Saturday, July 18, 2009
I'm really excited to be arriving in Chicago a day early for the BlogHer conference. I've got a date with the Ford Motor Company. All day Thursday I'll be joining a group of bloggers at Ford's What Women Want event, doing fun things like touring the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant, getting behind the wheel of the 2010 Ford Fusion (I have high, if misguided, hopes of putting on a helmet and racing around one of those closed circuit tracks with cones and dummies) , and trying out Ford's Active Park Assist system (ooooohhhh..... parallel parking at the push of a button! Coolness!).
But I have a dirty little secret. I'm not a Ford fan. Not that I'm anti-Ford, it's just that I don't own a Ford, never did. I grew up in the Philippines, where Fords are practically nonexistent, so I just have Ford's general reputation as a Big Three Automaker to go by. Well, the US auto industry has taken quite a beating lately. Patriotism aside, people, you have to step back and look at it objectively and wonder if the reason isn't that these companies are NOT making cars that people want to buy! And my impression of Ford cars, for the most part, is clunky and huge. So it's not the best of beginnings.
Before Ford slaps a huge Model-T (for Traitor) sign on my back and kicks me off the guest list for next Thursday, let me clarify that I'm not going into this event with a closed mind. In fact, I want to be convinced that Ford is truly making innovative, market-driven cars. I'm willing to be converted into a Ford fan. I think it's due to Alfie's influence. He's not a fan of American brand cars, but Ford is the one exception, because apparently Ford is quite a common brand in England and the rest of Europe. What's more, Ford is actually quite highly rated there, and doesn't get the bad rap that American cars get here in America. I don't quite understand why this is the case, but it's true . I've been to England so many times now, and the Fords I've ridden there are cute and zippy little cars, not like the big and clunky Taurus or Explorers or Broncos I see here. It gave me a totally different impression of Ford -- Ford Europe, that is. So I'm wondering if Ford USA could possibly change my impression of them, too.
Anyway, from what I see and hear nowadays, it looks to me like Ford is really trying hard. It says a lot to me that Ford was the lone Big Three automaker that passed on the federal bailout package. And I love that Ford is into hybrids, big time. And with initiatives like the one I'm attending next Thursday, it looks like Ford is really making an effort to find out what consumers want in a car. So they've already scored big points with me. My first impression is already changing, albeit slowly. I'm eager to get on this tour and willing to be wow'ed with all the technology.
Okay Ford, here we go. So far I've haven't had too much contact with you, I just know you by reputation. This is going to be our first date. So impress me, Ford. I can't wait!