By on September 20, 2018

jim_hackett

You might as well call this post “QOTD: Devil’s Advocate Edition.” I was prepared to feel furious by the time Ford CEO Jim Hackett’s Thursday appearance at the Midwestern Governors Conference wrapped up, and there was good reason why. The subject of the conference involved that dreaded word: mobility.

How will automated technologies change the way we live? That’s what participants wanted to talk about, and you can bet that Hackett was front and center, gabbing about his favorite topic. How will technology alter the way we travel, the way we drive? The hashtag #MGASmartland filtered through my Twitter feed. Certainly, the talk had all the makings of something I’d find depressing. Time to find that red Barchetta and a barn to hide it in.

It didn’t help that the first Hackett quote I saw emerge from the conference was a tired trope urbanists (read: car haters) trot out on a regular basis.

 

I hear this kind of sentiment from people who believe that as soon as cars switch from human operators to autonomous brains, they’ll disappear from streets. Sure, they’ll still exist, and they’ll still take us everywhere, but because we aren’t actively driving them anymore, the roads will become deserted playgrounds for downtown-dwelling hipsters. There’ll be grass and flowers and bikes. Cars will become ghosts.

That self-driving Uber or Lyft or whatever doesn’t up and go away after you emerge from its soothing confines at your destination. It goes off in search of the next passenger. And hundreds and thousands and millions of other four-wheeled, real, physical cars will do the same. Yes, we’ll still need roads. And those roads will carry self-driving cars and transit buses (electric or ICE) and the delivery trucks that form the backbone of local commerce. Drones are fun, but Amazon won’t delivery your refrigerator or dinette set by drone or bike. The cities of yesteryear were not grassy fields, and the roads of the future won’t become popular hangouts for picnickers.

Yes, Hackett’s quote angered me. It was catnip to the historical revisionist wing of the urbanist set, the type of people who want to believe the roads and streets of 1900 weren’t dangerous, fetid quagmires of mud and horse shit, plied by wagons and trolleys, omnibuses and carts, with the main form of propulsion being a large, heavy animal that defecates everywhere, spooks easily, and wouldn’t hesitate to trample you to death.

Malls came, true. And with it, parking lots and streets crowded with a single type of vehicle, and interstates grew increasingly choked in and around urban centers. All true. But visit the downtown of any city and you’ll still see sidewalks and stores with doors that open onto said sidewalk, plus parks and squares that date to Civil War times.

Here’s the thing, though. Hackett’s vision of a future city (Ford employs a VP of City Solutions and a team to back him up) is compelling from a technological standpoint. The CEO’s plan for a cloud-based “transportation operating system” (officially, Transportation Mobility Cloud), working along the same lines as a computer, is designed to ease congestion and improve travel times in major cities. Hackett truly believes Ford can bring about this second revolution in how we travel, and it’s turning plenty of gearheads off. It seems he doesn’t want to talk about the thing most people want to hear: how will you improve the F-150? It’s also possible that this futuristic vision, and Hackett’s intense focus on it, is the reason Ford’s stubbornly declining stock price won’t reverse course. To his credit, Hackett (briefly) acknowledged all of this in his talk.

Autonomous vehicles, like those envisioned by urbanists and tech writers, are further away than we realize, he said. No one solution will solve our inner-city travel woes, Hackett admits. We’re not China. Okay, that’s encouraging to hear.

It’s possible this writer wrongly conflated Ford’s City of Tomorrow with a dull future where human-powered cars are banned or so restricted in travel that they’re not worth owning. Maybe. But Hackett doesn’t exactly go out of his way to reassure car (and personal freedom) lovers, and that’s a problem.

If you’ve got time, watch the video I’ve linked to at the top of this piece. Decide for yourself. What I’m asking today is, are we wrong to distrust Hackett and his vision? Is it a unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction based on a fear that going Hackett’s route ends in a dead end for personal vehicle ownership? Should we cut the guy some slack?

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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79 Comments on “QOTD: Are We Being Too Hard on Jim Hackett?...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Okay, this is an easy one. Hell no. As a former fan of all things Ford they have not offered me anything desirable and quite some time. I fell in love with the shape and Driving Experience of the fusion but was let down by the compromised interior and overall quality. The Taurus being the same way. I was let down but a compromised interior and overall Driving Experience. The flex is the only vehicle that have sold in the last 10 years that I actually still want to buy. At the price of the Lincoln Continental is it leaves me wanting more. I love the overall shape I love the interior but the overall miles per gallon are horrible

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      It there is no stick in the Bronco, Ford is dead to me.
      :-/

    • 0 avatar

      @Chocolatedeath You are kidding! There is nothing wrong with Fusion interior and everything right from perspective of driving experience. Or you are a Camcord driver?

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        The Fusion’s interior fit and finish is absolutely wretched, easily the worst of any midsize sedan currently on-sale in the U.S.

        Ford doesn’t even bother to make sure the doors and dash line up in publicity photos: https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/ford/fusion/2018/photos-interior

        • 0 avatar

          I own Fusion so do not tell me stories you just made up. Absolutely wretched is you vision may be.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

            I made up nothing (furthermore, I presented photographic evidence to support my point, published by Ford itself.) There are some good reasons to buy a Fusion, but the interior is most certainly not one of them.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I don’t get it, what exactly is wretched about that interior shot you posted? Looks pretty well laid out, and in the press photos we’re not going to see any close up trim alignment or other quality issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

            gtem, look at the trim misalignment and WIDE gaps where the doors meet the dashboard.

            There are other fitment issues too (most notably around the console) and all the hard plastics are obviously thin and cheap, but that’s the most egregious example… and it’s like that on literally every 2013-2019 Fusion out there.

            Nitpicking? Perhaps, but even GM and Kia somehow manage to get stuff like that right…

          • 0 avatar

            I am not blaming you Ex-Miata. You are not a culprit, you are rather victim of circumstances. I just suggested you to do an eye exam so you do not ridicule yourself next time in a public forum by making outrageous comments based on a figment of your imagination.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

            I guess it’s just the burden I must bear for having significantly higher standards that most. Enjoy your Fusion.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, the burden of the white man.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I do think some on here (*cough* DEADWEIGHT *cough*) turn the outrage up to 11 for attention, but this focus on autonomy is a bit premature. We’re going to be driving for a couple more decades.

    That said, pandering to “gearheads” is exactly what got GM in trouble (see: Alpha Fail Chronicles). Catering to C&D and the internet commentariat is a fast track to bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Alpha was supposed to be a swoopy four pot Pontiac midsize prior to bankruptcy, in no way were gearheads being pandered by the original plan. Chevrolet SS? Perhaps.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Ultimately what we got definitely pandered to gear heads. Recall the cringey ATS launch ads calling out its “Brembo Brakes” and Ring tuning. If that wasn’t for gearheads who was it for?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I see your point. Personally I saw it as “look at this cool stuff we put in it” but yeah the ring time stuff I guess was supposed to appeal to gearheads or perhaps the immature part of Gen X/Y males. Most of the gear heads I know are into trucks these days.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        @ 28-Cars

        See the alpha Camaro. GM decided to pander to the Camaro fanatics when it came to the 6th gen car and made a car where the only people oblivious to its faults were the nutswingers.

        They got the arse-kicking Camaro of their dreams but that’s about the only people buying them.

        It’s as if GM never learned the lessons from the 4th gen Camaro which asked the average person give up a fair degree of day to day usability and comfort for aggressive styling in performance (Some Camaro guys dubbed it an “engine in a box” since the driver had to make so many concessions to the 4th gen).

        Had GM not fixated on crafting a car that was there to solely please its ardent fan base they might not have to publically admit thier less than stellar crosstown rivals are blowing the Camaro away with the Mustang which Ford thankfully has been able to mostly get right over the car’s nearly 60 year life span.

        Defintely a case study for the so called “intelligent loss of sales” in this case GM should have pissed off a few Camaro fans for a more livable car even if it meant it was no better than the Mustang in terms of overall perfromance.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Alphas aren’t really “gearhead” cars. Maybe hotshoe Mr.Euro “handling head” cars, but they still came with engines out of Malibus and minivans unless you spent the big bucks.

      If FCA fails then you can blame the gearheads.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        There are different kinds of gearheads. The Miata appeals to a different brand of gearheads. Same with Porsche. Same with Hellcats etc. Alpha Caddy marketing played up their driving chops to the max. That was not a signal to the fresh marketing graduate looking for a $299 big badge lease.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, the goal was to go after 3-series buyers, so barking about the ATS’ performance cred made sense. Problem is, 3-series buyers went to CUVs, and sales of that model have tanked as well.

          The ATS isn’t a bad car at all. In fact, I love the way it drives. But GM did itself no favors with the subpar execution (unrefined engine, cheap interior bits, CUE, tiny back seat, etc.).

  • avatar
    NoID

    Who’s “We?” The only one I see reliably rubbing Hackett in their scat is you.

    I think he’s doing a fine job, as did his predecessor. The issue is the shareholders and Wall Street in general, which for some reason I cannot comprehend is fine dumping their money and good tidings into Tesla’s vaporware but won’t buy in to a financially solvent car company that actually sells cars at a profit.

    It’s the same with FCA, they’re constantly dragged through the mud because hurr hurr old platforms and MOAR POWAR and (until recently) sweaterman quotes lolz. But they’re actually doing very well financially, and even the perceived $hitboxes the autojournos lament are (Journey) or were (ComPatriot) selling and printing money for them, to the point that in the last quarter they payed off the last of their debt and had positive cash flow. So who’s laughing now?

    Wall Street is a fickle mistress. In the end, if the cars are selling and the company is keeping the lights on in their plants and their employees’ houses, good on them and their management. And if they want to take some of their earnings / profit and reinvest in what is clearly a major portion of the future automotive landscape (whether the Don Quixote’s among us like it or not…and make no mistake, I’m with Don on this one) then that’s their prerogative.

    • 0 avatar
      Menar Fromarz

      This.
      Maybe if some of those “investors” bought a Ford vehicle instead of the stock, they would have more skin in the game, get some positive (or negative) seat time and develop a better appreciation for a firm that has been around the block, so to speak, for a long time.
      Even better would be to by one of their products, AND the stock or other financial instrument related to Ford. You never know, you could do well, especially if more minds turn towards profitable firms, and not the latest version of dot com vapour.
      Do I think they have the absolute best product? No, not always and in every segment, but I can appreciate their thoughts on the future near and long term.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        hey now, everyone who is a sharp witted auto industry observer knows you are a fool if you buy a new car because everyone buys at MSRP like Toyota buyers do so depreciation an such, and you are especially a fool if you buy a new domestic brand car. The MENSA members are all buying 2 year old ex-rental, I mean, CPO Camrys.

    • 0 avatar
      northshoreman1

      I believe NoId is on to something here–Hackett isn’t selling cars, he’s selling the company–to Wall Street. Right now, “mobility” is the futuristic buzzword for many investors, so his play to this group is understandable.

      If I recall correctly, one of the GM chairmen in the 1950’s was quoted as saying, “Car buyers aren’t our customers; shareholders are.” (Paraphrased)

      He’s just doing his job to increase shareholder value with some of the vehicles we appreciate/like occasionally getting in the way of their maximum profits.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        If he’s selling to Wall Street, they aren’t buying.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Wall Street still schilling to suckers the dead but doesn’t know it yet Tesla stock.

          Tesla hasn’t made much in the way of profit if any and they have some serious bills due in 2025 in the form of bonds issued yet all the Wall Street hucksters can talk about is Tesla’s valuation and ignore all the business short comings along with mostly mediocre cars that highlight a few novel features.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    we’ll find out soon whether he can Hackett or not.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, the product isn’t great and the stock price is a joke.

    I know how I vote here.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    One wonders how rural buyers of F series trucks fit into his vision of an autonomous, urban future.

    One also wonders what the stock price would be if F-series was spun off, leaving Ford to be the urban “mobility” company they so desperately wish to be. (Hint: it’s much lower than $9.75 or whatever it is now)

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @One wonders how rural buyers of F series trucks fit into his vision of an autonomous, urban future.

      I’ve had relatives with farms. An autonomous F150 would be a huge hit. Like gaining an extra worker. Sending the truck by itself to pick up supplies at the coop – a huge win. Probably dozens of other jobs it could do.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    We’ve a local car show originally based on muscle cars pre-71. Then rat-rods, then specialty cars and today it includes all the former plus the casual lifted brodozers. And a few Harley’s.

    We can all see where this is going…nowhere. Once the 50’s-70’s gang dies off in a few short years, we’ll there goes the vast majority of your gearheads.

    I realized the big tall trucks that are hard to park aren’t much different than big tall hard to park horse drawn wagons…they just have more range. My colleagues curse at the $50K+ truck prices and the future of mobility will be driven by less costly alternatives than having $100K+ of pretty rolling stock in your garage. And with millions of boomers retiring, they’re downsize to one vehicle. Something usefull, smaller, smartly priced.

    Gearheads..there’s an overused term. A rare breed these days.

  • avatar

    The Autonomous vehicle is just the latest fad and something designed to get investors excited. Once reality sets in it will fade into obscurity like the flying car. As for the mobility hype silicon valley companies do that thing much better.

    Trust me a quarter century from now car and airline travel won’t be a whole lot different than today.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I think we were too hard on Buddy Hackett. It’s sad that his work on “The Love Bug” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” was overlooked by the academy. Those were two of the great car films of the ‘60s.

  • avatar
    vehic1

    Why do some assume that autonomous vehicles = the forced end of all human driving? Has snail mail been banned, landlines, road maps, horses-and-buggies?
    Do we know that autonomous vehicles are/will be any less safe than human drivers? What about the elderly, vision-impaired, otherwise handi-capable, and those who simply aren’t ‘joy of driving’ fanatics?

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      I used to really enjoy lawn darts, then they were banned. I don’t trust anyone now.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve droned on about it before, but once the vehicle is fully autonomous, insurance will see that you’re priced out of your manually driven vehicle.

      It’ll be what happens as you present a big crash probability in driving manually, and the autonomous driver is basically just freak accident coverage with little risk.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “I’ve droned on about it before, but once the vehicle is fully autonomous, insurance will see that you’re priced out of your manually driven vehicle.”

        People keep saying this, and it keeps making no sense. The risk of driving a normal vehicle is, quite obviously, already priced into your current insurance cost. Unless driving a normal vehicle will become MORE dangerous after the introduction of FA vehicles, or the risk pool becomes so tiny that the risk can’t be shared (which is highly unlikely; you can already get insurance for very specific types of risks) there’s zero reason for premiums to change. And if 80% of vehicles are autonomous, they’re less likely to t-bone your self-driven vehicle in an intersection, which means that insurance rates for self-driven vehicles, while they won’t be as low as for fully-autonomous vehicles, will actually be LOWER.

        Everybody repeats this argument like it’s a given, and nobody actually justifies it. I don’t get it.

        • 0 avatar

          Often times I think the argument becomes wrapped up in “I don’t agree with you,” with people who don’t understand insurance.

          “People keep saying this, and it keeps making no sense. The risk of driving a normal vehicle is, quite obviously, already priced into your current insurance cost.”

          Correct.

          “Unless driving a normal vehicle will become MORE dangerous after the introduction of FA vehicles”

          Sort of.

          Let’s say it’s an 80/20 mix of autonomous/manual cars. Now the autonomous cars and their programming have been sorted out.

          [Using made up simple numbers here, obviously.]

          80% of the cars on the road are likely to crash 1 time every 100,000 miles, because the driver is the computer in the car.

          20% of the cars on the road are likely to crash 8 times every 100,000 miles, because the driver is a quite fallible human.

          The risk for the autonomous car is low.
          The risk for the manual car in comparison, is quite high.

          There are two separate risk pools now, it’s no longer “all drivers,” it’s autonomous drivers in pool A and manual drivers in pool B. It’s a brand new ballgame, where the risk is very definitely separate between the two pools.

          Just like smoker / nonsmoker rates for life insurance.

          The insurance company will develop rates accordingly for these two pools. Because you can crash your manual car, and because you’re a risk to others when you drive manually, and because you’re a minority “against the grain” on the roads, you will pay more.

          “which means that insurance rates for self-driven vehicles, while they won’t be as low as for fully-autonomous vehicles, will actually be LOWER.”

          That’s false. The insurance company does not *want* to pay any claims. And who has no claims? Autonomous drivers. Who has claims sometimes costing loss of property and human damage? Manual drivers. You are a minority manual driver, and an outlier amongst the population, and you will be priced accordingly.

          “Everyone else has chosen to be safe, why haven’t you?”

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            You’re using the term “driver” while referring to the person in the autonomous vehicle. That person is not driving, their car is. Why should they carry insurance? Anything that happens is beyond their control. If autonomous manufacturers expect owners of their vehicles to shoulder the burden of responsibility then they won’t sell many cars.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            How about I file a flight plan with the great autonomous gods?

            “I leave at 7 am, arrive at my destination at 7:35 am – tell the AI to stay the f*&$ out of my way.”

          • 0 avatar

            Sub-600

            You still need insurance as the driver of the autonomous car for freak accidents when a tree or bear attacks your car.

            And to cover the fool in the TR7 who just t-boned you and was driving his manual car without insurance.

            “If autonomous manufacturers expect owners of their vehicles to shoulder the burden of responsibility then they won’t sell many cars.”

            If you think Tesla’s going to pay to fix your car after a deer rips the bumper off, you’ve not thought this through.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Just like smoker / nonsmoker rates for life insurance.”

            That makes sense. It’s the “priced out of driving” that I question. If that was possible then why hasn’t the insurance industry accomplished it with motorcycles or smoking? I can see higher (maybe even much higher) premiums but is there any case in the past where insurance pricing acted as a complete de facto ban on something?

            I also don’t expect insurance companies are going to be able to drop policies or skyrocket rates on 20% (just to use your example) of the driving population without risking a regulatory crackdown.

            But I think we are still some years away from widely available, fully sorted out “level 5” AVs anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            I’ve never heard of a deer gnawing the bumper off a parked car and an autonomous Tesla will *never* run into one. Uninsured/underinsured coverage is minimal. You’ll need comprehensive/glass for that errant tree if you hold a note on the car. But the biggest cost, liability for property damage and personal injury, isn’t something you’ll need to worry about, that should be on the manufacturer. Of course you may be gouged if you have poor credit or live in an at risk zip code.

          • 0 avatar

            “is there any case in the past where insurance pricing acted as a complete de facto ban on something?”

            I think in this instance it would be more of an exclusion, or group of exclusions on the policy. Alternatively, having to add a “manual driving” rider for a lot of money.

            There are risks insurance companies won’t insure, like people who are professional divers, or fighter pilots, things like that. I think it would become less and less affordable to insure your manual car as time went on and the population was smaller.

            The other thing I considered after my initial post is the power of information. The autonomous crash will have full information, provided by the car(s) in the crash. It’s easy to diagnose, fix, and price for accordingly.

            Joe in the Triumph, yeah they don’t have any information on him.

            That’s another part of the standard moving higher, and costing the outlier more money.

            Regulators would get involved if there was too much price gouging, but I can see some companies dropping out of the manual car insurance market, leaving less competition. Why fight over a dangerous, ever-shrinking piece of the pie?

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    The left’s war on cars is happening simultaneously with the war on single family homes. It’s the same flowery approach. Oh hey man, if we just got everyone to live in a a 600 sq ft apartment, in a 10 story building instead of 2000 sq ft single family homes, we could have parks and walking trails and no more pollution!!!

    Thanks but no thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      The war on single family homes? Alex Jones has been gone two weeks and already I’m falling behind.

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-California-s-housing-wars-just-12511603.php

        “The legislation, by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would overrule local zoning in favor of high-density residential development near mass transit. Sounds wonky enough, but fans of the idea have already declared that it would “change the shape of California housing” and, indeed, solve the housing crisis. Detractors, meanwhile, called it a “declaration of war on every urban community in California,” comparing it to the law that enabled Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears; and even posited that transit officials have been running empty buses up and down Berkeley’s Ashby Avenue just so developers can have their way with the surrounding neighborhoods once the bill becomes law.”

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2011/07/26/california-wages-war-on-single-family-homes/

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/04/25/single-family-house-american-symbol-facing-uncertain-future/514655002/

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          Here in Syracuse, NY a lot of neighborhoods have been destroyed by people turning single family homes into 2, 3, or 4 unit dwellings, depending on the square footage. Apartment buildings have been a good thing though, at least a dozen old factories and warehouses have been turned into high end apartment buildings. Abandoned department stores and offices have been repurposed as well. The long dead downtown area is coming back to life.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          San Francisco has a housing problem that multi-family apartment buildings would solve. That’s not a left or right thing, it’s a common sense supply and demand thing. There are leftists on both sides of that issue.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            SF Bay Area overall has a chronic water shortage that has the local governments going further and further out in search of water rights to grab. Meanwhile the do-gooders want to build a large number of subsidized units.

            Turns out, you are not gonna believe this, providing subsidies invites more people to want to move there. I imagine that has an impact on this “Housing Problem”.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Don’t even bother, sporty…you’re making too much sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            SF is it’s own worst enemy. They subsidized homelessness then hired six people for $70K ($180K with mandated benefits) to clean feces off the sidewalks. They also have a ten person unit to pick up hypodermic needles.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, yeah, SF has no winters to speak of, so you’re going to get a lot of homeless folks. Plus, the city tries to be humane to them. Makes sense why homeless folks would want to be there.

            In many ways, SF and places like it are victims of their own livability and wealth.

          • 0 avatar

            BTW Savage is from Russia and former liberal and “he befriended and traveled with Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.” He turned later against liberal for obvious reasons knowing Russian history all too well. Russians learned their lessons the hard way and Americans will do the same sooner or later.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, yeah, San Francisco ain’t Dallas. People want to live there, and there’s nowhere to build but up there. And there’s no place to build more roads. So, build higher density housing near transit. Makes sense to me.

          But I’m sure it’s easier to just “blame” this on “the left,” say we hate cars, and so on. Blah blah blah blah blah.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            Is water availability still a factor in urban planning in the operational manuals of the “Common Sense” brigade? Desalination has been proposed many times and shot down as soon as they were mentioned.

            The geography of San Francisco proper and a huge portion of the bay area is also a problem, google “Millenium Tower sinking” for how it went when an expensive highrise was supposedly built with the utmost oversight and diligence.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Desalination has been proposed many times and shot down”

            Why?

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            “environmental impact studies”, the resultant air pollution plus brine, and the fear of loss of property value for nearby neighborhoods. Plus, desal runs on fossil fuels or nuclear power.

            You know, the kind of stuff that “Common Sense” folks really care about. Then again, is it “Common Sense” to inject subsidized supply into an area that is a seller’s market, I don’t know, I didn’t stay in holiday inn last night.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The problem with that building was that they didn’t anchor it in bedrock. The building next to it – which is the tallest in town – is anchored in bedrock.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            SF has more than just a homeless problem, low income service workers can’t afford to live anywhere near the city center. The well heeled citizenry want baristas and waitresses but they won’t let go of their precious gentrified neighborhoods. Raising the minimum wage isn’t the answer, affordable housing is. I’ll deal with ten feet of snow every winter, at least there’s no fecal matter or needles on my sidewalks.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            ” The problem with that building was that they didn’t anchor it in bedrock. The building next to it – which is the tallest in town – is anchored in bedrock.

            Yes, I’m sure all those proposed (and legally required to x% low income units) high density high-rises will all be done right, unlike the luxury residential tower that had limited funds for subpar contractors and engineers.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Bedrock comes in handy, that’s why Manhattan doesn’t sink like Houston does. I don’t care what SF builds on, they’ll have to deal with liquefaction eventually. The New Madrid fault will be the real killer, cities like Memphis and Nashville are all unreinforced masonry, those buildings are gonna topple like crazy when the big one hits.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            Sub-600

            It’s unlikely the “Common Sense” people live in neighborhoods with fecal matter and heroin needles, they live in places like Marin county, Palo Alto, or Orinda where they will call the police for any overly-tanned guy going door to door selling whatever.

            I live in an outskirt suburb of SF and we have those “Common Sense” types here too, they will preach “tolerance” and “live and let live”, but they are the first one to start posting photos and asking “who dis?” and “this has been reported to the police” on Nextdoor anytime a “suspicious” tanned guy walks around the neighborhood.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            I used to love listening to Michael Weiner (Savage) go on about liberals in San Francisco, it was eye opening. He would have made a good Mayor, he loved that city and he was pretty sharp. He was devoid of the requisite tact required to deal with snowflakes though. He loved classic cars and boats too. I wonder if he’s still on the air, I’ll have to check that out.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Sub I was listening to Savage on an FM station when I was out in the Central Valley for work a few months ago. Love the guy.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Not to sound too Trumpy, but it’s really a war on the American Ideal.

      1. Get out of cars and into government controlled busses, or autonomous cars that the government could control.
      2. Give up your guns and depend on the government to protect you
      3. Your grass is bad, plant rocks
      4. Your house is too big, we need to force multi-unit housing into areas zoned for single family.
      5. Let the government provide your healthcare
      6. Be satisfied with your menial job, we will make your employer pay you more so you don’t have to improve yourself
      7. We will have mega-corporations sympathetic to our views restrict your access to information, so you come to think like us
      8. We will tell you to hate the government oppressors while simultaneously advocating for more government control of your lives.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    At the end of the day Job One of corporations is to keep shareholders happy. The problem is the huge amount of wasted earnings opportunity that a lot of them leave on the production floor by neglecting quality because they either don’t care or aren’t talented enough to control the problems. It’s been this way forever in lots of industries.

    If Mr. Hackett can turn out the next Model T that sells like hotcakes because 1) it’s luxurious, 2) it’s right at the curb whenever I want it 3) I never have to share a ride with a stranger, 4) keeps me safe from accidents and roving swarms of urban zombies, and 5) is cheaper to own & operate than what I drive now, he’s on to something.

    The problem is, they won’t hit all 5 points because someone will fail to lead on making one or more features work like they should. However, if Ford can pull off 3 out of 5, they’ll at least be able to pay a few dividends and limp along.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    In a word, no. The worst hire since Ron Zarrella at GM (he later admitted falsifying information about his education on his résumé, after leaving GM to become CEO and chairman at Bausch & Lomb), or Roger Enrico at Apple.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Hackett revealed himself to be incompetent by his plan to import a vehicle made in China – China!!! – and sell it in the US. Associating Ford with cheap Chinese crap is a surefire way to kill the Ford brand, and Hackett should have been fired on the spot even for proposing the idea. (Thankfully for Hackett, Trump saved him from going ahead with it at the last minute.)

  • avatar
    Johnster

    No, we’re not being to hard on Hackett. (We’re too soft on too many other people in the auto biz.)

  • avatar
    dwford

    Ok, we are NOT being too hard on poor Jim Hackett. From day one it was questionable to put a desk salesman in charge of an automaker. Ford has been very profitable for the last 10 years, yet somehow the money is all gone, and we need Jim to come along and shred the existing product plan, while having nothing in the works to replace everything. If he had done NOTHING, we would have the new Fiesta and Focus, with the next Fusion around the corner. Yeah, the Taurus was going to die either way. Ok. But now, we have nothing except vague ideas of future products, and a whole lot of pissed off Ford fanboys that have lost their toys.How hard would it have been to say nothing about the fate of the cars until the replacement vehicles had been settled on? A simple “we have great plans for the next Fiesta, Focus and Fusion!” would have worked great, leaving everyone positive about Ford’s plans without really saying anything.

    I fail to understand how much money is being saved in development costs when the Fiesta and Focus were already 100% developed and ready to go. Surely the next Fusion would’ve ridden on the existing platform for one more generation, so a full rebody wouldn’t have cost that much.

    Jim Hackett and Bill Ford have no public relations skills at all. They are chasing autonomy buzzwords in a desperate attempt to juice the stock price, when they really just needed to buckle down and build great cars.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    61 comments and counting and no mention of Mark Fields? People were too hard on him. New guy? Not so much.

    Mark Fields was ousted because the stock price was stuck in neutral. Here we were today and the stock is still stuck in neutral.

    I sold my shares at $16 a few years ago. I bought at $1.80. I wish I’d bought more, but I made a lot of $ so I won’t complain.

  • avatar
    James2

    Ford should go private –no, I’m not channeling Elon– then they can tell Wall Street to go pound sand.

    As for Hackett, I think as long as Ford sells ~900,000 F-Series he can’t do *that* much to ruin the company, no matter how much $$ he dumps into mobility solutions (yuck!). Bill Ford can always find someone else.

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