What's Happening To Ford?

 It's 1983, and Ford introduces the new Thunderbird. Sleek, aerodynamic, and different from everything else on the road, it signals the beginning of a styling tour de force from the Blue Oval. The next year Ford brings out the Tempo, once again a sleek, stylish design. 1986 marks the high point in Ford design with the debut of the Taurus, still one of the best looking sedans ever made.

 Forward to the nineties, and you can see Ford's designs start to lose their direction. Ford attempts to regain the initiative with it's new edge styling, but it's a half-hearted effort that only really shines on the Focus.

 Now it's the 2K's, and what are we getting from Ford? New grilles that will differentiate each of Ford's three lines, and a strange desire to have every model's name start with the same letter as the division. Instead of keeping well known names, Ford wants each of it's cars to start with the letter "F", so out with Taurus and in with 500.

 It boggles my mind that the new 500 is based off a Volvo that has more adventerous styling than Ford's. What used to be a company that dominated the domestic styling arena is now retreating into mediocrity as sales lag behind the competition. Now Chrysler in the king of design, and it's sales are on the rise. Ford is heading down the same road GM took in the 80's, badge engineered cars that all look the same, with only a different grille to distinguish between them.

 J Mays, group vice president of design, is not the man who is killing Ford, he's just the one killing the spirit of design that used to make Ford something special.


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