This week, Ford is expected to announce that it is going to respond to swelling demand, and begin shifting focus away from the largest gas guzzlers and toward more fuel efficient small cars, reports the New York Times.
It seems likely that the ailing Detroit automaker is finally getting the message, hammered home by the green press for decades (including in books and hundreds of posts by TDG's own Jim Motavalli, who also writes for the Times), that Americans will indeed be happy with higher fuel economy.
Gosh. You mean Americans don't want to spend upwards of $100 each time they pull their Excursion or Escalade up to the pump? No wonder the Toyota Prius is enjoying record searches on the Internets.
The Times expects Ford officials to begin switching over factories from SUVs to smaller cars, and announcing new models for the American market, something that is long overdue. As the paper points out, the U.S. auto industry is headed for its worst annual sales in more than a decade. Ford itself hemorrhaged $15.3 billon in 2006 and 2007, and was the most bloated on large vehicles, seeing 60% of its sales in the past decade from SUVs and trucks.
The future of Detroit is uncertain at best. It used to be that 1 in every 2 cars sold in America was made by GM. No longer, in the age of Toyota, Honda and now more recent upstarts from Korea and even China, not to mention good ol' Europe. If the Big 2 And-A-Half can really make the switch to smaller cars, they might have a fighting chance in a new global auto market. Otherwise they are going to go the way of the typewriter. They might still be around, but at a much different scale.
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