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Ford CEO Mulally: ‘We’re not going to back off’ on tech-push

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  1. Lincoln0:53, 1:14, 2:26
  2. jaguar1:20
  3. high tech1:03
  4. consumer electronics2:00
  5. Jim Farley2:44
  6. Alan Mulally0:17
  7. Automotive News0:10, 4:25
  8. GM2:51
  9. flat panels1:57
  10. Mark fields3:45

Fri, 9 Nov 2012|

'Talk From the Top' With Ford CEO Alan Mulally

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hi again welcome to the latest installment of our talk from the top series. I'm Jason Stein editor Automotive News. So this time around we're speaking with CEOs at global auto makers and we're gonna begin today with Ford's Alan Mulally. Since arriving at 2006 Mulally has been credited with completely overhauling the blue ovals culture products and business. And most analysts would argue all for the better. In recent years the focus on the -- eventual departure and a succession plan were hot topics among industry analysts and reporters. But all that speculation was laid to rest November 1 when Ford announced Mulally would stay on through at least the end of 2014. Four days later I sat down with Wally at Ford's Dearborn headquarters. The 67 year old continues to wrestle with challenges that seemingly won't go away. Making Lincoln relevant again and improving the auto makers controversial. Infotainment system. The technology that goes with forged in a reasonable life worked but that high tech gear namely the Mike Ford and Miley can touch control systems. Played a significant role in how the brands spared in the most recent consumer reports annual reliability study. Lincoln finished 26. And fort when he seventh only one spot above last place jaguar. The magazine calls the tellem -- system quote problematic. So far. Mulally says despite all that we're not back off. He says Ford is constantly improving a system which is designed in large part to help decrease driver distraction. What what you've done differently if you were -- I'm not so sure that we -- we would have done anything significantly different. Except for maybe. A little bit more focus on the -- of the initial capability just give you one example about that on on my Ford touch. We need to cut some customers like flat panels as benefits someone like consumer electronics five positions exposition controllers. Some of them like voice commands and at the time when we started we only had like 100 -- Well today we have 101000 voice commands so and hindsight we probably would focus more. On the on the voice activation may be a little bit less in the touch screen. And then brought that technology along a little slower. One part of the business were Mulally is not slowing down is Lincoln. US sales are off 15% this year but Mulally says he's found the right man to reinvent the brand. He really understands luxury he really believes. -- in Lincoln. Well Ali talking of course about Ford's veteran marketing sales and service boss Jim Farley who is now Lincoln's worldwide leader. -- by the way is no stranger to the luxury segment. GM has such a unique experience because he's clearly helped develop. The Toyota upper hand in their products. And then he also led the development. Of the Lexus premium. Worldwide. In recent months Farley has been a prime architect. Behind Lincoln's plan to offer a new style of customer care similar to what you find at luxury hotels Mulally says the vehicle is one part. That that election customer expects and wants and really appreciates. A more personal long term relationship. And so our dealers. Are right size now they're excited about to invest in their facilities. In their people and their teams and they years are gonna provide a very very satisfying how long term relationship to Lincoln customers. And speaking of a strong bond Mulally says he has one -- is new and first chief operating officer at Ford. Mark fields. Feels that the auto -- long time president of the Americas will now lead the company's. Day to day operations including a key weekly meeting previously run -- and -- where all of Ford's global business unit leaders come together by teleconference. Molly however says he'll still be in the room. Mark is going to them lead our business plan reviews on Thursday and I'm going to be dynamite helped sitting right next that to him. While -- focus even more on the for the development of our strategic plan. By the way we've -- appointed to -- well many believe fields is the clear top candidate to replace -- Monday. For more on this talk from the top please read the November 12 print edition of Automotive News of course you can find it online at -- news.com. Coming next week we hear from Renault Nissan CEO Carlos gone. Thanks for watching everyone we'll see you soon.

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    Hello I'm Jennifer bond. On this edition of the dealers speaks we have about thirty miles northwest of Detroit to Lake Michigan. It's home to assuming Chrysler dodge Jeep brand and run by lawyer turned car dealer human. This 52 year old spent eleven years practicing law but he treated the courtroom for the show room in 1990 founding. That's when his then seven year old dad was ready to retire from the family business which father and grandfather founded. In 1955. The crazy emotional attachment you have as third generation. Person the dealership and always been part of the family always enjoyed being at the dealership. So I think actually gave up the data daily practice blonde stolen license attorneys still do legal work here and there but I really full time here at the dealership and it's worked out. She only grew up in the car business but his line experience is helping in some aspects of running the dealership today. The reviewing contracts. There's so much. Regulation of dealerships. There is you know on human resource issues there's so many you know discrimination harassment all of these rules it's impossible. You know you try to comply with everything it really is hard to to do it all there's so much going on. And again I I can because of my legal background I don't know when I need to get outside help and when I don't lot of things I can do on my own. Or and save some time and some money that way. Humans says that parallels exist between his past career and his process and one this is the retail. Car business. Just like practicing law again if you wanna be alert just going from nine to five isn't gonna cut it. He means that clear to potential hires that long workdays are the norm. He's also upfront about the dealerships unique paint plan that's because human employs a non commissioned sales and a. It's a little bit harder to recruit experienced sales person. From another store someone who's been in the business for awhile because they're just not used to it you know maybe don't see how it would work for them. That's that's human staffers don't work on commission is not any focal point in its advertising. His radio are known to be fast paced and sometimes a little off the wall. And commission fully transparent answer all questions that stands. He voices that the spots and sell at a local CBS radio station just a short drive from his store. And he even writes it for a thirty seconds and at their contents usually topical. Marches here the film actually milk and the fields are small and people like. Most US don't change or add that often they I was as surprised my answer we're taught when they're stupid but there were talking about. About something that it is happening in the community. The changes all the time. And don't believe humans can talk that fast. Option mentioned president that you the biggest pressure that he regularly walled lake in the best presser that you've been given America. For generator to account. That lying about being the biggest Chrysler dodge Jeep brand dealer in walled lake. Is something issuing drives home to assess his apart from the competition he explains why. My biggest problem when I came here in 97 where people that live two miles from here that didn't know there was a car dealership in walled even though we've been here since 55. So that's why its biggest and wolf lake over and over again is that. But they gag line it's the only Chrysler dodge Jeep brand store in this city. And messaging seems to have resonated with buyers. In 1990 the dealership roughly 100 new cars a month. And when he thirteen about 160. Per month. And this year's goal. Really trying to get to 200 new cars and can't expanded that facility by about 30% to seven years ago accelerate the growth. So we can get. Thirteen or fourteen and fifteen cars in here. But she metal is just part of us now equation. Shooting continues to cultivate its handling a lot of the port customer service. We are here to help people. If you have that that we're not here to make money obviously recently we have to make proper of the dealership won't be here but the the number one thing is. We're here to to help people. That principle cemented it when the storm one at the highest honor nationally. From car dealer review website dealer dot com last year. In the overall dealer of the year and when he thirteen issue Chrysler dodge Jeep brand. That announcement made at last year's NET convention in Orlando Florida. At the time the store earned an overall star rating of four point nine fine. Also critical to running a successful business. Human it's all about expense control at a car dealership take that's fine bring. Sample I want Ed dodge and ram through it I'm too cheap to spend the money to to fix the sign so we just leave it like that. Human and his ads that he keeps his overhead loan. And that the mortgage on single point store has been long paid for in addition. I have ever dies and we hot off is that a fairly good but it. I don't understand I don't I really do not understand barbershop teeth whitening I've seen a mall that they go one in dealerships. It is hard enough. To sell cars and fix cars and keep everybody happy that's enough on anybody's plate. Assuming clearly not afraid to speak his mind and tell a few jokes. You got to try to have fun you got it and you got to try and work hard you can have fun and work hard to I really believe that. And so that's that we try to do mean it's it's it's it's a business where you've you've got to work and you gotta hustle or you're not gonna make it retail harvest. And issue was certainly hustling in 2013. In his yearlong role as chairman of this January's North American International Auto Show. Thanks for watching the dealers speaks both to UC news.

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