Bark's Bites: The Best Car at 2015

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
bark s bites the best car at nyias in 2015

For those of you who haven’t had the good fortune to attend the New York International Auto Show, it’s a must-do. Every manufacturer pulls out all the stops. The displays are mind-numbingly expensive, featuring massive LED screens, arena-quality sound systems, and concept cars that cost millions to develop.

As I walked around the Javits Center, admiring the vast and varied vehicles preening before an obsequiously adoring press, I noticed that much of the adoration and admiration was directed toward a car that featured a big cosmetic change but not much of a mechanical one—the Dodge Charger. Granted, the automotive press tends to get a little more of a tingle up its collective leg than consumers do about rear-wheel drive sedans, but the buzz surrounding the Charger was palpable. Furthermore, the reaction in the comments section of this and every other automotive blog seemed to suggest that, at the very least, automotive enthusiasts were right there with them. Whether people liked or disliked the redesign was almost irrelevant—they were TALKING about the car.

At the other end of the floor, one of the largest displays in the show belonged to Ford. A couple of different Mustangs bracketed the display, which also included the marvelous Focus ST and the perhaps even better Fiesta ST. However, the Ford area was sparsely attended—at this point, the Mustang is somewhat old news, having lost a good deal of its buzz even before it makes its way to showrooms later this year. Their giant, stadium-style seating was mostly being used by journos ravenously enjoying their free lunch from Nissan as though they were going to be executed directly thereafter.

In the interest of what I like to call “full disclosure,” I should note that I own two Fords that I purchased new off the lot; a 2013 Boss 302 and a 2013 Flex. However, even if I didn’t, I’d have to consider Ford’s product lineup to be the best in the industry from top to bottom. In reference to the Fiesta ST, The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah tweeted a few days ago that “The Fiesta is probably the best car in the world. For that kind of money nothing comes close.” This comes from a man who spends a good deal of his time behind the wheel of things like Aventadors and Wraiths. The Focus and Fusion are class leaders in driving enjoyment. The Mustang is the best pony car available, and only looks to be getting better for 2015. The F-150 is the undisputed king of trucks and has been for decades. The Escape and Explorer are considered the benchmarks by the competition, a position confirmed for me several months back by Toyota’s leadership when I attended the Highlander launch. In other words, they are at or near the top of every segment in which they compete.

Well, almost every segment. The Taurus is, for all intents and purposes, a joke. According to Timothy Cain’s numbers, if you subtract Police Interceptor sales from the Taurus’ sales numbers, it ranks almost dead last in 2014 YTD sales in the segment, behind the Impala (which outsells it at a 3-to-1 rate), Charger, Maxima, Avalon, and 300. Its stablemate, the Lincoln MKS, fares even worse—much worse. What’s even more unsettling for the Blue Oval is that both cars are down hugely year over year; the Taurus is down 27.5% and the MKS is down 11.4%.

Chevy owns the segment right now with a big, comfy, and stylish FWD sedan. If one combines the Charger and 300 numbers, Chrysler is right there at the top as well with an aggressively styled RWD car that looks like it was designed for caped crime-fighters. Obviously, either type of platform can be successful.

But Ford likes to make big splashes—you don’t put a Mustang on top of the Empire State Building if you don’t want people to notice. And FWD sedans, while practical and loved by the general public, don’t get you magazine covers.

So here’s what you need to do, Ford. Kill the Taurus. If you have to nuke it from space, do it. It’s an anchor that is damaging the perception of your whole brand.

You need a halo sedan. See that big 302 engine that you’ve got stuffed under the hood of the Mustang? Put it in a big, RWD sedan. Don’t make the same mistake Chevy made with the SS—make it look mean. That grille you put on the 2013 Flex? That’s a good place to start. Make twenty inch rims and summer tires an option. Put a real suspension in it. Price it competitively with the Charger SRT-8.

Then, build down from there. Put an EcoBoost sixer in the next model down and price it next to the Pentastar Mopars. Maybe even a four-cylinder EcoBoost for an entry level. In fact, just swap over the entire Mustang engine lineup. It works for Dodge with the Charger and Challenger. It could work for you, too.

Here’s the last thing you have to do, and this is critical. KEEP THE LINCOLN BADGE AS FAR AWAY FROM IT AS POSSIBLE. Face it—Ford is a more prestigious brand than Lincoln is. Make the top trim level a Titanium Ford, and stick a giant blue oval on the back. Hell, go crazy and put the Shelby GT500 engine in an SVT model and embarrass some M5s around the track.

What should you call it? Come on, do you really have to ask? Retro is in. You’ve got a name in the history books begging to be resuscitated. We haven’t seen one in forty years…it’s time.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…the 2016 Ford Galaxie. Stick this one on top of the new World Trade Center. And you don’t have to pay me a dime when it becomes the top selling car in the segment, guys. I’ll just be glad to buy one.

(To be fair, I anticipated this idea a few years ago — JB)

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9 of 95 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Apr 26, 2014

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…the 2016 Ford Galaxie. Stick this one on top of the new World Trade Center." Yes please. Shut up and take my money. In fact I believe that the entire front end of the Flex could be grafted onto a sedan and it would work. Make sure the wheelbase is nice and long too.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Apr 26, 2014

    "Ford is a more prestigious brand than Lincoln is" I disagree, Ford has put out enough junk in my lifetime for me to remember there is nothing prestigious about the brand itself. Ford and their contemporaries like Dodge and Chevrolet may put out a real hit once and a while but there are still plenty of skeletons in the closets of each of those respective brands. Lincoln could be legitimately prestigious, but this requires serious money, marketing, and product none of which FoMoCo wants to pony up. That's fine, evidently poorly assembled Mercedes FWDs and fancy Acura, er Hondas, for 60K are all the rage among the tasteless "luxury" buyers of today, these people couldn't handle a true Lincoln.

    • See 6 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 01, 2014

      @Kyree LOL! I have seen one regular ILX, and three ACC's.

  • Oberkanone Too slow! Need a Trackhawk.
  • SCE to AUX I'll guess 160 miles or less while towing at full capacity, especially in cold weather.Deduct 20% for minimum battery charge, and you're down to 128 miles in January if you have to tow something big that day. Subtract another 20% if you do this every day (don't want to fill to 100% every day).Then subtract more for any speeding, and a little for battery aging over time, and on the worst days you're under 100 miles of range.Good for local work on a good day, but not all 'truck stuff' on bad days. Buyers need to do their homework before getting an electric truck.
  • Wjtinfwb Memory lane... In '76, I got my full Florida D/L and started hogging my parents cars. That only lasted a year when it was decided I needed to take an additional class in school that started at 7am, before the bus ran and my friends went to school. Mom was not excited about driving me every day so I proposed a solution; I was a big dirt biker and floated out buying a street bike to ride to school, namely a new Honda XL350. Mom & Dad objected vehemently, they didn't want me dead on the road to school. And they know I'd be on that bike 24/7 and they'd never know where I was. Dad offered a car, stating if I'd put in the money I'd saved for the Honda, he'd match it and if needed throw in a bit more. Perfect! I started looking for a car, first candidate was a used Pontiac Formula 455. It was a '74, Automatic, an awful pea green but clean and on the front line at JM Pontiac. No way was Dad's instant answer. Too thirsty, too powerful, too expensive to insure. A Celica GT Liftback? Better but too expensive. Corolla SR-5? Warmer, but dad was uncertain of the safety of a Japanese car. Fiat 128? Why not just throw the money out the window. Dad's friend ran a leasing company and had a hook at the VW dealer, Rabbit? A Scirocco would be better, but lets look. Dealer offered a new, '77 Rabbit 2dr in Custom trim, 4-speed, factory A/C, AM/FM in Panama Brown (burnt Orange) with Brown "leatherette" for $3200 plus tax. One drive and I was in. Not fast, but peppy, '77 combined the '76 1.6L engine with Bosch Fuel Injection. Faster than the Corolla for sure and undoubtedly more reliable than the Fiat, right? Not so fast, my friend. The Rabbit was a nightmare, and VW dealers were stymied by the Fuel Injection, the A/C that while factory was clearly an afterthought and the leak from somewhere that filled the left rear footwell after ever rainstorm. A daily occurrence in S. Florida. It left me on the side of the road one evening due to a broken timing belt and ultimately succumbed to the bad valve guides that led to burning a quart of GTX every 200 miles. Sold at a fire sale price and replaced with a used Cutlass. A super fun car that was sold approximately 2/3 of the way through development. Two years later production moved to Westmoreland PA and those Rabbits were even more horrendous than my German built example. Great memory of a not very great car.
  • Fie on Fiasler "...he’s worried that the situation will interfere with his ability to pursue his goal of working in government."Well, thank Christ for Musk, then. Last thing we need is a punk kid that aspires to a government job. Sometimes action is needed to spare these idiots from themselves (and, more importantly, us.)
  • SCE to AUX This story could have been a lot shorter.I'll side with Cruise this time. If indeed the pedestrian was thrown into the AV's path while ricocheting from another impact, that's an unavoidable accident. No human could do any better in that case.Seems more like the Cruise AV was in the wrong place at the wrong time.