The Ford Motor Company remains one of the world's major carmakers, but a series of challenges over the past two decades has pushed it steadily down the rankings. The #2 manufacturer in 2000, it now sits in 6th place. As well as the main Ford brand, the company owns luxury marque Lincoln, sold mainly in North America. However, a sizeable collection of other brands have been sold or discontinued since 2005. A trio of British automobiles - Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover - were relinquished to other owners and the group also surrendered its effective control of Japan's Mazda, though the two companies maintain a strategic alliance. The Volvo passenger car business in Sweden was sold in 2010 to Geely of China, and the struggling North American Mercury brand was shuttered at that year's end. Those disposals were originally prompted by a series of escalating problems during the 2000s ranging from over-capacity and management turmoil to a massive recall of faulty Firestone tires. In fact, these multiple hurdles were ultimately to prove modestly beneficial, allowing the group to begin its restructuring well before the sudden and near-catastrophic slowdown which occurred during 2007 and 2008, and which temporarily bankrupted rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Yet unlike GM, which was able to wash away most of its financial burden in a Chapter 11 spring clean, Ford still labours under a mountain of debt. The main Ford brand is the worldwide #3 car brand, with registrations of 5.46m vehicles in 2018, while the Ford F-Series pick-up truck is the world's #2 selling model (behind Toyota's Corolla), with 1.08m units registered in 2018. However no other model made even the Top 25. In the US alone, both Ford brand and the F-Series are the local top sellers in both categories. Lincoln sits just outside the US Top 25 brands at 104k vehicles registered in 2018. Total group wholesale units slipped below 6.0m vehicles, a little under half of them in North America. China is the group's #2 market, some way behind the US, followed by the UK and then Germany. Despite falling wholesale volumes, revenues topped $160bn, the best figure for more than a decade. However, net income was under pressure, falling to $3.7bn. William Clay Ford Jr, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, is executive chairman and several other family members workds within the group. Collectively the Ford family control around 40% of equity. Jim Hackett is CEO.
Capsule checked 10th October 2019
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Adbrands Daily Update 19th Nov 2019: "New Breed". British actor Idris Elba is the front man for Ford's bold reinvention of its classic Mustang racer, in an all-electric version, the Mach-E, and main agency BBDO NY is behind this striking launch film. It's a great-looking spot, but with some reservations. Now, we like Idris Elba a lot; this is a guy with character and charisma, which he has used to great effect in recent ads for Squarespace and Stella Artois. So we're wondering why BBDO hasn't made better use of him here. Who is he talking to? Not us, clearly, because otherwise he would be looking at us, not off into space or into his coffee. Eye contact is the secret to good salesmanship. Everyone knows that. An opportunity missed, we feel.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Apr 2019: Ford CEO Jim Hackett restructured his senior management team, effectively dividing operational responsibility between Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley. Hinrichs was named as president, automotive, overseeing global vehicle development and manufacturing. Farley takes the role of president, new businesses, technology & strategy with oversight of all self-driving and new mobility ventures.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Jan 2019: Ford will effectively quit the Russian passenger car sector with a scaling back of its current joint venture with local company Sollers, prompted by continuing weak market conditions. Car production will cease by the end of June, and two vehicle assembly plants and an engine factory will be shuttered at a cost to Ford of around $500m. A restructured joint venture, which will be majority controlled by Sollers, will continue to produce commercial vehicles for the Russia market, primarily the Ford Transit.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Feb 2019: "Sanctuary". Serena - she's so famous now, she hardly even needs a surname anymore - already dominates women's tennis. She will soon be as ubiquitous in commercials as she already is on the Grand Slam circuit. The latest addition to her already bulging endorsement portfolio is Ford's luxury marque Lincoln. This rather handsome spot broke last night during the Grammys; thus its strong musical theme. Longtime WPP agency Hudson Rouge retained the account in the global Ford creative review, so it's clearly putting every effort into making the client happy to guard against any further changes of heart... Though we're guessing Serena costs a little more than the car's traditional spokesman Matthew McConaughey.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Jan 2019: Ford took investors by surprise with a shock loss in 4Q on the back of sharp declines in Europe - where it has already announced a major restructuring - and also China. Full year revenues crept up 2% to $160.3bn but net income more than halved to $3.8bn. There were EBIT losses in all global regions except North America. Asia Pacific was especially hard hit with a $1.1bn loss; South America wasn't too far behind at negative $678m. The clear underlying message in virtually all developed markets including North America was a decline in sales of traditional passenger cars in favour of SUVs and light trucks.
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