Daily Podcast: America is Waiting

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast america is waiting

I was delighted when I read CSJohnston's comment under the last Podcast intro. Responding to the question "What is a Ford?" he wrote "One could sum up Ford as 'honest.'" Well, exactly. Although plenty of members of our Best and Brightest have upbraided me for suggesting that car companies should not be devious, misleading or spin-obsessed, I am a firm believer that a business must earn its customers' trust. This they do by treating them with honesty, integrity and respect. When Chrysler installed Bob Nardelli at the head of Chrysler, I figured that was the end of that. Bob's cost-cutting at Home Depot was a cynical betrayal of his customers, who were left pressing buttons for attention, rather than turning to find a helpful staff member. By the same token, the chances of finding GM CEO Rick Wagoner alone and unannounced at a BPG dealer are only slightly higher than getting strike by lightning as you're fending off a shark whilst holding a winning lottery ticket. Ford CEO Alan Mulally strikes me as the most consumer-focused of the 2.8's helmsmen, but he's never said anything directly to Ford customers via the media. The truth will set you free, but first you've got to do the same.

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4 of 11 comments
  • DearS DearS on Jul 25, 2008

    Truth is not synonymous with honesty. Anyhow I want integrity. I wanna see a man/women geez. Be who you say you are.

  • CSJohnston CSJohnston on Jul 25, 2008

    Hmmm, Lincoln is another trim level from a Ford? I would argue that it is a bit more than all that as there are some pretty decent powertrain and content differences between the top model Ford (Limited) and Lincoln models. The MKZ has a V6 you can't get in a Fusion, the forthcoming MKS has a powertrain you can't get in the Taurus (which no one would mistake it for) and the (possibly) forthcoming Lincoln version of the Flex looks radically different from its lower-tier sibling. As for the once-mighty Navigator, the 'gator has enough retina-damaging chrome, suspension tuning and luxury goodies and whatever brand equity the big-ass Lincoln SUV still retains to set it apart from the Expedition As for the MKS... the trim-level shot might apply here as I have a hard time seeing where five or six extra thousand dollars are hiding in it versus an Edge Limited. Aaaand we shall never mention the Mark LT again. Here's an idea: don't kill Mercury just rebadge every Lincoln I just mentioned a Mercury. Then take Lincoln waay upmarket. As in unique, exclusive platforms that ooze luxury and ostentatious, uh, ness. If Caddy is trying to be the Yankee version of BMW, make Lincoln fall somewhere between the Lexus LS, Jag XJ and Mercedes E/S Class. No SUV's (like that'll be a problem) just world-class, no compromise luxury cars Currently, Ford neither has the will or the wallet to do so but I think this is how you could recreate three very powerful, very distinct, very desirable American brands. C'mon guys, its survival time!

  • KeithBates KeithBates on Jul 25, 2008

    Strangely enough, the Euro Fords have pulled Mercury back from the brink on at least two occasions, the Capri from the early to mid '70s, and the late '70s to mid '80s, in name only, as they were actually Fox body clones... SteveL

  • RobertSD RobertSD on Jul 26, 2008

    I think we've missed the point of what Ford is going to do with Mercury. Think of Lincoln-Mercury as an end-to-end line-up of premium cars. Mercury is the small, FWD group. Think C-car, maybe a B-MAV, C-Max variant, maybe a C-sports coupe/cabrio, or maybe a CD coupe. The Milan and Mariner may continue as well - but ultimately, it will probably have not more than four or so vehicles. As for Lincoln, think larger and think RWD. There will be FWD in the line-up for a while, probably forever - even Lexus still has the ES - but the GRWD will underpin several Lincoln products in the future (unless something drastic changes).