Wow: Ford ad blasts bailouts — and perhaps more

posted at 10:45 am on September 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Is this just a business seeing a competitive edge against two of its rivals — or a political statement meant for wider purposes? Ford has a new ad series called “Press Conference,” in which sales staff escort a Ford buyer into a room supposedly to finalize paperwork but finds “reporters” and cameras on hand to ask why he or she bought a Ford. The responses are unscripted, according to US News and World Report, but the decision to publish this response while the nation still debates the auto bailouts might have some Obama supporters questioning the timing:

In its most political ad in the so-called “Drive One” ads where real drivers are thrust before cameras to explain why they picked Ford, a real Ford F-150 pick-up driver is featured.

His name is Chris. After he sits down the “reporters” bark “Chris, Chris.” One asks him to explain why “was buying American important to you.”

Sitting and looking sincere and serious, Chris says: “I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was going to buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own: win, lose, or draw. That’s what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail that you gotta’ pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.”

It’s brilliant in terms of distancing Ford from the anger taxpayers (and potential buyers) feel over the bailouts of Ford rivals GM and Chrysler.  After all, taxpayers will end up losing about $14 billion for their trouble, and a lot of investors got screwed in the politically-manipulated bankruptcy proceedings for both companies.  Any competitive edge helps, of course, and this is a natural argument — so much so that it’s curious that Ford hasn’t really pressed that point until now.

But it also feels like something more than just a sales pitch, too.  The statement that America is about taking risks and enduring failure rather than expecting government to bail everyone out sounds more like a big thumb in the eye of the Obama administration, whose latest jobs bill keeps extending unemployment benefits, and which continues to propose spending billions on subsidies for businesses that can’t succeed on their own — like Solyndra.

Update: I changed the headline, because this isn’t a new ad — it just started capturing attention, thanks to USNWR.  However, the star of the ad does have a new video posted today, which emphasizes what he told the “reporters” in the ad:

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

If Honda had a pickup for my needs, I’d buy it in a heartbeat over Ford.
I wish I could afford a Toyota pickup.
But alas, I’m relegated to Ford products.

Badger40 on September 16, 2011 at 2:23 PM

What, the Honda Ridgeline can’t do what a Ford can? With it’s unibody construction? It has 5000# towing capacity. Probably harder to weld together if the truck splits!

And, what are the prices for used Tundra pick-ups? That expensive? Damn, I wanted one of those.

Phil-351 on September 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Whoa, I wondered if the ad was actually running, and lo and behold just saw it on CNN!!!

mockmook on September 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM

the decision to publish this response while the nation still debates the auto bailouts might have some Obama supporters questioning the timing

Oh, really? I think there are a lot of timing issues “Obama supporters” should be questioning, but Ford isn’t one of them.

disa on September 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM

The exact reason why I bought a Ford for the first time last year.

roasted7 on September 16, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Argh. Makes me wish I could have afforded a Ford when I went looking last year. Living in Buffalo, I need to have a 4×4 for the winters we get around here. I was finishing up my 3 year lease on my Jeep Liberty and, like this guy, wanted to buy a Ford. I didn’t want to lease again, I wanted to buy and was ready to buy a Ford.

After shopping for one for about a week I realized that Fords are about 10 grand too expensive on every model. (Seriously. they are WAY above the competition, even the NON bailed out ones.) The only Fords I could have bought would have been a Fiesta or a Focus. NOT what a guy with two kids and another on the way needs.

So what did I end up doing? I ended up buying out the lease on my 2008 Jeep Liberty. I also paid extra to extend the factory warranty out to 70K miles.

Oh, one more thing. My wife’s lease on her Toyota RAV4 is running out next fall. We are about to have our third child and we need a minivan to complement the 4×4. Ford? Nope. They don’t even have a minivan. Back to the competition.

Sorry Ford, I wanted to buy one of your vehicles, I really, really did. But you are simply asking too much for them and your lineup is missing the vehicle type we need. No sale.

wearyman on September 16, 2011 at 11:48 PM

wearyman on September 16, 2011 at 11:48 PM

The Flex is nice but pricey. I hear the this will be Ford’s mini-van. I believe it has been in Europe for a while.

Cindy Munford on September 17, 2011 at 12:02 AM

wearyman on September 16, 2011 at 11:48 PM

The Flex is nice but pricey. I hear the this will be Ford’s mini-van. I believe it has been in Europe for a while.

Cindy Munford on September 17, 2011 at 12:02 AM

I personally find the Flex to be really un-attractive.

Dasher on September 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Dasher on September 17, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Yep, it’s a love it or hate it car. I am one of the weirdos who likes it. But than I like mini-vans. After reading more, I am not sure the C-Max is coming or at least in anything other than hybrid or plug in form. I would just like to have something that seats more than two comfortably (?) which is my current situation.

Cindy Munford on September 17, 2011 at 12:18 AM

For the first time in my life, I considered purchasing a Ford b/c Ford did not receive the bailout. Until, I saw this Charlie Rose interview linked below.

At 11:15, Alan Mulally begins explaining the auto bailouts.

At 12:01, Alan Mulally said, “…I testified on their behalf that for the good of the industry & the US economy it was the right thing to do…”

My jaw dropped when I heard Alan Mulally say that. To me, Ford is not any better than GM or Chrysler b/c they endorsed & encouraged the bailout.

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11814

mamagetsamini on September 17, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Addition to 11:30AM post…

…And now Ford is being disingenuous with this ad.

mamagetsamini on September 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Meh…companies like Ford get credit for doing something that looks ‘conservative’ in a fiscal sense, but keep on funding their liberal agendas and no one seems to mind. I suppose it is good enough for the fiscal conservatives, but as a fiscal and social conservative, I don’t think this one thing can wipe out their funding the building of a GLBT community center, etc.

Gosh, I wish I could happily buy American, but still not going to happen, apparently.

pannw on September 17, 2011 at 12:44 PM

What, the Honda Ridgeline can’t do what a Ford can? With it’s unibody construction? It has 5000# towing capacity. Probably harder to weld together if the truck splits!

And, what are the prices for used Tundra pick-ups? That expensive? Damn, I wanted one of those.

Phil-351 on September 16, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Well it looks very nice.
But #5000 lbs does not compare much to almost 13,000 lbs our dually can pull. We don’t pull boats.
I’ll take the Ford for now till Honda comes up with a heavy duty alternative :)

Badger40 on September 18, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3