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Ford CEO Farley Regrets Not Tackling Quality Issues Sooner

It’s no secret that Ford has faced plenty of quality woes over the past few years, ones that made it the most recalled automotive manufacturer in the U.S. in 2023. Ford CEO Jim Farley is well aware of this fact, noting that the company has made improving quality a priority, and proceeding to set varying “best-in-class quality” targets for its vehicle lineup in that regard. Farley previously blamed this downward trend on corporate inefficiencies that disappeared and wound up growing back, and chairman Bill Ford later noted that he’s pleased with the actions the company’s CEO has taken to right the proverbial ship. However, while speaking at the recent 2024 Wolfe Conference, Farley admitted that he didn’t act aggressively enough – or perhaps soon enough – to rectify these problems before they grew.

Jim Farley

“So, in line with that, I wished I had had the same laser focus on transforming our industrial system,” Farley said. “The capability atrophy in engineering, supply chain and manufacturing in Ford, John and I talk about this every day was much more – needed a much more fundamental reset than I had realized. And if I had – if we had approached same vigor that we restructured and got out of India, restructured South America, restructured China, restructured Europe, if we had approached, as a management team, tackling the industrial system at Ford the same vigor, and is actually a quite different execution, would have required a quite different execution. It’s not just getting rid of people – we’ve got rid of 20,000 people – it wasn’t that. It’s a totally different muscle.”

“I think you would have a much stronger Ford. We would have a much stronger base. The irony of that, though, is that if we had done that quicker, would we have really trusted that organization to disrupt itself like we have? I think one of the biggest gifts, turns out one of the biggest gifts the management team has given ourselves, is the small skunkworks team, who really came up with a way of executing an affordable platform with a completely different orientation that my industrial team would have never been able to do. So it’s not perfect, but, yes, I think we all have regrets. And that’s a big one for me. So a humbling thing.”

This admission comes on the heels of Farley noting that it could take a number of years to completely correct Ford’s quality woes, though that process is already underway. In fact, starting with the launch of the redesigned 2023 Ford Super Duty, the automaker began shutting down production when it identifies a problem, then proceeding to fix it before restarting assembly lines – a process that has since been emulated with multiple new vehicle launches.

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. Mark B

    Better late than never, I guess.

    Reply
  2. louis faiella

    “we’ve got rid of 20,000 people….”
    RID????
    BTW it looks like the unions/strike helped Ford more than they know!!
    I have a great idea to make more profit. Charge more for the trucks.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      My new Super Duty costs over $101K How much more do you want it to cost…

      Reply
  3. StarLord

    We all regret you didn’t take on Ford quality issues sooner Jim.

    Reply
  4. Dave Mathers

    I have heard that very same speech from Ford presidents on both sides of the border for over 50 years. Same old, same old?

    Reply
  5. Jeff W.

    Instead of threatening to move jobs to Mexico in retaliation for the as strike, maybe Jim should resign

    Reply
  6. Don

    What about stupid design, specifically the water pump in the Duratec engines? $3500 to replace what used to be $500?

    Reply
  7. heidi

    LIP SERVICE

    Reply
  8. Jill

    BLA BLA BLA here we go again

    Reply
  9. Area Man

    Could Chris Farley do any worse?

    Reply
  10. Sonny Soileau

    Quality problems, you mean like the abominable 10 speed transmission that Ford refuses to honor the warranty?

    Reply

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