Kompresshun wrote: ↑
Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:04 am
If I were in the market for another sedan, I would definitely not be stopping at a Ford or GM dealership to even glance at what they have. Mazda and Toyota make excellent alternatives to the Fusion and the Taurus is pretty much useless these days.
Aside from the Toyota bit, I think this is exactly it. Toyota hasn't made an excellent alternative to anything other than being stabbed in the eye for a solid 20 years, and even then I'd have to think twice about it.
But really, I think what we're looking at here is the beginning of a cleanup effort. Bill Ford and Jim Hackett are cleaning up Alan Mullaly and Mark Fields' mess.
I don't think many would argue that Ford has a long, long history of over-extending the life of their models, especially for the US market (see: Ranger, Focus). But Mullaly and later Fields led the company through an era of spectacular stagnation--and worse--with some of the company's products actually getting markedly WORSE with successive generations under his guidance.
Look at the Fusion: Once Mazda-derived with a genuinely class-leading chassis and nice-but-inoffensive styling (especially the later facelifted models), it was redesigned on a platform built to save money by being cheap in as many places as possible, but with styling designed to sell via sex appeal. And, sure, the styling was very well received the first couple of years. But once people realized how mediocre the Fusion was at everything, the "Aston-inspired" styling lost its mystique.
Meanwhile, the MKZ, a pathetic badge-engineering attempt to keep Lincoln playing in the entry market (instead of playing with a real model like they once had in the LS), also traded in what few desirable traits it had for sex appeal. But that one failed, hard. The result was clearly SUPPOSED to be sleek and sultry, but really just looked like a blob with a moustache. But, once again, the styling would have been overshadowed by the car's (and powertrains') mediocrity no matter how good it was.
With no more V6 options and the transition from double-wishbones (which offer both better handling dynamics AND better ride quality) to struts, Ford basically neutered the Fusion. Then, years later, they introduced the Edge Sport's 2.7 liter in the Fusion Sport to cater to all the buyers they had already alienated.
What's hilarious to me is that Ford has the lack of vision to ruin their volume model in every way conceivable, then observe that sales are dropping. Yes, that's what happens when you make bad design decisions because you're awful at your one job: building cars. People stop buying your cars. Because they're bad.
Then look at the Focus:
The previous generation focus zombied on from 1998 until 2011, when it was way, way, way past its prime. They faked a "2nd generation" by swapping the interesting (but awful) original bodywork for what was basically the 1st gen Tempo styling rehashed for the 2000s. It was a thoroughly mediocre car.
So when the third gen came around, people were pretty excited, especially in the US where we missed out on the REAL second-gen, while hearing how great it was from the european car magazines.
And as with the new Fusion, the new Focus was well-received at first. It was sporty-looking, had a neat dual-clutch automated manual, a sporty chassis, and some hot models were likely in the pipeline (even for the US!).
Then people got over the newness of the Focus and started realizing that the interior was spectacularly awful, the ergonomics were abysmal (especially if you're more than 5 feet tall), the dual-clutch transmission was about as pleasant as a bat to the face, and those sporty dynamics, in typical Ford style, came at the expense of anything resembling decent ride quality.
I remember the first time I rented a Focus after reading all the positive early reviews. I was blown away at how not-remotely-great it was. Figured it had to be a weird crappy rental model I got or something. But no, it was just that "all-new-model after far too long of the old never-very-good model" placebo effect that everyone else was riding high on.
Meanwhile, the Taurus hasn't changed meaningfully since before the name was moronically resurrected in attempt to boost FiveHundred sales.
"Why doesn't this car sell?" asked Ford executives?
"Could it be that it has no interior space?"
"Could it be that it is severely overweight for its size?"
"Could it be that it is hideously ugly?"
"Could it be that the powertrain options are antique and not remotely competitive?"
"Could it be that everyone else, even GM with their aging W-body Impala, makes a vastly superior car for this segment?"
"No. Of course not. It's the name. We should bring back a name that has positive history with buyers. HOW ABOUT TAURUS?!"
"AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT, SABLE. THAT IS A GOOD IDEA. WE SHOULD DO THAT. I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC BECAUSE I AM THE HEAD OF MERCURY AND I WANT TO KEEP MY JOB AS HEAD OF A REDUNTANT AND IRRELEVANT BRAND THAT THINKS IT CAN SURVIVE SOLELY OFF ADDING CHROME AND MAKING ADS TARGETED AT MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN AS THOUGH THEY'RE A SEPARATE DEMOGRAPHIC FROM NORMAL PEOPLE."
So they did that. Those things.
And then they added turbos to their engines, and AWD.
And then they slapped that extra crap on the Taurus, along with an even higher beltline and a bunch of factory body damage and that "Aston-inspired grille" and brought back the SHO name because NASCAR fans and bud light and somehow everyone managed to overlook the fact that selling a 4 door sedan with 350hp that lacks legroom for adults in the back but still weighs 4300lb despite being built on a FWD platform is not exactly a recipe for success.
So yeah...I can see why Ford is ceasing sales of all their sedans.
They're all s***, and have been for several years.
But what Ford's either wrong about or trying to hide behind marketing speak is: People aren't skipping Ford sedans in favor of Ford crossovers because that's where the market is going.
People are skipping Ford sedans in favor of Ford crossovers because Ford crossovers are less shitty.