Shedding the light on one of the most important car companies
It was a great Opportunity to interview the Communications and Public Affairs Director of Ford in Spain Ms.Laura Barona.
In the interview Ms. Laura has talked about the challenge that ford is facing world wide, how ford managed to overcome the crisis of 2006, the celebration of Ford’s 40th anniversary coming the following year (2016) , the cooperation between the leaders of Ford and The Spanish Government, and how ford is currently competing in the automobile market.
Ms.Laura Barona,54,was born in Mexico City and she have lived most of her life there,”I had the opportunity of studying in several schools during my elementary and high school years”.she said. she studied 1st to 5th grade in two different bicultural English-Spanish schools in Mexico City,then she went to live with her aunt in a small town near Boston, Massachusetts, where she studied her 6th grade, then she was enrolled at the Licée Franco-Mexican (a French school), where she had the opportunity of studying high-school and senior high.”Having studied in such schools, I speak fluent English and French. Also, moving so many times from school to school allowed me to learn to adapt fast to new environments and meet many people…Even though I can say I was still very shy”.
After finishing her senior high school,she decided to study visual arts at the National School of Arts in Mexico City,After two and a half years,she started studying Computer Science at the Anahuac University.”everybody questioned me about what both degrees had in common… I guess that nobody – not even me -, had any idea on how computers would change our lives, and what we were going to be able to do with it… Even if I had no idea of the future, I always answered that someday I would be able to do art through computers” she said.
Working as Communications and Public Affairs Director of Ford was not easy to get Ms,Laura worked in many different places and departments before working at Ford,her first job was at the Canadian Embassy, in the Immigration department,but her first job in the communications department was at the Mexican Investment Board.
“From that moment on, my entire professional career has been in that discipline”. Ms,Laura said about receiving an invitation to join Edelman,(a US based PR agency).In 2009 she was invited to collaborate with the Mexican government,working for ProMexico as Institutional Relations Executive Director and In 2011,she was invited to join Ford of Mexico as Communications Director.
As for Ford, she said that it has been present in Europe for over 100 years. It is presence started in 1903 through importers who for many years brought vehicles to Europe.She added that in 1911 Ford opened the first manufacturing facility in Europe which currently has a strong manufacturing footprint with 24 plants.
As for sale ,she expressed that Ford has always had a wide offer to satisfy their customer needs . She also added “it has been popular that Ford have over 10.000 orders “.She said that Ford’s presence is strong in Europe. She continued by saying that their share may vary and their competitors vary depending on specific market.She explained by an example , Ford closed a strong October and year to date performance across many markets in Europe.She said Ford was market leader in total vehicle sales in the UK and sales leader in Hungary year to date.She concluded by saying that Ford achieved market share improvements in 14 of 20 traditional European markets.
she mentioned that the main challenge that Ford is facing currently is to bring the company to profitability in all regions,while offering their customers the best products.
“We were ready to face the crisis (2006)”.Said Ms,Laura Ford hired Allan Mulally, a visionary that helped structure the company in a way that made Ford the only US car manufacturer that did not need the US Government support.
Concerning the help of the Spanish government she said in February 2015, our CEO Mark Fields came to Spain to celebrate our latest investments: 2.300 million € from 2011 to 2014 – the greatest investment in the automotive industry‘s history in Spain.
She explained that this investment was used for new facilities , new Modeo , and CD platform vehicles and since 2011 more than 900 robots were added.
Moreover , she said that with this investment the employment had increased from near 5000 in 2013 to over 8000 in 2014 . The daily production had also grow from 1500 in 2014 to 1900 vehicles by the end of 2015.
She did not forget to mention that their good relationship with the government and the unions had made this investment become concrete.
She answered the last question about their future plans by saying that they are always looking into having a strong footprint around the world and they are now focused on having a strong business and use their manufacturing capacity according to the markets’ needs.
Written by : Salem Eradad