Tuesday, March 28, 2006

James Treece of Automotive News thinks Mark Fields needs to Forzda FoMoCo

James Treece of Automotive News, thinks Mark Fields needs his advice. So he's suggesting that Fields use the same strategies to cure Ford North America as he did Mazda. I'm not sure I agree. Read the article linked above and let me know what you think. Below are some excerpts;

At Mazda, Fields began an employee-education course. It started with the white-collar crowd but eventually involved everyone. They learned about the impact of exchange rates, capacity utilization and so on. It was Business 101.

The author states that at Mazda, the employees weren't aware of how bad the situation was. I tend not to believe that in this case. What with all the press hounding FoMoCo and Employee forums and other internet chatter, I think only employees that have been living in a box could be oblivious to the situation. The author also says that employees once appraised of the situaion, accepted the realities and did not squalk when plant closings were necessary. Now I think it's the reporter that's living in a box, if he thinks the UAW and employees will give silent ascent and take one for the team.

Define the brandFields insisted that Mazda's product planners and the whole company know what the Mazda brand stood for.

Easier said than done, especially if you compare Ford to Mazda. Mazda is a smaller company, with fewere expectations from the market. Ford is expected as the "#2" domestic automaker to have a broader market presence, especially when you consider multiple brands such as Mercury and Lincoln. But the point is somewhat valid, in that Ford needs to have a clearer identity for each of it's brands.

Ford needs the same treatment. What does Ford stand for? Lincoln? Mercury?

Ford stands for value and performance, Lincoln for luxury and Mercury for... Well hell Mercury stands for Ford but a little pimped out.

Here's an idea. Cull the work force for the most skilled workers, set them up in a low-investment factory and have them hand-build or customize limited-edition cars. Replace them on the line with folks who have been playing cards at the Jobs Bank.

Nice idea, but what vehicles is the reporter talking about? The GT is dead, and Ford doesn't stand for "Hand Built." This doesn't seem like an answer for Ford, it sounds more like Jaguar.

Mark Fields better be one hell of a "Wonder Boy" if he's going to do all of this in a few short years.


Anonymous said...

I understand the first point is a sort of a utopia, but it will work -somewhat..

Ford does need more worker interest in the furure ofthe company.. have actual ideas how to better it, and understand why certain decisions are made.

They will squeal wif thei plant will be closing.. but at the end of the day they will be more understanding .. that their sacrifice saved other peoples' jobs...

If this won;t work for everyone (it won't ) there will be some that will benefit.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Fields is a nice guy, i should know, we lived in the same apartment building in Japan.


Big Ford Fan said...

Igor, in my opinion the first point is just stupid. Ford Employees know just how bad things are, all they have to do is put on the TV news. I also think the UAW and others will posture until the last minute.

XY I'm sure Mark Fields is a great guy, but I'm more concerned about what he's going to do at Ford and why he needed a big bonus to stay.