Saturday, November 29, 2008

A smidgen of good news for the Big Three

There's a little bit of good news for the Big Three. Well, at least for one of them. Dan Neil loves the new Ford F-150 pickup. Rarely is he so effusive.

Yes, Dearborn has its troubles but this is the best pickup truck on God's little acre. Yes, the Japanese have beaten up on the domestics, but Toyota and Nissan only wish they knew how to build a full-sizer as tight, as tough, as well-sorted, as keen and mean as the thing behind the Blue Oval. I mean, people, it isn't even close.

My Car of the Year is a truck.
He also makes the obvious political point:

Pickup trucks have an ideology and that ideology is conservative, Red State Republicanism.

Pickups just lost the White House.
Once again, I'm conflicted. I am fine with pickups losing the White House - maybe now the Big Three will remember that they should be making cars for the rest of the country as well as their macho customers in the heartland. But I have some connection with Ford: my grandfather started working there in the late 1920's, and didn't buy a different brand of car until he was in his '80's (when one of his sons-in-law got him a deal on a GM car).

I actually think Ford is in a better position to ride out this recession better than GM or Chrysler; they're bigger than Chrysler, with a better selection of cars, and they don't have the dysfunctionality of GM's excess brands. I'm expecting Ford to close the Mercury division. That would be a good sign of permanent change, the kind of sign that Democrats in Congress are looking for. Right now, tho, I'll take my good news for the American car industry from wherever I can find it.

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