Analysts grumbled, and Ford stock tumbled, after executives warned of financial headwinds in 2020 from upcoming launches, including the F-150, the revived Bronco SUV and the new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. Ford's projections of $2.4 billion to $3.4 billion in adjusted free cash flow and adjusted earnings of $5.6 billion to $6.6 billion fell short of analysts' expectations.
"We're looking at guidance ... that doesn't give you a warm, cozy feeling," Kudla said. "I'd like to think they're setting Wall Street up for an underpromise, overdeliver earnings surprise. That kind of guidance is disconcerting."
Investors, who chided Hackett in his early days at Ford for providing scant details of his turnaround plan, again criticized him last week for a lack of transparency about the company's expectations this year.
"Not quantifying, that makes it very challenging for us to really assess what you're facing," Rod Lache, an analyst with Wolfe Research, said on Ford's earnings call. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who has publicly sparred with Hackett on past earnings calls, echoed Lache's push for details.
"We are certainly used to management teams giving their best guess, particularly at a time when there is so much pressure and when the stakes are so high," Jonas said.
A day later, after GM executives spoke at an investor day held by that automaker, Jonas took another dig at Ford.
"I noticed that you were videotaping today's investor day. It'd be great if someone could send that tape to Ford in Dearborn," he told GM CEO Mary Barra and others. "I'm serious. I'll hand-deliver it myself to them if you don't send it to them. ... You are executing."