Ford is dire straits and we knew that. So what do they do? Sell Aston Martin! Idiots!!!! I am being harsh because I have not seen that much lunacy in a while. Aston Martin is profitable for Ford, and they sell what is profitable. What does Ford keep? Whatever is loosing money.

The Premier Auto Group, bogged down primarily by Jaguar, handed in a pretax loss of $344 million. Mulally, Ford’s top executive since September, has said Jaguar is not currently for sale.

Annual production dipped as low as just 46 cars in 1992. But the brand [Aston Martin] has enjoyed a resurgence this decade — a record 7,000 Aston Martins were sold worldwide last year and a similar number are expected to be purchased in 2007.

Oh yes let’s keep the stuff that is bleeding Ford and sell what is profitable for Ford! Yes that is smart, NOT!

Let me illustrate with a similar situation. BMW bought Rover to expand its brand. Rover turned out to bleed BMW. It became a crucial issue and BMW decided to make the hard decision to sell Rover. That did not go over well in the UK. Though BMW sold Rover, they keep Mini. At first I could not understand that, but I saw that BMW had the vision to make the Mini into an icon. It worked for BMW. Now x years later BMW and Mini are sitting pretty.

If I was running Ford I would get rid of Jaguar. Jaguar is a dud, and I always wondered why Ford bought Jaguar. The problem with Jaguar is that it has a bad reputation and for the amount of money a consumer pays you don’t get a Mercedes, Lexus, or BMW.

I would have kept Aston Martin and worked to expand the brand. What I would do with Aston Martin is a Porsche move. Porsche has for the most part very high end cars, much like Aston Martin. Though to attract the lower end market Porsche created the Boxster. The Boxster was instant success because it was an “affordable” sports car from a high end car maker. I personally see quite a few Aston Martins here in Switzerland, and let me tell you they are sweet. The curves the lines are truly amazing and you crave to own an Aston Martin. If Aston Martin were to create a James Bond mini version I am tempted to believe it would sell quite well. Like Porsche, Aston Martin has mystique and a breath of exclusivity.

So Ford sells Aston Martin to fund its turnaround plan. To me this is like buying more blood while ignoring the bleeding. It’s throwing good money after bad money. It bothers me because I get the feeling we are seeing the last days of Ford. I wonder if Ford will survive into the next decade. My guess right now is no. I am not just saying this because of this sale, but because Ford keeps bungling things. Here are some further examples:

  • Kept focus on the Explorer and SUV much too long.
  • Ford has a hybrid, and they did not capitalize on it. Toyota is seen as the hybrid innovator and thus as a green company even though their CO2 car fleet average is not great.
  • Ford has an active ethanol program and could be the first car maker to ship an ethanol fleet. So where are cars on the showroom floor?

Ford is making an idiot of itself and the only people to blame are the managers, not the unions, not the consumer, but the management. Truly sad to see…