Ford's Massive Mistake, Another Blow

The Ford Motor Company may be America’s least lucky public corporation or its most poorly run. After component problems with its new F-150 Lightning, battered earnings, and trouble pricing its vehicles, it has recalled several of its vehicles, including its flagship gas-powered F-150 pickup. The total recall adds up to 1.5 million vehicles.

Ford’s recalls involve two problems. One is that windshield wipers can break. The other is that some brakes can leak fluid. The brake problem involves 1.2 million of its 2013 through 2018 Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs. The other recall involves 222,000 F-150 2021 vehicles.

Both of these recalls are a reminder of Ford’s sloppy work. Ford recently said it would take at least two years to improve its quality to industry standards. It is hard to believe that a global manufacturer with a century of car experience could take so long to remedy its problems.

Ford does less right than any of its competitors. In the third quarter of last year, it missed its earnings by $1 billion, mostly because it got its component cost estimates wrong. Ford’s fourth-quarter numbers were another earnings disappointment.

Ford has had trouble launching its F-150 Lightning which Executive Chairman Bill Ford said was the company’s most important launch in a century. There were faults with the EV’s batteries.

Ford also raised the prices of its Lightning and EV Mustang Mach-E because it did not get the price of components correct. It then dropped the price of the Mach-E, probably because of an EV price war started by Tesla.

All through the periods when these problems have hit, Bill Farley has been CEO. He is called a “car guy” because his grandfather worked at Ford’s River Rouge Plant in 1918. The old man must be spinning in his grave. The same is true of Henry Ford, who founded the company.

Ford’s reputation is on the line whenever it makes a big mistake. These threaten sales and cost Ford money. For some reason, Bill Ford has kept Farley in his job. It is strange because Ford has had little trouble firing CEOs during his tenure.

Ford has made another mistake. Based on the company’s history, the count of these is not over.

These are the most popular Ford models in America.

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