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Background and Problems Facing Ford
Ford is one of the revered car brands in the global market. The Ford Motor Company has “its headquarters in Dearborn, Detroit” (Hoffman 5). Henry Ford founded the automobile company in 1903. The firm has become a leading manufacturer and marketer of automobiles around the globe. The firm is known for producing the Lincoln and Ford brands. Ford competes with different companies such as General Motors (GM), Volkswagen, Toyota, and Mercedes Benz (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 2). Throughout the years, Ford has been using powerful approaches to attract more customers and improve its sales. For instance, the introduction of the Ford Mustang in 1964 revolutionized the firm’s performance.
Ford also introduced and marketed new vehicles in different parts of the globe. The success of the firm led to the acquisition of Aston Martin in 1990 and Jaguar Cars in 1994 (Hoffman 27). However, the beginning of the 20th century was characterized by numerous challenges such as increased fuel prices and healthcare costs. The company’s sales also decreased significantly (Hoffman 27). These issues affected the firm’s productivity and profitability.
Despite these mixed results, Ford has continued to embrace the most appropriate strategies in order to create and hold value. To begin with, the company examines the changing needs of different consumers in order to promote the best practices. The Ford Motor Company also embraces new technologies to produce superior cars that can compete successfully in the market (“Ford: Go Further” par. 3). The firm uses the power of research and development (R&D) to engineer appealing vehicles for more customers. These approaches have led to new competitive advantages. Such strategies continue to create and hold value for the organization.
Key Insights Identified for Better Competition
From 1980, the Ford Motor Company began to monitor the major issues that promoted or affected its performance. Towards the end of the 20th century, the organization acquired different firms in order to become more competitive. Such developments were supported by the firm’s financial strength. However, the 21st century was a challenging period for Ford. The company was unable to compete in the industry due to several factors. For instance, the firm was mainly relying on the profits obtained from the sale of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). North America was also facing numerous challenges such as “increased healthcare costs, loss of market share, and unsustainable fuel prices” (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 3).
The emergence of such problems forced the company to introduce new business strategies. In 2006, Ford decided to drop most of its inefficient and unprofitable car models. The move led to the loss of over 30,000 jobs (Hoffman 81). As well, the company closed fourteen of its major factories. Production lines were also consolidated with the aim of boosting performance. Ford partnered with different companies such as Southern California Edison (SCE) to produce superior vehicles (“Ford: Go Further” par. 6). The firm embraced new transformational changes in order to improve the level of performance. In 2012, Ford began to revive most of its business operations. Ford’s “business model became sustainable and showed signs of future improvement” (“Ford: Go Further” par. 3).
Since then, this brand has been focusing on the best approaches in order to deliver valuable experiences to more consumers. This goal is currently achieved through the continued use of positive leadership. The CEO and his subordinates always embrace powerful ideas that can deal with competition. In order to remain successful and deliver value to more customers, the important approach has been to monitor the changing demands of the global consumer (Hoffman 83).
The Ford Motor Company is currently focusing on innovation because it has the potential to deliver an exemplary experience to the consumer. The firm recently expanded its Palo Alto Research and Innovation Center (PARIC) in order to support more customers (Banham 18). Ford promotes outstanding practices that can deliver new vehicles while at the same time maintaining the image of the brand (Hockfield 9).
Experts believe strongly that this automobile brand has managed to deliver specific benefits to its customers. For instance, the cars marketed by Ford are characterized by modern technologies thus reducing fuel consumption. This is a major economic benefit associated with the brand. The cars also have “superior applications and maneuverability thus improving their performances” (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 4). The R&D department has improved some functions such as “shock absorption, comfort, and suspension” (“Ford: Go Further” par. 4). The brand has continued to serve the emotional and perceptional aspects of targeted customers. The brand is self-expressive and admirable. These qualities make it more successful in different regions across the globe.
Solutions Employed by Ford
The past experiences, opportunities, and challenges faced by Ford forced its managers to outline new solutions. The main goal was to deliver value to targeted customers. As mentioned earlier, the beginning of the 21st century presented numerous challenges thus affecting the profitability, performance, and competitiveness of the company. During the same period, companies such as Toyota were performing positively especially after introducing the use of lean production methods (Banham 63). During the same period, several competitors in the industry conducted numerous researches in order to produce sustainable cars. This move was necessary due to the issues revolving around the problem of climate change. The “global automobile industry introduced new aspects at the time when Ford was struggling with numerous challenges” (Banham 69).
These challenges played a major role in redefining the future of Ford. The brand promoted transformational strategies in order to achieve its business goals. The main focus was to produce superior cars that could satisfy the ever-changing needs of every targeted customer. The new leaders at the firm were on the frontline to present powerful solutions. New innovative measures were also supported in order to ensure the brand competed successfully in the global market (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 7). Ford decided to address the demands of every global customer in order to achieve its potentials (Banham 63). This single choice played a significant role in transforming the future performance of Ford.
Ford has continued to introduce exemplary features to its customers. The leadership embraced at the company promotes innovative ideas thus introducing revolutionary features in every car. For instance, Ford managed to introduce smaller cars that met the needs of more customers. Such cars consumed less fuel thus promoting the concept of sustainability. The company also redesigned the shapes of its cars in order to become more appealing (Banham 23). Ford produced different cars for specific regions across the globe (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 6). This move was undertaken in order to target more global consumers. These aspects have continued to make Ford different from the other competitors in the automobile industry.
These differences have been critical towards supporting the goals of the company. For instance, Ford has recorded “increased sales since 2013” (“Ford: Go Further” par. 5). The decision to produce differentiated automobiles explains why Ford is currently marketing more cars in different corners of the globe. Ford’s Lincoln car brand has been “re-engineered to become a luxury product that addresses the needs of many consumers across the globe” (Hockfield 47). This brand has recorded increased sales in China, Europe, and North America. Haas-Kotzegger indicates that the brand has led to positive gains for the company (4). Analysts in the industry also believe that Lincoln will continue to increase Ford’s operating margin within the next ten years (Haas-Kotzegger 9). The current population growth rate experienced in China and other parts of the globe will support the performance of the brand.
It would be wrong to argue that Ford has maintained relevance within the last five decades. This is true because the company did not promote various competitive advantages throughout the 20th century. However, the emergence of numerous challenges forced the brand to embrace new measures that could revolutionize its performance. From 2010, Ford began to focus on the changing demands of the global consumer (Hockfield 31). The firm consolidated its operations in order to remain relevant in the market. This goal was possible because the company was still appreciated and admired by many potential consumers. The measures are undertaken by Ford to explain why the brand remains relevant today.
The narrative behind this brand is that Ford will continue to innovate and deliver superior cars that can deal with competition. Ford has been recording more profits every year since 2010. New leadership practices have emerged at the company thus promoting the best practices. The company’s Lincoln brand has become the car of choice in China and North America (Haas-Kotzegger 12). These results show clearly that Ford will continue to achieve its business potentials.
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In order to remain competitive, Ford uses powerful communication strategies to inform more people about the superiority of its brand. For instance, the company’s website informs more people about every new car. Marketing focuses on the best approaches that can inform more people about the advantages and strengths of the company’s cars. The portrayal of Ford as “the leading innovator and producer of new features defines its brand image” (“Ford: Competitive Advantage” par. 6). These aspects make Ford an admirable brand in the global automobile industry.
Recommendations for Future Performance
Companies “that fail to plan about the future will eventually become irrelevant” (Hockfield 98). Ford lost its market share because of poor planning and the inability to predict the future. The current wave of technology is giving companies such as Toyota and Volkswagen new opportunities. Ford should be aware of the challenges and problems that might affect its future performance. The firm should embrace the best innovative ideas and technologies in order to produce superior vehicles. As well, marketing should be taken more seriously than ever before. An informed consumer will be willing to purchase this brand and eventually increase the company’s competitiveness. Social media can also be used to sensitize more people about this superior brand. Emerging markets in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and Asia should also be targeted (Haas-Kotzegger 12). This approach will encourage more people to buy Ford cars. These recommendations will eventually make Ford one of the most successful brands in the world.
Banham, Russ. The Ford Century: Ford Motor Company and the Innovations that Shaped the World. New York: Artisan, 2002. Print.
Ford: Competitive Advantage 2015. Web.
Ford: Go Further 2016. Web.
Haas-Kotzegger, Ursula 2013, Ford Motor Company: Learning from the Automotive Industry. PDF file. Web.
Hockfield, Victoria. A History of Ford Motor Company: Henry Ford, Vehicles, and Criticism. New York: BiblioBazaar, 2010. Print.
Hoffman, Bryce. American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company. New York: Crown Business, 2013. Print.