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 got 66% of its sales from North America in 2013.
Ford global reach is vast, and it generates 58% 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. In 2013 Ford had a network of more than 11,750 dealerships worldwide. Its advertising expenses were $4.4 million in 2013, $4 million in 2012, and $4.1 million in 2011.
Ford's 2013 revenues increased by 10% driven by a 10% growth in its automotive sales (11% up in North America, 8% up in South America, and 17% up in Asia/Pacific and Africa) together with an 8% increase in Ford Credit revenues, offset by a 28% decline of 28% in Other Financial Services revenues.
The company’s net income in 2013 increased by 26% primarily due to higher sales and lower financial services interest expenses, partially offset by increased selling, administrative, and other expenses and higher automotive cost of sales.
Its operating cash flow had been in downward trend from $16.04 billion in 2009 to $9.05 billion in 2012. However it increased to $10.4 billion in 2013 mainly due to higher net income and increased Purchases/Collections of wholesale receivables, partially offset by higher payments of interest supplements and residual support.
Reflecting a growing global auto market, in 2014, Ford embarked on its most aggressive product launch schedule in its history with the launch of 23 all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles around the world (more than double the 11 global vehicle launches in 2013).
In a bold design move, in 2014 it launched an aluminum body version of its best-selling Ford-150 model. The new lighter-weight 2015 F150s offer increased gas mileage. Ford has worked to improve vehicle fuel efficiency in other areas, launching hybrid models, such as the 2013 Fusion, 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 was about 1.5 million by 2013.
Like many other car makers, the company is also 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. In 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 2013 Ford accelerated its growth plan in Russia with a $274 million New Engine Plant in Elabuga, Tatarstan (the first passenger car engine plant in the region) and Launch of Ford EcoSport SUV. In the same year it also increased its North American capacity by 200,000 Units, reduced its summer shutdown, and invested $150 million in its Buffalo Stamping Plant (adding some 350 new jobs at the facility to support future product growth).
Mergers and Acquisitions
To accelerate innovation, in 2013 Ford acquired Michigan-based software development startup Livio, enabling both companies to work toward developing an industry standard for smartphone-to-vehicle communications.