A Look at the Person Who Develops Ford Vehicles: You

By Ford Social Member

“We’re not just sitting in Dearborn designing cars for ourselves. We listen to our customers.” And with that, you now know the secret to success at Ford, as revealed by Lisa Schoder, Ford Brand Manager, Focus ST. Listening. Learning. Ford even eavesdrops in chat rooms. That’s what it takes. You might not do the physical designing and building of Ford vehicles, but you sure do provide important ideas and feedback, from the initial blueprints right down to the final product that becomes a Ford vehicle.

A perfect example is the new Focus ST (the production version debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show; click here for all the details), which already existed in Europe. Would other parts of the world embrace it, too? “Because the Focus ST is a specialty vehicle that’s new to North America, we do not have a ton of customer information or data,” Lisa explained. “So we get out there a lot more, talking to people to really understand them and what they want from their vehicle.” After all, you can’t have a global performance car without global input.

For North America, it meant handpicking a group of Focus enthusiasts and bringing them to the 2011 North American International Auto Show so they could check out the Focus ST concept car and talk shop with the Focus ST team, comprised of Team RS from Europe and the SVT team, based in Detroit. It was a crucial step in order to emphasize that ST wouldn’t be a trim level, but rather its own brand, Sport Technologies. In fact, only one common Focus ST model is being developed for all global markets (it’s expected to launch in 2012), and will be the first time Ford has produced one of its high-performance models for a global audience.

“We monitor Focus enthusiast spaces online in forums where we see a lot of chatter. I’m on focaljet.com and they know who I am,” Lisa said. “The Focus ST has a European heritage and enthusiasts in the U.S. have been asking for it. As we launch the vehicle here, it’s important to find the people who are super passionate about it. They are our brand evangelists.” If we were you, we’d totally make up business cards with that last part on them.

Feedback can be regarding anything from thoughts on paint colors and tires and wheels to which seats capture the performance theme best, such as with the Boss 302. “Performance enthusiasts truly want to feel connected to their car and there’s no better way than to trim and equip it to their style,” said Jim Owens, Ford Brand Manager, Mustang. “The suspension not only delivers world-class performance from a track standpoint, but we added adjustable front and rear shocks, so they can optimize it for individual racetracks. It’s all about giving customers what they want.” When Ford needs to make a decision, we depend on you to guide the process.

Now you might also better understand why the Focus ST is equipped with a high-output and efficient 240-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ four-cylinder engine that’s hooked to a six-speed manual transmission with sporting ratios, as well as why it has performance brakes, a special suspension, and other spirited-driving requirements, such as the new Torque Vectoring Control system for stability and a new variable-ratio steering system. Recaro seats and noteworthy instrumentation also got the thumbs-up.

“When enthusiasts created bringbacktheSHO.com, it confirmed that we were heading in the right direction,” Lisa said about the Focus ST. “After nine years, these dedicated customers kept the passion alive. We thoroughly enjoy and benefit from this grassroots interaction, attending events or sharing emails and stories as they help us make the product, brand, and ownership experience even stronger.”
Mabry Pouncy 12/20/2011
As a log time Ford ower one of my complaints was the Chrome Clad wheels ..which have been addressed on the 2012 F150..the other complaint was colors..which have moved to a better selection this year..keep listening and I'll keep buying
KEVEN ZIEGELT 11/18/2011
I think the idea of the Bronco (small)is a good choice. It would be a niche vehicle,but the original Bronco was very popular. It still is with clubs all over America today. I believe it would be a hit. The Escape platform ,but with a transfer case would also be fairly cheap to integrate into existing hardware. Send out a questionnaire to see about popularity with the idea; I think you'll be surprised at the response.
Steve Horan 10/01/2011
Sweet! Now if ford can tune it up, give it awd, and lower it people i think we have a gti/golf r killer. Plz ford! I really wanna buy american and have always liked ford and have had good experiences with them but vw makes the golfs which is what i have now and really want 2 keep the hatch look so if they surpass the gti or R ill buy a focus in a heart beat
Ford fans unit 09/27/2011
OK Ford if Toyota can make the toyota FJ cruiser and jeep can still make the jeep wrangler. I think ford needs to bring back the bronco. and make it off road capible RWD 4x4 not fwd. 3.7 V6 and 5.0 motor. 2 door gets good mpg better then the FJ cruiser and jeep wrangler. Ford you would sell alot of them and make a ranger based on the bronco. don't let ranger go away from usa. the ranger says best in class mpg 22 27 toyota tacoma is like 20 25 both 4 cylder. keep the ranger but build it on a bronco platform. crown vic LTD should come back with a 3.7 V6 and 5.0 rwd. 2 door and 4 door model. or gran torino. ranchero would be nice too. 3.7 v6 and svt 5.0 ranchero would be cool. there is mine and some people would think like this too wish list and ford with all the small cars and the normal cars i posted since you ended mercury this should come into play because too many small cars we still want suvs midsize and full sizecars but with good mpg. it is possible.
Andrew Weigle 09/26/2011
i'm a v8 guy only have driven several 4's and 6's and they have never appealed to me as much as the v8's neither have the v8's in acceleration either still waiting to get "thrown back in my seat" by an 800 hp or so new version of the Gran Torino especially or any car for that matter...
Andrew Weigle 09/26/2011
@Jamie my passion is for powerful cars muscle cars in particular small cars don't appeal to me never have never will last one was a 1979 Cadillac and before that my first one was a 1998 GMC Jimmy, I had bad luck so I am switching to Ford will prolly do a Mustang as fuel efficient vehicles have never and will never appeal to me... I also don't feel safe driving mom's 94 Lincoln continental just hoping Ford would recognize some customers (myself as one of the biggest pushers here) make cars safer like you used to pre 1980 like a 79 Lincoln for example (been in a wreck with one 79 the Caddy) and it was MUCH safer than being in a wreck with Dad's 199 F 150 which was totaled at only 13 mph!!!! I just don't see companies caring for my safety or power requirements anymore it will be a Mustang more than likely I don't feel safe in Focus's too small!! the class is just too small to be safe in!!! do u have any fast vehicles that get 20 mpg or less highway???? now thats what i'm looking for!!! A Gran Torino would be a perfect fit (a newer one an old one would be ok too) i'd prolly about blow the motor on a focus the 305 hp caddy was not fast enough neither was the 430 hp Vette...... i'll take the Mustang for a test drive i don't chance my safety in the small cars (rode in a newer focus once and it was horrible!!! not enough legroom, very underpowered and it had a strong vibration on a smooth highway that started up front and went into the backseat and nothing was wrong w/ it!!! u have to be safe AND feel safe too!!
Jamie At Ford 09/26/2011
Hey Robert,
If the issue has not yet been diagnosed by your dealership’s service providers, I encourage you to make an appointment. Additionally, you can send me a PM with your contact details, VIN, dealer name/location, and mileage and I’ll be able to research your vehicle history.

@Kevin – Congrats on your new Ford Edge! Be sure to post pictures of your new Ford. :)

@Andrew – I’m thrilled to see your passion for Ford and encourage you to keep up with the release of the all-new Focus ST at: www.Facebook.com/FordFocus. Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing one, take the new Focus for a test drive and experience the class-leading safety features and stiffer, more robust, handling for yourself!

Ford Customer Service Division
Our American Cars 09/26/2011
Thank you Ford for listening and learning to build what the consumers want...that is why you are #1
edvard 09/26/2011
Not trying to argue here, But I too own a classic car. A 55' Mercury in fact. The car is a gigantic , 22 foot tank of a car. But given a choice between crashing in a new Focus versus my Mercury I'd choose the Focus in a split-second. While it might seem that a 30-40 year old old piece of American iron is safer than any of the newer seemingly "puny" compacts the reality is that those old tanks are probably not going to be as safe. The reason is because an awful lot of those old cars were body-on-frame construction with the body simply sitting on the frame. In the case of my Mercury there's very little structural/safety reinforcement around the driver. The doors have only minimal internal structure. A hit from the side would probably cave-in the doors. A hit from the front could easily result in the steering column and engine being pushed into the cab. That was fairly common back then.

You look at almost any modern car and they have crumple zones, loads of internal frame reinforcement around the driver, air bags, and the use of steel alloys that in some cases didn't exist back then. A giant car from the 50's-70's doesn't mean its safer due to size alone. Chances are its not as safe as a modern compact.

Secondly, the whole deal about horsepower and power in general, if you look at just about any 0-60 times for a lot of the muscle cars from that era and compare them to such cars like the new Taurus, Malibu, or Camry, in many cases the modern family cars of today would smoke those old muscle cars. Why? Because companies like Ford can squeeze more Horses out of smaller engines and they use better transmissions and advanced driveability controls such as the use of computers and so forth. Some of the 4 cylinder engines out there today have more horsepower than a full sized V8 from the 60's. With gas pushing $4 a gallon, it hardly makes sense to mass-produce huge, gas-guzzling cars with 800HP engines. I drive 40 miles each way and there is no way I will ever buy something that gets less than 40MPG. Thankfully there are now many choices that meet that requirement.

As far as my "wish list" for Ford, well there are a few vehicles I would love.

A: A true small truck with premium features. Whether that's a new Ranger or not I could care less. The F-150 is too large and 20-25MPG is sort of not acceptable for my needs.

B: A diesel wagon. Something that's Focus or Fiesta sized but in a handy old-school station wagon. I gotta' tell you that the VW TDI wagons are selling like hotcakes out here in Cali. I think a lot of people my age ( 30's) like wagons because they're sort of the "anti-SUV", yet are very useful. That and wagons are sort of a throwback to the days when we were kids and they still actually made wagons. They're considered very "hip-n-cool" right now. In other words it needs to look more like a wagon. Not just a stretched hatchback thing.

C: Something like the Volt. But doesn't cost 40k either.
Brad Krekelberg 09/26/2011
The Focus ST is sweet. I fear it will be out of my price range though. I love my '12 Focus Titanium but wish I could have gotten a manual so I could pretend I have an ST.
Andrew Weigle 09/26/2011
you are right Jerry for the class it is it is a deathtrap(just like the rest of the class) and i will never drive one I had a 1979 caddy for my last car and doubt a focus driver would survive hitting it it t boned a jeep going 30 and totalled it and escaped with a bent front bumper thats it a minor bend focus might have enough power for u i have driven an 03 CTS with 305 hp and that is too slow i'm a 23 yr old high octane driver and not a 30 + yr old sensible driver like most ppl on here and am very offended ford, nor any other company makes a reasonably priced fast car for me... and yeah it IS underpowered and a deathtrap others can risk their own lives in that focus i'll stay safe in the Tank - a classic caddy/Lincoln or a much safer Gran Torino focus SUCKS!!! I was in one once and the power sucked!!! one of the most horrible cas i have ever been in!!!
Jerry Fisk 09/26/2011
Andrew the focus has plenty of power and its well built I had a lady pull out in front of me at 45 mph in my wifes 03 focus and I tboned her and I still drove the car home
Victor John 09/26/2011
Andrew Weigle 09/25/2011
keep in mind if its small underpowered and unsafe like the focus i had no part in it!!! now if it's ever going to be a brand new Ford Gran Torino (arguably the best product you have ever made) with the exact looks of the original, exact same sound of the best cars ever - the muscle cars and has modern interior refinements and a powerful 800 hp dual turbocharged motor thats gonna have me saying "yeah I helped with that concept and idea... most every single Ford product since 1980???? NO abolutly not Shelby cobras and Mustang GT's yeah and a few others since 1980 thats about it...
Charlotte Wright 09/25/2011
Bring a FORD plant back to GEORGIA!
Bob Bledsoe 09/25/2011
Ford has designed a new Ford Ranger for sale in markets outside of NA. Much larger than current Ranger. From information I have read it is too close in size and price to the F150 to sell effectively in NA. Undoubtedly, they probably did something to improve fuel economy. I owned a 2003 Ranger with the extra space cab. It was equipped with the stiff suspension and was the most uncomfortable vehicle ever on rough roads or even on good highways. No wonder Consumer Report rated it at the bottom of the scale.

I now have an F150 Lariat with 4 doors and it is an absolute gem. The surprise is that it gets better gas mileage than the Ranger. The truck is well equipped with may luxury features, but the sync system which gives only verbal directions is not very practical and easy to use. They should discontinue this system and only offer the full GPS system with the screen. Also, if Ford understood their owner demographics like me who is over 60 they would have offered the high intensity lighting system on the Lariat as standard equipment and with cornering lamps. As we age night time driving becomes more difficult to see especially when it is raining. My wife has the high intensity headights on her Toyota Venza which is far superior to my F150. In spite of these few shortcomings I love the F150.
James Kluckhohn 09/25/2011
If I developed a Ford vehicle there would be a low tech and high tech on each level of performance car they make... Especially the SHO!
Shane Harrington 09/25/2011
Bring the Bronco back!!!
Tim Boe 09/25/2011
We want trucks that look like trucks
Joe Mosley 09/25/2011
My 1997 Ford Crown Victoria,purchased new,still runs and drives ,like new. Just like sitting in your living room ,while riding and driving down the road. I'm going to drive it as long as I can. I'm beginning to think it will out last me.
Jaber Aljumiah 09/25/2011
i am from Saudia Arabia i was drive Ford marquis from 2002 until now its fantastic car and really its safety and economy cars
Thanks Ford
Jaber J - KSA
Daniel 09/25/2011
I'm lovin' Ford right now. They seem to be hitting all the high notes with most of their models. I'd say they are the best at an overall balanced package...design, style, efficiency. The only model I've been waiting on for some changes is the Ranger. It's been the same for about a 100 years lol, and gets the same gas mileage as an F-150?? Obsurd. Stop making a regular cab and only make extended or crew. And it should be unibody, maybe even commonizing it with the Edge. I'm also waiting on a smaller version of the Flex, minus the third row. Love the Flex. The seats especially because theyre actually deep enough to hold the average person. Most seats are made for the lollipop kids. Too friggin' small. Overall I'd give Ford an A-....not perfect but pretty close.
Mark Sayers 09/25/2011
Any new ford should run good. Now take a Ford the say 22 years old or even 34 years old and then you can say ford built a great car . My 77 Lincoln Mark VI with a 460 runs as good as the day it was built . My 1989 Thunderbird Super Coupe runs and looks as good at the day it was built. By the way the 77 has over 200,000 miles and the 89 has over 170,000 so they are driven. My every day driver is a 1998 Lincoln Cont with 171,000 miles . I can say Ford at one time built a great car but do you believe any car built after the year 2000 will last 34 years ? Dought it very much.
Joe Mosley 09/25/2011
I learned how to drive in an old 1949 Ford ,when I was only 11 years old. I'm 72 years old,been driving Fords all of my life . I have never had a Ford that didn't give me anything but years and many miles of excellant service.
Karl Grentz 09/25/2011
Can someone please tell me why Ford elected not to put a flipper glass window in the tailgate of the new Explorer? What a stupid design with the fixed glass.
Wikus Burger 09/25/2011
I am a Ford salesman at Supreme Auto Mafikeng in South Africa. My life is Ford!! I love all models!! And I "feel the difference" every day!!
Joe Gruce 09/25/2011
How can one get "invited". I'd like to share some ideas on the future models of the Mustang!
Jacob A. Weinstein 09/25/2011
Bring back the crown victoria
James Smart 09/25/2011
I don't know about the new Focus ST, but I can tell you about my '98 F150 Super Cab with a 4.6L SOHC. It has taken me 215,000 miles with no major repair. Just Mobil 1 5W30 in the pan and regular fluid changes. Runs like a top. Thank You, Ford, for your extraordinary attention to quality and craftsmanship in 1998.
Chuck Lowery 09/25/2011
01 Mustang GT here - Its got 70k well dragged and beaten tested miles on it, engine is strong like bull, so is rear end. The tremec trans is a different story, but when you've put an extra 100-150hp in upgrades I cant blame the stock transmission. Ford 4 Life.
Todd Clark 09/25/2011
if you turn the car off you shouldn't have to keep putting gas in it so much.
Joel Limon 09/25/2011
My 7.3 is awesome!! Love it!!
Brian Smelstor 09/25/2011
Ford #1.
Kevin Naughton 09/25/2011
just bought a Ford Edge this weekend.....from West Palm Beach, FL Mullinax Ford runs amazing
Larry Moore 09/25/2011
If you need a ford contact me @ 7346124878 Larry at royal oak ford
Brian Schoenrock 09/25/2011
Drive a newer less worn out truck....problem solved
A Look at the Person Who Develops Ford Vehicles: You
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