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Ford Mulling European Exports to US

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Ford Mulling European Exports to U.S.

By Ward's Staff

WardsAuto.com, Dec 5, 2006 11:40 AM

The German weekly newspaper Wirtschaftswoche reports Ford Motor Co. is examining possible options for exporting cars from Europe to the U.S.

Quoting Ford Werke unit sales executive Juergen Stackmann, the report says some Ford U.S. executives are interested in importing the new Ford Mondeo, which could be sold in the U.S. under the Mercury brand.

The new Focus, S-Max and Galaxy also are possible candidates for export to the U.S., the report says.

http://wardsauto.com/home/ford_european_exports/

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This doesn't sound like a bad idea (the Mondeo and SMax are fantastic cars), but will they actually make any money? Ford will get slammed on the Euro-Dollar exchange rate, not to mention the fact that these cars are much more expensive compared to their American counterparts to begin with.

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I knew it! It was such an obvious direction to go with the Mercury brand. Seems as though Ford thinks the Saturn/Opel/Vauxhall merger is working out and they can keep the cars as is since the Mercury brand is more expensive then Ford is here anyway.

Too bad they're just starting to think about it now.

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Problem is product overlap.

Mondeo=Milan in Merc showrooms

Smax, Galaxy are 6/7 passenger crossover/space vehicles exactly where Ford has launched the Edge, Freestyle and plans to create the Fairlane concept in the near term

It seems the smaller vehicles would be more sensible, as it would fix the Focus and bring Ford into the B segment with the Fiesta or Ka. Problem is how to make money on those vehicles....

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The Milan can coexist with the new Mondeo. My God, at some point this becomes brain damage for so many people. If the car is good it will sell. The milan bridges the gap to the Mondeo and they can coexist for 2 years or so if need be, then Merc can decide if the Milan is relevant anymore. to me actually, I wonder if the Montego is relevant then. Most likely not. Ford would be better off making the 500 a ford exclusive and following through on really making the car good.

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Well, obviously they'll phase out the current milan and use the new Mondeo as it's successor. The Galaxy is a different kind of vehicle altogher then the Edge, Freestyle, and Fairlane. It's an MPV-ish vehicle that appeals to european tastes (import lovers in the US).

This kind of product shift won't happen overnight. Just like with GM and the Saturn brand, Ford will have to start making its factories compatible globally so it can build the euro-models here and will have to modify it's current lineup to meet any US safety standards.

The problem is that they haven't started yet and that money will be an issue due to Ford's recent financial problems.

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They are quite different to the US Ford vehicles, which is the whole point. Like Saturn, Mercury will get a full range of vehicles, with completely different styling to the US Ford models, for a very small incremental investment in US homologation. The S-Max and Galaxy are no bigger than the old swb Venture or the Mazda MPV. The Fairlane is probably closer to being a full size minivan, very much wider and longer; The Edge is a 5-seat crossover SUV, not an MPV like the S-Max and Galaxy, and the Freestyle is not only an SUV, but is very much bigger than the European MPVs. The Fiesta if ever sold in the US would come from Mexico. The C-Max would rival the Scion xD. As for exchange rates and expense—Mercury is supposed to be more expensive. There's no reason they can't be competitive with the Passat, which despite the higher price easily outsells the Milan. For a lot of the year the MKZ outsells the Milan, and up till now it hasn't had much to justify the price other than the Lincoln badge. The Mondeo could only be an improvement and tne UAW isn't going to begrudge losing 30K annual sales.

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They are quite different to the US Ford vehicles, which is the whole point. Like Saturn, Mercury will get a full range of vehicles, with completely different styling to the US Ford models, for a very small incremental investment in US homologation. The S-Max and Galaxy are no bigger than the old swb Venture or the Mazda MPV. The Fairlane is probably closer to being a full size minivan, very much wider and longer; The Edge is a 5-seat crossover SUV, not an MPV like the S-Max and Galaxy, and the Freestyle is not only an SUV, but is very much bigger than the European MPVs. The Fiesta if ever sold in the US would come from Mexico. The C-Max would rival the Scion xD. As for exchange rates and expense—Mercury is supposed to be more expensive. There's no reason they can't be competitive with the Passat, which despite the higher price easily outsells the Milan. For a lot of the year the MKZ outsells the Milan, and up till now it hasn't had much to justify the price other than the Lincoln badge. The Mondeo could only be an improvement and tne UAW isn't going to begrudge losing 30K annual sales.

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No dispute that the vehicles are vastly different....th problem is that in function and purpose, they are close enough that significant investment in production and federalization may become an issue with a cash strapped company.

I was thinking that autos that have no competitors in the same showroom may make more sense...IF Ford Europe had a new euro Capri or a Miata competitor or a RWD sport sedan I would think that the justification would be alot easier.

Perhaps the C1 platform will make it to US production soon, enabling Ford to produce Volvos (30 thru 80 use this platform), the LR2 and some of the Euro Fords in one plant....I would think that would make the most sense, as it would be easier to solve currency issues with higher dollar products and they'd be balancing out costs for less expensive Ford/Merc products.

Edited by enzl

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I fully encourage this-especially for the Mondeo and S-MAX! the C-MAX is welcome too, but I was thiunking both Ford and Mercury versions (the latter called Villager). They could call the Mercury "Mondeo' either Milan or bring back Mystique-doesn't matter, this is the only way Mercury should survive-only if it got Ford of Europe exports/beginnings, a la Saturn and Opel/Vauxhall. Send the Fiesta here too, but as a Ford, not a Mercury.

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Hey I'm all for it. Mercury needs the differentiation. Also, Ford will be able to share costs between N.A. and Europe far more easily now.

Also, if GM can make it work economically with Saturn and Opel, I don't see why Ford cannot me-too it.

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Hey I'm all for it.  Mercury needs the differentiation.  Also, Ford will be able to share costs between N.A. and Europe far more easily now.

Also, if GM can make it work economically with Saturn and Opel, I don't see why Ford cannot me-too it.

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Saturns are made here, can Ford do the same? I doubt it.

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I heard Ford is in the process of getting the EU Focus here via a Mexican factory. They just need one factory for the EU C platform. As far as the Mondeo goes, they brought it here once, they can bring it here again.

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It took Ford this long to think this up why? Congrats Ford for finally realizing what practically everyone else has known for years. :banghead:

Bringing Ford's Euro products here under the Mercury name is a fantastic idea. They can charge the premium for the products needed to make a profit, without alienating Ford buyers, and at the same time finally giving Mercury something unique! :thumbsup:

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This could solve Mercury's identity issue.

224608[/snapback]

another merkur?

counteracting saturns use of vehicles from adam opel ag?

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another merkur?

counteracting saturns use of vehicles from adam opel ag?

225111[/snapback]

Yes, but giving Mercury a clear identity (meaningful differentiation over Ford) would be the biggest gain in the long term.

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It's about F**KING time!  (I wonder how the CAW/UAW is going to handle this)  :glare:

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There'll be only half the number of them working at Ford this time next year as there are now (remember.... 50% of them took Ford's buyout offer?).

Being that anyone Ford needs to replace union workers will be non-union temps (as per union agreement of all things!), I would think the UAW/CAW is a non issue in all of this. :)

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Enthusiasts are excited about European Fords being sold here as Mercurys because the cars are clearly superior and more interesting than the current North American Fords. However, would the general public care? And wouldn't a Mercury "Mondeo," with the exchange rates, need a selling price close to that of the MKZ to be profitable? I would prefer just to see the next generation Focus and Fusion be substantially the same car as the next generation European Focus and Mondeo, just as the 2000 Focus and 1995 Contour/Mondeo were substantially the same as their European counterpars.

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Also to keep in mind is that we did have an old Mondeo here in the U.S. as the Contour/Mystique.

From what I gather, Chrysler's JA Cloud Cars did better with a smaller budget used to engineer them (allpar.com) than the Mondeo-based cars did.

At that time, these Fords were cramped on the interior. I do know that, as the rear of my friend's Contour was a horrid place to sit for a while. Especially now that I can compare it with my Breeze. And Grand Ams/Aleros were better than the Contour/Mystique too, I'm sure. For me, I'd choose a Stratus ES (circa 1997) with leather and the stick shift/2.0L four combo first, and a late model Alero either loaded with leather and auto, or a stick with the ECOTEC 4 second. Contour or Mystique? It'd be traded in same day. Thanks, but no thanks.

And then we got another version of the previous Mondeo as the Jaguar X-Type. Takes Jag from prestigious to "firesale" with one model. The X-Type seems to fair poorly in comparison tests, and just doesn't seem like a Jag.

However, for Mercury, unique badge-engineering jobs are better than the same-old-we've-seen-it-as-a-Ford badge-jobs.

While I'm sure Ford's new Euro products are great, will they sell well in the U.S.? The Merkur cars failed. So did the Contour/Mystique.

Mondeo to Mercury PhotoChop at AutoBlog

It does look good, but is it Mercury-enough? And just what should that mean in this day and age of ever increasing competition and eroding market share?

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Also to keep in mind is that we did have an old Mondeo here in the U.S. as the Contour/Mystique.

From what I gather, Chrysler's JA Cloud Cars did better with a smaller budget used to engineer them (allpar.com) than the Mondeo-based cars did.

At that time, these Fords were cramped on the interior. I do know that, as the rear of my friend's Contour was a horrid place to sit for a while. Especially now that I can compare it with my Breeze. And Grand Ams/Aleros were better than the Contour/Mystique too, I'm sure. For me, I'd choose a Stratus ES (circa 1997) with leather and the stick shift/2.0L four combo first, and a late model Alero either loaded with leather and auto, or a stick with the ECOTEC 4 second. Contour or Mystique? It'd be traded in same day. Thanks, but no thanks.

And then we got another version of the previous Mondeo as the Jaguar X-Type. Takes Jag from prestigious to "firesale" with one model. The X-Type seems to fair poorly in comparison tests, and just doesn't seem like a Jag.

However, for Mercury, unique badge-engineering jobs are better than the same-old-we've-seen-it-as-a-Ford badge-jobs.

While I'm sure Ford's new Euro products are great, will they sell well in the U.S.? The Merkur cars failed. So did the Contour/Mystique.

Mondeo to Mercury PhotoChop at AutoBlog

It does look good, but is it Mercury-enough? And just what should that mean in this day and age of ever increasing competition and eroding market share?

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Oo, me likey. That chop looks great. See the thing about Mercury is it doesn't have much of a "style" apart from the grill. And IMO Ford's Euro products fit better with the headlight front end styles of the Millan/Mountainer/Mariner than they do with Ford's new front ends. That chop is hotness...the car looks damn sexy.

The Contour/Mystique were ugly cars I think, and I've never heard much in the way of good reviews about them. Still, the cars of today in Europe are far better than they used to be, and in ways better than what we have stateside. Ford certainly can't make Mercury any worse than it is, so I say go for it.

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It does look good, but is it Mercury-enough? And just what should that mean in this day and age of ever increasing competition and eroding market share?

225861[/snapback]

What exactly is a Mercury these days? To me they all look like Fords rebadges sold at a higher price.

A rebadged Mondeo would be a very different car when compared to the Fusion. Differentiation is the way to go in an tough competitive environment: you need to make your product stand out.

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