It has been a tough road for Ford (F, $6.87, down $0.29) and General Motors (GM, $17.60, down $0.83) lately. Both stocks have taken big hits; GM has fallen from $23 to $17 while Ford has dipped from $8.50 to just below $7 since the start of May.
The race to “Go Green” has taken center stage with the price of oil unlikely to fall below $100 a barrel anytime soon. That may be an understatement in 6-12 months but it is apparent that consumers are doing anything they can do reduce their fuel bill. With the average commuter spending anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a month on a 120 mile round-trip drive to and from work, the auto-makers are scrambling to bring electric cars to the market.
This is where GM and Ford have really been slacking as both companies have always been a step behind the “Go Green” revolution. GM has a planned plug-in hybrid, the Volt, expecting to hit the U.S. market in 2010 but Toyota has the Prius which is selling well over in Japan and will also hit the U.S. market in 2010. Ford is working on the Escape but no date has been announced for its release.
Ford and GM have accelerated the development of the hybrids in the wake of the announced cutbacks in production. GM is also dealing with the strike settlements that will cost the company $2 billion for the current quarter. Ford announced an incredible first quarter last month when it posted a profit of 20 cents versus expectations for a loss of 16 cents. At the time, Ford also predicted a return to profitability in 2009 but you can kiss that promise goodbye as the company announced last week that ain’t gonna happen.
In a what’s hot and what’s not world, SUV’s and utility trucks are out while more fuel efficiency vehicles are in.