Geely Versus Ford: Threat from an Emerging Market Multinational to a Market Leader
Guillotin, B. (2018). Geely Versus Ford: Threat from an Emerging Market Multinational to a Market Leader. Ivey Publishing (London, ON, Canada) [Case Study]
Posted: 11 Jan 2019 Last revised: 29 May 2019
Date Written: December 4, 2018
“This country cannot get knocked-out in one punch. We get right back up again. And when we do, the world is going to hear the roar of our engines” asserted Hollywood hero, Clint Eastwood, in a reassuring commercial, sponsored by Chrysler during the 2012 Super Bowl half-time. Two years later, Chrysler would be acquired by Fiat, an Italian automobile manufacturer. The American BIG THREE (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) were now the BIG TWO (GM and Ford).
Looking back in the rearview mirror, Tesla (est. 2003 in Silicon Valley) had delivered its first model in 2008, the year of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and GM had gone bankrupt in 2009, only to rise again through its 2010 Initial Public Offering. 2010 also marked the time when China passed the US to become the largest auto market in the world and the Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. (China) [Geely] strategically ventured outside of its home market by acquiring Volvo cars (Sweden) from Ford.
Fast-forwarding to 2017, Geely, bought a controlling stake of 51 per cent in Lotus (UK). Then, a few months later, Geely acquired a US$3 billion stake in truckmaker AB Volvo and took a 10 per cent stake in Daimler (Germany), worth US$9 billion, to become its largest shareholder, as of February 2018. Six months later, at the end of August 2018, Jim Hackett, who had been the Chief Executive Officer of Ford for 15 months, was now faced with a strategic challenge: assessing the level of threat that Geely posed and how to respond to it, if he decided to do so. Would Geely’s February 2018 move endanger Ford’s market position in the US, in China (Ford’s largest foreign market), or both?
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