Most everyone at Ford is grinning from ear-to-ear these days, as the company is enjoying profits as well as a vastly improved product portfolio and public image. Sales are up, the product pipeline is full, and market share grew last year. You can almost imagine Ford CEO Alan Mulally saying, "What, me worry?"
But that's exactly what he should be doing, according to Forbes, which suggests Ford is growing arrogant and its numbers aren't nearly as solid as they appear. For instance, Forbes says Ford was also right up there with Toyota and Honda when it came to recalls last year, far outpacing crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Ford recalled some 3.3 million vehicles in 2011, compared with 773,000 for Chrysler and just 500,000 for GM.
But the real shocker is that Forbes says Ford tops all automakers when it comes to fleet sales. Not only are fleet sales usually less profitable, but they also tend to hurt resale values, meaning that selling 32 percent of its vehicles into fleets last year does not bode well for the Blue Oval or the residual values of its owners. According to the report, the model with the most fleet sales was the new-for-2012 Focus. A staggering 45 percent of Focus models sold last year were to fleets, which isn't good for anyone, save the guy standing in line at the Hertz counter.
Editor's note: Ford contacted us to clarify a few things about its 2011 fleet sales. The first is that rental fleet sales as a percent of total volume was 12 percent, which it claims is a smaller percentage than GM and Chrysler's rental fleet sales. Fleet sales of commercial vehicles, meanwhile, were 14 percent of total sales volume, while government sales were six percent.