Right now the thing Ford needs more than anything else is competitive product. They're doing everything they can to get those products to market, but it takes time. They can't tell us what the product is because it would further-deteriorate their competitive position, so we just have to wait and see if they're worth buying. Other aspects of recovery that Ford can work on more immediately include very important items like improving quality, lowering warranty costs, finding ways to cut materials cost, and making commercials that get the attention of potential customers. Ford is no-doubt working on all that and more, but It's hard to do if you feel none of it will matter in the end.
Many of Ford's goals have not been met on the Way Forward and it's bringing moral down. January retail sales numbers were 10,000 vehicles off projections and February and March don't look much better. Material cost reductions are also below expectations. New products like the Edge and MXK are selling well, but production hasn't ramped to the point where they're really helping the retail standings for Ford either. The biggest problem, though, may be that employees don't believe in the plan. Only 38% of all employees polled felt Ford had the products to compete and 45% feel the Way Forward plan is working. It is tough for employees to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the next hope for profit is 2009. Ford headlines have been very tough lately and employees could really use some good news to help boost their spirits. The problem is, good news is still a year or two away.
[Source: Detroit News]