• Aug 24, 2006
Could an interview with Bill Ford possibly be more timely? No sooner do rumors surface about a Ford-Renault-Nissan tie-up if the GM-Renault-Nissan talks fall through, than up pops an interview of the emabattled CEO by BusinessWeek's David Kiley.
The lengthy interview is well worth the read, with a number of questions hitting directly on key issues such as Bill Ford's suitability for the job of Ford Motor CEO, the role of the Ford family in the evolution of the company, and the possiblity of an alliance with Renault-Nissan.

Meanwhile, industry analysts are weighing in with their views on a possible Ford-Renault-Nissan alliance, with the consensus opinion largely in favor (in contrast to the negative reaction to a GM-Renault-Nissan deal). Where the benefits of the GM deal didn't seem worth the effort (with the possible exception of gaining a new CEO in Carlos Ghosn), analysts feel Ford would have much to gain out of such an alliance, including:
  • exploiting synergies with Ford Europe brands (recall that Renault was once rumored to be interested in acquiring Jaguar)
  • better synergies in the North American market (Ford's struggles to bring a competitive B-segment car to market come to mind)
  • an opportunity for Ford to exploit Renault-Nissan's proven purchasing expertise
  • less brand overlap than a GM deal
We shall see...

[Sources: BusinessWeek, Reuters]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford has to get its Focus back. A former Ford executive is right on the money.

      1. Ford should kill Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln and that damn Mercury.

      2. The new arrangement should be:

      a) Ford as a mainstream brand.
      b) Volvo as the luxury brand
      c) Mazda as the import fighter and engineering resource.
      d) Aston Martin as the exotic on the top end.

      As a result ford will get its focus back and do very well in the future.

      FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS, FORD HAS TO GET ITS FOCUS BACK!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with #9
      FORD is not to blame for Jaguar's failure. Quite the opposite, I think Ford have been VERY patient. They have trown obscene amounts of money at it, let them play as they liked, develop expensive models...and still no results. The Brits have f*cked up and they should take the blame. Time to axe Jaguar, it can't compete with the Germans. The Jaguar brand had still some air of performance luxury when Ford bought it despite the poor quality in the 70 and 80s. The brand image is still there but it is simply not strong enough to convince people to buy Jaguars. Compare with GMs handling of SAAB. Both SAAB and Jaguar are exotic sporty brands though Jaguar is more luxury. Both have made huge losses since they were bought by GM/Ford. But GM has not invested the same way Ford has SAAB has very few,really old models and some crappy badge engineering. Jaguar otoh have new high tech models. To ask more of Ford is unreasonable. It's time to take a hint from BMW and drop the English patient.

      Land Rover has potential but now when every luxury brand have their own SUVs and crossovers the competition is fierce. If it's necessary to offer Jag och LR as one package I say get rid of it.

      Mercury has also got to go. They are only sold in the US and Ford already has one near-luxury brand, Volvo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Women and children first.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fords current turn around plans is all they need, There is no reason to sell anything or definitely not ally with any one. Mark Fields is doing as good as anyone else could.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bill,

      Go eat your Cheeseburger in Paradise and call it a day. I mean, it's painfully obvious you don't have what it takes to lead an automotive company, and it's painfully obvious FoMoCo doesn't have what it takes to be successful.

      Just call it quits, cash out, and ride your baby-blue Edsel off into the sunset.

      Most Americans want to look upon our industry leaders with a little respect. We can't do that with you, so perhaps it's time to take up lawn bowling with Rick Wagoner.

      far jr
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Ford family owns 40% of the stock. I read elsewhere today that the family is considering buying the company and making it private. How would that help the situation?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wonder why is ford cutting its work force in US so deeply. It confounds me! Rather than getting rid of blood sucking leeches like jaguar, land rover and lincoln, ford should think seriously about the immense damage it has done to the morale of entire work force.

      Why this sycophant attitude towards jaguar and land rover.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Kiley interview uncovers nothing of interest. Not that I would expect him to. His book on BMW is essentially a PR piece, even plagiarizing a BMW press kit. Fluff, fluff and more fluff.

      The question about family control being a problem in itself is pure B.S. Which other companies are heavily controlled by a family? BMW, Porsche and (to a lesser extent these days) Toyota. Are they having trouble attracting talent?

      Taking the company private, now that would be interesting.

      Land Rover is doing well lately. Jaguar, not so well. But there's still a lot of value in the brand and what it represents. Lincoln could also come back if they stopped changing their mind about what to do with it every two years.

      The only clear loser among the brands is Mercury, which has never amounted to anything, not even in the best of times. Even Isuzu might have more potential, and they're pretty much dead.
      • 8 Years Ago
      one thing everyone is suggesting is get rid of forign brands why not revamp them take jaguar and give it to a group of ford disigners land rover needs a new image completly and make mercruy the cost efficient econ cars to make them compeditive create a line of mercury hybreds, and small fuel efficent cars, maybe they should take an idea from india and make a 5000 dollar car. In addition now is the perfect time to make ford a private company if they think they can turn it around.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4 far jr
      No. The Ford family only owns 5% of the stock, but they have control of 40% of the voting shares. Big difference.

      Yes, Ford must be restructured quickly. But how?

      First decide what market share Ford could conceivably maintain. Easy. 15MM vehicles a year are sold in America. Ford could easily garner 20% or 3MM vehicles.

      Each manufacturing plant can build roughly 300,000 vehicles per year. That equates to 10 vehicle manufacturing facilities. So the remainder should be shuttered.

      Each dealership should sell 1000 vehicles per year. That correlates to 3000 dealers (not the current 4300). Furthermore Lincoln-Mercury should merge completely with Ford to form a single dealership network, rather than the cost intensive two.

      Successful product is the key to a successful business. Many changes are necessary here immediately.

      1. No problem with MUSTANG. Keep up the good work.
      2. FOCUS is way out of focus with what the public is buying. Adopt Mazda's product line to fill this niche. In fact buy out Mazda. That would solidify your world footprint better.
      3. FUSION falls short of expectations. Styling should be more like Acura.
      3. FREESTAR styling is too bland. A wedge shaped more masculin appearance would do wonders for this minivan.
      5. FIVE HUNDRED is the bomb (and I don't mean it's great). Dump this dog.
      6. CROWN VICTORIA is too outdated. A more Jaguar-esque profile would enhance this puppy.
      7. FORD TRUCKS, VANS, SUVS need new styling really bad. How about a more wedge shaped bodystyle?

      8. MERCURY should develop HYBRIDS for FORD. That would ensure the survivability of this nameplate.

      9. LINCOLN should mimic Jaguar styling more.

      10. JAGUAR should manufacture only exclusive Vanden Plas and XKE sport luxury cars. Drop the other models altogether.

      11. ASTON MARTIN...no problem here.

      12. RANGE ROVER should be positioned as the penultimate luxury SUV.

      No need to sell brands.

      Nor should any mergers with any other manufacturers be considered. This would only dilute Ford as a worldwide brand.

      The Way Forward should remain a Ford priority and not involved any outside influences. Get it right before considering any other options.

      Should Ford go private? Hmmmm???
      • 8 Years Ago
      Most of the comments above lack depth and clearly out of touch with reality. If we look carefully, where are Ford's problems??

      1. Ford's global operations are doing well.
      2. North America is bleeding.
      3. Jaguar and Land Rover are causing deep atrocious bleeding.

      Jaguar and land Rover were great brands but they represent yesterday. They are bringing down the entire Ford Motor Company along with them.

      Every year Jaguar and land Rover are bleeding in excess of 1 billion dollars. Even an elementary school kid will tell you to get rid of these two brands.

      I angers me when people accuse Ford for ruining Jaguar . Ford bought jaguar and gave it all the engineering and financial resources. It was jaguars job to get it right. It was managed by english executives, with english board of directors and headquarters in England. It could not get the job done. They got an "F".

      WHY BLAME FORD????
      • 8 Years Ago
      It is shocking how arrogant ford executives have become and how deeply they are in mood for suicide.

      If no one is buying Jaguar and land rover, simply shut it down. It is so damn frustrating to see this jewel of american industry, a global icon, being taken down by a handful of blood sucking foreign brands.
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