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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WinstonAlexanderson 4 August 2020

Jaguar Land Rover is where it is at.

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. 

Peter Cavellini 3 August 2020

How about Capri?

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

gavsmit 3 August 2020

The curse of 'preceived quality'

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.

 

manicm 4 August 2020

gavsmit wrote:

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.