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From Russia with a shit – how Ford drove himself into a corner


From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

The first focus gave the Russians a taste for decent and, above all, new foreign cars. Too bad that everything ends up so sad …

If you've been caught red-handed at the scene, it's foolish to hope for an acquittal. The worst is over and you are waiting for the sentence without excessive fear.

It has long been known that Ford will change politics in Russia drastically. Immediately after the new year when the Ford Motor Company's catastrophic loss data was released in Europe. It wasn't until the end of the third quarter of 2018 that $ 245 million was up! Then it became clear that the cleaning process would not be easy and painless. When Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak confirmed today that Ford is really restricting the production of all (!) Passenger models in Russia, no one was particularly surprised. Rumors of the closure of two of the three Ford factories in Russia at once: in Vsevolozhsk, where Focus and Mondeo are manufactured, and in Naberezhnye Chelny, where Ecosport and Explorer are manufactured, have been around for several months.

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

Amazing situation. In Russia, Ford has three plants with a capacity of more than 300,000 cars a year! However, only 50,000 Fords are sold each year.

Much more curious to understand how Ford managed to sink into such a cause? And that's the bottom, no other way. According to the 2018 results, Ford was only 10th in Russia – 50 360 cars were sold. Growth of 6% compared to 2017 should not be misleading. First, the Ford managers threatened to increase sales by more than 20% in early 2018. It did not work. Even worse, there is not a single (!) Ford in the top 25 of the Russian market. Where do they come from? Recently, commercial branded models make up about 80% of total demand …

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

As a result of the restructuring, only the company in Elabuga, the birthplace of Russian transit, will remain in Ford's Russian clip. It is quite logical. At the moment, this is the only Ford model that is really popular in Russia. This is a fiasco for a company that sold almost 120,000 cars in Russia in 2011. At the same time, "Ford's" planned to double its market share in the Russian market in the near future. In reality it was not growth, but a more than two-fold decline.

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

Transit is the only Ford that still has fans in Russia

Many problems can be attributed to economic crises in the country, sanctions or increased solar activity. However, the Blue Oval caused most problems. This applies both to the specialists from Ford Europe and to the figures of the Ford Sollers joint venture.

Maybe global mishaps will be more severe. At Ford's European office, they overslept all the key trends of the past decade. Although the trend was just a trend for a long time, other crossovers are good and different. Everyone understood that, including the French. But until recently, Euro-Ford relied on yesterday's heroes: hatchback, sedan and – oh, horror! – single volume. While competitors stamped all types and stripes of new SUVs, Ford was honored with just one crossover model that was developed exclusively for the European market – Kuga.

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

Vsevolozhsk started the Russian Ford success story. Success passed – the system became unnecessary

According to short-sighted Ford bosses, the demand for SUVs in other segments should be throttled by models from the Brazilian (Ecosport) and US (Edge, Explorer) markets. However, generous investments in Europe received major projects for the creation of the new Mondeo (CD4), which they will now outsource to China and the monocontainers B-Max and C-Max – they should be abandoned altogether.

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

B-Max Auto is not the worst. The demand for vans in Europe is long gone. But Ford didn't seem to know about it …

And how much money was put into a completely absurd project to create a premium sub-brand Vignale! How do you feel about people who seriously believed that people would hurry to overpay Mondeo and Edge, tastelessly dipped in chrome?

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

A bad strategy is only part of the problem. Even worse – Ford has forgotten how to build cool cars. Sounds tough, but judge for yourself. In the early 2000s, Ford fought for the title of best car in almost every segment. The first and second “trick” were masterpieces. "Mondeo" tried to get on par with Passat, "Fiesta" stubbornly resisted the French, who drove in Class B in those years.

Where did everything go The third “focus” – cramped and inconspicuous – is inferior to the same goal even for the Koreans. "Mondeo" slipped into the status of a niche model. Only the Fiesta is still good, but the popularity of the Class B hatchback models is limited to Europe. But the normal mid-range crossover in the competition has not hit RAV4 and CR-V, but at least the Tussan that Ford couldn't build. And not to mention the design, which under the strict guidance of Morey Callam and Joel Piaskowski confidently gets to the bottom …

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

The Ford Fusion Mini SUV, which was very popular in Europe and Russia, had no direct heir. Why?

With such introductory remarks, it is even embarrassing to ask the Ford bosses in Russia strictly. But ours actually have something to blame. Who is to blame for the strange selection of models for on-site assembly? It seems that the outrageous and miserable in "Fiesta" Sedan and in "Eco Sport" were only invented so that the last doubts disappear from the person who decided to buy "Rio" or "Creta".

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

Ford Fiesta Sedan – synonymous with "ugly car"

Was it worth investing in the introduction of an essentially niche explorer, while the candidacy for a more compact and massive Edge seemed more promising? Why isn't Toyota ashamed to bring a Forchuner frame based on the Hilux pickup chassis to Russia, and Ford itself not only offers an ideally similar Everest model, but also takes its pickup out of sale?

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

Ford Everest was able to find its buyer not only in Australia, but also in Russia …

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

At the right price, the Ford Escort (also disguised as Focus Mk II) could keep up with Solaris and Rio. But no, in Russia they decided to release Mondeo and Explorer

Why did the strategists of "Soller" spoil such an ideal budget car as the "Escort" – essentially a second-generation limousine from "Focus" that was apparently disguised as "Focus III"? With correct positioning and local assembly, this car could become a really popular "Ford" … Unfortunately Vsevolozhsk riveted the "Focus" seven years ago, which was "cheered up" by a capricious turbo engine and a snotty "Powershift" …

From Russia with a shit - how Ford drove himself into a corner

So we didn't wait for the fourth focus …

Ford wants to make a good face in a bad game and focus on the most profitable segments in Russia – commercial vehicles and SUVs. As if there are SUVs in the European model range that could interest someone …

Trunk Monkeys



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