TO THE EDITOR:
I was surprised to read of Ford’s plan to mostly phase out cars. Haven’t we seen this movie before? In the late 1970s, the late 1990s and the mid-2000s? Every time U.S. car companies give up on cars in the good times, bad things seem to follow.
Yes, these are the good times. These are the days of the big Ford F-series Platinum and now the huge Expedition Platinum MAX. And remember the 1978 Ford LTD Landau, so stylish with its big, wide hood, baby-blue crushed velour seats and 7.5-liter engine? Back then, who would have guessed that the next hit product would be the 1981 Ford Escort L? With plastic seats and a manual gearbox?
Times can change abruptly, but the car industry goes in predictable cycles. The time to shift to bigger and/or more expensive vehicles was really five years ago. Now, the smart, prescient car company would be planning what product is going to keep the lights on through the next recession.
Smaller, U.S.-made vehicles are like insurance: They cost a little money and reduce profits in the good times; they are not glamorous or stylish; management has to argue with analysts every quarter about whether they are still needed. But when times get hard, and the company’s survival is at risk — as, yes, it will be for U.S. car companies again at some point — the company and its workers and dealers will be much better off if it keeps smaller, affordable, competitive, U.S.-made vehicles going now.
ZACHARY WRIGHT, Wright Law, Seattle. The writer is an intellectual property and software licensing lawyer who has represented companies regarding dealership software.