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Posts Tagged ‘F-450’

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.

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2009 Ford F-450

2009 Ford F-450

Released just in time to haul your new Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Classic to motorcycle events, Ford teamed up with Harley to produce the first ever F-450. 

Let’s call it the “Big Hog Daddy” trike hauler of the road!

We’ve seen the Ford Harley-Davidson editions in F-250 and F-350 versions, but never before has the colossal F-450 come in Harley style and trim. As with the other Harley versions, it’s all about looking good sitting still. Given the fuel mileage that might be all you can afford!  The new F-450 is downright intimidating with its massive grille. Its gigantic size would impress even long-haul truck drivers!  The Harley model has even more presence thanks to its blue flames leaping out of the side vents and dual rear wheels and fender flares.

There are many new “smart” features embedded in the truck.  Most notable is the “Tool Link”, a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking system developed with DEWALT, the power tool dudes, and ThingMagic, experts on embedded RFID technology.  This enables truck owners to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools or equipment stored in the vehicle.  I suppose you can rest assured that as you ready to haul your Tri-Glide to the next motorcycle event you’ll have all the appropriate tools to wrench on the chrome accessories?!

It seems strange to me to create this sort of marketing mix to promote both brands.  Especially for a truck that has a MSRP of $59,560 and optioned up it quickly gets into the $80,000+ range.   Clearly not everyone can afford!  This class of vehicle and the fuel guzzling attributes seem very out of touch in today’s mortgage meltdown climate.  But then again if I think more about it, it makes perfect sense. In the U.S. 40% of Harley owners drive a full-size pickup truck – many of those are likely Ford F-Series.  So, what do two companies having sales and financial issues do?  Target joint customers with this massive truck and turn what used to be just a workhorse into a fashion statement for the rich and famous who are motorcycle enthusiasts.

All dressed up there’s just no way to mistake this “Big Hog Daddy” for anything else other than a Tri-Glide hauler.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

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