"Reality" has broken the facade many of us suffer from: Our economy is falling apart. And so is Ford. They just announced an $8.7 Billion loss -- Its largest ever -- based on write downs and mounting losses in North America. Alan Mulally is not Ford's "golden ticket". No one can shield Ford -- Or any other carmaker for that matter -- From the buying decisions of the markets they serve.
Ford's trucks -- Once the premium money maker for the company -- Is no longer. They've delayed the launch of their flagship F-150 line and are continuing to take drastic measures to reduce their losses. Still, it's not enough to save the Detroit automaker from terminal failure in the short-term.
In the middle of this half-floating boat is Volvo. Purchased in 1999 by then Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, the Swedish automaker has been to hell and back with its parent company. Like the neglected child of a careless parent, Volvo has suffered greatly under Ford's hardships. At last count, Ford has contemplated selling Volvo about a million times now. They've already sold Aston-Martin and Jaguar, so why not Volvo?
The sad truth is that Volvo was never a good fit for Ford. There's too much clutter, corporate politics and bureaucracy which get in the way of allowing Volvo to flourish. The greatest mistake Ford made -- Under the direction of Nasser -- Was going on an ill-conceived shopping spree for foreign automakers, rather than shoring up and breathing new life into its own brands and products. Why would an automaker like Ford -- The world's most imitated trendsetter in the industry -- Ignore its own staple of innovation and history in favor of another?
Now that Ford is in "deep recovery mode", I think now is the time to bid Volvo farewell, divesting its interest in the company and selling it to a better caretaker: Honda Motor Company of Japan. Honda has all the right things going for it:
- They run a highly efficient and cost-effective company
- Their model lineup isn't hampered by gaz-guzzling vehicles
- They develop some of the world's most efficient gas engines
- They have the foresight and business acumen necessary for Volvo's revival
- They've outpaced American automakers for years in technology and innovation
I think Ford and Honda should talk. Honda would gain an incredible Swedish brand known for its safety innovation and technology, while Volvo would be in more capable hands to nurture its model line, stained culture and future success. Working together, Honda and Volvo could be the match of innovation and success that no one saw coming. More than a "match made in heaven", the pairing of these two automakers would create an alliance that would make the likes of BMW and Mercedes drool with envy.
How about it, Honda?