The secret to Ford Motor's success
The federal government's bailout of Chrysler and General Motors has been a big success. At least, it has been a big success if you're a Ford dealer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ford sales for the month of December 2009 were up 33.5 percent compared to December 2008, even as Chrysler and GM sales were falling.
When the government's auto bailouts were announced, Dick Edwards Ford in Manhattan, Kansas, saw an opportunity. According to Mark Besthorn, the dealership's sales manager: "We just thought about it and decided we wanted to strike while the iron was hot." Days later, the following billboard made its first appearance:
Besthorn says the response to their billboards has been overwhelmingly positive. "There hasn't been any negative reaction. A lot of customers that come in here, they're tired of all the government bailouts. We've gotten calls from people encouraging us and telling us their next vehicle will definitely be a Ford."
According to Besthorn, Ford's sales increase was not caused by consumers worrying that Chrysler or GM would go bankrupt or that warranties wouldn't be honored. "I'll be honest with you, people just don't like the idea of the bailouts. When we came up with the idea for the billboards, people were tired of hearing about TARP, AIG, and all those things. They didn't think that's where out tax dollars should be going. Most people around here don't think the government's ever been good at running anything."
Judging by Ford's nationwide sales figures compared to other car makers, many Americans apparently share that point of view.