Ford Can't Reinvent the Model T; GM Moving Fordward

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ford cant reinvent the model t gm moving fordward

How else are we supposed to spin this? The Detroit News reports that Ford engineering veep Paul Mascarenas has announced an "international campaign (?) with five universities to develop a car that is simple, lightweight, practical and priced below $7,000." Something like, I dunno, the Tata Nano? Of for God's sake, you say, stop picking on these guys. The Model T redux is part of that national transportation [s]week[/s] weak deal, and a laudable effort to encourage and reward young engineering talent. What's this then? Mascarenas says the program, which will award an $25k to the winning university, is more than an academic exercise. "The Model T has assured its place in history; perhaps 100 years from now, someone will be standing here honoring one of these cars." Which cars? The cars they haven't built? Or the cars that Ford won't be building? Or the ones Ford will be building, after all the paperwork's been signed. Meanwhile, GM's global sales veep has a thing or two to say about the whole past – future thing. "GM is venturing into the future with some ambitious plans, a solid determination, as we launch into our second century," John Middlebrook intoned. "We believe strongly about what we will deliver." For what they are to deliver, may the federal bankruptcy court make us truly thankful. Amen. [thanks to MgoBLUE for the link]

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4 of 11 comments
  • 50merc 50merc on May 13, 2008

    Kevin asked, "Seven-year-old cars are always cheaper; why don’t they just build a cheap car with 7-year-old parts and materials?" Darned if I know why Detroit doesn't do this. After all, they've already demonstrated that building cars with 20-year-old platforms or 30-year-old engines is a winning strategy.

  • Raskolnikov Raskolnikov on May 13, 2008

    Kevin the point was apparently lost on you. The financially savvy among us should not be interested in purchasing new cars when perfectly good pre-loved (and depreciated) cars are out there. Would you seriously consider buying and putting your kids in a car that cost $7K? Not me.

  • Dangerous Dave Dangerous Dave on May 13, 2008

    A $7k car would need a $6k option package to supply all the creature comforts people demand today. Remember the model T was a plain jane car with one objective - point "a to point b" and built in a day when just owning a car was a big step up from a horse and carriage. People have become used to things like a/c, automatic transmissions, power windows and seats, items once reserved for luxury cars. Today they are standard equipment on many econoboxes. I don't see a market for a "stripper"

  • George Labrador George Labrador on May 14, 2008

    Talked to a Ford Salesman at local Trade show, he told me that Ford of Canada will import the European Focus for sale in Canada within two years, he agrees that its better than the one here now?