Ford Motor has been trying to turn the tide for years but making little progress at its showroom or in its profits.
The 118-year-old automaker’s outlook is improving. Many analysts credit Jim Farley, who assumed the role of chief executive in October. Ford introduced several highly-received models including the redesigned F150 pickup truck, a Mustang electric sport-utility vehicle, and a new Bronco. The company made $3.3B in profit in the first three months, which is the highest quarterly total since 2011.
Ford’s share price rose after years of falling, rising more than 70% to $15.50 this year, the highest level since 2015. General Motors shares are up around 50 percent in the same period.
Ford has been a long friend of Mr. Farley, but his path to the top was not easy.
Farley is the grandson of Ford employees and turns 59 this Thursday. He was a teenage Ford Mustang owner. He was offered a job with Ford at the beginning of his career. However, he decided to work for Toyota Motor where he created the luxury brand Lexus. In 2007, he joined Ford to assist its chief executive, Alan Mulally.
When Mr. Mulally retired in 2014. Mr. Farley was considered for the top job, but he was defeated by Mark Fields. In 2017, the Ford board, which was headed by William C. Ford Jr. selected Jim Hackett. Last year, Mr. Hackett resigned.
In an interview, Mr. Farley stated that he feels like he’s been preparing for it his whole life from a business perspective. He said that many of the company’s recent successes are the result of decisions made “many years ago”.
However, Ford’s colleagues agree that Mr. Farley brought more urgency to Ford than Mr. Hackett’s more measured approach.