It’s a few days before the NFL Draft, baseball season is in full swing and plenty of people are sitting at their desks “working” on mock drafts or setting their fantasy team’s lineup. So, why can’t we do that with our friends in the auto industry? In an article in the Detroit News today, analysts (How do you become an analyst, anyway? Is there an analyst school or something?) talked about how old Ford’s lineup is and how they don’t see much in the pipeline.
All the brands Ford owns — Volvo, Land Rover, Mazda and even Jaguar — have bright future lineups. But Ford itself, along with its siblings Mercury and Lincoln, has a bleak outlook. The only future vehicles we know about are the Flex crossover, which isn’t coming until late 2008, and a new Mustang sometime in 2009. That’s it. Otherwise, we’re looking at the renamed Taurus and Taurus X and the freshened-up Focus and Escape. The only bright spots are the Fusion and Edge. So what does Ford need to develop to turn things around? We give our fantasy ideas below; leave your thoughts in the comments.
The No. 1 problem Ford is facing right now is its small-car lineup. With new fuel-economy regulations coming, Ford needs to up its fuel economy fleet-wide. Most automakers are taking the approach of moving their compact class up in size and price, then offering a subcompact as the entry-level vehicle for the brand. Ford has a popular compact in Europe that would fit the bill, also called the Focus but far superior to ours. The current Euro Focus wouldn’t fit in the U.S. at this time, but the next generation would probably be scheduled to join the Ford lineup post-2010.
Then Ford would need a subcompact. There’s already talk of one based on the new Mazda2 hitting the market before decade’s end. It might even negate the need for a new Focus if the Fusion still starts under $20,000 with a four-cylinder version.
Ford also needs a bold replacement for the Escape. The Edge is too big to compete with the Honda CR-Vs of the world, even if it is priced right. Perhaps instead of a next-generation Focus we get a small crossover that would slot below the Edge. The Iosis X concept from last year looks good to us.
What’s left? Ford needs a large sedan that’s actually a class contender, unlike the newly named Taurus. The new Ford Mondeo is a big hit in Europe and easily could make it to the U.S. Heck, even James Bond drove one in his last movie.
How does this final lineup look:
Mazda2-based subcompact, Ford Fusion, Ford Mustang and Ford Mondeo on the car side
Ford Iosis X compact SUV, Ford Edge and Ford Flex on the crossover side.
We won’t get into trucks, but a new F-150 is expected before the end of the decade.
What would be your dream Ford lineup?