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Auto blogWed, 23 Jul 2014
Ford Motor Company is announcing a major personnel shakeup that could have a dramatic effect on the future of the Lincoln division. Kumar Galhotra (pictured above), currently vice president of engineering at Ford for all of its vehicles worldwide, is taking over as the president of the luxury brand on September 1, replacing Jim Farley. The automaker is also hiring a new head of advanced engineering.
Galhotra has a huge job ahead of him as the new boss of Lincoln worldwide, overseeing product development, marketing, sales and service. His task is to turn the luxury division into a world-class brand as quickly as possible, and he reports directly to Ford President and CEO Mark Fields.
"These changes underscore our commitment to build on the success of our One Ford plan by accelerating our pace of progress. They also make clear we are serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand and that product excellence and innovation are what will deliver growth and define our entire company going forward," said Fields in the company's announcement.
There is a showdown brewing in the medium-duty truck segment next year as Ford prepares to launch its all-new, in-house engineered 2016 F-650 and F-750. It finally marks the end of the Blue Diamond joint venture between Ford and Navistar and, making the two entities direct competitors instead of partners.
Ford announced the end of the joint venture in an investor report in 2011, but it didn't reveal the new F-650 and F-750 until the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, IN, in March. Unlike the current, Mexican-built models, the new generation will be built in Avon Lake, OH, starting in mid-2015.
The challenge from Ford comes during a rough patch for Navistar. The company had a $248 million loss in the first quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal, and its medium-duty truck market share is currently down to 26 percent, from 36 percent in 2011. Building the previous-generation Fords brought in about $400 million a year to Navistar, according to the WSJ. To take on its former partner, Navistar plans to offer its International brand of medium-duty vehicles with more engine and transmission options to customers. It even struck a deal with Cummins to put its diesels in some of the models.
"Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last year." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China during the first half of 2014." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last month." None of those statements - even the last one - would seem unbelievable. Saying "Ford opened up 88 dealerships in China last Thursday," though, is a bit more dramatic.
Yes, on June 19 alone, Ford opened the doors on nearly 100 showrooms in the People's Republic, boosting the Blue Oval's total presence in the country to 750 dealerships. Of course, while an overabundance of dealers in the US proved troublesome for American manufacturers back in 2008 and 2009, there's no such concern in China. Considering the country's huge population and the breakneck pace of the local auto industry, you could be forgiven for being surprised Ford only has 750 outlets at this stage.
What's notable about this most recent push, besides the sheer volume of new stores, is their location. Over three-quarters of the new dealerships are in so-called Tier 4 cities, which are smaller towns that still contain millions of people. This fits with Ford's strategy in China of avoiding the bigger battlegrounds that are already dominated by competitors and focusing on setting up shop in newer markets that may have been overlooked, according to Automotive News.