Ford Hires Furniture Maker to Design Cars of the Future
» Posted February 8, 2019 Resources | Share This Post
What does making furniture have to do with building cars? Ford Motor Co. customers may soon find out. The century old car maker recently turned to an unlikely source to find its new chief executive officer.
Jim Hackett, who previously ran a trio of Michigan office furniture companies, was selected last year to helm the country’s second largest car manufacturer. He was hired to bring a new way of thinking to an old company known for rigid operating structures, but the announcement also left some industry insiders scratching their heads.
Hackett is expected to bring a boost of innovation, drawn from his time helping furniture clients re-imagine their office layouts. That starts with an approach to production called “design thinking,” which focuses on how the end user actually uses the product. In the furniture game, that lead Hackett to ditch the cubicle set up once favored by companies and embrace the open office. In his new role as automobile empire chief, he’s focusing on user experience to help redesign what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a car. Hackett also has his hands all over a plan to roll out a new fleet of electric vehicles.
But the cerebral approach has its detractors on Wall Street, who say Ford isn’t moving fast enough to redesign both its cars and its corporate structure. The company lost $116 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
Hackett’s arrival at Ford means the company is likely to roll out redesigned vehicles with more focus on the person doing the driving. But all of the fancy upgrades and bells and whistles in the world aren’t very helpful if they don’t properly work.
The company recently announced that it was recalling some 1.5 million Focus vehicles. Ford said a fuel tank defect could cause the vehicles to unexpectedly stall, leaving everyone inside at risk of an accident. The company later recalled another 1.5 million pickup trucks, citing a gear shifting problem that had already been blamed for at least a handful of crashes.
Legal Rights for California Car Buyers
The good news for car buyers in California is that state law offers some protections. California’s lemon law essentially requires car makers to fix certain defects while the vehicle is under warranty. If the manufacturer fails to fix the problem, it’s required to buy the car back or replace it with a new one. An experienced California lemon law lawyer can help buyers stuck with faulty vehicles get the compensation they deserve.
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