Ford Is Getting Out of the Car Business

Public Domain. Henry Ford when he made cars

They are going to just make SUVs and pickups because that's what Americans seem to want.

After a long run, the Ford Motor Company is getting out of the car business. Ever since the Model T rolled off the line on October 8, 1908, they have been a car company but not many people want cars anymore, they want SUVs and pickup trucks. The cars that sold were small and cheap and there wasn't much profit in them, so why bother?

So what if they were more fuel efficient and kept the fleet fuel economy average down, reducing CO2 emissions; nobody, including the government, cares about that. With the price of gas where it is, nobody cares about that either. And even a TreeHugger has to admit that SUVs and pickups are a lot more fuel efficient than they were before, so the rebound effect kicks in and people buy bigger and taller. As analyst Karl Brauer tells the Wall Street Journal:

“The price of gas has risen but remains relatively low compared to historic highs,” Brauer said. “More importantly, the difference in fuel efficiency between a sedan and an SUV has contracted over the past 10 years,” and likely about even for most people’s fuel budget.

So what if these rolling living rooms are significantly more deadly for pedestrians and cyclists; they shouldn't have been in the road anyway.

So what if they barely fit in existing parking spaces and we are getting even more congestion because they are so big and take up so much space. As Minda Zetlin notes in Inc:

For most Americans what they want is: bigness. Big, chunky SUVs and trucks that can haul all our stuff and take up parking spaces all the way to edge, and give us a high-up vantage point over the road, and at least look like they can handle all kinds of terrain, whether or not they actually have the all-wheel drive to do so.
Steve McQueen with car

Steve McQueen with car/Screen capture

Pretty soon the only car that they make will be the Mustang because everybody wants to drive like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Some think this a brilliant move by Ford since people will only be driving themselves for pleasure, that cars will go the way of horses and be recreational; everything else will be an autonomous SUV.

no gas

David Falconer, EPA, National Archives/Public Domain

Others think it is a dumb idea; gas prices can increase because of disruption in the Middle East, economic crashes or a change in government to one that imposes tough fuel economy standards. With what's happening in the States now, it could be all three. Demand for little fuel-efficient cars could come back with a bang.

TreeHugger Mike used to write about how Bill Ford Supports a Gas Tax Increase and how Ford had a "green strategy." That's history now. They make big trucks for big people.