Will Ford Die Another Day?

by : Stacey Wilson

Big options are now coming down the way for Ford. These options may either create an air of new life to the automaker or be liable for its second death in the automotive world.

After its dwindling sales in the past few quarters, Ford is having a hard time to cope up with the losses. Losses seem to be mounting and the instant solution of the automaker is to design a work plan to pull it upwards. This plan is called the 'Way Forward'. Said plan called for the closure of 14 plants and 30,000 job cuts by year 2012.

However, experts are saying that there are other issues that the automaker must respond to. These issues include the determination of whether its ailing brands like Lincoln Mercury and Jaguar should sell or close. Another concern is the exodus of Ford's top executives. Lastly, Ford must also concentrate on its bread-and-butter vehicles like the F-Series pickup truck. used in said vehicles are now being matched by Chevy in its Silverado version of pickup truck.

Rebecca Lindland, an automotive analyst at consultancy Global Insight said, "Ford is good at cutting costs, but it's not very good at selling product, and that's what brings in the money. The company needs to get people into their showrooms. The baby boomers are the ones who rode Nissan, Toyota and Honda to where they are today, and there are lots of them who have never darkened the door of a domestic automaker's showroom. That is why we don't anticipate many big changes for the domestic automakers like Ford for decades. Baby boomers are in their peak buying years."

"One of the things we are so concerned about at Ford is the design direction. Where is it going, and who is leading the charge? What is a Ford car? The company needs to get some kind of theme, or personality. Chrysler was able to do it with the 300 and Ford had it with the Mustang and the F-Series, but they have stumbled badly since then, and people don't know what a Ford car stands for," Lindland further added.

On one hand, Daniel Gorrell, vice president at research and consulting firm Strategic Vision in San Diego advised that Ford should take drastic changes to help alleviate its standing in the automotive industry. Gorrell said, "[Ford is] caught up the general malaise of domestic automobile industry. It's under siege [from Asian automakers], and it hasn't really demonstrated an ability to get over its problems. The business environment is very difficult for them now, and their mix of products no longer reflects what consumers are looking for."