Posts Tagged ‘Autonews’

ford_logoFord Motor reported last week a $3 billion quarterly loss while burning through $6.3 billion in cash and cutting another 2,600 hourly workers.

Ford’s press release said something about…blah, blah, blah…cut salaries…blah, blah, blah…reducing bonuses…who believes any of this now days?  At the same time executive management was meeting with Congress to push their double-down request on the $25B (yes that’s BILLION) low-interest loan program approved previously – BEFORE – they got any money from the first loan!  Automakers must think the car buying public is stupid?  They want us to believe it’s all about energy legislation and the help they need to convert over to more fuel-efficient vehicles while meeting the demands of buyers and new federal mileage rules.   So, that would explain Ford’s new 2009 Harley-Davidson F-450 Truck called “Big Hog DaddyHERE, right?! So, I wrote Ford a letter… 

Dear Mr. Alan Mulally (Ford CEO),

The taxpayers don’t want to reward Auto companies or their management for lack of vision and insight.  We don’t want to carry your cash hemorrhaging burden.  This is not a one off event that will be contained by a blank check from the tax payer.  This downward spiral has been brewing for decades while you profited from high margin SUVs. And now that the public no longer wants or values bigger SUV’s you want the tax payer to come up with the “mother of all bailouts!”  You’ve got nerve Alan.  After all, your organization doesn’t stand out as an ethical oasis in today’s corporate desert!  Isn’t this just another example of big corporations exploiting the little guy, and keeping all the money for themselves?

Signed – The Little Guy

Intermittent Windshield Wiper

Intermittent Windshield Wiper

But, let’s go back to the future…it was 1962 and Bob Kearns was driving his Ford Galaxie through a Detroit rain storm.  He had the inspiration to ask “Why can’t a wiper work more like an eyelid?”  He knew the human eye blinks at different speeds when needed – so why can’t a windshield wiper do the same thing – move quickly in heavy rain and slowly in light mist. WHAM!  The idea for an intermittent windshield wiper was born.

Kearns is one of the more famous independent inventors in the U.S., but it hasn’t been an easy road.  After showing his invention to Ford, and believing he had a contract to manufacture the item for the auto company, Kearns watched Ford cancel their deal and bring out their own intermittent wiper, which incredibly looked like the one he had provided them.  Thirty years of legal action followed.  I’m sure Ford thought they had the time, money and ability to pay high-profile attorneys to wait out or steam-roll Kearns.

Kearns won every “lawyered-up” automobile legal battle and obtained millions in settlements.  They even released a movie last month about it called Flash Of Genius starring Greg Kinnear (“As Good as it Gets”, “Little Miss Sunshine”) which was based in large part on the New Yorker profile.  But, Kearns wasn’t interested in the money…he wanted justice.

Isn’t it ironic that Ford’s arrogance or attitudes of the past likely helped them get into trouble today.  And a movie about a big auto company exploiting the little guy while keeping all the money/credit for themselves clearly doesn’t bode well for any bailout cause now does it?!  Clearly Ford is in it to make money.  Any allusion to the contrary is disingenuous.  Their actions are no different than any other company defending their turf and using all available means to get or keep their disproportionate share of the pie

But, still… shame on Ford.

Ford logo and drawing courtesy of company web sites.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Driving and old age is not a new issue.  The elderly man who killed ten people when his car slammed into a crowded flea market created a storm of discussions about age and driving restrictions.  He was sentenced to probation!

However, two separate motorcycle accidents this week in different countries re-raised the question for me.  How old is too old to drive?

In Sturgis this week, Lloyd Tilley (73) driving his Toyota Tacoma made a left-hand turn in front of Ronald & Patricia Snide on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  He did not see them and unfortunately both died.  And today in Turin, Italy the AutoNews is reporting that the Pininfarina CEO (Andrea Pininfarina) was killed while riding his Vespa scooter to the R&D center in Cambiano by Giuliano Salmi, 78,  who did not see him!

In a 1997 NHTSA study, older people made up 9 percent of the population, but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.  Of the traffic fatalities of older drivers 82 percent were in the daytime, 71 percent occurred on weekdays and 75 percent involved a second vehicle.  Moreover, 28 percent of crash-involved older drivers were turning left when they were struck.

If these stats don’t cause you to take pause, then think about this. In the next 20 years the number of elderly drivers (persons 70 and over) is predicted to triple in the U.S.  Nothing can be done about people getting older.  But, what can be done other than voluntary, self-service inspection when a situation is causing issues?  Mandatory tests?  Should more states adopt deficit reporting laws like in Pennsylvania?

Driving is a privilege that also carries responsibility, and a major part of that responsibility is the ABILITY to drive a vehicle in a manner that does NOT endanger others.  A persons chronological age is not an absolute predictor of driving ability, but it’s impact can’t be denied!

Photo courtesy of Road and Travel.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: