Wednesday, February 18, 2009

News from the Future

(Note: Living as I do near the Hadron Collider, I expected strange things to occur once they'd fired that thing up. And lo and behold, I have started receiving e-mail updates of news from the future, just like that show Early Edition except with a lot bigger audience. So I'm going to pass along to you my news updates from the future.)

Ford to Declare Bankruptcy

Ford Motor Company, the only automaker that is not part of the US Government Automobile Fabrication Corporation, announced today that its 2009 losses have driven it into bankruptcy and that it will likely have to lay off up to 40% of its workforce and may eventually sell all assets.

The move comes a week after GM unveiled its newest car, the Michelle, a sporty 3-seater made of 98% recycled parts. As all other models have been declared redundant, the Michelle is considered to be "the new standard" for GM and represents a conversion to all-green technology, getting 38 miles per gallon and capable of reaching highway speeds in excess of 48 miles per hour in non-headwind driving. Although the base cost is $36,000 per unit, after government rebates, dealer incentives, and buyer subsidies the cost is $1200, which after the New Car Stimulus Act of 2009 means that the consumer must only pay 1/3 of the sticker price, or $400.

Ford's truck line had already collapsed after the other member of the USGAFC, Chrysler, introduced the Kenyan, a sturdy two-seater with almost one and a half tons of pure towing power and a bed just over twenty square feet. The Kenyan gets eleven miles per gallon of 100% ethanol, whose $19.50 per gallon cost at the pump is reduced for consumers by 75% after the Renewable Fuels Subsidy Act of 2009. Though some have criticized its unique 3-axle design, its $750 price tag (after rebates and subsidies shave off some of the $62,000-per-unit cost from the factories) have had consumers lining up to purchase the unique vehicle.

In unrelated news, both companies have petitioned the government for an addition $62 billion, nine weeks after receiving an addition $78 billion from the government. The moves are necessary, say industry experts, because the stalemate in negotiations between Unions and Management are entering their fourteenth month. At issue is the desire of management to trim pensions for workers with less than ten years seniority by 1%, which according to a UAW spokesma "is tantamount to selling out future generations of workers forever."

Meanwhile sales of Ford's newest flagship automobile, the Daisy, have sagged after a promising start. The seven-seat "green" minivan has suffered from its excessive cost of $24,000 and criticism from environment groups, who say that its 45 MPG is unacceptably low for a vehicle that doesn't run on 100% ethanol blends. Also exacerbating the problem is the $4,000 penalty consumers must pay for the Daisy's excessive carbon footprint, as well as a $2,500 "sourcing fee" for buying outside of the USGAFC approved dealer network.

Ford has indefinitely postponed the release of the 2010 Hayek, which was designed to compete with the Michelle. The five-seat sedan would have been made of 99% recycled parts and in tests was capable of up to 70 MPH with an efficiency of 45 MPG, but its forecasted $18,000-per-unit cost was deemed "untenable" in the current market.

Former Vice President, Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner, and Pulitzer Prize author Al Gore said that the announcement showed that capitalism and environmentalism can work together to create a vibrant market. "Ford is paying for its decision to remain outside the USGAFC, and consumers are responding by choosing vehicles with a more environmentally sensitive production process. Once again the free market, guided by the benevolent hand of government experts, has proven to be the most efficient engine for effective social and environmental change."

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