By David L. Brown
The automobile industry is in full collapse mode, a situation that has been predicted for years. I am inclined to refer my readers to an essay I posted here more than two years ago, September 20, 2006, titled “An Open Letter to Ford’s New CEO.” I addressed it to Mr. Alan Mulally upon his acceptance of the post from his former job at Boeing.
In my open letter I reviewed the various factors of climate change and predicted future oil supplies, then told him:
The challenge to auto makers hinges on two crucial issues. First, the contribution of gasoline and diesel emissions to the atmosphere, and second the economic threat of future oil scarcity and skyrocketing prices.
In the light of these facts, for a company such as Ford to continue to conduct itself in the same manner as it has in the past would be a suicidal, lemming-like act of self destruction. The future is not going to be like the past, and those who hold to the old ways will be swept away before the tidal wave of environmental change that is looming over us today. Those that continue to run with the lemmings will sink beneath the waves of failure and corporate extinction.
Well, Ford and perhaps even more GM and Chrysler did not respond quickly enough, or in the proper ways and now that lemming rush leads from Detroit to Washington to …? Perhaps that ultimate Lemmingholm, the place where the souls of deceased Lemming warriors go.
I gave Mr. Mulally some suggestions, among which were:
- To provide each U.S. state governor, Senator or national Representative a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle to drive for one year, no strings attached.
- To personally drive a hybrid instead of being chauffeured around in a limousine.
- To create special incentives to Ford employees to own and drive hybrids.
Of course Mr. Mulally decided not to act on these suggestions, none of which would have cost Ford all that much. Instead, the company made no apparent effort to familiarize our political leaders with the coming generation of hybrid vehicles. Mr. Mulally flew to Washington in a private jet, and then returned driving a hybrid (as I suggested, but a bit late!) and failed to create a super incentive to push hybrid vehicles by making it a no-brainer for employees to drive them instead of pickups and SUVs.
If they had done as I suggested, well, who knows? There is no doubt that what Ford actually has done in the past two years has not led it to a favorable position.
I pointed out to Mr. Mulally that “Change from every side is bearing down on our planet like an avalanche, and there is no time to dither, no time for doubt. The world is changing, and if Ford is to have a role in the future it must not only demonstrate its ability to change with the times, but must become a leader in that effort.”