Let Them Eat Used Cars
In "Taurus" (Cover Story, July 24), Ford's Richard L. Landgraff, who oversaw the car's redesign, says: "If Joe Blow can't afford to buy a new car, I don't give a damn. . . . Let him buy a used car." This quote sums up better than I ever could why I, an owner of a Japanese and a German car, will never buy a Ford. If that is the company's attitude toward potential customers, its attitude toward those who are already customers must be really bad.
When the next downturn in the U.S. auto industry happens, Ford's managers will have to explain to the shareholders why they designed a car that was more expensive to build, lost Taurus' position as the No.1-volume car in the U.S., and hurt company profitability. Meanwhile, their Japanese competitors, who have been better at reading consumer trends for years, are making cars that are less expensive, in order to combat their currency disadvantage. If the dollar-yen exchange rate changes significantly, thus lowering the relative cost of Japanese cars, Ford will be in a world of hurt. Joe Blow won't give a damn about the Taurus' more expensive features and will buy a Toyota Camry.
Thomas J. Dailey