Toyota vs Ford: A study in contrasts

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Thread: Toyota vs Ford: A study in contrasts

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    Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    The difference is strategies between the marketing efforts of the 2 similar sized auto manufacturers is an illustrative study in contrasts and probably explains why the one is moving ahead like a juggernaut while the other is floundering about like a beached whale.

    consider this article:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/con...3361460865679/

    Toyota Uber Alles

    3 September 2005
    By Bob Elton
    excerpts:
    The most interesting aspect of Toyota's business is how they handle their failures. Take, for example, their forays into the US minivan market. Chrysler invented the genre with the introduction of their Dodge and Plymouth minivans. A few years later, Toyota responded with a small, boxy, mid-engined van, reminiscent of the cargo vans that Chrysler, Ford and GM had sold for years. Needless to say, Toyota's entry didn't even appear on the minivan buyer's radar screen. Toyota then spent a huge amount of money and restyled this van into the smooth and bulbous Toyota Previa. Again, buyers were lined up none-deep.

    Toyota's third attempt was closer to a direct copy of the Chrysler vans, but smaller. Although it offered front wheel drive, the vehicle still captured a very small segment of the minivan market. By this time, the big three domestic manufacturers would have thrown in the towel. But Toyota doesn't work that way. They built yet another completely new minivan, the Sienna. Toyota finally got it right, and rapidly carved out a major portion of the minivan segment for their own.

    Compare Toyota's persistence to Ford's reaction to the failure of the Freestar/Monterey minivans. After fielding a pair of vehicles that were never designed to be "best in class", Ford appears mystified that they didn't sell as well as the previous Windstar van. Ford promptly fired the managers responsible and announced that they were getting out of the market.


    This aspect of Ford's corporate beahviour has been commented upon by no less an authority than Jerry Flint in this article written separately in another publication: full article here:

    http://www.forbes.com/home_asia/colu...0802flint.html

    Ford's Fuzzy Future
    Jerry Flint, 08.02.05, 6:00 AM ET
    excerpts:
    What bothers me at Ford these days is the product planning, which seems to be complete chaos and confusion, as well as an inability to correct problems.

    The latest bit of baffling news comes from the trade publication Automotive News--indirectly confirmed by Ford--that Ford plans to kill the Freestyle, a model that has been on the market for less than one year. The Freestyle--besides being the first car ever named after a swim meet--is a crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV), which is a politically correct term for a station wagon.

    Ford builds the Freestyle--the companion vehicle to the new Ford 500 sedan--in Chicago. Both vehicles have received good marks in the automotive press for ride, handling and body integrity. The problem is that in the first six months of 2005, the Freestyle found only 35,000 buyers, which puts it on a pace to sell only 70,000 units per year. That is disappointing to Ford, so it appears they plan to kill it and put the name on a new SUV sometime in 2007. The 500 sedan sold only 50,000 units in six months, but they are not killing that model.

    So, why discontinue a new vehicle that might not have reached its sales stride and that delivers relatively good gas mileage in a market that's paying more attention to this metric? It's a sign of either panic and confusion or of a war within the Ford executive ranks--I don't know which. Ford's story is that they have so many other crossovers or SUVs coming that they don't need the Freestyle. Yet Ford just spent over $1 billion to prepare the Chicago plant to build the Freestyle and the 500. I don't understand the logic here nor how the plant will make money when they eliminate Freestyle volume. While I hear Ford is killing the Freestyle, the apparent plan is to produce a Mercury version in 2007. I can't understand why it takes Ford two model years to fancy up the Freestyle and turn it into a Mercury. On its own, a Mercury Freestyle will not generate enough volume to cover the costs of producing it.

    This is just the latest of the messed-up product planning from Ford


    To return to the first article:

    Contrast this with the product development ethos at Ford or GM. If a car isn't an instant success, they cut off development money. Everyone associated with the program is considered persona non grata. In fact, the employees responsible are often sent to engineering Siberia or simply pushed out of the company. The knowledge gained, at great cost, is lost. Even the worst failure has a few features worth incorporating in future products. Developments from the Mark VIII, for example, could have been used to great advantage in the Lincoln LS to increase its competitiveness. Instead, everything about the Mark was tainted by failure. As a result, the successful parts of the Mark program were lost forever.

    Continued commitment to product is the secret of Toyota's success. Everything else is just window-dressing.


    I fully agree with the above analysis as it presents a fair and balanced picture of how the great minds operate in the 2 vastly different corporate cultures!

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Ford is smart. They wanted Mercury to have its own product. Also the Edge is coming out for ford.And the freestyle dyeing is a RUMOR! Ford has never said it!
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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Ford is smart. They wanted Mercury to have its own product

    this statement is a direct contradiction to

    And the freestyle dyeing is a RUMOR! Ford has never said it!

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Ricers,If you hate Gm and ford and any other domestic hate rice thingy,WHY ARE YOU HERE! Yah and that kinda didnt make sense what i said.
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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Yah and that kinda didnt make sense what i said.

    I entirely agree!

    WHY ARE YOU HERE!

    To make sense!

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Your getting me really mad :@:@::@::@:@ AHHHH
    1992 Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-T
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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Well, while Ford isn't really at it's best right now, it is in a time of reconstruction and restructuring of itself. They've basically completely redone their old lineup in a matter of a couple of years. The problem is however that in some cases, we're now waiting for certain things that are only to come at a later time that probably should have been there from day one. Take the Duratec 35 for example; the lack of this more powerful engine could be why the Five-Hundred never really took off.

    The killing of the Freestyle, should it actually happen, was said to be so that Mercury could once again eventually have its own products, starting by this (the Meta or whatever it's called). Again it is a good plan when you look at the long-term effects it could/should have. Though at this time, it might not look like a good idea or like they have any idea what they're doing, but I assure you that this is not the case.

    Ford, whose past has been a mix of tales of blunders, deceit, corruption as well as success, honor, pride, etc. has cleaned it's ways and quality has once again seemingly become "job 1".

    I'd hardly say Ford is floundering about like a beached whale and Toyota is skating on thin ice, dangerously close to that hole where GM fell in.
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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    I would put more stock into the article about Ford if they writer actually knew the whole story about the Freestyle, which he evidently does not. As such, he paints Ford in this slippery slope situation that suggests that they're doomed to failure again. No wonder why ricers_suck_big_shaft posted it. First off, the Freestyle isn't going anywhere. Yes, Ford may have hoped for higher sales but that is completely aside from that point that Ford has come up with a new idea for the Freestyle. The Freestyle won't disappear but it will get a redesign. Why? Because Ford's going to attempt to address that minivan market that they "abandoned" with a new vehicle.

    The Freestyle is to be redesigned and come closer to mimicking the Fairlane concept shown recently. Originally, Ford had an idea to base the Fairlane on their CD3 platform, which underpins the Mazda 6, Fusion, etc. They scrapped this part of the idea in favor of producing the Ford Edge, Lincoln Aviator, and Mazda MX-Crossport on this inherently sportier platform. Still wanting something like the Fairlane though, Ford decided to put it on the bigger D3 platform which is more suitable for a people mover anyway. Since the Freestyle is already similar to what Ford wants in the Fairlane, they decided to simply redesign the Freestyle, versus trying to have two separate vehicles.

    The appearance of the Freestyle will change, mostly in how tall its greenhouse is, but will retain most of its mechanical specifications. That's the point that the author missed about this. He thinks that new/redesigned vehicle = start from scratch and spend billions. It doesn't. Aside from the point that the Chicago plant was designed to be flexible in what it produces, the fact of the matter is that the redesigned Freestyle will continue on the same platform and continue to share a wide array of components with the Five Hundred, Montego, and the current Freestyle.

    As for Mercury, as part of Ford's intent to distinguish the brand, a production version of the Meta One concept will appear soon. Incidentally, it will have the shape of the current Freestyle because when it does appear, it will be unique to Mercury since the Freestyle will have been, or soon be, restyled into the form of the Fairlane concept.

    Lastly, about the Mark VIII and LS. What exactly does this have to do with anything? Like I said, just more slippery slope nonsense to suggest that Ford's doomed to failure. First of all, who would prefer to use the Mark VIII's FN10 platform, which dates back to the 1993 model year and was in turn based on my own MN12 platform which dates back to the 1989 model year, over the then brand new DEW98 platform? Mark VIIIs were cool cars but come on! They were coupes that weighed over 4000lbs! What would a sedan weigh? Some things, like the Mark VIII's engine, you could want in the LS but not much else. Breakable air suspension? No. A 4-speed auto instead of the 5-speed in the LS? No. The LS is a sports sedan. The Mark VIII is comparable to a Town Car coupe.
    Last edited by MN12Fan; 09-16-2005 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    I beleive the 'ricers' as you say, are here because this isn't "GM chearleaders.com".

    Even as a "die hard GM fan", you have to acknowledge and accept some shortcomings of the company that builds the vehicles you like, and you have to hope the people who run that company do so also, so they can learn from any mistakes and make their product better.

    GM and Ford have some major problems they are going through now, while we may not all agree with what is said in some articles posted here, we can't simply ignore anything and everything negative said about GM and Ford.

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Ya ricers suck big shaft.. get the heck OUT!!

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Bob Elton is a certified Ford hater (the contrast in TTAC to GM hater Farago). Elton consistently reaches and twistes the truth to make his points. Not long ago while trashing the Lincoln Mark LT in TTAC he had a pic of a non-production 56 Continentall Convertible captioned "The supremely elegant 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II Convertible", to illustrate the contrast between the Mark LT and the old Marks . Aside from the fact that such "supremely elegant 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II Convertible" was never built (only hard tops were produced and sold, and Just two convertibles were hand made. One for Mrs. Edsel Ford and onve for testing) and even if it was it would not have been a Lincoln, since the Continentals wre made then by the short lived Continental Division. Furthermore, the 55 and 56 Continentals NEVER used the Mark word in their names. They were later known as Mark II, after the Mark III was introduced in the late 60s.

    In the article quoted by our friend ricers here, Elton lies again. When has ever Ford for example, anounced that they were pulling out of the minivan market? On the contrary Ford intends to redefine the styling of the minivan with its Fairlane concept based entry in 18 months or so. What more bold goal could a company have than redefining a whole segment of the market.

    Jerry Flint is another thing. I feel lot more respect for him but also sadnes that the guy is helplessly stuck in the 50s. That is the only explanation I can find as to why he can't understand Ford current production planing and its flexibility. All this article tells me is his deep frusttration in understanding Fords plan and the fact that now at Ford nothing is writen in stone, pretty much the same thing that Elton is praising in Toyota in the first article.

    Ricers motivations behind is hatred for the American auto industry is what is really intriguing me, not the divgations of two old goats like Elton and Flint.
    Last edited by SobeSVT; 09-16-2005 at 03:01 PM.

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford: A study in contrasts

    Saying Ford has flexible plans is the flip side of saying their product planning is a mess. One sounds prettier than the other is all. In the end, one can see a positive and negative side to the situation. Positive: Ford is able to react quickly and build what people want. Negative: They spent tons of money on a vehicle that they admit needs tinkering less than a year after introduction.

    What caught my attention was this:

    The problem is that in the first six months of 2005, the Freestyle found only 35,000 buyers, which puts it on a pace to sell only 70,000 units per year. That is disappointing to Ford, so it appears they plan to kill it and put the name on a new SUV sometime in 2007. The 500 sedan sold only 50,000 units in six months, but they are not killing that model.
    Anyone know if this is true?!? This guy doesn't seem like a supremely credible source, so I'd be curious to know if indeed more Freestyles have been sold than 500s.
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    Re: Toyota vs Ford; a study in contrasts:

    Quote Originally Posted by SobeSVT
    Bob Elton is a certified Ford hater (the contrast in TTAC to GM hater Farago).
    And it seems as if ricers-shaft-big3 is his publicist...

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford: A study in contrasts

    This is all so stupid. Ford isn't abandoning the minivan segment. They're do exaclty what a smart company does - INNOVATE. The Fairlane concept is brilliant because it strips the minivan of it's wet diapers image while still retaining all the functionality of the package.

    The Freestlye controversy is stupid too. I suppose we should say that Ford killed the Mustang in 2004, only to replace it with a new model with the same name? That's called a REDESIGN. Not cancelation.

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    Re: Toyota vs Ford: A study in contrasts

    Quote Originally Posted by paul8488
    Anyone know if this is true?!? This guy doesn't seem like a supremely credible source, so I'd be curious to know if indeed more Freestyles have been sold than 500s.
    I think you caught on to something there. As far as I know, Five Hundred sales have been consistently and noticeably higher than Freestyle sales since they both came out last year.

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