regfootball

FORD'S BIGGEST PROBLEMS

23 posts in this topic

I would like everyone to weigh in on what Ford's biggest problems are with their vehicles currently for sale and why they are faltering so bad. I am not using this thread as a venue for people just saying crap like 'ford sucks' and not offering any useful suggestions. The point here is to try to quantify and prioritize what Ford needs to fix most badly.

Here are some potential line items

-exterior styling

-engines

-interiors, styling and quality

-lack of performance vehicle lines

-transmissions

-prices and value for the dollar

-resale value

-handling and ride

-warranty

-sales experience

-reliability

-tech features

-safety

-marketing

-bad public relations and press

-exceedingly long product cycles

i think the top 4 are the biggest problems ford has to fix ASAP. thing is, nearly the whole list needs work.

I would say styling is Ford's worst offender.

Edited by regfootball
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Ford's biggest problem is their ridiculous refreshes instead of new models.

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Ford's biggest problem is their ridiculous refreshes instead of new models.

Ranger?

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Don't forget their trashy image perpetuated by crap ads.

BOLD MOVES

lol

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Maybe a few less fires in their vehicles would be a start.

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Ford's biggest problem is their ridiculous refreshes instead of new models.

Couldn't agree more. I hate the new Taurus.

This short-cycle, heavy refresh business strategy is a point differentiation for Ford, but how long does it take to realize that it doesn't work?

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Ford's biggest problem is irrelevance:

You can get anything they offer somewhere else at a competitive price (or better).

With the possible exception of the Mustang, all of Ford's other offerings are bracketed on the high side by better perceived brands and the low side by the Koreans and 2nd tier Japanese makes.

As they ignored core segments, now, ironically, they are being ignored when they re-energize their effort in all of these car lines.

This doesn't necessarily mean that their product is awful, its just completely commoditized and thus, easily replaced in the minds of shoppers.

Great product might change their course, but even that may not guarantee their survival, as the family silver has been pawned to create their next generation of product.

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Ford's biggest problem is it's failure to follow through on some of their most stunning designs.

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I actually like the MKZ better than the concept that inspired it but I understand your point, Olds.

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Ford's problem is brand mismanagement and rebagding.

Take Chrysler's brands for instance. They do some rebaging, yes, but the rebadged vehicles LOOK different from each other and take on characteristics of their brand. Compare the 300 to the Charger. They're basically the same vehicle, BUT they have the look and feel of a Chrysler and a Dodge respectively, whereas the 500 and the Montego look almost identical and can't take on characteristics of their brands because they're virtually nonexistant.

Mercury needs to be eliminated from Ford's lineup or reinvented to make it more than just a dolled-up Ford.

Lincoln is in more need of being reinvented because its on the fast track to becoming the most damaged luxury brand on the American market.

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No the biggest problem is indecision and inability to stick to a plan. Everything else wouuld be fixed if they just picked a good path and stuck to it. Instead they change their minds more than a woman in a shoe store.

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Ford has some good new products, problem is GM, Nissan and Honda have trumped them. Hard to sell stuff that redesign and then have the other folks come out with something better.

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No the biggest problem is indecision and inability to stick to a plan. Everything else wouuld be fixed if they just picked a good path and stuck to it. Instead they change their minds more than a woman in a shoe store.

Agreed, but still not at the root issue. Ford's image is the real issue. Years of bad business and crappy cars have garnered Ford a bad public image and it's going to take a long time and a lot of patience to change that image. But, Ford has neither time nor patience, so they keep changing the strategy before anything has time to work.

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Ford's problem is brand mismanagement and rebagding.

Take Chrysler's brands for instance. They do some rebaging, yes, but the rebadged vehicles LOOK different from each other and take on characteristics of their brand. Compare the 300 to the Charger. They're basically the same vehicle, BUT they have the look and feel of a Chrysler and a Dodge respectively, whereas the 500 and the Montego look almost identical and can't take on characteristics of their brands because they're virtually nonexistant.

Mercury needs to be eliminated from Ford's lineup or reinvented to make it more than just a dolled-up Ford.

Lincoln is in more need of being reinvented because its on the fast track to becoming the most damaged luxury brand on the American market.

Well it's not really badge engineering since the LX cars all look different, plus they get their own suspension tunings and interiors (the Magnum's is now different than the Charger's even if it's only by a bit).

Even the Sebring and Avenger are, for better or worse, quite a bit different inside and out. These are examples of platform engineering...like the Malibu, Aura, and G6.

Badge engineering is when you slap a new badge and grill insert onto a vehicle and call it a day...like the G5.

Between blatant badge engineering and platform engineering is where 2 or more vehicles retain most of their panels but get unique front ends and different rear-end details. This would be the GMT-900s like the Tahoe and Yukon, the Aspen and Durango, and the Taurus and Sable. Problem is the GMT-900's are excellent vehicles and best in class, while the Durango and Aspen on which it's based is still a good, competitive SUV with stand-out styling. The Taurus and Sable are neither excellent or eye-catching. They are better now than the models they "replaced" but they still are pretty bland and are outclassed by most of the competition.

Ford's biggest problem is it's blandness. They've proven with the Fusion that they can make excellent interiors and very good cars...but it's still not mold-breaking.

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I'm going to describe why I cross Ford off my shopping list.

Ford Focus

-interior and exterior design from 1995.

Ford Fusion/Milan

-Tail Lights designed and made in China.

-Center Console looks fugly.

Ford Edge

-uninspired Front Grille and Bumper.

-interior Dash plastic made in China.

-super Gas Guzzling engine, desplite being weaker engine and smaller vehicle than Outlook/Acadia.

Ford 500

-ancient Dash design.

When I say "made in China", I don't mean Buick made-in-China, I mean traditional damn-this-disposable-pencil-with-splintered-wood-and-graphite-in-five-pre-broken-pieces-that-breaks-after-I-use-it-for-10-minutes-is-made-in-China.

Edited by JT64
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Agreed, but still not at the root issue. Ford's image is the real issue. Years of bad business and crappy cars have garnered Ford a bad public image and it's going to take a long time and a lot of patience to change that image. But, Ford has neither time nor patience, so they keep changing the strategy before anything has time to work.

you know, Ford built lots of MO with the 83 tbird, first taurus and then through the 80's and mid 90's with performance models. even a car like the contour and focus svt was a glimmer of hope for the brand. But then nasser/ford gave up on any cars and then gave up on updating their big sellers and trucks as well.

how did they ever think letting cars die on the vine and go 5-10-15 years basically unchanged was going to get them anywhere?

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Agreed, but still not at the root issue. Ford's image is the real issue. Years of bad business and crappy cars have garnered Ford a bad public image and it's going to take a long time and a lot of patience to change that image. But, Ford has neither time nor patience, so they keep changing the strategy before anything has time to work.

See I see the image as being a symptom of the greater problem, the lack of focus. If Ford could focus themselves on a good, solid business model and brand strategy the image would improve. Does that make sense?

you know, Ford built lots of MO with the 83 tbird, first taurus and then through the 80's and mid 90's with performance models. even a car like the contour and focus svt was a glimmer of hope for the brand. But then nasser/ford gave up on any cars and then gave up on updating their big sellers and trucks as well.

how did they ever think letting cars die on the vine and go 5-10-15 years basically unchanged was going to get them anywhere?

I gotta say that Nasser didn't give up on performance/design, but instead Ford gave up on him. In doing so they threw the baby out with the bath water. All the beautiful designs and the costly but world class Dew98 Chassis and revamped Caddy fighting Lincoln cars were dumped because they were Nasser's doing. Also he had plans for Dew at Ford and Mercury as well. Also I think the Taurus and Contour would have been updated to higher levels. I do not know if he would have brought the C1 Focus to the US but I think he would have tried hard to do it.
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One thing I am going to say is probably out of this topic, but yet related.

I admire BMW's overall strategy. Despite being hammered by the competition, they reply and reply pretty swift. G-35 upped the ante with 260 hp, BMW replied with a 255 hp lighter car and a very innovative engine. Lexus and Infiniti hammered again with 300+ hp, BMW went up to them with an excellent turbo engine, which I am sure will be much easy to modulate than then NA V-6 of L and I. MB attacked the M5 with the E55 Rocket, M5 went all for technology, although people might argue that it is not purely driver's car but who buys a near 100k sedan to be only a driver's car. Further BMW replied with a driver's car M3.

My point is BMW constantly evolves and hence keeps the competition guessing. It keeps the target moving.

Ford had a winner in the Taurus, what they did was bring those bulbous eyed beast and whore it to reduce its image in people's eyes and kill it. The Ranger went from the best selling truck to please buy me vehicle without any changes. Focus is kept on going on the same platform. The worst part is unlike Cavalier which was US only, Ford let the Europeans have the better Focus, which is purely annoying. That not only reduces good perceptions, but also puts a negativity about the company's policies.

Somehow it feels like these executives are very myopic, and it is sad but true considering this very company was one of the pioneers of creating markets.

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My point is BMW constantly evolves and hence keeps the competition guessing. It keeps the target moving.

your post was good stuff, but keep in mind BMW also charges an arm and a leg for all its cars so that is why they can be so aggressive in refining their products.

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Ford's biggest problems, eh? Does "all of the above" count? I agree with just about everyone who's posted. :P

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My favorite point of all is the point that Oldsmoboi made. In fact, I came to this thread to post that exact sentiment.

Ford's concepts are cutting-edge. Their production cars... not so much.

They seem to be getting better, but the pace is too slow. The Edge and Avia-- MKX are good looking SUVs and even seem to garner some popularity. But it may be too little too late.

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