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Ford CEO Jim Farley Says Company Loves Mazda

Since taking over the company’s top position a few years ago, Ford CEO Jim Farley has made it abundantly clear that he isn’t a fan of what he calls “commodity vehicles,” or the types of models that he considers to be boring and not exactly fun to drive. This isn’t terribly surprising coming from an executive who likes to participate in various motorsports events on his own downtime, but that need for a more engaging driving experience has also apparently made Farley a fan of another automotive brand – Mazda.

“We just don’t want to make generic cars that look like other brands. We love brands like Mazda, we love brands like them who really don’t approach the business with that kind of commodity approach,” Farley told The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah in a recent interview. This admission is notable for a number of reasons – not the least of which is the fact that Ford enjoyed an extensive relationship with Mazda for decades.

More recently, the first-generation Ford Fusion and Ford Edge utilized a platform derived from the Mazda 6, and the Flat Rock Assembly plant was even jointly owned between the two automakers under AutoAlliance International. At one time, both the Ford Mustang and Mazda 6 were produced there simultaneously, in fact.

Thus creates a bit of a conundrum for Ford and Farley, however, as the CEO also stated that the company lost “billions” on its sedans before deciding to remove them from its U.S. lineup a few years ago. Currently, the Mustang is the only passenger car it sells in that country – though a sedan version remains a possibility – but for now at least, Farley says that FoMoCo remains focused on offering customers solid driving dynamics, regardless.

We’ll have more on Ford and Jim Farley soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 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. David Dickinson II

    If Farley decides to make a 4-door Mustang, all he will accomplish is to diminish the Mustang’s brand equity. If you want to build a sedan, great! Just don’t call it a Mustang. Even Dodge had enough sense to have a Challenger and a Charger.

    Reply
    1. Nauticalone345

      I totally agree with you!

      Reply
    2. Tigger

      At least design the sedan to have Mustang DNA from the get go- not slap the Mustang name as a last second thought as with the Mach E and try to pass it off as a “real” Mustang.

      Reply
    3. SJ Husak

      And how long have you been running multinational brands and been a marketing guru? Never is my guess. Explain how line expansion diminishes a brand vs the cost of developing a following for a new nameplate/brand.

      Reply
  2. Luke

    How about a Mustang Town Car! Yummy. let’s go all the way to give Lincoln nothing we want to buy.

    Reply
  3. Mrx19

    One of the smarter things Farley has said. Pretty much why I have bought Mazda’s for the last 15 years instead of Fords.

    Reply
    1. Lurch

      Same here. The weak parts of my 6 were the ones that were Ford’s responsibility.

      Reply
  4. Mark B

    Well, bringing back CARS to the line up would be a great start…nothing more boring than an SUV…

    Reply
  5. Bob

    So Ford says they lost billions on sedans.
    I’d like to see the numbers on that!
    Focus and Fusion were fairly good sellers and made on platforms that were shared with other cars. They may not be high margin vehicles but losing money? Maybe losing money from the Lincoln line? Toyota Kia and Hyundai still sell small and midsize sedans.

    Reply
    1. John

      Yeah sounds like a load of bull. Ford CEOs say stuff like this every time they end up making a popular well built vehicle that drags down corporate profit margins. They said the same thing with the old Ford ranger, they did the same thing with the first generation focus as well. Cash for clunkers Kind of saved it (probably escape as well) . They did the same thing with the first gen escape. Ford likes to make a decent vehicle, never substantially update the platform, complain about the margins falling. Refresh it , offer sticker packages until the the sales start falling , then say the sales numbers don’t make a good case for a redesign. Frankly ford could have saved this ford focus by offering a reliable transmission but they continued to destroy the cars reputation by churning out detective DCT examples. They could have likely sold 200k+ a year fusions by lightly refreshing the power train, discontinuing the taurus and giving the fusion a major refresh (but not , complete redesign) to bridge the gap between the two sedans. However they didn’t because they don’t want the $1000-$2000 a pop on the sedans to lower .the overall profit margin vs making $6000 a unit on trucks. Instead they took the 2 billion of potential profit per year and a few billion more and burned it indecisively wading into EVs.

      Reply
  6. Tom

    “We just don’t want to make generic cars that look like other brands. We love brands like Mazda, we love brands like them who really don’t approach the business with that kind of commodity approach.”

    Besides maybe the MX-5 Miata, what vehicle in Mazda’s lineup isn’t a commodity product? Sometimes, Farley says stuff that he believes will win him a gold star from the diehards. My impression is that he doesn’t want to compete with Toyota, Honda, and the Korean twins anymore. He wants a niche brand with Broncos, Mustangs, and pickups. But I believe taking Ford out of the minds of normal people isn’t the best strategy long-term. And a 4-door Mustang isn’t the answer either. Ignoring sedans for a second, the CUV is king. Dropping the Edge and the Escape doesn’t translate into people buying Broncos and Bronco-Sports. They just won’t shop the brand anymore.

    Reply
    1. Lurch

      Compare the Mazda3 to other compacts–the Civic, Corolla, Elantra, for example–and tell me it’s a “commodity product.” Nothing drives as well.

      Reply
  7. John

    Farley is so full of BS. If Ford was losing billions on sedans why aren’t the Japanese companies that still make sedans.(Toyota,Honda,etc.) If they were losing billions it was because they ran the ones they had into the ground. Not updating them. Many people are driving their Fusions until they give out. Not to mention many scoop them up as second cars.Why? Because they were good cars. The Fusion Hybrid is one of the hardest cars to buy. Cut the crap Farley. People know this fact despite your retoreic.

    Reply
    1. Jason

      Perhaps building Ford sedans in volume, under past/present UAW contracts, isn’t financially viable in the long run.

      Reply
  8. Lol

    I do love these comment sections clamoring for sedans.. why? They drove like s***. Move on or start your own company. The SUVs drive better, more comfortable, more features. Just stop being poor 💁🏻‍♂️

    Reply
    1. Get it

      They are clambering they are talking about the receipts we have from the auto market

      Sedans still sell. We have Japanese car companies moving AWAY from offering cars in coupe/sedan/hatch and going sedan/wagon. We have the receipts from the use market where FORDS sedans are still in demand in the used market

      It’s kind of like how you probably think girls want guys that don’t look like you, but in reality ones that look like you are still doing well. It’s your lack of IQ… it’s YOU and your qualities that’s the issue.

      See how that works

      Reply
  9. Tigger

    When Ford was getting it’s brands in the early 2000s, they should have kept Mazda and Volvo in the fold. Those two brands would have covered the loss of Mercury and the demise of the Lincoln brand.

    Reply
  10. Mf

    If they loved Mazda so much, they should have put a ring on it when they were together.

    Reply
  11. Fox

    The focus was the best driving experience in its class cost range that i drove if a 4 door mustang is produced call it the falcon but keep mustang look and how abt a ute also that size is missing and is very useable

    Reply
  12. Timothy

    Ok why did Ford liquidate their holdings with the Mazda AutoAlliance Group at the Flat Rock plant. Seems like “crying over spilled milk” or perhaps very shortsighted at best.

    Reply

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