Detroit Wakes Up To Reality. Ish.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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detroit wakes up to reality ish

Motown's been mauled. Despite it's 72-hour sale, GM's June sales dropped 18.5 percent. Despite its reasonably competitive small cars, Ford sales sank 28 percent. Despite uh, not being bankrupt, Chrysler sales tumbled 36 percent. The morning after Black Hole Tuesday, The Detroit News has dropped columnist Daniel Howes' party line– " Big Three in better shape to survive"– in favor of something more closely resembling reality. Former cheerleaders Christine Tierney, Bryce G. Hoffman, Brian J. O'Connor and Eric Morath have put their collective heads together to pen a partial paean to pessimism: " Slumping sales cloud Big 3's prospects." Yes, "This was supposed to be the year Detroit's automakers started to turn things around… But the industry's 18.3 percent sales decline in June, with steep drops for the Big Three, capped six months of bad news. With little prospect for relief in sight, the future of Detroit's automakers has never been murkier." Murky? C'mon, you can do better (worse?) that that! "Bankruptcy rumors are swirling around Chrysler and GM, while billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian continues to amass shares of Ford stock. There is talk of reopening the UAW contract, of using profitable overseas operations as collateral for further loans, and of looking to foreign sovereign wealth funds for cash." Strangely, the article makes only a passing mention of new products (and nothing of the Volt, for once); the D2.8 are "rushing the introduction of new, more fuel-efficient models." Well, they did use the "b" word.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 02, 2008

    You mentioned Ford's cars - plural. Beside the Focus, what other small cars does Ford North America sell? You consider the Fusion and cousins to be small cars? For me they have always been mid-sized cars. Like an Accord. Me thinks it is time to start classing cars based on weight, horsepower or interior volume or something... I guess I would say a Fusion is small parked next to an Excursion. My cars look like toys parked next to one of those.

  • Mikey Mikey on Jul 02, 2008

    Rday:Workers recieving 95% of base pay untill the next contract?In real money its more like 65%. a huge chunk of which come from government run unemployment funds. Lets not forget people that the while blue collars at GM have seen thier numbers slashed.GM still carries its bloated management workforce.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Jul 02, 2008

    The distinctive portrait art in the WSJ is called Hedcut and was invented in 1979 by Kevin Sprouls. Noli Novack is one of WSJ's current top artists who continues Sproul's work. To date, no computer or Photoshop filter has come close to being able to produce a Hedcut. They are hand drawn.

  • Ajla Ajla on Jul 02, 2008
    Busbodger: Yea the "Despite its reasonably competitive small cars" line about Ford threw me off too. Mazda isn't included in Ford's sales numbers, and RF was not a fan of the Focus as he personally reviewed it and gave it 1-star. The I-4 Fusion is pretty good, but is that really "small"? There is the decent Volvo C30, and Ford has some good small stuff in the pipeline, but right now their product portfolio doesn't seem much better for this market than GM's.