The Idea That Counts: What Customer Wants

It isn’t what a company wants to sell that matters, but what the customer buys. Just ask Ford(F), which has dropped low-performing brands and replaced a pre-recession focus on big trucks with an emphasis on lower prices, higher mileage and seductive perks. Its signature SUV, the Explorer, is now a crossover vehicle with Microsoft(MSFT) SYNC system to connects Bluetooth phones, touch-screen displays and keyless starting.

That’s where the market went, and Ford recognized it. The critics are applauding and Wall Street has rewarded the moves. After hitting bottom at $1.39 a share two years ago, Ford now trades closer to $12 a share.

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