• Oct 30, 2007
At the prodding of Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co. is relenting and giving its customers what they want. At least most of them. What Ford's up to is reducing the number of options for buyers to choose from and rolling all that goodness into the standard package. By reducing the number of possible variations on the general theme, production costs decrease. With fewer configurations, things move more smoothly at the assembly level, and engineering and management costs decrease, as well. The effort has already kicked off, and it will snowball from model to model, making it easier for customers to get what they want, and increasing the odds that dealers will have the cars customers want on their lots. The simplification effort is a step that can be enacted quickly; a lot faster than bringing over a platform from somewhere else. It's all part of an effort to chip away at the losses and return black ink to the ledger. More stuff, packaged the way we like it? Sounds like a win.

[Source: Auto News - sub req.]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      The following things should be standard on every car:
      - 6 airbags
      - vehicle skid control
      - 4 disc brakes with ABS
      - steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control
      - a 6 speaker stereo with HD radio, CD player, iPod jack and input for satellite radio
      - one-touch up/down on power windows
      - remote unlocking of doors
      - firm but well padded seats

      The Premium package should include:
      - leather, heated electric seats
      - moonroof
      - upgraded trim (wood or aluminum)
      - alloy rims, one size larger
      - electrochromatic rear view mirror
      - additional speakers for upgraded stereo with bluetooth and satellite radio
      - additional chrome to dress up exterior
      - adjustable pedals

      The Super Premium package should add:
      - really nice leather with memory on seats and mirrors
      - branded, amazing stereo (e.g. Harmon Kardon, Levinson,...)
      - navigation system
      - entertainment system in family vehicles

      There should also be a Sport Package with premium rims, summer tires, sportier seats, driving lights and spoiler.

      That's it. Pick your equipment level, your color and transmission and be on your way. If consumers want something else, let them get it aftermarket.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm amazed this wasn't done a long time ago. When pricing out a Mustang GT last year, I was vexed as to why side air bags, the premium package, interior upgrades were all options.

      Any line should have no more than 3 levels, ala Honda. Even Toyota has way too many option packages.

      The only exclusion I would make is to the work truck line.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So when can I get my F-150 with a V6 Turbo Diesel?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Do people even know what they want?
      • 7 Years Ago
      No this doesn't work well. Packages are just a way to increase profit margins by combining one desirable option in with a bunch of trash nobody else wants and then using the package as an excuse to gouge the customer. Want an example? Go price a Nissan Rogue with fog lights and leather seats. Starting with a 2WD SL (not even the base S), these options will cost you over $5000 because you have to buy a bunch of other garbage as part of a 'package'. How exactly is that giving me what I want? This is what's causing me to shop the Ford Escape instead.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or you could get the car you want and then go aftermarket for the leather and lights.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I must be odd as I want all that stuff -

        High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights with manual headlight levelizer - I hate regular lights after experiencing Xenons.

        Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition system - No Key - YES!!!!

        Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System - I can $hitcan my crappy headset.

        Fog lights - Want that

        Digital Bose® audio system with AM/FM/in-dash 6-CD changer - Great

        XM® Satellite Radio- 10000x better than Suckius.

        Drive computer (mpg, distance to empty, average speed and elapsed time) - use mine all the time

        Outside temperature display - use mine all the time

        So, I'd want all that stuff.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's completely impractical for most buyers. Also, messing with lights is illegal is some states.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you want to take it in the shorts and pay $4k for a thermometer, a fancy radio, hands free phone and bright headlights then that's cool, but the point is that the customer shouldn't be forced to spend $4k on $1k worth of electronics just to get some other unrelated option. More than one car got taken off my last shopping list because of this kind of BS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The car business has come full circle. U.S. automakers invented options to understate car prices. In the 50s even the heater, mirrors and turn signals were "available". Few could tolerate the advertised stripper even if they found one on a dealer's lot.

      Manufacturing costs and shipping distances forced Japanese automakers to offer well equipped cars from the outset. Consumers couldn't believe a radio was standard equipment and that there were no "ups" on the advertised price.

      Now the Japanese makers are offering myriads of options to keep advertised prices low, if largely fictional, and Detroit will offer complete cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is the first BOLD MOVE I've seen Ford make.

      Simplifying the line-up and streamlining the packages makes total sense. Look what GM did with the new Chevy Malibu. Same thing. Three levels and each one with very few options, if any. Very similar to Honda.

      If you want to beat Toyota/Honda/Nissan, you've got to take a few plays out of their playbook.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey Ford, how about making a performance car that doesn't start with M-u-s-t-a-n-g.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, exactly, why don't you stop making a new friggin Mustang variant every week and make something else. The Mustang used to be cool, well guess what, it's not anymore, it's boring and old. And no I'm not hating, a car with as many variants as the Mustang is simply not cool, it's about as interesting as seeing the Google homepage every time I start Firefox.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Almost all of the Mustang variants people say they are sick of seeing are done by companies outside of Ford. Ford isn't spending time or money doing the work. They just provide a solid base for those others to build on and maybe sign some licensing agreements.

        Boring and old? The current car came out in 2005. Yeah, that's real ancient. Sorry Ford can't do a total redesign for you every year.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Man, it must get really tiring for all you armchair multibillion-dollar-multithousand-employee-company CEOs out there.

      Mullaly pledged all of the stuff you're whining about. Seeing as how he turned Boeing around, I would give the man a chance to work.

      But if you think that he could just magically bring that stuff over here in a year or two, you need to get back on your meds. Or off your reality altering drugs. Or take a management class and scale it up about ten-thousand-fold. The amount of work required for the things that Mullaly wants to do, as Dan Roth says, is stupendous. I used to be like you, really I did. I thought that he should have done it by now. But really, no way.

      Meanwhile, reducing the options packages of the cars in order to make selection simple for the consumers and save FoMoCo money takes a memo to all your employees.

      Moves like this (and he's had a number of them) show that he is actually as invested in trimming the fat, so to speak, as he says he is. Which, in case you missed, is a philosophy that INCLUDES unifying car and platform design, etc. across the entire worldwide company.

      As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. And neither was a giant, monolithic, stale money sink turned back into a trim, streamlined, exciting money earner. So everyone take a collective deep breath and calm the frack down.
        • 7 Years Ago
        All I want is a 2008 Lincoln Town Car, in either a "Comemmorative Edition" -or- a "Collector's Edition" since the 6-month production will end the T.C. 4-ever. It needs a special edition send-off. If they make it, I will buy it.
        The last big (over 215 inches long, with a V-8 and rear wheel drive. The end of the traditional American Luxury Car.
        I priced a Volvo S80. Loaded. While it is a V-8, its the size of a Ford Fusion / Mercury Milan and is $62,000, loaded. Tiny car.
        A 2008 Town Car, with all options is $51,500 MSRLP - Over Ten Thou LESS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sounds like a good idea, I just hope they price it right as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      HA when i read the title i thought holy cow theyre actually doing it we are actually going to get the euro fords............ but alas another let down from the blue oval, ill take the umm fusion?... well i guess ill have an edg........never mind ill just get a honda
      • 7 Years Ago
      They can start by redesigning the 2008 Ford Fugly errr Focus.
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