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Old 10-23-2002, 08:27   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
Join Date: May 2001
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Ford's CEO minding key truck launch

DEARBORN, Mich. (CBS.MW) -- Ford Motor Co.'s top executive said Tuesday he's personally watching what will be one of the company's most important product launches, the latest version of the F-series truck.

The F-150, high-end models of which can cost well over $30,000, is one of the best-selling vehicles not only produced by the blue-oval brand but by any U.S. automaker. For that reason, Ford family heir Bill Ford Jr. said he isn't going to leave this one to chance.

"I'm involved in the reviews. So is the rest of the [executive] team you see here," he told investors in speaking at a second shareholder meeting this week. Much of this latest financial presentation mirrored the update given Monday.

The executive suite at Ford is hard at work to drive Wall Street's interest in shares of the No. 2 automaker, which are down near decade lows.

For Ford (F: news, chart, profile), the next F-series rollout will be tricky because of stiff competition in the large truck segment not only from General Motors' brands and Dodge but also from Toyota (TM: news, chart, profile). And the truck has yet to be seen ahead of its debut sometime in the middle of next year.

"We've got to get it right. And we're going to get it right," Bill Ford Jr. said.

That hasn't always been the case, however. The company initially struggled with the relaunch of the latest Explorer, since warmly received.

"I think that's a reflection of the organization being distracted and out of control," he admitted.

Source: CBS Marketwatch.com
By August Cole
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