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What Happened To Ford’s U.S. Market Share During The Mark Fields Era?

Bill Ford and Mark Fields 2018 Ford F150 - Image: FordPrior to this morning’s announcement that outgoing Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields is “retiring,” Fields was in charge at the Blue Oval for nearly three years. Just a little more than ten quarters, to be more precise.

In eight of those quarters, Ford Motor Company U.S. market share declined, year-over-year.

Ford was not without excuse, of course. There was always market share to be taken if Ford wanted it. But an attempt to limit reliance on daily rental fleet sales, particularly with Ford’s passenger car division, did the automaker’s market share no favors. Ford’s transition from old F-150 to the new aluminum-bodied model was a major switch, too, and sales growth during the transition phase wasn’t easy to come by.

Nevertheless, Ford’s U.S. market share didn’t nosedive during the Mark Fields era. The burden on incoming CEO Jim Hackett’s shoulders won’t be the elevation of Ford Motor Company market share in the automaker’s home market.

No, it’s the price of a Ford share that matters right now.

Ford USA market share chart - Image: © The Truth About CarsThree weeks into Mark Fields’ tenure as CEO at Ford Motor Company, Ford shares were trading at $17.84.

Never again would Fields’ Ford be valued so highly. A year into his reign, Ford shares had fallen 17 percent. Compared with July 2015, Ford’s stock price in July 2016 was down a further 8 percent.

Prior to Fields’ ousting today, Ford shares were 39-percent lower than when Fields took higher office in Dearborn.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra took over at GM six months before Fields became CEO of Ford Motor Company. During Barra’s term, GM shares ebbed and flowed, never rising as high as the $41.04 price GM enjoyed just before Barra arrived; never falling more than one-third lower than that December 2013 mark; steadying now at roughly $33/share. That’s down about 14 percent since March.Ford MoCo share price Mark Fields era - Image: © Timothy CainIn early trading this morning, Ford shares were up slightly more than 1 percent.

Back at Ford’s sales desk, Ford Motor Company only once earned more than a 16 percent share of the U.S. auto industry while Mark Fields was in charge. That was in February 2016.

In the 18 months prior to Fields taking over from Alan Mulally, the Ford Motor Company earned greater than 16 percent market share on six occasions, albeit not once in the final nine months of Mulally’s administration.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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