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Inside Ford

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Joann Muller, Detroit bureau chief for Forbes, provides insights into what she’s learned about Ford, insights that are amplified on the show by our other panelists, Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at IHS Markit who specializes in the auto industry, and Todd Lassa, Detroit Bureau Chief for Automobile.
#Volkswagen #Porsche #BentleyMotors

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July 25, 2018, wasn’t the hottest day of the month in Detroit; the thermometer hit 89. A few weeks earlier, on the 5th, it reached 95. But for some people in the metro, Ford CEO in particular, the temperature on the 25th probably seemed much hotter than the measurements indicated because on the evening of the 25th Ford had its Q2 earnings call, and things were, as Joann Muller, Detroit bureau chief for Forbes wrote in a piece appearing on September 6, “testy.”

Ford at CES 2018

Jim Hackett at the 2018 CES

During the call Hackett said, “Now relative to restructuring. . .we now believe we have the potential for about $11-billion of EBIT restructuring charges with $7-billion of cash-related impacts over the next three to five years. . . . Now I’d like nothing better than to give you visibility into the specifics of how we may restructure, but I want you to recognize we’re mindful of all of our stakeholders here, the employees, dealers, unions, regulators, government officials and investors. Therefore we only car share information publicly once decisions are made.”

In other words, there was going to be up to $11-billion spent of restructuring the firm on a global basis, but he wasn’t going to tell the analysts how Ford was going to accomplish this.

Which made those analysts somewhat miffed.

Muller says that she’d not heard a call like that; one analyst essentially asked Hackett if he’d been in his job over the next three to five years. (Hackett’s answer: “And hell yes, I expect to be in front of everybody declaring where we’re going and what we want to get done. So I think there should be zero question about that.”)

Muller called Ford the next day. And the PR people there said that they’d like her to come to Dearborn to learn about what Ford is doing to strengthen its business which has not been doing particularly well in the global market right now (North America is a place of strength; everywhere else, with the exception of the Middle East and Africa, not so good).

Mustang-inspired fully-electric performance utility

Teaser of the Mustang-inspired crossover EV

So Muller went to Dearborn and met with Hackett and a number of other people to see first-hand what was going on. Hackett took her into the design area within the Product Development Center and showed her the clay model of the Mustang-inspired electric crossover vehicle that Ford will have on the market in an anticipated couple of years, a vehicle that will be among an announced 40 full-electric vehicles or hybrids that the company plans to launch by 2022.

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Muller provides insights into what she’s learned about Ford, insights that are amplified on the show by our other panelists, Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at IHS Markit who specializes in the auto industry, and Todd Lassa, Detroit Bureau Chief for Automobile.

And the four of us discuss a variety of other subjects, including what’s going on in Germany as regards Porsche, Audi and other elements of the Volkswagen Group (Automobile’s Georg Kacher wrote a story on the subject which cites a report that Bentley loses some $20,000 on every vehicle it sells), as well why the Mustang seems to be eating not only the Camaro’s lunch, but its breakfast and dinner, as well.

And you can see it all here.

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