Ford Posts its Worst Quarter Ever

by Benjamin Jones on July 25, 2008

This is a guest post from Ben Nelson, forum member and electric motorcycle guru. Thanks, Ben!

Back in January 2007, the Washinton post reported how the Ford Motor Company had reported a loss of $12.7 billion in 2006, the worst in its 103 year history.

In the same article, “Ford…blamed the loss in 2006 on a profit collapse in its truck-dependent North American division.”

Today, Ford reported a second-quarter loss of $8.7 billion – the worst quarter ever.

Of course most of us sort of expect that. We hear in the news every day about the cost of food, energy, and healthcare. We hear about the housing market and banks going bankrupt.

But we plan ahead, we change as we have to, as do the motor companies.

In May, the F-150, the “best-selling vehicle in America” was outsold by Honda’s Civic and Accord and Toyota’s Camry and Corolla. None of which are pickup trucks, and all of which are know as well-built, fuel-efficient vehicles.

So, Ford is changing right?

In June, Green Car Congress reported that “Ford Motor Company will produce the new Ford Fiesta small car for North America at the company’s transformed Cuautitlán Assembly Plant—currently producing F-Series (F-150 to F-550) pickups for the Mexican market—beginning in early 2010.” North America – that means the Fiesta may or may NOT even be for sale in the United States. And sales two years from now aren’t doing Ford any good this summer.

Take a look at Ford’s main web page. In the “Vehicle Showroom” feature for the Ford brand, six of the vehicles are “cars”, everything else is a pickup, SUV or crossover. And that’s only if you count the Focus and Mustang twice.

While the Ford Escape Hybrid offers greatly improved city mileage over it’s standard engine brother, it comes at a premium of about $8000 extra. That’s if you can find one. This spring, when I checked on availability of that vehicle, I found that there was only one, literally just one, for sale at any dealership in the entire state!

For years, auto manufacturers have been saying that they just are giving the public what it wants, and that’s trucks and SUVs. Ford has continued its manufacturing based on outdated modes of thought about what people want in a vehicle.

Right now, what the public wants is something affordable to operate – not another gas guzzler.

Will Ford make changes to its lineup quick enough to continue as one of the major manufactureres, or will “Built Ford Tough” simply not be good enough?

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1 Mike I July 25, 2008 at 12:09 pm

What they don’t understand is it’s not that small cars are popular now, it’s that good small cars are popular. Nothing says “quality” like the name “Fiesta.”

Just like in the ’70s… The time to innovate has already happened and Ford’s products and mindsets are still far in the past.

2 Nuks July 26, 2008 at 9:50 am

They’re driving their car business into the ground just like they did with the detroit lions! ;p

3 Tom July 26, 2008 at 10:01 am

Honestly, everyone should have seen this coming a long time ago. Especially Ford, with the rising gas prices the last few years, and even before the Bush Admin they should have seen this coming. The Japanese knew what they were doing when they released the Accord, Civic, Camry, and Corolla. Why do you think their sales skyrocketed? And what did the US automakers do in return? They tried to compete by (quickly) making small fuel-efficient cars, and ended up making some of the worse cars in history.. The Pinto, the Vega, and the Gremlin… need i say more?

It’s clear that Ford is just digging themselves a hole, and i’m glad to be driving a car that is 15 years old, has never had a single mechanical problem, and that i only have to refill once every three weeks (which costs me about $22.30), and i’m not some slow-ass driver either, i’m in love with shifting to 5th gear. It’s a 1993 Honda Civic CX, by the way.

I’m not praying for the US Automakers to fail and burn to the ground, don’t get me wrong. But i can’t help but laugh at their stupidity and failure to change with the times.

4 dude22o1 July 26, 2008 at 10:02 am

its true that what the people want is something cheap when they buy it and cheap when they own it. Ford just needs to hurry up and find the perfect median of the 2, and soon. Gas prices don’t look like they’ll be going down any!

5 FortunateSon July 26, 2008 at 10:10 am

It sounds like the author is assuming that people are buying these trucks for personal usage/daily driving. My father has been a Ford salesman for 18 years here in TN – and while it is true that many people buy them for personal usage, the majority of sales of trucks for him are to business owners or companies who need them (lawncare, construction, towing, etc). The housing market, construction and other business declines are the main reason why his sales have dropped and all of the other dealers say the same. You really don’t see a lot of urbanites driving F350 superduty trucks. At least I don’t anyway, maybe it’s different elsewhere.

Also you may be interested to know that there is a plant in Mexico that produced F-150 superduty trucks that has been shut down and is being retooled to produce the Ford Fiesta. He has been told that they will be available next year. Remember that the 2010 “model year” is 2009. He however is keeping a healthy skepticism about that too.

And I drive a Honda Civic. The Focus is just an ugly car, IMHO.

6 crusty July 26, 2008 at 10:21 am

Maybe if car companies quit making cheap plastic crap for vehicles, then more people would buy them.

7 Joe July 26, 2008 at 11:04 am

What’s even worse: The release of the Flex. A gas-guzzling, hyper-expensive POS. Good job Mr. Ford. You’ve guaranteed your bankruptcy (possibly…)

8 Flah_koh July 26, 2008 at 11:07 am

All companies have budget constraints in which they have to operate. Part of these budgets are applied to marketing and forecasting. In looking at the markets companies determine what people want and adjust their strategies accordingly. Ford must have done this and saw, just as Honda or Toyota did, that the markets were moving towards higher fuel efficiency. It seems however that ford did not heed these forecasts and spent very little money to adjust to these market changes. Or did they? I bet Ford spend a millions in response to these changes. Probably as much as Toyota did, but in a different way. Lobbying. Lobbying our government to keep fuel efficiency low. Lobbying to make sure restrictions and new regulations were not applied to cars in the United States. Lobbying against EPA emissions regulations. Ford did invest in the future. They just invested in making sure the future didn’t happen. I say let them burn and learn.

9 Scotty G July 26, 2008 at 11:39 am

Please learn you facts before you go and bash ford.
This loss includes the cost of closing factories paying buy outs. “Ford also wrote down $8B in special charges related to its restructuring.”
The Ford Fiesta is coming to the USA its not to hard to search and find these facts

10 R1 July 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Its rediculious to expect ANY auto maker to change on a dime. You talk like they can produce big trucks & SUV’s one month and if the market shifts or gas rises they can push a few buttons and start spitting out small cars. Bash Ford all you want. They are STILL on top of the domestic auto makers. F-150 sales are way down yes but they have been the #1 truck for the past 31 years and have sold more YTD than Dodge or Chevy (GMC).

11 Erik July 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Ford hasn’t made a light, cheap, affordable, and most of all FUN car for the US market. Wake up ford! Bring those smaller Euro hatches you make with 4 bangers and a turbo! then strap some hybrid technology on it and some good colors

12 John July 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Mike, have you seen the ’10 fiesta? If not, then you shouldn’t be talking. That car looks better than any small car out right now…

13 Tim L July 26, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Ford has been producing great cars with great gas mileage, too bad they only sell them in Europe – the Mondeo, the RS series Escort. Is this the final wake up call? Until then I am happy with my Honda/Acura cars. I know, but atleast they are built in the US.

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