By David Thomas on Thu Jul 24 04:54:30 GMT-06:00 2008
This morning Ford announced a rather large loss in the second quarter of 2008 — $8.7 billion. Because the company needs to reassure stockholders and Wall Street of its future, Ford has detailed its product plans for the next two years in rather explicit detail. It seems dire economic times have broken through the secretive process Detroit automakers have had in place for decades. Check out our in-depth look at what products Ford will field in the next two years from Europe and North America, and if they’ll be worth the wait. We detail future Lincoln and Mercury products in a separate post.
2010-11 Ford Focus
In calendar year 2010, Ford will officially bring over the version of the Focus it sells in Europe. This is a higher-quality vehicle than what’s sold under the Focus name in the U.S. Ford says it will bring both the four-door sedan and the four-door hatchback over. Expect prices to be higher than the current Focus due to the cost of building a higher-quality product, and the fact that the Ford Fiesta — see below — will occupy the low-cost wrung of the lineup. The imported Focus will be a newer version of the car currently on sale in Europe, shown here.
2010 Ford Fiesta
We’ve been covering the release of this smallest of Ford cars for some time. Early reports of the gasoline engine used in Europe show mileage in the 39-mpg range, which would make this a big seller today in the U.S. Unfortunately, we’ll be waiting until calendar year 2010 for it to go on sale.
Unknown “White Space Vehicle”
Ford says it will bring a European “white space” vehicle to the U.S. in 2010. What the heck is a white space vehicle? Turns out Ford uses the term to describe small van-like vehicles. In Europe, Ford sells a Galaxy and S-Max that resemble the Mazda5 and Kia Rondo. The S-Max received rave reviews from the European press and may be the first vehicle of its kind from a major manufacturer. We’d put our money on the S-Max.
2010 Ford Transit Connect Van
This will be a vehicle meant more for commercial use. We’re not thinking it will have much impact on Ford’s bottom line.
Via North America
2009 Ford Flex
Ford’s answer to the minivan is already on sale and doing well according to most reports we’ve heard. It’s in the Cars.com fleet this week, but it’s too soon to come up with a definitive yea or nay on the Flex’s future in the U.S. On paper, it’s competitive on power and mileage with three-row crossovers from GM, Honda, Toyota and Mazda.
2009 Ford F-150
Ford has pushed back the launch of the redesigned F-150 until late fall 2008 to give dealers time to sell off stagnant inventory of the current F-150. There is employee pricing on the 2008s and other discounts. What was just six months ago a jewel in Ford’s cap at the Detroit auto show is now an albatross around its neck. However, if it ends up besting the competition it could still top a declining segment, as it has always been a successful seller.
2010 Ford Mustang
We’ve just learned that Ford will unveil the 2010 Ford Mustang at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show this November and it will go on sale in early 2009 to combat the recently redesigned Chevy Camaro. Unlike the Camaro, the Mustang will be a slight redesign of the current car with new design cues. Its success will probably be determined by what engines are used and whether the V-6 gets mileage that competes with front-wheel-drive alternatives. Most Mustangs sold are of the V-6 variety. A coupe, convertible and glass-top version will be available.
2009 Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid
There was no word of whether Ford would bring its exciting Kuga compact SUV from Europe for sale in the U.S. We believe that’s because the Escape has gotten tweaks to its transmission and looks over the past two years. The 2009 will be the most efficient Escape yet, and it still sells well. Why, then, would Ford need a Kuga before 2011? But today we’re talking only what Ford did announce.
2010 Ford Taurus (2008 shown above)
The redesigned Taurus will go on sale in mid-2009; we’d expect it to debut in either Detroit in January or Chicago in February. This will be Ford’s first car sold with a new EcoBoost engine, which was previously aimed to deliver V-8 power with a turbo V-6. It was not originally intended for maximum fuel savings. Perhaps that has changed recently, as there has been enough time to tweak the engine before its launch. The car itself will be based on an updated version of the Volvo S80 platform, which also underpins the new Lincoln MKS.
2010 Ford Fusion (2008 shown above)
An updated version of the Fusion will go on sale in early 2009. The car will get a mild redesign – think new grille and headlights — and revised engines, including a four-cylinder that Ford says will top Honda and Toyota. That’s curious wording, as the class leaders are the Hyundai Sonata and upcoming 2009 Chevy Malibu at 32 and 33 highway mpg, respectively.
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford will also drop the efficient hybrid system from its compact Escape Hybrid SUV into the Fusion sedan. Ford says fuel economy will top the Camry Hybrid. The Escape Hybrid gets a combined 32 mpg. The Camry gets a combined 34 mpg. We don’t find it a stretch that the Escape power plant in a sedan will exceed the Camry’s figures.
2010-11? Ford Explorer
The next Ford Explorer will indeed be a unibody, car-based vehicle, replacing the current F-150 truck-based version. The Explorer concept shown above debuted at this year’s Detroit auto show, and we’d guess the look of the production model will remain faithful to the well-received concept. While this is certainly the right way to build a large SUV in today’s market, we wonder if it will end up competing with the Flex to attract family buyers. We’d also guess Ford will still sell the current Expedition to satisfy buyers who need the capability of a truck-based SUV for towing.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David