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What about the future of Ford Inc??

nornenorne Posts: 136
edited March 20 in Ford
much discussion about future of GM but future of Ford? Is Ford Motor any better off than GM?

Despite huge success of mustang Ford still managed to lose 900 millon during april-jun quarter.

Whats in the future plan for Ford?
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Comments

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    norne: Is Ford Motor any better off than GM?

    From a product side, I think Ford's new vehicles are still better than what has come from GM. We'll see whether GM's new full-size pickups and SUVs and the Fusion/Milan/Zephyr change that opinion.

    Looking at it from a purely business perspective, I'm not sure that Ford is any better run that GM.

    norne: Whats in the future plan for Ford?

    That's a good question. I sometimes wonder if even William Clay Ford, Jr., knows the answer to that one. :surprise:

    I will say that if the Fusion is anything less than a total success, then I think Ford will be in BIG trouble. I mean complete restructuring, loss of Mercury and maybe Lincoln and the sale of some of its foreign acquisitions.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    Let's give this one a little more focus (ouch... pun alert) and keep this one from going all over the map before it gets started.

    Let's talk about Ford's product line a bit, in general mind you. We have spercific topics elsewhere to handled detailed discussion of each make/model. Perhaps start with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down on the different models?? Then we can move on from there.

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    I've heard the Fairlane concept is going to replace the current Ford minivans. I liked the look of this concept a lot, but I'm wary about losing the sliding door. Minivans are purchased for their utility.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    http://biz.yahoo.com/usat/050815/13045157.html

    "For the first time in generations, Ford Motor (NYSE: F - News) has resorted to firing employees and immediately escorting them from corporate buildings - shaking up the company and compelling Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford to send a message last week to employees."

    The stock was basically flat on the news, so I'm assuming this was expected or already accounted for in the stock price.

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    makes good decisions mixed in with really dumb ones.

    They are leveraging their relationship with Mazda to provide a platform and other component sharing from the really sterling Mazda3 and even the Mazda6 to a more limited extent. This is a good thing.

    They chose NOT to bring over the new C1-based Ford Focus from Europe, even though it is a killer. Why not? They have never offered anything in the way of explanation for this omission, and the current Focus is yesterday's news by every measure. This is a bad thing.

    They also use Volvo's expertise in lots of important ways, using the best parts for domestic-badged vehicles yet keeping Volvo separate enough to avoid the "rebadging" stigma. This is a good thing.

    After developing a really great 7-seat crossover, the Freestyle, and then watching it steal 30% of Explorer's sales, they choose to end the Freestyle's run early, so they can redesign Explorer in the hopes it will return to its former sales glory. I am sure it will not, and 7-seat crossovers like Freestyle are where the market is headed, and I'm not alone in that assessment - most car mag editors seem to agree. The new emphasis on Explorer and even larger truck-based SUVs is a bad thing.

    Perhaps the worst thing of all: they absolutely DO NOT KNOW when to stop throwing away money on Land Rover and Jag, even as they totally ignore that they even HAVE an "upmarket' brand of their own: Lincoln. Oh, the wasted money on these components of PAG.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There are so many things that can be said about Ford and the way it is being run, but this:

    After developing a really great 7-seat crossover, the Freestyle, and then watching it steal 30% of Explorer's sales, they choose to end the Freestyle's run early,

    I hadn't heard before. When did this happen?

    In brief, I too think it was a mistake not to bring over the new European Focus. It is a killer car much in the same way its platform mate (the Mazda 3) is here for a small car for not a whole lot of money. I'm sure the Ford version would be cheaper still. They're even going to offer a hardtop convertible version next year. Its a cool little car, but I guess that since the Mazda 3 and various Volvos share this platform they decided to sell Americans the tired old Focus a few more years.

    This and the fact that Ford desperately needs a new corporate V6. 201hp just doesn't cut it anymore, CVT or not.

    I think for the most part that they've done the right thing with their PAG brands, but after all this if they don't make money they need to think about selling one or two of them off. I'd keep Volvo and Aston-Martin.

    Jaguar is going to require more money still. I think Land Rover should be ok, or at least headed strongly down the path of being ok. They have a mostly new and/or refreshed product lineup for 2006.

    Volvo is arguably the most valuable from a business standpoint because of their safety know how, inexpensive/adaptable platforms and because they're the only one of the PAG brands that make money. Aston-Martin should be ok too once their new entry-level car hits the market pushing their volume to a Ferrari-like 4K units a year.

    M
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    They chose NOT to bring over the new C1-based Ford Focus from Europe, even though it is a killer. Why not? They have never offered anything in the way of explanation for this omission, and the current Focus is yesterday's news by every measure. This is a bad thing.

    nippon - I agree with you, but I have heard an explanation. Apparently, if they brought the European Focus here, it would be too expensive to sell at the current Focus' price point. Don't ask me if it's an emissions thing, or a exchange rate thing, or what, but that's the explanation I've heard. Hopefully they can overcome the problem and get it over here, but I doubt we'll see it before 2008.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    They have announced that Freestyle will end its life in two short years, although a rebadged Mercury version will remain. Sales have been good, relative to other vehicles of this type. Killing it is a bad idea.

    They have spent a BUNCH of money updating the Explorer for '06, to make it more like the new F-150 inside and out. It will still get sub-20 mpg in these new days of almost $3 gas. Bad thing?

    They have basically given up on the Ranger and thrown it away. I realize the volume sales in pick-ups is the full-size trucks, but Ranger was good for a couple hundred thousand a year just two years ago. That's meaningful sales, seems to me. Now it will run un-updated for more than a decade and then get killed entirely around MY '10.

    As for the little old 3.0 Duratec, they are ALMOST ready with the 3.5 supposedly, so at least they heard you on that count! :-)

    mirth: now that you mention it, I do remember them offering that explanation, although I read it as "the Euro Focus is too nice for you American consumers, who just won't ante up for nice compact cars". Perhaps it is true, but a little insulting nonetheless. People are anteing up for the Mazda3, I believe, which also gets pricey when loaded up. GM and Ford both have this attitude that small cars have to be cheap cheap cheap, or else they're just not worth the effort to bring to market. It is part of the reason their annual sales are so truck-heavy, while the Japanese make tons of profits selling cars.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    They are redesigning the Sport Trac. Perhaps they expect that vehicle to carry the small truck banner for the brand.

    Surprised about the Freestyle. I hadn't heard that, either. The interior materials and engine never impressed me, but I think it's otherwise a reasonably well-sorted vehicle.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Freestyle is not dead yet, They have just announced a truncated model run for it, that is all. It will be gone for '07.

    The SportTrac is pretty big, and pretty pricey compared to other small/midsize pick-ups. Someone wanting a base model 4x2 truck, perhaps a 4-cyl no less, will be out of luck at Ford unless they take the time to order a fleet-sales, ages-old Ranger. Otherwise they will need well over $20K to buy an ST.

    F-150 is Ford's biggest seller. GM will redesign its full-size trucks for early next year, Toyota might get lucky with the new Tundra and siphon another 50-75K sales per year away from F-150 in Tundra's first full year. F-150 is about to take on some redesigned competition. Even the Ram is getting some updates for '06, right?

    Explorer and Mustang are the next two biggest sellers. Mustang's sales explosion won't last another year (just by the nature of the sport coupe breed), Explorer might get a few percentage points back from the big dip of this year, but it won't return to former sales levels I am sure. The Fusion, which started out looking like a real exciting little car, the return of great cars to the Ford line-up, has ended up being another solid entry not unlike Five Hundred. Solid yes, exciting no. Taurus will end its run early next year, and Fusion/Five HUndred will pick up the fleet sales Taurus drops, but I doubt there will be a net increase of sales among these models.

    There is no real plan for Mercury and Lincoln five years out, beyond rebadging some more Fords.

    At Ford, the business plan seems to be dig in and wait out the storm, hoping that the same ol' same ol' will save the day. The only exception to that is they have FINALLY decided to cancel the Freestar, and to go ahead with that Fairlane concept car. The future is muddy....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Supposedly, Ford is downsizing its production capacity to reflect a 17 percent market share. Which is realistic, in view of the increased competition today from not only Japan, but Korea and a possibly resurgent GM.

    The only problem is that with the increased competition, Ford will probably have to run harder just to maintain a 17 percent share!

    As for Mercury - I look for it to be gone within five years. It needs more than rebadged Fords to really survive. The brand has fallen off most buyer's radar screens, and rebadged Fords won't be enough to revive awareness in the division.
  • nornenorne Posts: 136
    Ford is dropping the freestyle line because according to future ford plans, there will be more crossover wagons in the near future and it would only conflict with the freestyle. I saw the spy photos of new car based lincoln aviator and it looks good. There is suppose to be cheaper ford version called the edge and I wonder how it will be look. Maybe someone has a link to a spyshot?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    why go to the expense of developing a new crossover to replace Freestyle, which is a good model in its own right? They act like the new line-up is coming, and they have no control over it! And besides the Fairlane and a crossover shared with Mazda, what will this new line-up be? It all seems pretty vague for a company that couldn't afford to redo the Ranger, or properly update the Focus.

    I also wonder what will actually happen with the Excursion - first it is on, then it is off. And the Expedition? Spending a lot of money updating these truck-based gas guzzlers would be a mistake IMO. GM may prove me wrong though, with the all-new GMT900 trucks next year.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nornenorne Posts: 136
    I think Ford's explanation was the freestyle was not meeting its sales projection but who really knows what the real reason is unless one is high up in corp ladder. Maybe Ford is thinking we did not had to spend whole lot of $$$$ on freestyle because we modified volvo platform and future crossover wagons will be based off already existing mazda and volvo platform. But again, who really knows what is going on behind ford inc.

    It is interesting though the ford is keeping the mercury version of freestyle intact. Didn't ford announce they would kill off the excursion and have a new stretch version of the redesign expedition. I agree with you about high gas prices that could keep the potential big truck and suv buyers away in the future.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    an Excursion created just by stretching out an Expedition wouldn't have a high enough GVWR to exempt it from CAFE requirements? That might be one reason for keeping the Excursion around, as is.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    that even though it would just be a stretched Expedition, it wouldn't be called Expedition, but rather a new name still under consideration (one option for which is, yes you guessed it, Excursion!). And that was the last I heard, quite some time ago, so there has probably been an update since then. Whether it's a brand new model or a stretch of the existing Expedition (which is due for an update, isn't it?), it is probably a waste of money unless gas drops back below $2/gallon (aint going to happen). Otherwise, just let Expedition be the biggest SUV, and don't waste a ton of money updating that model either, as its sales will also be bound to slow.

    norne: yeah, I thought it was interesting too, that they are going to keep the Mercury Freestyle but kill the Ford version. What does that mean, that once again Mercury will go on with rebadged Ford leftovers, while Ford gets new stuff?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    After developing a really great 7-seat crossover, the Freestyle, and then watching it steal 30% of Explorer's sales, they choose to end the Freestyle's run early, so they can redesign Explorer in the hopes it will return to its former sales glory. I am sure it will not, and 7-seat crossovers like Freestyle are where the market is headed, and I'm not alone in that assessment - most car mag editors seem to agree. The new emphasis on Explorer and even larger truck-based SUVs is a bad thing.

    The most recent story I heard behind the reason for stopping Freestyle production was that Ford just wasn't making enough profit on them. After using the Volvo AWD platform and the newly designed CVT which is built in Europe (I believe), the Frestyle just isn't making much profit at the current prices.
    By switching it to the Mercury/Lincoln name, they will be able to bring the price up and make more profits.

    As for those of us that have a Freestyle, I guess that's good and bad news. Bad news is that it's "kind of" going away, but good news is that the Freestyle is a great bargain at the current prices.

    My experience with the Freestyle? I love driving it (this coming from an RSX owner). It handles extremely well, has nice power on the highway, and the interior space utilization is great. The CVT is very smooth and is always in the right gear ratio for any given situation.
    Only drawback?...those few seconds between 0-10 mph when starting off from a stop. (no jack-rabbit starts in this car)
    I doubt a 3.5 engine would help that either because they most likely programmed the CVT to start out slow to prevent any damage to the CVT cones/chain.
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    If you'd like to discuss the Freestyle in detail, head on over to the Ford Freestyle discussion.
    Let's try and keep this topic more focused (Ford pun alert!) on the big picture about the future of Ford the company. Thanks!

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    The name I've seen thrown about for the stretched Expedition is "Everest."

    nippononly: What does that mean, that once again Mercury will go on with rebadged Ford leftovers, while Ford gets new stuff?

    At this point, Mercury is lucky that it is getting ANYTHING. On another website, a reputable industry insider claims that Ford has reviewed shutting down Mercury three times in the past several years. Which, realistically, is probably the wisest choice. I'd put more money in Lincoln, and expand its lineup to make up for the loss of Mercury.

    Interestingly, volumes of both Mercury and Lincoln are down by 1/2 since 1999!
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,808
    Since everything old is new again, perhaps we're just moving into a time when Ford, and others, are more or less "rebooting". Maybe the "lost marques" are simply going into hibernation, taking us back to those times when a Ford was a Ford and you could have any color as long as it was black...OK... maybe I'm a little over the top there, but simplification may be a key to survival. Get the core biz back to where it's functioning well, THEN re-expand.

    I bet they avoid the Edsel this time around ;)

    PFFlyer@Edmunds

    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

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