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Ford Wants “Robust” Review of Fuel Economy Rules

Cheap fuel causing shift in consumer demand, warns Ford CEO Fields.

by on Dec.11, 2014

Ford CEO Fields is looking forward to a "robust" debate over the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard.

With gas prices plunging to a national average of barely $2.60 a gallon, there’s been a an equally sharp shift in the U.S. new car market, with dealers struggling to keep up with demand for pickups, SUVs and muscle cars.

Small cars, as well as battery-electric vehicles and other high-mileage models, have been piling up on showroom lots, however, and that’s worrying automakers who fear the shift will make it difficult to meet the tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard set to take effect in 2025. And Ford Motor Co., for one may seek to have the CAFE mandate rolled back or revised, the maker’s CEO said Thursday.

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Fuel for Thought!

While insisting the company is “dedicated to meeting” the 54.5 mile per gallon target, Fields said he is also looking forward to 2017 when the feasibility of the standard will come up during a meeting between industry officials and federal regulators.

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Lincoln Getting $5 Billion Infusion to Resurrect Brand

CEO Fields staunchly supporting brand’s renaissance.

by on Oct.28, 2014

Lincoln is hoping a new series of ads featuring actor Matthew McConaughey will raise the company's profile and boost sales.

Ford’s leaders are doubling down on their investment in the Lincoln brand in hopes of coming up with a winning hand as other luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Cadillac, have stronger followings than long-suffering Lincoln.

However, it has been difficult to know what that meant, in terms of dollars, until now. In September, Ford executives suggested the plan called for a $2.5 billion cash infusion into the brand; however, Ford CFO Bob Shanks said last week that the figure was low because it excludes engineering and some sales-related expenses.

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Some experts put the number closer to $5 billion. (more…)

Ford Shares Plunge on Bad News About Recalls, Europe

But maker insists it is “well-positioned for long-term.”

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields, shown with the 2015 Edge, insists the maker's long-term prospects are solid.

Investors took a dim view after being given an inside look at Ford Motor Co, the maker acknowledging that its European turnaround will be delayed, while it expects to run up big losses in South America, as well – with earnings taking taking another $500 million hit due to recent recalls.

Ford shares closed Monday at $15.11, down about 7.5% on nearly three times the normal volume on the New York Stock Exchange, investors having to balance the maker’s short-term problems against the more upbeat, long-term potential outlined by new Ford CEO mark Fields and his top management team.

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“Our long-term plan underscores the commitment we have to our One Ford plan, while accelerating our pace of progress, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in all areas of our business,” Fields said during a presentation to automotive analysts dubbed Ford 2020. “We remain completely focused on offering customers the freshest lineup of world-class vehicles to meet their needs.”

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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.

We Pay Off!

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’s Mulally, Fields Make Early, Informal CEO Transition

A rock-star reception.

by on Jun.25, 2014

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

Officially, Alan Mulally had nearly a week left before his retirement, Mark Fields still in the on-deck circle. But informally, the outgoing Ford Motor Co. CEO handed the baton over to his successor this week during Ford’s annual summer media preview.

The 68-year-old Mulally has spent his last few weeks visiting Ford facilities around the world, “saying thank you,” he explained after dropping in on a morning briefing capped by the preview of the maker’s 2015 Edge crossover.

Inside Insight!

Even after nearly eight years on the job, with retirement approaching fast, Mulally maintained the boyish exuberance that has been a hallmark of his tenure, reminding everyone he spoke with to “continue supporting Ford” under its new leadership. And, more like a rock star than a traditional business exec, Mulally took time to pose for pictures, signing media badges with a personal note and a big heart.

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Ford’s New CEO Mark Fields: A Detour Makes Him a “Better CEO”

A "WTF expression."

by on May.09, 2014

Ford Chairman Bill Ford, left, with Mark Fields, who will become the maker's new CEO on July 1.

Ford CEO-designate Mark Fields is happy to have been tapped by Ford chairman Bill Ford and the Dearborn automaker’s board of directors to succeed CEO Alan Mulally this July. But it wasn’t always so.

The day before Bill Ford announced that Alan Mullaly as CEO on Sept. 5, 2006, word of the Boeing Co. executive’s arrival at Ford was handed out to the senior staff, including Americas President Fields. After the meeting, Fields, who has long had a special relationship with Bill Ford, appeared in the scion’s office door with what Bill Ford described in an interview with me in 2007 as what might be described today as a “WTF expression.”

Insight!

Fields, then President of the Americas, had already started weaving the narrative in his head that he would, or at least might, succeed Bill Ford as CEO of Ford. The arrival of Mulally, an outsider, was throwing that story off the tracks. “I told him (Fields) very frankly that Alan was going to make him a much better CEO when his time came,” Bill Ford related in an interview with me.

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Mulally’s Departure the Worst-Kept Secret in Detroit

Bill Ford offers praise for CEOs old and new.

by on May.01, 2014

Despite an outside search, few expected Ford to turn to anyone but Mark Fields as its next CEO.

It was, arguably, the worst-kept secret in Detroit, but even when Ford issued an early morning news alert, an advisory to attend a session at its suburban headquarters, it wasn’t ready to confirm what almost everyone already knew: CEO Alan Mulally would be retiring, his replacement to be current Ford COO Mark Fields.

That isn’t to say there weren’t a few unknowns that had Detroit’s automotive news corps racing to “Glass House,” as the Ford office tower is known. For one thing, when would the transition take place – and would it result in a shake-up among the rest of Ford’s management team.

In the Know!

In fact, Mulally acknowledged he would be leaving earlier than he had signaled previously, July 1, rather than waiting for the end of the year. But the 53-year-old Fields was getting the job he seemed destined for after being named chief operating officer in late 2012.

“I know this isn’t exactly a well kept secret,” said Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., who said he was  pleased that the company could move forward with  a smooth leadership transition.

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Ford CEO Mulally to Retire July 1, Fields Named New CEO

Maker promises “orderly succession.”

by on May.01, 2014

Retiring Ford CEO Alan Mulally poses with the 2015 remake of the Mustang.

Promising an “orderly succession,” Ford today confirmed recent, widespread rumors that CEO Alan Mulally would be retiring, his successor to be the maker’s current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields.

A former Boeing sensior executive, Mulally has won widespread praise during his eight-years at “Glass House,” Ford’s headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. His One Ford strategy has been credited with helping the once-struggling automaker avoid the bankruptcy filings forced on cross-town rivals General Motors and Ford during the depths of the nation’s Great Recession. Fields, in turn, has been seen as the man that helped put Mulally’s strategy in play.

Breaking News!

From the first day we discussed Ford’s transformation eight years ago, Alan and I agreed that developing the next generation of leaders and ensuring an orderly CEO succession were among our highest priorities,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford – great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford — said. “Mark has transformed several of our operations around the world into much stronger businesses during his 25 years at Ford. Now, Mark is ready to lead our company into the future as CEO.”

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Both GM, Ford Expected to See Sharp Drop in Q1 Earnings

GM likely to take major hit as it pays for nearly 7 million recalls.

by on Apr.23, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra will see a sharp decline in earnings for her first full quarter as CEO.

The numbers aren’t likely to look very good when General Motors and Ford Motor Co. release their first-quarter earnings results this week, both makers expected to post sharp declines from year-ago levels.

Ford had signaled a likely slide late last year as a result of the numerous new product launches it will have in 2014. But GM’s anticipated downturn is likely to be significantly greater than first forecast as a result of its on-going recall problems – an issue expected to continue to haunt new CEO Mary Barra for some time to come.

Breaking News!

A consensus of industry analysts forecasts GM will deliver a meager 9 cents per share in earnings for the first three months of 2014, and Brian Johnson, an automotive analyst with Barclays Plc is even more bearish, predicting the U.S. giant will go a penny into the red. Prior to the announcement of GM’s initial ignition switch recall in mid-February, Johnson was looking at a profit of 20 cents, which would still have been down sharply from the 67 cents per share it earnings during the first quarter of 2013.

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Mulally to Retire, Fields Named New Ford CEO

New Chief Executive to face numerous challenges.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Mark Fields, who reportedly will become Ford CEO at the end of the year, shown delivering the keynote address at the NY Auto Show last week.

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will step down at the end of the year, according to a variety of news reports and company sources, with the maker’s current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields to step in as his successor.

The move – which Ford declined to comment upon – is no surprise to those familiar with the automaker’s plans which were largely laid out in late 2012 when the 52-year-old Fields was appointed to the COO position, a senior company insider at the time saying the top spot was “Mark’s to lose.”

The Last Word!

“This is no surprise whatsoever,” said George Peterson, a former Ford analyst and now head of the consulting firm, AutoPacific, Inc. “Ford has been pretty straightforward about doing what they said they would do.”

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