It’s an overall improvement from a year ago, but its position in the US market is deteriorating, and badly:
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) â€” At $282 million, Ford Motor Co.’s first-quarter loss was much improved over the $1.4 billion in red ink it posted during the same quarter last year. Company officials touted the results as a sign that its restructuring plans were taking hold, but Ford still is struggling to make money on its core business â€” selling cars and trucks in North America.
….. Ford’s new vehicle sales in the United States fell more than 13 percent for the quarter and its market share dropped from 17.2 percent in the first quarter of 2006 to 15.1 percent.
….. Despite the overall improvement, Ford said its core business in North America lost $614 million on automotive operations before taxes for the quarter, wider than the $442 million it lost in the first quarter of last year. North American automotive revenue dropped from $19.8 billion in the first quarter of last year to $18.2 billion.
That’s an 8.1% revenue drop in North America; the US component of that drop is probably higher.
By contrast, larger rival General Motors suffered a North American market share drop of 1.1% (from 23.6% to 22.5%). Ford’s North American share drop of 2.1% above (from 17.2% to 15.1%) has been much more severe, off of a much smaller base.
You would think that at time like this, Ford would be at least as aggressive as GM is claiming to be (GM’s Chairman and CEO said yesterday that it will “fight hard for every sale”), and doing something about the fact that about 10% of its potential buyers are refusing to buy Ford products because of the company’s steadfast refusal to stay neutral in the culture wars. You would be wrong. Ford is in essence giving the back of its hand to parties who have a huge stake in the company’s recovery — shareholders, employees, suppliers, and communities. For a company claiming to be proud of being a leader in “corporate social responsibility,” that’s pretty irresponsible.