OAKVILLE - Recently, Ford of Canada’s Dianne Craig, president and CEO; Bob Eaton, vice president, Finance and Jack Palazzolo, vice president, Marketing welcomed about 100 Ford of Canada retirees for an info packed town hall. Ford of Canada retirees are strong advocates of the brand in the community, and this group was eager to hear the presentation.
Officially welcoming the group, Craig kicked-off the presentation with a high-level business update.
“As you know this is our ONE Ford Plan and it hasn’t changed. We continue to work the plan,” said Craig. “We will serve all markets with a family of best-in-class vehicles – cars, utilities and trucks – using our global scale to deliver profitable growth for all.”
She outlined for the group a few Canadian historical industry statistics and where Ford ranks in Canada. For the Canadian auto industry, 2012 was a near record year. Putting that into context of the overall economy – the economic indicators showed modest improvements during 2012, and yet auto sales almost broke a record.
That speaks volumes about the strength of the Canadian industry. In that strong industry:
• Ford of Canada maintained sales leadership for the third-consecutive year
• Ford F-Series was the best-selling vehicle in Canada for the third-consecutive year, as well as the best-selling pickup for a record consecutive 47 years
• Ford Escape was the best-selling small utility
• Ford Explorer was the best-selling large utility
• Ford Mustang was once again Canada’s favourite sports car
In 2013, Ford of Canada is forecasting an industry of about 1.75 million, which would set a new record.
While sales titles are certainly a nice pride point for employees (current and former) and dealers, it has certainly never been the goal at Ford of Canada. The company remains focussed on long-term profitable growth for the business and dealers. Ford will remain focussed on going further for customers and delivering vehicles that offer leading fuel economy, technology, design and value.
While delivering those vehicles, Ford and Lincoln dealers continue to increase customer satisfaction in sales and service, and that includes renovating dealerships to add to the customer experience.
Sound business decisions, outstanding product and a positive customer experience all translate into sales, and Eaton was up next to provide some insight into the financial health of the company, both from a global perspective and a Canadian one. It was interesting for the group to see Ford’s performance per global market. Proving that Ford’s product transformation is delivering value, he talked about strong market acceptance of new products and technologies, how that’s driving share and revenue and how new innovative technologies drive higher customer satisfaction.
“We consistently deliver beautiful, emotive vehicles designs that are great to drive, with smart technologies, plus the outstanding fuel economy, value and quality that customers demand,” said Palazzolo, continuing on the theme of a vehicle-led transformation and segueing into the product presentation part of the event.
He touched on the importance of global products and of being a global company. He also spoke about the significance of sustainability and Ford’s electrification plan. Being able to offer customers the power of choice – fuel-efficient gas-powered EcoBoost engines, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electrics – allows our customers to choose the kind of vehicle that best fits their lifestyle and driving needs.
EcoBoost offers our customers up to 20 per cent better fuel economy, improved power and torque, as well as up to a 15 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions, giving them all the power they need with the fuel efficiency they demand. Ford is tripling EcoBoost engine production in North America.
Ford also will be tripling electric vehicle capacity by 2013. Plus, by electrifying platforms rather than single vehicles, Ford has the flexibility to manufacture the mix of vehicles that our customers desire and value.
Palazzolo had the pleasure of walking the group through Ford’s vehicle lineup, highlighting Ford Fiesta ST, new Ford Fusion, Ford C-MAX, Escape, F-Series and the changes to our commercial vehicle family.
Then, it was time for Lincoln to shine. Images of the Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and Lincoln MKC Concept brought smiles to the faces of the crowd. So did the news that there will be four new Lincoln vehicles in the next four years.
An active Q&A session followed the formal presentation, demonstrating that Ford retirees are very interested and engaged in following the company from both a global perspective, but also still focussed on the local community as well. Questions about Ford of Europe and growth in Asia Pacific were asked, as well as a high level of interest in the success of Oakville Assembly and what the future holds in terms of possible government investment.
Craig thanked the crowd at the end of the presentation.
“It was incredible to have all of you here today,” she said. “This is such a great opportunity for me to say thank you once again for all of your hard work during your years of service at Ford of Canada, and I am really proud to give you some further insight into where we are as a company today. I can’t wait to do this again really soon.”