NYT: New Ford F-150 Shows Detroit Doesn't "Get It"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The New York Times wants everyone everywhere to drive fuel-efficient automobiles or, preferably, take the subway. The Gray Lady’s Op Ed staff view SUV and pickup drivers as intellectually, politically, environmentally and morally corrupt. At the moment, the Times has won the day; new federal regulations force automakers to sell fuel-sippers or die– at least until they can figure-out a way to queer the system. But don’t expect magnanimity from the Big Apple Boyz. They see Ford’s new F-150, one of America’s most popular vehicles, as recidivism of the worst sort. “We fear that a $1.50 drop in gas prices was all it took to blunt Detroit’s newfound fervor for energy efficiency. Just a few weeks ago, the Big Three American automakers convinced Congress to give them $25 billion in cheap loans to retool their plants to make fuel-efficient cars. Then, with nary a blush, the Ford Motor Company introduced the new star in its line: the 2009, 3-ton, 16-miles-per-gallon, F-150 pickup.” The nerve! The fact that the new F-150 is the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup truck on the market doesn’t seem to matter. Ford– and by extension Detroit– just aren’t trying hard enough…

“As for that commitment to fuel economy? The new trucks should be 8 percent more fuel efficient than the 2008 models, on average — which means that they still use about 50 percent more gas per mile than, say, a Honda Accord.” The NYT ends their tire-rade with the usual condescension. “They evidently haven’t learned enough from their mistakes. Perhaps Congress, from which the automakers are lobbying for more taxpayer money, can help correct their ways — at the very least — by attaching strict fuel-economy requirements to any future aid.” Uh, hello? The $25b Department of Energy no- to low-interest loans mandate that the subsidized vehciles are 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the ones they replace– at least until they can figure-out a way to queer the system.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Nov 13, 2008

    Given that the average "new" (under 2 years old) fullsize truck in North America is carrying truckbed cargo and/or towing something less than 1% of the time (proof: Go out and look in the parking lot.....any parking lot, or watch traffic for a bit), Ford is wasting precious time and energy on a market that really only exists in the mind. Real working men who require a "work truck" (i.e one to haul rusty scrap or cinderblocks or pipe fittings or drywall) don't buy new $40,000 vehicles and then get paint/drywall/pipe dope on the leather seats and mud in the carpet. Not when a 3-5 year old model can be had for 1/2 that. Rather, pickup trucks (as some on here have aptly noted) have become the new Cadillac or Buick from 40 years ago, gone are the days of the hoseout interior and actual sweat and dirt. A bling ride for the macho man. In this respect the NYT may have a point. Note that while Ford worked on the 2nd refresh of the F-150 this decade, a new vehicle that will barely fit into a parking space and with bedsides so high the average 6' man cannot reach over them, the arguably more utilitarian and once more commonly seen Ranger languishes into obsolescence. Where is it's replacement?

  • Nobubbas Nobubbas on Nov 17, 2008

    Those who think its their "god given right" to drive an truck have no sense of social responsibility and in the end not only screw others but screw themselves. I am sure many of them are those same, keeping-up-with-the-Jones, irresponsible fools who bought homes in the last few years that they couldn't afford with option arm loans with teaser rates. Or who took out huge home equity loans so they could finance their Escalade or put that 2 foot lift and monster truck tires on their F-250 4x4. And now that the teaser rate is gone or they just can't pay because they spent the money on flat screens and tail gate parties they are simply walking away from the house with little repercussions. Just because its legal does not make it the right thing to do. Let the auto-makers fail. Bailouts whether homeowners or auto-maker are just rewarding bad behavoir.

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.