Ford's (F) Solution To Gas Crisis: Call SUVs Something Else

As Ford (F) races to import some small cars in time for the 2010 selling season, its designers are hard at work on…another SUV. Demand for SUVs and trucks–and anything that looks like an SUV or truck–has cratered. So Ford’s response is to call its new SUV something else.

Ford is designing a “crossover’ luxury car based on the design of its Ford Flex. The three-row lincoln MKT will feature a sleeker design than the Flex (pictured to the right) and is currently being billed as the “Learjet of the road.” It looks more like a 767. WSJ:

Among its competitors would be the Acura MDX, the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes R class, people familiar with the matter said. But the MKT is not designed to be a large production run. The company expects annual sales in the range of the mid-20,000 vehicles.

…Despite a flood of new models in the segment, sales of crossovers — car-based wagons designed to look and function like sport-utility vehicles but with modestly better fuel economy — were down 11% in July compared with July 2007, according to Autodata Corp., representing the third straight month of sharp declines amid a wider downturn in the overall market.

This stubbornness is part of why Ford stock is down 69% since 2004–to $5. The new model sounds suspiciously like the “Canyonero,” a fictional SUV lambasted in a classic episode of the Simpsons.

See Also: Ford Swears Off SUVs

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