Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker

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9780471479666: Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker
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An inside look at the company that defined American industry and the man who runs it
Ford Tough is the contemporary story of a company fighting to position itself in a new era of business, with the founder's visionary great-grandson as the leader of the new Ford Motor Company.
Bill Ford Jr. is the first Ford family member to run the company since 1979. A self-professed environmentalist and by all accounts a "nice guy," he might not seem the most obvious choice for a hard-nosed corporate leader. But his vision of the company's future, his genuine care for his employees, his well-timed toughness, and his obvious concern for the long-term well-being of Ford Motor Company have proven to be essential characteristics for the leader of America's most famous brand.
Ford watched the company decline beginning in 1999 as then-CEO Jacques Nasser tried to remake the automaker into a new economy business. When the plan did not work, Ford stepped in to rebuild the automaker and restore faith from employees, consumers, and dealers. He guided Ford Motor Company through its troubled times and a successful centennial celebration.
With its massive size and a troubled economy, leading Ford Motor Company into the twenty-first century will be no easy task. Ford Tough looks at the modern rebuilding and the future of a company that defines American know-how and American culture.
David Magee (Lookout Mountain, Tennessee) is a former newspaper editor and columnist, as well as an automotive expert who has been featured on National Public Radio, Bloomberg TV, and the Discover Channel, among other news and media outlets. He has written for the Associated Press, the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS), and the Oxford Eagle (Oxford, MS), and is also the author of Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan.

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From the Inside Flap:

Throughout its 100-plus-year history, Ford Motor Company has proven itself to be one of the world's most tenacious, resilient, and forward-looking business organizations. As the company approached the century mark, however, a series of disastrous years made it clear that Ford's problems went deeper than those caused by a cyclical downturn and a weak overall economy. The company that virtually invented the auto industry was close to losing its footing. Clearly, it would take more than the average CEO to put the legendary automaker back on track.

Ford Tough tells the inspiring story of Bill Ford, scion of one of America's most celebrated business dynasties, and his heroic battle to revive and reshape the company. His objectives: to compete successfully in a rapidly changing environment and to reinvigorate Ford Motor Company's role as an industry innovator and standard-bearer, facing and overcoming the daunting challenges faced by every twenty-first-century automaker.

This crisply written narrative is the product of author David Magee's unequaled behind-the-scenes access, both to the dynamic young CEO and to the inner workings of the company. Magee examines Ford Motors' past successes and failures, explains the lessons Bill Ford has drawn from them, and reveals how he is using these lessons to drive the company toward a new era of innovation and growth. He also offers a richly detailed portrait of the first Ford to take charge of the company since 1979, a self-professed environmentalist who cares deeply about his employees and possesses a deep sense of personal and corporate responsibility-characteristics that have played a crucial role in the company's turnaround.

Ford Tough is more than a powerful business biography, more than a fascinating company history, and more than an insightful portrait of a unique management style. It is a stirring, modern-day epic, the compelling tale of one man's battle for the things we value most in life, including family, tradition, and a promising future.

From the Back Cover:

From FORD TOUGH

The accident is serious. There are injuries, maybe deaths. The site is unstable. We are in contact with authorities.

Bill Ford Jr. drove to World Headquarters and was met in his 12th floor office by Vella and by Neil Golightly, who was in his first weeks as director of the chairman's office, with duties that were part public affairs and part executive assistant for Ford. Golightly remembers Ford being visibly concerned and distraught when he walked into the office and sat down for updated information on the accident. Details were still sketchy.

"Do you think I should go?" Ford asked.

Golightly was barely three weeks into his job and still getting to know and understand the man he worked for. The company's CEO was out of the country. Its head of public affairs was out of town. The chairman bore the company name and the Rouge was an unstable accident scene at a volatile, 78-year-old powerhouse with boilers fed by natural gas. Golightly followed his first gut reaction and advised Ford not to go.

"That's ridiculous," Ford said. "I've got to go."

"Generals don't go to the front lines," another company adviser told the chairman.

"Bust me down to private then," Ford responded, "because I'm out of here."

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