It's Not Easy Being Green: Ford's Future in the New Age of Diminishing Fossil Fuels

FordA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students By Anne Campeau, Elizabeth Clark, Jay Jacobsmuhlen, Kyle Scott and Chad Winters

The future of the automobile clearly does not favor the traditional combustible engine. Can Ford adjust and prosper in the new global green environment?

Josh Watson, a 35 year old accountant from Akron, Ohio is looking for a new car in the coming model year. Watson and his wife, Lori, are looking for a car with style and safety. But most important, Josh was to see the numbers, Watson wants to be sure he gets good mileage. Lori’s priorities mirror Josh’s but she also wants a car that will be environmentally friendly. The Watsons, lifelong Midwesterners, want to buy American if they can and Lori has a personal affinity for Ford, since her father worked for the company for over 25 years. They both have heard that Ford is working to minimize the environmental impacts of motor vehicles and they have been impressed with some new vehicles Ford has been offering. Having done some research on new cars, Josh and Lori visit a local Ford dealer, Park Ford in nearby Tallmadge, Ohio.

Ford's 21st century revolution

Ford Motors CEO Alan MulallyBy Han-Li Chang, Juan Carlos Hussong, Karan Singh, Milena Flament, Rohan Ghotage and Torry Schoenfeld

During its early years, Ford earned a good reputation thanks to the T-model, the first affordable, mass-produced car in automotive history. Over time, Ford’s reputation became notorious for its emphasis on affordability at the expense of quality and innovation. The 1970 Ford Pinto is a good example of bad design and low quality. Through a series of low-quality cars, Ford’s reputation deteriorated.

As an editor of, a major car magazine in Taiwan, Han-Li Chang tested all of the new cars sold in the automotive market in order to present fair comments about them to aid in consumer purchasing. At that time, it was difficult to write anything good about Ford. Han-Li discovered rusty car frames and flawed transmissions on brand new Fords. While Japanese competitors were flourishing with their innovative high quality cars, Ford was still not prioritizing quality and technology.

The automobile industry is, and has been, highly competitive. The big three American automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, have for many years adopted similar strategies. They focused on delivering the American dream car: Roomy, comfortable, big engines, and lots of horsepower.  In recent years the big three shifted many of their resources from small and mid-size cars to satisfy the SUV craze of the domestic market. Very few resources were allocated to innovation or R&D. Fuel efficiency and hybrid technology were largely ignored.

Subscribe to RSS - Ford