By on May 23, 2017

ford logo

It’s the dawn of a new era at Ford. With luck, nothing will change with the upcoming Bronco except, hopefully, an earlier launch date.

By axing retiring CEO Mark Fields and elevating Jim Hackett to the biggest office in Dearborn, Ford hopes to chart a course towards larger profits and happy, smiling shareholders. After Fields took the helm, the company’s share prices made like the Andria Doria. Can’t have that.

Flanking Hackett are two men with really long job descriptions. Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, will tackle product development and purchasing (among other things). Jim Farley, hater of General Motors, is literally overseer of everything. Everything. All the regions, all the sales, all the mobility. Oh, and Lincoln — Farley will keep watch over Lincoln.

But imagine, for a moment, these three head honchos didn’t just advance their careers. No, you’re in the driver’s seat now.

It is you, loyal reader, who must pull the levers at Ford Motor Company. Your opinions — and decisions — hold the most weight at the Blue Oval.

In your view, what is Ford doing wrong, and what could it do to make the company more attractive to investors and consumers alike? The company’s operations are like Medusa’s hair, so your choices aren’t limited.

Sink less cash into mobility, at the risk of being left without alternate revenue streams in the future? Go big in an overseas market that’s ripe for a romance with Ford? Pull out of any country with even the slightest chance of becoming a pool of red ink? Send more manufacturing to Mexico?

What about product? As a famously fired former Ford exec by the name of Lee Iacocca once touted (in some later job position), “Product is what brought us back to prosperity.”

Is Ford headed in the wrong direction with one, or several, of its vehicular offerings? Should the EcoSport suffer a sudden death before its U.S. birth? Would you scrap small cars altogether, leaving only the Mustang and something slightly more spacious for the cops? Should Lincoln bring back the personal luxury coupe, profits be damned?

Excursion, perhaps?

It’s all up to you, B&B. You’re in charge.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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134 Comments on “QOTD: How Does Ford Turn It Around?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “With luck, nothing will change with the upcoming Bronco except, hopefully, an earlier launch date.”

    Considering all the contradictory info about the Bronco – how would you know if anything changed? Show me a true to life rendering, not some designers wet dream from circa 200X.

    Get the Ranger up and running in North America more quickly, it doesn’t have to launch with the Bronco. Take advantage of the current fever that seems to be surrounding less than full size trucks.

    Turn it around? Put that mobility cash into refreshing some of the languishing parts of the lineup. You’ve only been investing in trucks/CUVs/SUVs lately. Sedans aren’t hot but you can’t do NOTHING with them and then whine when nobody buys them.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh but Ford did update the Fusion! The fog lights up front changed and they added a chrome strip across the back. And just because no one is sure if they really like it or not, they put in one of those turn knob shifters.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      What Ford needs is a snappy slogan to turn things around, which hones in on the problem, something with historical significance and relevance. Print up ten thousand banners and hang them in the factories, offices and dealerships.

      “Profit is Job 1!”

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “Have you driven a Fooooooord, lately?!”

        Bring that back, everybody my age still remembers it. That tagline is what comes to mind for me when someone says Ford – still!

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          “Have you driven a Fooooooord, lately?!”

          The funny thing is as an enthusiast that slogan would make me pause and go: “Hmmmmmmm, no I haven’t. Perhaps I should?”

          But I’m not like most people and I own two Fords so that slogan is more likely to remind me to take my truck or my old Mustang for a drive.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            When that slogan came out, my answer each time I heard it was, “No, and I don’t plan to, either!”

            The other, more popular facetious reply to the slogan was, “Well, I wanted to, but the damn thing just wouldn’t start!”

            Open ended questions do not make good slogans.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Eco-BOOOOST just kicked in, yo!

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Step 1 : if it ain’t profitable,it’s got to go. Sorry Focus RS ,Mustang & Shelby fans.

    Step 2: Bye bye “mobility”. All that R&D money instead will go to electric car tech. Tesla has the high end electric market covered- Ford now needs to bring that driving experience to the masses.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Honestly Ford’s mainstream car and crossover lineup is just OLD.

    Fiesta – introduced 2009 (2011 for the US)
    Focus – introduced 2011
    Fusion – introduced 2013
    Taurus – introduced 2010
    Escape – introduced 2013
    Edge – introduced 2015
    Flex – introduced 2009
    Expedition – introduced 2007

    I realize that the trucks are where the money is and Mustang is the aspirational car. Fully redesigning F150 and Mustang followed by Super Duty was a huge undertaking. But most of the rest has been left to sit for 5+ years. Just getting these modernized I think would go a long ways.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      The Expedition is new this year, so that’s one thing. The Fiesta is also new this year, but we aren’t getting it. Explorer and Focus should be next year. Fusion the year after. The Escape should be in one of those years as well. The Taurus will just have to soldier on for fleets. That’s who buys it anyway.

      I’d argue that the Escape’s and Explorer’s age don’t matter. They are selling as well as they ever have (for Explorer as the CUV version). They are both still class competitive. The Escape is more competitive but people like the Explorer for some reason.

      Your point still stands. Their portfolio got up there in age.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        True, I don’t know all the plans going forward but I was aware of some of these. I didn’t expect Ford to just sit back forever.

        I agree that many of these vehicles are still competitive but without new or significantly redesigned nameplates, you don’t get mainstream press, you don’t win magazine comparisons that always crown the newest car, you don’t win Car of the Year awards, etc. Enthusiasts may not care about reviews and awards like this but lots of people do.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      To be fair the Taurus and Flex are to be gone in two years and will never warrant an update.
      THe Focus, Fusion and Escape are riding their same platform since the times you have stated however they all have been refreshed once since inception.

      Nobody does a total redesign anymore on things like that every 4 years anymore.Most ride their same platform for about 6 to 8 years with either slight refreshes or substantial ones such as the Camry has done over the past 10 years.

      The Expedition is getting a redesign coming out this year (dont know if you knew this).

    • 0 avatar
      denster2u

      Agreed, Ford is relying on mild refreshes, instead of clean sheet designs, and the “kinetic” design language has not aged well. Base powertrains and infotainment systems are very outdated, with turbos and touchsceens costing extra, or only part of expensive option packages. Right now, they are facing a massive investment to redesign all of these products to stay competitive. Before that happens, further market share erosion is inevitable. In the meantime, Chevrolet has redesigned almost their entire car/crossover product portfolio since 2016. Ford needs a fresh design direction, and better equipped base models. Things will get worse before they get better.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Especially update the interior of the Focus. It looks like a set piece from MST3K.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      You do realize that there is this thing called product cycles? No major automaker can afford to completely update every one of their products every single year.

      All of the Fords you listed are, unless discontinued like the Flex, due for an upgrade or replacement soon. It’s short attention span thinking to call Ford’s portfolio ‘old’.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Of course I do. I’m not advocating for them to revamp every model every year. My comment was an explanation for why I think sales are down, and stating my opinion that I don’t think radical changes are needed, ie sales will pick up when these older products are redesigned over the next several years.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I understand the mobility focus to a point. But I would like to point out to that the U.S is a LARGE place and not everyone in the future will be able to summon an Uber when they need. This idea that people will stop buying cars is foolish. They may start buying more electric cars or self driving cars perhaps, the standard issue personal vehicle of whatever size and design is not leaving the market place anytime soon.

    With that in mind, Ford should focus on the basics of block and tackling. Fix the issues, get the product line reliable and bug free. It’s that simple. When folks lay down 20k or more, even less, on a new car they have an expectation that it is going to work as advertised for quite awhile. Niggling glitches are what cause people to tell others how much they hate their car and advise to not buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The US is a large place, but most of it is pretty empty. Something like 85% of the population lives in places where they can call an Uber EV.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I would agree with that. But of that 85%, how many are living in the suburbs?
        Gonna call Uber for every trip to the grocery store, Lowes, soccer practice, work.
        It is comical really to think that mobility services are going to render the personal automobile obsolete any time soon.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        But are they going to call one every day? There is a small subset of the population who can get by not owning a car, but the vast majority of people still need and want to commute by car regularly. There’s a huge difference between “I can summon an Uber EV because I’m getting white-girl-wasted tonight and want to be safe to/from the bar” and “I can not own a car and Uber everywhere I need to be.”

    • 0 avatar
      larrystew

      This! I owned a 2002 Focus with nary an issue for 12 years. Purchased a 2013, and have been disappointed with one large quality problem (Powershift) and other small quality problems. Ford needs to get the basics right. Admit the problem with the Powershift, and PURCHASE SOFTWARE THAT ACTUALLY MAKES THE THING SHIFT LIKE AN AUTOMATIC. It’s out there. If your engineers can’t do it, then buy some programmer’s exertise to make thousands and thousands of people happier with their Foci and Fiestas. That, for one, would make me happy enough to consider another Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        ” PURCHASE SOFTWARE THAT ACTUALLY MAKES THE THING SHIFT LIKE AN AUTOMATIC. It’s out there. ”

        no it isn’t. a DCT is going to suffer horribly on a “skip shift” (especially downshifts e.g. 4-2 or 5-3) simply because both ratios are on the same input shaft. A skip shift on a DCT is doomed to take an eternity, no matter who makes it.

        • 0 avatar
          larrystew

          I’ve actually had a conversation with a tuner in my state that has had great success making fords DCT much more driveable than stock. It’s just out of my price range. And more to my earlier point, ford should be actively pursuing this. I drive my car on pins and needles waiting for the 1-2 shift to shudder constantly. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t have a problem with the typical manual feel of the surges, or occasional stumble from a dead stop, but what I do have a problem with is fords lack of effort to make it better.

  • avatar
    ajla

    1. Build a 6.2L powered RWD coupe the size of the RR Wraith.
    2. Take delivery of #1 above
    3. Put “Corvette Forever” banner on the Glass House.
    4. Resign

  • avatar
    carguy

    1. Improve quality
    The assembly quality issues of new Ford products needs to improve – from panel gaps to rattles and dodgy door seals.

    2. Discontinue unpopular products
    The Fiesta, Flex and Taurus don’t sell well in the US – discontinue them.

    3. Focus on popular products
    Invest R&D in popular products and don’t let them get stale. Better to invest in the next gen Escape than fringe Mustang variants.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoomfan

      Came here to say exactly this. Focus (ha, nice pun there) on reliability and quality and get rid of stagnant models like the Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      As far as I can tell, the Fiesta, Flex and Taurus aren’t much longer for the US market, so #2 is done. #3 is sort of taken care of if you look at how many SUVs and F-150s they sell. And while #1 always helps, I don’t think that overall quality is as big of a driver of sales (or lack of) than the fact that most people now want more and more CUVs and SUVs. Updating the Escape would help, and the Explorer looks much the same as it has since it’s major redesign. Slotting in the little Ecosport will help and nobody will give a rat’s behind that it comes from India.

      While vehicle lines like the Mustang and RS will never be the bread and butter of the company, they still serve a purpose and have a reason to exist in the lineup. Halo cars bring in customers. Sure, they might be enticed by the latest ‘Stang, but the father of two kids with a pup is likely to sway over to the lot where the SUVs are parked and will wind up more than likely buying an Explorer. But it’s the prancing horse that brought him by the dealership to begin with.

      We have three Fords in the immediate family and no major issue to date with any of them. My sister owns a 2011 Explorer XLT, my son has a 2011 F-150 and I DD a 2014 Escape S. My only complaint about my Escape is that I bought it without fully considering what I intended on using a vehicle for and find myself borrowing the Explorer quite a bit to haul my family around when we go out of town for my daughter’s dog shows…but that’s not really a fault of the Escape and more (ok, entirely) the fault of the buyer!

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    So why is it that several folks seem to not know that Ford is discontinuing the Fiesta, Flex and Taurus in about 2 years.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Is that a question or a statement?

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Statement
        Sometimes I feel as though when I read comments on this site people just kinda ramble…dont get me wrong I ramble atleast once a day on one site or another however with this being an enthusiast site more so than an informative site I expect a certain level of knowledge.
        Do I expect everyone to know how an ICE works…no I dont …hell even I dont as much as I would like however when it comes to products like the ones mentioned then I expect a little better know how.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’d be perfectly happy with the Chinese market extended Fusion as the Taurus.

          “Taurus – Coming With Length!”

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Not happening, as I mentioned in my Domestics Abroad article.

            If you want a CD4 sedan, you’ll have to spring for the Conti.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Corey

            Do you really think the cops want a Fusion PI though? I know Ford has showed off a hybrid Fusion PI but that’s like telling the officers they’re going to all start driving Camrys.

            When the Taurus dies and the Explorer (eventually) switches platforms I predict Chevy’s share of the cop car market climbs even higher.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Hmm, isn’t the Explorer to go RWD? So that’ll be what cops prefer, right?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            RWD Exploder?

            Wouldn’t that bring up too many bad memories? I would think Bill Jr. would go into PTSD induced shock.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Well hmm, which platform are you thinking it’s moving to then? IIRC I’d always heard RWD upcoming.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            If its roughly the size of the old GM Lambda platform – sign me up for a test drive.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Cops are going to the Explorer anyway. If the Taurus hangs out as fleet only for a few years it will give Ford time to assess the market and determine if cops even want a sedan anymore. If they do, I’m sure the D6 platform will be able to spawn a police sedan.

            The next Explorer will be RWD.

    • 0 avatar
      krohde

      Where has it been stated that the Fiesta is going away? That entire segment is struggling in the US for sure, not just at Ford, but I haven’t seen that stated for sure and it’s a hugely popular segment in Europe and elsewhere. We’re very US-centric in these comments.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Cant find a direct link however I have read in one or two places in the past that Ford will redo the Fiesta but will be Europe and overseas only. I could be wrong..Wouldnt be the first time.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          The last comment Ford had on the Fiesta was the following:

          “The next-generation Fiesta is introduced for Europe and Middle East and Africa. We’ll have more to say about other markets at a later date”

          The next gen Fiesta isn’t going to be made in Mexico either. We’ll either get a de-contented version from Thailand in limited trims, or Ford will make due with whatever subcompact CUV they will build in Mexico.

          I think they could bring the Fiesta Active over as a replacement for the Fiesta. Americans love jacked up hatchbacks that are branded as crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Yes, the Taurus dies and the capacity in Chicago will be used for the new Lincoln Explorer version.

  • avatar
    NN

    Ford doesn’t need to be rescued, they are highly profitable and have made a lot of the right moves over the past years. What they need to revive the stock and public perception is basically a fancy dog and pony show. My ideas:

    -10 year, 100k mile bumper to bumper warranty. This is essentially an incentive worth $2k or so, but a great marketing angle that separates you from everyone else and helps bring burned customers back and considering your aging products.

    -Bronco & Ranger: make priority to get these done and on the market. If done well they will generate a lot of brand excitement again, these are core Ford products and will bring a lot of young-ish male buyers back into the fold.

    -The European branch should continue to be the lead developers on Fusion, Focus, Escape, EcoSport, Fiesta. They do need makeovers soon to stay fresh, and I’m not sure how far along Ford is on that. Consider hiring a new designer if the design language doesn’t convey enough change. Their “kinetic” designs on these models were very successful, but now 5+ years old and the simple re-hashes of Aston Martin grills on everything isn’t cutting it.

    -Since Cadillac has gone off chasing the Germans, Lincoln needs to seize the opportunity to become the proud American luxury car again. The Navigator is a great start. And yes…bring back the damn Continental. Just make it long, low, big, and badass looking (and RWD). Make it with some actual quality materials, and don’t make it a low-volume 100k car. Target $60k range. China will buy them. So will America. If it looks right, people will talk about Lincoln again.

    We’re getting to a point where all cars are pretty good and have so much technology and sophistication that design, marketing, and brand power become more important. Vehicles that define a brand (a la Continental & Bronco) bring people to the dealer, and a rising tide lifts all boats.

    • 0 avatar
      krohde

      I like this list. Love the 100k warranty idea – doing 100k for powertrain has certainly helped Hyundai/Kia’s quality perception (even if it’s not transferable, a fact many buyers probably don’t know). Nissan is trying that with the new Titan to steal sales from the Big 3 and Toyota but not sure it’s making an impact. GM dumped their 100k powertrain warranty because their research showed it wasn’t impacting customers.

      As far as Lincoln, they’re doing exactly what you said already, other than the Continental being FWD instead of RWD. I’m not sure pure luxury buyers really care what wheels are driving the car though.

  • avatar
    gkhize

    – Literally make ‘Quality Job 1’ and then market the heck out of it to eliminate the stigma of poor quality.
    – Eliminate any effort that isn’t profitable whether it’s the Fiesta or development of an EV, or do whatever is needed to make it profitable.
    – Do what you do best, build cars and trucks. Stay out of the mobility stuff and let Silicon Valley do what they do best on that front.
    – Figure out a way to make model year changes more distinctive and desirable. Why pay for a new 2017 when a chrome strip or color choice are the only things that differentiate it from a used 2012?
    – Continue to look for new international markets.
    – Build a 900 HP Mustang to whip the Demon. Hey, they can be a little frivolous!

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Obviously you take the Mustang, stretch it a bit, add some brougham, drop in the 5.0, and put crosshairs on the front.

  • avatar
    krohde

    Ford is doing a lot of good things around future tech. They’ve been working on autonomous vehicles as long as anybody (for over 12 years now) and they were the first to test their vehicles in inclement winter weather in early 2016. I admired them for their convictions around Level 2-3 autonomy (i.e. Tesla Autopilot) being too dangerous and focusing their efforts on Level 4 by 2021 but Hackett was very hedgy about that yesterday. If they’re not going to hit that goal, which Fields repeatedly has said they would, as has Nair, it’s going to look bad for them. However, if they are actually going to hit this goal, I think their issue here is more of perception and communication.

    Electrification and autonomy seem to get lumped together as part of “future” product stuff for Ford and those need to be very clearly separated, I think. As some others pointed out above, the US is a wide open place and urban autonomous taxis aren’t going to be relevant for a lot of people. However, they certainly will be relevant for urban areas of the US and for a lot of the world beyond the US so it’s important for Ford to get that right. How soon it happens and how any of the companies manage to monetize it remains to be seen though.

    Getting to electrics, Ford is certainly behind there and it’s even more critical for Ford to get that right, as electric is relevant for ANYBODY that drives. The Bolt is on sale now and the Model 3 (maybe) will be by the end of the year. Beyond the name (Model E), we know nothing about Ford’s competitor and that’s bad for them. However, their promise of 13 electric/hybrid vehicles in the next few years is intriguing, especially the F-150 and Mustang, as those are wildly popular and Ford’s two strongest vehicle brands. They’ve got to keep pushing and get those launches right, quickly.

    As far as the core products, I don’t know enough about the rest of the world to speak intelligently but, in the US, they’ve got to improve quality. Before Sync w/ MyFordTouch and the Fiesta/Focus DCT came out, Ford’s ratings were basically on par with Toyota and Honda – they’d made huge strides. Since that 2010-2011 time though, it seems like they’ve fallen way behind again and they’re still fighting the same battle they have been for 20 years with a quality gap between them and the Japanese. The 100k bumper to bumper warranty NN mentioned above is a great idea, I think.

    Nice as the Bronco and Ranger are, they’re not going to be volume sellers so they’re not as important. The volume sellers are the crossovers/SUVs and the small/mid-size sedan segment, though those sedan segments are getting hammered right now and sales may never come back to the old levels. Ford clearly has competitive products in the Escape and Explorer, though the Escape’s 2017 redesign isn’t helping like they’d planned, given how they’re getting killed by the Rogue, CR-V and RAV-4 now. The Explorer is still the best-seller in its segment, by a good margin. They’re missing out on the tiny crossover category and I can’t believe how late the EcoSport is in getting here (not going on sale until early 2018). That’s a big miss, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      zip89123

      I believe you’ll see the Escape jump from #4 to number three or two before the year is over.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>I believe you’ll see the Escape jump from #4 to number three or two before the year is over.<<

        Only if they discount the hell out of it like Nissan w/ their commerce. The CR-V is a class above the rest.

        As for the Fusion, Ford is a second tier/fleet player, again, almost as bad as Nissan.

        Ford makes money hand over fist on trucks while probably losing money on cars, it’s hard to keep throwing money at losing propositions.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    #1 – higher quality vehicles
    #2 – stock buyback instead of raised dividend
    #3 – rein in the lousy dealers. A bad dealer is as bad or worse than a broken vehicle

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I wonder what effect Ford’s silly-high MSRPs have on their sales? As a car guy, I know I can knock 10-15% off any Ford MSRP* just by walking in the door, but for the man on the street, when he builds a moderately well equipped Fusion or Explorer online and sees the price about $10k more than he expected, does he just write the brand off entirely?

    *Focus RS and GT350 excepted

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “does he just write the brand off entirely?”

      He’d be foolish not to write off the brand entirely.

      Yet a lot of people accept these silly-high MSRPs as gospel because they need financing and they want that new car.

      What we have here, “is a failure to communicate” to the masses that there is better out there, for a softer price.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        >He’d be foolish not to write off the brand entirely.

        but people still do. Especially when there are so many new car brands. And so many off-lease used car alternatives.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          People still do “what”?

          Write off the brand entirely?

          Yes, they should write off the brand entirely. There are soooooo many other excellent choices out there.

          There is one Ford even I would buy if I ever needed a 3/4-ton pickup truck. And that’s an F250 with the biggest gas engine available.

          Because Toyota does not offer a 3/4 ton Tundra.

          And that’s Toyota’s loss.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ HDC …Agreed, MSRP is a start point. I walked away from a lease deal on an ATS Coupe . I don’t need financing. That being said, no way was I going to eat the depreciation on a Caddy. The salesman would not move on the Lease payments….I guess he figured I wanted the ATS real bad. He figured wrong.

        I ended up paying cash for a heavily discounted EB Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      I think this is one of the largest issues in the auto industry today. You can have an f150 crew cab range from 40k to over 70k. That’s a 30k price difference in a vehicle that besides some mechanical upgrades like 4wd and ecoboost, is essentially the same vehicle, give or take some nicer leather, infotainment, etc. But you know it does not cost and additional 30k to add all of that. My concern is that many of these companies are going to be hit harder than expected when the vehicle economy continues its increasing stagnation cycle. Suddenly stop making 15k margins on vehicles because people can’t afford them and you’ve got a big problem. Factor in return leases and dropping residues on the reruns and suddenly your sitting on so much negative equity that you can’t move, it gets ugly in a hurry. One trend that’s been interesting to track, especially with ford, is their pricing structure. Since you don’t have an intermediate auto brand (Buick, chrysler, etc.) you see massive price gaps for trims and packages that can literally double the price of the base automobile. If the market can sustain it, by all means keep doing it. But be careful when the market shifts, because than it gets really bad. An example we see right now is the rising incentives. The question becomes how much longer can you keep doing it to stay competitive. Eventually something is going to give, either market share, profitability, or sheer volume. Or worse case senario; quality. I really hope that automakers are smart enough to realize today that’s the last thing that should be cut, unless you want to become like FCA, competing but in a distant third.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        ” But you know it does not cost and additional 30k to add all of that. ”

        why do you act like this is at all unique to the automotive industry? Do you really think it costs Apple $100 to add 96 GB of flash memory to an iPhone 7? nobody who makes anything for sale simply adds the incremental cost of something to the MSRP.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Stop throwing good money after bad. dump Lincoln cars and make Lincoln SUVs only.

    Lincoln lost the luxury car wars. Put the energy putting the Navigator, MKX/C at the top of their classes.

  • avatar
    AVT

    If anyone has ever watched the movie margin call, the winner of this automotive cycle stagnation will be whoever copies the movie, except with automobiles instead of mbs products.

  • avatar
    srh

    From my perspective, things aren’t all that bad. I have a FoRS in my garage, along with a Transit. I’m tempted by the Raptor and the GT350. The Fusion Sport is enticing as well, if there were a wagon version I might add it to the stable. My girlfriend is considering the Explorer as a replacement for her Subaru.

    I don’t have any particular love or hate for Ford, but I think they have the right mix of pretty good vehicles with solid enthusiast options. And with Sync3, they finally have a radio that doesn’t completely suck.

    I remember the late 90s when companies would throw out a press release saying that they had a website, at which point they’d be an “internet company” and the stock would skyrocket for a couple years. So I hear “mobility” company and shake my head. Don’t worry about making investors happy, worry about making good cars and a good profit. Long term investors will come around.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The first thing people need to remember is that Ford was FIRST in a lot of areas just a few years ago. Even now, who besides Toyota has more electrified vehicles for sale? Ford’s lineup is all at the end of their lifecycle. Ford’s problem has always been their extended 10 year product replacement schedule. They think they can get away with it like BMW does, but they are in a different, faster moving part of the market. They can’t keep doing quick nose jobs at 5 years and think that will hold them another 4.

    So they need to:

    1. Speed up the product cycle so after 5 years their cars get a complete rebody. Keep the platform for a couple generations, everyone else does, but the styling has to change more often.
    2. Expand Lincoln. Lincoln has a great opportunity as an actual luxury brand, since everyone else is trying to be sporty (and failing). So they need to exploit the smooth, cool, money luxury of their recent ads. The MKZ obviously needs to step up another notch.
    3. The next generation of electrified vehicles need to be purpose built, not tacked on ideas like the C-Max is today (which kills the trunk space.
    4. Keep their autonomous development going, but don’t let it crowd out development of everything else. It doesn’t matter if Ford is first or not in this segment. It will be forever before autonomous is where the money is at – if ever.
    5. STOP RETREATING. Why Ford and GM are pulling out of markets all over the world is beyond me. Figure out how to make money in these places. Other automakers are doing it, and the Chinese are coming.

    • 0 avatar

      Well said dwford, I agree with all your points. I have Fusion Titanium which BTW most popular trim in SV – most Fusions I see in Valley like say 80%, have MSRP $33K or higher – hybrids or Titaniums. But Ford has a habit of keeping sedans stale over time. Fusion update is underwhelming. They did not even improve interior. When Fusion was initially introduced its interior was class leading but by now everyone surpassed Fusion, even Mazda6 got a high quality interior. But Fusion is fun to drive car regardless of interior quality or MyFord issues which justifies the price.

  • avatar
    greenST

    This is interesting to me as a Ford fan.

    First, despite nervousness at Wall Street, Ford is in good shape. Between 2010-2016, Ford has had a yearly pre-tax profit of $6.3-10.8 billion. Not too bad.

    IMHO, I think Ford need to invest in the current line up, standardize harder, as well as spend money on some of the key (future) trends.

    The current cars and some cross overs are to a large extent built on platforms that are getting old. Focus and Escape are underpinned by Ford’s global C platform, which came to market in 2010. The platform is less flexible than, for example, VAG:s MQB platform; look at the trunk of the Focus Electric vs VW e-Golf – the Focus’ trunk is (almost) filled by the battery pack.

    The same goes for the CD4 platform; the Fusion Energi is proof that Ford did not develop that platform with electrification/hybridization in mind.

    So, with a new, flexible B/C platform (prepared for electric drivelines, as well as gas), Ford could both refresh the current line up (Escape, Focus, Fiesta, Transit Connect + forthcoming EcoSport) and catch up with the electrification of vehicles. Unfortunately, it seems like Ford is partially missing this one; it is reported that the 2018 Fiesta will carry over the current B platform.

    Furthermore, a new, flexible D platform (prepared for electric drivelines, as well as gas), would make it possible for Ford to replace the Explorer (based on D4, originating back to 1999), as well as the Edge, the Fusion (and the S-MAX in Europe and China).

    As other have pointed out, the F150, the Super Duty, and the Mustang are (thoroughly) updated, now Ford needs to turn to its car/crossover line up. With modern, flexible platforms, Ford would be able to electrify its vehicles, refresh the current car/crossover line up, and get the flexibility to develop new models.

    Furthermore, I think Ford needs to discontinue a number of vehicles:
    C-MAX: slow seller, replace with new Escape with electric motor/hybrid driveline (see above)
    Taurus: slow seller on old platform in shrinking segment
    Flex: slow seller on old platform, replace with new Explorer (see above)
    E-series: ancient platform not shared with any other vehicle, replace with Transit and F-series cutaway
    F650/750: slow seller on separate platform not shared with any other vehicle

    Standardization
    Mercedes, Volvo and BMW, among others, have standardized their gas/diesel engine line up. I think Ford should follow suit. For example, cut down the EcoBoost line up to 3-4 engines (1.0 i3, 1.5 i4, 2.0 i4 and 3.0 V6), and discontinue 1.6-3.0 NA engines. Furthermore, would it hurt Ford to shrink their V6 line up from the current 2.7, 3.0, 3.3, 3.5 or 3.7 – and replace them all with the 3.0 V6 (EcoBoost) currently limited to Lincoln, with a single-turbo version added?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    For starters, go to Navistar with hat in hand and revive at least the diesel engine partnership. Revive the 7.3L Powerstroke and thoroughly modernize it. The 6.7L Ford diesel may have fixed the ills of the 6.0/6.4 but all the diesel guys I know have sworn off any Ford diesel except old 7.3s.

    Definitely revive the Excursion. The Transit wagon’s towing capacity sucks and with the E-series being cutaway only Ford no longer has any offering that can carry 9-12 people and tow trailers. Chevy discontinued the 3/4-ton Suburban/Yukon around the time Ford quit the Excursion, but they still have the Express/Savana 3500 that can handle people and real towing.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      You could actually buy a 2500 Suburban until 2013. The big loss with the Excursion was the diesel. A 6.7 PSD powered Excursion based on the new 2017 F250 would be in my driveway the first day they went on sale.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “For starters, go to Navistar with hat in hand and revive at least the diesel engine partnership. Revive the 7.3L Powerstroke and thoroughly modernize it. The 6.7L Ford diesel may have fixed the ills of the 6.0/6.4 but all the diesel guys I know have sworn off any Ford diesel except old 7.3s.”

      LOL this is the silliest thing in this thread. You can’t “modernize” the old 7.3. You’d have to start over from scratch. and given the competitive requirements of an HD pickup diesel, you’d end up with something looking a lot like… the 6.7 Powerstroke.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Ford should just figure out a roundabout way to re-brand the 6.7 as a 7.3 without actually changing the engine.

        Measuring it in quarts gets you closer, but not quite there.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        I would argue that the task of making a modern 7.3 is trivial compared to the task of getting Navistar to work with Ford again.

        And sure it’ll be an all-new engine. It might look like the Ford 6.7. But as long as it’s not a Ford engine and can be marketed to the 7.3-diehards it’ll do better.

        Better yet Ford could just make what the HD truck guys really crave: a Ford with a Cummins engine and Allison transmission (in the sub-Class 6 size range)

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          so, you think they should waste a ton of money to design and build something they already have, just so they can have a name attached to it?

          Do I have that right?

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            They’d probably be better off to use a fraction of the development money to just buy a license to rebrand the 6.7 as a “6.7 Cummins”; again not changing the actual engine one bit.

            I know plenty of truck guys who want the Cummins brand associated with their engine and who are at a total loss to explain any technical or functional reason why.

  • avatar
    z9

    Could Ford hire (steal?) the people who design interiors for Audi or Volvo?

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Lot’s of people replying with ideas to flog more product but is that the issue? I ask as i genuinely don’t know.

    Word on the street is that the share price falling was the reason for this change so why has the share price dropped? Is it a case of not enough sales, market share, profit or other underlying issues investors are concerned about?

    Until I know the answers to those questions i cannot really develop an armchair solution.

    I will, add this comment though, from my experience the poor real life fuel economy numbers are becoming common knowledge outside of “car guy” circles. Two people i know were eye balling fords and mentioned “someone” said real life economy was poorer than other marques.

    I drove a frankly gorgeous MKC rental a few weeks ago and was absolutely floored by the way is sucked gas even tootling along at 119kmh, we’re talking 11l/100Km which is absolutely insane.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    Bloody yanks and your cockamamie measurements for everything.

    21mpg.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I use freeway, don’t you use highway?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    How to increase Ford share prices:
    1. Sell off all profitable parts of the company.
    2. Move headquarters to Silicon Valley.
    3. Change name from Ford Motor Company to Ford Green IT Company.
    4. Spend huge sums of money developing unprofitable social media apps and green technology, and announce they will all be launched next week.
    5. Tell shareholders that no profits are expected until at least 2025.
    6. When product launches are delayed until 2021, apply for government subsidies and offer a public stock offering to keep cash flows positive.
    7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 as necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      A bit harsh, don’t you think?

      To me, the F150 line is clearly the cashcow for Ford, so I would recommend upping the content of the F150 line to where even the modest iterations have ample content.

      Dropping the Lincoln line a la the way Ford dropped Mercury would also be very helpful.

      Hey, dress up a Fusion with Lincoln trim and call it whatever. That’s what Ford does now.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Hey, dress up a Fusion with Lincoln trim and call it whatever. That’s what Ford does now.”

        you should stick to talking about Toyota, since it’s clear that’s where your knowledge begins and ends.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          This coming from JimZ, someone without any cred.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            He works in the automotive industry and has significant knowledge thereof.

            You present yourself an openly amoral, unwisened, myopic dupe who has little capacity for abstract reasoning, or understanding either perspective or simply the scope of what you don’t know, and you’re likely emboldened by the altruism of others saving you from having to experience consequences. You know little about cars.

            I’m not sure how you’re able to arrive at the conclusion that you have “cred,” but it’s probably related to the delusions which allow you to sleep at night.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “You present yourself an openly amoral, unwisened, myopic dupe who has little capacity for abstract reasoning, or understanding either perspective or simply the scope of what you don’t know, and you’re likely emboldened by the altruism of others saving you from having to experience consequences. You know little about cars.”

            Well done.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            brenschluss, those who’ve been on ttac since the days of Robert Farago may remember my history and expertise.

            I have no need to rehash my experiences for you or JimZ.

            What surprises me is that you and other self-aggrandizing self-important individuals read my comments.

            I certainly don’t read yours, unless they’re directed at me.

            LOL! Please feel free to skip over them. I won’t be offended.

            People like you and JimZ have driven away several long-time ttac readers.

            bikegoesbaa, I agree, that was very well written. I enjoyed reading that. In fact, I was flattered.

            That meant my writing was impactful to get people to react that way.

            Love it!

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I have been here just as long. This is how I can have confidence in what you claim to be, since I’ve read your inanities for a while now.

            I do not believe for a second that you’re able to reasonably and accurately evaluate your life experiences and compare their value against that of others. Your “history and expertise” doesn’t need to be rehashed because it isn’t anything special or uncommon.

            This isn’t intended to inform you of anything you don’t know: if you haven’t learned morals and ethics after this many years, you won’t change, but the absurdity of what you say is still worth noting.

            I usually don’t have much reason to post comments, so I don’t. That’s one difference between us: I recognize when I have nothing to contribute, while you do not.

            I read almost all of the comments on this site, because I’ve learned from many of them. I will also continue to read your comments because, frankly, it would be more effort to skip them, but I will also continue to point out whenever it is convenient that you have absolutely no leg to stand on whatsoever when it comes to credibility, being a good person, knowing about cars, or really anything but illegal hiring practices and tax evasion.

            By the way, a homeless guy s#itting himself on a bus is also “impactful” and “gets people to react,” but not all “impactful” things should be a source of pride.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            brenschluss, thank you for reading. I had no idea any one read my comments.

            Obviously we do not share common ground. And that’s OK.

            You are entitled to your opinion.

            I always keep in mind that not everyone thinks alike about life experiences, so you are entitled to your chosen path in life, while I have to play the cards I was dealt.

            Values differ based on opportunities encountered in life. IOW, we’re not given the same opportunities and experiences in life. My values come from my experiences.

            If you decide to continue to read my comments, you may find that my observations will rile your values. I tell it like I see it.

            If you have been on ttac since the beginning you should already know what got me (and others) started on ttac, a long time ago.

            (BTW, I’m only on my PC when I’m doing something that requires my presence, like burning DVD movies. I’m just killing time reading articles and comments on ttac and other boards while stuff runs in the background.)

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            HDC, STFU you old coot.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            brenschluss,
            You put what I cannot into words. Well done.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            tres, LOL!

            Another winner!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @brenschluss – well said.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            “Values differ based on opportunities encountered in life. IOW, we’re not given the same opportunities and experiences in life. My values come from my experiences.”

            Yep, so right and wrong are situationally fungible, and knowing as much won’t necessarily have any introspective effect. You’ve stated this once or twice now.

            I can’t argue against the reality of the statement, but it isn’t a very compelling defense of your character, as if you were trying to make one.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “so right and wrong are situationally fungible”

            Yeah, I learned that in 1985 when my younger brother left Cal Worthington to buy into a dealership of his own.

            I never wanted to be in the car business. Furthest thing from my mind. I had sold IHC as a second job when I was a two-striper in the USAF. Hated it!

            But my brother had no one else he trusted, so I was drafted to help him, and later his partners, develop the business.

            All’s well that ends well, even if the end justifies the means.

            And it all ended well, Sept 30, 2015.

          • 0 avatar

            @brenschluss Well said. I am skipping HDC posts though and for a good reason. I did not even read his post but read your reply to it since it was fun to read. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      USAFMech

      Needs more OPM.

  • avatar
    Scuttle

    Stop messing around and put the new 3.5EB in the Mustang. Make it an optional engine to the V8.

  • avatar
    James2

    There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Ford.

    Sure, there are problems with their cars, but name me a company that makes PERFECT cars. (I’m waiting…)

    What is fundamentally wrong in this case is Wall Street and their means of valuing a company’s stock price. When a money pit like Tesla is worth more than a company that’s made a ton of money over the last few years and will likely outlive Tesla by decades… remember that Wall Street helped create the great recession.

    I think if the Ford family really wants to keep milking the cow, they should take the company private. Wall Street will never value the company properly. Stock buybacks and dividends… and, BTW, profits… obviously isn’t good enough.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      At one point Ford made Prefect cars, is that close enough?

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      This. Being a privately held company gives you so much more leway and control over what your allowed to do. I mean it’s still a business, but other interest can also reside right next to making the shareholders happens instead of the ladder to the point of excluding almost everything else.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Profits and stock market share prices are no longer linked. Tesla is a prime example.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The one thing that Ford could do is make sure that the fit and finish of their vehicles is near perfect. The article on TTAC a few months ago about the new Edge with the pictures of mismatched exterior chrome and loose door seals is bad. It would be better to take the chrome plated plastic side trim off and make sure that the door seals are secure and not loose. The vehicle looks better without the chrome plated plastic side trim and it is just one more thing that can go wrong on the assembly of a vehicle. Do away with the side trim it looks really bad if it is not aligned and detracts from the looks and the perceived quality of the vehicle. When you see an exterior defect it just makes you wonder what other defects are in a vehicle that you cannot see.

  • avatar
    emjay66

    I think that the Taurus SHO should be renamed the Thunderbird with sequential tail lights and thunderbird specific badging with no ford blue oval on it. Call it thunderbird by Ford. Also a thunderbird badged CUV based on the Edge sport. also with sequential tail lights. both loaded with twin turbo, AWD, and thunderbird specific styling cues. then advertise the hell out of them using sexy models. Its a cheap way of bringing back an iconic nameplate.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t see Ford as in as much trouble as this article implies or as some of the comments imply but Ford does need to watch out for a changing market and really needs to pay more attention to fit and finish of their products. Don’t really want to see the Big 2 and FCA get back to the mid-70’s quality of bad fit and finish and other defects that gave the Japanese a foot in the door to the USA market. The Japanese paid attention to the fit and finish and all the details. All the domestic based manufacturers need to put more emphasis on quality.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Start by getting rid of Lincoln.

    Drop the C-max, and fix the Focus.

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