Surrender before the battle is over. Things are going that poorly. Ford conceded that Toyota would pass it sometime next year pushing the US car company into the No. 3 spot.
The company’s downfall was hardly inevitable, nor was Toyota’s success.
Since Toyota’s share in the US market is over 15% now and growing, and Ford’s share is moving toward 14%, it will be hard for the American company to keep its slot.
Ford simply relied on pick-ups and SUVs for too long to fuel sales. It is as if Bill Ford did not see the trend to fuel efficient cars coming. He lost site of a rule of commodities markets. At some point they will rise when down, and being prepared is critical.
Ford and his managers essentially lost the company a reasonable chance to do well in the US.
Both Ford and Toyota say that their spot in the hierarchy of US sales is not important. But, share is often a key component of profit, so the talk is a little hollow.
Ford may now wish that it had tied up with Carlos Ghosn and his Nissan and Renault auto operations, or that another company like Honda would strike a strategic alliance. Even aftre raising over $20 billion, Ford looks like a rough long-term bet.
Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at [email protected]. He does not own securities in companies that he writes about
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