I've actually had several different people as me my opinion on Ford. In each case, the reason to buy was the same, it is the only of the big three that did not need to declare bankruptcy. Chrysler looks to be having some problems selling its assets to Fiat and GM will probably run into the same issues. Given these issues and the perceive lack of weakness, is it not a good idea to buy Ford? For those who want to buy American, won't Ford be the only logical choice?
My answer to each of the people who have asked me is to stay away for Ford. I'm not saying the logic isn't sound. There are lots of people who will always want to buy American and Ford should benefit from its relative strength. However, I never like as an investing thesis that a company is the least weak. I want companies to be strong. I want companies who know how to make money in any environment. And this is clearly not Ford. While strong compared to GM and Chrysler, it is still weak to Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, etc. Ford has not shown it can win in a worldwide market and that is the situation it finds itself in.
To make matters worse, I think from an equity position Chrysler and GM will likely be the better buy when the get out of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not always a bad thing. For many companies it can be a very good thing. GM and Chrysler will be able to shed most of their legacy cost that have weighed them down for years. Ford will not have that luxury. They will continue to be saddled with these legacy cost and risk needing to go into bankruptcy sometime in the future.
So stay away from Ford as a stock trade. For that matter, avoid their cars too.