I wonder how long we’re going to keep calling them “the Big Three.”
One is in bankruptcy, and another is desperately trying to avoid it. The third is taking advantage and actually making up some ground.
Ford is poised to become “the Big One.”
Ford, which still hasn’t requested or taken any government funds, is watching its Detroit rivals slowly tread water. And as GM and Chrysler sink deeper, Ford chips away at their market share with a mix of luck and strategic foresight that included:
- luring CEO Alan Mulally away from Boeing
- Mulally’s ambitious steps to mortgage just about every asset Ford owns and create billions of dollars to fund their rebuilding
- having the right product mix when gas prices rose and the economy sank
While Ford’s April sales were still down 32 percent from a year ago, those numbers were good enough to overtake Toyota as the nation’s number 2 car company with a 16 percent share of the market. GM is at 21 percent and falling.
I can sit here and spew numbers all day, but numbers aren’t fun. The bottom line is this: Car companies succeed when they have great cars. Strike that – when they have great cars that people want.
When the economy tanked, Chrysler’s “small” car offerings were the Avenger and the Sebring. Chrysler was just introducing the new Dodge Ram, too, which is a great truck, but no one wanted trucks, not even great ones.
Looking at it like this, it’s no surprise that Ford is swimming laps around its drowning rivals. Ford somehow managed to see the future’s giant fist coming, while GM and Chrysler were looking the other way and got smacked in the face by it.
What do you think are some of the biggest screwups the Big Three have made?