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Rear-Drive Making Comeback at Ford, News Says

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While the auto industry frets over the implications of new CAFE rules and how to meet the tough new fuel-economy standards, Ford is pressing ahead in a plan to bring new rear-drive vehicles to the U.S. market.

The new vehicles, the Detroit News reports this morning, would include a new Mustang; a sedan for the Ford division; and a four-door for Lincoln. And instead of developing them in Australia, where rear-drivers are a critical part of the market, Ford will engineer the cars in the U.S.

While the new architecture will provide Ford with the basics it needs for a trio of American products, it will also spin off a new generation of Australian Falcons from the platform. The domestic products to come from the architecture may not slot in exactly where today's fusty rear-drivers, the Town Car and Crown Victoria, are sold. Instead, the Ford sedan could be a leaner, smaller vehicle like the Interceptor concept shown in Detroit in 2007.

The slumping dollar is making it more financially reasonable to engineer vehicles in the U.S., though General Motors is developing its new rear-drive vehicles--the Camaro, a Cadillac sedan and a Buick sedan--Down Under. Ford's plan could lead to its new rear-drivers being launched within a couple of years.

What do you think? What should the new Ford sedan and the Lincoln sedan be like? How much power--and how much carryover from today's cars? Tell us in a comment below, then read more over at the News.
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Comments (16)
  1. Rear wheel drive cars with huge horse power are the fantasy of every gear head out there. But the reality is that we have to drive day in and day out and money spent at the pump is a huge factor for most of the car buying public. Ford should focus on lighter weight vehicles that will allow it install smaller, more efficient power trains while still delivering a great drive. I see huge potential with Eco-Boost engines in a rear wheel drive platform.
     
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  2. I can understand what Robert is saying, but if some nice RWD cars, even without huge horsepower, are good products they may just help turn Ford around. I like the looks of the new Falcon down under, and think it would do well here in the states, but if the new platform is less expensive to develop here then so be it. But while they are at it, they really need to give us the euro Focus too.......lol! We all know that he Crown Vic needs to be put out to pasture, so it will be a great move, I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store.
     
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  3. It about time to re-visit the Ford Capris, BMW 2002 and Datson 510. All those are reliable RWD and good overall package including gas mileage. Gas price in US is about
    the same prise as Europe in 1970 when those car were designed.
     
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  4. Hey Marty, the Crown Vic is no longer sold to the public. "The domestic products to come from the architecture may not slot in exactly where today’s fusty rear-drivers, the Town Car and Crown Victoria, are sold."

    And I'd say that part of the Ford 500's failure in replacing the Crown Vic was the front drive platform and it being a little too small.
     
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  5. I agree with Wayne that the Falcon might be very successful here. However, I also think the new Taurus platform should be the basis for the new 4 & 6 cylinder Turbo engines, with E85 capability that Ford has spoken of. The Taurus should have been intro'd with 6 and 8 cylinder engines with Flex Fuel compatability, to be switched later to the new engines. The Fusion/Milan are already right were they should be in the line-up, but Ford needs to bolster Mercury, not get rid of it, and a new Eco-Boost Cougar(E-85 compatible), along with a re-freshening design of the Sable as a replacement for the Grand Marquis, would make the brand separate and distinctive from bot Ford and Lincoln, and broaden their market!
     
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  6. The problem with Robert's view of the world is that it's how Ford got to where it is now.

    At any point in time there's always been one thing the company needed, and it put its efforts behind that one thing. Whether it was the Taurus in the mid '80s, or the Explorer thereafter, or the F150 after that, or the perfect crossover, or whatever.

    The problem is that you don't run a prosperous automaker the size of Ford on one product because in doing so you're betting that market conditions aren't going to change. Ford has a history of putting out a good product - one good product - then letting it get very, very stale - the '86 Taurus remained largely unchanged through 1995, and in terms of platform content (if not aesthetics) the '96 Taurus was the car they should have done in 1992.

    Yes, Ford needs good small cars, but everyone predicted the Death of Horsepower in 1976, too. And, mirabile dictu, someone needs to tell Gore and his statist minions that planetary temperatures have been steady to down for the past ten years.

    Toyota's got the Prius, but they also just shipped a new Sequoia, and a new Land Cruiser, and a new Highlander, and most of the Lexus sedan line is recent.
     
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  7. Fords days as a volume player in North America are numbered. It can't try to support all of its dealers and staff levels and turn a profit. The move to RWD makes sense because Ford can take advantage of it's volume leader, the Mustang, to develop a platform that can produce some good cars and carve out a niche.
     
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  8. How many successful Front Wheel Drive Luxury or Performance Cars are there? So, Ford must have a rear wheel drive Lincoln, as they should the Mustang. They need a flexible platform so many can come from one. Alan M is a brilliant executive and I'm sure he understands, better today than when he started, what is needed to be successful in this business.

    Clearly the smaller cars from a packaging perspective, FWD is best because it leaves the passenger box, for passengers and cargo. I predict Ford will get its act together and will have great products that are competitive in every category in which they are marketed.
     
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  9. Ford's problem is not with performance or reliability. It's the styling.

    Aside from the Mustang, Ford has probably the worst looking car in every segment in which it competes.
     
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  10. Right Mike G.

    In the car styling sweepstakes:

    MKZ v. CTS - Winner CTS

    Milan/Fusion v. Malibu/Aura/G6 - Winner the GM's.

    Focus v. Altima - Winner, puhleeze. Even with sync.

    Taurus/Sable v. 300c/Charger, Avalon, Buicks, G8 - Winner Avalon (Maybe G8 - jury's still out.)

    Even the Mustang is plastic-ey and crappy inside, though I love the lighting.

    Ford cannot dump FWD. Even though enthusiasts like RWD, FWD is more efficient, potentially more economical and its bad-weather handling is much more predictable. In fact, with FWD you really don't even need AWD in a regular car, which is what most people should be driving in this age of $4 gas. Abandoning FWD is just as big an error as moving from an emphasis on cars to an emphasis on trucks, suv's and cuv's, a move the company is now paying for dearly.

    Selling Jaguar and/or Volvo is another big mistake.

    The company cannot live by Mustangs alone.
     
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  11. "someone needs to tell Gore and his statist minions that planetary temperatures have been steady to down for the past ten years. "

    Riiiight - and the polar ice caps haven't been melting either, have they?

    Back to Ford - Can someone tell me what's wrong with utilizing the existing DEW98 platform?
     
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  12. ford has lost its way. their new models are made of cheap hard plastic interiors,on all models. ambient lighting please. thats a joke. poorly designed comfort angles. remmber the explorer door closer of 2007 unreal.they are putting out underpowered,under engineered cheap cars. i have been a faithful ford buyer for 20 years changing every two to three years and yet they are getting worse rather than better. very disappointing.the new lincoln mkx is cute but doesnt handle very well and is noisy and underpowered compared to it competition.i hope they wake up soon.it looks like its almost over .the new 2009 f-150 front is butt ugly.
     
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  13. "Ford has lost its way. their new models are made of cheap hard plastic interiors"

    Evidently, you haven't been in a Fusion, where the plastic is not hard or all that cheap looking. Furthermore, Mustangs which have the Interior Upgrade Package are very attractive even though there are some hard plastics. Granted, both interiors can use a refresh, but I think you paint a picture that is not entirely true.
     
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  14. The idea of a lightweight RWD Mustang/sedan platform makes a lot of sense to me, especially as the country's population seems to be expanding around the waistline. To make it a truly innovative step forward, the addition of composite materials and diesel or flex fuel engines should be the norm. In a country where the maximum speed limit is 75, who needs additional horsepower over that, rather the lower end excelleration should be improved to get on such freeways/interstates. Don't count Mercury out either, it has a place as an upscale Ford, and what about producing that sharp looking "Messenger" concept of a few years back?
     
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  15. "Nick Says:
    March 25th, 2008 at 7:30 am

    “Ford has lost its way. their new models are made of cheap hard plastic interiors”

    Evidently, you haven’t been in a Fusion, where the plastic is not hard or all that cheap looking. Furthermore, Mustangs which have the Interior Upgrade Package are very attractive even though there are some hard plastics. Granted, both interiors can use a refresh, but I think you paint a picture that is not entirely true."

    I have not had the chance to rent a Fusion, but last time I was on a business trip I had to rent a Chrysler/Dodge Avenger, a Charger wannabe, and its interior was pitifully lame, fullof hard plastics and blind spots due to the idiotic exterior design and poor ergonomics.

    I am amazed people shell out close to $20,000 to buy this POS.

    BAck to fords: Again, I have not samped the interiors lately, but their exterior designs go from the inoffensive and just boring (Fusion, Taurus, Freestyle) to the downright ugly (several Lincolns)

    and the real problem with Ford is really with the demise of its luxury division Lincoln, which insists on taking FOrds, re-badging them, perhaps with some luxury inside, but making them even uglier on the outside, with its silly retro grille.

    And it is the LUXURY segment where the domestics have suffered their most devastating defeats over the last 30 years. it USED to be that Caddilac and Lincoln had up to 90% of the Luxury market, now the IMPORTS have 83%, and most of them are GERMAN, not even Japanese.
     
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  16. PS Speaking of Fords andd exterior styling, I forgot to mention the pathetic "new" (but NOT the excellent new platform they have in Europe, the US Focus uses the OLD platform still!) FOCUS.

    They "freshened" the ugly design and made it WORSE. The front headlights-grille combo is truly pathetic. The car will still sell in today;s market, because the secretaries that buy it need its high MPG and could care less about its ugly styling and antiquated platform and mechanicals.
     
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