Ford CEO Jim Hackett Talks Up Management Style

Jim Hackett
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Ford is in the midst of one of the most challenging restructuring efforts the automaker has ever undertaken. The company is coming off a year where it lost money in every market where it operates except North America. Yet the global restructuring is still a mystery to many investors, and a mystery even to people inside the company. So far, the only major changes announced have been the exit from the heavy commercial truck segment in Brazil, and the shuttering of a woefully underperforming factory in Brazil that built only 11 vehicles per employee in 2018. Significant salaried layoffs are also expected to take place soon.

Amidst these significant losses, CEO Jim Hackett says that he is happy with what he describes as pushing people. Hackett has been at the helm since May of 2017 and is nearing his second year in the position. He moved to Ford from office furniture company Steelcase and brought with him a very different management style than the people in Dearborn are used to. The executive says that he was brought in to say, “Do we have the score right?” Hackett’s style has confused not only people inside the Blue Oval but auto industry analysts and insiders as well.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett and VW CEO Herbert Diess

Retiring CFO Bob Shanks said of Hackett last summer, that some of the concepts he is presenting make the “head hurt” but Shanks noted that he was “all in” reports USA Today. President of global operations Joe Hinrichs said that Hackett is “challenging everybody” and noted that the automaker had a “disruption taking place.” Disruption is seen as something needed for the automaker right now; it is facing mounting losses with $1 billion in the region that includes China alone. That loss is particularly troubling because China is the largest auto market in the world.

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Hackett has offered a bit of insight on the negotiations with VW, which have so far only resulted in an agreement on trucks and vans. Rumors claimed that a deal between VW and Dearborn on autonomous autos worth $4 billion had been made, but a later report suggested no numbers had been offered so far. Hackett says that he’s “very optimistic” on the tie-up with VW and says that the “biggest thing” he can report is that the teams are working well together. Some industry analysts think part of the Blue Oval’s issue is instability at the top, something Hackett wants to help with. He noted the length of his tenure has no “specific target,” but stability at the top is something he is “trying to help with.”

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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2 Comments

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  1. The guy is in over his head. Fire him and end the pain for Ford and Ford fans. See Autoextremist.com. stating the obvious, and what I had been saying for months.

  2. Dear Ford
    the solution to your problem is so simple and it’s right in front of you guys and yall don’t even see it. With Ford floundering so badly in the chinese market, it would make so much sense to pull out of the market and focus on the Euro, American and Australian markets. Right now, Ford has so many good pieces floating around, its just that no one is actually taking the time to really look at see what your loyal customers are saying and feeling and that’s not just in the American market, but the Australian market as well. Watch this. Everyone is all hype about the SUV market right? Ford has several great SUVs. The Everest, the Explorer, the Expedition, the upcoming Bronco and this baby Bronco thing. Ford could have just those five SUVs and have he best global SUV lineup they’ve ever had. Seriously, just keep those five and drop the rest. Give them all 10-speed automatic transmissions, put the Bronco, the Everest and the Ranger on the upcoming Gen-2 Ranger Chassis, give the Bronco and the Ranger the 10-speed auto w/ the 7-speed manual option, let the Everest just get the 10-speed auto, a few decent engine options and call it a day. The Expedition needs a V8 option and a “Sport performance package” as well. The F150 needs to revive the Tremor and the Lightning to go along with the Raptor along with some motorcycle themed luxury performance variant like what the old Harley Davidson F150 used to be. Along with that, the F250 High Boy needs to live again. Along with the SUV lineup, there is a need for more performance oriented SUVs and Crossovers. The Explorer needs a V8 GT model and this new Mustang-inspired Crossover needs gasoline engine options including a V8. The MAch-E needs to be a package for the electric perfomrance variant but the crossover should be the Maverick.
    With all of that out of the way, we can get to the real meat and potatoes of this whole thing, Ford’s car lineup. It’s not that people dont want sedans, people are tired of boring, lackluster, cookie cutter sedans that don’t do anything for them. To fix that, Ford should gather together SVT & FPV (ford performance vehicles- Australia) and bring out a Falcon sedan on the new CD6 platform. Starting with the 350+hp 2.3L from the upcoming ecoboost mustang, jumping up to the 450hp twin turbo 3.5L Ecoboost, and the next Generation Coyote V8 lineup, this car should be the sedan version of the mustang and fit in the niche of what the Taurus used to fill but better. Of course with that being said, a 3.3L V6 should be available with AWD and all of that sort of stuff. The next generation mustang should be more BMW M850i like with the next generation modular V8 lineup. Personally, I’d love to see the Modular lineup go 4.6L, 5.0L, 5.4L and 5.8L with the 4.6L getting the Ecoboost treatment along with a flat plane crank setup. Along with that, there should be other engine options such as the upgraded 2.3L Ecoboost, a 450hp 3.5L ecobost and a naturally aspirated 3.3L V6. The GT350 and GT500 need to be retired and the Cobra name needs to come back to the mustang. The Ford Focus needs to Challenge the lkes of the STI, the BMW AMG A-seres, Golf-R, etc. It would be better suited on a variant of the CD6 chassis, with a higher performance version of hte 2.3L turbo (pushing 405hp). Ford Performance, Roush, Steeda, SVT and FPV all need to come together to form a complete Performance umbrella for Ford Performance vehicles. THey could also stand to work with some more aftermarket performance companies to form packages for the performance vehicles as well as offering additional factory warrantied performance bolt on parts and factory warrantied accessories, wheels, radios, etc. Not just for street performance but off road and diesel as well.
    With all of that going on in the Ford lineup, the Lincoln lineup would be the best lneup, if any, to offer to China, Even though we need too keep alot of Lincolns on US soil, the brand should counter Buick from GM in the CHinese market and just in general. But even with that, Lincoln needs to step up its performance game and bring back cars like a real Rolls Royce Grand Touring Challenging Zephyr, and a sporty Lincoln Mark Ten coupe (RS5 challenger with the 647hp 3.5L Ecoboost from the Ford GT). The Continental needs to be much better (Audi S8 status) and there needs to be more cars in the lineup.

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