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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Ford Ressurects old names and other false hopes for the Thunderbird ...

I thought this was interesting ....

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Business
Aug 30 2015, 4:50 am ET
The 2016 Model A? Automakers Rescuing Retired Brands From Scrap Heap

by Paul A. Eisenstein

Coming up with an all-new name has become a major headache for automakers around the world. It can be difficult to find a name that hasn't already been taken, and it then can be extremely costly to build consumer awareness for a new moniker.

So a number of car makers are looking back into their past to see if there are once-popular nameplates that can be revived. And after the successful revival of the Chevrolet Camaro a few years back, it appears even more manufacturers are going to take this route.

Among the once-popular names we may soon see back in showrooms are the Grand Wagoneer, Barracuda, Ranger and Bronco. Others may follow - though looking for a blast from the past does carry some risks, industry analysts warn.


As TheDetroitBureau.com reported this week, Ford Motor Co. is expected to bring back the Ranger pickup, a nameplate it abandoned in the U.S. in 2011, though it continued offering an all-new model overseas. The Ranger would fill a gap in Ford's line-up now that there are signs American motorists are returning to the once-huge midsize truck segment.

The revival of the Ranger would follow the return of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models, both of which briefly went out of production while General Motors worked up a more modern and competitive redesign of the compact trucks.

Ford also is said to be toying with the return of another once-popular model, the Bronco SUV. It was once a leader in the sport-utility segment but was replaced by more car-like models, such as the Ford Explorer. A new Bronco, sources suggest, would be roughly the size of the latest Explorer, but instead of riding on a car-like crossover platform it would share the chassis of the new Ranger pickup.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has brought back a number of model names in recent years, including muscle car mainstays like the Dodge Charger and Challenger. And it may add one more old-is-new offering to that high-powered segment, a revived Barracuda. In its heyday, the 'Cuda was marketed through the now-abandoned Plymouth brand. Going forward it would be sold through Dodge.

The sibling Jeep brand is also expected to bring back an old model, the big Grand Wagoneer. Though often credited with creating the modern SUV boom, Jeep hasn't kept up with some key rivals in filling every possible model niche. The revived Grand Wagoneer would be a full-size model to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GL, among others.

FCA reportedly is filling in dealers on its future product plans during a meeting in Las Vegas. Ford, meanwhile, has reportedly clued in the United Auto Workers Union on some of its plans as part of its ongoing contract negotiations. Formal public announcements could follow in the weeks or months ahead.

There are several reasons why manufacturers reach into their histories to revive old nameplates. For one thing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with good names that aren't already in use or at least registered by a competitor. That's one reason many makers have gone the alphanumeric route. But they also know that it's hard to get worked up about something called an ABC123.


Launching an all-new nameplate, meanwhile, is extremely expensive. A mainstream model often requires a marketing investment of $100 million or more to establish it, notes analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.

But when it comes to these blasts from the past, some of those old model names still carry a lot of positive heritage that automatically tells a story in the collective public mind. That was the case when General Motors brought back the Chevrolet Camaro in 2009. The muscle car went on to dominate the so-called pony car segment for the next five years.

On the other hand, GM's effort to bring back the once-revered Pontiac GTO name flopped a decade ago. Unlike the retro-styled Camaro, the new "Goat" had a bland and largely forgettable design that failed to connect with consumers.

That also was the case with the Thunderbird, the two-seat roadster Ford tried to launch a decade ago. Over the decades, the T'bird went through a variety of incarnations, from the original two-seater to a bloated coupe and then into a quirky but less-than-compelling two-seater again. A variety of product weaknesses resulted in mixed reviews and weak sales, and the Thunderbird was again pulled from the market.

So, while a grand old name can give a new product a head start, it's not enough to fix a bad vehicle design.

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/auto...p-heap-n417911

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:46 PM
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I really don't get the false hopes part, if Ford were to bring back the Thunderbird it wouldn't be anything like an MN12 and I doubt they'll try retro 50s again after the last debacle, so like any of us would be interested if it was brought back

I think the reality is the automakers want to retain ownership of the names, not actually put them back into production again(hence FCA keeping Barracuda). Gaming and model cars have licencing fees attached to them afterall.

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:56 PM
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They were fools to drop any of those names even Taurus, well especially Taurus. When you are the number one in a market, forget what snotty car critics say. It's funny that they knock the sales of the last T-Birds as they were two seaters and they still go for a pretty penny.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for the read..

IMO..Ford made a mistake by getting rid of the Ranger in the first place..Not all of us need a full size pick-up..

If they do bring it back..I hope they follow the lead of Chevrolet (Colorado), and offer the Ranger with 4 full size doors..

Now that the 2015 IRS Mustang is a reality..I wouldn't be against Ford sharing the S550 platform with a new Thunderbird..

Ford should develop a Thunderbird "Concept Car" based off the S550 platform..Then take it to the various auto shows to see what the public thinks..






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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Freddy Cougar View Post
They were fools to drop any of those names even Taurus, well especially Taurus. When you are the number one in a market, forget what snotty car critics say. It's funny that they knock the sales of the last T-Birds as they were two seaters and they still go for a pretty penny.
Ford never dropped the Taurus, it was used on the fourth gen through 2007 and then rebadged it onto the Five Hundred platform where it still resides(in restyled form) today. Ford neglected the name however, turning it into an anonymous and thoroughly uncompetitive fleet queen, but it has been on the market uninterrupted since 1986.

The two seaters were overpriced toys for the elderly, and those same geriatric owners think they're worth that. Give it a few years and they'll plummet, nobody under 70 would pay over 10 grand for a Lincoln LS without a roof.

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Now that the 2015 IRS Mustang is a reality..I wouldn't be against Ford sharing the S550 platform with a new Thunderbird..

Ford should develop a Thunderbird "Concept Car" based off the S550 platform..Then take it to the various auto shows to see what the public thinks..






Rayo..
The question is what exactly would that be? An MN12 like coupe, which for all intents and purposes, the S550 is, or another 2 seater reboot, in which case wouldn't be conceptually different than the failed DEW98 itteration, other than not being saddled with the POS Jaguar V8 anyway?

Maybe they'll make a Thunderbird CUV

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XR7-4.6
The question is what exactly would that be?
That's a good question..

My guess would be something very similar to the way the 2015 Mustang looks..As far as the chassis is concerned..

You remember the similarities that the Thunderbird, Cougar, and Mustang shared when they were all on the FOX platform..

I'd like to see the Thunderbird fashioned in a similar way..Where they share much of the same mechanicals, and drivetrain with the Mustang (S550)..

But still giving the Thunderbird its own style..

Like I said though..Some "Concept Car" type testing would have to be done for sure..

Just to see if there is enough people interested in buying that type of Thunderbird..
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Maybe they'll make a Thunderbird CUV







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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayo View Post
That's a good question..

My guess would be something very similar to the way the 2015 Mustang looks..As far as the chassis is concerned..

You remember the similarities that the Thunderbird, Cougar, and Mustang shared when they were all on the FOX platform..

I'd like to see the Thunderbird fashioned in a similar way..Where they share much of the same mechanicals, and drivetrain with the Mustang (S550)..

But still giving the Thunderbird its own style..

Like I said though..Some "Concept Car" type testing would have to be done for sure..

Just to see if there is enough people interested in buying that type of Thunderbird..








Rayo..
Well keep in mind a whole lot of flops result from Positive Concept Car type testing. Remember the Chevy SSR?

I don't think it would be worth the effort to even do a concept, the market just isn't there for yet another coupe like there was in the 80s(and even in the 80s it was diminishing from the peak in the 70s).

Sad thing is, Like it or not(I hate it), the hot market every automaker wants to be in right now is CUVs. Every iteration of the Thunderbird until the retrobirds the Thunderbird joined or pioneered a segment, from the 55s riding the early 50s sports car boom, to the 58s essentially founding the personal luxury segment, to the 67s getting into the brougham ara, to the 77s joining the intermediate personal luxury boom, and to the 83s riding the European influenced era. All of these iterations of Tbird were almost nothing like the previous, it morphed and tapped into growing markets and rode the wave until the next. The market we enjoy is almost extinct, the only way I see a Tbird being a successful car for Ford, a business that needs to be more competitive than ever and make money, is to make something nothing like what we're comfortable with, a CUV is the only way I see that happening and I think we should be grateful the nameplate remains dormant in that case lol

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I'd much prefer to wait until the time is right to have them introduce something that is worthy of the nameplate rather than have them balk something out and slap the name onto it, much like they did in 2002. As much as we all hate to hear it - I think we all know now isn't the time for it - what with everyone being SUV and truck crazy.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:50 PM
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Did the author of the article call my car a bloated coupe? He's probably wearing a strange looking toupee.

No one ever told me my car looks fat.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tbird Bob View Post
Did the author of the article call my car a bloated coupe? He's probably wearing a strange looking toupee.

No one ever told me my car looks fat.
I think this was likely the thought for that statement


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 05:24 PM
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A long time ago, the Thunderbird competed against the Corvette.

While the Corvette went on to embrace even more sportiness, the Thunderbird took a different direction. What if Ford resurrected the Thunderbird not as a "personal luxury car", but as the Corvette fighter that has been conspicuously absent from Ford's lineup for so long?

Ever since the C3, the Corvette has had the same basic shape: a sleek, sporty design that lends itself well aerodynamically to the car's goals. The Corvette will likely never go back to it's '50s roots when it comes to design. Likewise, the Thunderbird does not need to go full-retro, and should not if it wants to go up against the Corvette.

The most aerodynamic Thunderbird in Ford's history was the MN12. I'm not just saying that as a MN12 fan, either. With a drag coefficient of 0.31, the MN12 comes awfully close to being as slippery as the C7. The basic shape is a good start, from which they could tweak the proportions as necessary for a sports car, and give it it a substantial weight diet. And if that EcoBoost is good enough for the GT, it's good enough for this concept too. If Ford is willing, I believe this kind of 'Bird is well within their ability to develop. It would sell, too.

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But what's the business case for making a Corvette fighter? GM barely sold 37k C7s last year, and the previous models barely were selling 10K a year. If GM introduced the Corvette for the first time ever and sold in numbers that bad today it would be axed in less than one model cycle. The Corvette exists today primarily out of tradition and heritage, the Thunderbird doesn't have heritage, it bounced around segment to segment for 50 years, with the only tradition being the name being in the model lineup in that time, and it's best selling years were the ones where it was nothing more than a tarted up LTD II.

Plus the next Ford GT supercar is in the pipeline, a car with an established high performance pedigree, unlike the Tbird, which even in the 55-57 years was far more of a boulevarder than a real sports car.

BTW a current Prius has a C/D of.25, the MN12 a total dead end for a reboot.

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Originally Posted by XR7-4.6 View Post
I really don't get the false hopes part, if Ford were to bring back the Thunderbird it wouldn't be anything like an MN12 and I doubt they'll try retro 50s again after the last debacle, so like any of us would be interested if it was brought back

I think the reality is the automakers want to retain ownership of the names, not actually put them back into production again(hence FCA keeping Barracuda). Gaming and model cars have licensing fees attached to them after all.
False hope, as in Ford is bringing back to life old nameplates and we could only wish that they would give the Tbird a proper resurrection from the dead. It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the snowballs chance in hell that Ford would actually bring back the Thunderbird.

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Originally Posted by Urambo Tauro View Post
A long time ago, the Thunderbird competed against the Corvette.

While the Corvette went on to embrace even more sportiness, the Thunderbird took a different direction. What if Ford resurrected the Thunderbird not as a "personal luxury car", but as the Corvette fighter that has been conspicuously absent from Ford's lineup for so long?

Ever since the C3, the Corvette has had the same basic shape: a sleek, sporty design that lends itself well aerodynamically to the car's goals. The Corvette will likely never go back to it's '50s roots when it comes to design. Likewise, the Thunderbird does not need to go full-retro, and should not if it wants to go up against the Corvette.

The most aerodynamic Thunderbird in Ford's history was the MN12. I'm not just saying that as a MN12 fan, either. With a drag coefficient of 0.31, the MN12 comes awfully close to being as slippery as the C7. The basic shape is a good start, from which they could tweak the proportions as necessary for a sports car, and give it it a substantial weight diet. And if that EcoBoost is good enough for the GT, it's good enough for this concept too. If Ford is willing, I believe this kind of 'Bird is well within their ability to develop. It would sell, too.
Great idea and I'd love to see it happen, build the car out of aluminum like the F150 ... but next to Ford's "Quality is job 1" credo is Ford's other unspoken credo that "Nothing Ford mass produces can be faster than the Mustang".

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But what's the business case for making a Corvette fighter? GM barely sold 37k C7s last year, and the previous models barely were selling 10K a year. If GM introduced the Corvette for the first time ever and sold in numbers that bad today it would be axed in less than one model cycle. The Corvette exists today primarily out of tradition and heritage, the Thunderbird doesn't have heritage, it bounced around segment to segment for 50 years, with the only tradition being the name being in the model lineup in that time, and it's best selling years were the ones where it was nothing more than a tarted up LTD II.

Plus the next Ford GT supercar is in the pipeline, a car with an established high performance pedigree, unlike the Tbird, which even in the 55-57 years was far more of a boulevarder than a real sports car.

BTW a current Prius has a C/D of.25, the MN12 a total dead end for a reboot.
The previous model barely sold 37K units because everyone was waiting on the redesign and because GM shut the factory down to retool for the new design few units were even made. Ultimately the C7 is a rich man's toy that few can afford in the first place.

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Ah yes, perfect, the 11 of us on TCCoA will finally have that aluminum bodied MN12 we've been clamoring for, they may sell 4

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Like I said. Snowballs chance in hell ....

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See a list of my real mods and pictures of my car HERE. The true performance of my car was made possible by the Carolinas Crew Chief, RobertP at Rob's Tire & Auto.
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Ah yes, perfect, the 11 of us on TCCoA will finally have that aluminum bodied MN12 we've been clamoring for, they may sell 4
you're delusional. There's at least DOUBLE that many!




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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 09:48 PM
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In some ways Ford has a huge identity crisis. The Mustang has always been a small sporty car. 71-73 Battleships excluded.

The Thunderbird evolved to fit the times and other than the 55-57 2 seat "Sportsters" it always was Fords top of the line prestige sedan. I'm using sedan instead of coupe because the 67-70 could be had with 4 doors and a coupe can be a two door sedan. It's hard to place the 72-76 Tbird or the downsized 77-79's in the coupe category for me. The 83 on Fox bodies could be called Coupes again as they were closer coupled 2 Doors than the 58-76 cars. So the Thunderbird morphed to fit its target market. And for many years was successful and well received. Other than the 67-71 4 doors which always seemed more of a full scale proof of concept marketing attempt the Thunderbird always had been a two door. And I think that's the way the public perceives and remembers the car. Most don't even know or care that a four door was offered at one point. So the publics perception is that a "Thunderbird" is a sporty car and or luxurious 2 door sedan.

The problem is with BMW making 4 door sedans popular starting back in the eighties the 4 door sedan morphed from being a family car no one wanted to be seen in to the personal luxury market that exists today. The Thunderbirds old personal luxury car market still exists. It just has 4 doors. Not only does the 4 door sedan no longer carry a stigma but it's perceived as what right for the segment. While the MN12 may have been originally designed as a home brewed BMW fighter the truth is Ford currently has nothing in this arena. Ditto for Lincoln. Lincoln has absolutely no idea what it should be making other than phat cat SUVs.

The SHO seemed to appeal mostly to journalists. They got a lot of good press. As capable as the car was it was front wheel drive and most dismissed it because of that. SVO and SVT have a recognition among the auto enthusiast crowd but the offerings are too exclusive. Over the top and too expensive. As a research arm of the company it's great. As far as creating some mass market appeal it's actually somewhat of a dismal failure. There's no trickle down effect into the passenger car lines. The Total Performance era actually did some good as the race technology eventually found its way into the regular lines.

I don't think a Thunderbird could be floated as a 4 door. The names too synonymous is with 2 doors. The original two seaters and personal sedans. The markets there. The names wrong. It's possible Ford could come up with another two seater but the lame DEW series immediately comes to mind. Matts right in that no one under retirement age wants one. It's a car for golfers with ostemy bags and their wrinkled wife's to drive to the salon.

Any new Thunderbird would not be competing against the Corvette. Thats the job of the Mustang and the new GT.

So what would be popular as a "Thunderbird"? Why not do the unthinkable and move it down market. Capitalize on the fun factor than made the original Mustang such a huge success. Why not something like a Mazda Miata with a ecoboost engine. Two seats and RWD? Rather than trying to skim the cream at the top of the market for a limited number of buyers why not slot it in between the Fiesta and the Fusion or the Fusion and the Taurus depending on which drive train used. I'm not talking EXP here. But a more poweful and refined slightly larger Miata class car. Keep it small. Keep it light. Keep it simple. And rake in the cash with a great aftermarket performance parts program. Granted the small roadster markets smaller than the 2 door luxury segment but if the car was affordable as a second car the buying public might bite. It would be a great halo car that meant something again and give the dealers something to flog besides the Mustangs and family sedans and pickup trucks.

They let the Ranger platform stagnate before killing it. They were always popular even with ancient underpinnings. I personally beleive that they killed it mostly out of fear of cannbilizung full size truck sales. I always liked the crew cab GMC S15 based trucks and would have bought a crew cab Ranger in a heartbeat. As much as I like the full size trucks I don't need something that large and don't want to pay for it at the dealer or at the pump. And I want a bed so a Explorers out. The original SportTrac came close but it was just large enough it really could have used a V8 option and as I recall they were 4wheel drive only. I have to need or desire for 4wheel drive. I looked hard at the SportTracs when they came out. Had they offered a V8 I probably would have bit.

I'd like to see the Ranger come back. It's viable and the name fits it's market. There's brand recognition.

While I'd like to see the Thunderbird or Cougar class car come back I just don't think that markets there anymore.

And ditto on deliberately crimping the performance of the rest of the line to make the Mustang look better. The Mustang will always have a market and there will always be a tuners market for it or special performance packages. No need to make the rest of the line suffer.

I do think the new Mustang platform would be great for a personal car. I don't think the markets there for Ford. If Lincoln would build a great road car again the it would be a great starting point for a new Mark class car. If they hadn't killed Mercury a new Cougar that embodied the original 67-68 cars built on the stretched Mustang platform would be great. The original Cougars were the perfect blend between a mini Mark and a Mustang. They could do most of what the Mustang did from a performance stand point. But had much better ride and isolation and leg room. People tend to forget that the original mustangs were something like 70% straight sixes in the first few years. With little to no options. They tended to be bought by young family's as a second car and were priced at not much more than the equivalent Falcon. The the average Cougar buyer in 67 had a graduate degree and roughly twice the income. All the Cougars had V8s up until the Fox body's. It's the market with more disposable income you want. Most BMW buyers are probably fairly comfortable with their monthly payments.

I still see a decent amount of small sporty 2 door imports. While I don't think the Probe names good a Probe or New Edge Cougar class import fighter might do pretty well. The New Edge Cougars still have thir fans and there was a thriving aftermarket for them. Given their niche they had a amazing aftermarket compared to the MN12.

Fords strong points right now are the Aluminum F Series and the Ecoboost name. But the truth is that the vast majority of the line besides the Mustang is utterly boring and not appealing to the younger crowd that makes and sets trends.

It wouldn't hurt Ford to play up their performance image across the line. They have a rich history and the right cards. They just don't seem to quite know how to play them. The new Mustangs damn impressive. It's a shame the rest of the lines not equally exciting.
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2015, 10:36 PM
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I would agree with you almost 100%, but I disagree wholeheartedly that the 58-66 iterations (in particular) of Tbird weren't coupes. 2 door sedans pretty much universally have B pillars and more importantly often share the exact same roof stamping as the sedan counterpart, only with enlongated doors and shorter quarter windows. Think of the Tri five Chevys - the Bel Air hardtop had a shortened roofline and no B pillars, whereas a 210 2 door sedan used a long roofline shared with the 4 door sedan. The 58 Tbird shared nothing with nobody, it was a bespoke 2 door hardtop on it's own (albeit derived off Lincoln) unibody platform. Really the only years I'd consider the Tbird as a sedan would be 67-70 when they actually did have 4 doors, even the 80-82 cars shared the Fairmont Futura body, rather than the standard 2 door sedan.

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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 01:32 AM
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A Taurus or Fusion Coupe. That is what a 201x Thunderbird would be. Ford missed the boat on making a RWD one. If they had a Falcon coupe in AU, they would have been able to import it here as the Thunderbird, just like GM did with the Pontiac GTO.

If Ford ever makes a global RWD platform sedan, then we will have the perfect vehicle to base the Thunderbird off of. With the AU operations winding down, and stricter CAFE, we will probably not see that happen.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 02:01 AM
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The Ford Ranger lives on! Just not in the USA. Looks bigger too almost like the Nissan Frontier got bigger. You can find more info about them if you research the Ranger name with different years like 2013 or 2014.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/...-states/2.html

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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 05:43 AM
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I think this was likely the thought for that statement


Or this even bigger one. It did have a 460 to move it.


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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 08:39 AM
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I would agree with you almost 100%, but I disagree wholeheartedly that the 58-66 iterations (in particular) of Tbird weren't coupes. 2 door sedans pretty much universally have B pillars and more importantly often share the exact same roof stamping as the sedan counterpart, only with enlongated doors and shorter quarter windows. Think of the Tri five Chevys - the Bel Air hardtop had a shortened roofline and no B pillars, whereas a 210 2 door sedan used a long roofline shared with the 4 door sedan. The 58 Tbird shared nothing with nobody, it was a bespoke 2 door hardtop on it's own (albeit derived off Lincoln) unibody platform. Really the only years I'd consider the Tbird as a sedan would be 67-70 when they actually did have 4 doors, even the 80-82 cars shared the Fairmont Futura body, rather than the standard 2 door sedan.
Keeping in mind that the Belairs were hard tops with frameless doors. As where the Crown Vic's of the era. But a hard top it's still a 2 door sedan. That's why I specifically used sedan instead of coupe in most of that post. These terms have all evolved over the years. EG a Ford Coupe in the thirties was generally a shortened version with out a back seat. Our MN12 were consider sport coupes. But they had a lengthened passenger compartment and framed glass. Even if the frames wrapped into the roof and the black window trim mimicked a hard top.

I really like the Fusion. It's one of the better looking cars they make. It's the right size and at least around here they are extremely popular. A 2 door sedan version might sell well. But I think in general the publics come to appreciate 4 doors. I'm a fairly tall guy and don't haul passengers much. Unless dogs count. So I've always liked the better egress of a two door sedan. I'm not sure if there's a AWD version of the Fusion. Probably. They seem to make AWD versions of everything these days. I know there's a Hybrid version. While FWD drive has come a LONG way from the torque steering econoboxes of the late seventies and early eighties it's still not quite what most of us consider proper for a performance car. AWD has certainly proved it mettle in the rally world and WRX spaces so it better regarded by enthusiasts. But it adds a lot of weight and complexity. And for daily driver use, especially in the colder climes FWD is probably better all around. But lacks the performance recognition of RWD. A AWD drive Fusion Coupe would be cool. Especially with the underpinnings of the police interceptors. The PI Tauruses are impressive as hell. Or even a Coupe version of the Tuarus with the Cop car underpinnings would be viable as a all weather sports car. Noticed I switched to coupe to denote it's sporty as opposed to a two door sedan. But. In a four door world is anyone going to pay the 3-4 grand premium for the expense of two door tooling costs? Plus the additional money for AWD? Probably not. Yet without AWD or RWD it's just going to be perceived as sheep in wolfs clothing.

I always return to thinking about Lincoln and the death of Mercury. The problem with Mercury is that while theirs still a HUGE market for luxury cars at mid price points the division had gone to far with badge engineering. Everyone knew a GM, Mystique, Mariner etc was gust a rebadged Ford Crown Vic, Contour. Explorer whatever. So unless you liked the grill or tail light treatments better there wasn't any reason to head over to the Ford dealership and save a few grand. Mercs of the sixties did it right in that they started with a already engineered platform that Ford provided and used the de opens costs to add features you couldn't get on a Ford. A good example was the Comet and and full size Mercs. They had about a foot added to the rear quarters. This gave the Comet some truly pleasing proportions and made it look like a little big car. And they sold. Or if you've ever seen the trunk of a full size 67 Parklane you know that it would literally swallow a full size mattress if you pulled the spare. While biggers not always better it did offer the customer some added value. Mercury would spend development money on stuff like rubber isolaters for the rear axles. Specific bushings for the front. More sound deadening etc. a longer wheel base for the cougar. While the idea of building a somewhat numb car is alien these days the payoff was a car that rode nicer and was noticably quieter than its ford counter part. It was a nice stepping stone between Lincoln and Ford. Another example was that most Mercs of the Elwood Engle era had front header panels which gave the car a totally different appearance than the Fords. Which normally used a simple recessed grille. Ford did this because the tolerance stack up was a lot more forgiving during assembly. Where as adding a front header panel required a lot more work during the assembly stage to get everything lined up. So the Mercs offered quite a bit for a relatively minor price premium. By the mid seventies this was gone as the differences came down to pretty much different grills badges and tail lights. As the value dropped so did the sales. To the point it wasn't worth keeping the division open as its clientele and and buyers aged. This is what also killed the MN12 TBird and Couger. Everyone that wanted one had already bought one.

Caddilacs o good example of a company that was in the same boat. What they did was a complete break with their styling history. And went to the creased suit look. And with the NorthStar the performance was there. This did two things. It alienated their traditional old fogie buyers. Which didn't matter since they like the MN12 criowd had bought their last caddy. But it opened the doors to a entirely new group of younger more affluent buyers that might be considering a BMW or Mercedes or Audi. They stuck with the look and refined it and it's paid off for them with a family identity and a whole new buyers demographic. Lincoln could take some lessons here. But for the most part they seemed have only got step one right. Which is alienating the existing customer base. The styling is all over the map. And they don't seem to have a clear mission or much of a plan. Other than the SUVs I have a fairly strong suspicion most people aren't buying these because they desire one. But rather it fits in the budget of their corporate lease plan.
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 10:50 AM
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Keeping in mind that the Belairs were hard tops with frameless doors. As where the Crown Vic's of the era. But a hard top it's still a 2 door sedan. That's why I specifically used sedan instead of coupe in most of that post. These terms have all evolved over the years. EG a Ford Coupe in the thirties was generally a shortened version with out a back seat. Our MN12 were consider sport coupes. But they had a lengthened passenger compartment and framed glass. Even if the frames wrapped into the roof and the black window trim mimicked a hard top.

The Bel Air hardtop roof IS shortened, hence my bringing it up. Look at where the C pillars end in relation to the window openings between the Bel air, 210 2 door, and 210 4 door







I didn't say hardtop = coupe, just that it usually does. To me a Coupe is all about the roofline, if it's shared with the 4 door then it's a sedan, if it's shaped specifically for the 2 doors it's a coupe. The number of seats, the size of the car, the class of car are all irrelevant. I really don't know how else to qualify it. I certainly don't know how the MN12 is any more of a coupe than a 58-66s, besides Ford embossing "Coupe" onto the TC and SCs

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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 01:01 PM
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So what would be popular as a "Thunderbird"? Why not do the unthinkable and move it down market. Capitalize on the fun factor than made the original Mustang such a huge success. Why not something like a Mazda Miata with a ecoboost engine. Two seats and RWD? Rather than trying to skim the cream at the top of the market for a limited number of buyers why not slot it in between the Fiesta and the Fusion or the Fusion and the Taurus depending on which drive train used. I'm not talking EXP here. But a more poweful and refined slightly larger Miata class car. Keep it small. Keep it light. Keep it simple. And rake in the cash with a great aftermarket performance parts program. Granted the small roadster markets smaller than the 2 door luxury segment but if the car was affordable as a second car the buying public might bite. It would be a great halo car that meant something again and give the dealers something to flog besides the Mustangs and family sedans and pickup trucks.
Not likely to happen. A small lightweight coupe roadster is a niche market. Only Mazda was able to get the formula right and move volume for significant amounts of time.

* GM tried this with the Solstice and sold less than 100K of them in its entire production run.
* Toyota/Subaru tried this with the Scion GT86/BRZ and after starting out strong, sales have dropped pretty dramatically... so much so that a next-gen car is in doubt (let alone a convertible).
* Honda did a little better with the S2000 but that remains a cult car vs a mass market success

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They let the Ranger platform stagnate before killing it. They were always popular even with ancient underpinnings. I personally beleive that they killed it mostly out of fear of cannbilizung full size truck sales. I always liked the crew cab GMC S15 based trucks and would have bought a crew cab Ranger in a heartbeat. As much as I like the full size trucks I don't need something that large and don't want to pay for it at the dealer or at the pump. And I want a bed so a Explorers out. The original SportTrac came close but it was just large enough it really could have used a V8 option and as I recall they were 4wheel drive only. I have to need or desire for 4wheel drive. I looked hard at the SportTracs when they came out. Had they offered a V8 I probably would have bit.

I'd like to see the Ranger come back. It's viable and the name fits it's market. There's brand recognition.
Is it just me or even small trucks have gotten larger over the past years? I thought for what they were, the old S10s, Tacomas, and Ranger pickups did a good job at what they did. I suspect that any Ranger coming back will be significantly longer and wider than the last iteration.

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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 02:33 PM
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That's exactly what happened. I call it escalation. The current Colorado is the equivalent of a C1500 from 25 years ago. Pickups on Steroids: 1990 Silverado Versus 2015 Colorado

Even the towing and payload ratings are comparable.

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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 04:34 PM
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Ford looked at keeping the Ranger in the US but there was no market, hence the development of the Tremor. Look at the price of "small" truck versus a comparable F150, you get much more truck in the F150 for just a few pence more. Why Ford is trying to bring the Ranger back to get ~50,000 units a year is beyond me; while yes there is no R&D seems like marketing will destroy the profits. The Tacoma is the segment leader at 155,000 units and everyone else is around 60,000.

While yes a Ranger honestly meet the needs or most people in that it is a real 1/2-ton pickup were as the F150 is 3/4-1-ton, the economics IMO just anit there for the US market.

As for Mercury--yes I'm a little biased--I've seen it as SVT before SVO was even an idea, an IMO Ford should have replaced SVT with Mercury name when SVO died. Performance and "luxury"; think 60's era Cougars and Marauders (remember base Cougar engine of the time were 302 were as the Mustang was a 200).

The T-bird is dead lets be honest with ourselves. I'm and at the younger end of the MN-12 appeal, and even when I was starting to drive they had no appeal--so the name has no more use to Ford (to be honest only slightly more useful than Fairmont or Granada)--those in my age group at this point are looking at practical cars (Flex if my wife gets her way), and the baby boomers are fading of the scene. T-bird won't attract the 16-25 crowd that they need to maintain growth.

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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 05:21 PM
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My bird ain't going into the crusher without a fight. Kermit the Ford has a name and a soul. He just wants everyone to remember he comes from a long line of NASCAR relatives. Not many people can say that about their car.
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 06:38 PM
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The Ford Ranger lives on! Just not in the USA. Looks bigger too almost like the Nissan Frontier got bigger. You can find more info about them if you research the Ranger name with different years like 2013 or 2014.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/...-states/2.html
I always wondered what happened to the ranger, I always wanted a four door one too. After seeing this pic of the ranger that sold in other countries it's absolutely perfect. I would buy one in a second. I never understood. That sport trac thing it's useless. What countries are these ford Rangers in I would like to import it.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2015, 07:31 PM
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I always wondered what happened to the ranger, I always wanted a four door one too. After seeing this pic of the ranger that sold in other countries it's absolutely perfect. I would buy one in a second. I never understood. That sport trac thing it's useless. What countries are these ford Rangers in I would like to import it.
From what I've found its in Mexico and starts at ~$26k.

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