SWOT Analysis of Ford Motor Company

Table of Content

Ford Motor Company was founded on June 16, 1903 by a group of twelve investors and $28,000 cash. The strongest force in the group was Henry Ford, who made it his personal duty to see that every American could afford a car. He made this possible by perfecting the assembly line so that the company could mass produce automobiles. The Model T, the first production car ever, rolled off the assembly line on October 1, 1908, and concluded the year by selling 10,660 units1.

Throughout the rest of the century, Ford Motor Company continued to manufacture automobiles on the premise of making “Quality Job 1.” In 1996, the company set a whole new standard for the industry by redesigning the F-150, the number one selling automobile for the last 17 years. Later that year, Ford introduced the ‘97 Expedition, a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) based on the F-150. By years end, the Expedition would out-sell the competition by a considerable The primary members of the target market are mainly active females, ages 41-51, with an average income of $65,000. These females are usually moms, and make up roughly 55% of the buyers, while 36% of the consumers are of the 41-51 age group. Ford has found that most of the Expedition buyers have a college background consisting of a four year degree3. These demographics, while being the average target market, do not, in anyway, limit Ford to selling the Expedition to any and all consumers, who might be Ford Motor Company currently produces four different sport-utility vehicles, however, this report focuses on one of Ford’s largest, the Expedition. It is built on the platform of the Ford F-150, as a four-door large SUV. Ford positioned the Expedition in the market between the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban, it’s main competitors4. What makes the Expedition unique, is it’s ability to seat up to 9 people, like the Suburban, while still having the advantage of fitting easily into the standard garage. Another advantage of the Expedition is the choice of two highly sophisticated engines, the 4.6 L and 5.4 L V-8’s. Both are over-head-cam engines, which tend to have less wear-and-tear than the push-rod engines of old.

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The Expedition also possesses some unique-for-it’s-class safety features, such as: a fail safe cooling system – which will allow the engine to alternate on four cylinders in the event of a coolant loss; illuminated entry – this lights the interior so that the driver may see anyone lurking inside; battery shut-off – will turn off any light left on after 20 minutes; auto-lights – a sensor will automatically activate the headlights at night; Control-Trac – which is four-wheel traction capability in all weather conditions. These features, along with power-adjustable foot pedals, load-leveling suspension, and signal mirrors5; have made Expedition, not only unique, but also the number one selling SUV in it’s class since Expeditions are manufactured in Wayne, Mich., and sold throughout the United States and in many other countries around the world7.

They are available at authorized Ford dealerships, as well as at used car dealerships. Local Ford dealers include: Bolton Ford, Don Shetler, and Bubba Oustalet. These dealers and others, not only sell the Expedition and other Ford products to the consumer, but also provide additional services such as Quality Care (maintenance and repair), paint and body work, and the pick-up/delivery of vehicles. Recently, Ford Motor Company has made it even easier to find the right Ford for you, and the nearest dealer, by offering Ford Matchmaker on their In reference to size, the Expedition, as stated before, falls between the Tahoe and the Suburban, this is also true of the price. The Expedition’s base price range is from $27,520 to $34,2408. However, it is worth noting that the Expedition is not offered in a “stripped down” version, like it’s competition. The lower-end XLT Expedition comes standard with various features from tinted glass and power everything (mirrors, windows, steering, & locks) to dual Second Generation air bags, anti-lock brakes, and keyless entry.

The Eddie Bauer Expedition, on the other hand, sports all the features of the XLT plus illuminated running boards, electronic automatic temperature control, overhead console, third-row seating, and leather seats (including captain’s chairs). Options include four-wheel drive, 5.4L V8, moonroof, heated seats, and the list goes on9. Although the Expedition is only offered in two trim lines, the possible combinations are seemingly The Ford has made a recent commitment to producing many low emission vehicles, such as the Expedition. With 45% less smog forming hydrocarbons than before, it actually emits half the pollutants of other SUV’s. With new technologies such as these, Ford has launched a “Better Ideas, Driven By You” campaign promoting the Expedition in television and newspaper ads10. Other forms of promotions include: billboards, radio, on-line ads, year-end discounts, and word of mouth from satisfied consumers, which is the most effective form of promotion, because it comes from someone who has test the product first hand. Since it’s introduction, the Ford Expedition has been a major success, exceeding all expectations of both Ford and it’s competitors. In the first year alone, the Expedition sold 214, 524 units, and, in the proccess, achieved the number one ranking in the large SUV class11. The accomplishments continued throughout ‘98. That year the segment of large SUV’s, as a whole, sold 641,100 units.

The Expedition accounted for over 35% of that with sales of 225, 703 units, and was again ranked number one12. The most recent figures show still more growth, with the Expedition posting sales of 20,704 units for the month of March alone, this is up 20% from the year before13. Heavy sales, like these, contribute to the Expedition’s ranking of 9th in total sales in North America for 1998, and makes it the only large SUV in the top ten14. With the success of the Expedition and other Ford Motor Company products, along with continuous buy-outs of other major companies, Ford has consistently closed the gap between it and the number one sales ranking for total vehicles sold throughout the world. Despite the number one ranking in it’s class, the Expedition is continuously being improved to meet, beat, and set new industry standards. Ford adds new technological advancements to the Expedition each year, such as the lower emissions engines and the load-leveling suspension. These and other innovations introduced by Ford have raised the bar in the large SUV segment, and will continue to strengthen the Ford Expedition’s.


  1. “Four Foul Weather Friends,” Consumer Reports, June 1997: 52-53, 57. Neve, Bradley, “Long-Term: Ford Expedition XLT,” Car and Driver, May 1998: 153.
  2. Ford Expedition Ninety-nine (Brochure), 1999: 5,7,11,15,19,20. “1998 Model Year: By The Numbers,” Automobile Magazine, March 1999: 19.
  3. Ford Expedition Ninety-nine (Brochure), 1999: 5,7,11,15,19,20.
  4. “Production of Expedition, Navigator Models Increased,” Wall Street Journal, May 2, LEV + SUV = Cleaner Air, “Better Ideas. Environment,” www2.ford.com.
  5. An American Legacy, “Better Ideas. First 100 Years,” www2.ford.com.
  6. Ford Motor Company’s U.S. Sales Up 13%, “News,” www2.ford.com. News,
  7. “The Facts On Ford Trucks,” www.fordunleashed.com.


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