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mercatfat
07-21-2003, 02:53 AM
So, Ford announces today that their next line of SUVs will have some that are less fuel efficient than last year's line.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/18/business/18CND-FORD.html

But since you need to sign up and that's a pain in the ass, I'll copy paste it.

DEARBORN, Mich., July 18 The Ford Motor Company's sport utility vehicles will be less fuel-efficient in the 2003 model year than the previous year, the company said in a new report.

Earlier this year, the company said it could not meet a pledge to raise the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles by 25 percent from 2000 to 2005. But the report indicates that Ford is actually moving backwards in its S.U.V. fuel economy.

In the 2002 model year, the company's sport utility vehicles were 8.4 percent more efficient than the vehicles the company made in the 2000 model year. But the S.U.V.'s produced this year are only 5.2 percent more efficient than those made in the 2000 model year, according to the company's corporate citizenship report.

The report pointed to declining fuel economy in the company's Land Rover division and declining sales of its small S.U.V., the Escape. It also said fuel economy had been worsened by the introduction of the Lincoln Aviator, a luxury S.U.V. only slightly smaller than the burly Navigator.

"We were not able to make the investments in the products and technologies needed to meet the goal, nor were some of the technologies as mature as we thought," Ford's chairman and chief executive, William Clay Ford Jr., said in a letter included in the report.

"But I do reaffirm our commitment to continue to work toward improving the fuel economy of our S.U.V.'s and, indeed, to cutting greenhouse gas emissions across our entire range of vehicles," he said.

The shortfalls in S.U.V. performance were reported today by The Detroit Free Press.

"When you look at Ford's report, they're failing to meet their commitment," said David Friedman, a senior policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental group. "They were gambling on a market shift to smaller S.U.V.'s instead of putting technology to work to make their mainstream products do better. Instead, their mainstream products did worse."

Environmental concerns appear to be low on the priority list as the company opens labor talks at its Dearborn headquarters today with a handshake between Ford executives and union negotiators.

For Ford, a top priority will be getting the United Automobile Workers union to accept four plant closings in the United States laid out in the company's turnaround plan, including a plant in Edison, N.J., that produces the Ranger pickup.

"We will need to get the U.A.W. to understand and agree to close the plants we identified," said Dennis J. Cirbes, Ford's vice president of labor affairs, at a news conference.

The company, which lost $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002, returned to profitability in the first half of the year. But Ford officials said on Tuesday that they expected profits to be flat for the second half of the year.

Today, Nicholas V. Scheele, the company's chief operating officer, wrote in an e-mail to its white-collar workers that the costs of its salaried work force would need to be cut by 10 percent. He said the cuts would be made through hiring freezes, attrition and less overtime.

"However, where these actions cannot fully meet the targets, we will have to reduce our salaried personnel structure to address the balance," he added in the e-mail. Ford spokesmen declined to say how many jobs might be cut.

"We still face uncertain economies around the globe and a fiercely competitive marketplace," Mr. Scheele added in his e-mail.

U.A.W. leaders have said the preservation of health-care benefits is a top priority as costs skyrocket. But analysts and labor experts believe the union will give some ground on other issues. Labor talks continue until the contract expires in mid-September.

Mr. Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, the company's founder, has often been outspoken on issues like global warming, at least by Detroit standards.

But he has also been sharply criticized by environmentalists for not making much progress since becoming chief executive in 2001.

"We can't contribute to a socially, environmentally and economically sound future if we are not successful in executing the basics of our business providing desirable, high-quality, affordable products to our customers and doing so profitably," Mr. Ford said in his letter.

"The first line of corporate citizenship is being a responsible employer to the 350,000 people who work at Ford. That has been my focus for the past year and a half."

~~~

Look, I've always been apathetic about this issue, but actually reducing fuel economy is rediculous. Discuss your thoughts.

SkinWalker
07-21-2003, 02:13 PM
The SUV is proof that the auto industry is consumer driven (no pun intended) and not Industry/Government driven.

This is good for the consumer in the short run, but in the long-term, we develop problems like we have now in the SUV age. The SUV appeals to the family market as well as the single-driver market. The larger size presents problems in parking lots, on the road, etc. The added fuel deficiency creates obvious problems.

This is a market that is fueled by creative advertising, too. Consider the advert for the two soccer moms racing to a parking space.. the one with the "correct" SUV simply jumps the curb. Or the advert for the Hummer where the kids are competing in a soapbox race... the Hummer-shaped soapbox car goes off-road and wins. Or the Lincoln advert where everything is automated and coreographed to a smart Jazz tune..... and so on.

The mindset is: "I have to buy an SUV in case I need it; It's best to be prepared; What if I need four-wheel drive on my way to work/my date; etc."

Additionally, the more rare the SUV is, the more desired it becomes to the consumer. The Hummer rates as one of the most desired, despite the fact that it is a rather ugly, boxy, large vehicle that is difficult to park or drive down a narrow street (I drove these things for years in the Army.... ).

One of the things I was happy to see was the introduction of the new Cooper Mini here in the states, and I'm seeing more and more of these every day. The size of the average car in the U.S. contributes to many problems in addition to fuel efficiency. Not the least of which is traffic congestion. If you add a few inches to the length of every vehicle it adds up quick. Multiply times the thousands of cars that pass through a busy intersection, and you can see that traffic efficiency drops because fewer cars can traverse the intersection at any one green-light session. Parking, of course, is a problem with size as well. I get really pissed when I see SUVs crowding out the "compact car" slots of a shopping center.

BTW, I don't drive an SUV :cool:

ShockV1.89
07-22-2003, 03:12 AM
I dunno, I've never run into a problem with parking and SUVs. Usually, if the person parked like a prick, it would have messed things up whether it was an SUV or a Civic.

I do support SUVs, to some degree, mostly because one saved my life. I drove my fathers Passport out in a snowstorm (ok, bad move), and ended up sliding sideways into a telephone pole. The entire side caved in and I had a concussion, but the EMT said that if I was in my car (Mitsubishi Mirage), I would have been killed, or at very least horribly maimed on my left side.

That's really the biggest appeal of the SUVs, I believe (besides their storage space and seating capacity). Safety counts for a lot. Let's see if a Mini can handle the wreck the Passport went through.

mercatfat
07-22-2003, 03:49 AM
Are SUVs really safer? I've heard that's a pretty common lie, but perhaps I listen to Seattle liberals too much.

ShockV1.89
07-22-2003, 11:19 AM
Felt pretty safe to me. You're up higher, there's more metal around you, more space for side airbags.

I saw an accident about a year ago that shook me up real good. A car (couldnt tell what kind, I think an Accord) had gone sideways into a telephone pole, similar to my accident. The car was totalled. I mean, the front and back ends were twisted inwards to the left. They were loading the guy into the ambulance when I passed. He looked all messed up.

I think you've been listening to Seattle liberals too much. ;) Some people will say anything to prove their point. :rolleyes:

Kain
07-23-2003, 06:13 AM
SUV or deathtrap speck, if your meant to die in a crash, your meant to die(nothing to do with faith, I'm just fatalistic). Besides, nobody likes Fords anymore anyways. All they do is jock Dodge's models and apparently waste precious fuel.