Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford Eyes Big 2010 as Europe Sales Surge

There are two types of emails I get about Ford Motor.


The first comes from those who think we don't give Chief Executive Alan Mulally and his team enough credit for the turn-around they are executing at the auto maker. I chuckle reading these because I've covered the Ford rebound extensively and, in my opinion, in a pretty straightforward fashion. These emails remind me of the college football fans who love their team so much that they've lost perspective.

The second type of email is from those of you who think the Ford story is overhyped. These emails baffle me and lead me to respond with an email along the lines of, "What did I report that was wrong or exagerated?" These exchanges usually end with the person writing, "I'm just tired of hearing about Ford."

Well, for those of you in the second group, get ready for more.

2010 is setting up as a big year for the Dearborn automaker. The company is ending '09 on a roll it should carry over to next year. The latest sign: Ford of Europe boasted sales of 19 percent last month and will finish the year as the second best selling brand. Its 9.1 percent market share in Europe is its best since 1999.

Add that success to what Ford has done in the U.S., where its market share is up 1 percent to 15.9 percent and  its car sales (down 13.2 percent) are holding up second best (Hyundai is up 8.3 percent) among the major brands.

Next year Taurus sales will kick in, the Fiesta will start rolling into showrooms, and if the economy and housing market finally start improving, F-series sales will pick up.

With Ford rebounding in the U.S. and Europe while building capacity and momentum in China and India, the company is entering the phase of Mulally's "One Ford" plan where it will leverage its global plans to churn out greater gains.

For as much we want to focus on how a particular automaker is doing here at home, the fact is winning in the auto business is all about winning on a global scale. Being strong around the world, once a hallmark of Ford and then left neglected from the mid-90's til recently, is again an asset at Ford.

Yes, in 2010 much will rightfully be made of the company finally getting back in the black for good. When that happens, remember that it is Ford's global vision that is allowing it to rev up profits.

Oh, boy, I can already see the emails coming.



Click on Ticker to Track Corporate News:

- Toyota Motor

- Nissan

- Honda Motor


Questions?  Comments?