The Truth About Cars » Mark Fields The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 13 Jul 2014 19:22:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mark Fields Lincoln Nearly Axed By Mullaly, Saved By Fields Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:00:37 +0000 2015 Lincoln MKC

Today marks the day Mark Fields becomes CEO of Ford, taking up where now-former CEO Alan Mullaly leaves off. This day may also mark the day Lincoln begins its slow climb back from the brink, especially when Mullaly once considered killing the brand before Fields became its champion.

Bloomberg reports Lincoln, then struggling to find footing after years of assimilating Fords upmarket with no unique product in sight, would have gone the way of Mercury had not Fields and global marketing chief Jim Farley convinced Mullaly that the brand was worth saving. Now that he is CEO, Fields will be leading the effort to bring Lincoln up to fighting trim.

The first product of this effort is the MKC, which shares its mechanical base with the Ford Escape and its 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four with the upcoming Ford Mustang. However, the crossover’s design is 85 percent unique to itself, and has premium features on par with its competitors — BMW X3, Audi Q5, Acura RDX — including soft-touch leather and parallel-parking technology. The crossover follows the MKZ — whose delayed roll-out over technical gremlins prompted the debate over Lincoln’s fate — and will be later joined by a redesigned MKX and the replacement for the MKS.

The MKC will be aimed at drawing buyers from premium brands like Cadillac and Lexus, Ford owners wanting to move up, as well as young first-time buyers and empty nesters looking to downsize. The road back to the top will be long, however; though U.S. sales climbed 21 percent during the first half of 2014 with 37,251 models leaving the showroom, annual sales are 65 percent down from the brand’s peak in 1990.

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Mullaly Sticking Close To Ford Upon Stepping Down Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:00:16 +0000 Alan Mullaly

Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly may be heading out the door, but he does plan to help his successor when needed.

Bloomberg reports Mullaly will act in an advisory role to upcoming CEO Mark Fields, and plans to remain close to Ford for the foreseeable future. Beyond this, the outgoing CEO has held his post-Ford plans close to the vest, though sources claim Mullaly may be lining up a board director or chair position somewhere.

Since his arrival from Boeing in 2006, Mullaly has been credited for turning around Ford’s fortunes, establishing a collaborative environment from senior management down. After losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008, the Blue Oval gained $42.3 billion between 2009 and 2013. On the sales front, its home market saw an 11 percent boost in 2013, thanks to the F-Series, Fusion and Escape, and trounced Toyota in China.

As for what Mullaly sees Fields’ Ford accomplishing, he sees the company tackling economic development, congestion and pollution:

We’re going to continue to see a very large migration into the larger cities worldwide. Personal mobility and integrated transportations [sic] systems, I think that’s going to continue to be very, very important. And Ford, as a transportation technology company, has such a great opportunity to serve in that way.

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Mullaly Has “No Regrets” Leading Ford During Eight-Year Tenure Fri, 09 May 2014 11:00:31 +0000 Alan Mullaly

Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly appeared at his final annual investors meeting in Wilmington, Del. to a standing ovation from shareholders, proclaiming he had “no regrets” about his eight-year service at the helm.

Bloomberg reports Mullaly, who will pass the torch to upcoming CEO Mark Fields July 1, said he would “always be very pleased and very proud” of all he accomplished at Ford, confident that Fields and the rest of the leadership team under the One Ford management system — built with help from Fields — would be able to take the Blue Oval to the next level.

During his tenure, Mullaly saw Ford earn $42.3 billion over the past five years after losing $30.1 billion in the two years leading to the 2008 automotive industry crash and the Great Recession. In addition, U.S. sales in 2013 rose 11 percent on the strength of products such as the F-Series, Escape and Fusion, while outselling Toyota in China.

As for Fields, executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. stated that nothing would change beyond who would be sitting in the CEO’s office:

Typically what’s happened is the new CEO always feels like they have to chart a new direction, I’ve seen that many, many times and that’s confusing to an organization. Because Mark has been an architect of the direction that we’re going, there is going to be a continuation and a continuation of the culture.

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Mark Fields Confirmed As Ford CEO Thu, 01 May 2014 13:45:36 +0000 550x358xExecTeam12NAIAS_8818-550x358.jpg.pagespeed.ic.OrXHJntCXO

Ford’s board of directors has confirmed Mark Fields as the Blue Oval’s next CEO. Current CEO Alan Mulally will depart on July 1st, with Fields assuming the post immediately.

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Mark Fields To Replace Alan Mulally, As Ford CEO: We Wish Him Mazel Tov Tue, 22 Apr 2014 04:01:06 +0000 Mark Fields, Ford Group VP Derrek Kuzak, Bill Ford Jr., Alan Mulally

Mark Fields, Ford Group VP Derrek Kuzak, Bill Ford Jr., Alan Mulally

Two of the most reliable reporters on the automotive beat, Karl Henkel and David Shepardson of the Detroit News, have reported that their sources confirm that Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally will step down later this year and that Mark Fields, Ford’s chief operating officer, will be named to the CEO position. Earlier on Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Ford “may announce the moves as soon as May 1.” Ford’s annual corporate meeting is scheduled for May 8 in Delaware, with the FoMoCo board of directors meeting the prior day. Mulally, 68, has been with Ford since 2006 and he’s generally credited with successfully guiding the automaker through the troubled waters that brought crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler to bankruptcy and a government bailout.

The move is seen by most as a formality and that Fields, 53, has been assured of replacing Mulally since he was promoted from President of the Americas to COO in late 2012. Mulally has previously said publicly that he plans to remain as Ford’s CEO through at least 2014. Other than a stint at IBM, Fields has been at Ford for most of his adult life, having joined the company 25 years ago.

A Ford Motor Company spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the reports.

So that’s the boilerplate news. In the background of the story, though…Ever since Fields started ascending the corporate ladder and was seen as a possible CEO at Ford, is the fact that Mark Fields is Jewish and the founder of the company, Henry Ford, was one of the 20th century’s most notorious anti-semites. If I was a betting man, I’d bet that 100% of the articles published in major news sources about the announcement, when it is made, will mention Fields’ religion and Henry Ford’s anti-semitism. Henkel and Shepardson’s DetNews piece certainly did.

That prejudice is a historical fact. In 1920, the Dearborn Independent, a newspaper controlled by Henry Ford, started publishing a series titled The International Jew, claiming that there was a worldwide conspiracy by Jews to control the world. Seven years later, under pressure from his son Edsel and other business associates, Henry would make a public apology, but the damage to Ford’s image was done. Growing up in and around Detroit, I can’t recall any of my friends’ parents driving Ford products before the 1970s. I’ve known Jews, the children of Holocaust survivors, who bought German cars before they would consider a Ford product.


To be fair, it should be said that Henry Ford was not an exterminationist Jew-hater, like Adolf Hitler was, though the two admired each other to some extent. Ford had good working relationships with Jews like architect Albert Kahn and he was friendly with his neighbor in Detroit’s Boston-Edison district, Rabbi Leo Franklin of Detroit’s biggest Reform Jewish temple, Beth El. In fact, Ford was perplexed when, following the publication of The International Jew, Franklin returned the Model T that Henry gifted to him, something Ford ecumenically did every year for all of the most prominent clergymen in Detroit. Henry, it seems, divided world Jewry into two groups, the “good Jews”, those whom he knew personally, and the conniving boogeymen of his imagination. Remember, Henry Ford was an uneducated farm boy who made good and he retained most of his beliefs, biases and prejudices all of his life.

Henry didn't like jazz. "Jewish Jazz - Moron Music" is what his newspaper called it. With one of his great grandchildren married to a Jew and another married to a black, Henry must be spinning faster than a Model T crankshaft.

Henry didn’t like jazz. “Jewish Jazz – Moron Music” is what his newspaper called it. With one of his great grandchildren married to a Jew and another married to an African-American, Henry must be spinning faster than a Model T crankshaft.

So it’s true that Henry was a crackpot and a Jew hater. However, Henry Ford has been dead since 1947 and his family has gone out of its way to right his wrongs. I’ve written before here at TTAC about how Henry Ford II cultivated close personal relationships with Jews and between Ford Motor Co. and the Jewish community, how the Deuce was personally generous to Jewish philanthropies (and FoMoCo did likewise at his lead), and how in 1973, at the height of the Yom Kippur War, Henry II personally arranged for Ford of Europe to ship trucks and trailers to Israel because they were needed to move tanks to the battle fronts.

Fields’ comments about not experiencing any discrimination at the Ford company ring true to what I have heard from personal friends who have worked there in the past few decades. Fields is also not the only high level Jewish executive at Ford Motor Company. Neil M. Schloss has been Vice President and Treasurer of Ford Motor Co. since 2007.

I see the appointment of a Jew to the CEO job at Ford as more of a non-issue than anything else. Yes, it’s worth noting because of the history involved, but 2014 is not 1920. It’s a different world, Ford Motor Company is a different company that it was under Henry and I’m sure that Bill Ford and his cousins (who collectively control Ford Motor Company) don’t care what Fields’ religion is as long as he does a good job running the company.In light of the fact that one of the Ford cousins is married to a Jew and has donated a Torah scroll to the temple they attend, my guess is that many in the family will be happy about Fields taking the job. A dark corner in their family history has been turned.

Let me be the first to wish a hearty Mazal Tov to Mark Fields, to his kvelling parents, to the Ford family and to Ford Motor Company.

* The term “anti-Semite” was coined by Wilhelm Marr, who was looking for a more polite term than “Jew-hater” to describe his opposition to Jewish political emancipation in 19th century Germany, so he pulled a word from linguistics, which references “Semitic” languages that include Hebrew, Ugaritic etc. Since Marr’s euphemism was intended to make him and his ilk look better and because some modern day Jew-haters have appropriated the term to fraudulently claim that Arabs are also victims of “anti-Semitism”, I prefer to call a spade a shovel.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2015 Mustang to Likely Premiere in Times Square Next Thursday on Good Morning America. Part of Simultaneous Reveal of All New Global ‘Stang In Six Cities On Four Continents Thu, 28 Nov 2013 07:38:04 +0000

Click here to view the embedded video.

The all new, next generation Ford Mustang will have its world premiere next Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Reflecting the fact that for the first time Ford will be selling the Mustang globally, including in right hand drive format, the car will be simultaneously debuted in six cities around the world, on four different continents. For the North American market, Ford will get top billing that day on the ABC television network’s popular “Good Morning America” show, broadcasting from New York City, at the same time that the new Mustang will be revealed at events in: Los Angeles, California; Sydney, Australia; Shanghai, China; Barcelona, Spain, and near Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

The events will be broadcast online at Ford’s site, which lists a starting time of 7 a.m. Eastern time, which is when “Good Morning America” begins. That would be 11 p.m. in Sydney, Australia; 8 p.m. in Shanghai; 1 p.m. in Barcelona, Spain; 7 a.m. in Dearborn, Mich., and 4 a.m. in Los Angeles. Since nobody in LA is going to get up at 4 in the morning to go to a car reveal, there is also going to be a local event there later in the morning at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard at 10 a.m. local time. TTAC will have at least one representative at the Dearborn event.

1964 World's Fair Ford Mustang Introduction

Lee Iacocca introducing the original Mustang at the New York World’s Fair, April, 1964.

Ford marketing head Jim Farley has confirmed that he’s going to be outside the United States for the event, though he’s been coy about where. His location is rumored to be in Australia

Other than giving the locations, times and the fact that the reveals will happen “nearly simultaneously” Ford isn’t saying much though they did say that company execs, dealers and “local influencers” will take part in each of the local events. The event in Dearborn will also have a contingent of Ford employees. The Product Development Center is just across Oakwood Blvd from the Ford conference center that’s hosting the reveal.

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Ford Sees Excess Capacity Hurting Brazil Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:15:01 +0000

Excess capacity through 2016 will be a royal pain in the butt for Ford, hurting their margins on the all important small car segment.

Despite Brazil’s booming car market, capacity is expected to outpace demand by 20 percent each year until 2016. Mark Fields, Ford’s head of the Americas, told Reuters

“Excess capacity is going to put more pressure on pricing and margins, particularly in the B segment, or small car segment, which is the largest segment in Brazil”

Ford is one of Brazil’s four largest auto makers, with multiple assembly plants in the country. But market share for the “Big Four” has been eroding as new entrants capture the eye of consumers while also building new local plants to dodge hefty import taxes.

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Mark Fields Becomes Ford’s COO, Setting The Stage For Succession Wed, 12 Sep 2012 17:41:34 +0000

Ford is set to promote Mark Fields, head of Ford’s operations in the Americas, to the newly created post of COO, paving the way for him to succeed Alan Mulally as CEO.

The Bloomberg report cites an unnamed source, who claims that the transition may come at Ford’s board meeting, which begins on Thursday. Fields will give up his current role, where he has overseen a turnaround from record losses to record profits. Possible replacements for Fields at the Americas post include  Joe Hinrichs, head of Ford’s Asian operations, and marketing chief Jim Farley.

Hinrichs is apparently held in high regard by Mulally, but at age 45 (six years younger than Fields), he is thought to have time to become CEO in the future.

The Bloomberg piece details how Fields won points from Mulally by doing the unthinkable; reporting a defect.

Shortly after arriving from Boeing in September 2006, Mulally instituted a Thursday morning meeting where his top executives are required to report on their initiatives using a green, yellow and red color code to indicate progress, caution and a problem.

Fields was the first to put up a red light because a balky tailgate latch had halted production of the Edge sport-utility vehicle. Mulally, frustrated no one was reporting problems even though Ford was losing $17 billion in its automotive operations that year, began applauding when Fields revealed his red light. “Great visibility, Mark,” Mulally recalled saying in a 2010 interview. “Is there anything we can do to help you?”

Fields later said he had trepidations about revealing the problem because in Ford’s previous culture “finger pointing would have ruled the day.”

“When I showed that first red, there was a lot of tension in the room,” Fields said in a 2010 interview. “Then Alan clapped.”

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F-Bomb Flies From Ford’s Fields Fri, 02 Mar 2012 18:29:28 +0000

An Automotive News story today reported on an incredible – dare I say, game changing - method of corporate governance over at Ford; swearing at, and attempting to physically attack your co-workers!

According to a new book titled American Icon, which details Ford’s turnaround since 2006, CFO Don Leclair insisted that the advertising budget for Ford’s “Bold Moves” ad campaign be cut further. AN outlines the exchange below

“When you run the f–king business, you can do it,” Fields responded to Leclair, Hoffman wrote. “But you don’t run it. You’re the CFO. So, I’ll take your counsel, but that’s it.”

Leclair then shouted, “You’re going to do this,” Hoffman wrote, adding: Fields leapt out of his chair screaming, “I’m tired of this bulls—!”

Fields was “halfway across the table” when Bill Ford, then the automaker’s CEO, grabbed him, according to Hoffman. “Cut it out,” Ford said, according to Hoffman’s book

A look at Ford’s org chart shows that Fields and Leclair are on the same level, which makes Fields’ statement regarding running “the f—king business” all the more puzzling. Leclair, as CFO, would probably be a greater asset to Ford than a fungible marketing wonk like Fields, and if this were a conventional work place, Fields probably would have been fired for this kind of behavior. Leclair apparently blocked other moronic marketing department schemes like offering carbon offsets along with the purchase of a Ford vehicle because they were deemed to be the 21st century secular liberl version of buying indulgences from the Church too expensive.

It’s worth noting that at the same time, Fields was criticized for using the company jet to fly home to Florida, at a cost of $18,000 each week at the same time that the Leclair incident, and the shedding of tens of thousands of hourly workers was occurring.

For a breathless rimjob of Fields dubious actions an alternate view on the events, and Fields suitability as Ford’s future CEO, check out Jalopnik’s own piece on the matter.

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Lincoln Going Global? Wed, 13 Jan 2010 21:20:48 +0000

Having divested much of its premium brand portfolio (Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin), Ford is missing out on luxury sales in growth markets like China. So it comes as no surprise that Automotive News [sub] would ask Ford President of the Americas Mark “MKF” Fields whether Ford’s Lincoln brand could go global. Fields’ reply?

Potentially, but we are focusing Lincoln here in North America for right now. We don’t have any plans at this point to take it global. That doesn’t mean in the future we wouldn’t look at that, but it’s very important for us to focus on North America.

The question (and its distinct non-answer) open an uncomfortable can of worms for Ford. Thus far, Alan Mulally’s regime has focused on building up the Ford brand as a global player, largely relegating its remaining luxury divisions to rebadge-based irrelevance. As the Ford brand starts to gain its footing with truly global products, the FoMoCo will eventually have to start figuring out a strategy for Lincoln and Mercury.

For Mercury, death is the only real option. Other than possibly keeping it as a dedicated hybrid or EV brand, there’s nowhere to go with the Jill Wagner brand but the grave. Besides stealing focus from Lincoln and gaining a tiny bit of incremental profit, Mercury has little to no role to play in Ford’s future. Coming to terms with this reality is the first step to figuring out Ford’s luxury brand strategy.

From there, Lincoln will require immense investment to recreate it as a luxury brand of global relevance. It’s re-workings of Ford products are of the latter day GM school: just restyled enough to prevent widespread accusations of cynical rebadging. Needless to say, this will not be enough to generate enthusiasm among American luxury buyers (Lincoln’s US sales fell nearly 23 percent last year to their lowest level since 1981), let alone China’s nouveau riche who have no history with the brand. Especially with products like Ford’s Taurus SHO intruding on its premium positioning and price point.

Unfortunately, Ford’s colossal debt won’t allow for much in the way of unique Lincoln product development. The pre-requisite of winding down the Mercury brand won’t be cheap either. Still, with the Premier Auto Group now defunct, it’s getting to be about time for Ford to turn towards its luxury strategy and figure out how to make the most out of a tough situation. One thing is for certain: with Lincoln and Mercury withering on the vine to vary extents, inaction on this front is not an option.

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