Automotive News EuropeFord Motor Co. gives itself mediocre grades in many competitive arenas.
According to a sales and marketing staff document, Ford ranks itself with industry's leaders in two areas: retailing and owner loyalty. Competitors lead in other categories: growth strategy, vehicle service, revenue strategy, voice of the customer, order to delivery and brand management.
Retailing: Ford rates its retailing channel as comparable to those of General Motors, Volkswagen, the Korean automakers and AutoNation USA. Those marketers are doing the best job of retailing vehicles today, Ford says, getting HH out of four possible.
Loyalty: Ford gives itself HHH, a tie with General Motors and Volkswagen.
Growth: Toyota and the Koreans HHHH, Ford HH.
Revenue: Chrysler HHHH, Ford HH.
Voice of the customer: Chrysler HHHH, Ford HHH.
Brand management: VW HHHH, Ford HH.
Service: Honda HH, Ford H.
Order to delivery: Toyota HHH, Ford H.
Ford gives itself HH for its dealing with three key constituencies:
Customers: 'New-car customer satisfaction is lower than competition; purchasing trends away from autos in mature markets; limited focus on second-hand Ford owners.'
Dealers: 'US Ford dealers are strong and positive; less profitable dealers in Lincoln-Mercury, Europe and Brazil.'
Press: 'Positive reviews on product (Escort, Expedition, Ka, XK8) and safety; unflattering reviews on Ford 2000 results, US ignition recall, airbags.'
Ford said Toyota and Chrysler represent successful automotive companies, 'which appear to have strong voice-of-the-customer process, excellent brand development, well-executed revenue and marketing strategies, and low-cost vehicles.'
In addition, Ford believes competitors have developed better strategies in key areas. According to Ford's assessment document, here are the top companies in each arena:
Rapid development and vehicle replacement: Toyota and Mazda.
Customer trends and style: Chrysler.
Rapid and satisfying delivery: Saturn.
The internal Ford document on which these stories are based should not be viewed as the definitive self-assessment of the company. It was prepared by the staff of the marketing, sales and service operations, in part to exhort departmental leaders to better performance.