RF|BINDER PARTNERS, INC.
RFBinder 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.
RFBinder 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, RFBinder Partners
provides communications counsel and on- and off-line communications services – public
relations, investor relations, Internet marketing, and public affairs. RFBinder 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
RFBinder 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.
[RFBinder 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.]
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. RFBinder 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.
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 RFBinder offices;
alternately, telephone interviews will be held for those unable to travel to New York
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. RFBinder Partners
does not provide living quarters, but will assist as much as possible in locating housing or
A RFBinder 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
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 RFBinder Partners, please complete the material
below. For additional applications, call Deidra Degn, Coordinator, at (212) 994-7515 or e-
mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also review and download the material from
the Website (www.rfbinder.com). Completed applications should be mailed to:
Deidra Degn, Coordinator
RFBinder Partners, Inc.
950 Third Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10022
RFBINDER PARTNERS, INC.
PHONE _________________ EMAIL
Please list all formal education, degrees received or pursuing, and dates.
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 RFBinder Partners and will not be returned. Please DO NOT
STAPLE OR BIND together the items submitted.
Signature ________________________________________ Date
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
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
“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
(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.
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.''
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.
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
• 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.
• 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
• FORD LAGS THE INDUSTRY IN QUALITY
Problems per 100 vehicles
General Motors 146
Daimler Chrysler 154
Ford Motor 162
Data: J.D. Power & Associates
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
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
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.
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.
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.