Monday, November 27, 2006

On Turning Ford Around

Here's an excerpt of a Q&A with Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower on Ford Motor Company that I think hits the nail right on the head.

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Q: Let me ask you one more question, and that is, putting on your expert strategist hat, Ford Motor Company's in trouble. It's losing a lot of money, in particular in North America. What's the most important thing it has to do to get back in the race, as it were, with a successful company like Toyota?

A: It has to make good cars. Basically, Ford has been holding its position on the basis of SUVs and the pick-up.

Q: Trucks.

A: Trucks, you could say. And really, Toyota, the Camry, just pushed the Mercury and the Taurus right out of the business, and Lexus took Lincoln down. And that takes you back into a decade anyway they've been in bad shape in the car business. They've got to rebuild their position in cars, and to do that they have to make great products. And they haven't done that in a while, and the consumer's on it.

Q: And I assume it's going to take a long—a certain amount of time, for them to start making great products again?

A: I would guess so. I'm not a car person, but yes. I think that's probably what appealed to them about Mulally because everybody was singing the praises of Airbus and then, five years later, Boeing has recaptured its leadership. So I'm sure that's the dream that they have at Ford.

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here's the link to the entire interview:

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5553.html

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2:24 AM  

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