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http://www.autonet.ca/News/story.cfm?story...1771681-ap.html

by Associated Press posted August 23, 2006

 

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Shares of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) rose more than four per cent Wednesday after a report that chairman and CEO Bill Ford had approached Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn about joining the global alliance.

The report in the Wall Street Journal cited "a person well-positioned to know." It was part of a commentary in the paper's opinion section by Paul Ingrassia, vice-president for news strategy of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Joseph White, the paper's Detroit bureau chief.

Ford spokesman Oscar Suris said Wednesday the company would not comment on what he called "speculation."

Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said he was not aware of any such discussion between Bill Ford and Ghosn.

Ford's rival, General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM), is in talks with Nissan Motor Co. of Japan and Renault SA of France about the possibility of joining their alliance. The idea to join the alliance came from billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who holds a 9.9 per cent stake in GM.

The report in the Journal said Bill Ford recently called Ghosn "with a simple message: If you don't do the deal with GM for any reason, come talk to me."

Ghosn is widely admired in the auto industry as a turnaround specialist, and both Ford and GM are in the middle of ambitious restructuring efforts.

Shares of Ford soared 30 cents, or four per cent, to $7.72 US in midday trading Wednesday.

After losing $254 million in the second quarter, Ford said in July that it would have to accelerate the turnaround plan it launched in January. Last week, the company announced that it would slash fourth-quarter production by 21 per cent, temporarily shutting down 10 assembly plants.

It said high gas prices are pushing consumers away from the high-margin pickups and SUVs that it has long relied on.

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"Who said Peugeot? What alliance with Peugeot? Do we have an alliance with Peugeot? Well they can just f— o— then, we're trying to offload Jaguar. Yessir, now we can sell the G35 and M45 as Jaguars, and the XJ- as an Infiniti. They can even flog a few in Japan as Nissans. We won't have to develop a new Explorer or Ranger either, now we can re-badge the Pathfinder and Frontier. And no worries about the new Focus being too expensive for North America, we'll just rebadge the Versa. I can see a plan, where's Ghosn's number?"

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The news media need to just f- off and die. I do not believe a word of this...Just as with GM, I do not see how Nissan/Renault could benefit from Ford...just the other way around.

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The news media need to just f- off and die.  I do not believe a word of this...Just as with GM, I do not see how Nissan/Renault could benefit from Ford...just the other way around.

184031[/snapback]

In this case it makes a lot more sense than with GM. Ford could be in a death spiral. I made my case in an earlier thread. There is a difference and has been a difference between the way GM and Ford are run. There is a difference between the recent crisis at GM and where Ford is at right now. Ford escaped any scrutiny over the past few years in the press.

Ford has problems that will not be fixed with another downsizing.

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I'm aware, but the bigger question is why anyone would want Ford. Ford is very bloated...they bought all the PAG and compete with themselves. If a competitor aligns or merges or whatnot with Ford...that's like triple competing. Economies of scale is the only reason I could see for such an alliance to be worthy of anyone's attention...because unless something is slipping my mind Ford really has no real area of expertise that they demonstrate a clear competitive advantage that is attractive to anyone on the outside looking in.

I just find it mind boggling that the company with the #1 Pickup, breakout midsize hits Mazda6, Fusion, Milan, and Zephyr/MKZ as well as best-in-class SUVs (Explorer, Expedition) is having such an issue with profitability. They really have to be fairly f@#ked up. Oh, Mustang too! I almost feel bad for Ford, but there just seems to be gross incompetence throughout the company as I see no other real explanation.

Final thought: Burning cash developing and then cancelling vehicles shortly before launch (Mercury's Freestyle?) and switching product names and refreshening one year after launch? Not helping things.

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I wouldn't consider the Milan a breakout hit, or even the Fusion/Zephyr, at least not yet.

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The FuLanZ are very good products, and with the new standard features on the '07s the Fusion is very close to being best in class, but it is still selling like half of what the Camry does.

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