Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ford Focus 2012 All Electric announced at CES

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By Mr. Sig

Ford's CEO Alan Mulally announced the 2012 Ford Focus electric along with many other new technology-related announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  CES, as you may or may not know, is the largest electronics trade show that is put on each year in Las Vegas.  Just about about everyone in technology (except Apple) is there showing off their latest and greatest and how great is it to see a Michigan company on the list of keynoters.  You gotta love Michigan representing at a "cool" place such as CES, not to mention getting a prime keynote spot.  Ford has definitely come a long way since Mr. Mulally took over back in 2006.  They are profitable now and turned things around without government bail-out money.  Three cheers to them!

Electric cars are somewhat of a novelty right now.  Chevrolet jumped into the market with their Volt which MichiganExpats is skeptical of.  However, after watching Leo Laporte, one of the kings of podcasting and technology evangelist, interview Ford's CEO Alan Mulally, I became somewhat convinced that the new Focus electric might actually work.

Why?

In the interview, Mulally mentioned that they can make electric, hybrid, and internal combustion cars on the same assembly line.  Mulally explains that this means that Ford can dynamically adjust to the changing consumer demand for electric and hybrid cars as they slowly develop popularity and economic sense.  Adjusting dynamically based on demand makes sense for electric vehicles since they really don't make too much sense for a mainstream consumer at this point.  But this is going to change in the future, and Ford will be able to easily fill this demand as it comes without much work.

That's smart, and makes sense... at least to me!

Now, I'm not going to go buy a 2012 Focus electric just because of this, but it makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.  Ford is really innovating right now and they're doing it in a way that makes sense and is modern.  They are definitely a bright spot for Michigan right now.  So, why are they staying in Michigan given the poor business climate and exodus of talent?  I fear the answer is the same as I was given during a job interview several years ago.  "We company are here more out of loyalty and not necessarily because it makes the best business sense for us."  I sure hope that this isn't why Ford stayed, because that is not going to keep a company in Michigan.

Does the Ford Focus electric make sense to you?  What are your thoughts about all of this?  Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RichRod Fired. Michigan Faces another Uphill Battle

Michigan Expats - Sports - See All Sports

It's hard to be proud as either a Michigan or Michigan State football fan in 2011. Both teams got blown out in their respective bowl games on New Year's day and the soap opera that has been the RichRod firing can't make Michigan fans happy even if they wanted to see RichRod go.

After leaving the RichRod, assistant coaches, and players in limbo since the regular season loss to Ohio State, the situation managed to get even more confusing as reports start coming out yesterday that RichRod had been fired only to have those reports go unconfirmed and refuted by the University Tuesday night before UofM Athletic Director Dave Brandon officially fired Rodriguez this morning.

It was an embarrassing, yet appropriate, ending to the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan which began with an unconfirmed report on ESPN about a coaching hire (you're welcome, Kirk Herbstreit) and controversy over RichRod's departure from West Virginia that all contributed to a lack of alumni support for Rodriguez from the start.

Indeed, many of those same Michigan alums are happy to see RichRod go, but I can't imagine that see can be happy with how Athletic Director Dave Brandon handled the process. When the New York Times takes the time to write about how your program is an absolute mess, it's a good sign things could have been handled better.