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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


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 -- Coming next week we hear from Renault Nissan CEO Carlos gone. Thanks for watching everyone we'll see you soon.

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Wanna make sure we learned from the past but also maintain competitiveness going forward also make sure all of stickler for sharing in the success of Ford. While hindrance to won't divulge details of Ford's bargaining plan. Some analysts say Detroit auto makers want to keep annual labor cost increases to about their rates of inflation. As for his message to those on the other side of the table. It'll be all about let's listen to each other and find solutions there's always a solution ample pars 12 were defined it and and I'd investments at my jobs were created about Procter and we've had all been a part of this successfully working together. The united with a big part of our transformation here in North America report them in a big part of our future. In the months ahead Henry is also looking to squeeze more products out of the automaker's plan. The Ford brand that's in April record in the U wet for suvs and crossover sales. Despite the fact that company is capacity constrained and several nameplate. Including the expedition and explore in this case. Hendricks telling us quote we're selling August 8 and and Casey's that we can produce. We work and really arbatov supply base and our manufacturing plants to increase our capacities especially in the truck and SUV system which is where the industry has been hot. We don't have any plans to introduce a new plants were working really hard on getting more out of what we have. As a result Hendrix says Ford is getting creative on the factory floor. So especially our truck plants or should be plants have been working on increasing line rates going to tag relief for or working in different shift patterns. Or doing other things cutting equipment to be able to produce more and so far he's been delivering that but how much more. It's hard to get to the point percent out of out of line rate when you've already made improvements but we certainly can get more than 12%. Cameron that ranges and on what plant but product to where we need it. And Hendrick and vehicle that had been rolling out the outline our meeting expectation. Of buyers. In the first quarter of the model year 2015. Quality with that you've ever seen and measured by the data we get. From our customers or contains some very good progress on the quality here in North America. Anything you compare. In recent years the Ford brand of ruffled with infotainment system glitches. Which hurt the marks scores in the highly regarded it JD power initial quality study. But it hit Eric says last year may have been eight turning point. If you look at 2014. In the data all right you have survey that we can you move from 27 sixteen actually works tightly about. Industrial average and the Ford brand Lincoln brand actually made the top ten so we are pleased that progress. 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