Ford’s share price has risen 25% in the last month, as all of its recent sins have been forgiven. The rise compares to 15% for the Dow over the same period.
The increase comes as Ford fights several headwinds. It has unexpectedly upped the prices of its two most popular electric vehicles. These are the F-150 Lighting and the Mustang Mach-E. Ford’s management missed its expense estimates for the last quarter by about $1 billion. Supply chain problems have hurt vehicle deliveries, but it shares that problem with most other manufacturers. A coming recession may dent car and light truck demand. Rising interest rates could also hurt sales, at least for those who want to finance their car purchase.
Ford has started to make job cuts. Although there is a certain cruelty to these, they are a sign management is paying attention to expenses. Those cuts most likely are not over.
Ford also has the advantage of size. Several small electric car companies want to elbow their way into the market. So far, the results have been dismal. That leaves Ford with Tesla and several other multinationals as its primary competition. Not long ago, there was a belief that small companies might pick up market share.
One of the things Ford will need to prove is that it can pick up this market share in a recession. This would mean at the end of a downturn; it would have the advantage of momentum. And, despite management missteps, Ford still has a huge dealer network, large R&D budgets, production, and big marketing operations compared to almost any other car company in the world.
Maybe the reason for the increase in Ford’s stock is that it has enough strength to take advantage of. That might give management significant leverage.
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