At the end of this year, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) plans to have 85% of its global sales coming from just nine core platforms. Creating economies of scale was one of the main reasons Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was able to return to profitability only a year after General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and Chrysler declared bankruptcy. Trimming the number of platforms it uses has enabled Ford to juice its operating margin to a strong 11% in the United States.
When you own stock in companies like Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), you need to know the products and numbers down to the finest detail. It’s important to understand where the vehicles have had past success and how the company plans to improve their positioning for increased sales going forward. Here’s a look at two vehicles that will be key to increasing Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s market share globally and reaching its goal of achieving that 85% figure.
Fiesta and Focus
According to data from Polk, Ford’s Focus was 2012’s No. 1 selling nameplate — topping more than a million sales globally. As Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing, put it:
Focus and Fiesta represent the culmination of our One Ford global product strategy. … Our global products are resonating with consumers – especially in the best-selling, most competitive segments — with their unique combination of fuel efficiency, high quality, rich content and fun-to-drive personalities. Through One Ford, we’re able to bring economies of scale and fantastic value to customers all around the world.
In March, the Focus helped deliver a record-breaking sales month and quarter in China. That’s an important development, as Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) trails rival General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) significantly there. Sales of the Focus more than doubled in March, up 148%. The numbers were even better for the quarter — up 156%.
Fiesta, in the future
The Fiesta is proof that Ford is now producing smaller, valuable, and more fuel-efficient vehicles to compete with imports. Its success will be important for Ford to take market share in segments long dominated by Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) and Honda.
What’s even more important is the long-term vision Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has with this vehicle. Auto buyers are very loyal to brands, and securing the next generation will be important to continuing growing sales. The Fiesta is aimed at attracting a younger consumer — millennials in particular, a generation that represents almost 80 million consumers, with an estimated purchasing power of $170 billion. That makes it the largest generation since the baby boomers, and much larger than Generation X’s 48 million.