The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 February 2008

Four letters, starts with F

We're referring, of course, to Ford.

Which, says Daniel Howes of the Detroit News, has an effing problem:

By that I mean the ingrained reflex to bestow new models with names beginning with the letter "F" — Fusion, Flex and now Fiesta, the global subcompact that would have been just fine, thank you, beginning life as Verve and signaling to the world that the One Ford of CEO Alan Mulally is becoming a new Ford.

But, no. It's back to the future — again — with a name that has three decades of brand recognition in Europe but hasn't been seen in the U.S. market since the early days of the first Reagan administration, roughly the last time subcompacts had much market cred.

Which really isn't an issue, since the hardest of hard-core Blue Oval buffs have said for years that European Fords were a couple of orders of magnitude better than domestic Fords, Mustangs perhaps excepted. (Then again, "Mustang" doesn't start with an F.)

I don't remember anyone complaining when Toyota mailed us all those C-cars: Corona, Corolla, Celica, Cressida, Camry. Still, "Flex" is a dumb name for a sport-utility vehicle, since any utility it has would be diminished by any significant flexing. Not even funkmasters, a class not generally known for their vehicular suss, are likely to go for that sort of thing.

Posted at 1:07 PM to Driver's Seat