Ford’s Mark Fields: Rising gas prices may cause shift in car market

Mark Fields
Mark Fields

Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, says that with gas prices rising back to 2008 levels, there may come a shift in consumer’s buying patterns.

“There is a natural kind of water level that if a gallon of gas goes over, that may shift the market mentality,” Fields said Thursday at a factory in suburban Detroit where Ford’s redesigned Focus small car has begun production.  “When it starts getting over $4 a gallon or gets to triple digits when you fill up your tank, that catches people’s attention.”

US regular gas prices rose 27% from a year earlier on Wednesday to an average of $3.55 per gallon.

Ford is standing heavily upon CEO Alan Mulally’s bet that US buyers will pay more for smaller fuel-efficient vehicles loaded with amenities, such as is the case with the designs of the new Focus and Fiesta.  The new Focus will get 40 mpg on the highway and start around $17,000, with trim levels bringing the car as high as $29,000.  Worldwide sales are targeted to reach 2 million units by 2012.

“We couldn’t be launching the Focus at a better time,” Fields said today. “We’re in a much better position to handle anything the market throws at us.”

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News