Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Brand Deletion Continues...

Looks like Ford is dropping out of the minivan market (See http://www.wvva.com/News/index.php?ID=9823) and focusing their efforts on the Station-wagon market.

Did I say Station Wagon? oops. I mean, Cross-over SUV market. Yeah, that's what they're called -- God forbid you should do something boring, even if it might work to keep your customer base coming back next year.

For what it's worth, I'm not a minivan kinda guy. I understand the need though -- and recently after driving my Dads' Honda Odyssey came decided that in my eyes they hadn't gotten the appreciation they deserved. I was stuck in one for about 16 hours with 5 howling nieces and nephews over the course of about 4 days. The trip made me appreciate the utilitarian value of the beasts all that much more. Birth control is also under-rated (just kidding guys -- your constant replaying of Spice World will never be forgiven, though).

Anyway, Ford deleted the FreeStyle brand. Poof! You want a boring ole Minivan, ya gotta shop somewhere else. If you're sensitive to domestic brand, that's likely Chrysler, which makes some of the most boring sheet metal this side of Detroit.

Ford probably just moved a host of customers over there, actually. The Edge thing is really cool -- it does look a lot cooler than a Minivan -- and I can see why they might sense a change in the wind. But honestly, why take the risk? Maybe they feel there is no risk. I haven't driven nor owned a recent FreeStyle, so i have no idea how pissed off the customer base is going to be.

The point is this: Ford is big enough to rob a minivan from somewhere else in its vast expanse of sister companies and related partners. They could have *something* on the lots to at least call a FreeStyle. Nope, you're gonna have to adjust to the crossover station wagon SUV mentality real quick or pound salt.

What about next year when some market sensitive clod decides that station wagon/crossover SUVs are going out? What brand name will you concoct/delete to make that market switch? Maybe all this fretting is for not. Maybe by then all Ford will make are F150s and Mustangs.

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