Vetiver And Almond, Bergamot And Cinnamon

Ford has announced another turnaround plan. Five thousand jobs to go in Germany, others in the United Kingdom.

Hello, you! Source: Ford, Germany.

The news is reported here and here and, of course, here. “Some of the losses in Germany come from ending production of the C-Max minivan, one of the products Ford will stop making as it reduces its portfolio to more profitable models,” said the FT**.

Why are Ford hacking at the payrolls? Ford’s market share has declined roughly two percentage points of the EU market, from a little over 8% to just under six. That’s actually quite bad because it represents a 25 % drop in absolute terms. Only the fact the market grew a bit overall mitigates that decline.

Commercial vans represent perhaps one bright spot and Ford plans to carve out a division for that, alongside passenger cars and a category called “imported vehicles”. Does that mean some of the CUVs from the US or does that hint at a place for Lincoln, finally, in the world of modern-day Europe?

2016 Ford Edge (left) and the US version:

The UK engine operations look a bit shaky. Most of the parts used are imported from the EU from which the UK has for some reason decided to separate (something to do with chlorinated chicken breast).  With margins so slim on these businesses, I fully expect Brexit, when it comes, to make Ford’s UK operations non-viable. That’s no shame on Ford, saying everything about the UK’s hopeless industrial policy and perhaps the simple fact it is in island, after all. And geography matters still.

Ford Ka PLus Active: source

Singer Robyn Hitchckcock, who I met once, sang “I remember everything as if it happened years ago/Probably it did so I remember it”. His point is that the distant past is often easier to remember than three years ago***. And sometimes we don’t even remember now. Can you remember what Ford sells right now?

Here’s the range in order of increasing cost. It’s a bigger range than I thought; that’s not perhaps such a good thing because there are models there I have forgotten about or didn’t expect at all. Mercedes also have models I don’t know about but I expect not to know their whole bewildering range. Do you know it?

So, we start with the Ka, from a shade under €10,000. Then comes the stalwart Fiesta – from € 12,950. We are on firm ground here, with two smallish hatchbacks. Next in the price hierarchy is the Tourneo Courier- costing from  €15,825. Based on a commercial van, it is treated here as family car, with a spec rising all the way to the dizzy heights of Titanium (do Renault do that with the Kangoo)? Back to the familiar with the soon-to-die C-Max, costing from €17,900, a car which never really hit its stride.

Kuga, oh, Kuga: source

If you want to spend more you rise to the  CUV EcoSport, priced from €18,590 or its near neighbour the  Focus, priced from €18,700. That’s a tough one for Ford because where there should be exactly one product bang in the median price sector there are two. Unlike VAG, the cost of this is not spread over 145 different-but-similar cars.

Stepping up rather a long we way we find another four thou is needed to sit us into the comfy seats of a  Kuga, retailing for €24,350. And then a modest one point five thou gets into the roomy expanse of the reliable Ford perennial, the Mondeo at €26,725 (née Fusion USA).

2018 Ford Focus estate: AE

Now in the old days there was only one car more senior than a Taunus/Sierra/Mondeo and that was the Granada. Long gone, its shoes are worn by three vehicles. The  S-Max weighs in at €31,650 and I have to say it’s a handsome machine. If you really need more room you need to stump up €34,150 for the Galaxy which is a car that has gone from a medium-priced affordable family van to being some form of limousine.

Prestigious/formal cars are a complex thing now; the Galaxy and Espace are, in my view, quite posh cars but are not ludicrous in the way the 5, A6 and E-Class have become. I’d be more interested in a well-specced Galaxy than an mid-range E or its peers: nice, without overdoing it. But that said, the Galaxy strikes me as a lot less accessible than the version shared with VAG back in the 1990s.

1985 Ford Granada – just brilliant:

Finally, we round off the Ford range with the Mustang for €39,000 and the mysterious Edge for €42,900, which car is presumably the modern equivalent of a top of the toppy top Granada.  It comes in Vignale trim and is bigger than a VW Touareg, being, essentially the same kind of thing as a Land Rover Discovery but costing rather less. Apparently people buy them for their looks. And that’s quite okay but it does tell you they aren’t buying them for their off-road talent. God, I miss the Granada.

I expect the Ka, Mustang, Mondeo as well as C-Max to die very soon and the S-Max and Galaxy can’t both be sustained. The people mover market is in serious decline. CarSalesBase reports the declines of the Galaxy from 60,000 units in 1998 to about 12,000 units a year. Urp.

** Because I am quoting the FT it is necessary to stress I am quoting them and would like to earnestly ask readers to buy a copy of the newspaper this weekend, as it’s actually quite good.  (I also like to buy the New York Times weekend edition, which is good. You don’t have to read the silly colour supplement and the same goes for the FT´s “How To Spend It” magazine which is a bit hard to take unless you are on more than 80K, I think.)

*** I have not mentioned Robyn Hitchcock so much here. His 1989 album Queen Elvis is a gem, recorded with his backing band The Egyptians. It’s what you might call quirky. There are some appealing melodies and striking images in the songs which are charmingly English. Try getting a copy though. I won’t tell you how much I paid for the CD version of the album about five years ago. I do love it though. Great bass lines.  Peter Buck guests on the album (REM were very influenced by the Egyptians, apparently).

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

41 thoughts on “Vetiver And Almond, Bergamot And Cinnamon”

  1. Hi Richard,

    Mondeo is very angry with you: she came before the U.S Fusion so it’s the latter that is ‘née Mondeo” and not the other way round.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ka gets killed too because manufacturers are deserting this non-profitable segment. PSA just announced there won’t be any replacements for the 108 and C1 for now.

    1. Isn’t it ironic that the most simple/least wasteful cars are first to fall by the wayside as the automobile is reaching its next evolutionary step?

      The 108 gets killed, while the Rolls-Royce Cullinan has a waiting list. Yeah, right.

    2. The latest Fusion came out here in North America in 2012. The exact same car didn’t come out of Valencia for Europe until 2014 and was dubbed Mondeo. The Fusion was certainly first – let’s not reinvent history.

      The Edge is the Fusion on stilts.

    3. Hi Bill,

      Chill out, I meant the Mondeo name came out in 1993 when the Fusion wasn’t even an embryo in Dearborn, MI.

    4. Bill – If you really want to be picky, although built on different platforms I think we can all agree that the first Fusion, launched in 2005, owed much of its exterior styling to the European Mondeo which came out……5 yeas earlier, back in 2000. I think because those two cars resemble each other strongly it feels right to label the Fusion as ‘née Mondeo’.
      And if you don’t agree Mondeo tells me to tell you to go fusion yourself 🙂

  2. Ford Europe does indeed look to be on very shaky ground, with too many models and, Fiesta apart, no clear winners in any segment. It seems to have rather a lot of MPV style vehicles in its range, at a time when such vehicles have very much fallen out of fashion. In size order, there’s:

    Tourneo Courier
    Tourneo Connect
    Tourneo Custom

    Granted, the Tourneo models are all based on vans and probably cost relatively little to develop, but must be of little interest to most private buyers, given their relative lack of sophistication. Their CUV range is thin by comparison:


    After two major overhauls, the Ecosport has gone from hopeless to just about ok. The Kuga and Edge are well regarded but the Edge has no seven-seat option, a cheap looking interior for a £37k car and is a bit brash looking for some tastes.

    Regarding Ford’s non-MPV and CUV offerings, the Ka+ is frumpy and, like the Ecosport, has more than a whiff of “developing markets” about it. It really looks like a car for the poor and/or aged and has none of the charm of the original. The Fiesta is still an excellent car, but profit margins are likely to be pretty thin. The new Focus, although also an excellent car, is strangely anonymous and lacks desirability. The Mondeo is a good car in a dying/dead segment.

    The Mustang is too large to be a proper sports car on European roads and is insipid (2.3L Ecoboost) or pleasingly bonkers (5.0L V8). Either way, it’s very much a minority interest. The GT is an irrelevance.

    The Vignale project to raise margins proves again that genuine quality has to be designed in, not overlaid. I’ve seen exactly one Vignale version in the metal, a Mondeo, and it looked like a very pleasant, er, Mondeo. The “enhanced service experience” is more likely to offend buyers of non-Vignale Ford’s than impress Vignale drivers.

    Life was so much simpler back in the era of the Escort, Cortina and Granada. Maybe Ford should get back to making fewer but better models?

    1. Hi Daniel,

      I never really saw the Tourneos as MPVs, more LCVs turned civilised.

    2. ……Because in that case we should also count the passenger versions of the Kangoo, Trafic and Master at Renault for example or the same versions of the Rifter, Expert and Boxer at Peugeot. In that case, Ford doesn’t necessarily have more ‘MPVs’ than the others I think.
      The distinction between MPVs like the Espace, Galaxy, Zafira or C4 Picasso and LCVs like the Tourneos and Kangoos seems important because one is in steep decline after their 90s heydays while the others are in a growing segment in Europe.

    3. Fair point, NRJ, although you have to wonder the logic of abandoning relatively civilised MPVs for converted LCVs, even if they are practical and cavernous. On the occasions I am a passenger in the latter (airport transfers, mainly) I am always aware how noisy, loose and rattly they seem.

    4. Daniel – Yes I agree with the more rustic aspect of the LCVs, even in passenger versions.

      I don’t have any numbers handy but it feels to me like the “civilised” LCV market was growing even when MPVs were still something of a thing. I think perhaps the advent of the passenger versions of the Kangoo and Berlingo back in the mid 90’s created or awakened a market for these options that seemed to represent something different, to me at least, from the MPV image. While the latter became embroiled in a stuffy, family-orientated, dad-of-twelve-kids, storyline, the likes of the Kangoo and Tourneo advertise perhaps another kind of lifestyle: the smart, multi tasking civilian that doesn’t take the car too seriously, enjoy the low running cost and may need the space and seats for something other than hauling kids around.

  3. Please insert the word “about” as appropriate above. Sorry, DTW, I’m hopeless at proof-reading my own stuff. I see what I intended to write, rather than actually wrote.

  4. I’ve just had a cinnamon bun so now feel empowered to respond.
    I’m not sure what these “imported cars” are going to be and from where. Developing markets? Tried that with the Ka and EcoSport. Detroit? The Edge (it’s from Canada but never mind) sells in its tens and falling. The rest of the Detroit range seems to be things that are like the Edge but more so and huge petrol pickups that have absolutely no chance.

    1. Why do you think Iam so prolific on this site nowadays. I too, have discovered the powers of the Cinnamon bun.

      Maybe some of the imported stuf will be from China ? A local sedan to replace the Mondeo maybe ?

    2. Eccles cakes for me, every time. Shame I’m on a diet…

    3. If you are interested, Jane Grigson has a recipe for Eccles cakes. Note, however, the dimensions of the pastr are wrong.
      I love Eccles cakes too.

    4. I’ve duly explored Ford China’s site and having realised that the unfamiliar names are down to Google Translate (the Edge becomes the Collar) I don’t see anything of interest unless we develop a special liking for bland CUV type thingies.

    5. I use Google translate almost everyday to translate the chinese car articles Iam interested in and I laughed many times at some of the translations. I was reading a review of the new Peugeot 508L, only sold in China, and the article concluded by stating “the 508L is a cadaver”. I thought: “well then, it doesn’t look good for the Peugeot” (all PSA brands in China have seen their sales dwindled to a point where it’s now reached a ridiculous level).

    6. For those on Firefox there’re free translate apps in the parameters and once you install one you just neet to click on the tanslate button and it translates the whole page. What I noticed on Google translate is that small caps are important, sometimes if you write in all caps it doesn’t translate it.

    7. This is the thing I do to find things that interests me on chinese car website: on Google translate I type ‘diezhao cars’ from English to Chinese (simplified). I highlight and right-click the words I get in Chinese and click on Google search for these words. Then I go in the image section of Google and (very important) I filter to get images from the last 24hrs or last week, nobody want some old crusty news after all.

    8. In fact I translate ‘diezhao automobile’ from French to English. Because I just tried in English and it won’t translate the diezhao bit. Then when I found an article Iam interested in from the pictures I see, I click on the translate app button to get the whole page in French or English.

    9. These are the chinese words I get in case it doesn’t work for you (I have them saved on my toolbar) 谍照汽车
      Then, Google Image and filter tless than 24hrs or 1 week.

    10. …..then you get to see oddities like these. I say oddities because I think design has become sometimes very predictable in our part of the world but with the not-so-perfect chinese cars I think it gets interesting again.

  5. Thanks, Richard. I actually enjoy baking, but don’t do it often as the results are far too fattening. Might give Eccles cakes a go, though.

    1. I love baking as well so might have a go at eccles cake.
      Fords problem seems to be that they just haven’t kept up with their rivals in developing future models such as SUV’s and Hybrid and electric cars. This is down to the management in detroit run by Jim Hackett who seems to prefer autonomous vehicles and ” mobility” solutions so the cars are on the back burner for getting that they need these vehicles to generate the funds to research autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions.
      If you want to read more about Jim Hackett read Peter M Delorenzo on his AutoExtremist site.
      You can tell what he thinks of him as he calls him Professor Moonbeam, as well as directors at management meetings being given Theoretical Physics books to read !!!!

    2. The only things I keep that I bake are fruit cakes and plum puddings. The rest I give away as I am only interested in one slice of whatever I make. In November I made some plum puddings (two large and six small ones) following Keith Floyd´s recippe. The last one ( a large one) has been fed with whiskey** and was astonishingly good. I ate a lot of that one. Plum puddings can be eaten all year around. Like pets, they are not just for Christmas.

      Note: don´t use suet, use butter. Generally, avoid suet. It leaves a metallic aftertaste. Maybe suet in biscuits would be okay. Eccles cakes are a lot like mince pies, but flatter. I should make them again, actually. I think I have a weakness for raisiny, currenty, fruitcake-type things.

      I notice the Danes do not make use of raisins much and generally hate fruit cakes (or think they do).

      ** that which did not end up in Manhattans or Jacobean cockatails.

  6. The Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo are the only models I understand, but that probably says more about me than Ford. The current Mondeo was launched three years late. The Galaxy owns the airport taxi market. To me the rest of the model line-up is a weird mix of not trying hard enough, things with names ending in MAX and lazy American imports.

    It seems the market demands an expansive and diverse range of vehicles, but the economics don’t stack up; what to do? EVs are conspicuous by their absence.

    1. You could say the same about MB and BMW. Ranges have proliferated madly and the cost is that the vehicles seems less and less considered. You knew where you were with a Mondeo saloon. I don´t really feel sure what an EcoSport is for, or a BMW GT either for that matter. They are all nice cars as in they go from a to b and are comfy but it´s a manner of meaningless choice that much of this model variation is.

  7. Richard,

    When I lived in the UK for 4 years in the late 70s-early 80s (yes, I experienced the winter of discontent) Ford absolutely dominated the UK market with, of course, the Cortina and higher up, the Granada. Has DTW ever done a profile on that car? I always liked the husky, somewhat brash nature of the first series, but just loved the sober-sides sophistication of the second series. Only ever had a ride in one, a pretty basic 2.3GL with a stick and a truly unfortunate brown velour interior, but it was still impressive and so crisply styled. Ford is not alone in having lost the styling plot over the years (and maybe the Granada could never have withstood the brand love everyone has for German executive saloons) but that was a high point for the brand, at least in the UK market and in styling terms.

    1. Hi:
      We have two approaches to the Granada here. One is the adulation heaped upon it by our in-house assistant-motoring-classics-sub-editor Myles Gorfe. He supposedly runs a car that is, so far as I know, still being restored (See “Our cars” and he has covered pretty much the majority of versions of the Granadsa available (see: “Gorfe´s Granadas”). I have written about some used ones I have seen and some roadside examples, most recently the rare 2-door Mk2. So, in various ways we have indeed paid probably more attention to the Grannie than many sites outside the realm of the marque enthusiasts. I haven´t driven one though, which is something I need to do something about!

  8. I am sorry if I have sowed confusion. The current Mondeo is CD391 and so is the US market Ford Fusion which came out a bit earlier, hence the “née Fusion”. I think of the Mondeo as a car for the US sold in Europe. The original Mondeo from 1992 was largely a European design modified for the American market and sold as a Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.

    1. This (for me) can only be sorted out with a graphic time-line. We have names being swapped, cars that *are* the same and cars that look similar, all flying about in a swarm of images and names. No wonder we´re confused.
      That second image shows a Fusion which is, as far as I understand it – not a Mondeo but a car that looks a bit like a Mondeo Mk2 (the year 2000 one).

    2. Ok I think it’s because you were talking about the 2 cars being exactly the same which is fairly new with only the current generation being the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
      However, on top of the first Fusion of 2006 being, I think, inspired by the 2000 Mondeo’s styling, the next generations followed a similar pattern: although they still didn’t share exactly the same body, the current Fusion, launched in 2012 resembles the Mondeo of 2007.

      So, for its first 2 generations, in my opinion, the Fusion always took a leaf out of the Mondeo for its exterior styling and up until then, Ford’s American and European sedans were a lot more distinct design-wise. This is why I feel like the Fusion owes a little bit to the Mondeo but I can see your point too.

  9. Otherwise it’s strange how Ford seems to have thrown the towel in Europe in the last few years. If we still have the likes of Renault,Fiat, Peugeot and Opel trying to be relevant in 2019 there’s no reason why Ford couldn’t do the same: It enjoyed the same, if not more, level of popularity and sales as the other generalists then. Sometimes it feels like American management only look at next week’s or next month’s results and take their decisons accordingly, with no regards for the future, even the near future.

  10. Sorry, it should read “……only look at LAST’s week or LAST month’s results”.
    It’d be pretty hard, even for non-American management, to look at next’s months results.

    1. …….No electric vehicles, no European concept cars to show their plans, still not present in the Captur/2008/T-cross market, one of the fastest-growing in Europe, no brands to face-off premium automakers, Kuga lagging behind Tiguan, T-Roc, Quashqai, 3008, etc……

    2. Isn’t that horrible little EcoSport thing meant to be a 2008-et-al rival?

    3. …and having posted that comment I realise you said 3008. My apologies.

    4. That’s ok, it’s still a valid point: the Ecosport is an embarrassment compared to the opposition. But I was surprised last week by its UK (and European I think) sales numbers for 2018. The facelift seems to have given it a new lease of life.

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