by Patrick Rall
Jim Farley is the Chief of Ford Marketing and with a family tree chock full of Ford executives – Mr. Farley is a passionate individual. I have had the chance to meet Jim Farley several times and his passion for Ford Motor Company and the automotive world as a whole comes across in his talks about the company’s plans and future.
One other aspect of the industry that Jim Farley is passionate about is their cross-town rivalry with General Motors, and in an upcoming book titled Once Upon A Car, Farley made some passionate comments that have raised some eyebrows around the automotive industry.
During an interview with Once Upon A Car author and New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic, Farley spoke from the heart like any true gearhead, going so far as to explain that he doesn’t want to just see Ford beat Chevrolet…but he wants to beat Chevrolet over the head with a baseball bat. Now that’s American.
The following excerpt is taken from the book Once Upon A Car, which is due out this October:
What Jim Farley really wanted to do was kick the daylights out of General Motors. "I’m going to beat Chevrolet on the head with a bat," he said with a slightly wicked smile. "And I’m going to enjoy it." There was a saying going around Ford: GM was like the kid who was born on third base and yells out, "Hey Ma, I hit a triple!" Farley and his fellow Ford executives and workers were ready to rumble. This was like the glory days again — Ford versus GM, let the better car company win. "We’re going to beat on them, and it’s going to be fun," said Farley. "F– GM. I hate them and their company and what they stand for. And I hate the way they’re succeeding."
Hate is a passionate word. For decades now, racers have chosen their sides in the horsepower war, but rarely does an executive speak from the heart in the same manner as the enthusiasts who drive these cars. For the first time in a long time, we have an example of an executive showing that they are human and that they are more than just programmed marketing machines spewing whatever pre-approved information is prepared by the folks behind the scenes.
The news of Mr. Farley’s comments comes after new GM CEO Dan Akerson made comments to the Detroit News about how Ford should lay the Lincoln brand to rest – although Farley’s comments are far more aggressive than the ribbing handed out by Akerson. General Motors seemed a bit taken aback by the "F*** GM" issued by Farley, but with the battle being waged between Ford Motor Company and Government Motors – it is great to see that the people at the top of the corporate ladder are as passionate about beating the competition as are those folks fighting the battle in the trenches – and some of them are even so passionate on the subject that they are willing to speak their minds in an uncensored venue.
For the record, last week, Farley admitted to reporters that he has since apologized to GM Marketing cheif, Joel Ewanick, for his comments.