Ford Five Hundred

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Ford Five Hundred
Ford500a.JPG
2005 Ford Five Hundred Limited AWD
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production July 2004–April 2007
Model years 2005–2007
Assembly Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Designer George Bucher, chief designer[1][2]
J Mays Design Vice President.[3]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Platform Ford D3 platform
Related Volvo S60
Volvo S80
Volvo XC90
Mercury Montego
Ford Freestyle/Taurus X
Ford Flex
Lincoln MKS
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6
Transmission ZF Batavia CFT30 CVT
6-speed Aisin F21 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.9 in (2,868 mm)
Length 200.7 in (5,098 mm)[4]
Width 74.5 in (1,892 mm)
Height 61.5 in (1,562 mm)
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Taurus (fourth generation)
Successor Ford Taurus (fifth generation)

The Ford Five Hundred is a four-door, front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive full-size sedan[5] manufactured and marketed in North America by the Ford Motor Company in a single generation for model years 2005-2007, using what was at the time, Ford's global D3 platform.

The Five Hundred is directly related to a group of rebadged variants, Ford's Chicago D3's, so called for the plant where they were manufactured (Chicago Assembly) and the platform (D3) they share: the Mercury Montego and third generation Mercury Sable sedans; the Ford Freestyle and Taurus X wagons, marketed as a crossover vehicles; as well as the fifth and sixth generations Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS. The Five Hundred is closely related to Ford's Oakville D4's: the Ford Flex, Ford Explorer and Lincoln MKT, all sharing a modified D3 platform.

Introduced in 2005, the Five Hundred, Montego and Freestyle met a cool market reception and were all swiftly facelifted and given new nameplates for model years 2008-2009 — as the Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus X. The sedans were subsequently more fully restyled as the sixth generation Ford Taurus (2010–present) and the Lincoln MKS (2009–present) — with the wagon/CUV variant transitioning to the Ford Flex. All received electro-hydraulic Haldex all-wheel drive system, optional on the sedans and standard on the Freestyle/Taurus X.

Noted for their simple, straight-forward styling, large interior cabin, prominent greenhouse and high H-point seating, the Five Hundred was designed by George Bucher, Chief Designer,[1][2] under the direction of Ford Vice President of Design, J Mays.[3]

The Five Hundred nameplate recalls the Fairlane 500 and Galaxie 500 models of the 1950s-1970s.

Design and manufacture[edit]

2000 Ford Prodigy diesel-electric concept, which partly influenced the body design of the Five Hundred/Montego

The full-size Five Hundred (code name D258) was introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

With Ford having acquired Volvo in 1999, the Chicago D3's feature body design technology developed in conjunction with Volvo structural and safety engineers and first used on Volvo's S80 and XC90.[6] As an example, for side impact protection the bodywork is structured between the B-pillars via an energy-channelling roof crossmember along with a corresponding hydroformed cross-car energy-channeling underseat beam with pre-engineered failure points under the center console — and with the front seats mounted above the lower beam, locating them above a side impact energy path. The system derives from a side-impact safety design marketed by Volvo as its Side Impact Protection System (SIPS).[7][8]

The Chicago D3's are based on the Ford D3 platform, a variant of the Volvo P2 platform. George Bucher, Ford's chief designer said "it was a challenge to sculpt a Ford-styled body around a Volvo chassis, and added that designers used what he calls plainer surfaces with taut lines to give the car a modern look without losing its passenger-car proportions."[7]

Marketed as Command Seating, the Five Hundred features high H-point seating (the location of the occupants hip-point relative to the road or the vehicle floor); its H-point-to-ground distance (H30) is lower than that of a sport utility vehicle, but higher than a typical sedan, easing entry and exit. Also, the distance from the H-point-to -floor (H5) dimension results in more upright seating. At its press launch, Ford said the Five Hundred's H-point is up to four and a half inches higher than its competitors. The Five Hundred also features theater seating, where second row seats are higher: in the front row, the distance between the H-point and the heel point, where the occupant's foot touches the floor, is 12.7 inches — in the second row the distance between the H-point and the heel point is 15.7 inches.

The Five Hundred features LED tail lamps — at the time, the largest application of LED taillights in the Ford Motor Company lineup.[8] To augment its 21 cubic feet of trunk space, the Five Hundred featured a fold down rear seat, as well as a fold down front passenger seat, enabling transport of an object up to 10 feet long, inside its cabin. Interiors on SEL and Limited trim levels featured a new hydrographic system for applying wood appliqués.[9]

The Chicago D3's were manufactured using a Volvo-derived quality control system internally called Total Vehicle Geometry (TGV) to ensure fit, finish and craftsmanship — by requiring comprehensive participation by all engineers as well as suppliers and vendors. Heavily using computer-aided design, TVG tracks all design modifications, translating them into the central CAD database which in turn allows each engineer access to current project data. The system improves part tolerance at the body-in-white stage as well as early cabin integrity testing, via air leakage testing. TVG improved fit and finish at the first prototype stage and decreased manufacture times for preliminary production vehicles, so called pilot vehicles.[8]

The Five Hundred entered production on July 12, 2004[10] at Chicago Assembly, which previously produced the fourth-generation midsize Taurus, and became available to the public in September 2004.

Trim levels and engines[edit]

2005 Five Hundred SE

Three trim lines were offered: SE, SEL, and Limited. An all wheel drive system was available across the range. Base prices start at US$22,795 for a front-wheel drive SE and range to US$28,495 for an all-wheel drive Limited.

Available powertrains consist of a 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 engine rated at 203 hp (151 kW) and 207 lb·ft (281 N·m) of torque, and the choice of a continuously variable transmission or six-speed automatic transmission. The Haldex AWD (All Wheel Drive) system is based on that used in the Volvo S80 and Volvo XC90.

Reception and sales[edit]

2005-2006 Five Hundred SEL

Styled under the direction of George Bucher and J Mays, the New York Times credited the Five Hundred with "rigorously understated styling and vast interior space,"[11] later noting the initial ultra-utilitarian styling was competent but didn't evoke a sufficient emotional response in the marketplace.[11] Ford swiftly facelifted and rebranded the Five Hundred as the fifth generation Taurus (2008-2009) — and for model year 2010, Ford introduced a thorough restyling of the fifth generation Taurus (itself the facelifted Five Hundred) as the sixth generation Taurus (2010–present), "to make the high-set sedan more macho and muscular."[12]

At its introduction, Mays said the Five Hundred offered "guilt-free luxury."[13]

Asked at its introduction if the Five Hundred was boring, J Mays said:

"It looks a little too Teutonic. We've gone back. We've looked at it. By the way, I don't think it's going to hurt sales. They're the most conservative buyers there are."[14]

In defending the Five Hundred, Mays later said:

"You can never look too much like an Audi, can you?""[15]

Bryon Fitzpatrick, chairman of the industrial design department at Detroit's College for Creative Studies said:

"The Ford Five Hundred is nothing really new. You have to be careful that people don't point their finger and say that's an Audi rip-off. There are a lot of the same shapes and icons." [16]

Jim Cobb of the New York Times in 2004 called the car's styling:

"Earnestly practical"[17] but also "tall, spacious and bland,"[17] as well as "highly derivative,"[17] "Its shape is unmistakably similar to some recent Volkswagens and Audis, particularly the Passat. This may be no coincidence, for Mr. Mays helped to create VW's style in his previous job. And while the arch-roof look is unlikely to offend anyone, it is no longer fresh; that Passat has been on the road since 1997."[17] Adding: "little about (the Five Hundred) will appeal to people who want a little rancheros with their huevos."[17]

Warren Brown with the Washington Post called the Five Hundred's styling:

"Borderline ascetic," adding "eloquence generally does not reside in the prosaic" and there isn't "a car more prosaic... than the Five Hundred."[18]

Larry Printz with The Morning Call wrote:

"Aside from the grill, little on the Five Hundred identifies the car as a Ford. Instead, it looks like a VW Passat with a glandular condition."[19]

Jim Kenzie of the Toronto Star said:

"Looking at the Five Hundred reinforces my belief that J Mays, group vice president of design at Ford, can only draw one sedan. He was at Volkswagen when the current Passat was designed and at Ford when the current Euro Mondeo emerged. They all look identical."[20]

Robert Cumberford, noted design critic at Automobile Magazine said:

"It's a pretty good trick to make a brand-new car look old, bland and boring right out of the box. No doubt it's a good car, but one fundamentally uninteresting visually."[20]

Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive journalist Dan Neil said:

The Five Hundred's styling shows "admirable restraint,"[20] adding: "Is the car beautiful, exciting? No. But (it's) well-balanced, grown-up, and it's a terrific packaging job. It suggests mental health, not emotional rescue."[20]

Later testing Mercury's rebadged variant, the Montego, Neil said:

"There is no soul to this car, and it's about as sexy as going through your mother's underwear drawer. Overall, the car has a profoundly geriatric feeling about it — to drive this car is to feel the icy hand of death upon you"[21]

Wheels recapped the brief history of the car, saying:

"the Five Hundred was in production for merely three years before disappearing into obscurity and blotting (J Mays)’ otherwise fine portfolio. Sales were terrible, with the Taurus outselling it two to one, and instead of a typical mid-life facelift, Ford hurriedly sorted an all-new design and swept the Five Hundred badge under the carpet."[22]

Noted automotive designer Peter Horbury said, of the Five Hundred's styling:

"I think J [Mays] would admit this—trying to make a car on what was Volvo’s old S80 platform, but with different proportions, was always going to be a challenge. The [Five Hundred] was very horizontal, and the A-pillars and the C-pillars were the same thickness—the car had very little sense of direction. I remember when we did the face lift, and it became the Taurus; it didn’t set the world on fire, either. And I said, 'Well, if you remodeled either end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I’m sure you’d still know what it was.'"[23]

J Mays himself said "I don't think the Five Hundred or Freestyle was one of my brighter moments in Ford, but designing a car is not a solo effort and a lot of people have input on the kind of product they want. I've been at the company 13 years and I've been through five CEOs. Some of those CEOs have had more conservative tastes than others."[24]

Mays later conceded of the Five Hundred's styling: "“It’s just lacking in the emotional appeal that we should have put into it. We were being good team players, and we did our best to wrap what was a best-in-class package with sheetmetal, and we ended up with a car, I think, that compromised itself in terms of style. But we will never make that mistake again. In fact, we haven’t made a mistake like that since we did it. I think of all the cars I’ve designed in my career, I regret not pushing harder on that car.”"[25]

While praised for its interior volume, design functionality, value and safety features, the Five Hundred was criticized not only for its styling but also for its weak 203 hp (151 kW) engine[26] — deficiencies considered sufficient to hurt its potential appeal.[3][27]

Calendar Year American sales
2004[28] 14,106
2005 107,932
2006[29] 84,218
2007 35,146

Model year changes[edit]

The 2006 Five Hundred carried over relatively unchanged: a new Navigation Radio made by Pioneer for Ford featuring Sirius Satellite Radio became an option, and Traction Control was no longer standard on front wheel drive models as it was in the 2005 model year. A mid-year running change removed the exterior doorside trim molding on all trim levels in favor of a small sill molding at the bottom edge of the door.

The 2007 Five Hundred remained unchanged, with the SE model discontinued. A minor styling change involved moving the exterior door trim pieces from the middle of the doors to a bottom location.

A new Chrome Package became available, with 18-inch eight-spoke alloy wheels and a chrome trim mesh grille. Also new for 2007 was a 5-year / 60,000-mile (97,000 km) powertrain warranty, and models built after September 4, 2006 have standard front-seat-mounted side air bags, as well as Ford's side air curtain system, marketed as the Safety Canopy.

Discontinuation[edit]

2008 Ford Five Hundred concept. Upon direction of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, this was renamed the Ford Taurus before its production

The Five Hundred ended production in April 2007, as did the Montego and Freestyle.[30] Each model was modified and rebranded — as the 2008 Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus X respectively, all which debuted at the 2007 North American International Auto Show.

The updated and rebranded Taurus included a new 263 hp (196 kW) 3.5 L V6 and new front and rear styling. The CVT transmission, used with the AWD powertrain, as well as the Aisin 6-speed, were replaced by the GM-Ford 6-speed automatic transmission.

The previous Taurus (built on a Ford D186 platform was available in the 2007 model year for private fleet sale and in Canada.[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ford Five Hundred". Car Reviews and News. 
  2. ^ a b c "Fanfare for the Common Car". The New York Times, Phil Patton, April 11, 2004. 
  3. ^ a b c "J Mays, Noted Ford Designer, to Retire". The New York Times, Phil Patton, November 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ Newberry, Stephan (2005). The Car design yearbook 3. Merrell. ISBN 1-85894-242-X. 
  5. ^ "2005 Ford Five Hundred SE Sedan 3.0L V6 6-speed Automatic Features and Specs". Edmunds.com. 2010-03-10. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Ford's Magic New Number". Larry Edsall, Web2cars. 
  7. ^ a b "2006 Ford Five Hundred". Larry Edsall, Twincities.com. 
  8. ^ a b c "2005 Mercury Montego Introduced". The Auto Channel, February 7, 2004. 
  9. ^ "2005 Ford Five Hundred - Review". The Car Connection. January 4, 2004. 
  10. ^ Binder, Alan K, ed. (2005). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 2005. Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 112. 
  11. ^ a b "Much Ado About Another Do-Over". The New York Times, Christopher Jenson, August 28, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Designer’s Goal Was a Buff Bull". The New York Times, Phil Patton, August 28, 2009. AS he set out to restyle the (fifth generation Ford Taurus, a facelifted Five Hundred) for 2010, Earl Lucas, the car’s chief exterior designer, had a mission: to make the high-set sedan more macho and muscular. 
  13. ^ "2004 Detroit Auto Show Coverage: 2005 Ford Five Hundred". The Car Connection, (1/4/2004). 
  14. ^ "Are Ford designs boring?". The Detroit News, 12/19/04, Daniel Howes. Is the Five Hundred boring? It looks a little too Teutonic, Mays admits. We've gone back. We've looked at it. By the way, I don't think it's going to hurt sales. They're the most conservative buyers there are. 
  15. ^ "Ford gets design religion - five years too late.". Autoextremeist, Peter M. Delorenzo. Wasn't it you who was even quoted in The New York Times as defending the Five Hundred's VW-Audi-esque look with a flippant, "You can never look too much like an Audi, can you?" 
  16. ^ Danny Hakim (January 4, 2004). "A Designer Lets Loose in the ’Year of the Car’". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "2005 Ford Five Hundred: Mature Audiences Suggested". The New York Times, Christopher Jenson, October 31, 2004. 
  18. ^ "Nice Surprises in a Ho-Hum Package: 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan". Washington Post, Warren Brown, October 17, 2004. 
  19. ^ "A sedan takes its cues from SUVs". The Morning Call, Larry Printz, January 02, 2005. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Ford Five Hundred called roomy inside, dull outside". Automotive News, Richard Truett, October 2, 2004. 
  21. ^ "A senior moment: Mercury's throwback Montego makes everything new feel old again.". LA Times, Dan Neil, December 08, 2004. 
  22. ^ "Not Their Finest Hour: J Mays". Wheels. 
  23. ^ Mike Duff (June 2011). "What I'd do Differently: Peter Horbury". Car and Driver. 
  24. ^ "A new heyday for J Mays". Automotive News, Dejan Jovanovic, September 16, 2014. 
  25. ^ "J Mays and The Importance Of The Story". Automotive Design & Production, Gary S. Vasilash , Editor-in-Chief, 1/9/2007. 
  26. ^ The New York Times http://autos.nytimes.com/2006/Ford/Fusion/245/10005/278058/researchReviews.aspx.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ Dear, Clare (2006-05-26). "New siblings put Ford back in car game". London Free Press. Retrieved 2007-02-17. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  29. ^ "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008. 
  30. ^ Binder, Alan K, ed. (2008). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 2008. Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 115. 
  31. ^ "Ford Five Hundred to become 'Taurus'". MSNBC.com. 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 

External links[edit]