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When Ford lost its way

1 year ago

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Peter Robinson | Journalist


26 January 2023

Ours was not the most jovial table in the dining room of Geneva airport’s Mövenpick Hotel that Saturday evening in August 1990. We dithered over the fish, sipped the Chardonnay and looked, well, embarrassed. Guilty that our hosts, the people responsible for the car we’d been driving all day, were paying for the meal.

In our subdued mood, we pondered the motives and engineering philosophy of a car company capable of producing such appalling mediocrity.

We had no answers, only a thousand questions: but in Geneva that evening there were no engineers or product planners or designers, let alone senior executives or one of the rotating door of Escort programme managers to quiz about Ford’s all-important fifth-generation Escort. We found it hard to fathom how the Ford of the original Mustang, the Escort RS1800 and Twin Cam, the Sierra Cosworth and even the XR3 could have produced such an ordinary car. Perhaps it was that knowledge which led Ford to decide somewhat cynically to leave the defence of the mighty FoMoCo to one humble public relations person?

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