ASSOCIATE POSITION

RFBinder Partners, Inc. is a new global ...
   The starting date is Monday, July 7, 2008
      The deadline for submission of application materials is March 3rd

                              RFBINDER PARTNERS, INC.
                                  APPLICATION FOR

Please carefully read the following article. In 600 words or less, use the questions below to
“Would we like to do better?'' he says of the company's current woes. “Of course. But we'll
take our lumps. We've been thr...
employees, the trust of many consumers, and the confidence of Wall Street. The missteps at
Ford may even force him to give...
such as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Highlander and Sequoia.

With so many new competitors gunning for Ford 's rich truck franchis...
demanding ever-increasing price cuts. Some suppliers say the added pressure can lead to
defects down the line. Speed is al...
Nasser says the new job-review process is fair. “This is a company that has always had a
policy of inclusion, going all th...
     Ford has suffered a number of high-level departures, including the defection
    of Global Mark...
         “Quality is Job 1.'' That boast was once widely used in Ford 's advertising.
         But the a...
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  1. 1. RF|BINDER PARTNERS, INC. ASSOCIATE POSITION RFBinder Partners, Inc. is a new global communications management agency of the Ruder Finn Group, created to meet clients’ demands for new solutions to the challenges of today. RFBinder Partners seeks new answers to communications, marketing, and public opinion problems, and works with organizations that are being transformed by new technologies and changing business conditions. The agency was started in June 2001 as a “spin-off” from 57- year old industry leader, Ruder Finn, Inc. With about 50 employees, RFBinder Partners provides communications counsel and on- and off-line communications services – public relations, investor relations, Internet marketing, and public affairs. RFBinder works with nearly 50 clients, representing a wide array of industries and organizations, all of which are challenged by new market conditions and new technologies. Current and recent clients include Bank of America, Entergy, Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Eli Lilly, Dunkin’ Donuts, McNeil Nutritionals, McGraw-Hill, Columbia University’s Center for Environmental Research & Conservation, Friends of the Highline and many others in categories across the board. RFBinder fills its entry level (Associate) positions with college graduates who are interested in public relations. This is a full-time, yearlong commitment on the part of the Associate that commences with a 3-month training designed to expand the Associate’s knowledge of the public relations industry in order to provide better service to clients. Associates are paid a yearly salary of $32,500. Associates are considered for salary increases as part of their annual performance review. [RFBinder also offers a limited number of Summer Intern positions to college students who are between their junior and senior years. There is a separate application process and interested students should inquire directly.] ELIGIBILITY Applicants for the Associate position must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree at the time the session for which they are applying begins. Applicants may also have MBAs, MAs, or other graduate degrees and are seeking entry into the public relations field. Applicants of all majors are considered for the program. RFBinder Partners is looking for applicants who are highly motivated, take initiative on their own, possess a broad range of skills and thrive in a fast-paced, creative environment. The success of our business is partly rooted in a commitment to bringing different approaches and expertise areas together so that we can comprehensively serve the needs of our clients. Our employees bring a diverse set of talents, professional backgrounds, and expertise that are conducive to multiple perspectives and creative thought. Our employees’ diversity of age, gender, ethnicity, and nationality help us to be aware and sensitive to a diverse American and global marketplace. Foreign Nationals must have a U.S. Social Security number -- no exceptions. PROGRAM DATES
  2. 2.  The starting date is Monday, July 7, 2008  The deadline for submission of application materials is March 3rd  Candidates selected to interview will be notified by April 21th  In-person interviews are preferred and will be conducted at the RFBinder offices; alternately, telephone interviews will be held for those unable to travel to New York City PROGRAM DESCRIPTION As integral members of account teams, Associates gain exposure to every facet of the public relations business. The work they perform is primarily development of media lists, writing pitch letters and press releases, making telephone "pitches" to journalists, compiling clipping reports, organizing and attending special events and participating in creative sessions. Associates are assigned to accounts as needed and will work under the direct supervision of the account team manager. In addition to the hands-on account work, there are classes/seminars featuring guest lectures by staff experts, media experts and other outside visitors, including clients. There will also be required reading for follow-up discussion. Writing seminars and assignments emphasizing journalistic writing skills are mandatory. All benefits for full-time, permanent hires are offered to Associates. RFBinder Partners does not provide living quarters, but will assist as much as possible in locating housing or roommates. SELECTION PROCESS A RFBinder application form must be submitted along with: 1) two writing tests described in the following attachments; 2) a current resume; 3) two personal writing samples; 4) an official college transcript unless graduation was more than 6 months ago; 5) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references – letters of reference are not required. Please do not send the materials piecemeal -- DO NOT USE STAPLES OR SEND FOLDERS. Each applicant will be contacted after review of the written application materials. Those selected to interview may do so in person or by telephone. Interviewees are sent a case study to be analyzed in preparation for discussion during the interview, which will be conducted with one or more account managers. The accepted individuals are notified approximately two weeks before the start date. To apply for the Associate position at RFBinder Partners, please complete the material below. For additional applications, call Deidra Degn, Coordinator, at (212) 994-7515 or e- mail at deidra.degn@rfbinder.com. You may also review and download the material from the Website (www.rfbinder.com). Completed applications should be mailed to: Deidra Degn, Coordinator RFBinder Partners, Inc. 950 Third Avenue, 7th Floor New York, NY 10022 2
  3. 3. RF|B RFBINDER PARTNERS, INC. APPLICATION FOR ASSOCIATE POSITION NAME_______________________________________________________________ ADDRESS _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ PHONE _________________ EMAIL EDUCATION: Please list all formal education, degrees received or pursuing, and dates. COLLEGE_____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ RELATED COURSE WORK________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ STARTING DATE: July 9th MATERIALS TO ENCLOSE: Please attach (1) your resume; (2) the two writing tests (see attached); (3) two personal writing samples which will help in assessing your qualifications; and (4) an official transcript [if not available now, an unofficial one]; (5) a list of 3 references. Also enclose a list of special skills that will help you in this job. All materials submitted become the property of RFBinder Partners and will not be returned. Please DO NOT STAPLE OR BIND together the items submitted. Signature ________________________________________ Date 3
  4. 4. WRITING ASSIGNMENT #1 Please carefully read the following article. In 600 words or less, use the questions below to create a discussion on the article. 1. What elements of the article do you find as inherently damaging to the image of Ford? 2. Knowing what you now know about the company, what actions would you suggest as a public relations counselor representing Ford? 3. As a CEO and seasoned veteran for Ford, what would you advise Jacques Nasser to do? COVER STORY “Ford: Why It's Worse Than You Think. Quality, morale, and market share are down. Can Jacques Nasser get this company out of reverse?” By Joann Muller, with Kathleen Kerwin and David Welch in Detroit, Pamela L. Moore and Diane Brady in New York 06/25/2001 Business Week Page 80 (Copyright 2001 McGraw-Hill, Inc.) Jacques A. Nasser was on top of the world. Striding the halls of the Detroit auto show in January 1999, the freshly minted CEO of Ford Motor Co. commanded attention. Just a few days into his new job, Nasser was being hailed as the industry's newest auto baron--who might at any moment pull off a huge merger with the likes of Honda, BMW, Volvo, or Nissan. Indeed, Nasser seemed to revel in the speculation about how Ford would spend its $23 billion cash hoard, cracking jokes about the media frenzy. Outside, enormous snowdrifts paralyzed the city. But inside, as he contemplated Ford 's future, Nasser's mood couldn't have been sunnier. Last month, Nasser, 53, once again found himself the center of attention. But this time, as he stepped in front of the cameras, the mood was starkly different. Haunted by safety concerns about the popular Ford Explorer in the wake of last year's Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. tire recall, a somber Nasser announced that Ford would replace an additional 13 million Firestone tires on its pick-ups and sport-utility vehicles. The cost: a staggering $3 billion. Nasser's latest announcement makes the Firestone debacle the biggest product recall in automotive history and he'll be back in front of Congress on June 19 to explain. But as devastating as it has been, the tire scandal is only the most public of an array of crises confronting Nasser. The company, widely regarded as the strongest and best-run U.S. automaker, is suddenly on the defensive. Ford is suffering from a series of self-inflicted wounds, from embarrassing quality glitches and costly product delays to declining productivity. Those mistakes couldn't come at a worse time: The economy is slowing, and Ford 's share of the U.S. truck market--its main source of profits--is dwindling. FLOORING IT. Certainly, Ford 's problems aren't all Nasser's doing. Many are the result of industry trends that have been in the making for years. Yet underlying many of Ford 's troubles are the wrenching cultural changes mapped out by Nasser as part of his bold attempt to transform an Old Economy auto manufacturer into a nimble, Net-savvy, consumer powerhouse. Nasser is driving fast--too fast, for many in the company. In his 33-year career at Ford, he has often shown quick reflexes and sharp instincts. This time, though, the stakes are higher than ever. 4
  5. 5. “Would we like to do better?'' he says of the company's current woes. “Of course. But we'll take our lumps. We've been through much worse and we'll come through strong.'' If he's right, Jacques Nasser will go down in history as the man who brought Ford into the 21st century. If he isn't, he risks becoming a management lesson in how not to remake a company. Almost as soon as he ascended to the corner office, Nasser began overhauling Ford, unveiling one initiative after another. He signed agreements to partner with Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. on the Web. He pushed out Ford 's Old Guard and brought in talented young stars from the auto industry and beyond. He flattened Ford 's bureaucracy, giving more autonomy to regional executives, and shook up senior managers by tying their bonuses to gains in customer service. Gone were the days of automatic promotions and seniority. “You've got to earn a promotion'' he thundered at young execs shortly after becoming CEO. “The days of entitlement at Ford Motor Co. are gone forever.'' He also changed the face of Ford. He added Volvo and Land Rover. Then, convinced that Ford 's commitment to consumers shouldn't end when they drive off the dealer's lot, Nasser also bought repair shops, a driving school, the Hertz car-rental agency--even a junkyard. For Nasser, it wasn't enough to be one of the best global automakers. His goal was to make Ford one of the best global companies, period. He wanted Ford --and himself--to one day be as revered as General Electric Co. and its much-admired CEO, Jack Welch. But while Nasser has roared ahead, observers inside and outside Ford say the rest of the company hasn't always followed. As employees at all levels struggle to adapt to the host of sweeping changes Nasser has set in motion, many say Ford has lost sight of its fundamental mission: building quality vehicles as efficiently and profitably as possible. “It's all these things being jammed down our throats,'' says John Wyrwas, 61, a power-train engineer who retired this month. “When we're working on all these things, who's working on the product?'' It isn't just a rhetorical question. Harbour & Associates' annual ratings of auto-factory efficiency, released June 14, showed labor productivity at Ford falling 7% in 2000, while that of its rivals rose. Now there's a backlash against the pace and intensity of many Nasser initiatives. A new performance-review system for Ford 's 18,000 managers has met with such hostility that 42 of them, including Wyrwas, have filed two class actions, charging that the system targets older workers and white males who are stereotyped as resistant to change. Nasser preaches relentlessly about the need to get closer to the Ford customer, but he has had to rebuild his marketing team after Vice President James C. Schroer and other marketing execs fled to Chrysler in February. Nasser imported Six Sigma, the management technique popularized by Jack Welch, as a way to teach Ford managers to root out flaws, but in a ranking of quality among the seven largest carmakers this year, Ford came in last. With all the turmoil, it's no wonder Ford has given up 1.7 percentage points of market share in the first five months of the year. As if Nasser didn't have enough problems, rumors have surfaced of a rift between him and Ford family scion William Clay Ford Jr., the company's chairman. Nasser was forced to respond publicly in early June, declaring that he has the full backing of Ford 's board of directors. Those directors aren't talking, but sources close to them confirm that the CEO's job is safe. However, the board does feel that Nasser--with 16 direct reports and no clear No. 2--is overextended and needs help managing the company's operations. One rumor has Ford bringing the chairman of its European operations, Nick Scheele, back to the U.S. as president of Ford Automotive Operations (page 86). Nasser says only, “I think I've got the best team in the business. However, if we can make it even stronger for our customers and shareholders, we will.'' Nasser may still have the board's support, but he has lost the goodwill of some Ford 5
  6. 6. employees, the trust of many consumers, and the confidence of Wall Street. The missteps at Ford may even force him to give up one of his greatest dreams--that the company would soon overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's largest auto maker. That seemed a foregone conclusion last year. Not anymore. Says Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. analyst Stephen Girsky: “It's amazing to me how fast Ford has unraveled.'' In Nasser's defense, many of the problems he's grappling with result from decisions made long before he took charge. “He gets nailed with the problems, but they're what he's trying to change,'' says Noel M. Tichy, a University of Michigan professor and close adviser to Nasser. Improving quality and business productivity across a $170 billion company takes time, argue Nasser's supporters, and initiatives begun two to three years ago, are just beginning to kick in. Nasser admits that Ford 's record on quality has been spotty, but he points out that there are bright spots. Its Jaguar brand, for instance, was notorious for its lousy quality 10 years ago, and now is ranked second best in the industry. But Nasser emphatically rejects the notion that he's trying to force change too quickly on the carmaker. “If there are any regrets,'' he says, “it's that we're not moving fast enough.'' Until recently, Ford was Detroit's Golden Child. When Nasser took over, archrival GM was a basket case, steadily losing market share even as industry sales soared. Chrysler was still reeling from its 1998 takeover by Daimler Benz. And Japanese auto makers had only begun to attack the U.S. truck market. Ford, on the other hand, was in the fast lane. It dominated the enormously profitable market for pick-ups and sport-utility vehicles. Profits from North American truck sales made it easy for investors to overlook Ford 's sagging car business, losses in Europe, and troubles in Ford 's Asian and South American operations. Fueled by sales of its industry-leading trucks and SUVs, Ford 's profits grew more than 60% to $7.2 billion from 1996 to 1999. FULL TANKS. With a strong balance sheet, Ford was also able to keep shareholders happy with a variety of share buybacks and other maneuvers, such as the spin-off of parts maker Visteon Corp., that put more cash in investors' pockets. Ford was also busy cultivating a socially responsible image by promising to clean up the environment-- a passion of Bill Ford 's--with more fuel-efficient vehicles and by giving employees free personal computers and on-site child care. So when industry pundits warned earlier this year that Detroit was going to get clobbered in an economic slowdown, Ford declared itself far better positioned than its cross-town rivals to weather a slump. Even though profits in 2000 had dropped by more than half to $3.5 billion on sales of $170 billon, most Wall Street analysts agreed, recommending Ford 's shares over GM's or DaimlerChrysler's. Suddenly, Ford 's outlook is much cloudier. Most analysts have downgraded the stock. It's clear that the financial hit from the Firestone crisis is brutal. Last year's tire recall cost Ford about $500 million. To pay for the latest recall, the company is suspending the remaining $2.8 billion of a $5 billion share buyback and will take a $2.1 billion after-tax charge in the second quarter. And that doesn't address Ford 's potential liability from hundreds of pending lawsuits or lost sales as car buyers shun the troubled Explorer brand. So far this year, Explorer sales are down 21% despite an improved replacement model that debuted in February. Even laying aside the costs of the Firestone mess, Ford told analysts recently that it will have difficulty meeting the profit targets it set at the beginning of the year. With competition intensifying, Ford 's U.S. market share has fallen to 23.1% so far this year. Ford now says its goal of increasing revenues to $175 billion is a stretch. Net margins are getting squeezed, too. In the first quarter, they fell to 3.2% from 4.8% in 2000. And the pressure is only going to increase. GM, the sleeping giant, has come roaring back with a revamped truck lineup that includes the Chevrolet Tahoe and Silverado pickup and an aggressive pricing strategy that has already displaced Ford as the market leader in large pickups and SUVs. Japanese manufacturers, too, are going full throttle for the SUV market with new entrants 6
  7. 7. such as Toyota Motor Corp.'s Highlander and Sequoia. With so many new competitors gunning for Ford 's rich truck franchise, the automaker's margins will come under increasing assault. As rivals jack up discounts and incentives to woo buyers, Ford has been forced to match them. Both Ford and GM are spending roughly $2,300 per vehicle to sell their large pickups and SUVs. Those incentives will further depress profits. Ford has warned analysts that even without the Firestone recall, it might not meet its 4% net-margin target for North America this year. Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache sees a repeat of what happened to Detroit auto makers in the car business back in the 1980s: Profits vanished amid increased competition and overcapacity. “It's very possible that trucks will be just as unprofitable as cars in three to four years,'' warns Lache. The threats to Ford don't all come from the outside. After all, it's not outsiders who have caused its embarrassing quality slip-ups. In a recent survey by J.D. Power & Associates Inc., Ford ranked worst of the top seven global auto companies in quality. The No. 2 automaker had 162 problems per 100 vehicles, compared with just 115 for Toyota. Such glitches led to a string of recalls. The Focus compact car, which debuted in 1999, had six recalls, and the Escape, a small SUV introduced a year later, had five. Even the 2002 Explorer, which was closely scrutinized by Ford engineers, was recalled twice--once to fix a loose bracket that could allow the rear window to shatter and again to check for gashes on the tires caused by Ford 's own assembly line. In another humiliating blunder, Ford was forced to cancel the entire 2000 model year for its souped-up Mustang Cobra muscle car because the 1999 model's engine couldn't generate the 320 horsepower advertised. It took the company a year to fix the problem and get the Cobra back to dealer showrooms for 2001. QUALITY'S COST. Shoddy vehicles have hurt Ford 's bottom line in several ways. Quality problems and related production delays cost the company more than $1 billion in lost profits last year alone, according to Nasser. Obviously, sales suffer for a vehicle that is perceived as a lemon. But lousy quality also means higher warranty costs. Deutsche Bank estimates Ford 's average warranty cost per vehicle at $650, vs. $550 at GM and only $400 for Toyota. That puts Ford 's annual warranty costs at about $2.6 billion. A car of mediocre quality also yields less at resale time, which affects lease-payment calculations. In order to keep the payments low, the automaker must subsidize the car's trade-in value. That helps explain why Ford 's average incentive per vehicle is $2,122, on a par with GM's, while Toyota's, whose cars fetch more at trade-in time, is just $1,150, according to Deutsche Bank. Add it all up and Ford has a huge cost disadvantage compared with the Japanese. A study by Deutsche Bank concludes that Toyota has a $1,800 per vehicle advantage over Ford because of its greater efficiency and ability to command higher prices. So to match Toyota on price and remain profitable, Ford has to find a way to cut annual costs by more than the $1 billion it had planned. As the company tightens its belt, it is also pushing back car launches. A new version of the F-Series pick-up--its best-selling vehicle--has been delayed a year, while an updated Ranger pickup has been postponed indefinitely, say dealers and suppliers, allowing Ford to put off billions in capital spending. GM has a similar cost disadvantage. But as the Harbour Report showed, GM has made big leaps in productivity, which means it's on a faster cost-cutting track than Ford. GM's productivity, as measured by the number of worker-hours needed to make a vehicle, increased 8%, while Ford 's fell 7%. Ford maintains a slight edge overall, but GM has just about closed the gap. Nasser points out that Ford 's productivity is excellent in plants where new lean manufacturing processes are taking root. Still, he vows improvement and says, “I take full responsibility. I don't walk away from anything.'' So why can't Ford --a company that has been in the business of launching cars for nearly 100 years--get it right? Distractions caused by Nasser's cultural revolution, coupled with dramatic changes in how the industry operates, simply left too much room for error. Like other automakers, Ford is pressuring suppliers to take on more of the engineering while 7
  8. 8. demanding ever-increasing price cuts. Some suppliers say the added pressure can lead to defects down the line. Speed is also a factor. A new car now takes about 28 months from drawing board to showroom, nearly half as long as it took a decade ago. In the rush to bring vehicles to market faster, Ford sometimes turns over its plans to suppliers before all the engineering and testing are completed, says the CEO of a major supplier. Last minute design changes, he says, then put added pressure on suppliers, which can result in production screw-ups. But Ford 's internal strife is just as much to blame. “There has been so much emphasis on cost reductions, on task forces and new teams, that they lose sight of what's really important,'' says David E. Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Over the past several years, Ford has lost many of its most experienced workers through buyouts and early retirements. That brain drain and the pressure to cut costs and move faster may explain errors like the one that caused the most recent Explorer recall. Despite extra quality checks to make sure the redesigned Explorer was free of defects, no one remembered during the planning stage to relocate a conveyor belt guidepost on the assembly line to accommodate the 2.5-inch wider body. The result was a recall of 53,000 brand-new SUVs to check for gashes up to nine inches long in their tires. Nasser believes that Six Sigma, the system for continuous improvement in quality and efficiency, will help Ford avoid similar mistakes in the future. Six Sigma relies on statistical analysis to get to the root of intractable problems. Ford began training managers in the technique a year ago and says the system has already produced results. Last year, for instance, one group tackled a nagging problem on the newly introduced Lincoln LS sedan: Why wouldn't the engine always start on the first try? Using Six Sigma, they reverse- engineered the vehicle and traced the problem to a screw that wasn't fully tightened. The true culprit? Workers were using the wrong power tool. Ford says Six Sigma saved it $52 million last year, and it expects to save another $300 million this year. But if Six Sigma is so great, why isn't Ford 's quality improving? Ford officials insist that it is-- it just takes a while for the improvements to show up, they say. “We've had some very good results from Six Sigma projects so far, but there just aren't enough of them yet to affect broad-based results,'' says Richard Parry-Jones, group vice president for global product development and quality. Like quality, employee morale could also use a lift. Many Ford workers are upset that in a bid to shake up the culture, Nasser chose outsiders rather than Ford veterans for powerful management posts. He recruited J Mays, the hotshot designer of the redesigned Volkswagen Beetle, to head Ford 's design studio, and plucked BMW's former president, Wolfgang Reitzle, to run Ford 's beefed-up luxury car business. Tichy sees the backlash as the predictable response to change and the inevitable resistance of entrenched managers. “You need to bring in new blood. It's how you change your DNA,'' he says. “The Old Guard gets threatened and upset.'' Perhaps nothing has been more upsetting to Ford 's middle managers, however, than the employee-evaluation system introduced last year. The new policy requires supervisors to rank employees from best to worst along a curve: 10% get A’s, 80% get B’s, and 10% get C’s. Getting a C means no bonus; two C's in a row is grounds for demotion or dismissal. Instead of measuring an employee's performance against a set of objectives, the employee is measured against others with similar jobs--a radical change for a traditionally paternalistic company. The policy was intended to weed out under-performers and build a sense of teamwork. But employees say it has had the opposite effect. “If anything, this has caused extensive navel- gazing rather than staring out at the horizon at the consumer and the competition,'' says Pam Tucker, 48, a Ford manager and plaintiff in one of the class-action suits. “People are constantly looking over their shoulder.'' 8
  9. 9. Nasser says the new job-review process is fair. “This is a company that has always had a policy of inclusion, going all the way back to Henry Ford.'' But he adds that it's important for management to be candid with employees about their performance. “A system that doesn't encourage that dialog in a positive way is a very cruel system, because you end up with employees who are not motivated, and maybe in the wrong positions. Then, when reality dawns, it may be too late.'' Still, Nasser has heard the complaints and backed off some. Now only the bottom 5% of performers will get C grades. Can Ford become the next GE? It's way too early to say. After all, Jack Welch spent the first decade of his tenure absorbing criticism for his relentless cost cutting and layoffs. But Cole says the blueprint that eventually brought Welch great success may just be wrong for a company like Ford. With GE's diversified portfolio of businesses, it's easy to sell off the dogs. But a carmaker can't dump an under-performing marketing or design unit. “What Jac has tried to do is force-fit Ford into the GE model in a fashion that may not work,'' says Cole. The uproar over Nasser's initiatives underscores the difficulty and risks of trying to remake a company's basic values in a relatively short time. Convinced that successful companies in the Internet Age must move at Net speed, Nasser plunged headlong into a dizzying array of initiatives designed to reshape the century-old automaker. CEOs at plenty of other Old Economy companies, from Procter & Gamble to Gillette to Xerox, were trying to do exactly the same thing when Nasser took the wheel at Ford: shake up the status quo and return their companies to their former greatness. But overhauling an entrenched culture is exceedingly difficult. Companies that have succeeded, such as Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo & Co., did so one step at a time, without making a lot of bold promises, says Jim Collins, author of the upcoming book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't, due in October. “They weren't focused on changing the culture,'' he says. “They were focused on changing the results.'' He says that getting the rest of the company on board is the hardest challenge. “You have to focus on getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.'' Nasser is trying to do just that. But with so much at stake, it's turning into a white-knuckle ride. BREAKDOWN Nasser's aggressive drive to shake up Ford has the company sputtering. Here are some of the problems: • QUALITY DECLINE Ford now ranks last among the seven biggest carmakers in quality. Last year, recalls and delays cost it at least $1 billion, not counting the tire recalls. The redesigned Explorer, out since February, has already been recalled twice. Now, Ford is delaying new versions of its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator for extra testing. • FIRESTONE FIASCO Last August's recall of 6.5 million tires on the popular Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs cost Ford about $500 million. This year Ford will take a $2.1 billion after-tax charge to replace 13 million more Firestones. To cap it off, Explorer sales have plunged 21% this year through May. • SAGGING PERFORMANCE With the huge hit from the Firestone tire recall, Ford has suspended $2.8 billion in stock buybacks. Company earnings are expected to sink by 65% this year, to $2.3 billion, while Ford 's share of the U.S. market has fallen by 1.7 percentage points so far in 2001, to 23.1%. And last year, productivity sank by 7%, compared with an 8% gain for GM. 9
  10. 10. • PLUMMETING MORALE Ford has suffered a number of high-level departures, including the defection of Global Marketing V-P James C. Schroer, who bailed in February for a job at Chrysler. Meanwhile, middle managers have filed two class actions alleging that a new employee-review system that pushes underachievers out the door, is discriminatory. • FORD LAGS THE INDUSTRY IN QUALITY  Problems per 100 vehicles Automaker Toyota 115 Honda 133 Nissan 145 General Motors 146 Daimler Chrysler 154 Volkswagen 159 Ford Motor 162 Data: J.D. Power & Associates 10
  11. 11. THE QUALITY THING “Quality is Job 1.'' That boast was once widely used in Ford 's advertising. But the automaker has recently been plagued by a spate of recalls. Ford hopes its embrace of Six Sigma will reduce defects in the future. Here are some recent recalls: 1999 MUSTANG COBRA The engine in the SVT Mustang Cobra was unable to generate 320 horsepower, as advertised. About 4,000 were recalled, and the 2000 model year was scrapped entirely. 2000 FOCUS This compact endured six recalls. One of them, covering 207,000 cars, concerned faulty hub nuts that could cause the wheel and brake-drum assembly to come off. 2001 ESCAPE This new model has had five recalls since its introduction. The last covered 51,000 vehicles. Problems included defective speed-control cables, leaking fuel lines, and missing rivets on windshield parts. 2002 EXPLORER Some 52,000 SUVs were recalled to check for gashes in the tires, which occurred on the assembly line. The government said the defect could result in tire failure and crashes. WRITING ASSIGNMENT #2 Please write a 250-300 word personal essay that addresses/answers the following: Identify and describe the characteristics of an individual or organization that, in your opinion, serves as a positive example of an effective communicator. 11