Ford shuffles manufacturing executives

Associated Press

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. has pulled an executive back from Europe to run its North American factories in an effort to free the current manufacturing chief to focus on standardizing the automaker’s operations across the globe.

James Tetreault, 52, currently vice president of manufacturing for Ford of Europe, will become vice president of North American manufacturing starting Dec. 1.

He’ll report to Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of global manufacturing, and the company said the move will free Hinrichs to continue a push for common practices at Ford factories worldwide.

Tetreault will be replaced by Ken Macfarlane, 58, who is now director of manufacturing operations for trucks in North America, the company said in a statement.


Ford said Tetreault will lead the company’s drive for more flexible factories that can build multiple models. He comes as a critical time as Ford converts several truck factories so they can build more fuel-efficient cars from Europe starting in 2010.

Ford and other domestic automakers have lost billions over the last three years as the U.S. auto market shifted from trucks and sport utility vehicles to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. More recently, economic uncertainty in the U.S. and tight credit have cut further into sales.

Ford and its Detroit-area counterparts, Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp., are starting to run low on cash and are seeking $25 billion in government loans to help them weather the economic downturn.

Ford shares, which have traded as high as $8.79 in the past year, plunged 42 cents, or 25 percent, to $1.26 on Wednesday on fears that Congress would not approve the bailout money.

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