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Author: TMFBreakerRob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Home Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Hope! Date: 12/14/2006 8:50 PM
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I thought I'd share a little bit of an update on FoMoCo that....is....actually....*positive*. This is a very good start:

1) As discussed previously, Ford is working on a product led recovery for the North American market. I've expressed concern that fixing N.A. is fine, but the Ford of Europe and Asia-Pacific are in trouble too. Fortunately, Mulally (new CEO from Boeing) has already figured this out and is mandating a global solution for vehicle platforms (and individual vehicles). This will be far cheaper and will give North America (and the rest of the Ford world) needed product faster...and it's cool product as well!

2) This is going to sit poorly with the North American styling folks. I predict Peter Horbury (NA styling) will knuckle under quick or "pursue other interests". He is fighting the idea of anything destined for N.A. being styled elsewhere. Many of us like the European product better (prominently displayed in the latest Bond movie, Casino Royale).

3) Concurrent with this, the N.A. product chief, Derrick Kuzak is being global responsibilities. This is a *very* good thing....he knows what he's doing and is very well liked and respected.

4) Ford is streamlining the product review process. This means fewer meetings and giving people more time to actually work. This also is a *very* good thing.

5) Ford will be introducing some cool, innovative and *significant* technology on it's cars soon...being a leader instead of a follower. Can't discuss it yet.

6) Saving best for last....

As Ford concluded the end of the 2006MY, data shows that we have pulled far ahead of our 2006 quality goals.....and now have superior quality to Toyota on an overall average.....That means every major manufacturer is in our rear view mirror. We are not letting up either. Personally, the rate of change is astounding....and is mostly driven by introducing great new product while discontinuing some "problem" vehicles.

Remember also that Consumers Reports found the Fusion to be superior to Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

********
On the other hand....it doesn't mean much if people don't buy our products. Sales of the new products must meet expectations so we can keep funding new product, get our finances under control...and eventually provide a return for shareholders.

I'll be discussing product after the upcoming introductions at the North American International Auto Show in early January in Detroit.
********

For investors: 2007 will be very dark for Ford financially, but I now see the above as signs that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just an oncoming train. ;) I wouldn't be surprised to see the stock price drop lower in 2007, but it *may* be heading up later in the year if our product starts selling.

Key things to watch: Sales and incentive levels (incentives compared to competition) for the following vehicles:

F Series
Fusion
Edge
Escape
*********

For employees: I expect the following in 2007,

* >50% chance that the pension plan will be discontinued for active salaried employees
* 2007 UAW contract negotiations to result in agreement for increased medical payments by hourly employees. I expect the job bank to continue, but not be as big a factor due to the current round of downsizing
* Announcement in the Fall for another major round of layoffs affecting salaried workers primarily...with a likely reduction from 28,000 to 20-21,000 in the U.S.. Maybe I'll survive that one since I've just been put on a 2012MY program.

We'll see....

Rob
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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11366 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/14/2006 10:41 PM
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That's for the update Rob.

Speaking of such things (and postions) where is Jay Mays these days?(excuse the gangsta rymes ;-)

Dunno how others felt but I liked his work leadership in the past. Last i heard he was sent to europe (was that 3-4 years ago?)
B


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Author: TMFBreakerRob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Home Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/15/2006 6:47 AM
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J (he insists that "J" is his full first name....artistic license) is world director of styling. I don't know what his position is on the consolidation of studios.

Personally, as the creative genius behind the most recent manifestation of the T-Bird as well as the father of the current Five Hundred, it wouldn't pain me to see him move on.

On the other hand, there is some really cool stuff coming in the 2009/2010MY timeframe that I'm sure he had a hand in, so maybe I'm too quick to condemn. The current Mustang is good too.

Not my decision in any case.

Rob

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11368 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/15/2006 10:59 AM
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"Personally, as the creative genius behind the most recent manifestation of the T-Bird as well as the father of the current Five Hundred, it wouldn't pain me to see him move on.

On the other hand, there is some really cool stuff coming in the 2009/2010MY timeframe that I'm sure he had a hand in, so maybe I'm too quick to condemn. The current Mustang is good too."

The F150 redesign (at the time) was decent IMO...and his concept cars (or onces he had ovsight over) incrdible IMO. <shrug> I liked the T-bird too despite the lack of interest by the public I don't think it was over the styling as much as other factors including price & lack of promotion timing etc.

Anyway whatever is ontop for 2010 surely must be making the rounds via autoshow concepts - at least in a similar form, no? Feel free to point at any such publicized one off's if you can.

As always thanks for your insight.
TGIF,
B

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Author: Minxie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11369 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/15/2006 11:59 AM
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I liked the T-bird too despite the lack of interest by the public I don't think it was over the styling as much as other factors including price & lack of promotion timing etc.


My thoughts as well.

Minxie

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Author: WILLYDING One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11370 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/15/2006 2:37 PM
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If I remember correctly the Tbird was about a year late getting to the table to start with. That alone took a lot of wind out of its sails. I think the car visually was cool but it needed more options IMO. Alos I seem to remmeber complaints about vibration and rigidity of the chassis at least in the early models. No excuse for that especially in a car that taken an extra year to make it out. As I stated earlier I believe taht Ford needed to offer some special editions to really get this thing off the ground. Super charged or turbo version, Sport tuned package, 6spd stick, bigger choice of color/interior combos, limited
editions with special trim packages. I think they might have had a James Bond edition but don't remember for sure. BUT they should have and promoted the hell out of it. From what I saw at Ford's site aside from color you could pretty much count on one hand what options you could get on the car (with colors it might take 2 hands) Compared to an F150 or Explorer which could take you 20 minutes to work out the combo you want. The Fusion has way more choices and you can come up wit a package that will rival my Mark VIII in options and comfort. The Fusion is the outgrowth of the Tempo for God's sake! I'm not saying that's bad, I whole heartedly support that. But when you move up to a 40K vehicle that is supposed to make a statement for the co. shouldn't it get at least the same consideration and probably much more? I think Ford totally missed the boat on the promotional value they could have gotten out of the Tbird.
They should have done to the Tbird what they are doing with the Mustang. They would have 2 cars flying out of the show rooms now!

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Author: Minxie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11371 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/15/2006 2:48 PM
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I think Ford totally missed the boat on the promotional value they could have gotten out of the Tbird.
They should have done to the Tbird what they are doing with the Mustang. They would have 2 cars flying out of the show rooms now!


I totally agree. The T-Bird marketing completely missed me; I saw it at a dealership and my curiousity was piqued.

I also agree about the options; for the $$$, the value wasn't there. I still really like it but...

Minxie


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Author: TMFBreakerRob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Home Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/16/2006 7:13 AM
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"Anyway whatever is ontop for 2010 surely must be making the rounds via autoshow concepts - at least in a similar form, no? Feel free to point at any such publicized one off's if you can."

That's a really good thought, but the stuff is *not* being shown anywhere <yet>. Maybe something will pop at the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) next month...but I just don't know.

Rob

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Author: TMFBreakerRob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Home Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/16/2006 7:21 AM
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"The Fusion is the outgrowth of the Tempo for God's sake! "

There's absolutely nothing in common between the two, either in parts or in vehicle architecture...unless you consider commonality to be things like four wheels, steering wheel and front wheel drive. Possibly some common fasteners too....

With regard to TBird, I'd like to see a turbo AWD coupe version come off the Fusion or a version come off the Mustang platform. I guess we'll have to wait and see....nothing scheduled yet!

Rob

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Author: Philipo Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11374 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/16/2006 8:27 PM
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"That's a really good thought, but the stuff is *not* being shown anywhere <yet>. Maybe something will pop at the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show) next month...but I just don't know."

LOL...well it never hurts to ask....so totally under wraps eh? Will have to keep a lookout for those Auto/Motorweek spy photos then...or just wait for the Detroit show.

Thanks for the ack,
B

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Author: WILLYDING One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11375 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 12/19/2006 10:05 AM
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Sorry I guess I stated that poorly. I didn't mean to imply that the Fusion shared a platform with the Tempo. And compared to the Tempo the Fusion has evolved to a very well appointed car. I meant that the Tempo/Contour/Fusion line is Ford's mid size, modest price level car. Ford's version of the Camery if you will. If you are going to give all those options to a car of that catagory shouldn't you have more to offer in a car that you are trying to make a statement with like the Tbird? For the most part they pushed it out the door and said this is it, this is how they come, pick a color and buy it.

As for your vision of a future Bird not to sure about the 'Stang based version. I'd love it but it might be a little too snakey for what most people are looking for in a Bird. I like the turbo AWD idea. I think making a Tbird that would be compition for the Audi and BMW crowd would be great. Maybe an AWD chassis with the Mustang motor?



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Author: dueyafa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11385 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/3/2007 7:41 PM
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Hello to Rob and All,

I've a keen interest in where Ford Motor Credit fits into all of this.

Any thoughts?

Thank you in advance.
duey

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Author: TMFBreakerTAllan Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11386 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/4/2007 7:27 PM
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duey

I am out of F. The lack of dividend makes this a speculative story for 07 into 08 for me. I haven't had a chance to look at the year sales numbers released today, but did note that Ford has produced a -20% return for the last 5 years.

The situation seems precarious, the new CEO is up against an ingrained culture in terms of how to build a car. He is also faced with alot of debt that will need to be dealt with. So far, he mortgaged the company assets. And now, he has to deal with labor concessions after the buyouts -- and attempt to reset the wage levels.

I am watching.

T. Allan

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Author: dueyafa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11387 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/4/2007 11:45 PM
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The situation seems precarious, the new CEO is up against an ingrained culture in terms of how to build a car. He is also faced with alot of debt that will need to be dealt with. So far, he mortgaged the company assets. And now, he has to deal with labor concessions after the buyouts -- and attempt to reset the wage levels.

I am watching.

----------

T.Allan,

Appreciate your reply.

Since the new CEO was announced there have been noticeable cost-cutting changes here @ the Colorado Springs Business Center, consolidation of branches, suspension of bonuses and an expectation of matching funds, again. I guess the numerous "youngsters" contribute less to their 401(k) compared to paying them their bonus. Who knows.

Did GM sell majority of GMAC to raise cash?

If so, why not the same for Ford Motor Credit...?

Thus my interest. If you have any insight or thoughts, I'll follow this board.

Thanks, again. Watching, too.

duey

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Author: dsinclair Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11388 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 5:28 AM
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Ford motor credit makes money. Maybe sell the car business
an keep the finance arm. lol

good investing
dsinclair

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Author: TMFBreakerTAllan Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11389 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 8:44 AM
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dsinclair

That may just happen. I didn't get GM move to sell majority of its financing. Why not?

T. Allan

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Author: WILLYDING One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11390 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 11:13 AM
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"Ford motor credit makes money. Maybe sell the car business
an keep the finance arm. lol"

Almost makes more sense than selling the finance leg!
IMO selling the finance leg will give them a short term infusion of money but that's just a Band-Aid. If other changes aren't made or changes that are don't pan out then they will be back at square one again and have nothing left to sell and nothing making money either. Then it's game over.
I think it's worth keeping the finance sector as long as Ford can find other areas to cut cost and temporarily downsize. What the also need are a few more big hits as far as car models go like the Mustang. The Fusion hasn't done bad and the new Edge appears to be a hit so far. I think the Focus needs some attention and push that to the next level. This is prime time for Ford to have a world class compact. I hat to see Jag go but Ford either needs to get them on track and fast of dump them. I like the idea that Ford owns Astin Martin but for what it does for them, Ford could use the money more than the car line. So I think they need to say good by to them. Land Rover? Never understood why they wanted them in the first place. But don't know that anyone else wants them right now, at least not at a good price anyway.
Not that I know anything about anything but this is what I would do.
Sell Astin to the highest bidder, dump Land Rover to the first reasonable offer, assess Jag as a keeper or dumper. If it comes out a keeper I would cut down trying to cross pollinate them with the Ford line and separate Lincoln from the Ford platform and link them to more closely to Jag. So when you buy a Jag or Lincoln you feel that you are buying a world premier luxury/sports car that competes with the likes of Lexus and not just a dressed up Ford. That's what Mercury is supposed to be. I would make more of a distinction between Ford and Mercury making more basic models in the Ford line and offering more upscale features and packages in the Mercury line with a corresponding price differential. Instead of selling 2 cars with different front grills and tail lights.


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Author: dueyafa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11391 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 2:38 PM
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I didn't get GM move to sell majority of its financing.


-------------

nor I.

And, where did that leave the folks working for GMAC -- anyone know?

I really don't know how to find out, but I'd like to know.

And, where might that leave the folks working for Ford Motor Credit?

In the meantime, we'll see if/when they start matching again in the 401(k)...we'll take what little we can get.

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Author: dueyafa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11392 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 2:41 PM
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btw, I appreciate this discussion.

THANKS TO ALL,

lookin' forward (no pun intended)
duey

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Author: ToddTruby Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11393 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/5/2007 9:11 PM
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In the meantime, we'll see if/when they start matching again in the 401(k)...we'll take what little we can get.


According to the 2007 Total Compensation Announcement, it isn't a matter of if, but when (June 1, 2007):

"Savings and Stock Investment Plan (SSIP) - Effective June 1, 2007
Company Matching Contributions will be reinstated effective June 1, 2007. ..... "


Not that things couldn't change by then.



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Author: dueyafa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 11394 of 18154
Subject: Re: Hope! Date: 1/6/2007 6:30 PM
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Todd,

Do you work with Ford Motor Credit?



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