Need proof that today's volatile fuel prices are having a direct impact on the world's top automakers? Look no further than Dearborn, Michigan, where Ford's product planners are having a tough time forecasting sales for its upcoming Fiesta subcompact. Back in June and July, when gas prices were hovering around $4 a gallon and U.S. citizen's pocketbooks were hurting, a small car like the Fiesta seemed like a slam dunk proposition. Today, gas is well under $2 a gallon, and while that's a great thing for all the Americans that could barely afford to drive their cars, it's a bad thing for automakers that are mortgaging their future on fuel efficient automobiles.
Where will fuel prices be in six months or a year? What about in three years? These are the questions that are facing Detroit's execs as they struggle to decide what cars will be sold in which markets. It ain't easy, but thankfully, Ford says it is committed to offering a full line of small cars in its home country, regardless of whether that means 30,000 Fiestas or 70,000.