Ford's chief marketer Jim Farley has overseen some of the company's most important successes of the past few years, ones that have made it the most profitable automaker in America. How does he get motivated? By vowing to "fuck GM." UPDATED
The quotes come from early copies of "Once Upon A Car," a book about the Carpocalypse by well-respected New York Times reporter Bill Vlasic due to be published in October. Circulating widely among Detroit auto industry types, Farely's words are already causing a stir:
"What Jim Farley really wanted to do was kick the daylights out of General Motors. "I'm going to beat Chevrolet on the head with bat," he said with a slightly wicked smile. "And I'm going to enjoy it." There was a saying going around Ford: GM was like the kid who was born on third base and yells out, "Hey Ma, I hit a triple!" Farley and his fellow Ford executives and workers were ready to rumble."
...This was like the glory days again — Ford versus GM, let the better car company win. "We're going to beat on them, and it's going to be fun," said Farley. "F—- GM. I hate them and their company and what
they stand for. And I hate the way they're succeeding."
This may seem like typical corporate yo-mama speak, but after nearly a century of coexistence in the same city, Detroit's automakers have a Marquess of Queensberry-type code about competition, where public trash talking is taboo. (Even in commercials, the criticism is often soft-pedaled.) GM CEO Dan Akerson made several gaffes in his June interview with The Detroit News, but among the biggest was saying Ford "might as well sprinkle holy water" on Lincoln — even though he's right.
In response to the quotes, GM spokesman Jay Cooney told us:
"We would not have expected such crass words coming from Ford."
I bet the answer in other parts of GM involves swinging baseball bats.
UPDATE: We asked Ford if the company had a reaction, and this was the reply from spokesman John Stoll:
We have not yet seen the book and are unable to comment on the specific quotes. This is a passionate, competitive industry, and we respect all of our competitors.