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What to Expect From Ford Motor Company in 2018

Ford’s first-ever high-performance Edge ST will arrive at U.S. dealers later this year. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

There’s another new Ford in the works

There have been reports that Ford is working on an all-new crossover SUV, a compact model (think Focus-sized) that will slot into Ford’s lineup between the small EcoSport and the Escape. It’ll essentially replace the C-Max, the hybrid that Ford has built in Michigan for the last few years. (C-Max production will end in a few months as Ford revamps that factory to make the Ranger.)

This new Ford crossover will almost certainly be made in Mexico. But will we see it in 2018? It’s very possible — but it’s also possible that it won’t debut until next year.

What about that all-new Bronco?

Ford has said that an all-new truck-based SUV called the Bronco will go into production late in 2019 at the same Michigan factory that will build the Ranger. But will we see the hotly anticipated new Bronco in 2018?

It’s possible — Ford previewed the most recent redesigns of the Edge and F-150 with “concept” vehicles a year before the production versions were shown. It could choose to do the same with the Bronco, showing a concept version sometime in the next few months. (It could happen as soon as next week, at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit.)

But I won’t be surprised if Ford decides to keep the Bronco completely under wraps for another year, until the North American International Auto Show in January 2019, so as to keep the spotlight on the Ranger until its launch this fall.

Ford’s transformation will start to take shape

2017 was a year of transition for Ford. The Blue Oval got a new CEO, Jim Hackett, in May — and the company’s senior-management structure was completely overhauled in the weeks that followed.

In his first months as CEO, Hackett presented some big ideas for Ford’s future. I think that 2018 will be the year in which some of those ideas start to turn into concrete efforts in ways that customers and shareholders can see.

What does that mean? Think connected cars, electric drivetrains, self-driving vehicles, and new models of urban mobility: Ford will almost certainly have some new things to show on all of those fronts in 2018.

Will 2018 be a good year for Ford investors?

As of this writing, Ford hasn’t yet given guidance for 2018. (It will — sometime between now and the end of January.) A year ago, Ford warned that its pre-tax profit was likely to dip in 2017 — but said that profit would rise in 2018, possibly to new highs.

A bar chart showing that as of January 2017, Ford expected its profits to rise in 2018 from 2017 levels.A bar chart showing that as of January 2017, Ford expected its profits to rise in 2018 from 2017 levels.

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A bar chart showing that as of January 2017, Ford expected its profits to rise in 2018 from 2017 levels.

A slide from Ford’s January 2017 guidance presentation. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

The first part of that prediction came true, at least through the first three quarters of 2017. But Ford has been through some big changes since that guidance was issued last January, including a new CEO who may have different expectations.

So what should investors expect for Ford in 2018? I think that as long as the U.S. market stays fairly strong, there’s a strong chance for Ford to post a good profit for the year. But we’ll have a better idea after we hear Ford’s official guidance.

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John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Ford. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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