Ford Motors is an icon when it comes to great companies that have changed the course of the sector they operate in and have had a significant impact on the economies not only locally, but on a global basis.
Launched in 1903 by Henry Ford the amazing success story can be gauged from the fact that Ford is powered by a global workforce of more than 166,000 people working in plants and offices in all the seven continents as mentioned on the Ford global website (Ford Operations Worldwide, 2013).
As an organization the primary intent of Ford is to meet the needs and demands of the customers by making cars as per their requirements.
Also being a leader the challenges faced by the industry and also as a global icon tackling the issues that confront the world, case in point being Ford’s initiative on sustainability.
In view of the buzzword in the last decade or so in operational aspects Ford has led the way in embedding the business plan of delivering great products, strong business and a better system around sustainability (Ford Sustainability, 2013).
Ford Motors like any other organization operates in a tough environment in terms of competition and thus, Ford as an organization have to come to terms with the needs and wants of the organization both from an internal and external perspective
The SWOT analysis will be conducted for Ford Motors in view of studying and recommending alterations to the business for future through the pointers of SWOT.
The primary strength of Ford is the century old brand name and the reputation it has earned over the years. The brand equity is very strong for Ford, and the market share is the biggest for Ford both in the local US market and on a global level.
The operational aspect of Ford is a forte in terms of the technological advances the systems and operational capabilities which are with regards to the changing landscape of doing business with regards to the globalized economy as evidenced in the adoption of the Ford’s ECOnetic initiative.
Ford Fiesta is the resultant of the initiative that is the lowest emitting mass-produced car in Europe and Ford Focus ECOnetic that has better fuel consumption and is in line with the business strategy of sustainability as mentioned in the introduction.
Ford has a different set of customers as they produce cars with a key focus on the designs ranging from fun to drive, fuel efficient, versatile utility trucks and durable trucks and are in tune with Ford’s commitment to innovation with customer focused technology (Ford Innovation, 2013).
With a global operation set up, the supply chain and the distribution network are very extensive.
The financial health is strong and profitable and has helped Ford launch numerous initiatives in terms of innovation and operational control which resulted in high profitability as evidenced with the ‘One Ford approach.’
As reported in Ford’s corporate sustainability report (2013), Ford hit $ 8 billion consecutively as pre tax profits.
The primary weakness is the legacy of Ford in terms of poor environmental record in terms of being nominated as one of the worst organizations polluting the air due to the manufacturing processes.
Toxic waste sites is also one of the toxic Ford legacy and the site of Upper Ringwood is just one example of weak systems in terms of minimizing the pollution (North Jersey, 2011)
The operating expenses are very high at Ford and part of the reason is the extravagant funds allocated for employee’s pensions and funds which have inadvertently affected Ford’s revenues.
The primary opportunity is the having footprints in terms of presence and eventual profitability in the emerging markets, after India’s success, the opportunity lies in the Middle east and African markets (Ford Newsroom, 2013).
With a focus on green vehicles as mentioned above in the Strength section, with regards to Ford Fiesta and Focus, Ford is taking the opportunity to rectify its image in terms of being known as an environmental friendly organization.
The fuel efficient cars also present an opportunity in terms of attracting consumers due to rising fuel prices on a global level.
China is also one great market for growth and in terms of strategic partnership the opportunity is there to make inroads as evidenced with Ford and Baidu partnership in 2013 to create an image of Ford with regards to in-car app experience in the eyes of Chinese customers (The Auto Channel, 2013).
The main threat is the clutter of competitive forces in the automobile industry, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Chevrolet and other that have a base both in the US and emerging markets.
In view of the economic environment hit by inflation prices of raw materials used by Ford for vehicle production have also inflated which have affected the bottom line in terms of cost.
Also with the primary earnings of Ford are from aboard, and the main currency denominator is in US dollars, the fluctuating exchange rates may create a negative effect on the profits and operational costs of Ford.
As in the words of Alan Mulally the President and CEO of Ford Motors in an interview (McKinsey, 2013), the strategic way forward is utilizing the technological aspect in view of delivering winning products both from an innovation and experience perspective.
Ford (2013). Operations Worldwide. Retrieved from http://corporate.ford.com/our-company/operations-worldwide
Ford (2013). Sustainability. Retrieved from http://corporate.ford.com/our-company/sustainability?releaseId=1244754227227
Ford (2013). Innovation. Retrieved from http://corporate.ford.com/innovation
Ford (2013). Corporate Sustainability Report. Financial Report. Retrieved from http://corporate.ford.com/microsites/sustainability-report-2012-13/financial
Ford Newsroom (2013). Ford India strengthens presence in East with brand new dealership in Gangtok. Retrieved from http://www.india.ford.com/about/media/newsroom?article=1248999183689
McKinsey & Company (2013). Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Ford’s Alan Mulally. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/leading_in_the_21st_century_an_interview_with_fords_alan_mulally
North Jersey (2011). Toxic Legacy: Ford and the Ramapoghs. Retrieved from http://www.northjersey.com/story-archives/misc-toxic-legacy-ford-and-the-ramapoughs-1.723269
The Auto Channel (2013). Ford Forms Strategic Partnership with Baidu for In-Car Infotainment. Retrieved from http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2013/06/26/085448-ford-forms-strategic-partnership-with-baidu-for-car-infotainment.html