Ford Looks at 2008s to Stabilize Market Share

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Dearborn-based automaker Ford Motor Company lost $12.7 billion last year - the most that they have lost in the company's long and quite so colorful history. The company has even sold the ultra-luxury brand Aston Martin to bolster its sagging coffers. And now it is in the process of selling the two British brands in the Premiere Automotive Group (PAG) - Jaguar and Land Rover.

For the near future though, FoMoCo is looking to increase their shrinking market share in the United States auto market. The company hopes to increase its market share by offering a revitalized lineup for the 2008 model year. The company will be offering the revived and redesigned Ford Taurus and the production of which has just started. Aside from the Taurus, Ford's 2008 model year lineup also includes redesigned crossover SUVs. Crossovers are now considered the most sought after vehicle in the market.

According to Ford's president of the Americas, Mark Fields, the company is aiming to take about 14 to 15 percent of the local auto market. The past years has seen the market share of the car manufacturer reduced as Japanese rivals increased sales in the United States. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are all expanding their offerings for the United States auto market and Ford needs to counter it by offering new and competitive cars.

According to Fields, the company's share of the market today is about 15.3 percent. This means that one goal in their "Way Forward" has already been achieved and now they are looking to stabilize that share in the largest auto market in the world. At an event at Ford's Dearborn testing facility where new Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles were showcased, Fields has this to say: "We really are starting to deliver products that people will want."

Aside from the Ford Taurus sedan which has been redesigned completely and looks very different from its predecessor, Ford will also introduce the Taurus X for the 2008 model year. The Taurus X is a rebadged version of the Ford Freestyle, a crossover SUV. The Taurus X is one of the vehicles that Ford is looking at to attract car buyers with. Their lineup of light trucks is also redesigned for the 2008 model year. SUVs and pickups which can be equipped with the are now offered with more standard features to attract more buyers.

Aside from anchoring their hopes on the 2008 lineup, Ford is also looking to continue their workforce reduction. According to Fields, Ford has essentially achieved the goal of cutting down 14,000 jobs. Fields said that about 4,000 employees have already left the company last year, while the 10,000 employee-reduction will be implemented this year.

"We actually are done with that," said Fields. "We do have some folks that are staying with us a little bit longer, through the remainder of the year, in some critical positions."

As for their production capacity, Fields has this to say: "Overall, we're ahead of where we expected to be in capacity reduction. Economic conditions continue to make it more and more difficult for our suppliers, and that means we are going to have to work even harder to reach our targeted material cost reductions."

Ford lost money last year due to the fact that they are producing vehicles more than what they can sell. To turn the company back to profitability, Ford needed to reduce its production.

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