There was a bit of spike in Ford, and then today the bombshell was dropped.
Ford Motor Co. today said it might not achieve its goal of profitability in 2009 for its troubled North American business unit — citing higher commodity costs and the sour U.S. economy, which is causing gas-sensitive customers to move more quickly out of large trucks and SUVs and into more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers.
Ford, its too late, you are road kill!
In June 2007 I said Ford should do the following things.
- Focus on the new engines that use ethanol or diesel. I know that Ford is doing great work with alternative fuel engines.
This would have been both good and bad. Diesel motors would have been good because they get amazing fuel economy. Ethanol, well that is another story.
- Stop focusing alternative fuel engines on the wrong car types. Let’s be real about this, SUV’s are dead! Yes they still sell, but unless the car makers have a real solution, in ten years anyone driving an SUV will appear like those folks who drove the “boats” of the 70’s. (Eg 1970’s Cadillac)
NOW, with oil at 135 USD they are planning to cut the pickups and SUV’s. Absolutely brain dead!
- Dump Jaguar! Get rid of it. It is bleeding you dry and there is no love for Jaguar in the market. People who would buy a Jaguar would be more tempted to get a BMW or Lexus.
Ok you did this and gave it to Tata, who will make use of it.
- Focus on Volvo! Volvo has this new model called C30 and it is amazing, but it needs some marketing kick. This car is not that expensive, but is environment friendly and is the perfect car for those 30 something couples that want to make a statement on safety and the environment, but still want a roomy car.
Yes where is this? Volvo has some great cars…
- Focus on the Mustang! The Mustang is an icon, EVEN here in Europe. People buy the Mustang because it is a Mustang. So make those who buy the Mustang feel proud to drive an icon! The Mustang is about muscle. I will give you an example of how Alfa Romeo made me feel special when I bought one of their racing machines. Upon delivery in the show room floor they covered the car with a blanket in a special room surrounded by racing memorabilia. Then as I took ownership they “unveiled” the car and made me feel like I am becoming part of their racing heritage. Yes corny, but I loved my racing machine and have fond memories of the car. Give that corniness to Mustang owners!
Yes focus on this…
- Focus on the cross-overs. Put all of your marketing muscle into the cross-overs. The cross-overs are the future market. I predict in the future people will move into a car specialization mode. This means they would drive something like the Smart to work, but need something else for the remainder of the time. That something else is a cross-over.
Duh, NOW you are doing it..
- Outside of the trucks I would drop the remaining vehicles. Yes drop the SUV’s, drop the Taurus, drop whatever else. Yes it sounds dramatic, but for Ford to get back in the game they need to be aggressive and focused. Volvo has the sedans or station wagons that sell, so Ford does not need to compete with itself selling inferior vehicles.
I stay by keep the pickup because there are still people that need pickup’s and Ford needs to innovate in this arena.
Overall I feel Ford is dead, they are reacting too little too late. Renault, Tata, Fiat, and GM are going to beat them at their own game. Thus Ford will have little support outside the States, and little support in the States.
If you want to invest in a car maker invest in GM. I am quite bullish on GM! I actually believe GM has its act in gear.