Over at Autocar they are still getting to grips with unlearning Ford: forget the Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo, Granada, Capri and … the Maverick? Cougar? Fusion?
Eoin treated this topic in February. If you want to re-read it – and I suggest you do – you’ll find another angle than the one taken by Autocar. Matt Prior’s article finishes with these words which I will quote here: “… it’s telling, isn’t it, that Ford would like you to change your perception of it? Ford still sells a lot of cars. The Fiesta will almost certainly be the best-selling car in the UK this year, and the Focus third. Unfortunately for Ford, they’re affordable cars, which means each sale isn’t very profitable. They’re also – like most Fords – rather good. Imagine if it churned out dross. It has rivals who do.”
For me this also adds further weight to the conclusion of my March analysis. While some shrugged their shoulders at the loss of the Granada and then the loss of the Mondeo as a volume product, the consequences are clear.
That’s why even with three very respected and popular cars, Ford is struggling to break back into the territory of higher price points. That can only be done by changing perceptions, hence the unlearn schtick. Actually, it’s done by offering compelling products that justify the price. Unfairly, the Mondeo has actually been a fine product and apart from the controversially styled last generation, the Granada line of cars was also good as well.
Somehow Ford’s customers felt cheated by the fact that the cars they could get for much less than a BMW or Audi were not built to precisely the same standard, but they still offered a lot (as Myles Gorfe would also say). The problem with unlearning Ford is that it runs down the value accumulated in decent cars such as the Fiesta and Focus while not offering very much in return. No matter which way they proceed, Mustangs and GTs are not going to matter as much to the bottom line as selling useful, mainstream cars in the price points in the range ten to twenty thousand pounds higher than where they are selling right now. The same goes for Opel. And Peugeot and Renault.