NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Ford to roll back lineup revisions

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Ford to roll back lineup revisions

But automaker's still expected to make more changes than rivals

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will scale back slightly on vehicle updates next year as the automaker continues to cut costs and focus on reducing debt.

Ford is replacing 33 percent of its product line in 2010, but "it won't be as much" next year, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said Thursday.

Fields did not elaborate in his presentation at a New York investors conference sponsored by Credit Suisse, but he provided the first glimpse of the scope of Ford's 2011 model year changes as the company pursues a robust global product plan and aggressive debt reduction.

Ford is still expected to do more than its competitors, according to Car Wars, an annual report prepared by Bank of America Merrill Lynch that evaluates the strength of automakers' U.S. product pipelines. The study, released in May, forecasts that Ford will replace a third of its lineup in 2011 and continue to be more aggressive than the industry average replacement rate of 27 percent.

Ford's slight pullback comes as many automakers have been exercising prudence in launching new vehicles -- balancing the prevailing wisdom that a fresh showroom drives sales against the slow rebound of the economy and auto sales.

Ford's strategy is to have every new vehicle come from a global platform by 2013, part of its effort to reduce costs on everything from engineering to parts purchasing. But the automaker is also working to eliminate its $5.4 billion in debt so it is no longer at a disadvantage compared with General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which shed debt in bankruptcy.

After billions in losses related to a series of recalls, Toyota Motor Corp. is stretching development periods for new products to ensure quality.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has extended the lifecycle of core products such as the Civic, which debuts next year but had been expected much sooner.

General Motors Co. is down to four brands.

Chrysler Group LLC is the most extreme example of how bare a cupboard can get when a company is in survival mode and resources dry up. But Chrysler plans to replenish 75 percent of its lineup this year, with the bulk coming late in the year.

Product activity for the industry as a whole should accelerate for the 2011-14 model years following the lull in the past two years, Car Wars concludes.

But don't expect companies to race out of the blocks, said Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting Inc. in Short Hills, N.J.

"We're obviously not out of the woods," Phillippi said of the auto industry's slow rebound. Even as conditions improve, "the last thing you want to do is rush something today. That is how you end up with a lot of recalls."

Globally, auto sales are projected to grow by 5 percent to 10 percent this year, Fields said.

"The global economy is improving but it is uneven," he said, noting that while Asia and other emerging markets continue to flourish; the United States will experience moderate growth; and Europe is "a little bit of a worry spot," coming off its version of a "cash for clunkers" incentives.

The U.S. market has been aided because the industry has pared capacity, inventory is relatively lean and automakers have been "fairly rational when it comes to incentives," Fields said.

Countering those gains are high prices for commodities, such as steel.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100910/AUTO01/9100332/1148/auto01/Ford-to-roll-back-lineup-revisions#ixzz0z8E1EdoD

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FORD TO SLOW VEHICLE UPDATES TO SAVE CASH, REDUCE DEBT

By Drew Johnson

Ford has been launching new or heavily updated vehicles at a feverish pace as of late, but the Blue Oval will cut back on vehicle upgrades next year as it turns its focus to cost savings and reducing its overall debt.

Ford will replace or update 33 percent of its lineup by the end of the year – including the recently refreshed Ford Edge – but that clip will slow in 2011 as the automaker works to reduce its $5.4 billion debt. Ford’s cross-town rivals – General Motors and Chrysler – were able to greatly reduce their debut through bankruptcy.

Several other automakers – including Toyota and Honda – have already extended vehicle lifecycles in order to ensure quality and reduce costs. Despite the cutbacks, Ford’s replacement rate is still expected to exceed the industry average of 27 percent.

Ford’s ultimate goal is to have every new vehicle on a global platform by 2013, which will greatly help the company in its cost cutting efforts.

link:

http://www.leftlanenews.com/ford-to-slow-vehicle-updates-to-save-cash-reduce-debt.html

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the fusion is the one that will hurt them if they do not have the new one out by MY 2013, that and the escape.

i think lincoln gets flushed out, the MKt probaby dies in 3-4 years. the navigator will carry on IMO. MKz goes bye bye, and gets put on a compact platform. MKs lives on with a new better body. MKr on true RWD platform is needed to save the day. Lincoln may need a convertible or image car, or a sports car (GT40 redo?). Lincoln also needs to address what sort of lineup it may need for global conquest.

mercury is toast so that is figured out.

Ford is probably lacking a car like the Xb, Soul, Granite, etc. I know they have the CMax, but still. Aside from that at least in the US ford will have fiesta, focus, fusion, taurus, transit connect, F series, explorer, edge, the flex is the one that is a dilemma. the flex needs to either revert back to a true minivan or have a styling correction and even then the explorer will kill it in sales. the expedition will also solider on and it should. Mustang...although the next gen mustang i fear gets scaled down. Escape / Kuga. I think Europe should change the name to Escape also.

my biggest fear with ford now is complacency and lack of urge to innovate and create. overall their vehicle lines need to shed some poundage too.

Edited by regfootball

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...Ford is probably lacking a car like the Xb, Soul, Granite, etc. I know they have the CMax, but still...

I've been thinking about a "B-Box" for quite some time

Bbox400.jpg

lately I've been wondering if it's just too late to do one :(

Agree, "Kuga" is a stupid name (tho I like MKG for a Lincolnesque one)

re: the articles

I'd like to know just WHAT has been cut/delayed?

&

WHY Ford bothered to announce this?

They've been so secretive lately that I'd never have known if they didn't say it

confused.gif

"...overall their vehicle lines need to shed some poundage too."

overhang-ectomies wouldn't hurt either

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i like the flex nose job.

the thing that bothers me the most about the current flex is the strakes on the side of the door and the chrome tack on on the hatch lid. i just don't like all that fussiness. i'd like to see a solid d pillar (and maybe a c pillar) also, and a less blunt front end at the top of the grille. one thing i think that would make the flex more dynamic is more flare and more dramatically pronounced wheel arches. then they could fit some wider tires in there and make the the whole thing look less tall and a little wider. flex as it is could stand to have been 2 inches wider.

flex as a vehicle line could stand over time if they removed some goofiness from the styling. one of the things i really like about the flex is how they 'ground' the bottom of the vehicle between the wheels with a subtle ground effects shaping.

ford's styling has and will become very homogenous. fiesta, focus, fusion, kuga/escape, cmax will all look the same. in a way it's how most vw's look the same. while some may not like the monotony, the customer base will feel safe with it and identify a ford as a ford, not as a 'camaro' or a 'mustang'.

Edited by regfootball

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^ that chop predates the Flex, Reg :)

just used the Fairlane + Bronco concepts

& meant for it to be just a skosh-or-3 bigger than the Mini

re: Flex - imho it's still very fresh looking

but don't know how they could significantly modify it

so maybe they'll use some of your subtle styling suggestions before the Flex

- either migrates to CD4

- or gets either replaced

- or dropped

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ford's styling has and will become very homogenous. fiesta, focus, fusion, kuga/escape, cmax will all look the same. in a way it's how most vw's look the same. while some may not like the monotony, the customer base will feel safe with it and identify a ford as a ford, not as a 'camaro' or a 'mustang'.

Yep, they're doing the whole brand DNA thing, so that whether you're in a Fiesta or Taurus, it feels like a "Ford." I was watching a video on how they've homogenized seat parameters, so that all Ford cars around the world will have the same seat firmness and shape. Likewise, they've introduced Ford's new global window switch design in the 2011 Explorer, which again, will eventually be familiar to all Ford customers. They're trying to make their corporate "parts bin" an asset... and I suppose it's fine, since it's just one brand.

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