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Ford’s Fields Makes Mark with New Appointments

CEO replaces Farley as head of Lincoln.

by on Jul.22, 2014

Kumar Galhotra is succeeding Jim Farley as President of Lincoln. Farley remains in charge of Ford's global marketing efforts.

Less than a month after taking over as Ford Motor Co.’s CEO, Mark Fields is making his first tweak to the company’s leadership team by replacing Jim Farley as the head of Lincoln with Kumar Galhotra, who had been vice president of engineering. The pair will report to Fields and the change is effective Sept. 1.

Farley, who came to Ford from Toyota with a reputation as a brilliant marketer and will remain in charge of global marketing, was charged with creating a new approach to customers for the company’s struggling luxury unit.

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However, as Lincoln rebuilds and expands it’s only natural that the brand has a dedicated leader, Ford officials said. (more…)

The Reluctant COO: Nick Scheele Dies at 70

Obit: former Ford COO was knighted in 2002.

by on Jul.21, 2014

Former Ford COO Nick Scheele.

He was dapper, affable and erudite. He was also a bit reluctant when asked to take on the mounting disaster that was Ford Motor Co. at the beginning of the new Millennium. But Nick Scheele was nothing if not loyal, and despite worsening health problems and a desire to simply fade away into the gentle bliss of retirement, in 2001 the British executive agreed to serve as the Detroit maker’s chief operating officer.

Scheele helped guide Ford through some of the worst times in its more than 100-year history, setting the stage for its unexpected recovery. He also propped up the long-troubled British maker Jaguar, helping restore its once glamorous image as one of the automotive world’s design leaders.

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Ultimately, the man described by London’s Telegraph as having “a backbone of steel” did get his chance to retire, more or less. But even after leaving Ford in 2005, Nick Scheele continued to find other ways to serve until his death last week at the age of 70.

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On Track and Under the Hood of the 2015 Ford Mustang

Ford offers hot laps – and some secrets about the ’15 pony car.

by on Jul.18, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang celebrates 50 years of the legendary pony car with improvements in almost every aspect of the car.

“We’re still tweaking,” concedes Tom Barnes, the head of the vehicle dynamics team bringing the new 2015 Ford Mustang to life.

But with the all-new pony car set to roll into showrooms in just a matter of months, most of the work is completed, giving Ford the chance to show off the new Mustang by taking a handful of journalists under the hood – and for some hot laps around its Dearborn, Michigan, proving grounds.

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While far from a hands-on driving experience, the event revealed that the 50th anniversary Mustang is likely to live up to the promise laid out by Ford’s global product development chief Raj Nair, who boasted to the media group that “This is the greatest, best-performing Mustang we have ever had.”

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“Retired” Ford CEO Mulally Resurfaces at Google

Exec could serve as a bridge between Motown and Silicon Valley.

by on Jul.16, 2014

Ford CEO Alan Mulally has been "retired" less than a month, but already has a new "gig" as a member of Google's board of directors.

He’s been “retired” for less than a month, but former Ford CEO Alan Mulally has already resurfaced, shifting gears once again as he enters the high-tech world with a new board position at Silicon Valley’s Google Inc.

The new position actually takes advantage of Mulally’s eight years at Ford, Google itself pressing into the automotive space with new in-car infotainment technology, while also taking a lead in the development of autonomous vehicles.

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“Alan brings a wealth of proven business and technology leadership experience,” CEO Larry Page commented. “I am so pleased that Alan is now joining Google’s board.” (more…)

Ford Transit Helps Conquer Commercial Truck World

New van comes in 58 different configurations to suit everyone.

by on Jul.09, 2014

The 2015 Ford Transit can be configured 58 different ways, including two wheelbases, to allow it to meet the needs of the commercial vehicle market.

Over the years, the Ford Motor Co. has outflanked its rivals by quietly conquering the world of work.

In the U.S., roughly 41% of the vehicles used for commercial purposes. It’s a broad category that includes airport shuttle vans as well as vehicles used by government agencies, mining companies, energy companies, and at construction sites and on farms, are now built by Ford. In addition, 20% of all vehicles sold around the world are used commercially so staying on top is a strategic priority for the company.

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So Ford has invested $1.3 billion dollars in the development of a replacement for the big commercial E- Series van, which, with few changes, has been a mainstay of the Ford fleet for a half-century, and the best-selling commercial van used by plumbers, contractors and companies that offer delivery service of various kinds. (more…)

Ford “On Track” for European Turnaround

Maker betting on product blitz, cost cuts to be in black by 2015.

by on Jul.09, 2014

Ford's European chief Stephen Odell.

With the European automotive market showing signs of an upturn after its worst slump in a quarter century, Ford Motor Co. is growing increasingly confident in the aggressive turnaround plan it launched during the depths of the downturn.

The maker’s sales have been outpacing the overall industry recovery, and while some automotive analysts believe Ford of Europe might actually break even for 2014 the maker is, for now, sticking with guidance promising to “improve” its financial situation this year, while projecting “profitability” in 2015. Ford lost $1.4 billion in Europe last year.

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The plan is “on track,” said Ford of Europe president Stephen Odell, during a media roundtable on Thursday. “We are very, very pleased with where we are in our European transformation plan.”

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Ford, Hyundai Add More Vehicles to 2014 Recall Parade

Two automakers recall more than 158,000 vehicles.

by on Jul.08, 2014

Ford is recalling 2013 and 2014 model year Taurus sedans for issues related to halfshafts. The maker is recalling 92,000 vehicles for the problem.

Ford and Hyundai issued seven recalls affecting nearly 160,000 vehicles for issues ranging from defective halfshafts to headliners to roof glass. Ford accounts for 101,000 of the vehicles in the actions.

The largest recall involves more than 92,000 model year 2013-2014 Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, Ford Police Interceptor, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT; 2012-2014 Ford Edge; and 2014 Lincoln MKX models. The issue involves the right-side halfshaft on the vehicles.

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The vehicles in the recall may experience “loss of drive function,” Ford said, adding the vehicles could roll away if the gearshift is placed in park without the emergency brake being engaged. Ford dealers will inspect the halfshaft and repair or replace as needed. (more…)

New Ford CEO Fields Fares Well with $5 Mil Pay Package

Will fall short of predecessor Mulally's pay.

by on Jul.02, 2014

Ford's new CEO Mark Fields with the 2015 Edge.

He’s taking on more duties, but Ford Motor Co.’s new CEO Mark Fields also will be getting a few more dollars — and perks – after taking over for Alan Mulally, who retired as chief executive on Monday.

In a regulatory filing today, Ford disclosed that Fields will get a pay package in his new position worth at least $5.25 million. That’s on top of a lucrative stock option package, potential bonuses and other benefits including the use of a corporate jet.

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That’s still short of the pay package taken home by Mulally last year, as he began to wrap up his 8-year stint as Ford CEO, a position from which many credit the former Boeing executive with saving Ford – the only member of the Detroit Big Three not to have gone into bankruptcy or require a federal bailout package.

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Ford Using ‘Big Data’ to Make Design Decisions

Using social media feedback helps with process.

by on Jun.26, 2014

Ford's Don Butler noted that Ford’s designers and product planners are turning to social media and survey data as they wrestle with product design issues.

“Big Data” is already helping designers shape new vehicles and its influence will only grow in the years to come, according to a panel of experts assembled by Ford Motor Co. for its annual trends conference. Big data is the deployment of reams of data to meet a specific goal.

Don Butler, the former General Motors executive who is now Ford’s director of connected vehicles and service, noted that Ford’s designers and product planners turned to social media and survey data as they wrestled with whether the lift gate on the new 2013 Ford Escape should be one piece or two, which would allow drivers to open the rear window without raising the entire lift gate.

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“There were no clear indicators,” he said. (more…)

Ford Mobii App Could Let Owners View Interior of Their Vehicles Remotely

Cameras also could permit gesture controls, help lock out thieves.

by on Jun.26, 2014

Ford Project Mobii explores the idea of placing several cameras inside the passenger compartment.

During a session sponsored by Ford this week examining new trends in the auto industry, a fundamental question was raised about all the new technology flooding the marketplace: have we reached a saturation point where consumers no longer can figure out how – or why – to use all those new features?

That’s a question that quickly returned to mind when Ford later unveiled Project Mobii, an experimental new app-based service, that would allow an owner to remotely monitor what’s happening inside their vehicle. But Ford and tech partner Intel are just as fast at ticking off potential applications for the new technology that uses five separate cameras mounted inside the passenger compartment.

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Among other things, it might allow parents to keep an eye on a teenage driver. And the system could be programmed to block a thief from hotwiring the ignition and driving away – perhaps even quietly sending an alert to the police. There’s also the possibility that Ford could use the Mobii technology to better understand how motorists use its vehicles.

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