The Automobile business is just like every other business - management is everything. All of what is left of the Big 3 are hurting financially, mostly from bad management decisions in the past that are catching up with a totally different marketplace from 10 or even 20 years ago - more competition in the form of price as well as quality.
GM has invested in a relatively new line up of vehicles, while Ford and Chrysler have not. I've noticed that whenever there is a Ford family member at the helm, they squeeze every penny of profit out of the product line and invest very little (Hank the Deuce then, Bill Ford now). Granted, we are talking billions here, not pocket change, and it takes years to change momentum in this industry.
Just an observation, and I could be wrong, but it seems to go in 25-year cycles. In the 1930's through 1954, Ford was dominant with a cheap but hot flathead V8 and a strong product line. In 1955, when GM introduced the Chevy small block, Ford was promoting safety (nobody cared, a big blunder), and GM took over for about 25 years of sales and marketing dominance. In the 1980s, with the Japanese imports touting quality and economy, Ford and Chrysler improved quality while GM did nothing, and FoMoCo was again dominant. For a few years, Ford was even more profitable than GM. I certainly noticed the difference in product quality in the 1980s and 1990s, having owned cars of both manufacturers. Ford definitely made a better product. Now, it's the 21st Century, the bar has been raised yet again, and it looks as if Bill Ford and the Board of Directors are more interested in short term profit gains instead of the long-term life of the company. Hence, the blunder of the 500/Montego cost them almost everything, along with minimal enhancements to the product line, and product name changes (smoke and mirrors).
The Crown Vic platform COULD BE world class, but I don't expect it to happen. It could have been better than the old Impala SS, but Ford management was not interested in making it better - as long as they were making profit, who cared about improvement? They also killed the Marauder, closest thing to the Impala Police car.
My $.02 worth.
As a car enthusiast who understands how a publicly traded business runs, and who sees good and bad in all brands, I really hope that I am wrong about Ford. God I hope that I am wrong.