This is a good change:
The Ford Motor Company, which devoted itself for nearly 20 years to putting millions of Americans into big pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, is about to drastically alter its focus to building more small cars.
The struggling automaker, reacting to what it sees as a rapid and permanent shift in consumer tastes brought on by high gas prices, plans to unveil its new direction on Thursday, when it will report quarterly earnings.
Among the changes, Ford is expected to announce that it will convert three of its North American assembly plants from trucks to cars, according to people familiar with the plans.
And as part of the huge bet it is placing on the future direction of the troubled American auto industry, Ford will realign factories to manufacture more fuel-efficient engines and produce six of its next European car models for the United States market.
1.) Isn’t this long overdue? Wouldn’t a responsible company that was actually concerned with the long-term health of the organization have made a shift like this a long, long time ago? If companies were concerned with long-term stability and profitability, rather than focusing on the rather short-term earnings reports, it would seem to me they would have, but as they are beholden to the shareholders who demand a dividend every quarter, they probably produced their cash cow trucks and SUV’s for far longer than they should have. Possibly a situation where capitalism works against itself.
2.) If Congress had acted responsibly over the past few decades and raised CAFE standards appropriately, rather than modest changes pushed off for decades in to the future, would this change have come earlier and left Ford in a much better position on the global market?
3.) Is it too late for Ford? Have they spent so much money marketing SUV’s and big trucks, creating an artificial “need” for giant vehicle penises so ingrained in the American public that the consumer is not going to be willing to make the shift to smaller vehicles as readily as they might have been otherwise? Or are gas prices enough to get people to shift quite quickly and happily?
Just some thoughts.