Monday, January 14, 2008

Give the Ford 150 a rest, please..

The North American International Auto Show is this week in Detroit. It seems that the most exciting cars that Detroit has to offer us are new versions of their flagship pickup trucks, The Dodge Ram and Ford F-150 with a herd of longhorn cattle as a selling stunt. This is stupid. The American fetish of the pickup truck is getting old. We don't need to drive all these trucks, or their cousins, the SUVs, which are cars built on truck chassis. Sure, ranchers need pickups. But Detroit is not selling that many trucks to ranchers, they are selling the image of ranching to suburban wannabes and weekend warriors.

I was actually thinking just last week that the Detroit carmakers could help us out a bit in the next few years. I hear a lot about how American innovation will save our butts in the coming recession and energy crisis. I am wondering when the innovation starts? I think a new line of fuel efficient cars would be innovative.

With the dollar lower, tight cash, and gas prices practically certain to hit $5 this year, a lot of Americans will be planning to trade down in cars. Suddenly, Priuses and diesel VWs will be lot more expensive. Ford, Chrysler and GM could sell a lot of cars if they had some that got 40 mpg. A lot of Americans could get work making such cars. We might even sell them overseas, with our cheap currency. So come on, Detroit, you can do better than the "next generation pickup".