Ford (F) stock up 70% since Jim Farley became CEO, but he has work to do

Ford CEO Jim Farley poses with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck in Dearborn, Michigan, May 19, 2021.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – As incoming CEO of Ford Motor, Jim Farley promised extra transparency to Wall Street in addition to a transparent plan for the long run.

At the time, Ford was thought of behind the trade when it got here to all-electric and autonomous automobiles, connectivity and software program. Its messaging and plans had been unclear to Wall Street, inflicting shares to tumble.

Two years later, Farley, 60, has largely delivered on his guarantees by means of the corporate’s ongoing Ford+ transformation plan, but there stays work to be completed.

He has restructured operations and largely introduced Wall Street again into the automaker’s nook for the primary time since Alan Mulally – credited with saving the automaker from chapter in 2009 – stepped down as CEO eight years in the past. Ford’s stock is up about 70% since Farley took over, regardless of latest declines.

“What matters to us and the team is delivering on strong business results,” mentioned Farley instructed CNBC in August 2020, when he was introduced as incoming CEO. “As far as communicating to Wall Street … one of the most important commitments that we’re making as a team is a clear and specific plan for the company and the company’s transformation.”

Both of Farley’s predecessors – Jim Hackett and Mark Fields – left the automaker amid lackluster stock costs and failing to create confidence within the automaker on Wall Street. Under Hackett, a former CEO of furnishings firm Steelcase, Ford’s stock value declined by 40%.

But, as Farley routinely says, the automaker stays within the early innings of its Ford+ transformation plan and the trade’s shift to electrical automobiles – doubtless representing the stock’s enchancment below Farley but additionally its latest fall amid a bigger market decline. Ford’s stock achieved decades-high costs of greater than $25 a share to start the 12 months, but it is off about 56% from its peak in January.

There stay doubts concerning the outlook for the auto trade in addition to Ford’s capability to execute on its plans. The firm has continued to expertise issues with automobile launches, guarantee prices and provide chains – all issues Farley vowed to repair upon turning into CEO.

“Key risks to our view relate to Ford’s ability to profitably pivot to growth areas such as EVs and AVs, the auto cycle, market share, and margins (both margin pressure in a downturn and margin expansion longer term from company specific initiatives),” Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney mentioned in a notice to buyers final week.

Most lately, the corporate shocked Wall Street by pre-releasing a part of its third-quarter earnings report, warning buyers of $1 billion in sudden provider prices. Since then, shares of the corporate are down by greater than 23%, together with its largest every day fall in 11 years a day after the announcement.

Ford Chair Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Farley converse in entrance of newly revealed Mustang Dark Horse at The Stampede in downtown Detroit on Sept. 14, 2022.


“I think the biggest thing he’s done is get the market to believe in Ford again. That belief has perhaps been put on hold now until they show they can meet full year 2022 guidance in light of the Q3 preannounce not being well received at all,” Morningstar analyst David Whiston instructed CNBC, echoing different analysts.

Whiston describes Farley as a “blunt communicator” who’s “not afraid to take some bold courses of action,” akin to internally separating Ford’s conventional and electrical automobile companies; rising investments in electrical automobiles to $50 billion by means of 2025; and cost-cutting and headcount reductions.

“He’s also a ‘car guy’ which I like because he has passion for product, which helps get vehicles like the Mach-E as opposed to a crappy (economy box battery-electric vehicle) that no one wants,” Whiston mentioned, earlier than including he’d like to see fewer remembers and enchancment on guarantee prices. “But I think Ford is in great hands with Farley in charge.”

Ford’s stock is rated obese with a value goal of $16.12 – roughly $4 greater than its present value, in accordance to common estimates of analysts compiled by FactSet.

Here are the stock’s greatest and worst days throughout Farley’s tenure as CEO thus far:

  • Jan. 4, 2022, +11.7%: Ford publicizes plans to practically double annual manufacturing capability of its electrical F-150 pickup to 150,000 automobiles per 12 months at a plant in Michigan.
  • Dec. 10, 2021, +9.6%: Farley tells CNBC Investing Club with Jim Cramer that the corporate has closed reservations for its electrical F-150 Lightning after topping 200,000 items.
  • Oct. 28, 2021, +8.7%:  Ford practically doubles Wall Street’s earnings expectations and barely beats income projections for the third quarter, main the automaker to improve its annual steering for the second time final 12 months.
  • Sept. 20, 2022, -12.3%:  Ford pre-releases a part of its third-quarter earnings report and warns buyers of $1 billion in sudden provider prices.
  • Feb. 4, 2022, -9.7%: Ford considerably misses Wall Street’s fourth-quarter earnings expectations and barely misses on income.    
  • April 29, 2021, -9.4%: Ford impresses Wall Street with its first-quarter earnings outcomes, but the corporate’s lackluster steering for the 12 months surprises, even confuses, buyers and analyst.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Ford shares fall after company warns of extra $1 billion in costs

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