Veteran Ford Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Searching for a new home
My Ford Tickford Experience (long)
As my two Ford Tickford Experiences (FTE) draw to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the good and the bad parts of them - and there have been plenty of both.
First the GOOD.
1. The TE50 has been awesome to drive. A superb blend of performance and comfort that has never failed to put a smile on my ugly dial anytime I drive it.
2. The Cougar has been reliable and trouble free and has served it's purpose well. Not the quickest or most comfortable thing around but a pleasant ownership experience anyway.
3. The service from my FTE dealer (Strapp Ford) has been nothing short of magnificent. Issues (see below) have been dealt with promptly, courteously and efficiently. Their efforts, probably more than anything else, truly embodied the spirit behind FTE.
4. Apart from one minor quibble on the extended warranty - the FTE warranty has stood behind the product - frequently.
4. The Cougar managed to retain 58.3%, 3 year (48k km) resale value which is commendable for a vehicle that hasn't exactly set the country alight.
Now the not-so-good
1. Ford/FTE have done their level best to ruin the experience by devaluing the supposed "premium" model range at every opportunity.
Exhibit A: handing the 220 kw engine to the XR8 inside 12 months.
Exhibit B: realigning the pricing and features structure with Series 2 and then again with S3.
Exhibit C: building way too many S3's with Brembo options and then offering massive retail incentives so the dealers can move the bloody things. Wouldn't like to guess how many are left but I am tipping it is close to 100 cars with pricing as low as $44k for TE50's and $53k for Brembo equipped TS50's.
2. Related to point one but worth a mention in its' own right is the topic of resale values. Based on the present figures being thrown around I calculate the retained value in my car as about 35.8% - 3 year resale with 68k km. According to my guide that makes it the 2nd worst in the country behind the 8 series BMW's - a record to be well proud of (NOT).
Of course we have an acknowledgement on the public record from GP/DF on this topic (thanks guys) and some kind of pending (and as yet unseen) "offer" to assist us former bunnies into a new FPV vehicle. On past history (the T3 offers) this will consist of a Brembo or Premium sound upgrade which is better than a kick in the ass but not anywhere near enough for the financial pain. Bad enough for me but the S1 TS50 buyers who forked out $80k on road are looking at a 31% resale after 3 years. Poor sods.
Still I guess we can feel warm and fuzzy that the powers that be have acknowledged the "failed" experiment of FTE and sleep easier knowing that FPV won't turn out to be the same expensive lemon. At least it had better not be as I am placing that bet with cold, hard, cash.
3. The warranty issues. Cougar = 1 for a faulty fuel gauge. Happy to live with that. T-Series = heaps which I'll detail below.
10,005 km - new drivers side window regulator (AU standard).
10,005 km - reset drivers door blend
20,001 km - replace OSR bailey channel
20,001 km - replace carbon canister
20,001 km - replace window stop (3rd time)
29,100 km - replace drivers air bag module
29,100 km - replace front strut
29,100 km - replace front brake rotors
39,579 km - replace transmission & ESS valve body
44,422 km - replace rear brake rotors
46,769 km - replace brake booster hose
46,769 km - replace rear axle seal
47,415 km - replace power steering rack (with a rebuilt one)
52,115 km - replace front brake rotors (again)
52,685 km - replace front strut (the other one)
52,685 km - replace rear shock absorbers (1 leaking)
59,466 km - replace steering rack (again - new one this time)
- that list doesn't count all the standard recalls like the radiator repair, window regulators, ESS recalibrations etc.
Not an impressive list for 60,000 km. It has only been bearable because of the good help I've had from the servicing dealer.
I guess that reading the above you'd conclude it hasn't been a good experience overall but for the best part the sheer pleasure that driving the car has provided has helped me forget the painful bits.
Which is just as well because if I dwell on the average build quality, massive depreciation and poor product planning then I'd be moving to the dark side.
But I am an optimist and for whatever reason I still believe that the guys in charge will not make the same mistakes they have in the past.
Time alone will show whether that faith has been misplaced or not.
If it is then I have just bought my last two Fords.