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Ford To Cut Options and Packages on 2008 Explorer, Mustang and Navigator

Buyers of the 2007 Ford Mustang V6 had 16,000 buildable combinations of options and colors. But when the 2008 Mustang V6 hits showrooms in August, it will only come in 200 buildable combinations, Ford told Inside Line.
In most cases, the changes should be relatively minor. The base 2008 Mustang V6 will not be available with spinners on the 16-inch wheels, for instance. You'll only be able to get a plain 16-inch wheel. The Mustang V6 will also only be available in 10 exterior colors instead of the 11 that were offered in 2007. Gone are such exterior color choices as "screaming yellow" and "legend lime," to be replaced with a new lineup that includes dark candy apple red.

Side airbags, which were standard on some '07 versions of the Mustang V6 and optional on others, are now standard across the V6 line for 2008. A Mustang V6 Safety and Security Package bundles traction control, antilock brakes, an anti-theft system and wheel-locking kits for 2008, instead of offering each item as a stand-alone option.

"The number of options you can select will be smaller to reduce the cost at the factory," said Ford spokesman Jim Cain. "The goal isn't to take anything away from anybody. It's to give them the vehicle they want and to make it simpler for the dealer and the plant."

The same tactic will be used for the 2008 Explorer and Navigator, due out later this summer. The '08 Explorer, for example, eliminates molded-in color bumper fascias. But Cain said they were the grayish-black plastic exterior trim that few customers seemed to want anyway. He said Navigator will have an unspecified number of fewer buildable combinations and "more standard equipment."

The new approach is the brainchild of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who is on a quest to reduce manufacturing complexity as part of the automaker's turnaround plan. Toyota and other Japanese automakers have traditionally offered fewer choices, letting customers pick just a few things on a vehicle, such as engine size, cloth or leather interior, and exterior color.

The wild card in the strategy to cut options and packages is the Ford F-150. Cain said the automaker is "unsure" about whether to limit choices with the truck that has staked its reputation on customization potential. "Part of the reason we can sell it in the volumes we do is because we have so many configurations," he said. "You need to be able to tailor the vehicle more individually."

© Source: insideline
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