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When I was 11, I got to stand on a picket line with my dad, for the PATCO strike. I don't quite remember what the event was, but I think we were trying to get some visibility in Youngstown, to garner some public support.

What I do remember about that event is this: the local Ford union let us use their headquarters to stage out of, and on the blackboard they (the air traffic controllers) had written the words "Your next vehicle SHALL be a Ford." (My dad explained that this was an Air Traffic Control turn of phrase, that "SHALL" was a word with some specific meaning when you were on the radio.)

In any case, I don't think we actually obeyed that directive, but it's all right. Years later, my parents eventually did happen to get a Ford minivan... but for no particular reason beyond "it was the right car at the right time."

This morning, Ford announced its worst year ever, with a $14.6B loss. In the same breath, though, they reiterated that they would not need federal aid (unless blah blah). At a time when GM and Chrysler are clamoring over each other for taxpayer handouts, this is actually impressing me enough to think that my next car may, in fact, SHALL be a Ford.

Too bad I don't expect to have a next car until 2017.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
And Ford has recently made some cars worth buying, even. Hybrid Escape (which is what Obama drove until the election), '04-'08 Focus, short-lived Thunderbird. Too bad we can't get the S-Max, euro Focus, or Ka in this country.

Edited at 2009-01-29 05:42 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 29th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
When I was growing up Ford had a bad reputation. I was told it was an acronym for "Fix Or Repair Daily" or "Found On Road Dead." By the time I was old enough to form my own opinions, Japanese cars were so obviously superior in quality that I never really considered anything else.

These days, foreign automakers employ many people in Alabama. My favorite uncle has a near-VP-level position at the Honda plant in Lincoln. The main reason I chose Toyota over Honda for my current car was the dealership experience.

I tend to view the whole Detroit debacle as attempting to keep the old-style domestic auto industry supported beyond its natural lifespan. Its importance to the American economy seems more sentimental than practical, in contrast to the big financial meltdowns of 2008. Birmingham survived the loss of its steel industry by becoming a premier center for medical research. I see no reason to think Detroit can't reinvent itself in similar circumstances.
Jan. 29th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
Ford used to have a bad rep for reliability, but I feel like they've really gotten their act together and are making some impressive cars the last few years.

GM and Chrysler both suck hard. It's sort of a shame all 3 tend to get lumped together in many peoples' minds.
Jan. 29th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
I think my state is "My next car SHALL be a plug-in hybrid", and the manufacturer will be determined by which company is smart enough to make such a car available at a reasonable price.
Jan. 29th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
If you aren't expecting to be looking for a new car until 2017, I think "My next car MIGHT be a Ford." might be a more accurate statement. ;)
Jan. 29th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
There's a big article on this in last week's Economist and they are also of the opinion that Ford was the one of the three to realize it was about to get buried under a mountain of unsold SUVs.

That said, it doesn't have anything even remotely reasonable on the hybrid market (the Escape is a 32mpg SUV hybrid) at the moment, though it does have a Camry-type coming out next year.
Jan. 29th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit puzzled why the SUVs are still so hard to sell with gas back down to the same price range it was in before the spike. It's looking like they'll all have switched over their production line just in time for the American consumers to decide they really want those SUVs after all.
Jan. 31st, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
Income is down? Consciousness is up? Hmm.
Jan. 29th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
"clamoring over each other"

I think I just caught my first eggcorn. I'll be sending it in to Language Log!
Jan. 29th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Wow, and things go full circle. While as near as I can tell nobody's spotting this one before (though you're far from alone -- Google has plenty of other examples of it) the forums *do* have a sighting of the complementary substitution: "characters so minor that they are guttering out, all clamber for attention".

So we have people clamoring over each other to clamber for attention :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )