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Old 02-16-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default Ford fix-it plan off track (Report: Sales goals missed, morale low)

Ford fix-it plan off track (Report: Sales goals missed, morale low)

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll...TO01/702160417

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DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. is failing to meet key goals in its turnaround plan and employees are losing confidence in the company's ability to save itself, according to an internal report released to employees and obtained by The Detroit News on Thursday.

Titled "Report Card: Ford North America," the report paints a grim picture of a company unable to stop its downward spiral.

Ford missed its retail sales goal in the United States for January by 10,600 vehicles -- or nearly 1 percentage point of market share -- and now expects to miss its retail market share goals for February and March, the report shows. The company hit its material cost reduction target for January, but will miss its targets for February and March by a wide margin, according to the current forecast.

"These metrics are key indicators of progress toward achieving profitability by 2009 for North American automotive operations," the report states.

Ford's problems are not lost on employees, only 47 percent of whom say they have confidence in Ford's long-term success. And less than 45 percent believe the automaker's "Way Forward" plan is working, according to the results of an employee survey included in the report.

The failure to meet the plan goals is the first sign of real trouble for CEO Alan Mulally's new regime. While Ford lost more money in 2006 than ever before -- $12.7 billion -- most of that damage was done before the former Boeing Co. executive was tapped to lead Ford last fall. Since then, Mulally has stressed the need for unblushing honesty and rigorous accountability, urging his executives to set realistic goals for 2007. However, Ford's Americas team failed to meet these supposedly more realistic targets.

That is bound to put more pressure on Ford Americas President Mark Fields and his team.

Wall Street is likely to be more indulgent with Mulally, according to Bradley Rubin, who follows Ford for BNP Paribas.

"He's already done the hard thing, which is raising the capital and getting enough cash in there to fix Ford's problems," Rubin said. "It's not about how much they lose in '07. Earnings have taken a back seat to whether or not they have enough cash and financial flexibility."

In December, Ford put up all of its U.S. assets to secure more than $23 billion in financing to fund the turnaround plan.

Workers losing faith

Ford spokesman Oscar Suris confirmed the authenticity of the report and said it demonstrates the company's commitment to keep its employees informed of the progress Ford is making in its effort to revive its struggling automotive business.

"One of the hallmarks of the Way Forward effort has been robust communication with our employees, and that is continuing," Suris said. "Part of the value of understanding how you're performing against your plan is that you can make decisions today about what you do tomorrow to affect your performance in the future."

Fields went over the report with employees Wednesday as part of his regular weekly Webcast, but acknowledged that he is having a hard time convincing them to keep the faith.

According to a quarterly survey of employee morale, results of which were included in the report, most employees have a dim view of Ford's future. Just more than 50 percent were optimistic about the future a year ago, and Ford set a goal of increasing that number to 60 percent this year. But it has already fallen to below 50 percent.

Product -- or the lack thereof -- is a major cause for this pessimism. Only 38 percent of workers surveyed said they believe Ford has "the right products to move the company forward." That was four points higher than before the automaker invited employees to see its future product lineup in December.

Better marketing next step

Fields said during the Webcast that getting employees to buy into the "Way Forward" plan will be a key goal of the coming year. Improving Ford's marketing will be another.

"Marketing and Sales has developed a marketing plan to generate increased showroom traffic and improve customer consideration by aggressively telling the Ford story with confidence and consistency and highlighting our great products," the report states.

It has been a long time since Ford's marketing division delivered game-changing campaigns like "Have you driven a Ford lately?" or "Quality is Job One." Its most recent "Bold Moves" campaign riled dealers, forcing the company to rethink its strategy.

Mulally is also continuing to hold weekly meetings with top executives to monitor progress on Ford's turnaround plan and deal with problems as soon as they appear.

According to the report released to employees this week, the shortfall in retail sales was "due to greater-than-expected segment shift out of pickups, unfavorable share performance related to SUVs and lower-than-planned availability of (Ford's) new products."

Among the few bright spots in the report was news of a strong launch for the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers, as well as real progress on improving cost performance.

"The forecast for the first quarter of 2007 reflects lower-than-expected warranty costs," the report states. "The forecast also includes further reductions in manufacturing-related expenses, particularly fuel and utility costs for plants."

Ford is well on its way to meeting its goal of cutting some 44,000 jobs in the United States by 2008. The company also plans to idle 16 factories by 2012.
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:53 AM   #2
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I wonder if the employee opinion regarding proper product to secure its turnaround would increase if they were shown the Ford Europe models and asked their opinions regarding the importing of those. I would not recommend giving the survey to the factory workers though as they have good reason to say those would be bad since it would compete with their own domestic cars.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:10 AM   #3
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Aren't we already on the New New New Way Forward? What's the next plan going to be called?
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:24 PM   #4
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Aren't we already on the New New New Way Forward? What's the next plan going to be called?
Follow GM plan
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:41 PM   #5
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I think they are ready for the "stop making crappy cars" plan. And that would include anything that looks, smells, tastes, feels, or sounds like a Taurus.
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #6
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Ha.


R.I.P. Ford of North America. You will not be missed.
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:18 PM   #7
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According to the report released to employees this week, the shortfall in retail sales was "due to greater-than-expected segment shift out of pickups, unfavorable share performance related to SUVs and lower-than-planned availability of (Ford's) new products."
Are you kidding me? Jeez, the writing was on the wall to get out of pick ups for some time now. I just don't understand how the domestics are so slow (and narrowminded) about shifting gears to meet market demands.

As much as I hate the union and put a finger of blame on them, it's poor decisions like these from the execs which are also killing the companies.
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:37 PM   #8
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Nothing that another round of layoffs won't fix.... starting the people that got FoMoCo into the mess that they are in now - all the over-paid top-tier execs... and NO, they should not get golden parachutes either.
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Old 02-17-2007, 03:41 PM   #9
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Misleading headline: If you read all the way to the bottom of the article, they are on-track with factory-related cost cutting measures, ahead of plan in reducing warranty costs (read: improving quality), are on-track for workforce reductions and plant closings, and are having trouble meeting demand for their newest products, the Edge and MKZ (so... they can actually sell them without incentives.).

All the problem areas are legacy products that Mulally is either killing, revamping, or bringing successful "world platforms" from other markets as quickly as possible (like, for MY2009). Ford is going to be a much smaller company at the end of this. Losing market share is expected, even if every month another journo is going to run around telling us the sky is falling when the sales figures come out...
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:04 PM   #10
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According to the report released to employees this week, the shortfall in retail sales was "due to greater-than-expected segment shift out of pickups, unfavorable share performance related to SUVs and lower-than-planned availability of (Ford's) new products."

Bs, They abandoned small car and ran after pick up and SUV for the ease of engineering and short term profit. Ford organization culture like other American company is big on speeches, finger pointing and short term profit while their competition really worked hard to gain market share by investing in technology for long term goal. I have own a few Fords so I know their cars which are cheaply built/low quality material and poorly designed.
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:13 PM   #11
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... Ford organization culture like other American company is big on speeches, finger pointing and short term profit while their competition really worked hard to gain market share by investing in technology for long term goal.
Amen to that.

Are you really going to give 110% of yourself as an employee if you basically know that not only will you be getting laid-off soon, but also that the credit and rewards of all your hardwork is gonna be taken by some schmuck in upper management making 20x what you are? Corporate America is going to ruin this country.
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Old 02-17-2007, 06:10 PM   #12
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Amen to that.

Are you really going to give 110% of yourself as an employee if you basically know that not only will you be getting laid-off soon, but also that the credit and rewards of all your hardwork is gonna be taken by some schmuck in upper management making 20x what you are? Corporate America is going to ruin this country.

going to??

isn't the country (as in citizens) in huge debt?
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Old 02-17-2007, 08:14 PM   #13
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I stand corrected.
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Old 02-17-2007, 08:51 PM   #14
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Ha.


R.I.P. Ford of North America. You will not be missed.
Im pretty sure if you passed, you wouldnt be missed either.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:39 AM   #15
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I think they are ready for the "stop making crappy cars" plan. And that would include anything that looks, smells, tastes, feels, or sounds like a Taurus.
and the asshats renamed the five hundred and freestyle the TAURUS for 2008
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:06 PM   #16
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What does Ford really think is going to happen? A majority of their vehicle sales comes from the loyalty of it's employees. Well if you keep letting them go and/or their friends and family go, then they will start to shop elsewhere and tell their friends and/or family to do the same. It's a shame. They must think that these peeps losing their jobs will still continue to buy from them Wow OH what tangled webs they will weave.

Just my $0.02

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Old 02-18-2007, 12:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 1st Scooby View Post
What does Ford really think is going to happen? A majority of their vehicle sales comes from the loyalty of it's employees. Well if you keep letting them go and/or their friends and family go, then they will start to shop elsewhere and tell their friends and/or family to do the same. It's a shame. They must think that these peeps losing their jobs will still continue to buy from them Wow OH what tangled webs they will weave.

Just my $0.02

Jim

never thought of it that way. but its true...
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Old 02-19-2007, 07:51 AM   #18
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....just when the Ford Contour was beginning to grow on me.
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by WRXBob View Post
According to the report released to employees this week, the shortfall in retail sales was "due to greater-than-expected segment shift out of pickups, unfavorable share performance related to SUVs and lower-than-planned availability of (Ford's) new products."

Bs, They abandoned small car and ran after pick up and SUV for the ease of engineering and short term profit. Ford organization culture like other American company is big on speeches, finger pointing and short term profit while their competition really worked hard to gain market share by investing in technology for long term goal. I have own a few Fords so I know their cars which are cheaply built/low quality material and poorly designed.
Pretty much accurate.

The abortion that is the US Focus should be taken out and shot. The funny part about it is when I brought up the Euro Focus to the sales guy at the WASH DC autoshow he knew all about it...but still tried to sell me on the "Our version uses the better platform" line. He seemed to get genuinely offended when I told him he was full of crap.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #20
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Pretty much accurate.

The abortion that is the US Focus should be taken out and shot. The funny part about it is when I brought up the Euro Focus to the sales guy at the WASH DC autoshow he knew all about it...but still tried to sell me on the "Our version uses the better platform" line. He seemed to get genuinely offended when I told him he was full of crap.
Yup, so we get yet ANOTHER piss-poor redesign of the Focus, now it looks exactly like a Saturn Ion and won't even become a fleet car, most rental offices are going to the Hyundais and Kias because they last longer, get better mileage and are more appealling to the mainstream populous.

See ya later Ford...
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:01 PM   #21
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It makes me sad to think that ford's going to die. They used to make some pretty nice cars (IMO). The new mustang, ford contour, taurus sho, mustang svt r, focus (when it was new) and focus svt all come to mind. It seems like the fusion's alright too (even though it's mostly a mazda 6). I used to be a ford guy (my parents always bought em) and I hope they can get out of their funk and start selling cars in the US that people want to buy. Some of Ford of Europe's offerings would be a good start (as most of us know).

It makes me mad when I think of some of their actions (or lack thereof) they've made recently. Remember how they kept the taurus with the same engine choices for 10 years!? And what they've done to the focus makes me sick. Their lack of continued development and improvement of their vehicles is disgusting. If they die, it's their own fault
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:09 PM   #22
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They were thinking of rebadgeing Opel's as saturns....
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:12 PM   #23
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If ford rebadges Opels as saturns, I'll be floored.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:15 PM   #24
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They were thinking of rebadgeing Opel's as saturns....
GM Products?
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:43 PM   #25
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In wake of this recent report card, top Ford Execs gave themselves all raises.

Greedy execs + ****ty product + zero product advancement = failed company.

I mean Kias are better for godsake! Kias!!!!
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