Ford: Should You Own this Success Story?
John is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
2008 saw a financial meltdown for the country and the auto industry was one of the worst hit. One company that continues to impress me with its turn around (without government intervention) is Ford (NYSE: F). It is a company that has rebounded, prospered and continues to show innovative leadership.
Rebounding from Extinction
Like many companies back in 2008 Ford struggled as auto sales dried up very quickly. Losing $75 million a day, the stock dropped close to a buck in value. Three years later, the company made a $20 billion profit on sales of over $100 billion. $6200 in profit sharing was paid to each of its eligible employees and today the stock is trading at $11.95. Now that is quite a success story.
Continuing to Prosper
It has done well this year also. Recently Ford raises 2012 U.S. sales forecast. Its previous sales forecast was between 13.5 and 14.5 million in sales but now it is looking at close to 15 million. It is the North American operations that are carrying the company. Just in the U.S., first quarter sales were the best the company has in the last four years; plus March was the best since 2007 with the Ford Fusion recording its best month ever and the F-Series showing the strongest March sales in five years.
Canada has shown surprisingly similar success this year. January and February set a stronger than expected pace for the year. So now they have increased forecasts for yearly car sales. For the year they are projecting sales to be 1.67 million, which are 40,000 higher than was projected.
Innovation brought to the Consumer
Ford is continuing to research and bring innovative technology to the consumer through its products. With a goal is to be able to cut 750 pounds from a vehicle by the end of the decade and boost fuel efficiency substantially, Ford formed a partnership with Dow Automotive Systems to develop advanced carbon fiber composites that could be used in high-volume vehicles. Both companies together will research new manufacturing techniques and materials to cut weight—yet strengthen the quality of its vehicles.
Another example is through its Lincoln models. Lincolnis a luxury line where its average-aged buyer is 65. Since the early 90’s, sales have shrank by an embarrassing 60%. Ford looking to increase sales but also attempting to attract younger, wealthier buyers. It will do this with a signature “retractable glass roof” on all its newer models. It will start by putting one on the MKZ sedan arriving later this year. The two-foot by two-and-a-half foot void that’s created is the biggest opening of any glass roof in the car business. Ford figures a glass ceiling will finally help Lincoln break through.
Coming back from the brink of extinction three years ago, Ford will continue to prosper like it has the first quarter of 2012. With a growing economy, the stock should continue to increase in value. And with a management team that knows how to prosper and stay innovative—I think this is one of the great stocks to own in 2012.
As a write for Motley Fool I, John Mlynat, do not own shares in Ford stock.