Can Ford 'Right Size'?
By KBB.com Editors on September 8, 2008 7:24 AMAs the U.S. market shrinks and the domestic manufacturers' portion of that market dwindles, there is a great deal of talk about "right-sizing." Simply put, that means matching vehicle production with consumer demand. While achieving that seems to have eluded General Motors, Ford and Chrysler up until now, John Fleming, CEO of Ford of Europe, believes the parent company can achieve that goal. Why? Because Ford of Europe battled many of the same issues that Ford's North American operations are now being forced to face, and it emerged much stronger in the bargain. So strong that its financial results for the first six months of this year are the best since 1989, and its vehicle sales number for the period is its best ever. Fleming credits a new, emotional "styling language" with helping pull Ford of Europe out of the doldrums. "We've given consumers vehicles that they want to buy," he said, "not vehicles we must bribe them to buy." By the expensive process of ridding itself of excess production capacity, Ford of Europe has been able to put a limit on its incentive spending as well.