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Why will Ford not build or at least offer a performance wagon in North America?

 

gv71Fa1.jpg

This is just plainly disgusting. It is almost enough to make one kick the habit (my name is SHO-WGN and I am a brandaholic). Three years ago we had the Focus in Carlisle (where we won best wagon with SVT-WGN). We had the opportunity to talk with a Ford engineer named Lisa Schröder, an engineer turned marketing person. Ha! She may have listened, but she has not come across. Our win provided ample evidence of popularity for performance wagons, yet here it is three and a half years later, and what? Performance wagons? Nope. No Focus ST wagon. No performance wagons, not even the Mondeo wagon.

Now last night on DW television's Drive It! auto magazine show, they tested a new Mondeo. Yeah, over in Europe they get a car called the Mondeo, which if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck or quacks like a duck, it is a duck. "Duck" looks exactly like our Fusion.

NiR2vTU.jpg

Yeah it comes in wagon form. Yeah, you can get a six speed manual. Yeah you can get either an Ecoboost gasoline engine or a twin turbo 2.0 L TDCi 207 brake horsepower diesel. Over here, no wagons, no performance engines mated to six-speed manuals. Just so there is no CON-Fusion, thanks Ford.

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They did it is called the Flex. It is built on the Taurus platform and rides like a car. The flex is the Taurus wagon. Popular mechanics did an article comparing it to a wagon as well.

 

It is really comfy and can handle a lot. You can get it with the Eco-boost engine as well.

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Because North Americans are stupid.

 

They think station wagons are uncool because previous generations used them as the Family Car. However, I cannot imagine life without the station wagon now. It's way too practical, and way too amazing. Then I hear the excuses why SUV's are better.

 

"Well, it has 4 wheel drive" Cool story bro. I never once needed 4WD in my life. And I strongly doubt most people who have it know how to even use it. "But it will help me in the snow!" With FWD and RWD, I never had performance issues in snow. And quite frankly, 4WD/AWD just gives people a false sense of security when on the road which is why I have to be twice as vigilant on the road against stupid drivers.

However, with my wagon, I've used it thousands of times like a wagon. It's great on economy, it's great on storage space, and great on cargo.

 

But then, Ford releases a wagon. But it's called a Crossover to shut people up, God forbid they see the word station wagon... And it has a high price tag so that I can't easily get one in my budget. But a Subaru would be new more in my budget with their wagon offerings.

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Because North Americans are stupid...

 

... Ford releases a wagon. But it's called a Crossover to shut people up, God forbid they see the word station wagon... And it has a high price tag so that I can't easily get one in my budget. But a Subaru would be new more in my budget with their wagon offerings.

Good point. Most station wagons are recalled looking something like this:

Ford_LTD_Country_Squire_--_05-23-2012_fr

 

Miles of faux wood, V8 (oh noes, fuel economy is only 17 city, so horrible - FYI, 1991 LTD Wagon was rated 17 city/24 hwy - 302 V8 4 Speed auto), and big car appearance. We can't have that. Better make something smaller than an SUV, bigger than a hatchback. It's maddening. There are are obviously wagons that followed, like Taurus and Focus, but they're not usually synonymous with the design, most remember them as sedans or hatches. 

 

Yet, I don't understand how this ****** doesn't wind up in the same situation, unless because, the mindset is: I can tow, haul the kids, and load my things. (2015 Suburban rated 16 city/23 hwy - 5.3 V8 6 Speed auto)

2015-chevrolet-suburban-ltz-photo-539117

 

We won't have US branded wagons for quite some time because they're labeled, particularly for the worst. The automatic thought to "station wagon" is something like that LTD. You'll also get, "It won't do as much as what's on the market. It probably won't be able to tow my boat. I don't want a manual in my car. I don't like sport suspensions, they're too hard. A V8 option? I need to save money on gas."

 

 

We just need to start an import deal bringing Mondeos over here for their options.

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Because North Americans are stupid.

 

They think station wagons are uncool because previous generations used them as the Family Car. However, I cannot imagine life without the station wagon now. It's way too practical, and way too amazing. Then I hear the excuses why SUV's are better.

 

"Well, it has 4 wheel drive" Cool story bro. I never once needed 4WD in my life. And I strongly doubt most people who have it know how to even use it. "But it will help me in the snow!" With FWD and RWD, I never had performance issues in snow. And quite frankly, 4WD/AWD just gives people a false sense of security when on the road which is why I have to be twice as vigilant on the road against stupid drivers.

However, with my wagon, I've used it thousands of times like a wagon. It's great on economy, it's great on storage space, and great on cargo.

 

But then, Ford releases a wagon. But it's called a Crossover to shut people up, God forbid they see the word station wagon... And it has a high price tag so that I can't easily get one in my budget. But a Subaru would be new more in my budget with their wagon offerings.

Wagons?

Wagons14_zps380d828b.jpg

Drove today to Lowes for wood, to Sams Club for "instant sale" stuff and they had to manually subtract since the computer had the wrong sale price. OK

Saved $13.75 on customary food/paper goods.

Drove home and loaded the back with tools and stuff, boxes in the seat, went to my daughter's house and did work.

Home. Wagon did the job nicely.

I belive it was the one on the right in the pic.

Did mpg check on the trip to my daughter's house and back.

Ultragage!

-chart-

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"Well, it has 4 wheel drive" Cool story bro. I never once needed 4WD in my life. And I strongly doubt most people who have it know how to even use it. "But it will help me in the snow!" With FWD and RWD, I never had performance issues in snow. And quite frankly, 4WD/AWD just gives people a false sense of security when on the road which is why I have to be twice as vigilant on the road against stupid drivers.

 

Up here 4WD is great, and it does help with the snow. People up here DO know how to use it, and it makes life here much easier in the 4-6 months we have snow on the ground. Sure, you can manage fine with FWD or RWD, if you are a competent driver, but it's not as easy or capable as 4WD/AWD. It does not give competent drivers a false sense of security, as long as you know how to drive well and how the system works. There are stupid drivers everywhere, but it's naive to think that all or most drivers are bad drivers.

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Well, each time I drive during the first snow fall, I always see a wrecked SUV or two on the side of the road that always slows traffic down even more since people have a natural obsession of stop and staring.

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You live in a big city though Kevin, idiots are far more common than in smaller towns.

There are too few of us who think modern wagons are cool, the majority of people find cars like the Kia Soul good looking. Companies sell cars that the masses will buy, wagons don't stand a chance in the US to sell in large numbers, so companies don't bother.

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Sorry to be so disagreeable LOUDSHO92, but the Flex is not my idea of a performance wagon. It has a higher center of gravity and an automatic only. My criterion places it into the same class as the Volvo XC-90. I want something closer to the Volvo V-70 R model with six speed manual, big brakes, low center of gravity and some reasonable power (okay maybe 300 horsepower is pushing that one a bit.)

"MotorTrend in 2004 praised the V-70 R's flat 6.0 second zero to 60 mph time and said "its slalom speed of 65.9 mph betters non-Z06 Corvettes."

That is my definition of a performance wagon. Europeans get their choices. We get automatics and SUV's. Car chassis based SUV's are called Crossovers, in my books they are still SUV's. All wheel drive allows the driver to accelerate faster than my front-wheel drive. But I can stop and corner as fast, if not faster. Guess which vehicle type ends upside down in the ditch. (Although I will appreciate no-one reminding me of a certain red wagon trying to hump an Impala.)

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That doesn't mean that all SUV, 4WD or AWD drivers are bad. It doesn't even necessarily mean that the person with the wrecked SUV is a bad driver. There are always going to be people who wreck their cars during the first few snowfalls of each year, but that doesn't mean that they must be bad drivers. Everyone can make mistakes or poor judgments while driving, no matter the time of the year or the conditions at the time.

Saying that all SUV drivers or people with 4WD/AWD are bad drivers just because you see them acting foolishly when snow is on the ground is like automatically assuming everyone that drives a Subaru is a liberal/hippie/hipster or that every Toyota driver wants the car because they think it's bulletproof; it's just naive to think that way. As humans, we tend to see things that stick out to us and assume they're the norm. We might not consider all the good SUV drivers that never wreck their car because we focus on the one that is wrecked.

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The center of gravity on a Flex is not that high. 365Hp twin turbos and a 0-60mph time of about 7 seconds for a 4500lb wagon is defiantly sporty. Considering the Ecoboost is easily capable of more power it can easily become a "performance wagon".

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Up here 4WD is great, and it does help with the snow. People up here DO know how to use it, and it makes life here much easier in the 4-6 months we have snow on the ground. Sure, you can manage fine with FWD or RWD, if you are a competent driver, but it's not as easy or capable as 4WD/AWD. It does not give competent drivers a false sense of security, as long as you know how to drive well and how the system works. There are stupid drivers everywhere, but it's naive to think that all or most drivers are bad drivers.

I have never had 4WD and only driven one once and it was rental company required for the specific bad climate, that is ice storm and ice covered roads at the time. For 18 years my work called for me to travel out of town average of 40 weeks a year. Most of it in my car, but some rentals at the end of a flignt, or company cars when convenient for me. Company fleet Taurus G-1 and my first experience in them. Most of my travel was in PA, WV, with some NY, OH, VA, NC, KY. Never got stuck. Never missed a trip, but was one day late on return flight due to snow. Likely my worst driving winter was in Raleigh NC in freezing rain and driving LTD. I did make it to the airport on time, but with some off the lane driving to miss the wrecks.

 

Somehow, people with 4WD think they can corner faster, stop faster than the rest of us. Duhhh.

 

For me, good tread depth, careful driving are the best.

 

(3 Sable Family now)

-chart-

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I loved the Explorers capability in the snow, it was perfect for life in Houghton. To be perfectly honest I am a little nervous to be taking the Taurus back to school. I won't be able to drive like I had, I'll have to avoid certain roads and intersections. With the Explorer I could push it though just about anything, if it got a little hairy I'd just drop it in 4 low and crawl out. You can't drive a fwd or rwd station wagon though snow that is above the bottom of the bumper, it just doesn't work.

I will agree with anyone who says people buy SUVs for the wrong reason, but to say all SUV drivers are stupid is flat out wrong.

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It's very simple, guys. Convince *at least* 50,000 people to leave cash deposits with their local Ford stores, promising to buy a wagon variant of the current-gen Fusion. Then repeat same tactic at the beginning of next model year, and so on... Sound very likely to occur? Because that’s the *only* way we will ever have the chance to see them being offered for sale Stateside, or in Canada.

It just gets really old seeing enthusiasts constantly complain about what isn't being offered for sale, yet the niche cars that they had begged for like the CTS-V and Volvo R-wagons will see nothing better than dismal sales and then completely disappear from the market. This goes for "personal luxury coupes", RWD body on frame land yachts, and other dead segments too.

Put your money where it actually counts, or else don't complain.

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Why will Ford not build or at least offer a performance wagon in North America?

Three years ago we had the Focus in Carlisle (where we won best wagon with SVT-WGN). We had the opportunity to talk with a Ford engineer named Lisa Schröder, an engineer turned marketing person. Ha! She may have listened, but she has not come across.

Our win provided ample evidence of popularity for performance wagons, yet here it is three and a half years later, and what? Performance wagons? Nope. No Focus ST wagon. No performance wagons, not even the Mondeo wagon.

This is ample proof of nothing, in fact. A single, modified car that Ford themselves stopped building half a decade ago winning a trophy at a car show intended for mainly discontinued, usually classic automobiles has no relevance to actual market trends that show what today's customers are actually buying. Lisa happens to be the one person at Ford most responsible for successfully bringing the Focus ST and Fiesta ST variants over here. As you know, Ford did offer a Focus wagon here. North American sales of that car declined for every successive year that they kept it available.

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This is ample proof of nothing, in fact. A single, modified car that Ford themselves stopped building half a decade ago winning a trophy at a car show intended for mainly discontinued, usually classic automobiles has no relevance to actual market trends that show what today's customers are actually buying. Lisa happens to be the one person at Ford most responsible for successfully bringing the Focus ST and Fiesta ST variants over here. As you know, Ford did offer a Focus wagon here. North American sales of that car declined for every successive year that they kept it available.

 

One could say Focus sales, regardless of body style, declined year after year until the 2012 MY.

 

2015_ford_focus_wagon_1.jpg

 

This is why they invented this meme:

 

shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg

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Sorry to be so disagreeable LOUDSHO92, but the Flex is not my idea of a performance wagon. It has a higher center of gravity and an automatic only. My criterion places it into the same class as the Volvo XC-90. I want something closer to the Volvo V-70 R model with six speed manual, big brakes, low center of gravity and some reasonable power (okay maybe 300 horsepower is pushing that one a bit.)

"MotorTrend in 2004 praised the V-70 R's flat 6.0 second zero to 60 mph time and said "its slalom speed of 65.9 mph betters non-Z06 Corvettes."

That is my definition of a performance wagon. Europeans get their choices. We get automatics and SUV's. Car chassis based SUV's are called Crossovers, in my books they are still SUV's. All wheel drive allows the driver to accelerate faster than my front-wheel drive. But I can stop and corner as fast, if not faster. Guess which vehicle type ends upside down in the ditch. (Although I will appreciate no-one reminding me of a certain red wagon trying to hump an Impala.)

 

The center of gravity is not that much higher up. It does ride higher then a Taurus but only a couple of inches. I can still jack up the car with my low profile jack. The Flex still handles and drives like a car.

 

The twin turbo V6 will also allow for a lot of power as well.

 

I do agree that a manual would be cool and I would want it but unfortunately here in North America they are becoming fewer and fewer.

 

I have learned that car companies follow what people buy so they will only release certain modles depending on how well they sell. So while I do like FOrd, if I want a certain car that some one else has I will go there.

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Well, again, goes back to money, sure they can make it, but then when they charge a premium of course it does poorly.

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Thank you for all the comments guys. For a while, I almost thought I was infected with kooties.

 

I do try to put my money where my mouth is; with one exception, every vehicle I have ordered new from the factory has had a handling package, heavy duty equipment and a manual transmission. Even my 1986 Aerostar van had a Vulcan V6 with a five speed manual as well as dual air conditioning/dual heaters (front and rear), premium sound system with power amp and graphic equalizer, and limited slip differential.

When Car & Driver magazine built the original SHO wagon in the early 1990's, I told my dealer to put my name for the first one in Saskatchewan. It never happened. I did own a 1995 SHO with 5 speed (bought used).

Secondly, while the market may be small, there is still a market. Unfortunately the US market is bigger than our market. At Carlisle, Focus enthusiasts harangued me about using a "rare" five speed wagon to build the six speed SVT-WGN. Rare? I told the group I had searched for a black wagon with manual. I did find two white, two silver, one red, one green, one blue, one gold, but no black, so I settled for the Shadow Grey one. Their reaction was, you had a choice of colours (all with five speed manuals)? The look on their faces said it all.

So in pecking order, we drive more manual transmissions than Americans. In Canada, the most manual transmissions are in Québec. However even they fall well short of their European cousins. Over there more than half the cars are equipped with manual transmissions. Also, wagons are far more popular than here.

I accept that not every platform can offer a manual transmission option. But when there is a world platform (Escort, Focus, Fusion/Mondeo) with a manual transmission option, surely there would be enough orders to warrant at least one day or shift with manual transmissions. I would even accept a limited palette of colours.

When my eldest son worked at Honda (Alliston, Ontario) while going to University, I asked how many were manual transmission. In his entire time there, he never did see one day with manual transmissions, yet Honda still sells them. All the cars built on any given day were identical; sometimes the cars were the same for the entire week. Every car coming down the line was the same colour, with exactly the same options. This is the cheapest way to build cars. Build all of the white ones, then the silver ones, etc. etc. Most people want instant gratification, so will take whatever is on the lot. Not me. My 1986 Aerostar took nearly six months from the time I put down my deposit to when I got to drive it home.

Finally, there is the concept of halo cars. The Chevrolet Corvette is an example of one such car. GM probably does not make much on any single Corvette sold, but it builds traffic in the showroom. The Taurus SHO was another example. Very few people actually bought one, but because Conan O'Brien and Tim Allen (the Tool Man) and a few other celebrities drove one, it built traffic in the showroom. In addition, those first models were only available in red, silver or black which also kept costs down.

As an aside, when I was over observing the 2004 Presidential election in Ukraine, I saw a 2003 Stratus with a manual transmission. Built over here and exported to Europe. Not enough? Go down to Mexico. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of manual transmissions in domestic cars. It can be done. There just has to be a will to supply a small demand.

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I would at least accept a custom order. Offer the options to be built. So let's say I want a Manual Fusion/Mondeo, I place an order, and tell them I want manual. Then have it installed from the factory. Because again as you mentioned, there is still the market. Because right now if I want a stick shift wagon, I have to go to Subaru.

Personally I love driving manual. To me it's very satisfying. I control every aspect of the vehicle.

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if I want a stick shift wagon, I have to go to Subaru.

 No more Outback manuals for 2015. Even fewer choices.

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 No more Outback manuals for 2015. Even fewer choices.

The number of people who can drive stick, or from that pool want to do it, shrinks.

 

From '88-'02 Lin Cont had no real customer base. According to published data, majority of the cars were made and kept by Ford for internal use. Executives and a pool of vehicles for engineers and tecs to drive on business. At one year old, they were auctioned to dealers. The second most customer was lease vehicles. My first '91 was factory car, second '93 lease vehicle and '96 was lease vehicle. All 3 had unlisted options but standard colors exterior. Not so interior. These cars were registered in the state they were used, but not titled. In my case, I was the first title owner.

 

Doubt Ford made any $$ profit on this venture. I think they used it for a test bed of technology. Like Day 1 they had air suspension and active struts.

 

I am the somewhat happy owner of had/have = 5.

Used, they were cheap rides, nice cars. Crappy assembly. Good warrenty.

 

-chart-

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If VW releases a GDI version (TDI + GTI = diesel sport model) of the upcoming Golf SportWagen (replacing the current Jetta SportWagen) I will trade in our '12 JSW. Even with a the low rolling resistance tires for improved fuel economy, the car is fun and rewarding to drive. 6 speed manual, and I doubt VW will eliminate that anytime soon. And 42mpg. I truly is the best of both worlds. Consumer Reports called the car "leisurely to 60". Even my wife scoffed "they didn't DRIVE it". The DSG model shifts quicker, but I'll keep the stick a 3 pedals.

Apparently VW is betting on wagons in the US, if that brand new, unannounced Passat Wagon I saw cruising through Phoenix means anything. Audi hasn't stopped selling wagons either. I saw an Acura TSX wagon the other day. No idea they made those, but they are dead after 2014.

Americans are hung up on crossovers and gently moving away from SUVs. BMW now offers the X1 crossover which is within millimeters of the 3 series wagon, but the X1 will sell 1000:1. Car enthusiasts still love wagons, but we only make a tiny percentage of the market.

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And funny enough that the new X1 is the same size as a first gen X3, the current X3 matches up with a first gen X5, and so on it goes... :P And they are launching an even bigger X7 luxury CUV soon that will be in line with the segment of GL-Class, Q7, Range Rover, Escalade, Cayenne, etc.

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Pictured below are two models of the current European Mondeo, a sedan and a wagon.
PtHMI6m.jpg

Now here is the North American Fusion (sedan only). They are the same.
zDPxZ41.jpg

My apologies for resurrecting this old thread and the adjunct rants. As old geezer, with a lot of time on my hands, I sometimes watch Automobile television (like [Deutsche Welle Drive It!). The featured car this week was the Ford Mondeo Titanium Estate. Surprise. It's, it's, it's a Fusion, it's a Fusion wagon. So of course I had to check out the specifications for the second generation Fusion compared with the fourth generation Mondeo.

xABur04.jpg

Wheelbase? Check. Tread width? Check. Height? Check. Curb weight? Check. (Of course, even Wikipedia calls them the same car, but I had to check for myself.)

So now after resurrecting this thread, comes the old guy rant. Surely, if Ford can build the car in one part of the world, they could assemble it in another. Back in the old days, you could order a vehicle from the factory with a myriad set of options. My Aerostar was one of those very rare models (read my earlier posts in this thread) with a five speed manual, dual air conditioners/heaters, super stereo system.

Why can Ford not offer some of these options? Like manual transmission, Or performance diesels. Or handling packages. When I read the Top Gear magazine review of the new Focus ST, I was shocked that the North American journalist did not drive stick. No wonder the manufacturers do not want to offer manuals.

The video segment on the Mondeo was clear why some models do not sell. Price. When a Volvo V70R was in the $50,000 range, surprise, surprise not many people jump at this take it or leave it offer.

So what is a good, old Canadian boy to do? He is monitoring the used and wrecked auto parts market in England, France and Germany. Maybe, I will get lucky and find a good used six speed manual to swap.

I leave you with one last example. This is the first generation, 1997 Mondeo. Guess what, it is a Contour wagon.

ZmIrb8N.jpg

Edited by SHO-WGN

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