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Sunday, January 08, 2006


Detroit Auto show - Day 1 Continues

Ford Plays Cobo Arena

No…it wasn’t Van Halen, reuniting for a show at Cobo arena. It was the Ford Motor Company press conference, starring Bill Ford, Jim Padilla, Mark Fields, Carroll Shelby and J. Mays. The theme, Driving American Innovation leaves me cold, frankly.

I won’t dwell on the concepts too much…I’ve never been a big fan of concepts that are futuristic. I’ve always preferred concepts that are grounded in reality…and could be produced in short order…and the Ford Super Chief (based on the Fseries) and Reflex just struck me as vehicles that are not likely to be built anytime soon.

The all new Edge and Shelby GT500 are a different story, however. Let’s start with the Shelby…it’s nice to see this car make it back…and from the specs…Ford has done the right thing. Here are the numbers that matter to fans…5.4 liter, supercharged V8, 475 horsepower, 18x9.5 inch wheels and the familiar racing stripe down the center of the car. Although I don’t believe much in the halo effect of performance cars on sales, I do believe that cars like this make people remember the Ford that used to lead instead of follow (e.g. Taurus, Explorer, Mustang). And THAT is a good thing for the future of Ford Motor Company.

Ford enters the new “CUV” segment, Crossover utility vehicle, with the 2007 Edge.

"Edge underscores the bold, American design direction for all Ford vehicles going forward," says Mark Fields, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company. "Edge also is packed with Ford innovation – from its panoramic glass roof and laptop-friendly center console to fuel-saving engine and advanced safety features. We expect Edge to make waves in the hot crossover market this year just like the Fusion did for midsize cars last year."

One can see the new signature Ford grille as well as clean lines. In addition to a 250 hp engine, Edge offers a Panorama roof and will be available in AWD.

Ford’s Press materials wouldn’t be complete without charts that show how Ford will be the only “domestic” in the modern/aspirational CUV category. Based on what I see…a very nice execution in styling, powertrain and features for the volume market. If Ford can deliver on quality, a strong step in the right direction.

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