By on November 11, 2008

Think you got it rough?  Well, what if you built a sleek, energy efficient 181,000 square foot corporate headquarters for $68m and seven years later you had to lease it to Taco Bell for ten years? More specifically FoMoCo leased their former Premier Automotive Group (PAG) headquarters to Yum Brands, Inc., of Louisville, Ky. Yum was spun off from PepsiCo in 1997 and currently operates over 35,000 Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W and Long John Silver “restaurants.” Annual revenues are more than $10 billion and their stock is trading at $25.87 per share. Meanwhile, Ford sold Aston Martin to some Kuwaiti investors, Jaguar and Land Rover went to Tata (in India) and is moving Volvo to… New Jersey! Meanwhile a share of Ford stock is worth $1.80 — still somehow cheaper than a gallon of gas. Ford still has about 125 employees in Irvine, California (including the guy that gives us Mustangs) and they’re being relocated next door to Ford’s 90,000 square-foot product development center. The sad news for car guys is that ever since Crystal Cove moved away from Newport Beach, it has taken place every Saturday morning in PAG’s parking lot. No word on whether or not Taco Bell will allow the tradition to continue. Man, the car biz is rough.

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29 Comments on “Sign of the Times: Ford Leases PAG Headquarters to Taco Bell...”


  • avatar
    autoemployeefornow

    $68 BILLION ???? Dear God !!!!

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Given the choice between two bean burritos from The Bell or a share of Ford stock, I think I’d take the burritos.

  • avatar

    autoemployeefornow :

    Typo. My bad.

  • avatar
    autoemployeefornow

    NP RF Glad to help.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    This isn’t news.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Free taco with a test drive?

  • avatar
    dwford

    ….Or is it a free car with every taco?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    SherbornSean: This is not a sentence.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Well. One of these companies makes items of lust and desire that you MUST BUY NOW. The other makes the Ford Focus.

  • avatar

    Your choice of a free taco, personal pan pizza, fried chicken meal, or Bowl ‘O Fish Parts with purchase of any Ford vehicle.

  • avatar

    A day old chalupa is still a better investment of $1.80 than Ford stock.

  • avatar
    shamu

    I’d say its’ a pretty good commentary on the mentality that has turned our society into what it is today…..one huge Burger King.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    One of the many boneheaded moves of the Nasser/PAG era was relocating Volvo from it’s US ancestral home in Rockleigh, NJ to Southern California is search of hip and cool. Much of Volvo USA stayed behind, including customer-no-service and such. Now that PAG is down to just Volvo, it is past time to put all of Volvo Cars USA back together again.

    Several years ago, Lincoln HQ was likewise moved from Dearborn to California, and then back again. For a blast from the past, read this old NYT piece about Lincoln getting some California groove on from 1998:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0DE7DD173BF930A15752C0A96E958260

    I don’t think putting Volvo and Lincoln HQs in California did squat to improve sales of either brand. Companies just love to DO THINGS, even if doing them has no real effect other than the noise and motion.

  • avatar
    Michigan Plus 1

    A day old chalupa is still a better investment of $1.80 than Ford stock.

    How many jobs in this country are dependent upon Taco Bell chalupas, and how many upon domestic manufacturing.

    Think, for a nanosecond.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    How many jobs in this country are dependent upon Taco Bell chalupas, and how many upon domestic manufacturing.
    Think, for a nanosecond.

    Where to begin deconstructing the stupidity of this comment? First, this is about Ford, this isn’t about every manufacturing job in the U.S. There is actually an enormous amount of manufacturing that occurs in this country by companies that are not so shockingly incompetent as the domestic automakers.

    Second, the service sector most certainly provides far more jobs than does manufacturing. That is because you can get train a monkey on another continent to manufacture things, but many services actually require human skills and a close proximity between producer and consumer. I realize that probably no one in the entire state of Michigan can grasp that concept, but that explains why the economy tends to evolve towards services.

    Try thinking for a bit more than a nanosecond next time.

  • avatar

    I concur.
    My local Taco Bell churns out much better product and is staffed by more intelligent and assiduous folks than any US automaker.

    And btw, as long as they look passable, a little advice: Buy All Spinoffs.
    -They usu. go up 10x to 20x. YUM did.

  • avatar
    jamie1

    Kevin,
    Your response to Michigan Plus 1 is somewhat rude and I am surprised the flaming rule did not come in to play.
    The ‘trained monkeys’ as you eloquently put it are clearly not that, either on this continent or any other. In most cases they are loyal, hard-working people doing a great job (witness Ford’s amazing quality improvements – better that all the domestics and now on a par with Toyota and Honda).
    I don’t think that manufacturing and assembling a complex vehicle such as a car quite compares with the skills required to either flip a burger or politley (or often not actually) ask if you want ranch or Italian dressing on your salad (though I would also not want to suggest that people doing this worthy job should be denigrated either).
    If the future of this great country lies in the service sector (flipping buns) rather than the industrial sector (building great cars and trucks) then the last one out please turn off the lights!

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    nanosecond????

    why with all things nano?
    a nanosecond is actually quite long…
    try atto seconds…
    it’s to the nanosecond what the nanosecond is to the second…

    just because nanotech is a buzz word doesn’t mean it should apply to a very short time period…

  • avatar

    Femtosecond.

    One millionth of a billionth of a second, named after Arthur Femto, whose wife was always waiting for him to get out of his pajamas.

  • avatar
    rkeep820

    Any one see Demolition Man? The future is TACO BELL!

  • avatar

    Thanks guys, now I crave a taco.

  • avatar
    TaurusGT500

    Wow… the irony is so rich here… you just can’t make this stuff up!

  • avatar
    Adub

    Ford’s improvement in quality is not because some UAW guy on the line puts down his cigarette and actually torques bolts to the proper spec. Those guys were already in statistical control (or should have been if Ford manufacturing engineers were any good). The real credit has to go to engineers designing robust parts that long-sighted bean counters approved, knowing that a few pennies in the present were worth more in the future.

    Sadly, GM reliability at 100,000 miles still leaves something to be desired.

  • avatar

    @ Michigan Plus 1

    Just rough math: 35,000 restuarants times ~10 employees per….yields a whole helluva lot more jobs than Ford is supplying these days….or even ten years ago. Granted, these 350k jobs aren’t receiving free health benefits like Ford passes out…but at least their paychecks don’t bounce.

    @ Willman

    Delphi was a spin-off, right? How’s that working out? And Visteon?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Perhaps I have a warped view of economics, but is a “job” actually worth anything at all? Isn’t the value in the products or services produced by the employee and in the wages they are paid? What good is it for the country if someone has a “job” where they produce no value and simply get a paycheck?

    Wouldn’t the best manufacturing company be one where no one works on the line? Isn’t the most efficient factory one that uses the least labor?

    We can wax poetic about the days when this was an agricultural country, but the reality is that we are happy that most of us don’t have to grow food. What is the big problem if manufacturing goes the same way? What is the apocalyptic end game where most of the manufacturing is done overseas and they somehow then destroy our country because of it?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Landcrusher: If I may — because manufacturing jobs (backed by strong unions) actually provided people that didn’t go to college with a great living, giving them the chance to buy a home and put their kids through college and retire on time and with dignity.

    Put another way, a strong manufacturing base allowed the next generation of Americans to be more successful than their parents.

    That’s now dead and buried.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    JL,

    It seems to me those people were not more successful than their parents, just better off materially.

    I suppose one side looks at that and says they were better off because of governments and unions while the other side says they simply borrowed from the future and the bill is now due.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    Ford’s cash position is still substantially better than GM’s (and most certainly Chrysler, too). Ford still has a few valuable assets to sell, if they can find a buyer- Volvo and their share of Mazda.

    Wonder how much GM could get out of SAAB?

    GM is also discussing the sale of the Renaissance Center in Detroit, their headquarters! Then again, who’d buy it? It’s in Detroit, after all!

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Wait – are we saying new Fords have less (or same) defect numbers than Toyota and Honda or are we saying that come 150K miles the Ford will be aging as gracefully as a Toyota or Honda???

    To me how gracefully they age is way more important than how many defects they have under warranty.

    While I’m on the topic – what are the defects we are talking about? Cigarette lighter malfunctions versus automatic transmissions that won’t shift beyond second gear? Rear windows that leak vs a window motor that quits after two weeks? A leaking sunroof vs a defect tailight bulb?

    I’ll be happy to let the dealer fix a couple 10 min problems rather than the tranny explode at 125K miles.


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