The global boss of US car giant Ford has said he regrets not immediately tackling the brand’s well-known quality issues after taking the top job.

    Jim Farley became Ford’s CEO in 2020 after 13 years with the company, though it was only when he became the man in charge that he realised how deep-rooted the brand’s quality problems were.

    “I wish I had the same laser-focus on transforming our industrial system,” Mr Farley said, as reported by Automotive News, noting the company would be “much stronger” today had he addressed this sooner.

    “The capability atrophy in engineering, supply chain and manufacturing at Ford needed a much more fundamental reset than I had realised. I think we all have regrets, and that’s a big one for me. It’s a humbling thing.”

    According to Mr Farley, Ford previously had a “US$8 billion (A$12.3 billion) cost disadvantage” compared to its rivals due to inefficiencies with how it sourced parts, and designed and built its vehicles.

    Ford has also led the list for the automotive brand with the most recalls in the US for the past three years.

    To fix this, Mr Farley has implemented a policy which sees employees paid bonuses when certain quality metrics are reached, rather than the previous scheme which gave financial rewards to managers despite leading the industry in recalls.

    “You have to set up a culture shift – a performance reward system where every engineering manager, purchasing component manager and plant manager is fully accountable for the quality and cost of their work,” Mr Farley said.

    Quality concerns aren’t exclusive to Ford’s US-built vehicles, with the latest generation Ranger ute’s Australian rollout hampered by an early fault.

    In July 2022, just weeks after the Ford Ranger began arriving in Australian driveways, multiple owners of V6 turbo-diesel models reported tailshaft vibrations when driving at speeds between 40-80km/h.

    The fault led to delivered vehicles heading back to dealers to be fixed, as well as more extensive pre-delivery inspections – creating further delays for customers at a time when wait times were as high as eight months.

    The Australian rollout of the Ford F-150 has also been beset with problems, after two recalls and a delivery pause impacted the locally remanufactured pickup.

    MORE: Everything Ford

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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