Ford Motor Co. sailed through 1994 breaking nearly every record imaginable. Hyped by those results and just then launching into its Ford 2000 globalization scheme, Ford folks even hinted that flying by General Motors Corp. to one day become the world's No.1 automaker might just be in the cards. Now, barely a year later, Ford's getting socked by the media and Wall Street along a broad front. A 22% slump in profits during '95--including a 58% plunge in the final quarter--doesn't help. And Ford's strategy of aggressively pricing the all-new, radically restyled '96 Taurus/sable has won its share of carping as well. Ford first was forced to offer rebates on the new models and, in February, introduced a lower-content "G" series, shaving the sticker by $600. In an article entitled "Trotman's Travails," The Detroit News underscores how Chairman Alex Trotman's ambitious goals may be stalled, at least temporarily. A direct, tough taskmaster in good times, he tells the News that "I am turned off by people who don't do their homework. I like people who are thorough, who work hard. I have a low tolerance for sloppy work." He says getting Ford 2000 moving is "very, very hard work," and that "the biggest hurdle is getting it started. There will be more execution now." There'd better be.

Quote of the month

"When you go to Kroger, you don't get a discount if GM is having a good year or a bad year, you have to pay for the groceries," United Auto Workers union Spokesman Frank Joyce tells The Wall Street Journal, commenting on the disparity in Big Three profit-sharing payouts. There's no substitute for negotiating equitable compensation," he says, which suggests the UAW may be looking at alternatives to profit-sharing when Big Three contract negotiations begin this summer.