Focus on the Ford bosses
THE compact Focus is Ford’s future in Australia — that is clear from a briefing this week by Ford president Alan Mulally.
The smooth-talking US chief used his Melbourne visit to lobby the Federal Government on tariffs, talk to workers at Broadmeadows and face a grilling from a small group of Australian pressmen.
There was plenty to discuss, but most of the issues had already been raised by an angry and insightful carsGuide reader.
Alex Gentiluomo sums up what a lot of people are thinking, and asking, in an open letter to Ford. Here is what he has to say:
I’m from Geelong and I’m writing about the current situation at the Ford Motor Company. This is not an ‘I hate Ford’ letter but one that must be told.
Last week’s announcement of more job losses here in Geelong and at Broadmeadows is another slap in the face to the Geelong community. I feel for the workers who lose their jobs and I wish them and their families well.
Geelong needs Ford in this town, now and in the future. My father worked at Ford for 39 years and I have them to thank for putting a roof over our heads and food on the table.
The current situation at Ford here in Geelong and globally can only (and I do mean only) be blamed on the Ford management team. Ford will blame ‘high fuel costs’, it blames ‘rising interest rates’ and it blames ‘current market conditions’ but no one at Ford will dare blame themselves for the mess the company is in.
Ford’s failure to export the Falcon/Territory has hampered its ability to sell enough volume to be profitable. And what I mean by exporting is that it’s sent to other countries in large volumes, not the small numbers sent to South Africa and New Zealand.
It keeps referring to the Focus model line being added at Broadmedows in 2010 or 2011. That is a long way off considering the current situation.
Holden and Toyota export thousands and thousands of Australian-made vehicles all over the globe and for that they and their parent companies must be applauded.
The constant line we get from Ford is it is ‘evaluating the Falcon for possible export’. This has been mentioned several times before with no results. Other quotes from management include ‘we need to do better with Falcon’ and ‘we need to do better with Focus and Fiesta,’ yet what have they done marketing-wise? In an era of the buying public moving to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, Ford’s Focus and Fiesta models are still outsold by their competitors in large numbers.
The Territory has not been updated since it was launched and its volumes are falling.
How many times have we seen letters in the carsGuide referring to lack of support from Ford’s customer service department in relation to warranty issues? Surely this type of attitude from management is contributing to people moving from the brand.
For its past two presidents to leave the company as well speaks volumes of its inability to put an effective management structure in place. The late Geoff Polities was the only Ford president in recent memory who actually ran the company in a decent manner.
Maybe it should put Craig Lowndes in charge. At least he is always smiling and has the time to talk to the people who matter — the customer and the Ford worker.
I worked at Ford’s Discovery Centre for a few years during the AU disaster and thought morale was low then when the AU Falcon was being slaughtered in the market place by the Commodore.
From what I have seen and been told it is much worse now for the Ford workforce.
The Australian Government can also be blamed for not protecting the auto industry as a whole. Instead of cutting tariffs it should either hold them at current levels or increase them.
I actually work (indirectly) for a Ford competitor and have absolutely no pleasure seeing this company in the situation it is in. All I care about is jobs for Australians and jobs for Geelong.
As a nationwide industry we have already lost Mitsubishi and if Ford doesn’t act now it has no
blame.’ one but itself to
President Ford: Alan Mulally in Melbourne. Picture: FIONA HAMILTON