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February 28, 2020

Ford's New Chief Operating Officer Wants to Make Sure the Carmaker Builds Their Cars Right

Former Toyota man and now incoming Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley laid down his plan to turn around the American carmaker. With the surprise retirement of Joe Hinrichs, Farley will become the front man starting March 1.

A marketing man by trade, Farley moved to Ford from Toyota in 2007 and held positions including President for Global Markets, and President of New Businesses, Technology, and Strategy. Now as COO, he’s tasked to accelerate Ford CEO Jim Hackett’s USD 11 billion turnaround plan.

Farley’s first order of business is to make sure that key vehicles such as the Bronco SUV and Mustang Mach-E will go smoothly.

Last year, Ford pretty much botched the launch of its all-new 2020 Explorer which suffered from build quality and assembly issues. It was so dire that dealers ended up doing required repair work even before these SUVs could be sold to customers.

Aside from smoothening out product launches, Farley wants Ford to spend less on warranty repairs. Currently, the company spends USD 5 billion annually, but he believes that with the power of big data, it will help them head off potential problems.

Farley’s appointment as COO comes at a very difficult time for Ford. In fact, he sees this as a repeat of 2008 when Ford almost ended up in bankruptcy. However, he believes that Ford does its best during these trialing situations. He said, “When I see Ford at its best was in ’08, coronavirus, Thai floods, earthquake in Japan…When there was a threat, the team comes together, decisions get made quickly at the right level. It’s very natural.”

Source: Bloomberg

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