Ford's Punishment

Ford’s management may have been surprised by the reaction to its earnings. They were poor, but the media and analysts had a sharply negative view. And, there is the question of how long CEO Jim Farley can keep his job if Ford has another disastrous quarter.

Criticisms ranged from a CNBC warning that it might remove Ford from its investing club if it does not do better next quarter. That was minor compared to the drop in the stock, which reached 13%. Several media outlets said that the comment by Ford’s CFO that it had left $2 billion on the table was not an excuse, given the huge amount of money involved.

This is the most severe situation Ford’s management has faced since Farley took over. Ford has had supply chain problems before. It has mispriced its cars with component cost issues. It has had significant recall problems. It has had a stock that has performed poorly. But, Ford did not give any reasonable solutions for its difficult position.

The poor results had one other effect. Ford was viewed as part of the large companies making modest progress as they moved into the EV market. (These are the most efficient cars on the market.)

Ford had its promising Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E. Each carried the names of iconic Ford brands. Ford is now viewed as having dropped out of that group while trying to catch up.

The CNBC investment club people are right about one thing. Another bad quarter tells whether Ford will be left far behind.

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