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548 Part Four | Extending Marketing COMPANY Case Ford: Resurrecting an Iconic Company The old phrase, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” perfectly describes what has happened to the U.S. auto industry over the past decade. Consider the Ford Motor Company. In 1998, the iconic company accounted for 25 percent of all cars and trucks sold. Its F-series pickup was the best selling vehicle on the planet, with more than 800,000 units rolling off assembly lines. The Ford Explorer held the top slot in the hot SUV market. And the Ford Taurus had been a perennial contender for the top selling sedan. Ford was number two on the Fortune 500 (GM was number one) with $153 billion in revenues. A strong stock price gave Ford a market value of…show more content…
Mulally considered the conglomeration of automotive companies a failed experiment and immediately set out to divest the company of Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Land Rover. He even went one step further. Ford’s storied Mercury division had always had the mission of providing Ford with a mid-priced car that fit between inexpensive Ford models and its more luxurious Lincolns. But Mercury was a dying brand, so Mulally gave it the axe. Compete in Every Market Segment with Carefully Defined Products. Even with only the Ford and Lincoln divisions left, Mulally was convinced that Ford could compete in all major industry segments: cars, SUVs, and trucks, in sizes small through large. Mulally loves to tell the story of how he started revamping Ford’s product line: I arrive here, and the first day I say, “Let’s go look at the product lineup.” And they lay it out, and I said, “Where’s the Taurus?” They said, “Well, we killed it.” I said, “What do you mean, you killed it?” “Well, we made a couple that looked like a football. They didn’t sell very well, so we stopped it.” “You stopped the Taurus?” I said. “How many billions of dollars does it cost to build brand loyalty around a name?” “Well, we thought it was so damaged that we named it the Five Hundred.” I said, “Well, you’ve got until tomorrow to find a vehicle to put the Taurus name on because
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