On the fuel economy front, Fields points to 12 vehicles rated at 30 mpg highway or better, to Ford's push to adopt 6-speed transmissions, and to Ford's new for 2007 3.5-liter V6.
The Ford brand itself doesn't see much of a change for the '07 model year, beyond the introduction of the Ford Edge crossover. Ford also gets a boost from the Shelby GT500 Mustang, a classic "halo" car. A redesigned Expedition and Expedition EL go up against GM's brand-new SUV lineup.
Lincoln's lineup is evolving to reflect what Fields calls "a modern vision of luxury," with a boost from two new models - the MKX crossover and the MKZ midsize sedan. A freshened Navigator and new Navigator L line up beside Ford's Expeditions to face the GM SUV onslaught.
The Mercury brand is looking for a new market segment to call its own, and Fields thinks he's found it - positioning Mercury as the "Metro Cool" brand appealing to "savvy individualists." (We're not making this up. Really.) Mercury's Milan, Mariner and Montego models are outwardly little changed for '07.
Interestingly, Fields attaches a lot of importance to all-wheel drive as a big discriminator for Ford, predicting that 50 percent or more of the U.S. market will be AWD by 2012.