December 18, 2009
Jim Farley ('90) Shares Plan to Rejuvenate Ford
Emphasizes advanced technology and better fuel efficiency
By Justin Tang
After earning his UCLA Anderson MBA, Jim Farley ('90) spurned a Wall Street career to join Toyota and is today vice-president of Ford's Canadian, Mexican, and South American operations. During a well-received recent visit to UCLA Anderson, Farley delivered a lively talk, disclosing how Ford plans to repair its reputation in today's depressed automotive market.
Farley said he realized early on that Ford needed to separate itself from the other American car companies, after the fallout surrounding car company executive's use of private jets to travel to Washington to request bailout money. He said Ford decided to refuse government assistance in order to emphasize to the public that Ford was different. "We wanted to be the 'tallest midgets' in the hearing," Farley said.
But how would Ford compete in the automotive market dominated by luxury European cars and fuel-efficient Asian cars? Farley believed that, "We must put amazing technology in our cars, and create better fuel efficiency in order to add value." As a result, Ford chose to import dozens of its Fiesta model, a stylish hatchback sold in Europe, to give away in contests to gain brand recognition. They spent only $1 million to reach 60% brand recognition when it can typically cost companies $60 million.
After lengthy research, Farley concluded that consumers believe that raising fuel economy increases consumer trust in a company. "We must convince America to seriously consider Ford when they purchase cars, and that we will deliver quality, time and time again, to win back the consumer trust that we lost," he said. Farley conceded that it may take up to 15 years to get that trust back, but they will earn it by "focusing product quality, and a lot of hard work."
About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "intellectual capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,600 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.
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