While much of the global auto industry continues to shed employees, Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it would call back 1,000 workers to a truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., saying it expected growing consumer demand for its new F-150 pickup truck.
Well, that’s what Ford is saying anyway. Is Ford repeating the mistakes of its past?
UPI Asia says that “Oil prices have increased by 1,400 percent in the last decade and have now reached a level that is threatening to drag the global economy to a grinding halt. This is the third oil shock the world has seen since 1970. During the first oil shock, oil prices almost quadrupled, from $3.50 to $13.50 per barrel between 1973 and 1975. During the second oil shock, the price jumped by more than 100 percent from $15 to $39 per barrel. In the current phase, oil prices have increased from $55 a barrel since early 2007 to current levels of $130 per barrel.”
Jim Farley, Ford’s sales chief, says that the company believes there is pent-up demand in the marketplace, especially among truck customers who need a pickup for their job.”
Pent up demand? Are there really people out there who cant wait to get their fingers wrapped around the wheel of a gas guzzling truck? Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes.
The 2009 SFE F-150, (Super Fuel Economy) which is scheduled to get a whopping 15/21 mpg, was unveiled at an event Thursday afternoon. Ford’s board chairman, Bill Ford Jr., joined Chief Executive Alan Mulally to speak to hundreds of plant employees as they showed TV commercials for the F-150, which start running on the Fox network Sunday. The fast-talking ads with flashing words promote the F-150’s capabilities, saying its customers believe a truck “ain’t a luxury. It’s a way of life.” The tagline of the campaign is “it’s not a new truck; it’s a new F-150.”
This may be the problem. Ford isn’t just selling a truck, its selling a consumer, oil dependent lifestyle.
Ford’s move to bolster production of its best-selling pickup comes as several auto industry analysts question the strength of the market segment. Late last month, CSM Worldwide said it expected the U.S. pickup market to continue to shrink in 2009 and 2010 to about half of the segment’s 2001 sales peak of 3.3 million units, despite launches of an all-new F-150 and its competitor, Dodge Ram.
So what is Ford doing? It’s putting 1000 previous employees back to work, just so that they can get laid off again, the next time gas prices go up. At the same time, it’s advocating using more of something that we are running out of. I guess I just don’t get there business model. The Big Three are getting their lunches handed to them by foreign car company’s. Looks to me like they have their heads so far in the sand, they will be able to strike oil just by opening their mouths.
As always, keep up the good fight and alter the eco!
Photo: courtesy Ford Motor Company via Creative Commons license