Cars and Politics -Why Ford is Roaring Ahead

It is impossible to ignore the significance of the fact that the Ford Motor Company, the one major car company that said “No Thanks” to Obama’s bailout of the auto industry, is now #1 – surpassing both Chrysler and GM, who did accept a “deal with the devil” and are still under the thumb of the Washington bureaucrats. Then again, Ford’s success should come as no surprise – the heavy hand of government has never resulted in the kind of innovation and drive that energizes free markets.

For example, after a BILLION dollars of R&D, including untold infusions of taxpayer money, GM has finally produced the Chevy Volt – an electric car that costs over $40,000 and goes only 40 miles on a charge, at which point it either has to be plugged into an outlet again, or rely on good old-fashioned petroleum energy to power it. Not exactly a “major breakthrough” in transportation history.

Note that these nitwits in the “environmental movement” always ignore the fact that the electricity that powers these vehicles comes from sources that they themselves hate – coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear. Oh, I forgot – windmills and solar panels will magically replace all those “icky” fossil fuels. Right. But no matter, such a “green” car is naturally being touted by President Obama as the wave of the future.

And the reaction from car buyers? Despite all the hoopla from the Whitehouse, the Volt has produced so little demand that it is now offered with a $7,500 tax credit – presumably because only those making enough money to benefit from such a credit can even afford the car in the first place.

Meanwhile, over at Ford, they are going gang-busters. And while anger at GM and Chrysler for taking the Obama bailout has indeed resulted in many of their former customers now opting to buy a Ford, the real driving force (pun intended) behind Ford’s success is that they are ignoring “politically correct” but economically untenable boondoggles like electric cars. They are instead responding to the market by producing the kinds of vehicles that people actually want to buy.

Take Ford’s F-150 pickup truck, for decades it has been one of the most successful vehicles in automotive history. And when “green” zealots spouted their propaganda that such big, powerful trucks are “socially irresponsible,” Ford responded by equipping the F-150 with even bigger, more powerful models, like the supercharged Lightning and the soon to be released 500 horsepower Raptor. Even in naming their vehicles Ford thumbs their nose at the P/C crowd.

Speaking of all-time great names for a car, there is the Ford Mustang – the 2011 model now sports an all new, super high-tech 5.0 liter V-8 motor that cranks out 412 rip-roaring horsepower, does 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, and basically shouts to the rest of the world: “Eat my dust!”

I drove one the other day, a 2011 Mustang convertible with the 6-speed manual transmission,  and after a lifetime of owning high-performance cars from ’60’s muscle cars to a Turbo Porsche, I can tell you, this is one amazing vehicle. Docile and smooth around town, you have no idea what is lurking under the hood…until you stomp on the gas. Then all hell breaks loose (as do the rear tires). The V-8 howls, 7000 rpm comes up in the blink of an eye, and you are at triple-digit speeds in only a few seconds more. And for those who view 400 horsepower as merely “adequate” – the Mustang GT-500 model comes with a 5.4 liter, Supercharged motor pumping out a whopping 550 horsepower.

In other words, the Mustang is a real car-lover’s car – one that is actually FUN to drive. Not some tepid, mundane, and ultimately boring piece of environmentalist nonsense. Ask yourself, how many real, red-blooded Americans would actually want to drive a Prius? After all, it is probably no coincidence that there are a rather disproportionate number of Priuses, Honda Insights, and Smart Cars adorned with “Obama ’08” bumper stickers.

Even Ford’s minor concessions to the “green” movement are done with a wink and a nod to their customers. The Ford Taurus, a big, comfortable luxury sedan, can be had with an Eco-Boost motor. Now, while the “greenies” will swoon over the “Eco” part of the logo, those in the know understand that it is that deliciously enticing second word that tells the tale – “boost” in this case means twin-turbochargers making 365 horsepower (soon to be upped to an even more politically incorrect 415 horsepower). And it produces performance that is nothing short of astonishing in such a large and relatively heavy car.

And after buyers told Ford they wanted a bit more power in the Fusion, a mid-size sedan that competes with the Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord, Ford responded by announcing that a version of the Taurus “Eco-Boost” motor will now be available in the new Fusion GT. It will pump out 340 horsepower, likely making it one of the fastest mid-size sedans on the market, yet at a price far below the likes of a BMW or an Audi. Oh, sure, Ford cleverly offers “Hybrid” version of the Fusion – it got Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2010 – but they know that the majority of buyers will choose power and performance over political correctness every time.

You see, Ford’s success is not that difficult to explain – unlike Obama and the liberal Democrats in Congress, Ford actually listens to its customers and gives them what they want, and the American people show their approval by voting with their dollars. Meanwhile, as they continue to ignore the will of the American people, the approvals of Obama and the Democrat dominated Congress continue to plummet.

There’s a lesson in all this, Mr. President…if you and your band of mirthless “progressives” care to listen.

John Caile