Federal Government declares Ford 'biggest loser' over past five years
Official Bureau of Statistics research into the mix of vehicles on Australian roads has found Ford to be the biggest loser from 2013-2018. But, of course, Holden is poised to fight back...
This report has a significant chunk of satire in it, but also a sobering side, if you’re in the market for a new car. See, the resale value of the car you buy today is driven mainly by demand for that car in the used market in the future. Therefore: don’t buy a brand today, which people are running away from.
Depreciation is huge for car owners - if you had to pay it monthly, perhaps at the Post Office, in cold, hard cash, there would be protests in the street. Thankfully, it’s a silent killer.
Therefore, jumping on a drowning horse today is a catastrophic financial error - with the bill coming due in three to five years. Depreciation on the wrong car will easily cost you more than all the fuel you tip down that car’s neck, for the three years, or whatever, that you own it.
Buyers desert Ford
2018 Australian Motor Vehicle Census >> just in, from the Bureau of Statistics. Love a good statistic. The big news: Almost 22 per cent fewer Fords actually registered, out there on the road, over the past five years. That’s almost a quarter less, and they didn’t all burn to the ground...
Registered vehicles by brand, 2013-2018
Download the full Motor Vehicle Census data >>
That’s a rather inelegant swan-dive totalling 340,000 fewer blue-oval badged dungboxes in that time, off a base of just over 1.5 million Fords in 2013. That’s a massive decline. Perhaps owners are finally catching on (see below).
Holden, coming off a higher base - two million cars - has kissed goodbye about 180,000 cars, ‘out there’ in the national car park in that time - that’s 12 per cent down for GM’s loser third-rate outpost in Port Melbourne.
These figures are even more sobering when you consider the overall trend: There are 1.3 million more cars on the road today. That’s growth of about about 10 per cent in that five-year period.
Why this happened (satire steeped in truth)
A Ford insider, whom I may not have actually interviewed, said:
“We don’t beat Holden very often, so we’re overjoyed. This is a solid result off the back of the foundations we laid with the PowerShit Transmission >>, and the money we save on R&D into fire prevention across all our vehicles.”
Ford expects reduced relevance to be a foundational pillar of its performance in Shitsville into the future. That court-enforceable undertaking they signed with the ACCC back in April this year - 15 pages of filthy, consumer violating dirty laundry oxygenated so publicly - that’s definitely gunna help.
The $10 million fine >> for unconscionalbe conduct over the PowerShit Transmission - an anti-PR master-stroke.
That and the dodgy floating deck >> design in the block for the ‘douchebag drift mode >>’ Focus RS. And the self-immolating Ranger DPF system >>. Triumphs, individually, but collectively, a masterstroke.
Exploiting the synergies of company-wide philosophical integration and alignment...
Think I'm kidding about the underlying truth? Check out these reports below (click to enlarge):
Whether it’s a ‘mainstream’, ‘halo’ or ‘blue singlet’ car, Ford has your back. While you grab your ankles.
A chap I was making small talk with at a public urinal near the stock exchange told me, at the highest level, Ford seems focussed and on track. Chairman Bill Ford replaced Mark Fields at the top with:
“Some dude with a background in office furniture >> and now they’re really kidding everyone >> trying to pay their dividend. Inconsequential ‘joke’ markets like ours in Shitsville are really dragging Ford down.”
You may have missed this announcement, because I’m just making it up now, but Ford recently introduced its controversial ‘LessShit’ policy - a company-wide directive to turn the business around by making every operational aspect incrementally less shit over time.
It’s how they do it with office furniture. Well, that’s what I heard.
A homeless woman I gave $10 bucks to the other day on Elizabeth Street, said:
“People scoffed when Ford announced LessShit - but look what they’ve already achieved. Previously, whole cars would burn to the ground randomly. Now, fires in as many as 1.4 million F-150s >> are limited to the B-pillar, and only when the seatbelt pre-tensioners are deployed in a crash. That’s real progress.”
A dude on a street corner in a Baltimore, with a bunch of 12-year-old kids working for him, told me via Skype: under LessShit, Ford had opened up a viable revenue stream with generous tax concessions.
They now use Fords built in Mexico as drug mules >> in a joint venture with cartels strategically located south of Donald Trump’s wall.
A pimp in an orange Mustang outside a strip club in Kings Cross said:
“Safety is critical in my business. LessShit means my new ‘Stang is now three stars >> on safety, while those losers who rushed in early, before LessShit, only got death traps with two stars. If you don’t think about it too hard, that’s a 50 per cent increase in safety, right there.”
According to a busted-arse dude in a neck brace I spoke to in a public hospital in Mexico:
“LessShit is about forging philosophical change. On the production line they introduced exoskeleton suits >> for workers like me, to boost productivity. Anyone who slacked off got a motivational electric shock. Pretty cool, huh?”
A bold take on the brainless management aphorism: ‘do more with LessShit’. Brilliant.
The company’s head of product development, Hua Thai-Tang (I’m not making that up) ... anyway, Big Hua has promised to slash the number of platforms >> Ford inflicts on the public from 30, down to just nine.
Just nine steps from perfection...
You’d think making a product LessShit would also make it more expensive, but au contraire. LessShit is amenable to increased modularity and is expected to save Ford $35 billion Shitsvillian pesos in Big Hua’s platform rationalisation initiative alone.
Ford will also resurrect the Territory >> but only for China. So, in all probability it’s not going to be part of the official LessShit programme. Not at all.
Personally I doubt that Ford can sustain LessShit - it’s just not in their DNA.
Winners & losers
Back to the serious stuff: My take on this is that Ford behaves like a global douchebag. Not only does it expect you to do business with it, it also expects you to love it. Even when it bends you over and burns you, sometimes literally.
These figures from the ABS are the biggest possible wake-up call for carmakers going the wrong way down the street, but US carmakers have a long tradition of arrogantly not giving two stuffs what you think or what you want.
You’re just a customer. So: the next five years will be interesting.
Among the top 15 companies out there on the road in Shitsville today, here are the ones that bucked the trend and grew market share ahead of that 10 per cent average growth.
Audi and Volkswagen: 83 and 62 per cent up respectively up in the past five years. Go team MonkeySpanker! The rise of the oxymoronic 'cheap prestige' car...
Kia is up 60 per cent - massive recent sales growth there. Three-pointed swastika up 44 per cent, mostly in the cheap seats.
Mazda up 38 per cent. Currently number two in sales. Hyundai up 35 per cent; currently third in sales - more than one million Hyundais on the road today - that’s about one in 14 cars.
BMW up 31 per cent. Subaru grew by 26 per cent in the national car park. Honda and Suzuki were ahead of the trend as well.
Toyota - the clear leader in terms of number of badges out there on our roads. Nearly three million vehicles. The Big T beat the five-year trend as well, but only by 0.7 per cent. Other brands are rapidly closing the gap.
These data from the ABS >> are an extremely worthwhile resource if you’re concerned about future resale value.
The elephant in the room is: closure of the local factory. Clearly, that's not the cause. (Because Toyota closed its factory, too - and it still managed to grow. The salient difference being that Toyota manages to treat its customers like ... customers.)
All those Ford sub-stories I presented before are, as you saw, based on the truth. Sure - I satirised the crap out of them. (In a sense, I made them MoreShit, not LessShit.) But those things all actually happened, incredibly enough. I could not have made most of them up - I'm just not that creative.
Steer clear of a new Ford or Holden today if you don't want to be burned by depreciation at the far end of the deal. That's my advice.
Sometimes I yearn for the good old days, when fiction was actually stranger than the news. Haven’t things changed?
And not just with cars.
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