Fairlanes and LTD have been struggling for quiet a while. What they suffer is a lack of purpose. Ford has basically religated the LTD into "your buying what" section. Fairlane is really just outclassed by the Statesman and it sits basically at the bottom of that segment.
The G220 is less sporty than a XT v8, not to mention slower. It doesn't have any features that really say anything. Styling doesn't quiet pull it off.. It doesn't feel as enormous as a statesman or caprice, you don't really get anything special inside, or outside.
Its not a complete basket case, it could be fixed fairly quickly if Ford took the time to listen to people (I would say here more than those iffity market research stuff) and study the flaws. Fairlane and LTD has a lot of flaws.
Its going to get harder for them as well, as the wagon fades away (replaced by the territory) and only the Fairlane Ghia remains on the LWB with essientially no other varients (LTD is hardly a varient).
- More options in powertrain, adding the turbo six and the DOHC V8 would definately help move that heft and make them much more competitive (Caprice has what? 245kw!!), when your paying 70+k for a luxury car, source a better gbox than the regular 4 speed. We would all love to see a extremely limited build of the LTD with a V10.
- Exterior styling that is classy yet, distingishes from regular models a bit more than the current one, perhaps with a unique rear light cluster that doesn't look almost extactly the same etc.
- Interior, well, it has to look better, the G220 goes some of the way, but the Fairmont dash doesn't really gel with the rest of the car, it looks, hmm maybe a bit too technical and futuristic, not luxury enough. Feels a bit small in it compared to Statesman/caprice.
- LTD should be a rolling demo of technology for ford.. Not just a government fleet special. Its not a asperational model..
- Surely some sort of multimedia pack should be standard, Falcon classic gets one.. How about a digital TV tuner for the front screen
-Xenon lights? Even hatchback have these as options these days, leveling active with washer jets
-Voice command? bluetooth? Active cruise control? Rain sensor? Glazed windows? Soft close? LED indicators and brake lights.
-18 or 19" wheels?
-Seat heaters and ventilators?
-heated/cooled cup holders
-electric steering adjustment (hooked into easy in and out like on mercs)
-all controls nicely backlit
-superdooper selectable shocks
-memory functions for passenger seat (what? car only remembers one seat?!)
-Front passenger seat adjustable for rear (maybe on a LTD)..
-Maybe some form of adjustment for the rear seats..
-Boot lid closing
-Real wood in the car, it ain't that hard, just a few bits would had that little extra feel.
and if its possible
-Doors that open enough so I can get into the figgin car
-Doors that are bigger so I can get into the figgin car
-Longer so you get that excessive leg room feel
-More boot space
-larger fuel tank
How about some real special treats for premium customers like lexus, BMW and merc do. Real special days out and special offers properly organised. Better sales service, better after sales service.
Maybe Fords trying to hold them back so that jaguar buyers don't get worried that someone is going to rock up to the golf game with a superior Ford car at half the coin. Well let Jaguar worry about that.