Ford Dealer Outlook: Batten Down Hatches Again

Batten down the hatches is a recurring theme for Ford dealers and it's more of the same in 2008. But there is reason to hope better days may be ahead. CEO Alan Mulally's turnaround plan appears to be sound, having exceeded Wall Street's projections every quarter the past year. Future product, such as the Flex and the B-car, are promising. And there should be better marketing with the arrival of Toyota's

Batten down the hatches is a recurring theme for Ford dealers and it's more of the same in 2008.

But there is reason to hope better days may be ahead. CEO Alan Mulally's turnaround plan appears to be sound, having exceeded Wall Street's projections every quarter the past year.

Future product, such as the Flex and the B-car, are promising. And there should be better marketing with the arrival of Toyota's wunderkind Jim Farley as chief marketing officer.

On the downside, much of Ford's product is aging and still too reliant on trucks and SUVs. Still those two segments are profitable for the auto maker and dealers.

Of course, we'll understand if Ford dealers are holding their breath. If the market falls to the neighborhood of 15 million sales, many of them won't survive. We said it a year ago, and we'll say it again — the question for Ford isn't how many dealers it can cut, but how many of its top ones can it keep.

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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