Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)
Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference
June 4, 2014 14:40 ET
Joe Hinrichs - EVP & President, North America
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
Good afternoon everyone I’m Pat Nolan from Deutsche Bank up next we have Ford Motor Company. Ford’s execution over the past several years has been impressive. The company has transformed itself in terms of product portfolio, achieved aggressive growth in new markets and has had very strong financial performance. Over the next year the company is about to push on the accelerator more, there are about 23 new products this year. Significantly new to refresh [ph] as compared to 2011 models last year. This products will include the new Mustang, the Transit, the Focus, the Edge and of course the new product pipeline will include the new F150 which is I’m sure we have a lot of questions about today. Representing Ford please welcome Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President and President of North America. Also in attendance we have George Sharp, Executive Director of Investor Relations and Larry Heck, Manager of Investor Relations.
I will also ask to join the Q&A session. Please mention your company name before you ask your question. Joe?
Good afternoon everyone and thank you Pat for the introduction and I also welcome to those of you who are joining us on the webcast. It's always a pleasure to be back here in Chicago and as you know I’m President of both, all of Americas including North and South America, we will talk about both today and of course a great opportunity to talk to you here at Deutsche Bank and about our business and simply about our new and exciting products as well as how our business is doing. I will also touch on our outlook in prior going forward in the business.
Now today we will start off with our overview of our ONE Ford plan, a plan to share with you the progress we have made restructuring the business in North America including the strength and consistency of our operating and financial results as Pat mentioned over the last several years. I’m also very pleased to be able to provide an overview of some of the great new products that we’re bringing to the market this year including as was mentioned the all new F150, Mustang, Transit and out now the Lincoln MKC. And I’m going to provide a high level update on our business in South America including how the team is responding to a tough business environment, macroeconomic environment and positioning to capitalize on opportunities in the region and towards the end of the presentation I will touch on our 2014 planning assumptions and our total company outlook and of course we will save time for questions. So let’s get started.
We haven't been involved in the (indiscernible) wouldn’t recognize it but certainly our ONE Ford plan shown here continues to guide everything we do, it has been fundamental to the results that we see today. A key element of the plan is accelerating development of new products our customers want and value. Today we’re continuing to strengthen our product portfolio in traditional markets while aggressively expanding in growth markets around the world. At the same time we’re focused on our two brands Ford and Lincoln and continuously improving the favorable opinion, perception and revenue they command among our customers.
In addition, to products and brand initiatives we’re progressing our efforts to leverage our increasing scale, optimize our global footprint and improve it's flexibility and further strengthen our balance sheet all driven by a skilled and motivated team.
Now our global platform strategy underpins everything we’re doing to deliver new products that our customers want and value. This year more than 85% of our global volume will be based on these nine global core platforms. The benefits in this strategy are more products, faster product cadence because (indiscernible) is key and increased profitability. Optimizing our platform count lets us increase volume per platform and improving our engineering efficiencies and gaining economy of scale for us and our suppliers.
Now let’s take a look at North America. We have been working relentlessly to drive our ONE Ford plan in North America. As you can see here North America has been profitable and delivering strong and consistent earnings since 2010 even industry volumes that have been well below trend, for 2013 we are in a $8.8 billion in pretax profits, the highest pretax profits since 2000 when we began the reporting North America as a separate business unit.
In the U.S. we have made significant improvements in our market share revenue per unit and brand health over the last several years. North America’s operating margin has been above 8% since 2010. Our actions and hardware have built a strong foundation for our North American business and we’re well-positioned to grow profitability in the future.
And look at this slide it shows our 2014 key priorities, during these key product launch year we continue to expect North American pretax profits to be lower than 2013 which is a record with an operating margin ranging from 8% to 9%. We’re seeing the positive impacts of the accelerated quality improvements, I will talk about that later and at corner stone of our North America transformation is the development of outstanding products. As was mentioned we plan to launch a 16 new or significantly repriced vehicles this year in North America including the all-new F150.
As you know we have also embarked on the revitalisation of our Lincoln brand. This year the MKC launches as an all-new product in the Lincoln line-up and as always we continue to ensure all our cost that we add in the business are creating value.
Now let’s look at U.S. industry sales trends. Industry sales have continued to improve over the last several years, with an April year-to-date sales rate of 16.1 million units. Of course yesterday we announced as an industry, the industry came in around 17 million units counting to heavy industry that we counted our numbers. So quite a significant improvement. You can see the progress we’re making year-over-year.
U.S. retails industry sales are key driver and overall industry growth as you know it's shown in the bottom there. This retail growth primarily reflects strong replacement demand and for 2014 we continue to project U.S. industry volume including medium and heavy trucks to range from 16 million to 17 million units. Now this chart shows the trend of U.S. full sized pick-up truck sales and housing starts. The improving housing market is a key factor driving higher pick up sales, given the leadership of this for the F-Series, this is a very favorable trend for Ford Motor Company.
While the housing sector is one driver of full size pick-up sales other factors also having a positive impact right now including general construction, energy sector growth in the U.S. and in aging truck fleet which averages over 11 years for light duty trucks now.
We expect these trends to continue in 2014 with U.S. economic growth projected to be in the 2.5% to 3% range and ongoing improvement in the housing sector continuing. Our U.S. market share was 15.2% April year-to-date down 8/10th of a percentage point from a year ago reflecting plan reductions and daily rental business and lower small car retail shares especially Focus and C-Max. Our total F-Series share was unchanged through April versus a year ago. Of course in May our share came in at 15.5 which was slightly up where we have been so far this year. If you look at the last three quarters plus April and May we have been running at 15.3 market share for almost the last year now.
Now I would like to take a look at our recent quality data. We’re focused on accelerating our quality performance to achieve significant year-over-year improvement, this slide shows metrics from GQRS survey, an external survey of the customers for things gone wrong at three months in service. We have improved quality by 17% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. We have also closed the quality gap to best in class competition by over 50% quarter-over-quarter in the same period. Based on the same first quarter data we are also making substantial quality improvement in key systems including MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch Infotainment systems which are sold on most of our vehicles.
Although the J.D. Power initial quality studies didn’t come out until later this month. Our internal North America warranty data for current production the best level we have ever seen in our history. We’re also seeing good progress on customer satisfaction. So now let’s turn to our product plans for 2014.
We’re continuing to make significant investments in new products and are committed to maintaining leading technology and the freshest showroom in the industry. This slide when we use for our BPR every week shows our product line-up was the only were major changed vehicles outlined in blue. In fact Super Duty’s on this chart had a 6.7 Liter power upgrade and new King Ranch is event shown on this chart, showed you the level of product change we have going on this year.
Now let’s look at four all new products coming to our showrooms this year. All right, everyone in the world knows this is coming, available late this year, the all-new F150 is a reinvention of America’s favorite truck. The all-new F150 is a toughest, smartest and most capable F150 ever and we think it will set the standard for the future of trucks. The all-new F150 delivers an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency and for the first time high-strength material grade aluminum alloys are used throughout the F150 body. Overall vehicle is weight reduced up to 700 pounds, now the all-new F150 has over 100 new patents and patent applications and 11 new class exclusive features including a 360 degree camera above and integrated loading ramps stored in the pick-up trucks bed.
Now this year is especially the year for us as Ford it marks a 50th anniversary of the birth of Mustang. The Mustang is a cultural icon in America with sales totaling over 9 million units over the last 50 years. The all-new 2015 model is lower, wider and more aggressive than it's predecessor but remains a thorough breed Mustang. The Mustang will be available in fastback and convertible body styles and the Mustang powertrains include an upgrade V6 and V8 engines with an all-new 2.2 liter ecoboost engine added to the lineup.
Now the new Mustang will also have an all-new front Macpherson Strut suspension for those who love driving and all new integral linked independent rear suspension to improve the ride and handling. As you can tell we’re very excited about the next generation Mustang and we plan to bring this vehicle to new markets around the world globally for the first time.
The all new Transit will replace the bestselling E-Series Full Size Van. The all-new 2015 Transit offers a broadest configuration line-up for full size van customs are available in more variations than the competitions variations combined. Compared with today’s E-Series, the all-new transit will achieve an average of 25% better fuel efficiency, (indiscernible) 300 pounds more and has a 75% greater maximum cargo capacity. All right now let’s look at the Lincoln brands.
The Lincoln MKZ was the first of four all new vehicles at our Lincoln Transformation plan. This year Lincoln launches two new vehicles, the Navigator and the MKC. The MKC is the next new vehicle that joined Lincoln showroom which just joined actually started selling last week. It's on sale now, as I said in the MKC features include a retractable panoramic roof, enhanced free liftgate. It will be a great addition to the Lincoln line-up because this is the fastest growing segment of the luxury business the small premium utility segment.
Now let’s look at the factors that will drive our operating margin in North America this year. For 2014 we continue to expect wholesale volume to be lower than 2013 reflecting product launches and downtime for conversions like the 13 weeks of downtime for our F150 plans. Improved material cost reflect cost reductions offset partially by higher product cost for new vehicles, technologies and features. Higher warranty cost reflect reserve increases for recalls and other customer satisfaction actions for prior model year vehicles. We see higher structural cost supporting these new product introductions and our focus is always is to aggressively control these costs to ensure they are added more efficiently.
On balance we expect to continue strong operating margin in the 8% to 9% range. As highlighted 2014 is a key product year in North America. Our continuing focus on quality is driving improvement in closing the gap the best in class competition, operating margin is expected to remain strong in the 8% to 9% range including our key product launches this year. As we have done historically we will continue to focus on maintaining a leaning cost structure and improving operating efficiency.
All right that’s North America. Now let’s look at South America. For several years we delivered strong profits in the region, however as you can see from the chart that changed in 2012, several major factors has contributed to the deteriorating results in South America including weakening industry and currencies. Capital controls and regional trade policies have caused us to limit production and costs associated with our product transformation. Now many of the business environment changes that occurred rapidly and continue to evolve today. The good news is that our product transformation in South America is underway and we have been taking decisive action to address the changing business environment.
Now similar to North America we’re investing in new products in the region and are committed to maintaining leading technology and freshest showroom. In South America we’re launching several new repriced products including the Ka, Heavy Duty F-350 and the Mustang. Now this slide shows the concept photo of the all-new Ka small car to be launched later this year. Ka will have class leading fuel economy and a number of safety and technological features including SYNC, device dock, and in-cluster information center. The Ka will be a obtainable vehicle for the emerging consumer class in South America.
Now the overall business environment in South America is dynamic to say the least, industry volumes in our key markets are declining, new entrants and increasing industry capacity are creating a more difficult sales and pricing environment for established OEMs. Weakening currencies, inflation pressures, capital controls and reduced foreign reserves are impacting the regional economies. Trade balance issues are escalating and constraining our ability to import vehicles. All these factors will continue to have a negative impact on our financial results in 2014.
Now I would like to take a closer look at 2014 South America operating margin like we did in North America. We expect lower industry sales to be more than offset by higher market share and increased pricing to partially mitigate economics and deteriorating exchange rates. Material cost increases for new products were offset partially by other efficiencies, structural cost increases are related to new product introductions and higher inflation.
Currency continue to weaken including the recent changes in Venezuela currency exchange rate mechanisms. We continue to expect South America to incur a larger loss in 2014 compared with 2013 and we expect the last three quarters of this year in total to be about breakeven to a small loss. Although improved in the first quarter of 2014 we expect South America to incur a significant loss in the second quarter of 2014 reflecting primarily continued macroeconomic effects including weak currencies and low volume mainly driven by a weak industry.
The second half of 2014 South America is expected to be profitable with higher market share and increased pricing contributing to improved results. The launch of the all-new Ka small car is a key driver of the improvement expected in the second half of 2014.
So let’s recap on South America, external factors and competition are negatively impacting our business. Our new global products will drive a stronger brand, improve favorable opinion, higher market share and our ability to increase pricing. We will continue to drive efficiencies and optimize our global cost base. As I’ve mentioned we expect lower results reflecting difficult regional business conditions and although the operating environment in South America is more challenging today we remain confident that our plan will address the new business realities and positions us for growth in the future.
Now let’s look at the business unit and corporate guidance we provided previously. Now this slide shows the guidance provided in the first quarter earnings report for our business units and net interest expense. Our business unit guidance is unchanged. Our total company guidance is unchanged from our first quarter earnings announcement as well. We expect 2014 to be a solid year and a critical next step forward in implementing our ONE Ford plan. While we have not changed the guidance for our full year operating effective tax rate of about 35% the rate in the second quarter of 2014 is expected to be about 10 percentage points higher. The difference reflects calendarisation effects including the impact of regional profits and expected timing of U.S. research credit legislation.
Now let’s move on to our mid-decade outlook, as we have shown before we continue to work toward our mid-decade outlook which is aligned with our ONE Ford plan and our capital strategy.
All right everyone thanks for your time and attention. Now please to answer any of your questions you may have. Thanks.
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
It's Pat Nolan from Deutsche Bank. Joe I wanted a follow-up on the comment that Mark made on the first quarter call. He said that he expected North America margins to be at the high end of the 8% to 9% range you’re giving for the full year and that was despite the fact that Q1 had a warranty charge that drove the margins down to the low 7% range and that basically implies pretty strong results of the balance of the year and his comment seem to imply that a big portion of that improvement was going to be pricing and that seems to ahead on most of the new products. So can you talk about what’s going on in terms of pricing and what’s the driver of that improvement versus your prior expectations?
Yes pricing in the U.S. market is tale of different segments so you have to kind of break it out. On the truck side of the business pricing in the truck sector has been strong, as you’ve seen transaction prices for pick-up trucks are up year-over-year pretty significantly and in fact in May we had the highest transaction prices in the lowest incentives on our F150 and our Super Duty trucks. In the Super segment, we call it Super segment, so the small cars, medium cars and small utilities actually transaction prices have been declining as others have been a lot more aggressive in the marketplace. So the utilities are strong, so the bigger utilities are strong. So it's a little bit different depending on what part of the U.S. industry you’re talking about.
But clearly we have seen strong transaction price in which is important to our business and to others as well. We continue to stay in the 8% to 9% operating margin range clearly we are always working to do better and we will continue to do that. Since we have so many of the big launches ahead of us the rest of the year we will have to wait and get through those to see exactly how it plays out but we certainly are confident in our guidance that we provided. Thanks.
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
There is a chart on the industry for pick-up trucks comparing the cycle versus mid-decade or 2005, can you just elaborate on energy and obviously with the shale basins you probably talking about 20%-30% growth in the next 3 to 5 years and all the investment to capitalize on GPS -- has Ford done anything to try and quantify this 50,000 unit, a 100,000 units of different area of demand tied to shale?
Our economic group has been they have great models and historically strong correlation between housing starts and pick-up truck business as it was noted on the slide, what has changed a little bit and we’re now working on updating our modeling is the fact that the oil, the shale, the construction business has increased and that’s having a little bit larger effects on the truck business than historically it did. I can’t quantify because our teams modeling, we’re trying to model right now but we definitely believe and see in the data that the construction and the oil pick-up, no pun intended, is having an impact on truck sales in the U.S. and we’re working to model that. But I can’t give you a number and we definitely believe it's having a positive effect.
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
You commented several times in the past couple of days talking about the impact of the F-Series change over the 90,000 units. First, just a clarification on that, is that versus kind of your steady state, so that basically incorporates the 13 weeks of downtime and that’s what the overall impact of that is? And second does that comment incorporate and on the first quarter call you also talked about trying to increase potentially the production of the 2014 model year -- production so you run short on inventory, how is that progressing? Are you making progress there?
Yes the 90,000 number refers to 13 down weeks, it's not year-over-year because we didn’t put the third crew on in Kansas City until August of last year, so we have more capacity this year at normalized rate than we had last year because we have three crews at both plants and that’s 13 weeks down there for quite some time and that’s the math people have done on our average weekly production times 13.
That’s not new news, the buildup of inventory that will occur on the current models F150 will start to incur over now or into the summer months and then we take Dearborn truck down to convert to the aluminum and that’s a significant down period where we will not be producing one of our plants so then we will see some of the adjustment. One thing I was talking about extensively was just the fact that we have to manage this F150 conversion to aluminum over an extended period of time and it's not just managing the downtime with the truck plants when the convert this body shops from steel to aluminum. It's managing the inventory levels of the current model and the new model and the launch (indiscernible) curve at both plants will eventually come up to make sure that we maintain our sales rate and not get too ahead of ourselves or too behind ourselves or getting too aggressive perhaps and managing this over a year plus time period. That’s the trick of what we’re trying to manage in the industry.
As you’ve seen from our truck sales they have been strong and we had over 68,000 F-Series sold in May which is a very strong month but we’re monitoring this and managing it on a weekly basis to make sure that we watch what happens over the entire course of the launch period. It's an extended period of time with a lot more down time than usual and of course we intend to maintain our leadership and maintain our kind of stable level of truck sales.
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
But weren’t you trying to actually get a little additional capacity from your suppliers for the old model -- can you just talk about that in the first--
Yes we have certainly have looked and work with our supply base and our own manufacturing system to maximize every absolutely hour of production in 2014 because our business is strong, our truck business continues to be very strong and we want to make sure that we have enough trucks to transition ourselves through which we believe do transition through the launch period. But we will continue to look for and are continuing to look for ways to make more F150s.
A question on commonality over the times period rather than the (indiscernible), at any given point you’ve platform leverage more commonality between platform that’s helpful. I also wanted to understand how much commonality is there as you go from model year to another and what is the optimal number for that? And second question related to that somewhat is I frequently hear from some of your suppliers that there is not enough commonality between geographies and that creates problems for companies especially that are more electronics and software oriented in trying to build products for you and that obviously increases the cost. What can you do to somewhat mitigate those issues and what is the level of commonality today you’ve between North America and South America.
On the first question it really depends on if it's an all-new model with a new platform and typically if we go from current model to new model into all new platforms it won't be a lot of carryover parts. If it's a normal model year with not much change or a mid-cycle action freshing [ph] which we’re doing more of, it will be a significant carryover of part usage and so while we don’t have numbers to share we do monitor it by program globally to make sure that we’re seeing as much reuse and commonality in our vehicles as possible.
On the global geographic issue actually what we hear a lot from our suppliers is the fact that let’s just take focus for example and maybe build seven plants around the world, maybe exact same design part around the world but suppliers maybe making it for local content and other reasons in five or six locations around the world and suppliers are looking for ways to see if we can give them more scale at the regional level so they can take advantage of it. So that’s actually where we have been spending a lot of time with our supplier base.
To your point if the vehicles on the global platform and it's one of those nine core platforms even with North America, South America, Asia-Pacific, Europe there will be a lot of commonality. The Fiesta which is built in Mexico for North America, it's built in Brazil for South America, that Fiesta is the same vehicle by and large with the same part numbers and they have some local manufacturing of supplier XYZ but the part number would be the same. There is a lot of commonality in those global platform vehicles, region to region across the world.
It is not a global vehicle per say than there is going to be a lot of local content and less commonality with the global platforms and so that’s kind of how we have looked at it. Now is there opportunity for us to look at regional changes to a vehicle that’s on a global platform to make it more cost competitive? Those opportunities exist but we want the core DNA of the vehicle both in design and in it's attribute to be the same or very similar around the world so that when you’re getting a Ford Fiesta whether it's in Europe or South America or North America or China it's the Ford Fiesta and you know it's a Ford Fiesta, and that’s a key part of our ONE Ford strategy on our global products.
When we think about the change overs and when they are complete what will it be capacitized for in terms of a new truck and is the goal to be able to take share? Will you have to pass it? If you do take share or will you be pricing it at a point where you can maintain share and just expand profitability?
Well we won't give away our exact plans but you can appreciate we want profitable growth both (indiscernible) and Portland and as we have seen, hopefully you have seen for several years now we have been both grown -- in the last 4 or 5 years we have grown share and grown margins this year being exception because our transitions were going through the launch and we want to maintain that higher margin but healthy growth in sales. On the F150 specifically up until August of last year we had five shifts of capacity, of man capacity, three in Dearborn and two in Kansas City. We put the shift of capacity the third crew in Kansas City on last August, part of the reason for that was to build up over the course of a year plus time from inventory to get ready for the transition to the new F150 coming out of the F150 launches of both plants we will have six shifts of full time capacity to serve the market going forward, that can give you a little indication of where things are and where they could be. Of course we also have our Super Duty capacity in Kentucky Truck. We have working to increase that capacity, we have made some announcements on that over the course of last several months to increase that capacity to be able to make more Super Duty trucks as well which we’re also seeing very strong demand for it.
On the increased cost for F150 I know Ford hasn’t put an exact number out, we have read from the sale side, 600 or 2000 I think that’s the range I have seen. Maybe just talk about things within your control initiatives that bring that to the lower end, things that are out of your control such as Midwest premiums for aluminum and just sort of as you’re imagining to the process and also from investors perspective when presumably as you ramp up the program we will start to see those efficiencies perhaps like when you think we will start to see what Ford is truly doing from a cost perspective as you ramp up the program.
Well I think it's important to understand that the project that we embarked on to make the all-new F150 involved the aluminum suppliers from the early going confidentially and so the capacity we locked into was a joint effort between ourselves and the supply base and you can imagine as you’ve seen in many articles and other things, this is a big deal to the aluminum industry as well. So we feel very confident, we have a good partnership with the aluminum suppliers and that our supply availability of volume and at a competitive cost will be there because obviously we’re first mover here and it's very important for the aluminum industry as well as for us. Of course like we do on all vehicles we stabilize the vehicle up to launch. We launch it and then once we have gotten things settle down we will then look to take appropriate cost out once we have looked at the vehicle over that time frame. We will obviously -- we look to do that very aggressively I mean because it's high volume and impact to our business.
Importantly as you see in the truck market today, truck customers pay for capability and this truck will be more capable the most capable truck we ever built and so part of the aluminum structure, the weight savings are a big part of that increased capability. So it's a cost and a benefit that goes with all of this that of course we have more to say about as we get closer to the launch. I think it's important to remember that when we reach the agreements and lock in this capacity with aluminum suppliers it was a partnership to do this together and both parties know how important it is. So going forward we will obviously watch the aluminum price curves and we will see what’s going on in the industry but this will send a strong signal that there could be growth in the aluminum business like there is volume in F150.
Just a follow-up on that, as you look at your production transition from the steel truck to aluminum truck is there one area that you’re focused on that you see as potentially the risk that -- this is the thing that Ford used to be focused on and should make that transition?
Well I think there are two big important areas, one is the body shop conversion at the two plants. They being done on time and then ramping up because that’s the big deal in the plant and the second one is the supply of aluminum and the quantities that we need at the time we need it which is a massive undertaking for the supplier base. Now from where we sit today, everything we see looks good, it's on plan on both those key two big areas. I think those are the two big areas the conversion of the body shop and coming out of this launch which is a big deal and then making sure we have a steady stream of the high volume supply of aluminum from our suppliers because this is a big scale effort on our behalf but you can imagine that we’re in constant contact with aluminum suppliers and we’re all in constant discussions about where we’re on our manufacturing readiness and both of this are on plan.
So, some steel companies have been saying they are producing the AHSS to kind of as a substitute of the aluminum body. I’m wondering if you’ve a spoken with the steel companies and what do you think the specialized steel will be like in the future?
I personally haven't but I know our team has -- I remember we’re increasing our use of high strength steels including the new F150. A key part and a key attribute and we want to make sure it gets emphasized in a new F150 is that these frame is using all new high strength steel and makes it even stronger and many of -- number of our vehicles are using high strength steels and other things to be able to take weight out but also increase the capability of the vehicle and that will continue. Steel continues to be a very important part of our business clearly and importantly as we all look for weight savings ideas and better ways to improve the full efficiency of the fleet, the improvement in steel will be a big part of that.
You know the underbody of the F150 is steel, that’s where the capability comes from and the scratch readiness and the structural capability to haul and tow comes from the frame, the chassis and the powertrain. The sheet metal on the outside is a closing that also makes it look great but it's also for the protection but most importantly the strength comes from underneath and that’s where you’re seeing a lot of this high strength steel development which I think will continue and it's very important.
Pat Nolan - Deutsche Bank
Maybe there is time for one more question. We’re good? Okay there is no questions. All right thanks everybody for joining us today. Have a great day.
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