Does Ford Endorse Bigotry?

I'm in the market for a new car, but I won't be buying a Ford. At least, not until Ford Motor Company does something about these jerks:

Call me crazy, but I didn't think BIGOTRY was an accepted form of advertising. I suppose this nutjob thinks intolerance is his ticket into heaven, but with viral exposure of his ad, he may be having a COME TO JESUS moment earlier than expected.

The Underground Unbeliever first posted about this on February 24, 2008, but it has only recently gained steam, especially after making it to BoingBoing and Pharyngula. This kind of advertising is appalling and offensive and, if directed at any other sector of society, would not be allowed to stand.

Of course, the primary culprits are Kieffe and Sons, a Ford dealership in Mojave, California. However, by not doing anything about it, the Ford Motor Company is implying tacit acceptance of the bigoted sentiments in the ad. It remains to be seen whether they will ever do anything about it or at least try to separate themselves from the franchisee, but I've always thought that there's something a little rotten with a company that waits until public pressure mounts before acquiescing.

Anna Lemma of the Underground Unbeliever wrote to Ford:
I wrote to the Ford Corporation Customer Service to complain about the ad:
I live in the Mojave desert in Southern California. One of your dealers has been airing a very offensive ad on the radio. This ad states that those who don't share his personal religious convictions can either get out of the country or sit down and shut up. He also states in the ad that he doesn't care who he offends.

As a veteran of the US Air Force, I find this ignorance appalling. I swore to uphold and defend the very constitution this man is trashing. The dealership is Keiffe & Sons in Mojave, CA. The ad aired at 6:20 pm on 106.3FM. I was looking at a Ford from that particular dealership, but I think that I will go somewhere else, like the Honda dealership.
I received the following reply from Ford:
Dear Anna,

Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the advertising from Kieffe & Sons Ford.

We would like to document your feedback; however, in order to process this, more information is needed. Please include your original message with the following additional information to allow us to proceed.

Zip Code:
Cellular Phone Number:
Daytime Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:

Huh? So Ford wants to put you on their mailing list? They can't document the feedback nor process it? So it just goes into some black hole? No "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We want to assure you that Ford in no way endorses any kind of bigotry."? Nothing?

Like I said, I am in the market for a new car. My old Protoge is grinding, squealing, and leaking. I have not thought about dealers yet, though I'm looking forward to the next generation of hybrids. But I do know who I won't be dropping $30K with.


Erica said...

I work for Ford, so maybe this perspective is mildly useful. Or maybe useless, who knows :-)

I think that Ford probably "requires" various contact information as some vague technicality that a lawyer thought was a great idea for the marketing team to keep track of, and they therefore blindly adhere to it for no reason other than "the paperwork says we need to ask for it." Bureaucracy and red tape are rampant in all departments; in manufacturing engineering, my area, it takes months to process simple changes. I am completely unsurprised that their public contact group performs with the same lack of common sense.

Another thing to note is that the dealerships are very independent, in part because Ford doesn't give them any money or support. In this case, though, they'd better do something. "Very independent" does not mean "completely unaccountable"!

I wouldn't buy another Ford for a variety of reasons, this is just another nail in the coffin.

The skepTick said...

Thanks for the inside perspective. I understand about the red tape. Like all major corporations, I'm sure Ford understands that image is everything. This wasn't a case of SUV rollovers or Mustangs bursting into flames, but it could easily have the same devastating effect on their image. It all comes down to training...no wait...you're right. It all comes down to lawyers. Ford has to work around this somehow.

Anyway, maybe Kieffe can diffuse the issue. He's already issued an apology.

Brett said...

This from the "Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index (annual), September 17, 2007"

Best Automotive Companies for Gay and Lesbian Employees, 2007

1. Chrysler LLC, with 100 points
1. Ford Motor Co., 100
1. General Motors Corp., 100
1. Subaru of America Inc., 100
1. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., 100
1. Volkswagen of America Inc., 100
7. Visteon Corp., 95
8. Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., 80
9. Nissan North America Inc., 50
10. Delphi Corp., 45

This guy's a douche but has nothing to do with Ford Motor Company as far as I can tell.