Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, June 16, 2024
ISSUE #1211
Henry Ford, the Model T, the Edsel, and EVs. Tribute to Jerry West 

I’m starting this column in memory of Will Rogers’ good friend, Henry Ford. And I’ll go ahead and tell you the end of my story: Henry’s grandson, William Ford, must stop throwing away $5,000,000,000 a year.

Back to the beginning. Henry invented the Model T Ford. Now I just learned why it was Model “T.” He had already gone through the alphabet… Model A, Model B, and so forth were all failures. It was only after Model S that he figured out how to set up an assembly line and make ‘em so cheap that everyone could afford one. Or at least the monthly payments on one. That was in 1908. In 10 years, half of all cars on the road were Model T Fords.

Henry thought the Model T would be the top seller forever. But by 1927, after selling 15 million Model T’s, Ford was losing out to dozens of other car manufacturers with fancier models. So, Henry’s son, Edsel, had to force his dad to stop making the Model T and switch to a new, modern Model A.

Now the story jumps to late 1957 when Ford introduced a new model, the 1958 Edsel. After spending millions on the new design and marketing, it flopped. Only 120,000 Edsels were sold in 3 years.

Today, Henry’s grandson, William Clay Ford, has a tough decision for the future of Ford. Similar to ending the Model T and the Edsel, Ford should stop manufacturing Electric Vehicles. Immediately!

For every Ford EV sold, the company is losing $130,000. For 2024 the expected loss on EVs is $5 BILLION.

Get out of the EV business. Focus on vehicles that are popular and profitable. Ford leads the industry with the F-series. Americans want an F-150 Lariat, not a Lightning. For buyers who want a smaller pickup with 40 miles per gallon, design a brand new F-50. Make it smaller and lighter than the Ranger. For inspiration, look back a hundred years at the Model T Huckster.

For those who yell, “Electricity from solar and wind is the future,” I say consider the present and the next 25 years. The proud owner of a $100,000 EV needs to know that 85% of the electricity to charge the battery is generated from natural gas and coal. And with the demand for electricity accelerating faster than subsidized solar and wind systems can be built, EVs will likely depend on fossil fuels for 50% to 75% of their energy beyond 2050.

I intended to write about Trump’s tax plan for tips (good) and for tariffs (bad), Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s admission about January 4, 2021, and Rudy Giuliani’s comments about Hunter Biden’s computer before the 2020 election. Maybe next week.

But I have to include a tribute to Jerry West. When he starred for the West Virginia University basketball team for 3 years, 1958-60, we listened to every game on the radio. None were televised. Then he starred for the Los Angeles Lakers for 14 years. After coaching the Lakers 3 years, he became one of the most successful team executives in NBA history. You probably know the NBA logo is a profile of Jerry West. In the NBA he is one of the best ever. In West Virginia he is THE GOAT. (Greatest Of All Time)

Historic Quotes by Will Rogers: (on Henry Ford) (Radio, June 1, 1930)

“Ford’s success is due to the fact that he uses common sense in his business.”

“When he found he was wrong in his [anti-Semitic comments] with the Jewish people, he apologized.  He saw them in a Chevrolet and he says, ‘Boys, I am wrong!  I am wrong!’”

“A Ford car and a marriage certificate is the two cheapest things there is.   We no more than get either one than we want to trade them in for something better.”

“There is more jokes told about [a Model T] than any other thing.   A Ford car and a Democratic Convention has kept a lot of us comedians alive.  He is the first man to realize that every joke sold a car and every joke bought one.”

“He has got quite a sense of humor… He is a great old fellow and he is very, very human. I always liked Mr. Ford. I think he is a great man, and I wish we had a lot more like him.”


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