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Product Drought Part Of Ford's Problem

Product Drought Part Of Ford's Problem

The reasoning behind Ford Motor Company’s swift replacement of CEO Mark Fields this week is vast, but among the list is a general drought of new products. The lull in the Ford product pipeline, as reported by Reuters, is one of the larger challenges for new CEO Jim Hackett to deal with. Unfortunately there’s probably not a lot Hackett can do about the situation.

Most industry analysts expect Ford to be fairly light on new product launches until about 2019. The lull is largely credited to the company’s massive, expensive 2014 overhaul of the F-Series truck line. Ironically that huge capital investment was not a decision by Mark Fields, but rather his predecessor Alan Mulally.

While the company’s investment and switch to aluminum has managed to keep Ford as the top-dog of the pickup truck game, it has starved the rest of the company’s lineup. The move to aluminum is also a bit questionable in terms of strategy given that gasoline prices have stayed relatively flat in recent years.

The decisions have had ramifications to Ford. The company’s sales in the U.S. are falling faster than some of its rivals, including cross-town rival GM. In April Ford’s U.S. sales declined 7.2 percent in an overall market that was down only 4.7 percent. On a year-to-date basis Ford is down 5 percent while the industry as a whole is down only 2.4 percent. This immediate concern has been an issue with Ford shareholders and something the new CEO must address.

Unfortunately for Hackett, lead times to developing new vehicles aren’t that quick. Just as the F-150 decision was made well before Mark Fields took the top spot, many of product decisions made over the last four years are already baked in at Ford and cannot be changed.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the new team at Ford address their short term product problems.





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. 2b2
    Andrew_L
    I think the all new Focus is supposed to be shown later this year

    Ranger and Bronco are supposed to be 2018 and 2019 right?

    Rumors of a Lincoln Aviator are around 2018/2019 which would mean a new Explorer too

    2019 should be when the Fusion and MKZ get redone and on time if they survive the dying sedan market place

    The Escape was refreshed in 2015 and is in need of an update but I think they are trying to line it up with the MKC which hasn't had a refresh and may skip one all together with a replacement.

    I am sure there is more I am missing but I think the obvious suspects are:

    1. Escape, killing the hybrid model was stupid IMO.

    2. No MKZ Energi so Lincoln is falling behind on electrification

    3. C-Max needs an update too

    4. All the D cars... Flex, MKT, Taurus. Explorer needs it's update moved up as for the others either kill them or do SOMETHING with them.


    swipe!
    donmateo
    Taurus has needed an overhaul for awhile. New Expy which will help since the current is way dated.
    arutherford
    I would actually say their product offensive starts this summer with the all new Fiesta in Europe.
    Andrew_L
    I think the all new Focus is supposed to be shown later this year

    Ranger and Bronco are supposed to be 2018 and 2019 right?

    Rumors of a Lincoln Aviator are around 2018/2019 which would mean a new Explorer too

    2019 should be when the Fusion and MKZ get redone and on time if they survive the dying sedan market place

    The Escape was refreshed in 2015 and is in need of an update but I think they are trying to line it up with the MKC which hasn't had a refresh and may skip one all together with a replacement.

    I am sure there is more I am missing but I think the obvious suspects are:

    1. Escape, killing the hybrid model was stupid IMO.

    2. No MKZ Energi so Lincoln is falling behind on electrification

    3. C-Max needs an update too

    4. All the D cars... Flex, MKT, Taurus. Explorer needs it's update moved up as for the others either kill them or do SOMETHING with them.
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