Ford for all the Marbles

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Last year Ford announced they would no longer be producing compact, small, mid-size, and large cars. They were changing their long term plan to only produce cross over, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Not long after that announcement, the electric Mach E Mustang was introduced, and that vehicle seems to be the kick off of a new large vehicle line up.

But, this plan might be in serious peril before it even gets started. Let’s break down a few elements that might make Ford’s plan very challenging. Many of these things can change quickly though, as they all are very recent themselves in some regard, so this is my opinion and speculation.

First, the world wide COVID-19 pandemic is absolutely destroying the global economy. Auto manufacturers are taking a beating and sales are almost non existent. With people out of work, it makes it hard to entice people to buy a shiny new expensive pickup truck.

Second, the factory that supplies parts for Ford, Ram, and Toyota trucks was recently damaged by a tornado. While this will hurt Ram and Toyota as well, it made most headlines as interrupting Ford’s production. Since Ford’s entire lineup is mostly large trucks and SUVs and the parts supplier that provides the transmissions for those vehicles is damaged, all the eggs are in one basket and about to break.

Third, oil prices are deep in the red in trading value. While that is great for consumers because prices at the pump are very low, this unfortunately isn’t the time to take advantage of it. A thirsty F-150 can be filled for cheap at the moment, but with all shelter in place guidelines and people out of work, it is unlikely that people are going to be wanting a vehicle that is expensive to fill up in the future.

Fourth; very recently Ford announced that they are wanting to achieve 10 percent profit margins, even through this current circumstances. They have placed Lisa Drake in charge to accomplish that goal. She was in charge of the 2004 launch of the 11th generation F-150. That particular skill is what they are desiring her to perform on because she is also tasked her with increasing awareness of new products being launched, something Ford has struggled with for the past few years. Most notable the newest Ford Explorer botched release.

The next blog will be about the fifth and final blow to the Ford fiasco that is brewing. But with all the issues mentioned above, Ford has put all their chips on the table. SUV’s and trucks that with gas prices low but a worldwide pandemic not facilitating using those vehicles, a damaged factory, and the need to produce and profit within all of these circumstances, it is going to be a tough year for the automotive industry in general but I think Ford will really be feeling a pinch. Although Ford has weathered a lot over the years, so I should stop being so negative. The American spirit will prevail.

 

A Patriotic Purge

So there are a few things on my mind today.

I read an article talking about how a guy is selling off his entire project car collection. I have been thinking that people like that should really get into finding the right home for those vehicles. Someone out there would absolutely appreciate the project car you have. In all reality I think the problem is timing and communication. When people want a car, they are going to find someone who has it. The problem is that many of the people who have the cars are not communicating that they have them. Its a sad day when amazing vehicles get hauled off the the junk yard because the owner thinks no one wants it.

I also read about how rally racing is probably the most expensive and hardest forms of racing. I have never been to an actual rally but I can imagine that it is more fun for the participants than the spectators. That is probably a factor into why it costs so much. Then again, there can be watered down versions of rallies that one can do with friends on public roads. The kicker there is just gas prices.

I am pretty impressed at the number of first time winners there have been in NASCAR this year. David Ragan is a wonderful driver and deserved to win last weekend in Daytona. Congrats to David Ragan. This upcoming Kentucky race should be pretty thrilling. These powerhouse teams really have not shown bright this year. Then again, was it really the teams or more so the individuals? If anything, this year has shown it is all about the individuals. Just take a look at the top 12 drivers. Then again, the teams have become tighter simply because of the tension on the track between individuals and the ability for more than one individual on one team to consistently do well. This chase will not be over till its over and I am completely ecstatic to watch it unfold!

I spent a little time with my friend today looking up Hot Wheels on Ebay. Pricing out cars we already have and looking up the cars we don’t. I love Hot Wheels but its hard sometimes to justify buying them when I could save the money to buy a real car. I guess being a passionate automotive enthusiast, I consider such things.

I was also thinking today about how the new styling of the Chrysler 300 would make a perfect coupe. Since the newer styled 300’s came out,  they have always had that watered down Bentley / Rolls Royce look. They have a chance now to take an “Imported from Detroit” vehicle and give it some flair, similar to a two door Audi/Bentley, since that’s what I think it would most collectively look like if it were a coupe. Not to mention that Cadillac has made a gorgeous coupe out of its well loved CTS. Then they hopped it up on some supercharging steroids to make it a CTS-V. Such an epic vehicle. I am a huge fan of GM and particularly Cadillac. However, I will support any American made company, such as Chrysler if they built a world class coupe. After the fourth of July, I have been all but thrilled to be as patriotic as possible. Hopefully the American automotive industry will do the same! 😀 God bless the USA!

Tow Trucks: Tough as Nails

This blog is full automotiveness. And honestly, if there are hero’s of the automotive world, its tow trucks, semis, and any other heavy duty vehicle and especially those who operate them.

 

Tow trucks fascinate me. There is just something about them that makes me want to cry out “That thing is so BA!” The sheer size and ability of them, especially the rotators, is like a Clydesdale that can perform dental surgery.

 

I’ve always had a fascination with them. It probably came from my dads side of the family. My great grandpa, who I never knew, used to drive trucks from the 30’s through the 60’s and around the 40’s purchased a junk yard and drove a tow trucks. My grandpa, he drove ¼ and ½ ton trucks in the military. I am so thankful I caught that bug…eh trait from them. One of my favorite books as a child was “How Many Tow Trucks Can A Tow Truck Tow?” J I want to get my CDL someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

Knowing those roots, the flame only got bigger when SPEED channel debuted “Wrecked” in 2008. Those guys from O’Hare Towing in Chicago and their pristine white and green towing machines, I was absolutely glued to the screen. Up-righting an overturned semi, moving a bridge, towing one of the largest mobile cranes in Chicago, it was all in a days work for those guys.

 

Because of that show I have set a goal to own a rotator. I have searched Ebay Motors high and low, wishing one of them would get in my price range.

 

Today I was watching SPEED, and their new series “American Trucker” came on. The episode featured Diamond Heavy Haul Inc. A huge heavy haul company based in Ohio (yay Ohio! I’m originally from there!) that specializes in moving the heaviest of the heavy. More like gargantuan things. Those trucks, and the people who drive them…absolutely tough as nails in my mind, and freaking brilliant. The sheer logistics that go into one of those hauls; just blows my mind. Absolutely addicting!

 

Tow trucks, heavy hauls, and brilliant people. That sounds like a recipe for success to me! Hopefully someday I’ll get to that point!

 

Cadillac…no longer caught up

So… I read today that Cadillac is attempting to distance itself from GM.

THANK GOODNESS!

For some reason I believe that Cadillac has been misunderstood by the general public for the past 10 years and even more so in the past 3.

If you look at the sheer price, power, performance, and luxury offered by the Cadillac vehicles, no other vehicle really compares…at least what you get compared to what you give for it.

Cadillac’s are not just old peoples cars, and they are not just gangsta whips. I feel that those associations are fair, and that it adds to the diversity of America, but there is an image, more like an aura around Cadillac’s, that screams Americas finest.  

I think that the GM image has hurt Cadillac. Maybe more in a small way, but still, it has done some damage none the less and especially since taking government loans. I do realize that it is not all happy feelings, as they have not completely cut ties, and they are still supplied by all things GM. But still, I see this as a glimmer of hope that maybe, one day soon, Cadillac will be a free, privately owned car company, competing on the world class stage, and winning!

With all this in mind, I urge you to stand up and support Cadillac and help it gain some independence. While that seems almost oxymoronish due to the present circumstances, every little bit helps!

In the time of XTS

After a stunning debut of the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept, the brand has fully emerged itself into my daily talk of world changing automobiles (it had been before, this car just helped it brew over), and more importantly, American iconic automobiles. While some reviews were mixed about the unveiling of the XTS,

“And yesterday Cadillac pulled the wraps of a concept car of heroic proportions; this is the XTS”                                      John McElroy- Autoline Detroit

 “The XTS is easily more elegant than the new A8 from Audi and the 7 Series from BMW in the flesh, and its interior is equal to if not better than any mainstream premium luxury car in the world today. It’s that good.”                                Peter DeLorenzo- The Autoextremist

“We also thought the XTS was significantly better looking in person than in the preview pictures that broke last night.” Jonny Lieberman- Autoblog

“We can’t quite say that we like it — it’s a bit too large and a lot too bland — but it looks significantly better in person than it does in pictures.”                                                                                                                                                                                         Sam Smith- Jalopnik

I say it is a phenomenal step for Cadillac. This vehicle, along with the CTS-V sedan and coupe, are going to put America back on the world stage for superior automobiles. The XTS is not a vehicle that will replace the old peoples generation of vehicles, like the STS and DTS. No, honestly, the times are changing, and the younger generation is beginning to take note on what a fine automobile is. I am 21, and I find the XTS awfully appealing, and why not? It’s American for one. Two, it’s got an aura about it, screaming large and in charge, and what young adult now days doesn’t want to have that space, that object that tells their peers that they are a force to be reckoned with? Three, it’s a car that has the best of both worlds. While I am not a huge hybrid fan, putting it in this car doesn’t phase me. I want this car to get the fuel economy, it’s HUGE! If I want a car for performance, I’ll go buy the CTS-V! But that’s not the goal of the XTS and I’m ok with that. Still, it has power. More than my 1998 Regal, and any power more than that is a step up for me.

I tend to agree with McElroy and DeLorenzo. The Cadillac XTS is a look into the future of what fine American automobiles will be and who will buy them. Once GM decides to build it, then it will be what fine American automobiles are. I wouldn’t want to wait till I’m 50 to own this thing. It appeals to me now and I’d get it if I could!