Ford: The Incredible Shrinking Car Company
Any guy who's gone swimming in cold water can tell you shrinkage is not a good thing. Yet even as Ford comes to grips with losing second place to Toyota, The Blue Oval Boyz say the automaker could shrink even more before they return to profitability (and start to pay off the principal on those gi-normous loans). At a "roundtable dinner" last night with the Detroit Free Press' Tom Walsh, FoMOCo CEO Big Al Mulally said his employer's market share could continue to drop as they seek to stabilize output to match demand (translation: cut production, close down plants, eliminate jobs). Mark "What Me Worry?" Fields thinks Lincoln can help pull the company out of its doldrums, citing a 15 percent increase in sales last year. Apparently, that's "the largest gain of any luxury brand in the U.S. market." Chief marketing director Jim Farley added Lincoln has a good future with younger buyers and ever-oh-so-PC "diversity customers." But what about poor, pitiful Mercury? Will it suffer the fate TTAC's Steven Lang predicted yesterday? Mulally tap-danced around that one. "We're committed to Mercury" but "we're continuing to review our portfolio. That's an ongoing assessment we continue to have, and should have." And if it does survive? Fields says it'll be the "smaller volume brand" in the Lincoln-Mercury portfolio. So as Ford shrinks, Mercury will shrink even more. And when something shrinks too much it just fades away…..