The Field of Dreams mind-set has become a nightmare - and the Big 3 had better wake up, says Mark Fields.
"That 'Build it and they will come' attitude is old thinking that we need to shed as American automakers," Ford Motor Co.'s president for the Americas said last week in a speech at the Los Angeles auto show.
And if U.S. automakers shed their sense of entitlement and start to deliver, said Fields, they have a golden opportunity to stop erosion of their market share. "Americans really want to buy American brands, as long as they are competitive with the imports," he said. "There is a huge and not yet fully realized market for American cars in this country. It's waiting to be seized."
Ford's U.S. market share, not including its import brands, has fallen since 1995, down to 17.4 percent last year. In his speech, Fields said Ford will "stabilize in the near term and ultimately grow our market share."
Pressed later by journalists about when the skid might end, he served up not prime beef but waffles: "We don't have a projection for year X," he said. "We can't go 10 more years of share decline."
So the answer, apparently, is no later than 2015.