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Could Ford Retool Truck Plants To Produce Euro Fords?

Illustration for article titled Could Ford Retool Truck Plants To Produce Euro Fords?

We hear many car-related rumors on a daily basis, but there's one that came across our desk today that's quite the whopper. Website Autosavant is claiming their sources within Ford are saying that three of the four plants shuttered after Ford's dramatic reorganization will be retooled to produce popular European models like the Ford Kuga and C-Max. From the Autosavant piece:

Our sources at Ford say that Mr. Mulally has already made the decision to convert at least three truck/SUV production facilities in North America as soon as possible to produce Ford models currently sold in Europe, where Ford is renowned for its small cars. The timeline Mulally prefers, according to insiders, is "yesterday". He has made up his mind and is pushing forward.

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Why we're taking this rumor with an Expedition-sized grain of salt below the jump.

1. It's expensive
Retooling is not cheap. We don't have an estimate for what it would cost to convert three Truck/SUV plants into full-time small car production, but it doesn't take a room of accountants to figure out that it would be an incredibly large investment involving establishing and expanding supplier relationships.

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2. Ford is already moving in that direction
Ford is already working out its plans to build Fiestas in Mexico for North American consumption. We'd also point out the Ford Transit Connect is on its way over, as well.

3. Inferior American Ford Focus is selling fairly well
Though the American Ford Focus is inferior to the European Focus, it's still selling well, especially with SYNC-equipped models. Plus, the 2011 Ford Focus is going to be C1-based, as we already know.

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4. It's not a horrible idea
Though we liked the 2009 Ford Flex, we're not overwhelmed with Ford's short-term battle plan. The company seems to be doing a slightly better job of prepping for the future, but prescience isn't exactly a quality we associate with the automaker.

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With all that being said, it could happen. It isn't the craziest thing we've ever heard, but we're not holding our breath. [AutoSavant]

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DISCUSSION

Even if we have the European models built here in NA, they will still be more expensive to produce that the home grown variety. Most consumers in NA are not prepared to pay $3,000 more for a Mondeo over a Fusion. Why is the fusion so cheap? Well, it is a (older) Mazda platform, made in Mexico, with materials that wouldn't be found in a Ka. However, when thinking Ford, you're thinking "budget" brand. If you want European Fords here, they will have to be marketed in an upscale brand, preferably not of the "Merker" variety.