Friday, May 15, 2009

While others panic, FoMoCo started the process before it was too late...

Do you know why the Ford blue oval is the shining star of the US Domestic auto industry?
It's simple, while the others continued with business as usual and now take government assistance, Ford Motor Company started a process several years ago that would help them navigate the troubled waters of our economy. We all saw the "big 3" going hat in hand before Congress last fall, but Ford didn't ask for help. Why? Because they had borrowed heavilly before the credit markets dried up. They gathered a war chest of $24 Billion. They even mortgaged the beloved Blue Oval logo.

And while Chrysler has already entered bankruptcy and GM is headed toward Bankruptcy on June 1st, Ford has the cash and the plan to get back to profitability in 2012. Ford doesn't need to partner with a foreign manufacturer like Chrysler's deal with Fiat, because they're going to build their own global small cars here.

GM is trying to sell off brands like SAAB, Saturn, Opel and just kill off Hummer and Pontiac.
Ford sold Premiere Auto Group brands, like Ranger Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin, but had the relative luxury of time. With Ford it didn't seem like the fire sale GM is running.

And while the news of late tells the tale of Chrysler shutting 789 dealerships yesterday and GM closing 1,200 by 2010, Ford has shed 500 dealers since 2005, when they started the Way Forward. No mass panic, just closing underperforming or oversaturated outlets quietly in a calm and civil way.

It's not all wine and roses, it's tough going for Ford Motor Company, but they have this thing, it's called a plan. And they've been working at it since before the economic meltdown. That's what big companies are supposed to do. GM and Chrysler saw the same storm clouds on the horizon, but Ford took action. And in the end, when we have a smaller chrysler who's majority owned by Fiat and a trimmed down GM, we'll have a more profitable trimmer Ford too. But Ford will do it with a more gradual plan that won't gut shareholders. Ford's not out of the woods, but they've got a compass and a flashlight and seem to know how to use them. More importantly, they had a plan!

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