has driven a Ford sedan?

The Kuga is looking to be for midsize crossovers what the Mondeo was for midsize sedans. Incredibly stylish and popular.

Also remember that the Focus isn't so much one model as an entire lineup. You have inexpensive-and-fun three-door and five-door hatchbacks, blisteringly fast performance models, roomy wagons, and even a Volvo C70-esque 4-seat hardtop convertible.

Those are the ones I think would do well here. I'm still not convinced that compact MPVs like the C-Max would be a huge hit here, even though the C-Max is highly competitive in its class. Mazda5s and Rondos haven't exactly flooded the streets of the United States.

QUOTE
My problem is that fuel economy isn't my #1 concern. sad.gif


But Euro Fords are better than North American Fords on the handling and refinement front. I'll actually bet that a Euro Focus doesn't do any better on gas than a North American Focus...but it runs circles around it and doesn't feel ultra-cheap inside. So there's a lot to be happy about besides fuel economy.
fiber optic
QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jul 22 2008, 02:23 PM) *
But does Ford Australia have any interesting cars besides the Falcon?


They don't. sad.gif In my head I have it worked out that if I had a Falcon (V8 or turbo 6) I could forgive any other atrocities they could offer on dealership lots.


QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jul 22 2008, 02:23 PM) *
Considering how good other Euro Fiestas have been, the new Fiesta is a contender for most fun-to-drive subcompact ever, and will do so with a level of refinement which Americans associate with much larger cars.


Refinement as far as the interior is concerned? It's never been an issue for me. Titanic sized pieces of hard plastic with gaps so large I could stuff a college textbook in don't bother me. I really don't even notice or care.


QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jul 22 2008, 02:23 PM) *
The Ford Mondeo has won a ludicrous number of awards, was co-winner of Top Gear's car of the year, and was so badass that James Bond even drove one in Casino Royale. When's the last time Bond has driven a Ford sedan?


I can't argue that it's not a great car. It's stylish and otherwise non-offensive. I just never read about people wanting it to the same degree as the Focus. Maybe because we had a Focus but it was felt to be not much more than the previous version with a different look.


QUOTE(Mitlov @ Jul 22 2008, 02:23 PM) *
The Kuga is looking to be for midsize crossovers what the Mondeo was for midsize sedans. Incredibly stylish and popular.

Also remember that the Focus isn't so much one model as an entire lineup. You have inexpensive-and-fun three-door and five-door hatchbacks, blisteringly fast performance models, roomy wagons, and even a Volvo C70-esque 4-seat hardtop convertible.

Those are the ones I think would do well here. I'm still not convinced that compact MPVs like the C-Max would be a huge hit here, even though the C-Max is highly competitive in its class. Mazda5s and Rondos haven't exactly flooded the streets of the United States.
But Euro Fords are better than North American Fords on the handling and refinement front. I'll actually bet that a Euro Focus doesn't do any better on gas than a North American Focus...but it runs circles around it and doesn't feel ultra-cheap inside. So there's a lot to be happy about besides fuel economy.


I just wonder how well any of these will/could do in the American market. I have no clue what the average person wants or needs out of their car in Europe or the US and I definitely don't know how well a car from one would fare in the other. I know what I like but I'm way out in the skinny part of a Gaussian distribution.
Mitlov
QUOTE(fiber optic @ Jul 22 2008, 12:50 PM) *
They don't. sad.gif In my head I have it worked out that if I had a Falcon (V8 or turbo 6) I could forgive any other atrocities they could offer on dealership lots.


Well then why not cherry-pick? Take the best car from Australia, the best cars from Europe, and the best cars from here (Mustang, truck lineup, the Flex, and maybe the Edge).

Regarding the Mondeo:

http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search...content-block=0

QUOTE
Today's Mondeo is a fun car to point from corner to corner, but its ubiquity and unashamed mass-market DNA makes it as fashionable as a McDonald's restaurant. Thankfully, new Mondeo has a dash more gloss - and it's lost none of its forebear's athleticism. Ford has carved out a signature chassis feel in the past decade and this latest arrival is just like a bigger Focus. Moments after you set off down the road, you sense that familiar firmness to the ride: the Mondeo feels planted, agile, but just the right side of firm to remain comfortable.

...

It's a Ford. Does it handle?

Imagine the change from Focus Mk1 to Mk2 and you'll quickly get the gist of the new Mondeo. It steers accurately, feels agile and is a decent companion on your favourite back road - but it doesn't have quite that raw sportiness that permeated the old model. Mondeo Mk4 is a bit too mature for that, and the engineers concede that they've tried to make it a tad more pampering than pointy. The steering (fully hydraulic across the range) is slightly less direct, but you'll still enjoy driving it more than any mainstream rival.

...

A Mondeo cabin; I'm imagining cheap plastics, uninspiring design...

Well, no actually. Okay, so we drove the top-spec Titanium X model, whose dashboard teemed with switches for gadgets and luxurious soft-touch plastics with a texture most pleasing to prod. Will the boggo, stripped-out 1.6 Edge feel quite as smart at 8.00am on a rainswept M25 motorway? We haven't had the pleasure yet, so can't answer that question. But the new model is light years away from the old Mondeo's rather drab, penny-pinching cabin. You'll be comfy front or back (this is a seriously roomy car) and there's the usual, vast Mondeo boot for family clobber or workmen's wares. Downsides? Not much, really. We could hear the fuel sloshing around in our test car's tank at city-low speeds, and if you run your hands all over the cabin (do only road testers do this?) you'll notice some cost-cutting the lower down the trim you feel. But in an age of budgets and multinational building, that's the same on every mass-market car. Look past the cheap-feeling sun visor and sunglasses holder, and the quality is generally very impressive where it matters.

...

Verdict

The Mondeo has grown up, and in all the right ways. The new model is a bit more comfortable, a lot more spacious and a barrel load better built. It's a very modern makeover and Ford's big seller is better placed than ever to persuade buyers back from their (rather common) 3-series and C-classes. Will that ever happen? Not when Ford is seen as a bland brand and the Mondeo as automotive white goods. That's a shame, because the new car is among the class leaders and a damn good car in its own right.






dukenukem
I was surprised to see the Mondeo ST220 and the Fiesta ST being sold here in Mexico.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.