By on October 15, 2018

2018 ford expedition fx4, Image: Ford Motor Co.

A major product shift and looming job cuts have some Ford dealers nervous about the future. Many would like to know what to expect under their showroom lights in the coming years, and this week brings an opportunity for the automaker to ease those worries.

Under Hackett’s leadership, communication often seems to take a backseat to vision, so the annual Ford dealer meet-up in Las Vegas brings with it high expectations of a great game of show and tell.

“There’s been a lot less exposure to senior management,” said Jack Madden, owner of Jack Madden Ford in Norwood, Massachusetts, in an interview with Automotive News. “There’s just not enough information flowing down to dealers about where the company’s headed.”

There’s not a lot of info flowing to company employees, either, and that has nerves on edge after Ford announced impending layoffs to its white-collar workforce. The automaker didn’t state a number, leaving many wondering just how large of a haircut might come from the $11 billion restructuring. Last year, media reports stated the number could be as high as 10 percent of Ford’s global workforce. The automaker employs roughly 70,000 salaried workers.

Obviously, dealers are far more concerned about product, and they’ll hear about the sales strategy for upcoming new or revamped models during the Vegas gathering. Those products include the critically important 2020 Explorer and looming 2019 Ranger. The 2020 Bronco and its smaller, unibody stablemate should receive a mention, too. It’s a roadmap dealers want, a blueprint for the future, and Hackett and Co. need to deliver.

According to Automotive News, a new ad campaign titled “Ford Proud” will also see airplay during the meeting, ahead of its public release. What’s hoped for by those on our side of things is that Ford brass has more than existing pipeline products to show its dealers.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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22 Comments on “Job One for Ford This Week: Placate Antsy Dealers...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    You mean, Ford isn’t showing them enough compelling “white space vehicles”?

    Nawwww…

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Kinda hard to show a plan when you don’t have one.

    But lets wait for Johnny Taurus to tell us how this is a brilliant way to conduct business…..

  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    The plan?
    The plan is to sell trucks and a few Mustangs.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      All while dumping the (billions of) profits into electric hybrids that nobody wants or needs. You have to think that Hackett is on a very short lease with this and has but ONE chance to start showing gains, and not via laying off 10% of the white collar work force either. Billy Ford must be sweating bullets and ready to call Mulally for act 2.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Great plan as long as trucks keep selling.

  • avatar

    What is the point of Ford? I guess it is to sell the F-150 and the Mustang. The Ecosport is such a peice of dung I will spare Ford and not mention it. Why can’t Ford offer a complete lineup like GM, Toyota, and Nissan.

    What a disgrace!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Very few automakers have “a full lineup”, whatever that means, and it’s clearly overrated. Yet most of the more prominent/profitable automakers/groups have no pickups or work vans or in the lineup (how dare they??? where’s your outrage??), let alone 3/4 tons and up. Never mind an answer to the Mustang or Bronco.

      Downsizing is what saved Nissan, and you can bet your sweet stars Nissan dealers weren’t happy about it. But it was great over all for the automaker and its dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      You going to question the strategy behind Jeep’s lineup, too?

      • 0 avatar

        At least Chrysler has several interesting muscle cars. The best is the Hellcat, which maybe the best muscle car ever built. GM has the CT6, Corvette, and the hot selling Volt. Those three cars are superior to anything Ford has. I should also add GM sells more trucks and SUVs than any other car maker.

        • 0 avatar
          MoDo

          An FCA dealer has everything from gas sipping Fiats to radical muscle cars, Jeeps and Ram 3500 HD diesels. If one happens to be beside an Alfa/Maserati/Ferarri dealer they have you covered in Italian sport/Luxury as well.

          Ford has what now, Mustangs, some SUV’s (some rebadged Lincoln SUV’s) and trucks?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Selling themselves to Fiat for $1.00 was a sly move for Chrysler! Look at them now!!

            It’s not always about what you have on hand. Small cheesy sedans aren’t exactly Rocket Science, assuming anybody with midsize or Mustang aspirations would stoop to those, with a wild increase in fuel costs. Never mind midsize+ BOF SUV or F-series owners, especially 3/4 ton and up.

            But what the hell do I know? Ford could donate themselves to Citroen and really have it made..

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Chrysler and GM have some great things going for them, where not just Ford, no other automakers can (completely) compete with.

          Except Ford’s upcoming Ranger, Bronco, and Raptor (Jr) additions to should eventually even the score or exceed GM and Chrysler those ,segment?

          But who says Ford isnt aiming higher (than Chrysler or GM)? At least in the business sense (not necessarily products), aren’t there much better, more successful (streamlined) automakers/groups to emulate than stinkin’ Chrysler and GM? Tara?

        • 0 avatar
          pdog_phatpat

          LMFAO @ parroting lines from GM commercial guy Dooshy McFocusGroup. Get a new shtick, parrot boy. Enjoy your people killing GM JUNK.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Subaru?

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Ford spent too much money and engineering time on electric cars and now its biting them in the azz. Remember their latest Detroit auto shows where the actual cars seemed like an afterthought to their “mobility company” BS. Its not a bad strategy, but they went all in WAY too early and they have literally nothing to even show for it.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Yeesh. People dont have any concept of patience or time. Ford moves to do something and 2 weeks later its “FORD HAS FAILED THEY HAVENT DONE ANYTHING”. Give it some frickin time you impatient whiners. A month is not back in the day or remember when. Calm down kiddos.

  • avatar

    “Ford Proud”? About what? Inability to make cars and having half of company being laid off? I can imagine how high is moral right now at Ford.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The only thing that the Ford Dealership owners will really care about is 1) what Ford is going to do to refresh the entire company franchise, being the F Series, now that the new gen RAM is poised to chip away at its sales in conquest fashion, 2) what sales quota incentives Ford will be offering dealers to push as many F150s off of dealership lots, and 3) what the prospective (hopeful) time frame will be before Filing Cabinet expert Hackett will be booted.

  • avatar

    “GRAND RAPIDS, MI — As Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett prepares to step down, he is being hailed as a visionary for turning around the world’s largest office furniture maker.

    Hackett, who will retire at the end of February, is credited with steering the company through difficult times, including a major reorganization that shed half the company’s Grand Rapids workforce.

    Without that painful move, the company could very easily have gone the way of other industry leaders, collapsing under its own weight, said Rob Kirkbride, senior editor at The Monday Morning Quarterback, a publication that covers the office furniture industry.
    “If you think about where Steelcase was 2000 and now, what he and his management team have done is nothing short of remarkable.”

    Over the years, Hackett was sharply criticized for the company’s downsizing, resulting in the elimination of 12,000 jobs.”

    American way: downsize company and destroy peoples lives in the process. Visionary was supposed to retire in 2014 and fade away. What the heck he is doing at Ford?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @DeadWeight–Many offices today no longer use filing cabinets (more offices going to e-records and reducing office space) so maybe that is why Ford got Hackett so easy especially since he could no longer hackett in the office furniture business. Agree I think Ford will increase the incentives for the F-150s especially since Ram and GM have new pickups. Ford might see a lot of interest in the Ranger and Bronco but otherwise nothing new.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Before Hackett retires he could introduce a new line of vans called the Credenza. More cargo space than competing vans and a great delivery van for office supply stores.

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