Currently reading: Inside the industry: Will a radical shake-up save Ford?
Now more than ever, the Blue Oval has to shake things up to secure its future
Jim Holder
News
2 mins read
3 August 2020

If the intrigues of the car industry were played out in the theatre, you would be on the edge of your seat right now, waiting to see what Ford does next: enter stage left, arms aloft, uncorking an almighty plot twist, or stumbling in, clutching a dagger struck into its heart.

Just over three years ago, Detroit’s finest (at least if you wear a European hat) was in such bad shape that it shook up its hierarchy, appointing Jim Hackett as president and CEO in place of Mark Fields. Fields had overseen a 40% fall in Ford’s stock price in just 36 months, as investors attacked him for failing to widen the global appeal of the firm’s traditional models or make any kind of progress in electrification and new mobility solutions.

It was a bleak time for the world’s fifth-largest car maker by volume, cast into sharp focus by its ongoing failure to really get a grip on its scale and, closer to home, make its still-bloated European operations pay. Almost simultaneously, the company set itself a $3 billion cost-reduction target, announcing plans to reduce its workforce in Asia and North America by 10% – both of which Hackett then deepened as the scale of the challenges became clear.

If Ford needed the shake-up investors wanted, Hackett seemed a curious choice for making it happen. Already into his 60s, at home in a shirt and tie, bright but mild-mannered, trailing a glittering career that did a lot to separate him from the ordinary but little to suggest he was extraordinary (although he is credited with envisioning the open-plan office revolution), only his time at the head of the Ford’s future mobility operations hinted at his status as a visionary. Yet he has done much to transform Ford’s standing, if not its fortunes, all the while protecting its core qualities, volumes and profits.

Getting Ford on the curve, if not ahead of it, there’s an electric car tie-up with Volkswagen (a deal perhaps only a man staring down the barrel of a gun could accept), investment in hugely credible start-up Rivian and an impressive acceleration of Ford’s own electrification plans, building towards the Mustang Mach-E’s launch. Will this be enough to save Hackett and, more importantly, Ford itself in this changing world?

Investors remain skeptical, with Ford’s financial performance continuing to bump along. But there’s also a feeling that Hackett has done much to lay the foundations for a Ford that can thrive into the future with electrification at its heart and even, with the recent unveiling of a 1400bhp, seven-motor Mach-E drift car, offer glimpses of a firm that’s ready to swagger again.

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Ford Fiesta

In remaking Britain’s best-selling car, Ford has trodden lightly with the new Fiesta. But does the all-new supermini do enough to keep its place at the head of the table?

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3 August 2020

The recent launch of the Bronco is an impressive move on the part of Ford. The huge number of pre-orders suggests it will be a big earner for the company, and grow sales in a market segment they had abandoned since the early '90s. Sales in RHD markets are uncertain, but they would be shortsighted to ignore raising their profile still further around the world. The Ranger Raptor, though a niche product, also shows their recent willingness to introduce a vehicle for enthusiasts: it's apparently being introduced to the US market with petrol engines, so sales uptake will be interesting. Their $700m investment in Rivian, together with an electrification programme for the F150, may well be shrewd moves.

It would be sad to see Ford succumb to the radical shifts facing the automotive industry, but I remain optimistic they are rising to the challenge.

3 August 2020

Ford have become a one trick pony and it's not a Mustang.  Seriously other than the loyalty of UK customers Ford be slipping behind even quicker, not even sure why we're so loyal as it's not a two way thing

3 August 2020

Ford is a great and important part of the automotive world, but there are real worries now. There are no convincing signs of electrification in a mass market sense to compete in Europe with VW or PSA. The new Bronco, like the new LR Defender, seems like a throwback to a previous era.Ford seem more interested in doubling-down on their traditional classic vehicles like Mustang, Ford GT and now Bronco than they are in moving into the future.

Yes they have invested in Rivian, but this is a bit like hoping someone else is going to solve the problems. Rivian will probably end up being very successful, at least!  

3 August 2020

Of all the comapnies I have work for over the years, both as an employee and contractor, Ford has to be the worst.  Huge resistance to change, internally siloed to the point where there are factions continually fighting against each other.  Encumbered by management who don't want change, see it as a threat and bury their heads.  Huge over capacity and inefficient plants building cars where there is no market.  It's easy for them to fall back into the pickup truck/utility vehicle comfort zone, but that carries with it huge long term risk.  Even here in the UK their market share is distorted as sales are forced rather than won, leading to unsustainable losses.

3 August 2020

The short answer. No!

3 August 2020
Bar room lawyer wrote:

The short answer. No!

Actually it will. For the range it offers the Mustang Mach-E is, while not cheap, incredible value for money - and it has passenger and boot space to spare. And it looks good as well.

The Focus now has mild hybrid models, but not in combination with autos yet. Hopefully they'll address that.

And I don't see any problem with an electric Ford based on VW's ID3 platform. I'm sure Ford can engineer their own character into the car.

The Fiesta is vastly underrated - I've sat in the back and it's OK.

 

3 August 2020

Ford were great when they made realistically priced, no-nonsense cars. Not necessarily the best, but good value for money and fun to drive (I'm thinking Escort, Cortina and Granada).

Now they've gone the route of every mainstream manufacturer in pretending a squashy dashboard can justify an air of quality and a huge price tag, they've lost the plot. All that exercise achieved was that 'prestige' makes increased their prices even more as people still see cars like Fords as mainstream,  but now with extortionate prices, so sales have dived.

If Ford "did a Dacia" with some honest, good-driving cars with less 'bling' (e.g. all that in-car tech rubbish) and sold them for less money than the competition, I reckon they'd turn it around - especially with a sports version of every model to keep the fast-Ford enthusiasts happy.

A nice retro-styled MK1 Escort 2 door saloon stand-alone sports model wouldn't go amiss either.

 

4 August 2020
gavsmit wrote:

Ford were great when they made realistically priced, no-nonsense cars. Not necessarily the best, but good value for money and fun to drive (I'm thinking Escort, Cortina and Granada).

Now they've gone the route of every mainstream manufacturer in pretending a squashy dashboard can justify an air of quality and a huge price tag, they've lost the plot. All that exercise achieved was that 'prestige' makes increased their prices even more as people still see cars like Fords as mainstream,  but now with extortionate prices, so sales have dived.

If Ford "did a Dacia" with some honest, good-driving cars with less 'bling' (e.g. all that in-car tech rubbish) and sold them for less money than the competition, I reckon they'd turn it around - especially with a sports version of every model to keep the fast-Ford enthusiasts happy.

A nice retro-styled MK1 Escort 2 door saloon stand-alone sports model wouldn't go amiss either.

 

You know nothing about cars or Fords. You shouldn't be writing on car forums. Maybe groceries are more your thing.

3 August 2020

 Yeah!, a two door with a selection of engines, trims and, oh, wait a minute, haven't they done this before?

4 August 2020

It doesnt matter how hard Ford tries, JLR will out do them at every corner. The defender is shaping up to be one of the best selling SUVs of all time, a real hauler and needle mover.What ford needs to do is compete with the likes of Volvo and dip into all of their market segments with their own SUVs and electric vehicles.They should consider working with JLR to gain more traction in the UK. 

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