Ford's Wixom plant ceased operations today after 50 years of building Lincolns. So while my '66 Thunderbird is now something of an orphan, I'm wondering more about the future of three very old vehicles that still bring in pretty good business for Ford.
We're talking about the Town Car, and its platform-sharing Ford Crown Vic and Mercury Grand Marquis. The Town Car, now that Wixom is out of business, is being moved to St. Thomas, Ontario - the plant where the latter two cars already are built. The problem is, Ford's still yet to announce what it will close in a final phase of its Way Forward - and St. Thomas is on that list of potential closures.
We know a little bit about the arguments within Ford to kill all three. They're fleet sellers, which means low profits, and designing a new platform only for the trio is financially out of the question. So if the circle of options only includes North America, it looks like the plan is for Ford to sell the current vehicles, update them as needed, and pull the plug when sales drip below a certain level.
There is an intriguing option we talked about earlier this year. Ford said its Australian operations would be a significant source of future products - rear-drive ones at that. Like GM, Ford is thought to be considering a new range of rear-drivers spun from an architecture developed by its Aussie arm. And as usual, when these rumors begin to float, the usual Aussie Falcon sedan has made an appearance at Dearborn HQ--likely for "evaluation purposes."
It's a do or die moment for these products - but we want to hear your take. Should Ford keep the limo builders happy and keep the Town Car alive? Should a new rear-drive lineup along the lines of Ford's Interceptor take the place of the trio? Or is there room in the Ford portfolio for both?