Monday, April 30, 2018

Ford to stop making cars, mostly, though you’ll still call your SUV a ‘car’

Design for "Car a Deux Roues" 1870 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) 

     Chicago does not think of itself as a city that makes cars. That would be Detroit. Or Belvidere.
     But it is. Chicago has been turning out automobiles for almost a century, at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant on Torrence Avenue.
     The plant began putting together Model Ts in 1924 and has been producing automobiles ever since, lately employing 5,000 workers in three shifts, running seven days a week, completing a shiny new vehicle about every minute.
     We were so pelted with news last week, between the Korean War abruptly ending and the various thrashings of the president, it was easy to overlook an event that would have been considered dramatic if the world weren’t churning so vigorously around it:
     Ford is going to stop making cars.
     For the most part.
     The company’s first quarter report, issued last Wednesday, contains a variety of news: revenue up 7 percent, the investor meeting will be Sept. 26.
     Then toward the bottom of the first page, Ford drops the bomb:
     “By 2020, almost 90 percent of the Ford portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles. Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America. Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio on North America will transition to two vehicles — the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year.”

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  1. I know I'm bucking the trend and also being incredibly selfish, but I fervently desire that SUVs and vans be banned from American roads. Trying to exit a side street on to a main drag in which at least one large vehicle blocks all sight of approaching traffic is an exercise in frustration and anger. Occasionally I'll drive blocks out of my way just in order to avoid having to make a left turn from Tripp Avenue on to 63rd Street. Several times a year, there are nasty accidents caused by cars trying to turn on to or cross 63rd Street at Tripp or Kildare, the block West. If they don't get rid of vans and SUVs, I'm going to have to go out and get a periscope.


    1. John, you just hit on why there are so many large vehicles on the road these days. People buy them hoping to be able to see around the other behemoths on the road.

  2. Bleh. I've always hated SUVs. They guzzle gas, hog the road, block the view of car drivers and make parking a nightmare.

    1. We just replaced our Honda Accord with a CRV. The gas mileage is very similar (1-2 mpg difference). The CRV takes up no more room on the road (length shorter and width the same) as the Accord. It is taller(making it much easier to get in and out of for older people)

      It is tal

  3. My Trump loving LA uncle would rage at the vans and SUVs blocking his path and view on the freeways. Like his joy at Ken Starrs' witch hunt, W's debacle in Iraq and Trumps' mendacity he refuses to apologize for his position on SUVs, since he drove his daughters Cherokee. My objection is to the monster SUVs and extended cab, long bed pick-up trucks, with just a driver, blocking not only the view but parking lot aisles because they don't realize the size of their behemoths.

  4. Wow, so much hate for SUVs. There has been many winter days when I couldn't even get out of my drive if I drove a sedan. Plows go through here once a day, twice if we are really lucky and the snow is super heavy. I was relieved when I saw that Ford was still going to make a crossover, that new Focus will be coming out around when I need a new vehicle. Only Fords for us, my dad was a supt. at the stamping plant.

  5. The Ford announcement was a surprise, but after thinking about it, it’s not a big deal. This column does a good job of explaining that point. People buy what suits their needs. We had a Chevy Nova and a Mustang when we first were married. Transitioned to a Dodge van (not a minivan) when the kids were small and did a lot of tent camping. There were other vehicles along the way, including a Ford F-350 diesel that I used to haul all our stuff to Colorado. Now we have a Subaru Forester and a Toyota 4Runner to haul our small camper. We like both SUV’s but I consider the Forester to be a 4 wheel drive car. As we get older, we’ll sell the Forester and go down to the 4Runner which has the capacity to transport all our grandkids and continue to haul our Scamp camper.


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