Daily Podcast: Spineless Bastards
Underneath the latest GM Death Watch, a kvetch of commentators are hashing-out an old argument: why doesn't Ford bring its Euro-Focus to America? As KatiePuckrik points out, the current U.S. – Euro exchange rate makes any such proposition a potential financial catastrophe. A $40k Focus? No way José (i.e. Ford's Mexican workers can relax). On the other hand, why not? Let's say Ford imports their vastly superior European subcompact and sell it for $20k, losing $20k per car. And let's imagine they sell 100k of them. So they'd lose, what, two billion dollars? You could make a case that it would be worth $2b to put Ford back on the map as the American purveyor of quality small cars. The consistency clockers amongst you will note that I'm suggesting a flag-planting strategy that I've condemned in GM's case re: the Saturn Astra. The crucial difference is that the Focus is a quintessential Ford, while the Astra is an Opel modified for a brand whose amorphousness rivals that of Cnidaria Scyphozoa. In any case, someone in Detroit needs to make some Bold Moves. But I guess that'll have to wait 'til bankruptcy brings in some new players. Meanwhile, happy birthday to a man with genuine backbone: Justin Berkowitz.
Ford has no need to import the euro-Focus, they have a certified-for-North America, under $20K C1 platform ready to go. It's called the Mazda 3. No engineering required just some cosmetic surgery. Find a factory (rumour has it Ford has a few under used plants) and build it. Ford and Mazda have been cross platform sharing for years: Escort/323, Probe/MX6, Ranger/B2000, Escape/Tribute, Edge/CX7 and 9.
I think GM should send Bob Lutz over to Japan to speak with Toyota (or Honda, or whoever might grant him an audience). Imagine the fun...oh, to be a fly on the wall.
@KixStart: Yes, that's right. It's Gimme Shelter. I'm a huge Rolling Stones fan. I only recently switched to a cell phone that would play nice ringtones, so this is still a novelty to me.