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Old 03-30-2006, 11:30 PM
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Building Blocks
Ford learns a lesson from Lego

By WIM OUDE WEERNINK | BRADFORD WERNLE | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 03/30/06, 8:37 am et



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GENEVA - Richard Parry-Jones likes to compare the building blocks of Ford Motor Co. vehicles to the pieces in a set of Lego Technic, the version of Lego building toys used to make mechanical models.

By making vehicle building blocks interchangeable, like Lego pieces, Ford and its brands are able to create a variety of models using many similar components.

"It gives us extreme flexibility," said Parry-Jones, Ford group vice president for global product development. "Look at it as a set of Lego Technics. If you give an identical set of Legos to five kids, they will each end up with five different technical creations."

At the Geneva auto show, Ford and sister brand Volvo unveiled vehicles that illustrate how the concept has evolved. The Ford Galaxy minivan and S-Max crossover share 80 to 85 percent of the same components.

The Volvo S80 sedan has much in common with the two Fords. But the three vehicles look quite different and are aimed at different customers. The Galaxy and S-Max are geared to the mainstream market, while the Volvo is aimed at premium customers.

Underneath the skin

Parry-Jones said that roughly half of vehicles' total parts could be shared among the brands, while the other 50 percent could be tuned by the brands. Individual systems, though, could share a higher percentage of parts.

He says, for example, that the steering columns on the Galaxy, S-Max and S80 share 80 percent of their parts; the other 20 percent are tuned by engineers at Ford and Volvo.

Other parts, such as front axles and subframes, also are shared by the three vehicles but are tuned individually by the brands.

"Without these flexible technology principles, we could not have done two such different vehicles," Parry-Jones said, referring to the Galaxy and S-Max.

Don't say 'platform'

In adopting the Lego-style philosophy, Ford has moved away from rigid platforms to shared technologies and increased its flexibility.

The S-Max, Galaxy and S80 have different, distinctive body styles.

"The S-Max is a functional and sporty five-seat crossover vehicle, which can carry two extra passengers if needed," said Stephen Odell, Ford of Europe vice president of marketing, sales and service. "But the Galaxy is a full-fledged seven-seat MPV."

For further differentiation, the S-Max also comes with the five-cylinder, 220-hp gasoline engine that also powers the Ford Focus ST.

Volvo developed an inline six-cylinder engine for the S80 that also will be used in future Volvos and shared among brands. The engine is made at Ford's Bridgend engine plant in South Wales.

"That engine will be used by other sister companies," says Hans Folkesson, Volvo Car Corp.'s senior vice president of r&d.

Crossing segments

Ford's shared technology principle is not restricted to applications in one segment of the market. Ford also can use engines, transmissions and electrical architectures across vehicles in different segments.

The outgoing Ford Galaxy minivan was a joint-venture model developed and built at Volkswagen's Autoeuropa plant in Setubal, Portugal, with the Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra. The three had identical body styles.
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:32 PM
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Default How real is the rumor for a four door sedan based off Shelby Cobra?

Anybody hear the rumor that Fords working on a four door based off the shelby Mustang (along with its awesome supercharged V8) ?
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by JBsC5
Anybody hear the rumor that Fords working on a four door based off the shelby Mustang (along with its awesome supercharged V8) ?
IMO, Ford should just bring over some of the FPV vehicles from Oz. Its similar to what GM did with the GTO, but the FPV vehicles have the edge and performance (even their 6 cylinder cars) to sell over on this side of the pond.

Ford Performance Vehicles in Oz
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:49 PM
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What ford needs to do it come out with some type of a super charged V6 that can compete with the imports. Hell if they want to sweeten the deal they could have yamaha make the motor for them, make it rev to 8000 rpm, and call it a SHO. I would buy one in a heartbeat.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BWH2003
What ford needs to do it come out with some type of a super charged V6 that can compete with the imports. Hell if they want to sweeten the deal they could have yamaha make the motor for them, make it rev to 8000 rpm, and call it a SHO. I would buy one in a heartbeat.
How about a DOHC 4.0L turbo 6 with over 360hp and 400ft/lbs? That'd be the F6 Typhoon.

Not only would that be a 4 door car, but you'd also have the option of the F6 Tornado which could be an SSR competitor and also, a sporty truck platform.

IMO I cant believe Ford hasnt brought these vehicles over yet. They would be great additions to our market, not only in performance but also in style.
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