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Discussion Starter #1
Well...columnist Daniel Howes of the Detroit News seems to have an opinion on Ford's naming strategy in regards to keeping the name Fiesta instead of using the concept name Verve. He seems to feel that this "dogged" fixation with the letter "F" has soured its future...read the article and tell us what you think...will the name Fiesta hurt the cars sales here in the US or will the styling and build quality set it apart as the class leader?


Monday, February 18, 2008
Daniel Howes

Ford's 'F' fixation fouls its future

Ford Motor Co. evidently hasn't rid itself of its effing problem.

By that I mean the ingrained reflex to bestow new models with names beginning with the letter "F" -- Fusion, Flex and now Fiesta, the global subcompact that would have been just fine, thank you, beginning life as Verve and signaling to the world that the One Ford of CEO Alan Mulally is becoming a new Ford.

But, no. It's back to the future -- again -- with a name that has three decades of brand recognition in Europe but hasn't been seen in the U.S. market since the early days of the first Reagan administration, roughly the last time subcompacts had much market cred.

This surprises me. Not because Ford's verbal tic lies somewhere between marketing dogma and corporate sycophancy, but because the plain-spoken Mulally has made no secret of his derision for Ford's alphabetic obsessions. There are the Escape, Explorer, Expedition and Excursion SUVs, alongside the Focus, Freestyle, F-Series and the defunct Freestar minivan.

What did Ford do every time it needed to name a new vehicle, Mulally frequently asks rhetorically. Turn to the E's or F's in the dictionary and point? Well, yes. That, or dig deeply into the company's nearly 105-year history and resurrect model names that resonate with few real people under the age of 60.
Yes, it really will be 'Flex'

Ford's new multipurpose vehicle due later this year debuted as a concept car dubbed Fairlane, a tribute to Henry Ford's Fair Lane mansion in Dearborn, or the '60s-era models of the same name, or both.

But Ford's marketers -- who cherish brand equity until they don't, who kill the automaker's third-most recognizable model name, Taurus, and replace it with Five Hundred -- insisted on naming the production version "Flex." This prompted Ford's new chief marketing guru, Jim Farley, to ask upon his arrival from Toyota:

Are they really gonna call it the Flex, a person familiar with the situation tells me the new guy asked. Yes, Chairman Bill Ford replied, echoing Farley's skepticism. Then the über-boss added that Mulally wasn't too keen on the name, either.

Which ought to tell you something, and it's this: 17 months of the Mulally era -- a $23 billion recap plan, a landmark contract with the United Auto Workers, a global effort to coalesce Ford's fiefdoms into a single unit -- have failed to relegate the past to the past and instead focus intensely on the future.
A fiesta is just a party

Let it go, people. The Californians and New Yorkers and Virginians who don't harbor the Blue Oval in their automotive consciousness will take well-executed, fuel-efficient cars and crossovers over sentimental trips down memory lane. The retirees in my Dearborn neighborhood may warm to a "Fairlane" logo, but they're a poor long-term marketing play.

And, yet: The Taurus and Sable are back. Fiesta is returning, powered by an alleged brand equity that Ford and Farley believe won't be associated with the econo-boxes of a generation ago. Mulally mused about resurrecting the tagline "Have you driven a Ford lately?" but wisely decided otherwise. The UAW, if it had its way, would recall "Quality is Job One."

Question: Shouldn't a new Ford, the "One Ford" Mulally envisions, show less parochial nostalgia and more future? It's in the kinetic lines of the Verve-cum-Fiesta, the Sync system pioneered with Microsoft, the EcoBoost engines that deliver V-8 power and V-6 fuel economy -- not the dustbin of discarded model names that evoke a time when Ford almost ceased to exist.

Daniel Howes' column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can reach him at (313) 222-2106, [email protected] or detnews.com/howes.
As Always...Stay Fabulous!
RG59061
 

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The name of a car may be really irrerevant, if the product speaks for its self. Take the CTS or the Edge. Unless you call a car something really stupid, it really does not matter.
 

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What a waste of time to read this article. The name Verve is terrible next to Fiesta. Pretty much everybody knows what a Fiesta is and who makes it. Naming it Verve would be like starting all over again, and I am very very pleased that Ford decided to keep the Fiesta name. And just like he said in the article, why would you want to change a name that everybody recognizes? All his main points in the article are Ford is dead if they do this and Ford is dead when they do that... I really really don't think he knows what he's talking about or can't make up his mind whether he would prefer new or old car names.
 

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Fiesta is a good name because Fiesta is a good european car, and now, Fiesta will be a very good global car. Fiesta in Europe is "Ford small car". Not only in Europe, Fiesta is recognizable name in South America and Mexico, in South Africa and Asia. Why change that name with that background??

And the name is not important, the product is. And the car is awesome!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is just one more example of a Column Writer / Opinion Writer just saying what they want to for the benefit of shock value or just to say something. He has little basis for this argument and is simply saying that Ford is damned no matter what they do.

Besides...didn't he research this "F" Fixation...what about the Ford Taurus or the Ford Mustang? They sure don't use F's in their names.

Oh well...guess it wasn't important enough to mention.

Stay Fabulous!
RG59061
 

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Yeah, it sounds like he doesn't keep up with European cars. It's gonna be called Fiesta because Ford's little car has always been called that.
 

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Excuse me while I drop the "f-bomb"

"Let it go, people. The Californians and New Yorkers and Virginians who don't harbor the Blue Oval in their automotive consciousness will take well-executed, fuel-efficient cars and crossovers over sentimental trips down memory lane."

Virginians? Maybe in northern Virginia, but not here. You can't swing a dead cat (Cougar?) around here without hitting a Ford, usually a truck. They could have brought back Fairlane with a straight face, but here's a few names that just might not work for a trip back down memory lane: Granada, Pinto, Maverick. Some of you undoubtedly have fond memories of such cars, even though, as a whole, some of them were ultimately considered textbook examples of what was wrong with the car industry in the '70s. Similarly, one has to wonder how Chrysler thought that bringing back the Aspen name was going to work. Some GM names not to bring back would have included Monza, Vega, Skyhawk and Firenza. Bringing those back will bring back unpleasant memories to the national subconscious. I'd have liked the Flex better, if only just a bit, as a Fairlane. However, there would be no Ford Flex Funkmaster Flex edition...
 
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