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Harley Lover

Autoextremist: Ford in Free Fall

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Well he calls himself the autoextremist, so that's kind of a given. :hysterical:

Your remark is extremely humorous.

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At this years NY Auto Show at the Aviator debut I sat two rows back from Jim and as I waited for the presentation I saw many journalists greet him warmly and with kind admiration. He always seems relaxed and approachable at these things, He is also a longtime Ford guy, still has an old Mustang from his teen years I think.

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Farley is polarizing for sure and he definitely has his detractors within the glass house... but PDL has gone a bit overboard here.

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PDL's assumption that Farley was sent to Europe as a punishment is not exactly true,

a rising star has to prove that he can run a P & L properly to keep a seat at the big table.

What he didn't say, implied but did not want to admit, Farley is currently winning - the top brass, Bill, Jim and the board, view him as a success, thus leaning on him more and more. PDL resentfully acknowledged the fact but doesn't want to give him any credit.

Whether he (Farley) is an a--hole or not, whether the "getting out of car business" idea was his or not (or it's right or wrong), he's winning and the other faction(s) are worried.

PDL is either part of that faction, or his main inside sources are.

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Good point. But I wonder how much longer that cash register will stay open?

Tesla just put up a factory as collateral, so it'll stay open a bit longer...but then what?

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Tesla just put up a factory as collateral, so it'll stay open a bit longer...but then what?

 

I still think building cars is just a scheme to fund the R&D to become a battery and battery solution supplier or to sell that technology to someone else after it's developed.

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One thing that resonated from both PDL and articles I've seen since Mulally's departure: the long-despised fiefdoms apparently jumped right back into their annoying existences when Fields took over, and are still at it today.

That's been a curse for Ford forever, and I don't know that Hackett will have the moxie to unite the company the way Alan did. Similarly, if Farley is as polarizing as he seems to be, he'll be part of the problem, not the solution.

That's what concerns me more than the sedan cancellations and the like. If the Focus Active has enough options/versatility to "pull a Subaru" and be many things to many people, everybody wins. If it can start low enough with fwd and the Ecoboost 1.5 to attract entry-level buyers while still offering something sub-models at the top end with AWD and 250+ hp...it could be huge for the Focus line.

That said, these appear to be interesting times for the Ford faithful.

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One thing that resonated from both PDL and articles I've seen since Mulally's departure: the long-despised fiefdoms apparently jumped right back into their annoying existences when Fields took over, and are still at it today.

 

Well you have to wonder if Mulally was actually that effective or did people just circle the wagons and wait him out?

 

Sounds like Ford needs whole sale changes to blow up things and stop this from happening again...

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Well you have to wonder if Mulally was actually that effective or did people just circle the wagons and wait him out?

 

Sounds like Ford needs whole sale changes to blow up things and stop this from happening again...

 

He was effective at getting people to do things the right way while he was there but I don't think he "cleaned house" to get rid of those types of people at lower levels. And honestly, he probably couldn't afford to do that anyway.

 

He was probably hoping that Fields or whoever took over would continue like he did. I have a suspicion that Fields made folks think he would do that but had no intention of actually doing it once he was hired.

 

That is the disappointing part - Mulally made so many positive changes as far as how the company was managed. It's a shame to see that all be thrown away.

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The only problem I have with their plan is the Fusion. If they make a Fusion Wagon/active/crosstour looking thing, I see no reason not to offer a sedan. Other than that I guess I am on board. Lincoln seems to have a good plan....I think. There is probably some truth to the Farley talk. In a big company though, this is expected to a degree. These folks in executive management are all jockeying for the same position and there are bound to be personality conflicts. Most of these folks didn't get there being passive.

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The only problem I have with their plan is the Fusion. If they make a Fusion Wagon/active/crosstour looking thing, I see no reason not to offer a sedan.

 

Because Sedans don't sell unless they are cheap.

 

People are willing to spend extra on CUVs vs Sedans-and companies are about Profits.

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If they make a Fusion Wagon/active/crosstour looking thing, I see no reason not to offer a sedan.

 

Here is the difference - a Fusion Active can command a much higher ATP - higher trims, less direct competition. A Fusion sedan would still be competing with Camcord, Sonoptima, Altima and selling mostly at lower trims where there isn't much profit. So the question then is why bother with a sedan? Put those resources on other things that have higher profit margin potential.

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I guess the undercurrent concern is: what will Ford do for entry-level offerings? It's all well and good to prioritize the higher-profit CUVs and trucks, but what gets the young, first-new-vehicle customers in the door and begins the relationship going forward?

For this purpose, the Focus Active and Ecosport have to deliver...with a potential nod to the Ranger as well.

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Well you have to wonder if Mulally was actually that effective or did people just circle the wagons and wait him out?

 

Sounds like Ford needs whole sale changes to blow up things and stop this from happening again...

towards the end [coupIe! years] remember thinking Mulally was like

"phoning it in"

so imho the fiefdumbs were already re-establishing themselves

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The only problem I have with their plan is the Fusion. If they make a Fusion Wagon/active/crosstour looking thing, I see no reason not to offer a sedan. Other than that I guess I am on board. ]

 

I predict there will be a Fusion Active-type vehicle. The Fusion name isn't dead yet

and Ford only said sedans die. I'll wager Fusion will catch the Asians by surprise

as they cling to their mid-size sedans.

 

And remember, I was the guy who four years ago argued the Ranger would be sold

here again this decade.

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I guess the undercurrent concern is: what will Ford do for entry-level offerings? It's all well and good to prioritize the higher-profit CUVs and trucks, but what gets the young, first-new-vehicle customers in the door and begins the relationship going forward?

For this purpose, the Focus Active and Ecosport have to deliver...with a potential nod to the Ranger as well.

I wonder if there is speculation and/or planning on ride-sharing as a way

of catering to "entry-level" buyers?

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Does Ford even care about entry buyer vehicles, the whole move to Utilities is about increasing prices that can be charged

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Does Ford even care about entry buyer vehicles, the whole move to Utilities is about increasing prices that can be charged

 

Ford has the highest percentage of return buyers (not sure how that metric is measured-if its overall sales or what-I'd assume fleet sales help alot), so as long they can get someone in the fold at some point, they are more likely to return.

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Ford has the highest percentage of return buyers (not sure how that metric is measured-if its overall sales or what-I'd assume fleet sales help alot), so as long they can get someone in the fold at some point, they are more likely to return.

What he said. A company has to start its relationship with a buyer at some point, and scoring points early with young buyers is a great way to keep their business for years.

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What he said. A company has to start its relationship with a buyer at some point, and scoring points early with young buyers is a great way to keep their business for years.

I’m no longer buying this argument, even though I believed it for years. I don’t think entry level buyers stay loyal any more - at least not enough to make it worthwhile to bother with low or no profit cheap entry level vehicles.

 

I think Ford will do just fine with Ecosport and Focus Active as entry level vehicles. People who buy on price go with the cheapest option regardless of brand. And Ford knows exactly what kind of trade-ins they’re getting.

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People arent loyal to anything anymore, especially car brands. Its not worth it to lose money to bring someone into the brand if you dont have a reasonable assurance they will buy another higher-profit vehicle in the future.

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It may well be that entry level is not even the same formula today, in that people don't necessarily seek out a specific price point, but rather look for an affordable monthly payment. A creative finance department is all that is needed.

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It may well be that entry level is not even the same formula today, in that people don't necessarily seek out a specific price point, but rather look for an affordable monthly payment. A creative finance department is all that is needed.

 

True. Young people also aren’t getting their licenses and buying vehicles as young as they used to.

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I’m no longer buying this argument, even though I believed it for years. I don’t think entry level buyers stay loyal any more - at least not enough to make it worthwhile to bother with low or no profit cheap entry level vehicles.

 

I think Ford will do just fine with Ecosport and Focus Active as entry level vehicles. People who buy on price go with the cheapest option regardless of brand. And Ford knows exactly what kind of trade-ins they’re getting.

 

Well, EcoSport and Focus Active are the kind of vehicles young buyers want so I don't see how contradicts the argument.

 

There is a difference in "entry level" and "first time" buyers.

 

I don't think there are a lot of first time buyers for Nissan Versa or Toyota Corolla - I mostly think of those cars as aimed at older buyers with lower income trajectories (i.e. entry level buyers). Younger buyers today with upward income trajectories (i.e. firs time buyers) are probably more interested in Kia Soul or Subaru Crosstrek, which is the kind of car Ford should be selling if it wants to establish a good impression and long term relationship with that buyer.

Edited by bzcat

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The Focus Active looks like a promising vehicle for Ford but the EcoSport simply doesn’t cut it. Ford would of been better off waiting for the next generation before introducing the EcoSport to North America. The reviews have been terrible - the car is overpriced and underpowered with terrible gas mileage. Hopefully the next generation will be miles better.

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