Ford Redesigns New Models

New-for-2008 models will receive changes for the 2009 year

By Igor Holas

02.22.2008

In 2008, Ford released several new models, but none of them were clean-sheet redesigns. Among those, the 2008 Focus, 2008 Escape (and siblings) and 2008 Econoline received a fair amount of criticism for carryover elements, or lacking updates. Ford is getting ready to address that criticism in a costly 2009 re-do of the 2008 launches.

The 2008 launches represent the last vehicles approved and developed before Mark Fields took over Ford of Americas in late 2005. Fields has had some input on these models, but could not order major changes without delaying the introduction schedule. As a result, Fields chose a two-step release of the changes. The originally-planned models were released in 2008, and major flaws addressed in 2009 changes.

2009 Escape / Mariner / Tribute


Ford has already announced the changes for the 2009 Escape and its siblings. The biggest criticism of the 2008 model centered on the carry-over 2.3l four-cylinder, 3.0l six-cylinder, and four-speed transmissions. The 2009 model addresses all three of these complaints. The 2009 model will receive an all new 2.5l base engine, a redesigned 3.0l six-cylinder, and six-speed transmission throughout the lineup. Along with minor changes to the exhaust system, and front fascia, the powertrain changes will deliver more power, more torque, faster acceleration, and better mileage. Ford also planted the new four-cylinder engine in the Hybrid model, redesigned the brakes, added SYNC to the options list, and made other minor refinements.

2009 Super Duty

Another 2008 model that will receive post-launch changes is the new Super Duty truck. While there was no focused criticism for this model, Ford decided to change the product in the middle of the 2008 model year. The changes include redesigned, more aerodynamic, front fascia, and different standard axle gearing improving economy. Starting with the 2009 model, Ford is adding the new Ford Work Solutions, and SYNC options. There is also a possibility Ford will add a six speed transmission to the 2009 model for even better mileage.

2009 Focus

The 2008 Focus was practically a full-on redesign, but the new model was criticized for some blatant omissions such as lacking rear headrests or stability control. While no official information has been released, Ford officials did mention more changes coming for the 2009 Focus. The rear headrests will be added as will be the stability program. Other changes are also possible, including optional engine, rear disc brakes, and even a sport model.

2009 Econoline

Finally, the 2008 Econoline launched with important changes to the frame and some new exterior styling, but with unchanged engines, and importantly, interior. Many observers saw the limited investment to this model as a sign of an approaching end. However, it seems the obituaries might have been premature. Ford took the Econoline back to the studio, and the big van will receive further changes to the suspension and brakes increasing its payload and most importantly it will receive an all-new interior. The new interior will follow the same theme Ford’s trucks have been using since the 2004 F150, and will be a very much welcome replacement for the outdated interior currently installed. This new interior will also allow the Econoline to use Ford’s new Ford Works Solution, New generation navigation, and SYNC systems.

The changes for the Focus and the Econoline have not been officially announced yet, so we will have to wait a little for the full detail, but it is nice to see Ford moving quickly with addressing weaknesses in its portfolio. Ford started this annual revision process with the Fusion, Explorer, and the Edge, and it seems they are staying true to their word and spreading this attention and investment to other models. We will see whether the changes will impact the perception and sales of the models.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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13 Comments

  1. Those are some nice updates to the Escape/Mariner. Not bad for a what is basically a refresh.

  2. Did I read that right? an In-line six for the Escape? I didn’t know Ford even had an I-6 anymore.

    (having owned Ford I-6 and V-6 equiped cars, I’ve found the I-6 to be far more durable)

  3. Mark, it does not say Inline six anywhere in the article – just six-cylinder. It is a V6. (the 2.5l is I4)

    Igor

  4. I am surprised the 6-spped automatic is strong enough for the Super Duty, especially the F-350.

  5. At least Ford is trying now, which is a lot more than they were doing a few years ago. They’re trying to make everything as good as possible instead of just good enough.

  6. Is there any news on the Taurus that is supposed to be redesigned or refreshed next year??

  7. The rumour is that the Taurus will be a amssive step up in spec abd design and be sold internationally as well.

  8. Igor, looks like it was a font issue. The article says 3.0l-6 I read 3.0I-6.

    I suppose it doesn’t matter anyway. I refuse to buy a FWD vehicle.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Mark

  9. I don’t know how successful a Focus “sport” model is going to be with the hatchback gone from the U.S. The bland -looking sedan doesn’t exactly shout out sport.

  10. The focus doesnt need stabilty control.

  11. Ford is putting bandaids on gaping wounds. They’re going down.

  12. Hi Igor, I haven’t read anything from you for a while in regards to the Ford 4.4 and 6.7 diesels. Do you know any more on those engines, when they will be available etc. I read that the 6.7 will be 400 horse and also read 500 horse. Do you know the latest on that? Thanks, and I enjoy all your posts. Regards, Alex
    fastcars76@hotmail.com

  13. Anonymous – Ford is moving swiftly with the diesels. The 4.4l is to be available by this time next year. The 6.7l in 2012. I do not have much concrete information – not enough to write it up, but insiders are very optimistic about both engines.

    Igor

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