Ford, Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

Ford is an American OEM that sells cars and commercial vehicles under the following brands: Ford and Lincoln. This page contains research on Ford's activities and strategy.

Source: Company Reports, Ad Punctum Analysis

Source: Company Reports, Ad Punctum Analysis -- excludes joint ventures

Automotive trends, Auto industry trends, Automotive market research, Automotive market analysis, auto industry news

2019

October

  • Started production of the Puma small crossover in Craiova, Romania. (Ford)
  • Launched updated versions of the S-MAX and Galaxy people movers. (Ford)
  • Confirmed the creation of a joint venture with Mahindra (51% Mahindra / 49% Ford) that will absorb most of Ford’s operations in India, excluding some commercial teams and the Sanand Engine Plant. Mahindra will take the lead in running the outfit, which will sell Ford brand cars in India and Mahindra vehicles internationally, which the partners have valued at $275 million. (Ford)
  • UAW negotiators said significant progress was being made in contract talks with Ford, with 18 out of 20 subcommittees reaching tentative agreements whilst awaiting the outcome of GM negotiations to set the pattern for high level pay and conditions. (CNBC)
  • Ford’s head of talent (HR) says the company is developing new ways to listen to its employees in a bid to “hack” the firm’s culture, including quarterly pulse surveys. (Search HR Software)
  • Received a patent for a convertible pick-up cab, sparking speculation that a topless Ranger or Bronco badged vehicle might be offered. (Fox)
  • Has created four offices in Detroit, London, Palo Alto (California) and Shanghai to follow the human-centred design method beloved of CEO Hackett. Ironically the press release is full of gobbledegook regular human beings will struggle to understand such as “build confidence and optionality in business decisions”. Oh dear. (Ford)
  • Responding to news reports of job cuts in the mobility division, Ford implied it has a workforce of 2,500 globally working on mobility platforms and products. (Detroit Free Press)

Q3 2019 Earnings

  • Sold 580,251 vehicles in the US during Q3 2019, a fall of (4.9)% on a year over year basis. Sales of cars and SUVs were strongly down but Ford said SUV volumes would recover after it new portfolio had ramped up. (Ford)

September

  • Recalling 322,000 Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy vehicles to fix leaking batteries. (Reuters)
  • Replaced earlier plans to overhaul the main US engineering site with designs more suited to CEO Hackett’s vision of Ford’s future than predecessor Mark Fields’s. Despite the revisions, Ford said that the new buildings will be delivered in time with the original announcements. (Ford)
  • Although Ford and VW have already said their collaboration on electric cars could yield a second model, Ford’s European boss said that although only the first project has been approved, it won’t make sense financially without the other one. (Reuters)
  • Launch problems with the new Explorer and Aviator SUVs has resulted in finished vehicles being shipped from the Chicago plant (where they are built) to the Flat Rock, Michigan, factory for en masse repairs. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Sold the Canvas short term leading business to Fair. (Fair)
  • Ford’s boss in Europe said the recent ratings downgrade from Moody’s would not result in any new cost cutting actions and the fragile economic outlook was not his biggest concern. (Bloomberg)
  • Believes that by the end of 2022, more than 50% of its European passenger car sales will have electrification (if you include 48V). (Ford)
  • Recalling about 340,000 Explorers to fix sharp metal edges on the seat by covering them up. (Ford)
  • The much rumoured Focus-based pick-up truck has reportedly been testing in Australia. (Which Car)
  • Agreed a temporary contract extension with unionised US workers, but will be nervously watching the outcome of talks and strikes at GM. (Reuters)
  • The UAW said that GM would be the lead company in contract negotiations that will establish the primary terms for the agreements with GM, Ford and FCA. Employees from all three companies approved strikes (should the union deem it necessary) by large majorities. (Detroit News)
  • New management in China has put a stop to Ford’s plan for a single sales operation in China that combined products from different joint ventures. Executives said (on the record) that the previous strategy stemmed from a misunderstanding of market conditions and (off the record) that it had angered the various JV partners. (Reuters)
  • Consumer surveys commissioned by Ford showed that many Americans think electric cars will be boring and have low range, admitting that this was in part because of underwhelming first efforts by Ford and its peers. (Ford)
  • Ford used a Medium blog post to explain how the case carrying the firm’s autonomous sensor set has been designed to reduce the number of insects hitting the sensor screens (and chow the ones that do get cleaned off). (Ford)
  • Reached a preliminary agreement to sell the Sao Bernardo, Brazil, factory that Ford has slated for closure to local firm Caoa. (Reuters)
  • Saw its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s to Ba1, the top junk rating. (CNBC)

August

  • Recalling 550,000 large SUVs and pick-up trucks because the seats might be too weak to protect occupants properly in a crash. (Ford)
  • CEO Jim Hackett said the average order to delivery time for Ford is an “unacceptable” 81 days. He also wants Ford’s software to take a more expansive role, for instance using the app that can remotely start the car to also control the garage door opening. (Motor Trend)
  • Planning for all new battery electric vehicles to be profitable so that it can sell as many of them as there is customer demand for, pointing at waiting lists for competitor products. The firm’s research says that range is targeted to be 300+ miles. (Autocar)
  • Ford Europe’s boss wants to give more responsibility to talented young managers. (Autocar)
  • Working on a Qashqai fighting C segment crossover for Europe, but the product is unlikely to hit the streets until the mid-2020s, presumably to align with the likely next generation C platform. (Autocar)
  • Reportedly will offer a 12 inch touchscreen in the F-150 starting in 2020 to match the Dodge Ram. (Detroit News)
  • Ford executives believe that self-driving cars will only last for four years. (Telegraph)
  • Reportedly struggling to make progress in the electric car JV with China’s Zotye and is thinking of calling the whole thing off. (China Daily)
  • Ford’s European chairman was announced as the president of its Chinese JV with Changan instead. (Ford)
  • Ford is starting an esports car racing team called Fordzilla. (Ford)
  • Donald Trump attacked Ford for signing up to California’s emissions regime -- which features more stringent targets than he is intending to implement -- saying Henry Ford would be ashamed of them and declaring the cars to be less safe (without any foundation in fact). (Reuters)
  • Extending the warranty on older US Fiesta and Focus cars with dual clutch transmissions because of problems that Ford has struggled to fix. (Reuters)
  • Recalling almost 110,000 cars to fix problems with seatbelts. (Ford)
  • Recalled around 14,000 cars to correct improperly built vehicles. (Ford)
  • Already sees 3D printing as a “legitimate alternative” to traditional methods on some parts. (Automotive News)

July

  • Acquired two companies to boost Ford’s mobility division -- transport app developer Journey Holding and robotics company Quantum Signal. (Detroit News)
  • Increasing production of the Ranger pickup truck due to the product’s success in the European market. (Ford)
  • Union officials said that Ford was cutting a shift at the Oakville, Canada plant that makes large SUVs. (Reuters)
  • Ford and VW announced the terms of a tie-up for autonomous vehicles. VW will merge its autonomous driving efforts (with a claimed value of $1.6 billion) with Argo AI and stump up a further $1 billion in cash, plus hand over $500 million to Ford to buy into the project. After the transaction is complete, Ford and VW will hold an equal share in a business, they say, worth $7 billion. (VW)
  • Has agreed to build up to 600,000 MEB-based electric cars and could “almost double” that figure if a second product, currently under discussion between the two parties, gets the go ahead. (VW) Ford will pay licensing fees on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. (Reuters) with implied ~€15,000 per vehicle of revenue for VW. (Ford) Ford’s electric vehicles will be made in European Ford factories, but which one stays a secret for now (hint: there are impending capacity crunches in Saarlouis and Valencia). (Seeking Alpha)
  • Ford and VW’s collaboration on commercial vehicles saves “several hundred million euros”. (VW)
  • Ford and VW might share some of the behind the scenes infrastructure related to autonomous cars but haven’t decided yet. (Seeking Alpha)
  • Argo AI will “continue to seek new partners” after VW buy-in. (Argo)
  • Recalling around 58,000 Focus cars to correct problems that can deform the fuel tank. (Ford) Ford will also recall about 7,500 Rangers because of seat belts that weren’t fitted properly. (Ford)
  • Releasing a track-only version of the GT. Just 45 examples will be built, at a cost of $1.2 million each. (Ford)
  • Although Ford celebrates the success of the F-150’s all-aluminium body, the experience of the next-generation Explorer, which uses the material only sparingly, suggests it is still too expensive for vehicles where manufacturers cannot claim a hefty premium for fuel economy. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Highlighting the difficulty of pricing in the UK market, despite the need to recover from sterling devaluation, Ford launched a “scrappage scheme” offering customers £2,000. (Autocar)
  • Ford and VW are reportedly close to an overarching deal that will see Ford sell a share of self-driving unit Argo AI to VW in exchange for access to the MEB electric vehicle platform. The value of the self-driving technology is apparently lower than Ford hoped because VW reckons it won’t be commercially available in large numbers for such a long time. (Handelsblatt)
  • French unions won a court judgement against the company saying it had failed in a duty to employ 1,000 workers at the site under the terms of a grant. However, the judges stopped short of condemning Ford’s decision to close the plant, saying they weren’t qualified to rule on the economic merits. (Usine Nouvelle)

Q2 2019 Earnings

  • Sold 650,336 vehicles in the US during Q2 2019, down (4.1)% on a year-over-year basis. (Ford)
  • Ford’s European sales of 346,800 units in Q2 2019 fell (3.4)% versus a year earlier, almost all explained by Fiesta. Ford said that commercial vehicles were doing well (although the brand still lost share because industry also rose) and 73.8% of passenger vehicles were high series. (Ford)

June

  • Issued a press release mainly rehashing existing announcements into one place. Ford’s manual transmission joint venture (with Getrag, owned by Magna) will sell the Kechnec Transmission plant in Slovakia to Magna -- adding about 1,000 people to the list of those “impacted” by Ford’s prior announcements, for about 12,000 in total. (Ford)
  • Plans to offer an electrification option (it isn’t clear if this means PHEV or just 48V) on all European products and will manufacture a range of all-electric vehicles in Europe too. Ford considers itself on track to meet the 2020 and 2021 EU CO2 targets without facing fines. (Ford)
  • Unveiled the Puma, a small crossover to be produced at the Craiova, Romania plant. Although the new entry will sit alongside Ecosport in Ford’s line-up, the company believes that the differences in package and styling are big enough to merit a separate product. (Ford)
  • Ford’s marketing team believes that driverless cars are “a little bit in the distance”. (Arabian Business Times)
  • A long puff piece suggested Jim Farley is still very much in contention for the CEO position when Jim Hackett leaves and sought to make a virtue of his outsider’s perspective. Seasoned Farley-watchers will be interested to discover that he has switched from suede loafers to brogues (for reasons that the article did not explore). (Detroit Free Press)
  • Opening a new research centre in Tel Aviv, Israel, mainly to house existing subsidiary SAIPS. (Ford)
  • Lyft rebranded the Ford GoBike scheme in San Francisco as Bay Wheels. (Lyft)
  • Issued a series of recalls, including 1.2 million Explorer SUVs (and a smaller number of other vehicles) to correct suspension fatigue; plus 123,000 pick-up trucks to correct an earlier recall for powertrain calibration. (Ford)
  • VW’s CEO reportedly told managers an autonomous vehicle partnership with Ford was almost complete. (Reuters)
  • Workers at the Bridgend engine plant voted in favour of being prepared to strike but didn’t pull the trigger. (BBC)
  • Released its latest sustainability report. Revealingly, Ford’s employees appear less than impressed with the current state of the firm. In the 2016 report Ford’s internal surveys found 81% were satisfied with the company. That fell to 71% in 2017 and 60% last year. (Ford)
  • Will start production of battery packs at the Valencia, Spain, factory. Unions fretted that this was partial compensation in advance for as-yet unannounced workload reductions in other areas of the plant. (Europa Press)
  • Ford’s Chinese JV with Changan was fined $23.6 million because of the way it set resale guarantees. (Arab News)
  • Executives said that there had been interest from several companies in Ford’s shuttered Russian sites and the company was keen to sell them. (Economic Times of India)
  • Confirmed plans to close the Bridgend engine factory in late 2020 once deliveries of engines to Jaguar Land Rover cease. Production of Ford’s 1.5 litre engine will stop in early 2020. (Ford)
  • The head of Ford’s automotive division believes that if fuel prices rise, US customers will switch to hybrid SUVs rather than passenger cars and so the company’s decision to exit car segments won’t be impacted by economic factors. He also denies that the firm is behind competitors in developing battery electric vehicles. (Ford)
  • Ford has three major suppliers for steel in North America and negotiates yearlong contracts, with renewals staggered so that they take place once per quarter (with one quarter off so the purchasing team can rest). (Ford)

May

  • Stopped selling the Edge in several European markets, including the UK. (Fleet News)
  • US insurance data shows that, as promised, the aluminium-bodied F-150 pick-up is no more expensive to repair than steel-bodied rivals. In fact, repair costs are about 7% lower. (Automotive News)
  • Despite reducing the production footprint and portfolio in Russia, Ford’s joint venture hopes that 99% of dealers will continue with the brand. (World News Monitor)
  • Ford wants to use fold-up robots to deliver packages. They will sit in the boot/trunk when not in use. (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett sent an email to employees telling them that 7,000 staff would be made redundant by August 2019 (including some job losses already announced), with 20% of senior managers going as part of an effort to reduce the number of management layers from 14 to nine. Hackett’s email shed some light on the current inefficiency at Ford as only 35% of managers currently have at least six people reporting directly to them (excluding subordinates of the direct reports), a level Ford sees as “healthy”. Even after the reorganisation, that number will only be 80%. (CNBC)
  • Outgoing CFO Shanks said the company was not undergoing a normal restructuring and would very different (and be much stronger) when the task was completed. He believes that a 6% return over the cycle (not just peak year) is possible in Europe and says that since this includes a joint venture, return on invested capital would be great. (Ford)
  • Ford will meet the CO2 targets in Europe for 2020 and beyond with no fines or credit purchases, per outgoing CFO Bob Shanks. (Ford)
  • Ford plans to increase the amount of locally produced Lincoln models sold in China. (Reuters)
  • Ford-owned Autonomic will partner Fujitsu to develop cloud-based fleet management software and will then offer the service to other carmakers. (Telematics News)
  • Ford executives believe that rivals are underestimating the benefit of hybrid vehicles and have become too obsessed with all-electric vehicles. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Recalling about 275,000 vehicles in North America for two different gearbox problems. (Ford)
  • Unions at Ford’s Bridgend plant believe that compulsory job cuts are looming because there are 1,500 employees and (they say) future production plans that support only 550 people. (Wales Online)
  • Ford’s in-house accelerator program targets new businesses ideas that can launch in 90 days, with under $500,000 investment. (Ford)
  • Making about 550 non-manufacturing staff in the UK redundant as part of wider European restructuring plans already announced. (City AM)
  • Talks between Ford and Ineos for the latter’s new 4x4 to built at the Bridgend, UK, plant are apparently going nowhere. (Mail on Sunday)
  • Reducing production of the 5.0L V8 engine that powers many Mustang and F-150 vehicles. (Fox News)
  • Reached a settlement with Brazilian workers that clears the way for Ford to either sell or close the Sao Bernardo do Campo plant. (Reuters)
  • Argo is “about two years” away from the first commercial deployment. (Argo)
  • Announced a new rewards program based around the FordPass payments system and a raft of measures designed to improve customer satisfaction in the USA, such as a new call centre and the introduction of Tesla-style mobile servicing for minor matters. After getting US dealers to implement a new set of dealer standards, at an average cost of $2 million per site by Ford’s figures, the company has decided more change is required and is now promoting a concept that sounds much like a Tesla store. (Ford)
  • Said that several third parties will join the FordPass service to offer services in the vehicle while the customer is away, including parcel delivery and car washing. (Ford)
  • Ford’s recently appointed China boss is said to be clearing out expatriate managers at a rate of knots. (FT)

April

  • On the earnings call, Ford executives said that they expect a further $3 billion of special items charges in the remainder of the year related to restructuring actions that haven’t yet been made public, some of which could relate to South America where CEO Hackett said further action was planned. When asked about long term profit targets for the region he declined to answer. (Ford)
  • Invested $500 million in Rivian and announced that a new all-electric vehicle will be developed using Rivian’s all-electric rolling chassis / skateboard (but it won’t be the all-electric version of the F-150 pick-up). Ford’s de facto COO will join Rivian’s board. (Ford)
  • Ford’s deal to invest in Rivian reportedly came together in only eight weeks, seemingly after talks between the start-up and GM had fallen through. If true, that is a very short space of time for a deal of this type and size. (CNBC)
  • Announced that US authorities have launched a criminal investigation into Ford’s emissions certification, following on from the company’s admission earlier this year that some irregularities had been identified. (Reuters)
  • Plans for 40% of Kuga registrations in Europe to be electrified, but won’t be drawn on a split between 48V and PHEV sales. (Automotive News)
  • Agreed terms with Mahindra for a new C-sized SUV built on a Mahindra platform and powertrain. (Mahindra)
  • The head of Ford’s automaking division appears bullish on the economic outlook, saying that the US market peak auto “story” has been around for ages and that he would be surprised by a no deal Brexit. (CNBC)
  • Ford’s CTO says that not only do self-driving vehicles need lidar, but high definition (i.e. areas pre-mapped with lidar) are also a must. He believes that vehicles lacking these features have no more than “really good driver-assist technology” and pointed to Tesla as one such example. (Recode)
  • Told investors that switching production at Wayne from Focus and C-MAX to Ranger would increase profits by about $1 billion over the product cycle. (Reuters)
  • Announced another executive reshuffle that sees the leader of Ford’s smart mobility business retire, and the previous two roles covering automotive sales and operations amalgamated into a single job. Following the moves, CEO Hackett will have two key lieutenants: Joe Hinrichs as head of automotive and Jim Farley as head of new business. Although the roles are nominally the same status, the automotive operation is several orders of magnitude larger in both workforce and revenue. (Ford)
  • Recalling 327,000 pick up trucks that have already been recalled once because the repair procedure might have caused further damage. (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett said Ford will be ready for the recession. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Autonomous cars have been over-hyped and initial applications will be geo-fenced (i.e. the car will not be allowed to go beyond certain mapped areas), according to CEO Hackett. (Fast Company)
  • Ceasing production of the KA+ for Europe in September 2019, citing profitability problems and the expense to make the car compliant with more stringent CO2 (Car Scoops)
  • Rumoured to be near to a 49% (Ford) / 51% (Mahindra) JV that would take control of Ford’s Indian assets. (Reuters)
  • Researching solid state batteries in conjunction with Solid Power. (Inside EVs)
  • UK unions believe Ford is hiding the true scale of planned cuts. (This Is Money)
  • Revealed the next-generation Kuga / Escape SUV. The car will offer 48V, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain. Ford claim the PHEV derivative will have CO2 emissions of 29 g/km. (Ford)
  • Will start selling a plug-in hybrid version of the Explorer SUV in Europe from late 2019 onwards. (Ford)
  • Launching an all-electric version of the Transit van in 2021 and hopes to boost commercial vehicle sales in Europe by increasing the number of authorised bodybuilders and offering remote fleet management features. (Ford)
  • Announced that the small SUV already confirmed for the Romania plant will be called Puma. (Ford)
  • Executives threatened that Ford would reconsider its long-term investments in the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit, but admitted that the current round of layoffs were due to self-inflicted problems. (Economic Times of India)
  • Workers at the St Petersburg plant are going on strike in protest at plans to close the site, but since Ford intends to end sale of the cars made there, it isn’t clear if this will be a problem. (Moscow Times)
  • CEO Hackett said in an interview that he saw signs of progress in his bid to remake the company’s thinking but a continued reference to 2018-vintage examples suggests fewer green shoots than he would like. He acknowledged that he might not see the overhaul effort through, saying “I just don’t think that I have an evergreen time to get as far as I need to get”. (Detroit News)

Q1 2019 Earnings

  • Sold 590,249 vehicles in the US during Q1 2019, down (1.9)% on the same period a year ago. The drop was more than explained by falling car sales. (Ford)
  • Reported Q1 2019 financial results. Automotive revenues of $32.7 billion dropped (4.8)% from prior year yet EBIT of $2 billion was 14% better. Ford’s mobility division lost close to $(300) million in the quarter. (Ford)

March

  • Announced the cessation of passenger car production and sales in Russia, resulting in the closure of two vehicle plants and an engine plant in the country. Ford will also relinquish control of the joint venture with partner Sollers receiving a 51% share of the restructured entity. Ford said the move will reduce profits by about $500 million, of which about $200 million will be cash. (Ford)
  • May be close to a deal to sell the Sao Paulo plant, now scheduled for closure. (Reuters)
  • Hosting a media event in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 2nd April to reveal new European products. (Ford)
  • Reached agreement with unions on the terms for stopping production of the C-MAX and eliminating a shift at the Saarlouis plant. (Ford)
  • Announced Tim Stone as CFO, an external hire from Snap (and Amazon before that), plus some other executive changes. Ford will unravel the strategy from earlier in the decade to have more discrete market management by announcing that all markets except the Americas, Europe and China will be consolidated into an “international” group. The COO of North America becomes President of Europe, with the incumbent becoming chairman, a set up Ford last used in the early 2000s. (Ford)
  • Made a series of production allocations for North American plants. Flat Rock will produce a new electric car (not the Mach 1 SUV); there will be a new facility retrofitting autonomous technology to newly built vehicles (probably at low volume given the investment levels); and Transit Connect production for North America will be sourced to Cuautitlan in Mexico. (Ford)
  • Increasing capacity of large SUVs by 20% after the summer shutdown, revealing that the average transaction price of an Expedition is now $62,700. (Ford)
  • Chairman Bill Ford expressed confidence in CEO Hackett, praising his ability to see the near and far term pictures. He also said that Ford is looking at options to secure reliable supplies of lithium. (Reuters)
  • Confirmed plans to cut 5,000 jobs in Germany and an unspecified number in the UK. Voluntary redundancy schemes are already open in both countries and this includes the Saarlouis shift reduction previously announced. (Ford)
  • Changan executives expressed confidence that new models will recover the market position of Ford’s Chinese passenger car joint venture. (Bloomberg)
  • Spoke out against the UK Government’s proposal for no deal tariffs that would see finished vehicles subject to rates of 10% - 22% of wholesale price. Ford said it risked paying tariffs on UK built engines twice. More likely, it is concerned about the potentially far higher bill for importing every vehicle sold in one of the company’s largest markets globally. (Detroit News)
  • CEO Hackett saw an increase in pay for 2018 versus 2017, partly reflecting a full year of CEO duties. Reporters took a dim view of the bump in salary, especially because it came at the same time as news of further job cuts. (FT)
  • Introduced a new nameplate for large trucks: F-600. The new model sits below the F-650 and F-750 in the line-up with a similar size to Super Duty but more powerful loading carrying capabilities. (Ford)
  • Former employees at the now-defunct Chariot on-demand bus service criticised the brand’s management, although no one could explain how, even with improvement, the business would have made money. (Bloomberg)
  • A profile of CEO Hackett expounded his virtues in helping the company to embrace user-centric design methodologies but failed to give many concrete examples of where this is happening beyond prototypes for autonomous vehicles. (The Atlantic)
  • Mahindra’s MD says the firm will build an electric vehicle using Ford’s platform and wants Ssangyong to be included in a three way partnership. (Economic Times of India)
  • The turnaround plan for the Russian business reportedly envisions closing two plants in the country and producing only commercial vehicles in future. (Reuters)

February

  • Suffered unscheduled downtime at two North Ameican plants because of a strike affecting the steering wheel supplier. Ford built (but didn’t gate release) thousands of cars with temporary parts whilst trying to overcome the shortages. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Rumoured to be shedding 2,000 of workers in China by not renewing temporary contracts. (Nikkei)
  • Although some claimed that VW and Ford were close to a deal to team up on self-driving equipment (WSJ), others said that a deal was months away and implied that leaks were almost all from VW and unreliable. (Detroit Free Press)
  • May have found a buyer for the Brazilian car plant scheduled for closure. (Reuters)
  • Following what sounds like employee whistle-blowing, Ford has launched a series of investigations into whether analytical assumptions used in US vehicle emissions certification might have reduced the effect in the laboratory versus real world observations. Ford was keen to stress that this was not a defeat device, and it wasn’t yet certain whether any meaningful difference would occur in tests where the problem was corrected. Ford has already alerted the authorities and engaged external experts, just to be on the safe side. (Ford)
  • A profile of CEO Hackett’s management style suggested that employees are feeling patronised by his communication style and that he has made a series of faux pas -- which Hackett explains away as trolling. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Announced the closure of the São Bernardo do Campo factory in Brazil in addition to the withdrawal from sale of the Fiesta and heavy commercial vehicles. Ford will incur about $(100) million of accelerated D&A and $(360) million of payments to employees, supplier and (truck) dealers. (Ford)
  • Recalling around 2,100 hybrid vehicles because of an electrocution risk. (Ford)
  • Named a new head lobbyist, and also appeared to reduce Executive Chairman Bill Ford’s role since, after CEO Hackett’s appointment in 2017 global communications and government relations began reporting directly to Ford but the new lobbyist will report to the vice president of operations instead. (Ford)
  • Executives said Ford was about halfway through the redesign of major processes that CEO Hackett and others believe will deliver a step change in performance. (Automotive News)
  • Talks with VW on sharing autonomous and electric vehicle technology appear to be taking longer than both parties hoped. On driverless cars, VW’s apparent $4 billion valuation of Argo AI seems far lower than Ford had hoped and Ford’s head of markets wondered aloud on a podcast whether VW’s MEB electric vehicle platform was suitable for blue oval products in markets outside Europe and China. (Reuters)
  • Rumours of CFO Shanks’s retirement surfaced without much in the way of a rebuttal from Ford. Although some sources said an executive search firm have been appointed, an internal candidate appears the most plausible given the unusually high number of finance executives appointed to Ford’s top executive grade in recent years. (CNBC)
  • Recalled around 1.5 million pick up trucks because of transmission problems that could cause the vehicle to suddenly slow and two smaller recalls for door latches and faulty instrument panels. (Ford)
  • Will trial a delivery service where a full loaded van drives around main city thoroughfares, stopping to rendezvous with cycle couriers who decant the packages into smaller batches for delivery to the customer. Ford believes this may be more efficient than having a human driver sit in traffic. (Ford)
  • Reportedly told the British prime minister that it was planning to move production abroad in the case of a no-deal Brexit. (BBC)
  • Investing over $1 billion to produce the next generation Explorer and Lincoln Aviator in Chicago, including $40 million for better canteen and break areas. (Ford)
  • Recalling around 3,500 brand new Ranger pick-up trucks to fix problems with the parking brake. (Ford)
  • Launched a mid-cycle update of the F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks. (Ford)
  • Scheduling “massive overtime” to build the newly launch Ranger pick-up truck for North America. (Bloomberg)
  • Launched a redundancy scheme at the Bridgend, UK, engine plant. Ford wants to separate around 400 members of staff by the end of 2019. (Sky News)
  • French civil servants ordered Ford to give more time to the prospective bidder for the Bordeaux transmissions plant (slated for closure). Punch Powerglide will have a few weeks to improve the quality of its bid. (Les Echos)

January

  • Said that the EBIT effect of the $11 billion of restructuring actions would have almost all been booked by 2020 (i.e. the actions would have been announced) and the $7 billion cash effects would have largely finished by 2021 (i.e. the affected people would have left the business). (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett told employees that he was angry with 2018’s results and would soon be planning the implementation of as yet unannounced actions to markedly improve operating performance and profitability. (Detroit News)
  • Analysts didn’t ask Ford how much a hard Brexit would cost it in 2019, so the figures ($800 million on top of existing sterling devaluation) were leaked, and then confirmed, to media outlets instead. (Sky News)
  • The limited edition suicide door equipped $110,000 Lincoln Continental sold out in 48 hours. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Received poor reviews from analysts after a presentation at the Detroit show where instead of giving a 2019 outlook, Ford simply acknowledged the potential for improvement (slide 42) whilst pointing out that sometimes things work in your favour but then again sometimes they go against you (slide 44). (Ford)
  • Ford and VW announced the first fruits of their collaboration, covering commercial vehicles. There will be a pick-up led by Ford (but not shared in all markets); a small van led by VW; and a 1T van led by Ford. The vehicles will launch from 2022 onwards. The two parties signed MoUs to investigate autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains -- there had been some hopes that they would make firm commitments in this area. (VW) Ford executives said that the companies would incur the engineering costs directly and recover from one another in transfer pricing. (Ford)
  • Confirmed that there will be an all-electric version of the F-150 pick-up. Ford didn’t give a date for launch but it is possible that the vehicle forms part of the promise to have six US BEVs by 2022. (Ford)
  • Views a no-deal Brexit as “the least likely outcome” and is planning for a soft Brexit. (Ford)
  • Bill Ford said he could never see a situation where the Ford family would give up any of their share in the business and that alliances were the only form of partnership the firm would contemplate. (Click On Detroit)
  • Versace has made the blue oval à la mode with a menswear line incorporating the logo. Commentators were split on the value for money versus Ford’s existing official apparel, but executives must surely be contemplating purchasing a pair of flowing white trousers festooned with Ford badges. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Recalling about 2,700 brand new Lincoln Nautilus SUVs to fix problems with steering software. (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett says that revenues from subscriptions will ultimately be far smaller than the value from monetization of vehicle data. (Ford)
  • Ford’s Argo.ai is hiring a leading car critic to lend a greater voice to the emotional side of driverless cars. (The Drive)
  • There will be a Lincoln version of the Mach 1 BEV. (Green Car Reports)
  • Ford’s product development chief said that electric vehicles would be “contribution margin positive”. (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett declared himself unhappy with Ford’s 2018 performance, placing a lot of the blame on product age (a self-inflicted problem). Hackett said Europe had been a problem “for a number of decades” but that it was possible to make money with the right “industrial system” and suggested that VW could build cars for Ford in Europe as the company looks to cut costs in the region. The option of leaving Europe was “never on the table”. (Bloomberg)
  • Launched a new Explorer large SUV, adding a sporty ST model and a (non plug-in) hybrid. (Ford)
  • Announced another new strategy for the European business, lowering long term profit targets from a 6% - 8% range to 6% EBIT margin in the longer term (the last turnaround plan -- announced in February 2016 can be found here). The business will be organised around commercial vehicles, European built cars and imported cars, with a suggestion that any one of the three business lines could be closed in future if the returns were not better than the cost of capital. The firm is reviewing the JV in Russia with Sollers, with a decision to be announced in Q2 2019. A round of redundancies is also underway, with Ford re-announcing: the closure of the Bordeaux transmission plant; consolidating the UK administrative footprint into a single HQ; and the cessation of C-MAX and Grand C-MAX production. (Ford)
  • UK unions say they were told by Ford that it intends to cut 1,000 jobs at the Bridgend engine plant (already expected with the loss of a JLR engine contract and reduction in capacity for small Ford petrol engines) and 150 in other operations, primarily logistics. (The Guardian)
  • Might close further plants to improve the profitability of Europe. (Reuters)
  • The European CEO said Ford was only remaining in the region because of the commercial vehicle business. The head of markets said Mahindra’s approach to cost control was “eye-opening”. (Detroit News)
  • Shutting the Chariot on-demand bus service by 1st February citing the changing needs of customers. (Ford)
  • Ford’s head of autonomous vehicles implied the company would not budge from the 2021 target for putting a driverless car on the road saying “at some point before 2021, we have to have no driver”. (TheStreet)
  • VW and Ford will reportedly announce specifics of their new alliance at the Detroit show with sources suggesting that press releases will concentrate on commercial vehicle ties ups and rumoured plans for VW to buy into Ford’s Argo autonomous technology unit and Ford licencing VW’s MEB platform will remain unconfirmed. (Reuters)
  • Building on an earlier commitment to make 100% of US vehicles connected by 2019, Ford will install vehicle to everything technology in vehicles launched from 2022 onwards. (Ford)
  • Will stop sponsoring bicycle rental in San Francisco. (Axios)
  • Issued two recalls for around 953,000 vehicles, mainly to correct further Takarta airbag problems. (Ford)
  • Will only report sales figures quarterly, as opposed to monthly, going forward, citing GM’s experience that monthly sales are too short a snapshot to draw meaningful conclusions about market conditions. (Reuters)

2018

FY & Q4 2018 Earnings

  • Sold 2,497,318 vehicles in the US in 2018, down (3.5)% from 2017, explained by an (18.4)% fall in car sales. (Ford)
  • Preliminary full year 2018 financial results showed revenue of $160 billion and adjusted EBIT of $7 billion. (Ford)
  • Reported Q4 2018 revenue of $41.8 billion and a net loss of $(0.1) billion on a GAAP basis (previewed in a conference presentation a week earlier). In the full year, only the North American region was profitable. (Ford)

December

  • Recalling 874,000 pick-up trucks in North America to fix corrosion problems that can cause fires. (Ford)
  • Announced a limited edition run of 80 Lincoln Continentals that have been modified to have suicide rear doors. The price tag is described as “north of $100,000”. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Developed a noise cancelling dog kennel that it won’t sell just to prove that it has the technology to solve problems no one has. (Detroit Free Press)
  • After Ford followed-through on earlier suggestions that it would reject alternative plans for the Bordeaux automatic transmissions plant, French president Macron called the move “hostile” and vowed to find a recovery plan. (Reuters)
  • Confirmed that it was in talks with German unions about ending production of the C-MAX in Saarlouis. The loss of the product will mean the cessation of the night shift and about 1,500 redundancies. (Reuters) The move is slightly tricky for Ford since at the start of the year it gave assurances that the 3 shift pattern and C-MAX were not under threat. (Saarbrucker Zeitung)
  • Stopped production of Fiesta and Ecosport in Russia until at least the start of 2019. Ford said it was because it had completed the production plan for 2018. Some analysts blamed slow sales. (Wards)
  • Moving employees out of transmission production at Van Dyke into SUV factories. (Detroit News)
  • Released the 2019 Ford Trends Report. (Ford)
  • Worked with a third party to design an algorithm-based tool designer for positioning jogs used by line workers. (TCT)
  • Ford’s operation in Venezuela is rumoured to be offering buyouts of $150 for each year of employment to factory staff because orders have fallen to less than 50 vehicles per month. (Reuters)
  • VW might build some vehicles in US Ford plants rather than installing capacity for itself. (Reuters)
  • Ford is letting employees in the US bring their dogs to work to show it can look after talented people just as well as Silicon Valley rivals. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Announced several executive moves. Incoming heads of product development in Europe and Asia will have a lower grading than their predecessors and there will be a new role for a global product development vice president. (Ford)
  • Announced new executive directors to head transformation in the UK and Germany, revealing that the new European plan will be called “sprint to 6” (presumably % operating margin). (Business Motoring)
  • CEO Hackett foresees a future where people own one vehicle and share one, rather than owning both. He believes that an increase in travel will offset the lost volume from lower ownership. Despite the advent of electric cars, he says the sound of a Mustang is not going away. (Newsweek)

November

  • Ford’s European boss said a no-deal Brexit would spell “catastrophe”. The company is considering whether to import more vehicles end of the March deadline to help ride out teething problems with the new customs arrangements -- given that any affected vehicles would need to be quickly added to the production plan, it isn’t clear how much time Ford has left before it needs to make a firm decision. (Reuters)
  • Re-assigning workers in Kentucky and Michigan to other factories nearby that have higher demand. As part of the measures, Flat Rock will go down to a single shift. (CNBC)
  • Issued a press release in response to GM’s restructuring plans reiterating the announcements Ford had made about its recovery plan, and highlighting the lack of detail provided to investors so far. (Ford)
  • Ford has no plans for “anything like” plant closures in Canada. (Reuters)
  • Ford sold three of its UK dealers to Pentagon. (Motor Trader)
  • Published a series of insights gathered from a fleet of 160 connected commercial vehicles in London. Ford said it showed the power of big data and enabled hidden accident blackspots to be revealed for the first time. (Ford)
  • A document given to workers at the Bridgend Engine plant suggested Ford will run a voluntary redundancy program in Britain in 2019. (Wales Online)
  • After billing Joe Hinrichs’ appearance at an investor conference as a chance to get greater detail on the firm’s recovery plan, attendees were left underwhelmed and gave Hinrichs a grilling. He protested that he couldn’t reveal further details because of the commercial sensitivity. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Gave journalists test rides in autonomous vehicles. Journalists could pick from one of four destinations in a six square mile area and reported that vehicles almost continuously return to base for sensor calibration. Dust thrown up by other vehicles are currently still an issue for Ford’s sensor set. (The Verge) Other journalists also reported manual interventions over the carefully chosen five mile test routes. (Detroit News)
  • After previously rejecting the potential buyer of the Bordeaux transmission plant, Ford gave them until the 28th November to make a better offer. (Usine Nouvelle)
  • Will use its existing test fleet in Florida to trial delivery of Walmart goods, building on experiments with Postmates and Domino’s. The tests remain very low in volume -- so far Ford has competed only 1,000 deliveries. (Ford)
  • Issued recalls for around 38,000 vehicles that might have seat belts with insufficient restraint. (Ford)
  • Acquired bicycle and scooter rental firm Spin. (Ford)
  • Will present updates to its “fitness” initiatives at a conference on 13th November, focusing on complexity management; capital equipment reuse and; yield management. (Ford)
  • Closing the Warley, UK site by the end of 2019 and consolidating administrative functions at the Dunton location. Ford hopes that 350 new homes will be built on the location. (BBC)
  • Redesigned the entire “soundscape” of the new Lincoln Aviator to create 125 sounds recorded by concert musicians to replace the “dings and beeps” regular Ford customers must contend with. These were then whittled down to 25 through focus group testing. (Detroit Free Press)

October

  • Reportedly in talks with Ineos to repurpose part or all of the Bridgend Engine plant to manufacture the Projekt Grenadier vehicle starting in 2019. (Financial Times)
  • Improved parental leave for US salaried employees so that mothers can have 16 weeks fully paid time off and fathers can have eight weeks, up from two weeks paid leave previously. (Fortune)
  • Discovered using big data that loyal customers are better than disloyal ones. Cynics had a field day. (AutoExtremist)
  • VW’s CFO said the firm is open to sharing its MEB electric vehicle platform with companies such as Ford but remains focused on internal applications. (Reuters)
  • Started jointly testing autonomous vehicles in China with Baidu. (Ford)
  • Said that market conditions had been tougher than expected and the business was no longer on track to meet the 2020 financial objectives it recently set itself, but that the executive team still intends to achieve them at an as-yet undetermined future date. (Ford)
  • Said that the European business has two key problems: cost control and too few SUV products. (Ford)
  • Shutting down vehicle production in Valencia, Spain for nine days and engine production for 13 days, citing lower demand. (Reuters)
  • Will start testing self-driving cars in Washington DC. (Ford)
  • Stopped production of JLR engines in Bridgend for a week, mirroring the customer shutdown. (Wales Online)
  • Launched production of the Ranger pick-up at the Michigan Assembly plant. (Ford)
  • Hired a new CEO in China and reorganised its operations so that China will now report directly to the head of global markets rather than through the Asia Pacific region. Ford’s press release also said the leader of the rump Asia business would head up a new International Markets unit, implying a wider reorganisation including some of the markets in Europe, Middle East and South America. (Ford)
  • VW and Ford are reportedly exploring in-depth sharing of autonomous driving technology. Ford already has a majority share in partner Argo AI whilst VW has partnered with Aurora but was apparently rebuffed in an informal takeover approach. Ford executives stressed that nothing was off the table. (Bloomberg)
  • Recalling 1.46 million Focus vehicles in North America to fix a problem that might lead to cars stalling. Ford has advised customers to keep tanks at least half full until they’ve been serviced. (USA Today)
  • Skipping the 2019 Geneva show, after missing Paris in 2018. Sources said it still considers the event an ongoing priority but just doesn’t think it will have enough interesting things to talk about. (Autocar)
  • Ford promised US dealers that it will cut delivery times for new orders from 82 to 38 days. (Reuters)
  • Signed a collaboration agreement with Mahindra and Mahindra that will see the Indian firm build a small engine for Ford’s Indian vehicles and a jointly shared telematics platform. (Mahindra)
  • Dealers complained that Ford was not giving them enough information about future plans and the amount of exposure to senior leaders had fallen. (Automotive News)
  • Increasing lifetime production of the GT to 1,350 units. (Ford)
  • Incensed French politicians and unions by refusing a takeover offer from Belgian company Punch Powerglide for the Bordeaux transmissions plant, saying that it would instead proceed with a closure. Although politicians said Ford’s position was incomprehensible, it turns out that the new supplier’s plan had demanded Ford guarantee orders until 2021 (when it wants to stop taking products from 2019) and would only save half the jobs. (Sud Ouest)
  • The US safety regulator opened an investigation into F-Series power tailgates that open unexpectedly when the vehicle is in motion. (Detroit News)
  • Released a new series of adverts in the USA featuring the “built Ford proud” strapline. In one expensively produced slot Brian Cranston talks down the hot air from the competition (presumably with Tesla in their sights). (Ford)
  • Reportedly part of a yet-to-be-announced German battery consortium that will be supported by €1 billion of government cash and is set to be officially launched on 13th (Reuters)
  • Said that the previously reported assembly of pure electric Transit vans in Germany employed 180 employees working in two shifts, for a capacity of 3,500 vehicles per year. (Ford)
  • Recalling around 200 GTs to correct problems that can cause fires. (Ford)
  • Kanye West stopped by the White House to tell Donald Trump that Ford needed to have “the highest design” and the “flyest, freshest, most amazing car” but declined to elaborate on how to do so. Ford’s spokesman replied “like we always say, you can’t spell fresh, fly and dope without Ford”. (Detroit Free Press)
  • CEO Hackett said no one was ahead of Ford in developing autonomous vehicles. (Axios)
  • Using Boston Consulting Group to guide its “fitness” program. (Detroit News)
  • Told salaried employees it is in “the early stages of an organizational redesign of the global salaried workforce” and that some redundancies should be expected but there was no firm target. (Bloomberg)
  • Ford’s North American management team have adopted a new process where they (20 executives) spend one entire day per week reviewing a series of 13 war rooms containing information on different models. Despite the management time, the only example of progress they were prepared to offer was a decision to increase production of cars with large infotainment screens and drop a less capable system. (Automotive News)
  • PSA said it will not “develop more evolutions of diesel technology” unless it can see a clear future market demand. The company has apparently decided that a mix of 5% or lower by 2023 would see diesel discontinued. It is unclear whether Ford shares the same view. If not, it will impact their diesel collaboration. (Autocar)
  • Idling Transit production in Kansas City for two weeks, citing the variability of fleet orders. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Using quantum computing to create efficient route planning for diesel vehicles. Ford says that doing such work on traditional computers does not scale properly. (Ford)
  • Invested in weather forecasting start-up ClimaCcell as part of a $45 million round. (ClimaCell)

Q3 2018 Financial Results

  • Reported Q3 2018 financial results. Revenue of $37.6 billion was slightly improved versus the prior year but adjusted profit of $1.7 billion was $(0.6) billion worse than Q3 2018. Only North America and Middle East and Africa were profitable. (Ford)

September

  • Admitted low customer interest (apart from users who would otherwise have opted for rental vehicles) in its Canvas subscription program meant a rethink was needed. (CNET)
  • Chairman Bill Ford likes salsa dancing (probably) but detests gyrations in trade negotiations. Although he called for certainty, he declined to say what Ford wants. (Reuters)
  • Argo AI’s CEO said Ford’s driverless car program will involve up to 100,000 vehicles. (Bloomberg)
  • Ford sources suggested the scope of collaboration with VW had been expanded to explore whether Ford vehicles should be manufactured at VW plants in South America and Europe, allowing Ford to trim capacity. (Reuters)
  • Agreed to pay more compensation to UK Ford owners who have experienced engine failures. (BBC)
  • Will stop making the Focus in Argentina from 2019 at the end of the current model cycle. (Reuters)
  • A French government minister expressed confidence that Punch Powerglide would be announced as the buyer of Ford’s Bordeaux transmissions plant by the end of October. (Reuters)
  • Ordered by a court in Thailand to pay compensation to owners of vehicles with dud transmissions. (Detroit News)
  • Paid $90 million for the train station building in Detroit. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Building all-electric versions of the Transit van (in collaboration with StreetScooter) at its Cologne, Germany site rather than in the Turkish factory that builds ICE powered units. A partially assembled vehicle is shipped from Turkey and then the electric powertrain, cab and cargo structure are added in Germany. (FAZ)
  • Suffered a power failure at the Rouge factory. Ford said the lost F-150s would be caught up. (Detroit News)
  • Argo AI has licensed its lidar technology to Ball Corporation for use in aerospace and defence projects. (Zacks)
  • Announced a recall for a small number of vehicles in North America to repair door structures. (Ford)
  • Ford’s VP in charge of its internet of things platform, spoke at a conference about how rich he was, Ford’s approach to software platform leadership and how it integrates traditional bureaucracy with agile start-up thinking. (Ford)
  • Yet another Jim Hackett profile said the company cancelled its planned electric vehicle just weeks before the 2018 Detroit show and the Mach 1 (the product replacing it in the cycle plan) preview was light on detail because the company had only just begun working on it. CEO Hackett said the company was “four or five months” behind on the rate of progress he expected to make when taking the job. On the possibility of closing down operations in various countries he says “Hackett’s bias is that the Ford brand is iconic” and that “one of my last options is to shut down the Blue Oval in a market. I’d rather never do that”. (Forbes)
  • Off the record sources have said that Ford is focused on reducing staff in South America and Europe, with the North America region expected to be shielded from any significant restructuring. The plans may reportedly be announced by the end of the year as work with external consulting groups is said to have been under way for several weeks. The concept of selling the operations in any region are reportedly off the table as the company does not want to hand control of the blue oval to anyone else. (Detroit News)
  • Working on a next generation infotainment system that will feature a larger screen and appear in the new Mach 1 electric vehicle. Ford claims the system was developed in 90 days. (Forbes)
  • Donald Trump tweeted that his new tariffs on Chinese imports meant Ford could make the Focus Active in the USA after all, but Ford said that wasn’t going to happen. (Economic Times of India)
  • Issued a recall of 2 million F-Series pick-ups to correct problems with seat belt mechanisms that could create sparks inside the body, ultimately leading to fires. (Ford)
  • Released an image of the Mach 1 electric car, showing a Mustang influenced rear. (Ford)
  • Stopped all US national advertising campaigns for Fusion, Focus and Taurus, redirecting the money towards SUVs instead. Ford said it preferred discounting the cars to advertising them. (Automotive News)

August

  • Moody’s downgraded Ford’s credit rating to Baa3, the lowest investment grade, and gave the company a negative outlook saying that a downgrade to junk status could come in mid-2019 without evidence that the company has a plan to improve its competitive position. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Will not sell the Focus Active in the US as planned, blaming US tariffs for ruining the business case and saying that since annual volume would be lower than 50,000 units, US production would not be worthwhile. (Bloomberg)
  • Tongues were set wagging by newspaper articles saying that Ford’s European, and especially UK plants, operations could see drastic job cuts in a bid to improve profitability. (Sunday Times)
  • The scope of Ford and VW’s collaboration -- seemingly dubbed Project Cyclone -- reportedly currently covers several sizes of commercial vehicle and light pick-up trucks (Ranger / Amarok). (Handelsblatt)
  • Moved the product planning team out of product development so the position now reports into the marketing organisation.(Ford)
  • Ford’s governmental affairs team took a hit as its head of international relations was recruited by the US government to oversee negotiations with North Korea, shortly after the top lobbyist left for SoftBank. (Detroit News)
  • Recalling around 50,000 charging cords for electric vehicles due to fire risks and a small quantity of vehicles that appear to have been factory released without all the bolts being properly tightened. (Ford)
  • The CFO said calls for the dividend to be reduced on weaker profits were “baseless”. (Detroit News)
  • Published a document outlining its vision for autonomous vehicles, reiterating the company’s intent to bring a vehicle to market in 2021 that is capable of driving without human assistance “within a specific geographic area and during appropriate weather conditions” but clarified that the cars “won’t initially be sold to customers”. In some cases the geofenced area (called the operational design domain, or ODD by Ford) might resemble a series of protected routes more than entire map grid squares as the cars avoid “complex” road layouts. (Ford)
  • A report suggested CEO Hackett’s communication style was harming the company’s ability to implement strategic changes, saying some executives had to rely on his chief of staff (a former visual sensemaker) to understand his intent even after holding meetings on the subject. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Said that the development of new premises in downtown Detroit, centred on the former train station, will cost up to $740 million, which Ford expects to be partly subsidised by $240 million of tax breaks. (Detroit News)
  • Ford’s Autonomic unit signed a collaboration with Alibaba to develop a connected car platform for the Chinese market that would run on Alibaba’s servers. (Ford)
  • Said it will take “whatever action is needed” to ensure business profitability in the face of Brexit. (The Independent)
  • Ford’s VP of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang gave a presentation outlining some of the company’s plans and how they tied into recently announced cost saving targets. For example, Thai-Tang presented a chart (slide 7) showing average age of portfolio coming down in the new plan as evidence of greater understanding of consumer trends and the need to produce relevant vehicles. (Ford)
  • Ford Aims to save around 20% to 40% of the engineering bill for each program by sharing up to 70% of the vehicle parts through common modules across five platforms. Ford conceded that in some markets the global platforms may be too expensive, and they will look to collaborate with local partners to do things more cheaply. Ford’s previous platform strategy restricted parts sharing to around 30% of vehicle content. (Ford)
  • Believes that the shift from passenger cars to utilities is permanent and the remaining car customers look for value and utility traits that “some of our competitors dominate”. (Ford)
  • Unveiled the China-only Territory, an entry-level SUV developed with joint venture partner JMC. (Ford)
  • Suggested that the time to create the Territory, from initial concept to mass production (but not first customer deliveries) was under 20 months. (Ford)

July

  • Ford’s Chariot service issued a series of route updates. These show both the good and bad of on-demand bus operations: Data from the services has led to a number of small route revisions that presumably improve efficiency ever so slightly (good); but with so many changes, users can easily become confused or frustrated by out of date information (bad). (Ford)
  • Reportedly working on a spiritual successor to the Courier car-based pick-up truck, but this time based off a Focus, rather than Fiesta. If the rumours are true, US sales could start in 2022. (Automobile)
  • Cutting prices in Russia in a bid to increase sales. (Wards)
  • Has reportedly been discussing a sale of its South American unit with FCA and VW. (Bloomberg)
  • Ford’s earnings presentation contained several slides laying out what the company termed a comparison between the accretive (money making) and dilutive (money losing) parts of the business. Because of a “filtering for value creation”, the company intends to undergo a major, yet unspecified, restructuring which will see a likely EBIT impact of $11 billion and cash impact of $7 billion over the next three to five years.
  • Postponed the investor day previously scheduled for September to an undetermined point in the future. (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett said there will be 16 BEVs by 2022, all of which are “additions to our portfolio”. (Ford)
  • Said the European light commercial vehicle business had EBIT margins of 13% on a standalone basis and that Britain had been responsible for the majority of the $1.2 billion of profit from the region in 2016. (Ford)
  • Announced the creation of a standalone business unit to hold its autonomous vehicle assets, including the company’s stake in Argo AI. The CEO of the new company is the executive previously in charge of autonomous vehicle efforts. Ford pledged that $4 billion will be invested in the unit by 2023, since this includes money already announced for Argo AI, it isn’t clear how much of this is money already spent. (Ford)
  • Changed several executive reporting relationships, with product development reporting directly to the CEO again, having spent about a year reporting to the (then) newly created operations function. (Ford)
  • Reached a settlement that gives Ford $299 million from Takata as partial compensation for recall costs. (Reuters)
  • Launching a chatbot, from Botnik.ai, to answer questions from French customers on social networks. (Journal Auto)
  • Set a sales target of 2,800 all-electric Transit van sales in Europe for 2018. (Automotive News)
  • Confirmed that it was still intending to build 1,000 examples of the GT, despite production being behind schedule, indicating a production run of longer than the initially planned four years. (Motor Authority)
  • Announced two safety recalls for around 550,000 vehicles in the US. One corrects potential gearchange issues that could allow the vehicle to roll away. The second is a much smaller recall of heavy trucks. (Ford)
  • Reportedly using the Fusion nameplate for a new high roofed hatchback to replace the current model. (Detroit News)

Q2 2018 Financial Results

  • Reported financial results for Q2 2018. Revenue of $38.9 billion was down (3)% on a year-over-year basis, net income of $1.1 billion was down (58)% YoY. The company blamed conditions in Europe and China for a full year earnings downgrade. (Ford)

June

  • Agreed a partnership with Baidu to work on connectivity, digital marketing and artificial intelligence. The collaboration includes developing in-car infotainment based on Baidu’s existing AI toolset. (Ford)
  • Ford executives were drawn into an uncharacteristic spat with Tesla’s CEO. (CNBC)
  • Ford and VW are exploring potential collaboration on a range of topics relating to commercial vehicles but stressed that equity arrangements and cross-ownership stakes were not under discussion. (VW)
  • Ford believes self-driving delivery vehicles have greater application in the suburbs than built-up areas. (PC Mag)
  • Ford and Daimler are ending their fuel cell development joint venture. (Reuters)
  • Recalling around 9,000 vehicles in North America to fix fuel pump, transmission and braking problems. (Ford)
  • Wants to work harder on sourcing in India; Ford says its tier 1 suppliers are 85% local but tier 2s are only 60%, meaning that import tariffs are still largely incurred -- the company is aiming for 90% localisation. (Autocar)
  • A profile of Argo AI said the company currently has 330 employees. (WSJ)
  • In line with long-running media speculation, after it said in March that it would not allocate a new product to the plant, Ford announced it was seeking a buyer for the Bordeaux, France automatic transmission factory. (Ford)
  • Began production of the Ecopsort in Russia. (Autocar)

May

  • Ford’s strategy consultants explained the structure of the company’s mobility group. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Will build a second, as-yet unspecified, model at its Craiova, Romania plant. The investment for the new vehicle is around €200 million and 1,500 new jobs will be created. (Ford)
  • Issued safety recalls for a small amount of pick ups to fix problems with parking brakes. (Ford)
  • Had to shut three truck plants following a fire at Meridian Magnesium, a supplier of critical F-Series components. The company will reportedly have resourced the parts by the end of the week commencing 14th May and said that full year earnings would not be affected, but remained tight-lipped on near term impacts, indicating a Q2 hit that will be recovered later in the year. (Ford)
  • Chairman Bill Ford said the company is looking to make “fairly large” changes that “could” affect regions and/or functions. He also proclaimed himself “really pleased” with CEO Hackett’s learning curve. (News 18)
  • Created a JV with existing low cost electric vehicle partner Zotye to create all-electric vehicles aimed at ride sharing fleets and drivers. (Ford)

April

  • Executives said that the company would still offer “affordable” products in North America once it has phased out existing entry level products. (Detroit News)
  • Announced a series of executive moves and external hires in Middle East, Africa and China. (Ford)
  • Reportedly will not unveil full details of its “fitness” plan until September, after a planned July review with the company’s board. (New York Times)
  • When production of the Taurus stops at the Chicago plant in 2020, Ford will begin building the Lincoln Aviator and expects that no redundancies will be necessary. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Will extend layoffs at the Valencia engine factory due to delays in the new Maverick engine. (Europa Press)
  • Wamyo’s CEO criticised Ford’s executive culture saying that when he worked there “it was the greatest collection of clever people who couldn’t work out how to get on”. (Autocar)
  • Launched a non-emergency medical transport service called GoRide. (Ford)
  • The new Focus was unveiled; it is lighter than its predecessor and for the first time, a Focus will be available without an independent rear suspension in cheaper models. Ford said that this wasn’t to cut costs and driving dynamics would not be adversely affected. Motoring journalists raised on a diet of Ford comments about how inferior the ride of competitor products are because they didn’t feature independent rear suspension weren’t so sure. (Autocar)
  • Ford’s European executives said it would be “daft to exit a big market like Europe”, citing the sales volume (and leaving aside the question of long term profitability). They also said mild hybrid 48V systems are “starting to get to the same cost” as diesel. (Autocar)
  • Executives said that the company wasn’t putting much effort into planning for potential US and China tariff barriers because they “might not happen”. (Bloomberg)
  • Said its research indicated that driverless delivery vehicles would complete routes 25% more efficiently than those piloted by humans. (Autocar)
  • Received approval for German banking licence, meaning that it can provide financing to customers in Europe unimpeded by Brexit -- Ford is the OEM most exposed to the loss of passporting rights. (Reuters)
  • Ford executives said that it would not be worth producing electric cars with annual volumes below 40,000. (Reuters)

Q1 2018 Financial Results

  • Announced Q1 2018 financial results. Revenue of $42 billion was up 7% on a year-over-year basis. Ford called adjusted EBIT of $2.2 billion “solid”, despite a (10)% YoY drop which Ford said was all due to commodity costs. In a bid to mollify investors, the company pulled forward its target year for 8% EBIT margin to 2020. Ford also announced that by 2020 it will only sell two pure cars in North America: Mustang and the active version of the new Focus. The confirmation that the company will no longer offer Fusion in North America beyond 2020 (in line with previously leaked letters to suppliers) fuelled speculation about the future of the Mondeo in Europe (also mentioned in the leaked supplier letter). (Ford)

March

  • Lincoln unveiled the Aviator, a three row SUV that the company hopes will do well in China. (Lincoln)
  • Announced pricing for the FordPass SmartLink dongle that can be plugged into the ODB port of Ford vehicles from 2010 onwards, enabling a certain amount of connected services. It looks expensive -- $16.99 per month for a minimum 24 month contract, plus installation. (Ford)
  • Signed an MoU with Mahindra to develop a series of vehicles including a C-sized crossover and a small electric vehicle, aimed at emerging markets. The C-sized crossover will be based on a Mahindra platform; the partners will develop a connected vehicle platform; and the press release raised the possibility of Ford buying Mahindra powertrain to augment its existing offerings. (Ford)
  • Led a $65 million funding round in 3D printing company Desktop Metal. (3D Printing Industry)
  • Announced an online platform in the USA called Ready.Shop.Go that will create time-limited offers for consumers that include financing and trade-in. (Ford)
  • Announced executive changes, including the departure of the recently-recruited chief brand officer. (Ford)
  • Gave an in-depth new product presentation confirming it will make a small “rugged” SUV in addition to the Bronco. The company also plugged its bundled driver assistance suite called co-pilot360, measuring it against a carefully-selected set of not-best-in-class competition. The presentation included an array of examples to prove progress was being made in the battle for “fitness”, many of which predate the current management team. (Ford)
  • Ford said that in a few years only 14% of vehicles sold by the brand in North America will be cars. (Ford)
  • Issued a recall for around 1.4 million vehicles in North America to correct problems with steering wheel bolts, a further 6,000 vehicles for clutch problems. (Ford)
  • UK unions called for Ford’s two engine plants, at Dagenham and Bridgend, to be “repurposed for new electric models or battery technology”. Ford dismissed the suggestion. (Auto Express)
  • Ford’s European head said that the company would not have to make a “fundamental shift” in its line-up in order to meet 2021 CO2 targets but would “fine tune the volume by powertrain by vehicle”. (Reuters)
  • Will create a test fleet of vehicles in Miami aimed primarily at delivery in partnership with Domino’s (a pizza chain) and Postmates (parcel delivery). (Miami)
  • Told unions and local politicians that it will not manufacture a new 8 speed automatic transmission (dubbed 8F mid) in the Bordeaux, France factory, leaving the plant’s future in doubt. (Les Echos)
  • Recalling around 2,100 Taurus cars to correct problems with the ignition key releasing too early. (Ford)

February

  • Ford’s North America head departed for unspecified improper behaviour and the company launched a wider reshuffle, including a number of moves amongst the finance leadership -- possibly in a continued quest for a successor to the CFO. (Ford)
  • Investing a further $25 million in its Kentucky plant to increase Navigator and Expedition production, saying that the plant is already working a continuous three shift pattern and over the weekend. (Ford)
  • Recalling a small number of Escape and MKC vehicles to correct brake problems. (Ford)
  • Wants to reduce the number of expatriate employees in its Chinese business by 30%. (Ford)
  • Extended a do not drive warning on vehicles with Takata airbags that have not yet been repaired. (Reuters)
  • Reportedly applied for a banking licence in Germany to allow its Ford Credit business to operate in Europe in the event that passporting is lost due to Brexit. (Reuters)
  • Will launch the Chariot bus service in London, the first European city. A fleet of 14 vehicles will run on four routes, all with snazzy alliterative titles (“Shooters Hill Shot” feels a bit weak; we would have gone for Sprinter, potential trademark disputes with Mercedes-Benz notwithstanding). The service is free for the first two weeks. (Ford)
  • Ford’s China CEO, an external hire, departed after five months in the role. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Launched the Freestyle, a compact sized crossover in India. (Autocar)
  • Moody’s downgraded the company’s rating outlook from stable to negative. (Detroit Free Press)

January

  • Obtained planning permission to turn its Warley, UK offices into a site for around 350 houses. Although the company said there were no immediate plans to vacate the building, since the council development plan has a timeframe of 10 years, it seems there is a good chance the property will close within that timeframe. (Essex Live)
  • Announced it will acquire existing partner Autonomic and TransLoc. In addition, Ford’s mobility unit created a raft of vice president positions. (Ford)
  • Reached agreement with unions in Valencia, Spain on a three year agreement. Salaries will rise 5% in 2019 with lower awards in 2020 and 2021. The company will also make higher pension contributions. (Europa Press)
  • Gave a presentation in which it guided that 2018 profits would be lower than 2017 levels (and the third consecutive annual decrease). Despite a forecast of improved industry volumes, Ford believes that commodity cost and currency headwinds are responsible (page 13 in the chart deck). As a salve, the company will start reporting “Mobility” as a distinct line item -- 2017 net loss is around $(300) million (page 9). (Ford)
  • Having said that there will be 16 BEVs and 24 hybrid vehicles by 2022 (some of which could be the same nameplates), Ford said that there would be two platforms -- a Ford version and a low cost (Zotye-led) design. There will be: 13 BEVs in Asia; 7 BEVs in North America and; 3 BEVs in Europe. Although offering only a small range in Europe, Ford says this will be a “strong” BEV portfolio. (Ford)
  • In the Q&A after the presentation, executives said Ford is exploring “every option you would imagine” to improve the South America region. In addition, despite the announcements about $11 billion being spent on electrified vehicles, total investment “is not moving a whole lot, it’s really shifting [between programs]”. Finally, there will be some “exciting” mobility announcements at the end of January. (Ford)
  • Has set a new electric vehicle investment target of $11 billion by 2022, funding 40 electrified vehicles, of which 16 will be BEVs. (Reuters)
  • Unveiled the US market Ranger, a facelifted version of the vehicle available in international markets for the past few years. (Ford)
  • Previewed the Mach 1, seemingly an all-electric performance SUV concept, at the Detroit show. (The Verge)
  • Recalling 3,000 Ranger vehicles to repair faulty airbags, advising customers to immediately stop driving them. (Ford)
  • Ford’s Russia JV will hire 600 permanent and temporary personnel and move to a six day week. (Ford)
  • Partnering with Postmates to experiment with on-demand delivery of goods (like the Domino’s tie-up). (Ford)
  • Has partnered with Qualcomm to develop standardised communications technologies for vehicles to share information with other connected devices (the internet of things). (Ford)
  • Is building a Transportation Mobility Cloud with software company Autonomic so that vehicles can be tracked and managed by companies and regional authorities. (Ford)
  • Following a letter to suppliers cancelling a Fusion/Mondeo program for North American and European markets, sources told media the products would be part of the line-up for “at least three to four years”. (Detroit News)
  • Announced a diesel derivative of the F-150, using a version of the 3.0L V6 engine built in Dagenham, UK. (Ford)
  • US sales for 2017 were 2,586,715 units, a (1.1)% decline from 2016. Increases of 2.9% for SUVs and 4.3% for trucks failed to offset a (14.2)% drop in car sales. Despite heavy investment, Lincoln struggled, down (0.5)%. (Ford)

2017

Full Year 2017 Earnings

  • Reported financial results for fourth quarter and full year 2017 -- much of which had been disclosed previously. Although revenue and wholesales were up (to $156.8 billion and 6.61 million respectively), adjusted PBT of $8.4 billion was down (18)% on 2016 full year, more than explained by North America and Europe. During the conference call, analysts gave the executive team a frosty reception when they didn’t provide clear answers to questions about how the company intends to improve. (Ford)

December

  • Experienced industrial unrest in Craiova, Romania -- employees staged an impromptu strike just before Christmas and this may continue in the new year. A recent internal memo reportedly asked whether workers wanted “a higher salary increase or to secure the future of this factory”. (World Socialist)
  • US union officials called on the company to raise the wages of its Mexican employees so that they were less competitive and actions such as the recent decision to build Ford’s first mass-market electric vehicle in Mexico might not take place in future. (Economic Times of India)
  • Ford Focus RS vehicles appear to be exhibiting a design defect that results in far higher than normal engine replacements -- potentially exacerbated by owners modifying their vehicles after purchase. (Autocar)
  • Issued a recall for around 12,000 vehicles in the US. One of the problems looks as though it could have been easily fixed if Ford had installed vehicle connectivity that allowed over the air updates. (Ford)
  • Released an open letter to employees condemning harassment after newspaper reports uncovered a raft of issues at some US plants. (Detroit News)
  • Released photographs of a partially-disguised next generation Focus to build interest ahead of the 2018 launch. The effort uses #timetofocus on Twitter -- perhaps poorly timed as it is likely to be overwhelmed by people planning new training / diet regimes post 1st January 2018. (Auto Express)
  • Signed an agreement to develop digital mobility solutions for the residents of Hyderabad, India. Ford will work with the city’s government to assess the state of the current public transport and road network and then recommend solutions. Electronic payments appear to be a focus of the project. (Autocar)
  • Denied that it was intending to source the next generation Fusion/Mondeo from China and import to North America and Europe after suppliers leaked documents appearing to show China as the sole source of the vehicle from around 2020 onwards. The company declined to comment on the implications for factories in Valencia and Mexico that make the car now. (Reuters)
  • Said that it will launch 50 new vehicles in China by 2025 and that it local assembly will increase by a further five models, not including the Zotye JV, one of which will be the company’s first serious attempt at a BEV. As part of the plan, Ford wants to contain administrative costs, saying the structure would not increase beyond 2018 levels and that it was creating a single distribution group that would work with its three Chinese JVs. (Ford)
  • Agreed a collaboration with Alibaba that will potentially encompass a number of areas including digital marketing, smart vehicles and mobility services. The initial projects will look at retail sales. (Ford)
  • Planning to produce its first mainstream electric vehicle in Mexico rather than Michigan, USA. Ford said this was because it expects the market for fully autonomous vehicles to take off quickly so it wants to work on readying Flat Rock to meet the anticipated demand. (New York Times)
  • Introduced updated versions of the Transit Courier and Transit Connect (small commercial vehicles). Powertrain is now Euro 6.2-capable and Ford’s press release drew attention to the gasoline engine derivatives which feature fuel economy technologies such as cylinder deactivation. (Ford)
  • Released its 2018 trends report showing the areas that the company is watching. NOTE: the report is about societal change so those hoping for insights into diesel mix or adoption of autonomous vehicles will be disappointed. (Ford)
  • Not wishing to be outdone by GM, Ford released a blog post about its autonomous vehicle ambitions, led by a 250-strong team at Argo AI. Ford believes that a vehicle must be commercial-grade and feature upgraded attributes to enable a longer service life. The company will be beginning pilot trials in 2018, although it isn’t clear whether or not this will feature the all-new PHEV that the company is working on. (Ford)
  • Reportedly reduced the line rate in Valencia by 120 vehicles per day and will shed 280 temporary staff (up from around 100 a fortnight ago), with unspecified further employee reductions made through relocation and natural attrition. (Europa Press)

November

  • Unveiled the replacement for the Lincoln MKX and changed its name to the Nautilus. As part of a plan to deliver a more upscale user experience, Lincoln owners will get a paid subscription to a service that enables them to queue jump airport security lines. (Detroit News)
  • Announced four recalls covering over 200,000 vehicles. The main issue is loose front power seats. (Ford)
  • Enraged millions of wrestling fans by suing John Cena after the sports entertainment superstar sold his Ford GT before the end of the exclusivity period defined in the sales contract. (Economic Times of India)
  • Denied it may exit some or all South American markets following a note to investors from JP Morgan implying knowledge of management plans for an “out-of-the-box transformation plan”. (Detroit News)
  • Despite last week’s announcement of a new product in Valencia, local unions are unhappy with recent proposals from Ford to change holiday patterns and terminate the contracts of over 100 temporary employees. (Europa Press)
  • Said it would build the next generation Kuga at its Valencia, Spain plant, investing €750 million in the factory. (Ford)
  • Ended production of C-MAX Energi PHEV and will soon stop HEV as well. (Plug In Cars)
  • Signed a $765 million deal with Zotye to produce electric cars in China under a new brand. The two companies had previously signed an MoU. (Ford)
  • Bill Ford says in the past the company had “said too much” about its plans for autonomous driving and in response to criticism that the company wasn’t giving sufficient information for investors to have confidence in its future he said that clarity would be provided “when we’re ready”. (Detroit News)
  • Ford’s Chariot on-demand bus service confirmed that it is working towards a launch of operations in London. (City AM) and its subscription car service Canvas will launch in a second city, LA. (Tech Crunch)
  • French unions won a tribunal case against Ford saying that the company was violating the terms of a 2013 labour agreement where it committed to maintain 1,000 jobs at its Bordeaux site until May 2018. The union says that currently Ford only has 879 workers at the site. Workers are lobbying for the plant to be given a new transmission to produce. (Usine Nouvelle)

Q3 Earnings

  • Reported Q3 2017 financial results. Revenue of $36.5 billion was up 1.7% on a year-over-year basis, despite wholesales dropping (1.7)% to 1.5 million units. Adjusted pre-tax profit of $1.974 billion was up 40% YoY -- almost all explained by a non-repeat of recall costs in North America, although Ford attributed it to price discipline. (Ford)

October

  • Said that the “bulk” of the $14 billion of additional savings Ford said it would make following the 100-day review of the business would flow through to the bottom line, rather than be reinvested. Ford also said that it would bring autonomous vehicles into a test market in 2018. (Ford -- Webcast)
  • Argo AI announced it has acquired lidar company Princeton Lightwave, saying that it was now “uniquely positioned to innovate in both sensor hardware and the interface between sensor and software”. (Argo AI)
  • Announced a series of senior management and organisational changes. The CEO of Ford Credit now reports directly to CEO Jim Hackett and the strategy department will report to the CFO instead of the CEO. (Ford)
  • US authorities are reportedly investigating claims that Ford Fusion vehicles are susceptible to the steering wheel working loose, and in extreme circumstances coming off. (Detroit Free Press)
  • Seemingly in response to the blog post by Cruise Automation’s CEO, the CEO of Argo AI wrote an article explaining that it was “really hard” to master self-driving and that those expected rapid progress to the point where AVs are ubiquitous within “a few years” are “not well connected to the state of the art or committed to the safe deployment of the technology”. (Ford)
  • Said it would recall about 1.3 million F-150 a Super Duty trucks to fix a potential problem with water entering door latches and freezing. (Ford)
  • Had to suspend operations of the Chariot service in California after routine inspections found that some of its drivers were improperly licensed. (Wired)
  • Said that its European order bank was at record levels, having sold 30,000 Fiestas since launch. (Ford)
  • Said that it had started production of the face-lifted Ecosport in its Cariova, Romania plant. Employment at the plant will rise to 3,900 people making the small SUVs and small petrol engines. (Ford)
  • Offered a complimentary service to owners of Explorer vehicles, hoping to assuage concerns around exhaust emissions entering the cabin. Ford says that there is no issue and hopes the service offer will put the matter to rest. (Ford)
  • Ford held a strategy update session for analysts and investors to share the fruits of new CEO Jim Hackett’s 100-day study. The presentation highlighted Ford’s efforts to cut costs and improve the product. The key message was that the company is trying to move itself away from traditional low margin (and likely to be even lower margin in future) businesses such as internal combustion engines and cars. Instead, the company will invest in SUVs, mobility services and electrification with the aim of becoming the “most trusted nobility company”. The presentation was light on figures and unclear on the financial outlook, for instance it said that $7 billion was being reallocated from cars to SUVs, $0.5 billion of spending per year would move from ICEs to electrification and on top of this $14 billion of incremental savings were being made, yet it wasn’t what impact any of this has on the bottom line. Probably the most significant news was that by 2019, 100% of US cars and 90% globally will have connectivity (although Ford declined to specify what capability this would entail) and that Ford is working on new partnerships to help improve results in South America and Europe (announcements in coming “weeks, months and years”). (Ford)
  • CEO Hackett said during a speech to students that he wasn’t ready to trust a self-driving car, although he would be “very soon”. (Jalopnik)

September

  • Ford said that it would work with Lyft to integrate fleet vehicles (as opposed to driver-owned) into the Lyft system as a precursor to offering robo taxis. In the system that Ford described, it would have a technology platform that operated a pool of vehicles that could be assigned to jobs from companies such as Lyft. (Ford)
  • Ford said that production of JLR engines in its Bridgend plant will end in September 2020. According to Ford, this is 3 months earlier than expected (around half the plant’s 2,000 employees work on the engine). From 2021 onwards, the plant will only build a small petrol engine at a rate of around 125,000 per year; a marked decline from current levels. (BBC)
  • Announced a wide-ranging collaboration with Mahindra set to last for up to three years, at the end of which, further announcements could be made. The companies will set up joint groups to look at: mobility programs; connected vehicles; electrification; product development; sourcing and distribution. (Ford)
  • Is planning shutdowns at five plants in the US and Mexico due to a downturn in sales. Flat Rock will idle for 2 weeks; Michigan for 1; Kansas City for 2; Cuautitlan for 3; and Hermosillo for 2. (Detroit News)
  • The head of Ford’s smart mobility arm said that the company was working on a range of experiments to help it learn about a future state where there were fewer vehicles but more intensive use. (Economic Times of India)
  • Will add a second shift at its Russia joint venture plant in Elabuga, Tartastan due to increasing demand, creating 700 jobs. (Detroit News)
  • Revealed that it was behind the scheme to test responses to driverless schemes by having a human driver disguised as a seat. The project wasn’t a total success as a journalist spotted the driver’s hands in August and their reporting became an internet sensation. Ford revealed that the unfortunate driver had to sit through 150 hours of tests. (Ford)
  • The UAW’s chief representative for Ford said that Ford CEO has told him that the strategic review to be presented on 3rd October will not call for additional job reductions in the US. (Bloomberg)

August

  • Reported US sales for August of 209,897 units, down (2.1)% on a year-over-year basis. The decline was more than explained by drops in SUVs and Cars. (Ford). Ford’s sales in India were also down considerably YoY, a drop of (40)%. (Economic Times of India)
  • Said it will recall approximately 1.2 million vehicles in North America for two separate issues -- airbags and steering problems. (Ford)
  • Ford’s VP of manufacturing in Asia gave an interview in which he said that energy costs for production are currently higher than personnel costs in the region and then gave some examples of how Ford is trying to reduce energy usage. (AMS)
  • Said that it had signed an MoU with Chinese manufacturer Anhui Zotye to create a range of all-electric vehicles under a new brand. The JV appears to be aimed specifically at the Chinese market and would be Ford’s 3rd joint venture partner in China. Memo: Ford is following the lead of GM and Daimler by planning a China-only EV brand developed with a partner. (Ford)
  • Said that it will provide a strategic update -- presumably the new CEO’s much vaunted 100-day plan -- October 3rd. Memo: The news conference will be held on Hackett’s 134th day in charge. (Ford)
  • Ford’s VP of autonomous and electric vehicles wrote in a blog post about the company’s efforts to create a driverless vehicle for moving people and goods, but didn’t mention any timing. He revealed that the vehicle will be hybrid electric “initially” and his description makes the product Ford are developing sound like a combi-van. (Ford)
  • Is investing in Transit vehicle production (with its joint venture partner). In order to increase capacity from 290,000 to 330,000 vehicles per year. The higher production rate will be in place by September 2018. (Ford)
  • Announced that it would give a £2,000 scrappage allowance to customers in the UK who traded in older gasoline and diesel vehicles. Although Ford touted the air quality benefits, the BBC saw boosting car sales as a possible ulterior motive. (BBC)
  • Held an event in San Francisco where CEO Jim Hackett said that he believed autonomy would not lead to a big reduction in sales or car ownership. He was also non-committal on the current status of Ford’s previous commitment to bring a driverless car to market by 2021. (Detroit News)
  • Showed the all-electric commercial vehicle developed with DHL / StreetScooter. Named the StreetScooter Work XL, the vehicle can be fitted with a range of battery sizes (30 - 90 kWh = 80 - 200km range) and has different payload configurations. (Ford)
  • In an interview, the CEO of Argo.ai (in which Ford has a majority stake) talked about how and why his AI philosophy avoids deep learning algorithms and that the plan is have around 200 employees by the end of the year (from around 100 now and virtually none at the beginning of the year). (The Verge)
  • Announced that it will host a hackathon-style event in Paris over 25-26 October with a €30,000 prize on offer for the best entries. (Ford)
  • Copies of Ford’s patent for a removable steering were released. Having previously publicised its plans for a vehicle without a steering wheel by 2021, Ford believe that a removable device is required for a variety of use cases, including: extreme manoeuvre testing of production-intent vehicles and retrofitting steering wheels for users who are put off travelling in a vehicle where they are unable to take control. (US Patent Office)
  • Is reportedly under investigation by German regulators over possible diesel emission testing irregularities in Mondeo 2.0 litre models. Although the engine is used by other Ford nameplates and PSA, enquiries appear limited to the Mondeo at present. (Manager Magazin)
  • Ahead of taking part in the German diesel summit, Ford announced a trade-in incentive of up to €8,000 for EU3 vehicles (cars registered before 1st January 2003). Beyond the apparent generosity of the headline, Ford’s incentive offer looks like it is aimed at a small number of vehicles and the full incentive only applies to the most expensive vehicles in its range. (Handelsblatt)
  • Announced July sales figures for the US. Total sales of 200,212 units were down (7.5)% on a year-over-year basis. SUVs were the only segment where Ford gained sales with trucks as well as passenger cars down YoY. Ford blamed a stop-sale on Transit for the lower truck volumes. (Ford)
  • Following an interview with the CFO, Reuters wrote an article about Ford’s progress on its 100 day plan. India appears to be an area of considerable focus, with the company weighing future growth against current profitability. The timing and investment of Ford’s current commitment to bring a self-driving vehicle to market by 2021 are also said to be under review as well as possible cessation of Mondeo production in Europe. (Reuters)

Q2 Earnings

  • Reported 2nd quarter financial results. Pre-tax profits of $2.5 billion were down $(0.5) billion on a year-over-year basis. Cash flow was down $(2.9) billion YoY. Ford also announced a change to the way that it provided earnings forecasts by switching to an adjusted EPS rather than profit measure. (Ford)
  • Announced June sales figures for US and China. In the US, sales were down (5.1)% on a year-over-year basis, with increases for trucks and SUVs failing to offset a fall in fleet sales and passenger cars. (More…). Ford’s Chinese JVs reported sales up 15% YoY. (More…)
  • Announced June European sales of 128,400 vehicles, a decline of (1)% on a year-over-year basis. Ford was keen to stress the performance of CVs and SUVs and that sales were up in EU20 markets. On a vehicle line level, Fiesta (on run out ahead of the next generation model) more than accounted for the drop. (More…)

July

  • Will recall about 117,000 vehicles in North America to fix problems with seat belts. (Ford)
  • Said that it will stop production (and therefore all sales) of its B-MAX vehicle in September 2017. Instead, Ford will begin production of the EcoSport SUV (currently imported from India), reportedly hiring 1,700 additional employees. (Romania Insider)
  • The Australian consumer watchdog said it was taking Ford to court for its conduct in dealing with customer complaints about transmission problems. (Reuters)
  • Saw US safety body NHTSA increase an investigation into exhaust fumes entering the passenger cabin. An additional 400,000 vehicles have been added, bringing the tally of potentially suspect vehicles to 1.3 million. (Detroit News). Many of the vehicles were Police units and Ford drew attention to the possibility of aftermarket modifications causing odour and fume leaks. It also offered to repair affected vehicles, regardless of age or reason. (Ford.)
  • Said that shuttle service Chariot will expand to New York. (TechCrunch)
  • Saw media speculation about plans to end production and sales of Fiesta (in 2018 or 2019), Taurus (in late 2018) and C-MAX (in early 2019) in North America. (Detroit News)
  • Was reportedly approached by Lucid Motors to explore whether Ford was interested in buying the electric car start-up. Ford was said to be consumed by a 100-day review of its activities (other sources said that Ford wanted to buy Lucid but came up with a term sheet that was too complicated). (More…)
  • Ford announced its first dealer in Kuwait. (More…)
  • Ford showed off the road-going GT, boasting that it contained more lines of software programming than an F-35 fighter jet (10 million to 8 million). (More…)
  • Issued a recall notice for around 6,000 2017 model year vehicles in the US to fix problems with the transmission. (More…)

June

  • Announced that the Ford-branded GoBike scheme (run by a 3rd party called Motivate) had launched in San Francisco. The scheme will ultimately have 7,000 bicycles available. (..)
  • Will hire 160 people and renew 240 temporary positions at its plant in Valencia, Spain due to a line rate increase to satisfy demand for Kuga. Following the hiring, line rate will rise from 1,810 cars per day to 1,920. (More…)
  • Announced that 400,000 Transits will be recalled in the US to fix problems with the driveshaft flexible coupling. A very small number of Police Interceptor and Escape vehicles will be recalled to fix specific issues. (More…)
  • Announced that it would source the next generation Ford Focus (from 2019) from China rather than Mexico for North America sales. The move will save $1 billion versus Ford’s original plan, of which $500 million has been previously announced after Ford’s decision to scale back its Focus plan. The Focus will also be made in Europe. The move was announced by Ford in a press release that headlined the already widely known sourcing of SUVs rather than the Focus news. (More…)
  • Will recall 39,315 vehicles in India and 15,600 in South America to correct problems with the power steering. (More…)
  • Said that robust sales of LCVs will help Ford to remain profitable in Europe, despite Brexit currency and market growth headwinds. (More…)
  • Announced a collaboration with Deutsche Post’s subsidiary Streetscooter (maker of the eponymous light delivery vehicle) to make an all-electric version of the Transit chassis cab (it will have a purpose built box installed on the back). Production will begin in July 2017 with an aim of building 2,500 units by the end of 2018. (More…)
  • Said that it will open an office dedicated to European mobility solutions in London. The office space chosen can accommodate up to 40 people. (More…)
  • Reported European sales for May 2017. Ford sold 118,000 vehicles, an increase of 6% year=over-year. Ford saw increases in SUVs and CVs with decreased sales of traditional passenger vehicles. (More…)
  • New CEO Jim Hackett had a wide-ranging interview in which he talked about his 100 day plan which has four key elements: Re-evaluate revenue opportunities; evaluate the fitness of the company; re-evaluate capital deployment; renew focus on innovation. Hackett appeared to take personal credit for recruiting Ford’s head of autonomous vehicles (a move announced only 3 days after he became CEO). (More…)
  • Chairman Bill Ford said that it would be up to governments and regulators to decide on the ethics of how autonomous vehicles would makes decisions in crash scenarios. Ford called this the “difficult piece” of autonomy. (..)
  • Ford sent out redundancy offers to 15,000 salaried staff as part of the actions to reach a target of eliminating 1,400 positions. The payouts are expected by Ford to be between 3 and 18 months pay. (..)
  • Will add a week of production in its Louisville, Kentucky SUV plant this summer due to increased demand. (..)
  • Reported May US sales figures. Total sales of 241,126 units was an improvement of 2.2% on a year-over-year basis. Car volumes were down 10% YoY, more than offset by gains in Trucks and SUVs. (..)

May

  • CEO Mark Fields retired and was replaced by former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett, who has served as a Ford board member from 2013 to 2016 and been chairman of subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility LLC since 2016. At the same time as the appointment, Ford added a layer to its executive management team by announcing three newly created positions: Joe Hinrichs will become EVP, Operations; Jim Farley is EVP, Markets; Marcy Klevorn is EVP, Mobility. (..)
  • Following on from the new CEO appointment and the creation of the new layer of executive management, Ford made a series of subsequent executive announcements. There will be new regional CEOs in North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific (only South America remains unchanged). The purchasing function will now become a part of product development and a new position of vice president for autonomous vehicles has been created. (..)
  • Issued two safety compliance recalls in North America. In total about 3,000 F-series and Explorer vehicles are affected. (..)
  • Has launched a buy out programme targeted at making 1,400 job cuts in North America and Asia. The figure is 10% of a targeted subset of the workforce in these locations. Media had initially reported figures of up to 20,000 job cuts, consistent with a 10% reduction in the entire global workforce. (..)
  • Head of product development Raj Nair said that Ford was using recent acquisition Chariot to experiment with fleet management and could develop it into a tool for autonomous fleet management. (..)
  • Announced Europe sales results for April. Overall sales of 100,800 vehicles were down 11% year-over-year. Passenger car sales fell 13% YoY, while commercial vehicles fell 5%. Ford trumpeted SUV sales growth. (..)
  • Said that it will invest $350 million into its transmission plant in Livonia, USA. The investment will create 800 jobs and be for a new front wheel drive transmission. (..)
  • Saw increased pressure on CEO Mark Fields due to the company’s poor stock price performance since he took over. Media reports speculated on the motives for a reported scheduled extension of a board meeting in order for board members to question Fields on the company’s strategy but it was unclear if this was something other than normal practice. (..)
  • Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO Jim Farley called for ideas to reduce the number of cars in cities saying “we must work on how to take cars out of the system when there is an alternative, more sustainable solution”. (..)
  • Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO Jim Farley said that UK trade deals with Turkey and South Africa were “equally important” to a post-Brexit trading agreement between the UK and EU. He also said that a transition period would be “really critical for the future of our investments in the UK”. (..)
  • Said that April US sales of 214,695 vehicles were down 7.2% year-over-year. (..)
  • Said that it was temporarily laying off 130 workers at its Ohio plan due to slowing demand for trucks. (..)

Q1 Earnings

  • Reported Q1 2017 revenue of $39.1 billion, a year-over-year increase of 4%. Net income of $1.6 billion was down 35% from the prior year. (..)

April

  • Announced five test fleets would trial 20 Transit plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) in London for the next 12 months. Ford did not provide specific details on range but said that there would be sufficient electric power for “the majority of inner-city trips”. The PHEV version of the Transit is scheduled for launch in 2019. (..)
  • Ford and GM expressed public support for President Donald Trump’s proposed tax reforms. (..)
  • Ford researchers published a paper showing a route to charging prismatic lithium ion cells to 85% in 2 minutes and 100% in 3 minutes (the rest did not reflect a full battery lifetime). (..)
  • EVP for the Americas Joe Hinrichs said that Ford remained calm about Tesla’s valuation and that “at the end of the day, we run our business to serve our shareholders”. (..)
  • VP of US marketing, sales and service Mark LaNeve said that Ford expects SUVs to grow from current levels of almost 40% of sales to 45 percent within five to seven years. (..)
  • Gave details of its “ambitious” electrification strategy for China including local EV production, and investment of 1.3 billion yuan in the research centre at Nanjing to develop electrified powertrains and “a broad range” of EVs by 2025. Specific product announcements were plug-in hybrids and an all-new fully electric small SUV within five years (estimated range over 450km) (Source)
  • Announced a “clever cot” which simulates a car journey so that babies can get to sleep more easily (not an April Fool’s joke) (Source)
  • Was ranked as the leading company in autonomous driving technology in a Navigant study. (Source)
  • March US sales were down 7 percent although F-series grew 10 percent (Source)

March

  • Seeking to limit the growth of long term car loans in Canada. Ford said that 41% of sales in Canada have a loan term of six years or more or a lease term of five years or more.
  • Announced new investment in its Essex (Windsor, Canada) engine plant, fulfilling a commitment made as part of agreeing a new labour contract in 2016.
  • Announced a new R&D centre in Ottowa to work on connected vehicles, employing 400 workers taken on from Blackberry (note: none of the employees were from QNX).
  • Announced a recall of 570k vehicles in North America and Europe that will cost an estimated $295m (360k vehicles recalled due to potential engine fires, 211k for potential faulty door latches). There were two additional minor recall actions of less than 1,000 vehicles.
  • Announced a recall of 53k F-250 trucks because they can roll away even when parked. The cost was not disclosed.
  • Said that any Brexit deal must include tariff-free trade with the Customs Union as well as the EU and allow access to the “best” talent
  • Announced a collective $1.2bn of investment in 3 Michigan (USA) plants - Flat Rock, Romeo and Wayne
  • Announced that it will roll-out the Vignale premium range to all UK dealers this year
  • Confirmed that the Saarlouis, Germany plant will make the next generation Focus and will receive €600 million in investments to prepare for the new model. (More…)
  • Said that it would begin trials of the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printing facility to see whether it could progress the technology beyond prototype parts and into production vehicles.