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Fields Tried to Fire Hinrichs Before He Was Booted From Ford

Infighting marked final days for CEO, says report.

by on Jun.01, 2017

Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs.

In a final bid to satisfy Ford shareholders – and Chairman Bill Ford – CEO Mark Fields tried to shift blame for the company’s weakening performance stock price to his top lieutenant, according to a new report. But the effort to fire Ford’s President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs was blocked and Fields himself was given his walking papers on May 19th.

In turn, the popular Hinrichs wound up with a significant promotion as part of the shake-up that saw Fields replaced by former Steelcase chief executive Jim Hackett, notes a report in Automotive News. The 50-year-old Hinrichs will now serve in the newly created post of president of global operations.

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Last month’s shake-up at Ford came as the automaker scrambled to address declining U.S. sales and market share, a 38% plunge in first-quarter earnings, and a stock price that had dipped 40% since Fields was named CEO in July 2014. It hit a new 52-week low around the time Fields agreed to officially “retire” under pressure from the Ford board of directors and Bill Ford himself.

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Ford Shaking Up Almost Entire Senior Management Team

Changes meant to "unleash innovation" and address "underperforming parts of the business."

by on May.22, 2017

Prior to joining Ford, Jim Hackett was Steelcase CEO and served as Interim U-Michigan Athletic Director.

Scrambling to turn around declining sales and earnings and to address broad shareholder concerns, Ford Motor Co. says it will replace CEO Mark Fields while reassigning a number of other senior managers.

The decision to oust the 56-year-old Fields, architect of a broad push into new mobility services, and replace him with former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett comes just a week after Ford announced plans to eliminate 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia, part of a broader $3 billion cost cutting program.

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Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. downplayed any sense of management turmoil in a statement confirming the news reports that had begun to appear late Sunday night, declaring, “We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future.” (more…)

CAFE Rollback Wouldn’t Bring Much Change to Product Plans, Says Ford President

The big impact is likely to be on Ford’s sales mix.

by on Apr.11, 2017

Ford President Joe Hinrichs reveals the new Police Responder Hybrid at a New York preview.

President Donald Trump’s executive order reopening the “mid-term review” of federal fuel economy mandates will likely have a much smaller impact than critics have feared, according to a top Ford Motor Co. executive and other industry leaders.

Even if that review did lead to a rollback of the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to phase in between now and 2025, said Ford’s President of the America Joe Hinrichs, the maker’s long-term product plans are largely already in motion. If there’s any change, it will be in Ford’s sales mix.

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“With the typical industry product cycle, which is five to six years, what’s we’re going to launch is already in the pipeline,” said Hinrichs, during the unveiling of a new hybrid police cruiser ahead of the annual New York International Auto Show.

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Ford Reveals $1.2B Investment in 3 Michigan Plants

Project in the works for some time, but automaker hails pro-growth environment.

by on Mar.28, 2017

A worker on the line at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant. It will soon be building trucks.

Ford Motor Co. will invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan facilities, the automaker announced Tuesday, a move signaled overnight through a tweet from Pres. Donald Trump.

The three projects the package covers will help save and, in some cases add, thousands of jobs in the suburban Detroit region, in line with one of the president’s priorities. But a senior executive from Ford told TheDetroitBureau.com that all three projects were in the works well before Trump took office – the largest, involving an $850 million assembly plant investment, approved as part of a deal with the United Auto Workers Union in 2015.

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The announcement is “consistent with what we announced previously,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, though he quickly stressed that Ford is “encouraged by the pro-growth approach the administration is trying to follow. We continue to be encouraged by the dialogue.”

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Ford Bringing New Focus RS to US for 1st Time

Performance hatchback will adopt new AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring.

by on Feb.03, 2015

The new Ford Focus RS will make "in excess of" 315 hp, possibly quite in excess.

Ford will be giving compact performance fans a new option, the maker today rolling out an all-new version of its hot hatch Focus RS – and confirming will come to the U.S. market for the first time.

Part of an ambitious plan to significantly expand its presence in the performance market, the new RS will be one of the fastest and best-handling models in the Ford line-up, company officials promised during a preview staged in both Cologne, Germany and at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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“The RS is the next extension of our plan to bring out 12 (performance) vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, from the suburban Detroit end of the unveiling.

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Ford Won’t be Rolling Out Aluminum Passenger Cars, Says Top Exec

Benefits don’t justify the cost, complexity says Pres. Hinrichs.

by on Jan.15, 2015

Ford President Joe Hinrichs helps unveil the new Ford F-150 Raptor during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Though Ford Motor Co. has ballyhooed the benefits of the aluminum used to build its 2015 F-150 pickup, don’t expect to see the automaker start building passenger cars out of the lightweight metal, cautioned a top executive.

The benefits just aren’t as competitive when used on lighter vehicles, stressed Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, during an appearance at an annual industry confab in Detroit.

No Lightweight!

“You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side,” he explained, adding that, “truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.”

Facing stiff new emissions and fuel economy mandates, automakers like Ford are struggling to find ways to improve the efficiency of their vehicles. They’re adopting advanced powertrains and alternate fuels, adopting more aerodynamic designs, and putting a premium on “lightweighting.”

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Ford Aims to Edge Out the Competition with All-New 2015 Edge CUV

Crossover will target Europe for 1st time.

by on Jun.24, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Edge adopts the same C/D platform as the maker's Fusion sedan.

Ford hopes to maintain its Edge when it launches an all-new version of its midsize crossover later this year, the 2015 Ford Edge marking the nameplate’s debut in the European market.

The new crossover-utility vehicle, originally introduced for the 2007 model-year, the Edge quickly gained traction in the booming U.S. CUV market, and it has been a major factor in Ford’s rapid growth in China. Now, the maker hopes to repeat that success in Europe as it launches an all-new version of the Edge that it boasts is more refined, more powerful and more fuel efficient.

We're Your Edge!

The new Edge also serves as the latest example of retiring CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, the 2015 crossover migrating to a new platform that it shares with a variety of other key Ford products including the midsize Fusion sedan, the 4-door European Mondeo and S-Max people-mover, as well as the latest version of the Lincoln MKZ.

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Toyota, Ford Execs Square Off Over Trade, Currency Manipulation

Thousands of U.S. jobs at risk, warns Ford's Hinrichs.

by on Feb.06, 2014

Ford's Joe Hinrichs said the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact could cost thousands of American jobs.

The increasingly bitter debate over trade and currency manipulation unexpectedly became one of the hot topics at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday as two industry leaders squared off over the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact, a senior Ford executive warning thousands of American jobs could be at risk.

The agreement would unite a number of nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean in an effort to reduce trade barriers and expand trade. But the addition of Japan to the proposed TPP has set off fireworks, critics contending that the island nation routinely manipulates its currency to gain a trade advantage.

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That position has only been enhanced by the recent, sharp decline in the value of the yen – and the subsequent run-up in profits of key Japanese corporations like Toyota Motor Co. The world’s largest automaker this week announced it had earned $5.2 billion during the final three months of 2013, fully half of that due to the changes in the dollar/yen exchange rate. (more…)

Ford Plans to Launch 23 New Models, Add 5,000 Jobs in 2014

Two new EcoBoost engines also in the works.

by on Dec.12, 2013

Ford President Joe Hinrichs said the automaker will introduce 23 new models and add 5,000 employees in the coming year.

While it’s likely to be one of the most high-profile models to come, the redesigned Ford Mustang will be just one of 23 new models the automaker plans to add next year, revealed Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas.

The maker plans to also add 5,000 new jobs to support that expansion in the U.S. – while opening three new assembly plants in other parts of the world, Hinrichs said during a media briefing. Along with the new products, 16 of which are targeted to the core North American market, Ford also plans to introduce two new versions of its high-mileage EcoBoost engine family.

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The rollout will see “more products launches than in any other year in our history,” Hinrichs proclaimed. (more…)

A Little Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing, Suggests Ford’s Hinrichs

Americas chief says it helps keep capacity and demand in line – and maintains discipline.

by on Oct.16, 2013

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said the recent slowdown in sales may have been a good thing for automakers.

Whether you call it a statistical fluke or not, September saw U.S. car sales slow down a bit, and there are some signs that October could come in weak, as well, as a result of the government shutdown and deficit battle.  But at least one senior industry executive isn’t entirely upset.

The unexpectedly strong pace of the U.S. auto industry’s growth during the first eight months of the year threatened to stretch capacity to the limits, says Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s President of the Americas. Worse, it could encourage “certain behaviors” that nearly drove Ford into bankruptcy much like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

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In a wide-ranging interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, Hinrichs acknowledges that “Our competitors and we all thought September would be stronger than it was,” car sales declining 4.2% for the month, the first time volume had dipped on a year-over-year basis in 27 months. (more…)