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If they would only work on that early "rust out" issue they'd really have something to break their arms patting themselves on the back over.

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Ford investing $82 million to expand Vietnam plant

Reuters  /  January 14, 2020

HANOI -- Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday it is investing $82 million to expand its plant in northern Vietnam to boost production capacity.

Ford Vietnam, established in 1995, said the expanded factory would boost the U.S. automaker's annual production capacity in Vietnam to 40,000 vehicles from current volume of 14,000 units.

The company reported it sold 32,175 vehicles in Vietnam in 2019, up 31 percent from a year earlier.

The expansion, which will bring the company's total investments in Vietnam to more than $200 million, will come in two stages over a two-year period starting this year.

“With this additional investment, Ford Motor Company is expressing our continued confidence in the future of Vietnam’s auto industry, as well as underscoring our commitment to the market and to meeting the increasing demand for Ford vehicles in Vietnam,” said Andreá Cavallaro, operations director for Ford’s International Markets Group.

Deputy Trade Minister Do Than Hai said he expected the expansion would reduce Vietnam's reliance on imported vehicles and therefore lower the country's trade deficit.

The construction will expand the facility across an additional 15 acres of land, bringing the total area to about 56 acres.

(FYI - Ford Vietnam website:  https://www.ford.com.vn/)

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Ford sells the Ranger Raptor in Vietnam? 

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Good reason Ford is hiring at the Wayne plant. Never did hear how Ranger sales did at the end of the year? Heard they were close to out selling GM at the end of the year.

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I think the Bronco will be a big hit.  I wonder what will happen to Ford medium duty (specifically the 650 and 750) after 2023 when the Avon Lake plant changes over to BEV production. 

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Ford expects $2.2 billion Q4 hit due to pension plans

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  January 22, 2020

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday said it will take a fourth-quarter financial hit of about $2.2 billion for how it accounts for liabilities on employee pension plans and retirement benefits.

The automaker, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the hit includes a $2 billion loss associated with pension plans outside the country. It also includes a $600 million loss associated with post-retirement employee benefit plans globally, although that was partially offset by a $400 million gain associated with pension plans in the U.S.

Overall, Ford said the "remeasurement loss" on pension liabilities is expected to reduce its quarterly net income by about $1.7 billion, although Ford said it will not impact its total adjusted earnings before interest and taxes figure or adjusted earnings per share. Ford noted it accounts for pension remeasurement gains and losses when they occur, rather than amortizing those results over time.

The automaker will report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings Feb. 4.

Ford said the unfunded status of its pension funds grew to $6.8 billion at the end of 2019, up from $6.3 billion at the end of 2018. Unfunded postretirement liabilities grew to $6.1 billion in 2019 from $5.6 billion, Ford said.

CFO Tim Stone in October said Ford expected total 2019 earnings before interest and taxes of $6.5 billion to $7 billion, down from its earlier projection of $7 billion to $7.5 billion. That would represent a decline from the $7 billion earned in 2018.

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I lost count at how many times he says "uh". Not inspiring.

.

 

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Ford reaches new settlement over Focus, Fiesta transmissions

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  January 27, 2020

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has agreed to an updated settlement affecting nearly 2 million customers in a years-old class-action lawsuit over faulty Focus and Fiesta transmissions.

The automaker has agreed to a minimum $30 million in cash reimbursement and has simplified the compensation and vehicle-buyback process, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ford has spent more than $47 million buying back vehicles from thousands of customers.

The amount each customer would receive depends on how many claims are submitted. The new deal includes $20 payments to customers who say a dealership refused to repair their car's transmission when they reported issues with it.

The automaker in 2017 initially proposed a settlement that, in part, would have awarded $35 million in cash reimbursement, but it was challenged on the grounds that not enough owners would be compensated.

The proposed settlement is up for final approval Feb. 28 by a district judge.

"Ford believes the settlement is fair and reasonable, and we anticipate it will be approved by the court following the hearing next month," Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said in a statement.

The DPS6 transmission used in the Focus and Fiesta has haunted Ford for years, with customers complaining the gearboxes would shudder, jerk and hesitate. No deaths or injuries have been attributed to the problem, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said it found "no evidence of an unreasonable risk to safety," after reviewing complaints.

Ford in August extended the warranty on certain 2014-16 model year Focus and Fiesta cars with dual-clutch transmissions by two years and 40,000 miles. The company also said it would offer a software update for customers who continue to have issues with the problematic gearboxes.

In 2012, the Los Angeles-based law firm Capstone Partners APC filed the first of multiple lawsuits on behalf of owners who claimed their vehicles suffered repeated breakdowns.

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Ford Bronco SUV, with Raptor-like tires, spotted

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  January 28, 2020

Ford Motor Co.'s Bronco SUV is starting to come into focus more than three years after the automaker confirmed its existence.

Spy photographers captured images of a heavily camouflaged four-door variant recently in Dearborn, Mich., although the model teases more features than previously spotted test mules.

The latest off-road prototype features wider flared fenders, a raised suspension and Goodyear Wrangler tires similar to those used on F-150 Raptor variants. It's unclear whether Ford would offer a Bronco Raptor, but the test vehicle exemplifies its desire to seriously challenge Jeep in the off-road market.

The Bronco's signature round headlights can be seen peeking out from the front cover. Dealers who have seen the vehicle said it features a retro design with round lights and the word "Bronco" stamped in the grille.

The camo features black dots depicting off-road activities, with the Bronco horse logo and letters spelling out the name of the vehicle.

Ford does not comment on future products.

The automaker plans to build two- and four-door versions of the Bronco. It's designed to be customizable, with a removable hard top and removable doors that can be stored in the cargo area, according to those who have seen it. The side mirrors will be attached to the front pillars so they remain in place when the doors are taken off, unlike the Jeep Wrangler — one of the chief rivals Ford is targeting with the Bronco revival.

Ford plans to unveil the 2021 Bronco in the spring.

It's possible the reveal could come around the time of the Detroit auto show, which this year was moved to early June after years of taking place in January.

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Ford loses $1.7 billion in Q4 on pension charge, UAW contract costs

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  February 4, 2020

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. lost almost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter after taking a big accounting hit from employee pension liabilities and retirement benefits, but the automaker eked out a modest profit for the year.

Ford on Tuesday said its fourth-quarter earnings before interest and taxes in the quarter plummeted 67 percent to $485 million, while automotive EBIT dropped 81 percent to $215 million. Ford's North American earnings fell 64 percent to $700 million, mostly due to UAW contract costs, warranty expenses and problems with the launch of the redesigned Explorer and Aviator crossovers.

Ford last month warned that its fourth-quarter results would include a $2.2 billion charge related to its pension plans. The company has now reported two consecutive fourth quarter losses, after losing $116 million in the final period of 2018.

Revenue in the fourth quarter fell 5 percent to $39.7 billion.

For the full year, Ford posted net income of $47 million, down from $3.7 billion in 2018.

"2019 financially was not OK," CFO Tim Stone said. "From a strategic perspective, I think we had strong progress executing our strategic vision. As I look to 2020 and beyond, I'm very optimistic."

For 2020, Ford said it expects adjusted free cash flow of $2.4 billion to $3.4 billion and adjusted EBIT of $5.6 billion to $6.6 billion.

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On 2/7/2020 at 9:09 PM, kscarbel2 said:

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We are getting close!

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At Ford, bad numbers, exec moves play on repeat

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  February 9, 2020

Amid a growing sense of urgency within Ford, CEO Jim Hackett last week again shuffled his senior leadership team. The shake-up followed another round of dismal financial results.

DETROIT — After nearly three years into Jim Hackett's tenure, the Ford Motor Co. CEO's sweeping fitness plan has yet to produce the positive financial results he has promised, and the automaker served notice last week that its turnaround remains at least another year away from bearing fruit.

Amid a growing sense of urgency within the company, Hackett last week again shuffled his senior leadership team, promoting Jim Farley to be his COO — and heir apparent — while parting ways with a seasoned manufacturing guru and dealer ally in Joe Hinrichs.

The executive shake-up, coming as Ford enters a crucial stretch of high-profile product launches, followed another round of dismal financial results that prompted Ford's stock to drop the most in nine years.

Hackett has indicated that his restructuring efforts would take time, but even he has been critical of the financial results produced during his tenure. Net income dropped from $7.7 billion in 2017, a performance he labeled unsatisfactory, to a "mediocre by any standard" $3.7 billion the following year, before plunging 99 percent in 2019, to just $47 million. "Simply not nearly good enough," Hackett concluded after a fourth quarter in which General Motors weathered a lengthy UAW strike and still outperformed Ford.

"Not OK," CFO Tim Stone said.

Now Ford is tasked with navigating numerous product introductions, including the next-generation F-150 pickup coming this year, without the aid of Hinrichs, who was instrumental in launching the aluminum-bodied F-150 in 2014 and helped minimize the damage from a 2018 supplier fire that crippled F-150 production for a week.

"Those new products don't just blossom overnight," said Bob Tomes, owner of Bob Tomes Ford in McKinney, Texas. "Joe had a lot of input into Ford's direction, and he was a very capable person."

Under Hackett, Ford has slashed jobs globally, revamped its product portfolio and changed its management structure in an effort to build a more lean, quick-thinking company. It has leaned into mobility ventures and autonomous vehicle technology in the hopes of being a leader in the future and developing a higher-margin business.

"We're now in execution mode," Hackett said. "What the company needs is to come together behind this vision."

Hackett is targeting 8 percent operating margins on the company's global automotive business and 10 percent margins in North America, or roughly double what the company has achieved recently. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 10 percent North American margin in the fourth quarter.

"Jim Farley is the right person to take on this important new role," Hackett said. "Jim's passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known. He also has developed into a transformational leader with the imagination and foresight to help lead Ford into the future."

Farley, 57, who joined Ford in 2007 from Toyota Motor Corp., will retain his roles as head of Ford Smart Mobility, the company's autonomous vehicle unit, and of Ford's partnership with Argo AI, an autonomous technology company in Pittsburgh. Ford is preparing to launch an autonomous vehicle for commercial businesses next year.

"We have all the foundational elements of this transformation," Farley said. "Now it's go time."

Broad respect

Hinrichs, 53, had been Ford's top operations executive since 2017 — when Hackett took charge as CEO — after five years as president of the Americas. He is well respected in Ford's factories and among dealers and was seen by many as a likely successor to Hackett. He has had broad authority over Ford's automotive operations, including product development, and helped the automaker come to terms on a new four-year labor contract with the UAW.

Hackett called Hinrichs a "really good friend and accomplished global leader" who was "instrumental" in helping Ford survive the Great Recession and also played vital roles dealing with labor, manufacturing and trade.

"To a person, he was beloved," Hackett said. "Joe's going to have a wonderful career. But everybody believes the momentum that we're talking about building here is the right thing to do."

Ford's disappointing 2019 earnings were a result in part of the botched launch of the redesigned Explorer crossover, one of the company's most profitable nameplates, but Hackett said Hinrichs' departure was "not tied to that at all."

Hinrichs also holds Ford's seat on the board of directors at electric vehicle startup Rivian. A Ford spokesman said no decision had been made on replacing Hinrichs in that role with another executive. Ford invested $500 million last year in Rivian and plans to use its technology for an upcoming Lincoln EV.

Still, many dealers said they were generally upbeat about a chance to work more closely with Farley, whom they credit with positive changes to Ford's Europe operations.

"Jim's a great innovator," said Tomes, the Texas dealer. "He's a great hands-on person. I think it portends a positive, upbeat future for Ford, its products and its dealer body."

Ford is working to improve its results even as the auto industry is bracing for a possible downturn or recession in the coming years. U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to fall below 17 million this year for the first time since 2014, even as rising transaction prices help pad revenue and profit.

"There were those that thought 2019 wouldn't be a good economy, but it was, and [Ford] only did OK in North America," David Kudla, CEO and chief investment strategist with Mainstay Capital Management in Grand Blanc, Mich., told Automotive News. "They have to make hay and execute now and take advantage of the good economy because we know we have some leaner times to come."

Investor impatience

Analysts grumbled, and Ford stock tumbled, after executives warned of financial headwinds in 2020 from upcoming launches, including the F-150, the revived Bronco SUV and the new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. Ford's projections of $2.4 billion to $3.4 billion in adjusted free cash flow and adjusted earnings of $5.6 billion to $6.6 billion fell short of analysts' expectations.

"We're looking at guidance ... that doesn't give you a warm, cozy feeling," Kudla said. "I'd like to think they're setting Wall Street up for an underpromise, overdeliver earnings surprise. That kind of guidance is disconcerting."

Investors, who chided Hackett in his early days at Ford for providing scant details of his turnaround plan, again criticized him last week for a lack of transparency about the company's expectations this year.

"Not quantifying, that makes it very challenging for us to really assess what you're facing," Rod Lache, an analyst with Wolfe Research, said on Ford's earnings call. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who has publicly sparred with Hackett on past earnings calls, echoed Lache's push for details.

"We are certainly used to management teams giving their best guess, particularly at a time when there is so much pressure and when the stakes are so high," Jonas said.

A day later, after GM executives spoke at an investor day held by that automaker, Jonas took another dig at Ford.

"I noticed that you were videotaping today's investor day. It'd be great if someone could send that tape to Ford in Dearborn," he told GM CEO Mary Barra and others. "I'm serious. I'll hand-deliver it myself to them if you don't send it to them. ... You are executing."

________________________________________________________

Executive moves effective March 1:

Joe Hinrichs: Retiring as Ford's president of automotive

Jim Farley: Promoted to COO from his previous role as president of new business, technology and strategy; retains roles as head of Ford Smart Mobility and Ford Autonomous Vehicles

Hau Thai-Tang: Remains chief product development and purchasing officer while adding responsibility for Ford's Enterprise Product Line Management and connectivity arms

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Ford recalls more than 200,000 vehicles over issue that may increase crash risk

Audrey Laforest, Automotive News  /  February 12, 2020

Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 200,000 vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico because of a problem that can cause a rear toe link fracture while driving and may increase the risk of a crash.

The recall covers 2013-18 Ford Flex, Ford Taurus Police Interceptor, Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT vehicles. This affects 211,207 vehicles in the U.S. and federal territories, 15,281 in Canada and about 1,400 in Mexico.

Globally, Ford said it is recalling about 230 vehicles in Europe, four in Asia Pacific, one in South America and almost 14,000 in emerging markets.

The automaker said it has filed a notice with NHTSA.

"Affected vehicles that are exposed to frequent full rear-suspension articulation (jounce and rebound) may experience a fractured rear suspension toe link," Ford said in a statement Wednesday.

This can result in "unusual vehicle handling or difficulty controlling the vehicle," Ford spokeswoman Monique Brentley told Automotive News.

To fix the problem, dealers will replace the left- and right-hand rear suspension toe links with new, forged toe links.

Owners will be notified March 2, Brentley said.

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Ford plans Bronco reveal in March; dealers learn details

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  February 16, 2020

LAS VEGAS — The wait for the Bronco is nearly over.

Ford Motor Co. plans to introduce the off-road SUV next month, dealers were told at the brand's annual make meeting at the NADA Show here. The introduction of a smaller off-road crossover, called the Bronco Sport, will follow in April, likely at the New York auto show.

Executives told dealers Sunday that they expect sales of the Bronco family of vehicles — which will initially include two-door and four-door versions of the Bronco as well as the Bronco Sport — will hit at least 200,000 in 2021 as the seek volume to challenge Jeep.

The Bronco Sport will go on sale late this year, while the Bronco won't be available until early 2021.

Ford is planning an aggressive rollout of hundreds of Bronco accessories to help boost profitability. The automaker has made changes to its accessories business following the launch of the Ranger midsize pickup in 2019 to ensure parts will be available at launch, dealers were told.

Anticipation for the Bronco has been building since Ford confirmed the rugged utility's return at the 2017 Detroit auto show. Dealers have said the Bronco could be among Ford's most important launches, even in a year that includes a redesigned F-150 and introduction of the Mustang Mach-E.

"As dealers, we're big optimists," John Crane, Ford's national dealer council chairman and owner of Golf Mill Ford in Niles, Ill., told Automotive News. "We need to know the product is coming.

"Now that everyone knows the Bronco is coming, we know that's going to transform our business. For a lot of dealers, just hearing this isn't a one-vehicle play, it's a family of vehicles, people are walking out of here very positive."

Ford told dealers they would not need to sign up for specific facility requirements to sell the Bronco; it would be available to every retailer at launch. The SUV is designed to be customizable, with a removable hard top and removable doors that can be stored in the vehicle's cargo area, and dealers are banking on additional revenue from accessories, similar to Jeep.

Positive meeting

Multiple dealers who attended the meeting characterized it as positive. A question-and-answer session included queries about how Ford planned to address affordability after eliminating lower-priced sedans as well as leasing opportunities in certain markets.

Executives at the meeting included North America President Kumar Galhotra; Ford Credit CEO Marion Harris; Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service; and Lincoln President Joy Falotico. Officials played a recorded video message from Ford CEO Jim Hackett discussing the automaker's transformation and aggressive product rollout.

LaNeve said Ford dealers posted their fourth-best year of profitability, behind new product and a revamped floorplan assistance program, and company officials expect higher dealer margins in 2020.

High-margin growth

Officials celebrated Ford's growth in high-margin businesses, touting a 50 percent commercial van market share as well as a 30 percent market share for the Expedition, up from 15 percent the previous year.

Ford last year also rolled out FordPass Rewards, which allows users to earn points that can be redeemed for service work at dealerships around the country. Crane said Sunday that, to date, 3.5 million people have accumulated FordPass Rewards points.

"We're at a special moment right now," Crane said. "We have some great leadership, some great support. Everybody's on the same page right now."

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On 1/25/2020 at 9:30 AM, kscarbel2 said:

I lost count at how many times he says "uh". Not inspiring.

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This is one thing that really gets me. I go to lots of trucking trade shows, and watch lots of you tube videos truck and compact tractor dealers put out. It blows my mind how many of these Factory reps, and salespeople either know NOTHING about their products, or they just can't speak.

Most of them give no product information at all. They just try and baffle you with bullshit.

It's kinda like me hiring another truck driver.......

me: What's your experience?

App: None. never drove before in my life

me: You're hired!

LOL

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I also love when they get the title "PRODUCT SPECIALIST." BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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Piston oil squirters Quite professional  sounding !AH  Bla bla bla! mindless bibel babel .   Bullshit slingers ! Manure  spreader ! 😁

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One has to question the wisdom of Ford's tooling up and bringing to market not one but two Broncos to challenge Jeep's supremacy in the hard core 4WD market... Is that market big enough to support more high volume products?

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I think the 'other' Bronco (to be named Maverick?) is going to be a compact CUV type vehicle, like the Jeep Renegade.  It should do well, riding on the image and styling of the big Bronco with a much lower price.  

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