"We have the right strategy, and the cultural change has been
remarkable. There's a new sense of candor and urgency, an awareness of
what needs to be done and an intense focus on fixing the business," he
said in a conference call with investors.
Wow, I never tried anything that lame in all my years in management, but
then I didn't have a family business to play with.
He also said:
"We did anticipate that the world would not remain static and that
things like crossovers and cars would actually play a bigger role in the
industry's future, and, therefore, we planned them to play a bigger role
in our future," Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford told The
Associated Press in a telephone interview.
"It's just that the speed at which this happened — over one quarter — we
didn't foresee that."
Gosh, Bill ... you didn't notice the run-up in gas prices over these
past two years? Most of it happened before you announced the "Way
Forward" program. What happened to your promise several years ago to
improve fuel economy of Ford's large trucks and SUVs by 25% ??????
In all fairness to Mr. Ford, it was not anticipated that fuel prices would
rise as high as they did, as rapidly as they did or would stay up as long as
they are. And sales of SUVs and trucks stayed up while gas prices stayed
high. It wasn't until people started to realize that the high gas prices are
here to stay that people started to buy more fuel-efficent vehicles.
I don't know what happened to his promise to improve the fuel efficency of
trucks by 25%. Imagine what that would have done to truck sales for Ford. A
lot of people would have bought Fords rather than products from Dodge and
Building trucks that people are willing to buy that are also 25% more
efficient is not a trivial exercise. Tundra's aren't sisgnificantly
more fuel efficient than F150's when similarly equipped. Titans are
even less fuel efficent than F150s. Customers want bigger trucks. Only
the Ranger is left as a compact truck. Even GM has moved thier smallest
trucks up to the mid-size category. Tacomas are now almost as large as
Tundras. Frontiers are the size of Duragos. It is unrealistic to expect
Ford (or any other manufacturer) to build bigger, more powerful, more
capable trucks, and increase fleet fuel efficiency by 25%. If Bill Ford
could convince everyone to buy 4 cylinder manual transmission Rangers
and Escapes instead of 5.4L F150 Supercrews and Expeditions, he could
easily make his fleet 25% more fuel efficient. Diesels could help, but
building light duty diesels that meet US air quality standards is not
trivial. Hybrids for passenger vehicles might help, but I don't think
they are ever going to be all that useful for "work" trucks as opposed
to "ride around" trucks (aka vanity trucks).
So Bill Ford can either quit building vehicles that people want and
hope instead they will buy the more of the fuel efficient trucks and
SUVs Ford already sells or just do the best he can supply the most fuel
efficient vehicles that Customers will actually buy. He is not a
magician. He can't suddenly make an Expedition size vehicle get 20 mpg
while meeting safety rules, air pollution rules, Customer expeditions,
etc. You can't beat up Ford for not being able to do something no one
else can do either.
I know Bill Ford wanted to the environmentally friendly thing, but he
can't afford to let the company go bankrut becasue he wants to make
I had the impression that the idea was to make each model more efficient,
not just the entire fleet.
Of course, using smaller engines will help. But only some much. When you
have to pull a lot of weight around, there is a limit because you have a lot
of work to do just to move the truck. Diesels can be used effectively. Dodge
and GM both have deisels in small trucks. But they cost more. Hybrids will
really help in some trucks, like trucks that stop and go a lot, like trucks
that are used for delivery or are driven in cities. I suspect that hybrids
will be in trucks (you can put the batteries under the bed), and will really
help in city traffic. They will not help as much on trucks that go on the
Except for hybrids, diesels and fuel cells down the road, I don't see that
there is really that much you can do to really increase the fuel efficency
of trucks. You can't change the aerodynamics of trucks that much. And you
can't decrease the weight of trucks, because they need the iron and steel so
they can carry stuff.
So without using new and expensive technology, as you point out, there is
not that much that can be done.
Other than choose trucks that meet people's need, not exceed them.
But Ford already builds vehicles that make more 20 mpg. When fuel efficency
is an issue, they buy those more fuel efficent vehicles.
There are other things Ford can do to improve the fuel efficency of trucks.
Unless people are willing to spend the money, Ford won't do them.
Did they ever think about selling smaller cars?
We Don't have anything smaller than a Focus here (couldn't they sell the Ka
Police is still relying on Crown vics. Why isn't there a Ford Falcon here
(like in Australia)?
I own a Contour. I've tried a Mondeo (it's supposed to be the same car, yet
the Contour's suspension is detuned, same with steering, to give that *big
american boat* feeling...)
Wondering why the big three are failing?
I've driven a brand new Audi (1.8T Quattro). Although it is only a
turbocharged 4-banger, I loved the way that car handled curves, and had so
Why can't American cars be like that?
No AWD Mustang or 'Vette
(='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your
Once again, the foreign automakers have the product and are responding.
Honda is bringing in the Fit and is selling them so fast that you cannot
find one to test drive at many dealers.
Toyota is selling the Yaris and the Scion sub-compacts.
BMW has the Mini.
GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler are stuck doing the bzzzzzttttt.
Of course I was talking about the vehicles available in the US. Ford,
Chrysler and GM have often had smaller more economical models for sale
in other markets, yet repeatedly get caught with their pants down in the
US. I'm old enough to remember the 1970s very well :).
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