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The renovation of an American Icon January 30, 2007

Posted by K.C. in Auto's, Manufacturing.
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In the past year, there have been many headlines about American automakers loosing large amounts of money because of their lack of fuel-efficient cars. While, this is certainly one of the problems facing the industry, one American company, Ford is taking a closer look at its top-level executives as another source of their dwindling sales.

A few years ago when oil prices were still relatively low, Ford and many other American automakers were able to produce large vehicles with low fuel efficiencies and sell record amounts of them. With the recent fluctuations of oil prices, many foreign automakers have began to produce smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles that actually appeal to Americans. Companies like Honda and
Toyota have sold so many vehicles in the past 10 years that by 2010,
Toyota will capture the largest market share of any automaker in the world and become the number one selling automaker in
America.

Recently, William Clay Ford Jr. steeped down as CEO and former Boeing CEO Alan R. Mulally took his place. Mr. Ford Jr. steeped down after his attempts to turn the company around failed. One of the reasons for this change is that Mr. Ford has been criticized for his stubborn and traditional ideas about the Blue Oval. Mr. Mulally was brought in for his technical background but more importantly for his management style. During Mr. Mulally’s time at Boeing, he had to make vital strategic decisions about the company and lead Boeing to the top of the Airline manufacturing industry. Hopefully, mulally will be able to use some of his untraditional management techniques to guide Ford in their uncertain future.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/automobiles/26ford.html?_r=1&ref=automobiles&oref=slogin

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Comments»

1. wilson7 - January 31, 2007

The change in CEO of Ford Motor could be the change that the company needs in order to advance in the automobile industry. Ford Jr. was not making the necessary changes to the company for them to succeed in the new age of gas prices. Consumers are looking for gas efficient car not the gas guzzling Ford trucks. The new CEO Mulally will bring several innovative ideas to the ancient thinking of Ford Jr. and pick the company up. Mulally does not need to duplicate what Toyota is doing but incorporate some of their techniques to his vision of the company.

2. collage9 - January 31, 2007

I think that it is possible that Mulally can help turn the company around, but I think that it will be very difficult. American car manufacturers have fallen so far behind their foreign competitiors that I don’t see them catching up any time soon, if ever. American companies have been trying to come up with cars to compete with manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota but have up to this point been unsuccessful. Even though Mullaly enjoyed some success at Boeing, there is no guarentee that his skills will carry over into the automotive industry.

3. sswift - January 31, 2007

I agree with wilson7. Ford could be in need of someone with a new vision. While 10 years ago owning a large, gas guzzling SUV may have been all the rage, Ford needs to recognize consumer’s changing needs. As Bill Nye informed us this evening, Toyota’s Prius was just named car of the year. This car gets 46 miles to the gallon, while suvs get a measley 10. The new CEO Mulally has the opportunity to respond to this new trend. We have also been talking about ethics and reputation, Ford has the opportunity to make a stance to make more enegry efficient cars and appeal to those environmentally conscious consumers.

4. Airfarer - February 1, 2007

Yep, a GOOD top shake up is in order.

I used to drive a ford but I’m now using a Toyota and its a better drive and more economical to upkeep.

5. Professor Jordi - February 4, 2007

How much change can one CEO bring on?

What are Ford’s key resource dependencies?

6. menels - February 6, 2007

I think one of the main reasons Toyota has been able to capture such a large percentage of the market is because of its hybrid cars. This company was the innovative leader in bringing these cars to market, and with more and more American consumers caring about a “Greener” lifestyle like Europeans, these particular products are slowly becoming more and more popular. I think Mulally needs to focus on what consumers are looking for in a vehicle. Gas prices are high and more people are focusing on the environment. If he can convince the rest of the company that innovative ideas focusing on the new American culture can lead to high profits for Ford.


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