FORD MOTOR COMPANY: AN AMERICAN GEM

2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT
2010 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT

 

It's not just Ford that we've been hearing so much about in recent news when it comes to America's automakers. The "Big Three," as they are affectionately called, have all been part of some of the biggest news stories of the past year. But it's definitely Ford that we've been hearing the best news about. And I think that's a good thing. Too much in America these days, and especially the stuff we make in America gets the short end of the stick. It's everyone's good time more often than not to marry the two words "American" and "crap" in the same sentence. You really can't say that about Ford.

There's no secret that Ford Motor Company has been the maker behind the best-selling truck brand in America for the past 31 years and running. The F-150 is as American as hot apple pie, and perhaps as endeared. And there's no secret, either, as to why this is true. It's got a great track record, it's tough as hell, and it's a great looking truck to boot. I can't think of a single reason why any hot blooded, American male wouldn't want to drive a Ford truck.

2010 Ford Fiesta
2010 Ford Fiesta

 

But of course, the company is not just about trucks. They make cars too, and lately even those have been getting some pretty good press. Ford President and CEO, Alan Mulally, who joined the company in 2006 amidst dismal balance sheets, union problems, and tumbling U.S. auto sales, as well as a crumbling American economy, knows all too well that Americans are mostly looking for affordable, safe cars to drive that won't fall apart shortly after they exit the sales lot. After all, he's an airplane guy. He came from Boeing. Safety and quality workmanship in a product like an aircraft is paramount. It's a brand that people must have great faith in that when they settle into their seat and take to the air, they will stay there until it's time to land. Mulally clearly understands, as well, that American cars in particular have gotten a bad reputation. And when it comes to Ford, well, everyone knows all the jokes—I feel no need to repeat them here.

While there's no doubt that much of that reputation was earned across all of the American Big Three, the stigma has outlasted the reality. The truth is, American cars are made better than ever. I'll grant you that they may not be exactly in line with their foreign counterparts. Yet. But hear me now. Look out Toyota. Ford is not comprised of dummies, and let's not forget that they practically invented the business of making automobiles. There has been vast improvement across all American auto brands, and I'm inclined to believe that it will only get better. Ford will be the leader of the pack.

Part of that is because Ford is, once again, a much smaller company. It will be able to focus on its brand. It will be able to focus on its innovation, styling, and performance. As a smaller company they can place a greater emphasis on making great cars as opposed to managing a gazillion SKUs. They can put their money and their time into research and development. They can concentrate their attention on brand styling. They can entrench themselves in making cars that Americans will want to drive.

2010 Ford Sport Trac
2010 Ford Sport Trac

 

Because after all, it has to be about making great cars before its ever about making a dime. Consequently, these two things happen to, however, go hand in hand. Great cars equal great profits. And clearly Ford will be the first American auto company to emerge from this recent economic slump with its balance sheets in the black. That's an enormous feat in and of itself if you think about it.

When it comes to American automakers, I think there's no question that Ford Motor Company is America's gem. Alan Mulally is a masterful leader who, I think, can restore the historic blue oval and cursive lettering to its former glory. The Ford emblem can reign again as a symbol of American pride and American quality. I'm willing to put my money on it. And you can bet I'll be watching the company for the long haul, as well as driving their cars.

Who do you think ultimately will be the leader in American auto companies?

  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors
  • Chrysler
  • There will eventually be no American auto companies
See results without voting

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Comments 13 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, Springboard, I had to read this as i have been working for Ford motors for 13 years! I got made redundant once, then they took me back as a temp, then I worked again for them! But got made redundant again! now I am back... cheers Nell


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

There's been a lot of "cleaning house" to be sure in the U.S. auto industry, and I think it was probably something that was long overdue. The one thing about Ford right now that I think is very important is how clearly Mulally understands the importance of the safety, quality, and performance of all their cars. He's had a pretty strong focus on styling as well, and I think he's hitting the marks there to be sure. But the styling alone isn't going to be what attracts customers to the showrooms. Those other three things are what were killing the U.S. auto industry in the past, and companies like Toyota still tend to pose a threat. I think Mulally can very much remove, at least for Ford, the stigma attached to American automobiles, and this will bode well for the company, its shareholders, and its employees who will now be attached to a bolder, stronger company.


Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

Spring,

Even though Henry Ford was a BIG anti-Site I am rooting for Ford. Taking no money from the gov't. made me think twice about them. Evidentally they don't want to be run by the gov't.

Obama cars will not cut it with all the unionism.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I would have to agree. At some point the UAW, and frankly all unions, have to come to terms with the fact that looking out for employee's best interests AS WELL AS the companies best interests IS the best plan. If unions strongarm companies into making business decisions based on employee demands—at least to the extent that they are unreasonable—it hurts the very jobs they are trying to protect.

I use this word all the time, but it fits in so many situations, and that word is "balance." There has to be a balance between employee's needs and the company's needs if things are to work out in the favor of both parties.

I think of any US automaker right now, Ford understands this all too clear, and the UAW is beginning to see the benefit of working WITH the company. If Ford wins, everybody in the company wins.

In any event, I can't see Chrysler or GM beating Ford any time soon in any respect.


Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

Spring,

I've seen unions close too many plants, and claim victory. Sometimes the workers go to their union office for pension money, the doors are chained up.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

I'll probably rue the day I sold my shares of Ford. I hope this company can make a strong comeback. What a ride the next few years will be!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

It''ll be a great ride indeed. The cars AND the stock. :)


nedaCFilms profile image

nedaCFilms 6 years ago from East Coast Mid Atlantic

I have been a fan of the Camaro and Mustang for many years... and love the models equally as did the makers... but I lean so much more towards Ford now. They are doing great things! And todays Mustang is the best Mustang EVER!!! (just wish I could afford a new model...LOL!!!)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I can't say I have ever been a huge Camaro fan, though without question the retro styling of the new Camaro is awesome to say the least. Actually, all of the new retro muscle cars are really impressive to me, and certainly the Mustang ranks high there. The Challenger is high as well.

Yes. To have one in the driveway. Hmm. :)


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 5 years ago from Australia

Great Hub and a very interesting read on how Ford is doing in America.

From my observations in Australia, Ford is leading the pack in the local manufacturing and innovation side of things. Although both Toyota and GM would dispute that side of things. I say 'Long Live Ford' :-)


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I agree Ford is moving forward.

Their small car range is becoming more reliable and durable just as the Japanese and Europeans are having quality control issues. Go Ford!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Ag, Ford is certainly streamlining. Now that they've unloaded Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo, and soon Mercury, they will be able to better support and place emphasis on their Ford emblem and their Lincoln one. Lincoln will see the biggest revamp in the coming years as Mulally plans to make it a luxury brand that will better compete with rivals like Lexus and even Cadillac. I think they can do it, and right now I think the ONLY auto stock to own is Ford. They'll outperform everyone.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Earnest, Ford's ratings of late have been rather interesting. I'd go as far as to call it a complete turnaround. I think the only way for Ford is up. Thanks for stopping in. :)

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