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SWOT analysis of Ford

By Ovidijus Jurevicius | 16.02.2013 | Comments

Company Background

Name Ford Motor Company
Logo Ford logo
Industries served Automotive
Geographic areas served Worldwide
Headquarters U.S.
Current CEO Alan R. Mulally
Revenue $ 134.3 billion (2012)
Profit $ 5,665 billion (2012)
Employees 164,000 (2011)
Main Competitors Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Chrysler Group LLC, Daimler AG, General Motors Company, Honda Motor Company, Nissan Motor, Tata Motors, Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen AG and many other automotive companies.

Ford Motor Company is one of the first American automotive companies that even today successfully manufactures and sells automobiles, trucks, buses and automotive parts. Ford is the second largest US automaker and the fifth largest vehicle seller in Europe and the world, based on 2010 vehicle sales.
You can find more information about the business in its official website or Wikipedia’s article.

SWOT

Ford SWOT analysis 2013

Strengths

Weaknesses

  1. Strong position in US market
  2. ECOnetic initiative
  3. Sound financial performance
  4. ‘One Ford’ approach
  5. Significant growth in China

Weaknesses

  1. Poor environmental record
  2. High cost structure
  3. Unprofitable Europe operations

Opportunities

Threats

  1. Positive attitude towards “green” vehicles
  2. Increasing fuel prices
  3. New emission standards
  4. Growth through acquisitions

Threats

  1. Decreasing fuel prices
  2. Rising raw material prices
  3. Intense competition
  4. Fluctuating exchange rates

Strengths

  1. Strong position in US market. Ford is the second largest automaker in US, the second largest vehicle market in the world. Ford has great reputation in its home market and strong commercial vehicle sales that are the most profitable Ford’s vehicles.
  2. ECOnetic initiative. Ford’s ECOnetic initiative is an effort to produce highly fuel-efficient engines by improving existing engines rather than new hybrid engines. The result of this initiative is the Ford Fiesta, currently the lowest emitting mass-produced car in Europe and Ford Focus ECOnetic that has better fuel consumption that Toyota Prius.
  3. Sound financial performance. Ford was the only big US car business that didn’t need the government bailout and was the first to get investment status back. The firm’s profit margin is high compared to competitors with the highest liquidity ratio.
  4. ‘One Ford’ approach. Ford has decided to produce single, streamlined global lineup of its models. The carmaker no longer produces customized vehicles for different regions but focus on designing and engineering the car that fits different regional tastes and regulations. It significantly decreases costs for Ford and drives record profitability.
  5. Significant growth in China. Ford, although not the strongest player in the China has experienced the significant growth in the largest automotive market in the world for the 2012. It grew its sales by 46%, according to Ford press release.

Weaknesses

  1. Poor environmental record. Ford has been criticized for poor efforts to decrease environment pollution. University of Massachusetts Amherst have rated Ford as the seventh worst air polluter due to its manufacturing plants. The US Environmental Protection Agency also linked Ford to 42 toxic waste sites.
  2. High cost structure. Although ‘One Ford’ initiative led to substantial cost reduction, Ford still has a high cost structure, compared to other automobiles manufacturers. Ford’s costs are driven by its generous employee compensation and pension plans.
  3. Unprofitable Europe operations. In 2012, Ford lost $1.75 billion in Europe and plans to experience losses in the region until 2015.

Opportunities

  1. Positive attitude towards “green” vehicles. Cars that are fuel inefficient and emit large quantities of CO2 heavily pollute air and negatively affect the environment. Consumers are aware of this negative impact and are more likely to buy “green” vehicles that emit much less CO2 and are fuel-efficient.
  2. Increasing fuel prices. Ford’s strong emphasis on engineering fuel-efficient vehicles (Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus ECOnetic) with flexible fuel and hybrid engines will pay off due to increasing fuel prices in the world.
  3. New emission standards. A new wave for stricter regulations on vehicle emission standards would positively affect Ford position in automotive industry. Ford invests large amounts of money to produce fuel-efficient engines and reaped some success with its ford Fiesta and Ford Focus ECOnetic models.
  4. Strategic partnerships. Ford has great experience in creating strategic alliances and partnerships with other automotive companies. Due to current competitive pressure, all companies are more likely to enter into such partnerships to drive R&D costs down, access new markets and gain some new skills.

Threats

  1. Decreasing fuel prices. Some analysts forecast that future fuel prices will drop due to extraction of shale gas. This would negatively affect Ford as it focus on compact fuel-efficient hybrid and flexible fuel cars that are less attractive when the fuel price is low.
  2. Rising raw material prices. Rising prices for raw metals will lift the costs for auto manufacturers and result in squeezed profits for the companies.
  3. Intense competition. Ford faces more intense competition from other auto manufacturers more than ever, especially in small cars segment with hybrid engines.
  4. Fluctuating exchange rates. Ford, including other largest automotive companies, may negatively be affected by fluctuating exchange rates as it earns more than half of its profits outside the US. The profits may be lower due appreciating dollar against other currencies.

Sources

  1. Ford Investor Relations (2013). Ford China Sales Up 46% for the Year, February Sales up 7% . Available at: http://corporate.ford.com/our-company/investors/investor-news-detail/pr-ford-china-sales-up-4625-for-the-37786
  2. The Motley Fool (2013). Despite Strong Earnings, Europe Weighs on Ford Motor Company. Available at: http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/despite-strong-earnings-europe-weighs-on-ford-motor-company-f-48589/
  3. Ford Investor Relations (2013). Investor Relations. Available at: http://corporate.ford.com/our-company/investors
  4. Wikipedia (2013). Ford Motor Company. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company#cite_note-100

Written by Ovidijus Jurevicius

If you're interested in strategic management, business strategy or any other business related topic, connect with me on Google+ Ovidijus Jurevicius

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