By on August 4, 2020

ford

After being named as Ford’s next CEO, the automaker’s current chief operating officer, Jim Farley, says the company is on the proper course, with no need to reverse the tech-driven direction taken under the outgoing Jim Hackett.

Speaking to Reuters, Farley said the hunt for new revenue streams in a rapidly evolving technological landscape will continue.

Under his leadership, Farley, who takes the top job on October 1st, said Ford might dip its toes into software, fleet management, and electric vehicle recharging, claiming that, “These are new growth initiatives that could create a lot of value for the company.”

Speaking of Ford’s continuing work in the realm of self-driving vehicles, a field that’s been slower to advance than we were led to believe in past years, the future CEO said “these are concrete areas that will change Ford,” adding, “They’re going to impact the company’s future look and feel.”

Autonomous and electric vehicles seem to be the catnip investors like, but Ford’s past efforts, which were not unsubstantial, failed to set Wall Street on fire. The automaker’s sliding share price traces an uninterrupted line through the tenures of both Fields and Hackett; it will be Farley’s job to reverse the slide, and it’s his job that’ll be on the line.

Ford has to prove to investors and analysts that it’s positioned to make money chasing the future. The shareholders must be rewarded.

For now, however, Ford’s bread and butter remains its lengthy menu of trucks and SUVs — the latter group growing so crowded, Ford might have to ditch one long-running nameplate. Pandemic troubles aside, the company’s pre-existing $11 billion restructuring plan is another effort that must be completed under Farley. For now, he has the complete confidence of his bosses.

Per Reuters, the company’s executive chairman, Bill Ford, said that it wasn’t necessary to search the industry looking for a replacement for Hackett. With Farley, “our board felt that we were on the right path,” Ford said, adding that he doesn’t “expect any big surprises” with regard to upper management switcheroos.

In a media call reported on by the Detroit Free Press, Ford did say the possibility of looking elsewhere came up while discussing the transition of power.

“We clearly talked about taking a look outside,” he said. “Increasingly, everybody was getting inspired by Jim Farley’s leadership. While we talked about it and did throw some names around, every time we did that, we always felt Jim Farley rose to the top.”

As for Hackett, the outgoing CEO claims the time felt right to pass the torch.

“I said we ought to do it now, the wind in our sails is really starting to pick up,” Hackett said during the call. “Jim’s grasp of products is legendary.”

While tech and fancy gadgets wow certain journos and sometimes investors, if the core business isn’t running efficiently, all is lost. Farley implied his top focus will be on getting lucrative products like the next-generation F-150 and upcoming Bronco and Mustang Mach-E into buyers’ hands without any screw-ups.

He also added, interestingly, that he remains committed to expanding an “affordable” lineup for buyers, suggesting that there’s more low-end product to come from an automaker that’s already ditched all but one member of its passenger car stable.

[Image: Ford]

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35 Comments on “No U-Turns in Ford’s Future, Farley Says...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “no need to reverse the tech-driven direction taken under the outgoing Jim Hackett”

    Too bad. They fail to realize how detrimental this path is to their share price – the very thing they want to improve.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      This is what happens when you become a “mobility” company instead of focusing on automobiles. If they wanted to play it safe when he took over 3 years ago they should have just hybridized everything like Toyota is now. If they had started this 3 years ago it would be a realization now. Instead they still dont have a hybrid Edge or Lincoln counterpart. They could have a Navigator with said hybrid power train. Instead of allowing the Fusion which was a very good car, go by the way side with zero advertising and minimal improvements they just folded. He didnt deserve the job and should have never been given it.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      >> no need to reverse the tech-driven direction taken under the outgoing Jim Hackett
      >
      > Too bad. They fail to realize how detrimental this path is to their share price – the very thing they want to improve.

      I disagree.

      I just bought one of GM’s 2-mode hybrids, and I’m never owning a non-hybrid pickup again. It’s just a better truck than the conventionally-powered trucks.

      My new-to-me truck is 10 years old. There is nothing currently for sale that would br an upgrade. But, that plugin F-150 will be an upgrade (as would the Tesla CT) when they go on sale.

      I realize that green car guys who buy full-sized pickup trucks are a pretty small niche. But that doesn’t change the fact that the hybrid pickup is a really good vehicle which drives smoothly and can provide air conditioned space for hours at a time while stopped. Add in a 3-5kw inverter in the bed, and a wifi hotspot, and my favorite things about modern civilization comes with me wherever I go.

      Once more people live and work with these trucks, they will become much more popular — even among people who don’t care about the increased efficiency.

      P.S. People really under-appreciate the practical benefits of being able to idle with the engine (mostly) stopped. One of my hobbies involves a lot of sitting in lawn chairs beside runways, and being able to put someone who’s showing signs of heat exhaustion in an air conditioned space with a bottle of water is a big win. Construction and agricultural guys need this, too. Better trucks should sell better, if they can maintain their pricing.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      “Tech-driven direction”? Now THAT is funny. Id love to find out why, despite Ford’s “Tech-driven direction” that I cannot buy a single F150 model (even Platinum) with actual front parking proximity sensors – which all of their competition provides on lower level trims?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “front parking proximity sensors”

        I have yet to clip another vehicle or object with my front bumper so is this technology for the sake of technology? or do people actually have a poor sense of spatial positioning.

        Share price has become divorced from reality. It is no longer an accurate measure of a company’s value or direction. A company like Tesla with little production capacity and reported poor quality products has a huge share price. Ford on the other hand has some solid products and experience in the hybrid world but has a low share price.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “ I have yet to clip another vehicle or object with my front bumper so is this technology for the sake of technology? or do people actually have a poor sense of spatial positioning.”

          Lou_MR doesn’t understand business 101.

          It’s pretty simple though. Use your finger to follow along. People want it and people are willing to pay for it. The competition offers it because their customers want it and are willing to pay for it. The end goal is to make money. Technology like this helps to realize that goal.

          In its simplest form, it helps people maneuver their large vehicle in tight spaces. Has nothing to do with “technology for the sake of technology”. Super duper reclining seats fall into that category but if window licking sheep are willing to pay for it, why not let em?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Use your finger to follow along.”

            I suspect that most follow your brilliant posts with the middle finger!

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Tech-driven direction”? Now THAT is funny. Id love to find out why, despite Ford’s “Tech-driven direction” that I cannot buy a single F150 model (even Platinum) with actual front parking proximity sensors – which all of their competition provides on lower level trims?

        Sensors to overcome the fact Ford makes the F150 bigger and bigger is unnecessary. But super duper seats that recline are the path to the future.

        That’s what happens when a non car guy runs a car company. Hackett was such a cancer.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    “Jim’s grasp of products is legendary.” OK…please explain that to me.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “OK…please explain that to me.”

      Yup, me too. Have no idea what that statement means or refers to.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      When Jim Hackett says that Jim Farley’s “grasp of products is legendary,” he means ‘Jim Farley pays attention to and remembers automotive-related details which are out of my grasp (in reality) and beneath my station (as deemed by my ego) and this used to be embarrassing in meetings until I reminded everyone that I have the big job and Farley can deal with the details’ – hence the “legend” (because twittering was a thing at Ford long before Twitter) – and then to himself Hackett mutters ‘man I hate the car business’.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Brought a smile to my face since Americans will continue to buy Ford because it is the only American automobile manufacturer still standing after the 2009 Carmageddon.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      That statement is pure Ford PR nonsense. Easy explanation.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Billy Ford will rue the day he pushed Joe Hinrichs out. I still think VW will buy Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Since Ford help build Toyota after WWII ended, I’d like to see Toyota buy Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        There are Nissan and Mitsubishi in Toyota’s shopping list ahead of Ford. And there is a cultural mismatch between Toyota and Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ILO, I believe Ford has more to offer Toyota in the North American market than Nissan and/or Mitsu.

          The cultural mismatch would disappear once Toyota runs Ford because there is only one way to do things and that is Toyota’s way.

          It would cause ginormous heartburn for the UAW because they would be relegated to an afterthought, like at Fiatsler.

          But think of it; that magnificent Toyota all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 5.7L V8 as an option in the best-selling F150!?

          I may just be motivated enough to buy one.

          • 0 avatar
            Ol Shel

            The sooner we lower the salaries and benefits of fellow American workers, the better! I mean, we’re not them, so we have ZERO reason to care about them!

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            Toyota’s 5.7 doesn’t seem particularly stand out at 381 hp and 401 ft/lbs and weighing in at 490 pounds.

            Ford’s Coyote in truck form and at 5 liters produces 395 hp and 400 ft/lbs and is about 50 pounds lighter.

        • 0 avatar
          Varezhka

          I’m not sure Toyota would want to deal with Nissan and Mitsubishi’s dysfunctional corporate culture… but then again, they were able to work with GM for a long time, so maybe.

          Ford would probably be an easier partner to work with, but Toyota hardly ever do a corporate takeover. Usually more of a partnership.

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      After Diesel Gate and the grand electrification plan, I don’t think WV is in a position for such a buy out.

    • 0 avatar
      Jarred Fitzgerald

      I’m willing to bet $10 that’ll happen within this decade or so.

  • avatar
    dwford

    When Ford wants to, they know how to push the emotional buttons of buyers to get people truly excited about a new vehicle. The problem is is that they only chose to do that every so often.

    If “nothing will fundamentally change” with Jim Farley’s leadership, then I guess billions more is getting burned on the alter of AI and whatever other buzzwords that are capable of luring eager CEOs.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    That slide of employee 389 is apparently Farley’s grandfather.

    Conjecture:
    • Farley can’t say it out loud right now, but there are some things he wants to do differently starting in October.
    • Farley’s background makes him a much better fit than Hackett, and he will do better than expected.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Well looks like Farley will be Mulally 3.0 and Hackett 2.0.

    Complete and utter cancers on that company. Farley doesn’t even know who their competitors are. I didn’t realize Ford was in competition with a watch maker and computer manufacturer but here we are.

    Ford needs to go away. Nothing they make is compelling or very good and their leaders are ungodly incompetent

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      The Auto Extremist has a great write up on the leadership change at Ford – and they match your sentiments.

      But I have to give Farley at least some credit. Despite all of the probably valid criticisms, he is a true car guy. He builds and races cars and breathes car culture. Hackett ran Steelcase, and only scratched out a profit there by cheapening the product to the point that it was indistinguishable from its competitors. Hackett was not a car guy.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @highdesertcat–That Toyota all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 5.7L V8 might not be available for the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

    https://www.carscoops.com/2020/04/2022-toyota-tundra-design-powertrains-everything-else-we-know/#:~:text=An%20official%20(albeit%20delayed)%20debut,see%20from%20the%20next%20Tundra%3F

    “Reportedly the new Tundra will utilize a version of the ever-present in the Lexus brand, hybrid 3.5-litre V6, and a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 under the ‘I-Force Max’ banner with the latter pumping out 450 horsepower (335 kilowatts). Whether these hybrid engines will supplement or entirely replace the current 4.6-litre and 5.7-litre normally aspirated V8 units offered in the current truck, remains unknown”

    Ford trucks are about the only thing that Toyota would want from Ford. Under Hackett’s leadership Ford’s quality has gone down. I will not buy another new GM or FCA product and I doubt I will buy a new Ford. More likely to buy a new Toyota, Honda, Kia, or Hyundai.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Jeff S., you’re right and it breaks my heart that it may not be available when I am ready to settle down in one place again.

    I guess I’ll have to choose when the time comes to see what’s out there that plucks my strings, and warms the cockles of my heart.

    With this Wuhan virus goin’ ’round we won’t be traveling much especially since we just came back from our extended stay in Ensenada, BC, Old Mexico.

    Got to play it by ear, day by day, for now. We’re back in New Mexico, out in the desert, away from people, for now.

    Using my old 2011 Tundra to go shopping in.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Unfortunately highdesertcat that seem to be the way most manufacturers are going. The Toyota V8 and the Tundra are legendary for going over a million miles. I gave my nephew my S-10 and his wife my 2008 Isuzu which are now in his barn and both are well taken care of. My nephew just restored my Granddad’s 63 IH 1000 series pickup and it looks brand new (only has 61k original miles). I bought a used 2008 Ford Ranger regular cab with a 2.3 I4 with 101k miles with air, automatic, and power steering and power brakes for 3k and had it repainted. My nephew went over the mechanics and it is in tip top shape–it is all I need for a truck. My nephew is a retired officer in the Coast Guard and all his children are in the Air Force. My nephew has a hydralic lift in his barn and is a licensed mechanic. He also has a 1941 John Deere tractor his father-in-law fully restored.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Jeff S, times are a-changin’, but hopefully when I get ready to buy my last vehicles there will be something that both my wife and I like, one for her, one for me.

      That’s interesting about your nephew. I never was able to afford a hydraulic lift when I was still spry enough to do tooling and wrenching, so I dug a trench in the back yard with a backhoe, reinforced the sidewalls with cinderblock, and got under the car that way much of the time. All other times I was floppin’ around on the driveway cement to do the things that needed done to the vehicles. Battered and bruised was I but the vehicles ran great.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nope, no U-ies we’re taking this baby right into the ditch.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    highdesert–My nephew ordered the lift before the Covid-19 and it is a nice. It is heavy enough to lift his 1 ton 2014 Ram Cummins dually and he has a large collection of tools. He spent a lot of time getting the IH running, then he went over the Isuzu and the Chevy which didn’t need much. He replaced the shocks and did a brake job on his Ram. He then did a brake job on my Ranger, changed the oil and filter, and undercoated the Ranger with Rustoleum undercoating.

    I gave him a family bible, my Great Grandfather’s Union Cavalry sword, and some papers and belongs of my Great Great Uncle who was the first pilot to fly from Kelley Field and trained pilots during WW I on the Curtis Jenny biplanes. My Great Great Uncle and his wife lived in San Antonio and never had children but he could fix anything and was incharge of maintenance at Kelly Field. Wanted my nephew to share this with his children.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Jeff S, your nephew sounds like a gem, someone to be groomed for bigger and better things in his post-military-retirement years.

      And I mean that sincerely because there were a few people in my life, though not related to me, who needed a little grooming and guidance to help them along their way to bigger and better things.

      One of them was Nguyen, a retired USAF MSgt who was a member of the RED HORSE construction Battalion while on active duty. I took him under my wing, taught him everything he wanted to know about restoring/refurbishing houses and rental properties, and when I retired from working, sent him on his merry way to open his own business to replace mine. Success story!

      Nguyen’s wife works for a local real estate broker and funnels the work to her husband who is under contract with that real estate business.

      And much of the work is often done off-the-record as part of the underground economy, (something I was part of for 30+ years maintaining and repairing properties owned by my in-laws).

      I see massive possibilities and opportunities for your nephew.

      As part of the repair and refurb work I did on my in-laws’ properties, we often had to replace the old single-pane windows with the newer high-R double-pane insulated windows to make better usage of the Swampcooler-to-AC conversions we always did. IOW, better insulated.

      And one of the guys I hired to help me in the past was a retired Army SFC. Well, he took the idea and ran with it and opened his own Window and Glass replacement business. Another success story.

      Lotta opportunities out there.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @highdesert–My nephew is 54 so he is not as spry as he use to be. I told him the older you get the more your body hurts.

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