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Ford Sales, Earnings Fall Short for First Quarter

Detroit maker hurt by problems in Europe, slow U.S. rollout of F-150.

by on Apr.28, 2015

Ford CEO Mark Fields remains optimistic about the maker's expectations for all of 2015.

(This story has been updated with additional details on Ford’s Q1 earnings and full-year forecast.)

Hurt by weak sales in Europe, the slow ramp-up of its new F-150 pickup at home, as well as the strong dollars, Ford Motor Co. delivered a weaker-than-expected showing for the first quarter of 2015, earnings off 6.5%, to $924 million.

That worked out to just 23 cents a share, the Detroit maker reported, down from 25 cents a year ago. The consensus estimate on Wall Street was 26 cents per share, according to both Fact Set and Thomson Reuters. Revenues also fell short, at $31.8 billion, down from $33.9 billion a year ago.

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Nonetheless, CEO Mark Fields declared that 2015 will be a “breakthrough year,” adding in a statement that the first quarter, a good start to a year in which our results will grow progressively stronger as the new products we have been launching start to pay off.”

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Ford Chief Fields Earns More Than $18 Million

CEO’s compensation includes salary of $1.6 million.

by on Mar.27, 2015

Ford CEO Mark Fields received more than $18 million in compensation in 2014.

Strong auto sales often means there’s money to go around for workers. The top “worker” at Ford, Mark Fields, earned $18,596,497 in 2014 as the company earned a pre-tax profit of $6.3 billion.

Fields’ compensation, which is a combination of his base salary and stock awards, options and other awards, was an increase from 2013 when his compensation was $10,170,578 as Ford’s chief operating officer.

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Fields, who took over as CEO on July 1, earned a base salary of $1,662,500 last year. His total compensation includes a $3,185,000 bonus, long-term stock options and other performance-based equity awards. (more…)

Ford Charges into China with New $760 mil Plant

Ford on the way to becoming China’s fourth-largest carmaker.

by on Mar.24, 2015

The new China plant will initially produce the Ford Edge but will have capacity for five other models.

Late to the Chinese party, Ford Motor Co. is playing a fast-paced game of catch-up. The Detroit maker’s latest move comes with the opening of a new, $760 million assembly plant in Hangzhou, about 100 miles southwest of Shanghai.

The new facility will bring to 1.2 million Ford’s rated annual capacity in China, and could position the company as the market’s fourth-largest manufacturer. But the Hangzhou plant opens just as the Chinese car market begins to cool, along with the rest of the economy, for the first time in more than a decade.

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Nonetheless, Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was on hand for the Tuesday plant dedication, was optimistic, declaring, “This world-class facility will help us accelerate the delivery of high-quality, innovative products to our customers in China.”

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Ford Will Build GT in Canada

Supplier Multimatic also produced Aston Martin One-77 supercar.

by on Feb.16, 2015

Newly painted silver, the Ford GT is now on display at the annual Chicago Auto Show.

Ford’s new all-American supercar, the GT, will actually be rolling out of a plant in Ontario, the maker has confirmed.

The 600-plus horsepower “ultracar” will be produced by Multimatic Inc., a suburban Toronto supplier with extensive experience using the exotic carbon fiber that will be used for the Ford GT body. Multimatic previously produced the Aston Martin One-77 supercar which also used the super-light material.

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Bedecked in a new silver paint scheme, the GT concept is currently on display at the Chicago Auto Show. It was originally painted blue when unveiled at the North American International Auto Show – where it was one of the event’s big surprises.

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Ford Slashes Global Product Platform Count

Fewer platforms but more new products.

by on Jan.19, 2015

Ford's new CEO Mark Fields with the 2015 Edge, one of many new models based on Ford's global platforms.

Hoping to improve its efficiency, driving up margins and driving down costs, Ford has been pushing to eliminate as many regional product platforms as possible. And it’s found ways to go further than originally planned, according to the maker’s CEO.

It will now use just eight separate platforms for its global product line-up, said CEO Mark Fields, during an appearance at an industry confab in Detroit. That’s barely half as many as it had at the beginning of the new millennium, when Ford’s North and South American, European and Asian operations functioned as virtually autonomous entities. And it’s one lower than the goal the maker had set for itself by 2016.

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“That yields tremendous benefits to improving the rate at which we introduce new vehicles,” noted CEO Fields during his comments at the Deutsche Bank Global Industry Conference.

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Lincoln Changes MKX New Car Smell for China

Brand caters to cultural preferences with new entry.

by on Jan.13, 2015

The new car smell that Americans love so much, isn't well liked by the Chinese, which caused Lincoln some problems with the new MKX.

While the development of a new vehicle is a team effort, but at some point every bit of a car eventually falls into the hands of engineers.

“We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln, during the unveiling of the MKX at the North American International Auto Show. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.”

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In the case of the new MKX, engineers were faced with an unusual problem: interior odors. (more…)

Ford’s Smart Mobility Plan Changing Global Transportation

Maker’s 25 experiments expanding knowledge base.

by on Jan.06, 2015

Mark Fields, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, delivers the opening keynote address at the 2015 International CES.

Ford is not just looking for ways to make cars smarter, it’s trying to change the way people around the world get from place to place. The automaker introduced its plans to do that as well as addressing its progress on autonomous vehicles as well at the Consumer Electronic Show today in Las Vegas.

Ford CEO Mark Fields told a packed house during his keynote address at CES that the automaker is actively pursuing an autonomous vehicle. However, he noted it’s not a race to get done first, but more important to get it done right and make it affordable.

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“Our priority is not in making marketing claims or being in a race for the first autonomous car on the road,” Fields said. “Our priority is in making the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the masses and truly enhancing customers’ lives.” (more…)

Ford Wants “Robust” Review of Fuel Economy Rules

Cheap fuel causing shift in consumer demand, warns Ford CEO Fields.

by on Dec.11, 2014

Ford CEO Fields is looking forward to a "robust" debate over the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard.

With gas prices plunging to a national average of barely $2.60 a gallon, there’s been a an equally sharp shift in the U.S. new car market, with dealers struggling to keep up with demand for pickups, SUVs and muscle cars.

Small cars, as well as battery-electric vehicles and other high-mileage models, have been piling up on showroom lots, however, and that’s worrying automakers who fear the shift will make it difficult to meet the tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard set to take effect in 2025. And Ford Motor Co., for one may seek to have the CAFE mandate rolled back or revised, the maker’s CEO said Thursday.

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While insisting the company is “dedicated to meeting” the 54.5 mile per gallon target, Fields said he is also looking forward to 2017 when the feasibility of the standard will come up during a meeting between industry officials and federal regulators.

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Lincoln Getting $5 Billion Infusion to Resurrect Brand

CEO Fields staunchly supporting brand’s renaissance.

by on Oct.28, 2014

Lincoln is hoping a new series of ads featuring actor Matthew McConaughey will raise the company's profile and boost sales.

Ford’s leaders are doubling down on their investment in the Lincoln brand in hopes of coming up with a winning hand as other luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Cadillac, have stronger followings than long-suffering Lincoln.

However, it has been difficult to know what that meant, in terms of dollars, until now. In September, Ford executives suggested the plan called for a $2.5 billion cash infusion into the brand; however, Ford CFO Bob Shanks said last week that the figure was low because it excludes engineering and some sales-related expenses.

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Some experts put the number closer to $5 billion. (more…)

Ford Shares Plunge on Bad News About Recalls, Europe

But maker insists it is “well-positioned for long-term.”

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields, shown with the 2015 Edge, insists the maker's long-term prospects are solid.

Investors took a dim view after being given an inside look at Ford Motor Co, the maker acknowledging that its European turnaround will be delayed, while it expects to run up big losses in South America, as well – with earnings taking taking another $500 million hit due to recent recalls.

Ford shares closed Monday at $15.11, down about 7.5% on nearly three times the normal volume on the New York Stock Exchange, investors having to balance the maker’s short-term problems against the more upbeat, long-term potential outlined by new Ford CEO mark Fields and his top management team.

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“Our long-term plan underscores the commitment we have to our One Ford plan, while accelerating our pace of progress, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in all areas of our business,” Fields said during a presentation to automotive analysts dubbed Ford 2020. “We remain completely focused on offering customers the freshest lineup of world-class vehicles to meet their needs.”

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