Q&A: McNamara on killing early T-Bird: No regret
Now 87, McNamara is officially retired but remains active as a speaker, writer and consultant on national security issues and on economic and social development in developing countries.
Coincidentally, he has an office in the building that houses Ford Motor Co.'s Washington staff. He drives a Ford Focus.
He responded to a few questions from Harry Stoffer.
What makes Ford Motor Co. special?
Henry Ford's introduction of the $5 per day wage - and the Model T - laid the foundation for the modern American economy.
What is your favorite Ford vehicle?
The original Mustang because of its style and performance.
What would you like to be remembered for that people don't associate with you?
When I was general manager of Ford Division, we introduced in September 1955 the 1956 models with safety features, which caused the industry to emphasize safety. It took about 20 years to get the full results, but I think we are saving on the order of 25,000 lives a year as a result.
Do you regret replacing the two-seat Thunderbird with a larger model?
No. The four-seat Thunderbird performed much better than the two-seat. … And it made a profit for the company.
How would you characterize the significance of the development of the Falcon?
It moved Ford and the industry into more direct competition with low-priced foreign imports.