Tuesday, June 06, 2006

How can Ford seem to react to other markets with ease, yet continually miss the mark at home?

As I said in the last post, and many times in the past, Ford has been an international player for many years, longer than some other companies have been around. And they've been able to survive by adapting to local markets quickly. In the article linked in title, Ford has been quickest to adapt to Brazil's new market reality of Flex Fuel vehicles.

So I'm left wondering how they can adapt so well world wide, yet here in their largest market, their "home" market, they seem to be fumbling. How is this? Don't tell me it's just the unions, Ford has union plants in Europe, Australia and elsewhere. It's not that they don't know how to design product people want to buy, at least overseas. Ford does very well in many markets with a wide variety of cars, wagons, CUVs, SUVs and trucks with both Gas and Diesel powerplants. I've posted about many of them here, from the South American EcoSport ( pictured above) to the Australian Falcon and the Everest sold in Asia and the Middle East. Some vehicles are international sucesses like the Ranger and F-Series truck as well as the Focus ( C-1) that are sold almost anywhere a Blue Oval can be seen.

How is it that at one time Ford had the best selling small car in the US ( Escort) Midsize car (Taurus) Small truck (Ranger) Full Size truck ( F-Series) and SUV (Explorer) and now the ones that aren't gone are suffering? There has been potential that hasn't been met, models that were released and then never updated ( Lincoln LS) and Icons that were left to die on the vine ( Crown Vic/Town Car.)

I read today, that Ford is putting off the release of a Fiesta type model in the US until it can be designed to better reflect an American image. Now I hope they know what they're doing, because while they delay everyone else is acting and the more Fits, Versas and Excels will be sold.

What do you think?

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