Now that Mark Fields has officially taken over as Ford's chief executive officer, it should be interesting to see what the young gun can do.
Following in the footsteps of Alan Mulally, we think Fields has some seriously big shoes to fill.
It's pretty hard to argue that the company isn't in good shape and given the size of the global entity, all you need is one recall to have the tide turn — cough, cough, GM.
There's just one significant pain point for the Blue Oval. That would be Lincoln. It seems that most folks in the automotive biz think that the luxury marque should have been killed off years ago. Of course, it's been lingering on the sidelines putting out "meh" products for what feels like eons now.
Here's the crazy part: Alan Mulally wanted to put it out of its misery as it's a drain on resources. Fields convinced him not to do so.
At this point it seems like Fields has his work cut out for him. The Lincoln brand will need a lot of R&D bucks to make truly differentiated products from its Ford counterparts AND there is significant amount of work to be done in the brand recognition department.
Though we've seen Buick go through a little resurgence, the reality is that company is still facing a stodgy image as it attempts to convince younger buyers to get behind the wheel. How will Lincoln be able to conquer that?
We want to know: does Mark Fields have a shot at turning around this sinking ship or should Lincoln have been axed a year ago when Mulally wanted to put it six feet under?
...Lincoln, with U.S. sales down 65 percent from a 1990 peak, is such a big money loser for Ford that Mulally suggested killing it last year, according to two people familiar with the internal discussions. Chief Operating Officer Fields, set to become CEO tomorrow when Mulally retires, convinced his boss that Lincoln was worth saving, to give Ford buyers a luxury brand to move up to when they’re ready to spend more, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private...
...“Our team is so enthused about Mark becoming CEO,” Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln, said in an interview. “Mark really understands and has instilled in all of us the strategic importance of the luxury business. It’s a small part of industry sales relatively, 8 percent and growing, but the contribution to the overall bottom line is a much higher percentage...