Ford exec backpedals after saying it tracks drivers

A Ford Motor executive who said the company tracks and collects data on how Ford customers drive their vehicles said Thursday that he regrets making the comments.

Jim Farley, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Ford, said that he was wrong to suggest to customers that the automaker uses GPS devices in vehicles to collect data on how people drive.

(Read more: Ford: We can use GPS to track your car movements)

"I definitely left the wrong impression with my comments, and I regret it," Farley told CNBC. "It's important to me that our customers know where we stand and that we do not track them."

Big automobile announcements at CES
Big automobile announcements at CES

Wednesday night, while taking part in a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Farley was quoted as saying: "We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone."

(Read more: Carmakers show off new high-tech features at CES)

Business Insider first reported Farley's comments Thursday morning. The article and Farley's remarks immediately raised concerns that Ford is monitoring drivers without their consent.

Farley told CNBC that his comments were meant to be in response to a hypothetical question about whether or not automakers could track how vehicles are driven. He said the automaker does not have GPS tracking data in the vehicles it sells.

(Read more: Why CEO Mulally staying sets Ford up for big 2014)

"We do not monitor and aggregate data from our cars," Farley said.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews.

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