Ford Bold Moves, Episode 15 has hit the internets and is available for viewing. This week's episode focuses on the concept car and its perilous path to production, specifically the journey made by the Fairlane Concept that debuted at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show. The Fairlane Concept is scheduled to debut as a production vehicle in 2008 under a new name, and the episode shows us why the Fairlane was given the go ahead and other concepts passed over. Of particular interest are some scenes from a boardroom meeting with Mark Fields, Ford's President of the Americas and the guy in charge of implementing the Way Forward turnaround plan. Fields says in the meeting, "We all know how hard and desperately we need this product." Really? Really, Mark? We're not suggesting that the Fairlane doesn't have the chops to make it in the market. In fact, we think it does thanks to its fresh take on the modern minivan. However, even though the Fairlane will be significantly larger than the Freestyle CUV already on sale by the company, doesn't anyone notice a little overlap? Ford should move the Freestyle over to Mercury as the Meta One and give the Fairlane and Edge some room to breathe. It seems Ford's product portfolio just keeps getting fatter and fatter at a time when the company needs fewer products that hit their intended targets better. The inside of a Ford showroom is going to become a crowded place in the coming years, at least with cars. For Ford's sake, let's hope with customers, too.
BTW: Look closely during the video and you'll see some great sneak peeks. At the beginning we see a clay model of the production Fairlane's front end, and it's sitting next to a concept that's blurred out. Later on we also see a Fairlane with four doors that open forward instead of the suicide doors found on the concept. We also get a glimpse of the Fairlane's production dash from a picture hanging on a board in the background. (Thanks for the eagle eyes, Jeff!)
[Source: Ford Bold Moves]