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Farley Wants More Fords Soon

Ford is looking for ways to speed up the introduction of its next generation of vehicles, says the company's new vice president of marketing and communications.

Jim Farley, hired away from Toyota by Ford, was in the process of revamping the company's marketing effort, which he says is too centralized. He's also in the process of streamlining the presentation of option packages and dealing with Ford's dismal sales numbers for 2007.

Ford Ford's sales dropped twelve percent last year, more than those of any other major automaker, and the company wound up yielding the number-two spot in sales to Farley's old employer Toyota, which sold 2.62 million vehicles to Ford's 2.57 million units.

The 45-year-old Farley was recruited by Ford from the fast track at Toyota, where he had blazed through a series of assignments and promotions over the past decade, presiding over the launches of the Scion brand and the new Tundra pickup truck.

Speeding up the recovery
Since joining Ford in November, Farley has gone through an immersion in Ford's corporate culture and it's clear his marketing portfolio has been stretched to give him influence on product planning and product development.

However, Farley also said the company was looking at its global product portfolio for additional vehicles that could be sold in the United States. He is particularly eager to shore up the company's position in the "B and C" or subcompact and compact car segments, he said. With gasoline prices topping $3 per gallon, subcompacts and compacts have been gaining buyers for the past couple of years and are expected to grow again in 2008 and 2009 as consumers grapple with higher fuel prices.

The upcoming North American International Auto Show is vital for Ford because it will offer a chance to show Ford's latest hardware, including the F-Series pickup truck, which has been revamped completely in face of the new challenges. Farley didn't outline any specific goals for the show but he made it clear he wants the show to leave an impression.

Still, the challenges at Ford are daunting. General Motors' turnaround appears to be gaining momentum. Ford will have to go several more months without any new products in the showroom, noted Tom Libby of J.D. Power & Associates.

© Source: thecarconnection.
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