Ford shifts its PR focus to products

DETROIT: Ford, fresh from announcing 35,000 layoffs, will now place

PR emphasis on the product side of its business as it tries to

revitalize its image, said Jim Vella, VP of global corporate


The layoffs won't impact communications staffing or spending, Vella


Ford wants to reestablish its image of making quality cars after two

years of dealing with such issues as the Firestone tire controversy,

quality problems, and management woes that led to last year's dismissal

of CEO Jac Nasser.

Ford will have a "very product-focused message moving forward," said

Vella. "We want to cut through the noise of the restructuring, and

remind people we still have five of the top-10-selling models out there.

It's really back to basics for the communications team."

Meanwhile, outsiders have speculated that William Clay Ford Jr. is still

in his honeymoon period with the auto press. This could end quickly if

the company has any more business or product missteps this year.

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