Why is Ford on such a roll?

Ford did not need a federal bailout like GM and Chrysler did and it has been posting considerably better financial results.

Now comes word that the 2010 Ford Fusion was named Motor Trend magazine’s car of the year, beating out the Toyota Prius, BMW 7-Series, Chevrolet Camaro and others in the closely watched competition, Associated Press reports.

It was yet another accolade for Ford Motor Co.’s midsize sedan, which got high reliability scores in the most recent rankings from Consumer Reports and was the top-selling car made by a Detroit automaker through October.

What’s more, Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen lead the insurance industry’s annual list of the safest new vehicles, according to a closely watched assessment used by car companies to lure safety-conscious consumers to showrooms, AP reports.

Why has Ford been doing so well? Leadership? Innovation? Marketing? Execution?

Does its recent string of successes influence your buying decision?

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50 comments Add your comment

Bubba

November 18th, 2009
9:05 am

Why are they doing so well? They’re not run by the government.

Todd

November 18th, 2009
10:05 am

Sven

November 18th, 2009
10:23 am

Volvo. It is intresting that Ford has 6 cars in safety and Volvo has 6.

[...] the rest here:  Why is Ford on such a roll? | The Biz Beat Share and [...]

trueform

November 18th, 2009
11:33 am

I hear ya, great comments take a look at this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8GuH9oDHrU

oldtimer

November 18th, 2009
2:01 pm

Ford is not being run by the government, but they better watch the union leaders…since they own part of the other companies they might want Ford to fail.

Mr. Holmes

November 18th, 2009
2:10 pm

Love it, “they’re not run by the government.” The only reason they’re NOT run by the government is they saw the writing on the wall just a year or two sooner than GM & Chrysler, and they leveraged the stuffing out of their assets to get the financing they need from private sources before Washington was the only source left. That being said, their *products* are doing better now because they’ve been making a genuine push toward quality for going on three decades, and they also were slightly ahead of the curve on hybrid cars and fuel economy. I say slightly because they still tried to wring every last dollar out of SUVmania just like GM & Chrysler did; if they’d moved away from that sooner, they’d be in even better shape.

But then the Big 3 were not the only ones yanked screaming away from the SUV teat. The UAW and everyone along the supply chain were right there too.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
2:16 pm

Yeah, and if it wasn’t for the government, the other two wouldn’t be running at all.

I bet you’d blame the government for a headache.

Patrick

November 18th, 2009
2:17 pm

Ford has a couple of advantages: most of their car platforms are shared globally so they are able to take advantage of top-tier engineering, including elements shared with Volvo and Mazda. Second, many of Ford’s European designed cars have traditionally been much better than the US designs. Ford has realized this and is now bringing the Euro Fords to the US. The Fusion is not one of those cars, but it was recently face-lifted and at least now LOOKS much more like the Euro Fords, as does the newly revamped Taurus. Euro Fords are coming with the Fiesta, new Focus, and the Kuga SUV, all of which will be built in the US which boosts up US workers.

Ford has the right products at the right time and something simple like that is a great help in times like these. Ford gets it better than the other domestics. It’s that simple.

cress

November 18th, 2009
2:19 pm

Ford has an amazing looking line-up of vehicles now. And they keep getting high marks for quality and safety. I think they have really done a good job of cutting out the excess, and concentrated on their core. That being said, the fact that GM and Dodge cried like babies for help and Ford said “No thanks” has helped them a lot.

I couldn’t be happier for Ford.

Mr. Holmes

November 18th, 2009
2:23 pm

Another answer to why they’re doing better: Just read this board. Whether you agree with Washington’s rescue of GM & Chrysler or you think it’s a sign of the apocalypse, everyone respects Ford for not having to do it. And the American people will reward Ford simply for that.

That’s why I ran out & snapped up some Ford stock the day after they announced they’d forego public financing, when it was at $4/share. Only wish I’d had the foresight to buy when it was >$2.

B.O.

November 18th, 2009
2:23 pm

No itstrue I blame Bush for my headache.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
2:23 pm

Before Uncle Sam stepped in with GM and Chrysler, I bought Ford stock at $1.75/share. It’s now right below $9. That was my choice as an investor. For GM and Chrysler, and for all the people up in Michigan and Ohio who work for them, it was the government or nobody.

Those companies have been making crumby cars for the past 30 years. Their obligations to the unions wouldn’t be a big deal if they were profitable. I don’t like ‘em, but I like American jobs. Let’s hope the capital, (and the strings attached) leads to some new vehicles people want.

Mr. Holmes

November 18th, 2009
2:25 pm

Whups, make that <$2. :)

Art Vandelay

November 18th, 2009
2:29 pm

Bubba, I know it’s fun to bash the government, but surely you can’t attribute Ford’s success to anything related to the industry’s federal bailout. Those companies would not exist today if not for the government stepping in to save them, and Ford was on steadier ground than them well before any intervention. Whether or not the bailout was a good idea in the long run remains to be seen, but it saved hundreds of thousands of jobs from being lost at parts manufacturers, dealerships, mechanics, and the auto companies themselves. That makes it a pretty good deal in my estimation.

Fred

November 18th, 2009
2:51 pm

Ford gets it. Product, product and product. Build a quality product that people feel good about buying. Ford will not only survive they will prosper.

Mike D

November 18th, 2009
3:00 pm

Got a 2000 Explorer sitting in my garage that starts everytime. Can’t say the same about my Audi A4.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
3:07 pm

Yeah, German cars are hit-or-miss, either 200,000 mile gems, or 20,000 mile electrical system nightmares… and there’s no telling by model or make which will be which.

At least when an American car breaks it’s usually something simple like a starter, and the parts are cheap and abundant.

My dad said he loved German cars, until he went to the dealer for a repair and was met by someone in a lab coat. You can imagine the bill that followed.

Reaganomics Revival

November 18th, 2009
3:07 pm

I have hated FORD my entire life, but at least they were smart enough to NOT take King Obama’s free handout with many strings attached.

“Obama” and “Quality” are mutually exclusive terms.

The antithesis of King Midas, anything the federal government touches (especially the CURRENT one) turns to [ fecal matter ] instead of gold.

Dan

November 18th, 2009
3:11 pm

Well the government hasn’t been involved long enough to really hurt GM although they do seem to be doing even worse now, which should not be a surprise. However I generally agree with a couple of the posters, higher quality product and I believe the reason is focus, they generally only have one player in each niche,economy sedan etc. where the others had far to many models. Ford did a few things well GM and Chrysler tried to do many things at a mediocre level.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
3:13 pm

I don’t know of a single bridge in the world that has more trolls under it than what you can find under an AJC article that has a political dimension.

Art Vandelay

November 18th, 2009
3:13 pm

It’s really amazing how some people will take any story and use it as an opportunity to bash Obama. Enlighten us, Reaganomics Revival — how would YOU have handled the situation if you entered the White House and faced the possible collapse of our country’s most important industry? Reaganomics (you know, the “trickle-down economics” theory that doesn’t trickle down) is a big part of the reason we’re in this mess today, so save your self-righteous BS for someone who doesn’t know any better.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
3:15 pm

Art– He’s a troll. He doesn’t argue. He hurls poop.

John Maynard Keynes

November 18th, 2009
3:45 pm

Art Vandelay = Failed ECON 101 in College

(CORRECTION: Art Vandelay = Failed ECON 101 in HIGH SCHOOL, (Didn’t Qualify for College) )

Bob

November 18th, 2009
3:46 pm

Art Vandalay “Those companies would not exist today if not for the government stepping in to save them”

You’re arguing against a hypothetical thing – how do you know what would’ve happened?

Yea, they were/are in some real financial trouble, as Ford was/is, but you and I have no idea what would have actually happened if they had not received the government money.

My hope is that they would’ve figured out another way to make things happen, like Ford did – but we will never know.

Mr. Holmes “The only reason they’re NOT run by the government is they saw the writing on the wall just a year or two sooner than GM & Chrysler”

I am confused – is it a bad thing that they were better able to predict the economic climate than the other two were?

I am in the market for a new sedan. I will probably buy a Toyota, which is mostly manufactured in the US anyway. But I have no interest in any GM or Chrysler vehicle, and will at least test drive a Ford or Mercury. I think there are more people out there with a similar mindset than some of you are willing to admit.

EW

November 18th, 2009
3:49 pm

What’s Ford doing right? They hired a great CEO and used their credit to borrow and liquidate assets to move to cash BEFORE things got bad. Being a well run company requires proactivity NOT reactivity.

Words of Wisdom

November 18th, 2009
3:50 pm

“The problem with, and eventual failure of, socialist economic programs such as “Obamanomics” is that this blundering jive talker Obama will eventually run out of OTHER PEOPLE’S money.”

- Margaret Thatcher

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
4:02 pm

Thatcher had more class than that, Wisdom. I wouldn’t put your words in her mouth. It degrades an otherwise upstanding lady.

itstrue

November 18th, 2009
4:14 pm

Also, “other people’s money” is another term for “investment capital,” public or private. Chrysler and GM didn’t have any, and no one else wanted to lend it to them, so the government stepped in.

You want a socialist car, go back to East Germany or Czecheslovakia around when Thatcher was in office and get in line. You won’t find it today, even if the government makes investments that don’t pay off. The US government doesn’t make cars, never did.

At least a few more people have a job to go to, instead of lining up for welfare and food stamps.

Any other ideas?

Mr. Holmes

November 18th, 2009
4:25 pm

Bob, it is a good thing Ford was ahead of the curve, if only by a little bit. My point is that fate’s been kind to them. Remember that Ford was in desperate shape when Mulally took over; you could argue the major reason they had their corporate garage sale early (which, in turn, is the ONLY reason they didn’t need the bailout) is because they were forced into it by their own ineptitude.

Look my family is Blue Oval all the way, dad was a career engineer there. I’m thrilled this has happened. But let’s not make Ford into the grand vizier of modern automaking just because they’re not GM or Chrysler.

Carlton

November 18th, 2009
4:35 pm

For the past 20 years I owned nothing but Buicks and Cadillacs, and I trade every 2-3 years, until this year. In May I bought a new Lincoln MKS. I refused to buy a car from a company owned by the government and labor unions. I gave Ford Lincoln a chance and I got a great car in the deal. The bailout of the two other car companies was done for the benefit of the unions…Not the union people, the unions. If Uncle Sam had let them go thru bankruptcey, like other companies have to, The unions would have worked with the courts and the suto companies to restructure….Like other companies and creditors have to do. The companies would have come out the other side with manageable debt, and could have then prospered but not the unions needed Uncle Sam to intercede with our money. I could not stop that but I can choose which company to support now..

Free Enterprise

November 18th, 2009
4:39 pm

Dear “Art Vandelay” and “itstrue:”

Wow.

I am absolutely stunned by the collective ignorance the two of you have demonstrated in your comments on this topic, assuming of course you two do not actually hate this country and its economy. If you two actually do oppose capitalism, then your comments make much more sense when put in that perspective.

Are you two a couple or maybe the same person?

Jason

November 18th, 2009
5:01 pm

Several years ago, Clay Ford tried to raise the warning about the insanity of the SUV craze and the trend of trading in cars every two years. He said it would damage all of the automobile companies and that he wanted to move Ford away from those vehicles but he couldn’t because at the time it was all that consumers wanted. The other two companies were too busy pushing “It’s got a Hemi” to pay attention to things like oil prices and an economy teetering on collapse.

Ford simply knew things were going to get bad and even though they couldn’t make the changes at that time, they were able to plan for the changes that needed to be made. When everything started to fall apart, Ford was able to react and put their plans in to play. GM and Chrysler were sticking their heads in the sand and wishing for the downturn to be very short lived. When it wasn’t, they had no plan and even if they did, it would have been too late in the game to implement it.

Check sports

November 19th, 2009
6:06 am

itstrue … “I don’t know of a single bridge in the world that has more trolls under it than what you can find under an AJC article that has a political dimension.”

If you think this is bad, you should try reading the blogs associated with UGA or GT football.

mj

November 19th, 2009
6:13 am

It’s simple. Just drive one and you’ll see why they will perform well in the future. With the new products set to be released within the next year, it will only get better for Ford. They are turning to global product platforms that will appeal to the younger adults and it will lead to long term customer retention. They are product driven and not run by bean counters, however at the same time not as wasteful as past history with useless programs. They finally seem to have product that doesn’t just have to be sold by rebates meaning the public likes what they are selling. Great future on the current course.

juicius

November 19th, 2009
6:24 am

Reaganomics Revival:

Automaker bailout was started by the Bush administration. But I understand that sometimes facts are inconvenient for a point you have to make.

Bob

November 19th, 2009
6:36 am

istrue, I do have another idea, no more corporate bailouts.

Bob

November 19th, 2009
6:45 am

Mr. Holmes, was it fate that mulully ended up at ford. Was it fate that Mulully turned around his prior employer, Boeing I think. Why not give the guy credit for doing something that others failed at. Does anyone remember our pathetic congress blasting this guy for flying to DC in a private jet, some of which could not run 5 & dime. The ones that tried to sneak a purchase of new gulfsteams so their families could fly on junkets in comfort.

Ron

November 19th, 2009
6:57 am

Trickle down economics was not the concern with the GM bailout. If it were GM would not have had a bankruptcy that only lasted 31 days in which it shed a significant amount of its debt. Debt that was not only owed to creditors but to its down steam SUPPLIERS. GM nor the government cared about the little guy they were worried about big business.

It’s true, the bailout mess was started by Bush and a Democtatic control House. It is true Obama took it to new proportions. He sold of Chrysler & GM. It is all a mess in which WE will lose out. Chrysler went through bankruptcy in the mid 80s, there was no bailout and they were just fine. Well, as fine as a poorly run company could be.

The people want less government and Ford’s success is proof. They did the right thring, handled their own afairs and are being rewarded.

Nickie

November 19th, 2009
7:04 am

Vehicles like the Mustang and the F-150 inspire long term owner loyalty to Ford. Mustang is still “everyman’s sports car” after 45 years. How many 40+ year old cars of any other make/ model are still being lovingly restored every year (OK, maybe VW Beetles) and the F-150 just works for a long time at a decent price and with decent economy for its size. Ford gets it and has “gotten it” with these two vehicles for a very long time.

Lori

November 19th, 2009
7:08 am

Why is it people have such short term memories? Bill Ford Jr. didn’t take his CEO salary for over three years in 2001-2004. THAT is one reason they had extra money to work with. Plus last year and this year, the current CEO cancelled all management bonuses and didn’t pay any merit increases to salaried employees. THAT is another reason they stayed solvent. It is possible for corporate America to react in such a way that, but not probable. So many other businesses don’t hold the top tier accountable, and instead lay off the worker bees, the folks actually doing the work. Even though Ford closed the plant in Atlanta (and other places) to make the bottom line work, at least it was felt all the way to the top, as it should be. I drive an old Toyota truck, but had a Ford Focus until it was repossessed after I was laid off last year. I miss it a little…

Oba Mao

November 19th, 2009
7:10 am

Juicius
I don’t know why you would use Bush as an example of Reaganomics. He and his administration started all the handouts the current administration has ramped up. He was not fiscally conservative, that is the inconvenient fact liberals can’t get over.

Ron

November 19th, 2009
7:11 am

Good point Lori. So many companies cut from the bottom with some token cuts up top.

Harold

November 19th, 2009
7:11 am

GM and Chrysler still believe their commercials can convince you their cars don’t suck despite how badly they suck. I rented a Sebring convertible a year ago and won’t remotely consider a Chrysler based on that experience. What a turd on wheels that car was!

cas

November 19th, 2009
7:12 am

Unlike Chrysler and GM, to this point Ford has been smart enough and competitive enough to give customers the products and quality they are willing to buy. Easy competition to GM and Chrysler but recently the UAW has refused to support Ford’s requests for equal consideration to GM and Chrysler for contract modifications assuring continued success. You have to believe as owners of competitors the don’t feel compelled to support their Ford “brothers and sisters”. They will unfortunately force Ford down to the unsuccessful level of GM and Chrysler. The UAW has always been a conflict of interest with American consumers and manufacturers and now with their own membership. Good news is there are new foreign competitors on the horizon. the problem is with the proposed open union vote changes they will not care to produce in the US.

mj

November 19th, 2009
7:18 am

Mulally will make plenty of money the old fashion way. Earn it thru profits and not handouts. Ford’s debt is huge and it won’t be easy but he has a plan and you can see it working. When the debt is paid down and the cash and stock come back, he will be rewarded. If Ford can avoid another Nasser it will be okay. Bring on the Polings and products.

Joel Dockery

November 19th, 2009
7:20 am

“Yeah, and if it wasn’t for the government, the other two wouldn’t be running at all.”
Ah, yes, we don’t want Ford to have a monopoly, do we? So let’s give GM and Chrysler an unfair advantage so that they can continue to make crummy cars and “compete” with Ford. If you all had your way we wouldn’t have cars–we would still be protecting carriage manufacturers and the jobs that they produced.

John

November 19th, 2009
8:06 am

Ford’s success has nothing whatsoever to do with someone being a republican or democrat, liberal or conservative. Ford has countless hard working production line workers, engineers, quality techs, managers and others who have done what it takes to make good vehicles such as the Fusion.

People need to realize that the entire world does not revolve around party politics. Obama, Bush, Reagan, Olberman, Hannity, and the rest have never lifted a finger to contribute to Ford’s successes or past failures.

Ron

November 19th, 2009
8:59 am

John, you would be incorrect. Ford gladly participated in the cash for clunkers program. So they have benefited from some form of government handout. But they are being rewarded for their hard work on straightening out their own business.

Tax Dude

November 28th, 2009
10:48 am

Ford is operating like any other business, build a good product that meets a need and watch your bottom line. This isn’t rocket science, unless management is completely out of touch. With all this success ford has experienced I am sure their tax accountants are busy at work finding ways to minimize their tax problems.

http://www.edisonaccounting.com