Ford Motor Company has a new CEO, and today is his first official day on the job. Jim Farley has a positive track record for Ford going back to 2007, and his tenure in the top spot is off to an active start. Aside from management shake-ups that include a new Chief Financial Officer, the automaker is keen to give customers what they want. Part of that formula is adding more affordable offerings to North American buyers.
What exactly does more affordable mean? The obvious answer is vehicles with lower sticker prices, but Ford is also considering value-added features such as technological upgrades and long-term cost-of-ownership in the equation. It's all part of Ford's plan to achieve sustained adjusted pre-tax earnings of eight percent, which also includes sending more cash to profitable segments and expanding its commercial business, among other things.
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"During the past three years, under Jim Hackett’s leadership, we have made meaningful progress and opened the door to becoming a vibrant, profitably growing company," said Farley. "Now it’s time to charge through that door. We are going to compete like a challenger – allocate capital to higher growth and return opportunities to create value – and earn customers for life through great products and a rewarding ownership experience."
Ford's new Chief Financial Officer John Lawler will no doubt play a major role going forward. He replaces Tim Stone who accepted a position with another company, and Lawler will eventually work with a new Chief Information Officer as Ford's current CIO Jeff Lemmer will retire at the end of the year. Current Chief Marketing Officer Joy Falotico will focus her attention solely on Lincoln, leaving space for a dedicated marketing chief for Ford. Neither position as been filled as of yet.
Likely of greater interest to the motoring masses is what Ford has in store for new vehicle offerings. For some, the automaker's stated goal of turning around automotive operations, adding more affordable vehicles to the lineup, and giving customers what they want could signal a revival of sedans and and hatchbacks in North America. Motor1.com pressed Ford on the subject, and while the door wasn't completely shut on the matter, emphasis for Ford's future appears to be crossovers, SUVs, trucks. Mustang is still a part of the plan, and expanded electrification happening as well.
Beyond that, Ford is seeking to position itself to where it can invest more into its customers. If that leads to sedans and hatchbacks being profitable segments for the Blue Oval, who knows what the future might hold.