Not good at all.
There’s no real way to sugarcoat the news that Ford fell a whopping $2 billion short of estimated profits for Q4 2022. After years of struggling financially, this wasn’t the news Ford needed, especially after GM pulled off a surprise profit surge. The blame was immediately shifted to supply chain issues, including the chip shortage, resulting in increased manufacturing costs, triggering lower production volume.
See a Ford Model A meet from way back in 1958 here.
Somehow, Ford’s competitors, which are competing in the same open market where shortages are still a frustration, have been able to right their ships to varying degrees. Ford CEO Jim Farley did say the profits shortfall was “humbling.”
Instead of reflecting on if the company is heading in the right direction, it sounds like Ford executives have decided they need to go full steam ahead in transforming the automaker. That might be the exact opposite of what’s needed. One executive was quoted by Reuters saying we’re entering a “mild” recession, so that might be driving these questionable decisions.
Back in early January, Ford was beating its chest as it boasted about EV sales totals for 2022. The automaker, which has been pivoting R&D and other investments toward electrification almost exclusively, became the second highest-selling brand in the EV space. Many media outlets dutifully trumpeted this story pushed by Ford’s PR team, not critically analyzing what this meant.
Had they actually dug a little, journalists could have easily found that even though EV sales increased 65% in 2022, they still only amounted for 5.8% of the market. That’s a tiny sliver, a fine niche, yet Ford has been betting the farm on it becoming the future in just a few short years. And even with its huge investment, Ford trailed behind Tesla by an embarrassing amount, so second place is more like a consolation prize.
However, again at the beginning of this month many news outlets are running the story that Ford saw a 2% increase for January. That news in some instances eclipsed the market shortfall. However, savvy investors weren’t thrown off, with Ford’s stock taking a dive after this news was revealed.
Ford has an unfortunate history of getting itself into near-bankruptcy situations repeatedly. A lot of people have theories about why this is, but if Ford management can’t figure things out the future might not be as kind as the past has been.
Images via Ford