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Old 8/1/06, 01:47 AM
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More Bad News For Ford

From Autoblog >>

As recent financial results have shown, reviving Ford Motor's North American operations is about more than just downsizing production capacity and increasing efficiency. Disappointing sales results are focusing the spotlight increasingly on Ford's promises of new, innovative products.

Ford is in a deep hole, with its minivans out of favor with consumers, only its aging Focus to combat the small car onslaught from other manufacturers, and even its stalwart F-150 pickup under fire from newer competitors.

Ford's problems with B-segment small cars highlight the automaker's challenges. Ford Americas president Mark Fields promised an aggressive attack on the booming small car market segment as recently as his keynote address at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show in January, but Automotive News reported Monday that Ford's current product plans show that new B-segment cars will not debut until the 2010 and 2011 model years. Among other things, Ford is struggling with defining the target markets for its small cars, with options ranging from low-priced, entry-level models to more upscale competitors for BMW's MINI. Or... Ford could simply rebadge a B-segment import, as Chevy did with its Aveo, in which case a 2007-2008 launch is possible.

[Source: Automotive News - sub required]Meanwhile the Focus lives on, with a restyling planned for the 2008 model year and an all-new model planned for early in the next decade, based on the next-generation European model (rather than the current Euro-spec version, deemed too expensive for the North American market).

With competition looming from Dodge and Chevy, the Mustang will keep its current look until the 2010 model year, when we can expect a restyled version. Bigger engines are planned though, with 6.2-liter and 5.8-liter powerplants rumored to be coming out of Ford's "Hurricane" engine program. Automotive News suggests that Ford may revive the legendary Boss badge for the big-engine models. More nebulous are a Mercury version of the Mustang and a Lincoln coupe based on the pony car platform, both just at the design concept stage.

The bottom line: With product challenges across the board, even the most aggressive new product development program seems likely to find Ford lagging the competition in some market segments, which probably means we can expect further erosion of Ford's market share in North America.

Source: Automotive News
This article is even more dire...VERY dire, in fact >> http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...ticleId=116326 Worse than not having a clear plan, confidence inside and outside of the company about Ford's leadership has been shaken. For starters, numerous management changes and departures have occurred during Bill Ford's watch. The great grandson of Henry Ford I professes in interviews that no one has more at stake in Ford's future than he does, since his family owns 40 percent of its stock and he has a legacy to consider. Still, employees and outsiders question his ability and dedication. Similarly, the jury remains out on Mark Fields, assigned to turn around North American operations. Called brilliant and a strong leader by some, he's also called "an empty suit" and a carpetbagger by others, particularly since he has not moved to Detroit and commutes via corporate jet to his Florida home. And word inside Ford is that a tremendous amount of infighting is occurring among all the ranks.

And on top of ALL OF THAT, it was announced yesterday that Volvo's profitability is now waning, too.

Yep, this is serious now, folks.

Ford should wake up and learn a lesson from what GM (who are beginning to turn around) are doing: leveraging corporate product from their other holdings around the world, even if it's just for the short-term while they get North American-made products up to snuff and into the pipeline. The Ford Focus ST - which is designed and engineered in Germany - is available not only in Europe and the UK, but also in Australia as the XR5 Turbo...so if they can export it to Auz, why not to North America? Is Ford going to have to go ****-up before they "get it"? According to a recent article in AutoWeek, [Mark] Fields said Ford would not rule out importing products. But he said the focus of efforts with other regions is on sharing systems and components, not products. C'mon, Mark, time to free yourself of the shackles of "analysis paralysis" and "just do it."

I gotta say, Ford needs to do something about its dealers and sales staff as well. I was in my local dealer today to finalize pricing on an '07 Stang, and the Sales Manager didn't even know anything about the Premium Package for the Mustang, nor did he know about several other features. Neither did the salesman. Worse yet, they had an '07 vert in the showroom, but no price lists for '07s in their sales binders and, of course, no '07 Mustang brochures. When I remarked to him that, "I guess you couldn't sell me that vert over there right now," he actually had the audacity to say, "Nope, I couldn't sell you that car tonight." I mean, he didn't even seem to care.

Unfreakingbelievable. The abject incompetence of this company right down the ranks is enough to make me rethink my purchase, frankly.

This company needs to get things together a LOT faster, and it should start with the basics: like hiring a management and sales force who actually know something about the product they sell - and who actually give a sh*t!
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Old 8/1/06, 08:47 AM
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Old 8/1/06, 09:20 AM
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Old 8/1/06, 12:54 PM
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I don't get the criticism of Fields. After seeing how hard he's pushing, how many new products he's trying to pull to market, people saying he's an empty suit just becuase he likes Florida and doesn't get along with the Old Guard boggles the mind. You'd rather have Martens? A product czar who started a grand total of 2 new products?

The Focus thing continues to amaze me. Bring the **** thing, I don't care if Phil Martens or God himself poo-pooed the idea. IT WILL SELL.
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Old 8/1/06, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Moosetang

The Focus thing continues to amaze me. Bring the **** thing, I don't care if Phil Martens or God himself poo-pooed the idea. IT WILL SELL.
Totally Agree!
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Old 8/1/06, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Moosetang
I don't get the criticism of Fields. After seeing how hard he's pushing, how many new products he's trying to pull to market, people saying he's an empty suit just becuase he likes Florida and doesn't get along with the Old Guard boggles the mind.
I think the point here is that if they really want to give the impression of tightening their belts and spending money where it SHOULD be spent, what the hell is the North American boss doing wasting money flying around in a corporate jet?! Fly commercial like the rest of the business class.

If they're like most companies, they have to keep these aircraft on standby much of the time, along with a highly paid flight crew. Maybe it's time to get rid of the corporate jet...at least until the company returns to profitability. Money saved there could be used to improve the quality of vehicles. So while Field's is enjoying his commute, wasting money shuttling around in a corporate jet, the Mustang gets carpets and floormats that wear out in six months.

All the while they're telling us about "bold moves."

What's wrong with this picture?

To me, it just demonstrates that they're not yet TRULY in crisis mode when it comes to turning things around...and they don't yet perceive things as being bad enough.
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Old 8/1/06, 05:27 PM
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Maybe they could use the $105 million they spend on charitable organizations too . . . . .
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Old 8/1/06, 05:48 PM
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I attended MSU for graduate school and the auto industry is obviously a high priority for the Michigan colleges. In 2003, a professor commented that Ford would be not be Ford in 10 years, perhaps as few as 5 years. It would either be swallowed by one of the other two domestic (well, sorta domestic for DMX) manufacturers or a Japanese manufacturer (Toyota or Honda). At the time, I was naive enough to think this theory was just plain wrong, but what we are seeing may be it coming true. As for Toyota or Honda, they would probably wait for a bankruptcy to turn over the pension system to the Federal program. Otherwise, at the time, Toyota had enough cash available to purchase all of the market value of stock of the Big 3 - combined. They just don't want to be tied to the long-term obligations until they have been resolved.

The point is that at some time in the distant, the "Ford" brand is still likely going to exist. It has too much loyalty for any of the surviving companies to just let it die. The question is will it still be Ford as in the family and the domestic ties or will Ford simply be another brand in the Toyota or Honda (or similar) line-up of brand names?

In the early 1900s there were something like 100 domestic auto companies and through buyouts and consolidations, 3 survived to the early 2000s. If we expand that to the present day global situation and say that there are 10 to 15 (or 20?) manufacturers, are we simply getting ready for a new aligning and shakeout of the industry? In 10 or 15 years, there may still be a Big 3, but it may be a global version instead of the domestic version with which we are accustomed.

Also, I have a friend from that same program that works at Chrysler. The theory for them at the time was that since they were the smallest of the domestic Big 3, they were the most likely to have a successful turnaround. GM was so big, it was believed that they could survive the shakeup. The general concern was also for the long-term viability of Ford. Part of this is also tied to what BC Shelby just said. Maybe Ford thinks they are big enough to survive the storm. Maybe they are and maybe not. The question is, are you enough of a betting man to wait for the stock to drop to $5/share, buy a 1,000 shares, and see if they can turn it around well enough to pay for another new Mustang with the profits? If it fails, you are only out the cost of a good S/C.

Just my $0.02 - glad I ordered that '07 "Ford" Mustang before it becomes a "Toyota" Mustang. Then again, the Toyota build quality is supposed to be so good...
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Old 8/1/06, 06:09 PM
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Prediction: ford will take company private when share price get's close to $5

Rant: bring this **** car over here asap!!!

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Old 8/1/06, 06:24 PM
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It going to be tough for any automaker to take on Ford. Ford is paying so much in worker benefits, I dont know if Honda or Toyota would eb willing to take on such a financial mess without trying to restructure the benefits deals. I agree that Ford really cant survive in their current fiscal catastrophe, but I dont know what the next step will be.
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Old 8/1/06, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Evil_Capri
Maybe they could use the $105 million they spend on charitable organizations too . . . . .
Yeah, ya think? Are they using the corporate jet to fly people to and from charity benefits as well?
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Old 8/1/06, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by irishfan
I attended MSU for graduate school and the auto industry is obviously a high priority for the Michigan colleges. In 2003, a professor commented that Ford would be not be Ford in 10 years, perhaps as few as 5 years. It would either be swallowed by one of the other two domestic (well, sorta domestic for DMX) manufacturers or a Japanese manufacturer (Toyota or Honda). At the time, I was naive enough to think this theory was just plain wrong, but what we are seeing may be it coming true. As for Toyota or Honda, they would probably wait for a bankruptcy to turn over the pension system to the Federal program. Otherwise, at the time, Toyota had enough cash available to purchase all of the market value of stock of the Big 3 - combined. They just don't want to be tied to the long-term obligations until they have been resolved.

The point is that at some time in the distant, the "Ford" brand is still likely going to exist. It has too much loyalty for any of the surviving companies to just let it die. The question is will it still be Ford as in the family and the domestic ties or will Ford simply be another brand in the Toyota or Honda (or similar) line-up of brand names?

In the early 1900s there were something like 100 domestic auto companies and through buyouts and consolidations, 3 survived to the early 2000s. If we expand that to the present day global situation and say that there are 10 to 15 (or 20?) manufacturers, are we simply getting ready for a new aligning and shakeout of the industry? In 10 or 15 years, there may still be a Big 3, but it may be a global version instead of the domestic version with which we are accustomed.

Also, I have a friend from that same program that works at Chrysler. The theory for them at the time was that since they were the smallest of the domestic Big 3, they were the most likely to have a successful turnaround. GM was so big, it was believed that they could survive the shakeup. The general concern was also for the long-term viability of Ford. Part of this is also tied to what BC Shelby just said. Maybe Ford thinks they are big enough to survive the storm. Maybe they are and maybe not. The question is, are you enough of a betting man to wait for the stock to drop to $5/share, buy a 1,000 shares, and see if they can turn it around well enough to pay for another new Mustang with the profits? If it fails, you are only out the cost of a good S/C.

Just my $0.02 - glad I ordered that '07 "Ford" Mustang before it becomes a "Toyota" Mustang. Then again, the Toyota build quality is supposed to be so good...
Sadly, I can't think of an automaker with the right synergy to take Ford on right now. I hope I'm wrong, cause I have a horrible gut feeling that the company may die after reading all that aforementioned stuff I referenced at the beginning of this thread.
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Old 8/2/06, 04:56 AM
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Anybody else read the September issue of Motor Trend? The inside news section says that Ford is planning to...

1. create a new Boss Mustang 5.0
2. integrate the Euro Focus into the US market
3. release a 2-door Fusion (!)
4. a new xB-like subcompact

I hope all of this is true - and that they do some of it (Euro Focus) before year's end. Also, in a recent episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson raved about the Mondeo. Maybe Ford should bring it over here, too, or give the Fusion some of the Mondeo's trickier, more upscale bits.

If I were running Ford, this is the lineup I personally would have created:

1. Introduced a production version of the 427 concept and called it an LTD. (Would have easily stolen sales from Chrysler's 300C and provided a stylish, American flavored full size sedan.)

2. Brought over the Mondeo in three different trim packages, including the above-referenced performance version. (There's your compact sedan to compete head-to-head with Hondoyota.)

3. Brought over the Euro Focus (including the ST variant to compete with the Golf GTI and Civic Si-R), to go head-to-head with the Japanese compacts.

4. Develop and bring to market the Reflex to create a whole new and exciting category of fuel-efficient but stylish sub-compacts to take on Yaris and cars of that ilk.

5. Brought out an exciting CUV. Well, they got this one right with the Edge, which will be out this fall.

6. Obviously continue with the successful vehicles like Mustangs, F-150s, etc, etc.

Last, but not least, I would spend some money revitalizing both the looks and customer service of the dealership network.
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Old 8/2/06, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BC_Shelby
Yeah, ya think? Are they using the corporate jet to fly people to and from charity benefits as well?
Figured your cyrstal ball could answer that one. . . .
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Old 8/2/06, 05:54 AM
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If I were running Ford, this is the lineup I personally would have created:

1. Introduced a production version of the 427 concept and called it an
LTD. (Would have easily stolen sales from Chrysler's 300C and provided a stylish, American flavored full size sedan.)

2. Brought over the Mondeo in three different trim packages, including the above-referenced performance version. (There's your compact sedan to compete head-to-head with Hondoyota.)

3. Brought over the Euro Focus (including the ST variant to compete with the Golf
GTI and Civic Si-R), to go head-to-head with the Japanese compacts.

4. Develop and bring to market the Reflex to create a whole new and exciting category of fuel-efficient but stylish sub-compacts to take on Yaris and cars of that ilk.

5. Brought out an exciting CUV. Well, they got this one right with the Edge, which will be out this fall.

6. Obviously continue with the successful vehicles like Mustangs, F-150s, etc, etc.

Last, but not least, I would spend some money revitalizing both the looks and customer service of the dealership network.



1. What chassis/engine combo do you propose for this new LTD? Would you have an AWD drive option?
2./3./4. So Ford’s lineup would include the Fusion/Mondeo/Euro Focus/Five Hundred and Reflex along with your proposed LTD.
5. I agree the Edge should be a hit.
6. Agreed
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Old 8/2/06, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by BC_Shelby
Anybody else read the September issue of Motor Trend? The inside news section says that Ford is planning to...

1. create a new Boss Mustang 5.0
2. integrate the Euro Focus into the US market
3. release a 2-door Fusion (!)
4. a new xB-like subcompact

I hope all of this is true - and that they do some of it (Euro Focus) before year's end. Also, in a recent episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson raved about the Mondeo. Maybe Ford should bring it over here, too, or give the Fusion some of the Mondeo's trickier, more upscale bits.

If I were running Ford, this is the lineup I personally would have created:

1. Introduced a production version of the 427 concept and called it an LTD. (Would have easily stolen sales from Chrysler's 300C and provided a stylish, American flavored full size sedan.)

2. Brought over the Mondeo in three different trim packages, including the above-referenced performance version. (There's your compact sedan to compete head-to-head with Hondoyota.)

3. Brought over the Euro Focus (including the ST variant to compete with the Golf GTI and Civic Si-R), to go head-to-head with the Japanese compacts.

4. Develop and bring to market the Reflex to create a whole new and exciting category of fuel-efficient but stylish sub-compacts to take on Yaris and cars of that ilk.

5. Brought out an exciting CUV. Well, they got this one right with the Edge, which will be out this fall.

6. Obviously continue with the successful vehicles like Mustangs, F-150s, etc, etc.

Last, but not least, I would spend some money revitalizing both the looks and customer service of the dealership network.
They also need a V8 with cylinder deactivation like chrysler and GM have. A small diesel-powered car (a la' the old VW and BMWs) may also be venue worth exploring.

The problem with 'fixing' dealerships is that each dealer is an independent franchise and Ford has very little control over how they operate business. It's the reason that Ford has no input on dealer prices for the new Shelby.
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Old 8/2/06, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mudshuvel319
They also need a V8 with cylinder deactivation like chrysler and GM have. A small diesel-powered car (a la' the old VW and BMWs) may also be venue worth exploring.

The problem with 'fixing' dealerships is that each dealer is an independent franchise and Ford has very little control over how they operate business. It's the reason that Ford has no input on dealer prices for the new Shelby.
While it's true that dealers are independent businesses, they are still Ford franchises and Ford should be able to dictate certain requirements that have to be met in order to remain a franchise.
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Old 8/2/06, 09:16 AM
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although its possible another auto giant may acquire Ford, but i dont see it happening. if anything, i forsee GM filing BK and Ford following suit (to get all those benefits that they pay and the UAW off their back) then going to the US Gov for help and starting fresh.
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Old 8/2/06, 02:58 PM
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yeah the worst-case scenario for both right now is Chapter 11 and a long recovery from same, not aquisition. The US gov repeatedly bails out domestic airlines: won't allow the last domestic automakers to die completely.
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Old 8/2/06, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BC_Shelby

1. create a new Boss Mustang 5.0
2. integrate the Euro Focus into the US market
3. release a 2-door Fusion (!)
4. a new xB-like subcompact
They'll start going in the right direction if all of that happens
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