Mark Gregory

Ford is all but getting out of the Car Business

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It probably really doesn't matter to me what Ford is going to do with their product line up. I don't plan to ever buy a new Ford or for that matter any other vehicle. brand. They're all too expensive. I've found it way more cost effective to buy a good used vehicle for a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle. I haven't been particularly impressed with Fords of the last three decades although my Crown Vic has been above par. It seems to be built tougher and has been more reliable than any of the F series trucks I've owned or driven. Maybe the last two generations of F series trucks are better but I haven't had any first hand experience. The newest F series I drove regularly was a 98 and it was not very truck like and was downright ugly. I've driven a later model Superduty but it was like driving a bus because of how it handled.

I was in a Ford truck dealership a few years ago because my 94 F150 had a recall (imagine that). I had some time to kill so I walked the lot quite thoroughly. The least expensive F series truck was 25K and it didn't have much to offer. It appeared the average price was in the mid 30's. Most of he Superdutys were 50K and up. I couldn't figure how people could afford a new truck anymore at that time, never mind now.

I'm not sure what I'll replace my Crown Vic once it becomes unrepairable but I'm hoping that it won't be anytime soon. I like the car overall. I don't have to climb up to sit in it like my F150 nor do I feel like I have to step down either. It even has more legroom than the F150 and a better seating arrangement as well. It's almost as good as the 93 Silverado I once owned which I wish I never sold.

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I'm actually quite happy with my 18 mpg average. I actually average better fuel economy than my wife's V6 Acura SUV. My car is roomier and more comfortable. The SUV my have more cargo area but Crown Vic does have a huge trunk you won't find in any new car these days.

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This is going to be interesting.  I think Ford is just going with what sells and where they make the most profit.  I don't know if CAFE is still in the picture but not having small fuel efficient cars in the mix will make any government mandated target harder to hit.  I always thought I was a GM guy and a Buick guy in particular but having owned several Fords as drivers has swayed me to them.  My 1999 F250 Superduty with the V10 was an amazing tow vehicle.  My Ford based RV never faltered and gave many miles of happiness.  My wife's 2005 Escape Limited gave us 130,000 miles with no issues except for maintenance.   My current daily driver is a 2013 Lincoln MKX and it is probably the best vehicle I have ever owned.  The driveabiity along with the performance is only surpassed by the luxury.  It is probably a moot point for me as this Lincoln will probably be my last vehicle anyway.

 

I also liked Bernie's statement about corporations confusing shareholders with customers.  I worked for a large Telcom that that also forgot they were a company and focused on their stock performance rather than their customers.  They lost that battle badly.  The company was divested and sold while the CEO went to jail.  Too many companies are focused on how they perform on Wall Street and lose sight of how they do on Main Street.

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11 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

You guys are right. I don't know why my Google-fu was so far off.

 

Been in that same boat in the past that is why I tend to be careful about data from the internet. ?

 

Living in Pennsylvania with some of the worst roads and bridges in the entire USA and paying the highest gas taxes is a real PAIN. Then there is the PA Turnpike which according to some reports has to increase tolls EVERY YEAR for the next 26 to 39 years depending on what information you believe. Sadly the turnpike is required by law to give $500 million per year of their money to PENNDOT to  fix non-turnpike roads & bridges instead of PENNDOT being funded properly. Otherwise the gas tax in PA would be even higher than it is now.

 

10 hours ago, mike6024 said:

Our new Ford truck we have at work shuts the engine off at stop signs. Unbelievable.

 

One has to wonder that the long term impact of all that starting and stopping will have on the engine, starter, fuel pump, oil pump, A/C compressor, and other components. That would appear to require that the automaker use high quality parts which many modern automakers are not known to do.

 

11 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Ford was merely in the right place at the right time in 2007, taking out huge loans before banks stopped making those huge loans. It wasn't because they were smarter or healthier, they just started borrowing before the others and therefore were able to secure capital. By the time GM and Chrysler tried to do the same, lending and capital loans had dried up because of the housing crisis and financial system crash, hence the bankruptcies and bailout (which, by the way, has been paid back with interest). Ford wasn't smarter, they weren't in better financial shape, they didn't have better product, they didn't have more pride, they just got lucky that they started the borrowing process a few months earlier than everyone else. They borrowed just as much, merely from different sources.

 

BINGO, give this man a Gold Star. ^^^^ When it comes to the loans Ford secured back then it was all in the timing. I also remember reading any number of articles about how Ford was required to put up ALL of the assets it had at that time in order to secure those loans. Had things not turned out the way they did, Ford would have been no better off than GM was.

 

11 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

The problem with making economy cars only when there's demand is lead time. Even in today's world of fast prototyping, it's still 24-36 months to get a new product to market, depending on tooling time. Things will go to hell a lot faster than that, leaving Ford and Chrysler with showrooms full of giant trucks and V8 muscle cars and nothing to sell. They won't be able to borrow three years' worth of operating expenses to keep the lights on until they can literally rush something through the development process. And even if they manage to do so, how good a product do you recon it'll be at that point?

 

I agree that lead time to develop new economy cars would leave Ford Dealers hanging without product. Unless.. Ford is hedging their bets on this by not eliminating cars from their Lincoln brand. Should Ford Truck and SUV sales tank I would not be surprised to see Ford rebadge the Lincoln brand cars with Ford Blue Ovals and pass them off as Fords until they could develop new, actual Ford cars.

 

While I am not an expert on the CAFE Standards I do have to wonder about Ford's exit from the car market and it's impact on their CAFE numbers.

At one point in time I thought that automakers could use high MPG credits from small cars to off-set low MPG numbers on SUVs and Trucks under the CAFE Rules. If that has not changed, then Ford getting rid of small cars would appear to put more pressure on Ford for their SUVs and Trucks to make the CAFE numbers all on their own. If the CAFE Standards do not allow such credits and a vehicle has to stand on it's own to meet the MPG Standards then Ford dropping their cars would have no negative impact on the CAFE standards.

12 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Toyota and Honda are thinking about what they're going to be doing in 2030. They have always taken the long view, which is why they often seem late to the party (see: big trucks and V8 luxury cars) but it's also why they are not left flat-footed when things go to pieces. Americans just can't seem to figure out how to plan past end-of-month bonuses and getting shareholders paid this quarter. And THAT is what will finally kill the domestic auto industry--their own short-sightedness and assuming that the way things are today is how they always will be. It nearly killed them in the 1970s, it will polish them off in the 2020s.

 

Toyota's long term thinking is actually one of the reasons why they have been so very slow when it comes to engine and drivetrain changes in their Tundra pickup truck. Critics of the Tundra have hammered Toyota from not updating the 5.7L V8 and it's 6 speed transmission since it was introduced in 2007. The Tundra has the lowest MPG numbers in the 1/2 ton truck class. Toyota also realized a long time ago that trying to grab a big marketshare in the 1/2 ton truck class Tundra was not possible given Ford's domination nor was it in their best financial interest either. They also stayed out of the 3/4 ton and 1 ton markets because it did not make good business sense to do so. Toyota is happy to build 110,000 to 120,000 Tundras a year and sell every one of them and not have to worry about offering 10-20K in incentives to clear their inventory at the end of every model year. The Toyota Truck plant in Texas has been running at Max capacity building Tundra and Tacomas for a number of years now which has to make the Toyota bean counters and management happy.

 

Speaking of Tacomas, Toyota also has taken a long view on this model. When Ford and GM left the small truck market years ago they said the sales and profitability numbers were the main reason for leaving. Toyota stayed in this market virtually alone for years and built that market up in terms of volume and profits. Funny how in recent years GM and soon Ford are reentering this market and spending BIG $$$$ to do it.

 

Sadly many businesses that cannot think long term will cease to exist leaving only the long term players left playing the game. Higher gas prices, higher inflation and an economic downturn are only a matter of time. The only question will be which automakers will survive under conditions liker that.

 

Speaking of changes, the next generation of the Tundra could be VERY interesting when it comes out in a few years from what I understand. With recent production changes at the Toyota Truck plant it appears that Toyota intends to sell more Tundras and is increasing the plant's ability to make them while still more than meeting the sales demand for Tacomas.

 

The next 3-5 years in the automotive industry should be very interesting. Stay tuned.

 

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I'm not at all impressed by the auto-shut off feature on new cars now. I rented a Chevy Malibu two years ago and it had it. The rental company didn't warn me about it. It almost scared me the first time it shut off at a red light. I figured out right away what it but I didn't like it. I wondered about the future reliability of these things while I drove it. I did figure out how to get around it. I made sure I didn't press down on the brake pedal all the way so it didn't cut out at a light. It was a nice car but it had so many gadgets that I didn't care for. It was like a smart phone full of apps I never use and as a complicated to figure out without spending hours trying to read a manual. It was challenging to just figure out the A/C, radio and even lighting controls. I don't think it even started as simply turning a key.

I like simplicity. That's another reason I will never buy another new car and I will avoid buying anything used from this era in the future.

That's also why I'm a fan of most of the cars discussed on this site.

Edited by Bleach (see edit history)

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10 minutes ago, Bleach said:

I'm not at all impressed by the auto-shut off feature on new cars now. I rented a Chevy Malibu two years ago and it had it. The rental company didn't warn me about it. It almost scared me the first time it shut off at a red light. I figured out right away what it but I didn't like it. I wondered about the future reliability of these things while I drove it. I did figure out how to get around it. I made sure I didn't press down on the brake pedal all the way so it didn't cut out at a light. It was a nice car but it had so many gadgets that I didn't care for. It was like a smart phone full of apps I never use and as a complicated to figure out without spending hours trying to read a manual. It was challenging to just figure out the A/C, radio and even lighting controls. I don't think it even started as simply turning a key.

I like simplicity. That's another reason I will never buy another new car and I will avoid buying anything used from this era in the future.

That's also why I'm a fan of most of the cars discussed on this site.

 

The auto shut-off does feel weird, doesn't it? I think it's especially strange to us in the hobby simply because we're so used to being vigilant to an engine's operation. An engine that mysteriously dies in traffic is our absolute worst nightmare around here!

 

I also agree that cars are getting too complex. I will probably replace my Cadillac CTS wagon in the next year or so, but I don't want a car with MORE computerized stuff so I'm holding off. Right now, the Cadillac sort-of starts with a key. All you have to do is put it in and turn it once and it starts itself, but newer cars just have buttons and you don't even need a key. There have been accidents because a driver didn't know how to shut off a push-button car in an emergency. We've had rental cars with remote fobs where Melanie was driving it with the fob in her purse, then I jumped in and drove to the store--when I came out, guess what? No fob, no go. Yet I was able to drive the car there without it. That's just idiotic. Since when did keys become too complex for drivers?

 

I'd also like to be able to decide when my headlights come on, but on the Cadillac, there's no real way to override it unless I turn it off manually every time I get in the car. And the headlights and instrument lights are not connected, so when I start my car in the garage, it thinks its dark so the dashboard goes dim for night driving. I'm usually most of the way to work before the computer wakes up and realizes that it's not dark and lets me see the instruments again. Forget changing the radio station, I can't see the screen, it's too dim. Just let me decide for myself, OK? This isn't helpful. At all.

 

That said, my wife drives a Suburban every day and even though her commute to our shop is only 3 miles each way, we're probably going to get another more thrifty car for her to drive daily. Driving that monster adds up, even with such short distances and with gas being cheap at about $2.40/gallon. Every little bit helps, and Ford is simply walking away from that entire idea. I hope it doesn't ruin them--gas won't be cheap forever, someone in management has to understand that.

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Auto shut-off, along with tire pressure monitors and back-up cameras are the latest manifestations of a decades-long involvement in vehicle engineering and design by the federal government. Average consumers are assumed to be unaware of this as auto maker's ads bugle these devices as no-cost features. How many thousands less would basic transportation cost without these things?

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My 2010 Accent was the first car I bought new and will most likely be the last I would even consider.  5 speed manual,{a 6 speed would have been nice my commute is 50 miles each way of largely highway driving} no electronic gadgets at all, roll up windows, no AC. So bare bones that even in 2010 it was hard to find . 99% of the Accent's that Hyundai  dealers had in stock had far more bells and whistles.  And at a far higher sticker price. I just needed; and was willing to pay for, a very basic commuter. The Accent was one of the few on offer.

 

Greg in Canada

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Our last new car, an '06 MDX, offered a back up camera as optional. There were two cars on the lot we looked at, one with, one without. We chose without because the camera feature was too distracting and we still had and have a habit of looking behind us when we back up. The camera also came with a navigation feature which I knew would get outdated because of the continual new roads getting added. I've also had less than accurate results from navigation systems. Google maps has worked fine in addition to my old Thomas Guide. I think this added technology would have added an extra 2-3K to the selling price. There are a lot of things the Acura has I can do without but you could not buy one without them. We could have bought a Honda Pilot, which was built on the same platform, for slightly less at the time and with less gadgets but we didn't like its looks compared to the MDX. My wife was going to be the primary driver and the Pilot was too truck like for her when compared to the MDX.

The current MDX model today with all the additional "technology" they come with now nearly costs twice as much as we paid in 2006.

By the way we did not even consider a comparable domestic model because of their poor reliability ratings at the time. I really did my homework and it paid off. We haven't had a lick of trouble in the nearly 12 years of ownership.

Edited by Bleach (see edit history)

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Rear cameras are great for parallel parking, if you still do that yourself! ?

You can tell if that is one or two inches left between your bumper and the car behind you. No more bump to park like in the old days....

 

And, you can choose to not look at it! Mirrors are still mandatory, although some interior rear view mirrors are cameras.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Frantz said:

They build em in Spain now. But the Transit Connect has at least always been built by Ford, it's not just some other brands vehicle rebadged a la Chevy

When I was in the industry no one ever asked for a Taurus that I can remember, and Fusions were generally for old people. The old saying, you can sell a young car to old people but not an old car to young people. Personally I don't care for that outcome as an owner of a Fiesta, and someone who likes luxury without all the technology, but Ford probably only made a few bucks on me and my crank window manual Fiesta....

Yeah, nobody give a d--n about older people, except if they can get their money.  If any of these companies had built a decent sized CAR instead of these gas guzzling SUV's and pickup truckes (a Buick Park Avenue for example, ugly but a truly great car) then trucks wouldn't necessarily have run off with the market.  It was all a plan.....a devious plan by Detroit big-shots to build a one-size-fits-all vehicle.  Young people today have no idea how great it was to come of age in the 1950's when beautiful, multi-colored cars, with multi-colored option interiors were offered.  The people running the car companies were babies in the 1950's if at live at all.  

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I'm interested to see how Ford will retool the Torrence Avenue plant here in Chicago - the local paper said that once the plant ends Taurus/Police Interceptor sedan production, it'll start making the 2020 Lincoln Navigator, with anticipated staffing to remain at the current levels (4,000 workers).  Also, they said that the stamping plant in the south suburbs will feel 'no immediate effect' on its 1,200 workers.

 

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Speaking of police cruisers, all law enforcement now seems to be going with SUV's, police, sheriff, etc. That is not to say literally all, without exception, but everywhere I look policing is being done in SUV's.

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"Although the overall bailout efforts turned a profit, the auto rescue did not. With Friday’s announcement, taxpayers were left with a $9.5 billion loss. Most of that came from General Motors, which paid back about $39 billion of the $49.5 billion invested. "

 

alot of diff thoughts on the bailout being paid back............... and with very little interest.......................

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2 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

Rear cameras are great for parallel parking, if you still do that yourself! ?

You can tell if that is one or two inches left between your bumper and the car behind you. No more bump to park like in the old days....

 

And, you can choose to not look at it! Mirrors are still mandatory, although some interior rear view mirrors are cameras.

 

Rear cameras on a pickup truck are also great when it comes time to hitch up a bumper pull car trailer.

 

Both my current pickup truck and prior SUV have/had backup cameras. These cameras are invaluable when your vehicle is parked between two large vehicles in a parking lot (like a box truck) and your view is blocked. When backing out of a space like this with only mirrors you are totally BLIND to pedestrians and vehicles traveling down the row of parked vehicles. With the rear cameras a driver see those area and avoid hitting pedestrians and vehicles. The number of pedestrians and vehicles I was able to avoid hitting over the last 11 years because of these cameras easily paid for both cameras and then some. 

 

1 hour ago, mike6024 said:

Speaking of police cruisers, all law enforcement now seems to be going with SUV's, police, sheriff, etc. That is not to say literally all, without exception, but everywhere I look policing is being done in SUV's.

 

Given the weapons, equipment, radio and computer systems among other things that law enforcement is required to have in their vehicles the current crop of smaller sedans are simply not large enough anymore after Ford discontinued the Crown Vic. A friend of mine in Law Enforcement prefers his old Crown Vic instead of his current Expedition. He and some of his fellow officers also has some very unkind words for Ford's choice of the standard tires used on the police edition of the Explorer and Expedition. His department ended up replacing all the tires due to serious traction and handling issues in certain types of weather. 

 

 

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I've noticed LEO's are mostly using Explorers and Chargers here in Vancouver, WA. I still see an occasional Crown Vic but those are getting rarer by the month. The sheriffs in the unincorporated areas are mostly running Tahoes and some Australian built Caprices. They're not being left too many options for cruisers since the Crown Victoria was discontinued.

I never did see a police version of the Taurus.

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I've done fine without back up cameras for over 40 years of driving. I'm going to decide what I want or don't want in my car. If that means having to drive vehicles that are 20, 30, 40 or more years old, that's fine with me. I wouldn't be interested in sites like the AACA, HAMB, etc if I wasn't.

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Let me say that I agreed with the govt's assessment that GM was too big to allow to fail. This is not based on politics, or ideology, it is strictly based on economics. GM took the govt loans, paid their obligation early, and moved on. 

 

Ford got universal kudos for not needing to accept the "bailout,"  but what did it really cost them. While they were able to secure loans on their own, to stay the course they also were forced to sell Jaguar/Landrover to Tata motors. Alan Mullally, company president, stated that it was time to return to their own luxury marque Lincoln. The selling price was, I believe, around two Billion dollars. This was after Ford had sunk millions into the Coventry plant, to both modernize it, and to attack the quality flaws that had become implicit with the marque. So how did that work out for Ford, not very well. Tata returned management to Coventry, and returned the company to profitability. Enough profit, in fact, to cover all of the purchase price in several years. Ford's emphasis on Lincoln fell flat. While the Towncar served the company well domestically, there was no international marque recognition. By giving up on their only global, luxury marque was a huge mistake. We live in a world economy, and Ford chose not to play.

 

Personally I think that Ford made another huge mistake, when the chose to drop the full framed, rear wheeled drive, Crown Victoria  based, line of cars. They had been the mainstay for police, taxi and limousine service for two decades. None of their offerings have made them a player in any of these markets.   

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On 4/26/2018 at 10:28 PM, charlier said:

FYI, here in Pennsylvania the state gasoline tax is 58.3 cents/gallon.

All that diesel/gas tax in PA and the roads that I need to use (I have tried them all) to get to Mass are so bad I refuse to haul my camper through there anymore. Makes me wonder what they are using the income on. The last time I tried the pounding shook a lens cover over the side of the camper. It always shakes open the kitchen drawers and in some cases has bounced clothes off the hangers in the closet. Done with PA!

 

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On 4/26/2018 at 9:23 PM, Matt Harwood said:

 

 

The problem with making economy cars only when there's demand is lead time. Even in today's world of fast prototyping, it's still 24-36 months to get a new product to market, depending on tooling time. Things will go to hell a lot faster than that, leaving Ford and Chrysler with showrooms full of giant trucks and V8 muscle cars and nothing to sell. They won't be able to borrow three years' worth of operating expenses to keep the lights on until they can literally rush something through the development process. And even if they manage to do so, how good a product do you recon it'll be at that point?

 

An important point that seems to be missing is that Ford is still going to make cars. They just won’t be selling them in the US. If the market changes, the product will be availible and can be brought to the US very quickly.

 

The reality is the car making business is one of the most highly regulated industries on earth. All the regulatory requirements that need to be met (emissions and safety) combined with the focus on autonomy creates a situation where Ford simply can’t be investing everywhere. They need to choose the areas that will provide the best return.

 

Another thing to consider is that the gas mileage of SUVs has improved dramatically. If gas prices spike and MPG becomes more important, Ford will have vehicles that get decent mileage.

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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20 hours ago, Pluto said:

Auto shut-off, along with tire pressure monitors and back-up cameras are the latest manifestations of a decades-long involvement in vehicle engineering and design by the federal government. Average consumers are assumed to be unaware of this as auto maker's ads bugle these devices as no-cost features. How many thousands less would basic transportation cost without these things?

The sad part is that I think that they are right. I know so many people(young and older) who have no idea how to check oil or fill tires. If the monitor didn't tell them, they would be lost.   And if they do know anything about it  they still wait for a computer prompt.

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Only selling trucks depends on what you consider a car or truck. 

 

In todays over regulated world, many of the vehicles that we might consider cars are really classified as trucks.  Think of many of the crossover vehicles that look like an old "station wagon". Many of those are now classified as trucks for federal fuel economy ranking.  In reality there is a large blurred line between cars and trucks especially in the mind of the consumer.

 

As for fuel economy, I like my '07 Silverado which averages about 16mpg.  A couple more in the summer and 1 or 2 less in the winter.  Have no plans on buying any more cars.

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