I'll state up front that #1) I bought shares in Ford a couple weeks back at under $12 a share, #2) I was not smart (or courageous) enough to buy the stock when it was truly a bargain a year ago when it was hovering around $1 and #3) That I will be holding onto the stock for a while going forward as I don't want to get crushed by capital gains taxes and believe in the strength of the stock.
Over the prior year I had come to believe more and more in Ford as a company, and that is key for me to invest with anyone. If I don't understand the company, what it sells and its business model then I don't touch it regardless of its financials. In Ford's case, I have/had been in the automotive industry (on the banking side) for over a decade at Toyota and elsewhere and had grown to know the industry pretty well. When Ford turned down the U.S. government's bailout offer while GM and Chrysler jumped on the public money train I was impressed. There aren't many companies out there willing to turn down such a lucrative offer.
Over '09 and into '10 Ford sales leveled off and began increasing with solid vehicles and an improving reputation. Toyota's problems and GM and Chrysler's poor management and lineups, Ford is currently sitting in the catbird seat. Admittedly, Ford carries substantial debt at a high cost and is still hamstrung by union contracts that are not as favorable as say Toyota/Nissan/Honda. Even still, Ford is rapidly expanding overseas where market share can be substantially easier to grab and is even clawing its way up here in the States.
The stock itself has had an incredible run from $1 to its current $13 range and kudos to those who jumped onboard early. Still, I don't believe that this is case where the stock has outrun the company turnaround. The company market cap is right there with Nissan who has a much tougher road currently with the development costs sunk into a risky project like the Leaf, is held back by Renault's issues and does not have as widely an accepted lineup as Ford (which is not to say they don't make great vehicles.) Ford's stock also has a number of positive events to look forward to in the semi-near future that will bump it higher including the potential re-institution of a dividend of some kind and an upgrade at one of the debt rating agencies (Moody's, S&P, etc.) which would have the double impact of positive news and decreasing borrowing costs for Ford and directly improving their bottom line.
So...my bottom line is that the company is well on its way to becoming the dominant U.S. based automaker while its domestic competitors fall further behind with government influenced management and poor product lines. No major auto company has as much upside as Ford does at this point and that is a great thing for its stock.