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By on March 2, 2007

gulf.jpgFebruary’s sales figures are in. Ford continues to sing the blues. While FoMoCo’s spinmeisters invite us to savor the consistency of their domestic market share and clock their lessening fleet business, The Blue Oval’s retail sales are still slumping. The situation hovers somewhere between serious and six feet under. What’s worse, the domestic automaker’s execs seem bound and determined to shoot themselves in the feet, repeatedly. First, the numbers…

By on February 19, 2007

1896-ford-quadricycle-henry-ford33.jpgHenry Ford knew a thing or two about motivation. “Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars,” Crazy Henry opined. “The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” Yes, well, Blue Oval morale is at an all time low. After watching Billy’s Boyz lose over $24k per second, faith in The Glass House gang is fading. Faced with a failing grade on an interim report and a Way Fordward that needs to be Fixed Or Repaired Daily, Mulally’s masses are about as enthusiastic as Dick Cheney’s hunting buddies.

By on February 7, 2007

07chicago_6931222.jpgSin City’s casinos are designed to create the illusion of chance. Vegas’ neon lights, chiming bells and piped-in oxygen keep hopefuls dazed, confused and distracted while their dollars are vacuumed from their wallets. And yet all the neon in Nevada couldn’t distract the Ford floggers at the recent National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention. The Blue Oval’s metal movers and shakers hit town looking for one thing: assurances that FoMoCo’s new, new turnaround will work. They got nada.

By on January 5, 2007

fusionevent1222.jpgThe Detroit News recently enlisted J.D. Power and Associates to help explain Detroit's pressure drop, and figure out how Ford and the other 1.5 can stop the rot. After gathering data from 500 survey takers registered on an opinions-for-cash website called Opinion Outpost, The Power That Is concluded that the domestics have their work cut out for them. (Surprise!) Only 40% of this infinitesimal sample of alleged intenders (‘cause if they weren’t intenders they wouldn’t get paid for the survey) would consider buying a domestic car, due to concerns about reliability, quality and fuel economy. 

By on December 26, 2006

22.jpgThe average American car buyer is completely unaware of Ford’s financial troubles. They don’t know Alan Mulally from Bertie Ahern. They don’t know that Ford’s taken out The Mother of All Bank Loans, mortgaging everything up to and including the company logo. They don’t know the automaker’s got three years to avoid annihilation. But the day Toyota overtakes Ford as America’s number two carmaker, the U.S. consumer will get a multi-media wake-up call. The psychological damage will be profound. Not that Ford sees it that way.

By on December 8, 2006

ford_logo_old22.jpgNovember’s sales figures are out, and FoMoCo’s treading unfamiliar waters. For the first time since, well, ever, Dearborn’s darlings find themselves off the sales podium. The General, Toyota and both parts of the DCX German-American hybrid surpassed last year’s sales totals. Despite pre-Christmas gains north of the border, Ford’s U.S. sales sank nearly 10%. Their declining market share dropped them into fourth by total sales volume. “This is an area, frankly, of disappointment,” George Pipas, Sales Analysis Manager for Four’d pronounced. “We had our sights set higher.” 

By on November 29, 2006

edgbe222.jpgTo combat the commonly held (if accurate) belief that FoMoCo’s product pipeline is drier than a Vermouth-free martini, FoMoCo recently unveiled the “Showroom of the Future.” Ford ushered retirees, clock punchers and white collar grunts into the Cobo Arena for a glimpse at what may (or may not) be the “most important new Ford.” While they weren’t invited to sample Ford’s four-wheeled corporate Kool-Aid, the Detroit News reported that the attendees were suitably impressed. It may not have been enough to take the edge off the Edge’s delayed debut, but it did reveal a bit more about Ford’s immediate prospects.

By on November 13, 2006

oacampodium2222.jpgAs bad as Ford’s third quarter results (version 1.0) were for Dearborn’s darlings, the future doesn’t look much better. Ford’s Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair has publicly admitted that he expects the automaker’s fourth quarter to look like the one that crushed the Arizona Cardinals in week six: a complete and utter disaster. What’s more, Leclair has also acknowledged that Ford’s production cuts crush any hopes of financial rebound for at least the first half of 2008– no matter how their cross-border crossover fares in the marketplace. So, is it time to panic?

By on October 20, 2006

07edgelaunch_918122.jpgStar Trek based many of its best episodes on simple homilies. In “The Lights of Zetar” (Star date 5725.3), Memory Alpha is attacked. Creatures from the planet Zetar concoct an energy storm that ravages the planetoid. The Federation’s main computer database, containing all of the cultural and scientific data they’ve ever gathered, goes fubar, and with it, the Federation. What did they expect? To put a little Yoda spin on it, into one basket all eggs should not go. OK, now, Earth date October 16, 2006. Dearborn rolls out the Ford Edge. See what I mean?

By on October 6, 2006

iosis_x_006222.jpgFirst the good news. For the first time in eight long months, George Pipas, Ford's man in the crosshairs Manager of Sales Analysis, could deliver glad tidings to anxious stockholders and stakeholders. September retail and fleet results reveal that sales of Ford’s cars and truck were up when compared against the same month in '05. Although FoMoCo’s sales increases didn’t come anywhere near Toyota’s dramatic advance, the Detroit-based automaker bested cross-town rivals GM and Chrysler by a considerable margin. And the hits keep happening. 

By on October 1, 2006

john-force-burnout22.jpgWhen Wally Parks started the National Hot Rod Association in 1951 there was no way he could’ve foreseen the sport’s mainstream appeal. The NHRA started out as a small organization that gave pistonheads an outlet for legitimate hoonage, bragging rights and a trophy. It has since become the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world, offering some $50m in annual prize money.  The original national events held twice annually have given birth to a 23 race North American series.  

By on September 16, 2006

ford_1657222.jpg Another day, another turnaround plan. For those of you keeping score, Ford’s “Way Forward 2.0” is actually the third version in four years. In terms of strategy, the new, new plan holds few surprises; FoMoCo is simply super sizing their right-sizing program. On the credit side of the ledger… nothing much. New models still won’t hit the streets anytime soon. But the Street has hit Ford. On “Blue Friday,” Ford’s stock shed nearly 12% or $2b of its value. Investors and pundits alike are finally waking up to the fact that America’s number three automaker is in triage, with the crash cart standing by.

By on September 11, 2006

sonic_cruiser_1222.jpgThirty-five million dollars, the keys to the corporate jet and a Detroit McMansion is a pretty good compensation package for any aspiring executive. Obviously, if freshly-minted Ford CEO Alan Mulally reverses The Blue Oval’s declining fortunes, it will be shareholder money well spent. If, however, Mulally turns out to be too little CEO too late, his paycheck and parachute will mark the final chapter in a sad story of Ford family interference and/or mismanagement. So what say you Billy Ford? The “biggest problem facing Ford today is a lack of confidence.”

By on August 24, 2006

2007expedition_4652222.jpg Last Friday, Ford announced its largest production cuts in over two decades. The bold (not to say unavoidable) move comes in the face of evaporating truck sales; even large discounts on the formerly formidable F150 and Explorer can't move the metal faster than it's being built. With a debt rating that’s sleeping with the fishes, with the company’s “Way Forward” recovery plan in triage, with another disastrous quarter only days away, Ford is looking increasingly, irredeemably desperate.

By on August 17, 2006

09.jpgIt’s been said that walking on quicksand with helium balloons will keep you from going under. Now that The Blue Oval has finally realized that the sands have shifted beneath its feet, there are plenty of people selling the automaker balloons. The United Auto Workers (UAW) has publicly pledged to help Billy’s Ford’s boys “any way they can.” Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has proclaimed her willingness to sacrifice voters’ taxes to keep the Wolverine State’s assembly lines rolling. At the same time, Ford is contemplating radical solutions: cutting dealers, selling assets, forming alliances. Is Ford finding buoyancy or grasping at straws?

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