AD #2114 – Ford Fires Fields, EV Costs Lower Than Expected, VW Diesels Flying Off Dealer Lots

May 22nd, 2017 at 12:02pm

Runtime: 8:07

- Ford Fires Fields
- Jim Hackett New Ford CEO
- Ford Makes Other Management Moves
- EV Costs Lower Than Expected
- FCA Develops Diesel Software Fix
- VW Diesels Flying Off Dealer Lots
- Hyundai-Kia Takes Different Hybrid Approach

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27 Comments to “AD #2114 – Ford Fires Fields, EV Costs Lower Than Expected, VW Diesels Flying Off Dealer Lots”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    But does Hackett know anything about cars? They are quite different from office cubicle partitions.

    Yes, I know, “car people” are now obsolete, for upper management at car companies.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    There is good and bad news about Mark Fields losing his job. Good news Mark is now off the hook for future Ford Issues. Bad news is there will be plenty, not just for Ford, but for all of us. For a wide range of issues, car prices will continue to climb, putting more citizens out of the new car market. Since the younger set could mostly care less about car ownership, the rest of us will just need to ring our hands.
    I see mobility services offering a product of call-a-car. One might pay a subscription service to their favorite manufacturer. For that you get the joy of a self driving buggy to pick you up and take you where you want to go. You and everyone else on the route. If your fortunate enough to have exclusive “on demand service” your ride will drop you off and then pick up anyone else in the area that needs an errand run.
    The insurance and maintenance cost are shared. Manufacturers are already signaling a drop in traditional car sales. One solution to ownership dilemma is motorcycles. Remember 3 wheels is still a motorcycle. We are slowly, painfully; go back to mechanical horses and stagecoaches.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll pass on the complexity for complexity’s sake of the DCT in the Niro and Ioniq.

    Yes, I well know that everyone hates CVT’s, except people who actually drive them on a regular basis.

  4. Lisk Says:

    Ford’s axing of Mark Fields for a bean counter will being their undoing. Look at what Roger Smith did to GM. The first thing he did was to get rid of seasoned engineers and replace them with book smart newbies with little or no actual practical OTJ experience. I fear Mr. Steelcase will have the same plans.

    As for the UBS study on electric cars, I still think a company like Tesla is going to have a tougher time showing a profit on their EVs at $41,000 than GM will on the Bolt. I think the initial run of of 10-15,000 Model 3s will be high end models, but before long the demand is going to shift back to the “promised” $35,000 model.

  5. BobD Says:

    Ironic that Ford is now betting on someone formerly from “Steelcase” to turn around a company that bet heavily on Aluminum-intense vehicles.

  6. Dale Leonard Says:

    This firing of Mr.Fields is basically the Board making him a scapegoat. No CEO can turn a company around in less then 4 or 5 years. Mark had great ideas and was following the grooming by Alan Mullay. I feel his firing based on the poor stock rating is totally wrong. Is Mary Barra next at GM?
    To me the Board of Director’s at both companies still has their heads stuck in the past and will never take to young blood. They are still in the “Dress Hat and Cigar Smoke” generation. I hope another Auto Manufacturer looks towards Mark Fields….Hey Subaru here is your chance to really get a forward sighted guy.

  7. David Sprowl Says:

    @Kit. I have a CVT vehicle. I have owned 2. Frankly, The are not that fun to drive. As for MPG, they aren’t that great either.

  8. Drew Says:

    I’ll take a CVT over a DCT every day. Given a choice, I’ll take a short throw stick over any automatic.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If Mark Fields is responsible for the lack of Ford new product then perhaps he needs to get the ax, however, without fresh product being released on a regular basis, how can anyone provide solid sales and earnings. He seemed to be the ‘golden boy’ and pick to replace Alan Mulally; what went wrong, I haven’t a clue.

  10. ToddT Says:

    Fields firing doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all. But, then I would have never hired him in the first place. My opinion of him was always that he was a lightweight, more interested in lifestyle than in leadership. I don’t understand the comments of “turn around a company in less than 4 or 5 years” when that is exactly what Mulally did BEFORE he handed the reigns over to Fields. Yes, Mulally tried to groom Fields, but in the end leadership is not taught; it is innate.

  11. Bill Blackwell Says:

    The whole Auto industry is in trouble nobody wants to admit it because they’re worried about what will my other people think of me if I’m the one to say it like it is, lack of true leadership in the government and in Industry also I work in the big three it’s not what you think especially if your a contract employee not a full time employee

  12. Pam Rolanf Says:

    Have to agree the Auto industry is in trouble I work at a dealership our lot is at overcapacity and also I talked with a zone manager and incentives will be coming and this will hurt the Auto industry nobody seems to be talking about this one inventory is growing he said

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 David, I certainly agree that CVT’s aren’t “fun,” in the traditional sense. For that, I like three pedals.

    As far as mpg, my sister’s CVT-equipped Subaru Forester gets very good mileage, for that type of vehicle, as do the new Honda CVT cars and CUV’s.

    The Toyota and Ford E-CVT’s in their hybrids get excellent mileage. They are also mechanically very simple, part of what I like about them.

  14. Roger Blose Says:

    With Fields gone, Ford Racing, SVT, and all of the Hi-Po cars may follow. Gasoline in your blood is being replaced with electrons and bicycles at Ford. Need proof? Just look at their latest Ford Annual Report….no mention. I remember when Mark interacted with Carroll Shelby a few years back and when He with Bill Ford went to Lemans last year.

  15. Lex Says:

    Ford is too slow to change in all areas of automotive improvement and quality. Their SYNC system is horrible. I am wondering why the Board of Directors did not ask Alan Mulally to come back. I my humble opinion the forward momentum Ford had under Mulally nearly ceased when Fields took the helm of Ford. Wasting capital and talent on reviving Lincoln was a huge mistake. The all aluminum F-150 was an embarrassment when the toolbox dropped into the bed. Fields should have continued on the same path as Mulally and concentrated on ONE FORD.
    Ford was always own as “First On Race Day” or “Found On Road Dead”. Today’s race is to the financial winner’s circle where Wall Street can make you “Tesla” or break you “Ford”.

  16. David Sprowl Says:

    @7 I my expietence is different I guess. I had a 99 corolla that got as good as gas milage as my 14 sentra did. It was a better driver. My 99 Rav got as good of gas milage as my 14 Rouge. Neither drives well. Top that off my 01 Celica screams down the road than a current Civic im all too familier with. While the civic does better on mpgs the 3.00/week savings the civic gets does little against the insrance cost.

  17. Ed Says:

    A while back I spoke about fords stock problem. Some responded with anecdotal tales of making a bit of money. But no on on here responded to what I was saying. I like cars also, but I never overlook quantifiable data or real research. Testimonials are the hallmark of fake news and and someone running a game or not full going into what is happening. Fields was like Jack and needed to go, ford has bigger problems, and there is no way to combat hubris in a family controlled company. Good luck in the market if you only go with how you ” feel” about things.

  18. ARHPG Says:

    There were many of us skeptical of Mark Field’s long-term vision and ability to run Ford from the top, yet Mark seemed to be doing *much* better than many of us thought, and he brought a sense of youthful style and calm demeanor to the great old Ford Motor Company. Nevertheless, replacing Alan Mulally was a very tall order and simply too big a step for Mark as well, but it is sad to see him go.

    It is inevitable that a Ford CEO (except for Bill Ford) would take the fall if the company’s stock continued to dwindle over time. In five years, Mark will probably show up running another car company.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did Ford spend too much money on things like aluminum pickup trucks, that aren’t particularly better than the competition? A few years will tell if the competition is forced to take that route, but I don’t see it yet.

    As far as what’s wrong, and right with Ford, at least product-wise, most of it would have been decided when Mullaly still had the helm. Fields has been CEO for less than three years.

  20. druff Says:

    As a Ford buyer myself the lineup lately has been awfully lacking. They seem to be spending all the money on new engines, aluminum bodies and other unnecessary upgrades rather than new or significantly updated cars and suv’s. most people don’t even care what is under the hood nowadays, when I asked my sister in-law if the engine in her new Edge was a 4 cyl or a V6 she responded with a, I don’t know. It seems like Toyota and Honda redo there vehicles every 3 to 4 years and Ford is way past that on several models.

  21. Robert Waidmann Says:

    As the other gentlemen said replacing Alan Mullaly is not an easy task at all, and watching Hackett’s presentation today I did not get very impressed with him either. In my opinion Mark was doing a fine job bringing the company to its best results ever in 2016 and I hope he ends up running another auto company as he has the capacity for it.

  22. Sharp Mann Says:

    Ford’s rubber-stamp Board has been awarding Mark Fields $tons-of-millions over the years for doing a great job of killing the stock (40% in about a couple of years), and for laying off Ford’s experienced engineers and best talents for many years, even before Mulally’s appointment, 10% every few months.
    That’s his favorite method of cutting cost. Perhaps the only method he knows of.
    He never cared for the people. He has always been like a peacock.
    He was never qualified to be a CEO of Ford. and he should’ve never been appointed in that position.
    He initially ran on Mulally’s inertia, but he quickly ran out of steam.
    The man is not a leader, and will never be one.
    I don’t know if Jim will do any better. Time will tell.
    Why Ford is bypassing their engineers from such top position is baffling to me.
    For now, as far as I’m concerned, and as an employee, I’d say good riddance. Someone finally got the nerve to kick him out.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 2nd generation Fusion was a sensation when introduced, and it still looks very good, but now, in only 5 model years, it seems old. My 2010 Mini doesn’t even have bluetooth. It’s crazy how quickly things are changing in the car business.

  24. RS Says:

    Only the Ford insiders know why Mark Fields has been replaced. There are no vehicles with “Fields stamp of approval” on the market as yet. The public will begin to see the results of Mr. Fields’ plans during the next three years. I hope the results are impressive. But the top leevel people at Ford must have seen some disappointing signals. I am sure Autoline (and other publications) will be reporting soon as more info gets out of the executive offices.

  25. peter egan Says:

    Clearly the business model of the long established volume vehicle producers is struggling.

    The high semiconductor content and electrical content of EV, hybrids and especially autonomous vehicles points to the mobile phone production model being the way to go.

    Vehicle body/chassis/interiors are a commodity at the volume end of the market. The strategy should be to hive off the production plants (and 85% of the workforce) into a subsidiary company and sell upto 49% on the stockmarket to separate “old” company and its high capital-low returns from “new’ company. New company develops, sells and finances vehicles and the company – just like Apple. We will likely see new companies develop that contract assemble vehicles for the industry majors. The industry majors would likely supply drivetrain, automation/navigation/infotainment systems.

  26. Barry Says:

    John,
    If the Ford stock holders are upset with the value of their portfolios, they why don’t they pull out and invest in Amazon or Google and leave Ford alone? Mark Fields had a vision for Ford and I hope Mr. Hackett does too.

  27. Sharp Mann Says:

    @Barry,
    “Mark Fields had a vision for Ford”.
    Yes indeed. He did.

    Mark Field’s vision has been to lay off Ford’s experienced engineers by 10% at a time every time he saw his upcoming bonus wasn’t going to be what he wanted it to be.

    Just a day or two before his firing he announced that there will be 10% reduction in the workforce!!!

    Getting rid of 10% of such workforce would make a spreadsheet look much better for him, and then he would have the bragging rights of cost-cutting by tons of $millions.

    We, on the inside, have just had a sigh of relief.