Page 1: Intro
CHICAGO, IL -- You can only sell a million trucks a year.
And then, sooner or later, you have to sell a car or two. Lately, that seems to be a bit tricky for domestic automakers, especially where Ford is concerned. The Focus is a fine car, but it's too small for that great gray middle of the market. The Taurus is, well, the Taurus - and, as in Rocky 5, the champ is flat busted and living back in the rough part of town, known to car companies as the rental fleet. Ford needs to sell cars one at a time, and do it the way it used to - before it relied on SUVs and pickup trucks.
Ford needs to start selling an "everyman" car.
For good or ill, the 2005 Ford Five Hundred is it - at least until the 2006 Ford Fusion arrives next year. Whether it makes the grade will be, of course, up to how many of you plunk down hard-earned cash on it, and, ultimately, how many come back for more. After a weekend of driving this erstwhile domestic people's champion, however, one thing seems certain: The Ford Five Hundred will please you on the outside, wow you on the inside and, unfortunately, put you to sleep when you jump on the slender pedal.Such a shame. Ford was so close to building what would have been heralded as the perfect mid-sized sedan. With a nice euro-design and Ford sensibilities, the Five Hundred is just a little light under the hood, that's all. But the lack of grunt is a damning crime in the eyes of most Americans, especially when its competition, the overly muscular Chrysler 300, offers a power charge, with looks meant to intimidate. Yes, the Five Hundred is "thousands less" than the Chrysler 300 Limited or the Hemi-powered "C" version, but it's a sorry day when Ford markets itself as a discount carmaker.
Oops. They did that already, with all the rebate nonsense.