• Apr 16, 2010
Click above to peek inside the suggestion box

Ford has officially stirred up a mess of snakes by inviting consumers to submit their ideas on how to improve the company's vehicles to its website at TheFordStory.com. We've spent the better part of a day sifting through what the world has to say to Ford, and though we expected bucket loads of the web's own brand of vitriol, so far the comments were largely constructive.

We say "largely" because, as you know, the internet is still the home of LOL Cats and Chocolate Rain, and for every common sense suggestion on the site, there's one telling the company to offer an automatic pet feeder as an option. We wish we were kidding.

Ford has split its internet suggestion box into six categories ranging from performance and driving dynamics to safety, and while we dig ideas like trimming weight through the use of structural adhesives and the implementation of rear fog lights, a few themes rose above the rest to grab our attention. We've cataloged five we think Ford could do well to listen to, along with another five the company could skip all together.

Follow the jump to peek inside the suggestion box.

Five Best Ideas for Ford


1. All diesels, all the time

No matter which section you happen to stumble into on the Ford site, the comments make it clear buyers want more diesel options here in the States. We read through nearly every idea and heard clamoring for diesel versions of the F-150, Ranger, Explorer, Fusion, Fiesta and the Focus. There was even some buzz over the notion of a diesel-hybrid model – a car that would theoretically provide plenty of torque and even better fuel economy. We've long been fans of the efficiency and power a diesel can provide, and it looks like Americans are finally beginning to forget the diesel Oldsmobiles of days gone by.

2. The Wrangler killer

The Ford Bronco may have started its life as an alternative to the Willys-Overland products of the day, but by the time OJ was running from the law, the truck had evolved into a luxury barge with very little off-road capability. Evidently that hasn't stopped Ford fans from pining for a newly-imagined Bronco – a truck capable of embarrassing the Jeep Wrangler on the trails and returning decent fuel economy. Multiple posts asked for a low-budget off-roader with a small, torquey diesel engine. Alternatively, we heard more than one voice ask for a quality small truck like the Ranger, though equipped with a diesel powerplant capable of 30 mpg or better. User Thomas Z even suggested bringing back the F100 nameplate.

3. We want wagons


Fiesta hatchbacks, Focus Wagons, Fusion Wagons or Taurus Wagons – it doesn't seem to matter. Judging by the posts on the Ford site, the people want their long roofs instead of crossovers, and they want them yesterday. Some of the more creative suggestions we saw involved incorporating mini-van like doors into a sedan or wagon platform. Pretty? Probably not, but as anyone who's ever juggled groceries and a toddler at the same time will tell you, those sliding doors are a stroke of genius. Why not use them on a smaller vehicle?

4. We want Strippers, too


Are Americans tired of over-optioning vehicles? Judging by the suggestions they doled out to Ford, it certainly sounds that way. Plenty of posts made it clear that buyers want a stripped-down Mustang, complete with V8 and not much else. The same was said for stripper versions of the Focus, Fiesta and F-150. We doubt anyone really longs for the days of roll up windows, vinyl buckets and no A/C. Odds are buyers would simply like a more affordable version of the cars and trucks they're dreaming after right now. Can you blame them?

5. Build a better truck


The F-150 may be the most popular full-size pickup on the planet, but that doesn't mean buyers think it's the perfect truck. A fair portion of the comments were directed toward improving the haulers, and included ideas borrowed from other manufacturers. Suggestions range from a lockable, watertight trunk in the bed to something along the same lines as the Dodge RamBox tool boxes and a remote to unlock the tailgate. One of our personal favorites was the "Fuel from your Ford" suggestion posted by Steve S. Basically, it's an option that would allow you to use the truck's fuel tank as one big jerry can – filling up lawn mowers and the like without having to store a bunch of smaller containers in the garage.


Five Ideas Ford Should Ignore


1. The Ranchero lives

Yes. We would absolutely love to see Ford slap a bed on the tiny Focus or the even more miniscule Fiesta, but at the same time, we don't exactly see droves of people beating down the Blue Oval's door to buy such a monstrosity. We did spy a few suggestions that begged for a mini truck – probably diesel, possibly front-wheel drive – to slot below the Ranger, but that's a far cry from a Ranchero Fiesta. Sorry, Mike P.

2. You want another cup holder?


Including the breather cover on my family's 1992 Chevrolet Suburban, the truck hand nine cup holders, each capable of holding 32 gallons of your favorite beverage. It also had a cruising range of over 800 miles, making it a bladder infection waiting to happen. So it comes as some surprise that someone would want another cup holder in their modern vehicle, this time on the exterior of the car. Tim O's reasoning? He needs a place to put his drink while getting into or out of his car. We're not entirely convinced.

3. Someone misses the Mercury Sable's illuminated grille

There is no accounting for taste. In 1986, the Mercury Sable hit the scene with one singular distinctive feature – its grille illuminated all the way across the front of the car. The light was provided by no less than 40,000 tiny light bulbs, all waiting to burn out at the slightest indication of vibration. Evidently that design struck a chord with Rich C, and while we agree that there's nothing wrong with a push-button transmission or hideaway headlights, some things deserve to remain in the past. Like the Mercury Sable's illuminated grille.

4. The mood computer

The mood ring was a pretty big hit way back when, but we don't think that's justification enough for this next idea. Gary would like to see Fords of the future monitor the driver's heart rate via the steering wheel and adjust the ambient lighting in the cabin accordingly. If the driver's calm, the cabin would be awash in blue light. Angry? Well, we assume things would turn a little more sinister at that point. While it would be amusing to be able to see who is deep in road range in traffic around us, we don't think Detroit's going to be hopping on this one anytime soon.

5. The hybrid electric GT500


The idea of cramming a heavy hybrid system into the already bulky GT500 rubs us the wrong way on just about every level, even if user John G has some pretty sound logic behind his suggestion. The guy says that an electric motor would allow the gnarly supercharged V8 in the meanest Mustang to breathe a little easier, and improve fuel economy in the process. Better fuel economy would mean that the company could produce more of the cars without getting in trouble with the feds over CAFE standards. Yeah, it makes sense, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

[Lead Image: hashmil | CC 2.0]


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  • 94 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thoughts:
      1. People say they want Diesel until they see the price ($5000) then they run the other way... plus, with Gov't regs requiring better emissions, costs are only going up...
      2. Bring back the Bronco as a short enclosed SVT Raptor...
      3. Consumers want wagons butt they dont buy enough to justify the cost...
      4. If you want a stipped down car, you can always "order it" that way...
      5. GIve us a new Ranger with the 2.0 I4 EcoBoost and 6-speed good for 30+ MPG...
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can't really order cars anymore. Dealers want your business, but don't actually want to do the work to get you want, you always have to settle for what's on the lot. You may get lucky and they can find something *similar* to what you want at another dealer.

        People also don't have the patience to wait a month or so for their new car to come .
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are probably right about the diesels. I really want one and I think most people that want one are also looking for a small CHEAP capable work truck, like myself. If the diesel option is insanely high, I think your assumption that people will run the other way may be correct.

        The 2.0 ecoboost w/ 4x4 may be a good alternative.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Greg, there is no proof for your arguments. People would buy wagons if they had any decent and affordable ones to choose from. Below $30k, you have the Outback and the Jetta....and that's about it. But not everyone wants an Outback or a Jetta. If people had more models to choose from, then people would buy them.

        The same thing with the diesel argument. The only company that sells an affordable diesel in the U.S. is VW. They use the 2.0L TDI in 3 models and they can't keep them on the lots. Even with a price premium and VW's less-than-stellar quality reputation. If someone like Ford, who has built a stellar qualty rep, offered a variety of models with a diesel at an affordable price, they'd sell like hotcakes. The first of the Big 3 that offers a diesel in a light-duty truck will make a fortune.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good on Ford to get an earful outside of their focus groups.

      Anybody here want a 3 door station wagon (shooting brake) Mustang? 5 liters and shotguns!
        • 4 Years Ago
        They actually considered a three-door wagon for the first gen Mustang. There's pictures to be found (I think on this very site).
        I, to be honest, thought it looked alright. Realistically though, it would probably not have lasted long.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm slightly afraid/intrigued by this possibility. It'd be the succubus of the automotive world; unholy and sexy at the same time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I'm not sold on the idea of a hybrid GT500, one only has to look at the hotter than hell hybrid Porsche GT3, to me, one of the sweetest vehicles running laps right now. It may be gimmicky or provide a mild return, and certainly the weight is an issue, but there is a lot of potential if they could lighten the car a bit at the same time.

      Wishful thinking I know, but I'd still love to have one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why not lighten all mustangs in general? Of course they will probably do that by accident if they offer 'stripper' versions. Remember the 5.0's from the late 80's early 90's? The 5.0 LXs were faster than the GTs due to weight differences from the GT air dams and spoilers.

        It'll be interesting to get an el cheapo Mustang that's faster than an expensive loaded one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think most of the dumb ideas came from the diehard autoblog commentors. You know, the totally uninformed folks that like Hyundais and ToyoJUNKS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Rob,

        Don't forget the "commentors" whatever that is lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      Id take a Taurus wagon if y'all were to build it! Something to go along side my payed off truck
        • 4 Years Ago
        And I'd take a Fusion wagon!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree that Ford should pay attention to diesels and especially to wagons. There aren't many choices for prospective wagon buyers. The Taurus wagons of yesteryear were wildly popular; my previous boss had two!

      The only wagons that look nice, in my opinion, cost an arm and a leg (i.e. BMW 3er, Audi A4 Avant, etc.)! Design the wagon from the ground up rather than adding a glass and roof to the trunk section.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Diesels yes, wagons not so much. No one likes wagons.

        Look at the Focus wagon. It and the hatch made up less then 10% of overall sales (I will try and find where I saw that number...I think it may have been Motor Trend).

        How about the Mazda6 wagon? I can probably count on one hand the amount of those I have seen.

        The CTS Sport Wagon was supposed to be the new hot ticket and I have only seen one so far.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the problem with diesels in the US is production. the refineries in the US are setup to handle about 75% petrol and 25% diesel. As diesel demand goes up, so will pricing and much faster than you think, erasing the financial benefits of improved fuel mileage.

        On the opposite end, us remaining gas-guzzlers and gas sippers will be mighty happy to re-embrace the $1.50/gallon days and be content in the knowledge I dont have a pee (urea) filter in my car.

        Europe runs closer to 50/50 or even tilted the other way, thus their bias to diesel.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hay Ford, I can haz cheezburger?
      • 4 Years Ago
      i'm all for strippers
      who needs

      drive by wire
      power steering
      air conditioning
      leather seats
      10 speaker stereo
      8 cup holders

      etc...
      i would live without those if i could have the car for $10,000 less
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rant

      Some times it seems like ordering TV viewing packages
      for all of the makers this means you too Ford
      how about easy real À la carte option ordering...

      Yes we put up a down payment and wait a few months to pick up our cars.

      If I want leather but don't want a sunroof of fancy nave system let me order it.
      If I will be the only driver why do I want to have the weight and cost of motorized seats?

      If I go to the website and want to "build your own" let me to just that instead of just giving my name to a local dealer who will try to sell me what ever they have on hand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You guys don't get it, do you??

        The more variations that can be made, the more it costs to build the vehicle. The more individual options, the more it costs to build the vehicle.

        There are two overriding themes in this post.................... 1) I want, want, want, want, want, want. Make it a stripper that noone will buy, and a wagon that noone will buy, and a diesel that some may buy if................... 2) We want it all to be cheap. We don't want to pay much for any of it. We don't understand that due to our EPA laws, and our emissions laws, and upcoming emissions laws, that full line, major manufacturers cannot afford to give you the diesels you are asking for. Well, let me restate that................. they cannot give them to you at a price you are willing to pay.

        See, you all want everything, as long as it is cheap. How much do you think all this fancy emissions equipment on these new diesels costs?? You do understand that VW is selling about 2-3K diesels a month, right?? GM/Ford/Chrysler, etc, cannot invest the multitudes of cash that it would take, to bring their European diesels here, to sell 2-3K a month. Aint a happenin.

        Look at the new HD diesels. The option is $6000-7900. Yes, you save a little by making a smaller engine................ but not much. The technology still has to be paid for.

        Pissed off?? Write your federal government.

        As for wagons. They don't sell. Again, niche manufacturers can afford to sell 1K-3K a month. Major manufacturers cannot. Everyone was praising the new CTS Wagon, and noone is buying it. NOONE. Everyone wanted wagons, and the Dodge Magnum was a huge failure after one year (and only sold for one year because it looked cool). The Freestyle/TaurusX was one of the best, most practical wagons out there. Didn't sell.

        Stripper cars............... cost MORE to build than cars with options. It costs more to have 2 different wiring harness's, than one that gives power windows/locks,etc to all. Plus, if you don't pick up your stripper car, noone else will ever buy it. Why are the manufacturers providing more loaded to the gills cars/trucks?? Because the buying public are voting with their wallets.

        We have to stop thinking like little kids (I want/I want/I want), and think about what is actually feasible, on a manufacturing level.

        BTW, the upcoming diesel regs may halt the VW diesels also.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and ur getting ur pricing from? the diesel is still much more reliealble and durable especially if use the van far hauling heavy loads.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No one is asking for the Falcon or engines like the turbo 4.0L inline 6 with 420hp 417tq brought to US shores? Autoblog reports on rumors that that car is getting 3 versions of supercharged 5.0L Coyotes and no one raises a stink about that?

      Ford is shafting us and we are asking for an illuminated grille?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bring the Falcon to the US, not just the sedan but the wagon and UTE versions too. Satisfies just about everyone. Station wagon fans get their wagon. Small truck fans get a small truck with none of the disadvantages in city driving (or as an everyday driving car) of a full-size pickup. And performance/sport fans get some good performance cars (especially if they bring the XR8 to the US)

        Plus they could bring over the same "cop spec" package I see on cop cars here in the land down under and sell it to police forces instead of that Taurus crap. If the Falcon can handle everything from high speed chases down the freeway to driving down dusty gravel roads in the outback, I am sure it can handle the worst that the yank police forces can throw at it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That Jerry Can Gas tank idea is pure friggin genius!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It seems like it would make it really easy for people to steal your gas, though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wouldn't it be cool if they did it and then made a Windows 7 type commercial with the guy who suggested it? "I had this idea and I told Ford and they built it." Only this commercial would actually be true in stead of scripted crap.
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