2005 Ford Freestyle Page 1

2004 Ford auto show logo

2004 Ford auto show logo

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2004 Detroit Auto Show Coverage (1/4/2004)

 

With the NAIAS introduction of its all-new Freestyle, Ford reinforces the crossover vehicle as a prime industry direction, not just this year’s niche segment. The Freestyle is also a prime ingredient in Ford’s campaign to make 2004 the “Year of the Car,” after the company focused on successfully launching its new F-150 pickup during 2003. The Freestyle’s mission is to remind people of an SUV with its exterior styling; give them the best components of a minivan interior albeit with more distinctive design but not make you think station wagon, though in fact it’s closer to a wagon than any existing model from Ford or any other manufacturer. 

Calling the Freestyle “a medium crossover with the right package and the right powertrain,” Phil Martens preached to journalists that the Freestyle “was purposely-built vehicle to be a crossover, not like (Chrysler) Pacifica or (Buick) Rendezvous, with compromises in handling due to their platform.” As Ford’s Group VP for product creation, Martens sees the Volvo-based Freestyle giving Ford advantages in the upcoming crossover wars. “The competition has missed its opportunity because packaging and refinement aren’t there yet. But packaging rules, along with offering front-wheel- or all-wheel-drive.”

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2005 Ford Freestyle

2005 Ford Freestyle

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So besides underpinnings from Volvo’s P2 platform (S80, S60 and V70), what else does the Freestyle have going for it? Plenty, with much of it derived specifically from customer input as opposed to what Ford designers and engineers originally figured their bosses inside world headquarters wanted. “This was always designed to be a family vehicle,” said Amy Marentic, Freestyle and Five Hundred marketing manager. “But the image of their vehicle matters to this customer. They wanted SUV capability and minivan-like seating but with sedan comfort. We didn’t want (to design) another SUV or have a model name starting with E (a la Explorer or Expedition).”
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