By on January 6, 2012

The next Ford Fusion is set to debut at next week’s North American International Auto Show, and while details are still embargoed, the blokes at Auto Express have given us a preview of the next Mondeo. Which is essentially the next Fusion.

(Edit: Here’s a “leaked” look at the car)

We can’t tell you specific differences between the Fusion and Mondeo, but suffice to say that a certain mechanical bit that rhymes with “weasel ” will not be available. The Fusion will be a game changer in the segment, and we can confidently say that without indulging in any sort of PR-fueled hyperbole. The competition is simply going to get blown out of the water by Ford’s new midsize.

Given the new Fusion’s introduction, and the requisite hype for a new Lincoln concept previewing the MKZ, we can’t help but ask, why bother. Again, we’re not making any specific comments on how nice the new Fusion’s interior is, or how sophisticated its drivetrain and tech features are, but one need only look at the new Focus or Escape to see that the Blue Oval brand has a ton of “premium” features.

Lincoln’s prestige is negligible to say the least, and MKZ sales are in the toilet. What will the new car, said to be substantially different from the Fusion itself, really offer that will justify the price premium and steal sales away from other brands? Apparently, the “…greenhouse, sheet metal, luxurious interior, powertrain tweaks and technology will be the things that distinguish Lincoln…” going forward, but that doesn’t sound too different from the current way of doing things. And certainly not different enough to effect real change.

What else can Ford do to improve Lincoln’s sales? Not even product placement in rap videos worked.

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94 Comments on “Ford Fusion’s Debut Makes The Lincoln MKZ Redundant...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, we know the Fusion will blow the competition out of the water and the MKZ will be redundant…even before either is introduced, much less driven?

    Okey dokey.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Simple, Lincoln has to be a larger car with no ties to the present Ford line up. If you want diferentation, make it with better quality materials and make a difference, not just change the badge.
    Surely Ford can scour the world again and choose a platform that hasn’t be bastardised by NA, One World cars only work to certain extent within one brand. Lincoln is a separate brand, so separate it from the mundane. Mondeo, Fusion, Taurus, are Ford. LTD, Fairlane should be bigger with better quality materials like real aluminium, real wood, real leather.

    • 0 avatar
      WriterParty.com

      What Lincoln needs is a cohesive style. You need to have a car that you could debadge and swap out the grille on, and still know that it’s a Lincoln. BMW, Audi, Infiniti and Cadillac have this. Even Buick has this and the new upcoming Lexus styling language has this. Mercedes-Benz kind of has it – not on all of their work, but they also have RWD, prestige and German hot-rod engines. If Lincoln doesn’t have this, they can count on keeping Acura company in commodity luxury purgatory.

  • avatar
    MZ3AUTOXR

    I thought, when the LS came out, that Lincoln was taking the right step. A car not shared with Ford (or Mercury). A different car than the Town Car or Continentals of past.

    But, it went away. Saw one today and it still looks good to me. Would have loved to see it updated instead of canned.

    Lincoln really needs to step it up dramatically.

    • 0 avatar
      Dimwit

      I so agree. I loved the LS120 when it was new and it still looks fantastic. It’s also the last pure Lincoln that I can remember. Everything looks to be a knockoff.

      It amazes me that they don’t reinvest in the St. Thomas plant and turn into a flex line. Dedicate it for Lincolns. Town Cars. Navigators. And a small, sporty sedan. Keep it small, keep it tight and become a Lincoln, not a rebranded Ford. Hell, have everything run by the 5.0 Coyote. Ford’s lineup, if it’s not a truck, looks like it will be V6 or less. There’s a great selling feature, right there.

    • 0 avatar
      WriterParty.com

      Yes, they do. On one hand, it’s fairly wise and conservative to go after the sales leading areas first – the Lexus ES/Buick LaCrosse and the Lexus RS/Cadillac SRX crowd. This, however, will prove meaningless if they don’t step it up and offer a true, legitimate replacement to the Lincoln LS, or at least something along those lines, later on. None of today’s Lincolns look like real Lincolns to me anymore. Take the badge and the weirdo grille off and the MKS and MKT (the only ones that are not a rebadged Ford) could be anything. Can’t really say the same for the Cadillac lineup.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Personally, I like the spyshot. But the styling might be too extreme for American tastes.

    Ford has tried selling Mondeo and Sierra variants here before. That didn’t work out. World cars are tough to pull off in this segment. Theoretically, they are attractive because of the possibility of economies of scale, but those projections don’t amount to much if nobody buys them.

    Lincoln has to be a larger car with no ties to the present Ford line up.

    They don’t have the budget for that. And Lincoln’s design language sucks, so I don’t think that unique platforms would be of much help in this particular case.

    Like Honda, Ford doesn’t seem to have an understanding of the luxury market in its corporate DNA. For whatever reason, they just don’t get it, and corporate cultures are often very difficult to change. They do understand the mainstream market well enough, but luxury branding eludes them both.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      The Contour didn’t work out because it was quite a bit smaller than other American-market mid sizers but not priced much lower, so it occupied an uncomfortably small spot between the Escort and Taurus.

      The Mondeo is a very big car, bigger even than our Fusion, so I would anticipate the new Fusion being bigger as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        They also sent its ad budget the hot selling Explorer and it was essentially a great car sent to Siberia. More than anything else, the SUV craze killed the Contour, along with several other good cars (another ex: I recall Toyota saying at the time that was one reason the Celica got the axe).

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I seem to remember that the Contour was much more expensive than the Tempo it replaced. The Tempo didn’t have a reputation for being a drivers car, or a great car, but it was a reliable package wrapped in mediocrity. The Contour had a reputation pretty on for being a steaming pile from a reliability standpoint, a step backwards. The interior was nicer, but that wasn’t enough to offset a litany of mechanical problems.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        No, the Contour was never considered a step back from the Tempo in any way whatsover. Appearance, performance, handling, all were better than the Tempo by more than a country mile. As for reliability, it was probably about par for a US car at the time. The one I had for 67,000 never required anything but regular oil changes and brake pads. It did chew through tires often because it was the odd US sedan that could actually be fun in corners.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @PCH101:
      “Ford has tried selling Mondeo and Sierra variants here before. That didn’t work out.”
      Actually, Ford does have a pretty decent track record of selling Euro-cars here – the Focus comes to mind. Mainly the Contour failed because it wasn’t as roomy as the other cars in its class. Otherwise, it was a great car. No word on whether the new Fusion will have a similar problem.

      And the poor Sierra…Ford really botched that one. It was a great car, but Ford stuck that rough turbo four in it, and hung the Merkur name on it…fail.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The Merkur xR4Ti (I owned one!) was doomed from the start due to poor marketing. Was it a Euro sports car? Was it a luxury car? The ads flipped-flopped on this point. They had a horrible reputation for Jaguar grade electronics, and that was my experience. Also the dashboard was cracked as bad as dried mud by 80K miles. I have never had any other car do that. The 190HP turbo version with the manual had lots of acceleration, and it did handle well. The only vehicle I’ve owned that had a back seat as comfortable was a Chevy Avalanche, but you’re talking a leather wrapped couched in that case.

        I’d also add with the somewhat funky front clip and the rear double spoiler, it had controversial looks. Sold as a Ford or a Mercury, with a clear message, and a slightly lower price point with a bit more conservative style – it may have done better. It isn’t American buyers rejected the xR4Ti and Scorpio; it’s Ford did a horrible job of trying to sell them.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I agree regarding styling and American tastes. I like the look of the new Mondeo, but making a bigger Ford Focus is a solution in search of a problem in the US. Trying to make the Mondeo into a Lincoln just doesn’t fit the brand. I just spent a week with the volume leader for the segment, the Toyota Camry, and grudgingly accept that it does a great job of moving people and their stuff from point A to point B. The Camry is sort of ugly, but the interior has big mostly rectangular places for stuff and comfortable seating for adults. The coupe roof line can be attractive, but Americans expect kids in car seats and adult men to be able to sit in the back seat of a sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The coupe roof line can be attractive, but Americans expect kids in car seats and adult men to be able to sit in the back seat of a sedan.

        Agreed. One of the acid tests that I’ve made on every new car I’ve bought is can another 6 foot tall adult sit behind me when I’m in the driver’s seat and not have their knees jammed into the back of the seat, or worse splayed as if they’re going to give birth. The ridiculous thing if I can call myself out is that for better than a decade, maybe once a year, that is a real world problem for me. It is…the principal.

      • 0 avatar
        smokingclutch

        You carry your kids’ principal around once a year? Tell him to get his own car! :D

        I am a pilot and when it comes to buying airplanes, people have the same thought – buy something to cover 100 percent of your missions. But it doesn’t make sense. If 90 percent of the time it’s just you and the misses, but once a year you want to take up four of your friends, it just doesn’t make sense to buy an airplane to do that once a year mission. You rent the bigger plane once in a while if you need it.

        I feel the same way about cars. People think I am crazy that I buy two-doors, but I have rear seat passengers so rarely, the rear doors just aren’t used very much. I can rent a bigger car on occasion if I need it.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Personally, I like the spyshot. But the styling might be too extreme for American tastes.”

      I don’t think so. I like it; it fits well with the Fiesta and Focus that are doing fine, and it is hardly more ‘out-there’ than Hyundai’s “fluid sculpture” hideousness.

      After the Focus, I have no doubt that it will be a great driving car. I also have no doubt that it will be filled with completely unnecessary techno-twit gadgets. The real question is can they sell it at a price Americans will pay? If they can, it will be a big success. If it costs too much, it will trail the cheaper cars in its segment.

    • 0 avatar

      Contour was a compact car, not midsize. It competed with Escort. Mid size car was RWD Ford Scorpio. Very nice car BTW. Have no idea why Americans did not like Scorpio.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    Chaps, before we get too excited about Auto Express drawings of what they think a car *might* look like (‘revealed’ is a bit misleading, no?) their track record for accuracy in this area is appalling.

    I agree with the commenter above – wait until you’ve seen it, heard it, felt it, and driven it before declaring it a game changer. It might be, but wait and see.

  • avatar
    mad_science

    “The Fusion will be a game changer in the segment, and we can confidently say that without indulging in any sort of PR-fueled hyperbole. The competition is simply going to get blown out of the water by Ford’s new midsize.”

    [Fry squinting...]
    Not sure if bad cliche or excellent subtle humor…

    At the risk of simplifying, the current Lincoln line-up is just super lame:
    Meaningless names (of which 2/3s are the same from model to model)
    Horrible, yet simultaneously stagnant styling
    Absolutely nothing special to attract attention

    Meanwhile, an increasingly upmarket Ford lineup cannibalizes their market segment.

    Word on the street is the new design language will really set things apart, though. Seems it’d make more sense to stay home until the zit clears up.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    I Agree with that statement. But, also keep in mind that Lincoln needs something in the low to mid $30K entry space. I think that it needs to be differenciated enough from the Fusion/Mondeo. Maybe import the Australian Ford Falcon?

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      +1 about Ford Australia. The Falcon is not doing well lately in Australia. It is a 6/8 cyl. big car like the late Pontiac G8. There must be a way to support a business case that builds a RWD/AWD platform for Lincoln and dumb the design down (id needed) for AU. Only Americans visiting down under will really be bothered. If that fails maybe Ford cannot pull off luxury.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I looked at the car linked, and despite taste being subjective, to say the least, I can’t say I recall an article on TTAC that seemed closer to an advertisement, rather than journalism?

    If I’m out of line here, in the least, please do tell me that the author has driven this vehicle and had road quality time with it, and isn’t basing the “blow competitors out of the water” line off of a Ford byline.

    Thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      I do find that to be uncalled for, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go pick up they keys to my long term 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca, which blows the BMW M3 out of the water.

      • 0 avatar
        theonewhogotaway

        on a straight line maybe :)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Derek, I appreciate the feedback, and can appreciate the humor, but I still really don’t know if the original article is tongue-in-cheek or some sort of journalistic pledge that this upcoming Mondeo…err Fusion…is really going to be a “game changer.”

        The last “game changer” that I can honestly recall was the early 1990s Toyota Camry, which raised the bar in terms of the midsized commuter car when it came to quality, refinement and reliability, compared to the competition, like no other vehicle in its segment before it, or since (and ironically it was the vehicle that Ford benchmarked, literally going so far as to disassemble and study and every nut, washer, bolt and belt, in its Dearborn HQ, when designing their then-new Taurus).

        I remember a lot of hoopla about how the Contour, and then the most recent Taurus, would be game changers, too.

        Heck, while we’re discussing this, and since you raised the new Focus as an example of what you term a “game changer,” has that really been the case in terms of sales, quality, etc.?

        I’ve read positive reviews of the ride quality and interior build quality of the Focus, but there’s not been universal love/praise of its transmission nor its pricing, has there?

        Pardon me for the acquired skepticism of such claims.

        p.s. – Based on the AE rendition, the side profile looks very similar to a current Nissan Maxima, IMO, which isn’t a compliment.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        “blows the M3 out of the water”
        PUHLEEZ.
        You just lost any bit of credibility you may have had…..

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        Deadweight,
        Why are you hating on the current Maxima’s looks? We can talk about the CVT or the missing 6 Speed and AWD.

        Looks? It’s a looker. Whenever I had one arrive at my location it would immidiatly get attention and upsells.

        • 0 avatar
          jrasero23

          Maxima was one of those frustrating cars since it was marginally better than a decked out Altima but just had that extra power and handling that an Altima didn’t but was way to close in price compared to a g37. The same goes styling wise, while I could clearly sport a maxima it’s almost too similar to the Altima to be called sporty or premium, I think that’s the problem with the 2010-2012 MKZ good cars but look like a trim upon the fusion sport model but if you look it that way it’s one hell of a trim

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I can’t wait for the next Maxima where, it’s rumored, the headlight will stretch all the way back to the A pillar!

        Sadly, Maxima styling has never again reached the high point of the ’89 model which was a study in elegant proportions and restraint. I say this as the owner/lessee of 4 Maximas from ’89 through ’97.

      • 0 avatar

        @DeadWeight. Actually original Ford Taurus was a game changer. Toyota Camry was refinement of Taurus formula further. Ford simply did not have production system, engines and etc to match Camry with next Taurus no matter how hard they tried and they did not try hard because cars were considered as a second priority. Second gen Taurus team got offices in some abandoned basement. It says it all. Regarding Mustang – are you serious? I mean did you compare them side by side? I did not but curious because Mustang still has live axle which was obsolete 30 years ago and it is reworked Mazda platform.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Inside Looking Out, you are correct. The original Taurus was from the 80′s, not the early 90′s. Toyota just made a better, well lets just say, a more reliable Taurus than Ford did. Had Ford not been getting punch drunk on Explorer sales dollars and “investing” in PAG, maybe the third gen Taurus, or at least the forth gen, would have been a credible competitor the the Camry…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert

      @DeadWeight:

      Perhaps he can’t say more due to PR embargo. It wouldn’t be the first time someone flirted with the rules about when you can publish specific observations of a car you have seen but aren’t supppposed to comment on prior to the official announcement. The article refers to a leaked photo and editorializes a bit without breaking them outright. Total speculation on my part, but it would fit.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Guys, ladies – I can appreciate Derek’s position if he’s not able to provide more specifics, but I am honing in on his “trust me, this is a game changer” remarks since he hasn’t even (or can’t, maybe) stated he’s had an opportunity to drive the car that is the subject matter of his adulation.

        After all, isn’t the way a vehicle drives still an important, if not the most important, factor for some of us “auto enthusiasts?”

        On this count, the first comment in the comment section states what I attempted to more succinctly.

        Secondly, my comments regarding the early 1990s Camry being a “game changer” (IMO) had to do more with the fact that it was the closest thing to a true Lexus in terms of build quality, interior quality and assembly, reliability, ride characteristics and luxury, but priced like a Camry, before or since.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    Yes, they got it right: grand slam!

  • avatar

    The problem is, with Lincoln accounting for just 4% of Ford’s US sales (and just about 0% of Ford’s non-US sales), it’s awfully hard to justify investment on the scale that Lincoln really needs.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    As for the Lincoln, I want Ford to manufacture an executive express for Lincoln that will be powered by the 5.8 liter Shelby GT500 engine. Yes, I know that they’ll need an automatic transmission for it, but that will also make it possible to have the automatic in the GT500.

  • avatar
    axual

    Lincoln needs to drop the rebadging design process and design new vehicles; the MKX for example is an Edge and the only difference to me are the commercials. The MKX grill looks obnoxious on that vehicle and does nothing else to make a real difference.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Ford’s problem will be that the value buyers will leave in droves, if the specs raise the price versus the competition, i.e. Hyundai and others. Also Fords track record with regards to smooth roll outs of new technology would make people like myself want to wait a couple of model year until the wrinkles are ironed out.

    Volkswagen headed into the decontented direction with their Passat, which has a generous amount rear seat leg room for the segment and their US sales have increased.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      …but could they pick up the old VW quality seeking buyers in the process?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There’s a reason VW will be more profitable as a volume maker, rather than a closer-to-niche filler, in the U.S., and why VW has chosen that route with the VALUE approach in this economy.

        If early indicators hold up, VW chose right.

        I see Ford going in exactly the opposite direction, as evidenced by their Taurus sales volume, as but just one example.

        I’m not saying Ford hasn’t improved the quality of their products, but I am saying that they’ve not improved their quality or innovated/distinguished their product in such a way as to warrant the self-heaped pride that their new found premium pricing apparently reflects.

        Hyundai, and now VW, are at odds with Ford’s new approach. Let’s see who steals market share and profits from whom (I recognize these aren’t mutually exclusive).

        As for Lincoln, what was the underlying point again? That it’s a dead brand walking? I agree.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Deadweight, Ford’s premium pricing indicates a much higher level of equipment and interior quality. Will people pay for premium small cars? Or should I say premium small Fords? I’m not so sure, at least initially. VW went the opposite way by making really cheap interiors and substantially cutting the price. And yes, for now that seems to have worked. But VW fans will likely flee the Kmart plastics and the new found buyers are likely to be disappointed in their car’s reliability and dealer service. But maybe the new models will be reliable…As for present reliability, VW should be so lucky as to have the same aggregate failure rates as Ford…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The MKZ (and Zephyr) were always redundant. Great value used bad value new.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    This article should really be titled GO BEIGE -OR- GO BOLD? What is the winning strategy?

    It looks like Ford decided to take risks and kick BEIGE to the curb. The Fusion will be in a different world than Camry and Accord.

    I thought I would hate the trapazoid Ford brand look, but it seems that it will work on the pedestrian/frontal crash design constraints. It may even be a low cost solution at the same time.

    About Lincoln, they really need to decide if they will compete with BMW & Cadillac on the performance front. I don’t think so. They should go the 4WD luxo route with awesome interiors, style, and electronic gadgetry. Pull in the business executive and family security over the enthusiast.

    I thought Lincoln needed a 4 door baby Lincoln made from the Mustang platform. I now think they should still do it but make it a Ford Thunderbird.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If the Fusion looks anything like the Mondeo, Ford is gonna have a hard time keeping up with demand.

  • avatar
    SilverHawk

    The new Fusion won’t have the same styling impact that the original oval Taurus had, because we’ve already seen the Focus. Other brands are also trending in this direction, diminishing the impact. They’ll have to do it with “game changing” technology, though consumers are usually slow to jump on the new-tech bandwagon in the midsize segment.
    According to Ford’s stated plan for Lincoln, the highest tech is reserved for the Lincoln brand. So exactly how is the new Fusion going to change any game? I sincerely hope it does, but seeing is believing.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Derek – thanks for posting this. I have been eagerly awaiting news of the new Fusion since it has been well embargoed and hidden (unlike say the new Buick Encore). Since it seems to be based on the current Mondeo chassis and size wise it should be roomy enough and have good driving dynamics. That styling is certainly bold and Ford should be applauded for trying something bold. Will look forward to official photos of the interior too and then the test drives.

    As for price, Ford has been OK with the Focus (the most recent case of a world car) being cost competitive for the mainstream specs (SE – not Titanium).

  • avatar

    I’m very interested to see just what the MKZ concept that Lincoln will be revealing on Tues morning will look like. The Fusion will be big news, no question, that’s the heart of the market. I think the MKZ will be a bellweather of Lincoln’s future. If it looks substantially different from the Fusion, that will be a positive sign, assuming the different look is attractive. The key for Lincoln, everyone seems to agree, is differentiating Lincoln from Ford products on the same platforms. There’s no way that Ford can afford to give Lincoln it’s own platforms.

  • avatar
    210delray

    A few things:

    Drop the cliche “game changer.” It passed its sell-by date sometime in ’07. Ditto “design language.” Just say “design.”

    On the new Fusion, I don’t like the angry front. I do like fastbacks in general, but not 4-door coupes if they compromise headroom.

    Lincoln should have brought out that ’02 Continental concept. THAT was a Lincoln.

  • avatar
    Midwestern_Square

    Judging by its sales figures, I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority on this one, but I prefer the older Zephyr-look MKZ styling, with the full-width grille, to today’s bulbous pseudo-kidney look. Something just seems more solid and sharp, even though it’s far more obviously a Fusion, with that c-pillar. Hell, even the horizontal character line is the same.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Other than having Mazda level IQS scores, previous Fusions have been about as undistinguished as midsized cars get. While the new one looks like a Mitsubishi instead of a natural evolution of a late production Dodge Aries, are there any guarantees that Ford won’t stick with the tread-bare interior materials they’re currently using for the Fusion? Offering another stupid turbo instead of a V6 is already a stale concept, when early adopters like Hyundai’s Sonata have been revealed as slower and less efficient than their V6 competitors, for which the payoff is…nightmares down the road.

    BTW, this piece reads like a parody of the bought and paid for automotive press.

    “The Fusion will be a game changer in the segment, and we can confidently say that without indulging in any sort of PR-fueled hyperbole. The competition is simply going to get blown out of the water by Ford’s new midsize.”

    Did the author make a bet that he could get quoted in a Ford ad, or did he just let a Ford PR agent write it for him?

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      The Mondeo currently has a nice interior, and I highly doubt the new one will be any different.

      The current Fusion has one of the better ride-handling compromises in the segment (most if not all of the Accord’s handling with most of the Camry’s ride isolation) and the Hybrid was a class-leader in fuel efficiency before the 2012 Camry upped the game a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      “previous Fusions have been about as undistinguished as midsized cars get”

      True – except for Camry, Accord, And Malibu.

      “are there any guarantees that Ford won’t stick with the tread-bare interior materials they’re currently using for the Fusion”

      Yes, for interior comps, see “Focus, Ford”

      Additionally the current Fusion has both a turbo 4 and 6 cylinder engine options. Sounds like you’re complaining that they even offer the option of the turbo 4. Strange.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The current Fusion is available with a naturally aspirated 4, with 2 naturally aspirated V6s, and with a naturally aspirated hybrid powertrain. I anticipate the next one to offer an NA 4 cylinder, a turbo 4 cylinder, and a hybrid with a 4 cylinder. I’m not a big V6 fan, but I would sooner deal with 3 difficult to access spark plugs than a turbo.

        While the recent Fusions I’ve been in have all been rental spec, their interiors materials were more on a par with rental Corollas than rental Camrys. Each of them even had GM style pulling apart stitching on their seat seams, no matter how few miles they had.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        If you really think the Fusion’s interior is no better than the Corolla’s, you should get your eyes checked. The Corolla’s interior is atrocious, with plastic graining reminiscent of the worst American cars of 10 years ago. The Fusion’s not class-leading in that regard, but it’s much, much better-finished than the Corolla, for crying out loud.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        SV – don`t bother trying. CJ just blew any credibility he had. The Fusion interior (a work colleague recently bought a Fusion Sport) is of pretty good quality for that class. Certainly class competitive from a restyle back in 2008/09. Seeing what they have done with the Focus I would expect the new Fusion to be even better (no need for a 1 year emergency rework like the “new” Civic!)

  • avatar
    Advo

    Is this the new, improved Pontiac?

    Wow, shades of Aston in that styling. I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like in person because it looks like it will be the sportiest-looking mainstream model out there.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    This may be Emperor’s New Clothes but here we go…..

    That Mondeo is a carbon (fibre?) copy of the Aston Martin DB9! From the grill right to the back. Yes, it’s good looking, but it was someone else’s work…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Considering Aston Martin’s modern styling was developed under Ford ownership, including the DB9, the argument could be said it was Ford’s work.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        +1 NulloModo.
        BTW, being that you are on that part of the business, Does Ford expect the missing Ranger customers to stay in house and go Fiesta, Transit Connect and F150? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanx

      • 0 avatar

        Ian Callum’s work at Aston Martin has been widely imitated, including by himself at Jaguar. Not that that is a bad thing, he’s probably my favorite designer working these days.

      • 0 avatar
        Cammy Corrigan

        “Considering Aston Martin’s modern styling was developed under Ford ownership, including the DB9, the argument could be said it was Ford’s work.”

        That would be the case, were it not for the fact that Ford sold off Aston Martin (AM) to a consortium led by Pro-Drive. Hence, all designs, engineering and so-forth should belong to them, otherwise, why buy the company? I know that Ford own a miniscule stake in AM still, but I would have thought Pro-drive would have nixed “borrowing” the DB9′s styling.

        Ronnie,

        Jaguar may have borrowed some of AM’s styling, but like Nullomondo says “when Ford owned them”. When Ford owned them, cross-fertilisation could take place (and give us some insight as to why PAG failed). But when you’ve sold the company off, that becomes copyright infringement.

        Take SAAB for instance. When they got spun off from GM, the technology they used was LICENSED from GM. They didn’t own the technology, that still belonged to GM (just like if any bought Vauxhall/Opel, they’d only buy the brand because all patents belong to GM). But when SAAB was part of GM, I’m sure they were free to pick through the parts bin.

        Again, I’m not saying the car doesn’t look good, because it does. I’m just saying, I’m surprised it was allowed.

    • 0 avatar

      And Lexus and Hyundai design belongs to Mercedes. BMW design belongs to Pontiac, Kia to Audi and so on. It never ends. All smart-phones and Android tabs are iPhone/iPad copycats. All HDTVs look the same. BTW I do not see how Mondeo may remind someone Aston Martin.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    I wonder why Ford still supports a brand not suitable for the rest of the world (except North Korea). They should rename the brand to Continental. Or create something truly new, prestigous for the Americas, Europe, China. And they should have a close look at Citroen’s DS line. Why not expand Mustang to a “sport meets luxury” sub brand? Mustang Hatchback based on the next Mondeo liftback, 300 hp+ inline 4 from the next Focus RS? Rebadged Evoque as Mustang SUV?

    • 0 avatar

      Ford tried a Continental division in the 1950s, for the Mark II which didn’t have any Lincoln branding on it (though it wore the star logo). They shuttered that division after just two years.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        True, but in that case, maintaining both Lincoln and Continental marques proved untenable, whereas the proposal to rename the present-day Lincoln as Continental would still leave Ford with two marques. The Continental Mark series of coupes (when revived in 1968) omitted any mention of “Lincoln” on the cars, brochures, or advertising, at least through the Mark V of 1977-79; likewise for the Continental Mark III-IV-V cars of 1958-60, which were trim variants of the regular Lincoln line for those years. If Ford intends to retain the division at all, it should consider a similar course, quietly dropping Lincoln (and its silly, useless “MK” model names) in favor of Continental as the marque. Couldn’t hurt.

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    Unless the Federal government backs off its absurdly high CAFE numbers, Lincoln is doomed. Lincolns are either “big, American, conservatively styled”, or they are nothing. The archetypal Lincoln is the 1961 Continental.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Regardless of how good or bad the new Fusion is, Lincoln must be more than “Ford with leather” in order to survive. I understand that Ford only had enough money to revive one product lineup and they have wisely chosen to go with Ford. But now that Ford is competitive and the brand has moved up market, they need to invest in Lincoln to give them their own platforms and a flagship product or the brand will continue linger in irrelevance.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    What Toyota and Honda have figured out is conservative styling is better for long term resale value. Resale value is one of the most important factors in a car purchase. This new Fusion appears to be full of styling gimics which will age the car rapidly. So much for resale.

    Ford is making too many technology and styling gimics. Cars are like toasters. Toasters sell on reliability and function. Not on gimics. In my opinion, Ford’s fixed cost structure is so extreme that they need gimics to justify the price tag. The real fix for Ford is to get rid of the UAW after republicans take over next year, cut your cost structure, reduce your car prices, then make toasters.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      “Cars are like toasters” – I now understand why you are a big fan of Toyota and to a lesser extent Honda. Cars to some are appliances, but to others (including I would assume many on TTAC) they are much more. If that was not the case Toyota wouldn`t have only a c.15% market share in the US and 4% in Europe. We would all be driving them.

      As for their fixed costs, I thought they had been reduced to be more in line with their competitors, whilst not on the same level as GM or Chrysler they were still meaningful reductions which have allowed Ford to make a profit in a 10-12 million market.

  • avatar
    DJindy

    Lincoln’s solution to all this – two words “SUICIDE DOORS”

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    It’s easy enough to wait and see if the sales numbers verify the prediction. The problem is that while the prediction may prove to be true, there are no details in the article to substantiate the claim.

    “Given the new Fusion’s introduction, and the requisite hype for a new Lincoln concept previewing the MKZ, we can’t help but ask, why bother. Again, we’re not making any specific comments on how nice the new Fusion’s interior is, or how sophisticated its drivetrain and tech features are, but one need only look at the new Focus or Escape to see that the Blue Oval brand has a ton of “premium” features.”

    Why not make some specific comments on the new Fu’s interior and drive train? That might help us understand why you think it’s a game changer. What must be going on is – A) You haven’t actually seen the car and are just quoting Ford PR material, or B) You’ve seen the car but won’t reveal details until after the car’s introduction. I tend to believe B. Which means the article is premature. You should have waited until you were ready to provide details, or you should have refrained from the “game changer” statement.

    As for Lincoln, it seems inevitable that it must die. Ford doesn’t have the bucks for separate platforms, and they don’t know how to differentiate products on the same platform.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    It’s easy enough to wait and see if the sales numbers verify the prediction. The problem is that while the prediction may prove to be true, there are no details in the article to substantiate the claim.

    “Given the new Fusion’s introduction, and the requisite hype for a new Lincoln concept previewing the MKZ, we can’t help but ask, why bother. Again, we’re not making any specific comments on how nice the new Fusion’s interior is, or how sophisticated its drivetrain and tech features are, but one need only look at the new Focus or Escape to see that the Blue Oval brand has a ton of “premium” features.”

    Why not make some specific comments on the new Fu’s interior and drive train? That might help us understand why you think it’s a game changer. What must be going on is – A) You haven’t actually seen the car and are just quoting Ford PR material, or B) You’ve seen the car but won’t reveal details until after the car’s introduction. I’m tend to believe B. Which means the article is premature. You should have waited until you were ready to provide details, or you should have refrained from the “game changer” statement.

    I realize you linked an article from AE, but it remains to be seen if the NA version has all the same features.

    As for Lincoln, it seems inevitable that it must die. Ford doesn’t have the bucks for separate platforms, and they don’t know how to differentiate products on the same platform.

    I’ like the Mondeo styling, but I’m not sure it really works for the midsize segment in NA.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    “but one need only look at the new Focus or Escape to see that the Blue Oval brand has a ton of “premium” features”

    How can you make such a statement?

    MotorTrend just reviewed Ford’s fix to the Focus automatic transmission fiasco.

    They said: “I floored the go-pedal (no “brake torquing”), whooshed off and made my turn, but detected a very faint whiff of clutch material”

    Then, the premium myFord quote by MotorTrend: “My Focus’ MyFordTouch system crashed once when I requested movie times from the Sirius Travel Link system, and it tried my patience with its slow boot-up upon starting the car”

    motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2011/
    1112_ford_focus_powershift_transmission_is_much_improved/

    If Toyota or Honda ever sold products with transmission issues and MyFordTouch issues, which according to Consumer Reports, can cause a problem when defrosting the windshield, the Obama administration would tell you not to drive them and they would all be recalled. But, TTAC calls these features reasons to buy the new Fusion. WOW.

    • 0 avatar
      Strippo

      Just say no to meth.

    • 0 avatar

      Regarding accusations of being a shill for Ford, I believe I’ve criticized Sync and MyFordTiuch multiple times in rather harsh language At multiple outlets including TTAC. Both are garbage and the bane of my existence for the week when I drive a Ford product. I am still optimistic about the New Fusion, and i think that its a significant advancement over the rest of the segment, but I think that commentsry has muddled my intended focus for this pieces which is “why even bother with the MKZ”? If I truly were a Ford shill, hoping for my Boss 302 long termer, I wouldn’t dat,e criticize Lincoln. I’d probably be calling the next MKZ a game changer.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I am still optimistic about the New Fusion, and i think that its a significant advancement over the rest of the segment

        You probably should have just used that kind of phrasing then.

        TTAC auto previews generally take a much more subtle “it looks good, but let’s wait and see” kind of tone. I’ve always liked that.

        Stuff like “The Fusion will be a game changer in the segment, and we can confidently say that without indulging in any sort of PR-fueled hyperbole. The competition is simply going to get blown out of the water by Ford’s new midsize.” belongs on Autoblog or Motor Trend.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I’ve already experienced Ford’s “blowing” in a new Fiesta that received gushing press reviews from just about everyone including Top Gear, then quietly pissed itself in my garage as the new sequential automatic gearbox self destructed, leading me to fight to rid myself of the lemon-flavored crapbox. In the time prior to the Fiesta’s stateside relese, all US reporters/magazines were given carefully selected German built Euro-spec samples of the Fiesta that Ford called “pre-production models” before uleashing a Mexican/Brazilian turd on the unsuspecting US public.

    I’ll save my Blue Oval excitement until I see the watered down, cheaply built, SYNC-addled, US-spec disappointment.

    While I can see why VW hates their US consumers, what the hell is Ford’s beef against the American public?

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      That’s not exactly how it went. Many of the “rave reviews” were from driving US-spec cars – the reviews mentioned this specifically – and apart from the early problems with the PowerShift, the Fiesta IS a good car, US-spec or not.

      Though it’s also worth pointing out that both the Focus and Fusion are and will be essentially identical on both sides of the pond – the Fiesta received more changes for US sale because the Euro version wasn’t originally designed to comply with US regulations.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    From what I saw at our local auto show, Lincoln is the least competitive premium brand in the auto industry. The MKZ hybrid at 42k is 10k more than a Fusion hybrid or fully-loaded Sonata hybrid. The MKS has so much competition at 50k that the next 100 commenters could each raise a superior alternative with no duplicates. Lincoln trucks: so 1990s.

    I’m not a Ford basher. I just turned in a Fusion rental. It was an enjoyable, capable car that held my family and my luggage and delivered 29 mpg over some fairly tough driving. If the new one is better, Chevrolet will have the same problem with the 2013 Malibu that Honda has with the 2012 Civic.

  • avatar
    WriterParty.com

    I just had a realization.

    Call me nuts, but regarding the MKS, the only Lincoln sedan that’s differentiated visually from it’s Ford platform mate.

    Why didn’t the new Taurus get the current MKS’ exterior, and the MKS get the current Taurus exterior? The MKS is arguably more visually linked to the last two Tauruses before the Five Hundred, as well as the rounder lines of the new F-triplets and the new Escape, and the Evos treatment would look good on the MKS front end. The current Taurus would, with a taillight swap and a proper Lincoln grille(not the stupid mustache that Lincolns currently have), make a very believable Lincoln with more of a connection to the sharp edges present on the older Lincolns. You know, the ones that actually LOOKED like Lincolns.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Current Lincolns: ugly/uninspiring. Lincoln dropping Town Car/Panther platform discontinued: suicidal. I’d like to see an updated mid-Seventies, pre-downsizing Town Car, surely the technology has advanced to the point it’s feasible? Give me a proper 129 inch wheelbase any day…anything less is uncivilised.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    Does Lincoln make great cars? No but it doesn’t make bad cars either, the problem is that for what a Lincoln is there not worth that $10k extra over their sister car the fusion or the competition. The new fusion and even the new MKZ are really great cars but again ford Lincoln made the mistake of pricing the MKZ way too high. A loaded 2014 fusion without the optional packages like awd or blis comes at $30k while a MKZ base comes to almost $36k. If Lincoln priced it at $30k-$32k we all wouldn’t have this conversation. I think what you get In a base MKZ if priced in the low $30k area is just too good of a value to buy that $37k-$40k German or Japanese luxury car because of the mkz’s value but when you price the MKZ at what Lincoln has it’s just too easy to say, well for that I can get….


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