It’s this simple. The headline of an in-depth investigation from Bloomberg, the leading financial news organization in the world, read, “Ford’s Electric Pickup Is Built From Metal That’s Damaging the Amazon.” The article is thousands of words long and is supported by detailed graphs and photography. It would be hard to find a story more damaging to the reputation of a major American manufacturer. (Click here for the good, the bad and the ugly of owning a Ford F-150.)
Ford’s response to the Bloomberg investigation was sent to 24/7 Wall St. after we queried about the Bloomberg article. It read, “Ford is committed to a supply chain that exceeds minimum regulatory compliance requirements and respects human rights, including the right to clean air and clean water. That commitment applies to everything we make and that others make for us. We encourage people to call attention to issues, investigate all of them, and work with suppliers to align their business practices with our standards.”
The response is pathetic and reflects poorly on Ford’s management and the Ford family, led by Executive Chair William Clay Ford Jr., the company’s de-factor CEO.
Ford has fumbled the launch of the Ford F-150 Lightning, which is its most likely path to success in the electric vehicle (EV) market. Ford sells over 600,000 units of the gasoline-powered F-150, a huge installed base for any newly launched vehicle. Ford has unexpectedly raised the Lightning’s price to a level that makes it unaffordable for some pickup owners. It also has shut down the Lightning assembly line because of battery defects.
Bill Ford has said the Lightning is the most important product launch of his tenure. The problems of the launch should be humiliating.
The Bloomberg story is a symptom of Ford’s problems and not the core of them. The core is Ford’s management, led by Bill Ford.
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