• Nov 13th 2008 at 6:02PM
  • 46
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Ford Fiesta

With all the news surrounding General Motors and Chrysler's slicing and dicing to profitability, it's a breath of fresh air to hear that Ford is taking a different tack. The Blue Oval is betting the farm on new models that will lure consumers into showrooms rather than reworking existing models and cutting back development spending.

Speaking with the Detroit News, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said, "We're only going to be in business if we create products that people really do want and value. This is the essence of creating a viable Ford."

Part of the automaker's plan is to invest in the development of small cars in the U.S. and to make those models as profitable as their European counterparts. The recently renegotiated contracts with the UAW should help, but offering the features U.S. consumers crave in a small, inexpensive packages could prove difficult. And new products are only part of the solution.

Ford plans to cut back on advertising spending, reduce salaried payroll by 10% and cut executive bonuses to net between $8-9 billion. All that, along with asset sales and working with Ford Credit, could bring things back into the black (hopefully) and more compelling products have to be part of the plan.

[Source: Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford is in better shape than GM for one reason, not as much to fix.

      GM has what, 6-7 brands to fix and multiple models to fix within each brand. Ford can fix its' Ford brand and use the base off each one to provide a truly unique Lincoln. Then they are using Mercury as their niche brand with certain Euro models not price friendly enough to be Fords in the U.S.

      Thats what they said they were going to do and they are sticking to it. The best part is they had this plan about a year ago before the auto world stopped spinning and it still works! Even better than the best part, it is NOT reliant on a government loan.

      Hooray for U.S. automotive competence! Hooray for Alan Mullaly! If this works (there is still work to do, no doubt) the man has earned his paycheck!

      The tricky thing for Ford will be not to get dragged down by GM saying "the entire U.S. auto indusrty needs this bailout!!!!!". Even if Ford does well, GM and its own domestic image could still hurt Ford's image because they are both Detroit automakers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good thing they have the new, fuel efficient, affordable Raptor. That will save FMC...
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's the best comment you can bring to this discussion? All I can say is wow!
        • 6 Years Ago
        You obviously don't see the purpose in that truck. As a whole it's part of the New F-150 release, and will help sales figures in the department whether you think it will or not. It's a limited production truck that WILL sell. No need to bash it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think that Ford has a good company ethos and is better suited to deal with adversity like this than GM would be. GM seems to be a bunch of unfocused and random units doing whatever. I think that Ford has some focus (excuse the pun) and seems to be moving in unity to address their current milieu.

      I also think, and I have said it several times before, that everyone is quick to blame management at both companies and overlooking the interference of our corrupt, meddling government in creating current problems.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sign me up for a C-Max.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "but offering the features U.S. consumers crave in a small, inexpensive packages could prove difficult" ...AutoBLog is quite mistaken here. As proven with premium small vehicles such as the BMW Mini and the Honda Civic coupes, vehicles don't necessarily have to be "inexpensive" (i.e. "cheap"). There is an unmet craving here in the US for PREMIUM small vehicles and we are willing to pay for it! What I mean by premium is a robust drive train including fully independent suspension and 4 wheel disc/anti-lock brakes with traction control, etc.

      I don't need gawdy wood grain interior or sweaty leather, but I do want the electronic niceties such as upgraded stereo, homelink, etc.

      So far Ford has missed the boat with the new Focus, even with sales as decent as they are, they could be much better. Buyers can't even get 4 wheel disc brakes on vehicles such as the Focus or the Escape. That's pathetic. For the Detroit Big 3 to get ahead, they will not only have to match the competition, but exceed it. That means eliminating the cheap stuff like solid axles, torsion beam suspensions, and drum brakes from your line ups forever. Period.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Several months ago when the signs started pointing to a economic downtown it was Ford that I was most worried about being able to weather the storm.

      Now they appear to be in the best position of the old "big three".

      That's not saying much, I know, but it's still unexpected.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Way back when I used to think GM was in a better position too, since they used to have more products in the pipeline. So much so that I bought a lot of GM stock, hoping that the GMT-900 series would bring the sales needed. I (thankfully!) sold off all my stocks shortly after the GMT-900 series came out just because it seemed like it just wasn't enough. Then the gas prices went nuts and the massive investment in new trucks blew up in their face.

        I didn't have much faith in the Volt-the concept car was obviously a money-wasting publicity stunt, and quite frankly all that money would have been better spent actually getting the Cruze to market instead of basically wasting money on what's basically a PR stunt and excuse to go beg the government for money. They should have spent as much money as they could to shift gears and start building the Cruze and other smaller cars ASAP, but it seems like GM's strategy was more or less to bet on the Volt as a PR stunt to get the government to bail them out with massive tax credits and "R&D" cash (which, quite frankly, would really go towards paying their massive obligations).

        Seriously, if we gave them $50 billion right now to use for "developing eco-friendly cars" there's ZERO chance that most of that money would ever go towards actual engineering work. Most of it would go straight into pension and healthcare costs and massive UAW contract costs, and a tiny fraction might end up being used to develop something or another. But obviously if they told us they need $50 billion to pay their current bills it'd sound like they were an incompetent bunch of idiots who don't have a sound business model, so obviously it's sold to us as "research money." I don't even care that they've come crawling to us to beg for cash, but treating me like I'm an idiot and claiming it's for developing plug-ins like the Volt is ridiculous when I know damned well where the money is going to go-it's going to go where all their money's gone for years and years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing. I thought GM had a better grasp of what needed to get done currently (Malibu, Cobalt, CTS), short term (Cruze) and long term (Volt). But, I failed to think of their crushing obligations (too many brands, too many plants, too many lines) and their inability to address these issues (UAW, bureaucracy).

        But, I also think its cyclical and Ford is on the peak instead of the trough. Ford started making cuts (white collar, plants) and they're beginning to see the fruits of those cuts now. GM was ahead of the curve 2 years ago when Ford was wracking up billions in losses and mortgaged everything for more cash.

      • 6 Years Ago
      One thing is bothersome - in asking for the $25B ($50B?) there doesn't seem to be a plan on how it is to be used. R&D - sorry, but that's not a plan.

      Since the U.S. auto industry directly or indirectly affects 1 in 14 jobs (a three letter word, right?) the success or failure of the U.S. auto mfgrs is significant for everyone.

      If it's business as usual - regardless of the current products at Ford and GM - they are doomed. As was stated previously - too many models, too many plants, too much capacity. There needs to be some serious slash and burn and frankly I'm not seeing anything indicating mfgrs are intending to do this. Nor have I read anything indicating mfgrs are pressing for contract get togethers with the union.

      Frankly, before I can support the dollars requested I'd like to see just a little of how my money is spent.

      We can all agree there are some nice products by all, but it won't mean squat if there is not a plan to get from point A to point B and right now it appears Ford seems to be at least looking for point B. Can't say that about the other two.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Finally, a smart move in the right direction.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota Needs to go out of business.

      File for Chapter 11.

      I am so tired of the Japanese car companies.

      Sanyo limits the amount of bat tires ford can use on there escape hybrids just so the Japanese can make more money here in the US.

      All along not allowing us to sell cars in japan.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If/When ford survives this they will be a leaner better company...and profitable when things turn around in the economy...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Make great cars, and you can move them without having to resort to low prices or easy financing to tip the buyer's decision to your favor. I wonder if Ford couldn't bring their European cars over and badge them as Mercury to set that brand apart and give it some cache. Americans that know of the Euro models want them over here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw the new Fiesta in Glasgow.... I think this might be the coolest small car ever made... The quality, style and features alone make the Mini look like a 'retro' car.... Nothing like it on the road!!!!

      If this is the first step, my God is it a big one..... First the fiesta, then a new design Focus 3 and then a Mondeo!!!! I am hummin "we only just begun" by the Carpenters!!!!

      Just don't cheapen the plastics and seats for the states.... and a 3-dr here please!!! ST and RS too!!!!!! Thanks
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