California Autos Examiner

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Farley Focused on Future, Flaunts Flex For Now

Ford: A Toyota Vet to the Rescue

Many of us who watch the auto industry like hawks were caught off guard by Jim Farley's defection from Toyota to underdog Ford. I remember muttering to myself, "Must have been the money" when I originally read the news. While the above article doesn't dismiss the money factor, it does paint a portrait of Farley that is quite complimentary. If you have even a passing interest in automotive marketing, it's well worth your time to read it.

What have we seen from Farley since he joined the Blue Oval? The slogan "Drive One" (which I like) is a product of his team and the Flex's launch is one that will be watched closely. Going forward, however, Farley will have a big say in what vehicles Ford sells all over the world. The Fiesta was already in the mix for the U.S. but the inclusion of the hatchback was not a done deal. Many accounts say that Farley pushed for its inclusion (although this is not mentioned in the above article). I would imagine the 5-door Focus that Ford will sell here is also to Farley's liking.

Can Farley and his "dream team" of marketers pull it off? Much of that will depend on Ford CEO Alan Mulally's plans to bring a large swath of European Ford's our way. There are undoubtedly some folks in the organization who remember the Merkur and Contour experiments with a shudder, but Ford of Europe's products have never looked better or more appealing no matter what continent you're sitting on. Rather, the biggest gamble is where oil prices will stabilize. If oil sinks below $100, will Americans backslide to their old buying habits? How flexible will Ford be should this happen?

photo source: ford media

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