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Tuesday, 28 September, 2010 11:42 PM

Ford Motor Co. is on track to stay profitable for years to come, Fields says

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Ford Motor Co.'s Mark Fields addresses the SAA Strategic Planning Summit on Sept. 23, 2010.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Mark Fields, executive vice president and president of the Americas for Ford Motor Co., says the automaker is poised to remain profitable over the next few years. He also said the company is meeting its expectations along the way. Fields spoke last Thursday at the 7th Annual Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) Strategic Planning Summit, held at the Lear Corporation headquarters in Southfield, Mich. Ford is in the process of replacing or refreshing one-third of its line of automobiles.

"Product is so important, it is our lifeblood," Fields said at the event. "I think we are best in the industry. New powertrains are coming. We're very excited about the new Focus. It's going to have great design, customer relevant technology. We will share 80 percent common parts. We want to be the best in quality. More hybrids to the marketplace and battery electric vehicles. Lincoln is the biggest mover in quality."

The executive vice president said that Ford still has two more factories to close -- one in the Twin Cities and the other in Canada. Fields admits that the automaker has been to dependent on trucks and SUVs in the past. Now, they will focus on small cars such as the all-new Fiesta to remain successful and grow market share.

"We've had to say goodbye to a lot of folks in the Ford family," Fields added. "We're not ignoring trucks -- a very balanced portfolio. We sold over 900,000 worldwide of our Fiestas. We decided we wanted to be a leader in smart technology. Mazda continues to be a strategic partner. Our suppliers are great partners of ours. Consumer requirements and needs are converging. Lincoln will have seven new or refreshed products."

The executive vice president said that Ford hopes to manufacture its Fusion on the Mondeo platform. The automaker broke the top five in quality out of all domestic and international car makers for the first time in many years. Fields added that the new Fiesta will get 40 mpg on the highway, which is three mpg better in the city and two mpg more on the highway than its nearest competitor.

Michael Ward is an auto analyst at Ward Transportation Research, associated with Soleil Securities. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. Joseph's University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Iona College. Ward previously worked for major Wall Street brokerage firms such as Kiddler, Peabody & Company, PaineWebber and SalomonSmithBarney.

"I don't feel like consumers feel like rushing out to buy a car," Ward said. "Detroit's going to be a great place to be over the next five years. Pickup trucks are still the staple of the industry. The Detroit three are still dominant. There is nothing wrong with [sellling] 12 and half to 13 million units. We can make money at 11 million units."

Kimberly Rodriguez is an advisory principal at KPMG LLP. She received a Bachelor's in Economics and Finance from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in Finance from Walsh College. Rodriguez previously worked as a principal for Grant Thornton and at Stout Risius Ross, Inc. At the age of 27, she founded Concorde Management Group, a turnaround management firm, which she ran for 10 years.

"It appears there is some flatness in the industry," Rodriguez said. "Right now, the recession is over. A lot of growth indicators still red. Sales long term the outlook is up in all regions. There has to be some new cars bought somewhere pretty soon. Brazil is certainly on the up tick. Demand can out stricken supply. It's a technology and cost game."

The SAA will host "The Luxury Landscape: How Premium Automakers Are Moving Forward in the U.S. New Vehicle Market" on Oct. 28 at the Mercedes-Benz USA Headquarters in Montvale, N.J. In addition, the organization will bring back its Automotive Outlook Conference on Jan. 9 at Cobo Center, just one day before the NAIAS opens to the media.

For more information on the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA), visit www.saaautoleaders.org.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Fields is the executive vice president and the president of the Americas for Ford Motor Co.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Ford Motor Co.'s current business environment

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A panel discussion with KPMG Principal Kimberly Rodriguez, Robert Bosch LLC Director Norm Johnson and Soleil Securities Analyst Mike Ward.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Rodriguez addresses the SAA Strategic Planning Summit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

Norm Johnson's election assessment from Bosch

 

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