‘When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in
Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.’
New York | When William Clay Ford Jr., Chairman of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F), fired CEO Mark Fields earlier this year, he in part confirmed the view expressed in our book ‘Ford Men: From Inspiration to Enterprise,’ that figuring out which supposed techno trend to believe (and invest in) will be a challenge.
After surviving the automotive equivalent of nuclear winter in 2008-2011, Ford and the rest of the auto industry rebounded nicely in terms of sales and profits, peaking last year at 18 million units sold in the US. But beyond next quarter’s financial results, every leader of every major global automaker is worried about one greatly glorified word: mobility.
‘If there’s one takeaway from Ford ditching Fields,’ concludes Wired magazine, ‘it’s that in our current transportation environment, ‘mobility’ isn’t so much a strategy as it is a euphemism for ‘we have no idea what’s happening next.”
Bill Ford recently told The Wall Street Journal that his company lacks vision, but he’s going to fix it – by bringing in yet another new Ford Man, Jim Hackett. We warned in ‘Ford Men’ that Fields was starting to sound like Jacques Nasser, a view that turned out to be prescient. But Bill Ford’s prattle about vision also sounds like some of his ill-considered comments about safety and the environment of a couple decades ago.
This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on August 11, 2017.