Ford bites...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Associated Press

"Detroit _ Ford announced its largest production cuts in more than 20 years on Friday, blaming high gas prices for pushing many customers away from its pickups and SUVs and toward higher mileage models.

Ford announced a turn-around plan in January that called for shedding 25,000 to30,000 jobs and closing 14 plants by 2012. By year’s end, the company was to have cut production capacity by 15 percent.

Bill Ford said last month that the plan - dubbed the “Way Forward” - would be accelerated. He said Friday that the details would be revealed in September.

Talk about forethought … keep building the big stuff … . …

Thank God they have Innovations like seat belts–that’ll show Toyota!

On the Ford production thing, it’s really no surprise. They have a huge over-capacity, and shrinking market share. It had to happen. What surprises me is that GM and Chrysler don’t seem to be cutting production as deep.

With the cuts in production, Ford will be able to concentrate on their customers who are buying the cars for their abilities/design rather than cost…that should mean a return to higher margins and profitability.

Point two: Good find cg!

The Belt-Minderâ„¢ system uses a safety-belt usage sensor located in the belt buckle to determine whether a driver is buckled up. The sensor feeds this information to a control module, and if a driver is unbelted when the vehicle is in motion, a red light in the instrument panel will illuminate and a chime will intermittently sound to remind customers to use their safety belts.

Just for fun, I rented a Prius to take a trip up north. It seemed to have a “belt minder” system too. Every time you sat in the car with the key in, without your belt on it chimed loudly. It was especially annoying when you were doing 6 hours of highway driving and you just un-buckled for 30 seconds to get your wallet out or reach across the car for a CD.

My reaction was to call the Prius “the nanny car” and my wife said, “if we bought one, we could un-hook that, right?”. Thank you Toyota and Ford for keeping the user in mind.

You can diable all those annoying beeps in the Prius (it also beeps when you’re in reverse). You can’t disable the seatbelt idiot light though.