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Data Point

The Transformation of Ford Motor Company is Complete

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Article Highlights

  1. In 7 short years, Ford Motor Company has spun 180 degrees and is back to where it once was.
  2. More than ever, Ford today is a “truck and Mustang” company with traditional cars accounting for only 5% of total volume.
  3. One thing is clear: The transformation of Ford Motor Company is complete.

In the summer of 2014, Alan Mulally retired from Ford Motor Company after successfully steering the automaker through a rough 8-year stretch, including the Great Recession. When CEO Mulally walked away, the company was profitable, and the Ford brand was well polished and among the strongest in the industry, having mostly avoided the chaos and bankruptcies that roiled through General Motors and Chrysler, then Cerberus, then FCA. 

Mulally had rallied the troops around a balanced, broad portfolio of cars, trucks and SUVs, created by the steady hand of global product boss Derrick Kuzak. In the U.S. market, more than 32% of Ford’s sales were traditional “cars” in 2014, great products including the Fusion, Focus and Fiesta. Internally, among the marketing and communications departments, there was a push to position Ford as, “more than a truck and Mustang company.”

In 7 short years, a lot has changed. Ford Motor Company has spun 180 degrees and is back to where it once was. More than ever, Ford today is a “truck and Mustang” company. In January, the two-door Mustang sports car – a segment leader – was Ford’s best-selling car in the U.S., by far, and traditional cars accounted for only 5% of total volume. There’s even a new Mustang now, yet reshaped as a crossover SUV EV. The market seems to love it already.  

One thing is clear: The transformation of Ford Motor Company is complete. The Mulally-Kuzak vision of a balanced business of cars, trucks and SUVs is gone, a victim of shifting consumer tastes and the pursuit of higher-profit vehicles. The new Ford Motor Company is profitable, and the brand has some recently found mojo under new CEO Jim Farley. 

So where does Ford go now? It’s hard to say for sure. No one in 2015 would have forecast that Mustang would soon be Ford’s best-selling car, and that is proof this business is hard to predict.

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