Ford: The Truth Is Out There
On Sunday night, viewers of The X-Files saw Agent Dana Scully’s new ride, the Ford Explorer Platinum.
Ford and The X-Files are not strangers. Back in 1993, when The X-Files debuted, Fox Mulder drove a Taurus.
If we were to index back to 1993, one could readily argue that the Japan market was a desirable one for U.S. manufacturers, sort of “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”
But now things are not what they once were.
Fumihiko Ike, Chairman, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), wrote in his New Year’s letter to the JAMA members:
“The prolonged slump in Japan’s domestic vehicle market as a result of the hike in the national consumption tax in April 2014 was compounded by the increase in the mini-vehicle tax in April 2015. With demand levels throughout 2015 lagging behind those of the previous year and with an equally severe forecast for 2016, the revitalization of the domestic market will be critical to the overall progress of the Japanese automobile industry.”
So 2016 isn’t going to be a good year for the Japan auto market.
It should come not entirely as a surprise that the morning after The X-Files reboot the word was out that Ford is going to cease operations in Japan (and Indonesia).
The rationale is a completely reasonable, non X-Files one. The company can see “no reasonable path to profitability.”
This should be a sign of encouragement vis-à-vis the auto industry when its leaders can actually realize that in some cases, they’re just not going to make it, so it is reasonable to move on.
For too long there were too many who had a sense of otherworldly invincibility.
To know that 3,000 cars have been delivered since October 2015 would undoubtedly result in a shrug: in 2017 Toyota delivered 387,081 Camrys, so that 3,000 is less than one percent, and this is in one year, not just over two.
If heritage means anything in this industry, then it is surprising that Buick doesn’t make more of its history because the story of the early years of the company is nothing short of astonishing.
What happens if that $2.29 a gallon goes up by a couple of bucks a year from now? How are the pickup, SUV and crossover sales going to be then?