Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dumb Trucks

If you've been watching sports on TV in the last year, you've seen one of Ford's truck ads. They're voiced-over by hack Denis Leary and are partly animated, with the words popping up on screen as they're spoken, in a neat effect cribbed from music videos, like the Hit Song.

One of the more recent ones tell you that all other trucks are just manly strength (dumb brawn) and the new Ford F-150 has strength and brains. And by brains they mean multiple separate computer systems. One to connect to the internet. And one to have radio control over your minions. And Sync. And another one that uses computer chips in your tools that announces to the truck that they're in the truck (if they're Dewalt-brand tools anyway).

These are all profit-makers. Except for the screen and rear-view camera, the computing power is about that of your average 300$ cellphone (which, of course could do 95% of the functions of your trucks computer systems). But all told, I'm sure adding these to your truck adds 4000$ to the price.

There was a time when truck makers sold a bare-bones compact and bare-bones full size. Crank windows, no A/C, no leather, basic radio. It was a truck. A box on the back of a cab. An engine connected to a manual tranny. They were cheap. Let us have a return to these times.

It's a good idea. Throw in a bulletproof engine. Offer 2 and 4WD options. Build some brand loyalty. In twenty years the crank windows will still work and the A/C still won't. How many of these computer nonsenses on a new 150 will be functioning in 20 years?

2 Comments:

Blogger Lord of the Barnyard said...

http://furtwengler.com/theinvaluableleader/
here's a total marketing idiot, if that sort of thing is for you.

November 21, 2009 at 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Dr Awesome said...

http://www.speedsportlife.com/2009/01/21/avoidable-contact-22-airbags-killed-the-am-radio-star/

you should read that one. it addresses this problem.

November 23, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

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