In the 1999 Ford released its most profitable vehicle to date. At nearly nineteen feet long and nearly seven feet wide and weighing in at about three and one half tons (Ford Excursion). The ford excursion was the largest vehicle on the road. But being the largest vehicle on the road comes at a price. You become the enemy of all the environmentalists and conservationists in the country. Upon announcement of the release of the excursion the environmental group the Sierra Club ran a contest for the best marketing slogan for the Excursion.
They received entries such as “Fordasurus, powerful enough to pass anything on the highway except a gas station” and “Ford Saddam, the truck that will put America between Iraq and a hard place. ” The slogan that won it though was “Ford Valdez: Have you driven a tanker lately? ” (Shaw 292) Upon seeing the vehicle nobody can deny its impact on the environment. It’s a behemoth, without even knowing the actual figures you know pollution has to be staggering. The Sierra Club released a figure that that estimates in one hundred twenty thousand miles of use the Excursion would emit one hundred thirty tons of carbon dioxide (Shaw 293).
The industry average is about forty-two tons in one hundred twenty thousand miles (Carbon). That’s over triple of the emissions. One would wonder why you would ever want to build such a vehicle. In the 1990’s with American’s lavish lifestyle of exuberant spending and their mindset of bigger is always better the sports utility vehicle market took off. After everyone already had a Bronco, Explorer, or Suburban the public wanted only one other thing bigger. Enter the giant Ford Excursion. People didn’t care whether they needed the space or not. They just want a vehicle that can hold, tow, or drive over anything.
Ford had the answer; if you want a big vehicle we’ll make you pay for it. The excursion started at forty thousand dollars and moved up to fifty thousand dollars fully loaded. The shady part is that ford claims the vehicle emits forty three percent less then the maximum for its class. Are there any legal issues with the case? That is up to interpretation. It depends if you think Ford is lying to customers about its emissions or if you think the other numbers out there are deceptive. Me personally I feel like Ford’s numbers are the skewed numbers.
It makes sense that after the outrage of them releasing such a vehicle that they would throw some figures out their to deter the bad press. Now it depends if you consider lying to the public on a large scale like that illegal. I think of it as false advertising, not puffery, advertising. Are there any ethical issues? There are plenty of ethical issues here. In a polluted world should you build a vehicle that is worse than all the competitors at polluting? As a company if that’s what your customers are looking for I don’t see why you wouldn’t. And they did it in a way that made almost twenty thousand dollars per vehicle.
As someone that claims they care about the environment I don’t see how you can. And if you did you must seriously be losing sleep at night try to convince yourself you did the right thing. In a world where dependence on oil is clearly something that affects our country should you build a vehicle with a forty-four gallon tank that gets ten to fifteen miles per gallon? This question troubles me, I know in my lifetime I will probably always need to use gasoline. But why should you use so much of it if it is unnecessary? We are spoiled with this notion that we have to be able to drive anywhere.
When in all actuality we don’t really ever need to go that far. The Ford Excursion was the biggest thing we had ever seen at the time. Legally it didn’t pose any real threat to us. Ethically it made all of us question our values on the environment and the oil industry. Truthfully Ford acted as a business, whether its what they wanted to do or not, it is what they did. They saw a market and they filled it. They also made a large sum of money in the process. Who can really blame them? Since then the Excursion has been taken off the market. The extended length Expedition replaced it at almost the same size.
You can’t really argue that a company should not do something when there is a line of people waiting to buy it. What if we found out today that iPhones were killing the planet? How many of us would get rid of ours and never by another. I can’t honestly tell you my answer to that question right now.
“Carbon Emissions from Cars | American Forests. ” American Forests. N. p. , n. d. Web. 03 Dec. 2012. “Ford Excursion. ” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Feb. 2012. Web. 03 Dec. 2012. Shaw, William H. Business Ethics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.