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: Ford Moves Upscale with the Flex (www.autosavant.net)


igor
02-26-2008, 11:35 AM
Ford Moves Upscale with the Flex
By Igor Holas
02.26.2008

http://bp3.blogger.com/__FoOrnc0QD8/R8QznbwAjmI/AAAAAAAAC6Y/MefHsAdzsW8/s400/Upscale+IMAGE+1%5B1%5D.JPG

For the past several decades, Fordís method of selling cars has been the premise of offering the same features as their competition for a cheaper price. This worked fine, but it left Ford vulnerable to rapid segment shifts. With releasing models that were just good enough (albeit better values), Ford had no breathing room should the competition move the game on. A clear example of this pitfall can be seen with the Fusion. When released in 2005, the sedan was right near the top of its segment in power, economy, refinement, and any other relevant measure. However, in quick succession, the new Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Saturn Aura, Honda Accord, and Chevrolet Malibu moved the game way past Fusionís capability. Only three years after introduction, Ford will have to perform almost a complete overhaul on the car to keep it competitive.

Recently, GM broke off from the same flawed marketing strategy, and with its excellent new full-size crossovers and mid-size sedans proved to the world that there is talent left in Detroit. These new models were priced much higher than earlier models, right on par with their Japanese competitors, but often offered a level of execution and features a notch above that same competition.

The first indication of Ford moving in the same direction was the Edge. The mid-sized crossover debuted with features clearly above its main rival, the Nissan Murano. Now, despite the Muranoís redesign, the Edge is still very much competitive, and will need only a standard mid-cycle refresh to once again achieve the edge over Murano.

However, the true and final shift in Fordís value paradigm will arrive with the new Ford Flex. With the Flex, Ford is moving significantly upscale, from the automotive basement to the level of the aforementioned Japanese competition, and maybe even a notch above. Ford will no longer be the cheap alternative to Toyota and Honda, barely matching their features. With the Flex, Ford will position itself as the automaker that will offer more features for the same money as the competition.

MORE AT LINK: http://www.autosavant.net/2008/02/ford-mov...-with-flex.html (http://www.autosavant.net/2008/02/ford-moves-upscale-with-flex.html)

wingsnut
02-26-2008, 12:03 PM
Igor,
the Fusion is not in need of a "complete overhaul" just to sell against the Camry and Malibu. What it needs it is getting, and that is a freshening, powertrain upgrades and a gorgeous interior.

igor
02-26-2008, 12:12 PM
Igor,
the Fusion is not in need of a "complete overhaul" just to sell against the Camry and Malibu. What it needs it is getting, and that is a freshening, powertrain upgrades and a gorgeous interior.but that is more than a 3 year old car should need. Ford will be in good shape when all their cars will need after 3 years is tweaks inside, out, and under the hood. Look at the MCE the Accord received in 2005 (?) - that is where Ford needs to get.

I have no doubt Ford will deliver with the 2010 Fusion - no doubt at all, but the car should have been better in 2005, and needed less attention for 2008.

Igor

escapen
02-27-2008, 12:16 AM
Any word on the debut of the 2010 Fusion? What show? ill go back to the Flex now, im so excited for this, but its looks are very 'neiche" (sp) and it will certianly stand out in its class, in a good way though?

Its a very American design, not the curvy blobs from japan, but Americans have been bland import happy as of late, will the Flex work, its got the goods to compete but it still leaves uncertainty. I hope this achieves the same great sucsess the Edge has

wingsnut
02-27-2008, 06:15 AM
but that is more than a 3 year old car should need. Ford will be in good shape when all their cars will need after 3 years is tweaks inside, out, and under the hood. Look at the MCE the Accord received in 2005 (?) - that is where Ford needs to get.

I have no doubt Ford will deliver with the 2010 Fusion - no doubt at all, but the car should have been better in 2005, and needed less attention for 2008.

Igor

HUH? The Accord got new tailights over a 7 year span. How is that a benchmark?

The 2006 Fusion came out in late 2005. A year later it recieved AWD. A year later it added sync and other features. In less than a year it will get a heavy freshening, including powertrain, all new interior and some yet-to-be-revealed killer features. You make it sound like it was rotting on a vine.

I don't understand you sometimes.

wingsnut
02-27-2008, 06:17 AM
but that is more than a 3 year old car should need. Ford will be in good shape when all their cars will need after 3 years is tweaks inside, out, and under the hood. Look at the MCE the Accord received in 2005 (?) - that is where Ford needs to get.

I have no doubt Ford will deliver with the 2010 Fusion - no doubt at all, but the car should have been better in 2005, and needed less attention for 2008.

Igor

HUH? The Accord got new tailights over a 7 year span. How is that a benchmark?

The 2006 Fusion cam out in late 2005. A year later it recieved AWD. A year later it added sync and other features. In less than a year it will get a heavy freshening, including powertrain, all new interior and some yet-to-be-revealed killer features. All this in a 3 year time frame. You make it sound like it was rotting on a vine.

I don't understand you sometimes.

igor
02-27-2008, 08:56 AM
HUH? The Accord got new tailights over a 7 year span. How is that a benchmark?

The 2006 Fusion cam out in late 2005. A year later it recieved AWD. A year later it added sync and other features. In less than a year it will get a heavy freshening, including powertrain, all new interior and some yet-to-be-revealed killer features. All this in a 3 year time frame. You make it sound like it was rotting on a vine.

I don't understand you sometimes.What I am saying is that 3 years after introduction, all the Accord needed were new tail lights, and it kept selling - that is WAY cheaper than Ford going back to the car every year, and still having to do major redesigns in year 3. IT helped Fusion A LOT - but the big MCE shows how much help the Fusion needs after only three years. If Ford learns how o release new models that make the competition cringe, they will be able to save money because those cars will need much less attention though their life cycle - that is my point.

Had the Fusion debuted with features well ahead for its class, they would not need the big MCE - and they would have saved money.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but The Fusion was aiming too low (honestly, just like the Aura and Malibu are, btw), and now it shows.

Igor

wingsnut
02-27-2008, 11:47 AM
Sure, hindsight is 20/20, and in a perfect world the first version of the Fusion would have come out easily beating the excellent 6th generation of the Accord in every single category instead of just some. It would have had it's new powertrains in place as well along with AWD in place and sync would have available too. Oh yes, and all this for less than the Accord, which is slightly more upscale in price. Yes, it would have been nice.

Or do you think that Ford should have waited until everything was in place, missing so many sales?

2b2
02-27-2008, 10:22 PM
in addition to Wings' comments,

if Ford had built a "Phaeton-Fusion"...
(do I need to explain ^that^?)
&
I believe for where Fomoco has come from, their current progress is 'very good',
and future progress will write a whole new story
&
consider the Camry Outclassed By Fusion, Malibu - Autoweek (http://www.fomoconews.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11577#post11577) thread

edit/OTOH (cuz ^that^ might have sounded a bit harsh)
imho, we FML-fans do need to keep 'pushing'!
just wanted to try to present-all-sides
&
IF Fomoco tries to ________ (WILL NOT even type That) Mercury;
everyone will see fury from me like never before
( sharpening tongue, gifs, weapons ... )

igor
02-28-2008, 09:21 AM
Sure, hindsight is 20/20, and in a perfect world the first version of the Fusion would have come out easily beating the excellent 6th generation of the Accord in every single category instead of just some. It would have had it's new powertrains in place as well along with AWD in place and sync would have available too. Oh yes, and all this for less than the Accord, which is slightly more upscale in price. Yes, it would have been nice.

Or do you think that Ford should have waited until everything was in place, missing so many sales?I know the engine was not ready .. but maybe the interior shoud have been out of this world, or the headlamps ahve projectors and tail lamps reflectors, or there should ave been ESP/RSC available ... or it should have been IIHS Top Pick .. or something ...

I know where FOrd is coming from, and it is amazing they were able to launch vehicles like the D3's and Cd3's in 2004 and 2005 - it still amazes me that they pulled it off ... but the model they used to determine the price point for the designs of those cars was too low - and it showed. Had they set the price point for each about $1k or $2k higher, and added all the features I mentioned above, they could have been in a different position - IMHO.

We might just need to agree to disagree on this one, but I do believe the Fusion is a good example of how Ford was affraid to compete head-to-head with the Japanese so they always chose to go cheaper - and simply match the Japanese on features, rather than match them on price, and beat them on features.

I am not syaing the Fusion is a failure, but I am saying it could have been better.

Igor

falcon lover
04-08-2008, 04:55 PM
I know the engine was not ready .. but maybe the interior shoud have been out of this world, or the headlamps ahve projectors and tail lamps reflectors, or there should ave been ESP/RSC available ... or it should have been IIHS Top Pick .. or something ...

I know where FOrd is coming from, and it is amazing they were able to launch vehicles like the D3's and Cd3's in 2004 and 2005 - it still amazes me that they pulled it off ... but the model they used to determine the price point for the designs of those cars was too low - and it showed. Had they set the price point for each about $1k or $2k higher, and added all the features I mentioned above, they could have been in a different position - IMHO.

We might just need to agree to disagree on this one, but I do believe the Fusion is a good example of how Ford was affraid to compete head-to-head with the Japanese so they always chose to go cheaper - and simply match the Japanese on features, rather than match them on price, and beat them on features.

I am not syaing the Fusion is a failure, but I am saying it could have been better.
Igor


Fusion is not a failure?? think of this:

1st generation Taurus : 400000 units sold in a year
1st generation Fusion: 150000 units sold in a year

Is not a faiure? I think yes.... Accord 400000 units sold last year, Camry 400000 units sold last year.......

Ford need to produce another winner in the midsize class car..... rigth now!

Z0mg Seth
05-28-2008, 06:20 PM
Is the Flex on CD3 or D3? I was under the impression it's on D3.

2b2
05-28-2008, 06:44 PM
^^ FalconLover,
(sorry for late reply - might have missed your post)
to the best of my knowledge the Fusion's Hermosillo plant cannot produce 400,000 even with 3 shifts
tho
as some consider the Edge&MKX to be wagon versions
we could say there are 2 factories
but then we get into combining numbers
and in fairness would have to do that for other mfg's
(thinking Cobalt & HHR)

we don't know for sure if massive factory re-alignments may happen
(don't know where the Fiesta will be built yet)...
+ the market here in the US is very different now...

short version:
I cannot consider the Fusion a failure either

Is the Flex on CD3 or D3? I was under the impression it's on D3.

the Flex is D3 - actually 'D4' (per its code number -D471- may not mean much)
I Don't know if it uses any of the MKS's D3ver2 upgrades

MKII
05-29-2008, 06:44 AM
I know the engine was not ready .. but maybe the interior shoud have been out of this world, or the headlamps ahve projectors and tail lamps reflectors, or there should ave been ESP/RSC available ... or it should have been IIHS Top Pick .. or something ...

I know where FOrd is coming from, and it is amazing they were able to launch vehicles like the D3's and Cd3's in 2004 and 2005 - it still amazes me that they pulled it off ... but the model they used to determine the price point for the designs of those cars was too low - and it showed. Had they set the price point for each about $1k or $2k higher, and added all the features I mentioned above, they could have been in a different position - IMHO.

We might just need to agree to disagree on this one, but I do believe the Fusion is a good example of how Ford was affraid to compete head-to-head with the Japanese so they always chose to go cheaper - and simply match the Japanese on features, rather than match them on price, and beat them on features.

I am not syaing the Fusion is a failure, but I am saying it could have been better.

Igor

Your comments Igor make sense to me now that Ford should have brought the C1 Focus to N.A. for MY2005. Because this would have forced the Fusion price point up to were you said $1-2K.
But Ford N.A. as I suspected worried that the C1 Focus would take sales away from the (could have been better) Fusion.
Ford choose to stay with the lower priced C170 Focus and as you stated were able to bring the Fusion in at a lower price point, again marketing on price instead of going head to head. At the time it gave me the perception that Ford N.A. lacked the confidence in the Fusions ability to be better then the competition or at least priced at the same price points.

I am not saying the Fusion is not a good car, but agree that it could have/should have been better.

gt50054l500hp
05-29-2008, 08:37 PM
Of course the fusion could have been better. it could have had an svt variant. it could have had a plug in hybrid model (ford coulda done it if they wanted to..it would have been expensive but they could have done it). they could do anything to make the fusion a better car. same goes for every car out there. sorry but no car is perfect. every car could have something that it doesn't. seems like ford is gonna start putting more options into there vehicles and really compete now. that's all i can ask ford to do. just compete. fords gonna be fine. oh n the 2010 fusion will be a big hit mark my words.

2b2
06-03-2008, 09:08 PM
meanwhile back in Oakville...
thanks to Swizco @ BON (http://www.blueovalforums.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=24582)
'Evening All,

OAP was swarmed with suits today. After a lengthy review, we received Ok-to-Buy on the Flex, meaning they'll leave for dealerships and start selling.

Swizco