Ford's Fields: "We Are Reacting Quickly. We Are Reacting More Quickly Than We Ever Had in the Past"
Back in the 70's former TTAC columnist Brock Yates coined the term Grosse Point Myopia: the tendency of Detroit's execs to use each other for their frame of reference. [Our own Andrew Dederer revisited GPM in October 2006.] And now Ford's Presidente de las Americas, Mark Fields, evokes the concept with his insistence that doing better than before is as good as doing well. Or being prepared. But you'd expect these sort of revisionist weasel words in an article by The Detroit News on the D2.8's troubles the day before the June sales numbers drop (as in off a cliff). Did you know that after last May's numbers, Ford and GM "executives were alarmed?" Yes, "eventually [eventually?] they made almost desperate decisions that will cost thousands of jobs, change the vehicles people drive and determine whether their businesses survive." And check this: Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, told scribe Tom Krishner "oil prices in February began to rise, still not to an alarming level because they were consistent with previous seasonal spikes. Gasoline was still at a nationwide average of $3.03 per gallon. In March, though, pickups' share of the market dove to just 11.6 percent and gas rose to $3.24. 'That's when I said 'Red Alert,' Digiovanni remembered. 'We're worried.'" To which Krishner adds "Even critics say it would have been nearly impossible for the automakers to predict the 74-cent-per-gallon spike in regular gas prices between February and May." This is going to be one Hell of a wake-up call. Or, even more worryingly, not.