Last post on Jun 07, 2008 at 4:54 PM
You are in the Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis
What is this discussion about?
Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Sedan
#83 of 152 Don't kill the Town Car, Crown Vic, and Grand Marquis!
Aug 03, 2007 (11:40 am)
I've read the same things. I've also read and heard, from a few lower level internal sources, that the CV/GM/TC as we know them, are to be killed after 2009. Ford has very few resources and is running scared. They know they've made a lot of mistakes, and now they're in crisis/survival mode. As a result they're betting the house on a few new new products, platforms and engines (ie: twinforce), selling off assets (except Ford Credit, hopefully) to help fund it, and hoping for success. They know they need to do things differently than before (at least they've come to that painfull recognition); but in my opinion, that doesn't mean amputate your left arm because a couple fingers are dead: just cut off those fingers and move on. This will be another move that they will live to regret. Make the Flex, make the MK-S, replace the Ranger (way over due), build a lot of the hot new concepts (Lord knows we need em). But at least put a few dollars into something that has a proven track record and a reasonable chance of success.
You're right the difference between the '02 to '03 TC was not as visually dramatic as between the '97 to '98. The '03 was a significant mid-model facelift. Look at the two side by side, the differences are subtle but easily noticeable. Also significant interior changes. Ford will never spend the $$$ for a complete re-do of these cars; heck, they're choosing to be 'penny wise and pound foolish' by not investing in the decent facelift I'm proposing. I just hope that Mr. Mullaly (Ford's CEO) will happen to read comments like the ones in this chat, and do something sensible about it. A major re-styling/re-engineering would be great, but I don't expect it. If they did, then these cars could live on for at least one more styling generation 7-10 years. With a decent facelift and interior messaging, these cars would see a spike in interest and sales, and could soldier on for at least 4-5 more years.
Regarding the Mustang's 300hp engine; that would be great in a Crown Vic XL 500 (remember the old Galaxie XL 500), or another Marauder. But for the Town Car, I think low-end torque and the horse power numbers are achieved. Also you don't pollute the Mustang's performance image by putting it's engine in grandpa's Town Car, maybe dad's Marauder is okay though. Besides the older dads and grand-dads would be more appreciative of engine size and the slower-roller, grunt force of the 5.4L, 300hp engine from the Navigator.
One thing I will say about Ford is, their interiors have improved far more over the last dozen years than any other manufacturers. They are closer to Audi quality (the industry standard for interiors) than to that of General Motors. And their quality has been improving by leaps and bounds. It's unfortunate that customers need to see significant styling changes outside before they'll look at the inside of a car, but that's the way it is. Witness the Windstar to Freestar mistake. The new car's interior was nicely done (except they missed the boat by dropping only the rear seat into the floor, Chrysler and Honda killed them on that one), and it was well engineered. But instead of spending the money to significantly change the look, they thought they could fool the customers into looking past the near identical exterior, by changing the NAME. I am a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury guy, always have been, and my family was a FORD family. Even when I lampoon them, it's my way of telling them where they're going wrong, because I really want to see them survive and thrive. If Ford goes away, a big piece of AMERICANA gets flushed down the toilet. WAKE UP FORD, THERE ARE A LOT OF US OUT HERE WHO WILL BUY YOUR PRODUCTS, YOU JUST GOTTA MAKE WHAT WE WANT!
Aug 06, 2007 (7:16 am)
if they put a 300 HP engine in the CV, don't add $5000 to the sticker like with the Marauder...then engine just isnt't worth $5K additional over the cost of the standard 239 HP V8...pull that trick and they could easily lose me forever...
#85 of 152 Re: Also, [marsha7]
Aug 06, 2007 (8:35 am)
Would you pay $500 more to have the 300 hp engine? I would because I don't trade every three or four years.
#86 of 152 Re: Also, [marsha7]
Aug 06, 2007 (4:01 pm)
Marsha: There was a lot more to the Marauder than just a 300 HP engine, but I'll agree with you that $5000 was too much of a premium for what you got. They should've put the 5.4L engine out of the SVT F150 Lightning pick-up in that car, along with more performance tuning, sporty interior upgrades (seats, gauges, etc.) and a few more performance oriented sheet metal tweaks (to give it more of a visual difference); then they could have commanded $10,000 more, and gotten it gladly from all the folks like me who could remember the original Marauder. Ford needs to stop doing a half-baked job, or else they're gonna loose a lot of folks forever. Either go all the way and do it right, or else start fading slowly into bankruptcy and out of business. Let's hope for better.
#87 of 152 Re: Also, [euphonium]
Aug 06, 2007 (4:15 pm)
A 300 HP engine would probably cost more than $500 to bring to market, but I think it could easily be done for $1000. The Mustang 4.6L is a high performance engine and might even cost more than the 5.4L engine from the Navigator. That 5.4L is not only 300 HP, but is a torque monster and a slower spinning engine, which makes it ideal for the Town Car. And with the Town Car's taller axle ratio, the gas mileage probably won't suffer much if anything at all. With the 5.4L's 365 lbs-ft. of torque, it won't have to work as hard to get that 4500 lbs. of iron moving. Also, I think the engine life expectancy will be longer. So, for those of you who want to keep your cars for 8, 10, or even 12 years or more, that should represent a good value.
#88 of 152 Re: It's official... [euphonium]
Aug 06, 2007 (5:05 pm)
You're right! CV: relegated to Livery/GSA pool/Law Enforcement. GM: marketed as LS & LS Premium to Rental & Commercial Fleets, & Public mostly on an order basis. TC: Executive Series, Limo/Livery only; Signature/Designer Series, Rental/Commercial Fleets & Public mostly on an order basis. 2008 models, late arrivals (Dec/Jan), as production moved to Canada plant. Virtually no visual or technical difference from 2007 models, maybe a new color or two and more streamlined packaging for simplicity. As I hear it, ditto for 2009, after which these models will probably be terminated. BIG MISTAKE!!! I guess maybe I'll keep my '05 TC and maybe replace it in a few years with an '07/'08/'09, late model, low mileage used one. No need to buy an '08/'09 new, just not enough difference from my current car. I hear Chrysler is looking to do a 6" stretch version of the 300; I may look at one of those when it comes out, or the rear drive Cady I hear may be on the drawing board. But who knows, Ford may get smart and re-do the TC. Then again maybe they have a real surprise for us, a totally new full size, rear drive (Aussie) platformed car. Now that could be a good thing, as long as they do it right. I guess we can dream.
#89 of 152 Bringing 300 HP to market
Aug 07, 2007 (7:24 am)
and what it would cost are two very different things...I would suppose that the actual cost to Ford is barely over $100 per car (what is the actual cost difference for a different valve or piston shapr???...almost nothing), but what they want to charge for it is something else...
They could easily do it for $500 and I would certainly pay $500 for the better engine...but $5000???...no way, I will wave goodbye to Ford and buy a competitor product...now, no $500 for Ford or $5000, I am gone...
But they could upgrade the CV with the better engine, put in real sport seats for another $100 (their economies of scale are immense, and the actual difference is cost is hardly anything, yet the comfort to the driver is a world of difference), upgrade the dash and radio for almost nothing (it has to have a dash and radio, anyway) so it is a little more modern, like something in say, the 1990s (......), and just make it into a 21st century family sedan...with all the tooling almost paid for...
#90 of 152 Re: Bringing 300 HP to market [marsha7]
Aug 07, 2007 (2:47 pm)
I used to work for Ford; am still peripherally associated with the car business. I know a little something about the manufacturing and marketing ends, albeit not a tremendous amount about the bean-counting, but am converstionally acquainted with that as well.
Don't want to get into a tit-for-tat about it, so suffice it to say, there are many of other considerations besides just dropping a different engine into a car. I agree, the 4 valves in the 4.6L as opposed to the 3 valves in the 5.4L are not really a big issue. Sometimes extra power, torque, and or weight requires stronger tranny seals, suspension tweaks, cooling upgrades, and more. Even at Ford's economies of scale, it is not possible to make the changes we're talking about for a 'C-Note'. Putting more padding in the seats, maybe. But putting in structurally superior, ergonomically improved seating (good idea) would cost a lot more than $100. Changing the dash (another good idea) requires re-engineering; everything has to be re-designed into the new dash and tolerances have to be tight (Ford is improving there). Sometimes changing one thing throws all else out of alignment.
Bottom line, $250-$350 million or so invested into the CV/GM/TC trio for a significant facelift, interior upgrade and power boost would probably trigger a nice sales spike. It may cost Ford $400, $500 or even $600 a copy to do it right; and I wouldn't begrudge them charging $1000 more. After all, everyone is entitled to a reasonable profit, and a few hundred dollars extra profit x a bunch more cars may entice them to do it; and that would be a good thing. Besides, the difference between $50k and $51k aint much of nothin, if it means the difference in getting a car that's improved, as opposed to getting warmed over oatmeal.
Oh, by the way, yes the tooling is paid for, and yes they've been cash cows for Ford. But with the recent cut in margins to narrow the sticker price-to-transaction price difference, and the continuing high cost of incentives (rebates/subvented financing), a lot of that profit is now gone. That's the real reason why Ford would consider killing their (used to be) Cash Cow. Make it look different, feel better, act stronger and I think many folks (like me) will come buy another one; after all why buy the same thing with a higher year designation, when the old thing is working just fine. I want my new car to look like a new car, I even want my neighbors to know that I have a new car (vain as that might sound), and most consumers (even commercial consumers) are like that, so there's a lot of sales that Ford's loosing. Hell, we might even get a few of those Cadillac, Buick and Chrysler customers to jump ship.
One more thing, I really like the upcoming MK-S, I really do. I just believe that that car is going to draw a very different type of customer. Heck, I might even buy one of those myself after I take a good look at it. But the Town Car customer is really more of a Cadillac, Buick, and maybe even a S-Class Benz, Lexus LS-Series type of buyer. Big car luxury and/or definately RWD oriented. They definately are not BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, or Cadillac Catera buyers. The MK-S will appeal more to them. And that's a good thing, Ford needs to capture that type of buyer. But in addition to maybe buying an MK-S, I would DEFINATELY buy a new Town Car, if it were done right, and I know lots and lots of people who would. Besides, you aint gonna find Limo/Livery buyers driving an MK-S. Or cops driving a Ford Fusion or even a Taurus (500) as a Police Cruiser. No sense in Ford driving their customers over to the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger showrooms. That's like handing Chrysler a gift. WAKE-UP Ford! This market is your birthright. Fight to keep it, or piss a lot of folks off.
Anyway, there you have it.
#91 of 152 It's just like...
Sep 30, 2007 (8:56 am)
In WWII, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and destroyed many of our battleships, the Navy brass became very anti-battleship. Tactics of the war and the determination of those in charge hastened the advent of the aircraft carrier as the "capital ship" of choice.
Now, even though you can get chapter and verse from the Marines how it is wise to reactivate the Missouri, Iowa, New Jersey and Wisconsin for duty in shore bombardment and fleet defense, there is as much chance of that happening as there is of Ford keeping these platforms.
What's the tie in? Well, just as much as one can make the case for continuing these cars in an era of renewed interest in RWD platforms, nobody at FMC is going to open their ears and listen, the logic be d**ned.
Right or wrong, I would guess the Congressional mutterings about raising CAFE standards are being used as an extra nail in the coffin of the Panther cars. And, talking points I can also guess will highlight the interior space of the new Taurus/old 500 as being superior to the CV/GM and dealers will be told to tell people "whatcha griping about?"...in so many words.
A few years ago when the Marauder was announced I was excited, thinking we'd get to keep these cars for a good many years. So much for that notion
#92 of 152 Re: It's just like... [bigunit67]
Sep 30, 2007 (10:15 pm)
Got the tie in bigunit67. Coincidentally, I was in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, and remember those old battle-wagons being re-commissioned and then de-commissioned again. And you're right, there's virtually no chance of them coming back again, though some try to make a case for the impressive shelling barrage they can lay down during a conventional conflict.
And again you're right, Ford probably won't continue the Panther trio. The difference though is that Ford, even after re-pricing these cars closer to actual transaction prices, is still making money on them. And Ford still pretty much owns the police cruiser and livery markets unto themselves, and shares ownership of the geriatric and near-geriatric crowd with Buick. Currently there is nothing out there that those markets would strongly prefer over the current stalwarts. Granted, the 60-80 year old generation is dieing away, but there are still enough of us old fogies left with enough disposable income to buy another round of these old behemoths.
Ford is currently looking at an Australian rwd platform as a replacement for it's large rwd cars, and I agree that's a much better long term solution, after all, there's not much more messaging that can be done on the Panther platform. But there is currently nothing in the Ford stable that can fill the void that would be left if Ford kills those cars. Sure, given no other choice, the market place will find it's own replacements. But will they be Ford products? And after the defections, will Ford be able to win back those defectors? Maybe, maybe not. But even if they do, they'll have to fight for what was heretofore theirs, and that could be quite expensive. I subscribe to the theory that you keep what's yours, while trying to take a little of the enemy's turf. You don't hand the enemy your turf on a silver platter and then hope to win it back later. My suggestion to Ford is, invest enough in a significant facelift to buy yourself enough time (3-4 yrs.) to get that new Aussie platform developed into world-class replacements for these cars. Something that'll be competitive for the next 15-20 years.
Ford doesn't have very deep pockets, so they've gotta make some smart moves, but they've also gotta take some chances. I think investing $250-$350 mil, maybe even $500 million in the CV/GM/TC trio could produce a change similar in magnitude as that of the '07 Expedition/Navigator, or the '08 Escape/Mariner. That would be enough of a change to drive most of their current market back into their showrooms for another dose. It'd be enough of a change to drive sales without the $10k rebate programs. Like I said before, people want their new car to look like a new car, and all of the name-changing (eg: MK-TC) aint gonna do it. Remember the Windstar/Freestar debacle? By giving us a substantially spiffed up new chariot, police departments, limo companies, semi-old fogies (like me), as well as the old fogies would all be happy to stay in the fold while Ford gets it's act together.
Oh, by the way, gas mileage numbers aren't all that bad on these cars, given what they compete with; besides, they're not being hit with gas-guzzler surcharges as many cars are. And as far as the new Taurus/Sable being superior to CV/GM, you're right, but tell that to all the major law enforcement agencies that test the hell out of virtually every concievable police cruiser, and still virtually all of them keep tapping the Crown Vic as the cruiser of choice, despite a few glaring soft spots. And while you're at it, try telling BMW, M/Bnz, Lexus, etc., that front wheel drive is the better drive system choice for a large luxury car. Heck, even Cadillac has seen the error of their ways and is making the switch back to rwd. Consumer demand has always been the stronger driver of product developement, despite CAFE. The answer for CAFE standards is hybrids (better yet diesel/electric hybrids) in short-term, hydrogen fuel cell technology in the mid-term, and vastly improved mass-transit infrastructure and consumer transit appetites in the long-term.