Ford Motor began a manufacturing revolution with mass production assembly lines in the early 20th century, but today it is one of the world's largest automakers. Brands include Ford and and the luxury brand Lincoln. (Its Mercury brand was discontinued in 2011.) The carmaker's models include the redesigned Ford Mustang, the F-Series pickup, and the fuel-efficient Focus. Finance unit Ford Motor Credit is one of the US's leading auto finance companies. Ford owns a small stake in Mazda and operates about 65 plants worldwide. The company gets more than half of its sales from North America.
Ford global reach is vast, and it generates 57% of its total sales from the US. Other sizable markets include Canada (7% of sales), the UK (7%), and Germany (6%).
Ford manages its global operations through joint ventures. It has partnered with companies in China, Germany, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam, among others. Ford Otosan, Ford's joint venture with Turkey-based Koç Holding, supplies the Ford Transit Connect and distributes Ford cars in Turkey.
Sales and Marketing
Ford's vehicles, parts, and accessories are marketed through retail dealers in North America and through distributors and dealers outside of North America. Most of the dealerships are independently owned. Throughout 2012 Ford had a network of more than 11,600 dealerships worldwide.
After experiencing sizable growth over the last three year's Ford saw its net revenues decrease by almost 2% from $136 billion in 2011 to $134 billion in 2012. Its profits also plummeted by 72% from $20 billion to nearly $6 billion during that same time period.
The good news for Ford was that it sold more Hybrids in 2012 compared to any other year in its history.
Part of the company's global strategy, as it moves forward in creating a global vehicle platform, is related to the trend of cutting back on the number of suppliers used. Ford is a trend setter in this area and has reduced its suppliers list from 1,500 in 2010 to about 1,350 at year-end 2011 with a goal of about 750. Visteon remains on this short list, relying on Ford for about 27% of its revenue. As part of Visteon's exit from Chapter 11 protection in fall 2010, Ford agreed to give the supplier $600 million in business through 2013.
Following another trend, Ford has worked to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, launching hybrid models, such as the 2013 Fusion that will be available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The company is also promising upgraded engines and powertrain transmissions, such as the 2.0 liter EcoBoost. Annual worldwide production of vehicles with Ecoboost engines is forecast to be at 1.5 million by 2013.
Like many other car makers, the company is looking to emerging economies for growth, particularly Brazil, Russia, India, and China, where cars sales are forecast to grow more rapidly than in mature markets. Ford is building new plants in India, Thailand, and especially China to meet more demand in the region. (By mid-2012 it had already invested about $4.9 billion in China through joint ventures and new plants.) In mid-2013 Ford entered the South Asia market of Myanmar, which it views as a key strategic location between India and China, next to a shared border with Thailand.
In 2012 Ford sold the automotive interior components business of its Automotive Components Holding (ACH) subsidiary to European automotive seat maker Faurecia. The business, which annually generated about $1.1 billion, provided cockpit modules, instrument panels, door panels, and center consoles for operations at eight Ford plants. Ford also sold ACH's automotive headlights and taillights business to Flex-N-Gate that year. After these sales, ACH's only business is climate control.