Henry Ford Would Fire
Ford CEO Jim Hackett
By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
Henry Ford helped build Detroit into a great city and would be heartbroken by its current appalling, rundown, dilapidated condition. Detroit looks like a war zone in many areas, with buildings rusting in place, badly leaking roofs and crumbling walls. And Henry Ford would be astonished that Ford Motor Company is not helping to rebuild Detroit. Jim Hackett, Ford's current and hopefully not future CEO, is spearheading the dismantling of Ford's U.S. auto production.
Hackett is importing into the United States the first vehicle made in India, the Ford Ecosport. The car may be well-suited to India, with its tiny body and a three-cylinder engine, but it is not made in or for the USA . Car and Driver said about the Ecosport, "Truthfully, the tiny ute is neither very economical nor very sporty." Consumer Reports chimed in, "the $28,000 as-tested price for our EcoSport SES has us wondering what else could be bought for that money: a mildly optioned Ford Escape . . . come(s) to mind." The Ford Escape is made in Made in the USA. Ford is cannibalizing its own models, hurting U.S. sales with its lame imports taking sales away from its made in the USA models.
Henry Ford said, "The genius of the American people is Self-Reliance." Ford News,
Februrary, 1925. It is not self-reliant to import a cheap car from India and then slap a Ford badge on it. Henry Ford also said,"A big business never becomes big by being a narrow society looking after only the interests of its organization and stockholders."(Moving Forward by Henry Ford and Samuel Crowther, 1931.) Henry Ford started the venerable Ford Foundation in 1936 to promote public welfare and scientific studies. Ford Motor Company has previously been a good corporate citizen, caring about the overall economy and Detroit in particular. Ford Motor Company provided seed money for the Made in the USA Foundation in 1989 and many other non-profit organizations. I call upon the Ford Motor Company to once again be a good public citizen, help rebuilt Detroit and bring manufacturing back to the United States.
GM and Chrysler are Not Role Models Either
General Motors and Chrysler were both bailed out by U.S. taxpayers in 2008. Neither GM nor Chrysler paid taxpayer back in full and have now shown how ungrateful they are by moving production offshore. As a condition for their bailouts, the U.S. government should have required GM and Chrysler to keep manufacturing in America. Taxpayers did not bailout the auto companies to make cars in China, South Korea and Europe.
GM shocked the auto world last year by importing the first vehicle from China, the Buick Envision. Now, out of eight Buick models, only three are made in the USA, the rest are made in Poland (Cascada), China (Envision), Germany (Regal Tour), Canada (Regal), and South Korea (Encore).
Chrysler decided to start making Jeeps in Italy (Jeep Renegade) and shipping them back to the United States. Previously all Jeeps were made in the USA, mostly in Toledo, Ohio. Chrysler also announced that it will stop making cars in the United States, and will now only manufacture trucks and SUVs in this country.
A New IDEA
Ford is running television ads for the Ecosport touting its fuel-efficiency, but has failed to mention that it is made in Chennai, India. The Made in the USA Foundation is proposing new federal legislation call IDEA, the Import Disclosure and Education Act. This proposed law would require country of origin disclosure in all advertising for all products, on television, radio, cable, on the Internet and in print. American consumers have a right to know where their products are made and this law would only provide people with information. Would consumers rush out to buy the Ecosport if the ad said, "Made in India?" Or a Cascada if it announced that it was made in Poland?
The Made in the USA Foundation was supported by the Ford Motor Company when it proposed the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) in 1992 when it was passed into law. The AALA requires that all new car price stickers include country of origin information including where final assembly took place, what the U.S. content is, and where the engine and transmission were made. This law has helped consumers make informed decision about car buying. The IDEA legislation will increase consumer knowledge and exposes car companies who import cars from countries not known for their automotive excellence.