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Ford Names New Leaders After Dismal Q4 Performance in 2019

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Ford recently made headlines when it announced the appointment of Jim Farley as the company’s new chief executive officer and Hau Thai-Tang as lead for product development and launches.

The automaker is gearing up for what could be the biggest year in its history with the upcoming release of the 2021 F-150 full-size pickup, the revived Bronco, a baby Bronco right beneath it, and the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. All of which are happening without the presence of long-time Ford leader Joe Hinrichs.

With all eyes peeled on the company, the pressure is on Thai-Tang, who has been a Ford engineer for a long while before assuming his new position. He will be in charge of expanding the lineup with more electric and high-tech products beginning March 1.

Ford Explorer on display in showroom
“[The] Explorer [launch] was an anomaly,” Thai-Tang said, noting the successful launches of other models such as the Ford Super Duty, Escape, Lincoln Corsair, and Kuga in Europe.

“We’re in the midst of the biggest product refresh in our history,” Thai-Tang said in an executive interview with MotorTrend following the news of his promotion. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to pulling the team together.”

Thai-Tang also shared that he was given a directive by Ford CEO Jim Hackett to accelerate the company’s transformation, given a lackluster fourth-quarter sales in 2019 believed to have been caused by a poor launch of the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. The company is also looking to update every single model in its lineup by 2022.

“Explorer was an anomaly,” he said, noting the successful launches of other models such as the Ford Super Duty, Escape, Lincoln Corsair, and the Kuga in Europe.

According to Thai-Tang, the Explorer is not a reflection of the brand’s performance and that the lessons learned from the launch will be applied to upcoming releases.

Moreover, the newly-promoted executive confirmed there will be no multiple launches or concurrent assembly this year. Turnaround time will also be adjusted to include training for plant employees, while the key launches shall be staggered to give way for more validation.

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