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Ford EVP Fields Touts Pickups, Digital Deal

Monday, 8 Jan 2007 | 12:15 PM ET

Forget all things to all men – or so believes Ford Motor’s Executive Vice President Mark Fields - who says “polarizing” brands and products is smarter. Fields, who also holds the post of Ford’s president of The Americas, told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau how the centennial automaker plans to gain dominance in some segments – and maintain it in others.

The EVP called for a “very clear view where you’re taking the brand” – and said it’s better to target specific needs and tastes than to attempt to please everyone. Joining LeBeau at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Fields pointed to overhauls in Ford’s Focus, Fusion and Edge brands – which he touted as the first major changes in the lines since 1989.

Ford's Way Forward
A look at the number-two automaker's sales strategy, with Mark Fields, Ford Motor President of the Americas, and CNBC's Phil LeBeau.

Fields also trumpeted the Sync wireless communications deal with Microsoft; Sync will enable digital-music transmission via Apple Computer’s iPod -- and, of course, Microsoft’s Zune – as well as hands-free inbound text-messaging. (Click to read about Sync's small-fry WiFi rival, Autonet.)

Ford’s Americas chief also took on ToyotaMotors’ planned fleet of pickup trucks. Fields said his firm has remained the “recognized leader” in pickups for 30 years, and says the revivified “culture of excellence” –and not empty “bravado” -- will keep Ford ahead of the pack. “We’re not afraid of the bullseye on our backs,” he declares.

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