Ford's Big Plan Boosts Small Cars, Mercury--and Ranger

July 24, 2008
2010 Ford Fiesta

2010 Ford Fiesta

Ford's plan for restructuring the company includes a comprehensive move into smaller crossover vehicles and European cars, and gives the evergreen Ranger yet another reprieve from the chopping block.

The plan, announced this morning by the company as it faces an $8.7 billion net loss for the second quarter--after $8 billion in one-time charges--will cut truck production at three plants and will bring over a raft of new vehicles, including a production version of the Lincoln MKT concept we showed you earlier this year, as well as a new small car for Mercury in 2010, along with the long-awaited hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans.

“We continue to take fast and decisive action implementing our plan and responding to the rapidly changing business environment,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “Ford is moving aggressively using our global product strengths to introduce additional smaller vehicles in North America and to provide outstanding fuel economy with every new product.”

The sprawling, no-stone-unturned plan has many products moving, dying or living on--here's the official word from Ford:

  • 2009 Ford F-150: the new truck goes on sale in the fall with a 7-percent fuel economy boost, Ford says

  • 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ: these sedans go on sale in early 2009,; the Fusion and Milan will exceed fuel economy of four-cylinder Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords

  • 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid: Ford says fuel economy will top the Toyota Camry Hybrid

  • 2010 Ford Mustang: Will come in coupe, convertible, and glass-roof models starting in early 2009; expects a Los Angeles auto show debut

  • 2010 Ford Taurus: the new four-door will emerge in mid-2009 with EcoBoost engines

  • 2010 Ford Transit Connect: this small multi-purpose van arrives in mid-2009

  • 2010 Lincoln seven-passenger crossover: the production version of the Lincoln MKT concept arrives with a 300-hp-plus EcoBoost V-6 in mid-2009

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta: built in Mexico, the new Ford Fiesta arrives in both four- and five-door versions in early 2010

  • 2011 Ford Focus comes over from Europe in both four- and five-door versions in 2010

  • 2011 Mercury small car: could be spawned from either the Fiesta or Focus, it in 2010; Ford confirms Mercury will stay in its lineup of brands

  • 2011 European small vehicle: a “whitespace” entry in North America, Ford says, this likely is a version of Ford's European C-Max midi-van; it's due in 2010

  • 2011 Ford Explorer: likely built from the Ford Taurus platform and replacing the Taurus X in nomenclature, this was previewed by the Explorer America concept from the Detroit auto show. Ford says with unibody construction, EcoBoost, six-speed, weight savings and up to 25 percent better fuel economy, the new Explorer arrives in 2010

  • In addition, Ford plans to upgrade or replace all its engines in U.S. vehicles by 2010, and to offer six-speed transmissions on most of its products. Ford also plans to offer its direct-injection, turbocharged EcoBoost engines on more than 80 percent of its North American lineup by the end of 2012.

  • And finally, Ford will extend the life of the Ford Ranger pickup for another two years. Its plant in Minnesota had been planned for closure next year; Ford will build the compact truck there for at least another two years.

Ford's plans are underpinned by the assumption that a U.S. economic recovery won't come for at least 18 more months; that Ford will control about 14 percent of the U.S. market with its domestic brands (Volvo not included); and that the price of oil isn't going anywhere soon.
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