The future of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) depends on its new F-150 Lightning, the electric version of America’s most popular vehicle. So said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. What seemed like a solid path to success has begun to crumple. Ford has had problems with deliveries due to parts shortages. It recently raised the price of the electric pickup by an average of $7,000. That puts it out of the price range of some potential buyers and will make others think twice about a purchase. To add insult to injury, Ford has cut two of the paint colors customers could choose, which also may affect F-150 sales overall.
Ford Authority, said about the F-150 color options, “Specifically, the Smoke Quartz Metallic hue (paint code TQ) as well as Space White Metallic (paint code A3) will not be available to order for the 2023 F-150.” This represents another way Ford may shave down its sales potential for the entire F-150 line.
While the observation about paint color and sales may seem absurd, it represents another way in which Ford has eliminated part of a wide range of customer options for the F-150 both, for its electric and gasoline-powered versions. Perhaps the paint decision was made for financial reasons. In an odd way, it shows that Ford’s ongoing plan for the F-150 to remain its flagship has been compromised a bit.
At many companies, death by a thousand cuts has been an enemy to future success. Even little things matter, it turns out. Small decisions may save companies money. However, they can reduce customer options. In a market with powerful competitors, particularly the Silverado and Ram, gambles based on Ford’s financial decisions pose a risk.
Ford’s recent years can be characterized by several stumbles. These have caused the Ford family to throw out two chief executive officers. The current one, Jim Farley, has to constantly question why the Ford family’s support for CEOs disappears so quickly.
Ford has a small window in which it can seize a pole position in the electric vehicle market. Small things count when a company sits on an edge.
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