FoMoCo fans may yearn for Ford to launch a new rear-wheel-drive sedan, but rising fuel costs may place such a program in jeopardy.
Although the program hasn't been cut, the recent consumer shift to small, front-drive cars has the automaker questioning the relevance of rear-drive vehicles in the age of $4.00-a-gallon gasoline.; Ford product chief Derrick Kuzak noted that the automaker "need[s] to understand the role of those vehicles, given the change in the market mix."
Ford has recently shifted production away from large pickups and SUVS - also hurt by fuel prices - and has pledged to bring more small cars into North America.; In addition to the European Focus and Fiesta, scheduled to arrive in 2010, Ford is also looking at the European Fusion (a small Fiesta-based crossover) and subcompact Ka as possible contenders for a cross-pond contingency.
Ford is also considering expanding the application of its EcoBoost technology beyond the 500,000 cars it expects to sell with the engines annually by 2012. The EcoBoost system combines direct injection with turbocharging to increase fuel economy.
If the rear-wheel-drive program remains on track within the company, expect to see the resulting vehicles in approximately five years.
Source:; Automotive News