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Ford CEO Farley Says Corporate Inefficiencies ‘Grew Back’

Ford has faced its fair share of quality woes in recent months, finishing 2022 as the most recalled automotive manufacturer and slipping significantly in J.D. Power and Consumer Reports dependability studies, year-over-year. FoMoCo has since put a renewed focus on quality, hiring new talent like Josh Halliburton to be its new executive director of quality, with improvements expected to begin this year, but ultimately take several more to fix completely. In the meantime, these problems – along with an overly complex lineup and other inefficiencies – wreaked havoc on the company’s 2022 fiscal performance, and that’s something Ford CEO Jim Farley recently addressed in more detail.

“I was on Alan’s team. I’ve watched several leadership teams at Ford. And so my perspective is we can cut the cost. We can cut people. We can do that really quickly. We’ll do whatever we need to. The reality is if you don’t change the efficiency of engineering, supply chain and manufacturing, the basic work statement, the way people work, the efficiency of that, it will grow back because it did. It all grew back,” Farley said while speaking at the 2023 Wolfe Research Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference.

“And my job as CEO is to make sure far after I’m gone, that it doesn’t grow back. And to do that, we decide as a team to make a more fundamental change than just what we have to do, cut the output costs. But the most important change we’re making that we’re deep into now, by the way, quality and cost can be solved by the same approach is to go into the company and literally change the behaviors on how we engineer something, how we source it and how we build it.”

While The Blue Oval continues to face some high-profile quality problems, executive chair Bill Ford recently stated that he’s pleased with the work that the Ford CEO has done thus far, noting that “Jim’s got a full court press on it, and we’re already starting to see results.” He added that Farley is a ‘fantastic CEO,” pointing out that “this is the best leadership team in my memory. We’ve got plenty of resources to get done what we need to get done. And now we have to execute.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s quality push soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Jim

    Farley took over in late `20 and QC has been a problem since. Either he doesn’t know how to manage the situation or he didn’t recognize there was an existing problem when he took the reigns and has looked the other way for 2 years. Either way, he’s been a failure in my eyes.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      LoL not exactly true.

      Hackett got the sackett because of the difficult birth of the Explorer (as a singular example). When Farley took over he fired the management responsible for that and other fumbles.

      As to Farley’s time in office he came in when the industry was suffering the greatest disruption to orderly operation of the supply chain since WW2 (can’t reach back to the Great Depression because then the tech was so simplistic, the supply base so regional and in house, and the economic situation so different.).

      Ford’s chip situation has been governed by contracts cut years before he came into office. (And in general, in this situation, nobody has leverage on price or supply (even Toyota cut production and is still doing so.)

      Most of the vehicles Farley’s selling today were conceived under Fields, and developed under Hackett, with an organization he inherited from Mulally, Fields and Hackett.

      Not to forget many long term internal cultural attitudes about how Ford folks approach and handle things.

      Reply
      1. Mark

        You’re a prime example of why Ford has a QC issue. Everyone making excuses and passing the buck so as to evade responsibility. There is NO excuse for poor QC regardless of who’s platform he has inherited.

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          Oh Mark, apparently nothing of what came before, how it happened, who was responsible, or how long it takes to fix things could ever make sense to someone writing the kind of pablum you’ve laid down in response to facts, history and analysis.

          PS. My reply to 2G 3 franchise Gregg below appears further down the page where XX marks the spot – comment board has some kind of linking error.)

          Reply
  2. Mark

    Had several Fords starting from 94 with a mercury & up until 2005.
    Went to look at the 22 Edges and could not believe my eyes; body panels, hood bumper not aligned properly. Gap from one of the end and the other end close to how it should of been. Also other models too! Really disappointed!
    This reminds me exactly when the 2015s mustangs came in. Like wth is going on? Other manufacturers do not have this problem.
    Ford, get your hands in this and make them right again. Also note there is no reason to have sky high msrp on cars that are close to high level car manufacturers.
    Ford, you are a mass production company and Not a luxury manufacturer.
    Get your priorities straight and things will come back bc at this rate, the ship will sink.

    Reply
  3. Steve Viso

    Lack of Communication and Vision. From the Top down. !

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Undeclared local dealer General Manager likely unhappy by move to BEV and ICE specialization and online sales complains about what exactly?

      A Chair & CEO with a vision to pivot away from last century’s technology?

      A company not acting like a last follower in implementing that vision?

      A CEO who has pretty transparently (to the extent one can be without prematurely revealing company confidential info to competitors) and consistently communicated where the bus is headed, what ails the company, what needs to be done, where things are coming up short and taking actions to fix, implement, and adjust?

      Yes, it seems like sour grapes from our local undeclared dealer General Manager guy.

      Reply
  4. Dave

    Ford was able to make 654,000 F series in 2022. They sold 208,000 Explorers in 2022. They sold 137,000 Escapes in 2022. They made 137,000 Broncos in 2022. So why the hell can’t they even crack 90,000 Mavericks???? Good job there Farley

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Maybe there is a relationship between profit margin and the production limited chip(s) that determines where they are allocated, and just enough chips are allocated to some models to keep a plant running or the pipeline to markets and dealers as full as possible so as to not let it go dry before chip supply improves.

      I suppose it’s too difficult to try and think inside a global industry challenge compared to just writing down numbers out of context.

      Reply
  5. RWFA

    Ok Mr 2G “I own 3 franchises” (in Big Oil’s see, hear and speak no evil as long as it’s Denial, Doubt and Delay,)

    Obvious restatement of obvious history doesn’t work for you, and why should it? (Since your comments here reflect retrograde fantasies of Big Oil’s bad faith K-street crowd.)

    Reply
    1. Oleh

      Are you always this contrary ? No one can comment on this site without your smarmy commentary….get help…you need it.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Oh Oleg, I see the team is out in full force counter attack mode.

        Guess it’s expected after the failure of the “Ram and Toyota refused to do BEV” scripted talking points. (That whole thing died quickly when I posted the links to Ram rolling out its REV prototype and more links a week later of Toyota’s CEO announcing a “BEV-first mentality” for the company.

        Similarly, it explains the obviousness of the sudden ramp up of the buy mo diesel and mo motor oil point.

        And the similar rise of the “families of the world are imperiled by BBQ’s disguised as BEVs” theme as well.

        All these being pointed out and blown up to the detriment of the K-street business case which is to try and plant opinion shifting falsehoods (the tertiary phase: Delay, after the earlier Deny and Doubt phases) in service of Big Oil’s sociopathic quest to stay on top.

        Reply
  6. Richard

    There’s more to the quality issues than meets the eye. There’s a lot going on at each assembly plant from poor engineering, attitude, moral and etc and this is just some thoughts that lead to poor quality and sales.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Can you please share some concrete examples with us?

      Reply
  7. Michael K

    I’ve been around long enough to see this cycle happen 4 times now (2001, 2006, 2013, 2020). This is a company fundamentally incapable of learning from its history and does not have sustainable quality systems baked into the corporate structure. It has to completely rebuild these processes following quality crisis, which is enormously expensive and diverting. However, 2020+ has to be by far the worst Ford has been and it’s going to take many years to fix this. Unfortunately the damage is so sever this time that it’s likely to diminish public perception further, especially with every other automaker doing so well. Quality tends to be a lagging indicator so even if their products are ironed out, perception and stats won’t be for a long time. Part of the problem is that Ford completely failed to consolidate ahead of electrification, they’ve only mucked up their platform and drivetrain complexity even further. So Ford has a very long road ahead of them to streamline and consolidate. Unfortunately their platform complexity is also extending into their EVs with several unrelated architectures in play. Ford still has a tremendous amount of cutting and downsizing to do, but the product blitz is behind them so they should be able to recover starting this year and next. And once they get to the end of this decade, they should be a much lighter company, but I am certain their quality issues will return with the next CEO.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Great comment Michael K.

      I generally agree with your take esp the competing vicious and virtuous quality cycles. (I just had a flashback to the 2006 Red, White and Bold blue wristband campaign, heh heh.) (You also forgot ca 1995’s Ford 2000).

      I don’t think Ford had the luxury of completely consolidating before making an EV pivot, to have waited may have spelled Ford’s doom by the end of the decade.

      The BEV pivot is Ford’s pathway to consolidation. It’s complicated, bumpy, with lots of moving parts not all moving at the same rate and some needing nimble tweaking as they proceed.

      Yes there’s added complexity due to BEV architectures (but these were crash non-optimized placeholder solutions which were fine for getting off the fine for realpolitik market positioning purposes) but both ICE and BEV will rapidly simplify and consolidate as Ford moves forward.

      A BEV heavy emphasis doesn’t guarantee future success but in the present, it’s Ford’s best hope for the future.

      And by being a first mover and being well resourced to do it, Ford stands a good chance of success with all the downstream benefits that first mover status can confer.

      Reply
  8. Daniel Winegarden

    I might buy a Ford for myself, but I can’t in good conscious recommend Ford vehicles to others. Past recommendations? Ford embarrassed me with bad reliability and shoddy quality. The Focus’ dual dry clutch automated transmission? Who approved that for production? And too many other examples. Meanwhile Chevy quietly moved up the quality and reliability rankings (except for full-size trucks). Today I’m more likely to recommend almost anything but Ford. And I was a Ford loyalist for value. And an Alan Mulally fan. No more Ford for now. And sorry Alan’s influence wasn’t lasting.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      It might be interest to you to know that the DP6 transmission debacle in Focus and Fiesta happened largely on Alan’s watch.

      Reply
  9. Fred Righter

    Jim Farley as a leader left 2 billion on the table. It wasn’t the employees it was his leadership and the executives under him!
    Ford stock has lost 50% since January 2021.
    It’s time for Jim to leave Ford!

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Flogging to death the horse your wagon is tied to doesn’t get you to town any quicker.

      It would seem the management team has been held responsible for not delivering all possible revenue by taking a 40% compensation cut.

      And LoL, nice lie on the share price moron. Maybe you meant Jan 22 (nice cherry pick to amp your K-street bad faith disinfo – I put some real comparative data.)

      Some fact, to today from:
      – 10/20: + 66% (Farley start)
      – 1/21: + 37% (before run up.)
      – 1/5/22: – 49% (after a big market run up.

      In same period, from 10/5/20, 1/3/21, 1/5/22 (in %)
      – Ford +66, +37, -49
      – Apple +28, +13, -13
      – GM +22, -09 -37
      – DJIA +16, +07, -08
      – Toyota +05, -09, -31
      – NASDAQ +00, -12, -22

      So basically Farley, since starting in 10/2020 has significantly out-performed peers and even stars like Apple.

      Similarly from Jan 2021. Ford has out performed.

      He’s has significantly underperformed peers and key market indices since Jan 2022, but not by a lot, and much of this can be attributed to the bigger run ups in Ford share price over the previous two years.

      So again, I’ve had to blow up another moronic K-street FUDster’s narrative with facts and unbiased analysis.

      Reply
  10. Rob Mcginley

    From a previous customer point of view, hearing about head gasket issues and dual clutch transmission failures ect ect ect. Is the issues here.
    As a customer I will stay away from MFGs that don’t stand behind their vehicles. Things like this shouldn’t happen. And if they do you need to make it right fast.
    Farley said that the Mustang E had 1.6 KM of extra wire on board.
    Have you looked at the mess of wires and hoses under the hood of a F150 ? Unbelievable mess.
    Fords problems start at the engineers from Germany that been doing some design work for Ford. Keep it simple is not part of German engineering.
    Get back to simple reliable engineering.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      LoL. You clearly don’t know what FoE PD works on.

      F150 isn’t even touched by the Cologne boys.

      One good thing about ICE going away is that the engine and transmission issues you cite will disappear with BEV PT implementation. (New problems specific to BEV might ((will)) be created but at least some of these issues like coolant leaks and oil sludge will vanish from BEV.

      As far as the cable, don’t forget both Lighting and Mach-E were quick and dirty projects to rapidly bring a volume production 1G BEV to market ahead of other OEMs.

      As a result they were over engineered and this will be corrected in the 2G (which is coming into prototype phase) and optimized in 3G (which is is concept design phase.)

      It can’t all be done in a flash, it is an iterative learning process which takes time. But you can see the outlines of where this improvement goes.

      Reply
  11. Lisa Lewis

    Ford Motor Corporation has the worse customer satisfaction and leaving many Escape Owners in debt and without a vehicle because of the Ecoboost designed engines. We are recently one of them. We are devastated and do not have $8900 to replace the engine and still make payments.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      At least you didn’t ask for a diesel hybrid escape, so we got that going for us.

      Reply
  12. Davy

    The problems shouldn’t “Grow Back” if checks and controls are in place. This is negligence on the part of management.

    Reply
  13. RWFA

    To TK above,

    Psssst: (whispers) Farley is also the boss of the truck division.

    Reply

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