Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, elevated Elena Ford, a cousin of Executive Chairman Bill Ford, to vice president.
Elena Ford, 46, will head a new global dealer and consumer experience group, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said in a statement. She will report to Jim Farley, the company’s global marketing chief. She is the great-great-granddaughter of company founder Henry Ford.
Ford is zeroing in on the customer experience to follow the overhauling of its lineup under Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally. The company told dealers this week that it will match as much as $750,000 of investments in their stores. The Lincoln luxury brand has introduced a concierge service to the car-shopping process and “Lincoln Date Night,” a test-drive program in which potential buyers are treated to dinner.
Elena Ford is the first member of the Ford family to become a vice president of the company since Bill Ford was appointed to lead the commercial truck division in 1994.
The Ford family controls the automaker through 70.9 million Class B shares. Two family members, Bill Ford, 55, and Edsel Ford, 64, are directors. Bill Ford was also chief executive officer from 2001 until 2006, when he yielded the post to Mulally, 67.
Ford also named Ray Day group vice president of communications. He has led the communications group as vice president for the past five years.
The shares gained 0.5 percent to $13.11 at the close in New York. Ford has risen 1.2 percent this year, compared with the 6.7 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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