SWOT Analysis of Ford (5 Key Strengths in 2021)

This Ford SWOT analysis reveals how a pioneering automobile company used its competitive advantages to become one of the most innovative automotive manufacturers in the world.

It identifies all the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that affect the company the most. If you want to find out more about the SWOT of Ford, you’re in the right place.

For more information on how to do a SWOT analysis please refer to our article.

Keep reading.

Company Background

Key Facts
NameFord Motor Company
FoundedJune 16, 1903
LogoFord logo
Industries servedAutomotive and Financial Services
Geographic areas servedWorldwide (62 countries)
HeadquartersDearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Current CEOJames P. Hackett
Revenue (US$)156.776 billion (2017) 3.3% increase over 151.800 billion (2016)
Profit (US$)7.628 billion (2017) 66% increase over 4.596 billion (2016)
Employees202,000 (2018)
Main CompetitorsFiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors Company, Honda Motor Company, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault-Nissan B.V., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, Volkswagen AG Group and many other automotive companies.

Ford Motor Company business overview from the company’s financial report:

“With about 202,000 employees worldwide, the Company designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. To expand our business model, we are aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities with investments in electrification, autonomy, and mobility.

In 2017, we sold approximately 6,607,000 vehicles at wholesale throughout the world. Substantially, all of our vehicles, parts and accessories are sold through distributors and dealers, the substantial majority of which are independently owned. We do not depend on any single customer or a few customers to the extent that the loss of such customers would have a material adverse effect on our business.

In addition to the products we sell to our dealerships for retail sale, we also sell vehicles to our dealerships for sale to fleet customers, including commercial fleet customers, daily rental car companies, and governments.”[1]

You can find more information about the business in Ford’s official website or Wikipedia’s article.

Ford SWOT analysis

1. Ford’s F-Series pickup truck line

Ford has produced the best-selling pickup truck in the U.S. market for a record 41 years in a row, via its F-Series pickup trucks (a lifestyle/light commercial vehicle with an enclosed cab and an open rear cargo area with low sides and tailgates).[1]

The company’s F-Series pickups outsold nearest competitor in this segment by more than 200,000 vehicles in 2017, taking a 31.8% share of the pickup vehicles market.

Figure 1. Best-selling pickup trucks in the U.S. 2015-2017

RankBrand2017201620152-year growth
1.Ford F-Series896,764820,799780,35414.9%
2.Chevrolet Silverado585,864574,876600,544-2.4%
3.RAM P/U500,723489,418451,11611%
4.GMC Sierra217,943221,680224,139-2.8%
5.Toyota Tacoma198,124191,631179,56210.3%
Total2,822,8382,692,5402,543,59511%

Source: Good Car Bad Car[2]

The company heavily invests in its F-Series product line, owning more than 100 patents related to pickups. Ford renews its F-150 models every few years and expects to introduce its first diesel engine in 2018 as well as enhanced connectivity features. A hybrid F-Series model will be available for sale in 2020.

The F-150 is the most profitable and the most successful model for Ford to date, so the company makes every effort to provide the best quality vehicles with the most innovative technologies to assist drivers accordingly.

Why do the F-Series pickups give Ford an edge over its competitors?

  • Profitability. Pickups are more profitable vehicles than compact cars or SUVs. In 2015, Nick Bunkley from Auto News[3] calculated that on average Ford was making at least US$10,000 in profit from a single F-150 sold. Considering that Ford sold 896,764 units of these pickups in 2017, Ford’s F-150 profits should have totaled around US$9 billion from these vehicles alone. By making so much profit from one line of vehicles the company can invest more in its other models and subsidize them in order to increase their market share.
  • It drives their sales growth in the U.S. The U.S. is the second largest automotive market in the world and is Ford’s main market. The company sold 2,566,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2017, of which over a third were pickup trucks. However, Ford’s market share in the U.S. declined from 14.9% in 2015 to 14.8% in 2017, despite the significant growth of pickup trucks. The company’s market share in its largest market therefore currently significantly depends on the F-Series’ success.
  • Pickup trucks are becoming a status symbol. According to a study done by MaritzCX[4], Ford’s F-150 pickup trucks are the most often purchased vehicle by people earning US$200,000-US$500,000 a year. That’s because pickup trucks are now seen as luxury vehicles, having many of the same features inside as luxury cars. In addition, their style, safety, usefulness and comfort have elevated their status. Ford is the leader in the pickup trucks market in the U.S. and its brand association with such a symbolic vehicle strengthens its overall brand image and reputation.

2. Brand reputation combined with the second most loyal customer base

Ford is the oldest of the three American companies, with its founder Henry Ford being famous for pioneering the revolutionary assembly line technique of mass production in the early 20th century. The company became famous for its mass produced vehicles such as the Model T and the Model A.

Interbrand ranks Ford’s brand as the 33rd most valuable in the world, valuing it at US$13.643 billion.[5] Forbes lists the brand as the 39th most valuable in the world valuing it at US$13.8 billion.[6] Both of these rankings make Ford the most valuable brand among the traditional “big three” American automotive companies – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

In the U.S. market, according to a 2015- 2017 analysis of new vehicle registrations, Ford had the second most loyal customer base in the U.S. vehicle market.[7] Ford’s F-Series, Lincoln’s MKC, MKX and MKZ brands were also named in their respective segments as having the most loyal customer base.

However, although Ford has a strong brand reputation globally with a presence in 62 countries, there is room for improvement. Both Forbes and Interbrand currently rank the Ford brand behind its international rivals Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda.

Access the full analysis… more Ford strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

Published: January 10, 2021
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Table of contents

  • Company Overview
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats
  • Summary
  • Sources

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Sources

  1. Ford Motor Company (2018). Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31st, 2017. Available at: http://shareholder.ford.com/~/media/Files/F/Ford-IR-V2/events-and-presentations/2018/F-2017-10-K-report.pdf Accessed January 10, 2019
  2. Cain, T. (2017). Top 11 Best-Selling Pickup Trucks In America – December 2017. Available at: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2018/01/top-11-best-selling-pickup-trucks-america-december-2017/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  3. Bunkley, N. (2015). The F-150, Ford’s heavy-duty profit hauler. Available at: http://www.autonews.com/article/20150428/BLOG06/150429797/the-f-150-fords-heavy-duty-profit-hauler Accessed January 10, 2019
  4. Woodyard, C. (2017). Many rich folks opt for plain ol’ pickups, economy cars. Available at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2017/02/20/many-rich-folks-opt-plain-ol-pickups-economy-cars/97978392/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  5. Interbrand (2018). Best Global Brands 2017. Available at: http://interbrand.com/best-brands/best-global-brands/2017/ranking/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  6. Forbes (2018). The World’s Most Valuable Brands. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/powerful-brands/list/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  7. IHS Markit (2018). General Motors Retains Leadership as Top Manufacturer in Automotive Loyalty Awards Presented by IHS Markit. Available at: http://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/automotive/general-motors-retains-leadership-top-manufacturer-automotive-loyalty-award Accessed January 10, 2019
  8. Toyota Motor Corporation (2017). Form 20-F for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31st, 2017. Available at: http://www.toyota-global.com/pages/contents/investors/ir_library/sec/pdf/20-F_201703_final.pdf Accessed January 10, 2019
  9. General Motors Company (2018). Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31st, 2017. Available at: http://www.gm.com/company/investors/sec-filings.html Accessed January 10, 2019
  10. Volkswagen AG (2018). Annual Report 2017. Available at: https://www.volkswagenag.com/presence/investorrelation/publications/annual-reports/2018/volkswagen/en/Y_2017_e.pdf Accessed May 25, 2018
  11. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (2018). FCA Annual Report 2017. Available at: https://www.fcagroup.com/en-US/investors/financial_regulatory/financial_reports/files/FCA_NV_2017_Annual_Report.pdf Accessed January 10, 2019
  12. Chutel, L. (2017). It took 39 fires before Ford recalled exploding SUVs in South Africa. In the US, it took 0. Available at: https://qz.com/901046/ford-recalls-exploding-kuga-suv-in-south-africa/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  13. LeBeau, P. (2014). Big 3 Dominance Slipping as Competition Heats Up. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/12/18/big-3-dominance-slipping-as-competition-heats-up.html Accessed January 10, 2019
  14. Ford Motor Company (2015). Ford at CES Announces Smart Mobility Plan and 25 Global Experiments Designed to Change the Way the World Moves. Available at: https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2015/01/06/ford-at-ces-announces-smart-mobility-plan.html Accessed January 10, 2019
  15. Ford Motor Company (2016). Ford Tops Industry for U.S. Patents Granted in ; Employees Set New Record for Annual Number of Inventions. Available at: https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/12/09/ford-tops-industry-for-us-patents-granted-in-2016.html Accessed January 10, 2019
  16. Lee, T. (2016). Which Automakers Have the Best Recall Rate and Timeliness? Available at: http://blog.iseecars.com/2016/11/03/which-automaker-has-the-best-recall-rate-or-timeliness/ Accessed January 10, 2019
  17. J.D. Power (2018). Most Owners Still in Love with Their Three-Year-Old Vehicles, J.D. Power Finds. Available at: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/jd-power-2018-us-vehicle-dependability-study Accessed January 10, 2019
  18. BMW Group (2016). Annual Report 2016. Available at: https://www.bmwgroup.com/content/dam/bmw-group-websites/bmwgroup_com/ir/downloads/en/2015/12784_GB_2015_engl_Finanzbericht_Online.pdf Accessed January 10, 2019
  19. Research and Markets (2017). Global Autonomous Vehicles Market – Analysis & Forecast (2016-2025). Available at: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wd2lrs/global_autonomous Accessed January 10, 2019
  20. Grand View Research (2017). Autonomous Cars/Driverless Cars Market Analysis And Segment Forecasts To 2024. Available at: http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/driverless-cars-market Accessed January 10, 2019
  21. CB Insights (2017). 44 Corporations Working On Autonomous Vehicles. Available at: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/autonomous-driverless-vehicles-corporations-list/ Accessed January 10, 2019
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