Ford's Fields: "We Are Reacting Quickly. We Are Reacting More Quickly Than We Ever Had in the Past"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ford s fields we are reacting quickly we are reacting more quickly than we ever

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.

Join the conversation
4 of 18 comments
  • John Horner John Horner on Jun 30, 2008

    This is the guy Ford pays a premium for and flys back and forth from his Florida retreat? OMG.

  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Jun 30, 2008

    I have watched all kinds of auto fads come and go: big wheels, small wheels, rounded bodies, wedge bodies, square bodies, hatch backs, two tone paint jobs, chrome everywhere, wrap around windshields, etc. Even before the run up from $2 to $4 a gallon the SUV and PU fads were quieting down. After backing over a few of their kids and getting tired trying to park these things people were moving away from these fads. Any exec not prepared for these fads running their course shouldn't be in the auto business.

  • Rtz Rtz on Jun 30, 2008

    And to think it's only been ten years. Take a look at the top vehicle on this page:

  • Andy D Andy D on Jun 30, 2008

    psarhjinian : June 30th, 2008 at 12:17 pm You really have to wonder about Mark Fields. I’m sure he’s reasonably quick, but he’s also disturbingly old-school Detroit in much of what he says. A little too much bluster and gong-banging, not nearly enough “Yeah, we f_cked up, here’s what we’re doing to fix it.” Channeling Curley Howard " I'mmm a victim of soy-cum-stance"