Is Ford in trouble?

Moody’s downgraded the Ford Motor Company this week from stable to negative which alerts Wall Street that Ford’s situation is dynamic. Earlier this week, Ford also posted disappointing quarterly profits. The company blamed rising metal prices and CFO Bob Shanks remarked, “We have to be far fitter than we are.” In October, Ford announced it would cut $14 billion in costs and drop some car models in order to better focus on SUVs and trucks. Newly minted CEO Jim Hackett said that costs have risen 29 percent since 2010, nearly as fast as revenue which increased 30 percent during the same period.

Is Ford in trouble?

Money is not the only problem. Ford also has a reliability problem which hurts its brand with consumers. Here is just a sampling of articles about Ford since July 2017.

See the pattern?

If Ford and any other automaker cannot even get a bolt, a seat belt latch, door latch, a steering wheel, and exhaust systems correct before they find their way to our driveways, how can we trust this company or any company to make sure that the connected and driverless car of the future gets us safely to and fro?

Last year, Ford promoted the idea of mobility as a service…and the company sees itself as one of the leaders in this realm. CEO Jim Hackett promoted Ford as a leader last month at CES:

“With the power of AI and the rise of autonomous and connected vehicles, for the first time in a century, we have mobility technology that won’t incrementally improve the old system but can completely disrupt it. A total redesign of the surface transportation system with humans and community at the center.”

This week, Ford announced that it wants to be the operating platform or the Transportation Mobility Cloud for connected driverless vehicles. The company has just purchased Autonomic, a Palo Alto-based company working on a mobility cloud platform and TransLoc, a 14-year-old company based in Durham, North Carolina that is working on transportation systems software. Both companies will allow Ford to build its cloud platform and company officials are hoping to monetize this new project as soon as possible. TransLoc CEO Doug Kaufman said, “Ford is interested in taking the streets back in the city, and getting more people out of single occupancy cars.”

This pivot away from traditional car manufacturing might just be a Peter Pan fantasy or maybe the company has a real shot at pivoting into the future. In order to be a platform though, Ford will have to convince other cities, automakers and other important potential businesses to come out and play.

So is Ford in trouble or is it just riding the wave of the current disruption of the auto industry? In 2015, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford told WIRED magazine that, “The bigger risk is doing nothing.”


* * *

The Car of the Future Weekly Blog is sponsored by the NMA Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting your interests as a motorist and citizen through the multi-faceted approach of research, education, and litigation.  The Foundation is able to offer this assistance through tax-deductible contributions. 

* * *


If you are interested in learning more about the Car of the Future check out the following NMA resources:

NMA Driving News Feed—Over 50 Car of the Future stories are placed each month in the NMA Driving News—the go-to source for all your driving news information from around the country.

NMA’s Flipboard Magazine called Car of the Future—Over 50 stories are placed each month in this magazine devoted to the Car of the Future.  Stories featured include future car politics, industry news and thought pieces.

Pinterest Boards

Follow the National Motorists Association on Pinterest Here OR

Follow individual Boards that have a specialized focus on the Car of the Future:

Car of the Future

Car sharing/Ride sharing Watch

Concept Cars

Connected Cars, Connected Cities

Driverless Cars

Electric Cars (EVs)

Flying Cars

Future of the Motorcycle

Hybrid Cars

Hydrogen Cars

Solar-Powered Cars

If you have an interesting story about the Car of the Future, please feel free to send us a link to the NMA Email address [email protected].

Thank you for your support!

Not an NMA Member yet?

Join today and get these great benefits!

Leave a Comment