Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) CEO Mark Field’s plans have not impressed investors — again. He laid off 1,400 of the company’s salaried workers in Asia and North America. Ford’s stock promptly hit a 52-week low. For the time being, Fields cannot do anything right, based on investor opinion.
Ford has not only underperformed “Big Three” rivals General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) in the stock market, Japanese giants Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) also have done better. And that is among the most notable things about Ford’s current situation. It has no rivals in the category of auto manufacturers with out of favor stocks.
Earlier this week, 24/7 Wall St. commented:
Ford has bungled several opportunities, leading to among other things a lack of success in the critical European and Chinese markets. Ford has to thrive in these markets to be a global success, but its market share in both regions is mediocre. Its U.S. business has slipped. Its domestic sales are off 5.1% to 826,981 over the first four months. The figure would be worse if sales of its flagship full-sized pickup F-Series were not up 7.4% to 275,938.
Ford also has been slow into the driverless and electric car businesses. Google and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) are widely seen as well ahead of Ford. So is GM, which has launched the inexpensive electric car the Chevy Bolt. Several other companies, including BMW and Volvo, are also considered well ahead of Ford.
According to the Detroit Free Press, at Ford’s annual meeting:
Ford assured shareholders that company’s stock price matters both to the Ford family and Ford’s top management but pointed out that Wall Street has historically undervalued automakers, even when they make millions in profits.
That is if the car maker is Ford.