Daily Podcast: Spineless Bastards

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

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.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • CSJohnston CSJohnston on Dec 27, 2007

    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.

  • Frank Williams Frank Williams on Dec 27, 2007
    KixStart If you’re (Farago) right about the purpose of Wagoner’s pilgrimage to Japan, well, Ford uses Hybrid Synergy drive, don’t they? So, why wouldn’t Toyota work out a deal with GM? From what I understand, Ford developed their own system using some technology they licensed from Toyota to jump start the process. They do not relabel Hybrid Synergy drivetrains from Toyota like Nissan does. Toyota probably wouldn't let GM have any of their technology, given the smack both have been talking about each others' gas/electric hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
  • Blautens Blautens on Dec 27, 2007

    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.

  • Justin Berkowitz Justin Berkowitz on Dec 27, 2007

    @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.