Ford Regrets Not Moving Fast Enough on Environmental Opportunity

By: Evander Klum

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said last Thursday that they were not able to get the chance to pick up the lead in responding to environmental concerns as well as to style its sedan that looked flat in recent years. With this, he regretted that they did not move faster.

He said that as Ford Motor Company tried to shift away from a reliance on pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in which it had really high revenues, it had not been aggressive enough in fixing the style of its passenger cars.

According to him, their company did not explore that much in the past few years. He said that they were not bold enough as they got back into the car business.

Bill Ford Jr. who is the great-grandson of Henry (the founder of the company) had quirky five-year tenure as the automaker's chief executive. So his remarks was his fullest public commentary when he was speaking to a group of business, political and civic leaders on the reorganization of the U.S. auto industry.

Last year, he gave up the position of CEO with the hiring of former Boeing Co. executive Alan Mulally as his replacement.

Bill Ford said that with the prevailing standpoint in the U.S. auto industry on the environment, his long-running personal interest in environmental causes had once put him in the midst of difficulties. He said some perceived him as a crazy radical that when he entered the topic on environment two decades ago or even five years, many people thought that he was a weirdo.

Ford missed the opportunity to do more even if he said that he was grateful that their company had developed a hybrid Escape SUV on his watch and refined its Rouge Assembly plant in such a way that environmentalists would commend his efforts.

According to several analysts, Toyota Motor Corporation's Prius hybrid, a market-leading product, and its related reputation for building vehicles that are fuel efficient have helped it gain ground on Ford in the U.S. market and overtake General Motors Corporation as the industry's leading car maker all over the world.

United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger said that the GMC, Ford, and Chrysler were being levied on with a biased reputation for not competing on fuel economy. Unfortunately, according to him, there is a misperception that these big Detroit car makers only make gas consumers, while Toyota is a division of Greenpeace.

On the part of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford said that their company would be more aggressive in terms of marketing in direct comparisons with Toyota and other automakers. This is to address a "perception gap" with consumers who now avoid its products.

Recently, Ford launched an advertisement comparing the Fusion sedan with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The chairman said that more similar ads could be coming.

Ford said their own data reveal they have just pulled tantamount to Toyota. But he added that if one asks the average person on the street regrading that, they would think you are insane.

He had been spending more time on Ford's long-term strategy and meeting the employees, and these are passed on to the new CEO.

In the middle of a sweeping reorganization, Ford includes trimming almost 45,000 jobs and closing 16 plants in North America. This is their way to make the region profitable.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation. Based on the world wide vehicle sales, it is the third largest automaker all over the world after leaders Toyota and General Motors.

Maker of quality , Ford was the second-ranked automaker in the US with a 17.5 percent market share, after General Motors with 24.6 percent but ahead of Toyota with 15.4 percent and DaimlerChrysler with 14.4 percent. This was according to the 2006 records. In 2007, Ford was the seventh placer among different American-based companies in the Fortune 500 list. This was based on global revenues that amounted to $160.1 billion.

Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, the automaker was founded by Henry Ford in June 16, 1903. Its global brands include Lincoln and Mercury of the US, Jaguar and Land Rover of the UK, and Volvo of Sweden. Ford also owns a Mazda controlling interest amounting to one-third controlling.

Aside from producing quality products, Ford has been one of the ten largest corporations around the world in terms of revenue.

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