Ford S.U.V.’s Use More Gas Than Before. In a sign that the carmaker has lost ground in its pledge for efficiency, the average fuel economy will be worse for the 2003 model year than the previous year. By Danny Hakim. [New York Times: Science]
My reading of Bill Ford is that he is both sincere and — as importantly — deeply informed about his sustainability initiatives for Ford: efficiency, hybrids, the Rouge River plant redesign, even thinking about selling mobility rather than cars. But it goes to show how challenging it is to move a large, complex organization — especially in rough economic times — even when the family controls 40% of the company.
There were bold strokes — including declaring Ford’s significant percentage contrbution to the global greenhouse gas problem — but they unfortunately have not yet been bold enough.
Making “sustainability” a strategic driver of exceptional business performance [what we try to help companies do] has to do done in the context of current profit requirements, yes, but also may need a willingness to innovate dramatically enough to change the market landscape. Which auto companies are most profitable? Honda & Toyota. Which airlines? Southwest & JetBlue. There might be a message there…
PS: When Charles Schwab & Co switched their business model to keep pace with the internet revolution, they “blew up half their revenues overnight.” THAT was bold — and they wouldn’t have survived without it.

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