• Oct 13, 2006


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]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a hard time believing Mark Fields is brimming with fresh, cutting-edge ideas when he apparently hasn't had a new hairstyle since 1989.
      • 8 Years Ago
      " The inside of a Ford showroom is going to be a crowded place in the future..."

      Actually, Ford had a fairly crowded showroom several times in it's past (mid to late '70s and early '90s), then they ditched a passel of cars to build trucks and SUVs. The Maverick lasted 7 years, the Pinto lasted....too long, the excellent Fiesta lasted just 4 years, the Probe, just 7 and 1/2 years, the outgoing (let's not call it the LAST) T-Bird lasted less than 4 years. So Ford has a track record of filling the showroom with cars, but not customers. Let's hope this time is different. We've screamed, "Just build 'em and we will buy 'em". Now we better buy 'em.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I knew they'd chicken out and put normal doors on the production version.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't think it is a good idea to say "We are American and we are different". Just build excellent products and the customers will then brand them themselves as American and whatever. It has a bad connotation right now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lets see. Ford makes a 240hp V8 town car with a 4 speed automatic, and a 265hp V6 with 6 speed automatic for the Lincoln Ford Edge
      Enough with the V8s, GM might enlarge the 4.2 inline6 with the bigger bores of the 2.9I4 & 3.7I5, add a variable resonance intake manifold to make a 300+hp 4.4 inline6, it already received the bigger valves when the power went up from 275hp to 291hp.

      Where is Fords 4.0 of the 3.5V6?
      • 8 Years Ago
      "...Last year Fieldsy couldn't stop talking about the Bold New Ford Edge! But Ford has remained relatively silent lately about the Edge because they realize it will not have the affect they hoped when it hits showrooms this winter. So already they are giving up on their short term product plan and throwing their hype with a product that won't be out for another 18 months at the earliest? Just gives me little faith in Ford's future product plans."...

      Silent? If you haven't heard or read about the Edge lately you must not follow the industry very religiously.

      What do you want them to do? Maybe pull a Pontiac fiasco and have Oprah or Ellen give them away and hype it so Joe Consumer can rush down the local Ford dealer only to be told.."Nope. Those aren't available for another two months." That was a marketing disaster for GM and Ford is wise to wait until the vehicle is closer to production.

      In the next few weeks pre-production Edge's will be available for media folks to test drive. By the time they write and publish their articles, the first Edges will begin arriving at the dealerships. Potential customers can then read the article or visit the Edge website and head on down to the dealer for a test drive themselves.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There's good footage there of the interior, too, which, btw, looks fantastic. Everything shown seems production ready. The Fairlane seems far more expensive-looking and interesting than the Pilots and Siennas, and like I commented on their site, it has an air of Range Rover to it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      2008 could mean January or September, you never know. You have the 2008 Escape coming in 3 months. You got a pretty good look at the interior there. Hopefully the materials are good quality.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I used to work in those rooms and in the Product Development Center. Definitely some fantastic eye candy on the floors and on the walls. Most of it never hits the streets. At one time, I saw four T-bird concepts, from chromed-out cruiser to modern street rocket. Too bad Fords can't seem to get it together, even with this Fairlane...
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Fairlane has been warmly received by the auto press and the public as an exciting and handsome crossover. This is a good-looking and handsome CUV and is just what Ford needs to create excitement in the company's image, replacing the dependence Ford has had on big, flavorless trucks like the F-150 and Explorer. I only hope the Fairlane isn't watered down: I was a little disappointed with how less exciting the retro Mustang turned out compared to the '03 Detroit concept.
      • 8 Years Ago
      cowboy Bob,
      I agree that it should definately have a v-8 as an option. That would make it the perfect family vehicle: the passanger capacity of a minivan with out the lame looks at the ability to confidently haul.

      I'm going to have to disagree about the rear-wheel drive. While AWD should be an option, the base NEEDS to be FWD. The families who would buy this are much more concerned about handling in wet and snowy conditions than how it handles out of a corner.

      I was at a family wedding a few weeks ago, and my 35-55 year old aunts and uncles were talking about cars, and they ALL thought FWD (or AWD) was a requirement for any car they would buy as an everyday car.

      I know RWD is for the drivers car (it's what I drive), but for a company like Ford that's trying to sell cars, FWD is the way they have to go.
      • 8 Years Ago
      that pic fo te interior hanging on the wll reminded me of the recently upgraded Nissan Maxima interior
      and that is not a bad thing

      it looked pretty nice

      exterior is like a cross between a range rover and an enlarged mini cooper, but it is neither as cool as the Mini not has the presence of the Range Rover
      overall, i'd rather drive this than a minivan - thou i will never own either
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