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Flybrian

The Town Car's dead

31 posts in this topic

Stopped by the local Linc-Merc dealer today to pick up some Milan and MKZ brochures to brief myself on the '08s (convinced a friend that she should get a Milan over a Civic or Mazda3) and I realized there were no '08 Town Cars, nor any '08 Town Car brochures, nor any mention of the '08 Town Car on any other Lincoln brochure. Conclusion - no 2008 Town Car. This was confirmed by a salesman who told me to "come back in April" and they might be able to order one from fleet.

So, geriatrics, mafia capos, and limo drivers, get 'em while you can.

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RIP Town Car, 1971-2007

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Uh, well, I thought I heard something about production being moved, with '08 models becoming available April, '08. I'll ask our sales manager tomorrow if I remember.
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Uh, well, I thought I heard something about production being moved, with '08 models becoming available April, '08.

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That is one Ford I have always liked. It didn't matter the year, they just seemed like "fun" cars.

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That is one Ford I have always liked. It didn't matter the year, they just seemed like "fun" cars.

I like Town Cars quite a bit...TCs and Grand Marquis have been my favorite rentals when I travel for the last couple of years..I enjoy driving them on interstates (I-70 in Ohio, the 405 in LA) and on twisty back roads (eastern Ohio/western PA)..

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Sadly, I don’t think it is dead yet. The sooner this old tired panther piece of crap is relegated to the junk yard, the better. I despise these cars as they represent everything that has been wrong with Detroit for the last 30 years. The Panther is a cheap and grossly outdated architecture that has been milked for cars that are emblematic of how out of touch Detroit became.

And before you jump down my throat, this isn’t an anti-body on frame argument. Ford could have done a ground up rearchitecting, but never did. They could have implemented new hard-points (that could have improved rear end crashworthiness), a new modern suspension architecture and vastly better space utilization while still using a full frame.

Yes, I just love getting one of these crapfest panthers as a rental and seeing that 70’s era cowl height and feeling the whole structure shudder and quake over broken pavement. They might run for ever with their horse and carriage technology, but that doesn’t change the fact that these are space inefficient, slow, plasticy, cheap feeling, inept handling rattle traps that should have been replaced two decades ago.

That these terrible cars have outlived the truly excellent DEW98 based Lincoln LS is a great example of why Ford is struggling to survive.

08 FE3 CTS on order

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When I was little, I aspired to own Cadillac Fleetwoods and Lincoln Town Cars. The market has changed, but I still think it would be cool to own one of those big old land yachts.

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Sadly, I don’t think it is dead yet. The sooner this old tired panther piece of crap is relegated to the junk yard, the better. I despise these cars as they represent everything that has been wrong with Detroit for the last 30 years. The Panther is a cheap and grossly outdated architecture that has been milked for cars that are emblematic of how out of touch Detroit became.

As was pointed out above, it's not dead but production is simply being moved from the closed Wixom plant to the underutilized St. Thomas plant.

And I don't see anything sad about these cars. They're aimed at the limousine market and older drivers. They are traditional American cars...body-on-frame, V8 power, soft ride, too much interior and trunk space. While it's architecture is old, it still sells. There's a market for these vehicles and their tooling is paid-for...they're free money for Ford. Out of touch would be replacing them with an all-new (and costly) product that would not sell in considerably more volume than they do today. These aren't Camry/Accord competitors that need to stay on top of the market trends...these are the last traditional American cars.

Edited by Hudson
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not dead yet - it was being moved from Wixom to St. Thomas - Production is slowly ramping up as we speak. The TC will remain in production until the replacement arrives in 2010 or so (I know quite far off). There might even be a facelift next year.

Igor

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As was pointed out above, it's not dead but production is simply being moved from the closed Wixom plant to the underutilized St. Thomas plant.

And I don't see anything sad about these cars. They're aimed at the limousine market and older drivers. They are traditional American cars...body-on-frame, V8 power, soft ride, too much interior and trunk space. While it's architecture is old, it still sells. There's a market for these vehicles and their tooling is paid-for...they're free money for Ford. Out of touch would be replacing them with an all-new (and costly) product that would not sell in considerably more volume than they do today. These aren't Camry/Accord competitors that need to stay on top of the market trends...these are the last traditional American cars.

First off, I am a big and tall type (6’6”, 275lbs) so interior packaging is always foremost on my mind. There is a lot more to getting comfortable than just sheer dimensions, it’s also about ergonomics, seat placement (height and pitch) and maneuverability.

When I get into a Town Car or Grand Marquis, the first problem is the oddly shaped footwell. In most modern cars it’s either flat or there is a dead-pedal, but in the panther cars it’s strangely shaped and is uncomfortable for my left foot. Second, the seats don’t offer enough thigh support and don’t actually slide back far enough, so it’s remarkably uncomfortable for such a large car. The Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne are considerably more comfortable with much better seats and better overall ergonomics (I try to get Avis to always give me a Lucerne or DTS over a panther car, but with GM’s cutbacks in fleet sales that has actually become more difficult as of late). Let me put it another way, it’s actually easier for me to get seated comfortably in a Mini Cooper (I own one) than in the driver’s seat of a Town Car (yes REALLY).

As for driving characteristics, the panther cars simply suck. Even with the upgraded frame, the chassis is still a wobbly, shuddery, gut-jiggly mess. It hop-skips on broken pavement, crashes and dives over potholes and manages to be wallowy without actually providing that much impact and road isolation. In comparison drive a DTS, which provides a remarkably smooth ride, rock solid and quake free structure. While certainly no performance car, the DTS offers some sense of control (e.g. the handling isn’t scary) and it does all this with a much more comfortable interior. Oh, and when it comes to drivetrains, there is no comparison.

The panthers even look like crap. Place them next to a Cadillac or Buick and compare interior layout, plastics and fit & finish. Look at the external panel gaps and alignments, the quality of the body panel stampings and listen to the sound the door makes when you open and close it.

Now, why does any of this matter if Ford is making money on them? Why is it bad when the tooling is long paid for and the production costs so low? The problem is the vehicle sends absolutely the wrong message about American cars. They are a throwback to the 70’s (not the 60’s) when cheap, under-engineered pseudo-bigness was the name of the game. The panther cars impart no sense of quality, engineering excellence or real luxury. They are just big, ungainly, poorly packaged and obsolete and the vast majority of the marketplace sees them as exactly that.

Here in NY metro, it is no coincidence that Cadillac (both in DTS and Escalade) has seen a major revival as a livery car: Cadillac’s actually look the part of a modern luxury car and limo. Here, in front of the Plaza or Waldorf, it is not uncommon to see Mercedes S-Class and even the occasional Maybach and Rolls as livery cars. In that crowd the DTS and (current) Escalade can actually hold their own. In contrast, the Town Car looks like a shoddily built anachronism (e.g. badly out of place). Yes, livery companies still like the Town Car (and other panthers) because it is easily serviceable, durable (though transmissions are always an issue) and parts are dirt cheap. But in the end, it’s only dwindling inertia that is keeping these cars in the marketplace and that, frankly, is emblematic of everything that is wrong with FoMoCo.

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First off, I am a big and tall type (6’6”, 275lbs) so interior packaging is always foremost on my mind. There is a lot more to getting comfortable than just sheer dimensions, it’s also about ergonomics, seat placement (height and pitch) and maneuverability.

When I get into a Town Car or Grand Marquis...

Your personal tastes aside, the market still has a place for these cars just as they are. The Town Car is an example of the few places where Ford is doing WELL. Ford understood that the livery market would be key to this car so they brought them in when the vehicle was being planned and designed the car around them. Sure, there are some DTSs out there in this market, but the Town Car is far better equipped to be stretched and pushed around in limo service than a DTS. Sure the Escalade is taking some of that market, but so is the Navigator for that matter.

I'm sorry that you don't find the Panther cars comfortable, but there's a marketplace for this car. Making changes to make it a better handling vehicle (or any of the other changes you would like to see) would not improve sales but would decrease profitability of the products.

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I for one like the Town Car. I was not a total fan of some of the years. It is one of the few products out there that is a direct replacement or competitor to my Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. I like the Lincoln and Mercury product. They have the features, the options and room. They do sell..

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I for one like the Town Car. I was not a total fan of some of the years. It is one of the few products out there that is a direct replacement or competitor to my Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. I like the Lincoln and Mercury product. They have the features, the options and room. They do sell..

I like them also..they fit me just fine (I'm 6'0"/220). They have a retro aspect I find appealing...like a modern '70s style car. People that are 6'6" would probably be happier in a full-size truck or SUV.

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My '76 Buick is more composed and doesn't float as bad as a modern Town Car. That says something.

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If Ford wants to keep them around for fleet sales, then I think they should do it. Why not make them for fleets if Ford can make money doing it. I don't see the current Town Car as a competitive offering for normal consumer sales; it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

I would love to see Lincoln get a new flagship sedan (sorry folks, but the upcoming MKS just doesn't cut it) with rear wheel drive and styling from the stunning MKR concept car. I also would love to see Lincoln drop the insane numeric "MK_" model designations (talk about making your lineup totally anonymous).

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If Ford wants to keep them around for fleet sales, then I think they should do it. Why not make them for fleets if Ford can make money doing it. I don't see the current Town Car as a competitive offering for normal consumer sales; it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

I would love to see Lincoln get a new flagship sedan (sorry folks, but the upcoming MKS just doesn't cut it) with rear wheel drive and styling from the stunning MKR concept car. I also would love to see Lincoln drop the insane numeric "MK_" model designations (talk about making your lineup totally anonymous).

I couldn't agree more on the second paragraph. And, aside from "it needs to be replaced as soon as possible," I agree with the first paragraph.

Ford makes money on this car. Why does it need to be replaced? If the market for this type of product doesn't need something more modern, why make it more modern? As long as volume stays above a certain level, I don't see the problem. It keeps people employed in St. Thomas and it's not really stealing sales from any other Ford product. What's the problem? I don't think the Jeep Cherokee should have been replaced and I think the Checker Marathon could still be in production today if the company hadn't decided to stop car production in 1981. There are just certain vehicles that fit their market very well and do not need to be replaced (upgraded, yes...replaced, not necessarily).

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That sux.

Talk about dying a slow death. The Town Car could have been such an awsome & relevant product, if it got

redesigned more than once every two decades. <_<

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Ford makes money on this car. Why does it need to be replaced? If the market for this type of product doesn't need something more modern, why make it more modern?

I think when most people say the Town Car, et al need to be replaced, they really mean "...in the retail arena with something more relevant and competitive." There is no doubt that the retail market for these cars is rather limited and their appeal waning. I blame design and lack of any real desireable features. What percieved advantage does the Town Car posses over, say, a DeVille? Its trunk is a bit larger but more awkward. Its rear-wheel drive, but so was the Hyundai Pony. The powertrain looks horrible on paper. The MSRP is a joke. Even better, compare the Crown Vic to the Taurus - its proof even Ford knows how to do retail fullsize better than itself.

Now, if Lincoln took even the current Panther chassis, wrapped it in a 2002 Continental concept body, gave it a great interior, included stability control for chris'sake, and used the 5.4l/6AT from the Navigator, it would have no problem keeping Wixom busy. You still sell the 'normal' Town Car, but gear it predominately to fleets and old-schoolers; this Continental would be for the hip.

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Now, if Lincoln took even the current Panther chassis, wrapped it in a 2002 Continental concept body, gave it a great interior, included stability control for chris'sake, and used the 5.4l/6AT from the Navigator, it would have no problem keeping Wixom busy. You still sell the 'normal' Town Car, but gear it predominately to fleets and old-schoolers; this Continental would be for the hip.

I, too, would like the car to be updated. But I don't really believe that there are tons of people waiting in the wings to buy a modernized Town Car. I can't imagine that the investment needed to upgrade the car would be offset by increased sales. So long as the car does not lose money, I think they should keep it in production with just modest upgrades. The Panther platform is basically the last commercial car in a market that is heavily truck dependent. Most limousines are now based on trucks, which is probably the better way to go. Taxis should probably head the same direction with minivans.

Save your "2002 Continental concept" and modern powertrain ideas for a market segment that could truly appreciate them.

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regardless how the TC would look, the Panther frame still makes it a boat that no one would want to drive -there is no point in investing into the product . the construction ios outdated many times over. The Panther Chassis is dead ... or as good as dead.

Igor

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"Ford makes money on this car. Why does it need to be replaced? If the market for this type of product doesn't need something more modern, why make it more modern? As long as volume stays above a certain level, I don't see the problem. It keeps people employed in St. Thomas and it's not really stealing sales from any other Ford product. What's the problem?" - Hudson

If Lincoln is supposed to be a luxury brand and the Town Car is supposed to be the brand's flagship sedan, then Lincoln looks totally outdated and irrelevant. If Ford wants to truly turn Lincoln around and make it a desirable, relevant, competitive luxury brand, then offering the Town Car as part of the Lincoln lineup to normal retail customers needs to stop. A large, modern, rear wheel drive flagship with styling based on the MKR would appeal to a new demographic as well as the Town Car's traditional demographic as well as elevate the brand's status in the marketplace. The practice of offering stale products on outdated mechanicals is the major reason Ford (and Lincoln) are in the trouble they are in. "Status Quo" doesn't cut it in a market where your major competitors have moved on long ago. :banghead:

I do believe Ford could keep producing the Panther based Town Car for fleet sales with minimal investment (I would only update it enough to keep up with safety and emission standards). I would call it the Lincoln Classic Sedan and sell it to companies and businesses only. The money made from the fleet sales of a platform that has surely paid for itself after almost thirty years in production could be used to fund the retail side of the business. Sale the outdated Panther platform car to fleets, but stock the dealers' lots with attractive, modern, relevant vehicles that will restore the Lincoln name to greatness. :thumbsup:

To me it looks like a win/win situation. Ford could make money offering the outdated platform to fleets. The fleets would still have an inexpensive, durable product they could purchase to keep their inventories filled. Normal retail customers would have a new, desirable, modern Lincoln flagship sedan to purchase that would maintain more resale value by not competing with identical fleet vehicles flooding the market. The money made from the fleet sales could be used to fund the retail vehicles' updates and redesigns to keep the retail vehicles competitive and relevant in the marketplace. :)

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