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Discussion Starter #1
OPINION: Give it up, Ford

Automotive News / September 01, 2003

Each new generation of Ford managers dreams of designing a world car that achieves big sales in North America and Europe. And each time, something goes wrong.

Ford recently decided not to offer the second-generation Focus in America. That's partly due to timing - Ford isn't ready to replace its small car in North America. But it's also an admission that one model cannot do the job of two. The markets are too dissimilar.

The Focus is the latest and, to be fair, the most successful attempt at a world car. But the Focus plays different roles in the two markets. The European Focus is an attractively equipped mid-sized family car, not a small car. In fact, it's bigger than most other cars in Europe.

In North America, the Focus is an entry-level model and must be priced accordingly. The next-generation Focus - code-named C1 - won't solve that problem. The C1 will be too pricey to compete in America's small-car wars.

Each new Ford executive team creates a plan for world cars that looks great on paper. But all the money spent on global platforms might be better spent developing the right car for each market.
 

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Autoweek's article on the Concept R mentions how

In line with VW’s move away from platform sharing to a more cost-effective module architecture, the steel-bodied Concept-R shares many components with the new Golf.
Is modular architecture the next "big thing" in car manufacturing or just the "flavor of the month"?

R.I.P. global platform sharing?
 

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Global platform sharing works to a certain extent, but as the article says, obviously you aren't going to be able to transplant Ford Europe's lineup over here and expect it to sell.
 

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OK the biggest selling small car in the USA right now is the Corolla. The car is basically the same exact thing around the world with different front and rear styling and different tweaks for different markets. The Golf/Jetta is the same car throughout the world. The main reason that the Focus Mk2 would not be a good car to bring here? Ford's US workers pretty much suck and because that Ford has whored itself out so bad that no one would pay as much for a Focus as a Corolla or Civic. Ford should have imported the Fiesta and EcoSport from Brazil to have an "econobox" car; the Focus should not fill those shoes. But I guess stupid UAW don't want the EcoSport because they really want Ford to go out of business all together once it loses the last of its market share...

Anyone who is familiar with the British auto industry might want to note how in thirty years, BMC (which owned Austin, Rover, Morris) went from being the #4 automaker in the world to selling about 150,000 cars a year as Rover does now. Ford, GM and DMC will all be relegated to the back burner as Japanese car makers, with more "global" platforms will supplant them. What Ford really should give up is waiting years and years to replace cars, paying workers outrageous sums of money, spending billions on developing such uniquely seperate cars for seperate markets and quit with the stupid incentives for everything. Well I guess until they get the quality sorted, they have to give the incentives...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Global platform sharing works to a certain extent, but as the article says, obviously you aren't going to be able to transplant Ford Europe's lineup over here and expect it to sell.
correction: it Will sell but don't expect it to sell well or profitably.

Ford's problem are related to it's manufacturing system, it cost too much to make cars.

Ford and the UAW have to work hard on ensuring the Viabilty of North American Car manufacturing.
 

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biker you are entirely correct.

1st point about the world car: needs to be easily cross-continental. With crash and smog standards the way they are... this isn't easy.

2nd point: get the engineers from all continents to work together. Major problem with the '00 and '01 focus was that it took the NA workers 2 years to figure out how to put em together properly. If everyone is on it at the same time, then there wouldn't be said problems.
 

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Quick Related Q in regards to our "Performance Model" woes....
Does anyone have good Numbers on how well the Admittedly "Specialty-Market" WRX helps the rest of the Subie line in terms of sales?
Subaru may not be the world's top seller, but they seem to be happily afloat.
Is there a Business Model to be noticed there?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
biker you are entirely correct.

1st point about the world car: needs to be easily cross-continental. With crash and smog standards the way they are... this isn't easy.
Correct but the import manufactures seem more capable of doing this without whining about it. fact that every modern Ford platform is capable of passing US and european crash standards. emmision are the closer now than they have ever been before. The simplest solution is to make every car clean enough to pass everywhere. but ford is soo cost obsessed that they rather spend millions to save a buck than allow th economies of scale to reduce the cost on it's own.

2nd point: get the engineers from all continents to work together. Major problem with the '00 and '01 focus was that it took the NA workers 2 years to figure out how to put em together properly. If everyone is on it at the same time, then there wouldn't be said problems.
True, Ford NA used learned nothing form the europeans they built theFocus here in a that allow nothing to be taken from the european launch. common sense = common platform + common assembly process, but Ford used different processes in europe than in the US. they again spend more money to save money, but it still cost them more money in Labor @$50 per hour.
 

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If any of you have SpeedTV, there is a show on their called Autoline Detroit. It originates out of Detroit and is hosted by John McElroy who is a well-known automotive journalist.

Anyway, a while ago they reported on the average profit per vehicle for several manufacturers.

Out of the companies profiled, Ford's profit was the lowest. After all expenses, which included of course materials and labor but also all the other things people don't think about (marketing, incentives, etc.) the average profit per vehicle?

Aprx. $15.00

I was shocked. For comparison, Daimler Chrysler's average profit per vehicle was around $30.00.
 

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I think the Focus RS or Cosworth Focus would be a GREAT world car
 

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OK the biggest selling small car in the USA right now is the Corolla. The car is basically the same exact thing around the world with different front and rear styling and different tweaks for different markets.
Are you sure? I can't say that I am either, but the Corolla here is HUGE compared to european market cars of the same niche.........is it really available in Japan as is size-wise?
 

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I think Ford's major problem with the Focus in the U.S. is that they left it as their entry level car. Most small cars that it competes against in the U.S. sell for more "out the door" than the Focus. The neon, cavelier/sunfire, golf/jetta, corolla/matrix, etc. are more expensive and considered higher market (with the exception of the cavelier/sunfire) than the Focus.

If Ford would introduce the Ka/Puma to North America then they could have a low price entry-level car that can compete greatly against the Rio, Spectra, and Accent on price and quality.

Would it really be that more expensive to build the same bumpers and exhaust that the U.S. requires and just offer the same in Europe. Our bumpers require greater strength, which would give them higher accident scores in Europe and if manufactured by the same developers than the price would be cheaper because they are ordering so many more. I know Europe requires smaller engines and likes diesels because they get better gas, and are taxed differently than we are, but VW has proved that the Golf and especially the Jetta can move upline and still sell cars. For the extra money Ford would charge for the Focus they can put it into educating the U.S. and Mexican employees are putting out the same quality that their euro counterparts do.

Why is that so many manufacturers, not just of American Cars give us what they think we want instead of giving us something we didn't know we wanted. Raise the level of the people buying your products and they will be willing to pay more for that education and a great product. If you ask me, that's the way to make money.
 

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If Ford would introduce the Ka/Puma to North America then they could have a low price entry-level car that can compete greatly against the Rio, Spectra, and Accent on price and quality.
Replace Ka/Puma with Fiesta, and it sounds good. Ka is way too small, and do they still make the Puma?

Yummy:

Meh:
 

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I'd sell my Focus in a heartbeat if I wasn't upside-down. I saw a Ka a little while ago on the freeway with Mexican plates, those are pretty cool little cars. Love to stuff a PZEV in one!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2003-08-05-uaw_x.htm

Foreign automakers' non-union workforces are a key reason they have lower costs and higher productivity at their U.S. plants, called transplants, than U.S. automakers. According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.:

• Detroit automakers require 45 labor hours at $52 an hour to assemble a vehicle, vs. 32 hours at $36 an hour for Japanese vehicles assembled in the USA.

• U.S. automakers' first-tier suppliers, those who make parts such as axles and batteries, take 105 hours at $35 an hour to manufacture their portion of an average vehicle. Japanese automakers' suppliers take 68 hours at $30 an hour.

U.S. automakers spend $8,655 a vehicle on labor costs vs. $6,052 for the Japanese transplants.
 

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Ford's decision not to release the next Focus in NA could also be due to the quality issues of past Focus and its resulting public image? Many have been scared off to competitors vehicles simply because they don't want to invest in a car that might break-down expensively after their warranty expires?
 

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Replace Ka/Puma with Fiesta, and it sounds good. Ka is way too small, and do they still make the Puma?
You are correct, the Fiesta would be better suited to the U.S., I guess my mind just keeps taking me the last time I was in Europe which was 1999/2000, the Ka just looked so cool for such a cheap car, maybe they can bring the Ka over to compete with the Rio?
 
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