We also remember that they took a perfectly good Navistar motor and value engineered it to make a few extra dollars. How did all that work out for them?
You have either an imperfect memory, or more likely, you just don't know the facts.
The Navistar engine was a piece of crap completely
designed and engineered by Navistar. Ford did not value engineer it, they gave Navistar cost/timing/performance goals and Navistar signed a contract that they would meet those goals. They failed miserably.
Ford does have responsibility because they installed those engines in Ford trucks. But to say it was a perfectly good engine that Ford ruined is a gross distortion of what really happened.
As a consumer, it seems very odd that a company would look at tow hooks as an item that needs a chrome option, and in the same breathe, summarily dismiss a manual transmission option. Again, this is only my view as a consumer, a position I have held for 16 years.
Tow hooks have a very different reason for being on the truck. They are their to make the truck look tough, which Ford believes helps sell trucks. Compared to a manual transmission option they are so cheap as to be practically free, and the help sell trucks. Ford is convinced that a manual trans option will not help sell more trucks, it will just reduce the number of automatic trucks by a small amount. So it's a net loss.
As a consumer you should always buy what you want or what makes you happy. If Ford's offerings don't do that you shouldn't buy a Ford. It's really that simple. It doesn't make a difference to me, I'll get my pension either way.
What I don't like is non-truths out there, such as Ford ruined the 6.0L. I think Ford should never have sold that engine, but having worked on the TorqShift trans at the time the 6.0L was being developed and launched I saw first hand who was doing what. To say Ford engineering caused the problems is just wrong.