Bill Ford put a happy face on Ford Motor Company on the Larry King Live show. But there was a lot that he “forgot” to mention. I wonder why?
For starters, he did not mention the class action suit in Texas for defective ignition switches that causes Fords to go up in flames, sometimes hours after the engine is turned off. Even when the Ford is in the garage, which has happened, burning down people’s homes. He did not mention that despite hundreds of Ford’s ignited by bad ignition switches Ford would not acknowledge that the switches were defective.
He also forgot to mention the largest recall in automotive history, when the government forced Ford to recall 23,000,000 vehicles for defective transmissions. He forgot to explain how Ford went whining to the government that if they were forced to recall every vehicle that they had manufactured over a period of years that the company would have to file for bankruptcy. Being a good, understanding government, in the back pocket of Corporate America, the government simply recalled the recall order, and, instead, made Ford mail out 23,000,000 stickers for Ford owners to paste on their dashboard warning that the transmissions in their cars could cause injury or death.
Another thing Bill failed to mention is that today Fords rank right up there with Toyotas and Hondas in quality. Which is surprising, because they even put that on their TV ads. But what they never explained was WHY it took Ford 30 years to equal the quality of Toyota and Honda, and why the quality was not equal all along.
Bill COULD have explained that Ford quality was so bad in the 70s that the company almost folded. He COULD have explained that the only reason Toyota and Honda are in America today is because the American car buyer desperately sought out reliable, dependable vehicles, which could not be found in cars produced by the Big Three. In other words, Bill COULD have admitted that we would not have had foreign car companies here if Detroit would have given the American people the kind of quality vehicles that they wanted.
Now if Bill had mentioned these important points, he would also have had to explain that Ford paid Toyota to show them HOW to improve quality back in the 70s. He would have had to explain that Ford hired Dr. W. Edwards Deming, known as the man who brought the quality revolution to Japan, and turned Japan from a country that made junk ashtrays to a country that made the best quality in the world.
Unfortunately, if he opened that can of worms, he would have had to explain how Dr. Deming found the top management of Ford Motor Company to be the very worst he had ever seen. Dr. Deming worked with Xerox, GM, many other U.S. and Japanese companies to improve their quality. He would have had to explain that Dr. Deming found upper management at Ford to be like warring street gangs, with each gang afraid that their management clique competitors would get an advantage if they followed Dr. Deming’s suggestions. He would have had to admit that Dr. Deming gathered up his stuff, put it in his briefcase, and walked out of Ford headquarters in Dearborn because he believed that Ford was a company that was impossible to work with. He would have had to explain that the ONLY reason Ford quality improved was because they would have failed if they continued to make the junk that they made in the 70s and 80s.
But one has to give credit to Ford for their brilliant current marketing ploy. Incredibly, it seems to be working. They make a lot of hay about being the only car company that has NOT taken bailout money. What a tremendous marketing tool. Ford knows that a whole lot of Americans are, how shall I put it, not real happy with the government throwing our tax money at failing companys. Ford can say ‘look here, we don’t want government money, we are well managed so we can make it on our own.’ Ergo, people will buy Fords rather than buy GMs or Chryslers, who are so poorly managed that THEY had to go whining to Washington for bailout money.
Of course Bill COULD have mentioned that FoMoCo is up to its eyeballs in high interest debt, and has borrowed to the max on every single asset owned by Ford, including Dearborn Corporate Headquarters, all their plants and real estate, all their patents, and, yes, even their blue oval logo. He COULD have mentioned that this debt is high interest debt because Ford is judged by the rating agencies as Junk that is unlikely to survive. But then again, why would Bill mention these things? After all, he wanted to put a happy face on Ford for the American People.