Ford Motor Company’s stock is sliding after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the famed Michigan-based automaker’s credit to “junk” status early Tuesday morning.
Ford’s weakened credit rating now sits at a grade of Ba1, claiming that the company’s cash flow and profit margins are performing below expectations, and will likely continue to decline over the next two years.
Despite the downgrade, Wall Street does not appear to be worried, claiming that new auto sales have been declining across China, Europe, and the United States. Therefore, Ford isn’t the only automaker negatively impacted by the market.
Moody’s downgrade report writes, “The Ba1 ratings reflect the considerable operating and market challenges facing Ford, and the weak earnings and cash generation likely as the company pursues a lengthy and costly restructuring plan.”
Ford CEO Jim Hackett is working to reassure investors that the company can work to regain its investment-grade status.
“Ford remains very confident in our plan and progress,” the automaker said in an emailed statement reported by Automotive News. “Our underlying business is strong, our balance sheet is solid and we have plenty of liquidity to invest in our compelling strategy for the future.”
Avoiding a recession is arguably the biggest determinant for helping the automaker get back on track with a higher credit rating. However, there isn’t that much the company can do to remedy the situation while the global economy remains tense.
“If the economy can skirt recession and if the president can solve this trade war we’re in the midst of, they’re probably going to be OK,” said Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough in an interview with Bloomberg. “But that’s a lot of ‘ifs.’ And for many investors, it’s too many ‘ifs,’ and they’re just not going to take the chance.”
As of Tuesday morning, Ford’s stock price sits at $9.31, down a total of 2.51 percent. The automaker has plans to modernize in the near future with concepts like fully electric EV models set to release in 2023.