Friday, March 10, 2006

White flag of surrender

There's a piece at AutoBlog with a link to Newsweek, that seems kind of stupid to me. The article discusses whether the domestic auto manufacturers should follow the lead of Harley Davidson, and cloak itself in an all American persona, what they call playing the "America Card." And while this could be working for Harley Davidson, that's because it's a much smaller market for motorcycles than Cars and Trucks. Not that the big three (2 1/2 ) don't do this already with Trucks, they do, and Toyota is trying to squeeze into that full size truck market. But pulling back into some segregated "American" mode isn't going to help.

AutoBlog rightly comments that it could be just waving a white flag in surrender. Giving up on certain market segments to concentrate on the more profitable sectors, such as Muscle Cars, Trucks and SUVs. It doesn't make sense to me, why give up any segment of the market. If the domestic brands would build interesting vehicles for the US market, like the do for the world market, and make sure quality was "Job 1" then they wouldn't need to concede defeat. I've pointed out many of Ford's offerings around the world, and how well they compete with Japanese and European makes. Why can't they do that here? Now is not the time to be the "Surrender monkeys" of the Auto Industry. Now is the time to innovate, bring new models with more efficient powertrains and exciting styling. Instead of "Dave" we should be getting the "Kinetic" designs that Ford is offering elsewhere. GM and Chrysler too, they offers some unique models and concepts for Europe and elsewhere, that never come to these shores.

The domestic auto makers, need to fight as if their very existence depended on it, because it does.


Cars! Cars! Cars! said...

Ford is already doing this with the latest round of ads with Billy F in them. Behind him is a huge American flag. I mean, come on!

I expect GM and Ford to do more of this. And it's so incredibly lame...

Big Ford Fan said...

Bob, I don't see a little "flag waving" as being wrong, it's only natural in the situation to appeal to a consumers sense of patriotism. I think the bigger danger is the Harley Davidson model of doing business. Cars and Motorcycles are like apples and oranges, and Harley is unique.

The "domestic" brands can't give up on small cars or any part of the market. A few "retro" vehicles are fine, but they are short term sales boosts, not long term solutions to eroding market share.

Ford makes some wonderful and competative models globally, why can't they do that in the US?

Cars! Cars! Cars! said...

The flag waving crap is just that, it's crap. Ford (and others) are moving more plants to Mexico and Canada and still claiming to be soooo patriotic. How about building the things here? How about paying people in this country so the money stays here?

And, yes, Ford is killing themselves by not bringing over great products like the European Focus (and probably others that you are more aware of than I am).

Big Ford Fan said...

Bob, glad to see you commenting, you're correct, all the flag waving does seem disingenuous, considering all of the "imported" domestics. I fear that will just get worse, with rumors that Ford will create a new factory in Mexico for their new line of B-Segment cars and mini utes. And of course there's the new Ranger being built in Thailand, that if the new Trade Agreement goes through, would mean that if a new Ranger comes here, it would be imported. Tough times to be a "domestic" manufacturer fan, that's for sure.