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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will there be a Ford in your future as this 1944 ad suggests?

There was a time when you would be a candidate for the rubber room if you said that General Motors would someday be struggling to stay in business. Remember when "If it’s good enough for General Motors, it’s good enough for me" was a common saying? They had it their way for a long time. I think when the dust settles, they will probably have only Cadillac and Chevrolet and will be glad they still exist. Pontiac and Buick will probably go the way of the Oldsmobile.

I don’t see how Chrysler has held on. They have always been third in the U. S. behind GM and Ford. Iacocca saved them for a while with the vans and Joe Garagiola helped them a bit in the 70s with his pleas to "Buy a car, get a check!" You received $200 if you bought a Chrysler which is about what the car was worth after a couple of years. Plymouth is now gone along with DeSoto and who knows how much longer Dodge will be around. Is it really different enough from a Chrysler to justify its existence?

Does anyone remember "There’s a Ford in your future"? That was the Ford slogan beginning in 1944, a year when new Fords weren’t even available because of WWII. Pretty soon it may be "Does Ford HAVE a future?" I keep hearing of the millions they are losing and now their ads are imploring us to buy American and buy a Ford to save jobs.

I hate to see the American auto industry fade. I loved cars when I was a kid and would hop the trolley and go downtown specifically to see the new models. That was in the days when they would come out in January instead of the previous June. I loved the slogans like the ‘57 Chevy being "Sweet, smooth, and sassy." Buick would claim that "When better cars are built, Buick will build them." If you remember the Packard, they said in the early ‘50s that "Packard is the one for ‘51, ask the man who owns one." In the ‘60s, Eydie Gorme told us that "Plymouth is out to win you over this year." That worked in ‘67, but no more as Plymouth has joined Packard, Hudson, Muntz, Kaiser, Tucker, Oldsmobile, and many others in the auto graveyard.

I never thought I would buy a foreign car but when looking for a new car in 2001, I gave the Hyundai XG300 a try. It was a much better value than any American car so I traded in my Chrysler and became a Hyundai owner. I have since bought another Hyundai. I hated to do it but the GM cars I looked at couldn’t compare in price or warranty. The dealers seemed complacent about the foreign competition but with dealerships closing daily, especially on Scottsdale’s motor mile, maybe they are changing their attitudes. I have a feeling that we will soon see discounted cars and 0% financing.

P.S. If you want to see some great restored American cars, stop by McDonald's on Indian Bend east of Pima in the Pavilions Shopping Center. They have some beauties there on Saturdays.

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