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The replacement for Ford‘s current CEO Alan Mulally will likely come from within, and four contenders have come out on top despite no realistic timeline for someone to replace Mulally.
Those four contenders include Mark Fields, the president of the Americas and current frontrunner (age 50), current CFO Lewis Booth (age 63), Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing, sales and service (age 49), and Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (age 45).
The talk of a CEO successor for Alan Mulally is probably premature, as his success in Ford will allow him to leave on his own terms, when he wants. But at age 66, Ford’s board of directors has to realistically begin to consider successors. One thing is for sure, Ford will be promoting from within rather than hiring from the outside – as they did with Mulally – in order to send a message of stability. Another option that Ford is considering is that Mulally could act as a mentor for Ford’s future leader.
[Source: Automotive News]
Ford might have their work cut out for them as they try to change general consumer perception on their vehicle line’s fuel economy. Ford’s global marketing chief, Jim Farley, claims that of the 240 million American drivers only 32-percent of them have a good opinion of Ford on fuel economy. Some simple math will tell you that you’ve got a pretty big majority that doesn’t have a good opinion.
But it appears that Ford’s already hard at work in changing that perception, boasting an 11-percent increase in North American sales this year through October, which is ahead of the market’s overall gain of 10-percent. With the addition of their EcoBoost engines, Ford is working hard to change public perception on their fuel economy. “But we have a long way to go,” Farley said. “Those that own fuel economy in the U.S. own pricing.”
[Source: Automotive News]
There will be no public mea culpa, but Ford marketing boss Jim Farley has apologized for sensational remarks he made about General Motors.
Farley made headlines recently when early copies of New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic’s new book “Once Upon a Car” were released, containing comments attributed to him. Included among them was the following: “We’re going to beat on them, and it’s going to be fun…f**k GM. I hate them and their company and what they stand for. And I hate the way they’re succeeding.”
Farley told reporters recently that he personally apologized to his cross-town equivalent, GM marketing boss Joel Ewanick. Speaking with reporters at a recent conference at the University of Michigan, Farley also said (while speaking of himself in the third person); “No one respects the competition more than Jim Farley. I told them I respect what they’ve done.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Ford’s head of marketing came out today with a brash, succinct statement that strikes deep down into the core of humanity: “f**k GM.”
Jim Farley, shown above in a much calmer demeanor, launched this shot across the bow in an early copy of the book “Once Upon A Car,” by New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic. Farley was quoted as saying, “”We’re going to beat on them, and it’s going to be fun…f**k GM. I hate them and their company and what they stand for. And I hate the way they’re succeeding.”
The book details the derailing of the Big Three during the early months of the recession, which may serve to justify this sort of motivation: after all, corporate executives usually know better than to sprinkle their public statements with four-letter words. GM was quick to respond, with one spokesman replying, “we would not have expected such crass words coming from Ford.”
In the immortal words of Officer Marcus Burnett, Miami-Dade PD: “sh*t just got real.”
Fans of rear-drive domestic performance sedans suffered a blow when General Motors decided to close the Pontiac brand and cease importing the rebadged Holden Commodore as the G8. While rumors continue to suggest GM will bring back a rear-drive Australian-sourced performance machine, they may have to act fast as a recent report suggests Ford may look to imitate the Holden/Pontiac strategy.
According to one Australian outlet, the Blue Oval may look ‘down under’ to its Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) division in order to source a version of the rear-drive Falcon GT – complete with a new supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that makes 449-hp and 420 ft-lbs of torque.
FPV is eager to expand its offerings and former Ford Australian president Bill Osborne already admitted a plan was underway to export the cars to China and the Middle East. For Ford of Australia the rewards could be huge, with Holden’s sale of the Pontiac G8 in the U.S. doubling production of the car globally.
Ford is currently promoting a global vehicle strategy that will not only see mainstream cars like the Fiesta and Focus created to be sold in all markets, but will also focus on utilizing the company’s performance vehicles in regional markets. Ford’s VP of global marketing, Jim Farley, recently commented that the automaker intends to put a focus on rear-drive models for the U.S. market.
Farley recently told AutoGuide that more special ‘regional’ performance vehicles are set to debut in the U.S. in the near future.
Speaking at a conference in San Francisco yesterday Ford global sales boss Jim Farley made known the American automaker’s intentions to not only make EcoBoost engines available in all Ford models, but to make them the dominant engine.
The move is part of a carefully crafted plan by Ford after internal studies showed that just last year 40 percent of buyers who left the Ford brand did so because they believed Ford vehicles had poor fuel economy.
While a premium engine offering, commanding a premium price in every vehicle its sold in, EcoBoost models will form a “substantial” portion of total vehicle sales says Farley, who believes consumers will pay for improved fuel economy with the looming threat that gas prices could spike. One such example is the new Ford Explorer, where the less powerful EcoBoost 4-cylinder model is priced above the V6.
In addition to Ford’s EcoBoost strategy, the automaker will look to expand its products offering with more different types of models, which will include the Grand C-Max MPV. In addition, Ford will soon replace the Escape with the next-generation European Kuga crossover, while the next generation Fusion may also spawn new crossovers and even a minivan.
[Source: Detroit News]
AutoGuide sits down with Ford marketing boss Jim Farley to discuss the automaker's plans in the small sports car segment
The idea of building a vehicle to compete with the Toyota FT-86 is “interesting,” but not necessarily the direction Ford has in mind when it comes to the future of small sporty cars. This is according to Ford marketing boss Jim Farley, who’s brain we had a chance to pick a few weeks back during a preview of the all new 2011 Focus.
With Ford having just announced the new 2011 Mustang and Mustang GT, with big increases in power (the V6 now making over 300-hp), it means the iconic pony car no longer competes in the same segment as vehicles like the Hyudai Genesis Coupe. (Not that it really ever did anyway). And with Toyota’s entry-level rear-drive sports car being prepared to hit the market, rumors have suggested that both Volkswagen and Kia are contemplating similar vehicles. So we thought we’d ask Ford about its plans.
“I do think the direction is interesting,” said Farley, but qualified that statement and sent the conversation in a new direction by commenting that what he sees as more compelling are cars like the Subaru WRX, which take a standard economy car (the Impreza) and turn it into a pocket rocket. That of course had the gathered journalists buzzing about the possibility that the Focus RS could very well make its way to North America.
The idea of a Focus RS also works with Ford’s new ONE Ford slogan, which is more than a marketing pitch, but an entirely new business philosophy for the American automaker.The idea is to build world car platforms to significantly reduce costs, from research and development to marketing.
And with an RS model being based on a Focus platform, and the new Focus a genuine world car, many of the roadblocks to bringing the RS to North American in the past are likely to be removed with the all-new Focus model, which is set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show on January 11th.
Even if an RS model never does get approved for North America there are possibilities for peppy small cars, from the Focus to the new Fiesta. During a discussion a day earlier with Dan Kapp, Director of Advanced Powertrain, Engineering and Research at Ford, we asked about the future of EcoBoost engines as performance options. Ford has already announced a new 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder for Europe, which makes 200-hp and 221 ft-lbs of torque. It’s comparable to the same power a 3.0-liter V6 makes and is expected to be replace many V6 offerings in cars like the Fusion. Following the 2.0 EcoBoost will be a 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that will make roughly 180-hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque.
While the original EcoBoost motor, the 365-hp 3.5-liter V6, is found in niche market luxury and performance cars like the Taurus SHO and several Lincoln models, Kapp suggested that future EcoBoost engines will be use as more of a mainstream fuel-economy alternatives in the future. He wouldn’t rule it out as a performance option, however, and when asked if the new 2.0-liter and 1.6-liter EcoBoost mills could be offered in cars like the Focus and Fiesta he said that he, “could imagine them being used as a performance option.”
In the future, Ford is looking to “focus” on the compact car segment. The pun here is intended, as Ford has announced plans to launch 10 vehicles in North America based off of the new Focus’s architecture. In a recent interview with Ford’s marketing boss Jim Farley, the folks at Car & Driver got some insight into these plans.
Along with several obvious Focus variants (like the sedan, as well as a wagon, three and four-door hatchbacks, a coupe and probably both a Ford and Mercury compact crossover), Ford has also announced plans for the new Grand C-Max (pictured above), which will take on cars like the Mazda5. On top of these, Lincoln is likely to get a premium small car along the lines of the C Concept.
Farley outlines Ford’s plan as betting on the growing popularity of the C-segment cars, just as Toyota bet on the mid-size D-Segment over the past two decades, with cars like the Camry, Lexus ES and all their crossover spin-offs. He says Ford believes the downsizing of cars has already begun, promoted by the recent recession and will be aided in the future by gas prices that will once again go up.
“I feel that 20 years from now, an Accord or Camry will feel like a late-1970s domestic car and our global products coming to the U.S. will feel a lot like Hondas used to be,” said Farley.
That’s quite a statement and we don’t doubt Ford’s plan, but the American automaker certainly doesn’t seem ready to give up on larger vehicles with strong products like the Fusion an Taurus. Perhaps, as Farley is Ford’s marketing boss, the Focus will be marketed much like Ford’s EcoBoost engines, which are continuously touted as fuel-sippers, but are really built for high performance. The Focus, therefore, would help Ford promote a small car image, while continuing to sell big in the big car segments.
Viva La Revolution
Ford kicked-off what it calls the “Fiesta Movement” yesterday when 140 new European-built Ford Fiestas were unloaded at ports in Baltimore and Oxnard, Calif.
The vehicles will be loaned out to young “trendsetters,” who will report on the vehicles using modern social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. Ford actually used YouTube to select the winners, asking those born between 1979 and 1985 to submit a video of why they should be chosen.
580,000 videos were submitted with 3,300 being reviews by Ford.
This bold marketing strategy is aimed at promoting the Festiva, which will go on sale in North American in 2010, by using younger buyers to speak to younger buyers (the Festiva’s target market).
“We’re really excited to be able to get our U.S. customers behind the wheel and experience this car,” said Sam De La Garza, Ford’s small car marketing manager. “It’s all part of a plan to build excitement about the new Fiesta with the next generation of Ford customers.”
The Fiesta is Ford’s first global car. It went on sale in Europe and Asia last year and is the second-best selling vehicle for Ford in Europe.
“In the midst of the toughest economy many of us have ever seen, the Fiesta is becoming a legitimate global success story,” said Jim Farley, Ford Group Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “The Fiesta Movement is all about introducing a new kind of small car to a new generation of buyers.”
The Fiesta models that hit U.S.-shores yesterday were built in Cologne, Germany (although North American vehicles will be manufactured in Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico plant), and have been modified with English instrumentation and include readouts in mph. All Fiesta Movement vehicles come with keyless entry with a push-button start, Ford’s EasyFuel Capless Fuel-Filler System and either 16- or 17-inch wheels.
Let the marketing onslaught begin. Or as they say at Ford, Viva La Revolution!
GALLERY: Fiesta Movement Begins
More on the Fiesta Movement after the jump