All eyes on Ford’s leadership

How good are Alan Mulally, Jim Farley and Mark Fields? They pretty much brought Ford Motor back from abyss to one of the most respected brands on the road. Can they do the same for Lincoln?

Now that Mercury will be hitting the graveyard later this year, all eyes will be on Ford’s leadership to reviving a storied but recently lost brand in Lincoln. It’s going to get tougher to charge premiums for near luxury vehicles in this market with Ford, Chevy and Nissan delivering what most would have only expected from expensive brands just a few short years ago. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward and Ford/Lincoln will start writing a new chapter in their history after Mercury becomes a part of it!

From AutoNews.com:

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. must do with Lincoln what it has done with the Ford brand — infuse it with new energy and sparkling product — if it is to offset the loss of Mercury sales when that 71-year-old brand dies.

Though Lincoln has a freshened lineup and stronger styling than in the past, it is still an also-ran among luxury brands in the United States. Ford clearly will need more volume from Lincoln to appease Mercury dealers — especially those who currently have Lincoln-Mercury stores.

“We have to make a very compelling case to our dealers very quickly,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, in an interview.

Read the full article here.

  

Ford gains U.S. market share as fast as in ’77

It’s 1977 all over again and Mark Fields is considering letting his hair grow longer to prove it! All kidding aside Ford keeps the petal to the metal (staying with the 70’s theme here) and let’s the competition know their cruising for a bruising. Serious market share gains of 2.7% is no joking matter as that keeps two assembly plants running.

From the Detroit Free Press:

The last time Ford was gaining U.S. market share as fast as it is now, Mark Fields, the company’s president of the Americas, was learning to drive.

Fields, 49, said Tuesday that the company’s market share rose 2.7 percentage points from January through March, Ford’s sharpest increase in a three-month period since the fourth quarter of 1977.

Back then, the Ford Grenada was popular and the company had just launched a redesigned Ford Thunderbird. For the family, Ford offered the Ford LTD II and the wood-paneled Ford Country Squire.

Read the full article here.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

  

Ford CEO Mulally talks to new GM Chairman Whitacre

During the course of this conversation between Mulally and Whitacre, do you think the names, Mark Fields, Jim Farley or Joe Hinrichs came up? It would be a major coupe if GM could tap one of these three to be the CEO at The New General. A young and talented CEO with a take no prisoners Chairman like Whitacre might be what the people ordered from GM.

Per Reuters.com:

DETROIT, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a CNBC interview on Thursday that he had talked this week with General Motors Co [GM.UL] Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre.

Mulally, who Ford hired away from Boeing Co (BA.N) three years ago, did not discuss details of his conversation with Whitacre. Whitacre became chairman of GM in July and was named CEO on Dec. 1 with the resignation of CEO Fritz Henderson.

“Well, matter of fact, we did talk yesterday,” Mulally said in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC. “He’s reaching out just the way that I did when I came in.”

Read the full article here.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

  

Fritz Henderson out as CEO of GM


Photo from fOTOGLIF

We’ve been hearing rumblings for a while that board chairman Ed Whitacre was determined to change the culture at GM, and that everyone, including CEO Fritz Henderson, would be judged by a very high standard. BusinessWeek had an excellent report on this several months ago.

We learned today the Henderson has been fired by the board, and that Whitacre will take over an interim CEO. That’s quite a shake-up, and I’m sure we’ll learn more in the coming days. It’s either a sign of disarray at the new GM, or perhaps a sign that the new board is determined to set a new standard and see results.

They will almost certainly look outside of the company for the next chief. Tapping an upcoming star from the Ford stable isn’t a bad idea. Mark Fields or Jim Farley would be interesting and aggressive moves by the new GM board. Let the speculation begin!

  

Ford ramps up for the Taurus SHO

ford-taurus-sho-2010

Ford is getting ready to produce the 2010 Taurus SHO, and the engines will be built in the Cleveland area.

Ford Motor Co. will restart its Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 in Brook Park this spring, putting its flagship engine into the 58-year-old facility.

“To be part of Ford’s future, we’re thrilled to death,” said Jan Allman, site manager for Ford’s campus in Brook Park.

Engine Plant No. 1, which was idled nearly two years ago, will get the engine that Ford has called a key to its future. However, for the next year or two at least, the engine will go into only a few specialty products. That means low volumes, so Ford won’t need a lot of people to produce it.

When Ford idled Engine Plant No. 1, it employed nearly 600 workers on two shifts. When the plant reopens in the spring, it will require only 250 workers on one shift.

The new SHO made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

The reborn SHO–the favorite of enthusiasts everywhere since it first was introduced on the first-generation Taurus–completes the new Taurus lineup with twin turbos, a tuned suspension, and some of the visual flair that made the original hotted-up Taurus a hit when it took its bow in 1989.

Over the course of ten years, Ford sold about 100,000 Taurus SHO sedans, most with a Yamaha-made V-6 engine, some with V-8s built by Yamaha. This time around, Ford’s brought the engine work in-house, with a twin-turbo edition of the 3.5-liter V-6 that’s taking a place in Ford products like the same-sized six over at Nissan. All that power shunts through all-wheel drive and a six-speed, paddle-shifted automatic.

With reasonable confidence, Ford says the new SHO should reignite interest in the big four-door. “The new Taurus SHO delivers on the authentic sleeper sedan formula but adds all-new luxury-appointments, convenience features and technologies to an unsurpassed balance of power and fuel economy,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, in a release. “This new sport derivative answers enthusiasts’ calls for a premium Ford flagship sedan with even more attitude.”

While the 2010 Taurus carries a mid-size price tag of $25,995, the new Taurus SHO checks in at a BMW-like $37,995. How will that go over with Ford fans? We’ll find out this summer when the new SHO goes on sale.

This is a great move for Ford, as the new SHO looks great.

  

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