March 15, 2009

A Ford Dealer Speaks Out

The letter below was run as an advertisment in our local paper today, it was run by Varsity Ford but was written by James Jackson of Elkins Fordland in West Virgina.

Thank-you Mr Jackson, nobody else could have said it better!

As I watch the coverage of the fate of the US Auto Industry one alarming and frustrating fact hits me right between the eyes. The fate of our nationís economic survival is in the hands of some Congressmen who are completely out of touch and act without knowledge of an industry that affects almost every person in our nation. The same lack of knowledge is shared with many journalists who are irresponsible when influencing the opinion of millions of viewers. Senator Shelby of Alabama has doomed the industry, calling it a dinosaur. No Mr. Shelby, you are the dinosaur, with ideas stuck in the 70ís, 80ís and 90ís. You and the uninformed journalist and Senators that hold onto myths that are not relevant in todayís world.

When you say that the Big 3 build vehicles nobody wants to buy you must have over looked that GM out sold Toyota by about 1.2 Million vehicles in the United States and Ford out sold Honda by 850,000 and Nissan by 1.2 Million in the U.S. GM was the worldís #1 automaker beating Toyota by 3,000 units.

When you claim inferior quality comes from the Big 3, did you realize that Chevy makes the Malibu and Ford makes the Fusion that were both rated over the Camry and Accord by J.D. Power independent survey on initial quality? Did you bother to read the Consumer Report that rated Ford on par with good Japanese automakers.

Did you realize Big 3ís gas guzzlers include the 33 mpg Malibu that beats the Accord? And for 09 Ford introduces the Hybrid Fusion whose 39 mpg is the best mid size, beating the Camry Hybrid. Fordís Focus beats the Corolla and Chevyís Cobalt beats the Civic.

When you ask how many times are we going to bail them out you must be referring to 1980. The only Big 3 bailout was Chrysler who paid back 1 Billion plus interest. GM and Ford have never received government aid.

When you criticize the Big 3 for building so many pickups surely youíve noticed the attempts Toyota and Nissan have made spending billions to try to get a piece of that pie. Perhaps it bothers you that for 31 straight years Fordís F-Series has been the best selling vehicle. Ford and GM have dominated this market and when you see the new 09 F-150 youíll agree this wont change soon.

Did you realize that both GM and Ford offer more hybrid models than Nissan or Honda? Between 2005 and 2007 Ford alone has invested more than $22 Billion in research and development of technologies such as Eco Boost, flex fuel, clean diesel, hybrids, plug in hybrids and hydrogen cars.

Itís 2008 and the quality of the vehicles coming out of Detroit are once again the best in the world.

Perhaps Senator Shelby isnít really that blind. Maybe he realizes the quality shift to American. Maybe itís the fact that his state of Alabama has given so much to land factories from Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz that he is more concerned about their continued growth than he is about the people of our country. Mr. Shelbyís distain for ďgovernment subsidesĒ is very hypocritical. In the early 90ís he was the driving force behind a 253 Million incentive package to Mercedes. Plus Alabama agreed to purchase 2,500 vehicles from Mercedes. While the bridge loan the Big 3 is requesting will be paid back, Alabamaís $180,000 plus per job was pure incentive. Mr. Shelby, not only are you out of touch, you are a self-serving hypocrite, who is prepared to ruin our nation because of lack of knowledge and lack of due diligence in making your opinions and decisions.

We live in a world of free trade, world economy and we have not been able to produce products as cost efficiently. While the governments of other auto producing nations subsidize their automakers, our government may be ready to force its demise. While our automakers have paid union wages, benefits and legacy debt our Asian competitors employ cheap labor. We are at an extreme disadvantage in production cost. Although many U.A.W. concessions begin in 2010 many lawmakers think itís not enough.

Some point the blame to Corporate Management. I would like to speak of Ford Motor Company. The company has streamlined by reducing our workforce by 51,000 since 2005. Closing 17 plants and cutting expenses. Product and future product is excellent and the company is focused on ONE FORD. This is a company poised for success. Ford product quality and corporate management have improved light years since the nightmare of Jacques Nasser. Thank you Alan Mulally and the best auto company management team in the business.

The financial collapse caused by the secondary mortgage fiasco and the greed of Wall Street has led to a $700 Billion bailout of the industry that created the problem. AIG spent nearly 1 Million on 3 company excursions to lavish resorts and hunting destinations. Paulson is saying no to 250 Billion foreclosure relief and the whole thing is a mess. So when the big 3 ask for 4% of that of the 700 Billion, 25 Billion to save the countryís largest industry there is obviously oppositions. But does it make sense to reward the culprits of the problem with 700 Billion unconditionally, and ignore the victims?

As a Ford dealer I feel our portion of the 25 Billion will never be touched and is not necessary. Ford currently has 29 Billion of liquidity. However the effect of a bankruptcy by GM will hurt the suppliers we all do business with. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy by any manufacture would cost retirees their health care and retirements. Chances are GM would recover from Chapter 11 with a better business plan with much less expense. So who foots the bill if GM or all 3 go Chapter 11? All that extra health care, unemployment, loss of tax base and some forgiven debt goes back to the tax payer, us. With no chance of repayment this would be much worse than a loan with the intent of repayment.

So while it is debatable weather a loan or Chapter 11 is better for the Big 3, a 25 Billion loan is definitely better for the tax payers and the economy of our country.

So Iíll end where I began, on the quality of the Products of Detroit. Before you, Mr. or Ms. Journalist continue to misinform the American public and turn them against one of the great industries that helped build this nation, I must ask you one question. Before you, Mr. or Madam Congressman, vote to end health care and retirement benefits for 1,000,000 retirees, eliminate 2.5 million of our nationís jobs, loose the technology that will lead us in the future and create an economic disaster including 100ís of billions of tax dollars lost. I ask this question not in the rhetorical sense; I ask it in the sincere, literal way. Can you tell me, have YOU driven a Ford lately?
James Jackson
President, Elkins Fordland, Inc.

Posted by Quality Weenie at March 15, 2009 12:02 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: Pam at March 15, 2009 01:08 PM