Ford Forums is famous! The post that was up on the FF last week has appeared in todays Drive section of 'The Age'!
Ford, Mercedes share a vision
By Debbie Anderson
Thursday September 25 2003
Was Ford's detour into radical "New Edge" design territory with the AU Falcon representative of styling vision that really was ahead of its day?
Mercedes-Benz seems to think so -- given the strikingly similar bold rear styling unveiled on its "vision" of the future, the sleek CLS concept (pictured), at Frankfurt earlier this month.
Benz says the "trend-setting" four-door sedan-meets-coupe, which is based on modified E Class underpinnings, will be built next year virtually unchanged. "Only detailed features unrelated to its design will be modified," Benz boss Juergen Hubbert says.
And it brings with it the sort of rear styling -- sharp edges and a high boot-line dropping off at the corners -- that polarised opinion when Ford unveiled the AU to an underwhelmed public and media five years ago.
The styling similarities between the AU Falcon and the Benz CLS has even prompted internet chat sites, including the popular Ford Forums, into action.
Ford at the time claimed the AU reflected a worldwide trend towards sharper edges and more structured surfaces. As for that "robust" rear styling, the maker claimed it also helped improve airflow off the Falcon's boot, reducing drag.
"We believe it is a design that will remain contemporary for many years to come," said the chief designer at the time, Steve Park, in September 1998.
"Today's buyer will have a car that will look stylish and modern in the new millenium ... We think the car will age very well."
The Australian buying public seemed to disagree, with disappointing sales prompting a rethink. Mercedes-Benz says Australia will see the CLS, which is designed to compete with the likes of BMW's new 6 Series, by early 2005.