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Alan Mulally Retirement Plans - Good or Bad for Ford?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
Okay, it's too early to evaluate Ford's new CEO, but given Ford's importance in the automotive industry, and the huge challenge Mullaly faces, I thought it would be a good idea to open a topic to discuss how he's doing. I'm sure there are many Edmunds readers who, like me, wish him much success.


  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    As a player in the market, I see where Ford's stock is still diving, but IMO ARM is the best out there to be effective for the future.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    It looks as though investors who wish to speculate on Ford's tunraround are buying the bonds and prefered stock.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    "F7.18, +0.15, +2.1%) was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Morgan Stanley, which cited ample liquidity as well as a greater sense of urgency by the automaker's management to engineer a turnaround."
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Today's WSJ features an interesting front page article entitled "Inside Mulally's 'War Room': A Radical Overhaul of Ford."
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    That article was an interesting read. My main concern is whether the market will give him enough time to make the changes necessary to permanently redirect Ford. While Ford is taking a different path than GM, it still took GM over a decade to revamp its plants, align global platforms and streamline its vehicle development processes. And it STILL isn't out of the woods.

    Ford does NOT have a decade to get this done.

    One interesting paragraph noted that in the past, when Ford hit a crisis, it started to make the changes now being pushed by Mulally, but a hugely successful model (F-150, original Taurus and Explorer) removed the urgency. The success was welcomed, but it encouraged Ford to return to "business as usual."

    The article also hinted at the need to drop brands, but it only mentioned a possible sale of Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. It did say that a big test would be what Ford does with Volvo. I hope that Ford doesn't sell it, because much of what is good about the Five Hundred and Freestyle came from the Volvo DNA. This is a connection worth exploiting. There was no mention of jettisoning Mercury.

    In the past, when Ford had its back up against the wall, it came up with a winner - the Model A, the 1949 model, the Taurus, the Explorer - in the nick of time.

    In today's crowded and brutally competitive market, it is a lot harder for any company to come up with a big hit, let alone one that can save the company. Ford needs to fix its vehicle development processes, streamline its brands, get costs under control and leverage its global resources.

    Oh, and change its corporate culture to facilitate these moves.

    Mr. Mulally, I want you to succeed, but you'll be needing all the luck you can get...
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Well said, grbeck. I'm thinking that any plan to shut down Mercury may hinge on how well the current marketing effort, appealing to women, works, and perhaps plans to import some European Fords as rebadged Mercurys.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    ...change the spelling in the title to Mulally from Mullaly (incorrect). Sorry.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    On Friday Mulally said that Ford is moving faster than expected on its plan to shrink U.S. capacity to better match market demand. He also committed to strengthen the company's products on an annual basis, which is similar to Toyota's practice.

    Of course, the real test of Ford's turnaround will be in how its new products are received in the marketplace, since the company can't shrink itself into prosperity.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    how he;s going to do. Give him a few years.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    His very recent comments about seriously considering importing European Ford models, possibly badged as Mercurys, seems to have merit. It could bring badly needed new products to the Lincoln-Mercury showrooms in '08, at relatively low cost.
  • GM tried to import the Opel with Saturn and Pontiac. Now they are finally bringing in a real Opel batched vehicle, GT. So while Ford is still sitting around thinking seriously in bringing the Euro's models, GM will start grabbing back market shares and Toyota will dwell on how to make better cars with lower cost to further boost profitabiliy. Result, the Japanese will continue to have more money to spend to bring out even more attractive vehicles.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    it is going to take at least 3-5 years to see Ford turn it around into profitability. Its going to be painfull and a loss of thousands of U.S. jobs. What pains me as I read other forums on the internet, is those Americans who would love to see the downfall of Ford Motor Company. I see this company as a part of American history. Once its gone, its gone forever. Honda/Toyota are in no-way American companies. Their PR compaigns have worked, its very evident. :sick:
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    I wouldn't classify myself as a diehard Ford fan but it is an american icon. It was the first major american automobile corporation and if Ford dies so does everything great about the company. :cry:

  • Henry Ford's passion is not seen here with the company for the past 20 years or so and that is why it lost to the Japanese and it is always extremely difficult for one to regain reputation and hope Ford can learn from that. Better do something right to preserve this America icon. Meanwhile, lets see what we play out of the symbol: F

    For info of Henry Ford:
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    "What pains me as I read other forums on the internet, is those Americans who would love to see the downfall of Ford Motor Company. I see this company as a part of American history. Once its gone, its gone forever. Honda/Toyota are in no-way American companies. Their PR compaigns have worked, its very evident."

    As a import fan(Honda and Mazda guy) I don;t look at what I'm buying as foreign or American its just what I like to buy. Lets admit it besides Chrysler in the 90's Ford and GM just put any product out there and expected Americans to buy it no matter what it was.

    As far as PR campaigns people have had good luck with Toyota's and Honda's. I'm in no way a Toyota fan(but I respect what they have done) because their product like Ford and GM's in the 90's doesnt strike a chord with me right now. I think the "Buy American" and being partriotic is very 80's/early 90's. Its a free market and GM does sell cars outside the US just like Honda and Toyota sell cars here.

    I do want Ford and GM to survive yeah but that doesn't mean I have to buy from them if they don;t have the product I want.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    i agree with 'scape. too bad more people don't visit the henry ford museum/greenfield village. there is a real effort to preserve history and make it available for people to experience.
    personally, i have never had anything really bad happen with the fords i have owned. my wife had a celica that was a pain, and it was not an enjoyable car to drive. that was many years ago, but i decided something that i can enjoy every day is worth more to me that something i don't enjoy, although the resale is better.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Mulally supported the revival of the Taurus name, and, consequently, that name will be applied to the redesigned Five Hundred. The immediate reaction has been mixed. Those who say it's a good idea cite the fact that Taurus is a household name, and is associated with many successful years for Ford. Others argue that Taurus had become a tarnished name, as the popularity of the Taurus declined from being #1 in sales to a heavily discounted car for rental companies and fleets. So, is the revival of the Taurus name a brilliant stroke or a bad idea? I think it's not a very good idea, in part because the Fusion is more the spiritual successor to the Taurus than the Five Hundred, but also because Taurus no longer enjoys the positive image that Camry and Accord do.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I like it.

    I think while it's true that the Fusion is more the spiritual successor than the Five Hundred, Taurus *was* always the mid-sized family sedan, which due to cars' getting big again is now about at Five Hundred-size. I remember how big the Toyota Avalon seemed when it first came the Camry is the same size.

    The biggest problem with the Five Hundred IMO was its lack of power, which I understand Ford is going to address with the 3.5l V6. The hopefully less conservative styling will be a big help too (but for godssake don't repeat the previous 3rd-gen styling atrocities...)

    Next steps: keep the Taurus name on it for awhile, but continue to refine/improve it as the years go on. Don't dump it in rental fleets, and don't start "de-contenting" it. After a year or two, reintroduce an SHO version with Ford's great 4.6l V8 coupled with the already available AWD system as a forward-looking version of the American muscle-sedan.

    The Five Hundred IMO isn't a bad car, and there's a lot of potential in it..when it first came out, I remember seeing it displayed at the Washington auto show. I was amazed at the amount of people crowded around a (to me) sedate sedan. The crowd was only slightly smaller than that at the Mustang display. :surprise: Sure, the Mustang crowd was younger, but middle-aged buyers are the ones with the cash to actually buy the new cars they see at shows...
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    I'm encouraged by Mulally's early moves, and I consider the adoption of the Taurus name for the Five Hundred to be a relatively minor issue.

    I consider the Fusion to be a direct competitor to the Camry, and the Five Hundred/Taurus to be Ford's counterpart to the Avalon. Regardless, there are precedents in the industry for applying old names to new cars that differed in size and positioning from the originals that carried the name. For example, Zephyr was a Lincoln, then a Mercury, then a Lincoln again, before Ford discontinued the name this year. The main thing will be whether the Taurus will be competitive in the marketplace, and I'm confident it will be.
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