WASHINGTON -- March 31 -- Today, the Jumpstart Ford coalition launched its new Adopt a Dealer campaign to enlist Ford dealers in an effort to convince Ford Motor Company CEO Bill Ford to use existing, cost effective technology to improve the automakers bottom-of-the-barrel fuel economy and chart a course to eliminate global warming emissions.
On April 1st, community activists - including famed actor Woody Harrelson in Santa Fe, NM - will adopt Ford dealerships throughout the United States, Canada, and England. The events are part of a national Fossil Fools Day, involving over 140 events. Concerned citizens are demanding innovative clean energy solutions like hybrid vehicles and a greener grid. Ford Motor Company will join the other Fossil Fools like President George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Exxon CEO Lee Raymond, who have refused to acknowledge the severity of global warming and failed take the necessary steps to cut U.S. emissions.
"Ford is driving Americas oil addiction and refusing to change," said Jason Mark, Clean Car Campaigner at the human rights group Global Exchange. "Since Ford has resisted calls from its consumers, environmental groups, and government to improve its environmental performance, perhaps it will pay attention to its dealers who are accountable to the communities and consumers represented by the Jumpstart Ford coalition."
The new Adopt a Dealer program is the latest move by Jumpstart Ford - a coalition that includes Ecopledge.com, Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club - asking Ford dealers to send Bill Ford a letter pointing out that Fords future success will depend in large part on the companys ability to raise its brand image with better technology and environmental leadership.
"How can Ford Motor Company justify having the worst fuel efficiency and highest greenhouse gas emissions of any automaker in America?" said Jennifer Krill, director of the Zero Emissions Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. "Gas prices have spiked at over $3 a gallon. Crude oil is now over $50 a barrel and rising. The Arctic tundra and the ancient glaciers on Mt. Kilimanjaro are melting. The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Primordial and pristine rainforests are threatened with extinction. Unless Bill Ford Jr. acts now, history will remember Ford as a leading cause of the greatest environmental crisis humanity has ever faced."
Currently, Ford and the rest of the Big Three are losing market share and profits to foreign competitors - like Honda and Toyota - that offer better technologies and designs. In addition, record high gas prices are pushing consumers away from gas guzzling pickups and SUVs - a main profit center for the Big Three. In order to gain back their shrinking market share from Honda and Toyota, Ford and the rest of the Big Three must make the use of current clean car technologies a priority.
"Ford and the rest of the Big Three complain about losing sales and market share - why arent they building more of the clean, hybrid vehicles that consumers are clamoring for," said Beth Williamson, Environmental Advocate at Ecopledge. "Consumers are lined up around the block for hybrids, and Toyota is laughing all the way to the bank."
Fords vehicles have the worst fleet fuel economy of any major automaker. As a result, the company has lost a significant number of customers that want high technology vehicles rather than heavy, gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. While the company has finally brought its first hybrid vehicle to the market - the hybrid Escape SUV - Ford only plans to build 20,000 hybrid vehicles this year, far below the sales targets of hybrid leaders Toyota and Honda.
"It is time for Bill Ford to be a leader in making clean, cost effective vehicles," said Brendan Bell, Associate Washington Representative in the Sierra Clubs Global Warming Program. "He can either watch his great-grandfathers company wither away or he can take the lead by giving consumers the kind of Fords they want - high quality, low emissions vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas."