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NADA 2009 – Most Compelling Booth: Ford

There were a lot of very compelling booths at NADA. Aspen Marketing had an excellent setup with a number of Playboy Bunnies out front. DealerTrack, Dealer.com and a few others had huge booths and were running some excellent seminars right on the floor of the expo. Even VW had some great cars on the floor and some VERY helpful members of the VW team that couldn’t be more helpful. However, one booth stood above the rest in my eyes and it was that of Ford Motors. Due to the sheer size of Ford, their booth had a number of sections that dealt with cars, service, Work Solutions, financing and a number of other jobs they do. On every front, the booth was alive and kicking. Every Ford representative was busy talking with someone. They were all smiling, everyone was happy, it was relaxed but you could tell dealers and 3rd party ventors were all enjoying and learning the Ford experiance. From talking to the representatives to trying the F-150 “Raptor” simulator, I felt as though Ford “got it.”

Ford understood the need for for both compelling cars that dealers want to sell and buyers want to buy. They showed an excellent set of exciting cars that exemplify the changes Ford has been making since Alan Mulally came to power at FMC. Whereas some booths had pie in the sky cars that weren’t even drivable or boring models that make buyers eyes glaze over even more than dealers who have to sell them, ever single Ford vehicle there was a drivable car that dealers are waiting for right now. All of them are bold, edgy and slighly quirky in their own way. Below is a small sample of those 2010 models that got the EasyAutoSales crew very excited:

V8 Power. Mustang Beauty.

V8 Power. Mustang Beauty.

The next incarnation of the Ford Mustang. As nice as the new Chevy Camaro is, the interior dimensions are very small. The car seems tight and cramped. The dash was too high and the rear visibility was paultry. The new Mustang though, using those same retro designs as the Camaro, really made me feel much more at home. The car is much more open. The glass roof is amazing! Rear visibility is usable (despite the wing) though the same over-the-shoulder view is almost non-existant as the other muscle cars. The hood sits a little lower so you can use the front window much more than other similar muscle cars. The interior was a nice if not nicer than the leather of GM’s offerings. Overall, this Mustang impressed me with much higher quality materials than the outgoing model (the first revived Mustang) and should be an even bigger seller.

Sport Focus Coupe

This Ford Focus Sports Coupe really made me smile. Though I’m sure it’ll be a front engined car, it shows Ford is going outside their boundries to compete in the US where they are already doing well in Europe. The Focus RS is a super car in Europe that can fight it out with the likes of the Mini Cooper S and even hitting above it’s class at cars like the WRX. GM had a limited hit with the Cobalt, and now that it’s going to be leaving us in favor of the Cruze, the small American sport coupe will be once again open. Though the above is only a concept, I think it shows a great idea. If you keep trying to expant outwards, eventually you’re going to win with something. This Focus coupe isn’t quite there, but it’s close to something cool and exciting.

The New Ford Taurus!

When did the Taurus start looking like a hip car? It seems Ford is finally taking a queue from their European counter parts like Citroen and Peugeot by making a sedan that looks more like a new Audi than an old boat. The agressive headlights, funky boot (trunk) and “gills” on each side make a sedan that salesman would be more than happy to drive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sit in the car, but compared to the Fusion next to it (which had great body and leg room, though poor head room in the back), it was vast. I think this car is going to surprise a lot of people with the upcoming SHO version. It might not be a replacement for an M5, but it shows that Ford is trying to make a premium product that any class can afford.

2010 Ford F-150 SVT "Raptor"

I have to admit, I’m biased towards this truck. There’s something exciting about this new F-150 that is so powerful, it’s taken someone who loves his BMW M3, someone who road races and autocrosses on the weekends, and turned him into a truck fan. A blubbering truck fan at that. Whereas the old F-150 SVT “Lightning” was meant to be a truck that could compete with the average sports car, the SVT “Raptor” is supposed to embarrass every other truck out there in their native playground, The Dirt. By making a truck from the factory that can stand up to the punishment of the Baja 1000 (with the exception of proper safety equipment) and finish 3rd in class, Ford has said, “We’ve been the best selling car in the US for a very long time with the F-150 and now we’re going to take it up a knotch by creating a truck that is the pinnacle of off-roading.” I was able to pocke and prod around this beast and every part I touched I was impressed with. The suspension is a work of art. The suspension travel is epic. The rear tail-gate step is thoughtful and useful, despite how bersek this truck is.

If I could have found Alan Mulally on the floor I would have given him my card and said, “Keep this name handy. You’ve taken a guy who only buys German sports cars and made him the biggest truck fan this side of the Mississippi. You can put me on that list of buyers for the Raptor.”

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of exciting groups there. GM, VW, Kia, Toyota and many others all gave great shows that have shown the progress each company has made in their respective shortcomings. But Ford shined above them all. At the show Alan Mulally said that Ford wasn’t going to take any bailout money from the US Government and were foregoing the lines of credit they were offered while GM and Chrysler took money from the tax payers. Their products are a reflection of their progress and quality of business. I hope that the other American car makers look at Ford as an example of what can be done by a major manufacturer in a tough economic time. They are proof of American ingenuity and hard work. Even a company that was, but a few years ago, known by the moniker “Fix Or Repair Daily” can be known as “Fun Or Rugged Dailydrivers.”

Side Note: Ford did not offer me or EasyAutoSales anything nor did they solicit the above article. They currently do not pay EasyAutoSales nor have they given us any sort of gift or incentive to write the above. Not that we’re saying we’re not open to such things 😉 I’m just speaking as a passionate car lover.

  • The number of sales per dealer has risen, making more facilities profitable. … Many of those customers couldn’t get loans in 2009 or 2010.