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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Ford regrets missed environmental chance, styling

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Ford regrets missed environmental chance, styling

Automotive News

May 31, 2007 - 3:50 pm

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. missed a chance to seize the lead in addressing environmental concerns and allowed its sedan styling to go stale in recent years, Executive Chairman Bill Ford said today.

"My only regret now is that we didn't move further faster," said Ford, who stepped down as chief executive last September.

Ford said the No. 2 U.S. automaker had not been aggressive enough in revamping the styling of its passenger cars as it tried to shift away from a reliance on pickups and SUVs where it had held a highly profitable franchise.

"We didn't stretch enough in the past few years," Ford said. "I think as we got back into the car business we weren't perhaps bold enough."

The remarks by Ford, who was speaking to a group of business and civic leaders on the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry, marked his fullest public commentary on his own troubled five-year tenure as the automaker's chief executive.

Ford, whose great-grandfather Henry founded the company, gave up the CEO position last year with the hiring of former Boeing Co. executive Alan Mulally as his replacement.

Bill Ford said his long-running personal interest in environmental causes had once put him at odds with the prevailing viewpoint in the U.S. auto industry.

"In many parts of the auto industry, I was viewed as some kind of crazy radical," he said. "And when I talked about the environment 20 years ago -- or frankly even five years -- many people thought I was eccentric at best or perhaps incredibly naive."

While Ford said he was proud that the automaker had rolled out a hybrid Escape SUV on his watch and rebuilt its Rouge Assembly plant in a way that won praise from environmentalists, the automaker had also missed a chance to do more.

Many analysts have said Toyota Motor Corp.'s market-leading Prius hybrid and its related reputation for building fuel-efficient vehicles have helped it gain ground on Ford in the U.S. market and overtake General Motors as the industry leader on a global basis.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, who spoke earlier to the same business group, said the Detroit-based automakers were being saddled with an unfair reputation for not competing on fuel economy.

"Unfortunately, there is a misperception that the Big Three only make gas guzzlers, while Toyota is a division of Greenpeace," he said.

For his part, Ford said the No. 2 U.S. automaker would be more aggressive in marketing its vehicles in direct comparisons with Toyota and other automakers in order to address a "perception gap" with consumers who now shun its showrooms.

Ford launched a recent ad campaign comparing the Fusion sedan with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, and the chairman said more similar advertising could be coming.

"Our internal data show we've just pulled equal to Toyota but if you ask the average person on the street about that, they would think you are crazy," Ford said.

He said he had been spending more time on Ford's long-term strategy and meeting employees, leaving day-to-day turnaround efforts to Mulally.

"You haven't seen a lot of me recently and that's by design," he said.

Ford is in the midst of a sweeping restructuring that includes cutting nearly 45,000 jobs and closing 16 plants in North America to return the region to profitability.

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"I think as we got back into the car business we weren't perhaps bold enough."

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"Unfortunately, there is a misperception that the Big Three only make gas guzzlers, while Toyota is a division of Greenpeace," he said.

Ain't that the truth!

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Gettelpullmyfinger throws toyota under the bus! taking the gloves off for the georgetown war!

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HAHAHA That prairie dog rocks!

Wow they've never seen prairie dogs in Japan... and it costs them $287 USD to buy one...

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HAHAHA That prairie dog rocks!

Wow they've never seen prairie dogs in Japan... and it costs them $287 USD to buy one...

That is probably because Japan slaps 1500% duty of goods not produced in their home country or if the manufacturer is foreign.

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That is probably because Japan slaps 1500% duty of goods not produced in their home country or if the manufacturer is foreign.

Now that we've steer this a good ways off topic,

"In mid-2003, due to cross-contamination at a Madison-area pet swap from an unquarantined Gambian pouched rat imported from Ghana, several prairie dogs in captivity acquired monkey pox, and subsequently a few humans were also infected. This led the CDC to institute an outright ban on the sale, trade, and transport of prairie dogs within the United States.[9] The disease was never introduced to any wild populations. The European Union also banned importation of prairie dogs in response.[10]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_dog

So it's illegal to get one now.

I want my monkey pox. I don't even know what it is, it's so alluring.

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That is probably because Japan slaps 1500% duty of goods not produced in their home country or if the manufacturer is foreign.

Can you find me a current article on that myth?

http://www.apectariff.org/tdb.cgi/ff3235/a...ind.cgi?US+8703

http://www.apectariff.org/tdb.cgi/ff3235/a...ind.cgi?JP+8703

Yes in 1980... but it's 2007 now...

Stuff like this is what the US media censors. Gotta go to foreign news channels to find the world's view.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3239846.stm

Edited by JT64
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