As everyone continues to adjust to the uncertain market conditions right now, automakers are trying to steer their companies through the storm too. Ford may be harder hit than the others in the American market, as they had previously projected a weaker 2020 forecast before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) hit.
Some critics are concerned that Ford won’t be able to survive these next few months financially. The company’s stock continues to take devastating blows, and it has some wondering if Ford will be the first of the big three to wave the white flag in defeat.
Ford already predicted losses
Ford began releasing 2019 performance analysis numbers earlier this year. Executives shared a slower decline trend and told shareholders in February that 2020 could be disappointing as well.
With the mood already set, officials were already recognizing that the lineup and portfolio would need to change to stay relevant. The company told investors the stock losses were due to higher warranty costs, lower profit margins in financing divisions, and the ongoing exploration of future tech, like autonomous cars.
An impact on share prices
Ford stock has stalled slowly for the last six years or so. With an already dismal outlook for 2020, the onset of COVID-19 is only going to make it a lot worse a lot quicker. These last few weeks of painful stock market losses have cost Ford over 40% of its stock value.
What the production halt means for Ford
Recently, the big three automakers have announced plans to idle the U.S. production plants. Plants had previously been halted overseas, and with pressures from the UAW, officials determined it would be safest to stall plant production temporarily.
Operationally, they will use this time to properly clean and sanitize the assemblies. Ford, GM, and Fiat-Chrysler all anticipate losses during these shutdowns, but all agree it’s best to keep the workers safe so they can return to work healthy for a resurgence.
However, given Ford’s already concerning finances, even a temporary shutdown can have devastating consequences.
A Ford rebound strategy
The experts and strategists are all predicting recession-like effects from this coronavirus pandemic. However, as consumers, it’s important to remember that smart leaders learn to adapt, change, and anticipate for the future. What’s clear is that Ford executives already recognized the need for a new direction, whether it be in finance, operations, or vehicle development. Before the virus, they were already at the drawing board looking for new ways to grow and stay profitable. There’s a good chance Ford is already planning a rebound strategy that includes attracting younger drivers who won’t be buying F150s like past consumers have.
Federal assistance options
The market landscape is uncertain for everyone right now, and the timeline to normalcy is hard to predict. As we continue through the next few weeks, we may see more relief being offered by the federal government.
President Trump has already said his administration continues to monitor the automotive industry as a whole, and resources would be made available if necessary. Of course, the government can only help mitigate damages from the Coronavirus outbreak, not failing stock prices from poor sales and strategy prior to the pandemic. As a consumer, though, it’s good to know there may be a lifeline to our car makers if things get really rough in the weeks ahead.
It’s hard to say how the U.S. automakers will survive this pandemic. For now, it’s about protecting workers and staff since an economy can bounce back, but an ailing workforce may not. Stocks may be down now, but it may be a blessing to Ford that everyone’s stocks are suffering. Ford can also be using this downtime to fast track big changes and a rebound strategy.