The Frontstretch: Is It Time For Ford To Step Down? by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday February 21, 2007

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Is It Time For Ford To Step Down?

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday February 21, 2007


It was recently announced that the Ford Motor Company set an absolutely amazing company record last year. They recorded a 12.7 BILLION dollar loss last year! That's not a misprint, folks…BILLION. Not thousands…not millions…you get the picture.

As far back as April of last year, rumors have run rampant that one manufacturer was on the brink of pulling out of NASCAR. Back then, after GM announced a 10.6 billion dollar loss for 2005, many speculated that Chevy would be the one to pull out. Of course, GM vehemently denied such talk, putting to bed the same type of rumors that Ford is now facing with increasing intensity.

“We’re here in NASCAR, and we’re here to stay,” said GM’s NASCAR Director, Pat Suhy, back in April of 2006. “It makes good business sense for us to be here. We get a great return on our investment. We have a lot of activation around this…around the country with our dealers and our regional dealer groups. And we have great sponsorship partners with our teams. So if there is any truth to that (GM pulling out), I don’t know about it.”

While Pat did not explain what "activation" actually means in "big business terms" to us laymen, I must assume, since I could not afford to have all of my common sense removed by what is known as “higher education,” aka college, that it must be something good. However, later in the year when GM announced that the Impala will eventually replace the Monte Carlo as NASCAR heads towards the Car of Tomorrow, they inadvertently let the cat out of the bag that the reason was because the Impala has finally outpaced the Monte Carlo in domestic sales. That’s a complete 180 degree turnaround from the longheld adage "win on Sunday, sell on Monday;" why would you put your higher-selling car model out on the track if your primary goal was to increase overall sales? So Chevy, at least, seems like they are being somewhat honest with itself as to why they are racing. Ford, on the other hand, appears to still have denial issues, the likes of which would make a statement by Kyle Busch accepting blame for an accident seem more likely.

"There was no problem,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford's Racing Technology, when asked how he got his 2007 racing budget approved in the face of such large losses by the company as a whole. “This is something that the people at the top levels of the company believe is a positive force for Ford. You don’t stop your marketing in hard times…you work harder to market the product. I feel like all we really need is 10 good cars, and we have nine now. They’re not all as strong as we’d like them to be, but we feel like we’re close. We would like to win 25 percent of the races on a consistent basis, and I feel like we’re within striking distance.”

So, there you have it, folks. The answer to all of FoMoCo's problems, and their justification for the rumored 100 million (I suspect much higher) spent on NASCAR despite record losses and massive layoffs (40,000+), is putting just ONE more good Fusion on the track! That’ll get that 12.7 billion back in a hurry.

In Ford's defense, it seems that their problems may not be all their fault. In fact, it may be due to genetics.

"I can assure you Ford does not plan on getting out of NASCAR. Our racing program has support at the highest levels of the company, and our research and data has shown conclusively that there’s a viable business case for us being involved in the sport in terms of our market share and purchase consideration among race fans. Racing is part of the Ford DNA and has been since Henry Ford raced back in 1901,” said Kevin Kennedy, Ford's public affairs manager for racing in April of 2006.

Well, since 1901, medical science has proven that many bad things can result from a defective strand of one’s DNA. Perhaps, now that Viagra is no longer sponsoring a Ford, top level executives might not have such a hard…(core urge) for racing. Maybe now they can get the medication they need, as racing in NASCAR will NOT stop the bleeding for ANY automobile manufacturer, no matter who it is.

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Bill Howard
02/22/2007 06:45 AM

Some of Ford’s problems stem from their inability to sway the Nastcar crowd in their favor. Most folks have forgotten when the “new” Monte Carlo came into the sport it wouldn’t get out of it’s own way, that is until the very next race when the front air dam was extended 1.25 inches. Nascar does what it needs to do to keep Chevy’s ( and their boys) winning. The Monte Carlo should be called the Nascarlo !!!

02/22/2007 10:59 AM

C’mon Bill…. You obviously suffer from selective memory or lack of good knowledge about NASCAR. Why don’t you research exactly what NASCAR allowed your beloved Ford boys to do when the wanted to race the Taurus? Wait…I’ll save you the trouble. They allowed Ford teams to extend the hood about 6” and raise the downward slanted trunk lid about 4” just to make it stable. So if you continue to believe that NASCAR favors Chevy, you’re completely nuts and I suggest you educate yourself. FYI, this has been going on in NASCAR ever since the Mopar boys rolled out the Daytona Charger and Superbird back in the day.

It ain’t about NASCAR Bill…it’s about Ford’s inability to know what to do to sell cars AND race. The article is right on! Denial baby.

Go Bowties!

scott oliver
02/22/2007 11:13 AM

chevy has new engine,dodge new nose we will just run what we brung and see how it shakers out!

02/22/2007 01:17 PM

Jack Roush just sold 50% of his team.

Follow the Money Trail (detour). Ford ain’t coughin’ up enough of what makes a NA$CAR race car go fast(er) and cross the finish line first.

Speed costs money.
How fast do you wanna go.
(To the front? Or away?)

Maybe what Ford needs to do is become the “Official Car of NA$CAR”. Then, Ford could convince the Powers That Be NA$CAR that ONLY Ford’s can race in NA$CAR races. Just like the “Official Supplier of NA$CAR Racing Gas” has done with Shell and Kevin HAPPY Harvick.

I will “Officially” boycot Sunoco from this day on, and continue to do so until thay change their stance.

But, I digress,.................

Another GREAT observation and article, Jeff.
On, or Off the wall!

(It seems Sunoco is more like Humpty Dumpty. And AGAIN, I digress.
My bad)

I’m (After) Shocked!
And I own three Fords.
No Toyotas.

Shux Howdy!
Have I digressed,... AGAIN?!

Jeff Meyer
02/22/2007 02:29 PM

A note from the author:
Mr. Kevin Kennedy, Public Affairs Manager for Ford Racing Technology whom I quoted in this article was kind enough to email me a reply/rebuttal concerning Ford Racing.
You may read this reply in full on our Message Board in the Frontstretch Soundoff forum (Time for Ford to step down?) Please visit our Message Board and read Mr. Kennedy’s response.
Stay off the wall,


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.