• Sep 2, 2006
You knew this was coming. Ever since Ford confirmed that the full-size Fairlane crossover (pictured) was going into production, the writing has been on the wall for Ford's big box minivans, and Friday the other shoe finally dropped, with The Detroit News reporting that Ford's minivans are dead.

It turns out this week marked the end of production for the Mercury Monterey, and the last Ford Freestar is rumored to roll off the line next spring. As a result, Ford will go down in history as the first U.S. automaker to stop selling traditional three-row minivans. Whether or not this marks the beginning of the end for the minivan, or just signals Ford's inability to compete with the big dogs in the segment (DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Honda), only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Ford is hoping that it will be more successful competing on a fresh playing field with its new crossover, which debuts in 2008.

[Source: The Detroit News]




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  • 37 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm tired of continous comments about Ford not having stylish cars. The Fusion/Milan/MKZ are as good looking if not better than any similar sized car, and for my tastes, better looking the the 300/Charger duo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford's new slogan: We are lost--------
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford's Windslug is known for having the worst engine ever produced with people being stranded and left with a 5k bill for blown defective gaskets. Then there is the transmissions that go out every 37k miles.

      And of course there are the Ford "engineers" if you can call them that that forgot to put a sliding door on the OTHER side too like Chrysler. Remember that debacle?

      Minivans are as popular as ever with Honda's Odyssey being a luxury liner with space and practicality. Ford is just inept with their employees looking to retirement (which won't be there anyway) instead of actually working.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's the macho thing to knock the minivan, sorta like hating automatic transmissions. Fact is, few vehicles have ever been more cleverly designed
      than the original minivan. If you actually want something to take you from point A to point B they are an intelligent choice. If you want something to prove
      your manhood, look elsewhere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't think anyone ( well very few people ) will miss Ford's minivans... they never really "got it" like Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The market's pretty much wrapped up with those three.... Ford and the General would do best to not bother.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A lot of misperceptions in the comments. We have had two minivans and loved them both (One was the Aerostar and the other a Caravan). We only have two kids but the hauling difference between a SUV and a minivan is large. Minivans allowed us to carry 2 adults, 2 kids, a dog, and stuff for all comfortably. No SUV or crossover comes close. No it wasn't sexy, although the Caravan has nice styling, but man was it useful. We now have a SUV because my wife tired of the van and she wanted something with some flair. But as a basic people/stuff mover, minivans are great. Every family (with kids) should have one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I never looked at the SUV as a child-hauling vehicle, but the minivan was perfect for that market. And considering that humans can be more responsible with their thier wicks, I would say child-haulers would permanently be in need.

      For Ford to kill the minivan from their linesup would mean they are admitting they can't compete, but does that surprise anyone anyway? Maybe they can kill their entire line-up. lol
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford Europe has two great compact minivans in the Focus and galaxey models, more akin to the Mazda5. They ought to get a jump on this new segment. Honda and toyata have vans this size at home, and since they seem to be able to certify their cars at the drop of a hat this segment may become jambed before you know it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am not sure that Ford's competition was all that much better than Ford's minivan, but Ford was certainly outmarketed. Can you remember a single ad for the Windstar, Freestar, Loststar?

      Ford needs some marketing help more than anything else right now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #21 Barney

      I agree with you. But unfortunately I am not sure Bill Ford is on the bandwagon yet.

      Bill watched the rapid turnaround success that Rick Wagoner has had over at GM. Now he is apparently trying to emulate that program. That isn't going to work for Ford.

      Ford must learn to FOCUS on what returns the greatest dividends over the longest period of time. By selling off Ford Motor Credit, he would only be weakening his position. By selling off his potentially greatest revenue producing assets (PAG), he (and the shareholders) will be the only winners in the short term. The company would be facing the same problem all over again later next year.

      Mercury is a dying brand that should be laid to rest. It eats up Ford's precious resources without sufficient return to maintain current levels of profitability.

      Similarily Lincoln is a tarnished brand. No serious luxury car buyer would consider purchasing a 'livery' labelled auto. Lincoln is for all intents and purposes Found On Road Dead and cannot effectively hope to help turnaround the company.

      Ford, itself, is in dire straits with no appealing models online or even on tap for that matter. Mustang is their sole breadwinner. Pickups and SUVs are hurting the company bigtime with a 25% reduction in production. I seriously wonder if they will return a profit for Ford this year.

      So no matter how much they sell all their crown jewels for, Ford will only have enough dough to remain in business for one more year. They only have $13 billion in the bank as a cushion against unforseen circumstances. Well, that has happened. But they require $13 billion to operate next year. The rope is pretty tight around the neck, isn't it?

      A short term strategy like they are proposing will only breed disaster for next year. Their current business model has been superceeded and absconded by Toyota. Therefore Ford should be looking for a bold new long term solution; a more upscale position in the marketplace with greater potential for profits; but a much smaller production and sales volume. That is the only solution that will work for them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Consider:
      1. Ford has to retreat from a market of 1MM vehicles annually.
      2. Those who argue that it's a shrinking market, well, seems like the top 3 minivan players keep growing their minivan sales. Ody has its best sales month/year recently.
      3. These three players, actually have hits all across their vehicle line-ups, yes, more so for Toyota/Honda than Chrysler.
      4. What does Ford have aside from F-150, Mustang, and the occassional car hits?
      5. Minivan is anti-fun? Aside from the fact that full size Chrysler minivans/Sienna/Ody usually have larger interior volume than most SUVs (save Suburban class), better mileage, etc. etc., these cars usually are better driving cars than any SUVs out there. Ody will out-accelerate, out-handle most SUVs, some "sport sedans", and even some coupes. Ody came in 2nd and 3rd in their class in the recent C&D One Lap of America.


      • 8 Years Ago
      I see some anti-minivan comments here. I like minivans. And yes I drive one.

      I believe that form follows function - I like practical, useful machines that don't sacrifice function for style.

      Minivans are not meant to impress anyone or show people you are rich. They are designed to provide the greatest utility in the most efficient package.

      Compare a Chrysler, Honda, or Toyota Minivan to a Chevy Tahoe. About a thousand pounds lighter, does much better job hauling 6-8 people. Significantly better fuel economy.

      Someone said that "minivans are less capable than SUV's". SUV's were originally designed to be more capable *off road* while sacrificing handling. An SUV is actually less capable on the highway - their high center of gravity makes them a rollover risk.

      The minivan won't go away, and it is a major segment. GM and Ford have basically given up this segment, their offerings are, well, lame.

      One comment is that minivan drivers are not competent. This is the typical "anyone who drives what I don't is a bad driver" comment. Safety statistics for minivans are quite good, and believe that this is in part due to the drivers - middle aged moms and dads driving their families around. Again we don't care about impressing anyone.
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